The King’s (and Queen’s!) Speech: A Majesty of Narrators!

If you’re a fan of British royal family-themed fiction, then almost certainly you’re a fan of two things: The Crown on Netflix, and Philippa Gregory. Out now is a new audio version of The Queen’s Fool, narrated by Yolanda Kettle, which follows The Other Boleyn Girl, narrated by Vanessa Kirby. Both Kettle and Kirby have been *spoiler alert* recent love rivals in The Crown, which got us to thinking, which other books have been narrated by The Crown stars? Let’s take a look!

The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Yolanda Kettle

Philippa Gregory does it again!

Hannah Green is a young girl who is placed in the Tudor court as a holy fool to Mary I. Hannah, who has many of her own secrets, ends up trapped between the Catholic Queen and Elizabeth, her Protestant sister. She must choose between living a safe life of a commoner or risking everything for the fame and fortune of the court.

Yolanda Kettle’s narration really brings Hannah’s character to life. She has a very youthful voice, which is very apt for the characters in this novel.

Publisher’s Summary:

Winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee with her father from their home in Spain. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee; she has the gift of “Sight,” the ability to foresee the future, priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward’s protector, who brings her to court as a “holy fool” for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up with her own yearnings and desires.

Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen’s Fool is a rich and emotionally resonant gem from a masterful storyteller.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Secretary by Renee Knight, narrated by Victoria Hamilton

Christine Butcher is a devoted and loyal secretary to Mina Appleton. She listens, watches, and is privy to secrets that she always keeps safe…

But those years of discretion come at a high price—which Christine discovers at her peril.

Victoria Hamilton’s (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother) narration is perfect for this novel. Her calm voice adds an eerie and suspenseful tone to this thriller.

Publisher’s Summary:

From her first day as Personal Assistant to the celebrated Mina Appleton, Christine Butcher understands what is expected of her. Absolute loyalty. Absolute discretion. For twenty years, Christine has been a most devoted servant, a silent witness to everything in Mina’s life. So quiet, you would hardly know she is there.

Day after day, year after year, Christine has been there, invisible—watching, listening, absorbing all the secrets floating around her. Keeping them safe.
Christine is trusted. But those years of loyalty and discretion come with a high price. And eventually Christine will pay.

Yet, it would be a mistake to underestimate such a steadfast woman. Because as everyone is about to discover, there’s a dangerous line between obedience and obsession.

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Drama: An Actor’s Education by John Lithgow, narrated by John Lithgow

John Lithgow’s (Winston Churchill) memoir, which he narrates himself, is an absolute treat. He talks in depth about his life, his family, and his career, which has spanned decades and various genres. His stories about his parents are poignant and touching.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I love listening to authors narrating their own memoirs, since it adds real depth to the story being told. And of course, an actor with such gravitas as Lithgow brings much richness to the narration.

Publisher’s Summary:

Emmy Award-winner John Lithgow presents a charming, witty, and revealing memoir about his family, his work, and his life in Drama—an intimate story of insights and inspirational reflections from one of America’s most beloved actors. Lithgow pays tribute to his father, his greatest influence, and relives his collaborations with renowned performers and directors including Mike Nichols, Bob Fosse, Liv Ullmann, Meryl Streep, and Brian De Palma. A compelling reflection on the trials, triumphs, and changes across his long career, Lithgow’s Drama illuminates the inner life of a celebrated talent, and points the way forward for anyone aspiring to greatness in their own life.

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The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Vanessa Kirby

When Mary Boleyn comes to court, she falls in love with Henry VIII. However, she’s forced to step aside for her sister, Anne, when the King’s attention for Mary starts to wain.

As Mary realizes her family’s ambition is overriding her own needs and wants, she decides not to take it lying down…

Vanessa Kirby’s (Princess Margaret) regal narration style is so appropriate for this historical listen. The determination and strength of Mary’s character really come through in her reading.

Publisher’s Summary:

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.

With more than one million copies in print and adapted for the big screen, The Other Boleyn Girl is a riveting historical drama. It brings to light a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe, and survived a treacherous political landscape by following her heart.

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Forever and a Day: A James Bond Novel by Anthony Horowitz, narrated by Matthew Goode

Anthony Horowitz, a famous and talented writer in his own right, has taken on the character of James Bond to create an amazing origin story, with all of the excitement, intrigue, and passion that we all expect from the world’s favorite spy.

Matthew Goode (Lord Snowdon) is every inch the right narrator for this book, bringing the suaveness needed for the James Bond character.

Publisher Summary

A spy is dead. A legend is born. This is how it all began. The explosive prequel to Casino Royale, from bestselling author Anthony Horowitz.

Forever and a Day is the story of the birth of a legend, in the brutal underworld of the French Riviera, taking readers into the very beginning of James Bond’s illustrious career and the formation of his identity.

***

M laid down his pipe and stared at it tetchily. “We have no choice. We’re just going to bring forward this other chap you’ve been preparing. But you didn’t tell me his name.”

“‘It’s Bond, sir,’” the Chief of Staff replied. “James Bond.”

The sea keeps its secrets. But not this time. 

One body. Three bullets. 007 floats in the waters of Marseille, killed by an unknown hand. 

It’s time for a new agent to step up. Time for a new weapon in the war against organized crime. 

It’s time for James Bond to earn his license to kill.

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King, narrated by Michael C. Hall

If you had to pick an author who really symbolizes everything great about the horror genre, most of us would pick Stephen King.

Pet Sematary is a horror classic, centered around the character Louis Creed, who moves his family to a lovely small town that seems too good to be true.

Michael C. Hall (John F. Kennedy) is very compelling and right on the money as narrator for this book. With his background in thrillers in TV shows like Dexter, he brings a great presence to this listen.

Publisher’s Summary:

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job, and moves his family to the idyllic, rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Yet despite Ludlow’s tranquility, there’s an undercurrent of danger that lingers…like the graveyard in the woods near the Creed’s home, where generations of children have buried their beloved pets.

Behind the “pet sematary,” there is another burial ground, one that lures people to it with seductive promises…and ungodly temptations. A blood-chilling truth is hidden there—one more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful. An ominous fate befalls anyone who dares tamper with this forbidden place, as Louis is about to discover for himself…

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STAFF PICK: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

Post by Laura Laidman

Title: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
Author: Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
Narrator: Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

Hollywood marriages are rarely ones that people would consider long lasting, inspirational, or ‘great love stories’, but Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman have never been the type to follow trends. From their May-December partnership (Mullally is 12 years older than Offerman), to their courtship while she was an Emmy Award winning superstar on Will & Grace and he was sleeping in a friend’s unfinished basement and struggling for work, they’ve trumped the expectations society has put on Hollywood stars, and on love itself.

In The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, Mullally and Offerman dissect their marriage, careers, childhoods, passions, and what makes them work as a unit. Both are known for being hilarious scene stealers in two outrageously funny sitcoms (Will & Grace and Parks & Rec, respectively), as well as their many guest appearances in other shows that always capture an audience’s attention. As a team, they play off each other’s humor brilliantly, and listening along with their back and forth had me laughing in the car all the way to work each day.

Unlike most traditional books, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told is an open dialogue between our two narrators rather than a structured linear timeline of their courtship and relationship. Mullally and Offerman go off on tangents, sing songs, side bar, and tease each other (and the listener) in a playful, sweet way that comes with the intimate knowledge of nearly two decades together. Intercut between topics such as family life, having kids, acting, and music are solo chapters more akin to traditional biographical works, where Offerman shares his personal histories and views on his life in Hollywood, and his devoted love for his wife, and a few from Mullally exploring her eccentric childhood, career, and aging in Hollywood.

This was easily the most fun I’ve had listening to an audiobook, and I had to pause several times simply because I was missing chunks of the story because I was laughing too hard. Even with the laughter, sidebarsm, and tangents, at the heart of the book are two people who are very much in love after 18 years together in Hollywood. And that is pretty inspirational.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Audiobooks for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, listen to inspiring stories about the trials and triumphs of breast cancer patients.

 

1. The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs, narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Cassandra Campbell

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying

Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer-one small spot. Within a year, the mother of two sons, ages seven and nine, and married sixteen years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal. How does one live each day, “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty?
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2. The Bucket List by Georgia Clark, narrated by Lauren Ezzo

The Bucket List

Twenty-five-old Lacey Whitman is blindsided when she’s diagnosed the “breast cancer” gene. Her high risk forces a decision: increased surveillance or a double mastectomy. Lacey doesn’t want to lose her breasts. To help make her choice, she creates a “boob bucket list:” everything she wants do with and for her boobs before a possible surgery, kicking off a year of sensual exploration and sexual entertainment.
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3. Faded Photo by Sarah Price, narrated by Tanya Eby

Faded Photo

Frances Snyder can never quite get her mother’s voice out of her head. How to be the perfect wife. The perfect mother. Frances’s home life is demanding, and while she’s busy seeing to everyone else’s needs, Frances doesn’t have the luxury of spare time. So when she is diagnosed with breast cancer, she thinks that she can handle it on her own. Dealing with endless tests, brutal chemotherapy, and the looming specter of surgery, Frances chooses to face cancer on her own terms: alone. That is, until she finally understands that unexpected friendship—and unconditional love—can offer hope in the darkest hours.
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4. Bald is Better with Earrings by Andrea Hutton, narrated by Andrea Hutton

Bald is Better with Earrings

When Andrea Hutton was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted to know everything. She read books,  articles, surfed websites, and talked to everyone she knew. But nothing prepared her for the surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. What she really wanted was something she could not find: a clear how-to guide for the Cancer Girl she had become.
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5. Twisting Fate by Pamela N. Munster, narrated by Eliza Foss

Twisting Fate.

A leading oncologist at the University of California-San Francisco, Dr. Pamela Munster has advised thousands of women on how to deal with the life-altering diagnosis of breast cancer. But when she got a call saying that her own mammogram showed ‘irregularities,’ she found herself experiencing a whole new side of the disease she thought she was an expert in.
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6. Everybody’s Got Something by Veronica Chambers and Robin Roberts, narrated by Robin Roberts

Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts‘ memoir recounts the incredible journey of her life so far. With heart and humor, she writes about overcoming breast cancer only to learn five years later that she will need a bone marrow transplant, the grief and heartbreak she suffered when her mother died, her triumphant return to work after her medical leave, and the support of her family and friends.
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7. Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby, narrated by Maria Howell

Best Friends Forever

Things are falling apart for the Richardson’s. Fights between Celine and her husband have become routine, and she worries how her young daughter will be affected. But the situation turns devastating when Celine is diagnosed with breast cancer. As her marriage deteriorates, support comes in the form of her best friend, Lauren, and she is forced to make tough decisions — about her marriage and otherwise.
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STAFF PICK: Locked In by Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Victoria Arlen

Post by Pam Campbell

Title: Locked In: The Will to Survive and the Resolve to Live
Author: Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Victoria Arlen
Narrator: Victoria Arlen

Imagine being 10 years old, and suddenly losing your ability to move your arms and legs. Imagine also losing your ability to eat at the same time. Now imagine being told that there is nothing wrong with you, that it’s all in your head.

In Locked In: The Will to Survive and the Resolve to Live, Victoria Arlen recounts her extraordinary story of living through the most unimaginable circumstances and then moving forward to accomplish old dreams, and live out fantastic new realities.

At 10 years old, Victoria’s health quickly deteriorated, to the point where she was suffering from multitudes of seizures a day and was unable to move. She became unable to communicate or even eat. She became locked in.

While she was locked inside herself, Victoria was able to hear, see and understand everything that was going on around her. Her memories remained intact and she was fully aware of her surroundings. She was aware of the abuse being imposed on her, both mentally and physically, by some of her doctors and nurses. And yet she fought to survive and never gave up.

It would be four years before Victoria would be able to move or communicate. And as soon as she could communicate with her family, she was even more determined to achieve her very own miracle. She recovered. She thrived. She beat the odds, so far out of the water that she went on to achieve great success. She still has great success ahead of her and she is very aware that she will always have to work to maintain her movement and mobility.

Victoria reads her own story for the audiobook and to hear her speak of the struggles and triumphs herself, definitely enhanced the book. Her story is inspiring in these turbulent times, and her message is clear: never give up on second chances, work for what you want, and miracles happen every day. But perhaps the message that stood out most to me was her thoughts on unkindness. While she was experiencing cruelty and horrible methods of treatment, she knew that unkindness never improves a situation. Inflicting pain or giving hatred is not the answer; kindness and love are.

After all, it was the love and kindness of her family that saw her thrive. It was through her love for her family that she was able to endure being locked in for years. It is with love and kindness in her heart that Victoria was able to beat the odds and live out her dreams and make new ones.

Locked In

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best Audiobooks For Books Lovers Day

Sans the pressure of chocolates and roses, Book Lovers Day is the Valentine’s Day for bookish people around the world. Celebrate with these great audiobooks (and tell us in the comments what listens you’ve been loving lately!).

 

1. Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware, narrated by Imogen Church

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person, but also that she may be able to claim the money. Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased… where it dawns on her that there is something very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.
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2. Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk, narrated by Gary VaynerchukRich RollAmy Schmittauer

Crushing It.

In this lively, practical, and inspiring audiobook, Gary dissects every current major social media platform so that anyone will know exactly how to amplify their personal brand. He offers both theoretical and tactical advice on old standbys and emerging platforms. For those with more experience, Crushing It! provides innovative tips and tweaks proven to enhance more common tried-and-true strategies.
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3. The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, narrated by Dennis Quaid

The President Is Missing

Uncertainty and fear grip the nation. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the Cabinet. Even the President himself becomes a suspect, and then he disappears from public view… The President Is Missing sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know, this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in years.
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4. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, narrated by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face

With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.
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5. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman, narrated by Catherine Steadman

Something in the Water.

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you? Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banked with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon in Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving, they find something in the water.
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6. Factfulness by Hans RoslingOla Rosling, and Anna Rosling, narrated by Richard Harries

Factfulness.

When asked simple questions about global trends, we get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess us. Factfulness reveals the instincts that distort our perspective. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think.
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7. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search For The Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara, narrated by Gabra Zackman

I'll Be Gone In The Dark.

For more than 10 years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults in California before perpetrating 10 sadistic murders. Then he disappeared. Three decades later, true crime journalist Michelle McNamara was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer” by poring over police reports and interviewing victims.
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8. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown, narrated by John CurlessTim Gerard ReynoldsJulian Elfer, and Aedin Moloney

Iron Gold.

Honor and betrayal fuel a caste-shattering revolution. Ten years after the events of Morning Star, Darrow and the Rising are battling the remaining Gold loyalist forces and are closer than ever to abolishing the color-coded caste system of Society for good. But new foes will emerge from the shadows to threaten the imperfect victory Darrow and his friends have earned.
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STAFF PICK: From The Corner Of The Oval

Post by Pam Campbell

Title: From The Corner Of The Oval
Author: Beck Dorey-Stein
Narrator: Beck Dorey-Stein

 

Thanks to Beck Dorey-Stein and her book From the Corner of the Oval, I know with absolute certainty that I don’t have the stamina or the party animal ability to work for the White House.

After answering a Craigslist add online, Dorey-Stein lands the job of a lifetime (and yes, the White House really did put a job posting on Craigslist) working as a stenographer for the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. She takes us inside the daily lives of the lucky individuals who travel around the world with the president and it is nothing short of a whirlwind: a high-flying, up-and-down party that is mixed in with hard work, and long hours. Dorey-Stein and her colleagues are dedicated to their jobs, but that doesn’t stop them from letting loose on a regular basis.

This is not a tell-all book of the president’s or nation’s secrets. You will not get any dirty gossip about Obama. This book is in fact a front row seat to a woman discovering who she is while she is learning the ropes of her new job in a high stakes working environment. She makes mistakes – professionally, yes, but mostly personally – and I found myself wanting to shake her and say “NO! Not again! Stop.” But just when you think you can’t keep up with the full throttle pace of her life, Dorey-Stein gifts the listener with moments of stillness, reflection, and exhalation.

Most of these moments come from her interactions with Obama himself or her watching his interactions with others. We learn of the heartfelt moments that Obama shares with survivors, we learn of his genuine kindness and more importantly we see the proof that the kindness, leadership, and grace of one person can have a profound impact on those around them. It was these moments throughout the book that really resonated with me. Knowing that in the midst of the very loud, adventurous, chaotic everyday comings and goings, your actions, your words, and attitude can have a positive impact both directly and indirectly.

So while this is a memoir of a stenographer for the 44th President of the United States of America, it is so much more than that. While Dorey-Stein’s story unfolded in a most amazing setting, at a daily pace much faster than the average person, it is easy to relate to her; to her setbacks, her triumphs and her doubts. The fact that Dorey-Stein narrates herself lends to the personal nature of the audiobook experience. I found myself not only cheering her on, but also enjoying her eloquent and witty perspective on navigating life.

From The Corner Of The Oval.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

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