Our Top Staff Picks of 2019 So Far

We’re just past the halfway point for 2019 and so far there have been so many fabulous listens both classics and new releases. In honor of National Book Lovers Day, we wanted to share some of our favorite Audiobooks.com Staff Picks from 2019.

From uplifting self-help bestsellers to fantasy oldies, but goodies, the staff at Audiobooks.com have been keeping their ears busy with some great audiobooks and, may I say, some stellar reviews to boot.


Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Jennifer BealsJudy GreerBenjamin BrattPablo Schreiber
Staff Pick by: Pam

Now a Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club alumni, Daisy Jones & The Six tells a compelling story of one of the biggest (fictional) bands of the seventies and what lead to their split at the height of their popularity.

In her review, Pam describes how Taylor Jenkins Reid paints such a vivid picture that she had to keep reminding herself that this wasn’t an actual band from the seventies. Read more about what made this such a buzz-worthy listen this year in Pam’s full review.

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On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin
Staff Pick by: Lena

On the Come Up follows Bri, a sixteen year old who, an aspiring rapper. With the odds stacked against her and her family, she no longer just wants to make it, she has to.

In Lena’s review, she dives into how she came to love On the Come Up and how it should be equally revered as Thomas debut, The Hate U Give. Click here to read Lena’s full review.

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The Farm by Joanne Ramos, narrated by Fran De Leon
Staff Pick by: Chrissy

In The Farm, Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is searching for a better future and finds it at Golden Oaks (the Farm). Now, pregnant and vulnerable, she grows desperate to reconnect with her life on the outside.

Chrissy was drawn into this listen from the eye-catching cover and I don’t blame her! Read more about what made Ramos The Farm stick with Chrissy long after she was finished reading it.

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Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Lenny Henry
Staff Pick by: Graeme

After Fat Charlie Nancy’s dad drops dead on a karaoke stage, Fat Charlie finds out that not only was his dad a god, but he also has a brother he never knew about.

Graeme loved this listen from Gaimanclick here to find out why!

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Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow by E. K. Johnston, narrated by Catherine Taber
Staff Pick by: Jennifer

In E. K. Johnston‘s second Star Wars novel, Queen’s Shadow, we are reunited with Padmé Naberrie, “Queen Amidala” of Naboo. When she resigns from her position she is asked to become Naboo’s representative for the Galactic Senate. Now, Padmé must navigate her new role and all of the politics that come with it.

Jennifer’s review goes deeper into why this story is so important when it comes to Star Wars canon. Click here to read her review.

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Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, narrated by Rachel Hollis
Staff Pick by: Caitlin

In this self-help book, Rachel Hollis aims to inspire women to break the pattern of defining themselves in light of other people, and she challenges them to pursue their dreams.

In Caitlin’s review, she chats about how Girl, Stop Apologizing spoke to her and helped her overcome her own self-doubt. Read Catilin’s full review here.

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Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark, narrated by Paul Giamatti, Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark
Staff Pick by: Kylie

This debut novel from the hosts of the #1 hit podcast My Favorite Murder touches on important cultural issues while also overlaying never-before-heard personal stories from Kilgariff and Hardstarks pasts. This listen was so fun and made me laugh, cry, and feel inspired. Click here to read my full review.

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STAFF PICK: Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

Title: Girls with Sharp Sticks
Author: Suzanne Young
Narrator: Caitlin Davies

Girls With Sharp Sticks, by Suzanne Young, New York Times bestselling author of The Program was an exciting new addition to Audiobooks.com in March. I have to admit, it was the intriguing cover of this book that drew me in and then with a description likening it to Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale, I was ready to dive right in. This comparison made me wonder if Girls with Sharp Sticks could go toe-to-toe with such hard-hitters, but it definitely held its own!

Girls with Sharp Sticks is set at Innovations Academy, an old technology factory turned finishing school for girls. From the moment the story opens, there is the looming feeling that there’s more to this academy and these girls than meets the eye.

The protagonist, Philomena (Mena for short), is a model student at Innovations Academy, but begins to question certain practices and suspects that there’s something that they aren’t telling the students. This leads to lots of shocking revelations and twists and turns that keep you hooked.

I saw myself in Mena with the way she was vulnerable yet strong and her unfaltering dedication to her friends was what drew the strongest connection for me. Listening to this book was exciting, suspenseful and it made me want to yell “GIRL POWER!” from the rooftops.

It helps that the narrator, Caitlin Davies, portrays the characters distinctly, so that you are immersed in the shut off academy in the mountains. There are definite times where I got lost in Mena’s world so much so, that I didn’t even realize it was one single person narrating each one of the characters. This is especially true for the creepy feeling I got every time Davies would read the lines from the Guardian, one of the staff at Innovations Academy.

If you’re a fan of The Program series from Suzanne Young, then this listen is right up your alley. Girls with Sharp Sticks has many of the same themes throughout it and a similar dark, dystopian-type setting to it that you will find all too familiar.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, mystery/thriller that will have your ears glued to your headphones, Girls with Sharp Sticks is the perfect next listen for you. I think there’s definitely more to this story, so I’m looking forward to the next installment from Young to see what other twists she can throw into the mix.

Publisher’s Summary:

Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this start to a thrilling, subversive near future series from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young about a girls-only private high school that is far more than it appears to be.

Some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardian, they receive a well-rounded education that promises to make them better. Obedient girls, free from arrogance or defiance. Free from troublesome opinions or individual interests.

But the girls’ carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears. As Mena and her friends uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations Academy will learn to fight back.

Bringing the trademark plot twists and high-octane drama that made The Program a bestselling and award-winning series, Suzanne Young launches a new series that confronts some of today’s most pressing ethical questions.

Read more and sample the audio →

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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June is Audiobook Month Staff Picks

The Audiobooks.com team is sharing our top listening recommendations in celebration of June is Audiobook Month! Check out this post (as well as our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages) every weekday to find out which audiobooks we can’t stop talking about.

 

Steph’s pick: The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell, narrated by Greg Sestero

Disaster Artist.

As a struggling actor with a lack of confidence and funds, Greg Sestero’s luck seems to change when he meets Tommy Wiseau at a San Francisco acting school. Wiseau’s mysterious, and seemingly endless, supply of cash allows him to pour $6 million of his own money on a cinematic disaster called The Room. The hilarious, inspiring, and true story of their struggles, triumphs, and unique relationship makes this story a must-see and read.
Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

Lauren’s pick: Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier, and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms by Jessica Herrin, narrated by Jessica Herrin

Find Your Extraordinary.

It is possible to take your life from ordinary to extraordinary. The secret? Cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit inside you – the spirit that allows you to embrace your individuality, to look not just at what is but at what could be, to believe in yourself beyond reason and to step up to creating your own definition of happiness and success – a version of success in which work and family life happily co-exist – instead of chasing a cookie-cutter version.
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Shamir’s pick: 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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Nick’s pick: Emergency by Neil Strauss, narrated by Neil Strauss

Emergency.

Emergency traces Neil‘s white-knuckled journey through today’s heart of darkness, as he sets out to move his life offshore, test his skills in the wild, and remake himself as a gun-toting, plane-flying, government-defying survivor. It’s one man’s story of a dangerous world and how to stay alive in it.
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Graeme’s pick: The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey, narrated by Finty Williams

The Girl With All The Gifts.

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointed at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
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Daniel’s pick: The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee, narrated by Josie Dunn

The Girl With Seven Names.

As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by North Korea’s secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond. As the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to realize she had been brainwashed her entire life. This is her story of struggling to avoid capture/repatriation and guiding her family to freedom.
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Candice’s pick: Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi, narrated by Manoush Zomorodi

Bored and Brilliant.

Has your smartphone become your BFF? Do you feel bored when you’re not checking Facebook or Instagram? Bored and Brilliant: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Spacing Out explains the connection between boredom and original thinking, and explores how we can harness boredom’s hidden benefits to become our most productive selves.
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Pam’s pick: My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach, narrated by Josh Bloomberg

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward.

A heart-wrenching yet hopeful memoir of a young marriage redefined by mental illness. Mark and Giulia fell in love at 18, married at 24, and were living their dream life. When Giulia was 27, she suffered a psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward. Eventually, she recovered, but a second and third breakdown ensued. Pushed to the edge of the abyss, everything they once took for granted was upended.
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Andrew’s pick: Red Rising by Pierce Brown, narrated by Tim Reynolds

Red Rising.

Darrow spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But he and his kind have been betrayed. 
Darrow will be forced to compete for his life and the future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’ s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
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Michelle’s pick: You All Grow Up And Leave Me by Piper Weiss, narrated by Brittany Pressley

You All Grow Up And Leave Me.

A highly unsettling blend of true crime and coming-of-age memoir. Piper Weiss was 14 when her middle-aged tennis coach, one of New York City’s most prestigious instructors, killed himself after a failed attempt to kidnap one of his teenage students. Now, 20 years later, Piper examines the event as both a teenage eyewitness and investigative reporter, hoping to understand the childhood memories that haunt her to this day.
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Colin’s pick: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, narrated by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential.

Most diners believe that their sublime food was created by a culinary artist of the highest order. More likely, writes Anthony Bourdain, that elegant concoction is the effort of a team of “wacked-out moral degenerates, dope fiends, refugees, a thuggish assortment of drunks,sneak thieves, sluts, and psychopaths.” Bourdain is obscenely eloquent, unapologetically opinionated, and a damn fine storyteller.
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Pete’s pick: City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett, narrated by Alma Cuervo

City of Stairs.

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, until its divine protectors were killed. Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani, one of her country’s most accomplished spies. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem — and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.
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Kaleisha’s pick: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, narrated by Dominic Hoffman

Homegoing.

Homegoing begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.
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Zac’s pick: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, narrated by Norbert Leo Butz

Shoe Dog.

For the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands. In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company grossing $8,000 in his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion.
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Miranda’s staff pick: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, narrated by Ann Marie Lee

Sharp Objects.

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille Preaker’s first assignment from the daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two girls. Working to uncover the truth, she finds herself identifying with the victims a bit too strongly, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story.
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Jason’s pick: Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie, narrated by Dan Stevens

Murder on the Orient Express.

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer strikes again.
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Emma’s pick: Factfulness by Hans Rosling, Ola 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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Dave’s pick: 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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Lena’s pick: The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton, narrated by Karen Cass

The Sunday Lunch Club.

Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, laugh, bicker, eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it’s said in the wrong way. Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at 40. Can she reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?
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Laura’s pick: 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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Vitaly’s pick: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, narrated by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

With sales of more than 15 million copies in 38 languages, this revolutionary guidebook focuses on timeless principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people will show you how to achieve peace of mind within and build trust without by seeking the roots of human behavior in character and by learning principles rather than merely practices.
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Jemma’s pick: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Despite constant efforts to declutter, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like tangled noodles? Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo promises that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), you enjoy the magic of a tidy home and the calm mindset it can inspire.
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