Staff Pick: Shipped by Angie Hockman

Title: Shipped

Author: Angie Hockman

Narrator: Inés Del Castillo

The only media I want to consume right now is escapist comedy – no explanation necessary – and this brand-new rom-com meets travelogue by debut author Angie Hockman absolutely fits the bill.

Shipped is a quick, easy read centered around Henley, an overworked marketing manager at an adventure travel company. She’s up for a big promotion, but so is her rival Graeme, the remote social media manager whom she’s never met.

When their boss tasks them with taking one of the company’s cruises through the Galápagos (best proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos wins the promotion) Henley doesn’t expect to fall in love with the Galápagos – or with her hunky competition – but of course that’s exactly what happens.

I found comfort in that predictability and enjoyed the twists and turns the author added along the way. Shipped offers a great dose of armchair travel while we stay at home, and was sweet, smart and fun. Listening in audio made the armchair travel experience all the more immersive. Narrator Inés Del Castillo made me feel like I was really seeing the flamingoes on Floreana Island, feeling the sand on my toes during a wet Zodiac landing, or sighting wild tortoises in the highlands of Puerto Ayora.

Del Castillo also beautifully brought to life Hockman’s multi-dimensional characters – no one fit an overused archetype – and I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity in her cast. Hockman also brings an environmental angle to her plot, and gave me food for thought about the ecological problems and opportunities with the modern travel industry: not often the case with your typical rom-com!

With characters to root for, a romance to swoon for, and a setting to pine for, Hockman hits one out of the park in her first novel. Just be warned: you’re going to want to add the Galápagos to your travel bucket list after reading this book, so start saving now!

Publisher Summary:

The Unhoneymooners meets The Hating Game in this witty, clever, and swoonworthy novel following a workaholic marketing manager who is forced to go on a cruise with her arch-nemesis when they’re up for the same promotion.

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?

Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne, Shipped is a fresh and engaging rom-com that celebrates the power of second chances and the magic of new beginnings.

Read more and sample the audio →

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Book Clubbin’: 8 Discussion Questions for ‘In a Holidaze’ by Christina Lauren

It’s time for our monthly Book Clubbin’ blog feature! This month we’re keeping things light and festive since, for some people, the holidays are right around the corner. Lockdowns and social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t start up a book club with your pals. Just book an hour (or more if the discussion gets heated) to meet every month through video chat.

The holidays can be a busy and overwhelming time for some, but audiobooks make reading books easy and convenient. You can throw on an audiobook while wrapping presents, baking cookies, while cuddled next to a fire, or even while banging out those last few work emails.

This month, our pick is In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren, narrated by Patti Murin. Christina Lauren is the combined pen-name of writing duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. You may recognize a few of their recent bestsellers, The Honey-Don’t List, and The Unhoneymooners.

In a Holidaze follows Maelyn Jones who is down on her luck — living at home with her parents and working a dead-end job. After spending the holidays at her favorite place, her family friends’ snowy Utah cabin, she sends a wish out to the universe before her family’s car is hit. When she wakes up she is on a plane bound for Utah to relive the holiday all over again.

This month’s pick is jam-packed with yuletide cheer and unforgettable characters. If you’re ready to start discussing In a Holidaze with your book club, dive into the questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.


1) Are you an avid holiday audiobook listener? Did In a Holidaze check all the boxes for your ideal holiday listen?

2) Why do you think “the universe” sent Mae to relive the same day over and over again?

3) The time loop is never further explained. Did you wish that there was further information shared on why and how this happened to Mae?

4) Did you predict that Andrew and Mae would end up together?

5) Do you think Theo ever had real feelings for Mae?

6) Do you think that Andrew believed Mae when she told him about her alternate timelines?

7) If you had to relive a specific day over again, which day would it be and why?

8) If In a Holidaze was being adapted into a film, who would you hope would portray the main characters?

New to Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection 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 audiobooks!

Which Audiobook You Should Listen to Based on the TV Show You’re Binging

Maybe you’ve eaten one too many bags of chips. And maybe you haven’t gotten off the couch in seven hours . . . or days. And maybe you’ve binge-watched so many shows that you can’t even see straight anymore. Well, we don’t blame you. After all, quarantine is the perfect time for us to push our couch-potatoness to the limits, because, hey, that’s what everyone else is doing (I know because I’ve seen it on their Instagram stories).

But if you’re itching for a change and want to avoid a major dressing down from your eye doctor (when that becomes a thing again), then we’ve got you covered with the other best thing that you can binge when you have too much time on your hands: audiobooks! Read on for a couple of our favorite audiobook + TV show pairings to satisfy your cravings when those credits inevitably roll on the last episode of the season.

If you binged . . . Never Have I Ever

If you’re like me and you binged Mindy Kaling’s new show Never Have I Ever way too quickly and are now suffering for some more heartwarming teen comedy, look no further than Syed M. Masood’s More Than Just a Pretty Face. The story follows Danyal Kilani, a confident, handsome 19-year-old who gets thrown into a school-wide academic championship. From navigating familial expectations to chasing unrequited love when your answer to happiness may be standing right in front of you, More Than Just a Pretty Face is just the perfect literary companion to Never Have I Ever.

Don’t worry, if you haven’t recovered from the emotional rollercoaster of season one yet, Masood’s debut doesn’t publish until August 4 so there’s plenty of time to prepare yourself. So, mark your calendars, and be ready to fall head over heels all over again with this charming cast of characters.

Read more and sample the audio →

If you binged . . . Tiger King

While nothing can beat the shock and craziness of Netflix’s Tiger King, The Falcon Thief by Joshua Hammer is as close to a literary companion as you can get. The Falcon Thief exposes the bizarre and often insane career of smuggler Jeffrey Lendrum, whom the New York Times calls the “Pablo Escobar of the falcon egg trade.”

*Long pause.* Yeah.

Be it big cats or peregrine falcon eggs, Joe Exotic and Jeffrey Lendrum have both tapped into the insanely profitable trade in exotic animals. It is a market that’s devastating and all-consuming, birthing obsessions that drive people to go to great and dangerous lengths to profit off of wildlife. The Falcon Thief peels back the veil on one of the most ludicrous figures in the wildlife black market, and just like Tiger King, it is a story you’ll simply have to experience to believe.

Read more and sample the audio →

If you binged . . . Westworld

Well, talk about two things that gave me emotional whiplash: Westworld and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Whether you’ve been a long-time fan of the show or if you just binged all three seasons in one go, you know Westworld is the type of show that really keeps you on your toes.

Never Let Me Go is Westworld‘s quieter, more pensive cousin. Penned by Booker Prize-winner Kazuo Ishiguro and performed by Rosalyn Landor, the novel follows three students who grow close at a secluded boarding school in the English countryside. They make art and do crafts and grow older, all the while there is a lethargic creepiness that pervades the novel as it meanders through the years. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know something is deeply, deeply wrong.

Much like Westworld, Ishiguro grapples with how we determine if a life is worth living.

Read more and sample the audio →

If you binged . . . Love is Blind

Drama, romance, weddings . . . The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren truly has it all, and it’s exactly what you’ll need to fill the void that Love is Blind left behind. It may be sans pods and ridiculous social experiments, but it’s all about two people who come to love in an unconventional way which—when it comes down to it—is what the show was after anyway.

It all starts when an entire wedding party gets food poisoning except for Olive, the twin sister of the bride, and her sworn enemy Ethan, the best man. With an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii now up for grabs, Olive and Ethan have no choice but to put their mutual hate aside for the sake of a free vacation. If you want the heart-fluttering romance of Cameron and Lauren, this has it. If you want steamy moments in a tropical paradise, this has it. If you want drama a la Jessica—guess what—this has it!

And best of all? No dogs or wine were harmed in the making of this audiobook.

Read more and sample the audio →

If you binged . . . Upload

If you’re simply dying for something to tide you over until season two of Upload comes out, then you’ll want to reach for Layoverland by Gabby Noone.

In Layoverland, Beatrice Fox wakes up from a fatal car crash to find herself in purgatory. Sound familiar? To atone for her sins, Bea must help 5,000 souls say goodbye to their lives on earth and move on to heaven. The problem is, her first assigned soul is Caleb, the boy who caused her accident, and he’s the last person she would ever want to send to the pearly gates.

Just like Upload, Layoverland wraps up deeper topics in a witty and playful story. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and there’s just enough romance to restart your heart.

Read more and sample the audio →

If you binged . . . The Last Dance

It’s been a tough year for basketball fans. From Kobe Bryant’s untimely death to the NBA suspending the season, there hasn’t been much to look forward to. There has been a light in the dark, though, and it came in the form of the phenomenal docu-series, The Last Dance, which chronicles the rise of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s led by Michael Jordan.

Even though the gripping series just wrapped up on May 17, there’s still plenty of Michael Jordan content to dive into—21 hours 10 minutes of content, to be exact. Journalist Roland Lazenby spent nearly 30 years covering Michael Jordan’s career in college and the pros. In his book, Michael Jordan: The Life, Lazenby draws on countless interviews with Jordan’s coaches, friends, teammates, family members, and Jordan himself to paint an all-encompassing picture of the legendary player on and off the court.

So, if you’re looking for something to tide you over until the NBA season resumes, there’s no better place to start than with Michael Jordan: The Life.

Read more and sample the audio →

If you binged . . . Outer Banks

The cover of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars alone evokes major Outer Banks vibes. It’s summery, it’s beachy, it’s mysterious, and those peeps in the water look like they’re pretty easy on the eyes even though you can’t see their faces. And really, if you’re looking for your next teen summer mystery obsession, We Were Liars is simply perfect.

Every summer, the wealthy Sinclair family gathers on their private island. It’s a time for Cadence Sinclair Eastman, the eldest grandchild, to catch up with her cousins Mirren and Johnny, and their friend Gat. During the summer of her fifteenth birthday, Cadence spends countless languid days with Gat, and they fall in love as teenagers do. But at the end of summer, Cadence suffers a terrible accident, and all she knows is she was found on the shore in her underwear, the waves washing over her.

Just like Outer Banks, once you start listening to We Were Liars, you won’t be able to stop until you tumble to its shocking, riveting end.

Read more and sample the audio →

If you binged . . . Dead to Me

We know you’re probably way too invested in Dead to Me (we are too), and honestly who wouldn’t be after that killer second season? If you’re looking for more murder and drama to keep your spine tingling, then you’ll definitely want to check out My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing. This debut has been hailed as Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which, by those accolades alone, should make it the perfect literary companion to Dead to Me.

Fifteen years into their picture-perfect marriage, one seemingly normal couple decides to make their marriage more interesting. They’re just like your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, only they also happen to get away with murder. But then they begin to keep secrets from each other, and if there’s one thing we learned from Dead to Me about keeping secrets, it’s that it never leads anywhere good.

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection 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 audiobooks!