April #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Christopher Moore’s The Serpent of Venice and Jonathan Coe’s Expo 58, Christie Golden, Wiley Cash, The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, and more

There are 165 Whispersync-for-Voice-enabled titles on sale in this month’s Monthly Deals in Kindle Books, but… there aren’t too many that really catch my eye, and only a few really, really top shelf titles. But! Those are quite good ones indeed, so, as this is coming out riiiiiight at the end of the month (sorry folks!) take a quick look; and once I get through the monthly titles, I do have a few indie picks this month, including a countdown deal, as well as a new audiobook adaptation of Jane Eyre which is newly Whispersync-enabled as well. So read on to the end!

The Serpent of Venice: A Novel by Christopher Moore, read by Euan Morton for $1.99+$3.99 — “New York Times best-selling author Christopher Moore channels William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe in this satiric Venetian gothic featuring the irresistibly mischievous Pocket, the eponymous hero of Fool. Venice, a really long time ago: Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from Britain who also happens to be a favorite of the Doge: The rascal-Fool Pocket. This trio of cunning plotters have lured Pocket to a dark dungeon, promising a spirited evening. Their invitation is, of course, bogus. These scoundrels have something far less amusing planned for the man who has consistently foiled their quest for power and wealth. But this Fool is no fool…. Once again, Christopher Moore delivers a rousing literary satire: A dramedy mash-up rich with delights, including (but not limited to): Foul plots; counterplots; true love; jealousy; murder; betrayal; revenge; codpieces; a pound of flesh; occasional debauchery; and water (lots of water). Not to mention a cast Shakespeare himself would be proud of: Shylock; Iago; Othello; a bunch of other guys whose names end in o; a trio of comely wenches; the brilliant Fool; his large sidekick, Drool; Jeff, the pet monkey; a lovesick sea serpent; and a ghost (yes, there’s always a bloody ghost). Wickedly witty and outrageously inventive, The Serpent of Venice pays cheeky homage to the Bard and illuminates the absurdity of the human.” Continue reading

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March WhispersyncDeal roundup: A Head Full of Ghosts, A Dirty Job, Three, Anno Dracula, Kurt Vonnegut, Tibetan Peach Pie, Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora, and more

This one’s coming later in the month than I’d like, but I’ve been dumping my free time into Tom Clancy’s The Division and listening with rapt attention to Simon Vance’s narration of We, the Drowned. Of the 164 Whispersync-enabled titles in this month’s Monthly Deals for $3.99 or Less listings, there’s the usual crop of uninteresting (to me!) and the “not quite a deal, actually” titles. And then there are these gems, which I hope you (and your wallet) enjoy:


A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul Tremblay, read by Joy Osmanski for $1.99+$3.99 — One of the best books of 2015, nominated for the Bram Stoker Award: “A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight.

Continue reading

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Does Brandon Sanderson have superpowers or is he just chained to his laptop? James reviews Calamity (The Reckoners, Book 3)

Calamity Audiobook

Calamity: The Reckoners, Book 3
By Brandon Sanderson
Narrated by MacLeod Andrews for Audible

— Review by James Alexander —

Does Brandon Sanderson have superpowers or is he just chained to his laptop? It feels like the Reckoners trilogy has only just begun and the conclusion is already here. And it isn’t the only thing he’s been doing right now. Continue reading

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For Those of Us Who Have Spent Way Too Much Time at IKEA! Dave Reviews Horrorstör

By Grady Hendrix, narrated Tai Sammons and Bronson Pinchot
Length: 6 hours, 16 minutes

Does anyone else out there have an aversion to IKEA? Like, someone suggests we pop over there real quick, maybe bribes you with coffee and cinnamon rolls, and then BAM. The whole Saturday has mysteriously disappeared? Wait, what just happened to me this past weekend?

Horrorstör is one part Office Space, and one part haunted house story. Thankfully, the haunted house in Horrorstör is essentially an IKEA.

I’m thoroughly enjoying Grady Hendrix’s Great Stephen King reread over at Tor.com (please note the presence tense, and my faith it’ll one day continue), and thought his White Street Society short stories exquisite dark humor, so when I heard he had a novel set in a Haunted IKEA (or, more accurately: ORSK, an IKEA competitor), I knew I had to check it out. Continue reading

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Audible’s $5.95 members-only sale: The Fifth Season, H is for Hawk, Aurora, The Grace of Kings, A Wizard of Earthsea, A God in Ruins, A Canticle for Leibowitz, and much more

Audible is having a big $5.95 members-only sale with over 200 titles, across science fiction and fantasy, non-fiction, YA, classics, and more:

And 200+ titles are a lot to page through. Here’s what I most recommend from the sale, but hurry! The sale ends March 6, 2016 at 11:59 PM PT (US).


The Fifth Season: The Broken Earth, Book 1 by N.K. Jemisin, read by Robin Miles, and Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, read by Ali Ahn, both for Hachette Audio — Wait, WHAT? These are the two best fantasy and science fiction audiobooks (and books) from 2015. The Fifth Season begins new fantasy trilogy by Hugo, Nebula & World Fantasy Award-nominated author N. K. Jemisin, starting with a powerful magician literally ripping a volcanic rift across a continent and continuing into a moving story of a mother seeking both vengeance for her murdered sun and for signs of her missing daughter in the aftermath, and Aurora is absolutely amazing from both a generation ship and artificial intelligence perspective, along with being one of the most subtly and terrifically produced audiobooks I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. If you don’t know where to start with this sale, start here.

  Continue reading

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Whispersync deal roundup for Thursday, March 3: Joe R. Lansdale, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Ferret Steinmetz, Annie Bellet, Charles E. Gannon, and more

Another day where there’s just too many deals to share them piecemeal, one Tweet at a time. Starting with the best deals from among the 10 Whispersync for Voice enabled titles from today’s Kindle Daily Deals and picking up a few other titles, here we go:


Savage Season: A Hap and Leonard Novel (1) (Hap and Leonard Series) by Joe R. Lansdale for $1.99+$3.99 — The first of Lansdale’s “Hap and Leonard” series, “A rip-roaring, high-octane, Texas-sized thriller, featuring two friends, one vixen, a crew of washed-up radicals, loads of money, and bloody mayhem. Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are best friends, yet they couldn’t be more different. Hap is an east Texas white boy with a weakness for Texas women. Leonard is a black, gay Vietnam vet. Together, they stir up more commotion than a fire storm. But that’s just the way they like it. So when as ex-flame of Hap’s returns promising a huge score, Hap lets Leonard in on the scam, and that’s when things get interesting. Chock full of action and laughs, Savage Season is the masterpiece of dark suspense that introduced Hap and Leonard to the thriller scene. It hasn’t been the same since.” (And you know it’s gotta be good if this science fiction and fantasy heavy blog leads with a crime thriller, right? Right.)

First Activation (The Activation Series Book 1) and Second Activation (The Activation Series Book 2) by Darren and Marcus Weymouth, read by James Langton for $1.99+$1.99 each — “Brothers Harry and Jack leave Manchester for New York City for their annual weekend getaway. But upon arrival, they find a silent, deserted JFK, where the few ground crew they can spot have all been slaughtered. Harry and Jack are military veterans, but they’ve never encountered anything like this. As they witness the carnage and stumble across murderous madmen in a postapocalyptic New York City, it becomes clear that escape is the only option–that is if there is anywhere sane to which to escape….” Continue reading

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Oscar tie-in #WhispersyncDeal roundup for February 27: Life of Pi, Mary Poppins, 12 Years a Slave, and more

Amazon’s Gold Box Deal today is a “Read it before you see it” set of discounted books that were made into Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated films, 9 of which are Whispersync for Voice enabled. Some of these (Room, The Silence of the Lambs) still add up to over $10, but! there’s plenty of deals to be had here as well:


Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Author), Jeff Woodman (Narrator) for $2.99+$3.95 — Winner of the Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2002: “Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon it’s just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean – for 227 days. Pi’s fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story, so he tells a second one – more conventional, less fantastic. But is it more true?”

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers (Author), Sophie Thompson (Narrator) for $1.99+$3.49 — The beloved children’s classic, on this list I think because Travers is the subject of the Oscar-nominated Saving Mr. Banks. “Here is the timeless story of Mary Poppins, the world’s favorite nanny, and her magical adventures with the Banks family. Mary Poppins is like no other nanny the Banks children have ever seen. It all starts when their new nanny is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house, carrying a parrot-headed umbrella and a magic carpetbag. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!

  Continue reading

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Casting Call: Skyboat Media’s Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir on Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever

I’ve been a huge fan of Skyboat Media for a long time — anybody who brings more Lewis Shiner and Manly Wade Wellman audiobooks into the world gets my support, and that’s the tip of the iceberg — and when I saw that Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir were planning to produce a full cast version of Harlan Ellison’s classic Star Trek teleplay “The City on the Edge of Forever” I was definitely intrigued. When I saw the behind-the-scenes sound check with Scott Brick as Spock, and Brick’s studio selfie with LeVar Burton, it was starting to sink in that, wow, this is going to be something pretty special, but I didn’t yet realize just how much was going into this project.

Well, Skyboat’s Kickstarter campaign for A Skyboat Audiobook of Harlan Ellison’s Star Trek Teleplay went live late on February 17 (or early on February 18, depending on your time zone), and it finally started to sink in just how ambitious this project is: Ellison reading his own 80-page introduction; productions of the first and second script treatments and the WGA-winning teleplay; a huge list of afterwords from some of the biggest names in Star Trek, some read by their authors; and an absolutely, absolutely all-star cast from top to bottom, main cast to bit parts.

I’m thrilled to be able to share an interview with Rudnicki and de Cuir about the project, its formulation and execution, and I couldn’t resist asking about some of their other recent work and what else might be in store for 2016. Enjoy!

A Skyboat Audiobook of Harlan Ellison's Star Trek Teleplay project video thumbnail

— Interview by Samuel Montgomery-Blinn —

Q: You’ve both been involved with Kickstarters before, both with Lightspeed and Nightmare Magazine and the “XYZ destroys ABC” genre special issues, and with David Steffen’s Long List Anthology, but this is (I think) Skyboat’s first audiobook Kickstarter. What has your experience with those previous projects helped you learn, and how did they help you decide that crowd-funding was the way to get this Teleplay project published? Continue reading

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2016 Arrrdies, Part 1: The digital regional divide of 2015: Tad Williams, Daniel Polansky, Becky Chambers, Robert Holdstock, Sarah Pinborough, and more

I had a blast putting together the most missing audiobooks of 2014, and I’m back for more. This year saw (in the US Audible science fiction and fantasy section alone) 3,606 new audiobooks, up a few hundred from last year’s 3,267. And, of course, that number doesn’t include GraphicAudio, independent and podiobook releases, and (most notably for my interests) the six new Cory Doctorow audiobooks at DRM-free Downpour.com.

I suppose that in fairness I should go back through the 2014 list and highlight some of the new audiobooks of 2015 that pull from books published in 2014, but I’ll save that for the “Best Audiobook of a Previously Released Book” section of the forthcoming 2015-16 Arrrdies, The AudioBookaneers’ annual best audiobooks roundup.

Instead, once again this year I’m going to bury the lede juuuuust a little bit further and start (as I did last year, and have done occasionally with the digital regional divide posts) with my green-eyed jealousy aimed at new audiobooks available overseas that haven’t (yet, at least) come to the US as of early 2016:

The Dragonbone Chair Audiobook Stone of Farewell Audiobook

As I gear up for my own re-read of Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow, & Thorn series ahead of the long, long-awaited new “Osten Ard” books coming this year and next (and beyond!) I have bemoaned the lack of audiobook editions. This year, UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton produced absolutely fantastic new audiobooks of the first two books in the series, with To Green Angel Tower coming in two parts this February and May. The Dragonbone Chair and Stone of Farewell are both read by Andrew Wincott, with whom US listeners may be aware for his work on Sarah Lotz’ The Three, or classics such as Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker and Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, or as a voice actor for video games such as The Witcher and Memento Mori. He lends his Shakespearean-trained voice to this, the best of the huge crop of late 1970s to early 1990s epic fantasy (Feist and Eddings and Brooks and all the rest). Continue reading

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February #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Octavia E. Butler, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, Chuck Wendig, Rysa Walker, and more

Another month, another #WhispersyncDeal roundup. First up, from the Monthly Deals listings, there are 161 that are Whispersync for Voice enabled. Here’s what most caught my eye, a couple handfuls of science fiction and fantasy titles, one Finnish thriller, and a few YA novels:


Dawn (The Xenogenesis Trilogy Book 1) and Adulthood Rites (The Xenogenesis Trilogy Book 2) by Octavia E. Butler, read by Aldrich Barrett for $1.99+$3.49 each — “In a world devastated by nuclear war with humanity on the edge of extinction, aliens finally make contact. They rescue those humans they can, keeping most survivors in suspended animation while the aliens begin the slow process of rehabilitating the planet. When Lilith Iyapo is “awakened”, she finds that she has been chosen to revive her fellow humans in small groups by first preparing them to meet the utterly terrifying aliens, then training them to survive on the wilderness that the planet has become. But the aliens cannot help humanity without altering it forever. Bonded to the aliens in ways no human has ever known, Lilith tries to fight them even as her own species comes to fear and loathe her. A stunning story of invasion and alien contact by one of science fiction’s finest writers.” Continue reading

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