Today’s #WhispersyncDeal Roundup: Richard Phillips, Ben H. Winters, Water for Elephants, Amy Tan, and more

Saturday, May 23: While the May #WhispersyncDeal roundup lists some ongoing deals (some of which expire tomorrow, some at the end of the month, and some which will just keep going as long as publishers keep offering these crazy upgrade prices) today brought a pile of one-day-only titles via the Gold Box Deal of the Day, including horror, YA fantasy, literary fiction, a 19th century ghost story, and more, starting with a pair of scifi titles from the “regular” daily deal list and moving right into those “Gold Box” deals:

 

Once Dead (The Rho Agenda Inception Book 1) and Dead Wrong (The Rho Agenda Inception Book 2) by Richard Phillips (Author), MacLeod Andrews (Narrator) for $1.99+$1.99 each — “Jack Gregory, the CIA’s top assassin, went rogue after a mission gone wrong. When a confrontation leaves him bleeding out on death’s doorstep, he is faced with an offer from a dark figure named Anchanchu. If Jack is willing to act as a human host for Anchanchu, the entity will revive him and give him another shot at life. Jack takes the deal…but he must now face the consequences of having the same dark creature in his head as some of history’s greatest villains. Struggling with desires and memories that are not his own, Jack is not the man he once was. One year later, he is known internationally as The Ripper, assassin for hire, and is faced with having to wrest control of his dark compulsions while preventing a nuclear attack on the United States. From the bestselling author of the Rho Agenda trilogy comes a globe-spanning thriller with a twist unlike anything you’ve ever seen….”

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2015 Armchair Audies: Science Fiction

I’m honored to be a guest judge this year for the The Armchair Audies, the audiobook blogosphere’s annual “challenge” in conversation with the Audio Publishers Association Audies which will be awarded at the sold-out APA Audies Gala on May 28. This year I signed up for the Science Fiction category, if for no other reason than that I’d already listened to 3 of the 5 nominees, a 4th was very, very high on my wishlist, and the 5th came highly-recommended as well. (It didn’t hurt that The Guilded Earlobe was also involved.) In the end, all 5 were mentioned in some way in my picks for the year’s best of 2015, though while none were in my own personal top 5, all were absolutely well deserving of their Audie nominations and outstanding, both from a science fiction and audiobook standpoint.

So. How to judge 5 audiobooks, which while all under the purvey of “science fiction” are nonetheless in many ways very much apples and oranges? (And pears and likely a vegetable or two.) We’ve got a book that’s, essentially, a series of first person log entries; a multi-POV near future episodic epic narrated by a full cast; a tightly-plotted story of time travel (of a sort); a gender-bending near-future federal investigation; and an already-lauded British sf novel getting a fantastic new audiobook edition. I decided to apply a numeric ranking to each audiobook, weighted toward my personal preferences, and let the chips fall where they may. Personally, that means more a few more points for a well-written story than it does for pitch-perfect narration, and more consideration for a moving performance than for a flawless production.

But enough talk! In order of appearance on the nomination list, on to the reviews and ratings!

The Beam: Season 1 | [Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant]

The Beam: Season 1 by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant, narrated by Johnny Heller, Tara Sands, Ralph Lister, Ray Chase, R. C. Bray, Jeffrey Kafer, Chris Patton, Eric Martin, Brian Holsopple, Rachel Fulginiti, Stephen Bowlby, and Emily Woo Zeller for Podium Publishing is an outstanding multi-narrator production combining elements of dystopian and post-apocalyptic sf, mystery, and thriller ideas. Continue reading

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May WhispersyncDeal roundup: The Paper Magician, The Second Ship, Neil Gaiman’s Interworld, Neal Stephenson’s The Mongoliad, and! a big look at 2015’s new Whispersync-enabled releases from Podium, Brilliance, and more

Another month, another Whispersync deal roundup. This one’s a really good one, with sf, fantasy, YA, historical fiction, mystery, and! a deeper look at deals on new releases outside of the monthly Amazon sale listings. [Editor’s note: Since this series continues to draw some new readers/listeners who may be unfamiliar with Whispersync for Voice, in brief: after (or at the same time as) buying the Kindle edition you can add on the narration if an enabled Audible edition exists, often for a steep discount on even the member/credit price.]

First, though, as they’re the ones with the obvious time limit, some picks from the monthly $3.99 or less listings which are Whispersync enabled:

  

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Series, Book 1) and The Glass Magician (The Paper Magician Series, Book 2) by Charlie N. Holmberg (Author), Amy McFadden (Narrator) for $1.99+$1.99 each: “Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever. Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined – animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic. An Excisioner – a practitioner of dark, flesh magic – invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart – and reveal the very soul of the man.” Continue reading

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Hugo Award nominees in audio, 2015 edition

From an audiobooks standpoint, I don’t have too much to say about this year’s Hugo Awards controversy. However, I do want to cover the nominees in terms of what’s available in audio, even though this listing is already out of date as nominees are disqualified (for prior publication, etc.) or withdrawn. Here goes, starting with the Best Novel nominees:

  

  • Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK) — read by Adjoa Andoh for Hachette Audio
  • The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books) — read by Mark Boyett for Audible
  • The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books) — read by Kyle McCarley for Tantor Audio
  • Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Orbit UK/Roc Books) — read by James Marsters for Penguin Audio
  • The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor) — read by Luke Daniels for Macmillan Audio
  • Lines of Departure, Marko Kloos (47North) — read by Luke Daniels for Brilliance Audio [withdrawn by the author]

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Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

[Editor’s Note: A warm welcome to new AudioBookaneers contributor James Alexander! Ahoy and avast!]

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent Things
By: Patrick Rothfuss
Read By: Patrick Rothfuss for Penguin
Series: The KingKiller Chronicles, Book 2.5
Buy: [IndieBoundDownpour | Amazon | Audible]

Review by James Alexander:

It is rare for a book to begin with a direct challenge from the author to the reader. “Don’t read this!” Patrick Rothfuss practically screams at us in the foreword to The Slow Regard of Silent Things, a spin-off novella set in the world of The Kingkiller Chronicle. After such a jarring introduction it’s hard to come away with any other attitude than “challenge accepted” but it is advice you should heed.

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April Whispersync Deal Roundup: SF by Jack Campbell, Gregory Benford, Larry Niven, and Greg Bear; Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, The Hunger Games, Bob Mayer’s Area 51, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, historical fiction, non-fiction, and more

Whew! It’s April, and while some deals from March are still valid, here’s this month’s roundup of (mostly) new deals. [Editor’s note: Since this series continues to draw some new readers/listeners who may be unfamiliar with Whispersync for Voice, in brief: after (or at the same time as) buying the Kindle edition you can add on the narration if an enabled Audible edition exists, often for a steep discount on even the member/credit price.]

I’ll start with Monthly Deals for $3.99 or Less listings:

 

The Last Passenger by Manel Loureiro , Andrés Alfaro for $1.99+$1.99 — Nazi cruise-ship time travel. “Reporter Kate Kilroy accepts an assignment to travel on the Valkyrie, a German ship veiled in secrecy for decades after it was discovered adrift in 1939 with only one passenger aboard, a baby boy named Isaac Feldman. Obsessed with understanding his origins, Feldman has spent a small fortune restoring the Valkyrie to try to solve the mystery. Assembling a team of experts and sparing no expense, he aims to precisely recreate the circumstances of theValkyrie’s doomed final voyage. Little does Feldman or his team know that the ship has an agenda of its own. As the Valkyrie begins to weave its deadly web, Kate realizes that she must not only save herself, but the world as she knows it.” Continue reading

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March Whispersync Deal Roundup: Pierre Grimbert, Oz Reimagined, The Palace Job, Invisible Cities, Libba Bray, Anne McCaffrey, Diana Gabaldon, Harry Turtledove, Ursula K. Le Guin, and more

I was planning to hold off posting this until March 13, because I know of a nice set of books that will be going on sale, but I’ll have to settle for updating it after March 13 instead, due to some nice deals to pass along which expire on March 11, which is, er, tomorrow. Ah, the life of a bargain hunter.

So I’ll start with those soon-to-expire deals, valid through Wednesday, March 11, taken from the Whispersync enabled titles among the 175 Kindle Books for $1.99 Each:

UPDATE 3/13: SEE THE END OF THE POST FOR A HUGE LIST OF FREE KINDLE TITLES WITH WHYSPERSYNC UPGRADES THIS MONTH!

  

Pierre Grimber’s Secret of Ji series: Six HeirsThe Orphans’ Promise, and Shadow of the Ancients for $1.99+$1.99 each, all read fantastically by the great Michael Page. I’ve talked about these books quite a few times — classic “big party” epic fantasy in a big secondary fantasy world, with some uniquely French twists up to and including metric time. Matt Ross translates this best-selling and prize-winning series, a process I enjoyed talking with him about a while back. Here’s the pitch for book one:

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The AudioBookaneers pick their favorite audiobooks of 2014

Well, it’s (past) that time of year again: time for Dave and I to look back on a year in listening. We laughed, we cried, we cheered, we jeered, we stayed up well into the night for these audiobooks. It seems like every year calls for a slight wrinkle in presentation, but this year it’s a familiar one: our audiobooks of the year, runners up in both new audiobooks of new books and new audiobooks of previously published books, and our favorite “new to us” listens of the year. (And, mostly because it helps give me closure on the year in listening, some mention of those books we wish we had been able to get to in 2014.) But enough preamble! On to…

AUDIOBOOK(S) OF THE YEAR:

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer Authority by Jeff VanderMeer Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

Dave and I are unanimous on this one, and have been for months and months, since the towering opening line of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation hooked us and drew us ever deeper into the mystery of Area X: Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) by Jeff VanderMeer, read by Carolyn McCormick, Bronson Pinchot, and Xe Sands for Blackstone Audio. From McCormick’s turn on the first-person journal account of “the biologist” on a doomed expedition into the unknown in Annihilation, to the surreal absurdity of spooks and scientists through the voice of Pinchot as “Control” in Authority, to the moving performances of both Sands and Pinchot in Acceptance, the answers and unanswered and the unanswerable all coming together. Dave’s reviews: AnnihilationSam’s reviews: Annihlation, Authority, and Acceptance.

RUNNERS UP, BEST NEW AUDIOBOOK OF A NEW BOOK:

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With a Little Help From My Fae Friends – REVIEW: Silverblind

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Silverblind
by Tina Connolly, read by Rosalyn Landor for Audible
Length: 10 hours, 3 minutes

It’s still very much a man’s world, but the times are slowly a changing. Women are allowed to pursue academic profession, but are still prejudiced against when applying for field jobs. So Dorie Rochart does what anyone who is half-fey would – she makes herself look like a man (Dorian – a nice touch!), and gets the gig. From there on, she reunites with her childhood friend and adopted cousin Tam (who doesn’t realize it’s Dorie underneath all that Dorian), they’re off hunting basilisks and wyvern eggs, and also saving the world with mythology-based science. If this sounds a bit like Indiana Jones, well, it certainly put me in mind of the man with the hat, with the caveat that the University never seems very far away from where the majority of the field work takes place. There may be no hat and fedora, but there continue to be wicked (and perhaps misunderstood) fairies, mythical beasts, adventure, friendship, and romance. In short, Silverblind is a very fun time. Continue reading

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February Whispersync Deal roundup: PKD, Marie Brennan, Walter Mosley, Ken MacLeod, Theodore Sturgeon, Robin Hobb, and more

Well, February’s well past half over, so as usual it’s beyond past time to get this month’s Whispersync deal roundup put together. So here we go!  [UPDATE: Since this series has drawn some new readers/listeners who may be unfamiliar with Whispersync for Voice, in brief: after (or at the same time as) buying the Kindle edition you can add on the narration if an enabled Audible edition exists, often for a steep discount on even the member/credit price.]

First, from the Monthly Deals for $3.99 or less listings:

  

The Man in the High Castle and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick, read by Tom Weiner, and A Scanner Darkly read by actor Paul Giamatti for $2.99+$3.99 each — three fantastic PKD audiobooks on the cheap!

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