Harry Potter, now on Audible

Well, it’s finally happened. For years, if you wanted to (legally!) listen to the Harry Potter series in audio, you could only avail yourself of the physical CD sets, either buying them outright or (as I did) patiently waiting in the library hold list. Then! In 2012, as reported here of course, the US (read by Jim Dale) and UK (read by Stephen Fry) digital audio editions became available at the Pottermore shop, albeit with a hefty price tag of $29.99 (for the first three books, each) and $44.99/each for the remaining books. They also started showing up in library digital collections (Overdrive) but there you’re still waiting in the queue, and if you want to listen again? “Form a line!”

Well, apparently an appropriately-sized money truck full of galleons has made the trek from Seattle (Amazon) and/or New Jersey (Audible) to Gringott’s, as all seven digital audiobooks are now available at Audible as well.

Harry Potter on Audible

They’ve launched the availability of the series with some huge banners, and (as on Pottermore) the edition available is region-dependent: the US gets Jim Dale, the UK and Australia get Stephen Fry.

On Twitter, Dave asked the same first question that came to my mind: are the audiobooks coming to DRM-free Downpour.com as well? So far, no news on that front, but we’ll keep you posted.

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This is Not a Woman To Be Underestimated! The Tremontaine Listen-A-Long

Heavenly Bodies” (Tremontaine, Episode 3)
by Joel Derfner, Narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Nick Sullivan, and Katherine Kellgren
Length: 2 hours

Last week Sam told me he’d been able to get around to listening to the Pilot episode of Tremontaine, and while he enjoyed it, suggested I maybe oversold the sex. (But not the chocolate!) And I suppose that he was right — the sex in the first episode (and last week’s) was insinuated. But “Heavenly Bodies” was such a delicious double-entendre, I think we all knew what we were getting into in Riverside this week, didn’t we? Yeah, this episode was hot, and promises more to come. Here there be little deaths! And not so little ones.

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“What is Necessary is Not Always Just!” The Tremontaine Listen-A-Long Continues!

The North Side of the Sun” (Tremontaine, Episode 2)
by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christensen and Nick Sullivan
Length: 1 hour, 38 minutes

While last week focused on the different introductions to Riverside and this cast of characters, this week the story seemed to tighten it’s focus on Kaab in particular, though we also spent time with Micah, Rafe, and (SURPRISE) Tess and Ben. Kaab’s storyline drove the whole episode — she’s sent on an errand to the Fenton household to secure saffron and hares, and has the good fortune to meet and verbally spar with Rafe, went to the market with Rafe to meet Micah and witness a protest, and then returned for the feast. We do find out a little bit about her’s past — Rafe asking if she was fleeing a marriage really seemed to set Kaab on the defensive, but there still seems to be a lot we don’t know. Yay, mysterious pasts!

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Hot Chocolate and Sex! Dave Begins The Tremontaine Listen-A-Long!

Arrivals” (Tremontaine, Episode 1)
by Ellen Kushner, narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Nick Sullivan, and Katherine Kellgren
Length: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Finding out that there was a new story set in Ellen Kushner’s Riverside was kind of like waking up to a delicious cup of chocolate and then sporting with the beautiful woman beside me. And then some more chocolate. And then some more sport. You get the idea.

Welcome to the Tremontaine Listen-A-Long! Here there’s swordfighting, chocolate, sex, political maneuvering, chocolate, sex, and also chocolate and sex. The jury is out on the magic. We kicked things off last week with “Arrivals,” the first episode from Serial Box, and it seems clear from the get-go that this is definitely a story for fans of Kushner’s other Riverside books: Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword, and The Fall of the Kings. I’ve been pretty outspoken about my love for these books, as you can see in those linked reviews, as well as hopeful about that awesome adaptation Brett Ratner is gonna make — whatever happened to that? Anyway, “Arrivals” did double-duty of making us feel right back at home on the streets of Riverside, while introducing us to a new cast of characters. In that regard, I found the pilot episode to be a success. Riverside felt very much like Riverside, and the cast of characters — particularly their wit, manipulations, dialogue, schemes, dreams, and desires, all felt very true to what we’ve come to expect from Kushner.

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Good Monsters?

Something Wicked This Way Comes

by Ray Bradbury, read by Christian Rummel
Length: 9 hours, 8 minutes

by Clive Barker, read by Chet Williamson
Length: 6 hours, 44 minutes

Nothing says Halloween quite like monsters. Over the last few weeks, two books I’ve listened to have focused on monsters and our reactions to them: Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and Clive Barker’s Cabal. Both of these books are considered classics of their eras, and listening to them back-to-back, I found their differing perspectives on monsters as reflections of humanity kind of fascinating. Continue reading

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October #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, Robin McKinley, Genevieve Valentine, Richard Kadrey, Christopher Golden, Umberto Eco, Alice Hoffman, and more

There are hundreds of Whispersync deals this month, and now it’s coming to a close here’s what you are literally about to miss out on.

First up, from the monthly Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less listings, there are 161 (ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-ONE) which are Whispersync for Voice enabled, and quite a few that are indeed less than $3.99. Here’s what most caught my eye, though be warned that it is still a very long list:


Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Author), Oliver Wyman (Narrator), Tavia Gilbert (Narrator), and William Dufris (Narrator) for $1.99+$3.99 — My favorite of Stephenson’s novels, Anathem hit me at just the right time, of being a working computer scientist, and doing a lot of existential and philosophical reading. Additionally, the Long Now Foundation’s 10,000 Year Clock project had also already fascinated me. Along comes Stephenson to combine science fiction, philosophy, millennial clocks, and monastic orders in this truly great novel.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (Author) and Kate Mulgrew (Narrator) for $1.99+$3.99 — Yes, that Kate Mulgrew, known for her roles as Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager and as “Red” from Orange is the New Black. “Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn’t tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself. Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie’s twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor. And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble…and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie.” Continue reading

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“Spooky Reads” #WhispersyncDeal roundup

Today’s Kindle Gold Box Deal is 50 spooky reads at up to 80% off, and while quite a few aren’t Whispersync enabled (of these, Claire North’s Touch for $1.99 is a steal, people), 27 titles are, and while several of those aren’t exactly in the “deals” category (at +$10.99 for the Audible edition, The Girl With All the GiftsHeart-Shaped BoxHalf Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy Book 1)) there are quire a few that are under $5-$6 for the combined Kindle+Audible editions. My eleven sf/f picks among these are:


Soulless (Parasol Protectorate Series Book 1) by Gail Carriger, read by Emily Gray for $1.99+$3.49 — “Victorian romance mixes seamlessly with elegant prose and biting wit-and werewolves-in Gail Carriger’s delightful debut novel. Soulless introduces Alexia Tarabotti, a parasol-wielding Londoner getting dangerously close to spinster status. But there are more important things than finding a husband. For Alexia was born without a soul, giving her the ability to render any vampire or werewolf completely powerless.”

Harrowgate by Kate Maruyama, read by Nick Podehl for $1.99+$1.99 is a deeply creepy story that I won’t give away by too much description here: “Michael should be overjoyed by the birth of his son, but his wife, Sarah, won’t let him touch the baby or allow anyone to visit. Greta, an intrusive, sinister doula has wormed her way into their lives, driving a wedge between Michael and his family. Every time he leaves the Harrowgate, he returns to find his beloved wife and baby altered. He feels his family slipping away, and as a malevolent force begins to creep in, Michael does what any new father would do – he fights to keep his family together. Kate Maruyama’s debut novel, Harrowgate, is a chilling, richly detailed story of love, loss, and the haunted place that lies between.” Continue reading

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There is No Redemption in the Sea — Dave Revisits THE SCAR!

The Scar
by China Mieville, read by Gildart Jackson
Length: 26 hours, 58 minutes

Some books just leave a mark on you. In China Mieville’s The Scar, a character is told “Scars are not injuries…a scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole.” I don’t know whether or not that’s true — or if in the context of the book, Mieville is actually suggesting it’s true. Probably he’s saying it’s a possible truth. Because in this book, every character has their share of scars — be they physical and bloody or emotional and invisible. Sometimes the characters become better for it, and sometimes the characters are broken by them. Whether or not scars make you better or worse, they seem to be defining points in the lives of the characters who inhabit this book. For me, The Scar was a defining point in my reading. Continue reading

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Bookburners Listen-a-Long #3: Fair Weather by Margaret Dunlap

Bookburners: Season One: Episode 3: Fair Weather
by Margaret Dunlap
read by Xe Sands for Serial Box

[Missed Episode 1? The pilot episode is still free, and at under 90 minutes each it’s a breeze to catch up!]

In some ways, Margaret Dunlap’s “Fair Weather” is an echo of the winning formula that Brian Francis Slattery’s “Anywhere But Here” established in the previous episode: Sal explores a bit of the Vatican, Sal meets some new team members, the team’s “magic 8-ball” alerts them of a magical event, they deploy, they fight, they win.

But “Fair Weather” has got some wrinkles for you. Continue reading

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September WhispersyncDeal roundup: Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild, Neal Stephenson’s Mongoliad, Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men, Sarah Prineas, Arthur C. Clarke, David Wong, Jasper Fforde, and more

Another roundup pushing up against the end-of-the-month wire, so let’s jump right in with the deals expiring at the end of the month.

First up, a roundup of what most caught my eye of the 189 Whispersync-for-Voice-enabled titles in this month’s $3.99 or Less listings, mostly in science fiction and fantasy but a few fiction, teen, children’s, and mystery titles as well:


Bloodchild: And Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler (Author), Janina Edwards (Narrator) for $2.99+$3.49 — This one’s been in the monthly roundups before, but it bears repeating, and it bears being right up top, because this truly is one of the great works of literature, and Edwards narrates both Butler’s short fiction and her essays superbly. “Six remarkable stories from a master of modern science fiction. Octavia E. Butler’s classic “Bloodchild,” winner of both the Nebula and Hugo awards, anchors this collection of incomparable stories and essays. “Bloodchild” is set on a distant planet where human children spend their lives preparing to become hosts for the offspring of the alien Tlic. Sometimes the procedure is harmless, but often it is not. Also included is the Hugo Award – winning “Speech Sounds,” about a near future in which humans must adapt after an apocalyptic event robs them of their ability to speak. In this audiobook, Butler shows us life on Earth and amongst the stars, telling her tales with characteristic imagination and clarity.” Continue reading

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