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.”
The Long Utopia (The Long Earth Book 4) by Terry Pratchett and Steven Baxter, read by Michael Fenton Stevens for $1.99+$3.99 — As the Kindle edition is normally $9.99 this is a pretty good deal: “The fourth novel in Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s internationally best-selling Long Earth series, hailed as “a brilliant science fiction collaboration…a love letter to all Pratchett fans, readers, and lovers of wonder everywhere” (Io9). It’s 2045-2059. Human society continues to evolve on Datum Earth, its battered and weary origin planet, as the spread of humanity progresses throughout the many Earths beyond. Lobsang, now an elderly and complex AI, suffers a breakdown and, disguised as a human, attempts to live a “normal” life on one of the millions of Long Earth worlds. His old friend, Joshua, now in his 50s, searches for his father and discovers a heretofore unknown family history. And the superintelligent posthumans known as “the Next” continue to adapt to life among “lesser” humans. But an alarming new challenge looms. An alien planet has somehow become “entangled” with one of the Long Earth worlds, and, as Lobsang and Joshua learn, its voracious denizens intend to capture, conquer, and colonize the new universe – the Long Earth – they have inadvertently discovered. World building, the intersection of universes, the coexistence of diverse species, and the cosmic meaning of the Long Earth itself are among the mind-expanding themes explored in this exciting new installment of Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s extraordinary Long Earth series.”
Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy Book 1), Blightborn (The Heartland Trilogy Book 2), and The Harvest (The Heartland Trilogy Book 3) by Chuck Wendig, read by Nick Podehl for $1.99+$1.99 each — CornPunk! This is Wendig’s somehow successful (it really does work) dystopian “CornPunk” trilogy, not quite old enough to be YA, not quite young enough to be for middle grades, so slot it in there for your 7th to 9th graders, or, of course, the revolutionary CornPunk 13-year-old inside you: “Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow – and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie – his first mate and the love of his life – forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry – angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. Cael’s ready to make his own luck…even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.”
More Wendig, you say? Atlanta Burns (Atlanta Burns series Book 1) is also $1.99+$1.99 this month, read by Cris Dukehart: “You don’t mess with Atlanta Burns. Everyone knows that. And that’s kinda how she likes it – until the day Atlanta is drawn into a battle against two groups of bullies and saves a pair of new, unexpected friends. But actions have consequences, and when another teen turns up dead – by an apparent suicide – Atlanta knows foul play is involved. And worse: She knows it’s her fault. You go poking rattlesnakes, maybe you get bit. Afraid of stirring up the snakes further by investigating, Atlanta turns her focus to the killing of a neighborhood dog. All paths lead to a rural dogfighting ring, and once more Atlanta finds herself face to face with bullies of the worst sort. Atlanta cannot abide letting bad men do awful things to those who don’t deserve it. So she sets out to unleash her own brand of teenage justice. Will Atlanta triumph? Or is fighting back just asking for a face full of bad news?”
Crimes Against Magic (The Hellequin Chronicles Book 1), Born of Hatred (The Hellequin Chronicles Book 2), With Silent Screams (The Hellequin Chronicles Book 3), and Prison of Hope (The Hellequin Chronicles Book 4) by Steve McHugh, read by James Langton for $1.99+$1.99 each — “How do you keep the people you care about safe from enemies you can’t remember? Ten years ago, Nate Garrett awoke on a cold warehouse floor with no memory of his past and the only clues to his identity were a piece of paper with his name on it and a propensity toward magic. Now he’s a powerful sorcerer and a successful thief for hire, but it turns out that those who stole his memories aren’t done with him yet. When they cause a job to go bad, threatening a sixteen-year-old girl, Nate swears to protect her. But with his enemies closing in and the barrier holding back his memories beginning to crumble, Nate is forced to confront his forgotten life in the hope of stopping an enemy he can’t remember. Crimes Against Magic is a dark, fast-paced urban fantasy torn between modern-day London and fifteenth-century France.” (For whatever reason, Book 5 is not Whispersync for Voice enabled.)
Flowertown by S.G. Redling, read by Tanya Eby for $1.99+$1.99 — “Seven years ago, a chemical spill brought the U.S. Army to rural Penn County, Iowa, where soldiers established a long-term, medically maintained quarantine. Officially, it’s called the PennCo Containment Area. But to the people trapped inside, their bodies tainted with chemicals that give off a sweet smell, it’s known simply as Flowertown. The quarantine was supposed to save their lives, but many of the survivors have grown suspicious of the government’s real motives. But not Ellie Cauley – her rage long ago burned down to hard, cynical pessimism. When a series of deadly events forces Ellie out of her apathy, she must prepare to face an enemy powerful enough to unleash her greatest nightmare.”
Star Watch by Mark Wayne McGinnis, read by L.J. Ganser for $1.99+$1.99 — A self-published book and audiobook I don’t know much about, but Ganser is a legit professional and the sample here sounds nicely produced. Reviews are TKTK. “Join the Star Watch crew on their first mission to the planet of Trom, where hostile Pharlom invaders have appropriated high altitude cloud-ports as prisoner of war camps. As a fierce battle in space ensues, fragmented warships fall into Trom’s atmosphere and head right for a populated cloud-port. From best-selling author Mark Wayne McGinnis comes the highly anticipated Scrapyard Ship spin-off series, Star Watch. The Craing War is now over… the enemy defeated. As planetary systems around the galaxy try to bring normalcy back to their existence, one thing becomes crystal clear… without the Craing around to keep everyone in line, space has become a far more dangerous place.” Most of the rest of both series are available for $4.99+$1.99; it looks like the whole thing starts with Scrapyard Ship (Scrapyard Ship series Book 1).
Fiction: The Girl and the Bomb by Rust and Metro live life to the fullest in the small Finnish city of Kotka. The lovers work together by day and write graffiti by night, always staying one step ahead of the law. But their luck runs out after an ambush by rogue security guards causes Rust to fall to his death. Having literally left their marks all over the city, Metro cannot help but be reminded of Rust everywhere she goes, making it impossible for her to move past the tragedy. Heartbroken and alone, she becomes determined to get to the bottom of her partner’s death and to exact revenge on those responsible by using the tool she knows best: spray paint. As she fights to bomb the system, she is constantly – and harshly – reminded of how unfair life can be. Up against lies, betrayal, and corruption, Metro musters the strength and inspiration to persevere in the name of truth and by adding beauty to an ugly world.”
Teen: Ticker by Lisa Mantchev, read by Fiona Hardingham for $1.99+$1.99 — “A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count. When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass “Ticker,” transforming her into “the first of the Augmented!” But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny. The last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?”
Teen: Richard Farr’s The Fire Seekers (The Babel Trilogy Book 1) by Richard Farr, read by Scott Merriman for $1.99+$1.99 — “The time of our immortality is at hand. An undeciphered language in Crete. A rash of mysterious disappearances, from Bolivia to Japan. An ancient warning at the ruins of Babel. And a new spiritual leader, who claims that human history as we understand it is about to come to an end. Seventeen-year-old Daniel Calder’s world falls apart when a freak accident brings personal tragedy-and he discovers there’s a link between the accident and a wildly successful new cult, the Seraphim. Catapulted into a violent struggle for humanity’s past and future, he’s not even sure who the enemy is, or if he’s battling a phantom that doesn’t exist. But as Daniel puts his life on the line, he is forced to conclude that our very survival as a species will depend on who, and what, we choose to believe.”
A.G. Howard’s Splintered and Unhinged (Splintered Book 2) by A.G. Howard, read by Rebecca Gibel for $2.99+$3.99 each — “This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of Underland, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers – precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now. When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.”
Timebound (The Chronos Files Book 1) and the rest of The Chronos Files series by Rysa Walker, read by Kate Rudd for $2+$1.99 each, the 2013 Winner – Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award – Grand Prize and Young Adult Fiction Winner. “When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and her genetic ability to time travel makes Kate the only one who can fix the future. Risking everything, she travels back in time to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the murder and the chain of events that follows. Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost – if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does Kate have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?”
Fireblood (Whispers from Mirrowen Book 1) and the rest of the Whispers from Mirrowen series by Jeff Wheeler, read by Michael Page for $2+$1.99 each — “In a world beset by plagues, Tyrus of Kenatos has made it his life’s work to end the devastation. Yet when he first ventures into the Scourgelands to uncover the secret of the plagues’ origin, he barely makes it out alive after being ambushed by a mysterious, unseen enemy. Tyrus knows the plagues will rise again – more powerful than ever before – and he is determined to complete his mission. To aid in his new quest, he summons his nephew Annon and his niece Hettie – both of whom possess an innate magic called the fireblood – and a pack of unlikely allies. But as the group sets out on its journey, the ruthless ruler of Kenatos, the Arch-Rike, has other plans – deploying a legion of minions who will stop at nothing to destroy them. For if they succeed, the truth will be revealed: about a Druidecht secret of a forgotten magical race, a deadly betrayal, and a hidden child who could be the key to banishing the plagues.”
Once Dead (The Rho Agenda Inception Book 1) and the rest of the Rho Agenda Inception series by Richard Phillips, read by MacLeod Andrews for $2+$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….”
Letters to Zell by Everything is going according to story for CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (Sleeping Beauty) – until the day that Zell (Rapunzel) decides to leave Grimmland and pursue her life. Now, Zell’s best friends are left to wonder whether their own passions are worth risking their predetermined “happily ever afters”, regardless of the consequences. CeCi wonders whether she should become a professional chef, sharp-tongued and quick-witted Bianca wants to escape an engagement to her platonic friend, and Rory will do anything to make her boorish husband love her. But as Bianca’s wedding approaches, can they escape their fates – and is there enough wine in all of the Realm to help them? In this hilarious modern interpretation of the fairy-tale stories we all know and love, Letters to Zell explores what happens when women abandon the stories they didn’t write for themselves and go completely off script to follow their dreams.
Darkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle Book 1) by Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer. In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. In their company, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But when he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had – and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness. With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?