November #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Margaret Atwood, Neal Stephenson, Becky Chambers, Joe Hill, Paul Tremblay, Amy Bartol, and more

Before November runs out, take the take to take a break from Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping and pick up a little something for yourself for those long, dark winter nights. There are 510 Whispersync-enabled audiobooks in this month’s Monthly Deals in Kindle Books listings, which is a very, very big number. Here’s what most catches my eye and ear this month:

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, read by Claire Danes for Audible for $2.99+$3.99 “[A] novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population.”

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, read by William Dufris for $1.99+$3.99 — “With this extraordinary first volume in what promises to be an epoch-making masterpiece, Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century. Cryptonomicon is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought and creative daring; the product of a truly iconoclastic imagination working with white-hot intensity.”

 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, read by Rachel Dulude for $1.99+$3.99 — “Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star. Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.”

Horns: A Novel by Joe Hill, read by Fred Berman for $1.99+$3.99 — “Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples. At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.”

 

A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul Tremblay, read by Joy Osmanski for $1.99+$3.99 — Winner of the 2015 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel: “A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends psychological suspense and supernatural horror, reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Shining, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist.”

Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind by Anne Charnock, read by Heather Wilds –Named by the Guardian as one of the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2015: “History is story telling. But some stories remain untold. In fifteenth-century Italy, Paolo Uccello recognizes the artistic talent of his young daughter, Antonia, and teaches her how to create a masterpiece. The girl composes a painting of her mother and inadvertently sparks an enduring mystery. In the present day, a copyist painter receives a commission from a wealthy Chinese businessman to duplicate a Paolo Uccello painting. Together, the painter and his teenage daughter visit China, and in doing so they begin their escape from a tragic family past. In the twenty-second century, a painting is discovered that’s rumored to be the work of Paolo Uccello’s daughter. This reawakens an art historian’s dream of elevating Antonia Uccello, an artist ignored by history because of her gender. Stories untold. Secrets uncovered. But maybe some mysteries should remain shrouded.”

 

The Queen of the Tearling: A Novel by Erika Johansen, read by Katherine Kellgren for $1.99+$3.99 — A #1 Indie Next Pick and LibraryReads Selection: “Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her. On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.”

Rewinder by Brett Battles, read by Vikas Adam for $1.99+$1.99 — “You will never read Denny Younger’s name in any history book, but the world as you know it wouldn’t be the same without him. Denny was born into one of the lowest rungs of society, but his bleak fortunes changed the day the mysterious Upjohn Institute recruited him. The role: “verifier of personal histories.” The job title: Rewinder. After accepting the offer, Denny discovers he’ll have to do his research in person…by traveling through time.”

 

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, read by Ron Perlman for $1.99+$3.99 — “An epic battle for survival begins between man and vampire in The Strain—the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy from one of Hollywood’s most inventive storytellers and a critically acclaimed thriller writer. Guillermo del Toro, the genius director of the Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, and Hammett Award-winning author Chuck Hogan have joined forces to boldly reinvent the vampire novel. Brilliant, blood-chilling, and unputdownable, The Strain is a nightmare of the first order.”

Positive: A Novel by David Wellington, read by Nick Podehl for $1.99+$3.99 — “In the best-selling vein of Guillermo Del Toro and Justin Cronin, the acclaimed author of Chimera and The Hydra Protocol delivers his spectacular breakout novel – an entertaining pause-resisting zombie epic that is sure to become a classic. Anyone can be positive…. The tattooed plus sign on Finnegan’s hand marks him as a Positive. At any time the zombie virus could explode in his body, turning him from a rational human into a ravenous monster. His only chance of a normal life is to survive the last two years of the potential incubation period. If he reaches his 21st birthday without an incident, he’ll be cleared.”

 

Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer, read by Luke Daniels for $1.99+$1.99 — This one’s often in the monthly roundup, and it bears repeating: “Martin Banks is just a normal guy who has made an abnormal discovery: he can manipulate reality, thanks to reality being nothing more than a computer program. With every use of this ability, though, Martin finds his little “tweaks” have not escaped notice. Rather than face prosecution, he decides instead to travel back in time to the Middle Ages and pose as a wizard. What could possibly go wrong? An American hacker in King Arthur’s court, Martin must now train to become a full-fledged master of his powers, discover the truth behind the ancient wizard Merlin…and not, y’know, die or anything.”

Brilliance (The Brilliance Trilogy) by Marcus Sakey, read by Luke Daniels for $2+$1.99 each: “In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in—and betray his own kind.”

 

Teen: Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol, read by Kate Rudd for $1.99+$1.99 — Soon to be a major motion picture: “Kricket Hollowell never wished upon stars. She was too busy hiding in plain sight, eluding Chicago’s foster care system. As her eighteenth birthday approaches, she now eagerly anticipates the day she’ll stop running and finally find her place in the world. That day comes when she meets a young Etharian soldier named Trey Allairis, who has been charged with coming to Earth to find Kricket and transport her to her true home. As danger draws close, he must protect her until she can wield the powers she cannot use on Earth…and he soon realizes that counting a galaxy of stars would be easier than losing this extraordinary girl.”

Teen: Talon (The Talon Saga Book 1) b Julie Kagawa, read by Caitlin Davies and MacLeod Andrews for $1.99+$3.99 — “In Julie Kagawa’s groundbreaking modern fantasy series, dragons walk among us in human form. Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser. ”

 

Kids: Greenglass House by Kate Milford, read by Chris Henry Coffey for $2.99+$3.99 — New York Times Bestseller, National Book Award Nominee, and Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery: “It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House—and themselves.”

Kids: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, read by Elizabeth Jasicki for $1.99+$3.99 — “In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.”


And of course there’s a couple more I stumbled on over the month:

 

The Magic of Recluce by L. E. Modesitt, Jr., read by Kirby Heyborne for Tantor Audio for $2.99+$3.99 — “Young Lerris is dissatisfied with his life and trade, and yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. But in Recluce a change in circumstances means taking one of two options: permanent exile from Recluce or the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden wanderjahr in the lands beyond Recluce, with the aim of learning how the world works and what his place in it might be. Many do not survive. Lerris chooses dangergeld. When Lerris is sent into intensive training for his quest, it soon becomes clear that he has a natural talent for magic. And he will need magic in the lands beyond, where the power of the Chaos Wizards reigns unchecked. Though it goes against all of his instincts, Lerris must learn to use his powers in an orderly way before his wanderjahr, or fall prey to Chaos.”

Dark Intelligence (Transformations) by Neal Asher, read by Jonathan Yen for $1.99+$4.99 — “One man will transcend death to seek vengeance. One woman will transform herself to gain power. And no one will emerge unscathed…. Thorvald Spear wakes in a hospital to find he’s been brought back from the dead. What’s more, he died in a human vs. alien war that ended a century ago. Spear had been trapped on a world surrounded by hostile Prador forces, but Penny Royal, the AI inside the rescue ship sent to provide backup, turned rogue, annihilating friendly forces in a frenzy of destruction and killing Spear. One hundred years later the AI is still on the loose, and Spear vows for revenge at any cost.”


Whew! Happy #WhispersyncDeal hunting, and, hey, while you’re here, don’t miss the Downpour.com site-wide Black Friday sale through December 1, which includes among many, many other titles, the complete Area X by Jeff VanderMeer for $7.49 (Book 1, Annihilationread by Carolyn McCormick, is just $4.24), Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany, read by Stefan Rudnicki for $6.78, The Fireman by Joe Hill, read by Kate Mulgrew for $4.17, and Homeland by Cory Doctorow, read by Wil Wheaton for $4.59. Yeah, it’s a very, very good sale:

Area X by Jeff VanderMeer Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
The Fireman by Joe Hill Homeland by Cory Doctorow

Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

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