All right! February’s Monthly Deals listings, of which 269 are eBooks with Audible Narration, aren’t actually that long in terms of what I would call outstanding #WhispersyncDeal titles. But! A solid dozen are well worth checking out, starting with some time travel:
Kindred by Octavia Butler, read by Kim Staunton for $2.99+$3.49 — “Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.”
A Murder in Time: A Novel by Julie McElwain, read by Lucy Rayner for $1.99+$3.47 — “When brilliant FBI agent Kendra Donovan stumbles back in time and finds herself in a 19th century English castle under threat from a vicious serial killer, she scrambles to solve the case before it takes her life—200 years before she was even born.”
All right, how about some sci-fi?
The Lives of Tao, The Deaths of Tao, and The Rebirths of Tao comprise the Lives of Tao trilogy by Wesley Chu, and here they are all read by Mikael Naramore for $1.99+$3.49 each. “When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it. He wasn’t. He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes. Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…” A further sequel, the novella The Days of Tao, is $4.99+$1.99, and another “Quasing” (the alien race) story, The Rise of Io, is also on sale for $1.99, but not (yet?) in audio, out last fall from Angry Robot Books.
Blood Music by Greg Bear (1985), read by George Guidall (1991, Recorded Books) for $1.99+$3.49 — “In the tradition of the greatest cyberpunk novels, Blood Music explores the imminent destruction of mankind and the fear of mass destruction by technological advancements. Blood Music follows present-day events in which the fears concerning the nuclear annihilation of the world subsided after the Cold War and the fear of chemical warfare spilled over into the empty void of nuclear fear. An amazing breakthrough in genetic engineering made by Vergil Ulam is considered too dangerous for further research, but rather than destroy his work, he injects himself with his creation and walks out of his lab, unaware of just quite how his actions will change the world. Author Greg Bear’s treatment of the traditional tale of scientific hubris is both suspenseful and a compelling portrait of a new intelligence emerging amongst us, irrevocably changing our world.”
Rebel Fleet by B.V. Larson, read by Mark Boyett for $1.99+$1.99 — “They hunt us. They bomb our worlds for target practice. A star cluster in the constellation of Orion rotates once every 1,000 years. Those who rule there have an ancient tradition: When each cycle ends, they train their fleets by spilling the blood of lesser beings. The enemy fleets are coming again. In response, the Rebel Worlds gather their starships to face the terrifying threat, and this time humanity is asked to stand with them. The last time they considered Earth, Vikings in longboats were raiding English coastlines. Today, we’re less primitive. Today, we’re a target. One man is chosen to command Earth’s single ship in the Rebel Fleet. When the war breaks out, Leo Blake must win it…or die trying.”
Terms of Enlistment, Lines of Departure, Angles of Attack, and Chains of Command by Marko Kloos have been in these roundups quite a few times before, but always bear mentioning again both for their Hugo Award nominated writing, and the voice work of Luke Daniels. Well, they’re on sale again, this time as cheap as I’ve ever seen them, $1+$1.99 each. “The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to two thousand calories of badly flavored soy every day: You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. But as he starts a career of supposed privilege, he soon learns that the good food and decent health care come at a steep price…and that the settled galaxy holds far greater dangers than military bureaucrats or the gangs that rule the slums. The debut novel from Marko Kloos, Terms of Enlistment is a new addition to the great military sci-fi tradition of Robert Heinlein, Joe Haldeman, and John Scalzi.” A 5th book and audiobook, Fields of Fire, comes out Tuesday, February 28.
How about some fantasy?
Crimes Against Magic and most of the rest of the Hellequin Chronicles 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.”
Pale Queen Rising and the rest of the Pale Queen Trilogy by A.R. Kahler, read by Amy McFadden for $1.99+$1.99 each — “As the royal assassin, Claire is used to moving between the mortal world and the Winter Kingdom. When the queen commands her to kill, Claire does the job and doesn’t ask questions. Her deadly skills and loyalty are soon tested when Claire is sent to the Immortal Circus, one of the many places where “Dream” is harvested from the imaginings of mortals. There she must find the culprit who is causing Dream to mysteriously disappear before the Winter Kingdom’s supply is depleted enough to threaten its very survival. But when she meets Roxie, a beautiful mortal singer with a strange link to the Dream thieves, Claire quickly recognizes an odd and unexplained connection that may cloud her judgment. As each new clue unveils another secret, Claire finds herself confronting the riddle of her own buried past—and a dangerous illusion that, as part of the Immortal Circus, is just another act in the show.”
How about some Young Adult science fiction and fantasy?
The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker, read by Kate Rudd for $1.99+$1.99 — “It’s never wise to talk to strangers…and that goes double when they’re dead. Unfortunately, seventeen-year-old Anna Morgan has no choice. Resting on a park bench, touching the turnstile at the Metro station—she never knows where she’ll encounter a ghost. These mental hitchhikers are the reason Anna has been tossed from one foster home and psychiatric institution to the next for most of her life. When a chance touch leads her to pick up the insistent spirit of a girl who was brutally murdered, Anna is pulled headlong into a deadly conspiracy that extends to the highest levels of government. Facing the forces behind her new hitcher’s death will challenge the barriers, both good and bad, that Anna has erected over the years and shed light on her power’s origins. And when the covert organization seeking to recruit her crosses the line by kidnapping her friend, it will discover just how far Anna is willing to go to bring it down.”
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, read by Bernadette Dunne Flagler for $0.99+$3.99 — “Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse. Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – known as The Death Shop – are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild – a savage – and her only hope of staying alive. A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile – everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.”
Lastly (for the Monthly Deals roundup) the fiction title which most catches my eye this month:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain, read by Oliver Wyman for $1.99+$3.99 — “A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents – caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew – has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America’s most sought-after heroes. For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide victory tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of a Dallas football team, slated to be part of the halftime show. Among the Bravos is Specialist William Lynn, a 19-year-old Texas native. Amid clamoring patriots sporting flag pins on their lapels and “support our troops” bumper stickers on their cars, the Bravos are thrust into the company of the team owner and his coterie of wealthy colleagues; a luscious born-again cheerleader; a veteran Hollywood producer; and supersized pro players eager for a vicarious taste of war. Among these faces Billy sees those of his family – his worried sisters and broken father – and Shroom, the philosophical sergeant who opened Billy’s mind and died in his arms. Over the course of this day, Billy will begin to understand difficult truths about himself, his country, his struggling family, and his brothers-in-arms soldiers both dead and alive. In the final few hours before returning to Iraq, Billy will drink and brawl, yearn for home and mourn those missing, face a heart-wrenching decision, and discover pure love and a bitter wisdom far beyond his years.”
All right, lastly, as usual, a few “random” titles one sale this month:
Nevermore by David Niall Wilson, read by Gigi Shane for $0.99+$1.99 — “Nevermore is a dark, historical fantasy filled with romance, southern charm, and all the trappings of a classic historical romance. Walking the line between the occult, the paranormal, and the reality of 1800s life in The Great Dismal Swamp, Nevermore is also chock full of action and adventure. Follow Edgar Allan Poe and Lenore into The Great Dismal Swamp and experience one version of the birth of Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven.””
Kingfisher by Patricia A. McKillup, read by Bernadette Dunne for $1.99+$4.99 — “In the new fantasy from the award-winning author of the Riddle-Master Trilogy, a young man comes of age amid family secrets and revelations, and transformative magic. Hidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point. One day, unexpectedly, strangers pass through town on the way to the legendary capital city. “Look for us,” they tell Pierce, “if you come to Severluna. You might find a place for yourself in King Arden’s court.””
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, read by James Fouhey for $1.99+$5.49 — “What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.”
All right, enjoy! And happy #WhispersyncDeal hunting!