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.”
This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It (John Dies at the End 2) by David Wong (Author), Nick Podehl (Narrator) for $2.99+$3.99 — “Warning: You may have a huge, invisible spider living in your skull. This is not a metaphor. You will dismiss this as ridiculous fearmongering. Dismissing things as ridiculous fearmongering is, in fact, the first symptom of parasitic spider infection – the creature secretes a chemical into the brain to stimulate skepticism, in order to prevent you from seeking a cure. That’s just as well, since the “cure” involves learning what a chain saw tastes like. You can’t feel the spider, because it controls your nerve endings. You can’t see it, because it decides what you see. You won’t even feel it when it breeds. And it will breed. So what happens when your family, friends, and neighbors get mind-controlling skull spiders? We’re all about to find out. Just stay calm, and remember that telling you about the spider situation is not the same as having caused it. I’m just the messenger. Even if I did sort of cause it. Either way, I won’t hold it against you if you’re upset. I know that’s just the spider talking.”
The Mongoliad (The Mongoliad Cycle Book 1), The Mongoliad (The Mongoliad Cycle Book 2), and The Mongoliad (The Mongoliad Cycle Book 3) by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, E. D. deBirmingham, Mark Teppo, Joseph Brassey, Erik Bear, Cooper Moo, and Nicole Galland, performed by Luke Daniels for $1.99+$1.99 each — Daniels really is amazing on this, with a globe-spanning range of accents this “epic-within-an-epic, taking place in 13th century. In it, a small band of warriors and mystics raise their swords to save Europe from a bloodthirsty Mongol invasion. Inspired by their leader (an elder of an order of warrior monks), they embark on a perilous journey and uncover the history of hidden knowledge and conflict among powerful secret societies that had been shaping world events for millennia.” Post-trilogy novels Katabasis (The Mongoliad Cycle Book 4) and Siege Perilous (The Mongoliad Cycle Book 5) are also on sale for $1.99+$1.99 each.
Ex-Patriots, Ex-Communication, and Ex-Purgatory are all on sale, though book one of Peter Clines’ “Ex-” series (Ex-Heroes) is unfortunately not, at $7.99+$1.99 it’s also less than most people’s membership credit costs. Ex-Patriots can be had for $1.99+$1.99 and books two and three are $1.99+$3.99 each. “Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes. Vigilantes. Crusaders for justice, using their superhuman abilites to make Los Angeles a better place. Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Despite the best efforts of the superheroes, the police, and the military, the hungry corpses rose up and overwhelmed the country. The population was decimated, heroes fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland like so many others. Now, a year later, the Mighty Dragon and his companions must overcome their differences and recover from their own scars to protect the thousands of survivors sheltered in their film studio-turned-fortress, the Mount. The heroes lead teams out to scavenge supplies, keep the peace within the walls of their home, and try to be the symbols the survivors so desperately need.”
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (Author), Graeme Malcolm (Narrator) for $1.99+$1.99 — “In 1951 John Wyndham published The Day of the Triffids to moderate acclaim. Fifty-two years later, this horrifying story is a science fiction classic. Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere 24 hours before is gone forever. But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, 50 years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.”
2061 (Space Odyssey Book 3) and 3001 (Space Odyssey Book 4) by Sir Arthur C. Clarke (Author), Scott Brick (Narrator) for $1.99+$3.99 each — “Arthur C. Clark, creator of one of the world’s best-loved science-fiction tales, revisits the most famous future ever imagined in this New York Times best seller, as two expeditions into space become inextricably tangled. Heywood Floyd, survivor of two previous encounters with the mysterious monloiths, must again confront Dave Bowman, HAL, and an alien race that has decided that Mankind is to play a part in the evolution of the galaxy – whether it wishes to or not.”
A haul of non-2001 books by Sir Arthur C. Clarke as well, for $1.99+$1.99 each:
- The Fountains of Paradise read by Marc Vietor: “Vannemar Morgan’s dream is to link Earth to the stars with the greatest engineering feat of all time: a 24,000-mile-high space elevator. But first he must solve a million technical, political, and economic problems while allaying the wrath of God. For the only possible site on the planet for Morgans Orbital Tower is the monastery atop the Sacred Mountain of Sri Kanda.”
- Childhood’s End read by Eric Michael Summerer with an introduction by Robert J. Sawyer: “The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city – intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began. But at what cost? With the advent of peace, man ceases to strive for creative greatness, and a malaise settles over the human race. To those who resist, it becomes evident that the Overlords have an agenda of their own.”
- Rendezvous with Rama read by Peter Ganim, with an introduction by Robert J. Sawyer: “At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind’s first encounter with alien intelligence.”
- A Fall of Moondust read by Oliver Wyman: “Time is running out for the passengers and crew of the tourist cruiser Selene, incarcerated in a sea of choking lunar dust. On the surface, her rescuers find their resources stretched to the limit by the mercilessly unpredictable conditions of a totally alien environment. A brilliantly imagined story of human ingenuity and survival, A Fall of Moondust is a tour-de-force of psychological suspense and sustained dramatic tension by the field’s foremost author.”
And before I continue on to fiction, teen, and children’s books, there’s several repeats to mention if you haven’t already snatched them up in previous months: Robert Kroese’s Mercury Falls, Mercury Rises, and Mercury Rests for $1.99+$1.99 each; The Garden of Stones (Echoes of Empire Book 1) by Mark T. Barnes; Ania Ahlborn’s Seed; Paul Antony Jones’ Extinction Point series (Extinction Point, Exodus, and Revelations); and both I, Zombie and Dust (Silo series Book 3) by Hugh Howey.
Teen: Gilded and Silvern by Christina Farley (Author), Greta Jung (Narrator) for $1.99+$1.99 each — The first two books of the “Gilded” series: “Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.”
Kids: The Wee Free Men (A Tiffany Aching Adventure) by Terry Pratchett (Author), Stepen Briggs (Narrator) for $1.99+$3.99 — “Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk’s local Nac Mac Feegle, aka the Wee Free Men, a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together, they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds (black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors) before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone.”
Kids: The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas (Author), Greg Steinbruner (Narrator) for $1.99+$3.99 — “In a city that runs on a dwindling supply of magic, a young boy is drawn into a life of wizardry and adventure. Conn should have dropped dead the day he picked Nevery’s pocket and touched the wizard’s locus magicalicus, a stone used to focus magic and work spells. But for some reason he did not. Nevery finds that interesting, and he takes Conn as his apprentice on the provision that the boy find a locus stone of his own. But Conn has little time to search for his stone between wizard lessons and helping Nevery discover who – or what – is stealing the city of Wellmet’s magic.”
Kids: The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1 by Jasper Fforde (Author), Elizabeth Jasicki (Narrator) 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.”
Kids: The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn (Author), Sarah Coomes (Narrator) for $1.99+$2.99 — “When twelve-year-old Florence boards the horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life at Crutchfield Hall, her great-uncle’s manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, Florence thinks, than the grim London orphanage she has just left. Florence doesn’t reckon with the eerie presence that haunts the cavernous rooms and dimly lit hallways of Crutchfield. It’s the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who died the year before. Sophia’s ghost seeks to recreate the scene of her death and cause someone else to die in her place so that she will be restored to life. And she intends to force her newly arrived cousin to help her.”
Fiction: The Ground Beneath Her Feet: A Novel by Salman Rushdie (Author), Steven Crossley (Narrator) for $3.99+$3.99 — “The internationally acclaimed, Booker Prize-winning author’s storytelling shines in this epic love story, a modern retelling of the myth of Orpheus. Energetic and musical, Rushdie’s prose is positively mesmerizing when you hear it read aloud. This panoramic work is framed with the death of rock goddess Vina Aspara. The story of her life and love affair with musical prodigy Ormus Cama is told by Rai, a photographer who also loved Vina. Rai worships the ground beneath her feet, even as he ponders the loss of terra firma in modern culture.”
Fiction: The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel by Matthew Quick (Author), Ray Porter (Narrator) for $3.99+$3.49 — Basis of the feature film starring Bradley Cooper: “During his years in a neural-health facility, Pat Peoples has formulated a theory about silver linings. He believes that his life is a movie produced by God, that his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and that if he succeeds, his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki, and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy. Then, Pat meets clinically depressed widow Tiffany, who offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife – provided he agrees to a secret contract that includes giving up football and performing in the next Dance Away Depression competition.”
Mystery: The Ghosts of Belfast (The Belfast Novels Book 1) by Stuart Neville (Author), Gerard Doyle (Narrator) for $1.99+$3.99 — “Fegan has been a “hard man” – an IRA killer in Northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted day and night by 12 ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he’s going to have to kill the men who gave him orders. As he’s working his way down the list, he encounters a woman who may offer him redemption; she has borne a child to an RUC officer and is an outsider too. Now he has given Fate – and his quarry – a hostage. Is this Fegan’s ultimate mistake?”
Mystery: Quite a few books in the “Nathan Heller” detective series by Max Allan Collins are on sale for $1.99+$1.99 each including True Detective, Neon Mirage, and many more, read by Dan John Miller: “In the mob-choked Chicago of 1932, private detective Nathan Heller may be willing to risk his life to earn a Depression dollar, but he never sacrifices his slicing wit. That’s why mystery fans and critics alike rank the historical thriller True Detective at the top of their lists —and why the book swept up a Shamus Award for best novel from the Private Eye Writers of America.”
Thriller: House by Frank Peretti (Author), Ted Dekker (Author), Kevin King (Narrator) for $2.99+$3.99 — “From the minds of multi-million selling suspense authors (Peretti & Dekker) comes House – an epic supernatural thriller that gives a new meaning to the phrase “haunted house.” Two couples vacationing in Alabama are pursued by a maniac killer who lures them to a vacant house which won’t let them leave. The “house” mirrors their own heart and souls and they must defeat the evil within.”
Thriller: Mark Dawson’s Beatrix Rose series In Cold Blood, Blood Moon Rising, and Blood and Roses, read by Mark Deakins for $1.99+$1.99 each: “Beatrix Rose was the most dangerous assassin in an off-the-books government kill squad until her former boss betrayed her. A decade later, she emerges from the Hong Kong underworld with payback on her mind. They gunned down her husband and kidnapped her daughter, and now the debt needs to be repaid. It’s a blood feud she didn’t start but is going to finish. Beatrix has already crossed one name off her Kill List. Her second target is a mercenary being held hostage by Somali terrorists. Can she infiltrate the most dangerous failed state on the planet and scrub him off the List, too?”
Next up, a glance through the 40 Whispersync-for-voice-enabled titles in this months $2 Each listings shows, mainly, quite a few titles that we’ve already had on sale quite a few times. Still, once more, with feeling, here’s what catches my eye:
The first two books of Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance trilogy: Brilliance and A Better World 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.”
Blacke Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy: Pines, Wayward, and The Last Town read by Paul Michael Garcia, for $2+$1.99 each: “Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America – or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town?”
There’s also Resurrection by Arwen Elys Dayton, Ice Man Cometh by C.T. Wente, and two series by Jeff Wheeler, The Evermen Saga read by Simon Vance, beginning with Enchantress, and Legends of Muirwood read by Kate Rudd, beginning with The Wretched of Muirwood.
Lastly, while once again I don’t have this early enough in the month to go too much further afield, I did want to note one deal I stumbled across this month. I was looking for pre-order listings for David Drake’s Air and Darkness, the forthcoming conclusion to his The Books of the Elements quartet, and saw that Out of the Waters (The Books of the Elements, Book 2) was on sale for $2.99, with a $3.49 Whispersync for Voice upgrade to the David LeDoux-narrated Audible edition. Set in the fictional (and fantastical) city of Carce, historically-grounded in Drake’s studies of Rome, the series began with The Legions of Fire in 2010.
Here: “The wealthy Governor Saxa, of the great city of Carce, has generously and lavishly subsidized a theatrical/religious event. During this elaborate staging of Hercules founding a city on the shores of Lusitania, strange and dark magic turns the panoply into a chilling event. The sky darkens and the waves crash in the flooded arena. A great creature rises from the sea: a huge, tentacled horror on snake legs. It devastates the city, much to the delight of the crowd. A few in the audience, although not Saxa, understand that this was not mere stagecraft, but something much darker and more dangerous. If all signs are being read right, this illusion could signify a dreadful intrusion of supernatural powers into the real world. Saxa’s son, Varus, has been the conduit for such an event once before.”
And I figured that while I was at it, I could remind folks of three of Drake’s Kindle+Audible pairs that are available for $0+$1.99 each, by dint of being available in the Baen Free Library:
With the Lightnings (Lt. Leary Book 1) read by Victor Bevine: “Daniel Leary is a lieutenant in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy with no money and no prospects since he quarreled with his ruthless, politically powerful father. Adele Mundy is a scholar with no money and no prospects since her family was massacred for conspiring against the Government of Cinnabar. Kostroma is a wealthy planet which depends on diplomacy to stay independent in a galaxy whose two great powers, Cinnabar and the Alliance, battle for supremacy. In a few hours, diplomacy is going to fail Kostroma. Daniel, Adele, and the scratch crew they gather aren’t much to stand in the way of a powerful invasion fleet, but just possibly they’re enough.”
Starliner read by Aaron Abano: “The Empress of Earth, finest passenger liner in the galaxy. Brightest link in the chain that binds the starflung civilization of the 23rd century. Six thousand lives in a single hull, trembling through multiple universes to land on raw, often violent worlds, each with its own history and wonder. When hostile necessity knows no law, Ran Colville and the rest of the complement of the Empress of Earth must bring home their ship and the passengers entrusted to them. From the Captain on his bridge to the Cold Crewmen who work in conditions that differ from Hell only by name, they’ll have their work cut out for them this voyage!”
Seas of Venus read by Kevin T. Collins: “Earth is a dead cinder beyond the dense clouds. On a terraformed Venus, the land is ruled by savage plants and the even more savage beasts that prey on them, while monsters out of nightmare swim though the globe-girdling seas. Mankind huddles in domed underwater Keeps, living a purposeless static existence – dedicated to pleasure but destined for oblivion later if not sooner. Only the Free Companions, the mercenaries who fight proxy wars for the Keeps, live on the surface of Venus. Their warships course the seas, battling one another in struggles to decide victory or defeat for one day, life or death for a few individuals. The Free companions live till they die with the searing thrill of danger, and their deeds bring excitement and color to the bored residents of the Keeps; but Mankind is doomed unless something changes.”