April #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Christopher Moore’s The Serpent of Venice and Jonathan Coe’s Expo 58, Christie Golden, Wiley Cash, The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, and more

There are 165 Whispersync-for-Voice-enabled titles on sale in this month’s Monthly Deals in Kindle Books, but… there aren’t too many that really catch my eye, and only a few really, really top shelf titles. But! Those are quite good ones indeed, so, as this is coming out riiiiiight at the end of the month (sorry folks!) take a quick look; and once I get through the monthly titles, I do have a few indie picks this month, including a countdown deal, as well as a new audiobook adaptation of Jane Eyre which is newly Whispersync-enabled as well. So read on to the end!

The Serpent of Venice: A Novel by Christopher Moore, read by Euan Morton for $1.99+$3.99 — “New York Times best-selling author Christopher Moore channels William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe in this satiric Venetian gothic featuring the irresistibly mischievous Pocket, the eponymous hero of Fool. Venice, a really long time ago: Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from Britain who also happens to be a favorite of the Doge: The rascal-Fool Pocket. This trio of cunning plotters have lured Pocket to a dark dungeon, promising a spirited evening. Their invitation is, of course, bogus. These scoundrels have something far less amusing planned for the man who has consistently foiled their quest for power and wealth. But this Fool is no fool…. Once again, Christopher Moore delivers a rousing literary satire: A dramedy mash-up rich with delights, including (but not limited to): Foul plots; counterplots; true love; jealousy; murder; betrayal; revenge; codpieces; a pound of flesh; occasional debauchery; and water (lots of water). Not to mention a cast Shakespeare himself would be proud of: Shylock; Iago; Othello; a bunch of other guys whose names end in o; a trio of comely wenches; the brilliant Fool; his large sidekick, Drool; Jeff, the pet monkey; a lovesick sea serpent; and a ghost (yes, there’s always a bloody ghost). Wickedly witty and outrageously inventive, The Serpent of Venice pays cheeky homage to the Bard and illuminates the absurdity of the human.”

Fiction: Expo 58: A Novel by Jonathan Coe, read by Napoleon Ryan for $1.99+$1.99 — “A comic spy caper and international love story, set in Europe in the middle of the last century, Expo 58 is the latest sublime creation by Jonathan Coe, hailed by Nick Hornby as “probably the best English novelist of his generation.” Handsome, unassuming Thomas Foley is an employee at the Central Office of Information whose particular biography (Belgian mother, pub-owning father) makes him just the man to oversee the “authentic British pub” that will be erected at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. It’s the first major expo after World War II, meant to signify unity, but there’s inevitable intrigue involving the U.S. and Soviet delegations. In the shadow of an immense, imposingly modern structure called the Atomium, the married Foley becomes both agent and pawn-when he’s not falling head over heels for Anneke, his Belgian hostess. Funny, fast-paced, and genuinely moving, Expo 58 is both a perfect evocation of a moment in history and the welcome return of one of today’s finest novelists,”

Fiction: A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash, read by Lorna Raver, Mark Bramhall, and Nick Sullivan for $1.99+$3.99 — “A stunning debut reminiscent of the beloved novels of John Hart and Tom Franklin, A Land More Kind Than Home is a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small western North Carolina town…. For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can’t help sneaking a look at something he’s not supposed to – an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess’s. It’s a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he’s not prepared. While there is much about the world that still confuses him, he now knows that a new understanding can bring not only a growing danger and evil – but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance as well. Told by three resonant and evocative characters – Jess; Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife and moral conscience; and Clem Barefield, a sheriff with his own painful past – A Land More Kind Than Home is a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all.”


Those were the “big three” that caught my eye this month from the monthly deals roundup, but here’s a few more that might be worth your attention, before I get to those indie and classics picks:

   

The Incarnations: A Novel by Susan Barker, read by Timo Chen and Jay Osmanski for $1.99+$3.99 was a New York Times Notable Book of 2015, Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2015, a finalist for the 2015 Kirkus Prize for Fiction, and winner of a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize: “Who are you? you must be wondering. I am your soulmate, your old friend, and I have come back to this city of sixteen million in search of you. So begins the first letter that falls into Wang’s lap as he flips down the visor in his taxi. The letters that follow are filled with the stories of Wang’s previous lives—from escaping a marriage to a spirit bride, to being a slave on the run from Genghis Khan, to living as a fisherman during the Opium Wars, and being a teenager on the Red Guard during the cultural revolution—bound to his mysterious “soulmate,” spanning one thousand years of betrayal and intrigue.”

Edge of Apocalypse: A Joshua Jordan Novel by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall, read by Stefan Rudnicki for Zondervan for $0.99+$3.99 — Look, anything worth Rudnicki’s time in the booth is worth checking out, and this one sounds a bit like a series I loved (The Last Policeman by Ben Winters) so color me interested, a bit in spite of the religious themes which usually don’t translate well into fiction for me. (Zondervan is a Christian publisher, and Tim LaHaye is best known as the creator of the Left Behind series.) Here: “Joshua Jordan, former U.S. spy-plane hero now turned weapons designer has come up with a devastatingly effective new missile defense system – the Return to Sender laser weapon. But global forces are mounting against America, and corrupt White House and Capitol Hill leaders are willing to do anything to stop the nation’s impending economic catastrophe – including selling-out Joshua and his weapon. As world events begin setting the stage for the “end of days,” Joshua is forced to consider not only the truth of the biblical prophecies preached by the pastor of his brilliant attorney- wife, but also what gut-wrenching price he is willing to pay to save the nation he loves.” (Side note time! I have enjoyed plenty of youth hockey trips to the LaHaye Ice Center at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA! Eternal thanks to Mr. LaHaye for sponsoring such a wonderful facility.)

Sub-Human by David Simpson, read by Ray Chase for Podium Publishing for $0.99+$2.99 is a prequel to Simpson’s Post-Human series: “Before he was Old-timer, he was Craig Emilson, a young doctor, sucked into military service at the outbreak of World War III. Enlisting to become a Special Forces suborbital paratrooper, Craig is selected to take part in the most important mission in American military history – a sortie into enemy territory to eliminate the world’s first strong Artificial Intelligence. The mission is only the beginning of Craig’s story, and for the story of humanity as well, as they accelerate towards a world that is post-human. If you’re already a fan of the smash-hit Post-Human Series, this prequel to Post-Human, Sub-Human, will answer the previously unanswered questions of how the post-human world came to be. And, if you’re new to the series, Sub-Human will serve as an engrossing introduction to a possible future that has enraptured tens of thousands of listeners!”

The Banished of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler, read by Kate Rudd for $1.99+$3.99 begins a new stand-alone series in Wheeler’s world of Muirwood: “Eighteen-year-old Maia is the exiled princess of Comoros and heir to the throne. As a result of her father’s ceaseless need for authority, she was left disinherited and forced to live as a servant in her enemy’s home. When the king invites chaos into the land by expelling the magical order known as the Dochte Mandar, Maia finds herself on a perilous quest to save her people. To survive, she must use magic she has learned in secret – despite the fact that women are forbidden to control it. Hunted by enemies at every turn, Maia realizes that danger lurks within her, too. Her powers threaten to steal not only her consciousness but also her sense of right and wrong. Can she set herself free and save the realm she loves – even if that realm has forgotten her?”

  

World of Warcraft: War Crimes by Christie Golden, read by Scott Brick for $1.99+$3.99 — “The brutal siege of Orgrimmar is over. Alliance and Horde forces have stripped Garrosh Hellscream, one of the most reviled figures on Azeroth, of his title as warchief. His thirst for conquest devastated cities, nearly tore the Horde apart, and destroyed countless lives throughout the World of Warcraft. Now, on the legendary continent of Pandaria, he will stand trial for his transgressions.”

Teen: Poison Study (Soulfinders Book 1) by Maria V. Snyder, read by Gabra Zackman for $1.99+$3.49 — “Choose: A quick death…or slow poison. About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear.”

Teen: The Eighth Guardian by Meredith McCardle, read by Amy McNarrator — er, I mean, Amy McFadden — for $1.99+$1.99 begins the Annum series: “Amanda Obermann. Code name Iris. It’s Testing Day. The day that comes without warning, the day when all juniors and seniors at The Peel Academy undergo a series of intense physical and psychological tests to see if they’re ready to graduate and become government operatives. Amanda and her boyfriend Abe are top students, and they’ve just endured thirty-six hours of testing. But they’re juniors and don’t expect to graduate. That’ll happen next year, when they plan to join the CIA—together. But when the graduates are announced, the results are shocking. Amanda has been chosen—the first junior in decades. And she receives the opportunity of a lifetime: to join a secret government organization called the Annum Guard and travel through time to change the course of history. But in order to become the Eighth Guardian in this exclusive group, Amanda must say good-bye to everything—her name, her family, and even Abe—forever. Who is really behind the Annum Guard? And can she trust them with her life?”

   

Historical fiction: The Fifth Knight and The Blood of the Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell, read by James Langton for $1.99+$1.99 each are the first two books in Powell’s “The Fifth Knight” historical mystery series: “To escape a lifetime of poverty, mercenary Sir Benedict Palmer agrees to one final, lucrative job: help King Henry II’s knights seize the traitor Archbishop Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. But what begins as a clandestine arrest ends in cold blooded murder. And when Fitzurse, the knights’ ringleader, kidnaps Theodosia, a beautiful young nun who witnessed the crime, Palmer can sit silently by no longer. For not only is Theodosia’s virtue at stake, so too is the secret she unknowingly carries – a secret he knows Fitzurse will torture out of her. Now Palmer and Theodosia are on the run, strangers from different worlds forced to rely only on each other as they race to uncover the hidden motive behind Becket’s grisly murder – and the shocking truth that could destroy a kingdom.”

Thriller: The Teller by Jonathan Stone, read by Karen Peakes for $1.99+$1.99 — “Twenty-three-year-old Elaine Kelly doesn’t earn much as a bank teller, and most of her salary goes toward caring for her terminally ill mother. When a lonely old man who deposits money at her bank every week gets hit and killed by a delivery truck, Elaine – a good Irish girl from Queens – thinks she’s found the answer to her problems. She’ll just transfer $1 million from the dead man’s account into hers. Except that the lonely old man may not have been who he seemed. And when you take $1 million that isn’t yours, it can cost you…way more.”

Mystery: Vertigo by Kristina Dunker, translated from the German by Katja Bell, read by Emily Beresford for $1.99+$1.99 — “Eva is sixteen and experiencing all of the excitement of being in love for the first time. And this weekend promises to be special, as she and her boyfriend, Julian, will be spending time at his parents’ country house. Nothing could be more perfect. Except the journey to the country is anything but, and Eva’s dream weekend is turning into a total nightmare. When Eva’s train is delayed, she is unable to pick up Julian. She soon finds herself alone on a forest road late at night—and the witness to a group of teenagers beating a young boy. As she somehow sneaks by unnoticed, she also loses her diary, an incredibly personal book that holds all of her secrets—including details of her visits to a psychotherapist. So when she meets a kindred spirit who shares her demons and seems to know so much, she has to wonder whether he has read her thoughts.” Note: the Audio CD edition is on clearance for $2.16 for those who prefer physical editions.

Thriller: Ruthless by John Rector, read by Scott Merriman for $1.99+$1.99 — “Nick White is the only person who can save Abigail Pierce. After uncovering a plot to have her killed, he attempts to warn her but instead puts himself squarely in the crosshairs. They know who he is, they know where he lives, they know how to get at his family. Drawn into the conspiracy surrounding Abigail, Nick soon discovers the danger is bigger than he ever believed. Now he must uncover the truth to save her and himself.”


And here’s those couple of indie picks I mentioned that caught my eye this month; in particular, this first one is a 3-book omnibus only on sale this week and I highly recommend picking it up:

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress Series, Books 1-3: Justice Calling, Murder of Crows, Pack of Lies by Annie Bellet, read by Folly Blaine. I’ve really, really enjoyed this series, a quirky take on urban fantasy with some unique twists: “Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress. This is the omnibus of the first three books in the USA Today best-selling urban fantasy series Twenty-Sided Sorceress, collected together for the first time in one convenient volume. Fans of The Dresden Files and The Iron Druid Chronicles will enjoy this series. Book One – Justice Calling: Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho. After 25 years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her powers, quiet suits her just fine. Surrounded by friends who are even less human than she is, Jade figures she’s finally safe. As long as she doesn’t use her magic. When dark powers threaten her friends’ lives, a sexy shape-shifter enforcer shows up. He’s the shifter world’s judge, jury, and executioner rolled into one, and he thinks Jade is to blame. To clear her name, save her friends, and stop the villain, she’ll have to use her wits and her sorceress powers. Except Jade knows that as soon as she does, a far deadlier nemesis awaits.”

I’ve been following the pulpy science fiction of Henry Vogel for quite a while now, and I’m very excited to see his first audiobook finally hit the digital shelves, at $2.99+$1.99 from Rampant Loon Media, read by Daniel Halley. The Fugitive Heir is the first in Vogel’s latest space sf adventure series, where a young adult protagonist refuses to believe her parents are dead: “Everyone thinks I’m in denial and have been ever since my parents vanished seven years ago. Everyone thinks I should just shut up and accept the vast inheritance coming my way. Everyone thinks I should let it go and get on with my life. Everyone is wrong. I know my parents are still alive – but if I reveal how I know, it I’ll be drafted into Psi Corps. But my inheritance can fund my search for them. I didn’t count on deadly opposition from the board of the very company I’m about to inherit. There are powerful people involved who will go to extreme lengths to protect their dark secrets and silence me forever. But those people don’t know about my three wildcards – my rebuilt spaceship, my best friend who doubles as my bodyguard, and the psychic powers I’ve kept secret my entire life. My parents are alive, and I’m going to find them and save them – whatever it takes.” Now, here’s hoping his Scout’s Honor series is not too far behind…

 Jane Eyre Audiobook

Since it ends in 2 days along with most of the monthly deal roundup anyway, it seems fair to mention this Kindle Countdown Whispersync Deal on Fluency (Counfluence, Book 1) by Jennifer Foehner Wells, read by Susanna Burney for Blue Bedlam Books for $0.99+$1.99 — “NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960’s. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it. The ship itself remained silent, drifting. Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it’s an adventure she can’t refuse. The ship isn’t vacant, as they presumed. A disembodied voice rumbles inside Jane’s head, “You are home”. Jane fights the growing doubts of her colleagues as she attempts to decipher what the alien wants from her. As the derelict ship devolves into chaos and the crew gets cut off from their escape route, Jane must decide if she can trust the alien’s help to survive.”

Lastly, there’s a new Audible production of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, performed by actress Thandie Newton (CrashThe Pursuit of HappynessMission: Impossible IIThe Chronicles of RiddickWestworldRogue). “Following Jane from her childhood as an orphan in Northern England through her experience as a governess at Thornfield Hall, Charlotte Brontë’s Gothic classic is an early exploration of women’s independence in the mid-19th century and the pervasive societal challenges women had to endure. At Thornfield, Jane meets the complex and mysterious Mr. Rochester, with whom she shares a complicated relationship that ultimately forces her to reconcile the conflicting passions of romantic love and religious piety. Performing the early Victorian novel with great care and respect, actress Thandie Newton (Crash, The Pursuit of Happyness) draws out Jane Eyre‘s intimacy and depth while conveying how truly progressive Brontë was in an era of extreme restraint.” As there is a free Kindle edition linked to the new Audible edition, you can pick this up for just $0+$1.99.

All right, that’s it this month, sorry again it’s coming so late. Enjoy!

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