What’s sweet, a smooth talker, and makes you laugh all day long? No, it’s not your latest love interest, it’s an audiobook! From robot boyfriends to seemingly doomed meet-cutes, we have a romantic comedy for whatever makes you turn to a puddle of mush. Get ready to meet your new crush.
Maddie and Theo have two things in common: Alexa is their best friend, and they hate each other…until they have an “oops, we made a mistake” night together. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the barbs they toss at each other is an attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking. But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.
Kelly is twenty-nine, go-getter, a brilliant robotics engineer, and perpetually single. So when her younger sister’s wedding looms and her attempts to find a date become increasingly cringeworthy, Kelly does the only logical thing: she builds Ethan. He’s gorgeous, attentive, and smart–all topped off by a mechanical heart endlessly devoted to her. But as Ethan’s existence threatens to detonate her career, Kelly knows she has to kiss her perfect man good-bye. There’s just one problem: she’s falling for him.
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. When the father Nina never knew existed dies, leaving behind sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. And Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
Jennifer Cole has just been told that she has a terminal blood disorder and has just three months to live. Focusing on the positives Jennifer realizes she only has one real regret: the relationships she’s lost. Rather than running to complete a bucket list, Jennifer chooses to stay put and write letters to the three most significant people in her life, to say the things she wished she’d said before but never dared: her sister, her ex-husband, and her ex-boyfriend–and finally tell them the truth. At first, Jennifer feels cleansed by her catharsis. But once you start telling the truth, it’s hard to stop.
Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight. Then Annie meets the actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?
Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” And since her dad passed away, Fixie spends all her time keeping his beloved store running. When a handsome stranger named Sebastian asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, she agrees…and ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. Fixie cashes in her IOU, and the tables are turned once more, creating a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie, from small favors to life-changing moments. Soon Fixie is torn between her family and the life she really wants.
When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for. As Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, Justine decides to take Nick’s horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands.
The Midwest: a place where farm fields and family trees stretch for miles and rich, loamy emotions are buried beneath a topsoil of quiet grit. If you’ve listened to J. Ryan Stradal’s debut, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, then you know his sensitivity to the intersection of place and story is as discerning as his characters’ palates. And when it came to recording the audiobook of Stradal’s new novel, The Lager Queen of Minnesota, actor and audiobook narrator Judith Ivey was able to use her own childhood experiences in the Midwest to portray the nuanced voices of a family of beer brewers. Hear Judith talk about the challenges and joys of recording a book that hits close to home, and to J. Ryan’s response to Judith’s narration!
Listen to Judith and J. Ryan talk about recording The Lager Queen of Minnesota:
Learn more and listen to a clip of Judith Ivey reading The Lager Queen of Minnesota:
Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an audiobook about a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the eminent chef behind the country’s most coveted dinner reservation. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, this is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life—its missed opportunities and joyful surprises.
“[Narrators] Ryan and Stuhlbarg shine as they use subtle pacing and tone to portray the unique personalities of each character, adding just the slightest hints of a Midwestern accent to give authenticity and differentiation. Stradal’s skillful writing delivered by accomplished narrators offers listeners a debut performance to savor.”—AudioFile
The newest book from author Colson Whitehead is The Nickel Boys, and it’s just as haunting, heartbreaking, and brilliant as his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Underground Railroad. Naturally, bringing Whitehead’s masterful prose to like via The Nickel Boys audiobook required an equally masterful narrator. Enter JD Jackson.
Learn more about award-winning narrator JD Jackson and his narration experience: Tell us about The Nickel Boys. The Nickel Boys is about a young man, Elwood, coming of age on the tail end of Jim Crow. He wants to go to college but ends up at a reformatory school, because of a system that fails him. His experiences at the Nickel Academy, which is based on a real school in Florida, expose the wounds of racism and violence that have left the scars we continue to scratch as a nation. Seeing this young man’s optimism and belief in Dr. King’s dream diminished at every turn is heartbreaking. Seeing his friend Turner’s cynicism validated is sobering. Props to Whitehead. He writes this in a way that makes hopelessness beautiful. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. A new classic, in my opinion.
Was there a character in the book that you found yourself wanting to explore more? Why?
The character I wanted to explore more would have to be Griff. What happens with him in the novel is pretty memorable. I would’ve liked to know his backstory. To see his arc from before the Nickel Academy, to after the boxing match. To know what experiences led him to bully, then champion the black boys’ dormitory, only to fail himself.
Is there a book or character that you’ve narrated that helped you explore parts of yourself?
I recently narrated a book called The Warner Boys, by Curt and Ana Warner. It’s a memoir by a former football star and his wife, who after years of self-imposed seclusion share their story of raising twin boys with severe autism. This book constantly made me reflect on my own adventures in fatherhood and forced me to measure my patience, faith, and strength with the Warners’. It put parenting in perspective and reminded me of just how blessed I am. It also showed how sharing your pain versus isolating yourself is the real salve.
What audiobook would you take with you on vacation?
The audiobook that I would take with me on vacation would have to be The Alchemist narrated by Jeremy Irons. One of my all-time favorite books. Sometimes I have to recalibrate or be reminded of my “personal legend.” And who better to take you on that literary journey than Jeremy Irons?
Listen to a clip of JD Jackson narrating The Nickel Boys:
“Haunting and haunted…devastating.”—Frank Rich, The New York Times Book Review (cover)
“The Nickel Boys is a chilling, masterful novel that explores the depths of evil and the resilience of the human spirit. Whitehead’s prose is dazzling, and the narrative’s nimble twist is a swift kick to the solar plexus.”—The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
The situation was dire. A double-A supply run was out of the question: the van only pulled over for two reasons, coffee and gas. It would be at least another hour before Dad would need a refill on either. No, Holly and I were stuck in the back seat holding a state-of-the-art white plastic brick with a black screen. Trading high scores had tragically killed our friend Tetris in a matter of hours. The family road trip wasn’t even at the halfway point, and I had already gone through all five stages of grief. The Game Boy was gone, and I had accepted boredom. Luckily, there was a fail-safe. I had brought my Walkman—or rather my affordably priced, generic, store-brand portable cassette player—and along with it, my complete music library: Vanilla Ice, MC Skat Kat, and a worn-out tape of that week’s top ten, recorded off the radio.
I think this is a good time to mention I’m eleven in this story.
I also had with me an audiobook, and by that I mean I was in possession of an actual book of audio. The plastic case opened to reveal a pair of numbered cassettes, labeled Sphere by Michael Crichton. A few days before the trip, I had tagged along with my mother to the library. Mom didn’t play Game Boy and wanted a book to bring along for the drive. It was a smart move on her part. Books rarely run out of batteries. Unfortunately, any attempt at me trying to read in the van always resulted in a bad case of motion sickness. Instead of Dramamine, Mom prescribed an audiobook. It would be my first.
As a new experience, choosing a title from the shelf would require a very thorough three-step vetting process: Is the font on the spine cool? If so, is the cover art cool? If so, is the summary on the back cool? By following this scientific method of coolness, Sphere was written in Helvetica-ish green, the cover showed a circle in water, and the summary seemed like pretty standard sci-fi fare. It was a quick and easy pass until five words obliterated the competition: “from the creator of Westworld.” Now at this point in my life, the list of my favorite robot movies went as follows:
So if this Michael Crichton guy was the same dude who made the sweet futuristic western about a haywire robo-cowboy amusement park, it only made sense in my fifth-grade brain that, of course, I’d love a contained adult psychological thriller about imaginary jellyfish!
I put on my affordably priced, generic, store-brand headphones and hit Play. It only took a few chapters, and I was completely hooked. For the first time I could enjoy a story on the go, and Sphere was taking me places. It had—spoiler alert from 1991—everything awesome: time travel, starships, A.I. run amok. I was transported from that boring highway in Oklahoma to a high-tech undersea habitat in the Pacific Ocean. I followed the scientists as they discussed the mysterious sphere and investigated its origins and potential sinister intent. A million questions cycled through my mind: What did it want? How did it get there? Can you please turn down the radio a little?
Even at max volume it was difficult to hear the narrator over the guitar licks of Boston’s “More than a Feeling.” My headphones’ little spongy ear-thingies were poor insulation against Dad’s classic rock station. He’d occasionally be nice enough to inch the dial back, only to mindlessly roll it forward again when he dug another tune. I was on an exciting underwater adventure scored intermittently by Lynyrd Skynyrd. There’s nothing quite like an intense chapter ending on a suspenseful cliffhanger, and just as it holds on that beat of perfect silence…“Free Bird” rocks out.
For the entire drive, every music legend from the Eagles to the Stones to the local car-dealership jingle contributed to my own personal Sphere soundtrack. It was one of my most frustrating, irritating, and, looking back now, formative experiences growing up. I burned through the two A and B sides of Sphere back to back, nonstop on that trip. I never stopped listening. It didn’t matter that Dad’s old timey music was annoying. I had to know what happened next in the story. My first audiobook was everything I had hoped. It showed me how a good story can grab the imagination and never let go. A good story can entice and intrigue. It pulls you through every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter from departure to arrival. The best stories take you on a journey. An audiobook is one that goes along for the ride. When it was time for our next family road trip, Holly asked Mom for more batteries.
I asked for better headphones.
Listen to a clip and learn more about Justin Dean’s Awesome Dog 5000
Marty, Ralph, and Skyler might make the ultimate secret combo when battling alien-slime ninjas in their favorite video game, but in real life they’re just regular kids. That is, until the three best friends discover Awesome Dog 5000, a robotic dog with very real power-ups. Life for Marty, Ralph, and Skyler just got a major turbo-boost!
“An awesome ride! Go, dog, go!”—Chris Grabenstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Need to get through your to-be-read list quickly but don’t have time? Love closing your eyes and hearing a great story at the end of a long day? Oh yeah, so do we. Check out our top ten reasons to queue up audiobooks this summer, and let the listening love affair begin!
It’s July in New York and we’re wondering where the summer went. Also, how could we possibly be only 5 months away from 2020?! This year has truly flown by. When I’m not scheduling activities to make the most of the rest of the summer months, I’m finding solace through my air pods.
Here’s what I’m listening to:
There’s nothing more enjoyable than a great coming-of-age story, and City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert is just that: an audiobook about girlhood, about the relationships between women, and also a nostalgic love letter to New York City. Like Vivian, I find comfort in knowing that none of us really know what we’re doing and that we all go through ups and downs and get a little lost along the way.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been emotionally prepping myself for the premier of The Lion King movie by listening to the new soundtrack over and over again! (Petition to rename the movie Beyoncé Presents: The Lion King). Our queen of the jungle has stayed true to brand, delivering a regal, goosebump-triggering rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” alongside Donald Glover. The entire soundtrack is both comforting and brings me to tears at the same time. You’ll know where to find me on July 18th!
When I’m in need of some soul searching, I’m most likely tuning into On Purpose with Jay Shetty. Jay is an award-winning storyteller, life coach, and monk dedicated to making “wisdom go viral.” The podcast is a series of interviews discussing positivity, passion, and purpose, and the episodes are full of valuable, actionable content that leaves me feeling motivated and rejuvenated. Seriously, I can listen to that man talk forever.
With topics like making day-to-day tasks easier, learning about money, and caring for plants, these books were all inspired by these women’s desire to help others. Plus, discover which author’s dream narrator is Lorelei King—the voice behind Stephanie Plum.
S4 E41: Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, Kristy Shen, and Summer Rayne Oakes - SoundCloud (818 secs long, 15 plays)Play in SoundCloud
Covering everything from personal finance, to career, to stress management, global politics, and more, this audiobook gives you the information you need to make informed and empowered decisions in your life.
From two leaders of the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement, a bold, contrarian guide to retiring at any age, with a reproducible formula to financial independence.
“This book wants you to be rich: in money, in time, and in life. You have come to the right place. Kristy and Bryce take you through the process step by step, with actionable things that you can do no matter what your age, location, background, or education.”—JLCollins, bestselling author of The Simple Path to Wealth
When we become plant parents, we also become better caretakers of ourselves, the people around us, and our planet. So, let’s step inside the world of plants and discover how we can begin cultivating our own personal green space–in our homes, in our minds, and in our hearts.
“Summer Rayne will upend so much more than your approach to plant care. You’ll learn how to better care for and treat people—starting with yourself. Highly recommended for anyone who struggles with the emptiness of modern living.”—Hannah Bronfman, author of Do What Feels Good
To listen to more episodes of This Is the Author, click here.
When it comes to choosing an audiobook for a summer chill session—whether that be by the shore or in a sun spot on your floor—not only do we want a great story, we also want the perfect narrator—or full cast of narrators—to tell it. Check out these 9 new audiobooks for listeners who crave great voices and unexpected stories that will develop their brains along with their tans!
Read by the author and an all-star full cast. Fair warning: Raised in Captivity does not slot into a smooth preexisting groove. Funny, wise, and weird in equal measure, this short story collection is a fever graph of our deepest unvoiced hopes, fears and preoccupations. Ceaselessly inventive, hostile to corniness in all its forms, and mean only to the things that really deserve it, it marks a cosmic leap forward for one of our most consistently fascinating writers.
Named a best book of Summer 2019 by Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Vulture, Nylon, Bustle, TheSkimm, and LitHub
The spellbinding new audiobook from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.
Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, matriarch Annette’s birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they’ve been ignoring—and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.
Shot through with Russo’s trademark comedy and humanity, Chances Are… also introduces a new level of suspense and menace that will quicken the reader’s heartbeat throughout this absorbing saga of how friendship’s bonds are every bit as constricting and rewarding as those of family or any other community.
Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone…
“This career-defining epic deserves its inevitable comparisons to Stephen King’s The Stand.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Through the lens of their decades-long friendship and including exclusive interviews and details from previously classified documents, noted historian and New York Times bestselling author Steven M. Gillon examines John F. Kennedy Jr.’s life and legacy in this riveting and revealing audiobook.
A food critic chronicles four years spent traveling with René Redzepi, the renowned chef of Noma, in search of the most tantalizing flavors the world has to offer. Hungry is a memoir, a travelogue, a portrait of a chef, and a chronicle of the moment when daredevil cooking became the most exciting and groundbreaking form of artistry.
Summer Rayne Oakes, an urban houseplant expert and environmental scientist, is the icon of wellness-minded millennials who want to bring nature indoors. Summer has managed to grow 1,000 houseplants in her Brooklyn apartment (and they’re thriving!) Her secret? Listen to the audiobook—read by Summer!—to find out.
For more beachy audio recommendations, CLICK HERE. And speaking of refreshing summer activities, ever wondered what audiobook would pair best with your favorite beer? Wonder no more! Find your perfect beer and audio pairing here!
The stories from these debut authors range from memoirs to fantasy to mystery thrillers. So, whether you’re heading to the beach or spending a sunny afternoon outside relaxing, these audiobooks will keep you entertained. Discover a fresh new voice to add to your playlist!
Makeda June Kirkland is eleven-years-old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda’s family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena- the only other adopted black girl she knows- for a new life. Makeda can’t help but wonder: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me?
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of Imperial Tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
An often hilarious and always relevant memoir about one teen boy’s battle with brain cancer and his Starlight Children’s Foundation wish: to meet Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia and plead for nuclear disarmament and world peace.
This novel follows the lives of three groundbreaking women: up-and-coming German actress Marlene Dietrich, who would wend her way into Hollywood as one of its lasting icons; Anna May Wong, the world’s first Chinese American star, playing for bit parts while dreaming of breaking away from her father’s modest laundry; and Leni Riefenstahl, whose work as a director would first make her famous—then, infamous.
Fourteen-year-old Cindy and her two older brothers live in rural Pennsylvania, in a house with occasional electricity, two fierce dogs, one book, and a mother who comes and goes for months at a time. So when a glamorous teen from a more affluent, cultured home goes missing, Cindy escapes her own family’s poverty and slips into the missing teen’s life. As Cindy experiences overwhelming maternal love for the first time, she must reckon with her own deceits and, in the process, learn what it means to be a daughter, a sister, and a neighbor.
Meet Kelly. Twenty-nine, go-getter, a brilliant robotics engineer, and perpetually single. So when her younger sister’s wedding looms and her attempts to find a date become increasingly cringeworthy, Kelly does the only logical thing: she builds her own boyfriend. What could go wrong?
Cale Lambert, a bookish loner of mysterious parentage, lives in a dusty town near the California-Nevada border. When she starts waitressing at the local diner, she reconnects with Penélope Reyes, a charismatic former classmate running mysterious side-hustles to fund her dreams. The girls become inseparable—until one terrifying act of violence shatters their world.
Ella is nearing thirty, and not yet living the life she imagined. One spring, Bryn–a retired carpenter–hires her to help him care for Jill, his wife of many years. A car accident caused a brain injury that has left Jill verbally diminished. As Ella is drawn ever deeper into the couple’s household, her presence unwanted but wholly necessary, she is startled by the yearning this awakens in her, one that complicates her feelings for her girlfriend, Alix, and causes her to look at relationships of all kinds in new ways.
Roberta spends her life trying not to take up space. At almost thirty, she is adrift and alienated from life. But when she meets Stevie, a spirited and effervescent artist, their intense friendship sparks a change in Roberta, a shift in her desire for more. Together, they invent the Supper Club, a transgressive and joyous collective of women who gather to celebrate, rather than admonish, their hungers; Roberta is forced to reconcile herself to the desire and vulnerabilities of the body–and the past she has worked so hard to repress.
In her first weeks at Hawthorne College, Malin is swept up into a tight-knit circle that will stick together through all four years. But Malin isn’t like the rest of her friends; she’s an expert at hiding her troubled past. She acts as if she shares the preoccupations of those around her—dating, partying—all while using her extraordinary insight to detect their deepest vulnerabilities and weaknesses. On the cusp of graduation, Malin’s secrets—and those of her friends—are revealed. While she scrambles to maintain her artfully curated image, her missteps set in motion a devastating chain of events that ends in a murder…
Interested in learning about more fantastic debut authors?
Take a look at June Debuts!
This is the spoiler-free moral of Melanie Cantor’s new audiobook, Death and Other Happy Endings. Read on to learn what Melanie had to share with us about adoring her characters, the beauty of reality, and just how dreamy listening on a (well-deserved) vacation can be.
Tell us a little about Death and Other Happy Endings.
Death and Other Happy Endings is about a 43 year old woman who is given three months to live. Instead of taking a trip of a lifetime, she decides to write letters to the three significant people in her life who have hurt her and finally brave telling them how she really feels. All the things she’s wanted to say but never dared. It’s about female empowerment, finding your voice and why we should face up to important issues before it’s too late. Even though its subject encompasses death, it’s a witty and challenging read, dealing with love, life and making sure you live it, friendship and relationships.
Was there a character in Death and Other Happy Endings that you found yourself wanting to explore more? Why?
To be honest, I fell in love with all my characters and the more they developed the more I wanted to explore them. A lot of people have described them as “very real” – I think that’s because they were so real to me. The book touches on very human experiences, some devastating, so it was important for me to make them authentic. Naturally I love Jennifer (the main protagonist) but Isabelle brings so much humour to the mix, you fall in love with her in spite of her vanity.
Is there a book or character that you’ve written that helped you explore parts of yourself?
Writing Jennifer’s relationship with Harry helped me understand a significant unfinished relationship in my life which has always been a ‘what if?’ for me. In other words, what if I’d have done things differently? What if I’d fought harder for him? What if I’d have trusted him instead of doubting him? I played that out with Jennifer and Harry and I think the outcome is probably the outcome for most of these types of relationships. And we’ve all had one, haven’t we?
What audiobook (or voice) would you take with you on vacation?
Oh my goodness. I so long for a vacation. Just to lie down by a pool and read or listen to books would be wonderful. I’m hoping I get the opportunity before summer ends. I watched the TV series Patrick Melrose based on Edward St Aubyn’s semi-autobiographical novels and found it compelling. I’d happily listen to that (although I’m sure it will be quite disturbing). I also love quirky writers like Jennifer Egan and Maria Semple so would listen to A Visit from the Goon Squad and Where’d You Go Bernadette even though I’ve read both. I’m also a huge fan of AM Homes so anything of hers. Years ago I listened to William Hurt narrating The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux and I could listen to him forever. He could read a shopping list and I’d be gripped.
If you could explore any part of the world, where would you go and why?
There are several places I keep on saying I want to visit but they all require time and currently I have none. I hope I won’t leave it too late to see Vietnam and Cambodia, South America, Cuba and India. I need to take a leaf out of my own book and “do it now! There are only so many tomorrows!”
Is there a fictional world you’ve written that you would personally like to explore? Why?
As you can tell from my book and what I’ve said above I prefer reality. I’ve been a fly on the wall in Jennifer’s world for about the last three years and I’ve enjoyed that immensely. Now it’s time to move on and explore another, very different world of a different family. Of course they’ll be totally dysfunctional and that’s what I already love about them.
Listen to a clip of Hannah Curtis reading Melanie Cantor’s Death and Other Happy Endings