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The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi; narrated by Pria AyyarTeen Fiction. Despite being the raja's daughter, Mayavati can't escape her horoscope, which predicts that she will marry "death and destruction." With war looming and her father pressuring her to make a terrible sacrifice, Maya makes a risky decision: she marries the enigmatic Amar and goes with him to Akaran, his Otherwordly kingdom. As she explores Akaran, with its glass garden, Night Bazaar, and beautiful, sinister magic, Maya discover that there's more to her husband -- and herself -- than she dared imagine. Narrator Priya Ayyar highlights the rich imagery and convincingly portrays the young Maya, whose voice gains power as she comes into her own.
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal; narrated by Sean RunnetteAdult Nonfiction. Do animals plan for the future? Reflect on the past? Regret their decisions? Say goodbye to friends and loved ones? Primatologist Frans de Waal has dedicated his life and career to understanding the inner lives of animals. In this book, he presents an accessible overview of the field of evolutionary cognition, complete with anecdotes and essential concepts (such as Umwelt, German for "surrounding world" and referring to an animal's subjective experience). He also traces the progression of human (mis)understanding of animal intelligence, which, he concludes, is neither superior nor inferior to human intelligence, but rather profoundly different.
The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth; narrated by Clint Jordan Adult Nonfiction. Although the best-known 19th-century serial killer may be London's Jack the Ripper, a multiple murderer stalked Austin, Texas before Jack appeared in London. Texas journalist Skip Hollandsworth explores these terrifying crimes in The Midnight Assassin, detailing the killer's M.O. and police efforts to identify and arrest him. Since the Austin crime spree ended in 1885, and London's similarly grisly murders began in 1888, some officials wondered if Jack the Ripper had crossed the Atlantic. Hollandsworth's thorough study of primary sources and news archives yields a thrilling true crime account, while Clint Jordan's narration supports both the seriousness of the topic and the suspenseful nature of Hollandsworth's search for new answers about the Austin slayer's identity.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh; narrated by Nicola Barber and Steven CrossleyAdult Fiction. This twisty debut offers the sort of surprises that make it easy to say too much, so let's stick with the set-up: a mother's life falls apart after her five-year-son is hit and killed by a driver who doesn't stop. The novel, which opens here, follows a devastated Jenna Gray as she leaves Bristol, England, for a small Welsh village, where she isolates herself in her grief. Meanwhile, DI Ray Stevens and rookie detective Kate Evans can't seem to let Jacob's death go, either. Narrators Nicola Barber (as Jenna) and Steven Crossley (voicing the police) enliven the alternation between the ongoing investigation and Jenna's life in Wales.
Lazaretto: A Novel by Diane McKinney-Whetstone; narrated by Adenrele OjoAdult Fiction. On the night of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, 14-year-old Sylvia, an African-American midwife's apprentice assists Meda, a black maid pregnant by her employer, a prominent white lawyer. After Meda's delivery, he claims the newborn and orders Sylvia to tell Meda that the baby has died. In the years that follow, a grief-stricken Meda dedicates her life to helping orphans, while guilt-ridden Sylvia becomes a nurse and finds a position at Philadelphia's Lazaretto quarantine hospital. But their paths are fated to cross again, as tragedy strikes Philadelphia's African American community. Clearly voicing the narration and dialogue, Adenrele Ojo "delivers the scenes with exquisite tones" (AudioFile).
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick; narrated by James LangdonAdult Fiction. In this poignant, charming debut, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper stopped engaging with life a year ago, when his wife of 40 years died. But the discovery among her things of a charm bracelet he'd never seen before prompts a quest to discover the origins of the bracelet and all of its charms. His adventures take him from his home in York through the English countryside, and on to Paris and India. If you're looking for a feel-good novel about personal transformations along the lines of The Little Paris Bookshop, you won't go wrong with The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. James Langdon's well-turned narrative style suits this offbeat tale.
No Fears, No Excuses: What You Need to Do to Have a Great Career by Larry Smith; narrated by Tom TaylorsonAdult Nonfiction. Expanding on his popular TEDx Talk (provocatively called "Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career"), economist Larry Smith outlines a flexible approach to discovering your passions, uncovering your talents, dropping your excuses, and realizing your dreams. Peppered with true stories, this engaging read requires hard work (in the form of putting your plans into action) with potentially huge rewards, and narrator Tom Taylorson projects optimism and confidence with his engaging delivery. If you're struggling with what you want to accomplish in your career, No Fears, No Excuses might be just what you need.
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