The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron; narrated by Amy Rubinate Starring: artist Elizabeth, who marries the owner of Parkham Hill Estate as part of a plot to avenge her father's death; widowed Amelia, who uses the large home to house displaced children and American pilots during World War II; art historian Kiera, who's asked to authenticate an old portrait discovered at the rundown estate by an intriguing stranger.
Narration: Longtime Lost Castle series narrator Amy Rubinate engagingly shifts between numerous character accents and tones.
Gwendy's Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar; narrated by Maggie SiffWhat it's about: Years after a sinister gift-giving box wreaked havoc on her childhood, 37-year-old Gwendy finds it in her possession again.
Narration: Sons of Anarchy actress Maggie Siff's warm reading belies the escalating dread in this sequel to Gwendy's Button Box (which nabbed Siff an AudioFile Earphones Award).
Highfire by Eoin Colfer; narrated by Johnny Heller Introducing: Wyvern, Lord Highfire -- "Vern" for short. This 3,000-year-old dragon, the last of his kind, spends his days drinking vodka and watching TV in the Louisiana bayou.
Narration: AudioFile Golden Voice narrator Johnny Heller imbues this quirky yet violent fantasy with a playful reading.
Africaville by Jeffrey Colvin; narrated by Robin Miles What it is: a sweeping family saga set in the real-life Nova Scotia community founded in the 18th century by black people displaced by British imperial ambitions. The story follows two families through a century of racism, identity struggles, deprivation, and resilience.
Narration: Robin Miles' lively yet measured tone grounds the episodic nature of the multigenerational storyline.
The Clergyman's Wife by Molly Greeley; narrated by Susie RiddellWhat it is: a moving and atmospheric adaptation of Pride and Prejudice told from the perspective of Elizabeth Bennet's practical and frank friend Charlotte Lucas.
Narration: Susie Riddell juggles the novel's large cast of characters with ease, particularly no-nonsense protagonist Charlotte.
Just Breathe by Cammie McGovern; narrated by Caitlin Kelly and Josh HurleyStarring: popular, outgoing David, who tries to downplay his cystic fibrosis while waiting for a lung transplant; and quiet, depressed outsider Jamie, who strikes up an intense friendship with David while volunteering at the hospital.
Narration: Caitlin Kelly and Josh Hurley trade narrative duties in this YA romance told from both characters' perspectives.
Infinity Son by Adam Silvera; narrated by Robbie Daymond, Kirby Heyborne, Maria Liatis, and Elliot Knight What it’s about: NYC vlogger Brighton Rey dreams of joining the Spell Walkers, vigilantes who use their celestial magic to battle the specters, who steal their power from magical creatures. Yet it’s Brighton’s twin, Emil, who manifests phoenix-fire abilities, plunging both brothers into an epic conflict for control of the city.
Narration: The brothers' conflict is amplified by the narrators' contrasting readings: Kirby Heyborne's ambitious Brighton is more energetic than Robbie Daymond's quiet Emil. Maria Liatis and Elliot Knight offer supporting narration for some of the YA fantasy's other characters.
Lethal Pursuit by Will Thomas; narrated by Antony Ferguson 1892 London: Private enquiry agents Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn work for the prime minister to deliver an explosive religious document to France. While preventing the valuable papers from falling into the hands of others, including the Germans, they also investigate the murder of the Foreign Office agent who died trying to do the same.
Narration: Classically trained British actor Antony Ferguson (who has narrated all 11 mysteries in the Barker & Llewelyn series) offers a well-paced reading that complements the atmospheric Victorian setting.
Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie; narrated by Kathleen McInerney Featuring: overwhelmed Holly Banks, mother to kindergartner Ella. Holly has inadvertently started off in her perfect new town on completely the wrong foot and has made an enemy in the vindictive PTA president.
Narration: Kathleen McInerney's brisk reading evocatively captures Holly's anxiety.
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