Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!



Happy New Year! As we watch the old one go, I'm grateful for so much in my life, my family and friends, my cats, my work. All my travels this past year, especially my trip to Ireland. Broadway!

And, I'm grateful I had my friends in the book world, and all these wonderful books in 2016. It's the last time to look back.

And, we're about to look forward. I hope 2017 brings you good health, love and friendship in your life, and good books. I hope you stop back here often. I always enjoy your comments, and learning what you're reading. Thank you.

So, here's a toast to you, and a song from an Irish singer. Eamonn McCrystal wrote and performs, "Friends As Yet to Come".

https://youtu.be/7YjmXMXB8Fg


May all the blessings of the world
Be well within your reach.
And all the days that lie ahead
Be ones of love and peace.
When the midnight falls upon us
And the elder year is done,
We'll raise a glass to friends of yore
And friends as yet to come.

May seasons of good fortune drift
Along and find you well.
And by this time next New Year's Eve,
Have you new tales to tell.
Every father, every mother,
Every daughter, every son,
We'll raise a glass to friends of yore
And friends as yet to come.

Let sweet forgiveness shower down
And fill our hearts with light.
Be slow to anger, quick to love,
And ever full of life.
Let us sing the songs of providence.
Let us speak in kindred tongues.
And raise a glass to friends of yore
And friends as yet to come.
And raise a glass to friends of yore
And friends as yet to come.

To friends - Happy New Year!




Friday, December 30, 2016

Favorite Books of 2016

I always end the year saying this is a list of my favorite books. It isn't a list of bestsellers, or the "Best Books" of 2016. It's the books I most enjoyed reading during the year. I picked these ten from the ones I gave 5 Stars to on Goodreads. And, even that list is not correct. While it says I read 146 books, my journal shows 150. It appears I didn't put a few books on Goodreads when I read them for Library Journal's forthcoming reviews.

But, the list is as close as I'm going to get to my favorites of the year. Just my personal list.

10. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald - A small Iowa town won't be the same after a woman from Sweden arrives, discovers her pen pal has died, and opens a bookstore with that friend's books.









9. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - Caught between the Russian and German armies in 1945, four teenagers join refugees flocking to the sea, hoping to escape.








8. Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell - A Quaker midwife hears all the stories in a Massachusetts mill town, post-Civil War, and needs to put together those stories to find a killer and arsonist.








7. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan - A librarian who loses her job shares her love of books by setting out for Scotland in a bookmobile.










6. Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo - Police Chief Kate Burkholder goes undercover to a reclusive Amish settlement in upstate New York.








5. The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller - A baker in Vermont falls in love with the country and music, in this delightful, atmospheric debut novel.









4. Murder in Containment by Anne Cleeland - In the latest Doyle & Acton mystery, Doyle realizes several recent murders are "containment murders" to keep other crimes a secret.









3. The Highwayman by Craig Johnson - A ghost story novella in which Sheriff Longmire and his friend, Henry Standing Bear, leave the county to help a patrolman who is receiving an officer's call for help. And, the voice sounds like that of a trooper who died years earlier.







2. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor - The first in the Chronicles of St. Mary's, stories of historians running amuck through time, and the chaos that ensues in a comic novel that includes romance, tragedy and history.







1. A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny - A mysterious map leads Gamache back to Three Pines as he tries to discover the truth in his new position, and protect four young cadets. Kindness and the truth as represented in a great character.

No nonfiction on my list this year, which isn't unusual for my reading. But, there are two debut novels, a few mysteries, a few favorite authors who are still writing at their best. It was a satisfying year for books.

I hope you found some books to love and remember in 2016. What were a few of your favorite books this year?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mystery Columnist

I'm not going anyplace, but some of my reviewing may slow down a little until I get an added responsibility under control. Along with another librarian, Ann Theis, I'll be writing the mystery column for Library Journal, beginning with the March 1 issue. That means we're already reading April releases because our deadline for that issue is in mid-January. I just have to find a routine and a rhythm to continue to write and review both here and for LJ.

I'll still be writing reviews here. And, there's my Favorites of 2016 post coming up tomorrow, along with the Treasures in My Closet posts over the weekend. The giveaways will be starting again next week. Sandie Herron will still be writing news and reviews of audios under "Did You Hear?".

I appreciate your patience, and your willingness to talk about what you're reading. I'm hoping to find a routine soon. Thank you for reading with me, even if the reviews have been fewer recently. I'm grateful!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

What Are You Reading?

I actually do have a reason that I haven't posted a book review, although I did read several books over the holidays. But, I'll save that for tomorrow.

Today, I wanted to find out what you're reading now, and what you found time to read over the holidays. I'm just starting Anne Perry's new book, Murder on the Serpentine. It's due out in March, and, it's the final book in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, as we know it. Perry is going to jump ahead to 1910 with a new generation in the next book. I guess, I could have even put that news under "Have You Heard?"

In the meantime, tell me about your books. What have you read or listened to? Or, what books did you get as presents? Would you share and tell all of us?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

January Cozy Mysteries from Berkley

Just a short list this month from Berkley. And, apologies to Cleo Coyle for calling the book by the wrong title, instead of Dead Cold Brew. But, it's right in the photo, and below! Happy reading everyone! May you enjoy wonderful books in 2017.




Here's the list of the books discussed.

Pop Goes the Murder - Kristi Abbott - 2nd Popcorn Shop Mystery
Dead Cold Brew - Cleo Coyle - 16th Coffeehouse Mystery
Better Off Thread - Amanda Lee - 10th Embroidery Mystery
Assault and Beret - Jenn McKinlay - 5th Hat Shop Mystery
Third Times a Crime - Diana Orgain - 3rd Love or Money Mystery
Telling Tails - Sofie Ryan - 4th Second Chance Cat Mystery

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas! I know this hasn't been an easy year for so many of my friends, people I love. There's been so much loss and grief this year. It may not be an easy Christmas for so many people.

I hope you find joy in your family and friends. I hope there is love in your life. If you're facing loss and grief, I hope you have someone who reaches out to you. If you face fear or unhappiness, I hope there is someone to hold your hand.

I'm grateful for my wonderful family, the joy and laughter in my life. I'm grateful for my friends, people who have become family. I'm grateful that I have people to talk with, to commiserate with me.

For Christmas, for the New Year, I wish you love. I wish you joy and laughter. And, if you need someone to listen, reach out. So many of us have needed someone to listen.

My Christmas wish for all of us is for peace, and joy, and love. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

From EarlyWord

I don't think Nora Rawlinson will mind me sharing this. It's from EarlyWord.com, her site that connects librarians and publishers. Thank you, Nora!

Peer Picks

9780385353540_5d33aOne peer pick arrivesthis week and it is both a LibraryReads and an Indie Next selection, Books for Living, Will Schwalbe (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT).
“Every book changes your life. So I like to ask: How is this book changing mine?’ Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club, focuses on a personal collection of books that changed his life. Each book he selects provides a lesson, a reminder as to how to live his life. Readers will remember favorite books, find new books to try, and lessons to think about. Schwalbe’s book is warm, charming, and very personal. It’s a book for all avid readers.” — Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Evansville, IN
Additional Buzz: Publishers Weekly and Booklist give it starred reviews. Reviewed in this week’s this week’s NYT BR, it is on  a number of best of the month lists including those by BookRiotBustleHarper’s Bazaar, and Real SimpleVanity Fair lists it as one of their “Must-Read Books of the Holiday Season” and Signaturewrites it is “A delicious indulgence to anyone who loves talking about books and listening to others talk about them.” 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Island of Glass by Nora Roberts

"Without those who will risk all to stand against evil, no world can flourish." That's not a spoiler for Nora Roberts' Island of Glass, the final book in her Guardians Trilogy. It's a summary of the story of six heroes who unite to return stars to the sky, and save the world from evil. This series was a little different, with its emphasis on magic and goddesses and evil, but Roberts, as always, manages to create unique characters, and bring couples together.

After their last battle with Nerezza, the hunt for the final star brings the six to Ireland, to the home of Bran Killian, the wizard. But, Bran's home stands on the land that once belong to Doyle's family. Now, it shelters the six heroes; the wizard, the seer, the time traveler, the mermaid, the immortal, and the lycan. And, it's here in Ireland that they realize they have a closer connection than any of them imagined. It's this connection that brought them together, and will help them in the battles with Nerezza and those who serve her.

As the group prepares for battle, the focus is on Riley and Doyle. They archaeologist/lycan and the immortal have long fought their attraction for each other. They're both dominant, strong personalities. But the final clues to their quest might not come together until the two realize how much they need each other.

If you loved the previous books in this series, you won't be disappointed in the conclusion. It's beautiful and triumphant, as you would expect. It's romantic and loving, as you expect from Nora Roberts. And, with it's setting in County Clare in Ireland, it's wild and gorgeous, and calls to me. I can see why it's the final setting for the Guardians Trilogy. Nora Roberts brings her heroes home in Island of Glass.

Nora Roberts' website is www.noraroberts.com

Island of Glass by Nora Roberts. Berkley, 2016. ISBN 9780425280126 (paperback), 352p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book




Thursday, December 22, 2016

Short Winter Break



I need a day or two off to catch up. That Nora Roberts book? Almost 500 pages (I picked up the large print because it was easier to get at the library). I have a book to review for a journal, and I'd like to read it before I start all the mysteries.

I'll be back soon. I'll review Island of Glass. I'll have the monthly book chat. But, let's face it. It's coming down to the wire, and I'm sure everyone is busy. I won't be gone long. But, I'm taking a few days off.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What Are You Reading?

As I said earlier, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed,  so I'm looking forward to a long weekend for Christmas reading. What are you reading right now?

I'm finishing Nora Roberts' Guardians Trilogy. Book Three is Island of Glass. I know my sister said she didn't care for the fantasy elements in this series. But, this latest book is set in County Clare in Ireland, and we were there earlier this year. The descriptions of the cliffs and the wild water are so familiar that I'm finding the book fun.

Do you have time to read this week? What have you been reading?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

An Open Book by Michael Dirda

When I read literary critic Michael Dirda's book, Browsings, I discovered he's from northern Ohio, and went to college at Oberlin. Browsings led me to the story of Dirda's youth, An Open Book: Chapters from a Reader's Life. It's a book that resonated with me more than it would many readers since I'm from northern Ohio, spent a little time at the university library at Oberlin,  and, most of all, shared that passion for reading.

"All that kid wants to do is stick his nose in a book," was the complaint of Dirda's father who spent his life working at a mill job. But, his father wanted Michael to go to college, and make the money to get out of the the mill town of Lorain, Ohio. I recognized myself so many times, despite the fact that I was a female, but still pudgy, wearing glasses at a young age. Michael Dirda is nine years older than me, but I recognize the books and stories about his childhood. There's the excitement of the school book club, and the opportunity to order paperbacks. In fourth grade, he ordered Snow Treasure, a book I also ordered and remember with fondness. How many young people my age read those "Childhood of Great Americans" biographies at our public libraries? Michael Dirda read them. City chicken was on the menu for dinner, and there were fireflies in the backyard during the summer.

Dirda's memoir is about his childhood through college years, as he grew as a reader. He read and studied literature, studied under teachers and professors who pushed him. I found his childhood and high school years more interesting, before he became so immersed in the classics. Those classics led him to his career as a literary critic. But, it was his youth and his deep immersion into books that I found fascinating. "To be an indiscriminate reader - as the luckiest young often are - means that the right books are all around you."

Michael Dirda's youth was not mine. I'm not male. I did not grow up in an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood in the mill town of Lorain. But, I connect with his immersion in books as a child, his feelings of insecurity, even his insecurity that he wasn't in the right place when he was at Oberlin. Michael Dirda studied the classics and languages, while I took a different direction in my love of popular literature. But, it's those books that reflect our own lives that resonate with us. And, Michael Dirda, with his background of reading, his northern Ohio upbringing, brings all that to a memoir that resonates with me, An Open Book.

An Open Book: Chapters from a Reader's Life by Michael Dirda. W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd., 2003. ISBN 9780393326167 (paperback), 335p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I bought the copy of the book.




Monday, December 19, 2016

Have You Heard? - Cat Under Fire by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

“Have You Heard?” is a column featured only on Lesa’s Book Critiques.  It features many reviews of audiobooks (fiction, with a concentration in mysteries) but these reviews will include recent and past books for an interesting mixture of titles. Content is usually written by Sandie Herron.  It also covers news of note and not generally available, such as ASAP publishing a limited edition for a certain author or perhaps something important out of Publisher’s Weekly.  The column is published sporadically, so you’ll want to watch for it!

*****

Cat Under Fire AudiobookCat Under Fire
Series: Joe Grey Mystery, Book 2
Written by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Narrated by Susan Boyce
Unabridged Audiobook, Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins 
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc., Publication 1/1/2013
ASIN: B00AVGFYBI

Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's 1997 Muse Medallion


We open on the quaint town of Molena Point, California where cats Joe Grey and his lady Dulcie live.  They enjoy their time of hunting rats or small vermin, running from rooftop to treetop, eating the scrumptious food their owners Clyde and Wilma set out, and they enjoy a good conversation.  Not only can they speak, but they can write, read, and use the telephone.  Their skill set is growing every day, since they only recently discovered their special abilities.  They keep quiet about this to all but their owners and friend Kate who is able to change from human to cat and back again, but she has left town for her own safety.

Although Kate has left, Molena Point has a new member of the community – Wilma Getz’s red-haired niece Charleston, or Charlie for short.  She had attended art school in San Francisco, as did Kate, but after giving it a good two-year try, she threw in the towel and realized she was not going to make her living in the art world.  She was excellent at sketching Dulcie, for instance, but the art school told her animal art just doesn’t sell.  She moved to Molena Point, and within a week had a business permit, business cards, and two employees.  She was going to fix up and clean up Molena Point!  Her services were badly needed, since no one else took care of those small necessities.  Charlie loved seeing thing all spiffy and in working order.

Charlie’s first big job is cleaning up the home of a local artist whose home was burned down, and since it occurred in the early morning hours and because her coffee was drugged, Janet never got out.  The image of her body under a police tarp is haunting many people – Clyde, who once dated her, Dulcie who admired her, Wilma since they were friends, etc.  Now Janet’s sister wants Charlie to totally revamp the home and make it as it was, no small task.  However, she cannot proceed until the police release the scene.

The man suspected of setting the fire had been a guest of the local jail and is now on trial.  Dulcie spent many hours on the ledge of his jail window listening to him talk.  Now she is following the trial from the ledge of the courthouse windows and in the newspaper.  The police wish they could find a journal or something in Janet’s hand about those people around her to give them clues on who might have done it; their case against Rob Parks isn’t overly strong.  They even send a policeman to the home to search specifically for one.  Joe and Dulcie happen to be there while the cop searches.  When he gives up and leaves, they take over and find a journal that is quite revealing.  Dulcie alerts Chief of Police Max Harper, so that he can retrieve it himself.

Joe and Dulcie begin to wonder what else the police might have missed.  While searching her home, Dulcie stepped on a thumb tack.  Janet didn’t use them since they made her thumbs hurt pushing them in; she used  a staple gun instead.  Could the pile of paintings destroyed by fire not be the ones everyone thinks are ruined?  What if they were taken off sight and replaced with something else much less valuable?  Where would the paintings be? Who would have a vehicle to move them in without drawing any attention to themselves or what they were doing?

Joe and Dulcie do some terrific sleuthing and find many answers which she shares with Captain Harper.  Max Harper is beginning to wonder who this anonymous informant might be.  He even talks to Clyde, Joe’s owner, at length.  


I let out a sigh of contentment when this book ended.  I could close my eyes and see the final scene in front of me, as if in a video.  A smile came to my face, and I found the next book in the series to start right away.  I didn’t want to leave this unique town of Molena Point, home of some very special cats and people.   Sandie Herron

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Gift of a Lifetime by Melissa Hill

I almost took Melissa Hill's The Gift of a Lifetime back to the library. Then, I read the back flap again. An Irish immigrant to New York City loves movies and New York. At Christmastime, someone sends her on a treasure hunt to movie-related sites in the city. It sounded Christmasy and fun.

Beth's passion is Hollywood movies. She shared that love with her Irish grandmother. Now that she's been living in New York, and has been together with her boyfriend, Danny, for seven years, she still sees the city and her relationship through the eyes of a movie lover. Her co-worker, Jodi, tries to tell her "Life isn't like the movies", but Beth refuses to believe it. Now, after seven years together though, Danny doesn't seem as receptive to her happiness or bubbly nature. He's working long hours, takes secret phone calls, won't let her empty his pockets.

So, Beth is receptive when a new man at the department store where she works shows a little interest. She flirts with Ryan, but she tells him she's in a committed relationship. But how committed is Danny? And, then someone sends Beth a cup of coffee via messenger. It's the start of a treasure hunt throughout the city, with clues relating to movies set in Manhattan. As Beth gets more excited about the hunt, Jodi warns her that if it isn't Danny sending the clues, someone is stalking her. Beth's love of movies leads her to unknown people as she hunts for the next hint. What man cares enough about her to set up a special hunt just for her?

I was a little disappointed in The Gift of a Lifetime. It took one hundred pages to get to the treasure hunt. Beth came across as too naive and innocent. She avoided talking to Danny about problems with their relationship. And, the other characters didn't seem to have any depth. The movie trivia was fun, but the story fell flat for me. However, readers who loved Melissa Hill's novel, A Gift from Tiffany's, may appreciate her latest book more than I did. It just didn't capture New York and Christmastime as I thought it would.

Melissa Hill's website is www.melissahill.info

The Gift of a Lifetime by Melissa Hill. St. Martin's Griffin. 2016. ISBN 9781250077158 (paperback), 374p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book

Saturday, December 17, 2016

So Many Books...What's On Your TBR Pile?

So many books. Sometimes, it's overwhelming and it's hard to decide what to read next. My To Be Read Pile could actually be my entire home and garage, but I'll only mention the five books sitting beside me right now. And, I'll be honest and say sometimes something catches my attention, and I read it straight through. But, often I read part of one book, and alternate with others. I'm usually reading several at a time. I always have one mystery. Sometimes there's a nonfiction title, and a novel or two. But, the novels have to be very different. And, as all of you know who follow my blog, the mysteries are my favorites, so I'll usually read that first.

This time, I have one book that's already been published, so it will probably be the first to be reviewed, and I'll add something to the pile to replace it. It's a terrific collection, mostly forthcoming books.

So, before I share my TBR pile, tell me about yours. Do you read multiple books at the same time? How do you choose? What's on your TBR pile right now?

Melissa Hill's The Gift of a Lifetime is from the library. It's set in New York City at Christmastime, and features a woman who receives anonymous gifts and clues that send her to some of the city's most popular landmarks. The clues are perfect for a romantic comedy movie lover. But, who's sending the gifts?








I've just started Paige Shelton's mystery, Of Books and Bagpipes. The second Scottish Bookshop mystery comes out in April. That's one that I'm ready to dive into, and read straight through, but I may need to do that over Christmas.









Christina Baker Kline is the author of Orphan Train. Her February novel is A Piece of the World. The new story is based on Christina, the woman who inspired Andrew Wyeth's painting, Christina's World.









The Chilbury Ladies' Choir is Jennifer Ryan's debut novel. As England enters World War II, the vicar decrees that the village choir will close because the men have gone to war. But, the women defy him, and "carry on singing" as the Chilbury Ladies' Choir. It's another February release.








The final February release is nonfiction, and it won't be as easy to read. Helen Rappaport is the author of The Romanov Sisters. Her forthcoming book is Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 - A World on the Edge.


And, in between the February releases, I'll continue to read books that have already been published so I can review them, and you can find them in bookstores or your libraries.

As I said, "So many books, so little time." Tell us, what's on your TBR pile?

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Shining Skull by Kate Ellis

Kate Ellis' books are not easy to come by in the U.S., but if you have the chance to pick them up, they're worth it. She combines history with contemporary crime, has a team of police officers in Tradmouth in Devon, England, and includes details of the personal lives of the officers. This is the best of all possible worlds for my reading taste. She's on my list of authors who are not as well-known as they should be. I'm about nine years behind in reading her Wesley Peterson books, though, so maybe I'm part of the problem. But, it was wonderful to catch up with Peterson and his co-workers in The Shining Skull.

In 1976, Anna Fallbrook's young son, Marcus, was kidnapped. Thirty years later, a man claiming to be Marcus faced his half-brother at the same house. Although Adrian Fallbrook desperately wanted to believe it was his brother, he was also leery so he contacted the local police. While Detective Inspector Wesley Peterson and his boss, Gerry Heffernan, were suspicious, they were dealing with a strange crime. A driver would show up in what appeared to be a taxi, pick up a blonde who had called for a car, take her down a lane, and cut off her hair. The driver never appeared the same. The police feared that eventually the crimes would escalate to more than cutting off hair. And, then a young rock star is kidnapped one night after a fight with her mother.

While the police juggled cases, Wesley's old college friend, Dr. Neil Watson, is heading up an archaeological team that is disinterring and moving old graves in a churchyard. He becomes intrigued with strange symbols in the cemetery, symbols that relate to a sect that was popular in the early 19th century, The Shining Ones, followers of a prophetess named Joan Shiner. He's researching those stories while his team moves coffins. But, when a coffin falls apart, two bodies tumble from it.

Ellis has unusual storylines with a thirty-year-old kidnapping, the reappearance of a supposed victim, the "Barber" who is cutting off hair, a second kidnapping, a religious sect, and an extra body. And, she manages to tie them all together beautifully. One of Kate Ellis' strengths is her ability to tie together historical and contemporary crimes. Actually, the crime uncovered at the archaeological site usually provides the hints that Wesley and his co-workers need to solve their own cases.

The police team in Ellis' books are well-developed. Wesley works well with his boss, Gerry. The younger officers all have personal issues to deal with, but Wesley and Gerry do as well. Wesley's relates to his relationship with his wife and mother-in-law, while Gerry's problems have included loneliness. The author handles personal relationships realistically.

Ellis ends her books with a historical note, telling how she changed or included historical events. But, they don't have to be major events. They can be small stories of people or stories of life in the past, and those events trigger Wesley's discoveries. The Shining Skull is another fascinating mystery in Kate Ellis' ongoing series showing there's little new in the world of crime, and people still have the same motives as they did centuries earlier.

Kate Ellis' website is www.kateellis.co.uk

The Shining Skull by Kate Ellis. Piatkus. 2007. ISBN 9780749938093 (paperback), 274p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I've owned the book for quite some time.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

What Are You Reading?

As many books, including library books, that I have at home, and I dug out a book by one of my favorite authors. I'm quite a few years behind in reading the Wesley Peterson mysteries by Kate Ellis. But, I have them all. I'm currently readingThe Shining Skull. The books feature Detective Inspector Wesley Peterson and a team of officers in Tradmouth, England. Wesley's old college friend, archaeologist Neil Watson, always uncovers an unusual historical case that is somehow juxtaposed with Wesley's current case. These mysteries are intriguing, and well-done. I love the historical aspect. The cast also includes Wesley's wife, a school teacher who dated Neil in college. Family life is an important element in the books.


I'm reading The Shining Skull. What are you reading right now?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Have You Heard? Audible, Part 2

Sandie Herron sent the entire list of Best Audiobooks of 2016, as selected by Audible. I thought some of you might want to see a few more selections after I highlighted the mysteries and thrillers yesterday. Here's the best of 2016, as selected by Audible.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/Audible/en_US/images/creative/2234_Best_of_2016_LP_category_narrator2._CB523970315_.jpgNarrator of the Year
Narrator Bahni Turpin has been a part of many truly ground-breaking audio productions spanning every imaginable genre. For many, it was her contribution to the multicast recording of 2009's The Help that made her a household name to the audio aficionado: a book that soared to the top of Audible's Best Sellers list even before becoming a hit in print and a blockbuster movie. In 2016, Bahni has lent her voice to award-winning works of literature, hard-hitting feminist manifestos, and heart-felt stories for kids and young adults. Bahni Turpin can do it all and her performances have brought audio-as-art-form to a whole new level. We are proud to have her as our pick for Audible's 2016 Narrator of the Year.

Fiction: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing, simply put, is incredible. The plot, the prose, the characters, the writing…there’s not one aspect of this book that "carries" the rest. Each is, well, incredible. Author Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel is none other than a feat – an engrossing family epic spanning multiple centuries and multiple continents. The stories of two half-sisters born in 18th century Ghana, in different villages, begin this memorable novel of triumph, heartbreak and resilience. One is married off to a well-educated and wealthy Englishman. The other is shipped off to America and sold into slavery. These sisters’ stories, their children’s stories, and their children’s children’s children’s stories will stay with you long after the book ends.

And, here are the other winners, as selected by Audible.

Bios & Memoirs Noniction Science Fiction

Self Development Romance Celebrity Memoirs






Classics
Historical Fiction

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Have You Heard? Audible's Best of 2016

Audible's Best Books of 2016 is perfect for "Have You Heard?" It's all about the audiobook. Sandie Herron's on top of this topic, and she sent the complete listing.Today, though, we'll give you Audible's best book of the year, and the top mysteries.

THE BEST “AUDIBLE” BOOKS OF 2016
Best of 2016

Audiobook of the Year: The Nix by Nathan Hill
2016 has proven to be a year of BIG books. From sweeping family sagas, to profoundly moving memoirs, superbly funny sci-fi, and beyond, this year’s best-of list was hard to nail down for the wealth of great choices. At the top of the list is The Nix, a debut novel by Nathan Hill that we found to be – simply put – a transcendent listening experience. Bold and brilliant but also totally accessible, The Nix takes the listener to WWII-era Norway, the 1968 Chicago riots, the Iraq war, and even into the worlds of online gaming and classical music, all while remaining character-driven and addictively listenable. Narrator Ari Fliakos elevates this ambitious novel with the kind of performance that makes each and every character feel fully and uniquely formed – an amazing feat for a solo narrator. If you haven’t listened to The Nix yet, we highly recommend it – our Audiobook of the Year – plus all of the other standouts of 2016 highlighted below. – The Audible Editor

*****
And, what can I say about the mysteries? I'm delighted with the top pick. And, I'm sure others will be equally interested in the other mysteries selected as top audiobooks in the genre.

Mysteries & Thrillers: A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

It's unusual for a book so deep into an established series to even be considered a top pick in any category. But what Louise Penny has accomplished with her Chief Inspector Gamache/Three Pines series is nothing short of spectacular. She has managed to grow in listenership with every new book, the series has survived and thrived after its original and beloved narrator, Ralph Cosham, passed away, and the characters and plots just seem to get better with every new installment. The only
"formula" here is to continue producing compelling mysteries that keep you guessing until the bitter end, stay true to and continue to develop the characters fans have become attached to, and to never rest on your laurels. Penny, along with the new series-narrator, Robert Bathurst, are simply class acts and masters in their field.

Finalists in Mysteries & Thrillers
Orphan X
By Gregg Hurwitz
Narrated By Scott Brick Orphan X Audiobook by Gregg Hurwitz Narrated by Scott Brick
Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He's also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as part of the off-the-books black box Orphan program, designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence assets - i.e. assassins. He was Orphan X. Evan broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear.
A.Musser says:  "An Excellent Distraction"


Before the FallBefore the Fall Audiobook by Noah Hawley Narrated by Robert Petkoff
By Noah Hawley
Narrated By Robert Petkoff
On a foggy summer night, 11 people - 10 privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter - depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later the unthinkable happens: The plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs - the painter - and a four-year-old boy who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.
C. Vincent says:"Wow!! Robert Petkoff is remarkable!"


Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors Audiobook by B. A. Paris Narrated by Georgia Maguire
By B. A. Paris
Narrated By Georgia Maguire
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He's a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You're hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.
Andre M. Gorelkin says:"Slow start but a gripping experience"


The One Man: A NovelThe One Man: A Novel Audiobook by Andrew Gross Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini
By Andrew Gross
Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
It's 1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendel and his family are trying to flee Paris when they are caught and forced onto a train along with thousands of other Jewish families. At the other end of the long, torturous train ride, Alfred is separated from his family and sent to the men's camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life's work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge.
Richard Delman says:"You gotta have a STRONG stomach."

Congratulations to all the authors, narrators, and the readers who are lucky enough to listen to these audiobooks.