Orphans of the Carnival: A Novel by Carol Birch; narrated by Heather WildsAdult Fiction. Dreaming of fame, Julia Pastrana leaves her home in Mexico's Sinaloa state at the encouragement of an American carnival promoter. Despite her talents as a singer and dancer, Julia is mostly dismissed as a sideshow spectacle due to the hair that covers her face and body, the result of a hereditary condition. Throughout her eventful life, Julia seeks recognition for her abilities, while longing for love and acceptance. Orphans of the Carnival is based on the life and career of a 19th-century indigenous Mexican entertainer. Narrator Heather Wilds displays an "elegance and a gentleness that make Julia especially sympathetic to the listener," says AudioFile.
Moral Defense by Marcia Clark; narrated by Angela DaweAdult Fiction. In this 2nd fast-paced tale to star Los Angeles attorney Samantha Brinkman, she's been hired as the juvenile advocate for 15-year-old Cassie Sonnenberg. With her mother in a coma and her father and brother dead, Cassie's the only one who knows what happened. But Cassie's story keeps changing, and soon her case is not the only morally and legally ambiguous problem Samantha is juggling. This riveting thriller provides plenty of gray areas to create confusion. In her narration, Angela Dawe "naturally and effortlessly" (Publishers Weekly) delivers author Marcia Clark's witty, colloquial dialogue.
The Moth Catcher by Ann Cleeves; narrated by Janine BirkettAdult Fiction. Intrepid DI Vera Stanhope and good-hearted DS Joe Ashworth go to the tiny Northumberland community of Valley Farm to investigate a death...and then discover another corpse at the nearby country home where the dead man had been house sitting. The only connection between the deceased is a mutual affection for moths. As they investigate, the cops discover that many of the residents of Valley Farm have secrets, especially the three middle-aged couples who make up "the retired hedonists' club." This is the 7th book in the Vera Stanhope series (which inspired Vera, the popular TV show starring Brenda Blethyn).
The Whole Town's Talking: A Novel by Fannie Flagg; narrated by Kimberly FarrAdult Fiction. Author Fannie Flagg traces the saga of Elmwood Springs, Missouri from its founding in 1889 by Swedish immigrant Lordor Nordstrom to its end in 2022. Filled with generations of interesting characters, the novel seems to portray ordinary doings in a farming community -- until it's revealed that the residents buried in the town's cemetery wake up and resume their interactions with each other, making death a continuation of life. In addition to cameo appearances by Bonnie and Clyde and by Harry Truman, the plot includes a murder mystery. Kimberly Farr narrates the story with distinct character voicing while highlighting Flagg's humor and sympathetically relating sad events.
Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II by Alan Gratz; narrated by Dan BittnerJuvenile Fiction. In World War II-era Berlin, 13-year-old Michael O'Shaunessey, the son of the Irish ambassador to Germany, is in the perfect position to be a spy. Pretending to be an eager young Nazi, Michael joins the Hitler Youth to gain access to information he can share with the Allies' intelligence agents. The tense first-person voice, ably read by narrator Dan Bittner, will draw you in to this high-adrenaline tale as Michael describes his daring discoveries of German plans and blueprints -- until he's assigned to a team of junior Gestapo assassins, and he has to ask himself how much he's willing to sacrifice to do the right thing.
Journey's End by Rachel Hawkins; narrated by Saskia MaarleveldJuvenile Fiction. Near the tiny Scottish village of Journey's End lurks the Boundary, a mysterious (and possibly paranormal) fog bank. Twelve-year-old Nolie's father is a scientist who's studying the strange phenomenon, and when Nolie visits him in Journey's End, she makes two new friends: Bel, a local girl who's grown up with legends about the Boundary, and Albert, a boy who emerges from the fog after being lost for 100 years. As the Boundary begins to drift ashore, threatening the village, the friends begin to wonder: could Albert's past hold the answers that might save Journey's End? Saskia Maarleveld's narration clearly distinguishes the characters' personalities and "effortlessly blends" (AudioFile) their American and Scottish accents.
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd; narrated by Fiona HardinghamJuvenile Fiction. There are horses inside the mirrors at Briar Hill hospital. Only Emmaline, a very sick young patient, can see them, and peeking into their world offers her a welcome break from her loneliness and frustration. When an injured winged horse escapes from the mirror world into the hospital garden, Emmaline devotes herself to protecting the unusual visitor, even as her own health fails. Set in World War II England, The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is a quietly touching story that "blurs the line between real and imaginary" (Booklist), inviting you to dive deep into Emmaline's world.
The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of... by Dava Sobel; narrated by Cassandra CampbellAdult Nonfiction. Beginning in the 1880s, the Harvard College Observatory hired women as "computers," paying them a fraction of what their male counterparts earned to analyze astronomical data and perform complex calculations. The result of their efforts? The Henry Draper Star Catalog, a compendium of spectroscopic classifications for some 225,300 stars. With its focus on the unsung heroines of science, this engaging collective biography by the author of Longitude may appeal to fans of Margot Lee Shetterly's Hidden Figures and Nathalia Holt's Rise of the Rocket Girls.
The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart; narrated by Cameron BowenJuvenile Fiction. During his exploration of the walls, rooftops, and out-of-the-way spots in his hometown of New Umbra, Reuben Pedley finds a hidden pocket watch that gives him the power to turn invisible...but also makes him a target. Chased by agents of The Smoke (the mysterious figure that controls New Umbra) Reuben has to outwit and outrun his enemies as he tries to uncover the secrets of the watch's origins and the reach of its incredible powers. If you like author Trenton Lee Stewart's brain-twisting Mysterious Benedict Society series, be sure to check out The Secret Keepers, whose quirky characters are distinctly voiced by Cameron Bowen.
Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall by Nina Willner; narrated by Cassandra CampbellAdult Nonfiction. Author Nina Willner, the first female U.S. Army intelligence officer to work in East Germany, had almost her whole family living behind the Iron Curtain. While her mother Hanna had escaped from East Berlin in 1948, marrying an American and raising her children there, all of Hanna's relatives remained behind. In Forty Autumns, Willner relates their story, including the family's loving solidarity in the face of Communist oppression. The Berlin Wall's destruction in 1989 allowed Hanna's first reunion with her relatives in 40 years. This combined history and family memoir relates the history of the Cold War in personal terms, and Cassandra Campbell's narration depicts a "deep understanding of self-preservation and love of family" (AudioFile).
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Des Plaines, Illinois 60016