It All Goes Around — Dave Reviews Ancillary Mercy!

Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch, Book 3) [Downpour | Audible]
by Ann Leckie, Read by Adjoa Andoh
Length: 10 hours, 54 minutes

“There is always more after the ending. Always the next morning, and the next. Always changes, losses and gains. Always one step after the other. Until the one true ending that none of us can escape. But even that ending is only a small one, large as it looms for us. There is still the next morning for everyone else. For the vast majority of the rest of the universe that ending might as well not ever have happened. Every ending is an arbitrary one. Everything ending is from another angle, not really an ending.” — Ann Leckie, Ancillary Mercy

At this point, you’ve probably heard of Ann Leckie. Over the last few years, her Imperial Radch series has taken Science Fiction by storm. Ancillary Justice, Leckie’s debut novel, took home just about every major award in the field, and the sequel was nominated for just about every award and received wide critical acclaim. So, with the final book in the trilogy coming out — no pressure here, right? Continue reading

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December #WhispersyncDeal roundup: Neil Gaiman, Nancy Farmer, Cherie Priest, Linda Nagata, Christopher Priest, Kurt Vonnegut, Carrie Fisher, and more

If you’ve recovered from last month’s #WhispersyncDeal haul (including Audible’s and Downpour’s week-long sales around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and Tantor’s annual Cyber Monday sale) and Audible’s “Big Thanks” sale earlier this month, then let me tell you, the year’s going out with a huge bang. Of the more than 1000 titles in this month’s Kindle deals listings, a whopping 390 are enabled with Whispersync for Voice.

That’s a lot of titles to comb through, so let me do some of the legwork for you, this time starting in the CHILDREN’S and YOUNG ADULT sections, because this month’s selections are absolutely fantastic:

  

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, read by the author for $1.99+$3.99 — My kids and I have listened to this hour and 46 minutes of quirky Norse mythology dozens and dozens of times: “In this inventive, short, yet perfectly formed novel inspired by traditional Norse mythology, Neil Gaiman takes readers on a wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back. In a village in ancient Norway lives a boy named Odd, and he’s had some very bad luck: His father perished in a Viking expedition; a tree fell on and shattered his leg; the endless freezing winter is making villagers dangerously grumpy. Out in the forest Odd encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle – three creatures with a strange story to tell. Now Odd is forced on a stranger journey than he had imagined – a journey to save Asgard, city of the gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it. It’s going to take a very special kind of twelve-year-old boy to outwit the Frost Giants, restore peace to the city of gods, and end the long winter. Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever . . . Someone just like Odd.” Continue reading

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Audible’s “Big Thanks” Sale through December 16: from under $5 to just under a credit, here’s some fantastic picks from the members-only 50% off sale

I am getting this out now rather than waiting to put together this month’s full #WhispersyncDeal roundup, because these deals expire December 16th. So, what’s going on? Audible.com’s member-only “Big Thanks” sale gets 50% off the regular price sale on… pretty much everything, including pre-orders. First, a word: 50% of the regular price means the actual “regular price”, not the already discounted member price. This means that quite a lot of the books I’ve had my eye on are still above a credit cost, or even still cheaper the Whispersync add-on way. But! a few looked pretty darned good.

First off, $5.59 for Last Dragon by J.M. McDermott is a steal. It’s an amazing work of fantasy:

Last Dragon Audiobook

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Downpour’s “Black Friday” sale ends tonight: Samuel R, Delany, Women Destroy Science Fiction, Kim Stanley Robinson, Jeff VanderMeer, new releases, pre-orders, rentals, and more

I mentioned this already near the end of last month’s #WhispersyncDeal roundup, but I figured I would expand things a bit and offer up one last reminder that Downpour.com‘s “Black Friday” sale extended well beyond the one day, and finally does end tonight (Thursday, December 3). There’s plenty of titles well below credit cost, and pre-orders (!!) and rentals are also included. One I’d recommend, right off the bat?

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany, read by Stefan Rudnicki for Skyboat Media — For $7.63 this is kind of a “no brainer”, people. It’s one of the great all time works of science fiction, read by one of the masters of the audiobook form, with excellent production touches to boot: “Babel-17, winner of the Nebula Award for best novel of the year, is a fascinating tale of a famous poet bent on deciphering a secret language that is the key to the enemy’s deadly force, a task that requires she travel with a splendidly improbable crew to the site of the next attack.” And apparently the “Black Friday” discounts also include rental prices, as Babel-17 rents for $3.48. I reviewed the (quite nice) rental process earlier this year, and can recommend it without hesitation. (Although in this case, I might suggest you buy it; Rudnicki reading Delany may be a pairing for your personal re-listening library.) Continue reading

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Audible’s “Treat Yourself” sale ends tonight: Luke Daniels reading Kevin Hearne, Wil Wheaton reading John Scalzi, and more

I mentioned this already in the midst of last month’s #WhispersyncDeal roundup, but it bears repeating once more, with feeling: here’s my picks from Audible’s “Treat Yourself” $4.95 sale, which ends December 2, 2015 at 11:59 PM PT:

Hounded Audiobook Monster Hunter International Audiobook

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November #WhispersyncDeal roundup: A Calculated Life, Off to Be the Wizard, The Broken Sword, I Am Princess X, Ella Enchanted, and more, and! a glance through Audible’s “Treat Yourself” sale, and! Downpour.com’s Black Friday sale (UPDATED)

As promised, you’ve got more than 48 hours this time! But there’s a lot to look over, as among the 299 Whispersync for Voice-enabled Monthly Deals in Kindle Books there’s a good-sized pile that catch my eye this month. And! Through December 2, there’s additionally a very nice “Treat Yourself” sale on a big pile of audiobooks as well, and I have a glance through those titles below, followed by a really, really quick mention of Downpour.com‘s Black Friday sale through December 3.

First, though, the usual monthly #WhispersyncDeal roundup, which expire at midnight on November 30:

  

A Calculated Life by Anne Charnock (Author), Susan Duerden (Narrator) for $1.99+$1.99 — Finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award and the Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award and a fantastic book and audiobook: “Big business is booming and state institutions are thriving thanks to advances in genetic engineering, which have produced a compliant population free from addictions. Violent crime is now a rarity. Mayhew McCline, a major corporation that analyzes global trends, has hired a genius: Jayna. A brilliant mathematical modeler, she has the ability to produce accurate predictions that are both good for the world and good for the bottom line. Her latest coup: finding a link between northeasterly winds and violent crime. When a string of events contradicts her forecasts – including a multiple homicide on the wrong day – Jayna suspects she needs more data and better intuition. She needs to understand what it means to be “normal,” so she disrupts her strict daily routine and, unknowingly, sets herself on a path that leads to new encounters, new experiences, and – perhaps most dangerous – new emotions.” And! Charnock’s eagerly-anticipated new novel Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind, due out December 1, is available through Kindle First for $1.99 as well. While I can’t guarantee that it will be Whispersync-enabled, nearly all of 47North+Brilliance titles are.

Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0 Book 1)Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0 Book 2), and An Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0 Book 3) by Scott Meyer, read by Luke Daniels for $1.99+$1.99 each — If you like humor in your sf/f you’ve come to the right place: “Martin Banks is just a normal guy who has made an abnormal discovery: he can manipulate reality, thanks to reality being nothing more than a computer program. With every use of this ability, though, Martin finds his little “tweaks” have not escaped notice. Rather than face prosecution, he decides instead to travel back in time to the Middle Ages and pose as a wizard. What could possibly go wrong?”

Teen: I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest, read by Mary Robinette Kowal for $2.99+$3.99 — “Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure. Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her. Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window. Princess X? When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon — her best friend, Libby, who lives.” Continue reading

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Harry Potter, now on Audible

Well, it’s finally happened. For years, if you wanted to (legally!) listen to the Harry Potter series in audio, you could only avail yourself of the physical CD sets, either buying them outright or (as I did) patiently waiting in the library hold list. Then! In 2012, as reported here of course, the US (read by Jim Dale) and UK (read by Stephen Fry) digital audio editions became available at the Pottermore shop, albeit with a hefty price tag of $29.99 (for the first three books, each) and $44.99/each for the remaining books. They also started showing up in library digital collections (Overdrive) but there you’re still waiting in the queue, and if you want to listen again? “Form a line!”

Well, apparently an appropriately-sized money truck full of galleons has made the trek from Seattle (Amazon) and/or New Jersey (Audible) to Gringott’s, as all seven digital audiobooks are now available at Audible as well.

Harry Potter on Audible

They’ve launched the availability of the series with some huge banners, and (as on Pottermore) the edition available is region-dependent: the US gets Jim Dale, the UK and Australia get Stephen Fry.

On Twitter, Dave asked the same first question that came to my mind: are the audiobooks coming to DRM-free Downpour.com as well? So far, no news on that front, but we’ll keep you posted.

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This is Not a Woman To Be Underestimated! The Tremontaine Listen-A-Long

Heavenly Bodies” (Tremontaine, Episode 3)
by Joel Derfner, Narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Nick Sullivan, and Katherine Kellgren
Length: 2 hours

Last week Sam told me he’d been able to get around to listening to the Pilot episode of Tremontaine, and while he enjoyed it, suggested I maybe oversold the sex. (But not the chocolate!) And I suppose that he was right — the sex in the first episode (and last week’s) was insinuated. But “Heavenly Bodies” was such a delicious double-entendre, I think we all knew what we were getting into in Riverside this week, didn’t we? Yeah, this episode was hot, and promises more to come. Here there be little deaths! And not so little ones.

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“What is Necessary is Not Always Just!” The Tremontaine Listen-A-Long Continues!

The North Side of the Sun” (Tremontaine, Episode 2)
by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christensen and Nick Sullivan
Length: 1 hour, 38 minutes

While last week focused on the different introductions to Riverside and this cast of characters, this week the story seemed to tighten it’s focus on Kaab in particular, though we also spent time with Micah, Rafe, and (SURPRISE) Tess and Ben. Kaab’s storyline drove the whole episode — she’s sent on an errand to the Fenton household to secure saffron and hares, and has the good fortune to meet and verbally spar with Rafe, went to the market with Rafe to meet Micah and witness a protest, and then returned for the feast. We do find out a little bit about her’s past — Rafe asking if she was fleeing a marriage really seemed to set Kaab on the defensive, but there still seems to be a lot we don’t know. Yay, mysterious pasts!

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Hot Chocolate and Sex! Dave Begins The Tremontaine Listen-A-Long!


Arrivals” (Tremontaine, Episode 1)
by Ellen Kushner, narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Nick Sullivan, and Katherine Kellgren
Length: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Finding out that there was a new story set in Ellen Kushner’s Riverside was kind of like waking up to a delicious cup of chocolate and then sporting with the beautiful woman beside me. And then some more chocolate. And then some more sport. You get the idea.

Welcome to the Tremontaine Listen-A-Long! Here there’s swordfighting, chocolate, sex, political maneuvering, chocolate, sex, and also chocolate and sex. The jury is out on the magic. We kicked things off last week with “Arrivals,” the first episode from Serial Box, and it seems clear from the get-go that this is definitely a story for fans of Kushner’s other Riverside books: Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword, and The Fall of the Kings. I’ve been pretty outspoken about my love for these books, as you can see in those linked reviews, as well as hopeful about that awesome adaptation Brett Ratner is gonna make — whatever happened to that? Anyway, “Arrivals” did double-duty of making us feel right back at home on the streets of Riverside, while introducing us to a new cast of characters. In that regard, I found the pilot episode to be a success. Riverside felt very much like Riverside, and the cast of characters — particularly their wit, manipulations, dialogue, schemes, dreams, and desires, all felt very true to what we’ve come to expect from Kushner.

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