Audiobook Review: New versions of the Discworld books

I have listened to many Discworld audiobooks, and my favourite narrator is, and will always be, Stephen Briggs. Stephen Briggs was a fan before he was a narrator and it’s possible to tell from listening to his narration. These new editions all have three narrators – a main narrator which changes with the series, Peter Serafinowicz who plays Death, and Bill Nighy as the footnotes.

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TBR Pile/Audiobook Review: False Value, by Ben Aaronovitch, Narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Audible Audio, Unabridged UK Edition, 12 pages
Published February 20th 2020 by Orion Publishing Group Limited

Peter Grant is facing fatherhood, and an uncertain future, with equal amounts of panic and enthusiasm. Rather than sit around, he takes a job with émigré Silicon Valley tech genius Terrence Skinner’s brand new London start up – the Serious Cybernetics Company.

Drawn into the orbit of Old Street’s famous ‘silicon roundabout’, Peter must learn how to blend in with people who are both civilians and geekier than he is. Compared to his last job, Peter thinks it should be a doddle. But magic is not finished with Mama Grant’s favourite son.

Because Terrence Skinner has a secret hidden in the bowels of the SCC. A technology that stretches back to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and forward to the future of artificial intelligence. A secret that is just as magical as it technological – and just as dangerous. 

My Review

The blurb is a lie. Everything is a deception. No, really, Peter has gone undercover, using his gardening leave and the investigation that caused it (death in custody of a suspect – see Lies Sleeping) as a cover. What he finds is a 19th century mystery and a tech guru who thinks he’s created the first true A.I. using a completed analytic engine and a song about Ada Lovelace.

Going under cover brings conflicts for Peter and Beverley, especially after they get to know Peter’s immediate superior and his family (Beverley Brook runs along the end of their garden), and the Librarians of New York start interfering in the operation.

There is the usual explosions and car chases, Peter getting trapped by magical devices, Nightingale being acerbic, Discworld references, and this time with bonus heavily pregnant Beverley.

I listened to this one while I was out and about, or at home crocheting. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is really good at giving Peter Grant a voice. His intonation and reading speed is perfect.

Highly recommended.

TBR Audiobook Review: Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao

Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published September 21st 2021 by Penguin Teen

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labelled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed. 

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Audiobook Review: A Kind of Spark, by Elle McNicole

A Kind of Spark cover art
By: Elle McNicoll
Narrated by: Emma Tracey
Length: 4 hrs and 25 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 28-07-21
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

A Kind of Spark tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there’s more to the story of these ‘witches’, just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her and her autism, and make her voice heard? 

A story about friendship, courage and self-belief, perfect for fans of The Goldfish Boy.

My Review

I listened to this book on the recommendation of other members of the Narrative of Neurodiversity Network, it’s the subject of this month’s Salon.

The best representation of the autistic experience I have read in fiction. The characters are very realistic and Addie is an absolute darling.

I have been both Addie and Keedie, but without the knowledge I was autistic. I didn’t quite have a Ms Murphy as a teacher at primary school but I had two teachers who combined would have been her. It was awful.

Keedie’s campaign and her developing friendship with Audrey is at the heart of the story, with her relationship with her sisters being a close secondary plot. It was heart wrenching. I cried a lot.

Brilliantly written and narrated. Highly recommended.

Audiobook Review: The Custard Corpses, by M.J. Porter

The Custard Corpses, a delicious 1940s mystery.

Birmingham, England, 1943.

While the whine of the air raid sirens might no longer be rousing him from bed every night, a two-decade-old unsolved murder case will ensure that Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is about to suffer more sleepless nights.

Young Robert McFarlane’s body was found outside the local church hall on 30th September 1923. But, his cause of death was drowning, and he’d been missing for three days before his body was found. No one was ever arrested for the crime. No answers could ever be given to the grieving family. The unsolved case has haunted Mason ever since.

But, the chance discovery of another victim, with worrying parallels, sets Mason, and his constable, O’Rourke, on a journey that will take them back over twenty-five years, the chance to finally solve the case, while all around them the uncertainty of war continues, impossible to ignore.

Purchase Linkmybook.to/TheCustardCorpses

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Audiobook Review: Vows of Gold and Laughter, Tale One of the Immortal Beings by Edith Pawlicki  and narrated by Zachary Zaba 

Blurb 

The meeting of four lonely immortals will change them – and the world.

High in the Heavens, an immortal court celebrates the betrothal of Jin, Goddess of Beauty, and Xiao, God of Pleasure. But as soon as the vows are made, the Sun Emperor collapses from a death curse.

Raised away from the Sun Court after her mother’s murder, Jin is called a useless goddess, but she is now the emperor’s only hope. The curse’s cure is locked in the Underworld, and even though the court dismisses him as a hopeless alcoholic, Xiao vows to help his betrothed find the lost key.

They hire a thief who is more interested in stealing the groom than recovering the key, and begin their search at the legendary grave of the Great Warrior – only it turns out he never died. Tens of millennia old, he is a master of everything but his own heart.

Their journey takes them from the icy peaks of the White Mountain and the lush banks of the Kuanbai River to the palace of the Sea Dragon and the halls of the Moon Deer, through court intrigue and bloody battles, power struggles and magical traps. The Heavens, Earth, and the Underworld will forever celebrate their triumphs – and mourn their mistakes.

Buy Links

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56935634-vows-of-gold-and-laughter

https://amzn.to/3h6O8eh

Author Bio
Edith Pawlicki lives in Connecticut with her husband, twin sons, dog, and rabbit. She fell in love with words in fourth grade and finds writing necessary to free the worlds and characters in her head. When she isn’t busy being a mom and author, she enjoys cooking and crafts. In addition to the Immortal Beings series, she has also written a YA science fiction novel, Minerva. 

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Audiobook Review: The Jasmine Throne, by Tasha Suri, narrated by Shiromi Arserio

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Audiobook
Published June 8th 2021 by Orbit
ISBN:154910487X (ISBN13: 9781549104879)
Series: Burning Kingdoms #1

Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne begins the powerful Burning Kingdoms trilogy, in which two women–a long-imprisoned princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic–come together to rewrite the fate of an empire.

Exiled by her despotic brother when he claimed their father’s kingdom, Malini spends her days trapped in the Hirana: an ancient, cliffside temple that was once the source of the magical deathless waters, but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

A servant in the regent’s household, Priya makes the treacherous climb to the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to play the role of a drudge so long as it keeps anyone from discovering her ties to the temple and the dark secret of her past.

But when Malini bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to steal a throne. The other is a powerful priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will set an empire ablaze.

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TBR Pile Review: Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir

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Audible Audio, Unabridged, 17 pages
Published May 4th 2021 by Audible Studios
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Hardcover, 478 pages
Published May 4th 2021 by Del Rey
ISBN:1529100615 (ISBN13: 9781529100617)

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

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Audiobook Review: After The Storm, by Isabella Muir, read by Charles Johnston

After The Storm

When a violent storm blasts England’s south coast, it’s up to retired Italian detective Giuseppe Bianchi to sift through the devastation and piece together the tragic events left behind in the storm’s wake.

Giuseppe Bianchi’s brief visit to Bexhill-on-Sea has become an extended stay. He is loath to return to his home in Rome because of the haunting images that made him leave in the first place. 

During his morning walks along the seafront with Beagle, Max, he meets Edward Swain, who becomes Giuseppe’s walking companion. They form a friendship of sorts and find they have a similar outlook on life.1

But the devastating events of a single night lead Giuseppe to question the truth about Edward Swain. Teaming up with young journalist Christina Rossi – his cousin’s daughter – Giuseppe learns about the brutal reality lurking behind the day-to-day life of families in the local community. And as the story unravels Giuseppe is reminded how anger and revenge can lead to the most dreadful of crimes.

After the Storm is the second novel in the Giuseppe Bianchi mystery series – the much-awaited sequel to Crossing the Line.

Grab your copy today, and enjoy the intrigue of traditional English mystery, cleverly combined with a continental twist.

Purchase Link – http://viewbook.at/Afterthestormaudio

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Audiobook Review: The Shephard’s Crown, by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs

26179786
Audible Audio
Published August 27th 2015 by Random House Audiobooks (first published August 1st 2015)

A SHIVERING OF WORLDS

Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. ¬The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength.

This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.

As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land.

There will be a reckoning. . .

THE FINAL DISCWORLD NOVEL 

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