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Librarian Greer Hogan matches wits with a deviously clever killer in this chilling series debut, perfect for fans of Louise Penny and Dorothy L. Sayers. Start listening to The Unkindness of Ravens audiobook…
Hola Audiophiles! Tis I, back again with some of the week’s new releases and a review of a book that made me laugh out loud several times. I hope all of you are finding some excellence to listen to and things to be happy about, too.
Ready? Let’s audio.
New Releases – Week of May 25th
publisher descriptions in quotes
The Guncle by Steven Rowley
I despise the word “guncle” (it reminds me of barnacle? and knuckle?), but I love Steven Rowley and the premise of this book. Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP for short, LOL) loves his niece and nephew. But when the kids lose their mother tragically and their father is faced with a major health crisis, Patrick finds himself taking on the role of primary guardian. Having the kids round the clock, it turns out, is just a touch more demanding than having them over for weeklong visits, and his life in Palm Springs as a gay man with a stalled acting career isn’t exactly suited to the lives of two small children. As Patrick stumbles his way through this new set of responsibilities, he learns that sometimes, “even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.” (fiction)
Read by the author. I was totally expecting Michael Urie to read this since he narrated both of Rowley’s last books (Lily and the Octopus and The Editor), but I’m really digging the sample I just listened to!
Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang
Recent computer science grad Julia Lerner was living in Moscow in 2006 when she was recruited by Russia’s largest intelligence agency. Now she’s the COO of Tangerine, a giant Silicon Valley tech company, where she steadily funnels intelligence back to the motherland. When Alice, a low-level Tangerine employee, discovers a loophole in the company’s security settings during a routine performance check, she has the sneaking suspicion that Julia herself is abusing that loophole. The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her loyalties to Mother Russia. (fiction, spy thriller)
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jairgirdar
Everyone at school likes popular, easy going Hani Khan. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they tell her she can’t be bi since she’s only dated guys. Hurt and invalidated, Hani panics and blurts out that she’s actually in a relationship with Ishu Dey, a girl (take that!) her friends absolutely hate. But that’s a lie! Overachieving Ishu is nothing like Hani, but she does think being more popular could help her become head girl and increase her chances of getting into college. She agrees to help Hani and go along with this fake relationship thing, but in a twist absolutely no one on this earth saw coming—no one I say!—they start developing real feelings for each other. (YA rom-com)
Embarrassing Confession Time: For years I thought “head boy” and “head girl” were made-up roles that only existed at Hogwarts. When I heard a kid say he’d made head boy while visiting England a few years ago, I thought to myself, “Aww, bless him.”
Read by Reena Dutt (The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga) and Shubhangi Karmakar. The sample of this is so cute, I can’t stand it!
How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole
This second Installment in the Runaway Royals series is a queer Anastasia retelling! Makeda Hicks has just lost both her job and her girlfriend, so she’s in no mood to rehash the story of her grandmother’s infamous fling with a runaway prince from Ibarania. Then the sleek and sexy investigator tasked with searching for that missing heir crashes into Makeda’s life and she finds herself singing a different tune (yep, you guessed it: insert body roll here). “When a threat to her grandmother’s livelihood pushes Makeda to agree to return to Ibarania, Bez takes her on a transatlantic adventure with a crew of lovable weirdos, a fake marriage, and one-bed hijinks on the high seas.” (romance)
Read by Karen Chilton (Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon), whom Alyssa Cole fans will recognize from the books in both the Runaway Royals and the Reluctant Royals series as well as several of her standalone romance).
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Meddelin Chan has just accidentally killed her blind date, as one does when said date gets all gross and gropey and doesn’t get that no means no so you have to taser his ass while he’s driving. Meddy’s meddlesome mother calls her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body, then the corpse accidentally ends up in a cake cooler en route to the billionaire California coast wedding that the Chan women, who run a family wedding business, are working. Things go from bad to OH SH*T worse when Meddy’s ex, the one who got away, makes a surprise appearance at the wedding. What could possibly go wrong?
I laughed so hard while listening that I had to stop applying my makeup and send a voice note to Book Riot Contributing Editor Nusrah Javed (who raved about the book on Read or Dead) to let her know what she’d done to me. The second chance romance plot line is adorable, and the “mystery” (which is obvs not a whodunnit so much as a “how are they going to fix this?!” situation) is both low-key stressful and hilarious to watch as one thing goes wrong after another. But its Meddy’s mom and aunties who steal the show, a hilarious group of Indonesian women whose love for each other is as fierce as the petty rivalries between them. As the descendant of immigrants myself, I cackled at the very relatable miscommunication that results from language barriers and stuff that just gets lost in translation, like Meddy having to explain to her mom that the guy she set her up with was not, indeed, offering to cook her dinner when he sent over a bunch of eggplant emojis, or that she had been catfished, not “goldfished.”
Risa Mei, an LA-based singer and actress fluent in Indonesian, brings every one of the women’s big personalities to life with her performance, from the aunties’ hilarious one-liners in their accented English to Meddy’s flummoxed inner dialogue. I sometimes forgot it was just one person reading all the roles!
This book was an absolute romp from start to finish. It’s a little corny and a little slapstick in the best possible way and a heartfelt love letter to the bond of family.
From the Internets
at Audible: The Sherlock Holmes Universe, Explained
at Audiofile: Celebrating the 2021 Edgar Awards on Audio and 5 Questions with Narrator Marin Ireland, who I just realized is theeee Marin Ireland. I never realized it was the actress making me cackle through Nothing to See Here and sob & swoon in equal parts through The Rules of Magic!
at Libro: May’s Bookseller-Recommended Audiobooks
In Spotify news, Storytel audiobooks will be available on Spotify later this year.
Over at the Riot
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Stay bad & bookish, my friends.