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Ardent April Staff Picks

Ardent April Staff Picks

Amble through April’s assembled staff picks.

Playlist Tags: Off the Beaten Path season: spring

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The Witch's Heart

By Genevieve Gornichec
Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle
Length: 12 hours 4 minutes

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.
 
Angrboda’s story begins where most witches' tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves... Read more »

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The Lost Apothecary

A Novel

By Sarah Penner
Narrated by: Lorna Bennett, Lauren Anthony & Lauren Irwin
Length: 10 hours 17 minutes

The Lost Apothecary

“This book was a wonderful escape and was absolutely lovely to listen to. It switches back and forth between the point of view of two women in London in the 1790s and an American woman visiting London in present day. The story unfolds quickly. I was pleasantly surprised by the twists that I hadn't anticipated and the emotions that welled up within me. The ending was wholly satisfying and I will definitely be recommending it when it releases!”

Schuler Books image Lauren, Schuler Books
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The Only Good Indians

By Stephen Graham Jones
Narrated by: Shaun Taylor-Corbett
Length: 9 hours 2 minutes

The Only Good Indians

“I loved this book. Jones has a unique narrative voice, allowing ‘the entity’ to step in and take over unexpectedly, amping up the horror. Also, each character has a distinct voice that brings them to life. Jones combines the culture and traditions of the Blackfeet and Crow people with the social truths of their contemporary life. It is refreshingly different from any other horror novel I’ve read. This book is gruesome and honestly scary. I couldn’t put it down.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Kristine Jelstrom-Hamill, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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Klara and the Sun

A Novel

By Kazuo Ishiguro
Narrated by: Sura Siu
Length: 10 hours 16 minutes

Klara and the Sun

Klara and the Sun is a parable, a warning, a neatly-crafted story that fits into an Artificial Friend-sized box, which—make no mistake—is not to say that it’s ordinary. Ishiguro explores the ethics of creating artificial intelligence that’s indistinguishable from humans, at least ideally. But Klara and her owner, Josie, are kindred spirits with vastly different fates. Is love still love when its object is replaceable, nay, disposable? Are some people more valuable than others; can grief ever be inappropriate? This seamless story examines our increasingly automated world, our obsession with usability, and the things that get left behind.”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store
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Mother May I

A Novel

By Joshilyn Jackson
Narrated by: Joshilyn Jackson
Length: 12 hours 51 minutes

Mother May I

“I’m a huge Joshilyn Jackson fan, and she’s written another fast-paced, exhilarating read with Mother May I. This domestic thriller is comparable to a roller coaster, taking you to dramatic, earth-shaking highs before dropping your heart into your stomach on the lows. I quickly devoured this book but didn’t miss its poignant, timely message. Powerful, smart, thrilling — a new favorite.”

Lake Forest Book Store image Beth Mynhier, Lake Forest Book Store
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A Court of Silver Flames

Court of Thorns and Roses: Book #4

By Sarah J. Maas
Narrated by: Stina Nielsen
Length: 26 hours 5 minutes

An unfathomable power Nesta Archeron has always been prickly—proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with... Read more »

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Valentine

A Novel

By Elizabeth Wetmore
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell & Jenna Lamia
Length: 10 hours 20 minutes

Valentine

“Before starting this book, you should block out the next 24 hours on your calendar because you will not be able to do anything else. Valentine is reminiscent of Disappearing Earth in its multi-voice portrayal of the vulnerability, resilience, solidarity, fury, and tenacity of girls and women in the man’s world of oil-booming West Texas in the 1970s. These unforgettable characters are the spiritual sisters of Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights. I was haunted by them, I rooted for them, I’ve been them, and I won’t forget them.”

Boogie Down Books image Rebekah Shoaf, Boogie Down Books
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The Good Sister

A Novel

By Sally Hepworth
Narrated by: Barrie Kreinik
Length: 8 hours 18 minutes

The Good Sister

“Having a title like The Good Sister might lead a reader to assume there is also a bad sister. Here we meet twin sisters Rose and Fern, whose mother was a sociopath. That upbringing affected Fern the most, so Rose cared for her sister during most of their childhood. Now adult women, Fern begins to come out of her shell and experience life on her own; she likes the freedom and the adventures. But Rose does not. When Fern makes a huge sacrifice to mollify Rose, the story grows more tense as it becomes clear who the good sister is and how bad the bad sister can be. Readers might change allegiances during the book, but no one will see the end coming! Highly recommended!”

Book Vault image Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault
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The Bright Lands

By John Fram
Narrated by: Luis Selgas
Length: 12 hours 41 minutes

The Bright Lands

“Excuse my French here, but The Bright Lands is one scary-ass book. Think Friday Night Lights rewritten by Stephen King. Set in where else but high-school-football-obsessed Texas, the story revolves around the brutal murder of the Bison's quarterback. When his brother comes back for the funeral, the homophobic culture of his hometown seems to have frightened and irreparably harmed more than just him. It's filled with sexy, homoerotic tension and builds to a nail-biting finish. Leave the lights on while you listen.”

Raven Book Store image Kelly, Raven Book Store
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The Soul of a Woman

By Isabel Allende
Narrated by: Gisela Chípe
Length: 3 hours 43 minutes

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Petal of the Sea comes “a bold exploration of womanhood, feminism, parenting, aging, love and more” (Associated Press).

The Soul of a Woman is Isabel Allende’s most liberating book yet.”—Elle

“When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating,” begins Isabel Allende. As a... Read more »

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The Stranger in the Woods

The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

By Michael Finkel
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
Length: 6 hours 18 minutes

The Stranger in the Woods

“This is the fascinating true story of Christopher Knight, who lived in the Maine woods for 27 years and survived by stealing supplies from vacation cabins while living in extreme conditions to avoid detection. After more than 1,000 burglaries, he was finally caught and partially reintegrated into society. His story is told together with the history of hermits and those who have sought solitude in order to have insight. Chris defies psychological profiling, and it's amazing Finkel was even able to interview him to write this book. This level of solitude would drive most people insane, but for Chris, it seems like an almost pure contemplative state. An excellent read.”

Arcadia Books image Todd Miller, Arcadia Books
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Untamed

By Glennon Doyle
Narrated by: Glennon Doyle
Length: 8 hours 21 minutes

Untamed

“I read this book non-stop for a week, underlining, reading passages to my friends & recommending it to anyone with a pulse. There are many great stories inside, but their charm & power, really, is all Glennon. She is a spiritual seeker & leader who loves reality tv, a formidable activist on the global scale who gets anxiety sweats when the doorbell rings. Equal parts poetic & conversational, memoir & manifesto. Her love story will make you swoon. Her shamelessness & relentless self-interrogation will make you feel deeply exposed. This is not a "you can do it, girl!" book. It's more like a spiritual marathon that invites you to jump the guardrail & take off.”

Apotheosis Comics image Elon, Apotheosis Comics
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Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses

By Kristen O'Neal
Narrated by: Soneela Nankani
Length: 12 hours 30 minutes

Priya worked hard to pursue her dreams of going to Stanford to study medicine, but the fallout from undiagnosed Lyme disease sends her back to her childhood home in New Jersey during her sophomore year—and leaves her wondering if she’ll ever be able to return to the way things were. Thankfully, she has her online pen pal, Brigid, and the rest... Read more »

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The Gilded Ones

The Gilded Ones: Book #1

By Namina Forna
Narrated by: Shayna Small
Length: 12 hours 46 minutes

The Gilded Ones

“This is a bold and powerful book about the bonds of sisterhood and finding your strength. This story is as rich and vivid as the cover is (which is AMAZING)—a tantalizing fantasy with a splash of mystery, fierce, magical warriors, dangerous monsters, and a war-ravaged empire. Absolutely fantastic!”

The Well-Read Moose image Anna, The Well-Read Moose
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Lost in the Never Woods

By Aiden Thomas
Narrated by: Avi Roque
Length: 12 hours 14 minutes

"There are moments of true tenderness, hope, and grief in this haunting, magical tale, and the narrator makes it all convincing. Teenage listeners will be drawn into this enchanting story." -- Booklist, starred review

When children start to go missing in the local woods, a teen girl must face her fears and a past she can't remember to rescue them...
Read more »

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The Dangerous Gift (Wings of Fire #14)

Wings of Fire

By Tui T. Sutherland
Narrated by: Shannon McManus
Length: 7 hours 51 minutes

The #1 New York Times bestselling series continues!Snowfall didn't expect to be queen of the IceWings at such a young age, but now that she is, she's going to be the best queen ever. All she has to do is keep her tribe within IceWing territory, where it's safe -- while keeping every other tribe out, where they belong.It's a perfect and... Read more »

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Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
Narrated by: Kenny Ramos & DeLanna Studi
Length: 6 hours 11 minutes

Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.... Read more »

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