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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: 8 hours 37 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 from Nobel-winner Kazuo Ishiguro is a radiant new novel about the bond between Klara, an Artificial Friend, and Josie, her human companion. The setting, a dystopian realm of genetic editing and stark class divisions, is not surprising given the author’s previous work, yet Ishiguro’s immense, unwavering portrayal of kindness is astonishing and revitalizing. Classic Ishiguro themes of loyalty, friendship, and sacrifice weave through the novel, but the thread of love runs deep, giving the book warmth and hope so that the earned twist feels more like a dawn than a sunset. Whether you’re returning to Ishiguro or discovering his voice for the first time, I’m excited for you. This is a chance to bask in the brilliance of one the greatest writers of our time.”

Books & Books image Caroline McGregor, Books & Books
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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 Time for Mercy - Abridged

A Jack Brigance Novel
Jake Brigance: Book #3

By John Grisham
Narrated by: Michael Beck
Length: 10 hours 17 minutes

Jake Brigance is back! The hero of A Time to Kill, one of the most popular novels of our time, returns in a courtroom drama that The New York Times says is "riveting" and "suspenseful."
  
Clanton, Mississippi. 1990. Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial when the court appoints him attorney for Drew Gamble, a timid... Read more »

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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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Social Purpose Annual Report

Social Purpose Annual Report

As we look to the future as a Social Purpose Corporation, we’re committed to serving readers and independent bookstores. Read our 2020 Annual Report to see an overview of the year.

Read the Report

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

A Novel

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 Chipe
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 one heck of a very strange true story. When Christopher Knight was just 20 years old, he drove his car north towards Maine. When the car gave out, he began walking, carrying a tent and a few belongings, hiding in the woods, then finding a place that he liked in between some boulders. He made a camp, where he lived for almost three decades, without speaking to another human being. The winters were bitter cold and he set his watch to wake up and move so he wouldn’t freeze to death. He stole food and fuel (and books) from nearby cabins. He walked on stones and boulders so he wouldn’t leave footprints, and he buried all his trash. When he was finally arrested, the writer Michael Finkel became obsessed with Knight, going to visit him in prison, trying to understand why Finkle became a hermit and how he survived for so long. Knight finally told Finkel to stay away from him. The book is gripping, and the narrator, Mark Bramhall, tells us this story with a bare bones voice, simple and direct. This is a haunting and astonishing book.”

Loganberry Books image Sarah, Loganberry 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: TBA

Teen Wolf meets Emergency Contact in this sharply observed, hilarious, and heartwarming debut young adult novel about friendship and the hairy side of chronic illness. Priya worked hard to pursue her premed dreams at Stanford, but a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease during her sophomore year sends her back to her loving but overbearing family... 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 INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTELLER! 

“Namina Forna Could Be The Toni Morrison Of YA Fantasy.” –Refinery 29 

“Fans of Children of Blood and Bone, Mulan, and the Dora Milaje from Black Panther are going to adore this one.” BuzzFeed

"A dark feminist tale spun with blood and gold. Must read!" Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author...
Read more »

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Lost in the Never Woods

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

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 in this atmospheric YA novel, Lost in the Never Woods from the author of Cemetery Boys.

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear,... Read more »

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The Dangerous Gift (Wings of Fire, Book 14 ) (Unabridged edition)

Wings of Fire: Book #14

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 simple... 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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