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June 28, 2023

5 Audiobooks for Summer Road Trips

by Donna Huber

Are you heading out on the road this summer? Audiobooks can be a great companion. Here are a few that I think would make a great listen while hitting the roads.

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Beaches, Bungalows & Burglaries by Tonya Kappes

book cover of cozy mystery audiobook Beaches, Bungalows & Burglaries by Tonya Kappes
January 2019; Tantor Audio; 9781977339782
audio (5h 22m), ebook, print; cozy mystery

I've been trying to check out this audiobook for quite a while. When its available I'm usually in the middle of another one and then it would be checked out when I finished the other book. I was really hoping that it would be available when I went on my trip last week since I had a 5 hour (one way) drive. At 5 hours 22 minutes it would have been the perfect length to keep me entertained there and back. Alas someone checked it out right before I left. I'm listening to it now and enjoying it.

Welcome to Normal, Kentucky ~ where nothing is normal.

Mae West, a far cry from the Hollywood actress, has been thrown for a loop. Her plush lifestyle in the big city of New York comes to a screeching halt after the FBI raids her mansion and arrests her husband, Paul West, for a Ponzi scheme that rips people out of millions of dollars.

Mae finds herself homeless, friendless, and penniless. All hope isn't lost. . .the only thing Mae got to keep that the government didn't seize is a tourist camp ground, Happy Trails, in Normal, Kentucky and an RV to live in. One problem, Mae's idea of camping has room service.

By the look of the brochure, Happy Trails has plush Kentucky Bluegrass, a crystal clear lake, a beach chair with her name on it and thoughts of how much money it could bring her after she sells it. Mae figures she'll take a couple weeks vacation with her toes dipped in the lake. Things aren't always as they appear. The Kentucky Bluegrass is nothing but dirt and the crystal clue lake is murky with green slime on top.

Mae quickly find out that Happy Trails and the citizens of Normal were also victims of Paul's schemes, making her lower than tha lake scum in the residents' eyes. Mae doesn't think things could get much worse, but as luck would have it, Paul West has escaped from prison and is found dead, murdered, floating in the Happy Trails mucky green lake.

Mae is the number one suspect on Detective Hank Sharp's short list. After all, Mae has the perfect motive as a kept wife who has been scorned to ashes, embarrassed to death, and seeking revenge.

Time is running out for Mae to prove that she's innocent and nothing like her husband. If only she could get someone to believe her and talk Detective Sharp into looking at other residents who've lost all their savings to Paul's Ponzie scheme before the curtain is closed on this Hollywood namesake. (Goodreads)

The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian

book cover of historical mystery audiobook The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian
May 2022; Random House Audio; 9780593589380
audio (10h 30m), ebook, print; historical mystery

My mystery book club is reading
The Lioness for its June meeting. I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it. If you were hoping for an international vacation but are crisscrossing the US instead, then you can join along with the characters as they go on safari. Though it wasn't the fantastic vacation they hoped for, it was definitely memorable.

Tanzania, 1964. When Katie Barstow, A-list actress, and her new husband, David Hill, decide to bring their Hollywood friends to the Serengeti for their honeymoon, they envision giraffes gently eating leaves from the tall acacia trees, great swarms of wildebeests crossing the Mara River, and herds of zebra storming the sandy plains. Their glamorous guests—including Katie’s best friend, Carmen Tedesco, and Terrance Dutton, the celebrated Black actor who stars alongside Katie in the highly controversial film 'Tender Madness'—will spend their days taking photos, and their evenings drinking chilled gin and tonics back at camp, as the local Tanzanian guides warm water for their baths. The wealthy Americans expect civilized adventure: Fresh ice from the kerosene-powered ice maker, dinners of cooked gazelle meat, and plenty of stories to tell over lunch back on Rodeo Drive.

What Katie and her glittering entourage do not expect is this: A kidnapping gone wrong - their guides bleeding out in the dirt, and a team of Russian mercenaries herding them into Land Rovers, guns to their heads. As the powerful sun gives way to night, the gunmen shove them into abandoned huts and Katie Barstow, Hollywood royalty, prays for a simple thing: To see the sun rise one more time. A blistering story of fame, race, love, and death set in a world on the cusp of great change, 'THE LIONESS' is a vibrant masterpiece from one of our finest storytellers. (Goodreads)

Buy The Lioness at Amazon

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

book cover of true crime audiobook Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

If you like true crime then this is the audiobook for you. It's been made into a movie, too. I don't listen to much true crime, but it was an interesting book.

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed – virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.

In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. The book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward Native Americans that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly riveting, but also emotionally devastating. (Goodreads)

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm

book cover of post-apocalyptic audiobook Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
February 2007; Blackstone Audio; 9780786156740
audio (7h 48m), ebook, print; science fiction

My post-apocalyptic book club read this several months ago. I really enjoyed it. It gave a lot of food for thought so if you are traveling with someone and you listen together it will give you plenty to talk about over meals.

The spellbinding story of an isolated post-holocaust community determined to preserve itself, through a perilous experiment in cloning. Sweeping, dramatic, rich with humanity, and rigorous in its science, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is widely regarded as a high point of both humanistic and hard SF, winning SF's Hugo Award and Locus Award on its first publication. (Goodreads)

Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty

book cover of science fiction novel Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty
October 2022; Penguin Audio; 9780593625668
audio (15h 32m), ebook, print; science fiction

I usually only read science fiction when my post-apocalyptic book club chooses it but I picked this one up on my own and loved it. I had real trouble putting it down. A sequel is coming out in November so if you haven't picked it now would be good time to read it. 

From idyllic small towns to claustrophobic urban landscapes, Mallory Viridian is constantly embroiled in murder cases that only she has the insight to solve. But outside of a classic mystery novel, being surrounded by death doesn’t make you a charming amateur detective, it makes you a suspect and a social pariah. So when Mallory gets the opportunity to take refuge on a sentient space station, she thinks she has the solution. Surely the murders will stop if her only company is alien beings. At first her new existence is peacefully quiet…and markedly devoid of homicide.

But when the station agrees to allow additional human guests, Mallory knows the break from her peculiar reality is over. After the first Earth shuttle arrives, and aliens and humans alike begin to die, the station is thrown into peril. Stuck smack-dab in the middle of an extraterrestrial whodunit, and wondering how in the world this keeps happening to her anyway, Mallory has to solve the crime—and fast—or the list of victims could grow to include everyone on board. (Goodreads)

Buy Station Eternity at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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