In the Studio with Cara Mentzel

Today, we’re in the studio for some Voice Lessons with Cara Mentzel and her sister, Idina Menzel.

In her new audiobook, Voice Lessons, Cara Mentzel tells her own story (with a little help from her big sister, Idina). Voice Lessons is the story of sisters—sisters with pigtails, sisters with boyfriends and broken hearts, sisters as mothers and aunts, sisters as teachers and ice-queens, and sisters as allies and confidantes.

As Cara puts it, “My big sister is Tony-Award-Winning, Gravity-Defying, Let-It-Go-Singing Idina Menzel who has received top billing on Broadway marquees, who has performed for Barbra Streisand and President Obama, at the Super Bowl and at the Academy Awards. The world knows her as ‘Idina Menzel’, but I call her ‘Dee’.”

While Idina may have spent most of her professional career behind a mic, Cara too is confident in a recording studio. Cara decided to not only write the sisters’ story, but to read it on her own. Her narration is open and candid, making listeners laugh one minute, and choke up the next. While she acknowledges the feelings of jealousy and resentment that came along with her sister’s fame, Cara underscores throughout the book that her bond with her sister remains unbroken and stronger than ever.

Cara and one of our producers while recording Voice Lessons.

Idina shows her support for Cara by narrating the prologue, where she makes it clear that Voice Lessons is her sister’s time to shine, “I wanted this to be Cara’s book. Cara’s perspective. I didn’t want to rob her of the purity of the accomplishment. I didn’t want to steal her light.”

On the final day of the recording, the sisters walked into the booth together to not only tell their story, but to sing it. Performing a duet of “Neverland” from one of their favorite musicals, Peter Pan, Cara and Idina nailed the song’s harmonization, then giggled hugged like only sisters can.

Check out the video of Cara and Idina recording the duet of “Neverland,” found on the Voice Lessons audiobook. Now available to buy wherever audiobooks are sold!

Thriller Thursday: Jeffrey Archer’s Tell Tale

Have you caught the travel bug this fall but don’t have time in your busy schedule for a vacation? Try international bestseller Jeffrey Archer’s new short story collection, Tell Tale. It’s been a decade since Jeffrey Archer last released a short story collection, and those longtime listeners who have been eagerly awaiting for new Archer material won’t be disappointed. Tell Tale’s thirteen stories span the globe, and Archer’s exquisite detail to setting and character transport the listener on a world tour of mystery and intrigue. Archer takes the listener to the idyllic Italian mountainside, rural England, and eastern seaboard, all in the comfort of your own home. You won’t believe how quickly time flies as you finish each story. Let Jeffrey Archer take you on the vacation of your dreams, without ever having to leave your seat. Listen to a clip of Tell Tale below, on sale on October 24, 2017 where audiobooks are sold!

Audiobook New Releases for October 17

The new releases on Tuesday got me feeling like…

Deadlands: Boneyard by Seanan McGuire, narrated by Emily Bauer:

Annie Pearl is the keeper of oddities, the mistress of monsters. Her unique collection of creatures is one of the circus’ star attractions, drawing wide-eyed crowds at every small frontier town they visit. But Annie is also a woman running from her past…and the mother of a mute young daughter, Adeline, whom she will do anything to protect. Hoping to fill its coffers before winter sets in, the circus steers its wagons to The Clearing, a remote community deep in the Oregon wilderness, surrounded by an ominous dark wood. Word is that a travelling show can turn a tidy profit at The Clearing, but there are whispers, too, of unexplained disappearances that afflict one out of every four shows that pass through the town. The Clearing has its secrets, and so does Annie. And it may take everything she has to save her daughter – and the circus – from both.

Death in St. Petersburg by Tasha Alexander, narrated by Bianca Amato:

After the final curtain of Swan Lake, an animated crowd exits the Mariinsky theatre brimming with excitement from the night’s performance. But outside, the scene is somber. A ballerina’s body lies face down in the snow, blood splattered like rose petals over the costume of the Swan Queen. The crowd is silenced by a single cry – “Nemetseva is dead!” Among the theatergoers is Lady Emily, accompanying her dashing husband, Colin, in Russia on assignment from the Crown. But it soon becomes clear that Colin isn’t the only one with work to do. When the dead ballerina’s aristocratic lover comes begging for justice, Emily must apply her own set of skills to discover the rising star’s murderer. Her investigation takes her on a dance across the stage of Tsarist Russia, from the opulence of the Winter Palace to the modest flats of ex-ballerinas and the locked attics of political radicals. A mysterious dancer in white follows closely behind, making waves through St. Petersburg with her surprise performances and trail of red scarves. Is it the sweet Katenka, Nemetseva’s childhood friend and favorite rival? The ghost of the murdered étoile herself? Or something even more sinister?

Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: Return to Woodbury by Jay Bonansinga, narrated by Fred Berman:

Lilly Caul has risked everything. She has weathered over four years of the apocalypse. She has done things that she would not have dreamt of doing in her darkest nightmares.
But she has survived. And now, she has staked a claim in the plague-ravaged city of Atlanta. It is a safe haven for her people, rising high above the walker-ridden streets, a place of warmth and comfort. But for Lilly Caul, something is missing…. She still dreams of her former home – the quaint little village known as Woodbury – a place of heartache as well as hope. For Lilly, Woodbury, Georgia, has become a symbol of the future, of family, of a return to normal life amidst this hell on earth. The call is so powerful that Lilly decides to risk everything in order to go back. Against all odds, against the wishes of her people, Lilly leads a ragtag group of true believers back across the impossible landscape of walker swarms, flooded rivers, psychotic bands of murderers, and dangers the likes of which she has never known. Along the way, she discovers a disturbing truth about herself. She is willing to go to the darkest place in order to survive, in order to save her people, in order to do the one thing she knows she has to do: Return to Woodbury.

Sun Warrior by P. C. Cast, narrated by Caitlin Davies:

The battle lines have been drawn, and Mari, an Earth Walker, and Nik, a Companion, who were once from rival clans now find themselves fighting to save each other and their people from destruction. Thaddeus betrayed his own people, killing Nik’s father and destroying their entire clan. But he wants more. He wants the power he believes Mari has stolen from him and his people, and he will do anything he must to get them back, even if it means destroying everything in his path. There is only way to stop Thaddeus, but it means a harrowing journey for Mari and Nik into the heart of darkness. Meanwhile, Dead Eye becomes a willing vessel for the newly awakened god, Death. Death has plans of his own, and he, too, will use whatever and whomever he must, including the mad Thaddeus.

The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey, narrated by a full cast:

Oprah Winfrey says Super Soul Sunday is the television show she was born to do. “I see it as an offering,” she explains. “If you want to be more fully present and live your life with a wide-open heart, this is the place to come to.” Now, for the first time, the aha moments of inspiration and soul-expanding insight that have enlightened millions on the three-time Emmy Award-winning Super Soul Sunday are collected in The Wisdom of Sundays, a beautiful, cherishable, deeply affecting audiobook. Organized into 10 chapters – each one representing a powerful step in Oprah’s own spiritual journey and introduced with an intimate personal essay written and read by Oprah herself – The Wisdom of Sundays features meaningful conversations between Oprah and some of today’s most-admired thought leaders. Visionaries like Gary Zukav and John Kabat-Zinn share their lessons in finding purpose through intention and mindfulness. World-renowned teachers like Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer explain our complex relationship with the ego and the healing powers of love and connection; and award-winning and best-selling writers like Bryan Stevenson and Caroline Myss explore the beauty of forgiveness and spirituality.

In the Studio with Jeff Rossen

“Because nothing disastrous happened yesterday, nothing disastrous will happen tomorrow”

“FALSE,” says Jeff Rossen. In his new audiobook, Rossen advises listeners on handling the expected and preparing for the unexpected. As a national investigative correspondent for NBC’s Today Show, Rossen has spent years gathering tips, tricks, and warnings for this program.

From spotting hidden mold, to learning what to do when your car skids on ice, and even how to trick your stomach into eating less on Thanksgiving, Rossen has you covered. With topics organized under applicable headings, listeners can jump around the audiobook to explore different topics or listen straight through from beginning to end. The sections include: Protecting Your Home, Travel Dangers Revealed, WTF, I Trusted You!, It’s All Fun and Games… Until…, Protecting Your Kids, Vacation Undercover, Everyday Life Hacks, and Bet You Didn’t Know…

The “Surviving Mother Nature” section felt all too real in the week he was set to narrate the audiobook. Instead of recording his tips on how to stay safe during tornadoes, lightning storms, and earthquakes, Rossen was sent to cover the monumental storms sweeping across the coasts. Broadcasting live from Tampa, he documented the major city’s preparation for a massive storm surge and advised viewers on how to evacuate safely, and what they should bring along with them.

We were able to catch up with Jeff when he returned to New York. Even in the midst of his whirlwind reporting, he was still committed to finishing recording ROSSEN TO THE RESCUE. In the booth, he brought the same approachable confidence to the audiobook that he exudes on his NBC segments. Even while covering various life or death scenarios, Rossen kept his tone bright, his dialogue energetic, and joked throughout the recording. Watch the video below for his take on underwear (!).      

Need another reason to listen to the audio? Macmillan Audio’s producer extraordinaire, Bob, had this to say about recording Jeff in the studio:

“Working with Jeff was a blast. He always brought tons of energy and enthusiasm to the studio and did a wonderful job making his audiobook unique for listeners. You didn’t hear it from me but he may have added content that doesn’t exist in the printed book.” Listen to a clip of Rossen to the Rescue, “It just might save your life.”

Audiobooks at Comic Con 2017

Once every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to the Javits Center to get their nerd on at New York Comic Con. A sea of cosplay, eager fans, and celebrities filled out the convention center. Audiobooks were widely represented this year, from panels featuring narrators like actress Rosario Dawson and Marc Thompson that wfilled rooms to capacity, to Audible hosting an interactive audiobook game in their booth and taking over a huge warehouse behind the Javits Center (see the breathtaking photo below).

A Large model of the moon inside The Museum of Artemis: Life on the Moon behind the Javits Center at NYCC.

Dawson spoke about her experience as a first-time narrator. While recording Andy Weir’s Artemis, she had to perform several distinct accents and run around to create panting effects to bring life to the audiobook. Play the video to hear how Dawson got really into the characters while in the recording booth.

 

“There are some really remarkable devices that [Andy Weir] put in there that is so perfect for audiobook that I think it would be so interesting to film, but there are ways that he would incorporate for backstory in a way that didn’t feel like [an] exposition. There were some really smart ways in which things were revealed in how she communicated and the situations as they came up that had an audio [feel] but very visual,” Dawson commented.

Image by Max Pfeffer for Geeks Of Doom.

At Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan panel, actress Abbie Cornish, prepared for her role as Cathy Mueller by listening to medical audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks allowed her to pronounce medical jargon accurately and establish herself as a believable surgeon.

During the William Shakespeare’s The Force Doth Awaken panel, narrators of the audiobook Marc Thompson, Jonathan Davis, Jessica Almasy, and Sean Kenin performed selections from the audiobook, showcasing that audiobook narration is both dramatic and playful. Marc Thompson even used his versatile voice to record voicemails for fans!

Comic Con attendees gather each year to celebration the imaginative storytelling of fantasy and sci-fi – and like these genres, audiobooks are unique in the way they let listeners’ imaginations roam free. So if you missed Comic Con this year, don’t worry – we’ve got plenty of audiobooks to hold you over until next year! Listen to the audiobook clip of Brandon Sanderson’s highly anticipated Oathbringer.

Thriller Thursday: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

“Meet tonight at 3 A.M. The usual place.”

That one vague text message was the only clue to guide Natasha Howland, who wakes up after being pronounced dead for 13 minutes. 13 Minutes is the latest thrilling installment from Sarah Pinborough, where Natasha frantically tries to piece together the hazy events that led up to the night she died on the lake, but the further she digs, the murkier things appear. After Natasha wakes up from her experience with death she – and the police – have many questions. Just how did Natasha end up in a frozen river in the middle of the night? Was it an accident or did someone put her there? Was someone with her? Natasha turns to Rebecca, the best friend she dumped years before to get popular, to help her figure out what happened – that is…if she can trust her.

For fans of Sarah Pinborough or any psychological thriller, 13 Minutes is a masterful listen that you won’t be able to leave on pause for long. Stephen King himself called it “moving and totally involving… I couldn’t put it down.” Listen to a clip below!

 

Audiobook New Releases for October 10

As we get further down the fall season, cozy up with Macmillan Audio’s newest titles! Get lost in science fiction by listening to Orson Scott Card’s Children of the Fleet, listen to warm stories about having a celebrity sister in Cara Mentzel’s Voice Lessons, and hear life hacks from Jeff Rossen himself in Rossen to the Rescue. Whether you decided to stay in for the fall nights or to stroll through the changing foliage, audiobooks will keep you busy!

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough, narrated by Rosie Jones:

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. Natasha doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this – it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened. Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her? 13 Minutes is a psychological thriller audiobook with a killer twist.

Ageless Soul by Thomas Moore, narrated by the author:

In Ageless Soul, Moore offers to listeners a fresh, optimistic, and rewarding path toward aging, one that need not be feared but rather embraced and cherished. In Moore’s view aging is the process by which one becomes a more distinctive, complex, fulfilled, loving, and connected person. Using examples from his practice as a psychotherapist and teacher who lectures widely on the soul of medicine and spirituality, Moore argues for a new vision of aging: as a dramatic series of initiations rather than a diminishing experience, one that each of us has the tools – experience, maturity, fulfillment – to live out. Ageless Soul will teach listeners how to embrace the richness of experience and how to take life on, accept invitations to new vitality, and feel fulfilled as they get older.

Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki and a full cast:

Children of the Fleet is a new angle on Card’s Best-selling series, telling the story of the Fleet in space, parallel to the story on Earth told in the Ender’s Shadow series. Ender Wiggin won the Third Formic war, ending the alien threat to Earth. Afterwards, all the terraformed Formic worlds were open to settlement by humans, and the International Fleet became the arm of the Ministry of Colonization, run by Hirum Graff. MinCol now runs Fleet School on the old Battle School station, and still recruits very smart kids to train as leaders of colony ships, and colonies. Dabeet Ochoa is a very smart kid. Top of his class in every school. But he doesn’t think he has a chance at Fleet School, because he has no connections to the Fleet. That he knows of. At least until the day that Colonel Graff arrives at his school for an interview.

An Irish Country Practice by Patrick Taylor, narrated by John Keating: 

This touching audiobook is as warm and cozy as the lovable town in which it takes place. Once, not too long ago, there was just a single Irish country doctor tending to the lively little village of Ballybucklebo: Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly. Now his thriving practice is growing by leaps and bounds. Not only has O’Reilly taken a new trainee under his wing, Doctor Connor Nelson, he’s also added a spirited Labrador puppy to his ever-expanding household. Meanwhile, his trusted partner, young Doctor Barry Laverty, finds himself wondering if he’s truly ready to settle down and start a family with his lovely fiancée, Sue. As the doctors cope with domestic and professional challenges, they also look after their patients and their ailments, including a mysterious cough, a housewife whose frequent “accidents” may have a disturbing cause, and a respected colleague who might be succumbing to an old vice.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, translated by Lilit Thwaites, narrated by Marisa Calin: 

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, The Librarian of Auschwitz is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust. Written with touching sensitivity by Antonio Iturbe, and translated by Lilit Thwaites, this audiobook provokes every emotional response and will not be forgotten. Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so, Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz. Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

Rossen to the Rescue by Jeff Rossen, narrated by the author: 

Do you know where to take shelter in an earthquake? How to bust a lying car mechanic? Save money at the store? You’ll know now. Every morning millions of Americans watch Jeff Rossen explain how to solve our most harrowing problems, such as how to put out a kitchen fire, find bedbugs, and avoid rip-offs and even how to survive a plane crash. In Rossen to the Rescue, he includes daring experiments, expert advice, and game plans for handling all the wild cards in life – big and small – while sharing personal and sometimes embarrassing anecdotes that he couldn’t tell on television. Overflowing with never-before-heard tips and tricks, this audiobook is filled with enough hacks to keep you and your family safe…and it just might save your life.

Voice Lessons by Cara Mentzel, narrated by Cara Mentzel with a forward by Idina Menzel

Voice Lessons is the story of one younger sister growing up in the shadow of a larger-than-life older sister – looking up to her, wondering how they were alike and how they were different, and ultimately learning how to live her own life and speak in her own voice on her own terms. As Cara Mentzel studied, explored, married, gave birth (twice), and eventually became an elementary school teacher, she watched her sister, Idina Menzel, from the wings and gives listeners a front row seat to the opening nights of Rent and Wicked, a seat at the Tonys, and a place on the red carpet when her sister taught millions more, as the voice of Queen Elsa in the animated musical Frozen, to “Let It Go”. Voice Lessons is the story of sisters – sisters with pigtails, sisters with boyfriends and broken hearts, sisters as mothers and aunts, sisters as teachers and ice queens, sisters as allies and confidantes. As Cara puts it, “My big sister is Tony Award-winning, gravity-defying, ‘Let It Go’-singing Idina Menzel, who has received top billing on Broadway marquees, who has performed for Barbra Streisand and President Obama, at the Super Bowl and at the Academy Awards. The world knows her as Idina Menzel, but I call her Dee.” Voice Lessons is their story.

Thriller Thursday: Louise Penny’s Newest Inspector Gamache Mystery

Louise Penny’s latest mystery in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, Glass Houses, will keep listeners guessing until the end! A mysterious dark hooded figure appears in Three Pines and the town looks to Chief Inspector Gamache to do something about it. Gamache has no other choice than to watch and wait to see what the figure does, but when the figure disappears and a dead body is discovered, he wonders if he could have prevented it. At the trial over the mysterious death, Gamache is asked to testify, but the murderer is not the only one on trial… Chief Inspector’s own conscience is as well. Narrator Robert Bathurst masterfully depicts the tormented conscience of Penny’s beloved hero. Listen to an audiobook clip to hear how the dramatic events unfold:

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