Arnold’s parents have a honeymoon to celebrate, and they’re leaving for the weekend–what Jimmy the Chimp insists will be a “dirty weekend.” Arnold and Jimmy are thrilled to imagine a weekend left to their own devices while their usual babysitter casually ignores them while sneaking into the sauce. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s in store for them. Instead, Arnold and Jimmy are carted off to spend the weekend with Arnold’s aunt Dorreen, a new age hippy with a vegan diet and a vastly different idea of fun from what Arnold and Jimmy the Chimp have in mind. A surprising session of naked yoga is the last straw, and the rest of the weekend becomes a rollercoaster of death, dismemberment, and debauchery. Caffrey continues to entertain with the antics of Arnold and Jimmy the Chimp while creating bedtime stories that only the least qualified parent would share with a child. Thankfully, he provides audio narrations of each of these stories, so you can settle in and let him read these amusing tales to you just like mommy and daddy did before they were hauled off by Child Protection Services and incarcerated.
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The Professor has previously deconstructed, distilled, and devastated classic literary prose with his magnificent and monstrous homages to some of the great writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This time he’s set his sights on something far more primal…a well-loved fixture of North American cryptozoology…Bigfoot. Two campers amid passionate playtime in their tent are interrupted by a startling roar that incapacitates them in preparation for the monster coming their way. Cruel and sadistic, the creature takes pleasure in torturing his prey as he builds up to a climax of cyclopean proportions, and The Professor keeps us right there, in the center of the action without relenting or taking any more pity than the beast itself does with its prey. Envisioning the sasquatch as a carnal clamoring colossus, The Professor joins the ranks of those–like Lucas Milliron–who transform the beast from the friendly, secretive forest dweller of Harry and the Hendersons into a vile, sexually aggressive predator. A cautionary tale about the risks associated with camping, and especially against having sex while doing so, Spunk of the Sasquatch paints a revolting portrait of the elusive beast. By the time his rumbling roar is resonating within your bones, it’s already too late. Just remember, all he wants is a little head. Naturally, The Professor includes an audio edition of this thrilling tale. I recommend settling in as the man himself caresses your ears with the vile and visceral details conveyed through his voice.
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Arnold and Jimmy the Chimp are up to no good yet again as Christmas approaches. The school is preparing their annual Christmas performance, and Arnold initially believes he’s being left out, without a role to play. When Arnold is tasked with handling the donkey for the nativity play, it’s only a matter of time before everything goes wrong. Problems with erectile dysfunction from his father provide Arnold and Jimmy with all the inspiration they need, and Terry the donkey has the excitement of his life ahead of him. As a prank becomes an unforgettable nightmare for the students and family in attendance, Christmas will never be the same again. As with all of the Fucked-Up Bedtime Stories, Peter Caffrey provides us with audio narration of this delectably depraved tale that is unsuitable for all but the most emotionally and psychologically scarred children and the adults they grow up to become. The quality of his narration is no less impressive than many of the professional audiobook narrators on the market, so readers/listeners have no cause for disappointment.
This title was released through http://www.godless.com as part of the AntiChristmas event for December of 2021. You can obtain a copy for yourself by going to the website or downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
As much a collection of world-building elements as a story, The Raven Tower contains the same depth of political intrigue, examination of social structures, and mythological explorations one should expect if they’ve read other books from Ann Leckie. Much of the narrative is taken up by historical musings and the interactions of various gods, in particular The Strength and Patience of the Hill and The Myriad, two ancient gods who watched as humanity evolved and developed cultures and language. Relayed to us by that ancient god, The Strength and Patience of the Hill, The Raven Tower is the story of Eolo, a soldier and the aide to Mawat, the next in line to serve as Lease to the Raven, God of Vastai. Upon being called back home from the conflict at the border, Mawat discovers that his father, the previous Lease, has disappeared when he should have sacrificed himself upon the death of the most recent incarnation of the Raven. In his father’s place, Mawat’s uncle is sitting on the bench belonging to the Lease, proclaiming himself as such, in defiance of both custom and Mawat’s wishes. While Mawat mourns the father he believes to be dead and seethes with anger at his uncle’s presumptuousness and betrayal, Eolo sets out to solve the mystery of how any of this could have transpired. The truth, when revealed, might be too costly for those involved and far too dangerous for the kingdom of Iraden. As interesting as the story of court intrigue, murder, and betrayal happens to be, I found myself wanting to hear more about the gods, their machinations, and the history of this world the deeper I delved into the story. Leckie has a knack for creating worlds that beg for the reader’s attention, drawing us in and making us crave more. The Ancillary books had a trilogy that allowed for greater satisfaction of this need, and I’m hoping that this won’t be the last time we visit the world she’s created with The Raven Tower. The casual acceptance of Eolo as a trans-masculine character was a nice touch, without ever seeming shoehorned in or forced. This should come as no surprise to anyone who read the Imperial Radch trilogy, in which it was obvious that Leckie has a knack for exploring non-binary identities and cultures with the same deft hand that Ursula K. Le Guin brought to The Left Hand of Darkness. There are sure to be readers who dismiss this book because of that. But those are the same people who proclaim that they don’t want politics in their fantasy or science fiction, so it’s a simple thing to dismiss their opinions as uninformed, historically ignorant, and irrelevant. Adjoa Andoh’s narration captures a wide breadth of characters and accents with seeming ease, though there were times when certain accents initially seemed a bit silly or cartoonish at first. As the audiobook continues, those accents seem less pronounced as the listener adjusts to hearing them and becomes acclimated to the environment cultivated within the narration. I certainly prefer this over the alternative, where every character sounds approximately the same, and there’s no variation where cultural differences should exist.
S.P. Doyle is a banker, and he’s up to some shenanigans when we first meet him. That much should be expected of anyone disreputable enough to become a banker, especially an ex-junkie. An unexpected promotion provides Doyle with an opportunity to set off on a quixotic mission to do some good with his improved access, seeing himself as a hero who can take down the corrupt institution from the inside. To accomplish his lofty goal, Doyle will need some chemical assistance. Meth, it’s said, is one hell of a drug, but Hex makes meth look positively prosaic by comparison. As Doyle’s consumption becomes increasingly massive, the threads of the conspiracy he believes he’s unraveling within the bank’s records grow more convoluted and seemingly absurd. With Deckard, his pet turtle, as the only voice of reason in Doyle’s life, nothing is stopping the erratic and manic banker from slipping off the rails. Unfortunately for Doyle, the conspiracy he’s stumbled across is far more sinister and far-reaching than even his feverish, drug-addled imagination could conceive. Before long, Doyle’s swept up in a dizzying world of occult forces, reality-bending drugs, insane body modifications, corporate assassins, near-immortal doctors performing unspeakable experiments, and giant gorilla-like monstrosities–referred to as Skullcrackers–who speak with the voices of the dead. What possible chance could Doyle and a small band of resistance fighters have when struggling against such insurmountable odds, at least without making sacrifices that test the limits of what it means to be human? Jeremy Robert Johnson has created a lunatic narrative that defies genre, incorporating elements of horror, science fiction, bizarro, and crime fiction into a captivating melange that’s sure to make any reader feel like they might be on the same drugs as the unlikely hero. The most amazing accomplishment of Johnson’s Skullcrack City is that the diverse threads of this story remain straight and easy to follow, a testament to the author’s extreme skill and attention to detail.
It begins with an illegal street race in a virtually empty, forgotten corner of Virginia. With a thundering rumble of engines breaking the silence of the cool night, Beauregard “Bug” Montage pushes his Duster to victory. The winnings from this one race will be enough for Bug to keep his garage open for another month, but the arrival of a couple of fake police officers shatters any hope he had of keeping himself afloat. With bills piling up, his loan on the garage past due, unplanned expenses arising, and the business he and his cousin, Kelvin, used to count on diverted to a competitor’s garage, Bug finds himself in a desperate situation. He and his wife had both hoped he could put his former life behind him, where his skills as a mechanic and his skills behind the wheel had been instrumental in making him a wheelman as capable as his father before him. But when legitimate avenues fail him, Bug feels compelled to look for alternatives. The unexpected arrival of a former associate could be fortuitous, or it could lead to disaster, and greater trouble than Bug anticipates, but with the clock ticking, what choice does he have? S. A. Cosby provides a gripping narrative of high stakes and high speed, propelling the reader through a southern noir tale that never lets off the gas until it reaches the end of the road. Populated with characters who feel as real as anyone, Blacktop Wasteland is–at its heart–a study on identity and the conflict between who we are vs. who we want to be. It’s a story about the struggle of escaping one’s past and inherited behaviors, while the whole world seems dead set on forcing everything into that mold. Sure, this is a heist story, but there’s more to it than that. Blacktop Wasteland will not disappoint readers who are searching for a thrilling crime novel, or gearheads searching for a book that lovingly captures details of both the world under the hood and behind the wheel, but it should also appeal to those seeking an engrossing character study. Adam Lazarre-White’s narration couldn’t be more perfect if the book had been written with his voice in mind. He deftly tackles the emotion and depth of the characters while lending a smooth baritone delivery of the magnificent prose laid out by Cosby. I knew what to expect after listening to the equally fantastic audiobook for Razorblade Tears, and yet I was still stunned by just how amazing these two men managed to create something hauntingly beautiful when working together.
The Shadow Rising picks up where The Dragon Reborn left off, with Rand al’Thor wielding his authority from the Stone of Tear after breaching the fortress with the assistance of a cadre of Aiel and taking Callandor in accordance with prophecy. For a brief interval, the companions who set out from the Two Rivers are together in one place again, before the machinations of the Forsaken and Rand’s reluctant determination to embrace his fate forces them to head in separate directions yet again. Mat and Moiraine follow Rand deep into the Aiel Waste, set for the sacred city of Rhuidean where Rand means to fulfill the next prophecy on his path to become The Dragon Reborn. Perrin, Faile, and Loial depart for the Two Rivers, where Perrin hopes to save his family and friends from the Children of the Light, only to discover that things are far worse than his nightmares prepared him to expect. Nynaeve, Elayne, and Thom Merrilin follow the trail of the Black Ajah to Tanchico, desperate to discover the secret weapon the dark sisters are hoping to use against Rand. All of this takes place while Min attempts to sus out the meaning of her prophetic visions at the White Tower, as tumult and upheaval loom on the near horizon. The Shadow Rising was one of my favorite books in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series when I originally began reading the series years ago. This was primarily because we begin to catch tantalizing glimpses of the world before the breaking as well as insights into the less previously well-explored cultures introduced in the first three books, in particular, the Aiel and Seanchan. Jordan also provided readers with a fascinating look at the dynamic between various Forsaken as well as the Dark Friends operating in the world, and how those various individuals and groups are frequently acting at odds with one another. It isn’t all world-building in this book, though. There’s plenty of action and a whole lot of story along the way. As with the previous three audiobooks, the narration provided by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer is spectacular, at no point taking the listener out of the experience or disrupting the flow of the narrative.
Munchausen by Proxy never looked so disgusting. Harvey Cutter is dependent on his mother for far more than the fulfillment of the usual needs, especially as an adult. Wanda has cultivated an entirely unhealthy relationship between herself and her son, not to mention an unhealthy diet. But a relationship like this can only sustain itself for so long, and when Harvey spitefully decides to show his mother that she needs him just as much as he needs her, the end of their perverse codependence isn’t far behind. The story only gets more disturbing from there. Love and Latham introduce us to what might be the most dysfunctional family any of us will encounter on the page, and thankfully never in real life. A Mother’s Love is a tale of desperation, manipulation, family, and fear of loss taken to grotesque extremes that these two authors seem to relish in displaying for their readers.
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When the Haskins family moves halfway across the country from their previous lives in Columbus, Ohio, no one would’ve expected the dramatic changes that accompanied their move into the new home. It begins almost immediately, as little things change and strange messages appear, but it gets weirder from there. As the atmosphere becomes increasingly surreal and unsettling, it’s the strained and peculiar relationship dynamics within the Haskins family that accelerate everything. The odd occurrences grow more sinister as the story progresses. In large part, thanks to Damien’s need to torment his mother out of bitterness that she’s always suspected him of being a monster. Hal’s thinking his wife’s losing her mind doesn’t help, either. Sabrina is not a particularly bright woman–in addition to being both scatterbrained and indecisive–but the bizarre apparitions and wish-fulfillment manifestations are not symptoms of insanity. Unfortunately, it’ll probably be too late by the time the rest of the family figures that out. Asman has crafted a wholly unique haunted house story, turning the whole thing on its head and steering readers toward a climax no sane reader would see coming. It’s both amusing and perplexing along the way, and–as one should expect from Asman–the characters are so thoroughly captivating that they draw the reader in just as effectively as the narrative itself. If you want to avoid spoilers, you should probably stop here because I can’t avoid saying things that will ruin some of the surprises. This is indeed a haunted house story–in a whole different sense. A house that’s haunted by the neglect and mistreatment of its former resident in the same way a person can be haunted by their earlier life experiences. Much like a person troubled by trauma, the house seems to go a bit overboard, overcompensating when it thinks it might have found someone who can love it for what it is. With a single-minded, short-sighted fixation on Sabrina and her well-being, the house itself might be acting with questionable judgment. That questionable judgment becomes readily apparent as the house uproots itself and storms through town like the most unlikely kaiju ever, heedless of the damage it causes along the way. The moral of the story is that houses need love too.
Setting the stage and whetting the appetite for his upcoming novel, Addicted To the Dead, Shane McKenzie’s Like A Brother provides readers with a tantalizing glimpse of a world where the dead don’t stay dead and organized crime is going strong–perhaps stronger than ever before. We join Donnie, a member of Sal’s crew, just after another crime family interrupted a funeral and spirited away Calico and the object of the funeral, Beauty. Sal is planning to attack, and take back the people who were taken from him. But his enemies aren’t done yet. Barely surviving the bloodbath that ensues, Donnie struggles to reach his family and the families of the others who’d just been murdered, but he might be too late. Will Donnie have the strength to take revenge and perform the rescue that Sal’s crew had intended before they were all but wiped out? Will he ever see his friend–his almost brother–Calico again? McKenzie introduces us to a world of casual, excessive violence and a thriving black market built on the nourishment provided by an unsavory meat supply with unique characteristics. After reading this story, you’ll surely be addicted as well.
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