Ah, the holiday season. Twinkle lights glow from houses and shop windows, temperatures plummet, and the flavor of the month has FINALLY shifted from Pumpkin Spice to Gingerbread. For many of us, December is a month to stress about finding the perfect gifts for loved ones and friends and to fantasize about what we might want to receive in return. To save you from the zoo that is the shopping mall this time of year, or the Wild West of online shopping (how do you narrow down ANYTHING online when all you have to go on for your friend is that they “like nice things”?!), I have three suggestions for awesome audiobooks by self-published authors that would make excellent gifts. One is even holiday-themed. So, you can choose your favorite genre, AND feel good about yourself for supporting an independent author. Happy Holidays!
(Witchless in Seattle, book 5) (Holidays, Cozy Mystery)
Dakota Cassidy is an incredibly prolific and popular writer who specializes in paranormal cozy mysteries. While some of her over fifty books have been published through traditional houses, she has self-published many others, including How the Witch Stole Christmas. This is the fifth book in the Witchless in Seattle series, starring ex-witch and amateur sleuth Stevie Cartwright. Christmas is Stevie’s favorite time of year, and she goes all out to celebrate it – even entering a neighborhood decoration contest. Disaster strikes when she discovers her carefully-planned decorations have been tampered with, a dead body turns up nearby, and her familiar, Belfry, is missing. Can she solve the mystery and save herself from her arch-nemesis? This is a wonderful audiobook to curl up with in a comfy chair, alongside a mug of hot chocolate. With marshmallows, of course.
Listeners love the wacky humor of Cassidy’s Witchless in Seattle series. Reviewers have heaped praise on the wonderful narration of Hollie Jackson, particularly her ability to bring characters to life consistently throughout the series. If you love How the Witch Stole Christmas, be sure to check out the entire Witchless in Seattle series!
Martha D. Peterson – The Widow Spy: My CIA Journey from the Jungles of Laos to Prison in Moscow (Memoir)
When her children were teenagers, Martha Peterson sat them down and told them the unbelievable truth: their mother was a spy for the CIA. Over the course of a visit to the CIA headquarters, Peterson slowly revealed her story: that she had been married before she’d met the children’s father, and that her first husband had died serving the CIA. Peterson’s memoir begins with her life in Laos with this first husband and continues as she begins a 30-year career with the CIA after he dies. As the first female agent to be sent to Russia, she was the case handler of a CIA asset called TRIGON, with whom she communicated via a system of dead drops. Peterson’s story documents the danger she faced while working on Soviet soil for the American government, including her capture by the KGB and subsequent imprisonment and interrogation.
This fascinating listen provides an unfiltered view into CIA life at the height of the Cold War, chronicling the risks to a spy’s personal safety, the difficulties of being a woman in a male-dominated field, and the strain of leading a double life. Peterson’s story has been told in news articles, TV specials, and museum exhibits, and now you can hear it in her own words.
Deana Farrady – Unfriended (Romantic Comedy)
Deana Farrady (a pen name for an author who also writes under the name Karen Harley) is proud to be from the Middle of Nowhere, USA. She loves to write about hot, geeky heroes falling for smart heroines. Unfriended is her first book on audio and features witty, fast-paced banter between the romantic leads, combined with lots of geeky shout-outs and sly nods to the academic community. Asher is the guy with the golden touch – he’s acing college, has a successful business, and an awesome best friend, Charis. But below the surface, things are much more complicated than they seem. Asher has always carried a torch for his tomboyish best buddy, and when he learns Charis is getting married, he has to take drastic steps to convince her that maybe their relationship isn’t so platonic after all. Listeners have loved hearing the hilarious banter come to life, voiced by Alexander Cendese and Stephanie Wyles.