Free YA Audiobooks Week Thirteen

It’s Week Thirteen of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until August 6th, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 13th free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles
By Tanya Lee Stone
Read by J.D. Jackson
Published by Brillance Audio

Summary: Steve Harmon is a teenage boy in juvenile detention and on trial for his supposed role in the fatal shooting of a convenience store owner. But was Steve really the lookout? Or was he in the wrong place at the wrong time? In this innovative novel, which is written as though it were a screen play at times, the reader becomes both a witness and a juror in Steve Harmon’s life.


John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night
By Matt Pelfrey
Performed by a Full Cast
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

Summary: An orchestra conductor has been brutally murdered, and the local police arrest Virgil Tibbs, a black police officer who happens to be passing through the southern town. However, on discovering that Tibbs is innocent, he is enlisted to help solve the case.

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

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New Releases 7/28

Movies
The Gunmangunman
Danny Collins
Home
The Water Diviner
Justice League: Gods and Monsters
White God
3 Hearts
Life on the Reef
Outbreak

Music
Double Vision by Prince Roycedouble vision
Matching Sweaters by Gaelic Storm
Ashes and Dust by Railroad Earth & Warren Haynes
Silver Tongue Devil by Madchild
Back to the Drawing Board by Lisa Lampanelli
The Blade by Ashley Monroe
Shockwave Supernova by Joe Satriani
Southpaw soundtrack by various artists

Audiobooks
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain ^circling the sun
The Forgotten by Heather Graham*
Thrill Me by Susan Mallery *
Never Die Alone by Lisa Jackson*
Perfect Touch by Elizabeth Lowell
Badlands by C. J. Box ^
Brush Back by Sara Paretsky*
*on MP3-CD format
^ on order in the Playaway format

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Free YA Audio Week Twelve

It’s Week Twelve of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until July 30th, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 12th free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

March
By Geraldine Brooks
Ready by Richard Easton
Published by Brilliance Audio

Summary: While the adventures of the March sisters are well know, not much is known about their father who is away at war. Geraldine Brooks tells March’s story he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs.

Little Women
By Louisa May Alcott
Read by Kate Reading
Published by Listening Library

Summary: Alcott’s famous novel follows the lives of the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy – detailing their coming of age at a turbulent time. Money is short, times are tough and their father is away at war. Yet, their infectious sense of fun sweeps everyone up in their adventures.

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

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New Releases 7/14

Moviescrimson field
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
It Follows
The Longest Ride
Ex Machina
Clouds of Sils Maria
Red Knot
The Crimson Field

Musicmobile orchestra
Mobile Orchestra by Owl City
Ghost Notes by Veruca Salt
Working Girl by Little Boots
Morning/Evening by Four Tet
Black Rose by Tyrese
Paper Towns Soundtrack by various

Audiobooksgo set a watchman
Naked Greed by Stuart Woods^
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
The Naked Eye by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen*
After the Storm by Linda Castillo
*on order in the MP3-CD format
^also on order in the Playaway format

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Free YA Audiobooks Week Eleven

It’s Week Eleven of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until July 23rd, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 11th free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

Crows & Cards
By Joseph Helgerson
Ready by MacLeod Andrews
Published by Brilliance Audio

Summary: It’s London, 1879, and the hapless members of the Explorers Club must confront their most lethal threat yet: the admission of a woman into their hermetically-sealed ranks. But the intrepid Phyllida Spotte-Hume turns out to be the least of their troubles!

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
By Mark Twain
Read by Robin Field
Published by Mission Audio

Summary: Huckleberry Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer, decides to run away, boards a raft, and sets down the Mississippi with a slave named Jim. Thus, Huck sets in motion a series of memorable adventures that offer both a glimpse, and critique, into many of of the entrenched attitudes of the time.

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

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Free YA Audiobooks Week Ten

It’s Week Ten of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until July 16th, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 10th free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

The Explorers Club
By Nell Benjamin
Performed by a Full Cast
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

Summary: It’s London, 1879, and the hapless members of the Explorers Club must confront their most lethal threat yet: the admission of a woman into their hermetically-sealed ranks. But the intrepid Phyllida Spotte-Hume turns out to be the least of their troubles!

Around the World in Eighty Days
By Jules Verne
Read by Michael Prichard
Published by Tantor Audio

Summary: After accepting a wager for £20,000 (equal to about £1.6 million today), Phileas Fogg and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days. This adventure story offers listeners a peek at the past—Victorian England, colonial India, mysterious Southeast Asia, and the wild American West.

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

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New Releases 7/7

Movieswoman in gold
Woman in Gold
’71
The Brokenwood Mysteries series 1
Poldark
Marfa Girl
Dawn of Humanity

Audiobooks
Fiction
Dexter is Dead by Jeff Lindsay code of conduct
Code of Conduct by Brad Thor
Nemesis by Catherine Coulter ^
Those Girls by Chevy Stevens *
A Paris Affair by Tatiana De Rosnay
Nonfiction
Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? by Lisa Scottoline ^
A Full Life by Jimmy Carter
*on order in the MP3-CD format
^also on order in the Playaway format

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Free YA Audiobooks Week Nine

It’s Week Nine of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing one YA bestseller and one classic for free. The current titles are available until July 9th, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download the 9th free YA Novel & Summer Reading Classic pair from SYNC

Echoes of an Angel
By Aquanetta Gordon, Chris Macias
Read by Robin Miles
Published by Christian Audio

Summary: The remarkable story of Ben Underwood, who became blind at the age of two, and learned how to use echolocation. By clicking his tongue and “seeing” waves, Ben learned how to ride a bike, identify objects, and even play video games. Echoes of an Angel is the true story of how a single mom pushed her son beyond his limits and how that son learned the impossible.

Buddha Boy
By Kathe Koja
Read by Spencer Murphy
Performed by a Full Cast

Summary: At school Jinsen is known as “Buddha Boy.” He wears tie-dye dragon T-shirts that are too big, shaves his head, and is always smiling. When Justin is paired with him for a class project, Justin gets to know Jinsen and stars questioning his own beliefs. What matters more: getting to know someone extraordinary or high school social order?

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through an Overdrive App on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the App or Software.

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New Releases 6/30

Movieswhile were young
While We’re Young
Get Hard
Five Easy Pieces
A Woman
Still
House of Cards season 3

Music
Venus by Joy Williams
Freedom by Refused
About to Get Real by Easton Corbin
In Another Life by Bilal
Summertime ’06 by Vince Staples
The Monsanto Years by Neil Young & Promise of the Real silenced

Audiobooks
The Silenced by Heather Graham*
Kiss Me by Susan Mallery*
The English Spy by Daniel Silva
Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King
Summer Secrets by Jane Green

*in the MP3-CD format

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Robert Wise

When I realized that three of my top 12 movies were made by the same person and that a fourth was in my top 25, I concluded that Robert Wise must be my favorite director.  Where does Wise rank in Hollywood history?i_want_to_live

Four-time Academy Award-winner John Ford is generally considered the Hollywood director against whom all others must be measured.  Orson Welles is said to have responded to the question of who was the best director with, “John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford.”  William Wyler, Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, George Cukor, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, Frank Capra, Michael Curtiz and George Stevens would be high on the list, and Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg would doubtless get votes today.  But Robert Wise has one of  the best averages for helming exceptional movies.  In The Illustrated Who’s Who of Hollywood Directors:  The Sound Era, Michael Barson observed that Wise was a chameleon because he couldn’t be pigeon-holed and thus was not accorded the respect that accrued to the auteur, the director who presumably controlled all aspects of a film’s production.  Nevertheless, Barson said Wise deserved accolades for succeeding at least once in every genre he attempted.

Changing genre to type, the best of these are:

Curse of the Cat People (1944, horror)

The Body Snatcher (1945, horror)

Blood on the Moon (1948, western)

The Set-Up (1949, boxing noir)The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, science fiction)

Executive Suite (1954, drama)

Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956, boxing)

Tribute to a Bad Man (1956, western)

Until They Sail (1957, war drama)

Run Silent, Run Deep (1958, war)

I Want To Live! (1958, drama)

Odds Against Tomorrow (1959, crime/race)

West Side Story (1961, musical)

The Haunting (1963, horror)

The Sound of Music (1965, musical)

The Sand Pebbles (1966, historical)

The Andromeda Strain (1971, science fiction)

George Cukor was always known as an “actor’s director.”  Likewise, Wise guided through their paces a distinguished group actors and actresses:  Robert Mitchum (twice), Robert Ryan, James Cagney, Paul Newman (twice), Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Susan Hayward (won Oscar), Natalie Wood, Julie Andrews, Steve McQueen, Eleanor Parker, William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, Julie Harris, Shirley MacLaine and Fredric March.

Wise began his Hollywood career as a sound effects editor, graduating to editor on such films as citizen kane 2Bachelor Mother (1939), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), and My Favorite Wife (1940).  Then came what in retrospect was the editing assignment of a lifetime:  Orson Welles’  Citizen Kane (1941).  When the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, a U.S. agency, sent Welles to South America as a goodwill ambassador, Wise was tagged to direct additional scenes for Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) after preview audiences were unimpressed with the original version.  Some people attacked Wise rather than RKO for tampering with Welles’ vision.  Wise himself said it was a problem film because it was made  before the U.S. entry into World War II:  “Audiences just didn’t have patience for this story of the Amberson family in Indianapolis, early in the century, and their problems.  The changes were not a plot against Orson.  We had a problem picture and he wasn’t here to help us….I think the fact that it has come down through the years as a classic in its own right means that we didn’t destroy everything that Orson did.”

Wise’s first directing assignment occurred when he replaced Gunther Von Fritsch on The Curse of the Cat People (1944).  Von Fritsch was not keeping the production on time, which as Gregory Mank observed in The Very Witching Time was a cardinal sin for a B-movie.  Given the task of mopping up, Wise was fast and Curse became known as a topflight horror film.  The Body Snatcher (1945) followed and gained a heady reputation.  Both were made for legendary producer Val Lewton, who eschewed in-your-face horror for mood, atmosphere, and the unseen.  Until Raging Bull in 1980, Wise’s The Set-Up (1949) was often reckoned the best of all boxing movies.  It is distinctly different, however.  It is not a biopic, rather a grim noir with Robert Ryan an almost-has-been who refuses to throw a match and suffers the consequences from the local hoods.executive suite

Come 1951, two major films addressed the concern over what might be visiting us from space.  The Thing from Another World featured a vicious, bloodthirsty alien.  In Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still the alien was more benevolent although he did promise a scorched earth if humans spread war into the cosmos.  From top to bottom, superstar to character actor, Executive Suite (1954) had perhaps the best power cast ever:  William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, Fredric March, Walter Pidgeon, June Allyson, Paul Douglas, Louis Calhern, Shelley Winters, Dean Jagger, Nina Foch.

Wise turned his attention to another boxing movie with 1956’s Somebody Up There Likes Merun silent run deep This time around he was dealing with real-life champion Rocky Graziano as interpreted by Paul Newman.  It won Academy Awards for Black & White Cinematography and Art Direction.  Nineteen-fifty-eight saw the release of a topnotch submarine movie, Run Silent, Run Deep.  Once again, two superstars took the helm:  Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster.  The same year Wise took on capital punishment in I Want To Live!  After four previous nominations, Susan Hayward finally won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Barbara Graham, sent to the gas chamber for her part in a robbery and murder.  In the following year’s Odds Against Tomorrow, Wise tackled the issue of race in the guise of a noir heist film with Harry Belafonte and Robert Ryan, working together in crime but hating each other’s guts.

Wise was on a role and tookhaunting on the film version of the Broadway smash West Side Story.  He co-directed with WSTs choreographer Jerome Robbins, and they shared the directing Oscar, the movie taking Best Picture and many other Oscars.  An interlude between musicals had Wise directing another Broadway-to-Hollywood item, Two for the Seesaw, with Shirley MacLaine and Robert Mitchum.  That was not a success and it was back to low-key horror for 1963’s The Haunting, sometimes considered the best of all haunted house films.

Perhaps the most important of his films in the public’s estimation camesound of music next:   The Sound of Music.  He and male lead Christopher Plummer worked to keep it from becoming saccharine.  Once again a Wise musical won Best Picture, and he heard of his second Oscar for directing while working on The Sand Pebbles in Taiwan.  That epic was based on a bestselling novel about a U.S. gunboat in nineteen-twenties China.  It received 8 Oscar nominations, including Wise for director and Steve McQueen for actor.  It did respectable business but not what one would expect.  Possibly because the large movie theaters in center city Philadelphia were booked with other reserved-seat roadshows, Sand’s initial release in the Delaware Valley was in Cheltenham, which was bound to confound suburbanites.

In 1971 Wise once more succeeded with science fiction.   The Andromeda Strain was based on Michael Crichton’s bestselling novel of a plague from space.  Wise finished the decade with another science fiction film.  Star Trek:  The Motion Picture (1979) was aimed at the Star Wars (1977) audience in addition to Trekkies.  However, it didn’t have the flash and dash and has been labeled, probably unfairly, the least of the Star Trek films.

I met the 82-year-old Wise at the FANEX convention in Baltimore in July, 1996.  He signed my I Want To Live! soundtrack and responded positively when I asked how he liked working with Susan Hayward.  An attendant asked me not to take Mr. Wise’s picture, but I had done so before the request.

By Kim

References

Barson, Michael.  The Illustrated Who’s Who of Hollywood Directors:  The Sound Era.  New York:  Noonday Press, 1995.

Leeman, Sergio.  Robert Wise on His Films:  From Editing Room to Director’s Chair.  Los Angeles:  Silman-James Press, 1995.

Mank, Gregory William.  The Very Witching Time of Night:  Dark Alleys of Classic Horror Cinema.  Jefferson, NC:  McFarland, 2014.

Plummer, Christopher.  In Spite of Myself—A Memoir.  New York:  Vintage, 2012.

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