Audiobook Spotlight: A Natural Woman

Fans of thoughtful romance novels—and those looking to get in the Valentine’s Day spirit—will want to check out Lori Johnson’s second novel, A Natural Woman. Anthropology professor Aliesha Eaton has just moved from Chicago to a sleepy southern college town, and is looking for a barber that can handle her prized natural hairdo. She finds this and more in Dante, a handsome and intelligent guy with a great taste in music and a copy of natural womanKafka’s Metamorphosis in his pocket. Sparks fly between the two almost immediately, but a series of problems crops up just as quick. The first is Aliesha’s current boyfriend, the kind but lukewarm Javiel, who’s pressing Aliesha for a deeper commitment. Then there’s her ex, who seems to still be holding the torch for her, despite being dumped long ago. And Dante has his reservations as well—after spending a night with Aliesha, he vanishes without a trace. Will their undeniable chemistry draw Dante out of hiding and bring them back together? Or will Aliesha have to find a new boyfriend and a new barber?

Johnson’s thoughtful dialogue and fun characters come together to create a contemporary romance that shouldn’t be missed. With RBDigital, you can listen to it any time, for free—no need to place a hold or join a waitlist. Check it out today!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: Passing

Kick off this Black History Month by checking out a seminal novel by one of the Harlem Renaissance’s premier writers, Nella Larsen. Passing follows the story of two black women, Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, whose fair skin allows them to pass for white. Clare is married to a white man, but keeps her heritage a secret from him, and has severed all ties to her past and her community. Irene, on the other hand, still lives withinpassing the African American community, but refuses to accept that racism exists, or that she and her loved ones might be affected by it. But when a coincidence brings the two women together, they are forced to confront not only the ugly truth of their respective situations, but also the lies they have told and the deep fears they keep hidden within themselves.

Published in 1929, Passing was the less-popular follow up to Larsen’s first novel, Quicksand. Yet its themes of internalized and externalized racism, identity, and the constrictions of society remain poignant and timely to this day. This essential piece of literature is available to listen to now on RBDigital— no need to wait or place a hold. Start listening today!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: Outlander

Fans of the Starz television series of the same name, as well as lovers of fantasy, history, and romance books will surely love this landmark novel: the thrilling intersection of all three genres, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall outlander coverand her husband take a second honeymoon, glad to be reunited after World War II. However, when she touches a boulder in a mysterious stone ruin, Claire becomes separated from him again—not by distance, but by time. Claire finds herself transported to Scotland in the year 1743. Caught in the throes of a very different war, she is rescued from sinister British troops by a clan of Highlanders. She adjusts fairly well to life in the past, using her nursing skills to treat the ailments of her rescuers, all the while biding her time until she can return to the circle of stones. However, before she can escape, circumstances force her into a marriage to the handsome and passionate Jamie Fraser. Will Clare ever find her way back to her own time? Or has fate somehow tied her to Jamie and to Clan MacKenzie? And if that’s the case, will she want to go home at all?

Since it was first published in 1991, Outlander has been beloved by thousands of readers and critics alike. The Book List Review calls it, “escape fiction at its best,” and Publishers Weekly deems it “compulsively readable.” If you have seen the TV series and want to read the books that inspired it, or if you’re a longtime fan who wants to reread the whole thing from the beginning, or even if you just want to see what all the buzz is about, be sure to listen to this audiobook (along with the rest of the Outlander series) on RBDigital. There you can enjoy it right away, no need to place a hold or join a waitlist!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: The Milk Lady of Bangalore

Those looking for a tale of unlikely friendship need look no further than Shoba Narayan’s warm and wonderfully funny true story, The Milk Lady of Bangalore . In it, Narayan, a Manhattan writer and cookbook author, moves back to her home country of India to be closer to her aging parents. There she befriends the local milk lady, Sarala, bonding with her over food, family, and the fresh milk that she buys from her every day. But when Narayan offers to buy Sarala a new cow, and the two of them begin their search for just milk ladythe right one, their friendship deepens into something more complex, and often laugh-out-loud funny. Along the way they encounter bus crashes, housewarming ceremonies where a cow is the guest of honor, and cow urine tablets that are meant to prevent strange dreams. Narayan’s book leads readers to explore not only the joys and complexities of female friendship, but also the cultural presence and significance of the sacred cow in Indian culture, and how we are all connected on a universal level to both animals and food.

Kirkus Review calls The Milk Lady of Bangalore “[a] witty and tender story,” and raves: “Narayan’s rich and evocative writing transports readers to the busy streets of Bangalore and a fully formed picture of modern India.” Don’t wait to follow Narayan and her new friend into their unexpected adventure—listen to this book now on RBDigital!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: Factfulness

There is nothing so refreshing, in a world that sometimes seems dominated by chaos and misinformation, as a clear head. This is just what author, academic, and TED Talk star, Hans Rosling, offers to his readers in Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World– and Why Things Are Better Than You Think. Rosling, along with his co-authors Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling-Rönnlund, note that often even the smartest individuals are factfulnesswoefully misinformed about global trends ranging from world hunger to literacy rates and the environment. Through a close examination of the ten instincts that affect our perception of these issues—among them our instincts to fear, to blame, and to generalize—they seek to understand not only why this phenomenon occurs, but what we can do to start thinking more clearly in our daily lives. In doing so, they not only offer useful rules for living more “factfully,” but also a much needed sense of reassurance: not everything is as awful as we think it is, and some things are even getting better.

Bill Gates calls Factfulness, “One of the most important books I’ve ever read–an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” And the praise does not end there. Kirkus Reviews calls the book, “[A]n insistently hopeful, fact-based booster shot for a doomsaying, world-weary population.” If a little clear thinking and a hopeful outlook sounds like it would hit the spot, check this book out on RBDigital. It is always available to listen to, with no need to place a hold or join a waitlist—and that’s a fact!

If you want to learn more about RBDigital, click here.

By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: These Things Hidden

In these dull, grey winter days, you may find yourself (as I often do) looking for a book that will excite you—something you won’t want to put down until it is finished, and that will leave you thinking long after. Look no further than Heather Gudenkauf’s thriller These Things Hidden. This suspenseful domestic drama centers around four very different women. The first is Allison Glenn, a former small-town golden girl, newly released on parole after a five-year prison sentence. The second is her sister Brynn, a shy college student who would like nothing better than to forget her sister’s gruesome mistakes. The other two are Claire, a young mother who fought tooth-and-nail to have a these things hiddenchild, and Charm, who struggled to care for her own child before giving him up. As fate would have it, Allison’s new job at a bookstore reveals to her the person that connects them all: Claire’s son, a young boy named Joshua. But tensions mount as Allison and Brynn’s many secrets threaten to collide with Joshua’s world, and the truth could have devastating consequences for all four of these women and the boy caught between them

Don’t wait another moment to start this tale of hidden pasts and dark secrets, which the Library Journal Review calls, “gripping.” You can find it, along with hundreds of other titles, on RBDigital—no need to place a hold or join a waitlist!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: New Leaf

Author Catherine Anderson brings sweet new life to the old ‘convenient marriage’ trope in her second installment of the Mystic River series, New Leaf. After being falsely accused of child abuse by her rotten ex-husband and losing custody of her daughter Sarah, Taffy Brown moves to the sleepy town of Mystic Creek to make a fresh start. While settling in she meets Barney Sterling, a local sheriff who is sympathetic to her plight. As their friendship develops, Taffy hatches what she thinks is a foolproof plan to get Sarah back: temporarily marry Barney. A marriage, she thinks, will generate sympathy and improve new-leaf.jpgher chances. After some initial hesitations, Barney agrees, but not without a caveat—their relationship is to remain totally platonic. This, they both find, as their “marriage” progresses and their chemistry grows, might be easier said than done. What’s worse, it might be the very least of their problems…

Fans of Anderson’s first Mystic River novel, Silver Thaw, and avid romance readers will adore this story, which has “gentle humor, a dollop of sweet sensuality, and [Anderson’s] trademark brand of down-home tenderness and heartfelt compassion” according to the Library Journal Review. Best of all, you won’t have to wait for your heart to be warmed; New Leaf is always available to listen to on RBDigital!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: This Year I Will…

The Christmas season has come and gone, and the New Year is approaching. That can only mean one thing: New Year’s resolutions. Everyone likes to set goals for themselves at the start of the year—losing weight, getting involved, finding love, or even just finally cleaning out the basement. It’s easy to make those resolutions, but keeping them is a this year i willdifferent story. More often than not they get left by the wayside as the year wears on, abandoned out of frustration or ambivalence. Luckily, author and life coach M.J. Ryan has written a guide to help you achieve your goals this year, and it is available to listen to right now on RBDigital! In This Year I Will, Ryan suggests that instead of trying to reach our goals with a one-system-fits-all solution, each person should instead try to come up with their own personalized formula for making permanent change. Her book guides you through the steps to creating that formula, and offers wise solutions to help you stay on track—and, importantly, to not beat yourself up if you don’t stay on track. Ryan offers helpful insights on dealing with those bumps in the road that keep us from achieving our goals, and her firm-but-fair style of motivation will no doubt inspire you to make a change and stick to it.

Publishers Weekly says “Ryan’s handy self-help will prove welcome for anyone seeking gentle but solid help in achieving personal change.” So if your New Year’s resolution is to save money, or eat better, or just to read a few more books this year, you can get a head-start by listening to this book (and many more) anytime on RBDigital. Just start listening—no need to place a hold or join a wait list!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers

With only five days until Christmas, and the holiday hustle and bustle at their yearly height, you may think you don’t have the time to sit down and enjoy an audiobook. However, The Usual Santas, a collection of sixteen short Christmas mysteries, might just prove you wrong. If you feel you don’t have time between the last-minute shopping, usual santaswrapping, and trips to the post-office to listen to a full-length novel, you might enjoy listening to one short story a night, when all your hustling and bustling is done. Short stories also make for great listening on a car trip or commute to work—and they’re a great way to keep your mind off of all that holiday traffic.

While fans of mysteries and thrillers will surely love the whole collection, an anthology this rich and diverse ensures that there will be something for everyone to enjoy! Whether you’re a Jane Austen lover (one story sees the famous author solving the mystery of a Duchess’s missing diamonds), a fan of historical or war fiction (one mystery is set in a Korean War POW camp), or a Sherlock Holmes devotee (Holmes’ adversary Irene Adler stars in one tale of espionage) you will find yourself thrilled, chilled, amused, and maybe even warmed by the tales in The Usual Santas. The Book List review raves that “each bite-size mystery in this winning collection is a gift.” So give yourself an early Christmas present and check it out on RBDigital, where it is always available with no holds or wait lists!

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By Emily

Audiobook Spotlight: Bring Me Home for Christmas

Romance author Robyn Carr will surely inspire some seasonal warm fuzzies with this yuletide installment of her Virgin River series! In Bring Me Home for Christmas, second-grade teacher Becca Timm journeys to the town of Virgin River for an “all-guys” hunting and fishing trip with her brother and a group of his ex-marine friends. Her mission? To bring me home for christmasensure that her feelings for former boyfriend, Denny Cutler, are as dead as she thinks they are (she suspects that her current boyfriend might propose soon, and wants to make sure that heart belongs to him and only him). But when an accident leaves Becca stranded in Virgin River and living in close quarters with Denny, they both begin to realize that their love affair may not be a thing of the past. In fact, it might just be their Christmas future.

Fans of Carr’s series and romance novel-lovers looking for a story with extra holiday charm will love this book, which the Library Journal Review calls a “touching, insightful tale of love, understanding, and forgiveness.” Best of all, it is always available to listen to on RBDigital—no need to place a hold!

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By Emily