We work in publishing, so of course we spend our days listening to audiobooks instead of working…

…but please don’t tell our bosses that!

We have low-key listened to A LOT of fabulous reads in 2023. Now that the year has come and gone, we thought we’d celebrate 2024 by having our staff share their favorite listen that was published last year.

Read on for some Dreamscape “staff picks” to add to your TBR!

 

Do Not Open

Written by Kiersten Modglin, narrated by Mara Wilson

Do Not Open cover

“As someone with a unique name, I’ve searched far and wide for a Kassara keychain or mug. All of that searching was worth it when I picked up Kiersten Modglin’s Misery-influenced thriller! The bad-a** best friend named Kassara came about after I met the author at a conference, and my entire family was tickled to hear about my name being in a book! Despite my biases, this book had me up listening all night—there wasn’t a dull moment in it and I seriously had to hit pause at times to ask myself if this would give me nightmares. Kiersten’s stories are incredibly well-told.”

– Kassara, publishing 

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The Water Outlaws

Written by S.L. Huang, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller

The Water Outlaws cover

“My favorite of the year was The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. It was one of the exciting, new titles that released after we launched our new Science Fiction and Fantasy division, Dreamscape Lore. A captivating title that seamlessly blends the time-honored traditions of martial arts literature with a modern, action-packed narrative – this epic fantasy introduces Lin Chong, an expert arms instructor whose life takes a drastic turn when she is unfairly disgraced and marked as a criminal. To survive, Lin makes an unexpected alliance with the Bandits of Liangshan, a motley crew of outlaws existing on the fringes of society, embodying a paradoxical code—they are both champions of justice and perpetrators of crime. The Water Outlaws is an a**-kicking, action-packed tale of found family, showcasing the resilience of the human spirit in the face of oppression. Zeller brings the already engrossing novel to new heights with her dynamic delivery, capturing the essence of each character and infusing the story with palpable energy. Her ability to convey the emotions, nuances, and intensity of the plot elevates the listening experience. I found this audiobook to be a true gem in the genre!”

– Lorna, publishing

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Mothtown

Written by Caroline Hardaker, narrated by Alan Cammish

Mothtown cover

From the moment I heard Alan Cammish narrate the first lines of this uncanny horror audiobook, I was hooked. His warm, wavering voice paired with Caroline Hardaker’s chilling prose is simply breathtaking and is perfect for any listener who loves finding the poetry in any story. I also love how Caroline writes about grief through the relationship of David, our protagonist, and his grandfather. Even though it’s far from the first horror story to approach this universally “human” theme – The Babadook, Midsommar, Hereditary… – it is still delightfully unique. It has a tenderness that is revealed time and again, especially in the beautifully strange ways he remains connected with his grandfather, even after he’s gone.”

– Anna, marketing

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A Bright Heart

Written by Kate Chenli, narrated by Natalie Naudus

A Bright Heart cover

If you’re anything like me and are a fan of the popular rebirth/reincarnation/isekai plotlines in many manhwa stories, then I think you will enjoy this YA fantasy about a young girl who defies death and gets a second chance at life. Natalie Naudus’s engrossing narration really brought this tale of love, revenge, and second chances to life. One of my favorite parts of the book was undoubtedly how smart all the characters were, from the protagonists to the antagonists, as they all navigated the complexities and intrigue of court. It was impossible not to become deeply invested in Mingshin’s story as her determination and fierce protectiveness of her family made her a deeply lovable protagonist that you can’t help but root for. Plus, a swoony-worthy romance with a handsome prince never fails to gain my attention. And most importantly, who wouldn’t want to read about someone who got the chance to take down their own killer?

– Megan, marketing

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The Nameless Restaurant

Written by Tao Wong, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller

The Nameless Restaurant cover

Warning: Do not listen to this audiobook if you are hungry. Seriously. I was ravenous after listening to Tao Wong’s delectable descriptions of the food being prepared and shared amongst mythical beings in The Nameless Restaurant. Not only is it a foodie’s delight to listen to, but the conversations between the characters are lively, engaging, and interesting. I didn’t think I was signing up for an existential look at free will when I started listening to this book, but I got it, and it was presented from a quirky cast of characters who had fun, quippy dialogue. Add to all of this narration from Emily Woo Zeller, and this audiobook is a delight – also perfect for road trips since it clocks in at around three hours.”

– Jolene, marketing 

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Looking for more audiobook recommendations?

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