Awards & Recognition Hear a little-known chapter in World War II history in #1 February LibraryReads pick SALT TO THE SEA

LibraryReads’ February 2016 picks include two epic works of historical fiction, one stunning debut, and an uplifting listen from fan favorite Debbie Macomber. Hear clips to find out why these LibraryReads make great listens.

View the full list of February LibraryReads picks here, and check out our LibraryReads Make Great Listens collection to see all of our BOT LibraryReads picks (since the program began).


SALT TO THE SEAfavorite_libraryreads
By Ruta Sepetys
Read by Jorjeana Marie,
Will Damron, Cassandra Morris & Michael Crouch


For only the second time in LibraryReads history, the #1 pick of the month is a YA cross-over—with major adult appeal.
Nominated for a Carnegie Medal and the William C. Morris Award for her first novel, Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys returns to the same world to explore Eastern Europe in World War II through a new lens, uncovering another hidden piece of history and the humanity just beneath.

Though few have heard of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, it remains the largest maritime disaster in history. An estimated 9,400 people did not survive the sinking, more than 6 times the number of lives lost when the Titanic sank in 1912. Told from the alternating perspectives of four young people, this story works particularly well on audio, as each character’s voice and their story is brought to life by a different narrator. Both teen and adult listeners will be struck by this powerful story. Recommend this to YA fans, young and old.

Hear the author’s interview with NPR’s Morning Edition here.

LibraryReads review: “Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. Ruta Sepetys changes that in her gripping historical novel. Told in short snippets, SALT TO THE SEA rotates between four narrators attempting to escape various tragedies in 1945 Europe. Powerful and haunting, heartbreaking and hopeful—a must read.”
—Jennifer Asimakopoulos, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL

★ “The points of view of four young people caught in the clash between Germany and Russia during WWII are well realized by four narrators…The heartbreaking climax will leave listeners stunned.”—AudioFile Earphones Award winner

★ “With exquisite prose, Sepetys plumbs the depths of her quartet of characters…Another harrowing, impeccably researched story…This haunting gem of a novel begs to be remembered…”—Booklist, starred review

★ “Sepetys delivers another knockout historical novel…Sepetys excels in shining light on lost chapters of history, and this visceral novel proves a memorable testament to strength and resilience in the face of war and cruelty.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “At once beautiful and heart-wrenching, this title will remind readers that there are far more casualties of war than are recorded in history books. Sure to have crossover appeal for adult readers.”—Library Journal, starred review

★ “[T]hrough the horror and heartbreak shine rays of hope: love, kindness, courage, and sacrifice… Artfully told and sensitively crafted, Sepetys’s exploration of this little-known piece of history will leave readers weeping.”—School Library Journal, starred review

By Eve Chase
Read by Nathalie Buscombe, Cassandra Campbell & Katie Scarfe

LibraryReads review: “Young Amber Alton and her family adore Black Rabbit Hall, and the joy and peace it brings to them all. That is, until a tragic accident changes everything. Three decades later, Lorna decides her wedding must be celebrated at the crumbling hall. As the book moves between these two time periods, secrets slowly unfold. Perfectly twisty with interesting characters and a compelling story that kept me up too late.”—Deborah Margeson, Douglas County Libraries, Parker, CO

Why try the audio? As atmospheric as Kate Morton, Sarah Waters, and Daphne du Maurier, and with a love story that will satisfy fans of JoJo Moyes, this audiobook is an irresistible blend of mystery, romance, and family saga with a deliciously gothic flair for the ears—not to mention beautiful descriptions of a sprawling English estate that’s perfect for audio.

By Debbie Macomber
Read by Nancy Linari and Allyson Ryan
With a letter read by the Author

LibraryReads review: “Leanne and her daughter-in-law Nichole both leave cheating husbands to start over. They learn that it is never easy and that hardships abound, but they meet many wonderful people on their way to happily-ever-after. Believable characters and an enjoyable story made this perfect for relaxing reading—definitely one of Macomber’s best. An excellent choice both for long-time fans of the author and for those who have never read her novels.”—Linda Tilden, Cherry Hill Public Library, Cherry Hill, NJ

knit-transparentWhy try the audio? Listen while you knit, garden, craft or cook! Debbie Macomber has an unparalleled relationship with her fans, including knitters and crafters, book clubs, romance fans, and more. Recommend that patrons try listening to an audiobook while engaging in a favorite activity. Spring cleaning, anyone?

DID YOU KNOW? Debbie Macomber is dyslexic and as a child she struggled with learning to read. She loves audiobooks (read more about why here) which have helped her keep current with her always-growing reading list. She enjoys listening while knitting and traveling in the car with her husband.

By Ariel Lawhon
Read by John Lee

LibraryReads review: “FLIGHT OF DREAMS chronicles an author’s imagined scenario on the ill-fated last flight of the Hindenburg, which was shrouded in mystery. Lawhon does a masterful job by giving meticulous detail of the ship and delving into the lives of many of the characters on board. I read with mounting dread and intensity as the storyline of the disaster unfolded. Historical detail and wonderful storytelling make this a must read for historical fiction lovers.”—Kristin Fields, Farnhamville Public Library, Farnhamville, IA

Why try the audio? With enthralling details that transport listeners into the past and spellbinding plotting that would make Agatha Christie proud, FLIGHT OF DREAMS keeps listeners guessing until the last line. It’s The Dressmaker meets The Aviator’s Wife.

Narrator John Lee brings this utterly suspenseful, heart-wrenching listen to life. Watch him explain why FLIGHT OF DREAMS was so “fascinating” to read:

See all ten February LibraryReads 2016 picks on the LibraryReads site.

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