The Prophecy Con

My favorite audiobook I listened to all last year was The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes. I wrote more about it in Recommended: The Palace Job, but the summary is it was fun, funny, and clever, with characters I just loved.

The sequel is out today. The Prophecy Con returns to the same world and characters, and makes it officially a series, “Rogues of the Republic”.

I haven’t listened to it yet, though I did buy and download it about 15 minutes after the audiobook was released. Instead, I started The Palace Job … for the third time. Did I mention I like this book? I’ll listen to The Prophecy Con this weekend, with the first book fresh in my head.

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Recommended: The Palace Job

by Michael Alderete on 11/18/2013 · 1 comment

The Palace Job is, by far, the best audiobook I’ve listened to in at least a year. Think Leverage meets Firefly meets The Wizard of Oz. (If you know Steven Brust’s Dragaera, it’s a better fit than Oz.) The book is fun, funny, and thrilling from start to finish.

The Palace Job

First, the novel itself is terrific, with a great cast of characters, very-good-occasionally-awesome dialog, and lots of clever ideas. There are many laugh-out-loud moments, and it’s one of those books you power through, and then re-read sections, just to re-live the fun. I re-listened to the second half of the book (~5 hours) the day after finishing it, and found lots of neat, tight-fitting details that I had missed the first time.

Second, the narrator, Justine Eyre, is awesome. I pretty much never give a narrator the “golden voice” badge after just one book, but this performance was so strong, I was awarding it before the novel was half finished. Indeed, it was her voice on the 5 minute sample that convinced me I wanted to purchase and listen to the book sooner rather than later. She easily handles the two dozen or so distinct characters, with clear differences in tone and accent that make it easy to tell who’s speaking at any given time. And her performance really takes the humor to the next level, particularly with the dialog.

Who This Book is For

The book feels, in the best possible way, more like Firefly than anything I’ve come across. The characters, their relationships with each other, and a captain who never set out to be the good guy, but kind of ends up being one anyway. If you loved Firefly, as I did, you will love this novel.

My wife is a fan of Leverage, which I absorb by osmosis, and it has a bit of that feel, too. Action, capers, revenge, and humor. If you like Leverage, you’ll like this book.

Someone, maybe Greg Rucka, described the book as Ocean’s Eleven with a unicorn. That works, too, and if you like Ocean’s Eleven, or (forgive me) horny unicorns, you might like this book, too.

At any rate, the author is already working on a second book, in what I hope will be a long series. This first book stands alone, but I’m very excited to know there will be more.

Highly recommended.

Update: Here’s another review of The Palace Job, from Sigrid Ellis. He notes the same qualities I did, even down to the Leverage comparison. And writes “If you are the audience for this book, you will ab-so-freakin-lute-ly love it to pieces” — which I absolutely am, and did. :-)

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Free Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

by Michael Alderete on 6/14/2013

So you remember how I recommended in a prior post? Here’s why you should go there right now and sign up:


When I was younger, a lot younger, my first real job was working in a book store. I took care of a number of different sections, and one of them was Westerns. And, for some reason, this novel was the one I latched onto, as the Western. No idea why, and to this day I still hear “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors when I think of this title. Again, no good reason.

Don’t miss out, this is good only until the 19th. Go now!

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by Michael Alderete on 5/23/2013

If you’re an audiobook fan, I recommend heading over to and signing up for their newsletter. The weekly deals have been terrific, with free or inexpensive unabridged audiobooks offered regularly. The current promotion is “Huck for a buck”.

Huck for a buck

The books are all “classics”, which is another way to say that the copyright is expired and the text is in the public domain. (I.e., no author royalties to pay.) That’s OK, these are still cool books. I’ve picked up Frankenstein, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for the grand total of $1.1 also has a terrific library of best sellers and new releases, including a few series that are on my list of recommended audiobooks, like the Vorkosigan Saga, the Harry Bosch series, and the Sookie Stackhouse books that inspired the HBO series True Blood. Their prices are competitive with, they have a subscription plan that’s even cheaper, and they have apps for both iPhone (iOS) and Android.

These guys are great, I recommend you check them out. The newsletter sign-up form is at the bottom of every page.

  1. Before you say “I can get all those same books at LibriVox, and more besides, for FREE”, no, you can’t. The versions have terrific production values, recorded by professional voice talent in a professional recording studio. LibraVox, while a neat service, is amateurs of varying levels of talent reading into microphones of varying levels of quality in environments with varying levels of extra noise. There’s no comparison. 

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I Fixed the Link to My Email for Aldo on Audiobooks

by Michael Alderete on 5/23/2013

Whoops. Apparently when I set up with my new hosting provider, I didn’t create the dedicated email address I use for Aldo on Audiobooks. If you emailed me in the past two months and it bounced back, I’m sorry! No wonder no one had any new questions! Try me again, and I’ll try to do better at responding this time.

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Very Quick Hardware Reviews

by Michael Alderete on 2/22/2013 · 2 comments

Since the last time I updated my hardware recommendations I’ve purchased:

  • An iPhone 5
  • An iPod Touch, 5th generation (first with Lightening connector)
  • An iPod Nano, 7th generation (first with Lightening connector)
  • A Nexus 4 (yes, I’m giving Android a serious look)

I’m going to be updating my hardware recommendations soon, but in the meantime, here’s some quick thoughts.

  1. I don’t get the new Nano. It’s very nice, and it would have been a great way to go before the tiny square 5-6th generation Nano, but it’s…I dunno. I don’t get it. The tiny square Nano was perfect for clipping on for workouts, very capable. The new one is a little more functionality, but also bigger. If you’re going bigger, why not go all the way and get an iPhone or iPod Touch, and have a real touch device, that can run apps and everything that comes with that?

  2. In fact, I don’t get the entire iPod line. I would have dropped the Shuffle, made the square Nano (upgraded to Lightening) cheaper to fill that spot in the line, and upgraded the iPod Touch to the new version, but keeping the old screen size. Make the taller screen an iPhone 5 exclusive, while keeping the iPod line more affordable.

  3. I definitely would have discontinued the old iPod Touch product. Leaving that on the market is just confusing.

  4. All that said, the new Nano and Touch are really nice devices. And the old iPod Touch is now a bargain way to get onto iOS. Just because the product line is confusing doesn’t mean the hardware isn’t nice.

  5. Still, I recommend the iPhone 5, because it is freakin’ awesome. Truly the best piece of computing hardware I’ve ever owned.

  6. The Nexus 4 is very nice, seems to run the Audible app pretty well (if not quite as smoothly as on the iPhone), and has a pretty broad range of other spoken word apps available. My favorite podcast app, Pocket Casts, is available for Android, and is even “Android first” (h/t Daring Fireball). My survey is far from complete, but it’s clear that as far as spoken word entertainment goes, Android is at least very good, and has no gaps.

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Notes on Importing Audiobook CDs into iTunes 11

by Michael Alderete on 2/18/2013 · 54 comments

To read Apple’s marketing copy for iTunes 11, you’d think that the new app was a massive rewrite, or maybe even All! New! Fortunately for my instructions for importing audiobook CDs, while there’s some nice changes, lurking right below the surface is much the same user interface. Importing audiobook CDs using iTunes remains much the same task as before, with a few changes for some rearranged user interface elements. Here are some quick hints, while you wait for me to fully update the article. Read the rest of this entry (443 words) »

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Writing Again

by Michael Alderete on 2/16/2013

It’s been a while since I published much here (visibly), but to answer a popular question, yes, I’m still here. I’m taking this three-day weekend to restart some efforts, including writing here on the blog, and also answering mail that has piled up. It’s going to take a while, but I’m slogging through it.

What’s unfortunate, and ironic, about my break from writing is that I never published a post explaining that I’d updated every single page in Aldo on Audiobooks, bringing it up to date, both with the (then) current version of iTunes and with a few new tricks I’d learned. It also includes a greatly expanded selection of audiobook recommendations.

Of course, a month or two after I finished all those updates, Apple announced all new hardware, both iPhones and iPods, and previewed iTunes 11. I “took a pause” to wait for iTunes 11 before updating everything, and then Apple took a while to actually ship it.

Anyway, the goal is to sweep through everything this weekend, and if it’s not completely revised, to at least add a blog post explaining differences.

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Audie Audiobook Winners for 2012

June 8, 2012

Just a quick note to congratulate the winners for this year’s Audie awards, the Grammy Awards of the audiobook world. (Yes, I know there is an actual Grammy for audiobooks, but the Audie is the real award to win.) The 2012 Audie winners are all available at, for your immediate listening pleasure.

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Memorial Day Weekend Sale on Elvis & Sookie at Audible

May 26, 2012’s Memorial Day sale is celebrating the three day weekend (in the US) with three different series on sale. Every book in each series is available, and priced at $7.95, a serious savings. Get a book for the price of a decent six pack, or a Summer’s worth of listening for half what you spent […]

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Getting the British Harry Potter eBooks and Audiobooks

May 8, 2012

With the launch of the store at, it’s now possible to get digital versions of all seven Harry Potter novels. I own all of the audiobooks twice over, and several of the printed books, but the eBooks represent something new: the chance to read the British version of the novels. Alas, due to insanely […]

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On Sale at Audible: Takeshi Kovacs Trilogy

June 12, 2011

Only for the next two days, and only for members, but the deal is so good, I feel compelled to share this collection of three hard-edged science fiction novels, Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies. I really enjoyed all three novels, and hope the author will return to the Envoy universe and write […]

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