Audio: Pretty Things by Janelle Brown @janelleb @justjuliawhelan @LaurenFortgang @hillatious @PRHAudio #LoveAudiobooks

Posted April 23, 2020 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 22 Comments

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audio: Pretty Things by Janelle Brown @janelleb @justjuliawhelan @LaurenFortgang @hillatious @PRHAudio #LoveAudiobooksPretty Things by Janelle Brown
Narrator: Julia Whelan, Lauren Fortgang, Hillary Huber
Published by Penguin Audio on April 21, 2020
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Length: 16 hours, 8 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.

Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.

Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

Pretty Things is a great step into a whole new world. This mystery thriller held me waiting to see what happened next. The chapters were from different main characters point of view, mostly Nina and Vanessa. Nina is the grifter and Vanessa is the heiress.

I was team Nina from the beginning. This might be because we got her perspective first, or because she was smart and hard working, and didn’t have things easy growing up.  There was a great sense of suspense for me because at some point things would not go well for our characters. I wanted to protect her.

Vanessa was much less likeable. She was shallow, wanting to be the center of attention. Of course, that is partly because she has never really received much love and guidance as she was raised. But she did much less with all she had than Nina.  I felt more for her brother, Benny.

We start out with heists and end up with grifting and there are some big twists along the way.  I enjoyed this very much, especially with the terrific narration.


I chose this audio partly because the women narrators are three of my favorites.  There were distinct differences in the character voices, and the male voices were limited with the primary characters being female, but all sounded appropriate.   I enjoyed listening at my usual 1.5x speed.

Listen to a clip:

About Hillary Huber

Hillary has recorded over 500 audiobooks spanning many genres. She is a multiple Audie Award finalist – including Best Female Narrator, multiple Earphone Award winner, Voice Arts Awards winner and one of Audiofile Magazine’s best voices. Hillary has a BA in English Literature and is a voracious reader and listener. Raised in conservative Connecticut and hippy Hawaii, she has unique perspective. She splits her time between Santa Monica and New York. Most of that time is in a 4×4 padded room. Er…booth.

About Julia Whelan

Julia Whelan is a screenwriter, life-long actor, and award-winning audiobook narrator. She graduated with a degree in English and Creative Writing from Middlebury College and Oxford University. While in England, her flirtation with tea blossomed into a full-blown love affair, culminating in her eventual certification as a tea master. When not writing her own books, you can find her reading other people’s out loud into a microphone.

About Lauren Fortgang

Lauren Fortgang lives in New York City where she currently works as an actor and voiceover artist. Born in DE, she alternated between the metropolis of Wilmington and a rural upbringing in a variety of northern California towns. She had early training at A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory and is a graduate of Fordham University: College at Lincoln Center, where she majored in theater. Her curiosity for finding new niches in the industry has afforded her a broad career spectrum, both in and out of the spotlight as actor, singer, spokesperson audiobook narrator, podcaster, and even costume designer.

About Janelle Brown

I’ve known I wanted to be a novelist ever since I was in first grade, when my teacher looked at the whimsical little books I liked to make (and the pile of books I checked out of the school library every week) and said that I could be an author when I grew up. I took her suggestion to heart.

It took me several decades to get to novel-writing, though. I first started off as an essayist and journalist, writing for Wired and Salon in San Francisco, during the dotcom boom years. In the 1990’s, I was also the editor and co-founder of Maxi, an irreverent (and now, long-gone) women’s pop culture magazine. My writing has also appeared in Vogue, The New York Times, Elle, Wired, Self, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

My books tend to be page-turners with dysfunctional family relationships at their hearts; while my first two books were more satirical, my latest two are suspense. I’m also very much a California writer, and my books are set across the state. I’ve spent the fifteen years working on my novels, writing the occasional essay, and living in Los Angeles with my husband and two children.

Rating Breakdown
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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Posted April 23, 2020 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 22 Comments

22 responses to “Audio: Pretty Things by Janelle Brown