My Year of Audible: 2018

It’s scary to think that I’m already over halfway through Blogmas 2018! Today I am going to share with you some of the audiobooks that I have loved this year; although I’ve not listened as frequently lately, I have got some brilliant audiobooks this year!

The Goldfish Boy – Lisa Thompson narrated by Leon Williams

The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig narrated by Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig narrated by Matt Haig

The Kissing Booth – Beth Reekles narrated by Cynthia Holloway

I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman narrated by Aysha Kala, Huw Parmenter

The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven narrated by Laura Aikman

Legendary – Stephanie Garner narrated by Rebecca Soler

To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo narrated by Jacob York, Stephanie Willis

Daughter of the Pirate King – Tricia Levenseller narrated by Marisa Calin

Although I haven’t got around to finishing listening to all of these, I have loved the freedom of having an Audible membership and having some wonderful titles added to my audiobook library!

Have you listened to any of these, or are there any you’d recommend?

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An Audiobook Is Still A Book

I’ve always loved audiobooks, and used to have to listen to them every night to get to sleep. From collecting cassette tapes when I was little, to having a Walkman and taking them on the go, audiobooks have been an important part of my love of books. More recently, I have discovered Audible where I have downloaded some of my favourite titles to listen to when reading just isn’t an option.

I’ve seen a lot on Twitter about how there are people out there who don’t think that listening to audiobooks counts as reading (an important discussion that was raised by Jenn) and I could’t agree more with her about how audiobooks are just as valid! Whether it’s because you’re on the go, absolutely exhausted or have a condition such as dyslexia, listening to an audiobook can be the best option and it’s still reading!

My favourite audiobooks growing up were the abridged Enid Blyton ones – I adored (and still adore) all the boarding school and adventure stories, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Captain Beaky. I rediscovered my love of audiobooks last year with the Harry Potter series (how could you not?!) and have kept downloading since!

So, what are my top audiobook recommendations if you’re new to audiobooks, or just want to find something that you may not have listened to yet?

  • Obviously Harry Potter by JK Rowling. Jim Dale and Stephen Fry are both amazing narrators too (although I believe it’s only Stephen Fry on UK Audible). Plus, IT’S HARRY POTTER.
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber, narrated by Rebecca Soler. This is one of the first books I downloaded on Audible, and I couldn’t have chosen anything better; Soler is a brilliant narrator.
  • Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig, narrated by Matt Haig. Aside from being an incredible book that everyone should read or listen to, Matt Haig makes for easy listening and breathes life into his book.
  • The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson, narrated by Leon Williams. This is my latest download which I was so unbelievably excited to discover, and so far I am loving it! Williams is doing justice to an amazing book.

What do you think – do audiobooks count as reading a book? What recommendations would you make?

WWW Wednesday: 2nd May 2018

How is it already May?! I’ve had to focus a lot on uni this week so haven’t had a chance to read much, but I’ve still read a bit!

we are young

What are you currently reading? 

I started We Are Young by Cat Clarke today, so far so good! I love her writing style and it’s so easy to get in to her books. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this latest title which comes out tomorrow!

img_5522

What did you recently finish reading?

This week I read a picture book – Monty and Sylvester, which was alright! I also half read How To Write a Love Story by Katy Cannon, which also comes out tomorrow, which, whilst it started out pretty good, ended up being way too fluffy for me!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I want to read Skylarks by Karen Gregory next, and give Wingbound by Heather Trim another go as I’m more into fantasy at the minute than I was when I first started it!

THE CASE OF THE DEEPDEAN VAMPIRE – Robin Stevens

4.5/5

Another fabulous mini-mystery from the Wells and Wong Detective Society.

The Case of the Deepdean Vampire is the second of the two mini-mysteries written by Daisy, who is a brilliant narrator! She’s very quick-witted and blows her own trumpet in a way that’s highly entertaining to read.

In this mystery, Daisy investigates the rumours of there being a vampire amongst the fifth-formers. Yet again, despite this not being a murder case, it was full of twists as Daisy tries to solve the case.

I didn’t like this one quite as much as The Case of the Blue Violet, possibly because it’s not as deep a case to solve which made it slightly less interesting. That said, it’s still a solid 4.5/5 read and definitely worth it!

Six For Sunday: 18th February 2018

Hello! It’s that time of week again – I really enjoy Six for Sunday! Sorry that the formatting is a bit naff this week – I’m using my iPad ’cause I’m away in a log cabin for the weekend! You can find all the prompts here. This week:

Favourite Partners

I’ve decided to go for any partnership – romantic or platonic.

1. Hazel and Daisy from Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike series

2. Rhysand and Feyre from Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series

3. Finch and Violet from Jennifer Niven’s All The Bright Places

4. Elian and Lira from Alexandra Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom

5. Steffi and Rhys from Sara Barnard’s A Quiet Kind of Thunder

6. Harry, Ron and Hermione from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter

I could put so many more wonderful partnerships on here! Who are your favourites?

Top Ten Tuesday: 13th February 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a tag hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week it’s:

LOVE FREEBIE

So, I’ve decided I’m going to go for my top ten book boyfriends. I’ve ended up with several hopeless crushes over the years so here are some of them (in no particular order; I can’t decide who makes me swoon most!)

1. Luke Brandon from the Shopaholic series

2. Jack Harper from Can You Keep A Secret?

3. Rhysand from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series

4. Dorian from the Throne of Glass series

5. Sam from The Assassin’s Blade

6. Elian from To Kill a Kingdom

7. Damon from The Vampire Diaries

8. Finch from All The Bright Places

9. Julian from Caraval

10. Chaol from the Throne of Glass series
I could go on! It’s interesting as well how the main character’s feelings can really impact upon how you see a character, for example I’ve always had a soft spot for Rax from Love Lessons even though I know he is in a position of trust and doesn’t respect the boundaries, but, because our main character adores him, only his good qualities shine through in the character development. It’s an interesting thing to think about.

Have I missed any of your book boyfriends/girlfriends off? Or do you totally not get some of mine?

TO KILL A KINGDOM – Alexandra Christo

5/5

A murderous siren meets the pirate prince as we take to the high seas on an epic adventure.

This is actually a harder review to write than I anticipated; I literally just want to write a page of “I love it, I love it, I love it” and squeal with excitement as I reminisce over this incredible book and suffer through my book hangover! I knew that I was going to enjoy To Kill A Kingdom; it’s been suggested for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J Maas. However, what I didn’t know is that I was going to fall completely for this world, these characters and this story.

To Kill A Kingdom is a dual narrative high fantasy set in a world where there is a constant war between the land and the seas. Our two main characters, Lira and Elian, are hunting each other – Lira is a siren, the Princes’ Bane, and is after Elian’s heart, Elian is the pirate prince who seeks to destroy the Princes’ Bane. However, their two paths collide in the most unlikely of ways as Lira is transformed into a human by the Sea Queen. But which one of them will succeed in killing the other?

The thing that I loved most about this book is the writing; it was so easy to get hooked on and full of warmth and humour. Lira is a sassy anti-heroine who you can’t help but adore, Elian a fierce character who isn’t just some pampered prince. The crew of the Saad are just as fun to get to know through both of these characters. I tabbed so many points of this book just because I laughed out loud!

I can’t recommend To Kill A Kingdom highly enough; it certainly lives up to the expectation and can certainly rival incredible fantasy books such as those by Maas and Bardugo, and I can’t wait to see what Christo writes in the future!


Thank you to Hot Key Books via NetGalley for the eBook of To Kill a Kingdom.

THE HAZEL WOOD – Melissa Albert

5/5

A gripping page-turner of a book where the lines between the fairytale world and our world are constantly being questioned.

“Books want to be read, and by the right people.”

The Hazel Wood is one of those books that simply demands to be read; it’s intriguing, well-crafted and impossible to put down. Alice and her mom Ella are constantly moving around, trying to escape from the trouble that just seems to follow them everywhere. Alice suspects that it’s something to do with her mysterious grandmother and the world created in her book Tales from the Hinterland. But is the Hinterland really as far away from reality as Alice believed? When her mother goes missing, Alice is thrown into the world of these elusive stories as our world and the Hinterland collide.

Melissa Albert has crafted an intricate fairytale that keeps you hooked from the very beginning as you are sucked into this world where nothing is quite what it seems. I would thoroughly recommend it for Grimm’s, fantasy and thriller fans as it’s simply unputdownable!

“Stay the hell away from the Hazel Wood.”


Thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for sending me the eBook of this title!

THE TRUTH AND LIES OF ELLA BLACK – Emily Barr

3/5

A well written book that keeps you hooked with a fascinating main character.

I simply adored The One Memory of Flora Banks, so squealed with delight at being able to get hold of The Truth and Lies of Ella Black early! One thing I commented on loving in particular with Flora Banks was Emily Barr’s writing style and I’m glad to say that her next YA offering is another well written story with a fascinating character.

The book starts with us meeting Ella Black and quickly introduces us to her darker side Bella. Having not read much about this book, I did think that there would be more focus on Bella and the mental health side as it started off that way, but quickly we are taken on a journey literally far away from that idea – I don’t want to give it away though! There is a bad case of instalove which I know lots of people won’t like, but personally and luckily for my rating of this book I don’t mind as it just added that little bit of fluffiness to a pretty heavy topic that this book covers.

Overall I did enjoy The Truth and Lies of Ella Black once I’d got into it – there are twists and turns that you won’t see coming. I do think that I expected slightly more from it because of Flora Banks being a 5* book for me, which probably isn’t fair, but it did let me down a bit with it being so slow to get into. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth a read as something a bit different and one that does keep you hooked once you’re stuck in.

“Live every day as if it were your last, because one day it will be.”


Thank you to Penguin via Net Galley for sending me the eBook of this title!

SUNFLOWERS IN FEBRUARY – Phyllida Shrimpton

sunflowers in february5/5

RELEASED: 8/2/2018
PUBLISHER: Hot Key
GENRE: Young Adult Contemporary

Lily has died in a car accident. The trouble is, Lily’s really not at all sure she wants to ‘move on’ . . . This funny, heartbreaking novel is perfect if you loved John Green or The Lovely Bones. Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. And very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance, arrive and she sees her own body that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead. But what is she supposed do now? Lily has no option but to follow her body and she sees her family – her parents and her twin brother – start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity – to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . . A moving, startlingly funny and yet achingly sad debut novel from a stunning new talent.

Sunflowers in February is a simply stunning debut; it tackles a topic not often found in YA in this capacity and is written from a unique perspective that’s surprisingly realistic. Lily is such an engaging character that you can’t help but want to keep turning each and every page to find out what’s going to happen next.

A key aspect of Sunflowers in February is the idea of moving past grief, and how, whilst this “missing piece really does ruin the overall picture of the puzzle”, life moves on and it’s important that people do move on and accept that they can get past their grief knowing that life won’t be quite the same. This is such an important message for everyone as, unfortunately, we will all experience grief at some point in our lives and it’s “how we move on that counts”. This is not to suggest that Shrimpton doesn’t show how utterly devastating death can be; she does, but she also shows the process of coming to terms with death.

All of this is not to say that Sunflowers in February makes for a depressing read; it really doesn’t! There were points where I laughed out loud, a key point being during Lily’s funeral where Ben comes out with some of the best lines in the book. I also learnt some scientific facts about hugging – did you know that a twenty second hug releases some kind of bonding hormone?

Ultimately, however, I think that Shrimpton has crafted a book that, whilst about death, is mainly about living. “If only I had the chance to die knowing that I had really lived. Maybe then it wouldn’t be so bad.” It’s about grasping opportunities and not just wasting your days away, about showing people how you truly feel, about how little decisions can have big effects. It’s about not taking things for granted, both big and small; “the irony of death is that you obviously don’t find out what you meant to people until it’s too late.” 

This book is full of raw emotion, humour and warmth, with a wide array of characters who all cope with their grief in different ways and are suffering for different reasons. It also makes you realise the importance each and every person has even if they don’t think that they’re valued or needed. Whether or not you have experienced grief, there is something for everyone to take away from this book – we are all significant and we all have our own lives to live.

“Life wasn’t just about living and breathing.”


Thank you to Hot Key Books via NetGalley for sending me the eBook of this title!