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?

ALL ABOUT MIA – Lisa Williamson

5/5

One of the best UKYA contemporary releases in recent years.

All About Mia focuses on Mia as we see her develop from this self-centered teen into a more mature teen/young adult over the course of this story. What’s so likable about her is that she isn’t perfect; she’s very much her own character and she’s very real, and that is something that is so important for teens and young adults to connect with. To top off an awesome book, Lisa Williamson’s writing style is flawless and touches upon so many important/diverse topics in such a way that it isn’t thrust in your face like many other books can be – in this book there are hints of feminism, multiculturalism and relationships to name a few.

I didn’t expect to love this book quite this much, but honestly I couldn’t put it down! Mia is such a lively character who literally leaps off the page – whilst I probably have more in common with Grace, I could totally relate to Mia, and I think that everyone (whether or not they’re the middle child, or even have siblings) can understand how she’s feeling and why she acts like she does. We get to learn so much about all three sisters, who are all at different stages of their teen years and all have feelings that we can all connect with or remember from being those ages.

It’s been a fair while since I read this book, and I still think it’s a firm five star read that I would highly recommend.


Thank you to David Fickling books for my copy of this title!

LOOKING FOR JJ – Anne Cassidy

5/5

One of my favourite books of all time from my personal Queen of Teen Crime.

Looking For JJ starts with the story of Alice Tully, a 17 year-old girl living and working in Croydon. She seems to have it all – a job she enjoys, a loving boyfriend, prospects for university, a caring home…but all is not as it seems and we soon learn that Alice is hiding a dark secret.

Flash back 7 years, and we are introduced to Jennifer Jones, a 10 year old girl living a very dysfunctional life with her mother, a model of sorts, and struggling to deal with growing up in an environment where she is left to fend for herself. Jennifer is quiet, reserved and seemingly innocent, but all that changes when she and two friends go out to play…but only two of them return.

This book crafts the story of JJ perfectly – it’s so hard to actively dislike the young girl who we know does a terrible thing. It’s a book that makes you question rapidly judging people and whether we should give people second chances. The writing is exquisite, grips you from the get-go and draws you into the lives of the characters in such a way that it really does feel as though you know them. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

NO SAD SONGS – Frank Morelli

4/5

A heartfelt story of family, friends and life.

Following a family tragedy, 18-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather. Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined.

And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men. Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital. When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa? If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.

As soon as I heard the details for this book, I just knew I had to be involved in the blog tour and read this title! Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Jandy Nelson and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, No Sad Songs touches upon so many aspects of Young Adult fiction that I, and many other readers, love, such as friendship, crushes and an emotional rollercoaster!

I have very rarely come across a book that focuses on the very common illness of Alzheimer’s, so this was a very interesting yet heartbreaking subject to read about. That said, the warmth that comes off the page doesn’t make this a depressing book to read, and rather it serves as an important book in YA to highlight what so many young people go through when relatives have this illness. No Sad Songs focuses a lot on how important it is to live in the present and to not focus on the past, and how life can throw all sorts of curve balls at us.

Finally, I must stress how beautiful Frank Morelli’s writing style is – this book was such a good read because of it! I found it so easy to get into and the characters really came to life; Gabe especially is a very interesting and complex character who has had to go through so much and yet continues to soldier on. His life is turned completely upside down and you can’t fault his resilience.

If you’d like to read No Sad Songs, and I highly recommend that you do, then you can get your own copy here: Amazon UKAmazon US.

 


Thank you to Neverland Blog Tours and Fish Out Of Water for the eBook of this title, and for the opportunity to be involved!

FLOORED – Various

4/5

Floored brings together some of the queens of UKYA (Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, Tanya Byrne and Eleanor Wood)

I am a sucker for a good UKYA contemporary, especially when you throw in names such as Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne and Lisa Williamson; I just know it’s a book I will love! So, imagine my delight when I discovered that Floored is a thing and so it was the first book that I sent a begging email for since starting blogging! Despite not getting a copy, I was super lucky to get one straight away through NetGalley (thank you Macmillan!) and bumped this straight to the top of my TBR!

Floored is told from the perspective of six characters, and a narrator. What adds to its charm is how you don’t know which author wrote which parts – this makes for a fun game of “guess the author”! I loved how seamlessly the story seemed to flow between narrators and how all of the different writing styles complimented each other perfectly.

A key thing that makes Floored such a success is how relatable it is; the book spans several years and we “check-in” with our characters once a year, and so we see how in the space of a year so much can change when you’re in your teens and going into early adulthood. It’s during this time that our characters really develop and our friendships are evolving and you are beginning to realise what’s truly important. Floored is all about the ups and downs that these years can bring and it captures this perfectly.

I think that the only thing I really didn’t like was the bringing in of political parties to the story. I think that an unfair light was cast upon one party over another, especially when you consider the character narrating at the time, and this is something that put me off giving this book a higher rating.

Nevertheless, overall this book is a solid 4 stars – it tackles such a range of topics with some very likeable characters. Everyone will find some way to relate to what these narrators go through, you’ll see your positives and your flaws. I’d definitely love to see more collaborations from this group in the future!


Thank you to Macmillan via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

WWW Wednesday: 30th May 2018

Hello! I’m sorry for the lack of posting this week – I just haven’t had the energy to do anything really! But I’m back this week with another WWW Wednesday post.

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve just started Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson, which comes out on 7th June. I’m really liking what I’ve read so far so watch this space!

What did you recently finish reading?

I think the last books that I finished were My Box-Shaped Heart and two more additions to the Little People, Big Dreams series – Georgia O’Keeffe and Harriet Tubman, which were beautiful as always.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’m going to try to read The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse. I’m hearing such good stuff about it that I can’t wait to get to it!

MY BOX-SHAPED HEART – Rachael Lucas

4/5

A fab contemporary with a refreshing focus on dysfunctional families

I’d seen a lot of excitement for this book brewing over on Twitter so when I saw it go up on NetGalley I just knew I had to try My Box-Shaped Heart. I love YA contemporary books, especially UKYA, so this is right up my street. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint and was a book that I looked forward to picking up every time I had a spare 5 minutes.

One thing that I really liked about this book is how the main characters all come from dysfunctional families that aren’t the “norm”. Coming from a single-parent family, I could really relate to Holly and what she was going through at home with her mum, which I so rarely find in YA. I also liked how one situation that comes up in the book is handled very sensitively, and for me I didn’t find it triggering, which, again, is different to a lot of YA books.

I really enjoyed reading My Box-Shaped Heart and felt that the only thing that let it down was that it felt a bit lacking somehow towards the end; it just needed that little something to make it stand out more. That said, I would still thoroughly recommend this book – it was a nice light read, perfect for the summer or if you’re looking for a quick read that’s easy to get into!


Thank you to Macmillan via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

 

 

WE ARE YOUNG – Cat Clarke

4.5/5

Another fantastic, gripping and thought-provoking book from Cat Clarke.

What a wonderful read this was! I couldn’t put down We Are Young – I was desperate to get back to reading it whilst I was at work because it just grips you and makes you want to solve the mystery.

We Are Young is a young adult mystery centered around a car crash that leaves one sole survivor. Everyone seems to think it’s a simple case of being drugs related, but Evan, our main character, believes that there’s more than meets the eye…

Evan is such a likeable main character – she’s flawed, relatable and very sharp. One thing I liked as well is that she’s dealing with conflicting emotions over her relationships, which have been with both boys and girls. However, this wasn’t the focus of the book and was just a part of her character makeup, thus normalising these feelings which can only be a positive!

Another thing is the focus on mental health with this book touching upon the devastating effects that depression and bipolar can have. Cat Clarke writes about mental health issues perfectly, and We Are Young is no exception.

I would absolutely recommend this book for fans of Cat’s previous books, as well as lovers of YA mysteries and contemporaries.


Thank you to Hachette via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

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!

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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!

WWW Wednesday: 25th April 2018

It’s that time of week again – hello and happy Wednesday! This has been one of my favourite reading weeks this year…you’ll see why!

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just started How to Write a Love Story by Katy Cannon, and whilst I’m not far into it it’s pretty good so far! It seems like a fairly light contemporary.


What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Legendary this week and OMG! It was even better than Caraval and I just want to experience the magic all over again!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have a load of May releases to get on with so probably one of those! I’m tempted to start We Are Young by Cat Clarke next.