Category: Audio Books

Mar 04

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Ninth

Audio Books, Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, Weekly Wrap-Up 1

Hiya Bookworms,

Alas, it remains cold and flu season and I have succumbed to illness. Bleh. I spent a whole day sleeping and am currently trying to do all the things that will shorten the duration of an illness. Drinking all the tea! Eating vitamin C drops! Ibuprofen! WASHING AND WASHING AND WASHING MY HANDS! It’s been a slower reading week as a result of my having been felled, but I still have some books to chat about. Let’s chat.

In case you missed it, I wrote a whole solo post dedicated to The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa. I had entirely too much to say about it for it to be smooshed into a weekly post. Check it out here.

I am fond of a number of romance tropes, but sham weddings rank pretty high on the list. XENI: A Marriage of Inconvenience by Rebekah Weatherspoon combines the sham wedding concept with “completely bonkers last will and testament demands” and I am so here for it. Xeni Everly-Wilkins is in charge of settling her dearly-departed aunt’s estate, and leaves her life in LA to handle the affairs in upstate New York. She gets more than she bargained for when the will is read, and soon finds herself married, at her late aunt’s insistence. In order for her and her spouse Mason to collect their inheritances, they need to get married and remain so for at least 30 days. But, as we all know, sham marriages in romance novels have a tendency to become more real than the characters expect… Now that I’ve read two Rebekah Weatherspoon novels I think it’s safe to say that her love scenes can sometimes be a bit more… IDK how to put it… Graphic? Creative? Spicy? Than what I’m used to. I noticed it a little bit in Rafe but Xeni was another level entirely. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy both books, because I absolutely did, but it may be worth noting for those who are more conservative in their love scene tastes. Not much fazes me personally, but there were a few points where I found myself thinking “Oh wow. They really went there. OK.” Consider yourself warned if that is the type of warning you’d appreciate. If you’re the type of person who wants a more specific content warning than that, send me an email or a DM on social media and we can discuss it further.

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone probably wasn’t the wisest choice for my illness-addled brain. I think it would have been more enjoyable to read about a science fiction spy operative clandestine love story if I’d been feeling a bit sharper. As it was, the letters between Red and Blue were gorgeous, and often poetic, but keeping tabs on the story wasn’t the easiest. Granted, it does take place between two warring time travelers so expecting something clear and linear in their correspondence was my own mistake. But when one has taken cold medication and tried to figure out how one goes about coding letters into berries and explosions and other obscure means, things get confusing in a hurry. I might try to read this again when I’m fully healthy as it’s gotten rave reviews from others. Check it out if a time traveling Mrs. and Mrs. Smith is something you might be into.

That’s the best I can do for you this week, I’m afraid. I’ve just started The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty via audio, which is always the correct choice for Liane Moriarty books because Australian accents are better listened to than imagined. I’m eyeball reading Courtney Milan’s The Duchess War. I read her prequel novella The Governess Affair a few weeks back and decided to tackle the rest of the Brothers Sinister Series. What have you been reading, Bookworms?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the text above direct to Amazon, but if you prefer to shop through a local, independent book store, please see the links below:

Indiebound Links:
The Worst Best Man
Xeni: A Marriage of Inconvenience
Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny
This is How You Lose the Time War
The Husband’s Secret
The Duchess War

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Feb 27

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Audio Books, Contemporary Fiction, Romance 1

Greetings Bookworms,

I just finished the most delightful Rom-Com. As I started writing little notes to myself for my weekly wrap-up, it quickly became clear that I had a lot to say about The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa. Hence, it shall have its own post. You deserve it, you sweet little book, you.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgOur protagonist, Carolina Santos, is a wedding planner who manages to keep doing her job despite having been left at the alter herself (early aughts J-Lo vibes are inevitable, really, but, this is a better story.) Carolina Santos is excellent at her job, and she’s worked very hard to cultivate her no-nonsense persona. After she masterfully saves the eyebrows (you read that right) of the groom one at one memorable event, she’s offered the opportunity to interview for a position to be a swanky hotel’s wedding coordinator. The opportunity sounds almost too good to be true, considering she’s going to be losing her affordable retail space and is OVER the exhausting work of running her own business. The other shoe inevitably drops when she discovers that the marketing team she’s supposed to build her pitch with consists of her ex-fiance Drew and his brother Max, AKA, the WORST BEST MAN EVER (since he apparently encouraged Drew to ditch Lina.) As you might imagine, hijinks ensue.

Let’s get to the good stuff. First, Lina is the daughter of Brazilian immigrants living in the Washington, DC area. I think this is the first book I’ve ever read focusing on Brazilian immigrants, and it was a lot of fun to hear about the family’s dynamic and traditions. And, as an added perk of listening to the audio version, I really enjoyed hearing the little snippets of spoken Portuguese peppered into the dialogue. (That would have been less fun if I’d read it myself, because I don’t speak Portuguese and would certainly have mentally mispronounced all of it.)

This book also hit upon one of my favorite romance tropes, the classic “THERE’S ONLY ONE BED!” But it didn’t stop there! I’d like to see “OOPS WE ACCIDENTALLY LANDED IN A COUPLE’S COUNSELLING RETREAT” become a romance trope in its own rite, because it was hilarious and wonderful. That’s another thing- this book was funny. You know how when you type “LOL” but you really only exhale sharply through your nose and smirk? This was not that type of funny. This was “bystanders are going to wonder what the heck is going on because I’m wearing ear buds and I can’t stop giggling” funny.

The only issue I had with this audio book is that the male narrator’s voice had a quality that kept making me think of Norm Macdonald. And while mid-90s teenage Katie did kind of have a thing for him on SNL, much like my crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas, this one didn’t age well. GET OUT OF MY HEAD, NORM, YOU’RE RUINING THIS FOR ME! (I’ll own that this criticism is 100% on me; I doubt anyone else has a subconscious Norm Macdonald fixation.)

All the humor and fun aside, this book had a lot of heart. Max and Lina made so much progress in dealing with their emotional baggage. I mean, Max and Drew have this awful toxic competitive relationship that needs a lot of unpacking. And Lina keeps such a tight reign on her emotions because the world has penalized her for having feelings. I’m a walking bundle of messy, leaky feelings, and while it can be inconvenient and embarrassing, White ladies are afforded liberties with emotions that Black Latinx women are not. I WANT TO HUG YOUR FICTIONAL FACE OFF, LINA, YOU DESERVE BETTER!

All that is to say, if you’re in the market for a romantic comedy, I cannot recommend The Worst Best Man highly enough. Humor, heart, and a dash of heat make it an all-around fabulous read!

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Text links in the post above direct to amazon, but if you prefer to shop through local, independent bookstores, click on the image or the link below:

The Worst Best Man

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Feb 04

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Fifth

Audio Books, My Reading Life 0

Greetings My Dearest Bookworms,

It’s time to tell you all about the books I poured into my brain this week. I’m a little astonished that I’ve been reading so much lately, especially given the toddler running around my house. I *may* be reading to de-stress more than usual since toddlerhood is stressful for both children and parents. But, honestly? Reading as a coping mechanism is an extremely healthy and productive choice. Would exercising while listening to an audio book be an even healthier choice? Yes, probably, but I am a work in progress. On to the books!

I finished up listening to Tessa Dare’s Any Duchess Will Do. It was sort of a Pygmalion/Cinderella mashup with that signature Tessa Dare humor and Regency romance flair. It also had some of the *ahem* steamiest scenes I’ve yet to read from Tessa Dare (and she is no stranger to steam, let me tell you.) So there’s that for you. On the whole? It was delightful. Also I highly recommend the audio version because a lot of the diction scenes wherein Pauline works to overcome her “country” accent wouldn’t have been quite as enjoyable if I’d read rather than listened to them.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgWhen I started Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple on audio and immediately recognized the narrator’s voice but couldn’t place it. I had to google to discover it’s the actress who played Luke’s sister Liz in Gilmore Girls. Kind of funny, because as I was hunting for a new audio book, I was sifting through some literary fiction titles and it occurred to me that whatever book Jess wrote (we’re still talking about Gilmore Girls, stay with me) was probably unimaginably pretentious and I would have hated it. I remember really enjoying Maria Semple’s earlier book Where’d You Go, Bernadette (review), but it’s been so long since I read it, I’m not sure current Katie would have liked it as much. I was lukewarm at best on Today Will Be Different. It was a little zany, a la Bernadette, but the whole wealthy, snarky, middle age woman with a formerly brilliant career thing just exhausted me. It had funny parts, but I found myself cringing a lot more than laughing. I do think the narrator was fabulous, though, and she has a stellar singing voice to boot- Kathleen Wilhoite was easily the best part of this whole experience.

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For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig was the last eyeball read I crammed into my brain this week. I loved her books The Girl from Everywhere (review) and The Ship Beyond Time (review) which meant this book had a lot to live up to. And you know what? It totally did. It was also fresh and different and a fascinating new mythology. She didn’t just recycle what had worked before- this was some next-level excellence. While the book’s world is purely fantasy, it’s clearly inspired by European colonialism in Asian cultures. Set against a backdrop of unsettled political machinations and rebellions, a small family of shadow players (think elaborate puppetry in silhouette) is gaining renown. It’s mostly due to the main puppeteer using a potentially dangerous magical power to direct her super cool puppets. A little bit of necromancy never hurt anyone, right? (Hang on, I’m reflecting on how amazing it is that two authors can take the same relatively narrow concept, like, say, necromancy, and produce such wildly different work. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir and For a Muse of Fire are based around the same magical idea and are SO DIFFERENT. Also, both super good. Add Gideon the Ninth to the list of books I read and didn’t tell you about.) For a Muse of Fire is the beginning of a planned trilogy- the second book was released in October, but the third isn’t out yet. I look forward to revisiting this world in future installments!

Now that we’ve covered all that ground, what am I reading this week? I was able to snag a copy of Love Lettering on audio from one of my library’s many e-book services (Hoopla this time) so I’m listening to it now. Thus far I’m a little underwhelmed, but it’s early days. One of my book friends Sarah (she used to blog, but is now talking books via social media… I think her accounts are locked/private, but I promise she’s real and extremely awesome) inspired me to finally read some Beverly Jenkins, who is a romance household name. Therefore, I’m currently reading Destiny’s Embrace on my kindle. It’s the start of a trilogy and I bought them all together (I love a sale!) but the first word in each title is “Destiny’s” and FOR THE LIFE OF ME I cannot remember what order they go in. I’ve pulled up Goodreads for reference at least three times just this morning. So, Bookworms- what are you reading this week?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Text links within the copy direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested in purchasing any of the above mentioned books from an independent book store, please see the links below*

For a Muse of Fire
Gideon the Ninth
Today Will Be Different
Any Duchess Will Do
The Girl from Everywhere
The Ship Beyond Time
Destiny’s Embrace
Love Lettering

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Jan 27

Nightmarish Mermaid Novellas

Audio Books, Fantasy, Science Fiction 5

Howdy Howdy Bookworms!

How’s about that title? Those are words I wouldn’t have expected to put together, but here we are. I spent a chunk of last week listening to some nightmarish mermaid novellas. It was wild and I’m going to tell you all about it. Prepare yourselves, Ariel stans: this is going to get ugly.
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The Deep by Rivers Solomon had been on my radar for a while. I thought their book An Unkindness of Ghosts was PHENOMENAL so I was looking forward to diving into their take on mermaid lore. These aren’t like, Lisa Frank style mermaids though. This is a dark, devastating, intense mermaid situation:

Yetu is the historian for a community of water-dwelling descendants of the pregnant African women tossed from slave ships (yes, this is a real thing that happened because the slave trade is endlessly horrifying.) Yetu doesn’t simply keep the records, though: they’re the only one who actively remembers the group’s history. And they remember constantly. Every single painful, traumatic incident in the community’s past is stored within Yetu’s overburdened mind to be doled out annually to community. In this way, the community is not overcome with sorrow, but Yetu, as the keeper of the memories, being destroyed by the knowledge.

Daveed Diggs (of Hamilton fame- he’s Lafayette/Jefferson from the original cast and generally awesome) narrates the book because the novella was inspired by a song his rap group (why do I sound like a Grandma?) produced. His group’s song was inspired by another musical work: it’s kind of a game of extremely intelligent and artistic Telephone, which is a metaphor I’m borrowing from the end notes of the audio book. It was really amazing, but also, I feel like I’m not really smart enough to appreciate all its nuance. Rivers Solomon is a genius. Daveed Diggs was the perfect narrator. My brain is going to be digesting this one for a long time.

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Since I was already on a mermaid kick, I thought, “What the heck? Let’s go listen to that Mira Grant novella about mermaids. I’ve seen it a few times, it makes me get Adele songs stuck in my head. Sounds like fun.” And with that in mind, I decided to put Rolling in the Deep into my earholes.

This was a straight up horror story about mermaids. A crew of scientists, TV producers, and mermaid impersonators set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to create a documentary about mermaids. The TV network commissioning the voyage is not above sensationalism (hence the troupe of human women who make their living as “professional mermaids” they hired in case their search came to naught.) The scientists are real, though, and have taken this rare opportunity to gather data on their varying fields of study. As you might guess, the crew finds more than they bargained for. (Dun dun dun!)

I love Mira Grant (AKA Seanan McGuire) and Rolling in the Deep had a tone similar to that of the Newsflesh novels (Feed, Deadline, Blackout). But, you know. Instead of zombies, it was mermaids. Bioluminescent mermaids who devour humans. Nobody on the crew was actually expecting to find anything, but some harbored hopes of discovering something along the lines of Ariel. Instead, they got Jaws. It’s definitely worth a read/listen, but if you want a meatier, more literary mermaid novella, stick with Rivers Solomon.

Now that I’m in a mer-mood (hi, I’m a walking Dad-Joke) do any of you bookworms have recommendations? I’m open to happier mermaid tales, too!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Text links go to Amazon, but clicking the images will take you to IndieBound which will allow you to purchase through a local, independent book store.*

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Jan 08

Come for the Man-Eating Hippos, Stay for the Diverse Character Representation

Audio Books 9

Hiya Bookworms!

I mentioned in last week’s Brain Dump that I’d picked up River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey because the premise was so bonkers to me. A quick recap for you:

In the 1800s there was a very REAL proposal within the US government to import hippos into the Louisiana bayou and farm them as a source of meat. As all current Louisianans know, there are plenty of animals you need to watch out for in the bayou, but hippos are not among them. Sarah Gailey’s novella series is a revisionist “BUT WHAT IF HIPPOS” take on the situation. And you know what you get in this scenario? Hippos escaping their livestock farms and forming colonies of brutal feral hippopotami, plus rugged hippo cowboy types slinging knives and being shady.

At first I wasn’t sure that the tone of the book was really working for me because I wanted more hippo silliness than Wild West, but it grew on me. It grew on me to the point that when I finished the first novella, I clicked on the second installment of the story, Taste of Marrow, without hesitation. I’ve got a lot of thoughts here, fam.

While listening (audiobooks are my jam) to this, I found myself tweeting things like “dang these hippos just keep eating people.” To which my scientifically minded friend Michelle was like “that’d be a deal breaker for me, hippos are herbivores.” During River of Teeth, the actual eating was kind of implied, but I wagered that it could have been more murdering with jaws and leaving carcass to rot. Perhaps I’d misinterpreted. The further into Taste of Marrow I got, though, it became pretty clear that these feral hippos were in it for dinner. Sure, the killing part was cool, but then they’d fight over carcasses and stuff, which makes it obvious to me they were noshing on human flesh. So. If you can’t get past literal man-eating hippos, this might not be for you.

If you CAN get past mental leap of feral hippos eating humans (and heaven knows what else, honestly) the series has a lot to offer. The ragtag crew of hippo cowboys are each fascinating characters in their own rites, but the one that really wiggled into my brain matter was Hero Shackleby. The crew responsible for these hippo capers (sorry, Houndstooth, OPERATIONS) is entirely comprised of thieves, con artists, assassins, and general malcontents. Hero, master of poisons and explosives, is portrayed as gender non-binary. All the characters use “they” for Hero’s pronoun like it’s NBD, and since we’re not given much (if any) backstory for most of the characters (at least so far), the reader has no indication of whether Hero was assumed male or female at birth.

I LOVE THIS. I’ve read a lot of books, some of which have contained non-binary or transgender characters. But those books have almost always been ABOUT being trans or non-binary. I’ve never read a book where it’s just a thing that’s there and not particularly critical to who the character is as a human. It’s refreshing AF. Come for the man-eating hippos, stay for the diverse character representation.

Only the first two novellas were available on Scribd (my main audiobook source these days), so I’m not sure if there are more out there just yet. I’ll be on the lookout, though. In the meantime, please know that any purchases made through links on this site might net me a small commission. Last quarter I brought home a whole 66 cents, so.

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Oct 11

Educated by Tara Westover

Audio Books, Memoirs, Non Fiction 6

Hi Ho, Bookworms!

I keep thinking, “dang I should write about some books!” But then I get overwhelmed by the VAST backlog of excellent books I’ve read and not written about and I don’t know where to start. I just end up going on Twitter and talking about how much I love Sesame Street, which isn’t a thing anyone is interested in, really. Except Sammers, obviously. He’s a big fan of Elmo and Abby Cadabby. Yeah, yeah, I know screen time and babies, but it’s EDUCATIONAL. Which brings me to the actual book I want to talk to y’all about today: Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. (Look at that segue. I’m a walking Dad Joke.)

I don’t remember where I first heard about this book but I think what finally pushed it high enough on my TBR to actually read it was Alice and Kim’s excellent podcast. Admittedly I gravitate toward fiction as a general rule, but the premise of this sounded too good to pass up. Tara Westover wrote a memoir about her experiences growing up among survivalists in rural Idaho. She never attended traditional school, and spent her days prepping for the end of days or assisting her parents in their work. Her father ran a metal salvage junkyard among other odd jobs, her mother was a midwife and herbalist. Her father was exceptionally fearful of the medical establishment, so her mother’s herbs served the family’s medical needs for everything from colds to concussions. Hard to believe a child from this background would end up earning a PhD from Cambridge, but that’s exactly what happened.

The abstract sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? And yet it doesn’t describe how completely BANANAPANTS this book was. I realize that the whole point of the book was how Westover managed to go from absolutely no formal (or informal, really) educational instruction to a friggin PhD, but I have to admit to being sidetracked by the family’s response to medical emergencies. In fact, I tweeted some of my reactions whilst listening to the audiobook:

For some reason I feel the need to clean up my language knowing my son’s grandparents may read this.

Uh, spoiler alert?

As you can see, I was rather in my feelings about this medical situation. Here’s the thing. I know the medical establishment is not without fault, and I think that there are homeopathic treatments that are very effective that get overlooked in favor of pharmaceuticals. Essential oils may very well help with a myriad of things from headaches to teething to allergy relief. Just, you know, don’t rely on them to cure a traumatic brain injury, third degree burns, or replace vaccinations. And for the love. If you see exposed brain tissue, CALL 911.

I highly recommend this book. The closest read-alike I can come up with is The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (which is also excellent, review here), so if you enjoyed that? Educated is for you.

 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I may receive a small commission.*

 

 

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Jan 24

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill

Audio Books, Non Fiction 10

Greetings Bookworms!

If you’re anything like me (and I imagine that you are) you’ve fantasized yourself into the plot of a novel every now and again. It’s difficult NOT to get swept up sometimes. Of course, whenever I’m in the throes of a particularly dreamy bout of “I wish I were Elizabeth Bennet” or, you know, any historical heroine, I like to remind myself about the lack of indoor plumbing. That usually helps. Which is why I was so flipping excited to get my paws on a copy of Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill. Actually, I decided to use an Audible credit to get the audio book version and OMG. It was an EXCELLENT use of a credit!

It’s so easy to get caught up in false nostalgia, isn’t it? I mean, the past gets all obscured in mist and fog. It seems so idyllic, what with the nattily dressed gents and the waltzing and folks being so polite all the time. Therese Oneill is here to burst your bubble, but her fabulous and irreverent sense of humor takes some of the sting out of it. (The narration of the audio book is A+ hilarious. If you’re on the fence, go audio!) Did you know, my little erstwhile Austen-ite, just how horrendous everyone smelled in the Victorian era? Or just how much you really love your indoor plumbing and modern sewer systems?

Oneill walks the reader, a modern 21st Century woman, through the ins and outs of life in the Victorian era. From the fashions of the day to the complex social mores, this book is seriously eye opening. Then there’s the whole issue of things we take completely for granted- say, for example, that the medical community understands that mental illness is not caused by one’s uterus? There are a zillion reasons I’m grateful I live in there here and now, in spite of any daydreams about Mr. Darcy. That dude probably smelled really, really bad anyway.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It was so funny and so informative. I wish all non fiction were this delicious. If you have even a passing interest in the subject, do yourself a favor and give Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners a read (or a listen.) You won’t regret it!

Talk to me, Bookworms! What’s the one bit of modern living that you are most grateful for?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Dec 13

Anne of Green Gables, Audible, and Holiday Cheer

Audio Books, Classics 9

Greetings Bookworms,

It’s the holiday season again. Whew, how DID that happen? Every year it seems like the holidays show up faster and faster and that they get busier and busier. Trips to the post office, writing out cards, shopping, travelling, wrapping gifts. I’m as jolly as the next gal, but it does seem a bit unfair that so much has to go on during prime snuggle and read weather. Especially when there are so many delightful cozy favorites to revisit!

You can start calling me Santa right now, y’all because I have a brilliant solution to the “too busy to read during the holidays” conundrum. It is… (drum roll please) AUDIOBOOKS! I know, I know, I crow about them all the time, but I simply cannot get enough of them. (I think 40% of my reading this year was done through my ears.) Wrapping, baking, card assembling, and tooling around town are all made infinitely more enjoyable when I’ve got some earbuds and good storyteller.

annegift

And really, is there a timeless favorite any cozier than Anne of Green Gables? I recently purchased the new Rachel McAdams narration of Anne of Green Gables through Audible (using my own monthly Audible credit, mind you) and oh, my heart. It was so stinking charming. McAdams’s breathless renditions of Anne’s dreamy soliloquies are perfection. Revisiting Avonlea and its wholesome yet colorful cast of characters was just what I needed to get the Grinch out. I mean, how can anyone be sour or stressed when listening to Anne break her chalkboard over Gilbert’s head or dye her hair green?! Even Marilla Cuthbert’s stern demeanor is no match for Anne (with an E!) And Matthew? Don’t pretend your heart doesn’t grow three sizes when he asks that Anne’s dress be made with puffed sleeves. (NO, YOU’RE CRYING!)

If you’re about to intentionally pull a Diana Barry with your own “raspberry cordial” this holiday season, take my advice and chill out with some sweet sweet Audible stories. If you haven’t already, try Audible out for 30 days with a FREE download. (Might I humbly recommend Anne of Green Gables?) 

*This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.*

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Nov 30

Bite Size Reviews: November 2016 (And Assorted Nonsense)

Audio Books, Bite Size Reviews 9

Greetings Bookworms!

Nothing like waiting until the last possible moment in the month to post a batch of mini reviews, am I right? I have excuses.

Took a vacation...

I took a vacation! (After the whole Rock City thing we went to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando. Because of course we did. I now own an interactive replica of Luna Lovegood’s wand.)

I also successfully cooked a Thanksgiving feast, which is especially impressive given my track record in the kitchen.

I also successfully cooked a Thanksgiving feast, which is especially impressive given my track record in the kitchen. It was delicious, even if the stupid water bottles make the photos unseemly. Hubs is responsible for that. Tisk tisk.

And I started the Christmas decorating process. I promise more close ups of penguin tree as the season progresses.

And I started the Christmas decorating process. I promise more close ups of penguin tree as the season progresses.

Oh yeah, and Gilmore Girls happened. As far as excuses go, this month is among the best. (I’m sparing you my political outrage here, but if you’re interested in the progression of my grief and desperation this month, you’re welcome to scroll through my Twitter feed.) But you know what else I’ve been doing? READING ALL THE THINGS! We should talk about them, no?

1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: This book was recommended by one of my fave blog readers, Rhian (who is not ONLY my favorite because of the Christmas card she sent me from Australia that one time, but let’s face it. That didn’t hurt.) If you need a heartwarming read for the holiday season, this is your book. It reminded me a lot of Up (you know that Pixar movie with the cranky old dude and the balloon house?) It features a very cranky old Swedish man and his curmudgeonly ways, a devastating origin story, and his eventual thawing through unexpected friendship. I laughed, I cried, I laugh-cried. Feelings. Whew.

2. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: I had a number of people (Julz in particular) rave to me about how amazing this book was before I got around to reading it. I had a signed copy from BEA (yet another instance where I was awkward to a brilliant writer) so I decided it was about darn time. I actually tag teamed this one, part audiobook, part eyeball read. It was very charming. A Russian Count is sentenced to house arrest in a posh hotel following his conviction for distributing seditious poetry after the Bolshevik revolution. Count Rostov is a man of impeccable wit and taste, though he manages this feat without being snobby and elitist. I wasn’t quite as swept away with the book as Julz obviously was, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3. Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson: Y’all remember that super cute little girl from Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire and the Miracle On 34th Street reboot from the mid-90s? Her name is Mara Wilson. She wrote a book. It is excellent, particularly the audiobook version which she narrates. (Her voice is unexpectedly deep, but that might be partly because my frame of reference for her speaking was as a teeny tiny person.) Mara Wilson discusses her career, personal life, family life, mental illness, and all the things I never realized I wanted to know about her. Except for that one Disney Channel boyfriend she had whose name I’m fairly certain was changed to protect the guilty and I am bizarrely nosy about. Anywho. Solid read, better listen. You should check it out.bitesizereviews

4. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue: This was the only book I actually planned in advance to get a copy of from BEA. Because I love Emma Donoghue, of course. The Wonder is told from the perspective of a Florence Nightengale trained nurse who is called to a small town in Ireland to investigate the claims of an eleven year old girl who has allegedly not eaten anything in four months. The little girl is an extraordinarily pious Catholic who believes herself to be living off of manna from heaven. The book is tense and sad, masterfully drawn and ultimately hopeful. Geeze, Emma Donoghue. Are you always this awesome? (Actually she totally is. Because I’ve read most of her stuff. And it’s all amazing.)

5. Wool by Hugh Howey: I believe this post apocalyptic serial was originally self published and subsequently picked up by a traditional publisher. Perhaps that’s where I heard about it originally? I’m unsure, but it’s been on my TBR for ages, and the five part series was on sale (thanks Audible!) Wool is a post apocalyptic serialized novel based on a civilization living in an underground silo. They’re confined to said silo (and have been for generations) because the outside environment is toxic… Or so they’re told. The punishment for discussing what might exist beyond the silo is simple- the offenders are sent outside to find out for themselves. I listened to this book primarily while working out, so I must admit that I felt extremely sympathetic to the characters climbing zillions of flights of stairs as I toiled away on the elliptical. It was an interesting story. Maybe not my super favorite in the genre, but definitely an interesting take on it.

Alright, this post has gone on long enough, methinks. Whew. Making up for lost time is exhausting. So, tell me, Bookworms. What was your November like? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Actually, if you buy anything from Amazon from either a link or the little sidebar thingie I will get a few cents. Just in case you were planning on doing some holiday shopping. Or toilet paper shopping. I’m not here to judge.*

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Oct 28

Bite Size Reviews: October 2016

Audio Books, Bite Size Reviews 11

Greetings Bookworms!

In all my Halloweening, I nearly forgot that the holiday coincides with the end of the month, and I totally owe y’all some bite size reviews. As usual, I’ve been reading more than I’ve been blogging and I’m perpetually behind schedule. I say “schedule” like anybody but me cares. I am beholden to nobody. I am the free-est of birds. Now, before you go singing all the Lynryd Skynyrd, let’s talk about some BOOKS!

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ONE: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig- This is not a drill folks. This book is about TIME TRAVELING PIRATES! It’s a delightful romp of a YA novel, and I’ll forgive the love triangle aspect because one of the love interests has a pet beagle. I love me some beagle related shenanigans. I would recommend that if you read this, read the end with your eyeballs. Or at least, don’t try to listen to the audio version while you’re multi-tasking. Because my brain got a little tangled in the maps and the time and the back and forth. Totally looking forward to the next installment, though.

TWO: Bird Box by Josh Malerman- I chose this book for my neighborhood book club because October was my month to host and I wanted something a little creepy. I tapped into the hive mind of twitter and I can’t remember who pointed me toward this book, but THANK YOU. Because it was perfect and creepy and wonderful. Apocalypse via eyeballs. It’s intense.

THREE: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson- Freaking gorgeous prose, which makes all the sense because Woodson is a poet. The intensity of adolescent girlhood plus oodles of 1970s atmosphere makes for a fabulous novel. Well, fabulous and gut wrenching and everything that makes a book great. You know how it is.

FOUR: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini- Oh my heart. This book just about BROKE ME. I realize it’s been out for quite a while and I’m basically the last person to have read it but being late to the party didn’t make the book any less intense. It’s set partially in Afghanistan and partially in the US and it’s devastating in the best way. Just read it, y’all. Read it.

Alright Bookworms. That’s what I’ve been reading. But what I’m really curious about? Who is dressing up for Halloween and what are you gonna be???

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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