Posted in Audiobook Of The Month, Uncategorized

Audiobook Of The Month | The Humans

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After getting into Matt Haig’s books last year, and one of them making it onto my list of favourites for 2018, I’ve decided that I really want to read more of his back catalogue so when I was scrolling through audible desperately trying to find my first listen of 2019, I came across The Humans. 

The Humans is about an alien who comes to earth and takes over the body of Professor Andrew Martin. The unnamed narrator has been sent to stop the humans discovering the answers to a mathematical theory. Initially, this summary didn’t really interest me, but I adored the writing style in How To Stop Time so I took a tiny leap out of my comfort zone and decided to give The Humans a go.

A lot of my pure enjoyment from this audiobook so far comes from the narrator, Mark Meadows. He is simply fantastic. The delivery of the lines and the tonal usage really makes the funny and witty moments land perfectly and I’ve found myself laughing out loud many a time at my desk during a work day. Of course, part of this falls to the clever nature of the narrative constructed by Matt Haig. The narrator talks about walking around naked and being confused about why the police have been called on him, not understanding why on earth someone would have a wife, and learning the human language through magazines such as Cosmopolitan.

It’s a short audiobook – standing at just over 8 hours- so I’m wondering where exactly the story is going to end up given the length.

At the time of writing this I am 29% into the audiobook and loving every minute of it.

What audiobooks are you listening to this month?

What were your favourites of 2018?

Posted in Audiobook Of The Month

Audiobook Of The Month | Becoming

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Unless you’ve been living under rock which has been buried several feet underground, you’ve probably heard of Michelle Obama. For eight years she was First Lady of The United States of America, but as a non-American I only saw bits and pieces of what she used her position to create. So it’s pretty helpful that she decided to write a book all about her life! I always have to listen to non-fiction on Audiobook because I really struggle to read these kind of books otherwise; it also really helps hearing the individual tell their own story and Michelle Obama is really soothing to listen to.

The book starts at her growing years, laying down her roots and detailing the significant memories she has such as her piano teacher and the application advisor at Princeton who told her she didn’t stand a chance of getting in. She talks about the moment when she started to be treated differently due to the colour of her skin along with seemingly small events that she didn’t realise the weight of until she looked back on them with an adult perspective.

I’m already learning so much about her life, but one of the big reminders I’ve received is that Michelle Obama is just a person. It’s easy to see her as almost ethereal after seeing her talk strongly about women’s issues, racism and education in public and watching her reside in the White House for eight years. It feels almost too easy to forget that fundamentally she’s a wife and a mother as well as an activist.

I am really enjoying listening to the audiobook and at the time of writing this post I am 22% in.

Have you read Becoming? What did you think?

 

Posted in Audiobook Of The Month

Audiobook Of The Month – Lord Of Shadows

This month I’m continuing on with my reread of The Dark Artifices series by moving on to Lord Of Shadows. This was a bit of a disaster book for me the last time I read it. I really didn’t like it and, again, didn’t appreciate the endless info-dumping about The Mortal Instruments series. But, as the case has been with a few books I’ve reread in the past, a different format can sometimes make the world of difference.

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Tensions between the shadowhunters and downworlders are continuing to rise following the events of the Great War and plans to create a register listing downworlders and their abilities only adds to it. In the midst of this, Emma and Julian are fighting their feelings for each other as their parabatai bond forbids them from it and the faeries are plotting something very bad.

The narrator James Marsters is a lot better than the narrator for the previous book. He’s adding distinctive voices for the characters which is making the story really immersive.

I found the plot difficult to follow in my last reading of it and the same is happening this time round but new life is being breathed into the characters.

I am sure to be prepared for Queen of Air And Darkness next month!

Have you read Lord of Shadows? What did you think?

 

Posted in Audiobook Of The Month, fantasy, young adult

Audiobook Of The Month | Lady Midnight

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I’m sure every reader on the planet has heard about Cassandra Clare, let alone The Dark Artifices series, but here I am spending the month of October venturing into a reread in preparation for the finale in December.

Lady Midnight is the first installment in The Dark Artifices series and set a few years after the events that took place in the hugely popular The Mortal Instruments which has been made both into a TV show and a movie.

The book focuses on a young shadowhunter Emma Carstairs who is trying to uncover the secrets behind her parents mysterious deaths and seek vengeance upon those responsible, with the help of her Parabatai Julian Blackthorn.

Cassandra Clare made a big point with this new series that it intended to be an entryway to the world for new readers. While that is nice in theory, Clare consistently adds characters of plot elements that tie every one of her books together (for example, if you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments you’re instantly spoiled for the ending in the first twenty pages of Lady Midnight). While I loved this book when I first read it, the constant heads to the other series really took me out of the experience because, to frequent readers, this book is mostly just recap. But, if it was a new reader approaching it, then it’s absolutely necessary.

I’m enjoying seeing the relationship dynamics play out and the story is starting to get going now. I’m 35% through at the time of writing this post.

Have you read Lady Midnight?

What did you think?

Posted in Audiobook Of The Month

Audiobook Of The Month | Monday’s Not Coming

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We’re so close to Christmas that I can almost taste all of the gingerbread lattes and walnuts I’m going to consume! I’m also back to wearing cardigans so it feels like I’m in my  true form again.

This month, I’ve been listening to Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson and I was already sold on the premise, but hearing the author talk about the book on Epic Reads made me add this to my TBR and impatiently wait until release.

The story follows Claudia whose best friend Monday goes missing. She’s not on the register at school, her phone is disconnected and her parents seem unwilling to talk to her. While becoming very much a mystery novel as the narrative fits around in time to build up Monday’s character and her relationship to Claudia, there is a big emphasis on how missing white children are investigated compared to POC children. Monday’s absence barely makes a ripple in the water.

After the disaster of my last audiobook, it’s such a relief to get one with a really good narrator. This is narrated by Imani Parks who is doing a fantastic job of bringing life to Claudia.

At the time of writing this I am 37% in and I’m looking forward to seeing where this story is going!

Posted in Audiobook Of The Month

Audiobook Of The Month | Six Of Crows

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It felt like January was going to last forever, and now it feels like every time I blink it’s a new month and time to pick another audiobook to listen to.

My selection for August is a rather popular one in the YA book community, but also one that I’ve been incredibly wary about delving into. Naturally, books with a lot of hype around them can go one of two ways for me, and more often it tends to be that I don’t like them. I’ve downloaded the chapter sampler many times for Six of Crows and wasn’t able to stick with it. As the audiobook has multiple narrators, I decided to give it a go in a different format and see if that makes any difference to my enjoyment.

Six of Crows is essentially one big heist mission in which the typical brooding YA male, Kaz Brekker, is the leader and facing the delicious prospect of a lot of money if he succeeds. It’s set in the Grisha universe, although it’s not required for you to have read Leigh Bardugo’s other series in order to get your footing in this story.

So far, the world-building is super intriguing and it’s interesting seeing all the different motivations the characters have for agreeing to do the mission. However, Kaz seems to be the only real prominent voice and he just oozes all the stereotypes you’d expect from a YA male; he reminds me a lot of Jace Wayland in The Mortal Instruments series. It’s not fully engaging me at the moment so if I had stuck with the book I think I would have put it down, but it’s still the early stages and I expect it will pick up soon. At the time of writing this I am only 30% into it. So we’ll see!

Have you read Six of Crows?

Let me know your thoughts!

Posted in Audiobook Of The Month

Audiobook Of The Month | Always And Forever Lara Jean

I’ve finding it really hard to believe how far we are into the year, but when my audible credit renewed, it brought the promise of a new month and a new book.

After seeing the trailer drop for the film adaptation of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, it seemed only right to step back into the trilogy and finish it off; something which I’ve actually been trying to avoid because I love these characters so much.

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Always and Forever Lara Jean is the third and final book in the series. Readers see the loveable Lara Jean applying to colleges and dealing with the typical problems teens face in their senior year. She’s navigating how her relationship with Peter Kavinsky will work outside of school life and just in general seeing her life start to shift.

My absolute favourite thing about listening to all of the books on audio is that the narrator, Laura Knight Keating, just brings so much life to the character. She gives Lara so much personality that she feels like she could be the girl living next door, I’m rooting so much for her, and I don’t think I could finish off the series without hearing how she narrates Peter’s dialogue. I’m just utterly in love.

At the time of writing this post, I am 34% in but it feels like I’m trying to pace myself a lot more because I want to savour this last bit of time with the characters before I have to say that dreaded final goodbye. For that reason, not much has happened apart from that Lara has been thrown a curveball and I’m just waiting to see how she’s going to deal with it.

Have you read the Lara Jean series?

Who’s your favourite character?

Posted in Dystopian, review, young adult

Eve Of Man – Tom & Giovanna Fletcher

“She represented the rebirth of the human race. She was the answer to their prayers. She was all they cared about; their final hope. Eve was the saviour of humanity. I am Eve.”

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Blurb: “All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past. But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate. Until she meets Bram. Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom. But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?”

I’ve been a long-time fan of both Tom and Giovanna Fletcher independently, so when I saw the announcement that they had written a book together, I was both excited but very wary. Tom Fletcher is a children’s book writer, known primarily for The Christmasauras, and Giovanna is a romance writer, known for Billy And Me. So not only were they merging together, but also stepping into a new area of the book world as Eve Of Man is the first in a Young Adult Sci-Fi series.

To start with, I was very anxious because I wanted to love it, and throw aside all my preconceptions as they are new to YA and many adult authors etc. have made a successful transition. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Charlotte Richie and Josh Dylan, and honestly don’t think I would have gotten through this book without it. Because it’s a bad book. A really bad book.

Eve of Man is pitched as an “unconventional love story” and yet with the premise of the story, it does little to surprise the reader. Eve is sixteen, the first girl born in fifty years and now about to be palmed off to any boy who might be capable of ensuring the survival of the human race. Eventually she realises her situation is wrong and starts to rebel. There was a lot of buzz shortly after the release regarding gender sterotypes in the book. It’s, again, predictable but not really surprising that it’s rigid in binary as the point we’re introduced to the characters is when Eve is deemed ready to bear a child. The reader is doused in layer upon layer of information about how the world got to this point, revealing how the woman suddenly stopped carrying girls to full term and methods that were put into place. There are a few hints to other sexualities but these are very much brushed over and I was more concerned that in this Handmaid’s Tale-esque aspect there wasn’t much attention brought to what happened to infertile women.

The story is told in two perspectives: Eve and Bram. It’s first person, meaning the reader gets into the route of their thoughts and to be honest I found Bram infinitely more interesting. Eve lives in this place called “the dome” which is essentially her prison. The regular communication she has is with a hologram called Holly who has to be operated by a pilot in order to interact with Eve. Bram is one of these pilots which was super interesting and destroyed my previous idea that Bram would turn out to be one of the suitors. His perspective was great in showing what was going on outside of Holly’s world from the government interference to the people rallying in the streets, demanding Eve’s freedom. However, the narrator was so bland that it just didn’t make him feel real. There was no real change in voice either for characters so I often had to rewind to work out who was speaking. Eve’s narrative wasn’t necessarily bad but I just didn’t really care for her.

In terms of the writing, what I gathered from the audiobook is that Eve very much has Giovanna’s usual writing style and will be comforting to those familiar with her other works. My main issue was that Eve didn’t’ come across as sixteen. As for Bram, Tom’s writing is quite simply a mess. It’s very clunky and could have done with a lot more buffing around the edges. Both perspectives had the issue of information dumping both in the sense of “telling rather than showing” and the reader is constantly having bits of knowledge thrown at them that isn’t really needed; a lot of it was information that the writer needed to know to form and understand the world, but wasn’t vital for those reading. It always seemed to come at the worst times. For example, there’s a dramatic section in the latter half of the book with Bram and the action is suddenly halted for a few minutes while the reader is given the history of the room. All that build up is suddenly halted and it was hard to get back on board after being steered off track.

To me, Eve of Man  was a book with a lot of potential but completely fell apart in the execution.

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Posted in Audiobook Of The Month

Audiobook The Month | Almost Love

As you can tell by the title of this post, it’s that undetermined point in the month when I talk about what audiobook I’ve decided to listen to for this short period of time. We’ve established that I’m terrible at introductions, so let’s get straight into it.

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Almost Love is Louise O’Neill’s first adult book and follows a woman called Sarah who starts to relive a past relationship after bumping into her ex for the first time since their “break up.” Some of the many themes we’ve come to know (and be terrified) of Louise O’Neill for are present this story: consensual and not-consensual sex, power imbalances and obsession. The book flits between the past and present with the former focusing on Sarah’s relationship with Matthew and how she let him use her for sex, constantly checked messages etc and was forced to keep their partnership private for reasons she didn’t really understand, other than that Matthew had told her to. The present focuses on her latest relationship and shows how Sarah hasn’t really evolved: it’s acknowledged in the narrative that she often pretends she’s going to pay even though she knows the men in her life always will and she’s quite abrasive with her current boyfriend.

The audiobook is narrated by Aoife McMahon and there’s just something truly captivating about the way she’s telling the story. Almost Love is a slow story and I think I’d have been easily bored if I was physically reading it, but her narration just has me flying through the chapters.

At the time of writing this, I am 52% into the book and nothing major has really happened but I’m waiting for that typical “Louise O’Neill moment” when impending doom sets free.

Posted in Audiobook Of The Month, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

Audiobook Of The Month | When They Call You A Terrorist

If you’re wondering “but wait, Charlotte, you’ve already posted your audiobook of the month!” Then you are absolutely right. It turns out that I should stop pushing myself to try other genres out when I know I don’t like them. So I refunded The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet and set about finding a new book to replace it. I listen to a weekly book podcast called Mostly Lit and the guest on one of their episodes was Patrisse Khan-Cullors who is the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. She talked in great detail about a lot of things in the episode and mentioned her book, When They Call You A Terrorist and read a passage from it.

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I’ve come to learn that the best way to consume non-fiction is by listening to the audiobook because the reader is able to hear the story, and when it comes to listening to something as personal as someone’s life, it can make all of the difference.

As you can tell from the title, When They Call You A Terrorist documents the lives of Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele and the movement in which the individuals would go on to be labelled “terrorists.”

I am 11% into the audiobook, down to the fact I’ve exchanged my credit so late in the month. But it is only short so it’s likely I’ll get it finished before my credit renews.

The most terrifying thing about this book so far is that Patrisse reels off names and places so easily: names like Trayvon Martin and Ferguson. But each of those names and places she refers to further illustrate the points she makes of systematic racism, is not just a name/place or a statistic. Every single one of them refers to a person who lost their life, and a community that was left reeling, and yet those left behind are made to feel like they are the ones in the wrong.

It’s hard-hitting, emotional, but I feel one of the most important books I will read this year.

For more of my reading adventures follow me on Goodreads

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For bookish photographs follow my instagram: @charlottereadsthings