How To Become An Audiobook Pro

abpor

Maybe you have heard, but I love audiobooks. If you have not, you are hearing it right now.

It wasn’t a slow burn kind of love, it was more of a I am going to lose my mind at this job, I need to do something about it, kind of love. Maybe I am being a little dramatic, but I am sure audiobooks saved my sanity on many occasions. In the years of working a job I hated, audiobooks gave me something to enjoy throughout the day and a perfectly good excuse to not hear people.

With that, I want to share my love of audiobooks with you, because I’m nice like that. To make that love useful, I am expressing it as a list of ideas to help you enjoy audiobooks too. I’ll even throw in some recommendations at the end too!

So, let’s get started because I fear this might go on from now until the end of time!

How to become an audiobook pro!

Simple, pop some headphones in your ears and listen away.

I kid. There is more to it than that. There are plenty of occasions when listening to audiobooks will just not work and other times when it will. I have plenty of tips to help you there!

Tip #1: When and where to listen. 

The first thing with audiobooks is finding time to listen. I used to listen at work, since most of my work day involved doing things with my hands and not my mind, my brain was then free to listen to a book.

For me, the key is doing it on an empty brain, those times where you do not need you to think all that much. I do not recommend trying to listen when you also have to ponder other things, otherwise you will miss parts of the book. For me, at least, I cannot listen when there are other words floating around my brain.

These are my favourite times to listen to an audiobook:

  • Chores. I always listen when I am cleaning, except when I vacuum because I can’t hear it over it, but washing up, sorting the washing, general cleaning and tidying, these are all good audiobook opportunities. Since most of us do a few chores each day, you have something that will consistently allow you to listen, so you can work through the book.
  • Editing photos. Since I am sat at my computer I might as well listen to a book. Occasionally, I have to pause it when I am concentrating too much, but that is usually when I am doing something in Photoshop. If it is just some basic edits and cropping, I can listen to quite a bit.
  • Cooking. Why not. You have to stand around by the cooker and watch pots boil anyway.
  • In bed. I always fall asleep and have to go back a little the next day, but I do enjoy listening before bed. This is made easier by using the sleep timer on whatever app you use to listen with.
  • Train journeys. Not always as I will often take a book too, but if my eyes are tired then I will listen to a book rather than read.

I used to listen when I walked places, but I find that it makes me more uncomfortable when I am out by myself since I cannot hear everything that is going on. So I do not do that any more. But it is still another good option for a time to listen. I would also listen to my book when we were running too.

It is also fun to listen whilst doing a little of that adult colouring too if you are into that.

I also hear audiobooking and driving are a good combination.

_dsc3784_edit

Tip #2: Staying interested.

The most common response I hear after mentioning audiobooks is something along the lines of how do I concentrate on the book and not drift off. 

I get it. And sometimes my mind does wander off and I have to rewind the book a little, but for the most part, it happens very rarely.

Here is a few ways I stay interested in my audiobook: 

  • Picking the right time. You want a quiet brain (unless you have mad multitasking skills going on in your noggin), you are looking for times with busy hand and bored brain cells.
  • Use headphones. I find it a lot easier to listen with headphones than without. I can get into my audiobook zone and just listen without being disturbed by outside noises.
  • Shorter books. I look at short audiobooks like this: the shorter the story, the quicker it will move along, the easier it is for me to stay interested because the story is moving forward all the time. It also takes less listening time, so if I only have half an hour a day to listen I still feel like I am working through the book at a reasonable pace. For me, I consider a short audiobook to be around 10 hours of listening time, that’s about 300 pages.
  • Increase the read speed. These days I will listen to an audiobook at 2x or 2.5x speed, which makes a huge difference to the listening time (it works in the same way as listening to short books does). It definitely took some practice to get used to the faster speech but once I got into it, it was really easy. It is impossible for my to listen below 2x speed these days because it is just so slow. I think headphones make a huge difference here, I get into my audiobook zone and it feels like my brain slows down the speech itself (which sounds weird, but it really does) when I start listening. It’s weird to explain, but it is easy to listen at the higher speeds when you get used to it. Also, there’s no chipmunk-ing with the voice!
  • Simpler books. Or rather: embrace the Young Adult or even Middle Grade. I love listening to YA on audio just because, in general, they are simpler books. Simpler writing, simpler storylines, they do not need too much effort to keep up with and make for easy listening.
  • Pick what you will enjoy. I like to stick to what I know (unless the book is going cheap, or free) and tend to pick fantasy books since that it my favourite genre. That way, I can usually guarantee the book will be interesting from the get go. Also, go for fun! I do not often choose audiobooks that are heavy on those life-lessons, or topics that are too nitty-gritty, I like to go for something that is full of action and fun. I like my ears to smile when I am doing the washing up. Whatever your jam, go for what you enjoy the most.

Something that I occasionally think about when choosing an audiobook, is how many points of view the book might have. If the POVs are not distinct enough, it could be difficult to distinguish them in audio format, it is not so easy to just flip back to the beginning of the chapter to remind yourself which character it is. I have no had too much problem with this so far, but I am sure it will crop up eventually.

I do avoid audiobooks of books that have mixed multimedia in them. I just do not think that will work so well on audio, but, I could be mistake since I have never given it a go before. I should try it out just to see, but I think I would rather read the physical book in this case.

I’ve yet to listen to a short story collection on audio, but I think these would also be a great way to stay interested. They probably feel the most similar to podcasts.

_dsc3798_edit

That photo brings nothing to this blog post, except to break up this wall of text. At least the first one was a fairly accurate portrayal of what I might do, albeit, with more snacks. Also, do not laugh at my terrible colouring skills, that’s the best I have. 

Recommendations

I haven’t listened to hundreds of audiobooks, but I feel like I have listened to enough that I might be able to recommend some to get you started.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

This is a beast of an audiobook (which makes it a great bargain if you exchange it for a credit on Audible) but it is all short stories so it is great for picking up and putting down again if you only have small amounts of time to listen. I listened to this in between other audiobooks, picking it up when I finished a book, or in the middle for a few hours and then putting it down again. It’s a 50hr audiobook, but it’s absolutely worth it, especially if you listen to it at an increased speed as well.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach 

This might not be for everyone, but I thought it was a really interesting listen. It is short, it has a wonderful sarcastic humorous style and it is non-fiction so you are learning something too. Win, win.

The Humans by Matt Haig

Short and funny. Just what I like in an audiobook. It was just a lot of fun and who does not enjoy chuckling out loud to something no one else can hear. Definitely recommend.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This book is a great option if you are looking for something light to read, after all, it is a children’s book. It is easily one of my favourite audiobooks and I definitely recommend it for something that is easy on the ears. It is probably the only classic I have ever really enjoyed.

Career of Evil (Cormoron Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith 

I can only recommend the third book in this series on audio, as I read the first two books in physical format.

I feel like this book series suits audio so much more than being physically read. In my opinion, these books are incredibly slow and as a slow reader, I usually cannot progress fast enough through a slow book to make it enjoyable. This is where the audiobook comes in, the story moves along a lot faster at 2.5x speed than I could ever read and, turns out, it is actually quite good.

I don’t know if I could say the same for the first and second books, I was not all that keen on those, but I definitely enjoyed the third. So, I’ll recommend it, even though it is not my favourite, I still think it makes a good audiobook.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 

These are great little audiobooks. The books are short, the writing is full of witty nuances and even for a series, it is not that big of a commitment (I think each audiobook was only about 6 hours long), these could be the books for you.

Phew, that is it, what a post! That is a lot of text. I hope it was of some use to at least one person though! Are audiobooks your thing? Do you have some recommendations for my next one? 

FOLLOW ALONG HERE :: BLOGLOVIN | FEEDLY | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Books I DNF-ed in 2016

dnf2

Back in August last year, I put together a post about books I had given up on – DNF-ed, if we are using the technical book-term – so far in 2016. My plan was to write another post when I got to ten DNF-ed books, but that never happened; I seem to have got a bit more savvy with my book choices as the year went on.

However, I still DNF-ed another four books after that post and thought it would be fun to share them again.

I do not mind putting a book down, I never feel like I must finish a book just because I started it. After all, there are so many books to enjoy, there is no point spending time on one that you don’t like. Time is precious and should not be spent on books that make you groan every time you think about reading them. Unless the joy of finishing a book outweighs the pain of reading it, then maybe it is worth the time and effort but that rarely happens for me.

I’m not sure I admire people who refuse to give up on a book, sometimes I wonder what you can get out of something that you just do not enjoy but put hours into completing. Not enough wondering to make me more persistent with finishing books, though. I will leave that to the more dedicated readers out there.

Now, let’s get complaining!

Books I DNF-ed In 2016

In case you missed the previous post, and to save you having to go back and look, I will include those books here as well as a quick recap of why I gave up on them. For my in-depth complaints, you are welcome to check out the first post.

The first five books are the ones I have already wrote about. These were at the beginning of the year when I was trying to work out which books tickled my fancy and which ones did not. These books, most definitely, did not tickle my fancy.

Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach

Reason for DNF-ing: Excessive mentioning of Facebook and other social media, a main protagonist that was unbearable and I just did not really understand what was going on.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip Dick

Reason for DNF-ing: Turned out to be an abridged version of the book and it was just plain boring. Did include talk of pet-robots which was mildly interesting.

Death of a River Guide by Richard Flanagan

Reason for DNF-ing: Read a previous book that I did not like by the same author, thought I would try another book. A mistake, this was one big snore fest and absolutely not my type of book.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Reason for DNF-ing: Unable to work out if characters were mugging people or buying a magazine. Just nope. Even if it is only 100 pages.

Umbrella by Will Self

Reason for DNF-ing: Book narrator had the most annoying voice and everything else about the book was awful too.

Now, onto the books that I didn’t mention last time! 

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I cannot remember if I picked this up in the Audible daily deal or on one of their offers, but it has been in my Audible library for ages, it was about time I gave it a listen. Well, I got a few chapters in and that was that. I enjoyed the beginning, reading Jonathan Harker’s journal entries, but then the perspective changed to letters between to female friends and I just lost all interest and gave up. This book falls in to the not for me side of my love/hate relationship with classics.

The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald

I had a feeling I wouldn’t like this before I started the audiobook, but since it was free and only five hours long, it couldn’t hurt to give it a go. I listened to about an hour and then gave up, too much social commentary and not enough story. Another classic for the I don’t like you pile.

The Two Towers by J.R.R Tolkien

I tried, I really did. I read The Fellowship of the Ring with great pain and thought I could power through the other two books to complete the series. I couldn’t, they are just too boring. I do not think a single part of the book went into my brain. I would look up from the page and lose my spot instantly, chances are I missed a paragraph or two as I would look down and start again at the wrong spot. Or I would just be sat there wondering if I really did just read 20 pages of a book where they did nothing but walk across a patch of land and be sad about it.

So yeah, I gave up, I did not even bother to finish the chapter I was on, just nope. Then I sold the series to someone else and made €6 of them.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

I could not get into this book, it was too slow and there was nothing to keep me interested. I did not mind the multiple perspectives, thought it was a bit difficult to distinguish them from each other, making it far too much hard work to keep up with every character and what was going on. If there was anything going on, I am not sure there was. I could not quite grasp the descriptions so even if there was something going on, I am not really sure I understood it anyway. So, back to the library this book went.

And that is a wrap. What was the last book you DNF-ed? Or are you someone who never DNFs a book? I’m curious, does the joy of completing the book outweigh the pain of reading it? 

FOLLOW ALONG HERE :: BLOGLOVIN | FEEDLY | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

January Reads

JanReads

After a great reading month in December I am happy to report that January did not disappoint either, even if a few of my comments might suggest otherwise. January was a solid, three-stars, just-good month for books, with a meh, OK and a really, quite good book thrown in for good measure.

This was also the month of short stories, I really enjoyed tucking into something short and sweet when I had a bit of time here and there throughout the month. They are my jam at the moment, especially with the new Audible Channels feature on the Audible app, which came out just before the end of the month.

I like to go for a short story after I have finished a regular book, whilst I am still trying to decide what to read next.

Is it worth mentioning the short stories that I read? I don’t know. I will think about it whilst I put the rest of this post together.

I should probably tell you that there is far too much text in this post, so I fully recommend picking and choosing what you read – using those handy-dandy book covers to help you navigate! – so you still have enough energy at the end to tell me all about what you have been reading lately!

To the books!

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

Click here to see book synopsis

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you.
Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading?

Good.

Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

25882558

Since A Christmas Carol did not really enthral me last month, and this just happened to be 99p in the 12 Days of Audible Christmas sale, I thought I would give it a listen. I figured two Christmas themed books would be quite enough festive spirit. That and I really enjoyed The Humans by Matt Haig so I had high expectations of enjoying this book.

Which I did, it was very much a “passed the time just fine” kind of book. I enjoyed the style and tone of the book more than the story itself, since Christmas is not really my thing (except when it only costs me 99p apparently, or is free, in the case of A Christmas Carol). 

It was a fun lighthearted read and that was good enough for me. Oh and Blitzen, he was the highlight of the whole story.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Click here to see book synopsis

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

16113606

I must say, I do like a Beauty and The Beast retelling. I think I have a soft spot for stories about people who should hate each other falling in love, or seeing behind the mask and all that corny-romantic stuff. I just like it. It’s always good fun.

This book was really great. It was fast-paced so the book went by in no time. I enjoyed the two main characters, and I could have happily have enjoyed the book for another 100 pages. If it had been longer I think the love between the Isra and Gem would have felt a little more genuine or realistic. It wasn’t instant, but it would have been nice to spend more time on it.

My only complaint: I did not like the ending, the end end rather than the actual climatic ending. The very last part just felt too typical, too meh. It did not quite match the impression of Isra and Gem that I had in my head so that was a little disappointing.

Still, really good. Would recommend.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★  ☆ 

 

Trigger Warning: Short Stories and Fictional Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Click here to see book synopsis

Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In “Adventure Story”–a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane–Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience “A Calendar of Tales” are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year–stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale “The Case of Death and Honey”. And “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.

22522808

I really enjoyed The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman so when I saw this short story collection at the library, I figured I would give it a read. I have good feelings that Neil Gaiman is going to be an author I will enjoy time and time again.

Now having read it, I’m not too sure how to talk about it. I enjoyed most of the stories, some where just OK, there were none that I did not enjoy. There was also quite a bit of variety in the length, the style and some were also in prose which was pretty interesting.

I don’t know, I guess not enough of them really packed a punch to make me think “yeah, I really enjoyed this”.

Better luck next time!

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Dark Matter by Black Crouch

Click here to see book synopsis

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

27833670I finished this book on the same day as Show Us Your Books last month and it seems that many people loved it. So many, that I began to ask myself whether I really did love it and I had just forgotten. I don’t think I did though.

I didn’t dislike it, but I did not love it either. It was solidly-average. Just good. I enjoyed the concept, I enjoyed how the plot played out, I enjoyed that I saw the twist or reveal before it happened and the ending was just fine. I just wasn’t all that invested in Jason as a character. I enjoyed where he went and what he did, but I didn’t care much for him in the end.

Not too shabby, but not my favourite.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Click here to see book synopsis

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

16034235

This was easily my most anticipated read of the month and probably the one I had the highest expectations for too. It did not quite live up to them, but I still had a good time reading this and I am excited to carry on with the series.

I have to say though, Celaena as a character, she was a little weird. I cannot say that I really “got her”. Sure, I liked Celaena as the Assassin, but Calaena’s girlish alter ego, that was a little strange. She grew on me by the end and I feel like a six book series leaves plenty of room for characters to grow on me even more.

I feel like this book, although not great on its own, will set things up nicely for a really exciting series. Or at least I hope it will.

Rating :: ★ ★  ☆ ☆  
 
 
 
 
 

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by J. K. Rowling

Click here to see book synopsis

It’s no longer safe for Harry at Hogwarts, so he and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, are on the run. Professor Dumbledore has given them clues about what they need to do to defeat the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, once and for all, but it’s up to them to figure out what these hints and suggestions really mean.

Their cross-country odyssey has them searching desperately for the answers, while evading capture or death at every turn. At the same time, their friendship, fortitude, and sense of right and wrong are tested in ways they never could have imagined.

136251

Ah Harry, I am so so glad you are now over with and I can donate you to the library. Or sell you, if I can be bothered with the hassle of that.

The first half of this book is just tedious, with the occasional good bit here and there. The second half, when shizz starts to go down, that is where the story is at. That was when I started to enjoy myself again and I was actually happy to have slogged through the last two books to get here.

Then there was the prologue, and that was just urgh.

So yeah, a plain old, I didn’t mind this read.

Rating :: ★ ★  ☆ ☆  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

After Alice by Gregory Maguire

Click here to see book synopsis

When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?

Ada, a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself.

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.

24331115Oh so pompous.

The beginning was just boring. I almost DNF-ed it because I didn’t care for anything or anyone and the narrator was making my ears cry. Then Ada eventually fell down the rabbit hole and things got marginally more interesting. I stayed for Ada’s chapters on her adventures in Wonderland (which were meh at best) and then I increased the audiobook speed some more for all the other perspectives that I did not care about.

I even hoovered through one of those chapters and did not feel the least bit regretful about that.

Could have been great. Wasn’t.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆  
 
 
 
 
 

 

The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury

Click here to see book synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn’t a member of the court. She’s the executioner.As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies-a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

21936988I listened to this alongside reading Throne of Glass, and there may have been a few moments where I confused the two together. Oops. Not for any particular reason, and it wasn’t as if I couldn’t tell them apart, I just had my plots in a twist.

This book was such a let down. A girl who can kill people with her touch: that sounds cool. A girl who spends the entire book doing nothing (well, unless we count singing and praying) is not cool. I kid you not, absolutely nothing happens in this book, and when it does, it definitely will not be involving Twylla.

This was the book that prompted me to created a “series-lost-interest” shelf on Goodreads so I would not be tempted to pick up the next book if I saw it going cheap under the false hope of “but the next book might be better”.

Rating :: ★  ☆ ☆ ☆ 

 
 
 
 
 

The Burning Page (The Invisible Library #3) by Genevieve Cogman

Click here to see book synopsis

Librarian spy Irene has professional standards to maintain. Standards that absolutely do not include making hasty, unplanned escapes through a burning besieged building. But when the gateway back to your headquarters dramatically malfunctions, one must improvise. And after fleeing a version of Revolutionary France astride a dragon (also known as her assistant, Kai), Irene soon discovers she’s not the only one affected. Gates back to the Library are malfunctioning across a multitude of worlds, creating general havoc. She and Kai are tasked with a mission to St Petersburg’s Winter Palace, to retrieve a book which will help restore order.

However, such plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy – particularly when the enemy is the traitor Alberich. A nightmare figure bent on the Library’s destruction, Alberich gives Irene a tainted ‘join me or die’ job offer. Meanwhile, Irene’s old friend Vale has been damaged by exposure to Chaotic forces and she has no idea how to save him. When another figure from her past appears, begging for help, Irene has to take a good hard look at her priorities. And of course try to save the Library from absolute annihilation. Saving herself would be a bonus.

29345916

I spend a reasonable portion of each book in this series wondering why I am bothering to read it, and yet I still continue to read them.

I don’t particularly care for the characters. Irene: she just makes terrible decisions all the time and is not particularly interesting. Kai: he’s OK, but he is also kind of boring. Vale: OK, I sort of like him, but he also appears to change his personality from book to book, so it is a bit hit and miss as to whether I like the current version of him. For this book however, he was OK.

I dislike the forced romantic interest that seems to just float about and yet go nowhere between Irene and Kai. It just makes no sense whatsoever and doesn’t have a shred of purpose. Sometimes I don’t like the writing because it’s too jumpy.

That said, this book was definitely better, in fact, this book was probably the best of the series so far, and I did have enough fun to make me consider reading the fourth book at some point.

That’s the problem, I have fun so I keep reading them for that, because the idea is good, the world and the overall plot is good, and I just want to enjoy that bit of it.

Rating :: ★ ★  ☆ ☆

The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner

Click here to see book synopsis

It’s the end of the line.

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.

Will anyone survive?

What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.

The truth will be terrifying.

Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all.

The time for lies is over.

7864437

Continuing on the theme of books that were just a little meh.

Everything about this series is unmemorable. The plot, the characters, even the titles of the books half the time. It’s hard to get behind these kids and their troubles when I am having a hard time remembering who is who and why I should like them. I almost wish they were unlikable, at least that might have helped to tell them apart.

I could have skipped this whole book and just read the last five or so chapters, just to see how it all ended. Even then, it was a very mediocre ending with a few people dying, but I am not exactly sure who that was.

A very meh end to a progressively meh series which kind of sucks because I really enjoyed The Maze Runner. This was just disappointing. On the up side, Thomas did not sleep (or pass out) half as much in this book compared to the second one.

I would still like to finish this series though, so at some point in the future I will give the prequel The Fever Code a read.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

 
 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany and J. K. Rowling

Click here to see book synopsis

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

29058155I had no plan to read this this month, but then I decided to do a little book swap with a friend so it got bumped to the top of my reading pile.

Ironically, compared to some of the original books in the series, I quite liked this. I had fun, I ignored all the strange plot holes and just enjoyed it for what it was: a quick and fun read for one very cold day spent on the sofa.

Not being a hardcore Harry Potter fan probably helped with my enjoyment too.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Click here to see book synopsis

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

17167166I broke my (imposed for some strange reason) rule of only reading one book from a series in a month to read this one. I’m not sure why I have this rule, probably to make sure my monthly reads have variety to them, or something like that.

Since this book was so much fun though, I am prepared to let that rule slide.

I enjoyed the first book, but this was much better and so much more exciting. So exciting, that it may have kept me up until gone 2am one night, despite being long-time member of the Enjoys Falling Asleep in Books Club. 

If I tried to describe this book, compared to the first one, I would say that it was meatier than the first book. The characters, the plot, both were more complex, had more going on and kept me interested so much more.

I am looking forward to getting stuck into the third book.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 
 
 

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard

Click here to see book synopsis

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

21414439My first impressions of this book was interesting magic and a whole bunch of characters that were going to bring me some reading joy. I definitely went into this book with high hopes. By the end, I was just disappointed.

I wanted to like the characters more, I really did, but meh, I did not. By the end, I was slightly more invested in Iseult and the Bloodwitch (whose name I have now forgotten), but that was about it.

I could be tempted into picking up the second book sometime in the future, just to see if the story improves but maybe not.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Click here to see book synopsis

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

26233572Oooh, this one was good. I liked it.

I only pick up thrillers (and other books of that nature) when I really fancy something different and I am glad I decided to go for this one.

It was good. OK, it was never going to be book-of-the-month, but as far as thrillers go, I would happily say I liked it and would like to read another Clare Mackintosh book.

The only part which I would have some kind of gripe with would be the motivations behind Zoe being the target. It just didn’t seem realistic, or believable. It was too extreme a reaction when you compared it to the motivations, if that makes sense at all.

Overall, I enjoyed myself and feel like tucking into a few more thrillers now.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 
 
 
 
 
 


Short Stories

I decided to add a little short story section, for my own reference more than anything, since some of the stories do not exist on Goodreads so I would like to have somewhere to put my thoughts, even if it is just my very relaxed star rating.

Feel free to just ignore this section.

Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare (The Maze Runner #2.5) by James Dashner

A short and sweet look into how The Flare affects people. I liked it. It was nice to have a little read of this after I finished the second book, just to get me back in the mood to read the final book.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ 

Lyra’s Oxford (His Dark Materials #3.5) by Philip Pullman

I really enjoyed the His Dark Materials series, so in my quest to finish up some series this year, I found this short story on Audible and gave it a listen whilst I washed up and prepared dinner. I really enjoyed how The Amber Spyglass ended, so it was nice to get a little more from after that. Short and fun, just what I like. It was all very Lyra. 

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

The King of Rats (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #0.5) Melinda Salisbury

After not really enjoying The Sin Eater’s Daughter this was surprisingly good.

Rating ::★ ★ ★ ☆  

The Assassin and The Princess (Throne of Glass #1.1) by Sarah J. Maas

Usually I leave the short stories until I have finished a series, but I was stuck waiting around one evening so I decided to read this and The Princess and The Captain. It was a good idea, since I was still umm-ing and ahh-ing over Celaena and how much I enjoyed her as a character, this little story definitely helped her grow on me some more.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 

The Assassin and The Captain (Throne of Glass #1.2) by Sarah J. Maas

Likewise, it was nice to have a little scene with Calaena and Chaol. It is definitely a good short story when it entices you into starting the next book in the series right away.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★  

The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone (Sherlock Holmes) by Arthur Conan Doyle

And then I fell into a hole of listening to some of short stories on Audible, starting with this Sherlock Holmes one. I read the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes back in 2015 but I could not resist dipping my toe back into them again.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★  

Hero: A Simon Serrailler Short Story by Susan Hill

Another “oooh, a free short story!”. Nothing special, I did not really care for it and I need to learn not to get over enthusiastic and listen to everything possible. It probably would have been better if I was already interested in the series that it belongs too. Lesson learnt: pick and choose your short stories with care, less willy-nilly listening.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Misery by Anton Chekhov

Short, sweet and packed an emotional punch.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★  


Currently Reading

Is there space for a currently reading section? Just about.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I have decided to re-read this from now until the end of time. Or however long it takes me to get through this beast of a collection. It’s going to be good. At a story here and there, I might have it finished by the end of the year.

The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

My current thoughts: I’m a little disappointed, I expected so much more from this book. But, there are a 100 pages to go, so who knows, maybe it will redeem itself.

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Another book I am just about to finish. A bit slow, a bit frustrating but I am really enjoying the end.

And that is everything. That is a tonne of text. Apologies again. Here’s hoping February is just as great. Feel free to share any and all book thoughts below! This is my favourite time for comments and chit-chat so don’t be shy!

Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books.

FOLLOW ALONG HERE :: BLOGLOVIN | FEEDLY | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM