Audiobook Mini Reviews

Happy Wednesday everyone! I had planned to get this post up a while ago, but life has been a bit stressful thanks to the elections and all things 2020. Oh well. Better late than never. Here are some audiobooks that I’ve recently listened to.

  • Instant Karma
  • Author: Marissa Meyer
  • Narrator: Rebecca Soler
  • Publication Date: 03 November 2020
  • Genre: YA Contemporary
  • Length: 14 hours 13 minutes
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Synopsis: Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her.

Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to mean gossips, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner. Quint is annoyingly cute and impressively noble, especially when it comes to his work with the rescue center for local sea animals.

When Pru resigns herself to working at the rescue center for extra credit, she begins to uncover truths about baby otters, environmental upheaval, and romantic crossed signals—not necessarily in that order. Her newfound karmic insights reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate… and fate.

My Thoughts: So the first 70% of this book at least held my attention. The MC Prudence ‘Pru’ is so unbelievably self centered, arrogant, and presumptive, but I write that off since she’s 16 (this is not to say that all 16 year olds are like this by any means, I’m just more forgiving for this type of behavior in young people where it is more common). I was intrigued by the instant karma storyline, but what ends up happening is a teenager truly believes she is the wielder of positive and negative things that happens to people which inflated her already big head.

The last 30% of this book is completely unnecessary. We build up to saving this local wildlife center and after the events unfold, the last 30% of this book is the extended epilogue that no one asked for.

To say that this is disappointing is an understatement.

Thank you to Fierce Reads for providing a review copy through NetGalley. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

My Rating: 2/5 stars.

  • Charming as a Verb
  • Author: Ben Phillipe
  • Narrator: James Fouhey
  • Publication Date: 08 September 2020
  • Genre: YA Contemporary
  • Length: 8 hours 6 minutes
  • Publisher: Harper Audio

Synopsis: Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger can charm just about anyone. He is a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, the dutiful first-generation Haitian son, and the trusted dog walker for his wealthy New York City neighbors. But his easy smiles mask a burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.

There is only one person who seems immune to Henri’s charms: his “intense” classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself.

Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for. . . .

This is a sharply funny and insightful novel about the countless hustles we have to keep from doing the hardest thing: being ourselves.

My Thoughts: If you’re looking for the perfect light hearted book that centers around Black boy then look no further than Charming as a Verb.

The story follows Henri, the son of a Haitian immigrant with his eyes set on attending Columbia. He attends the prestigious FATE academy. Henri is charming, charismatic, driven, and a successful entrepreneur running his own dog walking business.

Here we see how the pressures of the college application process and the added complexity that comes from the high expectations from immigrant parents.

Henri’s story is one that is realistic and relatable. I loved that this story takes place in New York and Montreal because the author’s descriptions were spectacular.

The side characters (Corinne and Ming) were both amazing and were equally as interesting and developed as Henri.

This is a rom-com, but there’s no insta love. I don’t want to give anything away about the romance because the way Philippe addressed and carried out this relationship was just so refreshing to see.

Definitely check this one out if you’re looking for a great YA contemporary.

Thank you to Epic Reads for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

My Rating: 4/5 stars.

  • Ring Shout
  • Author: P. Djèlí Clark 
  • Narrator: Channie Waites
  • Publication Date: 13 October 2020
  • Genre: Adult Fiction – Horror/Dark Fantasy
  • Length: 5 hours 36 minutes
  • Publisher: Recorded Books

Synopsis: In America, demons wear white hoods.

In 1915, The Birth of a Nation casts a spell across America, swelling the Klans ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die. Standing in their way are Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foulmouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klans demons straight to hell.

But something awful’s brewing in Macon, and the war on hell is about to heat up. Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world?

My Thoughts: Don’t let this novella fool you because it packs an absolute punch! Even with all of the truly gruesome horrors that this book details, the scariest of all of them is still the white supremacists.

Ring Shout is set in 1920s Macon, GA. Following the release of the popular film The Birth of a Nation, Ku Klux Klan members who view this film become evil demons known as the Ku Kluxes. Our heroine Maryse Boudreaux alongside her friends Sadie and Chef are tasked with hunting these demons down and killing them.

I was absolutely blown away by the writing of this book. It was haunting, raw, gritty, and immersive. The Ku Kluxes are LITERALLY what nightmares of made of. I loved the dynamic between Maryse, Sadie, and Chef. Even though these three were faced with dire situations, they also managed to have really great banter between them. I also really enjoyed the Black history that was sprinkled throughout the story like the Tulsa massacre.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars.

  • Malorie
  • Author: Josh Malerman
  • Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
  • Publication Date: 21 July 2020
  • Genre: Adult Fiction – Speculative Fiction
  • Length: 8 hours 44 minutes
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group

Synopsis: Twelve years after Malorie and her children rowed up the river to safety, a blindfold is still the only thing that stands between sanity and madness. One glimpse of the creatures that stalk the world will drive a person to unspeakable violence.

There remains no explanation. No solution.

All Malorie can do is survive—and impart her fierce will to do so on her children. Don’t get lazy, she tells them. Don’t take off your blindfold. AND DON’T LOOK.

But then comes what feels like impossible news. And with it, the first time Malorie has allowed herself to hope.

Someone very dear to her, someone she believed dead, may be alive.

Malorie has already lost so much: her sister, a house full of people who meant everything, and any chance at an ordinary life. But getting her life back means returning to a world full of unknowable horrors—and risking the lives of her children again.

Because the creatures are not the only thing Malorie fears: There are the people who claim to have caught and experimented on the creatures. Murmerings of monstrous inventions and dangerous new ideas. And rumors that the creatures themselves have changed into something even more frightening.

Malorie has a harrowing choice to make: to live by the rules of survival that have served her so well, or to venture into the darkness and reach for hope once more.

My Thoughts: I definitely enjoyed this one a lot more than Birdbox. As with Birdbox though, Malorie overused words to describe her kids. In book one, they were referred to as boy and girl since they were nameless. Even though Tom and Olympia now have names, Malorie constantly refers to them as the teens, which ended up grating on me.

I felt that Malorie was a much more polished story. We had some really interesting mystery plot points and saw Tom’s and Olympia’s personalities come through for once. I enjoyed the dynamics between their family unit and how that influenced their interactions with others.

While I’m still unclear on the whole creature thing, there were a lot more answers this time around than questions.

My Rating: 3/5 stars.

  • The Space Between Worlds
  • Author: Micaiah Johnson
  • Narrator: Micaiah Johnson
  • Narrator: Nicole Lewis
  • Publication Date: 04 August 2020
  • Genre: Adult Fiction – Science Fiction
  • Length: 11 hours 46 minutes
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group

Synopsis: Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.

My Thoughts: This was actually a reread for me for my book besties’ book club (#deepdarkreads on instagram). I loved this book just as much as I did the first time. Here is my full review.

My Rating: 5/5 stars.

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