Audiobooks · Books

Best Audiobooks of 2020

Hello!
This post is a tad late, but I thought I’d do it anyway!
These are my favourite audiobooks I listened to last year. (Not necessarily 2020 releases).

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

Black Girl Unlimited Audiobook by Echo Brown - 9781250248572 | Rakuten Kobo  United Kingdom

This is a really moving, magic-realism semi-autobiographical book about Echo Brown’s life. It’s an amazing story. I haven’t heard many talk about it. It’s severely underrated!
Full review here.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race Audiobook | Reni Eddo- Lodge | Audible.co.uk

Everyone needs to read/listen to this book. It’s very informative and educational. I learnt so much from listening to this. It’s basically required reading.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

Let Me Hear A Rhyme Book Review - Book and Film Globe

I really enjoyed this, it was fun. The music aspect was really cool too, hearing it was really effective. I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed this as much in print.
Review here.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing: The Folk of the Air, Book 3 (Audio Download):  Amazon.co.uk: Holly Black, Caitlin Kelly, Hot Key Books: Audible Audiobooks

This was an unexpected fave. I didn’t plan to finish this series, I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed this conclusion. I ended up binging the entire audiobook in one day…
Review here.

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Odd and the Frost Giants: Amazon.co.uk: Gaiman, Neil, Gaiman, Neil: Books

Neil Gaiman has the most magical, light-hearted short stories. This was one. It was incredibly short but so lovely to listen to. Neil narrates it himself and he is absolutely wonderful.


What were your favourite audiobooks in 2020?

Audiobooks · Blogmas

Alternatives to Audible: Audiobook App Recs | Blogmas Day 5

Hello everyone!
I don’t know about everyone else but audiobooks have been my saving grace over the last few years and especially this year where I have spent most of it in a slump. In my last post like this I recommended alternative shops to purchase from instead of Amazon, now it’s audiobooks turn!

Free Audiobook Options:

Librivox

File:LibriVox-logo-border-150mm-300dpi.png - Librivox wiki

This is a site/app that offers books from the public domain, read by volunteers. So the quality isn’t amazing. But it’s free. If you’re a classics reader and don’t mind a bit of non-professional reader, give this ago. I used to listen to some plays in uni, I struggle to read plays, so hearing them helped me so much and this was a useful source for that. This is perfect for literature students, a must even!

Your local library!

If you are fortunate to have access to a library, they usually have an audiobook (ebook) collection for you to borrow. My library uses BorrowBox, some use Libby/Overdrive. Definitely contact your library to find out! I now get 95% of my audiobooks from there for free. Saves a fortune.

E-Media | Norfolk Library
eBooks - Glasgow Libraries Online Library

If you don’t have a library or a library with a good selection here are some paid options:

Scribd

Discover the Best eBooks, Audiobooks, Magazines, Sheet Music, and More |  Scribd

Scribd offers a monthly subscription, like Audible but with so much more to offer. Scribd is so much more cost effective than Audible. From £9.99 per month you get unlimited access to Audiobooks (and ebooks). It’s much better than Amazon’s Audible which is £7.99 for one credit. Plus if you wanted ebooks that would need a Kindle Unlimited subscription which is an additional £7.99 a month for a poor selection.

Libro.fm

Libro.fm | Libro.fm, Your Independent Bookstore for Digital Audiobooks

First month is free then it is $14.99 per month (Less than £12), like Audible you get one audiobook a month. (If you switch from Audible to Libro.fm you get two free audiobooks!) However, Libro.fm are a much better company. They support local and indie bookstores with every purchase made.

This is a US/CA site and you need to have a credit card from those countries to subscribe. However, anyone from anywhere can purchase a gift subscription.
If you’re a blogger/influencer/etc make sure to sign up to their program for free ALCs! (Advance Listening Copies)

*Disclaimer: I receive ALCs but this post not sponsored or affiliated with Libro.fm nor any of the other companies in this post.

Do you listen to audiobooks? What apps do you use?
Audiobooks · Review

One Star Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (audiobook) | Disappointing Reads

Synopsis:
Milk and honey’ is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. ‘milk and honey’ takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. 

My Thoughts:
Let’s talk about the hype surrounding this book first…
This used to super popular, I used to see it everywhere on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. I wasn’t a poetry fan back when this first came out (still not really). I saw plenty of glowing reviews and still do occasionally. I, however, cannot fathom how anyone can like this ‘poetry’ collection.

So, I’ve been trying to get into poetry for a while and this became available at my library as an audiobook and since it was super short, I decided to borrow it. That was my first mistake.

The next mistake was expecting poetry…
Whatever this book was… was not poetry. I’ve read poetry and studied it (English Lit student) but this… I don’t even know where to begin. I’m no poet myself and couldn’t write poetry myself but this didn’t feel like poetry to me.
It was like reading/listening to a series of quotes/thoughts. It was sort of like listening to someone’s thoughts on certain topics or reading someone’s notebook. I just didn’t like the form.

I originally gave this 2 stars on Goodreads but the more I think about it the worse it gets.
It really wasn’t my thing. But, it did discuss/deal with some important and deep topics – just not in any way, shape or form was it poetry. Or even remotely poetic. It was very minimal and vague but it says a little and has little substance, it isn’t like standard poetry where it says a lot in few words.

Topic wise – I didn’t connect to it in anyway, therefore, it wasn’t really an enjoyable read. I didn’t really take away anything from it. It’s pretty unmemorable and I have already forgotten the majority of the content. It doesn’t do anything poetry is supposed to do, I wasn’t moved or touched. It provoked no thoughts or feelings. I felt absolutely nothing as a read it and nothing after it. Therefore, I will be changing my rating to 1 star.

If you somehow wish to purchase this, consider using *Blackwells UK

Audiobooks · Review

Audiobook Review: The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert – Lindsay's Book Reviews

Synopsis:
Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?

Duke Crenshaw is so done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight. Only problem? Duke can’t vote.

When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right.

And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote. They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.

Romantic and triumphant, The Voting Booth is proof that you can’t sit around waiting for the world to change . . . but some things are meant are meant to be.


My thoughts:

I mentioned this audiobook in my One Day Reads post, check that out if you want some short audiobooks to listen to. Anyway, I demolished this in one day, basically one sitting. If you’re looking for a quick, easy but fun contemporary, definitely pick this one up.

I love that this book covers some really important topics in an accessible way. Politics is something I think everyone needs to learn about and be involved in. This book, which is aimed at teens, does a really good job at explaining why voting matters and why everyone should vote. Especially, why young voices and voters matter! This is especially relevant at the moment, with the US elections coming up.

The dual POV is great, I liked seeing the two different perspectives. One character is Black and one is mixed with Black. Both have to deal with various issues to do with race. It’s very accessible for everyone, it’s well written and easy understand, obviously being YA, this is perfect for teenagers and young people.
This book is very plot-driven and it’s very short, so there isn’t a ton of time for you to get to know the characters very deeply. That being said, the characters are still well written and relatable, I just don’t think they’d end up in anyone’s top favourites of all time.

Overall, not a new favourite or anything, but a really enjoyable, quick read. I’d recommend this to every teenager, as it has really great messages and deals with important topics. I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

Rating: 4 Stars

*Thank you to Libro.fm for the ALC.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for a honest review.

Audiobooks · Recommendations

One Day Reads | Short YA/Kids Audiobook Recommendations

Hello (audio) bookworms!
Today I’m going to share some audiobooks you can knock out in a day or so!
Obviously, this will depend on how much time you have and what speed you listen to audiobooks. This is going from the perspective that you have some free hours to just listen.
I listen to audiobooks at 2x speed, so these audiobook times would be halved for me

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

The Wizards of Once Audiobook | Cressida Cowell | Audible ...

Narrated by David Tennant
Length: 5 hours, 56 minutes

This is a kid’s fantasy book (and series) and it’s totally adorable and addictive.
This one you can definitely up the speed and listen to in one sitting. David Tennant is the best narrator! His narration is incredible, he does amazing voices and sounds. Even if you’re not into kidlit, this one is worth listening to just for David.


Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewels Parker Rhodes

Black Brother, Black Brother (Mar 03, 2020 edition) | Open ...

Narrated by Barrie Buckner
Length: 4 hours 36 minutes
Review here

This one is really short but very impactful. It covers some important topics in a short amount of time. It’s perfect for young people to explain racism clearly and effectively. It can be enjoyed at any age in my opinion.
It’s a perfect one sitting listen!


City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

City of Ghosts Audiobook | Victoria Schwab | Audible.co.uk

Narrated by Reba Buhr
Length: 5 hours 2 minutes

This is a really fun paranormal kid’s book. (It does have creepy parts too)
I listened to this a while ago, I really need to continue this series!
It’s set in Edinburgh, which I loved! Nice to see the UK in books.
It’s very easy to listen to and you’ll fly through it!


Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard (Audio  Download): Amazon.co.uk: Echo Brown, Echo Brown, Macmillan Audio: Audible  Audiobooks

Narrated by the author
Length: 8 hours 29 minutes
This one is a little heavier, though still doable in a day if you have a day free.
I highly recommend everyone read/listen to this book. It’s super important and the writing is amazing.

Review here


Dreamology by Lucy Keating

Listen to Dreamology by Lucy Keating at Audiobooks.com

Narrated by Erin Spencer
Length: 7 hours 48 minutes

I listened to this one a few years ago. I remember finding it addictive to listen to and I flew through it.
It’s a fun audiobook, put it at 2x speed and you’ll be done in no time!
Review here


Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Pride - Audiobook by Ibi Zoboi

Narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo
Length: 6 hours 9 minutes

I wasn’t a huge fan of this, but I know others will enjoy it. If you don’t go in with expectations of it being a Pride and Prejudice retelling, I think you’ll enjoy it more than I did.
It’s a quick, easy YA contemporary.
Depending on what speed you listen at you can power through this in a few hours.


The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

Amazon.com: The Voting Booth (9781662003936): Colbert, Brandy, Eller,  Robin, Hite, Cary: Books

Narrated by Robin Eller & Cary Hite
Length: 6 hours 5 minutes

I listened to this at 2x speed and basically in one sitting while journaling. I really enjoyed!
I haven’t seen this around a lot, I think it deserves way more attention!
I’ll have a review up soon.

Do you have any short audiobook recs? Leave them below!

Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Black Brother, Black Brother: Rhodes, Jewell Parker, Buckner ...

Goodreads Synopsis:

FRAMED. BULLIED. DISLIKED. BUT I KNOW I CAN STILL BE THE BEST.

Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, he feels as if he is constantly swimming in whiteness. Most of the students don’t look like him. They don’t like him either. Dubbed the “Black Brother,” Donte’s teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter skinned brother, Trey. Quiet, obedient.

When he’s framed by the captain of the fencing team, “King” Alan, he’s suspended from school and arrested for something he did not do.

Donte knows the only way to get even is to beat the king of the school at his own game: fencing. With the help of a former Olympic fencer, Donte embarks on a journey to carve out a spot on Middlefield Prep’s fencing team and maybe learn something about himself along the way.

Powerful and emotionally gripping, ‘BLACK BROTHER, BLACK BROTHER’ is a careful examination of the school-to-prison pipeline and follows one boy’s fight against racism and his empowering path to finding his voice.


My Thoughts:

TW: Racism, Colourism, Bullying

This is a middle grade novel that deals with racism and colourism within a private school setting. It follows Donte who is biracial and dark skinned and his experience in school in comparison to his brother Trey who is white passing.

This book was surprisingly really great! I had no idea what to expect going in but I am super glad I borrowed it! I really sympathised with Donte, what he goes through is awful and it really highlights how white-passing biracial people are treated better than darker skinned people. I can’t personally identify with Donte but I definitely do identify with Trey (I’m mixed raced and pretty light skinned/racially ambiguous). Although I am fully aware of my privilege this really reminded me of it. Also makes me angry that kids have to suffer in school and risk having their education impacted by the racist systems.

Fencing – There’s a fencing aspect to the novel, which I wasn’t expecting (I didn’t read the synopsis before listening). Since I’m not a sporty person, I didn’t expect to be so interested. Surprisingly, I actually really enjoyed it. It was refreshing for me and actually is an interesting sport. (I now kinda want to do fencing haha)

Overall, it’s a really great story with really great themes and messages. Black Brother, Black Brother is amazing at explaining and dealing with racism and white privilege, it should be an essential read for all kids! (Obviously, I’m not a kid – I think all ages can enjoy middle grade.)

 

Rating: 4 Stars

Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged በAyisha Malik - በGoogle Play ላይ ያሉ ...

Synopsis:

“Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.’ Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. ‘Are your parents quite disappointed?’

Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.

As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ?


Rep: Pakistani Mulism

My thoughts:

I had never read a Muslim romance before, I didn’t know at all how dating worked in regards to their religion – so I was interested to learn about it! It surprised me, I have to say, I am obviously very ignorant to how Muslim relationships work. It was more lax than I anticipated and more relatable too.

It was dubbed ‘Muslim Bridget Jones’ – although it was amusing, it wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny. I did get Bridget Jones vibes from Sofia, if you like those books/films you’d probably enjoy this too. I really enjoyed the humour throughout the book!

There’s a lot of day-to-day life shown, which is fine to listen to, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed if I read it. Also, it is very dialogue heavy, which I believe comes across well on audio, not sure it would be as enjoyable to physically read. It definitely could’ve been edited down more, it was a long audiobook and most of it was filler. With that being said, I didn’t find myself bored at any point.

Narrator: Rita Sharma has a voice that’s very easy to listen to for hours. I listen to the whole thing (11.5ish hours) in 3 days or so. It was very bingeable, I listened to more than half of it in one day. I was pretty invested in Sofia’s story!

Dislikes/TW:
There were some offensive jokes about black people and a lot of fatphobia. That being said, it did touch upon other issues such as stereotypes, immigration and racism. It’s a shame it included other forms of prejudice.

Rating: 3 Stars

Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

wp-1587842416916.jpg

“As they say, history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

 

Synopsis:

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

 


Plot:
I was one of the few people who actually wanted a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, I was never satisfied by the ending. I wanted to know all of Offred’s story and although thinking back, it isn’t necessary, it is still nice to finally get some closure.

This book brought an interesting, new perspective on Gilead, from the view of an Aunt (or THE Aunt, Lydia), a teen who lives there and a teen who lives in Canada.

The teen characters gave The Testaments a more ‘lax’ feel. Although this book isn’t really a necessary addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, it definitely is a more ‘enjoyable’ read. The Handmaid’s Tale is a great book, there’s no denying that but it isn’t ‘enjoyable’ – it is quite scary and harrowing at points, especially for women.

I really enjoyed learning more about Gilead, the Aunts etc. It was interesting, I think the world Margaret Atwood created is fascinating. I always wondered what happened to Offred at the ending of The Handmaid’s Tale and how Gilead falls, so I was curious enough to pick this up. I know a lot of people complained that they didn’t want/need a sequel… which is fair enough; simply don’t read it!

I listened to this on audiobook – I am very glad I did. It had a full cast narration, which was really, really good. All the narrators were great to listen to and very engaging.

I really liked the contrast between the two teenagers. They’re both products of their environments and it interesting to see their views and ways of thinking. Especially, the one from Gilead, growing up with the mindset Gilead is good and the outside world is bad etc. It was interesting. The younger perspectives mad the novel feel more relaxed, as I stated earlier, this was more enjoyable than THT, in my opinion.

It wasn’t what I thought it would be, I was pleasantly surprised. There were some good twists, it was well-paced and well written. It’s not the best novel in the world but I can’t fault it either. It was a good read. If/when I reread THT, I would probably reread this too.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Have you read The Testaments? What were your thoughts?

 

Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown (Spoiler free)

 

wp-1585155054052.jpg

Hello guys, long time no see. Hope you’re all staying safe and well!
I haven’t had the motivation to blog recently but I’m feeling a bit more motivated now and I just had to share this book with everyone.

 

*I was sent this ALC from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review

CW: Trauma, abuse, rape, child sexual abuse/pedophilia, mentions of suicide, racism, death 

Synopsis:
Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor. Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.

Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism—all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age.


My thoughts:

Heartbreaking and painful – definitely not a light read. It deals with very heavy topics, please check the content warning for this one before reading.

I have no idea where to begin this review – it’s definitely not what I expected. I thought it was pure fantasy but it’s based on Echo Brown’s life. How she managed to make trauma magical, I have no idea. I had no idea what to expect going in, I assumed it was a fantasy story, purely fantasy. How wrong I was. The fantasy/ magical realism is heavily metaphorical, ‘wizards’ are not how you would expect. The term ‘wizard’ is used as a metaphor for survivors.

This novel gives insight into the treatment of Black people, especially Black women, in the USA. It was harrowing to read, I can’t even imagine living through it and coming out so hopeful and positive. Brown doesn’t skimp over any details in the novel – the harsh truth is shown, the devastating consequences but ultimately the hope that remains. This book made me quite emotional, which I haven’t had in a book in a while.

Everything is incredibly well written and well narrated. The author reads the audiobook herself, which is just great. She’s amazing! This is the most unique memoir/ autobiography I’ve read. I haven’t heard anyone talk about this book but it is an incredibly important and powerful read. I think everyone should try this book, the message is beautiful and inspiring.

Sidenote – the cover is insanely beautiful. The artwork is outstanding!

Highly, highly recommend picking this one up!

Rating: 4 Stars

Audiobooks · Blogmas · Books

Best Audiobooks I Listened to in 2019 | Blogmas Day 9

blogmas-2019

Hey Guys!
Welcome to Day 9 of Blogmas!
Today I’m going to talk about my favourite audiobooks I read in 2019.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Narrator: Adjoa Andoh
Image result for Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert audiobook

 A very recent read for me, but I had to include it!
I loved this book so much! The narrator was fantastic and did amazing voices/accents, it really added to the story.

Full thoughts in my review here!


Crownbreaker by Sebastien De Castell
Narrator: Joe Jameson

Image result for crownbreaker audiobook

The amazing conclusion to the Spellslinger series.
This whole series is amazing on audiobook, the narrator is incredible! The story is fun, but the narrator adds so much to the story with his voices. I have never experienced audiobooks better than the Spellslinger series, they are my favourite!

Review here!


The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler

Image result for the lunar chronicles audiobooks

I thought I’d include the whole series here since I listened to them all this year.
They were amazing! I didn’t think I’d like this series, I picked up Cinder on a whim since the audiobook was available at my library, but I ended up loving them! Now one of my all-time favourites. I have to say the narrator grew on me too, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy her narration but I enjoyed it all.

Reviews: Cinder| Scarlet | Cress| Winter | Stars Above


The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Image result for the princess diarist audiobook uk

I had previously read this book (physical copy) when it came out back in 2016. I saw that the audiobook was available at my library and I instantly got it. It’s narrated by Carrie herself which makes it even more enjoyable. As a huge Star Wars + Carrie Fisher fan, I loved every moment. Just listening to her voice was so comforting, it really makes her stories feel even more personal when she speaks them.


What were your favourite audiobooks in 2019?