Audiobook Review, Romance

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

Every BreathEvery Breath by Nicholas Sparks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We have all read/seen The Notebook and fallen in love with the romantic writing of Nicholas Sparks (if you haven’t seen the movie, just do it…. Ryan Gosling… that is all). So of course when I saw he was coming out with a new book, I added it to the list at the library.

Every Breath is a romantic and heartwarming love story about two people who have an instant connection, but are plagued by life’s unfortunate circumstances and poor timing. When Tru and Hope happen upon each other on a quiet North Carolina beach they are immediately drawn to each other. But, when they must part ways, their lives will never be the same. Nicholas Sparks dares to ask, “Can you ever really move on from the love of a soulmate?”

While I found this book an easy read with a very charming plot, it was inevitably pretty predictable (dare I say, cheesy?). But, it’s a romance so what did I really expect, right? I adored both of the main characters and appreciated their flaws and internal struggles. The North Carolina setting was the perfect location to set this novel, with its relaxed, beachy feel. Overall, it was a success, and while it was a nice enough story, I didn’t find it to be anything Earth shattering.

The two fabulous things about this book were the introduction and epilogue. I loved that the inspiration for this novel was based on real events discovered by Nicholas Sparks on the very beach in North Carolina he writes about. And while I sometimes found the events in the novel a tad unrealistic, I had to keep reminding myself that it was at least somewhat based in fact. I think the information provided by Sparks added a wealth of charm to this book.

The audiobook was a super fast listen, if you’re looking for something light and fresh on a shorter car ride. Listening on double speed, I got through it in about four and a half hours.

Will I be raving about this one in the months to come? Probably not. It is honestly a tad forgettable. But it was still an enjoyable read, particularly for avid romance readers.

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Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult)

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

The Book of EssieThe Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After seeing some rave reviews for this book I decided to give it a try. The Book of Essie is the story of a teenager named Esther Hicks who ends up pregnant. But, that’s not the end of Essie’s story. Essie just happens to be a reality TV star, her parents famous religious and social figures. And they have a reputation to uphold. Cue the pregnancy scandal cover up!

If you have ever seen the TV show UnREAL (which basically reveals the sneaky, behind the scenes things that producers do to steer certain reality TV storylines the way they want them to go), this book has a super similar vibe. So many times I wanted to punch Essie’s mom in the face for putting on a false facade in the name of celebrity.

The Book of Essie (cleverly named given its religious undertones) dives into some difficult subject matter and explores a ton of difficult family-centered issues. One things is for sure. I adored Essie’s character and several other main characters as well. And while I couldn’t relate to Essie personally, I applauded the way she handled the situation she found herself in. What a firecracker.

The audiobook version of this book was pretty good. There were times when there may have been a few lulls by overall it held my attention.

It’s definitely worth the read.

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Audiobook Review, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller

The One by John Marrs

The OneThe One by John Marrs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You guys! I absolutely adored this book! And this isn’t one I’ve seen blasted across the internet on various social media platforms. I just kind of stumbled upon it through recommendations of friends.

The premise of the book was super interesting. What if you could take 23&Me and match.com and put them together into one mega dating app? Submit your DNA and be matched with your one and only soulmate. Would you do it? Follow the stories of four people who took the plunge. Experience the good, the bad, and the ugly.

As a woman who met her husband on match.com seven years ago, the content of this book really tickled my fancy. I thought the concept was such an interesting idea and enjoyed the variety of plots that evolved from it. Each story had an original spin and each had a super exciting twist or two.

This was a great audiobook with a lot of excitement that held my attention. I couldn’t get enough and found myself walking around the house with headphones on waiting to see what happened next (not the first time…).

If you haven’t checked this one out, I would highly recommend it. It is certainly unique and entertaining.

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Audiobook Review, Fantasy, Young Adult

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Children of Blood and Bone has been on my list for a while. Tomi Adeyemi won the award for Goodreads Choice Debut Author this year for her work on this book, so I’ve been very excited to get my hands on it.

Children of Blood and Bone is very much a young adult fantasy. I would place it in the same genre as The Hunger Games, Divergent, and any other young adult series with heavy fantasy elements. It is the story of a young girl named Zélie, the daughter of a magi. Magi once populated the land, harnessing various magical powers. But, the magi were murdered by a ruthless king, thirsty for power and desperate for magic to disappear. Zélie has one chance to bring magic back, but her journey will be filled with obstacles and barriers.

————————————–

From the publisher:

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

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I really loved the creativity and thought that Tomi Adeyemi poured into this novel. It was so unique and different, with some extremely creative elements. The concept of the book was superb and I loved the fact that it was kept as a young adult book with a “coming of age” theme.

From an audiobook perspective, the narrator’s accent lended an element of believability and authenticity. I really enjoyed her portrayal of the various characters. I did feel at times that the voices of each character weren’t very distinct and there were a couple of times that I had to reorient myself to which character was talking. And as the book has a lot of action and excitement, the narration is at times loud and intense. Let’s just say it’s not a book you would want to listen to if you had a headache.

I was extremely surprised to find out that this book was written in response to incidences of police brutality and the author’s feeling of helplessness. While I didn’t feel like there were overt references to that accord, looking back I can see the connection and applicability.

I will definitely be checking out the second in this series when it comes out. It’s worth the read if you haven’t checked it out already.

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Audiobook Review, Historical Fiction, Mystery, True Crime

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Rust & StardustRust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I saw Rust & Stardust on many lists this year. The cover kept popping up everywhere. And without knowing the content, I decided to check it out from the library.

Boy, was this a hard book to read. The content was heartbreaking and extremely disturbing. Trigger alert for sexual assault. There were times when I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue reading because I found it sickening and upsetting. However, the storytelling by T. Greenwood is so fantastic that I wanted to find out what happened next.

The story is set in the late 1940’s when eleven-year-old Sally Horner is abducted by Frank LaSalle, a convict and child rapist who tricks her into thinking he is an FBI agent taking her into custody for stealing a notebook from a local store. Think Elizabeth Smart in an era with no advanced technology and archaic police work. What follows is the horrifying tale of Sally’s imprisonment, but what I did not expect were the heartwarming moments and glimpses of happiness Sally found along the way. The strangers who became friends and made her experience more bearable.

I did not care for the last hour or so of the audiobook. I didn’t understand why the last hour was included as I didn’t feel like it jived all that well with the rest of the story. Until I realized this was a true story…. I did not realize this story was based on true events until I read the Author’s Note at the end of the book. It blew me away. For ten hours, I was reading it as if it were a creation of T. Greenwood’s imagination, and while many of the details were manufactured, the overall content was reflective of events that really happened. Gut wrenching.

This book is definitely not for everybody. It is not for the faint of heart of those who cannot tolerate discussion of sexual assault, particularly of minors. But if you can get past all of that, it is a tremendous story and Sally Horner deserves for it to be told.

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