Hello everyone! It's June already, which means it is time to look back at the reads you've completed so far in 2017 and be amazed by how well (of course 😎) you've done on all you bookish challenges!
As you might know, I discovered audiobooks around two years ago now, and I've loved listening to them ever since. I listen to books when I do chores and when I go walking to places, mainly, and I think it's a great way to both read more and to use your time wisely. This year I've surpassed my expectations for the number of audiobooks I've listened to - in fact, more than 40% of the books I've read so far this year are in audiobook format. For the 2017 Audiobook Challenge (hosted by Hot Listens and Caffeinated Book Reviewer), I chose to do the Weekend Warrior level (5-10 audiobooks, specifically setting myself the target of 6 audiobooks), and I've already listened to 5 audiobooks from January to June!
Here is my semi-annual update!
Note: the cover pictures in this post are linked to their respective Goodreads page
1. Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys
I decided to buy this audiobook because I'd read it was the winning novel of the Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction 2016. It is certainly a heartbreaking novel - it tells the story of 5 fictional characters from different backgrounds whose stories collide in the finding shelter from World War II. The audiobook is narrated by five different people - one for each character as each chapter is told from their different viewpoints in an alternating fashion. I found this to be very helpful in order to distinguish the characters' stories - my memory for character names is awful, so I just remembered the sound of each of their voices! That was pretty cool, to be honest. However, I did find all of their talking speeds to be very slow, so I ended up changing the reading velocity up to 1.25 (which made it sound like a normal audiobook). I found the character stories to be well-built, and I really liked the way they collided, but ultimately I thought the story was too slow and I have to admit I was a bit bored at times. I ended up giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars. You can read my full review here :)
2. Vendetta, by Catherine Doyle
This book I really enjoyed! It is a contemporary, YA about a girl named Sophie whose life changes forever when five handsome brothers come to live in a house in her neighborhood that has been abandoned for years. She starts having feelings for one of the boys, and soon she discovers that there are things that her family hasn't told her about their past, and thus their future. The audiobook per se, narrated by Laurence Bouvard, was nothing out of the extraordinary -maybe too girly for my liking, but that's how the character is, what to do? I don't believe I gained anything by listening to this book rather than reading it other than the time-saving, but it certainly was not a bad choice. What I really enjoyed was the story! This book is a page-turner (or a minute-runner! 😂), and I couldn't put my phone down. I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, although because I didn't write a review yet I cannot remember whether I was meaning to give it 4.5... Anyhow, it is a very good, light read that made me have a very good time!
3. The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater
I decided to read this book because I'd read some about it (although I have to admit not much, I'd just read it mentioned in a couple of web pages), and I found an awesome deal on Audible -which, let's face it, is one of the best things that can happen to an audiobook lover! So I downloaded it, and I remember I loved both the writing and the reading of the narrator (Will Patton) from the very beginning. It is about a girl named Blue (yes, like the colour 😉) whose whole family has psychic powers except for her. The only "power" she has been granted is that she makes everything louder for those who have an actual power. She knows she will never fall in love -mainly because she has forbidden herself to as she's always been told that she will cause her true love to die, but now she starts to feel something for one of those stupid Aglionby boys that bring nothing but trouble, and she finds herself involved in their forever-going hunt for the impossible. This book is fantastic, and if you listen to the audiobook it's like you're being told a fairy tale! Will Patton makes it sound so beautiful and magical -which it already is, but I think he makes it even better! I was amazed, honestly. I have already bought the second book to the series on audiobook (and I am going to try Amazon's whisper-sync gadget for the first time, which I am really excited about!). I ended up giving it a 4.75 out of 5 stars, and you can find my full review here.
4. Caraval, by Stephanie Garber
Oh, Caraval, Caraval... I had very high expectations for this book, and I am so sad they weren't quite met :( It is a fantasy, YA novel about two sisters that live under the strict control and irrational punishments of their father. They've always dreamt of going to the famous, magical show called Caraval, which takes place once a year and to which their father has forbidden they assist. One day, Scarlet (our protagonist) receives a letter from the great Legend - Caraval's mastermind, together with an invitation for her and her sister. But Scarlet is not so sure she want to ruin her wedding (which is in a few days and probably the last chance they have to escape their father) just to go to a game. I thought the story was unique and creative, but I ended up neither liking nor connecting with the characters, and I felt bored at some points. I thought the ending was just too morbid and dark, and I found everything -situation or reaction- to be too exaggerated. About the audiobook, I didn't enjoy it all that much, but mainly because her intonation would always seem to be that of a stupid teenager, when Scarlet is not that type of girl. Also, I came to hate all the "Noooo!"s Scarlet shouted (and trust me, there were a lot - I can hear it in my head right now...). I ended up giving the book a 3.5 out of 5 stars -which is not that bad, it's just that it didn't meet my expectations, but it is a perfectly fine book, with a fast-paced narration and an interesting plot-twist! You can read my full review here :)
5. Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor
Oh, well. What to say of this beauty! Strange the Dreamer is one of those books that captivates you from the very first minute. The writing is just absolutely beautiful, and the story is definitely unique. It is a fantasy novel set in a fictional medieval age about an orphan boy and librarian who's been obsessed with the mythical city of Weep since he was five years old. No-one pays much attention to his investigations and obsessions, but one day the Godslayer from Weep comes into his village in search for people to help him solve the problem that has made Weep lose all contact with every other community for the last 200 years. When I started listening to this book, I had to replay the prologue because it was just too beautiful not to! I am absolutely in love with Laini Taylor's style, and I am truly impressed by her creativity and will to make the most out of her book. There is no single fantastic element in this book that is not where it should be. It feels as if she had all these great ideas and she couldn't choose which ones to leave behind, so she just added them all. Normally, this would mean a complete chaos, but not in Strange the Dreamer! She managed to find the right place for everything, the perfect harmony. And the audiobook narrator, Steve West, is just amazing. His deep voice makes this book sound like a beautiful tale, and let me just point out his beautiful British accent and his perfect pronunciation and intonation. I loved listening to this book on audiobook! However, let me warn you (I was not warned) it is freaking long - it's an 18-hour audiobook, so you better prepare yourself mentally. I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.
And that's all the books I've listened to in 2017 so far. I'm quite happy with my audiobook choices, now that I look at the complete picture :D Moreover, in case you haven't noticed, I am one book away from my yearly target and it's only June!
What audiobooks have you been listening to lately? I'd love to add some more to my audiobook TBR, which is not as long as my general TBR (yet).
Other audiobooks you might like...
Let me keep you updated!