Friday, June 28, 2019

10 Audiobooks for your summer road-trip

I don't listen to audiobooks as much as I used to. I originally got into audiobooks back when my commute in Sydney was an hour each way (on a good day with no traffic). Really helped with my road rage. But now, my commute is the shortest it's ever been and I prefer music when lifting weights and podcasts while running. I also tend to get impatient and end up switching to actually reading so I can find out what happens. But, I still do listen to audiobooks, just takes me a lot longer to get through them.

Today I am joining fellow bookworms (check out their links below!) to share some audiobooks that may be good for any upcoming road trips (or your daily commute if you don't have any road trips planned, like me).  Of course, whether they are suitable for a road trip depends on your taste and who is in the car with you...

Here are 10 books I (mostly) listened to recently:

1. Then She Was Gone This was actually the first book in a long time that I listened to from start to finish without switching to an ebook or physical book. I loved everything about this audiobook - the story was fantastic, the narration top notch. Highly recommend for sure.

2. The Martian Do you guys remember when I wouldn't shut up about The Martian? This is by far one of the very best audiobooks I have ever listened to. It helps that the book itself was so bloody good, but I just adored the audio. So good!

3. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride This was SUCH a fun listen. If you like The Princess Bride, I highly recommend.

4. The Spiderwick Chronicles I think this is actually a movie as well, I mean, I know it's a movie but I don't know how many books the movie covers. Anyway. This is a childrens series, so great if you have kids or are like me and just like kids books occasionally. The books are super short too, like a couple hours each.

5. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology My favourite kind of audiobooks are celebrity memoirs, even if I don't know anything about the celebrity or I'm not a fan. Non-fiction in general just seems to work better for me in audiobook format, it doesn't hold my attention very well when I'm actually reading. Anyway, I liked this one because of what she talks about, but also she just seemed super fun.

6. We're Going to Need More Wine Like I said, I really enjoy celebrity memoirs. I knew nothing about Gabrielle Union before this book, but I love love loved it.

7. Wanderlust You may or may not be surprised to know that even though I *love* romance, I do not like listening to it. I know lots of people do, and zero judgement. I just.. don't. I read a lot faster than I listen, and I don't particularly want to listen to certain scenes. However. Richard Armitage narrates this (with a woman, but did I mention Richard Armitage?) so obviously I had to listen. I loved it, obvs.


8. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle I really, really, really enjoyed this book. It has a bit of a slow start but eventually picks up. I loved the narrator so much I wanted to listen to other stuff by him but nothing sounded good.

9. Becoming I never really like blanket recommendations because we are all different but I actually do think everyone should listen to this because she is amazing and if you don't think so, you are wrong, and that is that. Ha. Jk. I listened to another book last year by a political figure and even though I liked the person, I didn't love the book - it just wasn't as interesting or narrated as well as Becoming. This book made me cry for a million reasons, it made me laugh and smile and want to scream. It made me like her even more than I did before.

10. The Sookie Stackhouse series I recommend this series for one reason only - it was the series I listened to back in the day, my very first audiobooks ever. I ended up hating the last book with the fire of a thousand suns, so there is that.

Honourable mention: I've listened to several versions of P&P over the years, because why not. Obviously I love it, but wouldn't recommend it to everyone. I haven't listened to this one yet, but it's next on my list. Because I don't have 20 other books I need to listen to, just sitting in my audible library. Oops.

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Have you listened to any good audiobooks lately?

Friday, June 21, 2019

10 Summer Page-Turners

Joining fellow bookworms today (check out their posts, linked below!) to share some page turners for summer - of course, you could read these any time of year, but perhaps one of these books will be the perfect pool or beach companion for you this summer. I read predominately romance and this list could have been completely romance books but I tried to keep it to just a few.

My list is in no particular order, some I read recently and some over a year ago. The books don't really have anything in common except for the fact that I found them super readable and unputdownable. You know what I mean, when time flies and all of a sudden you're halfway through the book even though it feels like you just started? Or the cliche 'one more chapter and oops it's two am'? I love those kinds of books, then again who doesn't?

Here are 10 books (or series, oops) I found unputdownable recently:

1. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill - this actually comes out July 9th, so sorry for the first book on my list not even being out yet, but you should seriously add this one to your TBR. I loved this book. I loved the characters, the story, everything. If you don't like romance, please don't be put off, it's not the main focus and it's closed door.

2. Shades of Magic series -  My favourite thing in the entire world is discovering a series that is already finished or very close to being finished - I think I waited a month, maybe, for the 3rd book in this series to come out? I also pre-ordered it and let me tell you how much I never do that. This series is hard to explain - it's fantasy, there's magic and multiple Londons. The world building is top notch. My favourite thing about this series is that when I was reading it, I was enjoying it, but then a line or scene would just hit me in the feels and I wanted to squeeze the book with love. You know? No? Maybe just me? You know like cute aggression with babies and animals? I have like, book love aggression. I love the book so much I want to squeeze it. I need to reread this series. I would say this is the most 'complicated' read in my list, as in not easy breezy beautiful beach read.

3. Jar of Hearts - I'm not trying to brag or anything, I am not special, but it is totally normal for me to read a book in a day... it is not normal for me to read a non-romance book in a day though, they just aren't as captivating or unputdownable for me like romance is. I read this book in a day. It was unputdownable from the get go, though warning, it is super messed up.

4. Nevermoor - yeah yeah technically two books but they are children's/middle grade and if you like fantasy, fun characters, awesome worlds and talking cats you should read these books. Seriously.

5. The Flatshare - Ok, this is a romance but it also deals with some super heavy stuff (emotional/psychological abuse) and I thought it was handled really well. It's dual POV and Leon's POV took me a hot minute to get into, the way it is written, but other than that, I adored this book and it was so freaking readable. Not over the top steamy if I remember right.

7. Tailspin - ok yes, hi, this is romantic suspense, but to me that is different compared to straight romance. I love a good Sandra Brown book - I haven't been overly impressed with some of her older stuff, but her newer ones always hit the spot with me. Like I said, I love romance books so books of other genres really have to be good to make me want to read it over a romance book. SB is the only author that I have discovered that makes me equally invested in the suspense portion of the book. The love story is teeny tiny, really not a focal point. Mean Streak is still my favourite of hers, but I really, really, really liked this one.

6. Veronica Speedwell series - Okay, apparently I am incapable of suggesting just 1 book, I need to throw a couple of series in here. I think Heather read these first and we pretty much always have the same taste so I gave them a go. As with almost everything I read, there is a romantic subplot that I enjoy (there is even a teeny one in Jar of Hearts you guys, love is everywhere) but this series is about so much more than that! It's so freaking fun and delightful and such a gosh darn good time.

8. Long Way Down - before this book, I would have told you I do not read poetry. I do not understand poetry, I do not like poetry. The audio of this book, which I have heard is amazing, is less than 2 hours which tells you what a fast read this is. This was such an emotional read, very powerful and such an interesting way to tell a story. I highly recommend.

9. Fix Her Up - remember when everyone was reading The Kiss Quotient because of the hype and being shocked by the sex because the cover was so gosh darn cute? Trust me when I say Tessa Bailey's books make The Kiss Quotient look like.. I don't know, something without sex. So, please only proceed if you like romance. A couple of my romance loving friends did not like this one so it's definitely not a recommend to all the people kind of book.

10. Saga series - Ok, again, technically 9 books but they are so short and because they are graphic novels they are insanely quick reads. I could not put these down. Think Game of Thrones meets... I don't know, something sci-fi-y. They are very adult and put the graphic in graphic novel. I did not think graphic novels were my thing and these blew my mind and I am waiting impatiently for volume 10. If they sound remotely interesting, give them a try! And tell me immediately!

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There were a couple others I thought of as page turners, but because I listened to them I'm saving them for a specific audiobook post next Friday.

Have you read any of these? What was the last book that you couldn't put down? I've heard great things about The Idea of You from Influenced The Podcast, so that's my next read!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! Unfortunately I don't have a ton to talk about today, been in a kind of funk. Hopefully I'll find some fun books via the link up and they will magically be available at the library with no waiting...
Things You Save in a Fire - Katherine Center
firefighter moves to be with her estranged mother
I did not love every single second of this one like I did with How to Walk Away, but in the end I did love it. I don't want to spoil anything or set expectations, but I will say the last 25% is intense AF. I very rarely am actually 'on the edge of my seat' but I was with this one. KC tried to talk to me and I was like NOTRIGHTNOW. I really really loved the ending. The kind of ending where you just sit there all content for a few minutes.
Received from Netgalley.
family drama after teenage daughter dies
This book has been on my list for ages, I really enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere and wanted to read this one before Celeste Ng came to my city.... and honestly, I was a bit disappointed.This is such a weird book, not in content but how I felt about it. The writing was fantastic and I wanted to know what happened. But I disliked the characters and was not impressed with the ending. It left a bad taste in my mouth. I was cranky and sad and needed to read fluffy books after I finished. But then I went to see Celeste Ng with my book club and she was so fantastic and fabulous and adorable, I *loved* her. It made me like this book more lol.  I will absolutely read another of her books though.
The Immortalists - Chloe Benjamin
4 siblings find out the date they will die
I don't really have strong feelings about this book. I liked it, but didn't love it. Interesting premise, but... kinda boring. I kept waiting for a plot or overall story arc, and that didn't really happen. I kept expecting something else to happen rather than just following their lives until their date arrives. I will say, I thought it was written well, and it was a great book for book club - very discussion provoking.
Educated - Tara Westover
Goodness gracious, this book is crazy. This woman's life is crazy. At times extremely hard to read, hard to believe people like this exist. 
Ayesha at Last - Uzma Jalaluddin
p&p retelling
Meh. My problem with this book is that I went into it expecting P&P. I don't mean retellings can't change things, I want them to. But I still want the same feelings, I still want to feel the same way about the characters. If you don't want me to have those expectations, don't call it a P&P retelling. There was a lot (a lot) of drama in this book. Too much. In the end, I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. It was okay. I know that's on me and my expectations, there's no telling how I would have felt if I wasn't expecting P&P feelings.
Received from Netgalley.
ya fantasy 
I think I borrowed this from the library 3 times before I finally got to it. I liked it. I've already forgotten a lot of it. Kidding. It was not an 'easy' read. Lots going on. Very long book. Wouldn't have hurt to have a few things drawn out, but what do I know. This is fantasy, but there are a lot of problems that are relatable to our world. Curious to see where the next book goes.
Cinder & the Prince of Midnight - Susan Ee
cinderella retelling
I am still getting my feelings together but I am shocked that this is the same author as Angelfall. This was so underwhelming and just not... good. I only ever preorder books when I am 99% sure I will love it. This one didn't have the page number listed beforehand, so I paid $5.99 not knowing this was a 201 page book. I could have dealt with that though if the book was actually good. I am so bummed. I don't recommend this, Angelfall fan or not.
Just One of the Groomsmen - Cindi Madsen
This is probably one of the best 'friends to lovers' I've ever read, and that's one of my least favourite tropes so I am super critical of it. This was a ton of fun and I'm glad Heather pushed me to read it, lol. I will definitely pick up more from this author.
Bringing Down the Duke - Evie Dunmore
This was a different kind of historical, different period than I'm used to. It was fun, I really liked it. It was cute and fun. That's all I really remember about it to be honest.
Received from First to Read.
The Bromance Book Club - Lyssa Kay Adams
This was super cute! Very quick read and tons of fun. Love the idea of the book club and loved all the characters. It's not very often you read about already married couples. I really enjoyed it and definitely recommend!
Received from Netgalley.

The Huntress + Recursion (comes out today, I meant to finish it before today but... life).

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend Things You Save in a Fire if you liked How to Walk Away, though I did like HtWA better. Educated if you like memoirs. 

Read anything decent lately?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

May 2019 Recap - What's New With You Link Up

Hello all, time for another what's new with you link up! Thanks again if you join me, I always appreciate it. You don't have to display the button if you don't want to, but don't forget to mention it somewhere in your post and check out some of the other posts! I'll be doing a monthly recap like I do every month.

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May was equal parts crazy and quiet. We went to 4 different doctors/urgent cares for 4 different reasons (2 for KC, 2 for me) but we are both fine and nothing to worry about except for the medical bills I am sure are coming. Also, had my braces rewired or whatever it is called and a coil spring thing got embedded in my gums which is about as fun as it sounds. Obviously no photos of that super fun stuff.

There was mothers day, which I have no photos of, but I think we hosted? My memory is shocking. We also went down to my mother in law's place on memorial day weekend to hang with the family, but I didn't get any photos of that either, so basically neither of those things happened.

Book club was The Immortalists - SUYB next week for my thoughts - and brunch foods (yum). Highlight of the month was Celeste Ng coming to town. The event was free, I wasn't the biggest fan of Everything I Never Told You (which I had just read the week before) and it was during the week so I contemplated not going for like 5 minutes - but I did, met most of book club there, and it was so amazing. She was so so fantastic. It made me like her more. She's adorable and so lovely. They said she wasn't doing posed photos (as in stopping to smile and take a photo) but we explained the whole book club thing and asked if we could just pop behind her while she was signing our books and we got a great photo. She really was so lovely and I'm still kinda gobsmacked that it was free.

Went out for snacks and drinks with friends, went to the gym several times (I need to get a little creative with my gym selfies), watched Always Be My Maybe (so cute) went to Blaze (so good) and Constance's tree started to bloom (though, the flowers tend to not last very long, I don't know what I am doing wrong).

Oh, super fun thing - a bloody sinkhole in our street, kind of in front of our house. The photos don't do it justice, it was pretty big and 15-20 feet deep. They are still fixing it, I feel really bad for 2 of my neighbours as their driveways are completely blocked.

Lots of reading, of course. Absolutely love this time of year and so do the cats. The yellow book is The Unhoneymooners, I don't know why it went fuzzy and I can't be bothered trying to fix it.

Photos of cats as usual - walked into the kitchen and Penny was on the counter so of course I had to document it before I told her to get down. My cats never get on the counter so it was pretty funny.

I also thought it was funny when Chelsea was looking out the window and Millie decided she wanted to as well, but there was no room, so she just stood on Chelsea. As you do. File that under things only I find entertaining about my cats...

If you'd like to link up, please do so below.

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So, what's new with you? I wish I had more exciting things to share each month but I do lead quite a quiet life, I think.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

2019 May/June Goals + Link Up Reminder

I didn't do too fantastically with goals in May - I went to the gym  but didn't read my BOTM books or my audiobooks, didn't get rid of anything, didn't put my clothes away, didn't list anything online... I didn't spend money on anything frivolous but still spent money. I didn't get rid of any apps off my phone either, the easiest goal! So, May was a big fat flop.

I debated not even doing June goals - honestly, June is going to be such a just survive kind of month that I don't want to put any pressure on myself... but giving myself things to do and focus on might help.  So, just a few relatively easy ones:

- read a BOTM book
- listen to one audiobook I already own
- put clothes away + get rid of 2 bags of stuff + list 5 things online
- delete unnecessary apps off phone
- make vet appointment for Penny
- buy reusable grocery bags and start using them

Also, just a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up - this Thursday the 6th is the next What's New With You link up if you want to join me!

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I have a handful of reusable bags here and there around the house, but not enough to use for a full shop. If you use reusable bags, how many do you have? I was thinking of getting some to keep in both cars so that we never have a reason to use plastic, but I'm not sure how many. I suppose I could go by how many plastic bags we use each time, but the reusable ones tend to hold more. If you have a favourite brand, do share!