Audiobook Review – Malibu Rising


I picked this book from the library, in that random way that I do, without knowing what it was about or what to expect. And, I still don’t really know what to think about it. The story follows four siblings, the children of an absent ultra-famous singer, as they prepare to host their annual, infamous celebrity party in Malibu in the 80s. Interspliced with their story, we also get the history of their mother and father’s story, from their beginnings to present day.

The four siblings really drew me in with their nuanced, fully-fleshed personalities, and also the intense bond between them, forged through a difficult childhood with the abandonment from their famous a-hole father, and their loving but despondent and alcoholic mother. The writing is beautiful, and the story feels so real, you get the urge to google if Mick Reva is a real person, just in case.

However, on the whole, I found this story, for the most part, rather depressing. Both in the family’s story and the nostalgic description of Malibu’s changes. There were a few things that I didn’t quite buy, and honestly I did think about DNF’ing around the 60% mark, just because I don’t tend to go for heavy books that leave you down.

Still, the pay off and catharsis at the end was almost worth it,  I did enjoy the over the top shenanigans of the Reva children’s party, and they do get a relatively happy ending, even though, after several weeks distance, I still think of it as a heavy read.

Recommended if you’re in the mood for a middling to heavy read somewhere in between the spectrums of drama and literary. Some of you will definitely love it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐½ 

And… also kind of makes you want to get out and go surfing.

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – Bared Magic


What a charming story! Wynne lives in magical world full of were-beasts and other interesting magics, but as a siphon, she finds herself often on the run from those who would misuse her own gifts. And they manage to chase her right into the cottage of three were-bears.

This is a fast-paced, light story that takes place in a intriguing and yet cozy magical world. I really enjoyed all the characters, there’s quite a bit of fun action to keep them going, and I thought the audiobook narration was fantastic. The romance does happen rather quickly, but I really liked watching the connection grow from both POVs, and overall I just thought it was unique, clever adaption of Goldilocks that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thanks to the publisher for the free audible promocode!

⭐⭐⭐⭐½ 

Thumbs up for a fun, fast-paced fairytale retelling!

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – People We Meet on Vacation


So after I read Beach Read by Emily Henry, I’ll admit, I jumped into this with some high expectations. After all, my husband and I go on a big traveling trip every year, this should’ve been right up my alley!

And there’s still a part of me that believes that I really should’ve liked this book… the characters were likable, I love traveling, and I like the writing style… but this one fell a little flat for me.

The premise is that Alex and Poppy are two very different (just) friends that take a summer trip every year for the last 10+ years. Half of the book is Poppy talking about those trips in flashbacks, and how basically for the last 10 years she’s been trying to convince herself she’s not into Alex. The other half of the book goes through their current trip, after they’ve gone two years without talking to each other, and it feels… super awkward.

And I can handle friends-to-lovers if it’s over a gradual (and relatively short) timescale, or if there’s something obviously in their way that needs to be fixed or lots of other if’s! But none of those things applied here, and in general, I felt like the concept of time was just way off in a lot of ways. Also their interactions felt strange to me- like in that uncanny valley between platonic love and not, and on top of that, if their vacations did have some kind of magic to them, I wasn’t feeling it.

But lots of people have liked this book, so maybe it was just me! If you like friends-to-lovers romance, don’t let me stop you! (But I might recommend Beach Read instead!)

⭐⭐⭐¼ 

Okay, I know I said more Emily Henry books… but now I’m having second thoughts. Time for something new!

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – Beach Read


This romance was adorable, and I could totally go for a movie adaption. Gus and January are college frenemies with chemistry that, years later, find themselves as neighbors during a particularly difficult summer.

I absolutely loved the history-with-chemistry vibe between Gus and January, and their slow-burn challenge throughout is pitch perfect. Their relationship builds naturally, and it still goes deeper than just their romance, as they both heal from the wounds that life has dealt them. Together they pick each other up, dust each other off, and remind one another of who they used to be.

Fantastically satisfying story I would recommend to anyone looking for a wonderful romance with some deeper themes of the ups and downs of life, and how much you can truly know someone. (And the audiobook was fantastic too!)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

More please!

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – Don’t Look for Me



Picked this audiobook kind of randomly since it was available at the library, so I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. Don’t Look for Me takes the reader step-by-step through Molly Clark’s abduction, and then, simultaneously lets us into the POV of Molly’s 22ish-year-old daughter, Nicole, as she searches for her two weeks after her disappearance and the case has already been deemed a walk-away.

Molly’s abduction is terrifying in its gradualness, planning behind it, and the plausible deniability up until the moment when it’s too late to get away.

Similarly, as Nicole follows the clues (and the false ones) closer to her mother, the impending dread as she gets sucked into the creepy little town, ever nearing danger, is super intense and so well done.

Along the way, Molly and Nicole reflect on what led them to this moment and the parts they played in the breaking of their family.

The climax was a little weird to me, but this dark thriller still manages to leave its characters better off than where we left them, which I always appreciate!

With believable characters, a (mostly) satisfying resolution, and a growing sense of dread that will keep you turning pages, I highly recommend this tense thriller. (And the audiobook is especially good!)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Because who doesn’t want to listen to an increasing swell of impending dread on a Sunday morning??

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – The Good Daughter


This book is Brutal. And it makes it a little tough to review.

Usually I shy away from super long books, but I was tired of having to pick out a new audiobook every few days, so I settled on the first thriller that caught my eye.

The story follows two sisters who, as children, survive a violent and horrific home invasion. In the first chapter we experience this visceral and gut-wrenching event right along with them, and it is HARD to read.

Then we fast forward three decades to where another violent school shooting shakes the survivors and the town they live in once again, unearthing unsolved mysteries from the past and present.

The Quinn family of lawyers is easy to root for, the banter between the sisters feels real, and the personalities of all the characters seem to pop off the page. Although this audiobook was 19 hours long, it felt like it passed quickly.

There are plenty of red herrings in this complicated mystery, and while some of the reveals were certainly unexpected there was at least one in there that didn’t feel quite right to me. But the real thing that I just couldn’t stomach was the brutality of the violence scenes. This book does not hold back, and it really comes off as disturbing. They actually tell the account of the original home invasion three times, and every time the details get worse.

Honestly, if I’d known there was… (*Spoilery Trigger Warning*)

…violent, onscreen child rape I would’ve passed this book by. (That’s what I get for picking it up books at random I guess.) But if extreme, realistic violence doesn’t bother you, you’ll probably enjoy this tense, complicated thriller. I really enjoyed the style of writing, and would probably pick up another book from this author (but you can bet I’ll check out the trigger warnings first!)

⭐⭐⭐¾

This is my disturbed face. I am disturbed. (You know, more than I was before reading, anyway.)

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – Blink


So my office is going through an unconscious bias training, and I remembered that Malcolm Gladwell wrote a relevant book, so I picked up the audiobook at the library.

Although I don’t read/listen to a ton of nonfiction, Malcolm Gladwell and Erik Larson are my two favorites. I love how they can make real world stuff both gripping, educational, and accessible. These are the kinds of book that can fuel intelligent conversation for weeks and… I also like that I can listen to them with my kids in the car. XD

Blink tackles of the somewhat sticky subject of unconscious bias. Through case studies, theories, and research, Gladwell illustrates the power… and dangers… of snap judgments.

I came, I listened, I learned a lot, and as with all Malcolm Gladwell audiobooks I’ve come across so far, I highly recommend.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Do I look smarter? I feel smarter. Maybe I should read more nonfiction after all. 😂

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating


Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is a dual-POV romcom-ish tale of a chaotic girl with a guarded heart and an ordered guy reeling from a crash and burn relationship. To encourage each other to get back out there, they start going on double-blind-dates with mostly disastrous results.

The plot is cute, the leads are lovable, their relationship grows naturally, and I would totally watch the movie. (Although, I did think the epilogue goes a little overboard on the happily ever after, and they do seem to take quite a lot of time to recognize their feelings.)

All that said, it was a light, quick read with a few steamy scenes, but I didn’t see a whole lot that really set this one apart. If you liked the Unhoneymooners, you’ll almost certainly find this enjoyable… just maybe not terribly memorable.

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐

A good book to curl up with on a cold winter day.

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires


Okay… here we go. This review is chock full of spoilers, because there’s really no other way to talk (read: rant good-humoredly) about this book, but I’ve marked spoiler territory below.

The first thing I will say is that if the main characters were REALLY like those from Steel Magnolias or The Fried Green Tomatoes… this book would’ve ended a lot sooner. Also, I have not experienced this level of frustration in a book in a long time, but I did give myself a week or two to cool off. With that said, let’s rant!

So I picked up this audiobook from the library after my coworker recommended it. The Steel Magnolias meets Dracula piqued my interest, so I was definitely curious to dive in.

And it starts off so well. This book takes place in the late 80s/early 90s in South Carolina. Patricia is a housewife that meets with her other colorful housewife friends every week for their true crime book club. But…

*SPOILER AHEAD*
.
.
.

…After Patricia’s earlobe is bitten off by her elderly neighbor, her MIL is eaten by rats, the earlobe eater’s nephew’s van is linked to missing kids, and then she SEES this vampire feeding on a girl (with weird sexual undertones, not to mention the “insectoid appendage” in his mouth) – Patricia is naturally, a bit concerned.

So she tries to rally her book club to get rid of the child-molesting vampire, but the husbands step in, trying to convince them their minds have been rattled by all their true crime books. The wives are like, well I guess we have to obey our chauvinistic, manipulative (and in one case, wife-beating) husbands because they’ve gone into business with the child-molester.

AND THEN WE FAST-FORWARD TO THREE YEARS LATER.

Like… what?!??!

Okay. I can understand that maybe happening in the 1950s, but in 1990?! Come on. And maybe like one or two awful husbands & submissive housewives I can see, but all of them!? After Patricia’s earlobe was bitten off, the MIL was eaten by rats, and Patricia SAW the INSECT APPENDAGE?! She’s still going to let him into her house with her CHILDREN?!?!?!

Um no. The Steel Magnolia ladies would’ve pulled their guns out from under their mattresses and killed that guy right there.

But anyways, I digress. I figured I would stick in there, because surely the husbands get their just deserts in the end…

Double spoiler alert.
They don’t.
.
.
.
*END SPOILERS*

Which is all to say, the book was ridiculous horror fun up until the midpoint. Then it took a dive into some 1950 twilight zone of WTF that was SO incredibly frustrating, and it did not redeem itself. Honestly, I’m getting angry again just writing this review.

I need to tack on trigger warnings for gore and rape, but I’d still give it 2.5 stars for the premise, the flowing, descriptive style of prose, and a well-narrated audiobook. That said, I can’t say I would recommend to anyone, unless you want to go rant to your coworker… and your extended family over thanksgiving… and then the internet.

⭐⭐½

Let’s review the notes… shall we. 😂

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Review – Where the Crawdads Sing


I have a coworker that shares my love of library audiobooks that recommended this one to me. And although this isn’t my usual pick, I decided to give it a go.

Where the Crawdads Sing follows Kya Clark, “the Marsh Girl,” as she grows up mostly on her own in the backwoods marshes of North Carolina. The story follows her from age 6 to her 20s while alternating with the investigation into the death of popular townie during Kya’s adulthood.

Strangely, I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book. It was beautifully written, but slow, and I didn’t really fall in love with Kya in any way (although this might partially be because I found the narrator’s voice/accent for her to be a bit grating.) While I was rooting for her, I found it difficult to connect with her, and although I found the mystery of the death investigation interesting, I found the ending (though heavily foreshadowed) to be rather unsatisfying, and I guess I thought the themes to be kind of predictable.

If there’s ever a movie adaptation, I’ll pass, but I’d recommend this book to those that are interesting in imagery-rich prose that takes its time.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Nearly guaranteed to make you want to go get lost in nature somewhere.

Thanks for reading!