Audiobook Review – The Institute

I picked up this audiobook from the library after a coworker recommended it, citing big “Stranger Things” vibes. I have to admit, I was a bit reluctant, because I’m not a huge fan of Stephen King’s recent books (they’re a bit long and slower-paced for my personal taste), and when I saw this sucker was 15 hours long, I almost aborted.

But with a lack of any other audiobook ideas, I persevered, and honestly I can say it was a solid listen. The plot follows a *gifted* boy who’s stolen away to a cruel institute full of other gifted children, and basically has to figure out where he is, what they’re doing, and how to escape.

The writing was flawless of course, but everything else felt pretty average to me. The characters are likeable, although I didn’t fall in love with any of them. It had some tense moments, but the pacing, as usual was on the slower side, and I think it could’ve easily been about two hours shorter.

Overall, while it is HEAVY on the Stranger Things vibes, I guess I felt like the concept was a little tired, and I didn’t find my surprised by… well… anything. The narrator did a fabulous job bringing the book to life though, and there were times when he had me rapt. By the end, while I can say I enjoyed it, I don’t think it’ll really be sticking with me in any way.

Recommended to Stephen King and Stranger Things fans looking for a solid listen.


I asked my K-niece houseguest, Locke, for her thoughts… and I got this. Interpret as you will.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review – The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

So, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill feels like two books pushed into one. There’s the plot thread of found family, which is wonderfully cute and fantastic, and then there’s the romance thread… which I kind of wish would’ve just be cut out. Which is something I never thought would come out of my mouth! Cut the romance! Good lord no! 😲 But also, yes.

I really liked the clever, voicey narrative, but I think my main issue was that I found Nina a little inconsistent. Where she was extremely anxious and all-planned with the love interest, she seemed to be fine rolling with the obstacles her new, huge, dramatic family threw her way. And I think it was this inconsistency that made me not like her so her so much… or maybe feel like she just wasn’t that into the love interest? Either way, their chemistry really didn’t work for me.

There’s also another plot point that’s hard to describe without giving it away, but I honestly was a little surprised because it was something they worried about for most of the book (or more weirdly… didn’t worry about) and they ended up using the most obvious solution in the end. 😕

But I still loved listening to the witty narrative (the narrator was great in the audiobook), loved meeting her rich, drama-fest family, and there were many instances where, as a introverted bookworm, I got where Nina was coming from. I’d still recommend this to anyone just looking for a fun found-family type of book… but just probably not a romance.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½  

Told from The Bookish Life of Hayley (minus a mysterious billionaire dad.)

Thanks for reading!