Let’s be honest – some people struggle to find time to sit and read a book. And that’s totally fine.
Life gets in the way, and some lifestyles require us to be constantly moving. In these moments, I choose…
I’m driving to work or to get groceries? *Listens to an audiobook.* I’m cleaning the house? *Listens to an audiobook.* I’m doing the laundry and washing dishes? *Listens to an audiobook.* My eyes are too tired from a day of looking at a computer screen? *Listens to an audiobook.* I’m an auditory learner? *Listens to an audiobook.*
You get the picture.
So, I am here to help you discover some of these gems I’ve listened to in 2021.
**All synopses come from Goodreads. The Goodreads page for each book is linked in the novel’s title.
Synopsis: “Lillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal and they’ve barely spoken since. Until now, when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help. Madison’s twin stepkids are moving in with her family and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there’s a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a startling but beautiful way. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it’s the truth… Over the course of one humid, demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other—and stay cool—while also staying out of the way of Madison’s buttoned-up politician husband.”
My Thoughts: This book was heartwarming (pun not intended… but I also do not regret it) to listen to. The kids are adorable and quirky, and this novel is just a tad bit weird to satiate any cravings for the strange. The audiobook narrator’s voice was clear and easy-to-listen, which made for an enjoyable reading experience. I listened to this while cleaning and found myself chuckling during the process. The kids are SO goofy!
Synopsis: “A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up… Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.”
My Thoughts: I’m not typically a fan of books about bands (I guess I find it hard to care?), BUT this audiobook made all of the difference in my experience. This novel is set up in an interview-style narrative, so the audiobook switches between male and female voices based on the members of the band that are speaking. It truly felt like I was listening to a well-made podcast or listening to a group of people telling their parts of a story. Also, hearing the emotion in their voices and being able to hear some singing made me want to care. Mission accomplished!
WARNING: Almost any type pf content warning applies to the content of this book.
Synopsis: “Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again. Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.”
My Thoughts: ADORABLE. Listen to this book now. It doesn’t matter if you are an adult; just because this book is written with a middle-grade audience in mind doesn’t make it any less meaningful. It’s a light-read to listen to (which makes it easy to listen to the audiobook if you are someone who struggles to keep your mind on track) and the audiobook narrator has a sweet voice that appropriately reflects the innocence of the main character. This is a great read that reflects the love and kindness that all humanity should strive for!
Synopsis: “Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.”
My Thoughts: This book is downright hilarious, and the audiobook is even better because it’s read by a male narrator. How perfect given the synopsis?! I am not a man, so the audiobook narrator helped me feel like I was trying to navigate the plot through the perspective of Gavin. This pick is quirky, funny, witty, and unique.
WARNING: Explicit topics and scenes – Not for young readers! (Keep little ears away!)
Synopsis: “Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: he’s merely Generic Asian Man. Every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here too. . . but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy—the highest aspiration he can imagine for a Chinatown denizen. Or is it? After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he’s ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family, and what that means for him, in today’s America.”
My Thoughts: This book navigates the serious topic of racial stereotyping in a unique format similar to a movie script. This book is short, so the audiobook is, too! I finished this one while cleaning my fridge one afternoon, and it was a thought-provoking book to listen to. While not a light read, it is an important one.
WARNING: violence, racism
Synopsis: “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.”
My Thoughts: Listening to short story collections over audio is a perfect solution for people with short attention spans! (*ahem* Guilty as charged)
This particular collection reveals the realities of Black women faced with choosing between their own desires and what the church requires of them. Although there were a few women in the stories I could not relate to, I felt like listening to the audiobook narrator’s voice brought out the raw emotions of human desire, autonomy, and connection.
WARNING: explicit sexual encounters; infidelity
Synopsis: “Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun. Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air. Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?”
My Thoughts: If you’re a fan of the show New Girl, then this is a book for you! Hazel is goofy and eccentric in everything about her; she is authentically herself, and I LOVE it! This particular audiobook reflects the changes in perspective between Hazel and Josh with two voice actors, and the way they read it reflects the pure silliness of their relationship.
WARNING: Some steam is present (*wink wink*)
Synopsis: “Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world—a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.”
My Thoughts: Emmeline is a unique character that navigates her world and every experience using scent. How cool that a scent can unlock a memory? This book is a bit heavier in themes, but a strong story. I personally enjoyed listening to this book as I cleaned my house because I kept busy during the slower moments, yet still intrigued in where the story was going.
WARNING: abuse, death, abandonment
Synopsis: “Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.”
My Thoughts: Thrillers are GREAT audiobooks! They maintain your interest and keep you coming back to listen! This is one that I listened to while driving my portion of a roadtrip, and it kept me from dozing off. The audiobook narrator for this one had the appropriate amount of mystery in her voice to suit the novel. I truly felt like I was on the cruise trying to discover what happened.
In lieu of repeating myself, let me refer to my previous review: here.