Favorite Audiobooks

For the last few years, I’ve listened to quite a few audiobooks. They’re perfect to listen to before falling asleep or while doing things around the house.

(I’d definitely recommend looking into checking out digital copies from your local library–that’s how I listened to all of the books on this list!)

Here are some of my favorite audiobooks!

ast5-square-4001. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Narrated by Jim Dale — Jim Dale has a deep, pleasant voice that he uses to create distinct voices for each character. He’s amazing at setting the mood for this magical story, in which the physical setting of a mysterious circus takes on a life of its own. AND he has an English accent! Nothing against American accents (because I, of course, have one), but I’ve (generally) found English voice actors much more pleasant to listen to for long periods of time.

b9hf-square-1536.jpg2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, Narrated by Dan Stevens — Okay, so Dan Stevens is the actor who plays Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey. Firstly, he’s very attractive so it’s kind of fun knowing that he’s reading the book to you. Secondly, he’s so fantastic at his different voices for all the characters that you sometimes forget it’s even him. Thirdly, his accent in general is fantastic. And, come on, Agatha Christie is the queen of mystery, and this is one of her very best. A group of strangers all meet on an island and they mysteriously die one by one. Add all that together and you get hours of edge-of-your-seat entertainment.

b9hi-square-1536.jpg3. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, Narrated by Dan Stevens — Well, obviously, after listening to And Then There Were None, I just had to listen to another one of Christie’s best novels narrated again by the good ol’ Dan Stevens. A train full of people becomes stranded in the snow as a passenger’s death occurs. The French detective Hercule Poirot is then put on the case to find out who on the train was responsible. Dan Stevens somehow manages a fantastic French accent for Poirot, along with a unique voice for every other character. The whole thing is great and I have a lot of feelings about the brilliant narration.

pride-and-prejudice-audiobook-carolyn-seymour4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Narrated by Carolyn Seymour — Finally a female voice on my list! (Still British, though…) Listening to this recording was how I first experienced this beloved classic. It was my first Jane Austen novel, and it prompted me to take a fantastic Austen Lit/Film college course. No matter what form you choose, Pride and Prejudice is a must-read classic, especially for the back-and-forth between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. If you have an aversion to classics in general, maybe try listening instead! If done well, a recording can make it a more lively experience.

atjc-square-1536.jpg5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Narrated by Rebecca Lowman & Sunil Malhotra — It’s a whole other kind of awesome listening experience when an audiobook has dual narration! The recording uses a female narrator for Eleanor’s chapters and a male narrator for Park’s. This was the perfect way to absorb the loveliness of this Young Adult Contemporary that quickly earned a spot among my favorites. It’s a story, set in the ’80s, about teenagers Eleanor and Park as they navigate their own lives and find comfort in each other. A sweet, heartfelt, but deals-with-real-issues contemporary.

imgres.jpg6. Crooked House by Agatha Christie, Narrated by Hugh Fraser — Can you tell I love Agatha Christie? Here’s another by an English narrator who has narrated quite a few other Christie novels. Excellent, soothing voice. This story revolves around the sudden death of a wealthy elderly man, and suspicions rest on all those who reside in the mansion. Another twisted, unexpected tale with brilliant narration.


Those are just a few of my favorite audiobooks! I plan to make more lists once I’ve accumulated more favorites.

What are your thoughts on audiobooks? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

xx bits of prose and whimsy

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Favorite Reads of 2015!

2015 was a very successful year of reading for me! My grand total was 51 books!

Here are my top 10 favorite books of 2015:

184603921. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven — A book about mental illness and love and so many other things. It absolutely destroyed me. It was a full-out sobbing kind of situation. If you’re up for a book that will tear your heart to pieces, but is ultimately worth the hurt, this may be the book for you.

213638125Vicious by V.E. Schwab — Two ordinary college students who decide to risk everything to prove a theory on how to acquire superpowers? Yes, please! Morally grey characters, compelling story, fantastic writing. I see more Victoria Schwab in my future!

Funny_Story_front3. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini — Loved this one. If you read my book review from earlier 2015, you’ll know how I feel about it. Wonderful and relatable book about mental illness.

98751074. Crooked House by Agatha Christie — I listened to this on audiobook and absolutely loved it, and I actually preferred it to And Then There Were None. (Both excellent books, though.) Haunting and fascinating. Had me hooked and guessing until the very end.

228083395. Locke & Key graphic novel series by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez (Illustrations) — It’s maybe sort of cheating to put a series in here, but the whole thing is brilliant! And this is coming from a girl who isn’t typically a fan of the horror genre, by the way. Great artwork and a thought-provoking, mysterious, and complex story. It had me on the edge of my seat.

Print6. Soulless by Gail Carriger — I also wrote a brief review of this book early in the year. This was such a fun read that was recommended to me by a friend as one of her all-time favorite books. I still haven’t read the rest of the series because series are evidently my kryptonite, but I plan to read the rest in the future. Very fun characters and world.

175715647. Hyperbole and a Half  by Allie Brosh — So incredibly relatable. It covers topics ranging from depression to adulthood to funny childhood experiences. The quirky drawings only add to the hilarity.

132284368. Batgirl, Vol 1: The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone — As one of quite a few comic books I read this year, this one really stood out to me. It’s where my love for Batgirl/Barbara Gordon began. A great beginning to the series. As was probably assumed, I have yet to continue on with the rest, but I will soon!

3172829. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin — I’ve consistently thought about this book since I read it months ago. A very memorable YA contemporary about a girl trying to piece her life back together.

1282036010. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson — I was really in the mood for an Austen-esque story when I picked this up, and it totally fit the bill! Sweet love story with lovely characters.

 


Now, let’s see how I did on following my 2015 reading goals…

  1. Read 50 books-51/50 😀
  2. Read 8 classics-Almost! I read 7 🙂 — And Then There Were None, Crooked House, The Witness of the Prosecution and Other Stories, The Man in the Mist, & Jane in Search of a Job–all by Agatha Christie; We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, The Shining by Stephen King
  3. Reread the Harry Potter series-Completely failed 😦
  4. Finish 5 series-Only 2 😦 — Eon duology by Alison Goodman and the Locke & Key series by Joe Hill
  5. Listen to 4 audiobooks-7/4 😀 — The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, all of the Agatha Christie stories, and The Shining by Stephen King

The Ultimate Book Tag

I found this tag through booksoverpeople and it looked like a lot of fun! I’ve watched a ton of booktubers do tags like this, but I’ve never done one myself. So, here’s my first book tag!


1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Usually, yes. Especially in the passenger seat. I can read for a bit but have to stop pretty quickly. It’s kind of a bummer during long road trips when I have time to get some reading done.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

Neil Gaiman. Hands down. I don’t even understand how he writes the way he does. There’s so much mystery and magic in his words. Please go read some Gaiman if you haven’t. Neverwhere was my first of his and I highly recommend it.

3. Harry Potter series or Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.

I’ve never understood why this comparison became a thing. I guess it’s because of the movie franchises? Obviously Harry Potter. Come on.

1. The world-building. The fantastically rich world that J.K. Rowling came up with? Spectacular. The world-building in Twilight is noticeably superficial.

2. The characters. Essentially all of Rowling’s characters are memorable. I would pretty much read anything she could ever write about any of her side characters. I can’t even pick my favorites. (Well, Lupin is definitely up there.) Twilight, on the other hand, has very one-dimensional characters with little personality. Besides Bella’s dad, most of them are pretty boring.

3. My childhood. Like so many others, I literally grew up reading Harry Potter. I can’t imagine another series ever replacing it as my favorite.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books…)?

Well, now that I’m not in school anymore, I don’t carry a book bag. But, when I did, I would often have my laptop, notebooks, pens, kindle…Pretty standard.

5. Do you smell your books?

Not usually, but I do love the smell of old books.

6. Books with or without little illustrations?

I’m fond of both, but some stories lend themselves well to illustrations. They can add something special if done well.

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

Twilight. In either 8th grade or my freshman year of high school, I started reading the Twilight series and thoroughly enjoyed the first two books. I enjoyed them for what they were, but I would definitely feel differently about them if I reread them in my 20s.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!

Hmm not really…But I was really obsessed with keeping my books nice, so any scratches or bent pages would really stress me out. I still like to keep my books looking good, but I don’t drive myself crazy over it.

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

I don’t know for sure, but The Perks of Being a Wallflower is definitely one of the thinnest.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

One of the Harry Potter books, most likely. Maybe Order of the Phoenix?

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future being an author?

I do write! I took a creative writing class my last semester of college, and it definitely helped me with consistently writing and gaining confidence in my work. I would absolutely love to be a published YA author. It’s one of those far-fetched dreams that I hope I can one day achieve.

12. When did you get into reading?

I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember. During my teen years, however, I didn’t read much for pleasure, as I was overwhelmed with all the required reading for school. I’m so happy that I’ve made reading a priority during the last few years.

13. What is your favorite classic book?

The Great Gatsby or any of Jane Austen’s novels. I’m also fond of Great Expectations and To Kill a Mockingbird. I plan to read more classics this year!

14. In school was your best subject Language Arts/English?

Yes, it was through most of school. Ironically, I didn’t take many English classes in college.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated…what would you do?

I would act like I was excited and hadn’t read it before so the person who gave it to me wouldn’t feel bad. I’d eventually donate it.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?

I honestly can’t think of one…

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while blogging?

I don’t think I’ve been at this long enough to have already acquired a bad habit. 😛

18. What is your favorite word?

I have many words I love, such as silhouette and conundrum.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?

Mostly a nerd, and perhaps a dork as well. 🙂

20. Vampires or fairies? Why?

I’m not sure, since I haven’t actually read any books about fairies. Vampire books can be really terrible, but some are enjoyable.

21. Shapeshifters or angels? Why?

Probably shapeshifters. The idea of shapeshifting is so cool to me. Maybe due to my fascination with animagi?

22. Spirits or werewolves? Why?

I’m not sure whether I simply don’t like books involving spirits. At the very least, I’ve had terrible luck with them. Werewolves can be awesome. Remus Lupin, anyone?

22. Zombies or vampires? Why?

I haven’t read any books about zombies. These questions have shown me that I definitely need to expand my horizons in the fantasy/paranormal genre!

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

Probably love triangle. Maybe. Right? If they’re done well. For example, the love triangle in the Throne of Glass series is great. ( But I’ve only read the first two books.) They can also be super obnoxious.

25. AND FINALLY: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in? 

I’m typically not a fan of full on romance books. They can be a bit nauseating. So I’m gonna go with the latter.


Why is it so fun to answer random book-themed questions? Beats me.

Let me know if you agree or disagree with any of my preferences or have any suggestions for fantasy/paranormal books to read! That would be rad.

Favorite Reads of 2014

Well, my first post might as well be about books, right? 2014 was a wonderful year for reading–I actually read 48 books! Not too shabby for having still been in school. My New Year’s resolution two years ago was to read more, and I’ve stuck with it. I seriously can’t get enough, and I actually feel guilty when I’m not actively reading something. BookTube is probably (partially) to blame for that. That’s the bookish community on YouTube, in case you didn’t know. I’m far too scared to make my own videos, but that doesn’t stop me from watching them all the time. Like, too much. Anyway, I’ll probably talk more about that some other time.

I’ve managed to read so many amazing books over the past year, so it’s pretty difficult to narrow them down. And it doesn’t help that I’ve literally always been terrible at picking favorites of anything. But it’s worth a shot!

*drum roll*

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

What a beautiful, heart-wrenching story. It features memorable characters that feel so real, and it’s narrated by Death. Yes, death. Exquisitely done. It’s impossible to do this novel justice with a short description. It’s a must-read. And please don’t let the subject matter (Nazi Germany) turn you off! Also, prepare to cry. A lot. But seriously, read it.

2. Persuasion by Jane Austen

Oh man, I took a film & literature course on Jane Austen in the fall and it made me fall in love with Jane Austen. I love this one. Anne Elliot is a great heroine, and there are quite a few memorable side characters. As always, Austen’s dialogue is brilliant. I think this could be a great Austen novel to begin with, since it’s quite a bit shorter than her others.

3. Solanin by Inio Asano

One of my first graphic novels and my first-ever manga! Reading it ‘backwards’ took some getting used to, but I eventually got the hang of it. Beautiful, poignant story. It really captures the confusing time of early adulthood, so I could really relate to it. It also made me cry, which I wasn’t expecting from a graphic novel. Loved it.

4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Let’s be honest, it seems that Gaiman can do no wrong. I’ve now read four books of his and have loved every one. This is an imaginative children’s/middle-grade story a la The Jungle Book, but with ghosts and other paranormal aspects. Gaiman creates this otherworldly-yet-familiar feeling in his novels that I find amazing. I don’t know how he does it. Brilliant.

5. Saving June by Hannah Harrington

This is a contemporary story about a girl dealing with her sister’s suicide. It’s realistic and beautiful and heart-wrenching. It has some great, relatable characters, and it features some talk about music, which I always appreciate in books. A well-balanced story that offers much more than I expected. Absolutely loved it.

6. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Two hunky guys, a kick-ass heroine, and magic. What more could you want? I’ve been impressed with the world-building in both Throne of Glass and this second installment, and the plot keeps me guessing. I’m itching to read Heir of Fire soon.

7. Angelfall by Susan Ee

This novel shoves you right into the craziness of a world ravaged by fallen angels. It was my first angel book, and it’s gotten me intrigued to read more. Raffe and Penryn are both spunky and memorable characters. World After is calling to me on my shelf!

8. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

This is my first New Adult read and, because of how great this was, it won’t be my last. This love story features a main character who is deaf, but it deals with so much more than that. The story was sweet and they have great chemistry. It didn’t feel like insta-love, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. I think it could be a great pick for someone else’s first New Adult read.

9. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Fun, fun, fun! It made me want to go to The Strand bookstore in NYC and/or leave a notebook somewhere for a stranger to find. Fun characters, fun plot, such a great wintry/holiday read.

10. Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Another one of my first graphic novels! What a fantastic start to a series. Beautiful art-style, exciting plot. I finally have my hands on the next two and I can’t wait to dive in!

Well, this was fun! More bits of prose and whimsy to come…