Tag Archives: audiobook

2018.51 – All Rights Reserved

This book (for me, audiobook) was nuts. I love love love the concept!

In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.” – Book Description via Goodreads

Such an interesting idea. We already copyright quite a bit. So, what happens when that gets taken too far?

In Speth’s world, people can sue each other for the most minor infractions and offenses, all from their cuff–a device placed on their wrist to track body movement, record and charge for words, and make transactions. At age 15, all individuals must give a Last Day speech, which marks their transition into adulthood. After her friend dies by suicide, Speth is unable to make herself speak, sparking a resolve to stay silent until there is societal change.

She must learn to subtly communicate without sound or gesture, as she carefully navigates her world.

There are so many twists and turns, it was hard to put this book down (or rather, hit the pause button). Not only was it a fun dystopian YA novel, but also it makes me think quite a bit.

And, I’m so excited the sequel, Access Restricted, comes out on August 28th!!


2018.39 – Educated

I must have gotten this book onto my library holds from a “most exciting books coming in 2018” list, because I can’t remember where I heard about Educated by Tara Westover. All I know is that it popped up to check out off my holds, and here I am.


I’m not entirely sure what to say about this book, except that wow, way to go Tara! She grew up in a Mormon survivalist family, with a dad who was suspicious of the government, didn’t believe in doctors, and didn’t trust public education. The first time Tara walked into a classroom was when she was 17, and a freshman at BYU. As she grows and earns her education, she slowly starts to see her family’s different beliefs, and must reconcile them with her new worldview.

She persevered and eventually earned her PhD!

One thing that really struck me about this book is that it’s not a history, it’s the present. Tara is only a couple years older than I am, and her childhood took place parallel to my very much opposite growing up experiences.

Here’s a video interview from CNN with Tara Westover. She talks about her book and growing up, and gives a little taste of her education journey.

2018.32 – The Beauty that Remains

I listened to The Beauty that Remains, by Ashley Woodfolk, on audiobook. It’s a heartwarming and heartbreaking multi-perspective story dealing with the death of someone you love. Autumn, Shay, and Logan all experienced the trauma of losing someone close to them, and are struggling to come to terms with death and their new life. One thing I particularly liked about the audiobook is there is a different audiobook narrator for each of the 3 main characters.

Confession: I put this book on hold at the library, and completely forgot about it until I got the notification that it’s my turn. I must have seen it on Twitter and added the hold. Because, that’s what I do.

The theme of dealing with death in our own healthy and/or unhealthy way transcends any age group, not just YA. Plus, the great unifier of all three stories is music, which I can relate to. Music has a way of helping us examine our darkest places, and bringing them into the light.

Without giving anything away, I love how the story develops from 3 separate stories and begins to weave together. It’s slightly predictable, but there are some super sweet twists in there!

Even though I’m not always pro book-to-movie, I can definitely see this one turning into a movie in the next few years. The characters are dynamic and likable, even with their flaws.

This is a book I want to share with my students, knowing many have and will deal with the death of a loved one, how to find support, and how to find the strength to carry on.

2018.31 – The Upside of Unrequited

I’m just slightly obsessed with Becky Albertalli. I love love loved Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and immediately put her upcoming book Leah on the Offbeat on hold. In the meantime, I decided to check out The Upside of Unrequited. It was instant love. In fact, I just had to finish it today, so I spent the afternoon sitting on the couch listening to the audiobook while playing games on my phone, then crocheting. Totally worth it.

A couple weeks ago I remember seeing a YA author thread on Twitter talking about characters, and reusing the same minor characters in unrelated books. [This is not a spoiler, don’t worry.] I super love that I get to see a bunch of old friends in this book. I had this silly thought of, “oh cool, Abby is in Atlanta, what a coincidence that I keep seeing Atlanta pop up in books…oh wait…”

She brings the magic of adorable YA love, friendship, family dynamics, LGBT terms and homophobia (minor in this book), body image, and real honest thoughts.

And, real talk, I need to make and eat edible cookie dough. So I searched for recipes. How appropriate that I found this one from What Molly Made! I think I’ll be making and this over the weekend.

Leah doesn’t come out until April 24th. I’m 2nd on the library holds list for the audiobook, but it only shows one copy right now. Pre-released books never show more than one copy, so fingers crossed they get multiples!

I haven’t had this kind of I-must-read-ALL-your-books-please-write-more feeling since I read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, then finished up the rest of her books. And, to a slightly lesser extent, after reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, then reading all of their books!

I’m excited to recommend this book to my students! Because I know they’ll love it!

2018.28 – The Belles

I finally go to listen to The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton! I don’t often say this, but I wish I read it rather than listen to it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the audiobook narrator. I appreciate she had different voices for each character; however, her voice for Princess Sophia was whiny and a bit obnoxious. It perfectly fits the character, but it started to really annoy me and made it a bit difficult to finish.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. The middle was a bit slow, and I kept waiting for something interesting to happen. But the end. I couldn’t get enough! I am so thankful this is a series, because the end left me hanging! There were so many twists and turns at the end…

Here’s the first part of the summary on Amazon: “Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.”

The idea of Beauty is a commodity is very interesting, and highlights how much society will do just about anything to be beautiful. And, the pursuit of Beauty blinds us to the rest of reality. I loved that Camellia is a strong character, makes mistakes, and also is headstrong and stands behind what she believes in.

Can I have a pet teacup penguin? Please, and thank you.

I can’t wait for the sequel to this book!

2018.27 – Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is another fantastic read! I listened to the audiobook, and adored it

Simon vs the Homo Sapeins Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

I don’t usually want to see a book to movie, but I’m seriously considering going to see Love, Simon…in theaters. For perspective, the last movie I saw in theaters was Finding Dory. So, this has to be a big deal.

I think my favorite part of this book is the emails between Blue and Jacques. They’re just so real. And, it leaves me wondering Blue’s true identity for the entire book, I kept guessing, second guessing, worrying, and changing my mind.

And, to make it even better, Simon totally gets me. As evidenced by this exchange in the book:

“What’s a dementor?”
I mean, I can’t even. “Nora, you are no longer my sister.”
“So it’s some Harry Potter thing,” she says.

On a more serious note, this book is a wonderful account of a kid growing up, wrestling with and accepting his own identity, coming out, and navigating a budding first love. I love how it approaches the whole idea of “coming out” — I don’t have any experience with that, except how ridiculous it is that I never had to come out as straight, because that’s not a thing. Another favorite quote, “Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is, the better. Awkwardness should be a requirement.” Yes, awkwardness must be the norm! There are so many moments when it felt like I was a high school kid, sitting at their lunch table hanging out with friends.

PS. If you liked this book, you may also like Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg. And anything by David Levithan. Or Rainbow Rowell. Or Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

2018.17-21 – The Selection Series

One of my students recommended this series to me, so I had to give it a go. I got a copy of The Selection, by Kiera Cass, audiobook from the library and started it right away. I was beyond hooked right away. And, I ended up finishing the first book in less than a day.

The Selection series, by Kiera Cass

Confession: I may have found some extra cleaning to do around the house, just to keep listening!

Immediately after finishing The Selection (or maybe it was right before I finished it), I checked out The Elite and The One audiobooks. Thankfully, they were both available! I started The Elite right away, I just had to know what happened next! I may or may not have finished The Elite AND The One on the same day…then, I checked out The Heir, and The Crown (Prince Maxon’s daughter, Eadlyn, is the main character) along with the other spinoff stories. I finished both of these books yesterday and today, respectively. And, I’m planning to start the extra stories sometime soon.

To recap, I finished all 5 books in 8 days!

Most of the time, my audiobook time is just commute time. This time, I spent some of the time cleaning and putzing around the house, playing games on my phone, and doing some mindless tasks on my computer.

The story itself is fairly simple. Another dystopian society–in this one there is a caste system, and America is a lowly 5 (out of 8). She enters the selection, a lottery system to find an eligible bride for the prince. She is selected, and joins 34 other girls at the palace for a whirlwind adventure. But, secretly, she’s in love with her friend Aspen (even lower, as a 6), vastly complicating matters as she gets to know Prince Maxon and the other girls.

Honestly, the story is fairly predictable, and obstacles come at regular intervals. I could be critical of the seemingly formulaic and overdone dystopian theme, but this was exactly what I needed right now. I appreciated that this series drew me in, got my mind off of external stresses, and transported me into a magical and royal world.

2018.12 – Renegades

Do any of you audiobook fans have a favorite reader? One of mine is Rebecca Soler, who reads The Lunar Chronicles books by Marissa Meyer. (My other favorite is Jim Dale, because who doesn’t want to listen to the magic of Harry Potter with unique voices for each character?!) I was so super thrilled to hear her voice when I started Renegades, also by Marissa Meyer.

Renegades, by Marissa Meyer

Great audiobook readers make the experience even better!

If you enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles, then you’ll love Renegades! In a land of prodigies, humans with special abilities, the Renegades are the governing body, bringing peace, justice, and order after a period of chaos. Though her allegiance lies with the villains, Nova joins the Renegades in an effort to seek revenge and overthrow them. This story is filled with heroism, the contrast between two sides who think they stand for justice, and maybe even the buddings of some love?

It’s even more fun because it’s half narrated by Nova, and half narrated by Adrian, a Renegade (and yes, there were two readers on this audiobook too). I’m honestly getting a little tired of YA books with multiple narrators, however this one made perfect sense. It’s fun how their narrations contrast and dance around each other. If only they knew what the other was hiding.

The ending completely left me hanging, in true Marissa Meyer fashion! I know from reading her books that nothing is ever predictable, and this definitely holds true here.

The only thing I don’t like about this book is that I have to wait another 8 months before book 2 is scheduled to be released! I just need to know what happens next, and there is so much that still needs to be resolved.

For anyone who liked Cinder and the rest of The Lunar Chronicles, definitely check out this book! And, if you haven’t read Heartless, get your hands on that one too!

We Are The Ants, by Shaun David Hutchinson

2018.8 — We Are The Ants

I finally finished my first audiobook in 2018: We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson!

We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

Before I dive into the book, let’s first discuss the how and why of audiobooks. I refuse to pay for an Audible subscription because I think it’s a waste of money. (Y’all can choose how you want to spend your money, no disrespect here.) The library has audiobooks for free! No, I’m not talking about going into the physical library and getting a zillion CDs. I use OverDrive and log into my library account, then download the audiobook to my phone. Same way I check out ebooks to my Kindle.

Free audiobooks. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I usually listen to audiobooks when driving home from work, occasionally at the gym, and while doing mundane chores like cleaning. I usually prefer YA lit or nonfiction–if I have to merge and tune out for 10 seconds, I typically don’t lose the storyline (thank goodness for the 15 second rewind button).

Thanks for your honesty and transparency, Shaun!

I thoroughly enjoyed We Are The Ants! I stumbled upon it in another Twitter thread (anyone noticing a pattern?!), as a few authors were talking about not feeling Impostor Syndrome with their work. I totally get it, I feel it as a teacher and leader all the time. If you’ve read this post to this point, well, thanks, because I feel like my blogs waste people’s time too.

All this is a great segue into We Are The Ants. Henry lost his boyfriend to suicide, and blames himself. He struggles with bullies, end-of-the-world thoughts, and coming to terms with the past in order to move forward in life. He’s occasionally abducted by aliens, Sluggers, and told he must decide if he’s going to push a button to save the world–he has until January 29, 2016 to decide.

The whole book is Henry’s journey grappling with life, the future, and deciding whether life is worth living. It’s hard to find our place in the world, and Hutchinson illustrates this beautifully, not only for LGBT teens, but all teens wrestling with home and/or school situations.

Nothing feels forced in this book. Henry is authentically who he is, and he is instantly likeable for his quirks and honest struggles. This opens the doors for many authentic conversations on topics such as suicide, bullying, friendship, forgiveness, and family.

So, if you could press a button to save the world from destruction, would you?