My Favourite Contemporary Audiobooks

Over the past year I’ve really got into audiobooks. They are a great way to get through your TBR list and a really nice way to pass time. I never thought I would like them, and didn’t know where to start when I eventually got into them, so I thought I would share some of my favourites.

I started off only listening to contemporaries because I needed a way to get through my contemporary TBR list, which I just wasn’t doing because I had so many fantasy books that I wanted to read more. Since then though, I am listening to a lot more fantasy audiobooks as well. So to start here’s my list of contemporary audiobooks, and later I will  a post about my favourite fantasy audiobooks.tatbilb1

An audiobook gives such a different feel to the book than reading the physical copy, and this can either make or break a book. There have been audiobooks that I just didn’t like, sometimes because it was in audio format but also sometimes because I didn’t like the book. So I’m going to do a review of each book separate to the audiobook review, and then you can decide if you want to get the audiobook or the physical copy. I listened to these through audible which has been a great resource, but if your lucky you can sometimes find audiobooks on YouTube for free.

  1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

before i fallThe book itself: Many of you have probably heard about this book or even seen the movie. It is about a girl who lives the same day over and over again and with each repetition she gets increasingly more frustrated or learns how to improve it. Perfect for fans of If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This was my first audiobook, and it wbefore i fallas such a good place to start! I even got a little bit teary at one point.

The audiobook: Performed by Sarah Drew. Her voice is a little annoying at first but once you get used to it, it really suits the character. She also does slight changes in voice for each of the character which I think really suits them. Lindsay is my personal favourite.

 

 

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

The book itself: This hard-hitting story is about a girl called Hannah Baker who commits suicide and then sends out tapes to thirteen people because they are the reasons why she did it. This is now a Netflix show, but if you haven’t already watched it, I would recommend reading the book first, or listening to it! I actually wanted to read it before the series came out.

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The audiobook: Joel Johnstone narrates Clay’s voice and inner thoughts and Debra Wiseman narrates Hannah’s tapes. This change in voices to match the character really makes the audiobook stand out. Actually, listening to Hannah telling her story really makes you feel like you have received the tapes on your front door. I think this made the experience of the book come alive more than just reading it off the page. It made me feel for Clay more, because when he hears Hannah’s voice for the first time since she committed suicide, you are also hearing her voice. This audiobook is only 6 hours and 24 minutes long which makes it a quick, if slightly morbid, listen. Perfect for a long car ride.

I must mention in this audiobook though, that there was a particular scene that was hard to listen to (if you’ve seen the Netflix show you may know which bit I’m referring to, even though its slightly different in the book) and so I would not recommend this audiobook if you know you don’t like scenes of a darker nature.

 

  1. To All the Boys I’ve loved before trilogy by Jenny Han

to all the boys i loved beforeThe books themselves: I’ve included the whole trilogy in this one because I listened to them back to back and don’t really know where one book ended and the other began. It follows Lara Jean Song and her two sisters. In the first book, Lara Jean’s secret love letters are released to who they are written to. They were never meant to be sent, and now she has to navigate school knowing that 5 boys have received a love letter from her. The trilogy is heart-warming, funny and even a little emotional at times. It’s a perfect light contemporary to get you out of a reading slump. Or as something slightly cheerier to listen to after Thirteen Reasons Why. I also found out that it will be made into a movie which I’m so excited about because this is one of my favourite trilogies! Honestly, if they ruin this series for me I will be so upset!

The audiobook: All I can say is that the narrator Laura Knight Keating makes a perfect Lara Jean. She uses emotion in her voice so well, you can hear her smiling wtatbilb3hen Lara Jean is happy. She also does a great voice for Kitty, Lara Jeans younger sister. I believe that this audiobook would also be perfect for any Fans of the series who want a re-read. I found that it is an audiobook that you didn’t have to listen too hard to or concentrate too much unlike some audiobooks (I find some high fantasy books have to be very closely listened to when they are world building and you end up having to reverse it all the time when you missed something.) I found it was a great listen when cleaning or even baking Lara Jean’s perfect chocolate chip cookies!

 

  1. The Paper Princess trilogy by Erin Watt

The books themselves: I loved this series and was so addicted to it, I would try to squeeze a bit of listening in every day. At times, I even chose listening to my audiobook over paper princessreading a physical book which is very odd for me! Again, I listened to this series while travelling and it happily got me though some long coach, train, plane, and boat journey’s. If I’m honest, not much actually happens in these books, but you don’t really realise that when listening to them because it is still fast paced and there’s an odd amount of tension considering not much is happening, but this makes for an addictive read. Then in the last 100 pages (or what I assume was the last 100 pages, because it’s the last hour of the audio) it hits you with an intense cliff hanger which leaves you craving the next one immediately. I already had the next one downloaded, so I don’t really know when one book finished and the next one began. It follows Ella Harper as she finds herself thrust in the care of Callum Royal, and she ends up having to live with his family of 5 very good-looking sons. She learns to live the life of the rich, with a prestigious new school and bitchy students. Obviously, lots of drama and romance ensues.paper princess photo

These books do contain adult content, so they are not for everyone. Listening to steamy scenes whilst in public is literally the most awkward thing ever! Actually, I find listening to it at all a little weird. It’s very different from reading it, because it’s almost like you can’t get away from it and the narrator is putting a lot more emotion into it than you would when reading it.

The audiobook: Angela Goethals did an amazing job on this. It’s exactly how I would imagine Ella Harper to sound and I really liked her different voices for different characters. She put just the right amount of emotion into scenes, so that it was realistic but not over acted.

In the second book, Reed’s voice gets introduced which I loved because it just added another dimension to the story, and he sounded just as hot as I imagined.

 

That’s it for my favourite contemporary audiobooks! Have you read these? Do you love or hate audiobooks? Tell me your favourites, I’m always looking or recommendations!

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Everless by Sarah Holland

Overall 5 stars

Get ready for me to gush about this book!

It was my first read of 2018 (even though I started it in 2017 but shhhhh). What a good reading start to the year with 5 stars!

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(Look how gorgeous the cover is!)

(And sorry for the slightly Christmas themed photos)

I was ill one day and literally devoured the whole book. It’s the first time I’ve actually done that, which means it’s already a winner. The beginning was fast paced and actually sucked me in straight away, which isn’t something I’m used to. Even some of my favourite books have slow, slightly dull beginnings, especially as you’re getting to know the characters and world, but this book had no such problem (for me at least).

‘At the sight of his sharp features – so long an object of my nightmares – anger rises in me, quick as the flames from the kitchen hearth’

The premise of the book, that time is money, reminded me of that movie In Time (it’s such a good movie, go watch it if you haven’t) which I really like, so I was pretty excited to read a book about a similar concept. The book is actually nothing like the movie, and the storyline is very different.

‘…winding towards Duade’s door with its burnt-in hourglass symbol. Behind it will be the flash of the blade the powder that turns blood and time into iron.’

In Everless, time is held in your blood, and then to make it into coins you have to be bled. This makes for some rather chilling scenes of people queuing up to be bled so they can pay rent. In fact, there were some beautifully written scenes which I found creepy, like the one in Briarsmoor but I’ll say no more about that.

There’s romance obviously but it’s not the main selling point of the story at all. There are some great female friendships that we see formed which is always wonderful to read about, although I do wish more was made of Jules friendship with her old friend Amma and I’m hoping more will come of that in the next book.

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Jules is a likable main character. She’s not too annoying or whiny which is my pet hate for female protagonists, and she’s strong when faced with problems. This starts early on when she goes to Everless to help her father pay the rent. It’s hard to really say anything about this book without giving away spoilers, just because everything that happens is exciting and not what you’d expect. So, I can’t really say anything more about it, apart from you should go and read it!

I do, however, have to say something about THAT ENDING! I need the next book immediately! It was so unexpected and amazing!

Tower of Dawn

Overall 4/5 stars

 

I will start of by saying that Chaol was not my favourite character. I didn’t dislike him, but that said, I didn’t really like him either. So, when I heard that there was going to be a book written from his point of view I was not particularly excited. As it is written by Sarah J Maas I knew I would enjoy it, but even so I kept putting it off. It just sat on my shelf looking very long and so it kept getting further and further down my TBR pile. But I finally picked it up and I’m glad I did! It’s safe to say that after reading Tower of Dawn I like Chaol a lot more than before.

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Tower of Dawn revealed a lot of key parts of the Throne of Glass story (one of them genuinely had me in shock! SJM you genius!) which I’m sure will be vital in the next book.

The best part of this book had to be Yrene Towers (Tower of Dawn – get it?). She was another beautifully strong woman for this series, but she’s a different type of strong from Aelin and other female characters from the series. She’s a healer (one you may remember from The Assassin’s Blade?) who is compassionate, strong willed and doesn’t take shit from anyone. Even Princesses (cough Hasar cough).

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It may just be me, but I found it refreshing to have no fae in this book. I love fae and could read about them all day, but it was nice to read about vulnerable, flawed humans because let’s be honest, they are a lot more relatable. I thought Chaol’s disability was well represented, and I think his mental and emotional distress, at being in a chair, but also from the events of the last books was well crafted. It showed his vulnerable side and was probably what made me like him more, rather than the emotionless man I remembered from the other books.

I did  find a couple of problems with this book, which is why I didn’t give it 5 stars. One of them being I just don’t care about Nesryn. I found I didn’t really know or remember much about her from Queen of Shadows, and so I just found myself not caring about her or her life at all (I know, sounds harsh right?). Which was not great for scenes from her point of view. Her scenes in the beginning of the book are so dull, and I really struggled to read them. I wanted to skip past her scenes and get back to Yrene and Chaol a lot of the time. It’s annoying because I wanted to like her.

Another thing I really didn’t care about: Nesryn and Chaol’s romance. What romance? This is possibly completely my fault because I left it so long between reading Queen of Shadows and Tower of Dawn, and so I didn’t really remember anything about this, and I’m sure if I had read them closer together I may have found certain scenes in TOD more emotional, but I didn’t.

However, Nesryn’s scenes towards the end of the book became a lot more action packed and gripping. Plus, she uses a bow and arrow which is my all-time favourite weapon. I still don’t fully care about her like I do Lysandra (I mean she’s just awesome) or Elide (must protect at all costs) and now Yrene but I will be emotional if she dies. Or gets hurts in any way. Ok so maybe I do care about her, and knowing me, when the next book comes out I will probably be raving about how Nesryn is my favourite character.

My other problem was the length of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I love long books! More time with the characters? Yes please! But I felt like this one was unnecessarily long. I’m pretty sure the story could have been told just as well with 200 less pages. I feel as though there could have been less of Chaol getting angry at Yrene, or Yrene getting angry at Chaol, or them getting angry at each other. In fact, they spent an awful amount of this book being angry at each other.

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So that’s enough of the bad. Back to the good bits! New romances! I won’t spoil it, but I loved the romance in this book. They were more subtle than other Sarah J Maas books but still believable and undeniably cute.

SJM has also created the Southern Continent beautifully. It’s culturally very different from the Northern continent which could have been badly done, but I really like the new addition to this world. I found the beginning slow as there is world building and new characters and me being forgetful and not knowing what happened in Queen of Shadows, but once I got the hang of it, I loved the new characters and felt like I had always known about the Southern Continent.

Overall, I enjoyed this read and would recommend it, especially if you want to continue the TOG series as it contains vital information.

What did you think of this book?

 

About me

Hello and welcome to my blog!

First of all, thank you for coming to visit and reading what I have to say.

My name is Jess and I’m an book lover from the UK. I intend to use this blog to post book reviews and other bookish related things. Once I’ve got it up and running I am also going add a subsection for travelling.

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That’s me.

So books and travelling! Sound good? They are my two passions. So yes, sitting by the pool somewhere exotic reading a good book is pretty much heaven to me (I mean don’t get me wrong there’s nothing better than being curled up in bed reading – in fact, my bed is my favourite place to read).

So if you happen to share either of my passions, then please stick around and don’t hesitate to contact me! I’d love to talk to you.

The best place to find me is my bookstagram at @storieschange. Don’t know what bookstagram means? Well let me open your eyes to a whole new world. Go to instagram, type in #bookstgram and voila! Books, books, books! This is an amazing place for book lovers and you are guaranteed to find me gushing about it on here.

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