Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: Artemis

Artemis (Unabridged)

Rating: 4 Stars
Date Started: 26 November 2017
Date Finished: 29 November 2017
Length: 9 hours
Genre: Science Fiction

I was dreading reading this because I read a couple of reviews by people who I generally agree with. I loved The Martian, and didn’t want to taint that by reading a book that left me less than satisfied by the same author. However, I won a signed copy from work, and then I also got a delayed notice from Netgalley that it’s been added to my shelf. Then it was calling to me on audio and I took it as a sign that I should just read the damn thing. I decided to listen to it, because Rosario Dawson was the narrator and I LOVE her.

And I’m so glad I did! Ok fine, it’s not the brilliant piece of work that The Martian was, but it was still freaking good! I’m just speculating, but maybe those reviewers who were disappointed had waaaay too high expectations…
Jaz Bashara did indeed channel an element of Mark Whatney, but she was still her own character and someone that I totally enjoyed reading about. She’s a bit crude and has a dirty sense of humor, but I totally get that because I do to… surprise surprise, women can also like potty humor!
One of the reviewers said that she was pegged as the town tramp, but I honestly didn’t get that. She came off more as someone who owns her own sexuality and doesn’t give a damn who approves and who doesn’t… the rude things that some people alluded to came off as mostly jealousy or petty rudeness. I do wonder about that condom though…
Okay fine, so there were a bunch of interesting stuff that got thrown in that didn’t end up going anywhere, but at the end of the day it wasn’t that big of a disappointment to me. And I liked the excitement of the plot that was a little weird but it was exciting and it worked! It made sense in context and I wasn’t going to overanalyze the reasons or the science or why we had to learn everything about welding… it’s a book, for crying out loud! It’s supposed to exploit every last bit of action it can, and damnit I enjoyed this to the max!
Maybe the reason I really loved it more is because of the performance of Rosario Dawson. I’m not going to pretend like I know if she did the different accents right, but in my head she was absolutely stunning. She had just the right intonations to create the right kind of atmosphere, and when she did the action or high stakes scenes, it was so compelling that it completely pulled me in. Also, I was able to more-or-less zone out the too technical bits without completely missing out on anything.
In conclusion, this isn’t another shot at The Martian, so if you’re going to read it, go in without that expectation. You’ll definitely enjoy it more. Also, listen to the audiobook if you can, it’s 100% worth it.
Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: World War Z


Rating: 4 Stars
Date Started: 10 October 2017
Date Finished: 13 October 2017
Duration: 13:57:00
Genre: Horror
Well that was a lot different than what I was expecting. Now I get why people got so upset after the movie came out! I still like the movie, but it’s best to pretend it’s from two completely different franchises…

I’m actually a little disappointed in the book. It was accused of having too much “feelings”, but I found it too impersonal. The stories I enjoyed most were the ones of the people who described their own experiences, instead of the plans of the countries etc… although those were also very informative and gave it a gloss of legitimacy. It’s actually weird how this book felt like something that had actually happened, instead of a fictionalized event.

I liked that there were so many different stories from people and governments all around the world, and I loved that South Africans came up with the plan that saved everyone. It shot the whole “isolated to America” trope down very nicely. I think it was also good how the author highlighted how some countries would deal with a situation differently than another, and also how culture came into play.

The narrators were all very good, except for the one woman. I just didn’t like her different portrayals of the women, although she did do a fairly good job of giving everyone a different voice. As did the male narrators mind you.

All-in-all a pretty good listen 🙂

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue


Rating: 5 Stars
Date Started: 30 October 2017
Date Finished: 31 October 2017
Pages: 513  |   Duration: 10:45:48
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventure, Romance, M/M

That moment when you enjoy a m/m romance about 1000 times more than you ever thought you would…

This book will definitely be going on my favorites of the year list! I listened to the audio version and I think that was the absolute best decision I could have made. The narrator was brilliant and of course I’m putty in your hands if you have a British accent. Naturally I had to find out more (stalk) him, and it turns out he’s the actor who played Tom Riddle in Harry Potter 2… also he’s gorgeous!

Other than the narrator though, I loved the writing and the flow of the book. If I had to use one word to describe it, it would be FUN! I lost count of the times I had to pause because I was giggling too much… I got a fair amount of weird looks for laughing at nothing too!

I realize that at least 60% of the things happening in this book is unrealistic and would have played out a whole different way if it had happened in real life, but I don’t think the point of this book was to be historically accurate or taken too seriously. I’d even say the whole plot was only slightly better than “meh”… I took it as a fun adventure that touched on some touchy subjects, but was mainly focused on the characters and the relationships in the book.

Talking about characters, I loved them all. Monty was a selfish and pompous ass, but OMG he was funny and witty and… vibrant. Percy was caring and sweet and you can completely understand why Monty falls in love with him, even though they’re polar opposites and besides the fact that he thinks he’s gorgeous. Felicity is a badass bitch that refuses to let society put out her flame. I mean I’m pretty sure [book:The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy|35430702] is going to be her adventure, that’s how awesome she is. She’s flawless and Monty would be completely dead without her. Honestly he really is a bit useless… but maybe just because he’s been told that so much that he started believing it? He’s fabulous though.

The other characters were also different degrees of lovable and interesting, with the pirates and Captain Scipio being my favorites… I’ve always had a fascination with pirates (even before Pirates of the Caribbean) and I really hope they feature prominently in the next book! Considering the title I think it’s a safe bet 😁


Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: Career of Evil


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Arrrrrgggghhhh! How you wanna go and end the book like that! OMG no, come on!

Ok, I’ve come down from that ending (which still pisses me off) and think I can manage a coherent review now.

There was a lot going on in this book, and we learned a lot more about Robin and Strike than the trickles of information from the previous books. Their relationship shifted slightly and we finally had acknowledgement of the sexual tension between them, although we’re still left without any relief or hope that anything will ever happen.

I enjoyed learning more about the 3 suspects that the duo investigated, although they were despicable to the last. The brief chapters we got from the killers point of view was also no fun, and it made me feel okay about the prospect of being single for the foreseeable future. I know it’s fiction, but sadly, it’s firmly grounded in fact.

The investigation was tedious, with a lot of time spent on surveillance… which I guess is a good approximation of the actual profession and highlights that being an investigator isn’t all chasing criminals and catching killers. It was also pretty obvious from at least halfway through who the killer was… although I had some weird dreams last night where I woke up convinced that it was in fact Matthew…

On the subject of Matthew… what didn’t make sense to me is that we see this picture of Robin as a strong character, but that doesn’t reflect in her relationship with Matthew. Obviously there should be more, things that we don’t see that explains the love Robin feels for this character that is so obviously written to be the cliché’d douchebag boyfriend, but instead we’re left with this picture of the last person on earth someone like Robin would like. It doesn’t make sense and it feels like a cheap trick used by the author to direct the reader a specific way.

Specifically, we seem to be pushed to root for more between Robin and Strike, which is obviously the main relationship here… but surely there are other ways to create the will they/won’t they undertone than to create this awesome female character that is supposed to be strong and smart and incredible — then you saddle her with an insufferable Ken doll as a boyfriend and a backstory to “explain” her motivations.

And that’s another thing… this book focused a lot on various sensitive subjects… mostly about some of the abuse and prejudice women are subjected to. There are some graphic scenes of violence that will most definitely trigger unhappy memories in each and every woman who reads this book. The main theme is misogyny and the power men hold over women. Even Strike can be an insufferable sexist pig.

I want to ask why Robin had to be given that particular history, but on the other hand it’s a common enough occurrence that it’s completely plausible. People will say that it’s unnecessary and a dirty trick used to make Robin a martyr, but I don’t feel that. I think Rowling gave Robin that experience to show readers who might not know how something like that can affect your life, but it doesn’t define you and you can still be a hero even if someone made you a victim too. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The guy who narrated this book (and the previous ones in the series) was amazing. He had exactly the right tone and accent for each character and brought them to vivid life in my mind. The action sequences were done so well that I almost hyperventilated, and his natural English accent was extremely drool-inducing.

So in conclusion, even though I felt like Rowling was using trickery to try and manipulate me, I still think this was the best of the series so for. And even though that ending was infuriating, it left me salivating for the next one… which doesn’t even have an expected publication date yet!

P.S. I love the casting 😀

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Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: The Orphan’s Tale


4 Stars

This book is going to break some people’s hearts… the story itself was bittersweet and so reminiscent of the time it’s set in. I wasn’t alive back then, but I’ve read enough WWII stories to get a feel for the era, and it seems to me that all the death and despair was interspersed with hope and life. People just trying to live and find happiness… yet so scared to grasp it because everything was so fragile.

Noa stole my heart. She’s the kind of quiet and unassuming character that creeps up on you and before you know it you’re invested in her happiness. Sure, she had her flaws, but she felt more real for them. And her greatness completely outshone them anyway. For all her youth, she had more courage and conviction than most anyone else. Definitely more than Astrid.

I disliked Astrid from the start as a hypocrite and a bitch, and honestly, even after everything I still think that of her. She set such high standards for others, but who the hell was she anyway to demand such things? She was judgemental of Noa from the start without bothering to try and look further, and yet she still expected complete honesty and respect from her without deserving it in the least. She wasn’t even the strong woman the author tried to make her out to be! Her whole life revolved around other people, and as soon as she was left alone she crumbled… Whereas when the same happened to Noa, her star shone brighter than ever.

And then there was Herr Neuhoff. A background character that didn’t get the attention he deserved. In fact, I’d say he’s slightly more of a hero than Noa. His courage and selflessness was disappointingly shunted to a post script. He never asked for anything while giving everything, and while people were maybe thankful, I still don’t think a big enough deal was made of him. Among all the hate and scorn of the time, it always brings me hope to know that there were really people like Herr Neuhoff, who risked it all by doing what they knew were right.

I think I’m upset at the ending of the book, so I won’t say more about that because it would probably give away the plot without me having to say anything. I will say this though, life (even in fiction) doesn’t always make sense, and people don’t always get what they deserve.

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: A Man Called Ove



I honestly can’t say enough good things about this book. It has been literally years since a book has had me laughing out loud like this one has! Even when I was crying, I was still laughing.

The only Fredrik Backman book I’ve read before was Beartown, and I thought going into this one would be a similar experience. Man was I wrong. And I’m so happy about that. Beartown was great, but I am completely enamored with Ove! Grumpy old ass that he is and all.

The characters of this book is what really snares you, and the narrator did a great job of bringing them to life. Pravana was the main source for my lol’s and she’s also my idol. Although she’s a Saint and I fear that if I was in her shoes I’d have lost my shit at Ove and probably messed up the whole plot of the book. She’s brilliant 😀

The story can come across as very light-hearted, but at its core its really pretty deep and sad. Loneliness is a killer… and before judging someone by their surface demeanor, you should really try and look a little deeper… Although that doesn’t make it okay for people to be assholes… I’m looking at you Ove!

P.S. I was pronouncing the name wrong the whole time. According to the narrator, it’s pronounced Oo-vuh… You learn something new every day!

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: Born a Crime


As a South African myself, this book hits very close to home. Although I grew up poor as well, I’m a white person, and I’ve always had that privilege. It was fascinating and horrifying listening to how it was on the other side of the tracks, so to speak.

Through it all, Trevor’s optimism and strength of character shines through. I’ve always liked him, but now I have even more respect for him. His love for his mother is so clear a blind person could see it, and I found myself loving her as well. I’m so happy she survived all that happened. She’s such an inspiration and as a mother I think she did such a wonderful job of rising above circumstances… I just wish that she didn’t feel like there was no escaping from an abusive relationship that no doubt had an effect on her children…

Trevor did am amazing job with writing this book and his audio narration was such a pleasure to listen to. I’ve known about him for ages and just assumed that he had always been a comedian, so it was a shock to realize that’s not the case at all and to hear about his beginnings and his struggle was such an eye opener. I wish there was more though. I’d have loved to hear more about how his actual comedy career got started, as that part was skipped over entirely… I’m sure it didn’t go straight from being a DJ to the famous CellC ads.

Of course the crime in South Africa played a fairly big part in this memoir. It is a big deal to us after all, and there’s been a lot of outside focus on it over the years, with a lot of the blame game being played across the board. Other than a few house break-ins (while we were out thankfully) I’ve mostly been lucky and haven’t really had to deal with some of the things I’ve heard from family and friends. Funny enough, I got mugged for the first time in my life while listening to the chapter about crime and jail! Just a strange coincidence, but I’ll definitely never forget which book I was listening to the first time I had a really scary experience!

Rating: 5 Stars
Date Started: 11 January 2017
Date Finished: 14 January 2017
Pages: 304 (8:50:00)
Genre: Memoir

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Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls


Rating: 2 Stars
Date Started: 24 May 2017
Date Finished: 10 June 2017
Pages: 257
Genre: Memoir

I honestly don’t know why this book came so highly recommended? David Sedaris is an insufferable pain in the ass that complains about everything and tries to be funny about it like that will make it better.

I don’t know if any of this is serious or if it’s all just an attempt at dark humor, but it’s difficult to sympathize with someone about how horrible their lives are when it’s very clearly not. Yeah sure he’s gay and there have been obstacles in the way of his happiness, but that isn’t discussed at all. Instead he decided to rant and rave about how difficult it is to get a passport to stay in England and about his journals.

I really couldn’t give less of a shit about anything that was discussed in this book and the music between chapters was so irritating I ripped my headphones out multiple times. I usually love when books can evoke some emotion in me, but when that emotion is irritation and borderline rage, I’m thinking that’s not a good thing.

The only redeeming quality were the last couple of chapters where he stopped going on and on about his own life and added some satirical chapters with actual stories. They mostly focused on how stupid conservatives sound when they oppose everything, and although we were back to making fun of other people again, at least these stories had an element of actual humor to it. There was even a poem about dogs thrown in.

Maybe you have to be American to appreciate this, but I just wanted it to be over.

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: Life of Pi


Rating: 5 Stars
Date Started: 3 May 2017
Date Finished: 15 May 2017
Pages: 460
Genre: Fantasy

Absolutely brilliant! The narrator did an amazing job here, and it just reaffirmed my love for audiobooks! The writing was so descriptive and immersive, and the narrator had the perfect tone and speed at all times! This was one of the times I watched the movie before reading the book, and I always loved the movie, but now I can really understand more about what the directors were trying to convey.

At first, I was a bit confused as the first part of the book deals a lot more with his childhood than the movie showed. It was very interesting though, and it definitely did add an extra layer and texture to Pi and his family.

Pi grew up in a zoo, and so I now know a lot more about zoo’s and the animals that inhabit them than I ever thought I would. It’s actually very fascinating, and if I ever go to a zoo again, I might look at it through a different perspective… though I still don’t like the idea of animals being caged and restricted like that.

I found Pi’s religious views very interesting, and I actually completely agree with him, even though he’s quite a bit more religious than me. Pi decided that he would be a hindu, muslim AND Christian, because he found something of value in each of them. They all proclaim to love God, and that’s the underlying belief throughout. And even though Pi is very devout, never once did it feel like a lecture on religion whenever the subject was broached. I loved that!

Pi was a great main character… Probably one of my favorites. Wise yet naive, brave yet terrified. I felt for him throughout the story, I mourned with him and celebrated his little wins. I know it’s fiction, but can you imagine what something like that must be like? I can’t even imagine where he found the will to go on. I’d actually like to read a true-life account of someone who went through a similar experience just to see if it’s possible to keep your spirits up and in fighting stance.

I think the ultimate question in this book is which story is the real story. Is Richard Parker real or is he a representation Pi’s inner strength that got him through the ordeal. I prefer to believe that Richard Parker was real, because if he wasn’t… if the other story is the real one… it would be infinitely worse.

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: All the Birds in the Sky


Rating: 2 Stars
Date Started: 18 April 2017
Date Finished: 30 April 2017
Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy

I really didn’t enjoy this book. I’m not sure if it was due to the narrator, or just because it’s one of those books that just wasn’t for me, but the whole time I listened to it I kinda wanted it to physically manifest so that I could punch it. I can’t even put my finger on exactly what p’d me off so much.

The Story

I don’t know what went wrong! It should have been sooo good. Science vs Magic is the ultimate battle even in the real world. Just substitute magic with religion and bam, you got a true life drama instead of a magical realism novel. But somewhere along the line it just got so fucking boring. The whole plot relied solely on misunderstandings and miscommunications, and was so thin it was see-through.

The Characters
Lawrence and Patricia are both idiots and I couldn’t stand either of them. Lawrence was a world class douche with an ego the size of a planet, and Patricia was a martyr that wanted to take on responsibility for everyone else’s stupid decisions. Honestly I don’t even wanna think about them. The only character I actually kinda liked was Changeme, and even he/it had a disappointing conclusion.

I have a couple of friends who’s opinions I respect and we usually have similar reading tastes who loved this book, so if you were interested in reading it don’t let this review stop you. As I said, I might have felt different if I had read it instead of listened to the audio… but honestly I don’t think so. I just didn’t like this book and that’s okay… but you might.