Short & Sweet: Quick Reviews of Books I Liked (11.26.2020)

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate this and happy Thursday to those who don’t. I’ve had two posts planned lately that include several short reviews of books I’ve read this year. One was focused on books set during World War II and the other one was focused on audiobooks I’ve listened to lately. It was tempting to go with the first one but decided to go with the cheerier one for the holiday, though I guess it would’ve been somewhat fitting since this isn’t exactly the most innocent holiday either despite its name. But I digress. Here are some short and sweet reviews of some of my recent audiobooks!

The House in the Cerulean Sea // by TJ Klune // narrated by Daniel Henning

It has been weeks since I listened to this book and I cannot stop thinking about it. This probably will be my favorite book of the year. It may not be the book with the best world-building, the most exciting battles, or huge dragons flying all over the place (though I did very much appreciate the little one flying all over the place), but it for sure is the book that made me the happiest this year. I honestly don’t know how to convey how much I love this book. It has such adorable characters, the narrator was absolutely perfect for this book, and I literally could listen to stories from the island and the children forever. If an episode featuring them came out every single week, I would listen to them happily for the rest of my life. I literally refused to listen to the last hour of the book for several days because I was not ready for it to be over. I won’t write a huge review for this one like I sometimes do for others because I would just constantly repeat that I love it, love it, love it, but between the variety of wonderful characters, the feelings, the humor, the adventure, the representation, and the ending… you just get an all-around wholesome story that will leave your heart warm and happy.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

Maid // written and narrated by Stephanie Land

I’m glad I previously returned the ebook and waited for the audiobook because hearing her tell her own story took it to a completely different level. I don’t think I would have been able to – and it is hard to admit that about myself – listen and learn with quite as much compassion and understanding if I had read the story myself. I read memoirs to learn and understand more about people that live differently from me all the time. But hearing the emotions in her voice as she recalls the struggles and triumphs of her life just made this a completely different experience. Her voice changed so much when she narrated the highs versus the lows that it just tears at your heart strings. In the past, I have often found myself disagreeing with some of the decisions she has made because it did not always seem responsible. But hearing her side of this taught me that there are so many different ways of approaching situations and I fully understand why she did what she did. It really is much too easy to judge and speak on things from a distance when things may be so much different up close. This book completely changed my perspective and I am thankful that she was strong enough to share her journey.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

My Sister, the Serial Killer // by Oyinkan Braithwaite // narrated by Adepero Oduye

This is a book that I hesitated to read for a long time. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to my reading and can’t have too scary books. For some reason, I was expecting this to be somewhat gory, though I’m not sure what gave me that impression. If you have hesitated on this title due to some of the same reasons, then I can tell you not to worry about that. Yes, there are murders and therefore yes, there is a murderer but this is not a story that will keep you up at night, staring at the shadows in the corner of the room. This is more of a character-focused novel that focuses on intentions and motives. It is very suspenseful and has the perfect narrator for the audiobook. I was hanging onto her every word throughout the entire story. It was riveting. But the reason that I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars was that even now, several weeks later, I am still unsure about the ending. It wasn’t totally unexpected and I’m not mad about it either, but it did feel very abrupt, which threw me a bit for a loop. Overall, this is a great book though!

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

The Power of Habit // by Charles Duhigg // narrated by Mike Chamberlain

I struggle to remember the content of books often and while I don’t remember many of the details in this one, the information about building and breaking habits has really stuck with me. I still struggle to build new, healthy habits but it has helped me to break some of my bad habits already. While much of the book was not practical information to directly apply to your life, the many examples of habits did help a lot with understanding the psychology of them and importance of paying attention to them. While I did enjoy listening to the audiobook, I do plan on reading the print book on my shelf eventually so it will be easier to mark passages I want to save and go back to as a reminder to keep trying to change my life in more positive ways.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek // by Kim Michele Richardson // narrated by Katie Schorr 

This is a book I have been dying to read. I’m a sucker for books about books like many of us are so when you put those books together with strong women and horses (or a mule in this case), I just couldn’t say no. After a bit of a wait, I finally received the audiobook through the library. I don’t have a lot of eloquent words about this book but I did very much enjoy it. It had good detail, it had some suspense, and it had heart. There are ups and downs that will leave you weeping for joy and heartbreak. The narrator for this is excellent and I highly recommend listening to this if you are on the fence about which format to choose.

Affiliate Link: Buy here.

That’s it for today, yall. I’m generally terrible about keeping up with reviews for books that aren’t ARCs but this catches me up a little bit. Hopefully, I’ll be better about it from now on. I am listening to an incredible audiobook currently that I do plan on sharing with yall.

I have an important doctor visit tomorrow and depending on how that turns out, I may take a little bit of a break from this blog. I’m not sure yet. I guess it will depend on whether I need a distraction or some distance. But we’ll see how it goes. Happy holidays everyone.

Note: I am super excited to be a part of Bookshop.org as an affiliate. With every book sale that is done through my shop link here and above, I receive a percentage which will be used to continue to bring you book-related content (probably going straight back into Bookshop). What is really awesome though is that a percentage will also go to independent book stores across the country, which has already helped support (and even save!) many book stores during the COVID struggles.

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