Testing one, two.. one, two.. Are audiobooks for me? 2 #audiobookreviews

listen

Hello bookworms!

During lockdown I discovered the real deal of audiobooks. Before that I had only listened to a book on the radio via BBC 4 Book at Bedtime (How to Stop Time) but two months ago I was invited to listen to The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney by a publisher and that went ok so I thought I was ready for more. I certainly want to enjoy audiobooks because I can only read one book at a time and if I can listen to books at moments I can’t read then that would be a dream.

After listening to these two novels I still don’t know if it’s something for me though.. maybe I haven’t found the right book, maybe I’m just a very demanding listener, or maybe I haven’t found the right moments yet to listen to them.

A lot of questions and I don’t have the answers yet. Is it worth trying again after these? I think so. I might listen to an extract first though only to hear the narrator’s voice and see if I like listening to that voice because it appears that’s really important to me, and I might continue listening on the train to work, even if that’s only for short periods each day, and not in bed for the moment. I still have to figure out what works best for me but I’m not giving up yet. Even if I can only listen to one audiobook a month that would be twelve more books I could devour each year. Are there any things that work better for you? Let me know if you have! 

The Seventh Victim by Michael Wood

TheSeventhVictim

whats-it-about-2

On Sunday, February 3rd 1990, seven-year-old Danny Redpath disappeared from his home. Four months later, his body was found in the nearby forest, washed clean of all evidence. Over time, more bodies were discovered; more families devastated forever.

Apprehended while attempting to abduct another child, Jonathan Egan-Walsh was charged with the murders of thirteen boys. Convicted on all counts, he received life in prison and went unrepentant, still refusing to reveal the whereabouts of one of his victims, Zachery Marshall.

Twenty-five years later, Zachery’s mother Diane is still searching for his body. When Jonathan dies in custody, she realises she will never know its location – until she receives a letter he left in his cell, in which he admits he was guilty of all the crimes of which he was accused, except the murder of her son.

Diane tracks down the woman in charge of the case at the time, former DI Caroline Turner, and together with Jonathan’s biographer Alex Frost they start to investigate. Could this be the killer’s final twist of the knife – or is he telling the truth at long last? Sooner or later, this secret buried and undisturbed for a quarter of a century will come to light.

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

star three and a half

My second audiobook and I really loved the narration this time. Mathew Horne gave a voice to Jonathan Egan-Walsh and Joanne Froggatt narrated all of the women’s voices and I loved listening to her outstanding performance in particular. A trembling voice, shouting with the right amount of anger, she did it all very naturally. I especially loved hearing Hannah, Diane’s mother in the story, she really sounded old!

I’d almost forget to talk about the story itself which was a heart-breaking one although it didn’t break my heart but for the chapters from Jonathan Egan-Walsh, where he tells a little about some of the boys he took. It’s normal in his head, which makes it more shocking to the reader to hear him talking so casually about it. I still don’t really know why he killed them because some of them appeared – his words – happy. Did he just grow tired of them, were they not enough? I was unwillingly fascinated and actually wanted to hear even more from him but the novel focuses on Diane, the woman whose life stood still since the day her little boy Zachery went missing, her ex-husband who tried to move on, and it highlights the difficult relationship with her younger son Markus who suffered greatly throughout the years after his brother went missing.

Retired DC Caroline Turner and her husband Jamie, and Alex Frost, his daughter and his wife Melanie, also each have their own personal and interesting stories to tell while investigating Jonathan’s claim.

It takes a while to fully take off and the mystery stays at the same stage of development for a while but there are twists and turns in the end. I had a hunch how it would end though from very early on so I didn’t feel that elation as others might have had. I liked it overall but didn’t find it a very extraordinary story, we’ve read this plotline before and I think it’s mostly the secondary characters Caroline Turner and Alex Frost and the snippets of Jonathan made it memorable.

Line

All The Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

All The Beautiful Lies 05

whats-it-about-2

On the eve of his college graduation, Harry is called home by his stepmother, Alice, to their house on the Maine coast, following the unexpected death of his father. But who really is Alice, his father’s much younger second wife?

As her past entwines with Harry’s in the present, things grow increasingly dark and threatening – will Harry be able to see any of it clearly through his own confused feelings?

amazon uk amazon com

review-2

star three and a half

All The Beautiful Lies was my first novel by Peter Swanson, although I have another paperback of his in one of my unpacked boxes which I hope to get to before I ever move again ;-).

It took me some time to get into the novel because I found it hard to enjoy the narration at the very start. The female narrator ended all the descriptive sentences the same way, with a strong emphasis on the last word, making the last word of each sentense sound a bit elongated and it all sounded a little robotic to my ears. Maybe I’m really fussy now but I didn’t have this issue in the previous audiobook even if there were descriptive paragraphs as well. It went better after a while when there were more conversations breaking up these sections and I felt it went a little more natural in the end (or maybe I got more used to it). I did end up missing a few sections of the novel because I fell asleep a few times though so it didn’t always keep my attention. I think it’s safe to say I love novels with lots of intonation and changes in voices most of all.

As for the story, there’s an enjoyable plotline in the past that follows a young 15 year old Alice and a present plotline from Harry’s point of view who comes back when he hears his father died. He finds it hard to believe that his father had an accident and wonders if his stepmother – the same Alice but older now – has anything to do with it. There’s a recurring theme of young women falling for older men in the novel, of affairs and betrayal.

Most of the novel felt more as family drama than thriller, it’s only in the second part of the novel that the threat becomes really pressing. This certainly made me pay close attention as to what was going on but I found the outcome and truth about what happened to Bill written as a little bit of an easy way out. There was another twist though, almost after the main events were finished, that was hugely unexpected and I found very entertaining. So in the end the story left me quite satisfied after all.

44 thoughts on “Testing one, two.. one, two.. Are audiobooks for me? 2 #audiobookreviews

  1. I really struggle with audiobooks! I’m not at all concentrated while listening to it and when I don’t like the narrator it ruins the whole thing for me. I listened to the audiobook of I’m thinking of ending things this year and LOVED it. It’s a thriller and it’s Netflix adaptation is coming in September as well. Great post ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always listen to the sample as I’m a bit fussy about narrators. I’ve returned 2 books because I couldn’t get into the narration but the books were brilliant.
    I love that you can check the sample and in audible subscription you can return books sometimes and exchange.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw the reveal of The Seventh Victim coming too, so no elation for me either 😄
    I love listening to audiobooks while cleaning, cos that’s a fairly brainless activity on its own, allowing me to fully focus on the story. Listening in bed can be dangerous, sometimes I nod off and only notice that I’ve missed a part when I continue to listen in the morning 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great minds think alike :-).
      I’d try listening to audiobooks when cleaning but I’m not cleaning for hours on end (lol) so that wouldn’t help me at all. Maybe I’d clean more just so I could listen, could that happen? Hmm seems like a stretch but you never know. I do like to listen in bed, also because Poes seems to like to hear a voice other than mine, at least her tail tells me that :-).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m also no fan of audiobooks yet. There’s the thing with the narrators voice you need to like of course, but I also haven’t yet found the perfect moments to listen to a book. On the train there’s so much background noise, I prefer reading to listening. I’m just not good in combining reading/listening a story with something else, I guess. But as you say, one book a month, makes 12 read extra at the end of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great reviews and post! just tried second audiobook from NetGalley this week and I can say it takes me more time to get into book with audiobook in compare to reading e-book or paperback. worst thing, when I took a break after around 17 chapters, I somehow came out of NetGalley shelf app and then book didn’t start from where left! Chapters or mp3 were not numbered, I tried to find the next chapter but it didn’t work. Luckily I had widget for e-book as well so I could continue reading it kindle. So I have decided i’ll listen audiobook only if I have e-copy as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fab post and reviews Inge! I’m so excited that you’re trying audiobooks! Narrators are a massive part of audiobooks and I now have a few favourites that I’ll definitely listen if they’re narrating! I always try the samples if they’re available, and have definitely not bought or requested from Netgalley because I didn’t like the voice. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great reviews! People keep telling me to give audiobooks a try, but I’m not sure if I have the attention span. I listen to a lot of podcasts when I’m doing housework etc, but they don’t really need the same level of concentration that a book does. I think I just need to give an audiobook a try and see how I find it, to be honest.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As you know, I love audiobooks and barely read anymore – only listen. But I know quite a few bloggers, who don’t get on with audio at all. So if you don’t feel it works for you, I would just give up. A good narrator is important and can bring the book to a completely different level. But I agree audiobooks are best suited to listen to whilst doing something else such as commuting, housework or exercise. I never just sit and listen without doing anything else. Good luck, whatever you decide. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, It’s going to take some more time to find out what really works for me, I’m not used to multi-tasking.. when I read I also don’t want the radio or tv on so doing something else is going to take some getting used to. I find new things often hard but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to give up just yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It sounds like you had lots of fun listening, which is another great way to get our daily “reading” in especially before going to bed. Listening to anything, though, always puts me to sleep, so I’ve never really got into audio. Meanwhile, have fun and enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m doing okay, thanks for asking, Sweetie. And hope you are as well. And yeah, I can see different narrations and storylines can effect the equation as to whether I listen, or fall asleep. Will have to experiment more. Take good care of you. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve tried a couple of audio books, I’ve tried quite a few samples. I’ve only ever got through one whole audio book and that was only because I’d agreed to try one for Avon books about a year ago, I didn’t enjoy it. I’ve given up on them now, I like to read a book myself at my own pace with my own voice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally get that. I find those 20 minutes on the train so wasted though (I used to read a book before but it takes up so much space to read only 10 pages) and I don’t have internet on my phone (yep I’m ancient) so I thought that was a great idea… the only thing left to do is find the right book :-). Thanks for letting me know about your experience, makes me feel less alone with my struggle! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The audiobook reader makes a huge difference to me. Some of my faves include Jason Isaacs reading the Jackson Brodie books and Miriam Margolyes reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

    I enjoyed your thoughtful reviews of these two books, also. The Peter Swanson one has been on my TBR for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Awesome reviews, Inge! I too struggle with audiobooks in general but I tell myself that it might be a variety of factors that make it so hard for me to fall in love with them. Whether it’s the narrator or the story, I think trying them when you WANT to try them is the best way to find those answers you seek! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Lashaan. It’s so good to read your reaction and of so many others too that it really isn’t just me and audiobooks are a fickle thing for many :-). I do want to try them and I think it’s a lot of getting used to for now and I will find one with great narration as well as a story. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  13. As someone who had NEVER listened to audiobooks, I am truly interested with your thoughts! And I end up falling in love with this post of yours! Reading your struggle, I wonder myself if I would someday feel that way too!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You made some excellent points, Inge! I also struggle with audiobooks as there are so many factors to consider such as narrator’s voice, accent, the narration pace and rhythm… I prefer reading books but I understand the allure of audiobooks. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Fab reviews! I’m like you and still not 100% convinced by audiobooks… I normally prefer reading the books myself, but they are a great alternative for times when sitting down to read is impossible. I managed to listen to a couple while painting and cleaning, but it’s definitely something I will save for special occasions only… I’m very particular about the narrator voice too. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never thought it would be so ‘difficult’ but nobody can talk, there can’t be background noise, you have to be able to keep your attention with the book and that’s harder than reading for me.. a lot of conditions for a great reading experience, apart from the voice… I don’t see myself ever becoming an audiobook addict either tbh. Thanks Yvonne!

      Liked by 1 person

      • YES to all of the above! I’m the exact same and get so easily distracted while listening to an audiobook… I only manage when cleaning/ doing other mindless tasks as long as I’m alone and I don’t need to concentrate on other stuff too much. I tried listening while speedwalking once and between the traffic making it hard to listen and me having to slow down a LOT to catch all the words, that experience didn’t repeat itself. xD

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I love audiobooks but it is the narrator that makes them for me. I loved listening to Sweetpea by CJ Skuse because the narrator was spot on. I have a whole host of favourites and I get lost in the book and others I am like meh who cares, so i will have to go and read the book instead. You will find your flow.x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s