Two Audiobooks: “Blue Monday” by Nicci French & “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance

It’s the end of March and I’ve FINALLY started reviewing the books I read this year, smh. The first two books I read in 2020 were both audiobooks, which shows that this year began on a busy note.

It’s a little surprising to me how comfortable I’ve become with audiobooks. Now I don’t mind listening to new-to-me books on audio; however, I can only do so for certain genres. I refrain from listening to new-to-me epic fantasy books on audio since they tend to be very detailed and there’s no way I’d be able to keep up or remember what’s said. If I do listen to such a book on audio, it’s because it’s a reread.

As for these two books, one is a psychological thriller/mystery, which work well for me on audio because I get so hooked on the mystery that my attention hardly strays from the story, and the other is a memoir, which, surprisingly, works well for me on audio too. There are no similarities between these two books other than that they were the first books I read this year and they are both audiobooks. Those are the only reasons why I paired them in this post.


Blue Monday by Nicci French, narr. by Beth Chalmers

Genre:

Psychological Thriller; Mystery

Series:

Frieda Klein, book 1

Pubbed:

2011

Goodreads summary:

The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when a picture of his face is splashed over the newspapers, psychotherapist Frieda Klein is left troubled: one of her patients has been relating dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew.

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“The Realms of the Gods” by Tamora Pierce

It’s crazy how far behind I am on reading and reviewing. My plan was to be caught up by now but so much is happening that I’m unable to. It’s a hard time for everyone and I just wish more people would take this coronavirus thing seriously.

Anyway, here I have the last book I read last year — Tamora Pierce’s The Realms of the Gods. I read it as part of my plan to reread all Pierce’s books I enjoyed when I was a kid. I’ve been going through them slowly and have been surprised by my reaction to some of them, like this one.

Genre:

YA Fantasy

Pubbed:

1996

Series:

The Immortals, book 4

Goodreads summary:

During a dire battle against the fearsome Skinners, Daine and her mage teacher, Numair, are swept into the Divine Realms. Although they are happy to be alive, they are not where they want to be. They are desperately needed back home where their old enemy, Ozorne, and his army of strange creatures are waging war against Tortall.

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“Black Leopard, Red Wolf” by Marlon James

I was excited when Marlon James announced that he was writing a fantasy book. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that whatever it was it would be great.

I bought a copy of Black Leopard, Red Wolf as soon as it was published. James was on tour and came to my area, so I got a copy at a book signing event, where James spoke about the research he did for the book. I was impressed. I knew that I would like it and assumed that it would become my next favorite fantasy series.

However, if not for a buddy-read hosted by Why Read on Instagram, this book would probably still be sitting on my bookshelves unread. (I’m horrible at reading the books I buy.) The buddy-read got me to start the book and to continue with it when I was tempted to DNF it. By the end, I was impressed by the story and liked it but unsure if I will continue with the series.

Genre:

Fantasy

Pubbed:

2019

Series:

Dark Star trilogy, book 1

Goodreads summary:

In the first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.

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“My Sister, the Serial Killer” by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Here’s another novel I read because of the hype surrounding it. It was buzzed about so much last year that when I was considering what mystery novel to get my cousin for Christmas (to break her away from James Patterson’s books), I immediately decided to get her this. At the time, all I knew was that the protagonist’s sister is probably a serial killer and that the book is GOOD because that’s what everyone said in their reviews.

They weren’t wrong.

Genre:

Mystery

Series:

n/a

Pubbed:

2017

Goodreads summary:

A short, darkly funny, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

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“The Deep” by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes

Everyone loves this book. I was drawn to it because of the hype. It made me curious to see what it’s all about, and I also thought it was pretty cool that the inspiration for it came from a rap song. But although I appreciated what the story does, I didn’t like it as much as everyone else did.

Genre:

Fantasy

Series:

n/a

Pubbed:

2019

Quick summary:

The Deep is a fantasy novella about a group of merpeople called the Wajinru who are actually descendants of African slaves. The protagonist, Yetu, serves as the historian for the Wajinru and is burdened with all the memories of her people’s traumatic experiences. She passes on these memories to other Wajinru in a ceremony called the Remembering, at the end of which she is supposed to take back the memories. But with such a heavy burden gone, Yetu takes the opportunity to escape the heavy responsibility of holding onto such painful history. (Goodreads)

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“The Fall” by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The second novel in the Strain trilogy was not what I thought it would be. Although it started slow, the first book was engrossing and easily hooked me. But this one felt like a slog sometimes.

Genre:

Horror

Series:

The Strain, book 2

Pubbed:

2010

Goodreads summary:

Humans have been displaced at the top of the food chain, and now understand – to their outright horror – what it is to be not the consumer, but the consumed.

Ephraim Goodweather, director of the New York office of the Centers for Disease control, is one of the few humans who understands what is really happening. Vampires have arrived in New York City, and their condition is contagious. If they cannot be contained, the entire world is at risk of infection.

As Eph becomes consumed with the battle against the total corruption of humanity, his ex-wife, Kelly, now a vampire herself, is ever-more determined to claim their son, Zack.

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“The Lady in the Coppergate Tower” by Nancy Campbell Allen, narr. by Elizabeth Knowelden

I continue with the Steampunk Proper Romance series. This time, a beautiful young woman with long golden hair is whisked off to a tower in Romania by her mysterious uncle to help her supposedly crazy twin sister.

Genre:

Paranormal; Romance; Historical Fiction; Steampunk

Series:

Steampunk Proper Romance, book 3

Pubbed:

August 2019

Goodreads summary:

Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

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