Audiobook Mini Reviews

Pretty Things

Author: Janelle Brown

Narrators: Julia Whelan, Lauren Fortgang, Hillary Huber

Publication Date: 21 April 2020

Genre: Adult Fiction – Thriller/Mystery

Length: 16 hours 6 minutes

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio

Synopsis:

wo wildly different women – one a grifter, the other an heiress – are brought together by the scam of a lifetime in a page-turner from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.

Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.

Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

My Thoughts:

Okay, so I will be the first one to admit that I decided to go for this one because bookstagram wouldn’t shut up about it, and the cover is gorgeous. Yes, that’s superficial, but at least I own up to it.

I am so glad that I went into this one blind (I didn’t even read the synopsis) because this one was such a pleasant surprise.

I’ve never read a story featuring grifters and heists, so I was a bit wary of where exactly this book was trying to go. Let’s just say, there are so many twists and turns in this book that I feel like I should sue the author for whiplash, lol. Nothing in this book is as it seems, and I loved it. I don’t want to give anything away, so just go read it.

I do highly recommend the audio for this one because Julia Whelan, Lauren Fortgang, and Hillary Huber are amazing.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware

Narrator: Imogen Church

Publication Date: 29 May 2018

Genre: Adult Fiction – Thriller/Mystery

Length: 14 hours and 14 minutes

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Synopsis:

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.

My Thoughts:

Everyone and their mother has been screaming at me to read Ruth Ware. I’ve been dragging my feet for no particular reason, but I decided to start with The Death of Mrs. Westaway. Overall, I enjoyed the story, but I just didn’t feel the magic that everyone seems to rave about.

I found the mystery interesting as Hal is getting to know this new family that she had no idea she had. I was impressed that even though there quite a few characters, each of them was well developed and deliberately contributed to the plot. I also really enjoyed the gothic and manic atmosphere this one.

The reason why this one just didn’t wow me was that I figured out the plot pretty early, so by the time the big reveal happened, I wasn’t at all surprised.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Broken Girls

Author: Simone St. James

Narrator: Rebecca Lowman

Publication Date: 20 March 2018

Genre: Adult Fiction – Supernatural Thriller

Length: 11 hours 11 minutes

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio

Synopsis:

A suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare…

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

My Thoughts:

Simone St. James is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. She knows how to write an amazing ghost story that literally keeps me guessing up until the very end.

I honestly treated most of this book as if it were two separate storylines operating within the same book. I was a bit apprehensive for how the two timelines would ultimately converge since the two timelines seemed to operate completely independent of one another. Needless to say, the story comes crashing together to reveal a truth that I never saw coming. Bravo St. James. Bravo.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

The Turn of the Key

Author: Ruth Ware

Narrator: Imogen Church

Publication Date: 06 August 2019

Genre: Adult Fiction – Thriller/Mystery

Length: 12 hours and 13 minutes

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

My Thoughts:

I’m not gonna lie, after The Death of Mrs. Westaway, I wasn’t really sure of the Ruth Ware following. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good mystery, but I wasn’t blow away.

Welp, I ate my words because Turn of the Key was absolutely brilliant.

It was atmospheric, gripping, creepy as shit, and packed with twists and turns throughout the plot.

The narration by Imogen Church was spot on. She did an incredible job of showing the breakdown of Rowan’s mindset as she stayed within the gothic house. The fear and anxiety was palpable.

I’m definitely a Ruth Ware believer.

Rating: 5/5 stars!

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Author: Holly Jackson

Narrator: Bailey Carr and full cast

Publication Date: 04 February 2020

Genre: YA Thriller

Length: 10 hours 53 minutes

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio

Synopsis:

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

My Thoughts:

The hype surrounding this book is absolutely worth it. Since I did the audiobook, the full cast narration really sold this one!

From the very beginning, I was completely sucked into this podcast type murder mystery. I have to commend Pippa for taking on a controversial capstone project as well as her teachers for allowing her to do so (this may be creative license, but I still found it fascinating).

I loved how propulsive the plot was. Pippa carries out so many interviews and transcripts, and the full cast really delivered on this aspect. This one completely took me by surprise in terms of whodunits. I thought I know who the killer was, but I was way off base.

While I did find Pippa a bit naive at times, I felt that both Ravi and her friends gave her good perspective. I definitely was team Pippa and Ravi since their relationship was a natural progression. Nothing was forced. No love at first sight.

I definitely am looking forward to the next chapter in Pippa’s story, so bring on book two.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars.

My Sister, the Serial Killer

Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite

Narrator: Adepero Oduye

Publication Date: 20 November 2018

Genre: Adult Fiction – Thriller

Length: 4 hours and 14 minutes

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio

Synopsis:

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

My Thoughts:

Based off of the title, I expected this one to be dark, so I wasn’t shocked in the slightest that it was. What I didn’t anticipate was the humor that accompanied this utterly messed up situation.

This story highlights the complications and obligations of familial bonds as Korede continually cleans up after Ayoola’s messes, which happen to include the disposal of men’s bodies after an unfortunate run-in with Ayoola.

Y’all, I wanted to strangle Ayoola myself. She is the exaggerated version of the baby sister that doesn’t care about the consequences of her actions because her big sister Korede will always be there to take care of everything. It was so frustrating how their mother played right into Ayoola’s BS.

While I can’t relate to the whole serial killer scenario, I definitely see how this one book will resonate with anyone with siblings, and the things that we are willing to do for loved ones.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

Daughter of the Pirate King

Author: Tricia Levenseller

Narrator: Marisa Calin

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: 18 July 2017

Length: 7 hours 25 minutes

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Synopsis:

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

My Thoughts:

I don’t get to read about many pirates in YA, especially female ones, so this was a treat! Alosa is a force to be reckoned with.

As the daughter of the Pirate King, Alosa may be easy on the eyes, but she’s anything but fragile. Thanks to her father’s brutal training regime, nothing will break Alosa…not unless she wills it so.

This was a fast-paced adventure that was full of bloody fights and swoon worthy moments. While I wasn’t so keen on Alosa and Riden at first, by the end, I came to enjoy what these two meant to each other.

I loved learning about Alosa’ background as well as her hidden abilities. Can’t wait to start book two!

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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