Audiobook Challenge 2023 | 12-28-22

Hello Bookworms!

I am excited to say that I will be taking part in the Audiobook Challenge hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer and That’s What I’m Talking About! It is my first year participating.

I do tend to listen to quite a few audiobooks in a year so I feel like I can get this done, especially because it is for the full year.

2022 Audiobook Challenge

Challenge Details🎧

  • Runs January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023. You can join at any time.
  • The goal is to find a new love for audios or to outdo yourself by listening to more audios in 2023 than you did in 2022.
  • Books must be in audio format (CD, MP3, etc.)
  • ANY genres count.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, Facebook, etc. I recommend creating a shelf on Goodreads titled 2023 Audiobook Challenge. You can keep track and link the shelf.
  • If you’re a blogger grab the button and do a quick post about the challenge to help spread the word. If you’re not a blogger you can help by posting on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube or Tweet about the challenge.
  • Updates plus a giveaway will be posted twice during the year. The first update will be July 2, 2023, and the last update will take place on December 30, 2023. You’ll have one week to link up and share your progress

Achievement Levels🎧

  • Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5
  • Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10
  • Stenographer (can listen while multitasking) 10-15
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
  • Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
  • My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30+
  • Marathoner (Look Ma No Hands) 50+
  • Over-Achiever (Power Listener) 75+
  • The 100 Club (Audiobook Addict) 100+

Apparently, I listened to 94 audiobooks in 2022 so I am going to challenge myself with the last level and go for The 100 Club! Will I be able to do it? I don’t know. It’s a little over 8 audiobooks a month so we will see, haha. I am sure I can and now I need to figure out what my first audiobook will be for 2023!

Will You Be Joining In This Challenge?
Let Me Know In The Comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

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Audiobook Review: Dark Room Etiquette by Robin Roe

Title: Dark Room Etiquette
Author: Robin Roe
Genre: YA Thriller / Contemporary / Mental Health
Publication Date: October 11th, 2022
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sixteen-year-old Sayers Wayte has everything—until he’s kidnapped by a man who tells him the privileged life he’s been living is based on a lie.

Trapped in a windowless room, without knowing why he’s been taken or how long the man plans to keep him shut away, Sayers faces a terrifying new reality. To survive, he must forget the world he once knew, and play the part his abductor has created for him.
But as time passes, the line between fact and fiction starts to blur, and Sayers begins to wonder if he can escape . . . before he loses himself.” (Goodreads)

This is the second book I have read where a teen is kidnapped. Both have had very different ways of dealing it. This one includes the aftermath of what happens to someone once their “normal” has completely shattered and are left with figuring out what to do now that they can’t go back. I would say that the content warnings would include physical abuse, death, suicide, and kidnapping.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Sayers Wayte. He has everything he could ever ask for and parents that are absent. He isn’t the most popular kid in school but money does talk and it can make him very unlikeable among his peers. All of this is mentioned in the beginning and builds up in anticipation of the inevitable. I will say that the first 25% is on the slower side as the plot and character development builds but it does get better. You just need to stick through it!

When it came to the kidnapping, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Kidnappings happen for different reasons and so when it is revealed I was very much surprised with why it happened. Everything that happens to Sayers in this incident is sad and tragic. He loses himself in the midst of trying to stay on the good side of the kidnapper but it doesn’t always go as planned. There is abuse and there is anger laced in the actions. I usually tend to listen to audiobooks while doing housework and there would be times I had to stop and just take in what was happening at that moment. It’s also interesting to note that the kidnapper was better in some ways than one of his parents. It’s weird but it does play into Sayers recovery and understanding of what truly happened to him. Stockholm syndrome is definitely present.

Some characters do have more development than others but that is understandable when it feels like two are more present than others. I did like seeing how things changed between him and friends pre-kidnapping and post. It isn’t easy being gone while life moves on without you. He does make two friends in the process and I liked seeing how they played out.

The plot was very surprising and I could never guess what would happen next. There are a lot of great plot twists that keep you on your toes as you try to understand and unravel what is going on with Sayers.

Overall, this was a great read. It was surprising and the audiobook was well done. The narrator did a good job at differentiating the voices of characters which made it easy to know when who was talking. If you like YA Thrillers I would definitely give this one a try.

Audiobook Review: Happy People Are Annoying by Josh Peck

Title: Happy People Are Annoying
Author: Josh Peck
Genre: Autobiography / Memoir
Publication Date: March 15th, 2022
Publisher: HarperOne
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Josh Peck rose to near-instant fame when he starred for four seasons as the comedic center of Nickelodeon’s hit show Drake & Josh. However, while he tried to maintain his role as the funniest, happiest kid in every room, Josh struggled alone with the kind of rising anger and plummeting confidence that quietly took over his life.
For the first time, Josh reflects on his late teens and early twenties. Raised by a single mother, and coming of age under a spotlight that could be both invigorating and cruel, Josh filled the cratering hole in his self-worth with copious amounts of food, television, drugs, and all of the other trappings of young stardom. Until he realized the only person standing in his way…was himself. Today, with a string of lead roles on hit television shows and movies, and one of the most enviable and dedicated fanbases on the internet, Josh Peck is more than happy, he’s finally, enthusiastically content.
Happy People are Annoying is the culmination of years of learning, growing, and finding bright spots in the scary parts of life. Written with the kind of humor, strength of character, and unwavering self-awareness only someone who has mastered their ego can muster, this memoir reminds us of the life-changing freedom on the other side of acceptance.” (Goodreads)

I didn’t know this book existed until a couple weeks ago when browsing for something to listen to while on Overdrive from my library. I had already listened to two other celebrity memoirs this year and I figured why not add another one! I grew up watching Josh.

The audiobook is narrated by Josh himself and I love listening to a book that’s author is also the narrator. It just makes for a great listen as it feels more personal when it comes from their own mouth. I obviously knew who he was as an actor. I had watched All That and Drake & Josh. I remember seeing his transformation of losing weight when one season ended and another came with him looking thinner. I have even went back and rewatch Drake & Josh a time or two as an adult. It was nice to be able to learn more about this guy.

It’s amazing how much you don’t know about someone just because you see them on tv. There were many new things I learned about him. To name a few, that he is Jewish and also that he was an addict and not just when it came to food. It was was easy to understand his addiction with food as I have had my own struggles throughout the years and still do to this day. It gave me a bit of a nudge to keep going because if he can fight all odds with heavier addictions than my own isn’t so bad. I also liked how he put a humorous spin on things to lighten up the mood.

There was a lot to unpack throughout his life besides addiction. He went through what got him into acting and what happened when acting turned into Vines and YouTube. He may have thought it was a downgrade but honestly, I have always liked seeing him do short or even long videos. He has always been fun to watch.

I’m not really sure what else to say because it is always hard to write a review on someone’s experiences. Each person will see it differently or even relate to it in a different way. I do know that I liked learning more about him and it definitely solidifies my thinking that he is a very down-to-earth kind of guy!

Overall, this was a good audiobook and I definitely recommend it.

Weekly Update | 2-27-21

Hello Lovely Bookworms!

It was another busy week for me!

I’ve had weird health problems lately and I am just over it, lol. I went to the doctor on Wednesday but what they prescribed doesn’t seem to be helping. I need to make another appointment for something else tomorrow as well as go to the dentist. I guess the upside is health insurance. Yay for that because it doesn’t cost me much to go!

I’m still gaming away on FFXIV and playing on The Lost Ark on the weekend with my brother. It’s probably where all my time is going but in a reading slump I just don’t feel like doing much else. I do have a few reads coming up that are anticipated reads and I am crossing my fingers at least one will be a 5 star read! 🤞

Other than that, it’s the same old. My husband did apply for graduation this week and it’s becoming surreal that life will change in the next few months. I’m just not ready, lol. Change has always been hard for me and makes my anxiety spike!

I hope you all have been having a great time this weekend and a wonderful week is in your future!❤

  • Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐
  • A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong (arc) ⭐⭐
  • A Show for Two by Tashie Bhuiyan (arc) ⭐⭐
  • Waiting for Spring Vol. 10 by Anashin (manga) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Angel Experiment by James Patterson (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐
  • The Call of the Wind by Jack London (audiobook)
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir (arc)
  • Those Not-So-Sweet Boys Vol. 5 by Yoko Nogiri (manga)
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How was your week? Did you do anything fun over the weekend? Read anything good this week? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

WWW Wednesday (4/21/21)

Hello, My Lovely Bookworms!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is now hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

It consists of answering these three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Plot Twist by Bethany Turner. It is an arc I have from Netgalley and honestly, I’m not feeling it. It’s too dramatic and not enough romance although it tries to be a rom-com but without the two only meeting once so far.

I am listening to The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I wouldn’t say it’s bad but I’m also not loving it either. I am still going to continue on as I am not very far into it.

Today I am also going to be starting The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon. I am doing it as a buddy read and looking forward to it!

  • Bone Crier’s Dawn (Bone Grace #2) by Kathryn Purdie 3 stars
  • My Epic Spring Break (Up) by Kristin Rockaway (audiobook) 3.5 stars

If I continue on with my feelings for The Kiss of Deception then I will pick up The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson.

I will read another arc and it’s called Faking Reality by Sara Fujimura.

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What is your current read? Are you loving it? Have you read or want to read any that I have listed? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Audiobook Review: Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2) by Scott Reintgen

Title: Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2)
Author: Scott Reintgen
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publication Date: July 17th, 2018
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 3.5 stars

Getting to Eden brought Emmett and his crewmates one step closer to their promised fortune. But surviving Eden may be the biggest reward of all.

Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.

Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population.

But Emmett and the others quickly realize they are caught between two powerful forces—Babel and the Adamites—with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late?” (Goodreads)

After liking the first book (although not a lot), I decided to continue on to the second as the cliffhanger of the last chapter had me intrigued about the continuation of the plot. As I mentioned previously in my review for the first, there isn’t anything groundbreaking about the plot when it comes to YA Sci-fi. I feel like its very surface level and even though the plot twists can be a bit shocking, everything else still remains quite average.

The sequel begins where the first book leaves off. Emmett is caught between a rock and a hard place due to the last situation he found himself in but he is still holding on to the promises of Babel.

I still haven’t fully connected to any of the characters but do understand the struggles of their family life or even what is to come. There is a lot of danger and they are risking a lot. There is a couple relationships that have formed but honestly, there isn’t much development to them so it’s hard to feel anything for it.

The setting is different as they are no longer on a ship but now they are on the planet. It was interesting to see the interactions between the teens and those born on the planet. There is information shared about the Adamite population here and there but I feel like there could have been more. Since it is also the planet where Babel mines the Nyxia I wish there would have been more information about it too. There has been talk about it’s abilities but not enough to ever fully grasp what it is exactly. It can be dangerous though and does cause an issue for the teen group.

There is always a lot of talk surrounding Babel and what their motives are. It’s not that I don’t care about their hidden agenda but the company just feels like so many others in sci-fi writing. It’s hard to be intrigued by it. I do like that they include a different point-of-view other than Emmett to help explain things a bit more.

Overall, it was good and a tad bit better than the first. It may sound like it’s not my thing but it isn’t bad, haha.

Audiobook Review: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen

Title: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #2)
Author: Scott Reintgen
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 3 stars

“What would you be willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune?

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.” (Goodreads)

I haven’t read a sci-fi book in awhile and since this trilogy has been on my shelf for quite some time and the library had the audiobook readily available, I figured why not!

I have only read one other book by this author and it was a middle grade so I can’t really say much other than I do like his writing regardless of age catergory.

This isn’t a groundbreaking sci-fi that brings new elements to the table but it did have its good moments that kept me from being bored as I listened, Although, it did take a bit to actually get through the audiobook, haha. Not really the fault of the book but just me not wanting to listen to anything.

The book starts off with us being introduced to Emmett. There is a bit of backstory for him and as the plot continues more comes up about it as well as Babel who is in charge of the venture into space. Emmett comes from a poor family and his mother has cancer. It is one reason he is doing this competition so that she can have the best healthcare as well as money for their needs. It’s very admiring to want to do something so risky for others.

Not only does Emmett come from a tragic background, so does the other contestants. Each one either has a family member with cancer or come from a family with nothing. It sets up the stage for them all wanting to win no matter what the cost is. Some will really do anything to stay in.

My favorite character has to be Bilal. He is so nice and genuine about his actions. I love that he doesn’t let the competition go to his head and even forgives when I know I wouldn’t have.

Some similarities I have notices is the use of Babel or Eden in different sci-fi/dystopian books. I did see a question answered in why the author chose to use them and it brought more clarity and it also made me think a bit more as he said there is also the topic of mercy found within the book. Which there is a lot of examples for that, especially from Emmett.

The competition between the characters can be cutthroat and dangerous. There are instances were some of them get hurt quite badly and at times it does go into detail about the injuries they suffered. It’s not too graphic but it is there.

I can’t say I was blown away by the action in the book as it felt few and far between but does pick up more by the end. The ending is pretty intense and has me left with a lot of questions and wanting answers about Babel and even some of the other contestants. It’s hard to really know who to trust.

Overall, I did like this one even if it felt like other ya sci-fi books. The mystery of Babel and the planet they are leaving to still have me curious enough to continue on with book two. Hopefully things will pick up a bit.

Audiobook Review: Flight of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga #2) by Morgan L. Busse

Title: Flight of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga #2)
Author: Morgan L. Busse
Genre: Christian Fiction / Fantasy
Publishing Date: April 30th, 2019
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers




“Exiled and on the run, Selene Ravenwood is in search of the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking but first she must adapt to her marriage with the man she was originally assigned to kill. With war impending and a dark being after her gift, she finds herself at a crossroads but time is running out and soon her choice will be made for her. (Goodreads)

This book starts off right where the first left off. Selene and Damien are heading back to his home as they start their new unexpected life together.

I was excited to see where their relationship would go since it was done quickly and conveniently. I think for it to work, it has to be written well and I think that the author did a good job of letting it blossom without it feeling pushed. They had cute moments together and I was here for it.

Selene is still learning about her dreamwalking gift. Even though she isn’t following her mother’s guidelines anymore, she still has a lot to learn but she is very determined to not use her gift for evil.

There is a lot of talk about the light and who he is. This is where the the aspect for Christianity comes in. It wasn’t very heavy in the first book but you can definitely see the resemblance of the light being God and the Dark Lady being closer to the devil.

When it comes to the light, Selene is very cautious and doesn’t know how to deal with it since she hadn’t grown up worshiping it. It does make a big impact on her and you can see the change she is growing through.

There are other parts with the light, too big of spoilers to talk about, but it resembles those coming to the light in the nick of time.

As for the rest of the plot, it isn’t as action packed as the first but we do get more character development which is always nice. Damien is more present and there is still two point-of-views like the last book. I’m just happy there was still dream sequences and this time with the Dark Lady who has been very mysterious!

Overall, I really enjoyed listening to this one. I already have the next book in the series from the library so I will be continuing on.

Audiobook Review: Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes

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23367261Title: Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publishing Date: December 13th, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill

Book #1
Book #2
Book #3
Book #4

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“The ruthless Empress Amara of Kraeshia has taken the Mytican throne, and now uncertainty looms over the three kingdoms. Since Lucia unleashed the fire Kindred, wreaking havoc throughout the land, Myticans have been looking for someone—anyone—they can trust. They believe in Amara, not knowing her grand promises are built on lies.

In Paelsia, Magnus and Cleo reluctantly follow King Gaius to the home of his exiled mother, Selia. Selia is a powerful witch and claims she can help unlock the magic of the Kindred—if the visitors agree to her terms. When Jonas arrives from Kraeshia, he is shocked to find that his rebel army now includes his sworn enemies. Along with Nic, Felix, and the mysteriously resurrected Ashur, the contentious group agrees to cast aside old grudges—for now—and united against their common enemy: Amara.

Meanwhile, bearing the child of a Watcher and feared by all, Princess Lucia travels across Mytica to find her family. But time is running out. The impending storm signals the dark prophecy Timotheus warned her about. Her fate is written, and it includes none other than the rebel Jonas. When their paths collied, Jonas and Lucia must decide between blindly following their destiny or fighting for their own free will.

The battle for power culminates at the Paelsian palace, where Amara resides. Rain pours. Blood spills. And soon all will discover that the darkest magic comes at an even darker price.” (Goodreads)

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This was definitely my least favorite out of the series. I think the reason for that was after reading four books before this one, some of the plot twists just seem repetitive. Will they? Won’t they? Are they dead? Oh, they aren’t? Maybe they are? It’s just a constant cycle of the same twists.

Besides that, it was good. Some of the characters like Jonas, Lucia, and Gaias got more development than the others. I liked how there was more background for Gaias and at times I did feel sorry for him. I know, it’s weird! But, he was able to show his humanity except then he squanders it away and becomes a dillweed once again. I’m not mad at it though. I don’t like redemption arcs. I want him to remain evil from now until the end of the last book!

Jonas has become more aware of everything in the world and has finally looked past what has been happening in his own neck of the woods. I’m glad that he was there for Lucia and helped her when no one else wanted to. Do I want them to get together? Kind of, haha.

Lucia is taking her destiny and making it what she wants. I really thought for certain reasons she wouldn’t make it this far in the series but I have been wrong. She is very strong and I think she will continue to do great things.

The relationships in this book have just made me numb to everything about them. As mentioned above, it’s just a constant pull. I don’t like it. It was great in the first few books but now I could care less if they make it or not. I have jumped ship.

When it comes to the other parts of the plot, they were good but not super explosive like the last books. I told you, I have become immune to this author’s powers, ha. I know they are supposed to be shocking but I’m just not. 🤷‍♀️

The political intrigue is still there but it’s a lot less compared to the others. This book is more about backgrounds and the elemental magic that the characters have been working to be in control of. The magic is still kind of vague but with the ending, the magic is definitely going to be a big part of the next book. That ending though, I’m concerned for my boo Magnus. Man, oh man.

Overall, it was good but it didn’t hit me the way I wanted it too.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Audiobook Review: The Marvelwood Magicians by Diane Zahler

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34593614._SX318_Title: The Marvelwood Magicians
Author: Diane Zahler
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publication Date: October 1st, 2019
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy to review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
“Eleven-year-old Mattie Marvelwood comes from a family of traveling performers. Her dad is an illusionist; her mom is a fortune-teller; her brother has a vanishing act; and she herself is a mind-reader. But the Marvelwoods have a deep secret. The acts they perform at carnivals, fairs, and circuses are not just acts. Their powers are real. In all their wanderings, the Marvelwoods have never met another performer with gifts like theirs–until they join Master Morogh’s Circus of Wonders! But it turns out that Master Morogh’s true talent is stealing the gifts of others. When he steals Mattie’s brother’s vanishing ability, the family has a big decision to make. Do they run, leaving Bell’s gift behind to save the rest of them, or risk exposure by trying to beat the duplicitous ringmaster at his own game?” (Goodreads)

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I am always curious when it comes to circus themed books. The covers are eye-catching and the blurbs are full of mystery!

When I saw this one as an audiobook on NetGalley I decided to request. It is a quick listen but it also has a lot to it.

Mattie Marvelwood and her family have always been different. They perform and even though others may be faking their skills, the Marvelwoods are the real deal! Because of this, they have a hard time trusting others. Mattie already feels like a freak and she doesn’t need to add more fuel to the fire of her life.

Although Mattie is eleven, I thought she was a bit older because of the way she presented herself. Maybe that’s just me since I haven’t been around someone that age in a long while. Like any other kid, she wants to fit in and have a normal life. Her family’s job does prevent normality. All of her concerns for who she is does make up a good part of the plot which I liked. She learns to overcome these things and realize that there is nothing wrong with being different. You can make friends being who you are.

As mentioned above, there is also talk about her family not trusting anyone due to an issue in the past with a friend. This is another topic that I liked. It takes courage to trust in someone again after getting hurt. It also shows true friendship.

The villain aspect of the book was nicely done. There is no redemption arc and we see that person for who they are. Their background does center around not fitting and correlates with Mattie in a good way. It shows that there are many paths in life and our choices can have consequences.

When it comes to the audiobook, the narrator does a good job with the accents for certain characters and it’s pretty easy to distinguish between the characters. There is fun circus music at the beginning and end which is a cool touch.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and thought the circus theme was nicely done with good messages included in the plot.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)