For What It's Worth

Monday, July 24, 2017

monday musings…questions for the bookish hive mind - audio book & genre rec's



As I catch up with my reading (I’m talking review books – NOT my overwhelming TBR pile that’s still holding at about 140 books on my shelves *sobs*) I’m trying to branch out in my reading.

I plan on trying audio books. I’m really not sure how that’s going to go. I can read a book a day so I don't know that an 18 hour audio book saves me any time and I get distracted SO easily. I’ve been practicing with podcasts and can go about 20-30 minutes before losing the thread. I know audio books take much, much longer and I’m not going to be one of those audio multi taskers – vacuuming and listening lol But it might be a different and enjoyable experience anyway so I’m looking for tips and rec’s for audio book reading.


  • Narrator recommendations?
  • Are there any novellas you would suggest starting with? I’m thinking something light – possibly humorous to keep my attention.
  • I see everyone talking about speeds etc….what does that mean? Do I need to worry about that when I first get started? Any technical tips?
  • I was planning on getting the books from Amazon but is there anywhere else I should go? Apps I should get?

I'm lucky to have Felicia from The Geeky Blogger - the Audio Publishers Association's 2017 Audio Book Blogger of the Year  as a resource. She's such an passionate advocate for the audio format and never tires of answering my questions - waiting patiently for me to actually give it a go. lol

My second question involves genre rec’s.

I read TONS of romance and YA but I would like to stretch that a bit. I see thrillers are all the rage right now. Not sure they are for me but I’d love to hear your recommendations on where to start.

I’m not a fan of procedural's so the less step by step crime solving from the cops pov the better. I’m ok with gory/violent/killer’s pov but not cool with a lot of sexual violence and definitely no animal abuse.

Cozy mysteries are fine but so is the darker stuff. I figure things out easily so I'm hoping for something that will keep me on the edge of my seat or be fun like a cozy mystery.

I don't know if character development is as prevalent in thrillers/mystery but that would be great. Maybe a series so I can stick with one person over a few books?

The other genre is sci-fi. I’m specifically looking for novellas in this case. I really like things that question morality and ethics. Bonus if there is some type of relationship in there. (Sorry! but I’m a romance junkie at heart lol) I've read and loved Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax and SJ spin-off sci-fi/romance series and I just read a fun novella - All Systems Red by Martha Wells (recommended by Greg at Book Haven)

And lastly, graphic novels/manga. I’ve only read two so far – The Walking Dead Volume 1 and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (loved!). I guess nothing too complex at first as I dabble but I'm up for anything as far as genre. I really have no idea what's out there in graphic novels/manga.

Thank you! 😘

38 comments:

  1. Neat project there, Karen. Eve Langlais writes shorter, humorous sci-fi and PNR romances. Dont' really know of any short thriller ones.

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    1. Thanks! I'll check those out.The mysteries/thrillers can be full length. I can't imagine you could tell a decent thriller in a novella unless it's a serial or something.

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  2. Don't buy! That's my big tip. I use my public library. They have a huge collection of audiobooks you can borrow. You download their app and it gets sent right to your device. If you have a good library I'd start there first. If you have Prime there are also audible channels you can listen to for free which is handy. It's usually book one in a series.

    Speed is a big one for me. On the app there will be a dial or something that says the speed. Usually it's set at 1.0 which is regular speed. I up mine to 1.15-1.25 which just ups the speed a little and feels more natural to me.

    Narrators. Some suck. Some are amazing. I really liked Moira Quirk who did the Gail Carriger YA series. It was fantastic! http://amzn.to/2vzQLeN

    Lorelei King is great. She does a lot of the Janet Evanovich ones. They're hilarious! I had a great time with the Lizzy and Diesel ones she did.

    Scott Brick is nice. Hillary Huber, Kaleo Griffith, Jeffery Cummings, Penelope Keith did the Agatha Raisin mysteries and was a lot of fun. Jeffrey Kafer and Pam Turlow. Those are my favorites so far for narrations.

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    1. I checked on my library the other day and I have to stop in to get a PIN code but then I can use their digital library/audio books.

      I have been using Prime channels but mostly for podcasts. I didn't realize they had any books.

      Thanks for all the tips Anna!!

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  3. Woot for trying audibooks! It took me some time to get into them cos as you say, they take longer. Now I listen while I feed the baby or if I talk walks alone with her. But still, one takes a week so I read other books during that time

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    1. I'll have to see how it works out for me. I can read a book in 4-6 hours and aren't in many situations where I would have to chose one format over another so it will be a matter of whether I enjoy the format more than finding a way to fit in more books if I don't have time.

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  4. I still haven't tried audiobooks either. I've been waiting to give it a try soon tho. I think it would really help me check some books off of my list. I could listen while I paint, fold laundry do dishes, etc. I think I may try it first with a book that I already know and love to see if I'll be able to focus and pay attention to it. Good luck! I hope it goes well for you!

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    1. See, I drift off so easily I don't think I could do errands and chores while listening. But maybe it's a skill I'll learn.

      Even driving, I start drifting and thinking about the trees I'm passing lol

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  5. I have been obsessed with audiobooks all weekend, so easy when you need to do other stuff. I typically listen to romance/contemporary books because if I zone out, I don't miss a lot (unlike sci/fantasy). My favorite romance narrator is Sebastian York, he does a lot of Emma Chase's books and romance in general.

    Have you read You yet? That's a great creepy audiobook, I think it's on hoopla. Also download Hoopla.

    Have you read Starflight by Melissa Landers? It's YA sci-fi and it's sooo good! It's a light sci-fi with ROMANCE.

    And I haven't read this yet, but I hear Saga is super good. I haven't read a lot of graphic novels in recent days, but Morning Glory is creepy and Tim Seeley's stuff is really good (I'm somewhat biased because he lives near me and he's awesome).

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    1. Also you can change the tempo in audiobooks!

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    2. That's funny because I was going to start with an Emma Chase books since it would be a re-read and she's so funny & I hear Sebastian is excellent.

      Thanks for all the tips Amber.

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  6. Hello :) New visitor here :D and I see you're looking for recommendations! I love giving those :) I'm yet to try audiobooks myself but I have a feeling they won't work for me..I doubt i can listen to a book! My mind will probably wander off!

    As for recs! I see you're looking for science fiction novellas...Binti b Nnedi okorafor is a short but unique sci fi novella! I believe the sequel is out too now :) The first book made me very thoughtful about various things but it didn't have any romance in it! As for genre recs, Fantasy is always on top of my list!Currently I'm venturing into Magical Realism and retellings which are equally awesome :)

    Uma@Books.Bags.Burgers.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by!

      I'm not sure audio books are going to work for me either but we'll see lol

      Thanks for the recommendations Uma. I don't *need* romance so that's fine.

      Fantasy and magical realism are a difficult genres for me. I struggle a lot with it but there have been a few I've enjoyed.

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  7. I like audiobooks but lately I just haven't been in the mood for them. Normally I will listen to them during my workouts or when I am cleaning around the home.

    I haven't read too many thrillers. There is one author that does adventure type thrillers: Clive Cussler.

    I like sci fi romance mostly, but if you are looking for regular sci fi: Timothy Zahn is one of my favorites. If you dont mind the romance elements, Catherine Spangler has a fabulous sci fi series. A small group of people fighting for freedoms that have been taken away from them.

    Happy Reading and have a wonderful day

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    1. I don't really do anything that takes so much time that audio books would work for me.

      The more I'm reading everyone's tips and rec's though - I'm thinking I could combine the things I struggle with - audio & sci-fi/thrillers. Since those are the genres that are hard for me to *read*, they might be better on audio where it seems more like action...hmmm


      I love romance and the few sc-fi series I have enjoyed were romance centric but I was trying to stretch a bit outside of that.

      Thanks for your help!

      deep thoughts lol

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  8. I love a good audiobook for when I'm cleaning or coloring/working on my bujo. I haven't been listening to them lately, but I need to get back into them. I have a thriller recommendation: FEED by Mira Grant or Ten by Gretchen McNeil :) Hope trying out audiobooks goes well for ya!

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    1. Oohh good one! I think I have Feed somewhere and I remember thinking it was one my husband would enjoy as well.

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  9. I second getting them at the library, see if yours also has an online version of your library via Overdrive.

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    1. I'll check that.

      I do know i have to go in and get a PIN to have assess so I'll try to do that this week.

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  10. I've only listened to one audiobook and I didn't care for it. I'd rather just read the book.

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    1. I think that's going to be the case for me but I'm going to give it a go - you never know! lol

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  11. I have trouble with audio for the same reason- I lose attention. I just tried a recommended podcast the other night and same thing- it wasn't boring (well maybe a little) but it wasn't exciting and I soon realized I wasn't really listening. :)

    Thrillers- man I've been reading a lot of those. I would recommend What She Saw, it's a fun romp through Paris when a woman sees something she not supposed to. It's a little gritty but not too much. The Deep End by Julie Mulhern is a fun cozy with a little edge. I See You is supposed to be good, but haven't read it yet.

    As far as graphic novels go, everyone says Saga. I personally think it's overhyped but I'm definitely in the minority on that. Also it's graphic (sex, violence) if that bothers you. I liked Alex and Ada for a little simpler look at a human/ AI relationship.

    Glad you liked All Systems Red! And thanks for the shout out. I wish I had more recs but SF novellas- I don't know of a lot? Six Wakes was good (six clones wake up and have no idea who they are) but it's not a novella...

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    1. All Systems Read was a lot of fun and just the right length for me. Do you think she'll write more? There seems to be more stories to tell.

      I've been writing down a few of your thriller rec's from your blog reviews. I hope I can find a few that work for me.

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  12. I'm kind of picky about audiobooks. I think the format works really well for some books and less well for others. And sometimes I get a narrator who just sets my teeth on edge. So I get all mine through the library so that I can abandon them if necessary. I listened to book one of Game of Thrones on audio (in short doses, of course - it took me like a month) and it was awesome. I'm also a sucker for celebrity narrators (loved Jesse Eisenberg reading the White Cat series by Holly Black and Will Patton reading the Raven Boys).

    On the mysteries I love the step-by-step so I am not your best source of recommendations!

    Jen Ryland

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    1. I think the library is going to be the way to go. Anna (above) also recommended Amazon Prime Audible and I'm going to give that a try since I already have it set up on my phone for podcasts.

      It's just that everyone says it saves time but I read so fast that taking 18 hours to do something I could do in 6 seems odd to me.

      I'm thinking there might be a different sort of benefit in it for me though. Like maybe trying different genres that fall flat on paper but might seem more exciting in audio.

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  13. I go through phases with audiobooks. I am currently in an off phase. But normally I love them. I use my library primarily. Narrators are key for sure. I loved the women who did the Lunar Chronicles. I listen at about 1.4 or 1.6x. If they already read fast maybe slower.

    As far as thrillers I loved All the Missing Girls and In a Dark Dark Wood (which I loved the audio).

    Good luck with audios and new genres!!

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    1. The consensus seems to be to get tot he library! lol It's a great idea though - I won't waste any money if it doesn't work out and it's a great way to sample several genres.

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  14. No audio suggestions from me. I too get immediately distracted. In order to listen to an audiobook, I literally have to stop everything and focus super hard which defeats the purpose lol.

    I do have GN recs though! My first GN was Saga, which I'm sure you've heard a million things about. Worth the hype though, and great for beginners I think since it's very character-focused, like a normal book. I also loved Vol. 1 of Sex Criminals, but I've felt like it's gone downhill a bit from there, except other people still love it, so that's just my opinion. If you don't mind explicit erotica in GNs, I recommend Chester 5000 XYV. It's available as a webcomic for free if you want to check it out. I wasn't crazy about the first book but LOVED the second. I also enjoyed iZombie for the most part.

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    1. Oh! A sci-fi rec. Pandora by Marguerite Labbe. Not sure how long it is, but it's mostly about the romance, and I thought it was really good.

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    2. I'm the same. I can't cook and listen because i need to focus on the food or else I'll set the kitchen on fire lol And I'd be thinking about missing fir balls while vacumming.

      I'll see how it goes but I'm doubtful. I've been doing ok with shorter podcasts that are fun facts kind of info. Very quick.

      I know ZERO about GN so I've never heard of Saga. I'll check out your rec's - thanks so much!

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  15. I'm not that good with audios either. I want to try again but I'm thinking listening to a celebrity narrator might be fun. Some even narrate books OTHER than the ones they've written like Wil Wheaton did Ready Player One I think.

    I really like mysteries/thrillers but I don't know if about ones that aren't too graphic. I do suggest looking into M.J. Arlidge though.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Many years ago I tried it and did ok with celebrity biographies - mostly comedians. It kind of doesn't matter if you drift with those and it's more like a stand up routine.

      I don't mind graphic/violent - just not into animals being hurt and would like something that doesn't always revolve around rape.

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  16. Definitely any Harlan Coben books for the genre of mystery / thriller! :)

    - El @ El's Book Reviews

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  17. Read Death Note! Read like all of the big titles "classics" out there, they really are amazing. I'd highly recommend "Yotsuba" if you're interested in slice-of-life and want to know more about Japanese culture. Plus, it's super cute! <3 I love those two so much, but there's so much manga out there, plus I don't consider myself well-read because I don't read vastly enough.

    Hope that you find some good audiobooks out there! I'm not that interested in it at the moment, but maybe in the future when I have to do all the household chores when I have moved out of home! It's dangerous to read a book and vacuum at the same time! >_<

    Cass @ Words on Paper

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    1. Thank you!

      I can just see me trying to vacuum, read and get tripped by the dogs lol

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  18. I can offer no audiobook assistance as I'm the same, I don't have the attention span for them and I can't multitask when it comes to listening, if I'm listening I do very little else and if that's the case I might as well read it myself, it will take less time.

    As for reading different genres, I enjoyed Janet Evanovich's Fox and O'Hare series. They are fun and as they're written with Lee Goldberg it makes them feel a little different to her Stephanie Plum books. Otherwise, I've not get many recs outside of romance and YA. Maybe Kelley Armstrong, she mixes mystery/thriller books with different stuff and I love her writing.

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    1. I have read a few of Kelley's thrillers (and her Otherworld and YA series) and other than the Nadia Stafford trilogy that I loved I got bored with the rest.

      That's why I'm not sure it's a genre that will work for me because I find it dry but hoping if I give it another go something might click.

      Thanks for your Rec's Becky!

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