For What It's Worth

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

It's Not You, It's Me Review Edition... Are you Listening by Tille Walden, Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

I seem to be reading in themes lately (Isn't It Punny?, WTF Did I Just Read? reviews) and this week I have the old - it's not you, it's me take on a few books that I read recently. None of these were bad - just not the right fit for me.

Are You Listening? by Tille Walden 

Graphic Novel 

Source: ARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

It's not you: The graphic novel, Are You Listening? is a very gentle (although there are threats and darker themes) story about two women (Lou the driver and Bea, her companion) who cross paths and take a weird and insightful road trip through West Texas. 

At first Bea and Lou's interactions are prickly but you understand that Bea uses her caustic personality as a defense mechanism. They slowly begin to trust each other and form a friendship that reveals past traumas and their shared experiences being queer and coming out. It was nice to read about a blossoming friendship that Doesn't turn into a romance.

They also pick up a cat named Diamond, who is being pursued by two very creepy dudes.  

It's me: This is a lovely, quiet story between Lou and Bea, but it takes several strange turns because of Diamond and enters magical realism territory. I actually liked it (& the eventual message) but the two narratives often detracted from each other, disrupting the flow of the story - which is already a little choppy reading in panels. 

At times the the story, especially Bea's, is given the time and space to breathe, then it's thrown into chaos, chasing down the cat, running away from the men. The panels just seemed to move so quickly it was both hard to keep track, and to form a true connection.

It might be for you: If you like quieter graphic novels, magical realism (and cool cats), a message of hope and human connection, queer friendship.

CW: sexual abuse, death of a parent

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Source: Audible 

Narrated by: Patti Murin, Jon Root

It's not you: Something Wilder had a wonderful second chance romance between Lily and Leo. Lily leads city slickers on treasure hunts through Utah, using her father's old maps. She hates it but it pays the bills. Then her long lost love, Leo, shows up with his friends for one of those tours just when she's desperate for money to buy her father's ranch back.

Like I said, Leo and Lily are great - they had the dreaded miscommunication incident years ago, but they dispense with that fairly quickly and move on to the adventure at hand. Is the fake treasure hunt, and all her fathers clues, real? And should they risk everything to go get it?

Leo is very clever and I liked his ability to solve the clues and the trust he put into Lily's competence.

It's me: From the summary - "But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong" 

I don't want to spoil anything but things do go horribly wrong. Problem is, I didn't find anything hilarious about this story. I think I laughed, maybe, once or twice. I was promised a madcap, Romancing the Stone-esque adventure by the authors and this wasn't it for me. 

What happened was bad. And got worse. It wasn't hahahaha for me. The narration, while good, was too dour for me as well. Lily and Leo always sounded so sad. I mean, they kind of were, being thrown back into forced proximity with your lost love and a lot of danger but again...I was promised hilarity lol

Everyone kept telling me that this wasn't their usual type of book but I think most of their books are different from each other with romance usually being the unifying element. And readers also told me this was low on romance but I guess I disagree. Yes, there was a bigger cast of characters but they kind of vanish for most of the book and this follows a regular romance trajectory.  

Their books are always 50/50 for me anyway but I mostly felt mislead by "hilarity" in the case of this one.

It might be for you: if you like a larger cast of characters than a traditional romance, adventure, clues, survival, second chance romance

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Mid-Year Audiobook Challenge Check-In


I'm posting (late of course) for the Audiobook Challenge Mid-Year check-in.

I signed up at the Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10 level and I hit my goal!

I'm kind of proud of this one because 1) I don't do challenges other than the generic goodreads (and I've greatly reduced my # over the years) & 2) I really struggled over the years with audiobooks so to think I could actually meet my goals in this challenge is awesome!


My favorite, just based on narration, was The Walls Around Us. It's a strange book and I know I would have hated it if I read it the traditional way but the audio was eerie and emotion filled so it kept my attention. 

Born a Crime, narrated by Noah was also excellent. 

Book Lovers was really good too. I usually hate romance in audio but this one worked for me.

The Kindred was a sweet YA with aliens and romance. Very old school YA but in a fun way. Great narration!

How to Be Perfect was fun if you don't normally like audiobooks since it had a cast of (famous) narrators and fun facts about ethics.

The Woman in the Library had a good narrator but the story itself annoyed me and Something Wilder is eh - the main characters sound sad and depressing to me.

I think I might even be on track to complete or move up another level -  I don't want to get cocky lol but stenographer seems doable (although I cannot listen while multitasking!) and I'm only be 5 away from Socially Awkward (which IS ME).

  • Stenographer (can listen while multitasking) 10-15
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Do you read mid-grade books?


Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. 

It is co-hosted by (Linda from Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell, Roberta from Offbeat YA, Jen from That’s What I’m Talking About, Berl's from Because Reading is Better than Real Life  and me) 

Join in by answering this weeks question in the comments or on your own blog.

If you would like to join TMST and receive periodic emails of upcoming topics, please fill out this GOOGLE FORM. TMST is a laid back meme – join in or opt out depending on your interest in topics or schedule.

Question: Do you read middle grade books? Why or why not? 

Answer: Not many, but I do! This is what I have listed on my goodreads mid-grade shelf.

I remember enjoying all of these even though I have my favorites.

The All Four Stars trilogy by Tara Dairman was my first mid-grade (recommended by a fellow blogger because it's all about food!). It's a about a pint sized food critic and aspiring chef. Just adorable!


Ivy Aberdeen's Love Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake is just a beautiful story about family love and self acceptance. It's also one of the rare LGBQT mid-grade books out there. 


The Zombie Problem trilogy by K.G. Campbell is flawed but is still an adorable, quirky series that I enjoyed a lot. 


I don't really seek out mid-grade books but if it's something that catches my eye I have no issues giving it a try. 

Do you read mid-grade books?