Growing up, I loved to read – I would spend hours in my room reading Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley Twins novels…and R.L. Stine – anyone else?! I was a huge bookworm and found so much joy in reading.
I read less and less as I got older, eventually not reading at all when I became a mom. Life was busy with family, kids, work and my blog. I always thought about trying audiobooks, but wasn’t sure if I liked the idea of listening to a book. Then, I became addicted to podcasts and listened constantly – while getting ready for work in the morning and during my commute to and from work. I finally signed up for Audible about a year into listening to podcasts and it has seriously been one of my best “self-care” investments.
Most people think of self-care as workouts, bubble baths and manicures, but for me, listening to books has been great for my stress levels and brings me a lot of joy. Instead of thinking about my to-do list or worrying about something as I commute home, I can unwind from my day with an incredible story. I don’t have a lot of time to sit and read a book for hours, but I can listen to a book while I commute and Audible has totally allowed me to indulge in books again and feel a sense of fulfillment from that. I can’t explain it, but it really helps me feel more relaxed and happier when I’m consistently listening to books.
Here are mini reviews of a few books I’ve read over the last six months or so! I love books that leave me on the edge of my seat and with lots of plot twists. I’d like to explore other book genres as well, but most of my recommendations are thriller/fiction novels because I find them to reduce stress and entertain me during my commute, while being easy to follow in the audiobook format. I’ve tried to listen to more serious books and the self-help genre, but if I’m being honest, I find my mind wandering when I listen to these (I prefer to actually read those types of books).
Crazy Rich Asians (trilogy)
Description: New Yorker Rachel Chu does not know that her loving boyfriend, Nicholas Young, also happens to be Singapore’s most eligible bachelor and likely heir to a massive fortune. So when she agrees to spend the summer in Nick’s home, her life unexpectedly becomes an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers. And that’s all before she discovers the true identity of her long-lost father . . . This box set includes the entire trilogy: Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, and Rich People Problems.
My rating: 5/5. The CRA series was my first foray into audiobooks and they’re 1000 times better than the movie (and I LOVED the movie!) I loved all of the characters, the drama, reading about the unfathomable levels of wealth and how the 1% lives. It was a fun and fast-paced read and I can’t wait for the second movie to come out. I’m glad I chose this series as my first Audible listens, because each book was so good that it made me want to listen to ALL THE BOOKS!
Description: Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale. Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces. With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.
My rating: 5/5. This is my most recent listen and oh my gosh I could NOT stop listening to this one. Highly recommend it. Some parts are shocking – especially the vivid description of certain things (no spoilers!) This is my favorite style of book because it’s so entertaining and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Description: Alice Love is 29, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital, where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over – she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over….
My rating: 4/5. I loved this book! It’s by the same author of Big Little Lies (which is a fantastic HBO series as well now!) It drew me in right from the start and I got really invested in the characters. The plot line of Alice have to re-learn who she is was interesting and engaging and I enjoyed the way the author incorporated memories from her past and unfolded deeper elements of her relationships with those in her life.
Description: From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
My rating: 3.75/5. I will admit that it took me about 8 chapters of listening to start getting into the storyline. I had heard so many rave reviews, but I was finding my mind wandering while listening to this book when I drove, which almost never happens if I’m super invested in a book/storyline. However, by chapter 9 and beyond, I was all in. The author writes very descriptively and the book tackled some tough themes. The last couple of pages of this book really got me. The realization one of the women has at the end was heartbreaking and I totally cried in the shower. It just felt like it hit a little too close to home.
Description: Juliette loves Nate. She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him. They are meant to be. The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back. She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants. True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain.
My rating: 3.5/5. I enjoyed listening to this book. It’s twisted, but that keeps things interesting. You really get a sense of how batshit the main character is and there’s definitely a twist a the end that surprised me. I like books with lots of plot twists and drama, so it was a fun listen.
Description: When you listen to this audiobook, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are listening to a story about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle. Assume nothing. Twisted and deliciously chilling, The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. Listen for the truth between the lies.
My rating: 4/5. I really enjoyed this book, the story line and the author’s development of the characters. There were some plot twists that kept things interesting and I couldn’t wait to finish it.
Description: The Wife: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house. Her Husband: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved. Her Best Friend: When Alice met Beth, her best friend, it was the icing on the cake. A friend without judgement, to celebrate with, commiserate with, Beth is the most trustworthy and loyal person that Alice knows. So when Nathan starts disappearing for stretches of time, Alice turns to Beth. But soon, she begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced….
My rating: 4/5. This book had me pretty invested from the start and had good flow and plot twists. I loved that half of the book focused on one woman’s story and half the other and then the book interlaced it all. It was also one of those books where you can’t believe the hatred you develop for one particular character.
Description: Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this wildly compulsive debut thriller about a couple whose 15-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting…. Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored. We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with. We all have our secrets to keeping a marriage alive. Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.
My rating: 4/5. This book takes you on quite the (messed up) ride. It’s hard to imagine people like this even exist, but it makes for an interesting (albeit disturbing) read. It was one of the books I couldn’t stop listening to because I just needed to know how it all turned out. Be warned, if you’re sensitive reading about murder and murder scenes, this may not be the book for you. Great ending.
Description: American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face. Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become. Which is how she gets into trouble. Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love – her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself – will have been for nothing.
My rating: 5/5. Okay so it goes without saying that I have a little bit of a (okay, huge) affinity for the British Royal Family. This book is like the Prince William/Kate Middleton fanfic of the century and I could not stop listening and was genuinely sad when it ended. If you love the BRF and Will and Kate specifically this book is for you! I loved it so much I’m already not so patiently waiting for a part 2 (hopefully there will be one as there is a big cliffhanger!) I loved the parallels this book had to W & K relationship and also the differences, plot twists and how connected I felt with all of the characters.
Description: What if America had a royal family? If you can’t get enough of Harry and Meghan or Kate and William, meet American princesses Beatrice and Samantha. Crazy Rich Asians meets The Crown. Perfect for fans of Red, White, and Royal Blue and The Royal We! Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown. Two girls vying for the prince’s heart. This is the story of the American royals. When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American. As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either…except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince…but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart. The duty. The intrigue. The Crown.
My rating: 4/5. I LOVED this book, but I think The Royal We is a little better. American Royals definitely has a YA vibe to it – but I enjoyed the storyline, characters and the drama. I have heard there will be a part 2 and am excited about it!
What books have you read or listened to lately? I’d love to hear your recommendations!