Look at me today posting relatively early for this Top 5 Tuesday hosted by Shanah @bionicbookworm !
Maybe it’s because with the two weeks break I missed it and was eager to get back on the saddle?
Anyway today’s topic is top 5 audiobooks but of course, being the generous me, you’ll get more than 5!
By this time last year I had NEVER listened to any audiobook! I didn’t get all the hype and love.
English is not my mother language and getting older (even if I still feel like 16) means that you hear less sounds. Some very deep and low voices are hard to catch if I am in a noisy surrounding.
But as I wanted to work on “spoken English” I decided to give it a try at the beginning of this year thanks to the Audible free three months trial.
Listening to romance in audiobook, which is my favorite reading genre, does not work for me …most of the time. Because if you have a sex scene, they make the NOISES! And breathing strongly or talking dirty is hot when you read it but … instead of making me feel all hot and bothered it just makes me giggle! That’s not the aim.
So, I decided to try with a non fiction book (see below) and I was hooked! I noticed that what worked very well in audio books was historical fiction and fantasy or scifi!
All the books below are a combination of epic story AND perfect narrator.
Without further ado I nominate as best audiobook of the year:
Becoming by Michelle Obama
It was my first audiobook and a real treat as Michelle herself reads her story! I felt privileged like having tea with the former first lady 😀
Michelle was honest. She was matter of fact. She seemed very close to every woman with her battles and concerns as a mom and as a wife. She was graceful as she’s been all along Barack’s presidency.
“To me, becoming isn’t arriving somewhere. It is a way to reach continuously to a better self. The journey never ends. It is never giving up the idea”
And she concluded with a “let’s invite one another” because meeting others different from us maybe we can do less assumption.
I absolutely loved every moment of that audiobook and really recommend to listen to it instead of reading it (and I won’t say this often I think!).
Third book, another historical fiction: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.
Another 6 stars and the start of my crush on Ruta Sepetys books.
What was more amazing was that all four narrators were exceptional! Will Damron (again), Joejeanna Marie, Cassandra Morris and Michael Crouch.
I simply could not stop listening to that story.
It was also my first story with multiple narrators and I am VERY picky as far as voices are concerned. They really have to match the characters.
I want to praise Ruta Sepetys writing.
Often the multiple POV are only different because the name of the character is mentioned at the beginning of the chapter. But not here!
All four voices and characters are very distinctives! Each speaking differently. Even without hearing different voices I would have recognized each character. Ruta uses other words, she builds other type of sentences. Each character simply comes with another writing style and tone.
I don’t have enough talent to express what Ruta Sepety made me live for two days. I can’t convey with enough strength and conviction all the beauty, the intensity, the sadness, the cruelty, the desperation of this formidable story.
I still have shivers and tears hearing in my head Jeorjeana Marie playing Joanna and whisper shouting: “Opi!” “Opi!”
I finished this book late at night and did not found sleep for a very long time, too entangled in their destinies and broken by their fate.
Fifth audiobook: The City of Brass (and the Kingdom of Copper) by S.A. Chakraborty. Narrator: Soneela Nankani.
First this book was an audiobook of around 19:30 minutes. That’s a lot but it was never boring and the narrator was excellent. I guess that she is from foreign origin (Indian? Persian?) as her pronunciation of all these exotic names was top notch.
There is just one down side to listening to that kind of book: the names! I had no idea how they were written and I can’t guarantee that I’ll write them all correctly. Please don’t hesitate to correct me!
The book is filled with:
-Djinn’s complicated politics;
-ancestral hate and legendary battles;
-scheming and betrayals;
-attraction and forbidden love;
-extraordinary and fearsome magical creatures;
-secrets upon secrets;
And so much more!
This is a fabulous and lush tale filled with political scheming, betrayals, hidden agendas, fabulous and deadly creatures, magic and hot Daeva.
Seventh audiobook: back to historical fiction with The Huntress by Kate Quinn (and also go for The Alice Network also excellent). Narrator : Saskia Maarleveld
Kate Quinn already amazed me with The Alice Network and she did it again in The Huntress.
I was also delighted that the narrator of this story was once more Saskia Maarleveld.
This book features Russian, German and English speaking characters and Saskia did an impeccable impersonation of all these characters, with a faultless (as far as I could judge of course) accent. She also really acted that story, being alternatively Ian Graham, ex war journalist of about forty, Nina Markova brazen and fearless ex Russian bomber or Jordan McBride, young American Bostonian. I think her acting the story added to my “reading” pleasure.
We have three POV all interesting but my favorite was Nina Markova.
Kate Quinn chose a particular perspective to tell Nina’s story : the story of the Night Witches and I found it absolutely fascinating and brilliant! It made me look after all the information I could find on the Night Witches, wanting to know if these women had existed or were a figment of Kate Quinn’s imagination! To my great delight, these women existed!
The Night Witches were a Russian regiment of night bombers composed solely of women! And these women had a much higher success rate than their male counterparts!
Nina, seizing her chance, forcing luck, joined this regiment. I adored all the chapters narrating the birth of this special force, the comradery between the “Sistra”, their training, their iron will, their audacity. What they went through and all their exploits were some of the best parts of the book!
It gave us a unique insight in Nina Markova’s personality.
Every character had secrets of his own, some personal cross to bear, some guilt to live with. They were complex and flawed. They were brilliant and courageous. They simply were human.
We follow three parallel stories until they all collide towards one main goal: finding the huntress.
Alternating between point of views, between pas and present, leaving clues behind was a very smart choice to have a ratcheting tension in the book.
If you are a fan of historical fiction you HAVE to read this book!
That’s it! I did it!
Now do recommend me some of your favorite audiobooks please!
Thanks for reading.