Top Ten Tuesday: All About Audio


I’m back this week after my summer hiatus from blogging! Yesterday I posted a review to one of my new favorite series, and today I’m talking about my favorite audiobooks and podcasts for Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday: All About My Favorite Audiobooks & Podcasts

Audiobooks You Can Listen to For Free!
*because who doesn’t like free entertainment?

  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – Michael Crichton’s books are already hard to put down, but when you stumble upon a perfectly narrated audiobook version, you will spend the next 13 hours with your headphones on, visualizing mad scientists, man-eating dinosaurs, and genetic experiments gone wrong. This was me last summer. My favorite part about this audiobook: William Roberts’s voice is exactly like the one you would hear narrating an actual Jurassic Park ride.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – I had a Shakespeare professor in college who said that plays are meant to be read aloud, and I wholeheartedly agree with that, especially after listening to this table read of Oscar Wilde’s hilarious play. It’s short (under 2 hours) and I guarantee you will laugh out loud at least once.
  • War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells – The fact that Orson Wells turned this famous science fiction book into a panic-inducing radio broadcast speaks volumes about it’s value as an audiobook. This Librivox version is read by an older British gentleman, and I love the juxtaposition between his calm and proper voice and the chaotic alien invasion he’s narrating.

Favorite Narrators

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – I know I will probably shock and disappoint a lot of people when I say this was only an OK read for me. As much as I laughed at the nerdy banter and satiric writing, there was something that kept me from loving this book. BUT, I will have to say that I really appreciated hearing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy narrated by the author himself, Douglas Adams. I’m having a hard time finding a link to that particular version, but I checked it out from the library so I know it exists!
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – I know there are a lot of people who hate Anne Hathaway (which is crazy to me because my husband and I love her), but I really enjoyed her narration of The Princess Diaries audiobooks. She played Mia in the film versions, and listening to the audiobooks convinced me even more than she was perfect for the role of the awkward teenage princess. I’ve only listened to the first few books in this series, but my local library has the rest so I plan on finishing it sometime!

These next two are recommendations from my husband (Matt), who listens to more audiobooks than I do!

  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King – Matt and I watched part of the Hulu 11.22.63 miniseries, but I was getting too creeped out by some of the characters, so we stopped and Matt downloaded the audiobook to listen to instead. It wasn’t his favorite book, but he did love the narration by Craig Wasson. He said hearing all the different accents really helped him visualize everything.
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – Matt actually listened to this audiobook in French (because it’s the epitome of French literature and when I asked him if he was listening to the English version he pretended to gag), but the narration must have been well done since he talked about this book for weeks after he finished it. Most of that praise probably goes to Victor Hugo himself, but I also know that an audiobook narrator has the power to make or break (or kill) a book.


  • Astonishing Legends – my favorite! I love to put in my headphones and listen to these podcasts when I’m cleaning or commuting to and from work. If you’re into mysterious and unexplainable happenings, this is a great podcast to binge listen to. Some of my favorite topics have been the Oak Island Money Pit, the Dyatlov Pass tragedy, The Knights of the Golden Circle conspiracy, and the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class – The name of this podcast pretty much says it all. Holly and Tracy talk about all sorts of interesting, mysterious, creepy, and legendary historical events and people, and each episode is relatively short (around 30 minutes) so it’s easy to listen to an episode while you’re cooking dinner or walking the dog. Some of my favorite episodes have been about early Danish monarchies and the Jelling Stones, The Great Vowel Shift, The Queen Victoria/Lady Hasting’s scandal, the disappearance of the Sodder children, and some other “history’s mysteries” episodes.
    Stuff You Missed in History Class
  • Rebel Force Radio – This is actually a podcast my husband listens to, but I’ve listened along to a few of them and I can totally see why he loves it so much. The few episodes I listened to were the Star Wars Oxygen podcasts where David Collins and Jimmy Mac analyzed John William’s soundtracks to all 7 of the Star Wars films. I was so impressed by how thoroughly they broke down and analyzed each track. I learned some really amazing facts about how the Star Wars scores add an incredible depth to the films.

Timebound (The Chronos Files #1) by Rysa Walker


When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence.

Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows.

Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?

Timebound (The Chronos Files #1) by Rysa Walker
Published January 1, 2014 by Skyscrape
Format: Kindle e-book; 366 pages

Young Adult/Science Fiction/Historical Fiction
Also By This Author: Time’s EdgeTime’s DivideThe Delphi Effect
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


You know when you buy a book because you have to have it but then for some insane reason you don’t read it right away? And then months or years later you finally pick it up and proceed to slap yourself because the book is everything you could want in a book and more?? This is basically what happened with me and Timebound.

Timebound is part 1 in The Chronos Files by Rysa Walker. It’s about Kate Pierce-Keller discovering she has the ability to time travel and the subsequent journey she takes to stop her sadistic grandfather from rewriting history and committing a mass genocide. There’s also a heart wrenching love triangle, conflicting alternate realities, the pain of your best friend never knowing she knew you, and well-researched and intriguing glimpses into the 19th and early 20th centuries.

I adore stories about time travel. There’s something captivating and heartbreaking about traveling through space and time that mesmerizes me. I remember watching The Time Machine when I was younger and being equally intrigued and devastated by the idea of being unable to return to your own time. I also have vivid memories of seeing The Time Traveler’s Wife in theaters with a bunch of my friends and then crying for at least 30 minutes afterwards because the ending was so beautifully heartbreaking.

Timebound made me feel the same curiosity and heartache that I love about time travel stories. Rysa Walker has created a wonderful world where science fiction and historical fiction blend seamlessly, and her characters deal with experiences and emotions that both young adults and older adults can relate to. I’ve already read the second book, Time’s Edge, so I can say that her writing gets even more intriguing and surprising as the story continues. I’ve been holding off on reading the final book and the related novellas just so I can get my reviews posted on the first two Chronos Files books because I really think this is a series more readers need to know about!

“Having your existence completely erased has to qualify as a life-changing event, by anyone’s definition.”

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy sci-fi, especially if it’s light on the technical jargon.
…you love suspenseful, captivating novels and don’t mind occasionally having your stomach in knots while reading a book.
…you’re a masochist like me who can’t help but pine after heartbreaking romances and relationships.
…you appreciate well-researched historical fiction novels.

Final Musings

“You cannot hide from your heart, Kate. It always finds you. And, sadly, I cannot hide from mine.”

I could honestly keep gushing about Timebound for hours, but instead I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book :)

The Book(ish) Box Review!


I am so behind in blogging these days. We’ve had lots of friends and family visit us this summer and I always feel guilty about reading and blogging when we have guests (I try not to be too antisocial, even though sometimes I have to escape to my room or the bathroom for a few minutes to myself).

Anyway, at long last I am going to review one of my current favorite things in the whole world: my Book(ish) Box subscription!

Now, I am not exaggerating when I say it took well over a year for me to decide on which subscription box I wanted to sign up for. My husband and I both loved the idea of receiving a goodie box in the mail each month, but neither of us knew which boxes we wanted to sign up for (well, my husband didn’t really struggle with that–I’m the indecisive one). Then, a few months ago, he signed up for The Dollar Beard Club which persuaded me to finally pick a box as well, and I found the perfect one for me: The Book(ish) Box!

Each monthly Book(ish) Box comes with a t-shirt from Appraising Pages and 3-5 bookish home, beauty, and fashion items. You can select different t-shirt styles and sizes, and they are super comfy!

When I discovered this wonderful subscription box I knew I had to sign-up right away! But alas, they were all sold out for that particular month! I am not exaggerating when I say that I was pretty devastated. My husband, being the sweet and thoughtful person he is, secretly emailed the lovely owners of Appraising Pages a long, Victorian-inspired message, asking them if they would have one more box that I could sign up for. He must have won them over with his writing skills because they kindly let me sign up, and I was overjoyed because that month’s theme was Classic novels (MY FAVORITE!).

When my first box arrived, I WAS SO EXCITED to open it. I made myself some tea (because that’s what Classic novels call for, am I right?), and I carefully fangirled over each gift in the box.

June’s Book(ish) Box – Classic Novels

Alice in Wonderland t-shirt (Appraising Pages)
Great Gatsby Notebook (Bugaboo Bear Designs)
Ampersand Ring (A Cute Geek)
Alice in Wonderland Socks (Out of Print)
Magnetic Persuasion bookmark

I wear this ampersand ring nearly every day. It’s not made of metal so it doesn’t tarnish at all, and it fits perfectly on my middle finger :) I also adore the Curiouser and Curiouser shirt and the White Rabbit socks are adorable. The Great Gatsby notebook is made from recycled paper, which is awesome! I recently misplaced the Persuasion bookmark while reading For Darkness Shows the Stars (which just so happens to be a Persuasion retelling), but I’m sure it’s in my couch somewhere!

July and August’s boxes were equally wonderful, and I will share with you some detailed pictures of the Fantasy and Fairy Tale Retelling themed goodies!

July’s Book(ish) Box – Fantasy


J.R.R. Tolkien inspired t-shirt (Appraising Pages)
Saphira Eragon Blend Coffee (Passive Juice Motel)
Fantasy Antler Headband (Night and Day Baby)
Game of Thrones inspired bangle (The Geeky Cauldron)
The Mortal Instruments inspired crossbody tote (Fiction Tea)

I finally drank the Eragon themed coffee earlier this week when we ran out of our usual coffee. It was good! And I absolutely love the crossbody tote bag, even if I haven’t read The Mortal Instruments.

August’s Book(ish) Box – Fairy Tale Retellings


A Court of Mist and Fury t-shirt (Appraising Pages)
Peter Pan Necklace (The Bookish Box)
Beauty and the Beast watercolor bookmar (Lexy Olivia)
Mug inspired by Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Evie Sea)
Disney post-it notes (Appraising Pages)

It’s hard to tell, but the Peter Pan necklace is a thimble with a tiny acorn and the Disney post-it notes say: “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” The Beauty and the Beast watercolor book mark is BEAUTIFUL!

If you’re a huge bookworm like me (which, I’m assuming you are since you’re perusing a book blog), you are probably wondering how you can sign up for your own Book(ish) Box immediately!

Here is a link to subscribe: GET A BOOK(ISH) BOX! September’s boxes don’t ship for almost another 2 weeks, and the theme is Literary Ladies (so I’m expecting at least one Hermione themed item!). Hopefully I’ll be quicker at posting a review of that box than I was with my first three boxes :)

Playing the Part (A Class of Their Own #3) by Jen Turano


Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan’s interest turns threatening. Lucinda’s widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta’s life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson’s estate to hide out.

Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there’s much more to him than society knows.

Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail’s matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can’t ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it’ll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.

Playing the Part (A Class of Their Own #3) by Jen Turano
Published March 1, 2016 by Bethany House
Format: Netgalley e-book for review; 352 pages
Historical Fiction/Christian Fiction
Also By This Author: The Ladies of Distinction series
My Rating: ♥♥♥


Playing the Part is the conclusion to Jen Turano’s A Class of Their Own series. I haven’t read the first two books, After a Fashion and In Good Company, but the author does a good job at filling new readers, like myself, in on previous plot lines that are important for Lucetta and Bram’s story.

I had previously read Gentleman of Her Dreams, a novella from Jen Turano’s Ladies of Distinction series, and I really enjoyed the humor of Turano’s writing as well as the stubbornness of the main character. I was really looking forward to experiencing that again with Playing the Part, but unfortunately my expectations must have been too high because I found myself not connecting with this novel as much as I wanted to. Lucetta is still a fierce and strong-minded heroine, and there are some funny scenes in Playing the Part, but overall I thought it was missing something to make it great.

I did enjoy the allusions to some of my favorite gothic literature. Classic gothic lit is one of my favorite genres, and it made me happy to read references to Edgar Allan Poe and Dracula (the love interest’s name is Bram, which I really loved!). Plus there’s also a dungeon and unexplained “hauntings” going on in Bram’s gothic castle, so if you’re like me you’ll probably enjoy those descriptions.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy historical fiction.
…you’re a fan of classic gothic fiction including Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker (there are several references).
….you like reading clean romances that aren’t excessively religious.

Final Musings:

Although I didn’t love Playing the Part, I did enjoy it enough that I will probably read the first two books in the series sometime. Jen Turano is a fun writer who places her characters in entertaining situations. Her novels are great picks if you need a lighthearted historical romance to read.

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

the fill-in boyfriend

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published May 5, 2015 by HarperTeen
Format: library e-book; 344 pages
Young Adult/Contemporary Romance
Also By This Author: The Distance Between UsOn the FencePivot Point
Goodreads | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥


This book is about so much more than I originally expected. Yes, the majority of the plot revolves around the idea of a fill-in boyfriend, but it’s also about losing friends and making new ones, being vulnerable, and ultimately finding yourself. I connected easily with Gia as she tries to become a better person during her senior year of high school. Like so many of us, she feels like an absolute failure before she notices any improvement.

A lot of Gia’s life is centered on her group of best friends: Claire, Laney, and “frenemy” Jules. Seeing how these girls interacted with each other and with their other classmates reminded me of some of the best and worst parts of high school. I really enjoyed the misfit characters that interrupted Gia’s perfectly planned life and changed her perspective on everything.

I enjoyed the ending of The Fill-In Boyfriend because not everything is completely resolved. Some relationships were still messy and there were some unanswered questions, which made the ending more realistic, in my opinion. Sometimes I prefer a clean, “happily ever after” ending, but honestly, those books are usually more forgettable. When novels wrap up and leave a few minor ends unresolved, I tend to hold on to the story for a while after I’ve finished it, mulling it over and analyzing how it connects to my own reality. The Fill-In Boyfriend has had me reflecting on high school and the friendships that have dissolved or endured over the years.

Read This Book If…

…you like seeing characters get caught in their mistakes (and lies) and having to make amends.
…you’ve ever been a misfit.
…you enjoy venting your feelings through fictional characters (there are a few scenes involving angry screaming and throwing rocks).
…you’re looking to read a contemporary YA romance that is surprisingly more than surface-deep.

“We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story, Gia. When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”

Final Musings:

One thing Gia focuses on in The Fill-In Boyfriend is being a better person. She fails, a lot, but it reminded me that self-improvement is a life-long journey and not an over-night process. Although it makes me extremely anxious when fictional characters act like compulsive liars (seriously, I have a major problem with second-hand guilt and embarrassment), seeing how Gia reacted to the consequences of her decisions made up for that.

This book was recommended to me by a couple of friends, and even though I had previously tried reading Kasie West’s The Distance Between Us (and put it down after a quarter of the way through), I’m glad I gave The Fill-In Boyfriend a chance because it’s been one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett


When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Published 1911 by Frederick A. Stokes
Format: audiobook; 331 pages
Classics/Young Adult
Also By This Author: A Little PrincessLittle Lord Fauntleroy
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥


The Secret Garden is one of those novels I always assumed I had read when I was little, or I at least thought I had seen the movie. Having read the book now, however, I realize that I didn’t know the story at all!

Despite The Secret Garden being written for a younger audience, I still enjoyed it, especially the dreamy, poetic language Frances Hodgson Burnett uses. I found myself getting lost in The Secret Garden along with Mary Lennox and her friends. I connected with Mary and her friend Declan right away, but it took me a little while to start liking Colin (although I think that was purposeful).

The tone of mystery and suspense is so thick in this novel that I was constantly expecting something bad to happen. This is actually a pretty common reaction for me; while reading Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone, I thought Emily’s best friend Sloane had been kidnapped and/or murdered when really she had secretly moved.

“One of the strange things about living in the world is that now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever…”

Read This Book If…

…you’re a daydreamer/adventurer.
…you enjoy strong-minded, stubborn characters.
…you’re looking for a book that will help you temporarily escape from the real world.
…you want to rediscover a childhood classic.

“I’ve seen the spring now and I’m going to see the summer. I’m going to see everything grow here. I’m going to grow here myself.”

Final Musings:

I read this book because of it’s web series adaptation, The Misselthwaite Archives. I’m a part of an online LIW (literary-inspired web series) club. Last month we watched The Misselthwaite Archives and chatted about it and I also read the book. The web series is a lovely adaptation of The Secret Garden. Colin was changed to Callie, which worked better for the modern version, in my opinion. The cinematography is gorgeous and the theme music is appropriately captivating. The acting is also wonderful!

Villette by Charlotte Bronté


Arguably Brontë’s most refined and deeply felt work, Villette draws on her profound loneliness following the deaths of her three siblings. Lucy Snowe, the narrator of Villette, flees from an unhappy past in England to begin a new life as a teacher at a French boarding school in the great cosmopolitan capital of Villette. Soon Lucy’s struggle for independence is overshadowed by both her friendship with a worldly English doctor and her feelings for an autocratic schoolmaster. Brontë’s strikingly modern heroine must decide if there is any man in her society with whom she can live and still be free.

Villette by Charlotte Brontë
Published 1853 (under Currer Bell) by Smith, Elder & Co.
Format: e-book; 432 pages
Classics/Romance/Gothic Fiction
Also By This Author: Jane EyreShirley
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥


Villette took me months to finish; 10 months to be exact. It may be surprising, therefore, that I would give this book a 4-star rating, but despite feeling like a sloth trying to force my way through the majority of this novel, the last 50-60 pages made the sluggish journey completely worth it.

Villette, much like its beloved sister-novel Jane Eyre, is a gothic Victorian love story involving a persevering, deep-feeling narrator and a misunderstood, secretly caring Byronic hero. Unlike Jane Eyre, Miss Lucy Snowe is an unreliable, often unlikable narrator. I actually had a hard time desiring good things for her until the final chapters. I won’t sugar coat it; being inside her mind was annoying at times. She was judgmental and behaved bitterly towards most of her companions. Charlotte Brontë purposefully gave her an icy surname.

Honestly, I was very disinterested in Villette until the climax of the story and from that point on I was hooked. The long-awaited sentimentality that Charlotte Brontë excelled at did not disappoint. On the contrary, it was so lovely I probably would have cried if I hadn’t been reading it at work (I happily sobbed through the ending of Jane Eyre from the privacy of my bedroom).

It also helps to know that Villette borrows from real events in the author’s life. It could even be called autobiographical in many ways. If you’ve already read Villette or you don’t mind major spoilers, here’s an excellent analysis of the novel and Charlotte’s connection to Lucy Snowe.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy classic gothic literature (think Jane EyreNorthanger Abbey, or even Edgar Allan Poe).
…you love unrequited love stories.
…you can enjoy a book even if the main character is unpleasant or hard to sympathize with.
…you love captivating conclusions (Villette will intrigue you and stay on your mind long after you finish it).

Final Musings

There was a 1970s miniseries of Villette, but alas! It has been lost. Unfortunately this is the case for numerous British miniseries from the 1970s and earlier. Frankly I think it’s horrible and I’m really upset because I would love to watch all of the literary-inspired shows!

There are also two different radio dramatizations of Villette that BBC Radio has produced, but I haven’t found a way to listen to them, yet :(