Book Challenge 2018 — On Fire

I decided to give audio books a try this year. Given that I can devour podcast upon podcast during a week’s time, it seemed to follow that I could listen to books just as well. I had to get over my initial idea that if I weren’t actually using my eyeballs to read the book, that it shouldn’t count as a book I’ve “read.” In the book tracker pages that I keep in my traveler’s notebook, I do make note of the books’ form. I use the short cut of “A” for audio and “K” for kindle. If I  do not denote either, it is a good, old-fashioned paper book that I held in my own two hands.

As January comes to a close, here are the books I have finished. Each one I enjoyed, but all for different reasons.

Pretty GirlsPretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Dark PlacesDark Places by Gillian Flynn


Choosing to listen to Dark Places in its audio form likely helped me enjoy it more. Given that the story keeps pace by bouncing among characters and from past to present, the narrator’s skill in voicing those transitions helped me keep things straight as I moved through the book. I have a feeling this is the type of book I would have had to keep flipping back to previous chapters to refresh my memory each time I picked it up–but the audiobook version negated that necessity.
The central mystery to this story engaged me from the opening moments and held me until the end. I love the “Wow…didn’t see that coming” kind of revelations in a good book and this one was chock full. In addition to the engaging mystery, readers have an opportunity to see characters from the inside out–inner monologues plus how other characters are interpreting their behaviors and actions.
As a fan of true crime and cold case investigation media in all its forms, I also found the perspective of Libby Day as she dealt with “enthusiasts” devoted to her family’s tragedy interesting and thought-provoking.

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All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had this book on my to-read list for quite awhile before I reached to top of the hold list at my library. Once I checked it out, I made it about 50 pages before life interfered and I had no hope of finishing the book before my due date arrived. I am not the type to hang onto a book past its due date when I cannot renew it, as that means someone else is waiting on me. So, if I am not close to the end, back to the library it goes and I will try again later.
In deciding to give audiobooks a chance, I realized I could check out this title immediately and did so. I found this story to be simultaneously painful and beautiful–as many stories told about wartime. The quiet bravery and depth of intelligence of Marie-Laure and the cleverness and good heart of Werner Pfennig were silver linings in what could otherwise have been a heavy, depressing tale.
Everything from the setting of the scenes to the mannerisms of the characters were made richer by the author’s thoughtful descriptions.
This is one book that I do not think lost any of its impact by being completed in audio form.

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I Am Watching YouI Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Believe it or not, I devoured this book in one day on my iPhone’s Kindle app. Who knew your kid’s hockey tournament weekend could turn into a real reading opportunity?
This book begins with an ultimate “what would you do” moment and rolls like a locomotive full steam ahead from there. A handful of important characters share the story with the reader in chapters devoted to them and their perspectives. This mystery is covered in layers of secrets that began long before Anna disappears. Once the layers are peeled away, the fate of each of the characters is also known. Just when you think you have it figured out, another fact is thrown into the mix and you have to start your analysis all over again.
I found this book to be a real page turner and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good whodunit with a twist of what would I have done.

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The ImmortalistsThe Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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