Ongoing Reviews of Books And AudioBooks

By Adventures in Obsessive Reading 

Ms. Winkle is an author and book blogger. Bleeding Heart is the first installment in her Guardian Chronicles series and her first novel. She has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Montana, an MA in International Security from the University of Arizona. When she isn’t studying she can usually be found with a dog and a book. 

Everything I Never Told You
Author: Celeste Ng
Page Count: 304
Rating: B
Keywords: Loss, Identity. Infidelity, Family, Chinese Americans, 1970s
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Duration: 10 hours 1 minute
Younger Readers: Drinking, sex, smoking, abuse, racism, and suicide are all topics that would make this inappropriate for very young readers.

I had seen quite a few people reading this when it first came out but never got around to picking up a copy of it. Seeing it on the Audible app was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It really reminded me of a book I read about a young Chinese American girl when I was in 8th grade. Her struggles of trying to fit in while also embracing her grandmother’s culture reminded me quite a bit of Lydia’s struggles to fit in in Ohio. I wish I remembered the name of the book but all I can remember is that the girl loved jade and wanted to go to school in Colorado to be a geologist. If I happen to remember the title I will update this post.

As you can probably tell from the synopsis this is a dark story about loss. Lydia is shown throughout the book in flashbacks while her family is shown falling apart. The struggles of an interracial family in 1970s America were shown quite well, both through the perspective of the parents and the children. Identity and self discovery are major themes explored throughout. While this is certainly a depressing story it never felt unbearable to read. I wanted to find out what happened next, wanted to get to know the Lees, wanted to see them come through this.

Traditional YA tends to focus more on the teenagers. I enjoyed that this one explored the Lee parents in more detail. It added a sense of reality and depth to the tale that it would have lacked otherwise. Moral dilemmas that they face are quite poignant. Mr. and Mrs. Lee are devastating and beautiful all at once.

The narration was also enjoyable. Cassandra Campbell’s reading was clear without being overly dramatic. I found it easy to pay attention to the story without being distracted by her voice. I tend to put the speed at 1.5x. Some books this has sounded like a jumbled mess but this reading did just fine.

 

The Art of War
Author: Sun Tzu
Page Count: 273
Rating: A
Keywords: Classic, War, Theory, Methods
Genre: Strategy
Narrator: Aidan Gillen
Duration: 1 hour 7 minutes
Younger Readers: This could be dry for children but is not inappropriate.

I read this for a class when I was an undergrad. It is an interesting classic, especially if you are studying political science or even writing battle scenes for fiction. There is not much I have to say about it. It’s short and enjoyable. If you have an inkling you might enjoy it then at least check it out.

What I truly loved was the narration. I am absolutely a huge Game of Thrones fan and had not realized when I hit play that Aidan Gillen was Little Finger. Definitely a pleasant surprise. I might have, most definitely, squealed a little in my car. When I had to read this for homework I will admit it was a little dry. Gillen’s voice breathed life into this classic and I noticed aspects of the text that I had previously glossed over. I would absolutely recommend giving this one a listen.

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