For me there’s no better way to switch off and escape from a hard day than losing myself in a good book.
It’s one of my favourite ways to relax and I love that feeling when you can’t wait to pick up your book to find out what happens next.
However since having my children I find it harder and harder to squeeze in that vital “me” time.
I still read dozens of books every week. The only problem is they’re all for kids.
I love reading with my children and I think it’s so important to instil a love of reading at an early age.
But what about my love of reading?
After having my second baby in less than two years I’m pretty exhausted at the end of the day and often too bleary-eyed to cope with reading a book.
Normally I just stick to binge-watching something on Netflix before switching off for the night.
So when I was asked to try Audible – Amazon’s audio books app – I jumped at the chance.
And after finishing my first audio book I can honestly say I’m so thrilled that I signed up to the app.
I found it opened up a whole new realm of opportunities for enjoying a novel.
I could lie down at the end of a busy day and simply pop in my headphones to take in a few chapters. I didn’t have to prop myself up or angle a lamp towards me and my eyes got a rest after reading 10 bedtime stories to my toddler.
I take a lot of walks with my baby when my toddler is at nursery. Although it’s obviously nice to interact with her as we stroll along, I also found when she slept or was busy playing with a toy I could listen to a bit more of my book.
One of my most relaxing environments is the car. If we’ve been out for the morning both kids will generally pass out in the back and it’s blissfully quiet.
If you have Bluetooth enabled in your car stereo, you can link your smartphone to it and play the book while driving.
It gave me so many options to bring reading back into my life.
So it’s safe to say I’m a huge fan of Audible now. Here’s an in depth look at my experience of the app:
How Audible works
The process is incredibly simple. You can be listening to an audio book in less than 10 minutes!
First step, download the Audible app to your smartphone or tablet. You can also listen on Amazon devices such as the Dot and Echo and on your computer. You can also download the books to your MP3 player.
Next set up your account. This is so easy if you already have an Amazon account. Just pop those details in and you’re online.
Now choose a book! The app is so simple to use. You have a library where your downloads are stored, a Discover section where you can browse new releases, recommendations for you based on previous downloads and a search facility if you have something specific in mind.
The one downside is that once you’ve picked a book, you have to pay for it at audible.co.uk or Amazon. It would be nice if you could do this direct with the app but I’m picking holes here.
I have the app on my iPhone and iPad. What I absolutely love about Audible is you can listen on your phone while out and about, then pick up where you left off on your iPad later that evening. The app syncs to where you’ve got to in the story.
What does it have to offer?
There are more than 200,000 titles to choose from so you are guaranteed to find books you like. There’s fiction, non-fiction and even original content.
The selection of Audible Originals is impressive and the content features incredible acting talent. Originals include X Files stories starring Mulder and Scully themselves, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, and a re-telling of the classic Treasure Island starring Catherine Tate.
I downloaded The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye by David Lagercrantz. It’s the latest instalment in the Millennium series, which began with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
I remember getting hooked on this series when I read the first book many years ago. I thought the Swedish language version of the movie was incredible, however the Daniel Craig version didn’t really add much in my opinion. I wanted to read more about the lead character, Lisbeth Salander – who is surely one of the greatest feminist heroines ever written.
When I saw there was another book in the series and it was available on Audible, I had to check it out.
If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it focuses on two primary characters, hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist.
Lisbeth is a bisexual genius with a feisty but totally anti-social personality, brought on by her traumatic childhood. She does not suffer fools gladly and is relentless in her pursuit of her version of justice.
The series is dark and explores some disturbing themes including sexual abuse and violence towards women. The first three books were written by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, however he passed away in 2004.
Each book is packed with mystery and drama and is utterly compelling. as well as sub-plots looking at the background and development of Lisbeth.
The author had always said he planned to write 10 books in the Millennium series.
Luckily for fans Lagercrantz has picked up where Larsson left off, and this is the second of his contributions to the renewed series.
The gist is that Lisbeth is in prison following her extreme actions taken to save a young boy in the last book. There she strives to help an abused inmate, while worth with her old friend Mikael to solve more mysteries about her past.
Although I enjoyed the continuation of Lisbeth’s journey and found the story compelling, this sequel didn’t thrill me as much as the original Girl novel.
There wasn’t quite enough of Lisbeth in the plot for me and at times the story slowed down too much. However there were some really interesting secondary characters and quite a few sub-plots going on, which made this an compelling read.
For die-hard fans, this will be a very welcome return of the kickass feminist icon and I am certainly hoping there will be another adventure from Salander.
What did I think of the audio book experience?
The narrator of the book had a brilliant reading voice. Very deep and relaxing. I really liked how he was able to reflect the build-up of tension in crucial parts of the book.
He also changed his voice slightly for each character, even managing to make it feminine and soft for the female characters without sounding silly.
I still found the plot and characters easy to follow, even without having the written word to refer back to.
You can can skip forward or backward 10 seconds using easy shortcut options. There’s a chapters list so you can navigate through the book easily. You can also make bookmarks and leave notes.
How much is Audible?
You can pay as go, selecting books you like and paying the one-off cost for download. I received two free Audible books for downloading and signing up to the app. My book would have been around £20.
Alternatively you can sign up for membership. Audible has various packages to suit your budget, such as the £7.99 per month package which allows you to download one book a month. A 24 book annual membership is £109.99 for the whole year.
Obviously it works out way cheaper to have the membership than buy the books individually.
I will definitely be downloading more books from Audible in the future. I loved getting into my PJs at the end of a busy day and closing my eyes while listening to the next chapter of the story. It’s actually an even more immersive way of reading.
The narrator brings the book to life, making the plot more exciting and creating added drama to the dialogue.
Now after reading bedtime stories to my little ones, I get to have grown-up bedtime stories read to me.
For more information visit Audible.