Funny You Should Ask by John Lloyd and Sarah Lloyd, a review

Funny You Should Ask by John Lloyd and Sarah Lloyd is a book from the QI Elves that answers questions you never knew you even had. This is a fun and easy non-fiction read that has a solid audiobook behind it.

Funny You Should Ask by John Lloyd and Sarah Lloyd, Your Questions Answered by the QI Elves

This audiobook was such a fun experience, with sound effects added wherever appropriate, making it just that much more interesting vs simply someone reading out the written version. That attention to detail really added a lot to this read.

And for the book itself? Well there isn’t too much to say, given that it’s a collection of amusing and interesting facts, but I did enjoy it! It covers a wide base of topics that I enjoyed learning from and gave a fair amount of detail whilst keeping the sections short and sweet.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Research: 8, Uniqueness: 8, Readability: 9, Personal Impact: 6, Intrigue: 7, Informativeness: 7 and Enjoyment: 8 giving a score of 7.57 and a 4* rating.

I’m glad that I picked this one up, and I’m also glad that I have book 2 waiting on my audiobook shelves for me to dive into! Definitely a fun little listen whilst travelling or working!

Plain Bad Heroines, a DNF review

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth is a book I tried to pick up via audio. You’ll notice the word tried. Unfortunately this was a DNF for me, the second in a row. Let’s have a chat about why.

This is the first book I’ve ever DNFd before hitting the 100 page mark. I was just plain… confused. We were introduced to multiple different time periods, so many different characters, and how they interweave? I couldn’t even begin to guess. There is a chance that if I’d read it at a different time I may have pushed through further, but when it hit the end of June I had to ask myself if I wanted to keep reading this in July. I just couldn’t be arsed. To be quite honest.

We have some lesbians making trouble in the woods of a boarding school, with multiple deaths because of wasps? And then we have a child author who’s book is being adapted into a film (but they’re an adult now) and we’re following both the big star who has one of the roles and a relatively unknown actor who has another role. And that’s pretty much all I gathered from this book. The concept does sound interesting, but I just… didn’t care.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 6, Atmosphere: 4, Writing: 5, Plot: 4, Intrigue: 3, Logic: 4, and Enjoyment: 3 with a score of 4.14 and a 2.5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: .

This was a super short review, but I read a super short amount of the book! I’ve been having a lot of bad luck when it comes to books lately so wish me luck for a 4 star read or two!

Have you read Plain Bad Heroines? Did you like it? Let me know!

Brown Girl Dreaming, a review

Somehow Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is my first book by her, I have no idea how it’s taken me this long!

Before I started this, I hadn’t realised that it was a memoir novel in verse. Which meant that while listening via audiobook I was able to get through this super quickly.

Woodson grew up with some very tough events in her life, and that’s separate from growing up Black in the US, in the 60s. The book is gorgeously written, and the imagery that Woodson conjures brings you into her world.

She also delves into her love of story-writing, which came to her at a young age, and how this inspired her through her childhood.

It was a gorgeous story, and it’s hard to review someone’s life, so instead of running this one through CAWPILE, I’ve given it a 4 star rating.

I think I may have gotten some more from this book if I’d read it traditionally rather than via audiobook, but I did still enjoy it and I think this is well worth picking up.

To Be Taught If Fortunate, a review

To Be Taught If Fortunate is my first book by Becky Chambers and I’m apparently really into my Sci-Fi novellas lately! I listened to this one via audiobook but I think I want to pick it up in person too

I do think that listening to this novella was a poor choice for me in this instance and that I would’ve enjoyed reading the physical book more. I’m always a little more engrossed in a physical book and with the audio narration I was left a little detatched.

Despite this however, I still highly recommend picking this novella up! It’s a fascinating Sci-Fi focusing on the individuals inter-personal relationships as they live for a long time with only their few crewmates for company.

It also discusses the ethics of the research that they’re doing, and the decisions they have to make out their on their own. Separated from humanity.

This is definitely a very light sci-fi. Those elements are more in the background as worldbuilding, with the primary focus being on the characters, their relationships between each other and how this alters over time.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 8, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 8, Enjoyment: 8 which is an average of 8.14 and a very respectable 4* read!

I will definitely be picking more up from Chambers in the future, I just need to decide whether I’ll be giving the audiobooks another shot.

The Annual Migration of Clouds, a review

I requested this audiobook on a whim, I wasn’t even supposed to be browsing NetGalley (who provided the audiobook for free in return for an unbiased review) but here I was and when I spotted this cover I knew I was going to request to read it!

In The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed we follow a young woman who has received an invitation to leave her small community to travel to a prestigious school. However, the novella is set in a post-apocalyptic world where some people are infected by “Cad” (although they’re still able to live almost normal lives… to a point) and climate disasters have ruined the land so people struggle to get by.

Reid wants to go, but she’s worried about those she leaves behind. How will her mother cope with the infection as she gets older? How will her childhood best friend be now that he’s lost all of his family and friends? How will they harvest the crops and do all the tasks that are usually meant for her? And to top it all of her mother doesn’t want her to go.

This little book was absolutely fantastic. I blasted through the audiobook in two sittings (only taking a break because I was listening to it at work and took my lunch break!) and adored it. I think the narrator does a great job at inflicting each character with their own personality and emphasising just the right point in sentences. I definitely want to read more from Premee Mohamed and I’m also here for listening to more audiobooks narrated by Eva Tavares!!

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates

When I got the email through from NetGalley I almost ignored it. I try not to request too many books, I have a massive tbr as it is! But something in the tag line caught me, and I opened the email up. A book about climate change? Well now this is right up my alley, I can’t not request it! I was so excited that I requested it via ebook and also audiobook, and I got both! I mainly read the book via ebook as I knew I’d want to see the graphs, but I’ll also mention the audiobooks qualities.

Lets start with the audiobook. Now you might be thinking, you just mentioned graphs, why would I want to listen to this via audiobook if I’m able to use another option? Well, Gates and the publishers thought of this! For those of you who use audiobooks due to visual impairments, the graphs are explained well and you will be able to understand the data in them from the way the information is described. For those who listen to audiobooks merely out of preference, this audiobook actually comes with a digital booklet that shows the graphs. Now not only is that pretty cool, but the “text” of the book is also a little different in the audiobook in order for it to reference those graphs and tell you to go hunt them out. I liked this little change that technically doesn’t matter, but it makes the experience of listening to the book that much more immersive. And who doesn’t love those little bits of attention to details!

Bill Gates himself reads the introduction of the audiobook, with Wil Wheaton reading the majority of the book. I personally preferred Wheaton’s reading voice, which was good for me, but I liked that this includes Gates’ voice as well. It allows you to be able to envisage the different inflictions and his tone of voice throughout the rest of the book, as well as adding a level of intimacy and relatability.

Moving away from the audiobook, but sticking with the voice of the book, Gates has a very interpersonal style throughout. It very much feels like he’s sat down for a coffee with you somewhere, going over the data that he has and making an impassioned argument. I think this was a great choice as it will stop those unfamiliar with the subject from feeling as though they are being spoken down to. It also allows for moments of humour and self-clarity which allow you to connect with the author and be more invested in the points he’s making.

Now, onto the guts of the book.

This was such an incredibly interesting read. As someone who has studied climate change from an environmental perspective I’ve always had views and opinions about what needs to be done and the steps that are currently being taken. I’d never, however, seen anything from a business perspective that was actively encouraging taking steps to go green. That? Well that was the biggest takeaway for me from this book. This book not only goes into what can be done about climate change on various levels (more on that in a moment) but it breaks it down to the respective costs, compares this to the costs of how the current methods run, and then talks about the green tax that is present and how this can be reduced through innovation and legislation.

The clear breakdown of the cost of these carbon neutral methods, as well as a clear comparison to current costs, really brings the reality of the economic side of this proposal to light. The reality is that without the backing of those with economic power, it will be all but impossible to reach carbon neutrality. Therefore, these steps which encourage and motivate greener alternatives are so important to implement. The importance of governments, on a local, national, and international level, is clearly demonstrated. With Gates even going as far to provide examples of how they could and should act in order to bring us closer to carbon zero.

In terms of those steps that can be carried out in order to reduce the carbon that is emitted into the atmosphere, these are split up into clear steps. Showing the emitters and what can be done about these. From manufacturing, to farming, to transport and more. Each polluter is mentioned, their impact demonstrated, and various options for how these can be tackled are brought to the table. The weaknesses of the solutions is also mentioned, as without those the arguments aren’t worth a penny. Gates also proposes solutions to these. Sometimes these are concrete, actual options (including options for greener concrete!), and sometimes it is simply stating that we need to carry out more research in these areas. That there needs to be more funding.

Of course Gates has been known to invest in many a start-up or a R&D opportunity. In order to reduce his bias, he doesn’t mention these companies by name throughout the book. I’m sure with a little bit of sleuthing you’d be able to match up the companies that he’s talking about to his investments, but the intent is clear. Regardless of his economic investment in these companies, his investment in the issue itself is just as strong.

This is a book that I wish more people would read. For those who state that they don’t care about the environment I believe it could offer some clarity. For those who are economically focused it could also explain not only why they should care but also how they could benefit from these changes. And overall it would raise awareness. I went into this expecting just a simple little book. I should’ve expected more from Gates. This was an in depth, well researched non-fiction that establishes many useful ground points that can be built upon in order for us to avoid a climate disaster.

Listen to some slam

This is a YA book which has been quite hyped online, and because of that I had avoided it for a while. Also because contemporary isn’t really my thing. But in the end I picked it up, in audiobook format, and damn am I glad I did.

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The Poet X is a powerful book, written in poetry and the audio is narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo herself. I felt my own teenage years within this, it was so raw and powerful and relate-able. Our Afro-Latina main character has had such a different life to my white British self, with such different struggles, different goals and aims. Yet here I was, on the bus home, tears streaming down my face.

This is definitely a book where you should listen to the audio. As it’s written in verse, having Acevedo read it out to you in the way she intended is powerful and it makes Xiomara’s slam poetry feel even more intense and raw.

I one million percent recommend listening to this amazing book. I’m so glad that I randomly picked this up and I definitely need to read more from Elizabeth Acevedo in the future.

My audiobook go to

Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series is one of the only audiobooks I enjoy. I intend to attempt to change that over time, but the second book in the series was the first audiobook I had finished since Harry Potter (narrated by Steven Fry of course) and I have gotten very used to the style. This book is #5 in the series, and First Among Sequels is the first book in a second “series” in this world, I’ve seen many complaints about the fact that this series was continued on when it should have been left at 4 books but personally I really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to listening to the next two books.

If you’re familiar with the series, you’ll know all about Thursday and her very weird life. In this book, there has been a big jump in time from book 4 and we now follow a 50+ y/o Thursday as she works, raises children and tries not to get caught doing certain jobs by her lovely husband Landen.

I always love all the references to other literature and the wild and wacky utilisations Fforde makes use of. If you want an insane read where nothing seems to make sense, and some people’s favourite character is a dodo (she doesn’t do much, she’s just a dodo, but fight me she’s great), then definitely pick up the first book in this series!

The Girl with all the Gifts – a review

I had seen this book floating around for a few years and really wanted to read it, so when I decided I was going to take a break from the Thursday Next audiobooks (by Jasper Fforde), I elected to get this on audiobook and give it a go. I am so glad that I did because I absolutely loved it! 4 out of 5*!!!

We follow Melanie, a young girl who is strapped to a chair each morning and wheeled into a classroom to learn along with many other children also strapped into chairs. Her favourite teacher is Miss Justineau, and she waits excitedly for every lesson with her, not caring about the other teachers on rotation. I don’t want to say too much more, as this is pretty much all I knew going into it and I absolutely loved finding out everything as and when it happened. Things change massively as this book progresses, Melanie really matures and I loved listening to all the different characters and their points of view, as there are chapters from all the different characters. Learning about this world and what has happened to it is incredibly engrossing and I can’t wait to delve into the second book in the series, which if I’m remembering correctly is not a direct sequel but just set in the same dystopian world.

If this is a book which has piqued your interest I really recommend picking it up, I was engrossed despite reading it over a month span via audiobook and absolutely loved the world. I’m really looking forward to reading The Boy on the Bridge eventually, although I don’t currently know whether I’ll listen to it or read a physical copy.