Audiobook Challenge

It is easy to find a multitude of reading challenges for any given year, genre, or topic on the Internet. While some might work for you and ultimately prove successful, others may not work for your reading style. Challenges are a fun way to expand your reading and expose you to a wide array of books, authors, and genres, that you may not have been exposed to before. So, how do you create a reading challenge that works best for you? Read on to learn how to create your own reading challenge.

Take Stock
The best place to begin designing your own reading challenge is to take note of books that you have read previously. Whether you use a website, spreadsheet, notebook, or another method to keep track of all your books, review what you have been able to read in the past year or two. If you have an account with AudiobooksNow or another platform for downloading audio books, you can easily find the number and type of books you’ve listened to recently. Count how many books you’ve completed for a good jumping off point. Do you want to read the same amount you’ve read previously? You do you want to read more? Less? Do you want to try reading different genres? New authors? Knowing what you have read will help you determine how many and what types you want to include in your reading challenge.

Set a Goal
If you’ve been thinking about creating your own reading challenge, you might already have goals in mind. Or you may not have a clue what you want your goal to be. And that’s okay too; you can still create your own reading challenge. The most important thing is to set realistic goals. Knowing how many books you’ve read in years past will provide you with a realistic expectation of what you can accomplish this year. If your goal is to read more, try aiming for 5-10 more.

Pick a Tracking Method
While it may seem obvious if you want to have a successful challenge you’re going to have to know if you are meeting your goals. Find a tracking method that works for you. There are websites, apps, and widgets that can help keep track of your reading. If you’d prefer not to use an online option, you can create a simple spreadsheet or write down the books that you read in a notebook. Find a method that works for you and is convenient for you, otherwise, you won’t consistently use it.

Read! (or Listen)
Now that you have set goals and are prepared to track them, you are ready for the most important part of your challenge: reading! When selecting books to read, keep your challenge and goals in mind and select books that excite you.

Whether your goals are to read more physical books or enjoy downloading audio books to read on the go, the important thing is to enjoy the journey of reading and discovering new books. Check out Audiobooks Now and discover your next favorite book!

Turning PointIn author Danielle Steel’s inimitable style, her novel, Turning Point, there is a healthy mix of intrigue and romance. Four esteemed doctors are chosen to participate in a mass-casualty training program in Paris, France. While they are there, the training quickly turns to actual trauma when an unspeakable act of mass violence occurs in The City of Light.

The main characters are four doctors who are each tops in their area of specialty medicine. Bill Browning is the head of San Francisco’s busiest trauma unit. He is a workaholic since his ex-wife and children live in London. Stephenie Lawrence is a teaching star, and has a frustrated stay-at-home husband and two young sons……she has no time for any of them. Harvard graduate, Wendy Jones, a trauma expert is locked in a dead end romance with a married cardiac surgeon. Then, there is lady’s man Tom Wylie, who is all about one night stands and avoiding any commitment. They all welcome the adventure and challenge that they are about to accept.

Turning Point has been compared by some as in the same vein as Grey’s Anatomy, as it focuses more on the doctor’s personal experiences, but with just enough outside activity covered to give a dramatic edge along with the romantic adventures. Their temporary life in Paris becomes a stark turning point, where they will make harder decisions than they ever have before, and will be living life with the consequences.

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41Not many women get the opportunity to be the First Lady of the United States, so in her eight years in that position, Michelle Obama established herself as a powerful force for the issues that were most important to her. Michelle has written a book, Becoming, that gives an overview of her time as the wife of the first black President, Barrack Hussein Obama, expressing her intimate thoughts about the experience. She chose issues that were important to her and ones that would be good examples for her two daughters. She promoted healthier and more active lifestyles, and served as an advocate for women and girls.

She has been given glowing reviews by her fans as presenting a work of deep reflection and descriptive storytelling. She writes a chronological description of her world as she has lived it, beginning with her childhood in the South Side of Chicago, to the years she was an executive, trying to balance work and family, to the eight years she lived in “the people’s house”. One reader described her personal view of the book as warm, wise, and revelatory. The story of a black woman who always exceeded expectations.

In her own words……. “I was humbled and excited to be First Lady, but not for one second did I think I’d be sliding into some glamorous, easy role. Nobody who has the words “first” and “black” attached to them ever would. I stood at the foot of the mountain, knowing I’d need to climb my way into favor.”

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One Day in DecemberLike some amusement park rides, perhaps this book needs a warning for those with heart issues. Author, Josh Malerman, has written a very suspenseful tale of a beyond odd occurrence happening to ordinary people in a world gone berserk. For five years people have lived in fear of “whatever ‘it’ is”. The person who sees the evil, immediately becomes deadly violent. Nobody knows whether it is man, alien, beast, or monster……it is just always out there waiting for the next victim.

“It” has been out there for five years, and just a few scattered survivors remain, among them is Malorie and her two young children. They live in an abandoned house close to the river, and she constantly thinks of some way to escape to a better place. The children are four now, so she feels it is time to try to escape. But, it must be very carefully planned, or they will all three perish. The journey will be beyond terrifying with a twenty mile downriver rowboat trip. Oh, and did I mention….blindfolded!

People rarely leave their houses, but when they do they are wearing blindfolds. That gives them some small protection by keeping them from seeing “It”. Violence and danger is fear creating enough, but add no sense of sight to the equation, and it becomes terrifying.

This has been described as among the best books to provide so much suspense in the writing style that you feel immersed in the storyline…….right there along with Malorie and her children…… a truly spooky thriller novel…. people wandering around in an apocalyptic world with only their sense of smell, touch, and hearing.

Movie adaptation, staring Sandra Bullock, was release in December on Netflix.

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41Before his death, American Columnist and Political Analyst, Charles Krauthammer compiled a collection of his most important works. The book, entitled The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors. Krauthammer was highly regarded for his opinions and analyzes of current issues and their effect on global democracy. He always cut through all the background noise of politics to get to the important issues with clarity and integrity. The book is edited and introduction written by his son, Daniel Krauthammer.

The book will fill the void left for thousands of fans who had great respect for Charles, and who tuned in with great anticipation to hear what he would have to comment on the issues of the day. He never disappointed in his clear, concise views. Even the most uninterested could have their interest peaked by his observations. But the book does more…… it shows his personal side, that of a husband, a dad and just a human being, who enjoyed chess, baseball, ideas, and competition.

The best description of Krauthammer’s book is the following…… it’s brimmed with a cup overflowing toward emotion paired with precise logic, and yet succinct in word craft nailing to the logical analysis…….a look at the man behind the words……one who had a great belief in an open and honest mind. R.I.P. Charles Krauthammer.

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41We have all heard miraculous stories about lost animals who traveled miles and miles to get back to their owners, but American author, W. Bruce Cameron, has created an entire novel on the premise of one mixed breed dog going to great lengths to return to her person. It demonstrates loyalty and focused determination.

The main human character, Lucas Ray is walking on one ordinary day, when a sweet puppy literally lands in his arms as it falls from a building. Lucas loves animals, and decides to take a chance on letting the puppy, who he has named Bella, live with he and his mother in their apartment. Of course, their apartment does not allow pets. But Lucas Mother, a disabled veteran, is so happy to see the new addition.

Alas, Bella, a pit bull mix, gets picked by Animal Control and is sent to a foster family over 400 miles away from Arizona. The VA patients where Lucas works were very sad to see Bella moved so far away. It is a well documented fact that the human-animal bond is very beneficial to both human and animal. Bella and her human both miss each other very much.

A Dog’s Way Home is beautifully narrated and presents a charming story of Bella, a dog who is facing and overcoming great challenges to find her way back to her person, Lucas! A bonus story within the story is about a plan to help provide shelter for feral cats. Author Cameron is an animal supporter and master at keeping the reader entertained and surprised at what happens next! This second book about Dogs has also been produced as a full feature movie.

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One Day in DecemberWe all wonder if some things are true or have validity. One such query is…..does love at first sight actually exist? Author, Josie Silver has written a charming romance novel that describes the story of two people whose eyes meet through the fogged window of a bus in London. For some unknown reason, it affected both of them and was a moment they would both remember.

Laurie was not looking for love……she was just riding a bus to her destination, but in one brief encounter, she sees Jack through the bus window, and he sees her. They truly connect for a brief moment, then the bus moves on. Laurie finds herself constantly looking for Jack at bus stops and cafés. It would be a whole year, then her friend Sarah introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie…….you guessed it……it was Jack from the bus stop a year prior. They both repeat their attracted look and the saga begins.

Josie Silver has written a book that readers describe as addictive and hard to put down. It describes the next ten years of the three characters and their friendships, their heartbreaks, those missed opportunities, and their undeniable connection. The readers seem to root for the couple to overcome all the odds against them to find true love as a couple.

One Day in December was charming, complex and romantic. Laurie and Jack are perfectly flawed and the kind of well written characters that feel like friends you want to shake and yell at for not being honest about their feelings. Every romantic needs this book in their life”.

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41Only twice in history have a father and a son both served as President of the United States. As an admirer suggested to “W”…….. You and John Quincy are the only sons of former Presidents to become President…..I think you should write a book about your father.

It is in this vein that the 43rd President wrote a very personal biography of his father, the 41st President in his book, 41: A Portrait of My Father. It should be stressed that it is a personal account of family stories and experiences, not any type of foot noted biography. “W” had one purpose in writing, and that was to show the love, respect, and admiration that he had for his father.

There will be many books analyzing the professional aspect of President George H. W. Bush, from his life events to his political policies. But, it is very special to have a book written by your son, who walked in your same shoes in the most powerful job in the world. According to “W”, “this book is a personal portrait of the extraordinary man who I am blessed to call my dad”. His purpose was to show why George H. W. was a great President, and an even better father.

There were several rare circumstances where this father/son were connected. One being that the father and mother were present when their son was sworn into office as President. The only other instance of that occurring was when Joseph and Rose Kennedy were present at the oath ceremony of President John F. Kennedy. A truly special occasion for both the Kennedy’s and Bush’s. And then there was the record set by the elder Bush’s of surpassing John and Abigail Adams once they passed their 54th anniversary. Another milestone in Presidential history came when the elder Bush’s were still living as Bush ’43 left office. The only time that has happened in history.

As George W. would explain, this book by a prominent political figure is in no way political. He also adds some humble self- deprecation, and tells some hilarious stories about his first visit to the White House and other anecdotes. He relates how his father influenced his life from childhood, to campaign trips, to his decision to go into politics resulting in a two-term Presidency. John Quincy quote might have influenced the writing of this book…….

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4 Ways to Read More Than One Book a Week

by Emily Roberts on December 11, 2018

4 Ways to Read More

Do you ever set a goal for how many books you want to read within a year and about half way through realize you aren’t even close to meeting your goal? Or are you continually looking for ways to squeeze more reading into your crazy, busy schedule? If either of these sounds like you, read on to learn how you can increase the amount of time you’re reading and meet your goals!

1. Always Read More Than One Book at a Time
The easiest way to read more than one book at a time is to utilize a 3-book system. This system could look like the following:

  • A paperback by the couch for easy reading after dinner or for lazy Sunday afternoons.
  • An e-reader by your bed, where you can enjoy a good story or easy reading after crawling into bed
  • An audiobook on your smartphone or other device allows you to listen while you are driving, doing tasks around the house, going for walks or completing other tasks throughout the day.

2. Read More of What You Are in the Mood For
Some people will make a reading list for the year and then follow it exactly. If this system works for you and you enjoy it, great! Keep doing it! For others, reading or listening to books that you are in the mood to read will help you to get through them faster, ultimately allowing you to finish more books than you might have otherwise. If you have a friend or family member who knows you well and downloads audio books, ask them for recommendations.

3. Always Have a Book with You
Everywhere you go, always take a book with you. Whether it is a physical book, an eBook, or an audiobook, always having one with you means that when you are stuck sitting in the doctor’s office or waiting at the train station, you’ll be able to pass the time.

4. Work Reading into Your Schedule
Set a scheduled time in your weekly schedule for quality reading. Whether it is after you have set a standard time to turn off your computer and unwind for the day, following dinner, or after the kids are in bed, find a time that works best with your schedule and take some time to sit down and enjoy a good book. During this time, you can enjoy listening to your latest downloads audio books on your smartphone while you enjoy a bubble bath, curl up in your favorite blanket with your e-reader or any other way you enjoy to read your books. The great thing about audiobooks is that because they allow you to multi-task, they are easier to fit into your schedule.

Find time to enjoy your favorite author’s latest novel from Audiobooks Now! Before you know it, you’ll be reading multiple books a week and everyone will want to know your secret.

ElevationIn a surprising variation from mystery and gore, author Stephen King presents a poignant novel about what can be the best in people. Of course, King cannot help himself in adding just a bit of supernatural to enrich the story of tolerance and rising above the frey.

Elevation is set in King’s iconic town of Castle Rock, as have many of his stories emanated from. There are a few odd things about his main character, Scott Carey but one really mysterious one is that it does not matter what he eats, or what he wears, he always weighs the same.

The audio version seems best to many readers, since Stephen King himself narrates the story. Nobody would know how to project the story better than author King.

Unlikely alliances are made as local battles ensue in the community. Some call Elevation the feel good novella of the year. And with the audio version, you get a bonus story called Laurie. King also reads the bonus story, which by itself is not fantastic, but it does mesh with Elevation, and it is free. The ending of Elevation is mesmerizing with a kind of emotional finality.

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