4 Apps for Book Lovers

Do you have a desire to access even more books? If your answer is yes, or always (like me) today’s post is for you. Today we’ll be featuring 4 of the best apps for book lovers in 2021. Without further ado, let’s dive into these reviews!

Stay tuned for the special offer for readers of this blog!

Anyplay

Anyplay is a relative newcomer on the block when it comes to audiobook apps. I partnered up with the app in early 2020 and since then they’ve come a long way! The app is perfect for those looking for a quality alternative to Amazon for their audiobooks.

The interface of the app is clean and easy to navigate. Users are able to create ‘playlists’ of books they’d like to listen to. This is one of my favourite features of the app, as it allows me to return to books I’d like to listen to at a later date.

If you’re not sure what to listen to, the app has a range of curated playlists for various genres, topics or authors. I find these helpful to discover new authors!

Other notable features include:

  • Speed listening
  • Sleep timer
  • No ad interruptions
  • Download feature

Range?

Anyplay has an impressive range of books, which is constantly being updated. I’ve been impressed with their commitment to ensuring the app has a range of new releases. Specific title availability may vary, depending on your region.

Pricing?

Unlike other audiobook platforms, Anyplay‘s pricing structure is subscription based. You don’t need to pay per book, but rather you pay a flat monthly fee and can stream as many of the books on the service as you like.

They offer a 7 day free trial. After the trial ends, there’s a range of pricing packages available (check it out here). The app is one of the most affordable audiobook apps out there, and definitely worth checking out! Cancel for free at any time.

Special offer.

Anyplay has offered a special discount to readers of my blog!

If you sign up for Anyplay before Jan 31st using code: FriendsofSteph you can get 1 month free on your Anyplay plan.

The code again for that is: FriendsofSteph

Thanks Anyplay!

Libby, by Overdrive

If you have a library card, Libby is an app that is worth having on your devices. The app connects to your local library and allows you to access your library’s range of ebooks, audiobooks and magazines for free.

The app is free to download and use, but does require you to have an active library membership.

The interface is free and easy to navigate, with an unobtrusive tutorial in app.

Features?

  • Books returned automatically, so no fines!
  • Download titles for offline reading
  • Sleep timer
  • Slow down or speed up audio
  • Bookmarks, notes and highlights

Range?

Range varies depending on availability at your library. There are often only so many digital copies available, so like visiting the actual library, you may have to request to hold items.

Pricing?

Free, with an active library membership. Check with your local library to see whether they use Libby to manage their digital titles.

Goodreads

You’ve likely heard of this one! Goodreads is managed by Amazon, but allows readers to read book synopsis, review books they’ve read and track which books they’ve read.

Goodreads is well known by many book lovers. It can be useful if you’re wanting to keep track of which books you’ve read, or have an online list of those you’d like to read in future.

Reviews are listed on a five star scale for each book, and can be seen beneath each title. This can help to inform readers on their book buying. The app is also able to recommend titles based on what you have previously enjoyed.

Notable features?

  • Review books
  • Discuss books with other readers
  • Book recommendations
  • Reading challenges

Pricing?

Free! This book is a platform about books, but does provide links to where readers can purchase titles. This is predominantly listed as Amazon, who own the app.

Storygraph

Similarly to Goodreads, Storygraph allows readers to track their reader. While not technically an app, it can behave like one (for more details, check here). For readers who enjoy data, this app is worthwhile.

While I’m yet to personally check it out, Storygraph shows a lot of potential. It allows readers to track aspects of their reading journey in greater detail than is able to be done on Goodreads. For example, some readers use it to track how they’re going with reading diversely.

Storygraph also offers book recommendations to readers and the opportunity to partake in reading challenges.

Features?

  • Book recommendations
  • Reading data
  • Reading challenges

Pricing?

At the time of writing, Storygraph is free to use. But from February 2021 they will be offering a premium option for the site which will offer users more features and keep the platform advertisement free. The company statement says that the bulk of their site will always be free to use.

Final Thoughts

If you’re wanting to get some more books in your life, these apps are all great options. I love listening to audiobooks when I’m in the car or doing housework. They’re perfect for when you’re on the go! If you’d like to try them out head to wherever you get apps and search for them.

If you’d like to try Anyplay and get a month free (until Jan 31st, 2021) head here and use code: FriendsofSteph

Thanks Anplay for partnering with me for this post!

*I do not receive a commission if you sign up to Anyplay. Anyplay does provide me with a personal membership in exchange for feedback on their app.

What’s your favourite audiobook? Let me know in the comments on this post!

Haven’t had enough books? Come say hi to me on social media by searching @stephhuddlestonwriting or by clicking the buttons below.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing – Hank Green

A sci-fi novel that is unexpected, funny and poignant.

The Mister and I listened to several audiobooks together on our recent travels to New Zealand. We’ve both been fans of Hank Green for some time, and have read several of his brother’s novels so thought it was time we read Hank’s debut book.

Who is Hank Green?

I don’t always include this segment in my book reviews, but in this case I think some author information will provide you with some important context when approaching this book.

So who is Hank Green? A science guy, musician and educator who’s primary platform is YouTube. Hank has made and been involved in the production of many incredible Youtube shows including: SciShow, Crash Course and Vlog brothers.

If you’re not familiar with who Hank is, you have probably heard of his brother John Green. John is the author of several novels including The Fault in Our Stars. Together the two brothers started vlogging (video blogging) to one another in 2007 on their channel Vlogbrothers and became internet famous.

Today, Hank Green is one of the most influential YouTube educators on the platform. He is a co-founder of Project for Awesome (a charity) and the online video conference Vidcon.

He’s also hilarious and his videos are high quality. Some themes within An Absolutely Remarkable Thing are more convincing because it is Hank who is writing the book. I’ll return to this point later… for now, let’s get to the review!

What is An Absolutely Remarkable Thing About?

When 23 year old April May discovers a giant sculpture at 3am in New York city she’s intrigued. She is at once delighted by its appearance, like a samurai armour clad ten-foot transformer. She calls her friend Andy and together they inadvertently make a viral video that takes the internet, and the world by storm. Carl, as April has dubbed the statue is one of many that has appeared in cities across the world.

The world is wondering what to do about the Carls, why they’re here and what they want. Soon April finds herself having to deal with the consequences of her and Andy’s video, and the media attention that comes with it.

What I liked about An Absolutely Remarkable Thing?

April May is a highly entertaining character, flawed and self reflective its a delight to see the world through her eyes. Seeing her navigate a new world of fame and the impact it has on her relationships, identity and safety is fascinating.

This novel is sci-fi, but not as I had previously experienced it. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is deeply rooted in exploring problems society wasn’t experiencing ten, even five years ago.

The problems, and benefits that social media can have upon a persons identity is evident in April-May as a character. The story is told from her perspective and she changes significantly from the beginning of the novel to the end.

There is an issue on social media, and the internet more broadly with people ‘marketing’ themselves to gain better engagement with their product. The rise of the ‘influencer’ as a career is assessed carefully within this book and leads us to question, do we really see people (or ourselves) as holistic humans online?

By that I mean, we only see a facet of a person online, the way they choose to present themselves. We can’t then fully appreciate the beauty and complexity of people and the world based on what we see through the lens of media. Social media has a power to both unite and divide. I really enjoyed the way Hank Green explored this theme throughout An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.

As the Mister and I listened to the audiobook of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing I was really impressed with the narration, performed by Kristen Sieh and Hank Green. Kristen captured the voice of April-May. Her voice carried the emotions of the novel perfectly and I hope she will be narrating the sequel.

What I liked least about An Absolutely Remarkable Thing?

Oh the cliffhanger is cruel at the end of this one. Hank Green, that was both mean and admirable.

Mean, because the book was released in 2018 yet the sequel A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour wasn’t slated for release until July 2020. Fans have been waiting a long time for this.

Some fans didn’t realise going into An Absolutely Remarkable Thing that it was book one of a two book deal. If you’re expecting a stand alone story, this isn’t one.

The ending of this book was well done, which is it is admirable. I personally quite enjoy cliff hangers as they carry you over nicely until the next book with speculating which is entertaining.

Thankfully, I (and you) don’t have to wait too long until the sequel A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour arrives later this year.

My Recommendation

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is marketed as adult fiction sci-fi however there are some older teenagers who may find this novel interesting and relevant. The book contains some mild swearing and sexual content. If you’re an adult who enjoys sci-fi or social commentary this book is one you’re likely to enjoy.

If you’re looking for clear-cut answers and a satisfying ending, you probably won’t find that here.

All that being said, I really enjoyed An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. As a twenty-something myself I found April-May’s desire to make a change for good in the world relevant to me.

Where can I get a copy?

* If you’d like to read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing it is available at Amazon here.

*Should you choose to make your purchase using the link above I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to yourself. Please bear in mind that I only link to products and companies that I personally believe will benefit my readers. Thank you for your support! If you’d like more information about affiliate marketing please visit my disclosure page.

Let’s be social

Thanks for reading today’s review. If you’ve read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing tell me what you thought of the book by commenting on this post.

What’s been a stand out read for you this year?

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