Tag Archives: Audiobook

My Latest Bookish Addiction [16] – Audiobooks (Again!)

MLBA

In keeping with the theme of my blog, I decided to start bringing you updates of the newest and greatest bookish addictions in my life so I can share with you some awesomely bookish things or discuss if maybe we share the same bookish loves. It seemed like a great way to get a little discussion going in a very relaxed way.

This Edition’s Bookish Addiction? Audiobooks… Again! 

I’ve already celebrated audiobooks as My Latest Bookish Addiction but I must must share my love for them again. My original post on audiobooks is already over a year and a half old and oh, how things have changed since then! I have a lot more titles to recommend, favorite narrators, and audiobook habits since my original post so the topic bears repeating!

Audiobooking has become a way of life for me. In my original post, I was already becoming a seasoned audiobook listener but now I’m at the point where I crave a good audio and I’m always on the hunt for more fantastic stories with amazing narrators! There’s just something an audiobook that really lends that extra “oomph” to a book — there’s another layer of performance being able to hear a narrator voice the characters, put action sequences in motion, and add a general tone to a story.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a picky listener but I am choosy. There’s not much that I’ll immediately nix as far as an audiobook option except for a few less-than-thrilling narrators that I’ve run into but I’ve definitely had more amazing experiences than poor. Whether it’s for the better or worse, a narrator can really make or break a book for me. But I’ve also learned that a narrator also can’t save a book for me. Two of my favorite narrators of all time voiced a new book and I swore I could listen to them read the phone book… But I ended up DNFing the audio and returning it to Audible, feeling confident about my decision. I’ll usually finish most audios because I can always speed them up or just listen mindlessly if I’m not thoroughly enjoying. This was one of the rare cases where it just felt like a waste of time.

I feel like audiobooks offer a lot of perks for a reader! It may be challenging for some to focus on listening (I know I have to focus sometimes) but if you’re hesitant about trying some, think about this!

  • You can listen to a book while driving, cleaning, cooking dinner, working out, etc. Ever get annoyed that you have to stop reading when you get in the car to go places? Not anymore! I always have an audiobook running so I’ll pop it on during my drive to work, while I’m making dinner, or doing chores. It feels nice that I’m still making progress with a current read.
  • Audiobooks bring a whole new level of performance to a book. Sure, I can do voices in my head… But if anyone talks with an accent, let’s be honest. I try to do it in my head and slowly it just becomes me reading in my own voice again. The voice actors for audios really do a great job giving each character a different voice and most are great at different accents when needed! They also bring heightened emotions, especially in cases like Wil Wheaton’s narration of Ernest Cline’s books!
  • They’re excellent ways to experience your favorite books in new ways.love re-reading and I often times will pick up the audiobooks of my favorites to experience them in a whole different way! It’s almost always a positive experience and really fun to re-read like that.
  • They bring a more personal connection to the book. I have some favorite narrators that sort of made me fall in love with them — I mean, the characters — a little bit more than I might have just reading the words on the page. Hearing the emotion in a character’s voice or just hearing a character’s voice brings a more personal connection to a story and it tugs on my heartstrings that much more.
  • They can make okay books good or even great. Okay, I’ll be honest. If I had just read ARMADA, I’m not sure I would have loved it. But Wil Wheaton is such a good narrator that he really brought so much to the story and I felt like I was almost watching a movie instead of listening to a book. His enthusiasm is amazing and it really got me into the book when I might have felt some lulls if I had read in print.

So what do you think? Any of these reasons convince you to pick up an audiobook? Which ones would you agree with?


Of course I can’t let you go without making some recommendations. Last time I just threw out some audiobook recs but I’m digging a little deeper this time — audio beginner or master, there’s something here for everyone! 

FAVORITE NARRATORS

  • Steve West | The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Fiona HardinghamThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Jim Dale | Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  • MacLeod Andrews | Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown, The Reckoners Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  • Michael Kramer | The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
  • Michael Page | The Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch
  • Neil Gaiman | The Graveyard Book and others by Neil Gaiman

CELEBRITY NARRATORS

  • Wil Wheaton | Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Armada by Ernest Cline
  • Jesse Eisenberg | The Curse Workers Trilogy by Holly Black
  • Anne Hathaway | The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

MY AUDIOBOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Check out my audiobook list on Goodreads for even MORE recommendations or you can always comment or email me for recs! These are the ones I would start with but I’ve listened to a bunch more than I’ve also enjoyed! What audiobooks do YOU recommend?

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington IrvingTitle: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Publishing Info: September 9, 2014 by Audible Studios
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Classics
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 11, 2014

    In the secluded Dutch territory of Sleepy Hollow, nebbish schoolmaster Ichabod Crane competes with the town hero for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel, the 18-year-old daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel's farm one autumn evening, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, an apparition said to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper snuffed out by a stray cannonball during the Revolutionary War.

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I’ve been a big fan of the Sleepy Hollow TV show ever since it originally aired (one of the few shows I’ve actually watched from the beginning) so when I heard that one of the stars of the TV show Tom Mison narrated THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW for a free Audible audiobooks, I immediately went to download it. (I mean, have we heard his voice, friends?)

Obviously I have a basic understand of what THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW is about but I’ve never actually read the original book. For whatever reason, we always used to watch the cartoon around Halloween-time when I was in elementary school so I was pretty well-versed on how it went, but since I was getting a free audiobook, I figured now would be a good time to listen to this classic and actually get the original story written by Irving.

As excited as I was to listen to Tom Mison narrate the book, I have to say I was less than impressed. True, Washington Irving had a fantastic way at describing things but I felt like that was about 75% of the book. I had great visuals on what the characters looked like, what the setting looked like, and how food tasted/smelled/looked, but there was very little plot to the book and that was a bit frustrating. I was honestly over halfway done before any real plot even began to take shape and the ending was a bit of a let down. (Not like I didn’t know how it ended but there have been so many adaptations that I didn’t know which ones were the most accurate.) Overall, it was just a very dull story and the action didn’t really happen until the very end and it really wasn’t much.

Actually, the thing that I enjoyed the most was my personal connections to the legend. I really enjoyed remembering watching the cartoon as a kid and the feelings connected to it as well as pinpointing spots in the original story to plot lines in the Sleepy Hollow TV show. I love what the writers are doing with the TV show and expanding the legend into what I really hoped it would be when I picked up the audiobook.

The narration was quite good too. I just love British male narrators and Tom Mison has an excellent voice. I felt like his diction was a tiny bit overdone at times, but it was very pleasant to listen to for an hour and a half. If I’m listening to a slightly dull story, at least it was from a good narrator.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Classics. I don’t often read classics so this was a fun way to do it! I also liked how short it was haha. I wasn’t really enjoying the story so much so it was nice to know that it was on the shorter side.
Left Me Wanting More: Action & Suspense. For such an exciting concept and re-told tale, I felt like there really wasn’t much there. I do like all of the possibilities it holds with the somewhat open ending so maybe that’s the real winning concept here!

Addiction Rating
Try it

If you want to listen to the audiobook, it’s free. Tom Mison was a really great narrator and the audio is short if you’re afraid you won’t like it! Worth a shot, right?

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BOOKS LIKE THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 this dark endeavor    unspoken

 

My Latest Bookish Addiction [11] – International Editions

MLBA

In keeping with the theme of my blog, I decided to start bringing you updates of the newest and greatest bookish addictions in my life so I can share with you some awesomely bookish things or discuss if maybe we share the same bookish loves. It seemed like a great way to get a little discussion going in a very relaxed way.

This Edition’s Bookish Addiction? International Editions

Way back before I was a blogger (and even after), I wasn’t the kind of person who actually kept books once I was done reading them. I borrowed a lot from my sister, some from the library, and the only books I really bought at full price were ones I was going to keep for sure. Some secondhand books I ended up reading and just selling back to the used bookstore. Nowadays, well… You’ve seen my shelves. They’re filled with all of my favorites and then some. I do go through and pass along or giveaway books that I don’t feel the need to keep, but if I have a favorite, boy, do you bet that book is staying on my shelf and even in multiple formats.

Some books I just have in both hardcover and paperback — like when I already had the paperbacks of If I Stay and Where She Went, but purchased the hardcovers when I met Gayle Forman so I could have her sign them. Other books, I’ve basically just started collecting in all forms and any editions I can get my hands on. I’ve purchasing both paperbacks and hardcovers of The Lunar Chronicles and The Grisha Trilogy, but that obsession didn’t start until Macmillan did this cool thing where they had a special page of blogger acknowledgements in the paperback. I mean, how could I NOT purchase a book that my blog’s name is in!?

Then my lovely friend Amy from Tripping Over Books bought me the Spanish editions of Cinder and Scarlet for my birthday back in March… And a new obsession flourished. The international editions of this series are so gorgeous and I MUST own them all.

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There are a few places to go to get some international editions like Fishpond and The Book Depository which ship for free internationally, but they don’t really have a wide selection of international versions. AbeBooks actually has a pretty great selection, but of course, if you want an international edition, you’re going to have to pay more for it! Since AbeBooks is less of a distributor straight from their warehouse and more like Half.com or the area of Amazon where users are able to list and sell their own books. Some sellers offer free shipping, but most of those are for American editions or if they are international, the book itself starts to get costly. I haven’t made any purchases from AbeBooks yet, but I’ve been eyeing these books for a while now, still not ready to let go of my money with all the things I have going on at the moment. I may look into making a purchase soon though!

Some International Editions I’m Dying For!

THE LUNAR CHRONICLES

  Cinder (Crónicas Lunares, #1)  Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Italian, another Spanish edition, Portuguese 

Scarlet (Cronache lunari, #2)  Scarlet (Crónicas Lunares, #2)  Wie Blut so rot (Luna-Chroniken, #2)  Scarlet (Saga Księżycowa, #2)

Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish

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THE GRISHA TRILOGY

The Gathering Dark (The Grisha, #1)  Grischa: Goldene Flammen (Grischa, #1)  Tenebre e ghiaccio (The Grisha, #1)

Les Orphelins du Royaume (Grisha, #1)  Cień i kość (Trylogia Grisha, #1)

UK, German, Italian, French, Polish

Grischa: Eisige Wellen (Grischa, #2)  Szturm i grom (Grisza, #2)  Sol e Tormenta (The Grisha, #2)

German, Polish, Portuguese

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HARRY POTTER

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)  Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen (Harry Potter, #1)  Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale (Harry Potter, #1)

Harry Potter en de Steen der Wijzen (Harry Potter, #1)  Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers (Harry Potter, #1)

Original UK, German, Italian, Dutch, French

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Okay, REEEEEEL it in here, B. I could honestly show you each and every  international cover I want but this would be ONE LONG POST (like it wasn’t already).

NOTEABLE OTHER AWESOME INTERNATIONAL EDITIONS: Tamara Ireland Stone’s Time Between Us has some GORGEOUS international covers! I’ve also seen some really neat ones for Just One Day by Gayle Forman and the international covers of Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell aren’t as snazzy but I love it so much that I’d end up collecting those someday too!

So tell me! Do you ever buy international editions of books for your personal collection? Do you have a special source to purchase them? Which ones do you already have in your personal library and which ones are you currently drooling over? I must know!

My Latest Bookish Addiction [10] – Audiobooks

MLBA

In keeping with the theme of my blog, I decided to start bringing you updates of the newest and greatest bookish addictions in my life so I can share with you some awesomely bookish things or discuss if maybe we share the same bookish loves. It seemed like a great way to get a little discussion going in a very relaxed way.

This Edition’s Bookish Addiction? Audiobooks

I’ve been loving audiobooks for a while now, but I think it’s about time that I gush about the to their fullest extent. I was nervous to try audiobooks when I first tried listening. What if the narrator was awful? What if they couldn’t hold my attention? What if I got bored or annoyed or mad?

In all honesty, any one of those is a very real possibility, but that’s why I try to do some good research before picking a new audiobook. Sometimes a breathy narrator ruins the experience for me… On the flip side, a fantastic narrator can totally make the listening experience that much more amazing!

I feel that audiobooks should be selected just as carefully as your regular reads. The fact that you’re listening to a book and it’s being read by someone else just throws one more factor into your reading experience. I’ve been trying to pick my reads more carefully nowadays because I’ve finally come to grips with the very sad but real fact that I can never possibly read all of the books I want to… BUT audiobooks do help with that.

I’m a multi-book reader. That’s not a term, I know, but what I mean is that I read more than one book at time and audiobooks are a great way for me to read multiple books at once. I always have a physical copy that I’m reading and sometimes I throw in an ebook in there, but recently I’ve started adding a constant stream of audiobooks to the mix. I have a semi-long commute to work so they’re great for the long drives and who would have ever thought I could read while I was driving!? I love being able to read at a time when “traditional” reading isn’t quire possible. Depending on the production of the audio and how engaging the narrator is, I can even picture it as sort of a movie in my mind which is great to keep my attention and to further pull me into the book.

Looking for a good audiobook? Here are just a few of my favorites — both for the content of the book and some excellent narrators as well!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: Ready Player One was one of the earlier audiobooks I listened to and I LOVED it. Wil Wheaton narrated this masterpiece and aside from the great content of the book (sci-fi, dystopia, pop culture of the 80s), the production quality was fantastic! Wil Wheaton does a great job of narrating and I was HIGHLY entertained the entire time. I’ve been itching to re-read this on audio ever since I finished it because it was THAT good.

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater: The audio for this book was amazing. This was the first audio production that I had listened to that incorporated more than one narrator. Since the book alternates between the voices of both Sean and Puck, the narrators alternated chapters as well. Listening to this book was just fantastic and it absolutely enhanced my reading/listening experience! SO many readers have fallen in love with this audiobook and I’m so glad I listening to the suggestions to pick this one up on audio first!

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: I was in a YA kick when I started The Night Circus and honestly, I wasn’t 100% sure if it was YA or adult when I first started it because so many of my fellow YA bloggers were raving about it! I turned the audio on and to my surprise, the narrator was Jim Dale! (He also narrates the Harry Potter audiobooks, but I knew his voice as the narrator for Pushing Daisies.) The story was magical and listening to it somehow made it even easier to picture! Everything felt so vivid and like I was right in the action.

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book was my first Neil Gaiman book which I selected thanks to the help of Alyssa (a major Gaiman fan) and because I wanted to listen to a good book for Halloween-time. This book was fantastic on audio. Neil Gaiman narrates the book himself and I was utterly swept away on this literary journey. His voice is just perfect for narration and I’ve pretty much made a promise to myself to listen to any of his books that he narrates! If you have the opportunity to listen to Neil Gaiman narrate, I highly recommend it!

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Some other great audio that I’ve listened to:

How do you feel about audiobooks? Is there anything holding you back from trying them? Are they a constant in your life? Do you have any personal favorites? I want to hear it all!

Stardust – Neil Gaiman

Stardust – Neil GaimanTitle: Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: August 29, 2006 by HarperCollins
Source: Library
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 24, 2014
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere, InterWorld (InterWorld #1)

    Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

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STARDUST is my second full-length novel by Neil Gaiman and pretty much as soon as I finished listening to THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, I knew I had to pick up another audiobook written and narrated by Neil Gaiman as soon as I could. I had actually never seen the movie OR read the book before so I was really anxious to see how I would like this one!

I had one major qualm about STARDUST before I started and that was that it dealt with fairies. I’m almost never a really big fan of fairy stories and books about fae so I was a bit nervous that STARDUST wouldn’t be enjoyable for me, but really anything that Neil Gaiman narrates can’t go that wrong, right? The book did surround a major fairy plot in that the main character Tristran is half-fairy himself and he goes on a quest to find a fallen star that landed in the realm of Fairy to bring to his heart’s desire. Did I hate the fairy-plot? No. Did I love it? Not really. Statistically speaking, I’m still not a fan of fairy books but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it! I really appreciated this new fairy tale for the modern age from Neil Gaiman (compared to The Princess Bride. I DIED.) and how it really relates to both children and adults alike!

Of course I loved the banter back and forth between Tristran and Yvaine. (And of course I had to look up how to spell their names because I don’t get to see these things in audiobooks!) I just love bantering relationships and hate-to-love relationships. Obviously the two don’t get along at first. Tristan’s sole purpose of this voyage is to capture the Star and bring her back to Wall. Yvaine is a strong personality and what woman wants to be captured in any way? I really liked their back-and-forth and how throughout the journey, both of them really came to appreciate each other.

Really throughout the whole book, I wasn’t exactly sure how the two separate story lines would come together. Once they finally did, I realized I really should have seen it coming but for some reason I couldn’t fit those pieces together until the reveal. I thought it was a very nice ending to the book and I really enjoyed the way everything wrapped up!

For some reason this was a really hard review for me to write… I think because I was just lost in Neil Gaiman’s narration and the world that he created for this new fairy tale. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is still my favorite Gaiman to date (not like I’ve read that many yet haha) but STARDUST was definitely enjoyable and light but with dark plot points as well.

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Tristran // Character Obsessions: Victoria, finding the fallen star. Tristran was an interesting character. He’s a teenager and yet there was such an air of innocence that surrounded him. He felt naïve, either a fool in love or a boy who needed to mature. In a way, I guess he was both and he certainly did mature on his quest.
Yvaine // Character Obsessions: Hating Tristran, healing her leg. Naturally, I loved Yvaine. I love girls with strong personalities and I really enjoy that love-to-hate relationship. I was actually rooting for her more than Tristan half the time! She was totally my kind of lady.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fairies. Statistically speaking, I don’t like books involving fairies. They’re just not my thing. But I really appreciated that this was a sort of traditional fairy tale so the concept really didn’t both me. I think that’s sort of a new revelation! I don’t hate all fairy plots but I guess it depends on how they’re involved in the book.
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. I mean, it is a fairy tale. And the weird thing is that the settings are split up between Fairy and the “human” town of Wall. But even still, I think I wanted things more grounded in reality and that’s why I don’t do well with fairy plots. Sometimes things just seem like they get a bit too carried away and sometimes it’s just not my style.

Addiction Rating
Read it

STARDUST was good! I was never bored but it never exactly blew me away either. It’s a Gaiman classic and really enjoyable, especially listening to his narration!

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BOOKS LIKE STARDUST

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        The Princess Bride   Tiger Lily

Beauty Queens – Libba Bray

Beauty Queens – Libba BrayTitle: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Publishing Info: May 24, 2011 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Contemporary, Satire, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 17, 2013

    The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.
     What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?
Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

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BEAUTY QUEENS is a hilarious jab at — well, I guess American society in general. Beauty pageants, yes, but also commercialism, stereotypical ideas of beauty, government, and so much more. Satirical is really the best way to describe it and there were plenty of laugh out loud moments, though at times (as satire tends to do), I felt like things went a bit over the top and I do have a tendency to reach a point where I feel like it’s overkill and then I end up rolling my eyes, and I won’t lie — BEAUTY QUEENS had several moments like that as well.

Let’s start with the characters — at first I though that Adina was our main character because the story started with her vantage point, but really the book covers the POVs of several (and I mean several) of the key beauty queens along with some members of the Corporation. At first I thought I would be confused with so many different perspectives, but the girls’ personalities really stood out on their own, especially having read this book on audio (which I’ll get into later). The girls are so much more than beauty queens and we really get to know each one of them individually. I actually came to appreciate and care about many of their stories, but there did come a point where I felt like the book should have focused on a few less to not spread the readers so thin.

I actually really enjoyed the storyline with these pampered and over-the-top girly girls having to figure out how to survive on this (seemingly) deserted island. Some flounder and some let their leadership take control and after many trials and tribulations, the girls finally figure out how to not only survive but to get along and make true friendships. There is a lot of social commentary and insinuations about how girls are expected to act and how some of those expectations are completely unrealistic and demeaning. I’m not a feminist by any stretch, but I think there’s something to be appreciated from what these girls learn — not only in the way of how they’re perceived as “respectable women” but just allowing themselves to be who they are and act how they really want.  The girls just learn a lot about themselves as individuals and they really learn to be comfortable with who they are and what they really want out of life.

What I wasn’t quite a fan of in the book was basically everything to do with MoMo B. ChaCha (which I had to look up how to spell since I read the audio haha). I just found his whole character and everything to do with it entirely too ridiculous, past the point of satire and social commentary and hilarity. I was just annoyed and those parts of the audio definitely dragged because I was also tired of listening to him. Some of the ways the plot resolved were just a bit too contrived for me and things got too silly for my tastes. Things all wrapped up well in the end, but I felt like there was a lot of unnecessary moments and dialogue and backstories that really just made the book feel a bit too long. Especially listening to the audio… I was enjoying the book but it felt LONG. I was about 75% of the way through and I felt like it had just been dragging.

I think BEAUTY QUEENS is a different type of humor that I haven’t seen a lot of in YA. It was definitely enjoyable, but I think for my tastes it was maybe a bit too much to spend a whole 14 and a half hours with (400 pages if you’re reading it). I really think that’s a personal taste though, as I know many people really appreciated and loved the book! I’m interested in reading more of Libba Bray because she definitely knows how to write her stuff and I’d really be interested in reading something more serious from her.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Libba Bray narrated BEAUTY QUEENS herself and she is a damn good narrator! She had so many different voices which really was necessary considering how many characters she had to portray differently. Her different accents for all of the beauty queens were great (although Miss Nebraska sounded a little too Northern MN/WI/Canadian… does Nebraska really sound like that? I assumed they’d sound midwestern). Her non-American accents… Not as convincing to be realistic, but still better than I could do! The “commercial breaks” had music and everything so that was really entertaining! It was almost like listening to a real radio commercial so that was pretty neat. Overall, the book was just LONG on audio — I’m not sure how it comes off actually reading it — but I hadn’t listened to a long audiobook before so it just felt like it kind of dragged on!

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Adina Greenburg // Character Obsessions: Journalism, getting the story, standing up for herself.
Adina always felt like the main character for me since hers was the first POV we got, but really she was one of the many main characters. I really liked her attitude because she didn’t take any crap from anyone… Mostly because she didn’t care! I think she was the easiest character for me to like because she was all sass in a group of girls that were supposed to be all manners.
Mary Lou Novak // Character Obsessions: Her inner “wild girl”, vegetarianism, Tane.
Mary Lou was another of my favorite characters. I just liked how genuine she was and her respect for each and every girl. She was one of the most guarded of of the girls and she really learned how to be comfortable with who she was by the end of the book.
MoMo B. ChaCha // Character Obsessions: Elvis, Ladybird Hope, General Goodtimes.
No. Just no. He bothered the crap out of me. Granted, I think he’s supposed to… But still. Ew.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Satire. There were so many good things about the humor and the social commentary of this book! I definitely laughed out loud several times while listening to this audio!
Left Me Wanting More: Legitimacy. I get that this is a humorous book, but there were times when it just got TOO silly for me and it really took away from how much I was liking the book and the situations the characters found themselves in. This could have easily been a bit more legit and a little less “out there” and I would have appreciated it a lot more.

Addiction Rating
BORROW IT.

I went back and forth between really enjoying this book and just… liking it. In the end, I don’t think I would end up buying it to keep for my personal book collection. This would be a good one to borrow from a friend or the library to see how you feel about it and then purchase if you end up loving it!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE BEAUTY QUEENS

        Torched      An Abundance of Katherines

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) – Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) – Suzanne CollinsTitle: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
Publishing Info: September 1, 2009 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 9, 2013 (Re-read. Originally read 5/31/11)
Related Posts: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)

  Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
    Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

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SO. This was my re-read of CATCHING FIRE. Since I read all of The Hunger Games trilogy before I started blogging, I figured a review is still appropriate!

First impressions upon finishing my re-read? I STILL LOVE IT. I still love the first book more, but for some reason I was thinking I was a little disappointed in CF, but then I looked back at my Goodreads rating and then I finished and I was like, “Oh yeah, that was just MOCKINGJAY.”

Once again, I was surprised at how little time was spent in the Games and how much time was spent building up to it. I was keeping track on Goodreads (like I always do) and I noticed that my comment about getting to the Games wasn’t until about 70% of the way through! And you know what’s funny is that it felt like it took forever to get there and it didn’t all at the same time. I forgot SO MUCH about what really went on in the first half (and in the Arena too, actually) because (time for a secret if you didn’t already know) I have terrible retention of content when I read. I don’t know if I read too fast or what, but I’m just so incredibly bad at remembering content after I’m done reading a book. That being said, it actually made the re-read pretty exciting! Even though it may seem boring that Katniss and Peeta go on their little Victor’s Tour and we’re not in the action of the Games for a long time, the reader is definitely not lulled into a boring recap of The Hunger Games. We do get a little bit of recap that happens naturally throughout the text so that’s an absolute bonus.

I love the way the plot twists in CATCHING FIRE and my attention was definitely held the whole book. We deal with the same characters that we got to know and love from book one and I guess some people could say that throwing them back in the Games is a cop-out and a repeat of book one, but I love it! It brings what the audience was so thrilled with in book one and is reinvented to keep us coming back for more. The the Games end with a different twist so we don’t repeat THG all over again as well as a whole new agenda for all of the Tributes.

Since the movie is coming up and we’re getting little sneak peeks of pictures and whatnot, it’s definitely helpful to have that recap of what happened in the book so I can be judgmental when I go see Catching Fire and whisper to my friends “That’s not how it happened in the book!”

ALSO, I’m really anxious to get a re-read going of MOCKINGJAY, because let’s face it. I was super disappointed with it my first time around. I’m kind of hoping that now I know what happens, I can concentrate on what’s happening as I read (or listen, if that’s the case) and not being frantically flipping through pages trying to find out how it ends.

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Katniss: I still think Katniss is a great heroine! Okay, maybe she’s a bit stubborn and dense at times, but she’s strong, talented, loyal, and always a fierce competitor. I got a little annoyed with her obsession to save Peeta in CF just because it was kind of martyrish and it got a little old and repetitive.
Peeta: You know what. I always thought I was Team Gale, but I think I’m just anti-Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and it’s clouded my vision — PEETA FANS, HEAR ME OUT. I think Josh Hutcherson is stinkin’ adorable and I’ve liked him since I saw him in Zathura and I was like, “Don’t think I’m a creep, but that kid is gonna grow up to be a cute teenager” and SEE? But my problem with him as Peeta is that I just don’t see it. And in CATCHING FIRE, there are so many references to Peeta being tall and if I’m picturing JH……. It’s just not right and it really throws the whole character off for me, although JH really does a great job of nailing Peeta’s personality which okay, okay, I guess that’s the more important part. Oh what does it matter, I’ll just end up hating him in MOCKINGJAY anyway.
Finnick Odair: Helloooooo, Finnick, nice to meet you. I’ve always loved his character and that we get to see the smooth-talking, pretty guy as well as a lot of depth that he covers up with what the Capitol wants to see. I can’t wait to see his character in the movie too.
Johanna Mason:  Another character I’m really interested to see in the movie (Jena Malone)- – I started to like her even more (and realized she’s a lot younger than I originally pictured her for whatever reason) and really enjoyed her character even more this time around! I know, I’m sorry I’m talking about actors and the movie again, but I can’t help it! Super interested in seeing how Jena Malone plays Johanna because I totally didn’t see it before I re-read CF and now I kind of think she’s perfect!

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BUY IT

I loved this series on my first read and the re-read is shaping up to be just as great if not better! Definitely one I will always recommend.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE CATCHING FIRE

               

An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

An Abundance of Katherines – John GreenTitle: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Publishing Info: September 21, 2006 by Penguin
Source: Library
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 15, 2012
Related Posts: The Fault in Our Stars, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Looking for Alaska

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun ? but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself by Printz medalist John Green, acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska.

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Well my friends, this will be my last John Green book. I just don’t care for his style of writing and I almost find it surprising that so many other people that I share very similar tastes with do.

When I picked up AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES, I was hoping for something super nerdy, like the Big Bang Theory or something. I can do nerdy. I loved READY PLAYER ONE. But I felt like we never got into the whole math behind it until later. I had really wanted it to be the underlying theme of the whole book and it kind of seemed like an afterthought.

Also, why nineteen Katherines. NINETEEN? Really. You’re gonna sit there and tell me that one boy can not only meet but date nineteen Katherine’s, all of which spell their name exactly the same way. In this day and age when people are spelling names in every which way possible, I don’t believe. Call me a skeptic, but I think I’m being reasonable. And why? What’s so special about a Katherine? I just didn’t get the whole premise behind it and I was hoping for some kind of humorous explanation for it. I was let down.

I was also upset with Colin, who whined the whole book. The rest of the characters were fine, but a whiny MC? No thanks. ALSO upset by the whole book taking place in Tennessee. At first I was like, Oh. It’s a road trip. Huh, well okay, I can handle road trip. And then we spent the whole time in Gutshot, TN. Totally not into it.

The book was okay, but not better than okay at all for me. I was disappointed by a lot of it.

Audiobook impressions: Jeff Woodman did a pretty good job with all of the voices. He had very distinct voices for all of the characters and it was really easy to follow along with. They also did this cool thing when the characters were on the phone so the person on the other end sounded really distant. Fun accents and even speech impediments for those who have them. The narration was actually pretty enjoyable.

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Colin Singleton: Colin was way, way too whiny for me. You want to know how to stop getting dumped by Katherines? Stop dating Katherines. You’re probably getting dumped because you’re forcing relationships by dating only girls with exact same name spelled the exact same way. That’s not how it works!
Hassan: He was a pretty nice comic relief, though we do see a little bit more to him here and there. I like that even though he’s the funny one, he’s Colin’s voice of reason because Colin can’t see it himself.
Lindsay: I think Lindsay was my favorite character. She seemed the most dynamic and she really was the easiest person to like, for me. I think I would have actually been a lot more interested if it had been Lindsay’s story we got instead of Colin’s. I would have loved to see the story of a girl in Gutshot, TN dating some QB idiot who has an interesting summer when these two random guys show up from Chicago, one of them with a crazy theory. THAT story I would have liked much more.

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Get it from the library.

It was okay… but not something that I feel I can recommend. I totally re-envisioned the whole story from Lindsey’s perspective and it just seemed so much more interesting. John Green is a big hit but maybe his books just aren’t for me!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Ready Player One – Ernest ClineTitle: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Publishing Info: August 26, 2011 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 6, 2012
Related Posts: Armada

    In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

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I absolutely loved READY PLAYER ONE. It was geeky to the core and it was awesome. The endless 80s references were a blast and really even though I’m just a little young to appreciate ALL of them (I was a child of the 90s, after all). It didn’t really matter that some were over my head because the book was so enjoyable all around! It was funny, it had serious action, a romance, suspense, death, battles, intrigue. It was so well written that I can easily see anyone enjoying it, even if you’re wary of the 80s theme being a little out of your norm.

Another thing I hadn’t expected is really enjoying the fact that it’s so integrated into video games and computer culture. Honestly, I’ve never been a video game person. I’m not good at them (I get way too stressed out haha) and I don’t really know much about them, but if you don’t know, all of the older games are explained for you. I was easily sucked into that world and didn’t really feel like all of it was going over my head at all. Ernest Cline does a great job to make sure that anyone who reads the book will be able to not only understand what’s going on, but enjoy it. I also think it was great the way everyone interacts in the Oasis because it allows for a lot more action sequences like battles and quests as well as magic, because that’s a lot more easily explained as a computer game than it is occurring in real life. I got totally sucked in to the world of the Oasis, so much so that at times I forgot that the Oasis wasn’t actually real and the characters were still out there somewhere in the real world even though their “real” world is essentially the Oasis since they spend so much time there.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

When I heard how awesome Wil Wheaton was with this narration, I thought that I had to get this book as an audiobook to see. I was totally not disappointed! He was great at narrating, keeping you interested, great character personalities, accents, etc. It was definitely some of his narration in combination with the story that led to a couple of “laugh out loud” moments (for instance, if you ever want to hear how some narrates a smiley face in an email 🙂 That positively cracked me up). I’d definitely recommend the audio to anyone!

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Wade Watts/Parzival: Wade was a really likable MC for me. The way he was written just seemed so natural and real. I felt like Wade was a real person and not just a character…. Although since Wil Wheaton was narrating, I kind of pictured him as Wil Wheaton haha.
Aech/H: By the way, totally had no idea that’s how “H” was spelled since I was listening to the audio…. Oops! He was comical, brave, knowledgable, and a great best friend to Wade, even though they only knew each other through the Oasis and hadn’t met in real life. I think it’s kind of cool the point that this brings up in the fact that they’ve known each other for years, but since it’s only through the Oasis, it may seem like they’ve never met; however, I think it was Wade that says really they know each other in the best way possible — on a pure intellectual and mental level. Since they don’t know what each other really looks like, all they know of each other is pure personality and I kind of like that. It’s like the best way to get to know a person.
Art3mis: Although I understand her hesitation about opening up to Wade and letting him get to know her “true self”, I kind of found it annoying at times! But what can you say… After spending all of your time in the Oasis as only an avatar, I’d totally suspect it’d be weird and scary letting someone know who you really are!

addiction_factor1Buy it! (And listen to the audio!)

Oh my gosh, the audio was just SO GOOD for this book. I really loved the whole book too. Gah, this was just soooo much fun!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE READY PLAYER ONE