Audiobook fun.

Audiobooks Library

I’ve had a few conversations this past week about audiobooks.   There is a bit of a love/hate relationship concering audiobooks, and I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum.  If you’d asked me a year ago about audiobooks, my response would have been a little something like this, ” I just can’t… hearing other people’s voices messes with my reading experience,”  or,  “I  have the attention span of a third grader, so I don’t have the capacity to pay attention” to, “Audiobooks… what?Why?”  I really don’t know why I always dismissed audiobooks before, they’re practically my become my new BFFs now.

What’s so great about audiobooks?

Well, for me they’re just super convenient, and sometimes they can be  fun.  I read about 3-6 books at a time, and as much as I love reading, it can be overwhelming keeping up with all of them. Aside from helping me knock out my booklist, they’re also a fantastic way to help me multitask.

Getting ready for work: Insert audiobook

Driving to work: Insert audiobook

Cooking: Insert audiobook

Sick days when all you can do is lay in bed with burning eyes: Insert audiobook.

You get the picture. SO MUCH MORE READING TIME.

It wasn’t always this way, however. I had to transition and find ways that worked for me, and now I’m writing a blog post about how awesome they are, go figure.   Here are some way that   that helped me drop my misconceptions and get on with the listening.  Trust me it’s weird at first, but once you get the hang of them you’ll love them. Not only because they can be really fun, but think of all that extra bonus story time you ‘ll now have….

Tips:

1) Find a way that works for you.

For me the key is keeping busy. Before I figured this out, I’d  sit  and listen to the audio and since I  do have the attention span of a third grader  that went as far as you would expect it to.  I was 200 pages into  Les Miserbales (Unabridged) by Victor Hugo when I realized I would be reading this for a good chunk of the year without some help. Insert audiobook complete with 56 hours during a a grueling ab workout and violá, a convert was born.

I like listening to my audiobooks when I’m working out, getting ready,  driving, cooking, ect. Anytime where my hands and body are moving around is usually a good time for me.

I know some people who need to be sitting down and doing nothing but listening to the audio.  Another friend of mine can only listen to them while driving. Goes to show were all different, so find a way that works for you.

2) Find good narrators.

I have abandoned, and even gone as far as not liking a book because I couldn’t stand the narrator. When you find yourself listening to a voice you can’t stand ABANDON SHIP. You will hate the book, and hate audiobooks forever if you’re in the early stages. I know it  isn’t as  simple as picking up the same title narrated by someone else. But, maybe listening to a sampler chapter before investing time and money may help you decide if it will be a good fit for you. The more you listen to audiobooks the more you’ll become aware of different voice actors. I listen to a lot of fantasy audibooks, and I have a few favorites in the genre. Michael Kramer, Renee Raudman, and recently Steven Pacey have all become favorites.

3) Check out audiobooks from your library.

Another reason that I was always hesitant to get into audiobooks was because of the price. I’m not down to spend $30 on an audiobook when I can get a few paperbacks instead. Now I’m not sure how audiobooks work for  every public library system, but my  library systems are  pretty great.  Being able to sample audiobooks at virtually no cost to me, helped me figure out what worked for me and what didn’t. I know fantasty books usually have awesome and animated narrators, and romance has the tendecny to be a little monotone.

(I do have an audible account, but I didn’t get it till a few months ago when I was already fully immersed into audiobooks.  If you feel like trying it out for the first free book go for it! But, I would say if you have the option start with your library.)

4) Get the physical text for your audiobook.

This isn’t really a tip it’s more like a suggestion. I read much faster than I listen, so I usually hybrid my audio reads. Basically, I just go back and forth between the reading and listenting. Plus I like being able to pick out quotes and see how certain things are spelled, or get a feel for how far I am in the book.  To date I’ve only ever listened one complete audiobook without the text, and I’ve never done it since.

For now those are my 4 tips for you guys. If I  think of more  i’ll update this post,and of course if you have any, go ahead and share them.

ETA: Rabindranuth  from  Drunk Dragon Reviews  shared a helpful tip that slipped my mind.

Speed up the listening setting. Most audiobook apps let you go up to 3x (at least the ones I’ve used.) My preferred is also 1.5x but of course you’re free to adjust to your preferences.

Happy reading/ listening 🙂

Image is from UCSF.

Banned Books I’ve Read.

 

Banned Books    Some of the Banned Books I’ve Read.

This week marks another  anniversary of the ALA’s (American Library Association)’s Banned Books week. If you’re unfamiliar with Banned books week, here is a link directing you to the ALA’s  website. It gives you a much  much more precise account of what Banned Books Week means. In short, Banned Books Weeks is a celebration of  our freedom to read and write whatever we want. It brings awareness to books that have been previously banned or challenged. Banned Books Week reminds us to speak out against  censorship, and  to challenge anyone who thinks they have the right to restrict our reading. At least that’s what it means to me.

The books I read as a kid have made me the adult I am today. I was very fortunate to  have parents who never censored my reading, and a library system that kept its shelves fully stocked with a wide variety of books.  I am forever grateful to this, and I  can’t imagine my  childhood and my life without some of those books.

Here is a list of all the “banned” or challenged books I’ve read over the years. I’ve been quite the rebel 🙂

Banned Books I’ve read:

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Animal Farm by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

The Giver by Lois Lowry

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

One Flew Over the Cuckoos’s Nest Ken Kessey

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Goosebumps by R.L Stine

The Outsides by S.E. Hinton

Feed by M.T. Anderson

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Where’s Waldo by Martin Hanford

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Fifty Shades of Grey by El James

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Kite Runner by Khalid Hussein

His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

I should mention that I didn’t enjoy all of these books, however,  I’m glad that I got to decide how I felt about them for myself. I’ve probably read a bunch more, but this list can get really really long, so I’ll leave it here. Feel free to share some of your favorite banned or challenged books with me.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Book Thoughts: Among Others

among others

This is one of those books that are really difficult to explain. It’s really polarizing, and I can definitely see why. If you’re a person who likes a solid plot, reliable narrators, and a clear cut ending, then this might not be for you. I typically am that person, and about half way through I didn’t think I would end up liking this for that reason. However,  there was something about  Among Others that just stuck with me.  I guess every once in awhile you just need to suspend your disbelief with a book, and with a well written book like Among Others it turns out it’s not so hard to do.

Among Others follows a girl named Morwenna (Mori) from Wales. Since childhood she and her twin sister played among mysterious other worldly creatures they call “fairies.” The twins lived  a happy carefree life, but always in the shadow of their mother, a witch who wants to use dark magic and bend it to her will. The twins’ attempts to stop her leave Mori crippled, and her twin sister dead. Mori flees to England to live with a father whom she hardly  knows. He sends her  to a boarding school where her only salvation is books. Lots and lots of science fiction books.

This book is  love story with book, and I love that. There is a fierce and protective love for books, libraries, and bookstore and what they represent for people.

“It doesn’t matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.”

“Libraries really are wonderful. They’re better than bookshops, even. I mean bookshops make a profit on selling you books, but libraries just sit there lending you books quietly out of the goodness of their hearts.”

“If you love books enough, books will love you back.”

Just some of the many quotes about book love.

I could 100% identify with Mori on this. Books are my number 1 escape and they have always been. Going to the library was my number one  favorite thing to do as a kid. (Still is one of my favorite things to do). I was that crazy kid who checked out 12 books at time and  tried to read them all. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I had to renew them, but it was just fun knowing that I had a stack of worlds I could escape to at  moments notice. Mori has an obsession with science fiction, and the novel takes place in 1979 when many new and exciting authors were coming out with incredible ideas. Every book she talks about I either already have on my list, or I added as soon as she described it. She reminds me of all of my online book friends with her passion and dedication to not only reading the books, but also in the way she just wants to share them with everyone.

What I didn’t love so much was the format of the novel.  It’s told in journal entries, and I’ve never really liked that. It often ends on random or awkward passages. Mori’s voice also felt a little too young for her age, but then at times she would start wondering about things like sex and politics, and it would throw me because up till that point I thought she  younger.

Another peeve of mine  was Mori herself, she was a little too full of herself.  She had the tendency to think “them” vs. “me” with her classmates because they didn’t read, or because they had different hobbies, and it got annoying very quickly. She was also extremely repetitive. She loves the library and interlibrary loans, (which I get)  but she repeated how these two were about a gazillion times.

It is a fantasy book, so there is  magic, but  to me feels more like an after thought. The book’s focus is Mori and  her transition to young adult, her love for books, and the challenges she faces dealing with grief.  The magic is subtle, and it  doesn’t really become much of a presence till the end. I think it’s good to know before going and expecting a full blown magical world like I did. This doesn’t bother me because I did enjoy the book for the most part, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect there to be more.

Overall, this was not what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it. I would recommend this to book lovers who enjoy coming of age stories with a  little bit of twist.

 

One Lovely Blogger Award

One lovely blogger

 

I was nominated by the lovely  Yvo from It’s all about Books. Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it 🙂

On to the Rules:

You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
You must list the rules and display the award.
You must add 7 facts about yourself.
You must nominate 5-15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they’ve been nominated.
You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven facts about myself:

1. I really like getting things done, but  I am a pro procrastinator. It’s not amusing, and it definitely ranks up there with the top five things I want to change about myself.

2.Like YVo,I too I like lists. Any kind of list: to-do list, recipes, bucket list, TBR list, you get the picture.  If there is ever anything that needs to be remembered or documented, I’ll do so in list format. I love writing them, but I get a special nerdy  thrill from crossing stuff off of them.

3) I never read/listened to audiobooks till this year. Now they’ve become my life saver.

4.  I am  scatterbrained especially when I’m excited or nervous. It’s one of the few times when I turn into a chatterbox.

5) Like most introverts, small talk makes me nervous, but I can hold hour long conversations with complete strangers about books, traveling, food etc, but I get totally stuck after asking someone how how their day was. It makes for really awkward moments.

6. My definition of “good weather” involves overcast skies and rain. Sunny hot days are the bane of existence.

7. I’ve deluded myself into thinking I will one day actually finish all the books on my infinite TBR list. (Have I mentioned I’m crazy?)

We are supposed to nominate 5-15 other bloggers, but I’m going to skip that. First, I’m super late on this, and mostly everyone has already been nominated. Second, there are just too many great blogs out there, and it’s difficult to narrow it down. So instead I’ll do this: If you read this, consider yourself nominated by me. 🙂

P.S. I created an instagram just for the blog. Come find me!

Finished Series and Updates

Finished 1

Last week I overwhelmed myself, and some of you with my über long list of unfinished series a.k.a my pile of shame.  This week I’m going to underwhelm myself by showcasing all the series I have finished!  It’s the little things that make me feel like a winner.

Finished Series:

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan

The Demonata by Darren Shan

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

A-list by Zoey Dean

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Games by  Zilpha Keatly  Snyder

Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Little House by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Black Falcon Trilogy by Kathleen O’Neal Gear

Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater  (Original first 3)

Millennium a.k.a Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Maze Runner by James Dashner

Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

Too Far by Abbi Glines

The Hathaways by Lisa Kleypas

Y:The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan

Dreamblood By N.K. Jemisin

Update on Unfinished Series:

I recently finished the seventh Book in the Kate Daniels Series( Magic Rises). Also, today I started  Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie, the third and final book in the The First Law Trilogy.  Progress is slow, but it’s still progress.

Have you any of you read some of these?

 

 

Book Thoughts: The Turtle Boy

The Turtle Boy
Buddy Read with my fellow Burke fangirls:Julie and Kat.

So the one day I actually have time to be on Goodreads/the internet, which these days has been not a whole lot, is the day that my internet decides to crash.
Lovely right?

I was also in the middle of writing this review(on Goodreads) when the crash occurred, so apologies if this is a little lackluster. If you want better and coherent thoughts, go check out my BR buddies’ reviews. When will I ever learn to not write reviews on GR first? Never apparently.

Rant Over.
On to The Turtle Boy.

Turtle Boy centers around two best friends. Timmy and Pete. They’re your average kids whose world consist of running around searching for adventures. Their town has a bit of an urban myth concerning a pond, turtles, and a missing boy. They’re feeling kind of brave one day, and they decide to go check the pond out. A bit of creepiness ensues and the boys hightail it out of there. Unfortunately, they set off a chain of events that uncover buried secrets.

The Turtle Boy is one of Burke’s earliest works. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s his first. It’s a different style than his later stuff. Granted I’ve only read Kin and  The Tent and they’re both different stories. Not that the writing here was bad, just a bit unclear at parts. I found myself confused and bored for the first half. But, because this happened before with The Tent, I held on hope that it would improve and it did!

The second half reveals some pretty shocking information about the kids’ parents, a bit of action, and perhaps the most creative cliffhanger I’ve ever seen.

On to the characters. I hate Pete’s dad. He’s the only character that I have no doubts about my feelings for. Everyone I’m still a bit iffy on including Timmy. He had his moments, but I still don’t feel like I know him very well. I’m hoping that more info will be revealed, and that they’ll grow on me.

Yes, it does end on a cliffhanger which is why I must get my hands on The Hides ASAP.

Overall, not amazing but not bad. The first of a series so I’m optimistic for what’s to come.

Book Thoughts: The Shadowed Sun

tHE Shadowed Sun

Book 1 of the The Dreamblood Series.

The Killing Moon Thoughts.

Well. Memories can be both sweet and painful.

The Shadowed Sun takes place ten years after the events of The Killing Moon. Book 1 left us with some unresolved issue and some very unhappy characters. These characters make their way to center stage in the sequel as they prepare to take back what they lost, and get their revenge.

Quick recap:
The city of Gujareeh worships the female Goddess Hananja, and her priest of sorts are known as the Hetawa. The Hetawa use magic that is created out of dreams. This magic is mostly used for good, but when abused or misused it can be extremely deadly. Where book 1 focused on the abuse of magic, book 2 centers  on the misuse and mistreatment of it.

Some of the older characters make appearances, but the focus stays firmly on our new  heros.

We have:
The exiled Prince of Gujrareeh, Wanahomen, who after witnessing the Hetawa strip away his family’s name and honor, vows to take back his crown at any cost.

Hanani: One of the only female Sharers in the Hetawa, she just wants to serve her faith and be accepted in the Hetawa. But, because she’s female she often gets the short end of the stick, and she is quickly blamed when things go wrong.

Any woman can face the world alone, but why should we have to?

Jemisisn’s really explores women’s roles in regards to society and religion. As I said before with The Killing Moon, these books feel like historical fiction and in book 2 we witnesses drastic changes in the the culture’s that Jemison creates.  We see the irony of serving a female goddess, but having females be second class citizens within the society. She rattles the societal norms and expectations, and I loved seeing old and outdated mentalities get thrown out the window.

Jemisin also doesn’t shy away from making the reader uncomfortable. There is, rape, incest, and violence and much of it is directed at innocents.It isn’t too graphic, but it’s there so be warned.

Similar to The Killing Moon, the setting completely did me in. Jemisisn based the Banbarra culture on the Anasazi Native American tribe, and much of this book’s setting took place in desert canyons with a rich and vibrant culture living in it.

Picture this:

anasazinicole

 

I love the desert in theory, but I’m not one for lounging around in the sand awaiting mirages(I’ll take a rainy day any day) However, Jemisisn’s setting made me want to slap on the SPF 5o and be a tourist for the day.

There is  much more romance and humor in this, one and it contrasted nicely with all the heaviness of the read. Wanhomen and Hanani are so awkward and so funny together.

Overall,  a satisfying sequel and ending to a great series.