Monday, October 24, 2011

Musing Monday: Audio books, Yae or Nae?

Musing Monday is a weekly meme by Should Be Reading. This week’s musing asks…

Do you listen to audiobooks? Why, or why not?

I do listen to audio books, though not religiously. I still prefer reading print where I can flip back to certain passages, reread a section with ease, and read at my own pace. Plus, I sometimes have a hard time concentrating on the audio; I get distracted easily, and suddenly I have no idea what's going on with the story nor how long I wasn't paying attention.

That being said, I do enjoy a well-read audio book. I'm currently listening to The Throne of Fire, the second book in the Kane Chronicles, by Rick Riordan. It is awesome! I listened to the first book in the series several months ago, and knew that I would have to listen to the second book, too. I also loved listening to the Harry Potter books read by Jim Dale (though I really want to hear the Stephen Fry versions!) and The Eyre Affair was also excellently read. These are great for while I'm working or for long car rides; I prefer print for every other occasion.

But for every winning reading, there's a reading that can turn you off the medium. I listened to some of the Sookie Stackhouse audio books, and while the reader was fantastic as Sookie, her rendition of Eric cracked me up (and not in a good way). It brought me out of the story to marvel at the horrendousness of the strange generic-European deep voice she took on to portray the character.

When it comes to audio books, the reader can make or break the story.

It's Monday: What are you reading? (19)

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from Book Journey.

It's apparently YA week for me! I love reading YA and that's all I've been focusing on recently.

I Read:
I just finished a great old-school YA novel titled Sorcery and Cecelia: Or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot. It was a great read and a lot of fun. See my full review in the post below.

I'm Reading (or rather, listening):
The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles #2), by Rick Riordan
I listened to the first audio book in this series a few months ago and absolutely loved the story and the readers. At the beginning of the book the narrator tells us that the paper copy of the book was based off of audio transcripts from our two main characters, so if you're listening to the audio book it's as though you're listening to the "real" recordings. The readers are awesome and the chapters switch between the male and female lead. I loved the first audio book, and I'm loving the 2nd, though I'm only on disc 4 of 11 or 12.

To Read:
Next on the reading list is Hunger Games. I know, as a YA reader and a librarian who would love to work with teens, I should have read this long ago. However, I'm not a fan of dystopian novels. Everyone I know who has read it has loved it, so I'm going to give it a try. I feel it's my responsibility to do so.

Review: Sorcery and Cecelia: Or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

Sorcery and Cecelia: Or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot  (*****)
By Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

From Goodreads:
A great deal is happening in London and the country this season.

For starters, there's the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. There's also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia. (Though he's not doing a very good job of it--so just what are his intentions?) And then there's Oliver. Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn't bothered to tell anyone where he is.

Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. And the girls might be in fear for their lives . . . if only they weren't having so much fun! 

From Me:
I admit, I picked up this book strictly for the title, and I'm glad I did. Sorcery and Cecelia is totes adorbs (yes, I just said that). The story follows two young women in 1800s London where magic is common and the Season is in full swing. The book is written as correspondence between two cousins, Kate and Cecelia. Kate is in London for the Season and Cecelia is stuck at home, and yet the two wind up having adventures that are strangely tied together. Though the story is told through letters (and by two authors), it feels very cohesive and natural; the letters didn't feel like they were overdoing it with exposition and the story itself remained fluid.

While this book was originally written in 1988, it still holds up, and I would recommend it to any teen (or teen-reading adult) who is in the mood for a light and fun read. I'm definitely going to read the next in the series, The Grand Tour.

Update: I received an email from Open Road Media letting me know that the titles in the Sorcery and Cecelia series are being re-released as e-books and that they have brand-spankin-new covers! So if you read this post prior to 5/17/2012, yes, the cover art in this blog has been changed :) And I have to say, I really like it!

Check out the new artwork for the other two books in the series:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: Heartless

Heartless (Parasol Protectorate #4) (*****)
by Gail Carriger

From Goodreads:
Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

From Me:
I can't tell you how much I adore Gail Carriger's books. I love her pragmatic heroine, her flamboyant supporting characters, her sense of humor, and the paranormal world she created.

In this installment, Alexia is attempting to solve a mystery and put the Empire to rights, again, but this time she's 8 months pregnant, which makes things a touch more difficult.

This is such a fun read, and I can't wait until the next installment is released in 2012. That, and a new series was just announced centered on a character introduced at the end of Heartless. So excited!

Waiting on Wednesday: Timeless

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

by Gail Carriger
From Goodreads:
Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

From Me:
I just finished Heartless, the fourth book in the Parasol Protectorate series, and I can't wait for the next installment! Love these books! And Carriger is also planning a YA series and a spin-off series. I love discovering an awesome author when they're just starting out, but at the same time I kinda wish I came in late to her writing because I HATE having to wait for the next book! Le sigh.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays: Heartless

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"'Now, Alexia, my dearest, be reasonable.' Her husband was trying to wheedle. He wasn't very good at it--wheedling looked odd on a man of his proportions and monthly inclinations." 
"'Reasonable? Go boil your head in reasonable!'"
                                      Heartless by Gail Carriger

Library Blog Post!

Hussey Mayfield Memorial Public Library
Check me out - I wrote a blog post for the library I volunteer at! Hussey Mayfield Memorial Public Library is an awesome library in Zionsville, Indiana. It's a gorgeous building in the most adorable "village." I love driving through the neighborhood to get to the library, and I swear my librarian heart sings a little chorus when I walk into that building. (P.S. My heart sings much better than I do.)

Anyway, check out my post and HMMPL's blog!

Downtown in the Village of Zionsville