Tag: audio books

Aug 03

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Audio Books, Supernatural, Young Adult Fiction 8

Happy Monday, Bookworms!

I’m feeling pretty accomplished today. That’s right. I finally read a Maggie Stiefvater book. I’m not opposed to YA or anything, but after so many formulaic dystopias flooded the market, I got pretty picky about what I’d read. I’ve heard from a number of reliable sources (Jenny at Reading the End and Heather at Capricious Reader in particular) that Maggie Stiefvater is the bee’s knees, so I had to find out what all the fuss was about. Thanks to my subscription to Scribd and all the audio books my brain can hold, I was able to try The Scorpio Races on for size. Side note: Maggie Stiefvater totally composed the musical accompaniment for the audio book, which is darn impressive.

thescorpioracesThe Island of Thisby is famous for two things: water horses and the annual Scorpio Races. Water horses are basically what they sound like; horses that come from the sea. To be more specific, they’re horses that come from the sea who would rather devour human flesh than oats and are nevertheless captured by islanders and ridden for sport. The Scorpio Races pit water horse against water horse in a combined horse race slash death match spectacle. Riding a water horse in this race is the ultimate extreme sport. Throats are ripped out on the regular. Sean Kendrick is 19 and a four time Scorpio Race champion. He’s got a hand with the monstrous horses that inspires admiration and envy. Puck Connelly is trying her hand in the races for the very first time. She’s also the first female ever to dare to do so. Both Sean and Puck embark on a journey they never expected, all while trying desperately to avoid being eaten by bloodthirsty horses.

The overall tone of this book felt very Neil Gaiman to me. That might be an unfair comparison drawn based on the fact that the actor who voiced Sean Kendrick sounded a bit like Neil Gaiman (which is a very, very good thing), but it was also dark and incorporated a lot of English/Irish folklore which is rather Gaiman-esque in itself. I though it was an inventive story, though I probably would have liked it more if I were a horse aficionado. Still, I’d totally read Maggie Stiefvater again. Her mind seems to be a dark and twisty place, but not in the way that makes me want to cower under the covers. I’d like to see what else she has to offer. If you’re in the mood for something different, give The Scorpio Races a whirl. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Talk to me Bookworms! Would you ever consider riding an animal you coaxed from the sea that totally wanted to eat you? (Spoiler Alert: My answer is a HELL NO. I won’t even swim in water with fish. I’ll wade in the ocean but when it comes to full immersion swimming, it’s a pool or nothing. Fish seriously freak me out. And water horses? Um, no.)

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jul 14

MOAR Audio Book Mini Reviews

Audio Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fairy Tales, Fantasy 16

Howdy Howdy Bookworms!

I’ve been reading with both my eyes and my ears this summer. Reading with your ears is totally a thing that counts. I REFUSE to accept that audio books don’t count as reading. Poppycock! Of course, not every book I read (with eyes or ears) is something I feel like writing a whole review about, so today we’re taking audio books in bite sized pieces. Om nom nom!

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1. I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg- I normally adore Fannie Flagg, but I’ve got mixed feelings about this book. The main character spends a good portion of the novel plotting out her suicide only to continually put it off to tie up loose ends in the land of the living. The story was cute, I guess, but I worry that it was a little too flippant with some really heavy issues.

2. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman- Well thank heaven they finally explored the niffin situation! That has been bothering me since The Magicians (review). I thought this final installment of the series tied things up rather nicely, without being too neat about it. I’m still worried about Lev Grossman’s fox fixation, though. Dude. For real.

3. Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire- You know how when you read original fairy tales they’re way creepier than you remember the Disney-fied versions being? Multiply that factor by 5 when Gregory Maguire gets his mits on Snow White, and you’ll have Mirror Mirror. In Maguire’s version of events, historical figure Lucrezia Borgia is cast in the role of the wicked queen with some gratuitous sexualization thrown in for good measure. I can’t help but think poor Lucrezia’s legacy has been getting the Cleopatra treatment for far too long. Stacy Schiff, will you rectify this for me please? (Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff was most enlightening! Anybody have a recommendation for a good Lucrezia Borgia biography?)

Talk to me, Bookworms! What have y’all been reading lately? Eye reading and ear reading both count here!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jun 25

I Don’t Know Where You Know Me From by Judy Greer

Audio Books, Humor, Memoirs 10

Hola Bookworms!

After the roaring win that was Aisha Tyler’s memoir Self-Inflicted Wounds (because audio books read by the author are the best), I thought I’d visit the memoir of Tyler’s Archerco-star (and co-star to, well, everyone) Judy Greer. You know the adorable best friend in every successful rom-com ever? That’s Judy Greer! She wrote a book called I Don’t Know What You Know Me From in which she discusses all sorts of things from her adoration of feta (she is my people) to awkward fan encounters. I’ll tell you this much, Judy, if I ever run into you, I’ll know EXACTLY where I know you from. My imaginary slumber party, obvi.

judygreerPro tip: if you’re an actress, you should DEFINITELY read your own memoir and record it so I can listen. Interviewers never ask interesting enough questions, letting Hollywood types speak for themselves ends in either delightful anecdotes or train wrecks, either of which are highly entertaining. Judy falls into the delightful anecdote camp, as I had no doubt she would.

Judy Greer is a Midwestern gal who sort of fell into acting. Since she didn’t grow up practicing her Oscar acceptance speech, she’s remarkably down-to-earth regardless of the number of A-list celebs she’s peed next to. She’s addicted to drug store cosmetics and secretly removes her Spanx in the restroom as soon as she’s finished on the red carpet. She is of the opinion that working in food service is a character building experience (with which I wholeheartedly concur) and she still has normal non-Hollywood friends. Like me.

Reasons Judy Greer should be my friend:

1. We are both Midwestern and love feta.

2. We each have a parent who originally trained to join the Catholic clergy.

3. We’ve both taken preemptive Benadryl in order to snuggle with cats. Sometimes you need to snuggle something and a dog/husband/baby isn’t available, okay?!

If you are a fan of chick flicks, you’ll certainly recognize Judy Greer and should therefore read and/or listen to I Don’t Know What You Know Me From. If you make it through without wanting to be Judy’s pal, I’ll buy you a cookie.** On that note, Bookworms, what’s your favorite romantic comedy?!

*If you find Archer amusing, you need to check out Frisky Dingo. You can thank me later. Actually, thank Hubs. This is all his fault.

**I will not actually buy you a cookie. I’m a jerk with limited funds.

***Speaking of funds, though, if you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.***

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Jun 15

Self Inflicted Wounds and Why Aisha Tyler is My New BFF

Audio Books, Humor, Memoirs 21

Greetings Bookworms,

I love a good celebrity memoir. It can be a tricky business, though. Sometimes you’ll pick up a celebrity memoir and the celeb will be unfunny, self important, and/or preachy. All that is GREAT if you’re hate-reading, but it can be a huge disappointment when it’s a celebrity you think is awesome. Kind of bursts the bubble, you know? Luckily, the opposite can happen. For example. Aisha Tyler. I know who she is and I’ve enjoyed her work, but I’ve never been ready to join her fan club or anything. At least, not until I listened to her narration of her book Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation. Now I want her to attend all my imaginary slumber parties! (That is a phrase that probably shouldn’t be uttered by a 32 year old woman, but whatever. This is the internet. I don’t even register on the creepy scale here.)

selfinflictedwoundsIn case you needed more evidence to show that the world is an unfair place, Aisha Tyler is not only statuesque and beautiful, she’s also smart, witty, and charming. Luckily, she’s also a GINORMOUS NERD, so she is my people. I don’t trust anybody who didn’t go through an awkward phase growing up. I mean, how can you develop as a person if you don’t have weird hair or terrible fashion sense or at least one horrifying experience with a maxi pad?!

Aisha Tyler spent tons of time reading books, being awkward, and embarrassing herself. It takes a special kind of person to puke on their crush and live to tell about it. You know the recurring nightmare you have about missing a test? Aisha Tyler slept through her SATs! And she still got into an ivy league school! (The unconscious SAT was her second go at it, but still damn impressive.) Aisha Tyler’s misadventures are tremendously entertaining, but she owns her part in all of them. I find it endlessly frustrating when people act like they’ve played no part in their own misfortune. (I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this sort of thing myself on occasion, but we’re not talking about me here.) Aisha Tyler is all “Yep, I made some really stupid choices. That was a terrible idea. You probably shouldn’t stay out all night getting wasted when your SATs are in the morning. Don’t steal your mom’s favorite shirt and try to deep fry things because you’ll start a fire. Ballerina outfits should only be worn by ballerinas.”

Should you read this book? Well. If you like things that do not suck, I would say, “yes, read this book.” I laughed, I cringed, and in the end, I wanted Aisha Tyler to be my BFF. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliationokay?

Talk to me, Bookworms! Has a celebrity memoir ever changed your opinion of said celebrity? Was it in a good way or a bad way? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

 

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Jun 09

Audio Book Mini Reviews

Audio Books, Children's Fiction, Supernatural, Vampires, Young Adult Fiction 17

Howdy Bookworms!

I am the worst lately. I just can’t seem to motivate myself to write thoughtful, interesting reviews. BWAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, sorry. Thoughtful and interesting aren’t really my bag, are they? Ah well. Even when I’m not posting, I’m still devouring books in any number of formats. I’ve got some bite sized tidbits for y’all today on my recent audio book listening.

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1. The Magician King by Lev Grossman: This is the second installment in The Magicians trilogy (review). It was enjoyable enough, as broody fantasy goes, but I’m legitimately puzzled by one thing. WTF is with Lev Grossman and foxes?! People transformed into foxes, fox deities… Bizzaro sexualization. I’m kind of worried about this guy.

2. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: I think I’m too old for this. I have absolutely no doubt that if this book had been released when I was a teenager, I would have ADORED it and declared it my soul mate made of words. There were still elements I really dug, but there were times I wanted to tell both these kids to quit taking themselves so seriously. GET OFF MY LAWN.

3. You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore: I had no idea this was a trilogy until I was almost finished with the book, but it was an entertaining and campy twist on the vampire genre. I couldn’t decide if I was amused or incredibly annoyed by the voice used for Abby Normal. It was soooo over the top crazy. Laugh or cringe? I simply do not know!

4. Matilda by Roald Dahl: I know, I can’t believe I hadn’t read this before now either. While I found Matilda utterly charming as a character, I can’t help but wonder… WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR CHILDHOOD, ROALD DAHL?! The grown ups are SO MEAN.

What have y’all been reading and listening to? I feel so out of the loop! 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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May 21

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Audio Books, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Mythology 15

Dearest Bookworms,

Have you ever heard people claim they’d love to have Morgan Freeman narrate their lives? Morgan Freeman is a whole lot of wonderful, I’ll grant you (March of the Penguins, holla!) However. I’m convinced people find the decision to nominate Morgan Freeman as their life’s narrator such a simple one is because they’ve yet to listen to Neil Gaiman read one of his books aloud. Thanks to Scribd, I’ve been audio-booking more than ever and one of my first selections was Stardust by the man himself. (Neil Gaiman, not Morgan Freeman. I don’t know if Morgan Freeman writes books. He might, he’s probably good at everything and spends his free time teaching poverty stricken children how to play the violin, but I digress…)

stardustStardust is a whimsical fairy tale following a young Tristran Thorne. He lives in the town of Wall, England which lies on the border between this world and Faerie. Tristran spends his time going about his daily life all Victorian style and pining for the town beauty, Victoria Forester. One evening Tristran and Victoria see a shooting star. Victoria tells Tristran she will marry him if he retrieves the star for her, and so he sets out on a quest to find it. Unbeknownst to Tristran, his visit to Faerie will be something of a homecoming, as he’s the product of a tryst between his mortal father and an enslaved faerie princess. His adventures beyond the wall include battling witches, elf lords, curses, magic, and mayhem of the best kind.

I have heard tell that the movie version of Stardust is better than the book (blasphemy? Perhaps, but it’s been known to happen.) Clearly I need to see this movie, because the book was utterly charming with just the right amount of Gaiman-style darkness. Fans of Neil Gaiman, fairy tales, and good old fashioned quests ought to pick this up. And then probably see the movie, because it’s apparently awesome.

Talk to me, Bookworms. Have any of you seen a shooting star? Meteor shower? A plane you pretended was a shooting star just so you could make a wish? (Seriously, I cannot be the only one to have done that plane thing…)

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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May 11

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

Audio Books, Chick Lit, Supernatural 7

Hello Bookworms!

Remember that time when I gushed all over the internet about Scribd? Well, the very first book I decided to listen to with my new subscription was a Sarah Addison Allen. Anybody surprised? You shouldn’t be. My ears devoured The Sugar Queen.

thesugarqueenJosie Cirrini’s life is in a holding pattern. Though she’s 27, she’s never moved out of her childhood home and her social life revolves around chauffering her elderly mother to her various society engagements in their small North Carolina town. Josey is so firmly under her mother’s thumb that she takes solace in snacks and sweet treats she keeps hidden in her closet. Josey’s life looks like it’ll be over before it starts when one evening she finds the rather scandalous town barfly Della Lee Baker hiding out in her closet amongst her guilty pleasures. The arrival of Della Lee sets off a series of events that changes the way Josey views her life and her family’s legacy.

Of course, as a Sarah Addison Allen, there’s a bit of magic involved (in the most whimsical and charming ways, naturally.) I’ve always said that red is my cosmic color of power, but Josey’s claim on that statement might actually be legit. And Josey’s gal pal Chloe has the BEST power/affliction. Books literally find her when she needs them. Where can I sign up for that?!

I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time reading books where overweight and/or obese people are described by authors in an unsympathetic tone. Sarah Addison Allen is very sympathetic to Josey, who is described as “plump,” but in exploring her addiction to food and comfort eating I found myself getting downright sad. It hit a nerve, I guess. I mean, I’ll probably never truly understand what drives someone to shoot heroin, but mainlining cookies? That is something I can relate to. Ooooh the feelings. Fans of Sarah Addison Allen, whimsy, and baked goods should definitely check out The Sugar Queen

Tell me something, Bookworms. Do you ever get an unexpected punch in the feels while reading? When was the last time it happened? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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May 05

Scribd: A Love Story

Audio Books 18

Greetings Bookworms!

I feel like I ought to preface this post by saying that nobody is paying me to write it. Not one red cent. They should be, honestly, because I’m about to go all fangirl, but I’m getting no dough. I’m probably not doing blogging right. Whatever. You know how much I love audio books. The problem I have is that they get pricey. They typically cost a good deal more than a print or digital copy of a book and I chew through them at an alarming rate.

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Audible is a great service that I’ve used and enjoyed. It costs $14.95 a month and you get one book credit a month. You get to keep and access these digital downloads forever and ever which is FABULOUS for books you plan to revisit. (I bought the entire Outlander series on audio through Audible so that I can hang out with glorious Scottish accents whenever I deem it necessary.) However. The majority of audio books I enjoy (like the vast majority of my digital and print collections) are one and done.

For a while I was feeding my aural fixation with titles from my local library, which is a great option too. Unfortunately, library books (even digital ones) are available to only a certain number of patrons at any given time. Also, I go through these books much more quickly than my library adds new ones and I’m starting to run low on books that interest me.

Enter Scribd. Scribd is a subscription service that offers unlimited digital books, audio books, and comic books for $8.99 a month. Now, you don’t get to keep the books, but they’ve got a monstrous selection and oh my word. It is the answer to my conundrum. Less expensive than a single paperback and all the stories my ears can handle? It is magical.

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Have any of you Bookworms tried Scribd? What about Audible? Your library? Bottom line: how do y’all get your book fix?

***UPDATE: Things that sound too good to be true usually are, you guys. Read all about my broken heart HERE.***

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Apr 30

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Audio Books, Coming of Age, Young Adult Fiction 23

Good Day Bookworms,

It’s always a good day when you’ve got an audio book to hand, I think. I don’t typically read/listen to a whole lot of YA literature, but several years ago I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and it was intense and amazing and fabulous. When I saw that another of her books was on sale via Audible, I snatched it up. Good books, good deals: my vices are few but powerful. And thus, I embarked on my listening journey with The Impossible Knife of Memory.

impossibleknifeOoooh you guys. Laurie Halse Anderson doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff, no siree. The Impossible Knife of Memory tells Hayley Kincain’s story. She’s a teenage girl living alone with her father, an Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD. They’ve been on the road the last few years, trucking and home schooling, when Andy (AKA Dad) decides they ought to settle down in his hometown so that Hayley can have a more “normal” life.

Hayley’s transition into “normal” isn’t without some bumps in the road, though she does meet a hottie named Finn who has his own bag o’ secrets. Because, you know. It’s not enough to be a teenager and deal with hormones and school and boys. Dealing with the fallout from major psychological trauma on top of all that? It’s enough to make me want to jump through the pages and give the girl a hug!

Thank heaven for Laurie Halse Anderson. I mean, YA literature needs voices that tackle life’s difficult issues. It’s not that I don’t love me some YA dystopian novels, but someone’s got to talk about REAL things. Katniss rocks, but realistically? Nobody’s putting kids in an arena and making them fight to the death. However, there are a lot of REAL veterans out there that are REALLY struggling and a lot of them have REAL families. A book like this can do actual good. Teens going through similar challenges will read it and feel less alone. Teens who aren’t will gain some empathy. Plus, teens reading books? Yep. That right there is a win-win-win situation.

Talk to me Bookworms. Are any of you big into the YA scene? Are there more authors who take on these types of topics, or shall I simply crown Laurie Halse Anderson the queen of awesome? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Apr 27

The Fellowship of the Worms Blasts Off: The Martian

Audio Books, Book Club 20

Happy Monday Bookworms!

smarty-mcwordypants-199x300It’s time that time again, y’all! The Fellowship of the Worms is in session! Today we’re going to be discussing the impossibly suspenseful novel, The Martian by Andy Weir. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Martian and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer questions in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, leave a comment linking to your review or discussion of The Martian on your own blog! I fully encourage shameless self promotion, so don’t hesitate to get your link on. Let’s do this! 

1. Does anybody else have a bit of a crush on Mark Watney after reading this? 

Um, heck yes! Super smart botanist/astronaut/engineer with a killer sense of humor and survival instinct? If MacGuyver, Bill Nye, and, I dunno, Tina Fey? got together and conquered Mars with science, duct tape, and hilarity, it might come close to matching Mark Watney’s awesomeness. Yes, please.

2. Do you think the crew was right in leaving Watney behind?

I’m with Mark on this one. I absolutely cannot blame the crew for leaving Watney. All their evidence pointed towardthemartian his being dead. It’s not like they were just like “he wasn’t back in time let’s go.” They were like “noooooo our friend is dead and Mars is evil!” The data all said “dude is dead, get out before you get sand stormed to death” so they did.

3. Do you think it’s realistic that Mark could have kept his sense of humor throughout his ordeal?

If it were me, I’d have given up early on and gone to a cold Martian grave. Watney’s maintenance of spirit is impressive, but I kind of believe it could happen. In listening to Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars (review), I learned that they have some crazy methods of picking astronauts. Would a person with an “ordinary” temperment have reacted the way Watney did? No. But they choose some pretty unusual characters to go into space. It makes sense to me, on some level. Plus, I loved Watney’s snarky humor so I’m talking myself into his being plausible.

4. Matt Damon is going to be playing Mark Watney in the upcoming movie version of The MartianHow do you feel about the casting decision? 

I listened to the audio version of this book (which was spectacular, BTW) and I can TOTALLY hear Matt Damon delivering Mark’s lines. I think he’s probably more handsome than what I imagine a botanist/engineer/astronaut would look like, but it’s Hollywood. Everybody is prettier than normal and that’s just something that happens in movie versions of books.

5. How many times did you think Mark was really, truly, going to bite it? 

The suspense killed me. Every time I thought Mark was really getting somewhere something insane would happen. Something would blow up or crash or get fried or be sucked into the Martian atmosphere and ruined. I was seriously stressed out reading and didn’t believe Watney would make it several times. Of course, in the earlier catastrophes, I tried to figure out what would fill the rest of the book if they killed off Watney but holy cats I don’t know HOW he made it out alive. Fictionally. Whatever. This has all been very intense and real for me, okay?!

Sound off, Bookworms! I want to know your what you thought of The Martian. Tackle some of the questions in the comments, or if you’ve written a post on your own blog (discussion or review, anything goes!) LINK IT UP! 

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*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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