Audiobook challenge update

2014 Audiobook Challenge
2014 Audiobook Challenge

I’m participating in the 2014 Audiobook Challenge hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs.

I didn’t know June is Audiobook Month so I’m going to challenge myself to listen to one book a week during June!

I have quite a few audiobooks by now since I’ve joined Audible and I’m downloading the two free books from Sync each week this summer and also download books from my library or find them on CD.

At the beginning of the year I said I’d listen to 5-10 audiobooks this year. I didn’t listen to any audiobooks last year so this is a big jump for me! This is my update at the almost six month mark for the challenge.

Books read and reviewed:

1. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (narrated by James Marsters) — reviewed Feb 28 –Grade B+

2. Maisie Dobbs (narrated by Rita Barrington)–reviewed April 7 –Grade A

3. The Winter Sea (narrated by Rosalyn Landor)–reviewed May 21 –Grade A

Books read, but not reviewed yet:

1. Silence by Michelle Sagara (read in April)

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (read in May)

3. The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (read in May)

I’ve listened to 6 books so far this year so that is within my challenge number of 5-10 books (Weekend Warrior). Since there’s over half the year left I think I should be able to move at least to the next level of listening–10-15 books (Stenographer). My favorites so far are The Winter Sea, Maisie Dobbs and The Emperor’s Soul.

 

 

 

Review: Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher

proven-guiltyProven Guilty
by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 8
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2006
E-book, Purchased
403 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: There’s no love lost between Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the Chicago phone book, and the White Council of Wizards, who find him brash and undisciplined. But war with the vampires has thinned their ranks, so the Council has drafted Harry as a Warden and assigned him to look into rumors of black magic in the Windy City.

As Harry adjusts to his new role, another problem arrives in the form of the tattooed and pierced daughter of an old friend, all grown-up and already in trouble. Her boyfriend is the only suspect in what looks like a supernatural assault straight out of a horror film. Malevolent entities that feed on fear are loose in Chicago, but it’s all in a day’s work for a wizard, his faithful dog, and a talking skull named Bob….

I was fairly sure that my day couldn’t get much worse.

No sooner had I thought it than there was a horrible crunching sound, and my head snapped back hard against the headrest on the back of the driver’s seat. The Beetle shuddered and jounced wildly, and I fought to keep it under control.

You’d think I would know better by now.

and

I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching–they are your family.

 Likes

  • Mouse continues to be a wonderful character. Very heroic.
  • I like the horror movie convention.
  • Thomas finally leaves after about two years living with Harry, but is mysterious about where and what he is doing.
  • We get to see more of Karrin Murphy in this book. She’s a favorite character of mine.
  • Michael and his family show up again in this book and we find out more about them.
  • Lots of White Council and various members of the Council plus their war with the Red Vampires.
  • A hint for future books–is there a traitor in the White Council?
  • Some of the book takes place in the Nevernever and with the Faeries there and in Dresden’s Chicago. I like that.

 Dislikes

  • A reader knows what they’re getting in this series. I like that, but some readers might get tired of the predictability. I like Harry, his friends and his world too much to worry very much about it.

Thoughts

  • The series is urban fantasy with a mystery (or mysteries) to solve–in this case the mystery at the horror movie convention.
  • The war with the vampires (the ongoing story arc through most of this series) continues in this book.
  • This is one of my favorite books of the series so far. Harry is more proactive and positive in this book and works with quite a few different people on different problems. Some of the people like him and some don’t—business as usual!
  • I’m looking forward to seeing where these books are going since we get some intriguing hints for future books.

Have you read books in this series? How do you like them?

Reading challenges

I’m participating in the Book Bingo Challenge. I’m placing this book in one of my series squares.

Review: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

 

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick
by Joe Schreiber
Series: Perry & Gobi, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011
E-book, Library
192 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Ferris Bueller meets La Femme Nikita in this funny, action-packed young adult novel.

It’s prom night—and Perry just wants to stick to his own plan and finally play a much-anticipated gig with his band in the Big Apple. But when his mother makes him take Gobija Zaksauskas—their quiet, geeky Lithuanian exchange student—to the prom, he never expects that his ordinary high school guy life will soon turn on its head. Perry finds that Gobi is on a mission, and Perry has no other choice but to go along for a reckless ride through Manhattan’s concrete grid with a trained assassin in Dad’s red Jag.

Infused with capers, car chases, heists, hits, henchmen, and even a bear fight, this story mixes romance, comedy, and tragedy in a true teen coming-of-age adventure—and it’s not over until it’s “au revoir.”

I thought about those South American cattle farmers who shoved the weakest, scrawniest cow in the river upstream, protecting the rest of the herd while schools of piranha ripped the poor sacrificial heifer to shreds. Whether or not that actually happened, I didn’t know or particularly care–as a social model for high school dynamics, it was too cruelly perfect.

and

“I liked you better when you were this geeky quiet exchange student.”

“Well, perhaps I liked you better when you just shut your mouth and stared at my chest,” she said, “but we cannot always get what we want in this world.”

Likes

  • This book is a romp through New York City in Perry’s dad’s Jaguar! I like the above description: Ferris Beuller meets La Femme Nikita. That’s the vibe for this book. I didn’t take it too seriously.
  • It takes place mostly in one night–prom night.
  • It reminds me a little of the British movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. That movie is violent, but also funny. This book is mostly funny and light, but also violent and serious at times–especially when I least expected it.
  • Starting each chapter with a question for a college essay entrance application is very funny and apropos since Perry is a high school senior and is waitlisted for Columbia University.
  • I like both Perry and Gobi a lot.

Dislikes

  • Because the book is both funny and violent it’s kind of hard to know how to respond. The book is pretty light most of the time, but is also serious at other times.

Thoughts

All in all, I like this book. It isn’t one to take too seriously which in some ways is too bad because there are serious parts to it. But maybe being too serious would make a young adult book seem too preachy.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • The 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog.
  • The Book Bingo Challenge.

Review: Generation V by M. L. Brennan

generation-vGeneration V
by M. L. Brennan
Series: Generation V, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2013
E-book, Purchased
312 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Reality Bites…Fortitude Scott’s life is a mess. A degree in film theory has left him with zero marketable skills, his job revolves around pouring coffee, his roommate hasn’t paid rent in four months, and he’s also a vampire. Well, sort of. He’s still mostly human.

But when a new vampire comes into his family’s territory and young girls start going missing, Fort can’t ignore his heritage anymore. His mother and his older, stronger siblings think he’s crazy for wanting to get involved. So it’s up to Fort to take action, with the assistance of Suzume Hollis, a dangerous and sexy shape-shifter. Fort is determined to find a way to outsmart the deadly vamp, even if he isn’t quite sure how.

But without having matured into full vampirehood and with Suzume ready to split if things get too risky, Fort’s rescue mission might just kill him.…

“Does a bodyguard really need to know what I’ve thrown out lately?”

She looked surprised. “Of course not.”

“Then why are you looking?”

“Because I’m nosy.”

and

“So make him pay it.”

I stared. She made it sound so simple, as if I’d just been letting it slide this whole time. “How would you suggest I do that?” I asked.

“Threats of violence have always worked very well for me,” Suzume said, completely serious.

I sighed. “And if threats don’t work?”

“Then use violence.” Suzume gave a smothered little laugh. “Jeez, Fort, you seem to like making things more complicated than they really are.”

Likes

  • I haven’t read many vampire books lately. This is a little different take on vampires: for example, it’s not easy to have vampire offspring, but Madeline (Fort’s mother) manages to create three children and each one is different. Fort is her youngest (only in his mid-twenties). Madeline has done things differently with Fort, but she doesn’t tell Fort why he’s different.
  • It’s a fun book to read. Fort is both a fun and funny protagonist. Lots of humor with other characters,too–especially Suzume.
  • Fortitude doesn’t act at all like a vampire. He’s still mostly human, but at some point will complete his change to a full-fledged vampire. He doesn’t want to lose his humanity so he’s trying to stay human as long as possible. He finds being a vegetarian helps stave off his vampire urges a little! His vampire family try to tempt him to eat meat whenever possible.
  • The kitsune are wonderful in this book. Especially Suzume.
  • I like the names of Madeline’s offspring: Prudence, Chivalry and Fortitude!
  • Fort is a wimp in the beginning of the book, but changes a bit by the end of the book partly from Suzume’s help.

Dislikes

  • It’s hard to read about children in danger
  • I don’t like Fort that well at first–especially letting his girlfriend get away with the whole “open relationship” idea even though he doesn’t like it! He’s passive-aggressive about the whole thing. The author does do a good job showing how he begins to changes by the end of the book.
  • I want to know more about the kitsune.

Thoughts

  • I found out about this book from Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn. I’m so glad I did. This is a great start to a new series. I’ve already bought Iron Night the next book in the challenge.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Reading challenges

  • The 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog.
  • The Book Bingo Challenge.

Sunday Post–May 25

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpgThe Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the house

I’ve been in Des Moines all week. Last Saturday we moved all the big stuff. She hired Two Men and a Truck to do that and they did a great job. We spent the week putting stuff away and the house is looking great! My husband and older daughter arrived Friday night and my husband has been working in the yard ever since! He bought mulch, a Japanese Maple, bird feeders and many other things to populate the yard! We had to rent a pick up truck to bring everything home!

It’s raining (Sunday morning) as I type this and my husband has been outside working since 6 a.m. He’s determined to do as much as he can before we leave tomorrow.

Blog posts

What I’m reading

 Green Rider by Kristen Britain

What I read this week

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (audiobook)

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (novella/audiobook)

Iron Night by M. L. Brennan

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

E-books bought

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe

Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan

A Fairy’s Guide to Disaster by A. W. Hartoin

A Dangerous Madness by Michelle Diener

A Lessson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

From Audible

The Currents of Space by Isaac Assimov

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Next Week

Around the internet SyncSync downloads

Sync is a site for young adult audiobooks. In the summer (beginning May 15 to August 20) they offer two free audiobooks each week. These books are available from May 22-28:

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Oedipus the King by Sophocles

The following books are available from May 29 – June 4:

CONFESSIONS OF A MURDER SUSPECT by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, Narrated by Emma Galvin (Hachette Audio)
THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE by Agatha Christie, Narrated by Richard E. Grant (Harper Audio)

Check out the entire Sync schedule.

Around the house

We leave for Maryland Monday evening and after being gone for more  than two week I have lots to do.

Posts on the blog

  • Review:
  • Review:
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

murder-of-crowsMurder of Crows
by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others, Book 2
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2014
E-book, Purchased
369 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

“The cow-shaped cookies have a beef flavoring, the turkey-shaped cookies have a poultry flavoring, and…”

Jane held up one of the cookies. “Human-flavored?”

Meg stifled a sigh. That would be the first thing on her feedback list: don’t make people-shaped cookies. The Wolves were way too interested and all of them leaped to a logical, if disturbing, expectation about the taste.

and

“Human females, they’re kind of crazy during this time aren’t they?”

“If you chose to believe the stories written by male writers.” Vlad replied.

They heard a bang and thump from the kitchen, followed by Meg yelling at something.

Simon sighed. “That many males can’t be wrong.”

Likes

  • Lots of humor, but also darkness.
  • I continue to love Meg. She loves interracting with humans and the Others. She still doesn’t always understand why people and the Others react the way they do, but she’s learning and she’s completely loyal.
  • Simon is the leader of Lakeside so he has lots of responsibilities, but he also finds a fun-loving side with Meg–as well as a completely puzzled side when he deals with her. This is new to him since he never cared enough about humans to try to puzzle out why they react the way they do.
  • The terra indigene are especially interesting. They’re loyal to their friends and implacable to their enemies.
  • Great world building. With this book Ms. Bishop increases our knowledge of the world and introduces new characters.
  • There’s tension between the humans and the Others…talk about understatement!

Dislikes

  • I don’t dislike anything about this book.

Thoughts

I like the first book a little better than this one, but really only a little…maybe because the world Anne Bishop creates in the first book is so unique and the newness wore off some in this book, but still this book is such fun to read.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Reading Challenges

I’m participating in the Book Bingo reading challenge for this book.2014-bingo-challenge-01

TBR Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

This TBR reading challenge is hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian. The review for this challenge is posted on the third Wednesday each month. This month the challenge is to read a book by an author with more than one book in my TBR pile! I have three or four books by Susanna Kearsley!

The Winter Sea
The Winter Sea

 

The Winter Sea
by Susanna Kearsley
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Series: Slains, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by Allison & Busby, 2008
E-book, Purchased
544 pages
Audio Length: 15:50 hours
Grade: A
Narration: A
Synopsis: In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her...

“There’s a line in The Barretts of Wimpole Street – you know, the play – where Elizabeth Barrett is trying to work out the meaning of one of Robert Browning’s poems, and she shows it to him, and he reads it and he tells her when he wrote that poem, only God and Robert Browning knew what it meant, and now only God knows. And that’s how I feel about studying English. Who knows what the writer was thinking, and why should it matter? I’d rather just read for enjoyment.”

and

“…there is no sight so melancholy as the winter sea, for it does tell us we are truly at the ending of the year, and all its days are passed, its days of joy and sorrow that will never come again.” He turned to look at her, and smiled. “But so the seasons turn, and so they must, by nature’s own design. The fields must fall to fallow and the birds must stop their song awhile; the growing things must die and lie in silence under snow, just as the winter sea must wear its face of storms and death and sunken hopes, the face ye so dislike.”

Likes

  • I love this book. The language is lyrical. I especially enjoyed listening to the audio version of the book.

    slains castle 004
    Slains Castle
  • The narrator–Rosalyn Landor–is excellent. She does the men’s voices just as well as women’s voices. And I especially like the Scottish accents…I don’t know if they are authentic, but they sound great to me!
  • The dual time period of the book works so well in this book…the way the two time periods and characters echo each other.
  • The historical time period is so interesting. I’ve read a number of books about Scotland, but most of them took place later–around the time of the Battle of Culloden in 1745.
  • Much of the action takes place at Slains Castle which is a real place. It’s located north of Aberdeen and I’d love to visit sometime!
  • I like Carrie, who is the author writing the book within this book.
  • There is romance in the book, but I don’t think of this as historical romance. And besides historical it’s also contemporary. It’s hard to classify!
  • Several parts of the book made me cry! There’s lots of emotion in this book.

Dislikes

  • Several parts of the book made me cry!
  • The Stuarts had lots of charm, but didn’t have very good luck!

Thoughts

I’ve bought a number of Susanna Kearsley’s books as well as a couple of audiobooks over the last several years. I’ve seen great reviews for them, but hadn’t read any of her books until this month. I’m so glad I listened to this book. I loved it and plan to read the other books I already have by Ms. Kearsley (and buy some more of her books!)

One of my favorite books of the year!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

As well as the TBR reading challenge hosted by Wendy I’m also participating in the following reading challenges for this book:

Sunday Post–May 18

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpg

 

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the house

I’ve been in Des Moines all week. My daughter and I have packed boxes and delivered them to her new house all week after she gets home from work. Also putting shelf paper in the kitchen and unpacking a few boxes. I’ve been at the house several days for the carpet cleaner and satellite hookup. Saturday was moving day so we were busy most of the day. I did a bit of reading and audiobook listening during my random moments! The house is full of boxes, but it looks great. I think she’ll be very happy!

Internet was connected at the new house on Friday, but when we tried to connect on Saturday evening it didn’t work so I’m finishing up this Sunday Post at Starbucks! I won’t comment or answer comments until we get the internet connection working. I will comment when I can.

Blog posts

What I’m reading

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (audiobook)

Iron Night by M. L. Brennan

What I read this week

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

White Night by Jim Butcher

E-books bought

murder-in-a-mill-town
Murder in a Mill Town

Murder in a Mill Town  by P. B. Ryan

From Audible

Splintered by A. G. Howard

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

The Line by J. D. Horn

Next Week

Around the internet

Bout of Books 10

I’m participating in the Bout of Books 10 Read-a-thon and hoping to read at least three books plus take part in some challenges and twitter chats. I haven’t had a chance to figure out what I need to do so I’m hoping to work on that!

Sync

Sync downloads

Sync is a site for young adult audiobooks. In the summer (beginning May 15 to August 20) they offer two free audiobooks each week. These books are available from May 15-21:

WARP: The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

The following books are available from May 22-28:

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Oedipus the King by Sophocles

Check out the entire Sync schedule.

Around the house

I’m in Iowa another week. My daughter and I will unload boxes and try to get the house in order. My husband and older daughter are coming for Memorial Day weekend. We’re hoping to have a barbecue and do other fun things as well as some projects!

Posts on the blog

  • Bout of Books posts
  • Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
  • Review:
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

Bout of Books–Day 5

bout-of-books-10

Friday, May 16 progress update for the Bout of Books 10 Read-a-thon:

I’ve listed my book by percentages read since I read books on my Kindle.

The audiobook shows the hours I’ve listened with the total amount of time in the book.

White Night by Jim Butcher–Finished! (416 pages in book)

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley–listened to a total of 11:15 hours out of a total of 15:50 hours–3:30 hours on Friday (544 pages in book)

 Iron Night by M. L. Brennan–5 % (307 pages in book)

Bout of Books Progress–Day 4

bout-of-books-10Thursday, May 15 progress update for the Bout of Books 10 Read-a-thon:

I’ve listed my book by percentages read since I read books on my Kindle.

The audiobook shows the hours I’ve listened with the total amount of time in the book.

White Night by Jim Butcher–I’ve read 84% since Monday–14% on Thursday (416 pages in book)

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley–listened to a total of 7:45 hours out of a total of 15:50 hours–3:45 hours on Thursday (544 pages in book)