Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Wrap Up.


Everyone's doing a wrap up, a best of and/or a top ten of books for 2011.  Here is my list, a little bit different and in no particular order.


Scariest Books I read in 2011:
A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons.  Looking back, this book was a bit slow, but the plodding pace lent itself to the eerieness.  It had some heartstopping moments. 

Dracula by Bram Stoker. Never would I have thought that a story I had heard and seen visually so many times could be frightening in the written word.  Spine-tingling!

Bag of Bones by Stephen King.  I listened to the audio version of this book and it was engrossing and creepy.  The subtle sound effects and use of music added to the experience.

Salem's Lot by Stephen King. Evil, deadly vampires.  Need I say more?

Books of Blood: Volumes 1-3 by Clive Barker.  Barker gives life to atrocities, horrors and some humor in this prolific collection. 

Holy crap, I can't believe what's happening in these books!
Dark Places and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. If you like dark fiction and I mean deep, dark fiction, mysteries and subterfuge.  You really need to read these two books.

Horns by Joe Hill.  This story is disturbing and oh so good.  It takes a lot to freak me out, but the scene in the treehouse did it.

Most enchanting:
Chime by Franny Billingsley.  The writing is lovely and original and the plot is clever. Billingsley has a unique and fresh voice.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.  I want to catch a train and find this world.

Teeth edited by Ellen Datlow and Teri Windling. Spooky, eerie, sinister and entertaining.  Page by page the stories in Teeth riveted me. 

The Replacement and The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff.  This author gives her characters a strong voice and pulled me into their worlds.  The writing is clean and imaginative.

I'm so glad I read:
White Cat by Holly Black.  Not only is Holly Black an excellent writer, her plots are so clever that I never see what's coming.

Clarity by Kim Harrington.  Fun.  Just fun and a great character with a strong voice and convictions I admired.

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.  I loved seeing the growth and change of the characters in this book.  I love the way the events weave together.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossing.  I loved this book and didn't want to put it down.  The events wove together wonderfully.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.  I just finished this today and again it was one I couldn't put down.  The language, plot and characters are perfection.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Eve Weekend Readathon!

I am not really into New Year's Eve, but I do love getting an extra day off and the excuse to cuddle up on the couch to eat snacks and maybe have a cocktail. So, instead of Ringing in the New Year, I will be "Reading" in the New Year with a self imposed reading marathon.

Anyone who wants to join can either leave a comment below or just use the following hashtag on Twitter: #NYEreadathon.  If you'd like to blog about the New Year's Eve Weekend Readathon, feel free!

This spontaneous readathon will run from Friday December 30, 2011 through Monday, January 2, 2012. 

My Book List (subject to change):
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.
Enclave by Ann Aguirre.
The Reincarnationist by MJ Rose.

Rules:
None.  Just read as much as you can this weekend and have fun.  Check in on Twitter or post on your blog.  Tell us what you're reading, how you're liking your book, what page you're on or what drinks you are mixing up to celebrate the New Year.  If you do write a blog post, please leave your link in the comments section so other people can check it out.

Happy New Year everyone!

Remember to use hashtag #NYEreadathon!



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Widows of Eastwick.

Title/Author: The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike.

Read by: Kate Reading.

Genre: Fiction.

Publisher: Random House Audio.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: None.

Favorite quote:

All in all: Beautifully written, but slow.

Synopsis: More than three decades have passed since the events described in John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick. The three divorcées—Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie—have left town, remarried, and become widows. They cope with their grief and solitude as widows do: they travel the world, to such foreign lands as Canada, Egypt, and China, and renew old acquaintance. Why not, Sukie and Jane ask Alexandra, go back to Eastwick for the summer? The old Rhode Island seaside town, where they indulged in wicked mischief under the influence of the diabolical Darryl Van Horne, is still magical for them. Now Darryl is gone, and their lovers of the time have aged or died, but enchantment remains in the familiar streets and scenery of the village, where they enjoyed their lusty primes as free and empowered women. And, among the local citizenry, there are still those who remember them, and wish them ill. How they cope with the lingering traces of their evil deeds, the shocks of a mysterious counterspell, and the advancing inroads of old age, form the burden on Updike’s delightful, ominous sequel.

My Thoughts:
The first thing that struck me about this audio book was the narrator. What a beautiful voice. Her words slid through the air like snow falling, consonants delicate taps on the air. Her portrayal suited all the characters and it was as if she became each character. Kate Reading is a truly wonderful performer.

The second thing that struck me is that there seems to be a lot in the first book that I didn’t know about. I saw the movie version The Witches of Eastwick with Cher, but I realized the first book is a lot different and I think I want to read it now.

I was expecting spooky and witchy and supernatural, but really there was not a lot of it. The book takes place when the three women are in their 70s, after they’ve all lost their husbands and they are taking stock and looking back. They reconnect with each other but they can never seem to get back what they once had, with each other or themselves.

The first part of the book is Alexandra dealing with the recent loss of her second husband, Jim and chronicles her travels and reflections of life. Then she reconnects with Jane and they go to Egypt. Then they connect with Suki and they all go to China. Again, beautiful descriptions and smart writing and perhaps it was to let the reader know the characters and how they’ve changed and give a plateau of what they are searching for. They are all dreading the idea that they are reaching the end of their lives and they really hate the elderly bodies they now find themselves in. They obviously long for their youth and don’t seem comfortable in their own skin.

However, it’s when the three of them decide to go back to Eastwick, RI for the summer that I feel the real story starts. They feel they want to put right some wrongs, and they kind of flounder in determining whether the events of that time were truly witchcraft or not.

It’s very literary, not a ton of action, some drama. A lot of it, I felt, is an ode to feminism, reflections on their life, how their sex life defined them or perhaps rather how they defined their sex life. There also seemed to be a lot of commentary on how society and culture has changed and while I do acknowledge this is important, I’d rather discuss it in a class or a conversation. In this book, I felt there was just too much.

I do have to say, I wasn’t totally bored and for the most part The Widows of Eastwick kept my interest. The writing is exquisite and it is clear that Updike is extremely astute. Although I wouldn’t say this book is a must read, I do want to go back and read The Witches of Eastwick.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!



Wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday Season no matter what you celebrate and much success in the New Year!



Photo from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Canadian_snowman.jpg

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Under the Never Sky.

Title/Author: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

Genre: Dystopian/YA.

Publisher: Harper Collins.

Source: NY ComicCon.

Favorite character: Peregrine & Aria.

Favorite quote: “If there was no fear how could there be comfort? Or courage?” ~Peregrine

“He had a prince’s looks, but a pirate’s eyes.” ~Aria.

All in all: Page Turning!

Synopsis: Exiled from her comfortable home, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - called the Death Shop - are slim.  Violent energy storms can strike suddenly, and even the very air she breathes might kill her.  Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry.  He's wild, dangerous - a savage.  He's also her only hope.Because Aria alone holds the key to his redemption, Perry needs her, too.  Their unlikely alliance will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky. ~Product Description.

My Thoughts:
I adored this book and hated to put it down.  I felt as if I was put right down in the middle of the author's world and allowed to absorb the language, terminology, and basically what was going on instead of being told unnecessary details. I love the slang, it was imaginative and I picked it up easily from the context.  Although used sparsely, it gave a great touch to the story letting me know that it wasn't quite the world I know.

Written in alternating viewpoints between Aria and Perry, the two main characters let me get to know both of them and also see the other person through their eyes. At first Aria has to get her bearings and I love seeing her grow and learn before my eyes. She begins to experience reality and grounds herself in the outside world. She gets to know herself. I love how Perry changes too and starts to understand his own growth and important role in his world. I love how both characters change and learn about each other and the world’s they come from and what they went through.  I also loved that it was written clearly and with simplicity, yet it was still lovely and insightful.

The relationship between Perry and Aria may have been predictable only in the fact that you knew they were going to get together. But you wondered when and how?  I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for it. I loved how it came about, slow and sweet with them both changed and matured. I’m not one for mushy romance so this was great for me. It was realistic and sweet and heart racing.

About half way through I realized this was not a stand alone book, but that was okay with me. Either I’m just getting used to trilogies/series, or this story simply gave me foresight that there is much more to explore. There were enough questions to stir my curiosity and enough answers to satisfy me.  The plot is interesting and exciting and wove together well. There were definitely some plot points that took me by surprise and I commend a story teller when they can do that. The only thing that bothered me is that Aria seemed too quick a learner of her physical abilities, but a reader could also argue that there is a reason for this too.

It ended a bit abruptly which took me by surprise. However at the same time, it ended in a way that did not disappoint me. If it was a stand alone book, there would be enough left open ended for speculation and enough for a satisfying ending. This leg of Aria and Perry’s journey is over and their lives are changed , yet they have so many goals to achieve and certainly more hurdles in their future.

This is an exciting and action packed story with character development and insight weaved in.



2011 Dusty Volumes last post wrap up and contest.

Many of you who have joined this challenge are lamenting that you didn't do well or not as well as you hoped. I say: So what? Did you see my list? I only read 4 Dusty Volumes books. Sure I would have liked to have read more, but to be honest, I liked that this was an easy going, laid back challenge. If you get to a Dusty Volumes great, if not, oh well. My favorite part about this challenge was communicating with the bloggers who participated and getting to know everyone a bit better.

 So, I want to thank you all for joining me whether you got around to reading a Dusty Volume or just put some titles on your TBR list.  I hope you'll join me for the Dusty Volumes 2012 Reading Challenge!

Contest:
  • Sorry, this contest is ONLY for those who are signed up for this challenge as of this post!
  • This is a chance to link any final Dusty Volumes for 2011 you may have.
  • The link page is HERE.
  • Contest ends on December 31, 2011 at 11:59pm.
  • Each comment on this post will get an entry and each review post you link will get an entry. (This includes the posts you have already linked.)
  • A winner will be chosen by Random.org and I will be giving a surprise gift! (Cuz honestly, I haven't figured it out yet!)
Good luck!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Face.

Title/Author: The Face by Dean Koontz.

Read by: Dylan Baker.

Genre: Supernatural/Horror.

Publisher: Random House Audio.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Aelfric Manheim.

Favorite quote:

All in all: Unique supernatural story.

Synopsis:
He’s Hollywood’s most dazzling star, inspiring the worship of millions and the hatred of one twisted soul. His perfectly ordered existence is under siege as a series of terrifying “messages” penetrates the security of his legendary estate. All that stands between him and an insidious killer is a weary ex-cop who has already seen his own death.

Enter a world of marvelous invention, enchantment, and implacable intent, populated by murderous actors and the walking dead, hit men and heroes, long-buried dreams and never-dying hope. Dean Koontz takes readers on an unforgettable journey to the heart of darkness and to the pinnacle of grace, with a brilliantly observed chronicle of good and evil in our time, of illusion and everlasting truth.

My Thoughts: I have to say, Dean Koontz goes in all sorts of places with his stories, from intelligent dogs to other planets. The Face took me to a realm of supernatural oddities that I have not encountered before. Although the concepts are familiar the way the events play out are unique and surreal.

There is a lot of detail in the book and over explaining for my taste and sometimes Koontz gilds the lily, but I liked most of the characters and the mystery. There are also aspects to the plot that I just didn’t get, as if I missed a scene or two. Was the bad guy in some kind of satanic society? I just didn’t catch that.

The narration is good and he differenitates between all the voices well.  The only voice I didn't care for, was a very minor female character who only showed up at the beginning.  What I really liked about the narration was that he read the bad guy's part a little tongue in cheek making his demeaner even more demented.

My favorite character is Fric, the 10 year old Hollywood kid who is mostly left to his own devices in his movie star dad’s house. He is sweet, smart, introspective and witty. It is easy to care about this lonely child who is trying to find his way because he feels like the ugly, awkward duckling in the land of the beautiful. His humor and his thought process brought me closer to him and made me want to know him better. The other character I like is Ethan Truman, the head of security in the Manhein mansion. His humor also made him likeable as did his steady and competent demeanor.

What I also liked were the questions that the story brought up. Is Dunny (Ethan’s friend) really dead? Whose side is he on? Is he trying to help or hinder? What exactly is he? Was Ethan dreaming in certain scenes? I was glad that these questions are answered toward the end although some of it is a bit over explained once again.

The bad guys were real people, deluded by their own egos and mad ideas making them frightening and forbidding. The fact that they are so confident is chilling in its own right.

I haven’t been having great luck with some Koontz books lately, but The Face was pretty intriguing with supernatural elements, diabolical bad guys and an inventive concept.

Other Editions:
 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dusty Volumes Reading Challenge 2012.


**To join the 2012 Dusty Volumes Reading Challenge read below**
** To link your 2012 Dusty Volumes Reading Challenge reviews click HERE**


Brush the cobwebs aside,
Pull the book from the shelf.
Blow the dust off the cover,
Then immerse yourself.


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If you feel literarily negligent dust off those old, classic books, stories or plays you've always wanted to read and join me in the 2012 Dusty Volumes Reading Challenge.

This challenge will run from 1/1/12 to 12/31/12.  All 2012 Dusty Volumes must be read and reviewed in 2012.

To join:
  • Write a post about this challenge on your blog with a link back to this post.  
  • Include a list of the Dusty Volumes you hope to read in 2012.  They should have a publishing date before 1960.  You can add, subtract or change the list at anytime.
  • Grab a button and add it to your post or sidebar.  (Hint: adding it to your sidebar will earn you extra entries in future Dusty Volumes giveaways!  Plus, it would really make my day.)
  • Sign up on Mr. Linky below.  Please enter the link to the Dusty Volumes post on your blog, not your main blog page.  (If you link to your main blog page, unfortunately it will be deleted.)   
  • When you write a review on one of your Dusty Volumes please let me know by leaving a comment below with a link to your review.  OR, you can leave a comment on one of my Dusty Volumes reviews when I post them.  Also, if/when you write your review it would be great if you could mention that it is part of the Dusty Volumes Reading Challenge.
  • If you don't have a blog:  You can just sign up using your name.  You can link to Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari, etc.  OR, instead of linking to a review you can leave a comment with your thoughts.  

I have not verified all the books on these lists, but here are a few links to help you out:
~YA books published before 1960 from The Pulse.org
~Another list from Goodreads.com.

My Dusty Volumes for 2012:
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood by Algernon Blackwood.
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie.
Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.
Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Sign up here:


Link your Dusty Volumes Reading Challenge reviews!  Click Here.

Grab a Dusty Volumes Reading Challenge Button!


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Friday, December 9, 2011

Authors After Dark 2012 Reading Challenge.



In anticipation of Authors After Dark 2012 in New Orleans, I created the AAD 2012 Reading Challenge.  The goal of this challenge is to let readers, whether you are going to AAD 2012 or not, get better acquainted with some of the authors who will be attending this event.

Sometimes I go to conferences that feature authors who I am unfamiliar with.  Then, when I read their books later I want to kick myself for not reading their work sooner, so I could have talked to them about their stories, gotten a book signed or just gushed properly. 

I asked Stella Price, the organizer of Authors After Dark if there would be any issues with me hosting this challenge and she not only gave me the green light and is very supportive, but asked the AAD 2012 website designer Robin from RLD Design to make me a button!  Thank you Stella and Robin!


Guidelines:
•Although AAD 2012 takes place in August, this challenge will run from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012.
•Books must be read and reviewed in 2012.
•You can join at anytime during the year.
•Anyone can join (not just book bloggers).

To Join:
•Write a post about this challenge on your blog with a link back to this post.
•Include a list of the AAD 2012 books you hope to read in 2012.  You can check out the authors on the AAD 2012 website HERE.  (Then click on the authors link.)  Please note that your list is not written in stone!  You can change it at anytime.
•Grab the button and add it to your post or sidebar.
•Sign up on Mr. Linky below.  Please enter the link to the AAD 2012 Challenge post on your blog, not your main blog page. (If you link to your main blog page, unfortunately it will be deleted.)  If you do not have a blog, you can just sign up.

To post a review:
• This is just the sign up page, not where you will link up your reviews.  To link up your Authors After Dark 2012 Reading Challenge reviews click HERE.  When you write your review it would be great if you could mention that it is part of the AAD 2012 Reading Challenge.
•If you don't have a blog:  You can link to Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari, etc. OR, instead of linking to a review you can leave a comment below with your thoughts.

To find out more about Authors After Dark 2012 visit their website!

Grab the button:

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My book goals for this challenge:
~The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay.
~Black Heart Loa by Adrian Phoenix.
~Dearly Departed by Lia Habel.
~Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost.
~Mind Games by Carolyn Crane.
~My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland.
~Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson.
~Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding.

Sign up for the challenge below!

Please make sure your sign up link goes to your 2012 AAD Reading Challenge post, or your list on Goodreads, Facebook, etc. Please don't just link to your blog.



Please note that I am simply attending AAD 2012 and am not affiliated with the event, nor am I receiving any compensation for hosting this challenge.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Winner of Dusty Volumes Contest #4!


This is soooo late, but I realized I did not announce the winner of my Dusty Volumes Contest (#4)!  The winner of the $10 gift card was Lazy Girl Reads.  Please visit her blog for fun and eclectic content!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Books of Blood: Volumes One to Three.

Title/Author: Books of Blood: Volumes One to Three by Clive Barker.

Genre: Horror.

Publisher: Berkley Trade.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Birdy from Sons of Celluloid.

Favorite quote: “There is no delight the equal of dread. As long as it’s someone else’s.” ~Dread.

“It was a full, harvest moon, and the light, though cold was luxuriant.” ~Rawhead Rex

All in all: Imaginative.

Synopsis: "Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red." For those who only know Clive Barker through his long multigenre novels, this one-volume edition of the Books of Blood is a welcome chance to acquire the 16 remarkable horror short stories with which he kicked off his career.

My Thoughts: This book took me a long time to get through. It is not light reading. It sucks you down into its bloody, gory depth. From the very first story, the “frame” so to speak, that explains what the Books of Blood are to the last ghostly saga.

I enjoy a good gore-fest, yet I realized I was making faces at some of the details of intricate violence and troubling images. It’s not just random blood and violence however.  At the heart of it, the stories are just good stories. They are deep and well thought out, imaginative and surprising. They are written with words strung together in a gorgeous, lush tableau. Descriptions reach ambitious heights. The writing is also brutal and gritty and the mood is dark, proving that Horror can be both beautiful and disturbing. Don’t let anyone tell you different. What I also really enjoyed is that as prolific as Barker’s writing is, it does not seem forced to me. It flows and slides and creeps and batters you so naturally and casually, you just sort of accept it and come to expect it.

Sex, Death and Starshine is a wonderfully, creepy ghost story and The Yattering and Jack is a hilarious yarn about a demon who is trying to best a man, but all his efforts are thwarted. It is so clever and refreshing because of the humor. New Murders in the Rue Morgue is a murder mystery as intriguing as its predecessor and takes the tale a step farther. For me, Rawhead Rex is brilliant. The murderous villain, his origins and the hints throughout are woven together not only to create a horror story, but a re-telling of a folklore story.

I feel confident in also saying that many of the stories could be studied in feminism, sexuality, and psychology courses. And, if you’re so inclined could raise discussions of what is behind bondage, mutilation and control. But I think the most inherent trait in the stories is suspense, fear and dread (and one of the stories is actually called Dread and explores this emotion).

One thing that was a tad lacking for me are the characters and I didn’t realize this until I got to one of the last stories, Scape Goat, which is written in first person and I realized I connected with the main character, Frankie. She took me more into the story while with the other characters I felt more as if I were watching theirs. (The other character I really like is Birdy from Sons of Celluloid. Maybe because she is a strong female.) This really didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book, it’s just something I noticed.

I also appreciated the foreward by Mr. Barker as he reflects on his stories which were written many years ago, the horror genre in general and himself as well and how he has changed. I feel this is a must for Horror aficionados. The concepts are inspired, the writing is superb and the stories are just exceptional in their inventiveness.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Prom and Prejudice.

Title/Author: Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Genre: YA.

Publisher: Point.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character:

Favorite quote:

All in all: Pride and Prejudice “light.”

Synopsis: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.

After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn't interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be - especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles's friend, Will Darcy, who's snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn't seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk - so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway? ~Amazon.com

My Thoughts: This is a very fast and easy read. And to be honest, it was just what I needed. It was familiar, so I didn’t really have to keep track of characters and wasn’t confused by plot points. Although it didn’t bring any new insights to the table, I enjoyed seeing what actions the author was going to have her modern day Austen players do. Prom instead of marriage, college parties instead of balls and Wickham’s antics.

However, nothing was revealed too much. It was as if someone was telling me a long gossipy story, a summation of Lizzie. I didn’t really learn anything about the characters. And while Lizzie admitted to some insight throughout the story, Darci did not and I was a bit disappointed with that. I also felt a few of the character’s actions were a bit over the top for my taste and the language didn’t always fit in a modern setting.

That being said, I just enjoyed it. It’s not as if I wanted to stop reading it. In fact, I couldn’t wait to pick it up again and see what spin the author put on events. I really did like the end too and Lizzie and Darci’s decision.

I think that this may appeal to younger teens and even middle grade readers. It may also be a great way to get readers familiar with Jane Austen.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!



Happy Thanksgiving!

May your food be yummy and your scale be broken!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Audio Books: How do I judge thee?


Audiobooks.  While a wonderful way to "read", I don't think I judge them with the same criteria as I do a printed book.   Perhaps this is wrong, but for me the mediums are so different that my so are my views on them.  I think the main reason for this is because while listening to an audio book, I am able to accomplish other things at the same time (driving to/from work, errands, etc.).  With a book where I have to sit and read…I have to do just that…sit and read it. I can’t do other things at the same time so it’s a bigger commitment. If I didn't like an audio book, I was able to get things done anyway. With a printed book, that time has gone completely to the reading of it.

An issue I have with audio books is I think I miss things while listening (or trying to listen) that I wouldn’t necessarily miss in a printed book. When I drive, I do tend to concentrate on safety and where I'm going first and foremost and listening to the book is secondary. So there will be times when I zone out and then realize I’m in another scene or I missed an element. Sometimes I’ll rewind a bit and sometimes I’ll just keep going and hope I can catch up and catch on. I have to wonder though, if I would comprehend more from the printed word.

Also, for better or worse, with audio books, the narrator can have a great deal of influence of my opinion on a story. I was listening to a book once and the narrator made it seem like she was reading to a kindergarten class. The characters sounded babyish and wooden and I couldn’t listen to it anymore. I wonder if sentences that sound funny or dialogue that sounds silly would be different if I was reading it. On the other hand, a good narrator can make all the difference. The ones that can do a variety of voices and you can tell who is speaking are top. The ones that come to mind are Wild Ride read with skill by Angela Dawe and Endurance read by, no wait...performed by Christopher Lane. I also loved listening to Bag of Bones by Stephen King. First of all, being the author, it was great to have him read it. He knew all the intonations, pauses, etc. What I also loved about Bag of Bones is the sound effects and music that was utilized. They added to the ghostly, haunting mood.  Would I have gotten the same satisfaction if I had read these books?  I'm not sure. 

Also, there are books, that I don’t necessarily want to listen to as an audio book. I want to read them. I want to sit and immerse myself in the story, not drive around and listen to them and risk missing something. (Although I admit I rewinded a lot with Bag of Bones so I wouldn't miss anything, so I guess it also depends on my level of committment).  However, for the most part, I guess there is something about the printed form, to utilize it as the medium it is intended. It’s not that I don’t consider an audio book as valid as a printed book, there is just something a little more appealing about the reading experience for me than the audio book experience. So if it’s a book that I’ve been dying to read, I’d rather read it. If it’s a book that I have a more casual attitude about, I’ll give it a try on audio. That being said, I have also listened to some really good books that I probably would not have read if they were not on audiobook.  I'm more willing to give an audiobook a try and also more willing to discard it if I don't like it.  Also, I don’t buy my audiobooks, I get them all from the library and therefore, I’m limited to their selection.

Although storytelling began as an oral form, the progress into books has also changed the nuances. With a printed book, there is no performance or theatrics…it is the power of the printed word. I’m not saying that one is better than the other, just that they are different and sometimes so different as to change the experience.

What has your experiences with audio books vs. print books been?  Do you prefer one over the other or are there various factors involved?





Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Space Between.

Title/Author: The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff.

Genre: YA/Supernatural.

Publisher: Razorbill.

Source: Comic Con.

Favorite character: Daphne and Truman.

Favorite quote:  "Love is for people with a certain amount of humanity." ~Daphne.
"...a song that sounds like birds at night." ~Daphne

All in all: Breathtaking.

Synopsis:
Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped - and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be. ~Goodreads.com

My Thoughts: I loved this book. The writing, the characters, the story and the settings. It has a dreamlike quality within a gritty, hard reality and the characters bring it to life.

The main character Daphne is refreshing in that she is not a typical heroine, yet she is very heroic and her naivety and innocence add to this.  As she navigates earth she is simply being herself as she expects people to be honest and understand her own honesty. She has no hidden agenda and she comes off as earnest, yet, she is cast as evil because of her lineage. Her actions speak for herself though as all people’s should. Her voice is clear as is Truman's, the compelling, damaged male lead.   He is almost a character study to me.  Sad, lonely, hopeless.  Yet I love the way he still has the capacity to try and charm people either to push them away or to get something.  He is  complex and riveting.  He and Daphne both go through changes.  She finds what she needs and Truman may not lose his pain, but he gains something else to fill the whole that is inside him, making it more bearable.

The supporting characters are great too.  From angels to demons to humans.  They all had something important to add and move the story along. 

This story brought another theme to mind.  Redemption.  What is it?  Is it finding peace, doing what is right?  Who gets to define what redemption is?  Depending on what side you are on, is any action perceived as justified?

The writing is exquisite. Descriptions and feelings are poetic. I also think that the world and the characters are quite imaginative. The breadth of the details add to the picture that the words gave me.  Even the drink names were relevant to the story and the makeup that the Lilim used ("...hot brimstone on their mouths.")  I love how Pandemonium, earth and heaven are portrayed...or more likely earth is still earth, but to Daphne, it is dirty and noisy.  Very true.

I didn’t realize till the end of the book that the chapter titles pertain to each pov (Daphne and Truman’s). Truman’s is a countdown, while Daphne’s chapter titles are what she encounters during her experience. So clever.

I confess I don’t like romance stories, but as I read The Space Between, I realized I don’t like the romance stories that are out there with clichéd writing. The romance between Truman and Daphne was powerful and sweet and made me long for what they have. And, although it is one of the main threads of the story, it wasn’t the main one.

The only issue, which isn't really an issue, more of an alternative direction I would speak about is the ending.  I do like where it went, but I also think it would have been very powerful and haunting if it ended a tad earlier.  If you read it you will know what I'm talking about. 

The words and emotion behind the characters of The Space Between moved me.  I can't wait to read whatever Brenna Yovanoff writes next. 



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bag of Bones Read-a-Long



I posted my review of the audio book in October so when I saw this Read-a-Long hosted by Michelle from The True Book Addict and Castle Macabre, I wanted to participate.  Technically, I won't be reading along, but I am looking forward to discussing the story with everyone.

Please click the button above for details.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NY ComicCon 2011 Swag giveaway.

Here are some goodies I got from NY ComicCon that I'm giving away.


ComicCon Prize Pack #1
~Beautiful Creatures t-shirt.  (Label says Large, but it looks small to me.)
~Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian
~A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski
~Dethlok comic sample (signed).
~Angel & Faith comic sample (signed).



ComicCon Prize Pack #2
~Tote bag.
~Angel & Faith sample comic.
~The Other Worlds of Harlequin at NY ComicCon booklet (signed by Julie Kagawa).
~Black Light by Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstand and Stephen Romano (signed).
~Ripper by Stefan Petrucha (signed). 
 ~Hell & Gone by Duane Swierczynski (signed)
~The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima.


ComicDon Prize Pack #3
~Crossed by Ally Condie.
~The Postmortal by Drew Magary (signed).
~Deadtown by Nancy Holzner (signed).
~Sample issue of Hellvis comic.
~Magic the Game cards.
~Signed art card (by Jenny Frison and Tim Seely).

Contest:
~I am giving away three (3) prize packs to three (3) different winners.  First winner will get their first choice, etc.

To Enter:
~Leave your name and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form AND let me know which prize pack you prefer.
~Extra entries are optional.
~If you are choosing to do extra entries, please read the questions/instructions CAREFULLY!  If you do not follow the instructions, I reserve the right to disqualify that entry.

Rules:
~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~Sorry!  This contest is US and Canada only. 
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~This contest ends on November 21, 2011 at 12:01am.
~If winner does not contact me within 72 hours (3 days) of my first e-mail, unfortunately another winner will be chosen.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

NY ComicCon - Artists and Costumes!

I absolutely love costumes and aside from all the Halloween events I attend, NY ComicCon is another great venue for people to show their creativity and ingenuity.  I saw lots of really young people in costume and while I wish I had a venue to encourage my creativity at their age, I'm so happy that there is a place for them to shine.  

Here are some pics of the trade show floor, costumes and artists.




Being a Halloween person, I tended to gravitate toward the zombie costumes. 



This was my favorite.  I met the creator in the baggage claim area.  He showed me how he made the pieces of this costume from sofa foam and air conditioner filters among other elements. 


I met R2-D2.  One of the nicest celebrities there!


Yay!  Another zombie!






















You gotta' have a sense of humor!


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