children's book

Audiobook Review: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

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Title: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning
Author: Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)
Narrator: Tim Curry (with other actors for various voices)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Length: 2 hours and 31 minutes
Genre: Children’s book
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Like a car alarm, bagpipe music, or a doorbell ringing in the middle of the night, hearing this all-new audio edition of The Bad Beginning will only upset you. This unique multi-voice recording brings the first book in Lemony Snicket’s alarming A Series of Unfortunate Events to such terrible life that no one should really have to experience it. Unless you have an ear for such ghastly details as a tragic fire, a nefarious villain, itchy clothing, and cold porridge for breakfast, all narrated in chilly detail by the distinguished, and disturbed, Tim Curry with a team of talented readers, you would be better off listening to something else.

Review:
I read the entirety of the series when I was 12 and I loved it then. It was interesting and I enjoyed that Snicket (IE Handler) didn’t treat the reader like a child but was still able to explain the bigger words he used and the context. I think a great part of my vocabulary inauspiciously came from these books but I digress.

I decided to reread (well listen to the audiobooks) to refresh my memory on the series now that Netflix is putting out a TV show based on them. I’m super excited for that by the way. Let’s just pretend the movie they decided to make didn’t nearly do the books justice.

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. Tim Curry has exactly the voice I imagined the narrator to have while I was reading them. I didn’t necessarily care for the other voice actors who voiced the children mostly because they all kind of sound the same and make it hard to stay immersed in the story.

The story itself is relatively simple and there isn’t much I can say on it without spoiling people. I doubt there are people who haven’t read or still want to read it but just in case. I’m excited to get to further books in the series where Snicket isn’t setting up the scene so much so it focuses more heavily on plot.

The book was very short especially since I listened to it on 1.25x the normal speed. I appreciated that. It was just as good as I remember. I’m waiting for the next audiobook in the series to become available at my library to continue my “reread.”

 

Fantasy, middle grade, young adult

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: JK Rowling
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Length: 320 pages, Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Rating: 5 folded Pages

Blurb:
Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to get back to school after the summer holidays (who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school . . .

Review:
I’m finally reaching the point in my Harry Potter reread where it doesn’t feel like Harry is a little too young for me to relate to. The first two books Harry is 11 and 12 and now he’s finally reaching his teen years and matured a bit more reading is going a lot faster. Which is evident in the fact that it took me two days to finish the book.

I’m also enjoying seeing the differences in the book versus the movie. The first two movies are extremely accurate to the book and it’s only in Prisoner of Azkaban that they began having to cut thing to make it more adaptable to the movie format. There were so many things I had forgotten! It’s kind of crazy.

I’m excited to continue my Harry Potter reread and I think it will only get better from here. In my editions of Harry Potter Goblet of Fire is almost exactly double the amount of pages of Prisoner of Azkaban so I think it might take me a little longer to get through but none the less my Harry Potter reread is finally moving along.

Uncategorized

Bookcon 2016

 

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I just bought my tickets to Bookcon!! I’m super excited.

For those who don’t know what Bookcon is, basically it’s what it sounds like. A convention for books. They have several authors and writers of various aspects (a guy who worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender is going to be there) hold panels and signings and stuff. It’s one of those Cons that moves cities each year and I’m super excited that this year’s Bookcon is going to be in Chicago!!

Anyway, a friend and I are going. I bribed her by buying her ticket because she isn’t really a reader but she says it sounds fun. I’m super excited to see Marissa Meyer and Alexandra Bracken.

I think I might try to read some books from some of the other authors attending before I go.

For anyone interested in who’s going to be there, here‘s the link to the author’s attending so far. I think it will be updated as more join. The schedule also hasn’t been decided yet, so I’m anxiously awaiting that. Hopefully my faves won’t be scheduled for different panels at the same time.

This is actually my first convention which is honestly very sad, but I’m super excited that Bookcon gets to be my first. 😀

Let me know if you’re going maybe we can say hi!! 😀

classic, romance

Audiobook Review: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

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Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen
Narrator: Karen Savage
Publisher: Librivox
Length: 14 hours-ish
Genre: Romance, Classic,
Rating: 3 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Review:
I think of all the Jane Austen novels I’ve read/listened to, this one is the most boring. If I’m being for real. There was a lot of nothing happening a lot. But once things picked up I found myself enjoying it.

Fanny Price does not have a personality and I think that’s kind of the point Jane Austen was trying to make. She was seen by Henry Crawford as the perfect wife because she was agreeable and quiet and unable to speak out even when she was wronged. I like the point Austen was trying to make even if I think she took a little too long to make it.

Edmund Bertram also didn’t have a personality but in a different way. I’m not quite sure how to explain it but nothing particular stands out about him aside from him being nice to Fanny and wanting to be a clergymen.

I zoned out a lot listening to this novel and couldn’t be bothered to backtrack when I realized I did this. I enjoyed it but I definitely don’t think it should have taken over 14 hours to listen.

I listened to the Librivox free recording of the novel on Youtube. Karen Savage was a great narrator and I really enjoyed how she read it. I was worried because it’s a public space Audiobook that the quality would be sacrificed but it definitely wasn’t.

Biography, graphic novel, nonfiction

Graphic Novel Review: Persepolis: The Story of Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

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Title: Persepolis: The Story of Childhood
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Translator: Mattis Ripa
Publisher: Pantheon
Length: 160 pages, Paperback
Genre: Autobiography, Graphic Novel
Rating: 5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

Review:
I’ve been putting off this review mostly because of laziness but also because I’m not sure what to say. This book is so emotional and I wasn’t sure I could review it like I normally do graphic novels based on art and storyline and what not.

Personally, the art style isn’t for me but this isn’t the type of graphic novel you read because the artwork is pretty. The art style reflects that of the story and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It befits what Satrapi is trying to portray to the reader.

As for the storyline, there were times where I was confused and wished for the details I would have gotten had this not been a graphic novel but the details of the pictures were also very helpful.

Overall, I LOVED reading this. I’ve already ordered the second graphic novel and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

chicklit, contemporary, romance

Book Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

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Title: Neanderthal Seeks Human
Author: Penny Reid
Publisher: Caped Publishing
Length: 401 Pages, Kindle Ebook
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Chicklit
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

Blurb:
From the USA Today Bestselling author of ‘Truth or Beard’, this is a full-length, 110k word novel is the first book in the Knitting in the City series.

There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn’t know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can’t refuse.

Review:
This was another book I started pre-slump and just now finished. In my defense, I read maybe half of the first chapter pre-slump so I feel like I can safely say I read the majority of this in less than 12 hours. I’m not sure if it was a right book, at the right time kind of deal but I really enjoyed this book.

Janie is a hard-to-reach-emotionally woman and finds herself somehow supremely attracted to a maybe criminal. It was too hard to resist. Janie actually reminds me a lot of Lucy London from Imperfect Chemistry and I think that’s part of why I loved it so much. I like it when female characters are the ones who are emotionally distant because typically that’s a male troupe.

Quinn was an okay sexy, leading man. I did find his controlling, jealous ways a little off putting but it made sense sort of with Janie since she was kind of oblivious and needed to be taken care of a lot because of it. I wouldn’t put him at the top of a list of fictional males I want to marry but their romance was cute and sizzlely.

I liked the way the characters and their relationships were built as well. Each relationship unfolded bit by bit in a really interesting way. I appreciated that.

I probably won’t be reading any of the sequels in this “Knitting in the City” series but I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first one. Considering this is a free Kindle book, I think I’m really happy with how much I enjoyed it versus the time invested. Which I can’t say has happened with a free Kindle book before.

Fantasy, middle grade, young adult

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Length: 256 Pages, Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Rating: 5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
The Dursleys were so mean that hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone–or something–starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects…Harry Potter himself?

Review:
I know, it took me FOREVER to reread this one. I think it was partly my slump and partly because it’s a little hard for me to read middle grade novels these days even if it’s a novel I love. Pre-reading slump, every word of every novel felt really difficult. Especially of novels that felt too young for me like Harry Potter sometimes does.

However, continuing the Chamber of Secrets after my reading slump was absolutely delightful. I had a hard time putting it down. I forgot how quickly Harry Potter novels progress once you get passed the beginning.

I’m not really sure what else to say. I had a great time rereading this (once I got over my slump) and I’ve already started The Prisoner of Azkaban. I can’t wait to continue rereading this series. I think as I get further into my reread of the series the books will be easier for me to digest because as Harry ages you can see the maturity and character development. I love that about these books.

 

contemporary, romance

Book Review: Bella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

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Title: Bella’s Christmas Bake Off
Author: Sue Watson
Publisher: Bookouture
Length: 316 Pages, Kindle Ebook
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 2.5

Blurb:
Two best friends. One big lie. The best bake off EVER.

Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.

But this year things are going to be different.

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…

After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…

Review:
I finished this novel a few days after Christmas just because Christmas was so busy and it was cute. Honestly, I can’t say much more about it than that. It was cute and Christmasy.

There were some glaring flaws for me. The first being how childish sound the main characters all sounded considering they were supposed to be around 38. I swore half the time they were 16 instead. I understand that maturity is different for everyone but this was rather annoying.

The plot was also kind of haphazard but cute. I like what Watson was trying to do even if execution wasn’t very good.

I do have to say that Watson did the character development and relationships between characters pretty well. The characters and their relationship to each other were complex and changed as the novel progressed.

Overall, I’d recommend it as a Christmas read if you can’t find much else. It read like a hallmark movie and that was A-Okay in my book.

DNF'd Books

DNF’d books [1]

Normally even if I don’t finish a book I review it but only if I feel like I’ve gotten far enough into the novel that I can give an accurate review regardless of whether or not I legitimately finished it. However, there have been a few novels (I won’t say recently but in the not too distant past) where I couldn’t finish them despite several attempts or even get far enough that I feel I could give an accurate review. Here they are.

Click book covers to go to it’s Goodreads page.


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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I’ve tried reading this at least 6-7 times and I get a little further each time but still I just can’t get through it. I don’t think I ever will to be honest. This book is just not for me.

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

I really wanted to like this book. I follow the author on twitter and she’s super sweet and the premise sounded really cool but the book was so hard to get into. The first 30 pages I enjoyed but then the story got hard to follow and the MC was annoying and inconsistent. I just couldn’t force myself past page 71.

The Void by J.D. Horn (Savannah Witching #3)

I don’t know what happened with this book but it felt like Horn just dropped the ball on it. I could hardly put down The Source and The Line but this one was difficult to get passed the first chapter. Honestly I’m pretty sure I was done with it when I found an obvious typo in the first paragraph of the book. I couldn’t get through more than 2 chapters before I decided to call it quits. I might try picking this one up again but it’s doubtful.

Withering Tights by Louis Rennison

I wanted to like this series and even bought all three novels in the series. However, when I picked this up and started reading it became instantly clear this would not be for me. It’s written in 14 year old stream of thought. I felt like I was reading stuff I wrote to my friends on IM when I was 12. I just couldn’t get threw it. Which is a shame since the second and third novels are based on my two Shakespeare plays. Alas, I will just have to live.

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Gone by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Ultimately, I blame this book for throwing me into my 2 and a half month book slump. I was forcing myself to read it for the Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge. It was the book my stepmom picked as her favorite and I’ve decided I just can’t do it. It was SO BORING. I couldn’t bring myself to care about it. But I also HAD to finish it for the challenge and I didn’t want to not finish and forcing myself to continue trying to read it did not work. It’s on this list now and it’s helped me learn not to force what I read even if it’s for a challenge. So at least there’s that.

contemporary, romance, short story, young adult

Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me Edited by Stephanie Perkins

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Title: My True Love Gave to Me
Edited by: Stephanie Perkins
Author(s): Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler, and Kiersten White
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Length: 12 Short Stories, 336 Pages, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

Review:
Originally I was going to write this review like I wrote my review for Let It Snow, going story by story. However, I think with 12 stories that would make this review a little too long. So I’m going to talk about the anthology as a whole.

I am a hardcore sucker for Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. Most of these stories felt like those movies but for a younger audience. I really enjoyed this anthology and it put me in the Christmas spirit for sure.

I do think some stories were better than others and there was a story or two that I didn’t like in the least but you’ll get that when you have a bunch of short stories in one volume. I think my favorite story in the anthology is “The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor. I like the way she writes and the story made me wonder why I’ve never read anything by her before. The imagery is amazing and it feels like it’s own story that could stand on it’s outside of this anthology unlike a lot of the stories.

My second favorite is definitely “Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell. I generally like her writing as well. Her story held good emotion and also felt like it could stand outside of the anthology. I actually wished it was a little longer so we could get more details but I understand the need of keeping short stories short.

I think my least favorites are “The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link and “Your Temporary Santa” by David Levithan. “The Lady and the Fox” felt very all over the place. It didn’t seem to have a clear plot and in a short story that just doesn’t work. The ending was satisfying-ish but I generally found myself just waiting for the story to end as I was reading it.

I generally don’t like David Levithan’s writing. It’s just not for me I think. I’m not sure why but everytime I try to read something he’s written I find myself just not liking it. I think part of it is how he words things and shapes his characters. It just doesn’t pull me into the story. That was no different with “Your Temporary Santa.” I also found the plot of the story boring.

Sorry this Christmas review is definitely late, but better late than never. 🙂