Archive for June, 2012

Books and the Media: Audiobooks

26 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Media Monday

[Image borrowed from Book Rain]

Did you know that June is Audiobook month? I didn’t, at least not until I started seeing people post things about it. And there’s a good reason I didn’t know – I just don’t do audiobooks.

So, why discuss them if I don’t use them? Because I want to. I love the idea of having a book playing while I’m in the car driving to work (20 mins, one way, which means 40 minutes daily!) or having one on my iPod to play while I’m doing chores around the house. It seems like the perfect solution for those days when I can’t seem to make myself get anything done because all I want to do is read. And yet, I can’t make myself get into them. I’ll admit this is partly because my library doesn’t have a great selection locally, but I could inter-library-loan them like I do most of my books. If I could decide what to order, that is. Instead of branching out, and trying to read new things by audiobook I find myself doing re-reads that way, if I use audiobooks at all – it’s been several years since I’ve even tried, and the last one I remember is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, just before Order of the Phoenix came out (I’d love to buy all of those on audiobook – they’d probably be go-to audiobooks for me).

Recently I’ve been thinking – why exactly am I avoiding audiobooks? I mean, if I love the idea so much, I should just bite the bullet and try it, right? For me, it came down to three things:

1) I read faster than they can. By miles. I can zoom through a book like Anna and the French Kiss in the space of 2.5 hours. The audiobook takes TEN and a half. I feel like I would get a third of the way in, get frustrated that I want to know what happens so bad and it’s taking so long, and just give up and start reading the book myself.

2) I’m afraid I won’t pay attention. There’s a big difference for me between “listening” and “paying attention.” “Listening” is what I do when I’m working on something else – I put music on in the background and sometimes I don’t even notice it until 5 or 10 songs later, if at all. I have to do it that way. I have such strong aural training from being a musician that if I actually pay attention I start noticing all these cool little details of what they’re doing with the music and I don’t get anything else done. I’m afraid the same principles will apply to listening to audiobooks, and even if I do manage to make it through an entire book that way, afterwards I’ll have no idea what happened. Hence, sticking to rereads – I already know what happens so it doesn’t matter if I don’t pay attention 100% of the time.

3) I’m afraid the experience will be different. No, scratch that, I know the experience will be different, and I’m afraid I won’t like it. I have so many good memories of days spent curled up on the couch, in the car, in bed, wherever with the perfect book. I was slow transitioning to an ereader  because I love the feel of a book in my hands. It’s even worse with an audiobook – nothing to hold at all!

Oh and optional 4) Audiobooks are way more expensive than books and I barely have enough money to keep up with the book habit as it is…

Despite all my fears, I really want to try to get into audiobooks. There are so many good reasons to, not the least of which is that if I actually give them a chance, then I can say whether I like them or not, instead of just never having tried them. I signed up for Audible, and I’m still trying to decide what to download first (and trying to convince myself to not go with an old favorite like I really want to). Also Sync is doing a summer of free downloads, if you have Overdrive, so I went ahead and downloaded the first one (Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch, available until 6/20). So, I guess the good news is I’m trying!

Do you use/read audiobooks? Do you have a favorite you think I should try? Am I just being silly with all these fears, or have you found some of these things to be true for you?

Outlander Read-Along: Week 1

21 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review, Community Events

Outlander Read-Along Button

Welcome to week one of the Outlander Read-Along! If you’re interested in joining, I think sign ups are still open and you can find them here. To find everyone else’s answers and get the new questions for the next section, please visit Shannon and Carrie at Stalking the Bookshelves

1. Outlander is a well-known book. Before you cracked it open, what were your expectations or assumptions about this story? Or did you jump into it with a blank slate?

Actually, and this is kind of embarrassing, I remember my mother reading the book back when I was 10 or 11, and she didn’t like it because of the implied adultery. I sort of assumed, being an impressionable youngster, that this was an awful book that promoted doing BAD THINGS, and I should never, ever read it. Of course, then I was fascinated. She had told me a little about the premise and I already really liked the sound of it. Anyway, I never did read it, because I got into other series’ and now here we are :)

2. Claire’s husband, Frank, is fascinated with learning more and more facts about his family tree, which extends back pretty far. Do you or anyone in your family keep a family tree? How many years/generations back does it go? If not, have you ever considered or attempted to create one?

There are actually a couple of people on both sides of my family who are, or have been, interested in family trees, so we know back quite a ways. For example, on my dad’s side we can almost trace our line back to the Mayflower (we lose about 3 generations in NYC, but the surname is the same on either end, so it’s a pretty good guess). Another branch of my dad’s family goes back to a Scottish Laird, and even a musician in Queen Victoria’s court! Guess music just runs in my blood! My mom’s side we don’t know quite so far back, but we know a few things – they came through Canada, the majority are from the British Isles somewhere. Pretty sure there’s some Liverpudlian in there lol! As I like to tell my British friends, the reason I fit in so well is because I am British, at least by about 95% of my ancestry. (I like to say the rest came from France and Lancelot du Lac, from last name similarities, but I’m totally making that up!)

3. How did you find Claire’s initial conclusion as to her surroundings after waking up from going through the stones? Did you think that was a reasonable conclusion?

I’m not sure if it’s reasonable or not. I don’t know much about the immediate post-war era in Britain – did they make a lot of historical films? Whether they did or not, the human mind has a way of choosing to rationalize just about anything. Even if it was a stupid first thought, I’d believe it’s the first one she’d have. She’d be desperate for a logical explanation, and at that point, she hadn’t seen much evidence (beyond the clothes anyways) to say that she’d traveled in time.

4. How about her composed, rational way of dealing with the fact she’s traveled back in time. Did you find it believable? Do you think you would have acted the same way?

I think what’s really interesting about Claire is that the author made her an army nurse. Sure, she’s in a situation that’s absolutely awful, and she has no clue how to get out of it. But, she has an incredibly utilitarian view of “Do the job in front of me,” and that seems to go well with the trauma of having worked in those army hospitals. As for me? Well I really don’t know. I tend to do well in stressful situations, but I’ve never been in one quite that stressful!

5. At this point in the story, what are your feelings or expectations on Claire and Jamie? Is Frank still a factor for you?

I don’t have any expectations really based in fact yet. Because I read a lot I can pretty much tell that the author is trying to set them up. The relationship isn’t really strong enough for me to say whether I feel they’d be good as a couple yet though – maybe they’ll just end up as friends! (Yeah, right, cause that’d make a great novel! *rolls eyes sarcastically*)

Bonus Question: Frank encounters a man outside of the inn where he and Claire are staying. He is afraid it might have been a ghost. What do you believe it was? Do you have any predictions or suspicions on what that was about?

Again, going on predictability of literature, the guy in the kilt is totally going to turn out to be Jaimie or somebody from the past time. I mean, hello! Last episode with the tenth Doctor anyone? lol

Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge 7

3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Clock Rewinders

Clock Rewinders banner

Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge is where Tara @ 25 Hour Books and Amanda @ On a Book Bender shamelessly plug each other, share the fantastic posts, giveaways, or whatever else we’ve found and loved by other awesome bloggers (or authors!) during the week, and talk about the books we plan on reading in the coming week. [Description borrowed from On a Book Bender]

 The Corner Newsstand
(This week on Creativity’s Corner)


Behind the Desk
(My life behind the scenes)

  • The Outlander Read-along started this week! Aaaaaand the first questions are due tomorrow. I haven’t even started it yet. Ummmmmmmmmm… I think I’d better get on that. I think you can still join here if you’re interested.
  • My Nook isn’t working right! D: I hate reading on my computer, but I can’t even get it to reboot, so I can’t read my ebooks there either. I’m just desperately hoping it’ll get over it – I can’t really afford a new one right now.


Around the Corner

(Blog posts I found awesome since the last post)
I didn’t do a lot of commenting this week (sorry!) but there were a TON of great posts that I flagged to reread this week!
    • Anna @ Anna Reads brought to my attention that they are remaking Anne of Green Gables as a television series. Maybe it’s just because my name is Anne, and my hair is (almost) red, but I have ALWAYS thought this was the cutest love story ever! I am soooo excited for this!
    • Alissa @ The Grammarian’s Reviews reminded us to love our ARCs and in the process, kind of reminded me why I’m not about ARC’s around here. It is far too easy for me to become jealous about the whole thing, plus, I want this blog to be about discussion, and how can I discuss a book if it’s not readily available to the public?
    • Ruby @ Ruby’s Reads had a great post on monetizing her blog. I’ve never really looked at that as an option for me, but she brings up some really good points that I think anyone who is looking into monetizing needs to consider. Also, while you’re over at her blog, you should check out her Summer Book Exchange! The only reason I haven’t joined yet is my wishlist is still in progress, but you have until the 30th, and I plan on joining soon!
    • Nina @ Nina Reads asked a bunch of questions about Giveaway Etiquette. Giveaways are another thing that I avoid, for the most part, on this blog, but for those of you who do host them, this post is a must-read.
    • Fiktshun had a really great post on the distinction between Readers and Followers. This was really timely for me because I’ve been having the same thoughts, and I’m constantly trying to remind myself that it’s the READERS I want. The rest of it shouldn’t matter to me (though it often does, more than I want it to).
    • Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal did a spotlight on Book hype and what happens when it doesn’t pan out. There are so many different sides to this – check it out!

Reading Digest

(Books I’ve read in the past week and books I plan to read next)
  • Advent by James Treadwell – I finally gave up on this one. It just went downhill after the turning point, and THEN my Nook started misbehaving and just… no.
  • Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison – certainly an interesting read! I’m not sure I liked it as much as Amanda and Kelly did, but I’m glad I know what they’re talking about now.
  • Struck by Jennifer Bosworth – loved it, because it was just what I needed! Fast and easy, but not too light.
  • Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep – How the EFF have I not read this yet??? I’m severely tempted to go out and buy the entire series, RIGHT NOW!
  • Starters by Lissa Price – I don’t actually have too much to say about this one. Ever read a book that you don’t even feel strongly enough about to really write a review?

Currently Reading:

  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Seriously, I gotta start this one! Questions due! TOMORROW! Why must I always procrastinate?
  • Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren – Apparently this is the summer of “reading all those books I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t read.” I’m liking it so far, but I’m concerned I’ll get it and Outlander confused, because the premises sound very similar…

Up Next:

  • The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart – Another one I’m embarrassed I haven’t read, plus, summer always puts me in the mood for chick lit contemporaries.
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth – SO excited to get going on this one!
  • Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready – Another one I’m embarrassed I haven’t read. Everyone seems to love this series, so I’m gonna give it a try.

I am gonna try and get caught up on writing posts today, so if you see me on twitter, yell at me please :) If you have any great posts that you think I missed, please let me know!

Book Review: Book of Blood and Shadow

3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Book of Blood and Shadow Cover Title: The Book of Blood and Shadow

Author: Robin Wasserman

Summary: [from GoodReads]

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

My Review: This book is incredible. I mean, really freakin’ keep you up at night amazing! There’s so much going on I hardly know where to start!

A lot of people have compared this book to a teen Da Vinci Code, and I would say definitely, at least from the mystery/puzzle side of it. I love a book with a mystery I can’t figure out, and this one had me guessing for a very long time. I also felt less annoyed by the religious references in this book – the mystery is still based around a “God” object, but there are no claims (well okay, no serious claims by people we’re meant to like) that religion or lack-thereof is that important. Maybe this is just me being a lot older than I was when I read Da Vinci, but I was able to distance the religion part and focus on the rest of it, and that made it way more fun for me. [Disclaimer: I have nothing wrong with religion. I have a problem with things/people etc. that tell me “You MUST believe X,Y and Z to avoid Hell” even if I happen to believe X,Y and Z in the first place.]

The thing I love about this book though is how it defies classification. Sure I can put it in YA, but beyond that, is it paranormal? Is it a mystery? Or maybe even a horror/thriller? It’s got a little bit of everything, and something for everyone. I will say, however, that this was my first read of Robin Wasserman’s and the writing style took quite some time to get used to. The narrative is quirky and has a lot of stops and starts at the beginning – I can see why now, but I spent a lot of the first 50 pages or so wishing she would just get on with it and tell the story. Once I got past that, or stopped noticing, I’m not sure which, the story really started taking off for me.

As I say, this was my first read of Wasserman’s, but it most definitely won’t be my last!

Warning: This book contains some graphic violence that may not be suitable for everyone.

For Further Discussion: What is your position on religion in books? Many recent books feature angels/demons, even more feature faith as a prominent part of a character’s life. At what point does the religion become too preachy?

As some of you may have been able to tell, I’ve been spending a lot of time recently thinking about what I want my blog to be about. Let’s face it, I had an extremely rocky start, and I’m only just now finding my feet. But, in the end, what I decided is that the focus of this blog needs to be discussion. It’s the reason I started blogging, and when I lost sight of that, I ended up burnt out, frustrated, and tempted to quit.

I’m in the process of making changes to reflect that. So today, I want to draw your attention to the new page under “Other” called “Discussions up for grabs.” This page features a list of books, divided up by genre, that I would love to discuss with you! I’m going to do my best to keep the list updated, and rotate titles in and out fairly regularly. If you would like to discuss a book with me, and you don’t find it on that list, you’re welcome to also check out my GoodReads To-Read list, but be warned: it is VERY long. I would suggest limiting it by a genre to sort through, or friend-ing me and using the “compare books” feature, if you have a profile yourself.

Please let me know if you’re interested in discussing any of the works I have listed – discussions are more fun the more people we have!

Books and the Media: Book Trailers

9 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Media Monday

One of the more recent additions to marketing campaigns is book trailers. We’ve all seen them around – some of you have probably even hosted them on your sites. But what exactly are book trailers, and what do they do to us?

According to Wikipedia:

A book trailer is a video advertisement for a book which employs techniques similar to those of movie trailers. They are circulated on television and online in most common digital video formats.

Okay, simple enough to understand. We’ve all seen thousands of movie trailers in our lives, and we know what they’re for – getting us excited to see the movie they’re promoting. So what does it mean for books, when we start doing the same thing?

We all know the old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Even so, we all do it, and what’s more, the industry expects us to. Just take a look at these recovers of old classics, released in the wake of Twilight. By making the books look like Twilight, publishers hope to bring in young readers again.

Twilight-ed covers

Nevermind that these stories aren’t much like the Twilight series, beyond the very basic retelling elements – many readers of Twilight would probably find the language in these books stuffy and boring and difficult. But, as long as they believe the cover and buy the books, the publishers will be happy, right? (Okay, inner cynic coming out, sorry. But these recovers really did bother me!)

The same basic concept applies to book trailers. Take a look at the trailer for Struck by Jennifer Bosworth:

As someone who loves to study what movies, and especially their music, do to the subconscious, I can tell you right off the bat, they’re doing 3 things to make you want this book.

1) Creating a sense of mystery – Have you ever noticed that a good trailer only gives you just enough information to pique your interest? So, for example, the trailer here tells you that Mia is a lightning addict, but nothing about what that means. They say, at the very end that the “fate of the world is in [her] hands.” But they don’t tell you what she has to do, or why. They don’t tell you that Katrina (the girl with the circle on her hand) is just as much a part of a cult as the creepy dude in white. And they don’t tell you pretty much anything about that either – you just get this creeped out feeling because the scene screams CULT at you. So you want to read the book because you want to know what the EFF is going on!

2) Creating a link to the narrator (aka main character) – By having Mia narrate, in a voice that sounds like it could be our next door neighbor, they are giving us a connection to the main character. Plus, the few “scenes” we see in the trailer make it clear that Mia is just as confused as we are from the sense of mystery I talked about in point 1. Because of the intimate way she’s telling us her story, we believe we could know Mia, be friends with her, and that makes us want to read her story more.

3) Creating a sense of urgency – You may not have noticed, but your heart rate sped up while watching that. I don’t know the physiological reasons for it, but studies have shown that when listening to music your heart rate syncs up with the beat. They chose fast-paced, driving music to accompany the action, and then varied it with moments of silence, of a kind of weightlessness that leaves us off balance, and desperate to know what’s going on so we can understand why. (Notice how the biggest case of missing music is while Mia is falling – we feel suspended, because the music is suspended, at the same time as she does.) We are manipulated subconsciously, through our ears, to need the closure we can only get from reading the whole story.

Everything I’ve just said makes it sound like trailers are these awful, manipulative selling tools. I suppose in one sense that’s true, but I don’t believe trailers are all bad. We have to decide what books to read somehow, and I will freely admit that I judge books by their cover quite often – I figure if the publisher thinks that a certain book fits into a genre and gives it a similar cover to something I know I like, then that’s a good place to start. But I don’t stop there. I do my research, read the back blurb, or find some reviews online. And that, I think, is the point. Book trailers are a great way to bring in readers, and create interest, but just like you wouldn’t want to judge a book only by its cover, don’t judge it only by its trailer either.

What do you think of book trailers? Do you use them to decide which books to buy/read? What is your favorite book trailer, and why?

Some other trailers that follow the same concepts: Shatter Me, The Immortal Rules, Touch of Power.

Disclaimers: I by no means have seen all the book trailers there are, and some of these concepts may not apply to all trailers. The trailers mentioned here belong to their respective owners and are only used for the purposes of analysis and discussion.

Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge 6

8 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Clock Rewinders

Clock Rewinders banner

Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge is where Tara @ 25 Hour Books and Amanda @ On a Book Bender shamelessly plug each other, share the fantastic posts, giveaways, or whatever else we’ve found and loved by other awesome bloggers (or authors!) during the week, and talk about the books we plan on reading in the coming week. [Description borrowed from On a Book Bender]

After talking to Amanda, I’ve decided to continue with this weekly feature. She made it pretty clear she didn’t want everyone quitting, so yeah. That’s that, I guess.
 The Corner Newsstand
(This week on Creativity’s Corner)


Behind the Desk
(My life behind the scenes)

  • Armchair BEA was a little bit of a disappointment for me. I enjoyed the finding new blogs and making new friends aspects – I’ve got at least 20 new subscriptions in my RSS feeder, probably about 20 times a typical week of new subscriptions. Unfortunately, the topics for discussion were less than inspiring, which is why once my work week started on Wednesday, I just… stopped posting. The posts were all about things we do with blogging in the “real world” and as I pointed out to Alissa (The Grammarian’s Reviews) on Twitter – there’s a reason I was doing Armchair BEA – I don’t live somewhere where that kind of contacts are possible! In future years, I hope I’ll be able to attend actual BEA, but if not, I will definitely be taking a closer look at the proposed topics for discussion before joining.
  • The Outlander Read-along starts the 11th! You can join here if you’re interested.
  • I know I was a bit MIA towards the end of the week and I want to apologize. Between family emergencies (my grandfather went into the ER last weekend, and had to have an emergency pacemaker put in – he’s much better now, but it was a scary couple of days) and just a general self-overbooking, I’m feeling the beginnings of burn out. Luckily, this time, it’s not blogging burn out. I have tons of ideas for fun posts. I just have to get around to writing them. Anyway, thanks for sticking with me, and I promise I’ll try to get back to normal asap!


Around the Corner

(Blog posts I found awesome since the last post)
  • There were a lot of great posts as part of Armchair BEA, and I encourage you to check them out at the site if you’re interested.
  • Rachel @ Parajunkee did a post on the top ten reasons she unfollows blogs. I’m not quite as strict about this as she is, but she has a good point. I would add that I’ll unfollow if I don’t really have any interests in common with you. Sorry, but there’s too many blogs out there for me to be following ones I’m not that interested in (I woke up to 178 unread posts in my feeder this morning alone!)
  • Alissa @ The Grammarian’s Reviews has an interesting post on her position on grammar, and the distinction between grammar lovers and grammar “nazis.” Love it!
  • Felicia @ Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog wrote a rant on ebook pricing. I happen to agree with her – if an ebook is over $6-7 I’m not interested. I think there are lots of sides to this argument, though, and I by no means have done the research to have quite such an articulate position on it.


Reading Digest
(Books I’ve read in the past week and books I plan to read next)
  • Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – UH-MAY-ZING! Not much else to say. Except that now I want to go back to Graceling and read all the way through the series. And have discussions. And fangirl all over again. (Okay, really though, if I were to host a read-along of Graceling in a couple of months, or maybe early next year, would anybody be interested in joining in?)

Currently Reading:

  • Advent by James Treadwell – Still working on it, but I only have a little over 100 pages left! That’s one sitting… if I could just make myself do it :/
  • Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison – Amanda and Kelly kind of bullied me into reading this one. It’s good, but it’s been forever since I’ve read ADULT paranormal and I’m feeling the need for some happy-go-lucky feel-good stuff. Like, I dunno, I need to wash my mind out with Disney (that may partially be the symptoms of burn-out, it always seems to manifest itself with the need for an overdose on stupid childish rom-coms, which I am secretly addicted to).

Up Next:

  • Struck by Jennifer Bosworth – went after this one completely on the trailer, and it’s kind of the basis for my book trailer post. I am SO excited to read this one
  • Starters by Lissa Price – Got it out once and had to turn it back to the library before I could finish. This time, it’s due on the 16th, and I am determined to get it read in time!
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Um. Read-along starts Monday, aka tomorrow. Haven’t even started it yet. PROBLEM!


I’ve got a ton of reading to catch up on, so I’m out for the day. If you have any great posts that you think I missed, please let me know!

Book Review: Timepiece

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Timepiece Cover
Title: Timepiece (Hourglass #2)

Author: Myra McEntire

Summary: [from GoodReads]

A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking…

Kaleb Ballard’s relentless flirting is interrupted when Jack Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, timeslips in and attacks before disappearing just as quickly. But Kaleb has never before been able to see time travelers, unlike many of his friends associated with the mysterious Hourglass organization. Are Kaleb’s powers expanding, or is something very wrong?

Then the Hourglass is issued an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he’s stolen on the time gene, or time will be altered with devastating results.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Jack. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough…


My Review: I’m a sucker for time-travel stories, I’ll admit it (Doctor Who anyone?) But as anyone who read my review of Hourglass could probably tell I was a little fed up with the whole “love at first sight” thing in the last novel – the relationship between Emerson and Michael was the one black mark and I had some trouble getting past it. But by switching narrators from Emerson to Kaleb for the second book, suddenly that mushy version of love was gone, or at least shoved to one side as a minor character.

Kaleb takes the story and puts a whole new spin on it. Suddenly our narrator has been inside Hourglass for as long as he can remember, and he can tell us quite a bit more about the specifics of the organization and the rules that govern it. At the same time, we have the added intensity of Kaleb’s strained relationship with his father, and an exploration of just what exactly he can do. Kaleb and Lily’s relationship, compared to Em and Michael’s, was like a breath of fresh air. It felt much more real. It was filled with problems and fights, just like a real life relationship would be.

My favorite part of the book though was probably the deeper exploration into Jack’s background and motives. I wish we could know more about him and why he’s doing these things! What was in his past to make him so desperate? Despite what Kaleb said at one point about not finding any good in him, I refuse to believe that he was always like this. (I mean, look at Loki in the movie Thor! Sure, by the time we get to Avengers he’s all evil, but he wasn’t always that way! Buuuut I digress.)

I think part of the reason I did like this book so much is because of my belief in Jack having a decent part deep down. If I really think about it, and try to believe what she’s telling us (that Jack is evil, will always be evil, and there is no part of him that regrets what he does) then I would have a hard time with the story. So, in the end, my opinion on the series rests on what happens in the final book. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for it and snap it up as soon as possible!

For further discussion: What do you think of villains who are completely evil (i.e. Voldemort from Harry Potter, Sebastian from TMI etc.)? Do they add something to a story that a redeemable or “once good” villain can’t?

Armchair BEA: The Best of the Best 2012

34 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Community Events

I always have a lot of trouble with “Best of…” lists, especially if they require a certain year. I read a lot of books that aren’t necessarily the latest releases. So, I hope you’ll excuse me if I write out the best I’ve read in 2012, and not necessarily the best released in 2012.


Cinder coverCinder by Marissa Meyer – As I mentioned in my intro post, this is probably going to be my favorite of the year. I mean, really, steampunk/sci-fi and fairy tales, plus a really strong relationship between characters was all I needed, and I got so much more!




Immortal Rules CoverThe Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa – This one was a surprise to me, because it’s rare for a dystopian to come out as a favorite. I like them, it’s just they’re usually so dark, and I really love the books that balance it more. That said, this one was perfect for me, and it definitely makes the top ten list! So original and innovative – I’ll never look at vampire books the same way again!




Bitterblue cover

       Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – I haven’t even finished it yet, and I can already tell it will be a favorite of the year. Doesn’t matter what it is, if Cashore wrote it, I’m pretty much bound to like it. So far, though, this is my favorite of her books which earns it a place on my top ten favorites so far easily!




Name of the Wind cover

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – Not a 2012 release, but I read it for the first time this year. I was blown away by the incredible world-building! I absolutely love Kvothe, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!





Timepiece Cover   Timepiece by Myra McEntire – I have yet to review this one, but I read it for NetGalley and loved it. Hourglass didn’t quite make “favorite” status, because even though I loved the concept, I was a little fed up with the “love at first sight” trope while reading it. Take that out of the equation, as she does by switching narrators for this book, and this one shoots straight to the top of the list!

Books and the Media: Podcasts

9 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Media Monday

Books with HeadphonesAbout a week ago, I was working my volunteering job at the library, doing one of the absolute most BORING tasks available (adding spaces to online records from the 90’s so that they’re more readable, or: *click* *hit space bar* *click* *hit space bar* *click* *hit space bar* *click* *hit head on desk*). Anyway, it was getting to the point where even the music I was playing was too boring to keep my mind occupied. One of the permanent staffers came by, saw my expression, and immediately suggested podcasts. She listed a few that she liked (“This American Life” and “Radiolab”) and I looked into them, but they got me thinking – what about podcasts about books? If there were any, then I could be participating in the blogging community and working at the same time!

I did a little research, and tried to find podcasts even remotely related to books. What I found was, honestly, a little disappointing. Most of what I found was Harry Potter – not that I’m dissing Harry Potter or anything, I signed up for Alohomora, and I’m loving the discussions they’re having! The others I found were things sponsored by organizations like The New York Times, or CBC Radio – really not what I was looking for. There were a few exceptions, of course.

Books on the Nightstand seems to be a podcast meant to resemble a book blog – they discuss bookish news and events, plug books, and have discussions on things like book snobbery etc. I’ve listened to a few episodes and while their book tastes and mine are completely different, I like their format and concept.

The Readers is one that I have yet to listen to, so I can’t comment directly on their content, but from browsing the site I would definitely say their tastes are more like mine. They also seem to have more of a following among the part of the blogging community I’m aware of – when searching them, a bunch of other blogs came up with posts featuring them. I’ll probably try this one soon.

Beyond that Google was coming up with nothing, and even iTunes Podcast directory was stumped. And that made me wonder – why is that?

I think one thing is pretty clear. We as readers are very attached to the printed word. We like to see things on a piece of paper or a screen, and so for us, it’s pretty logical to turn to blogging. But, as evidenced from conferences like BEA, and the fact that almost every one of us gives “I needed a place to discuss books” as a reason for blogging, we like to talk about them too. So why aren’t there more of us, literally, talking the talk?

This isn’t really something I have an answer to. And, maybe my view of it is a little skewed since all my research relied on Google. Are there more podcasts out there that I’m missing? I’d love to know, since I need quite a bit of material to fill up those shifts at the library!

Of course, podcasts aren’t the only media out there. Are there other types of media for discussing books that you’d like to see? I know I used to run a vlog to talk about books, but I never found a community there, and I didn’t enjoy it as a result. In fact, this blog started as a replacement for the vlog, and if it weren’t for the blogging community I might have quit it too. But maybe there’s a community there that I just never knew about?

If I were to add other media to enhance my blog, what would you be interested in seeing (i.e. podcast, vlog, etc.)? Would anyone like to do a joint book discussion/review through podcast or vlog?



[Books and the Media is a series I’ll be running all month long to discuss different aspects of books in relation to other media types. Check back next Monday for more discussion!]

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