Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus
Publisher: Random House Audio
Release Date:  September 13th, 2011
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook narrated by Jim Dale
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
I have to admit that I actually had a hard time trying to come up with a rating for this book. It's not that I didn't like, there were just elements in it that I had some problems with. In particular I just could not stand how Celia and Marco were treated by their respective father figures. 

Celia's father was such an asshat that I just wanted her to punch him in the face so hard. Of course you learn later why she cannot physical do that, but I was so angry with how hard he was on her about a competition that she had no choice to compete in! I feel similar about Marco's situation with Alexander. Macro was an orphan so he didn't have a family and the only person he had in his life was making him compete in this ridiculous task. 

What I did like was all the descriptions of the Cirus and it's host of characters. With the audiobook I could hear the distinct character voices from Jim Dale so it really brought the story alive. This was a circus I would want to go to. Morgenstern's writing was really lovely here and I could really see what this place looked like, especially considering the victorian setting. 

I think in the end I did end up enjoying this one a lot, and I would recommend it to any reader of fantasy...and romance in fantasy books. I would recommend it for the writing style alone. 


Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review: Forever Odd

Forever Odd
Publisher: Bantham
Release Date:  2005
Source: Owned
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

I see dead people. But then, by God, I do something about it. Odd Thomas never asked for his special ability. He’s just an ordinary guy trying to live a quiet life in the small desert town of Pico Mundo. Yet he feels an obligation to do right by his otherworldly confidants, and that’s why he’s won hearts on both sides of the divide between life and death. But when a childhood friend disappears, Odd discovers something worse than a dead body and embarks on a heart-stopping battle of will and wits with an enemy of exceptional cunning. In the hours to come there can be no innocent bystanders, and every sacrifice can tip the balance between despair and hope. 
 
You’re invited on an unforgettable journey through a world of terror and transcendence to wonders beyond imagining. And you can have no better guide than Odd Thomas.
I have to admit that although I really enjoyed this book, I don't think it stacks up to the first novel Odd Thomas. I loved the first novel, but something in this book was just missing. I don't know if this was never intended to be a series and that's why it seems like the writing struggled, but I don't think it was as good as the first book. That being said, I still found it a really enjoyable read and would recommend it to fans of mystery and suspense.

If you're not familiar with Odd Thomas, he's this twenty-something kid from California who can see ghosts, and a lot of times this gets him in trouble. What I love about Odd so much is his wit, and his can do attitude to take on the bad guys even when he really shouldn't. Odd has a calling, and it's was really interesting to see him fighting a different kind of evil in this book. In this book the villain is straight up crazy-town! They seemed to lack something here that the villains in the first novel had, but still I was happy when Odd put them in their place.  

I think one of the reasons I struggled with the book a little is because there is such a high emphasis on Odd's childhood friend Danny being captured. Apparently they had a really close relationship, but there is no mention of him in the first book so I did have to suspend a lot of belief on that plot line. It was hard to care for a character in this book series when we had never heard about him before. I thought it was sloppy that Odd just says that he hadn't spoke about him in his last manuscript because of his grief over what happened in the first novel. That seemed like a cop out to me. 

I blew through this book because I just wanted to get to the end and solve the mystery. I needed to find out who had captured Odd's friend and why? I also wanted to see Odd take them down. So I read this book really quickly, because I just needed to find out how it would all end. The mystery and suspense aspect of the novel was what really keep me wanting to continue reading this book. 

This is my first foray into Dean Koontz, and I do think he writes suspense really well so I think I will continue with this series. 


Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Fall TBR. This one was a pretty easy topic because I have so many books I need to read, but these are books that I'm really going to try to read soon.


I've had this book this last fall and I still haven't read it. I'm a very bad reader.


I'm definitely trying to read the sequel to the 5th wave this fall so I can have a review written for Scifi November.


Um...this is on my TBR challenge list and I still haven't read it.


Another TBR challenge book I need to read.


Oh...TBR challenge book you say? Yup, this one too, and I have no idea if I will ever actually read it.


Okay, this is cheating a little bit, because I just finished this book. I just haven't posted my review yet.


I think this is one of the few Green books I haven't read, but my coworker just lent it to me so I'm going to make an effort to read it.


This is for October's book club meeting, so I will read it really soon!


Um...so I actually read the first chapter of this book but I was really behind in book club and review books so I haven't picked up again.


I'm currently reading this book. It's a review book that I received early this month but I haven't quite gotten to it yet. Oops!


What books on our your Fall TBR?


Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR Graphic Novels


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers at The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is a freebie. I haven't been that great at actually blogging lately, so this one might be a little late. I decided to do this one on the top ten graphic novels that I want to read. For argument sake, I'm lumping graphic novels, single-issue comics and mangas together. 


Scott Pilgrim

I really loved the movie and how it brought video game effects into it. So I've always wanted to actually read the graphic novels that spawned it. Someday!


Sailor Moon Vol.2

I loved this show so much as a kid. I recently read the first volume and I loved it, so I really need to get the second one soon.


Persepolis 

This might be the only serious graphic novel I have one this list, but I've always wanted to read it. Just haven't gotten there yet.


The Guild

Of course there is a comic books about Felicia Day's web series The Guild!! I freaking love that show, so I definitely want to get to those comics soon.


Saga 

I've heard nothing but great things about this series, so yes I will get to it soon, I just don't know when. 


Nimona

I've seen this one pop up lately, so I definitely want to check it out to see what all the hype is about.


In Real Life

This graphic novel was recommended to me on Goodreads, and since I've really been getting into gaming I definitely want to give it a go.


Star Wars: The New Republic

I am actually reading this right now! It starts out with the six single-issue comics about Timothy Zahn's original character Mara Jade. I love her so much. I love the artwork in that section, but some of the later artwork in this one looks a little cheesy. I will still finish this one and probably love it no less.


Orphan Black

There's Orphan Black comics? Hell yes I want to read those! Fun fact I actually went to the comic book store specifically for the first issue, but I ended up forgetting about it and getting Sailor Moon and Star Wars instead. 


Cimarronin

This is another graphic novel that GoodReads keeps on suggesting to me. It looks really interesting so I definitely want to give it a go.

What topic did you do your TTT on this week? What graphic novels or comics do you have on your TBR?


Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Monday, September 14, 2015

Audiobook Review: Life of Pi

Life of Pi By Yann Martel
Publisher: Rearsby, Leicester, Whole Story Audio
Release Date:  2004
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook
Narrated by Jeff Woodman & Alexander Marshall

Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

                                             Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Pi narrates shipwreck on a life raft with 450-pound bengal tiger Richard Parker in Pacific Ocean. Storms wash away supplies. Island proves dangerous. Finally in Mexico, landed castaway is a puzzle.

This isn't a book I normally would pick up, but I wanted to see the movie and I'm one of those people that likes to read the book first so I decided to listen to the audiobook. I know that the movie came out a while ago, but I'm pretty slow when it comes to these things. So my overall impression: this book was pretty decent but I wouldn't place in my top favorite books.

I thought the book was really interesting as I was able to learn more about a culture unlike my own. Most of the books I read tend to skew to western settings, so I was really interested in learning more about India and the culture in which Pi grew up. I kind of really loved that the author explains a lot about non-christian religions and Pi's experiments with them. We did learn about different religions in history in middle school but I felt like the book gave me a better understanding about Hinduism. Which is not something I know much about at all. I'm a little torn about this part of the book, because on the one hand I thought it was a great learning experience, but on the other I felt like it made the plot drag on. It seems like there was too much exposition about Pi's life before he gets shipwrecked that we didn't need.

Once we get to Pi being on the raft with the Tiger Richard Parker, that's when things got really interested. It also reminded me that I should really education myself on survival skills, because man I would die immediately if I was stranded in the middle of the ocean. I'm also 100% sure that the tiger would eat me right away. Like seriously, how did he not get eaten?

I found parts of the survival aspect hard to listen to as Pi has to go through so many trials before he is finally saved. (This is not a spoiler, you know he's going to get saved eventually, otherwise what's the point in reading this book?) It also made me so mad that the company that owned the cargo ship he was on did not believe his story. It was kind of unbelievable, but you would think that a kid that grew up in a zoo would understand animal behaviors in order to survive. I thought it was really funny that Pi just kept messing with them and stealing their food and told them the most outlandish story because it was what they wanted to hear. 

I think if you are interested in reading a book in a non-western society or you like survival books like Hatchet, this would be a good book for you. I enjoyed this book enough, but it just did not have the wow factor that I was looking for in a book.

Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Monday, September 7, 2015

Deanna Listens: The Star Wars Stacks


Deanna Listens is a monthly feature on the first Monday of every month I created to showcase some of my favorite podcasts. This month I am talking about The Star Wars Stacks.

I've only listened to a handful of the episodes on this podcast, but the reason why I am doing this one now is because I think it will really interest fellow nerdy book lovers. The Star Wars Stacks is a monthly book club for the Star Wars Expanded Universe books. Each month they talk about a different book in the EU. I really like this one because if you haven't had a reason to delve into the EU this is where you can do it. And if you're like me it forces you to go back to the books you loved.

I got obsessed with Star Wars when I was a kid after Attack of The Clones came out. When I obsess I like to go back to the original source materials, so of course I went back and watched the original trilogy (which is so much better than the prequels!). But there was a SW void in my life and that was when I discovered the EU. I love the concept of this podcast so much. I read a lot of the EU books when I was in middle school, and I felt so very alone because I had no one to talk to about them. I fell in love with Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy & Hand of Thrawn duology and I just adored the character of Mara Jade. So when I found out about this podcast, I had a lot of feels about it. Finally there were other people that read these books! People discussing these books! It really made me happy that I could finally listen to what others had to say about these novels.

I'm really glad I found this podcast, because I think it's going to make me start reading EU books again. The "old EU" has turned itself into this "legends" series, which is fine whatever, but there are also going to be new EU books that will be considered canon so I'm interested in exploring these new books that the trio will discuss. I already have a few on my list to start reading before I listen to the episodes. 

So the reason I haven't listened to too many of these episodes is because I haven't read all the books yet! But I definitely want to get there. So look at for some more SW book reviews on my blog.

Here are a few of the episodes I've already listened to and enjoyed:

If you're a fan of EU books, or you're a fan of SW and want to get into the EU books, I would highly recommend start listening to this podcast.


Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Friday, September 4, 2015

Audiobook Review: Moon Called

Moon Called By Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Release Date:  September 1st, 2009
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook
Narrated by Lorelei King

Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...
My cousin has been telling me about this series for awhile, and I just haven't had the time to get into it yet, so I saw it was available on Overdrive on audio so I figured I would give it a try. I have to say I was really surprised! I don't think I've read a lot of urban fantasy before, but it was a nice change of pace from all the YA fiction I read.

This book does supernatural beings right, and I thought it was so interesting to learn about Walkers. I never heard of Walkers before, so it was new ground for me and it made me really interested to press on with this. I also liked that since Mercy is likely Native America (she doesn't know her father) it wasn't just some other white girl heroine in this novel. Actually Mercy is really much of a heroine. Sure she can save the day, but she also makes a lot of dumb mistakes, and I thought that made her real. We all mess up and we need to fix our mistakes, and that's what Mercy does in this novel.

I also love that Mercy is always making side comments about how Werewolves are kind of sexists, and if she was one she wouldn't put up with that crap. I'm sure this comes with the territory of being a female mechanic named Mercedes. Which I also loved! I don't know anything about cars, but it seemed like Patricia Briggs did her homework on that. 

I felt like this book was so action packed and it really got down to the nitty gritty of the closeted supernatural beings. I really enjoyed this one, and I'm definitely going to continue with this series....eventually!

Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Giver

The Giver By Lois Lowry
Publisher: Ember
Release Date:  January 1st, 1993
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook
Narrated by Jon Rifkin

Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

I remember really enjoying this book back when I read it in the 7th grade. When I recently went to watch the movie, I realized that I had no memory of it. I didn't remember a lot about this book, but I remember liking it, so I decided to do a reread of it via audiobook. Unfortunately, I don't think this dystopia novel holds up that well. 

Let me explain.

This is one of those books that I think is really important and it influenced a lot of people, but on the whole the book itself is missing a lot of things. This book was first published in 1993 (when I was 3), and at the time there wasn't too much dystopia in books. At least not in children's books, and not the level that is present in the YA market now. I do believe that this dystopia novel paved the way for a lot of books out there. So I think in it's own right The Giver is important, because it was something new and cool back then, and I like that it's still being taught in middle schools in America.

So yes, I think the book is important, but if you forget about its influence and focus on the text itself there is a lot missing that I would like to know. How did the world get to this point? How did they lose color and memory? And what happens to Jonah next? I know that this is a series, but the second one isn't about Jonah so I feel like I needed a little more in this book. I also wanted the world building to be fleshed out a bit more. I couldn't get a really good image of it inside my head. When I read this book as a kid it didn't even occur to me that this was a futuristic society, so when I saw the movie I was kind of confused. I know I'm not alone, because my boyfriend thought the same thing!

If you place this book beside something like The Hunger Games or The Unwind Series, I don't think the plot to The Giver really holds up to those books. The contemporary dystopia novels have something more to them. More information, more characterization, and more about the world that these people live in. I think The Giver was just missing a few things. 

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy rereading this book, but I just didn't find it amazing. 

Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August Wrap Up

I actually remembered to do a monthly wrap up this month! I'm notoriously bad at remembering to do these, so I'm glad to finally get this together. Like last month I feel like I've really slacked on reading because I've gone down the rabbit hole that is videogames. I have a problem, for real. Although, I do listen to A LOT of audiobooks, so I think it makes up for my lack of reading physical books....maybe.

BOOKS I READ





AUDIOBOOKS






GRAPHICS NOVELS/COMICS



Okay...this was a bad month for me for reading. I'm just going to continue to blame it on reading Dune. haha. What books did you read this month?

Happy Reads Everyone!
Follow