Friday, July 31, 2015

Audiobook Review: Lirael

Lirael: Daughter of The Clayr By Garth Nix
Publisher: Listening Library (HarperCollins)
Release Date:  May 2002
Source: Library Overdrive App
Format: Audiobook read by Tim Curry

My Rating: ★★★★

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Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Abandoned by her mother, ignorant of her father's identity, Lirael resembles no one else in her large extended family living in the Clayr's glacier. She doesn't even have the Sight, the ability to See into the present and possibly futures, that is the very birthright of the Clayr.

Nonetheless, it is Lirael in whose hands the fate of the Old Kingdom lies. She must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil, one that opposes the Royal Family, blocks the Sight of the Clayr, and threatens to break the very boundary between Life and Death itself. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog to help her, Lirael must find the courage to seek her own hidden destiny
Lirael is the sequel to Garth Nix's Sabriel but it is set about twenty years in the future where Touchstone has regained his throne and Sabriel has taken over the duties of the Abhorsen. But this book isn't really about them, I mean they show up in it, but it is really about Lirael, a young girl who has lived her whole life wishing for the sight of the Clayr. Although I really enjoyed this book, I was kind of disappointed that Sabriel wasn't in it that much. I also would have loved to have more about what she has been up to since the end of her novel.

Tim Curry does the narration on the audiobook again for the sequel, which I was so glad, because it would have been weird hearing someone else doing Mogget's voice. I also just started the third book in the series and he is also doing the audiobook for it. YAY! Curry is an amazing voice actor, and I really want to listen to him narrate some more novels. 

Lirael is such a relatable character, because she spends her whole life never fitting in or feeling like she belongs. I am freaking 25 and I still feel that way sometimes. I really think that teens and even adults whom are still struggling to find themselves will really connect with this character. You just want her to get the sight! Like Sabriel, Lirael has a animal form that helps her in her adventure--the disreputable dog. At one point in the story, dog and Mogget actually meet and it was one of my favorite scenes in the novel. Naturally they hate each other.

I really thought for sure that Lirael and Sameth were going to have some weird romance and I'm so glad that didn't happen. I don't think her story needed that. Towards the end I started to put together all the pieces of who Lirael really was, and I'm surprised it took me so long to figure it out. The only problem with this one is that it kind of ends on a cliffhanger with things unresolved, so I'm so glad I have the next audiobook queued up already. I'm excited to find out if Lirael and Sam can defeat Hedge and his strange evil master.

If you liked Sabriel, I would highly recommend continuing with the second novel. It's great for anyone who loves high fantasy.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jane Austen Book Tag

I was tagged by Jess over at Curiouser and Curiouser to do the Jane Austen book tag. And Yay this one isn't as long as the other ones! But some of these really did stump me.

Sense and Sensibility
A book with a dynamic sibling relationship

Pride and Prejudice
A book that didn't seem interesting at first

A book in which two close friends fall in love

Mansfield Park
A book with a 'rags to riches' storyline

A book involving second chances

Northanger Abbey
A book with an imaginative character

I'm tagging:

Angelina & Brianna @OtakutwinsReviews
Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Ocean at the End of the Land

The Ocean At The End of the Lane By Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow books
Release Date: June 18th 2013
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook narrated by the author

My Rating:

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
This is my second foray into Neil Gaiman, and I have to say that I am a fan. This is also the second time that I have read one of his books via audiobook. Both of which were performed by Gaiman himself. I love that so much, because I tend to appreciate the performance and inflection better since the author knows it better than anyone else. I am really enjoying Gaiman's work, so I'm excited to continue reading his books.

This book is more of a novella, as it first started as a short story and then evolving into a longer story. At first I wasn't sure where this novel was going, because it seems like it wasn't going to bring in any fantasy elements. Had the weird things not shown up and this had been a novel about a middle-aged man remembering his childhood, I think I still would have liked it because Gaiman's writing is just lovely. So I was really glad when our protagonist meets Lettie Hempstock and we find out just what exactly his new housekeeper is.

There were parts of this novel that made me so mad, because this little boy had a sad lonely childhood. No one showed up at his birthday and then right before he meets Lettie was probably two of the saddest beginning events in a book I've read. So I was so glad when he met Lettie and her mother & Gran and got to find out what a Flea and Hungerbirds were. Definitely some interesting spooky things going on there, that I think anyone who likes fantasy will enjoy.

I don't really know how I feel about the ending though. Again, I thought it was kind of sad, but I can't say much more without going into detail and giving it away. I did really enjoy this one, and I'm excited to read some more from Gaiman.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Celebrate Diversity

Whoa it's been a long time since I did a Top Ten Tuesday post. I think I'm still behind from my move so I haven't really gotten back into the swing of things yet. As always TTT is hosted by the lovely bloggers at The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is books that celebrate diversity. I love this topic, because um...there needs to be more diversity especially in YA, so I like to point out books that depict a diverse set of characters.

The Red Pyramid By Rick Riordan

Sadie and Carter are biracial, and there are little hints of how it affects both of their identities in different ways. Sadie could pass for white and she finds that people are always giving her looks when she is with her father and brother. For Carter he has always felt this pressure to act a certain way as a kid of color. These are minor things in the overall adventure story, but I really loved that Riordan brings it up in this middle grade book.

Tithe By Holly Black

This is an older book, but it is still one of my favorites and it is one of the first YA novels I read at the time that had a non-white protagonist. It really made me think about how white the genre was.

Cinder By Marissa Meyer

Cinder is set in a futurist China, which in itself was an awesome choice, as most dystopias are set in some weird future America. It's also believed that Cinder herself would look asian, and Winter who we've met briefly is written as dark-skinned. I definitely think Meyer did a job good of trying to include different types of people because Levana trying to take over would affect ALL people of Earth.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Unwind had a cast of characters that came from different socioeconomic, religious and ethic backgrounds. I think that was the point, because the situation in that book effect EVERYONE.

Ironside By Holly Black

Maybe this is cheating because this is the final installment of the Modern Faerie Tale series, but I also wanted to include this one because it was also one of the first YA novels I read that had gay characters in it. 

Rat Queens By Kurtis Wiebe

Rat queens includes both racially diverse and gay characters in this graphic novel series. Also a lot of different types of mythical creatures. I think it does a good job of showing us a diverse gang.

Beauty Queens By Libba Bray

I've talked about this book before, and man, it was not what I was expecting at all. This book is very much a feminist book, but also highlights the challenges non-white characters face in a very white dominated world. The book also features some great LGBTQ characters. 

The Lost Hero By Rick Riordan

The first book of Riordan's second mythology series was written in multiple perspective so he included more diversity with his band of adventurers. I loved how much he tried to include characters of various ethnic and racial backgrounds. I think it really showed a progression in his writing style.

Grasshopper Jungle By Andrew Smith

This book is so freaking weird, and I'm still not sure if it was about the protagonist coming to terms with his sexuality or if it was a some weird apocalypse novel that just happened to discuss sexuality in the subplot. 

The Girl in the Road By Monica Byrne

I wouldn't really consider this one "diverse" but I'm including it on this list because it's a novel that takes place in India & Ethiopia and the majority of the characters are people of color. I can't remember but I don't really think there were any white people in this one. I liked that about it, and I also enjoyed that it explored a different culture than my own.  

What books are on your list this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Review: None Of The Above

None of the Above By I.W. Gregorio
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (An Imprint of Harper Collins)
Release Date: April 7th, 2015
Source: Library
Format: Hardback (328 Pages)
My Rating:
★ ★ ★  1/2

GoodReads ★  Amazon   B&N    Book Depository 

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio is an novel about a teenaged girl learning in her final year of high school that she is intersex. The story progresses to how her entire school finds this out and how no one really knows what that means so they act like a bunch of assholes. That's basically the only way I can explain it.

Our protagonist Kristin starts out with everything going for her-- a good scholarship and a great boyfriend until she finally goes to the lady doctor and finds out that she doesn't have ovaries, but instead has testicles that her doctor first mistakes for hernias. It's a lot to take for a young girl, but what makes it worst is that she loses everything when words gets out that she is intersex. This is mostly because people at her school don't understand what intersex means or that it's something she was born with. This part of the story frustrated me so much, because I just wanted to punch all these insensitive people in the face. They weren't even trying to understand what it means!

I knew a little bit about what intersex was before reading this due to a sexuality identity & culture class I took in college, but it's not a subject that I understand completely. This book did help me to understand how intersex is different from sexual orientation and gender identity. I think this was a cool topic to discuss in a book, and I think it will open people's eyes to a lot of things. I also liked that the author had a medical background so I knew going in that she actually knew what she was talking about with all the medical facts. I definitely think that it is a book that everyone should read to understand that our society's two-way of thinking is not always accurate.

Although, I did like the subject matter of this book and I think it's an important book that everyone should read, I did have some problems with it. First of all, I thought it was too predictable about who Kristin would end up with. I really didn't think this novel needed a side-romance plot, so I could have done without.

Another thing that bothered me was that Kristin was very "woe is me" for the majority of the book. I understood that she had gone through a traumatic event, and was having a hard time coming to terms with herself, but her constant pity parties started to get on my nerves. She had all these support groups that could have helped her, but she just keep on feeling sorry for herself and I wanted to shake her. I was glad that she comes to terms with her life at the end of the novel, so I did genuinely enjoy it, but these parts annoyed me so much that I can't see myself giving it a higher rating.

Some of the things that annoyed me about Kristin may not be a big deal to others, so I do really want to recommend it to everyone. I think it's an important subject that hasn't really been addressed in YA fiction all that much, and it is a book that needs to be highlighted.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: Rat Queens Vol. 2- The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth

My Rating:

The second volume of Rat Queens was everything I hoped it would be, BUT it still left me with a lot of questions and wanting more. Which is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that I want more of these crazy bitches going on quests and taking down the bad dudes.

The second volume starts off right at the end of the first one. It's the morning after their big party and everyone is dealing with the after effects. I really like that the second one doesn't try to transition time. If you forgot what happened in the first volume it makes it really easy for you to pick back up where you left off.

Another aspect that I really enjoyed was that we got a glimpse of the Rat Queens' lives before they became a group. I thought it was also really interesting that Dee becomes such a more major character in this one. I was starting to feel like she didn't really belong in the group, and I'm still not sure if the Queens is where she belong but I think she is the level-headed voice of reason that the other three sometimes need. I'm really interested to see where her story arc will take her.

Getting a glimpse into the past of Violet and Hannah was something that I really liked. Both of their pasts are the catalysts for why they sought out a group like the Queens, and it definitely helped the reader understand why they are the way they are. I'm hoping volume 3 will go more into detail with Betty's character.

The book does kind of end on a cliffhanger so I was just sitting there thinking, "Wait, when does the third one come out?!?" So I'll be impatiently waiting for the next one while the rest of you catch up to me. If you loved the first volume I guarantee you will love this one too.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Audiobook Review: Ready Player One

My Rating:

Yo!!!! This freaking book!!!

So I don't know why I put off this book for so long, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this one and I loved listening to Wil Wheaton narrate it. This is a book I know that I will definitely reread via text, but I am glad I got to experience Wheaton's narration. I thought he was the perfect narrator for Wade. I actually started to forget that this was a narrator and not Wade actually telling me what was going on in the OASIS.

I'm not a big gamer, but I did spend several summers in the arcade at the campground where my grandparents had a permanent trailer. I mostly played pinball, but when I wasn't on the pinball machine I was hooked onto the X-men coin operated game. That shit was my jam. So I think for that reason I genuinely enjoyed that this book talked a lot about old arcade games, and gave a lot of history about gaming consoles, old games and dungeons and dragons. It actually made me want to start playing Dungeons & Dragons. I'm not kidding.

I loved the start of the novel because I just wanted to continue reading to find out more about Wade's life. Wade doesn't have the best home life, so I had a lot of empathy for him. I could understand why a kid like him would want to bury himself in the OASIS. I also just wanted to see if Wade could crack Halliday's puzzles. BUT THEN!!! The book turned into this crazy dystopia with Wade and his friends trying to take down this organization set on controlling the world. AND IT WAS AWESOME!

I loved the ending of the novel, because I was constantly bitting my nails to find out what was going to happen. Was Wade going to take down IOI or would the Sixers destroy everything? The ending is tied up all nice in a little box, which I actually wanted out of this one, so if you like that sort of thing I would recommend this one.

I think even if you aren't a big gamer, you will find something to like about it. The novel is filled to the brim with pop culture references that I think a lot of people will get a nice chuckle out of some lines. I think my favorite was the fact that at one point Wil Wheaton is talking about how Wil Wheaton is a geezer. It was so meta it made me laugh.

I HIGHLY recommend this one.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cinderella Tag

I was tagged by Jess over at Curiouser & Curiouser to do the Cinderella Tag. So here we go!

Evil Stepsisters
A book with a character you hate

Ugh! Levana is the worst! I read Fairest, and it just made me hate her more.

Prince Charming
A book with a gentleman

Beast totally counts right? To men he may not have been, but his relationship with Sybella he is totally different!

A character that is kind, graceful, and defiant

Am I allowed to repeat authors? I definitely thought Ismae's kindness to others and her ability to sense danger made her a great assassin. 

Fairy Godmother
A character who always has someone looking out for them

Don't get me wrong, I loved Cress, but because of how she grew up she needed a lot of help. I'm not just talking about Thorne either!

Helpful Creatures
Something that makes you happy when you are sad

Reading anything by Meg Cabot always makes me feel better.

A book you didn't care for

Ugh! Is really all I can say about this book.

A character with a transformation

Man, Connor comes out of this series a completely different person.

A book with an ending you didn't see coming

This book just took me on a wild ride, and I loved every minute of it.

Just Breathe
Something that inspires you to be courageous

This book was a hard one to swallow, but it definitely made me want to be brave.

Happily Ever After
A book with a perfect ending

This book was not what I had expected going into, but all the themes it talked about were really driven home in the final pages. I loved it.

I'm too lazy to tag anyone else, so feel free to do this if you haven't been tagged already!

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Deanna Listens: Plumbing the Deathstar

So...I kinda of fell off the map for the past week because I finally moved into my new apartment with the boyfriend!!! Yay!!! And I finally got to unpack my bookshelf which has been in separate boxes for the past month or so.

So here is my first post in awhile, and it's a part of my new podcast feature--Deanna Listens! The first podcast I want to feature is Plumbing the Deathstar.

This one is probably my favorite podcast, which is why I decided to feature it first. It is also the first podcast I have ever listened to. A coworker told me I should listen to this podcast because they talk about nerdy shit that no one ever thinks about. And because they get into the most ridiculous heated arguments about the dumbest shit. It's great I love it.

A few examples some of my favorite episodes are:

  • What are the consequences of Mario Kart?
  • How is everyone ok with The Truman Show?
  • Munchkins and The Wizard of Oz
  • Is the Imperial Army Racist?
  • Does John Hammond Understand Theme Parks?

Okay maybe that is actually a lot of episodes, but I really adore this weird podcast. I think I might listen to them everyday. I have a lot of old episodes backlogged on my playlist, so I'm constantly listening to something from them.

Dude...just listen to these crazy Australian dudes. They are so fucking funny! I definitely recommend it if you like comic books, video games, science fiction movies etc. They definitely will have an episode that you will enjoy.

I highly recommend you check them out. You can follow them on Itunes, Stitcher or Miro .

Got a podcast you think I would enjoy? Let me know and maybe it will be featured next month.

Happy Reads Everyone!