Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is the best books you've read in 2017 so far. So I took that as books you actually read, and not to mean books that released in 2017. Because I'm a backlog book reader all the way! I actually don't even have ten books on my list this week, because I haven't read enough volume of books this year to pick at ten books that I love, I've got seven to show to you all!

City of Miracles By Robert Jackson Bennett

I'm going to continue talking about the Divine Cities trilogy until everyone reads it. I love this series so much, and the final book was the perfect closing of the story. I was interested in Bennett's other novels but none of them quite seem like this series so I'm unsure if I want to read anything else. If you love adult urban fantasy, I highly recommend this one.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle By Shirley Jackson

I did this one on audio, and it was so creepy! This is an older book, but I think a lot of what it has to say holds up. If you are interested in reading it, I highly suggest doing it on audio.

Remembrance By Meg Cabot

This took me so long to get to, and I don't know why! I loved this series so much, so of course I loved returning to Carmel and Suze. I loved that she was still so very much like the girl I read in high school. If you are a fan, this one does not disappoint.

Career of Evil By Robert Galbraith

I love this series, they are written so well! This one I had no idea who had done it, and that's what I love about a good mystery. I kind of wish we never knew that these were written by J.K. Rowling, but I kind of forget about that since I do the audios.

Red Rising By Pierce Brown

Okay, I haven't finished this series, but I loved the first book Red Rising. Darrow is really more adult, but I think it makes sense for the story since his culture grows up quicker and marries earlier. He had more adult experiences than his classmates. I loved that we also see him make a lot of mistakes in this novel. 

The Boy Next Door By Meg Cabot

I missed this series somehow, and reading this first book now was kind of like stepping into a time machine. I loved the experimental style of it being written entirely in emails. Also loved that it was during the time when email and the internet was still so new to everyone. 

The Scorpio Races By Maggie Stiefvater

Stiefvater can be hit or miss for me, so I did this audio for The Scorpio Races and I ended up really loving it! 

Which books are on your list this week? Were you able to get ten books on your list this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Audio Month: Story Based Podcasts

Last week I wrote about some podcasts I love that I think are for book lovers. Mostly podcasts that talk about books, give book recommendations or book reviews. There is also another type of podcast genre that I didn't really talk about -- Story Based Podcasts.

So what do I mean by this? These are podcasts that are strictly telling you a story much like a book would. With audiobooks becoming so popular, I think it makes complete sense that podcasts like this would start to crop up. I enjoy them because they are almost like those old timey radio shows. I know in other countries those radio shows still exist, but not in America.

This is actually my favorite of the story based podcasts I listen to. It's actually an improv group that started it so a lot of the main story is based on them messing with each other and just going, "Yes, and..." It's super inappropriate, but that is why it is for me! I guess my favorite part of this one is when the wizard introduces himself and his 593405043 names. You'll know what I mean when you start listening to it. Chunt's up with that??

What I like about this podcast is that it is literally trying to sound like old timey radio shows. There are actually a few different shows that circulate on this podcast. You have Frank and Sadie Doyle, they deal in the paranormal and martinis. Also voiced by Paul F. Thompkins and Paget Brewster. There is also the tales from the black lagoon...er the dude that wore the mask. And I can't forget the Marshal on Mars! It's a really fun podcast that I definitely recommend.

How can I talk about story based podcasts without talking about Welcome to Night Vale?? I can't, that's why I saved them for last. Even if you don't listen to podcasts, you have probably heard of this podcast. It's one of the better known podcasts, and within good reason. It's just so weird! But in the best way possible. For some podcasts, I think it's okay to start anywhere, but with this one I think you need to listen from the beginning.

I don't listen to too many story based podcasts, but these are just three that I adore. If you have any other recommendations I would love to hear about them!

Have you listened to any of these podcasts? What do you think? 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Audio Month: Podcasts for Bookworms

I feature podcasts on the regular with my monthly feature Deanna Listens, but since it is still Audio Month, I wanted to do some smaller features about podcasts I think book lovers would love. Some might be familiar to you if you read Deanna Listens, others I have yet to feature, but will probably do so in the future.

This is a given one, if you want to hear great conversation about people talking about books The Book Riot Podcast is a great place to start. I've seen some complaints that they are too PC, but that is exactly why I like this podcast. I think they really think about what everyone wants from a book.

This is for a specific kind of reader, but I really like the trio that does this podcast. If you are a fan of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (legends & canon alike) this is a podcast for you!

This was such a random podcast find. I only found out about it because I follow the YA author Beth Revis on her social media channels and she posted about being on this podcast. So I thought that I should check it out and then I discovered that Yin had an interview with Meg Cabot (GASP!! MY FAVORITE AUTHOR). I really enjoy this one, and I think Yin has such a positive presence as a host. 

This is another podcast hosted by Book Riot (seriously they have a lot go check them out), and I wasn't totally sure I was going to like it. Basically people write into Amanda and Jen asking for specific book recommendations. They usually come up with some great answers, and I end up adding more books to my TBR. 

This is a recent podcast that I started listening to, and I find it super interesting because it's book reviews but more specifically it's for audiobook reviews. I love that since I do tend to listen to a lot of audiobooks. I do find that sometimes I completely don't agree with them, and I realize I read that particular book and did not listen to the audio. So I wonder sometimes how much a good narrator can change the experience for different readers. Britney & Brad are great, go listen to them talk about audiobooks right now!

Do you listen to any of these podcasts? What do you think? Do you have any other recommendations for bookish podcasts?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: City of Miracles

City of Miracles By Robert Jackson Bennett
Publisher: Broadway Books
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Format: Ebook, 451 pages
Source: Blogging for Books*
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★
Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Revenge. It's something Sigrud je Harkvaldsson is very, very good at. Maybe the only thing. 

So when he learns that his oldest friend and ally, former Prime Minister Shara Komayd, has been assassinated, he knows exactly what to do and that no mortal force can stop him from meting out the suffering Shara's killers deserve. 

Yet as Sigrud pursues his quarry with his customary terrifying efficiency, he begins to fear that this battle is an unwinnable one. Because discovering the truth behind Shara's death will require him to take up arms in a secret, decades-long war, face down an angry young god, and unravel the last mysteries of Bulikov, the city of miracles itself. And perhaps most daunting of all finally face the truth about his own cursed existence.
If you haven't read the previous books in this series, I suggest you go do that and then we can talk about how this is one of the most underrated books series I've read in the past couple of years. I'm all about the Divine Cities series, and I want to make everyone else read this series too. So let's talk about the final book in the trilogy!

I loved City of Stairs, and I enjoyed City of Blades, but coming back to get the perspective of Sigrud was exactly what I wanted in this final installment. Sigrud is a gigantic beast that pretty much just knows how to hunt down bad guys and kill them. Which is why I love him! In the first book he was a man of few words, and in this final book we still see that but we get a little bit more about why this dude hurts so much. Sigrud believes he is made to suffer, and he has suffered for a very long time. It's interesting because when I first started this series I thought it was going to be about Shara, but I think it's really about Sigrud and how we carry our burdens around with us for years. Man, I loved getting that lesson in the form of Sigurd.

I never really know how to classify this series and every time someone asks me what I'm reading I always just spit out some things and end up just telling them the whole plot summary. I've just never read anything like this before, and I definitely think I'll read anything Bennett writes after this series. It's like one-part geo-political espionage, and one-part urban fantasy. It totally seems like it won't work, but it definitely does. The world building and the lore of the gods and the class struggle between the Continentals and The Saypuris just gets you SO invested in this story. This novel didn't disappoint in that regard. We get even a little more about what life was like before The Blink. We also learn a little bit more about The Gods and how they had more tricks up their sleeves than the Kaj knew about.

If you think urban fantasy and espionage is not your thing (I mean, if you're a boring person!) there is also a ton of action in this book. Sigrud tends to have a lot of ideas of how to get out of a tough situation, and a lot of them seem to involve almost blowing himself up. I think there is even a line in this book where he basically says, "I'm too old for this." That really endeared me to him even more. There is an insane chapter where he and his companions are on the run and are attacked on the train, and this dude just full on takes the bad guys out. Dude is too legit to quit, for real. It's almost as if he can't die, because some of his feats are a bit too amazing. It's not that Bennett has written him as a flat hero that can do anything, because we learn there is a reason for this. For me this made the story more complex, and I just needed to find out what was going to happen next.

Some fans might not be 100% happy with the ending of this book, but I generally really liked it. I'm not spoiling it for anyone, but I think the story about the Divine Cities came to an end. I think it was a peaceful end that when I finished that last sentence I was really satisfied with.

This book was amazing, go start reading this series now and read this final installment ASAP!!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Birthday Picks

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is actually supposed to be father's day theme, but since today is my ACTUAL birthday I decided to do something a little different--BIRTHDAY PICKS. 

I kinda of struggled what that actually meant, should I talk about my favorite all time books? Or just books I asked for my birthday?? In the end I decided on doing any book I would love for someone to get me for my birthday. I actually just leave my amazon wishlist open on my computer so my boyfriend can pick something out. Dude, it makes it so much easier. I think my mother wishes I'd ask for an engagement ring, but I'm happy with just books or video games.

Okay...so I know this book isn't out yet and is slated for 2018 but the cover totally drew me in! A lot of people are saying for Westworld fans, but I saw the cover and summary and thought it reminded me of Wynonna Earp!

Um...I still haven't read this book. *hides* I think I'm two behind with Sarah Ockler books right now. I suck!

I've been anticipating this one for awhile. I've heard some great reviews so far, which is awesome! Hope to read it soon.

This one looks so fun and cute! I definitely need to read it. I also have never been to a con, which definitely needs to change. 

Yup, I suck and still haven't read this one. I have the other two, so really need to complete my collection!

I tried to get the ARC for this book but I was denied :( And I still haven't read it!

I so need to read this. I don't own the first one, but I love the covers for all of Riordan's books.

I so need to read this. I keep on seeing other people reminding me I need to read this one!

This was actually on my wishlist that I gave my boyfriend, and he actually saw me working on this post and was like, "What is that? Is that another wishlist?" So I had to explain what top ten tuesday is. I think he actually got this for my birthday, I'll find out soon.

I haven't read this one yet, but the cover is beautiful, I would love it!

I think really I need a new bookshelf because my second bookshelf is more like a shelf you put in your kitchen with decorations, not really for books. 

What books are on your list this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Audiobook Review: Blood Bound

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Release Date: October 1, 2009
Format: Audiobook narrated by Lorelei King
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

The second installment of Patricia Briggs's paranormal fantasy saga to feature feisty heroine Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson, Blood Bound (sequel to 2006's Moon Called), pits the butt-kicking mechanic/coyote shape-shifter against a foe that is as rare as he is ruthless -- a demon-possessed sorcerer who is also a vampire! 

When Mercy agrees to help out friend Stefan (a bloodsucker from the local vampire clan in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State), she has no idea that she is about to inadvertently come face-to-face with an otherworldly creature that epitomizes pure evil. After barely surviving her encounter with sorcerer Cory Littleton, Mercy -- with the help of a small group of supernatural friends -- vows to track down the mysterious Littleton before he can butcher more innocent people. Her mission is twofold: Not only will she stop a mass murderer from killing again but she will also (hopefully) protect the invaluable secrecy of the vampires who live in the Tri-Cities area. But can a shape-shifting mechanic with a thing for Volkswagen cars defeat a monstrosity powered by spirits from the depths of Hell? 
This is the second book in the Mercy Thompson series, and I have to say I am really enjoying these urban fantasy novels! The books are written so pragmatically that when Mercy is explaining the politics of the Fae and the Werewolves announcing themselves to the human world it makes perfect sense. It seems so realistic that you start to believe that maybe there could be supernatural beings walking among us. Okay, maybe not really, but I think Briggs handles this topic so well that it's believable.

I really like the woman who does the narration on the audiobooks, and I think I'm going to continue doing this series on audio. I got pretty used to her voice, that I actually discovered she does some voice work in the new Mass Effect Andromeda game. (She's the Asari Scientist in the lab on the Nexus.) I think she does a really good job of making Mercy came alive for me. I also get a feel for Mercy's don't mess with me attitude from Lorelei King's narration.

I think a reason I really enjoy this novel is that Mercy is such a strong character. She's an independent business woman, she doesn't need a man (or rather werewolf) to complete her life, and she also will do ANYTHING for her friends. Like shift into her coyote-form to help out her vampire friend Stefan, or help the vampires take down a rogue sorcerer-turned vampire. Mercy doesn't really listen to anyone, she does what she wants, and I kind of like that about her. I mean we also see that she gets herself stuck in a bind sometimes, but I like her take-charge attitude.

This novel in particular is also part-mystery because Mercy spends a huge chunk of the novel just trying to find the Sorcerer. She also tries to figure out who could have turned this guy into a vampire in the first place. You find out in the end, and I didn't really see it coming, but it was kind of obvious. I'm really interested to see where the next book takes us.

If you love supernatural books with a little mystery/suspense I highly recommend this one. Definitely don't judge Urban Fantasy by it's cover.

Have you read the Mercy Thompson books? What do you think?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Audio Month: Top 5 Audiobook Narrators

Did you know that this month is audio month??

Despite listening to a ton of audiobooks and being obsessed with podcasts, I didn't know until I was having a conversation with Jorie from Jorie Loves a Story over twitter about podcasts. So...in that case I want to bring a few posts to everyone to talk about different things regarding audio...so today let's talk about my favorite audiobook narrators!


So I think I was actually first introduced to Tim Curry when he played Long John Silver in the Muppet's Treasure Island movie (DON'T JUDGE ME, IT'S GOOD!) and then he kept showing up in different things like THE WILD THORNBERRYS! Recently Curry has lended his voice to audiobooks and voiceover work, and he is amazing. He does the narration for Garth Nix's Sabriel original trilogy and it is so good that I can't listen to the other books on audio because someone else does them! He also did a few of the Series of Unfortunate Events audiobooks. He did the first one that was a full cast audio which I believe was redone when the movie came out, but then the audios reverted to the author and I generally did not enjoy Lemony Snicket AKA Daniel Handler's narration for it. His Count Olaf was terrible! I think it's in book 6 that Curry does the narration again, and man, I'm sorry but he is so much better! If you ever land on an audiobook done by Curry, savor it, because he is probably my favorite audiobook narrator!

Wil Wheaton

Okay, I have to admit I have only listened to Wil perform for Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, but I know that he did the narration for Armada and he does audiobook work on the reg. So why am I including him on my list of top audiobook narrators? Man, he just WAS Wade to me in his narration of Ready Player One. If you are a fan of Wil (like I am) in other mediums, you will enjoy listening to him narrate your favorite books. When I was listening to RPO, I completely forgot that this was even Wheaton doing the narration. It got to the point that in my head I was just thinking, "This is just Wade telling us his story." I highly recommend getting your hands on any audiobook he narrates. 

Neil Gaiman

You must be thinking, "But Deanna, Neil Gaiman is an author?"  Yes. "But this is about audiobook narrators?" Yes. Neil Gaiman is one of those authors that has also narrated one of their books. To my knowledge he has narrated the audiobook for both Stardust and Ocean at the End of the Lane. I'm not sure if he has narrated any other of his books, but I did LOVE his narration for these two stories. I think he's a great narrator, and I guess I'm not the only one since people are raising money for charity to hear him read the entire Cheesecake Factory menu! 

Rebecca Soler

If you like Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, Rebecca Soler's name might be familiar to you. She does the narration for the series and also Meyer's new novel Heartless. I didn't particularly care for the new novel, BUT I didn't do it on audio and I wonder if I would have liked it better if I had listened to Soler tell me the story. I really enjoyed listening to her do the Lunar Chronicles, and I've been trying to find out what other novels she has narrated. I did just find out she is going to do the narration for Beth Revis' star wars novel about Jyn Erso. I think Soler will do great to bring Jyn's life pre-Rogue One to the surface. 

Marc Thompson

March Thompson is a voice actor that has done a TON of work in anime, but he also has done a few audiobooks, particularly for Star Wars novels. He did a couple of the Expanded Universe novels (now Legends) for the New Jedi Order series and for the Legacy of the Force series. He also did the anniversary of Heir to the Empire narration. The original narrator for that novel was not great, so I'm glad they let someone else do it! If you like Star Wars books, he's definitely a voice you have heard before. LucasFilms must like him too, because they keep on hiring him to do the new books! 

There you have it these are my top 5 audiobook narrators. Do you have a favorite narrator? Or a favorite audiobook? I would love to hear about it. What makes you love a narrator?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Review: Heartless

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: November 8th, 2016
Format: Kindle version, 464 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland - the infamous Queen of Hearts - she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen . 
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. 
Cath is determined to defineher own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
I read the Lunar Chronicles and really enjoyed them, so I was excited to read a new book by Marissa Meyer. I had read a lot of mixed reviews prior to reading this one so I was a little cautious going into reading this, and unfortunately I just didn't like this one as much as I thought I would. I think this is just a case of a pretty cover fooling me, and also having too high expectations.

What I liked about this novel was the descriptive writing style that Meyer employed throughout. Especially in the parts where Cath was making delicious pastries. I also loved the imagery of Wonderland and the different characters that were already familiar to me. I loved The Cheshire Cat, he was perfect! I also liked Hatta, because he was so level-headed that it made knowing that he would become the "mad hatter" really powerful. I think Hatta loses out the most in this story, and he really did not deserve the fate he was handed.

My problem with this novel was that I just didn't like Cath. I thought she was really kind of boring, and I just didn't understand why she thought Jest was so great! The romance in this book was very instalovey and that's not my thing, so I think it turned me off early on. Like, I understand that Cath didn't really like the King, but he didn't seem like that bad of a person, just a little simple. I just didn't care for the romance, and when that is pretty much the basis for the book it's hard to get over that. It also felt like NOTHING happening until half way into this book, and then everything happened all at once. The pacing here really turned me off, and towards the end I was just annoyed with every little thing Cath did.

All of these things were kind of minor, but the main issue I had with it was that I just didn't feel like what happened at the end of novel was enough of the reason for Cath to become The Queen of Hearts as we know her. Yes, she did go through some terrible things, but it was not the end of the world and it just made me really mad. Like, is that REALLY why she is such a mean-spirited person to Alice? I just didn't buy it.

I wasn't in love with this story, and I think that maybe villain origin stories is just not Meyer's niche. I remember really not enjoying the Levana origin story Fairest, and I think Heartless falls into the same traps. The story we are given just doesn't really show us WHY these characters are such jerks. They feel more like excuses. If you liked Fairest, you might enjoy this one, but I didn't really enjoy either book, so it just wasn't for me.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 NEW TBR Graphic Novels

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at 
The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is what are the ten most recent books you've added to your TBR from Genre X. So I decided for this week I am focusing on graphic novels & comics! Mostly because I am still new to the comic book world, and I haven't read any graphic novels in awhile.

I've talked about this comic recently a lot, since I recently watched the tv show. So I definitely want to start reading these ones soon!

I heard about this comic from a podcast I listened to a long time ago, but I still haven't read it. It looks really fun!

I've seen snippets of Andersen's work on the internet, mostly tumblr, but I didn't know she actually had a book out. It definitely seems like a book for me. Being a grown up is the worst!

This is part of the rebirth of the DC comics. I haven't been a real frequent comic book reader, so I feel like I just want to start with the new continuity and go from there. Who doesn't love wonder woman? I haven't seen the new film yet, but it makes me want to read the comics now. 

I don't even know where I heard about this graphic novel, but I had it on my goodreads TBR. This one looks really interesting!

This is another of the DC rebirth comics that I want to start. I love the supergirl series, so I definitely want to read more about Kara. 

I know absolutely nothing about Captain Marvel, so I definitely want to read more about her! 

This comic just looks like a whole lot of fun! Has anyone read it? 

This is by the writer of Saga, so hell yeah I am down to read this. It's definitely a different feel than Saga, but I think it looks really interesting. 

I loved this blog a lot, but I have never gotten around to reading her book. It looks so funny!

What books are on your list this week?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Deanna Listens: Desi Geek Girls

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 a relatively new podcast that I just started listening to -- Desi Geek Girls!

I adore this podcast, and I really appreciate understanding how other people have experienced geek culture from a different perspective. The podcast is hosted by Preeti Chhibber and Swapna Krishna, and they are amazing. 

If you have been following my podcast feature their names may be familiar because Preeti used to co-host Oh, Comics, and in that post I mentioned a particular episode I loved that Swapna was on. I'm so glad I get to listen to both of these gals talk about their love of all things geek. I also love they they talk about their experiences in geek culture being different because they are women of color. It really makes me think about my own privilege and how we may all love the same thing, but it can be a lot harder for others when they can't find representation in a thing they love. Representation for all is really important, and these two have a lot to say about it that I think is really valid and should be listened to.

As I said this is a really new podcast, they only have 6 episodes out currently, but I totally urge everyone to listen to them. Especially if you are a hardcore Star Wars fan like I am. I really enjoyed listening to them talk about their experience at Star Wars Celebration. It was also really enlightening to hear what it meant to have more representation in this universe and what meeting Riz Ahmed meant to both of them. It's a really good listen. Preeti also wrote a really great article about it, that I highly recommend reading. As a white woman, I will never be able to truly understand what women of color go through in geek culture, but I want to understand and support these awesome ladies that have a lot of smart things to say!

I loved listening to Oh, Comics, and I was really sad when they stopped doing the podcast. It's such a dream to hear Preeti's infectious laughter again. I was beaming when I listened to Preeti and Swapna gush over their Star Wars Celebration experience. Also a little jealous, that I couldn't go! 

One thing that they are doing in the podcast that I'm really enjoying is fandom swapping. For instance, Swapna chose three episodes of Star Trek: TNG and made Preeti watch those and then they discussed them on the podcast. Then Preeti will pick something new for Swapna to experience and they'll discuss it in a later episode. I love this concept so much, and I'm looking forward to the new episodes they put out.

If you want to listen to two rad women talking about their love of fandom, I highly recommend this podcast. They try to be very positive in what they talk about, but if there is something problematic in something they love they are not afraid to talk about it. I really love that about these two! Go listen to their podcast now!!

Got a great podcast you love? Give me a recommendation in the comments. No serious, please help, I'm running out of podcasts to listen to!

Happy Reads Everyone!