Sunday, June 25, 2017

Book Review/Audiobook Review The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco




12 Hours 9 Minutes | Sourcebooks | 3/7/17

Book Review

The Bone Witch is the genre defining YA you need if you've ever wanted a high fantasy to be more than just you know...a vaguely pastoral medieval England. Chupeco's Eastern inspired fantasy will take you to a vast and sometimes complicated world where women are trained to become ashsa, a class of women with magical powers. Then novel follows Tea, a young novice with the ability to raise the dead and her journey that  begins at the end of the world. A series with the promise of a darker world to come. Lots of great image inspiration's on Chupeco's Pinterst

Audiobook Review

Emily Woo Zeller's stellar collection of voices entices listeners into Chupeco's rich and diverse fantasy realm. Here, girls gifted with magic are spirited away and trained to become highly skilled practitioners of a magic known as asha. Will Damron gives an inquisitive and pithy performance as a bard who finds himself face-to-face with Tea Pahlavi, an exiled asha with the rare ability to raise the dead. The bard and listeners are in for a treat as Zeller enthusiastically spins Tea's tale of how she went from a young novice to a banished pariah. Zeller's effortless diction brings this Eastern-inspired fantasy, filled with chilling imagery, to life. J.E.C. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine [Published: MAY 2017]

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Review/Audiobook Review Geekerella by Ashley Poston



Book Review

Get your flip fops, grab your shades I have found the upbeat, modern and heartwarming summer YA romance you will want to bring along to the beach.  

Geekerella is a Cinderella story with a generous twist of  fandom and pop culture. Danielle "Elle" is a down on her luck diehard fangirl of Starfield a cult hit show from the 90's. A fandom she inherited from her  deceased father, ahem, a BNF if you will. Now she's just trying to make it through high school living with her stepmother and evil stepsisters. 

Enter our prince charming,  Darien Freeman, the teen heartthrob who is playing the lead in the Starfield Movie, he's a  a young buff brown actor taking on an iconic role while co-staring with a sweet down to earth female actress who is also an indie film darling, and they are putting on a fake relationship for fans. Stop me if you've heard this.


The characters meet cute through a wrong number and start texting and building a relationship while surrounded by a crew of gusty side characters. All roads are leading to a cosmic meeting at a once and a lifetime Cosplay Ball.

Audiobook Review

Narrator Eileen Stevens's subtle Southern accent and energizing performance are an out-of-this-world pairing for this reimagined Cinderella. Sounding intrepid and animated, Stevens never loses sight of Elle, whose love of the cult sci-fi show "Starfield" is her escape from her evil stepmother. When she begins texting a fellow fan, Elle thinks she may have found her Prince Charming. Little does she know that on the other side of the texts is Darien Freeman, the teen heartthrob who is starring in the "Starfield" reboot. Narrator Tristan Morris's wonderfully theatrical voice never quite captures the young actor, who is caught in a bout of ennui. Teens familiar with the intricacies of fandom will find the inside jokes a delightful addition to this contemporary fairy tale. J.E.C. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine [Published: MAY 2017]



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Audiobook Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

  • Release Date: September 9th 2014
  • Audiobook Hours: 10 hours and 41 minutes
  • Genre: Literary....Science Fiction ?
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
I feel like three years ago you couldn't trip anywhere in the book-sphere without falling into this book. Station Eleven is the fascinating and deeply haunting story of what happens after a flu epidemic kills 99% of the Earth's population and infrastructure collapses.

Everything I knew about this book happens in the first 20 pages; An actor in a production of King Lear dies on stage in front of child actor Kirsten Raymonde. Jump cut to 20 years later where Kirsten is part of a traveling symphony, a theater troupe that performs Shakespeare in the small towns dotting the the desolate and often dangerous North American landscape.

I am seriously in awe of the narrative structure of this book. The novel moves back and forth through time, telling stories of people who were in the theater that night with Kirsten. Mandel effortlessly weaves her characters fates through and around each other. There is also kind of a twist, I’m not sure how soon you’re supposed to see it, but it took me by surprise.

I’ve read my fair share of dystopian but something about this world was just so much And I Must Scream. I think it’s because there are so many unknowns about how this plague happened and so many of the adults are still grieving for what they once had

Audiobook narrator Kristen Potter provides a smooth and careful narration. Her male voices and accents were spot on, I see she does some romance so I’ll have to check those out !

Station Eleven is a riveting story about civilization and what it means to survive when you’re forced to walk out of one world and into another.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Book Review/ Audiobook Review : A Psalm For Lost Girls by Kate Bayerl


Book Review

If someone were to ask me what it means to have a book with a strong sense of setting I would 100% point to A Psalm For Lost Girls.  New Haven, MA is a small immigrant city where everyone knows everyone and some secrets just can’t be kept.

Callie da Costa wants to believe her sister Tessa, whose untimely death she is still grieving , wasn’t the miracle making saint the town and church think she might have been. That maybe the fortuitous voices her sister heard where.  . . just in her head?

But when a missing girl miraculously appears on a shrine to Tessa, Callie has to rethink what she truly believes. This is a great read for those who, like me, don’t think contemporary is for them. While the story has hints of magical realism the events in the novel are grounded in grief and loss.

Bayerl is a creative writing educator and I think it shows.  Her writing is very precise, the story deals in particular themes and it all felt very by the book. I’m curious to see what else this author has up her sleeve. A great read-a-like for Vivian Apple At The End Of The World.



Audiobook Review

Narrators Saskia Maarleveld, Julia Whelan, and Kyla Garcia bring to life a teenager's journey to discover if her dead sister is truly the miracle-making modern-day saint everyone believes her to be. Maarleveld handles the bulk of the performance; her cool, casual voice is a perfect fit for the grieving Callie da Costa as she tangles with the death of her saintly sister, Tess. Garcia gives a bright and hopeful performance of Tess through the diary she left behind. Whelan ties it all together as she narrates the story of a missing child whose reappearance could be Tess's posthumously sanctified miracle. The trio provides a performance that will awaken, or reawaken, listeners to the possibility of miracles. J.E.C. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine [Published: APRIL 2017]

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Release Date: February  1986

Pages: 309 
  • Genre: Dystopian 
  • Publisher: Anchor Books

Back in 2014 I read Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and it ruined my vacation because nothing is better on the lido deck then reading about child sex trafficking and chicken noobies ! I just figured I didn't get Atwood. I left that book feeling bleh.

But I’ve had a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale for years and since it’s one in a list of zeitgeist-y books  getting the TV/movie treatment (I’m looking at you The Dark Tower and American Gods)  I decided to give it a try, Also this is the only one that isn’t like . . .a thousand pages.

While I didn’t care for Oryx and Crake I could immediately see why  The Handmaid's Tale resonates with so many people, especially now. There is a lot to unpack about feminism, women’s rights and sexuality in the Dystopian (Utopian ?) Republic of Gilead where fertile women are trained to become vessels of birth or, Handmaidens to wealthy older couples.

 I don’t read a lot of literary fiction and I’m not sure what I can say critically about a book that has stood the test of time. I can say that I kind of wish I’d first read this in high school, I mean I get why schools might be apprehensive, yes it is a book that is about sex, but not in a titillating way. ..I mean no more than a teenage boy ordering prostitute.. . just saying.

The ending has a Tomato Surprise I wasn’t expecting and I thought was a smart way to reflect on the story. There are a ton of podcast talking about this book now but I kind of want to stew in my own interpretation for a while. I may check out the Hulu series because I’m curious how the creators will visualize some of the literary aspects of the novel.


Like this did leave me with some questions about Atwood, like does having characters meet someone they see earlier in life on TV/Video a thing with her?




Saturday, May 13, 2017

Girl Code By Andrea Gonazles and Sophie Houser




4 Hours 32 Minutes | Harper Audio | 3/7/17


Book Review

I think in a world where every other teen non-fiction book is by a YouTuber or reality show star, there is something refreshing about a book by two everyday teenage girls; whose project with Girls Who Code became a viral sensation.

There is something accessible about the success in this book that I think will appeal to teens. Sophie and Andy each  bring their unique experiences to the table . Andy is a second generation filipina whose drive and discipline constantly push her forward, and Sophie's quirkiness, self awareness and need to speak out (and possibly her mom running a start-up media company) keeps her looking for the next challenge in life.

At times the book stretched to form a narrative, but delves into the sacrifices and anxieties the girls face as they explore the world of programming.



Audiobook Review


The authors give listeners an inside look at how two teenaged girls are breaking the tech world's glass ceiling while challenging the taboo of discussing menstruation. In 2014, Andrea "Andy" Gonzales and Sophie Houser's summer project at Girls Who Code became the viral computer game Tampon Run. The girl coders lend their voices to the narration, taking on separate chapters as well giving listeners an introductory lesson on how to find tools and resources to start coding. An accompanying PDF supports this part of the audio presentation. Since the success of their game, the pair have been invited to Silicon Valley and offered numerous media appearances and interviews, experiences that are reflected in their thoughtful, straightforward performance. They expertly reflect the highs and lows of their incredible journey. J.C. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maineas published in AudioFile





Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima





Lol, remember this feature ? This will be like my third post in six years. #bloggoals

I'm constantly telling myself I want to read more graphic novels and I picked this series up after hearing Gwen Glazer talk about it on The Librarian Is In podcast. When it comes to anime /manga I usually go for the magical ones. so a contemporary story was a new experience for me.

This seven book manga starts with sixth grader Shoya Ishid leading a campaign to severely bully Shoko Nishimaya, because she is deaf. Shoko is bullied so badly she leaves the school and Shoyo becomes a social pariah for his cruelty. The  series takes place five years later when Shoko and Shoya meet again and begin a journey to reconcile the past while Shoya looks for redemption.

This manga is really popular, it tells a heartwarming story of second chances, where even a bully can be reformed.  I really wanted more agency from Shoko. We never really get her perspective on the events and her character is almost exclusively defined by her deafness.

I think my favorite character was Yuzuru Nishimiya, Shoko’s little sister who actually takes Shoko's bullying and hardships harder than Shoko does. Yuzuru's very protective of her older sister and even poses as a boy to seem more intimidating.

Also, fair warning there is a lot of fat shaming in this book. I'm not sure if this is a cultural difference but I notice there is a lot of fat shaming in contemporary mange/anime.

A feature length anime film based on this series just came out, so I'm super curious to see which elements of the series they keep in and which ones they take out.









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