Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Audiobook Review : Poison Princess by Kresley Cole



  • Release Date : October 2nd 2012
  • Audiobook Length : 12 Hours and 36 Minutes
  • Genre : Paranormal/Mystic, Post-Apocalyptic
  • Publisher : Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Narrators : Emma Galvin and Keith Noobs


I've been hoarding Audible credits for a while, and while searching for a good YA audiobook, I turned at Audible's Best of 2012.  Poison Princess was the only one on the list I wasn't familiar with. I mean sure I'd seen the book with its business as usual brooding male/female in pretty dress Paranormal Romance cover, but I never thought much of it.

Wow, did I underestimate this audiobook. This is not your average girl meet mysterious boy. This novel is packed with tension, action an unforgettable adventure.

The novel tells the story of  Evie Green. A blonde Southern Belle whose well-off family, golden boy boyfriend and popularity hide that the fact that she is recovering from a summer at the psych ward;trying to get rid of  the voices and dark visions.

Throw in  new student Jackson Deveaux, a dangerous and  handsome gray-eyed Cajun boy, and this is looking like your average paranormal romance.... until a Flash comes and life as they knew it is gone, leaving nothing but a world of mystery and secrets all with Evie at the helm.

After the apocalyptic flash the setting becomes  a wasteland of cannibals, redneck militias and flesh eating monsters. Evie and Jackson find themselves caught up in a world of  Tarot cards, mysticism and an ancient prophecy that ties up into a cleverly crafted plot.

 I really enjoyed the relationship dynamic between Jackson and Evie. The character's attractions are based on their beliefs and feelings and not caught up in appearances. Yes, Jackson is hot, but Evie realizes that her attraction to him goes beyond that. She doesn't just swoon after him the entire novel and I appreciated that. 

Cole has a remarkably strong grasp on dystopian and paranormal elements. Her method of storytelling  is refreshing and I shouldn't have been surprised to learn that while this is Cole's debut YA novel she has written over 15 Paranormal  novels for adults. .

With that said Cole does have a bit of a way to go with teen "lingo", more so in the start of the book than in the end. I just wasn't convinced that actual teenagers talk that way. In the same vein I also find Jackson  to be more along the lines of an adult male character than a teen. Sure he  is almost 19 years old, but it felt like Cole was writing him in a slightly more "mature" manner than the other teenage males.

Let's talk about why this is one of Audible's Best  of 2012. I say it's all thanks to Emma Galvin's performance. Emma Galvin gives a stand up performance even when faced with performing a rough and tumble Cajun accent (which actually gets dropped as the story goes on) and a few other regional dialects . Her performance of a character named Matthew is a standout . I don't want to give too much away, but it's such a unique tone and performance method. 

 Cole's Debut YA novel  features clever plotting, creative characters and  builds tension and mystery like no other.   There is so much to talk about when it comes to this audiobook, so I highly suggest you check it out. As for me, I will be checking out Cole's adult books to tide me over till the sequel.

A cool mix between paranormal, fantasy and post-apocalyptic elements, this book will throw you for a loop at ever turn. This is the first audiobook I've finished of 2013 and I think I'm off to a  great start.










Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review + Giveaway : Prodigy by Marie Lu (Legend #2)

Release Date: January 29th 2012
Pages: 384
Genre: Dystopian
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile


Synopsis: June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

Meeting Marie Lu and snagging Prodigy were two of my top priorities at BEA and I was so happy to accomplish both ! It’s seems so long ago, but here I am with a Prodigy review. Sequel reviews can be hard, but I promise a review that is spoiler free for Prodigy and only slightly for Legend.

Prodigy picks up right where Legend left us; The Republic’s prodigy and the legend, June and Day, find themselves teaming with up the Patriots and this rebel group only wants one thing from Republic’s most famous fugitives; to start a revolution.

As a sequel, Prodigy is a good balance to Legend.
Lu keeps strings from the previous book threaded into the pages and expands the world created in the first book. We delve into exactly how the Republic and the Colonies were formed. I actually think adding this explanation works better in the second book because then we don’t know anymore than the characters do.

The relationship between the characters are fleshed out and explored more in this novel. And while there is a healthy amount of Unresolved Sexual Tension, Almost Kiss and Will They or Won’t They, June and Day are still forced to recognize that at the end of the day, she ruined his life and destroyed his family.

In the parts she was in, Tess came into her own as a character and matures past the girl happily at Day’s side. One of my favorite scenes is when Tess confronts Day about his feelings for June and in the process she questions her own worth. She goes off about how June can’t seem to do wrong, how June will always be accepted and beloved no matter what side she belongs to, but Tess isn’t afforded the same value. I thought this was a realistic sentiment and provided a nice perspective.

I’m really interested in how Lu will end the series.Will this be the typical YA dystopian where good triumphs evil or will this be the classic dystopian where the characters learn they can’t change everything ?

Filled with plot twists, cliffhangers and revelations, Prodigy is everything you expect from a dystopian sequel and more.


Side note: Day's POV is printed in blue in this book. It was pretty easy to read the colored text, but it had this really weird affect on my eyes were it would make the black text look burgundy-ish





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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Audiobook Review: Everybody Sees The Ants by A.S. King

Release Date: October 3, 2011
Pages: 279
Audiobook hours: 7 hours 44 minutes
Genre: Contemporary/Magic Realism
Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn't ask to be the target of Nader McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.


Summer for 15-year-old Lucky Linderman is spending 8 hours at the local pool watching his mother swim  and wondering if his father is ever going to come home from his job a “Le Fancy-Schmancy Cafe” to see them. More importantly, he tries to avoid any more humiliation from his lifelong tormentor Nader McMcmillan. But when Nader’s bullying goes to far, Lucky and  his mother travel to Tempe, Arizona and Lucky learns a new perspective on the world he lives in.

The audiobook of this novel is phenomenal. The narrator, Kirby Heyborne does an amazing job with the voice of Lucky. His narration mixes perfectly with King’s honest and heartfelt narrative. I was so absorbed into this audiobook that I ended up listening to it in one day.

This novel plays heavily in magic realism, a subset of contemporary fiction where unrealistic elements exist in an otherwise mundane  environment. Lucky has dreams where he visits his grandfather who went Missing in Action (MIA) in Vietnam before he was born. In the dreams, Lucky goes on operations trying bring his grandfather back home for his dead grandmother. Except these are more than just dreams, when Lucky wake he has  something from the dream with him.

I found the conversations about the Vietnam war and the Vietnam POWs/MIAs to be so compelling. I’m not familiar with the POW MIA organization and had no idea  there were so many soldiers from the Vietnam War that are unaccounted for and how hard people have worked to get them all accounted for. There is an interesting chart in the back that allows you to take your birthday and see what number you would have been in the Vietnam draft. (I would have been 3 ):)

King throws in a feminist themes  as well with 17-year-old Ginny Clemens, a Tempe model who is secretly in a production of The Vagina Monologues and sees the version of herself on billboard as having no  soul. Ginny was an interesting character and was a nice subversion to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope.

Everybody Sees The Ants is a brilliantly written, unforgettable story and perfect for anyone looking to read a more literary young adult fiction. I'm so excited to read King's latest book, Ask The Passengers.










Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Audiobook Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Release Date: August 1st 2010
Pages: 264
Audiobook Hours: 6 hours 9 minutes
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Pan Macmillian Australia


It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about.
His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere.
Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.
But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes

It's the end of Year 12 and Lucy Dervish’s friends want to make the most of the night. With boys.  But all Lucy wants to do is get away from her former classmate,  Ed and find  Shadow, the anonymous street artist she just has a feeling she’ll have a connection with. So when Ed’s friends tell her Ed can help her find Shadow, they spend the night together wandering through the streets and through Shadow’s work.


But, what Lucy doesn't know is Ed and Shadow are the same person.

I really enjoyed this audiobook, I went into it knowing nothing about the story and was really thrown into the world Crowley created. The novel is broken up with 3 narrators,Lucy, Ed aka Shadow and Ed's friend Leo aka Poet. Because the characters are all artists their  narration  is colored in visuals and pictures. Despite the characters spending much of the night together, it is interesting how they each interpret the night differently.

This was a full cast audiobook, and the voices fit extremely well with the characters. The voice actors didn't try too hard to create different  voices and I thought that really worked.

Crowley does a beautiful job with the pacing and style of this novel. All of the plot takes places over about 10 hours of the characters just walking around town, so there is a lot of retrospective storytelling.  I'm not usually a fan of books with multiple voices, especially when they are in the same room, but Crowley masters it.  I was afraid the whole 'we know who Shadow is, but Lucy doesn't'  shtick would get tired, but it adds an extra layer of tension to all  of their conversations

This novel does what I think YA does best, it looks at characters who are trying to figure out what their future is supposed to be. They are battling the insecurities that go with being an capital A adult and figuring out what being an adult really means. 

This is a wonderful novel and a really great audiobook. Perfect for anyone interested in art history or street art. This is also an Australian novel, so it adds some diversity for us American readers ! 



Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jess Joins Bout of Books 6.0


This is my third time participating in Bout of Books. My favorite read-a-thon ! It's a great way to start the year off reading It runs from January 7th - January 13th. You can still sign up to at Bout Of Books.


Between the Lines
Tidal
Significance









- Significance by Shelley Crane*
- Tidal by Emily Snow
- Between The Lines by Tammara Webber*
- Crewel by Gennifer Albin
- River Road by Suzanne Johnson
- The Immortal by Julie Kagwa

* = Finish

Like Kat I'm preparing for our Indie Book Month !

Via Bout of Books :


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. -From the Bout of Books 6.0 team

Goals :

* Get more active in blogging and reading

* Complete 50% of my books

* Finish at least 3 indie e-books.


I'll be updating on Goodreads and Twitter !


UPDATES:
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Bout of Books 6.0 : Kat's Goals



The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books 6.0 team

Yay, it's Bout of Books !  This is my 4th Bout of Books and I can't wait to get started. We plan on doing all Indie in February, so I've put indies as my top priority. I'll be doing updates here and on Twitter.

Finish A Place in This Life by Julie Duck
Finish Heavenly by Jennifer Lauren

Finish Prodigy by Marie Lu
Finish Living Violet by Jaime Reed

Read The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
Read Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London




UPDATES


Monday
Number of books I've read today: 120
Total number of books I've read: 1 
Books: Prodigy

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

DIY : Invisible Bookshelves



Ever since we did this post on bookish gifts I've been obsessed with the idea of Floating Bookshelves. The  Umbra Floating Bookshelves are quite pricey,  so when I saw this DIY invisible bookshelf on Pinterst I had to give it a try and it worked like a charm ! Making 3 bookshelves cost ~15$  including the cost of nails and hammer/screw driver


  • L-Shaped Brackets (Home Depot, shelving aisle)
  • Screws/Nails
  • Hammer/Screw Driver


Since there are  brick walls in my apartment I had to use screws with a masonry bit. I'm sure you can use a nail and hammer depending on the surface. This is how May December Home set hers up.


maydecemberhome

And here is my finished product:









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