Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Audiobook review: Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series

Soulless is the first book of the series
I can't remember if I've ever discussed audiobooks before on this blog, at least in their own separate posts. (I may have mentioned previously how much I LOVE the audiobooks for The Illuminae Files, but they didn't get their own review.)

I love audiobooks, but I enjoy them most when I get something extra from the experience that I couldn't get while reading it, you know, traditionally. For me, that "something extra" usually relies really heavily on the narration-- I love different voices and emotion. (Am I weird? I only like to listen to audiobooks for books I've already read. Like watching a movie adaptation.)

And that's a big part of what I loved about Emily Gray's narration of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series. Without getting into too much detail about the plot (at risk of spoilers), Gray had to distinguish between so many characters and their accents and personalities: the ever-practical English Alexia; the overemotional Scottish werewolf alpha, Lord Maccon; the English, soft-spoken beta, Professor Lyall; the English, flamboyantly fabulous vampire, Lord Akeldama; Madame LeFoux, the masculine-presenting French inventor; and so on, and so forth.

The novels (five in all), which I already loved anyway, really came alive for me through Gray's narration, and I think I blitzed through all the audiobooks even more quickly than I read them in book form. And then I had major book hangover when I was finished.

If you're looking for some supernatural steampunk fun, with lots of tea and parasols and one of my favorite book universes ever to exist, I would highly recommend these audiobooks, whether or not you've already read them.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cocky Chef by JD Hawkins

While my blog post itself does not contain any sexual content, this book does. This is a review for a book that is meant for mature audiences, and therefore is unsuitable for minors.

This book was provided to me for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for also providing the press kit with the graphics and blurb.

Thoughts at a glance: **** (I really liked it)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pillowtalk by Cassie Mae

Disclaimers: while my blog post itself does not contain any sexual content, this book does. This is a review for a book that is meant for mature audiences, and therefore is unsuitable for minors.

This book was provided to me for free through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thoughts at a glance: *** (I liked it)

Summary: A year after her boyfriend Jared's death, Kennedy has finally come to his hometown of Lyra Valley to lay his ashes to rest. She doesn't quite feel ready to let go and can't bring herself to spread his ashes right away, so in the meantime, she gets to know some of the people from Jared's former life.

Including Aaron, Jared's former best friend, to whom she feels an instant attraction--followed by instant guilt. Aaron, too, tries hard to deny his feelings for Kennedy, considering how his friendship with Jared had ended so many years ago. But as Lyra Valley's thunderstorms keep throwing them together, they find that they can't stay away from each other and that really, they don't want to.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy anniversary, Harry Potter!

20 years ago today, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or the Sorceror's Stone, if you're American like me) made its entrance into the world, and THE WORLD HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME.

I'm a newer HP fan myself, having read them just a few years ago, but my love for this series is boundless, and even though I was late to the party as usual, it's a party I never want to leave.

*raises a glass of butterbeer*

Monday, June 12, 2017

The women who made me who I am

A recent issue of Real Simple magazine featured an article where writers, artists, and other influences described a fictional female character who really helped shaped them as people. Responses ran the gamut from literary heroines and television characters, and even included some whom I would choose as well. I thought I would chime in with a list of my own here, to pay homage to the girls and women who aren't just my favorites, but who actually made me ME.

Ramona Quimby

Aside from Disney fairy tales, Ramona books are some of the earliest books I remember reading and getting REALLY into. (I read all the books, I listened to audiobooks, and I even borrowed videotapes of the tv show from the library.) I guess I was "in the fandom" before I knew anything about the idea of being in a fandom. The Quimby household felt very different from mine at that age, when I felt "more Vietnamese" than I did as I got older, but so much of what eventually became my worldview was absorbed from these books, from the ways Ramona reacted to the events of her life (right and wrong).

Anne Shirley

I can't really have any sort of listicle without including something Anne of Green Gables-related, and this one is no exception. I'm not nearly as loquacious as Anne, and I manage to stay out of trouble more than she does, but what Anne brought to my life was her impassioned love for the world and her ability to see the beauty and potential for hope in pretty much everything. Call me naive, but even now, as a 30-something living in a pretty bleak world, the part of me that still gets excited about rainbows and sunshine and poetry, and still cries happy tears at the drop of a hat probably comes from Anne. She also taught me not to be afraid to be as smart as "the boys" and find joy in learning new things.

Elizabeth Wakefield

As an adult, I can't say I recommend the Sweet Valley books as quality reading, but I can't deny that they were a huge part of my reading life as an adolescent, and I definitely was an Elizabeth. She was the serious studious one who wrote for the school paper, and even though she was shyer and more conservative, she still was well-liked and well-respected among her peers. Yeah, she was boring, but she could always be counted on to do the right thing, and during those very impressionable years, I tried to follow that path as well.

Elizabeth Bennet

Though I would say that I'm a little more like Mr. Darcy in many respects, the truth is, I absorbed some of Lizzy Bennet in my late adolescence/early adulthood as well. It's not just her personality traits that I internalized (her warmth, her intelligence, her unwillingness to settle for anything less than love), but also her skills as a reader and thinker, the way she parses through information (such as, that which Darcy shares with her in his letter) and willingly admits when she is wrong. I learned a lot from Elizabeth, and I carry those lessons with me to this day.

(Non-literary) Honorable Mention: Daria Morgendorffer

She was too important not to mention, even if she's not a book character :) While I'm definitely more of an optimist than Daria is, I definitely learned from her that it's okay if everything isn't sunshine and roses, and it's okay if I don't fit in perfectly with everyone around me. It's okay to take an irreverent view of things, and it's okay not to just accept society at face value and just go with the flow, and that in a way, the urge to critique the world around me is not a symptom of negativity but of being perhaps a little too hopeful, combined with being a little too sensitive, to live in a world like ours. :/

Who are the women who made you who you are?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Available now: When Life Happened


I'm honored to be asked to be part of this blog tour for a writer I admire so much. Available now is Jewel E. Ann's latest, When Life Happened. You can go here to read my spoiler-free review, and you can read a short excerpt below.

NOTE: The excerpt does contain explicit language/content. Not intended for readers under the age of 18.

Friday, May 26, 2017

When Life Happened by Jewel E. Ann

Disclaimers: while my blog post itself does not contain any sexual content, this book does. This is a review for a book that is meant for mature audiences, and therefore is unsuitable for minors.

This book was provided to me for free by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thoughts at a glance: **** (I really liked it)

Synopsis (provided by publisher)Parker Cruse despises cheaters. It might have something to do with her boyfriend sleeping with her twin sister. 

After a wedding day prank involving a strong laxative, that ends the already severed relationship between the twins, Parker decides to grow up and act twenty-six. 

Step One: Move out of her parents’ house. 

Step Two: Find a job. 

Opportunity strikes when she meets her new neighbor, Gus Westman. He’s an electrician with Iowa farm-boy values and a gift for saying her name like it’s a dirty word. 

He also has a wife. 

Sabrina Westman, head of a successful engineering firm, hires Parker as her personal assistant. Driven to be the best assistant ever, Parker vows to stay focused, walk the dog, go to the dry cleaners, and not kiss Gus—again.

Step Three: Don’t judge. 

Step Four: Remember— when life happens, it does it in a heartbeat.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day! A Molly Weasley Appreciation post...

Source: wingedcorgi on Tumblr
In honor of Mother's Day, here is a tribute to one of my favorite book moms, Molly Weasley. Molly, who raised six boys and one girl on relatively little funds, who still found it in her to take in one more boy (Harry) and at times one more girl (Hermione), who fights (literally fights) for what is right, who took down one of the most notorious Death Eaters to protect her youngest child, who knits sweaters for her family EVERY SINGLE YEAR (as a knitter, I can appreciate this), and who is just all around an amazing mom. *raises a glass*

These were all collected from Tumblr, my source for all things fandom.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Thoughts at a glance: ***** (It was amazing!)

Summary: This is book 3 of the ACOTAR series; therefore, this review contains spoilers of the first two books. You have been warned! You can click to read my reviews of A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury.

At the end of the last book, Feyre, who has been made High Lady of the Night Court, is taken back to the Spring Court by Tamlin, who sold out his own people to the King of Hybern to get her back. In addition, Tamlin's priestess Ianthe had sold out Feyre's sisters to the King as well, and Feyre had been unable to save them from being changed into Fae by the King.

So now she's in enemy territory, forced to pretend that she is no longer connected to her mate, Rhysand, so that she can gather information and bring down the Spring Court. And that's only the first step in a long and brutal battle to protect all of Prythian and the humans who live in the bordering territory.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Library HAUL

So, one thing I haven't had a chance to do yet since moving is to check out the libraries here. (Libraries, plural! I now live in a two-library town!!) This is the first weekend of the spring library sale, so I figured it would be a good time to stop in, get a card, and browse the sale selection.

It's been a while since I've attended any library sale at all, and the last time I went to one, it was nice, but I didn't find much there to interest me, and in general, there just wasn't much - it was a stretch for me to fill up my $5 bag.

However, that was definitely not the case today. (Also, the books were individually priced, not priced by the bag.) I found sooooo much stuff, and I didn't even get everything that I wanted, so I might have to head back again this week. Now, normally I hate posts about hauls; as a makeup enthusiast, I'm no stranger to haul videos, and I never like watching them because I feel weird about seeing other people show off what they bought, especially since I know I can't afford all that myself (nor do I get anything for free).

BUT... my purpose for sharing my book haul with you today is to say, If your local library does "Friends of" sales too, you should check it out if you can! You might find some awesome treasures, and your dollars support your library! (And yes, some of these were only a dollar!) Everyone wins!

Onto the haul!