Current/Most Recent Audiobook:
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay, read by Candace Thaxton and Kirby Heyborne
I’ve already read (and loved) the book but wanted to experience it in audio. There is dual narration to go with the his-and-her storytelling. The narrators are doing a fine job and I’m immersed in the story. Since I’ve already read the book I had my own expectation of how the readers should sound, and the narrators don’t exactly line up, but they are helping me to process the story in a new way. I’m about halfway into the book now.
Current/Most Recent Favorite Audiobook:
Looking over this year’s audiobooks, If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, read by Tai Sammons, stands out as a favorite.
Favorite Narrator You’ve Discovered Recently:
I liked Lauren Fortgang’s narration on Out of The Easy, and I’m thinking of picking up the Shadow and Bone series that she also reads. I also like Madeleine Maby/Grace Grant’s narration in the Romance category.
One title from your TBL (To be Listened) stack, or your audio wish list:
I’m looking forward to listening to Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead read by Emily Shaffer. Mead is one of my favorite authors, and I’m interested in checking out her new series.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that’s all about lists, and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Auto-Buy authors – those authors whose work you love so much you’d buy any of their books, just on name alone. When I read the topic I immediately thought of a handful of authors that I read no questions asked, and it’s a fun topic to consider.
These authors are Auto-Buy all the way for me:
1. Richelle Mead – Books: Vampire Academy, Bloodlines, and Georgina Kincaid series - I love them all. Can’t wait to spend a little time with my kindle and catch up on Gameboard of the Gods. I’ll happily read anything Mead decides to write- wonder if she’ll ever try out Contemporary! Love her characters, and all the angst, action, and romance.
2. Jennifer Echols – Books: My favorites are Such a Rush and Going Too Far, and this year looks to be huge for Echols. I preordered her first romantic comedy for adults Starcrossed, (See? Auto-buy) and it’s out today! Next is the New Adult Levitating Las Vegas, followed by the YA drama Dirty Little Secrets. And yes, I’ll read them all. She writes some of my favorite contemporary romances, with very unique settings.
3. Gayle Forman – Books: If I Stay, Where She Went, Just One Day – these are my kinds of books. If I Stay actually is one of the books that got my into YA in the first place and will always hold a special place in my heart. Just One Day is a gorgeous read, and the wait for Just One Year is a killer. I like that Forman touches on mature topics that appeal to a New Adult audience. I hope she always writes Contemporary YA/NA but would love to see her write an Adult novel as well.
4. Lauren Oliver – Books: Before I Fall, Delirium trilogy, Liesl & Po, The Spindlers. Oliver won me over with Before I Fall and Delirium & I love that she’s unafraid to try her hand at writing every category, such as Middle Grade, and she’s even writing her first Adult novel, Rooms, due out in 2014. Lauren Oliver as an auto-buy favorite is a no-brainer.
5. Colleen Hoover – Books: Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless. Last year at this time I’d never heard of this author, but now after reading these three books she’s on the auto-buy list for sure. One of my favorite New Adult authors I’ve read and I’m happy for all her success. Love the emotional connection I feel to her stories and characters. Looking forward to This Girl (Slammed in Will’s POV) in April, and Hopeless #2 (Holder’s POV) in July.
6. Jennifer L. Armentrout – Books: The Lux Series is one of my favorites, and I like that Armentrout also writes New Adult under J. Lynn, like the forthcoming Wait for You and Frigid. Paranormal is not my preferred genre but I will read her paranormal series for the characters, action, drama and romance, and eagerly await her new contemporary books.
7. David Levithan – Books: Every Day, The Lover’s Dictionary, and his co-written books Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, and Will Grayson. And there’s so many books I still need to check out from Levithan! I admire that he’s always trying something new; he writes strong gay characters, and his books have crossover appeal. Looking forward to this spring’s Invisibility (with Andrea Cremer) and this fall’s Two Boys Kissing.
8. John Green – Books: The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, the co-written Will Grayson, and the ones I still have yet to read. Watching the Vlogbrothers also got me interested in Green’s work. I have all of Green’s books to-date on my shelf and just wish he’d put out books a little more often. His writing is smart and I love that he doesn’t talk down to his readers. Can’t wait to hear about his next book!
9. Stephanie Perkins – Books: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and this fall’s Isla and the Happily Ever After (finally!) I’ve only read her two published books so far, but can’t imagine not trying out anything she chooses to write. Her characters, swoon-filled romance, witty dialogue and city settings all appeal to me. And wasn’t there talk about Perkins writing a horror novel?
10. Auto-Buy Audiobook Narrator – Emma Galvin – About a third of my reading is done via audiobook, and I have some favorite narrators that I’ll follow to any genre. My favorite YA narrator no question is Emma Galvin, and I’ve followed her from YA to Romance, Mystery, and Middle Grade all on the strength of her narration. Some of my top picks are Divergent, Hold Still, and Probability of Miracles, and I’m eager to check out Winter’s Bone sometime soon. I couldn’t bring myself to pick up the Snooki book though, lol.
Those are my Auto-Buy picks, who are your Auto-Buy authors? Do we have any in common?
Book: The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead, Penguin Audio, February 12, 2013
Book Info: YA paranormal, Audiobook received for review. Running time: 11 hrs, 53 mins. Read by: Emily Shaffer. Also available in hardcover, 432 pages from Razorbill.
The Indigo Spell audiobook left me feeling all happy and excited. I’ve read a lot of Richelle Mead’s books and it can be a nerve-wracking experience seeing what she puts her characters through. So I braced myself going into this one for a bumpy ride. And don’t get me wrong; there is change in the air in this third installment, with hints at trouble ahead. But there are also light-hearted moments; daring acts of bravery, and a surprising level of hotness in this one that made it really fun. And the ending left me with a smile that makes it hard to move on to another book.
In the third installment of the Bloodlines series, Sydney’s life is at a crossroads. She’s always gone down the straight and narrow path, but now she’s become more questioning of her role as an alchemist. Marcus Finch, the alchemist runaway, gives her another point of view to consider, but is he someone she can trust? Magic also plays an important role for Sydney in matters of life and death. And in the romance department there’s that taboo attraction between her and Adrian to address.
Sydney has become a very endearing character to me. She’s such a different heroine than VA’s Rose, but kick-ass in her own right. I like this new side of her that we meet in The Indigo Spell and seeing her growth as a character overall. Adrian is also rising to the challenge and fast becoming the leading man we always knew he was. Red-hot chemistry between them I tell you!
Richelle Mead sure knows how to weave a story. With such a big cast of characters there is always some drama going on but none of it felt like filler to me. The different plot twists for the Palm Springs crew provide additional insight as well as some comic relief. Mead sets the stage for future story lines and gave me plenty to fret about until the next installment. I just want this Indigo Spell high to last a little while and not think about any consequences yet though.
Other things that are awesome about this book include: cameos from friends old and new, good advice from unlikely sources, arts and crafts with Adrian, magical surprises, nicknames, and dessert.
This is the first time I’ve listened to an audiobook of any of Mead’s books. I have the hardcover on pre-order and am still planning to read that format, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to listen in a little early. Emily Shaffer reads this audiobook and all of the Bloodlines books so far, as well as the last 3 VA books. One thing that’s difficult about listening to an audiobook of a series you know very well in print is that the character voices don’t always line-up with the way you expect them to sound. So at first I was caught off-guard with Sydney’s voice because I had a very different idea of her speaking voice. And is it mentioned in the books that Adrian has a British accent? His accent took me by surprise anyway, and was one of the most distracting parts of the narration for me.
Shaffer reads with intensity and gives it her all with distinct voices for each character. Some of the narration choices took me out of the story at times. But, by about a quarter into the book I got more involved with the plot and the narration didn’t bother me as much. Not sure if Shaffer is the best fit for this series, though since I love the story so much I’m not opposed to giving her another shot with the next book.
Speaking of the next book – how lucky are we that we get TWO Bloodlines books in one year? The next book The Fiery Heart is due out in the fall, and it’s dual POV with Sydney and Adrian. I think this series is really hitting its stride and I can’t wait to see where Mead takes it next. I’m so looking forward to discussing The Indigo Spell more with you, so pick it up on Tuesday and read fast!
Mailbox Monday is a weekly event where we share our latest book arrivals. Join in to share your book loot and discover some new book blogs. Unabridged Chick is the host for February, so be sure to say hi and link up!
Not gonna lie – there was some squeeing this week about some of these new arrivals:
e-Books for Review:
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland – from Disney Hyperion via NetGalley – This is my kind of book – it looks like an emotional contemporary romance, and the setting catches my eye too.
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead from Dutton Adult via Edelweiss- So psyched to read this one! Yay, a new adult series from Mead!
Audiobooks for Review:
The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead, read by Emily Shaffer, from Penguin Audio – First time listening to any of Mead’s books via audio- it’s a very different experience! Receiving this one made my day.
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff, read by Katie Honaker, from Penguin Audio – This Middle Grade novel looks so cute. It’s about an orphan girl who lives in a world where everyone has a special talent, and hers is cake baking.
What the Spell? by Brittany Geragotelis, read by Joy Osmanski, from Simon Audio – You may guess from the title and cover that this is about a teen witch, and you would be right! Brooklyn wants to help her friends find love with her cool new powers, but she still has to be careful to keep her magic a secret.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, audiobook read by Susan Lyons – This book has been getting rave reviews and totally looks worth an Audible credit.
Collide by Gail McHugh – An NA romance that’s getting a lot of buzz. I just started reading it even though I already have a few books going.
Altered by Jennifer Rush – Looks fun, and it has sci-fi, action, and apparently shirtless boys.
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans – I’ve been curious about this book since I first heard about it over a year ago. Glad I can finally see what it’s all about.
The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst, audiobook read by Coleen Marlo – This contemporary romance series looks like a good valentine’s read, and the audio is only 6 hours long.
Happy reading! What books are you excited to read this week?
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature from The Broke and the Bookish. This week we have the daunting task of counting down the most anticipated books of 2013. And I only cheated a little! (I am leaving off so many books and it kills me…)
1. Just One Day by Gayle Forman – Forman is one of my favorite contemporary authors and all the early reviews make this book sound incredible.
2. Golden by Jessi Kirby – This one has romance and mystery, and I’m a fan of Kirby’s book In Honor and looking forward to reading more from her.
3. New Books by Jennifer Echols – Echols has 4 books due out in 2013 and you can bet I want to read them all. Here are a couple I’m particularly interested in: Star Crossed (Adult Romantic Comedy) and Dirty Little Secret (YA Romantic Drama)
4. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith – This one sounds so sweet, and I hope it’s as good as The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.
5. Requiem by Lauren Oliver - I have a nervous excitement about this one, as with most series conclusions.
6. The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler – This does sound intriguing, and there are sisters, a forbidden crush, and motorcycles.
7. The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr – I loved How to Save a Life and the music theme of this book caught my attention.
8. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – For the second year in a row I’m anticipating this one, and I’m sure it will be worth the wait.
9. Boundless by Cynthia Hand – What’s going to happen in the series conclusion?!
What are your 2013 must-reads?
Book Info: YA paranormal, Purchased HC from Amazon, 418 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
With the second book in the Bloodlines series, Richelle Mead hits her stride and delivers an addictive read. Though I liked Bloodlines a lot, I thought it lacked a little of Vampire Academy’s charm. But just like the VA series improved as it went along, so does this series. Maybe it’s because this installment seems more fun and well rounded, or Sydney has grown on me more, but all the elements worked this time around.
In The Golden Lily, Sydney is working undercover again to protect Moroi Princess Jill Dragomir at a boarding school in Palm Springs. (Of all the places for a group of vampires to live!) Jill is in danger from those who want to see her sister Queen Lissa de-throned. Alchemist Sydney continues to work with the vampires to provide support on their mission. Adrian, Eddie, Dimitri and Sonya are back too and have their own intriguing side stories.
I found Sydney more endearing this time around, more human I guess. All of her quirks are growing on me. She’s uptight and uncomfortable in social situations, but she does have heart and she’s evolving in her way. I like that she’s starting to question her loyalties a little bit. Overall she’s easier to warm up to in this book. She gets set up on a date with a guy who is perfect for her in every way, studious and serious, likes to wear neutrals, etc. He’s so bland that no one can remember his name, and come to think of it neither can I! (Okay, it’s Brayden) Sydney also has some great bonding scenes with Adrian and her feelings for him are complicated due to her loyalties with the alchemists, but I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop.
There are a few different stories swirling around for Sydney and the vampires. Sydney is still working on learning magic, and there is still the mystery of what makes her special among the alchemists. There are also some humorous scenes where she and Adrian take a self-defense class. I don’t know why that scene made me laugh, but I just love Mead’s sense of humor and how she set up that scene.
The interactions at the boarding school are the only weak links for me. Jill hasn’t made a great impression on me yet. Though she does serve an interesting purpose with her spirit bond to Adrian. Eddie, her guardian, is great, and new character Angeline has potential. There could be some interesting things in store for the next book and I’m keeping an open mind there.
Adrian is still a standout character, and one of the reasons this series works so well. His one-liners are hilarious and he’s so charming but on the other hand he shows a sensitive and protective side as well. You can’t help but hope that things work out for him this time.
I love revisiting the Vampire Academy world through this spinoff, and am pleased with the direction the Bloodlines series is heading. The romance is heating up, and so is the drama. I recommend this series to fans of VA or fans of Mead’s or paranormal books in general. I eagerly await the next book The Indigo Spell, due out in February 2013.
Cover Discoveries is a new feature that I will post on an irregular basis. The idea is to highlight recent book cover reveals that have popped up. These books are all new to me anyway, and look pretty interesting. Did I miss any recent covers that caught your eye? Which cover is your favorite below?
All book information contained below is from Goodreads.
Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction, Edited by Carrie Ryan, featuring stories by Heather Brewer, Saundra Mitchell, Diana Peterfreund, Laini Taylor, Margaret Stohl, Meg Cabot, Matt de la Pena, Simone Elkeles, Kami Garcia, Michael Grant, Malinda Lo, Lisa McMann, Richelle Mead. September 25th 2012 by Random House Children’s Books
Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? To challenge predictions? To question fate?
It’s human nature to wonder about life’s twists and turns. But is the future already written—or do you have the power to alter it?
From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life’s unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted by 14 of young adult fiction’s brightest stars.
Velveteen by Daniel Marks, October 9th 2012 by Random House Children’s Books.
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It’ll be brutal . . . and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
Venom by Fiona Paul, October 3rd 2012 by Philomel
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, access to the best balls, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.
But when Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin. . .and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?
Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
The Glimpse by Claire Merle, June 7th 2012 by Faber & Faber
Once you’ve seen into the future, can you change your destiny?
In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.
Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.
Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not interfere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.
Love isn’t the only emotion to survive death . . .
When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider.
As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet—an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both.
Full of danger, romance, and intrigue, Transcendence breathes new life into a perpetually fascinating question: What would you do with another life to live?
Serpent’s Kiss (The Beauchamp Family #2) by Melissa de la Cruz, June 12th 2012 by Hyperion
Joanna and her daughters, bookish Ingrid and wild-child Freya, are just settling into the newfound peace that has been cast over their small, off-the map town of North Hampton. With the centuries-old restriction against practicing magic lifted, casting spells, mixing potions, and curing troubled souls has never felt so good for the three witches. That is, until everything gets turned upside down—from Joanna’s organized kitchen to Ingrid’s previously nonexistent love life to Freya’s once unshakeable faith in her sexy soul mate, Killian Gardiner.
When Freya’s twin brother, Freddie, suddenly returns, escaped from Limbo and professing innocence on a long-ago crime, Freya should be ecstatic. The golden boy can do no wrong. Or can he? Freddie blames no other than her fiancé Killian for his downfall, and enlists Freya’s help to prove it. Now Freya doesn’t know who to believe or trust.
And for the first time in—well, forever, really—Ingrid is also busy in love. Matt Noble, the handsome and charming police detective, has won her heart. But can romance work between a virgin witch and a mortal who doesn’t believe in magic? Things get even more complicated when it appears Ingrid is harboring the prime suspects in Matt’s police investigation.
To add to the chaos, a dead spirit is attempting to make contact with Joanna—but does it mean to bring harm or help? Joanna asks her sort-of ex-husband Norman to help figure it out, only to accidentally invite him to a Thanksgiving dinner with a dapper gentleman she’s recently begun dating.
As the witches pull together to discover the serpent within their midst and the culprit behind Freddie’s imprisonment, everything is thrown into peril. Will the discovery come too late to save those they love most?
Black City by Elizabeth Richards, November 13th 2012 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR
A dark and tender postapocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash’s long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3) by Melina Marchetta, October 2012 by Viking Australia
The third book in the world of Lumatere. Set three weeks after the ending of Froi of the Exiles.