Sunday, August 25, 2013

Audiobooks: Pros and Cons, a sub-branch of Amazon, is currently offering a free one-month trial and two credits (typically one audiobook = one credit) to all new users of the site. I had nothing to lose, so I decided to try it out. This was my first foray into audiobooks, so I also compiled a pro/con list of my experience:

  • I listen on my iPhone, so I have a book(s) with me everywhere I go without having to carry anything extra!
  • Great while doing mindless tasks that keep my hands busy: washing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning, knitting, etc. (This is a huge plus for me!!)
  • Celebrity readers, such as Tina Fey narrating her book Bossypants, often read the story with their own natural inflection. I get to hear things they way they imagined it sounding when they wrote it. 
  • Good during long commutes, especially on crowded subway trains where I wouldn't have space to hold open a book or eReader.
  • I don't always like the narrator's voice. I much prefer the imagined voice(s) I create in my head while reading. (this is something I got used to with time, as I got more engulfed in the plot of the book)
  • Sometimes it's hard to create a strong mental pictures because my eyes are distracted by what is *actually* in front of me, whereas when I'm reading a book, the only thing I'm looking at are the pages, so it's easy to imagine the scene I'm reading about.
  • Audiobooks can be expensive. 
  • I can probably read faster than the narrator speaks's also much easier to skim parts of a book than it would be to 'skim' through the audio.

Helps with pronunciation
Doesn’t help with spelling
Saves shelf space
No pretty book to display

Overall, I like audiobooks depending on circumstances. I would definitely prefer to hold and read a physical book or my eReader, but audiobooks seem like a nice options when I'm tired or don't have my hands free. 

I encourage anyone who hasn't tried audiobooks before to look into's free one-month trial, it's a great no-strings attached way to try out audiobooks without spending any money .... and for those of you who are already audiobook listeners, why not take advantage of the two free credits? Everyone loves free books, right? 

I'm also curious to know: what do you like/dislike about audiobooks?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (2)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews 
that features new books we've acquired 

This week I got four new books:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rachel Vincent Announces New Project!

One of my most favorite-est authors, Rachel Vincent, has just recently announced her newest adult project, Menagerie, a carnival themed paranormal series and I am SO UBER EXCITED that I cannot contain myself. You should all click that link and read the blurb she came up with, because really, it sounds super awesome and I can't wait! She never fails to come up with a fresh new paranormal world for each project. 

Not gonna lie, I usually cry and go into a mini book hangover/depression whenever I finish the last book in a series or really good standalone because I just don't want it to end *ever*, but then each new project announcement fills me with so much joyful anticipation that I become like this: 

and *almost* forget about that I was like this just a few months ago when I finished her last book:

And so the emotional roller coaster continues. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Authors: Carrie Ryan
Format: Paperback, 336 pages.
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
My Rating: 4 stars 
My Thoughts: Reading this book was a strange experience for me. This was really the first zombie-themed book that has ever caught my eye, and I had seen a lot of positive reviews for it, so I was excited to give it a try. Then as I started reading, I felt so bored and depressed by the dystopian world that the protagonist, Mary, finds herself trapped in... yet, next thing I know, I was staying up all night to finish the book!

After finishing the book, I initially told myself that I didn' really like it and was overall disappointed. Then, in the following days, I keep randomly thinking about the book and the events in it, until I came to realize that I actually quite enjoyed the book after all! In fact, I even wound up choosing this novel for a recent poem-writing challenge hosted by The Happy Booker, which you can read HERE.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish
Want to join in? Check out all the rules/details HERE

Top Ten Things 
that make my life as a reader/blogger easier

  • Paperback Swap
  • Even if I wanted to keep *every* physical book I've read, I would not have the space to accommodate it. PBS makes it easier to get rid of books I've finished, and get new books in return!

  • Shelfari
  • I know most bloggers like Goodreads, but I prefer keeping my TBR/Read piles organized on Shelfari. Visually, I think the layout/format of the site is really nice... I like the feel of seeing an actual bookshelf. Also, it's a sub-branch of Amazon, so I only have to remember one username/password combo for both sites. 

  • The New York Public Library
  • I feel so very lucky to live in a city that has such an extensive library system. I've saved so much money over the years borrowing books, and it's always fun to browse the shelves without pulling on the purse strings.... no guilt in trying a book you were hesitant to read when it doesn't cost a dime!

  • Amazon Prime's free 2 day shipping
  • For those times when I want to splurge and purchase a brand new book, I don't have to feel the pang of guilt that comes with paying for shipping instead of going to the bookstore AND it gets to my house within two business days!!

  • Rafflecopter
  • It seriously makes hosting giveaways so much easier than before! 

  • Twitter
  • A great way to network with other bloggers, advertise new posts on your blog, or hear about giveaways going on in the blogosphere. 

  • Strand Bookstore
  • This store always has shelves (many many shelves!) of sale books outside with prices as low as a dollar a book! I've found some gems there, whether it be a book from my wish list or an unexpected good read. 

  • My Nook eReader
  • There have been many a time when I've finished an *amazing* book and literally cannot wait to get the sequel, so I ordered it online, downloaded it to my Nook, and started reading immediately. 

  • Bookshelves!
  • This may seem like a silly one, but I'm serious! There was a period of my college years when I didn't have a bookshelf because one lovely frenemy of mine broke it and let me tell you, you really don't know what you have until it's gone. I had books everywhere - cluttering my desk, my floor, etc - and it was so hard to find the one I was looking for when I needed it. 

  • Sunday, August 18, 2013

    The Forest of Hands and Teeth Acrostic Poem

    The Happy Booker is currently hosting a giveaway challenging participants to come up with an acrostic poem (acrostic poem: fancy terminology for a poem in which the first letters of each line put together spell a word or words) featuring their favorite vampire or zombie book. 
    For my poem I chose The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, writing the poem from the point of view of the protagonist, Mary. In the novel, Mary keeps a photograph of a girl at the beach during pre-apocalyptic times, dreaming that one day she might also see the beach - I took inspiration from this :)

    Here in this sad small town, until
    Everything changed.

    Find me a way
    Out of this maze.
    Running and running.
    Twists and turns, lead me to the
    Foamy waters and salty air.

    Only a bit farther til

    Abandoning all that I know.
    No turning back.
    Driven by the image of a clear blue sea,

    Another day passes,
    No more paths to follow.
    Do I dare to open the gate?

    Tearing through the forest,
    Everything around me a vivid blur:
    Thrashing and tumbling,
    Hastening towards the sandy shore. 

    A to Z Bookish Survey

    Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner has come up with this fun A-Z survey 
    & I thought I'd give it a shot :)

    Author you’ve read the most books from
    I'm actually pretty loyal to authors I love, so in answering this question I noticed I've read 6+ books by several different authors, but Rachel Vincent came out on top with 14 full length books + 3 novellas read

    Best Sequel
    Eeeee I don't know!

    Currently Reading?
    The Omnivore's Dilemma - young readers edition by Michael Pollan 
    & A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

    Drink of Choice While Reading?
    Snapple iced tea!

    E-Reader or Physical Book?
    Physical books! I like displaying my favorites on my bookshelf when I'm finished, I feel like it showcases my personality :)

    Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School
    *swoon* Adrian from the Vampire Academy series

    Glad You Gave This Book A Chance
    Divergent by Veronica Roth

    Hidden Gem Book
    A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young - It had me crying and feeling ALL the feels. Definitely didn't expect it to be that emotional.

    Important Moment in Your Reading Life
    Discovering PaperbackSwap!! Yet another way to enable my ridiculous reading/book acquiring habits!

    Just Finished
    Kisses From Hell paranormal anthology

    Kind of Books You Won’t Read
    I tend to stray away from historical fiction books because I tend to not enjoy them so much, seeing as history has always been my worst/most hated subject. I much prefer futuristic books!

    Longest Book You’ve Read
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (896 pages)

    Major Book Hangover Because of…
    The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan... this book haunted me for days after I had finished it.

    Number of Book Cases You Own
    Just one :( 
    I wish I had room for more... I still have many books in boxes under my bed.

    One Book You Have Read Multiple Times
    Hmm, I really don't re-read books because I have way too many unread books to consume my time. I've been meaning to re-read the Harry Potter series though!

    Preferred Place to Read
    In my bed :)

    Quote That Inspires You/Gives you All the Feels from a Book You’ve Read
    I'm terrible at keeping track of quotes. I don't highlight them or write them down, so I can't really answer this question. My bad, apologies!

    Reading Regret
    Y'know, just the other day I was thinking about a big reading regret I had... but I can't remember it now.

    Series You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out)
    VAMPIRE ACADEMY! I can't believe I'm so late to the game but now I'm hooked. I totally see what all the hype was about when this series was first starting up. I've got two books left in the series and I can't wait to finish, the next one is sitting on my shelf waiting for me as we speak :)

    Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books
    Graceling by Kristen Cashore, Stray by Rachel Vincent, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

    Unapologetic Fangirl For
    YA paranormal/fantasy books, even though I get sh*t from my friends for not reading "grown up" books. Pfft.

    Very Excited for This Release More Than All Others
    City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare... I always highly anticipate the last book in a series I love because I'm excited to dive back into that world, excited to see how the whole series ends, and also nervously anxious about the fact that a favorite series is coming to an end.

    Worst Bookish Habit
    OVERBUYING BOOKS. I can never resist a good deal, and my reading can never keep up with my buying/borrowing from the library. 

    X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book
    Oath Bound by Rachel Vincent

    Your Last Book Purchase

    Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, & Teeth: Vampire Tales by Various Authors

    Zzz Snatcher Book (last book that kept you up late)
    Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4) by Richelle Mead

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Booking Through Thursday - borrowing books from friends

    Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme 
    in which we answer a question about books or reading.

    This week's question:
    How do you feel about borrowing books from friends? Is this something you like to do? Does it make you feel uncomfortable or rushed while reading? Does it affect how you feel about the book you’re reading, pressured into liking it?
    Well, there are only a few friends I ever borrow books from, and they've never made me feel rushed to give them back..... so much so that after a few months I often wind up returning the book without having read it! My TBR is already pretty huge, so I try not to borrow books from friends unless it's something I'm really anxious to read at that moment, or else I know it'll just sit on my shelf indefinitely. 

    I don't think that my friend's opinion of a book pressures or persuades me into liking it, especially considering that my friends typically scoff at the YA titles they see me reading. I'm used to them not liking a lot of the books that I do, so what's one more differing opinion?

    Monday, August 12, 2013

    Kisses From Hell Anthology

    Title: Kisses From Hell
    Authors: Kristin Cast, Richelle Mead, Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noel & Francesca Lia Block
    Format: Paperback, 272 pages.
    From a fugitive vampire forced to trust a boy who might work for the group bent on destroying her to the legendary romance of two immortals whose love compels them to risk everything, this heart-pounding collection brings new meaning to the words "love you forever." Whether you're into romances that are dark and moody or light and fun, these stories will quench that insatiable thirst for enchanting tales of the beautiful undead.
    Rating: 4 stars 
    My Thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to readers that are fans of these authors, the series these stories tie into, or just vampire stories / anthologies in general.

    "Sunshine" by Richelle Mead: *squeeeeeeee* This was such an adorable love story. It was so heartwarming and entertaining. A story about being forced into a semi-arranged relationship due to social status, but rebelling from expectation and pursuing true love. It fits in with extremely well with the Vampire Academy series (which I am also addicted to), telling readers the story of how Lissa's parents met for the first time.

    "Hunting Kat" by Kelley Armstrong: Loved it. The story and romance was really cute. I liked the premise of the Edison Group and their experiment to create genetically modified vampires, it's something new and intriguing that I've never seen before. Very creative, and the main characters were instantly likeable. I'm not sure how/which series this fits into, but I can't wait to find out! I have some of Armstrong's novels in my TBR pile.

    "Lilith" by Francesca Lia Block: Whoa. This story was much darker and creepier than all the others, to the point that I almost felt like it didn't fit in with the rest of the anthology. It was pretty out there, and at times read a little like erotica/smut, which threw me off a little bit. The ending was really eerie and twilight-zone-esque. It wasn't my favorite story but it was interesting.

    "Bring Me to Life" by Alyson Noel: I didn't think I was going to like this story, because I wasn't really a fan of her Evermore series, which this story is supposed to tie into, but I actually didn't hate it. It was a little cliché, but not a bad story. It reminded me a little bit of Lauren Kate's Fallen, both have aspects of reincarnation and searching for long-lost love, so if you enjoyed that I think you would enjoy this too.

    "Above" by Kristen Cast: I couldn't finish this one due to the avant-garde way it was written. The entire story reads/is formatted like poetry, in a sort of free-form prose (similar to what I've seen in some works by Ellen Hopkins). It just personally wasn't for me; I don't enjoy that style of writing unless I'm reading short poetry.

    Warnings: murder, violence, allusions to sex

    Cover Musings: I think it's pretty and I like it, but it doesn't really represent the vampire theme. To be honest, I thought the stories had a general paranormal theme up until I started reading them and noticed they were *all* about vampires .....then I took a look at the back cover of the book and, of course, the very first line says: "This irresistible collection features stories of love amid vampires by five of today's hottest authors." Oops, my bad. *facepalm*

    Saturday, August 10, 2013

    Review: On the Hunt (Paranormal Romance Anthology)

    Title: On the Hunt
    Authors: Gena Showalter, Shannon K. Butcher, Jessica Anderson, Deidre Knight
    Source: won from contest; ARC 432pages
    A steamy collection of all-new novellas featuring sexy paranormal hunters. With shadowy creatures, intoxicating magic, vividly imagined worlds, and sizzling passion, this is an anthology no fan of paranormal romance will want to miss.

    My Thoughts:
    • Ever Night by Gena Showalter - 5 stars
    Synopsis: "Rose Pascal is swept into a dark, haunting world every year on her birthday - a world ruled by a warrior king who hunts her kind. Neither of them can deny the passion that soon consumes them both..."

    One word: STEAMY! The romance was pretty intense; definitely not an on-your-break-at-work type of read. I loved the concept of Dimension Walkers, and the "dark" world. I would totally read a full novel based on these characters / concepts! Also, Vasili sounds super hot! I would consider getting the book even if just to read this story. 
    • Red Angel by Shannon K. Butcher - 2.5 stars
    Synopsis: "Jamie Angel, leader of the deadly Nightshades, has tracked every kind of monster and demon that roams the darkness, but none of his experiences can prepare him for falling in love with one of the creatures he's trained to destroy."

         Now, this synopsis (from the back cover) is misleading. There is a sort of "forbidden love" in the story, but it's not with a "creature he's trained to destroy"  (perhaps the finished copy has a different blurb though). I wasn't a huge fan of this story for two main reasons:

    The first was because there were many mentions of God and what's "proper" [by religious standards] . I didn't enjoy the ample references to religion; it's just not something I feel comfortable reading about, and I also didn't think that it fit well in the story. 

    The second thing I didn't like was the slang / colloquial language. It seemed to be a contrived mix of a Southern accent and "hip" words. Examples: "Plus, he's hotter than Sunday pancakes!" "bro" "ya'll" "fixin'", etc.  Once again - just not my thing, but you may enjoy those aspects of the story if that's your reading preference.

    General Thoughts: The book also contains short excerpts from Bloodhunt by Shannon K. Butcher and Storm Kissed by Jessica Anderson. I LOVE the cover of this book - it's smokin' hot!! I might have to go out and buy a finished copy just to have that sexy shirtless man on my shelf :p

    Warnings: 18+ (this is an not in the YA genre); sex

    (Note: I only finished 2 out of the 4 stories so far but this post has been sitting as a draft for wayyyy too long. Will update with brief reviews of the other stories when I get around to finishing them)

    Wednesday, August 7, 2013

    Stacking the Shelves!

    Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

    (Normally Shacking the Shelves is a Saturday meme but I'm still adjusting my blogging schedule with my recent return to The Babbling Bookworm!)

    Books Mentioned:
    • From the Library:
    • From PaperBackSwap:
      • What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali
      • Kisses From Hell by Kristin Cast, Richelle Mead, Kelley Armstrong & Alyson Noel ** (As I was typing this post I noticed this is a bargain book on Amazon, only $4.00 and free two day shipping with Amazon Prime.. quite a deal!) **
    • Purchased on Amazon:

    This week I also posed a question for my fellow readers:
    Do you read multiple books simultaneously? 
    Or do you prefer to read/finish one book at a time?

    Let me know in the comments, I'm really curious :) Happy Reading! 

    Monday, August 5, 2013

    As They Slip Away by Beth Revis

    Title: As They Slip Away (Across the Universe #0.5)
    Author: Beth Revis
    Source: Free HERE; 48 pages
    This novella is the story of the girl Amy meets in the rabbits fields in Across the Universe, and who is murdered in A Million Suns. The novella explores the backgrounds of this character, a singer named Selene, and several other background characters of the novels, including Harley, Kayleigh, Bartie, Victria, and Orion…and, of course, Luthe.
    My Rating: 5 stars  ★★★★★
    My Thoughts: woooooooo boy. This is some heavy stuff. Yet, that being said, it is also an extremely well written novella... captivating in a tragically beautiful way. In terms of plot, I think the description Beth Revis provides on her website (quoted above) tells more than enough. If I were to add any more details I think it'd spoil the story for other potential readers.

    Although this is technically considered "book zero" or "book #0.5" in the series, I would definitely recommend reading this after having read one of the full novels. I read it after finishing Book #2: A Million Suns, and I think that timing is perfect since readers have then already been introduced to the protagonist of this novella (as well as other characters highlighted in the short story), so As They Slip Away reads like a retrospective look on the girl's life through her first-person point of view.

    I personally always love novellas that give new insight to background characters, and this was no exception. In my mind, it helps expand the fictional world the author has created for me, showing me how this world isn't only real for the protagonists I encounter in the full novels, but also real for the seemingly insignificant characters too. It's also always interesting to see the same events pan out through different perspectives and viewpoints. I wholeheartedly recommend this to fans of the Across the Universe Trilogy, though it is quite a sad story, so approach with caution.

    Warnings: abuse, murder, rape

    Related Reviews: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

    Sunday, August 4, 2013

    Across the Universe by Beth Revis

    Title: Across the Universe
    Author: Beth Revis
    Source: Purchased; Hardcover 398 pages

    Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends--and planet--behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship. Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.

    Someone tried to murder her.

    Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest's rebellious teenage heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead.

    Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship's cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.
    My Rating: 5 stars (favorite!) ★★★★★ &
    I'm just sitting here all asdgkhjlldfjkj. I can't believe I waited so long to read this! There were just so many aspects of the book that I enjoyed.

    I didn't realize that this was a dystopian novel (I thought it purely Sci-Fi), but I was very pleasantly surprised. The dystopian features are so perfectly woven into the futuristic world aboard the Godspeed. It was very reminiscent of Matched by Allyson Condie, but with a Star Trek twist.

    The author also does a wonderful job of contrasting the characters born into this new era with Amy, a girl from our contemporary time. Amy's accent, physical appearance and way of thinking are so starkly different from those currently living on the Godspeed, which I found to be very interesting. The use of a two person narrative (Elder and Amy) really helped elucidate these differences even more for the reader. I'm not always a fan of books with multiple narrators, but I think it worked really well here.

    Revis also makes a lot of historical references, such as the Civil War, which I loved. Not only did these references help highlight the differences in characters' perception, as I mentioned before, but they also made the book more relatable to me as a reader. My knowledge of these events made me feel like I was a character, like I could be Amy or some other Sol-Earth human in this new world.

    I also enjoyed the many unique characters in the book, all of which were developed fairly well. I found myself getting attached to certain characters, rooting for the success of some and the demise of others. Especially with the murder mystery type plotline, you get sucked in trying to figure out "whodunnit?". 

    This is that type of book that gives you a twinge of sadness when you get to the last page because you don't want the story to be over so soon. I can't wait to read the next book in the series! I would definitely recommend this to lovers of science fiction and/or dystopia.

    Warnings: sex, murder

    Cover Musings: I quite enjoy the cover. Having the stars in the background fits really well with the recurring image of the stars in the story. It's also reversible, which is really cool! The flipside shows a map of the Godspeed ship.

    Next in Series: A Million Suns
    If you like this you might also like: Matched by Ally Condie
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