What I’ve Been Listening To

Hey there folks! Recently, and not so recently, I’ve posted about audio books (Audio Book Talk Part 1 & Part 2). I blabbered a bit about the conundrum of reading versus listening. It’s a big issue for me! Lol. I think I’ve made that clear. What I haven’t made clear to you is just what…hm….um… not what I’ve read… okay… what my ear’s have attended to! This post is for the stories I’ve listened to.

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In Part 1 I told you how Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan was the first audio book I’ve listened to in a long time. And I really enjoyed it. Next I told you I listened to Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, yet another good book. After that came The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon; not bad but I didn’t love it for a couple reasons. Or maybe The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater came before that? Before or after, that one I really liked, best of them all. Since then? Let me tell you…

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Or read…

After The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, I listened to The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton.

This is the second time I’ve edited this because I don’t have a sweet memory so I’ve had to do some rewinding considering I listened to this way back in the summer. Of course I remember I enjoyed this series thoroughly and recommend it to most if not all fans of fantasy, particularly YA fantasy. However, book 2 wasn’t my favorite. It’s not that it was bad, it was just a little convoluted and not quite as flowing as the first. But I still liked it and was happy to get to know these characters more. Maggie Steifvater is a very talented writer. Her imagination and character development are beautiful.

Next was Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton.

Book three didn’t disappoint, in fact I liked it more than book 2, maybe not more than book 1 but very entertaining. Still loving these characters and their growth.

From there I listened to Wally Roux, Quantum Mechanic by Nick Carr, narrated by William Jackson Harper.

This, as the image shows, is an audible original, one of two picks I get each month with my subscription. I’d call this a short story more than a novel and it was worth it. More a book for teens but still interesting enough. I liked the character Wally and his story and would recommend this. It’s not exciting, but good.

After Wally Roux I started and finished the last book in The Raven Cycle, The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton.

So my mental rewind back through this summer and fall’s audio books brought me to some bittersweet truthes regarding the end of this series. It wasn’t just my memory that made reflecting difficult. This book didn’t sew up nicely. It didn’t end so neatly. I’m not necessarily disappointed but I’m disappointed. Not enough to ditch Maggie Stiefvater, oh no, or not read the Ronan Lynch spin-off that follows, Call Down the Hawk. Just enough to be bummed. But I won’t spoil here.

What I listened to next was very, very different than the above (and not as good). Cold Waters (Normal, Alabama #1) by Debbie Herbert was a book I picked up through one of Audible’s Daily Deals. What can I say, I needed another book to listen to!

But I didn’t love it. I’ll take some more Stiefvater after this one please! Sure it did its thing in the world of mysteries but I wasn’t impressed. I think I gave it 3 stars for effort. I won’t continue with the series.

After that I listened to an Audible Original, another of my monthly freebies. Buried Deep by Margot Hunt and read by Therese Plummer is also a mystery.

Please understand that I am a fan of mysteries, I always have been. But I’m also really critical. Sorry, not sorry. Cold Waters was significantly better than Buried Deep. Buried Deep is not a story I recommend.

Okay now let’s get back to some better stories although…

My next read was much anticipated. Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton is a stand alone continuation of Ronan Lynch’s story. It is true however that it’s probably best to have read The Raven Cycle first.

Gosh I feel some kind of way about this book and about writing about it. I should probably save it for something of a review but I’m sort of doing tiny reviews here too. Let me say again that I really appreciate Stiefvater’s talents. But please please stop throwing the kitchen sink in. I mean okay maybe the kitchen sink analogy isn’t accurate but one review I read after the fact explained it best. It was like being in someone else’s dream where it makes more sense to them than you. Loads of people love this book but I just think it was a little too much dream world. I think it hurt the story. That said, oh there’s so much more to say I’m going to have to write a separate post for sure, I did like this story. I do like this world and love these characters. Worth it? For sure. Hoping the next book will be excellent.

Thank you Ellyn @allonsythornraxx for talking about this book. And thank you Inside My Library Mind as well!

Okay moving on. Another mystery/thriller thanks to Audible Daily Deals. But am I so thankful for Audible? Or am I losing my taste for mysteries after spending all this time in fantasy lands? The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger, read by Julia Whelan was creative and interesting. But it was too long, way too long.

I’m a little surprised seeing the Goodreads’ page again and the fact that Unger is a bestselling author. It’s not that she’s a bad writer by any means. The Red Hunter however could have skipped a lot of the individual parts. But again, it was entertaining and had its thrilling moments but didn’t blow my mind.

Wow so this brings us to my latest listen and what I’m currently listening to! Last one I finished was The Diviners (The Diviners, #1) by Libba Bray, narrated by January LaVoy. Here we have another YA Fantasy.

I will lead with this was a worthy listen and I will continue the series. That said, it was way too long. It was like a compilation of a bunch of different character stories that all happen to related. It just took too long to get to the part where they’re relating! On the other hand Libba Bray is a great writer. I respect the research she does for her stories, from time period lingo and culture to historic events, she does an excellent job. I think a lot of people would like this story, as long as you don’t mind a long lead up.

This series find is thanks to Ellyn @allonsythornraxx and her post about the 4th in this series due out this year. Oh my gosh I better catch up! Four of these! Gosh…

And finally we’re up to present day. Actually I very recently finished The Diviners. Therefore I’ve only just begun Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse, read by Tanis Parenteau.

Lucky me, this and The Diviners were not Daily Deals but they were special deals just in time for me to need more books in my Audible Library! Woo hoo! Everybody loves a sale right? 😀 I have heard the name Rebecca Roanhorse a lot and am finally venturing into her imagination. So far I’m digging it! Heck yeah!

Oh yeah, while it’s not an audio book I’m also read reading, like a physical book, Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare (ha ha I started to type narrated. 😉 ). Yet another name I’ve heard a number of times. This is a big book, 668 pages! I’m 174 or so pages in and it’s interesting, not as interesting as Trail of Lightning but I suspect it holds a lot of promise. And I learned kind of late that I’m pretty late to this party… Lol…

I almost forgot; while I know I’ve heard of this elsewhere I know for sure I can thank Ms. Victorious at Victorious pages for telling me about this series.

Kind of a long post I know but hopefully you found it interesting enough. Have you read or listened to any of these? I do kind of feel like I missed out on some real physical pages with words. (I think I need to read some Maggie Stiefvater in the flesh or paper and experience the stories more.)

Let me know what you think, I’m curious. Stay tuned for my post about what I will be listening to for the rest of January and February.

Audio Book Talk Part 1

For starters, this week since I’ve been absent for so long I’m going to post daily, however that happens I’m going to have a post for you. Short, long, whatever. Let’s get started. (This one’s long, but worth it should you want to hear about some audio books and how I picked them.)

Yesterday I told you I want to talk about audio books and how I’ve recently gotten back into them. Back in the day I listened to quite a few audio versions (on CD) of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. I LOVED them. I read the books as well (not for all did I have audio and physical) and was really a fan. It’s not that I don’t like them anymore but I fell off of reading fiction many years ago for about five years. When I came back to reading my tastes and goals had changed and I didn’t go back to the series. Plus, let me be honest, I didn’t love the whole love triangle/struggle/whatever you want to call it thing going on with Ranger and Joe Morrelli. I really liked both characters but was frustrated with the direction it was going. I am proud to say that I turned at least a few people on to the series and they’re still reading them. 😉 And NO, vehement NO, I did NOT like the movie One for the Money.

There were some non-fiction books I listened to as well as planned to listen to (I know because I recently found the CDs). But then I just stopped. It happens. Now I’m back to audio books and I don’t have to buy and lug around CDs. Yeah! I came back to them because Audible offers two free books with a free trial… and I figured I do a lot of work that I can do while listening, thus checking off my TBR.

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But how do I claim to have read a book when I actually listened to it? That just doesn’t mesh with my weird brain! I read people’s blogs about them “reading” audio books and I’m like no, no you did not read them! Of course we all know what they mean like we all know when I say LOL my head is not lolling around. I think it’s the fact that there’s no work involved. To me reading a book is a feat. Listening to someone tell me a story is not. The fact that I’m not doing the work weighs on me. But should it?

Absolutely not! I will get through so many stories…except there’s the fact that they aren’t free…even with an audible membership I’m committing to buy a $15 (somewhere around there) book a month. Yes they say oh and you get two free originals but let’s be honest the originals are SUPER LIMITED and now you’ve downloaded books because you basically HAD to take advantage of the opportunity. Don’t get me wrong I’ve downloaded a few that I am interested in listening to, eventually, but I never seem to be in the mood.

Here’s the thing, now I’m spoiled. Now I’m getting used to someone reading a story to me and when I finish the book (quickly) I don’t know what to do! I feel lost without my story in my ears or my external speaker. AHHHH!

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I can’t “read” and do other stuff at the same time! Impossible! And now I can! OMG! Drama folks, drama. Then this VOID leaves you vulnerable to audio book deals. Which makes me wonder if I put books on my wish list will they miraculously pop up as a deal? Because then it might be even more worth making a list. 😉

But how do I pick? I get one audio book a month. How do I pick? The obvious answer is what’s available. What the heck Elpy, you have to get to that part first? Right… so I go to my TBR… and I look at it… I scroll down it… I see books and pretty covers… I think about picking one… I don’t know, I just don’t know.

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This is something I have to figure out. I’ve gotten lucky so far. My first pick was Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan, narrated by Natasha Soudek & Tristan Morris. Great book, great narrators, can’t wait for the second to come out. This was a lovely introduction back into the world of audio books. It kind of takes me a second to get into it but that’s the same for books. I picked this book by going to my list and scrolled for something that stuck out. This was a book I added in the last several months and was one I was looking forward to reading. So I reread the blurb, found it to be available on Audible and BAM. Great pick. Thank you Sofi @ A Book. A Thought. for introducing me. Thank you Destiny @ Howling Libraries for selling me on this book further.

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***Disclaimer: As I link to Destiny’s review above it appears maybe she’s updated it since I first read her review…? She’s less than happy with the author and that has changed her view of this book and her writing. So I’m conflicted as to whether or not I find something where she’s raving about it or post to the updated review. And I think I should stick to her current take for posterity’s sake. She brings up some interesting points, most of which I did not know. But check back soon because I want to touch on her mention of “post-read high”.***

How did I pick A Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, narrated by Emily Ellet, then? This one wasn’t and was as difficult because I struggled to decide on the audio version. First there was the urge to hurry up and pick something because I had to get to the work I had to do. Next there was looking at my Goodreads’ TBR. Then there was my remembering how much Destiny @ Howling Libraries gushed about this. Finally I had a good long think about whether I’d want this as an audio or read the actual words and writing if it’s really that good. I went with hurry up and get to it, listen to it.

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I’m a big fan of Destiny and her book blog. She really really really loved this book, like really really really really. 😉 That made me really interested even as we don’t read a lot of the same stuff. Let me say this woman READS A LOT, heck yeah kick ass Destiny, fist bump! This was a really good story (I say story not book because I listened to it). Definitely worth the audible credit but I didn’t LOVE it as much as she did. I will probably no doubt give it 4/5 stars whenever I review and maybe even 5 but for me it’s not an all time favorite. See that makes it sound like there’s something wrong with this story but right now I can’t think of anything. It really was a great original story just not an OMG for me. I certainly recommend it, I just don’t scream about it like Destiny.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater was my next Audible pick. The first two were read by women and men so when I heard a man’s voice and only a man I was a little curious. The voice stuck out to me but I couldn’t place it. After listening, and loving, I had to look him up. Will Patton. Omg I know who he is, he’s a rather well-known actor! He does an excellent job. I’m not singling him out because he’s better than the others just that I was surprised to find it was him (look up his photo if you don’t already know) and pleased with his reading as women. I heard of this book when Ellyn at Allonsythornraxx recommended Call Down the Hawk by Stiefvater. I also heard of that book at Inside my Library Mind. In case you don’t already know I love birds so bird references draw my attention, regardless of their content (that comes later). I heard from one or both of them that I might want to check out The Raven Cycle series first. Low and behold I already had the first, The Raven Boys, on my TBR! (Can’t remember how I heard of or added that one, sorry.)

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Sorry Destiny but I liked this one A LOT and I liked it more than I liked A Sorcery of Thorns. When I went to my list for this month’s pick I decided I should scroll down further instead of picking something I recently added. It’s really easy to forget books you added months or years ago. You keep adding books and something is bound to capture your attention and make you read it right now, pushing the last dozen down the list. I keep seeing Call Down the Hawk because it’s near the top and that made me think about how I wanted to start here. So you’ve got some reference to birds, fantasy, lots of books by this author and great recommendations, and of course a cool blurb. I went for it and I am so happy. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of this series though that means I have to wait for my next month’s Audible credit. But do I want any physical copies? Oh lord…

Stay tuned for my review of these books.

Lastly, I’m currently listening to The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (just saw I’ve got a newer book of hers on my list as well), narrated by Liyah Summers. In my notes I have that I read a review of this on Books Tea Bee’s blog and she pushed me over the edge to add this to my TBR, meaning I’d heard of this elsewhere but after reading her review I finally decided to add. After adding it I think I saw Destiny @ Howling Libraries had DNF’d it, not sure I ever found out why but that stuck with me. Listening to it now – enjoying the narrator, she does a lot of different accents very well – I am a little less than attached to it. I’m trying to pay more attention for the sake of my writing to be honest. I want to pinpoint what it is that isn’t working for me because I don’t want to make the same mistake in my own writing. It’s not bad writing and it’s not a bad story but 5 hours in (out of 25!) it feels disjointed. When I make note that it’s 25 hours long (holy moly, the other three are around 12-16 hours) I’m thinking things really pick up and I hope they do. It’s not a DNF for me at all but if I had to rate it this early on I’d give 3 stars.

How’d I pick this? Daily deal. $5.95 and I needed a new audio book to listen to while I work. And it was on my list so why not? Simple as that. AND 25 hours means I won’t be craving a new audio book as soon. 😉

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The next question is, what book will I pick for September? Probably I’ll go with The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater but we’ll see. 😉

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What about you, do you listen to audio books? How do you pick them? Any you recommend? And that’s it for Audio Book Talk Part 1, stay tuned for Audio Book Talk Part 2, in which I talk about why audio books do and don’t work for me as a writer.

Hit the Follow Me button somewhere on this page and stay tuned. Maybe you want to hear about me being a writer or maybe you want to hear about me being a reader. I can be long-winded but what the hey, there’s a lot to say. 😉

Catch up & muster forward 2

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Busy. Busy and some more busy. That’s the fun part of trying to do a bunch of stuff: prioritizing and scheduling! I can’t tell you how many times I was like oh man I should just do a quick post and then, nope. That’s fine, we work out the kinks in time right?

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I figured I could take a quick break and write to you all so you know I’m around and will remember to check back soon. 😀 Since I last wrote to you – oh a month ago (OMG!) – I have listened to two audio books and not finished any of the ones I was already reading. I’ll have to go see but I think I told you about finishing the Wicked Saints audiobook, right? If I didn’t then I actually finished 3 audibles since last time. Lol. I completed and won Camp NaNo July (Yeah!) and recorded over a dozen hours of brainstorming for my story. Never mind all the other stuff that’s happening in real life (like the hickory tree that fell in my yard or the project that is my basement, backyard, heck my whole property and others!). We’re going to stick to talking about the creative stuff here.

The goal for my post today is just to check in, to briefly share what I’ve accomplished creatively, and to let you know what you can look forward to this month which includes my creative accomplishments in more detail. So I’ve checked in. Check. I’ve told you what I’ve accomplished creatively in simplicity. Check. Now I’ll tell you what you can look forward to!

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I’d like to have a discussion about audio books. I haven’t listened to an audio book since they were on CD or cassette, not available digitally. I’ve been really reticent to go the audio book route because it just doesn’t feel like reading a book to me. Nevertheless, I gave in to the audible free trial membership with a couple free titles and now I’m hooked. This means I’ll have to give up my HBO subscription in order to afford this but meh, it’s worth it. I’ve really enjoyed being able to listen to great stories while I’m working or walking the dog or driving or what have you! If I’m not in story making mode then listening is great. That said, I miss the interaction with the words on page. So I want to talk about that. Another thing I want to talk about is once you have listened to an audio book will you continue a series in audio? It makes me crazy to think of having different versions of books in a series, like one is audio, one is digital, one is physical. AHHHHHHHH! I hope you’ll stay tuned and chime in because I’d love to know what you all think about audio books and listening.

In line with the above topic I have three reviews I owe you, and they’re all for the audio books I’ve listened to in the last month: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (loved it), Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (great story), and most recently The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (awesome!). Of the three The Raven Boys is by FAR my favorite. That was really a great story. It was narrated by Will Patton who did an fantastic job. I can’t wait to listen to the rest of the series! Really I enjoyed all of the narrators of these books. I’m also about to start The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon in audio. This isn’t a book I’m anxious to start to be honest, but it was on sale on audible and I’ve got a lot of work around the house to do. So a cheap audio book that happens to be on my TBR? Alright, I’ll take it. Stay tuned for my thoughts on all of these.

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Of course you will be privy to my writing life and how that’s going. I won Camp NaNo a couple thousand over 50k words for the month. It was a great month for writing and Camp NaNo was so helpful. Lots of great advice and nice to have a goal and a group holding me accountable. This push helped my story a lot although my overall goal was to finish my first draft I did not finish that. But okay, it’s okay. I will complete my first draft by November NaNoWriMo, at which point I will revise it. I’m still aiming for publication next year.

This last month has really been amazing in terms of my writing and I can’t wait to learn more from my characters about this story. I might say, okay I will, that I think this will be a series at this point. Let’s just leave it at there will be more than one book pertaining to my characters Maple and Jacob. I’m intimidated and overwhelmed at this prospect and with this story. It’s so exciting, it’s like my magic. Writing has become even more important to my life than it already was. I will expand more on my writing and how I feel about it as this month trucks along. Please stay tuned to hear about the joys and stresses of the writing month. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to start your own project. 😉

Oh and I’ll be updating my TBR and being more honest with myself about what I really can finish in a month. Stay tuned!

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