Audiobook review: Protector of the Small

Protector of the Small is my favourite series.  Fullstop.  I love this series and I talk about it and the author all the time.  I recently did an audiobook re-read and while I could talk about this series for days, today I want to focus and review the audiobooks.  Not enough people talk about and review audiobooks and I have been making a concerted effort this year to do so whenever I read by audiobook.

So here we go!

These books were read by Bernadette Dunne and I really liked her narration.  She does different voices and I liked most of them.  Dunne also speaks clearly and at a pace that I can easily speed up the audio and still understand the book.  Not all productions you can do this, though I think most audiobook productions nowadays keep this in mind when recording, or so I’d like to think.

While she does a great job, this is my favourite series and I’m rather picky.  One thing I noticed is some of the emotional cues in the book were not done to what I had hoped for.  For example, in the prologue of the first book there is a scene where Lady Alanna is very angry but the narration doesn’t go as far as I would have wanted and you can barely tell she was angry.  However, everyone imagines books differently and I need to learn to be open to other people’s interpretations.

For part of Squire I read and listened to the audio and noticed there were some (minor) differences between the text and the spoken words.  This at first bugged me but the differences were minor and mostly helped the listener better understand what was happening.  I’m not sure if it was intentional on the production part or due to a difference in what was given to Dunne to read (like a different version of the story), but over all it didn’t matter to the story.  However, those that read and listen might notice and get frustrated at this.

Overall I do highly recommend not only this series but the audiobooks as well!  

If there is something you would like me to cover about these audiobooks or others, please let me know!  I would like to be better at reviewing audiobooks.  

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TBR pile accounting


One of my reading goals I have this year is to reduce the number of unread books on my bookshelf by half.  At the time of writing that goal I hadn’t counted the number of unread books I had, but thought it was around a dozen.  So here is the official count!  Plus a few little tidbits of information on the books thrown in.  

1. & 2. & 3. Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen (Abhorsen trilogy) by Garth Nix

Bought: July 2014 

On shelf: 2.75 years

This was my only buy the whole series at once before reading it moment I’ve had.  I have heard good things about it by good people and started reading the first book and though I found it interesting, it didn’t immediately drag me in and force me to read the rest.  I will hopefully attempt to read it again. 

4. The Diviner by Melanie Rawn

Bought: ~August 2012

On shelf:  4.5 years

I bought this to be a plane read before my study abroad and I did actually start it but didn’t get too far into it as I’m not really a plane or bus reader, even though I can actually read in moving vehicles (I just prefer to look out the window or sleep).  Since then I haven’t attempted it and have lost interest.  This book is the most likely one I will donate, but I am also curious to know what it’s about.  I bought it because Rawn had another companion book that sounded good but was suggested I read this one first.  

5. Brimstone (Pendergast #5) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child 

Gifted by a friend Christmas 2014

On shelf: 2 years

This is a favourite book of a friend.  I’m told you don’t need to read them in order and reading the back of the book I realize it does sound interesting.  This sounds like an urban fantasy book which I generally don’t reach for but I’ve become more adventurous recently and I have being doing some group creative writing in an urban fantasy setting so now could be a great time to finally pick this book up. 

6. The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4) by Cinda Willams Chima 

Gifted by a friend Christmas 2014

On shelf: 2 years

I have read most of Chima’s books and have liked or loved them, though I have yet to read the last of Seven Realms books.  As it’s my friends favourite series and she knows this, she got me a copy of the last book in the series to finish it off though I haven’t been in a rush to do so. 

7. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Gifted by a friend 2016

On shelf: ~1 year

This is a first edition, signed Atwood book.  A friend gifted it to me since she already had personally signed copy.  Atwood is not normally my cup of tea,  but this book does sound good: it’s about a social experiment where pairs of couples switch between life in prison and normal life.  

8. Snow like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Stolen/given to me by family member

On shelf: ~8 months

The family member didn’t really like this book and so when I went to borrow it he said I could keep it.  It been on my to read list for a few years so I think it was a win-win for all.  Though we do generally have similar tastes in books so the fact that he didn’t like it too much has me hesitant but I think it’s more he’s growing out of the genera then anything wrong with the book.

9. Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson 

Bought: Summer 2015?

On Shelf: ~1.75 years

I’ve heard excellent things about this book from BookTube and even though it has a love triangle I am curious.  I’ve started it once and got about 2 chapters in but wasn’t in the mood to read it at the time.  Whenever I travel it’s the book I drag along with me so I think it’s only a matter of time.

10. Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J Maas

Christmas Present 2015

On Shelf: 1 year

This is a series that I have up to this point enjoyed.  I do expect to enjoy this book but for some reason have yet to get to it, likely because I am strange and liked the first book more then the second and feel like I won’t like this book, even though I’m also sure I will.  At the same time, I feel like I will like it and that is why I haven’t read it?  It’s a strange situation to be in, but I hope to get to this book soon. 

11. Half Bad by Sally Green

Bought: Summer 2015?

On Shelf: ~1.75 years

I have been interested in this book for years and around the time it was really hyped on BookTube I found it for 6$ in the book store (for a hardcover!).  Witches are generally not a theme I read about, but this one sounds good and I will likely get to it soon.

12. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Bought: July 2014

On Shelf: 2.75 years

I bought this before learning about BookTube and seeing all the hype about this series.  The cover dragged me in and everything I have heard about the book in reviews has only made me want to read it more, yet I haven’t gotten to it yet.  For shame!  Another one that I will likely get to soon. 

Note: Most of these books are part of a series, but unless indicated otherwise, they are the first of the series.

Average wait of time: 2.15 years

Number bought versus number gifted: 8 bought, 4 gifted

Approximate percent of bookshelf that is unread: 10-15% (I forgot to count all my books so this is a rough estimate)

For the record, because there are 12 books and I want to reduce that in half by the end of the year that means I want to have 6 unread books on my shelf by the end of the year.  If I buy more books I haven’t read I still want to have 6 or fewer.  If I give away books I haven’r read that means I have to read fewer books to hit the 6 unread books. 

Oh! and I *do* have copies of the first four Game of Thrones books, but they are currently in the ‘donate’ pile in my room, so I’m not counting them.  

You are a reader!

thoughtsThe average person in the US (and likely Canada and many other countries of the world) reads less then 5 books a year.  If, like me, you think that is a very small number, congrats you are likely a reader!

Now, the word reader means a person who reads.  Despite what anyone might tell you, it does not specify what type of things you need to read to be a reader.  It can be books, poetry, short stories, novellas, zines and magazines, fanfiction, instruction manuals, ‘trashy’ internet erotica, role-playing posts…..the list is a long one.  The list I provided is also only things that a ‘reader’ might read, but reading is something essentially everyone does on a semi-daily basis.  Reading a menu or a price tag would make you a reader by the above definition.  

However, in colloquial terms ‘a reader’ tends to be someone who reads ‘a lot’ (and also the types of things I mentioned above and not the ‘everyday’ things), but as the average person reads fewer then 5 books in a year, anything more then that can be classified as ‘a lot’.  That means 10 books a year can make you a reader.  So that ‘only one book this month’ you read?  Congrats, you are still a reader!  ‘I only read a few magazines or fanfic’.  Still a reader!  

Don’t let the words of others define you or bring you down.  You may not read as much as you want or as much as the gatekeepers to reading might say you need to, but if you think you are a reader, CONGRATS!! You! Are! A! Reader!

My ‘read’ pile is deceiving

The list of books I compile on Goodreads and here is not actually accurate to what I read in a year. I mean, it is but also it isn’t.  It has to do with how we ‘read’ books.  Like how some people consider audiobooks as not really reading books.  But it’s a bit more confusing and complicated then that.

Let me explain.

I’m part of a community that centers around one person and his perpetually un-preparedness.  Mark Oshiro, the creator and mastermind of Mark Reads (and Mark Watches, find him here!) reads books he knows nothing about besides that they were recommended to him and posts him reading it online chapter by chapter.  Additionally, he reviews every chapter with his thoughts, feelings and personal anecdotes, etc for people to comment on, laugh and cry with him or at him.  He is always very unprepared, even when he is the most prepared, and it’s great fun to watch and join in.  Plus you get to read great books and discuss them with great people.  Part of the reason I have been making my way through Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series this year despite fairly average ratings for many of them was to go through them with Mark and his community.  I have been reading the books on my own and then re-reading the books with Mark.  

But I don’t keep track of this anywhere.  

Why?

Well, it’s hard to call it reading, even though it is basically reading.  It’s an audiobook, more or less after all, just in a video format where you get to see someone reacting to what is happening.  You get 2-3 chapters a week, making it take a month or several to finish a book.  Again, nothing wrong with that as many people take months to read a book.  It could be because it’s reading with a community, but you can argue it’s a massive online book club with a very prominent figurehead.  Because that’s what it is, abet in a different format and functionality then most are used to seeing with book clubs.

I think the real major reason I don’t count those books as being ones I read and track the year is because I mostly follow Mark as he reads books I have already read, know well and love.  But this ‘excuse’ doesn’t hold much water because I re-read Harry Potter this year and counted it.

Essentially, this stream of conscientiousness post is basically saying a few things:

1. Check you Mark because he is AWESOME, funny, insightful (he and he’s community have opened my eyes up to many issues, tropes, themes in writing; for example why you shouldn’t describe people of colour using food or animal analogies) and reads great books.

2. I really should start tracking these books because it is still reading, if in an unusual way.

3. I don’t feel so bad about my 2016 reading challenge and the possibility I ‘cheated’ by reading tiny books, because I read a handful of books this year with Mark on top of what I tracked. 

4. There are many different ways to ‘read’ books and all of them are valid!

Some more background on Mark: Currently he is reading great books, but he started out with Twilight many, many years ago.  Then someone convinced him to read Harry Potter, which he did grudgingly thinking it was going to be as bad as Twilight.  After that he started it up as a regular thing reading book that have been vetted as good, adding the video component to it later on.

For the record he is currently reading Young Wizards by Diane Duane and Discworld by Terry Pratchett.