Big Book Recommendations

The topic of this post was kindly provided by Trina and her Monthly Recommendations group on Goodreads.

This is pretty self-explanatory, so onto the recommendations!

1. The Illuminae Series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – big book, quick read

2. The Inda Series by Sherwood Smith – so, so good!

3. Green Rider Series by Kristen Britain – kind of a cheat here since most versions of the first book are just under 500 pages, but the hardcover is 504!  And the series grows as it goes on with the newest one being something like 800 pages.

4. The Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce – can’t have a list without her on it!

5. The Farsala Triology by Hilari Bell – haven’t read in a while but loved it at the time

6. The Naming by Alison Croggan – again, haven’t read in a while and sits just under 500 pages, but I thought it was very good when I read it years ago.

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.  

The first ten eleven

Books Read: 

1. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff     5 Stars

2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Libba Bray)     1 Star

3. Eve: the Awakening by Jenna Moreci     2.5 Stars

4. Ready Player One by Ernst Cline (Wil Wheton)     2.5 Stars

5. Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Dr. Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell (Tanya Eby)     4 Stars

6. Queen of the Tearling     Erika Johansen     4 Stars

7. The Martian by Andy Weir     4.5 Stars

8. First Test by Tamora Pierce (Bernadette Dunne)     5 Stars

9. Page by Tamora Pierce (Bernadette Dunne)     5 Stars

10. Squire by Tamora Pierce (Bernadette Dunne)     5 Stars

11. Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce (Bernadette Dunne)     5 Stars

Average Rating: 3.95

Audiobooks: 7 (Narrators in brackets after author name)

Re-reads: 5

Indy/self published: 1.5 (The Martian was originally Indy published, but is now traditionally published due to the response, so I give that a 0.5 rating)

Number of books reviewed on this blog: Currently 3 are formally reviewed, with another one reviewed in an atypical fashion.  I have plans for an audiobook-centric review of the Protector of the Small Quartet that should be up soon.  Finally, I have 2 reviews to write for Goodreads that I don’t plan to have on here, but might end up that way.  

Comments: 

It seems I’m more likely to review books on this blog I didn’t like (Beauty Queens, Ready Player One and Eve: The Awakening) then those that I do like.  I’m trying to be better about this and to review the good and the bad always, but I can improve.  Additionally, books like Gemina, being in the middle of series, are less likely to get reviews because I prefer to do a series review for second books and on wards.  Regardless, I review every book in some form on Goodreads (she says, knowing that she is currently behind in 2 reviews, outside of the Tamora Pierce re-reads).

I have been trying to make a conscious effort to review the audiobook as well as the book when I read audiobooks since audiobooks and their narrators need more love.  Plus it’s good information for people to have.  I read many audiobooks in section of my reading, partially because I was unpacking, which is a good task to listen to audiobooks to, and without internet for a time. 

Love Tamora Pierce and was in the mood for something familiar because of a move and the stress of that and a new job (plus lack of internet).  Also it seems that March and April are times of the year I really need to re-read some or all of her books, or so Facebook’s look back feature tells me.  This makes since as it’s spring and I’m often avoiding exams and need to read something of comfort that I can put down to study when I really need to.  No exams this year, though.  

I’m on track with my randomly picked number of books to read that was less then 50.  Which is good, I guess?  I’m telling myself I’m not attached to the number but I’m also keeping an eye on it, so that is mostly lies.  

What’s next?

With new job things will be weird for a time meaning I have no idea how this reading thing will fit into my new life at this time.  I will, however, be working regular predictable hours for like the first time ever, without school to boot.  This could be very good for my reading, or I could watch too much TV.  I shall see.

As for what’s next reading-wise, I recently posted my library book haul, so that is a good indicator of what I’m looking to read.  I also have a list of unread books on my shelves I want to cut in half, but have yet to read any.  Finally, I have Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore, another re-read and then final in the Graceling Trilogy I have been working through, signed out and really want to finally finish off The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks, a book I have been reading for literal years.  And if none of that fits my fancy, I have a mile long list of books I want to read over on Goodreads to get around to reading. 

Buying Books?

Due to Big Life Changes (TM) I will soon have a (small) budget for buying books and because of this I started a list of books I would like to buy to add to my shelves!  It was a personal list but then I was thinking it would be an interesting one to share with people because these are the books I have read recently that I have deemed good enough to be bought.  This means they are books I know I will read again (and again and again).

However, this list is a bit larger then I would like, having taken a look at all the books I own and have had to move recently.  So while I will be able to spend money on books a bit more regularly then I previously have, I want and need to keep the amount of books that I own to a minimum.

The books:

Night Study and Dawn Study by Maria V Synder

Illuminae and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johanson (but only a certain cover, because I like it best)

(Preorder) Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce, Julie Holderman, Timothy Leibe, Magan Messinger and Cora Colville

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I felt Betrayed by

Top 5 Wednesday can be found on Goodreads over here.

There are about a dozen books on my Goodreads shelf labelled ‘interesting concept book fell flat’ that could realistically go on this list, but I’m going to stick to books that betrayed me on a deep, personal level.

1. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

2. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

3. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

4. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

5. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

This is by no means reflective on how good the book is, but if you have read it, you know about The Thing, and how it caught 99% of us off guard.

Longest read book

listGoing based on Goodreads, these are some of the longest books I have read.  I say some, because there are a few box sets or bind-up that I excluded from the list and I don’t always pick the right copy of the book I read, so the list might not be in order or totally accurate.  Funny enough I didn’t realize there was going to be such an interesting pattern when I first thought of doing this post.  It’s interesting to see and it makes me want to investigate it more.

1. Mirror Sight (Green Rider #5) by Kristen Britain

2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J K Rowling

3. Shelters of Stone (Earth’s Children #5) by Jean M Auel

4. Plains of Passage (Earth’s Children #4) by Jean M Auel

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by J K Rowling

6. Brisignr (the Inheritance Cycle #3) by Christopher Paolini

7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J K Rowling

8. Eldest (the Inheritance Cycle #2) by Christopher Paolini

9. Banner of the Damned by Sherwood Smith

10. Treason’s Shore (Inda #4) by Sherwood Smith

Obviously many of these are part of long series.  Here are a few more that top 580 pages that are outside of the above mentioned series:

Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Kaufman and Kristoff

Eona (Eon #2) by Alison Goodman

Mastiff (Beka Cooper #3) by Tamora Pierce

Rise of a Hero (Farsala Triology #2) by Hilari Bell

The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms #2) by Cinda Williams Chima

 

 

5 Books I’d want to re-write

listThe Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMannThough the 1st person PoV is needed to get the story across, I feel the level of writing in this series was sub-par and could really use some strengthening.

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce – This could have been such a good book but the ending was rushed and many things happened that felt sloppy.  

Ready Player One by Ernst Cline – The premise of this book and the main plot points were on point, but for me this book was let down by the writing style and the details.  

The Rest of us just Live Here by Patrick Ness – Interesting concept, but the book was overall very meh.  It needed something more in my opinion.  

Eve: the Awakening by Jenna Moreci – The start of the book was great!  The middle and ending, however, needed major edits to clean it up.