Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Top 12 Favorite Audiobook Readers

Top Twelve Favorite Audiobook Readers
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Today is an "audio" freebie...with endless possibilities for fun lists.  Because I have been obsessed with audiobooks this year, I thought I would make a list of some of my favorite audiobook narrators.  I tend to fall in love with a reader and then only listen to books they read (and then I find another awesome reader with an accent and my attention gets diverted to their list...)  And I made myself stop at twelve :)

Everland | Wendy Spinale A Corner of White: The Colors of Madeleine, Book 1 | Jaclyn Moriarty
1) Fiona Hardingham

Juliet | Anne Fortier Moon Over Manifest | Clare Vanderpool
2) Cassandra Campbell

Etiquette & Espionage: Finishing School, Book 1 | Gail Carriger Prudence | Gail Carriger
3) Moira Quirk

Atlantia | Ally Condie Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles | Marissa Meyer
4) Rebecca Soler

The Night Circus | Erin Morgenstern Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1 | J.K. Rowling
5) Jim Dale

The Johnstown Flood | David McCullough Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption | Laura Hillenbrand
6) Edward Herrmann

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime | Jasper Fforde Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell | Susanna Clarke
7) Simon Prebble

The Royal We | Heather Cocks,Jessica Morgan The Coldest Girl in Coldtown | Holly Black
8) Christine Lakin

An Ember in the Ashes | Sabaa Tahir The Crown's Game | Evelyn Skye
9) Steve West

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie | Alan Bradley The Clockwork Scarab: A Stoker & Holmes Novel, Book 1 | Colleen Gleason
10) Jayne Entwistle

Armada: A Novel | Ernest Cline Ready Player One | Ernest Cline
11) Wil Wheaton

 Enchanted | Alethea Kontis My Lady Jane | Cynthia Hand,Brodi Ashton,Jodi Meadows
12) Katherine Kellgren


Monday, September 19, 2016

A Torch Against the Night

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2)Author: Sabaa Tahir
Info: Razorbill, copyright 2016, 452 pages

Elias and Laia are running for their lives.  After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf - the Empire's most secure and dangerous prison - to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars' survival.  And Elias is determined to help Lai succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Lai and Elias.  The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and most heartbreaking of all, Helene - Elias's former friend and the Empire's newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus's will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own - one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape...and kill them both.

~Goodreads Description

It's always difficult a book that has been recently released.  You don't want to give too much away.  While I'm not opposed to spoilers, I understand others aversion to them.  There's one, maybe two spoilers that I'll try to stay away from.  One in particular that took me by surprise.  (It should be mentioned that I usually get so invested in a story that I start to become very unobservant - then BOOM!  What just happened?!)

As the description about describes, Elias and Laia are on the run, attempting to escape Serra with their lives, and on a mission to reach the prison at Kauf to rescue Laia's brother.  That, of course, is easier said than done.  The Martial army, the Commandant, and Helene, the Emperor's new Blood Shrike, are right on their tail.

I think I'm going to leave it there.  This is a journey book, and if you like journey books, you'll like this one.  I don't mind journey books, but with all of the action of An Ember in the Ashes, this felt a smidgen slow.  Just a smidgen.  Sabaa Tahir is that good.  Seriously.  This story, while filled with intrigue and suspense, is a character story.  And you really fall in love with the characters.

The Commandant is terrifying.  She is quickly traveling up the ranks of my most feared fictional villains.  She's ruthless, conniving, and violent.

Elias is selfless.  He has a big heart, despite his lethal abilities, and follows through (to a fault) on promises.  While I don't have a clear picture in my head of what he looks like, I know he's ruggedly handsome :)  (A reader just knows these things.)

Laia almost lost me in this book.  She was on the verge of making me mad, and unsurprisingly it was because of the love triangle between Keenan and Elias.  So often in teen fiction a girl becomes a damsel in distress when a boy is around.  Laia's fierce attitude, unwavering courage, and intent focus on her brother almost fell apart, but like a boss, Tahir calls attention to it.  It was intentional!  And while it doesn't really resolve itself positively, Laia comes out of it with a new "spark".  :)

As series sequels go, A Torch Against the Night is excellent.  The story progresses with additional obstacles thrown into the mix.  The characters continue to develop, moving toward who they will need to become for a final resolution.  And it's just exciting (despite the smidgen of slowness).

On a sidenote, I listened to the audiobook.  That is how I devoured the first, which means it was the only way I could devour the second.  Plus, Fiona Hardingham is a reader, and Fiona Hardingham can do no wrong.  Hilariously, the Warden at Kauf reminded me A LOT of the Six Fingered Man in the Princess Bride.  The cadence they chose to use for his voice made him both creepy and intriguing.

I can't wait for book three!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Brownies and Broomsticks

Brownies and Broomsticks (A Magical Bakery Mystery, #1)Author: Bailey Cates
Info: Signet, copyright 2012, 323 pages

Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery.  So when her aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.

While working at the Honeybee Bakery - named after Lucy's cat - Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes.  Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty - Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!

When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect.  With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie an Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer.

~Goodreads Description

We've started a new program at our library called "Bookish Diner".  Each programming session we pick out a book or an author or a genre or some such thing that is food oriented.  Sometimes the recipes are included in the text, and sometimes we use recipes that remind us of the text, but either way we make delicious dishes, book talk books, and share the love of reading (and eating) with our patrons.

This month we chose culinary mysteries.  Because I'm apparently a programming procrastinator, I didn't read my selected book until the twelfth hour.  I powered through the weekend before the program and prepped my dishes.  And somehow I ended up with the most ridiculous book ever.

Katie Lightfoot recently ended a long relationship and is looking for a new start in life.  It just so happens that her Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben in Savannah are opening a bakery, and Katie just happens to be a baker.  So Katie packs her belongings and heads to Georgia.  During her first day of work, a tragedy occurs just outside of the bakery.  This horrible, socialite woman who likes to yell at people and throw around power ends up dead, and the prime suspect is none other Uncle Ben.

Determined to prove her Uncle's innocence, Katie begins to inappropriately insert herself into the investigation.  I mean, like, dangerously.  And there's a love triangle.  And Aunt Lucy reveals a family secret.  And Katie is a witch.  It wanted to be Practical Magic, but it wasn't.

Despite a ridiculous plot line, one-dimensional characters, and a "familiar" dog, I have the overwhelming desire to continue reading the series.  Perhaps it's the catchy book titles, tasty recipes, or southern charm, but I got hooked despite myself.  This isn't mind blowing literature, but it's fun, and the ridiculousness makes it just a little more fun.

Plus, the book you can make Katie Lightfoot's chocolate peanut butter brownies and cheddar sage scones.  They were super tasty and easy to make.

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