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Stepping into the Waters of Science Fiction

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams Ready Player One - Ernest Cline I, Robot - Isaac Asimov Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton Redshirts - John Scalzi

Every month one of the libraries in my area does something called Genre Safari.  This is a month long exploration of a specific genre as a way to introduce patrons to books and authors they may have missed.  July's theme is Science Fiction (as you may have guessed from the title of this post) and is not an area I usually read.  


Now, I do enjoy science fiction movies and television shows--Star Trek anyone?--but when it comes to books, I'm a little on the fence.  They're either too complicated for me to understand (and there's not enough romance to help me get past these difficult bits) or the premise seems too far-fetched and my ability to suspend disbelief gets shot down and blown apart. ;/   Movies offer distance so I can ignore the bits I don't get.


In an attempt to broaden my reading horizons, because I've been accused of being somewhat I've been reading some of the suggested titles.  First, I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams... with no success.  I couldn't get past the first page.  Man that book was RANDOM.  Now, I can't say anything because I, too, tend toward the strange but this book made me seem normal.  Finally, I had to finish it in audio; it was too confusing for me to read and understand. It took me a week and it was only 5 or so hours!  I'm glad I finished it, it has been on my TBR list for years, but I think it, like Shakespeare, it was one of those stories that was better watched than read.


My second foray, and current read, is Ernest Cline's Ready Player One.  How I managed to pick titles that don't work for me I just don't know. *shakes head*  This was also a title I attempted to read first and ended up not being able to enjoy it that way.  I'm currently on disc 3 and it is moving SLOOOWW.  A friend who read it told me to stick with it, it apparently gets better, but I'm not so sure.  The premise is an interesting one: futuristic world with a poor high school kid on a quest to find an 80s loving' video game creator's special treasure that will prove him the ultimate gamer.  Wil Wheaton narrates and I do enjoy listening but I drift in the middle of scenes, which is never a good sign. 


Originally I was thinking of trying a number of science fiction titles, such as  I, Robot by Asimov, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (in part because I've seen their visual counterparts), Redshirts by John Scalzi, and The Martian by Andy Weir.  However, I'm not so sure.  I know the two titles mentioned above are not the only examples of the genre but I'm kind burned by them.  I need a really good ending for RPO or an exemplary recommendation after it to continue on.  

June is Audiobook Month!

As you may (or may not) know, June is Audiobook Month and is sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association "to increase awareness and enthusiasm for audiobooks" (APA website).  Sometimes called JiAM, it is basically a chance for more people to become aware of the awesomeness of audiobooks.


I personally love audiobooks for a couple of reasons.  First, audiobooks allow me to begin and finish a book while doing other things.  I listen as clean, take long trips, even exercise (theoretically exercise that is!).  It makes monotonous tasks and long days a lot easier to manage.  Plus, there is the bonus of knocking a book of my HUGE TBR pile while sitting at a desk at work.  I'm a bigggg believer in multitasking.


And secondly, an audiobook can be just as enthralling and momentous as watching a movie.  A good narrator can bring each individual character alive and make the setting and drama come alive in a way that traditional reading doesn't.  Don't get me wrong, I love reading and a good book can keep me glued for hours, but there is something about hearing the words aloud that speaks to a part of my brain. 


Here is a list of my personal favorites, both in terms of story and narration, that I recommend to everyone (or at least readers of romance):


     --Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series narrated by Justine Eyre (PNR)
     --the MaIden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt, skipping Lord of Darkness (HIS)
     --the Beautiful Bastard series by Christina Lauren (ERO)
     --Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series narrated by Phil Gigante

   -Individual Titles
     --It Happened One Wedding--Julie James, narrated by Karen White (CONT)

     --Once Burned--Jeaniene Frost, narrated by Tavia Gilbert (PNR)
     --Hammered--Kevin Hearne, narrated by Luke Daniels (UF)
     --Devil's Bride--Stephanie Laurens, narrated by Simon Prebble


Remember, these are just a few.  I could make a big list of all the titles and narrators I enjoy.  


If you are already familiar with JiAM or the above audiobooks, be sure to check the web for other recommendations and blogs that are showcasing their own favorites.  My go to blogs are AudioGals, The Book Nympho and Hot Listens because they are hardcore romance readers and love the spoken word.

January's Reading Thoughts

Dreams of the Golden Age - Carrie Vaughn After the Golden Age - Carrie Vaughn Shadowdance - Kristen Callihan My Lady Quicksilver - Bec McMaster Gossamer Wing - Delphine Dryden

As many books I've read this month, two themes seem to stand out the most: Superheroes and Steampunk.  I read--and thoroughly enjoyed--Carrie Vaughn's After the Golden Age and Dreams of the Golden Age and am currently reading Steelheart by Brian Sanderson.  There's something about the superhero theme that speaks to me--loyalty versus duty, the consequences of our actions and reactions (anyone else hearing Uncle Ben saying "With great power comes great responsibility!").  I'm a firm believer we need more superhero stories.


On the steampunk front, I've read Kristin Callihan's Shadowdance, all four books in Bec McMaster's London Steampunk series, and Gossamer Wing by Delphine Dryden.  The fabulous combination of modern gadgetry and historical use, the industrial setting, and the bad guys! Steampunk stories have some of the best bad guys.


As of this post, I've read over 50 books and it's these two genres that I remember the most.  If you're like me, and enjoy stories above the norm or with something a little out of this world, you should check out any of the titles I mentioned. 


I'm thinking of giving myself an unofficial reading theme for each month to help me whittle down my TBR list.  For February, I'm thinking historicals sound good.

Now I Understand Romeo Must Die

The Misfortune Cookie - Laura Resnick

I've enjoyed every book in this series--they're witty, funny and filled with a cast of quirky characters that have no equal.  With each book, I come away with some little bit of knowledge or tidbit that  makes me a fabulous player of any trivia game and/or Pictionary. 


And with this book, I came away finally understanding the movie Romeo Must Die.  I never could understand how Jet Li's character went to prison for honor and why the father did what he did to "protect" the family.  The Misfortune Cookie explained the significance of family, honor, and appearance to certain cultures.  Reading it, I kept thinking, "this was in Romeo Must Die!"  The way certain families gathered together, the way they acted in public; it all made sense for me after reading this book.


As much as this book reminded me of the movie, it was a good story on it's own.  Not as good as some of the first books in the series, but a solid story that entertained me.  At times slow moving, it none the less kept me turning the pages to see how Esther and her cop got on.

Slow but Stick with It

The Cursed - Alyssa Day

I had this book for a good six months before I could finish it.  I kept picking it up, putting it down, picking it up, then putting it down.  I couldn't tell you why the difficulty, just that it was hard for me to get into the beginning.


The heroine is a bike messenger with a self-image complex due to being abandoned by her parents.  Her defeatist attitude got old and I found myself turning pages to get past them.  Even the hero--the bastard son of Lucretia Borgia--was a tad ridiculous at times.  He was cursed--not sure what kind of curse (I never felt it was explained sufficiently)--something that made him afraid to get close to anyone.  You would think these two issues would keep the couple apart for a good portion of the book, but they came together quickly despite them.  Too quickly for my tastes, despite the slowness of the first few chapters.  I never believed they knew enough about one another to be a good match.


The Secret (Audiobook)--Julie Garwood; narrated by Rosalyn Landor

The Secret - Julie Garwood

This book is one of my favorite Garwood titles to read so I was excited to see how it would translate with Rosalyn Landor narrating. 


For the most part, it wasn't bad.  None of the characters sounded that far from what I had imagined.  With two exceptions.  Frances Catherine sounded a little younger? more girlish? than I had pictured. 


The other exception was Iain.  Every time I heard his voice, I had this image of a sly devil, winking cheekily out the corner of his eye as he spread mischief wherever he went..  I'm sure the intention was not for Iain to be a slick dude but that's what I got.  I got used to it--eventually--but I wouldn't have minded if she had gone another route.


Regardless of these two voice issues, this book was witty and funny and the narration was smooth and full of heart.  Landor threw herself into the performance so well, I know she had to have had a sore throat by the end due to all the male Scottish accents.  I will definitely be looking forward to more Garwood/Landor collaborations.

New Year's Resolutions

With the beginning of each new year, hundreds of people across the globe resolve to make--and keep--promises that will better their lives. 


And I am no different.


Like those individuals, I start out with the best intentions but inevitably fail within the first few months.  Sometimes everyday life gets in the way and resolutions get pushed back and eventually forgotten.  Sometimes laziness trumps will power.


For this year, I determined to make a resolution I had a 95% chance of succeeding with.  And that, of course, led me to the biggest influence in my life: BOOKS. 


*For 2014, I resolve to be more cautious when it comes to my books.  I will not suffer through God-awful books featuring dominating billionaires who's demons can only be vanquished by naive virgins.


*I will try to spend less and visit the library.


*I will try to listen/read more of my VERY LARGE TBR list.


I think these are tasks I can definitely--and most importantly, easily and without much effort--try to accomplish.

Love and Lists - Tara Sivec

This was another FABULOUS story from the world of the Snacks and Seductions.  It had the same off beat situations, laugh out loud humor, and unique cast of characters I've come to expect (and love!) from Sivec.

There were a few editing mistakes towards the end that interrupted the story but I was quickly drawn back in by the next paragraph. 

Lovers of the bawdy and random will love this book. :)

Dark Lycan

Dark Lycan (Carpathian) - Christine Feehan 3.5 starsI enjoyed this for the most part. This book didn't resemble a romance however. More like it was a set up for a new era in Carpathian history. The focus was less on Fenris and Tatijana (who fell in love REALLY quickly) and more on looking at the community and preparing for the future. Then there was the end; while not exactly a cliffhanger, I did feel as if I were left hanging in the middle of story.
Leopard's Prey - Christine Feehan 3.5 stars
Hotshot - Julie Garwood 3.5 starsWhile I enjoyed this story, there were part of the story that were told to me, instead of shown. It made the story seem rushed.
All For You - Dana Marie Bell 3.5 stars
The Untamed Mackenzie - Jennifer Ashley 3.5 starsThat Fellowes is some kind of man! He was fierce and sweet; he didn't hesitate to protect what was his.
Stone Guardian - Danielle Monsch 3.5 starsFull review to come*review copy provided by author/tour promoter for honest review

Beautiful Bitch (Beautiful Bastard, #1.5)

Beautiful Bitch (Beautiful Bastard, #1.5) - Christina Lauren 3.5 stars

Styxx (Dark-Hunter Novels)

Styxx - Sherrilyn Kenyon As always, the talent of Kenyon leaves me breathless. This book was so heart wrenching I wanted to stop but the story was so enthralling I couldn't. I had wanted to hear Styxx's side of things but now that I have, I, like Acheron, am guilt ridden. He is truly worthy of being a hero. There really are three sides to every story.However, having finished this book (once you got to the last few chapters, everything happened QUICKLY), I'm left wondering, what's next? The major players from each pantheon that tortured the Dark-Hunters, Ash and Styxx have been dealt with. Is this book the last of the current story arc? Is there going to be a spin-off series? Have we caught up to the timeline with Nick, is he going to be the central figure of the next books like Ash has been for the current?Although I'm satisfied with the ending, I'm left with even more questions than before.