Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lori Talks Reading Resources

I'm always looking for ways to expand my reading horizons, so I thought I'd share a few of the things I'm excited about, even though you've probably already heard of them...

1.  Litsy--This is quickly becoming a favorite app.  It's kind of like Instagram and Facebook, but it's only about books.  You can post a blurb, review, or quote from a book you're reading or seeing in real life, with an accompanying picture.  It tags the book, so you can see who else is reading or has read the book.  You create a stack of books to read.  You can comment and like other people's posts.  It's a lot of fun and a great way to interact with other readers.  Right now the app is only available for iPhones, but I think they are testing it for Android users, which means it will be out for them relatively soon.  You can follow me on Litsy at LLindsey.

2.  Book of the Month--I joined this in the spring.  I love it!  Each month five judges each pick a book.  One is a guest judge.  They all write up a little blurb about what they like about the book, and there is a synopsis.  Then you pick which one you want.  You can add other books too for $9.99 each.  Shipping is free.  You can buy different plans (1 month, 3 months, 12 months) with varying discounts.  You'll get a brand new hardcover book for less than retail.  This club has gotten me to pick books I never would have thought about getting or reading before.  If you don't like any of the selections, you can skip a month.  They also frequently send a cool goody with it--last month I got a wine glass koozie!

3.  Serial Reader app--I had been hearing about this one for a while before i decided to dive in.  Each day you'll get sent a short part of a classic of your choice.  It's free.  However, if you pay $2.99, you can skip ahead in the books, which is good if you've started a massive classic and just can't bring yourself to lug around the tome because you can skip on ahead to halfway through pretty easily.  I thought it would be a great way to read Moby-Dick...but I think the problem might be with the book because I just...ugh.  However, I will definitely use this app to read other classics in short, digestible bits.

Do you have any cool reading apps or websites?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday -- All About Audio Freebie

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

Today's topic:  All About Audio freebie --  aka top ten audiobooks you should listen to, 10 books I want to listen to on audio,10 bands you should check out, 10 podcasts you should be listening to, 10 of my all time favorite albums, 10 songs I love, really whatever you can come up with.

Lauren and Daisy are going to be talking about some of the audiobooks they've really enjoyed!

Lauren's Picks

1 -- The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey: I think I would have loved this book even if I didn't listen to the audio version, but the narrator was perfect. Every character's personality shown through like a beam of light in a forest full of ancient trees. 

2 -- The Passage by Justin Cronin: I'll admit, I listened to the audio version of this book because I didn't want to haul around a Harry Potter-sized book in my purse everywhere I went. Turns out... it was definitely a good call! The book started just a little slow, but quickly picked up the pace and the narrator kept the ball rolling. I loved this one so much that I listened to the sequel, The Twelve, on audiobook as well.

3 -- Wool by Hugh Howey: Oh c'mom now... you all knew a Hugh Howey book would be on my list! :) I read the book first, then loved it so much I tried the audio version maybe a year later so I could relive the amazing-ness that is Wool. I was not disappointed. 

4 -- California by Edan Lepucki: I could feel ALL THE EMOTIONS of the characters in this novel... all relayed from the narrator to me. I felt connected and as if I was literally walking in their shoes, well... if the characters had shoes at the time. :)

5-The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima narrated by CarolMonda- This was one of the first audiobooks I listened to. After a few quick searches for "best audibooks" I came across this title. It sounded intriguing and had great reviews. So I bought it! SO SO good! I've listened to the whole series three times.

6- The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) narrated by Robert Glenister- I downloaded this somewhere between its release and the revelation that this was JK writing under a pen name. I don't think I'd started it before I found out. It's such a great book. I love mysteries, but far too often the characters become unimportant next to the story. They're flat and uninteresting. Not these characters! They are fully formed, vividly imagined and magnetic. I read for them as much as the "who done it".

7- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern- JIM DALE. Honestly, I didn't even care what the story was. I saw that Jim Dale was the narrator and hit "buy". I absolutely adore this man, I will listen to anything he reads. The story is intriguing, I kept getting pulled back in. I did get lost every once in a while with the time changes, but didn't get so confused that I wasn't enjoying the story.

8- Sabriel by Garth Nix- IT'S NARRATED BY TIM CURRY. Need I say more? Okay. So he's absolutely amazing. I could not turn it off! And I'd already read them once before! I love this series. The action! The characters! The worldbuilding!!

9- Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles) by Kevin Hearn narratedby Luke Daniels- This is a new discovery. (Thanks Carrie!) These books are HILARIOUS. As in a true "laugh out loud" brand of funny. (I've had to explain myself to my coworkers more than once.) The stories are fun, the characters are hilarious and endlessly loveable. One in particular takes the cake. OBERON. Seriously. Read it just for him. And his Purloined Poodles.

10- Illuminae: The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff narrated by Olivia Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, and Jonathan McClain, with a FULL CAST- This book was meant to be an audiobook. It was a great story, but the cast is what MADE it. I was enthralled by this story. Completely captivated by the characters and their struggles and motivations. Even if you've already read this one, check out the audio. You won't regret it!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Daisy's Thoughts About Reading The Mortal Instruments After the Hype (and watching the TV show)

I have an amazing book club and the last weekend of August we had a sleepover (which was AWESOME obviously) and one of the things we did was watch a lot of bad tv. Which is always better with friends who give snarky commentary for obvious reasons. So we watched the first 5 episodes of Shadowhunters and because I was like what the heck is going on??? (because there was a significant lack of explaining things in a manner that wasn't making my head hurt) I decided it was time to finally read the first book in the series.

And I ended up liking it, but I remember when this series had just come out and the obsession was of somewhat Harry Potter proportions. But I'm kinda liking reading this when not everyone and their great aunt it talking about it, because now I can just make my way through it (probably slowly with spaces of time in between) without all of the opinions hitting me in the face and influencing the experience. Don't get me wrong, I sometimes LOVE all the excitement that surround the release of books, especially if it's for a series that I'm loving and am also not behind on. But it creates all these expectations and then when the book actually DOESN'T live up to all the buzz, it's a disappointment that I feel more than when I hadn't been hearing all of those things before starting it.

It's fun though to think back to what was all over the blogosphere back then and all the swooning over Jace and other boys and how everyone was basically pining for the next book. Starting a series when it's already finished is also a whole different feeling than when you know you're going to have to wait a year in between reading them, even when they end on a cliffhanger. ESPECIALLY if they end on a cliffhanger.


So, am I the only one who hasn't read this yet or just the first book? What's holding you back or what is making you excited to finally start it? Are there any other books that you've read way after the initial release that had a LOT of hype?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Our Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Mysteries

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week we are talking about our ALL TIME favorite books from the mystery genre!

Jamie's Picks

1 -- Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas: If you like your mystery to be a twisty psychological thriller type that feels like it is ripped right from the headlines, you have to check out Dangerous Girls! This one really pulled me in til the very last word!! Little bit of Amanda Knox mixed with the Natalie Holloway spring break story. This spring break trip gone wrong seriously had me on the edge of my seat.

2 -- My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier: I have loved both My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca from this author (still need to read more of hers) but if you are into Gothic mysteries...this author is one of the best in my opinion!

3 -- A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis: Looking for a historical mystery/thriller? This one is also perfect for fall because the setting is just so transporting into this dark and cold asylum. Plus the writing was really great!

4 -- Far From You by Tess Sharpe: If you really enjoy contemporary YA and want to dip your toes into the mystery genre, this is one I highly recommend for that! You'll find yourself so emotionally involved in this quest to find out if Mina's murder really was random like they are saying it is.

5 -- The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: The pitch for this book was Veronica Mars meets Scandal and I totally thought this was a pretty decent comparison!! I devoured this book like no other -- DC political scene + twisty thrills.

Julia's Pick

6 -- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie: I don't read a lot of mysteries anymore, but I adored this book when I read it in high school. I always recommend people give it a read. It's super quick and entertaining.

Kimberly's Pick

7 -- Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Gailbraith (aka J.K. Rowling): I found this series BEFORE J.K. was outed as being the author. I've always loved mysteries. These books take your typical mystery novels to the next level. Intriguing stories, complex characters, rich dialogue, J.K.'s wonderful storytelling... Oh! Also, the audio books are fantastic!

Lauren's Picks

8 -- The Fold by Peter Clines: Granted, this is more of a sci-fi novel, but it is definitely a mystery as well as a thriller! You just never know what is going to happen next.

9 -- Dark Matter by Blake Crouch: This might have been my first Blake Crouch book, but the twist & turns had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I read this book. Not once did I know what would be waiting around the corner.

10 -- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: This novel was a complete mystery. The narrator's entire mind was a mystery. While I'm not looking forward to the movie because well... it's another movie based off of a book, I will keep this roller coaster of a novel close and ready pick up up again someday.

What are some of your favorite mysteries?? 
Also, tell us what genre you chose in the comments!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Lauren Reviews A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
Published: April 2016 by Algonquin Young Readers
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3 Stars

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl -- Isabel, the one the seƱoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers -- and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

The Caribbean island setting of this book was the first thing to catch my eye... then add a mysterious local folklore involving a cursed girl and I just snatched this one up. A girl with green skin and green hair that sustains herself by eating poisonous plants in Puerto Rico is the local legend that keeps everyone away from the house she supposedly lived in. A house surrounded by walls, full of plants. Who was she? Or better yet... who is she? 

Lucas has always been drawn to the story of the cursed girl. After he starts getting notes from her, he can't resist and climbs the wall to her house. This is the start of a whirlwind journey to very unexpected places, and to meet the cursed girl.

I enjoyed the atmosphere and culture this book offered. The descriptions of the island, the weather, the buildings... it all really drew me into the book. The plot was a little off for me unfortunately. It was predictable, but the author still kept me reading. I honestly think it was the ending that got me. I feel like it could have went so many ways, but instead it felt hurried and was tied neatly with a bow. However, I do think if you're looking for something fresh and full of rich culture that is short and sweet... you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Daisy's Top Ten Shows From Her Childhood

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week's topic: In honor of Fall Tv, do a tv-themed topic!

I'm feeling nostalgic and am doing Top Ten TV Shows of my childhood (AKA anything aired in the 90s) (keep in mind that I was between 3 and 13 years old during this time).

1. Full House: This series is one of my favourites and I'm actually in the middle of doing a re-watch of it (yay for Netflix) and I just love it! The dynamic between Danny, Jesse and Joey and the girls is so much fun and as a kid I totally identified with Michelle cause she was about the same age I was but also thinking DJ was SO cool. I'm also watching Fuller House btw.

2. The Secret World of Alex Mack: I remember totally loving this series, but aside from her her turning invisible/liquid and being chased because of her new powers, I don't really remember much of it other than that it was just a lot of fun.

3. Sweet Valley High: the 'good' twin and the 'bad' twin and all the shenanigans they got up to! I only discovered a couple of years ago that it's a book series, I really need to find myself a copy some day!

4. Saved by the Bell: SO MUCH FUN!! I mean, there were ships and boys to crush on! (you cannot tell me I was the only one with a crush on Zack) I'm not much of a fan of the follow up series with a new cast, cause it just wasn't the same.

5. Xena Warrior Princess: What can I say, I already loved mythology from a young age and was more into Xena than the Hercules show because girls kicking ass is awesome any day.

6. Ovide: Animals gettings up to all kinds of things on a deserted island. The intro music alone is awesome and stuck in my head now for days.

7. The Nanny: Just all of it: Fran, the kids, Mr. Sheffield, NILES. Loved it.

8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Because OBVIOUSLY!! I mean, hello one of my favourite series ever! I should continu my rewatch of this.

9. Charmed: Witches are my jam. And these sisters are awesome, though I still prefer Prue to Paige. I loved this so much I even wrote a Harry Potter/Charmed crossover fanfic in the very early 2000s.

10. Popular: The bitchiness, the shenanigans, the ships (HARRISON) and then the SAD SAD SAD that it ended after only 2 seasons on the world's biggest cliffhanger. *sad sigh*

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Lori Talks Reading Habits

Reading is a very personal experience--we all know that.  Reading is so internalized that two people can read the same book in completely divergent ways.  Every reader has their own quirks and habits as well.  And they are so much fun to read about.  Some are fairly standard, like bringing a book everywhere, just in case.  Others are a bit more controversial, like dog-earing pages.  Here are a couple of mine.

After I finish reading a book, I always sign my name and date it.  This is a habit I started a few years ago after reading about it in some article I read.  I thought it was a really interesting way of marking finality.  Almost as though the book doesn't really belong to you until you finish it and have internalized the story.  Needless to say, there are a bunch of books that I've read multiple times, but haven't re-read since I've begun signing my books, so they remain unsigned.  I also love how the date kind of helps keep track of what I've read and when.  The writer of the article mentioned the first book she read on her honeymoon, when she was able to write her new last name on the inside cover.  It's fun to note the milestones!

Lately, I've been shoving books at people--my dad, my very good friend, and a woman who goes to the Elks Lodge who asked me about what I was reading at the pool one day this summer.  They all get books that are signed and dated and I've wondered whether any of them have considered signing their name as well.  I wouldn't be mad if they did.  I'd think it was really interesting, kind of a record of whose hands the book has passed through when I may ultimately decide to get rid of it.  And then the next person who owns it might sign their name and so on...

Another habit of mine is that I've been putting the books I've finished in this big box in the bottom of the coat closet.  I don't know why really.  At some point since moving, I ran out of shelf space, so I needed somewhere to put the books I'd finished.  But I've gotten another shelf, so I would have room for these books again.  I kind of like putting them away after I finish them though.  I think it will be fun to eventually fill the box and then look back on what I've read, and how long it's taken me to fill it.

I've recently decided that I don't really like reviewing books.  Plus I have a hard time talking with substance about a book--the parts I liked, the parts I didn't, even the technical, craft of it--without spoilers.  And I don't read enough books quickly to be able to have a post of a couple of sentences on each book.  That's why I like Litsy.  I can post about the book while I'm reading it.  I can write a few sentences and I feel like I have contributed something.  No, I really very much prefer writing about bookish topics instead (and I'm so glad I get to do that here!).

Lastly, I sometimes feel like I've found a lucky bookmark.  If it's been a while since I've finished a book, but then I totally fly through a book, I'll decide that the bookmark has good juju, so I'll use it on the next book or two that I read.  Then, eventually, I'll pass into a period of not finishing many books in a while, so I'll stop using that bookmark.  (OK--one more--I'll use just about anything for a bookmark, even a gum wrapper)

What about you?  What are some of your reading habits?
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