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Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon – Hours 1-4

Wow, those first 4 hours just flew by – I can’t believe that I am already 1/6 of the way done with this Readathon! i’ll admit that I had all these grandiose plans for this morning – to include getting up and going for an 8 mile run before the Readathon started….but when the alarm went off at 5am, that just wasn’t in the books. So I ended up waking up only about 20min before we started – so I have listened to more of an audiobook that I have read so far this am. Mostly because I was putzing around in the kitchen, making breakfast and then making a snack around 10:30.

My initial goal of this readathon was to finish up several of the books that I had in progress prior to starting. So in this first period – I finished 2 of those up (and only have like 4 to go…). I also started (and finished) another short challenge book for SRC.

Books Finished:
This Love of Mine – Miranda Liasson – started at 75% (68pgs total)
Ada’s hm – James Essinger – started at pg148 (95pgs)
Playing with Pleasure – Erika Wilde – 278pgs

Audiobook Listening:
Colonist’s Wife and Heart’s a Mess – Kylie Scott – 1hr 55min listening during the first 4 hours

See you guys in 4 hours for my next update! Have fun reading!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2017 in Read-A-Thon

 

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Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon – The Beginning!

Whoo-hoo! I can’t tell you how excited I am that its time for Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon again! This is my third time participating as a reader and the fourth or fifth as an observer/cheer support team. Last October when I participated, I read for about 22 of the 24hours (took a short nap in the afternoon and about a 15min doze around 6:45). Based on the October Read-a-thon, my goal is to read 2600 pages (I read just over 2500 last time) and listened to about 4hours worth of audiobooks. I know for sure that there will be significantly more audiobook listening this time round because of my goal to walk at least 20min every 2 hours and I have a 3hr bike trainer ride that I need to knock out (I figure doing that around 5am when I want to sleep will be a great way to keep me awake) and finish out the Readathon in a hot and sweaty style 🙂

I’ve been making my pre-readathon trips to the library for the last week or so. I have 2 methods of finding books to read – ones that are from series I am currently reading and need to request/reserve (even from inter-library loan) and those that just look interesting while i’m browsing the shelves. I also have my kindle loaded and borrowed the max number of audiobooks I could from Hoopla to listen to through the course of the day.

Here is a sample of some of my readathon library books:

What about you guys – are you participating in Readathon? If yes, what does your bookpile look like?

I’ll be back in 4hours to give you my first update – have fun reading!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2017 in Read-A-Thon

 

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Review – Angel of Death Row – Andrea D. Lyon

Angel of Death Row
Author: Andrea D. Lyon
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Nineteen times, death penalty defense lawyer Andrea D. Lyon has represented a client found guilty of capital murder. Nineteen times, she has argued for that individual’s life to be spared. Nineteen times, she has succeeded. Dubbed the “Angel of Death Row” by the Chicago Tribune, Lyon was the first woman to serve as lead attorney in a death penalty case. Throughout her career, she has defended those accused of heinous acts and argued that, no matter their guilt or innocence, they deserved a chance at redemption.

Now, for the first time, Lyon shares her story, from her early work as a Legal Aid attorney to her founding of the Center for Justice in Capital Cases. Full of courtroom drama, tragedy, and redemption, Angel of Death Row is a remarkable inside look at what drives Lyon to defend those who seem indefensible—and to win.

There was Annette who was suspected of murdering her own daughter. There was Patrick, the convicted murderer who thirsted for knowledge and shared his love of books with Lyon when she visited him in jail. There was Lonnie, whose mental illness made him nearly impossible to save until the daughter who remembered his better self spoke on his behalf. There was Deirdre, who shared Lyon’s cautious optimism that her wrongful conviction would finally be overturned, allowing her to see her grandchildren born while she was in prison. And there was Madison Hobley, the man whose name made international headlines when he was wrongfully charged with the murder of his family and sentenced to death.

These clients trusted Lyon with their stories—and their lives. Driven by an overwhelming sense of justice, fairness, and morality, she fought for them in the courtroom and in the raucous streets, staying by their sides as they struggled through real tragedy and triumphed in startling ways. Angel of Death Row is the compelling memoir of Lyon’s unusual journey and groundbreaking career.

Review:
Its always interesting to see where my Goodreads challenge reading takes me, since I know that the Angel of Death Row is likely not a book I would have picked up, if I wasn’t looking for a non-fiction book with a specific theme. These theme (in homage to the pioneering women in Hidden Figures), a non-fiction book about a women who was first to do something significant (which Ms Lyon most definitely did). I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical going in – I mean, when I think about Death Penalty cases – visions of people like Jodi Arias come to mind or the scene from The Green Mile (where they are using the electric chair) and my thought pattern was how can she defend people who seem indefensible (yes, I know that everyone deserves the best defense they can afford by our constitution), but its still hard for me…but that wasn’t what I got.

As soon as I started reading Angel of Death Row, I felt drawn to Ms Lyon – it was interesting seeing how when she made up her mind on her career pathway that nothing derailed her and seeing how she knowingly made choices that would set her career on the trajectory to become the first female to try a death penalty case in the US. Added to that, her experience as the only female on Task Force Homicide which was part of the Public Defender’s Office (which by the way, why do we never see anything more than the slovenly public defender on TV who is quickly replaced by a high-powered shark of a lawyer, who swoops in to save the day) – made her career progression all the more intriguing – I haven’t read a lot of biographies about individuals in the legal field (lawyers or judges) – so I can’t say what I expected a typical career to look like, but this isn’t what I expect (yeah, I know, totally vague there)…

It’s hard to go into the different cases that were mentioned in Andrea’s book – several of them are mentioned in the books description – but in so much more color/detail – at times, I felt like I was sitting in a kitchen with Ms Lyon while she interviewed a witness or trudging the streets with her while she tried to find that one person who would be able to exonerate her client. But her career wasn’t all roses, she had her ups and downs and in the writing of her book, she didn’t shy away from talking about those issues – including the impact that such a career has on a personal life.

I believe that Angel of Death Row should be a required reading book for law students, especially those who are maybe considering defending or prosecuting individuals charged with homicide. There is something that everyone could learn from reading it. I’ll be interested to see what derivative recommendations I get based on my reading of the Angel of Death Row.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

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Audiobook Review – The Marriage Games – C.D. Reiss

The Marriage Games
Author: C.D. Reiss
Series: #1 in the The Games Duet
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrators: Elena Wolfe, Sebastian York
Run Time: 9hrs, 15min
Audiobook Producer: Flip City Media Inc.
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
THIRTY DAYS
That’s all Adam Steinbeck demands of his wife.
Thirty days in a remote cottage, doing everything he demands. After that, he’ll sign her divorce papers and give her complete ownership of their company.
THIRTY DAYS
That’s how long he has to rediscover the man he once was. The Dominant Master he hid when he fell in love with her five years ago.
THIRTY DAYS
She wants the business they built badly enough to go to the cottage for a month. Cut off ties to the world and do his bidding. She can submit to him with her body, but her heart will never yield.
She thinks this is his pathetic attempt to repair their marriage.
She’s wrong.

Review:
The Marriage Games is the second of the two books in my Armchair Audies listens that I had previously read prior to the nominees being announced. I discovered C.D. Reiss last year when her Coda series was nominated for another Audie – so I was excited to see her with another nomination this year. But I will its hard to describe the initial disappointment I felt when I read The Marriage Games earlier in the year – reading it, I just didn’t feel the emotion that I felt like I should have – I just felt really detached from the whole storyline – which is a complete opposite experience to how I felt when I listened to it more recently.

Anyways, since I had already read The Marriage Games, I was able to invest myself more fully into my enjoyment of the audiobook – since I knew what was going to happen (although as normal, I did discover that there were things I had missed in my initial reading of it – which considering how long it took me to read it initially, is surprising). Since I was able to focus more on the audio than the story – let me tell you how much I LOVED the narration by Elena Wolfe and Sebastian York! I know like knees going weak, making me want to drool in sexiness type narration! (and I don’t say that often).

I love how audiobooks with dual narrators has developed over time – I have listened to all different combinations – predominantly one narrator with highlights of an other, narrators that alternate POV’s, but still narrate opposite gender if they appear in that specific POV and then there is a true duet, like the Marriage Games, where Elena and Sebastian were fully integrated so that Elena did all the female narration and Sebastian all the male – it was like listening to an actual conversation where there were multiple men and women speaking in a holistic way. I actually enjoyed my listen of the Marriage Games so much, that I went ahead and bought the second book in the duet (Separation Games) to listen to as soon as I was done – which I hadn’t felt inclined to do after I finished reading it a few months previously.

The Marriage Games was definitely a case where 2 brilliant narrators took a slightly less than impressive book (at least to me) and elevated it to knee-weakening level. While my rating for the Marriage Games stayed at 3.5 stars, the audiobook narration was easily 4.5 stars. Elena Wolfe and Sebastian York is a narrator duet that I would love to see more of.

 

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Review – Delectable – Mila West

Delectable
Author: Mila West
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Catherine Rousseau is an ambitious senator with a painful past. She sacrifices herself for her country and knows how to get what she wants. When she sets her sights on the Oval Office and amending the Constitution, she can’t afford to be distracted. Especially not by Harrison Parker, the sexy and brooding senator newly appointed to Congress.

But when they’re thrown together and their goals collide, will they find themselves chasing justice . . . and each other?

Review:
It isn’t often that I find a romance that features not one but two politicians and even less rare that they are on the same political party as each other…because that opposing party definitely would add tension to the story. So when I came across Delectable (via Kindle Unlimited), I was intrigued and so borrowed it to read. And then it languished on my kindle for close to a month (yeah, i’m one of those KU readers).

anyways, my biggest desire when I finished reading Delectable (and it only took me like an hour) was that it was slightly longer (it came in at just over 100pgs). I believe it had so much more potential with a more developed storyline – but instead I felt like portions of it were rushed and just felt like it was missing something. The end was satisfying and for me, the epilogue added that needed closure to Catherine and Harrison’s story.

While I enjoyed reading Delectable, and felt that Ms West had an engaging writing style, I ultimately needed a bit more to the story to give it a higher rating. I do hope to read more by her in the future.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

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A Month in Reading – March

“March is a month of considerable frustration – it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away.”
–  Thalassa Cruso

I found the above quote on a blog – and it took hits a head on how I’ve felt a majority of March. The weather seemed to go from warm (I think there were a few days where we hit 80 degrees) and then cold enough that I actually got a snow day from work (although snow by my house was more like slush…). It was hard to figure out what to wear to work each money – because without doubt, I would either freeze or fry on my way in. And I think this weather is part of what contributed to my reading funk. I just felt like everything I read this month (for the most part) was like a turtle slogging through molasses.

March Reading Stats:
Books Read: 15
– Fiction: 11
– Non-Fiction: 4
Audiobooks Listened to: 6.5 (one was about half listened to in Feb)
New to Me Authors: 7
In Progress Series Continued: 7
Re-Reads: 1 (or rather re-listens)

Shortest Book:
5My shortest book of the month came in as a “whooping” 51pgs when I decided to return to visit Knights Bridge in Christmas at Carriage Hill written by Carla Neggers. I also read 2 of the other books in this series during the month as I get caught up on it (mostly because I have the newest one in the series, fresh from the new release shelf at the library)

Longest Book:
My longest book (or rather audiobook) of the month was #12 in Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series at a legit 576pgs or 13hrs and 40min of listening! That being said, I definitely don’t recommend you do what I did and bounce around this series – because I was seriously lost with some of the background (I normally cringe about reading a series out of order, but this audiobook was an Audie nominee and I didn’t have time to go back and fill in the gaps with my listing)/

Books I was Looking Forward to in March (that I actually read!)
Of the three books I listed on my February summary post that I was looking forward to reading in March – I only actually got to one of them…but it was probably one of my more favorite reads of the month – there is a reason why Lisa Kleypas is a comfort read for me and Devil in Spring didn’t let me down. And I’m already trying to guess who I think the next couple in this series (if there is another book) might be…

Status of Armchair Audies Listening:
March brings to a close the first full month of my listening for the 2017 Armchair Audies (since the nominees were announced part-way through February). As of the end of March, I have listened to 5 of the 6 nominees in the Erotica category; 3 of 6 in the Young Adult category and haven’t even started the Paranormal category (although that is first on my list for April listening). Ok, actually I take that back – I started to listen to one of the paranormal books and kept getting distracted – so I need to try again (mostly because it was another late entry in a longer series and I haven’t read the previous books)…here’s to another solid month of listening in April!

Books I’m looking forward to in April
Razr – Larissa Ione (release date April 11) – an elf and an angel…that sold me the description right there – plus I loved all the previous books in the Demonica series, so a new addition is needed!
My Kind of You – Tracy Brogan – besides the epic cover love that I have for this book – Tracy’s characters are just so real and I love that many of her heroines are older than the ever popularly 20 year olds (and often divorced/widowed/have kids etc).
Blade Bound – Chloe Neill – i’m going to be sad to see the end of the Chicagoland Vampires series – Some Girls Bite (the first in the series) was one of the first reviews I ever posted on my blog wayyy back when. Its been a ride full of ups and downs but Ethan and Merit (or Methan) will always live on!

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2017 in Month in Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Winter – Marissa Meyer


Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: #4 in the Lunar Chronicles
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Rebecca Solar
Run Time: 23hrs and 30min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Review:
Winter is one of the two books out of the audiobooks on my Armchair Audies list that I had previously read – going back and looking at the notes I left to myself on Goodreads last year – my summary of the book could be summed up as follows – “thank god its over, it felt like it lasted forever.” It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the series because I did – its just that I felt this last book really dragged on because there were so many loose ends that needed to be tied up – almost like it needed a 5th book that was more of pulling all the bits and pieces together, while letting the 4th book be more about Winter – because honestly, I felt like her story was subsumed by what was going on with Cinder and Cress as they tried to free Lunar and its people from Levana.

This final installation in the series was full of action and adventure – but at the same time – it just got tiring both reading and listening to what was going on – there was no break, no recovery for the main characters. And yet, they managed to pull out success after success. Yes, I know that its fiction and suspension of disbelief is a thing but I was physically tried from listening to it – which is something that doesn’t often happen with audiobooks.

Rebecca Solar is a new audiobook narrator to me but I felt like she captured the young adult voice of the characters in Winter well. Her narration of Winter’s sweet innocent voice was about as I pictured it while reading the book. She managed to bubbly personality of Iko, as well as the more down-to-earth narration of Cress and Scarlet’s French accent. On the male aspect of the narration – her voices were solid – nothing that blew me away, but I didn’t hate them either. For a 23 hour audiobook, it was a pleasant listening experience, even if, as mentioned above, I was physically tired from listening when it was finally done. I’m sad to see this series end and yet – at the same time, I was happy to see it end (if that makes any sense…).

While my rating of the book stayed at 3 stars, I rated Solar’s narration as 4 solid stars – I have to wonder how my impression of the book would have changed, if I had only listened to it and not read it previously?

 

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