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It’s Monday – What are you reading?

book date its monday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme has had various host over the years and I’ve loved checking in with their different blogs – the newest host is Kathryn and The Book Date. I’m looking forward to following her and participating in this meme again 😉

As the end of 2015 rapidly approaches (am I the only one who finds it insane that 2016 is only 4 days away!), its time to look back at books read and listened. A time to re-evaluate reading and listening goals (2015 is actually the first time in about 6 years I probably won’t make my goal of 365 books and I’m not willing to short sell myself and read a bunch of novellas to get there). A time to think about any reading goals I might have for 2016 (I know reading more diverse fiction is probably going to be one of them). I also know it’s a time to look back at my blogging for the last year, which has been very patchy in places and come up with a plan (or an attempted plan) to try to cover down so that doesn’t happen again. As my mind continues to wander on things I need to think about for 2016, its time to look at what is on my plate for this last week of 2015 and what I read during Christmas week.

Last Week in Reading (and Listening):
career of evilWith my new commute to work that can be anywhere from 2-4 hours round trip a day (although i’ve yet to see close to the 2hr mark, its been more like 3-4hrs), I have had a lot of time to listen to audiobooks (yay!). Last week, I finished listening to both Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I had enjoyed the previous Galbraith books and Career of Evil was no exception, but I also felt like everything was wrapped up too quickly in the end – almost like the author had reached her page count and just wanted to get it done (looking back, I had similar thoughts about the previous 2 books in the series) and holy cliff-hanger at the end – ugh! As for Slaughterhouse-Five – I felt like I was missing something, it was a classic that just didn’t click with me – not sure why, but on the bright side, its another book off my 50 classics in 5years challenge (that I have been seriously slacking on).

burning brightOn the reading side of the house, I finished Angelfall by Susan Ee, Burning Bright – an anthology of Chanukah romances (see my review here, Call of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh Castle and finally, Prism by Faye Kellerman and her daughter, Aliza. I have to say overall, it was kind of a disappointing week of reading. None of the books got over 3.5 stars on my personal rating scale, and several were 2 star reads. Which was kind of a sucky way to tie up the Christmas reading break 😦 Here’s hoping this week will have some better ones!

Currently Reading (and Listening)
My current audiobook listen is AD 33 by Ted Dekker and if i finish that up, then my next one is, The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. the Inheritance of Loss will likely become my first audiobook listen of 2015 as well (since I signed up to do a Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day…even though its still like 60 deg by me).

when alpha purrsReading wise, I’m hoping to finish out the year by reading some favorite authors – right now I’m reading Eve Langlais’ When an Alpha Purrs – if you haven’t read Eve she writes comedic erotic romance with a paranormal theme. I am also reading The better angels of our nature by Steven Pinker as my HTTB (hoity toity thinkin book 😉 ). And my on deck pile includes Rosalind James’ Just in Time; Penny Reid’s Scenes from the City and Jennifer Ashley’s A MacKenzie Clan Gathering

I hope everyone has a great reading week and don’t forget to stop by The Book Date and let all of us know what you are reading this week 😉

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

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Seriously Saturday Series Catch-Up

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If you’re anything like me, you probably have first-book-series syndrome. Where you read the first book (or first couple) of a series, really like it then forget about it completely because there are so many new and shiny books out there (otherwise known as bight-shiny-new or BSN disease).

That’s why Cassi from Galavanting Girl and I teamed up to do a series challenge, the Seriously Saturday Series Catch-Up. And you are more than welcome to join us! Just pick which series you want to catch up on, make a goal and post how you’re doing once a month.

Create a list of series you want to complete during 2014. Share it on your blog, then join us the first Saturday of the month as we share about our successes (or failures) in this series finishing adventure.

My series (and this was much harder than I thought, I have at least 20 in progress):
1. Rizzoli and Isles – Tess Gerritsen (Book 10)
2. Temperance Brennan – Kathy Reichs (Books 13, 14, 15, 16)
3. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon (Book 8 – to be released in June)
4. Kari Vaara – James Thompson (Books 3 and 4)
5. Unwind – Neal Schusterman (Book 3 and 4 – book 4 due out in October)
6. Night Huntress – Jeanine Frost (Books 5, 6 and 7)
7. Chicagoland Vampires – Chloe Neill (Book 9)
8. Whiskey Creek – Brenda Novak (Book 6)
9. Lunar Chronicles – Melissa Marr (Book 3)
10. The Agency – Y.S. Lee (Book 2, 3, and 4 – book 4 due out in June)
11. Highland Pleasures – Jennifer Ashley (Books 5 and 6)
12. Barefoot Bay – Roxanne St Claire (Book 4)
13. Fast Track – Erin McCarthy (Book 7)
14. Dark Swan – Richelle Mead (Book 3 and 4)
15. Club Shadowlands – Cherise Sinclair (Books 7 and 8)
16. In Death – J.D. Robb (Books 19 and 20 – ok, so not really getting caught up, but attempting making a dent…and I have the entire series waiting for me, so who knows)

That gives me a grand total of 29 books that I’m aiming for in 2014.

What about you?

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Reading Events, Reading Plans

 

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The Armchair Audies – Romance – Summary

the audies

Armchair Audies

Last week, I finished listening to the last book that was nominated for the Romance category for the Audie Awards. As a quick recap, the nominees were:

Don’t Cry for Me, written by Sharon Sala, Narrated by Kathe Mazur, Produced by Audible,Inc.
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, written by Jennifer Ashley, Narrated by Angela Dawe, Produced by Tantor Media
Never Seduce a Scot, written by Maya Banks, Narrated by Kirsten Potter, Produced by Tantor Media
Scandalous Desires, written by Elizabeth Hoyt, Narrated by Ashford MacNab, Produced by Hachette Audio
The Witness, written by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Julia Whelan, Produced by Brilliance Audio

Overall, I found the nominees to be a good representation of the genre as it currently stands. Quite a bit of historical romance, but with a good romantic suspense, and a serial romance to round out the category. I’ve written reviews of each of the books nominated, but my general thoughts were:

The Witness – really liked Whedon’s narration of Robert’s book and it was one of my favorites by her recently. Definately a strong contender to be the winner.
Don’t Cry For Me – Unfortunately, Kathe Mazur’s (a narrator that I normally enjoy) couldn’t quite make up for a weak plot. This was probably the weakest book out of all the nominations for me.
Scandalous Desires – I have to admit that I was expecting a male narrator with a name like Ashford McNab – but enjoyed her narration. I found her Irish accent very strong and intriguing.
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie – this was a re-read/listen for me – but I don’t remember that much about my initial read, so I found it enjoyable. I liked Dawe’s narration and her scottish burr was pleasantly surprising, sometimes they are hit or miss with narrators.
Never Seduce a Scot – I really enjoyed this narration, although I think that Potter’s weakness is her male voices – I found that they just started to blend together and there wasn’t anything really distinctive. While not the weakest narration, I wouldn’t place it as a forerunner.

When I sit down and consider my listening experience with each of the books, the narration, the story in general and my overall enjoyment – I would rating them in the following order/prediction for winning:

1. The Witness
2/3. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie/Scandalous Desires
4. Never Seduce A Scot
5. Don’t Cry For Me

But I look forward to seeing what the official committee thinks when the awards are announced.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie – Jennifer Ashley

the audiesthe madness of lord ianThe Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Series: #1 in the Highland Pleasures series

Narrator: Angela Dawe
Run Time: 9hrs and 53 minutes
Publisher: Tantor Media

Description:
The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family–rich, powerful, dangerous, eccentric. A lady couldn’t be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them–of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz.

The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He’s also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women.

Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama–an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband.

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.

Review:
I rarely re-read books because for me there is just such a wide variety of new stuff out there, that going back and re-reading just seems like a waste of time. However, when tMoLIM was nominated for an Audie award for its audiobook narration in the category that I was listening to, I knew that I was going to be re-reading (or rather re-listening) to it in the near future. I have to say that my memories of my original read through were vague – I remember it being the current IT book and everyone raving about it, but when I read it, I was ultimately disappointed. It didn’t live up to the hype, was my opinion. However, when I started listening to the audio, I was pleasantly surprised. I realized that I had forgotten a good amount of plot points that made it a more enjoyable listen. I have to wonder, if I had listened to it the first time (if it had been available), would I have enjoyed it more – I think the answer is likely yes. However, since I did remember the outcome of the mystery that did kind of take away the enjoyment of the listen. But re-living Ian and Beth’s relationship again made up for it. As I am still reading the series, I love seeing how it all started because they play such a role in the other books.

I will admit that at first, I wasn’t sure about Angela Dawe’s narration – I had heard/read some reviews that didn’t bode to well for it. So I was surprised how enjoyable it was. I wouldn’t go out there and say that it was the best narration ever, but it was solid. I thought that she did a good job mixing up between Beth’s english tone and Ian’s scottish burr – as well as making sure that the other MacKenzie brothers sounded similar, but not the same (if that makes sense). Her pacing was good and I felt like overall the narration flowed well.

In my first read, I think I gave this book 3 stars, but after my re-listen, I am upping it to 4 stars and looking forward to listening to more in the series, as well as other narrations by Ms Dawe in the future.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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2013 Armchair Audies – Romance

Armchair Audies

What are the Armchair Audies?
The Armchair Audies are run by Jennifer over at the The Literate Housewife where all of us audiobook listeners can have an opportunity to listen to and review the audiobooks that have been nominated for the Audies. The Audies (for those who haven’t heard of them) are the annual awards for the audiobook community – similar to the Oscars, but on a much smaller scale.

The nominations were announced for the various categories this past week and I am excited to listen and review the ones that were nominated for the Romance category.

The nominees for Romance Novels in Audiobook form were:
Don’t Cry for Me, written by Sharon Sala, Narrated by Kathe Mazur, Produced by Audible,Inc.
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, written by Jennifer Ashley, Narrated by Angela Dawe, Produced by Tantor Media
Never Seduce a Scot, written by Maya Banks, Narrated by Kirsten Potter, Produced by Tantor Media
Scandalous Desires, written by Elizabeth Hoyt, Narrated by Ashford MacNab, Produced by Hachette Audio
The Witness, written by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Julia Whelan, Produced by Brilliance Audio

Of these nominations, I have only read one before (The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie) and 3 of the 5 narrators are new to me (Kathe Mazur and Julia Whelan have been on my previous listens list – Kathe for her narration of a couple books in Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series and Julia Whelan for her narration of Amy in Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)).

Over the next couple of months, until the announcement of the winners on May 30, I will be listening and reviewing these audiobooks. So stay tuned and look for the Armchair Audie logo at the top of the review.

audie nominees romance

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Armchair Audies

 

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