Monday, September 28, 2015

TTT: Ten Books to Read If You Like Narnia/Artemis Fowl

Top Ten Tuesday, a lovely book meme put together
by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.

Trying to settle on only one title proved quite difficult, so I wound up giving suggestions on two separate titles, because once I got going I didn't want to stop. Since the goal is to try pointing out new books for people, I've stayed away (mostly) from the series everybody's heard of and focused on some really great, but sadly lesser known, titles.

If you like The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis...

The Dream Keeper by Mikey Brooks
This is about two kids who are tasked to save the land of Dreams. With how often they jumped from our world to another, it had a strong sense of The Wood Between the Worlds from The Magician's Nephew.

Half Magic by Edward Eager
This is such a clever, clever story. It has the same distinct English nostalgia in its telling as Narnia and playing with the magic is so fun.

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards
Yes. That Julie Andrews. Again, this has the same distinct feel as a Narnia book -kids being pulled into a magical place and having fantastic adventures.

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit
Seriously, it's that feeling again. There's just this quintessentially English essence oozing from certain books, especially great children's fantasies, that inextricably link them across time and space.

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
This is considered a classic, but it's also old enough I'm not certain many people read it. I adore this book. I discovered the audio version when I was about twelve and listened to it probably a dozen times before I was fourteen.

Larklight by Phillip Reeve
This series doesn't have tons in common with Narnia -except the whole quintessential English thing and kids going off on adventures- but I think readers will still like it. Plus it has space ships. Like, ships with masts and sails and riggings in space. Think Treasure Planet in Victorian England. So maybe some parallels with the Dawn Treader after all...

Goblin Secrets by William Alexander
This is another great fantasy to introduce kids to the genre and to good stories in general. It has goblins and sentient rivers and magic in the form of acting, along with child-size bites of love, loss, and the powerful bonds of family.

If you like the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer...

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathon Stroud
This possess the same kind of snark in the narration, an equally rich and incredibly developed magical parallel to the real world, and a too-smart-for-his-own-good child anti-hero who must invariably rely on his own captive for assistance and winds up butting heads with a stubborn and strong-willed young woman from an underground organization.
Okay, I didn't actually realize how many similarities it had until I wrote that paragraph. Weird.
(They're totally different though, I promise.)

Simon Bloom, Gravity Keeper by Michael Reisman
Science. Is. MAGIC.

Last, but certainly not least,
The Crystal Bridge by Charlie Pulsipher
Much like Colfer does, Pulsipher has a fantastic and fascinating way of interweaving magic and science. It's hard to pinpoint this as either a fantasy or a sci-fi, because it is literally both. It has dragons and an AI, elves and wormholes.

Thanks for stopping by this week! Do you have any suggestions to add?

Monday, September 21, 2015

TTT: Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme by those fabulous bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish.

1. The Forever Man (W.A.R.P. #3) by Eoin Colfer
2. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
These two I currently have on my shelf (along with a few others) and hope to get them read by the end of the month.

3. Finnegan Zwake series by Michael Dahl
4. Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy
These two series will make up the bulk of my October reading, hopefully. They're both mysteries, which I annually inhale during this spooky month, and Skulduggery has a living, flame-throwing, skeleton sorcerer detective, so bonus.

5. Shadowed Glass (The Lost Shards #3) by Charlie Pulsipher
6. The Afterlife Academy by Frank L. Cole
These are both new releases that I need to get my hands on.
7. The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein
My sister just told me about this book and it sounds AWESOME so I have to squeeze it in somewhere.
8. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer (released November 10)
This one, I obviously can't read until November. Sooo faaaar aaawwwaaaayyy...

And of course, I haven't quite hit the goal for my Star Wars books this year. I can't get distracted now.

9. STAR WARS The Final Command by Timothy Zahn
10. STAR WARS Dark Empire by Tom Veitch
11. STAR WARS The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime by R.A. Salvatore

There's my Top Ten for fall. Thanks for stopping by?

What's on your Fall TBR?

Monday, September 14, 2015

TTT: Top Ten Audiobooks

Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's Top Ten topic is a freebie and, since half the time with these lists 
I'm gushing about which are fantastic audiobooks, my choice was a no-brainer. And so, in no particular order:

1. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, narrated by Rob Inglis
Inglis has a deep, resonating English voice absolutely perfect for Tolkien's Middle Earth. And he sings so well.


2. The Redwall series by Brian Jacques, featuring full cast narrations
It's not only full cast. Brian Jacques himself acts as the narrator on these versions. THE AUTHOR IS LITERALLY READING HIS BOOK TO YOU.

3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle, narrated by the author.
Speaking of authors reading their books to you... She also narrated versions of A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

4. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede, narrated by Bruce Coville's WORDS TAKE WING full cast narration
I'm pretty sure I've mentioned these once or a dozen times.

5. Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, narrated by Nathaniel Parker
My introduction to this series were the audios for The Arctic Incident and The Eternity Code. I'd already fallen in love with Parker's narration, and Colfer's brilliant story just made it a hundred times better.

6. Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz, narrated by Nathaniel Parker
If you're wondering, yes, this is where I fell in love with Parker's narration. My sister and I stumbled on this audiotape (yes, cassette tapes) at the library and listened to it obsessively for two or three years, always wishing in vain for more books in the series. Until, of course, we had the sense to Google it and realized there were already four more books in the series. Alas, the rest of them are narrated by Simon Prebble who, while good, simply isn't Nathaniel Parker.

  "This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it." -The Princess Bride by William Goldman

These next four books are among those that I have never literally *read.* They're some of my favorites but part of their perfection remains in the audio versions.

7. Flushed by Carl Hiaasen, narrated by Michael Welch
Okay. You got me. I think the only reason I even picked up this audio oh so many years ago was because the narrator was in an episode of Stargate SG-1, as a young Jack O'Neill.

Luckily, it turned out to be an excellent book. I've read a few other Hiassen's since, but this is my favorite by far. It has a much less political/environmentalist/shoving-my-agenda-down-your-throat feel than the others, it's hilarious, and it has an awesome older brother/younger sister relationship.

8. Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay, narrated by Julia Sawalha

9. Holes by Lois Sachar, narrated by Kerry Beyer

10. The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carmen, narrated by 
This was another chance discovery made by my sister and I one day hunting through the library shelves. It's a fantastic book, one of the first who presented me with an utterly unlikable character who actually grew into one of my favorites. It was fun, interesting, and something we listened to so often we practically had it memorized. The next two books unfortunately were not as enjoyable, and I haven't listened to any past that. Despite that, it remains a favorite.

There's more than 10. I'm really into audiobooks. Tomorrow I'll probably think of a dozen more I *should* have put on the list.

11. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry, narrated by John McDonough
This might actually be the first audiobook I ever fell in love with, if not listened to.
This was later re-done by Edward Hermann (that's Richard Gilmore in Gilmore Girls) and, while I love his voice and he did a good job, I will always favor John McDonough's version over his.

12. Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper by Michael Reisman, narrated by Nicholas Hormann
Hormann's voice not only has a great accent, but a spectacular quality. It's whimsical; like the twinkle of a joke in someone's eye that's actually a secret. Don't believe me? Give it a listen. And trust me. It's a perfect fit with the tone of the story.

And there's twelve of my favorite audiobooks! What are some of yours?

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Bookshelf Tour

First of all, a huge thank you to all of my followers, because I just hit 400 subscribers on YouTube. Woohoo!

Today I have for you my very first Bookshelf Tour. I'm excited for this. I've always wanted to do one but, to be honest, I was embarrassed by my bookshelves before. Now that I have three new beauties for all of my books, embarrassment no more! ^_^

A lot of content had to be cut, including the bottom three shelves and several behind-the-knick-knacks stories. Let me know if you're interested in seeing these and I can cobble together another video.

Thanks for watching, everyone! Have a fantastic weekend.

Monday, September 7, 2015

TTT: Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish

Look! New pages! I've added a master list of all of the book reviews I have done here and on my YouTube channel. I couldn't decide how best to arrange them, because there are two kinds of review readers. a.) Those looking for reviews of a specific book; b.) Those searching good reviews for something new to read.

Here is my solution:
 Now on with the TTT!
It's been awhile since I've played with one of these book memes from The Broke and the Bookish, but unfinished finished series are kind of my kryptonite.

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
I've read the first two books of this series so far and I love them. Humor, magic, an undead skeleton detective-sorcerer, and a whole magic underworld in Dublin, Ireland. Plus some really cool cars. These are pretty fast reads. My plan is to grab the whole series and have myself a truly themed October TBR.
Then perhaps I can finally make my sister and my all-things-Derek-Landy-and-Skulduggery buddy Georgina over at BritishBiblioholic proud.

Finnegan Zwake by Michael Dahl
This is an out of print middle grade mystery series that I got for Hanukkah last year and -to my everlasting shame- still have not finished. I've read three of the five books. Hopefully this series will be the rest of my October TBR. I have a thing about mysteries in October, since my family never really did Halloween. I also have a thing about overestimating the amount of books I can read in a month. Have you noticed?

Hero's Guide series by Christopher Healy
For how much I completely adored the first book in this series (see review) I haven't read the other two yet.

Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
I own the first five books of this series and read the first one about six or seven years ago. I really enjoyed it. The primary reason I haven't read more is length. This is a series that needs to be read together, so I'm going to designate a year to read them. At some point. Yeah.

Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz
I'm getting through this series slowly but surely. It seems like every six months or so I pick up the next one, but the story line is starting to be become interconnected enough that I don't think that will work anymore. I dislike ghost stories and a lot of stuff dealing with the supernatural and books with overly depressing events. Odd Thomas has a mix of all three of these, and somehow Dean Koontz makes it not only palatable, but enjoyable, writing with a quirky sense of humor and a veil of mystery around the supernatural elements that has yet to get old.

The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica by James A. Owen
This is another series best read all at once. I've read the first two books, but so far apart that it was pretty jumbled and confusing. It's a really interesting idea and definitely something I need to finish once I carve out some time to do so.

The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
I literally just finished the second book, Dark Force Rising. At 1am this morning. I couldn't sleep until I finished it and WHERE'S THE NEXT BOOK?!

The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix
This series I intentionally haven't finished. I could tell this was one that needed to be read all at once, so I was waiting until it was finished. Well, the final book came out this past year, so... *looks for empty slot on TBR*

The Ink series by Cornelia Funke
I really have no excuse for not having finished this one yet.

The Dream Keepers series by Mikey Brooks
I'm going to read these before Mikey strangles me. I swear. So many friends have recommended this series and I have absolutely no excuse for not finishing it yet. This will be one of my September reads. In fact, let me move it over to my 'Currently Reading' shelf right now...

Thanks for stopping by! To finish this off, may I present you with a photograph of my aforementioned 'Currently Reading' shelf. These are all the titles I (laughably) hope to read this month.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

August Wrap Up + Book Haul

First up, just a reminder about my Book Giveaway going on right now! I have three e-copies of Cheree Alsop's Werewolf Academy: Chosen to give out to some lucky winners. This giveaway closes Monday, Sep 9, so get your entries in. This is open internationally, so now you have no excuses. ;)

Now sit back and enjoy my August Wrap Up video! All the links are listed down below.

What I Read:
Secret Avengers vol 1 & 2 by Ales Kot
3 stars | Goodreads review
Thor: God of Thunder vol 1-3 by  Aaron
4 stars
Stolen Magic by Gail Carson Levine
4 stars
Library Wars vol 12 & 13
5 stars
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz
5 stars
Sidekicked by John David Anderson
4 stars | Video | Blog
Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs
4 stars | Video | Blog
Marrow by Preston Norton
4 stars | Blog

The Blog Posts
Giveaway + Writing Update

Amanda & the Star Wars Summer
Episode I | Episode II | Video
Book Haul: 
The Well of Ascension
Legion & Legion: Skin Deep
Infinity Blade: Redemption & Awakening
The Emperor's Soul
Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell
Perfect State 
all by Brandon Sanderson
 Dungeoneers by John David Anderson 
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Trixter & Tales of Arilland by Alethea Kontis