I have to admit before I picked up The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl I didn't know much about it. In fact I really didn't know much aI have to admit before I picked up The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl I didn't know much about it. In fact I really didn't know much about the author. It wasn't until I went to Book Expo America last May and had the good fortune to go to a part for the book anthology, Geektastic. It was at this party that met Barry Lyga and became interested in his books so shortly after returning home I picked up The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. Sadly though my Mt TBR is huge and it wasn't moving up very far so I was very excited when I saw the audio version sitting on the shelf of my local library. I popped in the first disc before leaving the parking and soon found myself taking the long way home.
The narrator, Scott Bick, was AMAZING in bringing to life all the characters...and what characters! Fan Boy, or Donny as called by his mom, is this awkward loaner with a huge chip on his shoulder. He assumes no one will like him for him and so he refuses to even try and so then isn't shocked when that is just what happens. In many ways, Donny prefers to exist on the fringes of High School society because then life is easier. As it tends to be easier to hate someone then to like them and there is a lot less chance of getting hurt. So, things are going well for Donny in that aspect until the day he meets Kyra, another soul that exists on the fringes. Together these two form a strange bond over their shared love of comic books, social status, and just general angst at the world around them. They are these two delightfully messed up people that with every page turn (well in my case change of the CD) you just want to know more. You want to know what makes Kyra tick and why Fan Boy has such a chip on his shoulder. Its a powerful story about what it means to be a friends and the treacherous waters known as high school. Lyga has a unique writing style and is a gifted story teller. He doesn't tell light and fluffy stories and he doesn't hold anything. He is one of the few adults that seems to remember what its like to be an awkward teen who doesn't fit into the mainstream waters of high school which just adds layers of realism to the story. He's an author that I'm glad to have met in person and I can't wait to read more by him.
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock is one of those books my book bully kept badgering me to read. So on her suggestion I went out and bought theDairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock is one of those books my book bully kept badgering me to read. So on her suggestion I went out and bought the paperback. However, that wasn't good enough for her....to truly appreciate the greatness of this book I needed to listen to it on audio. Never one to go against my book bully I immediately placed the audio version on hold at my local library. A few days later I was able to pop the first disc into my car radio and I was soon whisked away to Red Bend, Wisconsin by the mesmerizing voice of Natalie Moore.
Dairy Queen isn't a fast paced story its slow and mellowing and a nice change from the speed of every day life. DJ is such a relatable character I loved getting to know her. There is mystery trying to figure out the events that occurred to cause the split that divided her family. I also admired her courage in making the decision to try out for the football team. When I was in high school there was a girl who wanted to try out for the team, coming from a town where football is everything and watching the uproar that followed when she wanted to try out. So I could picture clearly the struggle that DJ went through...which wasn't as big a deal as I thought it might become. Dairy Queen was a fun story and enjoyed the time that I spent listening to it. I really need to start The Off Season so that I can find out what's next for DJ, her budding romance and re-connecting with her best friend. Dairy Queen was a great book to listen to on audio I really enjoyed Moore's narration and think I might have to check out some other books that she's narrated.
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere....more
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford is one of those novels that I’ve heard a lot of good buzz about. Everyone that I know who has reHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford is one of those novels that I’ve heard a lot of good buzz about. Everyone that I know who has read it seems to love it. So when I saw an audio sitting on the shelf of my local library I thought that I would give it a go. Wondering all the while if it would live up to the hype that I’d heard. Well, hype is the wrong word but I can’t think of one that will fit. This isn’t a book in which I hear people screaming about from the rooftops but its got this quiet and growing following that is harder to ignore then those who scream to be read. When you pick up Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet know that there are no big bangs or earth shattering revelations. Instead there is just this rich story about a boy and a girl and the cruel realities of living in a world during a time of war. The story is told in two parts, there is 10 year old Henry living in Chinatown in the 1940’s war is raging in Europe and there is an ever growing disdain for people of Japanese decent. The other is through Henry’s eyes as a fully grown man still living in the same area of Seattle but in a world that is far far different from his youth. This story is also about a Japanese girl named Keiko who Henry meets at the white school that his father insists on sending him to and that of Henry’s son, a modern boy who thinks that his father is stuck in the past and old ways.
Words can’t describe just how amazing this story was. Jamie Ford has such a gift with words and story telling that I often thought that I was right there in the story standing next to Henry and seeing the world through his eyes. My heart leapt when his did and it broke when Henry suffered. I would sometimes find myself talking over the narrator of the audio – speaking to Henry’s son telling him that he didn’t understand, that if he knew all that his father had gone through he’d be in awe of him.
Speaking of the narrator, can I just say that I loved Feodor Chin’s voice? He did an amazing job with this book and the accents. There were never any issues in trying to determine who was speaking as he had such distinct twists for all the different characters. I really enjoyed listening to this audio, not just because it was a great story but because the narrator was just so good. This is definitely a narrator that I am going to be on the look out for later on. Just as Jamie Ford is an author to watch. His words are pure poetry and his words are so amazingly drawn. I know I keep saying that but its true. Just as its equally true that I really can’t find the words to fully express just how wonderful this story is. So rather than hear me gush fantastic about it I strongly suggest that you go and discover it for yourself.
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere...more
I listened to this in my car and loved every minute of the story. There is a little of everything in this book. There are moments that make you laughI listened to this in my car and loved every minute of the story. There is a little of everything in this book. There are moments that make you laugh and ones that make you cry. I laughed through most of this book but there were also many moments where the deeper meanings of love and loss and learning all come to the surface. This is a wonderful coming of age story where you can see as Holling Hoodhood starts off as a boy and grows into a man. I loved the use of Shakespeare in this story and I hope that it shows the people who read it that Shakespeare isn't scary and that there is something to be found in his plays for everyone. I also loved how this story highlights the role of teachers. Throughout ones schooling there are always one or two teachers that always stay with your for one reason or another. The character of Mrs Baker embodies all those great teachers that I once had. This is a wonderful story and I highly recommend it to all....more
Place(s) Traveled to: Queendom of the Fells // Marisa Pines // Fellsmarch
First Line: Han Alister squatted next to the steaming mud spring, praying that the thermal crust would hold his weight.
A few years back I attended my first Book Expo America and while there I picked up a book with a beautiful cover and intriguing title and when I saw that it was Fantasy I kinda fell in love. Then when I entered it into Goodreads I learned that it was Book 2 in a new series from Cinda Williams Chima. I then let out a little sigh and put it on my shelf and eventually remembered to buy the first book so that I could finally get to it. Since I've recently been on a bit of a fantasy kick I decided to revisit this series with the pretty covers and intriguing titles but couldn't find my copy of The Demon King anywhere....so I did what anyone would do...I went to the internet and downloaded the audio from my precious audible.com account. Because having a duplicate copy of a book in a different format is way different than having a duplicate in the same format...right? Or am I just a crazy book addict? Well, that's a discussion for another day...this is about a wonderful new world that I wish I'd discovered earlier.
In many ways, The Demon King is like most other fantasy books out there. Fantasy, like most genres, does have a particular formula about it. There is that special boy that no one really considers to be special until something extraordinary happens to catapult him into the spotlight. Then there is the dastardly villain and somewhere in the mix there is the token girl - sometimes she's a strong alpha character and others she's the princess in a tower waiting for rescue. In other ways, The Demon King breaks the mold in that the hero and heroine of the story don't really interact all that much. They aren't childhood friends and they aren't traveling companions....in fact they don't really like each other much when they first meet.
For the most part, I really enjoyed the world that Chima created with the Fells. I liked her villains and am curious to see where events will go after the set up in this first book. I am curious to see how the paths of all the characters we've come to know if this book will cross in the next one. And yes, the romantic in me is curious to see which boy Reisa will set her sights on because she has several options and she's not scared to explore them all to find that right person for her. Oh I have an inkling as to who she'll ultimately choose but I just love all the possibilities that Chima has set up.
What bugged me in this story was that there was a solid dual-POV perspective of story telling set up. There where scenes/chapters loosely divide up between Han and Reisa and while they weren't regularly divided it worked for the pacing of the story. Then about 1/2 way through the book we're tossed randomly into the head of a third character for no reason other than it made moving the plot along just a little easier and to me it came across as a bit of a cop out. Rather than try to find a way to use the two characters we'd come to know to get over a difficult patch we get this whole new person and it jolted me out of the story. I like the character of Eamon as a secondary character and seeing inside his head wasn't a horrible thing...but I just wish that this POV had been established from the start to keep the flow and consistency going from the start of the book all the way until the final chapter.
I fell in love with this world. I think listening to this one helped to really bring the world of Fellsmarch to life as the words in an audio seem to be infused with new meanings and power. When someone reads a story to you, you are forced to slow down and really listen to the words. When you read a physical book you can speed over the words in that mad rush to find out what happens. But in an audio you are at the mercy of the narrator and while it can be frustrating sometimes to not be able to rush through. There is also a joy to be had in being forced to slow down and really become immersed in the world. The world in The Demon King is very rich and vivid and its one that I would highly recommend to be experienced in its audio form.
Whatever the form you prefer though this is a great book for anyone out there who loves a good fantasy. Yes, it does follow the formula but rather than be a stale retelling of some other story it takes the foundations set up and builds a strong story that is independent of its roots. The characters are all wonderful in their roles and I look forward to meeting them all again in The Exiled Queen. They are strong and weak and flawed and just so very human and relatable. The world is vividly constructed and while you are in the story you believe that it is real. And really, as a reader, isn't that what you long for in a book?
About the narrator Carol Monda is a new narrator for me but she is one that enjoyed listening to. She was good with all the various voices, most of the time, and it was never hard to tell who was speaking when. Although there were times in which the same voice was used for different people but fortunately it was never in the same scene so confusion was avoided. I enjoyed her narration so much that I am considering ignoring the print copy that I have of The Exiled Queen just to download and listen to her rendition of that book as well. To see how she brings that book to life....the only thing that is currently stopping me is how quickly my audio TBR pile is growing! I really need to take a really long road trip with someone who also like audios so that I can make a bigger dent in my pile! This review was originally posted on Ticket to Anywhere