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Currently Browsing: Listen Up!
Jan
29

Listen Up! Audiobook Review: Murder of Crows

Listen Up! Audiobook Review: Murder of Crows Welcome to my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Getting used to a narrator Last week I shared by audiobook review of Written in Red, and I gave narrator Alexandra Harris a C+ for her performance. This week, I bring to you my review of the second book in The Others series, Murder of Crows, also narrated by Ms. Harris. This time around, I found I enjoyed her delivery more, and it even felt “natural” and “the right fit” during many moments. I’ve found in general that even if I don’t love the performance of a narrator the first time, their interpretation of the characters tends to grow on me throughout the book, and even more with subsequent titles in a series. Why is this? Does the performance truly get better with each book? Sometimes, yes. I noticed that with Holter Graham’s interpretation of Native American Charles from the Alpha and Omega series. Graham slightly altered his performance between titles and created a better voice for the primary character. Other times, I think my improved rating of a narrator is because, for better or for worse, after listening to a couple of books, that narrator’s voice becomes the character for me. I think that’s true with The Others series. While I didn’t love the narration the first time around, I found that Harris’s voice for Meg became so familiar to me that it was soothing in many ways, and I can’t imagine anyone else in the roll. There are times when narrators do become more annoying upon subsequent listens. For example, I am currently listening to the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost and narrated by Tavia Gilbert. Overall, I enjoy her work, but Gilbert’s voice for Cat’s mom grinds on me, and only gets worse with each listen. However, her character is also annoying, so maybe that is the point! Whatever the reason, generally once I hear a narrator read a book in a series, I tend to enjoy his/her performance more with each subsequent title. Audiobook review: Murder of Crows Author: Anne Bishop Narrator: Alexandra Harris Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: The Others #2 Murder of Crows is the second tale from the wickedly interesting world created by Ms. Bishop. Directly following the conclusion of the first book, Written in Red, the story focuses on the Lakeside Courtyard, its human and Other residents, and how life is changing because of the Blood Prophet, Meg Corbyn. I strongly suggest reading the first book in the series prior to this...
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Jan
22

Listen Up! Listening Speed + Review of Written in Red

Listen Up! Listening Speed + Review of Written in Red Welcome to my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Listening Speed When I first began my journey into and eventual love affair with audiobooks, I was a little put off by how slow that first book was for me. It felt like I was being read to, rather than feeling immersed in the story. Let’s face it, we all read faster than we speak. Additional, most people tend to skim, even subconsciously, some text, which is something you really can’t do when listening to an audiobook. It was then that I discovered that the Audible app, as well as Overdrive and other audio playback apps, allowed me to quicken the playback speed of the narration. For example, Audible has seven listening speeds: 0.75x, 1x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 2x, 2.5x, and 3x. For most books, I like the 1.25x speed. It quickens voices just enough to feel more like a conversation, rather than being read to, but not so fast that it approaches chipmunk speed. Feeling more like a conversation is critical for my enjoyment of the book, as well as allowing me to feel like I’m part of the story. There are some narrators that I prefer to keep at 1x speed because of accents used, or their speaking speed is naturally faster. And I definitely keep the speed at 1x or less when listening to books with my young daughter because she needs extra time to process what’s being said. The bottomline is that generally, you have many options for creating a better listening experience. I suggest playing around with the speed to see if you find something that makes you more happy! Audiobook review: Written in Red Author: Anne Bishop Narrator: Alexandra Harris Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: The Others #1 Written in Red is a wonderful blend of unique mythology and extensive world-building, crossing the line between the urban fantasy and fantasy genres. Taking place on an alternate version of Earth, the book shares the story of two race of beings: the humans and the Others. The Others are shape-shifting beings who learned to “take the shape of humans” so that they could communicate and trade with the humans. But make no mistake, the Others rule the earth and consider humans prey. Meg Corbyn is a special human: she can see glimpses of the future when her skin is cut. Considered the property of her controller, Meg has been held captive her entire life and never been allowed to experience life outside...
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Jan
15

Listen Up! The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

Listen Up! The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin Welcome to my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Grendel Affair Author: Lisa Shearin Narrator: Johanna Parker Audio Speed: 1x Series: SPI Files #1 Makenna Fraser is a newbie at SPI New York and the only seer in the U.S. Although she is human, she has the ability to see through all veils and illusions, allowing her to know a being’s true, hidden nature. With an unknown group of vicious monsters straight out of literature ready to slaughter the Time Square party-goers at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, Mak and the entire SPI team are on a race against time to save Manhattan, and the entire world, from the start of a deadly war between humans and paranormals. The Grendel Affair is an entertaining, humorous story, and the start to a promising new urban fantasy series. I discovered the SPI series while reading a prequel novella in the Night Shift Anthology. I liken the premise to the Men In Black movies, except with supernatural beings instead of aliens. Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) operates with the purpose of protecting both supers and humans from the preternatural beings who mean to do harm. In addition, they help keep supernatural beings hidden from the general human public. Now they face a deadly adversary who wants to expose the presence of all supernaturals and feels that humans should be put back in their place as cattle fodder for the more powerful beings. I enjoyed the premise of the story, which held my attention with its high-octane plot. The author does a fabulous job of developing the world while keeping the story moving forward. Ms. Shearin weaves complexity and multiple layers into the storyline without creating confusion. The story is told via first person POV of Mak, who injects sarcasm and humor into every scene. I like that she’s realistic and knows her limitations as a “mere human.” Yet, she has an underlying strength of character that caused this reader to cheer for her when she goes head-first into the most dangerous of situations. She’s not perfect, and watching her make mistakes allows the reader a chance to relate to and develop a connection with Mak. My biggest complaint about the story is the amount of repetition throughout the tale. I am going to chalk it up to freshman story syndrome, hoping that now that the author has firmly established this new world, she won’t...
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Jan
8

Listen Up! The Re-Read + Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Listen Up! The Re-Read + Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews Welcome to the first post of my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… THE RE-READ: For many, to include myself, audiobooks are a learned pleasure. Figuring out how to listen attentively and appreciate the nuances of the narration can take a newbie some time. Listening to a book you’ve read previously is a great way to break into audiobooks. This is especially true if you loved the book, and it is narrated by a top-tier performer. I started my love affair with audiobooks in this manner. I completed a “re-read” of the Kate Daniel series by Ilona Andrews and narrated by Renee Raudman. It took about two books for me to get into a groove, but once I hit my stride, I couldn’t get enough of the books in the audio format. It was nice because if I missed a scene or two, I generally knew what was happening. This allowed me to figure out how to better listen and determine which are key moments not to miss. Eventually, I was able to take these learned experiences into new-to-me books with great success. Want to try and audiobook? See if your online library has one of your favorites and give it a go. Now, here is my audiobook review of a book I read and reviewed in 2014. Burn for Me – Audiobook review Author: Ilona Andrews Narrator: Renee Raudman Audio Speed: 1.25x My first audiobook review of 2015 is a re-read. I first read Burn for Me back in October 2014 as a digital ARC for a review. Since my review still holds many truths, I am not going to repeat it all. Here are a few key points I wish to reiterate about the story. Burn for Me kicks off a brand new series. I classify The Hidden Legacy series firmly in the urban fantasy genre, with a slow building romance that I expect will take three or so books to come to fruition. The modern-day world has an alternate history, one that saw the development of magical powers in humans. Not everyone has these powers, such as telekinetics and pyrokinetic, and modern society equates the strength of one’s abilities with power and social rank. It is unique, yet familiar enough that it comes together easily. Several characters are introduced almost immediately, and the reader needs to pay attention because they all come back before the end of the book. Burn for Me focuses on and is told from the...
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Dec
28

What’s Coming in 2015

What’s Coming in 2015 I am super excited about 2015! I’ve joined some reading/listening challenges, added some new weekly features, and will be co-hosting #FitReaders with The Geeky Blogger. I’m in the process of organizing my blog to showcase the new features. You’ll see new titles in the top menu and new buttons on the sidebar. Here’s more about what’s in store for 2015… GoodReads Reading Challenge This year I’ll be participating in the GoodReads reading challenge once again. I count all books – novels and novellas (as long as published as a separate book), and all formats – audiobooks, paperbacks, hardcovers, and ebooks! I’ve challenged myself to 130 books, which is 5 more than I finished in 2014. Where you’ll find it: Once it is available, I’ll post the 2015 GoodReads widget on my sidebar. You can also find me on GoodReads. 2015 Audiobook Challenge This one is new for me! Now that I’m a big fan of audiobooks, I’ve joined the 2015 Audiobook Challenge hosted by The Book Nympho & Hot Listens. I’ve signed up at the My Precious Level (I had my earbuds surgically implanted): 30-50 audiobooks during the year. I’ll be posting quarterly updates, if not more frequently. Where you’ll find it: Posts will have this awesome button, which I’ve also included on my sidebar, so you too can sign up! Also, you’ll see there is a new link for Audiobook Challenge Updates. Those will be posted at least quarterly. Listen Up! Oh, I am super excited about this! In 2015, I’m starting a new blog feature entitled Listen Up! (thank you Book Nympho for the name suggestion!). The weekly feature will come to you every Thursday and will focus on audiobook reviews, narrator interviews, guest posts from other audiobook listeners, etc. Where you’ll find it: I’ll have fresh posts every Thursday right here at the blog. Plus, I’ve got a new menu option in the top menu and a button on the sidebar. #FitReaders I can’t believe it’s almost the end of 2014! I started my #BookBlogWalkers journey on January 6, 2014 with two simple goals – track my food/drink intake and move with purpose for 10 minutes each day. Almost one year later and I’m walking on average over 40 minutes per day (45 minutes per workout)!!! I’ve lost 25 pounds and achieved my goal weight – maintaining since September. I’m so proud of myself when I look at where I was a year ago. And I honestly could not...
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