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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Timely and Terrifying -- The Handmaid's Tale (and then some) | Audible Ambassadors

It's the strangest thing.

Last month, I recommended The Handmaid's Tale as one of my top picks for a Women's History Month listenable, and it turns out that it's actually the focus of this month's Audible Ambassadors post!

The timing is not completely unexpected, of course, since the Hulu adaptation is premiering later this month (and yes, I am very eager for it. Might actually have to sign up for Hulu again. Or maybe I'm due for a free trial. . . ;P).

Whether in conjunction with this, or in some strange cosmic timing because the book is still so eerily relevant (maybe now more than ever), Audible has reissued a remastered and redeveloped special edition of the audiobook, narrated by the fabulous Claire Danes, which includes new exclusive content written by Atwood at the end of the novel!

From the brief from Audible:
The novel extends beyond the original final line, “Are there any questions?,” by adding the questions and answers that the people at that Symposium, occurring in 2195, might ask.
This is pretty significant stuff, if you ask me. That ambiguous, open-ended ending haunted me when I first read it, and I often use it as a sort of litmus test for whether someone is an optimist or pessimist. . . As it turns out, I'm a can't-make-up-my-mindest, because I go back and forth quite a bit on what I think really happened -- but before I get to spoiling things, maybe you have never heard of this landmark book, and have no idea what I'm talking about.
So, the official stuff:

Publisher's Summary 
"Are there any questions?" The final line in Margaret Atwood's modern classic, The Handmaid's Tale, has teased and perplexed fans since the book's original release more than 30 years ago. Now, in this Audible Original production, listeners get some of the answers they've waited so long to hear.
Featuring an all-new interview with Professor Piexoto, written by Atwood and performed by a full cast, The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition is a must-listen for both fans and newcomers alike. Emmy Award winner Claire Danes (Homeland, Temple Grandin) gives a stirring performance of this classic in speculative fiction, where the message (and the warning) is now more timely than ever. In addition to rich sound design that honors the audio origins of Atwood's classic, the special edition also includes a brand-new afterword from the author and an essay written by author Valerie Martin (Mary Reilly, Property).
After a violent coup in the United States overthrows the Constitution and ushers in a new government regime, the Republic of Gilead imposes subservient roles on all women. Offred, now a Handmaid tasked with the singular role of procreation in the childless household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost everything, even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life for mere glimpses of her former freedom, and records her story for future listeners.
Whether you're a fan of the original novel or someone who has recently discovered it, The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition will shock, impress, and satisfy all those who listen. 
The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition features performances by Claire Danes, Margaret Atwood, Emily Bauer, Allyson Johnson, Gabra Zackman, Suzanne Toren, Tim Gerard Reynolds, Jennifer Van Dyck, Ray Porter, Emily Cox, Lauren Fortgang, Dan Reiss, Prentice Onayemi, Therese Plummer, and Mark Boyett. 
©1985 O.W. Toad, Ltd. First American Edition 1986. Published by special arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

And trust me, it's a book you want to read. Or listen to.

Now of course, you don't have to choose The Handmaid's Tale as your selection in order to take advantage of Audible's free 30-day trial -- you can choose whichever amazingly narrated audiobook is calling to your heart and ears. (Feel free to browse around. There's a lot of them.)

But I'd definitely like to put in a good word for this one. It's one of my favorite books, by one of my favorite authors, narrated by an amazingly talented actress, and has special bonus content -- you just can't beat that.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible.  The opinions and text are all mine. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Four on the Fence | Mini-Reviews

By (surprisingly) popular demand, today we're looking at my thoughts on my most recent reads. I guess it has been awhile since we've had a review 'round these parts, huh?



Renowned fantasy writer Robin McKinley, author of the lush "Beauty and the Beast" retellings Beauty and Rose Daughter, has produced another re-mastered fairy tale, this time about the dreamy Sleeping Beauty. Much like in the original story, the infant princess, here named Rosie, is cursed by an evil fairy to die on her 21st birthday by pricking her finger on a spindle. That same day, Rosie is whisked away into hiding by a peasant fairy who raises her and conceals her royal identity. From that point on, McKinley's plot and characterization become wildly inventive. She imagines Rosie growing up into a strapping young woman who despises her golden hair, prefers leather breeches to ball gowns, and can communicate with animals. And on that fateful birthday, with no help from a prince, Rosie saves herself and her entire sleeping village from destruction, although she pays a realistic price. In a final master stroke, McKinley cleverly takes creative license when the spell-breaking kiss (made famous in "Sleeping Beauty") comes from a surprising source and is bestowed upon the character least expected.

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation...and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can't trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland...

“I plead the blood.”
Those were the last words seventeen-year-old golden boy quarterback Clay Tate heard rattling from his dad's throat when he discovered him dying on the barn floor of the Neely Cattle Ranch, clutching a crucifix to his chest.

Now, on the first anniversary of the Midland, Oklahoma slaughter, the whole town's looking at Clay like he might be next to go over the edge. Clay wants to forget the past, but the sons and daughters of the Preservation Society—a group of prominent farmers his dad accused of devil worship—won't leave him alone. Including Ali, his longtime crush, who suddenly wants to reignite their romance after a year of silence, and hated rival Tyler Neely, who’s behaving like they’re old friends.

Even as Clay tries to reassure himself, creepy glances turn to sinister stares and strange coincidences build to gruesome rituals—but when he can never prove that any of it happened, Clay worries he might be following his dad down the path to insanity...or that something far more terrifying lies in wait around the corner.

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though some of these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All opinions are honest and my own.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Hey, would you look at this? An actual written post.

I know, I know, it's been mostly vlog-central here for all of 2017 (and a good chunk of 2016), and I do intend to correct that and get back into actually writing some of the things for you. (Not all of the things. But some of the things.)
But time and an aching wrist are not my friends.

But I DID want to pop on quickly to tell you about three amazing bookish programs going on right now, that should be on every bookish person's radar.


Macmillan & National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Gene Luen Yang have challenged us to Read without Walls, a project aimed at helping us broaden our horizons and see things from other people's perspectives, and embrace the diversity of literature and points of view that are out there.
You can find some of the specific challenges here, or listen to Gene intro the project here:

Pretty neato.

I've been intending to put together a post of my own picks and suggestions, but... time. And an aching wrist.
I'll let you know when it comes to be.


Penguin Random House is hosting #ProjectReadathon, in which readers can stop by their "Read Well" website, read selections from books right then and there, and have the satisfaction of doing good, dammit.
From now until World Book Day (April 23rd), when you read on their site, up to 300,000 books will be given to Save the Children, based on visits and minutes read. So you can read for free, and feel really good doing it -- but you gotta hurry, because it ends this weekend!
They have tons of books to read from, so. . .  go check 'em out!


Speaking of free reads, Audiofile's Sync Audiobook campaign is about to kick off its 2017 season! If you're unfamiliar, this is an audiobook program that is aimed at getting teens to read (or listen) to more (and varied) books -- but who says it has to be limited to teens? Encourage the kids and teens in your life to take advantage of this awesome program, and while you're at it, get you some new reads to discuss with them!  (I won't tell.)
Every year, starting in late April and running through the bulk of the summer, they will be giving away free downloads to themed pairs of books every single week.
Titled include Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Of Beast and Beauty, Shadows on the Moon, Between Shades of Grey -- basically a ton of books that will be teen-friendly, but also appealing to most readers, combined with a second book, often non-fiction, that relates in some way to that week's title.

You can check out the full list of titles, and sign up for email reminders, on their dedicated website -- but remember, each title is only open for downloads for one week, so make sure to come back each Thursday when new titles drop!

And that's it for these three awesome campaigns that I thought you should know about. Know of any other cool bookish things that I should know about? Spread the word and let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#BOOKTUBE CHALLENGE: Book Spine Poetry for Nat'l Poetry Month!

Yep, that's right. I challenge YOU.
Anyone can do this -- even if they have to make use of someone *else's* books... You could even just make a list of the titles with plain ol' pen and paper, if you want!
For more examples, or to see how my brain works, you can find more of my book spine poetry in these posts.

For moreAnd you My book spine poem:

The last thing you said, words in deep blue --
the ask, and the answer;
nothing can possibly go wrong. . .
Love you.
Hate you.

Miss you.

[Books used: one  two  three  four  five]

Sunday, April 9, 2017


I'd hang my head in shame, but... it's currently being propped up by a stack of books... ;)


The Books:
Murder on the Eiffel Tower (from my mom)

Labyrinth Lost
and a cute Cinder pouch,  all courtesy of Liz @ Consumed By Books
(and I was right, the pouch is from Evie Seo's shop)

The Last Thing You Said
The Inconceivable Life of Quinn
Words in Deep Blue
Girl on the Verge

My Blind Fancy book box, which included
Girl in Translation
and a bunch of goodies, the unboxing of which you can see here

and a hand full of gardening and hand lettering books.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

UNBOXING: Blind Fancy Book Box!

Who's ready for a blind date?
I'm unboxing a new book box today, and I'm kinda in love with the idea of it!
Coupla side notes here, before we get into all the official deets:

* YES, I realize that the necklace is Hermione's wand. Shoulda used my eyeballs. ^_^

* Sorry for any shaky cam, my cat was insisting on being part of filming...

* And if you wanna try your hand at my Blind Date with a Book game while you wait for your Blind Fancy box to arrive, you can find that video here!

Blind Fancy offers you a perfectly personalized, subscription-free, blind date with a book! A quick quiz will match you with a MatchMaker who has the inside scoop on the genres that you love best!
Boxes come in two sizes, First Date and Double Date (I'm showing you the Double Date option), and it is a buy-as-you-go box, meaning you do NOT have to sign up for a recurring subscription! Feel like trying out a blind date book? Then you can do so, whenever you want, with whichever matchmaker you'd like!

And I hear through the grapevine that international shipping will be available soon!

Find out more or try out a box yourself, here: http://www.findyourfancy.xyz/

Use code BOOKTUBE2 for a discount on your box purchase!

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though this box was sent to me for review. I do NOT make a commission through use of the discount code, so if you're opposed to that sorta thing, no worries! Use it and save you some moola.


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