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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Week THREE of the #30DayBookBinge -- I'm on a roll, y'all!

Another week bites the dust! Enjoy the stroll down memory lane, 'cause... I found a box of old stuff. ^_^
And I am on a roll with this #30DayBookBinge, y'all. Loving. It.
Alsoooo, sorry for the occasionally super quiet, whispery voice. That's what I get for vlogging at bedtime...

Yes Please

Also Mentioned:
More of Me
In the Woods
Critical Role

Unthunk -- Perpetuum
Podington Bear -- La Di Day

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

In It For The LOLS. . . | Audible Ambassadors [ad]

As any of you who have been following (or participating in!) the #30DayBookBinge will know, I've been getting in a lot of audibook time while I garden this month. Yes, yes, I took my own advice -- shocking, I know.

And I've come to realize something -- the audiobooks that win me over, that I tend to reach for, that I'm most excited about -- now, right here and right now -- are all really freaking funny.

They can be funny in different ways, from the dry yet absurd The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, to the off-beat and zany  Yes Please, or even the sorta-sexy-but-also-really-damn-funny Austentatious, which I've talked about before.  It can be hard to lure me into audiobooks sometimes, because I am very picky about narrators and voices and pacing and all kinds of other things that I can use as excuses. But a good, funny narrator? Well, then it really doesn't much matter what the story is, tbh.

If it's funny enough to make me forget I'm weeding my garden or doing my dishes (my god, how I loathe doing dishes...), then I'm in. And if makes me inelegantly laugh-snort, then all the better. I like an audiobook -- and a narrator -- that makes me feel light, that makes me feel happy, that makes me feel like I'm listening to an old friend. . .

That said, I know there's a whole big world of audiobooks and experiences out there that I should really be dipping my toes into. Some of you have recommended books in the past that were fantastical and mythological, because hearing the language and pronunciation helped transport you to the world (an experience which my listening of Exquisite Captive validates). I know others who love a good scary audiobook, because the around-the-campfire vibes help send the shivers down their spines.

So my question to you is: what type of story or narrator helps transport you when you listen to audiobooks? Or more importantly, which really, really excellent ones do you recommend I try?!

And if you're curious to try any of the books I mentioned (or any of the many other riotously funny audiobooks out there), remember, you can get the book of your choice, absolutely free!! as part of a FREE 30-DAY TRIAL TO AUDIBLE. So. . . take advantage of that.
(Seriously. Take my advice sooner than I take my advice. I am an audiobook convert, and I could kick myself for not have embraced them sooner.)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

#30DayBookBinge, Week Two | Vlog

So after much hair-pulling and some delay, the "magical disappearing vlog" that I had to redo is finally ready! (And please, for the love of jeebus, if there are any issues or weirdness or audio-level offness, just ignore it. This vlog was about to be the death of me. *insert unimpressed emoji*)

ANYWHO, I hope everyone's #30DayBookBinge is going FANTASTIC! After an iffy start to week 2, mine has really picked up, and I'm starting to feel like I'm back in the groove of things! Now, lemme go find some wood to knock on...

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
A Face Like Glass
Words in Deep Blue
Yes Please
A Darker Shade of Magic
Weird Books Review Trio
Words in Deep Blue review
More of the binge


Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video.
Music: Riot "Safety Net" and "Jupiter One"
Silent Partner "Soul Search"
Jimmy Fontanez "Salgre" all from the YT creator library

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Trio of Weird Books | #30DayBookBinge REVIEW

I mean... there's a definite theme to the books I've been reading for the #30DayBookBinge...
Also: outdoor reviews! In public! With bugs! (blech)

(I would normally have made a nice, shiny thumbnail for this video, but I was very amused by the way I was nuzzling Conjured, so...)


Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.

At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
(audio narrated by Stephen Fry)

Seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together, this dynamic pair began a journey through space aided by a galaxyful of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed, ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian (formerly Tricia McMillan), Zaphod’s girlfriend, whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; and Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he’s bought over the years.

Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? For all the answers, stick your thumb to the stars!

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
In the underground city of Caverna the world's most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare. They create wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned. Only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear — at a price.

Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell's emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed ...

Also mentioned WORDS IN DEEP BLUE by Cath Crowley -- Review here!

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though one of these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All opinions are honest and my own, and all bugs are cuddly and not trying to eat my face (or so they claim).

Monday, June 12, 2017

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley | Review

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Contemporary, 288 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published in Australia, August 30th 2016)

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

I don't know what has taken me so long to read more by Cath Crowley. Way back when, shortly after I first started blogging, I reviewed Crowley's A Little Wanting Song, making it among the very first review books ever sent to me, what?! Even more shocking is that I requested it. ME, request a contemporary book. I know, shocking.

Even more shocking was how much I loved it. Or maybe not shocking at all, because Cath Crowley is just really, really good at what she does. So much of what I said then applies here, today, with Crowley's most recent book, Words in Deep Blue. It features that same seemingly-effortless writing (I say "seemingly" because I know it wasn't; nothing good ever is) and characters who seem real and flawed and thoroughly engaging. Her writing flows, it just pulls you along in this inviting, seamless way, so that when you only intend to sit down and read a chapter or two, you suddenly find yourself having read half the book, and realizing that you probably should have gone to bed hours ago -- but hey, you're in this deep, why stop now? But unlike a lot of unputdownable writing, it's not "potato chip writing;" it's not junk food for your brain that is just easy and throwaway and utterly garbage but so fun you just can't put it down. Crowley's writing has substance and heart and those painful gut-punches that make you wish you could put it down to just process and be less hurt for a minute, but damned if you don't just have to keep reading.

All of that said, this is told in alternating POVs -- Rachel and Henry -- and I expect some people will be very frustrated with Henry and how slow on the uptake he can be. But honestly, this quality felt very realistic to me. Not to malign teenage boys, but they're not known for being the most emotionally aware / attuned creatures on the planet, and a depiction of a boy who thinks he's in love with the pretty, vivacious, popular girl who's using him is not the most unrealistic idea, or even the most revolutionary trope -- and that's probably for a reason. I think we've all known Henrys* at some point in our lives. Hell, nearly every viewer-insert MPDG-chasing teen/20-something male lead of cutesy-but-"deepish" romance or comedy movies of the last 25 years has been a Henry on at least some level. (But this Henry is much better, realer, and far less nauseating than those Henrys.)

And honestly, even if you're not the biggest fan of teens and their romancifulness, there is so much more to this book than that.  For all the truly heartbreaking and frustratingly real elements in the book, there is such a hopeful, life-affirming thread. . .  Frankly, it was goddamn refreshing. I think I needed this book in some ways, and I think a lot of teens (and those who read books written for them) will find things they connect with and 'need' in Crowley's story, too. And though it deals with heavy things like grief and depression and family turmoil, it never feels weighted down by it. Nor does it feel too light or dismissive of these heavy things. It just feels honest. And it's worth reading for the amazingness that is the Letter Library, alone. ALL book lovers will long to go there, I would lay good Monopoly money on it.  It's going to inspire a lot of wistful reader-sighs. . .

And it once again reminded me that not all contemporary is fluffy or cheesy, Misty, nor is it all saccharine and faux-deep trauma porn; there is some really good stuff out there and you should read more of it, for the love of all things bookish.
But since I was saying essentially the same thing in my A Little Wanting Song review, well. . . I clearly don't learn too quickly, or take my own advice.

But you should! And you should read this, it's really quick, really readable, and really good.

* There was a debate on twitter about the proper way to pluralize Henry -- Henrys or Henries. Both make me borderline uncomfortable with how wrong they look, but  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.  It was also discussed whether I planned to verb the name Henry as well, and I think I'm going to do so now. "To Henry" is to interact with someone in a thoroughly charming, adorably passionate, and uncommonly clueless way, utterly unaware of your own needs and desires as you somehow manage to nevertheless bumble through to the perfectly right outcome. Should you find yourself Henrying in life. . . well, don't worry, it'll all turn out for the best.

Also, I used "nor" twice in this, who even am I?

Alsooooooo, can we talk about how much I love the Australian cover?  I mean, both are gorgeous, but that paper bird tho! *swoon*

Disclosure: WORDS IN DEEP BLUE was sent to my by the awesome people at Random House for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are honest, and my own.

Friday, June 9, 2017

My #30DayBookBinge Vloggage -- Week One Down!

The #30DayBookBinge is off and running, and here's how my first week of this impromptu challenge went!
Big props to everyone who's participating and has been tweeting & updating on Twitter, or challenging themselves to really push their reading this month. You guys are killing it!

More about the challenge can be found here, and the printables can be downloaded, saved and/or printed, here.

Music: Otis McDonald "Not for Nothing" and Riot "Jupiter One," both from the YT creator library.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

#30DayBookBinge Reading Log!

Hey, all!

Just a quick note to encourage you all to join the #30DayBookBinge (if you haven't already), and to let you know that I made a reading log printable (for those of you who already have joined, and want a way to track what you're reading).

I made it roomy, so you can make it work for you, which means you'll need multiple pages to track each day -- print as many as you need! Or, if you'd rather have everything on one page, feel free to make your own simple tracker, bujo style, with whatever info you'd personally like to track!

It looks a little something like this:

and I'm sorry it's up a week into the binge! Just didn't think of it soon enough.
You can download it -- and all of the other #30DayBookBinge printables -- here.

I also have at least one other printable coming (probably multiple) that will give you more of a chance to get artsy and stretch your creativity muscles, so. . . keep an eye out for that, it's almost done!

Hope everyone's having a good month of reading!

And if there's some kind of printable you'd like to see, let me know in the comments!

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Special appearance by some very cute kitties, so... you're welcome.
Also, I'm purple again. (yay!)

Let me know your recommendations in the comments; I'm compiling a list...

Something Rotten
The Well of Lost Plots
In the Woods
The Orchardist
The Assassin's Blade
Eden Summer
The Innocence Treatment
The Equals
The Wicker King
Renegades sampler
First Second sampler


Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though some of these books (as mentioned) were sent to me for honest review consideration.
Thanks, Fierce Reads team!


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