Archive for March, 2015

Yikes, has it really been a month since my last reading roundup?  My apologies for the delay – life got in the way as it often does.

Star Wars NPR productionAs I’m back on nightshifts again (cue: sob, wailing, gnashing of teeth) I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks.  My favourites, and a highlight of my reading/listening month, were the NPR radio adaptations of George Lucas’ Star Wars. I picked the first one up, Star Wars, some time ago when it was one of Audible’s Daily Deals but had not got around to listening to it.  I rectified that mistake last weekend and loved it.  This adaptation has been licensed from George Lucas, so they were able to incorporate John Williams’ iconic music and the sound effects from the movies (blasters!  lightsabers! R2D2!).  It boasts an excellent cast including Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels from the movies.   At first it did take me a short while to adapt to the different voices for Leia, Han and Darth Vader, but the production quality and the excellence of the cast soon made me forget about that.  As I’ve said before on this blog, the original Star Wars movies have such strong themes and powerful storylines and these productions did them justice. There were a few clumsy script moments as the radio production tried to explain what was going on (“oh wow, my lightsaber is coming towards me by the Force!) but other than that, there is nothing to fault these fantastic productions.

I enjoyed this so much that I bought extra Audible credits so that I could pick up The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi. Although I have not yet listened to Jedi, Empire was equally engaging.  I give the productions five stars out of five.

Thief's Magic by Trudi CanavanTowards the middle of the month I hit a bad reading slump.  To get out of it I did what I often do: I browsed through the first few chapters of several books in my TBR pile to see which one would engage my attention.  This time it was Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan.  This is set in a world where magic is being used up by industry – rather like our fossil fuels – and is therefore highly restricted and follows two very different characters with two very different but parallel paths.  What originally attracted me to the novel is that one of the “characters” is a talking magic book!  Although it didn’t immediately grab me – it grew on me more slowly – it was enough to break my reading slump.  I started reading it, but switched to the audiobook to continue during my nightshifts.  I particularly enjoyed the narration for this book by Grant Cartwright and Hannah Norris.  At first it took me aback that they are Australian, but then, I realised it made sense given that the author is Australian, too.

I did enjoy Thief’s Magic and gave it a solid 3.5 to 4 stars out of five.

Orphan QueenJodi Meadows’ Orphan Queen has been highly publicised recently and I gave in to the hype and bought it. This book is about an exiled queen whose land was conquered while she was a baby and, now a teenager, plots to infiltrate the enemy’s stronghold to help her win back her kingdom. In all honesty, this book frustrated the heck out of me, and not in a good way. Too many times I found myself thinking “what, seriously?” at some of the things our protagonist says and does.

The book got off on the wrong foot with me when I found several grammatical mistakes in a the first chapter.  When I’m paying $11 for a book, I do expect that the author and/or editor has corrected these.  One or two I could overlook, perhaps, especially in an unfinished ARC, but not for the finished copy.

Secondly, while the protagonist is kickass, her sheer cluelessness in certain situations really annoyed me.  Furthermore, I felt the relationships described – such as the one between Wil and her closest friend – were unrealistically drawn.  I just didn’t feel their friendship could continue in the way the author claimed it did after all that had happened.  I also had predicted the “huge reveal” at the end of the book back in the first couple of chapters.

To have something positive to say, I will say that I enjoyed Wil’s badassery and the snarky relationship between her and Black Knife.

For me, personally, I just can’t recommend this book.  Sorry.  I gave it two stars out of five.

The Indigo Spell by Richelle MeadRecently, Amazon had a one-day special offer where all the Bloodlines books were $1.99 each.  This was too good an offer to pass up, so I added the last four to my collection.  The series is growing on me, like the Vampire Academy series of which it is a spinoff.  I didn’t particularly engage with protagonist Sydney Sage in the first book, Bloodlines, but I do love the world Mead has created, and now, after three books, I really like Sydney as a protagonist.  I realised Mead had done her job well when I found myself mourning with Sydney over the loss of her car, Latte!  I probably won’t marathon the rest of the books, but they are fun reads.

I gave The Indigo Spell four stars out of five

Well there you go – that’s what I’ve been reading this month.  Speak to you soon!

Good evening dear readers!  I’m sorry I’ve not blogged for some while.  I’ve been busy adjusting to my new graveyard schedule, and that’s going to go on for some while, so I may not be blogging regularly for some while.  On the plus side, I did get through a few audiobooks – I will be publishing a reading roundup at some point soon in which I will discuss some of them.

In any case, here are my most anticipated upcoming releases.

Texts from Mittens: A Cat Who Has an Unlimited Data Plan written by Mitten with help from Angie Bailey.  Strictly speaking, this isn’t an April release as it’s released on March 31 – deal with it.  For those of you who haven’t met Mittens, he’s a tuxedo cat who maintains close communication with his caregiver via text.  I follow Mittens on Facebook and he’s hilarious.  He’s publishing a book of his collected texts and it promises to be a fun read.  I preordered it on Kindle

William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace.  One of my top reads of 2014 was Ian Doescher’s adaptation of George Lucas’ Star Wars into Shakespearean language.  Now it’s time for the prequels, the first of which, The Phantom Menace, is released on April 7th.  I’ll likely grab this in audiobook format – if it’s like the original trilogy Random House’s full cast production will be stellar.  Incidentally, if you preorder, you can get some cool swag from the publishers.  Now, I will admit to some misgivings; the original Star Wars trilogy had a strong narrative and timeless themes which made the adaptation to Shakespearean style work very well.  The same cannot be said of the prequels which had too much reliance on special effects for my taste.  However, I have faith in Doescher that he will come up with something memorable.  I’ve preordered this on Kindle.

The Black Reckoning (Books of Beginning Book 3) by John Stephens.  Published on April 7, this is the final book in Stephens’ middle grade trilogy.  I did enjoy the first two, and am happy to pick up the third.  The series is difficult to explain – kids having all kinds of adventures while trying to save the world – so best to check it out for yourself.  I preordered it on Kindle.

Dream a Little Dream (The Silver Trilogy).  Written by Kerstin Gier and translated from the German by Andrea Bell, this is the first in a new series from the author of the Ruby Red trilogy.  Amazon recently released the first five chapters free, so check it out. The first five chapters don’t really give away much about the world or the plot, but it’s enough to see that Gier (and Bell) have retained the witty, snarky style that was so charming in Ruby Red.  The audiobook is narrated by Marisa Calin who did such a fantastic job with the Ruby Red trilogy.  Dream a Little Dream is released on April 14th.

Rogue by Julie Kagawa.  This is the second in Kagawa’s YA series about dragons posing as modern day teens.  The first book was a lot of fun, so I will pick up the sequel in Kindle format. This is released on April 28,2015

Let me know in the comments if you’ll be picking up any of these.