Lots of books this month! The physical books are listed first with their respective reviews; scroll down for my audiobook thoughts.
Wires and Nerve (Wires and Nerve, #1) by Marissa Meyer (Illustrated by Douglas Holgate)
So don’t tell anyone, but I totally read this whole book while having a “me” morning, sitting in the bookstore. I listened to the whole series on audiobook and had seen on a few blogs that this graphic novel was now out and I was just kind of interested, but hadn’t seen the title on my library’s site yet. It was a fun enough read, though I’m not sure I really enjoyed seeing the visual of the story on paper … I kind of liked what I saw in my head when I listened to the story and these young tween kids weren’t what I pictured. I did, however, love that the story was mostly from Iko’s point of view, though we didn’t get a lot of her fun personality in this book. Will I continue with this series? Who knows … it was definitely just okay to me and nothing of the calibre of the original series.
The Timeless series by Alexandra Monir
I had been so interested in reading this series that I savoured the first book. And I loved the first book! But I feel like the series could’ve been left at one book, rather than two. When I got to the second book I wondered what the heck was going on. You had this great romance in the first book and it really could’ve just ended on the cliffhanger at the end of the book and all would’ve been good, but then this whole society comes up in the second book and I just lost interest. The only bright point was that the books were short and quick to read, and the covers are definitely pretty. When it comes to time travel books, I feel like they don’t need to be totally explained all the time. I felt like this book tried too hard to explain the “why” of time travel when I don’t think it was entirely necessary. And when I fell in love with Philip, the remainder of the series made me not like him at all. I feel like with a good romance, the series should end on a high note, rather than add conflict for what feels the sake of adding conflict.
A Night Without Armor by Jewel
Finally read this collection of poetry by Jewel. I’ve had this book on my shelf forever (since 1998 I think) and I think I had read most of it back in the day. It was nice to finally read through the whole thing and while I think Jewel is amazingly talented, this was just okay. I think I prefer her stories of growing up and being a musician more than her poetry. I feel like her songs speak for themselves, especially her early work, on how great of a writer she is. These poems were just okay and really what I’ve come to expect from musicians-turned-poets. Or maybe I just don’t understand poetry? I feel like this might’ve been a good one to listen to in small doses via audiobook, that way you can actually hear how Jewel wants the poems to be heard.
Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark
This is another one of those books that I’m kind of sad I spent money on. I mean, it was good, and it dealt with issues like depression and being addicted to medication, but aside from the very light romance that happened in the story, it didn’t have much else to offer. The bright side was that it was a very, very quick read. It’s just over 200 pages so it took me just about 2 hours to read, so it was really easy to read during the kids’ naps. The bad part is that it’s not really the most memorable book and once I finished it, I knew I probably wouldn’t be thinking about it again.
Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye
So I liked this one well enough. It took a while to get into because the writing style was very gothic and didn’t exactly flow as well as some of the other books I had been reading. I also thought the parallel with Jane Eyre was weird — I mean, I would like the book if it was just a retelling of Jane Eyre (even though I really didn’t like Jane Eyre) but it was strange that Jane Eyre was brought up so much and Jane Steele’s life seemed to mirror that of Jane Eyre’s so much. But aside from that, it was good! I really liked Jane’s character and I liked all the other characters. I felt like the parts told by Thornfield dragged a bit, but other than that, there was a lot of action and mystery and it was enjoyable! The cover is definitely pretty and it’ll look gorgeous on my shelf!
When I was still living at my parent’s house, maybe 15 years ago, I read a lot of Emily Giffin. I remember her books, Sophie Kinsella’s, and Jennifer Weiner’s were my favourites in the chick lit department. Over the years, I’ve still loved Sophie’s books, but haven’t kept in love with Jennifer’s, and I think I’m getting close to not buying Emily’s anymore. I feel like her books just don’t have the same charm that they used to. They used to be fun chick lit, but somewhere along the way they’ve changed and now we get characters that are just so-so and storylines that barely hold my interest. I trudged through this book, with two sisters getting over the death of their brother some 15 years ago, and it was an okay read, but I was happy when it was over. I liked Josie sometimes and Meredith drove me absolutely crazy. All these sisters did was fight, fight, fight. I was sick of everyone’s attitude and didn’t like anyone. So, when it’s hard to connect to a book, I definitely take it as a sign that an author is not my favourite anymore.
Notes on the Audio: The audiobook for this was fine … like I said, I think I’m done reading Emily Giffin’s books, so I’m glad that my library had the audiobook for this one. It just made it easier, and quicker, to read. I didn’t like Josie’s character when Meredith’s narrator did it … she sounded whiny and annoying, and there was quite a change from one narrator to the other and it was almost jarring.
Atlantia by Ally Condie
Atlantia was an okay read, but definitely not my favourite. It was kind of tedious to listen and so I’m glad that I listened to the story on audio rather than read my physical copy. It was pretty boring and I probably shouldn’t have bought it without finishing the Ally Condie books I already owned.
Notes on the Audio: Again, the audio was okay, but just that. Nothing really stood out for this story and listening to it on audio didn’t really help or hinder it. I think the main reason I decided to go for the audio was because Rebecca Soler narrated it and even though she’s amazing, she didn’t add a lot to the story. Still, it was nice to hear a favourite narrator read an otherwise boring story.
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
Under the Banner of Heaven was super interesting and just a crazy book. I had known about this sect of the church and have seen some shows on it, but just listening to this book had me shaking my head, wondering how in the heck this sect is allowed to exist. It was crazy! Jon Krakauer writes really good non-fiction. It would be so easy to write a book that’s just the facts, but his writing style really sucks a reader in. I’m glad that I listened to the audiobook for this one, too — the narration was great!
Notes on the Audio: I liked Scott Brick’s narration of this non-fiction book – I wouldn’t mind trying out some of his fiction titles after this. He read at a good, steady pace and made it enjoyable to listen to this story I might’ve given up on if I had read the print version.
Timeless (Parasol Protectorate, #5) by Gail Carriger
And another “timeless” book with the FINAL book in the Parasol Protectorate series. I have a review coming up this month of the fourth book in the series and while I’ve adored this whole series I felt like this last book was lacking something. It was still really good — funny and full of action — but something was off. I did love Prudence and the narration was spot on as usual. There were some completely hilarious lines and I loved how the whole “parasol protectorate” thing came up and started to be an actual thing (the names were ridiculous and wonderful!). I can’t wait to read the spin off series from this book — it’ll be so interesting to see Prudence all grown up! This is such a fun series and I’m happy that I finished it this year!
Notes on the Audio: As usual, Emily Gray does not disappoint. Even with the addition of a new little character, with Prudence, she does such a great job. I mean, adding a baby could be very annoying in an audiobook (I don’t know, for some reason I don’t want my favourite characters having a book after having kids – is that weird?) but it worked in this one. Whenever she said ‘no!’ it was just hilarious. I will definitely be checking out more of Emily Gray’s narrations!
City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6) by Cassandra Clare
And another one I finally read, the last instalment of the Mortal Instruments series! I actually thought I’d never get to this one and I was so happy that I finally did. I got the audiobook and I’m glad for that. It was such a great story and a wonderful wrap up to the series. While I had bought Lady Midnight, the start of another spin off featuring some of the characters in this book, mainly because I loved the cover, now I can’t wait to read it. I might keep saying that Cassandra Clare should write something else, but she does write about Shadowhunters so well, and I’ve heard that the next book is amazing. I’m so happy to finally have gotten some closure on this series — it was done very well!
Notes on the Audio: I’m so glad that I got the audio for this book because I might not have persevered otherwise, especially since it’s been so long since I read the last one. I’ve heard that there have been issues with the audiobook with constantly changing narrators and while this was fine to listen to, the narration kind of sucked. I feel like Sophie Turner was passable in her narrating and actually showed some emotion here and there, but Jason Dohring was so unbelievably boring. It’s basically how I would sound if I read this book out loud to myself — monotone, boring, no emotion. I don’t understand why they couldn’t get great narrators for this series, especially since it is such a popular series.
The Golden Lily and The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #2 & #3) by Richelle Mead
I can’t believe I waited so long to read this series because I’m really enjoying it! It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything about vampires, and honestly I feel like I would be tired of them by now, but Richelle Mead is such a compelling writer that it’s hard not to be addicted with this story. I love how each book is pretty much a story in and of itself and not a huge continuation from the last book (though there are some things that continue on — like the Adrian and Sidney relationship). Personally, I find that the story just gets better and better with each book and even though I only own the first three, I’m really excited to read the last half of the series!
Notes on the Audio: The audio for these is great! Emily Shaffer does a great job of bringing life to these characters, even if Sidney sounds just a little snotty at times and Adrian sounds … well, not like how I want Adrian to sound, even if he kind of comes across as a cocky bastard, which I guess he can be at times. Either way, I’m still going to continue to listen to the audiobooks because they’re easy enough to follow along with while multitasking and I just enjoy it!
Odin’s Ravens (The Blackwell Pages, #2) by K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr
Honestly, I feel like I’m just too old for middle grade books these days. And while I enjoy books on mythology, I feel like maybe I’m just getting too picky about what I like? This book, the sequel to Loki’s Wolves, was fine to read, but it wasn’t as memorable as I wanted it to be. I love Kelley Armstrong’s work and I’m glad to finally have read this book that’s been on my shelf for a while, but since my library doesn’t have the audiobook for the third one I’m not sure when I’ll get to the last one. This would be a fun read for kids, but just a little too boring for me.
Notes on the Audio: Again, lots of narrators for this one and I don’t really think it was necessary. I feel like there are so many narrators, but not a lot of emotion with the reading. A story like this would be better with narrators actually bringing life and personality to the characters, maybe then it would be more enjoyable.
The Unquiet Past (Secrets) by Kelley Armstrong
This is a tricky one for me. I liked the story okay, but it wasn’t the best Kelley has written. I almost wonder if I just like her adult books rather than her middle grade and YA books, but I do like the mystery and spookiness she incorporates into her books. This one had a very spooky premise at one point, but there was a lot of explanations and a lot of definitions throughout the book that just took away from the story. I think it’s meant to be short, but I wanted so much more. I wanted more of the spookiness and the ghosts and I just didn’t get that. Like I said, though, it was short enough and through listening and reading (about 50% of each) it went by very fast.
Notes on the Audio: Oh man, the audio for this sucks. I probably could have read it better myself because the narrator, Gabrielle Vaughan, was soooo monotonous and boring. There was no emotion in her reading and I just had a hard time connecting when listening. I’m glad that I decided to read the physical book after listening to the first 50 pages … I felt like I could imagine the emotion and creepiness in my head much better than listening to the story.