Monday, August 26, 2013


A couple years ago I discovered audiobooks. I was hired, and still currently work for, an engineering company as a File Clerk. Basically I was in charge of ordering supplies for the office and in charge of the filing for several different departments. I noticed that many people wore headphones so I decided to give it a shot. No one said anything so I listened to my music.

Then I remembered that the Harry Potter audiobooks were recommended to me. I borrowed the discs from the library and loaded them into my iTunes. I now thoroughly enjoy the audiobook experience...depending on the narrator. Jim Dale narrates the Harry Potter series and he does a wonderful job. My only complaint is some of his interpretations of Hermione. Once I discovered Harry Potter, I moved on to search for other audiobooks that were on my to-read list. This is how I discovered the Kate Daniels series. Renee Raudman is one of the best narrators I've ever listened to.

The thing is, some narrators are awful. I listened to Fallen by Lauren Kate and I forced myself to listen to the end but I promised myself never again. I also tried listening to the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost but had to stop because the voice that I pictures for Bones was completely wrong. So I moved that series to a reading only list. This has happened several times. If the narrator is not good, I cannot listen to the book because it puts off my desire to even know what's going on with the book.

One of my other favorites is when a full cast is reading the book. The Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce has a full cast for all of the characters. Pierce herself is narrating the book and the dialogue is spoken by different people. It's wonderful. I would never want this for the Kate Daniels series because Raudman does a wonderful job and I can't imagine their voices any other way.

I used to drive long distances when I went home to visit my family on weekends and the audiobooks made the journey less boring. Trust me, driving 100 miles with nothing interesting to see it is extremely boring and actually makes you want to fall asleep. Audiobooks are a great way of keeping you awake.

Currently I'm listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks. I tend to fall back to Harry Potter and Kate Daniels when I need a comfort read, well comfort listen. I know some people have trouble listening to audiobooks but I find them enjoyable. If you don't like the narrator then you definitely should not continue to listen. That will put you off audiobooks. By all means give them a try but if you find yourself getting annoyed with the narrator, stop and add that to the read only list.

Unfortunately audiobooks are a little bit expensive. They cost more to produce so it makes sense that they will cost more. I got around this problem by using the library. If your library has Overdrive, you can download the audiobook straight to your computer and iPod or any mp3 device. I wanted to own the Kate Daniels series so I found a website,, that has cheaper prices. I happened to get the series while it was on sale. They always have things on sale and their prices are cheaper than Audible's. The only problem with Ambling Books is they don't always have everything. They don't have the latest Kate Daniels audiobook but I was able to get a free Magic Rises
audiobook by a free trial with Audible. I also own the Harry Potter audiobooks that I downloaded from the library. I actually have to borrow the disc set because they didn't have the books on Overdrive but they are now saved on my computer so I can listen whenever I want.

Audiobooks allow you to read when you cannot actually read a book. I can listen to my headphones while I'm working so I can read and work at the same time. I highly recommend trying audiobooks. If you don't like them, at least you tried. They work for me and I have been able to get through more books this way.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Magic of Reading

Books are very important to me. This is obvious from my blog. I actually find reviews difficult sometimes because there are usually so many emotions behind the books that I read. I often go to the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews for comfort reading. Or sometimes Harry Potter. It all depends. Harry Potter was a big part of my life for a very long time. It's had a big impact on me and I love it.

Anxiety is something I battle a lot and books often help me escape the anxiety and escape into a completely different world. When I do have anxiety, I will usually reread something I have already read since I already know what's going to happen and there isn't that need to rush to find out the ending. I can slow down and absorb all the little details I missed the first time. Rereading is always important because you do miss things. I've read Harry Potter so many times and I think I've finally picked up on all the little clues Jo Rowling put in throughout the series.

I really only enjoy fantasy books though there are some books that are non-fantasy that I like. I like some distopian books like Divergent or an occasional book like The Fault in Our Stars. I've read murder mystery books as well and I have enjoyed some of those. But I will always pick a fantasy book over any realistic book out there. Magic and alternate universes and creatures that don't exist fascinate me. When authors build worlds that have details and history and are well thought out, I can fall into the story. Some authors are talented at this. Ilona Andrews, Tamora Pierce, Michelle Sagara, just to name a few.

I started reading in Pre-K. It started with the sentences and then world's easiest books. I remember one of my favorite books from my school library was Little Love Angel. That book just sticks out in my mind. As my reading level started to surpass my grade level, I moved onto more challenging books. Many of them were alternate worlds or fantasy. Of course I did read some regular books. Where the Red Fern Grows is a great book. I grew up reading and once I started I could never stop. As I delved deeper and deeper into
fantasy, my love for it grew. The idea of a different world or different creatures existing within our world fascinated me. My backpack always had a book in it and there were many times that I was caught reading class. I rarely lent my books to others because I did not want them to be ruined and I took great care of them when reading. When another person read the same book as me, I was excited because I had someone to talk to about it. Even now I love getting another person into a great series. My cousin and I have a great connection over our love of books. I love that.

Now there is an explosion of YA fantasy and Adult fantasy books. Many authors are now broadening the definition of vampires and werewolves and magic. Most of the stories are completely different from others. More and more people are experiencing these worlds. It's not something that is something unknown. While I have strong feelings about movies, these movies tend to grab more people's attention.

Books are important. Reading is important. I wish more people would read. Some people just don't enjoy reading and I can understand that but it also breaks my heart a little bit. Even if they wouldn't read the same genre as me, I still feel they are missing out on a wonderful experience. I have such passion for books and for reading. My bookshelf continues to grow and I know it is an addiction. I keep running out of room but that doesn't bother me. The more books I own the better.

I love reading and I hope one day I can have children who love it just as much as me. I want them to go through the roller coaster of emotions that I experience when reading. I want them to explore different worlds and different characters. I want them to know the feeling of a book hangover. I want that for them and I want that for everyone else in the world.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews - 5 stars

Magic Rises (#6) by Ilona Andrews
5 stars

Previous Kate Daniels Series Reviews

This is my reaction after I finished. 
Basically I was shocked. Stunned into silence simply thinking omg what the heck did I just read. My head is going to explode. These events seriously did not just happen. There is no way that any of this happened! But it all happened. This will be a spoiler free review unless you click the links the go to my spoilers page. Seriously I'm spoiling a lot so really don't read the spoilers unless you want to

This was the best book out of all of them. Even better than Magic Bleeds and that is my favorite one. The characters and the world and everything is progressing beautifully. There will be ten Kate Daniels books and if they're all as wonderful and emotional as Magic Rises, I don't think I'm going to be able to handle it. 
For those of you who don't religiously follow Ilona on twitter and don't stalk their blog everyday, you wouldn't know that Hugh d'Ambrey was going to be in this book. It's no spoiler. How he arrived in this book is the shocker. I definitely did not see that one coming (view spoiler).* 

The book starts out with Kate sparring with Julie with the spear. Julie isn't paying attention so Kate decides to let her go to her friend Maddie. It turns out that Maddie and her twin sister Margo have started to go loup. This isn't spoilers because the first two chapters were posted on their blog. Anways, Curran walks in with panacea. This herbal medicine helps reduce loupism in children and it's from the European packs. They don't give it to the Pack in Atlanta but they used to have someone who could smuggle some out for them. Well he turned up dead and they were SOL. That is, until Curran got an offer that he couldn't refuse even though he knew it was a trap. He was to go to Atlanta to mediate between three packs and they were to also guard Desandra. Desandra is a pregnant girl but she is pregnant with twins who have two different fathers. Whoever's child is born first inherits the Carpathian mountain territory. 

Curran and Kate head out to sea with Derek, Andrea, Raphael, Mahon, George, Barabbas, Aunt B, Doolittle, Kiera, and Eduardo. Saiman provided a ship and a crew. He obviously didn't want to do this but he owed Kate for saving his life when he was kidnapped. This little scene was deleted from the book but was put at the end for the readers anyways. Crossing the Atlantic and then the Black Sea is extremely dangerous. Magical creatures like sea serpents attack ships often and raging storms threaten to sink ships. There are pirates and all sorts of other dangers so the weeks they spend on the ocean is treacherous. As they near their destination, they get attacked by pirates. These pirates are special (view spoiler).** They kill all but one pirate. This pirate says he has information so he has Saiman translate. Curran doesn't tell Kate what the pirate said but she isn't too bothered by it. She knows he will tell her when he is ready. 

This book also has a mystery component to it. Creatures are attacking and killing guards and also attack the Pack (view spoiler).*** Kate gets asked for help in solving this little mystery and she does. I like that even though she's there to body guard Desandra with the rest of the pack, she is still doing some detective work. Something is always going on and Kate tends to figure it out; usually when they start trying to kill her. 

Kate and Curran's relationship in this book is very difficult (view spoiler).**** This is where the emotional roller coaster comes into play. I wanted to punch Curran and my heart hurt for Kate. She loves Curran so much and her emotions were getting the better of her. 

Obviously Hugh is the main focus of this book. He is up to something. He is trying to get Kate to "come over to the dark side." We discover how Voron died and how powerful Hugh really is because of Roland's magic. Hugh is just a bastard. There is no doubt about it. He is his master's creature and there is no changing him. 
The huge end fight, the life and death fights at the climax of the book, was awesome. Just plain awesome. So much is happening and your brain is trying to keep up with the action. So many different things are happening all at once. This fight also has one of the saddest consequences (view spoiler).***** However, the story does have a happy ending. It's also a bit of a cliffhanger but not a bad one. One where you know what's going to happen next but it also makes you want to scream, "Give me more dammit! I want to know what's happening next!" Magic Breaks will be out sometime next year. It is currently being written and we have gotten a few snippets. 

Many people have had questions so Ilona posted on her blog explaining some things here. We've even been promised a Curran POV novella for Magic Rises. 

Five stars. Definitely five stars. 5.5 stars even.

Magic Rises hit #1 on the NYT Bestselling List. That's never happened before and I'm so happy for them and happy that I could be one of the many who helped them get there. 

Copyright Ilona Andrews

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara - 4.5 stars

Book 6 in The Chronicles of Elantra

4.5 stars

Previous Chronicles of Elantra Series Reviews

I have a difficult time giving these books 5 stars and I think it's because sometimes I get confused and I have to go back and reread in order to understand it. 
This was a really good book. This book doesn't focus on one particular race but I was hoping it would. I would really like to learn more about the Aerians. Cast in Ruin focuses on Dragons and Cast in Peril is another Barrani book. When do we get the Aerians? I want to know!!

Anyways, something weird is happening on Elani street. This street is popular for it's love spells and fortune telling and basically all the fake magic that you can think of. None of the magic actually works...until one day it does. This, of course, starts a whole new kind of craziness for the Hawks. Later, Kaylin and Severn head to Evanton's shop. Kaylin stops to talk to Evanton's apprentice while Severn and Evanton proceed to go into the garden. When Kaylin goes to follow, she winds up in a garden that is not really the garden. When she attempts to leave, the shop door gets farther and farther away and she ends up in a gray place. She is rescued by Nightshade but not before she is almost killed by the creature known as the Devourer. They later discover that this being destroys worlds and right now it's headed towards Elantra. The portal that is opening will allow the Devourer through and it threatens to destroy the world. 

There are many things that start to happen all at once. The Oracles are seeing visions and Everly, the boy who paints prophecies, has started painting again and on a very large canvas. This does not bode well for Elantra. They also discover that there are people, of what race they do not know, that are walking through the inbetween space, and the Devourer is on their tails. They will come through the portal and bring the creature with them. 

In the end, we learn what the Devourer actually is and it's Kaylin who saves Elantra (view spoiler).*

The characters are really interesting in this book. We get a new development between Severn and Kaylin. Severn is the one who helps Kaylin in the end so she doesn't get lost in what she is doing to save the world (view spoiler).** It's a little bit of a blow for those who are Team Nightshade which is the team I belong to. It's exciting to see Arkon leave his library and the climax of the book is really good. I couldn't put it down. Ybelline makes another appearance and I love her. I also love that the fief Tiamaris is starting to be rebuilt. Tara is so interesting and I like that we are starting to know her more. Morse makes appearances too and while I didn't like her when we were first introduced to her character, she has grown on me. 

Overall it was a good book and I enjoyed it. I liked it better than Cast in Silence. In each book we learn more and more about the world of Elantra and it's fascinating.