Tag Archives: audiobook

Audiobook Heaven

14 Jun

I don’t think I mentioned that I listened to Echo  by Pam Muñoz Ryan in the car. The audiobook is amazing because there is music. Harmonica music. Piano music. Orchestral music. It is truly a treat for the ears.

Now, I am listening to Listen Slowly by Thanhha Lai.


I think I would have liked reading the book, but listening is amazing because the reader, Lulu Lam, reads the Vietnamese in perfect Vietnamese and she also reads some of the English parts with a Vietnamese accent. It feels natural when you listen.

Publisher’s Summary:A California girl born and raised, Mai can’t wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, though, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai’s parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn’t know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.

If you are looking for some good road trip books to listen to, you should give these two a try.

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #11

26 Apr


So far, I have read 29 books for the Challenge, although I have actually read 47 books on the list.

It has become rather hard to read for the 2015 HUB Challenge and the 2016 Morris Award, so I have decided that this will be my last post on that topic, even through the Challenge continues through June 21st. I will officially consider myself finished after listening to the audiobook recording of Skink – No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen.


Carl Hiaasen is one of those authors I rarely seek out, but when I read one of his books, I wonder why I don’t read more that he’s written. I have never read any of his books for adults, which always seem to get good reviews and his fans love him.  I’m a little that way with Neil Gaiman, too.

I did finish listening to The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry this week. It was Ok, but I didn’t love it. We have an exciting author visit this week and I am trying to finish the third book in her most current series before she comes with the  co-author of their new book. I will keep you guessing about who it might be, but I am trying to control myself and not go completely gaga over her when she comes. Look for details on that in about a week.

Dealing with Grief

6 Mar

Don’t panic. Fiona is well. In fact, when I got home Tuesday afternoon, she was up and acting as if nothing had ever happened. Weird. But I’m watching.

The grief I want to talk about is int Jason Reynolds’ new book, The Boy in the Black Suit. 


From the Publisher: Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this wry, gritty novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest.

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. She’s got a crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away.

 I listened to this on CDs generously provided by Audiobook Jukebox. The book is narrated by Corey Allen, who does a great job. He effectively portrays Matt, a teenage boy from Brooklyn, and manages to voice female characters well, by simple changes in his voice. The recording runs 7.75 hours on 7 CDs and is well listening to. I think I enjoyed  The Boy in the Black Suit more as an audiobook than I would have reading the text because of Corey Allen’s ability to sound like a Brooklyn teenager.

Random book thoughts

14 Sep

From a rather bumpy start, due to my last-minute decision to change jobs,  the school year seems to be developing its rhythm. I have unpacked two of the boxes I shoved in my classroom closet. I almost wept the other day, the first day I asked my students to read with a partner. It sounded so beautiful and I forgot how much  love that sound. Although I am still tired, I am not as tired and I’m going to bed able to read or knit before I do so.

I have a stack of books I’m working through.

In the car, I am listening to  The Goldfinch  by Donna Tartt. I am not loving it. I find the protagonist whiney. There are 24 or 26 discs and I am not sure I will keep going on this one. It has received a lot of press, but everyone I know who’s read it didn’t really like it.


At school, as I unpacked to two  boxes I mentioned above, I found my copy of Falling in Love With Close Reading, which I’ve mentioned before. I was about halfway through when it got misplaced in the big switcheroo. Now I can finish it. I still plan to do a boo group with it at school, but I need to finish it first.


At home, I’m reading the YA novel The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski.


According to Wikipedia,

 the winner’s curse says that in such an auction, the winner will tend to overpay. The winner may overpay or be “cursed” in one of two ways: 1) the winning bid exceeds the value of the auctioned asset such that the winner is worse off in absolute terms; or 2) the value of the asset is less than the bidder anticipated, so the bidder may still have a net gain but will be worse off than anticipated.

Rutkoski took this idea and has turned it into a compelling read. The main character, Kestrel, is the daughter of a general of a conquering army. One day at a slave auction, she buys a slave, more out of a desire to stir the pot during the auction, than because she needs him. I’m only about a quarter through, but I am seriously engaged. The slave, Arin, is more than he seems and I can tell that trouble is brewing and a revolt of some sort is in the  offing. Just where Kestrel will end up is yet to be determined. I have a few predictions, but I’m not ready to share.

Finally, I’m listening to The Queen of the Tearling  by Erika Johansen, while I knit.


I didn’t realize until looking for this image, that the rights to the movie have already been sold and Emma Watson is an executive producer and plans to star in the movie as the Red Queen. Frequently compared the A Game of Thrones, The Queen of the Tearling  is the story of Kelsea, the heir to the Tearling throne, who has been hidden away since she was an infant. She is summoned to reclaim her throne on her 19th birthday, setting in motion a whole series of events that involve a certain amount of gore. It’s a little derivative, but pretty good to listen to while I am otherwise occupied. It is meant to be a trilogy and we shall see if I persevere through all three books.

Wrapping up a series

7 Jul


Yesterday, I finished listening to The City of Heavenly Fire, the sixth and final book in the final book in  The Mortal Instruments  series by Cassandra Clare, which was generously provided by Audiobook Jukebox.

I read about half of the previous 5 books and listened to the other half. As series  go, they  work really well as audiobooks, although I wish there had been more consistency of narrators over the series.

The City of Heavenly Fire was the first book to be narrated by two readers. I am not sure why this decision was made because I found it a distraction. Rather than simply listening to the story and reflecting on it, I was trying to figure out why each narrator got each section. Sophie Taylor, who portrays Sana Stark, was by far the better of the two narrators. That said, I wish she had just read in re regular English accent, rather than switching between English and American accents. She did the accents well, but it was unnecessary. Jason Dohring, and actor known for Veronica Mars, was a terrible narrator. I suspect they were both chosen for their “star factor”, but I’d rather have had one good narrator. Dohring’s delivery was flat and he should never do English accents.

The book itself was enjoyable, full of action and a high body count. It was a much better book that  a couple of the idle books which irritated me because Clary spent an awful lot of time mooning over Jace. She has her mojo back in this book, thank goodness. The arc of the story itself ended on disc 15 and the last 2 discs are devoted to wrapping up all the loose ends of the series, which I found satisfying. One criticism I have of the book is that Clare spent time introducing characters who will form the core of her next series, The Dark Artifices. 

If you’ve made it through the first five books, however, you will enjoy reading this conclusion.

More interesting than THE INTERESTINGS

20 Jun

I listened to Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings  in the early Spring. It was OK, but I don;t know if I would have stayed to the end if I’d been reading the book. I didn’t really like many of the characters and just had trouble really caring about their lives.

I just listened to We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Although the characters of this book have much in common with those of  The Interestings,  I liked this book a whole lot more.


The story is set in a world of privilege. Cady Sinclair Eastman is the firstborn grandchild in a wealthy family that vacations every summer on their private island off Martha’s Vineyard. She spends idyllic summers with her cousins who are only a few years younger that she is and a family friend. They call themselves The Liars. In the summer when they are 15 something happens. Cady does not return to the island until she is 17 and trying to remember the parts of the Summer 15 she cannot. Since that summer she has suffered terrible migraines and partial memory loss.

The story weaves back and forth between the past and the present. As Cady was trying to put the pieces together, I was right there with her. h, I had my theories, but when it all came back to her, I was not prepared for what really happened. I’m not often surprised in literature, but Lockhart caught me off guard and I reeled.

I highly recommend this book, wither in print or audio. The narrator, Ariadne Meyers, really captured the fierceness and frailty of Cady.


Coming Soon: The 2014 Hub Reading Challenge

29 Jan

Hub Reading Challenge logo

Get excited, YA lit enthusiasts! Now that the Youth Media Awards have been announced and the selected list committees are wrapping up their work, we are pleased to officially announce that the  2014 Hub Reading Challenge is almost here!

When? The 2014 Hub Reading Challenge will begin at 12:01AM EST on Monday, February 3. Once the challenge starts, you’ll have about four months (until 11:59pm on Sunday, June 22) to read as many of the following as you possibly can:

  • 2014 winner and honor books for  YALSA’S 6 Awards (Alex, Edwards, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey, Prinz)
  • The books on the Top Ten lists from YALSA’s 2014 Selected titles 
  • The YA titles honored by the 2014 Schneider family Award and the 2014 Stonewall Award

If you participated in the Morris/Nonfiction Challenge, you can count that reading toward your progress in The Hub Reading Challenge. Otherwise, only books that you both begin and finish within the challenge period count, so if you’ve read any of these titles before, you’ll have to re-read them to count them.

What? To complete the challenge, read or listen to 25 of the selected titles before the deadline. Everyone who completes the challenge will be invited to submit a reader response (which can be text, audio, video, graphics, or some combination) to his or her favorite (or least favorite!) challenge title, which will be published on THE HUB.. Additionally, everyone who completes the challenge will be entered into a random drawing to win a grand prize: a YALSA tote bag full of 2013 and 2014 YA lit titles! (If you’re a librarian or teacher, they’ll also toss in a couple of professional development titles.)

Not challenging enough, you say? For the speed readers out there, The Hub offers this: on top of completing the challenge, you can go on to conquer it by reading all of the eligible titles.

As you read, you’ll also be earning badges that you can post on your blog or website or include in your email signature to show off how well-read you are, and if you conquer the challenge by reading all of the eligible titles, you’ll earn a super-elite badge.

How? Keep track of what you read every week and how many titles you’ve finished. Every Sunday, the HUB will create a check-in post; comment on the post with what you’ve read or listened to that week (and what you thought of it!). If you’ve completed the challenge, fill out the form embedded in the post . The challenge runs on the honor system, so be good!

Format matters, because listening can be a very different experience from reading in print, so be sure to experience challenge-eligible titles in the format in which they were honored. For example, Scowler won the Odyssey Award, which recognizes outstanding audiobooks, so even if you’ve already enjoyed the print version, you’ll need to listen to the audiobook to count it for this challenge. Better Nate than Ever  won for print and for audio, so you can read and listen to it and it will count as 2 books.

Who? All readers of young adult literature — teachers, librarians, publishers, booksellers, bloggers, parents, teens, anyone! — are welcome to accept our reading challenge.

Knitting, Audiobooks and a Giveaway by some cool authors

23 Sep

Here’s another fun picture book about knitting:


in Little Owl’s Orange Scarf,  by Tatyana Feeney, Little Owl’s mom has knit him a scarf. Unfortunately, it is scratchy and orange. he tries to lose it, but has little success until he goes to the zoo. Later, Mom knit him a new one, but let’s him choose the yarn.

Choosing yarn for a project is a knitter’s dilemma. You have to get the color & fibre just right for a recipient. You also have to think if expensive yarn is worth it if the recipient isn’t going to hand wash the item. I generally try to knit with washable yarn for others and save the fancy stuff for me.

I read 2 books this weekend consequently I did not knit. This is OK because I am between projects right now. Reading & knitting are mutually exclusive activities, unless you knit & listen to an audiobook, which I’ve been known to do. I always have an audiobook in the car. Right now I;m listening to Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir, My Beloved World.


About the giveaway:

One of my new favorite blogs, cccblogheader is giveaway tons of stuff to celebrate their first anniversary. Check out the blog and enter to win. Click HERE to enter the raffle.

The “Kiss Me, Hardy” Pullover

2 Jul

For a Hub reading Challenge finale, we  can submit a reader’s response to our favorite book.  My favorite was 


Code Name Verity, which I read in December for pleasure. For the Hub Challenge, I listened to the audio, because it also won an Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults award.

There is a  literary movement in knitting, where knitters create pieces related to a particular book or character.  So, I decided to celebrate the book by knitting a sweater.

Julie’s sweater shows up at the beginning of the book, where she tells us she traded 4 sets of wireless codes to get it back. Later, she tells us that the sweater was knit by her French nanny, who unraveled wool from  a sunset-colored suit tailored in Ormaie in 1912. Because Julie had the sweater, Maddie recognized her at the end, when Julie shouted “KISS ME, HARDY! Kiss me, QUICK!”

I did some research about knitting during World War II. The Victoria & Albert Museum has patterns for knitting for British servicemen & Women, and I even found a pullover for servicewomen.

2006ac6476_jaeger_handknit_essentials_for_the_forces2 2006ac6453_v_necked_pullover

So, the pattern was chosen. Now I could think about the fun part: YARN. An elegant French suit would not be made out of plain wool. I figured I would need to find a silk blend and decided on Blue Moon Fibre Arts LSS (Luscious Single Silk) in “True Blood” Red. Near the end, when Maddie recognizes Julie she calls the sweater a “flame-colored pullover”, so this seemed to be an excellent color for the sweater.


I started knitting the back  on Saturday. We are having a heat wave, so I have an excuse to bring the bassets into the bedroom and knit in my one air-conditioned room. And think a bit about a book that I love.

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #13

4 May

Once I’d hit 25 on the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge, I decided to try to read one book a week and concentrate on off-list reading. I failed this week because I finished 3, bringing my total up to 32. I have always been a OCD reader.

First, I finished Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.


Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Mostly because I saw myself in June and my twin sister in Greta. I was the quiet, shy twin & my sister was very out-going. We had our ups and downs and high school was hard because that’s when we really got our own separate sets of friends, just like June & Greta.

Then, my hold on  October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman  arrived at the library.


Also awesome. Newman, who I knew from the elementary school chapter book Hachiko Waits, knocked my socks off. I wish I’d read this during National Poetry Month and I wish I taught older kids because I really wanted to share this with my students. It is beautifully written and made me feel real, anger, sadness and hope. Newman personifies inanimate objects and uses the actual words real people said in love and in anger, while she explores a variety of kinds of poetry.  Very well done.

Finally, just yesterday, I finished listening to the audio versions of  Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama.


I probably would not have picked this one up, but for the Challenge. And it was really good, too. At first I was skeptical of a mermaid story, but this is not Disney’s Little Mermaid. It is dark and horrific (without being scary or graphic enough to make me gag) in places but the reading was riveting. Because the chapters alternate between the present and 1872/3, I kept listening to find out what happened next. I’m glad I listened to this one!


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