October’s Audio books and NaNoWriMo

So I was having a Twitter conversation with Lauren DeStefano and she mentioned that one of her characters in her Internment Chronicles books, has a brother who is blind. She didn’t give me many details about him and I decided I needed to read those books. So what does Lauren DeStefano do? Offers to mail me her audio book copy of the book! Of course I said no. Wait what? No of course I didn’t say no, in fact I asked her to sign the cover of the audio book. I’ve often wondered what I would do if I had the chance to go to a book signing. Ask the author to sign my iPhone? She told me the book was wrapped in black tissue paper to protect it. She wanted to make sure I knew it was just black tissue paper and I wasn’t missing any designs. I wondered why an audio book would need to be protected but whatevs.

So maybe a week later, I got an envelope with not one, but two audio books inside! Grinning, I opened the envelope and took out the books. The CD booklet didn’t feel smooth as I took off the tissue paper. Hmmm.

Lauren DeStefano signed the cases with puff paint!

I won’t lie. A lump formed in my throat. She thought of everything!

In other news, I’m officially doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year. The novel writing finally begins Sunday!(Sunday Sunday Sunday!) The story’s working title is ‘Vivian and the King’. Months ago my cat, Timmy, inspired an idea and I began brainstorming. I fell in love pretty quickly and so decided I would develop the story for NanOWriMo and do it for realsies this year. When I first heard about it in 2010, it was already mid November so I didn’t sign up or anything, just decided to see how much I could write before November ended. a story was developed, characters created, chapters written. That novel, with working title ‘Yellow’, has been a practice novel for me over the years ever since. I still plan to finish the first draft one day.

My goal is to finish ‘Vivian and the King’ and then revise it, polish it, begin querying agents with it. I’ve been marinating on this idea ever since Timmy inspired it. I have pages of notes, an outline, tons of bookmarks on ancient Egytp and finally named the cat in the novel. I am so ready to go! I even went and met local writers. In person. People, in person. Wow.

So I won’t be doing NaBloPoMo this year for the first time since 2009, which is kind of bitter sweet since it’s nice to have those daily posts from Novembers of years past. But, this is my dream we’re talking about here, and my dream is to be a published author, so I think I can let go of NaBloPoMo this year. Who knows when I’ll post here in December with November’s book post. I work on these posts all through the month and I’ll be just slightly busy in November. I’ll also be working on my second review for Disability in Kid Lit. I’ll be getting my review copy soon. busy bee! I’m kind of ridiculously happy lately!

Oh, forgot to mention that the character of Vivian was inspired by my friend’s daughter, who I get to hang out with for Halloween. I’m super psyched about the opportunity to talk to her about some things that will feature in the novel. Love my life right now! *knock on wood*

*Ten books this month*

88. “The Traveler” (The fourth Realm book 1) by John Twelve Hawks – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished October 31

A masterfully written novel about a group of people who call themselves harlequins who protect people called travelers who can bounce around between dimensions, pursued by people who want to tap the traveling power and link it with a super computer in order to better control the human race, narrated by Scott Brick? Yes please. I’ll even forgive Mr. Brick for pronouncing saguaro sag-war-o.

Oh man, what an amazing book. Twelve Hawks can write, I mean he can freaking write. Wow. I feel like i’m in a master class with this series. the characters are all three dimensional and believable. The action? wow. I’ve found that long action scenes in novels tend to let my mind wander. Not in ‘Traveler’. I imagined every punch, every swerve of a vehicle, every sword slash.

There’s this community of people who go live off the grid, and it’s eerily similar to the town I’ve invented for Yellow, except they definitely don’t live off the grid haha. I can’t help but smile when I see something similar to something I’ve invented, in published novels. That used to make me panic, the thought that something has already been done. but now I know to write it anyway. Only I can tell the story in my head, and everything has already been done. It’s a fact.

I definitely recommend this series. What a book. Wow. Thanks Ricardo!

Big Brother is watching and he’s armed with a quantum computer. *Shiver*


87. “Afterworlds” by Scott Westerfeld narrated by Sheetal Sheth and Heather Lind

Finished October 28

I read this book again in preparation for NaNoWriMo. The book came out this time last year and I read it then, but there’s no book post from that first reading. I read it back-to-back twice last year, its’ that good.

Darcy Patel participates in NaNoWriMo while she’s a senior in high school. “Afterworlds” opens describing how Darcy wrote to (queried) an agent, got signed and got a book deal. Lucky girl! She decides to move to New York city to be near publishing while she does rewrites on her book and begins work on the second novel of her two book deal. We follow Darcy on her journey as she falls in love, works on her career and eats noodles-lots and lots of noodles. I highly recommend having Ramen on hand.

Every other chapter is Darcy’s novel, “Afterworlds” We get to read what has become Darcey’s polished novel, watching as the two stories parallel one another. In Darcey’s ‘Afterworlds’, Lizzie Scofield plays dead to survive a terrorist attack and finds that she can travel to the flip side, where ghosts live. She meets a death god and a child ghost who’s been haunting Lizzie’s mother since she was herself a child. Darcey weaves a tale about Lizzie’s adjustment to life as a new psycho pomp, spirit guide, reaper. shine.

I loved this book the first two times I read it and even more now that I know about the publishing process in greater detail. If I wasn’t excited about my baby novel being born on Sunday before, you can bet i am now. I can’t wait!


86. “Burning Kingdoms” (Internment Chronicles book 2) by Lauren DeStefano – narrated by Laura Knight Keating

finished October 26

For book one, skip to the next heading.

What a culture shock book two is! first, let me say that I think book two is cursed. None of the tracks on the CD were labeled so when I imported them and used Audio Book Binder on them, the tracks scrambled. Of course I didn’t notice this until I started reading, at night, all snuggled in bed. It took an entire day the next day to copy the tracks again and make sure they were all labeled properly. Cursed I tell you. Oh! See I knew there was something else that caused me to think the book is cursed. With about two hours to go one night, the book just stopped playing. I could tell the iPad was still on since I could see the light from it. It was plugged in. It wouldn’t speak. No amount of restarting it worked. Siri wouldn’t even talk. the next day, I plugged it into iTunes and it’s like yeah, this iPad has a problem. Maybe updating it will fix it, or else you’ll need to restore. Luckily the update fixed it so maybe the book isn’t totally cursed.

I don’t want to say too much about this second book since really saying anything will spoil the ending of the first one, as I discovered when I accidentally read the first sentence of the publisher’s summary at Audible. I’ll just say I didn’t like it as much as I did the first one. We get to know one of the characters better, which is nice. This book just sort of felt like a place holder between books one and three. I have high hopes for book three, though. It’s out next year. tick tock.


85.“Perfect Ruin” (Internment Chronicles book 1) by Lauren Destefano – narrated by Laura Knight Keating

Finished October 22

What an interesting concept. Internment is a floating city, ripped from the Earth as a punishment. I totally imagined Dark city, the movie. The city is ruled by a king, and regulations are strict. Births are limited and planned, and babies are betrothed at birth. given glass betrothal bands, children wear them around the neck until the ring fits on the finger. At the time of the couple’s wedding, the glass is filled with the blood of their partner. Angelina and Billy bob much? The edge of Internment is surrounded by a fence and gale force winds, and if Internment’s residents get too close, they risk going insane. Jump off the edge, and one will be hurled back over and left with physical damage.

Morgan Stockhour’s brother Lex, is one of the jumpers, and was blinded as a result. He has an interesting contraption with which he dictates novels. He is completely dependent on his family, which shows what it might be like to lose one’s sight in a dystopian setting. Lex can no longer remember what shapes look like and he’s only been blind for three years. Not quite accurate, but hey, maybe the jumping attempt left his brain a bit addled too. Seriously though, I did roll my eyes a bit at some of Lex’s life, like how he constantly knocks over his wife’s vases of flowers. Is he just incapable of adjusting to life with blindness? Though, I do knock my own stuff over from time to time…

Lex is a side character. The main story is the brutal murder of a teenaged girl and her betrothed subsequent arrest for it. Morgan starts to understand that her life on Internment is much more complicated than she thought, and for the first time in her life, she begins to feel fear. She starts to understand why lex was so curious about the edge. what might life be like on the ground?

Once this book had its hooks in, it didn’t let go. I had to know what would happen next. It’s a quiet story. I don’t know how else to describe it. the city of Internment is so slow and sleepy but there’s this underlying tension that builds to a plummeting conclusion.

I recommend if you’re a fan of YA dystopia. It was definitely and entertaining read. Laura Knight Keating does a nice job, though Lauren DeStefano did tell me that the character name of Basil is pronounced like the spice. the narrator, and my screen reader, pronounce it differently, like the Greek name.

84. “Zeroes” by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti – narrated by Amber Benson

Finished October 20

Note I took just after starting:I had no idea there was a blind character in this book until a couple days ago, when Scott Westerfeld retweeted a tweet about it. I cringed inside, wondering how badly the authors were going to screw up blind. But, I just met the blind character and so far, aside from the bright dress she’s wearing for visibility, she’s spot on. I’m guessing the dress is the product of an overprotective parent. end note.

Actually, after reading some more, her bright dresses are explained. It’s part of her power. You see, all the teens in “Zeroes” have a power. they aren’t quite super heroes; they call themselves Zeroes.

Flicker is the blind girl but her power isn’t enhanced by her blindness. There’s a lot of complaints in the disability in literature crowd about disabilities being cured in fiction, or turning into a power. Now I understand why my friend Chupa hated the movie Powder so much. Flicker’s power is freaking awesome and I want it and I want to be her for Halloween. Except she uses a white cane and not a guide dog. sometimes she doesn’t even need her mobility tool, but you have to read the book to find out why. It’s so freaking cool! And Westerfeld and his writing partners nailed the blind aspect of the character. I talked with him on Twitter about it, and he said they spoke with a blind teenager. See? That’s how you write diversity. Anyway.

Other characters in the novel are Crash, who crashes electronics, Mob, who effects crowds, Scam, who has an inner voice that is all knowing and can take control of a situation with his charm, Anonymous, who literally hides in plain sight and I can’t remember the last one’s code name. The others called him Fearless Leader because he was the leader of the Zeroes. he also annoyed me for most of the book so maybe that’s why I can’t remember his code name.

Anyway, I freaking loved this book! It’s such a fun twist on superheroes. No one can fly or shoot webs from their wrist or wait, what exactly does Batman do? Fight evil with his money? I’m not usually a big superhero fan. Zeroes though? Hell yeah. And there’s two more books coming!

The narrator was incredible. She voiced each character in awesome, unique ways. She brought the story to life. the male characters weren’t even annoying, as they often are when voiced by women.


83. “Apex” (Nexus book 3) by Ramez Naam – narrated by Stephanie Canon

Finished October 17

when is this book going to end OMG make it stop. last night I sped up the speech rate and it helped a little bit with the terrible narrating, and should make the end of the book come faster. The narrating, oh holy hell it’s bad. It’s not terrible until she mispronounces a word or has to read a Chinese character. They really should have gotten the actress who played Mrs. Swan in Mad TV to read this book. I new I should have taken note of the word Canon mispronounced so egregiously last night. Damn what was it. I think I have about six hours left. Make it stop, just make it stop. Why am I not giving up on this book? I guess I care about a few of the characters enough to keep going.

Last night I was thinking about this post in progress as I listened to the book. I follow a lot of writerly accounts on twitter and one of them posted an article about things not to do in your prose. I won’t mention one of the things mentioned in that article here, because Naam does it all the time in this book and it’s so distracting to me because it’s something I never would have thought of until a writerly type pointed it out and now I can’t stop analyzing it every time Naam does it, which is a lot. I’m guessing that might be part of why I can’t just get immersed in the story and ignore the bad narrating. If a writerly type happens to read this post, did my run-on just drive you nuts? I’m a fan of those.

Finally finished it last night. There was so much filler, unnecessary filler. We’re taken from our main characters too much, over to this side story in China with characters that came out of nowhere in this book and who are Chinese so we get treated to Canon’s awful Chinese accent. When we would finally get back to the main characters, I’d start to get in to the story again, only to be ripped out and taken to China again.

This series was interesting, set in the future where a drug links minds. It’s cool but terrifying. I recommend the series if you’re a scifi fan, but do this third book on Kindle or something. the narrating really destroys it, at least it did for me. Maybe the secondary story wouldn’t have been so annoying without the terrible narrator.


82. “Furiously Happy: A funny Book About Horrible Things” by Jenny Lawson – narrated by Jenny Lawson

Finished October 11

Oh, how I needed this book. I read her first book back in July of 2012. What! 2012! No way. wow. Where does time go? Seriously. Whoa, Clair Danes just said seriously at the same time I wrote it. b is home on staycation and watching Homeland. Happy birthday B! Anyway, what was I writing about? Oh right, “furiously Happy’.

I realized while I was listening to Jenny’s voice read her words to me, that since I’ve made the decision to get serious about my writing, part of my personality got too serious. Does that make sense? I’ve gotten so serious about learning everything I can about writing and publishing, trying to get my name out there in some way or other, which will happen tomorrow, October 16th, when my first review gets published over at Disability in Kid Lit, that I’ve lost some of my silliness and personality. It’s coming back to me now that I’m upright and walking away from that depression, rather than crawling away, and I’m so grateful for it. I have to thank Jenny lawson for giving me that last push, getting me up off the floor. Thank you, jenny.

In ‘Furiously Happy’, Jenny tells her own stories of depression and anxiety, balanced perfectly with the hilarity that ensues when a mentally ill person decides to be furiously happy. It’s her way of fighting back, of saying f-you to depression and deciding that dammit, if she wants to wear a koala suit in Australia when she meets koala bears, she’s gonna freaking do it. She made the decision to be herself and embrace her damn mental illnesses because the alternative is…well…furiously ugly.

I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone dealing with mental illness or for anyone who’s loved ones are dealing with mental illness, or for anyone who just wants to look inside and see what it’s like to live with mental illness. I related to Jenny soooooo much! My anxiety and depression isn’t as bad as hers but I know it could get that bad and if it does? I’m buying myself a damned stuffed raccoon. yep. No, wait, not a stuffed animal toy raccoon. A taxidermied freaking raccoon. Apple dictionary says taxidermied isn’t a word. Whoa, I’m like a sentence in Jenny’s book.

I want a silver ribbon pin. Jenny, is there a silver ribbon pin? I’ll never remember to pin an actual silver ribbon on but a prefabbed pin? Yeah, I could remember that.


81.“White Trash Zombie Gone Wild” (White Trash zombie, book 5) by Diana rowland – narrated by Allison McLemore

Finished October 8

the only bad thing about a new White Trash Zombie book is the need to wait a year for the next one. In this latest installment, our favorite zombie, Angel Crawford, finds herself on her own, her zombie crew all off fixing things elsewhere. Oh right, and there’s also that little problem of her new addiction. Rowland is pretty dang good at writing the whole addiction thing.

so much was going on in this book that I felt my head spinning and thinking, wow too much is going on here. then, with two hours left, I was like how on earth is she gonna unravel the story she’s woven? And she did. the woman can write. and Allison McLemore does a fantastic job as always. I love these books! they have such a positive undertone, they are just plain good for my mental health. If you have an aversion to swearing and brain eating, this series is not for you, though if you expected anything else after reading the titles, I don’t know what to tell ya.


80.“White Trash Zombie Apocalypse” (White Trash Zombie book 3) by Diana Rowland – narrated by Allison McLemore

Finished October 6

I had reread White Trash Zombie book four in preparation for book five but didn’t time it right so I decided to read book three since book five wasn’t out for a few more days. That’s the thing about this series for me. It grabs me and doesn’t want to let go. I just enjoy Angel’s company so much that I never want to move on. She’s just a fun chick I could totally imagine having as a real friend, so long as she keeps well fed and doesn’t think my brain smells enticing.

Here’s my post from the first time I read this book. I’m kinda freaking out because I don’t remember that time at all. I read that in this house? in November? Yikes.

I had to laugh when I was perusing some of the reviews on this book. McLemore had a cold and you can totally hear it about halfway through the book. A reviewer said, get this, she has a weak stomach, and it was a challenge listening to the book and the narrator’s cold. I’m like, but the book has scenes with humans cracking skulls and eating brains! Ok, I suppose the reviewer meant she has a weak stomach when it comes to sounds. That must be it, right?

79. “How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back” (White Trash Zombie book 4) by Diana Rowland – narrated by Allison Mclemore

Finished October 3

I reread this in preparation for book five. There’s no post from when I read it the first time unfortunately. I guess that was from back when I lost control of my book posts and ended up changing the format for all my reviews to this new current one, which has worked so much better for me. I know people are reading the blog since I have stats on that, even though they seldom comment. I’m looking at you, dear reader. I also know that I’ve helped at least one person find books since she lets me know, so Brooke, these posts are for you!

In “Groove Back’, our Angel goes to the big city, NYC, to help rescue some of her tribe who have been kidnapped. It’s hilarious, watching small town Angel, who’s never been farther than Alabama, navigate the subway system. Her goggling at the swanky hotel she gets to stay at reminded me so much of me, especially on my recent trip to Hollywood, where I was afraid to go into the hotel where I just knew I’d stick out like a sore thumb. I was just grateful to have professionally cut and colored hair. I so related to Angel’s money woes and how small she felt next to her friends who seemed to have plenty of the green stuff. Money I mean.

I checked out reviews on this book too and one comment cracked me up, something about how there should be less swearing. Ba ha! Hey, you can take the trash outta the zombie and clean up her beer can paved driveway, but Angel wouldn’t be Angel without her swearing.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, apple Inc, Audio books, birthday, fellowship, gratitude, mental health, Timmy, twitter me this, writing

My first Published (not here) Book review

What? Ro is writing a post in the middle of the month? What’s going on here? (Sorry, I’ve been writing about myself in the third person for bios on sites and stuff.)

You know what else is crazy? the Cubs are in the playoffs, the National League Championship series at that. Back to the Future could be right, ya’ll.

I’m posting today to link to my first published book review over at Disability in Kid Lit. They are a wonderful group of people spreading awareness about disability in young adult literature. Here is my review of Romancing the Dark in the city of Light by Ann Jacobus. I first mentioned reading this book back in August’s book post. Can I pretend August never happened though? Ha!

I had a great time working on this review and am thrilled to announce that I’ll be doing more for them. Exciting! I learned a lot during the editing process and having something published somewhere other than here, by someone other than me, is just cool.

I’ve been asked if there is an audio version of ‘romancing the Dark’ and as of now, I know Audible doesn’t have one. I’ve sent a question to the author about that. I read the book in my Kindle app with Voiceover.

Hey, Ann’s book people? You should get Allison McLemore to do the audio book. though I’m not sure how she does with French accents. She’d freaking nail Summer’s snark, though. Ooh ooh or Julia Whelan! yeah!

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Filed under Audio books, baseball, plugs, twitter me this, Voiceover

September’s Audio Books, etc

Where did September go? I’m really not sure what I did all last month. Though I suppose it’s evident I did a lot of reading. I also focused on recovering from the awful depression of August. Which, by the way depression and anxiety? I feel you lurking there, just below the surface, ready to drag me back under. I know you’re still hungry. I’m not going to let you have me.

I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo in November, writing bits of the book in my head since nothing can be written with my keyboard until November 1. I cannot wait to write the opening scene, especially since last night I came up with another angle that’s going to give my female protag the problem I’ve been searching for. Can’t wait to start! Ancient Egypt research has been done, thanks Amanda for all the links you’ve stumbled upon. Oh that reminds me, I need to get with my friends daughter to discuss some terms for that one thing…

In brand new and very exciting news, another trip to Florida is now in the works for the beginning of March. The only thing set in stone is the, drum roll please, JOSH GROBAN CONCERT I’LL BE ATTENDING! Ahem, ok I’m done screaming now. The tickets were purchased and I was given the express instructions to be in Clearwater on March 1. I’ll also be going to Rays spring training in port Charlotte, and seeing my florida friends so woo hoo!

I have the most amazing people in my life, that’s all I gotta say.

Happy birthday, Gamma! I miss you. :(

*Ten full books this month*

78. “Crux” (Nexus book 2) by Ramez Naam – narrated by Mikael Naramore

Finished September 30

the first book in this trilogy is a few headings down in this post. I read another book between books one and two since they have different narrators and Luke Daniels narrated the first book and he’s just awesome. Naramore was ok but he’s no Luke Daniels and I have to wonder if Daniels passed on doing this book on purpose. What a let down after the first one. I think “Crux” needed another revision or two. I felt like the information was being forced on me rather than shown to me. It ended up being terribly confusing since there were several parallel story arcs that didn’t mesh together. There seemed to be endless passages where characters were thinking. Thinking thinking thinking. So and so did this to me, I’m gonna do this, I really shouldn’t do that, what if this happened. The book just needed to be tightened up and it would have been fine, instead, those screws loose killed the pacing and bored me to tears. I kept thinking about the new White Trash Zombie book out on the sixth and how I was going to reread book four to prepare.

Ricardo says book three is good and full of action, so I’ll give it a try, but I’m glad for the break with my zombies.

77. “Cold Cold Heart” by Tami Hoag – narrated by Julia Whelan

finished September 27

I’ve taken to buying any book narrated by Julia Wehlan, or as Ricardo and I call her, our Gone Girl girl.

‘Heart’ is a book I found while doing such a search and wow. What a great freaking book. Dana Nolan was kidnapped by a serial killer. The book opens with her escape and agonizing recovery. Does one ever really recover from something like that, though? She’s lost not only her ability to think clearly and speak easily, she’s lost her identity as a reporter. Instead of doing the reporting, she’s now reported on.

In order to find a new purpose in life after she returns to her mother and stepfather’s home in the small town where she was raised, she decides to brush off her old investigative skills and look into the disappearance of her best friend from high school. If only she could remember to turn off the water faucet.

What follows is a riveting mystery with a deeply flawed protagonist struggling to make sense of the world post brain injury. though our situations are nothing alike, boy did I relate to Dana Nolan and her “before Dana” and “after Dana”, the way her relationships changed when she became “after Dana”, the way she struggled to figure out who she was after the “accident”. Oh, and there was a great mystery too, and a cute cat who looks like my Anastasia.

I love Julia Whelan so much I found her on Twitter: @justjuliawhelan. She’s been added to my list of favorite narrators. Great company with Scott Brick and Ray Porter, and so far, she hasn’t done a bad book that I’ve found.

@TamiHoag is also on Twitter but she’s not very active. She has an interesting author’s note at the end of the book, in which she describes her own traumatic brain injury and gives resources for others. She also tells the story of people who inspired another character in the novel, a war vet with his own traumatic brain injury.

76. “Nexus” (Nexus book 1) by Ramez Naam – narrated by Luke Daniels

finished September 23

Ricardo recommended this one. It took me a few hours to really get into it but once it grabbed me, it wouldn’t let go. Imagine a drug that lets you communicate with your own mind as if it were a computer. You could write code in your brain to make things happen, all with thoughts. You can even install apps. Want to be able to win a fight? There’s a Bruce Lee app for that. Now imagine if you could link minds with others on the drug and communicate by just thinking. At first, I was like ok that’s cool, but then it got scary. A woman is held captive, her mind under the control of those who have her, and she’s completely paralyzed. A hacker could break into your mind and make you do things. Totally shudder making. This is the first in a trilogy and it’s narrated by Luke Daniels, who I like. Definitely a good read. I look forward to book two.

Twitter: @ramez

75. “Darken the Stars” (Kricket series book 3)

Finished September 19

This is the last book in the trilogy, which I read all of this month. Book two is below this and book one a few headings below that.

I was bummed when this book ended, dangling bits and all. This trilogy was the perfect escape and I’ll miss Kricket’s sarcasm read with Kate rudd’s voice. I checked out the reviews on Audible last night and my were readers upset with the ending. I thought it stayed true to character and was a good lesson that not everything is a happy ending. I’m going to miss that world, that’s for sure.

Notes I took while reading*

I don’t want to like Kyon but his character is so awesome for humor. Was just eating mini wheats when he made me laugh so hard I slapped my leg and almost choked on cereal.

I did a search to find the spelling for Kyon’s name and I am so grateful I can read books just to enjoy them, not feel the need to dissect every character and the tropes they fall into. My goodness. This series is fun for book’s sake. You know, fun? That thing that’s well, fun?

Had to stop my vacuuming to jot this thought down. The teen reviewers of these books love them. Since the books are classified YA, the teen reviews are all that matter to me. On the adults writing about the violence and sex in the books? Well, adults enjoy violence and sex in their entertainment and teens are, wait for it, YOUNG ADULTS.

74. “Sea of Stars” (Kricket #2)

Finished September 16

*Notes I took while reading*

She says something like, I open my eyes, trying to get my wits about me, I can’t keep them open. She can’t keep her wits open. She’s feigning delirium, telling the enemy to be sure and follow the white rabbit, and then, you killed Kenny…you bastard. The aliens are dumbfounded. I laughed out loud despite the migraine.

*End notes*

73. “Lone Wolf” by Jodi Picoult – narrated by Natalia Payne,Louis Changchien,CelesteCiulla, Nick Cordero, Angela Goethals, Mark Zeisler and Andy Paris

finished September 15

This was yet another daily deal I picked up at some point since I generally enjoy Jodi Picoult books. they are always about regular people and family being shoved into a supremely awkward situation, testing the bonds of love within a family. I don’t know why these books draw me in. Maybe because there’s always siblings, and I’ve always wanted siblings.

“Lone Wolf” was interesting because the supremely awkward situation was the father in a coma, but he’s not just any father, he’s a conservationist who went into the wilds of Canada to insert himself into a wolf pack for study. He literally gets the pack to accept him as a wolf. I thought this rather unlikely until Ricardo found an article for me about a guy in real life who did just that. I should have saved the link but I’m sure, if you’re interested, some googling would find it. I should have known this actually happened since Picoult writes books ripped from the headlines. She’s got one good eye for spotting true events that will make compelling fiction. She also added a second ripped from the headlines instance of, should life support be continued on this patient?

You know, I wonder if she wrote the book after the true wolf guy. I meant to check on those dates but now the total curiosity has passed and since this is my blog and not, like, true journalism, I don’t feel like it. So there. *stomps foot*

I always enjoy how each chapter is told from the point of view of one character, which means the audio books introduce several narrators. The books are always excellent entertainment.

I could have done without the epilogue though. Cheeseball!

72. “Before He Finds Her” by Michael Kardos – narrated by Julia Whelan

Finished September 12

Audible, Have I told you lately how much I love you for the daily deals? I’ve had to stop buying them over the last few months since summer electric bills don’t allow for extras, but daily deals have added so many books to my library that I always have something to read. I remember when I first became a digital audio book listener, it was hard to afford them through iTunes. then I became an Audible subscriber and I’d have to stretch my reading between credits. These daily deals have stocked up my book collection so that I never have to wonder where my next listen is coming from and I have read books I never would have known about otherwise. The last few books on this list were all daily deals. I got this one because Julia Whelan narrated it and she has quickly become a narrator I’m guaranteed to buy, like Scott Brick or Ray Porter.

This mystery was fantastic. I didn’t want to stop listening, and I didn’t want it to end when everything was being resolved. Man but this book was gooooood. The main character was annoying at times but what pregnant seventeen year-old raised in witness protection who lives on Nancy Drew books wouldn’t be annoying when she decides to go into the world and find her father since law enforcement can’t seem to and she’s sick of hiding?

I hope you don’t get motion sickness because the twists and turns in this book will leave you puking on the side of the highway. So freaking good. Julia Whelan, will you marry me? I love your voice.

71. “Under Different Stars” (Kricket, book 1) by Amy A.. Bartol – narrated by Kate Rudd

Finished September 10

Total soap opera teen romance fluff set in a sci-fi world, terribly written with dangling bits everywhere, but I enjoyed it despite all that. It was highly distracting and a lovely escape from reality. this is not a serious book that’s going to dazzle the reader with beautiful prose. Instead, it’s full of tropes. Girl all the guys are crazy about but she’s oblvious, total meat head, overbearing men etc etc etc. the girl is nice and tall on earth but on this other planet she’s tiny and adorable. Awww. Total eye roller I didn’t want to end. Lucky for me there are more books in the series. Honestly though, I’m surprised it won UtopYA awards (I wonder what those are) for best book of the year and sci-fi. On what planet? Maybe Ethar. Audible got me on this one. Hook me with the daily deal so I get addicted to the series. Well played, Audible, Well played.

Twitter: @Amy_A_Bartol

70.“The Magician’s Lie: A Novel by Greer Macallister – narrated by Julia Whelan and Nick Podehl

Finished September 8

Oh man this book was so freaking good I pretty much listened non-stop. I am on a roll with good books right now. This was a daily deal I picked up since Julia Whelan narrated it. She did “Gone Girl” and she’s just plain good.

‘Magician’s’ did something I contemplated doing in my own novel, writing one character’s POV in the first person, and the other MC in the third. In my novel, I wanted to use first person to put emphasis on my female protagonist but I decided it wouldn’t work. In ‘Magician’s’ however, it totally works. Whelan narrates the character of the magician, written in first person, telling her story to the police officer who apprehends her for the murder of her husband. The chapters alternate between her and the officer, written in the third person, conducting the interview. Podehl reads those chapters. He’s familiar but I’m not sure what other books I know him from. He’s also good. I thought the book was extremely well done and the story the magician tells is absolutely captivating. the title of the novel tells the reader there’s a lie, so the narrative of the magician is completely unreliable which makes for a very uncomfortable reading experience. This book freaking rocked. I wish the author was on Twitter. If she is, I can’t find her. Her? the name makes it hard to know, but I feel like a woman wrote the book. Yep, she’s a woman. I looked her up and found this interview, in which she mentions nursing her child. I can’t wait to read more from her!

69. “A Curious Tale of the In-Between” by Lauren DeStefano – narrated by Brittany Pressley

finished September 6

This book was awesome! I had been looking forward to it for so long since I follow Lauren DeStefano on Twitter and love her but had yet to read any of her books. She has really engaged with me over writing and she’s just plain hilarious so I’m so glad I liked this book. I was a little worried since the last book involving ghosts that I had been looking forward to was a serious disappointment.

Not this book! Eleven year-old Pram Bellamy can talk to ghosts. She lives with her two aunts in an old colonial house turned nursing home. She knows she’s an orphan, that her mother died in childbirth and her father is absent but she doesn’t quite understand why her aunts are so protective of her, schooling her at home. Her only friend is a ghost named Felix. When social services insists she attend school, she meets Clarence, a boy who’s mother is also dead. The two set out to uncover secrets. What follows, to me, is more a terrifying tale than a curious one. It reminded me of the old Goosebumps stories I read as a kid. It was so good I clapped when it ended. I only wish it had been longer. It was so good!

Twitter: @LaurenDeStefano

68. “Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change” by S. M. Stirling – narrated by Todd McLaren

finished September 4

This book was so fun in the beginning. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale which I love. something happens to electricity and even compustian. What is it? No one knows. Planes fall from the sky, technology is dead, guns don’t work. So who survives? Wiccans and SCA members since those two groups of people already knew how to live off the land. It took me right back to my teens and early twenties, it did. I was a Wiccan and briefly an SCA member. In case you’re wondering, the SCA is a group that gets together and holds old renaissance festival type things.

So those people who respect the earth and can fight with swords are the ones to survive. It’s plausible to me. The book began to lose me the farther into it I got with the two main characters and their constant inner dialogue. I can’t explain why it got so annoying. then the story seemed to unravel near the end, like the author just wanted to move on to working on the next book or something. About the last quarter of the book suddenly got confusing, with no explanation of exactly how and why something was happening. It felt like the author was figuring out the story as he wrote it and didn’t quite tighten it up in revision. It’s becoming harder to just read now that I’m also a writer, that’s for sure. It’s an entertaining read if you’re able to suspend your disbelief. An attack on a strong hold with hang gliders? Really? In the dark? By people who had only a few days training with them? Alrighty then. Oh, or what about the fourteen year-old who teaches herself sign language out of a book in just a few months after she discovers there’s a deaf girl in the Wiccan camp? Uh huh. Oh well, it was the perfect book to follow Fitz and the Fool and I wasn’t yet ready to return to reality.

67. “The boys of Summer” by roger Kahn – narrated by Phil Gigante

finished September 2

This is the book I read for the book club I’ve mentioned in the last couple posts I think. The book club consists of Rays fans reading books about baseball. I could not get invested in this book. the writing didn’t grab me. The first part of the book is basically Kahn’s own biography and I was reading the book for baseball. The second part was Kahn visiting the old Dodger players he had written about in the fifties. parts of the book would be really interesting and then I’d find myself bored again. Discussing the book was interesting, reading the comments the people in the club wrote. since I couldn’t just leaf through the book for names, I was at a loss, not remembering which name went with which story.

the baseball history was interesting, especially Jackie robinson of course. The book just didn’t hold my attention. I have to wonder if the depression I was slipping into didn’t play a part.

I’ve always liked Phil gigante. He’s a great narrator, doing accents well, very easy to listen to.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, birthday, cats, fellowship, Gamma, gratitude, mental health, music, twitter me this, writing

August’s Audio Books and a Case of Crippling Depression

So can we say wow Ro, you are sure late on August’s post. Ummm, Yeah. I’ll just say I’m grateful I can actually write this today. I am emerging from my worst…depression…EVER. Like, ever. Like, oh please oh please can I never go through depression that bad ever again? Please?It was awful. I’ve narrowed what I think to be the cause down to yet another physical problem with yet another new medication, though there doesn’t have to be a cause for depression. In me, there is typically a cause though. I’ll have what I call minor depressions, where life just gets too overwhelming, especially around money, but they usually pass. This one began as a minor depression, my story wasn’t published though I really felt ok about that, I plunged myself into work on the novel, then I read a book that brought back all my old alcoholic feelings, then a seriously dark and disturbing YA novel, and then the new medication was added and then yet another shooting happened and holy crap what the hell oh man no, stop it, no, go away, make it stop no no no, there’s no hope, life is horrible, humanity is doomed, make it stop. I quit reading the internet. I quit writing, all I wanted to do was read fiction. I even found it hard to care about baseball. then I finally told B all the things that were in my head even though I was scared to, afraid he’d lock me up, but he just listened and let me cry and that, along with not reading the internet, with talking to close friends, finally helped me ease out. It’s getting better by the day and today I was able to finish the first draft of a book review I had promised to others and send it off.

So now I’m working on my own stuff. It’s rainy today. I’m listening to music. The Rays are out of it for this season but they come to Arizona next year so that’s exciting. I spent the day in bed yesterday, just feeling physically “off”, worrying that I was doomed to not be productive yet again this week but today has been good so far. Minute by minute, that’s how I’m taking life at the moment. So, On to August’s books. Grateful I had the presence of mind to keep track of them. And grateful to Jayden for keeping me functioning during that horrible, dark time.

Happy birthday, Taylor!

*four books this month*

66. “Fool’s Quest” (Fitz and the Fool trilogy, book 2)
by Robin Hobb – narrated by Elliot Hill

finished August 31

I love robin Hobb’s Farseer books so dang much! This is her latest book which came out in August. Ricardo and I were both excited to read it and it was fun to complain about this new narrator with him. The way Hill voices the Fool is just plain awful. It definitely detracted from the book for me but at least this second book in the current trilogy was better than the first so that helped. I didn’t want to be done with the book when it was over. It was the absolute perfect escape for me, in fact B even told me to just disappear into it haha. I can’t wait for the third in this trilogy! Hobb’s Twitter said something about 2017 though, so that’s not happy making.

Twitter: @RobinHobb

Two books I walked away from: “The Accidental Alchemist” and “Mort(E)

I think I made it an hour into the alchemist book, bland narrating, or was it the writing with its dangling bits, who knows. Just didn’t care. Good thing it was a daily deal. I wanted something light hearted after ’ember’. Maybe it was a combination of my worsening mental state and the excellent writing it followed. I then tried the Mort book and made it a few days but gave up August 24 with four hours left. I just couldn’t do it. It was sheer freaking torture it was so bad. I blame you, Bronson Pinchot, for normally being so wonderful. Even you sounded bored to tears. I recorded a small segment for Ricardo since he’s also a Pinchot fan. I used to always suffer through bad books to see if they’d be redeemed. Not anymore. If they don’t at least entertain me, that’s it.

65. “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir – narrated by Fiona Hardingham and Steve West

finished August 18

Holy crap, this book. So dark. So disturbing. So bloody. So good, but glad it’s not at all based in reality or I don’t think I could have handled it, it was so dark. Excellent narration and the book grabs you from the very start, never letting go until it ends, and you’re left wanting more. At least, I was. There’s a sequel and it’s written and hopefully out next year. I highly recommend if you’re a fan of young adult books and even if you aren’t. If you like dark fantasy, this is the book for you. Wow. I mean, wow. What did I say on Twitter? It’s “The Hunger Games” meets “Divergent” meets “The Bone Season”. Don’t say I didn’t warn you though. wow is it dark.

Twitter: @SabaaTahir When she responded to me on Twitter, I was like aaaah scary author, scary author!

64. “Romancing the Dark in the city of Light” by Ann Jacobus – narrated by Apple’s voiceover

finished August 13

the above link is the Goodreads page for this book since it’s not out until early October. I was given an advance review copy since I’m reviewing the book for Disability in Kid Lit. I’ll link to that review once it’s up.

And, here is the review. It was posted October 16 and was a very cool experience. I’ve been asked if there’s an audio book, and currently there isn’t. I have a question in to the author about it.

Twitter: @AnnJacobusSF

63. “Sarum: the Novel of England” by Edward Rutherfurd – narrated by Wanda McCaddon

Finished August 12

Notes I took while reading:

It’s like trying to see an accident scene as you’re driving by on the highway. It’s like oh there’s Bloody Mary oh now she’s gone. The book tries to be character driven but the expanse of time is so vast that by trying to develop characters and stories takes away from historical detail. The balance is off. There’s not enough time to care about characters and not enough detail about history.

End notes.

There were moments of pure fascination and then moments of sheer boredom. After reading Rutherfurd’s New York book, I was expecting exquisite pacing. I think that would be next to impossible with the England book however. It begins with the dawn of man and ends in the, oh crap, I can’t remember when it ended. I was just so relieved it ended. Oops!

I love Wanda McCaddon though. She’s very easy to listen to.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, birthday, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, man o mine, mental health, spoons, twitter me this, writing

July’s Audio Books, Jimmy Kimmel and Writing

What an absolutely crazy month July was, let me just get that out of the way ha! Crazy in a very good way. I was successful in submitting my first polished fiction. You can read about that in my last post. I’m waiting to hear back on that. There’s a submissions page where I can go to check on it and it’s just listed as “in progress”. If I remember correctly, the call for submissions said selected authors should know by the end of July. I can’t double-check that since the page has been taken down. so I’m not sure what it means that it’s still listed as “in progress”. At least it’s not listed as “rejected”. ha!

Jayden and I went to LA to a live taping of Jimmy Kimmel life, which was awesome. the guests were Owen Wilson (awesome!), The Bachelorette and her fiance (whatevs) and Juanez, who my friend and I checked out on Apple Music on the road between Indio and LA. Very cool Latin music. He passed us just outside the green room and said my dog is beautiful. Yeah he is. His segment of the show was performed outside. I’m not going into too much detail about this trip on my blog because—

—the afternoon before the Kimmel show I got an email in response to something I submitted months ago that involves non-fiction writing. Paid non-fiction writing. paid! I’m currently working with the person who selected me as one of the new freelance writers and I might be writing about the LA trip so I’m keeping details under wraps for now. The writing thing is really starting to feel real now. It’s kinda nice to write something totally stress free on my own blog ha!

What else about life? I’ll be ramping up research for the Egyptian book I’m going to write for NaNoWriMo. I want to get it all mapped out but I need more information first. I’ve developed a few of the characters which was totally fun. I love developing characters. What else? Oh yes, I mentioned reading a book for a book club and I said I’d include it in with my book post, however I’m going to wait and write about that when I’m done with it. We’re halfway through the book. In fact I need to ask if we should start reading the next half. Ok, on to books!

*7.5 books this month*

62. “Between You and Me: Confessions of Comma Queen” by Mary Norris – narrated by Mary Norris

Finished July 31

One of the authors I follow on Twitter retweeted an article that referenced this book but I can’t remember who tweeted it or where the article was. blame my addled brain this month, which was more addled than normal. This book bloody rocked. That’s all I got. I don’t know if it would interest a person not into words and writing like me, but I just loved this book. Notes I jotted today when nearly finished with it:

Pencils, #1, oh the memories. The way of doing things before computers. the store with all the office supplies and how she loved it. Mom and I in the stationary isle forever, the smell, the possibility. Office Max? Heaven. Her talking about pencils and erasors is freaking awesome. Mom’s mechanical eraser, I had forgotten all about that. Our electric pencil sharpener, I can still picture it.

end notes.

the author narrated which is usually pretty bad. She didn’t do a terrible job though and hearing her dry humor from her own lips was pretty awesome. Jokes sped by like a guy driving his mid-life-crisis car on the highway, so if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss the kitchy custom license plate.

Mary Norris sounded like my old choir director’s voice after a lot of singing and shouting during rehearsals. It was comforting haha. I just freaking loved this book.

Twitter: @marynorristny

61. “In the Unlikely Event” by Judy Blume – narrated by Kathleen McInerney

Finished July 28

A book by Judy Blume for adults? yes please. Judy Bloom is part of my childhood so I was super excited to hear that she wrote a book for adults. I had no idea this book was historical fiction, that the three plane crashes which the story is centered around really happened. I try not to read publisher’s summaries of books unless I’m checking out a daily deal or something. I just read the summary for ‘Unlikely Event’ and I have to wonder if knowing about the historical aspect would have changed the way I felt about the book.

There were parts that were downright creepy and I thought, wow, Bloom has one creepy imagination. She added a paranormal element to the story that may or may not have been part of what really happened in Elizabeth, New Jersey in the early 1950’s. It was a sometimes entertaining read with semi-interesting characters going through a truly terrible time in their lives.

It was crazy to read about what it was like for girls and women in the fifties. I mean we all know what it was like back then but Bloom’s writing made it seem so real. I’d recommend if you like stories about people and want to see Judy Bloom write about sex and use swear words, ha! Though really, this book is more along the lines of young adult than adult in my opinion. It was also rather soap opera-y at times.

I’m not a fan of this narrator. I read another book with dual narrators awhile back and she was one of them. I think she’d be great for children’s books. ‘Unlikely Event’ has many jewish characters and the narrator doesn’t even sound slightly Jewish when she says Jewish words. She’s also way too sugary sweet. This was a young adult book with a few adult situations and she sounds like a child trying to sound grown up.


60. “Paranoia: A Novel” by Joseph Finder – narrated by Scott Brick

finished July 21

This book took me a little longer than my usual reads since I was working on getting “That Meddling Dog” finished by deadline and also reading a book for a book club. I’ve decided to withdraw my campaign for president since it would cut into my writing, reading and baseball time.

“Paranoia” was not very believable unless I just don’t want to believe in corporate espionage. I mean I know it happens but I doubt it does to this extreme. None of the characters were likable and for the first few hours of the book I started wondering what I’d read next.

But then…

All of the sudden I was like yeah, that could happen, yeah, I’m rooting for this guy now, I dislike the people I’m supposed to dislike and mistrust the ones I’m supposed to mistrust. Right? When it was over I wasn’t ready to be done with the main characters. Now I think I’ll try and find the movie. they made a movie out of it right? This book was a daily deal and I think I remember Audible making it a daily deal because the movie was coming out or something. Really all I remember is that it was a Scott Brick narrated daily deal which means I get it no matter what it is.

Fun, entertaining, fast-paced read. *checks out Finder’s other books* Ooooh found another one narrated by Scott Brick. This is what I’m doing to help me get through a Rays game.


59. “Lexicon” by Max Barry – narrated by Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman

finished July 14

Um, what? No really, what? What was this book about? I um, what? Can you please just click the above link and read the publisher’s summary? Because I don’t know what I read. I didn’t know what I was reading when I read it. What? It was good. the narration was good, especially Zach.

the book? Huh? Words. Yes. Words. Do I recommend? Huh? Action. Definitely action. Who what when where why? Huh? Whatevs.

Seriously though, there was something missing. I’m not sure what, but something was missing. There were also times of being completely lost that I did not enjoy, and edits I wanted to make. Beyond those things, it was an entertaining read.


58. “The Long Goodbye” by Raymond Chandler – narrated by Ray Porter

Finished July 11

And I thought Michael Connelly was good. Wow. Raymond Chandler comes up in writerly circles as one to study so when this book came up as a daily deal, and narrated by Ray Porter, I snatched it up without a second thought.

I think I found the style of book to which Ray Porter isn’t quite well suited. Shocker, I know. I think someone like Scott Brick would have been a better Phillip Marlowe. Not to say Ray Porter was bad, that’s impossible. He’s just too current. He doesn’t have that noir sound. There is some Spanish though, which he’s really good at. So maybe that’s what got him the job.

Notes I jotted:

Comment to the writer, how’s the book coming?

*The writer in the book found this comment very annoying and I must say I agree with that sentiment, though when people don’t ask how the writing is coming, I feel like they don’t care, so there’s just no pleasing the writer.

“Maybe it’s the TV commercials. They make you hate everything they try to sell.

*This is me with radio commercials during game broadcasts. I am actively boycotting Subway as a result of their terrible commercials.

I loved this book. I’ll be reading more Chandler for sure.”

57. “Looking for Alaska” by John Green – narrated by Jeff Woodman

Finished July 8

I’m glad I watched a video (which is now unfortunately not available, sorry) of John Green talking about “Looking for Alaska” becoming a movie before I read the book, which Audible put up as a daily deal right around the time of the youtube video which I don’t think is a coincidence. Green says in the video that the book is very personal to him and when he sold the rights for the movie a decade ago, he had his misgivings but the money put his wife through college so yay and now he’s excited about the possibility of the movie because it has the same screenwriter as the movies for both “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Paper Towns”. I read both those books and watched the TFIOS movie which I thought was wonderful and which made me cry just as much as the book.

I’ll probably watch the Paper towns movie since it’s John Green though I didn’t have a strong response to the book which I read last year on my Florida trip.

There were many similarities between “Paper Towns” and “Looking for Alaska” I think. I enjoyed ‘Alaska’ more, so I sure hope they make a movie of it for sure. And I just used the word sure twice. Oops.

Oh here, have some famous last words.

Twitter: @JohnGreen

56. “The Wrath and the Dawn” by Renee Ahdieh – narrated by Ariana Delawari

Finished July 7

I follow an author on Twitter named Lauren DeStefano. (@LaurenDeStefano) I haven’t yet read her books, but follow her because I think she’s hilarious. One of my favorite authors, Samantha Shannon, (@Say_Shannon) retweeted her at some point and that’s how I began following her. Lauren DeStefano did not write ‘Wrath’, she just forced all her followers to read it. No really, she did. She tweeted about it non-stop and when I looked it up and found it on Audible, the publisher’s summary intrigued me so I put it on my wish list. I bought it as a reward when I finished writing my piece of short fiction. I swear, it did not inspire the Egyptian novel I’m planning to write for NaNoWriMo this November haha. The setting is similar, but that’s about it. I couldn’t help smiling though, when parts of ‘Wrath’ made me think about the novel I’m developing.

If you enjoy young adult fiction, I highly recommend this book. It has everything from ancient royalty to teen marriage, to sword fights to curses and oh yes, a love triangle full of “YA hotness”.

The narrator is good, though I thought she had a rather harsh, serious tone to her voice, even during light hearted moments. She wasn’t whiny though, which can really ruin YA teen angst.

I hope there’s a sequel! I’ll read some Lauren DeStefano now as a thank you for the recommendation.

Twitter: @rahdieh

55. “The Winds of War” (winds of War book 1) by Herman Wouk – narrated by Kevin Pariseau

finished July 5

This book was split evenly between June and July. I’ve noticed I’m starting to prefer books in the fifteen hour range. These forty-five hour books can get tedious and book two in this series is even longer. Oy vey.

There were many times I almost took a break and moved on to something else. I’m not a fan of how this novel was written. Some chapters began with long excerpts from a fictional book written by a German who one of the narrators of ‘winds’, Pug, translates. The point of these excerpts is to sort of summarize what happened historically that is about to happen to the fictional characters. These chapters were tedious though, and for me, interrupted the flow of the narrative. ‘winds’ follows one family through World War II and just when something gets interesting with one branch of the family, we’re suddenly stuck with the fictional German book. It’s distracting.

There are also sudden changes in the style of the writing. Wouk gets all poetic and artful out of the blue, following the rise of the sun as it touches “our heroes”, or however he puts it. It’s such a sudden change in style, I found it jarring. I’m writing this on July 2, before I’ve finished the book and at this point, I’m just counting down for it to end. Parts of it are really fun but it’s just too long and my mind wanders often. I crave a good fast paced mystery.

Ok, finished this book last night. I had already written the above since I was going to include this book in last month’s post but changed my mind. There’s a second book but I need a break and it’s even longer than this one was. I’m not sure I can handle another one. So often it just felt like nothing was happening, and I wanted to urge it on like a song being played at too slow a tempo. I can’t say I recommend this book. There are so many excellent historical fiction novels around the second world war.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, accomplishment, apple Inc, Audio books, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, Miss K, mom, music, twitter me this, writing

My First Submitted Fiction – What A Ride

I need to just free write a post while my body calms down. I just submitted my final draft of ‘That Meddling Dog’ for the YA anthology. Now I wait. Will it be chosen? Will I get my first real rejection? What happens next?

I began work on the story on May 30 and received the final draft from my volunteer copy editor yesterday. the writing and revising was awesome, ending up five hundred words over the limit and getting it down to the six thousand, sending new revisions off to my friends and getting their feedback and talking about things that happened and how the story affected each reader differently and change this word for that and get rid of that story line all together because there’s no room for it and I wasn’t ready to introduce that character anyway but oh I still need to reference him ok let me just change his name.

All the creative stuff was awesome, naturally, then it was coming down to the wire, the story pretty much done, the surface so shiny from all the polishing that I could see my reflection and all that was left was formatting. the visual part.

I’ve known I have a trigger happy thumb. I’m sure it’s evident in this post since I’m not being careful at all, just getting thoughts down. I enter way too many spaces. There’s no way with Voiceover and my word processing program, Pages, to easily tighten up spacing issues. So I went character by character of a six thousand word document, deleting spaces.

Wanna hear a sample of that process?

After I got done deleting extra spaces, I went through and added all my paragraph indents. I do all my first drafts in a basic app called Text Edit, kinda like Notepad for Windows, since it’s the easiest for me to use with voiceover. When I’m writing my first drafts of a fiction story, I never remember to tab for paragraphs and dialogue and I’m not sure that would copy over to Pages anyway.

So I went through and added my tabs and then I counted the new lines of a blank document. fifty lines. I wanted to do that thing with new chapters so the chapter would begin halfway down the page, right? So I’d find the new chapter and press enter twenty-five times. In my head, there’s the white space for the chapters.

I exported the Pages document, was it twenty-seven pages or seventeen I can’t remember. Anyway, converted it to Word for my volunteer copy editor and sent it off Wednesday. Deadline Sunday. today is Saturday. Are you with me?

I’m feeling so good about it. Really good. I feel like the story is solid, the protagonist being a secondary character in the main novel I’ve had in my heart and have worked on for years, and the protag from that novel in the story too. I feel great about it. I’ve had fun hanging out with my kids and creating new ones.

Then Thursday morning, before I’ve had coffee, before I’ve played Trivia Crack, I check email on my phone.

Don’t check email on your phone when you haven’t had coffee or played Trivia Crack and you’re already a bundle of nerves from this whole process oh and when Brian is in Sedona for a conference and your sleep is all messed up from staying up all night on Tuesday in a Google hangout with your besties.

email from copy editor lets me know he found extra spaces and other formatting stuff. Extra spaces. After I spent two days going character by character to get rid of them. Words that aren’t capitalized, crazy stuff. Stuff I know I fixed right?

turns out, when you export from Pages to Word and vice versa, formatting errors occur. So I can’t just go through, read his comments, fix what I agree with, stet the rest. this isn’t going to work. I can’t fix those visual errors. I can’t figure out how to make his comments correspond to the area of the manuscript which they refer. I start to panic. I’ve worked so hard. I love this story.

I’m reminded that I’m blind.

later I talk to Ricardo on the phone. He looks at the document with voiceover on his Mac. We try and figure out the comments thing. It’s all so overwhelming. It’s Thursday and the deadline is Sunday. Should I send the manuscript to Amanda who is also blind but uses Jaws with Word? She can fix the formatting issues, keep it in the blind family. but then I still can’t convert back to Pages.

Oh crap I totally left out the cathartic screaming crying fit from earlier in the day. I threw myself on the bed and screamed into my pillow so hard it hurt. I sobbed and sobbed. the cats piled on the bed with me. All I want to be is a writer and there’s all these barriers.

When I’m talking to Ricardo I’m trying so hard not to let the tears come but they do because I can’t do this. I can’t be a writer. There are too many challenges. I need Jaws and Word. All those things I’ve heard for years about Mac and voiceover not working well for professionals, all those things are true. Who am I kidding? I’m a blind disabled nobody and that’s who I’ll stay.


Fuck that.

Deep breath.

Talking to Ricardo. He’s saying all the things I know in my heart, all the things my doubts want to kill. Sure it’s hard. Sure there are barriers. But there are also resources. Amanda told me to use my tools. What are my tools.

Email from the Professor. He can fix the visual stuff. He can just do it, we can talk in the morning, Friday, then he sends me the Word file, I don’t touch it, I submit that.

I tell Ricardo. Should I do that?

Hell yeah!

Weight lifts from my shoulders. People. People are my tools. People are more than happy to help a person who’s doing as much of the hard work as she can on her own.

I think back to the meetings. God will do for me what I can’t do for myself. For me right now, god is those people.

I’m going to be a published writer. I know this. This experience has been so valuable. Even if TMD doesn’t get picked for the anthology, the things I’ve learned from making it the best story it could be are invaluable.

And if it does get published? It could be a launching point.

I struggled with whether to include in my bio that I’m blind. I don’t want to be picked because I’m blind I want to be picked based on the merit of the work. But then I thought back to my last job, the one voc rehab helped me get and they told me not to disclose my MS. Look where that got me? I didn’t get any of the help I needed to be successful while working with a debilitating disability and I went blind.

so I chose to disclose. If I’m going to use the resources available as a blind writer, I can’t pretend I’m not. Hey look at that, tense change. I’m really bad at staying in tense. Hehe! Wait, in tense. Hahaha. Oh but I am so intense at times. In tense. intense. I love freaking words.

I thought back to an essay I read years ago that pissed me off so bad I almost wrote about it here but chose not to. the essay was written by a visually impaired woman who had kept her impairment secret for the same reasons I almost did. She had to admit it though, because she was loosing more and more of her vision.

I was so angry at her at the time but now I get it. It sucks to have to look your weakness full in the face. it sucks to admit oh crap, I can’t do this all on my own. It sucks. It’s painful. I understand now why she wanted to hide it and how much pain she must have been in the day she decided to post that essay.

I have put myself out there now. Until today, five people read TMD. Two blind friends, a young adult friend, and two sighted friends. Friends. All people who care about me. Now the story is in the hands of strangers.

It’s like bearing your soul, which Strunk prepared me for when I read his book.

I slept and slept and slept last night. I woke up at eleven this morning, an hour into the Rays game. So not like me! I was, and still am, exhausted.

After the Rays won (yay!) I opened the submission manager. Deep breath. Heart began racing.

“My heart is racing,” I say.

“Why, because you guys won?” Brian asks.

“No, I’m about to submit the story.”


He knows what a journey this has been. He’s heard me mumbling during revisions, that doesn’t sound right, how can I reword that, he knows how important this is to me.

Of course I ran into a quick technical issue while looking for the file, the only one on my desktop, to submit. Silly mac.

I clicked submit. There goes the bio I wrote, there goes my baby, bye!

“Your submission has been sent.”

Oy vey, right? Holy crap. I mean holy crap! I tweeted, then grabbed Timmy and went to cuddle him in bed. His purring soothes me. I lay in bed, collecting my thoughts, the feeling slowly returning to my feet.

Now we wait. I posted on Facebook that I’m equal parts sure it will be accepted and that I’ll get my first real rejection.

Whatever happens, I’ll keep writing. Ren and georgie insist on it and their story isn’t done. They’ve got at least an entire novel to appear in, if not two or three. And my friend Dulce made her appearance in TMD when I had to work in a flashback to explain something. We find out she had her first kiss. And Dulce the character needs to meet Jedi the dog, who will love her as much as Jayden loves the real Dulce.

This story isn’t over. It’s just beginning!


Filed under accessibility, accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, assistive technologies, baseball, cats, coffeeholic, faith, fellowship, gratitude, Jaws, Jayden, man o mine, Microsoft, misty eyes, screen reader, silly girl, spoons, Timmy, twitter me this, Voiceover, writing

June’s Audio Books, Writing, Etc

I’m late on June’s post because I was going to include the book I’m currently reading which is seriously long and which I’m now half done with, but while working on the post today, I decided I’d just put that in with July’s books.

It’s a very busy writing time for me since I’ve been working on a piece of short fiction for this call for submissions for a YA anthology. Did I write about this last month? anyway, I’m super excited about it and the story is done (I wrote, The End, Lyndsay Faye!). I’m working on my second revision, third draft. The story is a prequel of sorts to the main YA novel I’ve had in my head for ages now. The deadline is the nineteenth and I’ll make it, for sure. I just need to trim around five hundred words or so to meet the word count limit, so sorry Thomas, the character I made up on the fly, you gawn. You’re not important to this story. Kill those darlings! though actually, he was a little shit anyway, and I’m not ready to develop that particular character who will indeed be in the main novel.

I’m also developing a new novel for this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which I’ll be doing for real. Between finishing the YA short story, working title “That Meddling Dog”, and November when NaNoWriMo starts, I’ll be mapping out the new novel and doing research once I decide in which direction I’ll be taking it. I already know about my protagonist and main plot device, but I don’t yet know if it will be Alternate history, historical fiction or a dystopian future. I’ll also be working on finishing the memoir so I can begin revisions. I’m pretty much writing full time now, though nothing yet to show for it other than pride, which is worth more than any dollar. too bad I can’t pay bills with pride. Ha! the money will come.

On to the books for June. Reading is all part of honing the craft. yay books! Oh right, also joined a baseball book club this month, so I’ll be adding the chapters we read in with my normal reads. All this while trying to keep up an exercise regime. At least I’m feeling pretty good, *knock on wood*!

Oh right, baseball. The Rays were in first place of the American League East for several weeks despite their many injuries. they’re slumping right now, so fell out of first, but they’ll be back at the top in no time, believe you me.

Ok, to the books for real. This post is not revised and polished like my fiction haha. I’d never get these monthly posts done if I spent all the time polishing that I do on my fiction.
*7.5 books this month*

54. “Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian” by E. L. James – narrated by Zachary Webber

Finished June 21

Ah, but how fun it is to read the Sharknados of literature. It’s like flipping through channels and pausing to watch some trashy movie one has seen a million times. That’s how I feel about these books.

The first three were truly terribly written, yet they kept my attention and wiled away the hours just like Sharknado and “Grey’ was no exception. Honestly, I just want to copy edit the entire collection and solve instances of, hey, wasn’t Christian just in that room? How is he now at the office Or, wait, is he leaning against the chair or the desk? James, do you not believe in revisions?

Still, no matter those flaws, and perhaps in spite of them, I find the books endearing.

‘Grey’ is just the first fifty Shades book retold from Christian’s perspective. It was fun to see what he was up to when the couple was not together, and the thoughts going through his mind. It was also nice being out of Ana’s head and not hearing about her stupid inner goddess. the male narrator was nice, too. Wait, nice? Is this nice?

This was simply a for fun book and I very much enjoyed talking about it with my friends. I’m also grateful I’ve read these books so when they are discussed on social media as being about abuse and rape, I can roll my eyes and think, have you *read* the books?

53. “The Fatal Flame” (Timothy Wilde book 3) by Lyndsay Faye – narrated by Kirby Heyborne

finished June 17

*sob* the end of a trilogy *sob* nooooooo! Damn, but can Lyndsay Faye write. She’s most definitely up there with my favorite authors and Timothy and Valentine Wilde are characters who will be with me forever. I’m going to miss them terribly!

What more is there to say about this book? I highly recommend the series so since I want you to read them, I don’t want to give anything away. Just go read them. My friend Brooke did and she loved them too.

Lyndsay Faye also very much inspired me as a writer when I listened to a podcast she did about the trilogy and her Sherlock Holmes book and her writing. I literally cheered out loud because neither of us were formally trained in writing, we both had a teacher in high school who was instrumental in the way we write and self edit and since all it took for her to become an author was dedication and hard work, I know it will happen for me, too. So cheers to Lyndsay Faye! I can’t wait for her next book which she talked about in the podcast which I’m not linking to because it’s spoilery for the timothy Wilde trilogy, so there. Just go read her books.

52. “The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving – narrated by Bob Asky (? Talking Books recording)

Finished June 14

This book is not available in English on Audible, which is interesting since it’s an American book. The copy I have is an old Library of Congress talking book, that’s why I put a question mark next to the narrator’s name above since I have no way to check spelling. The audio quality of this book was really bad, but I’m grateful for it since I remember enjoying the movie years ago and wanted to read the book. My friend Chupa loved the book as well, so now we can talk about it. I don’t want to go into detail about the book in case it makes you want to read it. Perhaps it’s easily available in print.

I’m not really sure how I feel about it, if I liked it. Parts of it were good and there were some laugh-out-loud moments but I’m not sure how I feel about taking such dark matters as rape and incest and spinning it into a tale of quirky humor. Then again, maybe that’s the only way some people are able to digest such serious topics. I’m definitely not depressed like I have been with other books about terrible things written without levity. So maybe I did like this book. Maybe I’m still digesting it since I just finished it this morning.

“Keep passing the open windows.”
“Get obsessed and stay obsessed.”

51. “The Coroner’s Lunch”(Dr. Siri Investigations book 1) by Colin Cotterill – narrated by Clive Chafer

Finished June 10

Several laugh-out-loud moments. Dry humor, deadpan narrator, coroner turned Sherlock Holmes with a paranormal element.

Good luck instead of cheers?

Those were the notes I jotted about this book while I was reading it. Very fun book, and part of a series which I will definitely be interested in checking out. I really thought perhaps it was translated because they kept saying “good luck” instead of “cheers” when they toasted. Maybe that was normal for the time and place in which this book was set, Laos, 1975. Good read, I recommend.

50. “The Killer Next Door” by Alex Marwood – narrated by Imogen Church

Finished June 8

This book gives Stephen King a run for his money. I’ve never had a weak stomach, but several times I wished I had not been eating while listening to it. It reminded me of the movie Seven with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. It had that sort of feeling of wrongness about it. It’s shiver making. It gave me the heebie jeebies and made me want to walk quickly away, put it in the freezer, hurry and get back to it…

I jotted those notes down yesterday and today I could not put the book down. Wow. I applauded when it was over. This book was filled with unimaginable, and unfortunately imaginable, horrors, yet I don’t want it to be over. I’m going to miss these characters. Every single one of them were real and relatable, even the um ok what is wrong with you characcters. I felt as though I could just as easily find myself in their situations. Well, maybe not all of their situations…

A freaking plus. I think I’ll start grading books as of now. Man, what on earth will I read next? I’m not at all sure what can follow this one.

*Note written July 3 – my paratransit driver creeped me out yesterday and I didn’t know why until I realized he reminded me of a character from this book. I tweeted this to the author, who replied with an evil laugh that her job was done. Authors, *fond shake of the head*.

Twitter: @AlexMarwood1

49. “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, E. B. White – narrated by Frank McCourt

Finished June 5

I immediately replayed this book after finishing it. Only being four hours long, it took no time at all and the information gathered was invaluable. The book was also just entertaining. The older I get, the more I enjoy educational books as long as I’m interested in the topic.

Stephen King recommended this in his book ‘On Writing’. That book was a huge influence on my writing. This one changed my life. It brought everything back to basics. Most invaluable? Write for an audience of one. Myself.

I felt like I was back in school and loved every minute of it. A lot of it was refresher, like continuing education. Many times during the listening, I felt invigorated as a writer. Nodding my head I thought, yes, that is what I do, or, no, I don’t make that mistake. On the other hand, I learned to “omit useless words” and never write, “the fact that”. Great fun for a word nerd!

48. “New York: the Novel” by Edward Rutherfurd – narrated by Mark Bramhall

Finished June 3

The first thing I noticed about this book was Rutherfurd’s tremendous understanding of human nature, making the characters and their emotions feel real. The book follows the stories of several generations of many families from before the Revolutionary War into the twenty-first century. The constant family is the Master family and it encounters members of other families throughout the decades, the lives of everyone weaving together seamlessly. I couldn’t help feeling a little sad when the female lines of the families faded out, but that’s reality.

The tone of the book shifted with the times, the thirties becoming looser than the late eighteen hundreds, the women becoming bolder, the social rules loosening.

An Italian family immigrates to the US and we arrive at Ellis Island with them. I rarely feel an overwhelming sense of pride for my country the way I did when the Italian immigrants saw the Statue of Liberty on their way to Ellis Island. There was a sense of majesty as Lady Liberty was discussed excitedly between the members of the family.
I was never bored. Not once. The passage of time blended together seamlessly. Time passed in the book the way it does in life – one experience after another. Absolutely brilliant. How Rutherfurd managed the pacing in such a monster of an undertaking astounds me.

I love historical fiction novels because even though I’m in my mid-thirties, I know very little about history. I’m working on changing that and historical novels are huge in that endeavor.

Twitter: @ERutherfurd

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, accomplishment, Audio books, baseball, gratitude, twitter me this, writing

Carnival Post: I Will Not Regret the Past (Except for the Purpose of this Post)

Posts are being written and compiled for the next round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, the topic of which is regrets. I’m down to the wire on this one. The deadline is in just over an hour as I paste my post into WordPress.

the first idea to come to mind when I pondered what I regret about my first and current guide dog, Jayden, is that we didn’t go to Muir Woods when we were at school together at guide Dogs for the blind. As if to punctuate that thought the day I was considering what to write about for the blog carnival, I ran across this article about Muir Woods’s tallest tree.

I knew about the trip to Muir Woods before I went to GDB and it was one of the things I was most looking forward to. I imagined beams of sunlight sneaking through the canopy of tall, stately redwoods, the scene suffused with a warm golden glow, a lovely and peaceful walk with my dog through the beauty of nature, the quiet and meditative quality of the stroll with my new partner, it was going to be beautiful.

My first mistake was having that expectation. Never, never have expectations. Nothing is ever what we think it will be.

My training at GDB was hard on me emotionally and physically and when it came time for the Muir Woods trip at the end of the three weeks, I didn’t have it in my heart to go. All I could think about was returning home with my boy and settling back in to life where I was comfortable, without instructors popping out and telling me what to do. why wouldn’t they tell me what to do? Even major league baseball players still have hitting coaches.

I regret being so damned willful.

What an experience that would have been, to stroll through those woods, to smell the trees, to take a break from the honking, humming and thumping of cars but I was just so tired. I was tired and I did not want to ride on the bus for an hour on a winding road, worrying about limiting my fluids, not just Jayden’s. Not being able to smoke. I regret that I used to be held hostage by nicotine.

Looking back, I always think Muir Woods would have been the perfect place to have that first amazing walk with jayden; our other walks were stressful for both of us while in class. I deeply regret letting the physical and mental fatigue win.

One of the ways I live today is not regretting the past, yet here I am doing just that. Jayden and I did have that first awesome walk together the day we arrived home in tucson and he guided me out of the airport, around concrete poles, following B through cold rain and biting wind to the car. I grinned the entire time even though it wasn’t majestic redwoods he guided me through.

Thinking about regrets is dangerous territory unless we look at regrets not as regrets, but as mistakes.

I made a mistake by not going to Muir Woods and I won’t make that mistake again. I learned my lesson. I have not turned down a trip since then and Jayden and I have had some pretty awesome experiences together.

If you wrote your own post on regrets for this blog carnival and if that post dredged up painful feelings, just remember the past cannot be changed and we only grow by making mistakes and learning from them.

On a lighter note,another regret I have is not teaching Jayden to stay out of the kitchen. I envy my friend Carin that she did with her guide and you can bet I won’t make that mistake again. This is a small regret, but it’s the only thing that can grow into a big thing when He won’t get out from under-foot. I’ve been able to teach him to stay on the couch when I put him there however, so I found a solution.

Oh and one more thing speaking of the couch, I regret that he was taught such good house manners with regards to furniture because here at home, he does not need permission every single time he wants up on the couch. It’s your couch too, buddy!

(Ok, that’s not really a regret since I’m incredibly grateful for his house manners. thank you to his puppy raisers!)


Filed under blog carnival, doggy school, fellowship, GDB, guide dogs, Jayden, jayden quirks, man o mine, puppy raisers, sobriety, spoons, working dog

May’s Audio Books Etc, Etc, Etc and Etc

I’ve got a lot of writing to do in the next month so the memoir is on hold for a bit. My first project is the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival who’s topic intrigued me. this round’s topic is, regrets. There isn’t much I regret about Jayden but I’d be lying if I said there were no regrets in the way I trained him in the home. Keep an eye out for that post if you’re curious.

I’ve just begun work on a piece of short fiction which I hope to have published in this young adult anthology which was just opened for submissions. The story is a prequel of sorts to the YA novel that has been in my heart, and partially written, for years. It’s the back story of one of the secondary characters who has a compelling story of her own which wouldn’t quite fit in the main novel. I’m thinking if her story is published, I could reference it in queries about the main novel. I’m excited! Usually when these calls for submissions come up on Twitter and I check them out, I don’t qualify for whatever reason or they’re looking for some kind of fiction I wouldn’t know how to begin writing. This one is right up my alley.. I was overjoyed when I read that this one is open to the world. yay! I mapped the story from start to finish today which is something I haven’t done in the past. I am learning so much about writing, just from following writers on Twitter. They tweet the best stuff!

I didn’t work on this post at all as the month of May went on. What did I do in May? Hmmm. Oh, B went on a road trip and was gone for two weeks. Cooking in this kitchen was interesting and different. Oh and I was deathly ill for the first part of his trip. He was sick, passed on his germs and then went out of town. What a guy! Haha!

I’ve been steadily ramping up my workouts yet again and I just love my writing room/office/gym. It has a hook in the ceiling for my TRX and when I position my rebounder underneath it, the TRX straps become the perfect balance handles for my Zombies Run! jogs. I’m feeling steadily better and better even with the heat of summer having so quickly descended upon us.

Baseball has been interesting this season, too. I’ve learned from watching Kevin Cash in his first year managing that I’d never want to be a baseball manager. despite new management and tons of injuries, my Rays are tied for first as I write this Sunday evening. granted, the division in which they play, the American League East, isn’t all that great this season, but still! First place is a fun place to be. Let’s see how they do on the west coast this week. Late night with the Rays on Twitter should be fun as usual. While I’m dreading the later games, I really can’t complain since they aren’t late by east coast standards.

Ok, on to books.

*Seven books this month*

47. “Trauma: A Novel” by Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer – narrated by Xe Sands

Finished May 27

Did you know that Michael Palmer died? I had no idea. I thought he just collaborated with his son on this book. It wasn’t until the end and I was surprised to hear an interview with Daniel Palmer that I realized Michael had died. It turns out Michael had the idea for ‘Trauma’ and had begun work on it when he died suddenly and his son, who writes non-medical novels decided to pick up the pen and continue it. I thought he did a pretty good job.

I very much enjoyed ‘Trauma’ being the medical junkie I am. The book begins with the protagonist Carrie in two different surgeries. Something goes terribly wrong and as a result, her life and career take a turn and end up on a completely unexpected path.

Carrie is brought into a program at the VA using experimental surgery to cure post traumatic stress disorder in soldiers. Carrie has high hopes for this procedure to work on her brother, who suffers PTSD.

Naturally something isn’t quite right about this program and Carrie teams up with a young investigative reporter to discover the truth.

I very much enjoyed the cutting edge science even though it seemed to take an unbelievable scifi twist at first. It was definitely a page turner. The narrator was decent though she tended to oeveract a little bit and voice Carrie like a damsel in distress rather than the strong female under duress she was. I’m glad Daniel pointed out in the interview that Carrie was a strong woman because the narration really overshadowed that until I thought back on it.

Oh, a quick detail that stood out to me was Carrie’s skin growing suddenly hot beneath her scrubs during surgery. That happened to me countless times during my blood drawing days when I’d encounter a problem. It was such an awesome and accurate detail.

@DanielPalmer on Twitter

46. “The Gods of Guilt” (Mickey Haller book 5) by Michael Connelly narrated by Peter Giles

Finished May 23

Sigh, no more Mickey Haller books out for awhile. I looked up Michael Connelly and it looks like the next one is also a Harry Bosch book so that’ll be cool. These books are just fun. I don’t want to go into any detail about the book since there’s an interview with Michael Connelly at the end of the audio book before this one which, taken with details of this book, might be spoilery. Thanks for that word, John Green.

I can’t decide if I like the narrator. He’s good, don’t get me wrong. I can’t figure out how to describe his voice. Almost mechanical maybe.

45. “Jurassic Park: A Novel” by Michael Crichton – narrated by Scott Brick

finished May 2-0

When I first discovered I could buy audio books on the internet, I began trying to restock my “book shelves” with books I’d always had when I was sighted. ‘Jurassic Park’ was one of these books, however I could not find it unabridged. How disappointing. Abridged audio books need to go away.

so imagine my elation when Audible should tweet one day that for the first time at Audible, ‘Jurassic Park’ was available unabridged! And who should narrate it but Scott Brick! I was about to buy extra credits until I noticed the book was only ten bucks so I snatched it up immediately, symbolically hugging the book to my chest. Would there be cause for Brick to growl? I’ve heard of his famous growl but have yet to read a book he narrates that calls for a growl. I’ll leave you to find out if you so desire.

I enjoyed the book just as much as I had in the past and am so so grateful I have a copy of it once again! It really is worth a read since there are many differences from the movie which I think are good ones, and the science is just plain fun to hear about in detail.

44. “The fifth Witness” (Mickey Haller book 4)by Michael Connelly – narrated by Peter Giles

Finished May16

This book was goooooood. It was so good in fact that I stayed up until three in the morning to finish it after being on Google Hangouts with my friends until one in the morning since B was on his trip haha! I had only intended to listen for a few minutes before I slept and the next thing I knew I was finishing it. And it had a wonderful holy crap moment at the end. Damn but Michael Connelly can write. Maybe it was the interview with him at the end that caused me to stay awake until three, though it was really only about ten minutes, ha! Mickey Haller is just a guy you want to root for despite his many flaws. He is such a well written character. I am so hooked! I had forgotten I had this book somehow and was delighted to discover it in my Audible library.

Haller uses the song Bolero to describe the prosecution’s case to his client so naturally I had to play the song which I have in itunes. If you’ve never heard it, give it a listen. it’s about fifteen minutes long and begins very quiet so turn up your speakers. Bolero on Youtube

My friend Sadia on Facebook commented when I posted bolero, asking me if I’d heard this podcast called Unraveling Bolero I had not. Wow. Just wow.

43. “Little Mercies” by Heather Gudenkauf – narrated by Kate Rudd and Tanya Eby

Finished May 12

I got this book with my listening rewards from Audible. I’d had it in my wish list ever since reading “The Weight of Silence by the same author. ‘Mercies’ was really good. It’s about a social worker who’s life intersects with that of a ten year-old child and the two help each other in ways neither of them expected or wanted. The Reader cares about the characters right away and Kate Rudd does a wonderful job as usual with her narration, though sometimes she sounded incredibly whiny rather than just emotional. Eby voices the chapters of the child and while she does a decent job, I rarely enjoy it when an adult tries to sound like a kid. It more often than not just sounds creepy.

Great book though, and there’s an interview with the author at the end. She discusses how she did her research on social work for this book. Seems like the theme for this month is interviews with authors haha.

@hgudenkauf on Twitter

42. “The Caine Mutiny” by Herman Wouk – narrated by Kevin Pariseau

Finished May 9

I had to record this quote because I loved it.

This life is slow suicide, unless you read.

One of the characters says this in the beginning of the book and I just find it to be oh so true, though I think he was referring to military school haha!

this book was really good though in the beginning I was losing patience with Captain Numskull as I called Captain Queeg, the captain of the Caine, an aging ship with the Navy during World War II. After awhile though, I got sucked into the story and the characters, all of whom are fairly deeply flawed. Nothing was predictable except the mutiny which seemed to take forever to happen. When it did however, wow. I’ll be reading more books by this author.

There was just a good article in The Atlantic about him. I was surprised to see that people didn’t like his books back when they were published. Weak women? I didn’t think the woman in this book was weak at all, especially for the time in which she was written.

Oh and if you’re terrified of the ocean the way I am, just prepare yourself for a very vivid typhoon scene. *shudder*

41. “Tabula Rasa” by Kristen Lippert-Martin – narrated by Kate Rudd

Finished May 2

Oh man this book was so good, so so good! It was a daily deal and oh thank Audible it was because I loved it! It falls into YA but really it could fit into most any genre where an evil agency decides to “help” people by erasing their memories. I can’t describe it any better than the publisher’s summary at the Audible page. I’ll just say I freaking loved this book! I can’t wait for more from the author. this was her debut novel. wow! I’m so jealous. Highly, highly recommend this book for non stop action and awesome sarcastically funny characters.

@KLipMart on Twitter

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, Jayden, man o mine, music, twitter me this, workouts, wow, writing

April’s Audio books and Life Update

In case you read last month’s post and are wondering how Jayden’s neck pain turned out, he’s totally fine now. We never did have to have x-rays since after the ten day course of anti-inflammatories, he was no longer whimpering and was slowly getting back to himself. I kept him calm for several days after he finished his meds just in case, but he’s totally fine now and we’re returning to the vet this week to get his shots which the vet did not want to give Jayden while he wasn’t feeling well.

I seem to be responding well to my new thyroid med and iron supplement, knock on wood, which I just did. I worked out all last week and am looking forward to doing a zombie run for the first time in forever tomorrow. I saw the neurologist this month and since I have no new symptoms I’m good to go until my next MRI in October. I told him I still have bouts of fatigue and he said that’s the MS, not the gilenya. So Gilenya doesn’t help with the fatigue? Nope. But, the thyroid med and iron supplement is helping with that so all’s well that ends well right?

I’m up to 51,500 words on the memoir. I’ve hit a rough patch on that, getting to a point in my life where nothing much seemed to happen and I’m just pulling taffy to get to the fun baseball stuff haha! I started off strong on the Stephen King plan working up to 2K words a day but I just could not keep up that pace. I’m doing some sort of writing every day though for the most part, even if it is just playing with some fun fiction that isn’t for publication.

Baseball is back and the Rays are off to a good start even though they are the walking wounded. they’re playing at and above .500 baseball without all their parts so I’m pretty happy so far with 2015.

Ok, on with the books!

*Six books this month*

40. “Rogue” (The Talon Saga book 2) by Julie Kagawa – narrated by Kaitlin Davies,MacLeod Andrews, Chris Patton and Tristan Morris

finished April 30

See my review for the first book in this series below. This second book wasn’t as good as the first one but it was still most definitely a page turner what will happen next book. I just wish there was a different female narrator.

This second book had the dragons leave the beach for all the lights of Vegas as they ran for their lives from two big enemy orders. The action was good but nothing can quite beat the ending of the first book, in my opinion. I wonder if this will just be a trilogy or one of those series that goes on and on. I think there should be an ending no matter how much I enjoy the series because people can only run from their enemies for so long.

39. “Dangerous Women” by George r. r. Martin, Gardner Dozois

Finished April 27

I got this anthology specifically because Scott Brick reads a story by Diana Rowland. This I found out on Twitter after mentioning how good Scott Brick is. Diana rowland saw it and told me about the story of hers he read and I knew I had to hear it. I’m not a huge fan of anthologies since there’s no guarantee every story will be enjoyable and this one was cross-genre so There were some sci-fi stories that were like wtf? But some that were really good. Knowing the stories are all about dangerous women made some of them predictable and some I wondered which woman was supposed to be dangerous. It was over thirty hours of stories, so it took some time to read, especially with baseball being back.

Ok I’m skipping through the book and have to mention a story read by Jonathan Frakes that disappointed me because it’s Jonathan Frakes! Commander Riker! number One! He should stick to acting with scripts though. He’s not a great audio book narrator. The story was called, the Hands That Are Not There and it was just weird. Hmmm, furry alien sex.

Oh! So there’s a story called Neighbors and in the introduction, the author’s name is given but her pseudonyms too, one of which being Robin Hobb! I was so excited. I love Robin Hobb! This story was set in present times though and was rather depressing since it has an older woman dealing with episodes of dementia and her family is arguing about putting her in a home. there’s a supernatural’ish element and in the end the woman escapes into an alternate dimension. So I was excited but then let down. No dragons or royalty or Fools haha.

My favorite story by far was I know How To Pick ‘Em by Lawrence block. The story was only forty-five minutes and that’s all it needed. Block hit it out of the freaking park with this story and i looked him up. I’ll be checking out his other work which is a lot. I’m rather surprised I’d never heard of him. this guy has been writing since before I was born.

There was a futuristic dystopia called Second Arabesque, Very slowly by Nancy Kress. This story was soooo good. I think she’s another author I’ll be looking up. It was beautifully written and had women rebelling. Oh and ballet, don’t forget the ballet.

Diana Rowland’s story was good but had no zombies or demons! It was set in Louisiana like her other books and while Scott Brick dropped rowland’s sarcastic lines with his usual ease, his voice is more New York than New Orleans. The story had a male protagonist which was a fun switch from Rowland’s usual females but he wasn’t likable in the least. Bad cop, need I say more? I’m glad he encountered a truly dangerous woman.

There was a story by S.M. Sterling which just so happened to be in the canon of a series my friend Ricardo wants me to read about a future dystopia with Wiccans. I thoroughly enjoyed the story in this anthology so I can’t wait to get started on the series. This story was good, with people in the future trying to prosecute a sexual assault using their own brand of justice.

Another good story was Caretakers by Pat Cadigan. Here we have an elderly lady again but with her two sharp tongued and witty daughters. the dialogue in this one was laugh out loud funny and the end of the story was goose bump inducing. I’ll be checking out more Pat Cadigan, to be sure!

A story called Lies My Mother told Me by Caroline Spector was like wtf but in a good way. A super hero who gets fat and then throws fat bubbles with the deadly accuracy of a sniper rifle? A woman who can call dead people from the grave to become her very own zombies? A dude who can steal powers with a touch? Oh and how about a child who’s half insect half human? Alrighty then! It all works in this story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The last story was by George R. R. Martin of course and by then I was just ready for one novel with plenty of character development and plot. Martin’s story was set long before the happenings of ‘A Game of thrones’ and I’m sorry but an epic just doesn’t work in a short story. I fell asleep and missed the ending and didn’t really care. There wasn’t time enough to develop any feelings for the characters.

This was a fun anthology and I discovered some writers I plan to check out. and who knew Janis Ian was a good audio book narrator? she read several of the stories I liked. In fact all the narrators were good except Jonathan Frakes, though I’m a pretty picky person when it comes to audio book narrators.

38. “Talon” (The Tallon Saga book 1) by Julie Kagawa – narrated by Kaitlin Davies,MacLeod Andrews and Chris Patton

Finished April 16

This was an Audible daily deal that caught my attention and which my friend Ricardo also picked up. I began it grudgingly after the Ledger book at Ricardo’s urging even though I really wanted to begin an anthology with a Diana rowland story.

At first I didn’t think I’d like this book. I couldn’t, and still can’t, stand the female narrator. she’s just so whiny and sounds like a bad soap opera actress. I wish someone like Kate Rudd had narrated but oh well. You can’t have everything. At least it had MacLeod Andrews! Love him.

I didn’t realize this was a young adult book until Ricardo wondered if it was and I began reading. At first I was put off by the usual YA tropes, sixteen year-old girl figuring out who she is, deciding to defy the only organization she’s ever known, needing rescuing by males etc. But when that sixteen year-old just happens to be a dragon who shifted into human form so she and her twin could infiltrate a small beach town and blend into human society, it was easy to move beyond what annoyed me and escape into the characters and eventual heart pounding action.

I loved the parallels between two of the main characters, who both ended up on a journey of self-discovery, stumbling together along the way. Would they realize too late that they were centuries old enemies? I immediately preordered book two in this series. I wonder how many books it will have!

Julie Kagawa on Twitter: @JKagawa

37. “Predator One” (Joe Ledger book 7) by Jonathan Maberry – narrated by Ray Porter

finished April 13

Holy crap wow best Joe Ledger book yet! Holy crap. I mean wow. Laugh out loud quote? “Well fuck me blind and move the furniture.” Haha! No one could have dropped that line in top’s voice better than Ray Porter.

This book was freaking awesome and totally terrifying even more so than deadly plagues and zombies. One word – drones. Drones everywhere. Drones controlled by hacked software done by a genius held under duress by a madman. While I was reading this, and for a time after, every mention of a drone or any kind of autonomous vehicle on Twitter gave me chills. Of all the Ledger books, this one seemed the most feasible.

the only complaint I have about this book is the beginning, which takes place in Philadelphia on a Sunday afternoon for “National League Opening Day”, the Orioles visiting. I really thought Maberry was a baseball fan since he mentions the Orioles in every Ledger book, but that’s just not accurate. Terrifying though, a drone strike at a baseball game. *Shudder*

Jonathan Maberry on Twitter: @JonathanMaberry
Ray Porter on Twitter: @Ray__Porter

36. “Vengeance of the Demon” (Kara Gillian book 7) by Diana Rowland – narrated by Liv Anderson

Finished April 9

I so do not want to wait a year for the next book in this series! I tried not to fly through this one but it’s just so hard to take it slow. This book had more twists than a Renaissance Festival hairdo. There were wtf moments that had me screaming and at one point I was crying as hard as I did to “The Fault in Our Stars”. Whoa. After I got myself under control I wondered how I would do that to my own readers one day. Beware!

This series is just sooooooo awesome! Man. A year? I have to wait a year? Noooooooo!

“35. “Persuader” (Jack Reacher #7) by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill

Finished April 6

Ok Why does Jack reacher just get to come in and take charge away from all FBI people, Secret Service people etc? He’s issuing orders and I’m like really? I don’t know; I’m grumpy with this book. I just can’t suspend my disbelief with this one I guess. Who died and made Reacher the king of all badass drifters?

I jotted those notes a couple hours before finishing the book and my opinions didn’t change with the conclusion. I just couldn’t support the mission of vengeance Reacher was on in this one. There was nothing to like about him.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, doc, Jayden, twitter me this, Uncategorized, vet visit, writing