Top Ten Tuesday: Best Audiobook Performances

The theme for today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, was basically DO WHAT YOU WANT! And what I want to do is scream from my blog rooftops about my DEEP AND UNDYING LOVE FOR AUDIOBOOKS! I’ll save my full rant for another post next year (yay for future rants!), but I’m just gonna throw this out there: AUDIOBOOKS COUNT AS READING!

Okay, now that that is out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff…THE LIST!

  1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – Narrated by James Marsters
    Storm Front, the first book in the Dresden Files, was the first audiobook I ever listened to. I will admit that the first few books were a little rough with narration, but once Marsters gets into his groove it is AMAZING. His voice has always been highly pleasurable to listen to (anyone else a fan of his from Buffy?) and I will never say no to a chance to listen to a 14 book series read by him. Side note: his voice for Toot-Toot is stellar and never fails to bring a smile to my face.
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  2. Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown – Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
    The narration of this trilogy is bloodydamn brilliant! The rawness of Tim Gerard Reynolds voice brings such depth to this already fiercely beautiful story. There were moments where I had to stop what I was doing because I was so intensely drawn into the story through the narration.
  3. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds, John Curless, Julian Elfer, Aedin Moloney
    Okay, yes…this is book 4 of Red Rising, which went from a trilogy to a saga this year. But I decided to do a separate entry because Iron Gold is told from 4 different POVs and there are 4 separate narrators. Each narrator brings a unique depth to their POV character and once again the intensity of Brown’s words are dialed up to 11 via the narration.
  4. Ready Player One & Armada by Ernest Cline – Narrated by Wil Wheaton
    I mean, was there anyone else more perfect to narrate these books?
  5. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas – Narrated by Elizabeth Evans
    The voice of Elizabeth Evans IS the voice of Celeana Sardothian. There is no doubt in my mind. She brings to life the brash, confident, and vulnerable parts of Celeana. I intend to finish my audio reread of the series next year (I only made it through Heir of Fire before Kingdom of Ash came out and I HAD to read that book ASAP) and I am nervous about listening to the final book. Evans brings a lot of emotion to her narration and Kingdom of Ash was hard enough to read.
  6. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli – Narrated by Pearl Mackie
    Pearl Mackie’s voice is like butter. Smooth, delicious, emotional butter. I actually couldn’t get into this book when I was trying to read the physical copy. But the moment I tried the audiobook, at the recommendation of Delara over at @bookwnoname, I was hooked.
  7. Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo  – Narrated by Jay Snyder, Brandon Rubin, Fred Berman, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Elizabeth Evans, Tristan Morris
    This was the first full cast audiobook I listened to. And with the exception of the person who narrates the Jasper chapters, I was thoroughly impressed with the narration in this duology. It was surprisingly easy to track each different narrators versions of all the character voices. My one problem was the narrator for Jasper. His voice was wonderful, but there wasn’t enough distinction in his inflection when he spoke for other characters. Other than that, the performances were spot on and full of emotions that added a whole other layer of “feels”.
  8. Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare – Narrated by James Marsters
    Yes, James Marsters gets two mentions on this list because he is JUST THAT GOOD. Lord of Shadows had one of the most emotionally traumatic endings in a recent YA book and it was made all the more painful with Marsters’ narration. I was full on sobbing in my cubicle. He uses his voice to evoke such emotions. I’ve been listening to Queen of Air and Darkness while waiting for my physical copy to show up and it is tearing me apart listening to the subtle dread and despair he brings to the opening of this book. Also, as always, his pixies voices are spot on and delightful.
  9. Mistborn (ERA 1 AND ERA 2) by Brandon Sanderson – Narrated by Michael Kramer
    Kramer is like a narrating god. According to my friend who got me into audiobooks, Kramer narrates a lot (and often with his wife, Kate Reading). I’ve never listened to anything by him except the Mistborn books and if those are any indication of his talent, then I consider myself a fan. I am partial to Mistborn Era 2, and Kramer really shines with the rawness of Wax and the many accents of Wayne. This is one of my favorite fantasy series, in both physical and audio form.
  10. The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff  – Narrated by Olivia Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, Johnathan McClain
    Okay, so…this is cheating a little bit because I haven’t actually listened to these yet but I just KNOW I’m going to love them. Illuminae was my favorite book I read this year and I’ve heard the audio is beyond stellar. I also realized as I was looking up the narrators that Olivia Taylor Dudley does some of the narration and I LOVE HER (y’all, go watch The Magicians RIGHT NOW! She plays Alice!). The books are incredibly unique in their format and I can’t wait to hear how it all plays out via audio. These will be my first audiobooks of 2019.

 

Do you listen to audiobooks at all? If yes, what are some of your favorites?

Top Ten Tuesday: Cozy/Wintery Reads

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from That Artsy Reader Girl is Cozy/Wintery Reads. Y’all, this is it. This is my prompt! I’m not sure I’ve expressed it enough on this blog, but I LOVE WINTER AND ALL THINGS COZY! Give me all the snow, wind, rain, mugs of hot beverages, fluffy blankets, flannel pj pants, over-sized sweaters (preferably cable knit)…I should probably stop now or we’ll be here for a long time.

Fair warning, my definition of “cozy” is probably different than others. Cozy for me ranges from comforting teenage angst to stabby drama. Also, this list will be in no particular order with exception for the last one on the list. That one is my all time favorite cozy/wintery read.

Bear and NightingaleThe Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Yeah, okay…so I haven’t actually read it yet but LOOK AT THAT COVER! It just screams read me with a mug of hot cocoa that was brought to you by a big, brooding, bearded man.

 

 

Jackaby by William RitterJackaby

I think this book is the closest I’d come to a “cozy mystery”. Just thinking about this book makes me want to curl up with chunky knit blanket and an oversized mug of tea.

 

 

SweepThe Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan

Okay, this is kind of a Fall into Winter series for me. It starts in fall and works its way through winter and just I LOVE IT OKAY! I read this series numerous times when I was a teen so it’s also a huge comfort read for me. Also, it is angsty AF and I love that sometimes.

 

 

North and South by Elizabeth GaskellThornton Snow Gif

“I believe I’ve seen hell and its white, its snow white.” Everything about this novel is at once cold and hot: the cold setting, the broody yet longing glances from Mr. Thornton. Look, if reading classics isn’t your thing, at least go check out the BBC miniseries on Netflix. Richard Armitage plays Mr. Thornton so YOU ARE WELCOME!

Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

These books are cold and harsh like winter and I am so here for that. Having recently watched the movies again, I have been struck with the intense desire to reread them. Must like the first time I read them, I’ll do my reading while ensconced in a fleece blanket on my favorite reading couch.

 

Nevernight and Godsgrave by Jay KristoffNevernight

The addition of these books on this list probably has a lot to do with the fact that I first read them at the end of December 2017. So, even though they aren’t set in winter, they make me want curl up and get cozy. Preferably with an obscenely large glass of red wine.

 

 

NoTWThe Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

These books are so damn rich and delicious. The beauty in these books warm my cold, dead heart. I just want to burrow into them and live there forever.

 

 

Game of Thrones by George RR MartinnplKLWUd3j0Bi

You know the line…

 

 

Dresden Storm Front
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Another series that I started in winter and will always associate with the season. These were also the first audio books I ever listened to (James Marsters needs to narrate everything). I 100% would not mind spending a cold winter night curled up with Harry Dresden.

 

And now for the all time cozy/winter read:

HARRY POTTER by JK Rowling

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I mean, is there any series cozier? Can’t you just imagine watching the snow fall, while sipping fire whiskey at The Three Broomsticks while reading? I desperately wanted to reread these books this winter but I’m not sure I’ll have the time. I’ve got two trilogies ahead of it. But when I do get a chance for my reread, I shall be sure to have many cozy blankets and a good warming beverage to accompany me.

So, that’s it for me and my wintery reads. Were there any on my list that you’d add to yours? What other wintery reads would you recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Want to Say Thank You To

Happy Thanksgiving week, book people! If you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, HAPPY WEEK IN GENERAL! It’s time for stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Oh, and being thankful! The theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a freebie so I went with Top Ten Authors I Want to Say Thank You To. One thing I’m intensely thankful for is books and the people that create them. Giving words to the world is a terrifying thing and whenever I think about meeting authors of my favorite books the only thing I want to say to them is “Thank you for giving me these words and these worlds.”

  1. Patrick Rothfuss – I need to thank that man for The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. From the first time I read these books, so many years ago, all I’ve wanted to do is thank him for creating these characters and writing these stories. They have brought me such pain and joy and I loved every moment of them.6gljmNkVHxuuY
  2. Tamora Pierce – She gave the world some serious kick ass female characters in YA before kick ass females were the norm. And for that she should be thanked.3oz8xIsloV7zOmt81G
  3. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – For serious snark and reviving my love of sci-fi stories.10avZ0rqdGFyfu
  4. Brandon Sanderson – This man builds the most wonderous and dangerous worlds and I have loved every moment exploring them.3otPoOxyDTXjzpMbIY
  5. Clarie Luana – The Confectioner’s Guild is one of my favorite reads of the year. I spent the whole time reading it with a smile on my face and that is what reading should be.z2HC00n6pfcA
  6. Holly Black – For writing deliciously dark faerie tales that helped me escape some truly terrible times in my 20s.4lpctAAV9Azpm (1)
  7. LJ Smith – Every one of Smith’s books was a friend to me in high school.xT5LMAS7woru73f6xi
  8. Leigh Bardugo – For giving me such good character studies and wonderfully dark worlds to traverse.3o7TKANQ6OeCp3oxvG
  9. Pierce Brown – The Red Rising saga is equal parts ridiculous, amazing, intense, unique, and wonderful. Reading them has taken me on such a wild ride and my reading life would be much duller without them.jr0VZIBH5dKDe
  10. JK Rowling – For everything.3ErmSXChvkv5u

Who are some author’s you want to say thank you to?

The Backlist: The Illuminae Files

Hello all! I’m back with another set of backlist reviews. This time around I look at The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This trilogy was one of my surprise reads of 2018. I constantly avoided these books, honestly, because I hated the bright orange cover of Illuminae. Well, you know the saying about judging book covers and ooooh boy did my aversion to orange kick me in the teeth because The Illuminae Files are STELLAR!

 

Illuminae | Read March 1 -3, 2018 | 5 Stars

HOLY HECK I LOVED THIS BOOK! I didn’t know to expect going into this read, but a fast paced, hilarious, and INTENSELY CREEPY science fiction story that was told in an incredible and unique format was not it.

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Me for basically the entire book.

To say this book exceeded my expectations would be a vast understatement. The story stars Kady Grant, a spectacularly snarky computer hacker, Ezra Miller, her very pretty and very recent ex-boyfriend, and AIDAN, who I won’t say much about because I’m not sure if it’d count as spoilers but hot damn they are the best character. There is inaudible profanity, snark, slow burn creepiness, snark, space battles, snark, dire situations with dire consequences, and oh, did I mention the SNARK? This little quick review doesn’t even begin to describe all the awesome held within the obscenely orange cover of this book. If you like science fiction, or want to dip a toe into this genre pool, I 1000% recommend this book. Honestly, it is probably my favorite book read in 2018.

 

Gemina | Read March 7 – 16, 2018 | 4.5 stars

Oh boy, was I full of trepidation going into this one. I’m never a fan when a story suddenly shifts to the perspectives of whole new characters for large chunks of the story. What if these new characters didn’t fill the snarky, murder-y desires of my heart? But my fears were for naught BECAUSE HOLY HECK I LOVED THIS BOOK! Honestly, I have but one issue with this book and I’ll save it for the very end of this review because it is a spoiler (don’t worry, I’ll put up a warning before it hits). In Gemina, we get a new main trio to love, along with a cast of awesome and/or villainous characters. Hanna is the rich, spoiled, but well-trained daughter of Jump Station Heimdall’s captain. Nik is the attractive bad boy from the station’s crime family who supplies Hanna with drugs and snark. And Ella is Nik’s cousin who put’s Kady’s wit and hacking skills to shame. All three of them are forced to work together as a BeiTech strike team attack the jump station. But there is another sinister and creepy plot going on throughout the jump station and basically everything crescendos into glorious chaos. This book is another intense and snarky space adventure told in the same amazing format as the previous book. And now we come to the…

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SPOILER ALERT!

Literally the ONLY reason I knock this book down to a 4.5 is because of the author’s fall back on killing off a main character in an emotionally traumatic way and then bringing them right back. I LOATHE when this becomes a repeat thing. And while it was handled in a different way than in Illuminae, it still irritated me a bit.

END SPOILERS!

 

Obsidio | Read March 17 – 24, 2018 | 4 stars

I struggled with the rating of this one. Honestly, as I write this I am still wavering if I should kick it up to 4.5. Because this was a fantastic end to this trilogy. But I can’t explain much without being completely spoilery. I’ll dance around it for a bit and see if I can figure out how to say it. This book brings us yet another new set characters and I think these are the ones that deeply explore the emotional trauma of war/invasion the most. The scenes on the occupied surface of Kerenza are intense. It reminded me a lot of Season 3 of Battlestar Galactic. But even with how emotionally impactful the concept of the Kerenza scenes were, I felt like I had very little left to give the new characters. I think they were still well written and the Kerenza plot was good, but I spent most of the time waiting for scenes with the original crew. The plot is tense, and the action is superb. There are twists and turns and some damn fine writing. Certain things that are revealed in this book kinda blew my mind a little bit. As an ending goes, it was wholly satisfying.

SPOILERS BELOW FOR WHY I KNOCKED THIS ONE DOWN TO 4 STAR

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The authors pulled the “dead but not dead” fake out AGAIN! I was so damn angry with this. So angry. It’s lazy and I saw it coming a mile away. It makes me even angrier considering how often Jay Kristoff harps on other writers for lazy writing (his Instagram stories are amusing AF). And now that I’m typing this out I am fully okay with a 4 star. Either kill your darlings or don’t. You shouldn’t have it both ways. Especially more than once. Ugh.

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All in all, I am angry at myself for staying away from these books for so long (*shakes fist at orange cover of Illuminae*). While I had one consistent issue with these books, I still consider them one of my new favorite Sci Fi series. I’d give the trilogy as a whole 4.5 stars. Kaufman and Kristoff have a new Sci Fi series that they are working on and HOLY HECK I CANNOT WAIT!

 

Thanks for joining me for another Backlist post! I’m not sure which ones I’ll be doing next. I must go stare at my shelves and see what jumps out at me.

The Backlist: Jay Kristoff

Throughout my many years of reading I never knew the importance of book reviews. I figured the reviews left on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. didn’t matter and that the ones that mattered were only by people who did reviews professionally. Now that I know the error of my thinking (Thanks #bookstagram) I am trying to work through reviewing all the books I’ve read in the past. Hence, The Backlist.

Nevernight – Read October-November 2017 – 5 stars!
This book. This damn book. I avoided Nevernight for ages because that cover (specifically the font) just did not work for me. Yes, avoiding a book for the cover is pretty lame but whatever. At the end of the day I was the loser because I kept myself from this gloriously blood soaked book. Mia Corvere is the strong, vicious, yet beautifully vulnerable female main character that this world needs. The world building in this book is…unique. Footnotes, people, there are so many footnotes. At first I thought it was going to drive me crazy but it settled down after a while, so don’t let it deter you! There is great mystery and OMG THE PLOT TWISTS! All the characters are well developed and I found myself liking all of them, even the assholes. This was my first Kristoff book and hot damn was it a good introduction. FYI: if you don’t like lots of metaphors and a wee bit of smut, this might not be the book for you.

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If The Princess Bride existed in Mia’s world, Inigo would be her hero.

Godsgrave – Read December 22-31, 2017 – 5 stars!
This was the last book that I read in 2017 and a way to end the year. Literally finished it at about 11pm on the 31st. AND I STILL AM NOT OVER THAT ENDING. Godsgrave takes what we experienced in Nevernight and dials it all the way up until the damn thing breaks. The banter between Mr. Kindly and Eclipse is one of my favorite things in this book. There are some slower parts to this book, but the action packed parts wholly make up for it. There is a fantastic relationship at the center of this book (which I won’t go into because SPOILERS!) and it was done so darn well. Have I mentioned the ending? BECAUSE OMG. I was devastated when I found out the Darkdawn (book 3) was being delayed, even though I totally understand the reasoning behind it. Godsgrave continues the dark, bloody adventures of our favorite pale daughter.

LIFEL1K3 – Read May 25-25, 2018 – 5 stars!
I read this book in 24 hours. If I wasn’t such a sleep addict I probably would have read it in less. One of my dear friends on Booksta described this book as a fever dream that Jay Kristoff had one night and then turned it into a book. I didn’t know what to expect from this book but it was not this. The cast of characters in this book is so varied and unique. The world building is STELLAR (have you sensed a theme with Kristoff books?). I really feel like I can’t say much about this book without spoiling the fun and surprise of the read. If you want a crazy, fever dream adventure, then this is the one for you.

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Me, at the end of LIFEL1K3.

 

I’ve also read the Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff (and the awesome Amie Kaufman) but those are going to get their own post because they are just that good.

I hope you enjoyed this new feature! I’m looking forward to doing more in the near future considering I’ve got a backlist of a couple hundred semi-recently read books I can pull from!

#TopTenTuesday: Authors I’d Love to Meet

I’d like to start this blog post by saying that it is Tuesday night and I am watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just like the good old days (yes, I am so old that I watched Buffy back when it was originally airing on THE UPN!) But being that old means that I get to drink wine whenever the heck I want so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But these days, Tuesdays mean another installment of Top Ten Tuesday from http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we have Top Ten Authors I’d Like to Meet!

  • Patrick Rothfuss – I honestly just want to thank him for writing The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed reading a book quite as much as I’ve enjoyed his books. I’ll try to restrain myself from begging for book three of the Kingkiller Chronicles. Y’all, I need to know what the heck is with Bast!
  • Brandon Sanderson – Also, would love the thank him personally for bringing Wax and Wayne into the world. Sure, he’s written some other good stuff, but Mistborn Era 2 is the best.

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  • Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman – I legit feel like they’d just be super fun to chill with. A few drinks with them definitely wouldn’t end in a bloody space adventure.

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  • Leigh Bardugo – I need to question this amazing lady on how to write AMAZING characters and witchy goth fashion tips.

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  • Ernest Cline – I kinda want to watch Stranger Things with this guy. Or listen to A LOT of 80s music with him.

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  • LJ Smith – First, I need to talk to her about the Stranger Fate debacle. And then I need to nerd out with her about my deep and unending love for her amazing 90s paranormal books.
  • Holly Black – I’ve been reading Black’s books for damn near a decade. I’d love to thank her for giving me books to escape into during my 20s.
  • Pierce Brown – It’d be fun to get my hipster on with Pierce “I write emotionally traumatizing Sci Fi epics” Brown.
  • VE Schwab – Okay, technically, I just met her last week. But I want a do over. My words were dumb and I cannot have that be my only interaction with the wonderful Queen Schwab. Next time, I’m bringing a small bottle of whisky.

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  • Kiersten White – BECAUSE SHE IS WRITING SLAYER AND I HAVE TO THANK HER FOR IT!

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Well that’s it for this week! I’m hoping to get a review out tomorrow. If not, I shall return on Thursday for a cheater’s edition of Top 3 Thursday!

Have a fantastic day tomorrow, y’all!