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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor


TITLE: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
SERIES: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Book #1
AUTHOR: Laini Taylor
NARRATOR: Khristine Hvam
PUBLISHER: Hachette Audio
PUBLICATION: September 27, 2011
FORMAT: Unabridged Audiobook, 12 hours 32 minutes
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy/Paranormal
ISBN: 978-1611132977

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS: 

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

MY REVIEW: 

I received this audiobook for review from Hachette Audio. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

I devoured this book! It is one of those books that is impossible to put down!!

Karou is a beautiful 17 year-old young woman with hair the colour of lapis lazuli. She lives in Prague, where she attends an art school. She has filled dozens and dozens of sketch pads with her work. Her best friend, Zusana, and her classmates are awe-struck with her sketches of chimaera – creatures that have mismatched body parts, some even part human. What Karou’s friends don’t realize, however, is that the chimaera are real; they are Karou’s beloved family.

Karou does not know how she came to become a part of this strange family. Her pseudo-father, Brimstone (who has the head of a ram, but with human arms and torso), collects teeth but Karou has no idea what he does with them. Although stand-offish and a little brusque, it is evident that he cares deeply for Karou. Twiga, who has the neck of a giraffe, assists Brimstone in his work. Karou’s mother figures are Issa (whose bottom half is serpent and her top half is human) and Yasri (the cook, who has a beak like a parrot). As a child, Karou lived in the shop with her chimaera family. Where is the shop exactly? Brimstone calls it “Elsewhere.” Now that she is older, Karou lives in the regular world. When Brimstone needs to see her, he summons her by sending Kishmish, a black crow with wings like a bat who carries messages like a carrier pigeon.

Brimstone often sends Karou on “errands,” which consists of meeting with people all over the world to collect teeth. From Brimstone’s shop, Karou can enter through portals all over the world. When the shop’s door is re-opened, Karou is magically transported to exotic destinations like Marrakesh. In exchange for the teeth, the traders receive coins which can grant wishes. The coins have different values, just like money: The greater the wish, the greater the coin that is needed. Simple wishes can be granted with scuppies. Then come shing, lucknow, gavriel, and the all-powerful bruxis.

It is difficult to say much more without ruining the story. It is difficult not to fall in love with Karou, Akiva, and the chimaera. I was completed transfixed by this world with magical portals and other-worldly creatures. It is a story of love, betrayal, and loss. Taylor has created a world that is so rich in detail that I felt as though I was part of the story.

This story was not narrated – it was PERFORMED – by Khristine Hvam. The word “narration” does not do Hvam justice! She has extraordinary vocal talents, and she created unique voices for each character. I highly recommend listening to this story as opposed to reading it. You will not be disappointed!!

I will be eagerly waiting for Daughter of Smoke & Bone to continue with the next in the series, which is slated for Fall 2012.

MY RATING: 5 stars!! Highly recommended, and definitely one to be cherished and read again and again! Thank you, Hachette Audio, for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as:
#87 for my 2011 100+ Reading Challenge
#37 for my 2011 Audio Book Challenge
#37 for my 2011 "Whisper Stories in My Ear" Challenge
#19 for my 1st In a Series Challenge 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2012 Audio Book Challenge

Hi, everyone! Time for another 2012 Reading Challenge!!


This is my favourite challenge! Audiobooks are what got me back on the road to reading and are my preferred format!! Once again, it is being hosted by Teresa at Teresa's Reading Corner.

Here are the details copied from Teresa's blog:
2012 Audio Book Challenge:

I’ve been listening to your feedback and I’m convinced that the 2012 challenge is going to be better than ever. There will still be targets for achievement, but I’m raising them a bit since many of our participants are avid audio book listeners.

Once again, there are four levels to the challenge

Flirting-Listen to 6 Audio Books
Going Steady- Listen to 12 Audio Books
Lover- Listen to 25 Audio Books
Married-Listen to +++ Audio Books

*A big Thank You to fellow blogger and twitter buddy @dogearedcopy for her suggestions on the level names.

There will be a monthly link up so that we can share what we’ve listened to and make suggestions to each other. Along with that monthly link up there will be a special monthly challenge so make sure you stop by each month!

Inspired by Beth Fish Reads and There’s A Book I’m going to be adding a feature (still unnamed) in which we get to know Audio Book Publishers. I’ll be asking them about what they’ve got coming up as well as about their back list titles and of course, the chance to win an Audio Book or two!

I’ll also be adding a feature in which we can get to know our fellow participants. If you are interested in appearing in this feature, please fill out the attached google form.

Official Challenge dates: 1/1/2012-12/31/2012
If you would like to join me in the challenge, click on the challenge badge at the beginning of this post.

Since I am currently listening to my 37th audiobook this year, I am aiming for "Married Level" which is listening to more than 25 audiobooks. I hope to beat my 2011 total, so I will update this post with the exact number that I am trying to beat!

CHALLENGE COMPLETE!
"MARRIED" LEVEL REACHED ON OCTOBER 9, 2012

I am going to keep track of my progress below:
  1. Crossed by Ally Condie (Matched, Book 2)
  2. Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
  3. Water Bound: A Sea Haven Novel by Christine Feehan (Sisters of the Heart, Book 1) 
  4. Spirit Bound by Christine Feehan (Sisters of the Heart, Book 2) 
  5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander, Book 1)
  6. Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Across the Universe, Book 1)  
  7. A Million Suns by Beth Revis (Across the Universe, Book 2)  
  8. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book 1)  
  9. Blue Monday by Nicci French (Frieda Klein, Book 1)  
  10. Walk Away the Pounds by Leslie Sansone  
  11. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega, Book 1)  
  12. Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega, Book 2) 
  13. Fair Game by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega, Book 3) 
  14. The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Timothy Wilde, Book 1)  
  15. Gilt by Katherine Longshore (The Royal Circle, Book 1)
  16. Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 10)  
  17. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving  
  18. 3rd Degree by James Patterson and Andrew Gross (Women's Murder Club, Book 3)
  19. The Road by Cormac McCarthy 
  20. Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book 1) 
  21. The Yard by Alex Grecian (London Murder Squad, Book 1)
  22. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker 
  23. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (Beautiful, Book 1) 
  24. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (Anna, Book 1)
  25. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (Anna, Book 2)
  26. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami 
  27. The Gunslinger by Stephen King (The Dark Tower, Book 1)
  28. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters  
  29. Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. and Gabor
  30.  
  31. Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Dust Lands, Book 1) 
  32. Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler (Ashes Trilogy, Book 1) 
  33. A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans 
  34. Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M.C. Beaton (Agatha Raisin, Book 2) 

Back To The Classics Challenge 2012

Hi, everyone! Time for another 2012 Reading Challenge!!


One of the things that I really need to challenge myself with is to read more classics. So, what better way than to join a reading challenge! This challenge is being hosted by Sarah at Sarah Reads Too Much.

Here are the details copied from Sarah's blog:


Back To The Classics Challenge 2012:

Here are the nitty gritty details:

Challenge runs from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. Books started before January 1st do not count, and all links/reviews/comments for each category must be posted in the correct place by December 31st. Feel free to join in at any time, but the end date is December 31.

Please feel free to use books in this Challenge toward any other Challenge you may be participating in. However, you must read a different book for each category of this challenge. Audio and e-books are allowed.

Please sign up for the Challenge using the linky list (or comment section if you do not have a blog/website). If you would be so kind, please spread the word about this challenge by creating a post on your blog/website and link back to this sign up page.

Once the Challenge has begun, you will see a new bar on the left hand side of this blog. This will list the places for you to link/comment your reviews of the book you have read for each category as well as a "wrap up" page. I will not be doing monthly check-in posts this year. I will probably do a "Half Way" post in June. These will be important because....

THERE IS A PRIZE THIS YEAR! People who complete the challenge (and I will check that all categories are completed!) will be entered into a random drawing for $30 worth of books (Book Depository will be used for an International Winner). I may have other prizes as well. Make sure you are following me via GFC, Email, Twitter, or Facebook/Networked Blogs so you are in the know!

Let me know if you have any questions, or if I need to make any clarifications.

Now that is all out of the way, want to see the categories? Sure you do! Here they are:

• Any 19th Century Classic

• Any 20th Century Classic

• Reread a classic of your choice

• A Classic Play

• Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction

• Classic Romance

• Read a Classic that has been translated from its original language to your language - To clarify, if your native language is NOT English, you may read any classic originally written in English that has been translated into your native language.

• Classic Award Winner - To clarify, the book should be a classic which has won any established literary award.

• Read a Classic set in a Country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime - To Clarify, this does not have to be a country that you hope to visit either. Countries that no longer exist or have never existed count.

Well, what do you think? I'm hoping that something really appeals to everyone, and that maybe one of the categories will make you a little uncomfortable. There are nine categories for twelve months. Hopefully you will have enough time to finish without stress, or shying away from a longer/more difficult book because of time constraints. You do not need to specify which books you plan on reading ahead of time, unless you'd like to.

So, go ahead and sign up with the Linky below or in the comments! Please spread the word and share the fun..... Good Luck to Everyone!!

Edited to add: There are questions about what counts as a Classic for the Challenge. Hopefully, I've answered the question HERE. Join the conversation!



If you would like to join me in the challenge, click on the challenge badge at the beginning of this post.

I am going to keep track of my progress below (here are my ideas so far on what I plan to read, and I will link-up my reviews as I go):
  1. Any 19th Century Classic: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  2. Any 20th Century Classic: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  3. Reread a classic of your choice: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  4. A Classic Play: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  5. Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction: Dracula by Bram Stoker
  6. Classic Romance: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  7. Read a Classic that has been translated from its original language to your language: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (French to English)
  8. Classic Award Winner: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (won the 1956 Newbery Medal)
  9. Read a Classic set in a Country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime: Lord of the Flies by Sir William Golding

    Antonym Reading Challenge 2012

    Hi, everyone! Time for another 2012 Reading Challenge!!

    Book Obsessed

    This looks like a fun challenge for "word-nerds" like me! It is being hosted by Tasha at Book Obsessed.

    Here are the details copied from Tasha's blog:


    Antonym Reading Challenge 2012:

    The goal of this challenge is to read books by matching antonyms in the title. To help you out, here is a link to a couple of web sites to get you started: Opposite Word and Thesaurus.

    Your books can be of any genre and any format (ie. paperback, ebook, audiobook, etc.). No short stories. Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are fine. (Re-read reviews must be written within the year 2012; you can not use old reviews.)

    You can list your books in advance or list them as you read them. The idea of this challenge came from a Goodreads group.


    **Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

    **Non-Bloggers: Sign up in the comments section. Post your reviews with other book sites (ie. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc.) and post the link in the comments section of the Antonym Reading Challenge Review Link. (will post January 1).

    Example:
    hot/cold
    Hot: Hot Ice by Nora Roberts
    Cold: Cold Fire by Dean Koontz
    Bonus: Hot Flashes and Cold Cream by Diann Hunt

    mean/generous
    Mean: Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
    Generous: The Generous Wife by Lori Byerly

    **the bonus is not required. it's totally up to you if you want to complete a bonus**

    Levels:
    Diploma: 6 – 10 books
    Bachelors: 12 – 20 books
    Masters: 22 – 30 books
    Doctorate: 32+

    When you sign up on Mr. Linky, put the direct link to your blog post about this challenge. Include a link to this post, so that your followers can sign up too! You can either list your books on your challenge post, sidebar, or a page dedicated to your challenges.

    Feel free to sign the Mister Linky with your name and blog name. (ie. Tasha (Book Obsessed)) or just your blog name (ie. Book Obsessed) You are welcome to sign up now, but please check back on January 1, 2012 for the Antonym Reading Challenge Review Link! (You will be able to link your review of the book for others to read and drive traffic to your blog.)


    If you would like to join me in the challenge, click on the challenge badge at the beginning of this post.

    Hmmm, I am not sure which level 11 books fits into? It appears that 11, 21, and 31 books do not fit into the levels! I have asked Tasha about it and will fix the levels when I receive her response.

    I am going for DIPLOMA LEVEL (6-10 books).

    I am going to keep track of my progress below (here are my plans so far, and I will link-up my reviews as I go):
    1. The Black Witch by Micheal Rivers (Curse of the Witch, Book 1)
    2. White Is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
    3. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book 1) 
    4. Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater (Pretty When She Dies, Book 1)
    5. Alpha and Omega: A Companion Novella to Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega, Book 0.5) 
    6. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker 
    7. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (Beautiful, Book 1) 
    8. The First Days by Rhiannon Frater (As The World Dies: A Zombie Trilogy, Book 1) 
    9. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (Anna, Book 2)
    10. Walk Away the Pounds by Leslie Sansone 
    11. Until I Die by Amy Plum (Revenants, Book #2)
    12. Born to Die by Lisa Jackson (Montana To Die Series, Book #3)
    13. Hot Blooded by Lisa Jackson (New Orleans Series, Book #1)
    14. Cold Blooded by Lisa Jackson (New Orleans Series, Book #2)
    15. Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa (The Iron Fey, Book #1.5)
    16. Summer's Passage by Julie Kagawa (The Iron Fey, Book #3.5)
    17. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (The Iron Fey, Book #1)
    18. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (The Iron Fey, Book #3)
    19. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Millennium Trilogy, Book #1)
    20. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book #3)

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Winners of my Blogoversary/Birthday Giveaway #8: Gratitude Giveaways Hop plus 1,000 Follower Giveaway!

    Hi, everyone!


    Darlene's Book Nook did, indeed, surpass 1,000 GFC followers during the hop, so I have chosen an extra winner to simultaneously celebrate my "1,000 Follower Giveaway!" Incidentally, because the November New Release Giveaway Hop does not end until November 30th, the "900 Follower Giveaway" still doesn't have a winner but will be drawn when that hop ends.

    There were a total of 404 entries, wow! That is incredible because each person was allowed just one entry - just imagine how many entries there would have been if more were allowed!

    The lucky winners of the Gratitude Giveaways Hop and the 1,000 Follower Giveaway are:


    Congratulations to both Aleksandra and Michelle (geekdgirl)! I have sent emails to both of you, and you have 48 hours to claim your prize.

    If any prizes are not claimed within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter!

    If you haven't already done so, please be sure to enter my Blogoversary/Birthday Giveaways #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7 which will all end on November 30th as well as the Redheart Giveaway which will end on December 2nd. All the open giveaways are listed at the top of the page with links to each.

    And stay tuned for 4 more giveaway hops in December!!

     

     
     

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