Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Naked by David Sedaris, Read by the Author

Yeah, I've been on a Sedaris audiobook kick lately--I'm listening to Me Talk Pretty One Day right now and then I think I'm finished! He's performing live in Bloomington, Indiana next Weds. and I wish I could go, but not during volleyball season! Or when I have my daughter. So I'll just keep looking and hopefully he'll come back to the Midwest soon!

As always, his performances are best when performed in front of a live audience--his pausing is amazing and I just picture him up on stage telling a great story. The title story is about when he (as a joke) ordered a brochure for a nudist colony for his uptight brother, but then ended up spending a week there. It's hilarious! Once again, I was laughing in my car, but that's a pretty good way to spend time on the road.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Who doesn't want to read a book about evil unicorns? As an avid fantasy reader, I'm always up for something different, and this author made me happy! She created a world filled with unicorn lore and threw in some interesting twists. Astrid finds out that she is an kick-you-know-what unicorn hunter during her teenage years. With her mother's support, she moves to Rome to join other female huntresses to control the unicorn population. The unicorns are on a killing spree, and the public knows that something is going on, even though no one is blaming the mythical unicorns yet. Did I mention people get gored by unicorns? Cool!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd, Read by Sile Bermingham

Wow....this book was a downer. The Irish/English accent helped, but it wasn't a very happy read. Holly Hogan is running away, and the whole book is an account of her past and what got her where she is. She's running to Ireland to find her mom, but she's been in foster care for years, and we slowly learn the whole story. It's a depressing one and she has some real problems and issues. She can't even be Holly Hogan when she runs away--she wears a blond wig and calls herself Solace. Along the road, she meets some interesting characters, but what kept me listening was the accent and trying to figure out what happened to Holly.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Dead Girlfriend by Eric Wight

Finney Bleak has a fascinating history--his ancestors have died in funny and tragic ways and now they are all ghosts. He's surrounded by freaks and monsters at Mephisto Prep, but Finney is awfully plain. But then he meets Jenny who is everything he ever wanted in a friend and girlfriend. When she doesn't meet him for a second date, he's devastated. Told in seven chapters, Finney's story is interesting and funny and the artwork is bold and thick-lined. Josh Whedon and Meg Cabot wrote blurbs for the cover, so it had to be good, right? :)

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

I love a good fairy book, and the addition of the new iron fey species was a good one. Fairies are created with human imagination, so, of course, humans now dream about technology. And the iron faeries are born. Meghan Chase is almost sixteen and has no idea that she is part-fey. She learns the hard way when her little brother is kidnapped and replaced with an evil changeling. Everyone and everything is not what it seems and she must face incredible challenges to try to save her brother.

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris, Read by the author

I wasn't as impressed by this collection from Sedaris, but a few of the stories cracked me up. SantaLand Diaries is a classic, as well as Jesus Shaves. But, um, "The Monster Mash" was kinda gross to listen to. Anything about his time working in a medical examiner's office has to be, right? Sedaris even writes a fable called "The Cow and the Turkey" about gift giving and what's for Christmas dinner. I did discover that I like listening to his live productions better--his pacing in front of a live audience is so much better than when reading in a studio.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kiss me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

I didn't think I'd like this YA novel because of the cover, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover a plot! :) Although, honestly, check out the facial hair on that guy's chin! I think they added about 20 pieces of stubble to it....

Scarlett attends a snooty private school in London, but doesn't quite fit in. She's a gymnast and focused on improving her skills instead of her social life. But when the school's social queen acknowledges her one day after practice, Scarlett easily abandons her true friends for a chance to kiss Dan McAndrews, the local stud. But after her first party, first drink, and first kiss, Dan dies in her arms. Let the hazing begin! The cool kids hate Scarlet for killing their friend and Scarlet must transfer to her grandmother's private school in the country to escape the harassment. With the help of a new friend, Scarlet solves the mystery of Dan's death, but the "why" of the crime is discovered in the sequel, Kisses and Lies. Kiss in the Dark is Book Three.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr, Read by the Author

Told in eleven days, Sam's story is a sad one. Her father, a pastor, is caring toward his congregation and town, but distant toward his family. Her friends keep her at a distance because she's a pastor kid and they are afraid she'll tattle. Her mother is in rehab for alcoholism--being a pastor's wife is too much pressure for her. On top of all this drama, a twelve-year-old girl from her church is kidnapped. The town is in an uproar, trying to find Jody, and Sam becomes drawn to Jody's older brother. He's cute, but also a suspect in his own sister's disappearance. Sam is growing up with her mother absent, but she's lost, too. She's starting to realize her parents aren't perfect, and sometimes even pastors don't know what to do.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ruined by Paula Morris

Great cover, eh? I was gently reminded of Richard Peck's old ghost stories that I used to love about Blossom Culp. Rebecca has to move to New Orleans because her only parent is working in China for a few months. She isn't thrilled to attend a snooty private school and to live with an "aunt" and cousin she doesn't know very well, but she manages. She's thrust into the New Orleans privileged and elite, even when she doesn't want to be, when a cute rich boy asks her to a Christmas party that most girls would love to attend. What keeps this from being a typical love story is the ghost element. Rebecca sees and talks to a ghost in Lafayette cemetery. And this is where I struggled. I love the family tie-in, the creepy setting, the interconnection of the rich families with the servants and slaves, and the character development. But I would have preferred there to be no ghost--just a family curse. Once again, I had trouble suspending belief. :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Like everyone, I couldn't wait to read the third book of the Hunger Games trilogy and I wasn't disappointed. I won't give away too many details, but fans of the series will love it.

What I didn't like: Katniss became a whiner in this book. And weak and mentally ill. The wrap-it-up ending was cheesy and Harry Potter-ish.

What I did like: Gale vs. Peeta. The violence and fighting. The dangers of what our society could turn into if we don't behave. The focus on human nature and how some people are just good. And some aren't.

Just read it, okay?

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

Somehow I manage to read books about werewolves, vampires and zombies and think those are somewhat believable. But as I read this book about mermen on Selkie Island, I found myself rolling my eyes. I mean, really, she falls in love with a boy who might be a merman? I'm usually a fan of Aimee Friedman, but I felt that her writing was too choppy and amateurish in this novel.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben, Read by Scott Brick reading has really slowed down because of school starting and volleyball season! But I'm listening to a fair share of audiobooks since I'm driving a lot!

I liked listening to Coben's Fade Away, but I wasn't a fan of this book which is on the 2010 Abe Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award list. Hopefully it's because I was listening to the abridged version, but I'm afraid the plot might have something to do with it. I really can't believe the kids on the Abe selection committee chose this title to their list.

Adam is 16 and depressed. His best friend has committed suicide, and both kids were involved in things they shouldn't have been. So Adam's parents start to monitor Adam's online and cell phone behavior. When he runs away, his parents track him down and find out that he's hanging around Club Jaguar in the Bronx. The club is bad news, and Adam's father is on a hunt to find his son.

There is a second plot line going on with a crazy man who is killing women, but the this plot just didn't mesh with the other one, even when the characters ran together in the end. Maybe because of the abridgment? Or maybe because the reader didn't do a good job separating the characters and plot lines with vocal adjustments? For whatever reason, it didn't work.