Monday, November 25, 2013

Audiobook Review: Bossypants

 photo bossy_zps8126b790.jpg Bossypants
by Tina Fey 

Source: my own copy 
Publication date:
05 April 2011 

Genre: Autobiography 
Narrator: Tina Fey 
Length: 05 hours 30 minutes 
Date Read: 22 November 2013

Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.(Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Biographies are not high on my reading list but I have heard good things about this one. And I was looking for gasping laughing out loud moments or even just wide smiles. 

Things started on a high note with a peanut joke that had me pausing the audio to share it with my husband. We love a good peanut joke! I was excited, this was going to be great!

Unfortunately it was not really funny after that. It brought a smile to my lips once or twice but overall it quickly became a one tone account of her life at Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock . I am not a SNL fan and have only watched the occasional episode of 30 Rock, so these parts did not hold my attention for long. Thinking back, I can only summarize these parts as the “I worked long hours” chapters.

These were a few spots of light – the fire on the cruise ship while honeymooning being one. Just imagine!

Overall, this was not an entire flop for me (I finished it after all) but I would recommend it only to die-hard Tina Fey fans. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Super Six Sunday: I am so glad I took a chance on . . .

Super Six Sunday is an original bookish meme hosted at Bewitched Bookworms You can see the weekly schedule of themes here. 

And this week, the theme is "I am so glad I took a chance on . . . "  Here are some of the books I would put in that category.

The Mall by S.L. Grey is the first in the trilogy of this strange parallel world - I have just gotten the third and final book and can't wait to start it.  Here is the blurb:

Dan is an angsty emo-kid who works in a deadly dull shopping mall. He hates his job.

Rhoda is a junkie whose babysitting charge ran off while she was scoring cocaine. She hates her life. Rhoda bullies Dan into helping her search, but as they explore the neon-lit corridors behind the mall, disturbing text messages lure them into the bowels of the building, where old mannequins are stored in grave-like piles and raw sewage drips off the ceiling. The only escape is down.

Plummeting into the earth in a disused service lift playing head-splitting Musak, Dan and Rhoda enter a sinister underworld that mirrors their worst fears. They finally escape, but something feels different. Why are the shoppers all pumped full of silicone? Why are the shop assistants chained to their counters? And why is a café called McColon’s selling lumps of bleeding meat?

Just when they think they’ve made it back to the mall, they realize the nightmare has only just begun...

Feed by Mira Grant was a surprise for me.  I started the ebook but could not really get into it. A while later, I started the audiobook on my long commute to work and I was hooked.  After that shocking ending, I never read the rest of the series - maybe it is time . . . 

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts was another surprise for me.  I found myself sneeking away as much as possible to read just another few lines.

Since the beginning of mankind, civilizations have fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs...and now us. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening: An ancient evil has been unleashed, and it's turning everyday people into hunters, killers, and crazies. This is the world Mason, Aries, Clementine, and Michael are living in--or rather, trying to survive. Each is fleeing unspeakable horror, from murderous chaos to brutal natural disasters, and each is traveling the same road in a world gone mad. Amid the throes of the apocalypse and clinging to love and meaning wherever it can be found, these four teens are on a journey into the heart of darkness--and to find each other and a place of safety.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult.  I try to avoid teary books as far as I can - that I shy I have never even looked at a Nicholas Sparks book :)  I can't remember why I took a chance on this one but I am glad I did . . . 

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.

Fools Rush in by Janice Thompson was another strange choice for me.   I haven't read purely woman fiction/romances for a long time but for some reason I chose this one as a freebie on Kindle.  I loved it!  What a sweet and innocent love story.

Bella Rossi may be nearing thirty, but her life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding planning business, Bella is determined not to let them down. She quickly books a "Boot Scoot'n" wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch - she's a country music numbskull because her family only listens to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Where will she find a DJ on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his Keith Urban?
When a misunderstanding leads her to the DJ (and man) of her dreams, things start falling into place. But with a family like hers, nothing is guaranteed. Can the perfect Texan wedding survive a pizza-making uncle with mob ties, an aunt who is a lawsuit waiting to happen, and a massive delivery of 80 cowboy boots? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding?

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson was something different.  Written as kind of a report, it held my attention.

In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication.

In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a ‘pacification unit’ go haywire – but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.

When the Robot War ignites -- at a moment known later as Zero Hour -- humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us…and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.

What surprised you?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Need some suggestions please

I need some audio book suggestions.  

I will be most probably be ill while I receive treatment in the next few months and I suspect that I will most probably want to stay in bed.  Please let me know your favorites so that I can build up my collection before it all starts.

I have been listening to the In Death series and the ABC is for . . . series, so I have a few of those already.  
Then The Ocean at the End of the Lane was recommended to me which I also got.  I haven't read Catching Fire yet, so I got the audio for that one too. 


What is your favorites?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review: Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon

 photo lawn_zps8f088195.jpg Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon 

by Paul Tobin, Phillip Simon, Ron Chan 

Publication date: 19 November 2013 
Source: eARC received from NetGalley 
Date read:  07 October 2013

PopCap's immensely popular Plants vs. Zombies game finally gets the plant-filled, zombie-zapping comics treatment it deserves!

The confusing-yet-brilliant inventor known only as Crazy Dave helps his niece, Patrice, and young adventurer Nate Timely fend off a "fun-dead" neighborhood invasion in Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon!

Winner of over thirty "Game of the Year" awards, Plants vs. Zombies is now determined to shuffle onto bookshelves to tickle funny bones and thrill...brains.

Paul Tobin (Marvel Adventures, Falling Skies) and Ron Chan (The Guild, Husbands) join forces with a bevy of battling plants to deliver a hilarious, all-ages, action filled zombie romp to your neighborhood! (Goodreads)

My thoughts: 
Do you love the game, Plants vs Zombies as much as I do?  If so, you are going to be thrilled by this new offering by Paul Tobin.  

What fun as we get to see all our favorite characters (plants and zombies) interact with Crazy Dave, Patrice and Nate.   The beautiful and colorful pages are filled with witty dialogue that will keep you smiling until the last frame.

This is the perfect Christmas gift for anyone with a  Plants vs Zombie addiction. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

I love Audio Books

(photo from Hotlistens via Facebook)

I just had to smile when I found this photo on Facebook today! 

I have been listening to audio books on my daily commute and am loving it.  I have always enjoyed listening to drama and horror but this weekend, I started my first "paranormal romance".  

I have forgotten how much I love the Psy-Changeling series and Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh is really just hitting a nerve with me right now.  It is awesome!  

I am starting to wish for traffic jams!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Super 6 Sunday : My TBR list

Super 6  that are on my TBR list since more than 6 months (.. and I always forget I want to read!)  That is a difficult choice to make . . .I am always a bit behind :) And I have many wishes and many books waiting. 

The oldest book in my to-read list on Goodreads is Uglies.  Still sounds like something that I would like to read . . .

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license - for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all.

The choice Tally makes changes her world forever... (Goodreads - added December 2009)

This book was added in February this year (don't you just love the cover?) 

Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again. (Goodreads)

Broken Destiny is definately still on my TBR pile.  It was written by a fellow South African, so I HAVE to read it (and soon!).

 Ava knows much more, and feels much more than she is allowed to. When she starts questioning her origins and the destruction of Earth, things go horribly wrong for her. She is saved by a Minoan boy from an attempted kidnapping on her life – the perpetrators are evil Zulus and their dark ancient magic. Humans and Minoans are forbidden to interact with each other, and as she is taken back to their village she finds out why – they know of her, her kind and her destiny to save a dying race. Ava must rid them from the Council’s ruling and free the galaxy of The Shadow. Her destiny is to rise above the fall, because within her soul is the key to an archaic weapon that has been missing in the mix of a genetic code since the time of the ancients. As the prophecy unfolds she learns of her bloodline – a bloodline that makes her less human than she could ever have imagined. She alone has the power to destroy or save, but the mind-shift is a horrible thing. Ava will become what she hates to save the ones she loves. Beaten, poisoned, possessed and betrayed by her own emotions, she has no choice but to rise above it all… for that is her Destiny. (Goodreads)

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing. (Goodreads)

For Mina Singer, falling in love with a knight on a white horse was never part of the plan.

Finding herself catapulted into fairyland she discovers that the Real World is not quite what she thought and fairyland is not quite what she imagined.

The question is... who will come out alive? (Goodreads)

An intelligent computer game with a disturbing agenda.

When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.

Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.

Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. This utterly convincing and suspenseful thriller originated in Germany, where it has become a runaway bestseller.

Ursula Poznanski is an award-winning children’s author. She lives in Vienna, Austria.

What are some of your forgotten books?

 Super Six Sunday is an original bookish meme hosted at Bewitched Bookworms
You can see the weekly schedule of themes here.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Audiobook Review: Killing Floor

 photo killingfloor_zps99f8767f.jpg  
Killing Floor 

by Lee Child 

Series: Jack Reacher #1 
Genre: Crime Fiction 
Source: my own audio copy 
Narrator: Dick Hill 
Length: 14 hrs and 47 mins 
Original Publication Date of book: 
17 March 1997 

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher stops in Margrave Georgia for less than a half-hour to check out a decades-old needless murder, and is arrested for murder. Ten days to stop the villains, or die. Working for the US Treasury, Joe left Jack clues, starting with this too-shiny Southern town, where a senile barber gets $1,000/week without customers. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I have never looked at the Jack Reacher series before. I tried to watch the movie starring Tom Cruise and could not finish it (my husband fell asleep). I don't know if it was the story or just casting . . . it just did not work for me. 

Then while reading some of the comments on my Goodreads Audiobook Group, everyone was agreeing what a great narrator, Dick Hill is. I was looking for something to add to my daily commute audio, so I listened to the audio sample available on audible and fell in love with his narration from the start. His calm voice just epitomized what I think Jack Reacher should be. Cool, calm and collected. 

The story is a simple crime thriller although there are some surprises that caught me off guard (don't worry, no spoilers). I enjoyed the way the story flowed and how Jack handled some of the difficult situations – luckily he does not have to worry about rules and procedures . . . and just imagine this 6'5” man with mascara all over his face so he could hide in the dark bushes. The other motorists probably thought it was a crazy woman giggling by herself in the car. 

All in all, I really enjoyed everything about this experience. The story was good and the narration excellent. The only negative I can think of is that at times I got irritated with the sentences all ending in “right” . . . but as you progress in the book, your mind starts blanking out the word for you :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: The Uninvited

 photo uninvited_zpsd7de2d67.jpg The Uninvited
by Liz Jensen

Source: eARC from NetGalley

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 
Publication date:  08 January 2013 

A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother's neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry. Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger's Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioral patterns and an outsider's fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh's Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behavior of his beloved stepson, Freddy. But when Hesketh's Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career, and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father. Part psychological thriller, part dystopian nightmare, The Uninvited is a powerful and viscerally unsettling portrait of apocalypse in embryo. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I loved Hesketh's character.  I admired how he coped with the outside world while suffering from Asperger's Syndrome.  His ability to spot patterns in the strange things that started happening all over the world, just draw me in.  I enjoyed all the interviews with the characters that was part of the first of the unusual happenings.   

Unfortunately after the first part of the book, I started feeling irritated with him.  His disability causes him to not connect with other people but his son, Freddy, is the exception.  Let me just say that I am not a parent.  I don't know if I would have felt different if I was.   But his blind obsession with the fact that his son would not turn into a stranger like the rest of the children of the world, just irked me.  I wanted to shake him and force him to look at the facts.  If I had in the story in book form, I probably would have thrown it across the room a few times. 

The ending just sort of crept up on me.  I have read some reviews, that mentioned that they felt cheated but I can see that there was no other way out for the characters.

All in all, it was a satisfying read even with the irritating stages.  I guess that is the essence of a good book when you feel like shaking some sense into the characters.

PS:  Just on a little side note that has no other use than just me venting -  there is little editing adjustment in the NetGalley edition.  Every word that uses the letter-combinations "ff", "fi" or "fl" will just have those letters omitted completely.  I assume it was to stop "would-be-torrenting" but still . . . annoying!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Review: The Sum of my Parts: A Survivor's Story of Dissociative Identity Disorder

 photo parts_zps41416e43.jpg

The Sum of my Parts: A Survivor's Story of Dissociative Identity Disorder 
by Olga Trujillo 

Source: eARC from NetGalley 
Published by New Harbinger Publications 
Publication Date: 01 October 2011 

By the first day of kindergarten, Olga Trujillo had already survived years of abuse and violent rape at the hands of her tyrannical father. Over the next ten years, she would develop the ability to numb herself to the constant abuse by splitting into distinct mental “parts.” Dissociative identity disorder (DID) had begun to take hold, protecting Olga’s mind from the tragic realities of her childhood. In The Sum of My Parts, Olga reveals her life story for the first time, chronicling her heroic journey from survivor to advocate and her remarkable recovery from DID. Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, DID is defined by the presence of two or more identities. In this riveting story, Olga struggles to unearth memories from her childhood, and parallel identities—Olga at five years old, Olga at thirteen—come forth and demand to be healed. This brave, unforgettable memoir charts the author’s triumph over the most devastating conditions and will inspire anyone whose life has been affected by trauma. (Goodreads)

My thoughts: 
This was a very difficult book to read. I have never known anyone that have been abused but I can imagine it must be devastating. The first six chapters telling the hell that Olga went through was horrible. Here and there, I had to skip a paragraph as it just seemed unbearable, even for an outsider. 

It is a miracle that Olga survived, physically as well as mentally. Her mind protected her, making different rooms where some of the bad could hidden. But this wonderful self preservation also caused her to “forget” the abuse, giving her parents the opportunity to sell her again and again. It was heartbreaking reading about her excitement for a special date with her parents, knowing what was really in store for her. 

After the first chapters, we learn about the long road that Olga had to walk to become the woman she is today. She had developed a multiple personality disorder and has a few identities, only identified by her age at the time that they were formed. Three was the first personality that entered her consciousness when she started her sessions with her doctor. Three described the “first” rape by her father. Olga was devastated. How could she continue, knowing what the past held? 

Even with all her success (both professionally and personally) there is still some days that she does not pick up the warning signs. Some days are just too much. Some days she falls back into the awful self destructive routines. I understand that this type of book will never have a “happy ending” but it was hard to know that Olga struggles, even today. She is a very brave woman and I take off my hat to her . . .