Monday, May 31, 2010

The Magicians

The Magicians
By Lev Grossman

416 pages
17 hours and 24 minutes listening time

Grade Troll (F-)

One of my favorite blogs Lovely Little Shelf reviewed this blog awhile ago. I have been saving it all this time until I finished this book. I started it about March and yes, I just finished it. My favorite part about her review of this book is this part:

Conclusion: I don’t know what to say. I liked it. I did. I would say give this shot, but go in knowing that it is a “tribute” book. Like tribute bands, they’re never as good as the original and you always leave wondering 1- why that band doesn’t do their own music and 2- why you didn’t just jam to a cd of the original band in your car and save your cash. That’s kind of what happened here. It’s a tribute. If you read it with that in mind, I think that you’ll like what you find.

This is what I have to say about it. First off, a lesson in vocabulary...

Tribute: A gift, testimonial, compliment, or the like, given as due or in acknowledgment of gratitude or esteem.

Parody: A poor or feeble imitation or semblance; travesty

And this one just for good measure...

Crap On: To botch, ruin, or cheapen, make a mess of.

A tribute, maybe. A parody, probably. Crap on, most definitely.

The problem with comparing this book with a tribute band, is that most the time they are most the time easy to get through, unless of course they are a tribute to U2, which even listening to the real band is painful.

This book was so terrible. I just struggled to get through it. Do I remember any of what really happened? No. It was very forgettable. In most of the parts all I heard was "blah blah blah, my life sucks" "blah blah blah Alice hates me" "blah blah blah I am in an imitation land of Naria but I have to fight this really strange human creature but my magic is far less superior than anything they do in Harry Potter."

This book was terribly painful in parts. I also had to suppress laughter because when the narrator tried to do voices one of his characters sounded like Kermit the Frog. Painful, that is what this book was.

I decided that since this book tried the to be too much like Harry Potter, I would just rate it using the rating systems of the HP OWL exams. It is getting a "T" for Troll.

Don't waste your time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
By Sara Gruen

350 pages
11 hours and 31 minutes listening time

Grade B+

Ever have the dream to run off and join the circus? Well Jacob does it. After finding out his parents were killed in a car accident, he wanders around, and hops a train. And it just so happens that the train he hops is owned by the Benzini Bothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. He spends the next three months traveling with the circus as the vet.

The author jumps between Jacob as a 23 year old, and Jacob as a 90, or 93 year old. I fell in love with the 23 year old Jacob due to his innocence, humility, and genuine niceness. I fell in love with the 90, or 93 year old Jacob because of his tenacity and his kindness but in a stubborn tired old man kind of way.

If you can get passed the animal cruelty, because I will not mislead you, there is quiet a bit of animal cruelty in this book. But I think without it, it would be to wishy washy. The story, and the love, and the hate, and the genius of this book is just incredible.

I first read this book last year for my book club. I knew I wanted to read it again. I will say that it was a little too soon. I should have waited another year or so. However by the time I got to the end of the book, I fell in love with it all over again.

I really really really enjoyed this book. I really hope you will enjoy this book too. So go buy, borrow, but not steal it. Then let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Audrey, Wait!

Audrey, Wait!
By Robin Benway

313 pages
Unavailable on audio at this time

Grade A+

Although this book isn't the most life changing book I have ever read, I LOVED it. I laughed and wanted to cry, but I really really loved it. After reading my borrowed copy from the library, I even went out and bought my own copy...shhhh don't tell Matt ;)

Audrey is a 16 year old girl who decides to break up with her boyfriend Evan, because all he could talk about was his band, what he was going to do with his band, how his band sounded....his band, his band, his band. So she breaks up with him. That night at a concert that he is playing at, he reveals the new song, "Audrey, Wait!" All of a sudden Audrey is totally famous, and has no idea what to do with it all.

What I really loved about this book is that it reminded me of how I was in high school, or rather how I would have been if I was really witty. I mean I am pretty witty now as an adult but I don't think I was *that* witty when I was a teen.

However, now that I am an adult, what I really found to be what I related to the most, was Audrey's relationship with her parents. I really hope I am the kind of parent Audrey's parents were. They were easy going, but very awesome. So, do you hear that Lucy? I hope when I am a grown-up parent, I am pretty cool, awesome, funny and yet still your parent.

So in summary, go get it. It's like $8. It is worth buying. And it is a quick read. If you read it and don't love it, come back here and tell me :P

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed
By Emily Giffin

352 pages
10 hours and 37 minutes listening time

Grade B+

I had previously read Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin and really enjoyed it. I figured at some point I would read her other ones too. Well a few weeks ago, I heard a couple of the girls I work with talk about this one and when I found out it was written my Emily Giffin, I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon and read it.

I totally enjoyed this book. It is about two best friends, Rachel and Darcy, that have known each other since they were little girls. Darcy gets engaged to this guy Dexter. On Rachel's 30th birthday party, Darcy gets drunk and goes home, and then Rachel and Dexter drink to much and end up sleeping together. The characters were very well developed and I found myself relating to the main character Rachel, but not in the "I slept with my best friend's finance" kind of way, but in the "Always trying to make others happy and proud" kind of way. My childhood friend was one of those somewhat like Darcy that always had to be better than in at everything. I resented it, and do not miss her at all now that we are no longer friends.

This book had a couple of good twists that really kept me intrigued. I have decided that I absolutely love Emily Giffin and cannot wait to read the next book to follow this one called "Something Blue." My library is currently in the process of moving locations so I cannot reserve my copy just yet, but that is ok. I have plenty to keep me occupied until they are set up again.

Anyway, this is a great summer read, or a "beach" read as some put it, although in Vegas we don't have beaches so we just get summer reads out here.

On a side note, I have been on a kick recently that I don't feel like listening to any audio books and would rather pick up a book in paper and read. This might slow my momentum down a little, but that is ok, I am passed the half way point in my goal, so if I do slow down a little, I will be ok :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Are you there Vodka? It's me, Chelsea

Are you there Vodka? It's me, Chelsea
By Chelsea Handler

264 pages
6 hours and 13 minutes listening time

Grade A

As you all know, I enjoy audio books. I enjoy them 90% more when they are read by the actual author because you get a better sense of the book I think. This book is narrated by Chelsea herself. And, that is why I loved this book as much as I did.

I will be honest, I didn't really know who she was before this book. Now, like a bunch of the other books I have read/listened too, I will be looking up her show, Girls Behaving Badly, on YouTube and Netflix. And I kind of love her now.

So back to the book. I have never, ever, EVER, in my life once snorted any drinks out my nose of any sort. 20 minute into this book, I snorted coffee out my nose. I was laughing so hard at my desk while I was listening to this book, I probably shouldn't have listened to it at work. One of my favorite parts is when she talks about when she got a DUI. She was trying to play sober, however, she was pulled over only blocks from her apartment, except she had passed her apartment. The cop asked her to do a sobriety test asking her to step one foot in front of the other. She retorted back to the cop "Officer, I am wearing 4 inch heels, I couldn't do that sober!"

If you need a light, funny, uplifting book, READ THIS BOOK! Better yet, get the audio because it is HILARIOUS!

Now, I must go run off to find other books written by her!!

On a side note, I got the DVD for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The movie did the book justice, however it was just as depressing and sad as the book. I am a little mad I bought the movie instead of just waiting for it on Netflix because I don't know if my heart can take watching it again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Queen of Babble

Queen of Babble
By Meg Cabot

336 pages
5 hours and 41 minutes listening time
(this is the abridged version)

Grade D

I didn't realize that this was the abridged audio when I started it, however I will tell you, I don't think I would have been able to get through the unabridged version. I know there are a tone of Meg Cabot fans out there, and I liked the other book that I listened to by her, however, I think the problem with this book was that it was narrated by the same person who did the Twilight series, Ilyana Kadushin. Now whenever I hear her voice, I think of a very insecure, annoying, self absorbed character. Ironically, that is exactly what Izzy is in this book too.

I was very embarrassed with this character, she did some very strange things, that were very awkward. I was happy to be done with this book. I was happy it was over after only one day. Also, I have found out after I listened to this book that it is apart of a series. I will probably not be continuing with the series, and if I do, it will be at a later date.

Harry, A History

Harry, a Hitory: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon
By Melissa Anelli

356 pages
10 hours and 58 minutes listening time

Grade F

This book was chosen due to my obsession with the Harry Potter series. I thought this would be like reading the books, a discussion about them or whatever. Instead I got 10 hours of this lady, Melissa, go on and on about how the HP books are fabulous, how it has inspired people, in which they have created a whole new society of people. They have created "wizard rock" bands, and whole online communities. Some of it was interesting, but for the most part.....I was bored. Honestly, I don't know what I was expecting.

What I do know, is that this book was a waste of my time, and it was boring for them most part. I was happy to finally be done with it. It took me almost a month to finish it because I had to keep turning it off.

It is not worth your time.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Help

The Help
By Kathryn Stockett

464 pages
18 hours and 19 minutes listening time

Grade A+

So I finished this book on Wednesday and took a whole day to think about it and think about what I wanted to write. I wanted to do this book the justice it deserves. It is fabulously written, and very......very......perfect. I enjoyed everything about this book. The audio was perfect because there was a different narrator for each main speaker. It really really brought each person to life.
It is a story written about three women, Miss Skeeter, a young white woman that just graduated college and doesn't really know what to do with herself. She is oddly tall for a sweet little southern girl, and didn't have any marriage prospects in college, to her mother's dismay. Aibileen, a 54 year old black woman that has been a maid in the homes of white people for practically her whole life. She has raised 17 children , 16 of them white. She is strong, caring, and just as loving as she can be to the children she raises. And Minny, an outspoken black maid that has been a maid since she was a teenager. She is a mother to 5 children with one on the way, and has been fired from nearly every job she has had.

Miss Skeeter is on a quest to find her old maid from her childhood that has disappeared while she was at college. In the mean time, she finds a job at a local paper answering household cleaning questions. Since she was raised in a home where someone did all the cleaning, she doesn't know a darn thing about cleaning. She seeks the aide of her best friends maid, Aibileen. As they start a relationship by answering the cleaning questions, Miss Skeeter thinks that she should write a book. A book about the stories of a life of a southern black maid.

I loved how Miss Skeeter interacted with the maids, and made them feel as though there wasn't a difference between them. During the times right after the civil war, where black and white were "separate but equal" there was still a lot of racism running rapid though the south, especially in Mississippi, where they live.

Miss Skeeter risked everything she had, including her friends, her family, and her relationship with the 12 maids that told their stories, to help make a difference in the world. One of the best quotes in the book was during a Miss Skeeter chapter while she is listening to the radio driving home from her friend's house:

"And out comes a man's voice, drunk sounding singing fast and bluesy......and I listen to the song, it is better than anything I have ever heard, "You'll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin'." A voice in a can tells me that his name is Bob Dylan."

I loved this, not only because I am a HUGE Bob Dylan fan myself, but that was what those times were, they were changing. They were about people standing up for the rights of others and for themselves. It took courage to sing about it, but it took even more, to be one of those that stood against the grain.

It is a terrible thought to know that racism is still floating around. It is nice to know that we have come this far, but we still have so much further to go. This book was just incredibly beautiful and endearing. I am so happy that I read it. I will also recommend it to anyone that asks for a recommendation.

I will warn you, there are some tough parts to get through. There is one scene in particular that is very hard to read, but if you can know that the good out weighs the bad, then you will simply adore this book as much as I did.

On a side note, Matt thinks that I should start using the Harry Potter OWL scoring system with my book reviews. I would love to do that, but am afraid that not everyone would get it if you haven't read Harry Potter.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I am going through some heavy withdraws here. I want so badly to add Harry Potter to my iPod and listen to the sweet sound of Jim Dale's voice and to finally get back to Hogwarts, I can hardly breathe.

And I am STRUGGLING with a couple of books right now. The Magicians, and Harry, A History. I simply force myself to turn them on but struggle to actually keep them playing. I am hoping to get through them and on with my life by the end of May.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Remember Me?

Remember Me?
By Sophie Kinsella

448 pages
12 hours and 53 minutes listening time

Grade B

I don't know how to start this review without totally sounding like every other review out there, but here is to originality!

Imagine you wake up in a hospital from falling and hitting your head. Your teeth are capped, your hair is high lighted, your toned, tanned and the nurse brings in your totally fab Louis Vitton purse. Oh yea, and then your husband walks in, drop dead gorgeous. I thought it was a great story, and I was constantly dying to find out what was going to happen next. I really loved how the characters developed in this book and how Lexi had to learn about her life since she doesn't remember the last three years. I literally read this in almost one sitting and yes, it was a paper read for me.

The thing I really liked about this book, other than it was nice to read an age appropriate book after my last book, was that I really was looking forward to what was going to happen next. I really wanted to know if Lexi was going to find her way. The only thing that kind of bothered me was that her husband Eric, I don't think his character was developed enough. I kinda wanted to see more of their life together. I also thought that the end was wrapped up kind of fast. I could have gone for a few more pages.

I wouldn't say this book changed my life, but I will say that this book was a fabulous way to spend my Sunday.

How to be Popular

How to be Popular
By Meg Cabot

320 pages
5 hours and 37 minutes listening time

Grade C

First off, there are some YA books that are too YA, and this might be one of them for me. It was cute, I liked it, however I would probably liked it more when I was 15 or 16.

The message in this book however it really good. It is pretty much tells you to stay true to yourself. I liked how Steph learned to overcome her teenage awkwardness. And I liked how at the end, she really didn't change too much. I did like to see how she grew.

Anywho, I will probably suggest this book to Lucy when she is a little older and I think any teenage girl might get a kick out of it. But if you are an adult that likes YA books, this one might just be too YA.