Monday, February 24, 2014

Pet Peeves and Favorite Things - Audiobooks


One of the most controversial topics in the reading world is audiobooks. Very similar to the debate about ebooks, some people love them and some people hate them. And then some people are just indifferent about it. 

For me, I used to think that audiobooks was a weird way to access a story. I thought they were great; a wonderful improvement in technology, but overall, just not for me. However, curiosity got the better of me, and I remember the checking out at the library my first audiobook. It was Ella Enchanted. Not only did I love the girl who read the book I also loved being told the story, instead of having to read it. 

I don't remember the exact moment when I decided that audiobooks are one of my favorite ways to enjoy a story. Maybe it was when I listened to The Great Gatsby, read by Jake Gyllenhaal or when I signed up for my audible membership. 

Now, many audiobooks later, I have found that there are some things that I absolutely love about audiobooks and things I downright hate. Here are a few I'll mention. 

Pet Peeves- 

1. When the narrator has the worst voice for the character. This is especially important when the book is written in first person. I think Emma Galvin, who reads the Divergent books, is the best voice for Tris, the main character. She has that edge to her voice which is perfect. However on the opposite side, Kate Simses who reads the Shatter Me books, is horribly cast. She sounds five years younger than the character in the book is supposed to be. It just makes the experience uncomfortable. 

2. When the narrator has a monotone voice. Really, this should be obvious. Though I don't understand why it's still happening! I came across the audiobook of Unwind and the narrator was just plain horrible in my opinion. Honestly I don't know how he passed the audition or whatever they do when finding a narrator. 

3. When the narrator tries to make a high or low voice when reading a character of the opposite sex. This is something that is just plain annoying. Honestly, you don't need to make your voice high and squeaky to sound like a girl. And you also don't need to make your voice low to sound like a guy. Just change the tone, not the pitch. Honestly. 

Favorite things- 

1. When the narrator takes their time reading. This might sound strange, because you would think that you would want to listen to the story asap. But really, I find myself enjoying audiobooks ten times more when it's read in a slow and rhythmic pace. Examples - The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Great Gatsby, and Stargirl

2. When the narrator sounds like they are enjoying the story. I notice this now and then and it makes me so happy, when I know that I'm not the only person immersed in the story. I'm currently reading Persuasion and I can tell the narrator is enjoying herself while reading. 

3. When actors or actresses read audiobooks. This just makes me happy. Whether it's a random actor or the actor from the movie adaptation of the book, I think it's great. Actors know how to act (duh) and will therefore bring a wonderful ambiance and boost to make the story come alive.

4. When the author reads the book. Does it need any explaining? 


So that's it! Let me know how you feel about audiobooks and if you have any pet peeves towards them. 

Miss Book Reader

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rearranging My Books - February 2014

So are any of you tired of my frequent blog posts yet? I hope not, but if you are, I'm sorry. I'm very inspired in the morning, so that's why I've been posting so frequently. 

Over the weekend I rearranged my bookshelf (again). It's grown to be something I do when I'm stressed or upset. Something about touching and feeling all the books calms me down. 

Previously I had arranged my books to be in order of "my favorites". It didn't please me at all. So I decided to try again. 


Almost 100% empty bookshelf 

I started off by clearing off all the shelves that I have for my books. It was so weird seeing a bare shelf again. 


Books on the floor...

It never seems like I have a lot of books until I start stacking them all over my room. Then I realize I really need to cut down on the book buying...



Books on the bed...

My original plan was to organize my books by genre (Young Adult, Children's, Adult, and Classics), then within genre, by author. All the unread books would be mixed in with the read books.

So after separating all the books in their genre, I preceded to alphabetize them by author. 

and books on the dresser... yes that's a turtle you see there

But once I started putting them on the shelf, I realized I didn't like the way the books fit. My OCD of having the mass market paperbacks right next to the huge hardcover books kicked in, and I ended up just putting the books where I thought they looked good. 



All my Young Adult novels! It seems like so much when they are stacked! 

They are still somewhat organized by author (although not in alphabetical order). All my C.S. Lewis books are together, all my Jane Austen novels are together, and all my "Series of Unfortunate Events" books are together. I just put them where they would look good. Also, they are still separated by genre. 

Ahhh... the completed organization. How happy this makes me. 

The top row on the right bookshelf contains all classics (besides one pile of TBR and currently reading books), the second contains all YA, the third Children's novels(with that one pile at the end being YA), and the bottom contains my Harry Potter and Adult novels. 

The "tower" shelf contains my journals and notebooks on the top two shelves (or cubbies or whatever you want to call them), and the middle shelf has a combination of reference and anthologies. The bottom two shelves are classics (mostly unread classics). 

I'm really happy with this organization. It's nice to look at and I like how the books are arranged. I don't think I'll be rearranging my books for a while! 

So I'm curious, how do you organize your books?

Miss Book Reader




Monday, February 17, 2014

Discussion- Reading, just the for the sake of reading?

I have a question for you. Why do you read? 

It's a basic enough question. It's not rocket science. So why do you read? I suppose I should start off answering it myself. 


Photo Credit - gypsywayofliving
 on tumblr


"We read to know that we are not alone." - C.S. Lewis 

That's it. That's my reason. I've been reading since I was able to. My mother would take me to the library and I would devour book after book. I'd fall into the worlds that I was introduced to and I would meet new characters. I remember the first time I read "Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine. Though I would like to claim that I'm so similar to Ella, in reality, she's more of a kindred spirit to me. She was my friend throughout most of my elementary school and she helped me not feel alone. 

To some people, it might be strange to talk about characters as if they are real people, but to me, it's never been something strange. They are real to me, and everyone who has the pleasure of meeting them. 

Photo Credit- land-of-unfulfilled-dreams
from tumblr

As I've grown older, I think I've lost sight of the real reason why I should be reading. Yes, last year I read the largest amount of books I've ever read in one year, but does the quantity really matter that much? I just finished reading a book the other day, and I'm ashamed to admit that most of the time, I was just wrapped up in reading it as fast as I could, so that I could say that I read it at the end. 

I can understand us trying to better ourselves with literature (because I do believe good literature effects us as a person), but we shouldn't be reading books, just for the sake of saying that you read them. 

Photo Credit - from weheartit.com

I don't normally make New Year's Resolutions; and it is rather late to be making one. But in 2014, I want to read to enjoy and loose myself in literature. To think of new thoughts and new ideas. To open my mind to so many new things. 

I have made a GoodReads reading challenge goal to read 45 books this year, but I'm going to try to not worry about it as much. I'm going to try to stop rushing, and start enjoying what I'm reading. 

So let me know what you think? Do you think you've lost sight of why you truly like to read? Do you think you read "just for the sake of reading"? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

As always, keep reading.

Miss Book Reader

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book and Movie Review- Chronicles of Narnia



 Summary (no spoilers) - 

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the very few sets of books that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood, and late in life. In brief, four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children and everything is far more than it seems. Richly told, populated with fascinating characters, perfectly realized in detail of world and pacing of plot, the story is infused throughout with the timeless issues of good and evil, faith and hope. This edition includes all seven volumes.

My Thoughts- 

When I started reading this series, it was because a) I felt obligated to because I'm a Christian and b) it was highly recommended by my dad. I wasn't expecting a whole lot, just a really enjoyable series. Boy, was I surprised! 

Let me just say that C.S. Lewis has done a brilliant job of creating a vibrant and real world called Narnia. His writing is superb. It surprises me how he can make such an impact in such a simplistic way. The writing isn't difficult, it flows so easily that I can't help being captivated and drawn into the story. 

Another thing that surprised me was the world building. One of my favorite books in the series is The Magician's Nephew, because the world building is fantastic. You can picture Narnia so vividly that the whole time I was reading about it, I felt like I was there. 

And finally, one of the best parts of this series, the characters. I've read some reviews of the individual books and was surprised to see that some people didn't like how many different characters "star" in the books. While it's true, the series is about so many characters, instead of just several. I loved that though. I loved how Narnia effected so many characters, not just a few. All the characters have found a special place in my heart (as corny as that sounds). 

When I finished The Last Battle, and closed the book, I was completely in tears. I have grown to love the world and characters that I was introduced to through this series. Although these are children's books, I believe anyone will enjoy them and love them. Sometimes, reading a children's book after your childhood is over means that you won't have a connection or attachment to that story, but that's not the case with these books. The Chronicles of Narnia series has become my second favorite book series that I've read. I can't wait to re-read the books over again, and again. 


★★★★★





Now onto the movies. There have been three movies based off of three books. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I found that I enjoyed every one of the movies, though some more and less. 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - 

My thoughts about this movie are very basic. I think it's brilliantly cast. The four actors who play the Pevensie children, each fit their character perfectly. Along with the actors who portray Aslan and the Witch. 

The story is well done and it is a beautiful book to movie adaptation, as far as story goes. In fact I have really no complaints at all about the movie really. It's not my absolute favorite book to movie adaption, but it's not my least favorite either. 

★★★★☆ 

Prince Caspian- 

I have some issues with this movie, although it's not really specific details, I just overall like this movie, but that's it. It's not extraordinary or exceptional, it's just okay. To be fair though, that's how I feel about the book though. 

Short review. Sorry. (guilty face) 

★★★☆☆

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader- 

This book was my favorite in the series. I love everything about it. The characters, story, writing, and detail. Although the movie definitely has made some changes with the story, I for some reason, have no issues with it. It still captures the feeling of the book and the really important parts are all in the movie. I actually love this movie the most out of the three. 

★★★★★

Overall, I highly recommend this series and the movies. Trust me, you need these stories in your life!! 

Until next time, keep reading. 

Miss Book Reader




Guest Post by Piper from Piper's Book Nook

Buying Vs. Borrowing Books

Hi everyone! My name is Piper and I run the blog and youtube channel Piper's Book Nook. MissBookReader a.k.a Abby is a good friend of mine and has been asking me to do a guest post for a while now. Today I'll be discussing a topic that's been on my mind for a while now and was brought back to my attention when talking with Abby yesterday.


There's no doubt in my mind that I'm not at least a little bit addicted to books and buying books. As a book buyer and lover, people (and by people I mean my family) are constantly asking me why I don't just get books from the library instead of always using gift cards and holiday money on books. I can never quite explain it to them though, mostly because they don't share the complex love of books with me. It's true that my older sister does love books as well and can gobble one up in only a day (which I'm very envious of) but she mostly buys books from her childhood that she wants to re-read and doesn't get invested in authors, book covers, book bloggers, tubers, and more.

Some people buy books, some people borrow them. It really depends on the person and their personal experience and preference of books. I definitely need to stop buying so many books- not only is my TBR pile getting outrageous but I'm running out of room on my one bookcase. If you're just now getting into reading or are debating clicking the "proceed to checkout" button on Amazon or checking some books out of the library, here's a few things to consider.

1. Am I actually going to read this book? 
After reading this question you're probably thinking "Of course! Why else would I want to buy it?!" But really think about it. Inspect the description of the book carefully and decide if you'd actually like to read a full story about the topic, or you just like the abstract idea of it. If you're hesitant, opt for the library or pass on the book.

2. Am I going to re-read this book?
One of the main reasons I buy books rather than go to the library is because I always want to have easy access to these books. I want to go back and experience the stories again, remember the time I read it for the first time. Personally, I don't understand why people buy books if they're only planning on reading them once and never again. That's just me, maybe you want to get that 'library' feel and buying books are a little more for decoration, but I would consider just borrowing the book if you only want to experience it once.

3. Do I just want this book because everyone else likes it?
I'm guilty of this too, reading and buying books just because it's so hyped up. But again, like #1, read the description thoroughly and decide if it sounds like something you'd actually like.

After asking yourself those questions you may have a better idea if you should buy, borrow, or just not get the book at all. I hope this blog post has helped you and your bookish ways!

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to write a guest post Abby!

Piper

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Reads - February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day is here and so is Friday! I thought I would update you on what I'm reading and what I plan to read over the weekend. 




So first of all I'm currently reading Persuasion by Jane Austen and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. I'm making progress in both, so huzzah! I don't know if I'll finish either of them over the weekend, so I just plan on reading some more chapters and making more progress.





I picked up two books from the library today, Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger, which is a recommendation from Emily the Odd One, and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which is a recommendation from my good friend Piper. I'm going to try and read one of these books during the weekend, so we shall see how that goes! 

Happy Valentine's Day and keep reading!

Miss Book Reader



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Classics Challenge













As some of you may remember, last year I created a list of 25 books that I wanted to read in 2013. I read a total of 8 books on that list (really incredible I know). This year I've re-created that list but shortened it to 10 books. Also, all the books on this list are classics. During the summer I might challenge myself to read 25 books and make a list of them, but I'm not going to make a list up right now. 

So here is the list of books! 

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
2. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
3. A Tale of Two Cites by Charles Dickens
4. The Princess Bride by William Goldman 
5. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 
6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
7. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll 
8. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell 
9. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 
10. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 

Bonus Book 

If I read all the books listed above, I have a bonus book for me to read. Which is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. 

Those are the books! Let me know if you have read any of them or if you are planning on reading them in 2014. 

Miss Book Reader

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top 10 Valentine's Day Reads


10. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This book has a really unique love story. It includes time travel, so of course it's wonderful! I love the two main characters Henry and Clare. I think this makes a great Valentine's Day read because it shows their romance progress. But it's a great book to read anytime!



9. A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin. Now I'm pretty sure none of you have heard of this book. It's historical fiction that takes place during World War II. It's a beautifully told love story and I don't know if it's because of my love for the forties, but this is a book I love to read over and over again. It looks cheesy and maybe it is a little bit, but it's a really heart-warming story. 



8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Of course this would be on the list. I love this story because it just screams "cute"!! I love Cath as a main character and her story is so easy to read and enjoy. Even though it is a love story, it focuses really on Cath's character development (which I love). I found myself thinking about this book weeks after finishing it. 



7. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This is a really great paranormal romance. It's actually one of my top five favorites in this genre. I chose this book because, I'll admit, it is rather romance centered. But when reading this book, it's so easy to get lost in the characters, writing, and story. I think it's a great book to just escape too. 



6. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. This is a first in a trilogy and after finishing the series recently I have to say this is one of my favorite dystopian series. Again, this series is rather romance driven, but I think the writing is so beautiful that this book at least deserves a try. The characters are dynamic and fascinating. I really love watching Juliette grow as a character. 


5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. You want a cute book? This is it! This is a light, delightful, and charming story about Anna, who moves to a boarding school in Paris. It is an extremely easy read and I guarantee you will fall in love with it.


4. Jane by April Lindner. It's a modern retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I chose this instead of the original Jane Eyre because I definitely think it's a lot easier to read. And it's a brilliant retelling of the story. Do check out Jane Eyre if you enjoyed Jane though. 


3. Of course, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. How can this book not be on this list?? This is such an iconic and classic love story. Even if you don't have the time to read the book, I highly recommend watching the 1995 BBC miniseries. 


2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This is for those of you who like to cry on Valentine's Day. This book is one of my favorite love stories, regardless how many times this book makes me sob uncontrollably. 



1. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Best. Love. Story. Ever. Point taken? This book is a children/young adult retelling of the fairytale story, Cinderella and it is just perfection. Arguably my favorite book of all time, not to mention my childhood companion. This book does romance perfectly. It's a brilliant novel and if you have not read it, I strongly encourage you to read it. 


I hope you all have a great Valentine's Day whether you spend it with your significant other or snuggled up with a book (like me). 


Miss Book Reader


Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 

Plot Summary- A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


My Thoughts- 

The idea of this book is my favorite thing about it. The concept is that there are children who all have unique abilities and live at a "home for peculiar children" on a mysterious island. I admire Ransom Riggs so much for being able to create a story just by looking at old photographs. Using those pictures, he crafts this story about paranormal children; and to me, that is pretty extraordinary. 

Now I will say that I wasn't crazy about this book. I thought the writing was really great, the story concept was so creative, and the photographs used in the book are just plain amazing. But I didn't like the main character Jacob, I found the other characters either really interesting or really flat, and the actual delivery of the story to be weak. 

To be quite honest, my favorite thing about this book was the story. But the plot had a very interesting way of flowing. There were several chapters that I just didn't find useful or interesting at all, while other chapters were so action packed. It felt inconsistent. 

As far as the characters go, I had mixed feelings about Jacob. I wasn't very happy with the way he would deal with situations, but at the same time, I could understand why he made some of them. While I could understand his motivation, his overall attitude did not work for me. 

The side characters were hit or miss. Some of them just felt like they were accessories to the story. While some of them were really interesting, there were some I just wasn't impressed with. 

Overall, I think the concept of the book and basis of the story is incredible, but the actual delivery could use some improvement. There were some issues I had with this book, but I would still say to at least give it a try. I think it's a book everyone will read differently. 


★★★☆☆

Miss Book Reader

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book Review- Out of the Easy

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys 

Plot-  It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. 

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.



My Thoughts- I'll start by saying that Ruta Sepetys is one of my favorite writers. Her previous novel "Between Shades of Gray", is one of my all time favorite books. So I had a lot of high expectations for this novel. Some of them were met, and some of them where not. 

Okay, so the plot. The story is pretty simple. Josie has been raised in the back roads and allies of New Orleans. She's learned to watch out for herself and to not put her trust in everyone. She's had a hard life, but she's not broke. 

I loved Josie. I loved how strong she was. And when I say that, I don't just mean physically, but mentally as well. She wasn't a indecisive character. She new what she wanted and didn't want in her life. I liked that. And honestly, the thing I loved the most about this book were the characters. There were so many of them but somehow I didn't have trouble keeping track of them. They were all unique and written well. The side characters didn't fall flat at all. 

What got me the most about this book was the ending though. This book to me was very anti-climactic. It was building the story up and then suddenly, it was all over. All the problems just fell away and everything worked itself out in a strange and unrealistic way. That was what I disliked the most. I really did feel like the author just realized she reached her page goal and decided to quit writing. 

I think what I need to do is give this book a little time, then come back and re-read it. Maybe then I'll have a better opinion of it. 

But besides the abrupt ending, I do recommend this book. It offers an interesting light to the lives of prostitues and the people around them. Like every Ruta Sepetys book I've read, this book gets you thinking about life, and that's why I love her novels. 


So in the end, I gave this book ★★★★☆ stars. I would recommend it. 

Keep reading! 

Miss Book Reader 

Monday, February 3, 2014

January 2014 Wrap Up









 Books Read in January 2014

1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent #3)★★★★★
2. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson #4)★★★★★
3. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia #4)★★★★☆
4. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia #5)★★★★★
5. Emma by Jane Austen ★★★★★
6. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia #6)★★★★☆
7. Revived by Cat Patrick ★★★☆☆
8. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings #3)★★★★★
9. The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks ★★☆☆☆
10. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4) ★★★★☆

Looking at the list of books read in January, I'm really quite shocked I got through so many books. I had a horrible reading month in December. But January was fantastic. I read so many good books. The three that stand out the most to me are (1) The Battle of the Labyrinth, because that books was just epic. Favorite in the Percy Jackson series so far. (2) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I loved the movie and I loved the book even more. I don't know precisely what it is, but C.S. Lewis was just writing perfection with this book. (3) The Return of the King. Guys, finishing this series was so bittersweet. I loved the closure to the series and this book was just wonderful. 

I'm looking forward to reading many more books in February! 

Happy Reading! 

Miss Book Reader