I think this was my very first pre-order. Molly Harper's books are always light, funny, and utterly enjoyable but Driving Mr. Dead has always been my favorite. When I saw a second book in the Half-Moon Hollow series I was thrilled. And aside from waiting for the release, Witch's Handbook did not let me down.
The story follows Nola Leary as she leaves Ireland to search for her family's magical artifacts in Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky. In traditional Molly Harper style, she's introduced to her sexy, shirtless neighbor via a coon in the cabinet. While she's wearing a towel. There are, of course, complications. Nola has a relationship back home, she's only in town to save her family's magic, and Jed has some secrets of his own. Aside from the random raccoon, this story has considerably less hijinks than the others, but I liked it. In her search for the artifacts, Nola meets Jane, Andrea, Dick, and all your favorite vampire/werewolf locals. Hilarity ensues, romance wins, and everything works out in the end (mostly). This is why I love Molly Harper's books. They are just plain fun.
I feel like I have to mention the narration on this one. I love Amanda Ronconi. I think she's one of the top narrators out there and absolutely perfect for Harper's characters. However, her Boston/Irish accent threw me at first. I don't think she was doing it wrong, I just think it's an odd combination. I saw several comments in the other reviews, but it didn't bother me after the first few minutes. Don't let it sway you, pick this one up.
Ender's Game was one of my first audiobooks and I'll admit, I was a little attached to it. So I was equal parts excited and nervous to hear this new take on the story. First, let me just say that I'm one of those people who abhor sound effects in my audio. I will shut a book off and walk away. Forever. So when I read "audioplay" I was skeptical. But the effects here were perfectly done: the whoosh of a door (sci-fi doors do that) to let you know when someone is entering or exiting a room, the echo of a large space, and music between scenes or to indicate time passing. Not once did I cringe. And I truly enjoyed the way the "play" was performed, each character given their own voice by an amazing cast of talented narrators (some of whom you may remember from the older editions) seamlessly moving from scene to scene.
Whether you're a fan of the original or new to the series, Ender's Game Alive is a wonderful way to experience the story.
Molly Harper is one of my favorite authors. Though the titles in the Bluegrass series don't have people staring at me because I'm snort-laughing and wiping tears from the corner of my eyes like the Naked Werewolf books do, they are still authentic Molly Harper and are wonderfully light, funny, and entertaining.
Rhythm and Bluegrass follows Kentucky Tourism Commission's Bonnie Turkle as she tries to salvage historical treasures from a once famous music hall that's scheduled to be demolished (and replaced with a factory site that might just save the town). Mud Creek mayor/volunteer fireman/occasional damsel-in-distress rescuer Will McBride doesn't have much love for the music hall and what it's meant for his family, but he still doesn't mind Bonnie ... until she registers it as a historical site and halts not only the negotiations of the new factory, but also the hope of recovery for his entire town.
The story is peppered with the main character's love of history, wonderfully crafted "locals," and Harper's trademark wit, not to mention a satisfying dose of romance. You don't need to read My Bluegrass Baby first in order to enjoy Rhythm and Bluegrass, but I do recommend reading both. And everything else Molly Harper writes. I'm just saying.
P.S. Amanda Ronconi is INCREDIBLE.
The Dream Thieves is the second book of The Raven Cycle series (following The Raven Boys).
In the last lines of book one Ronan says, "I guess now would be a good time to tell you. I took Chainsaw out of my dreams." It was a great teaser, and book two completely fulfills the WTF that statement left us with. You might think you don't want to read about Ronan, but he ends up being a surprisingly great character, alternately fire/danger and the boy who was crippled by the idea of this strange power and the events of his youth. I love that he's conflicted in all senses - and I love that his dreams and nightmares reveal more than he'd ever let on. There's a particular scene that gets so intense, you can almost feel him on that edge. And even though I thoroughly enjoyed it, if I'm honest, I'm in this for the story of Blue and Gansey. Fortunately, though the main plot focus is Ronan and the dreams, the story does include all of the other characters. Stiefvater's writing is beautiful and haunting and so incredibly interesting that sometimes I want to stop to write some of it down. The characters move forward seamlessly and develop subtly and then, quite suddenly, you realize that Blue and Gansey are in love (I don't really think that's a spoiler, right?) or that Adam is heading toward something great and terrible, or some such spoiler-type thing. This book didn't really "end" for me, but I'm so ready for the next in the series I don't think I mind.
Will Patton narrates.
I liked it. Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire who turns detective when a damsel in distress and a brutal murder cross his desk while his rent is past due. Already under probation, Harry's seat-of-the-pants investigative work gets him into more trouble than he can handle, even with the help of a few fairies and a skull named Bob. Read by James Marsters of Buffy fame, this is a quick and easy listen.
I think I could listen to Bronson Pinchot read the phone book. I particularly enjoyed his performance of the character Faye, who seems to take over the story despite the synopsis focusing on the main character and tough guy, Jake. But this book repeatedly surprised me, in the best way. It was nothing I expected, creating its own ninjas and zombies and zinging one-liners from nowhere. Hard Magic is an excellent read. It was just plain fun, and I think I could recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy or action or ... books. Five stars. I'm already downloading the next one.
Matterhorn is so completely not in my "usual" genre. But I like to read out of my comfort zone every now and then and when I see reviews like Tour de Force, I'll take the chance. It's a longer novel and I listened over the course of several weeks, but I was always glad when I returned to it from whatever paranormal fantasy I'd been reading in between.
Clearly it's a war story, but the characters were what made it for me. Bronson Pinchot was absolutely amazing, somehow able to master more characters than I can count, and every single one brilliantly done. This is possibly the best performance I've heard. Ever. Between that and some great writing, I think I could recommend this story anyone and they wouldn't be disappointed.
So, you know how you wait and wait for a book to come out, only to be slammed with the realization that you now want the next book even more than the one you just finished? Yeah. That.
I've enjoyed this series immensely, everything from the fresh characters and interesting plot to the epic narration. (yes, epic) This installment takes Atticus, Granuaile, and Oberon on a run for their lives as Artemis and Diana seek revenge in typical Hearne style. And all the while, Loki and Hel are working up a good Ragnarok (the burning of the world) in the background. Granuaile is not my favorite character, so I wasn't in love with the fact that she has her own first person chapters in this book, but it was nicely done and I got used to it pretty fast. Oberon, however, is one of my all time favorite characters, so I was thrilled he got to come along in this adventure. He was actually a huge player this time, and though I was right there with everyone else yelling "more Oberon," when I listened, I was seriously worried that too much of a sidekick, comic relief (and let's face it - dog) character would be too much and ruin it for me. But that wasn't the case, because all I found myself doing was laughing. I can honestly see how an Oberon led short would work now. (hint, hint)
This series gets better and better. Had I any doubts about continuing the series, the epilogue would have crushed them, promising nothing but awesomeness for the next round.
So, I didn't hate it. I fully expected to, given the pages and pages of negative reviews. But (and this is a huge spoiler) I never expected Sookie to end up with either Bill or Eric. She just wasn't happy with either of them, couldn't trust them, and didn't have a future with them. I thought she'd been pretty clear on that in the previous books. I was a little surprised with who she end up with, though, because I didn't see that as a happily ever after either. I read the Sookie Stackhouse series because they were fun. I didn't expect much else from them, and they delivered. They were even addictive. So, being the last book in the series, I thought it was okay that she revisited all of the old characters (though once I found myself questioning whether one had died in a previous book). Overall, it wasn't as awesome as it could have been, but if you've read the previous twelve, I think you'll appreciate this one. And the narration is wonderful as always. I'm sorry to see the series end.
I liked Scarlet very much. Maybe not as much as Cinder, but that was probably because Cinder caught me so off guard. I expected to enjoy Scarlet, and I did. This second book in the Lunar Chronicles continues Cinder and Kai's story, in addition to a new fairy tale - Little Red Riding Hood.
Scarlet's grandmother has gone missing, and all signs point to the handsome new stranger in town. Wolf may seem like the bad guy, but Scarlet's instincts tell her to trust him, and she lets him help her in the search for grandma. Soon enough, bad things happen (thanks to the evil Queen Levana) and Cinder and Scarlet cross paths. This has all of the elements I loved in book one plus the same fantastic narration. I can't wait for the rest of the series. Which, sadly, won't be until next year.
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