Category Archives: Audio Giveaway

Seconds Away by Harlan Coben ( and BBAW Giveaway!)

 

Mickey Bolitar is not sure how trouble finds him… but it most certainly does.  Now, a school friend of his has been shot and the police are not too appreciative of Mickey’s interest in the case.  After all, Mickey is just a teenager with not much else to do but go to school and hang out with his friends, Ema (pronounced E (long E) ma) and Spoon. 

As Mickey gets closer and closer to the truth, the truth is making its way closer and closer to him…

and it wants to shut him up.

Harlan Coben and I New York 2011

Why did I want to listen to this audio?  I always tell people when I was in High School and a few years beyond my “go to” author was Stephen King.  In my twenties I started to find King to be a bit too high on the creep factor so I made my way to Dean Koontz who I found to be a little lighter than King and a bit more sense of humor (plus I love the end of Koontz books where he explains more about the book and the idea behind it).  Then Koontz came out with a few that were more like King and I discovered Harlan Coben.  Coben is lighter than Koontz, has a quick wit that I love and I have not found a book of his yet that I have not enjoyed.  I am also finding it brilliant how he slid into YA reads by creating a nephew for his star series character, Myron Bolitar.

 

First of, I did not realize this was a second in a series and knowing that now, it explains a bit of what I found missing : 1.  how did Mickey come to be living with his uncle?  2.  What happened to Mickey’s dad?

That said, other than those two things I picked up on in the beginning the story flowed wonderfully.  Mickey is a great character that I think will be a great lead in to young adults who enjoy mysteries, as well as connecting to his older character Myron who can keep these same readers moving right from Mickey to Myron (nicely played Harlan Coben, Nicely played!)  And I enjoyed this book too so I will definitely continue on as well as get my hands on that first book, Shelter to catch up completely.

The narrator of this audio was Nick Podehl and I am nowhere near a narrator snob (YET) but as I was listening to this one I swore I knew that voice.  Once home I checked it out and sure enough, Nick has narrated some of John Green’s books and I see he also narrates the Chaos Walking series of Patrick Ness which makes me want to pick up that first book again but this time in audio because I hear they are WONDERFUL.
This book will be released September 18th, normally I do not review before a book is released but I did not notice I was ahead of the game until I was writing this post – so note that it will be available soon!  :D

I have a new copy of this audio in my home that I would like to put up for giveaway in honor of BBAW this week.  Please leave a comment here letting me know if you have read Harlan Coben before and if so which book(s).  This winner will be announced Saturday morning. 

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Sept 10 – 14

Welcome To Book Blogger Appreciation Week!  As part of this exciting week I will be offering a $15  gift card to Amazon to one lucky commenter this week.  To enter just comment on any post I write this week starting with the Monday What Are You Reading (and yes, including this post too) all the way through Fridays posts.  You will receive one entry per comment so if you comment on seven posts, you will have seven entries (note, the comment does need to be an actual comment that contributes to the discussion – not a one word “sweet” or “awesome”).  :D

Also continue to watch for other giveaways throughout the week – you will know when I post them but here is a sample of what I will be giving away throughout this week, just watch for the posts:

Total Memory Makeover by Marilu Henner

 

Marilu Henner has a gift that is known to only six other people in the world.  She can recall every detail of her life, now just the big events like the day Kennedy was shot, 9-11, or a surprise birthday party…  but also a random Thursday in August of 1980, or a Sunday morning any year since she has been five. 

In Total Memory Makeover, Marilu shares the benefits to having such a memory, and shares exercises we can all do to strengthen our own memories.

 

Why did I want to listen to this audio?  I am a little fascinated with someone who can remember every day down to what they had for breakfast when I can barely remember what I did two days ago.  :)  I also like that this is read by Marilu herself.

 

Total Memory Makeover is exactly what is says it is.  An audio book (or book) about Marilu’s gift of total recall, and what we can do to strengthen our own skills.  7 hours and 58 minutes long, Marilu takes us through her growing up with this skill, and how it can be used to help us makes better choices in our present day.  I found it interesting that Marilu explains that by remembering moments of great pain in our life (say, like a break up) it can help us see the red flags as we go into new relationships.  And that works for good things too… by remembering how great it felt to fit into a smaller size of jeans 4 years ago can help us say no to bad food choices today.

While the audio was interesting, there are a lot of times throughout the reading that Marilu had tasks for the reader.  We are asked to write down dates like our 21st birthday and remember everything we can about that event (which honestly, I have no recollection of, other than I was married and we had Brad then…) or to do short memory tests.  For me personally, I am an active audio listener, meaning I cook or clean while listening to audio and I did not do the little tests that required hitting pause.

Overall this is an interesting read, Marilu did a wonderful job of narrating, and I think if you are really looking to work on your memory skills she has some wonderful tips for doing so and advice to get you started.  There are times in the audio where Marilu tells personal stories that are both interesting, and at times… dare I say felt like she was bragging?  It was not the best fit for me, but I can see where someone willing to work at this could find it useful.

Because this seems to be almost like a work book in places, I think this is one of those instances where this would have been better for me in book format than audio.

 

Leave a comment here if you would like a chance to win my copy of Total Memory Makeover.  I will choose a winner using random.org on Friday July 6.

 

Amazon Rating

Goodreads Review

Audible.com (listen to an audio sample here)

 

Thank you to Audio Jukebox for sending me this audio to listen to and review!

Ravens by George Dawes Green

 

Shaw McBride was sick and tired of his luck.  Shoot, if he had any luck at all, it was all bad.  Taking off on a road trip to Florida with his buddy Romeo Zderko, he thought things could really only get better. Then sure enough… as they passed through a small town in Georgia they had to stop to fix a leaky tire.

Just like Shaw thought… no luck at all but bad…

But when Shaw enters the gas station he overheard the lady behind the counter talking excitedly on the phone…

“Yes!  The 318 million dollar Georgia Lottery ticket has been sold at this very station!  Yes!  One winner!  Yes, the Boatwright’s, right here in town!  They can really use the money!”

And at that moment… Shaw had a plan that he knew would change his luck forever.

Finding the Boatwrights was easy, and fooling them in to believing he was with the State Lottery just stopping in to give them some advice on what would happen next went off without a hitch.  Once invited inside, Shaw laid out his plan to the family – when the camera people arrive, they say the ticket was purchased by both he and the Boatwrights and therefore, he rightfully receives half.  Meanwhile, Romeo is watching the town, visiting friends and family of the Boatwrights, ready to start killing the moment Shaw says….

but if the Boatwrights cooperate, all will be spared and Shaw and Romeo will be a lot richer. 

The Boatwrights find themselves in a nightmare… what should have been the most exciting time of their life has turned out to be the deadliest.

 

Why did I want to listen to this audio?  I remember about a year ago seeing some reviews on the book.  It sounded interesting but I did not have time to take on another book… audio however, is another story :)

 

Ravens is like nothing I have experienced before.  The story of two low life characters like Shaw and Romeo going after lottery winners didn’t seem like it could hold an entire book.  And when so much had happened by the third cd in this 8 cd listen, I wondered what would hold the story up for the rest of the read.

I shouldn’t have worried. 

George Dawes Green does an amazing job keeping this story moving.  Not only moving, but moving in a powerful way that made me wonder “what could happen next, and then…. that did not just happen!” How the whole lottery winner plan plays out is brilliant.  Actually, it was almost spooky how well it is done because I can imagine it actually happening that way. 

The many characters of Ravens are all well-developed which is no easy task.  With narrators Robert Petkoff and Maggie-Meg Reed alternating charters you are in for a treat!  Both narrators do a fantastic job.  I have heard Maggie Meg Reed several times before but this was a first time for Robert Petkoff.  Maggie-Meg taking on the thick Georgia accents was a lot of fun.

I really, really, enjoyed this book.  Fantastically played out, constantly engaging, Ravens comes highly recommended!

Its Audiobook week!  Comment on this review between June 29- July 2 and a winner will be chosen using random.org for a copy of this audio to be sent to you!

Amazon Rating

Goodreads Review

Audible.com (you can hear a sample here!)

Finding Ultra by Rich Roll (Audio Review and giveaway!)

Right around the time that Rich Roll was about to turn 4o, he took a good hard look at his life.  Nearly 50 pounds overweight he wondered if this was his future… more and more tired, no energy and unable to climb a flight of stairs without stopping to catch his breath. 

Rich describes himself as having a very addictive personality… he never did anything half way.  If he sat his mind to something, he was going to do it… in his younger years he learned that the hard way when he decided if he was going to have one beer, he might as well have 10…. (but that is another story….)

Rich immediately took inventory on what he had been eating and how he had been washing his years.  He changed his eating habits overnight, making all processed foods off-limits and made plant nutrition and working out part of his daily plan.  In a few months he had turned himself completely around, now fit and a drive that was unstoppable.

Finding Ultra is all about Rich’s change in his eating and the way he thought about food and exercise.  Once he conquered his eating habits, he then challenged himself by running and biking and eventually the Ultra Man World Championship Competition, which is by invite only, 320 miles of running, swimming, and biking.

Finding ultra takes you through Rich’s life, his strong desire to succeed at a young age, to his fall into alcoholism and out again.  Rich’s story in one of never giving up on your dreams.

Why did I want to listen to this book?  I am fascinated with people who turn their lives around for the better.  Always searching myself for the next big thing to try, Rich’s story was right up my alley.

I really liked that this audio book was narrated by author Rich Roll himself.  After all, who better to tell his story?  Rich’s narration of his life is well told, starting out wanting to be a swimmer even when his school did not have a swim team.  What you learn quickly is once Rich sets his mind to doing something it more than likely is going to happen.

Rich lays it all on the line, leaving nothing back as he shares his battle with alcohol and what it cost him.  I enjoyed most his story of how he became fit again, how he tossed out all foods that were processed from his diet and never looked back.  In the very end chapters Rich goes into great detail about what he ate and how he prepared it, which I found very interesting.   I even tried the coconut water which he swears by for putting electrolytes back into his body after a work out.  He said to freeze it so during your work out you can drink it as it thaws. 

Uh yeah… more power to you on that one Rich, I could not choke down the funny tasting coconut water.  :D

I enjoyed this audio version of Rich’s story and found it inspiring to see that is really is never too late to make positive changes in your life.  I understand that what Rich did was extreme, but even small changes can make a difference.  I picked up some good tips on ordering out and work out habits.

It is audio book week and every audiobook I have reviewed this week has come with a giveaway!  Comment on this review and be entered for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card to  go towards an audio book (or book) of your choosing :D

Amazon Rating

Goodreads Review

Audible.com (you can hear a sample here)

AudioBook Week 2012 (June 25-29)

Audio Book Week is here!  Watch for audio giveaways every day during Audio book week!

The Magicians by Lev Grossman (audio book or gift card giveaway)

A Night To Remember By Walter Lord (audio book giveaway)

Lets Talk About Audio Baby!  (audio book of choice from Amazon up to $20 value)

**All winners will be announced on Saturday morning June 30th.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman (audio review w/giveaway!)

Quintin Coldwater is less than content hanging out with his two best friends James and Julia.  He wasn’t always this discontented.

Yet when James and Julia started being more than friends, it just got AWKWARD.  It probably didnt help that Quintin also kind of had a thing for Julia.

When an incident has Quintin chasing a paper up a tree, he finds himself in quite literally, another world.  He is told that this is Brakebills Academy, a school for magic.  Soon Quintin finds himself hanging out with the select few that pass the entrance exams.  Although these teenagers are unknown to him, they seem to all have in common the love for a set of magical childrens books that took place in an imaginary land called Fillary.

But – as Quintin starts to learn, where really is that line between real and imagination?  When he makes friends with the ever moody Penny, and the sweet Alice, things start to happen.  As their magical powers become stronger they find themselves set upon a mission that no one could have ever dreamed up. 

What do you do when the things of beloved fictional books suddenly become real? And what would you give… to have everything you ever wanted?

Why did I listen to this audio?

This audio book was recommended to my by John from Brilliant audio while I was in New York for BEA.  He described it as very Harry Potterish and I was sold.  :D

Opening words:  Quintin did a magic trick.  Nobody noticed.

Imagine if JK Rowling would have written another book about Harry Potter in his college years… they could have called it Butter Beers College for Wizards, and THAT is what The Magicians is like. 

Well… scratch that.  That is what I THOUGHT I wanted The Magicians to be like.  Always on my continuing search for the next Harry Potter book, I was hoping that was it… and it was, and it wasn’t.   Yes The Magicians is a story of magical teenagers, going to school to learn their craft, but The Magicians does not have the innocence of the Potter books.  For starters this is COLLEGE.  And college means parties, and beer (not butter beer) and relationships.  And I admit at first that bothered me…

Then I got over it because this is not Hogwarts.  It is Brakebill.  And this is not Harry.  It is Quintin.

The Magicians really is fantastic on audio.  Narrator Mark Bramhall did a fantastic job managing the many characters and in a way that made it hard for me to shut this audio off. 

The teens of The Magicians are very likeable.  We don’t get to know them all very well, a few float in and out of the conversations but a few like Quintin, Alice, and even Penny, you get to know a little better.  They feel real, they are flawed… they are lazy teenagers, they are cocky and competitive.  And if you were ever a teenager in college I suspect you can relate. 

In the beginning I felt that this was so Harry Potter, three friends, two guys one girl…. uh huh…there is even a Quidich reference in the book!  Towards the middle through the end it felt way more Narnia.  The series of books Quintin and his friends all read as children about this other world… talking animals, etc… but it all works.

I recommend this read if you enjoy a deeply layered well-developed fantasy read and if you like good audio, I say definitely try this one in audio!

**I noticed on Amazon’s synopsis it mentions sex and yes, there are a couple of instances but nothing over the top.

For audio book week if you have an audible.com account I will send one lucky commenter on this post a gift of this audio through audible.com gifts.  If you do not have an audible account I will send you a $10 Amazon gift card to hopefully be used on an audio book that you will enjoy, maybe even this one! :D

Amazon Rating

Goodread Review

Audible.com (hear a sample here!)

A Night To Remember by Walter Lord (audio book week and giveaway!)

She was built and marketed as unsinkable.  A grander ship you would not have found.  To be aboard her on this maiden voyage was privilege for the 2,207 passengers aboard, no matter if you were first class or steerage, you knew you were experiencing history in the making.

If only they had known how true that would be…

As she sped across the dark waters one cool April evening no one knew what was about to happen, and when it did happen….

“Iceberg right ahead!”

… no one thought it would do the damage it did.  But once the damage was done, The Titanic in all her glory sunk quickly.  A Night To Remember is the true minute by minute account of what happened after the Titanic struck ice, how some people reacted with an honor that is unmatched to this day, giving their lives… and yet other people brought out the ugliest side of humanity, and greed, and the instinct to survive, no matter what the cost.

Why did I want to listen to this audio?  I am a history buff when it comes to all things to do with the Titanic.  The whole tragedy from start to finish mesmerizes me today; the band playing on as the ship sank, the people of what was referred to as lesser class not given the rights to try to survive as the upper class was.  Heart wrenching, heartbreaking, and I want to know their stories.

In 1898, 14 years before the Titanic sailed, a book was written called The Wreck Of The Titan.  The ship, according to the book, was unsinkable.  This fictitious ship was sailing the North Atlantic in April when it struck an iceberg 400 miles from Newfoundland, causing it to sink.  There were not enough life boats for the people on board…  

As told in the opening of A Night To Remember

A Night To Remember is as accurate a recap as I have ever heard as to what happened that fateful April night in 1912.  It’s easy to understand that 100 years later, movies are still bring produced and books are still being written about one of the greatest tragedies of the sea. 

Narrated by Martin Jarvis and 5 hours and 4 minutes long, this book is read at a wonderful pace filled with facts brought forth by those who lived to tell the story.  While listening you will hear the conversations that took place after the ship was hit, the concerns over belongings, and of some – who were not concerned at all… hero’s and villains…

I was amazed at how close what I was hearing was to how the Titanic movie was made, all the way down to the large Irish man who fought to have the steerage women be released to have a chance to save themselves. Many of the lines from this book/audio, were also used in the movie,

“She is Unsinkable!”

Listening to this audio was at times painful when I thought of all the lives that were senselessly lost.  In the end, it is told that the Whitestar Line never did have a policy for such an emergency, the crew made it up as they went along… in the panic that unfolded they did the best they could under that extreme amount of pressure. Many things changed after that fateful night:

Never again did a ship sail without enough life boats to accommodate ALL on board.  Assignments and directions to lifeboats are now stated in each stateroom.

All passengers were created equal, no matter what their class in an emergency.

ALL iceberg warnings were taken seriously.

Every steamship carrying over 100 passengers must now carry two electric search lights

Walter Lord published this book in 1955, a classic that any Titanic follower must have in their collection.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Titanic and its final night, this is an audio book I highly recommend.  This one definitely goes on my keeper shelf.

Amazon rating

Goodreads review

Audible.com

For audio book week I am doing a giveaway with every audio review I post.  To win a copy of this amazing audio book, please leave a comment below.  Winner will be announced on Saturday after audio book week ends.

 

Thank you to Audio Jukebox for sending me this incredible audio for review!

Let’s Talk About Audio Baby! (W/ Giveaway!)

Leslie from Under my Apple Tree, and myself both enjoy audio books.  I love to look at her audio reviews and see what she is suggesting.  Yes, even us audio book lovers need go-to audio book lovers… much like us book people seek out other book people.  :D 

Through our chatting recently on audio books we though it would be fun to give you a little bit of our background with audio, and then open it up to you to ask questions on each of our blogs.  We will have a random drawing on each blog for those who do ask questions about audio books.  Feel free to ask the same question on each blog as we will probably answer it differently.  I have about  2 1/2 years of audio book experience but Leslie has about 4 years!

How long have you been listening to audiobooks and how long did it take you to be comfortable with the format?

For me, I didn’t start getting into audio book until after I had begun book blogging.  My opinion on audio books was something my aunt and uncle did when they drove their RV from California to Minnesota each spring.  In other words… old school.  Outdated.  I imagined them surrounded with a case of cassette tapes, choosing what to listen to next as they bounced along the highways…

Then, in late 2009 I was offered a few audio books through Hatchette audio for review.  I remember starting with James Patterson.  I liked some of Patterson’s books, so why not?  The series I started with was The Michael Bennett series and the first audio was Step On A Crack.  What I thought about audio books that day (monotone readers blah blah blah) went out the window. 

What I learned is that audio can be exciting!  The narrators show emotions, the different characters have voices you come to recognize, and in this audio books case and the others in this series that followed – they had sound effects!

So began my love of audio.  It was truly trial and error in the beginning.  I had no idea how to pick out good audio.  Many in the early listens were mediocre. But when I hit a good one – I knew they were out there.

Since audiobooks are an acquired skill, what should listeners look for when selecting a book? What should they avoid?

When selecting an audio book watch to see if the audio is abridged on unabridged.  I always go unabridged, I think most of us do.

If the narrator is new to you, many websites offer sample listening of the audio so you can see if it is too your liking.  I also like to watch from ratings on narrations and see what others are saying about the audio.

See how many hours the audio book you are thinking of is.  I personally prefer my audio books between 6 and 10 hours.  However, in the case of books that I really want to read, I will go longer.  11-22-63 was 30 hours and 40 minutes.  The Passage by Justin Cronin was 36 hours and 52 minutes.  Both were well worth it. 

Audio books can get pricey however many libraries have audio for rent as well as to download.  Sites like Amazon, half.com, Bargainbooks.com, Ebay all can have great deals on audio books.  I recently picked up 10 audio books of newer titles for $2.99 each at Bookbargains.com.  I am also a HUGE fan of audible.com where you can get an audio a month for $7.99 your choice!  Your first audio book with Audible.com is free, and there is no contract ever…. you can stop any time.  I have been using them for two years and just recently updated my account from one audio a month to two.  They also have awesome sales where many titles will be $5 or less.  See my audible.com link on the right sidebar for more information.

What audiobooks would you recommend to new listeners?

If you are dipping an ear into audio let me just say, YAY!!!  Now that first audio experience is important so here are a few I would suggest depending on your tastes…

 

  • Any of The Harry Potter books with either narrator Stephen Fry or Jim Dale.  Both are fantastic and you will sweat that is Hagrid in the room with you!
  • Ready Player One.  If you have reading the audio book week posts, then enough said.  We are all raving about this one.  :)
  • The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks – f you like historical non fiction this one is incredible!
  • The Magicians King – a grown up Harry Potter.  Picture Potter if they could have done the college years and tossed him into Narnia… ok, now you are with me :D

 

Now we open the discussion to you.  Feel free to add to what was discussed here.  Please ask questions!  Any comment that contributes to the discussion or relevant question will count towards a chance to win an audio book of choice from Amazon up to a $20 value.  Winner will be chosen randomly at the end of the Audio Book Week. 

Also, be sure to stop by and see Leslie at Under My Apple Tree to ask her questions and comment on her post as well.  Thank you to Jen at Devourer of Books for hosting Audio Book Week!

2011-2012: Your Audiobook Year – Audiobook Week Discussion

Good afternoon!  I am coming in a bit late here having to make room for the Monday What Are You Reading Meme. :D

Today is the Official kick off to Audio Book week!  I am thrilled to participate as I am a HUGE Audio Book fan, a 2 1/2 year addict and proud of it.  I can read one or two books a week with my crazy schedule, but I can double my read count by adding audio.

I am frequently asked how I can possibly read as much as I do and keep up with my job, my home, family, and busy lifestyle.  The answer is simple:

Audio.

Now believe me, I have heard from you naysayers…. (oh you know who you are! ;) )  You have told me, “Sheila I could not possibly sit and focus on an audio book.. I would just fall asleep!”

Well, here’s the rub, so would I!

I don’t sit and listen to audio.  Instead I use audio for my active times.  Here is a sample of a normal day with audio:

1.  I get up in the morning and while I get ready for my day (pick out clothes, shower, make up, hair, make bed…) I have my IPOD sat up in the bathroom off of our bedroom so I can listen while I get ready.  Approx 30-40 minutes each morning.

 

2.  I go out to the kitchen and while I make coffee, pack a lunch, let the dogs out and straighten up the kitchen area, I listen to an audio in a cd player on the counter.  Approx 15 minutes a morning.

 

3.  I get in my car and drive to work, run errands, return home to a third audio book going in my car…. approx. 30+ minutes a day.

 

4.  In late afternoon while I prep dinner, put away groceries, do dishes, fold laundry, dust, clean up, I am back to the kitchen audio in the cd player.  Approx 30- 45 min more from afternoon listening.

 

5.  Any evening meetings, commitments, etc… car time = audio time.  Approx another hour throughout the week in evening commitments.

 

6.  On the days I ride bike alone, use the tread mill, or roller blade, I listen to audio on my IPOD – approx (depending on the week) and additional 2 hours of listening per week.

 

7.  When I mow the lawn I listen to my IPOD audio book, add on another 3 hours a week.

 

That is about 18.5 hours a week I listen to audio which may sound like a lot – but it is all ACTIVE listening.  I am getting other things done while I listen.

 

Throughout this week I will be talking about audio books and doing a giveaway with every audio review I do this week so watch for that!  I want to leave you today with a list of a few of my favorites over the past year (although I am currently listening to a couple amazing ones that may be added to this list soon)! 

For those who know and love audio – these are” must listens” if you have not as of yet.  AND if you are new to audio, or curious, as you will learn this week… not all audio is created equal and having some good audio book recommendations before you go it alone is the key.  Each of these I would say would make for wonderful first time audio listens and create fans.

My goal this week is hopefully to have at least one non audio book listener decide to give it a try this week.  If that is you, please let me know… and I would also love to know the result after your experience.  If you take this challenge and let me know – I will put you in a drawing for a little package from me to celebrate your audio conversion.  :D

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