Category: Miscellaneous

Upcoming releases in July

July is quite a quiet month in terms of books about which I am excited.  There are three new releases which I am anticipating.

The first of these is Ian Drescher’s William Shakespeare’s The Clone Army Attacketh.  This is the second in Doescher’s reimagining of the Star Wars prequels (the original trilogy has already been adapted.)  Regular readers of my blog know how much I love these adaptations – they are witty, very clever and a lot of fun to read/listen to.  I am very disappointed, however, that neither The Phantom of Menace or The Clone Army Attacketh are available in audiobook format.  Random House Audio’s full cast productions of the original trilogy adaptations were nothing short of brilliant.  I have contented myself to preorder The Clone Army Attacketh in Kindle format, which is released on July 7th.

This month sees the publication of two novellas in series I am following.

Pale Kings and Princes is the next novella in the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy series by Cassandra Clare and guest authors.  This one is co-authored by Robin Wasserman. I adore Clare’s Shadowhunter world and have been loving these novellas to tide me over in the wait for The Dark Artifices.  Pale Kings and Princes promises to be be particularly intriguing as the blurb promises more information on the Blackthorns, main characters in the Dark Artifices.  This novella is released also on July 7th and I have preordered it on Kindle.

July 28th sees the release of Heart of Tin, the next novella in Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series.  The second main novel in the series, The Wicked Will Rise, really whetted my appetite – I’m anxious to know more.  This novella focusses on the Tin Woodman, one of heroine Amy’s antagonists.  From what I’ve seen of the other prequels, No Place Like Oz, The Witch Must Burn and The Wizard Returns, it is not necessary to have read the novellas to enjoy the main series novels, but they help to add depth and context.  In any case, they are fun reads.  I don’t believe the novellas are available in hard copy, so I have preordered Heart of Tin in Kindle format.

On a slightly different note, I’m anxiously awaiting the launch of Apple Music in the next hour or so.  Now, I will not claim to be an expert in this area, but I do enjoy listening to music.  Currently, I use Rdio for my streaming needs and I really like it.  I don’t use a radio service.  I’m not too adventurous when it comes to exploring music.  Assuming the song library is the same as Rdio’s may main reason for considering switching is the fact that I am an Apple girl, living in an Apple world.  All my music is purchased from, or uploaded to, iTunes, and I listen to it purely on Apple devices.  It would be great to have my streaming integrated with my iTunes library.  I will let you know what I think.

Upcoming releases in May 2015

There are three books being released in May about which I am very excited.  Some good books to have ready for my vacation in a couple of weeks!

A Court of Thorns and RosesThe one about which I am most excited is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas of Throne of Glass fame.  This is a retelling of the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast and tells the story of Feyre, a young woman who becomes entangled with the mysterious fey in order to save her loved ones.  I understand this will be the start of a series of books as well. I’ve loved the Throne of Glass series and the five chapter sample which has been released has only served to whet my appetite. A Court of Thorns and Roses is released on May 5th 2015.  I can’t wait!

The HeirThe next upcoming release I’m looking forward to is Keira Cass’s The Heir.  This is a new story set 20 years after the events of The Selection and deals with the attempts of America and Maxon’s daughter to find her partner in a Selection of her own.  I’m also really looking forward to this one.  The One, the final book in The Selection was one of my top reads of 2014 – if you remember, it’s The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.  I look forward to seeing what’s gone on in Ilea in the last 20 years and if Maxon and America have been able to achieve their aims.  It’s not often that you get to see the aftermath of a dystopian series 20 years later.  The Heir is also released on May 5th 2015.

The Sword of the NorthThe Sword of the North is the second in Luke Scull’s grimdark series The Grim Company.  It’s been a while since I read book one, so I can’t remember much about it.  I do remember though that I was very invested in the characters at the time.  Book two is on preorder and should hit my Kindle also on May 15th.

Are you planning to pick up any of these?  Let me know in the comments.

Most Anticipated releases of April 2015

Good evening dear readers!  I’m sorry I’ve not blogged for some while.  I’ve been busy adjusting to my new graveyard schedule, and that’s going to go on for some while, so I may not be blogging regularly for some while.  On the plus side, I did get through a few audiobooks – I will be publishing a reading roundup at some point soon in which I will discuss some of them.

In any case, here are my most anticipated upcoming releases.

Texts from Mittens: A Cat Who Has an Unlimited Data Plan written by Mitten with help from Angie Bailey.  Strictly speaking, this isn’t an April release as it’s released on March 31 – deal with it.  For those of you who haven’t met Mittens, he’s a tuxedo cat who maintains close communication with his caregiver via text.  I follow Mittens on Facebook and he’s hilarious.  He’s publishing a book of his collected texts and it promises to be a fun read.  I preordered it on Kindle

William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace.  One of my top reads of 2014 was Ian Doescher’s adaptation of George Lucas’ Star Wars into Shakespearean language.  Now it’s time for the prequels, the first of which, The Phantom Menace, is released on April 7th.  I’ll likely grab this in audiobook format – if it’s like the original trilogy Random House’s full cast production will be stellar.  Incidentally, if you preorder, you can get some cool swag from the publishers.  Now, I will admit to some misgivings; the original Star Wars trilogy had a strong narrative and timeless themes which made the adaptation to Shakespearean style work very well.  The same cannot be said of the prequels which had too much reliance on special effects for my taste.  However, I have faith in Doescher that he will come up with something memorable.  I’ve preordered this on Kindle.

The Black Reckoning (Books of Beginning Book 3) by John Stephens.  Published on April 7, this is the final book in Stephens’ middle grade trilogy.  I did enjoy the first two, and am happy to pick up the third.  The series is difficult to explain – kids having all kinds of adventures while trying to save the world – so best to check it out for yourself.  I preordered it on Kindle.

Dream a Little Dream (The Silver Trilogy).  Written by Kerstin Gier and translated from the German by Andrea Bell, this is the first in a new series from the author of the Ruby Red trilogy.  Amazon recently released the first five chapters free, so check it out. The first five chapters don’t really give away much about the world or the plot, but it’s enough to see that Gier (and Bell) have retained the witty, snarky style that was so charming in Ruby Red.  The audiobook is narrated by Marisa Calin who did such a fantastic job with the Ruby Red trilogy.  Dream a Little Dream is released on April 14th.

Rogue by Julie Kagawa.  This is the second in Kagawa’s YA series about dragons posing as modern day teens.  The first book was a lot of fun, so I will pick up the sequel in Kindle format. This is released on April 28,2015

Let me know in the comments if you’ll be picking up any of these.

Most anticipated books of 2015

Now that it’s 2015, I would like to share some of my most anticipated books of 2015.  Let’s get started!

The first of these is Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  This is a prequel to the three books currently published and tells the backstory of series antagonist Queen Levana.  For those of you who don’t know the Lunar Chronicles, they are sci-fi retellings of classic fairytales.  The characters are kick ass, the world building is fantastic and they are a brilliant read.  I’m really looking forward to Fairest, which is released on January 27th 2015.  The final book in the series, Winter, is due for release in the autumn of 2015.

I’m also excited for A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.   I loved Schwab’s Archived and the premise for this one sounds interesting – parallel universes, with certain people having the ability to travel between them.  Sign me up!  A Darker Shade of Magic is released on February 24th 2015.

One book I’m surprised I’ve not seen on more Most Anticipated lists is The Skull Throne, the four book in Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle.  I’ve loved the previous books in the series and find Brett’s world building wonderful.  I look forward to seeing how Arlen gets on fighting the Corelings.  The Skull Throne is released on March 31st 2015.

Later this year sees the release of a new book in Keira Cass’s Selection series.  It follows the next generation of Schreaves and new Selection.  I am looking forward to getting back into this world.  The Heir is released on May 5th 2015.

Next up is the continuation of Mark Lawrence’s Red Queen’s War series.  His Broken Empire series really sneaked up on me, and built up book after book, so although Prince of Fools, the first in the series, didn’t grab me as strongly, I’m still keen to see where it goes.  The Liar’s Key is released on June 2nd 2015.

2015 sees the start of a new Rick Riordan middle grade series, this time based on Norse gods.  For me, Riordan is one of the most engaging middle grade authors writing today and has appeal for both young people and adults.  I have the feeling that Loki, Thor and all could provide a lot of scope for Riordan’s trademark humour, so I’m really looking forward to this one.  Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is released on October 6th 2015, which can’t come soon enough.

Also on October 6th we have Shadows of Self, which is a new novel by Brandon Sanderson set in his Mistborn world.  Geez, that guy is prolific!  I’m constantly amazed at his ability to maintain quality with the amount of books he releases.  We have not had a new novel in this specific universe for some years, and I’m really looking forward to it.  The Mistborn universe is one of my favourites of Sanderson’s.  Roll on October 6th.

The final book I wish to mention is Cassandra Clare’s Lady Midnight.  This is the first book in a new series set in Clare’s Shadowhunter world.  There was  a lot of setup for this book in the final book of the Mortal Instruments – City of Heavenly Fire – and I am so pumped for it.  I had been a little anxious about the LA setting, but CoHF laid my fears to rest.  At this point there is no specific release date for Lady Midnight – it is anticipated in the autumn of 2015.  I can’t wait.

What books are you looking forward to?  Let me know in the comments.

The seven scenes in fantasy literature that made me cry

There are some critics who claim that fantasy literature is in some way a soft option; that in choosing to write in a more fantastical world, telling emotional character truths can take second place to worldbuilding. This post is my attempt to debunk that myth.  There have been several scenes in fantasy literature which had me bawling like a baby.  These aren’t necessarily death scenes, but simply beautiful writing illustrating the deep impact the situation has had on the character.

Olver’s story in A Memory of Light, the last book of the Wheel of Time.  This particular section was just so powerfully emotive.   For those of you unfamiliar, Olver is a young orphan – around eight years old – in the Wheel of Time universe who was adopted by Mat Cauthon and his warband.  Being brought up in a war camp, he exhibits a lot of his “uncle”’s enthusiasm for battle and the band has a hard time keeping him away from battle.  In the particular scene that had me sobbing, Olver has become separated from his friends and is being attacked by bestial Trollocs as he desperately tried to hide.  All of his bravado is stripped away and you see him for what he is; a young child confronted with the reality of war and of his own impending death.  But the beautiful thing about this scene is that, despite the horror and apocalyptic situation – the world is seriously turning to custard by this point – help does come to Olver and in the most awesome way.

The Grey Havens, The Lord of the Rings. Yeah, this one had me a blubbering mess.  By this time we’ve spent around 900 odd pages (or  nearly 10 hours of extended Peter Jackson movie time) and we’re down to the core hobbits and Gandalf who started the whole adventure. We have had more than enough time to understand the depth of the love these four little hobbits share.  The realisation that the Shire has been saved but that Frodo can no longer be at peace to enjoy it and that the Fellowship is truly dissolving is hard.

The Prince’s Tale, The Deathly Hallows.  In this particular scene, Rowling finally reveals Snape’s true motivations.  The whole emotional beat of the chapter is encapsulated in the revelation of Snape’s Patronus and his response to Dumbledore’s query about his love and loyalty “Always”. <sniff>

The Walk to the Forbidden Forest, The Deathly Hallows.  Basically that whole section of Deathly Hallows is pure weep territory.  Coming as it does after the first great Battle of Hogwarts and its casualties and the Prince’s tale, Harry’s walk to his fate is so moving with the ghosts of his parents and the Marauders.  The words he shares with them are just so moving, especially his query about whether death hurts.  Poor, brave Harry.

The ziplining epilogue, Allegiant.  For me, this epilogue was far more moving than a certain earlier scene which I personally felt was robbed of its impact by the way it was written.  This epilogue however was beautiful.  The group’s decision to honour fallen comrades in this way was a lovely throwback to an earlier time where they were all relatively carefree.   It shows how much the deaths meant to Four in particular in that he would face this fear of his one more time in their honour.

Epilogue, Clockwork Princess.  This was simply gorgeous.  The Infernal Devices contained one of the most moving love triangles I have read and this epilogue brings it all to a perfect resolution.

Ending, Emperor of Thorns.  This ending hit me emotionally like a ton of bricks.  The character development of Jorg Ancrath is so wonderfully written.  The fact that he makes the choices he makes at the end shows just how far he has come from the little prince trapped in the thorns of the first book.

What most of these scenes have in common is that they have real resonance for the characters involved, and for me at least, the author has done his or her work well to have me care for these characters.

Which scenes do you find most moving in fantasy literature?

Let me know in the comments.

Holiday packing

Tomorrow I leave for a week’s vacation, including two long coach trips.

More difficult than deciding what clothes to pack is deciding what books and audiobooks to download to my Kindle Fire for the trip.  I only have 16GB on my Fire – next time I will go for 32GB at least! – and I’m not certain what internet access I will have during my trip.  So I need to decide what books I’m likely to want to read/listen to over the next week.

The first book I have chosen is, of course, Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Assassin.  Having reread much of the Realm of the Elderlings series, I’m anxious to know what she has in store next for Fitz and the Fool.  That’s the one I intend to start as soon as I board the coach.

Before embarking on my reread of Robin Hobb’s works, I’d been listening to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.  I will certainly continue that this trip if I get the chance.

Continuing my cutesey romance change of scene from epic fantasy, I have also downloaded Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss.  It’s supposed to be excellent and I look forward to that one.

On August 26th the long awaited next instalment in Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer trilogy, The Broken Eye, is released.  This epic fantasy series s narrated by the wonderful Simon Vance, and the second book in this series probably did more than any other book to hook me into audiobooks.  This has been added to my holiday reading list, too.

In case I am desperate to sleep, I have added Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon, the first in his Malazan Book of the Fallen.  I apologise to any Steven Erikson fans here, but I’ve attempted to read this several times now and fallen asleep each time.

My inlaws are planning on taking us on a short road trip through Michigan and Illinois, so I thought Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent might be an interesting one to listen to in the car if they are so inclined.

I’ll probably get nothing more read than Fool’s Assassin, if that, but at least I will have some choices if my mood changes!

What did you read on holiday this year?  Let me know in the comments.

Evelynne’s Trip through Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings – Introduction SPOILERS

Realm of the Elderlings

My Summary Post
Progress: 5/5 (100%)
24 July, 2014 — 16 August, 2014
Completed!

100%

As you may have seen from my reading roundup this week, I have set myself a significant reading challenge for the next three weeks. Before I set off on vacation on August 15th I hope to have reread part of Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series. I hope to finish: Assassin’s Quest (848 pages/ 37 hrs and 39 mins audiobook) – I’m currently around a third of the way through this – Ship of Destiny (912 pages/33 hrs and 38 mins audiobook), Fool’s Errand (672 pages/24 hrs and 47 mins audiobook), Golden Fool (712 pages) and Fool’s Fate (936 pages). I will be mixing reading with listening to the audiobook, where one is available. I am attempting to read all this to be ready for the release of Fool’s Assassin.

This is a significant challenge, and in order to complete it I’m going to hold myself responsible to you, dear readers of my blog. Instead of my usual twice or three times weekly blog posts, I will attempt to do short, daily posts with an update on where I’m at and a few quick thoughts on what I’ve read that day. There will almost certainly be spoilers if you have not read the series. As I’ll be reading on my Kindle/listening to the Audible audiobook any progress will be noted in percentages.

The story so far

In the first two books of the we are introduced to our protagonist, FitzChivalry, the illegitimate son of Chivalry, deceased son of the King. We are also introduced to the world of the Farseers and the two magic systems of the Skill (telepathy and/or emotional manipulation, generally linked to the Farseer bloodline) and the Wit (an affinity with and an ability to form a strong mental link with animals). The Wit is considered a “dirty” magic, and those who practice it do not do so openly. Our hero has the innate ability to practice both forms of magic. We also get to know Fitz’s friends and allies – his uncle Verity, aunt Kettricken, royal assassin Chade, stable master Burrich, the king’s Fool and Fitz’s Wit bond partner, the wolf Nighteyes. He has a love interest in local candlemaker Molly. The antagonist of the series is his uncle Regal, who usurps the Kingship aided and abetted by the members of his Skill coterie.

The major threat of the series are the Red Raiders who harry the coast of the Six Duchies. They have the ability to “Forge” their victims, which amounts to removing all humanity from them. These victims are then released by the Raiders to pillage their own way across the Six Duchies.

We follow Fitz from his childhood where he is trained by the King’s Assassin Chade to take over his duty to dispense the King’s Justice. During his first assassination assignment in the Mountain Kingdom, he is constantly undermined by Prince Regal who has designs on the throne despite being behind Verity in the line of succession. He barely escapes this confrontation with his life. He supports Verity in his attempt to deflect the Red Raiders through his use of the Skill but is left at home in Buck when Verity leaves to seek the aid of the mythical Elderlings.

Regal uses Verity’s departure to seize the throne by assassinating King Shrewd and declaring Verity dead. Attempting to kill two birds with one stone, Regal has Fitz accused of regicide and also of practicing the Wit. Regal’s Skill coterie tortures Fitz mentally and his thugs beat him to the point of death. Fitz escapes by faking his own death, allowing his body to lie near to death while his spirit takes refuge with Nighteyes, his Wit companion.

The third book starts with Fitz’s struggle to regain his humanity after his torture and death and time spent with Nighteyes. Once recovered, he makes a failed attempt to kill Regal and his coterie. His attempt is spoiled by Verity who Skill imprints a command to “come to me” in Fitz’s mind. Fitz has no choice but to make the long trek to beyond the mountains to join Verity. Nighteyes has gone off to join a wolf pack and Fitz has joined up with minstrel Starling (who has realised who he is and is hoping to witness some epic events by following him.)

That is the point at which I have left our hero. He and Starling are currently negotiating with some smugglers to cross Blue Lake to continue their journey.

Join me for the continuation.

Checking out Kindle Unlimited

kulogo_small

As I anticipated in my reading roundup, this morning Amazon launched its ebook and audiobook subscription service, Kindle Unlimited.  It’s not yet available to Canadians, but I was able to use my company’s US address to sign up for the 30 day free trial to check it all out.

Kindle Unlimited is competing with other ebook subscription services such as Scribd and Oyster.  I currently have a Scribd subscription, but I tend not to use it very much, mainly because it’s not tightly integrated with the rest of my ebook library.  Also, I’m not so fond of the app for Android – it doesn’t have the same options as full Kindle books.

The good

Like most of the Amazon ecosystem, Kindle Unlimited is very easy to use.  You can browse the titles from the Kindle Unlimited link on the homepage:

Kindle browse

When you choose a title it will say Read for Free

Readforfree

Also you can navigate from your Kindle Fire:  a KU book will say Read for Free

Screenshot 2014 07 18 09 56 07

Note that you cannot pick up audiobooks on their own.  They must be paired with a Kindle Unlimited ebook with Whispersync for Voice.  There is a section called Listen and Take the Story with you.  If you choose a book from there, it will be paired with the Audible audiobook.

Once you click on read for free, the book is added to your Kindle library like any other book.  It does have a symbol beside it stating it was from the Kindle Unlmited selection

Kindleucontent

Any matched Audible audiobook appears in your Audible library with a similar note

Audible

All of the books I tested worked perfectly.  In addition, they remained in my library when I switched back to my Canadian address, although I was unable to add any more new books.

In terms of ease of use Kindle Unlimited integrates perfectly with the Amazon/Audible ecosystem unlike its competitors.

The bad

US only.  Sigh.  

With Kindle Unlimited you’re renting the books in a sense.  If you let your subscription lapse, they will disappear from your library.  

The selection doesn’t include books from the Big Six publishing houses, so the selection doesn’t include a great deal of popular titles.  None of the books I had on my Amazon wish list were available for Kindle Unlimited. I did found several that interested me, mainly The Lord of the Rings.  I had the one volume compendium, but the three individual books came with the audiobooks.  There were also a few cat mysteries which I picked up as well as a supernatural suspense or two.  Scribd on the other hand is partnered with HarperCollins so, for example, all of Robin Hobb’s backlist is available.

I will certainly be monitoring the selection over the next month, but given that apart from the Lord of the Rings audiobooks there was nothing I picked up today that I would be sorry to lose from my library I suspect I will not be renewing my subscription.  Maybe IF it comes to Canada and IF the selection is expanded I might consider it.

By all means, take advantage of the free month to check it out for yourselves, if you’re in the US.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Introducing my parents to the iPad and the world of the internet

ipad

Recently at work I won an iPad Mini (non Retina display) in a raffle.  I never win anything so I was ecstatic – my coworkers joked that I was like a kid at Christmas.  I FELT like a kid at Christmas!  Now, I already have a much loved Kindle Fire HDX and iPad 3, so I knew I was going to rehome one of them.  It’s an understatement to say I read a lot and listen to audiobooks a lot, for which the Fire is perfect, so it was the iPad 3 or the new Mini. 

I was very surprised when my mother expressed an interest in the iPad and going online.  My parents did have internet access several years ago, but let it lapse because of slowness and lack of use.  Since then, better broadband coverage has come to their area of Scotland, so I hope slowness will no longer be an issue.  My father doesn’t seem as enthusiastic about the internet at this point.  I suspect my mother was always the more interested, but previously the internet was connected to the computer my father uses for video editing and she was always too nervous to use it in case she accidentally damaged it or my father’s work.  

So, in the meantime broadband service has been arranged and will be installed at their home at the end of next week.  I chose to send them the iPad Mini, mainly as my mother has commented on the weight of the Kindle Keyboard being a little heavy for long use.  It should be with them at the beginning of next week. Before sending it off I configured a few things for them.  I tried to setup the iPad so that it would be useful for them straight off and only have the most basic icons at first.  My parents are smart people, but being older, technology was not part of their working lives as a veterinary surgeon and nurse as it would be today.  

This is what I configured:

Apple ID

With iDevices, an Apple ID is almost a prerequisite.  I set one up for my parents.  It’s not yet hooked up to a credit card; I’ll leave it up to them if they want to purchase paid apps.

Email, FaceTime and Skype

My biggest frustration with my parents not being online is not being able to email them.  Email is such a practical tool, whether it’s a simple hello to keep in touch or emailing detailed information (such as an itinerary) or photos.   So often I’ve thought, I wish I could email this to them.  Well, now I can!  I have setup an email account for them and emailed a couple of things to them.  When they had internet access earlier, they didn’t check email at all unless someone told them to.  I’m hoping that with the iPad alerting them to new emails automatically they may actually use this.

One of the arguments used in the decision to get online was that using Skype and/or FaceTime to call me would save them international calls on their phone bills.  I’m not certain how comfortable they’ll be using it at the beginning, but I have setup Skype and FaceTime accounts.  We’ll need to see how that goes.

Photos

I am an Apple fangirl through and through, so most of my photos are taken with my iPhone and stored in iCloud.  It was then very easy to setup a Shared photostream which I then set to share with my parents’ Apple ID.  Any time I add photos to that stream it should show up automatically on their iPad without their doing anything.  The photos have already downloaded to the iPad so they will have something to look at while waiting on the broadband being connected.

Calendar

With my job I work shift hours and my mother is often calling me to ask what hours I am working that week.  I already have my shifts entered in my iCloud Work calendar, so it was a quick click to share it with my parents’ Apple ID.  Again when I update it, it should update automatically on my parents’ iPad.

Facebook

I did spend some time considering whether or not I should setup a Facebook account for my parents.  Their hometown’s local newspaper has a very active Facebook page as does a local community group.  Often they hear about things going on in town because one of their friends has seen it on Facebook.  Other than Google searches and email, Facebook is probably what my parents think about most when they think about the internet.  In the end, I didn’t set up the account for them already – I was thinking of using that as a training exercise, but I may regret that.

One thing I do regret not having installed was a crosswords app.  My parents both get a great deal of pleasure out of doing the daily crossword in their local paper.  Ah well, I guess it’s something they can choose to install later if they so wish. I also think I may have left Siri in Canadian English, not British English.  

I’m hoping that my parents will get some use out of the iPad and the internet.  I know that, for me, the biggest challenge is going to be avoiding overwhelming them with all the things to be found on the internet.  I spend a significant portion of my life online and I’m looking forward to sharing that with my parents.  From conversations with my mother, I suspect the first things she will want to learn is how to search on Google and navigate Facebook.  The rest can wait.

I am also going to wait to introduce them to Siri.  I’m not certain how she will react to their Scottish accents and I don’t want them getting frustrated.

Do any of you have suggestions for introducing older people to iPads and the internet?  Please let me know in the comments.

My top five books of 2014 – so far…

Since we’re now into July – halfway through the year! – and I’m 50 books through my 100 book challenge for this year I thought it was time to stop and review my top picks from the first half of 2014.  So without further ado, here they are.

My top five books of 2014 – so far…The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher
Series: William Shakespeare's Star Wars #2
Also in this series: The Jedi Doth Return
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Various
Genres: Classics, Contemporary Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

My first pick for my top books of 2014 so far is Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.  This includes Star Wars: Verily a New Hope and The Empire Striketh  Back.  For those of you who have not read my reviews, Doescher has taken George Lucas’s epic space opera and rewritten it in the style of William Shakespeare, compete with iambic pentameter and nods to Shakespeare plays.  It’s incredible how well the Lucas’s epic saga works in Shakespearean language.  The audiobook by Random House Audio is a full cast radio play complete with John Williams music and sound effects and is a must-listen.  It narrowly missed out on the Audie audiobook award.  The Jedi Doth Return is released on July 1st and I’m fairly confident it will make my top audiobooks list, too.  Check out Doescher’s Educator’s Guide for more background info.  I wish these had been available when I was studying English at school!  Check out my full review.

My top five books of 2014 – so far…Cress by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Fairest - Levana's Story
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult
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Evelynne's rating: five-stars

Next up is Marissa Meyer’s Cress, the third in her Lunar Chronicles series.  For those unfamiliar with this YA series, it’s a retelling of classic fairytales with a twist.  In choosing fairytales, Meyer has a strong foundation for her story – there are good reasons why stories like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel have stood the test of time.  The Lunar Chronicles has strong good vs evil storylines, fantastic characters and is a whole lot of fun.  This is another series I particularly enjoyed in audiobook format. I’m looking forward to the prequel, Fairest and final book in the series, Winter.  I have written reviews on the series.

My top five books of 2014 – so far…The One by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #3
Also in this series: The Selection, The Elite
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Length: 7 hours and 25 minutes
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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Evelynne's rating: five-stars

The One by Kiera Cass is the final book in The Selection series, which was my guilty reading pleasure.  The Selection is a cross between The Bachelor and The Hunger Games.  I found the world Cass has created fascinating and was wholly invested in the characters even though they annoyed the heck out of me sometimes.  The love triangle was especially annoying.  However I just couldn’t put it down, and enjoyed the real character development throughout the series.  For more details go read my series review.

My top five books of 2014 – so far…Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Also in this series: Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice
Format: eBook
Pages: 340 pages
Genres: Supernatural, Young Adult
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Evelynne's rating: five-stars

The first time I read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead I couldn’t really get into it – I guess I just wasn’t in the mood.  However, the second time I read it I was so captivated by by Richelle Mead’s worldbuilding and characters that I ended up marathoning the entire six book series.  I felt that Mead really understood young adults and the way they interacted.  This turned out to be one of my favourite YA supernatural series.  More details in my reviews.

My top five books of 2014 – so far…Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: The Throne of Glass #1
Also in this series: Heir of Fire, Empire of Storms
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Length: 12 hours and 47 minutes
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Young Adult
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Evelynne's rating: five-stars

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas had been on my TBR list for some time before I finally got round to reading it despite rave reviews from the BookTube community.  Once I did, I was so happy I took the plunge.  Celaena is an awesome character and so fun and sparky.  Yet it’s clear she has her own issues and buttons that can be pressed.  I enjoyed that more focus was placed on the characters than the magic system, but there was still the hint of the supernatural to add some interest.  Go read my full review.

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