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Friday, March 27, 2015

2015 Audiobook Challenge: 1st Quarter Update & Giveaway

This First Quarter has been enlightening in many aspects. One of them is that I realized I’m enjoying listening to audiobooks more than reading books. Another one is that I learned I need to let go of audiobooks that don’t work for me and not try to keep listening for weeks, even though I’m not enjoying them. That was the case with The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes. I bought that audiobook after I read Jessica’s review (Rabid Reads). She loved the book and I wanted to love it too. I tried listening for three weeks! I was so decided to like it that I didn’t listen to anything else while I was crawling through it. I think deep down I knew that if I started another audio I would give up completely on the audiobook and I wanted to finish it and like it. Damn it! After a chat with Loupe  (Hot Listens) she opened my eyes and gave me the little push I needed to make the decision of DNF-ing it. Now, I think back and I realize how stupid I was. Do you know how many great audiobooks I could have listened during those three weeks I lost trying to like something I was never going to like? *headdesk*

These are the audiobook I listened during this first quarter. They are organized in chronological order starting with the first audiobook I listened in 2015.
  1. The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1) by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
  2. The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson
  3. Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3) by Kresley Cole - DNF
  4. The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
  5. The Dragons of Dorcastle (The Pillars of Reality #1) by Jack Campbell
  6. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  7. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
  8. Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews
  9. Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) by Ilona Andrews
  10. Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews
  11. Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels #4) by Ilona Andrews
  12. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  13. Magic Slays (Kate Daniels #5) by Ilona Andrews
  14. Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder
  15. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
  16. Magic Study (Study #2) by Maria V. Snyder
  17. Fire Study (Study #3) by Maria V. Snyder
  18. Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer by Antonia Murphy
  19. Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee
  20. Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews
  21. Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7) by Ilona Andrews
  22. The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman #2) by Graeme Simsion
  23. Bound by Flames (Night Prince #3) by Jeaniene Frost
  24. Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock #1) byFaith Hunter
  25. Blood Cross (Jane Yellowrock #2)by Faith Hunter
  26. Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock #3)by Faith Hunter
  27. Raven Cursed (Jane Yellowrock #4)by Faith Hunter
  28. Death’s Rival (Jane Yellowrock #5)by Faith Hunter
  29. Blood Trade (Jane Yellowrock #6)by Faith Hunter
  30. Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1) by Theresa Kay
  31. The Hidden Masters of Marandur (The Pillars of Reality #2) by Jack Campbell
  32. The Palace Job (Rogues of the Republic #1) by Patrick Weekes - DNF
  33. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  34. The Martian by Andy Weir
The level I signed up for in this challenge was Marathoner (Look Ma No Hands) 50+ Audios.

34 audiobooks!! I think I did pretty well… Ok, I don’t think… I actually did pretty well this first quarter… even though I lost three weeks. Damn you The Palace Job! *cries*

As you can see, I did a binge on the Kate Daniels and the Jane Yellowrock series. The Kate Daniels is a series I loved in books, but now after listening to the audiobooks I think I prefer it on audio. The Jane Yellowrock was a new-to-me series. It’s pretty good, but after a while I needed a break. I will continue with it in couple of weeks… I think.

I loved/liked almost all of the audiobooks, but if I had to recommend you couple of them they will be The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling), The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and The Martian by Andy Weir. The Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack Campbell was also pretty good, but to listen to that one you need to listen to The Dragons of Dorcastle first and that one was just okay.

To celebrate my love for audiobooks I’m giving away One Audiobook from Audible. Winner’s choice of audiobook from the above list.
Winner must be able to receive audiobooks from Audible.com To enter you just need to fill the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Book Nympho is also hosting a giveaway for all the participants on the challenge. To visit her blog click Here.

Good luck to you all!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack Campbell

Title: The Hidden Masters of Marandur
Author: Jack Campbell
Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
Series: The Pillars of Reality,
book 2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Audible Studio
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: Audiobook
Length: 12 hrs and 54 mins
Someone wants to kill Mari, a young Steam Mechanic in the Guild that controls all technology. She has learned that her world of Dematr is headed for a catastrophe that will destroy civilization, and that Mages really can alter reality for short periods. Someone also wants to kill Alain, a young Mage who has learned that Mechanics are not frauds as his Guild teaches, and that Mechanic Mari is the only person who can prevent the oncoming disaster.

Narrowly escaping death, the Mechanic and the Mage stay alive thanks to their combined skills, an alliance never before seen. But it becomes clear that both of their Guilds, the most powerful forces in the world, are trying to destroy them. Other powers, like the great Empire and a mysterious secret Order, also seek to kill or capture them, using every weapon from Imperial Legions to Mage-created trolls, dragons, and rocs.

Trying to survive and learn the truth about their world so they will know how to save it, Mari and Alain realize that the answers they seek may lie in the dead city of Marandur. But Marandur is guarded by the legions that have sealed it off from the rest of the world for more than a century. Mari and Alain's only hope may rest with the unseen Masters of Marandur.
The Hidden Masters of Marandur is the second (audio) book in The Pillars of Reality by Jack Campbell. Narrated by MacLeod Andrews.

I liked first (audio) book, The Dragons of Dorcastle, but if I’m honest I wasn’t crazy about. Still, I decided to give this second (audio) book a chance; I’m very happy I did because I liked it and enjoyed a lot more.

At the end of The Dragons of Dorcastle Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain say goodbye thinking they will be safer apart than together; but after just couple of weeks they both realize their respective guilds don’t want the information they now possess to come to the light. Their guilds cannot openly kill them so they are both sent on impossible quests where their deaths will be imminent. With the realization that their guilds want them dead, and with not other ally, Mari finds Alain, and together they embark in an adventure that will take them to the lost city of Marandur, where they are hoping to find the information they need to fight their guilds.

Although I liked Mari more this time around, her stubbornness and emotional outbursts frustrate me at times. I know she is young and many secrets and truths have been dropped on her, so I’m okay giving her some space and time to grow and accept her new circumstances. I just hope she will be more mature in third book.

Alain continues to be my favorite character and the one I consider has grown the most. I loved seeing him learning social skills and also learning to see the differences between what he learned at the Mage guild and what it is true. His social inadequacies provide the humor relief and a cute factor (if I can call it that) to the story.

The chemistry that was lacking between Mari and Alain in previous book is easily felt in this one. It was clear they both have feelings for each other and are working –innocently- towards a more permanent relationship.

In this installment we are introduced to new and interesting characters, some of them I’m sure will play important roles in books to come.

The story is fast paced and with enough action to keep you glued to the pages (your headphones) wanting to know what is coming next for Mari and Alain. The world building is further developed with the inclusion of the city and the Masters of Maradur. Along them we also learn some historical facts and secrets that will be further explore in next book.

The Hidden Masters of Marandur is great second book. I can honestly say it surpasses its predecessor and left me dying to get my hands on next audiobook in the series.

MacLeod Andrews does an excellent job with the narration. In previous audiobook I had problems with his female voices, I’m happy to say I didn’t have that problem with The Hidden Masters of Marandur.
One thing that Andrews shines at is to the delivery of emotion or lack of it according to the characters and that’s something very important with a story like this one.

My Story Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
 
My Narration Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
My Overall Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
 
Other books in the series
The Hidden Masters of Marandur

Other reviews Goodreads

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hot Off the Press: March 24th Releases

March 24th

TITLEAUTHORSERIESGENRE
Uncertain LogicChristopher L. BennettRise of the Federation #3Sci Fi/Star Trek
Dark AlchemyLaura BickleUF
Yours to HoldDarcy BurkeRibbon Ridge #2Contemporary Romance
PleasuredCandace CampSecrets of the Loch #2Historical Romance
In the Time of Dragon MoonJanet Lee CareyWilde Island Chronicles #3YA/Fantasy
Happiness for BeginnersKatherine Center Women's Fiction
Werewolves: A Hunter's GuideGraeme Davis & Craig SpearingFiction
AngelLola DodgeManhattan Ten #4PNR
Seduced in SandNikki DuncanTulle and Tulips #5Contemporary Romance
ManwhoreKaty Evans Manwhore #1Contemporary Romance
The Lost Boys SymphonyMark Alan FergusonSci Fi/Fantasy
ClaimedSarah FineServants of Fate #2Fantasy
Night's Blaze: Part 3Donna GrantDark Kings #5.3PNR
Half WildSally GreenThe Half Bad Trilogy #2YA
Harrison SquaredDaryl GregoryYA/Horror
The Dangers of Dating a Rebound VampireMolly HarperHalf Moon Hollow #3PNR
Served SweetMarie Harte Best Revenge #3Contemporary Romance
The Salvation of VengeanceNancy Haviland Wanted Men #2Romantic Suspense
CatalystLydia Kang Control #2YA
GuardiansSusan Kim & Laurence KlavanWasteland #3YA/Sci Fi
Space Helmet for a Cow: The Mad, True Story of Doctor Who (1963-1989)Paul KirkleySpace Helmet for a Cow #1Sci Fi
Betrayed by Your KissLaura Landon Historical Romance
Haunting of Sunshine GirlPaige McKenzie & Alyssa B. SheinmelYA
Flirting with FireKate Meader Hot in Chicago #1Contemporary Romance
Throw Like A WomanSusan PetroneWomen's Fiction
After DarkM. PierceThe Night Owl Trilogy #3Contemporary Romance
IcefallGillian PhilipRebel Angels #4Fantasy
RepeatNeal PollackFiction
The Fifth HeartDan SimmonsMystery/Historical Fiction
Orbs III: Redemption: A Science Fiction ThrillerNicholas Sansbury SmithOrbs Series #3Sci Fi
The Walls Around Us Nova Ren SumaYA
The Wednesday GroupSylvia TrueWomen's Fiction
CaptiveBrighton WalshCaptive #1Romantic Suspense
The Moon Tells SecretsSavanna WellesPNR
The Dog Who Saved MeSusan WilsonFiction

Contemporary Romance
Fantasy
Fiction
Historical Romance
Mystery
Paranormal Romance
Romantic Suspense
Science Fiction
Urban Fantasy
Women's Fiction
Young Adult

Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose


Title: The Witch of Painted Sorrows
Author: M.J. Rose
Series: The Daughters of La Lune, book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.
The Witch of Painted Sorrows is the first book in The Daughters of La Lune series by M.J. Rose. The blurb explains pretty well what The Witch of Painted Sorrows is about. Saying more will be giving too many things away and this is a delicious book that should be discover and enjoy slowly by the reader.

M.J. Rose was a new author to me, so I didn’t know what to expect from The Witch of Painted Sorrows, something I didn’t expect was to like it as much as I did.

Sandrine was a very complex character; I think Rose balanced her innocence and her dual personality -if I can call it that- flawlessly. Even though I knew her change wasn’t normal I loved to see her bloom and become a stronger and more self-assured woman. My heart also ached for her because I felt she was conscious of her situation and her inability to be who she wanted to be without the help of La Lune.

I liked Sandrine’s grandmother, Eva. It was obvious she only wanted what was best for Sandrine, sadly while trying to protect her she kept her in the dark and that was the wrong thing to do. It only shows us the damages secrets can do. I liked that Eva was a famous courtesan and I liked how Rose delved into her life and what it entailed being a courtesan during the XIX century.

I haven’t read a book more fitting than this one to use the word “evocative” to describe it. Since the very first pages I was completely lost in the story and transported to the Belle Époque in Paris, a city I love and know. Rose’s words and descriptions felt so vivid that I only needed to close my eyes to walk along Sandrine through the Luxembourg Gardens or the Tuileries or to accompany her to the Opera at the Palais Garnier. Rose’s words are so beautiful and eloquent that made of La Belle Époque Paris a character in its own. It was pretty obvious the amount of research done by her to create such a realistic and accurate story. I know I’m using the term “realistic” a bit lightly because of the paranormal content of the story, but even though it’s fantasy/fiction the story felt real and very appropriate to the events happening during that historical period.

The story starts slow, but soon after picks up its pace and doesn’t leave up until it reaches its very end. The end is not an usual end, many will not like it, but I think it was a fitting end for this kind of story.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows is a spellbinding story about love, art, magic, family secrets and La Belle Époque Paris. The Witch of Painted Sorrows was my first book by M.J. Rose, but I can’t guarantee you if won’t be my last. I’m planning to read future books in this series and I’m also planning on checking Rose’s previous books.

My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
Other Reviews Goodreads


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