Tag Archives: Charlaine Harris

Audiobook Appreciation

I’m done with this most recent clump of deadlines! I don’t think I’ve worked at quite a pace like this for a long while – it’s been three to four weeks of fourteen hour days. I am very, very thankful for my audiobooks – I think they kept me sane in the midst of all those deadlines.

Audiobook Treasure Trove

headphones I was lucky enough to come down with a head cold for Christmas and Boxing Day, so I had a grand time those two days: I got to loll around while everyone took care of me, and to top it off, on Christmas Day, I discovered a virtual audiobook treasure chest! I spent most of Christmas Day and Boxing Day lying on the couch, listening to some great audiobooks and snacking on the most delicious foods.

If you live in Ontario, you might be able to take advantage of this audiobook treasure chest yourself. The Ontario Library Service Download Centre is available to all library patrons of participating Ontario libraries, and it is just wonderful. There are loads of audiobooks available for download, much like you would for Audible. The files are deleted at the end of your checkout period, but you can checkout each audiobook for one or two weeks, which is nice.

So far, in the past two weeks, I’ve listened to Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent, Ellen Degeneres’ The Funny Thing Is, The Green Witch and The Grey King from Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, and The Bunnicula Collection by James and Deborah Howe.

Other Listens

The Price of Butcher's Meat

Over the past three weeks, I also enjoyed the audio versions of Reginald Hill’s The Price of Butcher’s Meat (I listened to the British version, which is called A Cure for All Diseases) and Exit Lines. I’d already read A Cure for All Diseases earlier last year and loved it (my review is here) – it translated superbly into audio.

I also played several Agatha Christie audios while I was working – I find I can do “rereads” in audio, as well as memoirs and nonfiction, while I’m working; I somehow have the ability to follow along while getting my work done at the same time. Audiobooks don’t work well for work if they’re audios of books I haven’t read yet, though.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Murder on the Links, Poirot Investigates and The Big Four helped me get through a lot of otherwise tedious work, so I’m very thankful for them!

Curtains for ThreeAnd finally, I listened to Rex Stout’s Curtains for Three, a trilogy of three Nero Wolfe novellas. I must admit, the first few times I listened to audiobook renditions of Nero Wolfe novels, I had a hard time getting used to the narrator, Michael Pritchard, because he didn’t sound quite like I always imagined Archie Goodwin would sound. But Pritchard’s voice has grown on me, and now my idea of Archie Goodwin sounds exactly like him! I like the way that worked out.

Coming Up

Thanks to the Ontario Library Service Download Centre, I have some more goodies waiting for my hearing pleasure this coming week:

About Face

About Face, by Donna Leon. I’ve been wanting to read a Commissario Guido Brunetti book for a while, and since this one was available for checkout, I decided to give it a try. I only just started listening to it last night, and it promises to be a good story.

Silver on the Tree

Silver on the Tree, by Susan Cooper. This is the final book in The Dark is Rising series. The version I have is narrated by Alex Jennings, and I started listening to a bit of it yesterday as well. I’m looking forward to finishing my reread of the series in audio.

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So Long as You Both Shall Live, by Ed McBain. This is my first 87th Precinct mystery; it’s a little bit challenging keeping track of all the names in audio, and the story line behind this one isn’t quite to my taste, but I will definitely be looking into reading more of the 87th Precinct series.

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson. I’ve had Bryson’s memoir on my shelf for ages; when I saw it was available at the OLS Download Centre, I decided to check it out, as I really enjoy listening to memoirs in audio.

And from my local library:

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. The audio version of The Thirteenth Tale came highly recommended – I seem to recall lots of people recommending it on Google Wave. So I thought I’d take the plunge and give it a first read in audio instead of in print.

I recently bought the following, which are waiting for me to get to them:

The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World, by Robert Jordan. This is Book 1 of the Wheel of Time series – I began reading the series ages ago, but stopped at around Book 6 or 7. I recently received a review copy of the final book in the series, The Gathering Storm, which is written by Brandon Sanderson based on Robert Jordan’s extensive notes, so I thought it would be a good thing to reread the series. I’ve had so much luck with rereads in audio, I decided to give the audio version a try.

Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris. I have the first seven books in paperback, but haven’t read the Sookie Stackhouse series at all; a while back, I decided to give the first book a try in audio. I haven’t found myself in the mood for it yet, but I know I will soon – from what everyone’s been telling me, I’ll probably be hooked once I give it a try!

I also have two Audible credits to spend, and I’m thinking I’ll probably splurge on more Rex Stout and Reginald Hill.

So there you have it – audiobooks have managed to keep me on the reading track even while I was submerged up to my neck in deadlines! And yes, I’ve been feeling like a kid in a candy store …

Coming up this week: my giveaway winners! No, I haven’t forgotten about my giveaway. The winners post will be coming soon.

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The Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge

sookiechallenge Yes, it’s lunacy. I don’t have any excuse for signing up for yet another reading challenge, except that I’ve been wanting to read the Sookie Stackhouse series for a while now. So when Beth Fish Reads announced the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge, I knew I just had to join in on the fun.

Here are the rules: Between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, catch up on Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire series. No matter if you’re starting with book 1 or book 8, you have a year to read all about Sookie. Read Sookie in print, listen to the audio, read an eBook — format is not an issue.

The books in the series are:

Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone

I was assured by a few people on Twitter last night that these books are fast, fun reads. So I’m really looking forward to this. And here’s a bonus: Melissa’s Bookshelf has a giveaway of the boxed set containing the first seven books in the series! The giveaway ends July 5, and it’s open worldwide. Very nice!

Interested in doing the challenge with me? Hop on over to the official challenge sign-up post and add your name to Mr. Linky. In July, Beth F. will put up another post where you can go to link to your reviews and keep track of your progress.

Saturday Links: Stephen King, Charlaine Harris and Book Gifts for Twilighters

Every week I come across interesting links that aren’t reviews, but more along the lines of book talk and book news. They can run the gamut from new releases, fun book thoughts and sometimes things that are only marginally book-related. So I’ve decided to post them each Saturday, and since I’m not feeling particularly creative today, the only name I could think of was “Saturday Links”. So Saturday Links it is!

Here’s what I’ve shared this week (and for everyone who follows me on Twitter, I have – I hope! – set things up so that anytime I share a link, it will get Tweeted):

Stephen King: Best Books of ’08: Several books here that I want to read – Joseph Wambaugh’s Hollywood Crows, Kate Atkinson’s When Will There Be Good News?, Stef Penney’s The Tenderness of Wolves and the novels of Robert Goddard.

Excerpt from Charlaine Harris’ upcoming Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead and Gone, found via Urban Fantasy Land: I’m tempted to start the Stackhouse series with Dead and Gone, instead of going back to the beginning.

Twelve Days of Giving: Books for Twilighters: I haven’t read the Twilight series yet (they’re in my TBR), but I liked this list of gift suggestions for fans of Twilight. I’ve read Meg Cabot’s Mediator series which I enjoyed very much. And I’m adding Demon in My View to my TBR.

Review: An Ice Cold Grave, by Charlaine Harris

Synopsis:

“Since the lightning snaked through the window of the trailer in Texarkana when I was fifteen, I’ve been able to locate corpses. Think about it. Cavement corpses, Native American corpses, the early settlers, the more recently deceased – that’s a lot of dead people, and they all let me know where their earthly remains were interred …”

Hired to find a boy gone missing in Doraville, North Carolina, Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver head there – only to discover that the boy was only one of several who had disappeared over the previous five years. All of them teenagers. All unlikely runaways.

All calling for Harper.

Harper soon finds them – eight victims, buried in the half-frozen ground, all come to an unspeakable end. Afterwards, what she most wants to do is collect her fee and get out of town ahead of the media storm that’s about to descend. But when she’s attacked and prevented from leaving, she reluctantly becomes a part of the investigation as she learns more than she cares to about the dark mysteries and long-hidden secrets of Doraville – knowledge that makes her the next person likely to rest in an ice cold grave …

Ms. Bookish’s Quick Take: An Ice Cold Grave is not a book you want to read in the middle of a dark stormy night when you’re at home all by your lonesome. It’s not that it’s a horror story – it’s more along the lines of a paranormal thriller – but there’s a grimness to it that seeps right into you. The plot involves a serial killer, and Harris’ descriptions are likely to get your imagination going down dark alleys of the mind you might not really want to venture down. This was a tense, fast-paced read that I consumed at a gallop.
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The Sunday Salon – Currently reading: Charlaine Harris, Alexander McCall Smith & Beverly Bartlett

I’m currently reading three books right now, all of which I will be reviewing later this week (or when I finish them!).

I started Charlaine Harris’ An Ice Cold Grave last night, and was in for a pleasant surprise. I had actually read the first in the series, Grave Sight, last year and had enjoyed it – but I’d forgotten the name of the author and hadn’t realized it was the first in a series (the Harper Connolly series).

So far An Ice Cold Grave has been an engrossing read. I’m a third of the way through, and I only put it down because it was so late and I knew if I kept at it, I would be finished the book but it would be 5:00 a.m., which really wouldn’t do. If I get a chance to get back to it today, I’ll likely be able to finish it.

I’m also reading Alexander McCall Smith’s The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday. I really enjoy Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series; I know they’re “mysteries”, but they’re very different from the mysteries I normally read. With Isabel Dalhousie, it’s not really so much the plot, but Isabel herself who is so enticing. I fell in love with her from the moment I read The Sunday Philosophy Club, the first in the series.

The key to enjoying the Isabel Dalhousie series, I think, is to let go of the notion that they’re mysteries. Yes, each book involves a mystery of some sort, but the book itself is very much driven by Isabel’s character, her philosophical inner talk about everything that happens around her, and the application of ethics to every day life. If you reach for a book in this series expecting a rousing mystery, you’d probably be disappointed. But Isabel herself is so loveable; she tries hard to look at the world without judgment, and reading about her is always so enjoyable. It’s the kind of book you savor, rather than reading through in a breathless gallop – both are wonderful experiences, and I always like to have a little of each in my current reading.

The third book I’m reading right now is Beverly Bartlett’s Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle. The book quite surprised me when I first started reading. It’s written in something like the style of a biography, a Royal biography really, but with a chatty “talking to you, the reader” feel to it.

This is the first book I’m tackling for the From the Stacks Reading Challenge. I’m finding that while the book is interesting and fun as I’m reading it, when I put it down, my memories of it are not engrossing enough for me to pick it up again. But I’d like to finish this one by the end of this week.

Reviews Roundup: This past week, I’ve reviewed the following books:

Review: Doppelganger, by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue
Review: The Calder Game, by Blue Balliett (I really loved this book)
Review: The Riddles of Epsilon, by Christine Morton-Shaw
Review: Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer