Dreams of Gods and Monsters [Audiobook Review]

Read my reviews of the first two books: Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight.

 

Title: Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Author:  Laini Taylor
NarratorKhristine Hvam
Genre: Fantasy; Young Adult; Supernatural
Pages: 624
Audio: 18.2 hours
Year: 2014
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Source: Review copy from publisher
Book Rating: 4.5/5
Audio Rating: 5/5

Summary:

[Warning: Don't read this summary if you haven't read the rest of the first two book. The remaining sections are spoiler free].

Karou is still trying to find a way to move past Akiva’s destruction of her family, but the two must work together to unite the Misbegotten and Chimera forces to stop Jael from destroying Earth.

As Jael descends on the Vatican, with anything but angelic intentions, Eliza Jones, a PhD student with a past she’s been running from for years, must fight off her always-recurring dream of monsters.

As world’s collide, enemies become allies, and the real past, the one that everyone but Razgut has forgotten, must be told in order to protect the future of both Earth and Eretz

My Thoughts:

This is a rare day: I loved the finale of a series that is very dear to me.

First, these have got to be among some of the best-titled books ever. Daughter of Smoke & Bone? Days of Blood & Starlight? Dreams of Gods & Monsters? Fantastic, catchy, and appropriate.

As for the actual books, I just ate them right up. There is so much action, emotion, and tension packed into every page (or every minute of the mp3 in my case) that it forces the reader to race on. These are not short books (this audio is more than 18 hours long!) but practically every word is necessary. Taylor does write with a descriptive style, but not to the point where you’re asking the story to move along already.

The only fault I found in this one – and I felt it in the others as well – is that it jumps around from POV to POV a lot. I had to listen closely for fear of getting lost along the way and there was a fair amount of rewinding.

I am going to miss Karou and Akiva and Zuzana and Mik and Ziri. I am going to miss Eretz. I am a little devastated (if one can be a little devastated) that I don’t have another book to look forward to. But, did the ending hint at the possibility of more? I’m going to rest my hope on that.

Audiobook Thoughts:

Kristine Hvam is probably my favorite narrator. She continues to excel in the conclusion of this trilogy. She captures everyone, from human to angel to chimera perfectly. She is the kind of narrator who could make me pick up an otherwise questionable book.

TSS: May In Review

It’s time to wrap up May!

Reading

Well, I thought I was having a good reading month, but when I looked back I had only read 3 books (two print and one audio).

Turns out, this is my new definition of a “good reading month.” I really did feel like I got a little of my reading mojo back. I stayed up late finishing We Were Liars one day. I looked forward to some alone time in the car to listen to Dreams of Gods and Monsters. And Raven Boys, though it started slow for me, turned into a real page-turner. So, I’m just going to stick with YA for awhile since that seems to be my current cup of tea.

Blogging

I haven’t really gotten my blogging mojo back though, have I?

I reviewed Attachments and I tried to catch up on book reviews a little by doing three little reviews of The Cuckoo’s Calling, Astray, and Inferno. I am hoping to have at least one book review for you each week of June.

Health

I’m itching to put my running shoes on but I know that as soon as I do, my foot pain will come back. But, it seems that all this rest has given it time to heal, so now I just have to be patient and wait for my custom orthotics to be made before I can hit the pavement again (and, by then, it will be far to hot to do so). I’ve accepted that this running season is over for me and I’ll hopefully get back at it in the fall.

I tried swimming and biking and found each to be quite the challenge. I’ve been skipping yoga (May was BUSY) but I will try to get back to a few classes when I can. Once Ben leaves on the 13th, I’m pretty limited in my opportunities to work out or dance (I’m pretty much stuck with the gym and only when the daycare is open).

Photography

I shared some more photos from our trip to DC (though I’m still not done editing them all – the problem with shooting in RAW is that every photo has to be edited). I sort of took a break from snapping photos this month, but I’m starting to feel the draw to the camera again.

Evan

Evan turned two! What a fun and challenging journey it has been so far. I can’t believe my little baby is now a little boy. I will hopefully blog about it in June (I am still waiting on some photos) but we had a very successful Mickey Mouse party for him.

The Sunday Salon.com

Evan is Two!

I suddenly find myself to be the mother of a two year old. Amazing. Party pictures to come later, but here is a quick update on Evan.

Evan's Birthday_05 26 14_1750_edited-1

Favorite activities: Playing outside, running, not sitting still, playing in the water, playing with balls, hide and seek, climbing.

Favorite foods: Eggs, veggie dogs, peanut butter, yogurt.

Favorite shows: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Super Why.

Favorite Books: Green Hat Blue Hat, Baby Signing Time, I Met a Moose in Maine One Day, Goodnight Moon, Sleepy Time.

Awesome new skills: Primary/secondary colors, shapes, counting 1-10 (when he feels like it), recognizing letters, coming up with full sentences.

Official height and Weight to come on Friday.

And…here is a video of some of his photos from the past year. He went from baby to little boy, right before my eyes.


Three Little Reviews: The Cuckoo’s Calling, Astray, and Inferno

I still have three unreviewed books from last year that have been lingering in my “drafts” section. As it is nearly June, I think it’s best to say a few sentences about each and move on.

The Cuckoo’s Calling

I was not a big fan of JK Rowling’s first post-Harry Potter novel, so when the world found out she’d secretly written a second, I didn’t jump up and down with joy. My book club ended up reading this one, so I picked up the audio. It’s the not the type of book I would usually read, but I ended up enjoying this one. I still want more Harry Potter, but Detective Strike wasn’t a bad companion.

Astray

Jen at Devourer of Books recommended this to me and I always sometimes listen to her. I read it more recently than The Cuckoo’s Calling, but it feels like I read it ages ago and I only have a lingering memory of this one. It was sad. Heartbreaking, really. But good. Emma Donoghue is for real.

Inferno

Oh, Dan Brown. While I have read many of his books, I skipped his last one and had no intention of reading Inferno. But this was another book club pick. It was set, in part, in Florence and Venice, which I visited a few years ago, so that made it fun. I’ve grown a little tired of the Dan Brown formula, but his books can still mostly entertain.

*****

And now I feel better having that crossed off my to do list.

Attachments [Book Review]

TitleAttachments
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 336
Year: 2014
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5

Summary:

When Lincoln gets a job at a newspaper in IT security, he doesn’t realize his job would mostly consist of reading his coworkers’ emails. He also doesn’t realize that when he starts reading the dialogue of two frequent offenders of the no personal email policy, he would start to fall for one of them. Told through Lincoln, and the emails of Jennifer and Beth, Attachments is the story of three young people discovering what they want in life, friendship, and love.

My Thoughts:

If Rainbow Rowell wrote all the books, I would read a whole lot more often. Man, can she tell a story.  And her characters are all perfection. I love them all, even the fratboy-esque Justin. And setting this book in 1999 added just the right amout of quaintness (remember the Y2K frenzy?).

Although this took me a little while to finish, I really did devour this book at every opportunity. If this were the old days, it’s one I would have read in a weekend. This is her first novel, and I think it might be my favorite Rainbow Rowell book so far, but it’s so hard to decide because they’re all so wonderful.

So, that’s my review – a whole bunch of booklove and gushing. I may have forgotton how to write real reviews.

Have you read this one yet? Have you read any of her other books? Anyone want to send me an advanced copy of Landline?

TSS: March and April in Review

I never actually posted a March recap, so here is a combined March/April one. I also wasn’t very good at tracking my books so I may be missing one  (but probably not).

And I’m sure (ha!) that I will review them soon.

I am going to skip recapping all of my posts. There weren’t many – so you can scroll back just as easily as me.

The health kick I was in has hit a snag with my foot injury. I am slowly gaining back the weight I worked so hard to lose. I really need to start counting calories again to get myself back on track. And I really need to find a good cross-training exercise. I am going to try to go the Y today and get over my lap pool intimidation.

I’m still taking pictures but not quite as much. I think I’ve hit a bit of a plateau on the learning front.

Evan is as cute as ever. He’s talking up a storm and saying complete sentences (usually, “I want to watch Mickey”). I keep saying whatever stage he is in is my favorite but this one really is.

May brings Evan’s second birthday, a family-free trip to St. Louis for me, and hopefully a little more time to read.

The Sunday Salon.com

The Sunday Salon [4.27.14]

So…who has a Readathon hangover?

Not me. I haven’t done a readathon since E was born, sadly. But I did sign up to be a cheerleader for the very first time. That was a lot more work than I anticipated. But I had fun discovering some new people (and sending out my first – and probably only – tweet in Danish). I hope you are all sleeping now.

I am not sleeping. I am on my way to Tallahassee with my Leadership Pinellas class. We’re spending a few days up there learning about the state government and meeting our elected officials. I’ve never hidden my true feelings on Florida politicians so this should be interesting.

I’ve been reading a little more the last few weeks. I finished Bill Bryson’s One Summer and Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments. I am currently reading Raven Boys and listening to Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I’m taking the YA approach a lot lately to get me out of this horrible reading slump that I’m constantly in.

I have nothing scheduled for the blog this week, but I have high hopes for May. May will contain book reviews and bookish talk again. I think.

The Sunday Salon.com

Instead

What I’ve been doing instead of reviewing books (which I intend to start doing again soon).

  • Hanging out with my family
  • Watching Doctor Who
  • Watching The West Wing
  • Watching Everything Else that’s on my DVR
  • Reading Attachments
  • Listening to Bill Bryson and Lani Taylor books
  • Working
  • Injuring my foot
  • Learning about biking and swimming
  • Watching a lot of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  • Planning a birthday party that is Mickey Mouse Clubouse themed
  • Enjoying the beautiful weather
  • Traveling to Savannah, DC, and – this weekend – Tallahassee.
  • Sleeping
  • Editing photos
  • Reading about editing photos
  • Discussing vaccines
  • Discussing equality
  • Going to movies
  • Hanging out with friends

Sometimes I miss the old days. Sometimes a break from the book blogging gig isn’t so bad.

A Setback [Fitness Friday]

Well, this post WAS going to be out how I ran the Irongirl 5k over the Clearwater Memorial Causeway on Sunday. And how, despite this bridge (we Floridian runners don’t generally encounter anything resembling a hill), I still had my best 5k time since Evan was born at 32:19.

But now this post is going to be about how I can’t run anymore. I am so close to getting my 5k time back under 30 minutes. I could probably even get a PR on a flat course at this point. But now I’m benched.

When we were in DC, I did a hash with my cousin. During the 3.5-mile craziness that was that run, my foot started hurting. By the end, I was barely keeping up. Yet I continued to walk on it A LOT that weekend – for a total of 22 miles between Saturday and Sunday. I was in quite a bit of pain by the time we got on our flight home.

But then it felt better the next day. And even better the day after that. I went to yoga. I went to ballet. But I didn’t run.

Then I ran my race on Sunday. And 1/4 mile in, my foot was hurting again. And this time it was even worse.

So I saw my podiatrist on Monday. Yep, I already had a podiatrist. This is what happens when you turn 30 – you gain all kinds of specialists to treat your aches and pains. And he says I’m injured, can’t run, and should probably start investing in some granny shoes. There was a lot of inflammation and the bones in my foot are basically jamming into each other (you’re supposed to have space between your bones with some nice cushion-y cartilage – I don’t). But the worst part is he says he sees some early arthritis in my foot (thank you, pointe shoes).

But, he also seems to think that this is workable and I don’t have to sit on the bench forever. First, I need to get the inflammation down. So no running at all. Then, we take another look in two week. Then I get custom sport orthotics and I get back out there. Hopefully.

I always assumed I would end up battling arthritis some day, thanks to all of my years of dancing and my extra crunchy joints. I just didn’t think I’d be doing it at 31. Hopefully I have some more information in a few weeks about what is exactly wrong and what I need to do prevent it in the future.

It’s discouraging to get injured when I’m right at the fun part of my running season and I can see the possibility of a sub-30 5k/PR. But injuries are the price you pay for being active. I’ve been fairly lucky in my life so far and I’m sure I’ll get back out there. For now, I think I’ll try hanging out in the lap pool.

And I’ll still share some 5k photos: