Top Ten Tuesday: All About Audio

toptentuesday

I’m back this week after my summer hiatus from blogging! Yesterday I posted a review to one of my new favorite series, and today I’m talking about my favorite audiobooks and podcasts for Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday: All About My Favorite Audiobooks & Podcasts

Audiobooks You Can Listen to For Free!
*because who doesn’t like free entertainment?

  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – Michael Crichton’s books are already hard to put down, but when you stumble upon a perfectly narrated audiobook version, you will spend the next 13 hours with your headphones on, visualizing mad scientists, man-eating dinosaurs, and genetic experiments gone wrong. This was me last summer. My favorite part about this audiobook: William Roberts’s voice is exactly like the one you would hear narrating an actual Jurassic Park ride.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – I had a Shakespeare professor in college who said that plays are meant to be read aloud, and I wholeheartedly agree with that, especially after listening to this table read of Oscar Wilde’s hilarious play. It’s short (under 2 hours) and I guarantee you will laugh out loud at least once.
  • War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells – The fact that Orson Wells turned this famous science fiction book into a panic-inducing radio broadcast speaks volumes about it’s value as an audiobook. This Librivox version is read by an older British gentleman, and I love the juxtaposition between his calm and proper voice and the chaotic alien invasion he’s narrating.

Favorite Narrators

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – I know I will probably shock and disappoint a lot of people when I say this was only an OK read for me. As much as I laughed at the nerdy banter and satiric writing, there was something that kept me from loving this book. BUT, I will have to say that I really appreciated hearing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy narrated by the author himself, Douglas Adams. I’m having a hard time finding a link to that particular version, but I checked it out from the library so I know it exists!
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – I know there are a lot of people who hate Anne Hathaway (which is crazy to me because my husband and I love her), but I really enjoyed her narration of The Princess Diaries audiobooks. She played Mia in the film versions, and listening to the audiobooks convinced me even more than she was perfect for the role of the awkward teenage princess. I’ve only listened to the first few books in this series, but my local library has the rest so I plan on finishing it sometime!
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These next two are recommendations from my husband (Matt), who listens to more audiobooks than I do!

  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King – Matt and I watched part of the Hulu 11.22.63 miniseries, but I was getting too creeped out by some of the characters, so we stopped and Matt downloaded the audiobook to listen to instead. It wasn’t his favorite book, but he did love the narration by Craig Wasson. He said hearing all the different accents really helped him visualize everything.
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  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – Matt actually listened to this audiobook in French (because it’s the epitome of French literature and when I asked him if he was listening to the English version he pretended to gag), but the narration must have been well done since he talked about this book for weeks after he finished it. Most of that praise probably goes to Victor Hugo himself, but I also know that an audiobook narrator has the power to make or break (or kill) a book.

Podcasts

  • Astonishing Legends – my favorite! I love to put in my headphones and listen to these podcasts when I’m cleaning or commuting to and from work. If you’re into mysterious and unexplainable happenings, this is a great podcast to binge listen to. Some of my favorite topics have been the Oak Island Money Pit, the Dyatlov Pass tragedy, The Knights of the Golden Circle conspiracy, and the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.
    AstonishingLegends
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class – The name of this podcast pretty much says it all. Holly and Tracy talk about all sorts of interesting, mysterious, creepy, and legendary historical events and people, and each episode is relatively short (around 30 minutes) so it’s easy to listen to an episode while you’re cooking dinner or walking the dog. Some of my favorite episodes have been about early Danish monarchies and the Jelling Stones, The Great Vowel Shift, The Queen Victoria/Lady Hasting’s scandal, the disappearance of the Sodder children, and some other “history’s mysteries” episodes.
    Stuff You Missed in History Class
  • Rebel Force Radio – This is actually a podcast my husband listens to, but I’ve listened along to a few of them and I can totally see why he loves it so much. The few episodes I listened to were the Star Wars Oxygen podcasts where David Collins and Jimmy Mac analyzed John William’s soundtracks to all 7 of the Star Wars films. I was so impressed by how thoroughly they broke down and analyzed each track. I learned some really amazing facts about how the Star Wars scores add an incredible depth to the films.
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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Reads of 2015

toptentuesday

2015 is almost over and that means it’s time for me to reflect on all the wonderful books I’ve read this year! I’ll probably have another post up in a couple of weeks highlighting all my bookish thoughts from the year, but for now let me leave you with the best books I read over the past 12 months! These are all 5-star reads for me :)

Top Ten Reads of 2015

earnest

“A trivial comedy for serious people.” The Importance of Being Earnest is an absolute joy to watch/listen to/read (it’s a play though, so the best way to experience it is out loud). The characters are charming, witty, and hilarious. I chuckled and smiled to myself so many times while listening to a performance of this Oscar Wilde play.

mara dyer

This is one of those novels that kept me up at night because I HAD to know what happened next. Parts of Mara Dyer’s story are creepy, other parts are really suspenseful, and the characters are funny and interesting and blushingly romantic (Hello, Noah!). I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer so much I bought a copy for myself right after returning the library version I had checked out.

Jurassic Park

Do-do-do-do-dooo. I’m a 90s kid so of course I love Jurassic Park (the film). I wanted to be Alan Grant when I grew up. I finally read the book this past summer and wow! Despite the heavy scientific and theoretical language, I flew through it. The story was altered a bit for the screen, but the underlying themes remain and the characters are relatively the same (except for John Hammond, who is not a lovable grandfather figure in the book).

Wives and Daughters

The only disappointing thing about Wives and Daughters is that Elizabeth Gaskell passed away before she could finish writing it! There were probably only a few chapters missing, so most of the story is there and it’s very enjoyable. We just have to imagine for ourself how the happy ending would have played out.

Cress

I finally read The Lunar Chronicles series this year (except for the final book, Winter, because I’m still on the hold list at the library) and Cress, although not my favorite character, is my favorite of the series so far. I loved following all of the characters, especially Thorne because he’s like Han Solo meets Flynn Rider so of course I loved him. There was also a lot of action and things happening in the novel that made it really fun for me to read right after having my son.

Me Before You

So many tears! But also, lots of smiles and happy feelings. Me Before You kind of wrecked me. It deals with sensitive subject matter that I won’t talk about here because of spoilers, but I wouldn’t recommend it to all readers. I decided to read it after finding out a movie is being made with Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke. Now I don’t know if I want to even see the movie because I’m not sure if I can handle all those heart wrenching feelings again.

Persuasion

This is the only reread on this list. I also reread Sense and Sensibility and the first three Harry Potter novels (all of which are 5-star reads for me), but Persuasion is rather dear to my heart. It’s not my favorite Austen novel (Pride and Prejudice is hard to beat, although Persuasion comes very close), but Anne Elliot is my favorite Austen heroine and who doesn’t love Captain Wentworth?

The Martian

I can’t rave enough about The Martian. The movie was great and the actors were all perfectly casted, but it’s still not as phenomenal as the book. Andy Weir’s writing style just blew me away. Anyone who can write 3/4 of a book in journal format and still make it a laugh-out-loud page turner definitely deserves all the praise. This novel is Macgyver meets Castaway on Mars and it’s hilarious.

openroadsummer

Swooooon. This is without doubt the most romantic book I read this year, but it will also make you want to hug your BFF and forgive the last person you had a fight with. I loved how real all the characters seemed; they all had issues, especially Reagan, and it was easy to find something to relate to. I only wish I had read Open Road Summer sooner!

Hello Goodbye

just finished Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between a couple of days ago and I am still dying to write a review. I was incredibly surprised by how much I loved this book. It started out cute but the premise of Aidan and Clare thinking about breaking up just because they were going to different colleges didn’t quite make sense to me until the end, and by that point I had already cried a few times (and anytime a book makes me feel something that much, I always give it 5-stars!).

What were your favorite reads from this year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Quotes From the Past Year

toptentuesdayI haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday post in forever! But this week’s topic really caught my fancy since over the past year I’ve read some pretty good books and I’ve highlighted a lot of funny, memorable, truth-filled, and heart breaking quotes.

These aren’t my absolute favorite quotes from these books, but I picked ones that stood out to me for one reason or another. For some of these books it was hard to pick just one quote to share!

Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So

Persuasion“Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.”

 

 

theevolutionofmaradyer“You’re stronger than you believe. Don’t let your fear own you. Own yourself.”

 

Jurassic Park“All major changes are like death. You can’t see to the other side until you are there.”

 

 

earnest“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.”

 

It was hard to pick just one from this book!:

The Martian“It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.”

 

 

Wives and Daughters“I won’t say she was silly, but I think one of us was silly, and it wasn’t me!”

 

 

openroadsummer“If you have a best friend you can laugh with and a few good songs, you’re more than halfway there.”

 

 

MTLGTM“Would you rather be great at something you like, or just okay at something you love?”

 

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban“Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people’s business.
Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git.
Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor.
Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball.”

robinhood“You who so plod amid serious things that you feel it shame to give yourself up even for a few short moments to mirth and joyousness in the land of Fancy; you who think that life hath not to do with innocent laughter that can harm no one; these pages are not for you.”

What are some of your favorite book quotes? I’d love to hear them!

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Book Purchases

toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, features my most recent book purchases! This was a fun post to write because my books are rather diverse (science fiction, nonfiction, mystery & thriller, classics, and YA classics). Some of these books I have already read, some I’m in the middle of reading, and others are still waiting to be picked up!

Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession (I didn’t include library check-outs, because I honestly forgot about them!)


Amelia ElkinsAmelia Elkins Elkins
by A. M. Blair (via Kindle) – One of the bloggers I converse with regularly recently published a retelling of Jane Austen’s PersuasionAmelia Elkins Elkins is a modern “courtroom drama” version of one of my favorite Austen novels (I haven’t started it yet, so I may be exaggerating on the courtroom drama aspect, but it is a legal mystery/thriller!). Hop on over to The Misfortune of Knowing to read more about this Persuasion adaptation!

The Lost WorldThe Lost World by Michael Crichton (paperback)- After racing through Jurassic Park a few weeks ago, I went to Barnes and Noble to pick up the sequel. I had hoped to read it during my vacation two weeks ago, but I was immersed in another book on this list. The Lost World is still on my immediate TBR list, though!

Elizabeth GaskellCranford and Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (via Kindle) – I’m desperately trying to get through my Classics Club list, and I have just started Wives and Daughters after hearing about the Victorian Celebration event A Literary Odyssey is hosting this month. The only other Gaskell novel I’ve read is North and South, which I ADORED, so I’m hoping I like these two novels as well.

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir (paperback) – I’ve been trekking through this book for a few weeks now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s anything but boring, but it is highly technical and therefore I can only pay attention when I’m reading in absolute silence (which wasn’t easy to do when I brought this book along on my cruise vacation two weeks ago).

Jane Austen DevoA Jane Austen Devotional by Steffany Woolsey (hardcover) – I picked this book and the succeeding one up from Lifeway the last time I was there a few months ago. Each entry starts with a page-long excerpt from an Austen novel, followed by an important moral lesson from the story. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with Austen :)

Marriage AdventureThe Uncommon Marriage Adventure by Tony and Lauren Dungy (hardcover) – My husband and I started going through this devotional together, but it’s been hard for us to find a consistent time to read it so we’ve been slacking.

IMG_0746What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Monroe (hardcover) – I mentioned this book on a non-fiction themed Top Ten Tuesday a while back and I am pleased to say this one was very entertaining and enlightening. If you like science or just like to ponder ridiculous hypothetical questions, please check out What If?!

Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green GablesAnne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery (paperback) – I bought these three personal favorites a few months ago, anticipating a spring reread. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to doing that, but I do enjoy admiring the gorgeous artwork every time I see these books on my shelf. I wish the whole series was published in this format, but there’s only these three plus Anne of Windy PoplarsAnne’s House of Dreams, and Anne of Ingleside.

What was the last book you purchased?

May & June Highlights

I haven’t done a highlights post in forever! It feels nice to be back into blogging regularly :)

Here is what I was up to the past two months…

I read 8 books.

Hitchhiker's Guide  Jurassic Park  Persuasion harrypotter whereshewent

      Fables  Seconds  Stealing the Groom

Which is a lot considering I was still coming off my reading slump last month.

Most Popular Posts

Where I’ve Been – It was nice to finally share with everyone our exciting news and explain why I’d been absent for several months.

25 Things: Ever After’s Château de Hautefort – I love that this post from last summer is still so popular, especially since it was on my bucket list for so long & I’d love to revisit it!

What I Watched

I finally got to catch up with my favorite web series! I updated my ‘Literary Vlogs’ sidebar to reflect some of the new YouTube shows I’ve been watching, like Northbound and From Mansfield With Love (adaptations of Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, respectively).

Northbound

I relate very much to Catherine Morland…and of course, who doesn’t love Henry Tilney?!

I also caught up on From Mansfield With Love, finally. It’s a harder Jane Austen novel to adapt, but the frequent cameos from the minor characters make it pretty interesting :)

May & June Highlights

  • Traveling – I traveled a lot the past two months. Probably more than a pregnant lady should, but I always had a buddy with me (either family members or Solo) and it was nice to visit friends and family.
  • 2nd Trimester! – After the first trimester’s ups and downs, it’s been like a breath of fresh air being in my second trimester. We also got to see our “little baby french fry” up close and found out it’s a boy! Since then we’ve been preparing our tiny apartment (and ourselves) for his arrival. Every time I see a friend has had her baby I get a tiny bit jealous! For now, labor doesn’t scare me, but I’m sure that’ll change in a few months!

    24 Weeks

    24 weeks as of July 6th!

  • VACATION! – Last week we went on a family reunion cruise. It was wonderful :)
    Key West

    My husband and me in Key West (we also visited Cozumel).

    Carnival

    Carnival Ecstasy

    Cruise

    My mom’s side of the family :)

    Matt and Ian

    My brother would probably kill me if he knew I put this online, but I love this picture so much! We were all pretty exhausted on the drive back from Miami.

    We also got to spend 4th of July at EPCOT so my husband and I got an unexpected Disney fix (thanks to my aunt’s sister who works at the parks).
    Epcot

    Matt

    Isn’t he cute? ;)

May & June Challenges

  • Feeling hungry all the time – This has been the one pitfall to my second trimester. I feel like I’m hungry so often, and most of the time the only foods I want to eat are sweets and junk food =P I’ve always been active and have had a fast metabolism, so it’s hard for me to limit myself but I don’t want to overindulge at the same time.
  • Missing having a job – I wasn’t able to find a job before we moved to Wilmington, and after I hit the 12 weeks mark I figured it would just be best for me to take it easy and pick up my job search early next year. But I miss having a routine and that extra income. If anyone knows of some reliable, non-telemarketing, work-from-home jobs, PLEASE let me know!

Things I’m Looking Forward To in July

  • More traveling – Hey, it’s better to get all this traveling in now than when after the baby arrives!
  • Catching up on reading – I’m trying to put a big dent in my Classics TBR plus I have tons of unread books on my shelves that I’d like to get to sometime this year.
  • Summer activities with friends – We have some game nights and beach days penned down for the summer that my husband and I are both looking forward to (although I’m much more hesitant about the ocean after the 8th North Carolina shark attack this year was reported a few days ago…).

July To Be Read

harrypotter  The Martian Wives and Daughters

My husband and I are continuing through our read along of the Harry Potter series. I started reading The Martian last month and although it’s holding my attention, it does take a while to read. I’m seriously behind on my Classics Club list, so I’m picking up Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters this month.

What was your favorite moment from June?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read (So Far) in 2015

toptentuesdayThe year is halfway over, and despite the fact that I took a 3-month long reading and blogging hiatus, I have read a decent amount of books so far this year! Which is great, because today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is about the top books I’ve read so far this year. Unfortunately, I’ve only read a handful of books that I really loved (meaning I gave them a 5-star rating), so I’m cutting this list down to 5 books.

Top Ten Five Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015

Jurassic ParkJurassic Park by Michael Crichton – I shared my review for this book last week, but this book was definitely a big hit with me. I loved the characters, the dinosaurs, and even the philosophy in the books (which is funny, since I usually stray away from books or discussions heavy in philosophy).

harrypotterHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – My first reread this year! I’ve been reading the series with my husband, who has seen the movies but never read the books, and even after having read this book so many times that the pages are literally falling out, I still enjoy it just as much. Eternal 5-star rating!

mara dyerThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – I feel like it’s been much longer than 6 months since I’ve read this book, but I still remember staying up really late to finish it because I had to know what happened next! It has so much: mystery, suspense, romance. Definitely my favorite book in Hodkin’s series and obviously one of the best books I’ve read this year.

earnestThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – An easy book to read in one sitting (or listen to on the way to and from work, as I did), Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy” had me laughing and hoping for a happy ending, and I was definitely pleased :) This is a great read for people who aren’t very used to reading classics.

PersuasionPersuasion by Jane Austen – Oh, I lied earlier. Persuasion was my first reread this year (although I did reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the same week), and it was also the first time I had reread this particular novel, my second favorite of all Jane Austen’s works. I still felt just as much for Anne Elliot, and I definitely still swooned at Captain Wentworth’s letter <3 This book has gotten me all excited for Austen in August in a little over month! (I’ll be following along with two blogosphere events this year: here and here)

Honorable Mention:

whereshewentWhere She Went by Gayle Forman – I read this sequel last month and never got to talk about it, but I definitely enjoyed it more than the first novel, If I Stay. That’s probably because I got used to Gayle Forman’s writing style. In If I Stay I wasn’t prepared for the whole book to take place over 24 hours and most of the plot happening in flashbacks, so I got a little annoyed, but this time I anticipated that and had more fun reading it.

Thanks for reading! What have been some of your favorite reads so far this year?

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park

Because the history of evolution is that life escapes all barriers. Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But life finds a way.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Published January 1, 1990 by Ballantine Books
Science Fiction/Thriller
Format: paperback; 399 pages
Also From This Author: The Lost WorldTimelinePrey
Goodreads Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥

Synopsis:

A billionaire has created a technique to clone dinosaurs. From the DNA that his crack team of scientists extract, he is able to grow the dinosaurs in his laboratories and lock them away on an island behind electric fences, creating a sort of theme park. He asks a group of scientists from several different fields to come and view the park, but something goes terribly wrong when a worker on the island turns traitor and shuts down the power.

Thoughts:

As a dino-nerd who has been both terrified and enthralled by “terrible lizards” for most of her life, it still shocks me that I waited this long to read Michael Crichton’s thrilling classic Jurassic Park. I’ve even had a gently used paperback copy on my bookshelf for several years now, but it wasn’t until I saw Jurassic World recently that I finally desired to dive into the book that started it all. And dive I did, for I could not put it down once I got past the few introductory chapters. This book kept me riveted until the very last page (literally) and all the things I love about Jurassic Park the film were only multiplied by the novel.

The voices of the characters are so clear that it was effortless to hear them debating back and forth across the page. Ian Malcolm’s philosophical rants are twice as long yet much deeper than they are in the film, and John Hammond, while stubborn and slow to see the true failure of his endeavors on screen, is impossibly hard-headed (and might I add hard-hearted) in the novel. And Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler are still my heroes :)

I loved the clear black and white themes running through Crichton’s book as well. They give you so much to think about that my mind was still pondering over everything days after I finished the book. I even went and bought the sequel the next day! Although, I’m saving it for my vacation next week ;)

Read This Book If:

…you love dinosaurs! (or are terrified by them)
…you are looking for a book to keep you on the edge of your seat up until the very last page.
…you enjoy light science fiction and thrillers.
…you’re longing for a book that makes you think and feel.

Final Musings:

I use this phrase very rarely, but Jurassic Park is a must-read for anyone who has watched the movie(s) and longed for more. The film has of course strayed from the novel in some ways, but the general themes and diatribes remain genuine. You will not be disappointed by Michael Crichton’s most famous thriller!

You know, at times like this one feels, well, perhaps extinct animals should be left extinct.