Reading Dilemmas

I am realizing that I don’t read like I used to. Most notably, I’ve stopped reading before bed, so I tend not to do much reading at all. I miss it. I miss discovering new-to-me authors and reading new stories. So I need to figure out how to make time. Maybe I’ll use reading as post-work relaxation.

I’m not entirely fiction free, however. I listen to audiobooks in the car. I enjoy this, but I find myself listening to books I have read and enjoyed. It’s too cost prohibitive to buy an audiobook as a first-time book I want to try. Which is why I want to get back in the habit of reading.

First up is this book.

Letters Written in White

I saw a recommendation from someone on Facebook (can’t remember who). I’m looking forward to jumping in.

A Puzzler

I’ve been listening to Lisa Kleypas’s Hathaway series on audiobook. My current “listen” is Mine Till Midnight, which really doesn’t match the book. My hunch is that an ARC was used as a script for the audio; then the book—and one character in particular—was revised/added to before publication. I’m now on CD five of eight, so I’m interested to see how the differences will continue.

I’m a bit familiar with this phenomenon as I’ve heard it before on one of the In Death audios—I believe it was Survivor in Death. The changes didn’t seem as extreme, however.

Back Where I Started

When I started this blog, I was leaving my historical romance comfort zone and checking out new authors. Now, I’ve returned to historical romance and am (for the most part) sticking with my tried-and-true favorite authors.

Go figure.

My Lisa Kleypas marathon continued with Married by Morning and Love in the Afternoon. Enjoyed them both but really loved the latter. Since I’ve reread it already and have been listening to the audiobook in the car, it’s safe to call it a keeper: 5 out of 5.

I love books with letters in them, and this one doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The letters Christopher and Beatrix exchange are delightful and real. Really, the only quibble I have with the book is that I do NOT advise holding a dog’s muzzle closed to teach him not to bite. Dog training has come a long way since the 1800s. :)

I have some contemporary romances waiting for me to read: the latest by Erin McCarthy and Rachel Gibson, among others. But I can’t bring myself to leave the realm of historical romance, so they will sit a bit longer.

As for what I’m doing with my time these days . . . a lot of scrapbooking, some decluttering (I’m actually letting go of some books!), and I spend a bit of time with my pups.

It’s good fun, but I’ll continue to post here when I have something to say.

Audio Extravaganza

Audio Collection 

I’ve always enjoyed audiobooks, but I’ve become a bit obsessed. Bring them on! Bring on the new! That’s my current philosophy. I’ve got all the J.D. Robbs on audio, and I love them, but I discovered that it actually is possible to overdose on them. So I’ve been getting audios by other authors. I made another purchase today. Here’s what’s coming:

Kelley Armstrong: Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic
Jim Butcher: Summer Knight and Small Favor

I won’t even say how much they cost—audiobooks aren’t cheap. But I know I’ll listen to them often, so it’s worth it.

Anyone have any good audiobook recommendations?

Audiobooks

I’ve got a column about audiobooks at Romancing the Blog today. I came up with the topic because I’ve been shifting my audiobooks from the flimsy paper boxes they come in to vinyl containers from AudioEditions.com. Kind of expensive when you add the cost of the audiobook and the binder, but based on how often I listen to my audiobooks, I think it will be worth it. At the very least, I’m hoping it will help me keep better track of my cassettes.

Yes, it’s true, I have more than a dozen books on cassette. The reason–my car has a tape deck, not a CD player. I’ve still switched to CDs, but I don’t want to buy CDs for the ones I already have. Most of my audios are of the In Death series, although I have several others as well. I use them a lot from the library as well.

Anyway, I hope you’ll stop by and read the column.

My contest is still running. Visit this blog entry to read the details.

Good News

I love the J.D. Robb audiobooks. I have all the unabridged ones available and listen to them all the time in the car. Unfortunately, many of the books aren’t available as unabridged audiobooks. After listening to Memory in Death for about the fifth time, I e-mailed Brilliance Audio (the company that records the other In Deaths) and asked if they planned to do unabridged versions of Rapture in Death through Betrayal in Death.

The answer? Yes. Starting in September, they’ll release one unabridged a month, beginning with Rapture in Death (the fourth book). This makes me very, very happy. I will finally have some new audios to enjoy!

Now, if I could only convince them to do audiobooks for the Kelley Armstrong books after Bitten . . .

Memory in Death

Memory in Death 

I received my autographed copy of Memory in Death yesterday and read it all in one night. I’m now listening to the audiobook: 4.5 out of 5.

Eve Dallas is one tough cop. She can deal with a holiday reveler in a red suit, who plunges thirty-seven stories and gives new meaning to the term “sidewalk Santa.” She can take on purse snatchers, drug dealers, and worse. But when Trudy Lombard–a seemingly ordinary middle-aged lady–shows up at the station, it’s all Eve can do to hold it together. Instantly, she is plunged back to the days when she was a vulnerable, traumatized young girl–and trapped in foster care with the twisted woman who now sits smiling in front of her.

Trudy claims she came all the way to New York just to see how Eve was doing. But Eve’s fiercely protective husband, Roarke, suspects otherwise–and his suspicion proves correct when Trudy, rebuffed by Eve, shows up at his office, demanding money in exchange for keeping the ugly details of Eve’s childhood a secret. Using every ounce of willpower he has to restrain himself, he shows her the door–and makes it clear that she’d be wise to get out of the city and never bother them again.

Eve and Roarke will be satisfied if Trudy Lombard just heads back to Texas. Somebody else, though, wants her dead–and just a few days later, she’s found on the floor of her hotel room, a mess of faded bruises and fresh blood. A cop to the core, Eve is determined to solve the case, if only for the sake of Trudy’s bereaved son. Unfortunately, Eve was not the only one who suffered at this woman’s hands–and she and Roarke will follow a circuitous and dangerous path to find out who turned the victimizer into a victim.

There have been more than 20 installments of the In Death series, and I continue to find the characters compelling. Memory in Death is perhaps more character-based than many, since it offers a new glimpse into Eve’s troubled past. Eve’s time in Trudy’s home may have been short, but it had an obvious effect on the nine-year-old Eve.

Trudy herself is quite a piece of work. Although Eve wasn’t subject to severe beatings in Trudy’s home, the “care” she provided was far from pleasant. Like Eve, I had trouble having much sympathy for Trudy when she became a victim, and I thought that was an interesting aspect of the book.

There are a number of memorable moments: preparing for the annual Christmas party, the gift exchange. The references to past cases are interesting, and they make the story even more rich. I also like the new aspects of Eve’s nightmares. The fact that they are evolving makes them realistic and intriguing. The Christmas tree image, for instance, is a disturbing one. I’ll leave it at that.

The scene where Trudy visits Roarke in his office is one of the most memorable of the series for me. It’s exceptionally well written, and you can see and feel Roarke’s anger about what this woman did to his wife. I can’t help but love seeing the dangerous side of Roarke as he protects the woman he loves.

Speaking of this scene, it’s beautifully done in the audiobook, read by Susan Ericksen. I’m only on tape 3 of 8, but I can tell this will be one of my favorites. Ericksen’s portrayals shine even more than usual, and if you’re a fan of the series, I encourage you to listen to it if you can, even if you have to check it out of the library.

On the Day after Christmas . . .

I had a nice Christmas and hope you did, too. I spent it with my family, then came home last night and collapsed. I thought I was having allergies, but it has turned out to be a cold or flu. The sore throat set in late last night.

Now I’ve been up for two hours and I feel completely exhausted. I’m going to eat lunch, then go back to bed for a while.

I just finished listening to the audio version of Undead and Unappreciated. It’s quite good. I hope they will go back and put the first two books in the series on audio as well.

I read Tripping through the Universe this weekend and liked the stories by Ellen Fisher and Shelley Munro quite a bit. I’ll do a longer review later, when I feel up to it.

Right now I am reading Poison Study. It’s due back at the library tomorrow, and someone has it on hold so I can’t renew it. I’m hoping I can finish it today, but I’m not in great shape, so we’ll see.

P.S. Just realized I will be sick on my birthday (tomorrow). This sucks.

Good News and Bad News

I’ll start with the bad news. I’ve been having problems with my furnace for a while, and it’s getting quite cold. I think I may simply need a new filter; the problem is that I can’t find a door to get to it. I’ve talked with a friend, and I’m going to examine it tonight for a sliding panel. If there isn’t one, well . . .

The good news is that I’m expecting some packages. One is a new batch of review books; another is an order from Amazon with Immortal in Death on audio and Alison Kent‘s The Shaughnessey Accord.

At least I’ll have something to listen to and read, even if I end up freezing.

Audiobooks

I started listening to audiobooks earlier this year, when our local B. Dalton went out of business and was selling everything for 50% off. I decided to try Imitation in Death, by J.D. Robb. Listening to books was a new experience for me. Susan Ericksen reads all of the J.D. Robb books, and at first I didn’t like Roarke’s voice. I had imagined his accent to be more subtle. But I got used to it, and now I enjoy Ericksen’s performances immensely. Some of my favorite moments: the scene in Glory in Death when Eve shows Roarke that she is wearing the diamond he bought for her; in Portrait in Death when Eve confronts Roarke about why he is acting so detached and distant.

I listen to audiobooks in the car–my round-trip commute is about an hour, and it sure beats listening to the radio and hearing ads half the time. I also listen to them at times while I’m editing, but it depends on what kind of work I’m doing. I typically listen to books and authors I’ve read before: J.D. Robb, Nora Roberts, J.K. Rowling, and Suzanne Brockmann. I’ve only listened to unabridged versions; I know that the abridged ones would only frustrate me. While I own all of the unabridged J.D. Robb books available, I get most of the others from the library. With its elements of performance, listening to audiobooks is like watching a play. That may be another reason I enjoy it so much, since I adore the theatre.

My latest audiobook purchase is Suzanne Brockmann’s The Defiant Hero. In my opinion, reader Carrington McDuffie gets Sam’s accent right, although I also like Deborah Hazlett’s portrayal in Gone Too Far. I’m looking forward to the unabridged version of Immortal in Death, which will be available on November 9.

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