Highlight: Audio Books

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While you guys wait for me to make my way through the behemoth that is my first read of 2018 – Renegades by Marissa Meyer – I decided to highlight a format that is adored by some and scoffed at by others.

I am a woman of many hobbies. Besides reading I do very much enjoy creating things. I knit, crochet and cross stitch. A few years ago, I – along with a very large number of people of all ages – was wrapped up in going back to my childhood and became obsessed with colouring books. The adult colouring craze hit hard and fast, I can easily remember a time when you couldn’t find a pack of coloured pencils in my hometown. Thankfully, I already had some at home. It was when I started colouring during most of my off time that I began to feel like I was choosing this new hobby over my one true love – reading. Enter the obvious solution: Audio books. audio colouring

It was about this point where I started to really value my Audible subscription. I could easily put on an audio book and continue to colour my way to stress-free. I could listen to the prose of my favourite authors instead of reading them with my own eyes. It was brilliant! Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner?! In the early days, I had turned to putting on Netflix when I wanted back ground noise, only to find that I would get easily distracted and abandon my colouring all together. This was not so with audio books.

I was so excited about my discovery, that I started to use audio books when I was doing other things – like my yarn crafts, or house work. (My parents can attest to the fact that the house work was far less common. I swear it’s better now mom!) For everyone else this was just common sense, but for me, it was revolutionary! This changed everything! I didn’t have to choose one hobby over the other!

Since I was driving back and forth between my Southern and Northern homes every few weeks, my audio books became my constant companion. In fact, if it hadn’t been for Heartless by Marissa Meyer (see a pattern here?) on audio during the big move, I would have had to listen to my eighteen year old cat, Trixie, scream at me for a thirteen hour drive. As long as the book was playing through my car speakers, she felt like someone was talking to her, so she remained semi-calm. (My sister was not so lucky with Nova. Sorry about that!)

I don’t think that I could ever completely make the switch to audio – I love books and the actual act of reading – but it sure does come in handy. I walk a lot, so I’ve managed to make my way through a few books that way. In September, when the mammoth Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King was released, I bought both the hard copy and the audio book so that I wouldn’t have to haul such a big book back and forth to work.

If you get the right narrator, audio books can be a pretty stellar substitute when your hands are too busy to flip pages.

What do you think? Have you had many experiences with audio books? Good or bad? There’s nothing I love more than hearing from you guys, so leave a comment down below and let me know!

 

 

 

 

New Year, New Books, New Goals!

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Hey Wordnerds!

With 2018 looming on the horizon, my heart is full of joy for what the year may bring! In the spirit of the occasion – and with the absolute best of intentions – I present to you a few of the challenges and resolutions that I’ve decided to partake in once the new year commences.

1. The PopSugar Reading Challenge

PopSugar has dropped the list for their reading challenge for 2018 and I just couldn’t help myself. These challenges are great because they get me reading outside of my comfort zone and have me experiencing authors and genres that I normally wouldn’t have explored on my own.

You can find the list here: https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Reading-Challenge-2018-44138581

Instead of being able to see all of the books on the list at one time, this year I’ve decided to randomly draw one of the subjects.

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I put them all on slips of paper and placed them in a box (that might turn into a jar later -I’m still undecided) and I will randomly choose one every time that I am ready to begin a new book. I figure that if I do it this way, I won’t just finish the easiest ones first and then be left with all of the more difficult ones at the end of the year.

2. My  Bookish Resolutions

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I’ve made a list of my bookish resolutions in my reading notebook, and I think that they will work pretty well for me. Usually I make a resolution to just not make resolutions – since I’m always setting myself up for failure anyway – but this year, I’m going to make it happen.

I’m pretty sure that the hardest part of this list is going to be the destashing – I am usually quite attached to my books and even if I’ve tried to read them multiple times and failed, I always tell myself that maybe they just weren’t what I needed AT THAT TIME. Thus, I have bookshelves CRAMMED with books that I couldn’t get through.

3. Litsy A-Z Challenge

For anyone who doesn’t know what Litsy is, it is an AMAZING social networking app created for readers, by readers. I’ve heard it described as “if Goodreads and Instagram had a baby, it would be Litsy” and that is probably the best description I’ve ever heard. What that little snippet doesn’t tell you is how INCREDIBLE the community on Litsy is. I’ve seen the Littens band together to help each other out in times of need, or just to brighten the day of someone who is going through a tough time. Recently, a group of Littens sent a slew of Christmas cards to a little girl whose mom had posted that she was having a bit of a tough time at school. The community is absolutely phenomenal and unlike anything I have ever seen before.

Now that I’ve waxed poetic about the wonderful community, the challenge. Litsy A-Z challenge is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a challenge where you read 26 books – each title beginning with a letter of the alphabet. You’ve completed it when you’ve read through the entire alphabet. It sounds easy, but finding titles that start with X or Z can be pretty difficult!

(Normally I would put a picture here, but I haven’t made the page in my notebook yet. Just… use your imagination…)

4. The Goodreads Challenge

So most avid readers know about the Goodreads challenge. It’s a self propelled challenge where you can choose how many books you want to read in a year and work toward that goal. The challenge page hasn’t been refreshed yet for 2018 (upon time of writing), but I think that I will begin with a goal of 50 books.

50 books doesn’t sound like a lot to me, I have friends who have gone well over 100, but I have to keep in mind that I’m an insanely slow reader. Besides, if I do make it to 50 half way through, I can always up it as I need to. This challenge is a tried and tested one, I set a goal every year. I have never completed it. This will be my year Wordnerds.

For anyone who wants to follow my progress on goodreads OR Litsy, I can be found at:

@read.em.and.eat on Litsy

and there is a handy-dandy little goodreads widget on the navigation bar to the right that will keep you posted on my goodreads progress. Feel free to add me as a friend! (I have no goodreads friends! My life is sad and incomplete!)

Alrighty Wordnerds! That completes my goals and resolutions for the upcoming year! I’m incredibly excited to spend a full calendar year with all of you and I wish you the very very best! I would love to know if you guys are setting your bookish resolutions so let me know in the comments!

See you in 2018! 

A Quick Check-In

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Hey Wordnerds!

Now that Christmas has come and gone (and I have finished mourning the loss of my favourite holiday for another year), I thought I would check in with everyone. Also, I’m more than a little excited about one of my incredibly bookish Christmas gifts.

My mother, who knows me WAY too well, sent me THIS BEAUTY: agatha

I have never in my life seen a prettier book. Not only does it include my favourite Poirot story (Murder on the Orient Express), but it’s also ROSE GOLD! Which is a shade of gold that I didn’t know that I loved so much until I started working at my last job at a jewelry store.

Also as far as awesome blog-worthy Christmas gifts go, my wonderful boyfriend got me an HD webcam so that I can skype my family back home – AND create some videos for you guys! Perhaps I can even figure out how to do some live stuff in the facebook group! When we make it to our 50 followers, and I’m ready to give out the $50 Amazon gift card, maybe I can do it live! (Nudge, nudge, hint, hint. *cough* tell your friends *cough*)

I do very much hope that everyone had an amazing holiday season and made some memories with their loved ones over the last little while. I, personally, did not get to go home and visit my family – but as I said in a recent post I am anxiously awaiting a flight home in February when I shall be free to visit my family for a full week. Having Christmas without them was incredibly difficult – and VERY strange – but thankfully I do have a fantastic support system up here that made sure that I wasn’t too sad.

Plus! In front of us is a brand new year and with that the promise of bigger and better things for the blog. I have a few challenges that will definitely keep my reading interesting for 2018 and some Bookish Resolutions that I will share with you guys in a couple of days. (Hint: being more consistent with my blog posts is DEFINITELY one of them.)

Anyway, I would love to hear your holiday stories so feel free to drop them in the comments below! I do read and approve EVERY comment that comes through, and it absolutely makes my day to hear from my lovely Wordnerds!

The Number One Christmas Book for 2017… FINALLY.

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Alright Wordnerds, so apparently “tomorrow” didn’t exactly work for me haha. In all honesty, it’s one of my literary New Years Resolutions to be a little more dependable for my regular readers – but more on that in a different post.

The number one Christmas book (for me) in 2017 is… (drum roll please)…

 Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe by Stewart McLean! 

1200x630bbNow I know that not everyone is familiar with the stories of Dave and Morley that aired on Stewart McLean’s CBC Radio Show, but for me, spending some holiday time with Dave, Morley, Sam and Stephanie seemed like the most amazing idea. This book had two very big things going for it for a first time reader.

  1. It’s hilarious. In the best, wholesome, facepalming kind of way.
  2. The stories are not long. Some of them are a few pages, but all in all, it’s a great book to read a story or two and then head to bed. I personally didn’t use this method, I love these characters, so I read the book in its entirety in one evening.

I’ve spent hours upon hours listening to reruns of the CBC Radio show online and was so happy when I got to read these stories (with Stewart’s one-of-a-kind story telling style in mind) in the comfort of my own home, without disturbing my boyfriend.

This one will be one of those books that sit on my shelf, waiting for the holidays to come around so that I can enjoy it over again. Likely, I will reread this one every year for years to come.

 

***Christmas Book*** – The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan

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So, while my intention was to have a countdown of five different books for you guys, as mentioned I just didn’t really find anything else that grabbed me. So instead you get a countdown of two. Here is the number two Christmas book for me this year!

 

The Christmas SecretThey say that behind every great man, there’s a great woman, and behind London’s most powerful leaders, there stands only one—Alex Hyde, business coach par excellence. She’s the woman they turn to for advice and strategy when the pressure gets too much. So when Alex gets a call offering an unbelievable sum to discreetly manage a family member on the board of an esteemed Scottish whisky company, it’s business as usual. She can do this in her sleep. Only, she’s never met anyone like Lochlan Farqhuar before. CEO of Kentallen Distilleries, he’s also the son and heir of the company’s founder, and a man for whom there is no “no.” He’s a maverick, and Alex needs to get inside his head before he brings the company to its knees. But as she tasks herself with finding a way in, she finds that for once, she’s not the one in control. And when she stumbles across a chance discovery that changes everything, she’s suddenly not so sure she should be.

Alright. I’m going to begin by mentioning that I had never read anything by Karen Swan before this book – but I just couldn’t say no to that cover. It’s beautiful. So when I decided that I wanted to actually dive into the world of this book, the first person that I contacted was Mama Wordnerd. She is an avid Karen Swan fan – having read every book that the woman has ever published. So I knew exactly who would want to join me in a buddy read.

I started later than Mama, hitting chapter four just as she was on nineteen or some such nonsense. However, though the beginning of this book is kind of slow, in a few short days I had not only surpassed my mothers  place in the book, but finished it all together. I actually think I stayed up until two or three in the morning to finish it – 6:00am wake up time be damned!

One of the best parts for me about reading this book is that when we had both finished it, mom and I had an almost two hour conversation about it. Raving about the switch between past and present tense, the imagery that Karen has created, and about how this book completely blew apart the stereotype of the “predictable Christmas story”. Having those conversations with my mom will always be one of my favourite bookish memories. The book itself was amazing, but being able to fan girl so hard with my mother was priceless. (Side note – Mom, we should totally start a book club. We would be SO good at it!)

Sometimes portions of historical fiction – even when just added as snippets – can be rather dry. However, the insertion of the history in this book kept you on edge, wondering how it would all connect in the end. Boy-oh-boy does it ever connect. By the end of the book when everything was coming together, I was flipping pages at an alarming rate. After one such  instance about half way through the book, I fired a text message to mom, seconds before my shift at work started that just said “You just wait until you get to the next chapter! Holy Hannah!”

“But Katy, if you enjoyed this book as much as you say you did, why isn’t it number one?” You may be thinking. (Hopefully you aren’t saying it out loud, your family may judge you just a tad. I won’t though. Us Wordnerds need to stick together.) Anyone who knows me, and realizes that I’m really an eighty year old woman trapped in a twenty-eight year olds body, will see why it isn’t number one.

The Number One book for Christmas 2017 – coming to a blog near you. TOMORROW!

 

 

 

 

Tis the Season to Be… Freaking Stressed Out!

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Hey Wordnerds!

So, my original plan was to make sure that in the first week of December, that you guys had a few amazing Christmas books to dig into for the upcoming season – recommended by yours truly, of course. However, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, things have gotten rather hectic. I know, I know, it’s a hectic time for everyone – but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

In the last few weeks, I’ve only managed to read two Christmas books that really stuck with me (for very different reasons) and I’m desperately hoping to get the reviews up for you guys by the weekend. If all goes well, I will have two days free to write the reviews that you – and the wonderful books – deserve. I’ve also been taking some time to work on my photography skills with the help of my boyfriends father, who has been nothing but patient with my inability to even focus properly.

Last week I finished a Young Adult Advance Reader Copy that I got from work that I CANNOT WAIT to tell you guys about in the New Year. The review is already written and scheduled, so keep an eye out for that one. However, since I flipped the very last electronic page, I have not been able to get into a book and stick with it. Everything kind of falls flat. They’re all really good books, don’t get me wrong, I just think that I have too much on my mind to actually sit down and read them.

Tonight, with the wind howling and the snow blowing all over the place, I’m making myself a cup of Coffee Crisp hot chocolate, and I’m going to get down to business. When you write a blog about reading, and you’re finding that you can’t really get into reading, you aren’t just letting yourself down – you’re letting down your readers too. So never fear Wordnerds, I won’t leave you hanging.

In lighter news, I have something very big to look forward to in the coming year. I’m flying home to see my family! It’s been almost six months since I last saw Mama Wordnerd, and it is SO time for me to spend some time at the old family compound. Not only am I missing my parents, but my nephew is growing like a weed and my sister is becoming the beautiful, ladygamer that I always knew that she could be. It’s about time for some family time. The count down is on guys, 58 days until I fly out!

Thankfully, Boyfriend will be here to look after my fur babies. I will miss all four of them (Boyfriend included obviously), but I will be home a week later. They will be just fine.

Alright, enough excitement, it’s time to get down to business. I won’t let you down Wordnerds!

Young Adult & Middle Grade – Escapism and World Building Champions

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Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I have a deep love for young adult and middle grade books. I’ve read so many of them, in fact, that I like to think of myself the self-proclaimed expert at work. I love these stories about younger people for one, very important reason – I love to read to escape. There is nothing in the world that I love more than finding a story with a world that I can be completely consumed by. In my personal experience, I have found no one that accomplishes that goal better than teen and middle grade authors.

Now I’m sure that I will get some flack for this – mutterings of “well you’ve obviously never read the works of *insert prominent adult author here*” and you could be right – I haven’t. To be fair, I don’t read a lot in the sci-fi/fantasy section, where world building is so important. Not in adult fiction anyway – but I love spending time in the fantasy worlds of young adult authors.

From Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles – where I get to relive all of my favourite fairy tales in a very different and non-traditional way, to Marie Lu’s near future sci-fi in WarCross, I have gotten to take a glimpse into genres that once intimidated the crap out of me. The characters that frequent these YA worlds tend to not take themselves too seriously, and if they do, they’re brought down a peg or two pretty quickly. These authors have created worlds that I am ecstatic to spend some time in. A place for me to go when I don’t want to worry that I have to go to work tomorrow or that there is a mountain of laundry waiting for me. These worlds are a refuge from every day monotony – and I really don’t personally care that they came out of the teen section (or the middle grade section for that matter).

There is something about writing for young adults and children that keeps authors from taking their worlds too seriously – although there are obvious exceptions, this is a statement that I have found to be true in the works that I’ve read. When you’re writing for a younger audience, nothing is off limits. No one is going to judge you for creating something illogical or unrealistic – and those things are sometimes what makes reading these books so fun. A child’s imagination is an amazing thing, and as an author that writes for children, you get to expand on that without fear of repercussions.

There was a Slate article a few years ago that really made me want to be an advocate for adults that read fiction marketed toward a younger crowd. The article looked down upon them, saying that they should “be ashamed of themselves” and that it should be a requirement to “pick up something with substance”. I’m not sure that I have ever been so angry in my entire life. How DARE they? I don’t care if your idea of a great Sunday night read is The Little Blue Truck or if you are on your 90th re-read of Fifty Shades of Grey, if you’re reading, and you’re enjoying yourself then the opinion of some ignorant, uninformed, snob (from a website that I hadn’t previously heard of) doesn’t matter in the slightest.

I was going to post the link to the article, but there is already enough stupid in the world and you guys don’t need to even waste your time reading it. I’ve read YOUNG ADULT FICTION portraying characters with a higher IQ than the author of that article. So there’s that.

Reading Season

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Ah my lovely Wordnerds. Reading season is upon us.

Let’s face it, I read all year long – however, there is just something a little extra cozy about reading in the winter. Let me set the scene for you.

You are finally done your day, and preparing for some long-overdue reading time. Outside your window the snow is falling in big, fat, flakes – highlighted by the street lights. With a contented sigh, you sit down on the couch, basked in the glow of your Christmas tree (if you’re like me and crazy enough to have it up already) and pull a nice fuzzy blanket over your lap.  Soon you are surrounded by cats (or dogs, or ferrets – your critter of choice).

Doesn’t that sound amazing?! The bonus of the place that I live is that they get a lot of lake effect snow. We’ve had a few flurries every day for the last week. My snow loving friends back home are getting jealous. My mother is telling me that I’m hogging it all and to send some down south. Sorry mom, I wouldn’t do that even if I tried. These are the best reading days. Beat out only by the days where you have so much snow that everything shuts down and you have no where to go. I’ve always been a fan of that “snowed in” feeling.

This is very handy considering that I’m reading a Christmas book set in Scotland. Currently, the main character has not come across any snow. HOW CAN YOU HAVE A CHRISTMAS BOOK WITHOUT SNOW?!

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I mean, snow has been hinted at, so that’s a bonus – but sometimes if I’m getting snow in real life, I want to read about it in fiction. I know that I’m crazy, and I know that more than one person in my life right now wants to punch my head clean off for being excited about winter – but that’s just the way I’ve always been.

I hope you all are feeling cozy and literary going into the holidays and I will see you all very soon!

The Upcoming Season Hype!

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Good Morning Wordnerds!

It is currently 7 a.m. (aka far too freaking early) and while I get ready for work, I wanted to check in with all of you!

Halloween has come and gone, we’re rounding the corner on Remembrance Day here in the Great White North and then… dare I say it… CHRISTMAS. I have a few different things planned for the blog for the upcoming holidays, so I thought I would let you in on some of it – just so that you can get as excited as I am.

For the first week of December, I’m going to post my five favourite Christmas books that I’ve read this year. I’ve already got a head start on my holiday reading (which should not take anyone who knows me by surprise) and I want to share my top five with time for you guys to check them out to get into the holiday season before it’s over.

Next, I’m going to go ahead and do a wee bit of a giveaway over on my instagram – so make sure that you go over and give that a follow! You can find me there at @hungrywordnerd – it’s one of the best places to keep up to date with my day to day reading (although I’m about as consistent with instagram as I am here on the blog).

And lastly, I’m doing a read-a-long of Karen Swan’s new Christmas novel The Christmas Secret with Mama Wordnerd. So hopefully you can expect a tag-team review from us on that. If you wanted to read it along side us, I would love to compare notes with all of you wonderful people.

Lots of stuff to look forward to here on Read ‘Em and Eat!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon Wrap Up

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Hey Wordnerds!

Alright, so I made it to about… 16 hours. Not exactly a personal best, but an accomplishment nonetheless. I finished exactly one and a half books, putting me no where near my page count either.  That being said, I had a freaking blast trying.

I spent a lot of the day, holed up in the living room with one (or both) of the cats, enjoying the fact that I literally had nothing to do other than read for a full day. I finished The Survivor by James Herbert (Review coming soon!), read part of All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater, and very briefly started the first book in the Grisha Trilogy Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

shadow and bone warm

At about midnight, I decided to give myself a “Fask Mask Pick Me Up” that resulted in my anxiously awaiting being able to peel it off so I could go straight to bed. I love reading, but it’s one of those relaxing past times that make it easy to fall asleep at any given moment. If you followed along on Litsy – considering I completely forgot about my instagram account for the entire day – you will see my struggle in chronological order.

You’ll also see the food! Oh the food!

I made the most amazing turkey chili, the link to the recipe is here:  https://chefsavvy.com/slow-cooker-turkey-chili/

I skipped a few of the more spicy elements because boyfriend is not a huge fan of spicy food – but the ability to put this all together the night before and put it in the slow cooker in the morning made it a PERFECT comfort food for readathon.

Also on the menu was something a tiny bit healthier. Dill chicken salad lettuce wraps. The recipe is here:  https://peaceloveandlowcarb.com/dill-chicken-salad-low-carb-paleo/

I had always wanted to try lettuce wraps, they seemed like such an awesome idea to me – but I didn’t want to order them at a restaurant (not when I could get pizza or a burger!) So I took this opportunity to let my creative flag fly and found this healthy(ish) version on pinterest. These. Were. To. Die. For. I ate the entire container of chicken salad through out the day.

(I also consumed an entire bag of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies – because… Readathon!)

I know that a lot of my Litsy people are continuing their readathons today, kind of making it a bit more of a 24-in-48 and I might just follow suit. I took the day off today to recuperate and I honestly can’t think of a better way to relax after a day of reading than…well… another day of reading!

Happy Sunday Wordnerds!