30 September 2012

Audiobook Review: Heaven is for Real

2¢ Worth: Heaven is for Real stuck with me for days. I couldn't get Colton's description of heaven out of my head. I couldn't stop reflecting back on Todd's descriptions of how they unraveled Colton's experiences. I really couldn't stop looking at the painting Colton confirmed looks like Jesus. It stuck with me. It made me think. It validated some things I had heard and challenged other things I had heard. It made me think of my father who passed away in April 2011. It brought out my inner skeptic and believer simultaneously. It reminded me over and over again of that expression and Bible passage (Psalm 8:2), "Out of the mouth of babes." Heaven is for Real isn't a beautifully written piece of literature everyone will enjoy. But if you're open to it, is an honest, simple, clear, thought provoking retelling of what happened to one boy and his family. It's the kind of book I will never forget and probably relisten to many times over.

Words aloud: Dean Gallagher is so earnest as the narrator that I really did believe during my listen that he was the author himself. His no frills honest approach felt very authentic.

Wind-up: Heaven is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent (published by Oasis Audio) is read by Dean Gallagher and consists of 4 discs (4 hours and 16 minutes). Audiobook Rating: 4 stars. Narrator Rating: 3 stars.

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

27 September 2012

Book Reviews: 13 Little Blue Envelopes & The Last Little Blue Envelope

2¢ worth: I don't smoke. These books have nothing to do with smoking. But I feel like I smoked them because I just about inhaled them. From the moment I opened book one (13 Little Blue Envelopes) and read the first letter that kicks off Ginny's journey through Europe, I was hooked. I had to know. I had to know where she went, what she would find, and what happened to her vibrant 35 year-old aunt. Book one moves really fast, bouncing from city to city and letter to letter.  It's quick but not choppy. Ginny is on a mission and it was almost impossible for me to put down. Book two (The Last Little Blue Envelope) was more about closure. More about Ginny going back (more mature and sure of herself this time) to finish things that she had started and get answers. Would I recommend these? Absolutely. Try book one when you need something fast and fun. Then if you're like me and don't want to fill in the blanks on your own, grab book two. 4 stars

Word to the wise: Book one was initially meant to stand alone so it very well can if you don't wish to go on. Book two needs book one.

Whippersnappers: While there is no sex or foul language, there is some minor mentions to sexuality, sexual orientation, nudity, drugs, and death. There was also one dicey scene in book one where I held my breath until Ginny was out safely.

Wrapping: The girl on the covers is just too put together and cool for me. She's pretty but doesn't suit my mental image of the shy slightly nerdy Ginny. That was (especially in book one) part of her charm.

Wondering: Ginny gets to visit some pretty amazing places. So I'm wondering, what city is #1 on your list of places to see? 

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

It's WINNER time!

It's WINNER time. The winner of my Goblin War Series contest is Anne. Congratulations Anne! Courtesy of Kersten Hamilton, you have won a signed copy of the first two books in the series (Tyger Tyger and In the Forests of the Night) AND a pre-order of book three (When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears). Enjoy darling! I will be emailing you for your mailing address. Anne was selected with help from Random.org.

Click here to read my review of Tyger Tyger

19 September 2012

What's Up, Buttercup? What Lady Whimsy Has Been Up To...

1. Baby Whimsy now wakes up and browses through her books. Sometimes she even flips through the pages and babbles like she's pretending to read. I love it. So much so that I tweeted this:

2. Got my "first taste of fall" with a Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks. I didn't think it was possible to love something more than the Pumpkin Spice Latte, but I do. I am after all an utter slave to all things sweet & salty. Also in this picture is the new winter edition of my favorite mag on the planet. It's called Flea Market Style and if you love thrift shopping and upcycling you MUST get your hands on it.

3. I received One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath for review. Wahoo! This adorable cover just screams fall to me. I want to sit up in that tree with Primrose. Except I would bring a thermos of hot cocoa.

4. The darling Danielle of There's a Book made my month by gifting me 3 books I have been hoping and wishing for. How she remembers something like that blows my mind. If you don't know Danielle, you MUST change that. She is one of the sweetest and most thoughtful bloggers I have ever had the honor and pleasure of interacting with. She is my unofficial sister from another mother.

Now tell me, what's new with you?

17 September 2012

Audiobook Review: Ida B ...and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World

2¢ Worth: Ida B ...and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World is full of charm, wit, and imagination. It's the story of a young girl who has a seemingly perfect life until some trouble blows in and spins Ida B down a road of confusion, fear, and anger. For awhile delightful buoyant Ida B lets all that darkness turn her heart dark too. The story is descriptive, earnest, and bittersweet. Ida B's way of thinking made me smile, hurt when she hurt, wish I could hug her, explain things for her, and make things better. I adore this audio. So much so that I could see myself listening to it again and again. I almost never say that.

Words aloud: Lili Taylor is absolutely fantastic. Seriously. An instant fav that in my mind puts her on par with Neil Gaiman. There is something so thoughtful about her voice that lends it self perfectly to this precocious little girl who speaks to trees and brooks. There is a line from the book that I will never forget because it's just soooo true about good narrators and just so true about Lili Taylor. Here is Ida B reflecting on reading aloud.
..."That magic that happens when you tell a story right and everybody who hears it not only loves the story, but they love you a little bit too for telling it so well."
Word to the wise: So if you must read it, please by all means do. I'm sure it's delightful. BUT I reallly can not recommend the audio version enough.
Wrinkle: The ending is good and has closure but I would have loved an epilogue.
Wooed: I'm a list maker so I loved that about Ida B.
Whippersnappers: Clean.

Wind-up: Ida B ...and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan (published by Listening Library) is read by Lili Taylor and consists of 3 discs (3 hours and 14 minutes). Audiobook rating: 5 stars. Narrator rating: 5 stars.

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

A giant thank you to Sunlit Pages for recommending this one.

15 September 2012

News Flash: eBook Meet Audio

Pull up a chair audio lovers (and those considering audios) 'cause I'm itching to hear your thoughts. Did you hear the news Amazon released last week or so? Well if you purchase an eBook and pay an additional $3.95 for the audiobook you can seamlessly transition between the audio version and the print version. So you can listen to a few chapters in the car and then pick up where you left off in the print version before bed. Kinda awesome. Your Kindle device and/or ap will remember where you left off.
So what do you think? Will you be paying the extra $3.95?
Click here to learn more about Whispersync for Voice from Amazon.

14 September 2012

Tales of Whimsy Now Tweets

I can't promise to be good.
I can't promise to be constant.
But...I'm on Twitter!

10 September 2012

Audiobook Review: Liar & Spy

2¢ Worth: I didn't love Liar & Spy. I'm thinking it's because I was expecting a mystery. In my brain it was going to be a spy boy version of When You Reach Me. Then as I was reading I kept seeing similarities to Rear Window and I pumped myself up. Don't do what I did. Judge this one on it's own merits. The only real similarity to When You Reach Me is in Rebecca Stead's ability to create a story that brings interesting characters, with real fears, full circle and manages to wrap it all with an aha missing-puzzle-piece-falling-into-place ending. So while I didn't love it, don't hold that against this book. I urge you to try it for yourself and not let my review stop you. My advice is to go into Liar & Spy expecting a Middle-Grade contemporary about friendship. Leave your expectations at the cover.

Whispers: The messages seemed to be:
  • Fear is OK but you have to face it
  • Remember to keep things in perspective
  • Sometimes you're real friends will be the people you least expected
Whippersnappers: Clean with a clear sense of right and wrong. The only bad thing I can even think of is there is a minor mention to a possible murder.

Words aloud: This was my first time listening to Jesse Bernstein. He's great. Very crisp, easy to listen to, and perfect for portraying younger males. He has a young Matthew Broderick quality to his voice that makes me want to call him Ferris.

Wind-up: Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (published by Listening Library) is read by Jesse Bernstein and consists of 4 discs (4 hours and 41 minutes). Audiobook Rating: 3 stars. Narrator Rating: 4 stars.

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

09 September 2012

A Thunderous Contest of A Thunderous Whisper

Christina Diaz Gonzalez, the gal who wowed me and helped me experience what it must have been like for my own mother in 1960s Cuba with The Red Umbrella, is back with a new book entitled A Thunderous Whisper. This time she's taking readers to the 1937 Bombing of Guernica, Spain.
Goodreads Summary: "Ani believes she is just an insignificant whisper of a 12-year-old girl in a loud world. This is what her mother tells her anyway. Her father made her feel important, but he's been off fighting in Spain's Civil War, and his voice in her head is fading. Then she meets Mathias. His family has just moved to Guernica and he's as far from a whisper as a 14-year-old boy can be. Ani thinks Mathias is more like lightning. A boy of action. Mathias's father is part of a spy network and soon Ani finds herself helping him deliver messages to other members of the underground. She's actually making a difference in the world. And then her world explodes. The sleepy little market town of Guernica is destroyed by Nazi bombers. In one afternoon Ani loses her city, her home, her mother. But in helping the other survivors, Ani gains a sense of her own strength. And she and Mathias make plans to fight back in their own unique way."
Doesn't it sound awesome? Well it is with great pleasure and honor that I announce that Christina is gifting one of my lucky readers with a signed copy of A Thunderous Whisper AND The Red Umbrella. To enter simply comment with your email address below. A winner will be selected and announced October 8, 2012. You must be a resident of the U.S. to enter.

A Thunderous Whisper at Goodreads
The Red Umbrella at Goodreads
Visit A Thunderous Whisper on Amazon to read an excerpt

08 September 2012

Audiobook Review: On the Island

Words aloud: This is one of those audios I would not recommend to audio novices. The narrator speaks clear and has a great tone of voice but she reads way too quickly for my taste. I kept wanting her to slow down and feel the words more. Especially the sexy, tender, or romantic parts. I tried to slow down the speed but something must be wrong with the audio quality because when in slow mode it has a bad echo. Plus, I would have looooooved a male voice for the T.J. chapters. With all that being said, I pushed on because Anna and T.J.'s connection and romance was hard to turn away from.

2¢ Worth: We've all at some point watched or read some story with a couple on a deserted island falling in love. Blue Lagoon, Swept Away, and even Lost. But what happens when the chick is in her 30s and the guy is like 16? Can they fight it? As the months turn into years, will she still be able to say no? Will she want to say no? How will they survive? And if they are ever rescued, does their love stand a chance? Will the age difference matter then? How could it not? That and then some is tackled and answered. The result is part story of survival and part love story. I liked watching their attraction slowly increase over time. I marveled at their trials and determination to survive. I gasped, sighed, and clapped for these two. Their journey isn't easy but it is worth it and pretty well written.

Word to wise: Need a good end of the summer read? Try this one. But stick to the print version.

What's what: Check out the author's recent blog post at Tracey Garvis Graves.com to see how she imagines T.J. & Anna.

Whippersnappers: This romantic tale isn't erotic but is sexually frank. There is desire, attraction, mentions of masturbation, sex, profanity, some underage alcohol consumption, and one minor drug use.

Wind-up: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (published by the author) is read by Heidi Baker and is 7 hours and 3 minutes long. Audiobook rating: 4 stars. Narrator rating: 2 stars.

Thank you Tina's Book Reviews for bringing this book to my attention with her awesome list of The Best Summer Reads.

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

04 September 2012

Audiobook Review: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

2¢ Worth: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is just plain cute. It's a gas. It's the case file and accounts of the different people who sought advice from origami Yoda and how their situations played out. Each story is told from the perspective of that character, with a different voice or vocal pitch, and ends with commentary from the cynic (Harvey) and the believer/guy compiling the stories (Tommy). The result is unique funny chapters that made me grin and laugh with it's great messages about being nice to people, letting go of anger and hate, trying to make things right, and standing up for your friends. I really enjoyed my time with The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.

Whippersnappers: Clean. The kids who do something wrong (like lying, cheating, or being selfish) learn their lessons.

Wrapping: How great is this cover? If you could have an origami Star Wars character, which would you pick?

Words aloud: I saw the hardcover. It's cute and full of drawings. But here's the thing, for me that's all distracting. Hearing it is like listening to short interviews and made it easier for me to connect with the characters. The various narrators (see below) did a marvelous job voicing the gang and I really did feel like I was sitting in the lunchroom hearing the stories firsthand.

Wind-up: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (published by Recorded Books) is read by various narrators (Mark Turetsky, Greg Steinbruner, Jonathan Todd Ross, Julia Gibson, and Charlotte Parry) and consists of 2 discs (2 hours and 13 minutes). Audiobook rating: 5 stars. Narrator rating: 5 stars.
Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com