To Kill a Mockingbird – The Gameplan

I thought I would go ahead and post my reading schedule for To Kill a Mockingbird last night, in case you want to read along at the same pace I am.  I plan to post every Monday with my thoughts on the reading, questions, and a Mr. Linky for those reading along to link to.  Here’s how I plan to go about this:

July 5th – Chapters 1 – 8

July 12th – Chapter 9-17

July 19th – Chapters 18 – 24

July 26th – Chapters 25-31

I hope you will consider reading along with us.  There is still time to sigh up!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!  This is my first time participating! 

Books Completed Last Week

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson, read by Peter Altschuler (Definitely in my top ten for the year. I ADORED this book) 

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, possibly the oddest book I’ve read all year.  And I read Waiting for Columbus this year! 

Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt, for my NerdsHeartYA interview.  Coming soon! 

Books Reading This Week

Sima’s Underclothes for Women by Ilana Stanger-Ross, reading with Kailana

Not That Kind of Girl by Carlene Bauer, for book tour this week

Kitchen Confidential written and READ by Anthony Bourdain.  Rereading for fun.  Because who DOESN’T want Anthony Bourdain to read to them? 

Books to be Completed This Week

Well, definitely Not That Kind of Girl, since I need to have it reviewed by Thursday!  Shouldn’t be a problem, it’s pretty interesting.  I also want to start To Kill a Mockingbird for the July RAL.  Maybe even start The Color Purple, to read with Heather and Nicole.   I have a copy of the book, but I saw the audio on sale at Audible for $4.95 and it’s READ by Alice Walker.  I. Could. Not. Resist!  I ? Alice Walker!  This is why.  That story changed my life.

Audiobook Week – Barbara Rosenblat

Barbara Rosenblat.

Take heed.

It is Barbara Rosenblat.


Please, never make the mistake of calling her Barbara Rosenblatt.  She will call you out on it and she will mortify you and you will be sorely tempted to never email to her again.   Literally, your face will burn with shame.  However, once propery mortified, she is a delight.  And once you start finding out more about her life, you can’t help but be fascinated, amazed, and come to adore her even more.

Barbara is a highly respected veteran of not only audiobooks but of stage, screen, radio as well.  She has worked in England at the West End Theater, television, film and on BBC Radio.  She appeared in Guiding Light and Law and Order SVU in the States.  She created the role of Mrs. Medlock in the Tony Award winning Broadway production of The Secret Garden and co-starred with Liev Shriver in Talk Radio.  And she has voiced many documentaries and commercials.  And many game fans have been exposed to her voice since she voiced DJ Reni Wassulmaier in the Grand Theft Audio series.   She has done too many audiobooks to name and Billboard Magazine has said that she “is spoken of with the same reverence and affection that the music industry reserves for Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.”   Barbara IS the voice of Amelia Peabody in Elizabeth Peters’ mystery series, to the series fans and to the author herself.  For me, she is the voice of Bridget Jones.  She has won 8* coveted Audies from Audio Publishers Association and 40 Golden Earphone Awards.   It is a great honor and privileged to welcome her to my blog today.

Capricious Reader – Your audio books are some of my favorites on the market.  How do you go about preparing for a new novel to read?  What is the recording process like?

Barbara Rosenblat – Preparation, at this point, involves reading the novel slowly, marking words or phrases I cannot pronounce, and allowing the ‘whole audio canvas’ to develop in my head.

Then I am ready to get into the studio. Depending on who I am working for, recording sessions can be a few hours a day over a couple of weeks or 8 hours a day over a predetermined block of time to make deadline. Despite careful preparation, new things can occur to me as I work adding a freshness to each session and a sense of immediacy to the process.

CR – How many books have you recorded?

BR – Up to this point, I have recorded over 400 titles…mysteries, classics, best sellers,romances, sci-fi, young adult, children’s, biography/memoir, self-help… you get the picture. It’s nice not to be hemmed in by a single genre.

CR – Do you have any favorites?

BR – Favourites?? That’s a toughie as I see all my projects independently of eachother with their own special pleasures. I just recorded 10 short stories by Eudora Welty for Audible. I was new to her writing and new to Audible (although they have been carrying my titles for years) and the voyage of discovery for this project was wonderful. The work simply never gets old.

CR – What are you working on now?

BR – Currently, I am in the midst of recording Kathy Reich’s new ‘Tempe Brennan’ mystery, ‘Spider Bones’. It takes place in Hawaii so alot of research was done to get all the native place names correct. That should be out in the fall from Recorded Books.

Thank you Barbara for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few of my questions.  And thank you for all you do for us audiobook lovers.  I know I can’t wait for the Eudora Welty collection, one of my favorite authors!

And thank you Jen for creating this wonderful week to celebrate audiobooks.  I hope it becomes a yearly tradition.

*6/27 – Ms. Rosenblat just informed that, as of last month, she now has 8 Audies.  Congratulations Barbara!

Favorite Audiobooks

Gosh…there are so many.  Here are my top ten and honestly, they are in no particular order.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Read by Neil Gaiman – This haunting tale of a poor, orphaned boy being raised by the ghosts in his graveyard is all the more haunting when read to you by the incomparable Neil Gaiman.  His voice adds a touch of sadness, whimsy, and magic to a tale that is already timeless and and enthralling for readers of all ages.  I dare you to read this and not falling love with Bod, The Graveyard Book and Neil Gaiman.  It also marks one of the only times I’ve listened to an audiobook with music that actually enhanced the story and didn’t not take away from it at all.

Possession by AS Byatt, Read by Virginia Leisham – Like I said earlier in the week, I read this book first and, while I did enjoy it, I had trouble with it.  Discovering it in audio was a godsend, for I found the amazing story buried under all the stuff that’s going on in this novel.  It’s very… busy.  I cannot think of a more adequate summary than the one Audible has on their website: “As a pair of young scholars research the lives of two Victorian poets, they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire – from spiritualist seances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany. What emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passion and ideas.”  Leisham’s reading is perfect for this book.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Read by Davina Porter – If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to Davina Porter read this wonderful tale of a 20th century woman thrust back to 18th century Scotland, to meet the love of her life James Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser the Scottish warrior, drop everything and go buy it, download it, and devour it.  You can thank me latter.  Also, ONLY get the versions read by Davina Porter.  It’s what Diana Gabaldon wants, and it’s what I want.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfeld, Read by Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner – There is nothing about this book I don’t love.  I read it before it was published and loved it.  I reread it later and loved it.  And then I listened to it and I loved it even more.  Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner do an absolutely amazing job reading this story.  I found myself caught up in the story again, like I’d never read it, and that my friends, is something amazing.   Just see what these two reviews say:

Bianca Amato is stunning as Margaret….[her] respect for the power of story and the written word is heard in every utterance. Jill Tanner accomplishes a tour de force as the enigmatic and mysterious Vida. In conversation her voice has the hesitancy and fragility of an elderly woman, but her voice takes on the strength and power of a master storyteller as she weaves her spellbinding life story.” (AudioFile)

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, Read by Justine Eyre and Paul Michael – This is one of my favorite creepy books, which I am starting to notice is one of my favorite audio genres.  How odd.  This one is cream of the crop with it’s haunting story of, not only because of Dracula, but for the story of a young woman desperately searching Europe for her missing father.  Justine Eyre and Paul Michael did a masterful job with the reading of this one.  Not to be missed.

The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, Read by Josephine Bailey – quite possibly my favorite Young Adult trilogy (not counting the Chaos Walking trilogy, that’s first), these are marvelous in audio. Josephine Bailey adds a touch of sophistication and poignancy to Gemma’s voice.  In her hands Gemma becomes more than just another petulant teenager and I greatly enjoyed the ride.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson, Read by Peter Altschuler – I haven’t even finished this one yet, I’m almost there, but I know it will be a favorite.  I have absolutely fallen in love with Major Pettigrew and Peter Altschuler.  This book is a delight from the beginning to the very end.   As far as I can tell, this is the only book Peter Altschuler has read and I want to put out a desperate plea; please publishers, give him more books to read!

Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Read by Barbara Kingsolver – This book inspires me every time I read/listen to it.  I am sure it will be a yearly reread for years to come, serving to remind me why I need to garden, why I need to go to the Farmer’s Market and we all need to make a few changes, if we are to survive.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Read by Elizabeth Gilbert – I’m sure most of you have heard of this book buy now, even if you haven’t read it. It’s quite good, but I thought it was even better in audio.  Gilbert has a lovely voice and it’s fun to listen to her read her own story.  Gives it a much more… personal… touch.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister, Read by Cassandra Campbell – This story of eight cooking school students and how their lives are affected by the food, Lillian and each other is made all the better by Cassandra Campbell’s careful reading.  I love what AudioFile has to say about it:

Cassandra Campbell’s exquisite, sensuous vocal tones set the mood for THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS–a novel that treats food as emotional metaphor and as therapy. A lovely homage to the soul-healing properties of a sumptuous meal–or an essential ingredient–this work enchants and inspires. The story traces the experiences (internal and external, past and present) of eight cooking-class students who are gathering at Lillian’s restaurant. Campbell sweetly and deliberately speaks to the sensations of cookery and taste. While Lillian never shares a recipe in the traditional sense, her culinary creations are “without words,” and transform the life of each student with aromas, flavors, and textures that unlock memories and eventual healing. As the students’ lives intertwine, there are surprise results–which sparkle with Campbell’s lyrical delivery. (c) AudioFile 2009

So there you have it. Ten of my favorite audiobooks. I hope you see one you would like to try and, maybe, become hooked like I am too!

What are some of your favorites?

Book Review: Poison Study

My friend Kailana, from The Written World, has been after me to read these books for probably YEARS now, and honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t listen to her sooner.  But one day some fellow Twitterers were on Twitter (natch) and they were talking about HOW GREAT the audio edition of this book was and HOW MUCH I would enjoy it so I figured, what the heck.  I’ll give it a go.  So I downloaded it from Audible. 

And honestly?  I don’t think I’ve ever listened to an audiobook so fast in my life. 

I was finding excuses to listen to it.  I worked out at lunch so I could listen on the treadmill.  I listened in the car on the way to work, on the way to the grocery store, on the way to the library, IN the library, on my way home and even when I was cooking supper.  I don’t normally do that, at least to that extent! 

And I finished it in like 4 days.  Which is like world record speed for me.  And I promptly went a downloaded the second one (totally busting my book budget for the month!). 

So what is Poison Study about? 

 Yelena has been caught and sentenced to death for the murder of  .  It’s time for her sentence to be carried out, when she is given a new option, to keep her life and become the Commander of Ixia’s food taster.   With the help of Valek, the Commander’s head of security, she begins a new life of danger, intrigue and secrets while also finding a new world of friends, talents and, even in unexpected places, love.    

And the reader?  Gabra Zackman?  She’s amazing?  I mean like really really amazing?  I love it when you can tell the “sex” of the characters from the way the reader changes their voice and Gabra was awesome at that.  It was like everyone had their own voice.  She has a lovely voice too, once of those powerful female voices that can be soothing one moment and commanding the next.  And she was absolutely perfect to be the voice of Yelena. 

To say this book is an exciting read is putting it mildly.  I did not even find the world building monotonous, it was fascination.  Snyder creates a whole new world full of magicians, soldiers, poisons, and a very intriguing leading man, if I do say so myself!   There were many story choices Snyder made that I am not sure just anyone could pull off, and she did!  She did!  Quiet simply put, this book is surprising on many levels and all of them pleasing. I’ve already polished off Magic Study and I’m just waiting for my Audible credit to get the last one, Fire Study.  Even if you don’t normally like fantasy books, do yourself a favor and give it a try.  I think Maria V. Snyder will surprise you too. 

Poison Study
Maria V. Snyder
Read by: Gabra Zackman
Category: Fantasy
Published by:  Harlequin Enterprises
Format: Audiobook
On Sale: 11-1-05 

I downloaded this from Audible.

Finding time to listen

When do I listen to audiobooks?  Whenever I can!  Especially if I have a good book going.

Once upon a time, I didn’t have an iPod.  I didn’t have an MP3 player.  Thankfully I did have a CD player AND a tape deck in my car (it was a 4Runner and I loved that car and I really really miss it).  Back then, my library had mostly Books on Tape and just a small collection of Books on CD and they really weren’t. that. great.  BUT, I could listen to them in the car.  Even then, I didn’t have a high regard for radio and I hadn’t discovered NPR yet.

NOW, my lovely, sweet, adoring husband and my gorgeous children gave me a 160 gig iPod for Mother’s Day.  (They gave me an 8 gig last year.  Needless to say, it was full to the brim.)  I love it!  I have tons of books on there, so it’s not hard to find something to fit my mood and I can listen anywhere!  I listen in the car.  I listen while I work out.  It’s been great for that, it motivates me to actually go into the gym and DO something.  I listen on my way to the grocery store, library, I listen while cooking, cleaning, folding laundry… anything to get another book in.  I would listen in the bath if I could.   I’ve been known to listen in bed and night, which actually isn’t that great because I fall asleep and have to find the point where I lost the story.  But still, it can be done!  And it is marvelous.  I love audiobooks!

Audiobook Meme

Audiobook are you currently reading/you read most recently: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson, read by Peter Altschuler

Impressions?: I love it!  Peter Altschuler is amazing and brings a nice wit to Major Pettigrew’s voice.

How long you’ve been listening to audiobooks: Gosh, quite awhile!  Maybe 9 years?  Looking back in my reading journals, I was listening in 2001!  But it was sporadic. It looks like I didn’t really get into them until 2005 when I listened to Possession and The Mists of Avalon. Great books!

First audiobook you ever listened to: Best I can remember, it was Bridget Jones’s Diary, read by Barbara Rosenblatt.

Favorite audiobook title: Oh my goodness, it’s so hard to pick.  It’s a toss up between The Historian and The Thirteenth Tale.  Or maybe Possession.  But The Mists of Avalon is fabulous!  Or Outlander! I can’t forget Outlander! And then there is The Help… I could keep going, so I’ll stop there.  No, it has to be The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  It stays on my iPod.  I could listen to it on repeat.

Favorite narrator: If I had to pick one favorite, it would be Jenna Lamia.  No, Cassandra Campbell. No, Simon Vance.  OMG, no! Davina Porter!  Ugh! It’s to hard!  Neil Gaiman. That’s my final answer.  I would happily listen to that man read the phone book.

How do you choose what to listen to versus read? Pretty much the same way I pick what I’m reading (in print) next.  Whatever grabs my attention first!  I reread a lot of books in audio, so sometimes it’s what I’ve been itching to read again, but mostly it’s what comes to mind first.

Book Review: Evil at Heart


I listened to this book way back, early in the year, and don’t know how it escaped unreviewed, but lucky me, I can review it this week because it is perfect for this week! 

Evil at Heart is the third in the Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain.  The first two, Heartsick and Sweetheart were both unusual reads for me, as this is not my usual genre, but were both so well written and excited, that I had to keep going! 

SPOILER FREE REVIEW: Sick, twisted fun, with an awesome reader.  Start at the beginning because the stories build on each other and hold on for one heck of a wild ride! 

FROM HERE ON OUT; this review assumes you have read the first two books in the series; I’m just not sure how to go about reviewing it without spoiling the first two books. 

So yeah, Gretchen Lowell.  Crazy woman huh?  Flipping psycho!  The freak went and broke out of prison in the Sweetheart, but there was that promise right?  That Archie wouldn’t off himself if she didn’t go back to her old, nasty, serial killer ways but now, doo do doo do, it looks like she has!  Egad!  What will soulfully wounded, emotionally wrecked Archie do?  He’s already escaped her crazy clutches one time; can he do it again and bring her down at the same time?    It’s a nail biter folks, be sure to file those bad boys down before you start listening. 

Carolyn McCormick continues to read the series and girlfriend does not shy away from the bloody parts.  I still think of her as Katniss, the girl who was on fire, because she read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire and she’d flipping better read Mockingjay, but I’m starting to separate her from that. I think.  Anyhoo, she rocks the Gretchen Lowell boat.   This one gets a little wild, a little out there, but I’m so obsessed with Archie and Susan that I just don’t care.  I have to know what happens next!!  And you know you do too. 

Evil at Heart
Chelsea Cain
Category: Suspense, Thriller
Published by MacMillan Audio
Format: Audio CD
On Sale: September 1, 2009
ISBN: 978-1427207821

Purchase from

 The Book Depository |  IndieBound | Powell’s Books

MacMillan Audio was exceedingly kind enough to provide me with a copy. Thank you Stephanie!

Other reviews by: 

 Avid Book Reader | Babbling About Books | Book Pimping
Reading the Leaves | and more…

I am a Book Depository and Indie Bound Affiliate and will make a very small
profit if you buy a book through one of my links.  


How to write an audiobook review

I write my audiobook reviews much the same way as I review any book.

1.  Hook – I usually try to write some sort of hook (is this my journalism class in college coming out?) to reel the reader in.

2. Summary – tell you what the book is about!

3. My thoughts on the book.  Did I like it or not?  What did I like?  What did I hate?  That sort of thing.

4. Reader – in the case of an audiobook, I try to include my thoughts on the reader, because, lets face it, they make the audiobook.   A great reader can make a mediocre book better and, likewise, a not-so-great reader can make a great book unbearable.  And, there are times, for me at least, that a great book and a great reader can’t save the experience because the book is meant to be read in print.

That’s pretty much it!  Are you enjoying audiobook week?  Don’t know what the heck I’m talking about?  Head over to Audiobook Week central and see what else is going on.  Jen has lots of sweet stuff going on this week!