Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Title: Life by Committee
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Narrator(s): Allyson Ryan
Length: 7 hrs 49 mins
Series: n/a
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss, audio borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Some secrets are too good to keep.

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.

But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

I didn't read Haydu's debut, but if it's anything like this book, I'll do better by listening to it...less chance I'll throw my phone across the room than the book. It wasn't bad. There were just some aspects I found more tolerable than others.

The narrator for this audiobook made some of the less nice things better. She made Tabitha sound just as vulnerable and new-to-this-whole-girly-thing as I envisioned.  The narrator's voice actually reminded me of the narrator for The D.U.F.F. but I checked and they're not the same.

I liked how the novel showed Tabby's growth, how she'd already sort of outgrown her old friends and how that rift had affected her. I didn't like the cheating aspect, but as the romance was key to Tabby's growth, I did feel that it strengthened the novel as a whole, which is not something I'd normally be able to say in this scenario. Still, it felt icky...not a fan of cheating in stories, especially when it's portrayed in the manner that it is here, where it seems like each person is being used for reasons they never deign to discuss with one another.

I was also not a fan of the Life by Committee, though without them, I admit the story would have been a lot less interesting. Tabby did question some of their instructions, but where she went wrong, I think, was her inability to look at the potential consequences of these actions. Sure, she wondered if they'd do more harm than good, but she didn't really seem to look beyond that. I'm pretty happy with how that little situation worked itself out, even if it did feel very Mean Girls there at the end.

Not wholly a bad thing, just a little too easy maybe. What did work for me was that twist. I can't believe I didn't see it coming, though. I think maybe I was just too focused on that fauxmance and LBC to see anything else...couldn't see the forest for the trees and all that.

Basically, I'd read another Corey Ann Haydu novel. I'll just know that I won't love every facet going into it.

GIF it to me straight:
Will you like it? Idk...depends on what you consider tolerable, I suppose.

Title: Paper Valentine
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Narrator(s): Caitlin Prennace
Length: 8 hrs 59 mins
Series: n/a
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Source: audio borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Paper Valentine is a hauntingly poetic tale of love and death by the New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between.

I think I had some seriously misplaced expectations for this story, based on the author's previous work -- I've read The Replacement and her short stories on Merry Sisters of Fate -- but even so, it held my interest. I also think that it's been awhile since I read that synopsis and added this book to my TBR because I'm only now just putting the title and premise together and seeing how it fits. Oh, well.

The fact that Hannah can see ghosts, especially the ghosts of the Valentine Killer murder victims, intrigued me to no end, but I still really would have liked to know why she could see them. I don't take a lot of things on faith, and so I spent a substantial amount of time looking for answers to that question rather than on who the serial killer was and what their motivation was.

I just knew that I hoped it wasn't Finny Boone. I love an awkward romance that makes little sense to everyone else. This is one of those cases. It reminded me a lot of Kiri and Skunk in Wild Awake honestly. And I rooted for it, even when the characters themselves weren't sure. It was just sweet and the way Finny and Hannah were both so protective of each other melted my heart a bit.

Obviously, this was not a murder-kill-stab bloody gore-fest, or anything, and it didn't really delve into the psyche of a serial killer, either. Instead, it was a kind of sweet story about friendship and deceptive appearances in a town with a serial killer on the loose. And I kinda liked it. Makes me want to get to my copy of The Space Between that much sooner.

GIF it to me straight:
Weird...but delightfully so.

Title: The Assassin's Blade
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Narrator(s): Elizabeth Evans
Length: 12 hrs 52 mins
Series: Throne of Glass, book #0.1 - 0.5
Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Source: borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Discover where Celaena Sarthodien's thrilling saga began.

Celaena Sarthodien is her kingdom's most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin's Guild, she yields for no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam.

When Celaena's scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes--and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she discovers friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn's orders, Celaena riskes unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn's clutches--and if they fail, they'll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives....

A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers readers a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling--and deadly--world.

Included in this volume:

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
The Assassin and the Healer
The Assassin and the Desert
The Assassin and the Underworld
The Assassin and the Empire

Have you read Throne of Glass? Did you love it? (Of course, you did.) Then you must read The Assassin's Blade, a series of five novellas, all still from Celaena's perspective in the third-person narrative. (I realize that the full-length novels are third-person omniscient, but a lot of times, novellas are from another character's point-of-view specifically, and I wanted to assuage any doubts.)

I'm not going to go into each novella, but suffice it to say, they are all very enlightening and show Celaena's considerable growth as a character. I've just finished my re-listen of this series to-date, which obviously included this collection, so that I could start Heir of Fire with no reservations, and I have to say, Elizabeth Evans is a solid pick to voice these books.

If you haven't started the series yet, this is definitely a good place to start. If you've already read the first two books but have lingering questions about Celaena's past, you should pick up The Assassin's Blade. Of course, I'm a fangirl, so *I* think you should read all the books in the series.

Hey, I think this may just be my most succinct "mini" review yet!

GIF it to me straight:


  1. I want to listen to the Throne of Glass books on audio to refresh my memory before I read Heir of Fire. I hear it's amazing on audio.

    1. It really is. I just finished listening to them to prepare for Heir of Fire myself, and I loved them. Highly recommend as a refresher. :)

  2. I just finished The Assassin's Blade and enjoyed it too :-) I actually didn't like it as much as the stand alone books but I guess that's typical. This next month I'll get to Heir of Fire! Whoohoo!

    1. Hmm...I just liked seeing how Celaena became to be the KING's assassin, ya know? Novellas are always different for me...usually depends on which character is featured. I just started HoF, but I like it so far. But that's really no surprise. :)


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