Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Book Faction: Book Announced Tomorrow

Don't forget to tune in to iheartmonster.com tomorrow for Book Faction's first book announcement.

We will begin reading the first book on May 1, 2009, so you should have ample time to acquire a copy for reading.

Also, remember to vote for your choice of June's read on the sidebar. If you have a different book you'd like to read, please let me know, and I'll add it to the voting for July's book.

For more information on Book Faction, click here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Operative Factors: Librivox

What Is LibriVox? "LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books. "--Librivox Home Page.

LibriVox is a non-profit, non-commercial, ad-free project that donates its work to the public domain. It is powered by volunteers and welcomes volunteers from all over the globe. (I paraphrased from their site)

This is a great resource for you if you want to listen to books that are already in the public domain. Since I didn't get much negative feedback about audiobooks, I assume that everyone has a time and a place for them, and this is a great resource!

How Do I Access Content? There are three options for accessing content:
  1. Podcast. Delivered three times a week. To subscribe in iTunes, click here. To subscribe via a different podcatching service, copy this link into your service: http://librivox.org/podcast.xml
  2. Catalog. Search or browse the catalog. Download your .mp3 or ogg via zip file or
  3. Subscribe in iTunes via the catalog page.
You can also subscribe to new releases via RSS on the bottom right side of the home page.

Some translated pages are available in Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

If you are interested in volunteering, check out the how to page.


What I Heart Monster Wants To Know:

  • Have you heard of LibriVox before?
  • Have you used LibriVox before?
  • Favorite recording available on LibriVox?
  • If you haven't heard of or used LibriVox before, do you think you will?
  • What would be your first download?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ambitious Edition: Fairy Tale


Title: Fairy Tale
Author: Cyn Balog
ISBN: 0312380968
Release Date: 6.23.09
Website: http://cyn2write.livejournal.com/

The Usual Questions:

Is this the first in a series?
hard to tell... I don't think so.

What is the basic concept?
From amazon.com:

Morgan Sparks has always known that she and her boyfriend, Cam, are made for each other. But when Cam’s cousin Pip comes to stay with the family, Cam seems depressed. Finally Cam confesses to Morgan what’s going on: Cam is a fairy. The night he was born, fairies came down and switched him with a healthy human boy. Nobody expected Cam to live, and nobody expected his biological brother, heir to the fairy throne, to die. But both things happened, and now the fairies want Cam back to take his rightful place as Fairy King.
Even as Cam physically changes, becoming more miserable each day, he and Morgan pledge to fool the fairies and stay together forever. But by the time Cam has to decide once and for all what to do, Morgan’s no longer sure what’s best for everyone, or whether her and Cam’s love can weather an uncertain future.

Is the cover art favorable?
Take it or leave it, but that's not what's important, right?

What are some of the author's other works?
I believe this is her first. According to a few sources, Cyn is the race and events manager for Bicycling, Running Times, and Runner's World magazines. Sounds like a woman after I Heart Monster's own heart, and a pretty cool job to boot.

Note: Cyn is running a contest that closes April 13th for a pre-release signed copy of her book. If you would like to participate, click here and it will take you to her blog post with more details. For objectivity's sake, I didn't enter this post into the contest... just feels wrong - I am really excited to read this book.

Pre-order Fairy Tale.

To see our other Ambitious Editions posts, click here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Inspection Archive (includes audiobooks)

Alphabetical By Title (scroll for by Author)
*indicates audiobook

A
Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter

H
Heist Society by Ally Carter
The Hollow by Jessica Verday

Q

R
Stargazer by Claudia Gray
To Catch A Pirate by Jade Parker
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler



U

V

Anderson, Kevin J.
Enemies & Allies
Armstrong, Kelley

Benway, Robin
Brenner, Max
Caine, Rachel
Carter, Ally
Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover
Heist Society
Clare, Cassandra
City of Bones*
Collins, Suzanne
Catching Fire
The Hunger Games
Creagh, Kelly
Nevermore
Crowley, Suzanne

Dekker, Ted
BoneMan's Daughters*
Dessen, Sarah
Along for the Ride
Despain, Bree
Dirge, Roman
Douglas, David
Demon's Bane
Dunn, Sarah
Secrets to Happiness

E
Elkeles, Simone
Perfect Chemistry

F

Flinn, Alex
Beastly

G

Garcia, Kami
George, Jessica Day
Goodall, Jane
Gray, Claudia
Evernight
Stargazer
Green, George Dawes

Haines, Lise
Hoban, Julia
Willow
Hogan, Mary
Perfect Girl
Pretty Face
Holt, Simon
Hubbard, Mandy

I

J
Jay, Stacey
My So-Called Death
Johnson, Maureen
Kate, Lauren
King, A.S.
Kizer, Amber

Leitich-Smith, Cynthia
Tantalize

Livingston, Leslie
Wondrous Strange*
M

MacLean, Sarah
The Season
Mantchev, Lisa
Eyes Like Stars
Marr, Melissa
Montag, Heidi
O'Brien, Ally
The Agency
Ockler, Sarah
Twenty Boy Summer

Osterlund, Anne
Aurelia


P
Palmer, Robin
Cindy Ella
Parker, Jade
To Catch A Pirate
Patterson, James
Phillips, Christie
Pike, Aprilynne
Pratt, Spencer
Rathbone, Brian
The Dawning of Power
Ryan, Carrie
S

Shearin, Lisa
Magic Lost, Trouble Found
Smith, L.J.
The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening & The Struggle
St. Crow, Lili
Stiefvater, Maggie
Shiver
Stohl, Margaret
Storyheart

T

U

Unknown/Multiple
Poetry Speaks: Who I Am
Vasil, Adria
Vega, Estevan
Arson
Verday, Jessica

Whitman, Emily
Radiant Darkness
Williams, Carol Lynch
Woerner, Meredith

X

Y

Z

Zimmer, Stephen
Crown of Vengence
Zink, Michelle
Guardian of the Gate
Prophecy of the Sisters

Book Inspection: The Season by Sarah MacLean

Plot Sketch:
Alex isn't like all of the other debs coming out this season... and she has the mouth to prove it. She's not sure about marriage, courtship, or any of the girlishness that comes with her first Season. She's spent a lot of time with her three older bachelor brothers and doesn't see why she should have to get married, c'mon. Early on she finds out that her neighbor has died, and throughout the book you get a mystery about his death, conspiracy and all.


Verdict:
I Heart It. I'm even giving my copy to a friend so that she can read it, but asking for it back, which I don't usually do.


The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
mostly London, England

What is the main character's name?
Lady Alexandra Stafford, or Alex for short

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
For sure.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
1.5 days.

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?
Absolutely not. It was a page turner for sure.

Is this a good read for Monster?
Nope - I would not recommend it for straight men.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
I can't think of a single thing, and that's saying a lot for a critical person such as myself.

Does the author have a website?
MacLeanSpace is her blog. It's great. If you read this book, you can take a picture of it 'in it's natural habitat' and email it to Sarah and she'll post it on the map on the sidebar. Super cute idea.

Acquire It:

Used: eBay $12.64 (includes shipping)
New: Amazon $12.95 (free ship with $25)
*prices accurate at of time of posting. subject to change.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shareworthy: Some I Heart Monster Picks

Since there's no way that I could post about everything that's going on in my relavent book world, let alone the entire world of books, here are a few links to places online that might catch your interest, they did mine, so I deem them Shareworthy.

  • Laina writes a nifty blog about book contests. You should definitely check her out. Speaking of contests, there will be one on iheartmonster.com before too long, I promise.
  • Follow this link to read a chapter from Genghis: Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden. I think it looks like an interesting adventure in historical fiction.
  • I forgot to include the link to pre-order Lisa Mantchev's upcoming Eyes Like Stars in the Ambitious Edition post, so I'm including it here. Remember, that drops, 7.7.09.
  • If you're a fan of the vampire genre, you have probably heard that the CW is doing a pilot for Vampire Diaries. See who was cast over at Buzzsugar. Also, until April 14th, you can take a look inside all of the Vampire Diaries on the publisher's site.
  • Fantasy fans have a new series to be on the look-out for, Starfinder by John Marco. Check it out here, it's released in May.
  • The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo looks like a nice fairytale-ish story. It's been added to the I Heart Monster picks, and I will be sure to highlight it in its And They're Off post.

You're The Expert: Audiobooks

Talk to me! This segment is all about you educating me on your take on a subject. Answer all of the questions, none of the questions, half of the questions... it's up to you. First call: Audiobooks.

  • Do you listen to audiobooks? Where? For how long at a time?
  • What do you use to listen to your audiobooks?
  • Where do you get your audiobooks?
  • What is the best genre to listen to? Is that the same genre as your favorite print genre?
  • What one audiobook do you heart the most?
  • Do you prefer voice dramatization or just plain voice?
  • Do you have a favorite narrator?
Have feedback I didn't cover with a question? Tell me!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Minimal Investment: Short Stories - The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

There are a lot of times I wish I had 30 minutes or less of reading so that I could finish a story quickly. Minimal Investment is a series of posts dedicated to short stories that can be read in less than 30 minutes. Why? I'll tell you why:
  1. Doctor's office waiting rooms.
  2. Riding the bike at the gym.
  3. Carpools!
  4. Waiting for friends to meet up.
  5. Road trips.
  6. Family functions
In these situations, and what I'm sure could be gazillions more, it's nice to be able to put in a minimal amount of time and still reap the rewards of a story.

Every week, I'll post the link of a Blackberry friendly short story. Why Blackberry friendly? It seems to me that Blackberries are the least versatile smartphone web browsers, so if it works on Blackberry, it should work on iPhone. (plus I Heart Monster hearts her Curve) Of course you can always print it out, but if you can link to it on your mobile phone, you might save a tree. IHeartMonster.com is, by the way, Blackberry-friendly.

This week's Minimal Investment selection is an American classic, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Word Count: 3773
Original Publish Date: June 26, 1948
First Appeared In: The New Yorker

If you would rather listen to the story, there are a couple of options. First up, the NBC radio adaptation that aired March 14, 1951. The audio is old, but dramatized and there is an ad from the Marine Corps at the beginning, but I find it charming and nostalgic. Click here to launch. Second, but not Blackberry friendly, you can listen to it in two parts, courtesy of Internet Multicasting Service, as read by actress Maureen Stapleton. Part I. Part II.

What are your reactions? Thoughts? I'd like to hear them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our Terms: r-e-t-i-c-e-n-t, reticent

reticent \RET-ih-suhnt\, adjective:
1. Inclined to keep silent; reserved; uncommunicative.
2. Restrained or reserved in style.
3. Reluctant; unwilling.

His wispy eyebrows sit above eyes undimmed by more than forty years of serious scholarship; a tight-lipped smile suggests that there are many things he will not say about himself or his accomplishments. Indeed, he is almost painfully reticent about what most scholars now consider to be a monumental achievement in the field.
-- Marc K. Stengel, "The Diffusionists Have Landed", The Atlantic, January 2000

Within a circle of intimate friends, he's a very sociable person, says Russell Banks, another novelist, who has known Auster since 1977. "Outside of that circle, he's fairly shy and reticent."
-- "Case of the Brooklyn Symbolist", New York Times, August 30, 1992

He would write to us every week when we were at boarding school. Our family relationships, it now strikes me, were created more by these intertwining letters than by conversation, for we all wrote avidly back and forth to each other but were reticent when we met.
-- Nigel Nicolson, Long Life

Source: dictionary.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Book Faction: An Introduction

Welcome to Book Faction. Book club sounds boring, so I'm going with Book Faction. You don' t have to join to be a member of this faction... you merely need to read my blog enough to keep up. You don't have to read every book the faction does, because there is no on-the-spot aspect of meeting physically with a group at a certain time each month/week. You can read at your pace and comment when appropriate.

Here's how it works. One month before we start reading, I will post the next book. My biggest pet peeve with these types of book clubs in the past has been that I don't have enough time to order the book before we start reading and then I'm so far behind I give up the social aspect of it. Or if I tried to get the book at the library, it would be checked out and I wouldn't have enough time to get on the waiting list.

I will post questions and reflections to sections of the book and you will post answers and reactions to those sections. We can generate a pretty good dialogue using the Comments section of each post. C'mon it'll be fun. In each sectional post, I'll also outline what has happened so far so that no one forgets and spoils it on accident.You can read ahead if you like, but there will be no spoilers for anyone who hasn't read ahead. Please be careful not to spoil it for anyone.

So, keep your eyes open for a post on April 1st telling you what book we will start reading May 1st. While you're at it, go ahead and send me suggestions for books to read in this post, or in other posts, or by emailing iheartmonster@iheartmonster.com and vote for June's book in the sidebar!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Operative Factors: Goodreads.com

Goodreads is a bibliophile's best pal. Not only can you find books, but it introduces a social aspect into your reading repertoire. It allows you to see what your friends are reading and what they want to read, how they rate books. You can join a group, make a list of books, and keep track of what you read and want to read using your bookshelves. This site is a must for any reader.

Once you join, you can access your friends from your email address book, your Facebook account, etc. and ask them to connect with you on Goodreads. If your friend already has a Goodreads account, then you will see their account and be able to send them a friend request. If they don't, then you can send them an invitation to join.

There are Goodreads plug-ins for Facebook, Twitter, and Plaxo at least, and proabably many many more to help keep you up to date with your social networks. You can create widgets to put in your blog on the My Account page which are really spiffy.

If you haven't already, head on over and create your account!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ambitious Edition: Eyes Like Stars


Title: Eyes Like Stars (The Théâtre Illuminata: Act 1)
Author: Lisa Mantchev
ISBN: 0312380968
Release Date: 7.7.09
Website: http://theatre-illuminata.com/

The Usual Questions:

Is this the first in a series? YES
What is the basic concept? From theatre-illuminata.com:
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book--an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family--and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Is the cover art favorable? Yes.
What are some of the author's other works? Mostly short fiction, you can see a bibliography here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Book Inspection: Enchanted Inc. by Shanna Swendson


Plot Sketch:
This is the story of small-town Texan, Katie Chandler, who moves to New York City. She works as an assistant to Mimi, the boss from hell, in a thankless job in the marketing industry. Sometimes she could swear that the gargoyles on that church move, so she takes different routes so that she can avoid the stupid things. She sees a couple women wearing wings over the course of a couple of commutes and figures it must be a new fashion trend. When will Katie learn to accept that people are just different in New York? The answer will come sooner than she thinks, when she is presented with a job offer too good to pass up at MSI, Inc. That's Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Incorporated.

Verdict:
I heart it. This book is first and foremost chick lit. It adds some elements of fantasy, but avoids typical fantasy book language. I would recommend to anyone who likes the idea of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, or even I Dream of Jeanie. The prose is easy to read and flows well. There are three more books out in the Katie Chandler series, and I am going to read them next. I'll let you know what I think.

The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
New York City

What is the main character's name?
Katie Chandler

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
Yes, I do.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
3 days, but that included some vacation days where I didn't get much reading in, it was an easy read.

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?
Nope.

Is this a good read for Monster?
Nope - I would not recommend it for straight men.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
If I got to change one thing, it would be that I could change some of the romance storyline, but other than that, it was good.

Does the author have a website?
Yes, she does. Click here to visit it.

Aquire It:

Used:
Daddyo Fattyo $9.93 includes shipping
New:
Amazon $10.94
Prices correct on date and time of posting. Subject to change at any time.



Sunday, March 1, 2009

Create A Soundtrack: An Introduction

Here's the deal:

I Heart Monster chooses a book. You post a comment with a song that you think goes with the book and at which part of the book you would play the song. Old, new, emo, punk, country, rap, it doesn't matter. You choose.

Then, three days later, I Heart Monster will publish the soundtrack list with corresponding parts. Look for Create Posts on Wednesdays and for The Playlists to be published on Saturdays.