Saturday, January 18, 2020

The great audiobook debate - Do they count?

I see this discussion come up on Twitter and Facebook every so often and it seems to be making a comeback. Certain people believe that audiobooks don't "count," especially towards reading goals like the Goodreads Challenge. The argument I see most often is that listening is fundamentally different from reading words on a page - but is it really?

To answer this question I took to the interwebs, searching for opinions and studies on this topic. By and large it seems like actual research points to physical copies and audiobooks being the same to our brains. Meanwhile, readers on social media constantly bicker over whether listening to audiobooks is "real" reading.

One study in 2016 found that there was no significant difference between audiobooks, e-books, or using both at once. The study concluded that "comparable comprehension and retention of text occur regardless of the modality of presentation."

Another study in 2019 showed similar results. According to these researchers, the same cognitive and emotional areas of the brain were stimulated regardless of whether the subject was reading a physical copy or listening to an audiobook. You can even check out the brain maps for yourself!

Personally, I listen to A LOT of audiobooks. I listen while I clean, while I work, drive, and shower. If there's no one else around and I'm not reading or watching TV, you can safely bet I'm listening to a book. And yes, you better believe they count towards my Goodreads goal! Trust me, if I'd had access to Hoopla in high school I would've been listening to my required reading!

I'm not sure why some people get so bent out of shape over audiobooks in place of reading physical copies of books. Both get the information into our brains and both let us fangirl over stories together, so why the superiority complex?

Do you think audiobooks count as reading?
Do count audiobooks towards your GR goal?
Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Audiobook Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Title: Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 504
Add to Goodreads

Review for book 1

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

I read Scythe back in 2018 and really enjoyed it, even if I did find it a bit slow at times. I loved the characters and found the world of Scythes and the Thunderhead fascinating. Still, I wasn't super eager to dive back into this world because it really is just a lot. Finally, I got my hands on the audiobook and decided to give it a go... and somehow finished it in three days.

This book picks back up with Rowan, now Scythe Lucifer, ending corrupt scythes. Citra, along with Scythe Curie are worried about the New Order and try everything they can to figure out how to defeat them and their corruption. Also enter a new character, Grayson, who is set on a path unlike any he'd ever expected working in his own way to maintain order with the Thunderhead.

I loved the addition of Grayson. I enjoyed seeing him embrace every role he was thrown into. The Thunderhead also really grew on me, reminding me a bit of AIDEN from The Illuminae Files. The character growth in Citra and Rowan was fantastic - I love their relationship, doomed as it is. The New Order scythes were terrifying antagonists. The corruption of their power was scary to see and I can't imagine how that will look in the next book, but I can't wait to find out!

One thing I do really enjoy about this series is the politics of it. I'm sure it's no mistake that certain themes and situations seem to resonate so much. There are times that this book is downright scary in how easily I could see things reflected in our current environment. That's one of my favorite things about dystopia, even if it is a little terrifying.

All that being said, this book was A LOT. There is so much going on in this story that it's hard to keep up with at times. The Scythes, the Tonists, the New Order, the different Scythe factions, multiple islands and secrets and new characters - I can see why this book was over 500 pages. I do enjoy this series so much, but I did find it a bit overwhelming at times. And again, like the first book, I somehow found myself bored in places. If I had tried to read this instead of listening it probably would have taken me weeks to finish.

If you enjoyed Scythe, you'll definitely like this one too! I'm really hoping that now that all the pieces are in play, The Toll will be a bit more fast paced and less dense, even though it's quite a bit longer. I definitely can't wait to see how Citra and Rowan's story ends!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday #268: Bookish Discoveries

Today's Topic: 
Bookish Discoveries I Made In 2019

Happy Tuesday! This is definitely one of those open ended topics I dread every year, but hurray for me! I actually came up with things I discovered last year! Well, not so much discovered as discovered that I liked them because none of these are secrets. XD 

BOOKSLEEVES - Seriously, I had NEVER used a booksleeve before 2019. Like, I knew they existed, I just never thought I needed one. It turns out they are super useful!

ADULT FANTASY - Okay yes, I knew this existed too, but I discovered that I LIKE it! I haven't really reviewed many because I haven't gotten to them, but my TBR is filling up. Any recs?

TBR CARTS - Let's just go ahead and acknowledge that I've probably already known most of these existed, I guess. I just didn't realize their usefulness! And honestly the carts are just cute.

BOOK PAINTING - I LOVE IT! I have no artistic ability whatsoever but surprise! Painting pages takes zero ability as long as you put enough weight on the pages. It's so relaxing. I just have to try not to paint everything...

READING PARTIES - It only really happened the once, but I found out that reading with another person who is also reading is FUN! I shared a room with a friend for ALA this year and honestly sharing with another introvert is the only way to go.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Weekly Recap: 1/6 - 1/11


Hi everyone! This has been a weird week but I did accomplish to read a few books! Getting back into the swing of things after the holiday season is always a bit wonky. I finally hit the treadmill after another week off and now I'm starting to get nervous about that upcoming 10k next month... Whoops! Hopefully I'll be able to prepare fully for it. Unfortunately I'm now finding myself in a bit of a reading slump with no ideas about how to get out of it. Yay, me!





The topic was anticipated 2020 reads for Top Ten Tuesday
ARC Review of A Heart So Fierce and Broken
On Saturday I asked what I should read for the Popsugar Challenge


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, January 11, 2020

What should I read for the Popsugar Challenge??

I'm at it again with the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge! I failed miserably last year after meeting every category in 2018, so this year I want to get back into the swing of things. Some of the topics are SO hard, especially considering that I rarely read contemporary outside of horror. Below I've listed some of the books I MIGHT choose for a few of the more difficult topics and I'd love to know which you've read or if you have any better suggestions! 

Set in a city that has hosted the Olympics

A bildungsroman

Same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated

About or involving social media

A medical thriller

Made-up language

About or by a woman in STEM

Featuring one of the seven deadly sins

Bird on the cover

A Western

By or about a journalist

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any fantasy/horror suggestions?
Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

ARC Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Pages: 464
Add to Goodreads

Review for book 1

Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen--until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war. 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely was easily one of my favorite reads of 2019. When I had the opportunity to snag an early copy of A Heart So Fierce and Broken, I definitely started reading immediately and barely took a break till it was over! This book continues the story of Rhen, Harper, and Grey and it's everything I hoped for and more!

Grey was an incredible character in the first book in the series and I totally was not expecting to get an entire book about him going forward but I love the direction the author took! Grey's story was so much more in depth than I ever would have guessed and I very quickly fell even more in love with his character. There is also a new character, Lia Mara, who I was very skeptical of, but I quickly grew to appreciate. I loved the relationship between Grey and Lia Mara. The character growth in both of them, but especially Grey, was amazing! They are both such strong characters - I can't wait to see what happens next with their story!

Something I couldn't have prepared for was all the feelings I'd have about Rhen. I did have some small issues with him in A Curse So Dark and Lonely, but I loved him! It almost felt like Brigid Kemmerer pulled a Sarah J. Maas in making Rhen seem so polar opposite from his previous self. I did really appreciate that she explained it though. His change in character did at least make some sense. Harper was still the strong and brilliant woman I already loved!

Although I had suspicions about where Grey's story would go, A Heart So Fierce and Broken pulled off a few twists and turns. The world became larger and the stakes were higher and I could not get enough of the story! There was so much going on here but I never wanted it to end. Karis Luran and her daughter were fascinatingly evil and I can't wait to see what becomes of Emberfall!

If you enjoyed book one of this series and are open to new characters in your series, you will probably love this book! I wish I could get my hands on book three now, but either way I'm excited to see what happens in the next part of the Cursebreakers saga!