Über Mini Reviews: Craig Ferguson, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black & Molly Harper

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August 21, 2012 by Heidi

It’s time I come out and admit it: I am notoriously bad at writing reviews for audiobooks.  Sure, you still get to see a decent amount of them on the blog, but honestly?  I probably only write one for every two audiobooks I listen to, which is a real shame because I enjoyed all of the books featured in this post.

So here are five books that I finished, but never wrote reviews for.  Do I think a book blogger needs to write reviews for everything they read? Absolutely not!  But when I do enjoy a book, I’d like to at least tell you that, even if I can’t formulate enough words to justify a solitary post.  So I thought that every so often I could put together a post to highlight some of those books that don’t get their own day.  So here we go (and yes, 4 out of 5 of these were audiobooks):

American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson audio book coverTitle: American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Craig Ferguson [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Stand alone novel.
Genre: Autobiography
Published: September 22nd, 2009 by Harper Audio
Format: Audiobook; 7 hrs, 25 min. Read by the author.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: in 1993, the washed-up Ferguson washed up in the United States. Finally sober, Ferguson landed a breakthrough part on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, a success that eventually led to his role as the host of CBS’s The Late Late Show. By far Ferguson’s greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008, just before his command performance for the president at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.

I’m not huge on autobiographies and memoirs, they often come across to me as self indulgent and I’m rarely that interested in anyone’s life.  That said, I picked up American on Purpose at the recommendation of several friends, in no small part because I love Craig Ferguson.  I watch The Late Late Show every night (well, usually the next day), and have greatly enjoyed his interviews and appearances on one of my favorite podcasts, The Nerdist.  American on Purpose didn’t let me down, and provided some great background and insight into this personality that I very much enjoy.  I love when authors do a good job of reading their own audiobooks, and I wouldn’t want this book in any other format.  Why read something when you could have it read to you by a Scot?  Certainly recommended for anyone who is a fan of the man.

Favorite quote: “I didn’t say no because between safety and adventure I choose adventure.”

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi audio book coverTitle: Ship Breaker [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Stand alone novel, however The Drowned Cities is a companion that takes place after Ship Breaker.
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post Apocolyptic
Published: November 17th, 2010 by Brilliance Audio
Format: Audiobook; 9 hrs, 5 min. Read by Joshua Swanson.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.

In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota–and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life…

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

This is the book I feel worst about not having written a full review for, because it’s awesome and totally fits into all the parameters of this blog.  You all know it’s awesome, but I still enjoy giving my take on those much beloved books to you know…back you all up and make you feel totally justified in your good opinions (because I know you all hang on my every word).  Despite all the awesome, however, I just couldn’t get myself to spit out some coherent thoughts on Ship Breaker.  The world building is utterly stunning, but if you’re looking to connect with characters, you might not fall for this one.  It took me a while to get into the audio, but by it’s end, I’ve decided to call myself a fan of Joshua Swanson and am guessing his narration of books like Scott Westerfeld’s Peeps is chillingly fantastic.  For anyone who enjoys futuristic grit, scavenge tales (there seem to be a fair few of them these days), and a good adventure, Ship Breaker is a prime choice.

Red Glove by Holly Black audio book coverBlack Heart by Holly Black audio book cover

Title: Red Glove and Black Heart [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Holly Black [Website|Twitter|Tumblr]
Standing: Books 2 and 3 of the Curse Workers series.
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Published: Red Glove – April 12th, 2011 by Listening Library, Black Heart – April 10th, 2012 by Random House Audio
Format: Audiobook; Red Glove – 7 hrs, 5 min, Black Heart – 6 hrs, 33 min. Read by Jesse Eisenberg.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.

When I wrote my enthusiastic review for White Cat I didn’t think there were enough good things I could say about Jesse Eisenberg’s fan freaking tabulous narration, the stunning world building, or the pure awesome that is Holly Black’s Curse Workers series.  Turns out–there were.  I said them.  Please, just go read my review for White Cat because I mean every single word in it for the rest of the series (and quite frankly, it’s one of my favorite reviews ever).  This was just a case of ‘should have written a series review’, and I wish I would have. I recommend this on audio to pretty much everyone who listens to audio books, my love for Jesse Eisenberg grew 3 times the day I picked up Curse Workers.

The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper book cover

Title: The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Molly Harper [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: A companion novel to How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf Takes place 2nd, but may be read as a stand alone.
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Published: March 29th, 2011 by Pocket Books
Format: Paperback; 336 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Baring It All Generations of werewolves have been secretly residing in a secluded valley a stone’s throw from Grundy, Alaska. So when a snooping Outsider comes to Grundy to investigate rumors of lycanthropic shenanigans in the area, the valley’s pack alpha, Maggie Graham, resolves to chase him away, even if doing so takes a quick bite on the butt. What a pity that researcher Nick Thatcher turns out to be so drool-worthy, and that his kisses make Maggie want to sit up and beg. Maggie just can’t seem to convince Nick to leave . . . and even worse, she can’t convince herself to stay away from him. Cross-species dating is problem enough for a harried alpha female, but on top of that, a rival group of werewolves is trying to move into the valley. With interpack war threatening, Maggie can’t afford to be distracted. Combining romance and a career can be tough for anyone; for a werewolf in love with a human, it may be disastrous. . . .

Like the prior two books, The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf is the second in a series, following How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf which I read and reviewed earlier this year.  Featuring Cooper’s sister, Maggie, this second installment turns the tables and we get to see the romance from the werewolf’s perspective as she tries very hard not to fall for the wrong guy–namely, a human.  The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf was further proof that I’m a fan of Molly Harper’s humor and writing style, and can enjoy some adult paranormal romance when the mood strikes.  Oh…and that I’m still into wolves.  However, I didn’t enjoy Maggie and Nick nearly as much as Mo and Cooper, and thus I just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to write a full review for this one.  Good, and recommended for those who enjoy the first book, but if you’re only going to read one, make it How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf.

That’s it! I’m feeling refreshed already without all those monkeys on my back.  Have you read and enjoyed any of these?  Let me know what you thought!

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12 comments »

  1. Lauren says:

    I like this idea of short reviews! I’ve thought about using it for some books I read but didn’t review quickly enough. My brain tends to lose detailed information about stories, unless I write about them pretty quickly. The only of these books I’ve read is the curse workers series, and I loved them in print. Sometimes I have trouble going from print to voice. But Jesse Eisenberg sounds like he’d be a great Cassel. Asheley’s also raved about Ship Breaker on audio, so maybe I’ll check it out. I’m starting to feel itchy that I’ve never read it. And the Naked Werewolf books seem like the’d be pretty funny!

    • Heidi says:

      That’s exactly what this lot was! Sometimes I just can’t get out a review, which is fine, but when I do enjoy a book I still want to talk about it, so the mini reviews works great!

      Jesse Eisenberg is AMAZING as Cassel, this series is probably my #1 audio recommendation for YA, it’s so so good.

      I really liked Ship Breaker, and can recognize its brilliance, but I didn’t LOVE it like so many people seem to. I think it was overhyped for me.

      I like Molly Harper a lot for some snarky romance, she’s funny, and I’m thinking I’ll probably listen to her vampire series soon. :)

  2. I actually just wrote three mini-reviews which are going up next week and while I lack the art of concise writing and fitting everything into one paragraph, I managed them in three which is hugee feat for me! Anyway, I love this style of writing reviews and absolutely agree that The Curse Workers Series is awesomeee! 😀 I loved it SO much more than Black’s Tithe/Valiant/etc. Series, which was still good but not as epic as Cassel and Lila and The Curse Workers Series was in general. I’ve also heard amazing things about Ship Breaker, so I need to get to that one ASAP! Wonderful uber-mini-reviews, Heidi! :)

    • Heidi says:

      I haven’t read the Modern Fairie Tales series yet, but I can’t imagine my love for it will come anywhere near Curse Workers which was consistently awesome (I mean seriously…it’s like the only trilogy in the past few years that has no weak spot).

      Sometimes writing (and reading) mini reviews is so refreshing! Excited to see yours next week. :)

  3. I really like the way you have laid out the mini reviews- I sometimes feel like I don’t have enough to say about a book but don’t want to skip it altogether- maybe I should save them up and do a post like this! Also, sometimes shorter books are difficult to do a very thorough review on so they would be good for this treatment too! I haven’t read your Holly Black reviews because I don’t want to spoil anything for myself as I still need to read White Cat! Hope you liked them!

    • Heidi says:

      YES! Please read White Cat, I adored that series, and it’s one of the best things I’ve read this year. Not having a ton to say and not wanting to skip it all together is exactly how this post was born–just took a few months to save up all those books! I’m sure I’ll be doing more in the future. :)

  4. “I’m still into wolves.” lol, nice one. I liked your mini-reviews. I started listening to Ferguson but then I got sidetracked–you know that period of time it takes to get into the groove of an audiobook? Yeah, I didn’t get there. Will get to it eventually. (currently listening to the second Gregor book by Suzanne Collins in one car and Shadow of the Wind in the other:)) I LOVELOVELOVE Jesse Eisenberg’s narration of the Curse Workers books. T, C & I joke about emailing his agent to see if he’d do an interview about book narration. I really doubt he’s ever given an interview about that before:) I think I remember reading your Naked Werewolf review a while back. You’re right, sometimes we’re almost all in the mood for some chick lit/paranormal romance fun.

    • Heidi says:

      I wore a teal wolf t-shirt to the 1st day of 4th grade–I have pictorial proof showing that my wolf ‘thing’ goes back at least that long. 😛

      Yeah, I totally know that period. If I can’t get a good hour in on my first sitting with an audiobook, I’ll never hit that grove and inevitably wander off.

      OMG I would love to see an interview with Jesse about his narration. Dear lord, I will listen to anything that man does now, because the Curse Workers series is hands down one of the best YA audios out there.

  5. OMG, I LOVED Peeps by S. Westerfeld. I read the book, not the audio, but I am just stoked to see anyone mention that book because I think it’s kinda underrated…

    And, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Holly Black’s Curse Workers series but…I haven’t written a single review of any of them. Why?? I don’t know! I read the first two before I started the blog and just can’t seem to get a review written even though I think it’s one of the smartest and most entertaining YA series I’ve read. Maybe I’ll do a series review instead. Maybe. I’ve never done one of those. I tend to write long-ish reviews on single books, I’d hate to see what a review for an entire series would look like:)

    • Heidi says:

      Haha, I WISH I’d just written a series review for Curse Workers, because I felt the same, but had a hard time really writing about the last two when it was almost like ‘yeah…ditto’.

      I love Peeps too! I agree that it’s underrated. I didn’t really like The Last Days though, so just skip that if you haven’t. Honestly Peeps might be my favorite vampire book, certainly in YA anyway.

  6. […] to read pile House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier (Review) Preloved by Shirly Marr (Review) Über Mini Reviews: Craig Ferguson, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black & Molly Harper Persuasion Read Along Week 2 Movies That Should’ve Been […]

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