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Karsyn's Kickass Jocoserious, Kooky, Jannock book blog: May 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Armchair BEA ~ Wrap-Up

It's the end of Armchair BEA. :( It was a fun few days. For someone who wasn't planning on joining in, I really had a fun time looking through many many of the posts, posting on blogs and just seeing what others thoughts were on the same subjects. Of course, I didn't get ANYTHING else done this week, not even reading, except for some night time audio, but that's ok. :) I haven't even been able to keep up with my own comments, but I'm going to do that in the next few days. I am grateful for everyone that stopped by. Thank you!!

There were so many good posts, I wish I had marked a few. I followed a ton of blogs, but didn't mark any actual posts. I wish I had.

Here are just a few new blogs I'm following because I found them through BEA ~
Please Feed the Bookworm

Here's a wrap-up of my own posts this week.

Day 1 ~ My Intro ~ 5 Things you HAD to know about me. :)
Day 2 ~ More than Words ~ my love for Audiobooks, plus how to speed them up!
Day 3 ~ I skipped this day. I have no blogging aspirations, and I'm not a short story fan.
Day 4 ~ Beyond Borders ~ how I've expanded into reading other genres
Day 5 ~ Open Topic & YA/MC Recs ~ listed authors many may not know of

I had a good time, and I hope everyone else did as well!! I look forward to keeping up with the new blogs that I am following and hopefully making some connections.

Did you all have fun?
What was your favorite topic?
Do you have a new favorite blog to follow?
Share these, or your wrap up post, and I'll come visit!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Armchair BEA Day 5 ~ Less Known Authors & YA/Middle Grade Books

Good morning! I hope everyone is well today!

As I was thinking of my topics today, I went on a bit of a blog hop, and as I mentioned below, I saw some of the same YA/Middle School books mentioned. So I decided to list some of each that might not be as well known, or at least I haven't seen mentioned so far. Since I did that, I decided to do the same with my open topic.

Authors, and their books, you might not know about

It's happened often, when I list books that I have read, I get comments that people have never heard of those books or those authors. I'm not sure what it is about my book tastes that seem to be different than many others, and why I know of these authors and their books, that few others know anything about. I guess I can contribute it, in part, to years of thrift store and library browsing and finding authors who I got into and have followed since.

Here are some authors (and the first book in a series or two of theirs) that I haven't yet seen mentioned on blogs and who I've heard people say they haven't heard of them. Perhaps you will find your new favorite author in this list!

Chris Carter
Robert Hunter ~ series

If you like creepy serial killer stories, Chris Carter is your author. His series follows Robert Hunter, a special crimes detective who solves the craziest of crazy serial killings. Carter's books are perfectly creepy with a ton of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

There are 5 books out in this wonderful series, with the 6th due to come out 7/31.

Cindy Gerard
Black Ops Inc, The Bodyguards, One Eyed Jacks ~ series

Cindy Gerard is an author who I have been reading for years. She writes romantic suspense with former military men who now run a security firm. The guys are tough and sexy, the women strong but in situations they can't get out of, on their own, so BOI swoops in for the rescue.

Well written and fast paced, I've read all of her romantic suspense novels, and she's one of many that I will grab up as soon as it comes out.

Christy Reece / Ella Grace
Last Chance Rescue / Wildefire ~ series

Similar to Cindy Gerard, Christy Reece writes romantic suspense, her main series being a rescue organization that goes in to do the job when others can't, or won't. They swoop in to rescue those who need it and use whatever means it takes.

She also writes under the pen name of Ella Grace, and has a series about triplets who come back home after finding out what they've known their whole life might not be true.

J.T. Ellison
Taylor Jackson & Samantha Owens ~ series

Taylor Jackson is a homicide detective in Nashville, and Sam Owens is a medical examiner.

These series are filled with cases the two solve, but the books are also about each of them, their lives and you really care about them and what is happening to them, especially when life doesn't quite go the way they expected.

A well written and enjoyable series.

Matthew Reilly
Shane Schofield & Jack West Jr ~ series

Any action adventure lovers, or guys out there? Then you've read Matt Reilly, right?!

Shane Schofield ~ Scarecrow ~ is a Marine who is thrown into the most crazy of missions, where the world is always on the brink of being destroyed. Crazy and wild locations, insane characters, both the Scarecrow and the similar Jack West series are fun wild reads.

Marshall Karp
Lomax & Biggs ~ series

You may recognize this name, but not be able to place it. Karp has recently co-authored with James Patterson on Kill me if You Can and the NYPD Red series. But Karp has a wonderful series on his own.

Lomax & Biggs are LAPD detectives, and in the first book, they are investigating a murder within a theme park (think Disneyland). The series is funny and well written, and enjoyable read for fans of humor and detective stories.

Chris Grabenstien
John Ceepak ~ series

Another name you might have seen along side Patterson, with their collab on the Treasure Hunter series, and another author with a good series of his own.

In addition to the great book I've listed below, Grabenstein also has a funny series about two small town cops on the Jersey shore. Great for light reads, and a good laugh.

Young Adult / Middle School Books

When pursuing some of the blogs I regularly follow about the YA/Middle School books, I expected to find a lot of similar lists, and there were plenty of books listed a bunch of times, but also books I hadn't heard of, so that was great. Of course, I love the big books like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games like most everyone else.

For the sake of this post, I'd like to list some books that I don't see listed very much, or at all, to hopefully introduce you to perhaps some new authors or books that you may not have seen yet. Hopefully you'll find something that peaks your interest here.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
by Chris Grabenstein

This is a great middle school read, about Kyle, a book loving class clown who wins a chance to be a part of a group that's going into the new mysterious library that has opened up in town.  The 12 kids are going in for a night of scavenger hunt fun.

This book is mentioned as a cross between Willy Wonka and Night of the Museum, but I think it's like a younger version of Ready Player One as well.

I Hunt Killers
by Barry Lyga

This is a great young adult book for fans of serial killer type books. This one is different because the main character, Jasper, is the son of a serial killer, something he's had to live with his whole life. Now, there's been a murder in town and he believes it's another serial killer, so he forces his way into the investigation to try to help.

I felt the second book, Game was actually a stronger book, but both were really enjoyable!

The Eye of Minds
by James Dashner

A young adult book for fans of Ready Player One, this is another Virtual Reality read. In Eye of the Minds, a hacker has taken players hostage in the VirtNet, the virtual world. The government contacts Michael and his friends who are gamers, to hack the game and find what is really going on. It's a really fun and enjoyable book and the 2nd one is being released later this year.

by Ursula Poznanski

I guess you are seeing a little bit of a trend here, I think I like my virtual reality books, which Erebos is another.

In this one, Nick finally receives a mysterious game, which he'd been trying to get his hands on. It's been making the rounds at his school, but it's clouded in secrets. He soon finds out that the game itself knows way more about Nick than it should, and he's tasked with doing things outside of the game. It's a crazy wild ride of a book and really enjoyable!

Ashfall, Ashen Winter & Sunrise
by Mike Mullin

This series is about the aftermath of a supervolcano under Yellowstone erupting, sending the world into ash filled chaos.

16 year old Alex stayed at home while his parents and sister visited his uncle and is there alone when the volcano erupts. He sets off to find his family, and he's journey is action packed and an enjoyable read.

Kingdom Keepers series
by Ridley Pearson

This series is dedicated to ~ "anyone and everyone who ever wondered what happens when the gates are closed and the lights go out."

For fans of Disney, the Kingdom Keepers series follows Finn and his 4 friends whose likenesses were used as hologram guides within the Disney parks. But, the experience came with a side effect. Finn and his friends can BECOME hologram like themselves, allowing them to "cross over" into Disney at night to battle the forces of evil that are raging there.

It's a wonderful series, however in my personal opinion, this 7 book series went about 3 books too long. By the end, it got boring and repetitive. The first few are definite great reads, especially for Disney fans.

Trixie Belden series
by Julie Cambell & Katheryn Kenny

I have seen my childhood favorites, Trixie Belden, mentioned a few times today. YAY!! These books were first published in 1948 and the first 6 were written by Julie Campbell. If you haven't heard of this series, think of it as a younger version of Nancy Drew.

Trixie is a 13 year old sleuth who is just a normal farm girl. She has chores she has to do, and she has an allowance to save up for what she's wanted her whole life ~ a horse. When "rich-girl" Honey Wheeler moves in next door, Trixie finds a friend for life and the adventure begins.

Starting with trying to find their friend Jim Frayne when he runs away, mysteries fall in their lap. Along with Trixie's brothers and a few friends they gather along the way, they look out for each other, and their community.

It is wonderful fun. Old now, and a bit simple perhaps for today's youth, but still beautiful and fun stories.

Have you heard of any of these lesser know authors or books?
Have you read any, and what did you think?
Are there any authors you wish that people knew about?
Leave me your Day 5 link, and I'll come visit your topic!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Armchair BEA Day 4 ~ Beyond the Borders

Anyone miss me on Day 3? I know you didn't, that's ok. :) I didn't feel like I could contribute yesterday. I don't have any plans to expand my Blogging Horizons. This blog, with you all coming to check in on me right now and, hopefully, read this, is already much more than I expected it to be and it's enough, for now. Maybe not forever, but definitely for now. I'm not into "social media". I don't use Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and I certainly don't want my face on YouTube. So, I'm just content to let these words reach out to a few of you. Of course I would love it, if say a few of my favorite authors (Chris Carter, Maya Banks, Cherise Sinclair....) stumbled across me and just needed me to read ALLLLL their books prior to release, but since I love them and so many others do as well, I don't see that happening! :) The second topic of yesterday didn't appeal to me either. Just as I dislike Twitter because it's sentences instead of paragraphs, short stories are too, well, SHORT!! For the most part, I'll only read short stories, or novellas, if it's of a series I REALLY love, and even then I never love them. I'm long winded, have you noticed? I'm a pen paller who writes 15+ page typed letters. SHORT is not favorable in my vocabulary!!

I'm looking forward to blog hopping the giveaways, though I know I won't win anything. If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any. The examples I could give you! :) I've only won 2 things in my life, ever, and the 1st (a cd at 2am from a local radio station that I went to when I was 16/17) didn't really count, since I knew the DJ. Anyways, On to today's topic, which I DO have a lot to say! Kudos to you, if you actually read through this novel! :)

Beyond the Borders

BEA says: Beyond the Borders
It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!

This one is a great topic for me. If you asked me 5 years ago, even 2 years ago what my favorite genre was, I would say, hands down ~ Suspense/Thriller. Be it romantic suspense, or a whodunnit, I loved it and that was mainly what I read. I had read outside of this, of course, but always went back. It was definitely my comfort zone and I never thought I'd venture out of it. I guess, at the time, I was set in my ways. I liked what I liked and I stuck by it, for the most part. I was also one of those people that didn't want to get into the "hyped" up books, and I steered clear of them. I see now, both of these approaches of mine were not the best thing for me.

Hyped up books ~ we all know those ones, and years ago, I stayed far away. Even with ~ gasp ~ Harry Potter. That was my first "everyone is reading this, and I am SOOOO not going to read it". This lasted, quite a while, until the 5th one was almost out actually. Some former friends kept pushing and pushing, and when I was able to get the first 4, for $1 at a Book Club, I finally relented. At that point, I was only glad I waited because I didn't have long to wait for the 5th book to come out and then the rest. Harry Potter is, and will forever remain, one of my favorites, and I wish I hadn't stayed away from it for so long. Hyped up books CAN be a good thing, a very good thing, it just depends on your personal tastes. Years later, another set of books were pushed on me, literally in my hands, so I gave them a try. Liking the first ~ Twilight ~ just OK, I hated them by the end, and I hate them to this day. They aren't my thing, HP was. Hyped up books are definitely worth the try, because there are true gems in there.

As for the other ~ beyond my comfort zone, that's even more of a big deal for me.

I remember, very clearly, in fall 2011, coming across the most BEAUTIFUL cover I've ever seen. I look at the dust jacket info.... fantasy?! historical fiction?!? I don't read those genres!! Fantasy, maybe, but never ever historical fiction. But, it's pretty. But, the first lines...

“The circus arrives without warning.
No announcements precede it,
no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards,
no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers.
It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”
― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Historical Fantasy or not, I was hooked in those 3 lines, and I found my new, all-time favorite book. My favorite book is a historical fantasy and it's STILL weird to me. Even still, back then I still wasn't ready to get out of my comfort zone yet. I read The Night Circus, but went right back to my romantic suspense.

It has only been in the last year or so, that I've truly stepped out of my comfort zone and started reading more and more of those books that I never thought I would. I spent most of my life in Central Florida. I've traveled a lot of the states, when I was young then again during my first marriage in my 20s, but I've never traveled beyond this continent (unless you count a Jamaican honeymoon) and I know very little about other countries, cultures and so on. I read some books, such as Harry Potter, that lay beyond these borders, but it was very few that I did, as I couldn't imagine them, if it were in a real place. I'm not sure if that makes sense. Like with Harry Potter, I can imagine Hogwarts however I want to, because it's not real (no matter how amazingly awesome it is at Islands of Adventure, which we got to visit before we left central FL behind for the rural mountains of NC). Other books, set in a real place, even if fiction, never grabbed me because I didn't know the area, couldn't imagine it at all. So, I tended to stay away from anything set anywhere else, unless it was a dystopia. I know I'm not making any sense, sorry.

Anyways, there was another book I happened across and again it grabbed my attention. Again, it was historical fiction and set overseas! What's up with me?! Even my husband didn't know! So, I read it because it grabbed me, and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, now sits among my top 5 or so (counting the HP series as 1) favorite books! Since reading Shadow of the Wind, and the rest of the series, I've been taking more chances on more stories, those set in foreign (to me) places, those genres that I don't really "like", and so on. If it sounds good to me, I'm trying it, no matter what the hype, the genre, the location. It's SOOOOO not like me.

But it is like me, now. I've changed, my tastes in books have changed, a LOT!! I talked to my hubby about this just days ago. I can't even tell you my favorite genre, because I don't know that I have one anymore. There are some things I still do not read, and I have no intention of reading (I'm not into westerns, religion, non-fic, chick-lit and tearjerkers) but there's so much more that I AM reading that I never expected to at all. It's fun and I LOVE it. I'm finding so many great new books and I am, more importantly, open to reading more.

How have you Broadened your Borders?
Leave me a link, and I'll come visit

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Armchair BEA Day 2 ~ More than Words

Day 1 was a fun day of visiting blogs, though I didn't get to as many as I wanted to, as I tinkered with my new header, but I enjoyed the ones I did visit and I plan on visiting more today. It was nice to have some people come by *HI* and hopefully everyone who stopped in enjoyed their visit.

More than Words

Two topics for discussion today involve author interaction ~ which I have never had any, beyond a couple asking me to review their books and mediums that feature more than just words, such as graphic novels or audiobooks.

Though I've listened to a few in the past, I recently really discovered, and found a love for, audiobooks. About 8 months or so ago, I was in the mood to re-read The Night Circus (my favorite book, though if you've visited me more than this one time, you already know that). I didn't want to take up my regular time to read, when I could be reading something new, so I thought I'd try to listen to it. From there I discovered a few things about audiobooks for me. 1 ~ I LOVE listening to them at any time, especially when I have other things I could be doing, like the dishes, surfing the internet and even playing poker online. 2, and more importantly, ~ I found that listening to audiobooks at night help me fall asleep easier. I've always had a hard time falling to sleep, my mind just races, and with audiobooks I'm able to slow down, just listen and fall asleep much better than I used to. So now, instead of laying in bed trying to fall asleep for hours, I can enjoy listening to books until I get sleepy. It's GREAT! But, I digress.

I want to come back and make a note here. With pursuing blogs today for Armchair BEA, I've noticed that a lot of people mention they don't like audiobooks because they are slower than how they read. I think that is precisely what kept me from audiobooks for so long. I read really fast and the audio I had heard was slow. But, I started liking it at night, until I heard Brendan Fraser's narration of Inkspell and OMG it was soooooooooo super slow. I think he was trying to put people to sleep. That's when I went on a quest to find a way to speed him up. I found the app ~ Audipo at the Google Play store for free. You can speed the books up to 2 times faster and it REALLY helps out. Brendan sounded at at normal speed around 1.60 and I ended up speeding him up a little more and listening to him at 1.9. It REALLY works well. Not only that, have you done the same for ebooks? I have to be VERY focused to do it, but it's fun to use a speed reader (I first heard about these with Spritz, but there's free ones out there) every now and then. I've found the app ~ Speed Reader, also from Google Play ~ works best for me.

There are 4 works that stand out to me in audiobooks. Granted, I've not read many yet, in fact I've listened to less than 30 so far (and half of that is the Series of Unfortunate Events series & the Harry Potter series) but these are my audio loves.

I found that I ADORE Jim Dale. I first heard him with listening to The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. I found out, when I got that audiobook, that he was quite well known for his work on the Harry Potter series, and I knew I had to listen to those as well. Listening to The Night Circus and then all of the Harry Potter series was absolutely wonderful. Jim Dale is wonderfully charming and does a great job!

Two other books that I enjoyed a lot were not only because the books were wonderful, but also because of another fantastic narrator that I love to listen to! I first read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline through a library book my hubby picked out, but I snagged and read first. I LOVED it, and it's one of my favorite books ever. A few months or so later, I found out about Wil Wheaton reading it, and I had to re-read it just to listen to him. He's SOOOOO fun. When I found out that he also recently narrated Redshirts by John Scalzi, a book I wanted to read, I just got the audiobook and it was so good as well. The book is funny, but Wil reading it just made it all that much better. I've enjoyed these 2 books on their own, but even more with Wil reading them!

So far, these have been very very well known books, and readers, so I'd like to leave you with one more set, I guess the books that actually started my enjoyment of audiobooks sometime last year. There was a brief reality TV show called Whodunnit? In the show, 16 contestants came together to solve a "murder" mystery. One among them was the killer, and they had to figure out clues each week to keep from being "murdered" so they could stay and figure out the killer and win the prize. I LOVED this show, and hope it returns. It was created by Anthony E Zuiker, who among other things, has written for CSI. He wrote 2 books to continue the Whodunnit it series, set before, and after, the show. In addition, the Butler of the show ~ Giles, who was played by Gildart Jackson, read for the audiobooks, and like the TV show, he stole the show. Any fans of whodunnit mysteries, this is a must read, and was even better as an audiobook!!

I absolutely LOVE audiobooks now, and am finishing up the Lemony Snicket series within the next few days. I've been enjoying some celebrity read books (Lemony Snicket done mostly by Tim Curry, the Inkheart series read by Brendan Fraser) and just anything that looks good. It's been enjoyable and I wish I had discovered my love for audiobooks earlier!

Do you enjoy books in other mediums?
Are you an audiobook reader? Do you have suggestions?
Leave me your link, and I'll come visit!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Armchair BEA ~ Intro

I hadn't planned on participating in Armchair BEA since I'm such a baby blog with not much going on. But, I've been hearing about it for months now, and it seems like 90% of the blogs I follow are all participating and talking about it, so I've decided I'll jump in, since I'm reading all about it anyways. My participation will be light however, I don't use Twitter or Instagram or any other of those kinds of social media. They just aren't for me. I'm quite long winded and like to talk a lot so that's why a blog works best for me, I can just ramble on. :) With that, let me ramble an introduction for you.

1 ~ Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?

Hi!! Waves! Karsyn here, with the crazy long blog name. :) I just reference it as KaKiJoKoJa when writing about it online. I'm a baby blogger, only been going 2 months now. I actually got into it for a site I am on, called Swap-Bot. In it, I have a group that is all about reading and one of the swaps we do is a monthly reading log swap. I set up my blog to share my log with them, not thinking I'd start following other blogs, get swept up in the community or have a few (hello, to the 16 of you) followers!! Peanuts to many of the blogs I follow but considering I never thought anyone would follow me, I like it. :) I am blogging from a little mountain town in North Carolina, where I am a pretty recent (less than 2 years) transplant.

2 ~ What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?

I read so many books that I love each year, sometimes it's hard to pick a favorite because I love many different ones in different ways. 2013 was a more hard year for me to pick. I'd say my favorite standalone was ~ Erebos by Ursula Poznanski and my favorite book from a series was ~ One by One (Robert Hunter 05) by Chris Carter. My favorite book so far this year was most definitely ~ The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

3 ~ Spread the love by naming your favorite blogs/bloggers

Blogs I love & follow closely ~

Amanda's Nose in a Book
Book Journey
Brandie is a Bookjunkie
Erratic Project Junkie
Tif Talks Books

4 ~ If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 books would you bring? Why? What 3 non-book items would you bring? Why?

If I were stranded on a deserted island, the books I would have to bring are ~ The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Prisoner of Azkaban by JKR and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I would choose these because, right now, they are my 3 favorite books and such a variety that I'd get good use out of them and their uniqueness from each other. :)

As for non-book, since it said "items", I'll exclude my hubby, but he's a given. :) My three items would be ~ my Kindle Fire (is this cheating, since it's also my books? But I play games on it as well!), my PlayStation 3/TV and stationery/pen for writing letters.

5 ~ What book would you love to see as a movie?

The Night Circus, of course. It's been optioned as one, but nothing has happened with it yet. It would have to be PERFECT though, have all the details and correctly done. I think I'd be very picky on it, as I love it so very very much and would want it just right! :)

Are you participating in Armchair BEA?
Leave me your intro, and I'll come check it out,
or tell me about yourself right here. :)