Monday, April 23, 2012

A little break...

Posting's slowed down a bit here over the past couple of weeks (as you may have noticed... or you may not have noticed...) and it's just because other things have been taking some priority here. I'm the co-chair for the ILF District 6 Conference Planning Committee and we just had our annual conference on the 13th. We've also been in the process of interviewing potential teen librarian candidates at my library (a fun process, but definitely lots of work, too). Summer's coming right up and I've been busy getting our plans finalized and scheduled visits to the schools. 

And I'm also planning to move to a different state at the end of the week. (Don't worry - I'm not changing jobs or anything. I'm just moving across the bridge to Southern Indiana, much closer to work!)

I've been a little neglectful of this blog (to my mind, anyway) since I got back from vacation in February, and now it's time for me to take a little break so I can concentrate on Life Stuff. 

I'll be back in May! In the meantime, here's a portrait of the artist as a young blogger (i.e. me, age 6 or so): 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy Families

Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis. Grades 8 and up. Alfred A. Knopf, May 2012. 237 pages. Reviewed from digital ARC provided by NetGalley.

Twins Ysabel and Justin have a pretty good idea about where their lives are headed. Ysabel is an artist and aiming to show her glasswork in some upcoming shows and ultimately go to art school. Justin is master of the debate team and his five-year plan includes getting in to Stanford. But nothing could prepare them for the curveball their dad throws them: he's a transgender person, enjoys dressing in women's clothing, and he's moving out. When Ysabel and Justin are forced to spend their spring break with him, they'll meet some other transgender people and start to heal their family. They say that all happy families are the same... but what if you had thought your family was happy all along?

This is a sensitive portrayal of a family going through some tough changes. It will explicitly appeal to teens who might be dealing with a parent coming out (either as a gay person or a transgender person), but Justin and Ysabel's struggle for acceptance translates to a wide range of family problems. The twins feel like control has suddenly be wrested from them and they're not sure where to turn. Ysabel tries to bury herself in her art, but she can't shape her own family the way she can shape her glasswork. Justin reaches out on a social website for kids of transgender people, finding his only solace even as his mom laments how antisocial he's being, on the internet day and night. 

I liked the metaphors built into each twin's primary hobby. Ysabel is constantly forging new objects in her art just as her family is being molded into something new. Glass is still glass, even if its shape is changed. And eventually Ysabel will discover that her family is still her family, even if some things have to be different. Justin, so practiced in seeing all sides of an argument for his debate team, will have to put his skills to the test. He finds himself unable to see his dad's side in this rift, but as he learns more and starts to process his feelings, maybe he will. 

The dual narrative didn't really work for me, as I found Justin's and Ysabel's voices to be too similar. It was hard for me to tell them apart. I think the story might have been better served by choosing one narrator, although I did like the twins' relationship with each other. They have their arguments like any siblings, but they really lean on each other when things get tough. 

Not just a book for kids dealing with family problems, this is also a great book for expanding teens' understanding of what it means to be transgender. For that, I hope it is widely read. Ms. Davis includes a nice section at the end that explains what terminology to use and what words and phrases are considered offensive. 

Readalikes: From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson, Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher, Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger, Luna by Julie Ann Peters and the adult nonfiction books She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan and Dress Codes by Noelle Howey.

Happy Families will be on shelves May 8!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Running Dream

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen, read by Laura Flanagan. Grades 7 and up. Listening Library, 2011. 7 hours and 3 minutes. Reviewed from purchased copy.

I don't do a lot of rereading. Honestly, I don't make the time for it when I can't read nearly as many new books as I'd like to. Audiobooks are a nice compromise. Listening to an audiobook of a title I've liked is a way to "reread" and also experience the book in a new way. Not all books stand up to a reread, even in audio format, but I'm happy to say that The Running Dream definitely stands up!

I read and reviewed The Running Dream last year and here's some of what I had to say:

I am a runner.
That's what I do.
That's who I am.
Running is all I know, or want, or care about...
Running aired out my soul.
It made me feel alive.
And now?
I'm stuck in this bed, knowing I'll never run again
. (pg 6)

When an uninsured truck driver plows into the track team's school bus, Jessica's right leg is smashed beyond repair, requiring a below-the-knee amputation. In the days after the accident, Jessica can't imagine walking again, let alone running, but with the help of her determined friends and family, she just might make it back on the track. The Running Dream chronicles the months after the accident as Jessica returns to school, figures out a prosthetic leg, and slowly regains hope for the future.

If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be "uplifting". Jessica's story is one of hope, of friends and family coming together to help, and of possibilities. It's about small victories and large victories and making the world a better place.

With this reread, I was less sensitive to the fact that everything turned out unrealistically awesome and more sensitive to Jessica's struggles and her determination not only to succeed but to make life better for another person. Possibly this is because I already knew what was going to happen, but I also have to give credit to the audio format. The first-person narration lends itself to audio quite nicely and narrator Laura Flanagan brings Jessica to life, reading the poignant moments of Jessica's struggle with true emotion. Flanagan does a particularly nice job with the high emotions at the beginning of the book as Jessica finds out what happened with the accident and starts to deal with her new reality. 

Laura Flanagan's reading is no-frills, although it is partially voiced. Her men's voices sounded a little goofy to me, especially Jessica's prosthetics guy. But she makes up for it with Rosa's voice. In the book, Rosa (who has cerebral palsy) is described as being difficult to understand and Flanagan pulls off her speech impediment while still getting the words across. She also reads Rosa with a warmth that befits her character.

Flanagan's reading reminded me of Sara Zarr's reading of her own works, which I have really enjoyed. They both come across with a sense of authenticity about their characters and a frankness that I find very appealing. I'd recommend this audiobook to anyone who's liked Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl (read by Sara Zarr) or If I Stay by Gayle Forman, read by Kirsten Potter. 

Check out more audiobook reviews of The Running Dream at Everyday Reading and Reading with my Ears

The Running Dream is on shelves now!

* Hey, I'm an Audible affiliate, so if you purchase stuff after clicking the links on this site, I may get a small commission! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Storytime: Librarian's Favorites

This was our last week of Spring Storytime and this week was Librarian's Favorites! I wanted to challenge my staff to think outside of themes, so we made this last week open for each presenter to choose a selection of their very favorite books. Here's what I did for mine:

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Memory Box: This week's Memory Box item was a cow from Bark George by Jules Feiffer.

Book: Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems. One of my favorites, maybe because I love the spread where Sam freaks out about all the reasons he's crying.

Book: Bark George by Jules Feiffer. One of my all-time favorites. This is a great book for all ages, from young preschoolers through early elementary. I LOVE the surprise ending; although the kids don't always get it, it always makes the parents chuckle.

Song: We broke out the shakers for "I Know a Chicken" by Laurie Berkner. It's the first song on this video:

Book: Chickens to the Rescue by John Himmelman. I love the illustrations in this book, but it didn't hold my group as a readaloud this time. I had a different group this week - lots absent and several guests since Louisville (our neighboring city) public schools are on spring break this week.

Felt: Fifteen Animals by Sandra Boynton. Another silly animal story!

Closing Song:  Do You Know What Time It Is?

Take-Home Craft: Since we didn't have a theme this week, we sent home a handout listing a handful of each of our favorite books and a magic scratch art bookmark. We actually had the bookmarks leftover from a previous group.

Alternate Books: There are no alternate books since everybody just chose whatever their favorites were!

Honestly, I was a little bummed to have such low attendance this week, especially since it was the week for our favorites and it was our last week. I ended up with 14 kids, but at least 5 or 6 of those were siblings or guests who just happened to be in the department and this was the only time they'd been there. I will have more thoughts on this next week as I take a look back at our spring storytime series!

(Also: I realized I skipped posting last week. We did dogs last week and I will have that up for you shortly!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Guest Post: Aaron Karo!

Ladies and gents, I'm so happy to announce that I'm today's stop on the Lexapros and Cons blog tour! This fabulously fresh and funny book hits shelves TODAY, so make sure to hit up your favorite bookstore to pick up a copy... after you read this guest post from author Aaron Karo, of course:

Funny Business
           I wasn’t always professionally funny. Growing up, I was quick to crack jokes and was something of the class cut-up, but I never had any aspirations of doing anything with it. I went to Penn to study business and got a job on Wall Street right after graduation. It wasn’t until 2002, when I was 23 years old, that I tried stand-up for the first time. I fell in love and have been writing and performing ever since.

            For me, it’s hard not to be funny. And I don’t mean to be cocky. I just mean that my default mode is to make light of a situation, no matter how grave it is. I just think I get my point across best with humor. Plus, no girl ever says, “I’m looking for a really serious guy.” They want someone who can make them laugh. That’s just added incentive.

            When I set out to write Lexapros and Cons, I didn’t intentionally try to write a “funny” book. But I did know that Chuck Taylor was going to get himself into some pretty sticky situations, and that it would be fun trying to extricate him from them. Chuck never says the right thing and very rarely even thinks the right thing, and that’s probably because he speaks and talks kinda like me. He’s not trying to be funny. He’s just sort of off. And that’s what ultimately endears him to Amy, which may be some measure of wish fulfillment on my part: that some beautiful girl is going to think I’m hilarious and fall for me. Hey, a guy can dream. 

            A lot of people have told me that many YA books are very dark or paranormal, or dark and paranormal and therefore it’s refreshing to read a more comedic story like Lexapros and Cons. The truth is, I actually think that the trials and tribulations that Chuck goes through in the course of dealing with his OCD are pretty dark. It’s just that Chuck’s reactions (and the reactions of his classmates) are so outrageous that it kind of took the edge away. I chalk that up to happy coincidence. 

            Being a comedian was tremendous training for writing Lexapros. It is much, much easier to make someone laugh when you’re telling them a story in person than it is to get them to laugh from reading something you’ve written. But I think all my experience on stage has translated to the page. The key is misdirection, which is basically making the audience think you’re going to say one thing, and then saying something else instead. In the conversations between Chuck and his best friend Steve in the book, there is a lot of misdirection. They go off on some unexpected and, hopefully, hilarious tangents. That tendency is right out of my stand-up act.

            The beauty of comedy is that it is often universal. I think that teens will enjoy Lexapros not simply because it’s targeted to them, but because it’s just funny in general. Teens have a pretty sophisticated sense of humor, probably more so than they are given credit for, but I imagine their parents will get just as much of kick out of the book as they do. At least I hope so, because I really don’t want to go back to getting paid not to be funny.

Many thanks to Aaron for stopping by today on his very release day! Be sure and check him out on Twitter @aaronkaro. And thanks, also, to the good folks at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for offering up a copy of Lexapros and Cons for a giveaway! 

To enter, please fill out the form below. One entry per person, US addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter. Entries will be accepted through Monday, April 16 and I'll draw one winner on Tuesday, April 17. I will share the winner's information with the publisher who will send the book. Otherwise, I promise your information will not be shared with anyone and will be deleted after the contest is over. 

The giveaway is now closed! Thanks to all who entered!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lexapros and Cons

Lexapros and Cons by Aaron Karo. Grades 8+. Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, April 2012. 232 pages. Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.

Chuck Taylor (yes, that's actually his name) knows that the little habits and routines he has aren't just habits and routines. He knows it's crazy to continually check the burners and oven knobs, to get up to pee fifteen times before going to bed, to keep a tally of how many times he masturbates (573 times last year). When Chuck's parents insist that he start seeing a psychiatrist, he's torn between freaking out about seeing a shrink and being grateful that he's finally getting some help. But when Chuck meets new girl Amy Huntington and - miracle of miracles - she actually kinda seems into him, he knows he's got to hide his crazy from her at all costs. It won't be easy, but if Chuck can do it, it just might change his life.

Comedian Aaron Karo brings us a fresh, funny male protagonist in a story with as much heart as humor.

I'm always looking for more funny teen books. Humor is something that a lot of my teens crave and it can be hard to find funny contemporary titles on the crowded-with-issues-and-paranormal YA shelves. I'm pleased to be able to hand this to teens (especially teen guys) who want a laugh. You can even find humor in the format of the book: chapters are numbered with post-it note tally marks, just like the post-its on which Chuck keeps his jerk-off tally.

Chuck Taylor has a great voice and his story is one that teens will identify with. OCD is obviously a major issue in the story, but really Chuck's coming of age and figuring out how to deal with his life. He has a crush on a girl, he has a best friend who's in love with his sister (awkward...), he has parents who are trying their hardest but are still relatively clueless.

There's some language and plenty of talk about masturbation, so you need to know your audience with this one. I'd hand it to fans of Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford for the humor and maybe It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini for the psychology aspect.

Be sure to read Sarah's review at YA Librarian Tales!

Lexapros and Cons comes out TOMORROW (April 10) and you'll definitely want to check back because I'll have Aaron Karo himself here tomorrow for a guest post you won't want to miss!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Cheshire Cheese Cat

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright, read by Katherine Kellgren and Robin Sachs. Grades 3-7. Listening Library, 2012 (Peachtree Publishers, 2011). 4 discs. Review copy provided by my local library.

Skilley, a London alley cat, longs for the warm hearth of The Cheshire Cheese Inn, so when he hears that they're looking for a mouser, he shows up. But Skilley has a terrible secret: he eats cheese instead of mice! When the smartest mouse at the inn figures out Skilley's secret, they arrange a deal to benefit them both: the mice will provide Skilley with cheese and he won't hunt them as long as they try to stay out of sight. But things get more complicated when Skilley learns that there's a captive at the inn... and he needs help.

This is a solid, charming story with plenty of fun Dickensian references, very timely for the hundredth anniversary of Charles Dickens's birth. Kids won't necessarily get the Dickens references, but they're fun nonetheless and this just may be the kind of book that kids will revisit at an older age. The characters and the interesting relationship between an educated mouse and a street cat working together drew me into the story and there's no one better to bring characters to life than narrator Katherine Kellgren.

Kellgren rocks it once again with this fully voiced production. I love her range of voices, from the prim and proper (and tiny!) mouse Pip to the rough-and-tumble alley cats to all the humans of the Cheshire Cheese. She has a gift for getting characters' personalities across in the way she voices them, and that truly brings the story to life. Robin Sachs narrates bits here and there from the writings of Charles Dickens as he observes the small dramas happening in the Cheshire Cheese and tries to come up with an opening line for his next novel. Sachs reads with dignity befitting such an esteemed historical figure, and his bits add an authenticity to the story.

I'd recommend this story to fans of classic animal stories like Charlotte's Web, A Cricket in Times Square, or Bunnicula. The audiobook would make a fantastic family listen, as I think it will appeal to a wide range of ages and adults who will pick up on the Dickens references.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat was the 2011 Cybils Winner in the Middle Grade Science Fiction & Fantasy Category and a contestant in SLJ's Battle of the Books. Also check out Betsy's review at A Fuse #8 Production.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat is available now!

* Hey, I'm an Audible affiliate, which means that if you purchase audiobooks after clicking on the links here I may get a small commission. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dreaming Over at the ALSC Blog

Oh, yeah. Thank goodness for advance post scheduling because I actually completely forgot that I'm over at the ALSC Blog today talking about dreams. It's just been that kind of month! Please click through and let me know that you have librarian stress dreams, too!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Race Day at the Library

I am always looking for more ideas for bringing boys into the library (aren't we all?). Last week was Spring Break for our kids and I hosted Race Day at the Library! This program was actually really simple and a lot of fun. We invited kids in K-5th grade to design their own race track at the library.

Of course, I stole the idea from another librarian! A librarian from the Parker Memorial Library (MA) posted this idea on the PUBYAC listserv and I've been saving it for just the right time.

The bulk of our program was making race tracks and I pulled a large selection of racing-related titles to display. Since I had a captive audience of (mostly) boys, I did a little book-talking, too. I kept it short since I had some little ones there and I booktalked: 

  • Skinnybones by Barbara Park (honestly, one of my favorite Wimpy Kid readalikes)
  • Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka (to booktalk this, I just read the passage where they pee on the space heater)
  • 100 Most Dangerous Things on the Planet by Anna Claybourne (I keep pushing this one since it gets buried in our 600s. Everyone I tell about it wants to check it out!)
  • The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton (another of my favorites that tends to get buried!)
I checked after the program and every single book I talked about was checked out! Does anything feel better than that??

So, the craft! This is one of those crafts that I could set out all the supplies and just let families be creative and make whatever they wanted (i.e. my favorite kind!).

We made race tracks out of cardboard tubes (paper towel & toilet paper tubes). We had some volunteers cut many of the tubes lengthwise so that they would make troughs. We also kept some tubes uncut in case kids wanted to make tunnels or use the tubes to add height, etc. Kids could design their race track however they wanted. One of our local pizza restaurants actually donated some misprinted boxes that we used as the cardboard base. I put out construction paper, crayons, markers, stickers, scissors, glue, tape, and all kinds of scraps and let them go to town!

The kids and parents had a lot of fun getting creative and designing their race tracks. This is a great, cheap, easy craft that would work really well for family night programs. After each kid finished his or her race track, I let them pick out a handful of matchbox cars (purchased at Oriental Trading) to take home.

It was low-key, but tons of fun. I didn't have a huge crowd, but that wasn't too surprising since we had it in the evening. We tend to get low turnout for our evening programs. I put on some CDs (any excuse to listen to Ralph's World) and just generally chatted with the kids about their favorite books while they worked.

Most of all, I love how creative everyone was with their tracks! It was definitely a super fun night!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

AudioSynced: March Roundup

Huzzah! No April foolin' here. It's the first of the month, which means that it's time for your AudioSynced Roundup!

If you're looking for some great audiobooks, check out the following reviews from around the blogosphere. And, as always, if I missed your link, leave it in comments and I'll add you to the roundup! Didn't review or post about audiobooks this month? Don't worry - AudioSynced will be back at STACKED next month.

Audiobook News and Posts

The Fifth Annual Tournament of Audiobooks is going on right now at! 32 of 2011's top audiobooks (Editors' Picks, Customer Favorites, Bestsellers, and Critically Acclaimed) are pitted against each other. One will emerge victorious!

You are invited to participate in The Armchair Audies! Audiobook enthusiasts will be choosing a category or two from the Audie nominees, listening to all the nominated titles, and posting their predictions during the week of May 28th before the awards are announced. Click on through for more info about how to participate!

The Chicago Tribune ran an article about Audible's new line of A-List audiobooks: audiobooks read by some of today's top actors.

Create and submit a video promoting audiobooks and you could win the Audio Publishers Association's "Get Caught Listening" video contest for a cash prize of up to $5,000! Entries are due by May 15, 2012.

Catie, Flannery, and Tatiana at The Readventurer are posting about some of their very favorite audiobooks.

Can the same narrator be excellent for one book and unimpressive for another? Absolutely, and Kim at STACKED is posting about this very experience.

Of course, don't forget about Audiobook Jukebox for lots more audiobook reviews!

Children's/Middle Grade Audiobooks

Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri, read by JD Jackson, reviewed by Lee at Reading With My Ears. Lee says, "The narrator JD Jackson... sounds completely natural voicing Cole as well as the novel's many other characters. If his voice sounds a little mature, he more than makes up for it with a youthful rhythm and streetwise inflections."

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making, written and read by Catherynne Valente, reviewed by Stormcrow at Audiobook Heaven. Stormcrow says, "Valente has a great voice for narration and her passion for the characters that she created really shows in her reading."

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, read by Bahni Turpin, reviewed by Allison at Everyday Reading. Allison says, "[Bahni Turpin's] performance as the audiobook narrator really brings this story to life. She has an incredible range, doing a masterful job with women, men, and children's voices alike."

Lee at Reading With My Ears also reviews The Mighty Miss Malone. Lee says, "[Bahni Turpin] reads the novel with the right amount of smarts and with a busybody-ness that's perfect for this 12-year-old know-it-all."

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, read by Anne Hathaway, reviewed by Bob at The Guilded Earlobe. Bob says, "Anne Hathaway’s reading allows you to fully immerse yourself in this Wonderful tale."

Young Adult Audiobooks

Firelight by Sophie Jordan, read by Theresa Plummer, reviewed by Melissa at Mel's Books and Info. Melissa says, "Plummer does an adequate job with the narration, but her voice might have been a bit too soothing, or perhaps lacking enough emotion to keep me invested in the production."

The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett, read by Richard Aspel, reviewed by Lisa at Shelf-employed. Lisa says, "Listeners who persevere will be rewarded with a stellar performance."

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, read by Sarah Drew, reviewed by Abby at The Lupine Librarian. Abby says, "The cliffhanger ending of Pandemonium will make you count the days until the release of the final book in the series!"

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan, read by John Keating, reviewed by Melissa at Mel's Books and Info. Melissa says, "Keating’s narration and the audio production is clear and free of flaws, which makes for an enjoyable listening experience."

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham, reviewed by Allison at Reading Everywhere. Allison says, "Steve West as Sean and Fiona Hardingham as Puck deliver solid, rich performances and bring so much life to the characters."

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel, read by Luke Daniels, reviewed by Beth at Nerdy Book Club. Beth says, "I judge an audiobook’s success on how much I look forward to my long work commute everyday and this was one of those audiobooks that helped me forget I spend two hours a day in the car."

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, read by Khristine Hvam, reviewed by Lee at Reading With My Ears. Lee says, "[Khristine Hvam] is pretty darn perfect as Min. She captures Min's superior intellect along with her superiority, yet is as capable of showing her insecurities."

Zombies Vs. Unicorns, ed. by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier; read by Ellen Grafton, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, Julia Whelan, and Phil Gigante; reviewed by Laurie at Bay State Readers' Advisory. Laurie says, "I enjoyed most of the stories, but Meg Cabot’s story Princess Prettypants was my favorite of the humorous ones."

Adult Audiobooks

Eat Pray Love written and read by Elizabeth Gilbert, reviewed by Sam at Parenthetical. Sam says, "Gilbert reads... with a tongue-in-cheek self-mocking quality that was essential to my enjoyment of the book."

Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale, read by Angele Masters, reviewed by Bob at The Guilded Earlobe. Bob says, "Full of adventure, dark humor and colorful characters, if you have yet to take a trip with Joe R. Lansdale there is plenty of room on this raft."

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn, read by Marguerite Gavin, reviewed by Melissa at Book Nut. Melissa says, "I'll tell you straight up: I learned a lot from this book. A lot. And that was listening to the audio version. I need to go out and purchase the book, so I can have it as a reference in my kitchen."

Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat, read by Dion Graham and Robin Miles, reviewed by Lee of Reading With My Ears. Lee says, "Miles, a narrator I've never heard before, does the lion's share of the work and she is very good, skillfully using her voice to deliver all the pain and sorrow and odd moments of joy that Danticat's women experience."

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly, read by Adam Grupper, reviewed by Annette at Annette's Book Spot. Annette says, "I just want to be read to, you don't need to dramatize the text for me, and Grupper was great."

Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva, read by Phil Gigante, reviewed by Lee at Reading With My Ears. Lee says, "As far as I could tell, everyone was consistently voiced, but ultimately it all sounded like a comedy act. The accents mostly sounded authentic to me (I'm really not a judge), but the Russians and Israelis began to blend together, and the French seemed off. The women were overly breathy and femmy and that -- coupled with their accents -- made them seem particularly caricatured."

The Night Swimmer by Matthew Bondurant, read by Hillary Huber, reviewed by Laurie at Bay State Readers' Advisory. Laurie says, "The audiobook edition of The Night Swimmer... narrated absolutely perfectly by Hillary Huber, will be the first on my list of best audiobooks of 2012."

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley, read by Susan Duerden, reviewed by Bob at The Guilded Earlobe. Bob says, "The Rook is one of the most fascinating Fantasies I have experienced in a long time, truly touching that sense of wonder as only the best Fantasies can."

Rumo & his Miraculous Adventures by Walter Moers, read by Bronson Pichot, reviewed by Bob at The Guilded Earlobe. Bob says, "This novel reads like Shel Silversteins cleverest poems, and it will remind readers of my generation of classics like The Phantom Tollbooth."

Situations Matter by Sam Sommers, read by Joshua Swanson, reviewed by Janssen at Everyday Reading. Janssen says, "Joshua Swanson is just as good a non-fiction narrator as he is for fiction."

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz, read by Ari Graynor, reviewed by Melissa at Book Nut. Melissa says, "I was captivated by Isabel's voice (and Graynor's reading of her), her observations of her ex-boyfriends, the cases, and her family. It was a lot of fun to listen to."