Review: Stories I Told Myself

Stories

  • Author: Patrick E. McLean
  • Pages: 230

I listened to the free audio version available on podiobooks.com.

Funny, moving and always exquisitely well-produced, this collection of short stories and essays from the award-winning Seanachai podcast is not to be missed. If you like this American Life, but wish that Ira Glass’ voice was a bit softer on the ears, then this is the audio book for you. – Goodreads synopsis

Stories I Told Myself is a collection of short stories and essays that are chalk full of hilarity, even the slightly more serious ones.  Patrick E. McLean culled them from the results of his decision to write something every week, no matter how good or bad, to get past a writing block.  While I didn’t love this book quite as much as I did The Merchant Adventurer, I did enjoy it, and I especially liked that I could get through a story within the time it took me to drive to work.  Sometimes I could listen to two, maybe three, of them.  That means I was able to finish the podiobook version in about four days, and I didn’t have to leave off in the middle of a chapter and then have to wait until the end of the day or the next day to finish it (I rarely listen to audiobooks outside of my car).

The reason Patrick E. McLean is one of my favorite authors is that he writes about stuff that is bizarre, but in a way that makes sense and is oddly relatable in an extremely humorous way.  For instance, one story is about the problems of having a vampire living in your attic, especially if that vampire has horrible taste in music.  Anyone who has ever had a roommate, or even an annoying neighbor can understand what that experience might be like.  Another story shows how sharing candy can bring even the most unlikely people into a short-term understanding of each other.

A couple of the stories were a little off the mark, or just not that interesting, but that’s normal for a short story collection.  No matter how hard the writer and/or editor tries, there will always be a dud or two.  However, it is rare for all the others to more than make up for those one or two.  As a result, I highly recommend giving Stories I Told Myself a try, especially since the podiobook is free.

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Review: The Coffee Legacy

Coffee

  • Author: Katharina Bordet
  • ISBN: 9781495943911
  • Genre: Fantasy

The ISBN is for the paperback edition, but I listened to the free audio version from podiobooks.com.

I really enjoyed The Coffee Legacy.  Each chapter begins with a different coffee recipe, and there’s one in particular that puts any iced mocha you could get in the US to shame.  Though she never says it, I will: we’re doing it wrong.  I can’t say much more than that without giving away major parts of the story, but most of it takes place in Vienna, Austria, there are some twists and turns scattered throughout, and the climax of it was unexpected.  When I first started listening I thought, “How is this Fantasy?”, but that changed within a couple of chapters.

I really wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything.  Not even the synopsis on Goodreads (click on the book cover above) or the author’s website, Wiener Blut, gives anything away.  If you love Fantasy, coffee, or both, you’ll love The Coffee Legacy!

Mini-Review: The Prince of Hazel and Oak

Prince

  • Author: John Lenahan
  • ISBN: 9780007425594
  • Publisher: The Friday Project
  • Genre: Fantasy

The information above is for the paperback and ebook edition.  I listened to the free “podiobook” version from podiobooks.com.  Since this is the 2nd book in the Shadowmagic series by John Lenahan, I’m keeping this review short, as I will do for any books after the 1st in a series.

There isn’t anything different to say about The Prince of Hazel and Oak that I’ve already said about Shadowmagic.  I’m still a huge fan of John Lenahan and his books, and the “podiobook” format.  The third book in the Shadowmagic series, The Sons of Macha, isn’t available as a “podiobook”, and I haven’t seen it offered as an audiobook anywhere, either, so I was a little sad when The Prince of Hazel and Oak came to an end.  My next audiobook has some fierce competition.

If you’ve already taken my recommendation to listen to Shadowmagic, then listen to the “podiobook” version of this book as well.  You won’t be disappointed.  I’ve already got The Sons of Macha as an ebook, and I can’t wait to find the time to read it.

 

Review: Shadowmagic

Shadow

  • Author: John Lenahan
  • ISBN: 9781905548927
  • Publisher: Harper Collins

The above information is for the paperback and ebook edition.  I listened to the free “podiobook” version from podiobooks.com.

Though I’ve listened to audio books before, this was my first “podiobook”.  I’m now a huge fan of the format, John Lenahan, and his book, Shadowmagic.  My commute to and from school has never been more fun!  I deliberately held off on listening to it until I was in my car, unless I was finishing up the last couple minutes of a chapter, which was difficult at times.  I frequently had the urge to continue listening, but I told myself it was better to savor it, since it would be over all too soon.  I’m already listening to the second book, Prince of Hazel and Oak, and I have a feeling I’ll be just a little bit sad when it ends.  I’m sure there are other great books on podiobooks.com, but finding them will likely involve a bit of trial and error.  Thankfully, they’re free.

I can’t say for sure, but I think listening to the book, which is narrated by the author, rather than reading a print version, is what got me hooked.  I felt like I was being told a story, instead of just being read to, if that makes sense?  I think the difference is in the enthusiasm of the author as he narrates.  In an author’s note at the end of the book, he mentions that he wrote it for his son, and I’m sure that’s a factor in his performance.  If I had been reading the book, I might have felt that the story was a little silly, but then again, maybe not.  I really don’t know.  I just feel that this is a story that needs to be told rather than read.

With that being said, I have to recommend the “podiobook” version.  It’s free, so it gives you the chance to try it out without costing anything in case you’re not 100% sold on it yet.  If you love Fantasy, the childlike feeling of being told a story, or Irish Celtic mythology, you can’t go wrong with Shadowmagic.