Thursday, April 21, 2022

Chirp Audiobooks - A Review


I am ADDICTED to audiobooks!! In fact, ALL of the 27 books I've read this year in 2022, have been audiobooks... That's if you consider listening to audiobooks reading, which I certainly do.

Here's a short history of my audiobook listening experience before I share my review of Chirp. 

I initially began my experience of listening to audiobooks on cassette tape WAY back in the day. Granted I didn't listen to audiobooks all that frequently during this time frame. I eventually moved on to listening to audiobooks on compact disc. I didn't immediately fall in love with audiobooks as buying them on cassette tape and compact disc could be very pricey. Plus, I loved reading physical books more than listening to them at the time.

Slowly, I began to fall in love with listening to audiobooks and eventually became a staunch Audible member around 2014. From there, I used Audible's services almost exclusively for a number of years with an occasional audiobook on compact disc mixed in here and there.

Then in January of 2021, I first learned about Chirp and wrote a blog post about Chirp here on my blog. I was already using Audible heavily in 2021 as I'd received 12 credits/ renewed membership to Audible from my husband for Christmas in 2020. Long story short, Chirp wasn't even something I wanted to use/try at that time as my audiobook needs were being met through Audible.

However, I decided to let my Audible subscription membership lapse at the end of 2021 as I already have so many physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks to read that I thought it would be a nice change of pace to take a year off from Audible.

Then in March of this year, I remembered learning about Chirp last year. I was curious about Chirps's audiobook service, so I decided to give them a shot by trying them out last month. I downloaded the free Chirp app to my iPad and listened to my very first audiobook download, Murder Most Pemberley by Jessica Berg, a cozy mystery novel that is the first novel in a series. I was able to purchase Murder Most Pemberley by Jessica Berg for 99 cents as part of Chirps limited time deals.

After listening to Murder Most Pemberley by Jessica Berg on the Chirp app and having a positive experience with using the Chirp app, I decided to download several more books and have listened to a total of 16 books with no glitches using the Chirp app. Quite frankly, I've fallen in love with Chirp and become addicted to their service. I've downloaded more than 45 audiobooks in all.

So, what do I love about Chirp audiobooks? NO SUBSCRIPTION FEE is the biggest perk for me!! Limited Time Deals on audiobooks where one can save up to 95% off the price of an audiobook and Money-back guarantee feature (although I have not had to use this feature to date). 

All of the audiobooks I have purchased from Chirp have been one of their limited time deals. I enjoy not paying full price for books. Plus, I've discovered many new to me authors and also acquired many of my wishlist books through buying audiobooks through Chirp's limited time deals. I am DEFINITELY a Chirp convert for sure! I recommend Chirp to those that enjoy listening to audiobooks.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Today Marks My 10 Year Blogiversary!!! Plus Farewell!!


Wow, it was ten years ago today I started 'Captivated Reader' and what a journey it has been the past ten years! Honestly, I never expected to be blogging this long.

How Did I Start Blogging?

It all started with a desire to start blogging a few year before I actually began blogging on January 1, 2012. I kind of toyed with the idea of blogging off and on for a few years before I gave it some serious thought in the Autumn of 2011. During the Autumn of 2011, I checked out blogging platforms, decided that I wanted my blog to be about all things books and anything pertaining to books, and then finally coming up with blog name... My first choice for a blog name wasn't 'Captivated Reader'. I can't even remember now what my first choice name was for my blog was. In fact, I had to choice several names before I finally discovered 'Captivated Reader' was available on this platform.

Finding My Blogging Groove

Over the years, I played around with blogging topics for my book blog. I discovered memes, quotes, Little Free Libraries, and more to write about over the course of the past ten years. I searched Google endlessly for bookish related news. Essentially, I tried to be as creative as possible when it came to blog topics that fit into the realm of all things book related. I even played around a bit with book reviews in the beginning before my reviews came to be what they are presently. 

I learned a lot about various book related topics that I may not have learned about before I began blogging. All this work in the name of coming up with new topics to blog about to attract and keep readers interested in my blog.

Making Connections With Readers & Bloggers

I am so grateful for all of my blog readers, followers, and all of those that have left comments on my various blog posts over the past ten years. I feel truly blessed in making connections with other book lovers, readers, and fellow bloggers! Thank you for making 'Captivated Reader' a success over the years. Your readership has kept me motivated in creating new content over the year.

Final Thoughts & Farewell

As much as I have thoroughly enjoyed keeping 'Captivated Reader' going the past decade, it's time for me discontinue posting to my blog for now and move on to other endeavors. 

I have truly enjoyed keeping a book blog and interacting with other readers and bloggers over the years. However, I have other areas of my life that require my attention at the moment. So, it's time for me to move on. I will miss reviewing books I've read, posting about my Little Free Library discoveries, and so on.

I will keep 'Captivated Reader' up as it is currently... Perhaps one day, I will return to blogging in the future. In the meantime, I will miss you all! Happy reading to you all now and in the future. Hope you have a happy, joyous, peaceful, and healthy 2022 and beyond. Warm wishes, Lisa @ Captivated Reader.

Friday, December 31, 2021

End of the Year Wrap Up Post


I can't believe we've reached the end of 2021. This year has gone by fairly swiftly despite the fact we're still in a worldwide pandemic and life hasn't fully returned to normal. 

Good news on the reading front for me! I met or exceeded most of my 2021 Reading Goals in all areas except for one. Click on above link to read my original post stating my 2021 reading goals.

This year, I accomplished the following:

* I read a grand total of 107 books in 2021. My original goal had been to read only 60 books this year, so I happily exceeded my reading goals for 2021.
* I read 5 trilogies in 2021. So, I met my goal of reading 5 trilogies this year.
* My goal had been to read 15 books I'd received for FREE through the Goodreads Giveaway program. I ONLY read 7 books from this category, so I didn't reach my original reading goal for this category.

I read a lot of books that were on my reading wishlist this year: 

1. Flygirl by Sherri L Smith
2. Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do About It by Kate Harding
3. The Taster by V.S. Alexander
4. Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer by Margalit Fox
5. Euphoria by Lily King
6. Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer
7. The Seance by John Harwood
8. The Wolf Hunt Trilogy by Jeff Strand
9. Fantasticland by Mike Bockoven
10. The Torment of Rachel Ames by Jeff Gunhus
11. Hearts In Darkness by Laura Kaye
12. Love in the Light by Laura Kaye
13. Toni Tennille: A Memoir by Toni Tennille

I've also read many new to me authors like Ursula K. Le Guin, Gary D. Schmidt, and Xhenet Aliu... Or other books written by authors I've enjoyed reading in prior years like Allen Eskens or Jules Verne.

Overall, I had a great year of reading during 2021. How'd you do this year in terms of reading? Did you met your reading goals? What are reading goals for 2022?

Thursday, December 30, 2021

First Quarter 2022 Reading Goals

Here's my tentative reading lineup for the 1st quarter of 20221! I say 'tentative' because I usually end up making some changes along the way in terms of what I end up actually reading.

In 2022, I'll also be trying to reduce my plethora of physical books and move them along to Little Free Libraries for others to enjoy reading... This means I'll also attempt to minimize the amount of ebooks or Audible books I usually enjoy reading throughout the year in an attempt to move some of my physical books along to other readers. I REALLY LOVE listening to audiobooks, so scaling back on listening to books is going to take some diligence on my part.

Hopefully, I will not be buying or acquiring any new books as gifts in 2022. Good luck with this goal as I have a book addiction problem! 

Anyway, all the books in the photo above start with the word 'the' interestingly enough. Additionally, I have a couple of books I started this year that I will most likely finish in early 2022 as I probably won't have enough time to finish reading them this year.

Have you started planning your reading goals for 2022? 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Best Books I Read In 2021


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Top Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I read so many wonderful books in 2021. It was difficult to narrow down my choices to just ten books I LOVED this year. In fact, I had 15-20 books that made my list. Unfortunately, I couldn't keep them all for this week's TopTen Tuesday post. 

Below is my list of favorites reads for 2021. Click on the links below to read my review of each book.

1. Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore

2. The Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting by Joe Gillard

3. Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries by Lisa Sanders MD

4. Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings

5. Mimi Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow

6. Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong by Paul A. Offit MD

7. The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs

8. Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt

9. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

10. Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy
Happy reading to all in 2022!!

Monday, December 27, 2021

My Ten Least Favorite Reads of 2021

I don't know about you, but each year there are always a few duds in terms of books I end up not liking very much. 

Some of the books that I end up not liking very much are a surprise because I've enjoyed reading books written by the author in the past. Or maybe I've heard a lot about a particular book or author and feel the author or their book don't live up to the hype. Or for other reasons... like branching out and trying new to me authors, etc. and not enjoying the book I've chosen to read.

Anyway, below are the top ten books I've read in 2021 that I didn't enjoy all that much. Click on the links to read my review of each book to learn more.

1. Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan 

2. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

3. The Torment of Rachel Ames by Jeff Gunhus

4. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

5. Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda

6. Brat: An '80s Story by Andrew McCarthy

7. Dolly by Susan Hill

8. A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

9. The Tutor by Bonnie Dee

10. Peril in Pensacola by Lucy Quinn

Have you read any of the above books? If so, what did you think of them?

Sunday, December 26, 2021

A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable by Dan Gable


I am a University of Iowa graduate!! During my time at the University of Iowa, Dan Gable was the head coach for the wrestling team. I wasn't big into wrestling during my college days... However, Dan Gable was and still is a very legendary figure in the world of wrestling. Gable won a gold medal at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany while on the US men's wrestling team. In 2020, Dan Gable was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Plus, he has received many other accolades.

I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable because of Dan Gable's legendary fame and his ties to my alma mater. I enjoyed listening A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable by Dan Gable. It reads like a series of short stories about Dan Gable's life to include stories from his childhood and his early family life. How Dan Gable became a wrestler. Gable's older sister's rape and murder at the hands of a neighbor. Gable's college days as a wrestler, plus Gable's climb to the Olympics, and his life as a coach at Iowa. I enjoyed learning about his philosophy as a coach and his personal life. A good overall read. 

My only major complaint about A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable by Dan Gable is that I didn't care for the narrator's voice for this book.

Below is the publisher's summary for A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable by Dan Gable from Amazon:

What does it take to be an Olympic gold medalist and to coach a collegiate team to 15 NCAA titles? In A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable, famed wrestler and wrestling coach Dan Gable tells engaging and inspiring stories of his childhood in Waterloo, Iowa; overcoming the murder of his sister as a teenager; his sports career from swimming as a young boy, to his earliest wrestling matches, through the 1972 Olympics; coaching at the University of Iowa from the Banachs to the Brands; life-changing friendships he made along the way; and tales of his family life off the mat. A celebration of determination, teamwork, and the persevering human spirit, A Wrestling Life captures Gable's methods and philosophies for reaching individual greatness as well as the incredible amount of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from working as part of a team.

I am giving A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable by Dan Gable a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Friday, December 24, 2021

Murder by Other Means (The Dispatcher, #2) by John Scalzi


In 2016, I listened to and reviewed The Dispatcher by John Scalzi and narrated by Zachary Quinto. It was my first experience with anything written by John Scalzi. I really liked The Dispatcher a lot. So when I discovered that a follow up book titled, Murder by Other Means (The Dispatcher, #2) by John Scalzi, had been written and it was also narrated by Zachary Quinto, I decided to give it a listen.

Zachary Quinto is an excellent narrator... However, the plot, characters, and storyline for Murder by Other Means, just didn't do it for me.

I had high hopes for Murder by Other Means since I enjoyed The Dispatcher so much. But as I've already mentioned, I simply felt let down by this one.

Below is the publisher's summary of Murder by Other Means (The Dispatcher, #2) by John Scalzi from Amazon:

Welcome to the new world, in which murder is all but a thing of the past. Because when someone kills you, 999 times out of 1,000, you instantly come back to life. In this world, there are dispatchers - licensed killers who step in when you’re at risk of a natural or unintentional death. They kill you - so you can live.

Tony Valdez is used to working his job as a dispatcher within the rules of the law and the state. But times are tough, and more and more Tony finds himself riding the line between what’s legal and what will pay his bills. After one of these shady gigs and after being a witness to a crime gone horribly wrong, Tony discovers that people around him are dying, for reasons that make no sense...and which just may implicate him.

Tony is running out of time: to solve the mystery of these deaths, to keep others from dying, and to keep himself from being a victim of what looks like murder, by other means.

I am giving Murder by Other Means (The Dispatcher, #2) by John Scalzi a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!