Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, narrated by Robin Miles

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*Published September 2, 2016*

hidden figuresI’ve had this audiobook just sitting in my Audible library for several years. I believe I got it when the movie Hidden Figures was first coming out and I was curious about the book that had inspired the movie. It wasn’t until this past time in shelter-in-place that I felt any real desire to actually listen to it.

Audio Length: 10 hrs and 47mins

Soon to be a motion picture. The #1 New York Times Bestseller. Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program. Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these ‘coloured computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets and astronauts, into space. Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War and the women’s rights movement, ‘Hidden Figures’ interweaves a rich history of mankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.

I don’t know a lot about NASA, or the people who work at NASA. What I do know, I’ve gleaned from movies and science fiction books, and those can be fairly inaccurate, as you well know. Now to have a book that focuses exclusively on the “hidden figures” at NACA, which would eventually come to be known as NASA, it was a lot of interesting history to learn about.

I loved learning about the women computers and how they were the ones who calculated the paths and trajectories of those that went into space, both inanimate and animate. I loved learning that the majority of those women computers were black woman who had to fight for the title of computer, and then fight for the title of mathematician years later. I loved learning that a lot of the behind the scenes work was done by women, and black women at that!

What I didn’t like about this book was the writing. It just didn’t really make sense. The main issue for me was how much Margot Shetterly jumped around in the timeline of these women’s lives. One moment, she might be talking about the grade-school years of Katherine, the next about her years as a mother. I also couldn’t tell these women apart by their stories and their lives. They all were written almost exactly the same, so I couldn’t even tell you for sure if Katherine became a mother, or anything. And that disappoints me more than almost anything else, because I got this book to learn more about the women at NASA, yet I didn’t learn much about them individually at all. I really wish that I could have, if just to have a bit more information on each of them to share with those I think would enjoy learning more about NASA and the women who helped build it up.

Overall, while a good book, not one that I’ll turn to again. I couldn’t keep the women straight, or their stories, and I couldn’t follow their timelines at all. I do wish it could have been a bit more cohesive and thought out, but I’m glad the stories of these women have started to come to light.

What parts of history did you wish you knew more about? What are you doing to find out more? Comment below and let me know what excites you about history!

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: The Girl With All the Gifts

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, narrated by Finty Williams

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*Published June 6, 2014*

the girl with all the giftsThis was a excellent book, and I’m really glad that I listened to it. I will say that I was in the middle of listening to this when the world imploded and my work closed down for what was supposed to be just two weeks, then turned into 6-7 weeks. So, yeah..zombie apocalypse.

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.

This was such a good book! And I really enjoyed this new-ish take on what the zombie apocalypse, and the actual medical knowledge that went in to understanding these new zombies. I will say that this probably not the best book to be reading during what feels like an actual zombie apocalypse, but I think that made this pandemic feel just a little bit more manageable.

I like this post-apocalyptic world where Melanie is just a girl who loves going to school and trying to make Miss Justineau happy by answering all of her questions correctly. This worlds is a world where kids like Melanie are restrained and schooled, and sometimes a kid will through one of the doors to the research lab connected to her school, and they won’t come back. Understandably, Melanie is scared of also leaving one day and leaving Miss Justineau. But when the school and the lab and the military base all of this is on is attacked, Melanie, Sargent Parks, Miss Justineau, and Dr. Caldwell all make it off the base. And they all must travel together to make it back to London.

This is such a good story, and I love the atmosphere this book creates, which was helped by the pandemic itself. But I fell head-over-heels into this story and it was like swimming to the surface to return to the real world in some aspects. If you are looking for a new zombie book, and looking for a way to pass the time while stuck at home, then I highly recommend listening to The Girl With All the Gifts. 

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: The Martian

Yes, yes, I know. I have reviewed this audiobook so many times. Just let me LOVE this book!!!!

The Martian by Andy Weir, narrated by R.C. Bray

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*Published March 22, 2013*

I will never not listen to this book. Never. I love this audiobook! And I will always listen to this book when there’s nothing else.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Okay, you guys have read my review multiple times. You know just how much I love this audiobook. But I shall tell you again. The ridiculousness of this story and the love of humanity that shows through in this story is my favourite! I love Mark Watney and how much we can see that he does want to live, that he will do all that he can to live, and everyone else is working from Earth and Hermes in order to bring Mark Watney home.

Please, just listen to this book! Please!!!

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: Soulless

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger, narrated by Emily Gray

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*Published June 22, 2010*

soulless audiobookThis is one of my favourites series that I have ever read, and it’s written by one of my favourite authors EVER! ALL HAIL QUEEN GAIL!!! Oh, so good! And I was needing something to listen to while driving home from work, and I had never listened to this books before so I decided to give this series a try on audiobooks.

Victorian romance mixes seamlessly with elegant prose and biting wit – and werewolves – in Gail Carriger’s delightful debut novel. Soulless introduces Alexia Tarabotti, a parasol-wielding Londoner getting dangerously close to spinster status. But there are more important things than finding a husband. For Alexia was born without a soul, giving her the ability to render any vampire or werewolf completely powerless.

Okay, I will admit, that before listening to this book, it has been several years since I’ve read Soulless. But! Soulless is a wonderful Victorian steampunk about a woman who would be considered a spinster, an Italian one at that, who doesn’t have a soul. She, being soulless, is able to render both vampires and werewolves, who are members of society, back to their human forms. Otherwise, she looks and acts like any other person of society.

I honestly find Alexia to be the best character throughout this book. She and Lord Akeldama, a rove vampire who is the sparkliest of sparkly vampires (as in actual jewels, no Tw/i/light vampires here!). She is a strong woman who knows what she wants, and will go after it with a will. She also stands up for herself and her smarts, seeing as she has no soul, Alexia decided to educate herself from a young age so that she would have some sort of moral code as she grew.

Steampunk Victorian England is also a wonderful world. The majority of us know what Victorian England looks like, or at least what it should look like, because of the whole steampunk genre that seems to have gained popularity in the past decade or so. I also love the small changes in vampire and werewolf lore that Gail Carriger brings to her series and her world with Alexia. It’s a world that fits the characters and these characters are a bit larger than life, so much so, that you just have to pay attention to what they are doing.

I do love this series, but there are a few things that haven’t aged quite as well, but this is still a wonderful book all around. I do look forward to continuing my dive back into the world of our Queen, Gail Carriger! What authors are your absolute favourite authors? What about their books have drawn you to them? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: The Tropic of Serpents

The Tropic of Serpents (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #2) by Marie Brennan, narrated by Kate Reading

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*Published March 4, 2014*

tropic of serpentsI have read through this series once before, but I am now listening to this series as I needed something to listen to as I was driving to and from work on my hour long commute. And I love listening to Kate Reading, she is an AWESOME narrator!

The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan’s The Tropic of Serpents . . .

Attentive readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoir, A Natural History of Dragons, are already familiar with how a bookish and determined young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would one day lead her to becoming the world’s premier dragon naturalist. Now, in this remarkably candid second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career.

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.

The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell . . . where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.

At the publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

In this second volume of Lady Trent’s memoirs, we are now in Eriga, the land of the savannah snakes, arboreal tree snakes, and the Moulish swamp-wyrms. We also see Isabella as she deals with the death of her husband, and the birth of her son, Jacob, his namesake. We see what depression can do to a person, and what it means to lose yourself in your work.

As with everything about this series, I love seeing Isabella Camherst pursue her dreams of studying dragons and how much she will do absolute ANYTHING in order to study the creatures she loves so much. Even if it means descending into a place called the Green Hell to study them. I loved the descriptions of the places that Isabella goes, as well as the people she works with in order to get to the dragons.

Marie Brennan knows how to write a Victorian style travel/study memoir, and it makes me wish there truly was a world where dragons existed if just so I could study dragons myself. Her writing and the world she has created for Lady Trent is a world I want to live in. I want to study dragons, I want to see dragons, even sparklings would be amazing to behold.

I love this series, and I love Lady Trent, and I love hearing it all come to life through Kate Reading. Kate Reading is actually part of the reason I found out about the audiobooks for this series. I have listened to Kate Reading narrate for Brandon Sanderon’s The Stormlight Archive and when I found the Lady Trent series on Audible and I saw that it was narrated by Kate Reading I had to try listening to them in the high hopes that they would be awesome! And I was right! I love it when I’m right about a series!

So, what makes a book series a standout series to you? What draws you back to a book series over and over again? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan

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*Published November 15, 2013 by Macmillan Audio*

a natural history of dragonsThis is still one of my favourite books, and book series, so I have decided that it’s time to give all a reread by listening to them! YAY for Overdrive/Libby from my library! And it’ll be my third time reading this particular book.

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

The most ingenious part of this book for me is that Lady Trent, our protagonist, is willing to write her life story now for the whole world to read, and it’s a story that no one can forget.

In a world where dragons are real and a part of the life, Isabella develops a fascination for wings and all winged things; particularly dragons. But when it come to studying them, or studying anything that is not considered lady-like in the least, she finds all sorts of obstacles in her way. But as she grows older and marries, she finds a husband that is not only willing to share his library with her, but take her to Vystrana, to study dragons there. It’s here in Vystrana that we start to see the edges of how hare-brained Lady Trent can, and will be, in the future when it comes to dragons.

Lady Trent is a likable narrator, giving us not only her thoughts of what was happening at the time, but thoughts of how it has impacted her life now, as she’s “writing” this memoir. She shows what it means to throw gender into the world ruled by men, and struggles to be taken seriously because of her gender. And while we know that these are the memoirs of Lady Trent, we know that she will succeed in the most profound way possible, and become a well-known name in the dragon naturalist community.

By seeing her story start here in her childhood, we see that Isabella has come a long way in the world, and she is letting us see it for the first time. I love this writing style and I love reading and learning about the life of Lady Trent, especially a life where her gender makes it almost impossible for her to do as she would like. While there may not be a lot of dragons to begin with, we do see her make a start to getting close to dragons in anyway that she can.

How far would you go to do what you truly loved, even when society says that you can’t or shouldn’t? Are you doing what you love? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: The Dispatcher

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

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*Published October 4, 2016*

*Listening length: 2 hours, 18 minutes*

dispatcherThis is a fantastic novella about a world where when someone is intentionally killed will come back. Murder is no longer a crime you can get away with but with coming back, death has taken a different meaning.

One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone – 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don’t know. But it changes everything: war, crime, daily life.
Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher – a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch those whose circumstances put them in death’s crosshairs, so they can have a second chance to avoid the reaper. But when a fellow Dispatcher and former friend is apparently kidnapped, Tony learns that there are some things that are worse than death and that some people are ready to do almost anything to avenge a supposed wrong.
It’s a race against time for Valdez to find his friend before it’s too late…before not even a Dispatcher can save him.

I fricken’ love listening to this particular book, I love Zachary Quinto’s voice, I love this world where murder (intentional killing) returns a person to their home in perfect health. But when a Dispatcher goes missing, Tony is called upon to help a detective understand the world of Dispatchers and the black marker that has sprung up with being able to send someone back to their homes in perfect health.

I love the morals and ethics that have popped up with this question of “What would happen if murder brought the person back instead of killing them?” I liked that Tony had experience on both sides of moral line and he is able to explain how both sides work, even if he doesn’t much traverse the darker side of the line. It’s an interesting moral question.

How do you think the world is going to change in coming years? How do you think this will change our ethics? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in arcs, audiobooks, book reviews, books, comic books/graphic novels, ebook, goodreads, reading, update, writing

Tiny Navajo Reads: October Update

Hi guys! I know that I’m a little late in doing this, but here is my October update.

October has gone by in a bit of a blur, but I can tell you this right now, October was one Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 1.20.37 PMof the best months for myself, and for me and my husband. First things, as you can probably tell, I’m writing at different times and I missed out on writing for about two weeks; this is because I now have a full-time job! I’m still working in a library, just in a different library and I’ll be able to do programming as I see fit, for the most part. I’m so excited for this!

Anyway, this past October I read 9 books. Compared to what I have been reading, it’s not that much, but I went on vacation for a week, where I didn’t really read. Nor have I been reading as much now that I have a full time job. But, I am still reading and I will continue to read when I can.

I read Confessions of a Bookseller, Food Wars! Vol. 8-10, An Ember in the Ashes, A Natural History of Dragons, A Torch Against the Night, A Reaper at the Gates, and The Deep. Of these books, I read 5 actual books, one of which was an ARC, 3 mangas, and 1 audiobook.

How has your reading been going? What was your favourite book to read this past month? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: Dragonsong

Dragonsong (Harper Hall Trilogy #1) by Anne McCaffrey

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*Published April 1, 2003 (audiobook)*

I absolutely love this series and it’s a bit of a comfort read when I need it. And I love listening to it, I love the emotion that listening to it evokes. Also, I have a small summer cold, so my posts this week may be a little late in posting…

Fifteen-year-old Menolly allies with magnificent dragons in the first book in the Harper Hall trilogy, set within science fiction legend Anne McCaffrey’s beloved and bestselling Dragonriders of Pern series.

For centuries, the world of Pern has faced a destructive force known as Thread. But the number of magnificent dragons who have protected this world and the men and women who ride them are dwindling.

As fewer dragons ride the winds and destruction falls from the sky, Menolly has only one dream: to sing, play, and weave the music that comes to her so easily—she wishes to become a Harper. But despite her great talents, her father believes that a young girl is unworthy of such a respected position and forbids her to pursue her dreams. So Menolly runs away, taking shelter in a cave by the sea. Miraculously, she happens upon nine fire lizards that could possibly save her world…and change her life forever.

I just love this series. So much. When I was younger, I related very much to Menolly. She was someone who was told her whole life that she wouldn’t amount to much. I wasn’t told that, but there were times when I truly felt that I wouldn’t amount to much or be able to uphold everyone’s expectations. But listening to Menolly’s story, I was able to feel like I wasn’t alone in the world. If Menolly could go to be an apprentice at the Harper Hall when only boys were thought to be apprentices, then I could do whatever I felt I could not do as well.

What books do you turn to for comfort? Why do they comfort you? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: Sabriel

Sabriel (Abhorsen #1) by Garth Nix, narrated by Tim Curry

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*Published November 14, 2003*

sabrielFinally finished listening to this book back in March, along the next two, but I apparently never wrote a review for it! I need this written before I write a review for Lirael and Abhorsen, so here we go! Also, I apologize for not writing a post yesterday, I had an early shift and didn’t have time to write a post, SORRY!

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

Sabriel, a girl so pale she should be a ghost herself is called upon to save the Old Kingdom, the country of her birth when her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing. As she makes her way to her birth country, she realizes that the training she has received from her father was nowhere near enough for what is now required of her to not only save the Old Kingdom, but to save those close to her as well.

Once Sabriel makes it to the Abhorsen’s house, she meets Mogget, one of my favorite characters ever! A free-spirit creature stuck in the form of a cat. He tells her that she is required to take on her father’s title and put the restless dead to rest, especially as there seems to be a greater dead spirit seeking to be free, to do what he started over 200 hundred years ago.

Sabriel and Touchstone, a Charter Mage who she woke up from an enchanted sleep of over 200 years, make their way not only to the old capital of the Old Kingdom, but to where the body of the Abhorsen is waiting for Sabriel. And something else is waiting for them as well. Something thought to be long taken care of.

What do you think of books that throw you and the main character right into a new situation without much warning? Do you enjoy books like this, or do you wish for more background information from the start? Comment below and let me know which you would prefer when it comes to your reading style!