Thursday, July 24, 2014

Excuse Me...

as this has been ALL that I have been doing.  Reading, reading, and more reading means I have been immersed in Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy yet once again.  I'll be back next week when I can think about things other than government conspiracies and zombies...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz (thoughts)

River Road was one of those books that I wanted to read almost as soon as I heard about it.  I am a sucker for a good romantic suspense but I will admit that I don't read enough from this genre.  I enjoyed this book enough as I was reading it, but didn't end up really loving it.  For me it ended up being one of those books that you can describe as good but not great. 

In River Road, Lucy Sheridan is returning to her aunt's home for the first time in years due to her aunt's death.  Although she spent many summers with her aunt, the last time that she visited Lucy found herself in over her head at a teenage party.  She was sent back home and never ended up returning to Summer River.  Until now.  Unfortunately, it seems that all of those ghosts from the past are determined to resurface thanks to her aunt's will leaving Lucy everything.  Lucy soon finds herself in danger and turns to Mason Fletcher (her former crush/protector from the past).  Will Mason be able to protect Lucy yet again?  Or will the past come back to haunt her?

This book was easy to sink into from the very beginning.  I found myself steadily pulled into the mystery of Lucy's aunt's death but especially pulled into the mystery of what happened the night that Lucy left Summer River.  I was curious from the very beginning and couldn't help but try to figure out who the killer might be.  That being said, even though this book was able to draw me into it, I never was able to connect to the characters like I usually do.  I liked Mason and Lucy, was hoping to see them end up together, but wasn't really pulling for them.  I don't know what it is but I just found myself very disconnected from the book as a whole.  I'm not even sure that I can explain why.  It just felt a bit formulaic and there was nothing that really hooked me in completely.  I wanted to like this book more than I did.  And I did like it to a certain extent but there was just something that held me back.  I wish I could explain more but it is hard to describe other than I found it to be predictable.  Sometimes predicable is completely okay if you are fully invested in the characters but this time I wasn't. 

One of the things that I really did enjoy about this book was the ending.  Like I mentioned earlier, I instantly started off trying to figure out who the killer was on my own.  Happily enough, I was completely wrong and this author threw me for a complete loop by the end.  In fact this book would have been great rather than just good, if I had connected more based off of this ending.  That is how surprised I was!

Overall, I liked it but didn't love it.  That is the easiest way to explain my reading experience with this book.  I will be open to reading more by this author (I actually already have more of her books on my shelves) but this just wasn't quite the book for me.  I think that fans of Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts will enjoy this book as there are some similarities in their writing styles.  For me, I would recommend it but with a few hesitations.  Maybe check it out from the library like I did?

Bottom Line:  A book that I just couldn't quite connect to but with a really great ending.  Is that confusing enough for you?

Disclosure:  I checked this book out from my local library.  Thoughts are my own.

Fans of this author:  Please tell me which books of hers are MUST reads!  She is a very prolific author and I would love to know which of her books are your favorites.  I feel like she is an author that I will enjoy, I just need to find the right book of hers (and there are so many to choose from).

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Sunday Salon - A Bookish Update

Good morning everyone!  I've been enjoying a relaxed weekend at home which means I am just sitting here this morning drinking coffee while writing up this post.  Perfect way to start my Sunday!  There is a Harry Potter marathon going on this weekend so I've been watching that off and on since Friday.  Such fun!  It makes me want to reread these books yet again though which I just may do.  We also began season 5 of Breaking Bad last night.  This show just gets crazier and crazier!  At this point I am basically rooting for Jesse and that is about it.  I said to my husband that they could have ended everything with season 4 (and I would have been satisfied) but now I'm realizing they left more open than I thought.  What a crazy show!

My reading is trucking along even though I have been feeling very indecisive when it comes to what I want to read next.  I almost need something to focus on to help me pick my next read.  A random generator?  A pile of books to choose from?  I don't know but I will tell you that I am gravitating towards favorites.  Right now I am binge reading a favorite urban fantasy series and I'm leaning towards rereading a favorite zombie trilogy next.  Last year I reread the first two books in Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy so that I could finally read the last book.  Then I never shared by thoughts on Blackout.  Yesterday I was at the library grabbing the next Kate Daniel's book (Magic Rises) when I saw Grant's books just sitting there.  I could not resist bringing Blackout home with me.  The question is do I read all three of them again or just the last one??  I can't seem to decide!  Anyways, here are the books that I have recently finished:

Conspiracy in Death by J.D. Robb-  Reread and one of the better books in this series by far.  We really see Eve struggle in this one, and I had forgotten just how good this book was.  I flew through it!

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews- Kate and Curran!  Sigh!  I am loving this series so much!  I finished this one in a matter of days and was instantly wishing for more.  So I went to the library and grabbed the next one which I couldn't help but begin.

That's why I am currently only reading the following:

I've basically set everything else that I was reading (The Wicked Girls and The Stone Bull) aside to just read this one.  Honestly, I should be able to finish this one today at some point.  I'm getting close to the end and usually there comes a time in these books where you just HAVE to finish.  There is no setting them down.  I'm pretty sure that I am at the point.  Good stuff!

Coming up next??  One of my countless review books.  Going back to one of the books that I have already started?  Or the entire Newsflesh trilogy.  Or the next Kate Daniels book.  I can't seem to decide but I will worry about that later.  This week I am hoping to knock out a few reviews and hopefully a garden update.  You guys would not believe how much it has grown since the last time that I shared!  I'm off to get my day started.  I hope everyone has a great Sunday and rest of the week!

Happy Reading!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Reasons I love My Library #2

Because sometimes nothing sounds good beside binge reading a new favorite urban fantasy series....thanks to my library I can catch up on this series and read to my heart's content! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells (thoughts)

Dirty Magic was one of those books that I wanted to read purely because I have adored this author's books before.  New urban fantasy series?  Sign me up!  It also didn't hurt that this book has a gorgeous cover which made me want to read it even more.  Happily enough, this was a great beginning to a gritty new urban fantasy series and I want more!

In this book, magic isn't always a good thing and potions brewed are very similar to drugs.  Kate is a cop trying to rid the streets of these dirty potions when she gets pulled into a case that is bigger than she expects.  Now she has a new team to work with and a chance to really make a difference.  Everything seems to be working in her favor until the investigation she is working on shows her that you can never really leave the past behind you.  It will be up to Kate to try and figure out who is behind this newest dirty potion before it hurts those that she loves most.

I will fully admit that I went into this book with high expectations.  I love, love, love her Sabina Kane series so I expected this book to be good.  What I didn't expect was how different this book would be from her other series.  I loved it!  This book had a dark, intense feel to it that I couldn't get enough of.  I'm watching Breaking Bad right now and I couldn't help but compare the two.  Dirty Magic is similar to the show but with potions/magic instead of drugs.  They both have similar vibes where you aren't sure that everything is going to end well.  I found that this feeling really made the intensity level of the story go up a notch.  This isn't a pretty world that Wells has created but it is one that I couldn't get enough of.  I found myself swept away in Kate's world watching as she tried to balance her two lives.  The life of a cop committed to taking down the bad guys who were creating and distributing these potions, and the life of a caregiver as she tries to take care of her brother and make a better life for him.  These two different paths pulled at her constantly in different directions but the author managed to connect the storylines in a way that knocked me off my feet.  By that time I wasn't putting the book down for anything!  I should have known that there were some surprises in store.  I loved that there was a really solid ending to this book even though it is the beginning to a series.  There are questions left unanswered but the author left them open just enough to make me want to read the second book sooner rather than later.  In other words, no cliff hanger ending that makes me want to scream.  I was happy about that!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book just as I hoped that I would.  This author has a knack for creating worlds that I can't get enough of.  I'm super excited that the second book will be releasing soon as I don't want to have to wait long to see what happens to Kate next.  The dark atmosphere of this book kept me reading long after I should have gone to bed.  It all comes down to this: this is exactly how I like my urban fantasy-  gritty, compelling, and unique!  Books like this are what keep me coming back for more.  Highly recommended but especially to other urban fantasy fans!

Bottom Line:  A fascinating beginning to this new series....I can't wait for more!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for review thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.  Thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June Reading Wrap-Up 2014

(I finally uploaded my pictures from Disney on to my computer!  Woohoo!)

The summer months just seem to fly by, don't they?  I feel like I just wrote up my reading wrap-up for May and yet here I am working on the one for June.  June was a month filled with t-ball and baseball games.  I felt like we were on the go all of the time during the week but it has been such a joy to watch my kids play.  My daughter especially has really begun to enjoy playing and hits the ball when her coach pitches to her rather than on the tee.  This is quite the accomplishment in my opinion.  My son continues to pitch which is a nail biting experience.  You just want your kids to have fun while doing well at the same time!  Next year the craziness will really begin as all three kids plan on playing.  Yikes!

I didn't read as many books as I had hoped to this month but I did get lots of quality reading in.  I'm still ahead on my Goodreads goal but only by two books now instead of the five book buffer that I had going.  Maybe in July I will be able to get ahead a bit more!  Here are the books that I managed to finish this past month:
  • Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
  • The Girl Who Disappeared Twice by Andrea Kane
  • The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
  • Holiday in Death by J.D. Robb (reread)
  • Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
My favorite read of this month was a tough decision because I just loved The Mummy Case so much but ended up being:

I just loved this one so much!  Filled with suspense, I found myself skimming ahead just so that I could know that everything would be okay.  Afterwards, I went back and reread so that I didn't miss a single thing.  I am so glad that I finally took the time to read this one.  Mary Stewart will be another one of those authors where I read anything and everything that she has written.

Plans for July are mainly just getting back to working out.  Now that the baseball seasons are starting to wind down, I'm not going to have any valid excuses for not working out.  (I didn't really have any before but....)  I'm hoping to get back into the swing of running, I have a planks challenge that I am participating in, and I would like to get back to the 30 day shred.  No excuses next month.  That should be my motto!

What are your goals for July?  What books did you read in June that just knocked your socks off?  And have you read Mary Stewart as well?  What other books of  hers are not to be missed?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Sunday Salon: Beginning Books

Good morning everyone!  This past week has been a quiet one for me on the blogging front which is sometimes needed.  It was also a quiet week in our every day life with just work and ball games for the majority of it.  The garden continues to grow and also continues to be a very rewarding experience.  So far we have eaten fresh lettuce from it, radishes, and cherry tomatoes.  My daughter loves to point out the new things that she discovers growing each day.  I will definitely be doing this again for years to come!

I don't have a lot more to share other than the books that I've been reading.  This weekend I was in a finicky mood and kept starting books.  Seriously, I started three before I finally settled on one.  As I plan on reading them all, I have lots of reading ahead of me.  But that isn't different from any other day :)  I have a bunch of books that I have finished since I last posted a reading update.  Here are the books that I have finished since then:

The Girl Who Disappeared Twice by Andrea Kane was just as good as the other book that I read in this series.  I liked seeing how Forensic Instincts began but especially enjoyed seeing the beginnings of some of the relationships between the main characters.  This is an author that I will be reading more of!

The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters was a delightful read!  This series just keeps getting better and I am only on the third book!  This one had me laughing out loud at times and turning the pages as fast as I could at others.  I adore this series and cannot wait to get my hands on the fourth book :)  I cannot sing the praises of these books enough!

Holiday in Death by J.D. Robb was a reread for me but still oh so good!  I love the earlier books in Robb's series where we are still getting to know some of the main characters.  I flew through the pages of this one in a matter of days, and was instantly ready to start on the next one.  This series are comfort reads for me that I turn to whenever I am feeling a reading slump coming on.  I probably won't end up reviewing this book as these are rereads and there is only so much you can say about a series without giving something away.

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart was oh so good!  So, soooo, good!  It instantly put me into a gothic romance mood and I've been scouring the internet for more authors just like this.  The first book by Stewart I liked (a lot!) but this book I just loved!  I cannot wait to share my thoughts on this one!

I'm currently reading one too many books including the following:

I started The Wicked Girls because I was in the mood for a good thriller and Stephen King recommended this author.  Seriously?  How could I not want to read it after that?  But then I realized that I was still craving something gothic and older so I downloaded The Stone Bull for free onto my ipad thanks to Open Library.  Both were moving along well for me until I stopped in at the library yesterday to return some books and grabbed Conspiracy in Death to take home with me.  This promptly meant that I dropped everything to crack this one open.  I'm shaking my head at myself even as I type this.  So now I somehow have three books that I am currently attempting to read all at once.  Wow.

This week is probably going to fly by thanks to the upcoming holiday weekend.  I have family coming in town so it might continue to be quiet here on the blog.  Or not as I am in the mood to write up a couple of blog posts.  It just all depends on how much I get accomplished today.  I hope that everyone has a great week filled with a couple of good books.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

COYER Summer Vacation Reading Challenge

Hosted by Fantasy is More Fun and Because Reading is Better Than Real Life, this is a reading challenge that I can't help but participate in because who doesn't love summer reading?  I sure do!  This one sounds super fun as they are hosting multiple read-a-thons among other fun challenges.  I'm looking forward to meeting some new to me bloggers from this as well.

 Here are the official rules:

 "1. You must create a sign-up post anytime between now and August 15th -on blog, goodreads, fb, google+, etc. Yes, that means you can sign up
until August 15th! But don’t wait, you’ll miss most of the fun!

2. You must link the sign-up post below (don’t link to your blog, link to the sign-up post).

3. You must post your review books somewhere & link the reviews to the review linky to be eligible for one of the grand prize giveaways.

4. Have Fun!

Normally you’re only allowed to read eBooks that were less than $5 for COYER, but since this is Summer Vacation you can read whatever you want!"

I decided to make a list of possibilities as my goals post (basically because I love making lists).  I probably won't stick to it too closely but it will be fun to try.  Here are just some of the books that I am hoping to read this summer:

Books I bought for my ipad (and still haven't read): 

Review copies from NetGalley or Edelweiss:

Library Books:

Review Copies (that I need to get off of my shelves):

Books off of my own shelves:

Other random books that I want to read:

I will be amazed if I get through half of these but you never know with all of the read-a-thons that they have planned.  It will be fun to try, and it will FINALLY get some of these books read/off of my shelves.  Good stuff! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

All Day and a Night by Alafair Burke (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"A murder case with ties to a convicted serial killer leads a young defense lawyer and an NYPD homicide detective into parallel investigations with explosive and deadly results in this superb mystery."

My Thoughts:

I need to stop reading series books out of order.  That being said I really enjoyed this book despite the fact that I yet again started at the end of a series.  In this book Ellie Hatcher and her partner JJ Rogan are drawn into a cold case that is being re-investigated thanks to the recent murder of a therapist.  Neither of them want to take the case on as they both know that they will also be investigating their own peers who originally worked the case.  And it doesn't take long before they have more questions than answers....which is when the real fun begins!

This book was intense and easy to fall into.  Even though I didn't know the character's histories from previous books, I found myself drawn down into their world almost instantaneously.  Burke always seems to write these twisty, fast paced reads and this book was no exception.  Every time that I thought that I knew what was going on something happened to make me question everything once again.  I love that!  Another thing that I really enjoyed about this book is that the author takes two storylines and brings them together.  They are both related to the recent murder but one is about what happened during the original investigation and the other one is what is happening now.  She easily intertwines it all together in a way that makes the suspense level go up a notch.  I had a hard time putting this book down because of it!  All of this should show you how much I enjoyed this book.  That being said it had a bit of a weird ending.  I wasn't sure how I felt about it to be honest.  It wasn't just didn't feel quite right.  I don't know that I can really explain it without giving away major spoilers so I will leave it at that.  

 Overall, I really enjoyed this book!  I'm eager to start at the beginning of this series so that I can see how these characters have grown.  Alafair Burke is becoming one of my go-to authors when it comes to thrillers thanks to her two stand alone books and now this one.  I'm becoming a pretty big fan!  I didn't have any issues reading this series out of order but I am betting that my reading experience would have been even better if I had read the earlier books.  Easily recommended!  

Bottom Line:  A book that takes a closed murder case and turns it into so much more!

Disclosure:  I  received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher.  Thoughts are my own.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Reasons I Love My Library #1

Picking up books like reading plans for the month of June just flew out the window.