Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Salon- Hot Air Balloons

I'm going to share a story before I get to my reading news of the week. Friday night while I was driving in the car with my kids (we were running a ton of errands) I spotted a hot air balloon. My son had never seen one and he was excited to spot not one but seven balloons flying in the sky. As we were driving towards them we noticed how low they were, and before we knew it we could see the people riding in the little baskets. People were pulling off to the side of the road just to look at these beautiful balloons. I felt like a little kid (I was as excited as my son) counting the balloons and looking up at the people in the sky. It makes me think that I don't take the time to appreciate the little wonders as much as I should. I couldn't remember the last time that I felt so excited over something so little. A lesson learned on not getting so caught up in the everyday rush of life, huh?
Now to make this post book-related, I just finished Purity in Death by J.D. Robb last night. I love this series and am very partial to the characters so it was a good read for me. I needed something easy and enjoyable after finishing The Translator. The Translator was a really moving and powerful book that I think that everyone should pick up. So now I'm reading Kitty Goes To Washington by Carrie Vaughn which is the 2nd in this series. I'm also considering taking Woman In White by Wilkie Collins to work and leaving it there to read on my breaks. Usually I just drag my book back and forth between work and home but I always worry that I will forget my book and having nothing to read on my break. LOL! Wouldn't that just be the pits? Now I'm off to see what everyone else is reading. Hope you all have a great week!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Translator by Daoud Hari

Oh wow! I'm not sure how to write a review of this book because this isn't the type of book that you say "Oh, that was so good!" How do you label a book about such a difficult subject as a good read? The best word that I came up with to describe this book would be powerful. Daoud Hari's memoir is a powerful book describing the horrors that he has witnessed going on in Darfur. Unfortunately it is still going on right now which is really hard for me to swallow. Daoud tells of his story and how he becomes a translator for reporters as he tries to get Darfur's genocide story more out in the open for all of the world to see. The book was very readable as I believe Dennis Burke and Megan McKenna helped to write it after Daoud told them his stories. Through this book Daoud was able to convey his love for Darfur alongside telling of the horrors that he saw firsthand. I don't usually share quotes but here is a really powerful one that I found right on the 1st page of the introduction:

"I have seen and heard many things in Darfur that have broken my heart. I bring the stories to you because I know most people want others to have good lives, and, when they understand the situation, they will do what they can to steer the world back toward kindness. This is when human beings, I believe, are most admirable."

It makes you want to do something to help out, doesn't it? Maw from Maw's Books is doing something and is the reason why I read this book. The entire month of September she has devoted to reading and blogging for Darfur. So go to her blog and check it out if you haven't yet. This book moved me enough that I will be continuing to read books on this subject and I already have another book checked out from the library to read next. It will never be an easy subject to read about but it is definitely worthwhile! I'll leave you with another quote that was able to convey the absolute horror of what is going on in Darfur. Just a little background first though: this quote comes after Daoud and some reporters were getting back from witnessing the aftereffects of one of the many battles that go on there everyday.

"Some of the BBC people had to return to Chad, where they were in a medical clinic for three days to recover from what they saw, and smelled, and learned about the nature of what simply must be called evil."

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called is a great beginning to a new (to me) series that I am hooked on. Mercy is part fae (I think..I'm having a hard time remembering exactly) and can shapeshift into a coyote. She lives next door to Adam who is the head of his werewolf pack and is friends with a vampire. Mercy is drawn into Adam's troubles after his daughter is kidnapped. Ok, there is a brief summary to draw you guys let me tell you what I thought.
I LOVED the world that Briggs created with this 1st story. I just was drawn in and caught up within the book. I didn't want to put it down and I didn't as I finished it within two days. The book is filled with action and suspense and I didn't see the end coming at all. I'll be picking up the next book in this series VERY soon as I can't wait to see what happens next. Great book and thanks to whomever recommended it to me.
In other book related news, I got 2 new books in the mail. It felt like my birthday except my birthday has already come and gone. LOL! I received Forbidden Magic by Cheyenne McCray from Jackie over at Literary Escapism. I knew that it was coming but I didn't know about Written In Blood by Sheila Lowe. I'm excited to read both of them as they both look good but for different reasons. Lowe has another book out (the 1st in this series) that I'm thinking about grabbing from the library so that I can read her books in order. I'm anal that way. So watch out for reviews of these two soon. I finished The Translator yesterday as well so I'll be getting that review up asap. Everyone should read that book IMO. Enough jabbering already from me so get out and read Moon Called if you haven't :)
My Rating: 4.75 out of 5

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Salon - Books!

Eek! I'm late posting for the Sunday Salon today...I've been cleaning and doing laundry like crazy. I had an exciting week this week. I received First Blood in the mail from one of the authors, Meljean Brooks. I haven't read any of his books yet but they are going on my TBR list. Plus it is signed which is awesome in my opinion!! I also won a book from Jackie over at Literary Escapism. She has an awesome site for all things paranormal if you haven't checked her out yet. Anyways, I'm totally stoked about winning another book and this puts me in book heaven.
I'm in the midst of The Translator by Daoud Hari which I'm reading for Maw's Reading and Blogging For Darfur Challenge. I'm just really beginning it but already know that it is probably going to be a difficult read. But some reads are like that and I feel that it is important for me to read and learn once in awhile.
I finished a few books recently. Dance of the Gods and Valley of Silence were the 2nd and 3rd books in the Circle trilogy. I enjoyed both of them but overall thought that Roberts has better trilogies out there. I also read Moon Called by Patricia Briggs which I absolutely loved! I am so glad that I finally got to this because I really enjoyed it. I'll work on getting a review up asap. I've been on a paranormal bent lately mainly because I'm discovering all of these new authors that I've yet to try. My TBR list is skyrocketing! And now that people are reading spooky books I'm in the mood to read a few of those too. Me and my book addiction :) See you all next Sunday!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dance of Gods and Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts

I'm going to do something different than usual and review two books at once since they are the last two parts of the Circle trilogy. I didn't read these back to back either (I read Moon Called in between these).
Dance Of Gods is the 2nd book and begins Blair and Larkin's story. The chosen six are preparing to go to Geall where the final battle against Lillith will take place. I enjoyed this book much more than the 1st which is why I picked up the last one so soon after.
Valley Of Silence finds the six preparing for the final battle. It is kinda hard to give a synopsis when so much of each book depends on the previous one. The last two books were the strongest of the trilogy. I just don't remember liking the 1st book as much as these two. And I'm usually a huge fan of Robert's trilogies. The Key trilogy was one of my all-time favorites and I've read it twice. I felt like this one was good but could have been better. The ending was bit weak in my opinion...I wanted a little bit more and didn't get it. That being said I still really enjoyed this series but not as much as others by this author. Moira and Cian were my favorite to read about but their story needed a little bit better of an ending. Oh well, these were fun reads for me and now I'm looking forward to reading Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts (I can't that a trilogy too?).
My Rating for both books: 4 out of 5

Monday, September 15, 2008

Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

In this book we are introduced to Heather Wells who is the size of the average American woman as she puts it. Heather is an ex-popstar turned dorm resident assistant after her mother stole all of her money and she lost her recording contract. Even though Heather has been through a lot she has a positive attitude and a fun outlook on life. But girls are dying at her residence hall and the police think that they are accidental deaths. Heather, on the other hand, isn't so sure though. She begins to investigate and before she knows it the killer is after her as well.
This was a fun, fast read for me that I really enjoyed. Heather wasn't the perfect main character which was nice to read about and you couldn't help but identify with her and certain points in the story. It was definitely a cozy mystery...nothing gruesome or anything like that. It was a good change of pace for me and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series. There was an afterwards when the story was over telling about where the author gets her ideas from books, etc. It really made me interested in reading other books by Meg Cabot and even her young adult ones like The Princess Diaries. More books to add to my evergrowing TBR list, right???
Challenges: 1st In A Series Challenge
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

In other book-related news, Jackie from Literary Escapism is holding a contest every day this week. Today's books is Marjorie Liu's Tiger Eye which I haven't read so I'm really excited. Go over to her blog here to check it out!!! BTW- I go to her blog all of the time if you are interested in anything paranormal or urban fantasy...she always has a book to add to my TBR list as well :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Salon- Reading Reviews

Good morning once again to all of my fellow saloners! Is it raining nonstop wherever you are at? It has been raining since yesterday here which makes it kinda gloomy outside but I don't mind. It basically means that I get to read a bit more than I usually do which is nice. And I like to hear the sound of the rain falling because it relaxes me. I'll be ready for the sun if it doesn't stop by tomorrow but for now I am just enjoying it. Now on to reading news and such.
I just finished Dance of the Gods by Nora Roberts. This is book 2 of the Circle Trilogy and I enjoyed it more than the first one for sure. I'm excited to pick up the 3rd one which wasn't the case after the first book. I read this for the dragon tag for the book tag group on Shelfari that I recently joined. I've got two more dragon books that I'm hoping to get to but who knows as there are a lot of other books that I want to read as well.
I also recently finished Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot. This is the 1st book that I've read by her and I thought that it was a fun read. Kinda like chick lit meets cozy mystery all mixed into one. Cute for sure! I haven't had a chance to post a review of it yet but I'll try to do it later today. Now I just have to decide what to pick up next. I'm thinking Moon Called by Patricia Briggs because it is due back at the library soon. In fact, it might have been due back yesterday...I better check that out :) Here's hoping that you all are having a relaxing Sunday as well.

P.S.- I won my very 1st book online this week. As soon as it comes in the mail I'll let you guys know what it is. I'm really excited about it!!!
P.P.S.- The picture is of my daughter and her very 1st pair of pigtails. LOL!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

In the city of Atlanta, magic comes in waves and it is Kate's job to clean up after it. Kate is a mercenary who is caught up in the middle of a mysterious killing that could start a war between the people (vampires) and the shapeshifters. And it all somehow ties into the killing of Kate's guardian. She is on a search to find out who the killer is along with keeping herself safe. This book is the begininning of this series and was an okay read for me. But that sounds like I didn't like it....I did like it. I just thought that it could have been better if it had been fleshed out a bit more. The author did an awesome job of a creating a new and detailed world that I enjoyed spending time. The characters fell a bit flat for me and I wished that she would have gone into more detail in other areas so that we could have gotten to know the main character a little bit better. It was interesting and kept my attention which means I have found another series to keep reading. I'm just hoping that in further books we get to know Kate and her world a bit more. I really liked Curran, the leader of the shapeshifters, so I hope that we get to see him again. Good book overall!
Challenges: 1st In A Series Challenge
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Salon- Library Love

I can't remember if I've shared my love for the library with all of you but boy do I LOVE to go to the library. It calms me and soothes me to be surrounded by so many books. Needless to say I went to the library yesterday and picked up a few more books to add to my pile. LOL! I have so many books here that I need to read but in my mind I can always use a few more. Luckily, my son likes to go to the library as well. He always picks out a few DVD's (much cheaper than going to a movie store) and books for us to read together. It's a nice time for me so I thought I would share it with you as well :)
In other book-related news, I finished Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelley Hall and really enjoyed it. I'm excited to read the next book whenever it comes out and see where the author goes with the story. I sent it to my sister so that she can read it as well. I picked up Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews who is a new to me author. It is interesting so far and I'm really enjoying the world that Andrews has created. I find that I am becoming a big fan of urban fantasy which means I have lots of new authors to check out. Yay! I'm 26 today which means ice cream cake (my favorite), opening season of football (we are all decked out in Bears clothing), and dinner with my parents. It should be a fun and relaxing day with my family and I'm looking forward to it. Don't worry I'll still drop by and see what everyone else is reading.....that is until the Bears come on tonight.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelley Hall

Sisters Of Misery is Hall's debut novel and is marketed as a young adult novel. We are introduced to Maddie at the beginning of the story who is a girl busy fitting in with the "popular girls" or as they are secretly known, the sisters of misery. Led by Kate, who seems to embody the definition of a mean girl, they are in a group where initiation and hazing rituals are used to get into the sisters of misery. Maddie is at the fringe of this group of girls feeling like she doesn't belong and feels closer to her cousin Cordelia who has just moved into town. And when Cordelia goes missing, Maddie's life gets turned upside down. This novel was filled with suspense and twists and turns. Plus, there is also a little bit of paranormal thrown in there.
I really enjoyed this book and was turning the pages as fast as I could. I don't read a lot of young adult books but didn't feel like this was too young for me to read or anything. It was just good...kept me guessing and wondering how everything would turn out. Hall really created a world that sucked me in....I felt for Maddie because it is easy to remember how hard it is to go against the crowd sometimes. Luckily, I had a good group of friends when I was younger and didn't care what anyone thought for the most part. There is going to be a sequel to this book and I will definitely be on the lookout for it! Thanks to Kensington Publishing for giving me a chance to read this book.
Challenges: YA Challenge
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

1st To Die by James Patterson

To begin this series Lindsay, a lead homicide detective, comes across one of the worst murder scenes that she has seen. There is a serial killer in San Fransico and he seems to be trying to do the most horrific things possible. She has just received some devasting news and now has to follow along the trail of a killer who isn't leaving them much to go on. And then she meets up with the four women who form a murder club intent on solving this killing in any way possible. This is a fast paced book meant to keep the reader guessing at all times. I had a few problems with it though but we'll get to that.
First of all, I've read Patterson before...long before I even started blogging or keeping track of the books that I read. I've enjoyed reading him but for some reason got away from his books. I just wasn't very attached to his characters or the story in this book. I wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. The last quarter of the story was really good though and I found myself enjoying the rest of the book. Which left me mulling over how to rate the book so that I could be as honest as possible. I've decided to go with a 3.5 since I didn't love or really like the book...but I ended up liking it enough to continue on with the series. I'll give the 2nd book a try and if it isn't better then I'll be dones with this series.
Challenges: 1st in a Series Challenge, A-Z Challenge ("P" Title)
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5