Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 Reads of 2010

Looking back it is easy to see that 2010 wasn't my best reading year numbers wise. I've read 64 books this year which is down considerably compared to the past two years. I can't say I'm surprised...having 3 active youngsters keeps me pretty darn busy and it is easy to shove reading to the side at times. But I'm happy that I'm still reading and that the majority of the books I read this year I enjoyed. I don't use ratings anymore but if I would guess I would say most of the books I read were at least 3.5 stars or higher. Not bad if I do say so myself! I've always meant to do a top ten reads post but I've never taken the time to do it until now. In no order whatsoever, here are my favorite reads of 2010:

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde- This is only the 2nd book that I've read by Fforde but I am hooked. Dystopian society that is completely color based...all I have to say is thank goodness there are more books to come in this series!

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder- This book has been all over the blogsphere and I finally read it. Thanks goodness that I finally did because I loved it and cannot wait to read the next book. This was a wonderful fantasy read that I couldn't get enough of...highly recommened!

The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells- 2nd book in a trilogy and my favorite urban fantasy read of the year. Sabina is a kick-ass heroine and I loved that this book showed a different side of her character. Green-Eyed Demon is one of my most anticipated reads of 2011 and I cannot wait!

Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines- Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres and this debut was one of my favorites. Strong world building combined with some awesome characters made for a great read. I can't wait for the next book to come out and this is another series I am anticipating in 2011.

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane- Absolutely best thriller I read this year. This book made me an instant fan of Lehane and I cannot wait to read more of this author. And the movie...oh I have nothing but good things to say about this book.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell- I feel like I keep saying this but after reading this book I felt like I have to read everything that this author ever writes. Deeply engrossing novel with a hint of mystery to it...I loved everything about this book.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton- This was the first book that I read in 2010 and it was a wonderful read! I loved the way the two stories came together and the historical feel of the novel pulled me in instantly. I have another book by this author on my shelves and am looking forward to reading it in 2011.

Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman- This was my first read by this author but definitely not my last. The gothic feel of this novel was captivating and I found myself immersed until the last page. I can't wait to read more by her and already have another of her books checked out from the library.

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest- I heart this novel. Seriously, with zombies, air pirates, and a deadly blight gas, can you really ask for more? This book was an awesome read...I can't wait to read the next two books and now I plan to read absolutely everything that the author has written as well.

Changeless by Gail Carriger- This is my new favorite series. If I wanted to cheat then I would choose all three of the books in this series but out of the 3 this is the winner. Love, love, love these books and I can't say enough good things. In fact, I am now a huge fangirl of Gail Carriger (that is how much I love this series)!

Okay folks, all of these books are reads that I would most definitely recommend. Hopefully 2011 will be an even better reading year and we'll see if I can't up that reading number a bit. I've joined a bunch of challenges again that will hopefully keep my reading diverse and interesting. Here is to hoping that everyone else has a wonderful 2011 as well!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Sunday Salon- 2011 Goals and Changes

I just realized that I haven't posted a single book review in December. Where did the time go....this year has literally flown by! I already posted (in my completely overboard challenge post) that I was participating in Bloggiesta this year for the first time. And I am so excited as I feel that my blog needs some change. To be revamped, a fresh outlook, or something along those lines. I've got ideas floating around in my head but I'm not exactly sure which direction I'll go in. I do think that I'll start my Bloggiesta participation a bit early as the likelihood that I'll get everything I want to accomplished in 3 days decreases when you have little ones. I'm guessing that the entire month of January/the rest of this year will be blog renovation. Please be patient with me as I try to find something that works while matching it to me and my personality :)

I love reading everyone's goals for 2011 and top ten lists from 2010. Or most anticipated reads for 2011. Heck, I just like reading lists. I thought I would wait to do my top reads from this year but here are some of my goals for this blog in 2011. Or maybe I should say here are some changes that will be occurring.

1. I'm changing my reviews to thoughts on books. Small change really but for me I think it will be a huge difference. Maybe it is just the idea of a "review"....I don't know but I sometimes struggles with writing down my thoughts on a book. Which is silly because really all I am sharing or should be sharing is my reading experience, my thoughts, my feelings on what I read. This may be a small change but I'm hoping for big things :)

2. This leads into a goal which is sharing my thoughts after I finish a book. Like right after and not 3 months down the road. I have so many books from 2010 and even 2009 that I never posted about.

3. I'm going to continue and try to read a variety of books. I love reading books that are from a variety of genres as it keeps reading interesting for me. I'm going to continue and try expand my reading even more across the genres. And my goal is to continue making sure that I read "older" books as well or in other words books that weren't published in 2010 and 2011. I like to read new releases but I want a mixture of older titles as well.

4. I want to post even more pictures and posts related to my kids. Obviously I love to read but my family plays an even more important part in my life. I should be sharing that with all of you more often. (Did I ever share this one with you?? It is from last year so expect a new updated one soon)

5. My final goal/plan (because 5 is definitely plenty) is to post more often. I have a tendency to post maybe once a week and sometimes even less. I would like to post at least twice a week but I'm not going to put pressure on myself either. Because pressure will end up with me posting even less. I blog for the enjoyment of it and don't want this to feel like work. Or like I have to read. Or I have to do anything that I don't really want to do. I really just want to share my love of reading and my thoughts on the books I read.

What I'm going to continue to do is share my love of books with all of you. I would like to continue and share my library loot (which is always out of control). I love posting about books that are on my wishlist even though this usually ends with me requesting even more books from the library. I would like to be even more active in the blogging community and I ideally read from my google reader once in awhile. And comment...I do love to comment so I would like to continue to find the time to do that. But mainly just have fun with both this blog and my reading.

The basic summary of this post is that I have a ton on my plate for 2011. But with 3 kids, a full-time job and everything else...when don't I??? I like to be busy! Here is to hoping that whatever changes around here, that it all changes for the best and that 2011 is a year filled with good books!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2011 Challenges - Overboard Edition

Every year I join a ton of challenges because I have no willpower and can't resist. We all know I have willpower issues just by looking at my library loot posts so it shouldn't come as a suprise that I am the same way with challenges. I don't usually finish half of the challenges I join but the fun for me is all in trying. And I feel like challenges help to expand my reading a least that is the plan of action. But 2011 may be the year that I overdo myself as I have a list of challenges that I want to participate in that is epic in proportion. Seriously, I didn't even know how to create a post for all of the challenges that I wanted to join. I ended up coming up with a list format/type thingy so I hope this works for all of you challenge hosts out there :) I am officially signing up for all of these challenges:

  • Graphic Novels Challenge- Last year I only read 1 so I definitely need to stretch a bit..going with Beginner level.

  • New Author Challenge- I've done this the past 2 years and always enjoy finding new authors..I'm hoping to find 25 new authors but I'll add to my list as I go.

  • Suspense/Thriller Challenge- I actually completed this one last year and can't wait to give it a go again. 12 suspense/thrillers minimum should be quite doable.

  • Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge- Umm...I'm pretty sure that this challenge is taylor made for me and the reading I have been doing this year. 24 books is the requirement and I'm not worried about meeting that goal :)

  • Gothic Reading Challenge- I love creepy gothic novels so I was SO excited to find this challenge. I'm going for The Darkness Within level which is 5 books with gothic elements.

  • Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge- Love the idea of this one and I'm going with the In a Murderous Mood level which is 4-6 books.

  • Memorable Memoirs Challenge- This challenge the number of books to read is up to us so

    I'm going with 3...I only read 1 this year so this will definitely push me a bit.
  • Cruisin' Thru the Cozies- Joining at the Snoop level which requires 1-6 books.
  • Complete Booker Challenge- I love to try and read from award lists although I'm not very good at it. Going with the Pick a Mix of 6 level...I think I can do that.
  • First in a Series Challenge- I'm great at starting new series so this is a challenge for me. Going with Series Expert level which is 12 new series....

  • Seconds Challenge- This is a challenge that pushes me to read authors more than once...I'm going with A Few More Bites level which is 6 books.

  • 100+ Reading Challenge- I have yet to meet this goal but I am trying...

  • Edgar Awards Challenge- Love this type of book so I am going with the Sergeant level whichis 4-6 books.
Oh boy. And this isn't necessarily it as I've hoping to find a good historical fiction challenge, there are a few other challenges that I am on the fence on, and of course new challenges will be popping up every day. I also wanted to mention my perpetual challenges that I've got going including the Printz award books, Orange Prize Projest, Notables list, and my personal goal to read everything Agatha Christie has written.

And last but certainly not least I am joining in on Bloggiesta this year which is on January 21, 22, and 23rd of 2011. Can't wait as my blog needs a fresh look and a bit of a jump start. Thanks to everyone that hosts all of these wonderful challenges and let me know in the comment section if there is another challenge that I need to check out.

Edited to Add:

I'm joining in on a few more challenges including the YA Challenge (Mini YA level-12 books), Support Your Local Library Challenge (Jumbo Size- 50 books) and the Paranormal Romance/Fantasy Reading Challenge (12 books). Aack...I need to stop!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Sunday Salon - Overwhelmed??

With the holidays fast approaching (and I do mean fast), I find myself a tad bit overwhelmed. I know I'm not alone when I say that I just want to do a bit of everything. Read, blog, comment, actually read my google reader, and more....I feel like I am continuously behind on all of these things. And challenges. This time of the year I get challenge fever and join a ton of fun challenges for the next year. So what's a girl to do when there isn't enough time in the day for all of these things plus regular life stuff???

Here is what I've decided so far. First, I cleared out my Google reader just this morning. Yikes! But it had to be done if I wanted a chance of ever reading any of your posts in the near future. And I'm guessing that this will allow me to comment more. I've decided to set aside the time and join in on Bloggiesta which is coming up at some point next month (might help if I knew the exact This will allow for me to work around the blog and do all of those things I've been meaning to do. I really should make a list. As for challenges, I'm going to do one long post in the near future joining a bunch. Feel free to ignore it :) I probably won't finish half of them as usual but I do love to try.

Reading wise, I'm currently about half way through Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. I feel like I've been reading this book forever but actually I just keep setting it aside for a Nora Robert's trilogy that I've been rereading. Seriously, it has been years since I read these and I flew through each book in about two days. The first book is titled Dance Upon the Air. Nora Roberts is definitely comfort reading for me! Now I'm back to Fforde's novel and quite liking what I've read so far and hopefully I'll finish it soon. I have a ton of books waiting for me but that is just what they are going to have to do. Wait. Maybe 2011 will be my best year of reading yet! And hopefully I'll be out visiting all of your blogs soon!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Library Loot - Winter Reading

I can't seem to stop requesting books from the library...I am on a library book splurge!!! How I am going to possibly read all of these before the end of the year is beyond me but I can't even describe how badly I want to. And here is something that I am going to say very quietly...this isn't all of my loot. LOL! I have even more but figured I didn't want to overwhelm you all since I'm kinda overwhelmed myself :) But I still just requested two more books from the library today. Oh my. Yeah. I told you I can't stop. I think it is all of this winter weather...I'm ready to curl up under blankets and cozy down with some good books. And hot chocolate of course! Here is what I checked out from top to bottom:
  • Night Shift by Lilith Saintcrow
  • The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
  • The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna (Thanks to Andi!)
  • The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green (Thanks to Eva!)
  • Black and White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge
  • The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
  • Dreadnought by Cherie Priest (Loved Boneshaker earlier this year)
  • Indigo Springs by A.M. Dellamonica
  • The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

I picked up Dreadnought from the library only to realize that there is a 2nd book in the Clockwork series. So I had to request Clementine as well and am just waiting for it to come in. (I'm nuts I tell you :) I feel like I say this for every season but I just love the winter! And I love winter reading!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter

Blindsighted begins with the grisly death of a blind college professor named Sibyl Adams who was brutalized before her death. The chief of police, Jeffrey Tolliver, begins to investigate the murder with little evidence to go on. His ex-wife, Sara Linton, is the small town's coroner and it is up to her to provide any clues that she can find from the victim's body. But soon after a new victim is found and both Jeffrey and Sara realize that they may have a serial killer on their hands.

I ended up with mixed feelings on this book. On one hand, I was easily caught within the story from the very beginning. I had a hard time putting the book down. But...and this is a big but for me....the book was too graphic for me at times. I usually don't mind details and all but the murders and what was done to the bodies was a bit much even for me. And it caused me to step back from the book a couple of times. The characters were good and I liked that they weren't perfect nor were their relationships with each other perfect. I especially liked the interaction between Sara and Jeffrey which was interesting to read about. It made me want to see what is going to happen in future books as this is the beginning of a series. I did kind of have an idea as to who the killer was but there were questions left open at the end of the book that showed me I didn't guess everything. And I'm hoping that as I read the next book that maybe I'll get some more answers.

Bottom Line: A good/okay read but one I would recommend with hesitation or at least a warning and I will be continuing with the 2nd book at some point :)

Disclosure: I got this book from the library based on a recommendation from Staci at Life in the Thumb.
*I read this book for the following challenges:
100+ Reading Challenge
Suspense/Thriller Challenge
New Author Challenge
Support Your Library Challenge

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen

So let's start this review off with the fact that I don't care for zombies all that much. Or maybe at all. So I can't say that I was expecting to like this book all that much. I cannot even begin to tell you how pleasantly surprised I was to find that Married With Zombies was a fast, fun read!

It all begins when Sarah and David head to couple's counseling. Sarah and David are having major relationship issues when the book begins but their entire life changes when they walk in on their counselor attempting to eat one of her clients. Now they are not only working on their relationship problems but also fighting zombies and attempting to stay alive and away from the undead.

I was instantly drawn into this book from the very beginning. Sarah and David's relationship isn't perfect and comes across as very real. I loved how we got to see from the very beginning how their lives changed from the outbreak of zombies, as well as how they learned to cope with all of the changes. It made me wonder at times what I would do and how I would react if placed in similar circumstances. The book itself was very fast-paced and I found myself turning the pages with ease. One of my favorite parts of the book was the zombie/relationship advice found at the beginning of each chapter. These were both quirky and clever and definitely fun to read. The book doesn't take itself too seriously which made for a few laughs at times. But there were also some more somber moments which realistically would be the case all things considered. And of course there has to be the warning fact that parts of the book are slightly gory (if I can handle it though, I'm sure anyone could). But all in all a fun, easy read and I'm definitely looking forward to reading book 2 in this series!

Bottom Line: A fun, fast read that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to zombie lovers!

Disclosure: I received this book from the lovely people at Orbit Books. Thanks for helping to me to stretch my reading comfort zone and fine a new author!!
*I read this book for the following challenge:
New Author Challenge
Speculative Fiction Challenge
100+ Book Challenge
RIP V Challenge

P.S.- And if I didn't convince you to read this based on my review, I handed this one off to my sister when I finished and she enjoyed it as much as I did ;)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On My Wishlist (Radar) or a Book Coveting Post

This is one of those posts that just makes me a bit crazy with lust that is. Here are a few of the books that I am currently coveting and planning on getting my hands on in the near future (and all summaries are from Goodreads)

"Raylene Pendle (aka Chesire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn't usually hang with her own kind. She's too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist-even though Ian doesn't want precious artifacts."

I'm pretty sure that I will read anything Cherie Priest writes at this point so as soon as I saw this book I wanted to read it. Sounds awesome!!!

"What if a woman sold her soul to a demon and 300 years later wanted it back?

In the 17th century, a woman is ripped from her husband's arms, thrown in jail, and then set on fire as a witch. Saved from the flames by an ancient Sumerian demon, she becomes the Black Ghost, his Ageless assassin gifted with otherworldly skills and superbly trained in martial arts. Centuries pass before Maliha Crayne finds a way out of the life she hates. If she saves as many lives as she has taken, she'll break the demon's hold on her. If she fails, she will suffer the demon's torment...forever."

Love, love, love the sound of this one! Will be requesting it from the library as soon as possible :)

"In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical-born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is getting shorter by the day."

Umm...I was pretty much sold by the cover but then the summary added in magic and witchcraft. I HAVE to read this one and I don't want to wait!!!!

I want all of these now!!! And that is just the tip of the iceberg....I was browsing and found tons of new (to me anyways) books that I am now dying to read. Looks like my book drought is over. And I'll be letting you know as soon as I get my hands on any of these puppies :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Green Books Campaign: Life in the Hothouse by Melanie Lenart

This review is part of the Green Books Campaign. Today (or yesterday actually) 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in a eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco-friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

I've got to apologize because I am way behind these days so not only is my review late (I had my days mixed up) but I'm also not quite finished with the book. So I still thought I would share some of my thoughts and a summary and then of course I'll review it when I'm finished :) I chose to read Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change for a couple of different reasons. First of all, it deals with global warming. I must admit that every since I took a certain science course in college I've been interested in the topic of global warming. I want to know more and figured that this book would do just that for me. Besides that this book is about weather and I find hurricanes, tornados, storms, and the like fascinating. I even like to watch Storm Chasers but that's a different subject. Suffice it to say that this book is all about the weather and how global warming and weather affect us.

My thoughts so far are mixed. The subject matter itself is interesting. I love reading about reasons why some hurricanes are stronger than others and how global warming is affecting this. But (and this is a big but) the book is slow reading for me. It is a little dry at times as the author goes on into details and research explaining her ideas. So for me I have to be in the mood to read this book which is why it is taking me longer to read than normal. I'll leave you with my mixed feelings and hopefully a final review will be posted soon!

Thanks to Eco Libris for hosting this and for sending me my review copy! My apologies for always being behind schedule!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman

Arcadia Falls is one of those books that I instantly found myself immersed in. The story begins with Meg and her daughter moving to a small cottage as she begins a new teaching job in Arcadia Falls. Her relationship with her daughter is strained and Meg is working hard to deal with all of the things that come with being a single mother. But soon after they arrive, Meg begins to see a darker undertone to both the school and its' history. It is almost as if the fairy tales written by one of the founders of the school have a semblance of truth to them.

This book isn't just Meg's story, but it is also the story of the two women who started the school years ago. I loved that it was a book within a book and felt that both stories were intriguing and wrapped up together in a way that worked perfectly for this book. The history of the school was interesting and I thought that the way the author set it up helped to add to the story. I loved the fairy tale aspects of this novel and felt that it gave an extra layer of atmosphere to this book. And this book had atmosphere in abundance. I mean there was the private school, the creepy fairy tales, a mysterious death...I was instantly pulled within this book's pages. I also felt that this was a book that I didn't want to put down. The mysterious aspects to the story had me hooked and I was invested in the characters. I thought the characters were written realistically especially the relationship between Meg and her daughter. This was just a good read for me. Plain and simple. This is definitely an author that I wouldn't hesitate to read more of!

Bottom Line: A must read for those who enjoy slightly creepy, atmospheric books!

Disclosure: I received this book from Library Thing Early Reviewers program for an honest review of course :)
*I read this book for the following challenges:
New Author Challenge
100+ Book Challenge

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blogging Blahs??

Blogging blahs....reading blahs...I'm just behind these days. And I can't honestly say that I've got either of these issues as I do want to read and blog but can't seem to find the time. This is just a short note to say that I am reading and I will be back around shortly (but between computer troubles and sick kids it has been hard) and all it will hopefully take is a nice trip to the library to get me started back into the swing of things. And maybe then I'll be able to read some of your posts as well. And comment if I'm lucky :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

They say it's the terrible two's. I'm pretty sure that 3 was worse with my oldest but here is hoping for smooth sailing. Happy birthday to my beautiful baby girl who just turned 3! And I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a great year ;P

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Changeless by Gail Carriger

Let me count the ways that I loved this book and this series! Changeless picks up right where Soulless left off so if you haven't read the first book yet be warned of spoilers. And I'll put my bottom line right at the beginning of the review and say that this book is even better than the first. I loved it!

Alexia Tarabotti is back and better than ever in this sequel to Soulless. In this installment Alexia is investigating the mysterious phenemonen that is affecting parts of the supernatural sect in the city and causing them to apparently turn "human" for unknown reasons. Of course Alexia is caught up in the midst of everything and her investigation leads her to follow her husband to Scotland and the werewolf pack he left behind. But as always trouble follows her and Alexia is in more danger than she knows.

I found this book to be even better than the first which is really saying something as I thought Soulless was very good. This book provided the reader with a different side to Alexia as her marriage to Lord Maccon shows a slightly softer but just as stubborn Alexia. I loved the banter between these two and love how their relationship has evolved. There is just a chemistry between these characters that really works for me and helps to make the books even better in my opinion. I was also glad to see that this book included more of Ivy Hisselpenny as well as some new characters that we were introduced to. The humor in this book was more apparent to me this time and I caught myself laughing aloud on a couple of occasions. This was a fast paced read that kept me enthralled until the very end. And the end. Well, don't get me started other than to say that I was left wanting more. Right now. If I were you I would have a copy of Blameless nearby to open up as soon as you finish this book. All in all, a great addition to this series and I can't wait to see what kind of adventures/trouble Alexia gets herself into next!

Bottom line: Must read in my opinion! Great series!

Disclosure- I was sent this book to review and share my honest opinion by the publisher. It's not my fault I absolutely love these books and think you should too :)
*I read this book for the following challenges:
Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge
2nds Reading Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
"C" Title for A-Z Challenge (personal)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Library Loot - RIP V Inspired

Fall may be my favorite time of year and this is definitely my kind of reading! I've been going a bit overboard at the library lately and thought I'd share some of my loot with you. And yes, I said some because I have entirely way too many books checked out from the library right now. But that is another day and another story. Maybe. All of these are books that will definitely fit Carl's RIP V challenge and I'm super excited to read them all. Which I might have been able to do if I was participating in the reading portion of the readathon. Alas, I have to work but I have signed up to be a cheerleader for a little bit. Good luck to all of you though! And here are the titles of some of my latest library books (pictured from top to bottom):

Something From the Nightside by Simon R. Green
The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod
Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman
The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan (yay!)
The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb
Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan
Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag (an author that I haven't read in forever)

I'd say I have my work cut out for me. There are way too many good books out there that I want to read! And as usual library loot is hosted by Marg and Claire so make sure you drop by and share what you've picked up from the library!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Spotlight Review: Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Spotlight Reviews are my way of playing catch up. I read and didn't review a ton of books from last year that I always wanted to share my thoughts on. These reviews will be short and sweet with just my basic thoughts and are my way of "catching up".

Summary from Goodreads:

"When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to shapeshifting car mechanic Mercy Thompson to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. And she'll have to choose between the two werewolves in her life-whether she wants to or not. "

My Thoughts:

This series just keeps getting better and better. Mercy is an awesome kickass heroine who truly cares about her friends and those around her which is part of the reason why she is always getting into trouble. This book kept me on the edge of my toes mainly because I wanted to know which werewolf she was going to choose. And I loved the choice she made! The plot was fresh and interesting and led the series in a different direction than I had expected it to take. Bottom line on this one is this a MUST read series for urban fantasy fans. Highly recommended but start at the beginning to make the experience even better!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

Books like this make me wonder why I don't read mystery series more often. A is for Alibi begins with the reader meeting Kinsey Millhone, a private investigator who is asked to reinvestigate a murder that happened over seven years ago. She is hired by Nikki Fife, the wife of the murdered man, and the person that has been accused, convicted, and recently released from prison. Kinsey goes back to the beginning of the original investigation to see if she can dig up some new evidence and new answers. What she finds brings her more danger than she ever expected.

Kinsey may be one of the most likeable sleuths that I've ever read. I instantly related to her character and her personality. Grafton was able to make her come across as realistic, tough, slightly vunerable, and just a fun character to read about. Kinsey's character made this book for me and was one of the reasons that I liked it so much. I enjoyed following along with the investigation throughout the book and trying to solve it myself along the way. Let's just say that I was majorly off and hadn't a clue who the bad guy was :) But it made the ending all the more suspenseful and I flew through it. All in all, a great beginning to this series and I can't wait to read more about Kinsey's investigations and adventures.

Final Thoughts: Highly recommended to any mystery lovers out there!

Disclosure: Checked out from the library...
*I read this book for the following challenges:
100+ Reading Challenge
1st in a Series Challenge
Suspense/Thriller Challenge
Support Your Library Reading Challenge
"A" Title for A-Z Challenge (personal)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

On My Wishlist (or Radar)

I love browsing for books and looking at book publishing websites...I add books to my TBR list by the dozen. I decided to participate in Book Chick City's meme On My Wishlist but I'm mixing it up with The Booksmuggler's Radar where they also share books that they either have or want to get their hands on.

The Sweet Scent of Blood ( #1) by Suzanne McLeod

"My name is Genny Taylor. I work for It's a great job, pays the rent, lets me do the thing I'm good at - finding magic and cracking it - and the bonus is it's run by witches, which stops the vamps from taking a bite out of me. Not that vampires are the big bad any more, not since they launched a slick PR campaign - oh, and they brought the goblins on board. Now the vamps are sought-after celebrities, and Getting Fanged and taking the Gift are the new height of all things cool. But only if you're human. And I'm not. I'm Sidhe fae. And I know firsthand just how deadly a vampire can be."

Sounds like a great beginning to a new to me series. I want this one NOW!

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

"A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.
Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it."

I read and loved The House at Riverton by this author earlier this year so I instantly had to add this book when I saw it on Fantastic Fiction's website. Yay!

Cold Magic (Spiritwalker #1) by Kate Elliott

"Young Cat Barahal thinks she understands the world she lives in and her place in it, but in fact she is merely poised unaware on the brink of shattering events. Drawn into a labyrinth of politics involving blood, betrayal and old feuds, she will be forced to make an unexpected and perilous journey in order to discover the truth, not just about her own family but about an ancient secret lying at the heart of her world."

I love the cover of this one and the premise sounds SO interesting! I was lucky enough to be sent this one for review and am just itching to read it!

Daughter of Hounds by Caitlin R. Kiernan

"They are the Children of the Cuckoo. Stolen from their cribs and concealed in shadows to be raised by ghouls, they are now changelings in service to the creatures who rule the world Below and despise the world Above. Any human contact is strictly forbidden and punishment is swift and severe for those who disobey. Raised by her widower father, Emmie Silvey has a precocious personality and striking yellow eyes that have left her a solitary child. But that changes when two women enter her life-one who stalks her, one who haunts her dreams- both insisting that her entire life is a lie and warning her of an encroaching darkness."

I was looking for urban fantasy and found this book which sounds awesome. It isn't recent (I believe it was published in 2007) but I instantly added it to my wishlist after reading the above summary.

All of these books look and sound amazing...I just need to get my hands on them :) And find the time to read them of course. What have you added to your wishlist lately??

Monday, September 20, 2010

Banned Books and Speak by L. Anderson

There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said. If I was affiliated with Missouri State in any way whatsoever, I would be embarrassed because of what a certain associate professor had to say. I refuse to link to it because it gives it that much more attention. Instead I'll link you to Laurie Halse Anderson's blog and her reaction to it. And I will link to my thoughts on Speak. Speak is NOT porn. I will continue to read banned books and books that are challenged. Thank you to all of those who have taken the time to share their thoughts on this subject.
Speak out and let your voice be heard!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

BBAW - Better Late Then Never

So I'm super late to the BBAW party but that isn't unusual as I seem to always be late to blogger festivities and events. Life just gets in the way sometimes and unfortunately I miss out on the fun...especially when it comes to Dewey's 24 hour readathon but that is another story for another day :) I didn't want to not participate though (even though technically it is already over) especially when there were some good topics this time around. I've decided to do a BBAW combo post where I share a little bit of everything all in one post. I'm going to start off with Marg from Adventures of an Intrepid Reader's impromptu interview questions as if I had seen her call for this on Monday or whenever I totally would have signed up. Instead, I read the post after the fact but have decided to share my answers anyways. Hopefully she doesn't mind...

What is your blog called? What is the inspiration behind the name?

Of course, my blog is titled Sam's Book Blog and I can't say there is any great story behind my name. I've thought about changing it but never have so it has just kinda stuck. My significant other came up with a new name that I would like to change to at some point but that is for a different day. Maybe.

What kind of books do you like to read?

I'm going with anything and everything for this answer. One of my favorite genres is urban fantasy but I also enjoy mysteries, romance, general fiction, nonfiction, and everything in between. Seriously, when I was younger my goal used to be to read every book in the library. Although I didn't consider the fact that there were constantly new books coming into the library every day :) And I think that reading a mixture of genres helps to keep reading fresh for me.

What is your favorite recent read?

This is easily Blameless by Gail Carriger which I just finished earlier this week. I can't seem to get enough of this brand new series and am not looking forward to waiting until next year for the next book. I've said this before and I'll say it again, "I will be reading anything that Gail Carriger writes."

Where is your favorite place to read?

My favorite place to read is curled up underneath a blanket at the end of my couch while my S.O. watches television. Or curled in bed while reading to my kids but that isn't reading my books..that is reading theirs.

Share one thing about yourself that your readers might not know.

I had to think about this one for a minute. You might not know that besides reading I enjoy being outside, watching football, running, and an entire host of things that are not book related. And I'm a really bad cook. Hence why I never participate in the weekend cooking posts or anything like that. Because you don't want cooking tips from me. Ever.

BBAW Forgotten Treasures:

A book that I don't see or hear a lot about on book blogs that is one of my all-time favorites is Moloka'i by Alan Brennert. I read this one before I began blogging but it is one of those books that still stick out in my mind. Since I don't have a review to link up to I'll leave you with the synopsis from Goodreads:

"Young Rachel Kalama, growing up in idyllic Honolulu in the 1890's, is part of a big, loving Hawaiian family, and dreams of seeing the far-off lands that her father, a merchant seaman, often visits. But at the age of seven, Rachel and her dreams are shattered by the discovery that she has leprosy. Forcibly removed from her family, she is sent to Kalaupapa, the isolated leper colony on the island of Moloka'i."

I highly recommend reading this one and plan on rereading it myself sometime soon. It is an amazing book. And the cover is just gorgeous in my opinion. I can't say enough good things about it which is why I chose it for my forgotten treasure. Read it!

Well, that is about it for my BBAW combo post. Maybe next year I'll actually participate during the week of BBAW and not after but we'll see. And a huge thanks to Amy from My Friend Amy for creating BBAW and organizing it. Hope everyone has a wonderful week of reading!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Keep by Jennifer Egan

Even though I read this book earlier this year (and just never reviewed it), I'm thinking that this is the perfect time to review it as fall begins to change the colors of the leaves and the nights get cooler. I picked up The Keep when I saw it was longlisted for the Orange Prize Project in 2008 and I'm glad that I did. The Keep was a slightly eerie read with lots of atmosphere and weird happenings going on.

The book begins with the main character Danny going to Germany to help his cousin Howie renovate an old castle into a hotel. Except that Danny and Howie haven't seen each other since they were teenagers and had a mysterious "prank" go awry on them. The tension between the two characters is there from the start even if the reader is only getting Danny's viewpoints and has to guess on Howie's actions and motivations. Before long Danny is caught up in the midst of eerie happenings that are more strange then anything and the question remains, "Why did Howie ask him here?"

Okay, I'm not even sure if that synopsis/brief summary of mine makes sense because this book is SO strange and there is so much more going on. I alluded to the fact that the reader knows how Danny feels and what he is thinking but it isn't Danny that is telling the story. In fact, it is an unknown narrator who is in prison for reasons unknown. Like I said, strange. The multiple stories and viewpoints that are all really the narrator's story make up for an interesting combination. And the author does a great job of creating a creepy atmosphere filled with tension from the start. While for the first half of the book I didn't quite know what was going on, I didn't really care and was more than happy to see where the book was going to go next. Howie and Danny's friendship was different and Howie was a mysterious character that I could never quite figure out. Danny was also a character with lots of different questions surrounding his background and the life that he had been previously living. I liked it though that I was constantly questioning everything and getting pulled into the story. This book was filled with mystery, suspense, and a little bit of gothic thrown all together to create a weird but good read.

Final Thoughts: Interesting. I'm not sure what to say other than that. Just an interesting but strange read (and it WAS a bit strange).
Disclosure- Library book.
*I read this book for the following challenges:
New Author Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
Orange Prize Project (longlist in 2008)
Support Your Library Reading Challenge
"K" Title for A-Z Challenge (personal)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How I'm spending my Sunday...

Yes, we're Bears' fans....for better or worse :) Unfortunately, the oldest is sick so I can only share the youngest bears' followers in this household. I'm currently reading Blameless and I *heart* Gail Carriger! Seriously. Back to reading on Monday!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Summary from Goodreads:

"Choose....A quick death....Or slow poison....

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace-and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust-and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison."

My Thoughts:

Loved it! This is one of those books that instantly pulls you in and I was caught up in Yelena's world and the difficulties she faced from the very beginning. Yelena was a very interesting character to read about. She is facing death every single day and she doesn't crumble. Instead she tries to figure out ways in which to escape and make a better life for herself. The reader is only given pieces at a time of Yelena's life prior to being jailed which kept my curiousity throughout the book. I wanted to know what had happened and how it related to everything that Yelena was now experiencing. The book itself was easy to read, captivating, and when I finished I instantly wanted more. By far my favorite parts of this book were the characters and the world building. I was transported while reading this book into Yelena's world and the life that she was living which made it a great read for me! I can't seem to say enough good things about this book so I'll end it with this being one of those books that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

Final Thoughts: Maria V. Snyder has created a world that I couldn't get enough of- I'm super excited to continue on with this trilogy and see how Yelena continues to face the difficulties that lay before her.

Disclosure: Another book from my local library.
*I read this book for the following challenges:
New Author Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
Once Upon a Time Challenge III (how am I still reviewing books for this?)
Fantasy Reading Challenge
Support Your Library Reading Challenge
"P" Title for A-Z Challenge (personal)

Friday, September 3, 2010

R.I.P. V Challenge

If you even knew how excited I was to hear that sign-ups had gone up for the R.I.P. V Challenge...well, maybe I shouldn't go there. Just know that I have been waiting quite impatiently for this challenge for months and have been in the mood for dark, deliciously creepy novels for awhile now. I'm SO excited that the wait is finally over!!!!! I have every intention of spending the next two months reading books for this challenge. Books that fit into the genres of

Dark Fantasy.

I've been perusing everyone's pools of books for this challenge and adding to my TBR list like crazy. I'm planning another RIP library loot post like last year. I'm also hoping to read, read, read and maybe creep myself out. Just a little bit :) So of course I'm signing up for Peril the First which only requires me to read 4 books. I'm hoping to read even more than that though and maybe even watch a scary movie. I say maybe because even though I like reading creepy books...well...I'm a wimp when it comes to movies. Especially movies that are older and scary (like Amityville Horror). Can I say nightmares?? For now let me share some of the many, many possibilities of books that I might read for this challenge (and let me assure you that I have many more written down :P).

And yes folks, I have many, many more that I want to read but Blogger is being a pain with sharing the covers so we'll leave it at this for now. I'm looking forward to reading all of your reviews and adding even more to my TBR list. Thanks once again to Carl for hosting this wonderful challenge! Happy reading!!!!