Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg (thoughts)

From the back cover:

"Erica Falck reutrns to her tiny, remote hometown of Fjallbacka, Sweden, after her parents' deaths only to encounter another tragedy: the suicide of her childhood best friend, Alex. It's Erica herself who finds Alex's body-suspended in a bathtub of frozen water, her wrists slashed. Erica is bewildered: Why would a beautiful woman who had it all take her own life?"

My Thoughts:

I was really hoping to like this book more than I did. And after reading that summary I was really looking forward to reading it which may have led to my disappointment. I'll have to admit that I never quite connected with the story though which led to a bit of a disappointing reading experience for me.

Let's start with what I liked about the book. I really, really liked the atmosphere that the author created with this book. The descriptions of the setting, the icy cold, all fit perfectly for me as an ideal setting for a thriller. I could feel the cold while I was reading and I loved how just the atmosphere drew me into the book. The mystery was interesting and I'll admit to never having any clue as to who the killer was. The problem that I had with this book was more with never connecting to the characters. The author wrote the story from multiple viewpoints and I found it hard to transition between the characters. I found the switching viewpoints confusing and would have preferred a little more distinction between each character and their thoughts. And I never fully connected with the characters. I liked Erica and Patrik's characters but although I liked them I felt distant from them and what they were going through. The other characters were never fleshed out enough for me to really care one way or another about them. The storyline was good but it moved slowly for me. There wasn't a whole lot of suspense for me but there was a lot of foreshadowing. And I'm going to be honest and say that my dislikes might have just been me with this book. The book was translated and is written by a Swedish author which also makes me wonder if that is why I had problems connecting to the book. It could have just been that it didn't translate well. Maybe if I had read this book written in its' original language then I would have been able to enjoy it more.

All in all, I found this to just be an okay read for me. Although I had a few problems with it, I would still be open to reading more by this author and continuing on with the series.

Disclosure: I was sent this book for review by the publisher for a Free Press Blog Tour. My thanks!

P.S.- Does anyone know how to make the two little dots over a letter? I really wanted to do that for this author's last name to be correct but haven't the slightest idea how to do it :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Affinity Readalong Part One (thoughts)

From the inside cover:

"From Sarah Waters-a spellbinding ghost story, a complex and intriguing historical mystery, and a poignant romance with an unexpected twist.

An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women's ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London's grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank's murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by an apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes."

My Thoughts:

I began reading this book as part of Andi's (Tripping Toward Lucidity) Affinity readalong. I'm so glad that I'm finally taking the time to read a novel by Sarah Waters. And as soon as I read that summary I knew that this was a book that I wanted to read. My thoughts so far are very positive. I love the atmosphere that Waters has created with this book. While I'm reading it, I can almost feel like I'm there with Margaret at the prison. She describes everything in such perfect detail that I find myself caught within the pages. I think that the hint of ghosts and supernatural is interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing what more the author does with this. Margaret's character is very mysterious with hints of something more given in small portions. I know from reading the summary (sorry if the summary I shared is a bit spoilery) that Margaret tried to commit suicide, but it isn't clear exactly what led her to it or any of the details. I want to know more and am curious to see how this plays into the storyline. I've only read the first two parts of the book and am anxious to return and see what happens next. All in all, so far I'm really liking this book and I can't wait to read more.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (thoughts)

From Goodreads:

"Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte's only novel, is one of the pinnacles of 19th century English literature. It's the story of Heathcliff, an orphan who falls in love with a girl above his class, loses her, and devotes the rest of his life to wreaking revenge on her family."

My Thoughts:

Sorry but I couldn't resist this short and sweet summary. I'm pretty sure that I couldn't describe this book better than that anyways. I've been putting off sharing my thoughts on this book for a few weeks now. Why you might ask??? Because even now I'm still a bit at a loss for words on how I felt about this book. Crazy, huh?

From the very beginning when I started reading this book I began to hear very differing opinions on this novel. Readers either seem to love it or hate it and I find myself right in the middle with a definite leaning towards enjoying it (I can't say I loved it). The story started off a bit slow for me. I found my attention wandering and began to wonder if this book was going to be for me or not. But all of a sudden I was caught up in the book and found myself putting the "other" book I was reading to the side in order to read this one. And then I just had to see how the storyline would play out and how everything would end. I'm huge on characters in books and my connection with them as a reader. So it was very surprising for me to realize that I was enjoying reading the book even though I didn't really care for any of the characters. At all. The ending of the book redeemed my connection to the characters just slightly but overall I disliked almost every character in the book. And after closing the book I just sat and mused over my feelings. I still find myself at a loss so I'll leave you with this. I will definitely be rereading this book at some point. (And sorry for the less than coherent thoughts on this one...LOL!)

Disclosure: Checked out from my local library just for this lovely cover :)

And I'm going to leave you with the link to the lovely Naida's review (who loved this story and can actually express why she did)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Once Upon a Time Challenge

I'm sooooooo excited! Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting the 5th annual Once Upon a Time Challenge. I've participated in this challenge for the past couple of years and absolutely loved it each time! And that banner....look at that banner! I had to have it on my blog just because it is so gorgeous :)

So there are lots of different options to choose from when it comes to amounts of books to read for the challenge or what types of books you want to read. Carl isn't picky and for this challenge the reader can choose between fantasy, mythology, folklore, or fairytales. And the whole point of the challenge is to have fun (while adding to your wishlist like crazy if your name is Sam). Seriously, I don't know how any of you resist this challenge because I honestly can't.

Anywhoo, I've decided to go with Quest the First which is five books in any of the categories listed above. I read more and more fantasy each year so this shouldn't be a problem whatsoever. In fact, I'm going to include a pool of books that I would like to choose from...although more than likely I'll completely change my mind and pick something different up.

Here are just a few of my choices:

1. Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter
2. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
3. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
4. Indigo Springs by A.M. Dellamonica
5. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
6. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Just looking at these books gets me excited about this challenge and I have so many other reads that are on my wishlist just waiting to be read. I can't wait to begin!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Liberation of Alice Love (thoughts)

The Liberation of Alice Love is the story of a woman named Alice (of course) who is leading a very ordinary, reliable life. Until she realizes that someone has stolen her identity, her life savings, and has run up thousands of dollars worth of bills. And then Alice's life becomes anything besides ordinary as she begins to hunt for the person behind all of this. And along the way she starts to realize that maybe life can be extraordinary as well.

So the premise of this book is a good one in my opinion. Alice is in a rut with her life when the story begins, so when she discovers that her identity has been stolen and misused it throws her for a loop. But as she begins to hunt for the thief, she also begins to take a few more chances while making some life changes as well. I liked Alice's character. There were times when I wanted her to stand up for herself more but I liked that she was beginning to realize that there was more to life than the way that she had been living. And this was a fun read. It was a light, easy read that would be perfect to read during the summertime especially on the beach. The book kept my attention throughout and I was always curious to see what kind of trouble Alice was going to get into next while hunting for the thief. My only complaint with the book was the ending. Oh the ending. This is a tad bit spoilery so don't say that I didn't warn you (and I wouldn't blame you if you stopped reading here).......the ending absolutely killed me. The author left it completely open and I wasn't expecting it. I guess I wanted more, maybe a few more strings tied up, but that wasn't what I got. I literally was looking for more pages at the end. And while I enjoyed reading the entire book the ending left me a bit frustrated.

All in all, this was a good read. Not great for me but definitely good. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author as I believe that this is her first book. And it was definitely a good change of pace from some of the other books that I've been reading.

Disclosure: This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review by the lovely people at Sourcebooks :) And just to let you know that this is actually a different cover than what my copy looks like. But I really like this cover and couldn't find the image of my cover...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Memories (with words)

At the Children's Museum (very hands on for kids and lots of fun)

First season of basketball for the oldest (and he scored a shot during the last game...woohoo!!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Senseless by Mary Burton (thoughts)

From the back cover:

"The vicious burns scarring the victims' flesh reveal the agony of their last moments. Each woman was branded with a star, then stabbed through the heart. With every death, a vengeful killer finds a brief, blissful moment of calm. But soon it's time for the bloodshed to start again..."

My Thoughts:

I'm always looking for a good thriller and Senseless didn't disappoint. This book was a page turner from the very beginning as the story starts with a brutal killing and then shortly after a fire and body. And with all of that I was instantly caught up within the story (I'm trying not to think about what that says about me...lol). The story is told from multiple viewpoints which can be a tricky thing at times but it worked for this book. There were a lot of characters to keep track of which was a bit confusing at first but once I had that squared away I was immersed within the book and its' storyline. Eva was one of the main characters and I really liked her. She had a dark past that she was trying to turn around from but it made her character more realistic and likeable for me. I understood the bitterness that was there at times and liked that the author didn't make everything easy for her. The mystery part of this book was well done and I didn't figure out who the killer was until the author wanted me to. And then it all made sense but I wouldn't have guessed it on my own. There was a little bit of romance thrown into the book but I felt that it only added to the storyline. This book was an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to picking up the next book Merciless sometime soon!

Disclosure: This book was sent to me for review by the publisher (I believe). Unfortunately it was a month or two ago and I am just now getting to it. My apologies but also my thanks because now I have a new author to read :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Library Loot

Library Loot is a fun filled meme that asks us to share the books that we have picked up from the library lately.

I hit the jackpot the other day when I went to the library. I was (seriously) snatching up books off of the shelves left and right. The library that I went to isn't my ordinary library which made for a nice change. It also has shelves right when you walk in of newer releases and staff picks which is where I started hitting pay dirt. I have no self control when I'm at the library so here is what I found before I "forced" my way out of the door :)

1. India Black by Carol K. Carr- Isn't this cover gorgeous? This was the first book that I found and I had to have it!

2. One Grave Too Many by Beverly Connor- 1st in a series (of course) but it sounds really good and I was in the mood for a thriller.

3. The Likeness by Tana French- I read In The Woods a couple years back and really liked it so I have high hopes for this one.

4. The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg- Another find in the staff suggestions shelf and beginning to a series...plus it sounds awesome!

5. Bitter Night by Diana Pharaoh Francis- Like I could really leave the library without one urban fantasy :)

6. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood- This is a cozy mysteries series that I've wanted to try for some time now.

These six just all look and sound so good. I came home from the library positively giddy ;) And I just added them to the crazy pile of books that I have checked out. I think that I'm going to HAVE to participate in the readathon that is coming up next month. Or I will never get everything read....actually, I could still participate and not finish everything before it is due back. Reading can be such an addiction :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spotlight Review: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (thoughts)

Spotlight Reviews are my way of playing catch up. I read and didn't review a ton of 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".

From Goodreads:

"Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level house of Red and can see his own color-but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means."

My Thoughts:

This book was one of my top ten reads last year which should tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I kept the synopsis short and sweet because I think that you should go into this book knowing as little as possible. Because it made the reading experience that much more enjoyable for me. Fforde is a talented author that has created such an intricate world...I was caught up within the pages of this book instantly. I loved the important role that colors played in this book and the way that the author incorporated colors throughout the story. The ending left me feeling very surprised and wanting more. I'm not sure when the second book comes out but I will be picking it up as soon as it does. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: I checked this book out from the library last year at some point.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Merely Magic by Patricia Rice (thoughts)

In Merely Magic, Ninian is leading a lonely secluded life as a healer in the village that she lives in. But the villagers call her a witch and although they come to her for help with sickness and in pain, they keep her at a distance from fear of her so-called powers. Drogo has just arrived at his family estate in the country and wants nothing more than finishing the business that he needs to get done and going back home to the city. But when Ninian and Drogo meet, old legends warn of their two families uniting which doesn't seem to stop the growing attraction between them.

I was in the mood for a good romance which is why I was looking forward to reading this book. But I couldn't quite connect with the characters which unfortunately took away from the reading experience for me. I actually liked Ninian's character for the most part although I would have liked to see her have a bit more of a backbone. I couldn't connect with Drogo's character at all though, and I had a hard time understanding some of his motivations and decisions. He frustrated me at times because he could be so hardheaded which led me to become a bit detached from the book. The storyline itself was both unique and interesting. Ninian's "gift" as she referred to it wasn't something that played a huge part in the story but it helped to draw me in. I wanted to know more about what she could do and liked how the author included the ways that she could read other people's emotions and feelings. I also liked the legend about the two families and wanted to know more about the history between these two families. The question was never answered as to why the families couldn't unite. The ending did leave me with a few questions and I was left wondering if there were any more books written by this author featuring some of these characters. I would definitely be interested in reading it if there was.

Although this wasn't my favorite romance, it turned out to be an okay read for me that I liked but didn't love. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author in the future as her books are rereleased.

Disclosure: I was sent this book for review by the lovely Danielle at Sourcebooks. These are my honest thoughts.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Really Random Tuesday (February in Review)

Really Random Tuesday is hosted by Suko at Suko's Notebook.

February was a GREAT month of reading for me! I was able to finish 6 books which is amazing for me. Especially since this was such a short month and I'm not the fastest reader :) This month I finished the following:
  • Feed by Mira Grant (best book that I have read this year by far!!)
  • Stray by Rachel Vincent (a reread)
  • Merely Magic by Patricia Rice
  • Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams
  • B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (I finally finished this one!)
My favorite book by far this month was obviously Feed by Mira Grant :) I just cannot say enough positive things about this book. Read it already! I didn't dislike any books this month although my least favorite was Merely Magic. I haven't reviewed it yet as I wanted to post my thoughts closer to the release date but it ended up just being an okay read for me.

In other random news, my youngest is now walking all over the place. He isn't the steadiest on his feet but it is fun to watch. And now that I've gotten over the initial sadness of him growing so fast, it is exciting to see how fast he is changing and growing.

Bookishly speaking, I'm currently reading Senseless by Mary Burton. This is a book that was sent to me for review that I never got to. I'm glad that I picked it up though because it is just what I am in the mood for. I've just started it but it has been a nice, suspenseful read so far. My oldest and I have just begun to read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. This is a book that is a bit above his reading level (he is in 2nd grade) but it is perfect for us to read together. I'm looking forward to re-experiencing this childhood favorite with him.

That's about all of the randomness that I have for this Tuesday. Hope everyone has a great week!