Wednesday, August 31, 2011

RIP VI Challenge

It's baaaaack!!!! Silly me for forgetting that Carl's RIP Challenge was going to be starting soon. I know I promised you back to back reviews until I catch up (or the possibility of a blogging break) but this is something entirely different. This is exciting! I saw the first post this morning and was practically bouncing up and down before I had even finished my coffee. I LOVE this time of year and what it brings. Cooler days and nights, the leaves changing, and best of all... creepy reads! I would swear to you that I've been in the mood for these types of books for months and have been drawn to thrillers, mysteries, the gothic, and horror. I've got tons of books already checked out from the library that will fit in with this challenge and even more on hold.

I've decided to jump in with both feet and participate in Peril the First which requires the participant to read four books. This I can most definitely do. I'm also looking forward to participating in two of the three group reads that Carl will be hosting for this challenge. Storm Front by Jim Butcher will be a reread for me but it is one that I've been considering rereading for some time now. I'm a huge fan of this series even though I've only read the first 3 or 4 books. I will also be participating in the readalong for The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson. I've got this one on my shelves already and can't wait to read it! I've got tons upon tons of books that I want to read for this challenge but here are just a few of the possibilities that I'm considering:

And this is just the beginning. I have so many more possibilities that it kinda makes me giddy just thinking about it. Plus, as I go around and see what everyone else is TBR pile is going to grow by bounds! Yippee and hooray for fall!

(And now back to your regularly scheduled plan of catching up on book reviews...I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. Maybe...)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Sixes by Kate White (thoughts)

The Sixes tells the story of Phoebe Hall as she attempts to adjust to her new life as a small town college professor and the mystery that she finds herself wrapped up in. Because young college coeds are dying and the only hint that the authorities at the college have is of a "secret society" that has been rumored to have been the cause of lots of trouble in the past. Little is known of this secret society and Phoebe sets out to find proof that it exists while trying to keep her past behind her.

The Sixes is one of those books that you don't want to put down. The author creates a chilling atmosphere in a small town college campus where everything (and everyone) isn't what it seems. This creepy atmosphere was one of my favorite things about the story. There is a constant hint of danger throughout the book that kept me turning pages. The setting is in the fall/early winter and the descriptions of the weather tied into the story so nicely. It just all added up to maintain the sinister feeling that the author was creating. I loved the idea of a secret society that isn't really up to any good, and I felt that the author really did a good job of building on the hint of mystery that went along with "The Sixes". I kept wondering what they were going to do next and how they were involved with the deaths that had occurred. This novel was definitely a page turner and I just didn't want to put it down. The ending itself was a surprise that I didn't see coming. I was a bit disappointed though as I felt like the author did such a great job on the creepiness factor with The Sixes and then the ending was a bit of a letdown. Just not what I expected but I don't want to give away any spoilers so I'll leave it at that. All in all, a really solid read with atmosphere in spades. I've heard that this author has written other books and I'm anxious to check them out.

Bottom Line: A solid thriller that kept me on my toes throughout!

Disclosure: This was kindly sent to me for review by the publisher. Thanks so much!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Randomness

(Have I ever shared this one with you guys before??? Don't wasn't open :P )

It's late Sunday evening and I'm just now getting around to posting although I had plans (or maybe thoughts) of it this morning. Didn't happen. Hmm...I can't say that I'm surprised but it is what it is :) So lots of random thoughts for you on a Sunday night, let me begin:

First up, is my readathon wrap-up. I was semi-successful this week with the readathon as I was able to finish two books and begin a 3rd. Not as good as some participants I'm sure but I'm happy with the results. There is no possible way that I'll finish the book I'm currently reading before tomorrow so I thought that I would go ahead and share what I managed to read last week.

I'm currently in the midst of reading The Taker by Alma Katsu for a blog tour. I'm not too far into it yet but I've heard good things. I was able to finish both In The Heat of the Bite by Lydia Dare and Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. Both were good reads but Agatha Christie just rocks and she knocked my socks off once again! One day I will have read every single book that she has written. This readathon was a definite success for me and thanks to Amanda at On a Book Bender for hosting it!!

Unfortunately, my two successful weeks of reading have helped to create a HUGE backlog of book reviews. Seriously, I'm like 9 reviews behind which isn't even funny. So I was thinking about attempting to write a review every other day until I completely catch up. Wouldn't that be ideal??? Now what really is going to happen is you probably will find me happens. And next week begins football practice every night for the oldest. Not to mention he just started back up to school (pictures to come) which means homework and all other fun school related things. Plus, I have two other young-ins who need just as much of my attention if not more. Craziness will ensue. I'm just hoping to keep the house clean and maybe possibly do laundry. Ha ha. Seriously though. I haven't a clue what the next couple of weeks will bring so don't be surprised if you don't see me around. I'll be visiting all of you whenever I can. And hanging on to the little bit of sanity I have left with both hands :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill (thoughts)

The Butterfly Cabinet tells the eerie tale of two different women and one horrible event that ties them together forever. Maddie McGlade is a former nanny that is just now sharing her secrets from the past and telling her story to an old family friend. Alongside Maddie's memories is the prison journal of her former employer Harriet, who was sent to prison for the murder of her four year old daughter. Both stories intertwine to create a mesmerizing tale that is both dark and haunting.

Wow! The author of this book created atmosphere in spades that allowed me to be pulled deep into the novel. The Butterfly Cabinet is one of those books that you go into from the beginning knowing that the ending can't be good, that bad things may happen, but yet you still want to read it. And the author creates such a rich atmosphere that I felt like I was part of the I was in the prison walls with Harriet and in the old castle with Maddie. I loved the way that the two stories that the women shared (one in memories and the other through her journal) complemented each other and allowed for what really happened to four year old Charlotte to come out at the end. This book wasn't a page turner in the normal sense, but instead I was content to just take my time and allow the author to draw me along with the story that she was telling. It ended up being a solid read for me that had me thinking about it days after it ended. The characters really stuck with me long after I closed the pages of this book. This is an author that I want to read more of and I would definitely recommend!

Bottom Line: A haunting tale that drew me into its' pages!

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review from the publisher as part of a blog tour for Free Press Blog Tours.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and a Readathon!!

Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey who says:

"It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between! D This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!"

I had a great week of reading this past week! I was able to finish two books and begin a third which is almost unheard of for me. Last week I finished reading the following books:

1. Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep- One of the best beginnings to an urban fantasy series that I've read in a long time. I couldn't put this one down.

2. The Sixes by Kate White- A creepy thriller that I enjoyed reading although the ending fell a bit short.

I'm now currently in the midst of reading In the Heat of the Bite by Lydia Dare. I've heard good things about this author so I'm excited to read this book. In other book related news, I've decided to join in on another readathon. I'm notorious for not doing very well with readathons but I couldn't not participate. Especially since this readathon is about having too many books to read. It is hosted by On a Book Bender and is called the Bout of Books Readathon.

I'm hoping to finish two or three books this week which would be a MAJOR success for me. I'm going to begin with In the Heat of the Bite by Lydia Dare and then who knows. I've been trying to alternate more between review copies and library books to allow for more flexibility in my reading and it really seems to be helping. Maybe with this readathon I'll hit an all-time high number of reads in August :) Or maybe I'll only finish one book but at least it will be fun to try. Wanna join in???

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On My Wishlist (Radar) #9

On My Wishlist is my way of sharing all of the books that I cannot wait to get my hands upon and read. These are a mixture of books that are about to be released along with some older titles that I really want to read as well. (All summaries are from Goodreads).

Whitechapel Gods by S.M. Peters

"In Victorian London, the Whitechapel section is a mechanized, steam-driven hell, cut off and ruled by two mysterious, mechanical gods-Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. Some years have passed since the Great Uprising, when humans rose up to fight against the machines, but a few brave veterans of the Uprising have formed their own Resistance-and are gathering for another attack. For now they have a secret weapon that may finally free them-or kill them all.."

Look at that creepy cover! I can't wait to get my hands on this one!!

Black Swan Rising & The Watchtower by Lee Carroll

"When New York City jewelry designer Garet James stumbles into a strange antiques shop in her neighborhood, her life is about to be turned upside down. John Dee, the enigmatic shopkeeper, commissions her to open a vintage silver box for a generous sum of money. Oddly, the symbol of a swan on the box exactly matches the ring given to her by her deceased mother. Garet can’t believe her luck and this eerie coincidence until she opens the box and otherworldly things start happening. . .
That evening, the precious silver box is stolen. When Garet begins to investigate, she learns that she has been pulled into a prophecy that is hundreds of years old, and opening the box has unleashed an evil force onto the streets of Manhattan and the world at large. Gradually, Garet pieces together her true identity one that her deceased mother desperately tried to protect her from. Generations of women in Garet’s family, including her beloved mother, suffered and died at the hands of this prevailing evil. Does Garet possess the power to reclaim the box and defeat this devastating force?"

(Summary is for Black Swan Rising)

This is a series that I've wanted to begin for some time. And now the 2nd book is out so I need to get a move on. Love these covers!

The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers

"The only person seventeen-year-old Jocelyn has ever been able to depend on is her brother Jack. That's why she's devastated by his unexpected death, until he contacts her! Determined to find out why Jack faked his death, Jocelyn starts following the clues he left. When this leads her back to Seale House and the eerie foster care world from five years ago, she has no choice but to seek help from Noah, Jack's long-time friend. Yet now Noah is far different from the boy she once secretly loved. After convincing him to help her, they set out to solve the riddle of Jack's disappearance."

Doesn't this sound creepy??? How am I possibly going to wait until next year to read it?

Envy by Gregg Olsen

"Crime lives--and dies--in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen--and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town's victims and culprits.

Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins' old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out--and as they investigate, they stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined."

I found this one courtesy of Darlene at Peeking From the Pages and I instantly had to add it to my wishlist. Love, love, love the cover!

So here is the latest in the never-ending list of books that I want to read. I'm finding it hard to be patient when I see books that I really want to read that don't come out until 2012. LOL! I can hardly wait for books that come out next month. Patience....I have none. I'm off to spend the day cleaning and reorganizing the house. And maybe I'll get around to writing a review or two.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Innocent In Death by J.D. Robb (thoughts)

Innocent in Death begins with the death of a teacher for no apparent reason. Eve is called in to investigate and instantly suspects murder. But Eve is thrown a curveball when Roarke's ex shows up unexpectedly and enters their life. Is there going to be trouble in paradise???

(Spoilers possibly ahead)

I love this series (which is old news)! What made this book great was the twist Robb put in this book with Roarke's ex popping up and trying to come into his life once again. We got to see another side of Eve as she tries to deal with this latest piece of Roarke's history. I could of kicked Roarke myself a few times throughout the book as he was being entirely too dense when it came to Eve's feelings. I felt like this really added to the storyline and I didn't want to put this book down. In fact, I was less concerned with the murder that Eve was investigating and more concerned about Eve and Roarke's relationship. The characters in these books really make them great and are the reason why this series is still going strong. I always highly recommend this series but you have to start at the beginning because seeing the characters develop along the way is what makes this series amazing!

Bottom Line: A must read series in my opinion!

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book from a friend who enjoys this series as much as I do.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Random Friday: July in Review

(My quest for a picture with all 3 kiddos smiling at the camera and eyes open is still ongoing)

Nothing like a late post sharing my reading success (or lack thereof) in July. Somehow August is here and we are almost halfway thru and I'm just now writing this post. Time....where did it go?? I had a pretty average month in July as I finished five books. Not my best and certainly not my worst. I feel like I should be reading more but it just isn't happening. And it won't be getting any better as this month is filled with preparing for the oldest to go back to school and my daughter beginning preschool. How is this happening? I'm not sure that I'm ready but I know that she is. Here is what I read last month:

1. Vanished In the Night by Eileen Carr- A solid mystery that kept me guessing.

2. Demons Prefer Blondes by Sidney Ayers- A so-so paranormal romance that could have been better. We'll have to see what happens next as it is the beginning of a series.

3. Grave Witch by Kalayna Price- An amazing beginning to this series. I couldn't put it down!

4. Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris- Such a fun read that I absolutely loved!

5. Justice by Karen Robards- Romantic suspense that kept me turning the pages.

Looking over these books I enjoyed them for the most part other than Demons Prefer Blondes which ended up just being okay for me. These were all new to me authors and I'm looking forward to reading more by them. I still have a TON of books checked out from the library, sitting on my shelves, waiting for review, etc. I need August to be a great month of reading with all of these books but alas, it is only looking to be only about average right now. One of these days I'll catch up...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Gentleman Never Tells by Amelia Grey (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"A stolen kiss from a stranger...

As if from a dream, Lady Gabrielle walked from the mist and into Viscount Brentwood's arms. Within moments, he's embroiled in more scandal than he ever thought possible...

Can sink even a perfect gentleman...

Beautiful, clever, and courageous, Lady Gabrielle needs Brent's help to get out of a seriously bad situation. But the more she gets to know him, the worse she feels about ruining his life..."

My Thoughts:

This is what a romance should be! The two main characters absolutely made this book and were everything that they should be. Lady Gabrielle is spunky and doesn't bend to the will of the men in her life at every turn. Viscount Brentwood was the perfect gentleman with a hint of danger that lurked at the edges of his personality. The two of them together created such a great romance filled with romantic tension and desire. I loved reading about these two and couldn't wait to see their happy ending. The book itself was a fun read that didn't take itself too seriously. There were a few moments that had me laughing especially at (if you've read the book you'll understand) the golden orbs part. I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the one even if it did win me a few weird looks in the break room. The ending of the book held my only complaint as it was a bit too easily wrapped up but I'll admit to not caring that much. All in all, this was a great read and this book was enjoyable enough that I would highly recommend it to fans of romance!

Bottom Line: A fun romance with characters that I couldn't get enough of!

Disclosure: I was lucky enough to be sent this book for review from the publisher.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Library Loot- Library Craziness

Library Loot is hosted by Marg and Claire and asks us to share our latest finds at the library.

I have no words....I just can't seem to stop. Just look at all of those pretty covers though. I'm pretty sure that there should be a limit to my craziness when it comes to books but there isn't one. I just love browsing and finding books at the library. Here is what I've picked up in the last week:

(With a side note, that yes I do know that there are more books here that I usually even read in a month...LOL! Did it stop me from bringing these books home or wanting to bring even more? Nope.)

Gorgeous covers, aren't they?? I'm on a horror/dark fantasy/creepy, gothic books kick which should be explanation enough for most of these. I think that I'm already in the mood for fall weather and creepy reads that fit the season. But in August :) In fact, if you have any horror recommendations I am all ears. And seriously, one of these days I'm going to spit out a review or two. One of these days...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Fun (and Why It Has Been Quiet Lately)

It's been a bit quiet here on the blog recently and here is why:

Weekends spent up on the boat (heavenly!)

Swimming in the muddy Mississippi...actually it's a back lake but that is neither here or there :)

Sprinkler fun to keep cool with these hot temps...

The end of baseball season...which means football is right around the corner.

And lots and lots of time at the beach!

I couldn't ask for a better way to spend the summer! It is definitely cutting into my reading, blogging, and commenting time though but what can you do? Summer only lasts for so long and we have been trying to enjoy it while it lasts. Especially since I just registered the oldest for 3rd grade. *sob* I have no idea how this is possible...crazy how fast time goes. I'm off to get a little reading in but hopefully I'll post a new review later this week (cause even when I'm not reading as much I'm still behind in reviews). Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer as well!