Sunday, October 30, 2011

Long Gone by Alafair Burke (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"After a layoff and months of struggling, Alice Humphrey finally lands her dream job managing a new art gallery in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District. According to Drew Campbell, the well-suited corporate representative who hires her, the gallery is a passion project for its anonymous, wealthy, and eccentric owner.

Everything is perfect until the morning Alice arrives at work to find the gallery gone—the space stripped bare as if it had never been there—and Drew Campbell’s dead body on the floor. Overnight, Alice’s dream job has vanished, and she finds herself at the center of a police investigation, with the evidence mounting against her. To prove her innocence and uncover the truth, Alice must undertake a dangerous search for answers that entangles her in a dark, high-tech criminal conspiracy and forces her to unearth long-hidden secrets involving her own family . . . secrets that could cost Alice her life."

My Thoughts:

Long Gone was a fun, interesting thriller that I enjoyed throughout. After reading the above summary, I knew that this was going to be a book that I would enjoy. The summary also kind of tells the reader a lot from the beginning so I went into the book knowing that things were going to go bad for Alice and fast. But that just made the book that much more interesting for me as I was looking for clues to who was behind everything from the very beginning. The story line was fast paced for the most part and kept me hooked as I wanted to know what was going to happen to Alice next. There were a few aspects of the mystery that I was able to figure out ahead of time but the ending did take me by surprise. And I honestly don't think that I would have figured out anything except I went into the book trying to guess who the "bad guy" was going to be. You gotta be right once in awhile, don't you??? Ha!

All in all, this was an enjoyable thriller that had me on pins and needles especially towards the ending. I'm going to have to check out if this author has a backlist because I can't wait to read more. And I honestly think that the best part of the book was the fact that it left me wondering what I would do if I was in Alice's situation. Quite a scary thought if I do say so myself!

Bottom Line: A thriller that kept me guessing throughout. Recommended!

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher for review. My thanks!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I've Been Doing Instead of Blogging...

Meet the newest member of our household, Kaiya. Kaiya's owner couldn't take care of her anymore so we had to bring her home. How can you resist that face??? She is one year old, pretty much house trained, and in need of lots of TLC. Who better to give her that than three dog-loving kiddos?? It has been lots of fun so far and she has fast become a part of our family. But don't be surprised if it is a little bit more quiet than usual for the next couple of weeks as we (and by we I mean me) adjust to having a dog :)

I'm also participating in the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon this week which shall be lots of fun. It started yesterday and I've already finished my first book. Woohoo! My goal for the week is to finish at least three books but I'm really hoping for 4 or maybe even 5. Hey, a girl can dream sometimes :) Hope everyone is having a wonderful week! Happy reading!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price (thoughts)

Alex Craft has a unique talent as a "grave witch" which allows for her to speak to the dead. The shades that she raises are usually harmless and easy for Alex to control until the day when she is attacked by one of them. Before Alex knows it, she is caught up in a mystery filled with dark magic and even darker beings who care little if she comes out of all this alive or not.

Grave Witch was one of those urban fantasy reads that I didn't want to put down. It left me wanting more after I turned the last page, and I've already went out and bought a copy of the second book which should tell you how much I enjoyed this one. First of all, Alex has such a unique talent as she can talk to the dead otherwise known as shades. With her ability to communicate with them comes her "grave vision" which allows for her to see the world in a different perspective than the average human. I really liked that her talents came with a price and it took a lot out of her to use her skills especially when she was left basically blind for periods of time. It helped to make this book very unique from other urban fantasy reads that are out there. The mystery that Alex found herself caught up in was very dark and creepy. It kept me on my toes and turning pages long after I should have gone to sleep. My only complaint with the book was that I was never a huge fan of the romance that was developing between Alex and Detective Falin. I think that it was because Falin had so many secrets of his own that we were never really privy to. Maybe in the next book we will learn more about him. I'm really excited to see what happens next and how the story develops.

All in all, this was a really solid beginning to this urban fantasy series. It was dark, gritty and extremely compelling and I'm hooked on the world that Price has created. Highly recommended to fans of urban fantasy!!

Disclosure: I checked this book out at my local library and promptly bought a copy of the 2nd book after finishing this one.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Four years ago you changed my world. I love you more than words can say. Happy Birthday Baby Girl!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

On My Wishlist (Radar) #10

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).

Mirror Maze by Michaele Jordan

"Jacob, Liva, and Cecily are all victims of a single curse, which entrapped and destroyed their parents before them. Fate has drawn their descendants together again, and the curse is playing out in an erotic, chilling ghost story in a Victorian setting."

The summary said ghost story and I instantly added it to my wishlist. I'm such a sucker for a good ghost story :)

Property of a Lady by Sarah Rayne

"A house with a sinister past – and a grisly power - When Michael Flint is asked by American friends to look over an old Shropshire house they have unexpectedly inherited, he is reluctant to leave the quiet of his Oxford study. But when he sees Charect House, its uncanny echoes from the past fascinate him – even though it has such a sinister reputation that no one has lived there for almost a century. But it’s not until Michael meets the young widow, Nell West, that the menace within the house wakes . . ."

Doesn't this sound super creepy??? I already snatched this one off of my library's shelves and I cannot wait to read it!!!

The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow

"Emma Bannon, Prime sorceress in the service of the Empire, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. It doesn’t much help that they dislike each other, or that Bannon’s Shield, Mikal, might just be a traitor himself. Or that the conspiracy killing registered mentaths and sorcerers alike will just as likely kill them as seduce them into treachery toward their Queen. In an alternate London where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare now face hostility, treason, cannon fire, black sorcery, and the problem of reliably finding hansom cabs."

I WANT this one so badly! Look at the cover...this is my kind of book!!!

Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway

"The dead have tales to tell.
Sometimes they just won't shut up."

Short and sweet summary but I can't complain as I was still instantly intrigued. 2012 is shaping up to be an AMAZING year of books!

Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron

"It all started with the yard sale. Ivy was eight months and one week pregnant when she insisted that she and her husband, David, clean out the junk they'd inherited with the old Victorian house they'd bought three years before. Call it nesting, call it nerves—she just wanted it all gone: the old electrical fixtures, the boxes of National Geographics from the 1960s, the four black wool greatcoats.

Neither she nor David recognized the woman at first. But it turned out that the customer asking about the lime-green glass swan dish—the woman who looks just about as pregnant as Ivy—was none other than Melinda White, a former high school classmate of David and Ivy's. When Melinda was a child she used to play in their new house, she explained. It looked like they'd been doing some work. Would it be all right if she took a look around? David took Melinda inside. And she never came out."

I found this book courtesy of Goodreads new recommendations and I couldn't help but add it to the wishlist. It sounds quite creepy and I've been reading thrillers like crazy lately.

So that's a few of the books that I've added to my wishlist lately. What have you added to yours??? (Seriously, tell me so I can add more to my out of control TBR list!)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Flawless by Carrie Lofty (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Lady Vivienne Bancroft fled England for New York, hoping to shed the confines of her arranged marriage to unrepentant rogue Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft—though she never forgot the fiery desire he unleashed with his slightest touch. And when the gambling man arrives on her doorstep for a little sensual revenge for her desertion, he is met with Vivienne’s dilemma: She must earn her father’s inheritance by profitably running a diamond business worth millions in colonial South Africa. Swept together in an exotic undertaking filled with heated passion and hungry temptation, will Vivienne and Miles discover that the marriage vows they once made are the greatest snare—or the most treasured reward?"

My Thoughts:

I feel like I've read my fair share of romances this year and this is one of my favorites ones yet! What made Flawless stand out for me was the instant chemistry and attraction between the two main characters. I found myself wondering about their past relationship and wanting to see if they could find their happy ending. I loved that neither of them were who they thought they were, which left them to really discover each other throughout the novel. This enjoyment of the characters was enhanced by the setting of the story. It isn't every day that you read a romance novel set in Africa's diamond mines but this one was. I loved the unique setting and found that it really added to the story. The details that the author included helped to make me feel like I was really there while I was reading. There was a slight aspect of mystery and suspense to this book that helped keep my interest as well. But the main focus was the romance between Miles and Vivienne, and I couldn't get enough of it!

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I read another review of this book that said that the author uses lots of different settings in her stories and now I cannot wait to read more by her! This is a romance that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend!

Bottom Line: A lovely romance and one that made me an instant fan of this author!

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book as part of Gallery and Pocket Books Romance Blog Tour Group. I'm a bit late with my post though so sorry!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

August and September Reads

(From the 1st day of school...and yes, I'm just now getting around to sharing)

So August and September have both come and gone and we are already a week deep into October. I've been meaning to write this post for ages but life (and a serious case of laziness) has intervened. Mainly, I've been just trying to keep my head afloat as we finish up flag football, deal with school and homework, and I work my crazy job. So I've fallen behind in all areas of my life which has been a bit frustrating. I spent ALL day Friday cleaning and now my house is at least presentable (kind of). In the spirit of fall cleaning or something, I've been digging through the oldest child's room which is NO fun! Seriously, it is kind of disgusting and he is no where near to being a teenager yet. But rooms are getting cleaned out, clothes are being packed/given away, and hopefully a little more organization will help keep my sanity in check. Maybe. But enough of all that, let's get down to what I read in August.

August was my best month of reading yet this year....I think. I don't feel like going back to double check that statement but I'm pretty sure that it is true. I read 9 books in August which is almost unheard of for me. I was a little reading machine :) In August I read the following lovely books:

Wow! Just looking at all those books leaves me feeling impressed and a bit tired. LOL! My favorite read of the month by far was Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep but there wasn't a bad book in the bunch. Unfortunately, the majority of these books are still waiting for review and adding to my 11+ backlog. I'm working on catching up but it is slow going at the moment. September on the other hand, was one of my weaker months of reading where I only finished four books. Four. Here is what I managed to finish in September:

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson was definitely my favorite read in September. I handed my copy off to my Mom and she loved it just as much as I did. I have a feeling that I will be recommending this one for awhile now :)

There you have it. Two months worth of reads in a nutshell. The goal for October will be reading more than September and actually posting my October summary before Thanksgiving :) Ha! Hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday and have a great week!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson (thoughts)

Christine wakes every morning with no memory of the previous day, the week before, and without even a solid memory of her family and friends. She wakes up to realize that she doesn't recognize her husband or the woman that she has obviously become, and that waking up with no memory is a daily occurrence for her. And then she finds a journal that she has secretly been writing in which leads her to realize that her life isn't what it seems....

Wow! This was a thriller that didn't let me go until the very last page. From the very beginning of the book, I was drawn into it because the main character, Christine, realizes that the life she doesn't know or remember isn't exactly as it should be. And as she begins to read the journal she has written, the reader is left with questions about the reliability of what she has written. Of the reliability of the memory of a woman that forgets each night what happened the previous day as well as the previous years. It makes for quite the suspenseful read as I was constantly questioning everything that was happening. And the end...just blew me away because even though I might have suspected something in the beginning, I had believed it to be impossible by the middle of the book. Which meant that the ending came to be a complete surprise for me which made the book even better in my opinion. This was a thriller that kept me on my toes and I cannot wait to read more by this author! Highly recommended.

Bottom Line: One of the best thrillers that I have read in a long time. Simple as that :)

Disclosure: I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of this book from the publisher.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Readathons, Reviews, and Readalongs

Look what I found!!! A new read-a-thon to join in on which of course makes me ridiculously excited. The only requirement to participate in this read-a-thon is that we read one scary book. As I'm just beginning The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson I can honestly say that I'm good to go as this book is supposed to be a creepy, gothic read. The read-a-thon goes on all week long so let's see if I can make up for a crappy month of reading in September and make October that much better :)

I'm also reading The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson because I am participating in Carl's readalong. I'm super excited to participate in this readalong because so many others are and I think that it will be fun to discuss this book with everyone. Plus, there has been a TON of hype surrounding this book so naturally I'm curious to see what it is all about.

And then look what else I found while I was perusing my reader. Another read-a-thon although this one doesn't start for a few weeks. That's okay as it means that maybe I will get lots of reading done in October and have my best month yet. I can hope even though my busy life says otherwise :)

And finally, I just signed up to be a cheerleader for Dewey's read-a-thon! I participated last time it came around and had lots of fun. I haven't even checked my schedule yet to see if that is my weekend to work or not (9 times out of 10 it is though) but I'm still going to clear a few hours of my schedule and cheer the readers on. Probably later at night when the kiddos are asleep :)

I'm super excited about all of these different events and I'm thinking that October is going to be filled with bookish goodness. I almost forgot to share that I will also be "attempting" to focus on catching up on my reviews now that I'm 11 reviews behind and counting. I read a post about the No Old Review Club started by the Literate Housewife (hashtag #NORC). Catching up on reviews has been something I've been trying to do for months now so of course I wanted to participate. Maybe talking to others will help motivate me to catch up. Because I really want to review every book that I read in 2011. It has kinda become a goal for me :) Now let the reading commence!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Phoenix Rising (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences) by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Evil is most assuredly afoot—and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade . . . and a librarian.

These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling—will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest . . . and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray."

My Thoughts:

This is one of those books that I just HAD to read. I saw the cover while browsing on the internet and then I read the above summary...I just knew that this was my type of book and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I'm happy to say that Phoenix Rising was as good as I hoped it would be and far exceeded my expectations! It was such a fun read and the action started on page one and didn't let up until the end of the book. One of the best things about this book was the two main characters Eliza and Books. They were completely opposite of each other in every way but it still allowed for a certain type of chemistry to develop between them. The adventures and mystery that they found themselves involved in moved the story along at a fast pace. And there were some funny moments inserted within the story as well. This all added up to a really solid read for me that I enjoyed immensely. I'm sure that this book will draw comparisons to Gail Carriger's Soulless series but I found that I liked this book for different reasons (and I'm an uber-fan of Gail's series). I'm eager to see what kind of trouble Eliza and Books can stir up next. Highly recommended especially to fans of steampunk!

Bottom Line: A fun, fast-paced read that I couldn't get enough of! I just became an instant fan of this series :)

Disclosure: Checked out from my local library.