Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Sleepy Baby

The story of a toddler's life.....going on full speed until he crashes. Priceless.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton (thoughts)

Kinsey Millhone is back and better than ever in D is for Deadbeat. She comes across a suspiciously easy case: deliver a cashier's check to a young teenage boy. Against her better judgement, Kinsey agrees to take on the case. But she soon finds that her new case isn't as it seems as the man who hired her winds up dead. And everyone that knows him has reasons for wanting him dead. Kinsey can't seem to let the case go, even if it means that danger lurks around every corner.

D is for Deadbeat is another amazing read in Grafton's alphabet mystery series! Easily one of the best mystery series that I've read in a long time. I have a hard time putting these books down! I love Kinsey as a main character, love how realistic she comes across, and how unapologetic she is when it comes to her personality. She is who she is and doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks. This book was another read that kept me on my seat as I read it...I just kept thinking one more chapter until I had over half of the book read :) I thought that the mystery was both original and unconventional. Especially the ending and who the killer was. I didn't see that one coming from a mile long! But what I enjoy most about these books is the entire process and watching Kinsey figure out who the killer/bad guy is. I usually never see the ending coming and of course this book didn't disappoint. It was just a great read for me!

All in all, another exceptional read from this author! I love Kinsey and these books....I just can't get enough! They are fast-paced, easy reads that keep me coming back for more. Highly recommended to mystery lovers! And if you haven't begun this series yet, what are you waiting for????

Bottom Line: Hand's down a must read series, and this book is another great addition to it!

Disclosure: I bought my copy of this book from the used book store. (Finally, I read something off of my own shelves!)

Now my question for you guys: what are your go-to mystery series that you can't recommend enough?? After reading/loving every single book that I've read by Grafton so far, I'm looking for more mystery series to read (and hopefully love) as well. Recommendations needed please and thank you :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"In a world where magic walks and demons ride, you can't always play by the rules.

Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn't quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers -- and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College."

My Thoughts:

Unclean Spirits was a satisfactory beginning to this urban fantasy series with a unique and entertaining world. And although I thought that this book was a solid read, I did have a few issues with it. Let's start off with the positive first and what I enjoyed. The storyline and world building in this book were very unique which was one of the best things about this book. The author created an unusual world where vampires and demons used human bodies to live and were called "riders". Jayne is kinda thrown into this world which makes it interesting as we get to learn about the world (and all of these supernatural things) right along with her. She gets caught up in the struggle against the riders and their leader after her beloved uncle dies.

Jayne was an interesting main character. She came across as very realistic as she struggled to come to terms with all of the changes in her life. And unfortunately she doesn't really have anyone that can give her all of the answers even though she does develop a group of allies that she works with. I really liked the different characters that made up Jayne's inner group. They were all unique and with their own stories...I hope that we get to continue to learn more about them in future books. And although I liked Jayne's character, I struggled with her indecisiveness at times as well as her lack of confidence in herself. There were times that I just wanted her to be more assertive and ready for whatever was going to thrown at her next. This could just be my preference when it comes to female urban fantasy heroines...I fully admit it. But her character did affect my enjoyment of the book at certain points. That being said, I am eager to continue on with the series. I feel like the ending of the book helped to show a stronger, more confident side to Jayne, and I'm hopeful that it will carry on as the books progress. Plus, I'm curious to see what will happen next!

Overall, this wasn't my favorite beginning to an urban fantasy series but I did enjoy it. I really enjoyed the world that the author created as it was nice and dark while still being original. I will definitely be picking up book two in this series. Recommended.

Bottom Line: An enjoyable read but with a few flaws.

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book. My thoughts are my own :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Really Random Tuesday

Really Random Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Suko at Suko's Notebook, and is a fun way to share whatever randomness is on your mind!

Who heard that the Nebula Award nominees were announced???? And who else instantly ran to their library website to put holds on??? I bet you can guess if I did or not :) And then the Agatha Award nominees came out. Even though I've never really checked this award out, I had to see the list of nominees. And then the Bram Stoker nominees were announced. I LOVE this week! I'm seriously in list/award heaven right now and my current library holds list proves it! I'm not quite as interested in the nominees for either the Bram Stoker or Agatha Award but it is still fun to check them out and see what was listed. But the Nebula nominees are kinda like the Edgar nominees....I want to read them all! I'm nuts. I know.

In other randomness, there's a meme that has been floating around the blogsphere like CRAZY lately. Seriously, it's everywhere. And the lovely Lisa from Books, Lists, Life tagged me. I usually don't participate in these because I'm lazy (pure and simple) but I thought I would this time. After all, I just have to answer questions :)

1. Could you eat the same thing for lunch every day? What would it be?

Yep, a chopped chicken salad from the Italian restaurant that I used to work at. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I ate it every day when I was pregnant with my daughter. Maybe that is why she only wants to eat vegetables half of the time.

2. How many library books do you have checked out right now?

Do I have to answer this one??? (It's kind of embarrassing) But with my books and everything the kids have checked out including books and movies, we have about 70 items. Yikes!

3. Do you feel strongly about specific music? or more of a music in general type person?

Not really. I like to listen to whatever fits my mood at the time. And my favorite cd ever is the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Seriously.

4. What is your favorite brick and morter retail store?

My used book store. Or Dunkin Doughnuts. Does that count??

5. What is your favorite online store?

I don't really shop online except for Amazon. I'm weird like that.

6. What is your favorite moment of heartstopping romantic tension? (Book, movie, music, tv, real life, art, anywhere.)

I love a good romantic movie. Favorites are Dirty Dancing, The Notebook, and 27 Dresses. But I always enjoy a good romance as well.

7. What is the first book you remember reading?

I have SUCH a bad memory! I can remember reading The Boxcar Children over and over but before that I'm not sure. (I'm trying to get my oldest to try these by the way :)

8. Are you creative in any way? How so?

Not really...

9. Not counting your family, pets, and vital personal documents/pictures, what one thing would you save in a fire?

I have an angel keepsake that I got from my grandparents that I would to try to save.

10. What is your favorite type of vacation (museums, beach, cabin, mountains, theme parks)?

Anywhere where I actually get to relax a bit. We usually do waterparks which are always fun but stressful!

11. What is the most surprising or unexpected thing you've done in the last 12 months?

Hmm...I don't know. I wish I had a good answer to this one though!

If you haven't been tagged already, then consider yourself tagged if your reading this. Seriously! I would love to read your answers to these questions (even if I'm too lazy to make up my own questions. LOL!)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton (thoughts)

Now You See Me was a gripping read that didn't let me go until the very last page. Lacey is a young police officer working off-duty on a case when she comes across a woman that literally dies in her arms. This vicious murder propels Lacy into the biggest murder investigation that she has ever been involved in. But unfortunately, the murderer seems to have an eerie attachment to Lacey and the murders seem to be mimicking Jack the Ripper. And of course everything isn't what it seems....

Now You See Me is one of those books that sucks you in from the very first page. The main character Lacey was a curious individual that had my interest from the very beginning. Lacey is one of those characters that has secrets, and the secrets add to both the mystery and atmosphere that is constantly present in the story. The atmosphere begins from the very beginning; it was a creepy presence that grew as the book went on. I loved the references to Jack the Ripper and all of the historical tidbits that were included. I felt like they really added to the book and made it just that much more creepy. The plot was both unique and compelling. It really made the book hard to put down! While I was reading, I was constantly trying to figure out what was really going on and who the killer could possibly be. I was left guessing until the very end which made the book stand out for me. And while the ending didn't take me by complete surprise (I guessed one part), the other parts did. I found it to be very satisfying while still leaving questions that left me thinking about the book after I finished.

All in all, this was an amazing read that kept me on my toes the entire time. I couldn't put it down, didn't guess the ending, and was left wanting more. What else could you ask for in a book??? I'm eager to read more by this author and have already added the other books to my wishlist. Highly recommended!

Bottom Line: A thriller that kept me hooked throughout with atmosphere in spades!

Disclosure: Checked out from my local library. This book was an Edgar Award Nominee for the Mary Higgins Clark Award which is why I picked it up as I'm trying to read all of them (personal goal). I'm so glad that I did because this was a great way to start this project!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Library Loot - Overwhelmed

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

Color me overwhelmed in bookish goodness lately...I just have SO MANY lovely books waiting for me to read. Most normal people would try to catch up, maybe not go to the library, or at the very least not add any holds on at the library. Not this girl though. This girl thought that it was a good idea to go searching for library goodness when she already had PLENTY checked out. And plenty to read. But really, when has that ever stopped me??? Look what I found though...

Remember when I said I had put a bunch of holds on at the library thanks to S.J. Bolton's Now You See Me? Well, they all came in and now I can't figure out which one to read first. (And yes, the cover to Darkwater by Eden is that hideous :) But it sounds SO good!) Bent Road was nominated for the Edgar award for new authors so I decided to pick it up in my quest to read the nominees. And Maisie Dobbs is a series that I've been meaning to begin for some time now. Bookish goodness, I tell you!

But before I begin any of these I must finish the wonderfulness that is Divergent. I'm loving it so far!!! It is AH-MAZING!!!!! Seriously. I'm drowning in books right now :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Sunday Salon - Mini Reviews (thoughts)

Good afternoon Saloners! I'm getting a bit of a late start this morning as we just got back from a weekend away with the kiddos. We didn't actual go anywhere but instead spent the weekend at a local hotel where we had passes for free rooms. The kids got to swim, swim, swim which made for the "best weekend ever" according to my daughter :) Happily, we are all home now and laying low for the rest of the day.

On the reading front, I decided that today I would play catch-up and share my thoughts on a few books that I read in 2011 but never posted about. I've got about 9 books that I never reviewed from 2011 and sadly it is looking like posting my thoughts on those books is never going to happen. So I decided to remedy that and share my abbreviated thoughts on three of them today.

Watch Me Die by Erica Spindler

Erica Spindler is one of my favorite authors to go to when I'm in the mood for a good thriller. She didn't disappoint with this one and I found myself caught up in the suspense that was constantly present throughout the book. I enjoyed the setting of the story and liked how the story referenced Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. The storyline was sufficiently creepy and the ending managed to take me by surprise. Both good things in my opinion. That being said, this wasn't my favorite by this author but it was still a VERY good read. Recommended!

14 by J.T. Ellison

Another thriller that kept me on my toes and my second read by this author. I liked this book WAY more than the first book, although I think that if asked I would have a hard time explaining why. Although it was quite gory at times, it was a book that I could NOT put down. I liked the mystery, liked the two main characters that were from the previous book, and just plain enjoyed this thriller. I'm eager to continue on and see what this author comes up with next. Recommended but with the warning that it can be quite gruesome at times.

(And I would start with book one if I were you)

Visions of Magic by Regan Hastings

I adored this book from beginning to end and cannot wait to read more! From the very beginning of the novel I was entranced, and when I finished turning the pages I was almost sad to see the story end. The storyline was both fresh and original. I loved the romance that grew between the two main characters. It was enjoyable seeing the two of them grow together as a couple. If this is how this series is going to go, then consider me an instant fan! I cannot wait to read more by this author. I would highly recommend this book to fans of paranormal romance!

That's all out of me for the day. I'm off to spend the rest of it doing laundry and maybe finishing off my current read. Happy Sunday!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Though a small town at heart, Lawrenceton, Georgia, has its dark side-and crime buffs. One of whom is librarian Aurora "Roe" Teagarden, a member of the Real Murders Club, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases. It's a harmless pastime-until the night she finds a member killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss. And as other brutal "copycat" killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime suspects-or potential victims."

My Thoughts:

Real Murders was an interesting beginning to this cozy mystery series and I'm looking forward to reading more! I've been wanting to begin this series every since I finished the last book in the Harper Connelly series (which I loved) by this same author. I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed in the least by this book and actually enjoyed it quite a lot. "Roe" is a part of a club that analyzes serial killers from the past. Unfortunately, one of the members of the club is found dead and soon it becomes very apparent that one of those same members must be the killer. Roe was such a great main character for a variety of reasons. She's a librarian for one which instantly made me like her ;) But she is also a character that is growing into herself. She starts off the book as a quieter, shy type of girl and by the end of the book she is really beginning to realize all of the possibilities that she has in front of her. I liked seeing the growth of her character throughout the story and I am looking forward to seeing it continue in future books. The mystery was a good whodunnit and for a cozy it was surprisingly grislier than I would have thought. It kept me hooked though as I tried to figure out who the killer could be. And let me tell you that I was nowhere close to being right...the ending took me by complete surprise!

This book ended up to a surprisingly good read, and this is a series that I will be continuing on with. Yes...another series (sometimes I wonder what I am thinking with ALL of these series). But I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of trouble Roe manages to get herself into next. Recommended to fans of cozy mysteries!

Bottom Line: A fun read that kept me guessing!

Disclosure: Another lovely book checked out from my local library :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Demon Does it Better by Linda Wisdom (thoughts)

A Demon Does it Better was a fun read that left me wanting more. Set in a hospital for all things paranormal, Linda Wisdom creates a spooky and dark setting where something is amiss. Lili comes to work at the hospital in search of answers for her friend that has gone missing with no trace. Instead she finds even more questions as she is brought to the underground, dungeon-like part of the hospital where the mentally insane are kept. There she meets Jared who is a demon that she just can't seem to resist. And soon Lili finds herself drawn not only to Jared but also to the secrets that the hospital seems to hold close. Because everything isn't as it seems...

How spooky does that sound??? I loved the setting that the author created with this book. It filled the book with atmosphere at times that was both creepy and dark. Lili was quite the opposite which fit really nice as she was filled with light and goodness. The atmosphere of the story contrasted nicely with Lili's character which really worked well in the book. The chemistry between Lili and Jared was almost immediate which caused me to instantly root for them. I would have liked to seen Jared's character explored a bit more though...I didn't feel like we got to fully know him like we did Lili. In the end it didn't matter, as I was just waiting to see that they got their happy ending :) The plot kept my attention throughout the story as Lili searched for answers to the various goings on at the hospital. And although the ending was a bit faster than I would have liked, I felt that it tied everything up quite nicely.

All in all, this was another solid read by this author! I'm looking forward to whatever she decides to write next as she is on my auto-buy list. And I really, really like the darker turn that her last two books have taken. I just can't wait for more! If you haven't tried this author yet, the great thing about these books is that you don't have to read them in any particular order. Characters from previous books are mentioned but it won't affect your enjoyment of each individual book. (I'd start at the beginning and read them all though if I were you :) Definitely recommended!

Bottom Line: Another must read from this author!

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

Here is the link to my thoughts on Demon's Are a Girl's Best Friend if you are interested and my thoughts on Wicked By Any Other Name as well as Hex Appeal. I think I have one more book of this author's that I haven't read yet...and I'm definitely going to be remedying that soon :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

On My Wishlist (Radar) #12

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).

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

"The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns."

This just sounds like my type of book. Seriously, I must have it!!!

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

"Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night... The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity-and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance."

I adore the cover of this one!!! And Seanan McGuire is also Mira Grant who wrote one of my favorite books from last year. Another one that I can't wait to get my hands on!

Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander

"Welcome to the secret wing of County Hospital—where vampires get transfusions, werewolves have silver allergies, and one nurse is in way over her head…

Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…"

Oh my! I love the idea of a creepy hospital and all things paranormal. I WANT this one NOW!!!

House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier

Orphaned, two sisters are left to find their own fortunes. Sweet and proper, Karah's future seems secure at a glamorous Flower House. She could be pampered for the rest of her life... if she agrees to play their game. Nemienne, neither sweet nor proper, has fewer choices. Left with no alternative, she accepts a mysterious mage's offer of an apprenticeship. Agreeing means a home and survival, but can Nemienne trust the mage?

I love the cover to this one as well, and this is an author that I've been wanting to try for some time now.

This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart

"British actress Lucy Waring believes there is no finer place to be "at liberty" than the sun-drenched isle of Corfu, the alleged locale for Shakespeare's The Tempest. Even the suspicious actions of the handsome, arrogant son of a famous actor cannot dampen her enthusiasm for this wonderland in the Ionian Sea.

Then a human corpse is carried ashore on the incoming tide ..."

I found this author thanks to the cover of S.J. Bolton's Now You See Me. The blurb on the front of the book compares it to authors Mary Stewart, Barbara Vine, and Daphne du Maurier (whom I already love). I figured that I needed to try these other authors out so I went to my library website and put some holds on. I'm impatiently waiting for this one to come in although my library doesn't have this gorgeous cover. Still sounds like me kind of book though :)

I'm eager to get my hands on all of these books. I just love doing these wishlist posts because it gets me so eager to read...2012 is shaping up to be a great year in books. Have you read anything by Dorothy Eden, Barbara Vine, or Mary Stewart??? These are all authors that I'm looking forward to trying hopefully soon. I love finding older authors that I hadn't heard of before :) Especially when they have big backlists of books for me to check out!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

January in Review 2012

(These are the kind of pictures that I love...and my son will probably hate. LOL!)

January was a great month of reading for me! I managed to finish 8 books which hasn't happened in a long time. And I've already written reviews for half of them which means that I'm behind, but not totally behind. I also focused on being on the computer less which is probably how I got all of this reading done :) January was the month where I uploaded all of my pictures onto my computer and EVEN printed some off. I'm so proud! It would probably be even better if they weren't still sitting in the envelope, but were in a photo album like I intended. That's gonna have to be a goal for February :) Back to books though, here is what I was able to finish last month:

Favorite book of the month was hands down My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier! I LOVED that book! But overall, I enjoyed each and every book that I read this month which I would call a success. I managed to read my first two books on my Kindle and knocked off a few review copies as well. Looking forward to February, my goal is to read at least one book off of my own shelves. I have entirely too many books waiting for me to read that are my own. It is time to read some of those and find them new homes :) And I'm hoping to read a chunkster this month....The Passage, I'm looking at you! I'm off for a trip to the library with the kiddos...but tell me, what did you read this month that I need to get my hands on???? New books to add to the towering TBR are always welcome :)