Sunday, July 22, 2012

Getting Back to the Basics

My little ones chowing down on some homegrown cherry tomatoes. Woohoo for me actually keeping plants alive!

I've been mentioning for months now that I would like to make some blogging changes. But as of yet, it really hasn't happened. I could use a dozen excuses but it really comes down to the fact that I haven't pushed myself yet. I like safe and comfortable so the idea of change always tends to make me nervous. But after the latest rounds of controversy that seem to just keep on coming, I've been forced to re-evaluate my blog and the reasons why I blog about books. I started this blog 4 and 1/2 years ago because of my love of books. That fact hasn't changed in all of the years that I have been blogging. In fact thanks to all of the lovely bloggers out there, I may love books even more now than I did 5 years ago.

Changes. For me to continue blogging about books and my family, they need to happen and sooner rather than later. As the title of this post indicates, I need to get back to the basics of why I started blogging. This means less drama and more of the following:
  • Reading challenges that create community
  • Group reads that expand my reading comfort zone
  • Read-a-longs that create discussion
  • More commenting and meeting both new and old bloggers
  • Personal posts that allow for me to develop friendships with other bloggers

With all of the positive, I'm hoping to jump start my love of blogging once again. And I'm going to need less of the following:

  • Review copies that make me feel like I owe something to the author and publisher. I don't.
  • Stress because blogging about books is supposed to be enjoyable and not a chore.
  • Pressure because I'm the only one who is putting pressure on myself. Time to take it off :)
  • Drama that just creates negativity. I don't want that here on my blog.

2012 has been a CRAZY year for blogging but I think with a little bit of change it can end. It's time to focus on what is important and get back to the books.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Deadline by Mira Grant (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has.

But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.

Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun."

My Thoughts:

I couldn't seem to coherently come up with my own summary of this book without giving away spoilers so I decided to use the above summary. I adored this book! Loved it so much that after turning the last page (and reading the little bonus section in the back) I was ready to start it all over again. I'm going to admit that I didn't think that it could live up to the amazingness that was Feed. But I'm happy to say that Deadline was JUST as good as Feed! That's two, blow me out of the water, recommend to everyone, AMAZING books that make up a trilogy. I cannot read Blackout. How could it possibly live up to these two books??? These may be two of my favorite books ever.

One of the things that I loved about Feed was how surprised I was that I fell in love with the book. It was just SO good and the ending...all of it knocked me over in reading ecstasy. When I started Deadline I was excited to be reading it but I was super nervous as well. I was sure that I wasn't going to enjoy it as much...there was just no possible way to love it as much as the previous book. But it instantly sucked me back into Shaun's world and I loved every minute of it! I keep using the word love but there is no other way to describe it. I adored each and every page of this book and was left wanting more. This book instantly skyrocketed to my top 10 reads of 2012...heck, it may be my favorite book that I read this year. I suppose it is too soon to tell but it could be. I haven't really told you anything about this book and I'm not going to. I think that you should go into reading these books with little to no knowledge of the plot so you have no expectations. Just expect awesomeness. And if you ask me for a book recommendation I'm probably going to mention these. Just saying :)

Bottom Line: An amazing read. An amazing 2nd book in this trilogy. One of my favorites easily! What else could you possibly need to know???

Disclosure: I purchased my copy of this book from the now closed Borders bookstore. BEST purchase ever!!!!

I wanted to leave you all with a link to my thoughts on Feed. Do you know what is even better than reading an amazing book? Having Twitter conversations about said amazing book with other book lovers who love it as well. Bliss!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Library Loot - Bookish Goodness

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

Oh my goodness! I had such an amazing day for books that I decided instead of posting a review or other randomness that I NEEDED to do a library loot post. Because after one trip to the library and one trip to the used bookstore, I am now overflowing with books. In fact, I find myself a tad bit overwhelmed but that never seems to slow me down :) Nothing makes a Friday better than a bunch of good books, right?? Somebody remind me not to put any more holds on at the library for a few weeks though....seriously! Here are the books that were waiting for me at the library:

So many gorgeous covers here that make me want to sit down and have my own mini readathon! Except I work tomorrow so that isn't going to work out very well :/ But that isn't all of the bookish goodness. Oh no. I told you I visited my local used bookstore (one of my other favorite places ever!!). I have more to share but without pictures this time because I'm feeling a bit lazy. And I should probably be doing laundry! LOL! Here is what I grabbed:
  • Storm Born by Richelle Mead
  • Someone in the House by Barbara Michaels
  • I'll Be Watching You by Andrea Kane
  • Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
  • Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison
  • A Perfect Evil by Alex Kava
  • House of Many Shadows by Barbara Michaels
  • F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton
  • The Good, The Bad, and The Undead by Kim Harrison

Woohoo for finding more books by Barbara Michaels to read as I adore her! I picked up the next book in the alphabet series to fuel my Sue Grafton addiction. And the rest is a good mix of thrillers and urban fantasy thanks to fellow bloggers always adding to my TBR list :) I'm officially swimming in books. Happy Friday!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts (thoughts on a reread)

Way, way back in my college days I discovered Nora Roberts. I'm about 80% certain that was about the time that I also discovered and fell in love with her J.D. Robb series. Anyways, I can remember gobbling this trilogy down...impatiently waiting for each book to be released. Homework got shoved to the side on those days especially when I was deep into a book. Rereading this trilogy was a fun way to spend the week as I had a foggy memory in regards to the overall plot and once again found myself sucked into these books. These books were exactly what I needed when I was going through a slump in my reading and I'm now eager to go back and pick up some of her standalone novels.

Key of Light begins the trilogy and tells the story of Mallory and Flynn. This book sets everything up for the rest of the trilogy without giving too much away. I've always enjoyed the romance that develops between Mallory and Flynn even though Mallory can be a bit much at times. Overall, I found that it was just as good of a read as I remembered and I couldn't wait to pick up the 2nd book!

After finishing Key of Light, I couldn't resist making a trip to the used bookstore to grab the final two books in the trilogy. I was already good and hooked; ready to revisit the characters once again. Key of Knowledge is all about Dana and Jordan's relationship as they work together to find the second key. What I really like about this book is both the history and the tension between the two of them. It added to the story for me and really made me root for them to work everything out! That being said, this is my least favorite of the three books, but I'm hard pressed to tell you why. I still really enjoyed it and as soon as I set it down, I knew that I was going to be cracking the 3rd book open!

Key of Valor is the last book in the trilogy and ties the overall storyline up nicely in my opinion. The first time that I read these books I loved the final ending, and rereading it all made me feel the same way. Brad and Zoe's relationship is fun to read about especially as they are so prickly with each other from the very beginning. In the end, I was a bit sad to put these books down....I just wanted to keep reading. They went straight to my keeper shelf so I can reread them again at some point maybe a few years down the road.

Reading these books showed me once again how much I love taking the time to reread a favorite series. I'm definitely going to be revisiting Nora Robert's backlist in the future. It has been such a long time since I read any of her actual novels that I could probably reread them and not tell the difference. I'm thinking that my next rereads should be the Harry Potter series. I'm WAY overdue for some Harry Potter love! What's the last book you reread and why???

Saturday, July 7, 2012

May and June in Review 2012

Baby steps to getting back into the blogging world. Baby steps. I know that I haven't been absent for a long period of time but the last couple of months have been VERY hit or miss with me in regards to books and blogging. I have over 11 books awaiting review so reading isn't my problem. Finding the time to blog and comment is. And I know that I've been saying (for the past few months) that I'm going to be making some changes around here, but I haven't found the time for that either. I've decided to just shuck everything off for the rest of the summer. No pressure, no worrying, no feeling bad if I can't find the time to comment on all the posts that I want to. I'm not going to worry about what books I feel like I "should" be reading and am instead going to read whatever I want to. I'm not going to worry in general. I'm planning on taking the rest of the summer easy and just relaxing. Maybe less pressure on myself will turn things around. So with that being said....let's see if I can actually stick to it :)

On to the books! May was a pretty weak month of reading for me. According to my reading list and Goodreads, I only read 3 books in the month of May. Life gets in the way sometimes and I have a feeling that I spent a good majority of my time on the computer that month. Darn you Twitter! Here is what I read in May:

My favorite book of the month would have to be Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb if I had to pick one. They were all really good reads though and the other two books are series that I will be continuing on with. In June, I had a much better month of reading and was able to finish 5 books. I read the following books in June:

Favorite read for the month of June was definitely The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams. I didn't realize when I was reading it that it was the beginning of a series and now I'm really excited to continue on. All of the rest of the books were pretty solid reads as well except Blue Dahlia which was only okay for me.

All in all, it was once again two solid months of reading when it comes to enjoyment levels even though the quantity wasn't quite there. Now I'm going to take some baby steps and get myself back into blogging. And commenting because that is another thing I've been horrible at. Hope everyone is beating the heat lately!!!! And because I can't resist adding to the TBR list a bit...what was your favorite read of June??