Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Snow Fun

I took these pictures from INSIDE the house while the kids played outside (hence the reason why you can see the screen in some).  I'm ready for winter to be over but they sure aren't!! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson (thoughts)

Vicious Circle was a sharp, fast-paced beginning to this urban fantasy series!  This book has some of my favorite elements in a good urban fantasy: a strong heroine whose "abilities" haven't been quite realized and a plot that keeps me turning the pages.  I found myself well and truly hooked from the very beginning.

Persephone Alcmedi finds herself in hot water fast when she agrees to avenge her friend's death.  But what she doesn't realize is that the killer is a vampire known to have ties to a very important and powerful vamp.  She is going to have to work quietly and fast if she has any hope of righting the wrongs that have been done.  Unfortunately, she is in way over her head and everything isn't as it seems.  But Seph is determined to get herself out of this mess before the ones that she cares about most get hurt.  Including herself....

What I liked most about this book was how easily I found myself sucked into the storyline.  Persephone or "Seph" as she was usually called was quite the character.  She seems to have lots of untapped potential which I found intriguing.  From the very beginning though, we watch her struggle with some of the decisions that she has to make and the consequences that come with it.  I really liked that we got to experience her struggles with her because it helped me to connect to the book.  I wanted to see her succeed even though she was up against a very tough predator.  I also liked the relationship that was beginning to form between Johnny and her.  Johnny has lots of secrets himself which gave him a very mysterious aura.  I'm hoping that we learn more about him in future books!  This book kept me reading for hours curled up at the end of my couch utterly lost in Seph's world.  I'm eager to see what future books hold in store for Seph because there were definitely different storylines that the author left open.

My only complaint with this book was that I didn't care for the connection that developed between Seph and a certain someone.  I'm guessing that we will find out more in future books about it but I didn't particularly care for it.  I'm pretty sure that I wasn't supposed to though so we will see what the future holds for Seph :)

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and have found another series to follow!  One of these days I will catch up on all of these series that I start.  This was a solid beginning though and I can't wait to see if Seph grows into her powers more.  Besides, I kind of NEED to know what happens next between her and Johnny!  There is some definite chemistry there to be explored!  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this one but especially to fans of urban fantasy.

Bottom Line:  One of those books that just hooks your from the beginning and doesn't let go!

Disclosure:  I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of this book from the publisher.  The thoughts are all mine!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Long Way Home by Mariah Stewart (thoughts)

The Long Way Home was such a pleasure to read that I didn't want to see it end.  But the best thing about starting in the midst of a series is that now I can go back to the beginning and see where it all started.  If all of the books are as good as this one was then I am in for a real treat! 

The Long Way Home is about Ellie Chapman as she struggles to begin and adjust to a new life.  Coming to the town of St. Dennis after a year long scandal, Ellie hopes to find a quiet beginning where no one knows her dark past.  She moves into the house that her mother left her with very specific terms after her death.  She has to live in the house for at least six months and she can sell nothing (including the house) until that time has passed.  Ellie plans on using the time to fix up the house and figure out what she is going to do next with her life.  What she doesn't plan on is finding a home and friends that accept her for just who she is.....

This book was such a joy to read!  I don't read a lot of contemporary romance but I'm going to be changing my tune after reading this book.  It was exactly the change of pace that I was looking for in terms of reading genres.  I found myself swept away to this quiet town where everyone knows each other and there is a strong sense of community.  I found myself instantly hoping that Ellie would find her place there and realize that she needed to stay.  Because I wanted to live there!  The author did an amazing job of really bringing the community to life.  There were lots of secondary characters that I'm eager to read more about (which may be featured in the previous books...I'll have to read and find out).  But the best thing about the book for me was hands down the romance that developed between Ellie and Cameron.

How I love a sweet romance like this!  The attraction between the two main characters was instantaneous and so utterly romantic.  I felt like I was just drawn into their romance from the very beginning.  Everything between them developed very naturally but in a way that left me invested in them as a couple.  I NEEDED them to find their happy ever after.  I wanted it!  The author could have made it more difficult for them but I was glad that she didn't.  I mean it when I say that this was the best "quiet" romance that I've read in a very long time.  I couldn't have asked for more!  And there was one unexpected plot turn that I'll leave you to discover that I felt the author handled very nicely.  I didn't think that it would work out okay but it actually fit into the book perfectly and made it that much better!

Overall, I loved this book!  Ha!  No, really...I adored it from beginning to end.  I'm eager to visit more with the residents of St. Dennis and will be reading ALL future books in this series.  Once I catch up with the beginning books that is.  I cannot tell you the last time that I fell so head over heels for a book.  The romance between the two main characters swept me away.  I'm ready to dive head in to some more contemporary romance reads after this!  I would highly recommend this book but especially to romance lovers.  And if you are a fan of Nora Roberts then I think this series is a must read!

Bottom Line:  A book that I instantly fell in love with!

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a TLC Book Tour.  Thoughts on the book are my own!

*The publisher has kindly offered a giveaway of one copy of this book for the lovely readers here.  Only US/Canada addresses are eligible though but to enter just leave a comment.  I'll announce the winner at some point this weekend but probably Sunday.  Definitely Monday at the latest :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Toothless Times

First one came we are down two bottom teeth.  I'm pretty sure that it is the most adorable thing ever even if it feels like she shouldn't be losing teeth already.  But the best is when she sticks her tongue in the gap while concentrating.  Priceless!

Monday, February 18, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?? (Feb 18th)

It's Monday! is hosted by  Sheila at Book Journey and states:

"Welcome to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading! 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'm chugging through my nightstand reads this month which is unheard of for me.  Usually, I go off pile and read other random books that I wasn't even planning on reading.  But such is the moody reader which I most definitely am!

I have managed to finish up three books in the past week and a half which always pleases me.  According to Goodreads, I'm actually on track to reach my goal of 75 books this year which is kind of crazy.  I figured I would be behind by now but there you have it.  Let's see if I can keep it up!

Last week I finished up the following books:

A Wicked Snow by Gregg Olsen-  A thriller that left me with mixed feelings at the end.  I liked the book...I really did...but there was definitely a few problems that I had with it.  I need to write up my thoughts on that one but it kind of makes me nervous just thinking about it.  How to explain???  I'll have to find the words...

The Long Way Home by Mariah Stewart-  This book was even more than I hoped it would be.  I'm super excited to start at the beginning of this series and go back to experience more.  Very reminiscent of some of my favorite Nora Robert's books just because the romance was so sweet and lovely.  My thoughts on this one will be posted on Thursday for a TLC book tour.

Nightfall by Ellen Connor-  LOVED this one!  I just loved it!  I had a few issues with the main couple's lack of communication in the beginning but overall I ate this one up.  I stayed up way too late to finish it but I just couldn't NOT see how it was all going to end.  I can't wait to tell you all about this one so hopefully soon!

I'm currently reading:

My coworker gave me this book to read which meant that it just had to be next.  And you guys, I'm already hooked which is a good thing.  But the missing daughter is killing me (and no that really isn't a spoiler since it is on the back cover) and I just NEED to know that everything turns out okay.  It must or I'm pretty sure that I will just hate the book forever.

On the reader I'm reading:

The India Fan by Victoria Holt has started slowly for me but I'm getting into it the further I read.  It is the perfect read when I need to get away from the tenseness that is No Second Chance.  And I'm planning on starting Gone Girl this week since it was chosen for me as my February TBR read.  I don't want to wait because February will be over before I know it.

Lots of good books and reading which will be keeping me busy.  As will the snow if we get what they are predicting (I'm a bit doubtful).  What are you reading on this Manic Monday???

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Library Loot: Bookish Bliss

Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Marg and Claire that asks us to share the loot that we have found from the library recently.

Thank goodness that I've found another week long read-a-thon to participate in because my library stacks are towering.  Yep, I managed to fit in ANOTHER trip to the library last week even though I really didn't need to go.  I just wanted the chance to browse and load up on more books (which I'm exceptionally good at doing).  Going to the library and browsing the shelves is an easy way for me to de-stress which made it irresistible after the dreaded flu week.  I managed to load my arms up with books and came home in a much better mood!  Book therapy :)

I'm not going to mention the fact that I still have the majority of books from my last visit to read as well.  That may be the reason why my library stack is now towering and close to toppling over.  I just need to read some more!  Here is what I picked up last week from the library:

I'm still on a mystery kick but this time I went searching for some older mysteries to fit the Vintage Mystery Challenge.  My library system has an alarmingly low number of these books which makes me sad but we all know that won't stop me.  I'll be loading them on my kindle when available (and Mary Roberts Rinehart is), requesting the few I can from interlibrary loans, and buying some of them used.  I'm also in the mood for some good urban fantasy so I stocked up.  Simply Irresistible I picked up due to Staci's love of this series.  And that's about it...books galore!  What books have you picked up from the library lately??

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bitter Night by Diana Pharaoh Francis (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Once, Max dreamed of a career, a home, a loving family. Now all she wants is freedom...and revenge. A witch named Giselle transformed Max into a warrior with extraordinary strength, speed, and endurance. Bound by spellcraft, Max has no choice but to fight as Giselle's personal magic weapon — a Shadowblade — and she's lethally good at it. But her skills are about to be put to the test as they never have before...."

My Thoughts:

I've come to the conclusion that I just don't read enough urban fantasies.  Or that there are too many series out there that I want to read.  I'm not sure exactly which of these is accurate but probably a mix of both.  Because books like this keep me coming back for more every time!  Bitter Night was one of the best beginnings to an urban fantasy series that I've read in a LONG time!  Wow!  This book was intense, dark, twisted, and Oh. So. Good.  I literally couldn't pull myself away from this book which is never a bad thing. 

One of the things that I enjoyed most about this book was Max.  Max was such a fierce and kick ass main character.  I loved it!  She had such a tough outer shell but it was easy to see that she also had a soft, caring side to her that she kept hidden.  From the very beginning of the book I was instantly rooting for her to succeed.  I liked that she did what she could to rebel against Giselle but when it came down to it she knew what was important.  And what was important were the other Shadowblades that made up her "family".  The world that this author created was both unique and dark.  I wanted more instantly after finishing this book which is always a sign of a good read!  I just could keep going on and on with how good I though this book was but really enough with the gushing already!  I loved each and every page which is all I should have to say.

I'm trying to think of any negatives but there were none.  Other than me possibly reading too fast at points but that was because I was so involved in the storyline.  I just NEEDED to know what was going to happen next.  And as I spent a couple of evenings curled up on the couch reading as fast as I could, I did just that.  Now I just need more so I'm eager to get to the next book in the series.  This book definitely paved the way for future books that has left me curious.  I just hope that they are all as good as this one was!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A MUST read for any urban fantasy fan!  

Disclosure:  I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of this book from the publisher.  Thoughts are my own :)

I feel the need to glom on some urban fantasies after writing up my thoughts on this book!  There are SO MANY series and books that I want to read that it is almost overwhelming at times.  But that isn't going to stop me and I'm thinking a Read. Sam. Read. post or On My Wishlist post is in order.  Do you have some good recommendations for urban fantasy reads that I need to get to sooner rather than later??  Do tell!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

What I'm Spending My Weekend Doing....

Yup...this is what my weekend is going to consist of.  Quality time with the kiddos playing games and watching movies  :)  And hopefully some quiet time with my current read for the Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-thon.  I won't mention all of the cleaning that needs to be done or the piles of laundry (even though that will be what I spend the majority of my weekend doing).  Instead, I'm hoping to play a few board games, curl up with a good book, and pop back into the blogging world after being super quiet last week.  I'm ready to delve into the bookish world of blogging once again!  And write up some of these darn reviews.  How are you spending your weekend???

Monday, February 4, 2013

January in Review and On My Nightstand (February Edition)

Whew!  I hate to say that I'm glad to see the tail end of January but after last week I am.  First my daughter tested positive for the flu virus, a day later and Jack came down with it, and the next day my youngest went down for the count.  Yup.  That's how I spent my week....taking care of sickies, cleaning, laundry, cleaning (I'm sure you get the picture).  I'm usually all about the cold weather and winter but I'm more than ready for spring at this point.  And some healthy babies would be nice!  But enough moaning and groaning.  I DID finish six books in January thanks in part to the A Winter's Respite Read-a-thon.  And of course I started my new job in January which is going just swimmingly.  It is both challenging and exciting which means that I'm loving it!

Although I'm really happy with how most of the month went I did see a down slide when it came to my exercising.  I can be SO inconsistent when it comes to it but I'm determined to get myself back on track!  I WILL run a 5K this year which means I need to get my butt in gear.  We are working on remodeling the boys' room so that is my focus for February.  And pictures.  I'm making it a personal goal this month to get my pictures off of my camera (and the tablet), loaded onto the computer, and printed out.  I never seem to do this and it is making me crazy!  I can't even remember the last time I shared some fresh pics of the little ones with you guys.  So those are my goals for February: remodeling, exercising, and pictures.  And reading of course :)

Speaking of reading here is what I managed to read in January:

These were all solid reads for me which made me very happy!  My favorite of the month though was definitely The One You Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon.  She is an author to watch!  I still need to write up my thoughts on the majority of these so I think I'll be playing catch up this week.  Since I have so many other posts that I want to share with you this week (reviews and another lovely library haul) I decided to also share my nightstand books with you for February here.  These are the books that I'm hoping/planning on reading this month.  Wish me luck on getting them all read!


 I'm currently reading A Wicked Snow by Gregg Olsen which is pretty darn good so far!  The Long Way Home is for a TLC Book Tour towards the end of this month.  And I'm finally taking the plunge with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn after seeing EVERYBODY talking about it in 2012 (and thanks to one of the online book groups I belong to).  I stuck with six books but there are plenty more that are calling my name.  Just wait until you see my library haul....LOL!  I hope you all had a wonderful January and I promise to try and visit some of your blogs this week.  Once I sanitize everything in my house just one more time that is....