Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Armchair BEA - Introductions (and Being Late to the Game)


Whew!  What a whirlwind weekend...three day weekends are NEVER long enough!  I totally took an impromptu blogging break.  Time just seems to keep on getting away from me.  I'm horrified to tell you that I completely forgot to take pictures (ugh) but we had a wonderful time on the houseboat.  Even when it rained almost the entire time.  It just makes you get creative on ways to keep your three littles entertained.  LOL!  I peeked in my reader last night, realized it was Armchair BEA week, and then kicked myself for putting off signing up until now.  I am the queen of procrastination!  I'm not sure how much blogging I will get accomplished this week but I'm using this as a good excuse to get to know a few new bloggers (and maybe take a week long break from reviews. Ha ha!)    

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
  • My name's Samantha but I always go by Sam.  I've been blogging now for entirely too long (I'm thinking that I'm on 5 years or something like that.  I got into book blogging thanks to Yahoo book groups and reading challenges which I used to be completely addicted to.  Funny thing is that I'm still a member of some of those groups even though I couldn't tell you the last time that I checked up on them :)  
 What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013? 
  •  I'm currently reading two books:  The Truth of All Things by Kiernan Shields which is a historical mystery and pretty good so far.  On my reader I'm reading There Was An Old Woman by Hallie Ephron.  This one is also pretty good so I'm having a hard time choosing which one to focus on.  I hate when that happens!  
 Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you. 
  •  I think that by now you probably all know that I'm a mom, avid reader, and library goer.  You may not know that I'm also an awful cook, a planner of all the projects that I'm going to accomplish (and usually never do), and book hoarder extraordinaire.  Hahaha!  That doesn't make me sound so good :)  You may also not know that I love to watch Swamp People, have an addiction to avocados, and am a runner that doesn't run.  What is a runner that doesn't run?  It's that one person who considers themself a runner but doesn't ever find the time to actually run.  I should probably work on that!  Anything else you want to know, just ask!
What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? 
  • This is the easiest question for me!  The community!  I love all of the friends that I have made through book blogging.  I love how all of you lovely readers understand my reading addiction and even encourage it :)  I can always count on my bloggy friends to listen to me rave or moan about a book....especially when said moaning is because I'm impatiently waiting for the book to release.  Mira Grant's Parasite I'm looking at you!!!  But my favorite part is all of you readers who have become my friends.  Thank you!  I love getting to know each and everyone of you.
Enough out of me for one day!  I'm not sure how much more rambly I could get on this blog lately :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Rambles

  • This pictures cracks me up every time that I look at it.  He really wanted his picture taken.  I think I should make it my profile pic on Facebook but I haven't taken the time yet  :)  
  • I've decided on a post of just randomness because I don't have a lot to say.  My reading has been kinda slow as of lately.  I'm pretty okay with that.  (And I'm borrowing the format of this post from the lovely Trish).
  • I love a good thunderstorm!  I've decided that we haven't gotten nearly enough of them lately.  But it is really nice to be sitting here on a Sunday evening listening to the thunder....now where's all of the rain???
  • I spent part of the weekend with family and friends.  It was really nice and I couldn't have asked for a better weekend right before the start of "hell week" at work.  Four months of training at my new job culminates in a two week certification period.  Stress levels are high to say the least.  Yep, the next two weeks are NOT going to be fun.  I may not be around much.  I may not be fun to talk to.  I haven't quite decided yet.  
  • I'm planning on spending next weekend up on the boat with my family.  It will be a good way to end the first "hell week".  I think that I will just try not to think about the part two thing.
  • I'm currently reading The Truth of All Things by Kiernan Shields.  It is pretty good so far but I just haven't been reading all that much.  I'm hoping to make a bit more progress on it this week but we will see how it goes.
  • I'm also working on When Blood Calls by J.K. Beck.  I was reading this one awhile ago and just kind of stopped.  I decided to go back so I reread the beginning and have continued on.  It is also pretty good and I'm starting to wonder how everything is going to all play out.  I'm definitely intrigued!
  • The rain is finally here!!  I've decided bullet points are kind of dangerous...I could just keep going and going.  But I think instead I'm going to curl up under a blanket with the "littles"  since they seem to have decided they are scared of storms and read my book.  Since I'm posting this tomorrow I will wish you all a great week!  Happy Monday!

Friday, May 17, 2013

What I've Been Doing (Besides Reading)

I had big plans for the past two weeks with getting lots of reading done.  Instead I've been doing pretty much everything BUT reading.  What have I been doing you might ask???  Well, pretty much the following:

Running around chasing these two and making sure they don't cause too much chaos (and yes, he is wearing a Spiderman mask if you are wondering. If it was up to him he would have worn the entire costume to the baseball diamonds.)

 Taking this one to practice.

And then watching his games.  He was three for three last night which was pretty exciting for all of us :)
The best part is he still jumps up and down when he is excited.  It always makes me laugh!

Snuggling with my Pickle baby during the rare moments when he actually sits still.  It usually lasts for a total of thirty seconds but I will take what I can.

And in general spending as much time outdoors with my babies as possible.  I've got no complaints...even when my books sit unread.  Life is good!  TGIF!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nightfall by Ellen Conner (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Growing up with an unstable, often absent father who preached about the end of the world, Jenna never thought in her wildest nightmares that his predictions would come true. Or that he would have a plan in place to save her-one that includes the strong, stoic man who kidnaps and takes her to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest.

The mysterious ex-Marine named Mason owes a life-debt to Jenna's father. Skilled and steadfast, he's ready for the prophesied Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. Until the power grid collapses and mutant dogs attack-vicious things that reek of nature gone wrong."

My Thoughts:

Books like this are why I love reading so much!  I was completely and utterly sucked into this book from almost page one.  Nightfall was filled with a dark and gritty atmosphere as the main characters (Jenna and Mason) tried to adjust to this new type of world that they found themselves in.  Their lives are changed in a way that they could never have imagined and they really only have each other to rely on.  This book was so intense!  The action starts from the very beginning and really doesn't let up until the very last page.  I read this one late into the night because I just wanted to keep going...I was so engrossed in this novel that I would lose track of time.  I flew through the pages and was left wanting more at the end.  This book wasn't a perfect read, in fact there were times that I wanted to bang Jenna and Mason's heads together when they were both being too stubborn or dense.  But it really didn't matter because I was so completely lost in their story that all that mattered to me was them surviving and finding their happy ever after.  Just talking about this book gets me all excited about reading the remaining two books in this trilogy....I CANNOT wait to see what happens next!

What else can I say?  I loved the fact that there was a bit of a paranormal bent to the book.  The demon dogs were quite scary and not like anything that I've ever really read about.  I was heartbroken at one point in the story, and couldn't figure out for the life of me how this book could possibly end well.  The authors did an amazing job of not only pulling it all together in the end but ending the story in a way that left me truly satisfied.  I cannot praise this book enough just for the single fact that I loved it to pieces. 

Nightfall is one of my favorites reads of 2013 so far because I found myself completely sucked into the world that these two authors created.  This is also the book that started my craving for more romantic action-suspense filled reads.  I NEED more books like this so if you've got recommendations shoot them my way!  I would definitely recommend this one....heck, I'm singing its' praises enough just right here.  So may I reiterate that  I would highly, highly recommend this book!

Bottom Line:  A no brainer for me when it comes to my best of 2013 reads list!

Disclosure:  Checked out from my local library but I'm thinking I will need my own copy at some point for a reread :) 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reading Plans and a Read-a-thon (or Random Ramblings)

I have big plans for my reading in the month of May!  Last month I focused on getting some of my NetGalley books read (thanks to Staci) and I managed to finish up two.  Not as many as I had hoped but considering how slow I can be when it comes to reading on my reader I was pretty happy.  This month I'm focusing on reading some of my ARC's in general.  I have TOO many of these books sitting of my shelves waiting to be read.  I'm officially joining in with the month long Clean Sweep ARC Challenge to get some of these books read.  I'm hoping to read both print and e-copies which will help me make a dent in my pile. 

Last month I came up with a list of books to choose from and I think that I will do the same for this month.  I mainly enjoyed just coming up with the list of books but I actually did stay on track and pick from the books I listed.  Here are some of the books that I'm hoping to get through for this challenge:

I feel like this is a good mix of print books and e-copies.  I didn't include the books that I'm already reading that fit in for this challenge because that would have been too easy.  And I need a wide variety of books to fit my readerly moods.  It would be AMAZING if I could at least read half of these books in May but I will definitely settle with just a few.  Goals, I have them!

Because I've decided to set my sights high when it comes to reading, I'm joining in officially with the Bout of Books Read-a-thon.  It's a week long event (my favorite) and even though I failed spectacularly at the last one I'm ready to redeem myself this time.  It starts officially on Monday but I'm starting unofficially this weekend.  I'm more than ready and think that this will be an easy way to get some of these ARC's finished up!

If you are interested in joining, here is the official word from the hosts:

"The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team"

Good stuff, right?  I'm excited!  And I've got lots of plans for the month of May.  Now enough talking....it's time to get to reading!  

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Most Scandalous Proposal by Ashlyn Macnamara (thoughts)

 Summary from Goodreads:

"In Ashlyn Macnamara’s stunning romance debut—perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries—two childhood friends in Regency England discover love with the most unlikely of partners: each other."

My Thoughts:

I feel like I've been reading a lot more historical romances lately but it is books like this that are the reason why.  A Most Scandalous Proposal was a delight to read and if this is just the author's debut book then I can't wait to read more!  

From the very beginning I was caught up in the chemistry between Julia and Benedict.  I loved the friendship angle and found myself almost biting my nails hoping for their happy every after.  What I didn't expect was how much I would enjoy Julia's sister Sophie's storyline.  Sophie came off as a bit of a nitwit at first but as the book progressed I was really rooting for her.  I loved the way that her character developed and would have liked to see even more of her at the end.  I thought that the author also did an amazing job with not always doing the expected.  There was one point in the middle of the book where I was all set to be upset with the direction the book was going in.  But then the author managed to do a complete 360 with the storyline and I was completely onboard again!  I loved it!  The ending tied everything up quite nicely and left me feeling quite satisfied.  My only complaint was that I wanted more.  I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the characters at the end of the story.  Books like this are why I'm becoming such a huge fan of historical romances!

Overall, I found this book to be a very enjoyable read!  I'm so excited to read more by this author as she delivered a stunning debut.  This is definitely an author to watch!  I loved the relationships, chemistry, and friendships that developed between the main characters.  The author did an amazing job of really fleshing out the two sisters in a way that you couldn't help but root for them both.  It was just an amazingly good read!  Highly recommended and my many thanks to Lisa over at Books, Lists, Life for recommending it to me!

Bottom Line:  A historical romance that swept me into its' pages.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for review thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (thoughts) (reread)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Mercy Thompson's life is not exactly normal. Her next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a VW bus for a vampire. But then, Mercy isn't exactly normal herself."

My Thoughts:

I read this book for the first time a few years back and really enjoyed it.  I think I managed to read three books into the series before I ended up drifting away and reading other books.  I have a tendency to do that...other series that I'm currently rereading and have done the same thing include Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series and Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series.  It's mainly because I love the series so much that I don't want to see them end so I stay continuously behind.  I'm not sure if that makes any kind of sense but it seems to be the way I operate.  Anyways.  Moon Called was just as good as I remembered even if I remembered surprisingly little.  This book is one of those books that just sucks you in and before you know it you've stayed up until two in the morning to finish.  

This book was such a pleasant reminder of why I love urban fantasy.  Filled with action from almost the very first page, I could hardly set this book down.  It is one of those reads where you just "have" to read one more page which leads to another and another.  I loved the instant chemistry between Mercy and Adam...it was fun re-experiencing the beginnings of their relationship all over again.  I'm not a huge fan of Samuel (I wasn't before either) but it was also interesting to see the history that he has with Mercy.  Mercy is as fearless and kick ass as ever!  I really think that she is one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines!  Reading this book again was like reading it for the first time.  I was genuinely surprised by the ending and was ready to read the second book as soon as I finished.  The only negative I have is how did I ever get away from this series????  I CANNOT keep saving my favorite series' books for a rainy day!  Instead I think I will just reread them on those rainy days when I need a comfort read :)

Overall,  an amazingly good beginning to one of my favorite urban fantasy series!  It was great to read about all of the characters and revisit them as they were first introduced to us.  I'm definitely going to be grabbing Blood Bound from the library the next time that I'm there and in need of a Mercy fix.  I've waited too long with this series and it is beyond time to catch up!  But first I'll continue to enjoy my rereads of these early books!  Highly, highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  One of my favorite urban fantasy series of all time!  A must read!

Disclosure:  Checked out from my local library!  I'm sharing my thoughts on this book as part of  Book Review Wednesdays.

Monday, May 6, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 6th)

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 had an amazing week of reading last week as I managed to finish up three books!  Maybe it was all of the rain or I don't know what but I hardly ever read that many books in a week.  It really helped out with my Goodreads' challenge because I had fallen behind.  I'm still behind by one book but I'm not too worried about it.  It's just fun to see where I am at in terms of reading goals and numbers.  This week promises to be as busy as ever with work, baseball (practices/games), and everything else that goes along with life.  We are currently remodeling the boys' room which is almost finished but still requires a lot of work.  Hopefully the bed will come in by next week and we can finish up!  In the midst of all this I definitely will be reading so let's catch up with what I plan on reading this week.  Last week I finished the following books:

The Magic Circle by Jenny Davidson was for a TLC book tour.  I liked but definitely didn't love this one as there were both good and not so good parts to it.  It was interesting though and the reviews I have been reading for it have definitely been mixed.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl was a whopper of a book that it felt like it took forever for me to read.  In all actuality, it only took a bit longer because I read it mainly at work on my breaks.  Until the end when I had to bring it home with me to see how it would all play out.  I liked this book but definitely wasn't wow-ed by it.  I'm looking forward to seeing the movie to see how it compares.  More on my thoughts hopefully soon (if I ever catch up on review writing that is)! 

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie was the clear winner of the week as best read.  I'm a HUGE fan of this author and the second Miss Marple book was much better in my opinion than the first.  I didn't figure the whodunnit out until the very end and was pleasantly surprised at how much more I enjoyed this book in comparison to the first.  I will definitely be sharing my thoughts on this one soon!

This week finds me with big plans for my reading as I seem to be reading ALL of the books at once.  I'm not even sure how I have so many books on the go other than I've gone back to a few books that I set aside previously.  I'm currently reading the following books:

See what I mean???  It is almost a bit ridiculous to find myself in the midst of all of these books but here I am.  Wicked As She Wants was just sent to me by the publisher and I couldn't resist starting it right away.  The other three are all books that I'm reading on my reader but I've been kind of varying which one I choose to read.  I am a moody reader so I guess whatever fits!

The weather is gorgeous outside so I'm off to get my day started.  I hope everyone has a good book (or four) that they are reading....Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Magic Circle by Jenny Davidson (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Three smart young women—the scholarly Ruth, her poet roommate Lucy, and their exotic, provocative neighbor Anna—are obsessed with games of all kinds. They’ve devoted themselves to both the academic study of play and the design of games based on the secret history of the neighborhood around Columbia University, from Grant’s Tomb to the former insane asylum that once stood where the campus is now. When Anna’s mysterious brother Anders gets involved and introduces live-action role-playing based on classic Greek tragedy, theory goes into practice and the stakes are raised. Told in a variety of formats—including Gchat and blog posts—that bring the fraught drama of Euripides screaming into the 21st century, The Magic Circle is an intellectual thriller like no other."

My Thoughts:

The Magic Circle was one of those books that is hard to define for me.  It started off slowly for me in the beginning because I didn't really connect with any of the characters.  But by the second part of the book I was truly hooked and had to see how everything was going to end.  The author focused much of this book around gaming and all different kinds of aspects related to gaming.  Seeing as I have a ten year old that LOVES to play games of all kinds, I definitely could relate to that aspect.  I just had a really hard time connecting to the characters.  I liked Lucy the most and I thought that the author did a really good job of making her come across realistically.  But I didn't care for Ruth at all for various different reasons and I especially didn't care for her after reading the portion that was narrated by her.  She just seemed to rub me the wrong way.  Anna on the other hand was a constant mystery to me which was intriguing....I never ever knew what to expect from her.  I liked that and I wanted to learn more about her.  I also liked the fact that we never quite knew if we could trust Anna and her motivations.  Was she telling the truth?  Or was she the person that her brother painted her out to be?  The book does start off slowly but it picks up steam after Anna's brother Anders comes into the picture.  I could just tell that there wasn't going to be a happy ending by then, but even I was surprised at the end.  The author left a lot to question and think about when the book was finished but she did it in a way that I was actually okay with.  I wanted more but I wasn't disappointed that it wasn't there.  This was a haunting read that left me thinking about it long after I finished.

Overall, it was an okay read for me bordering on good.  There were things I enjoyed and there were things I didn't like.  I'm a HUGE character person so my biggest issue was that I couldn't connect with the characters.  But sometimes you are going to have that and I don't know that the author meant for us to really connect with any of them.  I liked the mysterious ending that gave closure without tying everything up.  It left me wondering and wanting more.  I think that I would read more books by this author in the future based purely on the second half of the book which was quite gripping.  Recommended but with a few hesitations.

Bottom Line:  A good read but one that never fully captured me.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.  The thoughts are my own.