Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sweatshirts in July?? and other Rambles

(My family and I this past weekend up at the boat cookout with my parents.)

  • We spent this past weekend up on my parent's houseboat for their annual marina cookout.  It is always lots of fun and this year was no exception.  Good food, music, activities for the kids, and a few adult beverages were the way I spent my weekend so I have absolutely no complaints.  
  • Except for the fact that I wore a sweatshirt almost all weekend long!  In July???  This is unheard of.  I'm 98% sure that this was the coldest weekend that we've ever spent up on the boat in what is supposed to be the dog days of summer.  Since we are going up again this weekend I have hopes that it gets a bit warmer before Friday.
  • It's official: I have both a fifth grader and a kindergartener this year :/  Where did the time go?  No seriously, where did it go?  I'm not ready for my baby girl to be in kindergarten but boy is she ready.  She is super excited although her focus is on making friends and not all of the fun stuff that she will be learning.  This doesn't really surprise me so we will see what I'm in for :)
  • Not only have I registered the older two for school but I've also signed them up for football/soccer.  Soccer will be the first sport that my daughter has ever participated in so she is super excited.  And this is the first year when my oldest plays with the "big boys" in tackle.  He played tackle last year but it was a different age group (and probably not quite as serious).  This year should be lots of fun to watch!
  • In bookish news my reading slowed down to a dribble last week.  Obviously I've got a lot going on but really.....no books finished??  Luckily I finished up Crimson Wind yesterday which was a super good follow up to Bitter Night.  But the ending was a cliff hanger and now I need to get to book three as soon as possible!!
  • I'm undecided still on whether or not to finish reading The Last Victim by Karen Robards.  For now I think that I'm going to let it go back to the library unfinished.  I'm just not sure if I will ever go back to it or not but if I'm being honest then probably not.  Since it is rare for me to not finish a book I've even been considering writing up a DNF post.  We will see...
That's enough rambles out of me for one evening.  I'm probably going to be kind of quiet this week due to lots of overtime AND my stepdaughter will be in town.  Yay!  We get her for two weeks so we will be on the go for most of it.  I will try to keep in touch as I can but I probably won't be posting regularly for a bit.  I hope you all have a great rest of your week!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

No Second Chance by Harlan Coben (thoughts)

No Second Chance was everything that I expected it to be.  It was fast paced, page turning action that constantly left me wondering what could possibly happen next.  This is my third book by Coben and although it wasn't my favorite (that still remains as my first read Tell No One by Coben) it was a solid second. 

In this book Dr. Marc Seidman wakes up from a coma to realize that he has lost everything.  His infant daughter has disappeared and his wife is dead.  The worst part of all is that all of Marc's memories from that awful day seem to be unclear and slightly unreliable thanks in large part to the gunshot wounds that he sustained.  But who would want Marc dead and his family destroyed?  And the real question is what happened to his daughter?  Things go from bad to worse as Marc finally hears from his daughter's kidnappers...can he get her back without getting himself killed in the process???

This book had me almost on edge from the very beginning.  A missing child??  That's a sensitive subject for me as a parent so I was unsure if I would enjoy the book or not if I'm being honest.  But even though I was uneasy about the subject matter I soon found myself caught in the author's tangled web.  I COULD NOT put this book down!  The thing about Coben's books is that they are so easy to say one more chapter to.  And that one chapter leads to another and then another....before you know it is 1:00 AM and you need to be up in less than five hours for work.  Yep, I was that girl thanks to this book.  My only slight complaint with this book was that I managed to guess the bad guy halfway through.  It didn't matter because I wasn't for sure and this is an author that constantly keeps you guessing.  But the ending was a slight let down because I realized that I had figured it out.  Even though I really hadn't.  If that makes any kind of sense to you :)  What the author did do well with the ending was come up with a realistic solution for the way things were resolved.  I'm always careful about spoilers but I will say that I was wondering how in the world he was going to be able to tie everything up.  And he took something that would have been a horrific experience for any parent and ended it in a satisfying way.  I'm not going to say any more than that so don't ask!  (Unless you've read this book that is and then we can discuss!)

Tense?  Thrilling?  Unputdownable?  Yes, yes, and a resounding yes!  This book practically had me biting my fingernails at times because of the suspense.  I'm a huge fan of this author and I've only read three of his books.  If you are a fan of thrillers and haven't read Coben before now then why not???  He is quite a talented author with a knack for keeping you guessing until the very end.  I would definitely recommend this book to those readers who are fans of suspense.  And don't let the touchy subject matter keep you from trying this one because it is definitely worth the read!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A breathtaking read that caused me to lose sleep!

Disclosure:  This book was loaned to me from a kind coworker.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

High Summer Read-a-thon and other Reading Ramblings

Yay for week long read-a-thons!!!  They are the only ones that I have a real chance of succeeding at.  LOL!  I was just thinking the other day that I hadn't participated in a read-a-thon lately and then I came across a post for this one.  Serendipity! 

I don't have any set goals for this read-a-thon but I'm hoping to finish the three books that I'm currently reading.  Yep, somehow I find myself in the midst of three books.  I hate when I do that because then I end up reading less than usual somehow (don't ask me why but it is true).  Since my reader died I picked up The Last Victim from the library to finish.  Unfortunately it is just not the book for me.  If I wasn't 3/4th's of the way through it I would probably already have set it aside.  (And if you are wondering it didn't get really weird/uncomfortable until this point)  I was going to just call it quits but I can't help but wondering if the end will make up for everything.  I highly doubt it but I have to find out.  I'm also hoping to finish Vanish With the Rose by Barbara Michaels and Crimson Wind by Diana Pharaoh Francis.

 So these are my goals/reading plans for the High Summer Read-a-thon.  I'm also looking forward to participating in a Twitter chat or two and hopefully meeting some new bloggy friends :)  In other reading news last week was a bit more quiet for me reading wise.  I only finished one book (in large part to the reading blahs I got from Robard's book).  I finished reading:

 Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery was a fun contemporary romance that was cute.  It wasn't an outstanding read but I did like it enough to gobble it down in a couple of days.  I'm eager to see how the other books in this series compare because sometimes the first book can be one of the weaker ones.  I'll definitely be reading more about Fool's Gold!

I stood strong on my book buying ban this week which is a good thing for my shelves.  I did bring home a few from the library but I'll share about those in a library loot post.  I'm hoping to start back on a running/walking schedule again this week.  I've let myself get a bit lazy but it is beyond time to get my butt back in gear!  And I've also got the urge to pop out some book reviews.  Considering how behind I am I'm going to go with it.  I might end up posting a bunch this week so be warned :)  That's definitely enough rambling out of me for one Sunday. 

Happy Reading and Happy Sunday!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Hunter by Monica McCarty (thoughts)

Scottish highlander romance?  Yes, please and yum!  I'm a sucker for a good historical romance lately so I couldn't resist joining in on the blog tour for this book (even though there are like six books before this one).  And since I have never read a highlander romance before I wasn't exactly sure if I was going to like it or not.  That being said I had my expectations set low/medium but they were shattered as I tore thru this book in less than three days.  I can't wait to go back to the first book in this series to see how it all began!

In The Hunter, Ewen Lamont is part of the notorious highland guard that is fighting to get King Robert the Bruce crowned as king.  He is known for his attention to detail and ability to find/track anything.  When he meets a nun named Sister Genna his entire world is turned on its' axis.  How can he possibly be attracted to a nun?  And what kind of nun acts like she acts?  What he doesn't know is that Genna has secrets of her own that will make their paths cross in dangerous ways.  But it is the chemistry between them that causes them both to start reevaluating their lives and plans for the future.

Yowsers!  This book instantly captured my attention from the very beginning!  I couldn't put it down and flew through the pages which left me wanting more.  Luckily I have the first six books in this series to look forward to because I NEED more!  I'll admit that the first few chapters had me on edge.  I don't want to go into spoilers but there was an event that had me uncomfortable and left me wondering if I was going to be able to get past it.  But before I knew it I found myself immersed in the book wanting to know what was going to happen next.  I loved the fact that Genna stood up for herself and was so independent.  I also liked that she didn't want to change just for marriage.  I really respected that about her.  But I also LOVED the chemistry between her and Ewen.  Whew!  There were a few very HOT pages in this book if I do say so myself.  I wasn't completely thrilled with the ending but it wasn't bad.  Just not what I was expecting I guess.  Don't let that stop you from reading this book though because it is definitely worth the read!

Overall, this was a book that kept me engrossed and left me wanting more.  I have no complaints other than why did I never try a highlander romance before now???  I've definitely been missing out if they are all like this!  If you are a fan of historical romances with LOTS of chemistry then definitely give this one a try.  As for me, I have to go back to the beginning now.  Even though I didn't miss out (at all based on my reading experience) starting this series so far into it, I really want to see how it all began.  I want to get to know the other members of the highland guard so I plan on doing just that.  Definitely a book that I would recommend especially for your summer reading pleasures :)

Bottom Line:  A book that had me captivated from beginning to end! 

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

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 15th)

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!"

Good morning my lovely readers!  I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend!  I definitely did even though as always it went by way too fast.  I've said this a couple of times recently but I have been a bit absent around the blog as of late especially when it comes to visiting/commenting on other blogs.  It sucks but it is probably going to stay this way for a bit longer as my Kindle died last week.  Ugh!  I was so bummed but what can you do??  The damn thing tries to turn on but won't get past the starting point.  Makes me a bit crazy so I've put it up for awhile.  Seeing as that was the main way I read most of your blogs (yes, I know it was meant for books but...) I may seem more quiet than usual.  My birthday is coming up in a few months so I'm going to wait patiently until then before I get a new reader.  The only positive is that with less distractions I've been a reading machine!  Seriously, since I last shared with all of you I have finished four books.  FOUR BOOKS!  I'm so impressed with myself :)  Here is what I've been reading:

Blackout by Mira Grant was just as AMAZING as I hoped.  I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to write up a coherent review of this book but be warned that gushing will ensue!

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis was cute and a fun read.  It didn't knock my socks off (but I blame Blackout for that) but I'm so glad that I finally read it.  I'm looking forward to reading the 2nd book soon.   

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz was a crazy but delightful read.  This book had me cracking up at times and I'm eager to see what future hijinks Isabel can get herself into.  I pulled this one off of my own shelves (I'm so proud), and I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner!

Finally, The Hunter by Monica McCarty was a historical romance that read just the way I like.  Hot chemistry between the two main characters kept me turning the pages way too fast and I was sad to see it end.  Thank goodness that I have the first 5 or 6 books of this series to enjoy next.

I'm currently reading the following book:

I love me some Barbara Michaels and I was delighted to find this one at our local Goodwill.  Since my shelves are currently overflowing I decided to start with this one.  And speaking of my shelves....look what else I picked up at the buy one book, get one free sale while I was at Goodwill:

How could I resist all of this wonderfulness???  I couldn't I tell you!  It makes me feel better to tell you that at least half of these will be going to my sister for her to read first the next time she is in town.  But considering that my shelves are now seriously sagging I'm going to have to put myself on a book buying ban.  For real!  (This does not count my library books...just saying)  Enough out of me though!

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Reading and All that Jazzy Stuff

Let's all disregard the fact that we are knee deep into summer already and I'm just now posting this.  What can I say?  I'm constantly behind but at least I have good intentions.  I just haven't been sitting down in front of the computer as much lately.  I could give you a million excuses but it really comes down to the fact that I haven't taken the time.  I have been reading though which means that I could maybe...possibly...try my hardest to read all some of these.  And if you are wondering, I don't read any differently during the summer compared to other seasons.  I'm still a moody reader that needs a lot of variety.  I like to just kind of flow with whatever book sounds good at the time.  And I constantly want to read EVERY book that sounds slightly interesting.  Let's look at some of the books that I would love to read this summer.

Beneath the Shadows and Swimming At Night are both thrillers that sound deliciously dark and suspenseful.

Grave Peril and Heat Stroke are both the next books to read in the two series that I am currently rereading.  I'm itching to get to both soon!

Starlight and The Temptation of Your Touch are both historical romances by authors that I've read before and enjoyed.  They are actually both the second books in a series that I've been meaning to read for awhile now.

The Surrogate and The Burning are both the beginning books to two mystery series that I've been meaning to start. 

After Hours and The Darkest Hour are....heck, just look at those covers. Some romantic suspense, yes please!

Afterlight and Rosemary and Rue are both the beginning books to urban fantasy series that I want to try.  And both have been sitting on my shelves for far too long!

Chasing Perfect and Until There Was You just look like summer reads, don't they?  Must reads for sure!

Whew!  I'm worn out...it was hard deciding on which books to include.  It sure seems like I want to read all of the books especially when I starting browsing Goodreads.  There are so many more that I could have let this post could gone on and on.  But I'm going to sign off by asking you all just one question:

What's your MUST READ book of the summer?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Library Loot (Firework Fun)

Library Loot is hosted by Claire and Marg asking us to share out latest library finds.

I'm hoping to get a lot of reading done in July.  Okay, I'm always hoping to find the time to read lots of books but maybe this time I will actually do it.  The weather is usually at its hottest and this is my lull in between the kids' activities.  Before I know it there will be school to prepare for and football/soccer practices to go to.  I'm thinking I need to enjoy the peace and quiet while I get it :)

I slipped into the library the other day when I got off work because I was getting low on library books.  Ha!  You heard that correctly:  I was actually getting low on library books.  I only had like two unread which is unheard of for me since I'm kind of a library book hoarder.  But with their summer hours being shorter I haven't been able to visit as much as I would like.  It was a fast visit since I was tired from work but I managed to come home with some books that I'm super excited about.  My only complaint was the two books I really, really want to get my hands on were checked out already (of course).  I have a feeling it's going to take a bit before I can check out S.J. Bolton's Lost and Stephen King's Joyland.  I should probably just put myself on the holds list for both of them but I haven't yet.  Here is what I did find to take home with me instead:

Good stuff, huh?  I'm looking forward to reading all of these but I'm definitely starting with Simply Irresistible.  I've wanted to read this one every since Staci told me I should and I just keep putting it off.  No longer!  This seems like it will be the perfect summer read and I can't wait to begin.  What books are you waiting to get from the library???

Tomorrow is the 4th of July so I will be offline all day.  I'm looking forward to some fun in the sun, the parade, and a few fireworks.  I hope that you all have a wonderful day as well.  Happy 4th!

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 2nd)

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!"

Whew!  Last week was quite a crazy week that I will be happy to not repeat anytime in the near future.  It started off with a storm like I've never EVER seen before and then went from there.  Let's hit the highlights, shall we??  Basically we had one of the worst storms ever with winds that uprooted trees like I would have never thought possible.  I've got pictures to share but this storm deserves a post of its own.  Seriously, it was that bad.  We went without power for almost three days.  Finished off my oldest son's baseball season.  Tried to play catch up with getting house/yard back in order after said storm.  Worked.  Took the kids to see Monsters Inc. University.  Dealt with even more rain/thunderstorms.  And a bunch of other things that I'm sure I'm forgetting.  I was basically offline for most of the week due to the power outages and everything else that required my attention after we got power back.  Which means that I didn't really get a chance to visit any blogs or respond to any comments here.  Sorry about that guys!  It was just a crazy, crazy week and I'm glad that this weekend was basically all relaxation!  I needed it.  Last week was a good reading week for me though as I finished two more books.  I'm now only about 6 books behind with my Goodreads' reading goal.  LOL!  Here is what I finished:

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron was a solid thriller although I found myself slightly disappointed with the ending.  Since I read a review copy I'm not sure if it was changed before being published....I might have to seek out a copy just to see.  I'm eager to read more by this author though and I'm 99% sure I have another of her books on my shelves.

Deadline by Mira Grant was just as AMAZING as I expected but maybe even more so!!  I can't believe I'm saying this but I think I forgot parts of the book including the ending.  Aack!  It was mind blowing and left me NEEDING to read Blackout.  So that's exactly what I'm doing.  This week I'm currently reading:

Two new books for a new week.  Blackout is going to be heart wrenching (I just know it).  And I fully expect it to make me cry at some point.  I just can't possibly see how this author is going to end it all with the first two books being SO AMAZINGLY GOOD!  Ugh.  Please, please, please don't let me be disappointed with this book.  I can't even think about it.  The Last Victim is my new read on my e-reader and one that I'm hoping to enjoy.  I've read this author previously a few years back so I have high hopes.  Other than that I will have family in town so I might end up being quiet this week too on the blog.  I'm looking forward to lots of family time, fun with friends, and a fast work week!  What about all of you? 

Happy Monday!