Thursday, February 27, 2014

Disenchanted & Co: Her Ladyship's Curse and His Lordship Possessed by Lynn Viehl (thoughts)

Disenchanted & Co. managed to remind me of all of the reasons that I love books with steampunk settings!  This book was such a delight to read, and I truly cannot wait to continue on with this series!  I wanted to read this book based off of the gorgeous cover alone but then a blurb by Gail Carriger (one of my favorite steampunk authors)?  It instantly became a must read for me and it was well worth it!

In this book, Charmian aka Kit works as a magic debunker.  Basically, she helps people who believe that they are under magical influences or curses by finding the real root causes for their troubles.  Kit finds herself in over her head though when she takes up work for an important family that lives on the hill.  She finds herself in imminent danger while trying to adjust to the fact that magic just might be real.  But will she survive unscathed?

This book worked for me on so many levels.  I loved Kit's character.  She didn't let the fact that she is a woman and not of nobility by any means stop her from anything that she does.  Instead, she does the opposite and puts herself in jeopardy so that she can help others.  I like that she is just learning about her family and their history.  It makes everything about her a bit more mysterious, which means that I'm looking forward to learning more in future books.  I also really liked the role that magic played in the story.  Kit has spent her entire life debunking magic and doesn't believe in it whatsoever.  This fact plays an important role in the majority of the storyline.  Because she isn't like others and the reader seems to realize that from the very beginning.  There is something special about her that makes her different but also that put her in danger.  The mystery in this book was top notch and really kept me intrigued.  It was definitely hard to figure out who was behind it all, and I had quite the time guessing.  The author did a great job of creating some twists and turns that kept me on my toes while reading.  I just never knew what was going to happen next.

My only complaint with this book is that it got a bit confusing towards the end.  I think that this is mainly my own fault as I was reading so fast since I wanted to see how it would all end.  I had to force myself to slow down and reread a bit.  And there is this huge twist where I just could not figure out how everything was going to work out.  But the author pulled it all off quite nicely and the ending left me more than satisfied.  In fact it left me wanting more, and I am more than ready to read the next book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am very eager to continue on with this series.  The author has created a very unique world that is unlike any other steampunk book out there.  I loved it!  Kit is a great main character, and I cannot wait to see what other kinds of trouble that she will get herself into.  Because she is bound to get herself in more trouble.  And I cannot wait to read about it!  I would definitely recommend this series to fans of steampunk and even urban fantasy! 

Bottom Line:  A stand out beginning to this series with a main character that I adored!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.  Thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon (thoughts)

I adored this book!  In fact, I found myself so completely enthralled in the pages of this novel that I couldn't get anything accomplished while reading it.  The author did such an amazing job with the atmosphere in this book!  It was super creepy and was perfect for a cold winter night.  This book literally gave me the chills at certain points!  I had this book on my most anticipated reads list for 2014 and it certainly didn't disappoint!

This book tells two stories in one:  the story of Sara Harrison Shea who died under mysterious circumstances in 1908 and the story of Ruthie and her family who now live in Sara's old farmhouse.  When Ruthie's mom goes missing it will be up to Ruthie to figure out both the mystery of her mother's disappearance and the mystery of what happened to Sara all those years ago. 

McMahon does a marvelous job of intertwining those two storylines in a way that makes the reader not want to stop reading.  I just had to keep reading because I needed to see what was going to happen next!  And the atmosphere!  This book had this dark creepy tension feel to it that just wouldn't let up.  But my favorite part of the book was the isolated feel that the author created.  She used the snowstorms, the farmhouse, and the two storylines to create this layer of isolation for the characters from the outside world.  It felt like a living, breathing part of the story itself.  I loved it!  When you have two different stories being told, chances are that the reader will prefer one over the other.  Myself, I preferred Ruthie's story as I wanted her to find her mother.  Sara's story was really interesting though because it had hints of the supernatural.  In fact, the author also did a really nice job of taking those hints and managing them in a way that made them almost believable.  Which was quite horrifying when you think about it!  (Those that have already read the book will understand what I mean).  The ending was done quite nicely and while I didn't get all of the resolution that I wanted, I was left feeling satisfied.  Because sometimes it is best to be left guessing, and there were some threads to this book that definitely left me in the dark. 

Books like this are why I adore reading so much.  I am hard pressed to come up with a single complaint for this book so I just won't.  Instead, I will continue to gush because it was that good and this author is fast becoming one of my favorites.  It is early in the year to say this but I'm guessing it will be one of my favorites for the year.  And considering that I'm still thinking about it after finishing it a few weeks ago tells you how good this book really is!  Highly, highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A book brimming over with atmosphere and creepy tension that kept me caught up within its' pages!

Disclosure:  I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book for review from the publisher courtesy of NetGalley.  Thoughts are my own!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Sunday Salon: Reading Hangover?

Friday night I finished S.J. Bolton's Blood Harvest which is easily going to make my top reads for 2014 list.  It may only be February but I can just about guarantee this one making the cut.  It was just so good!  Thanks to this book though I've been in a sort of bookish hangover since then.  Because what could I possibly read that will be as good as this one?  Won't any book that I read after this pale in comparison?  I felt like this might happen so yesterday I picked up the second volume of the graphic novel series The Walking Dead, Miles Behind Us.  This was perfect for the mood that I was in, and I flew through the pages entirely too fast.  Now I'm completely stuck on what I could possibly want to read next.  Hence, the title of this post: bookish hangover, anyone?

Since I'm completely struggling with book selection I thought that I would get some of your opinions on what I should read next.  Here are the books that are most calling to me:

Which one of these should I read next?  Help a girl out here....pretty please!  Which book would you read next if you were suffering from best book ever syndrome?  Or is there some other book that I should be searching out that you recently adored?  I just managed to put about eight books on hold yesterday at the library but what could a few more hurt? 

Other books besides Blood Harvest that I finished last week were:

Both were VERY good and both will hopefully have reviews up this week.  I'm telling you that I have had a really great reading month in February which is probably one of the reasons that I'm struggling now.  Decisions, decisions.

Plans for today include lots of review writing, laundry, and working out.  The usual!  New episode of The Walking Dead to look forward to which is always exciting.  And starting one of these books....after I hear your opinions that is!  What are your plans for this beautiful day?

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

At the River's Edge by Mariah Stewart (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"After taking stock of her life, Sophie Enright has decided it’s time for a break. Between a law career that’s become criminally dull and a two-timing boyfriend she’s done with once and for all, Sophie desperately needs some time to think and some space to breathe. The perfect place to do both is easygoing St. Dennis, Maryland, where Sophie can visit with her brother while she figures out her options. Once in St. Dennis, she discovers a shuttered restaurant and makes a bold move that is also a leap of faith. Sophie buys the fixer-upper in order to finally pursue her dream career."

My Thoughts:

This book was the perfect reminder of how much I enjoyed my reading experience last year with this series.  I've been meaning to go back to the beginning to see how it all started but I haven't taken the time.  Reading this book has me determined to do just that as soon as possible!  The thing about these books is that they are just so easy to immerse yourself in.  I found myself lost within the pages.  Thanks to all of the descriptions of the town, I am starting to feel like I know St. Dennis.  I can certainly picture this picturesque town in my mind!  Although this book is labeled as romance, I felt like it was definitely more focused on Sophie and her growth as an individual.  I found that really refreshing!  I loved seeing her take chances with her future and really go for her dreams.  It had me rooting for her!  The romance that developed between Sophie and Jason felt completely natural to me.  They didn't rush into anything but instead took the time to get to know each other slowly.  I really liked that.  I will admit that the romance between the two of them felt more like a second side story rather than the main storyline, but I was really okay with that.  In the end the best part of the book was watching Sophie grow and blossom.

All in all, I found this to be a quiet but comforting read.  I really, really am enjoying this series which makes me eager to get back to this series as soon as possible.  I love how character driven these books are and how the author has created such an amazing town that I would love to live in.  I can't wait to start back with the first book!  This series is becoming a must read when I need a change of pace from all of the thrillers and mysteries that I have been reading.  I would definitely recommend this series to both fans of women's fiction and fans of contemporary romance.  

Bottom Line:  An easy way to spend the evening lost in the pages.  

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

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Sunday Salon (Reading Binge)

Good morning everyone!  I'm going to try and keep this a bit shorter than usual since we are planning on taking the kiddos sledding later today (and I have lots to get done before then).  LOL!  But this was a really good week for me reading wise.  I managed to finish three books which usually never happens unless I'm participating in a read-a-thon.  I'm starting to fall behind in reviews though, so hopefully later today I will find the time to get a few of them written.  I feel like all I talk about anymore is the weather as of late but the snow.  Ugh...the snow!  We got even more yesterday and are supposed to get another storm tomorrow.  I love snow usually but I am SO READY to see the grass again.  C'mon spring!  Let's get back to the books though.  Here is what I finished this past week:

The Walking Dead: Volume 1, Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman- This was a fun way to spend my Sunday while watching the marathon of The Walking Dead that was on AMC.  Yes, I am currently that addicted to the show.  Ugh!  I love it though and now look forward to Sunday evenings.  The comic was different than the show in many different ways which I really liked.  I've already put the second one on hold, and I am impatiently waiting for it to come in.  Review to come.

Midnight by Ellen Connor- I LOVED Nightfall (the first book in this trilogy) and really, really enjoyed this book as well!  These authors have a knack for creating these suspense filled, action packed books with just the right amount of romance.  I love it!  I'm looking forward to seeing how the trilogy ends, BUT I am sad that I won't have any more books after that to read. Review to come.

Her Ladyship's Curse by Lynn Viehl- I just finished this one last night and I adored it!  You guys should know by now that I'm a sucker for a good steampunk novel, and this one had everything I look for!  I flew through the pages of this one, and I cannot wait to crack the second book open.  So good!  I will be writing up my thoughts for review hopefully this week. 

I'm currently reading the following books:

Blood Harvest got the most votes in my library loot post so I decided to read it next.  I just barely cracked this one open before I went to bed last night.  Dirty Magic is my current read on my ipad....or it will be when I actually start reading it.  Fail!  I haven't touched an ebook in over two weeks.  I've been just too absorbed in other things (like The Walking Dead).  I will start this one for sure this week!  Because I am really looking forward to it!

Plans for today include sledding, a ton of laundry (it is kind of embarrassing), my workout, and The Walking Dead of course!  You may be sick of this show after hearing me talk about it so much :)  But Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus...sigh!  I've discovered that I'm a sucker for beards and shaggy hair (I'm shaking my head even as I write that).  Oh yeah, I need to try to fit in some review writing in there so that my blog isn't silent for the week.  And I would like to read.  Maybe for a little bit?  I'm off to start getting stuff done.

What are your plans for this Sunday?  Are you currently obsessed with any television shows like me?  Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Library Loot (Thriller Edition)

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Seems like I'm in the mood for thrillers lately as that is the majority of my library books that I checked out this week.  I don't see this changing any time soon since the Edgar award nominees were recently announced so I will be putting some of those on hold.  Don't you just love book awards lists and finding new books to be interested in?  Such fun!  Anyways, I found some really good looking books at the library this week so I just had to share.  Here is what I brought home with me:

So many good looking reads here!  I grabbed Reconstructing Amelia thanks to Kailana's review of it.  Blood Harvest is because I am craving more S.J. Bolton and thought that this would help.  And Grey Mask is for my goal to read more vintage mysteries.  Considering I still have some library loot from my last post to work through, I've got my work cut out for me.  But that is a good thing in my book!

Now tell me, which of these books should I read first?  Last time I asked I was recommended a really great read so I've got to ask again :)  And what books have you grabbed from the library recently?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Stranger in the Room by Amanda Kyle Williams (thoughts)

After loving The Stranger You Seek, I went into this book with very high expectations only to seem them shattered in the best possible way.  Stranger in the Room was even better than the first book in my opinion which just goes to show you how much I loved this thriller!  I'm blown away by just how good this mystery series is....I need the next book as soon as possible!

In this book, Keye has two different ongoing cases that she is investigating.  One of them involves her cousin, Miki, who like herself battles her demons over alcohol and drugs.  Miki believes that she is being stalked, and it is up to Keye to figure out what is really going on.  Is it all in Miki's head thanks to the drugs that she won't stop taking or is there something more sinister going on?  Keye is also looking into a weird mystery involving a crematorium and chicken feed.  Between these two investigations, Keye finds herself not only struggling with her former addictions but also in some serious danger.  Can Keye find the answers without losing her self control?

This book was SO good!  Just writing about it gets me excited about this series all over again :)  I love it!  The author has managed to create such an honest, raw character in Keye whom I can't help but connect to.  She struggles with her past on a daily basis but keeps moving forward.  She isn't perfect and doesn't expect herself to be.  I am completely hooked on this series thanks to her character.  And the mysteries of course.  Because the mysteries are complete page turners!  I never know what to expect which keeps me on my toes. This one felt darker and more sinister to me which I really liked.  I don't know why but I really like thrillers that are dark and gritty.  And this series so far has fit into that category perfectly.  The author did a great job of taking two different storylines and tying them together in a way that really worked.  I was hooked from almost the very first page.  And the ending!  This author always manages to take me by surprise with the endings of her books.  I love it!

All in all, I am a HUGE fan of this series!  I'm really, really eager to get my hands on the third book to see what kind of trouble Keye finds herself in next.  This author is now on my favorites list, and I would rank my love of this series up there with S.J. Bolton's Lacy Kincaid series.  This book really has everything that I look for in a good mystery with a strong female lead, tons of suspense, and a riveting story arc.  I cannot wait to read more!  Highly recommended but especially for those fans of thrillers and suspense!

Bottom Line:  A must read series for me!  Start at the beginning with The Stranger You Seek!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.  Thoughts are my own!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Funday! (Or what I am doing today)

Today I will be doing the following:

 (Picture courtesy of AMC)

Waiting quite impatiently for the newest episode of The Walking Dead to come back on tonight! I love these two!!

Beginning this as part of Graphic Novels month and in preparation for tonight.  (See above)

And I will be reading more of this possibly if I can get over my Walking Dead obsession :)

The sun is shining, my house is kinda/sorta is a good day!  I just need to focus on laundry, get my workout in, and then wait for my show to return.  And watch the Olympics of course!  Happy Sunday to me!

Tell me, what are you spending the day doing?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman (thoughts)

The Waking Dark was one of the creepiest, darkest books that I have read in a long time!  Wasserman creates a thriller that not only gives the reader chills but also makes you think about the society that we live in.  This is one of those books that sticks with you, and I've been thinking about it every since I finished.  Wow!  This was a really good read but quite disturbing!

I don't want to give too much away so I'm going to use the Goodread's summary for this book:

"They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed—or whether she'll do it again."

How eerie and dark does that sound?  Oh my goodness, it was all of those things and so much more!  The tension and suspense begin from the very beginning in this novel and continue to build the further it goes on.  Before I knew it, I was so wrapped up in this book that I just couldn't put it down.  I had to see what was happening and even more importantly why it was happening.  The author creates this menacing atmosphere that just creeps up on you, and it doesn't let up until the last page.  I couldn't help but imagine if this could really possibly happen.  And scarily enough I suppose that it could.  I know that I'm not giving you a lot of details but I just don't want to spoil this book for anyone.  This is a book where it is best to be experienced without knowing much about it.  I think that it makes the reading experience that much more unnerving.  I really appreciated the ending of this book as well because it didn't just tie everything up in a bow.  I liked this book that much more because of it!

Overall, this book was spine-chilling and one of the best young adult books that I have read recently.  It is books like this that make me glad that I'm planning on reading more YA this year.  I will definitely be reading more by this author because wow!  Just wow!  She managed to really blow me away with this book so of course I want to read more.  And I will!  I'm just curious to see what she comes up with next and if it will be as scary as this book was!  I could see this one being made into a movie (which I would definitely want to see).  Highly recommended to fans of horror and dark thrillers!

Bottom Line:  A chilling read that is both dark and terrifying!  Read it!

Disclosure:  Checked out from my local library!  What a great choice!

P.S.- I saw that this author has been compared to Stephen King and what a compliment!  I have to agree on the fact that they both used horror in a way that makes you think about society as a whole.  Nicely done!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February Reading Plans

It's the beginning of the month, and I'm feeling quite ambitious with my reading.  This isn't unusual as I always start months off planning on reading ALL of the books.  What really happens is something quite different but I always find it fun to shoot high!  There are lots of fun events going on this month including that February is graphic novel month.  I've only got one pictured here but I am definitely hoping to read more!  I just need to get on my library's website first :)  Anyways, here are some of the books that I am hoping to read in the month of February:
  • Wicked After Midnight by Delilah S. Dawson - Review copy and a book that I have been anticipating since finishing the 2nd book last year.
  • Her Ladyship's Curse by Lynn Viehl- Review copy and yet another one that I cannot wait to read!
  • The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths- I actually already finished this one and it was SO GOOD! I would literally be reading the second book in this series right now if I had it.  Instead, I will be grabbing it from the library!
  • At the River's Edge by Mariah Stewart- My current read for a TLC book tour.
  • A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie- Off of my own shelves! And because I adored The Crossing Places so much that I want to start another mystery series!
  • Midnight by Ellen Conner- I adored Nightfall last year so I cannot wait any longer to read this one!
  • Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep- Another series that I have waited too long to continue on with.  That changes this month!
  • The Walking Dead, Volume 1, Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore- Because I ADORE The Walking Dead on AMC so reading these is a must!
  • Snowblind by Christopher Golden-  Stephen King recommends this one.  I simply must!
EEK!  I kind of want to read all of these RIGHT NOW!  And I forgot to mention that I'm also currently reading Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells on my ipad so that should be included in February's reading plans.  I tried to mix my list up again with review copies, library books, and two off of my own shelves.  Now I just need to actually read these two off of my shelves (since I failed at that in January).  Oh well, it is good to have goals, right?

What books are you hoping to read this month?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January Reading Wrap Up (2014)

(Taken this past summer)

January was a month filled with cold, cold, cold temps and lots of snow!  Perfect reading weather which help me to finish up eight books.  I'm pretty darn happy with that number, and it puts me ahead of my Goodread's reading goal of eighty books for the year.  Yay!  I also managed to stay on track for the most part with the books that I picked out for my January reading plans.  Who would of guessed?  Certainly not me since I can be such a moody reader.

Here is my list of January reads:

My favorite read of the month has to be The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon!  I just adore her books, and am looking forward to reading more by her soon.  If you are looking for a creepy thriller to read during these cold winter nights then you should definitely grab this one.  Although I don't think that it actually comes out until this month.  But still.   The Waking Dark and Magic Burns were also top reads this month! 

None of the books that I read this month were bad though so I am pretty darn happy with my reading.  In non bookish news, I continue to work out on a pretty consistent basis.  Woohoo!  It isn't always fun but I do feel better about myself.  This is going to continue to be a focus for me in February. I don't have many other plans for February other than maybe participating in the review copy clean up that is going on.  And of course hopefully a read-a-thon will be fit in somewhere. 

Enough rambling out of me.  Next up is writing up my reading plans for February.  Good stuff!  But tell me, how did your reading go in January?