Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Crocodile on the Sandbank and The Curse of the Pharoahs by Elizabeth Peters (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Amelia Peabody, indomitable Victorian, embarks for Egypt armed with confidence, journal, and umbrella. Enroute to Cairo, she rescues dainty Evelyn, abandoned by her lover. They sail up the Nile to the archeological dig of the Emerson brothers - irascible but dashing Radcliffe and amiable Walter. A lively mummy, visitations, accidents, kidnap attempt - evil is afoot."

My Thoughts:

This is one of the best mystery series that I have started in a really long time!  I actually read this book about 4 or 5 years ago and then never continued on with the series.  Reading it a second time was like reading it for the first since I basically didn't remember much about it.  When I finished I was left wondering why I had never continued on with this series!  This book is just so good!

I adored this book for so many reasons but the main one was Amelia Peabody!  Amelia is one of those characters that you instantly like and laugh at in equal measure.  She has this dry sense of humor that had me cracking up.  And the situations that she gets herself into.  Priceless!  One of the best parts of this book were the interactions between Amelia and Radcliffe.  I instantly adored them both, and I loved how they annoyed each other.  This book was just a pleasure to read!  The mystery was fun, the pages flew by, and I found myself not ready to leave Egypt by the time this book ended.  

Books like this are why I read!  It is as simple as that.  This book had some suspense and tense moments but it really was just a fun read.  I cannot tell you how many times I found myself laughing out loud.  It was like an adventure/mystery/romance all rolled into one!  I loved it!  I found myself enchanted by the main characters and eager to continue on with the series.  This mystery series has skyrocketed as one of my favorites just from this reread.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A must read for mystery fans!

Summary from Goodreads:

"Victorian Amelia Peabody continues to journal her Egypt adventures, toddler Ramses left in England. Husband Radcliffe Emerson's old friend Lady Baskerville fears a curse killed her husband Sir Henry, and soon engages the attentions of American Cyrus. The will funds continued excavation. But a lady dressed in white floats, flutters, spreads fear, and more death."

My Thoughts:

My love for this series has been cemented with this second book.  Was it as good as the first book?  Honestly, I don't think that it was but I still enjoyed it so much!  I still found myself grinning at Amelia's antics.  I especially love how she always manages to get herself caught up in these crazy situations that make me laugh out loud.  It makes these books so much fun to read!

I guessed the identity of the killer in this book early on but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book.  Instead, I just found myself curious to see how it would all play out.  And I will admit that there were parts of the ending that still managed to catch me by surprise.  I can already tell that this is a series that I will read for the characters over the mysteries....just because I love the characters so much!  I love the relationship that has developed between Amelia and Radcliffe.  I pretty much just loved it all.  Oh yes, but how could I forget to talk about the setting of the book??  Having this series basically set in Egypt is also so interesting and fun because it makes me want to study Egyptian history.  I remember some of it from my history classes in school but reading these books make me want to go back and learn more.  It is obvious that the author has a deep love for Egypt, and its' history and that just makes these books that much better in my opinion!  I'm hooked!

Overall, this was a great follow-up to the first book in this series.  I've become a huge fan thanks to these two books and plan to read book three soon!  This is honestly one of the best mystery series that I have started in a long time.  It's kind of exciting!  Books like these make you want to read more...make me want to read the series back to back which is something I never do anymore.  I should though!  Highly, highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  Just as fun as the first book!  And a new favorite series of mine!

Disclosure-  I purchased both of these books from my local used bookstore.  They were well worth it!  And happily I have passed both of them on to my Mom (she loved them too) and now they will go on to my sister.  How fun is that?!?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Library Loot - April Edition

As if I didn't have enough books that I wanted to read this month, I went holds crazy at the library about a week ago.  Of course they all came in at once as holds usually tend to do.  These are all going to be unofficially added to my April reading plans because why not?  I'm super excited about all of these for various reasons.  Here is what I picked up:
  • Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne - I'm in the mood for some paranormal romance and this has been on my TBR list since it first came out.  I am more than ready to finally give it a try!
  • Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn - I picked this one up thanks to another blogger who had this great post about if you like this type of book, try this with recommendations.  This was one of her recommendations for unreliable narrators and I couldn't resist.  Sadly, I have no clue whose blog this post was on or I would share with you.
  • The Walking Dead, Volume 4: The Heart's Desire by Robert Kirkman - The last volume left off on a bit of a cliff hanger so I instantly requested this one from the library!
  • The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood - Oh my goodness, I added this one to my TBR list when I saw Stephen King tweet about it.  Then I read the premise and it became a must read!  I cannot wait to read this one as it sounds super creepy!
  • Omens by Kelley Armstrong-  Remember when I said I want to read some chunkier books soon.  Well, this will definitely fit and I have also had this one on my TBR list since before it came out. 
 Don't these all look great?  Which one would you read first if you had to choose?  This weekend I'm currently reading Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes.  Good so far but I've just begun.  I'm also really starting to get into Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells.  Finally!  Sometimes my reading suffers a bit when I read on my ipad.  Just too many other distractions :)  I'm off to get my house clean and laundry started.

I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Sunday Salon: Reading Randomness

Happy Sunday!  Whew, I feel like these last two weeks flew by in a blur.  It was a lot of go, go, go and not a lot of down time.  That's okay because today is going to be one of those rare quiet days where we have absolutely nothing going on.  Priceless!  Although the last two weeks were super busy, I managed to fit in a fair amount of reading in there.  That's a positive!  The flu ran through our house though which was definitely not fun.  My youngest had it the worst, and he is just now starting to act like himself again.  What else?  Oh yes, my oldest son was outside practicing baseball and managed to get a black eye after missing a pop fly.  Just in time for school pictures.  LOL!  I just may have to buy one to keep.  Other than that it was a just a normal albeit busy two weeks.

In 2014, I have already managed to read 28 books including graphic novels and audios.  That is fantastic for me and means that I'm six books ahead of my goal to read eighty books (according to Goodreads).  I was pretty happy with that number until I realized that I really haven't settled down with a good chunky read yet.  This is going to have to change!  I have a bunch of longer books that I want to read but never actually take the time to read.  I've already made my reading plans for this month but in May I shall be picking one large book that I want to focus on.  Because I know that I constantly say that I want to read ALL of the books, but really my focus is quality over quantity.  I could be missing out by not reading some of those longer books off of my TBR list.  I haven't decided yet which book that I want to read but possibles include It by Stephen King, Parasite by Mira Grant, and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.   I'm open to suggestions if you have any other big books that you've loved recently.

On to the books I finished in the last two weeks which were:

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts- This was a good read for me but it didn't suck me in like other trilogies of hers have.  It was good enough that I definitely want to read the next book, but I was glad that I waited for my library to get a copy.  I feel like I liked it better then some other reviews I've seen, but it wasn't as great as I hoped.  Review to come.

Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett-  This is good urban fantasy and was a great read!  I love the characters, love the unique storylines, and always find myself eager to grab the next book.  In fact, I'm already putting the third book on hold at the library because I want to read it NOW.  I will be reviewing this one very soon!

Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams- This was a cute beginning to a cozy mystery series with some paranormal aspects.  I almost instantly found myself caught between the pages but the ending of the book was a bit of a let down.  I'm hoping that the next book in the series will give us more of the answers that I didn't find from this book.  I'll be writing up my thoughts on this one as well.

The Walking Dead: Volume 3, Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman- I'm so loving reading these comics.  I never know what to expect, and they are getting darker and more intense as I go on.  This one left off with a cliffhanger so I'm putting the next one on hold asap!  I just hope that it comes in fast at the library.  I probably will wait to share my thoughts on this one until I have at least read one more volume.  So review to come.

I'm currently reading the following:

I haven't even had the chance to crack this one open yet but it will be my next read.  I've been meaning to start this one for ages (in fact according to Goodreads I added it to my TBR list back in 2011).  I'm finally pulling it off of my shelves, and am ready to see what the buzz about this series is all about.  Up next will possibly be this one:

Squee!!  I saw this on NetGalley and instantly requested it.  I just loaded it onto my ipad so I'm ready to go.  This may be my MOST anticipated read for 2014 so I will not be waiting long to read it.  Yay, yay, yay!  Happy days!

Plans for today include laundry and reading.  That's it!  It's raining outside, my house is clean (mostly), and I have nothing else planned.  I shall blog, read, and then maybe blog so more!  It sounds perfect!  What are you doing on this rainy Sunday?

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"On a snowy Christmas morning, Holly Judge awakens, the fragments of a nightmare-something she must write down-floating on the edge of her consciousness.

Something followed them from Russia."

My Thoughts:

Wow!  This book is one that sure took me by surprise!  The book started off slowly for me but turned into quite the page turner by the end.  The book had a sinister feel to it where you knew from the very beginning that something wasn't right but you weren't sure what was off.  And that bad feeling continued to grow as the book moved on which caused more suspense than if something would have jumped out at me.  I found myself trying to read faster but this book isn't meant to be read fast.  It is meant to slowly build up to a thrilling ending and that is exactly what it did.  I knew that something was wrong but I still found myself completely blown away by the ending.  What a great ending!

 I went into this book not really knowing anything about it.  That really worked for me as I had no expectations other than thinking that it would be a creepy read.  It was exactly that but it was also more.  It was a book filled with secrets, with sadness, and I think regrets.  The author took the snow storm and built the book around it in such a way that there was an isolated feel to it.  It was almost as if there was a layer of unreality where everything was happening but then it wasn't.  Does that make sense?  Probably not but I think that you will understand if you read the book.  That questioning feel really made the book more tense and suspenseful then it would have been otherwise.  I couldn't trust everything that was going on and I didn't know why.  Just thinking about it makes me excited to hear what other readers think about this book!

Although I really enjoyed this book it wasn't perfect.  It started slowly and took a bit of time for me to sink my teeth into it.  It was definitely worth the wait though!  I also found Holly a bit off putting at times.  It took me awhile to connect to her character and I never fully understood her actions.  It helped add to the mystery of the book because once again I could never completely trust what was going on.  This book would be one to reread just to see all of the clues and hints that the author probably gave us and I missed.

Overall, I ended up finding myself quite impressed with this book.  It wasn't your typical thriller but instead slowly built up to a stunning climax.  I'm really eager to read more of this author's books after finishing this one.  If they are half as good as this one turned out to be then I shall be in for a real treat!  My reading recommendations for this one are take your time with it.  Let the spooky atmosphere and suspense slowly pull you in...and trust that it will all be worth it in the end.  Recommended to readers of suspense, thrillers, or just fiction lovers in general!

Bottom Line:  A book filled with questions and suspense...what a ride!

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

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett (thoughts)

In Kindling the Moon we meet Arcadia Bell, a bartender in hiding, thanks to her famous parents who are on the run for murder.  Because her parents are wanted by the occult community, Arcadia has to keep her identity secret from everyone around her.  Everything changes though when her parents are spotted for the first time in years.  Now the occult community is demanding justice: either her parents or Arcadia herself are what they want and they want retribution.  It is up to Arcadia to figure out what really happened all those years ago and to find the demon that was present during the murders.  Can she find the truth before time runs out?

This was one of the best beginnings to an urban fantasy series that I have read in a long time!  Arcadia's one of those characters that you just can't help but like.  I found myself instantly drawn into the story.  In fact, one of the best things about this book in my opinion is that I was never overwhelmed by the world building even though this is the first in a series.  Very often an author can give almost too many details as they set up a new series, but Bennett managed to set up this new world without overdoing it.  I also appreciated the fact that she managed to leave questions unanswered especially in regards to Cady (as Arcadia is known) and her abilities.  In fact, I feel like we just skimmed the surface a bit when it comes to all of the characters and what we know about them.  But in the best possible way!  We were given a taste and I'm thinking that future books will really allow for us to learn more about all of the main characters.  I'm hoping that means we continue to see lots more of Len as I loved the relationship that was beginning to develop between him and Cady.  He isn't your typical hero as he is part demon, older, and has a child of his own that he raises.  I thought he was great!  And I really want to see more of him!

This book was very fast paced and hard to put down.  I found myself eager to keep reading even when I should have been doing other things.  Like laundry.  I was very, very close to instantly picking up the second book as soon as I finished this one.  As it is, I'm more than ready to pick up Summoning the Night right now!  The ending of this book didn't take me by surprise as halfway through I kind of guessed the direction that this book was going.  It didn't matter though as I still found myself reading with breathless anticipation.  Very satisfying conclusion but bring on book two!

All in all, this was a great beginning to this series, and I'm kicking myself for not starting it sooner.  I am super excited to have found such a great series though so that is a positive!  I finished this one in a matter of days and was left feeling completely satisfied.  Such a great read!  This book is one that I would easily recommend to fans of both urban fantasy and paranormal romance.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A fresh and original beginning to this urban fantasy series!  Oh so good!

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

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April Reading Plans (2014)

I have such fun creating a pile of books that I want to read each month.  Even though I didn't follow my pile as closely in March, I couldn't resist picking out books that I wanted to read in April.  This month is going to be busy, busy as soccer, t-ball, and baseball are all beginning but I still want to read all of the books.  I'm just going to have to work a bit harder to fit them all in.  I think that it is completely doable if I just skip the whole sleeping thing.  Kidding!  I need my sleep or else :)  Here are the books that I'm hoping to read in April:
  • Crooked House by Agatha Christie - Off of my shelves and because I have a goal to read all of her books.  It might help if I actually read one of her books to meet this goal!
  •  Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire - I seem to hoard her books without reading them.  I adored her zombie series (Mira Grant) but have yet to begin this urban fantasy series by her.  That shall all change this month when I finally read this one.  Also off of my own shelves.
  • The Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart -  I've been meaning to read more by Stewart every since I finished (and loved) This Rough Magic by her. Considering that was two years ago it is beyond time that I took this one off of my bookshelves.
  • Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams - First in a cozy mystery series that I've been wanting to try.  I'm on a mystery kick this year so I can't wait to read this one.  This is a library pick.
  • Something About You by Julie James - I've been in the mood for a good romance and I believe that this one is romantic suspense.  Yes!  I cannot wait to finally give this author a try.  This one is also from my local library.
  • Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men by Molly Harper - I found the first book in this series to be a fun read but then I never continued on with it.  It is WAY beyond time for me to finally read this second book.  Plus, it is a review copy that has been languishing on my shelves.  Time to change that!
  • Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett - Review copy and second book in this urban fantasy series.  I loved the first book so I'm not waiting to pick this one up.  I cannot wait!
  • Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes - This is for a TLC book tour and one that I'm been anticipating for awhile now.  The author's first book Into the Darkest Corner was such an intense thriller...I have high expectations for this one!  
  • The Walking Dead, Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman - I'm going to need something to fill in the gaps after the season finale of the show so I'm planning to continue on with the comics while I wait.  This one just came in for me at the library.
  • The Book of You by Claire Kendal - This is a review copy and sounds like a disturbing thriller.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what it is all about!
Not pictured here are two books that will also be added to the stack as soon as I pick them up from the library.  I'm writing all of my posts early this week (trying to get ahead) so I won't actually be able to pick these books up until Monday after work.  But they are definitely going on my reading plans for April list!  They are:

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts - Instantly went on my TBR list as soon as I heard about it.  I've read mixed reviews but I still want to give this one a try.  It is finally in for me at the library after waiting for about a month on the holds list.

The Girl Who Disappeared Twice by Andrea Kane - Thanks to a TLC book tour I read the 3rd book in this series first.  I'm ready to go back to the first one and start at the beginning.  This book is also waiting for me at the library.

Okay, that is WAY more books than I can possibly read in one month.  Oh well, it is fun trying!  I have so many books on this list that I cannot wait to read.  I don't know how I will choose what to read first.  Any suggestions?  I think that April may turn out to be my best month of reading yet!

What books are you hoping to read in April?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Reading Wrap-Up (2014)

March was another month of cold temps with just a hint of spring here and there.  These hints of spring have been treasured though as finally winter may be giving up its' hold on us.  Yay!  We have been trying to spend as much time outside as possible when the weather permits, and my kids have been loving it!  Jaxon's birthday was this month which means my oldest turned eleven.  Yikes!  It seems like it was just yesterday when he was toddling around, and now he is just a couple of years from being a teenager.  People always say that times goes fast but it doesn't click how fast until you watch your kids grow.  If it could just slow down a little bit I would appreciate that! 

March was also a successful reading month for me as I finished eight books.  Audiobooks helped give my numbers a little boost this month which was nice.  And again, I really didn't read a bad book at all so 2014 is turning into a really solid year of reading for me.  The books I finished in March are:
  • Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett
  • Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
  • Deceiving Lies by Molly McAdams
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
  • The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters
  • Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
  • Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke

My favorite book of the month was really hard to choose but it came down to Crocodile on the Sandbank. This book made me laugh and was such a delight to read.  This is a series that I should have been reading a long time ago but I'm so glad that I found it now.  Magic Strikes and Kindling the Moon both came in as close seconds, but in the end Peabody and Radcliffe won out.  My unexpected blog break this month didn't help me catch up on reviews so I really, really need to focus on this in April.  I'm also hoping to continue listening to more audiobooks in April. 

I don't have many other plans for April other than lots of reading!  I need to focus on making exercising more of a priority since I started to slack off on this a bit in March.  I think I need a change of pace with that though.  Hopefully running outside will help to jump start my motivation.

What are your plans for April?  And tell me, what was your favorite read for March?