Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett (thoughts)

Give a brief summary of the book (minor spoilers from book one):

In this book Arcadia Bell is just starting to settle down after all of the craziness that happened in Kindling the Moon.  She is spending lots of time with her boyfriend Lon and his son Jude.  And she is learning to start to deal with her new "moon child" powers that she has just recently discovered.  Unfortunately, Cady finds herself caught in the search for a mysterious kidnapper who is kidnapping children.  The missing kids are all children of member's of the Hellfire Club.  The kidnappings are reminiscent of a past set of kidnappings that happened more than thirty years ago.  It will be up to Lon and Cady to figure out what is going on before the next child disappears forever.


Summoning the Night was a really solid follow up to Kindling the Moon, and I have to say that I adored it even more than the first book.  There is just something about this series that I can't get enough of.  I find myself instantly drawn into the books and that is exactly what happened as I read this one.  One of the reasons that I like this series so much is that I really enjoy all of the characters.  Arcadia isn't your typical heroine as she just seems so down to earth.  I love the growing relationship that she is developing with Lon and his son Jude.  It all just seems so normal and not exactly what I've come to expect with urban fantasy series.  I mean a series where one of the main characters has a kid?  And the kid actually plays a pretty important role?  I love it!  This book continued to show more of Cady's powers as they begin to grow and she learns a bit more about them.  I like that she really doesn't know anything about what it means for her to be the "moon child", and  I think that we will learn more in future books.  It gives me a sense of anticipation, and I will admit that I am anxious to read the next book!  This book was just as action packed as the first one.  I had a really hard time setting it down, and flew thru the pages.  Overall this book was just really, really good! 


There is only one complaint I have and that is there was one small storyline that was left unfinished.  I would have liked to see it resolved but maybe it will be in future books.  I won't say more because I don't want to spoil it for anyone.  Honestly, there really isn't anything negative to say about this book.  This is such a great series!

Additional Thoughts?

This is a must read series for fans of urban fantasy in my opinion!  This book had everything I look for including great characters, lots of twists and turns, and a mystery that kept me guessing until the last page.  I'm eager to see what this author comes up with next!  And what kind of trouble Arcadia finds herself in next of course!  This series has really kick-started my current urban fantasy addiction once again.  There needs to be more characters like Cady out there in the book world.  I would definitely recommend this one but start with the first book Kindling the Moon.

Bottom Line: A series that isn't to be missed!

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

Here are my thoughts on Kindling the Moon if you are interested.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Gardening 101: A Beginner (me) and My Garden

I've been saying for years that I wanted to plant a garden.  Years!  I've grown tomatoes for the past two years.  The first year I planted three plants myself and they did way better than I expected.  Last year, they decided to come up all on their own and became their own little tomato jungle.  Oops!  Both years I had way more tomatoes than I could keep up with but it was so nice having fresh tomatoes whenever I wanted.  And I finally felt like I was starting to get the hang of this keeping plants alive thing :)  This year I said I was going to plant a garden no matter what because I love the idea of having all those fresh veggies just waiting for my family to eat!  Unfortunately, I am also what you would call a clueless gardener.  I've never done it before (besides tomatoes), and I admit that I haven't the slightest idea on what works best or anything else that goes into gardening.  This will be the year that I learn.  I'm not sure how it will go, if I will be able to keep everything alive, or even if I will be able to grow vegetables.  But I plan on trying my hardest and sharing the experience with all of you!

Last Saturday was the beginning of planning and planting my first garden.  My husband and Dad had worked together to build two boxes for me to use (see below picture).  It felt like the possibilities to what I could grow were endless.

The next step was going to the store and buying plants.  I knew that I wanted to try seeds with some of my vegetables, but I also wanted some starter plants that had already begun to grow.  I had a list planned out in my head of all the different vegetables I wanted to plant as well.  That list went out the window as soon as I found the gardening section at the store :)  This is what I ended up bringing home with me:

I came home with entirely too much but I was so excited.  Saturday we decided to dig in and get everything planted.

This is box number one and has all kinds of different veggies.  I planted green bell peppers, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, banana peppers, cucumbers, and four tomato plants.  Four!  Two are cherry tomato plants and two are regular tomato plants.

In box two I have broccoli and romaine lettuce plants.  For seeds I planted peas, radishes, green onion, beans, carrots, and sugar snap peas.  This is what you call insanity :) But in a good way of course!

I'm a newbie so I'm planning on going to the library to pick up some gardening books.  If you have any particular recommendations on this subject (or just with gardening in general) feel free to share!  I'm going to need all of the help that I can get!  Hopefully, by the end of the summer I will be sharing all of the rewards of having a vegetable garden in pictures.  Now, it is time to go water those plants!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Sunday Salon: Back to Normal?

A week back from Disney and I'm just now starting to feel like we are getting back to normal.  Or our version of it, anyways :)  There is nothing like coming back from vacation and then jumping in both feet first with all of the craziness.  We had baseball games, soccer games, practices, and all sorts of other of fun stuff to keep up with.  My suitcases are unpacked though and my house is clean.  I just need to really dig into my laundry piles.  Happily enough, we also spent yesterday planning and planting my very first garden.  I went completely overboard (when do I not do this?) and bought too many vegetables to plant.  I'm planning a post to share with you all hopefully for later this week.  It is going to be a lot of work but I'm sure that it will be completely worth it (the garden not the post..haha!)

It has been a few weeks though since I have updated you on the books I've been reading.  And even though I haven't been reading as  much as usual, I do have books to share with you.  I've actually been in the blogging mood lately so hopefully I can get some posts written up.  I have TONS of reviews that I need to write. Now I just need to find some quiet time to actually write them.  Since I last shared I have finished the following books:

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire- I loved this one!  I had it languishing on my book shelves for way too long but thank goodness that I finally changed that.  This is one of my favorite authors (as Mira Grant) for many reasons but the main one is she isn't afraid to put her characters thru the ringer.  She always does the unexpected and this book reflected that.  I had a hard time putting it down and cannot wait to pick up book two.

Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes- I read this one as part of a TLC book tour and have already shared my thoughts here.  It was a great beginning to this new series, and it cemented my love for this author's writing.  She seems to have a dark side to her books but always in a way that really makes them suspenseful.  I cannot wait for the second book to come out!

Something About You by Julie James- Another book that I really enjoyed.  I'm always on the lookout for good romantic suspense reads and this one fit that mold perfectly.  I loved the tension between the two main characters, but I especially loved the heat that they created.  I should have given this author a try way before now because this one didn't disappoint.  This is yet another author that I plan to read more of!

All Day and a Night by Alafair Burke- I just finished this one on Friday, and it was a great way to end the week.  I've read two books by this author previously but never any from this series.  I will be rectifying that now because this was one of those mysteries that you just don't want to put down.  There is something about this author's writing that really sucks me in as the reader.  I enjoy being immersed in her stories!  I read this book out of order (it's the 6th one I believe) but it didn't detract from my reading enjoyment at all.  I will be writing up my thoughts on this one hopefully this week.

I'm currently reading the following book:

I've been wanting to read this one since it was released but I am just now getting to it.  As I checked it out from the library (and it is due back soon) I decided to pick it up yesterday.  Especially since I was completely waffling on what book I wanted to read after finishing All Day and a Night.  But that is a post in itself, I'm thinking :)

Today's plans include laundry, watering my garden, and taking my daughter to t-ball pictures.  I need to get organized for the week as well considering we have a lot going on before the upcoming long weekend.  I'm hoping to write up a few reviews and maybe upload my pictures from Disney.  Do you think that I can get all of that done on my one lazy day of the week?  I sure hope so!

So tell me, what are you doing on this beautiful Sunday? 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Two women share one fate.

A suspected murder at an English Farm. A reported suicide at a local quarry.

Can DCI Louisa Smith and her team gather the evidence and discover a link between them, a link which sealed their fate one cold night, Under a Silent Moon?"

My Thoughts:

Under a Silent Moon starts a new mystery series that didn't disappoint.  Filled with extras or "source material" the book is one of those crime puzzlers that just won't let you go.  I guessed parts of the mystery early on but it was more the how of it that really kept me guessing.  I wanted to know how it was all going to come together.  And I should admit that I wanted to know that I was right.  The book follows DCI Louisa Smith as she leads a homicide murder investigation.  We get the chance to see the evidence as the police come across it.  We also are given the chance to see the inner workings of the investigation which was really fun for me to read about.  I really enjoyed all of this.  It almost makes you feel as you are part of the investigation.  

This book is also told from multiple viewpoints which worked surprisingly well.  I don't always care for when books switch back and forth but the author did a nice job of making it feel almost necessary.  This way we were able to see different character's motivations and thoughts that helped to contribute to pieces of the mystery.  I just really liked the multiple ways that this author pulled me in as a reader so that I didn't want to set the book down.  I flew through the pages of this one and it definitely kept my interest throughout.  I'm eager to see Louisa in action again as hopefully this is just the beginning of her murder investigations.  The tone of this book was darker than I expected it to be but I liked that.  The author isn't afraid to take chances with her storylines and I really appreciate that.  This was just a really solid start to this new mystery series.

Overall, I really ended up enjoying this one, and am looking forward to more by this author!   I am especially looking forward to reading more in this series.  I'm just going to hate the wait till the next one is released.  I feel like the author was able to convey her knowledge of police investigations into this book in a way that really enhanced the story.  I hope that the author continues to let the reader feel like that they are part of the investigation because that was my favorite part of the book.  Highly recommended but especially to fans of mystery and police procedurals.

Bottom Line:  A great beginning to this thrilling mystery series!

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


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Books! Books! Books!

Because Mother's Day fell on the day after we got back from vacation, I had no plans whatsoever and no expectations for it.  Much to my surprise (and delight) the family took me to the used bookstore and Starbucks for a coffee.  What a perfect way for me to spend Mother's day!  I overindulged and bought WAY too many books but I just couldn't seem to help myself.  There were just so many that I wanted, and I couldn't resist bringing them all home with me.  Now no more bookstore trips for me until I actually read some of these :)  Here are the books that I decided to bring home:

  • Touch the Dark by Karen Chance- 1st in this urban fantasy series.  I found a ton of great sounding urban fantasy series that I haven't started yet.  It was hard for me to figure out which ones that I absolutely NEEDED for my shelves but this was one of them.
  • The Walker in Shadows by Barbara Michaels- Ummm..because this is by Barbara Michaels.  So of course I had to have it! 
  • Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur- I actually have already read this one but somehow I fell out of reading this series.  I want to get back to it since I really enjoyed it so I decided to grab book one and start again.  I'm so excited to get back to this series!
  • Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland- Another first in a series that I'm looking forward to reading.  This is an author that I've been meaning to try and now I am actually going to do it! 
  • Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean- I've read and loved a different book by this author so I'm super excited to start this trilogy.  Plus, I need some historical romance in my life!
  • The Lost Night by Jayne Castle- 1st in a paranormal romance series that I've also been wanting to try.  I was on a paranormal kick today! 
  • Deception Cove by Jayne Castle- 2nd in this paranormal romance series.  These both sound really great!
  • Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder- Another 1st in an urban fantasy series.  Sensing a trend here?  I've been craving good urban fantasy and I think my book selections reflect that.  I love the cover for this one as well!
  • The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters-  Yay!  I have the third book in my hands now.  You guys don't know how hard it is for me to keep from starting this one RIGHT NOW!  I'm going to try to finish my current read first.
  • Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon- Because I have LOVED every book that I have read by this author.  This is her debut novel, and I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to reading it.
I'm overwhelmed just writing this post up!  I cannot wait to read all of these and I'm hoping that the Bout of Books read-a-thon will help me with that.  I'm starting to think that I need to take a month to just read books off of my own shelves.  It is sounding really good especially looking at all of these!  Have you read any of these?  Which ones should I read first?

Or better yet tell me about your latest book acquisitions so I won't feel like such a book hoarder!  It would be nice to know that I'm in good company :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bout of Books Read-a-thon

I'm back!  It is going to take me a bit before everything gets back to normal but it is SO good to be home!  Vacation was wonderful (of course) and I will share more about it later.  But it was so busy that I honestly didn't read more then a couple of pages here and there.  I'm not worried about that as I got in plenty of quality time with my family.  This week though as things get back to normal I would like to dive back into my books a bit.  What better way then participate in a week long read-a-thon???  The Bout of Books read-a-thon is a week long affair that challenges participants to just read more.  I can definitely do that!  Here is the official blurb 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 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th 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 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team"

My goals for the week are to finish both books that I'm currently reading which are

All Day and a Night is my current print read and I've barely dug into it yet.  I've enjoyed both of the other books by this author that I have read so I'm looking forward to it.  Dirty Magic is getting good but I just keep shoving it aside to read other books since I'm reading it on my ipad. (Such a bad habit of mine) I WILL finish this one this week!

Other goals for the week are to write up two of my outstanding book reviews since I'm falling behind at a rapid rate.  And I would like to visit at least two other participants each day of the read-a-thon.  Any additional books or reviews that I complete will be a bonus and help me catch up when it comes to staying ahead of my Goodreads goal.

Here is to hoping that I get lots of reading accomplished this week!  Are you participating in the Bout of Books read-a-thon?  And if you are, what are you planning on reading?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

April Reading Wrap-up 2014 (and Unplugging)

This was taken last summer at the beach.  I am SO ready for days just like this coming up....this year is going by so fast already!  Somehow April is already over and May has begun.  April was a solid month of reading but it wasn't amazing.  I wanted to finish a few more books but just ran out of time.  I also wanted to post a few more reviews but just lacked the motivation.  Ehhh...what can you do?  May shall be better, maybe.  We leave for vacation this weekend though which means I am unplugging for the next week or so.  I will be taking tons of pictures and spending lots of quality time with the family.  I can't wait!  Before I leave though I wanted to share what I managed to finish in April.  In April I read the following books:
  • Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
  • Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett
  • Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams
  • The Walking Dead: Volume 3, Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman
  • Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
  • Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes
  • Something About You by Julie James
Seven books isn't so bad!  But I just realized that I haven't written reviews for any of them.  Oh dear!  I really will need to get my butt in gear for May when it comes to review writing.  I enjoyed all of the books that I read this month but my favorite would have to be

Rosemary and Rue was such an amazing start to this urban fantasy series and I cannot wait to continue on with it!  I should have never waited so long to read it (I do that too often).  But at least now I know how good it is and book two is already on my shelves!

When I return from vacation I am planning on doing the 30 day shred for 30 days straight.  It is going to take a lot of discipline on my part not to skip a day but I REALLY want to do it.  Other than that, I don't have any major goals for May.  Just read, read, read!

I'm off to finish up my packing.  I'm looking forward to some sunny weather and lots of fun times ahead.  I will be back in a week or so but until then, tell me what you read in April that was just amazing.  I would love to know!