Thursday, August 28, 2014

Reasons Why I Love My Library #3

Because what's not to love when you bring this many amazing sounding books home with you???? I think I just formed my September reading pile without even meaning to!

Tell me, what books have you brought home from the library recently?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance’s thrilling tale of suspense that brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty and mystery.

An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner.

Tracing the money’s origins will take Liza on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out" 

My Thoughts:

Remains of Innocence is one of those books that captured my interest based off of the synopsis alone.  The idea of finding hidden money had me instantly intrigued so that I just couldn't wait to figure out where it had all come from.  It was just that easy for me to fall into the pages of this book.  I feel like this has been the year of mystery reading for me, and books like this are what keep me coming back for more.  Although I haven't read the previous books in this series, I never felt like that detracted from my reading experience.  Instead, the author took the time to really allow for me to get to know these characters.  What made this book so great for me was the details.  The author used all of these different details to really build up two different storylines in a way that allowed for them to come together at the end perfectly.  Joanna has two separate investigations that she is focusing all of her efforts on, and the author does a great job of showing her struggle to balance them both equally.  Because we were able to see the investigation from the very beginning, it almost felt like I was a part of it.  The author did an amazing job of adding some unexpected twists and turns that kept me glued to the pages.  The ending itself was very well done as it managed to tie everything up but in a realistic manner (considering there was so much going on I was quite impressed).

This isn't a fast paced book per say but instead it is one of those books that slowly builds until you just can't put it down.  The intensity came from not only the twists and turns but also from the way that I was drawn into this book.  Partly this came from how easily I connected to the characters.  And partly it was the fact that I just felt immersed in the investigation thanks to the author's writing style.  It is what turned this book into a great read for me compared to just good or average.  I can't wait to read more from this author!

Overall, I am very excited to have found a new to me mystery author with so many books to look forward to.  I loved both the setting and the characters that are a part of this series so I know that I will be visiting them with again in future reads.  This books reminds me a bit of Still Life by Louise Penny as they both have such a strong focus on characters which I love.  This book is easily one that I would recommend but especially to other mystery fans!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A book that built up slowly to a page turning finish!  I couldn't get enough!

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



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Post #1 (A Reading Update)

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme"

This is my first time participating in this meme instead of my usual Sunday Salon post.  I like the idea of not only sharing a weekly reading update but also sharing about some of the books that find their way into my home.  This week was the Bout of Books read-a-thon and although I didn't meet my goal (finishing 3 books) I did manage to finish two great books!  I'm calling that a success as not only did my husband have shoulder surgery this week but football practices began for the oldest.  And school started!  It was a busy, busy week of running and tending to my family.  Now that I think about it, I'm not sure how I finished any books.  LOL!

Last Week on the Blog I:
  • Admitted that I am a book hoarder with my latest book acquisitions here
  • Shared summer fun photos with everything else that I have been doing besides reading here
This Week on the Blog (tentatively):
  • Review of Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance (blog tour)
  • Reasons Why I Love my Library #3 post
  • Not sure what else....I have something in mind but we will see
New Arrivals:

I have received these two books as a giveaway thanks to The Book Pushers.  I think they both sound fabulous.  I have been craving some historical romance so these will fit in perfectly with my reading mood.

Books Finished Last Week:

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher - (Reread) It was so great to get back to Harry Dresden's world even though it just keeps getting crazier!  This book was a roller coaster ride, whirlwind of a book.  I am eager to see what the next book brings. 

Loyalty in Death by J.D. Robb - (Reread)  I adore this series so much and it is because of books like this.  Peabody steals the show in this book and I couldn't get enough.  I flew through the pages even with all of the craziness that was this week.  I have nothing to say but good things about all of these books!

Currently Reading:

I am STILL reading way too many books at once.  I am going to attempt to buckle down this week and finish these three up.  That is my goal anyways!  It might be a bit difficult though as I grabbed a bunch of books from the library this weekend that I am super excited to read.  I will not start any new books...I will not start any new books...I'm just going to keep telling myself this.  

Now I'm off to go focus on my laundry pile for a little bit.  I'm super excited to visit some of your blogs and see what everyone else is reading on this gorgeous Sunday!  

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Fun (Or What Else I have Been Doing Besides Reading)

Spent lots of time at the river swimming and having fun.

Fishing....and more fishing!

Watching lots of ball games.

And finally fun at fairs or other various summer activities.

Tomorrow school starts and summer is officially over.  It feels like it went way too fast but there were lots of great memories made.  And when summer gives way it becomes my favorite time of the year!  Fall!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bookish Goodness (Or Where I Finally Admit that I am a Book Hoarder)

So let me explain the title of this post in a way that makes me sound slightly rational.  I hope.  Maybe.  The other day we were finishing up school supply shopping and afterwards I ran into my local Everything is a Dollar store.  While I browsing the aisles letting my daughter pick a new coloring book for school, I came across their book section.  Imagine my delight at finding Pastworld by Ian Beck just sitting there on the shelves.  But then (OH MY GOODNESS) I saw The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly sitting there and I literally gasped in happiness.  I have been wanting to read this book for so long (and hopefully the next R.I.P. challenge will be here soon) and this book would be just so perfect for it.  But here is where it gets a little hairy.  I (quite irrationally) wanted to buy all of the copies of The Poison Tree.  Because it makes me sad that it is being sold for just one dollar when I am absolutely certain that it is a good book.  Folks, this makes me a book hoarder extraordinaire!  Because I was sitting there trying to rationalize why I needed six copies of the same book.  I don't.  Although I really should have bought one extra so that I could at least host a giveaway (and I have been berating myself for not thinking about that every since).  Sigh.  I should lead a book hoarders support group.

In other bookish goodness, I received a copy of One of Us by Tawni O'Dell thanks to the publisher.  I have been wanting to read this one so I am super excited to add it to my shelves.  And as if these three books weren't enough I added two more books to my ipad thanks to NetGalley and the publishers. 

I couldn't resist these books based off of their titles alone!  Every time I see these books I get one of the songs stuck in my head.  I am looking forward to reading them and seeing if they are as fantastic as I hope that they will be.  Now, I should really step away from NetGalley (and away from any store that sells books) and focus on reading lots of books for the Bout of Books read-a-thon. 

Which of these books would you read first?  Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bout of Books Read-a-thon 11 (Signing Up and Goals Post)

The Bout of Books Read-a-thon is back and with perfect timing as I seem to be struggling through a small reading slump.  I'm hoping that a week focused purely on reading will help me through it.  Unfortunately I have a lot of other things going on this week, because not only does school start up but the fall sports season does as well.  Chaos, I tell you!  Ha.  Anyways, here is what the organizers of the read-a-thon have to say about it:

"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, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th 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 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team"

I have SO, SO many books that I currently would like to be reading....enough that it makes my head hurt just thinking about it.  So I won't.  Instead, for this read-a-thon I am going to focus on finishing some of the books that I am currently in the middle of.  Why I am in the middle of so many books is beyond me but there you go.  Here are the books that I am hoping to finish:

If I manage to finish the majority of these then I will be a very happy girl.  I think having so many books going at once is one of the reasons that I am not getting much reading done.  I also have other books on the go (mainly on my ipad) that I haven't finished yet so I just may read one of those too.  Other goals include participating in at least one Twitter chat and visiting lots of other read-a-thon participants.  Are you participating in this read-a-thon?  If you are, then share what you are hoping to read!  I will definitely stop by to cheer you on.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Sunday Salon: Rambly Reading

Good morning everyone!  I'm writing this post up early as I have family coming in town this weekend so we will be busy, busy.  I don't have a lot new going on otherwise.  The kids start school in less than two weeks which means we are shopping for school clothes, shoes, and school supplies.  Work has been busy.  The garden is doing well although I keep wondering if I could do it better.  Or bigger?  I'm seriously considering adding another box next year.  LOL!  Other than all that, really this past week was just quite ordinary which made it wonderful.

It has been awhile since my last reading update but I think that instead of sharing everything, I will just catch you up with what I have been reading in the past week or so.  I have big reading plans for the month of August and so far I'm managed to finish two books so that is a pretty good start.  Here is what I have recently finished reading:

Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance - I read this as part of a blog tour, and my review will be up later this month.  I will tell you that I liked it and am eager to read more books in this series.

 Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts - I just finished this one and I enjoyed it so much more than the first.  While it still doesn't compare to some of my favorites by Nora this was definitely an improvement over the first book in this trilogy.  I cannot wait for the final book to release!

I am currently reading the following two books:

The Butcher is my current print read and I don't really know what to think about it yet.  I have a bad feeling about what is going to happen (not that I think the book is bad) isn't going to be good I can tell you that. 

The Night Visitor is my current read on my ipad, and I literally just started it.  I am participating in a book tour next month for it so I thought I would go ahead and give it a try. 

I have also been lucky enough to receive a few good books for review:

Paranormal romance anyone?  I am super excited to read both of these books and start two new series (as I am a series addict).  Thanks to the publisher for sending these both my way!  I am also looking forward to sharing about my latest library books but I will save that for another post. 

Now I am off to spend some quality time with the family and hopefully fit in a little bit of reading here and there.  What books have you received recently that you are looking forward to reading?? 

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts (thoughts)

Iona Sheehan comes to Ireland looking for both family and something more.  She has lived her life up until now feeling vaguely dissatisfied as if she was missing out on something important.  It isn't until she meets her cousins Branna and Connor O' Dwyer that she realizes the missing piece might by her heritage and recently discovered powers.  It will be up to Iona though to really find herself and let her powers as a witch awaken before she comes to battle a centuries old evil named Cabhan.  Because if she isn't able to do this, it may destroy her new found love and family.

As soon as I heard that Nora Roberts was coming out with a new paranormal trilogy, I wanted to read it.  Simple as that to be honest.  I loved her Key trilogy and Three Sisters trilogy enough that I have read them multiple times each.  And although I hate to make comparisons, this first book was very reminiscent at times of some of those books.  For me, I went into this book expecting something similar because what she writes works.  I literally gobbled up all of those other books in a matter of days.  Couldn't get enough.  This one was good but not as good as those other two trilogies and I'm not honestly sure what the difference was.  I think for me it was a slight lack of connection to both of the characters.  I am huge on connecting with a book and for me this is why I liked but didn't love this one. 

Iona comes into the book looking for family as her own family never really cared for her the way that she needed them to.  She doesn't realize it but she is looking for love.  Enter Boyle, her new gruff boss that doesn't really share his feelings with anyone.  From those descriptions, you would think that their chemistry would really click but for me it just didn't quite do it.  I wanted to see them get over all of their emotional obstacles to find a happy ever after, but I wasn't connected enough to the story to really want it.  It is hard to explain other than that.  This book sets everything up perfectly for what is to come in the next two books but it didn't do it in a way that left me emotionally invested.  I just needed a little bit more to make this book a great read.  All of that being said, I did find this one to be a page turner.  The storyline may be a bit similar to others that she has written but it was different enough that I was intrigued.  I really liked both of her cousin's characters.  I'm eager to see if I click with their stories more than I did with this one.  And I have to reiterate that I liked this book.  I just feel like I expected a bit more and was  harder on it since I have loved some of her other books so much.

Overall, this was a good beginning to a new trilogy even if I had a few issues connecting to the characters.  I have high hopes that I will enjoy the next two books even more as they will be focusing on her cousins Branna and Connor.  It was an easy book to sink into and I found myself flying through the pages.  I just wanted a bit more so maybe I will get that with the next book.  Recommended but with a few hesitations as there are other of her books that are better and I enjoyed more (if interested definitely try the Three Sisters and Key trilogies). 

Bottom Line:  A good read but one that just left me on the edge of finding it to be a great read.

Disclosure:  I checked this one out from my local library.  Thoughts are my own.

Monday, August 4, 2014

August Reading Plans

I haven't made up a reading pile to choose from in a couple of months.  I always enjoy making up these posts and coming up with lists of books that I want to read.  I usually end up straying off track but that's okay.  Especially as pretty darn soon one of my very favorite reading challenges will be beginning and then all bets are off.  The majority of these books will fit in with this challenge too which just goes to show you how ready I am for some scary reading :)  Here are the books that I am hoping to read in August:
  • Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels - 1st in a paranormal cozy mystery series and off of my own shelves.  I've been wanting to begin this series for some time, and I am in the mood for a good mystery.  I am looking forward to giving it a try!
  • Grave Peril by Jim Butcher -  Reread and library copy.  I have been trying (with trying being the key word) to reread these earlier books before continuing on with this series.  Instead I have been distracted with other books, but now I am really craving some Harry Dresden so I am guessing I will read this one sooner rather than later.
  • Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts - This is my current read and a library copy.  I had this one on hold since it released and because it finally came in for me I couldn't resist beginning it.  I'm enjoying this one even more than the first in this trilogy and should be finishing it up in the next day or two.  
  • H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton - Off on my own shelves and part of one of my favorite mystery series.  It has been far too long since I last read G is for Gumshoe so it is time to get back to this series that I love. 
  • Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran - Library copy and a book that is just pulling at me to read.  It has been entirely too long since I last read a historical romance.....and I am just in the mood to read this one!  I have only read one other book by this author but I really enjoyed it so I have high hopes for this one as well!
  • Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey - Review copy and a book that I have been seeing some really good reviews for!  I completely skipped reading review copies in July so it is time to play catch up in August.  I am looking forward to seeing what the buzz is all about with this one!
  • Bound by Night by Larissa Ione - Beginning of a new paranormal romance series and also review copy.  I have yet to try anything by this author but I have heard lots of great things.  Looking forward to giving her a try!
  • The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier - Another review copy and book that I am eager to read thanks to all of the great reviews I have seen.  Are you guys seeing a trend here?  LOL!  This book sounds like it will be creepy so it is perfect for my current reading mood.
  • Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace by Michael Morton - I am currently reading this book as well and it is a review copy.  When I was pitched this one I couldn't help being intrigued by it so I had to say yes.  Plus, I have been in the mood for some nonfiction lately.  I've just barely begun it but I will be sharing my thoughts in a review when I finish.
Lots of great reading ahead of me if I stick to this pile.  And I am sure that I will still have some great reading ahead of me if I end up going completely off pile.  I've already finished one book this month (Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance) so I am off to a pretty great start to my reading month.  Let's hope that I am able to to keep it up amid the craziness that August is sure to be. 

What books are you hoping to read in August??  Feel free to share!  Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

July Reading Wrap-Up (2014)

(Yet another Disney picture since I can't seem to take time to share an entire post.)

July....yet another one of those months that was jam packed which meant that for me the month flew by.  I ended up taking a step back from blogging as we just had SO MUCH going on every weekend that I couldn't keep up.  Combine that with a desire to lose myself in some good books and you had a very absent blogger.  It was much needed though as I needed the break to prepare myself for the going back to school craziness that begins in August.  This I am not ready for and neither are the kiddos :)  Actually that isn't quite true.  They are ready but to varying degrees when it comes to going back to school. The oldest is ready for football to start but not ready to go back to early mornings (I swear he thinks he is a teenager already the way he sleeps) and my daughter is super excited to go back but also nervous (apparently first grade is tough...LOL!).  Before all the chaos begins though, let me tell you about my reading month in July.

July was apparently meant to be the month of comfort reads and rereading.  I only read books from series that I love and I didn't crack open a single review copy.  o.O (I can't remember the last time that happened!)  It was an amazingly satisfying month of reading.  I felt like I read more when I looked at the numbers but really each book in the Grant trilogy is 500+ pages so I really did read a ton this month.  Here are the books that I managed to finish:

  • Conspiracy in Death by J.D. Robb (reread)
  • Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
  • Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
  • Feed by Mira Grant (reread)
  • Deadline by Mira Grant (reread)
  • Blackout by Mira Grant (reread)

Favorite read of the month??  I am honestly not even sure how to answer this as I LOVED each book that I read this month.   Every book in the Newsflesh trilogy is excellent/fantastic for their own reasons.  The Kate Daniel's series has become one of my very favorite urban fantasy series.  And you all know how much I love me some J.D. Robb.  These earlier books in the Robb series are just such great reads!  When it comes down to it though, Blackout ends my very favorite zombie trilogy leaving me satisfied but sad as I don't want it all to end so it gets top honors for the month.  Best zombie books ever!!!  And definitely worth an epic reread!

August reading plans are forthcoming.  I'm starting to get excited for fall and the upcoming R.I.P. challenge so my reading pile will probably reflect that.  As I have all three of my children participating in sports (football for the oldest and soccer for the younger two), I am just going to work on finding lots of time to read hopefully.  I am tired just thinking about it.  Ha!

What books are you hoping to read in August?  What was your favorite read in the month of July?  Please share as I am a nosy reader and love to hear about books that you loved :)