Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Club!

 Hello friends!

It's a new year and I'm looking forward to getting back into posting more often. I'll do a post soon of all the books I'm most looking forward to reading in 2015 - because there are a lot of them! For now, though, I'm sharing my new book club's picks for 2015. So excited to finally be in a book club!!! What do you think of our choices? (Confession: I have read all but three of these books - but definitely looking forward to a reread on the rest; these are all great books!)

Read any of these? Any favorites? And who else is in a book club? I'd love to hear what you're reading this year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Comfort Reads

 Hello friends!

It's been a long absence! My life has been crazy busy (oh man, I told myself I wouldn't make excuses but here I go anyway) and I have missed blogging. Today my kids are all back in school (except the baby of course!) so I thought I'd take a minute to check in.

Unfortunately, it hasn't been the best reading year. As I was looking at my goodreads reading goal I realized I'd only given a five star rating to two new books: Cress (book three in the Lunar Chronicles and just as awesome as I wanted it to be) and Unbroken, which dragged a bit for me at first but turned out to be so amazing, so moving, I had to give it five stars in the end. If you haven't heard about Louis Zamperini yet, GO READ UNBROKEN. Sadly, he passed away a couple months ago. What a huge inspiration he's been to me this year. Plus! There's going to be a movie soon.

And I am waaayyyy behind on my goal. I've only read 35 books! Usually by this point in the year I'm well over fifty.  I've read a lot of good enough but not great books this year and I think it's safe to officially claim this as a big old reading slump.

It's been kind of a life slump to be honest. I have been sick for the last two months straight. Several reoccurring infections, plus the trump card which was a nasty month long battle with kidney stones which ended in surgery and the subsequent recovery. I have just not been well.

When I don't feel well I don't want to read anything new or unfamiliar. It's all about the comfort reads.

I read all seven Harry Potter books: 

I'm on my fourth Jane Austen novel:

And I'll probably head this direction next if I don't get feeling better soon:
I can see myself setting in on Shannon Hale or Edenbrooke too eventually. There's just something about sitting down with my best book friends, the people I've known and loved for years, and escaping into their familiar stories about magic and adventure and love... It's good for the heart and soul and takes me away from feeling blah. I really hope I can get my health back soon.

Not to be preachy, but if you're feeling healthy today, don't take it for granted. Drink some water. Exercise. Go play and be active! Drink some more water (seriously - you do NOT want to get kidney stones). Enjoy life. And if you're not feeling so great, go read a comfort book.

Also, be jealous because my baby is the most adorable thing on the planet and I'm her favorite person - I get to smooch those checks and neck folds and chubby arms and feet all I want. :D

What's your favorite comfort read? Do share.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Minute, Last Few Books of 2013!

Hey there!

Anyone still out there? So, silly optimistic me way underrated how much of my life would be sucked away by this adorable little sweetheart:

 (yes, she does have awesome hair - and it really does stick straight up like that; I don't style it that way! :D)

Blogging has stopped being a priority and while I don't feel guilty (I'm loving every second with my beautiful girl) I do miss it and want to keep touching bases occasionally because I'm sure someday I'll want to come back full-time.

Anyway, give or take a couple books (I lose count, especially when I just grab a book to reread off my shelves) I've read 31 books since I last blogged. There's NO WAY I'm going to be able to catch up! So, instead I'll give you a few favorites:

(Clicking on the image will take you to its goodreads page) 

I read Speaking From Among the Bones (the fifth book in the Flavia de Luce series) and thought no mystery could ever be better. I LOVED it! Then I heard The Dead in their Vaulted Arches (not released until January 14th) was on Netgalley. I requested it and checked my email constantly until I was approved! Hooray! And it was the best Flavia de Luce mystery yet. Harriet! Buckshaw! Dogger! Oh my goodness the mystery, the hilarity, the sibling rivalry!

If you haven't met Flavia de Luce yet, you really need to. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is first! Go check it out.

Did it occasionally sound like a commercial for Mattel's line of Ever After High dolls? Yeah. I've never known Shannon Hale to describe hair/clothes/accessories like that. But somehow she pulls the whole thing off with aplomb. I was sucked right into what turned out to be a very interesting story, and so beautifully set in typical Shannon Hale fashion. I loved the characters! Raven Queen turns out to have surprising depth and even Apple White is not the airheaded, spoiled little princess I first thought she might be. In general, actually, it's not the "popular" kids at Ever After High who succeed or accomplish anything interesting. It's the misfits, the not perfectly beautiful ones, the ones hiding secrets of their own. I'd call this a really great book for tween-aged girls (my own nine year-old ate it up). Plus, it's hilarious! Maddie Hatter has the uncanny ability to hear the narrator and they have several conversations which had me in stitches! Highly recommended.

Percy and Annabeth make their way across Tartarus and it couldn't be more fascinating/dangerous/terrifying. And hilarious (thanks to titan-turned-janitor Bob). The rest of the crew enjoy their share of adventures and all my favorites have fantastic moments (Leo. Oh how I love Leo.). Can't wait for number 5! Last book in the series!
 While it didn't have the amazing twist that Code Name Verity had, Rose Under Fire was incredibly moving. I liked that Rose was a poet, and I loved the way she sang through her journey (especially because so many of the songs she sang were ones I learned at Girl's Camp). Absolutely worth the read, but be prepared to be put through the wringer - this is a concentration camp book.
 I had never read The Scarlet Pimpernel before. What was I thinking waiting this long??? The intrigue! The disguises! The feeling that there was no way he was going to get out of that last situation! I loved it. It's really not that long either. If you need a good classic to read next year, I highly recommend it. Then when you're done, pair it up with.....

Oh did I love this book! Diana Peterfreund has done it again after last year's near-perfect For Darkness Shows the Stars. She nails the retelling thing and I loved watching for all my favorite scenes from The Scarlet Pimpernel. She reinterpreted it so well and I loved Lady Persis. And I must say, Justen Helo was much more interesting than Marguerite in the original story. The futuristic setting is excellently done - nicely scientific, providing some really great ethical dilemmas for the characters. It just rounded out the story and made it that much better. And BONUS! Characters from For Darkness Shows the Stars make an appearance! Anyway, I'm sold and I can't wait to see what Diana Peterfreund does next. I hope, hope, hope she does another book in this series!!!

That's all for now! I'm trying not to make empty promises here, but I'll try to get my book year-in-review up soon and hopefully another post after that with what books I'm most looking forward to reading in 2014.

Happy New Year everyone!!!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Since I've Been Gone

 Hello everyone! Yes, my baby girl finally arrived and I am loving the newborn cuddle stage, despite being completely, overwhelmingly exhausted. And she's so beautiful (and perfectly healthy!).

I have been reading up a storm! Spending 10 hours a day sitting and feeding a baby is a very convenient excuse to ignore everything else and read, read, read. I've reread some favorites and knocked quite a few titles off my to-read list. Here's a quick recap of my recent new reads:

 My rating: 4/5 stars. INTENSE. Alien invasion fiction at its very best. Lots of awesome surprise twists and turns and I will be picking up the sequel. A little disturbing and violent at times.

My rating: 5/5 stars. The conclusion to this trilogy was everything, absolutely everything I wanted it to be. So satisfying, so magical, so perfectly crafted. After an ending like that all three books have moved to the top of my Christmas wish-list.

My rating: 5/5 stars. Julianne Donaldson, you have a fan for life. I was worried that Blackmoore wouldn't live up to my love for Edenbrooke, but it was so lovely. I've already read it twice. :D I loved the slightly gothic feel too - perfect for October reading. Hurry up and publish something else Julianne!

  My rating: 4/5 stars. I loved Crown of Midnight! Celaena is a fabulous heroine and I loved the way the mystery, the courtly intrigue, the romance, and the action were all kicked up a notch (or two) in this sequel. A little violent at times for my tastes, but totally addicting and I can't wait for the next book.

  My rating: 4/5 stars. I read this one based on my love for Kasie's Pivot Point, and I did like it, but it didn't blow me away like I was hoping. It's a sweet, cute contemporary, however, and I'd say worth the read.

  My rating: 3/5 stars. Got this one from Netgalley and it was good for passing the time during one of my many sleepless nights, but I'm relieved the series is over. The romance was blah, the time travel mythology weak, the danger not impressive, and the characters predictable. The overall effect is entertaining, but not a read again or own kind of book for sure.

 My rating: 4/5 stars. I had a hard time slogging through this one. I really didn't love the characters (and Ed is annoyingly preoccupied with sex). I also had a hard time getting the whole point of the plot. BUT, there is such a clever surprise at the end! I loved it and was left thinking, "Well played, Mr. Zusack. Well played." This book tackles some tough subjects, but has a great message.

  My rating: 4.5/5 stars. I LOVE Flavia de Luce! She is such a joy to read. These books are funny, clever, creative and chock full of entertaining and lovable characters. Highly recommended if you need a good murder mystery this fall!

  My rating: 3/5 stars. Yikes! Content-wise this book (and its predecessor Monument 14) are a little edgier than I like to read (ok, much edgier in the violence department!), but the concept is so compelling, so I-have-to-know-what-happens-to-these-kids, that I've read them anyway. Sky on Fire surprised me by ending in a very calm and happy place (for almost everyone). It was such a nice ending that even though it set up another book at the end I don't feel compelled to read it. Hooray! I'm free! :D

  My rating: 2/5 stars. Another Netgalley read. This is my second Mette Ivie Harrison and I liked this as much as I liked The Princess and the Hound. In other words, bleh. I'm sorry, I tried to like it, but I just really, really didn't. I disliked almost all the characters and the writing felt choppy and tell-y to me. I wanted sweeping and adventurous and romantic and I don't feel like this book is any of those things. It bugged me a lot, and if I weren't writing just teeny blips today I feel like I could write a whole essay about what (I thought) was wrong with this book. Anyway, I'll just leave it at that.

 My rating: 3/5 stars. Transparent was very creative. I loved the invisible girl concept and this whole book is a fun X-Men vs. the mafia mash-up. I did feel like a lot of the relationships were confusing and not very well-developed. There were a lot of plot points that I felt had big logical issues and overall I was underwhelmed by the whole story. But like I said, still fun.

That's it for now! I'll be back sooner next time. Life's starting to feel more normal (ish) and I have too many books I want to read and blog about to take any more big breaks. :D

I'll leave you with one more baby pic. Yes, I'm already indoctrinating her to love all things Austen!

I'm too tired to read over this post to see if there are any grammar or spelling errors. :D If you find any, can we just agree to attribute them to major sleep deprivation? Thanks!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fall Reading List

Here are some books I'm hoping to get read this fall! Click on the picture to be taken to its goodreads page.

Books already out I haven't gotten around to:

 This one sounds fascinating and has great reviews. Can't wait to read it - but it's taking my library forever to get it!

Kasie West's Pivot Point is still one of my top five favorite books this year and I'd love to try out her contemporary novel.

I'm behind - I totally should have read this during the summer! Still looking forward to this sequel. :D

Coming out in August:

 Early reviews are coming in and I'm just dying. Can't wait to see how this series ends!

 Not loving the cover change, but I'm still excited to see what happens to Celaena next.

Books being released in September:

 *sniff* Code Name Verity broke my heart and blew me away. I can hardly believe I'm lucky enough to get a companion novel.

 Greek mythology anyone? Definitely will be checking this out. Sounds like my kind of book!

 Kiersten White plus Egyptian mythology? Don't mind if I do.

Books being released in October:
 Do you know me at all? Then you know why I'm dying for this. Total Rick Riordan fangirl here.

 Last year's For Darkness Shows the Stars was just lovely and I'm really looking forward to this book - Scarlet Pimpernel retelling!

 I didn't rave about Slayers, but I'm still looking forward to this. I haven't read anything by Janette Rallison (in disguise here as CJ Hill) in a long time. Plus! Major cover update. Much better, don't you think?

 Final book in the Divergent trilogy! How will it end? No idea but I'm sure it will be action-packed.

And, cause I need a few spooky reads sometime around Halloween (it honestly might be that long before I blog again...):

 I need a good spooky classic and this one comes highly recommended.

 I don't think I should let a Halloween go by without reading an Agatha Christie. She's the best.

 I have no idea why I haven't read this yet. Honestly, Emily. I love Flavia and I need to read the rest of her series!!!

What are you reading in the next couple months?