Friday, September 30, 2011

September Wrap Up

September felt like a really slow reading month for me.  I guess I did finish 11 books so that is not bad but I feel like I didn’t read much that I was super excited about.  I have read 145 books this year so I will definitely reach my goal, I just need to be more particular about what I read so I am not picking up a bunch of stuff I don’t love.  Here is what I read in September:
The Maid by Kimberly Cutter
Reign of Madness by Lynne Cullen
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir
Shattered Dreams by Ellie James
You Are My Only by Beth Kephart
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
The Betrayal by Diane Noble
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Before Versailles by Karleen Koen
What did you read this month?

Happy Friday! (5)

The Book Blog Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books.  It’s a great way to meet new bloggers and check out  some cool blogs.
This week’s question is:  In honor of Banned Books Week, what is your favorite “banned or frequently challenged book”?
This is such a hard question because there are so many books I love on the banned book list.  I will definitely have to say that of the last decade, one of my favorite books on the banned book list is A Wrinkle in Time.  I loved that book as a child (and as an adult) and I can’t imagine not having been able to read it.  Other favorites include The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and The Giver.
What banned book(s) are on your list?

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read.
This week's question is:  What book that hasn't been turned into a movie (yet) would you most like to see make it to the big screen, and who would you like cast as your favorite character?
I would LOVE to see The Bronze Horseman turned into a movie as long as it stayed pretty close to the book.  I think I would like Henry Cavill to play Alexander and a no name actress to play Tatiana.  I don't know of a current actress that could play her well.
Any books you would like to see made into a movie?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Issues with Comments

Hi All!  I just wanted to let you know that I am having major issues with commenting.  It started a month or so ago and I am not really sure what the issue is.  I am only able to leave comments on some blogs but that does not mean I am not reading your comments or visiting your blogs when I leave me a comment.  I love reading your comments so please don’t think I am ignoring you. Hopefully this will be fixed soon! 

Review: "Reign of Madness" by Lynn Cullen

From Goodreads:  Juana of Castile, third child of the Spanish monarchs Isabel and Fernando, grows up with no hope of inheriting her parents' crowns, but as a princess knows her duty: to further her family's ambitions through marriage. Yet stories of courtly love, and of her parents' own legendary romance, surround her. When she weds the Duke of Burgundy, a young man so beautiful that he is known as Philippe the Handsome, she dares to hope that she might have both love and crowns. He is caring, charming, and attracted to her-seemingly a perfect husband.
But what begins like a fairy tale ends quite differently.

When Queen Isabel dies, the crowns of Spain unexpectedly pass down to Juana, leaving her husband and her father hungering for the throne. Rumors fly that the young Queen has gone mad, driven insane by possessiveness. Who is to be believed? The King, beloved by his subjects? Or the Queen, unseen and unknown by her people?

My Thoughts:  This was a good book!  I don’t know very much about Juana la Loca but I thought that this was simply a great story.  Juana was such a great character and I really felt for her.  She seemed to be a strong, intelligent woman from a very powerful family.  I couldn’t believe the way she was treated by her husband and father, two men who cared more about power and their own egos than her.  The idea that men could discredit their wives so easily made me sick.  I don’t know how much this is based on fact; I know it is assumed that Juana had some form of depression but I can’t help but think that the men in her life made things harder for her than they had to be in their quest to take over the throne that was rightfully hers.  I did think it was interesting that the story of Christopher Columbus and his son, Diego, was woven into Juana’s tale and it added something extra to Juana’s tale.  This is definitely not a romantic work of historical fiction; Juana’s life was very sad and difficult despite the fact that she was royal.  Whether or not this book is historically accurate (the author made it clear that it was mostly fictional), Ms. Cullen created a wonderful story that made me want to know more about this fascinating historical figure.  3 ½ stars.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Books I Want to Reread

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.
This week's top is:  Top Ten Books I Want to Reread

1.)     We the Living by Ayn Rand-I know I have said it many times before but this is one of my top two favorite books of all time.  I have read it at least 4 times but it has been several years since my last reread and I am hoping to read it again this Fall.
2.)    Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice-This is one of the Vampire Chronicles and I really loved it and its opinions on Christianity.
3.)    The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons-I read this in January but after my online book group discussed it last month, I have been itching to pick it up again.
4.)    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins-I will probably reread this before the movie comes out in March.
5.)    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov-I have always meant to reread this book but have never had the time.
6.)    The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova-I LOVE this book and for some reason feel like I would enjoy it a second time.
7.)    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky-I remember really liking this book but I can’t remember why because I read it 8 or 9 years ago.
8.)    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte-This is another book I read ages ago and need to go back to.
9.)    The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
10.) The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
What’s on your list of books to reread?

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Thoughts on Banned Book Week

In Honor of Banned Books Week, I feel like I should post my thoughts on banning books.  Few things bother me more than the idea that certain books are ‘inappropriate’ because they tackle difficult issues or bring up subjects that make people uncomfortable.  I feel like if you don’t want to read a book because of its content, that’s your choice but you don’t get to make that choice for me.  The Giver came out when I was in sixth grade and lived in small town Utah.  I remember that the school library wouldn’t allow this book to be put in circulation and that just made me want to read it even more.  My mom ended up buying it for me just to spite the school.  I didn’t even know what The Giver was about but I wanted to read it because someone told me that I couldn’t and I am glad I did because it is an amazing book.
I also tend to get annoyed with the people who say things like Harry Potter is Satanic and blah blah blah.  They obviously haven’t read the books and don’t know what they are talking about.  My aunt is one of those people.  She would not let my cousin read these books even though I know he would have LOVED them.  One year for Christmas, I bought him the first two books and there were all kinds of gasps and whispers.  I doubt he ever read them but it makes me sad that he will never be able to see how awesome Harry Potter is. 
Anyway, that’s enough anecdotes.  I feel very strongly that all books are special and that no one has the right to dictate what a person can or cannot read.  I just think of all the great stories I would have missed if I hadn’t been able to read certain books and it makes me sad for people in communities that allow this kind of censorship.
So, Happy Banned Books Week!  Go ahead, read something naughty!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (19)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a great way to share the books you receive during the week.

I didn't get anything this week!  I was swamped at work and the hubs was in a wedding on Saturday so we spent the week prepping for that.  I hope to get Dracula finished today and then jump back into reading since I didn't have much time last week.  I think life is going to be less busy (at least at home) for a while so I am pretty excited about that.

Since I don't have any books to share, I thought I would share a picture of the furbaby.

I hope you all have a great week!  What's in your mailbox?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Friday! (4)

It's FRIDAY!!!

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read.

This week’s question is:  Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it?

I have read The Vampire Chronicles several times.  I don’t know why but I have loved this series since I was in high school.  The characters are amazing and all of the books have exciting plots.  It makes Twilight look like fluff and Louis and Lestat could totally kick Edward’s butt!
What series do you love and read again and again?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: "Shattered Dreams" by Ellie James

From Goodreads:   Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late. Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.
But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.
Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.

My Thoughts:  This was such a good book!!  When I picked it up, I couldn’t really remember why I had wanted to read it but I am so glad I did.  I literally sat down and read until I was done; I did not want to put it down.  I loved the character of Trinity and the whole supernatural feel to the story.  All of the characters were really interesting and the setting was great.  The story was set in New Orleans and I really liked how the author included the effects of Katrina on the city and its people into the story.  I thought it was well done and very respectful of the suffering of the people of New Orleans.  The book did leave a lot of questions unanswered:  I really want to know more about Jim and Dylan as well as Trinity’s parents.  This is the first in a series and I will definitely be looking out for the next book.  3 ½ stars.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top Ten Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read but Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

This week's topic is:  Top Ten Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

1.)    Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
2.)    Feed by Mira Grant
3.)    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
4.)    Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran
5.)    The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
6.)    Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
7.)   A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
The above are all books I have been meaning to read for a LONG time and I just have not yet picked up (some of them I even own!!).  I hope to get to at least  a few of these this fall.
8.)    Anything by Sarah Dessen-Please don’t hate me for this.  I have read a Sarah Dessen book but it really didn’t do anything for me.  I feel like all of the bloggers love her books and there is always someone raving about her so I kind of feel left out.
9.)    Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
10.) The Iron King series by Julie Kagawa
These last two are books I have seen around a TON of blogs lately; they seem really popular right now though I don’t really have any desire to read them.  Can you convince me otherwise?? 

What books do you feel as though everyone has read but you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: "The Lady Elizabeth" by Alison Weir

From Goodreads:  The early life of Lady Elizabeth, the woman destined to be Queen Elizabeth I, is the subject of Alison Weir's second historical novel. In Weir's vivid rendering, the princess by birth emerges as a youthful alert witness to Tudor court intrigues and feuds. As in Innocent Traitor, the novelist peoples her narrative with sharply etched leaders competing for power and personal gain. A singular view of the flowering of a great monarch.
My Thoughts:  I love Alison Weir because I can always count on her for a good read.  The Lady Elizabeth is the story of Elizabeth I before she became queen of England.  It starts with the death of her mother, Anne Boleyn, and ends with the death of her sister, Queen Mary.  I really enjoyed seeing Elizabeth’s childhood portrayed and it really made me think about how tumultuous and traumatic her younger years must have been.  I can’t imagine growing up with so much dysfunction in one’s family.  It was also really interesting to see the relationship that Weir created between Mary and Elizabeth.  Once again, I can’t imagine how difficult that relationship must have been; I can totally understand Mary loving her sister but also distrusting her because she was the daughter of Anne Boleyn.   This book did stall at times; it definitely wasn’t as good as Innocent Traitor but I still really enjoyed it.  If you haven’t read any of Weir’s books, fiction or non-fiction, I highly recommend them.  3 ½ stars.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (18)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

This week I planned to not get any books.  I am pretty overwhelmed with books right now and really should be reading the tons of books I own and haven't gotten to as well as a couple of galleys I have.  My new job is keeping me busy so my reading time has diminished.  I have so much to read that I am tempted to skip our local library book sale in two weeks so as not to add to the stack (CRAZY I know but I bought 17 books at the sale in April and haven't even read half of them).  Anyway, I just wanted to let you that my mailbox may be empty for a few weeks.

So here is what I picked up this week at the library:

I thought this book sounded like a really good Halloween type book.  Speaking of Halloween, I am super excited to participate in the October readalong of Dracula hosted by A Literary Odyssey  I have been wanting to read this for a while and this will give me the push to do so.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week!  Did you get anything exciting in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Review: "You Are My Only" by Beth Kephart

From Goodreads:  Emmy Rane is married at nineteen , a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock. Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the “No Good.” One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that opens Sophie’s eyes, giving her the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever…
The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.
My Thoughts:  This book had a really interesting premise but it completely fell short of my expectations. It was a quick read but seemed like it should have been longer. I did enjoy the characters and I found the character of Sophie to be engaging and I was definitely sympathetic to her plight. I also really liked Joey and his aunts and the relationship they had with each other and Sophie. I think the main issue I had with this book is that the end was so rushed. I felt connected to the characters and then in the last 20 pages there was a mad dash to the end of the story. I also was really hoping that a reunion would be included but unfortunately there wasn't. I also didn't love the 'Emmy' parts. I felt like Emmy was made a little too crazy and it was, at times, difficult to understand what was going on with her. I also felt like at times, especially during the 'Emmy' parts, this book seemed a little bit heavy to be classified as young adult. Overall, this book was okay but I think it could have been a lot better. 2 1/2 stars.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Friday!!! (3)

Oh my goodness, I thought Friday would never get here!!  It has been such a long week!

Now it's time for Friday memes! YAY!

The Book Blog Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books.

This week's question is:  “As a book blogger, how do you introduce yourself in your profile?”

I have to say my introduction is pretty lame.  I am still a little unsure of how much information I should put out on the web about myself and thus kept my 'about me' pretty short, sweet, and to the point.  Maybe I will have to remedy that....what do you all think???

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.

This week's question is:  It's that pesky magic book fairy again! She has another wish: What imaginary book world would you like to make a reality?

I am not sure I can answer this.  Most of my favorite books are set in places/times that I don't think I would want to live (i.e. The Hunger Games, The Bronze Horseman, etc).  I guess I will give an easy answer and say that I would love to have Harry Potter's world because it would AWESOME and it seems the least unpleasant (unless Voldemort is around and then yikes!).

Hope you all have an amazing and relaxing weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: "Oryx and Crake" by Margaret Atwood

From Goodreads:  The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

With breathtaking command of her shocking material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, Atwood projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter.
My Thoughts:  This was a really weird book.  It kind of made me want to meet the author just so I can ask her how the heck she came up with this stuff.  The characters are creepy and odd and the storyline is so plausible that it is a little scary.  I did not like any of the characters and I kind of felt like that was the point.  The novel takes place in a future society where science is king and the goal is to create the best anti-aging, anti-fat, anti-death products and medications.  But Crake, Jimmy's psycho friend, takes it one step too far.  Most of the story is told in flashbacks; Snowman/Jimmy is remembering how the current world came to be and how the old world crumbled but there is a lot of back story and the author doesn't reveal any telling information until the last 70 pages.  That was kind of annoying because I found myself thinking, 'okay, let's get to the point already'.  I felt like the book was almost a satire showing how gullible humans are and how people can manipulate that gullibility with disastrous results and that in itself was scary.  This is the first book in a trilogy but I am really not sure if I care enough to read the next book.  3 stars.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Top Ten Books I Read Because of Another Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.
This week's topic is:  Top Ten Books I read because of another Blogger-I have only been reading book blogs for about a year so my list isn’t very long.  Also, big fail for me…I can’t remember which blogs I got these recommendations from.  : (
1.)    The Darkfever series by Karen Marie Moning
2.)    Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
3.)    Divergent by Veronica Roth
4.)    Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Here are a couple books I am dying to read because of another blogger but haven't:
1.)    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
2.)    Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran
3.)    Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Have any of you read some amazing books because of a blogger’s review?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In My Mailbox (17)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a way to share the books I have accumulated during the week.  Here is what I received:

From the Library:

Reign of Madness by Lynn Cullen
Free Nook Download:

Bright Young Things by Anna Godberson

What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review: "The Lady of the Rivers" by Philippa Gregory

From Goodreads:  Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her house-hold for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV. Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected. With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines.

My Thoughts: 
I received this book from NetGalley for review.  This book surprised me.  I thought that it sounded like an interesting story but I don’t always love Philippa Gregory’s books.  I loved that she took Jacquetta Woodville and made her a likable character.  She is usually portrayed as this evil, money grubbing woman hell bent on raising her position by using magic to get Edward IV to marry her daughter.  This book was so different in that respect.  She made Jacquetta seem like a very loving person who cared about her husband and children more than anything in the world and I really sympathized with her.  The love story between Jacquetta and her husband, Richard Woodville, was well written and it was nice to read a book in the historical fiction genre that was about a couple who married for love.  I did think that this book was a bit too long; I know that a lot happened in Jacquetta’s life prior to her daughter becoming queen of England, but I didn’t feel like I needed to follow her younger years minute by minute.   I also thought that the end of the book was unique; I kind of expected the story to include her daughter’s rise to power but I thought it was interesting that Gregory chose to end the story with Edward IV meeting Elizabeth for the first time.  I didn’t hate the ending, I just feel like there was a lot more of Jacquetta’s story to tell that was not included.  Overall, this was a pretty good book.  3 stars.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Friday! (2)

It’s Friday!!  That means it’s time for some great memes and the opportunity to check out some cool new blogs!

The Book Blog Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books.   This week’s question is:
“Many of us primarily read one genre of books, with others sprinkled in. If authors stopped writing that genre, what genre would you start reading? Or would you give up reading completely if you couldn’t read that genre anymore?”

I read a lot of historical fiction with YA and contemporary fiction mixed in.  If I couldn’t read historical fiction any more, I would probably read more non-fiction.  I used to read a ton of non-fiction but have slowed down dramatically in the last few years and I kind of miss it.

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read.
This week’s question is:  Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story?  If yes, which one?
Hmmmm, this is a hard question.  I guess I would say yes, in the case of Andrei Taganov from We the Living.  He is supposed to be the epitome of the Soviet state and someone who could potentially harm Kira but he truly loves her and seems to be a good person at heart.  I wish that there had been a better ending because I felt like he deserved better than to suffer and eventually commit suicide.
What do you all think about villiains and/or exploring other genres?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review: "The Betrayal" by Diane Noble (Brides of Gabriel #2)

From Goodreads:  Ensnared in a religion she increasingly questions, Bronwyn faces an impossible choice.
When recently widowed Bronwyn becomes the second wife to Gabriel MacKay, she promises her new sister wife and best friend, Mary Rose, that the marriage will remain platonic. But she finds herself falling in love with the man who has promised to keep her safe—even as her heart struggles with her promise to her friend. When Gabriel marries a third wife, and as the practice of polygamy increases and the age of brides decreases, Bronwyn begins to question the righteousness of this new religion.

Even as the Saints journey to Salt Lake Valley, their new promised land, Bronwyn and Mary Rose plot their escape. But when they are suspected of treachery by Brigham Young's secret army—whose mission it is to punish apostates—the two sister wives face the most difficult decision of their lives, one that can mean life or death for those they love.

My Thoughts:  I am really interested in polygamy and how it came to be a prevalent part of Mormon culture in the mid to late 1800s and I have been wanting to read this book since I finished The Sister Wife.  The Betrayal continues the story of Mary Rose and her new sister wife Bronwyn and follows their struggles as they travel from Illinois to Utah territory and their personal experiences with polygamy.  It was a really sad story; I am guessing the polygamist lifestyle is not an easy one and it was pretty hard on the characters in the book.  At the same time, I really admired the strong female characters that Noble portrayed in this book.  Despite the things they had to endure, they still tried to fight for what they believed was right no matter what.  My one complaint is that the end felt very rushed and events were taking place way before I expected them to be.  There was a major cliffhanger at the end and I am a little concerned as to what will happen to the characters since the Mountain Meadow Massacre was alluded to.  I enjoyed this story and am looking forward to finding out if they ever find some semblance of happiness.  3 stars.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Sequels I am Dying to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is:

Top Ten Sequels I am Dying to Read!
1.)    Written with My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander book 8) by Diana Gabaldon-Oh my goodness, it has been two years since the last book was released, hurry up already!!
2.)    Insurgent by Veronica Roth
3.)    Shadow of the Night (The All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness-I really enjoyed A Discovery of Witches and can’t wait to read the next book.
4.)    The Eve Trilogy #2 by Anna Carey-Eve ended with a lot of questions left unanswered like what happened to her and Caleb?? 
5.)    Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins-I love the Hex Hall books and Demonglass totally left me hanging!
6.)    Pandemonium (Delirium book 2) by Lauren Oliver-I didn’t love Delirium but I really do want to see what happens to Lena and if she ever finds her mother.  I also want to know what really happened to Alex.
That’s all I have.  What sequels are you excited about?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare

From Goodreads:  When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

My Thoughts:  What took me so long to read this???  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was dark, funny and well-written.  The characters were well-developed and the story just grabbed my attention and didn't let go.  It was very action packed and I pretty much barrelled my way through the book.  I think the author did a great job of making Jace and Clary likeable characters; even Alec, Simon and Isabel were great characters and normally I don't care that much about the not so main characters.  I am still unsure of why the author threw such a huge curveball into the story at the end (if you have read this, you know what I am talking about) but I am hoping it will make a little more sense in the next book.  The curveball kind of made the rest of the book a little akward and uncomfortable so I am hoping this tones down a bit as the series continues.  4 stars.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Review: "Before Versailles" by Karleen Koen

From Goodreads:  Before Versailles is the luscious, sweeping story of the young Louis XIV in his first year as king of France. Told in the alternating perspectives of the young king and his first love, the woman who would become his mistress, Karleen Koen's newest weaves a portrait of court and country in turmoil with the legends of this colorful period in history, including that of the mysterious man in the iron mask.

My Thoughts:  I know I have been a downer with my reviews lately so I apologize for another negative review.  I have read several of Karleen Koen's books and really enjoyed them which I was why I picked this book up.  I thought the story sounded okay but I figured that if Koen wrote it then it would be good.  I was wrong.  The story is supposed to be about the first year of Louis XIV's reign but the story is told by multiple characters' perspectives and I feel like Louis got lost in the mix.  The story seemed to be more about the intrigue at his court than about him coming to power and learning how to rule and the main point of the story got terribly lost.  The ending was abrupt, to say the least, and if there had not been an author's note, I would have had no idea why she chose to end the big in that way.  Needless to say, if you are not well versed in the history of Louis' reign, you, like me, will be super confused as to why the events at the end of the book are so important.  2 stars.

In My Mailbox (16)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a way to share what books I have purchased, received for review or borrowed from the library.  I got quite a few books this week so I am officially buried!  Between my new job and our dog's surgery and subsequent complications,  I am behind on reviews but will try to catch up this week. 

From NetGalley:

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
Shattered Dreams by Ellie James
You Are My Only by Beth Kephart
The Maid by Kimberly Cutter
From the Library:

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

What's in your mailbox this week?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Happy Friday!! (1)

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books.  It's a great way to meet other bloggers and check out some cool new blogs.

This week's question is: 
“What are you most looking forward to this fall/autumn season – A particular book release? Halloween? The leaves changing color? Cooler temperatures? A vacation? (If your next season is other than fall/autumn, tell us about it and what you are most looking forward to in your part of the world!)”

I am looking forward to cooler temperatures!  This summer was brutal!!  I am ready to be able to wear sweaters and hoodies and to be comfortable outside.

 Also, this week I decided to participate in Feature and Follow Friday.  It is a meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.
This week's question is:  If you could change the end of any book (or series), which book would you choose?  Why?

I would complete change the end of My Sister's Keeper.  I am not going to put any spoilers here but the ending was BRUTAL and not anywhere near how I wanted it to end or thought it would end.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August Wrap Up

I can’t believe it is already September!! The month of August was super crazy busy for me but I managed to get through 15 books.  I am not at 134 for the year so I should easily hit my goal of 150.
Here is what I read in August:
1.)    Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth
2.)    Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
3.)    The Likeness by Tana French
4.)    Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon
5.)    Accidents of Providence by Stacia M. Brown
6.)    Katyn:  Stalin’s Massacre and the Triumph of the Truth by Allen Paul
7.)    Christine by Stephen King
8.)    Delirium by Lauren Oliver
9.)    Next to Love by Ellen Feldman
10.)  A Love that Multiplies by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
11.)  Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
12.)  My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster
13.) Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
14.) A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
15.)  Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
What did you read last month?
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