Friday, November 30, 2012

November Wrap Up

  November is over!  How did that happen?!  November was a terrible reading month for me.  I only read 3 books and 300 pages in Les Miserables for a total of 103 books for the year.  I am going to be honest, I am in a terrible reading rut at the moment.  There has been a lot going on that has kept me from reading and I am having a really hard time finding something that I really want to read. Hopefully, I get back in my groove in December.  I still have two books to read for my challenges and I am positive that they won't get done this year.

Here is what I read in December:

1.) Iced by Karen Marie Moning
2.) The Gilded Lily by Deborah Swift
3.) The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
Part 3 of Les Miserables

What did you read in November?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (25)

 
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews.
 
I forgot to post a STS last week so this is what I have picked up in the last two weeks.
 
For Review:
 
 
What books did you pick up this week?
 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo-Part 3

Another 300 pages down!  I am now 3/4 of the way done with Les Miserables and I must say that the last 300 pages were the best so far.  I loved that most of this section dealt with the characters and less of the historical events going on around them.  Cosette and Marius really come to the front of the story and there is a ton of excitment when Jean Valjean and Thenardier meet again.  I felt like I spent a lot of time on edge; there is always this fear that Javert is going to catch up with Jean Valjean and it is as though I'm holding my breath as I continue reading. 

I have to say that before I started this section, I wasn't loving the book but now I have changed my mind.  It is such a deep, well-written story with so many characters that all have intertwining stories.  It's confusing at times but still an excellent story.  I can't wait to see how it will all wrap up! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: "The Gilded Lily" by Deborah Swift


Synopsis:   A spellbinding historical novel of beauty and greed and surprising redemption.England, 1660. Ella Appleby believes she is destined for better things than slaving as a housemaid and dodging the blows of her drunken father. When her employer dies suddenly, she seizes her chance--taking his valuables and fleeing the countryside with her sister for the golden prospects of London. But London may not be the promised land she expects. Work is hard to find, until Ella takes up with a dashing and dubious gentleman with ties to the London underworld. Meanwhile, her old employer's twin brother is in hot pursuit of the sisters.

Set in a London of atmospheric coffee houses, gilded mansions, and shady pawnshops hidden from rich men's view, Deborah Swift's The Gilded Lily is a dazzling novel of historical adventure.


My Thoughts:  The Gilded Lily is a companion novel to Ms. Swift's first novel, The Lady's Slipper.  It features sisters, Ella and Sadie, as they escape their old lives in the hopes of finding prosperity in London.  The story is very well-written and Ms. Swift does an excellent job of describing the darker side of London in 1660.   You can almost feel the despair in the poverty stricken areas where Sadie and Ella wre forced to live. 

I have to say it, I hated Ella.  I didn't like Ella in The Lady's Slipper and she did nothing to redeem herself in this book (until the very end).  She was just not a very likable character.  She was selfish and self-centered and would do anything to get what she wanted no matter who she hurt.  I couldn't believe that she locked her sister in their 'apartment' so she wouldn't go out. In stark contrast, was her sister Sadie who you couldn't help but like.  She seemed very sweet, albeit naive, and she truly loved her sister.  No matter how hateful Ella was towards her, she always forgave her; she really just wanted her sister to love her.  I liked that Sadie finally found her inner-strength towards the end of the book.  It made me like her even more. Every story has to have a villain and Jay was the perfect one.  He was so deceptively smooth and could you make you think he was a good person while he robbed you blind.  He was very hard to read in the beginning but as the story progress it became easier to see just how evil he was.

While I didn't like the main character of the story, overall, I did enjoy the story.  There was a lot of intrigue with Jay and his exploits and Ella and Sadie running from Mr. Ibbetson that the story moved really quickly and made me want to find out what would happen next.  The end of the story left me with a lot of questions so I am hopeful that Ms. Swift will write another book that continues the story of Ella and Sadie.  3 1/2 stars.

About the Author:


Deborah Swift, a set and costume designer for the BBC, lives in Windermere, England. The Lady's Slipper, shortlisted for The Impress Novelists Prize in 2007, was inspired by her own discovery of the rare orchid during a summer walk. For more information on Deborah Swift and her novels, please visit her website at www.deborahswift.co.uk.

 
Check out other stops on the tour here.
Follow the tour on twitter:  #GildedLilyVirtualTour

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (24)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.
 
Happy Veteran's Day everyone!!  I only picked up one book this week which is fine because I am reading at a snail's pace lately.
 
From the Library:
 
 
 
What books did you pick up this week?
 

 
 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: "Iced" by Karen Marie Moning

From Goodreads:  Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.
My Thoughts:  Oh, how I have missed the Fever series!!  Despite the fact that Mac and Barrons play very secondary roles in this book, it was still great to get back to some familiar characters like Dani, Christian and Ryodon.  The story continues in Dublin after the wall fell and is definitely action packed.  The story moved fast and kept my interest (I couldn't put it down!) but I kind of wish it hadn't been so long since I read the Fever series because there was a lot I had forgotten. 

Dani is still pretty immature but is working hard to kill all the Unseelie she can.  I like Dani but at times it was kind of difficult to be stuck in her head for 90% of the book.  I do love her sense of humor; her sarcasm and attitude cracks me up!    Ryodon is a minor character from the Fever series who plays a big role in Iced.  It's been a while since I read Shadowfever so I don't remember much about Ryodon from the series but I must say that I absolutely loved him in this book.  He was tough as nails but had a sarcastic, humorous side.  At times he was kind of a jerk but there was something kind of endearing about him and he was my favorite character in the book.  Christian MacKeltar also shows up in this book but he was not one of my favorites.  He was a super creepy stalker guy; at times he seemed normal and then all of the sudden he would be a total nut job.  I liked him a lot in previous books but as he slowly became Unseelie, he became less likable.

There were a few aspects of the book that I didn't love but overall, I really enjoyed it.  There was a serious cliffhanger at the end of the book so now I can't wait to read the next one!  I have a feeling we'll get to see more of Mac!  I would recommend reading the Fever series before picking up Iced because there was a lot that wouldn't make sense without that background.  4 stars.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Review: "The Lincoln Conspiracy" by Timothy L. O'Brien

Synopsis:   A nation shattered by its president’s murder. Two diaries that reveal the true scope of an American conspiracy. A detective determined to bring the truth to light, no matter what it costs him

From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O’Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?

In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy—and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.
Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War–era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends—and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions—Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.

Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents—and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.


My Thoughts: I don't usually read much about American history but I must say this was a pretty interesting and compelling story.  I honestly didn't really know much about conspiracy theories surrounding Lincoln's death but I must say that O'Brien created a unique and fast-paced story involving a complex conspiracy that led to the death of Abraham Lincoln.  Every time I thought I had the story figured out or I thought the characters were done for, there would be some twist and everything I thought I knew would be flipped upside down.

The story includes a lot of famous historical figures as secondary characters and I was especially fond of Sojourner Truth.  She was portrayed as such a kind person and it made me want to read more about her.  Temple McFadden was a very different kind of hero and I really liked how he was kind of damaged.  It does take a while to get to know him (the story flashes back and forth between his past and present) but once I started understand his background, I began to like him in spite of his faults.  Temple's wife, Fiona, was also a great character.  As a female doctor in 1865 America, she dealt with a lot of challenges but was a strong, feisty character who seemed to be able to handle anything that was thrown her way.  She was a pretty inspirational character.

The only thing I didn't really like about the story was at times there were so many different things going on and so many characters moving in and out that it was really hard to keep everything straight.  There were a few times where I had to go back and re-read because I wasn't quite sure what was going on.  I also didn't love the very ending.  The whole conspiracy wrapped itself up nicely and I must say I was very surprised by some of the revelations in the end but I really wanted to know what happened to Temple and Fiona in the aftermath of their ordeal and I didn't really get that.

Overall, this was a good book.  If you love action-packed thrillers with great characters, I would definitely recommend The Lincoln Conspiracy.  3 stars.

 
Check out other stops on the tour here!
Check out the tour on Twitter:  #LincolnConspiracyTour


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Slowing things down....

I'm sure it's been pretty obvious but I definitely haven't been posting as often as I used to and my reading has slown down dramatically lately.  Life has kind of gotten in the way and there is a lot going on right now that is keeping my attention from reading and blogging.  I started City of Lost Souls a few days ago and have hardly touched it.  I may put it back on the shelf and pick up something else because with my attention span being so limited right now, there is no way I will get through it. 

I just wanted to let you all know that at least for the month of November, I will be taking a kind of break from blogging and reading. I am participating in several blog tours over the next few months (YAY!) and will be posting those reviews. If I manage to get through something else, I will post about it but don't be surprised if I am not around much in November.  I am still hopeful I will get through Les Miserables this year but right now it has kind of been pushed to the back burner.

Anyway, hopefully I will get my focus back soon and life will chill out a bit!  Happy November everybody!

Stacking the Shelves (23)

 
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews.
 
I haven't been reading very much or very quickly this week but I did pick up a few good books!
 
For Review:
 
 
(Pretty cover!!)
 
For Review (ebook):
 
 

From the Library:
 
 
(I can't wait to read this!!!)
 
What books did you pick up this week?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October Wrap Up

November is here!!  I feel like this year has just flown by!  I actually had a pretty good reading month which is surprising.  I had a hard time really getting into books this month so I am happy to say that I read 8 books this month (plus 300 pages in Les Mis) and am now at a grand total of 100 books for the year!  I had to look and see where I was at this time last year and WOW, what a difference!  Last year I read 18 books in October and was at a total of 163 for the year.  Don't ask me how I managed that because I have no idea where I found the time to read that much.

I still have 2 challenge books left to read as well as the second half of Les Miserables.  I will definitely finish Les Mis this year!  But I honestly am not sure if I am going to get those other two challenge books read.  They are both difficult books and I have been having a hard time staying focused on a book if I would rather be reading something else.  We'll see what happens. 

Here is what I read this month:

1.) Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
2.) Kiss of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
3.) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
4.) Sultry with a Twist by Macy Beckett
5.) The Lady's Slipper by Deborah Swift
6.) The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
7.) Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn
8.) The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien
Part 2 of Les Miserables

What books did you read in October?  How are you doing with your reading goals?
 
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