Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Vacation

Just stopping in with a quick note. Summer vacation has started and with a little one that means a lot of time spent outdoors. Unfortunately my blog is suffering from it. I'm getting a lot more reading done but not much blogging. I'm hoping to get back into a routine and start posting again in the coming weeks.

It's also a great time for family movies. We're going to see Monster's University today and my son is already excited to see Despicable Me 2.

Have a Great, Safe Summer! Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Releases ~ week of 6/17/2013

Redneck Romeo by Lorelei James (#15 in Rough Riders)
Shattered Emotions by Carrie Ann Ryan (#5 in Redwood Pack)
The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag (#4 in Kovac/Liska)
The Enigma of China by Qiu Xiaolong (#8 in Inspector Chen)
Death Rides Again by Janice Hamrick (#3 in Jocelyn Shore Mysteries )
Masaryk Station by David Downing (#6 in John Russell)
After the Dawn by Francis Ray (#2 in Family Affairs)
Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo (#5 in Kate Burkholder)
Death of the Demon by Anne Holt (#3 in Hanne Wilhelmsen)
A Dark Mind by T. R. Ragan (#3 in Lizzie Gardener )
Before the Fall by Francis Knight (#2 in Rojan Dizon)
What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries (#1 in The Duke's Men)
The Heist by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg (#1 in Kate O'Hare)
The Secrets of Mia Danvers by Robyn DeHart (#1 in Dangerous Liaisons)
One Night Heir by Lucy Monroe (#1 in By His Royal Decree)
Until Fountain Bridge by Samantha Young (#1.6 in On Dublin Street)
Death of a Dyer by Eleanor Kuhns (#2 in Will Rees)
Wild at Heart by Vicki Lewis Thompson (#11 in Sons of Chance)
Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale by Cassandra Clare (#3 in Bane Chronicles)
Bound by Him by Red Garnier (#3 in Billionaire's Club)
Wisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe (#2 in Tufa)
Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark (#3 in Rachel Knight)
One True Love by Lori Wilde (#0.5 in Cupid, Texas)
The Widow of Conard County by Rachel Lee (#33 in Conard County)
Proxy by Alex London (#1 in Proxy)
Blessed Fate by H. B. Heinzer (#2 in Blessed Tragedy )
Requiem by Ken Scholes (#4 in The Psalms of Isaak)
The Stranger by Anna Banks (#2.5 in Of Poseidon )
The Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan (#3.5 in Kane Chronicles)
The Perks of Being a Beauty by Manda Collins (#3.5 in Ugly Ducklings )
Fearless by HelenKay Dimon (#1 in Corcoran Team)
That First Kiss by J.C. Valentine (#2 in Night Calls)
The Long War by Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett (#2 in Long Earth)
Dead Insider by Victoria Houston (#13 in Loon Lake Fishing Mystery)
Witch Fire by Laura Powell (#2 in Burn Mark)
The Abomination by Jonathan Holt (#1 in Carnivia Trilogy)
The Bohemian Highway by Sara Gran (#2 in Claire Dewitt)
Mage Fire by C Aubrey Hall (#3 in Faelin Chronicles)
Tarnish by Katherine Longshore (#2 in Royal Circle)
Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood (#2 in Cahill Witch Chronicles)
Intuition by C J Omololu (#2 in Transcendence)
Hour of the Rat by Lisa Brackmann (#2 in Rock Paper Tiger)
Sovereign by Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee (#4 in Books of Mortals)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Review ~ The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning #1)

by John Stephens
published by Yearling
genre: MG/YA, Fantasy, 

Summary (Goodreads): Called “A new Narnia for the tween set” by the New York Times and perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials series, The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

These three siblings have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.

Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

My Thoughts: I tend to enjoy most MG books and they're a good go to when I'm in a reading slump. This was a nice start to a trilogy. There was plenty of action throughout to keep you reading from beginning to end.
Character wise, my favorite was Michael, which probably is different from most. I think I felt sorry for him with the severe case of middle child syndrome he seemed to have. That, added to being the fantasy nerd of the group. All his studying of the book left to him by his father really came into play when him and Kate ended up captured by dwarfs. He was also the one that wanted to stop and ask questions no matter how dangerous the current situation was.
Many will like Emma. She was the most full of life. She's fiercely loyal to her sister and brother and quick to defend even if it is not the best solution. This was part of what made me wary about her. She reminded me of the YA character that is constantly having bad things happen and most of the time it is because they didn't stop and think for 5 seconds before acting. While everything turns out okay, this happens a few times in this story.
Lastly is Kate. She is the oldest and the only one of the three that truly remembers their parents. She takes her promise to take care of the other two very seriously. The weight of this responsibility shows up during some critical times. Especially when she had to make an important decision.
Overall, as I said this first book made the second a must read for me. There was plenty going on to keep my attention with enough unanswered to keep the series going forward. I'm curious about the other two Books of Beginning. The one introduced in this book (Kate's book) had a unique process for time travel. I loved the idea of sticking a picture into a book and going to where and when that picture was taken. Can't wait to see how the other two work. Also interested in the master bad guy who we meet for a short time with Kate and explains why their parents haven't come back for them.

Rating: 4

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Releases ~ week of 6/10/2013

*All links go to Goodreads

Limits of Power by Elizabeth Moon (#4 in Paladin's Legacy)
The King's Deception by Steve Berry (#8 in Cotton Malone)
Being Me by Lisa Renee Jones (#2 in Inside Out Trilogy )
Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (#2 in Masque of the Red Death)
Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff (#1 in Boy Nobody)
Rush by Eve Silver (#1 in Game)
Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (#3 in Dreamhunter Duet)
The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis (#1 in Flavia Albia Mystery)
Pandora Gets Frightened by Carolyn Hennesy (#7 in Mythic Miss-Adventures)
Infamous by Lauren Conrad (#3 in Fame Game)
Dark Waters by Christopher Holt (#2 in Last Dogs)
Famous by Jessica Burkhart (#18 in Canterwood Crest)
The Tower by Simon Toyne (#3 in Sancti trilogy)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review ~ Finnikin of the Rock

Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)

by Melina Marchetta
published by Candlewick Press
genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, 

Summary (Goodreads): At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

*I'm going to try and write this without mixing in feelings and thoughts from the second book.

My Thoughts: This is the first time I've read this author since all her other books are contemporary.
The big mystery in this story is who is Evanjalin, the only problem was I figured it out within the first chapter. Luckily there was enough going on in the story that even being certain who she was it was still an enjoyable read.
Finnikin was definitely my favorite. I liked how he wasn't your straight forward lead. He's more of a thinker, writing everything down and creating a history of his lost home. Reading about him and his two friends before the curse just added to how horrible everything afterwards was.
Things get more interesting once Evanjalin has joined them and they start on their journey to gather everything that would be needed to try and break the curse. While she is important to the story and the whole series, I waver on my feelings for her. There were many times when I just wanted Finnikin to leave her behind and go back to what he was doing before. Finding out why she was doing some of the things she did and what she had to go through when she was walking through the dreams made her behavior more tolerable but still...
Overall, this is probably one of my favorite reads of the year so far. I immediately started the second book (Froi of the Exiles) and had to force myself to wait before I start the last in this trilogy. While I don't read contemporaries I could see myself giving this author's book a look based on her writing of this series.

Rating: 4.5

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New Releases ~ week of 6/4/2013

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (#1 in Age of X)
Abaddon's Gate by James S A Corey (#3 in Expanse)
Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (#2 in Devil Wears Prada)
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (#2 in Grisha Trilogy)
Tidal by Amanda Hocking (#3 in Watersong)
Infinity Ring: Book 4 by Matt de la Pena (#4 in Infinity Ring )
Darkness Unmasked by Keri Arthur (#5 in Dark Angels)
Casino Infernale by Simon R Green (#7 in Secret Histories)
One Sweet Ride by Jaci Burton (#6 in Play By Play)
Midnight's Kiss by Donna Grant (#5 in Dark Warriors)
The Keep by Veronica Wolff (#4 in Watchers)
Elegy by Tara Hudson (#3 in Hereafter)
An Outlaw in Wonderland by Lori Austin (#2  Once Upon a Time in the West )
Mayhem at the Orient Express by Kylie Logan (#1 in League of Literary Ladies)
Thread and Buried by Janet Bolin (#3 in Threadville Mystery)
Sweet Revenge by Zoe Archer (#1 in Nemesis Unlimited)
Entwined With You by Sylvia Day (#3 in Crossfire)
Joyland by Stephen King (#77 in Hard Case Crime)
You're the One by Robin Kaye (#2 in Bad Boys of Red Hook)
Take Me Under by Rhyannon Byrd (#1 in Dangerous Tides)
A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle (#7 in Bibliophile Mystery)
The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke (#2 in The Assassin's Curse)
The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver (#10 in Lincoln Rhyme )
The Diva Frosts a Cupcake by Krista Davis (#7 in Domestic Diva)
Steamed to Death by Peg Cochran (#2 in Gourmet De-Lite Mysteries)
Monument to the Dead by Sheila Connolly (#4 in Museum Mysteries)
Looming Murder by Carol Ann Martin (#1 in A Weaving Mystery )
Trouble Vision by Allison Kingsley (#3 in Raven's Nest Bookstore)
Death, Taxes, and Hot-Pink Leg Warmers by Diane Kelly (#5 in Tara Holloway)
Murder After a Fashion by Grace Carroll (#3 in Accessories Mystery)
Tiger Magic by Jennifer Ashley (#5 in Shifters Unbound)
His Clockwork Canary by Beth Ciotta (#2 in Glorious Victorious Darcys)
Cobra Slave by Timothy Zahn (#1 in Cobra Rebellion Trilogy)
Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander (#3 in Edie Spence)
Stolen by Allison Brennan (#6 in Lucy Kincaid)
Charred by Kate Watterson (#2 in Ellie MacIntosh )
Father Knows Death by Jeffrey Allen (#3 in Deuce Winters Mysteries )
Abandon by Elana Johnson (#5 in Possession)
Bled & Breakfast by Michelle Rowen (#6 in Immortality Bites)
Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory (#2 in Order of Darkness)
Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley (#2 in Chaos)
How to Tame Your Duke by Juliana Gray (#1 in Princess)
To Capture a Rake by Lori Brighton (#2 in Seduction)
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh (#12 in Psy-Changelings)
Choke Point by Ridley Pearson (#2 in Risk Agent)
A Serpent's Tooth by Craig Johnson (#9 in Walt Longmire Mysteries)
Steadfast by Mercedes Lackey (#9 in Elemental Masters)
The Last Kind Word by David Housewright (#10 in Mac McKenzie)
Stroke of Midnight by Olivia Drake (#2 in Cinderella Sisterhood)
Tempest Revealed by Tracy Deebs (#3 in Tempest)
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (#1 in Testing)
Dire Distraction by Dee Davis (#7 in A-Tac)
Butcher Of Bear Creek by J A Johnstone, William W Johnstone (#7 in Sidewinders )
Confessing to the Cowboy by Carla Cassidy (#4 in Cowboy Cafe)
Sleeping With The Entity by Cat Devon (#1 in Entity)
Wicked Memories by Nina Bangs (#7 in Castle of Dark Dreams)
Phantom Wolf by Bonnie Vanak (#2 in Phoenix Force)
Mustang Sally by Jayne Rylon (#2 in Hot Rods)
Can't Stop Believing by Jodi Thomas (#6 in Harmony )
Before Now by Cheryl McIntyre (#2 in Sometimes Never)
A Little Night Mischief by Emily Greenwood (#1 in Mischief )
The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell (#3 in The Vespertine )
Her Boyfriend's Bones by Jeanne Matthews (#4 in Dinah Pelerin Mystery)
The Doll by Taylor Stevens (#3 in Vanessa Michael Munroe )
Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards (#2 in Black City Chronicles )
Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card, Aaron Johnston (#2 in First Formic War)
Crushed by Sara Shepard (#13 in Pretty Little Liars)
Kindred Spirits by Phoebe Rivers (#8 in Saranormal)
Compliance by Maureen McGowan (#2 in Dust Chronicles)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews to share your weekly book haul. It can be what you bought, received, borrowed, or were gifted. For more info you can go here.

The Native Star by M.K. Hobson
The Tower of Ravens (Rhiannon's Ride #1) by Kate Forsyth
Love is Murder by Various

Library Book Sale
**I bought some books I have already read but did not own plus ones I haven't read.
Jacqueline Carey: Naamah's Blessing, Naamah's Kiss
Patricia Briggs: Silver Born
Larissa Ione: Desire Unchained, Passion Unleashed
Rachel Caine: Glass Houses,
Laurell K Hamilton: Obsidian Butterfly
Kate Brian: Privilege series
Alyssa Day: Atlantis Rising, Atlantis Unleashed
Karen Marie Moning: To Tame a Highland Warrior
Keri Arthur: Destiny Kills
Kresley Cole: Dreams of a Dark Warrior
Susan Sizemore: Primal Needs
Lara Adrian: Midnight Rising
Shana Abe: Queen of Dragons
Erin McCarthy: Fallen
Nina Bangs: Eternal Pleasure
Shirley Wells: Dead Silent
Cait London: Flashback
Erica Spindler: Killer Takes All
D.J. MacHale: Morpheus Road The Light
D.M. Cornish: Foundling
Michael Byrnes: The Sacred Blood
D.E. Athkins: Swans in the Mist
Greg Iles: The Devil's Punchbowl