Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Book Haul (26)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

A few interesting titles from the latest Amazon Vine newsletter:

How To Be A Good Wife
How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman

In the tradition of Emma Donoghue's Room and S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, a haunting literary debut about a woman who begins having visions that make her question everything she knows. (Goodreads)

***

Paleo Cookbook for Dummies
Paleo Cookbook for Dummies by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci

"The Paleo Cookbook For Dummies" gives you delicious, flavorful, and easy-to-make recipes for anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of eating the Paleo way. (Goodreads)

Swapped:

Received an email from Paperbackswap.com that one of the books on my wishlist was available. I had forgotten that I had outstanding credits, so ordered a couple of books that sounded interesting.

Bar Code Tattoo
The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

The bar code tattoo. Everybody's getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity. But what if you say no? (Goodreads)

***

The Everafter
The Everafter by Amy Huntley

Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this - she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can reexperience - and sometimes even change - moments from her life. (Goodreads)

Borrowed:

One of my neighbors started a book club and this is our first read. A neighbor lent me her copy as she had already read it. Not my usual type of read, but I've read Anita Shreve before and she's very talented. My first book club read!

Light on Snow
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve

Snowshoeing over crusted snow in the woods near their home, twelve-year-old Nicky Dillon and her father come upon something shocking. There in the pristine winter scene, an abandoned baby wails, its survival made possible only by the coincidence of their having chosen this path for their late afternoon outing. (Goodreads)



What did you receive this week?


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: Bubble World

Bubble World by Carol Snow

Freesia’s life is perfect. She lives on the beautiful tropical island of Agalinas, surrounded by idyllic weather, fancy dress shops, and peacocks who sing her favorite song to wake her up in the morning. She has so many outfits she could wear a different one every day for a year and not run out.

Lately things on the island may have been a bit flippy: sudden blackouts, students disappearing, even Freesia’s reflection looking slightly . . . off. But in Freesia’s experience, it’s better not to think about things like that too much.

Unfortunately for her, these signs are more than random blips in the universe. In Bubble World by Carol Snow, Freesia’s perfect bubble is about to pop. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

When we first meet Freesia, she seems to have it all:  a beautiful house on a magical island, a loving family, beautiful friends, a closet full of gorgeous clothes, and a perfect life of no responsibility.
But you know that old saying about if it's too good to be true...

Freesia doesn't pay too much attention to the little things, but even she eventually notices that not everything is as it appears. What's with all of the black-outs lately? The odd glitches? The nasty nightmare where she's in a little dark room and her reflection isn't her own? Too scary to ignore, but she's not sure what it all means.

Found the premise of this book fascinating, as we discover alongside Freesia that her perfect life in paradise is not quite what it seems. Part of the fascination is that I could see her situation becoming a reality not too far down the road (if it's not already here)!

This is a fun, bubbly story that makes a great summer read! Recommended for anyone looking for a fast read or something light and fluffy for the beach.


ARC received via Amazon Vine, in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Review: Loki's Wolves

Loki's Wolves by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr

In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok, that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters--wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds, all bent on destroying the world.

The gods died a long time ago.

Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history--because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke.

However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids--led by Matt--will stand in for the gods in the final battle, he can hardly believe it. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Norse mythology seems to be becoming popular, as I've read several books recently that mention the old gods. Think I need to brush up on my mythology, as I don't remember much beyond the basics (Odin, Loki, and Thor).

This story has three narrators:  Matt, Laurie, and Fen. Matt is not only a descendant of Thor, but is also the sheriff's son and grandson of the mayor. Lots of pressure on poor Matt, who feels like he can never measure up to his family's high expectations. Laurie and Fen, descendants of Loki, are cousins. Related to the trickster god, their family includes shapeshifters and are definitely from the wrong side of the tracks! While they're not bad kids, trouble seems to find them despite their best intentions.

The shift between narrators is pretty seamless and each chapter is labeled with their name, so you always know who is talking. Sometimes multiple voices can be confusing or jarring, but the authors make it look easy and the story is nice and smooth.

Really enjoyed this story, as it sets up the new series nicely. Ragnarok is coming and, since the old gods are dead, it's up to their descendants to fight the final battle! Too bad the Chosen Ones are all kids.

Matt, Laurie, and Fen are all likable characters, and I like that they aren't superheroes and don't really know what they are doing. Don't like stories where the MC is supposed to be an ordinary person, yet instantly knows how to kick butt and use their powers. Nice to have ordinary kids making mistakes as they try to figure out how to save the world.

Without a real plan, they go off in search of other descendants to help in the final battle. I really appreciated that their path wasn't easy and that everything didn't fall into place all nice and neat. Yes they find other descendants, but not everyone is on their side or believes their story. That makes a nice change from most stories like this, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how everything turns out.

Highly recommend this series for anyone who enjoys adventure, great characters, Norse mythology, and/or a good story!


ARC received from the publisher, via Shelf Awareness

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book Review: Heart of Venom

Heart of Venom
Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep

When a terror from the past threatens Gin’s friend and body-disposer, Sophia, Gin will stop at nothing to protect her, even if it means walking straight into a killer’s trap. Meanwhile, the rocky romance between Gin and Owen reaches a turning point - can they reunite and rekindle their love? Or will the things Gin has been forced to do in her line of work as the deadly assassin the Spider keep them apart forever? Assuming, that is, she survives long enough to find out…(Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Jennifer Estep is one of my favorite authors, and her Elemental Assassin series is one of my favorite series! As much as I love Gin, the Deveraux sisters hold a special place in my heart and I was thrilled when I found out that this book would feature Sophia Deveraux!

Sophia is the goth sister who works with Gin at the Pork Pit. She not only cooks, but also gets rid of the bodies for Gin's "other" job (as the Spider). And she's great at both!

A woman of few words, Sophia is a fascinating character and I've always wondered about her past. In this story, we finally learn how her voice was damaged, get a glimpse into the woman she once was, and learn what helped make her the woman she is today.

Sophia and her sister Jo-Jo are part of Gin's family, and nothing will stop Gin from protecting her family. Even though she knows that she's walking into a trap, Gin is determined to do whatever it takes to help Sophia. That's one of the reasons I love Gin, as she's an assassin with a heart who loves her family and friends.

Without giving too much away, I have to say that this is one of my favorite books in the series so far! I came away with an even greater respect for Sophia, as she is a very brave and strong woman. I have mixed feelings about Owen, but that's because I really want Gin to be happy and I'm not 100% sure if Owen is the right man for the job.

This is a fascinating series with great characters, so I highly recommend it for anyone who loves urban fantasy! The author does a great job of filling in the blanks, so you don't really have to read them in order. It helps with the backstory, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary (especially since this is book #9). Hope you give Gin and the gang a chance, as they're awesome!

Previous reviews:

By a Thread (#6)
Spider's Revenge (#5)
Spider's Bite (#1)



eARC received via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Release date:  August 27, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Book Haul (25)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

The synopsis on this one really caught my eye, and the excerpt sealed the deal! Sounds like a fun read!

Bubble World
Bubble World by Carol Snow

Freesia’s life is perfect. She lives on the beautiful tropical island of Agalinas, surrounded by idyllic weather, fancy dress shops, and peacocks who sing her favorite song to wake her up in the morning. She has so many outfits she could wear a different one every day for a year and not run out.

Lately things on the island may have been a bit flippy: sudden blackouts, students disappearing, even Freesia’s reflection looking slightly . . . off. But in Freesia’s experience, it’s better not to think about things like that too much.

Unfortunately for her, these signs are more than random blips in the universe. In Bubble World by Carol Snow, Freesia’s perfect bubble is about to pop. (Goodreads)

***

This was a nice surprise in my mailbox, as I don't remember requesting it. It was a hot title at BEA, so very happy to have it show up in my mailbox!

Frozen
Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic. (Goodreads)

***


I wonder how many books I'd get in a week if I wasn't on a no-book-buy ban? :)


Rogue

Lex is a teenage Grim Reaper with the power to Damn souls, and it’s getting out of control. She’s a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they’re joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: Fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it. (Goodreads) 


What did you receive this week?


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Review: Omens by Kelley Armstrong

Omens by Kelley Armstrong
Omens by Kelley Armstrong

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancĂ©, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Olivia seems to have it all:  a privileged background, a loving fiance, and fulfilling volunteer work. Yet something seems to be missing, something she can't quite put her finger on that makes her feel like a fraud.

Then suddenly, her perfect life is shattered! Not only does she find out that she's adopted, but that her biological parents are notorious serial killers! This would be hard enough to deal with on its own, but the news has been made public and the media is hot on her trail. Poor Olivia!

Hurt by the reactions of her loved ones, Olivia decides to lie low and goes into hiding. She winds up in the small town of Cainsville, where the older residents seem to know her. Hmmmm....wonder what that's about?

Curious about her birth parents, she joins forces with her birth mother's former lawyer to see if their claims of innocence might actually be true. I'm not really sure if she wants to prove them guilty or innocent, but Gabriel certainly makes an interesting partner!

Didn't really get all of the references and hints in the story but, rather than annoying me, it made me hungry to learn more!

Really grew to like Olivia, as she's not your typical spoiled rich girl. She rents a grungy room and takes a job as a waitress at the local diner, as she's refused to accept her adopted mother's money. I can understand why she won't take the money, but think she overreacted a little.

We get a hint of the paranormal with the strange ability Olivia has of reading/interpreting omens. And there seem to be traces of magic in her new home (love all the gargoyles!). And what's up with all the ravens?

Definitely think this will turn into another great series for Kelley, as she's come up with great characters and a fascinating storyline! Almost makes up for ending her Women of the Otherworld series. Almost.


Review copy provided by Goldberg McDuffie Communications in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Book Haul (24)

Photobucket

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Kelley Armstrong is one of the authors on my Must Read list! I don't think I've ever been disappointed with any of her books, so when I was contacted to review the first book in her newest series, I couldn't accept fast enough! Thanks to Goldberg McDuffie Communications for putting together a blog tour, as this book is amazing!

Omens by Kelley Armstrong

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong begins her new series with Omens, featuring a compelling new heroine thrust into a decades-old murder case and the dark mysteries surrounding her strange new home. (Goodreads)

***

Since NetGalley is one of my weaknesses, I try my best to not even log in. If I don't log in, then I won't be tempted. But then they go and send me an email that Julie Kagawa's newest Iron Fey title is available! How am I supposed to resist that? NetGalley, you're like my dealer and I just can't quit...

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice. (Goodreads)


What did you receive this week?


Monday, August 5, 2013

July Wrap-up

library-6

Hoping that a monthly recap will get me back on track!

Books read

In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I need to average 8.33 books per month. According to Goodreads, I read 6 books in July. That means that I'm 27 books behind schedule and need to read 68 total by the end of the year. Do kids books count? Bet I could whip through 68 board books pretty fast! *L*

Blog Goals

No goals completed this month.

Commenting

Am still getting used to Bloglovin' and not doing very well with commenting. Need to find my groove.

Fun with keyword searches

I've started checking my stats periodically, as it's amusing how none of them match. I also love seeing all of the funny ways that people find my blog, so thought I'd share some of the more unusual keyword searches:

*mature mammy*
*zombie mommy*
*will smith shirtless*
*toe tag*

It never ceases to amaze me what people search for online! Unfortunately, the results weren't all that exciting. They all led to archived snapshots of my blog, where it pulled one word out of different posts. But what's with all the interest in shirtless men???

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Book Review: Midnight Frost

Jennifer Estep
Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep

Just when it seems life at Mythos Academy can’t get any more dangerous, the Reapers of Chaos manage to prove me wrong. It was just a typical night at the Library of Antiquities - until a Reaper tried to poison me. The good news is I’m still alive and kicking. The bad news is the Reaper poisoned someone else instead. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Poor Gwen. As if she doesn't have enough on her plate, the Reapers try to poison her one night while she's working in the library. The wrong person is poisoned by mistake, so now she has to head straight into an obvious trap in order to find the antidote. Well, no one said life as Nike's Champion was going to be easy!

Love how Gwen is growing into her role as Champion. While she's at a disadvantage with her training (she lived a "normal" life until her mother was killed, and didn't even know that monsters were real), she's learning! Drives me nuts when a character never improves and stays stuck in a rut, so very happy that Gwen can now kick butt!

Really like how Gwen's friends are always there for her, even if she doesn't always listen to them. She knows that family and friends are important, which is a refreshing change from other heroines out there. And I love the new friend she makes in Colorado. Really hoping to see this person down the road, and fingers crossed they transfer to Gwen's school!

Great plot. Great characters. Great new creatures. This is the 5th book in the Mythos Academy series and the story is still going strong! They are quick reads so if you haven't started the series yet, what are you waiting for? Trust me, this series is well worth reading!


eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review