Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:  
The Sword Dancer (Tang Dynasty, #4)Cold Magic (The Spiritwalker Trilogy #1)Bloodrose (Nightshade, #3)
  • The Sword Dancer by Jeannie Lin
  • Cold Magic by Kate Elliott (DID NOT FINISH)
  • Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Currently Reading: 
One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2)
  • One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker
Up This Week:  
Dreamfever (Fever, #4)Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3)
  • Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning
  • Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves!

For Review:  

The Boleyn Deceit (The Boleyn Trilogy, #2)This Side of Salvation
  • The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Anderson
  • This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

Crash (Visions, #1)At the King's Pleasure  (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #4 )
The King's Damsel (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #5)The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)
  • Crash by Lisa McMann
  • At The King's Pleasure by Kate Emerson
  • The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson 
  • The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Dreamfever (Fever, #4)
  • Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Early Review - Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: 2nd (Throne of Glass)
Pages: 432
Published: August 27th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens 
ISBN: 9781619630628
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.  Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for? 

 I Give This ...

I was in the camp of those who enjoyed Throne of Glass.   I did wonder though were our fearless assassin was because Celaena was hard to picture in that role.  Well hold on because we get her in this book.  This installment pretty much rocked it.

I was curious how Celaena was going to take on the role of the king's assassin.   She may be widely known for her skills, but the person I got to known in the first book is not just going to kill at the king's command.   Interestingly enough, I was not surprised to learn what she's really doing.   She's playing a very dangerous game with the king.  She may not be openly defying him, but this way might be even worse.  So were does the crazy assassin come in?  Some events unfold that lead to the death of someone near and dear to Celaena and she literally goes off the deep end.  I see now were everyone was right to fear her.  Thankfully we get the real Celaena back, although she's a little more damaged and a lot more determined to bring the king down.

I loved Choal throughout this book.  Celaena tests everything he has been lead to believe.  He must decide were his loyalties really lie.   Is Celaena worth risking everything for?  Then we have Dorian.  He sees what's going on between Choal and Celaena.  I was worried that he might be the one to portray them both.  But in the end, he has just as much to hide from his father.   How is it that one women managed to flip these two men on their heads to the point they will defy the man that can kill them all.   

There are also some crazy twists in the story.   Dorian has the power to help lead the revolt, but is he up to the task?  And who is Calaena really?  When its all laid out on the table for us I had all ready put my finger on the truth.  But, it was such a pivotal moment that I couldn't help but love how Choal put it all together.   And how close is the King to discovering how those closest to him may be the ones to bring him down?   And dammit...who is the girl in the mines that we get the slightest knowledge of?

I can hardly wait for the next book.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review - Between Two Queens (Secrets of the Tudor Court #2) by Kate Emerson

Between Two Queens (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #2)Title: Between Two Queens
Author: Kate Emerson
Series: 2nd (The Pleasure Palace)
Pages: 384
Published: January 5th 2010 by Pocket
ISBN: 9781416583271
Source: Personal Copy

Description: Pretty, flirtatious, and ambitious. Nan Bassett hopes that an appointment at the court of King Henry VIII will bring her a grand marriage. But soon after she becomes a maid of honor to Queen Jane, the queen dies in childbirth. As the court plunges into mourning, Nan sets her sights on the greatest match in the land...for the king has noticed "her." After all, it wouldn't be the first time King Henry has chosen to wed a maid of honor. And in newly Protestant England, where plots to restore the old religion abound, Nan may be the only one who can reassure a suspicious king of her family's loyalty. But the favor of a king can be dangerous and chancy, not just for Nan, but for her family as well...and passionate Nan is guarding a secret, one that could put her future -- and her life -- in grave jeopardy should anyone discover the truth. 

I Give This ...

 I've been collecting this series for awhile, but just recently starting digging into them.  I was intrigued by the idea of lesser knows historical figures and building the royal court around them.  I often feel you get a different view of the royals this way.   Sadly, I was really unimpressed with this installement.

  Why didn't I like it...Nan.  She is seriously one of the most shallow and selfish characters I think I've ever read about.  I know women had it hard in this time period.  But all Nan cared about was putting herself in the best position to land the man with the best title and the most money.  She had plenty of chances to marry but they were never good enough for her.  She also had an interesting habit of escaping suspicion.   As dangerous at the court of King Henry VIII was, I'm surprised she wasn't imprisoned several times over.   The more amazing thing was that she never married the King.  As much as she wanted a title and the money, she never wanted a crown.  She never pushed that issue.

What I did enjoy was the glimpse we get behind the scenes.  Nan served as maid of honor to Queen Jane, Queen Anne, and Queen Catherine.  She also served in Princess Mary's house.  She was at the mercy of keeping the King's favor so she could continue to be at court.  The book also depicts Nan as being pivotal in bringing Katherine Parr and the King together.  She managed to have her hands in so many things.  But, despite all that I just couldn't bring myself to like her.

As for the secret, yes it's one that could ruin Nan and possibly several others.   However, there's never the scandal of anybody finding out.  It's an element of the story that I could have done without.  I think had it been done differently, it might have made Nan seem a little bit more compassionate.  

I'll continue the series...because I'm fascinated with this time period.  Kate Emerson definitely had something to offer to that!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review - Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand

Boundless (Unearthly, #3)Title: Boundless
Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: 3rd (Unearthly, Hallowed)
Pages: 438
Published:  January 22nd 2013 by HarperTeen 
ISBN: 9780061996207
Source: Personal Copy

Description:The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life. Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place. As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.  

I Give This ...

I wasn't sure were this story might go at the end of the second book.   There were a lot of open questions about relationships and what Clara's destiny might truly be.   I was hoping that the final installment of the series might answer those and end the story.

I think it's interesting how hard Clara tries when it comes to Christian.  She readily admits that he is probably suppose to be a part of her life.  But, no matter how hard she tries, she can't get Tucker out of her head.  So were does that leave Christian when it comes to the question of her "destiny?"  In so many of her visions, Christian is right by her side.  How do you explain that to the one who so obviously believes that destiny means something else as well.   I admired Clara for trying to make it known to all parties how she really feels.

I really enjoyed how the story progressed through this one.   From the slow progression of Clara's and Tucker's relationship to Angela's desperate attempt to hide what's really happening to her.  Even Samjeeze pulled me in.   He's still scary as can be, but it s turns out he has a soft spot.  And, he's not the scariest thing out there.   Love, or even the slightest indication of it, is the downfall of so many.   And in this case Angela and Jeffery are in way to deep.  But, Clara's there to rescue them all.

I found what happened in the end to be extreme interesting.  I think the author did a great job balancing the idea of destiny and choice.  It's always and interesting thought to me.  Plus, there was a lot of crazy things that happened in the end that left me guessing right up until the end.

I was pleased with the way the story worked out.  The author managed to surprise me with how we got to the end.  But, I think it was wrapped in a really great way!


Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Up This Week: 

Just Like FateIf I Die (Soul Screamers, #5)Ten Tiny Breaths
  • Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young
  • If I Die by Rachel Vincent  
  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

 Currently Reading:    

The Sword Dancer (Tang Dynasty, #4)
  • The Sword Dancer by Jeannie Lin

Up This Week:

Cold Magic (The Spiritwalker Trilogy #1)Bloodrose (Nightshade, #3)
  • Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
  • Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer


Friday, July 19, 2013

Early Review - Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy #5) by Jennifer Estep

Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy, #5)Title: Midnight Frost
Author:  Jennifer Estep
Series: 5th (Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, Dark Frost, Crimson Frost)
Pages: 400
Published: July 30th 2013 by K-Teen 
ISBN: 9780758281494
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

 Description: Here we go again … 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.  As Nike’s Champion, everyone expects me to lead the charge against the Reapers, even though I’m still hurting over what happened with Spartan warrior Logan Quinn. I’ve got to get my hands on the antidote fast — otherwise, an innocent person will die. But the only known cure is hidden in some creepy ruins — and the Reapers are sure to be waiting for me there … 

 I Give This ...

This was a fast paced read.  It didn't take long for Chaos to rule.    I was slightly concerned that we wouldn't get much forward progress with this book.  But, I was wrong.

Gwen is really accepting that she is Nike's Champion.  She's kind of waiver back and worth on this front, but she kicks ass this time around.  She gathers all the information when Nickamedes is poisoned and is able to identify what was possibly used.  Turns out the antidote is from a rare flower that only grows in one place.  And it has to be picked at midnight...during a full moon.

Sure they know it's a trap, but they have no choice.  They head to the ruins in Colorado.  Interestingly enough here is were she learns about her dad's family.  There's a lot of history there and I'm not sure how it's managed to not come to light until now.  It helps that Gwen goes by her Mother's name and not her father's.   It make for some interesting reading and seems to make things infinitely more complicated. 

I was surprised when the trap wasn't set right away.  Turns out the Reapers want Gwen and her friends to do their dirty work.  They want the flower for other reasons, but they can't get it on their own.  I really thought this time they might really interfere with the outcome (because beloved characters do occasionally die), but Logan appears at the right time.  I knew he would from reading the short story in between.  But, I honestly wondered when he would get there.

There's a particularly interesting section of the book for me.   Logan and Gwen must take the long way down the mountain and in a snow storm no less.  When it's discovered that Logan is seriously injured, I wondered how they were going to get off that mountain.  The gryphons come to help in the most unexpected way.   This connection leads another Goddess to offer her help to Gwen.  She offers something that might help defeat Loki in the end.

I really liked this story.  But then again, I've enjoyed this series as a whole.   I look forward to the next in the series.  I do hope it doesn't stretch out to much longer though.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

B & K's Reading Daze - Because I'm Your Dad by Ahmet Zappa

I have two girls who love to read as much as I do.  They are  7 and 5.  My oldest has grown in  leaps and bounds in the reading departmment.  My youngest is beginning to pick up on sight words.  I'm so excited that this love of mine seems to be passing on to them.  So B & K's Reading Daze highlights some of the books they have enjoyed over the past month.   
Because I'm Your DadTitle: Because I'm Your Dad
Author: Ahmet Zappa
Pages: 32
Published: April 2nd 2013 by Disney-Hyperion 
ISBN: 9781423147749
Source: Sent for honest review
Description: Because I'm your dad, you can have spaghetti for breakfast, French toast for dinner, and rocky road ice cream in the bathtub.  In a text that's both playful and loving, a father expresses his hopes and dreams for a one-of-a-kind relationship with his child. Whimsical monster characters bring the silly and sweet scenes to life and keep the book universal. The book's ending, a moving tribute to the author's father, guarantees intergenerational appeal.  Because I'm your dad, I will do all of these things for you and more . . . because that's what my dad did for me.  
I Give This ...

My youngest and I really liked this book.  It's a cute little story about the fun things kids and their dad's might do (especially when mom might not be around).   It can make dad's seem a little light in the responsibility department.  But, I know in my household daddy always seems like the fun one.  I'm okay with that.

I also really enjoyed how the story's main characters are monsters.  I think it made them seem cute and not at all scary.  But then again, might daughter has never been scared of monsters.   I'm not sure how a child that might be would react.  It might help them.   It was well illustrated, bright and colorful.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review - Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse #10) by Charlaine Harris

Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse, #10)Title: Dead In The Family
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: 10 (1-8, Dead and Gone)
Pages: 311
Published: May 4th 2010 by Ace Books 
ISBN: 9780441018642
Source: Personal Copy

Description: Sookie Stackhouse is dealing with a whole host of family problems, ranging from her own kin (a non-human fairy and a telepathic second cousin) demanding a place in her life, to her lover Eric's vampire sire, an ancient being who arrives with Eric's 'brother' in tow at a most inopportune moment. And Sookie's tracking down a distant relation of her ailing neighbour (and ex), Vampire Bill Compton.  In addition to the multitude of family issues complicating her life, the werewolf pack of Shreveport has asked Sookie for a special favour, and since Sookie is an obliging young woman, she agrees. But this favour for the wolves has dire results for Sookie, who is still recovering from the trauma of her abduction during the Fairy War. 

I Give This ...

I decided to give this series a break for awhile.  I wasn't sure there was an end coming soon and after 9 books, I felt the subject might be a little bit tired.  But, with the final book in the series finally released, I decided it was time to pick up the series again.

To be honest, I had kind of forgot little details.  It's times like this that I'm grateful that most series authors do a little bit of a recap.  I get a refresher without feeling like I'm being beat over the head with it.    And it's not an information dump at the beginning of the book.  Despite that, I really felt like this book was really slow.  Not a lot happens.  It even seems like Sookie is waiting for something to happen.

Granted there are some interesting things going on.   Her fairy cousin moves in with her which causes some interesting complications.  But, he's not the only fairy around.  And who ever it is may or may not have it in for Sookie.  Her cousin is being oddly quiet and who it might be.   When the body of the 2nd in command of the wolves is found on Sookie's property, she's asked to come help root out the culprit.  Who knew Sookie had Shaman capabilities?

Honestly my favorite part was learning who Eric's "brother" really is.  Totally unexpected and I loved how it was woven into the story.   I wish I could reveal who it is because its such a pivotal character in history that I was amazed at how crazy this person is as a vampire.

The last 50 pages or so are what make this book.  Worth it in the end, but it took a long time to get there.   We still have open story lines, but only 3 more books in the series!  There's an end in sight!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review - Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Dirty Little SecretTitle: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 288
Published: July 16th 2013 by MTV Books 
ISBN: 9781451658033
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.   Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again… 

I Give This ... 

I've only read a couple books by Jennifer Echols, but I liked them.  This one had an interesting description, so I thought why not?  It had it's ups and downs but overall was a pretty good read.

I actually really loved Bailey.  She's been cast aside and I can only imagine how that would really feel.  She does what so many teenagers try do...rebel.  The problem being that she's not very good at.  Despite her jet black hair and heavy black makeup, she's really just the girl next door.  The girl who's been left behind by her family in a time she probably needed them most.  I was so happy to see her pick up her fiddle again.  You can tell by what she's willing to put up with, both at her mall gigs and with Sam, that she truly loves to play.  She makes it seem like she doesn't care that she will probably never make it.  But, you can tell that she is crushed that her dreams went on without her.

Speaking of her dreams, can I please say shame on the record company.  I know they are all about making money and who's the next big things.  I just found in appalling that they would break up a sister duo and then hide the fact that they only signed one.  And even bigger shame on her parents for allowing it to happen.  Our one child's dreams worth the other ones?   That's a part of the story that really bothered me.  Bailey's were she is really because of no fault of her own.   

I really thought the different  personality mixed in the band Bailey joins were interesting.   I wondered how the pressure of hitting it big might effect them.  They didn't seem especially close.  Sometimes I wanted to beat Sam over the head.  It took a long time for me to decide if he was using Bailey or genuinely liked her.  He absolutely infuriated me when he jumped on Bailey because she refused to use her sister's contacts to get them an in.  Especially after she poured her heart out about the last year's events.

In the end, it all works out.  It had it's moments but I really did appreciate the book for what it was.  Plus, I loved the fact that Bailey played the fiddle!  What a unique choice.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:  
Boundless (Unearthly, #3)Between Two Queens (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #2)Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)
  • Boundless by Cynthia Hand
  • Between Two Queens by Kate Emerson
  • Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Mass 
Currently Reading:  
Just Like Fate
  • Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young
Up This Week:  
If I Die (Soul Screamers, #5)Ten Tiny Breaths

  • If I Die by Rachel Vincent 
  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker


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