Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review (DNF) - All the Mermaids in the Sea: The Lost Journals of the Little Mermaid by Robert W Cabell

All the Mermaids in the Sea: The Lost Journals of the Little MermaidTitle: All The Mermaids in the Sea
Author: Robert W Cabell
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 468
Published: February 14th 2013 by Oceanus Books
Source: Author Sent for honest review

Description: Denmark's King Valdemar I, was a young prince when he was washed overboard in a violent storm. His life was saved, but his heart was lost, to Poseidon's daughter Helmi. Twenty-five years later, he faked his death and returned to her in the sea. Their daughter Miranda protected their realm from the ravages of two world wars and then met her own true love, Halder, a marine biologist. On the day of their daughter's birth, Miranda and Halder were mysteriously killed along the Seattle waterfront, but their child survived. Adopted by a loving couple, she was named for the lavender pearl around her neck --- the only clue to her identity. While in Hawaii for her thirteenth birthday she visits Dolphin Quest and everything changes. As Pearl swims with the dolphins, she magically transforms into a mermaid. During her journey through the depths of the oceans, she learns of the murder of her parents and that her grandmother is the immortal Little Mermaid. The stories of Helmi, Miranda, and Pearl are woven together in a sweeping epic of romance and adventure, with a dazzling conclusion that changes the fate of mankind.

I Give This ...
 DNF (Did Not Finish)

I'm a huge little mermaid fan.  So, I really didn't even hesitate on this one.   However, I just could not get into the story.

I struggled with the varying viewpoints.  There seems to be a couple in the presents and a couple in different points in the past.  It took me awhile just to connect the dots on who was who.  4 days later and only 125 pages into the book, I decided to move on for now.  If I come back to this book, I will update my review.

On a side note, I'm not sure the cover is appropriate for the age group.  The author said the book was YA friendly but suitable for all ages.  My husband took one look at the cover and asked what kind of book I was reading.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review - The Boleyn Deceit (The Boleyn Trilogy #2) by Laura Andersen

The Boleyn Deceit (The Boleyn Trilogy, #2)Title: The Boleyn Deceit
Author: Laura Andersen
Series: 2nd (The Boleyn King)
Pages: 416
Published: November 5th 2013 by Ballantine Books 
ISBN: 9780345534118 
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

 Description: Henry IX, known as William, is the son of Anne Boleyn and now the leader of England, his regency period finally at an end. His newfound power, however, comes with the looming specter of war with the other major powers of Europe, with strategic alliances that must be forged on both the battlefield and in the bedroom, and with a court, severed by religion, rife with plots to take over the throne. Will trusts only three people: his older sister, Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by Anne Boleyn. But as the pressure rises alongside the threat to his life, even they William must begin to question-and to fear....

I Give This ...

  I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but I was curious about the long term sustainability involving a character that's fictional surrounded by events and people that are very much a part of history.   I think the author has done a lot of research before tackling this series to make it seem as believable as possible.  

I wasn't sure what to think of William in the first book.   He's a young king stepping out of regency with a  powerful legacy to live up to.  I think he might have been afraid to spread his wings at first, but now he's really coming into his own.  I feel the author has done an excellent job of making it plausible that he's a mixture of Henry and Anne.  He seems to exhibit qualities from both parents.  He's fierce in his love for Minuette and will bend at nothing to get exactly what he wants.  He's manipulating history into place.

I found Elizabeth to be fascinating in this series.  She's pretty much in the exact same position that she was in history.  She knows she has the ability of be a wonderful ruler.  But, will she be given the chance?   The only difference is that I feel she doesn't have to walk on eggshells as much with Willliam and she really did with Mary.

I find it fascinating that the author has managed to make events still happen in different manners.  So, I have a feeling that the world is going to end up in a very similar situation when Elizabeth comes to power in this alternate version of history.   So, was it always Elizabeth's fate to become Queen?

The only thing about this book that throws me off a little is the absolute familiarity between William, Elizabeth, Minuette, and Dominic.  I just don't expect that.  It's obviously changing now that certain situations have come up.  I wonder if we will every get that tone that says "you can't speak in that familiar way become I am King"

I've loved this series so far.  I'm excited to see how we get to that final point in history! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review - Curtsies and Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger

Curtsies and ConspiraciesTitle: Curtsies and Conspiracies
Author: Gail Carriger
Pages: 320
Published: November 5th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780316190114
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldines Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing. For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy. Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ships boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is at first apparent. A conspiracy is afootone with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

I Give This ...

I know I can sometimes have issues when it comes to steampunk.  But at the same I have a hard time saying no to any of it.  So, I didn''t say no when I noticed this up for review.  I'm glad I didn't.

I still love the idea of a spy finishing school.  I really enjoy what we get of the school this time around.  There's a test the girls take to show their placement in the program that I particularly enjoyed.  I feel it showed just exactly why Sophronia should be at the school.   I hated when the other girls ostracized Sophronia, but I understood the reasoning behind it.   Most of these girls know who to stand up for when it really counts.  The others just make the story more interesting.

I liked the storyline more this time.  Sometimes my issues with steampunk involves the gadgets that seem so out of place in the time period.   I was a little afraid of it because this series tends to be heavy on those aspects.  But this time around, I actually found it very intriguing.  There's a lot of implications that go far beyond what's happening in the school.  The government has just at much at stake as the supernaturals.  

I think one of things that I found most interesting was the explanation of vampires, their hives, queens, and roves.  The idea of tethers and a vampires ability to travel within the range of that was something new and a little fascinating.  Especially in light of what happens when that tether is broken.

I'm really interested in where this story is going now.  So, I'm sure I will be reading the next one!

Monday, November 25, 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 Boleyn Deceit (The Boleyn Trilogy, #2)All the Mermaids in the Sea: The Lost Journals of the Little Mermaid
  • The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen
  •  All The Mermaids in the Sea by Robert W. Cabell (DNF)
Currently Reading: 

Somewhere to Dream (The MacDonnells, #3)
  • Somewhere to Dream by Genevieve Graham
 Up This Week:

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (The Rules of Scoundrels, #3)
  • Pawn by Aimee Carter 
  • No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves!

For Review: 

The Color of HeavenThe Forbidden Queen
  • The Color of Heaven by Julianne MacLean
  • The Forbidden Queen by Anne O'Brien 


Queen's Gambit
  • Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle

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, November 21, 2013

B & K's Reading Daze - They Told Us Something Wonderful Was Coming

I have two girls who love to read as much as I do.  They are 8 and 5.  My oldest has grown in  leaps and bounds in the reading department and is beginning to love easy chapter books.  My youngest has most of her sight words and is beginning to start blending.  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.  

This month's pick is special.  We have a family friend who is an excellent artist.  Both my girls have paintings she has done especially for them in their rooms.  So, there was never any doubt that we would pick up her first book.  She wrote and illustrated it herself!

They Told Us Something Wonderful Was ComingTitle: They Told Us Something Wonderful Was Coming
Author: Bev Stone
Pages: 46
Published: August 6th 2013 by Createspace 
ISBN: 9781482626988
Source: Author Gift

Description: Flowers waving? Bees dancing? The sweet sound of barking? How can that be? Explore the subtle signs of joyous anticipation as we learn the reason for celebration in "They Told Us Something Wonderful Was Coming."
I Give This ...

I'm always hesitant to review friends and families' work.  Everyone has their own tastes in literature.  But, I had reviewed some of Bev's previous rough drafts and knew this couldn't be much different.   I wasn't disappointed!

One of the biggest pluses to this short little story was the illustrations.  The author is a fantastic artist in her own rights and it shows!  The pictures are detailed, vivid, and have the painting quality.  The illustrations jump off the pages.

The story itself is cute.  It flows nicely with no jarring text that doesn't fit with the rest.  And it celebrates a wonderful message.  The whole world rejoices at the arrival at something special and I think it sends a powerful message.  

I know the author has another one in the works and I look forward to it as well!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review - The King's Damsel (Secrets of the Tudor Court #5) by Kate Emerson

The King's Damsel (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #5)Title: The King's Damsel
Author: Kate Emerson
Series: 5th (The Pleasure Palace, Between Two Queens, By Royal Decree, At The King's Pleasure)
Pages: 368
Published: August 7th 2012 by Gallery Books 
ISBN: 9781451661491
Source: Personal Copy

Description: A real-life letter from Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, written on September 27, 1534, reported that the king had "renewed and increased the love he formerly bore to another very handsome young lady of the Court" and that the queen had tried "to dismiss the damsel from her service." Other letters from Eustace reveal that the mystery woman was a "true friend" of the Princess (later Queen) Mary, Henry's daughter by Catherine of Aragon. Though no one knows who "the king's damsel" really was, here Kate Emerson presents her as young gentlewoman Thomasine Lodge, a lady-in-waiting to King Henry's daughter, Princess Mary. Thomasine becomes the Princess's confidante, especially as Henry's marriage to Catherine dissolves and tensions run high. When the king procures a divorce in order to marry Anne Boleyn, who is suspicious and distrustful of Mary, Mary has Thomasine placed in Anne's service to be her eyes and ears. And that's when she gets the attention of the king.

I Give This ...

I was curious about this 5th installment in the series. We all know about Henry VII's famous mistresses, but I don't doubt that there were plenty of others.   I was most interested in this one because of the Anne Boleyn factor.  She seemed like a highly emotional woman and I wanted to see how this played out.

First off, I really liked Thomasine.  She may be an entirely fictional character, but I enjoyed her presence in the royal court.  She very well could have existed!   I disliked her benefactor.  I knew there were wards of the crown, but I never realized that these wards could be bought.  A discouraging thought to say the least.  I'm happy that she only does the minimum that he asks of her and that he never truly forces her hand until the end.  

I enjoyed the interactions between Princess Mary, Thomasine, and Anne Boleyn.   It seems I've read very few books dealing in this exact time period so I'm unfamiliar with how Princess Mary and Anne interacted.  I'm not surprised at all this is all reality, but it really made me care for both historical figures even less.  Although, I do have a hard time laying much fault with Princess Mary.  I do wonder how much of these interactions lead to some her actions during her reign.

Despite my interest in the characters, I found this installment to be very slow.   With the title given, I was a little surprised with Thomasine didn't become the king's mistress until about 3/4 of the way through the book.  It really felt like a lot of unnecessary detail although it did paint a vivid picture of the fine line people walked during this time. 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review - Embers and Echoes (Wildefire #2) by Karsten Knight

Embers and Echoes (Wildefire, #2)Title: Embers and Echoes
Author: Karsten Knight
Series: 2nd (Wildefire)
Pages: 480
Published:  August 28th 2012 by Simon & Schuster 
ISBN:  9781442450301
Source: Personal Copy

Description: Ashline Wilde may have needed school to learn that she is actually a reincarnated goddess, but she’s ready to move beyond books. She leaves her California boarding school behind and makes for Miami, where she meets a new group of deities and desperately seeks her sister Rose, the goddess of war. But she’s also looking for love—because even though her romance with Cole had to be snuffed, Ash is a volcano goddess—and she doesn’t get burned. 

I Give This ...

I was a little nervous to start this.  It's been 2 years (maybe 2 1/2) years since I read the first book in the series.  I always meant to pick this one up, but I didn't.   So, I when I finally did I hoped that I would remember enough of the first book to understand this one.

I'm thinking this one starts really close to were the last one left off, but I'm not positive on that.  However, it does start off with a bang.  Ash knows she needs to leave Cole behind.  He's reasoning behind needed to be with Ash aren't entirely pure and she's not about to be used for reasons she doesn't understand.  Not to mention her dreams of her sister Rose are getting stronger.   The only clue she can gleam from them is that's were she goes.

It doesn't take her long to get mixed up with the local deities, some good but a lot of them seem to be on the other side.  Some of the local gods want to go public on a grand scale.  They want to be worshiped and feared just like they use to be.  And they want to use Ash's little sister to do it.  As innocent and she may seem...she's still the Goddess of War.  

Ash is still kickass in this book.  She's willing to do anything to get Eve back, even go into the Netherworld.  But those who know Ash tend to fall into the wrong hands and that's no exception here.  Ash has to witness some horrific things in this installment and there's absolutely nothing she can do about it.

I felt things were explained a little more this time around.  Plus, there's a lot that happens at the end of this one that has me anxious to read the next one.  It's a good thing I already have it ready to go!


Monday, November 18, 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 King's Damsel (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #5)Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)
  • The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson 
  • Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

 Currently Reading: 

The Boleyn Deceit (The Boleyn Trilogy, #2)
  • The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen

Up This Week:

All the Mermaids in the Sea: The Lost Journals of the Little MermaidSomewhere to Dream (The MacDonnells, #3)
  • All The Mermaids in the Sea by Robert W. Cabell
  • Somewhere to Dream by Genevieve Graham

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stacking the Shelves!


The Last QueenThe Tudor Secret (The Spymaster Chronicles, #1)The Tudor Conspiracy (The Spymaster Chronicles, #2)
  • The Last Queen by C.W Gortner
  • The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner
  • The Tudor Conspiracy by C.W. Gortner

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!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Review - Bang (Visions #2) by Lisa McMann

Bang (Visions, #2)Title: Bang
Author: Lisa McMann
Series: 2nd (Crash)
Pages: 256
Published:  October 8th 2013 by Simon Pulse 
ISBN: 9781442466258
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: Jules should be happy. She saved a lot of people’s lives and she’s finally with Sawyer, pretty much the guy of her dreams. But the nightmare’s not over, because she somehow managed to pass the psycho vision stuff to Sawyer. Excellent. Feeling responsible for what he’s going through and knowing that people’s lives are at stake, Jules is determined to help him figure it all out. But Sawyer’s vision is so awful he can barely describe it, much less make sense of it. All he can tell her is there’s a gun, and eleven ear-splitting shots. Bang. Jules and Sawyer have to work out the details fast, because the visions are getting worse and that means only one thing: time is running out. But every clue they see takes them down the wrong path. If they can’t prevent the vision from happening, lives will be lost. And they may be among the casualties… 

I Give This ...

I have extremely conflicting emotions about this one.  And separating those emotions and evaluating the book for what it was proved to be harder than I thought.  There was that nagging thought in the back of my head that really bugged me.

On one hand, I actually felt that this story was an improvement over the first book.  Jules and Sawyer are acting a little bit more their age.  Their family dynamics are crazy, but they are both pushing the boundaries that I think they should.  And maybe some they shouldn't.  Jules starts lying about almost everything.  But, she can't explain the visions and the need she feels to solve the riddle being seen.  And she's not about to give up Sawyer for their families stupid feuds.  Sawyer is standing up for himself and I'm curious how this might play out in the next book.  He's taken a drastic measure that has some big consequences.

The events of the story are well played out.  The visions seem way less specific this time and are harder to decipher.  This really seems to effect Sawyer and I would not want to see what he sees on repeat all the time.  I admired their courage to see it through even placing themselves in significant danger just to help those in the vision.  They really saved a lot of lives and trauma.

What really bothered me about this, was that I often wondered if this was too soon for this type of event to be written out in literature this way?  I seem to be the only one that has been mentioned this in reviews, so maybe I'm the only one that feels the events of December 2012 are still to raw.  I really wanted to know if the author already had this book partially (or fully) written when Sandy Hook happened or did this come after?  It's something that has weighed on my mind.

I let my emotions ride and decided to give the book its dues.  I liked it despite the emotions it made me feel.  I all enjoyed the hook at the end.  It had a very Final Destination feel to it!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review - Resist (Breathe #2) by Sarah Crossan

Resist (Breathe, #2)Title: Resist
Author: Sarah Crossan
Series: 2nd (Breathe)
Pages: 368
Published: October 8th 2013 by Greenwillow Books 
ISBN: 9780062118721
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: Three teen outlaws must survive on their own in a world without air, exiled outside the glass dome that protects what's left of human civilization. Gripping action, provocative ideas, and shocking revelations in a dystopian novel that fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth will devour. Bea, Alina, and Quinn are on the run. They started a rebellion and were thrown out of the pod, the only place where there's enough oxygen to breathe. Bea has lost her family. Alina has lost her home. And Quinn has lost his privileged life. Can they survive in the perilous Outlands? Can they finish the revolution they began? Especially when a young operative from the pod's Special Forces is sent after them. Their only chance is to stand together, even when terrible circumstances force them apart. When the future of human society is in danger, these four teens must decide where their allegiances lie. 

I Give This ...

I've had a hard time writing this review.  My final thoughts are hard to put into a review.  I breezed through it but often felt that things were happening way to quickly.

For a "secret" area, Sequoia was surprisingly easy for them to find.  I know locations are passed by word of mouth, but even the leader of Sequoia seemed surprised to be found not once but twice.   I also wasn't shocked when Sequoia didn't turn out to be all they had hoped for.  It was basically trading once form of oppression for another.

I did enjoy how none of the characters backed down from their beliefs.   Even when Bea is faced with an impossible situation, she is thinking of others safety before he own.  Alina is not willing to give up the idea of air and freedom.   I also liked the idea that maybe some of uppers are tired of of the control in the city and are willing to go the extra mile and help the resistance.

However, I felt the ending was entirely rushed.  A lot of it depended on the chain of events going exactly as planned.  There was a lot of uncertainties.  While things obviously did not go as planned and there were a lot of casualties, it seemed way to easy.  And very little was explained as to what happened next.  I was a little underwhelmed but the events.

Overall it wasn't completely a satisfying ending for me.  I did like the series as a whole and will be looking for the author's next work!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review - The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

The First Phone Call from HeavenTitle: The First Phone Call from Heaven
Author: Mitch Albom
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 272
Published:  November 12th 2013 by Harper 
ISBN: 9780062294371
Source: Sent for honest review

Description: The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief--and a page-turner that will touch your soul--Albom's masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.

I Give This ...

I haven't read a book by Mitch Albom in quite some time.  But, this book seemed to have all the same qualities of the previous books that I read and enjoyed.  Sadly, I think this missed the mark a little for me.

I really tried not to go into this book as a skeptic.  Albom has a knack for making a believer out of you.  I wanted to see how he could pull off phone calls from Heaven.  But, it didn't take me long to not like how these phone calls were presented.  This whole plot line is heavy in spoilers so lets just leave it as I was extremely disappointed how it all played out.

However, I did love the characters.  Sully is the perfect person to narrate this book.  He needs something to believe in.  His life has become the opposite of how he pictured it.  And really, it's not because he made bad choices (well maybe just that one).  It's really just the luck of the draw.  Sometimes bad things happen to good people.  And sometime really unimaginable things happen to people like Sully.  I hope in the end he found some measure of hope in those around him.

In the end, this wasn't exactly what I had hoped it would be.  But, it really does have all the qualities that Mitch Albom is known for.  I think plenty of people will connect with it more than I did.  


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top Ten Covers I Wish I Could Redesign

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  If your curious about this meme, visit Top Ten Tuesday where they have previous topics and upcoming topics listed as well.

Today's topic deals with book covers.  We all have to admit of the first things that catch our eyes is a books cover.  I'm guilty of it.  I'm especially a sucker for a pretty dress, even more so for historical dresses.   So, here are my book covers that I would love to redesign.  I didn't do 10 because some of mine include more than one book!

1. Jane True Series by Nicole Peeler - I have to be honest, I can't remember why I picked this series up.  But, I guarantee it wasn't because of the covers.  The cartoonish design doesn't do it for me at all.

2. Any series by Brandon Mull - I love both The Fablehaven series and The Beyonders series.  I also love that these covers really encourage boys to read.  But at the same time they are off putting to girls.  I recommended them to a 5th grade girl at the school were I work, and she immediately commented on how she never thought to read them because of the covers.  

Keys to the Demon Prison (Fablehaven, #5)A World Without Heroes (Beyonders, #1)

3. Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones - The dreaded cover change.  I've really enjoyed the past covers in this series.  I don't really like this one though.  I do love the purple hue.  

Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5)

4.  Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle - It's not so much a cover redesign as much I dislike it when another country has a much better cover.  Such as the case here.  Can you guess which one I like better.

Queen's GambitQueen's Gambit

5. Shade of Earth by Beth Revis - They did again.  What you ask?  Last book in the series and the decide to go with a different look.  Why?

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)

6. Wolfsbane and Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer - I adored the cover for Nightshade.  So, I was one of the first to be up in arms when they did the cover redesign.  

Wolfsbane (Nightshade, #2)Bloodrose (Nightshade, #3)


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