Thursday, January 31, 2013

B & K's Reading Daze

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.  

We've just recently had the book fair at school which is a highlight for all of us.  The girls love picking out new books!

K's Books:  

Bedtime for Little Bears!Title: Bedtime for Little Bears!
Author: David Bedford
Little Bear flumped down in the snow and wiggled his tail. I'm not sleepy, he said, and I don't want to go to bed yet. Mother Bear smiled. Shall we take one last walk, she said, and see who else is going to bed? Little Bear and Mother Bear take one last walk to see the other animals getting ready for bed. Will this make Little Bear sleepy enough to snuggle down for the night? With cuddly illustrations painted in cool tones, this wonderful bedtime book is the perfect story for any child who isn't quite ready to go to sleep.

I was really proud of K with this one.  Picture books can be difficult because they aren't usually geared towards young readers.  But she got through this with very little help.  Plus, I thought the story was cute!

B's Books: 

Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library!Title: Dewey: There's A Cat in the Library!
Author: Vicki Myron, Bret Witter, Steve James

When Librarian Vicki Myron finds a young kitten abandoned in the Spencer Library return box, she nurses him back to health, deciding then and there that he will be their library cat, and naming him, appropriately, Dewey Readmore Books. Dewey loves his new home, but once he discovers the littlest library visitors-who like to chase him, pull his tail, and squeeze him extra tight-Dewey begins to wonder if he's truly cut out for the demands of his new job. In the end, he is triumphant as he realizes that helping people big and small is what he is meant to do, and that by sharing his special brand of Dewey love, he can be the best library cat of all.

B loves her kitty so it's no surprise that she was drawn to this book.  Combine a lovable cat and the library, and this was a winner for use.  Just a cute story.  Maybe one day I'll read the book! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review - Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle #4) by Christopher Paolini

Inheritance (Inheritance, #4)Title: Inheritance
Author: Christopher Paolini
Series: 4th (Eragon, Eldest, Brisinger)
Pages: 860
Published:  November 8th 2011 by Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN: 9780375856112
Source: Purchased

Description: Not so very long ago, Eragon—Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider—was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.  Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances. The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to AlagaĆ«sia? And if so, at what cost? 

I Give This ...

I read the first three in this series so long ago that I've honestly been putting off reading this one.  But, my goal this year is to read more off my shelf and to finish a few series.  This fell into both categories, so down in came for the bookshelf.

First, I was extremely glad for the little refresher pages in the beginning of the book.  I remembered most of the previous novels, but some of the details escaped me.  It prepared me for the battle that was to come.

Eragon and Saphira have come a long way since we first met them.  They come to lead the people against Galbatorix.  I honestly felt the did the best for the people and not a single decision was for themselves.   The events the lead us to our final point are great.   We learn a lot of history that we haven't been given up to this point.  There were a lot of hidden secrets that I was not expecting.  The dragons may not have exactly anticipated Galbaorix's full powers and how long he would extend that control over the land.  But, I think they did know that one day there might be someone to have the power to overthrow him.

Its a long book, a Paolini likes to be over the top when it comes to details.  It truly shows were he gets his inspiration.   As does the ending.  I was a little disappointed in how it all played out.  It wasn't about strength of mind, or body, but more about the heart.   I felt like I was being slightly cheated of a glorious fight were someone truly comes out on top.  I also  dislike when I feel the book has reached its climax, but yet there are a 150 more pages to read.   This too reminded me were the influence comes from.

I might be a little generous in my 4 rating.  But, I most give Paolini credit for the outstanding world he has created.  I may be slightly disappointed in how the book finished, but the journey getting here has been wonderful.  If this is what he envisioned, then so be it.   It did leave the world he had created how I envisioned it in the end.  He just took a slightly different path to get there.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review - Uncontrollable (The Nature of Grace #2) by S.R. Johannes

Uncontrollable (Nature of Grace, #2)Title: Uncontrollable
Author: S.R. Johannes
Series: 2nd (Untraceable)
Pages: 300
Published:  September 24th 2012 by Coleman & Stott 
ISBN: 9780984799145
Source: Sent for honest review

Description: As Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program".   While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants. After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues.  Little does she know, she is being hunted too.  

I Give This ..

This was a really hard book for me to rate and review.  I really enjoyed the characters and the plot line.  But there are some key points to this story that seem false to me.  I think must people won't think twice about the so I decided to let them go and just go with it.

Grace really is one of the most kick ass heroine's I've ever read about.  She's never the damsel in distress even when she really is in distress.  I love how she's so in tune with nature.  I'm an outdoorsy girl, but I often wonder if I could survive if in the wilderness.  There is no doubt that Grace could.  She knows how to read all the clues and use nature to her advantage.  I love that she loves animals so much.  This part of her is so ingrained into who she is that denying her that does absolutely no good.  Even she can't hide from it.

I wasn't sure how to take the story of the wolves at first.  I'm not a supporter of the reintroduction of the wolves in the rocky mountain, so I was hoping that the story wouldn't become too political or environmental.  I was pleased that it didn't, but I had problems with other aspects of the story.  I just didn't buy that the Department of Fish and Game would let high school students help with such an important project.   It's something that's heavily monitored and recorded and not just a light project for extra credit.  I also wasn't extremely sure that our culprit behind this would have such a conflict of interest.   I'm sure this type of things happen all the time, but I can't imagine that such a connection would be so under the radar. 

Despite those things, I really did like the story.  I'm particularly fond of our characters, especially Grace.  There were some moments were I felt like smacking Wynn, but he redeems himself.  I really don't blame him for the actions that he takes.  I recommend this series immensely!


Monday, January 28, 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:  

Shadow on the CrownPivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)
  • Shadow on the Crown by Patrica Bracewell
  • Pivot Point by Kasie West

Currently Reading:  

A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, #1)
  • A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Up This Week:  
India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy (Madam of Espionage Mystery #3)Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)
  • India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy by Carol K Carr
  • Mind Games by Kiersten White


Sunday, January 27, 2013

In My Mailbox!

For Review: 

  • The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle 
  • India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy by  Carol K. Carr


Four Sisters, All QueensFrom Bad to Cursed (Bad Girls Don't Die, #2)The Torn Wing (The Faerie Ring, #2)
  • Four Sisters, All Queens by Sherry Jones
  • From Bad to Cursed by Katie Alender
  • The Torn Wing by Kiki Hamilton


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!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review - The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan

The Forgotten QueenTitle: The Forgotten Queen
Author: D.L. Bogdan
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 384
Published: January 29th 2013 by Kensington 
ISBN: 9780758271389
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: From her earliest days, Margaret Tudor knows she will not have the luxury of choosing a husband. Her duty is to gain alliances for England. Barely out of girlhood, Margaret is married by proxy to James IV and travels to Edinburgh to become Queen of Scotland.  Despite her doubts, Margaret falls under the spell of her adopted home. But while Jamie is an affectionate husband, he is not a faithful one. And nothing can guarantee Margaret’s safety when Jamie leads an army against her own brother, Henry VIII. In the wake of loss she falls prey to an ambitious earl and brings Scotland to the brink of anarchy. Beset by betrayal and secret alliances, Margaret has one aim—to preserve the crown of Scotland for her son, no matter what the cost… 

I Give This ...

Normally I would consider myself pretty well schooled in Henry VII, but until recently I didn't know he had sisters.  But, women are often forgotten in history and its no surprise I didn't realize they existed.  Since that time, I've read about his younger sister Mary.  I was extremely pleased when I noticed this one to round out my knowledge on the Tudor family.

Margaret didn't really impress me through much of this book.  It's not really that I didn't like her.  She just had so many qualities that grated on my nerves.  From the start of the book it seems like shes complaining.  Her younger brother Henry is sort of a bully.  Everybody dotes are her younger sister Mary.  The only person she feels remotely connected to is her older brother and possibly her mother.  But they both die before and she feels shes been left utterly alone.   It doesn't help that her father bartered her off in marriage to King James IV of Scotland.  Daughters are always political pawns afterall.

Margaret's life in Scotland is not easy.  They do not accept her at first.  She's the English princess and not to be trusted.  Her husband intrigued me greatly.  It's common knowledge that kings took mistresses, but I'm pretty sure this was a whole new level.  But then to punish himself afterwards as a repentance for his sins?  I wonder how many times Margaret wondered what kind of man her father gave her to.  Plus, he just seemed extremely foolish.  There are those who are perfectl for ruling and those who wear the crown because it just happened to fall to them.  I think James fell in later category.

From the point of James' death, I think Margaret was so desperate for somebody to love her and only her.  She latched on to the first person who would show her any type of affection.  But, he only had his sights set on what Margaret could do for him.  Because of her crazy obsession with love it caused her to see things unclearly.  She ended up losing her children.  She fled Scotland and tried to enlist her brother for help. 

Eventually Margaret realized that love was not going to save her.  She needed to be a mother to both her son, The King, and to the rest of Scotland.  It was land that had been ravaged by constant struggle for those in power.  She grew on me at the point.  She knew what her priorities should be.

An interesting book that showed how me how Scotland fit into the picture with England.  I felt it did an excellent job of setting up the ongoing tensions between Scotland and England at the time. 



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

5 ARCs for Giveaway!!! Stolen Nights, Everbound, Wanted, Shadowfell, Sisterhood Everlasting!

I haven't hosted a contest in awhile!   But, I have 5 ARC's sitting on my desk that I've already read and reviewed.  I was going to give them away as a pack, but they are slightly different groups.  So, here are 5 different raffle-copter giveaways for you to enter.  You can enter one or you can enter them all.  You do have to tweet each individual link to get that extra entry.  But to get the extra entry for commenting on the blog post, you only have to comment once!  

Contest open to US residents only who are 13 and up! 
So here are the books ...

Stolen Nights (Vampire Queen, #2)

Everbound (Everneath, #2)  


Shadowfell (Shadowfell, #1)

Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood, #5) 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review - Stolen Nights (Vampire Queen #2) by Rebecca Maizel

Stolen Nights (Vampire Queen, #2)Review: Stolen Nights
Author: Rebecca Maizel
Series: 2nd (Infinite Days)
Pages: 303
Published: January 29th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin 
ISBN: 9780312649920
Source: Publisher sent for honest review 

Description: Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human—and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss.   With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead...
I Give This ...

I've waited a long time for time to come out.  It's hard enough waiting a year between releases, but this was quite a bit longer.   It was well worth the wait, but you might want to reread Infinite Days before this one.
I say reread because I was extremely lost on some of the events that the beginning of this book is referring to.  I had a hard time piecing together the events that had already occurred and when they happened.  I eventually think I got it all, but I felt the book didn't really help remind you.  But, I was ok with that because I was completely sucked in to what was happening.  I think that's because of Lenah and Rhode.  There is something about Lenah as a human that I have a hard time imagining how ferocious she was as a vampire.  We get glimpses  of her past that lead to her basically hibernating for a century and having Rhode search for a cure.  From the brief descriptions we get, its no wonder she was Vampire Queen.

But, someone from her past isn't happy with the life they've been dealt.  That person wants their human life back and all the power that comes with the ritual.  This person has all the power and blood thirst that Lenah had and the coven to back it up.  The problem is that ritual has disturbed the order of things already.  By performing the ritual themselves, Lenah and Rhode have been forced to made some extremely difficult choices.  Choices that effect everyone they've ever met.

The chain of events was fast and intense.  The anguish that Lenah and Rhode feel is palpable and heartbreaking.  And the vampire that is so determined to gain the ritual is relentless.   In the end, Lenah knows that so many of the events are preventable if she has the ability to make one choice.  But can she do it?   And when you realize what it is...could you?

Monday, January 21, 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:
Inheritance (Inheritance, #4)Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)
  • Inheritance by Christopher Paolini 
  • Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carringer

Currently Reading:
Shadow on the Crown
  • Shadow on the Crown by Patrica Bracewell

Up This Week: 

Finale (Hush, Hush, #4)Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)
  • Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick
  • Pivot Point by Kasie West


Sunday, January 20, 2013

In My Mailbox!


Finale (Hush, Hush, #4)

  • Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick

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!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Review - Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3) by Rachel Hawkins

Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3)Review: Spell Bound
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: 3rd (Hex Hall, Demonglass)
Pages: 327
Published:  March 13th 2012 by Hyperion Book CH 
ISBN:  9781423121329
Source: Library

Description: Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.  Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late? 

I Give This ...

I always meant to buy this because I really did love the first two in the series.  But, I was holding out in hopes that the local library would one day get the series.  They finally did and I quickly put in my hold.

Sophie has a lot to deal with at the beginning of this novel.  Her powers have been stripped.  Her father and Cal may not have survived.  She has no idea were Archer is.  And, she may or may not be in the hands of her worst enemy.  Turns out the Brannicks aren't as bad as everyone thinks.  And Sophie might just get her happy ending, or something similar.

This is a hard book to review without giving away spoilers.  Just know that I enjoyed it almost as I enjoyed the rest of the series.  I loved how the series ends at Hex Hal just like it began there.  I did feel we get cheated out of a confrontation just a little bit, but the story ends nicely.  Our characters are all here, doing exactly the things that I originally like about them 

I haven't decided if I am going to read the spin off series yet.  I might wait and see how the first reviews turn out.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy, #2)Title: The Runaway King
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Description:  Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom? 
I LOVED the first book, so I am extremely excited to read this one.  I hope it lives up to the first!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review - Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton #1) by Leila Rasheed

Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton, #1)Title: Cinders & Sapphires
Author: Leila Rasheed
Series: 1st
Pages: 400
Published: January 22nd 2013 by Disney-Hyperion 
ISBN: 9781423171171
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: One house, two worlds...Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada. For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name—but it would mean giving up her one true love . . . someone she could never persuade her father to accept.

I Give This ...

I keep seeing this compared to the show Downton Abbey.  Apparently I need to watch this show because I really enjoyed this book.

I don't normally go for the gossip and cattiness that comes with well-off people, especially teenagers.  But, there's something about Regency England that I just love.  And honestly, cattiness and gossip are just part of the nobility.  I was hoping to get something different with Ada and her sister Georgia.  And I was partly right.  Ava is not only beautiful, she's smart.  She wants to go against the grain and attend college.  Something relatively unheard of in that day and age.  Her sister isn't entirely that same mold, but I liked her nonetheless.  She's that girl you want to protect no matter what.

The problem lies in the fact that the sisters have spent most of their lives in India, far away from the glaring eyes and loose tongues of The Ton.  They haven't learned yet how to guard their secrets and maybe even their hearts.   Her father's quick departure from India has left the family as the hot topic on the gossip chain.  His quick engagement leaves more questions than answers.   Her soon to be stepsister and stepmother will stop at nothing to bring those of the Somerton house to their knees.  But, it turns out they are hiding just as many secrets of their own.

A pages turner for sure.  I love the idea of the nobility, but every once in awhile a book comes to light that reminds how hard and dangerous that kind of life could be.  It didn't take much to bring you down, and then life could turn around and bring you back up.  I eagerly await the next book in this fun series! 


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