Monthly Wrap Up

March 2014 Wrap-Up

March was an awesome reading month! I have really hit a great stride in picking out the best books, ever! It’s like everything I’ve read has been so enjoyable this year! I’m terrified I’m going to hit a wall since I’ve had so many great books already! But for now, I just keep chugging along with my reading. Oh and I promise I’ll have some new recipes to share with you in April! I’ve been cooking a bit more lately and I’ve already got at least one to share! Anyway, here’s what I read in March:

Books read: 6 (YTD: 15)

Watching the DarkBye Bye BabyThe Sound of Broken GlassThe AccidentThe Weight of BloodClub Dead

Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson
Bye Bye, Baby by Max Allan Collins
The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie
The Accident by Chris Pavone
The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Pages read: 1966 (YTD: 5309)

Challenge Progress:

Eclectic Reader Challenge: 3/12
Official TBR Pile Challenge: 2/12
What’s in a Name Challenge: 1/5

Books received: 26 (see list here)

Purchased New: 3
Purchased Used: 5
Hard copy Review books: 4
Electronic Review Books: 2
Paperbackswap Point: 6
Paperbackswap Box-of-Books Trade: 5
Grandmother: 1

Memes posted: 7

Events Participated In: None

Recipes shared: 0

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Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, March 31, 2014

Mailbox Monday has returned home to Mailbox Monday’s site this year.

So um, my mailbox *might* have been overflowing this week. I will start with some new-to-me goodies I found in my local used book store and then move on to the ones I received in my mailbox and finish up with the ones I received for review.

I made one last trip to my local used book store before it closes. It technically doesn’t close  until April 26th, but their inventory is already reduced dramatically and there isn’t much else left there that would compel me to go back. I’m still super sad about this store closing. I didn’t go there nearly as often as I should have during the years I’ve been living here. Anyway, I picked up 5 more books this last trip. They were ones I’d had my eye on during previous trips, but it was  the 30% off that made me finally pick them up.

WarlordAgent XThe BricklayerA Long Day for DyingThe Bride Collector

 

I went kind of crazy on Paperbackswap the last few weeks and ordered these books:

Fool MoonOutlanderThe Dark Side of CamelotBrothers

And one from my grandmother:

Six Years

And finally I received a couple of review books in the mail as well:

The Kafka SocietySafe Keeping

 

Now … I need to start reading!!!

 

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2014, SERIES, Sookie Stackhouse

2014.15 REVIEW – Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Club Dead
by Charlaine Harris

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 258
Rating: 3/5
Read: March 24 – Mar. 29, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 15
Format:  Print
Source: Personal copy (PBS)


Club DeadBlurb
: There’s only one vampire Sookie Stackhouse is involved with (at least voluntarily) and that’s Bill. But recently he’s been a little distant – in another state, distant. His sinister and sexy boss Eric has an idea where to find him. Next thing Sookie knows, she is off to Jackson, Mississippi to mingle with the under-underworld at Club Dead. It’s a dangerous little haunt where the elitist vampire society can go to chill out and suck down some Type O. But when Sookie finally finds Bill – caught in an act of serious betrayal – she’s not sure whether to save him … or sharpen some stakes.


Review: Okay, so this is the third book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. And I have to tell you … I was a little bit disappointed in it. I have enjoyed the first two books quite a bit. But this one fell flat for me. It felt forced. And I hate to say it … I couldn’t stop thinking about how much Sookie was reminding me of Bella from the Twilight books … she was so freaking whiney in this installment that it just about drove me bonkers. To be completely honest, if this book had been the first in the series, I never would have read the second one. That’s how much this one did not work for me.

I’m not giving up on this series yet. I still have the next two books, but if they aren’t better than this one … well. We’ll just have to see after that. Hopefully this book was just a random fluke in this series and the next one will be better.

So I’m curious, if you’ve read this series (I know, I’m terribly behind to the party on this one!) did this one fall flat for you? Does it get better again in the next one? Let me know your thoughts!

READING CHALLENGES 2014

#TBRChallengeRBR Checkpoint 3

2014tbrbutton

Well, here we are at the third TBR Challenge checkpoint.

I’m happy to say that I’ve done a little bit better this month than last month. What’s that mean, you ask? Well … I at least read one book for this challenge this month 🙂

So while I’m still technically one book behind on this challenge, at least I didn’t get another book behind. I keep hoping that I’ll catch a break in my reading schedule to get some personal books read, but I keep accepting review books, haha! (Which is okay too because I’ve read a lot of good books this year!)

Anyway, for this month I read Max Allan Collins’ Bye Bye, BabyIt’s part of his Nathan Heller series, but the first in a trilogy within the series that revolves around the Kennedy family.

As I state in my review, I liked the book but I think it’s overall reach in regards to its readership would probably begin and end with people interested in Marilyn Monroe and/or the Kennedy family. But I would recommend it and I look forward to reading the other two books in the future sometime.

I’m definitely looking forward to reading more for this challenge, but I have a pretty bad feeling that I’m going to end up not too happy with the books I chose. Oh well!

Until next month’s check-in … happy reading!

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #16

20120807-073336.jpg

Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts this meme.

Duke City Split

Today I’m featuring a book that I’m reading for review. 

Bud Knox relaxed on a park bench, basking in the April sunshine, his windbreaker zipped to his chin. A placid man with thinning brown hair, Bud looked nothing at all like a bank robber.

I’m reading this one in conjunction with a TLC Book tour. This one definitely caught my attention immediately! I hope you’ll stop back by when I post my review on April 7th!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, March 24, 2014

Mailbox Monday has returned home to Mailbox Monday’s site this year.

Quite a few this week. Two new purchases, four from a Paperbackswap box-of-books trade and one ARC for review!

I’ll start with the ARC, sent from the publisher after requesting it through an ad in Shelf Awareness:

BittersweetOn scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, a cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with the midnight skinny-dips, the wet-dog smell lingering in the air, the moneyed laughter carrying across the still lake, and before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted: wealth, friendship, a boyfriend, and, most of all, the sense, for the first time in her life, that she belongs.

But as Mabel becomes an insider, she makes a terrible discovery that leads to shocking violence and the revelation of the true source of the Winslows’ fortune. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and redefine what is good and what is evil, in the interest of what can be hers.

Then I purchased these two new (hey, they were both on sale!)

Daddy's Gone a HuntingDivergent

And these four came from a PBS Box-of-Books swap. I have a feeling a couple of them will get traded again pretty soon (unread, too)…

The Edge The Magic CircleMary, MaryThe Right Hand of Evil

 

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, NetGalley, P, RATING, Read in 2014, Review Book

2014.13 REVIEW – The Accident by Chris Pavone

The Accident
by Chris Pavone

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 342
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: March 10 – Mar. 17, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 13
Format: E-Book
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

 

The AccidentBlurb: As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident, while always looking over his shoulder.

Over the course of one long, desperate, increasingly perilous day, these lives collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk—and everyone in mortal peril.  The rich cast of characters—in publishing and film, politics and espionage—are all forced to confront the consequences of their ambitions, the schisms between their ideal selves and the people they actually became.

The action rockets around Europe and across America, with an intricate web of duplicities stretching back a quarter-century to a dark winding road in upstate New York, where the shocking truth about the accident itself is buried.

Gripping, sophisticated, layered, and impossible to put down, The Accident proves once again that Chris Pavone is a true master of suspense.


Review: I received a copy of this book for free through NetGalley, all opinions expressed below are my own.

I originally put in a request for a print galley through an ad in Shelf Awareness. I didn’t get a print galley, but was sent an email inviting me to have access to an e-galley. I gladly clicked through the link and then let the book sit on my Nook for a while. Well, for months, really. Can I just tell you right now that that was the dumbest thing I could have done?!

This book was awesome. It sucked me in from the first page (I was stupid and started it while on the treadmill and only had about 20 minutes to read before my bootcamp class started). I was tempted to skip that class just so I could continue to read! It definitely has an immediate draw, that’s for sure!

This book has every twist and turn imaginable. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, another curveball is thrown and you’re left with your mouth hanging wide open and your eyes bugging out of your head in utter surprise! At least I was!

If I had to nitpick one thing about this book, it was the sheer number of characters and storylines that were introduced in the beginning. I had a little bit of trouble trying to keep track of what was what and who was who. But once things started to come together, I understood why everything was placed as it was. It definitely allowed for layers to be peeled back, one by one.

I found this book to be really enjoyable. I had figured out who the “author” was relatively early on, but I still had no idea about other revelations at the end of the book. The writing was suspenseful and the characters were well-developed.

This was my first time reading this author, but I can say with certainty, it won’t be my last!

One last thing to mention, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a different side of the publishing business through this book. I had no idea how the agent/editor/publisher, purchasing/owning, and then the film options truly worked. So it was pretty interesting to get an insider look on how the process works.

Highly recommended!!

AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, PICT Book Tours, Read in 2014, Review Book

2014.12 REVIEW: The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

The Sound of Broken Glass

by Deborah Crombie

on Tour Feb 24th – March 31st, 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: William Morrow

Publication Date: February 25, 2014

Number of Pages: 384

ISBN: 9780061990649

Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

In the past. . .home to the tragically destroyed Great Exhibition, a solitary thirteen-year-old boy meets his next-door neighbor, a recently widowed young teacher hoping to make a new start in the tight-knit South London community. Drawn together by loneliness, the unlikely pair forms a deep connection that ends in a shattering act of betrayal.

In the present. . .On a cold January morning in London, Detective Inspector Gemma James is back on the job while her husband, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, is at home caring for their three-year-old foster daughter. Assigned to lead a Murder Investigation Team in South London, she’s assisted by her trusted colleague, newly promoted Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot. Their first case: a crime scene at a seedy hotel in Crystal Palace. The victim: a well-respected barrister, found naked, trussed, and apparently strangled. Is it an unsavory accident or murder? In either case, he was not alone, and Gemma’s team must find his companion—a search that takes them into unexpected corners and forces them to contemplate unsettling truths about the weaknesses and passions that lead to murder. Ultimately, they will question everything they think they know about their world and those they trust most.


REVIEW: I received a copy of this book for free as part of a blog tour with Partners in Crime Tours, all opinions expressed below are my own.

Once again, I accepted to review this book knowing full well that it’s a recent installment in a long-running series (book #15, to be exact). And once again I am pleased to let you know that it really didn’t impact my overall feelings on this book. There were a few spots where it would have been nice to have a little bit of background information (especially regarding Charlotte and how she came to Gemma and Duncan). So while I think it reads relatively well as a standalone, there were a few questions in my mind that reading the previous books would have definitely been helpful.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Having no knowledge of previous books, I don’t know who is normally the main protagonist. In this particular one its Gemma and Melody doing most of the work on the cases. With the rather large list of characters that appear to be regulars in this series, I think it would be interesting to see who takes the “lead” next. At one point in this book Gemma has to explain to Duncan that the mother that she has met during playdates with Charlotte is actually extremely important, wealthy and famous, and he has absolutely no clue that she is anything other than your typical stay-at-home mom. It definitely made me laugh out loud at how clueless he was! Just little things like that definitely add to the characters’ personalities that make them really appealing to me.

This particular installment has a “past” and “present” storyline going on. The past is interspersed with the present day storyline. I really enjoyed seeing how they eventually began to weave together and in the end came out in a surprising manner. I was scratching my head more than once trying to figure out where they connected, but once they did it was really interesting to see how Gemma and Melody would piece everything together.

Overall I felt like this was a very good book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fast paced and there were many times in the second half of the book that I actually had to force myself to put it down. I really liked this one and am definitely looking forward to meeting this cast of characters again!

Highly recommended.


Read an excerpt:

Browse Inside The Sound of Broken Glass: A Novel by Deborah Crombie

Author Bio:

Deborah Crombie is a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds. Visit Deborah at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Catch Up With the Author:

Tour Participants:

2/25 ~ Review @ My Readers Block
2/26 ~ Review @ Deal Sharing Aunt
2/27 ~ The Reading Frenzy
2/28 ~ Review by Carol Wong
3/03 ~ Review @ Celtic Lady Reviews
3/04 ~ Review @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
3/05 ~ Review @ Deco My Heart
3/07 ~ Review @ A Bookish Girl
3/12 ~ Interview & Review @ Thoughts in Progress
3/13 ~ Review @ Melinas Book Blog
3/17 ~ Review @ Marys Cup of Tea
3/18 ~ Interview @ Writers and Authors
3/18 ~ Review @ Tales of a Book Addict
3/19 ~ Review @ Vics Media Room
3/20 ~ Review @ Views from the Countryside
3/26 ~ Review @ Lazy Day Books
3/28 ~ Review @ Book Dilettante

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, March 17, 2014

Mailbox Monday has returned home to Mailbox Monday’s site this year.

Only two books this week, one in my mailbox and one I purchased new.

From Paperbackswap:

FragileMaggie and Jones live with their teenage son, Rick, in The Hollows, a small town outside of New York City. The cozy intimacy of the town is broken when Rick’s girlfriend, Charlene, mysteriously disappears. The investigation has Jones, the lead detective on the case, acting strangely. And Rick, already a brooding teenager, becomes even more withdrawn. Maggie finds herself drawn in both as a trained psychologist and as a mother. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene’s disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret – one that could destroy everything she holds dear.

And purchased new:

Tell MeThe most hated woman in Savannah, Georgia, is about to be set free. Twenty years ago, beautiful Blondell O’Henry was convicted of murdering her eldest daughter, Amity, and wounding her two other children. The prosecution argued that Blondell wanted to be rid of them to be with her lover. But Blondell’s son has now recanted his crucial testimony…

Reporter Nikki Gillette is determined to get the truth, and this time it’s personal. Amity was her childhood friend. The night she died, Amity begged Nikki to meet with her, insisting she had a secret to tell, but Nikki didn’t go. Now Nikki’s fiancé, Detective Pierce Reed, worries for her safety. Because somehow, the events of that tragic night connect to Nikki’s own fractured family.

Is Amity’s murderer still at large, or is there a new, darker danger? Soon Nikki will discover what really happened two decades ago, but the answers may come too late to save her life…