Friday, August 30, 2013

Feature and Follow

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!For more information visit: Parajunkee & Alison can Read.

Question of the week
If you could only have ONE – one book – for the rest of your life. Don’t cheat…what would it be?

Well, when I think about this question, I think first about what books I have read over and over again without getting tired of them.  Books where I find something new every time I read them.  Books I share with others whether they want to hear it or not.  There are definitely a few but I have to say that my first choice would have to be Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice.  I love how her detailed writing style makes the vampire world come alive and Lestat's impossible personality makes the book hard to put down.

What book can you not live without?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer

This is the second book in the Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin.  I didn't know much about this author so I did some searching and found that she has an interesting blog at  The archives have all kinds of cool stuff about the first two books, including the first chapter of Unbecoming from Noah's point of view.

Synopsis of The Evolution of Mara Dyer from B&N:
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.  She can’t.  She used to think her problems were all in her head.  They aren’t.  She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.  She’s wrong.  In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?
What I thought:
This book was much darker than the first one but I was completely sucked in to Mara's character even more so because of this.  She didn't give up but she was so fragile inside, always second guessing herself and so close to breaking.  Without Noah to reassure her and encourage her to keep going, I don't think she would have kept fighting.  He was definitely her rock.  
I also want to say that one thing I really liked about the book was that it completely surprised me at the end.  I was not expecting things to turn out the way they did.  Many times, I can predict how the story will turn out once I get to a certain point.  Not this one.  Very few questions were answered and the story left me with a huge cliffhanger even more frustrating than the end of the first book.  I was also extremely happy that the author didn't mess too much with Noah and Mara's relationship.  I didn't have to deal with any triangles or have them constantly pulled apart just when they are on the brink of happiness.  So many books follow this pattern and it can get tiring so I was glad for the consistency of the relationship in this book.  I could completely focus on the story.
I don't want to give any story elements away to those who haven't read the book but I have one possible prediction for the story.  I could be totally wrong but what a huge shocker would it be if Daniel was somehow involved in what was happening.  I don't know what makes me feel this way.  Maybe it started when she found her journal in his room.  I just feel like he isn't as perfect as he seems.  However, I could be wrong and it could also be the complete opposite and somehow he will find out the truth and be one of the heroes of the story.  I just don't know yet what role he will play in the third book.  These are just some of the ramblings that go through my head...
I Can't wait for the third book, The Retribution of Mara Dyer.  I NEED to know what happens since this story ended with such an explosion of events!  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Musing Monday

Musing Mondays is hosted by, asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musing
I just wanted to comment on how much I have enjoyed my summer off.  I read book after book after book and loved every minute of it.  I was able to post every couple of days, browse my other favorite book blogs, and keep up with all of the wonderful book news in the world.  Now, as I find myself beginning to get ready for the new school year, I am finding less and less time.  I know this is normal for this time of year.  I am organizing my classroom, getting lessons ready, and planning for the first few days.  I love my job but that doesn't lessen my frustration about not having enough time to read.   So, I have made a goal for myself.  I am going to do my best to set aside time to read every night in September and October.  I am really good at this once November hits and I get into the swing of things again but I don't want to fall behind.  My goal is 52 books in 52 weeks and I want to make it!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Well, this was another popular title that I kept seeing over and over so I picked it up.  I have mixed feelings about it...

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.
After Mara survives the traumatizing accident at the old asylum, it makes sense that she has issues. She lost her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister, and as if that weren’t enough to cope with, her family moves to a new state in order to give her a fresh start. But that fresh start is quickly filled with hallucinations—or are they premonitions?—and then corpses, and the boundary between reality and nightmare is wavering. At school, there’s Noah, a devastatingly handsome charmer who seems determined to help Mara piece together what’s real, what’s imagined—and what’s very, very dangerous.

What I liked (no major spoilers):
The plot of this story was fresh and I didn't get that deja vu feeling that I had read something similar before. Noah was a charmer and I was into him right away.  I loved how he persisted until Mara could resist no more. The scene when Anna steals her sketch book and mocks her and Noah sweeps in and saves her is my favorite because I think this is the moment of change when she realizes that he doesn't think of her as just another conquest to add to his wall. The romance was perfect and not overdone or rushed in any way. 

I could completely relate to Mara's family and how torn they were.  Careful to keep a watchful eye on her behavior, continually worrying and hoping for the best but fearing the worst.  Daniel was ever the protective big brother and in my opinion, the one who had the most faith in her ability to overcome her issues. The writing was beautiful yet not too intricate.  I empathized with the characters and what they were going through, wishing I could fix things myself at times. Finally, I couldn't put this book down.  The story was a roller coaster of highs and lows. Twisted, weird, but completely engrossing.  Read it in one night.

What I wasn't so thrilled with:
This book was a little bit darker (in the depressing way) than I like.  I wanted more of a resolution at the end because I can't imagine having the power she has and being able to live with what I've done.  I don't know how the author is going to make having this ability positive in any way.  The final shocker at the end surprised me to say the least but can't decide if I like this new twist to the story.  I almost feel like they have enough to deal with, why add this?  I'm sure however, that the author will make it fit beautifully, even if I can't see it clearly right now.  I was torn about getting the second book because some of the reviews say it is even darker than the first but I think I have to read it just to see what happens.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Curse of the Pharaohs

So far, this series has been nothing but fun.  Apparently, there are over fifteen books in the Amelia Peabody series.  If you aren't familiar with them, they focus on Amelia, her husband Radcliffe Emerson (who is acquired in the first book), and their many adventures solving mysteries in Egypt in the late 1800's.  The combination of Egyptian settings and the British language and fashions of the times add to the charm of these books, at least in my opinion.  The books have just the right balance of mystery, humor, and romance... nothing graphic.  The dialogue between Emerson and Amelia is always entertaining.

The synopsis for Curse of the Pharaohs from Barnes and Noble:
It's 1892, and Amelia and Emerson, who is now her husband, are back in England raising their young son Ramses, when they are approached by a damsel in distress. Lady Baskerville's husband, Sir Henry, has died after uncovering what may have been royal tomb in Luxor. Amid rumors of a curse haunting all those involved with the dig, Amelia and Emerson proceed to Egypt and begin to suspect that Sir Henry did not die a natural death. The accidents plaguing the dig appear to be caused by a sinister human element, not a pharaoh's curse.
One of the best-loved of mystery writers weaves another tale of intrigue featuring Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe of Crocodile on the Sandbank. This time the willful and witty duo must catch a murderer at an excavation of an ancient Egyptian tomb.
There were a plethora of characters in this book.  I especially loved Madame Berengeria and her eccentric behavior. I would cringe whenever she entered the scene with her ridiculous Egyptian garb.  I again had several theories about who the real criminal was but there were a couple of twists that had me rethinking my hunches.  I was satisfied with how the book wrapped up.  I am going to continue the series but I won't review every one of them since I'm sure they will all be very similar.  If you like the Mary Russell mysteries by Laurie R. King, you will enjoy these as well.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Let's Talk is a weekly feature hosted by i swim for oceans that has a question or prompt each week to get you thinking.  This week's question is:

What fall or winter books are you most looking forward to?

I'm super excited for all three of these books.  All are sequels to other books or part of a series.  The first one is The House of Hades by Rick Riordan.  I have read all of the Percy Jackson books and can't wait to see what happens in this next installment.  The second is Allegiant by Veronica Roth which is the third book in the Divergent series.  Finally, there is Hollow City, which is the long awaited sequel (long awaited by me at least) to Miss Perigrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  I just found out that this one was coming out in early 2014.  Yay!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Crocodile on the Sandbank

Just what I was looking for!  I loved it.

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Set in 1884, this is the first installment in what has become a beloved bestselling series. At thirty-two, strong-willed Amelia Peabody, a self-proclaimed spinster, decides to use her ample inheritance to indulge her passion, Egyptology. On her way to Egypt, Amelia encounters a young woman named Evelyn Barton-Forbes. The two become fast friends and travel on together, encountering mysteries, missing mummies, and Radcliffe Emerson, a dashing and opinionated archaeologist who doesn't need a woman's help — or so he thinks.
Thirty-one-year-old Victorian gentlewoman Amelia Peabody has not only inherited her father's fortune, but she is also blessed with his strong will as well. Now she's headed for Cairo, accompanied by a girl with a tarnished past, to indulge her passion for Egyptology. Little did she know that murder and a homicidal mummy lay in wait for her.
I loved the time period, the British humor, and the fact that Amelia Peabody is an independent woman in a time period where women were not permitted to have many of the freedoms they do now.  She was stubborn, pushy, full of sarcasm, and not afraid to use her parasol as a weapon.  The banter and eventual romance between her and the main male character of Emerson had me laughing out loud at times.  Emerson's brother Walter and Amelia's companion Evelyn also lend to the enjoyment of the story.  In fact, all of the characters were interesting and it was fun trying to figure out who the bad guys were.

The main mystery occurs when a "mummy" starts lurking around the archaeological site where our characters are digging for artifacts in Egypt.  Of course they know there is no real mummy but they are certainly in danger and need to work together to figure out the real reason why the mummy is trying to chase them away. As they hatch their plans to try to solve the mystery, they also learn about each other and about themselves and what is truly important.

I am on to the second book because I can't wait to see what happens to the characters next!



To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?
Currently, I am reading book 2 in the Amelia Peabody series called The Curse of the Pharoah.  I love a good British mystery and I just finished the first book, Crocodile on the Sandbank.  The books are by Elizabeth Peters and they have the perfect combination of mystery, humor, and romance.  What will I read next?  Not sure. I may move on to the third book in the Amelia Peabody series OR I may read one of the other books I have been waiting for such as The Liberator by Victoria Scott or Origin by Jennifer Armentrout.  These both come out on August 27th and I'm really looking forward to them.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Feature and Follow

Increase Blog Followers
The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read

This weeks Question:
How do you handle a book you don’t like? Do you DNF or do you power through?
Well, usually I try to give the book several chapters before giving up because I don't like to give up, especially if I paid for the book.  Most of the time I can power through but there have been a few times where I am just so not interested or too disturbed to continue.

Review: Dark Triumph

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

I almost didn't buy this book because I loved Grave Mercy so much.  I couldn't imagine that this book could possibly meet my expectations.  However, I did buy it because my curiosity about the story of Sybella was too great.  I was also really hoping to hear more about Ismae and Duval.

This book actually went beyond my expectations.  I didn't think much of Sybella in the first book but I quickly grew to love her in Dark Triumph.  The reader can't help but empathize with the horrors she dealt with growing up and pray that she will overcome it all and find happiness.  She is deadly but also compassionate and truly loyal to the few who are important to her.  I loved the fact that Beast, the man she finally opens up to, is not your typical gorgeous guy, in fact, she mentions several times in the story about how unattractive he is and yet as a reader, I found him to be the perfect love interest.  For those of you who loved Ismae and Duval, they are minor characters in the story and are still a couple but this book is definitely all about Sybella.

The action is continuous and I hated having to put the book down, but since I was on vacation in Disney World, I had to get to bed or I would never get up to go the the parks with the kids in the morning.  I actually look forward to the third book focusing on the character of Annith.