Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review: The Chemist

I have to admit, I went back and forth about getting this one for a bit before I finally decided to purchase it.  I loved the Twilight series (not the movies, just the books) and I was a little bit worried that I would be looking for that same type of writing as I read.  I began the book doing exactly that and I almost put it down after the first few chapters because I really didn't like the main character, Alex, as a person.  However, I don't like to abandon books so I kept trudging along and by the time I got to chapter 7, I was hooked.  I guess I just needed to get used to her as an imperfect heroine who really wasn't that good a person on some levels. Once the first action scene hit though, I found that I was able to appreciate the story and immerse myself more fully in the lives of the characters. 

What did I like?  I really enjoyed the character development once I accepted them for who they were.  Alex and Kevin were both quite unlikable at first but then began slowly to grow, forming an almost family-like bond that even they didn't quite realize they had until an important event in the storyline.  They were both able to find their more human sides. I loved the way dogs were such a big part of the book as well.  Einstein and Lola and the other trained dogs in the story really added to the engagement level.  I only wish we knew more about what happened to some of them in the epilogue. Plenty of action and violence, some romance (albeit a bit of an odd match at first), and some interesting minor characters as well. Val was great! A small amount of snark as Alex and Kevin verbally abused one another added a bit of humor to lighten things up occasionally as well.  If you like mystery thrillers, this is a pretty good story.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea.  The goal is to post the first paragraph or two of the book you are reading or one that you will be reading soon to see if other readers/bloggers are interested.

This is my first time participating in this activity and I'm posting from chapter 1 of A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourne. This is the second book in the Veronica Speedwell series.

London, September 1887

“For the love of all that is holy, Veronica, the object is to maim or kill, not tickle,” Stoker informed me, clipping the words sharply as he handed me a knife. “Do it again.”

I suppressed a sigh and took the knife, grasping it lightly as I had been taught. I faced the target, staring it down as if it were an approaching lion.

“You are thinking too much.” Stoker folded his arms over the breadth of his chest and looked down his nose at me. “The entire purpose of this exercise is to train you to react, not to think. When your life is in danger, your body must know what to do, because there is no time for your mind to engage.”

I turned to face him, not lowering the blade. “Might I remind you that I have, upon many and various occasions, been in mortal danger and I am still here.”

“Anyone can get lucky,” he said coldly. “And I suspect your continued survival owes itself to a combination of good fortune and sheer bloody-mindedness. You are too stubborn to die.”

Based on this intro, would you read more or pass on this book?

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stacking the Shelves: January 21st

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews as is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

I did quite of bit of book blog browsing this week and as a result, added four new books to my shelves (both virtual and real):

Lent to me by a friend, we will be reading this in February with some of our #sixtybooks readers.

Saw this is the Top Ten post this week and it looked interesting.  I love anything paranormal so should be fun!

This one was also picked up after blog browsing.  I love a lighthearted mystery and I'm looking forward to reading it.

I've been waiting for this one.  I adored the first book, A Curious Beginning and can't wait to see what Veronica Speedwell does next!

What did you add to your shelves?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday, January 17th

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list for bloggers to answer.

This week's list topic is:

Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books We've Read In The Past Year Or So

I read a decent amount of books last year and while my choices for today weren't exactly completely unknown, a lot of them were not overly advertised or on the top seller lists.  Here are the books I considered hidden gems:

and my favorite hidden gem is actually an entire series that I didn't even know existed until I fell upon it by accident.  I loved every book in the series equally and was sad when the ending finally came.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Review: Eligible

Eligible is described as a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice and that is exactly what it is.  I picked it up on Audible for my ride to work and hoped for the best. It did not disappoint. I really liked it and the narrator was perfect for the story.

The characters were all perfectly portrayed and I have to give a special shout out to Mrs. Bennett.  She was created perfectly in both style and narration and I know this because she drove me nuts.  I literally wanted to cover my face in my hands, but of course this wasn't possible because I was driving.  Just like in the classic, her main interest was to marry off her daughters to worthy husbands.  However, in this version, she was the sheltered wife, still mentally living in an age overly concerned with proper etiquette and not adapting to modern culture and ways of living.  I give her character the most kudos in that she made me wince (or laugh) with compassion for her daughters almost every time she opened her mouth.

The Bennett sisters were also written extremely well.  Their life stories were interesting and just like in the original, their paths to happiness were riddled with obstacles. Ultimately however, they all found what they were looking for in life, even if it wasn't exactly what their mother was hoping for, which was part of what made the story so enjoyable.

Not usually a fan of the romance genre on its own, I would tell almost any fiction reader to pick this book up.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and may even reread it in the future.  Really engaging and a lot of fun to read. Definitely one I plan to add to my shelves in the hardcover version.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Review: Everland

My favorite fairy tale has always been Peter Pan and I've read almost every book I can get my hands on that tells this tale, no matter what twist the story takes.  Everland was Peter Pan told with a Dystopian twist and I really enjoyed it.  

Pete is the leader of the children who have survived the invasion and disease that hit their home.  Hook is the captain of the German marauders that invaded England, and Gwen is the key to everyone's survival because she holds the cure to the disease that has killed almost all of the adults and is slowing beginning to take the children as well.  Not only are they trying to survive but they are also in need of a cure to the disease.

The story is engaging and has plenty of action. The characters all bring back memories of the original story but are also uniquely written to fit this genre.  Very clever twist on the story and worth picking up even you aren't a Peter Pan fan.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Review: The Chess Queen Enigma

I love this series and the third installment, The Chess Queen Enigma, was just as much fun as the first two.  For those of you who haven't read any of them, the Stoker and Holmes series is steampunk mystery and the main characters are two young ladies, Mina and Evaline, who are the descendants of Bram Stoker and Sherlock Holmes.  So, that being said, we also have vampires, dirigibles, Scotland Yard, and the one and only Sherlock Holmes himself making an appearance on several occasions throughout the books.

This particular story revolves around a lost chess queen that was meant to be used as a peace offering between two countries.  The girls must find out why it is so important and where it has gone. Coincidentally, there have been strange attacks in the city, leaving the victims either dead or dying from loss of blood.  With the help of Dylan (who traveled back in time from 2016 in the first book), Inspector Grayling, and Pix, they try to solve the mysteries at hand.  

The pacing in the story is good but the familiar Holmesian attention to detail can be a bit long on one or two occasions.  There are several action scenes and just a scant amount of romance that may be a predictor for what is to come in the next story.  I find this series to be a lot of fun and I have come to really enjoy all of the characters.  It is definitely worth picking up if you like the steampunk setting and mystery genre.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bout of Books 18: Goals and Updates

Well, it has been a busy day in my reading world but, yes! I am joining Bout of Books 18 this week and I'm really excited.  I read a lot today so I'm already almost done with book 1 for the week.  I go back to work tomorrow so my goal is only going to be 3 books with the hope of hitting over 800 pages of reading.  I think I can handle this and if I do more... great!!

Here are the three books I plan to finish:

See below for my daily updates:

Title: The Chess Queen Enigma
Pages Read: 30
Book Finished: No
Book Started: No

Title: The Chess Queen Enigma
Pages Read: 96
Book Finished: The Chess Queen Enigma

Book Started: Everland

Title: Everland
Pages Read: 80
Book Finished: No

Book Started: No

Title: Everland
Pages Read: 62
Book Finished: No

Book Started: No

Title: Everland
Pages Read: 46
Book Finished: No

Book Started: No

Title: Everland
Pages Read: 122
Book Finished: Everland

Book Started: Lies, Mistrust, and Fairy Dust

Title: Lies, Mistrust, and Fairy Dust
Pages Read: All the pages!!! 
Book Finished: Lies, Mistrust, and Fairy Dust

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is a place to meet up and share what you just finished, what you are reading now, and what's on deck. It's also a great opportunity to visit and comment, and add to your TBR pile!

I barely squeaked by finishing my #Sixtybooks goal but I'm so glad I put in those extra minutes! Time to start on the 2017 goal!

Last week I finished Morrigan's Cross.  I really liked the story but since I listened to this one on Audible, I will say that I disliked the narrator so if I do grab the second one, it will be in print.

This week, I am reading the third book in the Stoker and Holmes series titled, The Chess Queen Enigma.  I love this little series and hope that a fourth book might be written in the future.

Finally, in the hopes that I get this one finished this week, next week my plan is to begin reading Everland, which I have been putting off. I read a great review for it this past week so have now put it back on top of the pile.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

#SixtyBooks in 2017

It’s time for #SixtyBooks in 2017!

In 2016, we had over 300 people sign up for the challenge and we are hoping to beat that number this year by spreading the word and getting even more people to make reading a part of their daily lives.

For those who are new to our fantastic group of readers, the goal is simply to make reading a regular part of our daily lives and encourage other people to do the same. It's not a competition (the only person you are competing with is yourself!) and it's not just about the number.

For this year’s challenge, we will be sharing our #SixtyBooks updates on Twitter and Facebook. We will also be using the #SixtyBooks hashtag on Instagram for those who want to share their reading in pictures. Our goal is to be active on all three by sharing more about our progress and the books we are reading. We are planning some new activities as well:
  • Week long “#SixtyBooks sprints” that we dedicate to catching up on our reading a few times per year 
  • At least two or three live Twitter chats during the year. 
  • A book giveaway raffle just before summer. 
As always, you can keep track of your books however you like. Both Melissa and Laura use Goodreads to keep track and Laura also uses Google Maps to pin books by setting -- which is a lot of fun!

Signup is the same as last year. Simply fill in the #SixtyBooks in 2017 form by clicking here.

We are looking forward to another great year of reading!

Laura and Melissa

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