Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (107)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme to discuss upcoming books we can't wait to get our hands on. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine    

This week. I'm waiting on:

He's Gone by Deb Caletti
Release date: May 14, 2013


From National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti comes an intensely gripping story about love, loss, marriage, and secrets—perfect for readers of Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, and Anna Quindlen.

“What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?” 
The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.
As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

I think this sounds like a really good story and I'm excited to see how Deb Caletti does with her debut for adults. It doesn't hurt that it is being promoted for fans of Jodi Picoult or Kristin Hannah either.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (123)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

I decided to take a break from blogging last week since I was so busy with other things and it was kind of nice (but I'm glad to be back!). I did write a review to be posted later this week but I am behind on writing reviews for NetGalley and Amazon Vine. This week I am hoping to read some of those books I requested so I can start to get caught up.

Books read:

I read this for my evening book group's October selection and I thought it was fantastic! I had never heard of Mary Bowser before and it was interesting to learn about her life. I am looking forward to my book discussion later this week to find out what the others thought.

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

I reread this book so that everything would be fresh in my mind when I picked up the sequel. It certainly helped me to remember. 

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

I liked this sequel though the romance annoyed me at times. I am looking forward to finding out what happens in the final book, Emerald Green.

Hidden by Sophie Jordan

A good conclusion to the Firelight series. I hope Sophie Jordan will write more YA books-maybe some YA historical romance will be next. I will have to try her books for adults in the meantime.

Books reviewed:

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Currently reading:

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

This is my afternoon book group's October selection and I am under deadline to finish it by Tuesday afternoon! So far I sort of like it but I am going to have to push myself to finish on time. 

What I might read next:

Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

I will be picking this up the moment I finish my current book. I loved the first book in this mystery series and I've already started reading this (but had to put it aside to read the book group book). I look forward to reading about Queen Elizabeth as a young girl during WWII.

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

I requested this from NetGalley and since it will be published in December, I want to read it sometime soon so I can review it in time. I have read some positive reviews from other bloggers so hopefully I will like it.

Cinders and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed

This is another book I requested for review and though it won't be published till next year, I am eager to read it as it is set in the same time as Downton Abbey. I hope I will like it much more than Wentworth Hall!

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

I loved The Winter Sea and liked Mariana and The Rose Garden so I am hopeful that I will really enjoy this book too.  I love reading about Scotland and I've read some really positive reviews. 

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

I have had this ARC on my TBR shelf for quite awhile. It was released more than a year ago and while I started to read it, I never made time to finish it. My goal is to read it by the end of the year!

So what have you been reading and what do you plan to read next?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: With Every Letter

With Every Letter
By Sarah Sundin
Published: September 1, 2012

My review:

Lt. Mellie Blake's unusual upbringing and racial heritage sets her apart from other women and makes it hard for her to find friends. She also grew up surrounded by men after her mother deserted her so she doesn't know how to interact with the other nurses. When her supervisor pushes her to participate in an anonymous letter exchange program with servicemen, Mellie is reluctant at first and doesn't expect to make a friend. Lt. Tom MacGilliver has his own reasons for appreciating anonymity because of his infamous father, whose name he shares. As the two of them get to know each other, they find themselves taking down their defenses but it will take a lot of trust to develop a real relationship.

With Every Letter is inspired by the movie The Shop Around the Corner (also the basis for the more modern Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film You've Got Mail). The story takes place in the U.S. and North Africa during WWII. Mellie is training to be a flight nurse and she and her fellow nurse face a lot of prejudice and judgment from the doctors and other male military personnel. Mellie also has to deal with the difficult relationships among her coworkers as she made a big blunder when she first met them and she keeps rejecting the few overtures of friendship that she gets. Tom also has difficulties as an officer in the Engineer Aviation Battalion. He is afraid to show anger so he always jokes around and smiles and his men don't take him seriously as a leader. 

What I liked about this book was the way that Tom and Mellie could be real with each other and help each other with their issues. I particularly felt bad for Tom's plight and the baggage he carried around because of his dad. Mellie however was sometimes annoying. She was pretty naive which is partly due to her isolated upbringing  but not entirely excusable. Her decision to never cut her hair because her dad thought it would lead to a loss of character was kind of stupid. While I felt sorry for her I also thought she brought a lot of it on herself. She didn't live up to my expectations as a character compared to the female protagonists in Sarah Sundin's other novels.

Overall I liked this book and I liked learning more about the flight nurses and their struggle to prove themselves. I also thought it was great to see Mellie and Tom grow over the course of the story through their friendship and eventual romance. It was a nice plot device. I did wish that Mellie was a stronger character and less of a mouse (though she definitely improved by the end). It was great to see her stand up for herself finally. This is the first book in a series and I'm not sure if Mellie will be a main character in the sequel but I do think she still has some growing to do in terms of dealing with her relationship with her dad and her feelings about her mom. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena
By Rick Riordan
Published: October 2, 2012

My review:

Annabeth is on a mission for Athena, one that could make a difference in the war if she succeeds. Unfortunately all the previous children of Athena down through the years who went on this quest were never heard from again. At the same time, Percy, Jason, and the rest are trying to rescue Nico di Angelo and find and close the Doors of Death.

There is a lot going on in this third book in the Heroes of Olympus series. The story starts out with Annabeth, Jason, Leo, and Piper arriving at Camp Jupiter to meet up with Percy, Frank, and Hazel. From that point of course, things start to go wrong and it is a nonstop ride to the cliffhanger ending. 

I was originally worried that there would be too many POVs with seven main characters but we only get chapters from the POV of Annabeth, Percy, Leo, and Piper. This works really well and it was nice to read about Annabeth again. 

Something I appreciate about this series is that while there is plenty of action and humor, there is also room devoted to developing the characters. Riordan keeps building the characters and giving them layers and depth through each book in the series. Percy and Jason are both used to being the leader and Annabeth is used to being right all the time and getting the job done on her own. They all have to learn to work as a team and to trust each other. Leo has to deal with his feelings of being the outsider and Frank and Hazel have their own fears to work through as well.

The Mark of Athena is a great adventure story that also has some emotional punch.  I enjoyed seeing the characters grow and deepen their friendships and I enjoyed learning more about Greek and Roman mythology. I think each book in this series gets better and better. I can't wait to find out what happens in book 4, The House of Hades in 2013!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (106)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme to discuss upcoming books we can't wait to get our hands on. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine    

This week, I'm waiting on:

Silent Night: A Lady Julia Christmas Novella by Deanna Raybourn
Release date: November 1, 2012

Description from Goodreads:

'Tis the season for an investigation! Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane return for a Christmas caper at Bellmont Abbey—.

Lady Julia and Brisbane hope for a quiet, intimate Christmas together—until they find themselves at her father's ancestral estate, Bellmont Abbey, with her eccentric family and a menagerie of animals.

Nevertheless, Julia looks forward to a lively family gathering—but amongst the celebrations, a mystery stirs. There are missing jewels, new faces at the Abbey, and a prowling ghost that brings back unwelcome memories from a previous holiday—one that turned deadly. Is a new culprit recreating crimes of the past? And will Brisbane let Julia investigate—?

It will be awhile before the next Lady Julia novel is published (the author has a different novel set to release next spring) but in the meantime at least we have this e-book novella to look forward to! I love the Lady Julia mysteries. I've already preordered my copy from Amazon :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (122)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

This past weekend, I was able to participate in Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon and though I didn't read for as many hours as I'd originally planned, I did make a dent in my TBR pile.

Books read:

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

This was a fantastic entry in the Heroes of Olympus series though I wish it didn't end of a cliffhanger. Now we have to wait till October 2013 to find out what happens next in The House of Hades.

I usually enjoy Julia Quinn's books when I'm in the mood for a humorous (if predictable) romance novel and I thought this fit the bill perfectly for the read-a-thon.

I have never read Rhys Bowen's mystery series but I am going to have to remedy that. This is a novella set a few years before the events in Her Royal Spyness. While it isn't a true mystery, it introduces the main character of the series, Lady Georgiana Rannoch and it made me want to give this series a try.

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

I thought this was a great historical mystery set during WWII. The protagonist, Maggie Hope, has a tough time of proving herself in a "man's world" as she starts her new job at 10 Downing Street as a typist for Winston Churchill.

Endure by Carrie Jones

This is the final book in the Need series by Carrie Jones and I thought it wrapped up the series really well. I was happy with how things ended.

Currently reading:

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (reread)

I liked this book quite a bit when I read it last year and I thought I'd reread it before starting the sequel Sapphire Blue

What I plan to read next:

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

I hope this book will live up to Ruby Red. The book description says that her love interest is hot and cold in his behavior towards her which I hate so we shall see. Hopefully the mystery and humor will be enough to keep me invested!

This is a selection for one of my book discussion groups this month and I'm really looking forward to it. It is a historical fiction novel about a real woman who was a slave, was granted her freedom, and then returned to the South to spy on Jefferson Davis for the Union. It sounds fascinating!

Hidden by Sophie Jordan

I'm not sure if I'll get to this book this week but I'd like to read it soon since it is due back at the library.

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Wrap Up

End of event meme

Which hour was most daunting for you?

I think the last two hours because I was getting tired (I only read till 11 p.m.)

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Rick Riordan's books are great for read-a-thons even though they are long. I always speed right through them. This time, I only had a few chapters left in the book before the read-a-thon started. I also like reading suspense or short novellas. 

How many books did you read?

I read 4 books and a half

What were the names of the books you read?

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn
Masked Ball at Broxley Manor by Rhys Bowen
Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
Endure by Carrie Jones (still reading that one)

Which book did you enjoy most?

The Mark of Athena

Which did you enjoy least?


How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I would love to participate again as a reader if I don't have to work that day. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Starting Line

Introductory Questionnaire

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Wooster, OH

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I'm actually not sure what I'm going to be reading after I finish The Mark of Athena. If I'd known that the readathon was this weekend I'd have waited to start reading it today. 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Apple cider

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I am addicted to Pinterest, especially looking at the recipes and craft ideas. Sadly I can't sew which limits my options

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I plan to take it slow today and read when I feel like it but without pushing myself. I had a lousy night with very little sleep thanks to a sinus headache so I don't think I'll stay up as late as I have in the past.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Dewey 24 Hour Readathon

This Saturday is the fall Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and I am once again signed up to participate. I've been part of the readathon since 2010 and I like to participate when I can. At the first readathon, I was sick with a cold and kind of holed up with my stack of books and a box of Kleenex. This year I am dealing with a sinus infection but hopefully that won't get in the way of my reading! 

I will be posting my reading plans later this evening or tomorrow morning. If you'd like to sign up for the readathon, it is not too late. You can find all the details here

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (105)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme to discuss upcoming books we can't wait to get our hands on. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine    

This week, I'm waiting on:

Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown
Release date: January 15, 2013

Description from Goodreads:

Reminiscent of Downton Abbey, this first novel in a new series follows two sisters and their maid as they are suddenly separated by the rigid class divisions within a sprawling aristocratic estate and thrust into an uncertain world on the brink of WWI...Rowena and Victoria, daughters to the second son of the Earl of Summerset, have always treated their governess’s daughter, Prudence, like a sister. But when their father dies and they move in with their uncle’s family in a much more traditional household, Prudence is relegated to the maids’ quarters, much to the girls’ shock and dismay. The impending war offers each girl hope for a more modern future, but the ever-present specter of class expectations makes it difficult for Prudence to maintain a foot in both worlds.

Vividly evoking both time and place and filled with authentic dialogue and richly detailed atmosphere, Summerset Abbey is a charming and timeless historical debut.

As a big fan of Downton Abbey, I'm always eager to read books that are similar to the show in some way. Though I have been disappointed in the past, I think this story sounds really promising.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (121)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

Though I only finished two books this past week they were books I really enjoyed rereading. It is nice to revisit old friends! Sometimes just like comfort food, I crave my comfort books :)

Once I finish reading The Mark of Athena, I'm not sure what I will pick up next. I am in the mood for more humorous books like Rick Riordan's but I have some library books and review books to get through first.

Books read:

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (reread)

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (reread)

Books reviewed:

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Currently reading:

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

I just started this book and I can't wait to find out what happens now that both camps will be meeting and the quest moves to Greece and Rome.

What I might read next:

Hidden by Sophie Jordan

I love the dramatic covers for this series. I loved book one and liked book two. This is the final book and I hope the series ends well.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

I've read mixed reviews of this book so I am no longer anticipating it as much as I once was. I loved And Then There Were None and from reading the sample of this one, I am not optimistic but we'll see...

Ruby Red by Kersten Gier (reread)

I just got Sapphire Blue for review so I thought I'd better refresh my memory by rereading Ruby Red first.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review: The Lost Hero

The Lost Hero 
By Rick Riordan
Published: October 12, 2010

My review:

The Lost Hero is the first book in a spin off series from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. At the end of The Last Olympian, a new prophecy was made and this book reveals more about that prophecy and the people involved in it. At the beginning of the story, Jason, Piper, and Leo are three teenage demigods who are brought to Camp Half-Blood after they are attacked on a school field trip. Jason is suffering from amnesia and Piper's dad has been taken by an evil enemy. The three friends must undertake a quest and dangerous rescue mission to save the world from destruction.

Percy Jackson may be missing but there is plenty of adventure, danger, and Rick Riordan's trademark humor in this book. I wasn't sure that I would like a new set of characters as much as the originals but the author's decision to write from multiple points of view really works to distinguish Jason and Leo from Percy. I also loved how conflicted the characters were. All three of them had insecurities, doubts, and flaws, as well as strengths. That made them more likable as characters that the reader could root for. 

The addition of Roman mythology to the story really made things interesting. I didn't find it hard to figure out the surprise about Jason's past but that didn't bother me. I found myself thoroughly entertained as I read. One thing that I particularly liked was the friendships of the characters and seeing them grow more confident. As much fun as the story was, it was the characters that really stood out to me. I also have to mention that I am glad to see a greater racial diversity in Rick Riordan's characters both in this series and the Kane Chronicles. 

If you are a fan of the original series, I think you will be pleased with this sequel. Overall I think this series will be a worthy successor to the Percy Jackson books and I look forward to reading more about Jason, Piper, and Leo (as well as Percy and Annabeth) in future books.