WWW Wednesday – June 27th

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?

 

What are you currently reading?

Working my way through Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey. The second novel of the Kushiel’s Legacy series. So far I’ve only made it a couple pages into it, but should be done it in no time once I can give it my full attention.

 

 

 

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished, as of yesterday, Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon. The first book in the series it had a great flow to it, strong writing and for the most part likable characters (there is always at least one character in a book no one likes). Definitely looking forward to finishing off the rest of the series.

 

 

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

 

Ah this is a tougher question to answer. I have so many series on the go that I could chose just about any of those books as my next read. However I think I will go with Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. It’s a book I have wanted to read for so long now that I’m not sure how much longer it can sit on my shelf untouched. Once that one is out of the way I’ll likely work on Kushiel’s Avatar and Prophecy: Child of Earth.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!
It’s been a slow week book wise for me. With a to do list a million miles long and a vacation coming in the near future my reading time has been severely limited lately. However I did manage to finish a couple of books and have a few reviews that need to be posted before I leave for a two week vacation.
Finished last week:
This book had been provided to me by the author to review. While it had it’s slow moments, as mentioned in my review, it was a great read and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
This book had been provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley. With a review to be posted later this week I will not go over any of the details of the book at this time.
Currently Reading:
I am about half way through Rhapsody so far should be done in the next day or two. Been slowly picking away at Kushiel’s Chosen simply because most of my attention is focused on Rhapsody at the moment.

Book Review: Grasping At Eternity

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

The author provided me with a copy of this book to review.

This book starts off with a bang. Maryah’s family are brutally murdered and she is nearly killed as well. Such a dramatic opening scene certainly clenched my attention and I was ready to gobble up everything else the book had to offer. After recovering from her injuries Maryah moves in with her godmothers family and struggles to find her place among them and among the rest of the general populace. To make matters worse she keeps having these vivid dreams involving a man she believes is the angel of death as well as seeing other events that make little sense to her but leave her freaked out by them for the most part. At this point I easily gave the book a five star rating.

But then something happened.

I don’t know if it was a lull in the story or just a slow part but I kind of lost interest mid way through the book. Perhaps I got tired of Maryah bouncing around thinking everyone hated her, or how her life was terrible and that she wanted to die. Though I think I simply grew a little tired of her having these dreams about the “angel of death” and other events but constantly refused to tell anyone about them fearing they would think she was crazy and ship her off to the looney bin. Not to mention that it seemed she was constantly telling everyone that she was fine when she clearly was not, but no one could break through that shell of hers. This was when my rating dropped to a two, perhaps a three.

However remembering how amazing the beginning of the book was I soldiered on knowing that things had to pick up soon and that this slow part would be worth it.

And let me tell you that is exactly what happened. When the pace of the book picked up once more I was thrilled, more than thrilled as the events began to fall into place, things I had wondered about happened and some very pleasant surprises surfaced along the way as well. Suddenly I felt the book once again deserved the five star rating it had started with. Those things that happened during the slow period had great impact on the ending. I won’t go into details about the events that turned my impression of the book back to a positive as I really dislike giving out spoilers, but let me tell you they were great.

As the end of the book came flying up I was disappointed for a single reason. I knew it would end in a cliffhanger, which it did, and that the next book wouldn’t be out for some time. The final chapters came to rise to a great ending, though as the book said, it is not the end as there is much more of the story to be told. When I finished I was left was a great feeling, the book had been a great experience even with that slow portion and I will definitely be on the lookout for when the next book of the series comes out sometime next year.

On an extra side note, I would love to say that I absolutely love the cover on this book.

Mailbox Swag

Knowing that I have several books coming in the mail I have been a bit overzealous about checking my mailbox. Where I used to check it at the beginning and end of each month now I am checking it daily, sometimes twice a day in hopes of finding a new book waiting for me. Obsessive I know, but hey I can’t help but get excited over books, they are my drug and I am absolutely addicted to them. So when I went to the mailbox yesterday and saw that I had a package waiting I was very excited. Of course the question rolling around my head was which book would arrive today? So I handed over the card and waited for my package. When the lady came back with a relatively large box I was beginning to wonder if it was something else. Had we ordered something recently and that was what arrived today? I couldn’t think of anything so with a shrug I took the box and headed to my truck. It was at that time I saw that the package had come from a publisher, so it was definitely a book but why was the box so darn big?

I hurried home so I could answer this question. When I opened the box I was surprised at the contents inside. It was books, quite a few of them, and other items as well. So I quickly, but carefully, dove into the box pulling everything out.

It was the books I was expecting from author A.L. Collins. I had offered, through Goodreads, to have my friends and I read and review his book and he was kind enough to send us copies of not one but two of his books. That in itself was a great thing to have happen. But then on top of that each of the books was autographed. That was even better. But there was other things in the box as well.

Along with the books were three pens. I love pens so this was great. As well as three scented candles. I thought this was neat as the candles were related to the books he sent us. I’m not sure which candle will go to me and which will go to my friends, we may need to fight over them, but this was a pleasant and unexpected surprise to find put in with the boxes.

Next in the box was a small handful of cards that I can hand out to people who may be interested in his books. They provide the name of his books along with his website. I thought this was great as it would allow me to pass these book titles along to anyone I may mention them to. Of course I will wait until after I read the books to do this, that way if they have questions about the book I can actually answer them.

Then there were these larger information cards. And on top of that these too were autographed by the author. This box was a treasure trove of great things and I was terribly excited. Of course I think my friends will be excited as well since they have no idea I got these books for them.

Last but not least there are the books themselves. Three copies of Twined and three copies of Scarlett’s. As I mentioned above each copy is signed by the author, and to make that even better, they are each personalized with my friends names on them. This is going to be a great thing to hand over to them. And then of course the best part of all will come, when we get to sit down and read these books then discuss what we liked and didn’t like about them.

So before I go, I just want to give a big thank you to A.L. Collins for providing my friends and I with these great books and everything else that was included with that package. I am definitely looking forward to reading these books and then writing reviews for them. I think I will put them next on my to read list as soon as I finish the book I am currently working on. And for those who haven’t read these books yet go check them out, I can’t tell you yet whether I liked them or not but I will do so as soon as I get them done.

Book Review: The Awakening

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I am struggling to find the words as to why I enjoyed this book so much. I started reading it this morning and eight hours later I was done. In reality it took me about four to five of those hours to actually read the book, the rest were filled with various life distractions. It takes a well written book to grab my attention so tightly that I read it in a single day. The magic that Apryl Baker spun within the book captivated me in a way I can not describe. For several chapters I was wondering just what this book had in store for me, and when the answer was revealed I was honestly surprised and pleased by it. I will admit I am not a huge fan of shifters (let’s face it, there are far too many werewolf type books out there) but I didn’t seem it mind it in this book. Perhaps it was the way it was presented.

The one thing I didn’t enjoy so much was the love triangle, or should I call it a love octagon, as there were so many various people involved in Alexandria’s life and a good majority of them were vying for her attention and love in various ways. That part I probably could have done without, however, I can see how it works for the story and stripping that away would leave a lot of holes to be filled.

Overall this book was a great read and the only reason I gave it four stars instead of five was because of that love octagon. Either way I will certainly look forward to the next book in the series coming out and hope they are just as good as this one was.

View all my reviews at Goodreads.

Book Review: Kushiel’s Dart

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book had me from page one. Though I must admit I was quite apprehensive at first, due to the synopsis of the book (it isn’t something I would normally read even if it is of the Fantasy genre) and because it was written in first person. I have this great dislike of books written in first person, and have always said that a book in the Fantasy genre could not be written in first person, there are simply too many characters involved to pull it off. Well, Jacqueline Carey proved me wrong in this.

I must admit that I found the first four hundred pages or so a bit slow, not enough to turn me off reading but enough that I will willing to put the book down at any moment, the middle of a chapter or the middle of a paragraph it didn’t matter, I could set it down. But the moment it left my fingers I was reaching towards it again, I just had to know what was going to happen next. The thing that really kept me glued to the pages was the intrigue of the book, the various mysteries that surrounded the numerous characters, the bits of information that trickled in taunting you with the possibilities of answers but also leading to even more questions. And then of course there was the mystery surrounding Anafiel Delaunay. I kept wondering just who he was and what his true purpose was.

Even as some of the mysteries came to light, revealing answers I may have guessed at, and in most cases did not see coming, I was still enthralled with what would happen next. After the first half of the book there was nothing that could make me put it down. Each paragraph, each chapter had me begging for more. Phedere is a strong character who kept surprising me along the way, I knew she was clever and well versed in many things thanks to the training Delaunay saw her to, but even then I was impressed by the things she pulled off.

The sex scenes, if I can truly call them that, were, well they were somewhat what I would expect out of this sort of book, considering what Phedere was. However I did find them also disappointing. It seemed that they focused so much on her pleasurable torment that it was added as more of an afterthought at the end of ‘oh and they also had sex’. That being said, I have never been a fair of reading sex scenes, but I felt that this book somewhat needed them, or at least needed better ones. The one scene I was dying to have better detail of was between Phedere and Josceline. I saw it coming, was glad it was happening, but again found myself disappointed at what was actually played out in that scene.

With all the characters in this book I was very interested in their role among the puzzle pieces. How would they effect the next piece? Would they reveal who they truly were or continue to wear a mask that hide things? So many questions and as the book came to an end I realized how many are yet to be answered. Those answers will of course come in the next book and perhaps even the third book in the series. One thing I am looking forward to is the finding out what will happen with Melisande, a character I both hate and love.

View all my reviews at Goodreads.

On a small side note, I did find one thing disappointing more than anything else. And it has nothing to do with the content of the book. I was silly enough to only buy the first book in the series because honestly I wasn’t sure what I would think of it or if I would even like it. Now I am thoroughly kicking myself for doing so and waiting impatiently for the next trip to the bookstore, which luckily is coming up this Sunday, so I can scoop up the next two books. Lesson learned, buy all the books or none at all.

Book Review: The Last Cowboy

Before I start in on my review of The Last Cowboy I wanted to say a few thing. I don’t normally read books from the romance genre. In fact, this is only the first, possibly second, book that I have read from that genre. I used to avoid it like a plague. Romance books, and movies for that matter, were not for me. They were filled with far too many things I would prefer not to read about or see. I’m not into girly things so romance was not for me.Yes I am female and no I don’t like romance. Shocking, I know, but it is the truth.

So now you are wondering, why did I read a romance novel when I clearly don’t like the genre. Well there are a few reasons behind my decision.

  1. I’m a sucker for cowboys. It’s probably one of the big reasons I love Westerns, especially the classics. Who doesn’t appreciate a strong man in tight jeans, wearing a stetson hat, who has rugged good looks and a rock hard body in his arsenal. The kind that works from morning to night, and not just any work, but that back breaking kind of work that comes from living and working on a ranch. Sure his personality may be as rough as his chiseled chin but he does have a tender side buried in there somewhere, sometimes only shown around the animals they work with. Now see, I’ve gone off on a tangent about cowboys and I haven’t even gotten to the book yet!
  2. I am trying to expand my reading. For many years I have stuck solidly with the Fantasy genre, only occasionally venturing into others like Science Fiction and a bit of Historical Fiction as well. So it has become my new reading goal to read at least five books from the other genres to learn to appreciate not only different writing styles of the authors and genres but to immerse myself in books that have something more to offer then magic users and mythical creatures.
  3. Probably the most important reason is I won a contest over at Goodreads which is giving me a copy of the next book in the series, The Wrangler by Lindsay McKenna. Winning the fifth book in the Wyoming Series I was worried if I would be able to appreciate it without feeling lost. So after a bit of research I decided to pick up the fourth book, The Last Cowboy, as the main male character in that book is the twin brother of the main male character in The Wrangler. This way I would have a bit of insight into their relationship and not feel so totally lost.
  4. The final reason is, though I dislike my Kindle greatly, I am trying to take advantage of owning the device. So by downloading the Kindle version of The Last Cowboy I would need to force myself to use the dreaded piece of technology if I was to read the book. Yes, it could have put a negative outlook on the book by doing so but it was a change I was willing to take.

Now, with that out of the way let’s move on to the actual review of the book. Warning, this review may, and probably does, contain spoilers.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The story follows Slade McPhearson who is a cowboy struggling to keep his ranch afloat due to the recession. He has been running the ranch, which he co-owns with his twin brother Griff, since he was eighteen years old. On top of running the ranch he is also a champion endurance racer, taking great pride in his winning mustang stallion Thor. Training endurance riders and their horses helps him scrape by each month, but only just barely. But with his ranch teetering on foreclosure he needs to find a way to pay it off or lose what he has fought so hard to keep all these years.

Enter Dr. Jordana Lawton. A woman who is as passionate about her professional career as an emergency room doctor as she is about training her young mustang mare Stormy to become a champion endurance horse. After doing a great deal of research she decides to enlist Slade’s help. But first she and her mare have to past the first test, getting past his mistrust of females, both human and equine. After passing Slade’s initial inspection and agreeing to pay a large monthly fee for the training Jordana is ready to begin the next level of endurance training.

As the training progresses both Jordana and Slade are greeted with emotions and feelings they were not prepared for. Slade may hide himself behind a rough exterior but seeing the soft soft he uses around the horses tells Jordana that he is not as hard as he appears to be. One thing is certain, she will need to work hard to prove to this cowboy that she has what it takes to be a top endurance rider, and even harder to break through the walls he has placed around him.

Through tough training sessions Jordana feels this odd pull towards Slade. And the more he slowly opens up to him the more she wants to be there for him. Her concern is that he may not be feeling the same way about her that she is starting to feel about him. And that couldn’t be further from the truth. Slade is slowly falling for her, even if he doesn’t entirely understand how or why. His previous marriage had ended in a nasty divorce, one which broke him financially as well as emotionally. But now with this woman in his life, showing that she is stronger and tougher than she looks, Slade is hard pressed to find a reason not to fall for her. Except that her being from New York reminds him of his ex-wife.

It’s not until he is gored by his prized bull and rushed the hospital that things take on a new perspective. Jordana makes a huge decision to take Slade back to her house after his surgery so he can recover and get the quiet he needs, plus it keeps him away from his brother. Those two days open up Slade’s eyes to the woman he had been trying hard to not fall for. Seeing her life in a new light he is starting to look at her much differently. But with the foreclosure on his ranch still looming over his head, and now unable to ride in an upcoming race which the prize money could truly help him out, Slade is hit with yet another bought of bad luck.

On a crazy whim Jordana offers to ride his stallion in the race for him, since her own mare was injured during training, and she would give the prize money to him to help save his ranch. There is a battle of wills as Slade doesn’t think it’s a good idea, and Jordana is stubborn and convinced that she can do it. Tensions rise, but in the end Slade concedes to her and allows her to ride Thor. It’s during this time of training that their realization over their feelings for each other come to light and a single kiss on the cheek ignites it even more. But with his ranch at stake Slade must focus on his ranch and not the love growing for Jordana.

With her control over his fiery mustang stallion solidified Jordana only has one final hurdle to get over. And that is not only winning the race but in doing so defeating Slade’s biggest rival Curt Downing, a man who will do anything to win, including cheating. With everything on the line Jordana races to save the ranch of the man she loves but also to prove, not only to herself but everyone else, that she has what it takes to be a top endurance rider. Capturing the victory Jordana and Slade return to the ranch to finally let their love for each other turn physical.

The slow pace of their growing relationship allowed me as a non-romance reader to appreciate the flow of the story. Had it been rushed and more forced I would have been turned off completely. Among the growing love story is a mix of horse training, ranch work and sibling rivalry. The attention to details, flowing descriptions and steady pace of the story kept me reading, which resulting in my finishing the book only a day after starting it. The author has a wonderful way of wording things that allows you to truly picture the scene before you. The love growing between Slade and Jordana felt natural, as they both had other things to distract them from their feelings as well as fear that kept them at bay for a time. Having a large part of the story concentrate on the training of Jordana and her horse, the struggles of not only owning a ranch but keeping it away from the claws of the bank and small intrigues that were going on behind the scenes, made it a great read for me.

There were a few parts of the book that seems to repeat themselves, however these areas were small and so had a minimal affect on the overall flow of things. For regular readers of romance the book may not appeal to them as much due to the slow development of the relationship between the pair, however I would highly recommend this book to not only those who enjoy books of that genre, but those who like westerns as well as anyone looking for a great book to add to their collection. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series once I receive my copy.

View all my reviews over at Goodreads. And feel free to friend me over there as well.