Saturday, December 7, 2013

It's been a crazy few months!

Phew! I can't believe the year is almost over. My reading took a nosedive towards the end of the year, and just when it started to peak again, I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Holy moly!

30 days of writing every day. I had to force myself to stop reading and focus on writing. It wasn't easy, but I didn't want my story to be too heavily influenced by what I saw before me. It was fun!

Starting in December, I will not only be keeping track of the books I read, I will also be hosting some fabulous authors during their Blog Tours and reviewing their newest works. Exciting stuff! I can't wait!

So, here's to December being the best and brightest month yet!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Divergent" by Veronica Roth

Started October 10, 2013 - Ended October 12, 2013

Amazon: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I've read "Divergent" a handful of times since it's release. This time I was drawn back to the story thanks to the imminent release of the final book, "Allegiant". "Divergent" has a good mix of action, romance, and discord. It's a pretty run of the mill dystopian YA read, but it's still very enjoyable. You want to know more about the factions and the members who fill them. If I were to chose a faction, I'd probably be with Erudite, but I'd like to think I was Divergent. I give this novel, "Divergent" a B+.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Shadow of Night" by Deborah Harkness

Started October 5, 2013 - Ended October 9, 2013

From Barnes & Noble: Harkness’s much-anticipated sequel, Shadow of Night, picks up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending. Diana and Matthew time-travel to Elizabethan London and are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana searches for a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey.

I'm ashamed to say this is the first time I actually read this book. I've owned it since it was released, but because of my OCD I had to reread "Discovery of Witches" before I could start. There's not much to say except, holy cow. The amount of research and thought that goes into this series is astronomical. Like "Outlander", Deb pulls real life, historical characters in without a hitch. It's amazingly entertaining and educational to read. I love it! I give "Shadow of Night" an A.

PS- On a side note. When "Shadow" was released, a group of us went to a reading with the lovely Deborah Harkness. It was amazing and I quote "better than Christmas!"


"A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness

I am the first to admit. It's been FOREVER. I fell into a funk and couldn't get out. The amount of books I started and didn't finish is staggering. BUT, hopefully I'm back and devouring fiction once again.

Started October 1, 2013 - Ended October 4, 2013

From Barnes & Noble:Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Words cannot truly describe how much I love this book. This was my second time reading this novel, and it was even better than the first. Deborah Harkness provides the perfect blend of heart-racing fiction and deep rooted facts. Matthew and Diana, while a vampire and witch respectively, are no Edward and Bella.
My first reading of "Discovery" is an interesting story. I was rushing through the library, intent on picking up a few books and getting home to make dinner when the bright blue binding of a book caught my eye. I pulled it out, read the cover and threw it on top of my stack. At home, I made dinner and then settled in to pick what I was going to read first. "Discovery" went to the bottom of the pile. Fast forward and by the end of my read, I was literally reading a chapter and then walking away so the book wouldn't end. I promptly made a fistful of my friends read the book as well. We're all obsessed. So, that being said. I give "Discovery of Witches" an A+.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Fire Along the Sky" by Sara Donati

Started July 10, 2013 - Ended July 16, 2013

From Amazon:The year is 1812 and Hannah Bonner has returned to her family’s mountain cabin in Paradise. But Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner can see that Hannah is not the same woman as when she left. For their daughter has come home without her husband and without her son…and with a story of loss and tragedy that she can’t bear to tell. Yet as Hannah resumes her duties as a gifted healer among the sick and needy, she finds that she is also slowly healing herself. Little does she realize that she is about to be called away to face her greatest challenge ever.

As autumn approaches, news of the latest conflict with Britain finds the young men of Paradise—including eighteen-year-old Daniel Bonner—eager to take up arms. Against their better judgment, Nathaniel and Elizabeth must let him go, just as they must let his twin sister Lily, a stubborn beauty, pursue her independence in Montreal. But on the eve of the War of 1812, an unexpected guest arrives from Scotland: It is the Bonners’ distant cousin, the newly widowed Jennet Scott of Carryckcastle. Far from home, Lily and Jennet will each learn the price of pursuing their dreams and the possibility of true love.

But it’s Hannah herself who must risk everything once more—this time to save Daniel, who’s been taken prisoner by the British. As the distant thunder of war threatens Paradise, Hannah may learn to live—and maybe love—again in one final act of courage, duty, and sacrifice.

I am sad to say that while I loved this novel, this is where my reading bug fizzled out. I haven't successfully finished a book since completing "Fire Along the Sky". HOWEVER! I did receive a few ARC's that I am so excited to start and review for NetGalley! ( So, keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for some NEW and exciting material reviews.


Monday, August 5, 2013

"Dawn on a Distant Shore" and "Lake in the Clouds" by Sara Donati

July 2013

It's been awhile since I've posted. My dad had some health issues and with everything going on I was not in the mood to read. Because of this and because I beta'd an awesome story for another author, I honestly can't remember what dates I read the 2 books below. I'm a bad, bad girl.

From Amazon:Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner have settled into their life together at the edge of the New-York wilderness in the winter of 1794 when Elizabeth gives birth to healthy twins. But soon the events in Canada draw Nathaniel far away from his new family. Word has reached them that Nathaniel's father has been arrested by crown officials in British Canada. Nathaniel reluctantly leaves Hidden Wolf Mountain to set out for the distant city, determined to see his father freed. Instead Nathaniel is imprisoned and finds himself in imminent danger of being hanged as an American spy.

In a desperate bid to save her husband, Elizabeth bundles her infants and sets out on the long trek to Montreal. Accompanied by her stepdaughter, Hannah, their wise friend Curiosity Freeman, and Runs-from-Bears, a Mohawk warrior and lifelong friend of Nathaniel's, Elizabeth journeys through the snowy wilderness and across treacherous waterways. But she soon discovers that freeing Nathaniel will take every ounce of her courage and inventiveness. It is a struggle that threatens her with the loss of what she loves most: her children.

Torn apart, the Bonners must embark on yet another perilous voyage...this time all the way across the ocean to the heart of Scotland, where a wealthy earl claims kinship with Nathaniel's father, Hawkeye. In his heart, the Mahican tribe of Hawkeye's youth is the truest kin he will ever know, just as Nathaniel will always remain loyal to the Mohawk nation. But with this journey a whole new world opens up to Nathaniel and Elizabeth--and a destiny they could never have imagined awaits them....

"Into the Wilderness" sucked me in, chewed me up, and left me begging for more. Elizabeth and Nathaniel's love story is on par with Jamie and Claire. Just sayin'. I will be the first to admit, that of the series so far, this has been my least favorite. It's still an epic story that introduces some amazing characters. I give "Dawn on a Distant Shore" a B+.

July 2013

From Amazon:It is the spring of 1802, and the village of Paradise is still reeling from the typhoid epidemic of the previous summer. Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner have lost their two-year-old son, Hannah’s half brother Robbie, but they struggle on as always: the men in the forests, the twins Lily and Daniel in Elizabeth’s school, and Hannah as a doctor in training, apprenticed to Richard Todd. Hannah is descended from healers on both sides—one Scots grandmother and one Mohawk—and her reputation as a skilled healer in her own right is growing.

After a long night spent attending to a birth, Elizabeth and Hannah encounter an escaped slave hiding on the mountain. She calls herself Selah Voyager, and she is looking for Curiosity Freeman—a former slave herself, one of the village’s wisest women and Elizabeth’s closest friend. The Bonners take Selah, desperately ill, to Lake in the Clouds to care for her, and with that simple act they are drawn into the secret life that Curiosity and Galileo Freeman and their grown children have been leading for almost ten years. The Bonners will do what they must to protect the Freemans, just as Hannah will protect her patient, who presents more than one kind of challenge. For a bounty hunter is afoot—Hannah’s childhood friend and first love, Liam Kirby.

While Elizabeth and Nathaniel undertake a treacherous journey through the endless forests to bring Selah to safety in the north, Hannah embarks on a very different journey to New-York City, with two goals: to learn the secrets of vaccination against smallpox, a disease that threatens Paradise, and to find out what she can about Liam’s immediate past and what caused him to change so drastically from the boy she once loved. The obstacles she faces as a woman and a Mohawk make her confront questions long avoided about her place in the world.

Those questions follow her back to Paradise, where she finds that the medical miracle she brings with her will not cure prejudice or superstition, nor can it solve the problem of slavery. No sooner have the Bonners begun to rebound from their losses—old and new—than they find themselves confronted by more than one old enemy in a battle that will test the strength of their love for one another. Hannah faces the decision she has always dreaded: will she make a life for herself in a white world, or among her mother’s people?

This is the book that made me love the series again. Ms. Donati does a very nice job of mixing old and new characters and shifting the focus from Elizabeth and Nathaniel to their daughter Hannah without leaving anyone behind. My only complaint is that it seems so much happens in between the books you are forced to catch up on (children being born and dying before you know they exist, pandemics, etc.) it's sometimes confusing at first. In the end at least, the storylines are so intertwined and full bodied they all end up making sense. As soon as I was finished with "Lake in the Clouds" I immediately picked up book #4. Because of this, I give "Lake in the Clouds" an A.

#52 and 53

Thursday, July 11, 2013

And then this happened ...

So I may have mentioned a time or two on here how Diana Gabaldon is one of my most favorite authors. Well, a few months ago it was announced that her novel, "Outlander", had been optioned by a studio for production. Hopes were high that Jamie and Claire's story would FINALLY be told on the big screen. We haven't been disappointed. Starz greenlit the project and has been running full steam ahead with the project, casting a Scottish actor by the name of Sam Heughan.

Now, I am a total fangirl when it comes to books. Making a movie and/or series that revolves around my favorites puts me in heaven. So when Sam Heughan favorite one of my tweets last night, I thought my life was complete.

Then this. Oh THIS happened.

Yes that's right. Herself tweeted ME.

I know to some it's nothing, but to me, as someone I've idolized for 18 years ... it's perfection.