Month in Review: June 2017

Month in Review

Read this month:  6 Books, 1516 Pages 

Read this year:   49 Books, 12397 Pages 

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4) Night's Darkest Embrace Backyard Chickens: Beyond the Basics Ready Player One Kato (Stone Warriors, #2)

Looking Back:

I’m trying to be optimistic in that I will finish Kato by the time this post goes live.  I have about 100 pages left and a busy day tomorrow (possibly) so I wanted to write this post up before the first while I have time.  Not as awful as I thought the month of June was going to be.  Of course half of the books there are audiobooks but still, I’m going to call the month a win going by how I’m feeling. I just don’t seem to be picking up books and reading like I used to.

Looking Ahead:

Which means I need to get my head out of my ass and start reading.  I have six review books that I need to and want to read.  Reading has been my escape in the past.  I place I turned to to find a small haven of happiness.  I need to find that again.  I want to find that again.  The first week of July might be a wash for reading.  Husband is going to be laid off for factory shut down and that means he will be home all week…. That usually means I don’t get much reading done as we use his time off for projects that need to be done.  Which is fine.  I also have a kitchen floor that is on hold for being refinished and six sheep that still need to be sheared, and a llama that does not like to be touched.  July might be a great month for audiobooks.  I did download a title I DNFed in print.  The narrator is an actor I enjoy so we will see if the title works better being read to me instead of me reading it.  It has happened in the past so my fingers are crossed.

Happy Reading ~Amy

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Book Review

 


Ready Player OneBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Audiobook

Book Series: N/A

Released: 8/16/11 by Crown Publishers

Pages: 374 Price: $26.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed a copy of this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

My Review:

Wow, I really enjoyed this book!  Totally surprised me because I ended up DNFing this author’s second book Armada.  That one I found just annoying and a bit boring with all the insider info geared towards gamers.  This book, on the other hand, was a delight and a fun nostalgic trip to all things pop culture from the 80’s, the decade I spent most of my pre-teen and teens in.

I totally agree with another reviewer in that Wil Wheaton made this book for me!  Listening to him narrate this story was such a trip, especially when the story referenced him and anything Trek.  Being that this story is about a group of players searching for the ultimate Easter Egg inside a game to have so much of the story is essentially one giant Easter Egg was amazing. At almost every turn there was some pop reference that made me smile.

But that isn’t all that Ready Player One is about, oh no, there is much more to be had in this tale.  There is also a great social commentary on where our society might be headed if we don’t change our ways.  We get a glimpse at what might await us if we don’t start taking climate change seriously or stop rampant corporate greed.  I also enjoyed the ideas about where technology might be headed that the author proposed.

The last leg of this story focused on a small band of misfits struggling to fit in, in this world.  Outcasts that live their lives mainly online and struggle with social interactions.  Not to mention a budding romance that was beyond sweet.  The characters, like in any epic tale, are true heroes out to fight for the greater good.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book.  I’m not sure I would have felt the same way if I had read it myself though.  Wil Wheaton’s inflection and talent as an actor added that something extra that bumped this story up an entire star for me.  So if you have the option I would definitely listen to this one.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Bookish Thoughts: Why I’m not reading…

…or doing anything really.  Depression.  Pure and simple I’m stuck in a bout of depression.  I thought I wasn’t reading because I was too busy.  Work in the garden, work on the house, work at the library. Then I thought I wasn’t reading because I needed new glasses with bifocal lenses.  Still, need those but I don’t think that is the reason anymore.  I find myself not interested in much of anything right now.  Could be due to changes in my life from my cancer diagnosis, hysterectomy, and now dealing with menopause, a major life crisis, and hormonal shift can do a number on someone’s attitude.  Then there is the 30 year anniversary of my mother’s death, get over it already… A couple other issues that I’m going to keep private.  The reason doesn’t really matter though the results are the same I am stuck in a dark place right now and I’ve lost interest in pretty much everything.  I’m still getting some things accomplished with the garden and animals but if something’s life doesn’t depend on me rallying enough energy to do what needs to be done the task just isn’t happening.  I am going to make an effort to stick to my commitments to read the review books I’ve been granted access to but other than that I just can’t’ make any promises right now.  I hope I come out of this funk soon but if I don’t I will be seeking out professional help through counseling.  I’ve done it before and it helped.  So thank you for understanding and don’t give up on the blog yet.  I plan to stick around through the ups and downs of my personal life.  Posting just might become more sporadic.  I do hope to finish up an audiobook soon and a review book that came out last Friday, I feel so bad that I didn’t finish it before the release date…

Thanks for listening, happy reading~ Amy

Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 Favorites ~ So Far

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

June 27: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far

Being that this is the last Top Ten Tuesday list until August I thought I should participate.  Also, it helps that this is a pretty easy list to come up with.  Below are ten books I’ve read this year that received a five-star review or stood out in some other way.

My Ten Favorite Books of 2017, so far…

  1. Blade Bound (Chicagoland Vampires, #13)  This book had to make the list as it is the best series finally that I have ever read.  I was so sad to see the series end but loved the way it went out!
  2. Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (Charley Davidson, #11)   There was a recent announcement that this series only has two books left before it ends…  I have no words.  This is one of my favorite series and I will be so sad to see it go.  This book was amazing BTW like so many that preceded it.
  3. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend Took me forever to get to but it was such a sweet read that I’m thrilled that I got to meet the author at BEA.
  4. Born of Legend (The League, #9) I keep putting books by my favorite author on hold.  I need to remember that they are my favorite author for a reason because they constantly deliver books that I adore.
  5. Blood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy, #2)  Another winner from a favorite author!
  6. Immortal Unchained (Argeneau, #25)  I keep seeing a lot of reviews from others that they are over this series.  I can see some of their points but personally many of their reasons are why I love it.  I know what I’m getting when I read a book from this series and nine times out of ten I’m going to love it.
  7. Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10)  I was worried that this series was turning for me but the latest release in the series brought it back for me.  Loved this one!
  8. The Space Between the Stars  This book was a bit of a surprise for me.  I loved it so much I added it to our collection at work and can’t wait to introduce it to my patrons.
  9. The Turn (The Hollows, # 0.1)  Was hesitant to try this prequel but glad I did.
  10. Bottomland  This book is on the list because I was so shocked at how much I enjoyed it.  It was an All Iowa Read selection and is the first one I actually liked.

 

Well, there is my quick list that I was able to assemble before work.  Over the TTT break, I might go back and do some of the past lists that I missed out on.  Happy Reading!

Backyard Chickens: Beyond the Basics by Pam Freeman

Book Review

 


Backyard Chickens: Beyond the BasicsBook Genre: Non-Fiction

Book Series: N/A

Released: 5/1/17 by Voyageur Press

Pages: 192 Price: $21.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review

 

Book Synopsis:

A must-have for every backyard chicken keeper, Backyard Chickens 2.0 goes beyond introductory lessons and explores the realities of raising a flock for eggs — and entertainment, of course! From odd eggs and molting to feeding and preparing for the seasons, this book covers the subjects beginner books don’t adequately address and re-examines common knowledge that may not actually hold true. It’s a resource to turn to time and again for expert advice to make sure your birds are happy, healthy, and productive.

Author Pam Freeman, an editor and “Ask the Expert” columnist at Backyard Poultry magazine, draws on her years of experience fielding reader questions to identify and clearly explain many common – and some not-so-common – issues in chicken keeping. How do you add new chickens to your flock? What is the pecking order and how can you change or control it? Is it better to raise chicks by hand or with a broody hen? What do you do when you collect eggs and discover: lash eggs, calcium deposits, soft eggs, eggs within eggs, or wrinkled eggs? In Backyard Chickens 2.0, readers will find not just answers, but a book full of “coop truth” that helps them continue on their journey. Because as every chicken owner knows: Chickens are individuals and real-life chicken keeping often takes you far from the beaten path.

Chapters include Expanding Your Flock, Flock Behavior, Life with a Rooster, All About Eggs, Chicken (and Egg) Health, Predators, Feeding Your Chickens, Chicken Keeping Through the Seasons, and Coop Truth.

My Review:

I am not a novus chicken owner.  I’ve owned chickens and other poultry ever since moving to the country 13 years ago with some success but also some loss.  Earlier this year I began battling a particularly smart and crafty raccoon and lost my entire flock.  So this spring I am starting over and have been seeking out these chicken books for new tips and ideas on how to get this new flock off on the right foot.  When I saw this book up for review I didn’t hesitate in putting in a request for review on the blog.

I’m so glad I did because while there is quite a bit of basic information here there is also a ton of new (to me) information that I found helpful too!  I plan on purchasing my own copy of this book to add to my home library for reference.  Also because while the e-book I reviewed was alright it did slow down my nook and the lovely pictures that the author referenced in the text would not load properly.  So this is definitely a book to have in print! (not that I’m sure it is offered any other way….)  Anyway, the chapters are broken down into a logical sequence and are thorough in their coverage of the topics discussed.  The book isn’t as technical as some and the author doesn’t lecture but informs based upon an example of what has worked for her.  There were a few antidotes from her own flock but most of this book was geared towards help a fellow chicken owner manage their flock.

Some of the sections I found particularly helpful and interesting were on egg formation and color, wound care, predators, and coop truth.  But honestly, there is a lot of good information for anyone beyond an expert that is. If you are a new chicken owner or someone like myself who has owned birds for a number of years this could be a helpful book to have on hand.  I found myself reading well past my bedtime and taking mental notes of things to try out with my own flock.  I’m so glad I read this book!

My Rating: 5 Stars

Night’s Darkest Embrace by Jeaniene Frost

Book Review

 


Night's Darkest EmbraceBook Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Audio

Book Series: N/A

Released: 11/13/2012 by Pocket

Pages:100  Price: $1.99 E-Book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Enter the dark realm of Nocturna in Jeaniene Frost’s redhot tale, where blisteringly sexy Raphael dominates the demons of a lawless dimension and tries to help a beautiful young woman avenge her cousin’s disappearance. Originally appeared in the Haunted By Your Touch anthology.

My Review:

This was a good listen for an afternoon spent removing tar paper from a hardwood floor.  Entertaining, short, and kept one’s mind occupied while doing a tedious task.  My only complaint is that this isn’t a series!  I thought this world was quite interesting and full of potential.  Maybe Ms. Frost will decide to revisit this demon dimension in the future, finger’s crossed.

While being short there was adequate world building and I didn’t feel lost. The story is fairly typical for paranormal romance there is a sexy alpha hero and an instant romance connection between him and the heroine who has to be rescued from the bad guy.  You know what to expect but that isn’t always a bad thing.  Sometimes you are just in the mood for a certain type of book and Ms. Frost constantly delivers an exciting steamy read.

Not a lot more to say being it was so short.  I enjoyed it and if you ever need to kill three hours then this would be a great audiobook to pick for you!

My Rating: Three Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Series yet to start.

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

June 20:  Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t

This week’s list seemed interesting so I am taking a break from my hiatus and posting a TTT list.  I, like many of you, have a long list of series that I want to star, and a lot of series I need to get caught up on….  So here are ten random series that I would like to try someday.

Ten book series I would like to start

  1. Grimspace (Sirantha Jax, #1)  I believe I picked up the second book in this series while thrifting and thought it looked interesting.  Now that I have my phone I usually check first to see if a book is a part of a series before automatically buying it.  Sometimes I set them back sometimes if it is book two I will go ahead and bring it home and borrow the first book through my library.  Of course, that usually means more planning and often those series need to wait.
  2. Kindling the Moon (Arcadia Bell, #1)  The same goes for this book, I think or this was a book series that was recommended to me.
  3. Written in Red (The Others, #1)   This series has been on my list for some time.  It might be time to give up on this series because I don’t own them and don’t seem to be making any effort to borrow them through the library either.
  4. Santa Olivia (Santa Olivia, #1)  I do believe this book’s cover caught my eye. The reviews aren’t great but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for me.
  5. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)  This book is actually being returned to the library today. I checked it out weeks ago, it has been renewed once… and never got around to starting it.  Then I was approved for a bunch of review books some that have deadlines and have decided to return this and try again at the end of summer.
  6. Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer, #1)  I have this one and the second book sitting up on my to-read bookcase waiting for their turn.  Good thing that books don’t spoil because my bedroom would be ripe with the rotten books that I took too long to get to.
  7. Afterlife (The Resurrection Chronicles, #1)  Don’t remember much about this one but it was on my to-read shelf so here it is.
  8. Flight from Death (Fly by Night, #1) I believe I have this entire series.  I picked them up at a Salvation Army in the city where we shop and haven’t gotten around to starting them yet.
  9. Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, #1)  I believe I wanted to try this series based on the recommendation of others.
  10. Deadmen Walking (Deadman's Cross, #1)  I was/am so excited about this new series by my favorite author that I pre-ordered the book months before it released without fully reading the synopsis.  My bad because now I see that it is a historical series and I’m not usually a fan of those.  I will try it though, she is my favorite author after all but if it isn’t my cup of tea then I won’t be reading more.

Well, there you have my half-hearted list for the week.  I don’t think I’m quite ready to come back from my hiatus or summer blogging vacay.  Hope to have a review for you soon.  Happy Reading.

Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost

Book Review

 


Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4)Book Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance

Book Series: Night Prince #4

Released: 2/28/17 by Avon

Pages: 340  Price: $7.99 paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book

 

 

 

Book Synopsis:

In the wrong hands, love can be a deadly weapon.

For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him.

A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires, so Vlad and Leila enlist an unlikely guide as they search for a way to break the spell. But an ancient enemy lies in wait, capable of turning Vlad and Leila’s closest friends against them…and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.

My Review:

It took me forever to get this book, (note: do not pre-order books with vastly different release dates from Amazon they hold them and ship after the last book releases…).  Then it took me weeks to actually finish the book because life got in the way.  Just poor timing all around for this last book in the Night Prince series, on my part at least.  For what it’s worth I did enjoy the book I just think that I might need to read it again at a time when I can dedicate the attention it deserves.

Vlad is my favorite character from the Night Huntress world and I loved his spin-off quartet of books.  I can see the criticism that read in other’s reviews but I don’t care.  The series works for me and I will miss reading about these two.  The book is much like the others in the series Leila is being used as a tool to hurt and manipulate Vlad.  Mencheres and Ian take an intricate part in the plot of this last book.  In part to finish up this series and in part to set up Ian’s series.  Personally, I can’t wait to read that one as I think it is going to be a hoot!  I do believe the heroine has been picked and if it is who I’m thinking of there should be plenty of sparks and drama coming Ian’s way.

In this last installment, we learn quite a bit about Leila’s power and its source.  We also see the complete transformation of Leila into Vlad’s equal and contemporary.  Through the events that these two need to overcome we see Leila become just as vicious, dark and strong as Vlad.  While there is quite a bit of Leila needing to be protected and rescued in this book there were plenty of times where Leila was the one doing the rescuing.

While I am sad to see these two go I’m satisfied with how this series played out.  The book did make me long to revisit the Night Huntress world so I will most likely try to reread the series and its spin-offs some time.  Perhaps before Ian’s book come out.

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Space between the Stars by Anne Corlett

Book Review

 


The Space Between the StarsBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic 

Book Series: N/A

Released: 6/13/2017

Pages: 368 Price:$26.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit…

Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be…

My Review:

Not quite sure what I was expecting when I requested this book for review but it wasn’t this.  I’ve been on a science fiction kick for a few months now and thought this title sounded interesting. If you are looking for a hard-hitting science fiction thriller this is not the book for you.  If you want a book about the exploration of the human character than this one might be up your alley. This book is more about the human race than it about the solar system, oh sure, there is science involved but the heart of the story is more about internal and societal struggle than anything else.

While reading this book I often wondered just where the author was taking us. There was little set up as to how the human race ended up among the start.  We do get an explanation but not much of one.  Most of the flashbacks were introspective glimpses into the main character’s past.  Her personal struggle and how she ended up so far from home.  The plot quickly forms a small pack of refugees that are trying to make their way back to hopefully more populated parts of space and we eventually do find ourselves back on Earth.

I have to say I didn’t quite expect the book to end the way it did but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  It was an interesting journey for these characters and I quite enjoyed tagging along.  I loved how the author shined a light on all aspects of humanity in this book.  The good and the bad.  She made me think about how, much of the time, we are our own worst enemy.  I also tend to agree with her insinuation that even if most of the human race disappeared instantly there would still be those that thought they could tell everyone else what to do.

The author touches on many sensitive topics in this book from government, religion, class warfare, disabilities, and manages to blend them all together in an interesting and thought-provoking story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  This was simply a good book and I can’t wait to introduce it to others.

My Rating:5 Stars

Hiatus

Read What I Like will go on hiatus for a week or two.  I will still post book reviews as I finish titles but I am going to take a break from Monday Morning Check-In and Top Ten Tuesday.  I … Continue reading