Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reading Round Up May 2014

Although I didn't read as many books in May as I have in the previous months, the books that I read were fantastic! I need to start reviewing them as I read again but I've been in reading mode much more than writing mode lately. Here is what I read in May:

50 Shades of Frayed: Three Moms Talk About What Happens When "I Do" Becomes "Not Tonight" by Margaret Barney, Crystal Paschal, and Jacqueline Wilson. I'm happy to count Crystal and Jackie among my friends so when I heard they had written a book together with Margaret Barney I knew I had to read it. These three women talk candidly about sex and how married couples with children navigate the inevitable interruptions. The book is full of humorous stories that almost every woman can relate to. Highly recommended!

The Orchard of Hope by Amy Neftzger (advance copy received from LibraryThing, available June 23, 2014) This is the sequel to The Orphanage of Miracles which I read and loved in January. This continues the stories of Kelsey and Nicholas as they undertake separate tasks for the king. Although this is another middle grade novel, it contains much wisdom within the fantasy. I'm unsure if this is going to be a trilogy or a longer series but I know I don't want to miss out on any of the books.

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Guilia Melucci. Memoirs are tricky for me. I often get lost in the wandering narrative that flows through time. This was not the case with this memoir though. Melucci kept things on track as she wrote about her variety of relationships gone wrong. It was an interesting read and I love that recipes are sprinkled throughout the book as she relates food to different events.

A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, the first two books in the All Souls Trilogy. I've had these books sitting on my shelf for quite a while but I didn't want to start reading until the third book, The Book of Life, was going to be released. I had a feeling that I would want to read the series straight through and I was right. I'm loving the details in this story of witch, Diana, and vampire, Matthew, as they break social conventions in the present and past. The scientific aspect of the supernatural story fascinates me and I am drawn to the story of an alchemy text with missing pages that may hold secrets unforeseen. I can hardly wait to finish the story in mid-July.

I'm currently reading The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero (advance copy received from Amazon Vine, available August 12, 2014) This is the story of a haunted house told in an unusual fashion. There are letters, journal entries, a dream diary, and transcripts of audio and video recordings. I like the format because it allows me to read it in small sections, a nice feature when I could be interrupted by children at any moment. The novel has captured my attention although parts of it are strange enough that I will reserve my overall judgement until I see how all the pieces come together.

What did you read in May? What is on your list going into June?

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Reading Round Up April 2014

Once again I did a lot of reading but almost no reviewing for the month. I finished April with a total of eight books read. Now that the husband is travelling less for work the reading will probably slow back down to my regular pace. Here's what I read for April:

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs - Book 8 in the Mercy Thompson series. The pack is threatened when Adam's ex-wife brings an unnatural stalker to their doorstep. This is another great addition to the series, although a bit smaller in scope than some of the other novels.

Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch - I enjoyed the majority of this story about Hannah, whose father disappeared when she was young and whose adult life is a mess, but I was disappointed with the ending.

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts - an Oprah Book Club Selection. I have no idea where I picked up this story of Novalee Nation and I wasn't sure about it when I grabbed it off the bookshelf but I was sucked into the story and the characters. I had a hard time putting the book down to do the things I needed to be doing.

The Hollows Insider by Kim Harrison - This is not a Rachel Morgan novel but fits into the series at book 9.5. I love the way Kim Harrison used a story device to present the complete world of The Hollows from character bios to spells to how magic works to interspecies relations. This is a must read for all Rachel Morgan fans.

Emeralds Included by Betsy Woodman (available for pre-order, release date July 8, 2014) - The third book in the Jana Bibi series. I greatly enjoyed the first two Jana Bibi novels and the third did not disappoint. I loved learning more about Jana's family and seeing her push through a more personal difficulty. It was also fun to learn more about the supporting characters in the novels.

Yarn to Go by Betty Hechtman - The first in the Yarn Retreat series. Cozy mysteries are exactly my speed and when they include crafting or cooking even better. The Yarn Retreat series includes both as Casey Feldstein is a dessert chef who takes over her aunt's yarn business after her sudden death. This was a fun novel that left me wanting to bake and learn to knit.

Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster - I wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did. I never liked the main character, although I don't think I was supposed to. While Reagan did have some realizations about her life by the end of the novel, it somehow felt like too little, too late to undo the damage she had caused within her own relationships.

The Ups and Downs of Being Dead by M. R. Cornelius - I won this book from Girl Who Reads but wasn't entirely convinced I would enjoy it. Boy, was I wrong! I was completely sucked into the story and the characters were all incredibly interesting. Just as Robert Malone is given much to think about while he waits for technology to bring him back from the dead, this book offered a lot for me to contemplate about relationships and personal choices.

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