Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: True Calling

Book Cover: True Calling by Siobhan Davis True Calling by Siobhan Davis
Published October 2014 by Siobhan Davis
Source: review copy supplied by the author

Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17-year-old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana's plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.

As the traumatic events within her family life enfold, Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent pre-occupation with her and feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify as the recently announced pageant, 'The Calling', gets underway. Struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane, discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's Back! Bout of Books 13 is coming soon

Bout of Books logo You'd think that after last week's Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon I'd have had enough of marathon reading. But no-o-o. I've decided that I should join in on Bout of Books 13. It's scheduled for 11-17 May. At the beginning of that week, I'll be in Las Vegas attending a conference. Then over the weekend, we'll be road-tripping back to Texas. I just adore a road trip with lots of time to read.

While Bout of Books has a much less frenzied schedule than Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon, I find that both of them give me an opportunity to put just a little bit more emphasis on reading. And there's that getting together with other readers/participants through blogs, tweets, updates on Goodreads, and even Facebook.

Bout of Books is a very social event. Kelly and Amanda are fans of Twitter and they hold at least two Twitter chats during each Bout of Books. That's in addition to the twice daily announcements on Twitter. Don't believe me?
Check it out #boutofbooks.

If I've persuaded you to join us, you need to sign up. Just fill out the sign-up linky on the Bout of Books web site. While you're there, grab the image and spread the word. And drop back by in a day or so for more information on challenges and other activities.

Never heard of Bout of Books? Well, the team that organizes it describes it this way:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dewey Wrap-Up

I had intended to wake up around 6am and spend the last hour of Dewey's 24-hour Read-a-thon reading. But I didn't set an alarm and I simply slept through the end of the event.

Summary

Total Pages read: 274 pages

Total Time spent reading: ~ 4 hours

Finished Books: Only 1: Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton

Books read: 4

Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton, Ruler of the Sky by Pamela Sargent, The Innocent by David Baldacci, and A Reckless Witch

Book Cover: Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton Book Cover: Ruler of the Sky by Pamela Sargent Book Cover: The Innocent by David Baldacci Book Cover: A Reckless Witch by Debora Geary

 

Sunday Summary: 26 April 2015

I'm really late in preparing and posting this week's Sunday Summary. I normally use Saturday to pull this post together and at the last minute, I decided to participate in the semi-annual Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon. Twenty-four hours of reading starting at 7am, Central US time. I didn't make it for the whole 24 hours, but I tried very hard to eliminate all other activities. So, after sleeping late this Sunday morning, I sat down to write a few thoughts about the books I read this week.

Where I've been reading

At last I got to spend a week at home. No travel for business or for pleasure. Just seven straight days in my own house and sleeping in my own bed every night.

 

Dewey Update #4

It was difficult to resist watching tonight's episode of Outlander, but I prevailed. After making my last update, I moved out of the family room to my office so I could read without the distraction of the television. After only a couple of pages, I decided to listen to more of The Innocent. So, for about 2 hours I listened while playing solitaire. Unfortunately, I dozed off and had to back the recording up. But I did cover at least 112 pages.

5 hours to go, but feeling sleepy

Reading Location: My home in Texas

Currently Reading: Ruler of the Sky by Pamela Sargent

and The Innocent by David Baldacci

Book Cover: Ruler of the Sky by Pamela Sargent Book Cover: Ruler of the Sky by Pamela Sargent

Total Pages read so far: 257 pages

Total Time spent reading so far: 237 minutes

Other Readers I have visited: None since last update

Mini-challenges completed: Just the Introductory Questionnaire

Finished Books: 1

Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton

Book Cover: Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton

Comments: I'm going to take my Kindle to bed with me. I know I'll fall asleep at some point, but when I do wake up, I'll have it handy to resume reading. I'll lose track of how much time was spent reading, but I'll know how many pages I read. (Unlike the audio book, which continues to advance even if I've dozed off.)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dewey Update #3

We turned Aiden over to his Uncle Paul just before 6pm and then headed to supper. I read in the car and while we were eating and again in the car on the way home from the restaurant. I finished reading Justice and Her Brothers before we got to the restaurant, so I started reading Ruler of the Sky, a novelization of the life of Gheghis Khan.

Start time plus 13 hours

Reading Location: My home in Texas

Currently Reading: Ruler of the Sky by Pamela Sargent

Book Cover: Ruler of the Sky by Pamela Sargent

Total Pages read so far: 145 pages

Total Time spent reading so far: 217 minutes

Other Readers I have visited: None since last update

Mini-challenges completed: Just the Introductory Questionnaire

Finished Books: 1

Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton

Book Cover: Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton

Comments: Now that I've had a good supper, I'm settling in to spend some serious time reading. It's a bit painful to ignore the TV right now since the newest episode of Outlander is airing as I write this. I'm recording it to view tomorrow after the Dewey's Read-a-thon is over.

Dewey Update #2

As predicted, I've not been able to spend long periods of time just reading. I'm enjoying the day with my grandson and even sat down to a nice long Facetime chat with my sister in Virginia. When Aiden's daddy gets home later this afternoon, I'll put on a major emphasis on reading—including reading right through dinner. (Wonder where the hubby will take me for dinnner?)

Eight and a Half Hours In

Reading Location: Aiden's house in Texas

Currently Reading: Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton

Book Cover: Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton

Total Pages read so far: 72 pages

Total Time spent reading so far: 98 minutes

Other Readers I have visited: Camilla's blog, ScottishBookNerd's Instagram, Kim's blog and Sarah's blog

Mini-challenges completed: Just the Introductory Questionnaire

Finished Books: 0

Comments: I took an Internet break at 10am (after 3 hours), updating my blog, visiting Twitter, and checking out updates from other Dewey's participants. I thought I could get that done in only an hour, but what with interruptions and wanting to take my time reading various updates, over 90 minutes had passed. That made it time to get lunch. Aiden asked to go to Chick-fil-A so he could play on the indoor playground. Suited me!

Dewey Progress after 3 hours

The Spring 2015 Dewey's 24-hour Read-a-thon kicked off at 7am local time. Hubby and I were just leaving the house and heading down to our son's home to spend the day with 5-year-old Aiden. I have spent less than an hour reading so far. It's nice that Aiden is old enough to play by himself part of the time, but I still need to be attentive to him, so I can't get lost in my book.

Hour 3 Update

Reading Location: Aiden's house in Texas

Currently Reading: Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton

Book Cover: Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton

Total Pages read so far: 39 pages

Total Time spent reading so far: 48 minutes

Other Readers I have visited: None so far

Mini-challenges completed: Just the Introductory Questionnaire (see below)

Finished Books: 0

Comments: Every time I sit still to read, I start getting drowsy. I went to bed too late last night and got up early, so I could use a nice long nap. Can't do that right now since I need to pay attention to Aiden.

Introductory Questionnaire

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

I'm at home in Texas. Splitting my time between my son's home with his 5-year-old and my home about an hour away.

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

Probably The Quilter's Homecoming by Jennifer Chiaverini

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I don't stock up on snacks for the read-a-thon. (Though it might be a good idea to lay in some snacks for the wee hours of the morning as we approach hours 20-24).

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I am an avid reader of various fiction genres. Since I've become a grandmother I've noticed that I have less stamina to stay awake for the entire 24 hours of the event, but that's OK, too. I'll still spend my day focusing mostly on reading and avoiding other distractions.

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 don't really have any changes to make to my participation. I plan to just go with the flow today.

Stacking the Shelves (29)

OK. Headed back to the library to continue reading a couple of series that I'm enjoying. I've successfully resisted the urge to buy new books, though I have gladly picked up a couple of freebies this week.

From the library:

Book Cover: Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue by M C Beaton Book Cover: Back in Society by M C Beaton I decided I'd finish reading The Poor Relations series in the next couple of week, checking out the last two volumes in the series, Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue and Back in Society. Each episode of these romances set in Regency England delivers a delightful comedy of errors.


Book Cover: The Devil's Novice by Ellis Peters Another series that I plan on completing this year, is the Brother Cadfael mysteries. Set in medieval Shropshire, Brother Cadfael is a healer and herbalist among the monks of the Abbey of Saints Peter and Paul. The Devil's Novice is the eighth of twenty books in this charming series by Ellis Peters.


 

How about you? Any new books? You're invited to tell us all about it by joining the fun at Stacking the Shelves. According to the reviewers at Tynga's Reviews who host the meme:

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which the BookObsessed online community will receive a few cents if you make purchases.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Return of Dewey's Read-a-thon

It's that time again. Dewey's Read-a-thon is taking place on Saturday. It's the most intense of all the read-a-thons that I participate in, challenging readers to read as much as they can in the 24 hours of the event. This read-a-thon is held twice a year and runs from noon UCT on a Saturday to noon UCT the next day. Everyone starts and ends at the same time, so since I live in Texas, my start time is 7am CDT.

My first Dewey's was in October 2009. I don't know how many I've participated in, and I had thought I'd skip it this time. Nearly six years on, I find that I don't have the energy to stay awake the entire time, so I allow myself to turn in when I'm too tired to read any more. My basic approach to Dewey's is to avoid television and all other distractions.

Unlike a lot of other readers, I don't have a stack of books to photograph and share with you. In fact, there's only one book printed on paper that is on my list of books that I've queued up for Saturday. Other than an audiobook in progress, all the other books are sitting in my Kindle and BeBook eReaders. I expect I'll only finish two books tomorrow, but I will have fun regardless.

Spring 2015 Readathon Pile

Book Cover: The Innocent by David Baldacci Book Cover: Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton Book Cover: The Quilter's Homecoming by Jennifer Chiaverini Book Cover: Beyond Reach by Siobhan Davis Book Cover: Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue by M C Beaton Book Cover: Back in Society by M C Beaton Book Cover: The Devil's Novice by Ellis Peters

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Summary: 19 April 2015

Where I've been reading

Business took me to Toronto for most of this past week. Since I was sharing the car with co-workers, I didn't listen to an audio book while I was away—though I did get in two hours of listening on Saturday while driving to and from my son's house. Having stumbled on Lola's Blog Tours and signed up to review the first two books of Siobhan Davis's True Calling series, this week I completed book one, True Calling.

 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (28)

This week, I only picked up one new book. From the author and NetGalley, I received a copy of Beyond Reach for review. With a publication date of April 30 and a review to be posted on May 17, I need to get busy reading it.

For review:

Book Cover: Beyond Reach by Siobhan Davis A week or so ago, I discovered a new YA SF Romance series by Irish author Siobhan Davis. I quickly requested a copy of the first book, True Calling and signed up for this week's Book Blitz. (See last week's Stacking the Shelves and the Book Blitz posts.) And, following on that, I was given the option to read and review the second novel, Beyond Reach. I jumped at the opportunity and received the eBook a couple of days ago.

Ari, the heroine from the first book, has returned to Earth from the planet Novo. She is reunited with former boyfriend, Zane, but is torn by feelings for her fiancé, Cal, who is being held by the authorities back on Novo. Ari is working with the rebel organization, but still keeping secret the information passed to her by her father. Who can she trust?


 

How about you? Any new books? You're invited to tell us all about it by joining the fun at Stacking the Shelves. According to the reviewers at Tynga's Reviews who host the meme:

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Monday, April 13, 2015

How do you read?

Lavery Maiss Auras.jpg It was Francis Bacon who said, "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." I lean toward the middle of that quote—consuming books with a speed that basically constitutes swallowing them whole.

I may not read as many words-per-minute or pages-per-minute as some others, but I definitely do gobble up books. I think that may be one reason why I have such a fondness for long books or series—I get to spend more time with the characters I have come to enjoy.

A down-side to gulping down books is that I don't tend to remember details. I thoroughly enjoy the story while I'm reading—and yes, I mostly read fiction—and a short while after I finish reading, I tend to only remember the gross outline of the book. That may be one reason why I find it so difficult to write reviews. If I don't take care of it right away, then I'm stuck saying something trivial like “I really enjoyed this book”.

So how about you? How do you read?

Image licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. Lavery Maiss Auras by John Lavery, downloaded from http://kevinalfredstrom.com/art/v/paintings/Sir+John+Lavery_Miss_Auras_the_red_book.jpg.html.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Summary: 12 April 2015

Welcome back to another edition of Sunday Summary. I introduced this feature to the blog in September 2014, so there are now seven months of weekly posts detailing the books I've read and what's been showing up on the blog. And, as usual, I'm linking up with The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Where I've been reading

Another week, another business trip. A couple of days this past week I was in Pittsburgh; the city of bridges. And boy, were there a lot of bridges. I took advantage of the time spent in airport terminals and aboard planes to get a lot of reading done. I was even able to listen to a half-hour or so of The Innocent.

 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (27)

This week I borrowed a couple of books from the library and even spent some of my gift card money on some new books. New books this week are from several genres: there's mystery, historical and contemporary; science fiction, space military, and YA romance; and a psychological thriller. I think I need to take a week off to catch up with all the new books I've received over the past two weeks!

 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: The Secret History of the Mongol Queens

Book Cover: The Secret History of the Mongol Queens by Jack Weatherford The Secret History of the Mongol Queens by Jack Weatherford
Published February 2010 by Random House Audio
Source: purchased from Audible.com

The Mongol queens of the thirteenth century ruled the largest empire the world has ever known. Yet sometime near the end of the century, censors cut a section from The Secret History of the Mongols, leaving a single tantalizing quote from Genghis Khan: “Let us reward our female offspring.” Only this hint of a father’s legacy for his daughters remained of a much larger story.

The queens of the Silk Route turned their father’s conquests into the world’s first truly international empire, fostering trade, education, and religion throughout their territories and creating an economic system that stretched from the Pacific to the Mediterranean. Outlandish stories of these powerful queens trickled out of the Empire, shocking the citizens of Europe and and the Islamic world.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

March Wrap-Up

For the entire month of March, I was participating in the Take Control of your TBR Pile Challenge, hosted by Kimba at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. I read 17 books from my TBR list, one of which was a library book with an early March due date.

Regarding the challenges I entered into this year, the primary challenge was to read 200 books in 2015. At the end of March—¼ of the way through the year—I had completed 50 books, which put me right on schedule to reach 200 books. My secondary goal was to read 50,000 pages. At the end of March, the total number of pages in the books I read was 13,931. That was well ahead of the goal, so I'm in a good position moving into the second quarter of the year.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

SYNC returns in Summer 2015

It's almost time for the SYNC summer freebies. Just one month until the downloads begin.

Sponsored by AudioFile Magazine, in 2015 SYNC is partnered with sixteen different producers of audiobooks such as Tantor Audio, Listening Library, and Recorded Books. For fourteen weeks, starting on the 7th of May, you can download two titles a week. That's 28 free audiobooks—enough to keep me listening for an entire year.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sunday Summary: 5 April 2015

Happy Easter! All of March, I was participating in the Take Control of your TBR Pile Challenge, hosted by Kimba at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. I enjoyed the challenge, reading nearly 20 books from my TBR backlog, but I really was glad to see April show up. First thing I did was visit the library's online catalog and check out a couple of eBooks.

Where I've been reading

Although it was Holy Week, I had a short business trip to the Southeast. I flew to Jackson, MS; drove to Birmingham, AL; then flew back home to Texas. Spending three hours in the car gave me time to complete an audio book, and all that time waiting in airports and in flight was well spent reading.

 

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Review: Claimed

Book Cover: Claimed by Sarah Fine Claimed by Sarah Fine
Published March 2015 by 47 North
Source: eGalley ARC from NetGalley

In this urban fantasy, brilliant scientist Galena Margolis is determined to fulfill her destiny and develop the vaccine that could save millions. Yet when Galena’s test subjects meet with foul play, it’s clear that someone is still determined to stop her, and that Galena herself is a target. As the Ferry empire forges a plan to keep her safe, Declan Ferry, the politics-hating black sheep of the family, steps forward to protect her—but the emotional cost may be more than either of them is willing to pay.

As unknown enemies close in, it becomes terrifyingly clear that they threaten to destroy not only Galena’s lifesaving work but also the very fabric of fate. As Galena and Declan race to uncover the traitor, they also forge a special bond that could save both Galena and those she’s sworn to help. Torn apart by the past and hunted by those she trusted, can Galena find room amidst her fears for a passion that could make her stronger than ever? And even if she and Declan can find their way together, will it be enough to keep the future from coming apart at the seams?

My Thoughts

Sarah Fine has delivered a fantastic series in Servants of Fate. Claimed is the second book of at least three, with Fated scheduled for publication in September. Having read the first two books, I'd encourage Fine not to stop at three, but continue writing in this world.

Galena Margolis is a brilliant scientist whose research shows real promise to produce vaccines to deal with the rapidly mutating plague-like diseases running rampant in a world devastated by ecological disaster. The Ferrys (who transport the dead to the Afterlife) and Kere (who Mark those fated to die) are financially rewarded for their service to the Keepers, so any reduction in the death rate threatens their livelihood. Members of both groups are determined to prevent Galena from completing her research while the leadership is determined to support it.

Things get violent when Galena's research subjects and lab assistants are all killed and her lab is bombed. In order to protect her, the Ferry family devise a plan to Claim her—turning her into a Ferry through marriage. Declan was already falling for Galena and immediately steps up to be her husband. When Galena is charged with the murders and bombings, Declan breaks her out of jail and the two of them are attempting to avoid the police while finding out who's actually guilty and framing Galena.

When I requested copies of Marked and Claimed for review, I was basing my request on the book descriptions provided by the publisher. The one thing that the publisher didn't tell me was that the books contained explicit lovemaking scenes. And that's really all that prevents me from raving over both books. I did my best to skim over the detailed descriptions and get back to the main story. For those who enjoy or at least don't object to the erotic content, Servants of Fate may well be one of your favorite series.


★★★☆☆

Note that I received a free copy of Claimed from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Stacking the Shelves (26)

I really didn't intend to get any new books this week. Wait! That's not true. I've been champing at the bit to get back to the library and continue reading the Cadfael and Hamish MacBeth mysteries. But, I picked up some other books this week, too

From the library:

Book Cover: The Dawn of Aurora Teagarden by Charlaine Harris Before Sookie—there was Aurora! I stopped by the library early this week to visit with the librarians and I saw The Dawn of Aurora Teagarden on the book sale table. This is a special omnibus of the first three Aurora Teagarden mysteries, published by the Mystery Guild. Since I have been wanting to read this series, I was happy to toss $1 into the bucket on the table and walk away with the book.


Book Cover: Ruler of the Sky by Pamela Sargent I just couldn't pass up Ruler of the Sky, a novel of the life of Genghis Khan. Publisher's Weekly says the novel is a “somewhat romanticized portrayal” of the Mongol ruler, but other reviewers point out that the story is told from the viewpoint of the women in Genghis Khan's life—his mother, wives, and daughters. I just finished listening to The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, and I'm looking forward to reading another version of their history.


Book Cover: Sir Philip's Folly by M C Beaton I'm looking forward to reading Sir Philip's Folly, the fourth volume in M. C. Beaton's lighthearted romance series The Poor Relations. The owners of the Poor Relations Hotel are at it again. Sir Philip has caused trouble throughout all the previous books, and now he's fallen for a crude woman who is eating up all the profits at the hotel. As his co-owners plot to get her out of the hotel, they also become involved in the coming-out of a shy young socialite.


Book Cover: The Sanctuary Sparrow by Ellis Peters To continue reading the Brother Cadfael Mysteries, I borrowed The Sanctuary Sparrow, seventh book in the series. When a young man accused of robbery and murder seeks sanctuary in the Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, it falls to Brother Cadfael to prove his innocence.


Book Cover: Beauty by Robin McKinley As I was browsing through the online catalog at my library's Freading eBook service, I saw Beauty by Robin McKinley. This retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale will help me with the Eclectic Reader Challenge. And, as I was reading reviews, I discovered that Beauty was McKinley's first published novel. This should be a fun read.


For review:

Book Cover: Jack Staples and the Poet's Storm by Mark Batterson & Joel N. Clark Having read and reviewed the first two books in this trilogy, I was pleased to be sent the third book to review. Due to be published on 1 June, Jack Staples and the Poet's Storm is the epic conclusion to the Jack Staples trilogy. Jack and Alexia must make an impossible choice during their final battle against the Assasin—one that could alter time itself and the fate of the world.


Purchased (gift card):

Book Cover: Kris Longknife: Redoubtable by Mike Shepherd I chose the Kris Longknife books as a series that I wanted to focus on in 2015—along with the Cadfael Mysteries and Elm Creek Quilts. I'm so glad that I did. I had two books on hand and enjoyed reading them during the March Take Control of your TBR Pile Challenge. As soon as March was over, I purchased the next/eighth book and started reading. This week I also discovered that there's a spin-off series telling the stories from the point of view of Vicky Peterwald. So now I feel compelled to get those books and read them as well.


How about you? Any new books? You're invited to tell us all about it by joining the fun at Stacking the Shelves. According to the reviewers at Tynga's Reviews who host the meme:

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!