"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. ...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything."

~ Edward Cullen

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: Anne of Green Gables

Title: Anne of Green Gables
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Listening Time: 10 Hours and 2 minutes
Challenges: Mount TBR, Color Coded Challenge, Monthly Key Word
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

As soon as Anne Shirley arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever...but would the Cuthberts send her back to the orphanage? Anne knows she's not what they expected—a skinny girl with decidedly red hair and a temper to match. If only she could convince them to let her stay, she'd try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes or blurt out the very first thing she had to say. Anne was not like anybody else, everyone at Green Gables agreed; she was special—a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreamed of the day when she could call herself Anne of Green Gables.

This book has been on my TBR for years.  Like since I was in the 5th grade years.  In fact, the copy I have is an Apple Classic, bought from a Scholastic/Troll book order form.  Plus, I'm pretty sure at one time it met up with a puddle or bathtub too because it's awfully warped looking.  I've looked at it from time to time, but never picked it up to seriously consider reading it.  I was changing that this year!  I downloaded the audio read by Shelly Frasier from the library and it was fabulous.  Her reading was superb!  I'm so glad that I finally read this wonderful classic!

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert are looking to adopt a young boy to help them around their farm, Green Gables.  Yet, because of a mix up in messages, what they get instead is a red headed, skinny, orphan girl named Anne Shirley.  And Green Gables is never the same!  Anne is constantly finding herself mixed up in all sorts of troubles and tribulations, yet despite everything, she changes the lives of the Cuthberts for the better.

Anne is a wonderful character.  She was one that I was sad to see grow up, and I'm so glad that there are more stories to read about her in.  She is truly one of my favorite characters in literature.  I'm saddened that I waited as long as I did to get to know her.  I've missed out on so much!  I found my heart breaking with hers in her times of sorrow.  I also found myself laughing out loud at her antics.  This book was so enjoyable. 

I highly, highly recommend Anne of Green Gables, especially this particular audio.  It was beautifully read, and gave even more life to an already lively story!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: Murder on the Half Shelf

Title: Murder on the Half Shelf
Author: Lorna Barrett
Pages: 288
Challenges: Cozy Mystery
Rating: 4.5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Stoneham, New Hampshire, is a haven to bookstores, including Tricia’s own mystery shop, Haven’t Got a Clue, but is sadly lacking in bed and breakfasts. Pippa and Jon Comfort’s Sheer Comfort Inn opens its doors to the public in a week and the couple has offered some locals a free night as a trial run.

But what should have been a pleasant overnight stay for Tricia becomes a nightmare when she makes two startling discoveries: Pippa’s murdered body in the backyard, and the fact that her husband Jon is actually Harry Tyler, a man Tricia loved—and believed dead—for nearly twenty years.

Now Harry is the prime suspect, but Tricia doesn’t believe him capable of murder, regardless of her own feelings toward him. And even though Harry’s led a life of lies, Tricia’s learning that Pippa had her share of secrets that some people may have not wanted revealed…

Oh I cannot wait until July for book seven to come out.  Lorna Barrett left us with a huge cliff hanger and I'm so intrigued.  I've got the date marked on the calender, and I'll be getting this book no matter what!  Thank goodness I have plenty to keep me busy until then.  Ms Barrett really redeemed herself on this one.

Murder on the Half Shelf is book six in the Booktown Mystery series.  Tricia once again finds herself mixed up in a murder myster, thsi time involving her ex love.  Her presumably dead ex lover.  With all her connections to the crime, Tricia again finds herself hunting for clues, and working to clear her name.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery in book six, I really enjoyed the character interactions.  After six books, some of these peopel are realy starting to feel like family.  I often found myself cheering on the different escapades, and being upset along with Mr Everett, Angelica and Tricia!  There were a lot of new developments in Murder on the Half Shelf, and I'm so curious to see where Ms Barrett takes them.

This is the first book in the series that I've read rather than listened to on audio.  I thought I'd miss the audio horribly, but foundthat it wasn't a problem.  I also finished the book a lot faster since I didn't have to wait for a time when I could listen to the audio.

If you're looking for a good cozy mystery series, I highly highly recommend these books by Lorna Barrett.  I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Monday, March 25, 2013

What are you reading?

I can't believe another week has been here and gone.  Only 10 weeks and 5 days until my due date.  Hard to believe it's coming up so "fast."  It'll be here before we know it. 
We worked on Anthony's new dresser this weekend.  We're redoing an older dresser that my hubby had growing up, and it's turned into a bit more work then we originally inspected.  We got it primed this weekend though, and he should be able to spray it with the paint this coming week and put the finish on it.  Once that's done, we'll do the headboard to match and then hopefully get the room all put together.  I'm excited to see how it all comes together.  It's sock monkey themed, and I'm really hoping that Anthony feels comfortable in there.  Once that's all done, I can take care of the last minute touch ups to the nursery and put baby girl's clothes away and start washing up all the newborn stuff, like the bouncy seat cover and swing cover.  So much to do and so little time!
Reading wise, I had a really good week.  I read some really good books, including the first in the Debbie Macomber Cedar Cove series.  I was hesitant at first because I didn't enjoy her new series, but I really enjoyed 16 Lighthouse Lane.  I'm looking forward to checking out the rest of the series.  Here's what I read this week:

I was sad to finish up the Southern Roads trilogy, and the Booktown mystery series, but I'm happy to say that the next Booktown book will be released in July, during my summer maternity leave.  Yay!!

Here's what I hope to wrap up this last week of March:

This poor book has been here three weeks in a row now.  Too many other books just keep coming my way and keep me from finishing it!
I'm about a third of the way through this one already, and really enjoying it.  I'm so glad I discovered cozy mysteries this year!
So far, I've tried listening to this one on audio,and then reading the print version.  Neither one is really hitting home, but I'm going to try to push through it and see if it gets better for me.  I don't think I'll be trying anymore Amelia Peabody books though.

Anne of Green Gables is my audio book choice for the week.  I don't remember if I ever read this one as a girl, and I'm looking forward to reading about Anne's adventures.  I do remember the PBS movie that was one when I was younger, and very much enjoyed it!  As for the others, these are all cozy mysteries that I'm giving a try, trying to find a new series I enjoy as much as the Booktown books!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Review: 16 Lighthouse Road

Title: 16 Lighthouse Road
Author: Debbie Macomber
Pages: 368
Challenges: None
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Dear Reader,

You don't know me yet, but in a few hours that's going to change. I'm inviting you to my town of Cedar Cove because I want you to meet my family, friends and neighbors. Come hear their stories--maybe even their secrets!

My secrets are pretty open. My marriage failed years ago, and I have a rather...difficult relationship with my daughter. Then there's my mother, Charlotte, who has plenty of opinions and is always willing to share them.

I'm a family court judge and she likes to drop in on my courtroom. Recently I was hearing a divorce petition. In Charlotte's view, Cecilia and Ian Randall hadn't tried hard enough to make their marriage work--and I agreed. I rendered my judgment: Divorce Denied.

You wouldn't believe the reaction! Thanks to an article by Jack Griffin, the editor of our local paper (a man I wouldn't mind seeing more of!), everyone's talking.

Cedar Cove--people love it and sometimes they leave it, but they never forget it!

Olivia Lockhart

This was my second attempt at a Debbie Macomber novel, and I'm glad to say I enjoyed it more than the first attempt.  While her style of writing is still growing on me, I think I'll be continuing to check out the Cedar Cove books.

The one thing I liked most about this book was the entwining stories, and how they were all interconnected in some small way.  It was like reading about a soap opera but without the sex and smut.  This was a good, wholesome read. 

Macomber has a way of writing that really is quite enjoyable.  It's a slower pace, and there's not a lot of action.  Her writing is based on feeling, and for me, the feeling in this book totally hit home.  I connected with a lot of the characters and I'm curious to see how their stories continue in later books.  It's kind of nice not to have an open and shut case!

My favorite characters in this first book were Cecelia and Ian.  I don't know if its because they were closest to me in age, or because I'm pregnant, but something about their story kept me turning the pages, willing myself to read faster so I could know what happened to them.  They were such a troubled, young couple, and Macomber did a great job expressing both their characters.  I really enjoyed them!

I'm going to continue to borrow these through the library for now, as I'm not 100% hooked yet.  I still have a few issues, but not like I did with the newer series.  I also have the first book in the Blossom Street series downstairs on one of the shelves.  Has anyone read that series and is it similar to the Cedar Cove books?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: The Duck Commander Family

Title: The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty
Author: Willie and Korie Robertson
Listening Time: 5 hours and 44 minutes
Challenges: None
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Faith. Family. Ducks—in that order. This audiobook gives readers an up-close and personal, behind-the-scenes look at the family in the exploding A&E show—Duck Dynasty. This Louisiana bayou family operates Duck Commander, a booming family business that has made them millions. You’ll hear all about the Robertson clan from Willie and what it was like growing up in the Robertson household. You’ll sample some of Willie’s favorite family recipes from Phil, Kay, and even some of his own concoctions; and you’ll get to know the beautiful Robertson women. You’ll hear from Korie about the joys and hardships of raising a family, running a business, and wrangling the Robertson men while staying fashionable and beautiful inside and out. Discover more about the family dynamics between brothers Willie, Jase, Jep, and parents Phil and Kay. You’ll even meet a fourth brother who isn’t in the show.

Over the past year, Duck Dynasty has become one of hubby and I's favorite tv shows.  One, it's hilarious, and two I feel that the Robertson family is a wonderful family with strong values and a sense of closeness that I admire.  I saw this book a few weeks ago when I went to Books A Million and grabbed the audio book with my most recent audio credit.  It wasn't a disappointment.

I loved the fact that this book was read by Willie and Korie Robertson.  One, it really helped the story of Duck Commander to hit home, and two it made it a great audio.  I loved listening to both of them tell their story, and felt a much closer connection to the book.  It was interesting to see the difference in how they grew up, and how they came together.  They have a wonderful marriage, with five beautiful children and I really admire them for all they've done.

I also loved learning the background of the Robertson family.  It was so interesting to learn about Kay and Phil and their struggles in their early marriage and how they started the duck call business.  Seeing how they are now, it truly surprised me to learn their background and how it was at the beginning of their marriage.  Phil has a book coming out in May, telling his story and it is definitely one that I'll be picking up.

This is a book that I'd recommend to any fan of Duck Dynasty.  It's a wonderful experience, and I feel like I learned so much about their family and their business!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Sentenced to Death

Title: Sentenced to Death
Author: Lorna Barrett
Listening Time: 9 hours and 37 minutes
Challenges: Cozy Mystery Challenge
Rating: 3/5

Summary from Goodreads:

As the owner of Stoneham, New Hampshire's mystery bookstore Haven't Got a Clue, Tricia Miles can figure out whodunit in the latest bestseller way before she gets to the last page. But these days, Tricia is using her sleuthing skills for much more than the books on her shelves . . .

It’s Founders' Day in Stoneham and the whole village has turned out to celebrate in the square, including Tricia’s friend and festivities organizer Deborah Black. As everyone watches Deborah give the opening speech, a small aircraft crashes into the village gazebo, killing both Deborah and the pilot. While the Sheriff’s Department is convinced that it was an accident, Tricia has a feeling that there’s more to the story. And when she reads between the lines of the case, what she finds is worse than the most sinister whodunit …

I just finished book five in the Booktown cozy mystery series, Sentenced to Death, and while I enjoyed it, I also found various parts to be extremely frustrating.

One, this has been the longest book/audio so far, and it drug something horrible.  Especially in the middle.  There wasn't a lot of anything there to really help move the story along.  There seemed to be a lot of speculation, but not a lot of sleuthing.  The whole premise of the book seemed a little far fetched and mismatched.

Two, Tricia was super whiney in this one!  Everything was an issue, and she couldn't seem to deal with anything.  I'm a little sick of hearing about her pitiful love life, and her ex husband issues.  Stand up for yourself and quit letting these idiots treat you like dirt.  She seriously has horrible test in men, as does her sister Angelica!

And finally, I don't think the killer was completely flushed out.  Everything seemed to happen haphazardly at the end, and I felt like there were a lot of loose ends and unanswered questions.

I'm still going to continue with these books as I've really enjoyed this series up to book five.  Plus, book six is the most currently published book, with book seven not coming out until July so it will give me a break from Stoneham for a while.  Perhaps I'm just Booktown burnt out?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: Baby, Don't Go

Title: Baby, Don't Go
Author: Stephanie Bond
Pages: 375
Challenges: Contemporary Romance Challenge
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They've got the means, they've got the manpower…what they need are women! So they place an ad in a Northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to arrive.…

Eldest brother Marcus Armstrong considers the estrogen-influx an irritating distraction. He's running a town, not a dating service!

Reporter Alicia Randall thinks the Armstrong brothers are running a scam and she intends to prove it—even if it means seducing oh-so-sexy Marcus in the process. Sizzling sex and a hot story? Win-win!

At least it is, until she falls for the guy. Will love trump betrayal when the truth comes out?

When I first started this trilogy, I didn't realize I'd be so sad to see it go, but I'm going to be missing the Armstrong brothers and their little town over the next few days.

Baby, Don't Go tells the story of Marcus, the oldest, and the most stubborn of the Armstrong brothers.  Personally, I think he's also the most tightly knit to the rebuilding project, and has a good strong head on his shoulders. Despite his gruffiness, he was tender hearted and really loved his town.  He was my second favorite to middle brother Kendall.

Alicia, on the other hand, was my absolute favorite of all the woman!  She's trying so hard to prove to everyone how wrong of a town Sweetness is, and all she ends up doing is proving to herself how good of a fit is for her!  I liked the fact that she was a total city girl, afraid of every bug and snake that crawled on the ground.  It made her character very human and likeable.  It was so much fun to see her change her mind about things and come around to a new way of thinking.

You get a little more follow up with some of the other characters in this one too, but I wish their was an epilogue that told us what happened to everyone.  I felt like that was kind of left hanging and after investing so much time, I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get a glimpse into the future.

There are two novellas to this series also, that I might check out if I get a chance.  I'm curious to see if either one will give me any insight!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Baby, Come Home

Title: Baby, Come Home
Author: Stephanie Bond
Pages: 330
Challenges: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They've got the means, they've got the manpower...what they need are women! So they place an ad in a Northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to arrive....

Sensible yet sexy middle brother Kendall Armstrong penned that ad himself--but there's just one woman he "really" wants to answer the call....

Civil engineer Amy Bradshaw--Kendall's ex-fiancee--fled Sweetness years ago, taking a precious souvenir with her. She's back now...but only on a professional level. "Really."

Little does she know that old flames always burn the hottest....

This is the second book in the Southern Roads trilogy by Stephanie Bond and I loved it even more so than the first!  I think it's because I enjoyed the character of Kendall a lot.  Despite his flaws, he really was a good guy.  I'm really looking forward to hearing Marcus's story in Baby, Don't Go.

Kendall and Amy used to be quite an item in Sweetness, GA.  That is until the day Kendall broke Amy's heart and she vowed never to return to Sweetness again.  Twelve yera later, despite all her efforts, she finds herself back home working on a bridge recovery project.  And trying to avoid Kendall at every turn.  Amy has secrets she's hiding, and she certainly doesn't want Kendall find out.

I loved the relationship between Amy and Kendall.  They had the perfect give and take.  Their chemistry was spot on and I really, really wanted them to have a happily every after.

I also thought that Baby, Come Home was better written than Baby, Drive South.  The conversations seemed more at ease and better composed.  The characters seemed more well rounded and a enjoyed them more.  All in all, this was just a stronger novel.

I already have Baby, Don't Go downloaded and ready to go on my e-reader.  I think I'm going to miss these Armstrong boys when I'm done!

Monday, March 18, 2013

What are you reading??

What a long, long week.  Work seemed never ending, and every night we had something going on that caused us to be away.  Even Friday night we ended up spending the evening at the grocery store because we just weren't sure when else we'd have a chance to get it done!

I spent Sunday cleaning out hubby and I's closet and rehanging clothes and folding pants.  It had gotten completely out of hand this winter, and took me a better part of four hours to get it completely re-organized.  I was exhausted by the time I was done! 

This week, I have my glucose test for gestational diabetes.  I'm not looking forward to it.  For some reason it almost makes me nervous, and that stuff you have to drink is horribly gross.  We also grabbed the dresser from hubby's parent's this weekend for Anthony's new room.  We need to sand it down and repaint it and also paint the headboard so they match.  Once that is completed, we can start moving his clothes and stuff into that room and getting him situated.  Then I just need to start getting all of baby girl's stuff done.  Only 12 weeks to go.  It'll be here before we know it!

Reading wise, I fnished up four books this week:


I'm really enjoying the Stephanie Bond series, and I'm quickly making my way through the Booktown mysteries.  Unfortunately, I wasn't overly impressed with Debbie Macomber's book, but I'm going to give the Cedar Cove series a try and see if I enjoy that better.

Here's what I have going on this week:

This is a leftover from last week.  I have this one started and I'm about half finished and then other books started calling my name and I got distracted.  This is part of the Bridgerton series which I'm really enjoying and I hope to finish this one this week.

The third in the Southern Roads trilogy, I can't wait to finish this one up.  These books have really surprised me by how much I've enjoyed them!

I'm hoping for a great reading week.  What are you reading this week?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: Chapter and Hearse

Title: Chapter and Hearse
Author: Lorna Barrett
Listening Time: 9 hours and 20 minutes
Challenge: Cozy Mystery Challenge
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

According to the gossip around Stoneham, New Hampshire, Tricia Miles cannot put down a real murder mystery. After all, the owner of the mystery bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, has been spending more time solving whodunits than reading them…

Tricia’s sister, Angelica, considers herself to be the next celebrity chef. To celebrate her first cookbook, Angelica hosts a launch party, but sadly the only guest is an oversized cutout of herself. Worse than the lack of fans is a nearby gas explosion that injures her boyfriend, Bob Kelly, the head of the Chamber of Commerce.

Tricia’s never been a fan of Bob, but when she reads that Bob is being tight-lipped about the “accident” and how it killed the owner of the town’s history bookstore, it’s time to take action. As the incriminating details emerge, Tricia gets wrapped up in a murder that proves to be as spine-tingling as the books that line her shelves…

Chapter and Hearse is book four in the Booktown mystery series.  This has come to be one of my favorite series recently and I love these audiobooks.  As I finish one, I can't wait to get my hands on the next one.  Chapter and Hearse didn't disappoint.  In fact, I think this may just be my favorite one yet.

Tricia and her little group of friends are celebrating the release of Angelica's cookbook, when a horrible explosion rattles the windows of Haven't Got a Clue bookstore.  Unfortunately the explosion ends with the death of Jim Roth, the owner of History Repeats Itself, and the injury of Bob Kelly.  Bob becomes the prime suspect, and Tricia heads out to find the true killer.

This one was full of intrigue and humor.  A few times, I found myself grinning or giggling out loud.  Especially the scene where Tricia attempts to make blueberry muffins and then fed them to her employees.  It was a disaster from the very beginning!

Mystery wise I think was probably one of the best so far.  I never did figure out who the bad guy was and really enjoyed the clues leading up to it, even if I didn't "get it."  Plus I found Tricia to be a little bit less pushy in this one and not as headstrong about going after the bad guy.  It made me like her a lot more, and made her feel less Nancy Drew like, which wasn't a good trait for her.  We also got to see a much more personal side to her which was wonderful!

I have two more mysteries in this series before I'll be completely caught up!  Then I'll be on the look out for a new cozy mystery series!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: The Inn at Rose Harbor

Title:  The Inn at Rose Harbor
Author: Debbie Macomber
Listening Time: 9 hours and 34 minutes
Rating: 3/5
Challenges: None

Summary from Goodreads:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber comes a heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal behind the doors of the cozy Rose Harbor Inn.

Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast—the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn—ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.

Her first guest is Joshua Weaver, who has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, and Joshua has little hope that they can reconcile their differences. But a long-lost acquaintance from Joshua’s high school days proves to him that forgiveness is never out of reach and love can bloom even where it’s least expected.

The other guest is Abby Kincaid, who has returned to Cedar Cove to attend her brother’s wedding. Back for the first time in twenty years, she almost wishes she hadn’t come, the picturesque town harboring painful memories from her past. And while Abby reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes she can only move on if she truly allows herself to let go.

A touching novel of life’s grand possibilities and the heart’s ability to heal, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a welcome introduction to an unforgettable set of friends.

I don't really know how I felt about this one.  I have heard such wonderful, wonderful things about Debbie Macomber, and thought I'd really, really enjoy this one, and I actually left it feeling a little ho-hum.  I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either.  It just wasn't a totally memorable story for me.

I did really enjoy the town of Cedar Cove.  But I didn't like a lot of the main characters in this book.  I just couldn't completely connect with them, and it made getting into the story more difficult.  Plus, sometimes, I just found the story to be...dragging.  It was slow moving and didn't have a lot of action to move it along at a quicker pace.  It did get to be a bit better towards the end, and I found myself quite enjoying the last two and a half hours or so of the story.

There was also an element of this story that I just found to be a bit...odd.  It struck me as out of place, and I look for it to continue to play a part in this series as it continues.  It might have just been me, and other readers may not have thought it to be out of place, but I did.  I don't want to give away what it is though, because I don't want to spoil it for others who want to read this one.

I'm not going to give up on Debbie Macomber just yet though.  While this story may not have been my total cup of tea, I already borrowed 16 Lighthouse Road from the library.  This story takes place in Cedar Cove, and I'm hoping that I'll enjoy the characters more.  I also have The Shop on Blossom Street somewhere on my own personal bookcases, and I'm going to give that one a try also.  I don't think it was the author, but the book that didn't fit.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: Baby, Drive South

Title: Baby, Drive South
Author: Stephanie Bond
Pages: 336
Challenges: Contemporary Romance Challenge
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Southern town seeks single women. Lots of them

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They've got the means, they've got the manpower...what they need are women So they place an ad in a northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to answer their call....

Porter, the youngest Armstrong, is all for importing women. Still, he's so blown away by the sheer numbers, he falls off the water tower. Luckily there's a doctor among the newcomers--sweet and sexy Dr. Nikki Salinger.

And Porter has every intention of checking out her bedside manner....

I downloaded the audio of Baby, Drive South from the library on a whim.  I've been more interested in contemporary romance this year, and found the cover and description to be intriguing.  However, upon starting the audio, I realized that I wasn't going to enjoy it.  Not because of the book, but because of the narrator.  She's a wonderful reader, and I normally enjoy her audiobooks, but I couldn't stand her reading this book.  I ended up getting the actual book from the library and flew through it rather quickly.  This is the first Stephanie Bond book that I've read, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  I'm looking forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy.  Bond has another series out that I might check out also.  Has anyone read any of these?

Baby, Drive South tells the story of the youngest Armstrong brother, Porter.  Porter is reckless and wild and stubborn.  He and his brother Kendall thought up an ad to get some single woman to their struggling new town.  However, Porter wasn't expecting the tiny Nikki Salinger to create chaos in his whole world.

I really enjoyed Porter and Nikki's story.  No matter how hard these two tried, they just couldn't get it right.  it always seemed like something or someone was getting in the way.  As a reader, that sometimes got to be a bit frustrating.  I wanted to shake one or both of them!  And Porter was such an ass, for lack of a better term, at the beginning of the story that for a while I really didn't like him.  And then I realized that he was just an ignorant man.  After that realization it was much easier to but his stupidness aside and grow to like him.  As for Nikki, I liked her from the very beginning and was rooting for her to fall in love the whole time.

All in all, Baby, Drive South was a pretty solid contemporary.

Monday, March 11, 2013

What are you reading??

What a beautiful evening!  I'm sitting here writing this, with my window open, enjoying a cool spring breeze.  I'm also ignoring the fact that it's supposed to be 30 degrees and snowing by Wednesday. 

We had a wonderful weekend.  The weather was perfect, reaching almost 65 degrees today.  Hubby cleaned up the back yard, and put down some wood chips to help with the mud until we can weed and mulch and clean out the flower beds closer to summer.  After his nap this afternoon, we took Anthony outside to play.  We played with sidewalk chalk, swung on the swing set, practiced our golf swing, and slide down the slide.  We also ran after balls in the yard.  Well him and hubby ran, I more so waddled after them at nearly 7 months pregnant.  But we had a wonderful wonderful time!

Because of the weather, I spent more time outside running around than reading, but I still had a rather productive week.  I finished and reviewed the following:

I thoroughly enjoyed all four books, and I'm looking forward to continuing both series in the coming week.  I'm also looking for some more good cozy mystery series to read since I'm only a few books away from being completely caught up on the Booktown Mysteries.
This week I have a few more good ones on my reading plate.  These first few I've already sunk my teeth into :)
This is my first book by Stephanie Bond.  I had originally started it on audio, but decided that after about 20 minutes, the print version would probably be a better fit.  Thankfully my library had the e book available for download and I'm about a quarter of the way through it.  I started out really disliking the male protagonist, but he's starting to grow on me.  I'm curious to see how this one develops.

I'm already half way through Benedict Bridgerton's story.  It shouldn't take me long to finish this one up as I seem to devour these books!

Also on the list this week
 This will be my first Debbie Macomber book, and I'm really looking forward to it.  I've heard such wonderful things about her!

Well, here's to a happy reading week!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Review: The Viscount Who Loved Me

Title:  The Viscount Who Loved Me
Author: Julia Quinn
Pages: 352
Challenges: Romance Reading Challenge, Mount TBR
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, this author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London's most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry.
And in truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better...
--Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, April 1814

But this time, the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn't just decided to marry--he's even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended's older sister, Kate Sheffield--the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate is the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams...

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands--and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate is determined to protect her sister--but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony's lips touch hers, she's suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself...

Ahh, how I am adoring this series!!

The Viscount Who Loved Me tells the story of Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest son in the large Bridgerton family.  We first met Anthony in The Duke and I, and I was extremely anxious to hear his story.  I certainly wasn't disappointed!!

Anthony is stubborn and headstrong.  He knows what he wants and he isn't afraid to go after it.  But the one thing he never wanted was to fall in love.  Enter Kate Sheffield, the annoying older sister of the woman Anthony wants to marry.  How I loved Kate!  She was fierce and independent and absolutely not afraid to tell me people how she felt.  She wasn't soft spoken, and didn't let Anthony walk all over her.  He really had to earn his trust, and I loved that about her.

While I didn't love this one as much as The Duke and I, it wasn't far behind.  Julia Quinn's writing is amazing.  Her characters are spot on, and I fear she's ruining me for all other historical romance authors.  I can see myself quickly reading my way through her backlist, and adding her to my must buy list.  The Bridgerton family series will be a definite re-read in the future!

I did find myself falling more in love with Colin Bridgerton in this book, and I can't wait to read his story.  He is an excellent character, and I think his story will be quite charming.  I believe he may just be my favorite Bridgerton!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: Bookplate Special

Title: Bookplate Special
Author: Lorna Barrett
Listening Time: 8 hours and 24 minutes
Challenges: Cozy Mystery Challenge
Rating: 3/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Tricia Miles, owner of Haven’t a Clue mystery bookstore, is still settling into Stoneham, New Hampshire, the kind of town where everybody knows your name—and where everyone’s quick to lend a hand, even when murder is afoot . . .

The kinder folks of Stoneham might call Pammy Fredericks a free spirit. The less kind, a freeloading thief. Tricia has put up—and put up with—her uninvited college roommate for weeks. In return, Pammy, has stolen $100, among other things. But the day she’s kicked out, Pammy’s found dead in a dumpster, leaving loads of questions unanswered. Like what was she foraging for? Did her killer want it too? To piece the case together, Tricia will have to dive in head-first.…

I thought that this third book in the Booktown cozy mystery series started off a bit slower than the first two books.  I had a bit of a harder time getting involved in the mystery, and I found that I didn't like the murder victim or a few of the newer characters introduced.  It made it more difficult for me to listen.  However, about a third of the way through the book, it began to pick up pace and I became more intrigued.

I had a much more difficult time figuring out who the criminal was in Bookplate Special.  This one really kept me guessing, and I had about five or six different theories, and of course they were all wrong.  When the true killer was revealed I was shocked.  Never once did I suspect this person of any crime.

This series has really renewed by interest in cozy mysteries.  I've been checking out the Berkley publishing website, looking at the different cozy mysteries that they published and I'm really intrigued.  This has always been a genre that I've thought about reading, but up until this past year, I've never really looked any further.  I'm so glad that my library had this series on audio because it really opened my eyes.

I already have the next book in the series downloaded and ready to go as soon as I finish Baby, Drive South.  Book five is on hold!  I'll probably have the whole series caught up in the next week or so depending on how long book five takes to get to me.  I think I'll use my audible credit for book six library doesn't have it yet.

Have you read any good cozies lately, or know of any other series that I might enjoy?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review: The Duke and I

Title: The Duke and I
Author: Julia Quinn
Pages: 371
Rating: 5/5
Challenges: Romance Reading Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Woman's Author Challenge

Summary from Goodreads:

Can there be any greater challenge to London's Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?
--- Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, April 1813

By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend's sister, the lovely---and almost-on-the-shelf---Daphney Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth--it's all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.

But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it's hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it's his devilish smile, certainly it's the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her...but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke...for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love...

Oh my goodness, why have I waited so long to read this book from Julia Quinn!!

I read this book after reading about the new book club that The Book Binge started.  I figured what better why to motivate myself to read this first book than this.  I started it and finished it in practically one setting.  And then today, I hit up the Books A Million and bought the other seven books in the series.  I just can't get enough of the Bridgerton family.

I'm not sure what I loved most about this book.  Daphne was an awesome heroine, and I really enjoyed her personality and characterization.  And Simon was just the right about of brooding and darkness to make him likeable and, dare I say it, sexy at the same time.  I just loved the interaction between these two!  I also loved the introductions to the other members of the Bridgerton family, and look forward to finding out more and more about them.  This series just seems different from other Regency romances that I've read, and I found myself enjoying it much more than I normally would a historical romance novel.  It's opened up a whole new world for me!

Julia Quinn is a very talented writer, and I'm glad that The Duke and I was my first introduction to her.  I've always heard great things about her, and about this series.  I'm looking forward to finishing these up, and then I'm open to other suggestions by this author.  Does she have other series that I should try?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: Bookmarked for Death

Title: Bookmarked for Death
Author: Lorna Barrett
Listening Time: 8 hours and 28 minutes
Rating: 3.5/5
Challenges: Cozy Mystery Challenge

Summary from Goodreads:

What do a stone book and a stabbed cake have to do with Zoë Carter's death?

Once a struggling town, Stoneham, New Hampshire is now enjoying a renaissance--thanks to booksellers like Tricia Miles, proprietor of Haven’t Got a Clue. It’s a great place to find a good mystery to read--or to solve ….

To celebrate her bookstore’s anniversary, Tricia Miles hosts a book signing for bestselling author Zoë Carter. But the event takes a terrible turn when the author is found dead in the washroom. Before long, both police and reporters are demanding the real story. So far, the author’s obnoxious assistant/niece is the only suspect. And with a sheriff who provides more obstacles than answers, Tricia will have to take matters into her own hands--and read between the lines to solve this mystery….

This is the second book in the Booktown Cozy Mystery series, and I continued to enjoy it as much as the first.  These are really cute books, with a lot of literary references.  I love books that mention other books, and this one was chocked full of them!

In Bookmarked for Death, Tricia is settling in at Haven't Got a Clue bookstore, when lo and behold, the famed author at her book signing is found strangled on the tiolet.  Will Tricia be accused of murder again?  Armed with her mystery solving smarts that she's honed from years of reading mystery novels, Tricia sets out to find the who dunnit, with the help of her sister and the entire cast of townies.

Mystery wise, I had an idea of who the murderer was pretty early on - but I had a harder time pinning down the motive, figuring it out just before Tricia did.  Again, I really enjoyed the narrator and felt the pacing of the story worked well.  I've already downloaded bok three, and can't wait to see what happens to the little town of Stoneham.
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