Sunday, August 30, 2015

Rogue Angel: Destiny by Alex Archer (Mel Odom)

From Goodreads:

An ancient order tied to the Vatican . . . A blood fortune buried in the caves of France . . . A conspiracy of power, greed and darkest evil . . .

Archaeologist and explorer Annja Creed's fascination with the myths and mysteries of the past leads her to a crypt in the caves of France, where the terrifying legend of the Beast of Gevaudin hints at the unimaginable. What she discovers is shattering: an artifact that will seal her destiny: a brotherhood of monks willing to murder to protect their secret; and a powerful black-market occultist desperate to put his own claim to centuries-old blood money. Annja embarks on a high-tension race across Europe and history itself, intent on linking the unholy treachery of the ages with the staggering revelations of the present. But she must survive the shadow figures determined to silence her threat to their existence.


I've been meaning to start this series for awhile and Bout of Books 14 and the COYER Scavenger Hunt gave me the perfect opportunity! I love Archaeology themed reads, especially combined with adventure, so this fit the bill perfectly. It was equal parts interesting and fun as our intrepid heroine works to fund what she considers her real work by doing pieces for a History's Monsters show, without losing her top! She's not the only one looking for the Beast of Gevaudin, but she is the one destined to solve the mystery, and gain a whole new set of responsibilities for herself in the process. There are bad guys, there are maybe good guys, who may also be bad guys, or not, time will tell. Annja is a no-nonsense lady, and she's going to do everything on her own terms. There are actually two historical mysteries intertwined in this story, I'm not sure I really understand why the connection between them happened, if I missed some explanation or if it was just a coincidence but it was still intriguing enough I'm ready for more. Roux is a good supporting character, especially now that his life's quest appears to have been resolved, he's kind of along for the ride and a wild card, with his long time motivation no longer driving him, will he stay with Annja or go his own way?

The next book leads Annja and Roux after a Biblical artifact, always a controversial theme and guaranteed to bring out the bad guys! I do recommend this for fans of the archeological thriller looking for a fun and fast read.

COYER Scavenger Hunt #5 - Weapon on the cover

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Little Paris BookshopThe Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I cried through the last 60 pages of this one, it got to me. There are some great passages in here that just grab your heart and twist.

Jean Perdu is a reserved middle aged man when we first meet him, very set in his ways, and very spare in his lifestyle. We soon learn it is because he was hurt 20 years before when the great love of his life left him, leaving only a sealed letter behind, which he could never bring himself to read. He believed he already knew why. He was very, very wrong, and must come to terms with that knowledge and what he cheated himself out of by not reading it until many years later.

This is a story of reconnecting with the parts of oneself that get sacrificed when we try to avoid being hurt again. It is a story of coming to terms with death, and learning to live again. It was poignant and sometimes humorous, often sad, and even tragic, but leaves us with love and beauty through the pain of loss. It also brings Southern France to life in beautiful colors and descriptions.

I did love the idea of the Literary Apothecary, prescribing books for what ails you and enjoyed the list of recommendations for different symptoms, with possible side effects from having read them. A fun idea!

Received from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

COYER - Dog Days of Summer Read-a-thon - August 29th - September 4th, 2015


DogDays


The COYER Dog Days of Summer Read-a-thon is the 5th and last read-a-thon for this COYER. We're going to read books with animals on the cover, I've chosen 3 cats (for my 3 fur babies) and a dog (for my Mom's very large Bernese girl).  If there is one thing I have, it's animal themed books! There's no way I'll get through all 4 of these, but we'll see what I'm in the mood for! See more at: Dog Days of Summer Read-a-thon.
 
Goals:



8/29: HotD 32 pages, TAoP 19 pages = 51 pages total
8/30: HotD 16 pages, TAoP 21 pages = 37 pages total
8/31: HotD 14 pages, TAoP 35 pages = 49 pages total
9/1: TAoP  9 pages = 9 pages total
9/2: TAoP 120 pages = 120 pages
9/3:
9/4:

Total: 266 pages

Finished:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, Performed by Tim Curry

Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim CurryJourney to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry by Jules Verne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I probably wouldn't have gotten through this very quickly had I been reading it on my own rather than listening to Tim Curry's masterful performance. He was able to infuse so much character into it, and it truly helped me to appreciate how well done this story really is. There really is a lot of character there. There is also A LOT of detailed geological and instrumental description that probably would have bogged me down, even though I understand it, it's not always the most exciting reading, but definitely added realism to the story. Axel and his uncle Otto, and their guide Hans, really have very distinct personalities that add humor to the story which I believe I would have missed without having the assistance of Tim's reading.

I highly recommend listening to this version, as we like to say Tim Curry could read the phone book and it would be a 5 star performance. He brings this classic adventure story to life and I'm happy to have experienced it!

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COYER SH #23 - A book that takes place in a foreign country, Germany, Iceland, Italy.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Shadow Revolution (Crown & Key #1) by Clay and Susan Griffith

From Goodreads:

They are the realm’s last, best defense against supernatural evil. But they’re going to need a lot more silver.

As fog descends, obscuring the gas lamps of Victorian London, werewolves prowl the shadows of back alleys. But they have infiltrated the inner circles of upper-crust society as well. Only a handful of specially gifted practitioners are equipped to battle the beasts. Among them are the roguish Simon Archer, who conceals his powers as a spell-casting scribe behind the smooth veneer of a dashing playboy; his layabout mentor, Nick Barker, who prefers a good pub to thrilling heroics; and the self-possessed alchemist Kate Anstruther, who is equally at home in a ballroom as she is on a battlefield.

After a lycanthrope targets Kate’s vulnerable younger sister, the three join forces with fierce Scottish monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane—but quickly discover they’re dealing with a threat far greater than anything they ever imagined.


I really enjoyed the Griffith’s Vampire Empire Trilogy with Greyfriar and Adele, so was looking forward to this new trilogy and meeting some new characters. Simon and Nick are quite the magical team, but they soon get in over their heads. Nick is ready to cut and run, but Simon, disturbed by indications from a past love that he may not be living up to his potential, feels that he needs to do more, to be more. Reluctantly Nick stays with him as he teams up with Kate Anstruther in the fight to save her sister and the gruff and skeptical Malcolm, but werewolves really are the least of their problems.

The Griffiths are excellent at creating flawed but endearing characters who want to be more than they are and strive to become so. I liked their interpretation of Simon’s magical abilities as a scribe and also the strong female characters of Kate and Penny. I’m looking forward to the rest of this trilogy and can’t wait to see where they take us next! I would also recommend the Vampire Empire trilogy, I’m glad to have discovered this husband and wife team!

COYER SH#38 - Man fully clothed on the cover

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first time I've ever read the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I'll admit I had no idea it was written by the same author as Treasure Island, which I also have not read yet. I would not have put those two ideas to the same author, so it's been enlightening all around! It's also amazing to me what a short story this really was, only 94 pages, to have inspired so many adaptations, interpretations and movies.

It was an interesting dark fantasy tale with an important lesson about giving in to our baser natures. The more we indulge them, the more it becomes who we are until we're no longer able to hide or control those tendencies.

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COYER Scavenger Hunt #58 - Read a book by an author with three names 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bout of Books 14 - August 17-23, 2015


Bout of Books

*Flails* *\o/* *Flails again* *Flails some more* *\o/* *Flaily-flail-flail*

 It's Bout of Books 14! Come *flail* with us!

What is flailing you ask?
 
 It's a Bout of Books thing, it's sort of our secret hand-shake, but we'll let you in on it!

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, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd 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 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

TBR:



Progress:

8/17: TSR 132 pages
8/18: TSR 168 pages - finished
8/19: RA 76 pages
8/20: RA 68 pages
8/21: RA 68 pages
8/22: RA 78 pages
8/23: RA 56 pages - finished

Finished:



Wrap up:

I didn't get as far as I'd hoped, but I'm still happy with my results. Read a new book I've been looking forward to and an older series I've wanted to start for a long time, and I enjoyed them both! 646 pages total for me this week! Thank you to our hostesses and everyone that assists them to make this a fun event!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Happy Birthday COYER Read-a-thon - August 15-21, 2015


HBCOYER


The Happy Birthday COYER Read-a-thon is the 4th read-a-thon for this COYER, where we're going to read books whose titles contain C, O, Y, E and R. I'll be reading a couple classics for the first time during this one! - See more at: Happy B-Day COYER Read-a-thon.
 
Goals:



8/15: Journey: 1hr 27 min, J&H: 33 pgs
8/16: J&H: 61 pgs - finished
8/17: Journey 43 min (2:10 so far), Shadow: 132 pgs
8/18: Journey 42 min (2:52 so far), Shadow: 168 pgs - finished
8/19: Journey 1 hour 18 min (4:10 so far)
8/20: Journey 1 hour 39 min (5:49 so far)
8/21: Journey 2 hours 31 min (8:20 total) - finished


Finished

Monday, August 10, 2015

Subterranean by James Rollins


 From Goodreads:

Beneath the ice at the bottom of the Earth is a magnificent subterranean labyrinth, a place of breathtaking wonders—and terrors beyond imagining. A team of specialists led by archaeologist Ashley Carter has been hand-picked to explore this secret place and to uncover the riches it holds. But they are not the first to venture here—and those they follow did not return. There are mysteries here older than time, and revelations that could change the world. But there are also things that should not be disturbed—and a devastating truth that could doom Ashley and the expedition: they are not alone.


This was my first James Rollins and I will likely be reading more. I've long been interested in Archaeology, and caves, and dinosaurs and ancient civilizations, and this pretty much rolls all that up into one package! There's romance, intrigue, action and mystery, quite honestly it could have gotten a little out of hand, and too farfetched even for a theoretical thriller, but Rollins offers fictionally plausible theories on why his secret world under the ice developed the way it did, and it made for a fun adventure.  He did a good job of setting the scene in the different cavern environments, at once eerie and beautiful, hostile and fragile.  Too often a story suffers from being told where the setting is, rather than shown, and I felt a real sense of place and surrounding while reading this.  4/5 and a recommend from me if you're looking for an adventure thriller.  This being Rollins first novel, I'm looking forward to seeing how he developed in later books!

COYER SH #39 - Nothing living on the cover 


Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Bluegrass #3) by Molly Harper

From Goodreads:

Parks and Recreation meets The Blue Collar Comedy Tour in the third book of Molly Harper's Bluegrass series of contemporary romances: A love triangle of colleagues heats up the winter lodge where they get snowed in for a week. Kentucky Tourism Commission employee and executive assistant extraordinaire Kelsey is known around the office for having everything under control. So it's not surprising that she and her boss, Sadie, have everything planned to the second for the office winter retreat. But there are things even Kelsey can't micromanage. An unprecedented snowstorm smothers half of Kentucky and knocks out the power, closes the roads, and generally shuts down the state. Luckily, the lodge has working fireplaces and enough food to keep the staff from turning on each other like something out of The Shining. Kelsey wouldn't mind being stuck inside if it wasn't for the tension with her not-so-secret crush, Charlie, the office's statistician. But handsome Ranger Luke, the lodge's only employee on hand, is there to take Kelsey’s mind off her discomfort. Even though this weekend is supposed to be a planning session for KTC, Kelsey can’t help her mind from wandering and finds herself conflicted over Luke and Charlie. Someone's love will keep her warm, but whose will it be?


I'm actually not much of a contemporary romance fan, but I'll make exceptions with a trusted author. Molly Harper quickly became a favorite of mine with her Jane Jameson and Naked Werewolf series, so even though the Kentucky Tourism Commission being the setting would not normally get my attention, I loved Harper's character building enough in her other work to give them a try. This series is just as humorously sarcastic and endearing as the others and I truly enjoyed it. Combined with Amanda Ronconi's delivery in the audiobook, I know I will be listening to these again. Harper is great at creating interesting and entertaining situations that keep your attention on how they'll be resolved as a platform for the character interactions.  From a cut throat promotional contest in the first book, to saving a historical music venue in the second, to the team being snowed in together here, there's never a dull moment!

A definite recommend from me if you're looking for some contemporary fun!

COYER SH #2 - Mostly blue cover

Thursday, August 06, 2015

The Seance by Heather Graham

The Seance (Harrison Investigation, #5)The Seance by Heather Graham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a pretty quick and entertaining read that keeps you wondering.  You know there's going to be trouble when someone pulls out a Ouija Board!  Graham is also good at making several of the characters potential suspects, and I admit I changed my mind a few times before getting it right, and then cheating by skipping to the back to see if I was, because I still wasn't 100% sure.

I do wish that Adam Harrison and his group were a little more involved in the stories, in the last couple I've read, their part is actually pretty small, considering it's the Harrison Investigations series. I would enjoy a little more eerie-ness than we're getting.  The ghost in this one is more endearing than scary, and I was getting a little irritated at Christina for how she reacted to him.  He was not a very ghostly ghost, though he was very considerate. If I'm ever to be haunted, that's what I want, a polite and considerate ghost who knows how I like my coffee! lol!

This actually didn't fit into any of the COYER Scavenger Hunt Items that I hadn't already used, so it's just a Campfire Tales RAT entry.


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