What I’m Reading Right Now ~ November

Life has been so busy lately – haven’t had time, it seems, for much of anything – and yet I seem (somehow) to have managed to finish three books this month.

Granted, they have been short books… short and sweet ones.  They’re part of a cute series of mysteries – the Cupcake Bakery Series by Jenn McKinlay.

I’m not sure how I ended up with the first one – maybe a Friday Freebie?

I read it pretty quickly – it was really cute and “light” (if a murder mystery can be light) and a great escape at the end of the busy days of October.

The story revolves around three best friends who own a cupcake bakery together… and the murder in which one of them becomes the prime suspect.

There were a few sub-plots involving the main characters, which continue throughout the three stories, developing as they go.

I liked this continuity of story, combined with the different murders in each book – the characters are just off-beat enough to be fun and while it is hard to believe these folks have this many murders surround them (you’d start to wonder – in real life – what was up if you had this many murders around you!) the ongoing stories and goofball characters they encounter keep you engaged and curious enough to see what is coming next.

There’s the hateful owner of the bakery who is their chief competition, the eccentric fashion designers, the couples who take the Valentine’s-themed baking class and can’t stop arguing, the geriatric gentleman who tries to win the raffle for a Valentine’s dream dinner so that he can “get a life” – the books are full of colorful characters.

I’m reading #3 in the series now, which is focused on a cooking contest in which one of the judges is killed. Of course, he was a mentor and close friend of one of the main characters and she feels compelled to investigate his murder at the same time she is competing against her nemesis (the hateful bakery owner) in this competition.  Add to that the fact that her uncle is the investigating detective and her boyfriend is the DA (and her best friend and co-owner’s big brother) and you have some kookiness to come.

If you’re looking for something light and fun – a great escape from everyday life – this is a great series of books to read.

What I’m Reading Right Now ~ October 2011

What I'm reading right nowI haven’t had a lot of time to read this month, but I have been reading. And I’ve been reading a really good book, too.  Well, it’s good if you like action/adventure/spy/thriller type books, that is.

The Jefferson Allegiance,
by Bob Mayer

The story is similar to Clive Cussler’s books, or even some of Robert Ludlum’s Bourne books (Bourne Ultimatum, Bourne Identity, etc.)

The Jefferson Allegiance by Bob Mayer: NOOK Book Cover

The premise of the book is based around a top-secret agreement that was created by Thomas Jefferson and his political arch-enemy Alexander Hamilton.  The Jefferson Allegiance is a document designed to keep the powers of the president, “big business,” and Congress, in check.  Should any of these become out of balance, the Allegiance can be called into play which has the power to completely change the face of the American democratic system – ousting presidents who have extended their reach beyond their office, for example.

As the story begins, two “Philosophers,” members of the American Philosophical Society (and keepers of the secret of the Allegiance) are brutally murdered.  Their heirs are unknowingly targeted as well and the story follows the cat-and-mouse chase as these heirs seek to unravel the mystery of what they  have been thrown into and the killer seeks to kill them and destroy the Allegiance.

The book has quite a few twists and turns and keeps you entertained. There have been many nights I’ve been reading and had the words swimming in front of my on my Nook, and yet been unwilling to put the book down because I just had to see what was going to happen.

There is quite a bit of the usual macho-posturing familiar in this type of book – the hero struggling with his “inner beast,” the techno-speak and military lingo that I have no clue whether it is accurate or not (nor do I really care).  However, the interesting pieces, the ties back into American History, are what really kept me reading.

I liked how he tied real historical facts into the story, weaving a plausible scenario that has you wondering as you read if something like the Allegiance really exists.

Well worth the $3 price tag for the Nook Book.

Read it if you have a hankering for a little history and action all in one.

What I’m Reading Right Now

I haven’t had as much time to read since school started a few weeks ago. I’ve been busy with after school activities, homework, and the like – wait, I’m not the one who went back to school! What’s wrong with this picture? Winking smile

What I'm reading right nowI have been getting up before the sun comes up, though, which means that I’ve been going to bed a whole lot earlier – as early as 8:30 or 9:00 most nights – and which translates to less time to read.

In spite of all that, I have managed to pick up a few books. I am currently in the middle of two books – neither of which have really “grabbed” me.  They are good, but not spectacular.  I think my fatigue and busy-ness also have contributed to the fact that I have not been as engrossed in the stories.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier: Book Cover

Remarkable Creatures

by Tracy Chevalier

I picked this up in a buy one-get one special at a bookstore near my mom’s house this summer. I’ve been saving it for a day when I didn’t have anything handy to read – and that day came just a few weeks ago.

The story is based on a young girl who finds “curies” – curiosities – which are fossilized creatures found on the beaches of southern England.  Also a part of the story is a young spinster who moves to the area and becomes focused on finding curiosities as well.  The story touches on the differences in their social classes and the similarities of their love of finding fossils.

It’s a little slow – which is why I can’t tell you much more about the story – and I haven’t gotten too deep in the story yet.  It looks like a good story, I just need to sit down and read it!

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes: Book CoverThe Last Letter from Your Lover

by Jojo Moyes

The Last Letter from Your Lover opens with a young woman in the hospital suffering from amnesia and recovering from a terrible car accident.  As the story unfolds, you discover her unhappy marriage, a happenstance meeting with a journalist that turns into something more, and her rediscovery of her life.

The book is broken into two parts – the first is focused on Jennifer as she recovers from her accident and deals with the amnesia.  The second focuses on a young journalist who stumbles across letters from Jennifer and the journalist and tries to discover what happened to them.

I  have gotten through the first part – just started on the second part.  I got so aggravated with Jennifer in the first part that I had to put the book away for a few days to get some distance from the story. (guess that means it is a good book!) I’m ready to pick it up again, though, and see how things transpire in the second half and find out what happened to Jennifer and Anthony.

I’ll let you know what my final verdict is…

What about you? Reading anything good these days?  Share with us in the comments!

What I’m Reading Right Now

What I'm reading right nowI thought I’d share with you another installment of the books I’ve been reading this summer. My reading has slowed down in the past few weeks – mostly because it’s been so busy around here that by the time I finally sit still in the evenings, I’m too sleepy to read for more than a few minutes and then I crash!

I’ve been into some mystery/crime novels this summer. Not sure why, except that I can’t seem to stomach any romance novels right now. The escapism of the mysteries seem to be what I’m looking for – and enjoying – right now.

I have read a few good books and I wanted to share them with you ~

The Black Echo (Harry Bosch Series #1) by Michael Connelly: NOOK Book CoverThe Black Echo, by Michael Connelly

This was a Barnes & Noble promo book – I can’t remember if it was a Free Friday or 99 cent promo, but I grabbed it because it looked good… and it was. Really good.

The protagonist is Harry Bosch, an LAPD detective who is a bit of an outcast in the Police community and yet has a very strong sense of right and wrong and in getting to the bottom of things.

Harry is called out on a Sunday for a dead body that is found in a culvert pipe at Mulholland Dam.  He recognizes the body as a fellow Vietnam Vet and his determination to get to the bottom of things is set.

As Harry digs into the mysterious murder, he tangles with the FBI, the Internal Affairs division and a number of thugs out to ensure he doesn’t figure out what happened to his friend.

It was very engrossing and kept me awake quite a few nights as I read and read trying to get to the end of a chapter, or at least a stopping point, before going to sleep.  It wasn’t something I probably would’ve picked out in a bookstore, but I really enjoyed it and plan to read more of his books.

The next in the Harry Bosch saga is The Black Ice, so that is on my to-read-soon list.

Trust No One by Gregg Hurwitz: NOOK Book Cover

Trust No One, by Gregg Hurwitz

This was a really, really good book. So engrossing – it grabs you in the first 20 pages and doesn’t let you go until the very end.

The main character is Nick Horrigan, who has worked to build himself a quiet, safe life.  All of that changes when his apartment is invaded in the middle of the night by a SWAT team who snatch him out of his house and take him to a waiting helicopter.

Nick is whisked off to a nuclear reactor which has been overtaken by a terrorist who has asked specifically to speak to Nick.

Thus begins a whirlwind in which Nick is embroiled in a web of lies, deception and half-truths which hearken back to the death of his step-father when Nick was a young teenager.  In order to survive, Nick must determine what is truth, what is real, and who is good and who is evil.

The only thing that Nick knows for sure is his step-father’s dying words – “Trust No One.”

I have to say, this was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Certainly not one, again, that I would’ve sought out, but so, so good.

Definitely one I would recommend to anyone looking for an engrossing mystery/adventure/action story.

Another mystery, but certainly a non-traditional telling of a mystery, was my next read:

Dog on It (Chet and Bernie Series #1) by Spencer Quinn: NOOK Book Cover

Dog on It, by Spencer Quinn

I picked this up at a local bookstore on my vacation. It was in a bin of B1G1 books, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.

It was so cute.

The mystery is written from the perspective of Chet, the happy-go-lucky pup who belongs to Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator.

Bernie is called in on missing persons case and he and Chet work to find the missing teenaged girl, getting into all sorts of scrapes and tight squeezes as they go along and yet their partnership remains strong and they triumph (as you know they will) in the end.

The most charming part of the book is the perspective from which it is written.  Watching events unfold from Chet’s perspective is a little like talking to someone with serious attention deficit issues – one minute he is describing the “perp” and the next he is distracted by the enticing she-bark of some mysterious female pup off in the distance. And while it is sometimes a little distracting, it is mostly entertaining – especially if you are an animal lover. I couldn’t help looking at my own pups in a little different light and wondering what was really going on in their heads when I chat with them during the day.

A cute, light read that was definitely worth the B1G1 price. I will be picking up the next one in this series sometime soon, too.

Any good books you have to share?

CD67E0460FE3932B7A3B08ACDCE65B3F

 

 

 

What I’m Reading Right Now

What I'm reading right nowI realized I haven’t shared with you any of the books I’ve been reading lately. 

As a matter of fact, I can’t remember the last time I told you what books I’ve read. (let me check, hang on)

Oh. Wow.

End of March. I’ve done a lot of reading since then. Especially on my trip. Lots of time to read on those airplanes…

 

I guess I’ll pick a couple and share with you…

This is the first one I’ll share. It’s totally a Young Adult-type book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was another Friday Freebie on Barnes & Noble (love that!) and I was only too happy to download it and give it a try.

The premise is around a young (18ish) girl whose aunt dies and leaves her a “legacy” of 13 envelopes. Each envelope contains a “mission” and she can’t open an envelope until she has finished the mission in the previous envelope.

It’s all about learning to experience life, live in the moment, go with the flow, etc.

As a mom, I couldn't help reading it and thinking what mother in their right mind would let her child go traipsing around Europe without adult supervision.  But the story was charming and I enjoyed the escapism of reading it every night.

There is a second one out:

But I haven’t read it (yet) May be poolside reading for this summer.

Once I finished that one, I dove into another YA book that was (yet another) Friday Freebie (or discounted offering, can’t remember)

 

And all I can say is oh.my.goodness.

This was a really good book. Really good series, as a matter of fact.
(there are three books so far in the series)

If you liked the Twilight books, you’d love this. I liked them, although I got a little tired of the sighing and drama of them by the time I got to the last book. Enough already, Bella. Really!

This series is even more well-written.

The story is about a young girl who finds out (through the appearance of some rather interesting appendages) that she is a Faerie.  The story is a mix of fantasy, Arthurian-type legend, teenage romance, and adventure.

I was hooked from the beginning and have read all three in the series and can’t wait for the next one to come out.

I would highly recommend it and even though it is technically classified as Young Adult, it’s really, really good.

So, what are you reading these days?

Beatrice has a new friend

I just celebrated my ten year anniversary at my company.  They sent me a nice email congratulating me and linking to a website with a list of anniversary gifts I could choose from to celebrate the big event.  As usual with these type of corporate (and universally "PC" for all), they were not that of great choices – watches, plaques, etc. – things I’d never buy myself if I had the money.  Just as I was losing hope, I clicked one more link and found the *best* choice of all. An AMEX gift certificate. Yep, who doesn’t  love those?

I quickly scooped that puppy up (in the e-sense of the word “scoop”) and added it to my “cart.”  Now… what was I going to use it for? It had to be something that was a little bit indulgent and totally for me. No bill-paying responsible behavior here.  This was my anniversary gift. It had to be fun.

I have been flipping back and forth between wanting a new iPad and considering the new Nook Color.  You all know from my praises sung about Beatrice how much I love my Nook. But did I really want another one? Or did I want the iPad?

Everyone that is anyone has an iPad. Did I want to become part of that clique?

And did I really need one?  Of course, need has nothing to do with this, does it? (just ask Cathy Zielske)

And I kept thinking about how big an iPad is, compared to my little Nookie… and how expensive they are (ouch!) and did I really want one, or just want one because everyone else has one?

Which kept bringing me back to the Nook. 

And I started researching the new Nook Color. 

And it’s beautiful.  And sleek. And small (but not too small)

And best of all, it’s Android (like my phone)

So, off I went to the B&N store.  After an hours’ worth of conversation with my handy, helpful Nook Geek, I was sold.  He told me they were going to be releasing an update to the Nook Color software which would enable me to download apps onto it (much like I have done on my phone) and that it would become more and more of a true tablet-PC type of tool, not just an e-reader.  Which, they did, today. And I already have Angry Birds loaded. (hee hee) And a nifty email client so I can check email on there. And surf the web. And update Facebook. (which, we know, is vital.)

I think (and this is just my opinion) that B&N has decided the iPad is their competition (not Kindle) and that seems to be where their focus is for development.

Which is a good deal for me. Given that I am already familiar with Android and love the Nook software, too.

So, now, Beatrice has a new cousin. And she is beautiful. And sleek. And shiny and colorful. (and she has a pretty pink cover)

IMG_0357

And she’s all mine.

What I’m Reading Right Now

What I'm reading right nowI told you I’ve been reading a lot lately!

I have pretty much given up TV completely. I don’t miss it at all. And, when I do sit down to watch something, I get bored pretty quickly and turn the TV off to go do something else.  It just doesn’t hold much appeal for me these days.

But I have really been enjoying reading.

So much so that I’m running my batteries down on Beatrice pretty quickly – she’s supposed to have 8-10 hours reading time per charge. I’m having to charge her every day or so. I just plug her in at night before I go to bed to be sure she doesn’t lose her charge. I had the experience one day of (trying to) turn her on in carpool to find she was dead, Jim.  Dead. Horrors! I don’t let that happen anymore, no-sirree-bob.

Anyway.

image

I read this book in about 36.5 hours.  Not really, but I know that I read it pretty quickly.  I just couldn’t put it down once I started.  I spent most of Saturday reading – partly because I wasn’t feeling good and partly because the book was just so darn good.

I don’t want to spoil the plot for you, but it’s full of mystery, a little forbidden romance, history, plot twists and turns, evil villains (or are they?) and a lot of magic.

I loved it. Every.single.page.

I can’t wait for her to write another book. As a matter of fact, I went downstairs to the computer (around midnight) when I finished the book to see if there was another one to download.

There isn’t.

Boo.

So, I must wait for her to write another. (Get busy!)

I’ve picked these two as my next choices for reading:

image

The first one I read just a little bit of the sample and was hooked – It’s about a girl living near Niagara Falls around the time of WWI.  She’s from a privileged family who has to make some major adjustments as the father is fired from his job.  I really liked the writing and think it will be a good read. I’m only on the first 20-30 pages, though, so I don't know too much more yet.

The second one is Sarah Addison Allen’s newest. I just love her and all of her books, so I was anxiously waiting for the release of this new book. I think I may save it to read next week while I’m on vacation. Her books are like sweet confections you want to savor…

So, what are you reading these days?

What I’m Reading Right Now

I’ll start this installment with what I have already read (recently) and then share with you what I’m currently reading… all have been good reads.

I started with this book – it was a Friday Freebie (I think) on Barnes & Noble’s website (for Nook readers)

It’s a mystery – fairly light reading. The main character is an unemployed former journalist who makes her way through life rowing and doing odd jobs to make ends meet. She’s kind of headed nowhere and likes it that way.  She stumbles into a murder mystery when one of her rowing buddies is accused of murder, which she knows he couldn’t possibly have committed (could he?) and ends up being hired by his lawyer as a pseudo-investigator to help uncover facts which could lead to her friend’s case being dropped.

I have to admit, while I was often yawning and wishing the plot would move along more quickly, I still enjoyed the story.  The characters are well written and not boilerplate – they have sass and vitality.

I enjoyed it enough that I picked up the next one in the series immediately after finishing the first – that’s one of the nice things about an e-Reader – no waiting to go to the bookstore!

This one was good as well, although not as good as the first. I’m not sure if I was just getting tired of the type of writing, or what.  In this story, Tess, the main character, is still dabbling in maybe becoming a full-fledged investigator, although she is working full time now. 

This story involves her “uncle” who is badly beaten and for most of the book is in a coma, a greyhound who is “rescued” from the tracks, and another murder mystery Tess investigates.

The characters weren’t as well developed, but the story was pretty good. After finishing it, though, I decided to take break from the Tess stories and pick up some other things to read. I’m sure I’ll go back and read more of them, though. They are good, light reading and perfect when I don’t want to think too hard. 😉

Moving right along…

I am also reading through this book, although it’s not a constant thing, I am reading when I’m in the mood.  It’s a very interesting book and has given me some great perspective, given that I have a pre-teen daughter and I’m hoping that we’re doing the right things in terms of the building blocks in her life. 

The conversations revolve around the following:

  1. You are more than the sum of your parts
  2. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up
  3. Sex is great and worth the wait
  4. It’s OK to dream about marriage and motherhood
  5. Girls gone wild are a dime a dozen—dare to be virtuous

There are biblical references, but also plenty of practical advice.  I’m finding nuggets of wisdom throughout.

And then, finally, I’m reading this:

It was part of another promotion on B&N and I am hooked. It is so engrossing and the main character is mysterious, wounded, powerful and captivating.

She is an “informationist” – a mercenary of sorts, who is hired by various countries, organizations and wealthy individuals to acquire information. And she does, through whatever means necessary.

However, as you follow her on her various “missions” in the opener of the book, you begin to realize that she is a wounded soul, running from memories at the same time she is completing her assignments.

She is hired by a wealthy oil magnate to try to find information related to the disappearance of his daughter four years earlier.  Finding people is not what she normally does, but she takes the assignment, intrigued and challenged by the seeming dead-end trails.

She’s given one mandate from the magnate – a “keeper” of sorts who is tasked with traveling with her and keeping her safe (which she feels is unnecessary and insulting, yet unavoidable).

I’m about 150 pages in and I can’t wait to find some free time to sit down and keep reading. I want to know more about her, more about the missing girl, and see what happens with the two main characters’ relationship – how it develops and what becomes of it.

I’d strongly recommend it to anyone.

So, your turn… what are you reading these days?

What I’m Reading

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. I’ve pretty much given up on night time television.  There’s nothing on that I care about watching – not enough to give up sleep for, anyway! What I'm reading right now

So, instead of vegging in front of the TV, I’ve been reading. Once the monkeys go to bed, I snuggle up in my chair in our sitting room and read until I can’t focus anymore. Some nights, that’s five minutes, some it’s more.  It just depends.

I’ve been really lucky, too, in that I’ve found some really great books to read.

I think the last one I shared with you was Juliet or maybe it was Septimus Heap?

I thoroughly enjoyed Juliet. It was a really great book. One I would recommend to anyone.

I have taken a break from Septimus Heap because Big Girl is reading it, too, and she wanted to catch up to me in the story so we can talk about it. So, I’ve been reading other books while we get to the same point in the story.

Here are some of the books I’ve read in the past few weeks:

Prayers for Sale
by Sandra Dallas

This was a really, really good book. I gobbled it up in a matter of days, enjoying it like I would a delicious dessert for my mind.  The characters are really well-written and the story consists of an 80-something year old’s reminiscences of her youth in a gold mining camp in the mountains of Colorado and her current relationship with a young, newly-married girl.  I was hooked within the first few pages and couldn’t wait to sit down and read in the evenings. I was sad when the story was over, wishing I could spend more time with the characters (always a good sign, in my mind)

I would highly recommend it to you. Especially if you are in the mood for something a little bit different.

 

The Lace Makers of Glenmara
by Heather Barbieri

This one just captured me from the very beginning.  It is the story of a heartbroken young woman who is traveling through Ireland trying to recover from being jilted by her fiancé (for another woman, of course).

She ends up in a small village that has a lace making group – middle-aged women who each have stories of their own.  The book weaves their stories, and Kate’s (the main character) together beautifully, and the imagery is spectacular.

I finished this one last night and am hoping to find more stories by this author.

Another one I’d highly recommend.

 

Now, I’m starting The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry.

It’s the story of a young psychotherapist, Zee Finch, who is thrown in a tailspin when one of her patients commits suicide.

She travels back to Salem, where she is from, and finds her father in poor health and needing care.

I’m not much further into the book than that, but I loved The Lace Reader, another book by Barry, so I am looking forward to reading this one.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

 

 

 

And what about you?

What are you reading these days?  Any recommendations?

What I’m Reading Right Now

What I'm reading right nowI’ve been tossing back and forth between books since finishing Juliet. It was such a good book and I was having trouble deciding what I wanted to read next. There were quite a few books I wanted to read, but my budget wasn’t allowing me to go nuts and buy them all right now. And they are on “wait” at the library, so I had to decide to either read a “real” book that I already had on the bookshelf at home, or an existing book already on Beatrice.

I got lucky and Barnes & Noble had a Free Friday book that looked promising. I’m hooked now. Big Girl is reading a library copy of the same book, which is fun because we can talk about the story as we go. 

There are six (or seven?) books in the series, so I am sure B&N will get their tithe at some point, unless we get lucky and find them either at a used bookstore or the library. I may just go ahead and purchase the “real” book so that Big Girl and I can share them more easily. She likes to take her books to school and read them when she has free time and I’m not too keen on letting Beatrice take a trip to school.

So, now I am reading Septimus Heap, Book One, Magyk which, although, I think, a children’s book, is really very entertaining.  It’s about a family of wizards who adopt what they think is an abandoned baby girl but who turns out to be a princess who was rescued just as her mother, the queen, was killed.  It’s all twists and turns and lots of fantasy and magic, but it’s a nice escape from reality right now.  The story is engaging and the characters are interesting, if not too deeply developed (so far).

Big Girl is really enjoying it, which I love, and hates to put it down at night when it is time for lights out. I think it will be fun to read together and have something to share, especially if she makes it past the first book and on into the others in the story.

 

Who knows, maybe some Harry Potter will be in our future one day?

What are you reading right now?