WELCOME to the Small Book Blog! I am a voracious reader. I love losing myself in books and cannot wait to read myself into my next adventure. It is because of this love for books that I created this blog. I want to share my passion of books with you! I hope you enjoy my recommendations and reviews. My goal is that they will lead you to a new book, series or author, that you can fall in love with and recommend to others as well.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jill Shalvis' The Sweetest Thing

The Sweetest Thing was the second book in a series, so I was definitely missing some of the character history, mainly between the three sisters. It was easy to guess or fill in the blanks. It did not affect my enjoyment of the book either. I was a little sad that it did not make me want to read the previous book to catch up or look forward to the next book in the series.

The main story centers on Tara. She is still dealing with the fallout of her life and the regrets of her past like choices. She ends up in Lucky Harbor, a place she never wanted to end up. Tara also finds herself in a love triangle with her self-centered, hot NASCAR, ex-husband and the sexy, laid back sailor she loved 17 years ago. This book had some funny moments. I snickered and laughed out loud quite a few times. It had some tender moments coupled with some wicked wet kisses. Other than that it was fairly obvious who Tara would end up with. I did appreciate the chemistry between Tara, sexy sailor Ford, and their reunited daughter (they gave her up for adoption 17 years previous). It was believable and engaging.  

This was a cute contemporary romance. I would recommend it to readers of that genre or someone looking for stories of loves enduring promise.
(It's a cross between a long slog & good for what it was)

Amanda Hocking's Novels: Switched & Torn

I would not usually review two books, even though they are by the same author, together but I felt it was appropriate with the first two books in the Trylle series by Amanda Hocking. On their own I would not rate them high, as a trilogy, I am enjoying the adventure. I am also interested in how the series will conclude. I admit, I am not impatiently waiting for the third book, Ascend, to come out like I did other books in other series, but I will buy it so I can have the desired closure with the characters.

The series, as far as I can tell, is unique in that it is about Trylle, or trolls. The premise of the books, the tradition of changelings, reminded me of other fae stories I have read. Some of the names were fae as well. I wonder if the trolls are a subset of fairy in the fae world.

The books have the easy pace ya books are known for. I feel that the Trylle series also achieves this easy reading pace because it is simple, in a good way. We are being given a story and the author is focused on that story, no major subplots, glimpses into what the enemy may be doing, or anything distracting from what Wendy is involved in. Hocking has done a good job with her characters. I definitely have my opinions on each one and ideas where those characters may end up in the end (or I hope where they will end up). One thing I noticed in this series is that the characters describe how they look to themselves. I know this is something authors do to paint a picture but I guess I do not see myself walking and telling myself what my hair would look like, or look in the mirror and describe myself to myself.  

Switched and Torn are also riddled with teenage angst, the challenges and choices of first time love, and decisions that are not thought all the way through to what the consequences might be. I would recommend this series to the ya age-group, parents of them, and fans of the supernatural looking for something new to read. I would also recommend reading all three together (or like me, as close to that as you can).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Reveal it!

What’s everyone reading? Finished up with? Searching or pining for? Reveal and share (please)!
I decided to try out the ya Trylle series by Amanda Hocking. So far it’s good. It’s keeping me engaged. I just finished The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis. She was a new author for me & recommended to me by my mother in law. Sadly I have not made it to the library for a new audio book. I love listening to those during my daily work commutes. Hopefully I can get to the library soon.
Another reveal for me is: I am so excited to go and see The Hunger Games at the theater this weekend! I sent my hubby out to get our tickets early so we don’t have to stand in line forever, panicking they might run out of tickets for the show time we want. I devoured the book series. I just hope they do a fantastic job on the movie, create a worthy tribute for the book. Anyone else going to see this movie? Loved the books?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cindy Gerard's Show No Mercy

Show No Mercy is book one in Gerard’s Black Ops Inc. series. Black Ops Inc. is comprised of sexy, ex-military, hot shot, heroes who converted to a private security team. Bad guys, bombs, threats, and bullets make up this action packed novel. The dialog is brash and fitting for the characters. Gerard does not hold back with her sexy heroes’ language, actions or skills (in and out of the bedroom).
In Show No Mercy, Jenna, the heroine for this novel, is the perfect counterpart to Gabriel ‘Archangel’ Jones.  Jenna is almost killed in a bombing and saved by Gabriel.  Gabriel and Jenna are then faced with a ruthless past enemy, El Diablo, who will stop at nothing to take away those Gabriel loves, including Jenna. With the past haunting Gabriel, and if he and Jenna make it out alive, will Gabriel turn his back on Jenna or let love reign?  
This was a fast paced, kick ass novel, riddled with emotion and steamy sheets during the down times. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more by Cindy Gerard.

Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus

I picked up this book because of the cover art, I was seeing it everywhere, and because magic combined with the Victorian age just seemed like a win-win read. After reading it I am still stewing about it. I really wanted to like it, but there was something about it that kept me from that goal.

Morgenstern has a great way of describing something. I would say over half the book is filled with descriptions of the sights, sounds, smells, and magic of Le Cirque des Reves and all the characters. Morgenstern does an amazing job painting the pictures so you can clearly imagine what the reader is looking at, smelling, remembering, and creating. I really appreciated that. It was beautiful and magical.
The story line, because of all the beautiful and clear descriptions seemed secondary. It is because of this I felt myself become confused at times or have to really concentrate to remember what was actually happening in the story. I was still tangled in the descriptions of the competition and magical creations. If it was not for the date reminder at the beginning of each chapter I would have been completely lost because time seemed to not really matter other than the author wanting years to pass.
I am generally a fan of ya books but this one left me underwhelmed. I would recommend it to the age group it is intended for but probably not to my adult readers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reveal it!

I thought I would post to see what everyone is reading! Reveal it, share it (please)! If you just finished a book how was it? Looking for a book this weekend? Any recommendations?

I am reading Laura Griffin’s novel Thread of Fear. So far, so good. This was a book loan from my mother in law.  I just finished the audio book of The Night Circus. I am still simmering on what I really think of it. It had highs and it had parts I am not sure about and overall I am on the fence.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Becky Banks' Upcoming Novel: Forged

Welcome to the last stop of The Legend of Lady MacLaoch’s Spring Break Tour. Below is a very early review of Becky Banks upcoming novel Forged. I am sharing with you what my initial reactions were to this amazing novel and what I would tell people so they immediately add Forged to their “to-read” list.

While author Becky Banks has remained a believer in the power of love, her upcoming novel Forged is a dark, sexy and gritty tale when compared to her debut novel The Legend of Lady MacLaoch. I was privileged to read the early unedited version of Forged and was blown away at how different it is in style from The Legend of Lady MacLaoch.  Once again Banks creates characters and situations that are believable with descriptions that throw you into the scenes.  Eva (our heroine) is a kick ass woman of our time, she is someone we all wish we could be at one point or another throughout our life. I am not going to get into too much of the story and plot  (Banks still has work to do before Forged is released later this year), but I will say that it is about Nate and Eva; two characters who we meet separately only to learn that we have been dropped into their story years after it began. They grew up together, dated and their love just was not enough to survive the traumas of youth and murder. Forged occurs after all bridges are burned between these two.  What lies ahead (for them and us dear readers) is the story of Nate and Eva’s reunion, which questions if what they had and what they will experience will be enough to forge their friendship into a love that will last lifetime. 

Banks paints very visceral scenes with amazing descriptions that, while reading them, are like watching a play in my head. Forged is going to be one of those great novels that you find yourself invested in and do not want to put down. However, for our time management, I appreciated that Banks puts breaks with the ends of the chapters by switching to other characters perspectives or scenes. Trust me, this was essential for me while reading so I could get dinner on the table and sleep at night. I also found that Banks has created a real energy with the main characters, Nate and Eva, and their relationships/interactions with their friends and co-workers. It flowed seamlessly and had me feeling like one of the pals, talking trash, feeling concerned, and giggling at their inside jokes.  I appreciated this quality because I find it helps when the secondary characters have personality.

Overall Forged is going to be a steamy, sexy, high octane adventure (in and out of the bedroom) with some suspense and grittiness thrown in, of the strength of love and forging the path to see if it is worth the heat of making it stronger or if it will remain a burned out lie.  

And now, here is the link to the fabulous blog tour swag giveaway! Stop by to enter, or add points to your entry. Away we go!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Nicholas Sparks' The Lucky One

There are some authors out there that have themes you can depend on. An example of this would be Jane Austen. We know when we read an Austen novel that no matter what it will end with a wedding. For me Nicholas Sparks has a theme as well. No matter what there always seems to be a death in the story. Both of these authors, of course, are telling a story of love. I tend to shy away from reading Sparks because of this ending theme as well as I feel his main purpose in writing is to make the reader cry.

For this novel, The Lucky One, I do not want to say too much because it will generate spoilers. I will say that the dust jacket on the book is exactly the story you are going to read. Along with that remember that it will have a typical Nicholas Sparks ending. The Lucky One was a good story and surprisingly I did not end up crying (although that may be because I could not stop myself from checking if there was a death at the end of the book to prepare myself) and I did not throw the book in disgust or disappointment (this time) because I was actually quite all right with Sparks choice in the end (again, this time).

In all of his books, Nicholas Sparks has a crisp and efficient voice. He does not waste words by over expanding nor does he use big words. Sparks paints a picture and moves forward with the story he is sharing with us.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Question about reading authors you don't want to...

Is there an author out there that you really do not want to read because of how popular they are or any other reason in the world, but then one day you hear about this great book and decide to read it only to find out it is that author? Would you read it anyways knowing you are cheating on yourself or knowing you may be stepping into a literary trap for disappointment? I feel that way with Nicholas Sparks. I read a few books years ago, saw some of the movies and believe his only goal in life is to make people cry and always to kill off characters. I quit reading him completely. This past weekend I saw a trailer for a movie and thought “OMG that looks really good and I like the actor.” Sadly, at the end it showed that it is a Nicholas Sparks novel. So now I am cheating on myself reading The Lucky One knowing that I am probably opening myself up for tears, possible death, and maybe a dreary ending.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tana French's In The Woods

I found In The Woods on sale at Costco and decided to give it a try. I had seen it on numerous book club lists and the cover showed that it was an Edgar Award Winner. I enjoyed the idea of the novel and “the voice” it was written in was unique. The story is told after the mystery and murder happen. It is a reconstruction of the main detective assigned to the murder of a little girl, Rob/Adam’s, memories of the big events the story focuses on and the events surrounding those. The reader has to rely on what he remembers, focuses on, thinks is important and what he thinks he remembers to piece together the mystery.

At the beginning of the novel, Rob tells the reader that there are two things we need to know going forward: “I crave truth. And I lie.” (In The Woods, pg.4)  I wish I had paid more attention to this. I will recommend to future readers that they do. At one point I realized that it was a plot device for figuring out the mysteries and almost started the book over. Rob will give hints to things throughout his reminiscing that he thinks in hindsight were a mistake; we didn’t know how important this was until afterword, etc.

I did not feel like I needed to re-read the novel when I finished, discover what clues I might have missed. The two main characters, Rob and Cassie, have a tenuous relationship that appears to work but has huge overlooked cracks in it that seem obvious to the reader but are not to them. There is a lot of drinking and depression scenes and I got very annoyed with the poor decisions Rob and Cassie were making. I just wanted to pull Rob out of the book at one point and smack him. That being said, it was an interesting psychological mystery but did let me down in a few parts.