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, July 29, 2012

Deborah Harkness's Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night is the sequel to Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches. Shadow of Night, I thought, was well worth the year long wait. I loved it! I was not let down and cannot wait to read the third and final book in this trilogy. Shadow of Night is rich with history, information, and new characters to help Diana and Matthew on their journey back in time to 16th century Europe. Harkness plunges us, okay Diana and Matthew, into a world of spies, subterfuge, Matthew’s old life, witch hunts and so much more. We also get brief glimpses of the present and how people are coping (as well as what anomalies are transpiring) from Diana and Matthew’s time in the past. I appreciated that Harkness gives us details, histories, and various backstories but does not bog down the story line with it. She stays focused. We stay immersed in the storyline as well and I cannot tell you much more without giving away spoilers. Just know it is fantastic.

If I say much more it will, again, give away spoilers or ruin your adventure that Harkness has planned. Just know you will meet fantastic new characters and re-visit previous ones. Shadow of Night is a fantastic novel and I recommend it and this series to everyone that will listen to me. LOL! Now the wait begins again for the third and final book. Lets go Harkness! Get writing!

Ian Fox's Only the Strongest Survive

Only the Strongest Survive is a thrilling novel of a female CEO who is kidnapped by two brothers who could not forgive her corporate takeover. Ian Fox, the author, has created a thrilling novel that could happen in real life. Fox’s voice and writing is precise and has a European tone to it (real English and all the rules of writing). Fox paints a picture that is detailed, simple, and brings to life the scenes and actions of the characters with a unique and accurate way with words. In Only the Strongest Survive we follow Emely, the kidnapped, through the hell she is put through, then her survival and the mixed emotions that connect her to her kidnappers.

Emely is a stock broker and the ins and outs of that complicated business, the trading, the portfolios, are all explained so that any reader can grasp the topic. I personally appreciated this because the world of stocks and bonds is very intricate and confusing. Fox explains, through his characters, the beauty of the trade so we can appreciate it (and make a whole bundle of money). Fox is also able to capture the feelings Emely goes through while with her captors. The fear, the confusion, the lust, the revulsion and hate. I appreciated that the kidnappers were given some depth, one almost redeemable, and coupled with Emely’s emotions Fox almost leaves it to the reader’s choice on how they think the book may end. Almost.

I would recommend this book to people looking for a new suspense thriller and/or a new voice in literature. It is definitely worth a try and you may learn something new!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reveal It! (& just checking in...)

Hello! It’s been a bit since I posted and I apologize. I just started a new job and haven’t been able to dedicate as much time to my reading pleasure as previously shared. I am excited to say I found out that my boss is a big reader (like me) and that we have many books in common (Outlander series, Fifty Shades of Grey, Game of Thrones series, and The Hunger Games series just to name a few). I’m hoping we can swap ideas, authors and more importantly books. Once I get into the swing of my new job (I’m even in charge of night court once a month!) there will be nothing stopping me from my usual one book a week reading schedule but until then I wanted to check in and see what everyone is reading, wanting to read, has on their to-read shelf, recommendations, or whatever you want to share! I am currently reading the long anticipated second novel by Deborah Harkness called Shadow of Night. So far I am riveted and loving it.
I also came across a fantastic "new" artist (new is to me, not to the world of art) that I wanted to share. I found it apt for us bibliophiles. But also beyond that the images are so imaginative and fantastic that it calls to my creative mind. The author's name is Jacek Yerka. The painting I would love to hang in my library (feautred above) is titled Bible Dam.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blog Spotlight on Romancing the Book!

It's The Small Book Blog's turn on Romancing the Book's Romancing the Blog tour and giveaway! Go visit, enter the raffle, learn a little more about my blog and the many others on tour.

Here is the link to my spotlight on Romancing the Blog: The Small Book Blog

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Markus Zusak's The Book Thief

The Book Thief was poignant. Markus Zusak shows us Nazi Germany (roughly 1939-1943) through the journal of a little girl, known as the book thief, and a very tired Death. Death tells us the tale of the book thief (he found her journal during one of his travels that crossed paths with the Book Thief) and Nazi Germany in such a way that was embracing, grim, and straightforward with a dark yet consoling humor. Like I said, Death was overworked and tired during that time of his existence. He only had so much time to tell us his tale of the book thief. He even gives the reader spoilers, without apology, in his impatience to keep the story moving. The book thief, a child in her early teens when she writes her journal, gives life, love, hope and realistic glimpses into the lives of the people on Himmel Street, outside of Munich. 

I was not sure how I would feel about The Book Thief when I talked myself into taking the time to read it, but I feel like it was a fantastic book and I was thankful I took the time to read it (especially since it sat on my to-read bookshelf for about 2 years), to absorb the stories and history in it, and finally to enjoy Zusak’s book as a whole. The book itself was also broken up into sections and then short chapters, creating easy breaks in the reading. Zusak’s writing style was lyrical, profound and vivid. When Death takes a soul, he always describes what color the sky is outside. It is almost poetic when Zusak describes what Death felt like during this time of the war. Zusak also writes The Book Thief so that it is never completely depressing or morbid. There is humor, hope and a richness given to the characters that create an almost uplifting book.

I would recommend The Book Thief to anyone, probably high school age and up. From page one you know you are reading something special and unique. I agree with the critics that it is, or will be, considered a classic novel for future readers. It has a unique voice, and gives life and depth to the ordinary lives of people stuck in wartime Nazi Germany.

Lauren Kate's Rapture

Rapture was not my favorite book in the series. I still like book 1 and 2 more than 3 and 4. This was a great conclusion to the series though. I enjoyed the ending and how everything was brought together. I wish some storylines were expanded and that our farewell to some of the characters was done differently (especially with Cam). There was almost a breathless quality to the story as the author had us flying from one destination to another so there was really no room to elaborate. Kate gave us a few surprising twists along the way. I also thought that the dust jacket was purposefully misleading after getting a few chapters into the novel.

In the end, I would recommend this book and its series to paranormal readers of all ages. You really need to read all the books in order to appreciate what is happening and its rapturous conclusion. The fallen angel story was refreshing in this day and age of were's and vampires. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

P.D. Martin's The Murderers' Club

P.D. Martin is a writer of suspense and dark weaving plots. All P.D. Martin’s stories are written in first-person and are a blending of science and fact, with a pinch of supernatural (limited to a seer of sorts, nothing more), a dash of flirtation between the characters relationships outside of work, and a whole lot of a determined FBI behavior profile work to crack the various serial cases we are swept up into while reading P.D. Martin.

The Murderers’ Club is another thrilling novel following Sophie on her chase to track down the victims and whereabouts of a sick on-line club of serial killers. The novel is fast-paced, the murderers are a blending of evil and brilliant, the police detail is intriguing. The story builds a case, situation and characters that I would recommend for CSI lovers, thrill seekers, and suspense readers.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Kelley Armstrong's The Gathering

The Gathering is the start to a new YA series by Kelley Armstrong. It hints at eventually tying in with her adult series (which I am a huge fan of). Armstrong is a great author of the paranormal underworld. She encompasses all kinds of different paranormal (or supernatural) characters, talents, and challenges. Even for a YA book (generally an easy read, simple structure, smaller vocabulary) I found myself flying through it and ready to continue the adventure with the next book. The Gathering lays out the foundation for what the characters are (probably) going to be, who we will be following as principle leads, but still leaves the mystery of what is to come and how the talents will manifest. Unlike in Armstrong’s adult series, we will be with the characters as they mature into their supernatural self, rather than meeting them after they have gone through their change.

I would recommend this book for any paranormal lovers out there. I would recommend the author, Kelley Armstrong, to anyone who reads paranormal adventures. She has a great voice, active imagination, and creates beloved characters whose journeys we want to continue to follow. Armstrong has a knack for building strong women into stories. Armstrong, and one of the reasons I love reading her, also keeps series going without burning the reader out on the main characters. Every book has characters you know, have met, may be meeting for the first time, but not every book has the same two or three people as the main characters every time. We are shuffled into the homes of the various characters and they have their own books. Later, we may see them in someone else’s story, but they are not the lead. Armstrong constantly rotates her lead characters.