Monday, April 27, 2015

Book Review Discussion and Giveaway: The Eternity Key by Bree Despain

Book: The Eternity Key by Bree Despain
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Review
From: Received for free from the author. All opinions are my own. (To be released April 28, 2015)

Short Synopsis: This book picks up shortly where The Shadow Prince left off. Daphne, Haden and the others are back from their adventures in Utah. Daphne's raving mad at her dad for some things she learned about him, Haden is scared something is going to happen to Daphne so he's stalking her house every night and Tobin is even more determined to find his sister. While on their adventure, a guy on a motorcycle ran off with the compass that will allow them to get the key that will allow them to open the gates to Hades, which then will allow them to stop the Underrealm from releasing the monsters into the world. So, they've got to find that guy. And then they've got to find that key, and then Daphne can open the gate. And then... well...

My Response:  Whew. Yes, it's a little complicated but in a crazy fun and lovely way! The characters that I grew to love from the first book get even more interesting in this one. Daphne discovers her own power, Haden is full of all sorts of vulnerability and Tobin is not completely and totally what he seems. I was getting a bit nervous when I started approaching the end, you know that feeling of there's no way there's enough book left to fix all that's going on here! Yeah, and well, I was right! There was not enough book! This is the only reason why I docked a star off this rating because, yeah, that ending. Oh boy.

Bottom Line: This sequel is just as engaging as the first with a story line just as crazy and characters just as fun. You really should read these books!

Let's Talk About: We've already talked about books based on mythology. We like them, right?! What about books with music as strong element? We like them too, right? Actually, I love them. How about you?

Other Reviews:

Holy crap! As Emeril says, “Let’s kick it up a notch! BAM!” Yeah, Bree definitely kicked it up a notch with The Eternity Key. From Jenni Elyse

From the very moment I picked up this book, I remembered exactly why I loved Haden so much. He was his normal, charming, underworld self. (If charming can be used to describe him at all.) Seriously, I think I like him so much because he's such an honest character. From Chasm of Books

As I said before, the last third of the book was wonderful. I flew through it and now I can't wait to read the next one. From Challenging Reads

The ending is definitely the killer! The kind of ending that leaves you screaming! And I did! There was so much action, so much danger, so much suspense! From A Great Read

The Giveaway: Today, the giveaway for The Shadow Prince that I've had going on for a couple of weeks ends, (I'll announce the winners in another post soon.) But now you can enter win an ARC of this book, The Eternity Key. And yes, it's also signed! Same procedure as before, just fill out the form with your info and then I'll choose a random winner next week on May 3. Good luck!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Currently: Readathon Wrap 2015


Listening: I've just sat down here to write this and am blasting my "song" playlist from Spotify. Currently the awesome music from The Imitation Game. So many miscellaneous things on this list. I love blasting it whenever on the computer.

Watching: I've been trying to catch up with Reign these past weeks. I think I only have two episodes to go in the first season. Here's hoping the second season doesn't take long to show up on Netflix. Also, still keeping up on Survivor and Amazing Race and Arrow. Wow. Arrow had a crazy sad crazy intense episode this past week!

Reading: We had a blast during the Readathon yesterday! We started at 6 am and I lasted until 1 am. I would have gone longer, but I had to get up for 9:00 church so I finally stopped. We had three extra teenagers join us for the day. One lasted from from 6 am to 3 pm and the other day from 8 am to 11 pm. They did great! I read two and a half books, plus several pages in Dune. The teenagers all read one or one and half books each. Awesome.

Readathon crowd.

Writing: I sent some pages off to the author that was assigned me during Writing for Charity. Because of a mix up there, she said she'd look at pages on her own time. Excited to hear back from here. This week is another writing group meeting at the library. I need to figure out what I'm taking to them this time! Can't wait for Storymakers coming up in just a few weeks!

Blogging: We started our Dune Readalong this week. I'm struggling a bit with the book so far. Too political but I'm promised some stuff happens soon, so keep plugging along! Also, I have a giveaway that ends tomorrow if you want to have a chance at that be sure to sign up today. Then, I'll have another one going for a different book this next week. All part of my ambassador duties for the release of The Eternity Key! Fun!

Eating: This is not a good one to answer the day after a readathon! So much junk yesterday! And Cafe Rio! Today we are not eating anything to make up for it! Ha! I already had a ton more M and M's! :)

Planning: Doing lots of stuff to get ready for my son to head off to France this Saturday. So excited and nervous for him. That means our own trip is just a six weeks away! So we are doing lots of planning for that too. Booking train tickets, apartments, car rentals, buying guide books and maps and etc. Can't wait!
The family all together before everyone
takes off on their adventures.

Worrying: Which means I'm worrying about all that... a lot. A whole lot. All the time. Can't sleep. Ugh.


  • We want to plant a garden but the weather is still too cold.
  • My married daughter is off to Ecuador this weekend too, for a nursing internship thing. 
  • My married son got a puppy and they are having fun dealing with all that entails!
  • Finals last week and this week for all the college kids in this family. One month of school left for the one not yet collage kid.
  • We cleaned up our garage. It was really exciting. We found a dead squirrel in the shed too.
  • I've done Zumba for TWO WEEKS straight! I'm still fat though. I could probably do it for two years straight and still be fat. Anyway, I'd like to see some sort of improvement, just a little, by the time we go on our trip. I'd like to be able to do all the walking one does on such a trip without dying, you know.

Happy new week everyone!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Readathon 2015 Updates and Challenges

Hour Eighteen Update

Whew! That was a long haul of reading just now!

What I’m (we’re) reading now: I read 15 pages of Dune and then switched back over to We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han, the final book in that series.

How many pages read since last update: almost 100 maybe?

How many pages read total: 600 plus?

Books finished since last update: I finished The Red Notebook. Really cute book! Toto finished Ignite. Loved it. Her friends finished The Graveyard Book and almost Harry Potter #2!

How many minutes/hours read since last update: 3 hours perhaps. We had a dinner break when the husband went out and got Cafe Rio for us!

What we are listening to: We put Spotify back on for awhile. Oliver Shanti radio station

What we are eating: Cafe Rio!

Distractions: dinner, and the more crazy kitty stuff (sheesh I can tell she can tell something was weird about today!), rain, feeling uncomfortable ( I kinda got sick of my reading spot) and etc.

I didn't take more pictures and I didn't do any more mini challenges. :(

This will be my last update for the day! I'm going to read in bed for awhile and then I'll do a wrap up tomorrow! Take care and Happy Reading!


Hour Fourteen Update:

What I’m (we’re) reading now: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain . Really enjoying it!

How many pages read since last update: 133

How many pages read total: nearing 500

Books finished since last update: none

How many minutes/hours read since last update: 2 hours

What we are listening to: silence. It's sort of making me crazy.

What we are eating: nothing since last update. I'm feeling a bit snacked out.

Distractions: nothing too much here either. Very quiet at our house right now.


Hour Eleven Update:

What I’m (we’re) reading now: I read a about 30 pages in Dune. I need to read something else now. I think I'll try this really tiny book that came to me in the mail the other day called The Red Notebook. The girls are still reading the same book from last update. The one boy joining us said he was done reading and left the party!

How many pages read since last update: 30!

How many pages read total: 300 and plus

Books finished since last update: none

How many minutes/hours read since last update: three hours maybe?

What we are listening to: hmmm, nothing now. Wind and rain is starting up though.

What we are eating: we've just finished a lunch break of frozen pizza and a brownie. Yeay!

Distractions: sleepiness is setting in pretty big. Also, just the comings and goings of people in the house. The cat left us alone for several hours so much so that we thought she'd become lost! Also, my phone, Instagram and Twitter and taking pictures. See below.

Here are some pictures:


Hour Eight Update:

I finished a book! :)

What I’m (we’re) reading now: In between books, but I think I read a few pages in Dune now.

How many pages read since last update: about 100 I think

How many pages read total: 280 or so

Books finished since last update: I finished It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han. One teenager finished The Winner's Curse and started in on Ignite by Sara B. Larson. Another one stopped Harry Potter for a bit to read Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale. Yet another one is getting tired and called for his mom to come get him in a bit!

How many minutes/hours read since last update: a couple more hours

What we are listening to: Han Zimmer

What we are eating: same.... broke out the chips and nuts now to. I'm getting hungry for some real lunch soon though.

Distractions: starting to feel a little sleepy eyed. Not too many other distractions this time though. It's been pretty good!

Some more pictures:

The treasure hunt:
tree, snow, weapon

We are eating a lot of caramel popcorn!


Hour Six Update:

Sheesh! This is when I freak out about how fast the day is flying by.

What I’m (we’re) reading now: We are all still reading the same books!

How many pages read since last update: I think I've added another 80 pages or so.

How many pages read total: 200 ish

Books finished since last update: none!

How many minutes/hours read since last update: Many distractions this past sprint, probably only actually read half of the time, an hour and a half maybe.

What we are listening to: changed the Spotify station to Hans Zimmer. A lot of Interstellar is coming through.

What we are eating: broke out the caramel popcorn and the peanut butter m and ms. :)

Distractions: giggling teenagers, crazy cats, beeping phones and etc.

Here's the group reading shot if you missed it on Instagram:

Also, our four seasons books:

And now I'm going to have a shower so I can feel a little more human.


Hour Three Update:

What I’m (we’re) reading now: It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
The teenagers are reading: The Davinci Code, The Winner's Curse, Harry Potter #2 and The Graveyard Book

How many pages read since last update: I've read 120 pages so far! Other pages reported: 50, 75.

How many pages read total: See above!

Books finished since last update: None yet!

How many minutes/hours read since last update: 2 hours

What we are listening to: David Arkenstone station on Spotify

What we are eating: We have just taken a breakfast break... strawberry banana smoothies and muffins.

Distractions: Breakfast... and the arrival of two more teenagers. So that's me, me daughter and three extra kids now! We'll see how this goes!


Happy Readathon! Let the reading begin!

Here, all day long, I'll be updating my (our) reading progress and experiences and fun. Be sure to follow along on my Instagram and Twitter too! (See sidebar for links!)

Each time I update, I'll put the newest bits up top and I'll just add to this post all day. I always start out strong and peter out as the day goes along. I expect tomorrow to be no exception! But maybe I'll update a little more than normal!

Here's my opening get to know you post:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?


2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

You know, I'm not sure! I think a Jenny Han book will be fun. :)

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Peanut butter M and M's.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

Let's see. I have four kids, two still at home. One of them is off to France in a week for study abroad and I'm so nervous! I work at the library in administration doing odd jobs and secretary stuff. I've been blogging for a long time and knew Dewey and her readathon way back when. I remember thinking..."you guys are so CRAZY!!" :)

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I've got it pretty much figured it and won't be changing anything up too much. We are expecting a bunch of teenagers to join us today, so I'm looking forward to that. One of them is here already! Arriving a few minutes before the official start time! (which is 6 am here. Crazy!)

I'm off to read! See you back in a few. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Readathon Prep

The biannual Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is coming up in just two days! I have every intention of participating and reading from 6 am to midnight at least! (However, there's lots of stuff happening in life at the moment so I will have to be flexible as usual!)

My daughter (now 16) has participated with me since she was,  I don't know, probably 10 at least. And she can't wait to do it again! She's even inviting all her friends! If we end with a teenager readathon crowd at this house, you know I'll be taking pictures and sharing!

Anyway, here's the stack of my potentials. I forgot to include our current read along book, Dune, but yes, I will knock of some pages in that during the readathon too! Also, I may dab into some Kindle books, but I have no idea what at this point. So, they are not listed.

Mostly this is some fun fluffy library books that I grabbed the other day, plus a couple that have been kicking around here dying to be read. I'll probably jump into the Jenny Han books (those are the ones on the bottom that are hard to see), just because I know they'll be fun and easy. I wanted so bad to try Saga for the readathon, but when I went to get it from the library, it was already checked out. So it will have to wait.

It's fun to look at the stack and think about reading all of them! But I can pretty much guarantee that I'll make it through only one! Sigh.

As for snacks. All I know is that we need to make caramel popcorn. And I should probably do that today since tomorrow might be already booked. I have no idea what else we'll munch on. Maybe I should buy a frozen pizza. That'll probably do it. M and M's maybe and we'll be good! Keep it simple I say!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Authors... EVER?

The prompt at The Broke and Bookish is to list our favorite authors. Our ALL TIME favorite authors! List them by genre! List 20 of them! Just list them!

Yeah. Right.

Well I'll attempt. But I'm thinking you can guess a few of mine.

Did you guess them?

Top row: Charles Dickens, Kasie West, Neal Shusterman, Laini Taylor
Two center rows: John Green, Brandon Sanderson, Wilkie Collins, Jane Austen
Bottom row: Laura Hillenbrand, Patrick Rothfuss, Elizabeth Gaskell, Melina Marchetta
Center Square: Markus Zusak! :)

All lovely lovely authors. And just SOME of my favorites.

Who are your favorite authors? Do we share some of the same?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Remake by Ilima Todd

Book: Remake by Ilima Todd
Genre: YA Dystopian
For: Fun, Supporting Local Authors
From: I bought this one at Costco

Short Synopsis: The main character, Nine, is trying to figure out if she wants to be a boy or a girl. In this future world, when kids turn 17 they can decide to become whoever they want, including changing their gender and their physical looks. Nine and her friend Theron are about to become remade but she is really stressing about this decision. However,  on the way to the facility, there is an accident, and she is washed ashore to a whole new world. One where people embrace who they are when they are born (and that whole being born thing is fascinating too!) and live in families with parents and siblings. All this is new to Nine and she's not sure she really likes it.

My Response: I really liked this one! Very interesting premise, especially given the hot topics of families and gender in this day and age. And while the author's viewpoints on this topics are pretty obvious, I never felt banged over the head with them. In fact, it's actually quite thought provoking on many levels. What makes a family a family? What makes a person who they are? What are all the different kinds of love? Anyway, I was totally engaged and read the book in only a couple of sittings. Also, it ended well enough that I figured it's a stand alone but I've just found out that it's actually a trilogy. Which makes me quite happy!

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed this fun book and interesting take on yet another dystopian society.

Let's Talk About: your feelings on books that tackle hot topics. Do you like it? Are you interested in what an author has to say about such things through their stories? Or would you rather not think about these sorts of things when you're reading? Do you worry about that fine line between preaching and interesting?  As for me, I think it's really interesting if it's done well.  I enjoyed how this one was done.

Other Reviews:

Like I said, I loved Remake! The world building, the characters, the plot twists, everything. The only thing I disliked was that the book ended. From Minding Spot

A post-overpopulation dystopia, Remake is in many ways quite typical of the genre: our young heroine grows up in relative isolation, unaware of any alternatives to her controlled community, until circumstances force her to consider her place in the world. From Rachel Cotterill Book Reviews

If you like dystopian novels with romance, pick this one up. It's different enough and will immerse you in its story. From Library of Clean Reads

I fully believe this book should beat Hunger Games in every shape and form; no obvious plot holes, better heroine and love story then any dystopian book on the market, and overall a universe that keeps you wanting more. From SweetEnd Book Reviews

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dune Read Along Starts Now!

Welcome to the Dune Read Along!

It's time to start reading!

Schedule of Events:

Section 1: April 19 - 27 Discussion post by Jenni Elyse on April 27, Twitter chat that same evening at 9 pm MDT.

Section 2: April 28 - May 6 Discussion post here at It's All About Books on May 6, Twitter chat the next evening on May 7 at 9 p.m. MDT

Section 3: May 7 - 16 Discussion post by Kami's Library Thoughts on May 16, Twitter chat the same evening at 9 p.m.

Be sure to follow the #DuneRAL hashtag all throughout the read along. Post your thoughts. Let us know what's going on with your reading experience in real time.

As mentioned on our sign up post, this read along is in conjunction with our IRL book club book for May. We are inviting you to virtually join our book club discussion on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 7:30 pm MDT as Jenni live tweets! 

As with our last read along, we plan to have a movie party to watch the Dune mini-series. The date for that as of this moment is set for May 30 at 6 pm. MDT. Join us IRL if you live nearby, or join us on Twitter if you don't!

Mark, get set, READ!!!


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