Thursday, January 19, 2017

Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront...and she inches closer and closer to her death.

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?"

My Thoughts:

What a way to end my reading year in 2016 with this book!  I don't even know if I have the words to describe my reading experience with this one.  It was just as intense as I had hoped it would be but I was surprised at how uncomfortable it made me at times.  That sounds like it was a bad thing but it really wasn't.  I just found book to be a more challenging read when it came to how I felt about the things that happened in this book.  Not trying to be too vague but I also don't want to spoil anything for other readers.  Let's just say that the author has quite the talent at blurring the lines so that I didn't always know what or how to feel about the characters and the decisions they were making.  It was so completely intriguing but also there was this feeling of dread that was present throughout the entire book.  As the reader, you just knew that everything wasn't going to end well by the end of the book.  That feeling just builds page by page- by a certain point there was no way that I was not going to finish the book.  It was just too good of a read!

I feel like I heard a lot of hype surrounding this book early on and I do think that it is well deserved.  This is one of those books that just pulls you in and doesn't let you go.  Even when I didn't necessarily want to be reading it....well, I was thinking about it at least.  It was the perfect page turner and I found myself unwilling to put it down.  I loved that the story was told from multiple viewpoints.  It gave me the chance to get to know Hattie more (which if you read the summary from above you know has been murdered) which was a bit unexpected.  I loved that we got this chance to learn more about her because it really helped to explain and lead up to the ending.  I won't say more than that.  This isn't a book that you necessarily feel good about after finishing.  There are too many dark and sad things that happen.  But it makes you think about the choices we make and how those choices effect the rest of our lives.

I honestly can't say enough good things about this book.  It wasn't easy to read for me at times but I'm glad that I did.  It came VERY close to ending up on my top ten reads list for 2016.  It was a book that left me thinking about it for days afterwards.  The characters get under you skin in a way that I can't fully explain.  I'm just left very excited about this author as this is her debut novel I believe.  Craziness!  I can't wait for more and will be recommending this one to just about any reader.  Highly recommended.

Bottom Line:  A stunning way to end my reading year!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.

Monday, January 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 16th)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!"

Monday madness begins once again!  Actually, I had the day off but chose to work some overtime earlier this morning which is why I'm posting later than usual.  The weekend flew by as it always does.  We cleaned out and rearranged my daughter's room which was quite the project.  How do these kids accumulate so much stuff?  My jeep is packed now ready to drop off a load to donate to our local Goodwill store.  She is excited about her "new room" though so really that is all that matters!  I don't have much else new to report.  The husband and I have both been battling a cold since right after Christmas.  The cough seems to be never-ending so it was a pretty low-key weekend otherwise.  I managed to read two more books in the past week which left me pretty happy.  I finished the following books:

The First Days by Rhiannon Frater turned out to be a much more enjoyable read than I originally thought it was going to be for me.  In the afterwards of the book, the author explained that she started writing this book in installments which explained a lot to me.  I think that is why I didn't immediately connect to the story or characters but that changed by the end.  I'm super excited to pick up the next book in this trilogy soon!

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins was an off pile read.  I actually tried reading this one last year and got about half way before I let it go back to the library unfinished.  I decided to try it again (as I really want to see the movie) and started from the beginning.  What can I say other than this time it worked for me?  I'm glad that I went back to it as now the husband and I can FINALLY watch the movie.  Reviews to come for both of these books soon.

I'm now currently reading the following:

Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London is my current kindle read.  I was originally going to read Black-Eyed Susans but after finishing The Girl on the Train I decided I needed a change of pace.  This is for a TLC book tour that I am participating in next month.  In print I'm reading Killer's Island by Anna Jansson.  I actually haven't started this one yet but it is what I'm planning on reading next so I'm including it.  This is a review copy that has been on my shelves for a ridiculous amount of time so I'm really excited to finally read this one.  A reading goal for 2017 that I have is to finally read some of these review copies that have been languishing on my shelves and this would fit that description.

New Additions:

Simply put:  I suck at staying away from NetGalley.  They all look AMAZING though so there is that.  LOL!  I will try harder this week for sure!

I'm off to enjoy the rest of this holiday and also work on my laundry piles.  It has been raining all day so it feels like the perfect time to curl up with my kindle and get to reading. 

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Don't Turn Out the Lights by Bernard Minier (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"You did nothing."

Christine Steinmeyer thought the suicide note she found in her mailbox on Christmas Eve wasn't meant for her. But the man calling in to her radio show seems convinced otherwise.

"You let her die..."

The note and the call are only the beginning. Bit by bit, her life is progressively turned upside down: someone is trying to destroy her. But who among her friends and family can hate her that much? And why?

Commandant Martin Servaz is on leave in a clinic for depressed cops, haunted by the latest crime committed by his nemesis, serial killer Julian Hirtmann. Then he receives a key card to a hotel room - the room where an artist committed suicide a year earlier. He soon realises that the key opens up a most intriguing mystery. Could someone really be cruelly, consciously driving women to kill themselves? Both he and Christine are about to find out...but it may already be too late."

My Thoughts:

What a thrilling beginning to my reading year thanks to this book!  Don't Turn Out the Lights was such an intense read.  I feel like after finishing this book that I might slightly overuse that description because this book was WAY more intense in comparison to others.  Actually it was also much darker than I expected it to be as well.  I should have known by the opening scene of this book as it really set the tone of the book.  I found this book to be slowly intriguing as the author built up everything that was happening to Christine.  All too soon though I found myself completely chilled by everything that she was going through.  It was at that point that I found the title of this book to be so completely appropriate!  There was no way that I was reading this one late at night- it was just too creepy!  The thing that really struck me though is that I can see something like this happening so it felt all the more horrifying because of that.  

This story was told in two parts: one was Martin Servaz's investigation and the other part was focused on everything that Christine was experiencing.  I loved how the author was able to pull these two threads together in a way that I didn't see coming.  It made my reading experience so much better as we were able to really get to know both of these characters.  While I really enjoyed this book overall, I have to warn readers that this isn't a book for everyone.  It should have trigger warnings galore as there is a TON of violence (as well as other things) in this book and it isn't always easy to read about.  There were times that I just had to set this book down as it was too much for me.  This book made me uncomfortable at times but especially towards the end.  That isn't to say don't read it as I still really enjoyed the book for the most part.  It was just something that I wanted to mention so that other readers are aware (maybe follow up reading this one with something lighter like I did).

Overall, I found this book to be a very compelling and chilling read!  I'm anxious to go back and read the other two books in this series as I've once again read out of order.  I'm hoping that in earlier books I will learn more about Martin's past and what happened to him.  I'm also already anticipating the next book to see what happens next as well.  I would recommend this one but with a few warnings to other readers as stated above.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A terrifying thriller- what a way to start off 2017!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.

Monday, January 9, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 9th)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!"

Here we are once again.  My lack of blogging last year meant that I didn't write too many of these posts but I'm hoping to change that in 2017.  I love sharing reading updates (and also reading everyone else's updates).  The past weekend flew by like it usually does.  We managed to get all of the Christmas stuff put away and my house is cleaner than it has been in weeks.  I also went to the used bookstore (twice).  Eek!  I've been really good lately though...besides what makes a cold winter day better than a trip to the used bookstore??  The answer to that is two trips in two days.  LOL!  I also participated in Bout of Books this week and actually hit my reading goal of two books completed!  I'm so pumped about that.  This is always a fun read-a-thon to participate in even though I have a tendency to just read and not socialize very much.  Now I need to work on writing up reviews for those books later today.

I'm now currently reading the following two books:

The First Days by Rhiannon Frater is my current print read.  I bought this one way back when Borders went out of business so it has been on my shelves for way too long.  I'm enjoying it so far although I haven't quite connected to it as much as I hoped.  Maybe as I get further into the book?  We'll see.  Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin is my current e-book which I haven't started yet.  Actually I just decided this morning to pick this one up next after finishing Truth or Beard by Penny Reid.  I'm in the mood for a good thriller and this book definitely sounds like one that I will enjoy!  I would love to finish both of these books this week and keep up my reading mojo but we will see what happens.  Lifting for football starts up again for my oldest plus overtime at work may cut into my reading time a bit.

New Additions:

Too many this week to even mention.  I DID say that I went to the used bookstore twice, didn't I?  I shared pictures on Litsy if you are interested(I'm on there as Samantha.1020 if we aren't friends already - I love finding other book lovers so let me know if you are on there too).  And I actually did kind of bad on the NetGalley front as well.  Above are the two books that I downloaded from NetGalley thanks to a certain publisher's influence.  Heck, I'm always easily influenced when it comes to books.  I'm going to try and stay off of NetGalley this week- for real!  Maybe then I won't have anything to share here next week.  Ha!

I'm off to continue on my laundry piles and all of the other fun Monday stuff that we have going on.  What books have you read so far this year?  What books are you hoping to read this week?  Are there any other week long read-a-thons going on that will help keep me motivated with my reading?

Have a great week and Happy Reading!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Troublemaker by Linda Howard (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.

The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.

The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life."

My Thoughts:

I wanted to read this book mainly based off the fact that it was written by Linda Howard, and I've been meaning to read her books for some time now.  Also, I'm a sucker for the romantic suspense genre so that of course made me want to read this book more.  Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book although I would classify it as more of a romance if I'm being honest.  There were some elements of suspense but really this book was more focused on the romance developing between Morgan and Bo.  And what a romance that was!  One of the things that I love for my romance books to have is a realistic feel to them.  I am not huge on when relationships happen overnight or when there is insta-love with no build up.  In this book, Bo takes Morgan into her home not because she wants to but because she can't turn him away in the shape that is in.  Their relationship develops over the course of the book (I don't really feel that this is a spoiler thanks to above summary) in a way that actually feels natural.  Also, their relationship didn't just solve all of their problems either- another pet peeve of mine in romances.  I just really loved the way the author set this book up in a way that you couldn't help but want to root for their happy ever after.

I also really, really loved how much of this book was focused on Bo's dog Tricks.  As my family just recently got a puppy, I adored how much of this book focused on Tricks and what an important part she played in Bo's life.  This is definitely a dog lover's type of book which I found to be just perfect.  There was never a time when Tricks didn't play an important part of the story which just really added to the story for me.  I also loved that the author really brought the small town that Bo lived in to life.  There were a bunch of secondary characters that I enjoyed reading about as well.  I found this book to be the perfect read during a stressful time of year.  I was able to just lose myself within this book's pages and the romance that was brewing between Bo and Morgan.  Sometimes that is exactly what you need especially when life is hectic and busy.  I liked that the ending tied everything up although I didn't find it to be as suspenseful as I expected.  Really by that time I was okay with the lack of suspense.  I was more focused on the romance and seeing how Morgan and Bo would work everything out.  

Overall, I enjoyed this book and found it to be a solid romance.  I'm planning on reading more by this author, and I believe that she has an extensive backlist so I have a lot to look forward to which makes me happy.  I'm glad that I finally took the plunge to give this author a try because it was a great reading experience.  I think that both dog lovers and romance fans will enjoy this book.  I can easily recommend this one!

Bottom Line:  A slow building romance that I really enjoyed!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January Reading Plans (2017 Edition)

Here we go again!  I really debated on if I wanted to come up with a pile of possible reads in January.  Let me start off by saying that I fully acknowledge how nutty I can be when it comes to books.  I love, love, love coming up with piles of books to read from.  But what I learned last year, is that I can also overwhelm myself by all of the possibilities that I have to choose from.  There is just not enough time in the day for all of the books that I would like to read.  I'm instead going to use this book pile to hopefully help to motivate me to read more this time around.  That sounds like a much better idea in my opinion!  I'm sure that I will go off pile whenever the mood strikes but I'm okay with that.  I'm including a mixture of print and e-books and I'm hoping to just read, read, read!  Here are the books that I would love to read in January:
  • Locked In by Kerry Wilkinson - This is the 1st in a series and off of my own shelves.  I love the sound of this book and have been meaning to read it every since I bought it.  I'm not waiting too much longer to see what this series is all about!
  • The Doll's House by M.J. Arlidge - 3rd book in one of my favorite series.  One of the things that I would really like to do in the new year is catch up with some of the series that I am in the middle of.  This is definitely one of them.  Copy from my local library.
  • The Hating Game by Sally Thorne - I couldn't not request this book from the library after seeing if on multiple top reads lists from some of my favorite romance bloggers.  I cannot wait to give this one a try and see what everyone is talking about!
  • Killer's Island by Anna Jansson - This is a review copy that has been sitting on my shelves for a ridiculous amount of time.  I don't know much about it other than it is a mystery- but that is enough for me to want to finally read it.  I WILL read some of these older review copies that have been languishing on my shelves in 2017.
  • The First Days by Rhiannon Frater - This is a book that I just got back from my sister that she highly recommends.  I forgot I even lent it to her but I'm super excited to read it.  Maybe this will give me my zombie fix while I wait for The Walking Dead to return.
  • Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs - Last year I reread the first three books in Briggs' Mercy Thompson series back to back, and I loved every minute of it!  I'm not waiting for two more years (or some other ridiculous length of time) before I continue on with this series.  This is another book off of my own shelves.
Here are the e-books that I'm also including in my reading plans for January:

  • Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London - NetGalley review copy for a TLC Book tour in February.  I'm going to try and get ahead of the game by reading this book early.  I'm in the mood for some historical romance so I'm looking forward to this one.
  • Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner - I loved Find Me last year by this author so I'm not waiting long to read this one.  It sounds just as intense and thrilling so I'm really looking forward to it!  This is also a NetGalley review copy.
  • Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson - This is also a NetGalley review copy and a thriller that fits this time of year perfectly.  I'm really looking forward to giving this author a try as I've been hearing great things.  And that cover is just perfection!
  • Lady Claire is All That by Maya Rodale - Edelweiss review copy and a new to me author.  I've also been seeing some great reviews of this author's books so I'm really looking forward to this book as well.  AND this book is loosely based off of one of my favorite movies from when I was a teenager.  I can't wait!
  • Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin - This is one of those books that has been languishing on my e-reader for way too long.  I've only heard good things about this book so I have no clue why I've waited so long to read it.  That's going to change though soon!
  •  The Day She Can't Forget by Meg Carter - I love, love, love the sound of this book.  It just sounds like a thriller that I will enjoy so I have very high hopes for it.  Yet another NetGalley review copy (sigh- I really need to work on my self control in 2017).
That's it!  I just realized that I didn't include the books that I'm already currently reading in this post but I'm too lazy to change it at this point.  I obviously won't get through all of these but I'm sure going to try and read as many as possible.  I might add a few library books in the pile as well as the month goes along and my holds come in but that's another day, different post.  Have you read any of these?  Are there any books here that you think I should read first or before all others?  Do share!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Reading and Exercising (Starting 2017 with a Bang!)

Yes!  The first read-a-thon for the new year is already here.  I've participated in the Bout of Books read-a-thon a number of times and always enjoy it.  The idea of getting my reading off to a good start for the year is always a big motivator.  If you haven't participated in Bout of Books, here are the rules:

"The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th 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 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team"

Week long read-a-thons are usually the way to go for me since I fit my reading in wherever and whenever I can throughout the week.  My goals for this read-a-thon are to finish two books at least.  These are the two books that I'm currently reading (and started off 2017 with):

Don't Turn Out the Lights is my current print read and is quite good so far.  I'm not very far into it yet and I'm already not wanting to set it down.  Truth or Beard is my current kindle read and also my first read for #COYER Blackout.  (I'm failing at that reading challenge since I'm still working on book one but oh well.)  I'm enjoying them both so hopefully the Bout of Books read-a-thon is exactly what I need to get these two books read.  I'm still trying to decide if I want to come up with a January reading pile or not.  If I do then I will choose from one of those books if I manage to finish both of these.

I'm once again also signing up to participate with #FitReaders in 2017.  2016 was probably one of the worst years for me exercising wise.  I really didn't work out on a regular basis or much at all if I am being honest.  We just joined a local gym and I'm planning on the entire family getting healthier in the new year.  There is a cycling class that I'm hoping to try for sure but I also just want to commit to working out on a regular basis.  To start, I'm hoping to work out a minimum of three times a week.  Once I start getting into a regular routine (and get back to running) I will start setting more specific goals but for now just getting to the gym three times a week for the month of January will be enough.

Look at that: two events that have me pumped up for the new year already.  I'm excited to get exercising and also get reading.  Are any of you planning on participating in either of these events?  What are you doing to jump start the new year off in a great way?  If you are participating in either of these events let me know so that we can cheer each other on.  I'm definitely going to need the extra motivation boost when it comes to getting started on a regular workout schedule!

Happy Reading and Happy Moving!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Top Ten Reads of 2016

Wow!  Last year I held out until the very last minute on posting my top reads for the year and it worked- my very last read made it on my top reads list.  This year I know that I'm not going to finish any more books before the new year begins so I've been thinking about my top reads list for weeks now.  It is so crazy to think that we are beginning a new year already but here we are.  I had another solid year of reading in 2016 as I finished 80 books for the year.  It wasn't the 85 that I had originally hoped for but I went ahead and lowered my Goodread's goal to 80 so I could count that as a win.  Ha!  One of these years I swear that I will finally hit a hundred books....that is one of those goals in the back of my head every year.  I've come close but haven't yet hit the hundred mark.  My reading year overall was pretty solid.  I'm still on a thriller/mystery kick but with other genres tossed in there to keep things interesting.  But let's move on to the important things- the best books I read in 2016:

It Takes One by Kate Kessler was easily one of those books that I knew instantly after finishing would make my top reads list for this year.  It was everything that I enjoy as it contained a thrilling mystery along with characters that I couldn't get enough of.  Out of all the books that I read this year, this is one that I felt deserved WAY more attention then it actually got.  I really hope that other readers find this series soon!

Find Her by Lisa Gardner was one of the most twisted and dark books that I read this year.  I also found that I couldn't stop reading it and thought about it long after I finished.  I started right in the middle of a series with this one but don't let that stop you.  It obviously didn't affect my enjoyment in the slightest as this was another book that easily made my top reads list.

City of Light by Keri Arthur began a new urban fantasy/science fiction series that I absolutely adored.  I couldn't get enough of this world which meant it had to be on my top reads list for 2016.  I would include the 2nd book as well but that feels a bit like cheating (and this is my favorite of the two).  I love the world that Arthur has created and cannot wait for more!

Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge is the second book in this series AND the second time that this author has been on my top reads list for the year.  I am loving this series and author so much!  This book was just as intense and page turning as the first book was which left me as one very happy reader.  At this point I will be reading anything and everything that this author writes because these books are just that good!

The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne easily wins the award for best romance read in 2016.  This book was so FREAKING good and I just can't say anything other than that.  I was swept away by this romance which was so unlikely yet so perfect.  I've got all of this author's other books on my TBR list just waiting to be read and enjoyed.  If you haven't tried Kerrigan Byrne yet, you're missing out!

Rage Against The Dying by Becky Masterman cemented my love of this series and these characters (just an FYI that this is book one in the series- I read the 2nd book last year first).  I seriously wish Ms. Masterman wrote faster because the wait for the third book is just about killing me.  Brigid Quinn is one of my very favorite characters to read about and this is another mystery series that doesn't get as much attention as it deserves.  I love it and can't get enough!  Highly, highly recommended.

The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell was one of the harder choices as I went back and forth between this book and Cruel and Unusual by Cornwell.  Really I enjoyed each of these books equally but it was the introduction of Carrie Grethren in this book that made this book the clear winner.  I'm loving this series so much that part of me just wants to read them all straight through and the other part wants to take my time and savor them.  So, so good!

Evil Games by Angela Marsons is the second book in yet another series on this list (I'm sensing a theme here).  It was another amazing follow-up to the first book and I'm so lucky that I have found all of these amazing authors to read.  This book was just as intense and thrilling as I had hoped it would be.  I can't say enough good things about this series as well!

The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir was one of the books that stayed with me the longest.  This was such a haunting thriller that felt reminiscent of Agatha Christie in some of the best ways.  I didn't know what was going on until the very end....and even then I found myself surprised with how it all turned out.  Readers should not miss this book in my opinion!

Inherit the Bones by Emily Littlejohn was the mystery with the most gorgeous writing in comparison to all of the other books that I read this year.  This author's way with words just blew me away and I loved every minute of reading this book because of it.  If I was giving out awards for most surprisingly chilling reads, this book would also be the clear winner.  Another author that I will be watching out for in 2017!

This was a really, really tough list to make this year!  I had quite a few other books that could have/should have made my list of top reads but I stayed firm with only sharing ten.  Here are the other books that deserve honorable mention at least:
  • The House at Seas End by Elly Griffiths
  • The Body Reader by Anne Frasier
  • A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley
  • Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti
And so many, many more.  I looked back at the books I finished this year and couldn't get over how many good books were on this list.  Obviously I'm hoping to have just as great of a year of reading in 2017.  There are already way too many books that I'm looking forward to in the new year (but that is another post).  I'll end this post wishing all of year a wonderful coming new year!  May you and your families have an amazing year in 2017.

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Inherit the Bones by Emily Littlejohn (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Secrets and lies can’t stay buried forever in Cedar Valley.

In the summer, hikers and campers pack the small Colorado town’s meadows and fields. And in the winter, skiers and snowboarders take over the mountains. Season by season, year after year, time passes and the lies, like the aspens and evergreens that surround the town, take root and spread deep.

Now, someone has uncovered the lies, and it is his murder that continues a chain of events that began almost forty years ago. Detective Gemma Monroe’s investigation takes her from the seedy grounds of a traveling circus to the powerful homes of those who would control Cedar Valley’s future.

Six-months pregnant, with a partner she can’t trust and colleagues who know more than they’re saying, Gemma tracks a killer who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets buried."

My Thoughts:

I just finished this one and am still reeling from how good I found this book to be. This has to be some of the most gorgeous writing that I have found in all of the mysteries and thrillers that I've read so far this year. I found myself highlighting multiple passages as I was reading so that I could go back to them. There were even times that I just had to stop and reread so that I could fully appreciate the author's talent and way with words. What a great reading experience I had from the writing alone. Add in an intense mystery where nothing is as it seems and I was completely hooked by this book. I love when I find a book like this with a new to me author! This looks to be this author's first book which is even more impressive. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!

One of the things that really stood out to me in this book was the main character Gemma Monroe. Gemma is one of those characters that I really enjoyed reading about. She is pregnant and trying to deal with this high profile murder which is enough in itself. But she is also struggling with other issues including her family's past and trust issues with her significant other. It all combined into this intense puzzle that needed to be solved by Gemma while we also watched her to attempt to resolve these personal issues. I'm not even sure that I'm doing this book justice but just believe me when I say that it was so, so good! I was also pleasantly surprised by how creepy I found this book to be at times. The setting of a traveling circus for a all combined into a few downright intense scenes. You've got to love a book that not only manages beautiful writing but also then gives you chills a few chapters later. The ending of this book was absolutely perfect in my opinion. I loved it because the author wasn't afraid in the choices that she made with the ending. It just all worked really well for me and I was left so excited about about this author.

Overall, I am so glad that I didn't let this book languish on my e-reader and listened to a recommendation to give it a try! I will definitely be reading more by this author, and I'm especially excited because it looks like this is a beginning to a series. Heck yeah! This is one of those books that keeps you thinking about it for days afterwards. Even now I'm planning on going back and rereading some of my favorite passages that I saved because I can't resist how gorgeous the writing really was. I would highly recommend this book to both suspense/thriller fans and mystery lovers as well. Highly recommended!

Bottom Line: A book that will most likely be on my top reads list this year!

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book thanks to the publisher.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Feliz Navidead by Ann Meyers (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Holly, jolly, and downright deadly—the third Santa Fe Café mystery unwraps surprises both naughty and nice . . . It’s the most picturesque time of theyear in Santa Fe, and Chef Rita Lafitte of Tres Amigas Café hopes the twinkling lights and tasty holiday treats will charm her visiting mom. Rita is also planning fun activities, such as watching her teenage daughter, Celia, perform in an outdoor Christmas play.

What she doesn’t plan for is murder.

Rita discovers a dead actor during the premier performance but vows to keep clear of the case. Sleuthing would upset her mom. Besides, there’s already a prime suspect, caught red-handed in his bloodied Santa suit. However, when the accused Santa’s wife begs for assistance—and points out that Celia and other performers could be in danger—Rita can’t say no. With the help of her elderly boss, Flori, and her coterie of rogue knitters, Rita strives to salvage her mother’s vacation, unmask a murderer, and stop this festive season from turning even more fatal."

My Thoughts:

I adore this cozy mystery series so as soon as I heard about this book I couldn't resist the chance to read it!  There aren't very many series that I am completely caught up on but this is one of them because it is just so good (and the books are such fun reads).  Feliz Navidead was such a great addition to this series and the perfect read for this time of year!  In this book Rita finds herself drawn yet again into another murder investigation but with added stresses since her mother is visiting for the holidays.  I loved reading about Rita trying to juggle everything that was going on especially as it seemed that her mother had some secrets of her own.  I enjoyed the mystery portion of this story as it had me guessing throughout the entire book.  It is the characters though that make this series so great for me.  Reading this book was like chatting with old friends again- there is just something about these characters that I absolutely adore!  

In this book we also had the chance to see some of Flori's new antics which included "rogue knitting".  Flori is hilarious and I love all of the trouble that she gets herself into.  If your curious as to what rogue knitting is, it is knitting things in the night onto/covering public property (like statues or park benches).  It cracks me up with the crazy things that she comes up with.  I also liked that we got to see more of Rita and Jake's relationship.  I'm a fan of that one so it was nice to see this book focus on it a bit more.  Without spoiling anything, the author did set up a possible story line for a future book that I am very curious about.  It didn't have anything to do with the ending of this book though which I felt like tied up everything very nicely.  In fact, this was probably one of the more suspenseful endings in this series so far.  I was actually sad to see this book end as I just enjoy this series so much!

Overall, this was another great addition to one of my favorite cozy mystery series!  The added bonus was the holiday theme that just made reading this book in December absolutely perfect.  I don't always read holiday themed books during this time of year but I'm really glad that I did with this one.  It helped to put me in the holiday spirit especially when the snow was falling outside while I was reading.  I'm a huge fan of this series (obviously) and have read them all, but I do think that you could read this book on its' own or out of order if you haven't read the other two.  I would recommend reading the entire series though as this is only book three and they are all definitely worth it.  I highly recommend this book especially at this time of year!

Bottom Line:  A really great cozy holiday read!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a PICT tour.  


Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Christmas
Published by: Avon
Publication Date: October 25th 2016
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0062382322 (ISBN13: 9780062382320)
Series: Santa Fe Cafe Mystery #3

Feliz Navidead Can Be Found on: HarperCollins 🔗, Amazon 🔗, Barnes & Noble 🔗, and Goodreads 🔗.


Author Bio:

More About Ann:

Ann Myers writes the Santa Fe Café Mysteries. The first book in the series, Bread of the Dead (2015), introduced café chef and reluctant amateur sleuth, Rita Lafitte. Rita and her friends stir up more trouble in Cinco de Mayhem (March 2016) and Feliz Navidead (October 25, 2016). Ann lives with her husband and extra-large house cat in southern Colorado, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, and cozy mysteries.