Monday, February 20, 2017

Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Widowed and forced to remarry in three years' time or forfeit her son's inheritance, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick, has plenty of suitors vying for her hand and her fortune. But a letter from a long-lost love sends Daisy and her young son to her Scottish Highland estate to buy time for his return. Along the way she encounters the powerful Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, and she is utterly and unwillingly bewitched.

Cailean has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy's brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart."

My Thoughts:

I am so glad that I picked this book up and finally gave this author a try!  I've got numerous books by Julia London on my TBR list but this is actually my first book by her.  It won't be my last though as I really enjoyed this book.  This series is titled The Highland Grooms series and I can honestly say that I haven't read a lot of highlander books.  Why not though?  This book had everything that I enjoy in a good historical romance including that feeling of just being swept away to another time and place.  I loved how easily I was able to immerse myself in this world where a widow is being forced to marry in order to not lose her son's inheritance.  Something that doesn't seem possible nowadays but back then was probably the norm.  Crazy!  I felt for Daisy so much because of all the struggles that she had to deal with because of this.  She couldn't trust any of the men that paid attention to her in any way without wondering if they were just trying to get at her money.  It was just sad and it was a reminder on how lucky I am.  

I haven't even talked about how much I loved the relationship that developed between Daisy and Cailean yet.  Oh goodness but I adored them together so much!  Daisy especially was a character near and dear to my heart because she was so strong willed.  She did what she wanted and didn't apologize ever for who she was.  I especially loved this about her but I also appreciated how comfortable that she was with her sexuality.  She was a widow and never pretended to be some innocent who didn't know her own wants or desires.  What a refreshing change of pace from the historical romances with virginal heroines or those who need the hero to bring about their sexual awakening.  I just liked everything about Daisy's character and then you add in a strong hero like Cailean and it equaled perfection.  I also really liked the fact that I didn't know how their happy ever after was going to happen.  The author did a really amazing job of creating realistic obstacles to their happiness- there was a point where I didn't see how it could possibly work itself all out.  The ending of this book was just perfect though and I was sad to see it end.  What a great romance and great read!

Overall, I obviously really enjoyed this book and am left ready for more.  Luckily I have the next book ready for me on my Kindle so I won't wait too long before continuing on.  I'm also lucky enough to have many more books by this author to look forward to so I'm excited about that.  This was the perfect change of pace in between the mysteries and thrillers that I've been reading.  I really loved every minute of it!  I would recommend this book to both romance and historical romance fans alike.  If strong heroines are your romance cat-nip then definitely give this book a try!

Bottom Line:  A wonderful read and I want more books just like this!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley as part of a TLC Book Tour.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Moonglow by Kristen Callihan (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

Once the seeds of desire are sown . . .

Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy's door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors . . .

Their growing passion knows no bounds . . .

Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.

My Thoughts:

Why did I wait so long to read this book?  I adored Firelight which is the first book in this series but then I never moved on to this one until now.  Well actually last year to be exact as this is a book that I read months back and am just now sharing my thoughts on (definitely a different discussion for a later date but my lack of blogging in 2016 is to blame).  Moonglow was just as good as I hoped that it would be overall.  Once again I found myself swept away by the romance that was brewing, this time between Daisy and Ian.  What made this book even better for me was that there was a bit of mystery involved as well.  A romance and mystery combined?  I'm so in!  I loved the relationship that developed between Daisy and Ian...but I especially liked Daisy's character.  There is just something about the female characters that Callihan writes that I can't get enough of.

What else can I tell you?  The author does an amazing job with the world that she is creating.  I loved that there is some paranormal aspects mixed in with the historical romance feel.  It is a winning combination in my opinion and different from so much out there.  My one and only complaint with this book was the ending.  This may just be my personal preference but I didn't care for the way the book ended.  I obviously can't say much more than that without spoiling anything.  I didn't hate the ending by any means but it just wasn't my favorite.  The thing is I thought about it for a really long time and I can't see how it would have worked any other way either.  So take my opinion with a grain of salt as overall the book is really great!

All in all, I found that this book cemented my love of this series!  I really, really need to try and read the third book sooner rather than later.  I love how different these books are from what's out there in the romance genre.  I also love the gorgeous covers!  I just plain really love these books and can't say enough good things about this series.  I can easily recommend to other romance readers!  And the best part is that you really don't need to have read the first book to read this one.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  Another great addition to this series that is fast becoming a favorite of mine!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for review thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Fudge and Jury by Ellie Alexander (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"It’s almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin’ at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules’ team whips up crèpes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year’s confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn’t be sweeter—unless murder taints the batter.

Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die for—literally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead…right after sampling a slice of Jules’ decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tries to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?"

My Thoughts:

Fudge and Jury is the latest installment in one of my favorite cozy mystery series! I have so been looking forward to this book and it didn't disappoint in the least.  I was so excited when I managed to snag a copy on NetGalley but I had to wait to read it just so that I could savor it.  Because we all know how impatient I am and the wait for the next book is going to feel SO long!  This book had everything that I love about this series, and I enjoyed every minute while I was reading it.  I read this series for the characters and the food period.  Both are so great and something that I just can't get enough of!  After five books now, I've come to really love the characters in this series but especially Jules.  I love that throughout the series we have watched her both struggle and grow as she tries to figure out her life and what she wants out of it.  In this book, we got the chance to see her struggle with the decision on whether or not to expand Torte.  With everything still up in the air in regards to Carlos, expanding Torte will be a major commitment to her life in Ashland.  I won't say what is decided as that would definitely be a spoiler but as always I love how real this series feels.  Jule's life isn't perfect but it comes to life in the pages of these books.  

Of course I can't share my thoughts on this book without talking about the food that is described throughout.  Every book in this series has just left me craving desserts of any and all kinds and this book was no different.  I would gain thirty plus pounds if I attempted baking all of the wonderful recipes that Jules creates throughout the books.  They all sound so delicious and it is no wonder that I'm constantly hungry while reading.  This book was particularly decadent as chocolate played such a prominent role in the Chocolate Festival that Jules is participating in.  I have a particular weakness when it comes to anything chocolate so this was right up my alley.  I could read all day long about the different types of cakes and pastries that are baked in Torte.  Yum, yum yum!  The mystery portion of this book was also intriguing.  I find that with this series that I'm sometimes less interested in the actual mystery than I am with everything else that is going on.  I guess that is what happens when you come to adore a series so much!  The actual mystery is secondary to everything else.  LOL!  It was still an intriguing story line though and I liked the way it ended as it just felt true to life.  I'm trying not to spoil anything so I won't say any more than that.

Overall this was another amazing addition to this series and one that I can highly recommend.  I cannot say enough good things about this series- each book is just so, so good!  I'm just bummed that I now have to begin the long wait for book six.  This book was worth the wait though and I'm sure that one will be as well.  With such great characters and delicious food, what else could I ask for in a cozy series like this?  For those readers who haven't tried this series yet, I do think that you could probably read this book without having read the beginning books.  The author does a great job of giving bits of the back story in each book so you could read this by itself.  I would recommend reading them all though because they are just that good.  Highly recommended to fans of mysteries and cozies alike!!

Bottom Line:  Another amazing addition to one of my favorite series.  Read it!

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Keeping secrets, telling lies, they require the same skill. Both become a habit, almost an addiction, that's hard to break even with the people closest to you, out of the business. For example, they say never trust a woman who tells you her age; if she can't keep that secret, she can't keep yours. I'm fifty-nine."

Brigid Quinn's experiences in hunting sexual predators for the FBI have left her with memories she wishes she didn't have and lethal skills she hopes never to need again. Having been pushed into early retirement by events she thinks she's put firmly behind her, Brigid keeps telling herself she is settling down nicely in Tucson with a wonderful new husband, Carlo, and their dogs.

But the past intervenes when a man named Floyd Lynch confesses to the worst unsolved case of Brigid's career—the disappearance and presumed murder of her young protégée, Jessica. Floyd knows things about that terrible night that were never made public, and offers to lead the cops to Jessica's body in return for a plea bargain.

It should finally be the end of a dark chapter in Brigid's life. Except…the new FBI agent on the case, Laura Coleman, thinks the confession is fake, and Brigid finds she cannot walk away from violence and retribution after all, no matter what the cost."

My Thoughts:

Two books in and this author has already jumped on to my must-read, favorite authors list.  I love these books!  I love this series!  This is one of those authors and series that I cannot recommend highly enough (obviously as I've already started gushing)!  And honestly, I really feel like this series is a bit underrated at least as far as I have seen in the blogging world.  Why aren't more bloggers reading and loving this series as much as I am?  I don't know other than the fact that it is fairly new with only two books so far and a third coming soon.  Maybe I should stop rambling on how much I love this series though and actually tell you what I loved about this book.  Ha!  Let's start off with the fact that I couldn't stop reading  this book.  Like I literally started reading this one and was just as hooked as I had been with Fear the Darkness.  To be clear, I read this series out of order.  Rage Against the Dying is the first book in the series and because I loved the second book so much I had to pick up this book.  This book was just as good as I had hoped it would be.  Heck I can't even seem to write clearly about this book because I loved it so much!

One of the things that I love most about this series is the main character Brigid Quinn.  She is former FBI and the things that she experienced as an agent seem to haunt her.  There is this unreliable feel to her where you are never quite sure what she is doing and why.  Or if she is being honest about everything as well.  It is quite the combination in a main character and I find it to be so compelling.  I can't stop reading because I have to see what she is going to do next.  This book was just as much of a page turner as the second book was.  I found myself reading at one of those frantic paces where you just can't stop because you NEED to know what is going to happen next.  The mystery portion was really well done....I was left guessing until the very end.  And I really can't tell you anymore than that as I don't want to spoil anything about this book.  Your just going to have to read it so you can fall in love with this series as much as I have!

Obviously I loved this one.  It made my top ten reads of 2016 easily and I'm just pining away for the third book which releases this year.  At this point I will read anything and everything that this author writes.  I just need that third book and my reading life will be complete.  LOL!  I would recommend this series and author to mystery and thriller fans alike.  I think those readers that enjoy Tana French should give this book a try.  You can read these books out of order but I really think that you should read them both as they were both that good.  Highly, highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  One of the best thrillers that I read in 2016.  Enough said.

Disclosure:  I checked this book out from my local library.      

Friday, February 3, 2017

Grilled For Murder by Maddie Day (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Robbie Jordan may have had reservations about the murder victim, but she still needs to turn up the heat on a killer if she wants to keep her new restaurant open for business…

In the charming small town of South Lick, Indiana, Robbie has transformed a rundown country store into the runaway hit Pans 'N Pancakes. But the most popular destination for miles around can also invite trouble. Erica Shermer may be the widow of handsome local lawyer Jim Shermer's brother, but she doesn't appear to be in mourning. At a homecoming party held in Robbie's store, Erica is alternately obnoxious and flirtatious--even batting her eyelashes at Jim. When Erica turns up dead in the store the next morning, apparently clobbered with cookware, the police suspect Robbie's friend Phil, who closed up after the party. To clear Phil and calm her customers, Robbie needs to step out from behind the counter and find the real killer in short order…"

My Thoughts:

This cozy mystery series is fast becoming a new favorite of mine and we are only two books in so far!  Actually I just found out that the third book in this series is supposed to release in February so that is super exciting.  But I'm getting off track here.  I actually read this book last year but just never ended up sharing my thoughts on it which is a shame as it was really good.  One of the things that I like my cozy series to have is a great cast of characters and these books definitely have that.  I love Robbie's character and there are some really great secondary characters as well.  The thing I love most about these books though is reading about Robbie's restaurant and the food that she makes.  What is it about me that loves these foodie cozies so much?  Especially when I'm not much of a cook myself!  I cannot seem to get enough of them though, and I just adore reading about the delicious foods that Robbie is always making.  It is no wonder that I'm always so hungry while reading though!

I really enjoyed the mystery portion of this book also.  Sometimes with cozies it is easy to lose interest in the actual mystery but I never seem to with these books.  I won't say anything specific as it would be considered to be a spoiler but I really like what the author did with Robbie and Jim's relationship.  I can't say anything more than that but let me just say that I was happy with the way things went.  I'm curious as to how everything will play out in that upcoming third book (cue gimme hands that are anxiously awaiting book three).  This book turned out to be quite the page turner - or since I read it on my trusty kindle what would I call that?  Anyways, it was really good and I found myself pulled away into Robbie's world of food whenever I was reading.  I enjoyed the way this book ended and it was just an overall really great read!

Ultimately just writing up my thoughts on this book has me pining to continue on with this series right now!  It has everything that I enjoy in a cozy mystery series which is why I keep coming back for more.  I'm excited to see what kind of troubles that Robbie can get herself into next.  I'm eager to get back to the small town of Salt Lick, Indiana and read about the delicious foods that Robbie is cooking up.  I just want more and that is always a sign of a really great book!  I can't say enough good things so obviously I recommend.  You don't have to read the series in order but I would say that you should if possible.  It definitely will enhance your overall reading experience (and besides there are only two books so far).  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A mouthwatering follow-up to the first book in this cozy series.  I need more!

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Reading Plans (2017 Edition)

Here we are and I'm already planning out my reading for February.  How fast time flies by lately!  I went off pile with my reading in January but I also managed to read a few books that were included in January reading plans.  A good mix if I'm being honest with myself.  I'm a very moody reader so sometimes I just have to go with my reading moods or risk a nasty reading slump instead.  I'm having fun still with coming up with books that I want to read each month so here we are with my February reading pile.  A few things to note though (besides the given fact that I will most likely ALWAYS go off pile at some point each month): one- I feel like it is a given that any library book I have checked out currently is always a possibility for that months reads.  I include library books in my reading piles sometimes but I certainly don't include them all - because I always have a ridiculous number checked out.  LOL!  I'm also still mulling over what my nonfiction pick will be for this month.  I'm still working on January's pick- which is Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer.  In light of everything that is going on in politics lately....well, I'm still deciding on my next nonfiction read.  I will leave it at that.  Here are the print books that I'm hoping/wanting to read in February:
  • From Potter's Field by Patricia Cornwell - Last year I binged out on the earlier books in this series and enjoyed every minute of it.  I am ready to continue on and see what type of case Scarpetta gets involved with next.  These books are always page turners and I'm especially looking forward to this one.  This book is from my own shelves which is an added bonus.
  • Baby It's Cold Outside by Addison Fox -  I added this one to my TBR list awhile back thanks to the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books podcast which is a favorite of mine for romance recommendations.  This book just sounds like fun and the perfect read for this time of year.  I kind of have an obsession with anything related to Alaska so it is high up there on my reading list!  This is a library find.
  • Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman - This is a review copy for an upcoming TLC book tour.  My tour date isn't actually until March but I'm trying to read ahead so it is on this month's pile.  Also, it basically sounds amazing so why wait?  Lippman is one of those authors that I always mean to read- but I don't know that I've actually ever read anything by her.  I have high hopes though for this book!
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass - In 2017 I'm really hoping to push myself in reading in different ways.  One of those ways is in actually reading the books that EVERYONE else seems to be talking about or have loved.  I add those books to my TBR list but then never read them myself (sad fact- I've never read The Hunger Games- for real).  I picked this one up from the library to push myself.  I don't read a lot of YA or fantasy but I've heard such good things about these books.  I can't wait to see for myself what the hype is all about!
  • The Drifter by Christine Lennon - Another review copy for upcoming TLC book tour.  This is also for a March tour date but I don't want to wait that long to read it as it sounds too good.  Add to that an absolutely gorgeous cover and I'm ready to begin this one right now!
  • Asylum by Jeannette De Beauvoir - This is a Goodread's giveaway win that I then never read.  What in the heck as I love the sound of this one??  I'm changing that this month though and finally knocking this book off of my TBR shelves.  It sounds quite creepy and I am always in the mood for a good mystery.
  • The Book of You by Claire Kendal - This is the review copy that I picked out to read this month that has been on my shelves now for WAY too long.  I don't even know why I never read this one until now as it sounds like my type of book.  I'm really looking forward to finally giving this book a try!
The e-books that I'm adding to my February reading pile are:

  • Stolen by Carey Baldwin - Edelweiss review copy for an upcoming PICT book tour.  My tour date is actually in February (though later in the month) so this will be my 1st e-book choice.  I couldn't resist the opportunity to read this one after loving the previous book in this series last year.  I'm anxious to get started!
  • First Degree Mudder - This is the latest installment in one of my very favorite cozy mystery series.  I'm been waiting to read this one for awhile now so I'm glad to finally add it to the pile.  This is a NetGalley review copy and one that will count towards #COYER Blackout.  I'm looking forward to getting back to these characters and catching up!
  • Chasing Shadows by Karen Harper - NetGalley review copy (as are really all of the e-books on my list almost) and also the 1st in a new series.  I read the description of this book and just knew that I had to read it.  This author has been on my radar for awhile now so I'm excited to give her a try with this new book.
  • No One Knows by J.T. Ellison - This book is on my radar thanks to the What Should I Read Next podcast (which is also becoming one of my favorites).  She was talking about it and I was instantly intrigued.  I've enjoyed this author in the past so I have high hopes for this book!
  • Her Husband's Lover by Julia Crouch - I just read a really great review for this one and knew that I needed to move this book up my reading TBR list!  I can't get enough of thrillers as of late and this book just sounds intense!  I need it in my reading life for sure!  
  • Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary - This is the 1st in a mystery series that I've been meaning to try for WAY too long.  I've seen some rave reviews for it and I've no excuse on why I haven't yet read it.  February is going to be an amazing month of reading if I get the chance to read half of these books and authors!
  • Shadowed by Karen E. Olson - 2nd book in a series where I just loved book one.  And yet I STILL haven't continued on with this series yet.  I'm hoping to change that especially as I think the 3rd book is due to release soon (if it hasn't already).  
  • A Cast of Vultures by Judith Flanders - This book was recommended to me by the publisher and something about that cover is just calling my name.  I like the sound of it even though it means I will be starting yet another series out of order.  No worries, if I enjoy this one I will just go back to the beginning then.  LOL!  
Whew!  I'm both excited and exhausted just thinking about all of these great sounding books.  My book piles overflow!  I tried to include a mix of books in a variety of genres to keep things interesting (and maybe keep me from going off-pile so much).  Any books that I didn't read from my January reading pile are also being thrown into the mix here as obviously I want to read them as well in the near future.  I'm going to burrow under the blankets this month and just read to my heart's content!

What books are you hoping to reading in February?  Is there any book here that you think I should read first?  I hope that all of you have an amazing month of reading in February as well!

Monday, January 30, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 30th)

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!"

We are almost at the end of the month already.  Crazy to think about yet here we are.  I was already working on coming up with my February reading pile post which is always funI have been debating on if I want to do monthly round up posts or not- I'm leaning towards not just because I tend to stop doing them by the end of February anyways.  Ha!  I guess I always feel like I'm repeating myself especially if I've been doing reading updates on a regular basis (and I have so far this month).  What do you think about sharing monthly round-ups?  I always enjoy reading everyone else's post but never mine.  Not much else is new on my end.  The oldest got papers for a student/parent meeting as he goes into high school next year.  If I wasn't in denial before now that this is really happening.....ugh.  I'm not ready but he sure is so that's something to look forward to I guess.  Baseball and soccer signups are here for the littlest and that will be fun.  My daughter has hitting at the cage once a week but very soon softball is going to ramp up and the madness will begin.  I'm trying to work on scheduling posts for the months to come but have to admit that I'm failing with it.  Oh well, it is what it is.

Since I last shared with all of you, I have finished the following books:

Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London was a delightful romance that I enjoyed immensely.  I read this one for a blog tour coming up later in February so I won't say much more other than I enjoyed it.  I'm super excited to share my thoughts on this one so watch out for my review on the 20th.

Fudge & Jury by Ellie Alexander was just as good as I expected it to be!  This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and each book has been a delight to read.  I love the characters in this series so it is like visiting old friends with each book that I read.  I will be sharing my thoughts on this one hopefully soon but I can't recommend this series enough!  These are books two and three finished for #COYER Blackout so there is finally some progress with that reading challenge.

I'm now currently reading the following three books:

All print books currently which NEVER happens.  It has been a tough past couple of weeks though, and I'm not sure that it is going to get better any time soon.  I've turned to Survivor In Death by J.D. Robb so that I can just escape into one of my very favorite series.  It is definitely what I needed so there's that.  Before that I was reading Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry which is quite good so far.  I'm just taking a short break from it to fit in some comfort reading first and then I will dive back in.  I picked this one up as it was an Edgar nominee for one of the categories- best 1st book maybe?  I'm too lazy to look it up right now but it is on the nominee list for 2016.  I'm also still working my way through Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.  I'm enjoying this one as well but slowly.

I'm not sure what this week will bring so I'm just taking things a day at a time.  I'm mostly off Twitter at this point as I just find it too stressful.  The lingering cough that both my husband and I have had is getting slightly better so the plan to start back at the gym this week.  I definitely need the boost that exercise brings for both my physical and mental health.  It helps to relieve all that stress that we carry on our shoulders!  I'm also hoping to squeeze in some extra overtime in so I will be busy.  No worries though as I'll be reading every free chance that I get.  Enough rambling out of me though- tell me what book or books are you reading on this cold winter Monday?

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?"

My Thoughts:

This was a really fun and steamy read that I couldn't help but adore!  I don't read a lot of contemporary romance although after loving this one so much I think that I really should.  This author (and series) jumped on to my TBR list when a bunch of romance bloggers that I trust were raving about this series.  I couldn't resist downloading a copy of this book when it was available for free on Amazon and rather than waiting for months to read it, I jumped right in.  I'm so glad that I didn't wait as this book was just a really great read.  Not only was there a really steamy romance developing between Duane and Jessica but there was also some laugh out loud moments in this book.  I love a romance that makes me laugh as well.  Jessica was hilarious to me and she would say the most inappropriate things off the top of her head at the worst times.  It was really great and was an unexpected surprise.  

One of the things that I also enjoyed about this book was the conflict on how Jessica and Duane's relationship would work out.  Jessica has always wanted to travel the world and has been planning on leaving town as soon as she has enough money saved.  Duane on the other hand is more tied down to the area as he owns a car garage with his brothers.  They both seemingly wanted different things out of life so it was interesting to me to see how the author was going to make it all work.  I liked that there was also the added problems that Duane had with a local biker gang.  It added a little bit of tension especially to the end of the book which had me reading faster to see how it would all work out.  I loved the way that the author ended this book.  I can't say more than that without spoiling anything but I do want to mention that I found the ending to be really great!

Overall, this was a really great romance- one of the best that I have read in awhile!  I am so excited to read more books by this author (and get to know Duane's other brothers).  I hope that the other books are just as humorous as I found this book to be!  I'm now thinking that I need to find some more contemporary romance recommendations to try out thanks to this book.  What other great authors am I missing out on?  I can easily recommend this book to fellow romance readers!

Bottom Line:  A really great romance- both steamy and fun!

Disclosure:  I downloaded a copy of this book for free from Amazon.

Monday, January 23, 2017

5 Books That Are on My Radar (Thrilling Reads)

I add books to my TBR list constantly thanks to a variety of online sources.  In fact one of my very favorite things to do is find new books that I want to read.  In a change of pace from my usual weekly reading update, I thought I would share with all of you the five books that I have added to my ever-growing TBR pile recently.  These are books that I'm really excited about and am planning on reading soon.  Don't mind the fact that they weren't in my monthly reading pile.  LOL!  Here are five books that I have come across recently that I just cannot wait to begin reading (summaries are thanks to Goodreads):

Final Girls by Riley Sager

"Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished."

The description of this book sounds so intense and thrilling!  This book isn't even out until July of this year- but I'm not going to be able to wait that long as I have a copy on my Kindle thanks to NetGalley.  Eek!  I can already tell that this is a book that I'm going to enjoy so I just may have to read this one super early.  And that cover!

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

"Even the perfect marriage has its dark side… 

Iris and Will's marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris's happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane.

Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core."

I'm trying to remember where I first heard about this book and now I can't remember.  I may not remember where but I sure as heck requested a copy from my local library and now it is sitting in my current library stack.  I love the sound of this book - the idea of the secrets behind a "perfect marriage" are something that I just can't resist.  I won't be waiting long to read this book and have high hopes that it is as good as it sounds.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

"Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane's first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart."

I seem to be drawn to books lately that are focused on family secrets.  The description of this one made me instantly add this book to my TBR pile thanks to NetGalley.  Luckily this one publishes in March so I don't have to feel too guilty for reading it sooner rather than later.  I love the cover to this book as well!  Just gorgeous!

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

"Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets."

I've been hearing about this book a lot lately and I've just been drawn to it.  It sounds like a book that I will enjoy and that description....oh my!  I've got a copy of this one as well thanks to NetGalley and since this book releases this month will probably reading this one in the very near future.  I want to see what the hype is all about!

The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

"From bestselling author A.J. Banner comes a dazzling new novel of psychological suspense in the vein of S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl that questions just how much we can trust the people around us.

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist."

I added this book to my must-read pile thanks to Litsy.  I then immediately requested a copy of this book from my library as well and it just came in.  I adored Before I Go to Sleep so really reading this one with that comparison was a for sure thing!  I love the cover for this book as well!

Whew!  I have TONS of really great reading ahead of me with these books.  I'm currently working my way through a nonfiction read (Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer) but after that one of these books is next for sure.  I'm just going to have to go off pile as these books are calling to me the loudest!  
Which of these books would you read next if you had to choose?  Do share as we all know how indecisive I can be!  

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.