Thursday, January 22, 2015

Library Loot (Or Reasons I Love My Library #5)

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 I'm pretty sure that last time I shared a library loot post I said that I was going to do these more often.  And then a few months passed on by.  LOL!  This time of the year though I depend on my library after seeing and hearing about so many great sounding books thanks to all of the year end posts.  Plus, I went and joined a crap-load of challenges so I'm feeling all inspired to read ALL of the books for them as well.  This means that I have a ton of books that I want to get my hands on so off to the library I went.  I brought entirely too many books back home with me (this is the result of two separate trips though in my defense).  Now we will just see how many of these I actually get read.  Here are my latest library finds:


I'm super excited to read all of these (as I always am when I bring home a bunch of books)!  The Last Policeman is thanks to so many of my trusted blog friends reading/loving this trilogy.  Snowblind is a book that I have been wanting to read since last year!  And I've checked out Midnight Rescue so many times that it is getting a bit ridiculous that I haven't read it already.  I could keep rambling about all of these but really I just wish I could read them all right now :)

So tell me, which of these should I read first?  Or which ones have you read if any?  An inquiring mind wants to know!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fear The Darkness by Becky Masterman (thoughts)

Books like this are why I read and adore books as much as I do! This book had the best beginning that I've read in a long time....one that instantly had me hooked.  Happily enough the book didn't let up from there, and I was in for an intense ride from beginning to end.  It's pretty early to say but there is a very good chance that this book will end up on my best of list for this year.  It was just that good!

In this book, retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn is thrown a curveball when she takes in her niece to live with her before she goes off to college.  Almost from the very beginning things start going awry as Brigid is pulled into investigating the death of a young man whom was part of the youth group that her niece joins.  It was believed to be a suicide at the time but the mother of the boy just can't let his death go.  Brigid agrees to investigate in hopes of getting some closure for the family but soon finds herself in danger and unsure of who to trust.  Will she be able to figure out what is going on before it becomes too late??

I tried to keep the summary for this book as vague as possible because there is just so much that I didn't want to give away.  This is a book that keeps the pages turning without you even realizing it.  It is a book that pulled me as the reader:  I couldn't figure out what was going on and that meant that I just couldn't set this book down.  It was a completely intense reading experience!  I wish I could explain more but I really don't want to give anything away.  This book is filled with all of these questions and intense moments.  Brigid becomes an unreliable narrator at times but without meaning to be (which is one of my favorite things).   As the reader, I could never fully trust what was going on which knocked the suspense level up even higher!  I'm being deliberately vague here just because I think that this book will be enjoyed even more if you know little to nothing about it when you read it for yourselves.  I can tell you that it made my reading experience that much more enjoyable! 

How refreshing it was to read about a main character that was older and more established!  So many books have main characters that are younger so it was a great change of pace to have a character that wasn't just beginning her life/career.  Brigid is one of those characters that left me intrigued.  I feel like there is so much more to her that we will learn about in future books.  I can't wait!  She has secrets and a past that I'm hoping we will hear about.  There is just something very mysterious about her at times that reminded me of one of my other favorite mystery characters Lacey Flint.  There are times that I didn't fully understand Brigid's motivations...yet another thing that added to the thick layer of suspense in this book.  I could keep gushing but really I just have nothing but good things to say about this book.  And the ending was phenomenal!  When I finally realized what was going on and the way the author ties the beginning of the book to the end was just perfection!  I cannot wait to read this author's other book!!!

Overall, I loved this book to pieces and can't think of one criticism.  I want more books just like this in my life!!!  I really cannot say enough good things about this book.  Filled with layers, questions, and suspense....this is exactly how a thriller should be!  Also, in case you were wondering it didn't effect my reading experience at all that I was starting with the second book in the series.  I am super excited to see that I have another book by this author to look forward to which I've already put on hold at the library.  I will be recommending this one to just about everybody.  Mystery lovers and thriller fans though, this is one that shouldn't be missed!  Highly recommended!!!

Bottom Line:  One of the best thrillers that I have read in a long time!  Wow!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and as part of a Shelf Awareness giveaway!  My thanks for the chance to read it!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Sunday Post #7 (Reading Decisions)

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme"

I'm sitting here just relaxing and getting a late start to my Sunday thanks to the fact that I have tomorrow off as well.  I sure do love three day weekends!  It was a quiet week but it felt busy and went by fast as usual.  And the weather has warmed up a bit which has been nice!  Makes me hope for spring even though we have a ways to go yet.

This was a really good reading week for me though as I managed to finish both of the books that I was currently reading from last week.  I've been waiting for two tour books to show up in the mailbox so I had held out on picking up another print book as I was going to get started on one of them.  Neither has shown up and then I finished my current ebook and found myself with no books on the go.  What?!?  I love when this happens although I usually find myself stuck then on what to read next.  All of the possibilities.  Should I read a book off of my own shelves?  Maybe one from the huge library stack that I just recently brought home?  Or a review book that needs to be read sooner rather than later?  Such important decisions to make!  Ha!  I've settled on my new print book but STILL can't decide what to read on my kindle.  I've decided to wait until later and then just see where my reading mood takes me.

On to the books and reading update now.  Last week I finished the following two books:


Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep - This is the second book of the series and is just as good as the first!  I'm loving these books and the new plan for 2015 is to catch up with this series in its' entirety!  I love Gin's character and can never just set these books down.  I always want to read just a little bit more which makes the book fly by.

Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves - This is the beginning of a new mystery series and one that I will be reading more of!  I loved how the author used the setting to really pull the reader in.  I couldn't set this one aside either and found myself trying to read while cooking dinner.  LOL!  I'm sure you can guess how that went. 

I'm currently reading the following book:


I actually just grabbed this one off of the library shelves yesterday but I couldn't resist starting it late last night.  I say this all of the time but I've been wanting to read this one for awhile now so I'm super excited for it.  I've just barely begun so we will see how it goes.

I wish that I could say I've been good in the NetGalley/Edelweiss department but I really haven't been.  I NEED to stay off of those darn sites for awhile but it's so hard!  Here are the books that I have recently added to my e-reader:



Second Life!!!!!  I am so super pumped for this one as I just loved this author's first book!  I am beyond thrilled to read this one!!  These are all books that I cannot wait to read so I'm a very happy reader over here!

#FitReaders update:  I've been a bit lax when it comes to sharing updates on my #FitReaders progress (except for a tweet here and there).  I might use these posts to share or I might try to do separate posts each week for it but I haven't decided yet.  I was doing really good without missing a day on Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred video workout but this week I didn't do so hot.  I ended up taking Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off thanks to a sinus infection that just kicked my motivation to the curb.  I'm on workout two which is also kicking my butt.  I'm definitely going to get back on schedule today even if my motivation is still lacking a bit.  Do any of you have any other workout videos that you really enjoy or recommend?  I'm thinking that I will want a break from this one after I get through workout three.

I'm off to get laundry started and my house knocked back into shape.  I'm planning on writing up a few blog posts for the week and definitely will be spending part of the day commenting as I have been lax in that area.  Other plans include my workout and curling up with a good book.  I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and rest of the week.  Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Blythewood by Carol Goodman (thoughts)

Blythewood was my final read of 2014 and ended up being a great way to end the year!  I went into this book not knowing a lot about it (other than I have enjoyed both adult books by this author that I have read) and it worked out really well for me.  This was a book filled with questions, where I never knew quite what was going on, and the suspense/questions carried me through the pages with ease.  I loved it!

In this book Avaline Hall is taken in by her maternal grandmother after a few horrifying turn of events including the death of her mother, a fire, and a stay in a mental asylum.  Staying with her grandmother means getting the chance to go to her mother's old boarding school, Blythewood.  Despite never explaining the fallout that happened between her and her own mother, Ava's mother always spoke fondly of her time at Blythewood and her memories from there.  Ava realizes that to learn her mother's secrets she will need to go to that school to look for the answers.  Maybe now she will be able to finally find out who her real father is and what happened to make her mother leave Blythewood forever.  Ava is about to learn though that the world that she is stepping into is one that she could never have imagined.

I really, really enjoyed reading this book!  There are certain authors that you just trust as a reader and Goodman has become one of them for me.  For good reason too as she writes these books that just suck you in as the reader.  That is exactly what this one did to me!  Ava is about to step into this new world that she could never have dreamed of.  She's learning more about herself but she is also learning more about her mother's past.  All of these things led to questions for me as the reader.  This was mainly because I never quite knew what was going on for sure with this book.  The author took her time giving us pieces here and there.  It made the book so much more suspenseful for me!  I feel like I say this a lot in my reviews but this was yet another book that I just could not put down.  The author has set up such a unique storyline that feels different from a lot of what is out there.  It has a historical fantasy feel to it but there was just so much more.  I can't even explain without giving things away that I don't want to.  Suffice it to say that this book is exactly why I will read anything/everything that this author writes!

Other things I enjoyed about this book were the secondary characters.  Neither of Ava's roommates were what I expected and that was a good thing.  I'm eager to see how their characters grow and develop in the next book as this is part of a series or trilogy (not sure which).  There is a hint of possible love triangle that might bother others but what really left me excited at the end of this book was Ava's learning something new and completely unexpected about herself.  I am sure that this is going to play a huge role in the next book and I can't wait to see how!  The ending of this book was done well with things left open for the next book but not in a cliff hanger kind of way.  It just left me super excited to see what will happen next!  I can't wait to get my hands on book two!

Overall, this was a really great way to end my reading year in 2014!  There were so many reasons to love it but what really made this book stand out for me was the unique storyline.  I just cannot wait to see what this author does with the storyline in the next book.  I won't be waiting long to find out as my library has a copy that I can check out for me kindle!  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book and am hoping that more readers find it as it was a really great read.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A delight to read as this book just sucked me in!  I love this author!

Disclosure:  I checked this one out from my local library for my kindle.  Thoughts are my own!

This book counts as book 1 for the Winter COYER challenge that I am participating in.  Woohoo!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Sunday Post #6 (A Reading Update)

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme"

It's been too long since I did a reading update which when I looked was over a month ago.  That's what happens when the holidays are upon us.  I've been enjoying the down time now that everything is slowing down and getting back to normal.  Last weekend we took down the holiday decorations and packed them up for next year.  This weekend I cleaned house and am now curled up under a blanket while working on a few blog posts.  Absolutely perfect way to spend the day if I do say so myself!

I've yet to write up my goals post for 2015 and it is getting to the now or never point.  I have ideas on this but keep setting them to the side.  We will see if I actually write that post up or not.  I don't have a lot new to share despite the long length between these posts.  The weather is ridiculously cold here which makes going outside a bit miserable.  I'm hoping that by next weekend it warms up just a tiny bit so we can take the kids sledding.  That is one of their favorite things to do and they can't understand that right now it is actually too cold to go sledding.  Whoever heard of such a thing??

I'm starting fresh for the new year with my reading update.  This past week I finished the following book:

Fear the Darkness by Becky Masterman was so, so good!  I flew through the pages of this one and just couldn't get enough of it.  What a perfect way to kick off the new year!!!  I'm super excited that I have Rage Against the Dying to look forward to which is the 1st book in this series.  I've already put it on hold at the library.  Cannot wait!  I won't be posting my thoughts on this one until closer to its' release date later this month just in case you are wondering. 

I'm now currently reading the following books:


Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep is my current print book and the first book that I am reading for the TBR challenge off of my set list.  This book is just as fast-paced as the first book and I'm finding that I have a hard time setting it down.

Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves is my current read on my kindle and one that I've just barely begun.  I'm looking forward to it as it is a thriller and set in winter which fits in perfectly with this time of year. 

I've only brought one new book into the house this week thanks to an upcoming blog tour.  NetGalley on the other hand continues to be my downfall.  Here are the books that I've gotten recently:


What the Fly Saw by Frankie Y. Bailey- I'll be reading this for a blog tour later next month.  I'm really looking forward to it!


Both of these are thanks to my NetGalley addiction!  I'm looking forward to reading both of these soon as I can't seem to get enough of thrillers lately.

That's enough out of me for today!  Plans for today include lots of laundry, snuggles with the kiddos, and reading of course.  I will definitely be blog hopping later today and commenting.  I hope that everyone has a wonderful Sunday and a great week!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

'Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries (thoughts)

This is the second year in a row that I have managed to find a new to me author to read and love thanks to a Christmas romance.  This might turn into a yearly tradition if I am lucky.  I haven't made a lot of time to read historical romances this past year (shame on me) and this book really made me wonder why.  I adored it and cannot wait to read more by this author!

In this book Pierce Waverly (also known as the Earl of Devonmont) is called back home as his mother is said to be on her death bed.  He arrives to find his mother healthy and unaware of the deception that has been pulled by her lady companion.  Camilla Stuart sees how much it hurts Lady Devonmont to be estranged from her son and decides to do something about it.  Unfortunately she is unaware of the history between mother and son which brings more trouble then she has bargained for.  Especially when it becomes apparent that the Earl also has plans for seduction....will she be able to resist?

This was such a sweet romance and it really reminded me why I enjoy this genre so much.  From the very beginning the author managed to intrigue me by the mysterious history between the Earl and his mother.  We basically see what happened when the Earl was younger from his point of view only which means that there were more questions than answers.  Enter in Camilla Stuart, lady companion to the Earl's mother, a strong willed widow who is trying to patch up the rift between mother and son but is causing more trouble than she bargained for.  The chemistry between Camilla and Pierce was instantaneous and so sweet.  Camilla has secrets of her own that she keeps hidden from Pierce for various reasons.  For this reason she really takes awhile to allow herself to trust him and even then she keeps a distance thinking that they will never have a future.  For me I spent the book waiting for two separate things to happen.  One, for Camilla and Pierce to realize that they were in love with each other and find their happy ever after.  This is something that I always want with a romance read.  Ha!  Second, to figure out the reasons behind the estrangement between Pierce and his mother.  Both storylines were enjoyable and kept me reading long into the night.  And the author did a really nice job of wrapping these two storylines together in the end and finishing them in a way that felt right.

Overall, this was a really great read and perfect for the Christmas time of year.  It made me wish that we actually had snow on the ground while I was reading it (of course now we actually do have snow and I am less thrilled) and put me in the holiday spirit.  Really though, this was a just an enjoyable historical romance that I couldn't put down.  I found another new author to read which is always my goal.  Good chemistry combined with a bit of a mystery was the perfect combination to this holiday read!  Easily recommended!

Bottom Line:  A delightful read that was perfect for the holidays!

Disclosure:  I checked this book out from my local library.  Thoughts are my own!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Impatiently Waiting (2015 Releases that I NEED!)

I did a post like this last year at the beginning of the new year and really enjoyed creating it!  Although I didn't quite manage to read all of the books that I had listed, I do hope to get to the rest of them in this new year.  Along with all of these as well of course :)  I keep saying this but there is something so exciting about a new year and all of the possibilities especially in regards to all of those shiny new books that will be published.  Makes me feel very grabby- I want! I want!  Just kidding....kind of....well, maybe not.  While I wait not so patiently for all of these pretty books here are just a few of the ones that I want the most:


Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton - Woot!  Woot!  Newest book by one of my favorite authors.  I CANNOT wait! 

Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes - I have loved both of the books that I have read by this author so it is a given that I want this one.  It's a sequel to Under a Silent Moon which is even better! 


The Diamond Conspiracy by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris - Squee!  OH MY GOODESS, I want this book so badly!!!  I'm thinking about rereading the first three books before this one releases just because I love the series so much.  It is pretty likely that will be exactly what I do!

Second Life by S.J. Watson - I adored this author's first book (Before I Go to Sleep) so I instantly added this book to my TBR list as soon as I heard about it.  I definitely am looking forward to this one!


The Veil by Chloe Neill - New urban fantasy series?  Count me in!  It also helps that this is an author that I've been wanting to try for some time!

The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr - I want to read this one based off of the cover alone!  Seriously, I cannot wait to get my hands on this one.  Yay for new steampunk!


Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep - I love the sound of this new series!  I can't wait to get my hands on it and give it a try!

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan - This sounds like a must read which is why I can't help but want to read it!  This is another author that I have wanted to try for some time now. 


The Shadow Revolution by Clay and Susan Griffith - Another new series to begin and with a cover like that I just can't resist!

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver - I swear I want to read all of this author's books yet I haven't read one.  2015 will be the year that I change this!!!

There are so many other books that I could have put on this list....I actually just had to force myself to stop looking.  Ha!  I am super pumped for all of these books and so many more!!  Books not listed here due to lack of cover yet include the next book in the Ilona Andrew's Hidden Legacy series, The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon, Rewind by Mira Grant (although this says 2016- say it isn't so!), and so many more.

What books are you looking forward to in this new year?  Any new releases that you cannot wait to get your hands on?? 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Reading Events (Or Winter Reading Fun)

In the spirit of signing up for just about every reading challenge out there, I also found a couple of reading events that I couldn't resist.  I'm sure this doesn't surprise most of you.  What's one more right?  I'm going to use both of these to really get my reading off to a great start in 2015.  That's the plan at least!


The Winter COYER challenge is here (and actually has already started) but since it is three months long I'm joining in.  I have plenty of books stocked up on ipad and now kindle to keep me plenty busy.  Plus this will also help me knock out some of those NetGalley copies that keep piling up.  My favorite part is coming up with a list of possibilities for this so here are just a few of the books that I want to finish for this challenge.





If I manage to finish more that would be amazing but I'm hoping to read at least eight books from my e-reader for this challenge.  I will keep you updated on my progress as I go along. There are read-a-thons and lots of other fun stuff planned so if you want to sign up go here.


Bout of Books is back!  My first read-a-thon of the new year and I'm super pumped for it.  I always look forward to these read-a-thons as they are fun AND such a great way to start off the new year.  Here is the official blurb from the Bout of Books blog:

"The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th 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 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team"

My goals for this read-a-thon are going to be very simple.  Read and comment.  That's it!  I'm not setting an amount of books or anything.  I just want to focus this week on reading and commenting on other reader's blogs.  It will be great and hopefully lots of fun!  I'm planning on reading this book and after that I will follow my mood:


I am really looking forward to finishing some great books and meeting some new bloggy friends thanks to these two events.  Are any of you participating in one/both of these?  Or do you have other big reading plans in the works?  Do share!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 Reading Challenges (I'm back!)

Feel free to completely disregard this post if you aren't interested in hearing about the numerous reading challenges that I feel compelled to participate in for 2015.  I took a few years off from reading challenges (with the exception of Carl's R.I.P challenge which is simply a must) but I am looking forward to getting back to them in the new year.  It is fun to push myself when it comes to reading even if I usually fail spectacularly when it is all said and done.  The point of participating for me is the community factor, trying new books that maybe I wouldn't have picked up, and just having fun.  Of course in typical Sam fashion, I've decided to sign up for ALL of the challenges that sound good (this is also because I have no self control in regards to books).  Here is my official sign-up announcement for the following challenges:


Requirement is to read a minimum of 12 library books.  As I use my library on a constant basis, this should be quite easy (and possibly my only challenge that I am successful at).  Sign up here if you want to participate as well.


Requirement is to read historical romance which is a genre that I didn't read enough of in 2014.  I'm signing up for the level 1 which is six books.  Considering how many I have on my shelves, this should be easy to complete.  Sign up here if you are interested.


Here is where the pushing myself as a reader comes in.  In 2014, I read NO nonfiction books which is horrible as I have a bunch gracing my shelves AND even more on my TBR list.  I'm hoping this challenge will give me the push to finally read some of those books.  I'm signing up for Dilettante level which is one to five nonfiction reads.  Sign up here if interested.


This is a themed TBR challenge where each month you pull a book off of your TBR shelves that fits in with the month's theme and then we discuss on the 3rd Wednesday of that month.  This sounds like a very interesting way to get some books off of my own shelves.  Sign up is here.


Another challenge that is going to push me but in a good way.  I've already put a few graphic novels on hold at the library in preparation for this challenge.  I'm signing up for the Modern Age level which is 12 graphic novels.  Sign up is here


I love, love, love to reread so I just couldn't resist signing up for this challenge.  No amount of books required which is perfect!  I'm sure that I will reread plenty.  Sign up here.


I NEED this challenge.  And I do mean NEED it!  I have no self control when it comes to these sites and I would love to catch up and get these books read.  I'm signing up for the bronze level which is only 10 books (I really should try and do more).  Sign up here.


This is a challenge for all of those series books that I am addicted to.  You get points for the amount of books in a series that you finish.  I'm signing up for the Newbie level which is 10-25 points.  Sign up here.


I've participated in this challenge before and it is always fun.  Plus, I love finding new authors to read and adore.  I'm signing up for 15 new to me authors.  Sign up here.


A genre that I always enjoy but don't read enough of.  I'm hoping to use this challenge to find new authors and books :)  I'm signing up for Civilian level which is 1-5 books.  Sign up here.


I love a good mystery so I couldn't resist this challenge.  And as I adore Amelia Peabody I am signing up for that level which is 10 books.  Sign up here.


I have so many cozy series that I want to try that I just have to sign up for this challenge too!  I'm signing up for the Snoop level which is 6 books.  Sign up here.


In the new year I WILL be working out more on a regular basis.  I love the idea of weekly check-ins and participating in this challenge with other readers while getting healthy.  Sign up here.



The goal is to read 12 books off of your TBR shelves that have been on there at least one year.  Sign up here.  Here is my list of books for the challenge along with two alternates:

  • The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry
  • Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon
  • Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep
  • Firelight by Kristen Callihan
  • Black Wings by Christina Henry
  • The Cutting Season by Attica Locke
  • The Becoming by Jeanne Stein
  • Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield
  • Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
  • Crooked House by Agatha Christie
  • The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
and two alternates are Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle and Beg for Mercy by Jami Alden.

Whew!  I'm tired just from thinking about all of this.  But it sure is going to be fun!  Do you participate in reading challenges?  If so, are there any that I missed that you think I should know about?  Let's hope 2015 is an amazing year of reading!!