Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Study In Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind."

My Thoughts:
I adored my time reading this book! There is just something about historical mysteries that I love. Add in Sherlock Holmes but with a twist and you have a book that I couldn't help but enjoy. I mean changing Sherlock Homes into Lady Sherlock is just brilliant in my opinion. It allows for the author to really explore what it means to be a woman during this time period and an exceptional one at that. Charlotte Holmes is one of the most unique characters that I've ever had the pleasure to read about. She more than likely would be considered to be a prodigy in this day and age, but as she is a woman during this time period she is just considered to be a bit unusual. Her father humors her more than anything and no one expects her to do anything outside of social norms. Despite expectations, Charlotte makes choices throughout this book that no one expects and it is these choices that lead her to take control of her own life. I loved every minute of it! She was such an amazing character to read about and I really could not get enough of her.

When you then mix in an exceptionally good mystery, you have a wonderful read! I loved the way this book was broken up into almost two parts. One that focused on Charlotte and the challenges that she was facing and another on the actual police investigation. I honestly didn't even prefer one story line over the other as I found them both to be intriguing. I never was able to figure out the mystery on my own but was left surprised by the ending. It was just a really great mystery that was made even better by the wonderful characters that this author created. I finished this one and was almost sad to see it end. The only thing that makes it better is that it looks like this is the beginning of a series so I have more to look forward to! I cannot wait! On a side note, I think that this cover is so completely well done. How could you not want to pick up this book based off of that gorgeous cover alone?

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and was left very excited about this series! If this is only the first book, I can only imagine what this author will come up with next. Charlotte is a character that I won't forget about anytime soon. I'm so glad that I didn't wait to read this one. I actually decided to read it based off of a tweet on Twitter. It was a great choice on my part so thanks to the book community yet again! I would recommend this book to mystery fans especially, but really I think that this is a book that anyone could enjoy! Highly recommended!

Bottom Line: This book is as good as it looks! Read it!

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

Friday, October 14, 2016

Bookish Bliss (Or Recent Additions to My Shelves)

I really should work harder on not adding any books to my shelves but it is harder than you think sometimes!  These are all of the newest print books that I've brought home in the past month or so.  True fact:  I have had these sitting in a pile in my bedroom just waiting to share about them with all of you.  I should probably put them away now.  LOL!  Also, I didn't actually buy these all at once so that makes me feel a bit better.  I should probably stay away from any store selling books for awhile but where would the fun be in that??  Here is what I bought:

  • The Diviners by Libba Bray - I found this gem ridiculously cheap and so it came home with me as simple as that.  Add in an absolutely gorgeous cover and the fact that this has been on my TBR list for awhile and you have a win in my book!
  • Track the Cat by Nevada Barr- 1st in a new to me mystery series and a used bookstore find.  One of the best things about used bookstores is that you can find the first books in ridiculously long series.  I'm looking forward to reading this!
  • A Place of Execution by Val McDermid- I actually bought this one awhile back.  Twice.  Obviously I really wanted to read it.  Ha!  So I gave one copy to my Mom and sister to read which they both highly recommended back to me.  I'm planning on reading it soon.
  • The Face of Deception by Iris Johansen-  Back in my pre-blogging days I used to read this author's books and enjoyed them although I never seemed to read them in order.  I decided to pick this one up at the used bookstore so that I could finally read the series in order.
  • Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart-  It is Mary Stewart.  Enough said!
  • The Deep by Nick Cutter- This was actually a Goodwill find.  As it sounds perfect for this time of year I think that I've made a good decision.  Also I have heard a ton of good things about this author's books!
  • The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen- I've had this author on my TBR list for months.  I couldn't resist when I found her books at the used bookstore.  I didn't realize that there was a TV show based off of this series.  I'm going to read them first then check it out!
  • Girl Missing by Tess Gerritsen- This seems to be a standalone but it sounded so good so I ended up bringing it home with me as well!  (This happens a lot when I am at the used bookstore and browsing)
  • Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah- I bought this one at my local Barnes and Noble store.  It was on the discount table and since this is Sophie Hannah I just brought it home with me.  How could I not?  She is one of  those authors that I basically want to read all of her books even though I've only actually read one book by her.
I just realized that all of these would fit in with Carl's RIP challenge.  How perfect is that?  I would say that I won't buy any more books any time soon, but I'm sure that by this point you all know that isn't true.  I just can't resist!  What books have you brought into your home lately?  Is there any book in this pile that you think I should read first?  Do tell!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

Evil Games by Angela Marsons (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work.

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment.

Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time - it’s personal."

My Thoughts:

Evil Games is such a great follow-up and has easily secured my love for this series (which wasn't really ever in doubt after loving the first book so much). Silent Scream set the bar high because I thought it was such a great read but this second book came out just as strong. Wow! I cannot get over just how good these books are and how compelling I find them to be. This was a prime example of what a real page turner is (as long as you disregard the fact that I read this on my kindle and didn't actually turn any pages). It was a book that kept me reading long after I should have gone to bed. One that had me thinking about it when I wasn't reading. It was suspenseful and tense and everything that I think a good thriller should be! Obviously I'm going to gush about this book for the majority of this review but really I think this book and author deserve it!

One of my favorite things about a good mystery series is a strong female main character and Kim Stone fits that bill perfectly. I'm not sure why but I am always drawn to female leads who have troubled backgrounds or don't fit quite in with society in some way. Kim is great at her job but she has her secrets and a dark is those type of things that I find so intriguing! I really loved that in this book we got to learn more about her past and what happened to her when she was young. I loved the way that the author tied this into the current investigation that Kim was working on. I also liked that parts of the book were being told by the viewpoint of the "villain" for lack of a better word. It made it all the more suspenseful because of the way that this book was set up. The ending was great and like I said previously I had a really hard time setting this book down. I found myself unable to stop reading because at that point I just had to finish and see how it would all end. It was totally worth it and I'm left ready to read book three as soon as possible!

Overall, this has fast become one of my favorite mystery series! The author writes books that make your pulse race and heart pound. What more could you ask for?? I loved how this book made me read late into the night. I loved how easily I fell into the pages of it. Basically I just loved this book! I won't be waiting long to continue on with this series. I also can't seem to recommend these books enough. Mystery and thriller fans alike should give this series a try. You definitely could read this book on its' own but I think the reading experience is enhanced if you start with Silent Scream. Highly recommended!

Bottom Line: A book that is very likely to make my top reads list this year!

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

Fans of Sharon Bolton's Lacey Flint series and M.J. Arlidge's Helen Grace series will definitely enjoy these books as well. I would also recommend It Takes One by Kate Kessler for a similar type of thriller/mystery.
Here are my thoughts on Silent Scream if you are interested.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Homicide In Hardcover by Kate Carlisle (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"The streets of San Francisco would be lined with hardcovers if rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright had her way. And her mentor wouldn't be lying in a pool of his own blood on the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration.

With his final breath he leaves Brooklyn a cryptic message, and gives her a priceless and supposedly cursed copy of Goethe's Faust for safekeeping.

Brooklyn suddenly finds herself accused of murder and theft, thanks to the humorless, but attractive, British security officer who finds her kneeling over the body. Now she has to read the clues left behind by her mentor if she is going to restore justice…."

My Thoughts:

I'm always looking for a new cozy mystery series and so I decided to pull this one off of my shelves.  A book featuring a rare book expert is right up my alley which is why I added this one to my to be read list so long ago.  I enjoyed it and thought it was a good start to a new series, but I'm also having a hard time remembering some of the details after reading it a few months back.  It was a solid read but nothing that really blew me away.  I guess I like for my cozies to really pull me in with the characters and this book didn't quite do that.  I'm having trouble explaining my thoughts on this book for some reason.  It was good but not great for me.  I liked it enough to want to add the second book to my TBR list but not enough to go rushing out for that next book.  I loved the focus on rare books and book restoration which was really interesting and something I don't know much about.  In fact the sections of the book where Brooklyn was working on restoring books were some of my favorite parts just because I was so intrigued.  The mystery portion of this book was interesting but it was never what really drew me in.  Instead I found myself reading to see how Brooklyn was going to clear her name and get out of the trouble that she was in. 

In the end I found this to be a good beginning to a new to me cozy series.  I'm glad that I finally pulled it off of my shelves.  It wasn't my favorite but I liked it enough to want to continue on.  And writing up my thoughts on it (finally) has me thinking about what I like most about some of my favorite cozy series.  Food for thought!  Overall, I would recommend to fellow cozy mystery fans.

Bottom Line:  A good read!

Disclosure:  I purchased my copy of this book from the used bookstore.

If you are curious about some of my favorite cozy mystery authors try:

Ellie Alexander
Kate E. Dyer-Seeley
Maddie Day
Ann Meyers 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Kill Box by Nichole Christoff (Thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Hardworking Jamie Sinclair can’t wait for the weekend. She plans to be off the clock and on the road to wine country with handsome military police officer Adam Barrett. But when a strung-out soldier takes an innocent woman hostage and forces his way into Jamie’s bedroom, everything changes. Jamie’s never seen the soldier before. But he’s no stranger to Barrett—and with one word he persuades Barrett to pack a duffel and leave Jamie in the lurch.

Jamie cannot fathom why Barrett would abandon her without explanation. But as the consequences of an unsolved crime threaten to catch up with him, a late-night phone call sends Jamie racing to Barrett’s hometown in upstate New York. In a tinderbox of shattered trust and long-buried secrets, Jamie must fight to uncover the truth about what really occurred one terrible night twenty years ago. And the secrets she discovers deep in Barrett’s past not only threaten their future together—they just might get her killed."

My Thoughts:

Three books in and this series has secured a spot as one of my favorite mystery series. Every book reminds me of why I love this series so much and this book was no different. In fact, it somehow languished on my kindle unread for an obscene amount of time for no other reason then I didn't realize it was there. Yes, I find that to be just as ridiculous as it sounds. Anyways, the 4th book was up on NetGalley and after requesting it I realized I had never read this one. So I had to get started on it right away because how could I not?? I think that this book may be my favorite of the series so far. While every book has been both intense and suspenseful, this book really allowed for me as the reader to understand Jamie more. I loved, loved, loved that we got to see a different side of her in this book. One that focused a bit more on her emotions and feelings for Adam Barrett. I just felt like this was a turning point book in this series for Jamie, and I loved this book all the more because of it.

One of the things that this author does best with these books is creates mysteries with a military edge to them. With each book I have learned something different about the military and how it works, which just makes this series stand out for me. For instance, in this book I learned about what a kill box is which is a term that I had never even heard of before. It is so interesting and I love that about these books. I also really love Jamie's character at this point. She isn't perfect and struggles with getting close to others. But it is these imperfections that make her come to life in the pages of these novels. I loved how this book put her through a ton of emotional turmoil. It made me want to read as fast as I could to see how it would all end. I always feel like I've been through a whirlwind when finishing a book in this series. They are all that fast paced and intense. I have to force myself to slow down at certain points so I don't miss anything. The ending of this book was perfect in my opinion and I am very excited to move on to book four in the near future!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am a huge fan of this series! I think readers would be better off to start with the first book and read them in order but you definitely don't have to. This book would stand quite well by itself in my opinion. It wasn't perfect (I managed to figure out the bad guy early on) but it was the emotional connection that really made this book stand out for me. And as I spent the rest of the book trying to figure out if I was right or wrong.....well I really can't even complain about that. I would highly recommend this series to other mystery readers!

Bottom Line: My favorite book in this series so far!

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

Here are my thoughts on the other books in the series if you are interested:
1. The Kill List
2. The Kill Shot

I was trying to think of other books to try if you like these and I think that Notorious by Carey Baldwin would be a good choice.

Monday, October 3, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (October 2nd)

"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 is here once again!  It was a crazy weekend and felt like it just flew by.  Maybe it did since it included a girl's softball tournament, flag football, a sleepover (not at my house thankfully), a homecoming football game, overtime.....well I think you get the picture.  Sometimes I am more tired from the weekend than I am from the actual week.  Ha!  It's a fresh week though and I'm ready to talk books with all of you.

Last week I managed to finish one book but it was a really good one!  I finished:

You guys!  This series is just SO, SO good!  I feel like other mystery lovers are missing out a bit if they haven't tried this series yet.  I'm certainly going to be pushing both my Mom and sister to pick these books up.  I still need to work on writing up my thoughts on this one which will be difficult as I don't want to spoil anything for others who haven't read the series and might.  There is a lot that carries on from book to book.

I'm now currently reading the following:

Hold Tight is a carryover from last week and is my print read.  Not much new to report other than I'm enjoying already.  Dark Road Home is my new kindle read which I haven't actually started.  I've been focusing more on the Coben book with the limited reading time that I have had.  I'm also still working on Ammie, Come Home by Barbara Michaels on my phone.  I've got plenty of books on the go so now I need to actually make some reading progress with all of these. 

New book acquisitions:

NetGalley continues to tempt me endlessly with books I want to read.  It doesn't matter how far behind I feel with my reading, I can't seem to resist visiting that site and requesting new books.  This is where the first three books pictured above came from.  It took ALL of my self control not to start reading First Degree Mudder instantly as this is the 4th book in one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  I feel like I have been waiting for it for months now.  Last Rituals was purchased by myself for my already overloaded kindle.  I absolutely loved The Silence of the Sea by this author earlier this year (I still need to review) which meant it was a must buy for me.  

That's enough out of me for one Monday.  I hope you all have a wonderful week filled with some good books.

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blogging Fun and Signing Up

It wouldn't be fall if I wasn't signed up to participate in R.I.P. (or Readers Imbibing Peril).  Even though I'm a bit later than usual in signing up, I have been reading for this challenge already.  There is no challenge out there like Carl's Annual R.I.P. event and I look forward to it every year.  As always to participate all you have to do is the following:

"There are only two expectations if you want to participate with us:

1. Have fun reading (and watching*).
2. Share that fun with others."

I always end up adding a ton of books to my TBR list thanks to this challenge.  Usually I would share a pool of possibilities but since I've been a bad blogger lately I'm going to skip that part for the first time in years.  I'm signing up for Peril the First which only requires me to read four books.  It almost feels like cheating when I've already read three books with this event in mind.  I'm counting them too because I can.  Ha!  Here is what I've read so far if you are interested (or looking for book suggestions for yourself:

If you want to sign up then go here.  Basically all of my reading till the end of October will fit in with this challenge because nothing makes me think of fall more than spooky reading.  And look at that beautiful artwork from Abigail Larson!  How could you not want to share that as well??

I'm also planning on participating in Blog Ahead.  This is a blogging event that focuses on schedule posts ahead of time.  This is something that I always want to do but very rarely happens.  I wouldn't have month long gaps in between my posts if I could schedule and plan ahead that far.  For the month of October I'm going to work really hard to creating posts ahead of time with the goal of getting at least a week ahead (if not more).  It is going to be hard but fun and I'm really looking forward to participating.  If you would like to participate yourself, sign up here.  

So I take off a month of blogging and jump back in feet first.  Sounds about right, doesn't it?  LOL!  Are you participating in either of these events?  If you are then let me know so we can cheer each other on!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Beautiful Maids All in a Row by Jennifer Harlow (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Dr. Iris Ballard’s glory days are behind her, so when Luke Hudson, her former FBI partner and onetime lover, asks for help constructing a psychological profile of an elusive serial killer who murders single mothers and dumps their bodies in the woods, Iris turns him away. She just wants to be left alone with her infomercials, her German Shepherd, and her vodka. That is, until she gets a peek at the case files.

The media has dubbed him “the Woodsman.” But after Iris learns the sickening details held back from the press, and as she sets foot onto the scene of his latest crime, she assembles a portrait of a more complicated, enigmatic, meticulous man. Control is his motivation. He thrives on it. Soon he even tries to manipulate the investigation by contacting Iris, hoping to rattle the woman he considers an intellectual equal.

The game is on. Iris thinks she has a read on her target, enough to push his buttons, to make him lose control. But when the Woodsman gains the upper hand, Iris faces the most painful reckoning of all—with her own violent past."

My Thoughts:

I requested this book from NetGalley based off of the cover alone because I just thought it was great. Then I read the above description and this book shot to the top of my TBR list that easily. As we are slowly getting closer to fall weather, I am constantly in the mood for dark and creepy thrillers. This book was exactly what I was looking for and is a perfect read for this time of year! It spooked me a few times and I found myself unable to put this book down because of it. It was just the perfect combination of mystery and thriller where as the reader, I couldn't stop reading just so I could see what would happen next. Talk about a page turner! The intensity level was high from the very beginning and didn't let up until the very end. If this was this author's first book ever written (which she is just now publishing), well I just cannot wait to read more by her!

One of the things that I liked most about this book was the main character Iris Ballard. I love a book with a strong female lead and she was one of those characters I enjoy the most. She isn't perfect and is in fact really struggling when the book begins. I don't want to share why though as it is an important part of this book in the sense that it really shapes Iris and the woman that she has become. I loved her character and am really hoping that we get to see more of her in future books. I can definitely see this being a series and I would be first in line to get my hands on book two- this book was just that good. I've forgotten how hard it is to share my thoughts on a book like this without giving anything away. Suffice it to say that if you are looking for an intense, heart-pounding read then look no further. This was just as good as I had hoped it would be when I first heard about it (if not better).

Final thoughts: I need more of Iris Ballard in my life! Please, please, please tell me that this is going to be a series because I really want it to be. I feel like I didn't say much about this book but I didn't want to spoil any of it. I'm going to be recommending this one to everyone I know because I enjoyed it that much. I'm also planning on checking into some of Jennifer Harlow's other books to see what else she has written. This book was very good, dark and thrilling, and I want more. Highly recommended!

Bottom Line: A thriller that shouldn't be missed!

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

Just a side note but if you enjoyed The Body Reader by Anne Frasier then I really think that you will enjoy this book as well. Or if you enjoy this one try The Body Reader as it features another strong female lead and is quite thrilling as well!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Sunday Post # 24 (Missing Blogger Edition)

"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"

Wow!  It has been awhile since my last post a little over a month ago.  And even before that last post my blogging has been sporadic at best.  What happened you may ask?  Summer happened to start.  I went from posting on a pretty regular basis to almost nothing at all.  With three kids all in sports, life just got hectic and blogging had to move down the list a bit.  Not that I haven't been reading blogs (I have) but I haven't been commenting like I usually do are any of that fun stuff.  Today though that is going to change.  We are actually home on this beautiful Sunday enjoying a relaxing weekend.  I'm ready to blog and chat with you all about books once again.  That isn't to say that life has slowed down as in fact it hasn't.  But I'm going to work a bit harder to try and fit blogging in on my down times.  That is the plan at least!

So what have I been up to lately?  The usual fun stuff like work (actually lots of work as we have been on mandatory overtime for months now).  The kids are back in school which means lots of homework help and everything that goes along with that.  My oldest is in eighth grade this year which makes me sad to think about.  Next year will be that first year in high school and I'm not sure I'm ready.  Ha!  He is also playing football which keeps us busy but is so much fun to watch.  My daughter is in third grade this year.  She has also started playing travel softball.  Coming from just playing little league to moving into a girl's traveling softball team has been an experience.  She is loving it so far though so all of the time commitment is completely worth it.  The youngest is in first grade which just seems too crazy.  He is the baby and I can't get over how fast he is growing.  He is playing his first year of flag football which is such fun to watch.  Quite a difference from watching serious football games to flag where half of the kids don't even know where the ball is.  But such a joy to watch as he just begins to learn this game that his brother already loves.  In between all of the practices and games I just try to fit everything else in.  It is crazy pants some nights and the rare night where we don't have anything going on is treasured.  It is worth it though just for my kids and my husband and I don't complain too much!  LOL!

I have been reading though if you can believe that.  I've taken to reading on my phone during practices, at nights right before bed if I haven't fallen asleep first, or wherever else I might fit it in.  My reading pace has gone down drastically but that is okay.  I'm just chugging along reading as much as I can when I can.  What have I finished lately??  I can't even remember the books that I last shared with you so I'm going to start fresh with the last two books I've finished.  They are:

The Kill Box by Nichole Christoff- I picked this one up after being approved for the 4th book in this series on NetGalley and realizing that I had never read this one which is book number three.  I've enjoyed each of the books in this series and I think that this was my favorite yet.  I'm going to try and write up a review for this one later today.

Beautiful Maids All in a Row by Jennifer Harlow- I've been in the mood for dark and thrilling reads thanks to Carl's RIP Challenge (which I haven't yet officially signed up for but of course I am participating in).  This was a perfect read for this challenge.  Dark, creepy - in the afterwords of this book the author says that this was her first book that she had ever written which is just now being published.  Say what??  This was so good and I am just hoping that she will write more books in this series.  I should try to write up my thoughts on this one today as well.

I'm now currently reading the following books:

I don't usually have three books on the go at once but I currently do.  Hold Tight by Harlan Coben is my print read.  Coben is one of those writers whose books I find myself unable to put down so I'm really looking forward to this one although I've just barely begun it.  The House at Seas End by Elly Griffiths is book three in one of my favorite mystery series.  This is my current kindle read and I'm already sucked into it.  Mystery fans really need to check this series out if they haven't had the chance yet.  Finally, on my phone I am currently reading Ammie, Come Home by Barbara Michaels.  Usually I read the same book on both my kindle and phone but for whatever reason I was having issues opening the Griffiths book on my phone.  I decided to download this book onto my phone instead as this was a book that I was reading (and enjoying) but then for whatever reason it got set aside and never finished.  It has been so long that I'm going to have to go back and start at the beginning but I'm looking forward to finally reading and finishing it.

Plans for today are just to enjoy this quiet Sunday.  I'm working on laundry and my house is relatively clean thanks to a marathon cleaning session yesterday.  I'm going to try and write up a review or two- maybe reply to some comments, and other fun stuff like that.  I'm going to watch a ridiculous amount of football and enjoy every minute of it.  I'm just going to enjoy being at home with the family.  I'm off to enjoy some yummy snacks but here is to getting back to blogging and talking books!!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!