Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Sunday Post #26 (Blogging Break 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"

Happy Sunday everyone!  It has been awhile since I last posted.  It has been pretty darn busy as of late and it isn't going to end any time soon.  Reality is starting to set in as my oldest gets ready to graduate from eighth grade in a little over a weekI say this all the time it feels like, but I cannot believe that he is going into high school already.  He is lifting for high school football after school four days a week.  My daughter's softball is going strong as well.  We have tournaments about every other weekend.  She has improved so much this season - it has been a joy to watch!  The youngest is also very busy with his baseball season.  Soccer ended  for him which was a bit of a many practices and games with all of this going on!  I'm not complaining though as my husband and I love every minute of watching them play.  But this is why I am largely absent from the blogging world.  My weekends are filled and if they aren't I'm just playing catch up with everything.  I've toyed with shutting the blog down but I just can't do it.  Who else would I talk books with?  Maybe I will be a very spotty blogger for awhile but I will still be here.  I read all of your blogs even if I don't comment that often.  I am taking the rest of this month off.  I have a quiet Sunday planned for today and I'm going to work on scheduling some posts out for next month.  That seems to work best for me so I'm going to try working on June's posts and count this month as a loss.  It happens!

My reading has slowed down to a trickle.  I don't know what my deal is lately but I sure haven't been reading like I usually do.  I think I'm at least ten books behind on my Goodread's challenge.  I'm not stressing though- it is what it is at this point.  At least it means that I'm not as far behind on writing up reviews as I usually am.  So there is a positive!  I'm currently in the middle of three separate books:

Love & Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea is one that I've just barely begun.  I'm reading it mainly on my phone but it is my current kindle read.  The publicist emailed me about this one and I liked the sound of it so I couldn't resist downloading it.  It's too early to tell you much more than that other than I'm loving the French setting.

Midnight Rescue by Elle Kennedy is my current print read and a library book.  In the hopes of jump starting my reading, I decided that I would read whatever I wanted to in May.  No "must reads" or anything like that.  I've gotten this book from the library multiple times but finally decided to give it a try.  I'm about 3/4th's of the way through and just haven't sat down and finished it.  Which I really need to do already!  I'm enjoying it for the most part although the subject matter isn't always to read about.  Honestly, that is part of the reason why I still haven't finished as I'm a bit nervous for what is to come.

Locked In by Kerry Wilkinson is also a print read and one that I bought awhile back but am just now finally reading.  I'm about halfway through this one but kind of stalled out on it.  I plan to go back to it as it is good....I'm just being a really moody reader right now.  It happens and I didn't want to force myself to read as this just turns into a reading slump.

New Additions:

Apparently even when I'm not reading I'm quite capable of downloading books from NetGalley.  Sigh....I sure hope the next #COYER challenge is going to be starting up soon.  I'm definitely going to need it.  I'm really hoping that I can turn my reading troubles around pretty soon.  I find that I stress a lot more when I don't read as much.  I'm off to go work on my laundry piles to get this week started off right.  I hope that you are all having a wonderful weekend.  I'll see you in June!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Hannah Monroe's boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made to him, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It's as though their last four years together never happened.

As Hannah struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows that she'll do whatever it takes to find him again and get answers. But as soon as her search starts, she realizes she is being led into a maze of madness and obsession. Step by suspenseful step, Hannah discovers her only way out is to come face to face with the shocking truth..."

My Thoughts:

This book was completely not what I expected it to be.  It is funny when you go into a book knowing next to nothing but still "think" that you have an idea of what is going to happen.  Obviously that isn't what happened here at all!  I don't know what I was really expecting other than a thriller.  What I got was a thriller but also an intense psychological reading experience.  There was always this feeling while I was reading this book that everything wasn't as it seemed.  As the reader, you don't know who or what you can trust.  That helped to make the book quite a page-turner for me!  I'm going to get into slightly spoiler-ly ground here so stop reading if you don't like possible spoilers and skip ahead to the next paragraph.  I found about halfway through the book that I didn't trust Hannah either.  I also didn't quite care for her either.  I don't think that we are really supposed to do either though.  That is the point of the book- that we don't know or what to believe when it comes to Hannah's missing boyfriend.  I would say that I figured out some of the mystery about 3/4ths of the way through the book.  Not everything though which is why I was unable to set the book down until the very end.  I cannot wait to see what other readers think about that ending.  It is one to discuss, that's for sure!  Actually, I think that there are a lot of different things that you could discuss about this book.  The author isn't afraid to make really unexpected choices when it comes to the story line.  It gives readers a lot of things to mull over and talk about!

Overall, I enjoyed my time reading this book as it was a unique reading experience.  It was different than many of the other thrillers I've read so far this year and I appreciated that.  I still stick with my statement previously that I'm a bit over all of these unlikeable main characters.  Ha!  I can't really complain much as this was too compelling of a read.  I love how willing this author was to take chances with this book.  I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!  I can easily recommend this one but especially to those readers who love suspenseful and thrilling reads.  A solid four star read for me (if I actually gave star ratings that is).

Bottom Line:  A thriller that kept me on my toes as I didn't know what to expect!

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

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance—at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm’s length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna’s skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son—and herself—once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she'd rewritten."

My Thoughts:

Wow!  This was such a good read and I'm guessing that there is a good chance that it will end up on my top reads list for this year.  Yep, it was really that good!  I adore a book where the atmosphere carries me through the story.  This book had that in spades.  There were times that I just had to stop reading because I couldn't take it any more.  That feeling of dread....that bad things were coming just permeated the pages of this book.  I couldn't get enough even when I didn't want to keep reading.  I took my time with this book though and really savored the reading experience.  The author took chances with this one as it has possible triggers for those who don't like reading about certain things.  She did it wonderfully though by not glossing over it while also not being too graphic.  I don't want to say more than that as it feels kind of spoiler-ish.  The mystery of this book was more of a search for this missing little boy.  The author took her time with letting us get to know Anna and her son.....and I felt like we were given this information piece by piece.  The reader wasn't always supposed to know why Anna behaved the way she did even if we could guess.  I just really loved the my entire reading experience with this book!

I also really enjoyed Anna's job as a handwriting analyst.  I don't know a lot about this type of thing but I found all of the details so intriguing.  The idea that you can learn so much about a person just based off of their handwriting is almost a little terrifying when you think about it.  I can see why some of the characters didn't want to write anything down around her.  I wouldn't want someone analyzing my handwriting...or would I?  I'm not entirely sure.  LOL!  I found that I hit a point in this book where I knew that I was going to have to see how it would all end.  Before that, I took my time with it and slowly made my way through the pages.  Afterwards though I was reading as fast as I could just so I could see how it would all end.  This was a book that left me thinking about it afterwards, just mulling over everything that happened.  I am super excited to have found this author especially after enjoying this book so much!

Overall, this was a delightfully good read and one that I didn't want to see end.  I loved the way the author just brought these characters to life- they all felt so real to me.  I am thrilled to see that this author has other books for me to enjoy.  Especially as this one was so good so I have very high hopes for everything else that she has written.  I would recommend this one to mystery/thriller fans but also those who just enjoy a really great read.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  Most likely this will make my top reads list for the year- read it!!

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?"

My Thoughts:

I finally read this one - or should I say that I finally finished reading this one??  This is one of those books where the hype really put me off reading the book.  Am I the only one that this happens to?  I almost don't want to read a book when I'm hearing too much about it so I wait till the buzz dies down.  I finally picked this one up because the movie was released and all of the trailers reminded me that I wanted to check it out.  So I started it and then......back to the library it went unfinished.  This just wasn't the book for me the first time that I read it.  Rachel was too much for me to take.  She made me want to pull my hair out with all of the crazy (and bad) decisions that she was constantly making.  As much as I was intrigued by what was going on, I couldn't handle her at the time so I just took a break from reading it.

Obviously I went back to this book (or I wouldn't be writing this review lol) and went into reading it a bit more prepared for Rachel.  I started from the beginning and this time my reading experience was so much better.  I think knowing ahead of time how much Rachel might annoy me helped if I am being honest.  And then I hit this point of no return with the book and could not stop reading.  By then I had figured out that this was what the hype was all about because I just could not set this book down.  What worked best about this book for me is that you can never fully trust Rachel due to her alcoholism.  Her memories are completely subject to interpretation - is she really remembering things correctly or is part of what is happening all in her head?  By the end I was completely hooked on this book and ready to read more by this author.  What a change!  This went from a book that I almost DNF'ed to one that I overall enjoyed.  It wasn't my favorite thriller or book but I did enjoy it enough to want to watch the movie. 

My final thoughts on this one are that it is definitely worth the read.  I think that I would have enjoyed it more in the beginning if I had been prepared more on how much I would dislike Rachel.  I do think that this author seems quite talented so I'm excited to read her upcoming book.  It sounds really good so hopefully I won't wait as long to check out.  If I gave out ratings this would probably be a 3.5 star read for me.  Recommended but with a few hesitations.

Bottom Line:  Took me two tries to read this one but overall I thought it was a good read.

Disclosure:  I checked this one out from the library (both times).

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"An ill-fated elopement cost English-born governess Bernadette Kent her reputation, her fickle lover and any chance of a future match. She has nothing left to fear—not even the bitter, dangerously handsome Scot due to marry her young charge. Naive wallflower Avaline is terrified to wed Rabbie Mackenzie, but if he sends her home, she will be ruined. Bernadette's solution: convince Rabbie to get Avaline to cry off while ignoring her own traitorous attraction to him.

A forced engagement to an Englishwoman is a hard pill for any Scot to swallow. It's even worse when the fiancee in question is a delicate, foolish young miss unlike her spirited, quick-witted governess. Sparring with Bernadette brings passion and light back to Rabbie's life after the failed Jacobite uprising. His clan's future depends upon his match to another, but how can any Highlander forsake a love that stirs his heart and soul?"

My Thoughts:

I am officially sold on this author and her books!  Earlier this year I read and enjoyed Sinful Scottish Laird so I jumped at the chance to read this one.  This book was just as good and a delight to read!  I have to say that I love how this author put her characters in next to impossible situations.  From the very beginning of this book, I couldn't see how things would ever be able to work out for the hero and heroine.  This makes for an interesting reading experience as this is always in the back of my head.  I didn't read the above summary before starting this book so I honestly didn't know what to expect.  What I got was a much more tragic and brooding hero than I expected.  Rabbie wasn't very likeable at the beginning of the book even though you began to understand why as the reader.  I loved the fact that Bernadette didn't try whatsoever to pretend like the way he was behaving was okay.  She didn't cut him any slack at all and it was fun to watch them hate each other (especially knowing that at some point this would all change).  

Although they didn't like each other in the beginning, the best parts of the book were when Rabbie and Bernadette's relationship started to change.  I adore a good romance and this is exactly what this book had.  I wanted everything to work out for these two even if I was wondering how it possibly could.  It definitely kept me reading which hasn't always been the case this year.  I seem to be so easily distracted by everything else but I wasn't while reading this one.  I also appreciated the fact that there weren't always easy answers.  The author keeps true with the story lines that she sets up and I appreciate that.  I finished this book with a smile on my face which should tell you enough about how I felt about this book.  I absolutely cannot wait to read more by this author!

Overall, this was a really great romance and I'm super excited to have found this author!  I am so excited to see what else she has written - I believe there is a first book in this series that I need to get my hands on.  Books like this remind me of why I enjoy romance so much.  I need to read more of it because it was the perfect change of pace to all of the mysteries and thrillers that I usually read.  I would recommend this book (and Sinful Scottish Laird) to historical romance readers and romance readers alike.  It was a really great read and one that I enjoyed immensely!

Bottom Line:  A delightful read of an author that I can't wait to read more of!

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Murder at the Altar by Veronica Heley (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"The couple argue next door, the boy next door seems to know more than he is saying, and the murder victim's mother is missing. This first in a series of mysteries is set in a church, and features Ellie Quicke, a recently widowed woman who finds herself to be something of a sleuth."

My Thoughts:

This was such an enjoyable beginning to this new to me mystery series.  I picked up this book after seeing a further book in this series on NetGalley and being intrigued.  I decided to request it from the library and am now so glad that I did.  Isn't it funny how we come across books sometimes?  This was a delightful read and reminded me of the Faith Fairchild series by Katherine Hall Page that I adore.  There is just a certain element to both of these series that I like.  It is almost like they are a cozy mystery but without the usual things that you see in cozy series (like cats on the covers and puns for titles).  I'm not even sure that I'm really explaining myself all that well but they just have that cozy vibe that I love.  

In this book, Ellie Quicke is trying to deal with the very recent death of her husband.  She has always let him make the decisions and she basically worked on being a good wife to him.  Now she is finding and trying to figure out how to stand on her own two feet for the very first time in her life.  I loved it!  There was just something about reading about her working on coming into her own that I couldn't get enough of.  I found that I was really rooting for her.  She had a horrible daughter that I didn't care for that was trying to control her like her husband almost had.  I spent the majority of this book really more focused on Ellie than the mystery itself.  Don't get me wrong, I was also intrigued by the mystery but what became important to me very early on was Ellie herself.  I just wanted to see her find happiness as well as learn how to stand up for herself.  The mystery story line was just secondary for me to everything else.  I liked the way that this book wrapped up and I find myself very eager to continue on with this series.  

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and these characters.  It wasn't this mind-blowingly great mystery but the characters completely made this book stand out for me.  Ellie is the main reason why I want to read more of this series.  The way the author wrote her just brought her to life in a way that felt so real.  I also enjoyed that there was a bit of humor thrown in throughout the book which just made it that much more fun to read.  I'm super excited to continue on with this series and have already requested the second book from the library.  Fans of Katherine Hall page should definitely give this book a try but I would also recommend this book to mystery fans in general.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A great and enjoyable beginning to this mystery series!

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


Friday, April 14, 2017

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.

But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.

Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems."

My Thoughts:

Okay so read the above summary at your own risk.  Definitely don't read the entire thing that is on Goodreads as it gives way too much away in my opinion.  This book was totally not what I was expecting.  I knew from the very first page that I was going to be in for a wild ride though.  The book begins with this reference to all of the secrets that everyone was so good that I couldn't resist sharing on Litsy with other readers.  It was the perfect way  to begin this book and set the tone for everything that was to come.  I hit the second portion of this book (it was broken into three parts) and that was it for me.  I couldn't stop reading at that point because I was just so hooked by it all.  I'm not saying a lot about the book yet because I feel like this is a book that could easily be spoiled.  If all you want to know is if I enjoyed this book or not then stop reading by the end of this paragraph.  The answer is yes, I did enjoy this book for the majority of it.  I didn't love the ending but I will discuss that more in a little bit.  It was fast paced and intense which is how I like my thrillers to be.

I'm going to be a bit more detailed (possible spoiler alert) from here on out.  I really started reading this book with not having heard much about it.  I read the summary on the book jacket but I really never knew what else to expect.  The first half of the book had some weird vibes but I was just going along with all of it.  The second part of the book is a game changer though.  This is the first book that I've read that would actually deserve the comparison to Gone Girl.  I don't think I liked any of the characters (except maybe the poor kids) which was just like my reading experience with Flynn's book.  There were just a lot of similar vibes and with how over-used the comparison usually is....this is the first time that I actually feels like it might fit.  That being said, I'm kinda over not caring for any of the characters.  It sure didn't stop my from reading this book as fast as I could though!  My only complaint with this book was the ending.  I didn't care for the way it ended.  I feel like the way the author hinted at Stephanie's secrets in the beginning portion of the book.  I just wanted more out of her and the way it ended.  I'm trying not to spoil anything so that is all I will say.  This book was way crazier and darker than I expected so I will end my thoughts there.

Overall, I really enjoyed my reading experience for the most part with this book.  I can't believe that this is the first book by this author.  It is crazy to think about, but now I'm looking forward to reading whatever she comes up with next.  I'm eager to see what other readers think about this book.  The best part sometimes is just discussing a book like this with other readers.  I'm curious to see if others will feel like I did.  I would recommend this book to fans of both thrillers and mysteries.  I can also easily recommend it.  Now to wait and see what this author comes up with next!

Bottom Line:  This debut thriller was quite impressive!

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

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dark Road Home by Anna Carlisle (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"The summer after she graduated from high school, Gin Sullivan's little sister Lily went missing. Her family fell apart, not to mention her relationship with her high school sweetheart, Jake. Now, almost twenty years later, Gin is living in Chicago and working as a medical examiner when she gets the call: a body's been found in the woods outside her small hometown. It could be her sister. After all these years, it's time for Gin to go home and face the demons she tried to leave behind.

Confronting your past is never easy, but for Gin it also means confronting Jake, who was the prime suspect in Lily's disappearance. To find an answer to the question of what happened to her sister that fateful summer, Gin makes the difficult decision to use her talents as a medical examiner to help the police investigation. But as Gin gets deeper into the case, she uncovers a shocking truth that could change everything--if it doesn't destroy what's left of her and her family first."

My Thoughts:

This is yet another of those books that was read last year but then got lost in the shuffle of my months long blogging break.  It is never too late though especially as I was excited to see that there is a second book releasing later this year!  I'm pumped!  I really enjoyed this debut mystery as it had some of the things I love most including family secrets and a past that the main character just can't get away from.  I found that I was easily drawn into this book from the very beginning.  There was just something about Gin's character that I really liked.  She was being forced to re-examine her past and the things that happened that summer when her sister disappeared.  This is all something that she had tried to put behind her and now everything is coming to the surface once again.  Add to that the fact that she is also coming across her ex-boyfriend with whom she still has some feelings for but who was also the last person that was seen with Lily.  It was just about perfect if I do say so myself.  I found this book to be a good suspenseful read that kept me guessing.  I was positive about halfway through the book that I had everything figured out but of course I was wrong.  Ha!  Instead I had a part of it right but not the real mystery so it worked out really well.  I actually really liked the way that this book ended and it left me excited that this is just the beginning to this new mystery series!

Overall, I find that I'm really excited about this author and series in general.  I feel like it really has a ton of potential especially as Gin is such a great main character to read about.  I've already added the second book to my TBR list and am waiting impatiently for it.  I'm hoping that we continue to see some of the characters from this book besides Gin in future books as well.  In particular more of Jake would be nice but I won't say more than that.  I can easily recommend this book to other readers but especially to those who enjoy a good mystery.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A strong beginning to this new mystery series.  I need more!

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

From Potter's Field by Patricia Cornwell (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Christmas has never been a particularly good time for Dr Kay Scarpetta. Although a holiday for most, the festivities always seem to heighten the alienation felt by society's violent fringe; and that usually means more work for Scarpetta, Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner and consulting forensic pathologist for the FBI.

The body was naked, female, and found propped against a fountain in a bleak area of New York's Central Park. Her apparent manner of death points to a modus operandi that is chillingly familiar: the gunshot wound to the head, the sections of skin excised from the body, the displayed corpse - all suggest that Temple Brooks Gault, Scarpetta's nemesis, is back at work.

Calling on all her reserves of courage and skill, and the able assistance of colleagues Marino and Wesley, Scarpetta must track this most dangerous of killers in pursuit of survival as well as justice - heading inexorably to an electrifying climax amid the dark, menacing labyrinths of the New York subway."

My Thoughts:

I am so hooked on this series!  I literally am trying to take my time with this series and not just blow through all of the books but it is so hard when the books are this good.  The reading experience is different for me compared to other readers because I've read two of the more recent books previously.  Now that I'm actually reading the earlier books (and in order) I can see how some of these books are building up to those later books.  It is pretty awesome if I do say so myself!  The thing that I liked best about this book is that feeling where absolutely anything could happen next.  This feeling is actually present in most of the books that I have read by her but it was especially strong in this book.  There was this creepy scene in the morgue where I was on the edge of my seat while reading.  It was SO intense!!  I never know what the characters are going to do or how they are going to react despite being in each book from the very beginning.  I don't know how else to describe it.  Benton, Lucy, Marino.....heck, they are all mysteries from time to time which really adds just another layer of suspense to these novels.  The best part of this book though was that Temple Brooks Gault was back and seemingly on a killing spree.  We first read about him a few books back and he was even more terrifying in this book.  I may say this with every book but I felt like this was one of the most suspenseful books in the series so far.  It was crazy at times and I just couldn't get enough of it!  

At this point I'm a huge fan of this mystery series and am enjoying every minute of reading these books.  This book was everything that I enjoy in a thriller and mystery all combined into one.  It was hard to put down, and I found myself flying through the pages.  I really love the way this author writes in such a way as leaves me questioning everything that is going on.  I just can't get enough of these books!  I already have the next book waiting patiently on my shelves- I won't be waiting long to read it so that I'm able to see what kind of trouble Scarpetta finds herself in next.  Highly, highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  Yet another amazing addition to this series which is a favorite of mine!

Disclosure:  I picked up my copy of this book from my local used bookstore.  Worth every penny!    

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Two Can Play by Kate Kessler (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Halloween is approaching, and criminal psychologist Audrey Harte has been hired by the prosecution to help prepare for the trial of 19-year-old serial killer Ian "Boy Scout" Monroe. His one surviving victim, Tori Scott, is the star witness, but when someone begins killing with Monroe's M.O., the authorities -- and Audrey -- begin to wonder if Monroe had a partner. Keeping Tori safe is the main concern, but Audrey has also attracted the copy-cat's attention.

Audrey is drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, and when someone close to her is abducted by the killer, Audrey has no choice but to play..."

My Thoughts:

I cannot recommend this series enough!  Last year I read and loved the first book in this series, It Takes One.  That book left me so excited about this new series and eagerly waiting to get my hands on this book.  I was absolutely thrilled to find that I enjoyed this book just as much as the first book.  One of the things that I like best about this series is that it has a darker edge to it and especially to the characters.  Audrey committed murder when she was younger and that isn't something that has left her.  In fact, it is something that she is constantly dealing with and trying to overcome.  This isn't something that you see in most thrillers/mystery series which is one of the reasons I like it so much.  This series is different from what's out there which makes it stand out to me.  I also really, really enjoy the fact that Audrey is so bad-ass.  She can truly be scary at times which isn't something that you see very often with a female character.  I just love that the author isn't afraid to take chance with these books and the books are that much better because of it. 

This book was just as much of a page-turner as the first book.  I found myself unable to set it down especially towards the end.  I hit a certain point where there was no turning back and I just settled in to see how it would all play out.  I guessed who the killer was about halfway thru the book but for me it didn't matter as I still needed to see how it would end.  This author isn't afraid to make difficult choices with her characters so the entire reading experience is more intense because of it.  I may have figured the mystery out but it didn't mean that I knew how it would end.  Does that make sense?  I really enjoyed that we continue to see more of Audrey and Jake's relationship as I'm really loving it.  They understand each other so well and in a way that most wouldn't.  Obviously I really enjoyed everything about this book.  I don't have a bad thing to say about it!

Overall, I have to admit that there is a very good chance that this book will also make it on to my top reads list for 2017.  Now I just have to start the waiting game back up again for the next book in this series to release.  Ugh!  It is so hard when the books are so good!  I've seen that there is definitely going to be a third book but I am really, really hoping that there will be more after that one.  I really feel like this series is a bit under that radar - mystery and thriller fans NEED to check this one out!  There is a lot continuing from the first book so I do think readers should start with It Takes One.  But that doesn't mean that you can't start here if you want to!  Highly, highly recommended!  Seriously- read this series already!

Bottom Line:  A personal favorite series of mine and we are only two books in!  I cannot recommend enough!

Disclosure:  I checked this book out from my local library.  I will be purchasing a copy for my own shelves at some point. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

April Reading Plans (2017 Edition)

Wow!  It is hard to believe that I'm already working on my reading plans for April.  2017 hasn't been my best year so far in regards to how many books I've read but it has been a good year quality wise.  This will probably one of the busier months for my family as we adjust to sports schedules and fitting all of that around school and homework.  I still have lots of reading goals and books that I would like to read so my reading pile is as huge as always.  Here are the print books that I'm hoping to read in April:
  • A Perfect Gentleman by Candace Camp - This was a surprise review copy sent by the publisher to me this past month.  I enjoyed one of this author's books last year so I was super excited about this especially as I hadn't heard about it until now.  I read the premise and can already tell that this is a book I will enjoy.
  •  Summer Knight by Jim Butcher - I've been craving some Harry Dresden so it is well past time to continue on with this series.  I was listening to a podcast the other day that mentioned this series and ended up requesting this book from the library soon after.  I can't wait to see what kind of trouble Harry gets himself into next.
  • The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen - 1st in a series and this is actually off of my own shelves.  I picked this book up from the used bookstore earlier this year I believe and am anxious to read it.  I've never seen the show that is based on this series but I wouldn't mind checking it out (after I read the books first).  I can't wait to check this book out!
  • The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day - This is a review copy for an upcoming TLC Book tour that is later this month.  This author has been on my radar for awhile now so I can't wait to finally give her a try!  It sounds like my kind of book and will probably end up being my next read.
I've decided that for April my goal is to mainly read e-books for the majority of the month.  You've heard me say a million times how terrible my self control is when it comes to NetGalley and Edelweiss.  Despite always signing up and participating in #COYER e-reading challenges, I am still desperately trying to catch up on some of these review copies that are just sitting unread.  I would love, love, love to make a dent on my TBR list for e-books.  Here are the kindle books that I have added to my April pile of possibilities:

  •  Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner - These first two books are both the first books in a series that I haven't yet started and now also have the 2nd book waiting to be read.  Don't worry I'm shaking my head at myself over here too.  I really like the sound of this one and am eager to get started on it!
  • Mummy's Favorite by Sarah Flint - See above for my part of my explanation on wanting to read.  The cover of this one is also pretty great and then you add in the description....well, I've already downloaded this one on my phone ready to be started.  Both of these books sound like they will be right up my alley so I can't wait!
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager - I told you guys that I wouldn't be able to wait too much longer before reading this one.  It doesn't release until July I believe but I just have to check it out for myself now.  It sounds creepy and thrilling and I'm there for all of that!  Plus, that cover!!!
  • Dangerous Behavior by Nancy Bush - I requested this one from NetGalley based of the description alone.  I've had this author on my TBR list for years but hopefully not for much longer.  It sounds like a page turner and I'm looking forward to checking it out!
  • He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly - This is another author that I've been wanting to read for years.  I jumped all over the chance to read this one because I've got no self control.  Also, because this book basically sounded amazing and how could I not?  
  • Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen - I'm participating in a blog tour for the publisher for this one later this month.  I couldn't help saying yes because I am basically addicted to all thrillers/mysteries as of late.  It sounds like it will be a great read and I have high hopes!
  • Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan - 1st in a cozy mystery series that I've been wanting to start.  It also helps that I now have the second book also waiting to be read on my kindle so I need to read this one first (I'm seeing a trend here as well).  I love a good cozy to switch things up so this should be perfect.
  • The Child by Fiona Barton - Last year I read and enjoyed The Widow by this author.  This book sounds even better so I couldn't resist requesting it.  I'm loving that cover as well!  I think that one of the characters from the previous book is in this one as well (the detective or reporter maybe?) so that will be interesting to see as well. 
  • The Lady Traveler's Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander - I feel like this book should win the award for longest title.  This is for another upcoming TLC book tour although my review date isn't until May or June - I can't remember off the top of my head.  Another author that I've been wanting to try so I'm excited to see what this book is all about!
  • Undertow by Elizabeth Heathcote - Oh my goodness- the premise of this book!  A woman who gets married and then thinks that her new husband may have killed his previous wife.  I'm so there!  That cover is so eye-catching as well and I just had to check it out for myself!
So many books!!  I really, really would love to read the majority of these books and make a small dent in my e-reader TBR.  Okay, it might only be a drop but it is the thought that counts.  I have plenty of good reading ahead of me so hopefully my reading picks up this month.  I mean how can it now when I have all of these to look forward to?

What book/s should I read first?  Have you read any of these yet?  What books are you hoping to read in April?  Do share!

Happy Reading!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Doll House by M.J. Arlidge (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Detective Helen Grace is on the trail of a twisted serial killer in this gripping thriller in the “taut, fast-paced”* international bestselling series.

Ruby wakes up in a strange room. Her captor calmly explains that no one is looking for her. No one wants her. Except him.

When the body of a woman is found buried on a secluded beach, Detective Helen Grace is called to the scene. She knows right away that the killer is no amateur. The woman has been dead for years, and no one has even reported her missing. But why would they? She’s still sending text messages to her family.

Helen is convinced that a criminal mastermind is at work: someone very smart, very careful, and worst of all, very patient. But as she struggles to piece together the killer’s motive, time is running out for a victim who is still alive..."

My Thoughts:

Wow!  Three books into this series and each book has been a five star read for me so far.  That is crazy but so wonderful at the same time!  I cannot get over how fast paced and intense these books are for me as the reader.  I picked this book up specifically because that was what I needed.  My husband was having surgery and I knew that I needed a book that would suck me in basically so that I wouldn't just sit there and stress for two hours straight.  The short chapters and constant feeling of tension worked wonderfully and had me turning the pages as fast as I could.  I was able to finish this book in less than two days because I just didn't want to set the book down.  It was the perfect stress reliever as I found myself racing to see how it would all turn out.  It was funny because at first the premise of this book almost felt a bit familiar to me.  I still don't know what book it reminded me of though so I'm not sure why.  But what the author is so skilled at is even though I had that feeling in the beginning, it soon went away because of everything else that was going on throughout this book.  I don't even know how to explain it really.  Each book in this series could be read as a stand-alone if the reader wanted to read them out of order.  There are these details though from the first book to now this one, that just make this series stand out for me as the reader.  The different things that Helen has to deal with both in her work and personal life.  The people that care for her and those that don't.  It all adds up to make such a unique reading experience that I just can't get enough of.  

This book wasn't my favorite of the series (that still remains as Eeny Meeny the 1st book) but it was also still a five star read for me which should say it all.  It was a chilling read that kept me wondering how it would all come together until the very end.  This author isn't afraid to make difficult choices with the characters at points which makes it a very nerve-wracking reading experience.  I just never know what is going to happen next!  This is an author and a series that I just cannot recommend enough.  I'm trying to take my time with this series and not rush through it but when the books are all this good....well, it is definitely hard!  I've already got the next book on my TBR list and I have a feeling that I won't be waiting too much longer to read it.  Highly recommended!  Heck, I recommend the entire series!

Bottom Line:  This book will most likely be on my top reads list for 2017!  It was that good!

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Despite the bitter winter in South Lick, Indiana, business is still hot at Robbie Jordan’s restaurant. But when another murder rattles the small town, can Robbie defrost the motives of a cold-blooded killer?

Before she started hosting dinners for Indiana University’s Sociology Department at Pans ‘N Pancakes, Robbie never imagined scholarly meetings could be so hostile. It’s all due to Professor Charles Stilton, who seems to thrive on heated exchanges with his peers and underlings, and tensions flare one night after he disrespects Robbie’s friend, graduate student Lou. So when Robbie and Lou go snowshoeing the next morning and find the contentious academic frozen under ice, police suspect Lou might have killed him after their public tiff. To prove her friend’s innocence, Robbie is absorbing local gossip about Professor Stilton’s past and developing her own thesis on the homicide—even if that means stirring up terrible danger for herself along the way . . ."

My Thoughts:

Three books in and this series is going strong!  I actually think that this is my favorite book of the series yet.  There are just so many things to enjoy and because of that I read this book in less than two days.  That is almost unheard of for me!  One of the things that I enjoy most about this series is reading about Robbie's cooking while working at her restaurant Pans 'N Pancakes.  It is such fun to read about the different breakfast and lunch combinations that she comes up with.  Also, it never fails to make me super hungry while reading and usually for breakfast type foods.  I've come to realize that the majority of my favorite cozy mysteries all feature food.  I'm not sure what that says about me as a reader.  LOL!  But I do really, really enjoy the scenes where Robbie is busy working in her restaurant with all of the delicious descriptions of the food that she makes. 

I really enjoyed the mystery portion of this book as well.  The author gave the story a sort of Nancy Drew feel with a hidden tunnel and other fun secrets.  As I was a huge Nancy Drew fan in my youth, I couldn't get enough of this book because of it.  I really enjoyed the fact that the author had me guessing on the killer throughout almost the entire book.  I also really enjoyed that in this book we got to see more of Robbie's relationship with Abe.  I've been hoping for this since the very first book so consider me a happy reader.  I just really enjoyed this book (obviously) and don't have anything bad to say about it.  My only complaint is that now I have to wait for book four.  LOL!  It's so hard to wait when these books are so good.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am left so excited about this series!  I've really come to enjoy my time in South Lick, Indiana with all of these characters.  Robbie is someone that I would want to be friends with in real life and I just love all of the other secondary characters as well.  With fast-paced mysteries and that whodunnit feel I adore, I just can't seem to get enough of these books.  I would recommend these books to cozy mystery and mystery fans alike.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  My favorite of the series so far!  So good!

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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Sunday Post #25 (Catching Up 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"

I'm back!  I took a few weeks off of posting but not actually from blogging.  Instead I've been working on writing up reviews and scheduling posts for the entire month of April.  Who is this girl?  Hahahaha!  But seriously, I always feel like I'm a step behind when it comes to blogging especially when life gets busier and busier.  So I figured I could take a few weeks off and work on getting ahead for a change.  Who knows how long it will last but it is fun to try!

Spring sports are starting back up which has been an adjustment.  Last week the kiddos were on spring break which made it all a bit easier.  They go back to school this week so the real madness will begin.  We've got soccer practices for the youngest and then my daughter has softball- both practice and hitting.  The oldest is back to lifting for football three times a week.  The youngest will also be starting up baseball any day now.  I'm still on mandatory overtime with no end in sight.  It's going to be lots of fun (and now I'm sure you can see why I'm trying to work ahead for a change).  Usually all of these practices would mean extra reading time but I'm trying to walk during them instead to get some exercise in.  I've got to work out somewhere/somehow so this is how I'm doing it.  Actually my reading has really slowed down as of late.  I'm hoping that will change though soon as my TBR pile isn't getting any smaller.

I have been reading though so let's talk about that instead.  I can't remember the last time that I shared with all of you so I'm not even going to attempt going back that far.  Instead, I'll share about what I just finished last week and am now currently reading.  I actually finished one book last week which I had been wanting to read for months:

Two Can Play by Kate Kessler -  I read and loved the first book in this series last year so this has been on my TBR list since then.  I finally got the chance to read this one and loved it as well.  It was a great follow-up and has left me so excited to get my hands on the third book.  I need to write up my thoughts on this one still but there is a good chance this will be on my top reads list this year.

I'm now currently in the middle of two books:

Hard-Hearted Highlander is my current kindle read.  I'm reading it for a TLC tour coming up in April and so far so good.  I've already read another book in this series earlier this year and really enjoyed so I have high hopes for this one.  I love that the author always seems to put the hero and heroine in impossible situations where you have no idea how everything will be able to work out.  I'm reading in print my first non-fiction book of the year Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer.  I feel like I've been reading this book forever.  It isn't even that I'm not enjoying it because I am for the most part.  I just don't always pick it up so I'm slowly working my way through it.  I'm getting towards the end so I'm going to really focus on finishing this one this week.

New Acquisitions:

I've been absolutely horrible this year when it comes to self control and buying books.  NetGalley?  Ridiculousness.  I can't possibly share about all of the books I've brought into the house since I last posted (because at this point I don't even know) so I'll share about the newest books sitting on my NetGalley shelf.  I say I'm going to work on this but really I'm doing horribly.  I need to focus on all the unread books I already have instead.

And so many, many more but we'll save that for another day.  I have no excuse for not reading when I have so many great books waiting for me. 

I'm off to focus on my laundry piles and getting ready for the week.  My son turns fourteen today so we've been busy celebrating this weekend.  Now we have a good birthday dinner and cake to look forward to tonight.  I'm eager to catch up with all of you and see what you've been reading but that may not happen until later this week.  For now, let me know what you've been up to or reading since we last talked!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Monday, March 6, 2017

March Reading Plans (2017 Edition)

Hello!  It feels like it has been awhile when maybe it really hasn't?  I've had posts scheduled so my blog hasn't been silent but I haven't actually written any posts up in a couple of weeks almost.  Responding to comments?  Nope.  What happened you might wonder?  Well, first we went out of town for the weekend with the kiddos so that was a lot of fun.  We came back though to a week of the flu- it was one kid after the other.  It wasn't fun but we seem to be all past it now for which I am very thankful.  On top of that I've been working mandatory overtime all month long and that is going to continue on through this month.  Busy, busy!  March is here though and it is already time to think about the books that I'm hoping/planning to read this month.  I've already finished my 1st book for the month and it was completely off pile.  I'm counting it as a win though since it was actually in my February pile of possibilities and off of my own shelves.  Score!  Here are the print books that I would like to read this month:

  • By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates - 1st in a cozy mystery series and one that I picked up last month when I was at a local Goodwill.  I loved the sound of it and decided I didn't want to wait long to give this series a try!
  • Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie - 3rd book in this mystery series and also from my own shelves.  I read the first two books in this series a year or two back and just adored them.  I've been meaning to continue on with this series every since so in March I'm hoping to do exactly that.  I've got really high hopes for this one!
  • The American Girl by Kate Horsley - This is actually a recent library find that I was so intrigued by.  I picked it up on a whim and read the back....and just like that I knew it was coming home with me to be read as soon as possible.  I love when I find new to me books like this!
  • Someone Must Die by Sharon Potts - Another Goodwill find that I couldn't resist bringing home with me (I've already brought a ridiculous number of books into my house in 2017 but that's another story).  I really like the sound of this one and couldn't resist adding a thriller to my pile of reads.  It sounds right up my alley!
  • Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey - This is a review copy that has been sitting on my shelves for way too long.  I keep saying that I'm finally going to get through some of these older review copies- maybe this month will be the month that I actually do just that.  It sounds intriguing!
  • Never Tell by Alafair Burke - Another aged review copy.  And I love Alafair Burke so I have no clue why I haven't read this one yet.  Obviously that needs to change and soon.  I'm really looking forward to this one as I haven't read a bad book by this author yet.  
  • The River at Night by Erica Ferencik - This was a Goodread's win that I just recently received.  I've seen some really great reviews for this thriller so I'm super excited to have the chance to read it!  I will definitely be squeezing this one in before March ends.
  • Origin in Death by J.D. Robb - Off of my own shelves and the next book (for me at least) in the In Death series.  Enough said!
I'm of course also hoping to read plenty of books on my kindle.  Here are the kindle books that I am hoping to read in March:

  • Path Into Darkness by Lisa Alber - NetGalley review copy and that cover alone had me adding this book to my TBR list.  The description had me requesting this book as fast as I could (despite the fact that I really, really don't need to be requesting books from Netgalley).  I'm really looking forward to giving this author a try!
  • The Lost Children by Helen Phifer - This author has been on my radar for awhile now so I jumped at the chance to read this one (also courtesy of NetGalley).  I love the sound of this book as well and cannot wait to give it a try.  This publisher is one of my favorites for a thrilling read so I can't wait!
  • Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London - I recently read and enjoyed Sinful Scottish Laird by this author.  This is the next book in the series and one that I'm reading for another TLC book tour that is coming up in April I believe.  I enjoyed the previous book so much that I'm really looking forward to this one!  I also am hoping to read ahead so I'm adding this book to March's TBR pile.
  • I See You by Claire Mackintosh - I have heard SO MANY great things about this author and her books.  I simply must finally see what the hype is all about!  I know next to nothing about this book other than it is a thriller and that readers are loving this author a lot.  I can't wait to give this book a try!
  • The Secrets You Keep by Kate White - I've loved this author's books in the past so I'm super excited to have her newest book on my e-reader.  She always writes page-turners and that is exactly what I'm in the mood for.  I keep saying this but I cannot wait to read this one as well!  So many books, so little time!
  • Deadly Silence by Rebecca Zanetti - This is the beginning to a new romantic suspense series.  I really don't read enough books like this so I'm really looking forward to giving this book a try.  Plus that gorgeous cover really helps!  I have high hopes as I've read a different book by this author (also a 1st in a different series) and really enjoyed it.  
  • Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington - I knew as soon as I read the description of this book that I wanted to read it.  Somehow it got pushed to the side for other books though and I'm just now adding it to my reading pile.  Also a thriller but this one sounds like it focuses more of family relationships.  I can't wait to begin!
  • When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day - 3rd book in one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  I seriously stalked NetGalley for this book because I wanted to read it so badly.  I actually just shared my thoughts on the 2nd book not that long ago and that got me even more excited for this book.  I CANNOT WAIT!
So many books here!  So many books that I really, really want to read right this minute.  2017 has been a bit of a slower reading year so far for me.  I'm already two books behind on my Goodread's goal.  Obviously I need to stay off Facebook and Litsy more which will help me not to be so distracted and give me more reading time.  I just love Litsy so much though!!  Maybe March will be the month where my reading year starts turning around.  I sure hope so because I really want to read all of these and that isn't including all of the other books that I wanted to read in the past two months that I haven't gotten to yet.  A girl has to dream, right?

What books are you hoping to read in March?  Have you read any of the books that are in my reading pile?  If you have feel free to let me know your thoughts or tell me which ones I should read next.  Happy reading!