Thursday, July 19, 2018

What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"On June 28, 1980, Kelly Michelle Lund shoots and kills Oscar-nominated director John McFadden at a party in his home . . . and instantly becomes a media sensation. For years, speculation swirls over the seventeen-year-old’s motives. Convicted of the murder, she loses her youth and her freedom—but keeps her secrets to herself.

Thirty years later—and five years after her release from prison—the past has come back to haunt Kelly. Her father-in-law, movie legend Sterling Marshall, is found in a pool of blood in his home in the Hollywood Hills—dead from a shot to the head, just like his old friend John McFadden.
Once again, Kelly is suspected of the high profile murder. But this time, she’s got some unexpected allies who believe she’s innocent—of both killings—and want to help clear her name. But is she?"
My Thoughts:

What Remains of Me was one of those mysteries that slowly swept me away as I tried to figure out exactly what had happened so many years ago.  It was a book that had layers to it - each layer needed to be peeled back so that we could see the full truth behind what happened so long ago and in the present.  I enjoyed the fact that there were two mysteries within this book: the first being the mystery of what really happened thirty some years ago and the second being if Kelly is involved in the murder of her father in law now.  The two questions are tied together so closely that I constantly felt that the answer to one should also end with the answer to the other.  It gave this book such a unique layer of tension and atmosphere as the reader doesn't know if they can fully trust Kelly or not.  Is she innocent of this new murder?  Did she actually murder John McFadden so many years ago and why?  There were just so many questions swirling around in my head while I read and it really added to my enjoyment of this book!  The only thing that that took away from my reading experience with this book is hard to put into words.  I enjoyed this book the entire time that I was reading it but I was never "wowed" by it.  I've heard such good things about this author and I obviously agree as I mostly enjoyed this book but it just didn't stand out for me like I had hoped that it would.  This book has such a unique and compelling premise but I'm not 100% that it lived up to it.  It was really good - don't get me wrong but I just wouldn't classify it as great.  I think it would be fair to rate it as a four star read overall so take my feelings with a grain of salt as that is still a really good rating!

Overall, I did enjoy my time with this book and am looking forward to reading more by this author.  I've actually got the first book in a series she has written on my own shelves so I'm really looking forward to giving that a try next.  I liked the way it was set up and also how the author tied everything together in the end.  Yes, I was able to predict parts of it but there were also some surprises thrown in there too.  I'm thinking that this may have slightly been a case of my expectations being a bit too high because when I think about the book as a whole and my reading experience with it....well I did have a lot more positives rather than negatives.  I'm going to recommend this book to fans of both suspense and mysteries.  

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful mystery!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss.  I actually purchased a copy of this book though from my local used bookstore which is what I read.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Pretty Girls Dancing by Kylie Brant (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Years ago, in the town of Saxon Falls, young Kelsey Willard disappeared and was presumed dead. The tragedy left her family with a fractured life—a mother out to numb the pain, a father losing a battle with his own private demons, and a sister desperate for closure. But now another teenage girl has gone missing. It’s ripping open old wounds for the Willards, dragging them back into a painful past, and leaving them unprepared for where it will take them next.
Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent Mark Foster has stumbled on uncanny parallels in the lives of the two missing girls that could unlock clues to a serial killer’s identity. That means breaking down the walls of the Willards’ long-guarded secrets and getting to a truth that is darker than he bargained for. Now, to rescue one missing girl, he must first solve the riddles that disappeared with another: Kelsey Willard herself. Dead or alive, she is his last hope."
My Thoughts:
Pretty Girls Dancing was a book that I was instantly pulled into from almost the very first page.  It wasn't an easy read by any means due to the subject matter but it was very compelling and hard to put down.  One of the things that this author did really well was make me think even if it wasn't always comfortable to do so.  There was this moment where Kelsey's mom thinks about how if she knew that she had limited moments with her that she might have appreciated them more (I'm paraphrasing here but you get the gist) - and doesn't that just hit you in the gut?  Because how easy is it as a parent to get overwhelmed or swept away by life and not appreciate the every day moments with your children?  I know that it struck me and is something that I will keep turning back to in the next few weeks.  The mystery portion of this book was done so well!  I loved that as the reader we were left wondering about Kelsey's fate while also worrying about Whitney who had just recently disappeared.  The book is told in multiple viewpoints - from Janie (Kelsey's sister), Kelsey's Mom and Dad, the main detective on the case, and then Whitney herself.  Whitney's chapters were honestly the hardest to read.  This might be considered as a slight spoiler but we get to witness exactly what she is going through while missing.  Plus, there is this constant layer of tension and danger as I was forced to wonder what next and would she be found in time.  The suspense and tension in this book was constant throughout but those last one hundred and fifty pages - well it was just intense!  I stayed up way too late on a work night but it was completely worth it.  This isn't a book that I will be forgetting about soon and an author that I cannot wait to read more of!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and am so excited to have found this author!  It wasn't always an easy for me to read as a parent but it was just so compelling that I couldn't put it down.  I love that this author has a bunch of other books for me to check out and look forward to!  I've been reading a lot of thrillers and mysteries as of late - this is a book that really stood out and was different than the others I've been reading.  Don't get me wrong - it is a mystery but I just felt that it was also something more.  A book that makes me think and self evaluate as a parent is a really good read in my opinion.  I can easily recommend this book to other readers but especially to mystery and thriller fans.  

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful and thrilling read that will stick with me for a while!

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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Sunday Post #49 (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"

Wow!  It has been a few weeks since I last had the chance to post or share my thoughts on any books with you all.  Life happens, it's summer time - that should really tell you all you need to know.  LOL!  We've been busy and on the go almost nonstop these  past couple of months which is the last time I did a post like this.  The spring/summer baseball and softball seasons have just recently ended which means life is starting to slow down just a bit.  It won't be lasting very long but I for one am fully appreciating a clean house.  So much falls to the wayside when you are at a softball tournament every weekend or a game/practice most nights of the week.  It makes me tired just thinking about it but we survived and a great time was had by all!

Currently my oldest is in full football swing getting ready for the upcoming season which is exciting as I always look forward to watching him play.  My youngest two both have travel tryouts coming up so they are practicing and getting ready for that.  We will have a few weeks break and then things will start to pick up again which means I need to appreciate my nights home with no plans as much as possible.  I HAVE been reading although of course my reading pace has dropped considerably these past couple of months.  I'm still four books ahead on my Goodread's reading challenge so let's count that as a win.  I'm not going to even attempt to do a reading update for all of the books I've finished since my last post like this.  I do plan on writing up reviews though on all of the books I've finished and haven't yet shared my thoughts on.  It is going to take me a bit thought to catch up as I'm probably close to ten books or so behind.  I'm going to work on trying to get ahead and get some posts scheduled so that I won't have two week blogging breaks like I have been doing.  Let's move on though to the books!

Last book I finished reading was:

I've actually got my thoughts on this one written up so watch for my review on Tuesday of this week. I really enjoyed it!

Currently reading:

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is the book I'm mostly turning to at this point.  I started this one and was immediately sucked in.  I'm not quite at a hundred pages yet but I'm really eager to relax and curl up with this book for some quality reading time soon!  The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash is a review copy and one that I'm on the fence on.  I haven't quite connected with this book yet even though I'm a little over halfway through it.  Some parts I enjoy and other parts not as much.  I'm trying to decide if I'm going to stick it out and see how it all ends or just move on to something else.  Has anyone else read this one?  Have an opinion to share on it?

Plans for today include lots of yard work.  So many nights at the softball and baseball fields have meant that my yard has suffered.  My husband and I plan to really dig into working and getting our yard back into shape.  I'm hoping that we also get the chance to grill out for the first time this summer.  Sad but true.  I also need to work on catch up with my never-ending laundry piles that are beyond ridiculous at this point.  Other than that, I'm hoping for a quiet day with some reading time squeezed in.  It sure is nice to be back though and chatting with all of you!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Stray Magic by Kelly Meding (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Shiloh Harrison was hoping for a few days off to recover from a particularly nasty assignment, preferably with the help of the talented hands (and, well, the rest of his body too) of her sexy boyfriend, Vincent. But when a group of vampires takes an entire trailer park hostage, there’s nothing to do but make her apologies and get to the scene.

Such is the life of a Federal Marshal in the Paranormal Investigators Unit.

Yet this isn’t like her typical track-and-nab case: something is going on that has vampires scared, and it takes all her strength not to imagine what could frighten such powerful creatures. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have that option. Her boss is MIA, someone is snatching vampires, and there’s a ticking clock that can only end one way: a bloodbath.

Unless she can stop it."

My Thoughts:

As soon as I saw that cover and read the above summary I just knew that I wanted to read this book!  There is not nearly enough new urban fantasy series coming out for my liking so I couldn't help but jump all over this one!  I may be a huge mystery/thriller fan but urban fantasy is a genre that holds a special place in my heart.  I've got to say that this was a really great beginning to this series and I just cannot wait for more!  One of my favorite things about this book was just how easily I was pulled into this world that the author has created.  I found myself reading late into the night because I was just so compelled by this book.  I couldn't stop reading as I had to see what was going to happen next.  I also really liked the cast of characters that Shiloh works with.  They were all characters that I enjoyed reading about and am looking forward to learning more about in future books!  The action was non-stop and one of the reasons that I just couldn't set this book down.  I also enjoyed the unique qualities of this book that made it stand out from others in this genre.  I don't want to give too many specifics as they could be considered spoilers but let me just say that the ending of this book had me crushed and needing more.  I need book two in my life as soon as possible!  But besides the ending - just Shiloh's unique heritage really made this book stand out for me.  I just found that this book really stood out for me in comparison to other books/series I've read in this genre.  I am seriously left so excited about this series and just wishing/pining for more books just like this!

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book immensely and cannot wait for more!  Books like this are exactly why I can't get enough of urban fantasy.  It was such a fast paced and wild ride but I loved every minute of it!  I'm not going to lie - I ignored as much as my housework as I possibly could get away with while reading this book.  Ha!  Trying not to think about what that says about me - other than I sure do love my books!  It was a really great beginning to this series and I'm so excited about the characters as well as what may happen next.  The author did a really great job of tying everything up in this book while leaving me absolutely pining for the next book.  I would highly recommend this book to fans of urban fantasy and paranormal.  You certainly won't be disappointed in my opinion!  

Bottom Line:  A book and series that I'm so excited about now!

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Splinter in the Blood by Ashley Dyer (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"After months of hunting a cold-blooded murderer that the press has dubbed the Thorn Killer, Detective Greg Carver is shot in his own home. His trusted partner, Ruth Lake, is alone with him. Yet instead of calling for help, she’s rearranged the crime scene and wiped the room clean of prints.

But Carver isn’t dead.

Awakening in the hospital, Carver has no memory of being shot, but is certain that his assailant is the Thorn Killer. Though there’s no evidence to support his claim, Carver insists the attack is retaliation, an attempt to scare the detective off the psychopath’s scent, because he’s getting too close. Trapped in a hospital bed and still very weak, Carver’s obsession grows. He’s desperate to get back to work and finally nail the bastard, before more innocent blood is spilled.

One person knows the truth and she’s not telling. She’s also now leading the Thorn Killer investigation while Carver recuperates. It doesn’t matter that Carver and the rest of the force are counting on her, and that more victims’ lives at stake. Ruth is keeping a deadly secret, and she’ll cross every line—sacrificing her colleagues, her career, and maybe even her own life—to keep it from surfacing."

My Thoughts:

How could I not want to read this book after that synopsis?  I mean seriously - I felt like this book summary was written with my tastes in mind.  Dark, secretive main character where you don't know their true intentions?  Check.  Possibly unreliable main character with memory issues?  Check.  Page turning mystery where you don't fully know who to trust or what is going on?  Check, check, check.  I was sold on reading this one as soon as I read the above and it was just as good as I had hoped it would be!  This is just the type of thrilling mystery that I can't get enough of!  I was immediately intrigued from the very first page.  What actually happened to Greg Carver that night?  Why did Ruth compromise the crime scene and what is she hiding?  Those questions alone kept me reading and turning the pages as fast as I could.  It was just such a tangled mystery and I couldn't get enough!  Ruth was such a great main character to read about as I'm a sucker for a main character with a secretive nature.  It just always seems to add to the suspense and tension in the book when you don't fully know the motivations behind the main character and their actions.  The mystery portion of this book was very well done and kept me guessing until the very end.  I found the last 100 or so pages made the book unputdownable for me (no that's not a real word but it feels like it should be).  I could not stop reading and really didn't want to!  I'm super excited that this looks to be the beginning a series!  Bring on the next book please!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time reading this book and am left really excited about this being the beginning to a new series!  There was just something so completely immersive about this book and my reading experience with it.  I couldn't stop reading and really didn't want to!  I found myself trying to figure out what was going on and why the entire time that I was reading.  I wasn't successful which made for a very page turning read!  I'm really excited to see what these authors come up with next!  I think that readers who enjoy mysteries and thrillers should give this book a try!  I can easily recommend it and really want more book just like this one!  It felt like it was written for me and my reading tastes so what else could I possibly want?  

Bottom Line:  A page turner that left me pining to read more!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.  Thoughts are my own.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?"

My Thoughts:

When I think of this book the first word that comes to mind is page-turner!  I started reading this book and was finished it with it in a matter of days which doesn't always happen (even though I would like it to).  I just couldn't stop reading as I always felt compelled to see what was going to happen next.  My favorite thing about this book was that feeling that I never knew quite what was going on.  As I was reading I wasn't sure who Leah could trust and who she couldn't.  There were just constant questions and I was never sure of any of the character's motivations which it made it that much more interesting.  It also made it that much harder to put down!  It almost felt like there were two mysteries within this book.  The mystery of what was happening in the present and also the mystery of what had happened in Leah's past.  I enjoyed how we were given parts of Leah's past in pieces throughout the book.  It added to the suspense and had me questioning Leah's motivations as well.  I hit a point in this book where I just knew that I wasn't going to stop reading as I had to see how it would all end.  I will say that it was a pretty satisfying conclusion even though I had started guessing pieces of it.  It ended up being a really solid read for me - an easy four stars!

This is now the second book that I've read and enjoyed by this author.  The first book I read of hers was a young adult novel and I enjoyed that one just as much as this one.  I'm excited that I have other books of hers to look forward to!  This was a really great standalone thriller which is a type of book that I just don't read enough of.  I'm a series girl for the majority of the books I choose but books like this make me want to stretch and read more standalones!  I love a book that keeps me reading late into the night and this one definitely did!  I think that fans of both suspense and thrillers should give this book a try!  I can easily recommend it and am looking forward to reading more by this author because of it!

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful read that I couldn't put down!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publisher.  Thoughts on it are my own.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Body Counter by Anne Frasier (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Months after discovering the mastermind behind her own kidnapping, Detective Jude Fontaine is dealing with the past the only way she knows how: by returning to every dark corner of it. But it’s a new, escalating series of mass slayings that has become her latest obsession at Homicide.
At first, Jude and her partner, Detective Uriah Ashby, can see no pattern to the seemingly random methods, the crime scenes, or the victims—until they’re approached by a brilliantly compulsive math professor. He believes that the madman’s next move is not incalculable; in fact, it’s all part of a sequential and ingenious numerical riddle. His theory is adding up. The body count is rising.
But when the latest victim is found in Jude’s apartment, the puzzle comes with a personal twist that’s going to test the breaking point of her already-fragile state of mind. For all she knows, her number may be up."
My Thoughts:
I remember finishing The Body Reader two years ago and just wishing that the author would turn that book into a series.  I loved that book so much (which seems really strange to say considering how dark and twisted it was) and I just wanted more!  You can probably imagine how thrilled I was when I then heard about this book and realized that my wish had come true.  I couldn't wait to crack this book open which meant I almost instantly started reading it.  I will tell you here and now that it was just as good as I hoped and knew that it could be.  I loved my time with this book!  Loved it!  And yes it also feels strange to say that still as this book is just as dark as the first book was.  There is just something about Jude's character that is so compelling.  I never know what to expect from her or how she is going to react.  I also really, really like Uriah's character (her partner on the police force).  They compliment each other so well and there is just something so unreachable to both of them.  I don't know how else to explain it but it sure makes for really great reading.  One thing that I did struggle with at the beginning of this book was remembering all of the details from the previous book.  It had been a few years so it wasn't as fresh in my mind as I would have liked.  It didn't effect my enjoyment too much though as I just went back and read my thoughts on the first book.  I will say that this is probably a series best read in order but since there currently only two books that is completely doable.  The mystery portion of this book was both gruesome and compelling.  I couldn't stop reading because I just had to see how everything was going to end.  This was a book that I just found myself so completely immersed within.  It was such a great reading experience and once again I was left wanting more.  More books featuring these characters that I just can't seem to get enough of!  More mysteries that pull me in and don't let me go!  I just want more and that's never a bad thing when it comes to books!
Overall I really, really enjoyed this book so much that it has now cemented the series on to my personal favorites list.  I will basically read everything and anything that this author writes!  But that long wait for book three......luckily it looks like this author has other books that I can check out in the meantime.  I really can't say enough good things about this author and these two books.  This is easily a five star read for me which should say it all right there!  I will say that this series won't be for everyone as it has trigger warnings galore thanks to everything that Jude has gone through in her past.  It's something that she is constantly dealing with and I feel like it comes across so realistically.  She is a character that you can really root for even when you don't know what to expect from her.  I'll say it again here - start with this first book and if your reading tastes are anything like mine then you won't be disappointed.  I would highly recommend this series to readers of mysteries and thrillers!  
Bottom Line:  A book that is most likely going to be on my top reads list for 2018!
Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.  Thoughts on it are my own. 
This book is published today June 12th if you are interested! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"It's just another day at the office for London book editor Samantha "Sam" Clair. Checking jacket copy for howlers, wondering how to break it to her star novelist that her latest effort is utterly unpublishable, lunch scheduled with gossipy author Kit Lowell, whose new book will dish the juicy dirt on a recent fashion industry scandal. Little does she know the trouble Kit's book will cause-before it even goes to print. When police Inspector Field turns up at the venerable offices of Timmins & Ross, asking questions about a package addressed to Sam, she knows something is wrong. Now Sam's nine-to-five life is turned upside down as she finds herself propelled into a criminal investigation. Someone doesn't want Kit's manuscript published and unless Sam can put the pieces together in time, they'll do anything to stop it.

With this deliciously funny debut novel, acclaimed author Judith Flanders introduces readers to an enormously enjoyable, too-clever-for-her-own-good new amateur sleuth, as well Sam's Goth assistant, her effortlessly glamorous mother, and the handsome Inspector Field. A tremendously entertaining read, this page-turning novel from a bright new crime fiction talent is impossible to put down."

My Thoughts:

I picked this book up as I got a copy of the upcoming 4th book from the publisher and wanted to start at the beginning of this series.  I'm not always particular at starting at the beginning of a series but I did see a review that said you needed to read the books in order.  I had an unread copy of this book just waiting on my Kindle so I decided to give it a try.  It was such a fun beginning to this cozy mystery series that I now cannot wait to continue on with the second book!  One of the things that I loved best about this book was that it was set in the publishing world.  Any book that is about books and the publishing world is most likely something I'm going to want to read so picking this book up was sure fire thing after I read the above summary.  I loved all of the details that the author included in regards to the book publishing world!  It just helped make this book stand out to me a bit more and I liked it more because of this.  I also really liked the premise of this book as I felt it was unique.  This is slightly spoiler-ey but as I was reading I didn't know if Sam was searching for a murderer or kidnapper.  I felt like this added to the atmosphere of the book as well as the suspense.  I found myself just enjoying my time in Sam's world so much - working in publishing would be amazing (in my opinion at least) so I just couldn't get enough of it.  I will say that my one struggle with this book was keeping track of all of the characters.  Sam's job and search for Kit brings her into contact with so many different characters and there were times that I just couldn't keep up with who was who.  It would take me a minute to go back and figure out who that character was or where she met with them previously.  Ultimately I was able to finally get them all straightened out in my head so it didn't affect my reading enjoyment too much.  I also really enjoyed the ending of this book.  I felt like the author did a great job of wrapping everything up in a way that tied it all together without being over the top about it.  I was left really excited about this series and eager to pick up the next book!

I really enjoyed my time with this book and am glad to have finally read it!  Now I have three more books to look forward to and hopefully enjoy just as much!  I liked Sam's character so much which has me so excited about this series.  Plus, I cannot wait to read more about her job while finding out what kind of trouble she gets herself into next.  I almost forgot to mention how much I enjoyed her Mom's character.  Her mother is a serious force of nature and I hope that she continues to play an important role in future books.  She just was such a great secondary character so I hope we get to see a lot more of her!  I would recommend this book to fans of cozy mysteries and mystery readers in general!  

Bottom Line:  A fun and suspenseful beginning to this cozy mystery series!  I plan to read more!

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"I have three confessions to make:
1. I've got the scar of gunshot on my forehead.
2. I don't remember an entire year of my life.
3. My name is Kellen Adams...and that's half a lie.

Girl running...from a year she can't remember, from a husband she prays is dead, from homelessness and fear. Tough, capable Kellen Adams takes a job as assistant manager of a remote vacation resort on the North Pacific Coast. There amid the towering storms and the lashing waves, she hopes to find sanctuary. But when she discovers a woman's dead and mutilated body, she's soon trying to keep her own secrets while investigating first one murder...then another. 

Now every guest and employee is a suspect. Every friendly face a mask. Every kind word a lie. Kellen's driven to defend her job, her friends and the place she's come to call home. Yet she wonders--with the scar of a gunshot on her forehead and amnesia that leaves her unsure of her own past--could the killer be staring her in the face?"

My Thoughts:

I picked this book up because I loved the sound of that summary and decided it needed to be my next read.  It was a pretty great choice and I'm excited because it is the beginning to a series which I didn't realize until I finished.  There was so much going on in this book that I almost don't know where to begin. Kellen has had a bad run of things which is why she is now working at a vacation resort far away from the life she once led.  As you begin to read this book, there are chapters that explain her past and help to make more sense of why she is the way she is now.  I liked the back and forth and felt that it helped flesh out Kellen as the main character.  There was a really solid layer of tension to this book thanks to everything that was happening.  And because Kellen is missing memories from a year of her life there is also a slightly unreliable narrator feel going on with Kellen.  She doesn't know the full truth of what happened so I as the reader couldn't fully trust her memories in relation to everything that was going on.  I'm trying to not give too many details as I don't want to spoil anything for anyone that hasn't yet had the chance to read this book.  Fair warning though - I'm going to get a little more detailed now so if you want to skip ahead to the next paragraph and avoid spoilers feel free.  My one and only complaint with this book was that it lacked believability at times.  Letting Kellen be involved in the investigation of the woman's body for one.  I found early on that for me to really enjoy this one to let those details go and just enjoy the ride the author was taking me on.  I only mention it because it did bother me at first and may also bother other readers in the same way.  On a different note, I loved the ending of this book!  I realized that I was getting towards the end and didn't yet have all of the answers so it wasn't a surprise to me that the book ended in a cliff hanger.  But what did surprise me was how that all played out - boy do I sure wish I already had that next book waiting in my hands!  I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Overall I really enjoyed my time with this book and am left wanting more!  This is my first book by Dodd but it won't be my last.  A couple of times this book mentioned a place called Virtue Falls and I believe that I have the first book in that series on my own shelves.  Maybe I'll go and try that series while I wait for the next book in this series to release.  It wasn't a perfect read but it was a book that sucked me in so I couldn't stop reading.  I would rate this one a solid four stars which is pretty darn good.  It wasn't perfect but I enjoyed my time with it which is all I can really ask.  I'm excited to go and check out Dodd's backlist now to see what else I've been missing out on.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful read that left me wishing for the next book!

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

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Sunday Post #48 (Lazy Sunday 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"

Good morning everyone!  Happy Mother's Day to all of you who celebrate, and for those of you that find this to be a difficult day know that I'm thinking of you.  We unexpectedly had a free weekend thanks to rainy weather.  My daughter's softball tournament (it was a one day tourney) cancelled so I managed to get some serious house cleaning done yesterday.  It means that today all I really have to do is relax and work on my laundry piles which is perfect!  It also means I can squeeze in a reading update this morning which I haven't had time to do in a few weeks.  It has been awhile since my last Sunday post!

I've read six books since my last reading update.  As my last update was mid April I would say that my reading is going along okay.  I've slowed down a bit but that was to be expected as we either have practice or games every night of the week (and on weekends).  I always take my book with me but it definitely has cut into my reading time.  I'm okay with it because I love watching my kids play the sports that they love.  My oldest got his permit so I've also been working slowly on driving with him.  It's nerve wracking for me though so we haven't been doing a ton of driving yet.  Ha!  Other than that not much else new to report on.  I was having a hard time settling on my next read again (so many choices) so I picked 6 print books and 6 e-books to read.  I'm planning on reading from this list exclusively in the hopes of giving myself choices while also helping out my decision making process when it comes to that next read.  Because ALL of the books just sound so good!  I've already finished my first e-book off of the list and am working on my first print book now.  Good stuff!  Here are the books I finished since my last reading update:

The Deeds of the Disturber by Elizabeth Peters - It has been entirely too long since I last read a book in this series!  I adored my time with this one and found myself unable to stop reading.  I laugh out loud at these books and just cannot recommend this series enough.  I missed that they weren't actually on a dig this time around but it was also a fun change of pace.  I pulled this one off of my own shelves and it was the perfect choice!

Dressed For Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea - I actually shared my thoughts on this one last week so check out my review for it!  This was such a fun follow-up to the first book in this cozy series and left me excited for more.  I love how the author is able to make me feel like I'm actually in France while reading this series.  It's such a great reading experience!

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda - This was a page turning read!  I found myself fully immersed within the pages although there was something about the book that I didn't quite connect to all of the way. I can't put my finger on it.  I really enjoyed it but that something dropped it from what could have been a five star read to a four instead.  Review to come!

A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders - I have a NetGalley copy for the 4th book in this cozy mystery series but decided to start with the first book instead.  This was a fun cozy mystery featuring the book publishing world itself which I truly enjoyed.  I'm really excited to now move on to the 2nd book (hopefully in the very near future).  I'll be sharing my thoughts on this one soon as well.

Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd - I just wrote up my thoughts on this one and my review will be posted later this week.  I enjoyed this book and am excited that it is the beginning to a new series? Trilogy?  Not exactly sure but I do know that there are more books to come which I'm really excited about.  This is my first book by Dodd but it certainly won't be my last.

The Body Counter by Anne Frasier - I've been waiting for this book EVERY since I finished the first book over a year ago.  I finished that one just hoping that it was going to be the beginning to a mystery series and was thrilled when I saw that was actually happening.  This book was just as good as the The Body Reader and left me wanting more.  I will be reading everything/anything this author writes after loving these two books so much.  Review to come closer to June and this book's release date.

I'm now currently reading the following:

I've just barely started this one but I'm so excited as I really enjoyed the first book in this series Unsub.  I decided not to wait too long with moving on to this second book after seeing that there is a third book coming.  I'm going to work on not "saving" those next books so often and instead keep current with the series/authors that I love.  That's the plan at least!

Plans for today are enjoying this quiet, low-key Sunday.  My husband is cooking me a really good dinner this evening.  I'm hoping to work on some more reviews to get ahead a little bit because obviously time is a bit of a shortage.  I plan on visiting all of you hopefully later this evening because commenting is something that has also been set to the side due to this crazy schedule of mine.  I'm off to go soak in the tub with my book but before I do that I just want to say THANK YOU!  Thank you to all of you who still stop by and comment even when my responses/commenting back are not up to par.  Just know that I am making the time to read all of your blogs even when I don't find the time to comment back as regularly.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop."

My Thoughts:

Wow - this was such an intense ride and left me beyond ready to get my hands on the second book when I finished.  If I had a copy of the second book ready and waiting for me - I'm 90% certain that I would have picked it up and continued on.  I enjoyed this book that much and wanted to see what was going to happen next!  This book was non-stop when it came to pacing.  The author creates this suspenseful and thrilling atmosphere from the very beginning and that feeling didn't end until the very last page of the book.  I literally could not stop reading this one because from very early on I became attached to Gwen and her kids.  As a mother she is doing all that she can to protect them - protecting them from the twisted legacy that their father has now left them and also protecting them from the public who may want retribution for the horror their father caused.  I almost felt that Gwen was paranoid at times and then their were other times when I realized she clearly wasn't.  You didn't know who she could trust while reading this book which really helped add to the layer of tension that Caine had already created.  I cannot put into words how intense I found this book and how hard it was for me to put down!  I believe I read this in two days but really I read the majority of it all in one day.  I just could not stop reading!  There were a few things I guessed but so many others that I did not.  I especially liked the ending because there was enough closure while also clearly setting things up for the next book.  I am so excited that I have the next book to look forward to!!!

Overall I really, really enjoyed my time with this suspenseful read which I'm sure you can tell from all of the gushing above.  If I gave ratings I would easily give this one five stars based off of intensity alone.  It was just so good!  I've read this author before - she has an urban fantasy series that I've read a few books from (and enjoyed) but I really feel like she has hit her stride with this series.  I hope that she continues to dip her hand in the mystery/thriller waters because I want more books just like this!  I can easily recommend this book to fans of suspense and thrillers.  I will give you the warning that you may want to have the second book ready to read as well.  I sure wished that I did after finishing this one!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A five star read for me - enough said!

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Dressed For Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"After finding herself mixed up in a murder investigation the previous Summer, Katherine Goff’s life simply has not been the same. Her husband has been in the US recording a new album, the Burgundy region locals are finally starting to see her as a real neighbor, and Katherine has even started helping out with “tourist” excursions. It seems she’s finally found her place in the small community of Reigny-sur-Canne.

But when Katherine stumbles across a body in the local museum during a tour, she finds herself caught up once again in a whirlwind of gossip and speculation. When the police zero in on her friend Pippa as a suspect, Pippa and Katherine team up to find the real killer and clear her name.

However, the more clues they discover, the more the real killer wants them off the trail. When Katherine and Pippa start receiving threats, they must decide what they are more afraid of—the police getting it wrong, or possibly becoming the killer’s next targets."

My Thoughts:

Last year I read and adored the first book in this series Love & Death in Burgundy.  I remember wishing and hoping that it was going to be the beginning of a series because I had found it to be such an enjoyable read.  I was so thrilled when I saw this book and realized it really was part of a series.  It was an absolute joy to jump back into Katherine's world and Burgundy yet again.  One of my favorite things about these books is the sense of place that you get while reading them.  I've never been to France but reading books like this sure makes me want to go.  I can't get enough of just the little every day details that are included about Katherine's life there.  The small specialty shops she goes to in order to by certain foods and her distaste for big shopping centers is so much fun to read about.  This book is actually told from two separate viewpoints - Katherine's and a secondary character from the first book named Pippa.  I was just thinking that we got more of the details I was mentioning before in the previous book but I think that is because the time was split between Katherine and Pippa.  I preferred Katherine's point of view myself but I did mostly enjoy both.  It's funny but I was less worried about the mysteries when reading these books and more just immersed in the every day life that Katherine was living.  I will say that the mystery in this book had me more intrigued in comparison to the first book.  I also really liked the ending.  I felt like it was just the perfect feel to this cozy series and left me wishing and wanting a third book!

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book and these characters so much!  It was such a delight to dive back into this world that the author has created with characters that I've grown to actually care about.  I love the little details that the author adds to each book that makes you feel like you are actually there while reading.  I just found myself so completely immersed in this book that I was almost sad to see it end.  I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Katherine and her friends quite yet!  I will say that I skimmed a few Goodread's reviews after finishing this one and it looks like readers may benefit from reading this series in order.  It's only two books so not too overwhelming to think about and I think that those details that carry over from the first book will only enhance your enjoyment of this one!  In the meantime, I will just be sitting over here pining and wishing for book three.  A solid four star read and a series that I can easily recommend!

Bottom Line:  A wonderful follow-up to the first book and has cemented my love of this series!

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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"London, 1887. After burying her spinster aunt, orphaned Veronica Speedwell is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as with fending off admirers, Veronica intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans when Veronica thwarts her own attempted abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron, who offers her sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker, a reclusive and bad-tempered natural historian. But before the baron can reveal what he knows of the plot against her, he is found murdered—leaving Veronica and Stoker on the run from an elusive assailant as wary partners in search of the villainous truth."

My Thoughts:

I started reading this one and just instantly adored it!  Really I was mentally kicking myself for waiting so long to read it because it was just so fun!  I kind of had it in my head that I was going to move on to the second book in the Lady Julia Grey series before I started this one.  I kept hearing this series mentioned though in podcasts I love so I decided that I just couldn't wait any longer to read this book.  I can officially say that it was the right choice for me and I absolutely loved this one!  I feel like I read this book with a smile on my face.  Veronica is just such a great main character.  She doesn't ever apologize for the woman that she is but instead embraces her "eccentricities".  She isn't afraid to say what she thinks and I just absolutely adored her as a main character!  She also was the perfect type of woman to stand up to Stoker at every other turn.  The chemistry between these two was absolutely perfect in every sort of way.  I really, really hope that in future books we get the chance to see their relationship develop into something more but the banter between them was just priceless.  I found myself laughing out loud at different times throughout the entire book.  I just loved every minute of my time with this book!  I was actually sad to see this one end because I just enjoyed my time with these characters so much!  Thankfully I have two more books to look forward to and I won't be waiting long to read those!

Overall I really enjoyed my time with this book and found it to be a five star read for me!  I really loved it that much!  It was the perfect mix of genres and just sucked me into the pages with such ease.  I couldn't stop reading this book and really didn't want to.  The characters were great and I'm so thankful that I have more books to look forward to whenever I'm ready to pick them up.  Books like this make me want to read more historical mysteries and find new authors to follow.  Because this book was just so good and made me want to read more books just like it!  I don't know what else to say other than read this book!  Fans of mysteries and suspense should give this book a try!  I also think romance readers who particularly like historical romances will like this one.  To be clear - there isn't yet a romance between Stoker and Veronica (I don't think it is too much of a spoiler to share that) but it is definitely building in the most delicious of ways!  I cannot wait to pick up the next book!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  I loved this one so much!  Enough said!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts on this book.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

All The Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Harry Ackerson has always considered his step-mother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an “other worldly” way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years.

Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, he returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help one another pick up of the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father.

Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way.

Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous—even deadly—secrets . . . and that neither one is telling the truth."

My Thoughts:

I went into this book knowing next to nothing about it other than I had enjoyed another book by this author previously.  This book is completely different than The Girl With a Clock for a Heart (which is the 1st book that I read by this author) but just as good.  I actually got a vibe similar to My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier when I was reading this one although yet again two completely different books.  Maybe it was the haunting way that Alice is portrayed that reminded me of Rachel - that unreachable quality about both of them which had me as the reader questioning their intentions the entire time.  The main difference though is that in this book the story switches back and forth from the present day to when Alice was a young girl.  We may not know Alice's intentions in the current day but we do get the chance to learn more about her through reading about her experiences while growing up.  Trigger warning that some of those experiences are disturbing and may not be for all readers.  I felt like learning more about Alice explained so much but yet gave me so many questions as well.  What I kept trying to figure out was how everything from Alice's past tied into Harry's father's death.  I was so strangely compelled by this book even when I wasn't sure how I felt about the characters.  I liked Harry well enough but some of his choices had me wanting to pull my hair out.  This isn't your typical mystery or thriller - I felt like the focus was more on the characters and their intentions rather than on the actual mystery itself.  What I really enjoyed though was the ending which was completely unexpected but yet felt so right.  I won't say any more than that but if you've read this book - let me know so we can discuss!

Overall after enjoying both of the books that I've read by this author so much I plan on catching up with the other books of his that I haven't yet read.  I feel like this is a book that will stay with me for awhile just because it is so different from the other books that I've been reading.  I'm eager to see what other readers think of this one because I just feel like some of it begs to be discussed.  Like the ending for one!  I appreciated that with this book I was so immersed in it even when I wasn't as focused on the mystery portion.  Just the why's behind the characters and their actions had me hooked which is why I couldn't stop reading.  I would recommend this one to readers who enjoy suspenseful reads and mysteries.  A solid four out of five stars!

Bottom Line:  A book that lingered with me after I finished it!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss.  Honest thoughts are my own. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Sunday Post #47 (Sickie 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 folks!  It has been a few weeks since my last reading update...I haven't posted one since March.  I can't even really remember why I didn't post now but this past week I didn't as I was down and out with a sinus infection.  I've had this for a week now and am just starting to feel like I'm on the flip side of it.  I honestly can't remember the last time I was this sick - it has been awhile which I'm grateful for even if I'm still wishing that I felt closer to a 100%.  No more whining though, I'm planning on taking it very easy today and getting lots of rest to help with that.

I was reading up a storm for awhile there.  Being sick has definitely slowed that down as there were times when I didn't even want to think about reading.  Sleeping though - definitely a different story!  LOL!  I've got lots of books to share about today though since I skipped a few weeks of posting a reading update.  In all honesty, I'm surprised I even managed to finish one book this week but I really did.  In other news, the weather here has been wreaking havoc on my daughter's softball schedule.  Three tournaments cancelled so far which means she hasn't played a single game yet.  Baseball starts up this week for my youngest (if the weather cooperates) and he is thrilled.  I don't have much else new to share about - just PLEASE can we have more spring like weather!?!?

Since my last reading update I finished the following books (this is 3 weeks worth of books):

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine - This was such a heart-pounding thriller and SO compulsively readable!  I could not stop reading and felt like I was reading it at an almost frantic pace at times.  I loved it and am so excited that I have the sequel to look forward to in my very near future.  I will work on writing up my thoughts on it soon!

Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells - This is my first reread of the year I believe.  I decided that it is beyond time to finally finish this series so I'm rereading the earlier books first.  I enjoyed this one just as much as I did the first time around.  I had almost forgotten how much I love the characters in this series.  I won't be writing up another review since I reviewed this one the first time I read it but I am really looking forward now to book two!

Murder by Suicide by Veronica Heley - Last year I read and enjoyed the first book in this series.  I was in the mood to continue on so grabbed book two from the library.  I enjoyed this one (as I did the first) but didn't love it as much as book one.  I guess that I just hoped that by this book Ellie would stand up for herself more but that wasn't always the case which made me slightly crazy.  I did overall enjoy it and plan to move on to book three eventually but just a three star read for me.  Full review to come.

How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst - I enjoyed this thrilling read so much!  It's one of those books where you spend your entire time reading just trying to figure out what is going on.  There are just so many questions and I really loved every minute of it!  I'm looking forward to reading more by this author soon.  Review to come.

Year One by Nora Roberts - I feel like I was waiting for this hold to come in from my library for forever.  In reality it wasn't that long and I jumped all over reading this one as soon as it came in.  It was a really good read although I did have a few complaints here and there.  I'm really looking forward to reading the second book and am glad I don't have a ridiculously long wait until it releases.  (This is the book I managed to read while still being sick - thank you Mrs. Roberts)

I'm now currently reading the following:

I was feeling kinda uninspired on what to read next due to just not feeling well yet.  Plus, Year One was pretty epic and it's hard to choose what to follow up with after that.  I decided to grab one off of my own shelves for a change and dive back into one of my very favorite series.  I'm just barely begun this one (I don't think I'm even a chapter in) but I already know that this was the perfect choice.  I haven't yet figured out my next kindle read but I'm leaning towards a review copy of some sort.  I'll figure that out later though.

Plans for today include basically nothing.  I don't plan on moving much from my bed other than to take a nice hot bath.  I can see a nap and some uninterrupted reading time in my future.  My husband is planning on cooking us a good dinner which is always exciting.  I was motivated and feeling good yesterday so my house is clean and I've got a good start on the laundry.  Today is a day of relaxation and not much else to make sure that I"m physically and mentally ready for the upcoming week.  I do plan on working on scheduling out some reviews hopefully because I keep reading - the reviews needing to be written are stacking up.  It all depends on how motivated I feel though!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!