Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Murder on Millionaires' Row by Erin Lindsey (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Rose Gallagher might dream of bigger things, but she’s content enough with her life as a housemaid. After all, it’s not every girl from Five Points who gets to spend her days in a posh Fifth Avenue brownstone, even if only to sweep its floors. But all that changes on the day her boss, Mr. Thomas Wiltshire, disappears. Rose is certain Mr. Wiltshire is in trouble, but the police treat his disappearance as nothing more than the whims of a rich young man behaving badly. Meanwhile, the friend who reported him missing is suspiciously unhelpful. With nowhere left to turn, Rose takes it upon herself to find her handsome young employer.

The investigation takes her from the marble palaces of Fifth Avenue to the sordid streets of Five Points. When a ghostly apparition accosts her on the street, Rose begins to realize that the world around her isn’t at all as it seems―and her place in it is about to change forever."

My Thoughts:

I'm not even going to lie - I jumped at the chance to read this book almost entirely based off of that gorgeous cover.  I'm a sucker for good cover and this one has that in spades!  Happily I enjoyed this book just as much as I enjoyed that cover!  This feels like it has been the year where I've discovered historical mysteries.  I've started some really great historical mystery series  and I can add this one to the list.  In this book, Rose Gallagher goes searching for her missing boss when she realizes that the police aren't taking his disappearance seriously. I really adored Rose's character because she was just so determined and strong willed.  Her adventures made this book so much fun to read.  I really just found myself sucked into the pages of this book.  This book took me to a different time and place...heck, it was really a different world where ghosts walked and certain individuals had different kinds of "luck" and I was just transported by it all.  The author swept me into the pages of this book so that I didn't want to stop reading.  I just HAD to see what was going to happen next.  I loved that in this book ghosts were actually dangerous to humans - everything to do with the paranormal actually felt very original to this book.  I wasn't sure when I read the book summary how the author would fit ghosts into the storyline but it worked beautifully.  I feel like the author really just managed to create this unique world in this book that I couldn't get enough of.  I enjoyed my time within its' pages and am looking forward to reading more of this series in the future.  Really, what more could you ask?

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and am very excited to have found both this series and this author.  I need to check out what else Lindsey has written - hopefully she has written more so the wait for book two doesn't seem so long.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of trouble Rose can get herself into next.  If you are looking for a fun, fast-paced read then look no further then this book. It's a definite page turner with a world that I won't be forgetting about any time soon.  I can easily recommend this book to fans of historical mysteries and really mysteries in general!

Bottom Line:  A fun beginning to a series that I can't wait to read more of!

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

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Dr Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner and consulting pathologist for the federal law enforcement agency ATF, is called out to a farmhouse in Virginia which has been destroyed by fire. In the ruins of the house she finds a body which tells a story of a violent and grisly murder.

The fire has come at the same time as another even more incendiary horror: Carrie Grethen, a killer who nearly destroyed the lives of Scarpetta and those closest to her, has escaped from a forensic psychiatric hospital. Her whereabouts is unknown, but her ultimate destination is not, for Carrie has begun to communicate with Scarpetta, conveying her deadly - if cryptic - plans for revenge."

My Thoughts:

I don't usually review books that are part of long standing series for various reasons but the main one being that it is so hard!  It's so hard to not share spoilers both intentionally and unintentionally.  If you haven't read this book or the earlier/later books in this series and intend to (which you should as I'm a huge fan of this series overall), go ahead and move right along and skip reading this post.  I'm giving you the FULL warning here that I intend to spoil the heck out of this book because I have so many feelings and need to get them all out.  Okay, I've given the spoiler warning so let's move on to my thoughts on this book!

As I've been reading the earlier books in this series, I've gotten many comments on how this series kind of gets off track at some point causing many readers to stop reading.  I WOULD NOT be surprised if it was because or starting with this book.  Although I didn't love the first book, Postmortem,  I did enjoy it enough to continue and have really loved many of the first eight books in this series.  Looking back at Goodreads shows that I rated at least two of them five star reads (and honestly I don't even think I rated or reviewed the others due to not always sharing my thoughts about books that are part of a series).  I started off really loving this book!  It was just as compelling, suspenseful, and eerie as many of those other books were which is why I have loved them so much.  Cornwell is amazing in my opinion at leaving the reader guessing throughout most of the book which makes it hard to stop reading.  I was trucking along with this book when the author completely pulled the rug out on me.  Benton dies in this book?!?!  What in the world?  What made it even more confusing for me as the reader is that I've read two later books in this series - it's what got me started on reading this series from the beginning in the first place.  And Kay is married to him in those books so he is very much alive.  Knowing that made reading the last half of this book so confusing.  I kept waiting for Kay to find him - to realize that he was alive - thinking that this was all Carrie's doing - only to find that was not the case at all.  This book even ends with the scattering of Benton's ashes.  By the time I finished this book I was annoyed.  Annoyed because not only does this book end with Benton apparently dead but also Carrie Grethen is too - and she is ALSO alive in later books.  Seriously?!?  I'm trying to understand why the author would even make this decision with Benton's character but then also to do it with another major character?  I'm at a loss here folks.  So what do you think I did?  I went and read the summaries for the next books in this series to figure out when Benton comes back because he obviously does. And then I read reviews of this book to see if others would spoil what happens/how in the heck Cornwell believably or unbelievably brings Benton back to life.  Color me severely annoyed to find that not only does she bring him back but that both Marino and Lucy were in on it the entire time.  You've got to fucking be kidding me here (pardon the language but c'mon).  I just don't get it, I really don't.  If she wanted to kill Benton's character off for whatever reasons, she should have stuck with that decision.  Not go back and change your mind which is REALLY how this feels to me/comes across and then write him back in what sounds like a laughable manner.  I literally do not know how I'm going to read the next couple of books.  Part of this is my fault - I read those later books first so when reading this one I knew that it couldn't possibly be the truth when it all went down.  But really, even if I hadn't read the books in the order I did I can almost guarantee how cheated I would have felt when I got to whatever book that he returns in.  The ending of this book was so emotional and heartbreaking that I just cannot begin to understand her decisions afterwards with those next books.  Bleh.  This book would have been a 4 1/2 star read for me but I don't even know how to rate it now.  

The question remains - will I continue on with this series?  The answer at this point is yes but not any time soon.  I read this one a couple of weeks ago and I still get heated when I think about it.  I'm going to give myself a bit of a break and work on other books from my never-ending TBR list.  I'll go back and we will see how it all plays out.  The positive side of all of this is that I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the books get better (or more like what I enjoyed in these earlier reads).  So I have that to look forward to which helps make me want to keep reading.  And I must admit to still being very curious.  Where does she go from here?  Is this what actually turned off other readers from this series or is there something else?  I don't know at this point because I definitely didn't see this coming so who knows what else I can expect.  So there's my convoluted thoughts on this book.  I really liked it until I didn't.  For the series as a whole I can definitely recommend books one through eight.  It's super important to read them in order as events that happen in one become important in others - that kind of thing.  But they really are so good and that's why this book was so hard for me to stomach by the end.  If you've read this series and this book - what were your thoughts?  I would love to discuss this one with other readers!!

Bottom Line:  I don't even know what to say here - I'm a bit bitter overall with this one is the best way to put it.

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

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . ."

My Thoughts:

Funny story with this book:  I started reading it unintentionally at my son's football game.  To be fair this was the varsity game which he only usually dresses for but doesn't usually play in (he starts on both offense and defense for JV but that's neither here nor there).  Our varsity team was getting stomped so I decided to download a book to my phone during a break in the game.  Which turned into me almost missing my son FINALLY going in because shortly after I was sucked into the book and not paying attention to the game any longer.  Luckily my youngest announced that his brother was in the game so we didn't miss it.  It's a mark of how readable and compelling I found this book that I was even able to read during a loud football game.  I have to admit I was instantly sucked in!  This is my second book by this author and both reads (two separate series) were books that I just could not stop reading.  The thing that made this book so compelling for me was that the two main characters were both hiding major secrets from each other while also beginning a relationship.  A relationship that may or may not have survived if the other found out about the other's secrets.  It's a twisty read like that and as much as I wanted each of the characters to be honest with the other one already, I also found that I couldn't put this book down because of the tension created from those secrets.  I also really enjoyed the humorous moments that the author included in this book.  Malcolm's new work team is filled with amazing secondary characters that I'm looking forward to each getting their own book.  I'm especially a fan of the quirky German Shepard names Roscoe - some of his funnier moments where the perfect break from all of the seriousness and tension that filled the pages of this book.  I found that the pages of this book just flew on by - so fast that before I knew it I was at the end and was reading as fast as I could to see how it would all turn out.  It turned out to be a very enjoyable read for me that I'm glad I picked up!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and am looking forward to reading more books featuring these characters.  I love a good romantic suspense but don't always find authors that do it well.  This author does romantic suspense well though and has me adding the rest of her books to my TBR list (it's out of control anyways so why not).  And the good news is that I have lots of her other books waiting for me to catch up on while I wait for the second book in this series to release.  Always a good thing in my opinion!  I don't have much else to say as I really don't want to give anything away with this book.  It was a very enjoyable read that I think other romance readers will enjoy.  If you are a fan of romantic suspense and you're not reading this author - I feel like you missing out.  I certainly was!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  An edgy and compelling read that left me unable to stop reading!

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"No other festival compares to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington. The whole town is buzzing with excitement over this year’s activities and eagerly awaiting Nitro’s latest offering Cherrywizen, made with locally sourced cherries. But local brewmaster Sloan Krause is tapped out. Between trying to manage the pub, her pending divorce with Mac, and her mounting feelings for Garrett, she’s fermenting in internal turmoil.

To complicate matters, dreamy movie star Mitchell Morgan and his production crew have arrived in the village to film during the authentic Bavarian brewfest. Mitchell has his eye on Sloan and a taste for Nitro’s Cherrywizen. Sloan escapes his advances for good when she finds Mitchell slumped over the bar. Is this a case of one pint too many, or has Mitchell been murdered by microbrew?"

My Thoughts:

Last year I read and enjoyed the first book in this series, Death on Tap, so I jumped at the opportunity to read this book!  Let's be honest - this book has been on my TBR list since I finished the last page of the first book.  There is just something about Ellie Alexander's cozy mysteries that I can't get enough of.  And while this is completely different from her Bakeshop series, it has enough of the same characteristics that I love from that series to make this one a real winner for me as well.  She has a real knack for creating characters that feel real and complex.  In both of her series, the main character is struggling with something major going on with their life that just comes across the pages as so real.  In this book, Sloan is still trying to deal with her new "normal" after finding her husband cheating on her.  She's working on figuring out what she wants in her life and how she moves on from here.  That struggle to figure out what she wants in life next and how she is getting to get there just comes across so perfectly.  Add in that a mystery to solve with lots of great secondary characters and you have a winner.  What makes this book a four star read for me though is the added mystery of Sloan's past.  In this book, we get the chance to see Sloan search a bit more into her unknown past searching for the reasons why she was placed into foster care which was just hinted about in book one.  I'm so intrigued by this storyline that I cannot wait to get my hands on book three!  I really found this to be a compelling read, and I breezed through the pages on my kindle.  It's going to be a long wait for that next book, that's for sure!

Here's why I think that you should read this series in general (there's only two books so I definitely think it is worth it to start with the first book):  it's the perfect palate cleanser because it just feels so fresh and original!  Been reading a bunch of mysteries and dark thrillers?  This series will break that up perfectly with a more light hearted mystery.  Need a different type of cozy that isn't focused on food or books? (I'm horribly generalizing there but you get the idea).  Read a mystery that talks about beer and the different kinds to make you want to try a few different types of beers yourself.  LOL!  It sounds funny when you put it like that but it really was the perfect change of pace for me.  With great characters and questions that keep you wondering long after the book is finished.....well I couldn't ask for more to be honest.  This is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors and for good reason.  I can highly recommend!

Bottom Line:  I loved this book just as much as the first book!  

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister's estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes.

Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage--a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn't about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl.

When Kiera and Gage's search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim..."

My Thoughts:

I picked this book up at my library after seeing a few reviews (and the gorgeous cover) for the latest book in this series.  I decided it was time to give this series a try and I'm really glad that I did!  This book was a really great read and one that I just immersed myself within its' pages.  I most enjoyed this book how the author was able to really make me feel like I was there in Scotland 1830.  The details she gave, the way the characters talked and dressed, it all added up to make such a great reading experience for me.  I was sucked into the mystery as well as the struggles one faced as a woman during that time period that didn't fit into the norm.  Kiera's character was one that I connected to and felt for because she just wasn't able to fit in with society thanks to her deceased husband's dark past.  When she is pulled into the investigation it brings many of the things from that time in her life back to the surface.  To protect both herself and her family she begins to work and investigate with Sebastian Gage.  This might be a slight spoiler but the chemistry between these two has me very excited to get my hands on book two.  I won't say any more than that but suffice it to say that I'm very curious as to where that next book may lead.  The mystery portion of this book was actually darker than I expected.  I can't say that I read a lot of historical mysteries but I kind of equated them to the same or similar as a cozy mystery.  You can imagine my surprise with this book then, when it was quite the opposite of a cozy and was a bit more graphic than I expected it to be.  It didn't effect my enjoyment in the least but just thought I would mention it.  It was such a compelling mystery though and I couldn't quite set this one down.  I thought I had the whodunnit figured out until 3/4's of the way through book when I realized I was completely wrong.  The ending tied everything up quite nicely but left me wishing I had my hands on the next book.  I just wasn't ready to see these characters go and am really looking forward to seeing what mysteries and adventures they get up to next.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am so excited that I have six more books or so to look forward to!  I won't be waiting long to see what kind of trouble Lady Darby finds herself in next!  This book was the perfect blend of mystery and historical fiction which makes me want to find more books just like it.  What other historical mystery authors am I missing out on?  It's something that I'm going to be figuring out in the very near future!  I'm hoping that there will be some romance upcoming in those future books as well.  Fingers crossed at least!  I really can't say enough good things about the characters in this book and the mystery itself.  It felt like the perfect fall read (although it isn't quite fall yet) and one that I just adored.  I would recommend this book to fans of historical mysteries as well as mysteries in general!

Bottom Line:  Such a great beginning to this series and it has spurned my need to find other authors just like this!

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Caged by Ellison Cooper (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair hunts for evil in the deepest recesses of the human mind. Still reeling from the death of her fiance, she wants nothing more than to focus on her research into the brains of serial killers. But when the Washington D.C. police stumble upon a gruesome murder scene involving a girl who'd been slowly starved to death while held captive in a cage, Sayer is called in to lead the investigation. When the victim is identified as the daughter of a high profile senator, Sayer is thrust into the spotlight.

As public pressure mounts, she discovers that another girl has been taken and is teetering on the brink of death. With evidence unraveling around her, Sayer races to save the second victim but soon realizes that they are hunting a killer with a dangerous obsession...a killer who is closer than she thought."

My Thoughts:

Oh my goodness - this book is easily a five star, going on my top reads of the year list type of book!  I enjoyed my time reading this one immensely to say the least.  I feel like this type of book is totally my own personal reader catnip if you will.  It features a female lead detective (in this specific case she is a FBI agent but you get the gist) that is emotionally closed off due to her past.  It's a police procedural which I absolutely adore (or FBI procedural - take your pick).  And it focuses on a dark, twisted mystery that pulled me in until the very last page.  What more could you want in a book like this?  It's everything that I love all wrapped up into one amazing read!  Now I need more books just like this or at least just as good!  It's funny but before I started this one I remember seeing a slightly negative review (I don't remember the specifics or anything - just that the reader wasn't wowed by it) so I didn't know what to expect when I picked it up.  I knew it sounded like my type of read but would it live up to those expectations?  It sure did and then some!  This is one of those books that just sucks you in and doesn't let you go.  It wasn't one that I felt the need to read fast or fly through the pages.  Instead I found myself unable to set it down and just so immersed in the ongoing investigation.  I took my time with this one and loved every minute of it!  Every time I thought I had a handle on it, the author was able to turn it around so completely that I just knew that I was wrong.  I didn't figure out the ending until exactly when Sayer did which was the perfect way to experience the book.  This book was just so unexpected and fresh compared to much of what is out there in the world of thrillers nowadays.  I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say too much but this is exactly the book that I hoped it would be and so much more!

Overall, I'm pretty sure that it is clear that I loved this book!  I read the majority of this book during a long break in my daughter's softball tournament which was the perfect way to read this one!  I just couldn't stop reading as I had to see how everything would end.  I'm absolutely stoked that this is the beginning to a series so I have another book featuring Sayer to look forward to.  Especially as the author set up another mystery outside of what was going on in this book that she left open for possibly the next book.  I'm so intrigued and will be impatiently waiting to get my hands on that book whenever it releases!  I just cannot say enough good things about this book.  I can highly, highly recommend to those who love mysteries and thrillers.  It's going on my top reads list this year without a doubt so that should tell you everything you need to know!

Bottom Line: A five star read that I can't stop gushing about!

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

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Sunday Post #52 (Football Fun 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"

It's football Sunday folks!  This is absolutely my most favorite time of the year.  I love the beginning of fall with the changing temps.  I love sweatshirt weather and the leaves changing colors.  And I adore watching football on Sundays relaxing with the family.  There is nothing better in my opinion!  This has a been a very busy but really great weekend.  Friday night we drove a little over an hour away to watch my oldest play football.  It was pouring down rain by the time we got there and it didn't stop.  It was still a really great time and the only way I wanted to spend my birthday.  Yesterday we spent the day at my daughter's first fall softball tournament.  They played hard and it another perfect way to spend my day!  Today I took the youngest to baseball practice and am now curled up in bed relaxing for the afternoon in between loads of laundry.  I wouldn't change weekends like this for anything in the world!  Otherwise not much else is new.  We've started to develop a routine with the school days and getting everybody everywhere they need to be.  It rained almost every day last week but the rain helped cool it down some which made it feel more like fall was coming.  I sure do love this time of year!

Reading wise, I've been plugging away and reading some really great books.  I'm STILL two books ahead with my Goodread's reading goal which never fails to surprise me on the weeks where I feel like I haven't finished a book in days.  I'm working on catching up on book reviews but the motivation to write said reviews ebbs and flows.  LOL!  I do have a lot of books that I would really like to share my thoughts on so it's something I will work on.  Here is what I've finished since my last reading update (please note that was two weeks ago-ish):

When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath - I've actually already shared my thoughts on this one so check out my review here.  Short and sweet version - I enjoyed my time with this book immensely and found it to be almost like a comfort read for me.  I need to fit more historical romances into my reading life!

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd - I've also written up my thoughts on this one as well!  Check them out here.  In a nutshell - I enjoyed this one until the end which left me wanting to say the least.  I will definitely read more by this author but the ending just really detracted a bit from my overall reading experience.

The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber - This is the beginning to a historical mystery series that I'm so excited to have found.  I've been seeing the last book in this series around lately and decided to give this book a try.  It was such an enjoyable read and now I cannot wait to get my hands on book two.  I need to work on writing up my thoughts on this one soon but I can definitely recommend it if you enjoy historical mysteries!

Caged by Ellison Cooper - OH MY GOODNESS!  This book was so good and I have no words for it right now.  I can tell you that this is going in the books as a five star read.  It was everything that I love in a mystery plus so much more.  I will be sharing my thoughts on this one as well so expect a lot of gushing in that review.  SO GOOD - that's all I really need to say!

I'm now currently reading the following:

Death Over Easy by Maddie Day is the 5th installment in one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  I just started it earlier this morning but already have a good chunk of it read thanks to baseball practice.  It's good so far and I'm looking forward to diving back into it later this afternoon.

I don't have much else scheduled for today besides watching football and eating lots of yummy snacks.  The Bears play tonight so the entire family is pretty excited for that!  I have to tell you that my youngest son's flag football team this year is the Packers.  Obviously this has caused him some major stress as we are all die hard Bears fans.  It has taken him a lot of convincing on my part that just for his games we can cheer them on.  Hahahaha!  To be eight again- I think he's okay with it now but he refuses to wear his jersey to school on Friday's for the games.  I figure I'll pick my battles and that definitely isn't one of them.  I'm off to work on those towering laundry piles yet again though...

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Twenty years ago, Dennis Danson was arrested and imprisoned for the brutal murder of a young girl. Now he’s the subject of a true-crime documentary that’s whipping up a frenzy online to uncover the truth and free a man who has been wrongly convicted.

A thousand miles away in England, Samantha is obsessed with Dennis’s case. She exchanges letters with him, and is quickly won over by his apparent charm and kindness to her. Soon she has left her old life behind to marry him and campaign for his release.

When the campaign is successful and Dennis is freed, however, Sam begins to discover new details that suggest he may not be quite so innocent after all. 

But how do you confront your husband when you don’t want to know the truth?"

My Thoughts:

The Innocent Wife was a compelling read but one that I'm not completely sure how I feel about after finishing.  When I first heard about this book I just couldn't resist the sound of that premise.  I was instantly intrigued and wanted to read it.  Honestly I just fell into the pages of this one from the very beginning.  There is this feeling from the very beginning of uncertainty that really doesn't let up until the very last page.  It's hard to explain but that's the best way I can think to describe it.  For instance, there feels like there is something  slightly "off" with Samantha although I didn't know quite what it was.  Or if I was even right in feeling that way.  Then Samantha and Dennis's relationship begins and that too doesn't feel right.  The entire book was like that for me and it just add this layer of tension and atmosphere that I couldn't get enough of.  I read this book quite literally questioning every character's motivations and actions because I just couldn't trust any of them.  They actually all almost had a layer of ick to them if that even makes sense.  The only character I really liked was Carrie (a secondary character that was doing the documentary on Dennis).  So the author has build this crazy intense vibe where you almost expect anything to happen and then the ending hit.  Stop reading here if you don't want any spoilers (I'll keep them at a minimum but still).  I just could not get behind the ending of this book.  It felt rushed and unexplained in a way that didn't seem to fit with the rest of the story. And I don't honestly know if it was just me - maybe I was just so unprepared for the way it ended that it caused it not to work for me?  I don't know?  I haven't yet read any other reader's thoughts yet because I wanted to write up my thoughts first but I am very curious.  Don't get me wrong as it wrapped things up but just in a way that seemed so much less than the first 3/4ths of the book.  I really don't even know how to explain it other than that.  As always take my thoughts with a grain of salt because really otherwise I found this book to be a very good read.  

Overall, I enjoyed this one but didn't love it for the reasons I stated above.  I will certainly read more by this author and am actually really looking forward to whatever she comes up with next.  I just couldn't not mention the ending when I was still questioning and thinking about it two days later.  I feel like this is a book that would be really great to be discussed with other readers.  I'm looking forward to doing just that if I'm being honest so if you've read this book leave me a comment so we can discuss!  I was trying to decide how I would rate this book and I still think that I would give it four stars overall.  The ending threw me a bit but the rest of it was just so good!  I would recommend this book to readers of suspense and thrillers.

Bottom Line:  A compelling and suspenseful read that left me wanting a bit at the end.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

When A Duke Loves A Woman by Lorraine Heath (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Gillie Trewlove knows what a stranger's kindness can mean, having been abandoned on a doorstep as a baby and raised by the woman who found her there. So, when suddenly faced with a soul in need at her door—or the alleyway by her tavern—Gillie doesn't hesitate. But he's no infant. He's a grievously injured, distractingly handsome gentleman who doesn't belong in Whitechapel, much less recuperating in Gillie's bed.

Being left at the altar is humiliating; being rescued from thugs by a woman—albeit a brave and beautiful one—is the pièce de résistance to the Duke of Thornley's extraordinarily bad day. After nursing him back from the brink, Gillie agrees to help him comb London's darker corners for his wayward bride. But every moment together is edged with desire and has Thorne rethinking his choice of wife. Yet Gillie knows the aristocracy would never accept a duchess born in sin. Thorne, however, is determined to prove to her that no obstacle is insurmountable when a duke loves a woman."

My Thoughts:

I found this book to be a delightful read and the perfect change of pace from all of the mysteries and thrillers I've been reading lately.  This was also the perfect reminder of how much I enjoy historical romances and how I don't read nearly enough of them!  From the very beginning I found myself swept away between the pages of this book watching the relationship between Gillie and Thorne develop.  It was made even better because it felt so unattainable as if there was no way possible for them to be together.  I'm a sucker for this type of romance trope and especially when it is done well.  The author didn't just magically fix things for them or just gloss over it either.  They had to really choose what they wanted and fight for their happiness.   I loved every minute of it!  I really adored Gillie though!  She just made this book that much better for me.  She is everything that you don't usually get with a romance heroine: she was strong willed, independent, and unapologetic in her viewpoints.  She also didn't have the physical attributes that were necessarily considered desirable during that time period - she was tall, kept her hair cut short, and dressed in a way that didn't emphasize the fact that she was a woman.  I loved her!  There was just something so compelling about her character and I was instantly rooting for her happy ever after with Thorne.  I really just couldn't get enough of this book and these characters so that should tell you all you need to know!

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book immensely!  I'm so excited that I have book one in this "series" to look forward to while I wait for the next book to release.  I adored all of Gillie's brothers so I can't wait for each of them to hopefully get their own books!  Happily enough, I believe that this author also has an extensive backlist that I can look forward to as well!  I really need more books like this in my life!  It was just such a comforting read and one that I enjoyed every minute of.  I can easily recommend this book to fans of romance but especially historical romance fans.  You don't need to have read the first book to still enjoy this one (I didn't and I loved this one still).  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  An immensely enjoyable read!

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Dry by Jane Harper (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets."

My Thoughts:

The Dry was one of those highly anticipated books that I just was waiting to read but then put off reading due to all of the hype.  I really hate when I let that happen because I feel like this was such a great read and one that I should have read sooner.  It was definitely worth the wait though and such an atmospheric read.  I found myself just immersed within the pages almost instantly.  The author was able to just bring the drought this small town was living through to life in such a way that it almost felt like a character itself.  The devastation that the drought had caused and how it had created this underlying tension amongst everyone living in the town just felt so real and awful at the same time.  It was almost like you couldn't fully blame people for their actions but instead it was all blamed instead on the drought.  I really just could not get enough of this book and the mystery that lay within.  I liked that Falk wasn't your typical detective hero.  In actuality he had secrets himself from long ago when he lived there, and it was possible that those secrets had been behind the death of his friend.  There were just so many questions and it kept me reading unable to put the book down.  The mystery itself was well done and wasn't something that I saw coming.  I was flying through the pages by the end just so I could see how it was all going to end.  

This is one of those books that I can easily recommend as I just enjoyed it so much!  It was a memorable read and left me really excited to read more by this author.  The one good thing about waiting so long to read this book is that I already have the second book just waiting to be read.  I'm pumped to pick that one up after loving this book so much!  It was a really good read and I just feel like the author brought the book to life for me.  I can't say enough good things so I will probably just leave you with this:  read it!!  Highly recommended to both fans of mysteries and thrillers.

Bottom Line:  An atmospheric mystery that I just couldn't get enough of!

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

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Sunday Post #51 (Afternoon 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!  There went another month almost on the blog without a single post.  The struggle is real sometimes folks.  I've resigned myself to the fact that I just may never find the time to blog regularly but I will post as much as I can when I can.  So lot's new over here to catch you all up on.  School started which means I officially have a sophomore, a 5th grader, and a 3rd grader.  School has started off well for all of them for which I am very thankful for.  This week begins our crazy schedules/sports seasons once again.  My oldest has football practice every day of the week and then games on Fridays.  My youngest also starts up flag football this week along with practicing for his travel baseball team.  And my daughter's travel softball team starts back to practicing this week as well.  Lots of practices hopefully will equal extra reading time for me though so that's a benefit!  We bumped up at work on our business required overtime hours as well this month so I'm fitting that in everywhere and anyway that I can.  I'm blessed though as I have a wonderful family that pitches in when needed - we will be all hands in until fall sports are done.

Reading wise I've been doing pretty much the same since I last posted.  I'm averaging a book a week which isn't horrible or spectacular either.  I would like to be reading two a week minimum but it never seems to work out that way.  There's things to get done around the house or dare I say television to watch.  Ha!  I'm still ahead on my Goodread's goal so I must be doing something right when it comes to hitting my goal of 75 books for the year.  I have a bunch of reviews that I need to write up since I haven't been posting but I will catch up with them when I can.

I finished the following book this week:

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney was a highly anticipated read for me that I ended up enjoying a lot. It left me thinking about it the day after and I haven't yet settled on my full feelings - it was good to very good but I don't think that I would classify it as a five star read like so many others have.  Was that a case of too high expectations?  I'm honestly not sure so I'm going to think about it a little bit more before I write up my thoughts.

I'm currently reading the following:

I received a surprise copy of this book thanks to the publisher and it was perfect timing with the reading mood that I was in!  I can't tell you the last time that I read a historical romance so I jumped at the chance to read this one.  I'm just slightly over halfway through and enjoying it immensely.  It's the perfect change of pace from all of the mysteries and thrillers I've been reading lately!

Since my last reading update I also have finished the following (so watch for my upcoming thoughts on them):

Lots of great reads there that I just need to find the time to share my thoughts on!  I haven't decided on my next read although I do have a bunch of great sounding books checked out from the library to choose from.  We had a softball meeting earlier this morning and then baseball practice so I don't have much planned for this afternoon.  Curling up with my book sounds like the perfect plan but I also need to make sure homework is done and the kids are ready for the upcoming school week.  Don't worry though - I will definitely be finding some quiet time to read as well!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

False Accusations by Cora Harrison (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"The Summer of 1991 

Nothing unusual ever happens in the sleepy village of Willowgrove. 

Which is why everyone is shocked to their core when a local woman – Mrs Trevor – is murdered. 

Her daughter, Rosie confesses to the crime. 

But Rosie has learning difficulties, and Flora Morgan – a former headteacher trained to help those who can’t represent themselves – is called in to assist. 

Flora has known Rosie for years. And Rosie wouldn’t hurt a fly. 

So what made her confess? Why would she lie?And if she didn’t kill Mrs Trevor, who did…? 

Flora must get to the heart of the mystery before innocence is proven guilty … 

FALSE ACCUSATIONS is the first in a new cozy mystery series by acclaimed author Cora Harrison - a private investigation featuring a woman sleuth set in a traditional British rural village. "

My Thoughts:

False Accusations was an enjoyable beginning to a cozy mystery series that I'm looking forward to reading more of.  I've had this author and her books on my radar for awhile now so I basically jumped at the chance to read this one.  What made this book unique was the set up where Flora is a former schoolteacher but has now taken on the role of assisting and helping those individuals who cannot represent themselves with the law.  This actually gave her a valid role in investigating this mystery as she was looking out for her charge Rosie's best interests.  The entire time that Flora was investigating and trying to prove Rosie's innocence, I had these questions in the back of my mind to if Rosie really had done it.  There were these certain moments where she acted so guilty that I didn't know how Flora would ever be able to prove that she didn't kill her own mother.  It really turned into a suspenseful read for me.  My favorite parts of the book though featured Flora's dog (whose name now escapes me).  He was an energetic German Shepard that she was trying to teach obedience too unsuccessfully.  We actually have a female German Shepard who isn't quite two yet but has very similar characteristics.  I just found those parts relatable and endearing to read about.  The mystery portion was done well and I found myself surprised by the ending.  What more can you really ask for?  

Overall, this was a good beginning to this new cozy mystery series.  I definitely plan on reading more!  It was suspenseful and had me guessing for the majority of the book.  I did find it a bit on the slower side at times but for the most part that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.  I would think that fans of cozy mysteries and mysteries in general will enjoy this book.  I kind of want to compare if to M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series (which reminds me of yet another series that I need to get back to and read more of).  Recommended!

Bottom Line: A solid start to a new cozy mystery series that I will be following!

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela's death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?"

My Thoughts:

Jar of Hearts was just as dark and twisted as the above summary sounds!  It was also a compelling thriller that I couldn't stop reading!  This is only the second book by Hillier that I've read but I am truly hooked on her books at this point.  She is fast becoming a must read author for me thanks to how much I enjoyed both of her books that I've read so far.  One of the things that really has stood out to me while reading both of her books is how completely fearless she is when it comes to her writing choices.  She isn't afraid to make choices for her characters and plot lines that I just don't feel like many other authors would take.  It makes for such a fascinating read because as the reader I just never know what to expect.  In this book especially I was constantly trying to figure out how everything was going to turn out.  Because let's be honest here - it sure didn't seem like anything could turn out well for Geo after everything she had done.  I really loved her as the main character!  The past is something that she holds very close to her chest and we only get pieces of what happened slowly throughout the book.  It gives her that questioning feel that I love similar to an unreliable narrator.  I was always questioning her true intentions on everything that she did and her motivations behind it all.  I don't think that it is too spoiler-ey to say that she keeps secrets throughout the book - as the reader you know that- even if you don't know what they are and why she is keeping them.  It all just builds up layer by layer creating this building tension and suspense.  I just couldn't get enough of it!  I kind of guessed parts of the ending but that didn't make it any less horrifying or suspenseful!  I literally had to force myself to slow down at the end just so I could take it all in.  What a book!

Overall, this book was everything that I look for in a thrilled so I loved my time reading it.  It had a unique premise which really made it stand out for me in the sea of thrillers and mysteries that are out there.  This book had a main character that I wanted to root for even though I didn't fully trust her.  It was dark, tense, and a page turning read!  I will definitely be there for anything and everything that this author writes in the future!  I believe I have a different book of hers on my shelves so I really need to bump that up on the TBR list.  I would recommend this book to fans of thrillers and suspense.  Be warned that there is some definite triggers in this book that may deter other readers.  It wasn't always an easy book to read but it was one that I won't soon forget!

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

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

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Sunday Post #50 (Relaxation 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"

Happy Sunday readers!  I'm not used to posting so regularly here - this is going to make two weeks in a row for me.  Success!  Ha!  I was thinking about taking a week off but next weekend my daughter and I will be in Ohio.  We are taking a road trip and making a girl's weekend of it to attend my stepdaughter's bridal shower.  It should be a fun but very fast little weekend.  I'm really looking forward to it!  This upcoming week will be busy thanks to getting ready for all of that.  The oil needs changed in the car, I need to buy a gift, dress for the shower, etc.  School registration is also this week (where has the summer gone??) and my youngest has travel baseball tryouts.  Fun times for all!  It's so crazy to think that the back to school grind is approaching fast but here we are.

In reading news, I managed to finish one book this past week and begin reading another.  I've got a huge stack of books currently checked out from the library that I'm really excited about.  I just need to find the time to get through them all!  I still haven't gone back to reading The Paris Wife yet but I'm leaving my bookmark in it for awhile longer.  Not much else I can think of really so let's move on to the books.

Last week I finished reading:

Big Little Lies is one that I've had on my TBR list and shelves for a ridiculous length of time.  It was just as good as everyone told me that it would be!  I found myself just immersed in this book and now I really can't wait to give the show a try.  Review to come but if you haven't read this one yet I definitely recommend!

I'm currently reading the following:

It All Falls Down is the second book in the Nora Watt's mystery series.  Last year I read (and adored) the first book in this series titled The Lost Ones.  Nora is such a great main character so as soon as I heard about this second book I was making grabby hands for it.  I'm about sixty pages in and already have been sucked into the storyline.

Plans for today include a bunch of nothing.  My husband is going to grill us another delicious dinner. I'm hoping to catch up on some of our favorite television shows.  Slightly off topic but did you guys see the new Walking Dead trailer??  Eek!  I plan on reading as much as possible and maybe writing up a few reviews as well.  We worked hard last Sunday so that this Sunday is going to be filled with as much relaxation as possible to prepare for the upcoming week.  I'll talk to you all in two weeks but I do have some reviews scheduled to go up between then.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!