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!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you. 

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran - the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?"

My Thoughts:

This book was totally not what I expected it to be!  I don't mean that in a bad way at all but it is really the best way to describe my reading experience.  I picked up this book expecting a thriller which it definitely was.  That being said - the twists and turns this book took and everything that happened within its' pages was definitely not what I originally expected.  This book starts out with a bang and really doesn't let up.  Sure there are times where maybe the author lulls you into thinking that you might know what is going on but I definitely didn't.  I loved how this book switched back and forth between when Eddie and his friends were younger and then back to present day.  It gave the book a similar vibe to Stephen King's It (which I have not yet finished but do plan on getting back to soon).  I also really appreciated the fact that it felt like two separate mysteries and I was fully invested in both of them.  Like so fully invested that I think I managed to finish this book in less then three days.  I just could not stop reading this one!  I don't think that it is too spoilery to say that the author manages to tie everything up beautifully.  I feel like there were a few things that I was able to guess but there was so much more that I didn't.  I enjoyed my time with this book immensely and cannot wait to see what this author comes up with next!

Overall, I found this to be such a great book and I'm glad that I didn't let it linger on my TBR list.  I realize that I didn't tell you a whole lot about it in specifics but I really think this is a book that you should just pick up knowing as little as possible.  Just go on the ride that the author takes you on, it is completely worth it in my opinion!  This is a dark read with a few very uncomfortable moments but it was also oh so good!  I also really enjoyed the fact that this book was a standalone thriller.  I'm basically a series addict if you haven't noticed but I loved that this book stands on its' own.  It's a reminder for me that I need to read more books like this that aren't part of a series once in awhile.  I think that the thing that will stick most with me after finishing this book is the tense and haunting atmosphere that the author created.  There were times that I knew that something bad was going to happen but yet I just couldn't stop reading as I needed to know what would happen next.  I would highly recommend this book to fans of thrillers and mysteries!

Bottom Line:  If I gave actual ratings, I would rate this one 4.5 stars - it was a read that I won't be forgetting about any time soon!

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

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Unsub by Meg Gardiner (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?"

My Thoughts:

I requested this one from the library after hearing so many good things about this author and this series.  It had been on my radar but it was the comparison to Criminal Minds (a television show I enjoy) that bumped this one to the top of my TBR list.  I can honestly say that this book was just as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be!  From the very beginning, Caitlin is pulled into the hunt for a serial killer - the same one that her  father was hunting when she was a young girl.  This book starts off fast paced and that pace doesn't stop until the very last page.  Like I was seriously reading so fast that there were times that I had to go back and reread.  There was this constant layer of fear and tension that the author created in this book.  It had me unable to put this book down as I just needed to see how it would all end.  It was intense, dark, and twisted - just everything that I enjoy from a good thriller.  I really enjoyed how while reading this book I never knew what going to happen next.  I was just along for the ride and I enjoyed every minute of it!  It's funny because this author has been on my radar for awhile now but I'm just now finally giving her books a try.  This was a great book to start with and has me really excited for the next book in this series!  I really don't want to give you too many details as this is a book to experience for yourself.  I'll leave you with a READ THIS BOOK recommendation!   

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and am super excited about this series.  I almost brought the second book home from the library with me the other day but I wasn't ready to be completely caught up with this series yet.  I'm so weird like that.  I don't think that I'll be able to hold out for very long though since I enjoyed this first book so much!  I can't say enough good things about this book though which should tell you how much I enjoyed it.  I would recommend this book to fans of thrillers and mysteries.  Be warned that it is dark and if that isn't your type of read, you might want to pass on this one.  This is exactly the type of book I enjoy though so I couldn't get enough of it!  I love when I find a book that I can't put down and has me unable to stop reading.  I also adore when that same book gives me creepy vibes as well.  I would highly recommend this one for just those reasons alone!

Bottom Line:  A tense and thrilling read that I couldn't get enough of!

Disclosure:  I read this book courtesy of my local public library!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Be A Good Girl by Tess Diamond (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"As the head of an elite FBI unit, Special Agent Paul Harrison seems to have everything figured out, but beneath the surface, an internal war is raging. When he returns to his rural hometown for the first time in a few years, he’s faced with the memories that led to his losing the love of his life.

Fifteen years ago, Abigail Winthrop’s best friend, and Paul’s girlfriend, was murdered by the infamous serial killer Doctor X. Now an investigative journalist, she’s determined to find the truth. But when Abigail discovers evidence that clears Doctor X, she realizes the real killer is still out there and is striking again when local young girls begin disappearing.

Turning to Paul for help, Abigail joins forces with him. As an undeniable attraction develops between them, they must heal deep wounds from their past—and find a relentless psychopath who could extinguish their hopes for a future together."

My Thoughts:

This is exactly the type of book I have been looking for when it comes to romantic suspense!  As a girl that enjoys a good mystery and also a good romance, romantic suspense should be the perfect blend of the two for me.  For whatever reason though, I have a hard time finding romantic suspense books that I really enjoy.  This author changed all of that for me now.  I enjoyed both parts of this book equally and felt that it was a good blend of the two genres.  In fact, I really couldn't stop reading this book once I got going.  It was just so good and so hard to put down!  In this book, Abigail is searching for the truth behind her best friend's death that happened many years ago.  The police believe that they found her killer and he is sitting in prison for his crimes.  When she comes across evidence that may prove otherwise, she is drawn into the hunt for the real truth behind her friend's death.  The mystery portion of this book was both suspenseful and very intense.  Like reading as fast as I possibly could intense to see how everything would turn out.  But what also drew me into this book was the history between Abigail and Paul.  There was this easy chemistry between them from the very beginning pages and I couldn't get enough of it.  I also think that their shared history helped to make the relationship developing between them feel more natural.  It wasn't one of those instal-loves that I despise so much.  Instead, it almost felt like the relationship that developing was like coming home after being gone for too long - that feeling is the best way to describe it!

Overall, I am so excited to have found this author's books because I enjoyed this one so much!  I actually already have another of her books on my shelves waiting to be read which pleases me to no end.  I need more romantic suspense reads just like this in my life!  I found this to be a heart-poundingly good read and one that I couldn't get enough of.  I think that fans of mysteries and thrillers would enjoy this book just as much as fans of romance would.  I'm planning on reading more by this author sooner rather than later.  I would highly recommend!

Bottom Line:  One of the best romantic suspense reads I've read in a long time!

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

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Sunday Post #46 (Reading Craze Edition)

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

I'm writing to you from inside a warm house while the snow just seems to keep coming down outside.  It's crazy pants and I'm ready for spring weather already!  My daughter was supposed to have her first softball tournament of the year but it was cancelled due to the lovely snowstorm that is currently in our area.  I didn't get a chance last week to post a reading update as she had her opening ceremonies for her softball organization.  There is a good chance that my blogging is going to be taking a slight hit in the upcoming weeks so fair warning.  I usually write all of my posts on the weekends as week days are just too busy for anything else.  With a scheduled tournament coming up for almost every weekend in April....well, I'm going to have to figure out a different time to blog or you won't ever hear from me.  LOL!  And baseball will be here before we know it as well.  I love this time of year though so no complaints.

I've been pretty boring otherwise.  Just lots of work going on with me trying to fit in overtime wherever possible.  I've been reading up a storm though.  I thought I was going into a reading slump until the past two weeks happened.  I've finished five books since my last reading update.  Yep, you read that right....five!  I really need to work on catching up on a few reviews at this point.  I'm just trying to ride this reading wave because you never know when it will end.  Or maybe it won't if I keep mixing up my genres and picking really great reads.  A girl can hope, right?  Since my last reading update I've finished the following books:

Natural Thorn Killer by Kate Dyer-Seeley - I actually have already shared my thoughts on this one but if you haven't read my review just know that I enjoyed this one a lot.  It was a fun read and I'm really looking forward to the second book now (although I have a bit of a wait).

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor - I then picked up this thriller and was totally enthralled by this creepy mystery!  I've never actually finished reading It by Stephen King (despite having started it twice now) but it has that same kind of vibe to it almost with the band of young friends and the troubles that they find themselves in.  I will be sharing my thoughts on this one very soon!

What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan -  I needed a complete change of pace with my reading so picked up and finished this nonfiction read within two days.  It was so completely heartbreaking but also such a great book!  I'll discuss more in my review but I think that this book hit me particularly hard as my son is a freshman hoping to play football in college.  I'm eager to write up my thoughts on this one as well but I can highly recommend!

All The Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson - This is my second book by this author and it was just as enjoyable as the first one!  I actually read this one a bit early as it doesn't release until April so I won't be sharing my thoughts on it until then.  I will say that it was a compelling read that left me eager to continue reading this author's books!

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn - I just finished this one earlier this afternoon and it was such a delightful read.  I just couldn't get enough of this book and these characters!  I'm so glad that I have more books in this series to look forward to because I adored everything about this book.  I will also be writing up my thoughts on this one very soon.

I'm now currently reading the following:

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine is my current print read and one that I just began reading last night.  I'm not very far into it yet but I have heard good things!  Dressed for Death in Burgundy is most likely going to be my next Kindle read.  I was so excited to find out about this book after enjoying the first book, Love & Death in Burgundy, so much!  This one isn't scheduled to release until May though so I might read something else first....I haven't quite decided yet.

Plans for today include working on my laundry piles and not much else.  The house is mostly clean so I'm hoping to spend some of the afternoon relaxing with my book.  I should probably work on writing up reviews and pre-scheduling posts considering how busy life is going to get in the near future.  I was thinking about working for a few hours as well but I haven't quite decided yet if that is going to happen or not.  Also, since I started writing this post yesterday and it is now Sunday morning...I'm happy to report that the snow has finally stopped!  Let's hope that we get some sunshine today to start the melting process once again.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!     

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Natural Thorn Killer by Kate Dyer-Seeley (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Britta Johnston might be a late bloomer, but after leaving her deadbeat husband and dead-end job, she's finally pursuing her artistic passion at her aunt Elin's floral boutique, Blooma, in Portland, Oregon. It's on the banks of the Willamette, in a quaint district of cobblestone paths and cherry trees. The wine bar featuring Pacific Northwest vintages is a tasty bonus, offering another kind of bouquet to enjoy. But things aren't as peaceful as they look.

For one thing, someone's been leaving dead roses around--and a sleazy real estate developer who wants the waterfront property has put a big-money offer on the table. Then, after a contentious meeting of local business owners, he's found on the floor of the shop, with Elin's garden shears planted in his chest. And before the police decide to pin the crime on her beloved aunt, Britta will have to find out who arranged this murder . . ."

My Thoughts:

After adoring this author's Pacific Northwest cozy series, I am basically here for everything/anything that she writes.  So you can probably guess how thrilled I was to hear that she had this new series coming out!  I can't say that I've yet read a cozy series featuring flowers but I was definitely here for it.  And I loved my time with this book and these new characters.  It was a fun read and definitely different from any of the other cozy series that I'm currently reading.  In this book, Britta comes home to Portland after realizing how unhappy she is in her marriage.  Her passion is flowers so she comes back to help her aunt in the floral boutique that her aunt owns.  Soon after she arrives though, trouble finds them both as a dead body is found in the cottage behind their floral shop.  And just as fast, I was hooked on this book and these characters!  I think though before I tell you everything that I enjoyed about this book, that I better tell you about my one and only complaint with this book.  I feel like the author completely glossed over Britta's failed marriage in the beginning of the book.  It almost would have worked better for me if she hadn't included the discovery of her husband being unfaithful.  There were just no details relating to it all and everything happens so fast - I could have skipped all of that and just started with Britta arriving in her old hometown.  My two cents though so take it for what it's worth!  As soon as the murder happened though, I was firmly entrenched in the story and figuring out whodunnit.  I also really became attached to both Britta and Elin's characters.  I think that the author has a knack for creating characters that you come to care about which happened while I was reading this book yet again.  I'm really looking forward to more books with these characters!  I also loved how in this book the author gave tidbits and details relating to Britta and Elin's Swedish heritage.  It just added a different flavor to the book that I couldn't help but enjoy.  The mystery portion was also very enjoyable.  I didn't figure out who the killer was until the very end (although I did suspect at one point).  It's always fun to find that the author is able to turn you around enough that you don't see the end coming.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and have already added the next book to my TBR list (despite the fact that it isn't scheduled to release until November of this year).  I will be right there ready to gobble it up when it does come out!  I found myself easily swept away by this book and it has me wishing to visit Portland sometime myself.  I even wouldn't mind a rainy day or two thanks to reading this one.  Ha!  I loved that this book was so focused on flowers...something that I wouldn't have said that I was terribly interested in.  I love to garden but fresh veggies are where it is at for me.  I just might have to consider planting some flowers though after enjoying this book so much!  I can easily recommend this book to cozy mystery fans.  It just has the perfect cozy feel that I look for.  And don't worry food lovers - the author included enough delicious descriptions to scratch that foodie itch that I didn't even know that I had.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A really enjoyable beginning to this new cozy series!

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

This book releases on March 27th if you are interested!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Anna Pigeon has fled New York and her memories to find work as a ranger in the country’s national parks. In the remote backcountry of West Texas, however, she discovers murder and violence. Fellow park ranger Sheila Drury is mysteriously killed, presumably by a mountain lion. But the deep claw marks Anna finds across Drury’s throat and the paw prints surrounding the body are too perfect to be real."

My Thoughts:

This is my second book read for my personal TBR challenge.  I actually picked up my copy of this book from the used bookstore but then it just languished on my shelves.  I'm grateful for the push to finally pick it up that this challenge gave me because I really enjoyed this one.  It was a quieter mystery but it was the perfect choice for the reading mood that I was in.  I loved this book for the setting alone.  The author was able to just draw me in to the wilderness and stark back country of Texas within the pages of this book.  Through Anna's love of nature and the area where she lived, I was also able to feel like I was there myself.  I found that the mystery came almost second to me in comparison to just experiencing the atmosphere that Barr created within this book.  

What I loved about this book besides the setting was the feel of it.  It almost reminded me of a Sue Grafton novel although they are two very different type of books.  I think it was the fact that both series are set in a different way of life - a time where technology and cell phones aren't the every day norm.  Anna has to use a pay phone to make calls to her sister in New York and can barely type up reports that she needs to do.  Both series feature a different type of investigating where it isn't all focused on forensics but instead focuses more on uncovering the secrets leading up to the crime.  This was a shorter book but I still was so easily caught within the pages.  I found myself surprised by the ending as I didn't see any of it coming.  It just made the book that much more enjoyable and has me eager to continue on with this series (which is why I now have a copy of book two on my shelves ready and waiting).

Overall, I really enjoyed this quiet mystery and am very excited about this series in general.  Luckily for me I believe I have many more books to look forward to.  I'm two for two as well when it comes to books read for this challenge.  Both have been really great reads for me and finally knocked a couple of books off of my TBR that have been on there for entirely too long.  I don't plan on waiting long before moving on to the second book!  I think that fans of mysteries and suspenseful reads will enjoy this book.  I really do see a lot of comparisons to the Sue Grafton series so if you enjoy that one you may like this one as well.  Easily recommended!

Bottom Line: A quiet mystery that sucked me into the beauty of its' surroundings!

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

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"A city of antebellum architecture, picturesque parks, and cobblestone streets, Savannah moves at a graceful pace. But for Harper McClain, the timeless beauty and culture that distinguishes her home’s Southern heritage vanishes during the dark and dangerous nights. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Not even finding her mother brutally murdered in their home when she was twelve has made her love Savannah any less.

Her mother’s killer was never found, and that unsolved murder left Harper with an obsession that drove her to become one of the best crime reporters in the state of Georgia. She spends her nights with the police, searching for criminals. Her latest investigation takes her to the scene of a homicide where the details are hauntingly familiar: a young girl being led from the scene by a detective, a female victim naked and stabbed multiple times in the kitchen, and no traces of any evidence pointing towards a suspect.

Harper has seen all of this before in her own life. The similarities between the murder of Marie Whitney and her own mother’s death lead her to believe they’re both victims of the same killer. At last, she has the chance to find the murderer who’s eluded justice for fifteen years and make sure another little girl isn’t forever haunted by a senseless act of violence―even if it puts Harper in the killer’s cross-hairs…"

My Thoughts:

This book was an excellent beginning to a new mystery series and I enjoyed my time reading it!  I'm not going to lie - I added this one to my TBR list based off of that gorgeous cover alone.  The book itself was just as good as I had hoped though and left me very excited about both this author and series!  One of the things that I liked best about this book was that it wasn't your typical detective mystery.  Harper is a crime reporter for a newspaper who pushes to the edge sometimes to get her story.  It is only when she comes across a crime scene that eerily reminds her of her past (her mother was murdered when she was younger) that she starts investigating both the recent crime and her mother's murder.  The similarities between the two crimes was intriguing but it was Harper herself that really made the story stand out for me.  She just came to life between the pages even when some of the choices that she made had me cringing.  In just a very short time she became obsessed with figuring out what happened to her mother so long ago (hence the reason for some of those bad choices).  It added this layer of tension to the story that caused me to be unable to stop reading.  I did guess the actual bad guy towards the end of the book although I couldn't figure out the whys behind it all.  Even figuring that much out, I found myself very surprised by the ending of the book and very eager to get my hands on book two.  It was so good but now I need more!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am now left with the long wait for book two.  But this one was so good that it will be completely worth the wait!  I tried not to give too much away because I didn't want to spoil anything but I obviously can't say enough good things.  I feel like I've hit a streak of finding new mystery authors to be really excited about and this author is on that list.  It was just such a great mystery and that ending left me wanting more.  I almost forgot to mention that I really enjoyed the Georgia setting.  There is just something about books set in the South that I love.  If you enjoy mysteries and suspenseful reads then this is a book to check out!  I'm in awe that this book is the author's debut because it is just so good!  I would highly recommend (I'm sure you can tell as this feels like it has turned into a gush fest).  So very good!

Bottom Line:  A mystery where the characters and setting swept me away and left me wanting more!

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

This book releases today on March 13th if you want to check it out!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Sunday Post #45 (Used Bookstore Haul Edition)

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

I took another week off from blogging - no real reason why other than I've just been busy and lacked the motivation to write up reviews.  I feel like the past two weeks have been super busy but not really sure why.  Eh...that's what happens sometimes!  I managed to finish seven books in February which I was pretty happy with.  Not as good of a reading month as January but it was shorter and I'm still currently ahead on my Goodread's goal.

I didn't finish a single book last week which is the first time that has happened all year!  I'm not in a reading slump though - I just haven't been finding the time to curl up with a book.  I wouldn't have any books to update you on if I hadn't finished two the previous week.  I did go to the used bookstore yesterday though which left me a very happy reader.  I've got a fresh new stack of books to read and there isn't much better than that!  In other news, the kids are on spring break this week which they are pretty thrilled about.  I'm hoping that it will be a much less hectic week since the running around will be kept to a minimum.  My house could definitely use some deep cleaning and I don't even want to talk about the laundry situation currently.  LOL!  I'm also hoping that this will mean some extra quality reading time but that remains to be seen.  But let's get back to the books.  Since my last update I finished the following books:

Unsub by Meg Gardiner was a really intense and thrilling read.  I kept hearing really great things about this series (book two recently released) and I've got to agree.  It had me reading frantically trying to see how it would all turn out.  I'm eager to get my hands on the second book because although there is closure in this book - there is also an open story line that I'm left wanting answers to.

Born In Death by J.D. Robb was the perfect follow-up as this is a personal favorite series of mine.  It was great to jump back into a mystery like this one with some of my favorite characters.  I especially enjoyed this one as it had some laugh out loud moments to it as well.  I adore this series and each book is an enjoyable read for me!

I'm now currently reading the following:

I'm about 80% into this one and enjoying it although I've been reading it for over a week.  This is what happens when I don't get enough reading time in.  I don't currently have a print read in progress yet either.  I've got plenty of choices though so as soon as I finish this book (hopefully maybe this afternoon) I will figure that part out.

Curious about which books I brought home from my used bookstore trip?

I brought all of these gems home with me and STILL have almost $30 worth of in-store credit available.  Gotta love it!  I'm excited to add all of these to my shelves and read them in the hopefully near future.  Have you read any of these?  Any that I should bump up to the top of my never-ending TBR list?

I'm off to work on writing up some book reviews.  I'm falling a bit behind and would like to get some posts prescheduled for the month.  Life is going to get pretty darn busy soon enough and I can see my blogging time dwindling down because of it.  Plans for the rest of the day include laundry and reading otherwise.  I would really like to get some other things accomplished around the house but we will have to wait and see if that happens.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.

In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” RundstΓΆm has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines.

But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble."

My Thoughts:

I've been meaning to read this book for awhile now but it was hearing about it on the Smart Podcast, Trashy Books podcast that helped me to make it my next read.  I was in the mood for a fun romance and this book definitely fit the bill.  It is probably one of the most unique beginnings to a paranormal romance series that I've ever read.  Kera wakes up to find herself to have become a crow - basically she is now part of this group of strong females that have special strengths and abilities.  They are almost like warriors for a god - at least that's the best way that I can describe them.  How wonderful to find a book that focuses on female relationships like this one does!  That being said - my one and only complaint with this book was that at times it was hard to keep track of all of the characters.  There are just so many of them!  I'm sure that as the series goes on I will become more and more familiar with all of the characters but I did find it a bit overwhelming at times.  Enough on that though!  I absolutely breezed through the pages of this book!  It was such a fun read and it had me giggling at times.  Especially at the beginning where Kera explains more of how she first met/what she first thought of Vig.  It's pretty great but I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say any more than that.  I found that I especially enjoyed the relationship between Kera and Vig.  He helped her in so many different ways to adjust to her new life and I adored him for that alone.  Plus there are some nice steamy scenes between the two of them and I couldn't help but root for their happy ever after!  This book was very fast paced and I raced through the ending because I couldn't stop reading.  We don't get full closure since this is just the beginning of this series but it was wrapped up enough to feel satisfying.  I'll still be reading the second book sooner rather than later though!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and am excited to have finally given this author a try.  I was bummed at first to see that there are currently only three books in this series but Laurenston has other series and books that I can read as well.  I just enjoyed this book so much so I want tons more just like it!  I also really appreciated that the crows are all women of mixed heritages and races!  Yet another thing that I just loved about this book.  I'm so eager to read more in this series because of all of this.  There are just so many great things about this book that have me so excited to read more in this series.  I would highly recommend this book to other readers of romance, paranormal romance, and even urban fantasy.  I will be picking up that second book as soon as possible!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  I thought that this was a really great beginning to this unique paranormal romance series!

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Whisper of Bones by Ellen Hart (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Britt Ickles doesn't remember much from her only visit to her mother's childhood home when she was a kid, except for playing with her cousin Timmy and the eruption of a sudden family feud. That's why, when she drops by unannounced after years of silence, she's shocked when her aunts tell her Timmy never existed, that she must be confusing him with someone else. But Britt can't shake the feeling that Timmy did exist...and that something horrible has happened to him. Something her aunts want to cover up.

Britt hires Jane Lawless, hoping the private investigator can figure out what really happened to her cousin. When a fire in the family's garage leads to the discovery of buried bones and one of the aunts dies suddenly and suspiciously, Jane can't help but be pulled into the case. Do the bones belong to Timmy? Was the aunt's death an accident, suicide, or homicide? What dark secret has this family been hiding for decades? It all depends on Jane Lawless to unravel."

My Thoughts:

A Whisper of Bones is one of those books that I was intrigued by from the very beginning.  With a great cover and a unique summary, I just couldn't help wanting to read this one.  The idea of a woman remembering a little boy from her childhood only to be told that he doesn't exist was too much for me to resist.  I just knew that I had to read it despite the fact that this is book #25 in this long standing mystery series.  Happily enough, it didn't matter in the slightest that I hadn't read the previous books as I found myself sucked into this book with ease.  The thing that I really liked about this book was the mystery portion and how unexpected that it all was.  Jane is hired basically to determine if Timmy is real or not.  That alone had me reading without stopping because I just couldn't figure out how she was going to be able to do that.  Then the bones were found in the garage and I was seriously hooked.  This book also featured some interesting secondary characters that I enjoyed reading about.  I'm sure that without having read the previous books I'm missing some back stories there but it didn't detract from my reading experience in the slightest.  Instead it just made me go and the first book to my TBR list to read soon.  I really enjoyed my time with this book and found that I didn't want to stop reading.  I loved the way this book wrapped up but I won't tell you much more than that so I don't spoil anything.  I just found it to be perfectly tied up and it left me excited to read more from this series!

Overall, I found this book to be a really great mystery and a series that I want to read more of.  I find it so surprising that I hadn't heard of this author until now but I'm glad that I found her books.  I'm looking forward to picking up book one in the very near future.  I do love that I have so many books to look forward to!  Readers that are looking for diverse characters - this book features a main character who is LGTBQ.  I thought it was worth mentioning because so many readers are really trying to expand their reading in ways like this - I know that I am!  If you are looking for a unique mystery, I would definitely recommend this book!  I think that this series is considered to be a cozy mystery series but I'm really not for sure on that.  All I can say is that I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read more!  Mystery, suspense, and cozy mystery fans alike should give this book and series a shot!

Bottom Line:  An enjoyable mystery that left me excited to read more from this series!

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

 A Whisper of Bones releases today February 27th if you are interested!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Sunday Post #44 (Catching Up Edition)

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

Happy Sunday folks!  I took a blogging break last week which was much needed.  Sometimes you just need a quiet Sunday curled up with a book instead.  It was a normal busy week which is starting to become our routine at this point.  Spring is just around the corner and then things are really going to get crazy though.  I'm trying to just appreciate the quiet evenings when we have them because it isn't going to be long before we have practices and games most every night.  Not much else knew on that front though!

In between all of the hours that I've been working, I have been reading as much as possible.  Because I didn't post a reading update last week, I've finished four books since my last Sunday post.  Gotta love how that sounds!!!  It makes me feel so accomplished even if it just what is hopefully becoming my normal average of two books a week.  I've been having such a hard time though deciding what to read next.  Does anyone else have this issue?  I've got a huge stack of books checked out from the library, plenty on my own shelves and e-reader but yet I still struggle on picking that next book.  It's crazy!  I ended up using the random number generator to help me pick a couple of books out - one from my TBR challenge list and then one just from my TBR shelf on Goodreads (which is ridiculously huge).  I think having those two books picked out to be read will help me to know what to pick next - at least once they come in from the library that is.  Anywhoo - here is what I've finished since my last reading update:

The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston - I picked this one up after hearing it mentioned on a podcast episode and it was a really great choice.  I just breezed through the pages of this book and couldn't get enough.  I heard the next book is even better which has me pretty excited!  I'm bummed that there only seems to be three books in this series so far - but at least Laurenston has other books that I can check out!

Be A Good Girl by Tess Diamond - I absolutely am so excited about this author after reading this book!  I feel like I'm constantly looking for good romantic suspense and this book delivered exactly that!  The mystery was both thrilling and tense and with a romance that I could actually get behind.  I'm excited to share my thoughts on this one soon.

Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr - This is my 2nd book finished for my personal TBR challenge and one off of my own shelves.  I enjoyed this quiet mystery - it reminded me a lot of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series but in a different way.  I'll explain it better (hopefully) when I write up my thoughts on it but I'm excited to have found yet another long standing series to read.

The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty -  Oh my goodness!  I stayed up so late Friday night just so that I could finish this book.  It was such a great read (I feel like I'm on repeat here but boy have I been reading some great books) and I'm really excited to for the next book in this new series.  I will be writing up my thoughts on this one soon as well but will share them closer to its' release date.

I'm now currently reading the following:

I just started Unsub (my current print read) earlier this morning and I'm already seventy plus pages in.  I'm well and truly hooked and plan on reading this one more this evening.  Natural Thorn Killer will be my next read on my kindle.  I've enjoyed this author's books in a different series so I'm really looking forward to checking this new series out!  Let's all ignore the fact that I'm most definitely not caught up with the Pacific Northwest series of hers that is a favorite of mine. 

New Additions:

These are actually all courtesy of Edelweiss.  I don't even know which one I'm most excited about so let's go with all of them!  My TBR is out of control you guys!  And if you could see my library's a bit ridiculous but I don't mind.  I just need a month to read them all!

Plans for tomorrow (I'm writing this on Saturday night) include working for a few hours and lots of laundry.  The Walking Dead is back finally which I'm pretty pumped about!  I would love to gets lots of reading time in as well with my current books.  I also see a trip to the grocery store in my near future and maybe some meal prep.  I've been cooking a ton since my husband's surgery - I don't think I'll ever be the best cook out there but I'm improving which is always good.  I definitely plan on writing up a few reviews as well.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Look For Her by Emily Winslow (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Just outside of Cambridge, Lilling seems like an unassuming idyllic English village, but it’s home to a dark history. In 1976, a teenage girl named Annalise Wood disappeared while riding her bike home from school. Though her body was later discovered in a shallow grave, the culprit was never found. Decades later, Annalise maintains a perverse kind of celebrity in the small town, and is still the focus of grief, speculation, and for one young woman, a disturbing, escalating jealousy.

When DNA linked to the Annalise murder unexpectedly surfaces, cold case investigator Morris Keene realizes he may now have the chance of his career. Morris and his former partner, Chloe Frohmann, hope to finally solve this perplexing mystery, and bring closure to a traumatized community. But the new evidence that should be the simple solution instead undoes the case's only certainty: the buried body that had long ago been confidently identified as Annalise may be someone else entirely, and instead of answers, the investigators face only new puzzles.

Whose body was unearthed all those years ago, and what happened to the real Annalise? Could she have had a secret child? Is someone interfering with the investigation? And is there a link to a present-day drowning with eerie connections? 

With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Emily Winslow explores the dark side of sensationalized crime in this haunting psychological thriller."

My Thoughts:

I read the above summary and just knew that I wanted to read this book as soon as possible so I jumped at the chance when I received an email about a blog tour for it.  I didn't realize that it was part of a series though and honestly it didn't effect my enjoyment in the slightest.  I found myself just so intrigued by this cold case that was being worked again thanks to new evidence.  I did find that that I was slightly thrown off at the beginning of this book because each chapter was told by a certain character.  It took me a little bit to catch on to the rhythm (and also get to know each character) but by the halfway point I was hooked.  I then really appreciated the different viewpoints as I felt that it added to the overall story line.  I also felt like the way that this book was set up added to the suspense.  The author pulled me in and I didn't want to stop reading after that.  I would think that I had an idea of what was going on only to find that I was completely wrong not long after.  There were some particularly tense moments featuring the story line told by the psychologist that had me unable to set this book down.  I just had to see what was going to happen next!  There were all of these threads in this book and I loved that the author was able to tie them together in a way at the end that felt like a satisfying but unexpected conclusion.  I am now really excited to go back to the beginning of this series and see how it all started!

Overall I am very excited about this series and really enjoyed my time with this book.  The way that this book is set up and the fact that it was based around a cold case made it really stand out to me.  It's different from what is out there and I really appreciated that fact.  I also really enjoyed the main characters and am excited that I have more books with them to look forward to.  I wanted to say that this was a quieter mystery but there were just enough of those fast paced moments where that wouldn't be a valid statement.  It was a great mystery though and I'm eager to read more by this author.  I would recommend this book to fans of both suspense and mysteries alike.  It's definitely a four star read for me!

Bottom Line:  A really great mystery that kept me engrossed throughout!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a PICT Book Tour.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: February 13th 2018
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 006257258X (ISBN13: 9780062572585)
Series: Keene and Frohmann #4 | Each is a stand alone novel
Purchase Links: Amazon πŸ”— | Barnes & Noble πŸ”— | Goodreads πŸ”—

Author Bio:

Emily Winslow
Emily Winslow is an American living in Cambridge, England. She trained as an actor at Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious drama conservatory and earned a master’s degree in museum studies from Seton Hall University. For six years she wrote for Games magazine, creating increasingly elaborate and lavishly illustrated logic puzzles. She lives with her husband and two sons. She is the author of four novels and a memoir.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website πŸ”—Goodreads πŸ”—Twitter πŸ”—, & Facebook πŸ”—!