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!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

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

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

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

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

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful mystery!

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Pretty Girls Dancing by Kylie Brant (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Sunday Post #49 (Reading Update)

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

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

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

Last book I finished reading was:

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

Currently reading:

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

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

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Stray Magic by Kelly Meding (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

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

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

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

Unless she can stop it."

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Splinter in the Blood by Ashley Dyer (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

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

But Carver isn’t dead.

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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