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” Rundstöm 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.