Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Review: The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

Summary from Goodreads:

"Florence Lovelady's career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago in a small village in Lancashire. Like something out of a nightmare, the victims were buried alive. Florence was able to solve the mystery and get a confession out of Larry before more children were murdered., and he spent the rest of his life in prison.

But now, decades later, he's dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves. Is someone copying the original murders? Or did she get it wrong all those years ago? When her own son goes missing under similar circumstances, the case not only gets reopened... it gets personal.

In master of suspense Sharon Bolton's latest thriller, readers will find a page-turner to confirm their deepest fears and the only protagonist who can face them."

My Thoughts:

Sharon Bolton is one of my favorite authors for a reason and books like this are exactly why!  Wow, wow, wow - this book sure creeped me out at times!  It was everything that I absolutely love in a thriller though.  It was dark, twisted, and filled with suspense that kept me reading nonstop.  Sharon Bolton is the queen at creating these eerie books where you are kept guessing the entire time.  What I loved about this book was the way that it was set up.  I don't think it spoils anything to say that it goes from present day to the past and then back again to the present day.  And it sets up everything just beautifully by doing it this way.  This book also has a hint of the paranormal to it that gives the book an even darker feel.  Florence was a great main character to follow and I especially liked that we had the chance to see the struggles that she went through as a female police officer back at the beginning of her career.  This case shaped her career and really her life afterwards.  The entire book was just so compelling and nail bitingly good!  I felt like I just flew through the pages of this book as I didn't want to stop reading.  The descriptions especially at the beginning of the young girl waking up in a coffin had this claustrophobic feel to was disturbing to say the least!  I was guessing throughout the entire book on what was really going on.  I had my theories and while some of it turned out to be correct - it wasn't for the reasons I thought and basically was still left stunned by the ending.  My one and only complaint was that I wasn't sure how I felt about the ending of the book.  I had to think about it for a day or two because it was good and it did all work if that makes sense.  It definitely wasn't what I expected though and yet it fits.  I don't even know how to explain it but I wasn't sure on it at first and now that I've thought on it more I feel like it was the right ending for the book.  I don't want to say any more than that.

Overall, this book was just as good as I hoped and expected it would be!  It was all of my favorite things about thrillers and mysteries wrapped into one really great book!  I'm especially excited because it looks like it may be the start of a series.  I'm intrigued to say the least!  It didn't necessarily feel like a book that was going to be the beginning of a series when it ended but I'm so here for it!  I would love to read more about Florence!  This is definitely going to be one of those rare books that ends up on my best of list by the end of the year!  The creepy factor alone was enough to get my heart racing!  And then you add everything else up to it for one perfect read.  I would recommend this book to fans of mysteries and thrillers easily.  I cannot recommend this author enough honestly!  If you haven't read her Lacey Flint series yet, then check those books out too!  She is just SO good and this book is another perfect example of that!!

Bottom Line:  This book is a perfect example of why I love this author so much - a five star read for sure!

Disclosure:  I checked this book out from my local library.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Sunday Post #55 (Reading Rambles 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 friends!  I've been reading up a storm lately (or at least it feels like it).  All I can really say is about time because neither January or February were very impressive for me in terms of reading numbers.  I'm still behind on my reading goal for Goodreads but now it's down to like three books behind on my reading schedule or something like that.  I'm sure I will catch up eventually....or I won't and that is okay too I suppose.  There hasn't been much else new around here otherwise.  My oldest and I have been driving more together as he is soon going to be able to get his license.  It's pretty crazy (and a bit stressful) to think about.  The time just flies!  Softball and baseball season is set to start up in a few short weeks which is exciting assuming the weather cooperates.  It's doubtful as we had a beautiful day yesterday and then overnight it snowed and covered the ground with about an inch again.  My youngest was not happy as he has been playing outside nonstop this week with the nicer weather.

Books wise I have finished four books in the last two weeks.  Two books each week which hasn't been my norm lately.  I finished the following books:

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton was SO CREEPY!  This is one of my very favorite authors and there are so many reasons why but books like this are exactly why!  I'm still working on writing up my full thoughts on this book but hopefully I'll post my review sometime this week.

Devil's Daughter by Lisa Kleypas was an absolutely delightful read that I enjoyed immensely.  This was my first read by Kleypas but it was just as good as I had heard it would be.  I'm so excited that I have so many of her other books to look forward to!  I've already shared my thoughts on this book here if you are interested.

Her Father's Secret by Sara Blaedel was a compelling mystery that is part of a series I'm looking forward to reading more of.  This is book two in the series and I'm going to need to go back and catch up with that first book soon.  It was a quieter read but I enjoyed it all the more because of it!  I also need to work on writing up my thoughts to this book as well.

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke was a thrilling read that kept me glued to the pages the entire time!  I loved the premise of this one and was so completely hooked that I couldn't set this book down.  This book doesn't come out until next month so I won't be sharing my thoughts until closer to the release date.  If you get the chance though, add this one to your TBR because it is worth the read for sure!

I'm now currently reading the following two books:

A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty is my current print read and I actually haven't started it yet.  I read the first book in this series (The Echo Killing) last year and really enjoyed it!  I've been looking forward to reading this one every since then.  On my kindle I'm reading Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien.  I actually haven't read the first two books in this series yet, but I've enjoyed what I've read of this one so far!  I'm looking forward to continuing on and hopefully reading this one later this afternoon.

Plans for the rest of the day include relaxing and laundry.  I'm looking forward to the new episode of the The Walking Dead tonight as usual.  I've actually been binge re-watching the series from the beginning and there are so many characters that I miss now!  Glenn - ugh!  But it is fun so I might watch a little bit more of that today as well.  I'm off to get my day started!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Review: Devil's Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

Summary from Goodreads:

"Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he's a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband's life a misery, and she'll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire...not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn't bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She's the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?"

My Thoughts:

Whelp!  I read my first book by Kleypas and now I'm completely hooked!  I started this book only knowing that I had previously heard tons of  high praise for Lisa Kleypas and her historical romances.  Let me tell you that I can honestly join in on singing this author's praises now!  I was hooked on this book from the very beginning.  I was so completely invested in the relationship developing between West and Phoebe.  What I really liked about this book is that the author took a difficult situation with the recent death of Phoebe's husband, whom she genuinely loved, and still managed to create a believable romance between her and West that I could't help but root for.  West was delightful to read about and not at all what I expected him to be from reading the summary of this book.  He was just perfect for Phoebe in every way even if neither of them knew it right away!  I literally could not stop reading this book!  I found myself sneaking in pages every free second that I had (and that's no exaggeration).  That feeling of anticipation and would they be able to get their happy ever after kept me reading long after I should have gone to bed.  And I enjoyed every minute of it!  I also have to say that I really appreciated that Phoebe's husband was remembered in a positive way.  I think this comes from me reading so many thrillers where the deceased spouse may not have been the best type of person but I didn't feel like this author went there at all.  She kept the love between Phoebe and him as something separate but important all the same.  I also felt like it opened Phoebe up to an even deeper relationship with West which I adored.  If all of the books in this series are this good, I am certainly in for a treat!  I feel like I say this every time but with books this good, I really, really need to add more historical romances to my reading life!  

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and will certainly be reading more by this author!  I have a few of her other romances already on my shelves but I think that I would like to start at the beginning of this series first and catch up.  I've heard such good things about the earlier books so I want to read the rest of the books before trying anything else.  Plus, the covers for this book and the rest of the series are absolutely gorgeous!!  I am so glad that I've finally read this author and will not be waiting long before reading more by her.  I would recommend this book to fans of romance and historical romances alike.  As will most historical romances, you don't have to read these in order.  I certainly didn't and it didn't effect my enjoyment in the slightest.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A book that I couldn't help but fall a little bit in love with!

Source:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.  All thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Review: Blink by K.L. Slater

Summary from Goodreads:

"What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace. 

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter. "

My Thoughts:

Blink is one of those thrillers that knocked me for a complete loop!  I really don't want to give anything away so I'm going to be very careful in the details I share and how I talk about this book.  I'm going to have to be deliberately vague at times but it is for the best of reasons.  I want you to have the same kind of reading experience that I did!!!  Let this author take you for a thrilling and unexpected ride because it is well worth the trip!  I started out reading this one a bit annoyed with Toni.  I'm a bit over the main characters that aren't always likable so I was hesitant to say the least.  It was different with this book because the author gives valid reasons for the way she behaves.  But that didn't stop me from wanting to scream at her a few different times because ugh!  Before I knew it though, I was completely wrapped up in the pages of this book.  I read the above summary so I thought that I knew what I was getting into but it turned out I didn't.  And then I hit a certain point of the book and that was it for me.  I couldn't stop reading from that point on.  I'm going to be honest and say that I think that this book could have been a bit longer.  The author could have drawn it out just a bit more and given a few more details.  That's rare for me to say but it did feel very fast after a certain point.  It was quite the ending and left me so excited to read more by this author though!

Overall, I'm so glad that I have now found this author and have another of her books just waiting to be read.  The edition that I read actually included another of her books, Safe With Me, and  I'm really looking forward to reading it soon.  I loved that my expectations of this book were shattered but in the best kind of way.  I'm a back cover/summary reader always.  I like having an idea of what the book is about before I start reading.  I've always been like that.  So for an author to take those expectations of what I came into this book thinking it was going to be and then just shake them to the was an experience I won't be forgetting anytime soon.  I was able to guess a few aspects of the ending but it was still quite the ride for me!  I'm eager to chat about this book with other readers and get their thoughts on it!  I would recommend this book to fans of thrillers and suspense!

Bottom Line:  An unexpected reading experience that I really enjoyed!

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

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Stray Moon by Kelly Meding (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Para-Marshal Shiloh Harrison has always been a great number two for the East Coast unit. But after her boss is found dead (having betrayed the paranormals he was sworn to protect), she’s suddenly thrust into a leadership role she isn’t prepared for. And it doesn’t help that she traded away memories of one of her most important team members to save another’s life during her last mission.

Too, she’s in charge of a unit that is mired in bureaucratic red tape, meaning she’s essentially under house arrest. But a West Coast Para-Marshal has astral-projected a warning: werewolves are going missing, and she needs Shiloh’s help. Last time it was vampires. This time it’s werewolves. Half-djinn herself, she knows she can’t just sit around and do nothing while paranormals are getting snatched. Her old boss may have broken his oath, but Shiloh will do anything to serve and protect."

My Thoughts:

I am well and truly hooked on this series now thanks to this latest book!  Urban fantasy has always held a special place in my readerly heart.  There just isn't enough new series coming out lately in my opinion which is a shame.  Happily enough I found this series right at the beginning with the first book Stray Magic.  Without sharing any spoilers, that first book left me very eager to get my hands on this newest book so I jumped at the chance to read it.  It was just as good as I had hoped that it would be I'm happy to report.  I picked this book up and jumped right back into where I had left off in book one it felt like.  Let me start off by saying though that I really do think that you need to read this series in order so start with book one.  It's not that the author didn't do a good job of catching the reader up on the action from that first book (she actually does a really great job of it) but there is just so much that carries over from that first book that I really do recommend reading them in order.  For me, the details she gave from that previous book were enough to help jog my memory so that I didn't feel lost when starting on this one which sometimes can happen when waiting to read books in series for periods of time.  I absolutely adore the characters in this series!  Shiloh is everything that I could want as a main character.  She is kick-ass when she needs to be but also both vulnerable and caring.  Her team and job as a para-marshal are two of the most important things to her and it shows throughout the book.  I love how this author has taken different types of paranormal characters and featured them as main characters rather than just your typical vampires and shifters.  Sure, this book has them too but it isn't often that you see a half genie as your main character!  This book was just as fast paced as the first book so I breezed through the pages of it.  I actually finished the last half of the book all in one chunk after work one evening because I just couldn't stop reading.  I'm so curious to see where this author is going to take us next after the way this book ended!  It is going to be a very long wait until book three - that's for sure!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am so excited to have found this series!  I NEED more urban fantasy series like this in my life!  Books like this are just so fun to read.  I love how action packed this was, all of the different types of characters, and there is even a little bit of mystery behind who could be involved in it all.  All of this combines into a book that I just couldn't set down!  I would recommend this series to fans of urban fantasy and paranormal.  I stand by my recommendation of reading them in order.  There are only two books so far so it's not like there are ten books to catch up on (although at this rate I would still say they were worth taking the time to read).  Easily recommended!

Bottom Line:  A great addition to this series that has me wishing I had book three in my hands already!

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

D. D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman—Evie Carter—from a case many years back. Evie's father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim—a hostage—and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad's murder.

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?"

My Thoughts:

This is my first five star read of 2019!!!  I am so completely hooked on this series at this point and I'm only three books in.  It's funny because I'm totally not reading them in order - and I've started compulsively buying them whenever I find copies of the earlier books because I definitely want to read the entire series at this point.  But back to this book which again features Flora Dane whom I have just grown to love.  In Never Tell, the book is told from three different viewpoints all focusing on the recent shooting and murder of Evie Carter's husband.  One viewpoint is D.D.'s as she is investigating this murder, one from Evie's viewpoint as she deals with the aftermath of her husband's death, and finally from Flora's point of view as she recognized Evie's husband as being an acquaintance of her former captor Jacob Ness.  All of these three storylines are so compelling and made this book one that I couldn't set down.  Gardner does such a beautiful job of creating tense and suspenseful atmospheres in each of her books.  This book kept me guessing and turning the pages the entire time!  There is so much going on that you would think that it is almost too much - I didn't even mention yet that Evie "accidentally" killed her father when she was younger.  Instead all of these different things just tie together beautifully to ratchet up the suspense even more!  I feel like I'm just rambling here at this point so here is what you need to know: this book is JUST as amazing as every book that I've read in this series so far.  If you haven't read this series yet, you can certainly start here or you could do like I did and begin with Find Her (or maybe start at the very beginning of the series like most people do).  I loved this book so much and one of the reasons is because of Flora's character.  I'm loving the chance to see her continue to work on living her life after everything that she has been through.  There is just so much going on in this book that I absolutely loved.  I loved that I was kept guessing the entire time on what actually happened.  I won't say more than that but I just cannot recommend this series enough at this point!!

Overall this was easily a five star read for me and my first one of the new year!  I feel like all I'm doing is gushing at this point but really it was that good!  This book was just as compelling and thrilling as the other two books that I've read in this series.  The mysteries are always suspenseful but it is the characters that keep me coming back for more.  I really am looking forward to finally starting back with the first book in this series sometime in the near future!  If you enjoy tense, edge of your seat - will not - cannot - stop reading books then this series is for you!  I can highly recommend this one to thriller and mystery lovers alike!  Lisa Gardner has sky rocketed on to my favorite authors list!  I will eagerly be anticipating the next book in this series and reading everything that she writes!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  As tense and thrilling as I had hoped it would be - an easy five star read!

Disclosure:  I received a review copy of this book thanks to the publisher - thoughts on this book and series are my own!

Monday, February 18, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (February 18th)

"It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date."

Happy Monday folks!  It has been a crazy few weeks over here but not for the usual reasons.  Last week my dog got super sick.  At first we thought it was just a gastro type of thing as she wasn't eating anything.  After a few days of not eating I took her into the vet to make sure she hadn't eaten something that she shouldn't have (she's only two).  When by this Monday she was in even worse shape and still not eating back to the vet we went.  In a nutshell, she has been diagnosed with Addison's disease which means her body doesn't make cortisol like it should.  This sent her into an acute state where her kidneys were shutting down - it was basically awful.  We have an amazing vet that managed to figure it all out and get her the needed treatment.  I'm happy to say that she is on the road to recovery and getting back to her usual spazzy self that we know and love.  She will need monthly injections but should lead a normal healthy life otherwise.  We are so very grateful that she is here with us and healing.  All of this to say that I really haven't been reading.  No surprises there I'm sure.  Usually stress leads me to read more but honestly it did just the opposite this time.

As things are finally starting to settle down, I thought I would catch up with all of you and give you a reading update.  I was planning on trying to do more regular reading updates this year (you can probably see how well that is going).  I'm going to go ahead and just share what I've read so far in February and will consider myself caught up at this point.

Here is what I've finished so far this month:

Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb was a reread and helped me get out of the reading slump that I was starting to struggle with.  I always enjoy my time with the In Death series - they have become almost comfort reads for me.  I just love all of the characters so much so I always look forward to reading these books.

Stray Moon by Kelly Meding is the second book in an urban fantasy series.  I read and really enjoyed the first book Stray Magic last year.  This book was just as fast paced and compelling as book one.  I'm super hooked on this series now so it is going to be a long wait for the book three.  I'm planning on writing up my thoughts and sharing them later this week hopefully.

I'm currently reading the following:

I don't usually read three books but like I said - it has been a hard couple of weeks.  I actually just started Blink by K.L. Slater which is a review copy.  This book is absolutely huge because it also contains the novel Safe With Me by this author.  I don't plan on reading both books back to back but I'm enjoying this one so far.  On my e-reader I'm currently reading It's Getting Scot in Here by Suzanne Enoch.  I'm not very far into this one yet but I love the premise so I have high hopes.  Finally, I'm also "reading" River Bodies by Karen Katchur.  Technically I've set this one aside as it is overdue at the library and I'm planning on returning it.  I'll just go ahead and put it on the holds list again - I was a little over 100 pages in so I plan on finishing it but it is going to have to wait for now.  I'm off now to curl up and relax with a book.

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Death Over Easy by Maddie Day (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Restaurateur Robbie Jordan is ready for the boost in business a local music festival brings to South Lick, Indiana, but the beloved event strikes a sour note when one of the musicians is murdered . . .
June’s annual Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival in neighboring Beanblossom is always a hit for Robbie’s country store and cafĂ©, Pans ‘N Pancakes. This year, Robbie is even more excited, because she’s launching a new bed and breakfast above her shop. A few festival musicians will be among Robbie’s first guests, along with her father, Roberto, and his wife, Maria. But the celebration is cut short when a performer is found choked to death by a banjo string. Now all the banjo players are featured in a different kind of lineup. To clear their names, Robbie must pair up with an unexpected partner to pick at the clues and find the plucky killer before he can conduct an encore performance . ."

My Thoughts:

Death Over Easy was another enjoyable addition to one of my favorite cozy mystery series!  I usually struggle with keeping up with all of the series that I like to read but for some reason that doesn't seem to be the case with my favorite cozy mystery series.  This is the latest addition to the Country Store mystery series and it once again reminded me why I love this series so much.  There are just fun and enjoyable reads!  In this one, the book is loosely centered around a Bluegrass Festival so there is lots of scenes featuring Bluegrass music and instruments.  I can't say that I've ever been to a Bluegrass festival myself but I enjoyed reading about it regardless.  As always, my favorite parts of the book are when Robbie is prepping food in her restaurant or cooking in her restaurant during the breakfast rush.  Everything she makes always sounds delicious which makes me hungry while reading!  Books like this sure do make me wish I was better cook than I really am.  There is just something almost comforting to me reading this series.  I'm always just swept away back into Robbie's life.  The mysteries are fun but aren't what draws me back to these books time and time again.  Instead it is the different characters, the cozy towns, and in this case, Robbie's cooking that keep me coming back for more!  This book was just a fun read and I can't wait to read the next one!

Overall, this was another enjoyable addition to this cozy mystery series!  Was it the best out of the series or my favorite?  Probably not but I still enjoyed my time with it and am ready for more!  I'll be impatiently waiting for the next book in this series but until then it looks like this author has a new different cozy series that recently released that I need to check out!  I love when that happens!  I can easily recommend this series to other cozy mystery lovers and suspense fans.  I do think that you would enjoy these books more if you read them in order but you absolutely do not have to!  The author does a really great job with giving you enough background information that you could dive straight into this one without feeling lost.  But as there are only four books in this series (five counting this one), I would recommend starting at the beginning if you can.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  Another fun read in this cozy mystery series!

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

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

She Lies In Wait by Gytha Lodge (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"On a scorching July night in 1983, a group of teenagers goes camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and the youngest of the group—Aurora Jackson—is delighted to be allowed to tag along. The evening starts like any other—they drink, they dance, they fight, they kiss. Some of them slip off into the woods in pairs, others are left jealous and heartbroken. But by morning, Aurora has disappeared. Her friends claim that she was safe the last time they saw her, right before she went to sleep. An exhaustive investigation is launched, but no trace of the teenager is ever found.

Thirty years later, Aurora’s body is unearthed in a hideaway that only the six friends knew about, and Jonah Sheens is put in charge of solving the long-cold case. Back in 1983, as a young cop in their small town, he had known the teenagers—including Aurora—personally, even before taking part in the search. Now he’s determined to finally get to the truth of what happened that night. Sheens’s investigation brings the members of the camping party back to the forest, where they will be confronted once again with the events that left one of them dead, and all of them profoundly changed forever."

My Thoughts:

She Lies in Wait was one of my most anticipated mysteries of 2019!  I read that summary and just knew that I had to get my hands on this book as soon as possible.  There is just something that I can't get enough of about books that feature unsolved mysteries and investigations in the present.  There are one of my readerly catnips I guess you could say (I'm well aware that's not really a thing but it fits).  And because of all of this, I just immersed myself within the pages of this book.  I think I said this on Instagram when I was talking about this book but it is a book where the tension and suspense slowly build page by page.  The author did a really great job of keeping me guessing throughout the book.  There were times that I thought I had it figured out only to realize a couple of chapters later that I was no longer sure.  And this takes some talent in my opinion because there are a limited number of suspects considering the setup of the book which has Aurora disappearing after going camping with her sister and five of her sister's friends.  I honestly just let the author take me on a ride with this book and enjoyed every minute of it!  I also really enjoyed that in this book there are two separate storylines that the book flips between.  One is the present investigation which is being conducted by Jonah Sheen and his team of officers.  The second storyline is pieces of what actually happened the night Aurora went missing.  The author ties these two storylines together beautifully and in a way that left me eager to read more!  I'm so excited that this is the beginning of a new mystery series because I can't wait to read more books featuring Jonah Sheen!

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book immensely and can't say enough good things about it!  It's an atmospheric read that kept me guessing the entire time.  It's one that I didn't rush through but just enjoyed throughout.  I will be looking forward to the next book in this series for sure!  If you are a mystery lover like I am, then I can recommend this one without hesitation.  I did see a review somewhere that complained that it was a bit on the slower side - but I would disagree there.  I think if you are expecting a thriller then sure, I could see that.  But this is a mystery and I felt like the author did a beautiful job with the pacing.  She wrapped me up in both storylines with ease until I just had to see how it would all end.  Highly recommended on my side of things!

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful mystery that kept me guessing and turning the pages!

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

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you...

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good..."

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book so much!  It was just such a fun read that had me laughing out loud on multiple occasions.  I've had this book on my TBR list for over two years which is a shame considering how much I enjoyed it.  But that's what happens sometimes, and I won't be waiting that long to pick up the next book in this series!  In this book, Violet gets drawn into a murder investigation because her grandmother is considered to be the prime suspect.  One of the things that caused me to hesitate a bit with picking this book up at first was the idea of a magical bookstore.  I'm here for any and all cozy mysteries set in bookstores but I wasn't sure how the author was going to work a magical bookstore.  She did it beautifully though and in a way that just fit in perfectly with the story.  What could have been over the top just seemed to fit perfectly.  I really loved everything about this book!  It was a fun read and kept me guessing throughout.  I also really, really enjoyed that the author included some pieces of history in the book.  I don't want to say more than that as I feel like it is a slight spoiler.  

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am left very excited to have finally tried this cozy mystery series.  I've got two more books now to look forward to which is always a good thing!  I'm glad that my personal TBR challenge finally gave me the push I needed to read this book.  It was a great way to start off this challenge for me in 2019 even if it added more books to my TBR rather than lessening it.  What a great problem to have!  I would recommend this book to fans of cozy mysteries and mysteries alike.  It was a really fun read so I hope that other readers enjoy this one as much as I did!

Bottom Line:  A fun beginning to this cozy mystery series!  I can't wait to read more!

Disclosure:  I read this book courtesy of my local library.  Thoughts as always are my own.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Go To My Grave by Catriona McPherson (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Donna Weaver has put everything into The Breakers, a Bed and Breakfast that she and her mother are opening on a remote stretch of beach. Now it waits - freshly painted, richly furnished, filled with flowers.

But as the guests arrive, they feel like they've been here before. Amid home-baked scones, gorgeous guest rooms, and lavish dinners fit for a king, the feeling of menace grows.

Someone has broken their vow. Someone is playing games. And then the games turn deadly...

My Thoughts:

Go To My Grave was a dark and compelling thriller that left me wondering why I hadn't read anything by this author until now.  One of the things that made me want to read this one right away was I saw a review somewhere that compared this book to the game of Clue.  I loved that game as a kid so I was instantly intrigued.  I can't say that I agree with the comparison but I still really enjoyed this book.  This was one of those whodunnits that kept you guessing from the very beginning.  And there was this sense of foreboding that was present throughout the book which I just adored for the most part.  I'm not going to lie - there were times where I almost wanted to stop reading this book because of that feeling.  Because you just knew that bad things were going to happen and I wasn't sure I could handle reading them.  I feel like there are some serious trigger warnings here so readers be warned.  This book is dark and not always easy to read because of it.  (If you want specific trigger warnings just let me know). The book is told in two storylines: the present day and then what happened many years ago.  The author beautifully ties these two storylines together and in such a way that I just did not see it coming.  I found myself unable to stop reading as I just needed to see how it would all turn out.  I'm going to admit that I was strongly satisfied with the ending as it just fit perfectly in my opinion.  

Overall, I enjoyed my time reading this book immensely which feels a bit wrong to say as it was so unexpectedly dark.  I don't want to harp on that too much but I just feel like it is important for readers to be aware and understand what they are getting.  I spent my entire time guessing with this book and was nowhere close!  This was one of those books where the author brilliantly has you guessing and wondering just trying to figure it all out.  I never knew what to expect and loved every minute of it!  I'm so excited that I have many more books by this author to catch up on.  Question though - are all of her books on the darker side or just this one?  Not that it matters but I was just curious on what to expect.  I would recommend this book to fans of mysteries and thrillers.  

Bottom line:  A dark but very compelling read!

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Lost Lake by Emily Littlejohn (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"On a bright Saturday in early spring, Detective Gemma Monroe responds to a missing person call at Lost Lake, near the small town of Cedar Valley, Colorado. With its sapphire waters and abundance of wildflowers, the lake is a popular camping destination in the summer. But for now, ice still grips the lake and snow buries the flowers.

When Gemma arrives at the shore, she meets three friends who have been camping there: the fourth of their group, Sari Chesney, has disappeared in the night without a trace. Sari is an assistant curator at the local museum, which is set to host a gala that night--a project she's worked on for months and would never intentionally miss. As Gemma begins to understand the complex dynamics of the supposedly close-knit friendship group, she realizes that more than one person is lying to her--and that the beautiful, still waters of Lost Lake may hide more terrible secrets . . ."

My Thoughts:

Lost Lake was another really great addition to what has fast become one of my favorite mystery series.  There is only three books in this series so far (counting this one) but they have all been at least four star reads for me which really says a lot in my opinion!  There is something about the way that this author writes that I just can't get enough of.  The descriptions that she includes within the pages of these books is both beautiful and haunting.  I found myself re-reading sentences just so that I could savor the writing and this author's way with words.  I think describing the way she writes as lyrical would be another good description if I'm being honest.  In this book, the descriptions around Lost Lake were both evocative and chilling.  I could just picture everything that she was describing so clearly in my head - I was just as creeped out by the lake as Gemma was in the book!  I really cannot say enough good things about the writing in these books!  I also always enjoy the mysteries in these books and this was no exception.  I loved how in this book there were three separate mysteries or cases that Gemma was investigating that all possibly tied together.  I spent the entirety of the book trying to figure out if the three cases did actually tie together or if it was all coincidence and completely separate.  Honestly I really just lost myself in the pages of this book even as I tried to take my time and savor it.  It's a long wait for each book when you love a series so much so I wasn't ready to finish this one right away.  I obviously can't say enough good things about this book.  I did guess part of the ending but not the why's behind it all which kept up the suspense until the very end.  I'm left very excited to continue on with this series!  Now begins the wait for book four!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book (and this series to be honest) immensely.  These books have all been so good that I almost can't put into words how much I have enjoyed them.  Just the writing and this author's way with words set this series apart from so many of the mystery series out there.  I don't think that you have to read them in order necessarily but I would recommend it.  There are pieces from that first book that still carry into this one so I think that you will enjoy these books that much more by reading all of them.  I can highly recommend this book and this series as a whole!  Each book has been suspenseful and hard to set down.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A gorgeously written mystery that I savored the entire time!

Disclosure:  I read this book courtesy of my local library system.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Sunday Post #54 (Winter Reading Edition)

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

Good morning!  How's the weather where you are at?  We got hit with another six inches of snow this weekend and then the temps dropped.  It is supposed to be SUPER cold for the next few days so I will be leaving my house as little as possible.  This kind of weather always sounds like a good excuse for extra reading, doesn't it?  In actuality, it is business as usual as we are back to our normal and busy schedules.  When spring hits things will get really crazy but right now it is just lots of practices and running the kids to and from them.  In other news, I recently joined Instagram. Is anyone else on there?  I'm basically loving posting about books all of the time and really loving looking at all of the other bookish posts.  My Instagram handle is Samantha.1020bookedonafeeling if you want to follow me on there.  If you do let me know so I can follow you back!!  It has been a ton of fun but I will admit that it cuts into my reading time a bit.  There are some nights when all I do is scroll through Instagram (or bookstagram) rather then reading.  It's still lots of fun though so I'm enjoying it!

Reading wise I have started 2019 out strong with three books finished already.  I have a TON of books that I want to be reading right now thanks to all of my library holds coming in at once so it almost doesn't feel like enough.  I told myself though that I wasn't going to rush through books this year so I'm just enjoying my current read (and ignoring that stack that keeps calling my name).  LOL!    This year I have finished the following books:

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen was an amazing way to start off my 2019 year of reading!  This was such a suspenseful read and I really enjoyed it!  I've already shared my thoughts on it here if you are interested in reading my full review.

Lost Lake by Emily Littlejohn was an incredible addition to one of my favorite mystery series.  You guys this series and these books are so good!  I was saying on Instagram that I'm just not sure why they don't get more attention.  They all have gorgeous writing and descriptions....I absolutely savored this one!  I can't wait for book four!  I will be working on writing up my thoughts on this one soon.

Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower was my first read off of my personal TBR challenge list.  I enjoyed this cozy mystery so much!  It was a really fun read that had me laughing out loud at a few points.  I was successful at knocking off a book that has been on my TBR for awhile now but it caused me to add the next book in the series on there instead.  LOL!  I will also be working on sharing my thoughts on this one soon!

I'm now currently reading the following:

I've had this one on my radar for a few months now.  It's so good so far!  I'm really enjoying it and have no clue what happened so many years ago.  I'm looking forward to finding out though!

I'm completely undecided on what to read next but I have a few calling my name including No Exit by Taylor Adams, Freefall by Jessica Barry, and Lisa Garder's upcoming release titled Never Tell.  So many books and just never enough time!!!  Or maybe I should throw a romance in there to mix it up.  What would you choose?  I'm off to start on laundry and get my day moving.  I hope all of you have a wonderful Sunday and three day weekend if you are lucky enough to get tomorrow off.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect getaway. . . until the bodies start piling up. It's winter in the Catskills and the weather outside is frightful. But Mitchell's Inn is so delightful! The cozy lodge nestled deep in the woods is perfect for a relaxing--maybe even romantic--weekend away. The Inn boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood-burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a book and someone you love. So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity--and all contact with the outside world--the guests settle in for the long haul. The power's down but they've got candles, blankets, and wood--a genuine rustic experience! Soon, though, a body turns up--surely an accident. When a second body appears, they start to panic. Then they find a third body. Within the snowed-in paradise, something--or someone--is picking off the guests one by one. They can't leave, and with no cell service, there's no prospect of getting the police in until the weather loosens its icy grip. The weekend getaway has turned deadly. For some couples, it's their first time away. For others, it will be their last. And there's nothing they can do about it but huddle down and hope they can survive the storm."

My Thoughts:

An Unwanted Guest was a thrilling read that kept me guessing until the very end!  I just could not resist the premise of this book and am so glad that I didn't wait to read it!  I'm a sucker for books that feature snowstorms and especially ones like this where the characters are cut off from the world due to the weather.  There is just something about a huge snowstorm that I just love....and when you add in a creepy mystery I'm completely hooked!  One of the things that really caught my attention before I started reading this book was the comparisons to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.  This is actually one of my favorite Agatha Christie books so that really put this book on my radar!  And I can definitely see the comparisons.  It's almost like this author was creating a homage to that book and Christie herself.  She did an amazing job of creating a very similar vibe where you didn't know who to trust and what was really going on.  That creepy, suspenseful vibe kept me reading this book late into the night because I just had to see what was going to happen next!  I loved that I was kept guessing and changing my mind throughout the book on who the possible killer could be. It was just a very suspenseful read and I loved every minute of it!  I don't want to say too much more than that because really this is a book just to be experienced yourself in my opinion.  It's the perfect book to read this time of year and especially if you are due to get a winter storm yourself.  Then you can thoroughly creep yourself out!

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book immensely!  Was this book as good as Agatha Christie's?  Well no, not in my opinion but then again I don't think you can really compare ever to Christie.  It was a really great tribute (not sure if that's exactly the right word here but) to her book though and really great in its' own right!  I don't usually rate books on here but I would give this one 4.5 stars easily!  I found myself immensely satisfied with one part of the ending but I won't say more than that.  I just enjoyed this book in general.  I'm really looking forward to reading more by this author, and am glad that I have a couple more of her books to look forward to!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful thriller that kept me guessing!  I'm so glad that I read this one!

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

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Ragnar Jonasson burst onto the American scene with Snowblind and Nightblind, the first two novels in the Dark Iceland series, and the praise was overwhelming. Now he launches a new series featuring a completely new sleuth, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police department.

When a young woman, an asylum seeker from Russia, is found murdered on the seaweed covered rocks of Iceland, Hulda starts to ask questions. But it isn't long before she realizes that no one wants her to investigate this murder. She eventually must decide whether solving this case is worth losing her life."

My Thoughts:

The Darkness was an atmospheric, quiet thriller that has started off a series that I cannot wait to read more of!  Hulda is dealing with a lot of change in her life.  She is basically being forced into retirement but is allowed to investigate one last case of her choosing.  Hulda chooses to investigate the case of a young woman who came to Iceland seeking asylum but instead lost her life.  As the pages go on, the author also starts to share pieces of Hulda's past with us.  I was so intrigued as these little tidbits definitely hinted at a dark and troubled past.  I took my time with this book and just really immersed myself within it.  It was the perfect winter read and the author did an amazing job of conveying Iceland's beauty.  I would love to visit there someday!  This book made me a bit sad though as Hulda's struggle with retirement and what to do with the rest of her life just was a bit heartbreaking to read about.  That being said - I enjoyed my time with this book immensely.  And I'm going to get just slightly spoiler-ey here but that ending!  I honestly can say that I did not see it coming whatsoever.  It was such a bold move and one I would love to discuss with other readers!  Who else has read this book?  

Overall, I am so glad that I decided to read this book because it was the perfect read for this time of year!  This book isn't a book to rush through in my opinion but instead is one to just savor and enjoy.  I enjoyed Hulda's character so much and am curious to see where the author goes next with this series.  I will definitely be there for book two!!  I think that fans of mystery and suspense will enjoy this book.  I don't read a ton of translated fiction but books like this really make me want to read more.  I need to catch up and read more authors and books just like this, that's for sure!  This is an easy book to recommend!

Bottom Line:  An atmospheric mystery that left me pining for the next book!

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

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly."

My Thoughts:

This was an amazing way to begin my year of reading in 2019!  What a page turner this book was!  I've been seeing such great reviews of this one on Instagram lately so decided to begin my year with this book.  And what a book it was!  An Anonymous Girl begins with Jess signing up to participate in a study on morality where she just basically answers questions anonymously.  Obviously the book goes on from there but really I don't want to tell you much more than that.  It's going to be hard (when it feels like everyone is talking about this book) to miss spoilers but I really think that this is a book to just dive into without knowing much.  I really don't think that you will be disappointed!  It was such a compelling read and I found myself unable to set this one down.  There was this layer of suspense and tension throughout the entire book.  Reading it was like just waiting for the shoe to drop.  You know things are going to turn bad - but you aren't sure how or when.  Sorry for all of the metaphors but it was like this snowball building up and I was just waiting for it to hit and destroy everything.  I almost found this one stressful to read at times (yes I'm a dork like that) but I still loved every minute of it!  It definitely made me anxious as I really liked Jess's character so was worried about her throughout.  The authors built the tension perfectly and I just couldn't stop reading as I had to see what was going to happen.  I loved that they also kept me guessing throughout the book unsure of who I could trust.  It was a wild ride that I just couldn't get enough of!  

Overall, I really enjoyed my time reading this book and am eager for more!  I desperately need to go back and read The Wife Between Us by these authors that released last year.  I'm kind of kicking myself that I let that one pass me by unread after enjoying this one so much but at least I have it to look forward to.  The hype on this one is well deserved in my opinion!  I'm so glad that I didn't wait to read this one as I sometimes am prone to do with books where it feels like everyone is talking about them.  It was the perfect way to begin my year of reading in 2019 - if I enjoy all of the books I read as much as I enjoyed this one then this will be my best reading year yet!

Bottom Line:  A thrilling and compelling read that I couldn't stop reading! 4.5 stars!

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