Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Remains of the Dead by Wendy Roberts (thoughts)

From Goodreads:

"Sadie Novak's got the kind of job that kills cocktail chatter dead: she owns Scene-2-Clean a crime scene cleanup company. And if wiping up after murders weren't spooky enough, she can also see and talk to the ghosts of the victims...

When grieving relatives hire Sadie and her employee, ex-cop Zack Bowman, to clean up after the murder-suicide of Trudy and Grant Toth, Sadie figures she's bound to meet at least one chatty ghost. But Kent, the man Sadie first encounters at the scene, is very much alive--so much so, that Sadie soon finds herself agreeing to a date with him.

Then a real ghost shows up--the oddly silent spirit of Trudy, who seems determined to prove that her husband's innocence, and inspires Sadie to track down the real killer. But as she scours the crime scene, Sadie quickly realizes she's in way over her head, that Kent has a strange connection to the dead couple, and that someone wants her to give up the ghost...for good."

My Thoughts:

Hmm....I'm kind of stuck on what to say about this one. I was in the mood for a cozy mystery and I always enjoy the paranormal so I figured that I would end up loving this book. I ended up liking it but not loving it like I expected. Sadie has a job that no one wants to do and a "skill" that no one would believe in if she told them about it. Her only employee Zach knows that she is able to "talk" to ghosts but chooses to ignore the fact that she does. Sadie begins a new cleanup job and gets involved in the mystery surrounding the death. So this book was interesting in the fact that it is completely unusual. Sadie's job and her ability to communicate with the dead are different than what is out there relating to the paranormal. The mystery that she found herself caught up in was fascinating as the ghost wouldn't actually "speak" to Sadie. Sadie was left to trying to figure out herself what the ghost was trying to communicate which turned out to be a dangerous job for her. There was an instant chemistry between Sadie and Zach that left me intrigued. It was hinted at a couple of different times but nothing really panned out so I'll have to wait and see what happens in future books.

Although I enjoyed the mystery and the unique storyline, I never really found myself caught up within the story. I was a bit disconnected at times and found that I wasn't actually too worried about who the bad guy was. That being said, by the end I found my reading groove and didn't want to put it down. The ending was a bit of a surprise which is always a positive. All in all, a good read but it just wasn't my favorite. I'm still planning on continuing on with the series and hopefully it will get better as it goes on. Recommended but with a few reservations.

Bottom Line: An interesting read but not my favorite.

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Let It Snow

(Picture taken last winter)

We are waiting quite impatiently for some snow this winter......and crossing our fingers for a white Christmas. I will probably be offline for most of the rest of this week so I hope you all have a wonderful holiday! Merry Christmas from my family to yours :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Creation In Death by J.D. Robb (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"To police lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke, the corpse seemed like a ghoulish personalized greeting card. Not only was the young brunette victim an employee of Eve's billionaire hubby; products from his company were used in the staged crime scene. Dallas recognizes the slaying as the latest handiwork of "The Groom," an arrogant serial killer just returning from a nine-year break. What she doesn't realize immediately is that she herself is targeted as one of his next victims."

My Thoughts:

This series gets harder and harder to review the farther I get in to it because it is next to impossible to not share a spoiler here and there from past books. In this book Eve is up against a killer from a past case that was never solved. The killer seems to be taunting both Eve and Roarke, and it is turning out to be one of her toughest cases yet. What I liked about this book is that we got to see a little bit of Eve's past history as a rookie cop. This wasn't an easy case for Eve (back then and now) and it was a nice change to see her work so closely with Feeney. This series has become a comfort series for me that I go to whenever I need my Roarke and Eve fix or when I'm in the midst of a reading slump. This wasn't my favorite book of the series but it was a solid read.

This is a series that I can't help but recommend. Start at the beginning and watch as the characters grow throughout....I couldn't resist and found myself immersed in the world that Robb has created. Highly recommended!!

Bottom Line: Another great addition to one of my favorite series!

Disclosure: This book was given to me by a friend.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Embrace the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney (thoughts)

From Goodreads:

"Cody MacBain let the woman of his destiny slip away. A member of an ancient clan of Scottish warriors, he grew up beside Shay Logan as her secret protector, but his heart compelled him to become more. Until Shay’s true identity was revealed, and the fated pair’s chance was gone…

But danger will drive them back into each other’s arms…

Shay fell for the boy next door, suspecting nothing of the ancient secrets he guarded. After a stinging betrayal, she’s determined to banish the memories of her first love forever. But the past can’t let go, and the boy she once loved has returned to her a warrior determined to protect her from the unspeakable evil fate has planned…"

My Thoughts:

Embrace the Highland Warrior was a fun read and an interesting take on the paranormal genre. Shay has lived a life filled with secrets which helped to drive a wedge between her and her childhood friend Cody. The chemistry between these two was instant and unrelenting. I started rooting for them to have a happy ever after from the very beginning of the book. I thought that the author took the paranormal genre and gave it a fresh twist with demons, highland warriors (of course), and even vampires. There was a lot of references to an ancient book that made me wonder if it will play a big part in the next book of the series. Shay was an awesome main character as she was both headstrong and tender at different times. She was surrounded for most of her life by both lies and secrets which came into play in the middle of the story. We got to see that she has some special abilities that hopefully we will learn more about as this series goes on. My only problem with this book was that there were so many characters that we didn't get to learn a lot about. I think that if I had read the first book in the series, this book would have been better for me and I would have enjoyed it more.

All in all, I did think that this was a good read that kept me entertained. I wish that I would have started with the first book, but I think that I'll go back and read it before continuing on with this series. That way I'll get the chance to get a better feel for some of the secondary characters. I would recommend this books to fans of paranormal romance but make sure that you start with Awaken the Highland Warrior!

Bottom Line: A good read and a series that I want to read more of.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review from the publisher for review.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Library Loot - Last of 2011

Library Loot is hosted by Marg and Claire and asks us to share what we've picked up from the library recently.

I love this time of year when it comes to books. The promise of the upcoming year and all of the great books that are waiting to be published alongside all of the best of 2011 lists. I cannot resist these lists which means I am constantly adding to my TBR wishlist and putting holds on at the library. I have no self control when it comes to books :) I have an obscene number of books checked out from the library right now (and I didn't tell you this but I have 4 holds waiting for me as well) but here is a taste of some of the books I've gotten from the library recently.

I have so many good books checked out from the library that I don't even know where to begin. It looks like 2011 is going to go out with a bang if I get a chance to read some of these. Do you look forward to the best of 2011 lists like I do??? And am I the only one that can't resist and puts a zillion holds on books at my library??? Tell me I'm not the only one :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (thoughts)

Summary from Amazon:

"The first Miss Marple mystery, one which tests all her powers of observation and deduction.

“Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe,” declared the parson, brandishing a carving knife above a joint of roast beef, “would be doing the world at large a favor!”

It was a careless remark for a man of the cloth. And one which was to come back and haunt the clergyman just a few hours later—when the Colonel is found shot dead in the clergyman’s study. But as Miss Marple soon discovers, the whole village seems to have had a motive to kill Colonel Protheroe."

My Thoughts:

Murder at the Vicarage begins with the death of an unliked man where everyone in the village becomes a suspect in his death. This was my 1st Miss Marple read and I found it to be an enjoyable mystery. Agatha Christie was a very talented mystery writer and one of my favorite things about her is her ability to make all of her characters seem guilty at some point. This leads the reader into suspecting anyone and everyone which is exactly what I did :) In the case of this book I guessed the killer at the beginning but Christie had me so turned around as I was reading the book that by the end I didn't even suspect the killer which made the ending still come as a surprise. There was a colorful cast of characters (otherwise known as suspects) that all had reasons for wanting the victim dead that played various roles in the story. My only complaint was that I was taken back a bit by the fact that at times it seemed like Miss Marple didn't play an important role in the mystery that was going on. By the end of the book though, she shines as the reader sees how much of the mystery she was able to solve on her own.

This was a fun mystery that kept me guessing the entire time that I read the book. I'm looking forward to reading more Miss Marple mysteries and hopefully I will read everything that she has written at some point. And although this wasn't my favorite book by Christie, I found it to be a really solid mystery. Recommended!

Bottom Line: A great beginning to the Miss Marple series!

Disclosure: I checked this book out from my local libary ;)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

October and November in Review

This is me still attempting to get a lovely picture of all three kiddos...see how I struggle.)

December is here already and I'm left wondering where the year went. This is the time of the year when many of us mull over and make blogging goals, reading goals, and personal goals for the upcoming year. I'll admit that I've been thinking about it as well as I look forward to 2012. Is everyone else looking back on their 2011 reads and wishing that they could have fit a few more reads in?? There are SO many books that I want to read that came out in 2011 that I haven't had the chance to get my hands on....and there are even more that I am looking forward to reading in the next year. Craziness I tell you :)

October and November were both pretty lousy months of reading for me. It's to be expected though with school, activities, and all of the other fun stuff that comes with this time of year. My kiddos are super excited for Christmas and are having lots of fun looking at Christmas tree lights. I'm thinking that next weekend we might just take a drive to look at all of the lights :) Anyways, here is what I was able to finish in October:

A pretty solid month of reads even if I didn't finish that many books. My favorite of the month was Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent. Her new urban fantasy is dark and gritty....just the way I like it which is why it easily became a new must read series for me :) In November I read the following:

November was also a pretty good month of reading for me in terms of enjoying books. There wasn't a bad book in the bunch during either of these months! My favorite read of November was Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay. This book was knock my socks off good....another gritty enticing world of urban fantasy that I couldn't get enough of. The 2nd book is coming out in 2012 and I cannot wait to get my greedy little paws on it!

Here is to hoping that December is a great month of reading. I'm looking forward to reading all of the best of 2011 lists and posts that will be coming up in the near future. Hope everyone finishes off this year with a bang!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lethal by Sandra Brown (thoughts)

Lethal by Sandra Brown begins with a bang as Honor Gillette and her daughter are kidnapped by a man believed to have already killed over six people. He seems to be searching for something and believes that Honor has what he wants. Unfortunately for Honor, she doesn't know what he is looking for and has no idea where to find it. And then she finds out that Lee Coburn isn't the only person that she could be in danger from.

It has been ages since I've read a book by this author and I had forgotten how fast I could fly through them! The book begins almost instantly with fast-paced action and that pace didn't stop until the end of the book. I've always enjoyed how her short chapters keep me reading far longer than I mean to....I keep thinking one more chapter and before I know it I'm halfway through the book :) While Lethal was fast paced and filled with action, I struggled with the beginning of the book. I think that a lot of this had to do with the fact that Honor AND her daughter were in danger. I was so worried about her daughter and what was going to happen that I had a hard time just enjoying the book. But the second half of the book was much better for me and then I had a hard time of even setting the book down. The ending was surprising for me as it was unexpected in a few different ways.

All in all, this was a good/solid read although I had a few issues with it. I'm going to have to go back and read some of this author's books that I have missed over the years because it has been awhile since I read anything by her. I think that romantic suspense fans will enjoy this read and I would recommend it.

Bottom Line: A good read but not my favorite by this author.

Disclosure: I was sent this book for review from the publisher. These are my honest thoughts :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South — when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride."

My Thoughts:

This was a kick-ass urban fantasy that knocked my socks off!! I loved every single page of this book and instantly wanted more when I was done. Gin, otherwise known as the Spider, is an impressive main character who isn't ashamed of the person she is and doesn't offer any apologies for what she does. She plays by her own set of rules and although she is an assassin, she has a line drawn that she doesn't cross. When Gin's handler (aka her father figure) is killed, Gin is out for blood and won't stop at anything until she finds his killer. This storyline was action packed and fast paced throughout. I literally did not want to set this book down....I just couldn't get enough of the world that this author had created. My only complaint with this book was that I wasn't quite sold on Detective Donovan and the attraction there was between him and Gin. I didn't care for his condescending attitude that he had with Gin at times. But I'll admit that there was a pretty "hot" scene between the two of them so I guess we'll see what goes on in later books.

All in all, this was an amazing beginning to this urban fantasy series. Any book that leaves me wanting more is a must read, and I'm putting this one on my keeper shelf to be reread in the future. A strong, independent heroine and a fast paced plot helped to make this book an impressive read. Highly recommended!!

Bottom Line: A must read for any urban fantasy fan!

Disclosure: I won this one off of a book blog a year or two ago but sadly I can't remember whose blog. My apologies as I would love to leave you with the link to that blog.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Thankfully Reading

Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey who says:

"It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between! D This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!"

It's been awhile since I shared what I've been reading on a Monday. My reading has slowed down drastically lately along with my blogging and commenting. With the every day "business" that comes from being a working mom to three and the holidays approaching, life has gotten quite crazy. I'm working to fit reading time in when I can but it has slowed down regardless. I'm starting to think I need a nice snowy or rainy day where all I do is read to get me back to reading :) Am I the only one that loves crappy weather???

I'm currently reading Lethal by Sandra Brown.

And I've recently finished reading Visions of Magic and The Name of the Star.

Up next is anybody's guess. Definitely something off of my own shelves or from my enormous library stack. I'm also planning on participating in the Thankfully Reading Weekend this year except I'm going to try and make it a reading filled week instead of just the weekend. It should be fun!

Happy Monday everyone!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton (thoughts)

Kinsey is back and investigating one of her most difficult cases yet. Her client, Bobby, has lost a good portion of his memory in a car accident that he is still working on recovering from. Unfortunately, he believes that the crash he was involved in wasn't just an "accident", and he has hired Kinsey to find out what happened with the hope that she can possibly help him to recover some of his memories. Kinsey has her work cut out for her as everyone in his family is convinced that he's overreacting, and Bobby's memories leave little evidence that anything bad really happened. And then everything changes and Kinsey finds herself over her head once again.

I love, love, love series!! Kinsey is one of those characters that I can just easily relate to even though I'm not a mystery solving private detective :) Sue Grafton has created a character that I want to read about and one that I could see myself being friends with in real life. The mystery was both unique and original. I was constantly questioning Bobby's memories from the very beginning trying to figure out if he was in danger or not. By halfway thru the book, I was completely sucked in and couldn't put it down if I wanted to. Be warned that the summary on the back of the book was very spoiler-ly in my opinion so if you like to be surprised don't read it. I had absolutely no clue who the "bad guy" was throughout the book and the ending was a complete shock! Wow! I also liked that we got to see more of some of the side characters and found the storyline concerning Henry very interesting.

All in all, this was a great read that solidified my love of this series! Grafton has created a series that draws me in, book after book, and leaves me wanting more. I can't wait to read more about Kinsey's adventures and have already picked up the fourth book from the library. I would highly recommend this series to any mystery fan out there!

Bottom Line: A must read series!!! Love it :)

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

If you are interested here are links (click on titles) to my reviews of A is for Alibi and B is for Burglar. You should really begin with the 1st book in my opinion.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Library Loot - My Latest Finds

Library Loot is hosted by Marg and Claire and asks us to share the latest finds that we've picked up at the library.

Considering the library is one of my favorite places to go, I have a never-ending stream of books coming into my house and going back to the library. I've been kind of in a slump with reading lately so I've been placing holds at the library like crazy to try and kick start my reading. It may be that I've been just too busy lately and once life slows down a bit my reading mojo will come back :) Here are my latest finds that I'm excited to read:

Just looking at these covers makes me want to go read so maybe this is exactly the kind of post I needed to do :) I hope everyone is having a wonderful November so far. My son has his 1st basketball game of the season but hopefully I'll get a chance to catch up on all of your blogs later today. Did you all go buy the last Harry Potter DVD on Friday like I did??? I love me some Harry Potter and it was great to get to rewatch this movie! Hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (thoughts)

What would you do if you found out that you had a twin sister that you had never known?? Lucy opens the door one day and the life that she knows changes forever as she meets her mother's twin sister for the first time. At first her mother and her new found aunt are completely opposite in every way, but as time goes on Lucy begins to realize that it is getting harder and harder to tell them apart. And then the unthinkable happens...

This book had such a unique premise that instantly intrigued me. I loved the idea of finding a long lost sister and seeing how it would affect the family and their everyday lives. The author gives the story a creepy, dark atmosphere where I was constantly questioning Lucy's new aunt and her motives and actions. The book had a sinister feel to it throughout that really made the book more enjoyable in my opinion. I liked getting the chance to see how Lucy's Aunt Helen affected the entire family and their everyday lives. As Helen began to act more and more like Lucy's mother, I became more and more invested in the story. I had to know what was going to happen next. The ending of the book was quite intense and I was hooked until the last page. My only complaint with this book was that I had trouble connecting to some of the characters at times. I'll admit that after the book finished everything made a bit more sense and helped to tie up the loose ends for me. All in all, an interesting and suspenseful read that I would recommend to fans of gothic novels.

Bottom Line: An intriguing premise and a solid read!

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

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween Fun (in November)

Instead of reading or blogging last week, I spent the week working. And working some more. Not much fun (if I do say so myself) but before I went out of town for the week, we enjoyed some Halloween fun!

Like carving pumpkins...and getting quite messy :)

The finished products....and no I didn't carve any of these :) He did all the work!

Took the kiddos trick or treating where we got WAY too much candy.

After which we handed out candy to the trick or treaters that were still out.

All in all, it was a fun Halloween and the kiddos were able to crash out that night in a sugar-induced haze. I'm still trying to catch up from working 60+ hours which means that this week may be quiet as well around here. Thank goodness we get an extra hour of sleep tonight because I need it :) Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween and that you all have a great week!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Long Gone by Alafair Burke (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"After a layoff and months of struggling, Alice Humphrey finally lands her dream job managing a new art gallery in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District. According to Drew Campbell, the well-suited corporate representative who hires her, the gallery is a passion project for its anonymous, wealthy, and eccentric owner.

Everything is perfect until the morning Alice arrives at work to find the gallery gone—the space stripped bare as if it had never been there—and Drew Campbell’s dead body on the floor. Overnight, Alice’s dream job has vanished, and she finds herself at the center of a police investigation, with the evidence mounting against her. To prove her innocence and uncover the truth, Alice must undertake a dangerous search for answers that entangles her in a dark, high-tech criminal conspiracy and forces her to unearth long-hidden secrets involving her own family . . . secrets that could cost Alice her life."

My Thoughts:

Long Gone was a fun, interesting thriller that I enjoyed throughout. After reading the above summary, I knew that this was going to be a book that I would enjoy. The summary also kind of tells the reader a lot from the beginning so I went into the book knowing that things were going to go bad for Alice and fast. But that just made the book that much more interesting for me as I was looking for clues to who was behind everything from the very beginning. The story line was fast paced for the most part and kept me hooked as I wanted to know what was going to happen to Alice next. There were a few aspects of the mystery that I was able to figure out ahead of time but the ending did take me by surprise. And I honestly don't think that I would have figured out anything except I went into the book trying to guess who the "bad guy" was going to be. You gotta be right once in awhile, don't you??? Ha!

All in all, this was an enjoyable thriller that had me on pins and needles especially towards the ending. I'm going to have to check out if this author has a backlist because I can't wait to read more. And I honestly think that the best part of the book was the fact that it left me wondering what I would do if I was in Alice's situation. Quite a scary thought if I do say so myself!

Bottom Line: A thriller that kept me guessing throughout. Recommended!

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher for review. My thanks!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I've Been Doing Instead of Blogging...

Meet the newest member of our household, Kaiya. Kaiya's owner couldn't take care of her anymore so we had to bring her home. How can you resist that face??? She is one year old, pretty much house trained, and in need of lots of TLC. Who better to give her that than three dog-loving kiddos?? It has been lots of fun so far and she has fast become a part of our family. But don't be surprised if it is a little bit more quiet than usual for the next couple of weeks as we (and by we I mean me) adjust to having a dog :)

I'm also participating in the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon this week which shall be lots of fun. It started yesterday and I've already finished my first book. Woohoo! My goal for the week is to finish at least three books but I'm really hoping for 4 or maybe even 5. Hey, a girl can dream sometimes :) Hope everyone is having a wonderful week! Happy reading!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price (thoughts)

Alex Craft has a unique talent as a "grave witch" which allows for her to speak to the dead. The shades that she raises are usually harmless and easy for Alex to control until the day when she is attacked by one of them. Before Alex knows it, she is caught up in a mystery filled with dark magic and even darker beings who care little if she comes out of all this alive or not.

Grave Witch was one of those urban fantasy reads that I didn't want to put down. It left me wanting more after I turned the last page, and I've already went out and bought a copy of the second book which should tell you how much I enjoyed this one. First of all, Alex has such a unique talent as she can talk to the dead otherwise known as shades. With her ability to communicate with them comes her "grave vision" which allows for her to see the world in a different perspective than the average human. I really liked that her talents came with a price and it took a lot out of her to use her skills especially when she was left basically blind for periods of time. It helped to make this book very unique from other urban fantasy reads that are out there. The mystery that Alex found herself caught up in was very dark and creepy. It kept me on my toes and turning pages long after I should have gone to sleep. My only complaint with the book was that I was never a huge fan of the romance that was developing between Alex and Detective Falin. I think that it was because Falin had so many secrets of his own that we were never really privy to. Maybe in the next book we will learn more about him. I'm really excited to see what happens next and how the story develops.

All in all, this was a really solid beginning to this urban fantasy series. It was dark, gritty and extremely compelling and I'm hooked on the world that Price has created. Highly recommended to fans of urban fantasy!!

Disclosure: I checked this book out at my local library and promptly bought a copy of the 2nd book after finishing this one.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Four years ago you changed my world. I love you more than words can say. Happy Birthday Baby Girl!!!