Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Reads of 2013

This is one of my favorite times of the year!  There is just something about reading over everyone's best of lists and then reading through all of the 2014 goals' posts.  I love it!  It motivates me, distracts me, and basically makes me want to READ ALL OF THE BOOKS!  I have been putting books on hold at the library left and right thanks to all of your lists.  Taking a (almost) two week blogging break has my bloggy mojo going strong, and I'm looking forward to sharing about my favorites books of the year with all of you.  Maybe I can also motivate myself to get some of these outstanding book reviews written (there are a ton) AND write a goals post for myself.  Maybe join a few challenges?  I've got plans!  But onto the books.  This year was a very solid reading year for me as I read 76 books.  That means I somehow managed to surpass my Goodread's goal of 75 so I'm pretty proud of myself.  I don't think that I would have made it if it weren't for audiobooks but I'm okay with that.  2013 was the year of rereads for me and I've reread/relistened to more books this year then any other year since I've started blogging.  I'm hoping to continue this trend in 2014.  But maybe with more of a focus on the books that are on my own shelves.  That's for a different post though.  Let's move on to my favorite books of 2013!

The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon was one of my favorite thrillers for the year.  It was also one of those books that made me an instant fan of the author, which means I will eventually read ALL of her books.  This is one of those rare cases where two storylines come together perfectly and I didn't prefer one over the other.  Plus, I loved the ending!  I'm super excited to have another of this author's books to look forward to in 2014!

Blackout by Mira Grant is by far MY FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR!  I've adored this zombie trilogy from the very beginning with Feed so it was almost a given that Blackout would make this list.  Almost, because there was that possibility that the book could have fallen short for me (and thankfully it didn't).  I reread both Feed and Deadline before moving on to Blackout which made my reading experience even better.  I just cannot even convey how much I loved all of these books (but it does explain my love for The Walking Dead)!  I'm just sad that it is all over now.  Thank you Mira Grant for pushing the boundaries with each of these books and for making me love these characters.  BEST ZOMBIE BOOKS EVER!

Nightfall by Ellen Connor was one of those books that sucked me in and then just wouldn't let me go.  Out of all of the romances I read this year (and I feel like I read a lot) this one was definitely the best.  And the funny thing is that there were times when I was completely frustrated with the book/main characters but in the end I just could not get enough.  Considering that I read this one pretty early on in the year and it has still stuck with me says a lot!  I cannot wait to read the next book in this trilogy and will definitely be doing just that in 2014!

The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb wins the prize for me kicking myself for waiting so long to read it!  I have had this book on my TBR list for years, and I am so glad that I finally took the time to read it.  A creepy house, ghostly encounters, and all kinds of other gothic elements made this one a surefire winner in my book.  It left me very anxious to read more by this author and thankfully I have two other of her books to look forward to.  Webb is yet another author that I found this year that will go on my automatically to be read list. 

Joyland by Stephen King was my last read of 2013 but one of the best.  It also wins the award for best cover because seriously, how can you not love it?  I haven't taken the time to read (and finish) a book by King in years and this one showed me that I've been missing out.  I loved the carny feel to this book, and King is AMAZING when it comes to really making the reader feel like they are in the pages of the story.  2014 will be a year with me reading more by King!

Lost by S.J. Bolton was a book that took my high expectations and shattered them!  I love how each book in this series seems to get better and better!  And I just cannot imagine how Bolton is going to top this one.  This was yet another book that I couldn't put down and kept trying to read as fast as I could.  I just cannot wait for the next book in this series to release!  2014 shall be an amazing year in books!  And Bolton gets added as one of my very favorite authors!  I love her books!

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson is hands down my favorite urban fantasy read for the year.  And oh my goodness but that ending...I cannot believe that I've held off on reading the second book.  I definitely won't be resisting in 2014!  This one was action packed and tense with a potential romance that knocked my socks off.  I NEED to see what is going to happen next!  This is definitely an author that I will be reading more of! 

Stranger in the Room by Amanda Kyle Williams makes this the second time this author has graced my best of lists.  This is the follow up to The Stranger You Seek which easily made my best of 2013 list.  This one was even better!  I couldn't get enough of this book and stayed up way too late reading.  I'm sensing a trend of authors here where I will basically read anything that they write (and this author is definitely on that list!).  I cannot recommend this series highly enough! 


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn wins the award for most unlikeable characters while STILL being one of those books that you just cannot put down!  (I seem to be on a random awards kick this year, don't I?)  I'm not sure how Flynn does it but she writes some of the most compelling books even when you don't want to actually be reading them.  As much as I hated the characters I loved the book and this one easily made my top reads of 2013 list.  I will continue to adore this author even if I cringe when thinking about what she comes up with next.

The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons takes the final spot on my top ten reads for 2013.  This book was easily the creepiest one that I read this year without being over the top.  Instead I found myself immersed within the pages even knowing that there might not be a happy ending.  I cannot wait to find out what else this author has written.  Thank goodness that I snatched this one up on a visit to my local used bookstore.  I loved this one and highly recommend it!

Honorable mentions this year go to a variety of other books that should have/could have made this list including:

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan (so cute!)
How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman (a great debut from this new author)
Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre (fantastic series debut)
The Black Dudley Murder by Margery Allingham (I loved this one too!)
and so many more!

I didn't even bother including books that I've already read and reread this year because I just couldn't.  I cannot wait to see what 2014 will be like!  I can tell you that I've got lots of reading plans and goals...maybe I should get to working on that post :)  If you feel like sharing then tell me which book is your favorite read of 2013.  I'm working my library holds list like crazy thanks to this time of year.  And I can always use a few more recommendations!

I hope that you all have a wonderful New Year and a FANTASTIC reading year in 2014! Thank you for taking the time to visit me here, to comment, or to just share in my love of books.  I can't tell you guys enough how much I love the friendships that I have made thanks to blogging :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Impatiently Waiting (2014 Releases that I NEED!)

There is nothing more exciting to me than looking forward to all of the upcoming book releases for the new year.  2014 is shaping up to be a spectacular year of books for me with many of my very favorite authors releasing new books!  I AM SO EXCITED!  (And very impatient.  But so excited!)  I can't even put into words how thrilled I am!   I have entirely too many books already that I want to read but that won't stop me from pining for all of these new releases.  And I am pining!  Let me share with you all just some of the books being published in 2014 that are MUST reads for me:

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton - OMG! My most favoritest (this is a word) thriller author ever AND one of my favorite series has a new book coming out.  YAY!

Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett - I'm dying to read this one based on that cover alone.  Seriously!

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon - I read and loved The One I Left Behind by her this year so I cannot wait to give this one a try.  I was lucky enough to get a review copy for my ipad so I will be reading this one very soon :)

Don't Talk To Strangers by Amanda Kyle Williams - The first book in this series made my top ten reads of 2012 and the second one (which I'm currently reading) has a very good chance of doing the same for 2013.  I love this series and this author's books so of course I can't wait for the 3rd one to release!

Dawn's Early Light by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris - You guys!  This is one of my absolute, very favorite (I love like no other) steampunk series so can I just read this RIGHT NOW???  I feel like I have been waiting for this book for so long now that I'm about to burst!  I NEED IT!

Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells - A new series by one of my favorite authors?  Yes, please!  Another book that I have been wanting to read every since I first heard about it.  I just cannot wait!  And in fact I just got approved on NetGalley for this one so you know it will be my next read.  Woohoo!

The Vanishing by Wendy Webb - I read (and adored)  The Tale of Halcyon Crane this year so of course I am looking forward to reading this new release.  Plus it has that gothic, creepy feel to the cover so it makes me want to read it even more!

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews - Let's ignore that I am nowhere close to being caught up with this series.  I WANT to be so therefore I'm adding this one.  And it has a gorgeous cover which helps!

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs - Will 2014 be the year that I catch up on some of my favorite urban fantasy series?  I sure hope so!  This is another series that I need to get to reading (I'm super behind) but how could I not want this newest book?  Another amazing cover!

Panic by Lauren Oliver - I have never read any of this author's books yet (although I plan to) but when I heard about this one it instantly went on my TBR list.  It just sounds so good and I want to read it badly!

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire - Okay so I love, love, love this author's books under the name Mira Grant which means that this one automatically goes on my WANT list!  I will read basically anything that this author writes thanks to the Newsflesh trilogy.  Best zombie books ever!!!

Silver Mirrors by A.A. Aguirre - I loved the first book in this series Bronze Gods so this is yet another book that I will be impatiently waiting for.  And I love the cover!

I could keep going and going here!  Not listed (just because they don't have covers yet) are the new Sarah Waters book, The Paying Guests (eek!), Symbiont by Mira Grant (even though I still haven't read Parasite yet), and The Summer of Ghosts by P.D. Viner.  I'm going to stop now.  Seriously, because there is more and I think that I could just keep going.  2014 is hopefully going to be an amazing year in books and I could not be more excited!

What book or books are you looking forward to in 2014? 

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Dec. 16th)

It's Monday! is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey and states:

"Welcome to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 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!"

Happy Monday everyone!  The weekend flew by entirely too fast as usual, and I'm feeling the lack of sleep today thanks to staying up Saturday night  until two in the morning watching The Walking Dead.  I'm addicted I tell you!  This also makes me officially old since staying up that late kicks my butt.  It is entirely too easy though to say just one more episode (a few times) when you HAVE to see what it going to happen next.  I'm dreading catching up with the new season because I won't be able to binge watch like this anymore.  Boo!  I've got lots to catch you up on reading wise though so let's get started.  In the past two weeks I have finished the following books:

If You Were Here by Alafair Burke - This is my 2nd read by this author and it definitely won't be my last.  She has a great way of creating tension and suspense so that you just cannot stop reading.  I flew through this one, and I can't wait to read more by this author!

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan-  I adored this book!  The storyline was cute, the romance was hot, and I loved all of the characters.  But what really surprised me is that this book was more than all of that.  It dealt with family relationships and what truly makes up a family.  I was definitely impressed and it has left me eager to read more by this author.  This was the perfect Christmas read for me to choose!

The Rogue's Proposal by Jennifer Haymore was a solid historical romance and yet another author that I will be reading more of.  The chemistry between the couple in this book was hot, hot, hot!  Wow!  And I loved that the two main characters weren't your typical aristocrats or high society types but instead a step under that.  I will be writing up my thoughts on this one very soon!

In audio I first finished listening to Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.  It was just as dark as I remembered it and the narrator was so spot on for this book.  It had been such a long time since I read the book that I ended up being just as surprised as the first time by the ending.  This author is just so crazy good!  I then moved on to Four to Score by Janet Evanovich.  And I once again found myself sitting at my desk practically in tears from laughing so hard.  These books are just so much fun to listen to!  Finally on Friday I finished listening to all seventeen disks of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.  Oh my goodness, I felt all of the emotions with this one and actually felt drained by the end.  (I also found myself close to tears at a few different points...my poor coworkers must think I'm nuts.)  If you haven't listened to these books on audio then you simply must!  It has been an AMAZING experience listening to them so far but I can't tell you how nervous I am to continue on.  I am so emotionally attached to these books :)  Oh boy!

I'm currently reading the following books:

Stranger In the Room by Amanda Kyle Williams - This is the 2nd book in the Keye Street series and I'm loving it just as much as the first (maybe even a bit more).

I'm back to A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway on my ipad which is slowly starting to pick up for me.  It would help if I didn't find myself so easily distracted by everything else (but especially by my print book).  And my new audiobook is In the Woods by Tana French.  I remember loving it when I first read it a long time ago but for some reason I never continued on with the series.  I'm using this listen as a way to get back to this series and hopefully finally continue on to book two. 

That's enough out of me for today as I have a busy few weeks ahead of me.  I hope you all had a great weekend.  Happy Monday and Happy Reading! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P.D. Viner (thoughts)

If this novel couldn't be described as haunting then I don't know what else could. I am almost having a hard time putting into words my reading experience with this book.  This is yet another story where from very early on I knew that things were not going to end well (I've read a few books like this lately).  It didn't matter to me.  I was completely drawn into the book as the author portrays how Dani's murder affected the lives of those she loved and those who loved her.  This book is haunting, disturbing, and ultimately one of those gut wrenching experiences while reading that leaves you thinking about it for days afterwards.

In The Last Winter of Dani Lancing we get a glimpse into the lives of Jim and Patty Lancing.  Their only daughter Dani was murdered, and even after almost twenty years her death still plays a huge role in their every day lives.  They both dealt with the death of their daughter differently and it is because of this that they are drawn yet once again into the search for her killer.  Will they finally find the closure and answers that have eluded them after all this time?

This book was a book that kept me reading even when I didn't want to.  It was both engrossing and page turning even though it had some of the most unlikeable main characters that I have ever come across. I think that it is a mark of a good author when they can keep a reader's attention and allow them to connect to a story even though they don't care for the characters.  And that is exactly what this author did!  I may not have liked Patty or really understood Tom (Tom being Dani's old boyfriend) but I wanted to know their story.  I didn't even like Dani's character at times but I wanted to know what had happened to her and why.  I loved that the author painted such a clear picture of how Dani's death ruined the lives of those around her.  I found it entirely too easy to put myself in Dani's parent's shoes if you know what I mean.  It gave the book such an eerie atmosphere and really made it clear that everything couldn't possibly end well.  It didn't stop me from reading though and on the contrary made me want to read the book even more.  I needed to know how everything was going to end even though it felt like a train wreck waiting to happen.  There were lots of aspects of this book that surprised me but overall it was the ending that took my breath away.  This author sure knows how to pack a punch!

Overall, I found this to be a really solid thriller and debut from this new author.  I found it quite intriguing the way the author left the book open towards the end in a way that might mean more books.  I would definitely read more if this was the beginning part of a series (fingers crossed).  I would read more by this author even if this book isn't part of a series because it was such a surprisingly good read.  I'm eager to see what Viner will come up with next!  I noticed that this book was being compared to some of the other big name thrillers that have come out recently.  Do yourself a favor and just ignore the comparisons.  This one stands perfectly fine on its' own two feet in my opinion, and none of the books it was compared to really do it justice.  I would highly recommend this book but be warned that it was not always an easy read. 

Bottom Line:  A thriller that let the tension build until the very last page!

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book for review thanks to the publisher.  Thoughts are my own!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Crimson Wind by Diana Pharaoh Francis (thoughts)

Give a brief summary of the book (minor spoilers from book one):

In this book, Max is dealing with all of the aftermath after the ending in Bitter Nights.  She is officially working with Giselle (rather than against her) to begin their fight against The Guardians but first she needs to make sure that her own family will be safe.  The family that doesn't even know that she is still alive.  Or what she has become.  Nothing can go smoothly when Max is involved though so both she and Alexander are going to be up against some of the biggest challenges that they have ever faced.  The real test is going to be if they can finally work together and begin to trust one another.


I feel like cheating here and just saying everything.  Last year Bitter Nights was on my top ten reads for the year which goes to show you how much I loved it.  Crimson Wind was just as intense, action-packed, and absolutely unputdownable (which should be a word in my opinion).  Max is such a unique main character that you just cannot help but root for.  She is seriously one of the most kick-ass characters and she is absolutely fearless.  It makes for a breath taking read because you just never know what she will do next.  I love how loyal she is to both her family and friends even when they haven't always deserved it.  The action in this book was non stop yet we also got to see a softer side of Max in regards to her relationship with Alexander.  And the ending was jaw dropping!


None!  This second book has cemented my love for this series and I'm so excited to continue on with it.  I'm surprised that I haven't heard more about this author and her books because they are definitely that good.  I could say that I disliked the cliffhanger ending but I actually didn't.  I liked it....I kinda sorta saw it coming (maybe not though), and am super glad that I already have my hands on the third book.   So really no complaints over here!

Additional Thoughts?

I really, really love this series!  This is urban fantasy at its' best and I'm so glad that I found this series (and that I have more books to look forward to).  I'm definitely going to be recommending these books to just about anyone.  And I can't help but admit that this is fast becoming one of my favorite urban fantasy series.  I can't wait to see what happens next!

Bottom Line: An urban fantasy series that just keeps getting better and better!

Disclosure:  A copy of this book was provided to me for review thanks to the publisher.  Thoughts are my own!

Here are my thoughts on the first book of this series Bitter Night if you are interested.  You should definitely read this series in order!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What I'm Spending My Sunday Doing...

Watching the snow fall outside while blogging...

Watching season 1 of one of my favorite shows (which is an early Christmas gift) and reading...

While sipping on a warm cup of hot chocolate since I've had my quota of coffee for the day.

Life is very good!  Plans for the rest of the day include taking the kids outside to play in said snow while we shovel, laundry (as always on Sundays), and then hopefully the chance to finish up BOTH of the books that I'm currently reading (I'm so close).  After that maybe even more Impractical Jokers.....or just one more episode of the Walking Dead since we are officially on season 3.  Have I told you guys how much I love Sundays lately?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman (thoughts)

How To Be a Good Wife is just one of those books that begs to be read and doesn't let you set it aside.  The author creates an underlying thread of tension that is constant throughout the book but grows as you get further in.  The book had its' flaws but is one of those books that I could still easily recommend to many a reader.

In this book we meet Marta and Hector, a married couple who are struggling to figure out their new direction in life after raising their only son and seeing him move out on his own.  Marta begins to glimpse a girl that only she can see and then the world as she knows it begins to change forever....

And that is all that I'm going to tell you because this is another one of those books where knowing less is more.  What really stood out for me in this book was the unreliability of the narrator.  From the very beginning the reader begins to question Marta's motivations, her "visions", and really her overall sanity.  The biggest question that plays out throughout the entire book is if you can trust her or not.  And because I couldn't entirely trust Marta this book pulled at me in so many different ways. There is this ominious aura about the book where you just kind of know that it isn't going to end well.  I should have prepared myself more for this!  But it doesn't matter because you have to read faster just to see how it will all end.  This book was nail bitingly good because of all of this!

Overall, if I'm being honest I was able to figure out a lot of the plot twists pretty early on.  It could probably even have been considered a bit predictable but the saving grace for this book was the questioning atmosphere that the author created.  Because of it I just could not set this book down.  And because of it I was able to easily overlook some of the book's flaws that might have bothered me otherwise.  The ending for one was very frustrating to me because it felt unfinished.  Looking back on it, I actually don't think the author could have ended it any other way better but it was still frustrating to read at the time.  I wanted the truth to really come out and it didn't feel like it did.   It left me thinking though which is always the mark of a good book in my opinion.

For me this book was definitely a worthwhile read that I will be recommending.  I loved the tone that the author created with this book especially since I'm such a sucker for an unreliable narrator.  My best advice for this one is skip the summary describing it and just read.  Because the author does an amazing job of really just pulling the reader into Marta's life in a way that doesn't let you go.  I can't wait to see what this author writes next!  Definitely recommended!

Bottom Line:  A book where the atmosphere sucks you in and doesn't let you go!

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book for review courtesy of the publisher.  Thoughts are always my own!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Reading Plans (Or All the Books)

I love this time of year!  I love that everyone is starting to post their best of lists, and I especially love how much these posts add to my ever growing TBR list (I'm addicted to adding to it if you didn't realize by now).  I also look forward to all of the posts that focus on upcoming releases in 2014.  It is all just so exciting and enough to put this book lover's heart in a state of bliss.  There is this last month of reading though in which I always want to read ALL OF THE BOOKS!!!  It is fun to try and cram in a few more good reads that could have the potential to make it to my favorites of 2013. 

I have lots of books that I would like to get read this month but finding the time to read them all just may pose a problem.  Because there are just so many and I want to read them all!!  For this month's reading plans I am only including print books seeing as I finished absolutely NONE of the books that I had on my reading list for last month (and those were mainly all e-reads). So consider each one of those books a likely candidate for this month as well.  Here are just some of the books that I would like to get read this month:

See what I mean about wanting to read all of the books??  I'm chomping at the bit to crack some of these open but especially Stranger In the Room considering I loved the first book in this series.  I may be overly ambitious but if I can get all of these books read then I will definitely make my goal of 75 books read this year (I'm at 67 as of right now).  I think I can...I think I can....

So please tell me, what book (or books) is a MUST read before the end of 2013?  Or better yet, what is your favorite book for 2013?  My TBR list will thank you!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Sunday Salon: Reading, Reading, Reading

Oh my goodness....what a weekend!  I cannot tell you how refreshed I am feeling thanks to four whole days off in a row (with a half day on Wednesday).  It is exactly what I needed to give me a break before I dive into next week and all the overtime once again.  My house is now decorated both inside and out AND I got lots of quality time with my family which makes me the happiest.  I feel like I have so much to catch up on considering I once again took a bit of an unexpected blogging break thanks to sick kids (and then sick everyone...we all shared it this time).  But we are back to being healthy for the most part so I'm very thankful for that!  Not much other exciting news to share besides we've been working our way through the second season of The Walking Dead and that show is so flipping addictive.  I have no clue how we waited so long to watch this show but I am well and truly hooked!

Even though I've been one busy girl getting ready for the holidays I have also been reading plenty. So the good is that I have lots to catch you up on but the bad is that I'm now even farther behind with my reviews.  I'm going to have to buckle down though so I don't go into the upcoming new year without sharing my thoughts on all of these books.  I hate when that happens!  But on to the books that I've read since my last Sunday post.

The Stranger You Know by Andrea Kane was a fast paced thriller that I hated to set down.  I've already written up my thoughts on this one and you can find them here.

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean was absolutely delicious!  At first I basically despised the hero and was convinced that this book just would not work for me.  But then it did and oh my!  I just cannot wait to read more by this author!

A Potion to Die For by Heather Blake was a cute cozy that was a surprisingly strong beginning to this new series.  I loved the characters, the mystery, and the town where the story takes place in so of course I'm eager to read more.  Just stinks because I will have a wait until book two is both written and released.  The good part though is that this author has another cozy series that I can try in the meantime. 

In audios, I finished listening to All Around the Town by Mary Higgins Clark which just made me crave more of her books so I went and put another of hers on hold at the library.  I used to read her books all of the time before I started blogging and this was a good reminder why.  Although, I will admit that her earlier books (like this one) were much better than her later ones in my opinion.  I then moved on to Three To Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich.  This one had me in tears at my desk I was laughing so hard!  This is such a fun series to listen to, and I also already have the next one on audio ready for my listening pleasure.  Finally, I finished listening to Angel Falls by Nora Roberts.  This one was good but not as good as I remember it being.  Or maybe I just had higher expectations thinking that I loved it since I read it so long ago.  Who knows?  But it was good just a bit overly long in parts and the heroine annoyed me at times.  So there :)

I'm currently reading the following books:

If You Were Here is my print read and good so far although I will admit that the heroine grates on my nerves at times.  I'm eager to see where the story is going to lead especially since it feels like the shit is finally starting to hit the fan.

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan is my current read on my ipad that I actually just started last night but I'm already engrossed in.  I don't read a lot of Christmas books during this time of year but I just couldn't resist giving this one a try.  It is super cute so far and has had me laughing out loud already so I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

I'm also still currently reading A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway but for some reason it hasn't really grabbed me yet so I decided to set it aside for now.  I think that I will go back to it after I finish my Christmas romance :)  I'm listening to Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and I cannot believe that I had forgotten how dark this book is!  I've actually had to stop listening to it a couple of times because just....wow! This author writes these books that are so dark and yet are so engrossing.  I just have no words.  And the narrator is just amazing for this book as she is actually how I would picture Camille's voice to be.  Wow!

Today I plan on reading, fitting in a few loads of laundry, running, and then also hopefully getting a few blog posts pre-scheduled.  I'm also going to enjoy my last day of freedom before it is back to the working grind.  I'm sorry that I've been a bit absent from your blogs the past couple of weeks but I definitely hope to remedy that as well.  Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Stranger You Know by Andrea Kane (thoughts)

Wow!  This book was so fast paced and intense that I just could not put this book down.  I flew through the pages and was utterly satisfied by the end.  I may have started on the third book of this series but it didn't affect my enjoyment of this book at all.  I was completely hooked from the beginning to end!  And I cannot wait to read more by this author!

In The Stranger You Know,  a killer is attacking and killing college girls who all look eerily similar to one another.  The killings are also very reminiscent of a past serial killer who is still locked up behind bars.  It is into these bizarre cases that Casey Woods and her team find themselves caught up in as they struggle to figure out the identity of this new killer.  But the killer has a end target and that focus seems to be on Casey herself.  Will she and her team be able to figure out who the murderer is before he gets his hands on her?

This book was such an intense read that I cannot even begin to explain how hard it was for me to put down.  Even coming into this book without having read the previous two didn't take away from the intensity.  Instead I was turning the pages and reading as fast as I could.  I just couldn't wait to see what would happen next!  This book is focused on Casey Woods and the group of investigators that she works with that make up the Forensic Instincts team.  I really liked the entire cast of characters and can't wait to read more about them. I am eager to go back to the beginning of this series to learn more of the history that they have with one another....and I'm eager to see how it all began.  Casey and her team are trying to find a killer that seems to have many links to Glen Fisher, a serial killer that they helped put behind bars.  Glen is one of the creepiest characters that I've come across in awhile.  He gave me chills!  Yuck!  But once again it helped to create such a piercing and dark atmosphere where I just could not turn away.  I was well and truly hooked. 

One of the things that I liked most about this book was how easily I found myself drawn into the mystery that the book focused on.  I've been having a hard time lately when it comes to reading series books out of order and this book was different for me.  Yes, I'm eager to start back at the beginning and see how everything came about but it didn't feel necessary to me enjoying this book.  And enjoy it I did!  I also liked the way the author gave clues on certain plot points but others came as a complete surprise.  I was able to guess a few things as I read the book in regards to who the killer was (that kind of stuff) but I was nowhere close to having it all figured out.  And I really appreciated that I wasn't able to figure out everything before the end.

All in all, this book was quite a page-turner that left me very eager to read more.  I believe I already have more of this author's book on my shelves so it won't be long before I try her again.  I'm actually pretty excited that I found a new author to follow and read.  There are
a few graphic parts in this book that might turn off some readers but overall I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to fans of suspenseful thrillers. 

Bottom Line:  This is the type of thriller that will keep you up at night!  (both from turning the pages and being creeped out by the killer...I can't decide which kept me up later)

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.  The opinions are my own.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdams (thoughts)

Forgiving Lies wasn't an easy book to read at times but it was a good read that left me eager to get my hands on the next book.  This was my first time reading a book in the New Adult genre and it was darker than I expected it to be.  It was also one of those books that was so easy to sink into that I found myself reading for hours on end.  Overall, I found that it left me excited to not only read more books by this author but also more books just like this.

In this book Rachel is a college student floating along in life after the death of her parents.  After a bad experience in her last relationship, she isn't eager or looking to get involved with anyone else for a very long time.  But then Kash moves in next door to her and everything changes.  Kash and Mason are undercover detectives that are investigating a pretty big case involving a serial killer.  Kash doesn't mean to get involved with Rachel either but he can't seem to resist her fiery attitude.  Will the two of them be able to figure out their feelings for one another?  And can their relationship even survive when it is all based off of one lie?

This book had some ups and downs for me but overall I found that I really enjoyed it.  Easily the best thing about this book was the chemistry between the two main characters.  I loved that they didn't just jump into a relationship and instead started off with a friendship.  It made it that much more satisfying because we were then able to see them grow together.  And then when they did really figure out their feelings for each other the heat between the two of them was off the charts.  I loved it! Without sharing spoilers (see below if you don't mind them) I thought that the author did a really great job of handling a tough subject in a sensitive manner.  She didn't gloss over it and I thought Rachel's feelings came across very genuinely.  Because of this I had a very hard time setting this book down and would find myself thinking about it for awhile afterwards.  Especially because I never knew what was going to happen next.  I found this book to also be creepy at times because of a certain character.  The suspense from that character really made me want to read this book even faster.


Okay, now be warned from here on out there are going to be spoilers so don't read this section if you don't want the book spoiled.  But there are things that I definitely want to discuss so here we go.  First off was the touchy subject that I alluded to earlier.  In the beginning of the book Rachel is raped.  I think that the author did a really solid job of handling it but this is the kind of thing that will put some readers off.  Because it definitely wasn't easy to read about Rachel trying to deal with it afterwards and boy did I want to shake her "best friend" Candace for not believing her.  Ugh!  I really didn't care for Candace's character AT ALL!  Rape is never an easy issue to read about which is why I couldn't help but mention it.  While I liked most of the book there was a believability factor that this book lacked.  And the ending really cemented that for me.  WTF?  I am so lucky that I peeked at the last few pages before I read the ending of the book (and yes I do that sometimes but not often) because I would have been pissed otherwise.  I hate when books have cliff hangers for endings and this one comes with a huge blow!  I found myself shaking my head with both disbelief and frustration.  Really, how many bad things can happen to Rachel?  It wasn't enough to take away from my overall enjoyment of the book but it was enough to effect my reading experience in a negative way.  It also means that I will be picking up book two as soon as it comes out so there is that I guess.  In the end, I'm curious to see how other readers are going to feel about this book and the ending.  If you've read it then definitely share your thoughts with me so we can discuss!

*Spoilers Over*

Overall, I liked this book and am very, very eager to get my hands on the second book.  I loved the chemistry that the author created with these characters.  The author left me with lots of questions at the end so I just cannot wait to see happens next.  I hope she also features more of Mason because I think that he would be a great lead for the next book!  I'm excited to start trying more books like this filled with some angsty romance and lots of heat.  This book took my expectations and completely shattered them in multiple ways.  That is what I get for judging a book based off of its' cover.  Lesson learned yet once again :) I would recommend this book with only one minor hesitation.

Bottom Line:  This was an intense read that left me wishing for the second book!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this books thanks to the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.  Thoughts and spoilers are my own!