Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Sunday Post #5 (Holiday Weekend 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 everyone!  I'm on the last day of a four day weekend which has been just wonderful.  Lots of family time, decorating for Christmas, and even a little bit of reading here and there equals out to a great weekend!  I haven't gotten a lot of reading time in within the last couple of weeks though due to preparing for the holidays but that is what happens sometimes.  Tonight is the mid-season finale for The Walking Dead and I'm super nervous/excited to see how it all plays out.  Eek!  Other than that, I don't have a lot to share this morning.  I'm working on coming up with my final reading pile for December, and I want to read ALL of the books before the end of the year.  I'm not sure that it is going to work out that way but I do know that at this point my list is a bit ridiculous.  There are just too many books that I really want to read right now!

Here are the books that I have finished since my last reading update:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling was a reread for the Harry Potter read-a-long that Sheila from Book Journey is hosting.  It was just as fun as I remembered it to be which leaves me excited to get started on the next book. 

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep was also a reread so that I can FINALLY continue on with this series.  It was just as good as I remembered which is why I am clueless as to why I never continued on.  I have the second book ready to go though and this book will definitely be on my December reading pile! 

I'm currently reading the following books:

Burn For Me has been one of those books that I wanted to read as soon as I heard about it.  I just started it last night so I haven't formed an opinion yet.  It sure sounds really good!  I'm almost finished with The Kill List and it is getting really good!  I'm reading this one as part of a TLC book tour so my thoughts will be posted soon.  I'm also still working on It by Stephen King which is getting really good.  This is such a dark book though so I read it in spurts here and there.  It will be on the December pile as well since there is no way I will finish it before then. 

That's enough out of me for today as I need to go focus on my laundry piles to get ready for the upcoming week.  I'll be stopping by and visiting blogs later today.  I hope that everyone has had a relaxing weekend as well.  Tell me, what are you reading on this rainy Sunday?

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Share in Death and All Shall Be Well by Deborah Crombie (thoughts)

Starting a new mystery series, A Share in Death begins when Duncan Kincaid goes on vacation but finds himself caught up in a murder investigation.  Superintendent for the Scotland Yard, Kincaid is a trained investigator that just cannot let this unexplained death go unanswered when a body is found at the house where he is vacationing.  As the only suspects are the other guests staying at the timeshare house, he soon finds many more questions than answers.  It will be up to his persistence and investigative skills to find out who the killer is in their midst.

I absolutely adored this book for so many reasons which means that I have found yet another new mystery series to follow this year.  Very reminiscent of some of my favorite Agatha Christie novels, I loved how the author led me to suspect everyone and anyone.  This was a true whodunnit in the best sense!  I will admit that I pretty much suspected all of the guests at one point or another (except the children of course) and didn't figure out the real killer until the very end.  It was one of those mysteries that just sucks you in and pulls you along for the ride.  I loved it!  I loved the questioning atmosphere the author created, the way that I was constantly looking for clues, and all of the different layers that turned this book from a good one into a great read!  I knew instantly after finishing this book, that I was in for a real treat with this series, and that I would be reading more soon. 

Overall, it is books like this that are why I read (and am such a mystery fan!).  I really loved this one and thought that it was a great beginning to this series.  I'm just wondering why it took me so long to try it!  I have many more books to look forward to which makes it all better.  Highly recommended but especially to those other mystery lovers!

All Shall Be Well is the second book and begins with the death of Duncan Kincaid's neighbor Jasmine Dent.  Jasmine was terminally ill so her passing isn't unexpected but it does raise a few questions for Kincaid's inquisitive mind.  Especially when a close acquaintance of Jasmine reveals that the dead woman had considered self termination.  Duncan finds that he can't let the questions he has rest and begins to investigate.  He soon finds that the woman he thought he knew so well had many more secrets than he could have ever expected.

This book was completely different than the previous one but it worked really well for me.  In this novel the question for the majority of the book is if Jasmine's death was actually a murder or suicide.  The author yet again does an amazing job of casting suspicion on all of the characters (besides Kincaid of course).  I basically fell for it all as I never really suspected the actual killer until the end of the book.  Again!  That hardly ever happens but made for such a pleasant change of pace.  This author is two for two when it comes to me not figuring out the killer's identity.  What I really liked about this book though was the interactions between Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James who is Kincaid's assistant.  They work really well together and it is enjoyable to "watch" them as the investigation progresses.  There is a chemistry there that makes me wonder if in the future we might see them delve into a different kind of relationship.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next book. 

Overall, this was just as good of a read as the first book and has cemented my love for this mystery series.  It is almost difficult for me to share my thoughts on these books as all I want to say are things like" READ THEM NOW!" Ha!  But seriously, this author has moved on to my must read list and I've only read two of her books so that should tell you something.  Yet again, highly recommended to mystery fans!

Final thoughts for these two book basically adds up to more gushing and praise so I will leave it at that.  For those of you that have already found this author's books, are there other similar authors that I should be reading?  I am acutely aware that I have been missing out until now by not giving this author a try sooner.  What other mystery authors can't be missed?  Do share!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What I'm Doing On This Cold Sunday...

Watching the snow falling outside....I wasn't quite ready for winter but here it is.

Enjoying a warm cup of coffee (or two).  Because hot coffee on a cold day is a must!

Spending lots of time immersed in my current reads.  It is currently very hard to put down!

And snuggling with these three....when they are actually inside that is.  This was taken last night when the snow had just begun to fall. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"When the going gets tough, Ella Mae LaFaye bakes pies. So when she catches her husband cheating in New York, she heads back home to Havenwood, Georgia, where she can drown her sorrows in fresh fruit filling and flakey crust. But her pies aren't just delicious. They're having magical effects on the people who eat them--and the public is hungry for more.

Discovering her hidden talent for enchantment, Ella Mae makes her own wish come true by opening the Charmed Pie Shoppe. But with her old nemesis Loralyn Gaynor making trouble, and her old crush Hugh Dylan making nice, she has more than pie on her plate. and when Loralyn's fiancé is found dead--killed with Ella Mae's rolling pin--it'll take all her sweet magic to clear her name."

My Thoughts:

This was a fun beginning to a new cozy mystery series with a hint of the paranormal sprinkled in.  In this book, Ella Mae moves back home from the city after catching her husband cheating on her.  She realizes that now is the time to learn to do things for herself which leads to pursing her own bakery.  Unfortunately, she also finds herself mixed up in quite a mess when she gets caught up in a murder investigation as the prime suspect.  This was one of those fun, easy reads that I just adore.  I found myself caught within the pages rooting for Ella Mae as she works to start a new beginning for herself.  The book was a tad predictable (and many times cozies are) but it really didn't detract from my overall reading experience.  I just went with the flow of the book; constantly waiting to see what would happen next and how Ella Mae would handle whatever it was. 

This was a fun book as the idea of Ella Mae infusing feelings or emotions into her baking was a unique idea.  And I say fun as the results that came from people eating her baked goods and experiencing those latent emotions was quite funny to read about.  I figured out parts of the mystery about halfway thru the book, but really the author did a great job of still pulling off a surprising ending.  The only thing that left me wanting was Ella Mae's "new love interest".  I felt that her instant attraction to her old crush Hugh Dylan was really lacking in the chemistry department.  Instead, I am hoping that in future books we see more of a different character that she dated for investigation purposes.  They seemed a much better match in my opinion!

Overall, this was a solid beginning to this cozy series.  It wasn't perfect but it was a fun read that made me laugh out loud a few times.  I'm now eager to continue on with the second book to see what kind of troubles Ella Mae can get caught up in next.  Books like this are why I love cozy mysteries.  They are the perfect reads for a cold winter day!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A fun read and an author that I plan on reading more of!

Disclosure:  Checked out from my local library.  Thoughts are my own!

Sad confession:  I have never read Austen's Pride and Prejudice so I have no idea if the author based parts of this book on this classic novel or just used the title to play off of.  I can tell you that it didn't effect my reading experience whatsoever.  Shame on me for not reading more classics!   

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Now you see her

Gillian is haunted by the disappearance of her little girl two years ago. A devastating fire burned down their home, but she remains convinced her daughter survived.

Now you don't

Ten year old Tom lived by a neglected church. Is he the only one who sees the strange, solitary child playing there? And what is she trying to tell him?

Now you run

There's a new vicar in town - Harry. But menacing events suggest he isn't welcome. What terrible secret is this town hiding?"

My Thoughts:

I am completely convinced that this author can do no wrong in my eyes.  Easily, this will one of the best thrillers that I have read in 2014, and I am always sad to think that not enough readers have found the amazingness that is this author and her books.  I shall just continue to spread the love myself, shall I?  

In this book we are introduced to a young boy named Tom and his family, who have recently moved to a secluded village near the moors.  Tom is struggling with his new home though as he is having a hard time making friends and keeps having strange occurrences happen to him.  He soon becomes convinced that someone is watching him and his family....but it isn't until some of the town's ugly history is revealed that the reader realizes how much danger he just might be in.  And by then you will be beyond well and truly hooked!  This is not a small book by any means but I managed to fly through the pages.  I kept telling myself just a little further which turned into chapters (and then huge chunks of the book).  I couldn't put it down!  I needed to know what was going to happen to Tom and his family which made it even harder to stop reading.  Although this book is a standalone, it did feature Evi Oliver who also shows up in the Lacey Bolton series.  I loved how she managed to connect the books without really making it an issue for those readers who have only read one or the other. I wonder if her other standalone books connect characters at any point as well.  It will be interesting to find out!  

This book was an intense thriller and had such a great setting for the storyline.  I loved the sense of isolation that came from the village.  It made this a much creepier read for me!  Add to that an old church graveyard, the moors surrounding the village, and a secretive community of villagers, and you had a gothic novel in the making.  Love!  These are pretty much all of my favorite things rolled into one when I want a spooky read!  The overall storyline was filled with suspense and kept me reading late into the night.  And the ending didn't disappoint whatsoever!  I will admit to picking up on pieces of it but not enough to really ruin the surprise of the ending.  In fact, I was reading so fast by the end that I had to back up and reread to make sure that I didn't miss anything. 

If you can't tell by all my gushing this was an amazingly good read for me that will easily be on my top reads list for 2014.  At this point, I already know that I will read everything/anything that this author has written.  I'm just taking my time on them so I have books to look forward to!  If you are a fan of mysteries, suspense, or thrillers, then I cannot recommend this author and her books enough!  Highly, highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  This gothic tale kept me reading late into the night!  One of my favorite books of the year!

Disclosure:  Checked out from my local library.  Thoughts are my own!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Sunday Post #4 (Home Improvement 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"

The past two weekends have been dedicated to home improvement projects which for me has been greatly satisfying with seeing the end results.  Having little children in the house meant that my white walls were looking a bit dingy...but fresh coats of paint have made all of the difference!  It has been tiring trying to get everything done within the weekend but so completely worth it!  I'm super excited that we managed to get this all done before the holidays though and I cannot wait for my family to see it!

Reading has been going on as well but maybe a bit more slowly then I would like.  I'm three books behind in my Goodreads' reading goal so I need to get moving if I am going to hit eighty books for the year.  Quality versus quantity though, right??  I just need to keep telling myself that!  Ha!  I have also been planning on working on catching up on reviews as the end of the year is just right around the corner.  And there are SO MANY books that I haven't shared my thoughts on yet!  Yikes!  Look for more reviews than usual from here on out as I work on catching up through my review backlog.

Here are the books that I have finished since my last Sunday post:


Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper was a cute read filled with a spooky atmosphere thanks to the setting.  I liked this one as I read it but I just didn't quite fully connect like I had hoped to.  It was a really fun read though and fit in perfectly with the spooky reading that I was doing for the month of October. 

Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur was a reread and one that I enjoyed just as much as the first time.  This book was fast paced and intense which meant that I just flew through the pages.  I'm eager to continue on with this series with a reread of the second book soon.  This is definitely a series that I need to focus on catching up on!

H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton was another great addition to this mystery series!  I adore this series and Kinsey which means that these books have turned into comfort reading at this point.  This book was just as good as I have come to expect even if we saw a different side of Kinsey as she was undercover for the majority of the book.  Now I just need to get my hands on a copy of the next book in this series!

Hysteria by Megan Miranda was a book that I found myself completely absorbed in.  Oh my goodness but this book had atmosphere in spades.  I had a hard time putting it down, was completely sucked in, and was disappointed to see it end.  That being said the ending was a bit of a let down in comparison with the first 3/4ths of the book.  I will discuss it more in my review but overall this is an author that I will be reading more of!

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson was also a reread as I went to read the second book in this series and realized I had forgotten key details from this book.  Another fast-paced shifter read, this one was also worth the reread.  I had almost forgotten how much the ending killed me....and as I already had let the second book go back to the library unread, I am now kicking myself yet again.  LOL!

I'm now currently reading the following books:

All three are new books that I am just beginning this week.  The Kill List is my current read on my ipad and a beginning to a new series I believe.  It is in my quest to FINALLY read this book which has been on my TBR list for ages.  And Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is for the reread (besides who doesn't need a little Harry Potter in their lives?)  Lots of good reading ahead for me!

New Arrivals:

I have been trying to avoid NetGalley like the plague because I do not need to request any more books.  Some weeks that works and sometimes I fail miserably.  Here are the two books that I have added to my TBR soon list thanks to NetGalley and the publishers.

Plans for today involve cleaning, laundry, and working outside in the yard.  Happy Sunday to me!  I also plan on writing up some reviews for the coming week, blog hopping, and most importantly: The Walking Dead is on tonight!  Woohoo!  Maybe a little reading if I can find time.  I'm off to get the day started. 

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Reading Rambles (Or Even More Reading Plans for November)

I'm always up for overachieving when it comes to signing up for read-a-longs or reading challenges.  I just can't seem to resist.  November has some really great reading events starting up and I want to do them all.  Ha, ha!  But seriously, I kind of am signing up for all of them.  I'm just not over-thinking the fact that I can't possibly read everything that I want to this month.  A girl can try!!!  Here are some lovely additions to my reading plans for the month of November and beyond:

I am basically ALWAYS up for a Harry Potter re-read so participating in a read-a-long of the entire series with other readers is just too good to pass up!  Sheila from Book Journey is hosting this fun event and I'm super excited to get started.  I've been listening to the audiobooks the past couple of months but this time around I'm going to be breaking out the actual copies from my shelves for the reread...I cannot wait!  Plus, my oldest son and I are going to be reading the first book together.  He has seen the movies but never read the books (the horror) so this will be a great experience for the both of us!  Here is the schedule in case you are interested:

Nov 1 – Nov. 16 – The Sorcerer’s Stone
Nov 17 – Dec. 6th – Chamber Of Secrets
Dec. 7 – Dec. 29th –  The Prisoner Of Azkaban
Dec 30th – Jan 20th – The Goblet Of Fire
Jan. 21st – Feb 13th – Order Of The Phoenix
Feb. 14th – March 7th – The Half Blood Prince
March 8th – March 31st – The Deathly Hallows

I am also hoping this month to participate in NetGalley November.  I have way too many books thanks to NetGalley that I need to catch up on and this is a great opportunity to do so!  I'm going for the "Easy Category" which just requires reading 1-4 books.  Ideally, I would finish more than that but let's be realistic here with the plans I already have in place.  I will hopefully finish at least one book!  More than that will be FANTASTIC in my opinion :)  Here are the books that I am hoping to read for it:

The Kill List is my current read on my ipad so I'm hoping to at least make it through that one this month.  Completely doable as long as I don't get distracted by all of the other books that I'm planning to read :) 

Other reading rambles include the fact that Nonfiction November is completely calling to me as well even though I haven't finished a nonfiction read in way too long.  I'm reading all of your posts though and adding to the never-ending TBR list.  In fact, I was thinking about adding one nonfiction read to my reading plans for November but at this point it is a bit ridiculous.  That doesn't mean I won't try to fit one in...that just means I haven't decided on which one yet.  Ha!  I'm leaning towards these one of these three:

I just can't choose.  Which of these three would you pick if you were wanting a nonfiction read?  Or even better, what nonfiction book or books is a must read in your opinion??  I would love to know!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Midnight by Ellen Conner (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Three years of wandering the postapocalyptic wasteland has stripped Dr. Chris Welsh of hope. A harrowing loss drove him from his home, and he hasn't stopped moving-until he encounters Valle de Bravo, a haven of civilization amid the chaos of the Change. Soldiers take their orders from Rosa Cortez-the iron hand within a velvet glove. The last thing Rosa needs is a feral loner upsetting the town's tentative balance. However, for the good of her people, she lets Chris stay, and as bloodthirsty raiders strike again and again, Chris and Rosa battle hellhounds and dust pirates while also fighting desperate attraction. To save them, love must overcome the pain of the past-and build a future in this brutal Dark Age..."

My Thoughts:

Last year the first book in this apocalyptic trilogy was on my top ten reads for the year (or was that two years ago? I can't remember...).  Anyways, the point I was trying to make is that I went into reading this book with high hopes because I loved Nightfall so much!  This book turned out to be just as fast-paced and intense as I had hoped even if it didn't quite match the love that I felt for Nightfall!

From the very beginning I found that I had a hard time putting this book down.  I was just that hooked into the storyline almost instantaneously!  This book focuses on Chris, a secondary character from the previous book, who is trying to deal with everything that he has been through since the world changed.  I really liked that this second book was focused on his character as things hadn't ended the best for him in the previous story.  I was looking forward to him getting a chance at finding happiness while also learning more about his character.  The authors of this book did a great job of allowing for me to connect not only with Chris but also with Rosa even though they were both closed off individuals who didn't like to share their feelings.  It made it that much better in my opinion when they came together at certain points in the book.  I loved it!  This book focused less on how the world had changed and more on how people were coping with these changes.  I found this worked really well for me as I liked seeing how people were dealing with the aftermath of everything that had happened in book one.  This book highlighted the struggles that the town and people faced on a daily basis just trying to survive.  It made the book that much more intense!  But really, the romance that develops between Rosa and Chris is what really made this book such an enjoyable read.  I loved watching them try to figure out whether they could trust one another.  Overall, I just really liked their characters which meant that I spent the majority of the book hoping they would find their happy ending.

Because I have enjoyed both books in this trilogy, I now have really high expectations for the final book.  I'm also sad because I don't want to see this trilogy end as I love how intense these books are!  Combine that with romance and you have a winning combination in my opinion!  This book was a really great follow-up to Nightfall, and also helped to cement my need for more books just like this.  Well, maybe not exactly like this, but I am definitely going to be on the lookout for similar sounding reads!  I would recommend these books easily but start with the first book as it is a must in my opinion.  A reader could start here with this second book but they would definitely be missing out when it comes to details on the world that the authors have created.  Recommended, recommended, recommended!!

Bottom Line:  A trilogy that I just can't seem to get enough of!  I need more books like this in my life!

Disclosure:  Checked out from my local library.  Thoughts are my own :)

Has anyone read these books yet?  Can you recommend to me other romantic suspense books that might be similar?  I'm open to any and all suggestions!!

And if you are interested my thoughts on Nightfall are here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Reading Plans (2014)

Good morning everyone!  The last couple of months have been pretty spotty for me blog wise but I'm hoping everything will settle down here now that the colder months are upon us.  I love how the colder weather makes me want to snuggle in with a great book so I'm hoping to do just that all month long!  Here is the pile of books on my nightstand that I am hoping to curl up with:
  • Aftershock by Jill Sorenson - I've wanted to read this one since it first came out but never actually took the time to read it.  I love a good romantic suspense AND some of my trusted romance bloggers I follow have rec'd it.  Must read for this month!
  • Chained by Night by Larissa Ione - Review copy and one that I'm looking forward to since I really enjoyed the first book in this series.  I have high hopes for this one!
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - Reread (of course).  I am participating in the Harry Potter read-a-long that Sheila from Book Journey is hosting (I just need to sign up. LOL!).  This time of the year just feels perfect to dive back into this world!  I'm pumped :)
  • It by Stephen King - Two years ago I started this book for a read-a-long and then let it go back to the library unfinished.  I've been kicking myself for not really giving it a go every since then.  I have now decided to go back and finally read this book for real.  I'm a complete wimp when it comes to clowns but I just HAVE to read this book.  So this one is my main reading goal for the month!
  • Banishing The Dark by Jenn Bennett - I'm ready to see how this urban fantasy series ends!  I have loved each book but it is time to finally finish it up.  I will admit to having high expectations since this series has been so good so far!
  • One Potion in the Grave by Heather Blake - 2nd book in a cozy mystery series that I have been waiting impatiently for.  I really liked the first book even though I don't think I every shared my thoughts on book one.  Ugh!  I'm looking forward to this one though!
  • Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson - Reread (and my current read).  I started to read the second book and realized that it had been too long since I had read this one.  I couldn't remember key details and decided it would be better to reread this one first.  So far this book is just as good as I remembered....
  • They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire - Okay, I picked this one up based off of that creepy cover alone!  How could I not want to read it?!?  It sounds like my kind of book and fits in with my goal of reading more YA books.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Yes, I am definitely the last person ever to read these books.  I've decided since the third and final movie is releasing in the near future to finally see what all of the hype is about with this trilogy.  Besides, I have the first movie just waiting for me but I won't watch it until I finally read this book :)
  • The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson - Review copy and a book that just feels like it will be a great read for the colder weather.  I've been wanting to try this author for a long time now so I'm excited to crack this one open.  
I am so pumped up for each of these books.  Maybe I will have an AMAZING month of reading and finish all of these (a girl can hope...).  I'm sure I will add a few others to the pile of possibilities (like any of my other library books that I currently have checked out).  Now I'm off to go clean house and get ready for the day but tell me:  What books are you hoping to read this month??