Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bookish Haul (Book Gluttony Edition)

I have been pretty good recently when it comes to not buying books so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I couldn't last very much longer without a visit to the used bookstore.  I had a bag of books ready to turn in for credit so at least I probably took back as many books as I brought home.  That's a positive in my opinion!  And thanks to a very thoughtful gift from my husband I even had a bookish Christmas.  I'm so excited about all of this bookish goodness that I couldn't resist sharing with all of you.  Here are the books that I took home with me thanks to my most recent trip to the used bookstore:

  • A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris - 2nd in the Aurora Teagarden mystery series.  I really enjoyed the first book in this series.  
  • Blood Vines by Erica Spindler - I used to read this author's books all the time and when I saw this (newer?) one I couldn't resist!
  • The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes - 1st book in a mystery series that I have been wanting to try.
  • Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne - 1st in a paranormal romance trilogy that I really am looking forward to reading as well.
  • The Witness by Nora Roberts - I saw a bunch of good reviews for this one awhile back so it just had to come home with me.
  • I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton - I'm working on catching up with this series since it is one of my favorites.  I buy the next book in the series every time I visit the used bookstore.
  • Kissing Sin by Keri Arthur - I just finished rereading the first book in this series so it was like serendipity when I found the second book waiting on the shelves.  I was so excited!
  • Underground by Kat Richardson - I'm a bit annoyed with this purchase as I thought it was the 2nd book in the series and it is the third.  Oh well.  But I would really, really like to know why publishers of series books don't make it easier to determine the series order.  Most frustrating thing ever!!!
  • The Minotaur by Barbara Vine - Probably the book I am most excited about and I was almost jumping up and down when I found it.  This one sounds oh so good and I just cannot wait!
  • Greywalker by Kat Richardson - 1st in this urban fantasy mystery series.  I read this one a few years back (I think) and really want to continue on with the series.  
  • Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters - The next book in this amazingly good series that I cannot get enough of.  Another series though where it is SUPER hard to figure out the series order.    

  • Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan is latest review copy to grace my doorstep.  It sounds like my kind of book!

And lastly, my husband bought me the BEST Christmas gift ever with my own kindle paperwhite (along with the cute owl cover)!  It was totally unexpected and I am just in love with it already!  As you can see, I'm already working on adding books to it, and I finished my first book on it already too! 

I had a wonderful Christmas filled with family and friends.  I couldn't ask for more!  It has been a bit quiet here because of it but I wouldn't change a thing.  I hope that all of you have a had a wonderful holiday as well!  Now, I'm off to prepare for the upcoming new year with a list of my favorite books from this year, some new goals to work towards, and maybe a few reading challenges.   All of these posts aren't going to write themselves :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Something About You by Julie James (thoughts)

Romantic suspense is a genre that I'm always wanting to read more of and books like this are really why.  From a sizzling chemistry between two characters that can't stand each other at the beginning of the book to an intensely fast-paced mystery, I found myself hard-pressed to put this book down.

In this book, Cameron Lynde inadvertently becomes a witness to a murderer when a young woman is killed in the hotel room next to hers.  Forced to work with FBI agent Jack Pallas, she soon finds herself in danger from this elusive killer.  The two of them have a shared history of working together though and their past isn't a good one.  Can Cameron remember enough details from that evening to help identify the killer before he finds her?

Let me tell you from the beginning that I am a sucker romances where the main characters start off either disliking or hating each other.  It gets me every single time!  This book had me from the very beginning then as Cameron and Jack have no good feeling towards one another and are very antagonistic towards working together.   This slow building romance was exactly what I was looking for as they were forced to put aside their mutual feelings of dislike in the pursuit of finding the killer.  It was fun watching them work through their misunderstandings and especially fun to watch them try to fight the attraction/chemistry that they were feeling.  It always makes it that much better when they finally come together and quit fighting their feelings.  It was definitely worth the wait and left me eager to see them find their happy every after.

The mystery/suspense portion of this book was well done as I had a very hard time putting this book down.  The author did a very nice job of keeping me on my toes just waiting to see what was going to happen next. I'm looking forward to reading more of this author's books and am even more excited to see that this is the first book in a series.  Woohoo!  The ending wrapped up everything very nicely and kept me on my toes until the very last page.  I stayed up past my bedtime finishing this one which is never a bad thing (until the next morning that is).

Overall, this was one of those books that just clicked for me in all of the right ways.  I loved the chemistry between the two main characters, was intrigued by the storyline, and didn't want to the book to end.  This is definitely one of the best romantic suspense reads that I've come across in awhile.  Luckily enough I have many more of this author's books to look forward to, and I will definitely be continuing on with this series.  Highly recommended but especially to romance fans!

Bottom Line:  A book that hit all the right spots for me and a romance that I found myself caught up in.

Disclosure:  I checked a copy of this book out from my local library.  Thoughts are my own!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Kill List by Nichole Christoff (thoughts)

The Kill List was a solid debut to this new mystery series and was quite the page turner for me.  I easily found myself engrossed within its' pages and this didn't let up until the very end.  I'm left eager to continue on with this series and read more by this author!

In this book Jamie Sinclair is asked to investigate when her ex-husband's daughter is kidnapped.  Despite all of the hard feelings between the two of them, Jamie drops everything to rush to the army base where he and his new family live in search of his three year old daughter.  Almost instantly Jamie begins to realize that her ex-husband is hiding something and the questions don't stop there.  Soon Jamie finds herself in deathly danger and is unsure who she can trust.  Will she be able to find the missing girl before time runs out?

I really enjoyed this book from the very beginning.  The author starts this book out with a really intense scene from a case that Jamie is finishing up and it really just takes off from there.  This book was filled with suspense along with twists and turns.  It was easy to see that there was something off when it came to the little girl's kidnapping but as the reader you don't know what exactly.  I was left questioning everything and everyone trying to figure out for myself what could have happened to that little girl.  I didn't care for Jamie's ex-husband Tim Thorp at all thanks to all of the secrets that he seems to be hiding.  He comes across as quite the jerk but it was the fact that Jamie could never get him to tell the truth despite the missing girl that sealed my dislike for him.  These secrets and evasions did add to the atmosphere of the story though and filled the pages with suspense.

One of my favorite parts of this book besides the mystery itself was the relationship that began to develop between Jamie and the military commander Barrett.  These two worked really well together and I found it refreshing how trust came slowly between them.  I am looking forward to reading future books and hopefully seeing their relationship develop even more!  Another thing that really worked well for me in this book was the way the author incorporated the military into the storyline.  I learned a bunch of different things in regards to everyday military life that I had never known while reading this book.  The author's obvious love and respect for the armed forces was very evident within the pages of this novel.  I really enjoyed all of these different aspects and felt that it added to the storyline.  The mystery was also very well done with multiple angles all coming together at the end.  I had guessed only one portion of it but even then the ending was able to give me a few more surprises! 

Overall, I am sure that you can tell how much I enjoyed this book.  The mystery was both fast-paced and intense which is definitely the mark of a good book.  I'm hoping to see the romance developed more in future books and am eager to read more in this series.  All very good things!  I can easily recommend this book to other mystery fans!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  An intense read that had me flying through the pages!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.  Thoughts are my own!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December Reading Plans (2014)

It is the end of the year so I have come up with a massive reading pile for the month of December.  And looking at the picture just made me realize that I'm missing a few books.  Oh dear.  I have eleven books left to hit my Goodread's goal so it is doubtful that I will make it but the fun is in the trying.  I basically want to read ALL of the books yet again.  As this is a very busy time of the year, I'm just hoping to find some reading time to enjoy a few of these.  Here are the books on my reading pile for December:
  • 'Twas The Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries - My current read and also one that I've been holding for this time of year.  I was in the mood for a holiday read and this is the perfect fit!  
  • This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers - I realized that the sequel to this book is coming out soon and decided to grab this one from the library.  I REALLY want to read it before the end of the year!
  • The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths - 2014 has been a year filled with good mysteries which is how I found this series.  I'm eager to continue on which is why I couldn't resist bringing this book home with me.
  • Midnight Crossroads by Charlaine Harris - I was scanning my library shelves for books that I wanted to read before year end and thought of this one.  Not sure why if I'm being honest as there are other books that I want to read more...but I'm still very excited to read it!
  • Midnight Rescue by Elle Kennedy - I have been meaning to read this book for ages now.  Seriously, it is getting a bit ridiculous how many times I have let it go back to the library unread.  This month I will read this book!
  • Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep - I'm working on catching up on this series and this is the second book.  I just finished rereading Spider's Bite which was just as good as I remembered so I'm looking forward to this one.  And it is off of my own shelves which is a bonus!
  • Murder at the Book Group by Maggie King - This is a review copy and a cozy mystery.  Win!  I will be starting this one very soon as I'm in the mood for a good cozy. 
  • When Snow Falls by Brenda Novak - Another holiday read but I'm waiting until we get some more snow before I start it.  I went searching for holiday reads a couple of weeks ago and really liked the sound of this one.  
  • Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett -   I really, really want to read this book and begin this series.  I just adore the covers and the books sound so good!  I literally snatched this one off of my library shelves when I saw it sitting there.  
  • Fear the Darkness by Becky Masterman - Review copy and thriller.  Something about this time of year makes me crave a good thriller and this sounds like it will fill my craving. 
  • A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton - I couldn't end the year without reading this one as this series is a personal favorite!  I have been waiting a very long time for this book and am hoping to end 2014 on a high note with this one.
Let's just add to the craziness here and mention the books that I am missing from this picture.  I need to put books two and three from the Harry Potter series on this pile.  My current read of It by Stephen King should also be included.   And as usual these are only the physical books that I am planning on reading.  I'm currently reading Ammie, Come Home by Barbara Michaels on my ipad that also should be included in this reading pile.  And what about all of those other books that Goodreads says I am reading that I STILL haven't finished yet.

May the reading fun begin!  What books are you hoping to read before the end of the year?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance."

My Thoughts:

I'm having a hard time writing up my thoughts on this one as I enjoyed it....but.  There were a few things that kept me from fully connecting to this book which is why it only ended up being a good read for me rather than great.  Let's start off with everything I enjoyed though, shall we?  First of all this book was way spookier than I expected.  Set on a remote island believed to be haunted, the author did an amazing job of really creating this eerie setting where it felt like something evil was just lurking around the corner.  And there were some really spooky moments throughout the book that really reinforced this!  My favorite thing about this book though was all the references to Scooby Doo that the author threw in here and there.  I adored that cartoon as a kid and still love watching old episodes with my kids.  So fun and a pleasure to find another Scooby Doo fan!  The mystery portion of this book was done really well and had me guessing for the majority of the book.  I had a few parts of the book figured out but it wasn't until the very end that I realized that I was right.  This book was a fast, easy read that kept my attention throughout.  Overall, I really enjoyed it.

The issues that I had with it though really had to do with the relationship that developed between Nina and Deacon.  It felt like they just came together all too easily and I never really connected to their relationship.  While I absolutely adored all of the other relationships in this book between the characters, this one just fell short for me.  Maybe because I went into this book expecting more of a focus on the romance than what there really was.  For me, this felt more like a mystery with a romance thrown in.  I liked both Nina and Deacon's characters, liked that they found each other, but overall their chemistry just fell a bit flat for me.  

When all was said and done, I did really enjoy this book even if I had a few issues with it.  It was a fun read, and I was left ready to read more by this author.  I am curious to see if this author has any more books with scary settings as she did that portion of this book extremely well!  Plus, any author that uses Scooby Doo references is an author that I will be reading more of!  Recommended but as a mystery rather than romance!

Bottom Line:  A fun and creepy read but one that didn't quite knock my socks off.

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