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! 

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??

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier (thoughts)

The Butcher is one of the darkest thrillers that I have read this year by far.  This book isn't for the squeamish but it is definitely one of those books that a reader will find hard to put down!  Both creepy and dark are both words that I could use to describe this book that summarize it easily.  Because of this, it took me awhile to really get into this book.  When I did though, I was well and truly hooked.

Told from multiple viewpoints, the storyline revolves around "The Butcher", a well known serial killer that terrorized women in the Seattle area until he was killed by the police.  Edward Shank (also known as The Chief) was the person responsible for bringing this horrific killer to justice.  As The Chief moves into retirement, his grandson Matt is in the spotlight thanks to his restaurant and possible new television deal on the food network.  Matt grew up looking up to the Chief in every way possible but now with his own fame growing, he begins to realize that there are many truths that he has never known.  And when it seems like The Butcher is making a comeback from beyond the grave, it will affect everyone that Matt knows or cares for.

It is almost difficult for me to write my thoughts on this one because how can you say that you enjoyed a book that was this twisted?  I really struggled with it at the beginning because of this, and also because I struggled with Matt's character.  He isn't one of those characters that is easy to like and because of this I wasn't ever sure that I was going to care what happened to him.  I stuck with the book though because I was just so, so curious.  I gave a very brief summary that hopefully doesn't give many details away but it is those details that caused me to finally be hooked.  I had to know what was going to happen.  I finally started to connect to Sam (Matt's sorta girlfriend) as a character and by then I knew that I couldn't set this book down.  I had to see how it was all going to end!  The author does a great job with the atmosphere within this book.  I constantly felt like I was waiting....almost dreading seeing what was going to happen next.  It was such a creepy feeling!  It is really hard to describe my overall feelings because of how dark the storyline was.  While not always an easy read, it was certainly a book that kept me turning the pages.  I liked the ending especially because it all went down like I hoped that it would.  Is that vague enough for all of you?  Ha!  This is one of those books that I will not be forgetting about any time soon!

Overall, I liked this one enough to recommend it but I don't think that this is a book that everyone will enjoy.  Me?  I am definitely willing to read more by this author!  I just will make sure that I am in the mood for a darker read in case all of her books are this creepy (and I'm guessing they are from the titles).  Fans of dark thrillers will definitely want to give this one a try!  So recommended but with a few warnings/hesitations.

Bottom Line:  A disturbing book but one that I just could not put down!

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

For those of you that have read this one, what did you think?  I found this book reminded me of Gillian Flynn a bit thanks to how it made me feel while reading.  I wasn't always comfortable reading this book but I also couldn't quite stop reading.  I'm looking forward to hearing what other readers thought!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Library Loot (Or Reasons I Love My Library #4)

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

It has been entirely too long since I shared a library loot post with all of you.  I've kind of strayed away and instead just been posting pictures (aka my Reasons I Love My Library posts).  I have been missing writing these posts though so I think I'm going to get back to doing them.  I have had a really good couple of weeks at the library.  Here are the books that I have picked up recently:

There is so much bookish goodness here!  Where to begin?
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters is my current read.  One that I've been meaning to read every since I read (and adored) Affinity by Waters.  It is a big book but I'm in the mood for chunkier reads with the colder weather approaching.  I'm super stoked about this one!
  • The Man with a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes is the first in yet another mystery series that I have been wanting to try for some time.  I'm on a mystery series kick this year so I'm looking forward to finally giving this series a try.  Even the title has me intrigued ;)
  • The Water's Lovely by Ruth Rendall is for Carl's R.I.P. Challenge.  Actually, most of these books are now that I think about it.  I've been meaning to read this one for way too long.  I've checked it out from the library multiple times.  I'm really hoping to finally get to it this time around!
  • A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole is thanks to the paranormal romance kick that I have been on.  And because I loved Dark Skye so much so I figured I should go back to the beginning of the series.  Not my favorite cover though...I definitely might have passed by the book if I didn't know better.
  • Hysteria by Megan Miranda is one that I wanted to read as soon as I heard about it.  I then promptly forgot about it but in my quest to read more YA this year (I may have become sidetracked on this goal....I'm starting back up again) I decided to grab it from my library.  It will fit in perfectly with the R.I.P. challenge which makes me even more excited. 
  • Made For You by Melissa Marr because it sounds oh so good!  YA romantic suspense!?!?  Yes, please!  I've been seeing some very positive reviews for it so I will probably be reading this one very soon.  Happy days!
 I've got plenty of books to keep me busy!  I've already managed to read my four books for the R.I.P. challenge but I am hoping to fit in a few more before the end of the month.  What books have you grabbed from the library lately?  And which one of these would you read first if the choice was up to you??  Do share!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Night Visitor by Dianne Emley (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Gorgeous and successful, Rory Langtry seemed to have it all. Daughter of a movie star and sister of a supermodel, Rory was engaged to sexy artist, Junior Lara. But her bright future went dark one terrible, bloody night that left her sister dead and the accused murderer—Junior—in an extended coma.

Now, five years later, Rory appears to have put the past behind her. She has a wonderful new fiancé and heads a successful cosmetics company. Yet dark secrets threaten. Across town, Junior lies close to death but before he departs he seeks to clear his name."

My Thoughts:

 The Night Visitor was a unique read that had me spellbound by the end.  An unusual mystery thanks to the paranormal elements, I found myself eagerly reading this book to see how it would all play out.  Rory finds herself in quite the mess.  She is having visions that don't seem to be her own that all relate to her sister's murder.  Her ex-fiancee is believed to have been responsible for Anya's death, but since that night he has been in a coma which means he can't tell anyone what happened.  The entire book is focused on Rory finding out what really happened on that night so many years ago.  

This book was an interesting read for me because I was never sure how it would all work out.  The idea of Rory experiencing visions thanks to a connection with Junior was a bit out there if I am being honest.  The author really followed through with it though and because of this "connection" Rory struggles with her sanity at times.  That made sense to me even if I wasn't sure how it would all work out.  It is also one of the factors that made me not want to stop reading by the end.  I think that readers need to go with the flow when it comes to this book.  At first I struggled with the plausibility of it all and really disliked the paranormal elements.  Finally I decided to set those feelings aside, and just experience the book.  And I really ended up enjoying it!  The mystery portion of this book was done quite well.  I never really saw the end coming at all.  I had an idea as to parts of what must have happened on that evening so long ago but it turns out I was completely wrong.  There was only one portion of the book that I figured out (and really it was such a tiny part of the overall story).  I really appreciated that this book kept me guessing throughout!  When I finished reading this book I was glad that I had allowed myself to be pulled into this book because it was worth it.  Definitely a very unique read!

Overall, this book was a good read and one that I enjoyed.  It wasn't perfect but it was engaging and has me thinking that I will be watching for more by this author.  I think that mystery fans will enjoy this one.  Just be warned that if you don't care for paranormal elements than this might not be the book for you.  If you don't mind them, let the author take you on a ride that will keep you guessing.  It was worth it!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  An interesting mystery that kept me guessing!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley as part of a TLC blog tour.  Sorry that I missed my date and am posting this so late!  Thoughts are my own!