Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cane and Abe by James Grippando (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Samantha died too soon. Abe Beckham’s new wife, Angelina, feels like Samantha never left. Through it all, Abe has managed to remain a star prosecutor at the Miami State Attorney’s Office. But his personal life is a mess, and it’s about to get worse.

When a woman’s body is discovered dumped in the Everglades, Abe is called upon to stay on top of the investigation. The FBI is tracking a killer in South Florida they call “Cutter” because his brutal methods harken back to Florida’s dark past, when machete-wielding men cut sugarcane by hand in the blazing sun.

But when the feds discover that Abe had a brief encounter with the victim after Samantha’s death, and when Angelina goes missing, the respected attorney finds himself in the hot seat. Suspicion surrounds him. His closest friends, family, professional colleagues, and the media no longer trust his motives. Was Angelina right? Was their marriage failing because he loved Samantha too much? Or was there another woman, and did Abe have a dark side that simply wanted his new but very unhappy wife gone?"

My Thoughts:

 Wow!  This book was something else.  This was a really thrilling read that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time!  I put off making dinner for my family just so that I could finish this one first.  It was just that kind of book.  The kind of book that sucks you in and makes you not want to stop reading.  Or in my case resent having to actually work while at work because I was squeezing reading time in on my breaks.  The kind of book that keeps you guessing until the very last page.  The kind of book that has so much tension and suspense in it that it took all of my self control not to peek at the last page.  I cannot tell you how proud I was of myself that I didn't peek because I really, really wanted to at various points while reading.  For me, this was the exact kind of reading experience that I hope for when I pick up a thriller and I wasn't disappointed until the very end. 

The ending didn't quite work for me which was unfortunate as I can't really state why without spoiling things.  Suffice it to say that it felt familiar and because of this wasn't as surprising as I had hoped.  I had guessed the ending without realizing it early on and was disappointed to see that I was right.  The author did such an amazing job with the suspense level throughout the story though that really I cannot complain too much.  I loved the majority of the book and just because I figured out the ending didn't hurt my overall reading experience as much as it could have.  On a different note, I really loved the history of the sugarcane fields that was included throughout the book.  I loved how the author used these details to really add to the mystery that was present throughout this story.  There were just so many things that ratcheted up the tension level in this book that there were points where I didn't think I could stand it.  Hence, my desire to read the ending out of order which I managed to refrain from.  Just barely though.  This was suspense at its' best!

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and am left eager to read more by this author.  He has an entire series (this is a standalone) for me to look forward to so I'm a very happy girl.  Readers that love a good thriller are definitely going to want to check this one out!  It was a page turner and quite a wild ride!  I had my one complaint but in the grand scheme of things I have to say that this is a book to check out.  Easily recommended!

Bottom Line:  One of those books where almost every page is filled with suspense!

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


Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Name is Sam, and I have a Book Addiction...

I have lots of thoughts this week about lots of different things.  The blogging community in general has been a bit drama filled lately but as always my favorite bloggers are focusing more on the positive than the bad.  It has been one of those countless times where I've reevaluated my goals and priorities as a blogger.  A post for another time maybe?  I really don't know as there are so many others that have said it better than I ever could.  On the other hand I've been feeling completely inspired thanks to finding podcasts.  What fun!  I can listen while cleaning (yes I know others have figured this out long ago but I'm late as usual) and it makes it much more enjoyable.  This should most likely be another post but I couldn't help mentioning how I excited I am about them. Recommendations are needed here though!  Which podcasts are out there that shouldn't be missed???  Please share!

I woke up this morning ready to blog and with lots of different feelings on both of these possible posts but I just couldn't settle.  I've decided to let them both simmer in my mind for now and instead finally share all of my lovely finds from my Valentine's trip to the used book store.  I spent a lovely hour or so browsing my local used bookstore shelves and finding all kinds of gems that just HAD to come home with me. 

  • Play Dead by Harlan Coben - One of his older books.  I've enjoyed every book that I've read by Coben so I'm sure this will be good.
  • Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie - 3rd in the Duncan Kincaid series and one of my favorite mystery series that I found last year. 
  • The Missing by Jane Casey - This is a standalone and by an author that I have really enjoyed previously.
  • Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates - 1st in a cozy mystery series.  The cover made me bring this one home.
  • Trust Me by Brenda Novak - 1st in a trilogy...I think?  It sounds both creepy and tense so I had to have it!
  • Scarlet Devices by Delphine Dryden - 2nd book in a steampunk series that I've been wanting to start.  Gorgeous cover!
  • Heart of Darkness by Lauren Dane - 1st in an urban fantasy series that was highly recommended to me by another blogger.
  • Gossamer Wing by Delphine Dryden - 1st in the same steampunk series as Scarlet Devices.  So pumped to read both of them!
  • Death's Daughter by Amber Benson - I picked this one up as I just finished a different book by this author and wanted to try her other series out. 
  • Saint's Gate by Carla Neggers - Romantic suspense and one that I've grabbed from the library multiple times. 
  • Here I Stay by Barbara Michaels - I will basically always buy Michael's books whenever I find them.  I feel the need to own them all....see the title of this post for an explanation as to why :)
  • Fireborn by Keri Arthur - 1st in another new to me series.  My bookish addictions know no bounds.

These two are thanks to the publishers and were both unsolicited review copies.  Monday's Lie is a thriller so I definitely want to read it!  The Master isn't my usual type of read but since I really, really enjoyed a different book by this author I will be reading it as well.  At least I haven't brought in as many review copies as last time that I shared.  That's a start, right?

It is official: I have TOO many books!  No more bookstore trips until I start getting my shelves under control.  I may have an addiction but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't work on it.  Time to actually read all of these books that I can't seem to stop buying.  I can stay out of my used bookstore but I don't know that I can stay away from the library for too long.  I'm going to have to be realistic and keep mixing up my reading.  Review copies, library copies, and books from my own shelves....I have more than enough to keep my busy for a very long time!

Tell me, what books have you added to your shelves recently?  Do you have a book addiction like me??  Are your shelves ridiculously out of control?  Or better yet: which of these books should I read first?  Do share!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Girl With a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson (thoughts)

The Girl With a Clock For a Heart was a book filled with both layers and questions.  Add to that almost constant suspense and lots of action and you are in for a very thrilling read!  I feel like this is a book that is a bit outside of what I usually read, and I enjoyed it all the more because of that fact.  This was another book that I just didn't want to set down! 

In this book George Foss runs into a girl from his past,  Liana Decter, at a local bar.  Liana is an old college girlfriend that he has never forgotten and even after all these years still thinks about from time to time.  Liana is in trouble and asks George for his help which he reluctantly agrees to.  But it is that hesitation and events from George's past when he knew Liana before that really comes into play.  Because George knows that he should stay as far away from Liana and her troubles as possible, but he just can't seem to tell her no....

There are two different story arcs in this book but they both tie together perfectly.  One is the story of Liana and George's past and what happened to make him suspect her of murder.  The second story line is all about Liana and George as she pulls him into her current troubles.  Both of these story lines are completely compelling and fast paced.  The majority of the time when an author does this I prefer one over the other but that wasn't the case with this book.  Because I was so caught up with what was happening and the whys of it all, that I just wanted to know it all.  I wanted to know the truth behind what had happened between George and Liana when they first met.  And I really, really wanted to know what was going on in the present day and why Liana had come to George for help a second time. 

I felt like from the very beginning I knew that I didn't quite trust Liana's motives.  I was frustrated with George's actions at times because of this.  If I knew that he shouldn't trust her without even knowing all of their shared history, then he should have been smarter than getting involved.  George's constant questioning of her actions and true feeling added to the layers of questions that I had though.  Then you had the pieces of their history that were given and I really had even more questions rather than answers.  It all combined into this constant feeling of suspense and waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I knew it was coming and still I was taken by surprise.  The ending of the book was frustrating but it fit so perfectly with the way the story was going so I couldn't complain.  This book was one hell of a ride and completely worth it!

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and am eager to read more by this author.  It was fast paced, intense, and filled with suspense.....three of my favorite things!  I liked the way the author took events from the two character's past and tied them to the present.  It made the book that much more suspenseful for me!  I can easily recommend this one but especially to fans of both suspense and thrillers.  This is a book that shouldn't be missed!

Bottom Line:  A book that pulled me into the story with layers of suspense and never let me go! 

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of a Partners in Crime book tour.  Thoughts are my own!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Sunday Post #9 (Reading Fever)

"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"

I have been reading like crazy (for me anyways) these past two weeks which has been a nice change of pace.  I've already finished four books so far this month and last month I only finished five which should tell you something.  A lot of it has to do with the fact that is has been so cold outside which means I'm willing to curl up with a book under a blanket more often than not.  Part of it has to do with the fact that I have been terrible on the exercising front so that turns into more reading time.  This is going to change starting today though!  Time to get back to the grind and remember why I want to start getting healthier in the first place.

It has been a quiet weekend which is my favorite kind of weekend.  My husband spoiled me with a new coffee mug, giftcard to Starbucks, and a trip to the used bookstore.  He knows exactly what I like!  I managed to use up all of my credit at the bookstore (the horror) so now I feel the need to really focus on those books off of my own shelves.  I can't wait to share with all of you the books I picked up but because there are so many I think I will do a separate post.  Let's move on to my reading update, shall we?  In the past two weeks I have finished the following books:

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh - What a great beginning to this PNR series!!!  I've heard so many great things about this series and it was definitely worth the read!  I've already grabbed the second book from the library because I need some more books like this in my life.  Full review to come.

In Flames by Richard Hilary Weber - This was a unique reading experience and one that I read as part of a TLC book tour.  My full thoughts are here if you are interested. 

Cane and Abe by James Grippando - This was another read for a TLC book tour and my review will be posted in a week or so.  I really enjoyed this one, found the pacing to be quite intense, and didn't want to set this one down.  This is my first read by this author but won't be my last!

The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson - This is the beginning to a new urban fantasy series and one that I'm sure that I'm going to enjoy.  I really liked this one until the end when I realized that it was just building up to the next book.  I'm explain more of my thoughts in my review but overall I enjoyed it.

I'm now currently reading the following books:

Night is the Hunter is my current print read and also for a TLC book tour early next month.  I haven't even cracked it open yet as I just finished Benson's book yesterday evening.  If You've Got It, Haunt It is my current e-read but I actually haven't started reading it yet either.  Today for sure on both of these!

Incoming Additions:

These are all for my e-reader thanks to the publishers, NetGalley, and Edelweiss.  I'm in a mystery/thriller kind of mood so I'm super excited for each of them.  Now to just find the time to read them all....

Plans for today include laundry as always, blogging, and The Walking Dead tonight.  I'm definitely going to fit a workout in but other than that it is going to be a laid back kind of day.  I will be by commenting later on in the afternoon.  I hope everyone has a wonderful week filled with a good book or two!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world."

My Thoughts:

 I absolutely loved everything about this book from the first page to the last.  Burn For Me was such a refreshingly great beginning to a new paranormal romance series and really left me excited about this series in general!  The characters, world that this author has created, and even all of the secondary characters are so original compared to other books out there in this genre.  Nevada's grandma works on armored vehicles for great is that??  I just couldn't get enough and didn't want to see this book end.  Nevada and Rogan are both such great main characters.  Rogan is dark, dangerous, and filled with all of this powerful magic inside of him.  Nevada is young, much lighter personality wise, and filled with all of this untapped potential.  They are just such a perfect match in my opinion!  The world that Andrews has created is filled with magic users with different abilities and levels of magic.  It is a dark, gritty world where powerful magical families rule, and I loved everything about it!

Sometimes I find that the books I love the most are the hardest to share my thoughts on.  All I want to say are things like "READ IT NOW!!!" and "No seriously, I really loved it!!!!" which works but only to a certain extent.  Why did I love it so much?  Because it was so different from many of the other paranormal books that I have read.  Because it has two amazingly great main characters who have this great romantic tension thing going on between them.  Because it was fast paced, hard to put down, and left me wanting the second book instantly upon finishing.  These are just a few of the reasons why I loved this book so much!

Obviously I loved this one and can't say enough good things about it.  I'm anxiously awaiting the second book (heck even the cover will be exciting at this point) and will be picking it as soon as it is available.  As this if officially one of my favorite authors I cannot recommend this book enough.  Don't be put off by the paranormal romance label if that isn't quite your thing.  Really to me this one reads much more like an urban fantasy and I think fans of both genres will enjoy.  Highly, highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A top ten read for 2014.  Enough said :)

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

Monday, February 9, 2015

In Flames by Richard Hilary Weber (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"San Iñigo is a jewel of the Caribbean, a playground paradise for the foreign elite, a hell for unfortunate locals. For recent Princeton grad Dan Shedrick, San Iñigo promises the fulfillment of too many desires.

Dan hires on at a powerful American firm as a junior architect, but still finds time for tennis, booze, a reckless affair with the sexy wife of a resort owner—even a bit of reconnaissance for the U.S. cultural attaché. But soon he discovers that nothing on San Iñigo is without consequence. When a much-loved local radio personality is found on a beach with his head blown off, Dan’s lover becomes a suspect. And not long after his foray into espionage, he’s dragged away on a brutal journey into the heart of darkness.

Buffeted by aggression, depraved ritual, and personal betrayal, Dan discovers fierce truths about San Iñigo . . . and himself. In the island’s forbidding mountain jungle, his life goes up in flames—a deadly inferno that will forever change him, if he survives at all."

My Thoughts:

This was a very unique reading experience for me.  I spent the majority of the book not quite knowing for sure what was going on exactly.  That sounds like a bad thing but surprisingly it wasn't.  In fact, for me it was actually a compelling reason not to put this book down.  This book is written in a way that gave me lots of questions with answers there were far and few between.  That makes it sound like the book was confusing but it wasn't.  It was the "why's" behind everything that was happening that left me guessing constantly and reading continuously.  Let me give you an example:  when Daniel gets to the island he realizes from the very beginning that he is an outsider compared to the other country club members on the resort where he is staying.  The why he is such an outsider though is a question that is constant throughout the book.  I'm not sure that Daniel every fully understands what separates him from the others.  All of these different questions added a layer of intrigue to the book.  There are lots of other examples but I don't want to give any spoilers away so I'll leave it at that.  

Daniel's character wasn't the most likeable yet it didn't bother me like it would in most books.  I just kept reading as I needed to see what was going to happen next.  By the end of the book I still didn't have him figured out but I don't think that I was meant to.  Because really, none of the characters and their motivations were ever fully explained.  It worked for me because even now I have been thinking about everything that happened.  This book has stuck with me and left me pondering.....I would really have loved the chance to discuss this one with other readers.

Overall, this book was a strange yet compelling read.  I'm finding it hard to really explain my thoughts in a coherent fashion so my apologies.  If you are looking for a fast read with more questions then answers, give this one a try.  Trust me when I say that the ending will surprise you.  It wasn't what I expected at all.  Definitely interesting, at times frustrating.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A unique a book that left me thinking about it for some time after.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of a TLC Book Tour.  Thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January Reading Recap (2015)

(Me and my beautiful family-picture not taken in January lol!)

January has already come and gone which is kinda crazy when you think about it.  Above is one of the rare family pictures when everybody is actually looking at the camera.  Rare but priceless!  This was a really good month of reading for me in terms of quality.  Every book that I read I would rate (if I actually rated books that is) at least four stars.  I had hoped to finish more books but maybe in February.  Overall I am pretty happy with my reading progress even if I am constantly one book behind in my Goodread's goal of 80 books for the year.  Here are the books that I finished in January:
  • Fear the Darkness by Becky Masterman
  • Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep
  • Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves
  • India Black by Carol K. Carr
  • The Girl With a Clock For a Heart by Peter Swanson
My favorite read of the month was my first book finished for the year, Fear The Darkness.  One of the best thrillers that I have read and one that I want to recommend to just about everyone.  All of these were really good though so I have to admit that this one won out just by inches.  I've managed to write up my thoughts on two of the five books so that is a pretty good start as well.

I've gotten a good start on a few of the challenges that I've joined although there are also some that I haven't even started yet.  Oh well, they are for fun so no need to worry too much.  I've managed to read books for the following challenges:
  • New Author Challenge (3 books)
  • Snagged @ the Library Challenge (1 book)
  • NetGalley & Edelweiss Challenge (1 book)
  • Prequel & Sequel Challenge (1 book)
  • Cloak & Dagger Challenge (3 books)
  • Official TBR Challenge (knocked Web of Lies off of my list)
  • COYER Challenge (2 books)
Overall, I am calling January a success!  I could have worked out more but I got started so I just need to continue on with it.  I have been cooking more and even tried out a few new recipes.  I just need to get back on my quest to learn how to crochet and I will be a happy camper.  I'm leaving my February plans completely open.  I have a few upcoming blog tours this month.  I also need to figure out which book I am reading off of my TBR Challenge list.  Decisions, decisions.

Bring it on February!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Sunday Post #8 (Snow and More Snow)

"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"

 Seriously, today is all about the snow.  Was it just a few weeks ago that I was complaining about the lack of snow??  I'm pretty sure that I should have kept my mouth closed as we are in the midst of a winter storm.  An inch an hour?  Possibility of 15 inches?  Yeah, this is what we get for me opening my big mouth.  My kids are absolutely loving it though and have already been outside playing in the piles.  Me not so much as my back is already sore from shoveling.  What a workout though!  Here is a picture just of the snow when I first woke up this morning (there is a lot more out there now):

Plans for today include lots of shoveling and time spent outside.  I also have a house to clean, laundry to do, and certainly I will be fitting in some relaxation time as well.  I need to fit in some quality reading time too as I'm currently reading three different books and would like to make some progress.  January wasn't the best month numbers wise for me so I'm hoping to read a bit more in February.  That being said I'm not stressing about it as quality wise January was a really great month.  Not a single bad book in the bunch which had me very happy.  Let's move on to my reading update though.  In the past two weeks I have finished the following books:

India Black by Carol K. Carr was an absolute delight to read!  I loved this one to pieces and cannot wait to continue on with her adventures.  I really could not put this one down and blew through the pages.  I should never have waited this long to read this book.  A historical mystery filled with both spies and intrigue....this was a book that I instantly adored.

The Girl With a Clock For a Heart by Peter Swanson was also another really great read and quite thrilling as well.  I'm participating in a blog tour for this one so I don't want to say a lot until my review but it is definitely a book to check out!  The pacing of this one is quite intense and kept me on my toes.  My thoughts will be posted on the 16th of this month if you are interested.

I'm now currently reading the following books:

They are all completely different from one another but that is a good thing.  Slave to Sensation is my current print book and the one that I am having the hardest time setting down.  I've been meaning to start this series for years.  In Flames is for an upcoming blog tour and is my current e-read on my Paperwhite.  I have no clue what is going on in this one yet I can't seem to stop reading.  The Happiness Project is going to deserve a post of its' own.  I'm reading this one before bed but I really should have a notebook near me when I read it as there are just so many things.  Like I said, I will write up a post later for my thoughts just while reading it.  Lot of really great reading ahead of me for sure!

Incoming Additions:

I was doing so good until then I wasn't.  Here are all of the books that have come into my house in the past two weeks.  They are all from the publishers except Mistress of Rome which is a contest win (and one that I just cannot wait to read.  It sounds so good!).  Thank you Becca!  I'm not even showing you the ebooks because I have failed in self control.  Failed!  So I will share those next week instead when hopefully you have forgotten about all of these :) 

I'm off to scrub my kitchen down and then shovel (AGAIN!).  I will be by to comment later as I'm getting a late start today thanks to this weather.  We WILL be watching the Superbowl later although I will be reading while watching bits and pieces of it.  If the Bears aren't there then I don't care.  Ha!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!