Thursday, April 30, 2015

Want! Want! Want! (To Be Reading These That Is)

These are the top two books that I currently want to be reading RIGHT NOW!  Besides the books that I am currently reading of course.  I am on such a thriller/mystery kick lately and these will definitely fill that craving.  So tell me, what books are you wishing that you could be reading right now?  Do share!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Running Fire by Lindsay McKenna (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Temporarily assigned to the Shadow Squadron in a troubled region of Afghanistan, Chief Warrant Officer and pilot Leah Mackenzie is no stranger to conflict—even if most of her physical and emotional scars are courtesy of her vicious ex. Still, she's got a bad feeling about picking up a team of stranded SEALs. A feeling that's all too justified once enemy fire hits their helicopter and all hell breaks loose…

SEAL Kell Ballard's goal was to get the injured pilot out of harm's way and find shelter deep in the labyrinth of caves. It's a place of dark intimacy, where Leah finds unexpected safety in a man's arms. Where prohibited attraction burns brightly. And where they'll hide until the time comes to face the enemy outside…and the enemy within their ranks."

My Thoughts:

Romantic suspense is one of those genres that I always want to read more of but hardly ever do.  I love when it is done right and I cannot stop turning the pages.  While I went into reading this book assuming that it was going to be that type of read, what I found was a more slow burning romance that I couldn't help but appreciate for other reasons.  Running Fire throws the two main characters into a tough and intense situation where they are relying on only themselves to survive and get out of enemy territory.  Almost instantly they realize that there is also a deep attraction between the two of them.  But it isn't the danger that is keeping them apart from exploring their feelings.  Instead, it was Leah's past and emotional scars that they are forced to deal with right away.  The author did a really great job of not glossing over all of the horrific things that Leah went through with her first marriage.  For me it made what was growing between her and Kell all of the better.  At first I struggled with their instant attraction/feelings.  But then as I thought about it, it was really the intensity of their entire experience that brought those feelings out and they both couldn't help but to given in a little bit to their feelings for one another.  Sigh!  I liked that and I liked what they found together with one other.  It took its' time building as Leah needed for them to take it slowly and you don't see that enough in romance books in my opinion.  I liked that they didn't just jump right into a relationship even though they both wanted to.

I did have a few issues connecting to this book at times.  I think it was mainly because I wanted Leah to stand up for herself.  I don't even know if that is realistic with everything that she had gone through but I wanted it all of the same.  (The quirks of the reader, I know).  She left her ex-husband which shows she had some strong grit to her but she didn't always show it in the book.  I would have liked to see more of her stronger side and I think this caused me to not quite connect to the story like I had hoped.  I also expected this to have a bit more suspense to it which for me even despite the dire circumstances they found themselves in didn't happen until later in the book.  And then it really was a page turner and I needed to know what was going to happen.  

Overall, I thought that this was a good read even though I had a few issues with it.  I definitely want to continue on with this series and see what happens next.  I would love to see if Kell and Leah are included in future books as it would be nice to get a peek at their relationship as it continues to grow.  I think that romance readers will probably enjoy this one.  Recommended with a few hesitations.

Bottom Line:  A good read and I will be reading more by this author.

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Silent Scream by Angela Marsons (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?"

My Thoughts:

Wow!  I cannot begin to put into words how much I enjoyed this book!  Silent Scream was one of the most chilling thrillers that I've read so far this year.  I really just could not get enough!  This is by far one of the best beginning books to a new series and I am completely hooked.  D.I. Kim Stone is such a unique main character.  She does things her own way even if it means getting in trouble with the higher ups in the police department.  And the case and these dead girls really meant something to her and that was evident from the very beginning.  What made this book really stand out for me though was the way that the author used Kim's own history as a child and tied that into the current mystery that she is investigating.  Without giving too much away there were a few parallels that really allowed for me to connect to not only to Kim but also to hook into the mystery completely.  I was invested in this one and wanted to see it solved as soon as possible.  I loved how completely immersed in this book I found myself.  I say this a lot sometimes but I just could not put this book down (or in my case put my kindle down). 

I also really appreciated the fact that I didn't see the ending coming from a mile away.  Oh the twists in this book had me reading as fast as I possibly could.  Wow!  That's all I can say about this ending.  Just wow!  I set this book down needing more books to read by this author and completely anxious to continue on with this series.  In fact I credit this book to kick-starting my current obsession with thrillers and crime fiction that just doesn't seem to want to let up.  I NEED more books just like this in my life!  Happily enough, the second book in this series will be releasing soon and I definitely will be adding it to my shelves.  Or kindle.  Whichever I can get my hands on sooner at this point.  I'm pretty sure that it is obvious that I loved my entire reading experience for this book but if you need a little more convincing then here it is:  hands down I can basically guarantee that this one will end up on my top reads list for 2015.  It was just that good!

Obviously I loved this one as my review is basically one big gush fest!  I don't have any other criticisms other than wishing I already had the second book in my hands.  Ha!  If you are a fan of thrillers with plenty of twists then this is a book that is not to be missed in my opinion.  This book was dark, it was suspenseful, and really just everything that I look for in a thriller.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  Creepy, page-turning, and oh so good!  Read it!

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

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Sunday Post (Time....I Have None 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"

Well.....that was another unintended week long blogging break.  When I said that sports season was going to be crazy I thought I was prepared.  How wrong I was!  It turns out that baseball (and even coach pitch softball) is much more intense when it comes to number of practices and length of time practicing.  Basically what it comes down to is I have three kids in five separate activities which equals one day of the week with nothing going on.  Sundays.  How I love Sundays at this point!  I cannot complain too much though as it is an absolute blast watching them all play.  My kids are loving every minute of it and to be honest so am I.  Even on the days when I get absolutely the bare minimum done around the house and fall into bed completely exhausted feel well worth it.  Blogging has taken a pretty big hit though especially when it comes to commenting/visiting all of your own blogs.  For that I am sorry and I will work on making more of an effort in the near future.  Everything else will come with time and if my blog goes quiet here and there....well, then that is just what will have to happen.  No worries, I have plenty of books to talk about for the times when I can sit down in front of a computer and blog.

April has been another solid month of reading for me so far as I've already finished four books.  Not as good as last month but a good start so I am happy.  I've got lots of books that I'm hoping to read in the upcoming weeks so just maybe April will see me finishing a lot of great books as well.  Especially since next week is the 24 hour read-a-thon.  I'm signed up to participate as a cheerleader as usual but I will try to fit some extra reading time in if I can.  Lots of fun times ahead!  Anyways, here are the books that I have finished so far in April:

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths was just as good as the first book and I loved every page of it!  There are so many great things about this series (and I'm only on book two) but really the main character Ruth Galloway is why I love these books so much.  She is so completely different from your normal female lead character and I can't help but love her because of it.  I already have the next book waiting on my kindle!

Black Wings by Christina Henry was an intense beginning to this new to me urban fantasy series.  I'm so happy that I finally pulled this one off of my own shelves and read it.  As I am very eager to see what happens next I will be continuing on with book two soon.  Double yay for reading one of my own books!

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton was deliciously unputdownable (which is a word in my book) and just as thrilling as I had hoped.  Hands down this is a series that is not to be missed and I cannot even begin to express how much I love these books!  This one will easily make my top reads list this year and I'm pretty sure that I have yet to rate one of her books less than five stars on Goodreads.

Running Fire by Lindsay McKenna is for an upcoming blog tour and I will actually be posting my thoughts on it on the 27th.  This was a good read but not great for me as I just didn't quite connect like I had hoped.  I'm still planning on reading more by this author in the future so not a bad read whatsoever but just good overall.

I'm now currently reading the following:

This is a rarity but I currently only have this book on the go and I am reading it on my kindle.  I am participating in a blog tour for the final book in this series in a couple weeks so I decided to start at the beginning with this series.  I'm definitely intrigued so far and eager to get back to reading!  I don't have a print book on the go as I can't seem to decide which one to read next.  So many choices and I can't seem to make a decision.  Don't you hate when that happens???  LOL!

New Additions:

Sorry for the low quality pictures but I bet you can already tell that I am beyond thrilled with all of these.  The top picture features review books that I received thanks to two wonderful publishers.  I am 99% certain that my next print read will be one of these.  And the second picture shows my contest win thanks to the lovely Lisa at Lisa Loves Literature.  She also sent some other bookish swag that I couldn't help but adore.  This is a bit late but I wanted to make sure and share my thanks!  I've also received my own fair share of e-books but that is for another post as this one is getting long enough.

Plans for today include tackling my enormous piles of laundry.  Also, hopefully lots of blog commenting and review writing in my future.  These are my plans at least.  As we will be having family over for part of the day and are planning on grilling out I'm not sure how much of this will actually happen.  I will be by at some point this week though as I am really going to focus on blog visiting this week.  Now I'm off to clean house and drink more coffee!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!!!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Slayed on the Slopes by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"After talking her way into a job writing for Portland's Northwest Extreme magazine, Meg Reed may now really be in over her head. Actually, about 8,000 feet over her head. . .

She's at Mount Hood's remote Silcox Hut, covering the the seriously hardcore Ridge Rangers-- Oregon's elite high-altitude rescue team--during their four-day winter training. Sure, Meg beefed up her outdoor skills over the summer . . . but she's still hoping to cover the event with some hot chocolate by the cheery fireplace. Then, during a sudden blizzard, she swears she hears gunshots. No one stranded in the hut believes her . . . until self-absorbed Ridge Ranger Ben Rogers is found outside in a pool of frozen blood. Meg's now got to find this killer quickly . . . before cabin fever does them all in!"

My Thoughts:

Can I just start off by saying how much I loved this book?  This book solidified my love for this series with ease and now I'm left impatiently waiting for more!  I really enjoyed Scene of the Climb so I went into reading this one with very high hopes.  Happily enough I enjoyed this book just as much, if not even more than I did the first book.  What more can you ask from with a mystery series?  Not much more than that in my opinion!  Meg is back and better than ever as she manages to get herself caught up in a whole new set of outdoor experiences.  The mystery was compelling and made the book hard to put down.  But what really stood out for me in this book is how the author uses the setting to really add to the book as a whole.  I loved the fact that I learned a little bit about Oregon thanks to this book and the author's descriptions.  I would love to go visit the Timberline Lodge myself and get the chance to go skiing in the mountains.  The fact that this lodge was used in some of the filming for The Shining movie (which I learned thanks to this book) makes me want to visit even more!  It was these little details that really brought this book to life for me!

The author also continues on with the storyline from book one in regards to Meg's father and his mysterious death in this book.  Let me tell you that I am completely intrigued at this point!  I need to know the truth behind it all and am looking forward to finding out more of the answers in future books.  Really at this point I will be grabbing book three as soon as I can get my greedy hands on it!!  I am also really enjoying the chemistry that is growing between Meg and Matt.  Sorry if that is a slight spoiler to some of you.  I am just impatiently waiting for them to both realize that they are basically meant to be.  Ha!  (But seriously I hope they figure it out soon!)  I did manage to guess the killer with this book but there was so many other twists and turns going on that it really didn't matter.  I still loved this book from beginning to end!  By the end of this book I was left wanting more yet again and really wishing that I had my hands on the third book.  Ugh!  The waiting game when you find a great series....I do know already that it is going to be well worth the wait!

All in all, this was a really great follow-up to Scene of the Climb and I am now a huge fan of this author and her books!  Her ability to use the setting of this story to allow for me to feel like I was there along with Meg in the wintry cold helped to make this book an instant winner for me.  I still have a lot of questions in regards to the death of Meg's father which has me pining for the next book.  Plus, I'm absolutely sure that Meg is going to find herself in another crazy situation and I can't wait to read all about it!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A cozy mystery series that shouldn't be missed!  Read it!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publisher as part of a CBB Book Tour.  Thoughts are my own!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Scene of the Climb by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Meg Reed bluffs her way into writing for 'Northwest Extreme', passing herself off to editor-in-chief Greg Dixon as an outdoor adventure enthusiast. Never mind that Meg's idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte. So when she finds herself clawing to the top of Angel's Rest - a 2000-foot peak - to cover the latest challenge in a reality TV adventure show, she can't imagine feeling more terrified. Until she witnesses a body plummet off the side of the cliff. Now Meg has a murder to investigate ... and if the climbing doesn't kill her, a murderer just might."

My Thoughts:

Cozy mystery series should all be this much fun to read!  This was such a great read and left me instantly eager to continue on with this series.  In fact, that is exactly what I did as I couldn't help but jump into the second book.  What I really enjoyed about this book is that it had me laughing out loud at various points throughout the novel.  Meg manages to get herself sucked into some precarious situations that I couldn't help but chuckle at.  Especially as she works to hide her inexperience with everything outdoors.  I loved the fact that Meg's outdoor adventure "skills" consisted of her watching YouTube videos of the various activities.  Ha!  It was trouble waiting to happen and I couldn't help but want to read all about it.

The mystery itself was fun to read about and I loved that there was a variety of suspects to choose from when trying to figure out who the killer was.  They each had their own reasons (or possible ones) on why they might have wanted the victim dead so I spent a lot of my time reading trying to figure it all out.  I can't say that I was able to guess the ending which for me is always a good thing.  The author had a really nice twist at the end that I didn't see coming which really meant that I was clueless in regards to the killer's identity.  Another thing about this book that I really liked is there there is another storyline in regards to Meg's father that we are just learning about.  It has me intrigued and especially with how this book ended.  Can you see why I just instantly had to read the second book after all of this??  I needed answers to all of the questions that I had and wanted to see what kind of trouble Meg would find herself in next. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and was left very excited about this series!  It was fun to read and you can never go wrong with a mystery that makes you laugh in my opinion.  I loved all of the characters and was ready to go on another adventure with Meg instantly.  I definitely would recommend this book to other mystery and cozy fans.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A book that had me giggling and turning pages as fast as I could!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as I will be participating in a book tour for the second book.  Thoughts are my own!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Unbeknownst to most of humankind, a powerful network of witches thrives within the shadows of society, using their magic to keep the world in balance. But they are being eliminated—and we will all pay if their power falls…

When Lyse MacAllister’s great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her comfortable life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping secrets—extraordinary secrets—from her.

Not only is Lyse heir to Eleanora’s Victorian estate; she is also expected to take her great-aunt’s place in the Echo Park coven of witches. But to accept her destiny means to place herself in deadly peril—for the world of magic is under siege, and the battle the witches now fight may be their last…"

My Thoughts:

I'm a sucker for a book featuring witches so I knew as soon as I heard about this one that I wanted to read it.  I'm glad that I took the time to read this one as I found this book to be a refreshing change of pace from all of the mysteries and thrillers that I have been reading as of late.  It was an easy book to find myself immersed in and really a pretty good read.  I had a few qualms with it but overall I liked it a lot!  One of my favorite things about this book were all of the different characters.  The book focused on the various characters at different times individually which allowed for me as the reader to get to know them all a bit better than I usually would and especially with the secondary characters.  I liked this as the focus was of the story was more on the friendship between these women rather than on the mystery of what was coming.  Really as I sit here and think about it more, there is so much more that I want to learn about all of these women and their pasts.  That is a good sign in my opinion! 

While for the most part I really enjoyed this book there were a few things that detracted from my reading experience.  For one, the ending felt incomplete to me and I think that is because this book is really setting up for the rest of the series and what is to come.  I think that the author has lots more to tell with this storyline in future books which has me excited but I was left wanting with this one.  It is hard not to get into spoilers and specifics but what it came down to is that for me this book only tied down one small loose end when I thought there would be more.  This is could just be me as the reader and my personal preferences.  It wasn't a cliff hanger ending which I was grateful for but I just ended the book wishing for more.  That's the best way to put it.  Not the worst of complaints but really for me it took away from the book a bit.  I'm actually kinda curious to see how others felt about it and if I am in the minority (which is entirely possible). 

All in all I enjoyed this one for the most part and will definitely be continuing on with this series.  I was left with lots of questions and anticipation so I'm hoping that we get some of those answers in the next book. Plus, I would love to continue to get to know all of these characters some more!  If you are looking for an urban fantasy series focused on a unique group of women then this is a book not to be missed.  Recommended.

Bottom Line:  A solid read although I really wanted more at the end.

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

Sunday, April 5, 2015

March Reading Recap (2015)

(Love these three!  This was taken at our weekend away last month)

March was the month of reading ALL of the books.  I really had an amazing month of reading (for me anyways) as I was able to finish ten books in March.  That is almost unheard of for me.  I now find myself three books ahead in my Goodread's challenge and am feeling quite accomplished.  If I always read this much I would have no problem reading 80 books for the year but we all know by now that it probably won't go that way.  Life happens and to be honest I am completely okay with that.  Some days I read a ton and others I don't read hardly at all.  This was just a month filled with books and I enjoyed the heck out of it.  Here are all of the books that I managed to read in March:
Wow!  I didn't do so well when it came to writing up reviews for all of those books that I was busy reading.  Guess I know what I need to focus on in April.  While I enjoyed each and every book that I read, it was also very easy for me to pick out my favorite of the month.  Hands down, my favorite read in the month of March was Silent Scream by Angela Marsons.

This was such a chilling read and I could not put my Kindle down the entire time that I was reading it.  I'm trying to write up my thoughts on this one but all I can say is READ IT!!  Hence, I'm still working on that review.  Ha!  I can tell you that I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on book two!

Goals for April are workout, workout, and workout.  I cannot seem to get myself in a good workout rhythm so I really would like to focus on this in April.  That being said if I manage to read this much again I will also be very happy.  And reviews!  I really, really need to catch up on reviews.  Also eating healthier thanks to Trish and Lisa's 30 day reset.  I refuse to give up my coffee creamer but I am willing to give up sugar in everything else.  I just might focus on eating healthier, snacking healthier, and just go about it that way.  I haven't quite decided yet but this week will be the ultimate test with Easter candy in house.  Gah!  I have no self control when it comes to chocolate.  Must hide the chocolate.  And we circle back to the reason on why I need to find a better workout schedule.  LOL!

Tell me what your favorite read of March was!  Or better yet, what reading plans do you have scheduled for April?  I would love to know!