Monday, September 28, 2015

Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Accidents of Marriage explores a topic rarely shown in fiction: the destruction left in the wake of spouse’s verbal fury. Ben never meant to hurt Maddy. He never imagined his recklessness would lead to tragedy.

Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he’s lashing out at her during his periodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids – which works to keep a fragile peace – until the rainy day when they’re together in the car and Ben’s volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life."

My Thoughts:

What an intense read!!  I've heard so many other readers praise this author and her books which put this book on my radar almost instantly.  I knew after reading the summary that this was going to be a read that might be difficult at times and I was completely right.  But it was also so completely worth it as I'm still sitting here thinking about it a week later.  It was a book that had me close to tears at times.  It was a book that I wanted to throw at others out of frustration at the characters.  It was a book that I just could not set down and ultimately it was a book that I won't be forgetting any time soon.  

What else to say without saying too much?  For me the saddest part of this book was how all of this affected the children.  Too often people fail to realize how much their actions effect their children in negative ways and this was all too apparent in this book.  When I was close to tears while reading this book it was because of the children and what they were going through.  Yes I struggled with both Ben and even Maddie at times.  Because they were missing the most important piece of the puzzle and that was how their relationship was effecting the children.  I could go on and on with this subject but for me this was the part of the book that made me the saddest.   This was a book that you couldn't help but relate to on some level even if you don't have the kind of relationship that Ben and Maddie had.  Every relationship has a struggle here and there and the idea that one stupid mistake could cause such tragedy is a terrifying thing to think about.  This book was also so completely readable.  I found myself unable to put it down....even when I wanted to at times.  It took such a serious subject and really made me think of how I would react.  It just made me feel and it was such a mix of emotions.  I really liked the ending of this book because it didn't give you any easy answers.  When something like this happens there aren't any and the author didn't try to wrap everything up with a bow.  We were left with hope for the future of these characters but no final answers.  It worked perfectly for me.

Overall, this was one of those books that left me thinking about it days after I finished.  It wasn't an easy read but it was a very good read.  I'm glad that I listened to all of the other readers/bloggers out there that have sung this author's praises.  I'm eager to read more of her books myself now!  If I can tell you anything about this book is don't let the subject matter throw you off from giving this one a try.  It is a book that will make you feel and connect with and really that is exactly what a good book should do in my opinion.  Easily recommended!

Bottom Line:  A book that made me feel all of the emotions and left me eager to discuss with otherS!

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


Friday, September 18, 2015

Dance of the Bones by J.A. Jance (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Years ago, Amos Warren, a prospector, was gunned down out in the desert and Sheriff Brandon Walker made the arrest in the case. Now, the retired Walker is called in when the alleged killer, John Lassiter, refuses to accept a plea deal that would release him from prison with time served. Lassiter wants Brandon and The Last Chance to find Amos’s “real” killer and clear his name.

Sixteen hundred miles to the north in Seattle, J.P. Beaumont is at loose ends after the Special Homicide Investigation Team, affectionately known as S.H.I.T., has been unexpectedly and completely disbanded. When Brandon discovers that there are links between Lassiter’s case and an unsolved case in Seattle, he comes to Beau for help.

Those two cases suddenly become hot when two young boys from the reservation, one of them with close ties to the Walker family, go missing. Can two seasoned cops, working together, decipher the missing pieces in time to keep them alive?"

My Thoughts:

A year or so ago I gave this author a try with one of her books in a different series (boy is she a prolific writer) and really enjoyed it!  As soon as I was offered the possibility of reading this one I was all over it despite the fact that I would be starting smack dab in the middle of a completely different series.  I'm glad I wanted to read this one though because I now have three different series by this author that I am planning on catching up on.  Ha ha, I really I need to get to reading!  I enjoyed this book for a variety of reasons but the main reason that really made this book stand out for me was the way the author interwove Native American culture and stories into the book.  Each chapter began with part of a Native American story and the pieces of that story continued on from chapter to chapter.  It was just as interesting to me as the actual story-line itself!

All of the Native American traditions and beliefs that were included in this novel really made this mystery stand out for me.  I felt like it added so much to this book as the setting where this mystery mainly took place came to life for me.  This is one of those books that you can take your time with and just enjoy.  I read this one at a leisurely pace and just soaked it all up.  My one and only complaint was that I did feel at times that I had missed out by not reading these in order.  Whose fault is that?  Only my own but it did leave me very excited to go back to both of these series and get my hands on book one.  Another thing that really made this book different from your typical mystery was that we know early on who the killer is.  Instead of the suspense being tied up in the whodunnit it was more focused on if the case would be solved in time before the killer was able to make their final escape.  It added to the suspense level for me as I really wanted to see the killer caught and punished.  The last hundred or so pages had me reading as quickly as I could just so I could see how it would all turn out.  The ending was nicely done and now I just want more!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am finding myself to be a big fan of this author's books.  Go figure that I now have three different series by her that I want to catch up on. (I am such a series addict!)  I think that all of the unique details really brought that this book to life for me in a way that other books have not.  I will definitely be recommending this book to other mystery fans (although I might suggest to them to start at the beginning)  Easily recommended!

Bottom Line:  A slow building mystery that I just couldn't get enough of!

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


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"When caregiver Faith McCallum arrives at the enchanted, lakeside estate of Avalon's renowned Bellamy family, she's intent on rebuilding her shattered life and giving her two daughters a chance at a better future. But she faces a formidable challenge in the form of her stubborn and difficult new employer, Alice Bellamy. While Faith proves a worthy match for her sharp-tongued client, she often finds herself at a loss for words in the presence of Mason Bellamy—Alice's charismatic son, who clearly longs to escape the family mansion and return to his fast-paced, exciting life in Manhattan…and his beautiful, jet-setting fiancĂ©e.

The last place Mason wants to be is a remote town in the Catskills, far from his life in the city, and Faith McCallum is supposed to be the key to his escape. Hiring the gentle-hearted yet strong-willed caregiver as a live-in nurse gives his mother companionship and Mason the freedom to return to his no-attachments routine. For Faith, it means stability for her daughters and a much-needed new home. When Faith makes a chilling discovery about Alice's accident, Mason is forced to reconsider his desire to keep everyone, including his mother, at a distance. Now he finds himself wondering if the supercharged life he's created for himself is what he truly wants…and whether exploring his past might lead to a new life—and lasting love—on the tranquil shores of Willow Lake."

My Thoughts:

I really just adored this book from beginning to end!  Susan Wiggs is an author that I have had on my radar for some time now but I'm just now giving her a try.  What in the heck was I waiting for??  I really, really enjoyed this one and now cannot wait to read more by this author.  This wasn't a romance per se (although a romance did develop) but more of a women's fiction read and I loved every page of it!  The key to this book working so well for me was Faith as I found her to be such a great main character.  I loved everything about her!  She just felt so real to me.  A single mother of two girls struggling to make ends meet and just doing the best that she could.  There are so many women out there doing exactly that so how could I not want to root for her finding her own happiness??  

In this book, Faith is hired on to take care of Alice, a woman who has recently been in a serious accident and is now paralyzed.  Alice is struggling to deal with this new reality of hers where she is forced to rely on others to take care of her.  Faith is just trying to keep her head above water and provide for her daughters in the best way that she can.  What happens between these two women changes them both as they begin to develop a true friendship with one another.  Sigh!  I loved it and it was this relationship that really cemented my love of this book.  Yes, the attraction between Faith and Mason (Alice's son) helped but it was really seeing Alice and Faith both learn to lean on one another that made this book a winner for me.  I actually really enjoyed all of the characters in this book but especially Faith's two girls.  I lived and breathed this world that Wigg's created and was sad to see the book end.  Books like this make you feel like you really know these characters.  I want more from this world and these characters...I just wasn't ready for it all to end although to be fair it was a great ending.   I have high hopes that both Mason's brother and sister will get their own books and we will see a bit more of Faith, Mason and Alice.  

Overall, this book was one that I couldn't help but love from beginning to end.  I'm lucky that I have lots more of this author's books to read because I definitely need more!  I read this one at the perfect time when I was feeling a bit burnt out on all of the mysteries/thrillers that I had been reading.  This was a breath of fresh air and I enjoyed it all the more because of it.  Recommended and special thanks to Lisa (it was you right Lisa?) that put this author on my TBR list.  

Bottom Line:  A book that I was sad to see end.  I really enjoyed this one!

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

Sunday, September 13, 2015

R.I.P. X (And Other Fun Going Ons)

Okay folks this is officially my favorite time of the year.  While I enjoy all of the season, there is something about Fall that just holds a special place in my heart.  And R.I.P. is my absolute favorite challenge of all times!  Scary books and thrilling reads.....I am SO there!  I've already begun reading for this challenge even though I am a bit behind when it comes to signing up.  Really when am I ever not behind lately?  Actually don't answer that.  Ha!  I'm officially signing up for:

I've participated in this challenge for so many years now and each time I add a ton of books to my TBR list.  My favorite parts of the challenge are reading other readers' reviews and coming up with a ridiculous reading pool that I can choose from.  I'm signing up for Peril the First which is committing to reading four books that fit in for this challenge.  I'm basically hoping to read only books in the next two months that fit in this challenge but am committing to four for sure!

Here are just some of the possibilities that I am hoping to read in the upcoming months.  Sorry for the blurry quality but I was in a rush to get this post finished before the Bears opening season game begins (and yes that seems to be my finger in the corner. Sigh!). 

This isn't even counting all of the R.I.P. goodies that I have loaded on my kindle.  So much good reading ahead of me I can't even.  I am pumped!  Loving the banners as always which were created by Abigail Larson.  Here is to lots of spooky reading!!

This time of year also makes me think of read-a-thons so I couldn't resist signing up for the Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon which starts tomorrow and goes thru September 27th.  Sign up here if you are interested.

I'm not behind in my reading goals by any means but I could still really use some extra reading time.  I may or may not have signed up for too many blog tours and would really like to get ahead of the game.  Plus, you see the pile of books that I would like to read for R.I.P.  Extra reading time would be very good at this point.  Goals for this read-a-thon are to finish at least four books.  As this is an extra long read-a-thon I feel like this is achievable.  I'm currently reading Everything She Forgot which will be my first read for this read-a-thon.  After that not sure but most likely it will come from the above picture.

Since I have lots of great reading ahead of me I'm off to work on my laundry piles.  Then I can actually sit down with a book and read without feeling too guilty as my house is semi-clean.  I'm also hoping to go visit other participants of these two events just so I can add to my TBR a little bit more.  Ha!

Happy Sunday and Happy Spooky Reading!