Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Good Traitor by Ryan Quinn (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"The US ambassador to China is killed in a suspicious plane crash just days after a news article links Chinese spies to US business interests. The American intelligence community is left scrambling to investigate possible connections between the crash and a series of other high-profile deaths.

On the other side of the world, ex-CIA operative Kera Mersal returns to the United States determined to clear her name after being branded a traitor for exposing illegal government surveillance. There, former colleague and fellow fugitive J. D. Jones contacts her with a new assignment: find out who is staging accidents to murder news sources. As the news site continues to publish stories about top-secret CIA programs and Chinese government corruption, Mersal reunites with old allies to uncover the truth and prove her loyalty to her country once and for all. But Mersal’s investigations put her on the trail of a sinister hacker whose own motives may influence a vaster—and more deadly—geopolitical conspiracy than either of the world’s two largest superpowers is prepared to handle."

My Thoughts:

The Good Traitor was a book that I couldn't resist picking up because it just sounded a bit different from my more recent reads.  I'm a sucker for a thriller pretty much all of the time but add in spies and "top-secret CIA programs"  and this book went on to my TBR wishlist just like that.  I may be the world's moodiest reader but books like this are what helps keep my reading interesting and stops me from getting a case of the book slumps.  This book just felt like such a refreshing change of pace and I enjoyed every minute of it.  The story focuses on Kera Mersal who is on the run herself as she has been branded a traitor to the U.S. government.  I loved Kera's character and really enjoyed reading about the different things that she had learned from being in the CIA.  All of the different identities that she had created, the ways that she went about covering her tracks so that no one could find her....all of those things had me so completely intrigued.  It really gets you thinking about how much of a footprint you leave just by things you share on the internet, using your phone, or other things like that.  It is crazy!  

I also really enjoyed the mystery portion of this book.  There was a ton of suspense surrounding what was really going on.  I found myself guessing the entire time which I really loved.  The author used technology to add another layer of suspense which almost sounds weird saying it like that.  But then when I tell you that I won't be getting on an elevator anytime soon thanks to this book- well, maybe that will help you understand a bit more without ruining anything.  The thing I found scariest about this book is how accurate it almost is when it comes to the media and how easily they can portray things in a certain light.  I don't think it is a spoiler to share that Kera wasn't really a traitor but she never stood a chance thanks to all of the media attention surrounding what happened.  It just makes you think and even though this is a fictional read it left me a bit uneasy.  Too close to possible truths perhaps?  All I can really tell you is that I couldn't put this book down.  I finished it in a matter of days because I just didn't want to stop reading.  I would love to read more about Kera but the author did a really great job of wrapping up this book.  That ending was so intense!  This definitely was the perfect read for the mood I was in and I enjoyed it all the more because of it.

Overall, I really liked this book and am eager to read more by this author.  This was such a suspenseful and thrilling read for me and I couldn't get enough.  It just felt like a breath of fresh air which I couldn't help but appreciate.  I need more books like this in my life!  I would recommend this one to both fans of mysteries and thrillers.  It is a great ride and I can't wait to hear what others think of it. Recommended!!

Bottom LI\ine:  A book that just fit my reading mood perfectly! I love when this happens!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a PICT book tour.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Pop Goes The Weasel by M.J. Arlidge (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"The body of a middle-aged man is discovered in Southampton's red-light district - horrifically mutilated, with his heart removed.

Hours later - and barely cold - the heart arrives with his wife and children by courier.

A pattern emerges when another male victim is found dead and eviscerated, his heart delivered soon afterwards.

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse; revenge against the men who lead sordid double lives visiting prostitutes. For Grace, only one thing is certain: there's a vicious serial-killer at large who must be halted at all costs . . ."

My Thoughts:

This book!  This series!  Oh my goodness- I can't even.  It has been decided two books in that this is one of those rare authors that has jumped on to my must read/will read anything written by this author list.  I love a dark and thrilling read and this book didn't disappoint!  I'm preparing to gush for the entirety of this review so I'm warning you now to be prepared.  The first book in this series, Eeny Meeny, knocked my socks off as my final read of 2015.  Heck, it easily made my top ten reads list of the year without any hesitation.  I fully admit going into reading this book with ridiculously high expectations because I loved book one so much.  It didn't matter though because Pop Goes the Weasel was just as addictive, thrilling, and heart pounding as the first one.  I am hooked and I loved every minute of it!  I read this book entirely too fast stay while staying up way too late just so that I could finish.  It was worth the loss of sleep just to see how it was all going to end!  Seriously, all I can say is if you are a mystery/thriller fan then you need to check this series out soon!

One of the things that the author has done so well is creating a main character that I can't help but like even when I don't fully understand all of her motivations.  Helen makes questionable choices at times but it makes the book that much more intense and suspenseful because of it.  I never know what she is going to do which make the book so interesting.  I'm constantly asking myself how in the heck is she going to handle/deal/get herself out of the situations that she finds herself in.  I'm trying not to share too much because I don't want to spoil anything for those readers that haven't had a chance yet to try this series.  This book was just as intense as the first book but in a different way.  I'm trying really hard here not to share too much so you are just going to have to trust me on this.  The way this book ended was so completely not what I was expecting which caused me to love this book even more!  Gah- I wish that I could tell you more but I just really can't.  I will leave off with all of the reasons that I love this series instead.  One, it has great characters that the author isn't afraid to put through the wringer.  Two, it has mysteries that keep me guessing the entire time which means that I read as fast as possible.  And finally, these books are dark and twisted- I just cannot get enough of them!

Overall, this is a superb follow-up to the first book in this series and has rocketed this series on to my must read list!  I love it so very much!!  Which feels really weird to say when you think about the subject matter but let's not look too closely on what that says about me.  Ha!  I've already been recommending this series and author to just about everyone, and after finishing this book I can tell this isn't going to stop anytime soon.  Try this series if you are a fan of thrillers and mysteries but definitely start with book one.  This could be read as a stand-alone but I feel like you would be missing out on some of Helen's history if you don't read book one first.  Don't worry as both books are completely worth it and you will be pining for the next book along with me.  Highly, highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  This book is almost guaranteed to be my on top reads list for 2016! So good!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of a Goodread's giveaway.

Here are my thoughts on Eeny Meeny if you are interested (book 1).

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Becoming by Jeanne Stein (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"My name is Anna Strong. I am a vampire. How I became one is the reason for this story. I tell it all the way it happened. It may not be what you expect.

She's a bounty hunter--tough, beautiful, and trained for the unexpected. Until the night she's attacked and left closer to death than she can imagine. She awakens to an indoctrination into a dark new world where vampires walk among us. But this time, a tight grip on a .38 won't stop what she's hunting for.

Existing between the worlds of the living and the dead, Anna is torn by her love for two very different men. Max, a DEA agent, all too human, and vulnerable. And Avery, a Night Watcher who's joined Anna in pursuit of the rogue vampire who changed her life that terrifying night. Now, as her two worlds collide, fate plunges Anna into the ultimate battle between good and evil where survival is not just for the living..."

My Thoughts: 

Books like this are why I still love paranormal and urban fantasy so much!  On a side note:  I am dubbing myself queen of starting books in a series.  I've given up even attempting to track how many series I am currently reading and I don't feel bad about it in the slightest.  But back to this book which languished on my shelves for a ridiculous amount of time.  I bought a copy of this book and then it sat unread which was definitely a mistake.  I am so glad that I finally picked it up because it was really so good!  This book was such an engrossing read and I found myself flying through the pages.  In fact I found myself wishing I could read faster at times because I just wanted to see what was going to happen next.  This book was exactly what I have come to expect with good urban fantasy series: lots of fast paced action scenes that mean I can't stop reading.  Also, add in a great main character who can kick some serious ass and you have a book that I just know that I will enjoy.

In this book we see Anna become a vampire (no that isn't a spoiler as it is in the summary from above).  It was really interesting to see how Anna reacted to having her entire life turned upside down.  The author added enough unique twists to her vampire lore and abilities that I didn't feel like this was the same old vampire book that has been done before.  Anna didn't ask to be turned and now she has to really adjust her life in order to deal with this hand that she has been dealt.  I loved watching how she handled everything and it made for a really great beginning to this new series.  There was some mystery that was hinted at in parts of the book that I am hoping to learn more about in future books in this series.  I feel like Anna will start to grow into her new abilities and only get stronger as the books go on.  I cannot wait to see if I am right!  I liked the way this book ended and found it to be quite intense.  I'm super excited that I already have book two loaded on my Kindle and won't be waiting long to read it!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  My one complaint was that I was able to figure out the "bad guy" relatively early on so I really expected Anna to do the same.  Other than that though, I really can't say enough good things about this book and feel like it is a great beginning to this new to me series.  I'm excited to continue on with it and am very hopeful that each book will get better and better.  I loved Anna's character and am eager to dive back into her world so I won't be waiting long to make that happen.  Fans of urban fantasy series should definitely check this book out.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A great beginning to this urban fantasy series! 

Disclosure:  I purchased a copy of this book from Borders ( I believe) before they closed.  Definitely worth it!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Silenced in the Surf by Kate Dyer-Seeley (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Covering a windsurfing competition should have been a breeze for reporter Meg Reed, but with a killer in the curl, she’s headed for rough waters…
Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge is the windsurfing capital of the world, and Meg is stoked to cover the King of the Hook event for Portland’s Northwest Extreme magazine. Before the competition gets under way, Meg has a chance to try some windsurfing on her own. But when the current sweeps her downriver, she spots a body snagged on the rocks. The dead man is Justin Cruise, aka Cruise Control, a celebrity windsurfer and not exactly a nice guy. It’s soon clear his death was no accident, and Cruise had no shortage of enemies. As Meg dives right in to discover who wiped out the windsurfer, she’ll need to keep her balance—or she too may get blown away."

My Thoughts:

I'm three books into this cozy mystery series and am loving this series more and more with each book.  I enjoyed getting to jump back into Meg's world where writing about extreme sporting events is her focus (even though she isn't much of an athlete herself).  This usually leads to trouble for Meg and this book was no different.  I love how each of the books in this series has featured a different type of sporting event.  It is so interesting to read about and really unique for a cozy mystery series!  I had actually never even heard of windsurfing so I was completely intrigued by the author's descriptions of it in this book.  Actually that is one of the things that really seems to stand out for me with this series.  The author does an amazing job of making me feel like I am there in the book with the characters experiencing everything for myself.  Seriously, the descriptions of Portland, Oregon and windsurfing had me sucked into the book all by themselves.  Add to that a mystery and a great cast of characters and you have a winning combination!

I've really grown attached to the characters in this series the further I get into it.  Meg is a magnet for trouble but often times it is almost humorous to read about the situations that she finds herself in.  She isn't afraid to ask questions and for whatever reason always seems to find herself in the middle of a murder investigation.  I just can't help but love her!  Then you add in her Gran and friends and there is just an entire cast of characters that I love. Once again in this book the author delves a little further into the ongoing mystery of what really happened to Meg's father.  I am really, really eager to learn more especially after the way that this book ended!  In fact (without trying to share any spoilers) the way this book ended left me with many, many questions.  Now I am desperately waiting to get my hands on book four!  The mystery portion of this book was good but it wasn't my favorite of the series.  No special reason why, I think I was just more interested in what really happened to Meg's father (and if we were going to find out more or not).  Also I was really, really rooting for Matt and Meg to finally figure out their feelings for one another.  I won't share if they did or not but I spent the majority of the book hoping that they would!  It was a good, solid mystery though and left me intrigued throughout the book.  The ending of this book though-that is what made this book stand out for me!  I am seriously, seriously anticipating get my hands on the next book!

Overall, this was another great addition to this mystery series and I really enjoyed it!  Obviously I am super excited for the next book and am wishing that I already had it in my hands.  I really think that these books just keep getting better and better as they go on.  This series is on my favorites list and while I don't think that you need to read them in order by any means, you definitely will appreciate the characters more if you do.  I highly recommend this book and actually all of the books in the series to cozy fans and mystery lovers as well.  

Bottom Line:  Yet another great addition to this series!  I can't get enough of these books!

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

If you are interested here are my thoughts on books one and two:

1. Scene of the Climb
2. Slayed on the Slopes

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Scandalous Proposal by Kasey Michaels (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Who would have thought a man could tire of being fawned over and flirted with? Ever since Cooper Townsend returned from France as a hero with a new title, he has been relentlessly pursued by every marriageable miss in London. Perhaps that's why the unconventional Miss Daniella Foster is so appealing. She doesn't simper or flatter. She only wants him to help unmask her sister's blackmailer, and Coop has never been so intrigued…

Let every other woman in London fight over His Lordship's romantic attentions. Marriage is the last thing on Dany's mind…at least until she samples his illicit kisses. Now, as a mutual enemy races to ruin Coop's reputation and Dany's family name, an engagement of convenience will spark an unlikely passion that might save them both."

My Thoughts:

What a fun, delightful read this was!  I really enjoy historical romances even though I don't feel like I've read nearly enough of them.  This book though managed to take me completely by surprise with just how fun of a read I found it to be.  There were times that I laughed out loud at this book and there were many a time I just found myself grinning at my kindle while reading (I'm pretty sure my husband has learned to just ignore my weirdness at this point).  Even the way that the author writes was fun to read although I admit at the beginning it took me a bit to get used to.  I found myself highlighting passages to save that I just loved which isn't something that I often do while reading.  This book was a breath of fresh air after all of the dark and thrilling reads that I have been reading as of late.  It fit my reading mood just perfectly and I found myself unable to stop reading.  

One of the things that I really loved about this book was Dany and Cooper and the relationship that was developing between them.  Dany was such a great leading female character filled with spunk and an unapologetic nature.  She is who she is and doesn't pretend to be anything else.  I found her to be such a refreshing female lead and a perfect match for Coop.  The chemistry between the two of them was just perfect and fit right into the story.  I was eagerly waiting for them to realize their true feelings for one another and find their happy ever after.  It was just so sweet and perfect!  I also really enjoyed the secondary characters in this story and am eager to read the first book in this series to see how it all began.  This author really managed to pull me into this book and I loved every minute of it!  

Overall, I found this to be a really enjoyable read that fit my reading mood perfectly.  I love when that happens!  It was fun, romantic, and had just the right amount of heat to it in my opinion.  I adored watching Dany and Coop find each other and loved the way that the book ended.  It was absolutely perfect and was just what I had been hoping for.  This may have been my first book by this author but it definitely won't be my last.  I actually already have An Improper Arrangement (book one) ready for me on my kindle to read and I don't plan on waiting long to read it!  I can easily recommend this book to historical romance lovers and romance fans in general.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A delightful read that made me laugh at times and sigh with happiness in others!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley as part of a TLC book tour.


Monday, April 4, 2016

April Reading Plans (2016 Edition)

My reading goal in April is to work on getting some of those unread books off of my e-reader.  You might wonder then why I already have a picture of print books at the top of this post, right?  Well, for one you should know by now that just because I have a reading goal that it doesn't mean I will always follow it.  Hence the reason I am also sharing the print books at the top of my reading pile that I am hoping to try and squeeze in among those e-reads.  In March I managed to read ten books and it would be absolutely fantastic if I could do that again.  As always I am being overly ambitious and including a ridiculous number of books in my reading pool.  Let's get started then, shall we?
  • The Good Traitor by Ryan Quinn - This is a review copy for a Partners in Crime Book tour.  It is a thriller but sounds like a different type than I usually read so I'm looking forward  to it.  My tour date is for later this month so look forward to my thoughts then.
  • The Stopped Heart by Julie Myerson - This is a review copy and a Goodread's win.  It is a chunkster but sounds very, very intriguing.  I'm eager to get to it and have very high hopes.
  • Asylum by Jeannette de Beauvoir- Review copy and Goodread's win as well.  I've actually been really lucky lately as three books on this pile are thanks to Goodread's giveaways.  This is book one in a new mystery series and I just cannot resist a good mystery.  I'm very excited to read this one!
  • Bitten by Kelly Armstrong - I won this book thanks to COYER and a Twitter chat.  I picked this one because I have been wanting to continue on with this series for a really long time.  I've read this one but it was years ago and I remember very little about it.  I can't wait to finally continue on with this series!
  • In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward - I have been wanting to read this book for SO long! So I'm sure that you can imagine how thrilled I was when I found out that I had won a copy in a Goodread's giveaway.  This is a thriller and one that I just know that I'm going to enjoy so I won't be waiting long to read it.

  • The Murder That Never Was by Andrea Kane - This is actually my current read and really great so far!  I'm reading it for another PICT tour that is coming up in a few weeks.  I'm reading this series completely out of order but it hasn't hurt my enjoyment of it at all.
  • Notorious by Carey Baldwin - Review copy courtesy of Edelweiss for a PICT tour.  Yes, this is another trend but I can't help that they have all of these amazing sounding books coming up on tour.  Another mystery that sounds really interesting and that I'm looking forward to!
  • The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski - NetGalley review copy and beginning to a new urban fantasy series.  I love the cover for this one and cannot wait to begin reading it.  I have very high hopes for this one!
  • Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower - Beginning to a new cozy mystery series and also another NetGalley review copy.  I'm a sucker for a good cozy mystery so this is yet another book that I am really looking forward to.  
  • A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh - This is going to sound weird but even though I've never read this author I basically want to read all of her books and just know that I will love them.  This combines a mystery that takes place during a pandemic.  OH MY GOODNESS....I am sold just from that!  Also a NetGalley review copy.
  • The Obsession by Nora Roberts - NetGalley review copy.  Nora Robert"s standalone.  That is all I have to say.  I've been just waiting to read this one closer to its' release date and that date is approaching fast.  I can't wait!
  • Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle - 1st in a new romantic suspense series and NetGalley review copy.  I am a sucker for a good romantic suspense so I'm looking forward to reading this one.  
  • The Baker Street Phantom by Fabrice Bourland - Yet another review copy and how could I not want to read this one just based off that cover??  Gorgeous!  Plus it is a mystery and we all know how I love a mystery.
  • Death by Coffee by Alex Erickson -  This one has been sitting on my kindle for way too long so I will definitely be reading this one in April.  Another cozy mystery series that I am really looking forward to trying.  
  • A Talent for Trickery by Alissa Johnson - NetGalley review copy yet again and look at that awesome cover as well.  This is a romance but it sure doesn't sound like your typical romance and I'm intrigued.  Can't wait!
Whew!  I'm worn out after talking about all of these books that I want to read.  I'm not going to list all of the books from previous piles that remain unread but just know those are in my April reading possibilities pile as well.  I have lots of really great reading ahead of me so I will get to it.  Before I leave you all though, which books are you hoping to read in April?  Which one of these books would you read first if you had the choice?  Do share!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

February and March (Months in Review 2016)

Whew!  Here we are already in the beginning days of April and I haven't even written up my monthly recap for February.  Looks like I am going to do a two for one deal with this post and catch you up with both months.  February was a decent month of reading, it wasn't my best month but it also wasn't my worst either.  March on the other hand was an AMAZING month in books!!  Wow, wow, wow!  I managed to read a large number of books and some of them were truly outstanding.  I don't think there was a bad one of the bunch and I'm six books ahead on my Goodread's goal for the year.  I have no complaints at all.  Life is about to get really busy around here though so fair warning if my blogging presence is a bit spotty here and there. We have soccer for the two "littles" who really aren't so little anymore and then baseball/softball for all three.  Add in spring training for football with my oldest and everything else that goes into our daily life and it is exhausting just to think about.  But a lot of fun as well so I won't complain one bit.

I'm getting off track though.  Here are the books that I finished in February:
Really when I think back that is a pretty decent month of reading.  I didn't have a bad one in the bunch but my favorite of the month is also really easy for me to pick out.  That is Find Me by Lisa Gardner which I found to be a very thrilling read (and one that I won't forget about any time soon)!

March was an even better month of reading if you can believe that.  I managed to finish ten books (WOW) and loved them all.  Here is what I finished in March:

Oh my goodness! I had some seriously amazing reading this past month.  I have a three way tie for my favorite book of the month (I told you that it was a great month).  I am declaring March to be the month of suspense as all three of my favorites were mysteries and thrilling reads.  They were Rage Against the Dying, Pop Goes the Weasel, and It Takes One.  Honestly there is a very good chance that all of these books may make my top reads list for the year.  Crazy but that is how much I loved them all!

I've gotten a lot of great reading finished but now I really need to focus on catching up on some of these reviews.  I'm working on coming up with a pile of books to read in April as well.  I'm thinking on focusing mostly on books on my ereader.  With all of the practices that I will be going to this month I am sure that I will find plenty of reading time in the evenings.  Now that the weather is changing and spring is here I am also planning on getting outside and exercising more.  That is my goal at least!

Tell me, what was your favorite read from last month?