Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Doll House by M.J. Arlidge (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Detective Helen Grace is on the trail of a twisted serial killer in this gripping thriller in the “taut, fast-paced”* international bestselling series.

Ruby wakes up in a strange room. Her captor calmly explains that no one is looking for her. No one wants her. Except him.

When the body of a woman is found buried on a secluded beach, Detective Helen Grace is called to the scene. She knows right away that the killer is no amateur. The woman has been dead for years, and no one has even reported her missing. But why would they? She’s still sending text messages to her family.

Helen is convinced that a criminal mastermind is at work: someone very smart, very careful, and worst of all, very patient. But as she struggles to piece together the killer’s motive, time is running out for a victim who is still alive..."

My Thoughts:

Wow!  Three books into this series and each book has been a five star read for me so far.  That is crazy but so wonderful at the same time!  I cannot get over how fast paced and intense these books are for me as the reader.  I picked this book up specifically because that was what I needed.  My husband was having surgery and I knew that I needed a book that would suck me in basically so that I wouldn't just sit there and stress for two hours straight.  The short chapters and constant feeling of tension worked wonderfully and had me turning the pages as fast as I could.  I was able to finish this book in less than two days because I just didn't want to set the book down.  It was the perfect stress reliever as I found myself racing to see how it would all turn out.  It was funny because at first the premise of this book almost felt a bit familiar to me.  I still don't know what book it reminded me of though so I'm not sure why.  But what the author is so skilled at is even though I had that feeling in the beginning, it soon went away because of everything else that was going on throughout this book.  I don't even know how to explain it really.  Each book in this series could be read as a stand-alone if the reader wanted to read them out of order.  There are these details though from the first book to now this one, that just make this series stand out for me as the reader.  The different things that Helen has to deal with both in her work and personal life.  The people that care for her and those that don't.  It all adds up to make such a unique reading experience that I just can't get enough of.  

This book wasn't my favorite of the series (that still remains as Eeny Meeny the 1st book) but it was also still a five star read for me which should say it all.  It was a chilling read that kept me wondering how it would all come together until the very end.  This author isn't afraid to make difficult choices with the characters at points which makes it a very nerve-wracking reading experience.  I just never know what is going to happen next!  This is an author and a series that I just cannot recommend enough.  I'm trying to take my time with this series and not rush through it but when the books are all this good....well, it is definitely hard!  I've already got the next book on my TBR list and I have a feeling that I won't be waiting too much longer to read it.  Highly recommended!  Heck, I recommend the entire series!

Bottom Line:  This book will most likely be on my top reads list for 2017!  It was that good!

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Despite the bitter winter in South Lick, Indiana, business is still hot at Robbie Jordan’s restaurant. But when another murder rattles the small town, can Robbie defrost the motives of a cold-blooded killer?

Before she started hosting dinners for Indiana University’s Sociology Department at Pans ‘N Pancakes, Robbie never imagined scholarly meetings could be so hostile. It’s all due to Professor Charles Stilton, who seems to thrive on heated exchanges with his peers and underlings, and tensions flare one night after he disrespects Robbie’s friend, graduate student Lou. So when Robbie and Lou go snowshoeing the next morning and find the contentious academic frozen under ice, police suspect Lou might have killed him after their public tiff. To prove her friend’s innocence, Robbie is absorbing local gossip about Professor Stilton’s past and developing her own thesis on the homicide—even if that means stirring up terrible danger for herself along the way . . ."

My Thoughts:

Three books in and this series is going strong!  I actually think that this is my favorite book of the series yet.  There are just so many things to enjoy and because of that I read this book in less than two days.  That is almost unheard of for me!  One of the things that I enjoy most about this series is reading about Robbie's cooking while working at her restaurant Pans 'N Pancakes.  It is such fun to read about the different breakfast and lunch combinations that she comes up with.  Also, it never fails to make me super hungry while reading and usually for breakfast type foods.  I've come to realize that the majority of my favorite cozy mysteries all feature food.  I'm not sure what that says about me as a reader.  LOL!  But I do really, really enjoy the scenes where Robbie is busy working in her restaurant with all of the delicious descriptions of the food that she makes. 

I really enjoyed the mystery portion of this book as well.  The author gave the story a sort of Nancy Drew feel with a hidden tunnel and other fun secrets.  As I was a huge Nancy Drew fan in my youth, I couldn't get enough of this book because of it.  I really enjoyed the fact that the author had me guessing on the killer throughout almost the entire book.  I also really enjoyed that in this book we got to see more of Robbie's relationship with Abe.  I've been hoping for this since the very first book so consider me a happy reader.  I just really enjoyed this book (obviously) and don't have anything bad to say about it.  My only complaint is that now I have to wait for book four.  LOL!  It's so hard to wait when these books are so good.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am left so excited about this series!  I've really come to enjoy my time in South Lick, Indiana with all of these characters.  Robbie is someone that I would want to be friends with in real life and I just love all of the other secondary characters as well.  With fast-paced mysteries and that whodunnit feel I adore, I just can't seem to get enough of these books.  I would recommend these books to cozy mystery and mystery fans alike.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  My favorite of the series so far!  So good!

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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Sunday Post #25 (Catching Up 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"

I'm back!  I took a few weeks off of posting but not actually from blogging.  Instead I've been working on writing up reviews and scheduling posts for the entire month of April.  Who is this girl?  Hahahaha!  But seriously, I always feel like I'm a step behind when it comes to blogging especially when life gets busier and busier.  So I figured I could take a few weeks off and work on getting ahead for a change.  Who knows how long it will last but it is fun to try!

Spring sports are starting back up which has been an adjustment.  Last week the kiddos were on spring break which made it all a bit easier.  They go back to school this week so the real madness will begin.  We've got soccer practices for the youngest and then my daughter has softball- both practice and hitting.  The oldest is back to lifting for football three times a week.  The youngest will also be starting up baseball any day now.  I'm still on mandatory overtime with no end in sight.  It's going to be lots of fun (and now I'm sure you can see why I'm trying to work ahead for a change).  Usually all of these practices would mean extra reading time but I'm trying to walk during them instead to get some exercise in.  I've got to work out somewhere/somehow so this is how I'm doing it.  Actually my reading has really slowed down as of late.  I'm hoping that will change though soon as my TBR pile isn't getting any smaller.

I have been reading though so let's talk about that instead.  I can't remember the last time that I shared with all of you so I'm not even going to attempt going back that far.  Instead, I'll share about what I just finished last week and am now currently reading.  I actually finished one book last week which I had been wanting to read for months:

Two Can Play by Kate Kessler -  I read and loved the first book in this series last year so this has been on my TBR list since then.  I finally got the chance to read this one and loved it as well.  It was a great follow-up and has left me so excited to get my hands on the third book.  I need to write up my thoughts on this one still but there is a good chance this will be on my top reads list this year.

I'm now currently in the middle of two books:

Hard-Hearted Highlander is my current kindle read.  I'm reading it for a TLC tour coming up in April and so far so good.  I've already read another book in this series earlier this year and really enjoyed so I have high hopes for this one.  I love that the author always seems to put the hero and heroine in impossible situations where you have no idea how everything will be able to work out.  I'm reading in print my first non-fiction book of the year Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer.  I feel like I've been reading this book forever.  It isn't even that I'm not enjoying it because I am for the most part.  I just don't always pick it up so I'm slowly working my way through it.  I'm getting towards the end so I'm going to really focus on finishing this one this week.

New Acquisitions:

I've been absolutely horrible this year when it comes to self control and buying books.  NetGalley?  Ridiculousness.  I can't possibly share about all of the books I've brought into the house since I last posted (because at this point I don't even know) so I'll share about the newest books sitting on my NetGalley shelf.  I say I'm going to work on this but really I'm doing horribly.  I need to focus on all the unread books I already have instead.

And so many, many more but we'll save that for another day.  I have no excuse for not reading when I have so many great books waiting for me. 

I'm off to focus on my laundry piles and getting ready for the week.  My son turns fourteen today so we've been busy celebrating this weekend.  Now we have a good birthday dinner and cake to look forward to tonight.  I'm eager to catch up with all of you and see what you've been reading but that may not happen until later this week.  For now, let me know what you've been up to or reading since we last talked!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Monday, March 6, 2017

March Reading Plans (2017 Edition)

Hello!  It feels like it has been awhile when maybe it really hasn't?  I've had posts scheduled so my blog hasn't been silent but I haven't actually written any posts up in a couple of weeks almost.  Responding to comments?  Nope.  What happened you might wonder?  Well, first we went out of town for the weekend with the kiddos so that was a lot of fun.  We came back though to a week of the flu- it was one kid after the other.  It wasn't fun but we seem to be all past it now for which I am very thankful.  On top of that I've been working mandatory overtime all month long and that is going to continue on through this month.  Busy, busy!  March is here though and it is already time to think about the books that I'm hoping/planning to read this month.  I've already finished my 1st book for the month and it was completely off pile.  I'm counting it as a win though since it was actually in my February pile of possibilities and off of my own shelves.  Score!  Here are the print books that I would like to read this month:

  • By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates - 1st in a cozy mystery series and one that I picked up last month when I was at a local Goodwill.  I loved the sound of it and decided I didn't want to wait long to give this series a try!
  • Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie - 3rd book in this mystery series and also from my own shelves.  I read the first two books in this series a year or two back and just adored them.  I've been meaning to continue on with this series every since so in March I'm hoping to do exactly that.  I've got really high hopes for this one!
  • The American Girl by Kate Horsley - This is actually a recent library find that I was so intrigued by.  I picked it up on a whim and read the back....and just like that I knew it was coming home with me to be read as soon as possible.  I love when I find new to me books like this!
  • Someone Must Die by Sharon Potts - Another Goodwill find that I couldn't resist bringing home with me (I've already brought a ridiculous number of books into my house in 2017 but that's another story).  I really like the sound of this one and couldn't resist adding a thriller to my pile of reads.  It sounds right up my alley!
  • Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey - This is a review copy that has been sitting on my shelves for way too long.  I keep saying that I'm finally going to get through some of these older review copies- maybe this month will be the month that I actually do just that.  It sounds intriguing!
  • Never Tell by Alafair Burke - Another aged review copy.  And I love Alafair Burke so I have no clue why I haven't read this one yet.  Obviously that needs to change and soon.  I'm really looking forward to this one as I haven't read a bad book by this author yet.  
  • The River at Night by Erica Ferencik - This was a Goodread's win that I just recently received.  I've seen some really great reviews for this thriller so I'm super excited to have the chance to read it!  I will definitely be squeezing this one in before March ends.
  • Origin in Death by J.D. Robb - Off of my own shelves and the next book (for me at least) in the In Death series.  Enough said!
I'm of course also hoping to read plenty of books on my kindle.  Here are the kindle books that I am hoping to read in March:

  • Path Into Darkness by Lisa Alber - NetGalley review copy and that cover alone had me adding this book to my TBR list.  The description had me requesting this book as fast as I could (despite the fact that I really, really don't need to be requesting books from Netgalley).  I'm really looking forward to giving this author a try!
  • The Lost Children by Helen Phifer - This author has been on my radar for awhile now so I jumped at the chance to read this one (also courtesy of NetGalley).  I love the sound of this book as well and cannot wait to give it a try.  This publisher is one of my favorites for a thrilling read so I can't wait!
  • Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London - I recently read and enjoyed Sinful Scottish Laird by this author.  This is the next book in the series and one that I'm reading for another TLC book tour that is coming up in April I believe.  I enjoyed the previous book so much that I'm really looking forward to this one!  I also am hoping to read ahead so I'm adding this book to March's TBR pile.
  • I See You by Claire Mackintosh - I have heard SO MANY great things about this author and her books.  I simply must finally see what the hype is all about!  I know next to nothing about this book other than it is a thriller and that readers are loving this author a lot.  I can't wait to give this book a try!
  • The Secrets You Keep by Kate White - I've loved this author's books in the past so I'm super excited to have her newest book on my e-reader.  She always writes page-turners and that is exactly what I'm in the mood for.  I keep saying this but I cannot wait to read this one as well!  So many books, so little time!
  • Deadly Silence by Rebecca Zanetti - This is the beginning to a new romantic suspense series.  I really don't read enough books like this so I'm really looking forward to giving this book a try.  Plus that gorgeous cover really helps!  I have high hopes as I've read a different book by this author (also a 1st in a different series) and really enjoyed it.  
  • Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington - I knew as soon as I read the description of this book that I wanted to read it.  Somehow it got pushed to the side for other books though and I'm just now adding it to my reading pile.  Also a thriller but this one sounds like it focuses more of family relationships.  I can't wait to begin!
  • When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day - 3rd book in one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  I seriously stalked NetGalley for this book because I wanted to read it so badly.  I actually just shared my thoughts on the 2nd book not that long ago and that got me even more excited for this book.  I CANNOT WAIT!
So many books here!  So many books that I really, really want to read right this minute.  2017 has been a bit of a slower reading year so far for me.  I'm already two books behind on my Goodread's goal.  Obviously I need to stay off Facebook and Litsy more which will help me not to be so distracted and give me more reading time.  I just love Litsy so much though!!  Maybe March will be the month where my reading year starts turning around.  I sure hope so because I really want to read all of these and that isn't including all of the other books that I wanted to read in the past two months that I haven't gotten to yet.  A girl has to dream, right?

What books are you hoping to read in March?  Have you read any of the books that are in my reading pile?  If you have feel free to let me know your thoughts or tell me which ones I should read next.  Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

Summary from Goodreads:

"Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected state’s attorney representing suburban Maryland—including the famous planned community of Columbia, created to be a utopia of racial and economic equality. Prosecuting a controversial case involving a disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death, the fiercely ambitious Lu is determined to avoid the traps that have destroyed other competitive, successful women. She’s going to play it smart to win this case—and win big—cementing her political future.

But her intensive preparation for trial unexpectedly dredges up painful recollections of another crime—the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Justice was done. Or was it? Did the events of 1980 happen as she remembers them? She was only a child then. What details didn’t she know?

As she plunges deeper into the past, Lu is forced to face a troubling reality. The legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. But what happens when she realizes that, for the first time, she doesn’t want to know the whole truth?"

My Thoughts:

This may be my first book by this author but it certainly won't be my last. What I liked most about this book was how the mystery gradually built up throughout the story. This isn't your typical thriller where every page is filled with suspense and mystery. Instead this is a quieter book where the tension slowly builds up until a very strong ending. I loved the way that this book was set up with the story line flipping between the past and present. Everything is told from Lu's viewpoint and what made that an interesting choice is that Lu was so young when everything happened. So really her viewpoint is a child's viewpoint and it made me question how she remembered things. She recounted things that happened in a way that the reader was able to tell more was going on than she fully understood. It made for a very interesting read and I enjoyed every minute of it. This wasn't a book that I rushed through. Instead I took my time with it and just enjoyed the reading experience.

Although this was quieter novel, it did have some pretty intense moments by the end of it. I found myself intrigued by all of the secrets that this story seemed to contain. The Goodread's summary (I didn't include this part) compares this to To Kill a Mockingbird and I can see the similarities. Obviously this is a very different book but there were just enough things that made the comparison seem valid. Reading that comparison had me thinking about the book in a different way than I had been while reading. Don't you love when that happens? I find myself appreciating this book all over again! Although I took my time reading this one, there hit a certain point of the book where I just couldn't put it down. I found myself reading late into the night because I just needed to see how the book would end.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and am eager to read more by this author. I don't know what I expected when I picked this book up but I feel like this surpassed my expectations. I love when I find books like this where they are just a different and refreshing change of pace. This story still had a mystery too but it was much more character driven. I loved that we got the chance to really get to know these characters throughout the story. It was just a really enjoyable read and I want more books just like it. I would recommend this book to a variety of readers: mystery and suspense fans along with those readers that enjoy character driven novels. Recommended!

Bottom Line: A quiet mystery that I really enjoyed!
Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.