Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Sunday Post #36 (The Walking Dead 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"

Happy Sunday!  How have you all been?  Yesterday was the annual Dewey's read-a-thon, and although I didn't sign up to participate I ended up getting a lot of extra reading time in.  I even finished two books yesterday which sounds really great even though I had been in the middle of them both.  My youngest came home Friday from school not feeling well.  Needless to say I got some unexpected extra reading time in while we laid low and worked on getting him feeling better.  The only bummer was that he missed his last football game of the season which he wasn't too happy about. 

This weekend wrapped up football for both of my boys and last weekend wrapped up softball for my daughter.  Softball will practice year round so we aren't completely done by any means but I'm going to enjoy the lull in all of our activities.  Time to catch up on some of my favorite shows.  The Walking Dead season premiere is tonight!!!!  I'm so pumped for it and then later this week Stranger Things.  Eek!  Not much else new to report since my last reading update.  I thought that I was starting to go through a reading slump as I had only finished one book.  Then I finished those two yesterday and now I'm feeling like I'm on a roll.  How quickly things change!!  Here's what I finished since my last update:

All The Secret Places by Anna Carlisle - I've already shared my thoughts on this one but suffice it to say that I enjoyed this second in the series just as much as book one.  This author and series have moved on to my must read list.  The hardest part is going to be waiting patiently for book three.

Arsenic With Austen by Katherine Bolger Hyde - I picked this one up from the library because I have the 2nd book on this series for review thanks to NetGalley.  I adored this one for the most part and will be writing up my thoughts on this one soon.  I'm now super excited to move on to the next book and will be doing that very soon.

Beneath The Surface by Sibel Hodge - I just finished this one late last night and I'm stilling mulling over my thoughts on it.  It was good but not great.....and that's about all I'm willing to say about it right now.  I will be working on writing up my thoughts on this one hopefully later today.

The Killing Floor by Lee Child is my current print read although I haven't yet begun reading it yet.  I've been meaning to give this series a try for awhile now so I pulled this one off of my own shelves.  I was in the mood for an action type thriller so I hope that this fits the bill!  Into The Drowning Deep by Mira Grant will be my next read on my kindle.  Her Newsflesh trilogy is some of my all-time favorite books yet I haven't read anything else by her.  Time to change that, and the summary for this book is so unique that I just cannot wait to begin!  Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans is my current nonfiction read that I've started but only barely.  I need to figure out a way to fit in more nonfiction reading as I am constantly adding nonfiction reads to my TBR list.  I'm going to try reading three books at a time and see how that works out for me.  I'll keep you posted on if this actually works or doesn't but I'm really hoping.

Plans for the day are my usual Sunday plans: laundry, football, and books.  I sadly don't have any reviews written up for this week so I need to focus on that.  Watching The Walking Dead premiere is a major priority.  But like I said, just the usual.  LOL!  On a kind of exciting note, I've stayed away from NetGalley since the last time that we talked.  I'm pretty proud of myself although I have to admit that it is so hard not to just check and see what's been added lately.  I've also been doing really great with staying away from book tours.  While I have found some amazing books thanks to book tours, the ability to read what I want whenever I want is really helping my reading mojo (NetGalley books aside).   Anyways, I'm off to work on some reviews and cheer on my Bears.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

All The Secret Places by Anna Carlisle (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Gin Sullivan is back in Pittsburgh on an extended leave from her job at the Chicago medical examiner's office and rekindling an old flame with her high school sweetheart, Jake. Gin is readjusting to life at home when Jake receives harrowing news early one morning. The new housing development his construction firm is building has caught fire and underneath one of the burnt homes is a dead body. When the body is identified as a man who may very well be the violent offender who terrified Gin's childhood town years ago, the pool of suspects broadens and it becomes a greater challenge to pinpoint his killer. Gin is determined to unearth old demons, hers included, but soon finds some people will kill to keep them buried. Small town secrets cast daunting shadows in All the Secret Places, Anna Carlisle's riveting second Gin Sullivan mystery."

My Thoughts:

Last year I read and loved the first book in this series titled Dark Road Home.  I've been impatiently waiting for this second book every since.  I cannot tell you the last time that I read a book in one hasn't happened yet this year until now.  I started this book on a rainy Saturday morning and finished it late that night.  That's how good this book was!  There is just something about this author's books that absolutely suck me in.  I couldn't stop reading even when I was trying to watch the Harry Potter marathon at the same time.  There is something so real about these books and this small struggling town that is trying to get past the economic struggles it has been through.  When you add to that strong main characters and a solid mystery it equals out to a really great read.  

One of my favorite things about this series is the characters.  The author has managed to really bring them to life for me so I care about what happens to each of them.  My one and only complaint with this book was that I didn't care for the Tucker storyline.  I don't want to give anything away but I didn't care for his friendship with Gin at all.  I did really appreciate that we got the chance to see more of Olive who played a small but important role in the first book.  The mystery itself was really well done.  I didn't have the slightest clue to who was behind it all until the very end.  It made my reading experience that much more intense which is why I couldn't stop reading.  The ending of this book wrapped everything up perfectly and left me wishing for the next book right now.  I so enjoyed this book but it is going to be a long wait for book three! 

Overall I really, really enjoyed this book and have become such a huge fan of this series.  Loving this book just as much as the first book means that this author has been added to my favorites list.  I will reading everything she writes at this point because it is a rare event when a book compels me to read it in just one day.  While you don't have to read this series in order, I would highly recommend that you do as reading this one first will basically spoil for you the mystery in book one.  There are a lot of references to what happened in the previous book so it would be best to read the series in order.  I would recommend this series to mystery and suspense fans alike.  I highly recommend!

Bottom Line:  Finished this book in just one day...that should tell you all you need to know!

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"For thirty-something blogger Cora Chevalier, small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, seems like the perfect place to reinvent her life. Shedding a stressful past as a counselor for a women’s shelter, Cora is pouring all her talents—and most of her savings—into a craft retreat business, with help from close pal and resident potter Jane Starr. Between transforming her Victorian estate into a crafter’s paradise and babysitting Jane’s daughter, the new entrepreneur has no time for distractions. Especially rumors about the murder of a local school librarian . . .

But when Jane’s fingerprints match those found at the grisly crime scene, Cora not only worries about her friend, but her own reputation. With angry townsfolk eager for justice and both Jane’s innocence and the retreat at risk, she must rely on her creative chops to unlace the truth behind the beloved librarian’s disturbing demise. Because if the killer’s patterns aren’t pinned, Cora’s handiwork could end up in stitches . . ."

My Thoughts:

I've been meaning to give this series a try for some time now so I'm glad that I finally did just that.  This book was an enjoyable cozy mystery although I did have a few issues with it.  Let's start off with the positives first though!  This author has created some really great characters with Cora and Jane.  I adore cozy series where I also adore the main characters.  In this book, Cora has started a new business by opening a "craft retreat" where fellow crafters can go and spend the weekend crafting all types of things together.  I don't know that I would consider myself a crafty person necessarily but I do enjoy trying different things (when I have the time).  I've been wanting to learn to knit for years but haven't yet taught myself - my plan is to learn by watching YouTube videos.  I'm getting off track here but I loved the idea of a mystery series featuring crafting so on to the never-ending TBR list this went.  I really felt like this was a unique set-up to this cozy mystery series which made it stand out to me.  I loved reading about the different arts and crafts - my favorite was actually the candle and soap making which sounds like something I would definitely enjoy doing!  I need to learn how to do this as well now!

One of the things though that I didn't care about with this series though is kinda difficult to put into words.  In this book one of the characters falls into bed with another (no this wouldn't be considered a spoiler at all I wouldn't think), and I didn't care for the way that this was portrayed.  There was a kind of judge-y feel to it and I can't really describe it any better than that.  All I know is that it took me out of the story while I was reading which is why it bothered me.  I was able to get sucked back in though so ultimately I enjoyed this book.  Just a few minor quibbles which maybe lowered my rating from 4 stars to 3.5 stars.  I found the mystery portion of this book to be very well done.  I didn't guess any of the ending which is always a good thing!  I also found myself unable to stop reading at the end.  I just had to know how everything was going to turn out!

All in all, I ultimately did enjoy this beginning to a new to me mystery series.  I'm planning on reading the second book soon and have already added it to my TBR list.  I'm always looking for new cozy mystery authors to follow and I do think that Mollie Cox Bryan will be one of those authors that I continue to read.  I really enjoyed reading about the crafts and am inspired to try to teach myself knitting yet again.  I feel like this would be the perfect winter hobby for me!  I would recommend this book to cozy mystery and mystery fans as well with only a slight hesitation.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A good beginning to this cozy mystery series and I will be reading more!

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


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Asylum by Jeannette De Beauvoir (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Martine LeDuc is the director of PR for the mayor's office in Montreal. When four women are found brutally murdered and shockingly posed on park benches throughout the city over several months, Martine's boss fears a PR disaster for the still busy tourist season, and Martine is now also tasked with acting as liaison between the mayor and the police department. The women were of varying ages, backgrounds and bodytypes and seemed to have nothing in common. Yet the macabre presentation of their bodies hints at a connection. Martine is paired with a young detective, Julian Fletcher, and together they dig deep into the city's and the country's past, only to uncover a dark secret dating back to the 1950s, when orphanages in Montreal and elsewhere were converted to asylums in order to gain more funding. The children were subjected to horrific experiments such as lobotomies, electroshock therapy, and psychotropic medication, and many of them died in the process. The survivors were supposedly compensated for their trauma by the government and the cases seem to have been settled. So who is bearing a grudge now, and why did these four women have to die?

Not until Martine finds herself imprisoned in the terrifying steam tunnels underneath the old asylum does she put the pieces together. And it is almost too late for her..."

My Thoughts:

This book originally went on my radar went it was first released but then it sat on my shelves unread.  I'm so regretting this as I found this book to be absolutely fantastic!  There is a very good chance that this one will make my top reads list for 2017!  I loved the summary above which is why I originally wanted to read it.  What I didn't realize is that this author based some of the events of this book on a true and terrible event in Canada's history.  I don't want to say too much as it plays an important role in this mystery but I will say that it completely adds to this book even if it is horrifying to think about.  I found myself absolutely sucked into the story from almost the very beginning.  The book is set up in two parts.  One is focused on Martine LeDuc and her hunt to figure out who is behind the killings of these women in Montreal.  The other storyline focused on the story of one of the orphans and what happened to that individual so long ago.  These two storylines tied together so perfectly and I just won't say any more than that.  I was absolutely just blown away by how good this book was!

I also really enjoyed this book because it was set in Canada and the author managed to bring Montreal to life for me in this book.  This is the second book I've read set in Canada this year and I have just adored the chance to read about this country that I've never had the chance to visit for myself.  I loved the descriptions of Montreal that the author included and especially adored all of the French phrases that were included throughout.  It really made me feel like I was there with the characters.  I liked that Martine wasn't your usual detective - in fact she wasn't a detective at all but got involved with the hunt for this killer in a very realistic way.  I found myself unable to stop reading this book for long.  And the ending was so intense that I just gave up watching my son at football practice and lost myself completely in finishing this book.  The ending was so flipping good and I won't say any more than that.  I've tried to keep the spoilers to a minimum here but this is a book that I can't recommend enough!

Overall, I found myself so completely blown away by this book and I cannot even put into words how much I enjoyed it!  I feel like it's kinda awful to say when you think about the actual historical events that this book was based around but I still really, really enjoyed it!  I'm so excited that I have another book in this series to look forward to but I'm hoping the 3rd is on it's way.  This is an author to watch for as this is only her very first book!  Crazy!  I'm really excited that I finally pulled this one off of my shelves (thanks to my husband) because I was missing out.  I would recommend this one to both mystery and thriller fans alike!  Just be warned that there are some definite triggers here so sensitive readers be warned.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A mystery that will stick with me for a long time thanks to the events it was based around.  So good!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to a Goodread's giveaway and the publisher.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I is For Innocent by Sue Grafton (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"When David Barney was acquitted in the shooting death of his wife, Isabelle, a good many thought that justice had not been served - including Kenneth Voight, Isabelle's former husband. Now, five years later, Voight is the plaintiff in a civil suit in which Barney stands accused of Isabelle's wrongful death. The stakes are high - Isabelle's estate is worth millions - but time is running short: the statue of limitations will cut Voight off in only a matter of weeks. Enter sexy, savvy ex-cop turned P.I. Kinsey Millhone, brought in by Voight to gather the necessary damning evidence. It doesn't take long, however, for Kinsey to find that while a lot of people hate David Barney, a lot more hated Isabelle. Suddenly a simple civil case becomes a deadly hunt for someone who once got away with murder . . . and may again . . ."

My Thoughts:

I waited way too long to read this book since finishing H is for Homicide.  I almost forgot how much I love this series and Kinsey herself.  Craziness, I tell you!  It was an absolute joy to read this book and get back to this series.  Kinsey as always is up to her usual hi jinks investigating a case where the defendant was found not guilty and now a civil case is being brought against him.  Her job is to basically make a case so that he doesn't get off free this time.  From the very beginning I found myself completely immersed within this book.  I couldn't stop reading it and was squeezing in reading time wherever and whenever I could.  It was just so fun to get back to reading about all of my favorite characters.  I also really liked the mystery in this story.  Was the defendant innocent of murder like the jury had found?  Or had they gotten it all wrong and let a killer off free?  The questions were there throughout the entire book and I didn't figure it out until the very end when Kinsey did as well.

I read these books entirely because Kinsey is such a great main character!  I love reading about her adventures and really just about her in general.  The author is so detailed with her books that it just all seems to come alive while you are reading.  I especially enjoy the fact that these are set before cell phones and the internet.  Kinsey uses the phone book and library while she is investigating a case rather than just looking things up online.  It's a throwback to a different time and different kind of lifestyle and I love visiting it.  I say that fully aware that I love the ability I have to stay in touch by cellphone with my oldest at all times (this is the Mom in me coming out - LOL!).  The ending of this book was very well done and unexpected.  I love that with this series I usually never guess how it is all going to end.  Doesn't mean that I don't try but I'm usually always wrong.  I just flew through the pages of this book and now I really want more.  Looks like a visit to my used bookstore is needed to get J is for Judgement soon!      

Overall, I found this to be a delightful addition to one of my very favorite mystery series!  I waited way too long to continue my reading of this series but I won't be making that mistake with the next book.  I don't think that you need to read this series in order but I would recommend it.  There is just so much to enjoy with these books and I can't recommend them enough!  I feel like this is a must read series for mystery fans.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  Another great addition to one of my favorite series.

Disclosure:  I purchased a copy of this book from my local used bookstore.   

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Sunday Post #35 (October Reading)

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"

Whew!  Here we are in October already - before we know it the holidays will be upon us!  The weather has started cooling off lately and we've been seeing a lot more rain.  I'm loving it!  Fall weather is definitely my favorite.  I've been looking forward to October for months now as this month brings the new seasons of The Walking Dead AND Stranger Things.  I'm so pumped!  I'm also really hoping to watch the upcoming movie, The Snowman, based off of Jo Nesbo's book that I read a few weeks back.  So many good things all at once!

We survived our crazy (but awesome) sports filled weekend last weekend.  I think we ended up watching two high school football games, one flag football game, and five softball games.  It was non-stop and by Sunday I was truly exhausted - it was worth it though!  Next weekend is going to be more of the same other than I'm not driving three hours away to watch my oldest play his freshman football game.  We will stick with watching him play JV at home instead.  Sports seasons are starting to wrap up.  I'm not sure how much we will really slow down as my youngest has signed up to play basketball this year for the first time.  My daughter will be practicing softball all winter long and I'm pretty sure my oldest will be training for football that entire time too.  It never ends but I know that I will miss it when they get older.  I've got two weeks worth of reading to catch you up on so let's move on to books.  I've finished three books since my last reading update.  Not too bad considering how much we have had going on.  I read the following books:

Asylum by Jeannette De Beauvoir - I absolutely loved this book and am kicking myself for waiting so long to read it!  It was based off of true events in Canada's history which made it all the more horrifying but it was such a compelling mystery.  I'm going to try to write up a coherent review of it but this is one that I can't say enough good things about!

Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan - This was an enjoyable cozy mystery although it wasn't my favorite.  I liked it enough to want to continue on with the series but I had a few issues with it.  I'll be sharing my thoughts on this book soon as well.

Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary - This was another great read!!  My husband is two for two on picking great books for me to read.....I may make him always choose my next read if he keeps this up.  LOL!  I found this one to be such a page turner and completely unexpected.  I cannot wait to continue on with this series!

I'm now reading the following books:

Beneath the Surface by Sibel Hodge is my current kindle read.  I'm not very far into it yet but I'm already intrigued and enjoying it.  Never Tell by Alafair Burke will be my next print read but I haven't yet begun reading (my husband picked it).  I've enjoyed Burke's books before so I'm really looking forward to reading this review copy which has been languishing on my shelves.

New additions to my reader thanks to NetGalley include:

So many books!  I really, really need to work on staying away from NetGalley more and focus on catching up on some of these amazing sounding books.  I keep telling myself that but it hasn't worked yet.  I really need to focus on writing up reviews today since I probably won't be able to next weekend.  I also need to focus on my laundry piles as usual as I've been seriously slacking lately.  I'm planning on participating in Blog Ahead this month although I haven't officially signed up for it yet.  I feel like there were a couple of bookish/blog events this month that I wanted to participate in.  Maybe I will write a sign up post for those today too if I can figure out what they were.  LOL!

Tell me what you've been reading lately or better yet what blogging events are you participating in during October?  I'd love to know!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Beneath the Skin by Caroline England (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"No-one remembers your past. But you do.

‘Antonia, Antonia. My name is Antonia.’
It’s been her name for many years. But sometimes, like tonight, she forgets.
Antonia has a secret. A secret so dark and so deep that she can barely admit it to herself. Instead, she treats herself to Friday night sessions of self-harm while her husband David is at the pub, and her best friend Sophie is drinking too much wine a few doors down.
Nobody close to her knows the truth about what the teenage Antonia saw all those years ago. No-one, that is, except her mother. But Candy is in a care home now, her mind too addled to remember the truth. Antonia is safe. Isn’t she?
The lies start small. They always do. But when the tightly woven story you’ve told yourself begins to unravel, the truth threatens to come to the surface. And then what’s going to happen?"

My Thoughts:

Beneath the Skin is one of those books that I won't be forgetting about any time soon.  It was both haunting and page turning while being completely unexpected.  I requested this book based off of the above description and that gorgeous cover.  This book is being billed as a psychological thriller and I kinda of disagree with that description.  I found that this book was more of an interconnected drama - not sure if that is the best description really but I didn't really find that this book was a thriller.  It was instead this compelling read that I couldn't put down.  It's funny because it is almost hard to describe this book.  The story is about Antonia but it is also about these other couples and how their lives all intersect with one another in different ways.  The way the book is written we as the readers don't always understand the motivations behind each character's actions.  There are questions here and there that leave you wondering.  And there are certain events that turn everything on its head in regards to where you think the story is heading.  I found myself unable to stop reading or thinking about this book.  It was just so good and so readable!

One thing that I found surprising about this book was how connected I found myself to it.  I don't always enjoy books where I don't particularly like any of the characters.  There was just something about them all though that drew me in and made me want to read their story.  I wanted everything to work out for them even when I knew that it might not.  Antonia was especially hard to read or understand but yet I really liked her character.  I'm telling you that compelling describes this book the best.  The ending of this book was definitely one that I won't be forgetting about any time soon.  It's books like this that leave you thinking about them long after you've finished.  Even now I'm still mulling over things that happened and questions that the author left unanswered.  I'm really looking forward to reading other reader's thoughts on this book!  I need to discuss this one! 

Overall, I enjoyed my time reading this book and found myself unable to put it down.  I'm really looking forward to reading more by this author.  It was really good even though it wasn't what I originally expected it to be.  I think I enjoyed it more because it wasn't a thriller but instead was something a bit more.  It was different and sometimes that is even more enjoyable because I need that change of pace when the majority of the books I read are mysteries or thrillers.  I can't say enough good things so I will just leave you with this: highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A compelling read that I couldn't get enough of!

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

Beneath the Skin releases today, October 5th if you want to check it out for yourself!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Death on Tap by Ellie Alexander (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"When Sloan Krause walks in on her husband, Mac, screwing the barmaid, she gives him the boot. Sloan has spent her life in Leavenworth, Washington becoming an expert in brewing craft beer, and she doesn’t have time to be held back by her soon-to-be ex-husband. She decides to strike out on her own, breaking away from the Krause family brewery, and goes to work for Nitro, the hip new nano-brewery in the Bavarian-themed town. Nitro’s owner, brewmaster Garrett Strong, has the brew-world abuzz with his newest recipe, “Pucker-Up IPA.” This place is the new cool place in town, and Mac can’t help but be green with envy at their success.

But just as Sloan is settling in to her new gig, she finds one of Nitro’s competitors dead in the fermenting tub, clutching the secret recipe for the IPA. When Mac, is arrested, Sloan knows that her ex might be a cheater, but a murderer? No way. Danger is brewing in Beervaria and suddenly Sloan is on the case."

My Thoughts:

It's official: I love everything that Ellie Alexander writes and this beginning to a new series was no exception!  She just has this knack of creating small towns that I want to spend time in and books that I can't get enough of.  I am by no means a beer expert (or huge beer drinker for that matter) so this is totally not something that I would have thought that I was interested in.  And yet I was totally caught up with all of it.  The descriptions of crafting different types of beer, the foods that Sloan created to pair with it....I just couldn't get enough!  It is funny but with so many of my favorite cozy series I care less about the mysteries and more about the characters in the books.  Even though this is just the beginning to this new series, I already felt the same way.  I can tell already that this is a cozy series that I will be following very closely and am already left wishing that I had my hands on the next book!

In this book, Sloan finds herself dealing with more than she could have possibly expected.  She finds out that her husband has been unfaithful to her very early on in the book.  Add to that the discovery of a body at her new workplace and you've got quite the combination.  I found myself flying through the pages of this book (well through the pages on my e-reader).  I loved every minute of it!  This author just writes in such a way that I find myself completely wrapped up in the stories that she creates.  I can't stop reading and wouldn't want to even if I could!  I didn't care for Sloan's husband at all so I'm curious to see how their relationship or lack thereof will play out in future books.  I loved the way that this book ended and also set up the beginning for book two.  It has me pretty pumped up about this series.  Ellie Alexander is hands down one of my favorite mystery authors and this new book has cemented that fact.  

I'm pretty sure that it is obvious by now how much I enjoyed this book.  Cozy readers that haven't tried Alexander's books yet are definitely missing out!  I'm super excited about this series already and we are only on book one.  If you are worried that you will miss out on the delicious food descriptions that she shares in the Bakeshop series, no worries.  I felt just as hungry while reading this book as I usually do with all of her other books.  The only difference is now I have the strong urge to try out a beer cupcake!  I would highly recommend this book to cozy mystery fans!  It was a delight to read and I cannot wait for more!  

Bottom Line:  A new favorite cozy series for me to follow!  I loved every minute while reading it!

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

Death on Tap releases today, October 3rd!