Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She's an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only victim who lived.

When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday—the day she was kidnapped so long ago—Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer’s closet all those years ago.

Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he's washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them...with a killer who can't let go."

My Thoughts:
The Vanishing Season was a thrilling read that left me really excited to read more by this author.  It was also a much darker mystery than I expected which I enjoyed.  I don't know why that I thought it was going to be closer to a cozy mystery but that definitely wasn't the case!  Instead, this book was filled with suspense and had me reading late into the night.  In this book, Ellery is investigating the disappearances of three different individuals who she believes are now dead and possibly the victims of a serial killer.  She has no proof though and no one will listen which is why she then turns to Reed Markham, the agent that saved her when she was younger from a serial killer.  That's enough right there to get things started, and to get me as the reader turning the pages.  I loved that I was instantly caught up within the pages of this mystery.  What happened to Ellery when she was a young girl was horrifying but she has basically hidden her past from everyone that is in her life now.  Those secrets though are about to brought into the open as someone else is about to go missing.  I felt like this added such a different layer of tension to the book because as the reader you are just waiting to see when her past will be revealed.  

I also really enjoyed the fact that because Ellery kept her past hidden from others that there is a layer of mistrust of her intentions present.  I'm trying not to say too much but you are led to wonder on if she is right that there is a serial killer at work or if there are other reasons behind her pushing for these investigations.  I won't say more than that though!  I really enjoyed both Ellery and Reed as main characters - I would love if this was just the beginning of a new mystery series focusing on them!  They are both so damaged but in different ways.  I just couldn't get enough of either of them.  The ending was intense and unexpected - I didn't figure out who the killer was until I was supposed to.  At that point I found myself unable to stop reading as I just needed to see how it would all end.  I was left wanting more from these characters, more from this story.....but all in a good way as I just wasn't ready to see the book end.  I can easily say that this is an author that I will be watching and reading more of!

Overall I really, really enjoyed my reading experience with this book!  It was dark, creepy, and thrilling - everything that I enjoy in a great mystery read!  I really couldn't get enough of it which should be apparent in my review.  Ha!  I would say that I flew through the pages but I read it on my e-reader so should I say I swiped through the pages as past as I could?  LOL!  Honestly it was a really great mystery and I'm so glad that I had the chance to read it.  I will be reading whatever this author writes next since I enjoyed this one so much!  I would recommend this one to fans of mysteries and thrillers alike.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A really great mystery that I couldn't put down!

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

The Vanishing Season just released on December 5th if you want to check it out now!


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bloodstains With Bronte by Katherine Bolger Hyde (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"It’s a dark and stormy autumn on the Oregon coast. Windy Corner, the Victorian mansion Emily Cavanaugh inherited in Arsenic with Austen, is being remodeled into a writers' retreat. Two of the young workers, Jake and Roman, are showing too much of the wrong kind of interest in Katie, Emily's young single-mother housekeeper. Their boss, Jeremiah, is a disturbing presence in a different way with his obsessive, tormented piety. Soon the passions in the house grow as dark and stormy as the weather, and Emily begins to feel as if she’s living in a Brontë novel.

Meanwhile, to raise money for the local clinic, Emily and Katie host a murder mystery dinner on Halloween night. All goes well until the supposed corpse turns up actually dead—with Katie standing over him, a bloody knife in her hand.

Luke Richards, local sheriff and Emily’s true love, is forced to regard Katie as a suspect, but Emily refuses to accept the situation. Her loyalty to Katie crashes against her duty to Luke and to the truth as she fights to save Katie from a murder charge."

My Thoughts:

Bloodstains with Bronte was a fun follow-up and second book in this cozy mystery series.  Also, how great are these titles?  I was really looking forward to jumping back into this series as I enjoyed the first book so much.  In this book, Emily is working on converting her house into a writer's retreat. As I absolutely love her house and the descriptions of it, I couldn't get enough of this part of the story.  I find it so fun to imagine inheriting a big rambling house like this filled with secret passageways and other fun stuff.  It is just one of those things that makes these books such a pleasure to read!  Then she is talked into hosting a murder mystery dinner at her house and that is when the real trouble begins.  I've got to be honest and say that the premise is what made want to read this book (and ultimately got my reading this series) in the first place.  Such a fun idea!  This book had my attention from the very beginning thanks to all of this.  I just couldn't stop reading and really didn't want to.  That's really what I am loving about this series - how easily I fall into the books and the fact that I just can't seem to stop reading.  It makes for a really great reading experience.

All of those positives being said, I did not care for Emily's choices in this book and found her to be quite frustrating at times.  She basically punished Luke for doing his job and I just couldn't get behind that.  I did appreciate though that the story wasn't told just from her viewpoint or I don't think that I would have enjoyed this one as much.  Instead we also got to see Luke's point of view and even Katie's at times.  I adore her as a character so much so that was really a delightful surprise!  I really appreciated that we got to see more of her history in this book even if it wasn't always easy to read about.  I've been curious as to who her daughter's father was and now we know (although I won't spoil anything by saying who).  The mystery portion of this book was fun although I was able to pick out the killer myself.  I definitely didn't figure out the why's behind it all until the very end which helped to make this still a suspenseful read.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and thought that it was a solid follow-up to book one.  I'm really looking forward to continuing on with this series whenever the next book is released.  I have added this series to my must read cozy series list because I have enjoyed the books so much.  This book was a fun read and a great change of pace from some of the darker reads that I have finished lately.  And while I had a few complaints with it, I still really enjoyed my time with this book.  That should tell you everything that you need to know!  I don't think that you necessarily "have" to read this series in order but with only two books, why wouldn't you?  Recommended to fans of cozy mystery series and also those who enjoy classics.  The author does a great job of really including pieces here and there from books by the authors that she includes in her titles (and I've actually read Wuthering Heights so that's a win for me).

Bottom Line:  An enjoyable read!

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

*This book is released on December 12th if you want to check it out!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Library Loot (December Edition)

I've been to two different libraries in two days - this is the result of those two visits.  I'm calling it my December library loot but let's be honest here:  there is a good chance I'll visit the library a couple of more times before the month ends.  I made out with some really great books though that I cannot wait to read!  If I'm being honest I didn't manage to read any of the library books from my last post before they had to go back unread.  Sigh!  I'm 100% sure that I'll check them back out at some point though so no worries.  Here are the books that I couldn't not bring home with me:
  • The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti - This book has been on my radar since it first released.  I couldn't put it down though once I saw a comparison to Rebecca on the back cover.  Yes please!  It sounds great and I basically want to read it right now.
  • Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn - It has been way too long since I last read anything by Vaughn.  Add to that a dystopian setting and a mystery...I just cannot resist.  Plus this book has a gorgeous and unique cover - it is calling my name right now!
  • The Dark Room by Minette Walters - I found this book while browsing the new book shelves.  I hadn't heard of it but it sounds creepy and thrilling - that's basically all I needed to know before I brought it home with me.
  • The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood - I've got all three of this author's books on my TBR list.  I tried one of her other books and just didn't quite get into it (although I do plan on going back to it at some point).  I really like the sound of this one so I'm planning on reading it instead.
  • Dark River Rising by Roger Johns - Yes another find courtesy of the new book shelves.  It has such a gorgeous cover and then I realized it was set in Louisiana and had to bring it home with me to check out.  This may be my next print read!
  • Beloved Poison by E.S. Thomson - I was browsing and found the 2nd book in this series which was sent in an asylum (if I'm remembering correctly now).  That is basically catnip to me but then I realized it was part of a series and went searching for the first book which is this one.  It sounds really great so I'm eager to try it!
  • Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter - This is the only book that I actually went to the library specifically for.  It will be my first read off of my TBR list challenge.  I've got really high hopes and a lot of readers that I trust have sung this book's praises so I'm pretty excited to read it!
That's a lot of great books all in one pile.  I've also got a few books on hold that I'm patiently (or not so patiently waiting for).  I'm planning on ending my reading year with some really great books and this pile will help that happen.  Has anyone read any of these?  Are they any that I should read before all of the rest?  And just out of curiosity: does anyone else go their library non-stop like I do?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Into The Drowning Deep by Mira Grant (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves.

But the secrets of the deep come with a price."

My Thoughts:

Yes!  This book was just as good as I had hoped that it would be - actually I would say it was even better.  I'm going to start off by stating for the record that I love, love, love Grant's Newsflesh trilogy (of which I've read each book multiple times minus Feedback which I haven't read yet).  Because I love those three books so much, I've been very hesitant to pick up anything else by her.  Not because I don't expect to love everything that she writes.  At this point I actually do expect to love all of her books.  But more because I remember clearly the first time that I read Feed and how it managed to rip my heart out after I had come to care about the characters so much.  That might sound slightly like a spoiler so I won't say more than that.  I just knew that there was a good chance that anything else I read by her would either not live up to my very high expectations or would also rip my heart out.  I told myself though that I wasn't waiting to read this one and I'm so glad that I didn't.  It was absolutely fantastic!  Yet again I found myself completely immersed in this world that Grant has created.  This time though there was a creepy horror movie vibe to the book that I just couldn't get enough of.  Killer mermaids folks.....that should tell you everything that you need to know.  

One of the things that I really loved about this book was the characters.  Grant has a knack for creating characters that I really come to care about.  These characters were no different and I grew to care for them at my own peril.  As soon as you start reading this book, you basically know that things may not turn out well for everyone.  In fact, just from reading the summary you can see that they are heading straight into the danger zone in the attempt to determine what actually happened to the Atargatis so long ago.  Cue the creepy horror music from here on out.  The author starts dropping hints from the very beginning that things may not go as planned.  It adds this layer of tension to the story that made for quite the reading experience.  I won't say too much more but the comparisons to horror movies should tell you all you need to know.  And yet again I say, killer mermaids folks.  This book was everything I wanted to read and didn't even know it!  I basically couldn't stop reading this book.  I ended up finishing it late in the night because I just needed to know how it was all going to end.  I was thrilled when after finishing I realized that it looked like this is going to be part of a series.  I can't wait to read more!  Also, there is a prequel that I need to check out as soon as possible because I just can't get enough of this world that Grant has created!

Overall, I can tell you that this book will easily be on my best reads of 2017 list!  It was such a great reading experience and just writing up my thoughts has me so excited to read everything else that Grant has written.  I've always wished that they would have made a movie (or movies) based off of the Newsflesh trilogy.  I have to say that this book would make an amazing horror movie as well!  I will always sing Grant's praises because her books are just that good!  The worlds that she creates are just so unique and complex - I just can't say enough good things about her or her books.  This book was dark, tense, and so flipping good that I can't even talk coherently about it.  I'm going to need a copy of this one for my own shelves for sure!  Highly, highly recommended!  Readers of horror, science fiction, everyone really....check this one out!

Bottom Line:  One of the best books that I have read in 2017!  I don't need to say more than that!

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

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Sunday Post #38 (2018 Reading Plans)

"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"

Good morning everyone!  I'm actually writing this post ahead of time which means it won't get posted in the late afternoon like it usually does.  Success on my part - LOL!  As the title of this post probably already shows, I've been really thinking about my reading plans for 2018 already.  I've said this before but 2017 has not been my best year of reading.  In fact, I'm on track to read the fewest number of books this year since I began blogging back in 2008.  I'm sitting at 50 books read for the year - if I finish 4 more books I will tie with my reading year in 2012.  I know I shouldn't worry about the numbers so much but it is quite the difference when in the last two years I have finished eighty books both years.  My TBR keeps growing but my reading pace has slowed down and I'm not really sure why.

I'm not going to sit and moan about it though, instead I'm trying to figure out what I can do to make 2018's reading better.  Signing up for #COYER was a great way to begin but I'm not going to stop there.  One of my new plans to jump start my reading with really great reads is I have come up with a list of fifty books that I'm calling my TBR list (not very original - I know).  This is a mixture of fiction and nonfiction reads that have all been on my TBR list for some time- no new 2018 releases involved.  Every month (or more than once a month if I like) I'm going to use the random number generator to pick one of these books to read.  I'm going to knock some of these books off of my TBR list once and for all!  I have a tendency to "save" books to read that I think I'm going to really like but I don't want to read right away because then I won't have them to look forward to read.  This makes no sense but there you have it.  I put a bunch of books like this on my list to finally give myself the push to read them.  I made a tab on my blog if you are interested in seeing the fifty books that I chose (I might make a separate post but it is doubtful because that is a lot of books covers to share).  The plan is to keep my list at fifty constantly - for every book that I finish I will add a new one to the list.  And at the end of the year I'm going to look back at all of the books I finish for this personal challenge.  It should be fun! I've got other reading plans for 2018 but I'll post about them at a later date.  I've already got my first book picked out for this because I can't wait until the new year to begin.  I will be reading this gem very soon:

It has been a few weeks since my last reading update which means I have a lot to catch up with you on.  I've actually finished three books since my last post which is pretty awesome considering.  These are the books that I've recently read:

Into The Drowning Deep by Mira Grant was just as amazing as I had hoped that it would be.  I loved every minute of reading it so I'm absolutely thrilled that it looks like it is part of a series.  I need more killer mermaids in my life!  I'm going to post my thoughts on this one soon but expect a lot of gushing to be involved.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie was delightful read.  I've actually already written up my thoughts on this one which I'm calling a success.  This book was such a great read!  It has me wanting to read more of her books soon, and I heard on another Read or Dead podcast episode that there is another movie coming in the future based off of one of her books.  I'm pumped!

Bloodstains with Bronte by Katherine Bolger Hyde was a fun follow-up to the first book in the series (Arsenic With Austen) that I recently read.  While I definitely liked the first book more, it was great to get back to this cast of characters and cozy series once again.  I will be working on writing up my thoughts on this one very soon as well.

I'm now currently reading the following two books:


Final Girls by Riley Sager is so completely intense!  I can't stop reading yet find myself unsure if I want to keep going.  I'm loving every minute of it!  I'm also reading Troublemaker by Leah Remini as my nonfiction read.  I'm a huge fan of her show exposing Scientology so I couldn't resist picking up the book.  I'm enjoying it although I have to say that most of my attention is currently focused on Final Girls at the moment.  These are both print books and I don't have an ebook on the go currently which is rare.  I'll be picking up one of my choices from my #COYER reading pool soon to start on my kindle.

Plans for the day are the usual.  My youngest has basketball pictures before his game so we have that in the afternoon.  My laundry piles are sky high so I'm going to be working on getting those down to a more manageable level.  Reading and blogging as much as possible.  And then football, family time, and The Walking Dead of course.  It sounds like the recipe for a great Sunday and perfect start to my week.  I'm off to work on said laundry piles but do share if you are also already thinking about your reading in 2018.  I would love to hear what your plans are!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Twist of the Knife by Becky Masterman (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn, now happily settled in Tucson, doesn’t go back to visit her family in Florida much. But her former partner Laura Coleman, whose life she has saved and who saved her life, is living there now. When Laura calls about a case that is not going well, Brigid doesn’t hesitate to get on a plane.

On leave from the Bureau, Laura has been volunteering for a legal group that is trying to prove the innocence of a man who is on death row for killing his family. Laura is firmly convinced that he didn’t do it, while Brigid isn’t so sure—but the date for his execution is coming up so quickly that she shares Laura’s fear that any evidence absolving him from the crime may come too late."

My Thoughts:

 I'm basically obsessed with this series at this point.  A few years back I received the second book for review - Fear the Darkness - and it was AMAZING!  I then read and also adored the first book in this series last year which is Rage Against the Dying.  Here we are with the third book and we have yet another winner.  This author can't write fast enough for me at this point!  The thing is it really doesn't feel like enough readers how found this author and these books.  They are so flipping good though so what a shame!  Or maybe I'm crazy and I'm just not following the bloggers who have read and loved this series as much as I have - that's entirely possible.  I'm getting completely off track though.  This book was yet another great addition to this series.  I said this before (maybe on Litsy?) but this wasn't even my favorite of the series and it is still WAY better than so many other books like it.  This author can write a tense and thrilling mystery like few others.  I loved this book (as I knew that I would) and flew through the pages.  My one and only complaint was that we didn't get to see as much of Carlos (Brigid's husband) as we have in previous books.  I really like this character so I missed him in this one.  

I love how in each of these books Masterman has created such a compelling mystery.  I always feel like I need to know what is going to happen next.  And I do mean need.  I can't ever seem to put these books down and this was no exception.  I have yet to figure out the mystery portion of the book on my own with these.  Am I babbling at this point?  I liked that we got to learn more about Brigid's family in this one.  The thing about this book that really stood out for me was that you never fully knew if you could trust Laura.  I love the unreliable narrator trope and although that wasn't the case here - it gave me the same feel which made this book an easy winner.  I also really liked the focus on the death penalty in this book.  This is definitely one of those issues that people have strong feelings on and it still made me think.  You've got to appreciate when a book does that for you while reading. 

Overall, this was another great addition to one of my very favorite mystery/thriller series.  I love, love, love these books.  It is hard to wait for each new book to release but completely worth the wait.  I can't say enough good things about it obviously.  I think that readers who enjoy Sharon Bolton should give this series a shot.  They are two of my favorites and authors that I can't recommend enough.  I flew through the pages of this book and already want more.  Before I forget- you don't have to read this series in order.  I didn't and it has still become a personal favorite.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A favorite of 2017.  Enough said!

Disclosure:  I checked this book out from my local library.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again."

My Thoughts:

I'm getting some great reading recommendations thanks to the Read or Dead podcast! This is the second book that I've read so far this year thanks to hearing about the book on their podcast (it also helped that a movie was coming out based off of both books).  It has been entirely too long since I last read a novel by Christie!  This was a delight to read and really made me want to get back to reading more of her books.  I'm glad that the upcoming movie gave me the push to read this book sooner rather than later because this felt like the perfect late fall read.  The idea of being stuck on a train due to a snowdrift and being completely isolated after a murder has occurred is just so creepy!  Then you add in all of these mysterious clues that don't fit together in any way that makes sense....and you end up with classic Agatha Christie if I do say so myself.  This isn't my favorite book by hers - that is still And Then There Were None - but it was a pretty darn good read!  I love how Christie can always seem to keep me guessing until the very end.  Even when I think that I've got it figured out I'm usually wrong.  At first I was a bit worried with this book because there were so many characters and I wasn't sure how I would keep track of them all.  I found though that the way the book was set up allowed for me to get a feel for all of them which helped me keep them straight.  And really I just breezed through the pages of this book.  The ending was a bit over the top but it actually fit with the story so it worked.  I'm actually really eager to see the upcoming movie now and see how it all plays out on the big screen!

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and has me in the mood for some more Agatha Christie.  I think that I need to visit with a Miss Marple book soon!  I'm glad though that I didn't wait to read this one and can now watch the movie.  It was a fun read and just perfect for this time of year.  I've got to say that I'm ready for the snow to start falling around here as well.  I'll pass on being trapped on a train for any length of time though!  Fans of mysteries and suspense should definitely check this book out.  I feel like this book is a great place to start for readers that haven't read anything by Christie before.  You don't have to read her books in order (I'm actually thinking that this is one of the later Poirot books) at all which makes it easy to just pick this one up and give her a try.  I would highly, highly recommend this author.  I can also easily recommend this book!

Bottom Line:  Another classic mystery read from one of my favorite authors!

Disclosure:  I checked this book out from my local public library. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

#COYER Winter Switch (Reading Plans)

#COYER is here!  I need this in my life (and so does my kindle lol).  I feel like my stack of e-reads is always growing - my "pile" as you will is overflowing.  Time to make a dent and get some of these books read.  I really appreciate that it starts in December and then carries on to the new year.  This means that I can end my reading year strong and then begin 2018 this was as well!  I'm following the Basic COYER rules which are:
"This is good old strict COYER. The rules:
  1. Every book you read must be an eBook or audiobook.
  2. Every book must be either free or less than $5.
  3. No library books, borrowed books, or Kindle Unlimited."
I've come up with a ridiculously large pool of possibilities to choose from.  I seriously could have kept going but I found a little self control in me and made a list of 24 to start with.  This isn't to say that I will only choose from these books, but I would like to think it will help me make my reading choices a bit easier having a pile to choose from.  It's a mixture of 2018 releases and older books as well that I've been wanting to read for some time now - all e-books in the hopes that my kindle unread pile will get just a tiny bit smaller.  Enough rambling is my COYER reading pool:

Whew!  That's quite the pile!  And the funny thing is I came across at least twenty more books that could have easily been on this list as well.  My reading goal for this challenge is to read at least ten books for COYER this time around.  More would be great (obviously) but I would really like to hit my goal so I'm starting with ten.  I can bump it up if needed.  Ideally I will also write up reviews for all books read for this challenge as well.  Other than that, I just plan to read to my heart's content!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Locked in by Kerry Wilkinson (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"When a body is found in a locked house, Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is left to not only find the killer but discover how they got in and out.

With little in the way of leads and a journalist that seems to know more about the case than she does, Jessica is already feeling the pressure—and that’s before a second body shows up in identical circumstances to the first.

How can a murderer get to victims in seemingly impossible situations and what, if anything, links the bodies?"

My Thoughts:

I bought this book on Amazon just based off of the summary alone.  At the time I couldn't get it through my library system and wanted so badly to read it so I couldn't resist buying it for myself.  I'm really glad that I had the chance to read this one because I enjoyed this mystery just as much as I had hoped to.  In this book, Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is in charge of investigating a murder where it seems impossible to discover how the killer got in or out as the house was locked.  I was so intrigued by the idea of how a murder could have been committed when the house was all locked up.  The idea of it kept me reading because I couldn't figure out how it had been done.  It was almost as much of a puzzle for me, the reader, as figuring out who the killer was.  I found that the questions surrounding how the killings helped to create that layer of tension that I love to have in the mysteries I read.

It took me a bit to get into this one though and I'm really not sure why.  I'm guessing that it was just the reading mood that I was in - it happens sometimes.  Once I was well and truly hooked though, that was when I couldn't stop reading.  It's funny but I kind of started to guess the truth behind the mystery but then something happened and I figured that I was wrong.  It was a suspenseful enough read that even being not as surprised by the ending as I hoped left it still being a solid read.  It looks like there a bunch of books in this series so I'm really looking forward to continuing on with.  I even have book two on my kindle so I don't need to wait long if I don't want to.  

Overall, I found that I enjoyed this book a lot and am looking forward to reading book two in the near future.  I love when I find a well established series like this - I'm not patient and this means that I don't have to wait for the next book in the series to release.  It was suspenseful and fast paced enough that I found myself unable to put it down by the end.  Recommended!  

Bottom Line:  Worth the money I spent on it!

Disclosure:  I purchased this book off of Amazon.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Five years ago, a shocking and bloody crime left Detective Inspector Marnie Rome’s parents dead. Not even her partner, Detective Sergeant Noah Jake, knows much about Marnie’s past. Though as one of the few gay officers on the force, Noah’s not one to over-share about his private life either.

By chance, Marnie and Noah are at the domestic violence shelter when Hope Proctor stabs her husband, Leo. It should be an open and shut case of self-defense, but none of the eight witnesses tells quite the same story. And the question remains: How did Leo get into the secure building? As the violence spirals, Marnie finds herself drawn into a place where the past casts long shadows and she must tread carefully to survive."

My Thoughts:

It's funny because I've been wanting to read this book for quite some time but it kept getting put aside for other things.  I've even checked it out from the library multiple times but it kept going back unread.  Somewhere in there I thought that I knew what this book was going to be like or about (probably from reading the above summary so many times).  This book was so much better than I ever could have guessed though!  And the moral of that story folks is that you shouldn't wait so long to read the books you really want to because they are probably even better than you expected.  Case in point.  I'm getting off track though so let's get back to the book and what it is actually about.  Marnie and Noah literally walk into a shelter seconds after a woman stabs her husband.  This is the only truth that you know.  After that is when the questions start and really they don't end until the end of the book.  Honestly, I couldn't figure out how the author was going to pull off the witnesses all giving different versions of what happened (see above summary - not a spoiler).  She really did a great job with it and it rang true which didn't feel possible at first.  I also thought that it added a layer of tension to the story very similar to when you have an unreliable narrator.  Who do you believe?  Where any of them actually telling the truth on what happened?

I'm going into slightly spoiler-ey territory here so be warned.  One of the things that I liked most about this book was how the author took what I thought was happening and completely flipped it on its' head.  I totally didn't see the truth behind it all so to speak.  I really don't want to give it away for other readers so I'm going to leave it at that.  This wasn't an easy read at times - domestic violence is one of those subjects that isn't always comfortable to read about to say the least.  It was a page turner though - and one of those books that I won't be forgetting about any time soon.  I would be remiss not to mention how completely intrigued I am by the storyline that relates to Marnie's past.  I need to know more so I'm really hoping that future books in this series will give us some answers.

Overall, this was quite the beginning to a new series, and will in all honesty end up being a five star read for me!  I am really lucky because I have three more books in this series to look forward to.  I don't think that I will wait that long to get my hands on the next book.  I find that I'm really excited about both this author and this series!  I can't wait to see what else she comes up with in future books.  It is a bit early yet to say this (as I've only read one book) but this series reminded me a bit of Sharon Bolton's Lacey Flint series which I absolutely adore.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A five star read - that should tell you enough!

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Season to Lie by Emily Littlejohn (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"In Emily Littlejohn's follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Inherit the Bones, police officer Gemma Monroe has just returned to work from maternity leave. And what a first day back: a blizzard is blowing into her idyllic Colorado ski town, and while Gemma hopes for a quiet, warm evening in, she knows it will mean plenty of calls out for snow-related accidents. But when an anonymous caller reports seeing a lurker at the local high school, Gemma gets far more than she bargained for. Behind the school building, half covered in a drift of snow, lies the gruesomely murdered body of a world-famous author—whose presence in town was meant to be a secret."

My Thoughts:

I was really looking forward to this book after enjoying Inherit the Bones so much last year (book one in this series).  It was funny because I realized while reading this book that I had forgotten some of the details from book one although nothing major.  I just went back and read my thoughts on it - I gave it five stars and wrote a glowing review so yeah....I would say I enjoyed it.  I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book almost as much as that beginning read.  It begins with Gemma returning from maternity leave back to police duty.  On almost the very first day that she returns a huge snowstorm hits the area and in the midst of it Gemma and her partner get called out and find a body.  I'm a huge sucker for mysteries set in the cold and especially in the midst of a snowstorm so honestly the author had me right from the beginning.  It just gave the book this eerie feeling which I'm now remembering that she also had in book one.  Probably another one of the reasons that I am enjoying this series so much!

I really enjoy this author's way with words.  There is just something about the way she describes things that I can't seem to get enough of.  There is this scene at the beginning of the book where Gemma goes to this home nestled in the woods - the way that the author compares it to a cottage that you would find in a fairy tale just made it all come to life for me.  It's funny because I guessed the killer early on in the book without really believing that I was right.  I spent the majority of the book trying to figure out who the killer was then only coming to the end and realizing I had been right in the first place.  Go figure!  But at least it kept that level of tension that I prefer when I'm reading mysteries and thrillers.  I read a slightly negative review on this book that left me a bit surprised but I don't believe that the reader had read both books.  Ultimately, I do think that this is a series where you need to read them in order just because so much carries over from the first book to the second.  I definitely felt differently and actually really enjoyed this book a lot!

This series has turned into a real winner for me!  Two books in and I'm definitely planning on reading the third...just as soon as it comes out that is.  I still think that the first book was my favorite so far but this was a really great follow-up.  It also really got me in the mood for winter with all of the talk about snowstorms and snow.  I love the snow so I'm more than ready for winter to hit although I will take fall weather any day!  I can easily recommend this book but do read Inherit the Bones first to get the full reading experience.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  Another great addition to this series which has become a favorite of mine!

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

A Season to Lie releases on November 14th!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Library Loot (Fall Edition)

Does this meme even exist any more??  I used to share about the books I had checked out from the library all of the time but kinda got away from it.  Which is a shame as I always enjoyed these posts and especially seeing what other readers had picked up from their own libraries.  I've decided to share again as I have a particularly good stack of books currently checked out from the library that I'm hoping to read before they are due back.
  • Death Masks by Jim Butcher - I'm really hoping to catch up with this series a bit which means not waiting so long in between books.  I can never get enough of Harry Dresden and am really looking forward to cracking this one open.  I still need to write my thoughts up on Summer Knight though - this is book five in the Dresden series.
  • Liar Liar by M.J. Arlidge - Another series that I would really, really like to catch up especially because these books have ALL been so good so far.  This is book four in the series and the premise of the book has me wanting to read it RIGHT now!
  • The Lie by C.L. Taylor - I've had this author on my radar for some time now and basically have added all of her books to my TBR list.  I am really hoping to finally give her a try with this book.  The summary sounds up my alley so I can't wait!
  • Dead To Me by Cath Staincliffe - I really don't know much about this one other than it begins a mystery series.  I was browsing through the shelves and liked the title.  That led to me reading the book jacket and bringing it home with me.  I love when I find books that I haven't even heard about while at the library!
  • Time of Death by Lucy Kerr - I requested this one from the library as I was recently approved for the second book on NetGalley.  I like to read series in order when I can although I'm not a huge stickler on it.  It sounds really good though and I'm hoping to get to it soon!
  • The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh - I first heard about this book on Litsy thanks to the Book of the Month club.  Then I believe Liberty talked about it during one of the All of the Books podcasts and I just couldn't resist requesting it for myself.  It sounds really great and like my type of book!
  • Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy - I really enjoy the What Should I Read Next podcast and this was on the 2017 Summer Reading guide.  I requested it from the library based off of that fact alone.  I don't know much about it but it sounds good - and now I really, really want to read it!
So many good books here!  I just need to find the time to read them all (basically impossible).  The best part though is that I can always get them again from the library if I don't get the chance to finish them this time around.  Have you read any of these?  Is there any one book in particular that I should read over all of the rest?  Do share!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Beneath the Surface by Sibel Hodge (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Dean Hudson didn’t look evil…so what could drive an ordinary boy to kill?

When the teenage son of Holly Gold’s school friend brutally murders his parents before killing himself, her sleepy home town is rocked by the sudden tragedy.

Appalled, Holly investigates. What could have caused the happy-go-lucky boy she remembers to commit such a heinous crime? When another teen commits suicide, she uncovers a horrifying link between the recent deaths and a dark conspiracy to hide the truth.

But someone doesn’t want Holly asking questions and, as she hunts for evidence to prove her theory, she’s dragged into a nightmare that threatens her life and her sanity. Then tragedy strikes again—and this time it’s closer to home…"

My Thoughts:

I requested this book from NetGalley because this author has been on my radar for some time now and I wanted to give her a try.  I had high hopes for this book because that premise had me intrigued instantly.  Ultimately though I was left with some mixed feelings on this book.  I think that I would classify it as a good read but I had a few issues with it.  I'm telling you this right off the bat so I don't spoil anything for anyone further on.  I will try to not to go into specifics but you know how that all goes.  This book is going to be hard to discuss without giving a few things away so reader be warned - don't read any further if you don't want to possibly read a spoiler.

One of the things that I liked about this book was the look at prescription drugs.  It isn't often that you read a thriller that is based on such a serious and real issue.  I felt like I was learning while I was reading which doesn't usually happen unless I'm reading a nonfiction book.  Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that a lot of what was included in here is pretty accurate which makes it even worse to think about.  Prescription drug use is a very hot topic and one that is just so scarily real.  I also like how fast paced and intense this book was.  It kept me reading even when I didn't necessarily want to.  The thing was I really didn't care much for Holly.  Holly made me crazy and reminded me slightly of Rachel from The Girl on the Train.  She wasn't as bad thankfully - but she made me all of these stupid decisions and a lot of it was based off of her drinking.  I just couldn't relate to her which always seems to hurt my reading experience.  I just didn't ever warm up to her - even by the end of the book I was pretty meh in regards to her character.  The other thing that really took away from my reading experience was the death of a certain character.  I won't give away who or anything but I almost stopped reading this book because of it.  I kind of felt betrayed as this was one of the few characters that I actually related to - it just really took me out of the book when that happened.  I decided to keep reading though because by that point I was invested and needed to see how the story would end.  I liked the way that everything was wrapped up and really this is why I found this book to be a good read overall.  Not my favorite by any means but I found it to be good enough for at least three stars.  And really, my feelings on this book were completely personal - I could see other readers enjoying this one much more than I did.  

Even now after writing up my thoughts, this book managed to really stir up some strong feelings on it which is always a sign of a decent read.  I would definitely be open to reading more by this author.  I'm actually really curious now to go read other reader's thoughts on this book to see what they thought.  I try not to read reviews until after I've written up my own thoughts but I will probably go check Goodread's soon.  This book was definitely not what I was expecting and overall I think that it is a solid three star read.  Recommended but with a few hesitations.

Bottom Line:  A good read but one that I didn't love.

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Arsenic with Austen by Katherine Bolger Hyde (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"When Emily Cavanaugh inherits a fortune from her great aunt, she expects her life to change. She doesn't expect to embark on a murder investigation, confront the man who broke her heart 35 years before, and nearly lose her own life.

Emily travels to the sleepy coastal village of Stony Beach, Oregon, to claim her inheritance, centered in a beautiful Victorian estate called Windy Corner but also including a substantial portion of the real estate of the whole town. As she gets to know the town's eccentric inhabitants--including her own once-and-possibly-future love, Sheriff Luke Richards--she learns of a covert plan to develop Stony Beach into a major resort. She also hears hints that her aunt may have been murdered. Soon another suspicious death confirms this, and before long Emily herself experiences a near-fatal accident.

Meanwhile, Emily reads Persuasion, hoping to find belated happiness with her first love as Anne Elliot did with Captain Wentworth. She notices a similarity between her not-quite-cousin Brock Runcible, heir to a smaller portion of her aunt's property, and Mr. Elliot in Persuasion, and her suspicions of Brock crystallize. But as she and Luke continue to investigate and events speed toward a climax, Emily realizes that underneath the innocent-looking rocks of Stony Beach lurk festering jealousies that would have shocked even the worst of Jane Austen's charming reprobates."

My Thoughts:

I'm really glad that I found this series and gave this new to me cozy mystery series a try.  I picked this book up from the library because I received a copy of the upcoming 2nd book for review.  With only two books in the series so far, I thought I would read the first book beforehand - this isn't always something that I do as I'm not a stickler for reading books in order.  I'm glad that I did this time because I really enjoyed this book.  Emily gets a letter in the mail that she has inherited something from her great aunt.  She goes to town and finds that she has inherited this huge, rambling house along with a ton of money and properties.  Basically overnight she becomes a very rich woman unexpectedly.  The idea of inheriting this amazing house and library just hit me straight in my bookish heart.  How could you not want to imagine this happening to yourself??  I was basically sold on this book right from the start after all of that.  Reading about the house she inherited along with all of the mysteries/problems that came with it was just gravy by that point.  I was hooked from the very beginning thanks to all of this.

I also really, really enjoyed the fact that Emily is an older woman.  You really don't see a lot of books where the main character is over forty and established in her life.  Emily was starting completely over thanks to all of this but she had life experience that I couldn't help but appreciate.  It just is a change from your normal main character and I really liked it.  The mystery portion of the book definitely came in second for me.  I just didn't care so much about who had killed her great aunt as I did reading about Emily's new life and how she was going to handle it all.  I guessed who the killer was behind it all easily but really it didn't matter.  I was reading this one for the characters and that often happens for me with cozy mystery series.  My one complaint was the book seemed to drag in the middle for a little bit.  The ending more than made up for it but I wanted to mention it.  

Overall, I found this to be a really solid beginning to this mystery series.  I'm really excited to start the second book - Bloodstains With Bronte.  Also I find these titles to be amazingly good.  How can you not want to read a book with a title like that?  I appreciated how bookish this book was.  I almost forgot to mention how I adored the little tributes to Harry Potter that were included throughout the book.  Such fun!  I shouldn't mention this but I've never even read Austen, and it didn't seem to matter so don't let it stop you from reading this book if you haven't as well.  I would recommend this series to cozy fans.  Definitely recommended!

Bottom Line:  A delightful read - I'm excited to have the next book ready to begin after this one!

Disclosure:  I checked this book out from my local library. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Sunday Post #37 (Nonfiction November)

"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"

Morning readers!  It's a gloomy, rainy morning here so it's basically the perfect time to blog.  I've got a warm cup of coffee by my side and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is on TV.  Not too much new to report since my last reading update.  The fall sports season has ended leaving my nights much more open then they have been.  You would think that means more reading time but it hasn't.  Instead, I feel like that has meant more time on Litsy and Twitter.  Definitely more television time!  I need to focus on being online less and reading more.  It is hard though to strike that perfect balance.  I haven't been blogging (obviously) since I haven't posted in two weeks.  Oh well, one of these days I will find time to do it all.  LOL!

My husband and I finished season two of Stranger Things last night.  It was basically amazing and UGH- how am I to wait now for season 3???  I can see a series rewatch in my future just to tide me over as I absolutely adore this show.  Reading wise I've only finished one book since my last update.  It was 500 plus pages so that makes me feel a bit better but really I need to work on finding more reading time or I'm not even going to finish 60 books in 2017.  That might be my lowest number of reads since I first started keeping track.  (I could be wrong about that - I will have to check).  Anyways I finished the following:

Killing Floor by Lee Child - This was a pretty good read and I'm glad that I finally pulled it off of my shelves.  It's funny because the entire time that I was reading this I was trying to figure out how Tom Cruise ever played Reacher in the film.  I haven't seen the movie myself but he is completely opposite of the way he is described in the book.  I have already added the next book in this series to my TBR list - I will work on writing up my thoughts soon.

I'm now currently reading the following:

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant is my current kindle read.  It is also about mermaids and I basically love it already for that reason alone.  Grant can just spin a tale (she wrote the Newsflesh books which I adore) so I'm loving this so far.  I'm not as far in as I would like to be but hopefully I will get more reading time in this week.  Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie is my next print read.  It has been years since I read anything by Christie (shame on me) but I couldn't resist grabbing this one from the library seeing as the movie is releasing soon.  I'm really looking forward to it as well!

Nonfiction November is here and you might notice that I didn't include Searching for Sunday in my currently reading list.  It had to go back to the library unfinished so now I need to figure out a new nonfiction read.  I really should pick one from my own shelves since these tend to take me a little bit longer to finish.  But there are also SO many good sounding books that I'm probably going to request one from the library.  I was thinking about one of these:

If you could pick one of these to read next - which one would you recommend?  These are just four of the many, many books that I've got on my never-ending TBR list.  Help a girl out and give me your opinion on which one I should request from the library??  I would really appreciate it as I can't not participate in Nonfiction November.  I already am adding more nonfiction reads to my TBR list thanks to it.

Plans for the day include a lot of laundry and a lot of blogging.  I really need to work on writing up reviews so I don't end the year with a bunch of books that I never shared my thoughts on.  Again.  I also need to focus on my laundry piles as usual.  I am really looking forward to tonight's episode of The Walking Dead.  And I would love to get some quality reading time on top of all of that.  At least I cleaned house yesterday so I can focus on other things today like reading.  LOL! 

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!