Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"For country-store owner Robbie Jordan, the National Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet escape from late-winter in South Lick, Indiana--until murder saps the life out of the celebration . . .

As Robbie arranges a breakfast-themed cook-off at Pans 'N Pancakes, visitors pour into Brown County for the annual maple extravaganza. Unfortunately, that includes Professor Connolly, a know-it-all academic from Boston who makes enemies everywhere he goes--and this time, bad manners prove deadly. Soon after clashing with several scientists at a maple tree panel, the professor is found dead outside a sugar shack, stabbed to death by a local restaurateur's knife. When an innocent woman gets dragged into the investigation and a biologist mysteriously disappears, Robbie drops her winning maple biscuits to search for answers. But can she help police crack the case before another victim is caught in a sticky situation with a killer?"

My Thoughts:

This cozy mystery series is a personal favorite of mine so I've been waiting impatiently to get my hands on this book.  There is just something so delightful about diving back into this series with each book.  They have almost become comfort reads at this point as I know to expect mouthwatering descriptions of all sorts of food along with a mystery that keeps me guessing.  In this book, Robbie gets involved in the search for a killer after her aunt comes across a body during the Maple Syrup Festival.  Robbie's knack for puzzles and natural curiosity always seem to pull her into investigating which in turn leads her into trouble.  I loved that with this book we got to see all of the characters that we know and love but also were introduced to a few new ones.  My favorite parts of the book though are the times when Robbie is working in her restaurant.  I love the little details that are included about prepping the various foods that she is going to serve.  The times when she is actually working in her restaurant and interacting with her customers are just so fun to read about!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and thought it was another good addition to this series.  I feel like you basically know what you are getting when picking up these books but that isn't a bad thing.  It is just that feeling of visiting with old friends - I look forward to these books so that I can dive into this world once again. It is going to be another long wait for the next book to be released but it will be worth the wait!  I'm actually really excited because it looks like we will be getting the fifth book this year as well.  You can certainly read this book as a standalone but I would recommend reading the series in order if possible.  There are pieces from previous books that you will miss out on otherwise.  Overall, this is a cozy series that I highly recommend!  One of my favorites and one that I wait impatiently for each new book on.

Bottom Line:  Another great addition to one of my favorite cozy mystery series!

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

Biscuits and Slashed Browns was released today on January 30th!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dark River Rising by Roger Johns (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"A tense and expertly-plotted debut mystery set against the bayous of Louisiana.

Baton Rouge Police Detective Wallace Hartman has had better days. With her long-time partner and mentor on medical leave and a personal life in shambles, she’s called to the scene of a particularly gruesome murder: the body of a known criminal has been found in a deserted warehouse, a snake sewn into his belly. Obvious signs of torture point to a cunning and cold-blooded killer who will stop at nothing to find what he’s looking for.

When Federal Agent Mason Cunningham arrives on the scene, Wallace expects a hostile takeover of the case. But when a scientist with ties to the victim goes missing from a government lab, she needs Mason’s federal connections as much as he needs her local insight, and the two form an uneasy partnership to solve a case that grows more complicated—and dangerous—by the minute.

Meanwhile, the killer lurks in the shadows with an agenda no one saw coming, and when Wallace and Mason threaten to get in the way they risk losing everything they hold dear. Including their lives."

My Thoughts:

I picked this book up off of the library new releases shelf purely based off of that cover and the above summary.  I hadn't heard about it previously so it was one of those rare library finds that I can't help but adore when it happens.  It feels like serendipity!  I'm glad that I brought it home with me because I really enjoyed this one.  Wallace is a detective investigating the brutal death of a known drug dealer when Mason enters into her investigation.  He has his own federal investigation relating to drugs as well but they soon find that the two tie in together.  I enjoyed my time reading this book because it was different than the usual mysteries I read.  I mean there was a murder but really they were trying to figure out what was going on in the drug world.  Was there possibly a drug war about to begin?  I also really, really liked both of the main characters.  Wallace has had some bad things happen to her in the past which she is still working on dealing with. And Mason just wasn't your typical federal agent that you read about in other books.  I loved the way that they worked with each other and the relationship that developed between them.  It was all just really great to read about!  I also really appreciated the ending of this book.  I didn't see any of it coming until I was supposed to so I was very surprised by the ending.  I could definitely read more about these characters so I would love if this author made this into a series!  As far as I can tell it is currently just a standalone but I can sure wish otherwise!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would love to read more!  I'm really glad that I decided to bring this one home from the library and didn't let it go back unread.  It was an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to seeing what else this author comes up with in the future.  It had a really great mystery at the heart of it and an ending that I just didn't see coming.  I would recommend this book to both thriller and mystery fans.  It was a great choice and I need more books like this in my life.

Bottom Line:  An enjoyable mystery with characters that I want more of!

Disclosure:  This book came from my local public library.

Edited to add:  I was just on Goodreads and there IS going to be a book two so this will be a series!  2nd book due to release this year!!  I'm pumped!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Swerve by Vicki Pettersson (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"It’s high summer in the Mojave Desert, and Kristine Rush and her fiancé, Daniel, are en route from Las Vegas to Lake Arrowhead, California, for the July Fourth holiday weekend. But when Daniel is abducted from a desolate rest stop, Kristine is forced to choose: return home unharmed, but never to see her fiancé again, or plunge forward into the searing desert to find him…where a killer lies in wait."

My Thoughts:

What a crazily intense way to start out my year of reading in 2018!  I picked up this book expecting a thriller but what I didn't expect was this book.  I don't even have words to describe this one really.  It was so much darker and way more intense than I could have ever guessed.  There were times that I literally had to put this book down and stop reading.  I just couldn't continue as I thought it might end up giving me nightmares.  That's how squicked out I was (not a word but you can tell what I mean by it).  Honestly, this book probably isn't for everyone which is completely okay.  I even marked my copy with a little note of warning as I'm passing it on to my sister to enjoy.  All of that to say though, it was also such a great read!  Easily a four star read and one that I won't be forgetting about anytime soon.  

One of the things that I find most surprising is that this is Pettersson's first thriller.  What a way to begin your mystery writing career!  She actually also has an urban fantasy series that I want to check out but this looks to be the one and only thriller that she has written.  I sure do wish that I had more books to look forward to!  I found this book to be very fast paced and hard to put down.  Sure there were times that I "had" to put it down but by the time I hit the halfway mark, I just couldn't stop reading.  I was at the point where I was this close to reading the ending just to make sure that everything turned out okay.  That's seriously how intense this book was!  I'm not going to say anything more because I really don't want to spoil this book for anyone.  Suffice it to say that it is the following:  crazy, dark, and thrilling to say the least!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and wish that I hadn't waited so long to read it!  It was different than I originally expected it to be but that isn't a bad thing in the slightest.  Instead I got a book that was both dark and twisted - two of my favorite things in a thriller!  I can't recommend this book to everyone as it is a bit violent to say the least and not always an easy read.  But if you want a thriller that is completely different from everything that is currently out there....then this is the book for you.  It was a pretty great way to start off my reading in the new year.  I'm going back to check out this author's other books for sure!  Recommended but be warned that this isn't a book for sensitive readers.

Bottom Line:  A dark, thrilling read!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publishers.  My apologies for waiting until now to read it!  

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Sunday Post #41 (No Sleep 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 writing up this post on Saturday evening as I have a sleepover in progress for my youngest and won't be getting sleep anytime soon.  I figured now would be the perfect time to get some blogging in ahead of the game as tomorrow all I'm going to want to do is relax.  That's not going to happen but hey...a girl can always dream!  It's my youngest son's birthday today - he is eight years old.  It's entirely too crazy to think how fast the time has gone but he is a great kid who completes our crazy family.  He is having a great birthday with lots of friends to hang with for the night.  Good times for them...no sleep for me.  LOL!

Life went back to normal this week with work, overtime, practices, and more.  This is technically our "quieter" time when it comes to sports but that honestly doesn't mean too much.  My oldest has football lifting four days a week.  My daughter has softball practice two days a week and then my youngest has basketball practice one night.  That's not counting basketball games on Sunday as well.  I'm tired just typing it.  I still managed to have another great week of reading though so that's a win!  I finished two more books which puts me at six books read for the year already.  Who is this girl???  I've now read four books that count towards #COYER Winter Switch.  My goal is ten books read so I'm getting there but need to focus on reading my e-books a bit more often if I want to meet that goal.  Exercise-wise I ran once but did exercises (sit-ups, etc) two other nights so that's definitely better than last week!  I'll probably take next week off of running entirely and just focus on my other exercises instead.  But on to the books!  Here is what I finished last week:

A Whisper of Bones by Ellen Hart is book #4 read for #COYER Winter Switch.  It was an enjoyable read and has me excited to now go back to the beginning of this long running series.  Also it features a lesbian main character if you are looking to diversify your reading a bit.  I won't be sharing my thoughts on this one until February since that is closer to when this book releases.

Montana Heat: Escape to You by Jennifer Ryan was a mixed bag for me.  I enjoyed parts of it and some of it not so much.  I liked it enough that I want to read more by this author so not all bad but not all good either.  I'll try to explain it a bit better in my review.  It was a good change of pace switching to a romance after finishing a couple of mysteries though.  I'm going to try to do that more often this year!

I'm now currently reading the following:

Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley is my current print read.  I've been wanting to read this one every since I first heard about it.  I've just barely begun but I can already tell that I'm going to like it.  This is my first book by Ashley despite my having her other series on my TBR list for some time now.  Look For Me by Lisa Gardner will be my next Kindle read.  I haven't actually started reading it yet but it is definitely up next.  Two years ago I read and loved Find Me by this author (it was a top ten read for me).  This book features some of the same characters and I'm so excited to read it!  I have very high hopes for both of these books!

New Additions:


I've been a bit horrible this week when it comes to new books as you can see.  And this is the reason why my NetGalley ratio never seems to get any better....I just keep requesting more.  Sigh.  I think that I need #COYER to be a year long challenge at the rate that I'm going.  There are just SO MANY good books though!  And I want to read them all!  (Please know that I'm shaking my head at myself over here LOL!)

Plans for tomorrow (or today when you are reading this) include a nap for sure!  We have a basketball game to go to for my youngest and laundry to be done as always.  Other than that, I'm leaving everything off of my schedule so that I can just relax.  I'll probably try to spend as much time as possible curled up with my book because that sounds just about perfect!  In reality I will spend at least part of my day putting my house back in order.  It will be worth it though as I love to start the week with a clean (or semi-clean) house.  I'll be by to visit with all of you throughout the week!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia's teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it."

My Thoughts:

This book was by far the darkest and most thrilling book that I finished in 2017!  It was so very intense and a complete page turner!  I picked this book up finally thanks my personal TBR challenge - it's the first book that I've read off of my list of TBR reads.  It was so unbelievably good and I'm kicking myself for waiting until now to read it!  I've now read three books by Slaughter and she has jumped on to my must read everything she writes list!  She definitely writes books that are on the darker side so they won't be for everyone.  They are my kind of books though as I couldn't get enough of this one!  I found myself completely immersed in this book from the very beginning.  The thing about reading it was that you just never knew what was going to happen next.  The author had me twisting and turning right along with the characters - I just couldn't stop reading because of it!  I found myself so immersed in this book trying to figure out what was going on!   And how it was all going to end - I just didn't want to stop reading.  I'm trying not to go into too much detail as I don't want to give anything away.  This is a book that you just need to read and experience for yourself!  The book begins when Claire's husband is killed which in itself is a pretty intense moment and literally doesn't stop from there.  I'm just basically gushing at this point but it was just that good!

Overall, this book easily ended up on my top reads list for 2017 as I absolutely loved it!  Not sure exactly what that says about me considering the subject matter and how dark the book was but there you have it.  This is one of those thrillers that I won't be forgetting about any time soon.  It was intense and heart pounding but just oh so good!  I'm really glad that this challenge finally helped me to pull this one off of my TBR list.  It's been on there since August of 2015 according to Goodreads.  Yikes!   I would recommend this one to fans of thrillers and mysteries a like.  Just be warned that there is some difficult subject matter and that this is an author not afraid to pull punches with her main characters.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  Heart-stoppingly good!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley - my review copy expired a long time ago so I read a library copy.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost...

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa's skin. Everything she has buried - her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother's death - threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself...and return to the darkness she's been hiding from for years."

My Thoughts:

I absolutely love when I find a new mystery series to follow and enjoy!  I am such a sucker for a good mystery so as soon as I found about this book I just knew that I had to read it.  It was just as good as I had hoped it would be after reading that description.  One of the things that I just can never seem to get enough of are books where the main characters have dark pasts that they need to overcome.  This book pulled me into it from the very beginning.  Elsa is joining in on the hunt for a missing girl while she is also trying to deal with the fact that her father is dying.  She is struggling with memories from her childhood alongside of all of this.  All of this was enough to really suck me into this story!  I just couldn't stop reading.  I found that Elsa had a few similarities to the main character in Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects in the way that she dealt with things that happened to her in her childhood (and whose name completely escapes me).  In both cases, it really set a darker tone to the books than I had previously expected.  I really enjoy darker mysteries so this was just one of the reasons why I enjoyed this book so much!  I also really enjoyed the way that this author ended this book even though I found that not all of it was a surprise to me.  There were things that I may have saw coming but it didn't matter because by then I was so invested on seeing how everything would turn out.  

Overall, I found this to be a thrilling mystery that I just didn't want to set down.  I sometimes feel like I read slower on my Kindle (not sure why or if that is really even true) but that certainly wasn't the case with this book.  I just didn't want to stop reading!  I liked that I was so pulled into the mystery portion of this book, but really it was the characters that I came to care about.  That's why I'm so excited that this is just the first book in a planned series because I loved the characters and want more!  I will certainly be waiting impatiently to get my hands on book two!  I'm really glad that I didn't wait too long to read this book because this is an author to watch in my opinion.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A solid beginning to this new series!  I need more!

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

This book was published on January 2nd 2018 if you are interested!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Sunday Post #40 (All The Holds)

"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!  It's a gloomy, cold winter morning here but I've got coffee and the 5th Harry Potter movie on which makes everything better.  It was a busy past week as we all returned to our normal routines.  Now having a three day weekend makes it all seem just a little bit better after returning to our normal full schedule.  I'm working tomorrow but only for as many hours as I feel like.  I'm really pushing to get the overtime hours in when and where I can.  I kind of slid off the exercising bandwagon last week.  I ran once (last Sunday) and then that was it.  It goes to show me that I will really need to focus on running/working out on the nights where the kids don't have practices even if those are the nights I usually work late.  I'm going to try and hit my three workouts this week by really buckling down and getting them in when I can.  Hold me accountable!

In reading news, I managed to finish two more books this week which means the Bout of Books read-a-thon was a success.  I didn't participate too much social media wise but I did read, read, read!  I could get behind reading two books every week if I could keep this up.  I went to the library yesterday and brought home five new library books thanks to all of my holds coming in at once.  This added to an already towering stack of books that I already had checked out.  I'm swimming in all of the books right now which makes it so hard to choose what to read next!  It's not a bad thing so I'm not complaining - I just haven't yet decided which one to start reading first as my new print read.  Last week though I finished the following books:

A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis begins a new mystery series and I really loved it!  This was my 3rd book for #COYERWinterSwitch and it was such a great read.  I'm super excited that it is the first in what is planned to be a series as I really can't wait to read more!  I'll be writing up my thoughts on this one hopefully for this week since it just released this month.

Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell is the 8th book in this series which is an absolute favorite of mine.  I pulled this book off of my own shelves and it was a great choice as always.  This wasn't my favorite book in the series (I would probably only rate it 4 stars instead of 5) but it was still a really great read.  This series really has become a treat for me to read though!  I will also work on writing up my thoughts on this one soon.

I'm now currently reading the following:

A Whisper of Bones is my current Kindle read and one that I'm about 30% into so far.  As usual I'm starting smack dab in the middle of a series (apparently this is book #25) but that hasn't bothered me in the slightest.  I'm actually really intrigued already and excited to continue reading it later this afternoon.  No print read yet as I'm just not sure which library book to read next but I'm sure I will figure it out soon.

New Additions:

I'm most excited for It All Falls Down by Sheena Kamal as this is the sequel to a book that I loved last year.  I just cannot wait to begin reading it although it doesn't release until July so I'll try to wait awhile before I begin.  That review copy is courtesy of Edelweiss and the rest are from NetGalley.  See why I need the #COYER reading challenges so much?!? 

Plans for today include a basketball game for the youngest and not much else.  The usual everyday Sunday things including laundry and reading.  I'm hoping to do a little meal prep for the week as I'm also trying to eat healthier.  I need to work on writing up reviews so that I'm not just writing posts on Sundays for the rest of the week.  It would be really nice to get ahead and maybe even have the entire month prepped ahead of time.  A girl can certainly dream!  I would also like to fit a run in if I have the chance later on.  I'm off to go clean the kitchen up so.....

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Final Girls by Riley Sager (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished."

My Thoughts:

Final Girls was on my radar to read before it was even released which makes it so crazy that I waited until now to read this book!  I read that premise and just KNEW that this was a book that I had to read.  Let me tell you though that this book deserves all of the hype and praise that it has gotten!  This was one whirlwind of a ride and a book that I won't be forgetting about any time soon!  I'm not going to lie - I picked this book up with pretty high expectations after seeing so many other readers love this one.  Happily enough this book was able to live up to those high expectations and so much more.  I picked this book up and was basically hooked from page one.  I found myself unable to set it down and really didn't want to.  For me, this was one of those books where I just had to see what was going to happen next.  And even when Quincy was making stupid choices, I didn't want to stop reading. 

One of the things that I loved most about this book was the horror vibe that it had going on.  I'm not a huge horror movie fan but I've watched enough of those types of movies to recognize that same feel in this book.  It really added this layer of suspense and tension to the story!  I also really enjoyed the fact that as the reader I didn't know whether or not to trust Sam and her intentions.  I'm pretty sure that isn't a spoiler as it is alluded to in the above summary.  Books where you aren't sure who to trust are basically my reader catnip.  I just cannot resist books like this!  I found myself just so completely caught up within the pages of this book.  I can't say it any better than that!  And that ending was just absolutely not what I was expecting in the least!  I am being very careful here as I don't want to overshare and spoil anything but wow, wow, wow!  I loved the way that this book ended and I won't say any more than that.

This book was easily a five star read for me and made my top reads list for 2017!  It was such an intense reading experience!  I will be reading anything/everything that this author writes after loving this book so much.  What makes it even better is that he has a new book releasing in 2018 for me to look forward to!  I read this one in a matter of a few days because I just couldn't stop reading and had to see how it would all end.  It was a wild ride and one that I won't be forgetting about any time soon.  I would highly, highly recommend this book!  Such a great read!

Bottom Line:  One of the best thrillers that I read it 2017!

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

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"For most of her adult life, resourceful caterer Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford home. While the native New Yorker has come to know the region well, she isn’t familiar with Havencrest, a privileged enclave, until the owner of Rowan House, a secluded sprawling Arts & Crafts mansion, calls her about catering a weekend house party.

Producer/director of a string of hit musicals, Max Dane—a Broadway legend—is throwing a lavish party to celebrate his seventieth birthday. At the house as they discuss the event, Faith’s client makes a startling confession. “I didn’t hire you for your cooking skills, fine as they may be; but for your sleuthing ability. You see, one of the guests wants to kill me.”

Faith’s only clue is an ominous birthday gift the man received the week before—an empty casket sent anonymously containing a 20-year-old Playbill from Max’s last, and only failed, production—Heaven Or Hell. Consequently, Max has drawn his guest list for the party from the cast and crew. As the guests begin to arrive one by one, and an ice storm brews overhead, Faith must keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain.

Full of delectable recipes, brooding atmosphere, and Faith’s signature biting wit, The Body in The Casket is a delightful thriller that echoes the beloved mysteries of Agatha Christie and classic films such as Murder by Death and Deathtrap."

My Thoughts:

This series is a favorite of mine even though I'm reading the books completely out of order at this point.  It's funny because I started with the first book like most readers would do and then jumped ahead to the 23rd book in the series.  Here I am now having finished the 24th book and even though I've read them out of order, this series has still become a personal favorite of mine.  What I love about these books is just the normal, every day feel to them (besides the fact that there is usually a murder or mystery involved).  I get so caught up with these characters and their lives - I find it just so fun to read about!  This book was different than the other two books that I've read in this series because a murder hasn't actually happened.  Instead Faith is asked to investigate and basically help prevent a murder from happening.  This book was really fun to read!  It had the feel of the game Clue - was it going to be Ms. Scarlett in the study with the candlestick?  I loved playing this game when I was younger so I was delighted that this book had that same kind of feel at times.  I do feel at times that I'm missing out a bit from not having read the previous books in this series.  The author throws out references here and there from those earlier books and it makes me want to have read them all.  It doesn't affect my enjoyment of the book overall, I just know that I'm missing things that I wouldn't if I had read those books as well.  It sure gives me a reason to work on catching up on this series in 2018!  

Overall, I found this book to be another enjoyable addition to this mystery series!  I really enjoyed the set up for this book and thought that it added a different level of tension compared to other more typical mysteries that I have read.  I will say that there were a lot of other different storylines with this book that at first I had a hard time following along with.  Halfway through though, I was fully invested in each and eager to see how everything was going to turn out.  I would be remiss if I also didn't mention how much I enjoy the references to Faith's cooking in these books.  Mysteries that include food seem to be a favorite of mine that I can't get enough of!  I wish that I was half as good of a cook as Faith is!  I can easily recommend both this series and this book though!  I don't plan on waiting too long before I move on to book two in this series!

Bottom Line:  A solid mystery that added to my love of this series!

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

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Sunday Post #39 (Reading in the New Year)

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!  It's that first Sunday post of the year which is always fun to write (when I'm still working hard on holding myself accountable).  I feel like it was a pretty solid week for me.  I went back to work after ten glorious days off.  It was hard to go back but the shortened week and no overtime needed made it much easier.  This week though I jump back in full force with business required overtime and a full week.  It's going to be busy to say the least!  I ran twice last week which I was pretty happy about.  I have a personal goal to lose weight and get healthier in 2018 which I really need to make happen.  Although I was hoping to run at least three times per week, I did get off the couch and actually run so I'm counting it as a win.  I'm planning on a run sometime this afternoon which will get this week started off right as well!

I also had a solid start to my reading in 2018.  I finished two books this week - go me!  My Goodread's goal for 2018 is to finish 75 books.  I really struggled with my reading numbers last year so I'm hoping to do so much better in the new year.  I'm participating in a month long read-a-thon and on top of that tomorrow begins the Bout of Books read-a-thon.  I feel like these will really motivate me to read more and stay off my phone less!  2018 is going to be an amazing year of reading!  The books that I finished reading last week were:

Swerve by Vicki Pettersson was my first read of 2018.  It was a review copy off of my shelves that has been sitting there for a ridiculous length of time.  This book was intense!  Like, this book is going to give me nightmares and I'm setting it down for now intense.  It was a dark and haunting read - and I'm really glad that I finally took the time to read it!  It doesn't look like this author has written any other thrillers since then which is a shame but I will be checking her other books out!  Review to come soon.

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs was the absolute perfect choice to pick after finishing such a dark and twisted thriller!  I adore the Mercy Thompson series so much and this book was another great addition to that series.  It was also pulled off of my own shelves so bonus!  I gobbled this one up and cannot wait to continue on with the next book sometime soon!  I will be sharing my thoughts on this one soon as well.

I'm now currently reading the following:

A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis is my first 2018 read on my kindle and a review copy.  I'm only about 10% into this one so far but I'm already hooked.  I'm hoping to spend sometime this afternoon curled up with this book.  I don't have a print read going yet as I can't seem to decide on which one to choose.  I also need to figure out my first nonfiction read for the new year.  So many choices though....it makes it so hard to settle on one!

New additions:

Both of these are thanks to NetGalley.  I'm really, really trying my hardest to not request so many books from there but we will see how long that lasts.  I obviously couldn't resist these two though - LOL!

Plans for today include laundry first and foremost.  My youngest has two basketball games this afternoon so we will be leaving my warm house for those (always fun to watch!).  I need to fit a run in for sure.  Other than all of that, I just hope to relax and work on writing up some reviews.  I already have the above two books that need reviews plus some remaining reviews from 2017 reads.  I'm going to be a busy girl!  In between all of that, I will be curling up with my book as much as possible!  I'm off to get my day started.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Reading Plans 2018 (Bout of Books, 2018 Reading, and Winter's Respite)

The next Bout of Books read-a-thon is coming up and I'm super excited to join in on the fun.  I think that I've participated in this read-a-thon the last three years in a row at least.  It is always a good way to get my reading started off right in the new year!  If you haven't yet had the chance to participate in Bout of Books before now, here are the rules:

 "The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team"

I would love to finish at least two books for this challenge.  Since I'm writing this post a bit earlier than usual, I'm not really for sure what I plan on reading yet.  These two are definite possibilities though as I'm hoping to read both of them this month:

It will all depend on what I actually finish reading this first week of the new year - I'll post updates on Litsy and Twitter of what books I actually end up reading during this read-a-thon.  I'm really looking forward to it though and cannot wait to begin!

I've previously talked about my TBR challenge that I'm doing in 2018 which is a personal challenge.  I'm also planning on a 2018 releases challenge (which will also be personal).  The plan is I have a list of 30 books being published in 2018 that I want to read.  For every book that I read off of this list, I'll add a new release in it's place.  Participating in both of these personal challenges will help to give my 2018 reading a variety of backlist reads along with new releases.  The best of both worlds if I do say so myself!  I will also be creating a page to list out all of my 2018 releases that I'm wanting to read if you are interested.

The final change to my 2018 reading that I'm hoping to put into place is really stretching my reading limits.  I read a TON of mysteries and thrillers last year.  I would say that the majority of the books that I read were books that were part of a series.  I'm fine with both of those things alone but I also really want to stretch myself as a reader.  I want to expand my reading horizons and that means trying new things.  It means reading more nonfiction (in 2017 I finished 3 nonfiction reads which is a pretty low number; but also a really great number for me considering there were many years where I didn't read any nonfiction books).  It also means participating in read-alongs, focusing on reading books featuring diverse characters or written by diverse authors, and just picking up books that I normally might not.  Reading different genres is also something that I want to do more of!  In the spirit of all of this, I have signed up for a read-along of the following book on Litsy:

I know absolutely nothing about this book other than it was one of the choices for the Book of the Month club.  I went ahead and put it on hold at the library anyways because this is the year where I'm going to try something different.  And for me, this is definitely outside of what I would normally read.  I'll keep you updated with the different books that I read but I'm hoping to become a much more well-rounded reader in 2018!

Finally, I'm also signing up to participate in the Winter's Respite read-a-thon which goes through the entire month of January.  There are no rules to participating besides read, read, read.  I'm planning on using this read-a-thon to help me get some quality reading done in January while also making progress on the #COYER Winter Switch challenge that I'm participating in.  I'm really hoping that month long read-a-thon will start my 2018 reading year off on the right foot with tons of great books!

Enough rambling, I'm off to get some quality reading done but let me know what your reading plans/goals are for 2018!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…"

My Thoughts:

What a way to end my reading year in 2017!  I was literally sitting in bed last night thinking about what I wanted to say about this book in my review (yes, I'm crazy like that!).  It was such a wild reading experience and way more intense than I expected.  The book starts with Cass seeing a woman in a car on the side of the road.  The next day she wakes up to find that the woman has been brutally murdered.  Cass doesn't share with anyone that she saw the woman before she was killed which means that she is keeping this huge secret.  Add to that the fact that she also seems to be having memory issues - forgetting things more often then is normal and doing things that she doesn't remember having done later on.  She begins to think that the murderer is possibly after her which sets her even more on edge.  And from there everything really seems to spiral out of her control.  I was of two minds reading this book which is why it is almost so hard to share my thoughts on it.  For a good portion of the book, I was just so completely frustrated by Cass and her lack of control with everything.  I kept putting the book down and then picking it up five minutes later because I also didn't want to stop reading.  It was like a constant tug of war to see what was going to happen next along with the desire to kick the main character so she would do something already.  LOL!  The only book that I can possibly compare my reading experience to was The Girl on the Train but I liked this one more than I did the other.  I did have that same feeling though of just wanting to shake the main character in order to get her to wake up already!

I'm going to get slightly spoiler-ey here so just a word of warning if you haven't yet had the chance to read this book - you might want to stop reading.  Obviously this book made me feel all of the emotions which led to quite the reading experience!  What really made me love this book though was the last quarter of it when Cass started to really stand on her own two feet.  This had me cheering inside because this was really what I had been waiting for.  It's funny because I feel like I guessed early on a part of what was possibly going on, but I was still so invested in seeing how this book was going to play out.  It was a page turner and a reading experience that I won't be forgetting about any time soon!  I peeked to see other reader's reactions and it looks like people either loved it or hated it.  I can see both opinions because really my emotions were all over the place when reading this one.  Ultimately this book will end up being a four star read for me for those reasons alone.  Any book that can make me react and feel like this deserves those four stars!

Overall this book was a way more intense reading experience than I expected.  It was absolutely a great way to end my reading year because this isn't a book that I will be forgetting about any time soon.  I am so completely excited to read more by this author!  She has a new book coming this year that I'm going to have to get my hands on plus I haven't yet read her first book.  Eek!  I love when I find new authors with books to look forward to!  I can definitely recommend this one - be warned that you aren't going to want to put it down though!  I'm still feeling the after effects from finishing this one!

Bottom Line:  An absolutely thrilling read!

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

Monday, January 1, 2018

Top Ten Reads of 2017

2017 seems to have flown by and here we are again with the best of lists coming out all over the place.  I absolutely adore seeing what books other bloggers loved in 2017.  My holds list at the library is a bit ridiculous thanks to all of these posts but I just can't seem to resist putting just one more book on hold.  It wasn't my best year of reading but quality wise it was a very strong year.  I ended up finishing 59 books in 2017.  This wasn't my lowest year numbers wise but it was pretty darn close to it.  I'm already looking towards ways of changing this in 2018 but that is for a different post.  I read a ton of really great books this year (actually the majority of the books I read were four star reads) so that makes me very happy.  My top reads for 2017 were the following:

The Doll's House by M.J. Arlidge is book three in this amazing series and also makes this the 3rd year in a row that this series has hit my top 10 reads list.  I am such a huge fan of this series and each book has been a five star read for me.  That should tell you all that you need to know - this is a must read series for me to catch up on in the new year!

Two Can Play by Kate Kessler is the second book in what is fast becoming another favorite mystery series of mine.  The cover quote says "Deliciously twisted" and I can't agree more!  While I think the first book was slightly better than this one, I still found this to be a five star read.  Audrey's character is a favorite of mine and I can't wait to continue on with this series in 2018 as well!

A Twist of the Knife by Becky Masterman was yet another amazing read by this author.  This is also the 3rd year in a row that this series has hit my top 10 reads list - I'm a lucky girl to have found so many great series that I love so much!  I haven't yet seen anything for the next book in the series but I sure do have my fingers crossed that it happens in 2018!

Dark Saturday by Nicci French was a dark, thrilling read that I couldn't get enough of!  This is my first time reading anything in this series (of which I read this one completely out of order).  It was just so good and now I plan to go back to the beginning and read the rest of the books in this series.  I loved this one and can't wait to read more!

Cause of Death by Patricia Cornwell wasn't the only book in this series that I read and adored in 2017.  I would actually have put both books on this list but I'm cheating and just including this one (the other was From Potter's Field).  Both were fast paced and intense five star reads for me.  This is a series that I can't read fast enough but am also trying to savor.  Highly recommended!

Asylum by Jeannette De Beauvoir was a mystery series were the dual storylines ended up blowing me away - especially after realizing that the author based this book off of true events.  It was a book that left me thinking about it long after I finished.  There looks to only be two books in this series so far but I won't be waiting long to read that 2nd book in 2018!

Into The Drowning Deep by Mira Grant was everything that I had hoped it would be and even more.  I've loved Grant's Newflesh trilogy previously and after loving this book just as much....well, I basically feel like I will love everything that she writes!  I cannot say enough good things about this book or this author.  You'll just have to try her for yourself!

Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary was the beginning to a new to me mystery series that I just adored!  I am so thrilled that I have more books to look forward to after loving this book so much!  It was unexpected in the way that the author handled the mystery but I loved this book all the more because of it.  I will be continuing on with this series in 2018!

Final Girls by Riley Sager was everything that I enjoy in a good thriller - it was dark, intense, and one of those books that I just couldn't put down!  It had a horror movie vibe to it that I just couldn't get enough of.  I am so excited about this author and will be there for anything that he writes!  This was just that good and deserving of all of the attention that it got!

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter wins the award for the darkest and most thrilling book that I read this year (which says something after you've seen some of the other books that I've read in 2017).  This book was just so completely intense and full of twists and turns.  Slaughter's books are all now on my must read list after reading and loving two of her books this year.

There are so many amazing books on this list!  I plan on reading books by ALL of these authors in 2018!  There were so many other books that I read in 2017 that I really could have included on this list as well.  The following are honorable mentions (*by authors not included above):
  • All The Secret Places by Anna Carlisle 
  • The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal
  • A Season to Lie by Emily Littlejohn
  • The Breakdown by B.A. Shapiro
I better stop there or I will end up listing the majority of the books that I read and enjoyed in 2017.  I am hoping for a better year quantity wise in 2018 but I would love to have just as great of a year quality wise.  I plan on stretching myself in 2018 with my reading so here is to a wonderful year in books in 2018!  May you and your family have an amazing and wonderful year in 2018!

Happy Reading!