Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Sunday Post #53 (2019 Goals Edition)

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme"

Happy Sunday everyone!  We are in the last Sunday of 2018 which basically means that I've been thinking about my reading goals for the upcoming year for weeks.  Yep, I'm a bit nutty like that!  In 2018, I focused on tracking my reading with a goal of 75 books read.  I'm not going to make it but I came close at 71 books read for the year.  I've been tracking my reading now since I started my blog and I think this number is pretty average to what I usually read.  Last year I only finished 59 books but the two years before I finished 80 each year.  I have never quite hit that golden number of 100 yet - the closest I have come is back in 2009 when I was able to finish 93 books.  I really haven't come that close since then.  I'm planning on working on wrapping up my 2018 reading year in a different post hopefully in the coming week.  I will also be sharing my top reads for 2018 soon as well.  Even though I don't think that I'll finish another book this year, I will wait until January 1st just to be sure.

Back to my reading goals for 2019 though!  I feel like I had a solid year of reading in 2018 so I would like to continue that trend in the new year.  I haven't quite settled on my Goodreads goal yet - do I aim high and shoot for an eighty book year which is more than I read this year?  Or do I lower my goal so that I am able to put less pressure on myself number wise and put more of a focus on the quality of what I'm reading?  Honestly, I just want to enjoy what I'm reading so really I'm not too stressed otherwise.  I do have some reading goals that I would like to meet though which include the following:

  • Read one book a month from my TBR list - I did this in 2018 as well and was moderately successful.  I created a list of 50 books that had been on my TBR list since at least 2017 (no new 2018 releases included) and used the random number generator to pick a book off of my list to read.  I just didn't consistently try to read a book off of this list as much as I hoped that I would.  For the new year I have bumped up that list of books to one hundred and added any 2018 releases that I wanted to read but didn't get to.  I'm really hoping to make a dent in my TBR pile with this goal.  My first book for this goal in the new year will be Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower which is the beginning to a cozy mystery series that I've been wanting to try!
  • Read more nonfiction - I add nonfiction books to my TBR list at an alarming rate when you consider how little of it I actually end up reading during the year.  I only read one nonfiction book this past year which is just pitiful.  There are SO many great sounding nonfiction reads out there so I really want to make an effort to read more of them in the new year!
  • Share about each book that I read - This is one goal that I really, really want to focus on in the new year!  I've been horrible in writing up reviews this year and sharing my thoughts on books.  Honestly, I'm hoping that I'll continue working on catching up with my 2018 reviews in the new year but who knows if that will actually happen.  I would really like to do better with this in 2019!  Now that I'm on Instagram I'm also hoping to share about EVERY book that I read there as well as on Litsy!  I don't feel the need to write up reviews for rereads or books that are part of long series but I would like to share about them on these sites.  
And that's just about it!  There are other things - focus on reading more diversely and stretching my reading a bit more.....but these are my main three goals.  I'm going to continue to reread and binge on my favorite series.  I'm going to continue to switch up genres and try to keep my reading feeling fresh.  I'm sure that I'm going to try and read the many 2019 releases that sound absolutely amazing (and are already adding to my TBR list).  I love the fresh start feeling that a new year always brings!  And I'm excited to bring that feeling to my reading in the new year!  What goals do you have for your reading in the new year?

A quick reading update though before I wrap this post up...

The Long Goodnight (The Grimm Files) by Selene Charles will most likely be my last read of 2018.  I am such a HUGE fan of this series at this point and am anxiously awaiting the third book.  I'll be sharing my thoughts on this one soon but I recommend it!

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen will be my first read of 2019 but I'm starting it this afternoon.  The hype on this one is huge so I can't wait to check it out for myself!  I received a copy of this book from the publisher and have been saving it to read until closer to the release date.  This book releases in January so I'm ready to finally crack it open and jump in.  I'm in the mood for a good thriller so I'm excited to begin!

I'm off to relax for the day!  I just want to wish all of you a wonderful year in 2019!  Thank you for always stopping by and commenting - and just being my reading friends!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

It's A Charmed Life (The Grimm Chronicles) by Selene Charles (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Welcome to a world of fantasy, fairy tales, and murder most foul... 

My name's Elle. Princess Arielle, for those who know about my past. Cursed by my own father, now I'm banished to Grimm. I'm a siren, killer, and one of the best damned cold-case detectives in all of the bloody realms. I don't stop until I discover the truth, no matter where that truth leads.

My next case sends me to Wonderland, a harrowing place of madness and dark secrets. I'd rather be landlocked than step foot on that tainted soil, but I don't have a choice after discovering Alice's bloodstained ribbon and a bandicoot's claw covered in blood beside two stiff's at the Charming's sprawling castle. My insatiable thirst for truth leads to a conspiracy that will not only rock the Grimm world but also my own.

No one ever walks away from Wonderland unscathed... No one."

My Thoughts:

I am so, so excited to have found this series and to have read this book!  I picked this one up thanks to reading another blogger that I trust's thoughts on the second book (I believe), and was just so intrigued by the sound of it.  I instantly downloaded a copy to my kindle and didn't look back.  This was such a fun read but it's going to be kind of hard for me to describe.  Take all of the fairy tale characters (and even worlds) that you know and love, then twist them into something different, darker, and edgier.  That's basically the best way that I can describe this book.  Let me just tell you that I loved every minute of it!  Our main character is Elle - or Arielle from the Little Mermaid (kinda sorta) if you are keeping track - but in this book she is basically a badass detective who has been banished from her kingdom for unknown reasons.  She has to go Wonderland during her current investigation which is a dark and dangerous place.  There's even the Mad Hatter and the Hare except the Hatter is a handsome investigator for Wonderland who has visions of the future and past.  I could keep going but I'm sure you get the point by now.  Nothing is as you expect it might be, and one of the best things about this book was just seeing what this author did with all of the fairy tale characters.  She created her own world with some of these well known but albeit very different characters.  And I just could not get enough of it!!  I plowed through the pages of this book and enjoyed every minute of it!  I just had to see how everything was going to turn out!  There is quite the chemistry between Elle and Hatter which I'm looking forward to seeing continued on in future books (I hope!).  I don't know what else to say besides read this one!  It's SO good!

Overall, I obviously enjoyed myself immensely while reading this book.  I've actually already started reading the second book in the series because I just needed more time with these characters and this world.  The only downside is that I'm going to have to wait for book three (please say there is going to be a book three).  Luckily, it does look like this author has other series that I can check out to tide me over.  Fair warning that the author ties up the ending of this book perfectly....but....she gives you a hook that makes you instantly want to jump into the next book.  Which I obviously did!  I would recommend this book to fans of the paranormal, urban fantasy, and fairy tales in general.  Half of the fun is just seeing the different characters and aspects that she incorporates into the story!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  This was honestly such a great beginning to this new series that I couldn't get enough!

Disclosure:  I read my copy of this book thanks to my Kindle Unlimited membership.  Thoughts are my own!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

I've Got You Under My Skin by Mary Higgins Clark (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"When Laurie Moran's husband was brutally murdered, only three-year-old Timmy saw the face of his father's killer. Five years later his piercing blue eyes still haunt Timmy's dreams. Laurie is haunted by more: the killer's threat to her son as he fled the scene: Tell your mother she's next, then it's your turn . .

Now Laurie is dealing with murder again, this time as the producer of a true-crime, cold-case television show. The series will launch with the twenty-year-old unsolved murder of Betsy Powell. Betsy, a socialite, was found suffocated in her bed after a gala celebrating the graduation of her daughter and three friends. The sensational murder was news nationwide. Reopening the case in its lavish setting and with the cooperation of the surviving guests that night, Laurie is sure to have a hit on her hands. But when the estranged friends begin filming, it becomes clear each is hiding secrets . . . small and large.

And a pair of blue eyes is watching events unfold, too . . ."

My Thoughts:

It has been entirely too long since I read a book by Mary Higgins Clark!  Honestly I didn't even realize that she had a series of books out until I saw someone (no clue who now) who was talking about the most recent book maybe.  I was instantly intrigued and had to grab a copy of this book from the library.  I'm so glad that I did because this book was everything that I love about this author and the books she writes!  One of the things that I've always enjoyed about her books is how easily they suck me and how suspenseful they are!  The short chapters from multiple viewpoints always keep me reading way longer than I ever intend to.  I breezed through the pages of this book completely caught up within the mystery.  I spent the entire time I was reading it trying to figure out the killer only to be wrong and surprised by the ending.  I also really enjoyed that in this book there was the secondary mystery of who killed Laurie's husband.  That storyline added a few creepy moments for me while reading because I was so worried over how everything was going to turn out!  When I finished I was left so excited to have started this series and ready to continue on!  What an enjoyable mystery this was!

Overall I really enjoyed my time with this book, and am super excited to pick up the second book in the near future.  This was the mystery that I was looking for without really realizing it - it was a great change pace from some of the darker thrillers that I've been reading lately.  There's just something about Ms. Clark's books that I enjoy so much.  I'm really excited to be diving back into her backlist again!  I would recommend this book to fans of mysteries and suspense.  This is an easy recommend on my part!

Bottom Line:  An enjoyable mystery that kept me guessing until the very last pages!

Disclosure:  I checked out this book from my local library.  Thoughts are my own!   

Thursday, December 13, 2018

How To Save an Undead Life by Hailey Edwards (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Grier Woolworth spends her nights weaving spooky tales of lost souls and tragedies for tourists on the streets of downtown Savannah. Hoop skirt and parasol aside, it’s not a bad gig. The pay is crap, but the tips keep the lights on in her personal haunted mansion and her pantry stocked with ramen. 

Life is about as normal as it gets for an ex-necromancer hiding among humans. Until the society that excommunicated Grier offers her a second chance at being more than ordinary. Too bad no one warned her the trouble with being extraordinary is it can get you killed. 

Warning: This book contains one ex-con/ex-heiress with a pet zombie parakeet who lives next door to her ex-army/ex-crush. Brace yourself, we’re talking more exes than a pirate treasure map here."

My Thoughts:

Let me just start off by saying how Kindle Unlimited has filled a hole in my reading life that I didn't even realize that I had!  I'm absolutely adoring the new paranormal/urban fantasy series that I'm finding thanks to it!  This is one of those gems and I'm just thrilled about it!  I've actually seen a lot of readers talking about this author's books but hadn't had the chance to give her a try myself until now.  How To Save an Undead Life is everything that I enjoy in an urban fantasy read.  It had a main character that I couldn't get enough of as well as all of the paranormal elements that I love to read about!  Grier was previously an assistant necromancer until things went very wrong, and she was thrown into a type of "paranormal prison" is the best way I can describe it.  She's out now but is still trying to deal with everything she went through during that time.  Her life is about to get a bit more complicated though as she is being pursued by vampires and doesn't know the reasoning behind it.  And the book basically just goes from there!  I flew through the pages of this book (well swiped through the pages I guess you could say as fast I could).  It was fast paced and suspenseful which kept me reading nonstop.  The author does a good job explaining this new world that she is creating without overwhelming you with the details.  Plus, there are great secondary characters that I couldn't get enough of.  What else could you possibly want in a book like this?? Maybe a haunted house with an actual personality of its' own?  Check that one off your list because this book has that as well!  I'm telling you I just enjoyed this book so much for all of these reasons!  

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book immensely!  It has been really great to dive in and find some new paranormal series like this!  Although the author ties this book up quite nicely at the end, you know there is more to come.  I'm really looking forward to it!  I cannot wait to see what kind of trouble and adventures Grier finds herself caught up in next!  I'm actually itching to get my hands on that second book so I don't think that I will be waiting long before continuing on with this series.  The added bonus is that there looks like she has other series out there that I can check out as well!  My kindle is going to be overflowing but I'm loving every minute of it!  I would recommend this book to fans of paranormal and urban fantasy!  And I can easily recommend it!

Bottom Line:  A fast paced and fun beginning to this series that has me craving more books just like it!

Disclosure:  I read this book thanks to my Kindle Unlimited membership.  Thoughts are my own!

If you are a Kindle Unlimited reader (I'm a newbie) what other books and series do you recommend that I check out?  It doesn't have to be paranormal but I'll take all of the recommendations that I can get!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Watch the Girls by Jennifer Wolfe (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

Washed up teen star Liv Hendricks quit acting after her beloved younger sister inexplicably disappeared following a Hollywood party gone wrong. Liv barely escaped with her life, and her sister was never heard from again. But all this time, someone's been waiting patiently to finish what was started...

Now fifteen years later, broke and desperate, Liv is forced to return to the spotlight. She crowdfunds a webseries in which she'll pose as a real-life private detective--a nod to the show she starred on as a teen. When a mysterious donor challenges her to investigate a series of disappearances outside a town made famous by the horror movies filmed there, Liv has no choice but to accept.

Liv is given a cryptic first clue: Follow the white wolf. And now a darker game is about to begin. Through social media, someone is leaving breadcrumbs to follow. As Liv makes increasingly disturbing discoveries, her show explodes in popularity. A rapt internet audience is eager to watch it all--perhaps even at the cost of Liv's own life..."

My Thoughts:

Thinking back on my year of reading, this may be the creepiest book that I've read all year.  Watch The Girls straddles the line between thriller and horror - and it does it with absolute perfection.  There are all of these horror elements throughout the book and creepy moments but it reads like a thriller.  I don't know that I've read anything like it but I loved every minute of it!  I'm actually a bit surprised that I haven't heard more buzz over this one with other readers if I'm being honest.  Liv is quite the main character.  She starts off in this book drinking heavily and it almost felt like the unreliable narrator element all over again that you see in so many books lately.  I instantly didn't trust her and wasn't even sure if I liked her based off of the decisions she was making.  But as the book goes on my viewpoint on her definitely began to change.  I'm going to hit slightly spoiler-ey territory here so feel free to skip ahead so I don't ruin anything for you.  I started to realize that something had happened to Liv all of those years ago when her sister disappeared that she wasn't remembering.  I wasn't sure what but knew that it was important.  I also started to trust her more the further I got into the book.  There is all of these different things going on and as the reader I was trying to figure out how they all tied together.  It was so completely tense and suspenseful!  Plus the horror films that were filmed in this small town are there own element themselves in this book.  They help to give this book the horror vibe that I got throughout.  Plus, as we learn about the different movies you start to wonder if maybe they are playing out in real life.  It was creepy let me tell you!  

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book immensely!  It was dark and twisted which is everything that I enjoy in a thriller!  My favorite part of this book was the sense of foreboding that was present throughout. There were times when I almost didn't want to keep reading because I just had that bad feeling but I literally could not stop reading.  It's funny because I actually started reading this one and then it had to go back to the library unfinished (I was pretty early on in the book).  I instantly put it back on hold and jumped in as soon I checked it back out.  I'm so glad that I didn't let this one linger on my TBR because I enjoyed it so much!  I just cannot wait to see what this author comes up with next!  Fans of suspense, thriller, or horror should definitely give this book a shot.  I can highly recommend!

Bottom Line:  One of the creepiest thrillers I've read all year (if not the creepiest)!

Disclosure:  I checked this book out from my local library.  Thoughts are my own! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Duke Changes Everything by Christy Carlyle (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Nicholas Lyon gambled his way into a fortune and ownership of the most opulent, notorious gentlemen’s club in England. But when Nick’s cruel brother dies, he inherits a title he never wanted. The sooner Nick is rid of the estate that has always haunted him, the sooner he can return to the life he’s built in London. But there’s one obstacle—the exquisite Thomasina Thorne.

When the new heir to the Tremayne dukedom suddenly appears in Mina Thorne’s life, she’s flustered. Not only is he breathtakingly handsome, but he’s also determined to take away her home and position as steward of the Enderley estate. If Mina learns what makes the enigmatic duke tick, perhaps she can change his mind—as long as she doesn’t get too close to him.

With each day Nick spends with Mina, his resolve weakens as their colliding wills lead to explosive desire. Could she be the one woman who can help him finally bury the ghosts of his past?"

My Thoughts:

A Duke Changes Everything was such a cozy romantic read that I just adored.  I'm kind of struggling to describe it as cozy as there are certainly elements that are far from cozy but it just felt like that kind of read.  One that you can pick up and know that everything is going to be okay and turn out alright even if you aren't quite sure how.  It was just this feeling that I had throughout the book even when things looked far from okay to say the least.  Nick cannot stand being back "home" as it brings back horrible memories from his childhood.  Mina adores and lives for that same estate that Nick hates so much.  It causes quite a lot of friction between the two of them which I couldn't get enough of.  There was an instant chemistry between Nick and Mina that I just loved.  I felt like they complimented each other perfectly which is probably why this book was such an enjoyable read for me.  After so many mysteries and thrillers, it was refreshing to read a book where I didn't have to worry that things would turn out alright in the end.  That's one of my favorite things about reading romances to be honest.  I just allowed myself to be swept away in the pages finishing this one in just a matter of days.  And I really enjoyed every minute of it.  I will also say that I really enjoyed all of the secondary characters which has left me excited for the other books in this series.  This is the book one of the Duke's Den series so I have more to look forward to!  

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and am looking forward to reading more by this author!  It was the perfect change of pace and just swept me away.  I feel like I say this all of the time (and I probably do) but I really need to read more historical romances just to break up all of the mysteries and thrillers.  It keeps my reading feeling fresh and exciting when I change genres like this.  I can easily recommend this book to fans of romance and especially fans of historical romance.  Bonus is that this is actually the first book in the series so you can read it in order (something that rarely happens for me with my historical romance reading).  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  This felt like the perfect type of book to be swept away in on a cold winter day!

Disclosure:  I received an unsolicited copy of this book thanks to the publisher.  Thoughts are my own!