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!   

Monday, November 26, 2018

Too Far Gone by Allison Brennan (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Things finally seem to be going well for FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. She's just finished training for Hostage Rescue, her husband's relationship with his son is back on track, and her tense relationship with her boss, Rachel Vaughn, has become much more bearable. That is, until her first hostage case throws everything off track.

When a man who appears under the influence and mentally unstable holds a group of people hostage and dies in a shootout with the FBI, Lucy is assigned to investigate what happened. His descent doesn't make any sense - he was an upstanding citizen a year ago and only started declining after a series of blackouts and strange occurrences. Even his autopsy seems suspicious, and the body has been cremated without the proper approval. As Lucy investigates, she realizes that this story may be more complicated than she thinks, and that her own life might be in danger."

My Thoughts:

Too Far Gone was such a fun and suspenseful read - I can't wait to read more books in this series!  I'm notorious (as you probably know by now) for starting series in the middle or just completely out of order which is what I did with this book.  It didn't matter though as I found myself completely sucked into this book from the very beginning pages.  There are two different mysteries or storylines going on.  One is the case Lucy is investigating of a man that was shot and killed after holding a group of people hostage at a coffee shop.  The second one relates to Lucy's husband Sean and his son who is staying with them for the summer but is possibly in danger.  I really found this to be such a suspenseful read because of these two different storylines.  You aren't sure if the storylines are going to connect or what is going on exactly.  I found myself really caught up within both storylines which was nice as I didn't prefer one over the other.  Instead I found myself reading as fast as I could which has happened a lot as of late (those darn reading slumps will do that to you).  It was nice to find myself swept away within the pages and reading at every free point that I had for a change.  I also really appreciated the fact that it didn't matter that I hadn't read the previous books in the series.  I wasn't lost and the author did a good job of including just enough of the back stories from other characters to allow me to get to know them.  I do plan on going back and starting at the beginning of this series very soon.  I was able to figure out the "bad guys" on one part of the storyline quite easily but it really didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.  By then I was too caught up within the book already and just needed to see how it would all play out.  Those last one hundred pages or so were intense!  I couldn't stop reading at the point as I just had to see how it would all end.  So good!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and am excited to read more by this author.  I feel like this was the perfect book to pick up and really knock me out of the reading slump that I had been in.  I breezed through the pages and didn't want to set it down.  That's the sign of a great read right there!  Luckily for me I can go back to the beginning of this series to play catch up.  I think I have like thirteen more books to look forward to!  I love when that happens and I find a new long running series to catch up with!  I would recommend this book to fans of suspense and mysteries alike.  You definitely don't need to read the series in order from what I can tell so feel free to start right here if you haven't read this author yet.  I did and had a really great reading experience honestly!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A book that knocked me right of the reading slump that I had been in!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher for the book tour of this book.  Thoughts are honest and are my own.

Monday, November 19, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (November 19th)

"It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date."

It has been awhile folks!  Life just doesn't slow down really when you have three kids even when you expect it to.  Alas, I'm perfectly okay with this and am just now trying to figure out ways for next year to be different.  I'm not ready to give up blogging - I love sharing my thoughts on books too much.  And honestly, I really enjoy being able to go back and read my thoughts on a book years later.  I think my plan is to call 2018 blogging a wash and start fresh in the new year.  I have a couple of reviews I still plan on sharing with you so I won't be completely silent here the next month and half.  But I just think that I'm going to start working ahead and prescheduling posts for next year.  Maybe then I won't have only three posts a month or go weeks without blogging at all.  Ha!  Who knows if that will really happen but it still will be fun to try and get ahead.  I've got plenty of reviews waiting to be written - some of those I will post in the next month or so (just not regularly) and the rest I will save for the new year.  So there are my blogging plans in a nutshell!  I'm not going to lie - I'm already starting to think about reading plans in the new year as well.  LOL!

Reading wise, I've really slowed down these past two months dramatically.  According to Goodreads I'm about four books behind schedule with my reading challenge - I've been ahead all year until now. I'm not too worried about it because really what can you do?  I'm not as fast of a reader as some and I'm perfectly okay with that.  Not much else is new bookwise.  I'm still checking out WAY too many books from the library.  I'm still adding books to my TBR list on an almost daily basis.  And I'm still enjoying reading although I was starting to slump there for awhile (hence, the drop in the number of books I've been reading).  I don't think I'm going to attempt to catch you up on all of the books I've read since my last reading update - instead I'm just going to share with you the books that I'm currently reading and what I finished last.

I'm currently reading the following books:

Can you tell I was in a reading slump?  I NEVER read four books at a time to be honest but here I am.  I'm off this entire week so I'm really hoping to finish up a couple of these but only time will tell.

A Duke Changes Everything by Christy Carlyle is my current print read and a review copy courtesy of the publisher.  I needed a change of pace from the mysteries and thrillers so I'm excited to read this one.  I've just barely begun it so I'll keep you posted on my thoughts.

It's a Charmed Life (The Grimm Files) by Selene Charles is my current kindle read thanks to Kindle Unlimited (of which I'm trying thanks to a great deal for the next three months).  I'm loving this one so far!  I don't even know how to explain this one or describe it - it has characters from all of the Disney movies you know and love but is so much darker.  I am so glad that I heard about this one and that there is another book for me to look forward to after this!

Watch the Girls by Jennifer Wolfe is a book that I stopped reading only because it was due back at the library and I couldn't finish in time.  I instantly put it back on hold and just picked it back up this past week.  I'm ready to dive back in as it has been really good so far, but I want to focus on finishing up one of the above two books first.

In The Darkest Hour by Anna Carlisle is a NetGalley review copy that is currently languishing on my Kindle.  I loved the first two books in this series but this one just hasn't pulled me in.  It could be because I was trying to read it right in the middle of my reading slump - or maybe it was part of what put me in my reading slump.  I'm not really sure so I moved on to It's a Charmed Life and will be going back to this one afterwards to try again.

I just finished reading:

Too Far Gone by Allison Brennan was such an enjoyable read.  I read this one as part of an upcoming book tour so my thoughts will be posted on it soon.  I've never read anything in this series but I definitely plan on reading more now!  I love when I find new series to read and follow like this!

Up Next:

I'm not too sure what I will read after these four books but these two are currently calling my name the loudest.  Or my mood will change and I will read something completely different (that's what usually happens with me being such a moody reader).

One's a library book and one is the next KU book that I've downloaded to read.  It has been fun chatting with all of you again!  I'm off to work around the house a bit and get ready for Thanksgiving.

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Murder on Millionaires' Row by Erin Lindsey (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Rose Gallagher might dream of bigger things, but she’s content enough with her life as a housemaid. After all, it’s not every girl from Five Points who gets to spend her days in a posh Fifth Avenue brownstone, even if only to sweep its floors. But all that changes on the day her boss, Mr. Thomas Wiltshire, disappears. Rose is certain Mr. Wiltshire is in trouble, but the police treat his disappearance as nothing more than the whims of a rich young man behaving badly. Meanwhile, the friend who reported him missing is suspiciously unhelpful. With nowhere left to turn, Rose takes it upon herself to find her handsome young employer.

The investigation takes her from the marble palaces of Fifth Avenue to the sordid streets of Five Points. When a ghostly apparition accosts her on the street, Rose begins to realize that the world around her isn’t at all as it seems―and her place in it is about to change forever."

My Thoughts:

I'm not even going to lie - I jumped at the chance to read this book almost entirely based off of that gorgeous cover.  I'm a sucker for good cover and this one has that in spades!  Happily I enjoyed this book just as much as I enjoyed that cover!  This feels like it has been the year where I've discovered historical mysteries.  I've started some really great historical mystery series  and I can add this one to the list.  In this book, Rose Gallagher goes searching for her missing boss when she realizes that the police aren't taking his disappearance seriously. I really adored Rose's character because she was just so determined and strong willed.  Her adventures made this book so much fun to read.  I really just found myself sucked into the pages of this book.  This book took me to a different time and place...heck, it was really a different world where ghosts walked and certain individuals had different kinds of "luck" and I was just transported by it all.  The author swept me into the pages of this book so that I didn't want to stop reading.  I just HAD to see what was going to happen next.  I loved that in this book ghosts were actually dangerous to humans - everything to do with the paranormal actually felt very original to this book.  I wasn't sure when I read the book summary how the author would fit ghosts into the storyline but it worked beautifully.  I feel like the author really just managed to create this unique world in this book that I couldn't get enough of.  I enjoyed my time within its' pages and am looking forward to reading more of this series in the future.  Really, what more could you ask?

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and am very excited to have found both this series and this author.  I need to check out what else Lindsey has written - hopefully she has written more so the wait for book two doesn't seem so long.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of trouble Rose can get herself into next.  If you are looking for a fun, fast-paced read then look no further then this book. It's a definite page turner with a world that I won't be forgetting about any time soon.  I can easily recommend this book to fans of historical mysteries and really mysteries in general!

Bottom Line:  A fun beginning to a series that I can't wait to read more of!

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

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Dr Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner and consulting pathologist for the federal law enforcement agency ATF, is called out to a farmhouse in Virginia which has been destroyed by fire. In the ruins of the house she finds a body which tells a story of a violent and grisly murder.

The fire has come at the same time as another even more incendiary horror: Carrie Grethen, a killer who nearly destroyed the lives of Scarpetta and those closest to her, has escaped from a forensic psychiatric hospital. Her whereabouts is unknown, but her ultimate destination is not, for Carrie has begun to communicate with Scarpetta, conveying her deadly - if cryptic - plans for revenge."

My Thoughts:

I don't usually review books that are part of long standing series for various reasons but the main one being that it is so hard!  It's so hard to not share spoilers both intentionally and unintentionally.  If you haven't read this book or the earlier/later books in this series and intend to (which you should as I'm a huge fan of this series overall), go ahead and move right along and skip reading this post.  I'm giving you the FULL warning here that I intend to spoil the heck out of this book because I have so many feelings and need to get them all out.  Okay, I've given the spoiler warning so let's move on to my thoughts on this book!

As I've been reading the earlier books in this series, I've gotten many comments on how this series kind of gets off track at some point causing many readers to stop reading.  I WOULD NOT be surprised if it was because or starting with this book.  Although I didn't love the first book, Postmortem,  I did enjoy it enough to continue and have really loved many of the first eight books in this series.  Looking back at Goodreads shows that I rated at least two of them five star reads (and honestly I don't even think I rated or reviewed the others due to not always sharing my thoughts about books that are part of a series).  I started off really loving this book!  It was just as compelling, suspenseful, and eerie as many of those other books were which is why I have loved them so much.  Cornwell is amazing in my opinion at leaving the reader guessing throughout most of the book which makes it hard to stop reading.  I was trucking along with this book when the author completely pulled the rug out on me.  Benton dies in this book?!?!  What in the world?  What made it even more confusing for me as the reader is that I've read two later books in this series - it's what got me started on reading this series from the beginning in the first place.  And Kay is married to him in those books so he is very much alive.  Knowing that made reading the last half of this book so confusing.  I kept waiting for Kay to find him - to realize that he was alive - thinking that this was all Carrie's doing - only to find that was not the case at all.  This book even ends with the scattering of Benton's ashes.  By the time I finished this book I was annoyed.  Annoyed because not only does this book end with Benton apparently dead but also Carrie Grethen is too - and she is ALSO alive in later books.  Seriously?!?  I'm trying to understand why the author would even make this decision with Benton's character but then also to do it with another major character?  I'm at a loss here folks.  So what do you think I did?  I went and read the summaries for the next books in this series to figure out when Benton comes back because he obviously does. And then I read reviews of this book to see if others would spoil what happens/how in the heck Cornwell believably or unbelievably brings Benton back to life.  Color me severely annoyed to find that not only does she bring him back but that both Marino and Lucy were in on it the entire time.  You've got to fucking be kidding me here (pardon the language but c'mon).  I just don't get it, I really don't.  If she wanted to kill Benton's character off for whatever reasons, she should have stuck with that decision.  Not go back and change your mind which is REALLY how this feels to me/comes across and then write him back in what sounds like a laughable manner.  I literally do not know how I'm going to read the next couple of books.  Part of this is my fault - I read those later books first so when reading this one I knew that it couldn't possibly be the truth when it all went down.  But really, even if I hadn't read the books in the order I did I can almost guarantee how cheated I would have felt when I got to whatever book that he returns in.  The ending of this book was so emotional and heartbreaking that I just cannot begin to understand her decisions afterwards with those next books.  Bleh.  This book would have been a 4 1/2 star read for me but I don't even know how to rate it now.  

The question remains - will I continue on with this series?  The answer at this point is yes but not any time soon.  I read this one a couple of weeks ago and I still get heated when I think about it.  I'm going to give myself a bit of a break and work on other books from my never-ending TBR list.  I'll go back and we will see how it all plays out.  The positive side of all of this is that I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the books get better (or more like what I enjoyed in these earlier reads).  So I have that to look forward to which helps make me want to keep reading.  And I must admit to still being very curious.  Where does she go from here?  Is this what actually turned off other readers from this series or is there something else?  I don't know at this point because I definitely didn't see this coming so who knows what else I can expect.  So there's my convoluted thoughts on this book.  I really liked it until I didn't.  For the series as a whole I can definitely recommend books one through eight.  It's super important to read them in order as events that happen in one become important in others - that kind of thing.  But they really are so good and that's why this book was so hard for me to stomach by the end.  If you've read this series and this book - what were your thoughts?  I would love to discuss this one with other readers!!

Bottom Line:  I don't even know what to say here - I'm a bit bitter overall with this one is the best way to put it.

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

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . ."

My Thoughts:

Funny story with this book:  I started reading it unintentionally at my son's football game.  To be fair this was the varsity game which he only usually dresses for but doesn't usually play in (he starts on both offense and defense for JV but that's neither here nor there).  Our varsity team was getting stomped so I decided to download a book to my phone during a break in the game.  Which turned into me almost missing my son FINALLY going in because shortly after I was sucked into the book and not paying attention to the game any longer.  Luckily my youngest announced that his brother was in the game so we didn't miss it.  It's a mark of how readable and compelling I found this book that I was even able to read during a loud football game.  I have to admit I was instantly sucked in!  This is my second book by this author and both reads (two separate series) were books that I just could not stop reading.  The thing that made this book so compelling for me was that the two main characters were both hiding major secrets from each other while also beginning a relationship.  A relationship that may or may not have survived if the other found out about the other's secrets.  It's a twisty read like that and as much as I wanted each of the characters to be honest with the other one already, I also found that I couldn't put this book down because of the tension created from those secrets.  I also really enjoyed the humorous moments that the author included in this book.  Malcolm's new work team is filled with amazing secondary characters that I'm looking forward to each getting their own book.  I'm especially a fan of the quirky German Shepard names Roscoe - some of his funnier moments where the perfect break from all of the seriousness and tension that filled the pages of this book.  I found that the pages of this book just flew on by - so fast that before I knew it I was at the end and was reading as fast as I could to see how it would all turn out.  It turned out to be a very enjoyable read for me that I'm glad I picked up!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and am looking forward to reading more books featuring these characters.  I love a good romantic suspense but don't always find authors that do it well.  This author does romantic suspense well though and has me adding the rest of her books to my TBR list (it's out of control anyways so why not).  And the good news is that I have lots of her other books waiting for me to catch up on while I wait for the second book in this series to release.  Always a good thing in my opinion!  I don't have much else to say as I really don't want to give anything away with this book.  It was a very enjoyable read that I think other romance readers will enjoy.  If you are a fan of romantic suspense and you're not reading this author - I feel like you missing out.  I certainly was!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  An edgy and compelling read that left me unable to stop reading!

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"No other festival compares to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington. The whole town is buzzing with excitement over this year’s activities and eagerly awaiting Nitro’s latest offering Cherrywizen, made with locally sourced cherries. But local brewmaster Sloan Krause is tapped out. Between trying to manage the pub, her pending divorce with Mac, and her mounting feelings for Garrett, she’s fermenting in internal turmoil.

To complicate matters, dreamy movie star Mitchell Morgan and his production crew have arrived in the village to film during the authentic Bavarian brewfest. Mitchell has his eye on Sloan and a taste for Nitro’s Cherrywizen. Sloan escapes his advances for good when she finds Mitchell slumped over the bar. Is this a case of one pint too many, or has Mitchell been murdered by microbrew?"

My Thoughts:

Last year I read and enjoyed the first book in this series, Death on Tap, so I jumped at the opportunity to read this book!  Let's be honest - this book has been on my TBR list since I finished the last page of the first book.  There is just something about Ellie Alexander's cozy mysteries that I can't get enough of.  And while this is completely different from her Bakeshop series, it has enough of the same characteristics that I love from that series to make this one a real winner for me as well.  She has a real knack for creating characters that feel real and complex.  In both of her series, the main character is struggling with something major going on with their life that just comes across the pages as so real.  In this book, Sloan is still trying to deal with her new "normal" after finding her husband cheating on her.  She's working on figuring out what she wants in her life and how she moves on from here.  That struggle to figure out what she wants in life next and how she is getting to get there just comes across so perfectly.  Add in that a mystery to solve with lots of great secondary characters and you have a winner.  What makes this book a four star read for me though is the added mystery of Sloan's past.  In this book, we get the chance to see Sloan search a bit more into her unknown past searching for the reasons why she was placed into foster care which was just hinted about in book one.  I'm so intrigued by this storyline that I cannot wait to get my hands on book three!  I really found this to be a compelling read, and I breezed through the pages on my kindle.  It's going to be a long wait for that next book, that's for sure!

Here's why I think that you should read this series in general (there's only two books so I definitely think it is worth it to start with the first book):  it's the perfect palate cleanser because it just feels so fresh and original!  Been reading a bunch of mysteries and dark thrillers?  This series will break that up perfectly with a more light hearted mystery.  Need a different type of cozy that isn't focused on food or books? (I'm horribly generalizing there but you get the idea).  Read a mystery that talks about beer and the different kinds to make you want to try a few different types of beers yourself.  LOL!  It sounds funny when you put it like that but it really was the perfect change of pace for me.  With great characters and questions that keep you wondering long after the book is finished.....well I couldn't ask for more to be honest.  This is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors and for good reason.  I can highly recommend!

Bottom Line:  I loved this book just as much as the first book!  

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister's estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes.

Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage--a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn't about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl.

When Kiera and Gage's search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim..."

My Thoughts:

I picked this book up at my library after seeing a few reviews (and the gorgeous cover) for the latest book in this series.  I decided it was time to give this series a try and I'm really glad that I did!  This book was a really great read and one that I just immersed myself within its' pages.  I most enjoyed this book how the author was able to really make me feel like I was there in Scotland 1830.  The details she gave, the way the characters talked and dressed, it all added up to make such a great reading experience for me.  I was sucked into the mystery as well as the struggles one faced as a woman during that time period that didn't fit into the norm.  Kiera's character was one that I connected to and felt for because she just wasn't able to fit in with society thanks to her deceased husband's dark past.  When she is pulled into the investigation it brings many of the things from that time in her life back to the surface.  To protect both herself and her family she begins to work and investigate with Sebastian Gage.  This might be a slight spoiler but the chemistry between these two has me very excited to get my hands on book two.  I won't say any more than that but suffice it to say that I'm very curious as to where that next book may lead.  The mystery portion of this book was actually darker than I expected.  I can't say that I read a lot of historical mysteries but I kind of equated them to the same or similar as a cozy mystery.  You can imagine my surprise with this book then, when it was quite the opposite of a cozy and was a bit more graphic than I expected it to be.  It didn't effect my enjoyment in the least but just thought I would mention it.  It was such a compelling mystery though and I couldn't quite set this one down.  I thought I had the whodunnit figured out until 3/4's of the way through book when I realized I was completely wrong.  The ending tied everything up quite nicely but left me wishing I had my hands on the next book.  I just wasn't ready to see these characters go and am really looking forward to seeing what mysteries and adventures they get up to next.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am so excited that I have six more books or so to look forward to!  I won't be waiting long to see what kind of trouble Lady Darby finds herself in next!  This book was the perfect blend of mystery and historical fiction which makes me want to find more books just like it.  What other historical mystery authors am I missing out on?  It's something that I'm going to be figuring out in the very near future!  I'm hoping that there will be some romance upcoming in those future books as well.  Fingers crossed at least!  I really can't say enough good things about the characters in this book and the mystery itself.  It felt like the perfect fall read (although it isn't quite fall yet) and one that I just adored.  I would recommend this book to fans of historical mysteries as well as mysteries in general!

Bottom Line:  Such a great beginning to this series and it has spurned my need to find other authors just like this!

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Caged by Ellison Cooper (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair hunts for evil in the deepest recesses of the human mind. Still reeling from the death of her fiance, she wants nothing more than to focus on her research into the brains of serial killers. But when the Washington D.C. police stumble upon a gruesome murder scene involving a girl who'd been slowly starved to death while held captive in a cage, Sayer is called in to lead the investigation. When the victim is identified as the daughter of a high profile senator, Sayer is thrust into the spotlight.

As public pressure mounts, she discovers that another girl has been taken and is teetering on the brink of death. With evidence unraveling around her, Sayer races to save the second victim but soon realizes that they are hunting a killer with a dangerous obsession...a killer who is closer than she thought."

My Thoughts:

Oh my goodness - this book is easily a five star, going on my top reads of the year list type of book!  I enjoyed my time reading this one immensely to say the least.  I feel like this type of book is totally my own personal reader catnip if you will.  It features a female lead detective (in this specific case she is a FBI agent but you get the gist) that is emotionally closed off due to her past.  It's a police procedural which I absolutely adore (or FBI procedural - take your pick).  And it focuses on a dark, twisted mystery that pulled me in until the very last page.  What more could you want in a book like this?  It's everything that I love all wrapped up into one amazing read!  Now I need more books just like this or at least just as good!  It's funny but before I started this one I remember seeing a slightly negative review (I don't remember the specifics or anything - just that the reader wasn't wowed by it) so I didn't know what to expect when I picked it up.  I knew it sounded like my type of read but would it live up to those expectations?  It sure did and then some!  This is one of those books that just sucks you in and doesn't let you go.  It wasn't one that I felt the need to read fast or fly through the pages.  Instead I found myself unable to set it down and just so immersed in the ongoing investigation.  I took my time with this one and loved every minute of it!  Every time I thought I had a handle on it, the author was able to turn it around so completely that I just knew that I was wrong.  I didn't figure out the ending until exactly when Sayer did which was the perfect way to experience the book.  This book was just so unexpected and fresh compared to much of what is out there in the world of thrillers nowadays.  I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say too much but this is exactly the book that I hoped it would be and so much more!

Overall, I'm pretty sure that it is clear that I loved this book!  I read the majority of this book during a long break in my daughter's softball tournament which was the perfect way to read this one!  I just couldn't stop reading as I had to see how everything would end.  I'm absolutely stoked that this is the beginning to a series so I have another book featuring Sayer to look forward to.  Especially as the author set up another mystery outside of what was going on in this book that she left open for possibly the next book.  I'm so intrigued and will be impatiently waiting to get my hands on that book whenever it releases!  I just cannot say enough good things about this book.  I can highly, highly recommend to those who love mysteries and thrillers.  It's going on my top reads list this year without a doubt so that should tell you everything you need to know!

Bottom Line: A five star read that I can't stop gushing about!

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

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Sunday Post #52 (Football Fun 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"

It's football Sunday folks!  This is absolutely my most favorite time of the year.  I love the beginning of fall with the changing temps.  I love sweatshirt weather and the leaves changing colors.  And I adore watching football on Sundays relaxing with the family.  There is nothing better in my opinion!  This has a been a very busy but really great weekend.  Friday night we drove a little over an hour away to watch my oldest play football.  It was pouring down rain by the time we got there and it didn't stop.  It was still a really great time and the only way I wanted to spend my birthday.  Yesterday we spent the day at my daughter's first fall softball tournament.  They played hard and it another perfect way to spend my day!  Today I took the youngest to baseball practice and am now curled up in bed relaxing for the afternoon in between loads of laundry.  I wouldn't change weekends like this for anything in the world!  Otherwise not much else is new.  We've started to develop a routine with the school days and getting everybody everywhere they need to be.  It rained almost every day last week but the rain helped cool it down some which made it feel more like fall was coming.  I sure do love this time of year!

Reading wise, I've been plugging away and reading some really great books.  I'm STILL two books ahead with my Goodread's reading goal which never fails to surprise me on the weeks where I feel like I haven't finished a book in days.  I'm working on catching up on book reviews but the motivation to write said reviews ebbs and flows.  LOL!  I do have a lot of books that I would really like to share my thoughts on so it's something I will work on.  Here is what I've finished since my last reading update (please note that was two weeks ago-ish):

When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath - I've actually already shared my thoughts on this one so check out my review here.  Short and sweet version - I enjoyed my time with this book immensely and found it to be almost like a comfort read for me.  I need to fit more historical romances into my reading life!

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd - I've also written up my thoughts on this one as well!  Check them out here.  In a nutshell - I enjoyed this one until the end which left me wanting to say the least.  I will definitely read more by this author but the ending just really detracted a bit from my overall reading experience.

The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber - This is the beginning to a historical mystery series that I'm so excited to have found.  I've been seeing the last book in this series around lately and decided to give this book a try.  It was such an enjoyable read and now I cannot wait to get my hands on book two.  I need to work on writing up my thoughts on this one soon but I can definitely recommend it if you enjoy historical mysteries!

Caged by Ellison Cooper - OH MY GOODNESS!  This book was so good and I have no words for it right now.  I can tell you that this is going in the books as a five star read.  It was everything that I love in a mystery plus so much more.  I will be sharing my thoughts on this one as well so expect a lot of gushing in that review.  SO GOOD - that's all I really need to say!

I'm now currently reading the following:

Death Over Easy by Maddie Day is the 5th installment in one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  I just started it earlier this morning but already have a good chunk of it read thanks to baseball practice.  It's good so far and I'm looking forward to diving back into it later this afternoon.

I don't have much else scheduled for today besides watching football and eating lots of yummy snacks.  The Bears play tonight so the entire family is pretty excited for that!  I have to tell you that my youngest son's flag football team this year is the Packers.  Obviously this has caused him some major stress as we are all die hard Bears fans.  It has taken him a lot of convincing on my part that just for his games we can cheer them on.  Hahahaha!  To be eight again- I think he's okay with it now but he refuses to wear his jersey to school on Friday's for the games.  I figure I'll pick my battles and that definitely isn't one of them.  I'm off to work on those towering laundry piles yet again though...

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!