Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"For a woman, being killed by someone who claims to love her is the most ordinary murder of all.

With its antebellum houses and ancient oak trees draped in a veil of Spanish moss, Savannah’s graceful downtown is famous around the world. When a woman is killed in the heart of that affluent district, the shock is felt throughout the city. But for crime reporter Harper McClain, this story is personal. The corpse has a familiar face.

Only twenty-four years old, Naomi Scott was just getting started. A law student, tending bar to make ends meet, she wanted to change the world. Instead, her life ended in the dead of night at the hands of an unseen gunman. There are no witnesses to the crime. The police have three suspects: Scott’s boyfriend, who has a criminal past he claims he’s put behind him, her boss, who stalked another young bartender two years ago, and the district attorney’s son, who Naomi dated until their relationship ended in acrimony. All three men claim to love her. Could one of them be her killer?

With the whole city demanding answers, Harper unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy. But the pressures on her go beyond the murder. The newspaper is facing more layoffs. Her boss fears both their jobs are on the line. And Harper begins to realize that someone is watching her every move. Someone familiar and very dangerous.

Someone who told her to run before it’s too late…"

My Thoughts:

Let me start off by saying that I truly think you should read the first book in this series (An Echo Killing) first to get the full reading experience.  And secondly, let me just tell you how much I loved this book!  Wow!  I thought that the first book was a really solid beginning to this mystery series, and actually it came pretty darn close to hitting my top reads list for last year.  I've been waiting to get my hands on this second book every since and it was completely worth the wait!  This book is even better than that first book which should tell you exactly how much I enjoyed it.  I'm going to be careful to try and not share any spoilers from that first book.  This book picks up not too far long after the first book and there is a lot of stuff that carries over.  Things I can't share without spoiling but one of those things is a pretty big storyline itself (and just to be clear the first book doesn't end abruptly or anything like that and has a solid ending).  But these are the exact reasons why I think a reader would want to read that book first just to get a full understanding of everything that has gone on and could be now.  Anyways, the suspense and mystery pick up right from the beginning with this one.  It has this creepy stalker vibe going for it that really amped up the tension for me as the reader.  I was constantly trying to figure out what was going on and who was behind it all.  There is all of these other things in play as well because there are possible layoffs going on in the newspaper which has Harper worried about her job while she is trying to also investigate Naomi Scott's recent murder.  Everything just added altogether beautifully and in a way where I couldn't put this book down.  I hit a point with this book where I just knew that I had to finish it no matter how late it meant I was staying up - I needed to see how everything was going to end!  And let me vaguely tell you about that!  I'm seriously, seriously pining now for the third book.  I have no idea what is going to happen next for Harper but I will be there as soon as that book releases to see for myself!  This is seriously one of the best new mystery series that I have found and I am so excited about it!

Overall, I've gushed this entire review so I'm guessing that you can tell I loved this book!  It was everything that I look for in a mystery series without me even knowing it.  I am so glad that I didn't wait to read this one.  Sometimes when I really like a first book in a series, I'm hesitant to pick up the second one in case it doesn't live up to the first.  This book was even better then that first book so I needn't have worried.  What else is there really to say at this point?  I highly, highly recommend both of these books!  I'm happy to have found another favorite author to follow at this point!

Bottom Line:  This series is fast becoming a favorite of mine after two really great reads!

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"To celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Grace has planned the surprise of a lifetime for her husband—a romantic getaway to Paris. But she never expected he’d have a surprise of his own: he wants a divorce. Reeling from the shock but refusing to be broken, a devastated Grace makes the bold decision to go to Paris alone.

Audrey, a young woman from London, has left behind a heartache of her own when she arrives in Paris. A job in a bookshop is her ticket to freedom, but with no money and no knowledge of the French language, suddenly a summer spent wandering the cobbled streets alone seems much more likely…until she meets Grace, and everything changes.

Grace can’t believe how daring Audrey is. Audrey can’t believe how cautious newly single Grace is. Living in neighboring apartments above the bookshop, this unlikely pair offer each other just what they’ve both been missing. They came to Paris to find themselves, but finding this unbreakable friendship might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them…"

My Thoughts:

Let me just start off by saying that I adored this book!  I feel like whenever I have this strong of feelings on a book that I have a tendency to ramble and gush so heads up that's probably what you are getting here.  The thing I loved most about this book though is how easily I connected to it and the way it made me feel.  Let's start at the beginning here though.  This book is told from two different points of view - Grace, who is a middle-aged woman whose husband has recently told her he wants a divorce, and from Audrey, a young girl with a really crappy home life.  Now for the record I'm happily married so that's not actually why I connected to Grace so easily (although it was sadly easy to imagine/understand what she was going through).  I connected to Grace's character because she had so many similarities to me in other ways.  Before her life completely changed, she was comfortable with her life.  I say comfortable in a way that isn't necessarily a good thing.  It's easy as a woman and mother when you've been with someone for so long to maybe not try like you used to.  I fully admit to throwing my hair back into a ponytail almost every single day just because I'm tired of it being in my face.  I work from home so there are days where I don't even put on makeup or think about it.  And maybe none of these things are exactly like Grace but they add up to the same thing.  You forget sometimes to take care of yourself.  To do things just for you and not your children or even your husband.  Sometimes you lose a piece of yourself without even realizing it....and this all just hit home for me so much.  I'm very grateful that I don't have Grace's experiences but this book was a reminder to take care of me too.  So much emphasis at times is to take care of your children's needs, your husband's, and everything else in life but who is there to remind you to take care of you?  I'm rambling now but ugh - this book just was so spot on with real life!  I absolutely could not care more about these two women and the problems that they were facing.  I just immersed myself within their lives and within the pages of this book.  I loved everything about this book and even the things that I didn't expect to.  The author took chances where in other books I might not usually have liked the decisions the characters were making but it worked in this book.  And worked perfectly if I do say so myself!  

Overall, I enjoyed this book so much that I actually wasn't ready for it to end.  I'm so curious to see other reader's thoughts and reactions to this one.  I understand why I enjoyed this one so much but am eager to see if others feel the same!  This is only my second book by Sarah Morgan but it certainly won't be my last.  I kind of want to read everything and anything that she has written now after loving this one so much!  Gah!  It was just so perfect for me and gave me all of the emotions.  This is a book that I think I would easily reread a few years down the road.  If I connected to this one now, I can only imagine how I would feel in a few years when my kids are getting closer to the age of going to college and moving out.  I obviously cannot say enough good things but I highly recommend this book. This isn't just a romance book but I'm sure romance readers would enjoy it.  I think that readers who enjoy women's fiction or just fiction in general should give this one a shot.  Also, someday I simply must go to Paris to experience it all for myself!  This was SO good!

Bottom Line:  A reading experience that I won't be forgetting any time soon!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a Goodread's giveaway.  Thoughts are my own.

Monday, April 8, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading (April 8th)

"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."

Happy Monday everyone!  It's a bit of a later post over here but I really wanted to share a quick reading update with all of you.  I love sharing my thoughts on books with reviews but I really want to mix it up more here on the blog.  That takes time though which isn't always something I have a lot of.  Are you following me on Instagram yet?  If not you can find me @samsbooks1020 (you can also find me on Twitter and Goodreads with this same handle).  But anyways....on Instagram I mentioned that this month I'm trying to focus on reading some of the review copies that are piling up on my nightstand.  My pile was getting kind of high (for me at least) and I didn't want it to get out of control.  So far both of the books that I've read this month are off of that pile so I feel successful already!  My current read is a NetGalley book but this also counts since it is a review copy (I just mentioned my print copies on Instagram).  I'm SUPER behind on my NetGalley reads as well - although when am I not is probably an accurate statement honestly.  Regardless, I feel like I'm making some good progress and knocking out some of those "should" reads.  After this though I seriously need to mix in some backlist books because I'm slacking there this year.  I've been focusing so much this year on newer releases when I usually mix it up.  Maybe I'll do a backlist May or something.....but on to the books I've been reading!

Since my last reading update (which has been a couple of weeks) I've finished the following:

Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien was a fun cozy mystery that has me excited to read the other books in this series.  I've actually already shared my thoughts on it here if you are interested.

A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty was an amazing addition to this mystery series (book one just released last year so you don't have too many books to catch up on if you are interested).  This book was even better than book one - my thoughts will be up on this one hopefully later this week.

Fierce Justice by Piper J. Drake was an enjoyable romantic suspense and also the first book I finished off of my review stack this month.  I'll be sharing my full thoughts on it hopefully soon as well.

Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan was SO, SO good!  I'm really looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this one but I will tell you this - I felt a personal connection to this one which is why I couldn't help but love it so much.  SO good!

I'm now currently reading the following:

I'm really enjoying it so far but won't be sharing my thoughts on this one until next month.  I'm participating in a blog tour for it so will be sharing my review then.  I'm off to focus on my laundry piles and watch a little television.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Her Father's Secret by Sara Blaedel (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"After suddenly inheriting a funeral home from her father--who she hadn't heard from in decades--Ilka Jensen has impulsively abandoned her quiet life in Denmark to visit the small town in rural Wisconsin where her father lived. There, she's devastated to discover her father's second family: a stepmother and two half sisters she never knew existed. And who aren't the least bit welcoming, despite Ilka's efforts to reach out.
Then a local woman is killed, seemingly the unfortunate victim of a home invasion turned violent. But when Ilka learns that the woman knew her father, it becomes increasingly clear that she may not have been a completely random victim after all.
The more Ilka digs into her father's past, the more deeply entangled she becomes in a family drama that has spanned decades and claimed more than one life--and she may be the next victim..."

My Thoughts:

Her Father's Secret was an enjoyable read that has me itching to pick up the previous book in this series.  Yep, I started yet again in the middle of a series.  In this case it was only book two but it still seems as I never read in order.  I will admit that it took me a few chapters to really get into this book.  It may have been the fact that I jumped in without having read that first book (I do honestly believe that was the reason).  It just took me a bit to catch on to what was going on and what had happened.  But before long I found myself just caught up within the mystery of Ilka's father and the life he had led in this small Wisconsin town.  I loved the fact that this book felt very real to life.  Ilka is struggling financially after basically inheriting all of her father's debt and trying to figure out if she should close the business he left of her because of it.  This isn't something that is just mentioned and then forgotten either; instead, it played a prominent role throughout the book.  It just felt so real to life for me which kept me reading wanting to see how everything would work out.  I felt this attachment to the funeral home that her father had left Ilka because it was really the only thing that she had left of her father.  This was a book that I took my time with and just enjoyed.  It didn't feel like a book that needed to be rushed in the slightest, so I just let the author pull me along for the ride.  I enjoyed every minute of it!  That being said, the ending was much more surprising than I expected.  It left me seriously wishing for (and looking forward to) the third book in this series!  But first I think that I had better go back and see how this all started with that first book I missed.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book and am eager to continue on with this series.  I'm kind of kicking myself though because I have had this author's books on my TBR list for awhile now.  I feel like I've been missing out not having read them.  Once I finish the first book in this series, I will give her other series a try too!  I do think that readers should probably try reading this series in order.  While it didn't end up effecting my enjoyment overall, it did take me time to really catch on to what was happening with this book and the why's at first because I hadn't read that first book.  This is a quieter mystery and one that I would almost label as a domestic mystery.  Don't let that description deter you though because it was really good!  I'm super excited to have finally given this author a try and that I have more books to look forward to.  I would recommend this book to both mystery and suspense fans. Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A mystery that I took my time with - it was perfect to cozy up with and enjoy over long afternoons and evenings!

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