Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Buried by Ellison Cooper (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Senior Special Agent Sayer Altair studies the minds of psychopaths. But even she didn't expect to uncover a killer within the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Rooting him out and exposing internal corruption got her a bullet wound and six months of desk duty. Now, she's finally back in the field, called in when an off-duty FBI agent and his cadaver dog fall into a sinkhole filled with human bones.

Found deep in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park, the skeletal remains date back almost two decades, the same time a beloved local teen disappeared. The cold case quickly heats up when Sayer's team finds two fresh corpses among the bones. When a gruesome clue ties these new bodies to a woman recently kidnapped along with her young daughter, Sayer has to uncover the connection between the old bones and the new bodies before the mother and child become the next victims.

But the killer is one step ahead, attacking her team and sabotaging their efforts. With Sayer's investigation compromised and unsure of who to trust, she receives unwanted help from Subject 037, one of the anonymous psychopaths she is currently studying. She has the chilling realization that he's someone powerful in Washington D.C.--and he is not about to let a mundane serial killer jeopardize his own ominous agenda for Sayer...

My Thoughts:

This book was so phenomenally good!  Wow, wow, and just wow!  For me, there is nothing better then a book that starts with a bang and never lets up.  This book had me reading so fast and I was so completely engrossed that I was tempted to skip ahead just to see what was going to happen.  Thank goodness for the short chapters or I wouldn't have been able to resist.  Last year I read and adored the first book in this series titled Caged.  It was actually a five star read for me so that should tell you all that you need to know!  This book was just as good and has me absolutely pining for the third book in this series.  What makes this book (and series) stand out for me though is the characters and the attachments that I've formed to them.  I don't say this often but I do think that you need to read this series in order to get the full experience.  There is a lot that comes into play from book one that carries over into this book (for example a story line that we will hopefully get more answers on in the next book).  All of that is to say that you should probably read these in order for the best reading experience.  The characters in this series though are just all so great!  Sayer is one of those great characters that you cannot help but root for.  She is still struggling with events from the previous book (trying not to share spoilers here) and is thrown into a brand new case where there are lots of questions but not very many answers.  I loved that in this book the author wasn't afraid to completely pull the rug from under my feet multiple times.  I would be just going along reading when out of nowhere something completely unexpected but compelling would happen that had me reading at a frantic pace yet again.  I blew through this book in a matter of days because I just HAD to see what was going to happen next.  Even when I started to suspect the killer, I thought that I was wrong and off base until the very end.  I also really, really love the storyline relating to what is going on at the FBI and what really happened to Sayer's fiancĂ© Jake.  This book added in an unknown character that also has me very, very intrigued.  It is going to be a very long wait for the next book in this series!

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and cannot say enough good things about this series.  I am so loving the fact that I have been finding these great mystery series with female leads - I cannot get enough of them!  This is honestly another five star read for me so this author is two for two which is pretty darn impressive!  I feel like I've been mostly gushing over this book but it deserves it.  A book that is thrilling, keeps you guessing, and has an original mystery with great characters is my version of perfection.  I really hope that more readers find this series because it is well worth your time.  I would recommend this book to fans of mysteries, thrillers, and suspense.  Highly, highly recommend this series but start with that first book if you can!

Bottom Line:  A five star read for me - that should tell you all that you need to know!

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

Monday, July 29, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 29th)

"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 has been a very busy summer which means I've been much quieter on the blog than I would have liked.  I would like to say that's going to change but honestly some years are just like this.  We will have to see as the upcoming school year is coming at a very rapid rate.  This means we have coming up physicals, school supply shopping, and school registrations just to name a few.  It's a busy time of the year but really when isn't it?  Softball and baseball season are officially over but we are now gearing up for tryouts for next year.  My son's is over already (he made the same team again) but my daughter's is in another week.  On top of that, football season is really gearing up which is exciting.  I love this time of year though because it means fall is just around the corner!  I've had a pretty good month of reading in July - I've already finished six books.  Five or six books seems to be my average for this year when I was looking at my reading dates on Goodreads.  This meant that I was perpetually behind on my Goodreads goal of reading 80 books this year - I went ahead and dropped that number down to 60 which seems much more doable.  I've read 80 books in a year before but this year most likely wasn't going to be that year with my current reading pace.  Not much else new going on - still working lots of hours at work and still completely behind on book reviews.

My reading updates have been too irregular to be able to really share everything that I've read since my last reading update.  Instead, these are the books that I finished this past week:

Three Strikes by Kate Kessler is the third book in her Audrey Harte mystery series.  I loved the beginning two books in this series but didn't enjoy this one quite as much.  It was still a really good read but not a five star read like the previous two had been.  I'll share my full thoughts eventually but suffice it to say that you would really want to read this series in order so start with book one if at all possible.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin is a book that I read for an upcoming blog tour so I will be sharing my full thoughts then.  I will say that I really enjoyed my time with this book despite a lack of likable characters.  It was a compelling read and I'll be watching to see what this author comes up with next!

I'm currently reading the following books:

I haven't yet started The Cutting Room by Ashley Dyer is going to be my next print read.  I haven't yet started it yet as I just finished The Escape Room earlier this morning (I'm writing this on Sunday).  Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks is my current book on my e-reader that I'm reading as part of NetGalley's reviewathon.  I am always so hopelessly behind on my NetGalley review copies so I'm trying to use this #reviewathon as the extra push that I need to clear some of them out.  This book published back in January so that should show you how behind I really am (and how much I need this challenge).

I would love to finish both of these this week but we will see as we have a lot going on.  I'm going to really focus on getting some more reviews written though because I hate being this far behind.  Tell me what books you have been reading and loving lately!

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"All her life Ryan Gracey watched her perfect older sister from afar. Knowing she could never top Wendy’s achievements, she didn’t even try. Instead Ryan forged her own path while her family barely seemed to notice.

Now Wendy shares two little girls with her perfect husband while Ryan mourns the man she lost after a nearly fatal mistake in judgment. The sisters’ choices have taken them in different directions, which is why Ryan is stunned when Wendy calls, begging for her help. There’s been a murder—and Wendy believes she’ll be wrongfully accused.

While Wendy lies low, Ryan moves back to their hometown to care for the nieces she hardly knows. The sleuthing skills she’s refined as a true-crime podcaster quickly rise to the surface as she digs for answers with the help of an unexpected ally. Yet the trail of clues Wendy’s left behind lead to nothing but questions. Blood may be thicker than water, but what does Ryan owe a sister who, with every revelation, becomes more and more a stranger?

Is Wendy, who always seemed so perfect, just a perfect liar—or worse?"

My Thoughts:

Oh wow - I really enjoyed this book!  I picked this one up and was a bit intimidated by the size of it (it's close to 500 pages) but I needn't have worried.  I absolutely fell into the pages of this book and Ryan's life.  I feel like this book was the type of book I've been wanting and waiting for without even really knowing it. I read a ton of thrillers and mysteries - I wouldn't categorize this book in either of those genres really even though it has elements of both.  Instead, I think that I would call it a family drama maybe or suspense.  Honestly it doesn't even matter to me what exact category this book falls into because really it was just a plain great read!  From the very beginning pages, I fell into the story the author was telling and Ryan's life.  Ryan's life is upended when her sister calls her one day and basically tells her little to nothing other than she might be charged with murder and she needs Ryan to care for her children while she tries to clear her name.  And just like that I was completely sucked in.  I don't think it is a spoiler to say that Wendy's brief call leaves the reader with more questions than answers.  I was completely hooked that easily and stayed hooked throughout the rest of the book.  The author did a really great job with the pacing in this book so that I never lost interest.  Just when I would think that I had things figured out there was a twist that changed everything.  I need more books like this in my reading life!  I just loved how easily I found immersed myself within this book - I couldn't stop reading it and didn't want to.  I'm hesitant to say much more.  This was a book and a reading experience that I just couldn't get enough of!  

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book immensely.  I need other readers who have read this book to recommend me more just like it (well, not exactly like it but you know what I mean).  I need more books like this in my reading life - that's for sure.  This book worked for me so well because it did have suspense and mystery elements but the focus was on Ryan and her family.  The secrets and truths that were coming to the surface whether she was ready for them to or not.  I loved every minute of my reading experience with this book which is why I can't wait to read more by this author.  The positive side is that it looks like this author has quite a backlist for me to try!  That's always exciting!  I would recommend this book to readers of suspense, mystery, and those who love books focused on family secrets or drama.  It's a page turning read that I highly recommend!

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

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Monday, July 1, 2019

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Everyone has a secret. For some, it's worth dying to protect. For others, it's worth killing.

The glass beach house was supposed to be the getaway that Susan needed. Eager to help her transplanted family set down roots in their new town - and desperate for some kid-free conversation - she invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long sublet with her and her workaholic husband.

Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. The three couples begin picking up on the others' marital tensions and work frustrations, as well as revealing their own. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach.

Town detective Gabby Watkins must figure out who permanently silenced the deceased. As she investigates, she learns that everyone in the glass house was hiding something that could tie them to the murder, and that the biggest secrets of all are often in plain sight for anyone willing to look."

My Thoughts:

One Little Secret was one of those suspenseful thrillers that just sucked me in and didn't let me go.  I went into this book after finishing two contemporary romances in a row so I was more than ready for a thriller to change things up.  I started this book and just let the author take me for a ride!  In this book there are three different couples who are all neighbors and have decided to rent a house on the beach together for vacation while their kids are away at camp.  The book flips between the present and the day before.  We get to see pieces of their lives, their relationships with their spouses, and here and there a secret or two was hinted at.  Let me tell you that I just ate this all up with a spoon!  I have been here lately for the domestic dramas with suspense mixed in!  I loved the fact that it felt like we were experiencing the investigation in real time thanks to the present day sections of the book but that we were also getting to see stuff from before too.  The book went back and forth between chapters but the author does it so seamlessly that it was just perfection.  What I liked best about this book though was that at some point in this book, I suspected every single one of the characters (besides the individual that was killed).  That's the mark of a good book in my opinion!  There were characters that I definitely didn't want it to be and ones where....well, we will say that just wasn't the case. None of these characters were likable all of the time but there were ones that I could at least relate to or found redeemable.  That's key in a book like this for me I have to say!  I know the trend lately is books featuring characters that you hate but that's just not really my type of thing.  I need a character I can root for usually for me to really enjoy the book!  I also have to say that I really loved Gabby (the detective)!  She was a character that I could get behind so I was rooting for her to figure out who the killer was.  

Overall, I just really enjoyed my time with this book.  This book had a Big Little Lies vibe to it with the three couples, the hidden secrets, and the interactions between them all as a group.  I think if you liked that book then you will probably enjoy this one as well.  I'm super excited to read more by this author and am glad that she has other books for me to look forward to.  She kept me guessing throughout this book which is always a good thing.  I don't want to say much more than that as I think this is a book to just experience or go into without knowing too much about it.  I can easily recommend this one to fans of thrillers, mysteries, and suspense.  This would be the perfect book to get lost in on the beach during these hot summer days or even while you beat the heat in the air conditioning.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful read that kept me guessing the entire time!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and Meryl Moss Media.  Honest Thoughts are my own.