Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Sunday Post #60 (Reading Rambles 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 readers!  I took a much needed blogging break (and even a bit of a bookstagramming break off and on) this past month.  Yesterday I started scheduling out posts for the new year though with two reviews written and scheduled.  I'm pretty impressed with myself on that one LOL!  I have lots of goals and reading plans for my 2020 reading year but I'm going to save that for another post.  I do hope to blog more consistently in the new year which means I need to get back in the habit of blogging and writing up posts on a more regular basis.  And scheduling out reviews because let's face it - they don't get done otherwise.

What else is new around here?  I signed up for Kindle Unlimited recently - honestly I'll probably only keep it for the three months where it is .99 rather than $9.99.  I mean I already have a ridiculous number of books on my e-reader so I can't see keeping this for longer than that.  I'm just excited to use this to read some books that are on my TBR list that I can't get from my library system.  I'm looking for authors to check out though so if you have any suggestions for me, definitely leave them in the comments.  I also put the call out on Twitter and Bookstagram in the hopes of getting some great suggestions.

In reading news, I'm currently reading the following books:

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison is my current e-book read thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.  I'm reading this one as part of a blog tour set up by the publisher.  I'm only about 40% in so far but I'm enjoying it.  I think that I'm going to really focus on this one and hopefully it will end up being my last read of the new year.

Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis is a review copy courtesy of the publisher and my current print read.  I've only just started this one but am already really enjoying it.  You know a book is going to be good when you find yourself grinning at it while reading and laughing out loud.  There is a very good chance that this one is going to roll over into the new year but I'm okay with that!

My plans for today are the usual for Sundays and that means laundry, laundry, laundry.  I would love to get another review written up and scheduled.  It's also the last Bears game of the season so I will be curled up watching that while also reading my book.  I am also hoping to get started on my top reads list for the new year because it's about that time!  (Side note: who else LOVES this time of year with all of the best of lists - my library holds list would be 100% full if I wasn't working my hardest at self control!)

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"The little girl curled into a tiny ball as the chamber grew colder around her. "Please," she whispered, rocking back and forth. "I want to go home."

When Isabelle Coleman, a blonde, beautiful young girl goes missing, everyone from the small town of Denton joins the search. They can find no trace of the town's darling, but Detective Josie Quinn finds another girl they didn't even know was missing.

Mute and unresponsive, it's clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Josie can get from her is the name of a third girl and a flash of a neon tongue piercing that matches Isabelle's.

The race is on to find Isabelle alive, and Josie fears there may be other girls in terrible danger. When the trail leads her to a cold case labelled a hoax by authorities, Josie begins to wonder is there anyone left she can trust?
Someone in this close-knit town is committing unspeakable crimes. Can Josie catch the killer before another victim loses their life?"

My Thoughts:

Vanishing Girls is one of those books that I'm really excited to have found!  I haven't seen it at all on bookstagram which is just a shame because this book deserves some hype.  Also, side note here but where are all of the mystery bookstagrammers (and not the ones that just read thrillers, I follow plenty of those)?  I was intrigued by the premise of this book which is why I picked it up.  I'm also a sucker for any new mystery series featuring female detectives as lead characters which I've mentioned before.  At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about Josie.  I don't think that it is a spoiler to say that when the book starts off she has been suspended which we know but not the reason why she was suspended.  From there, she makes a series of questionable choices that had me wondering about her character overall.  Before long though, I was so hooked by the storyline that I couldn't put the book down.  And as the pages went on, I felt like I understood her character more and more.  I actually really appreciated the fact that she wasn't perfect and that we as the reader got the chance to see some of her struggles.  I think I liked her all the more because of it.   The second half of this book was so fast paced that I had a really hard time setting my e-reader down.  I just could not and did not want to stop reading!  This book was darker than I expected it to be and also way more intense.  There are a few trigger warnings in here so this book won't be for all readers but it was really, really good in my opinion.  I'm really excited to have found this series and cannot wait to continue on with it!  I'm also really intrigued to see how everything that happened in this book will play out in future books (I'll leave it at that in order to not share any spoilers).

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and am excited to have found both this author and series!  It was both dark and thrilling which is two of my favorite things in a mystery.  It was also quite the page turner!  I love a good mystery series and books like this are exactly why.  I'm going to be impatiently waiting for book two to release - that's for sure!  I would recommend this book to fans of both mysteries and suspense easily.  I actually really hope that more readers find this series because it deserves the attention.  It was a really solid read and I want more!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A dark mystery that kept me turning the pages as fast as I could (or swiping since I read this on my e-reader).

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

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Natalie Lockhart always knew she was going to be a cop. A rookie detective on the Burning Lake police force, she was raised on the wisdom of her chief-of-police father. These cases will haunt you if you let them. Grief doesn’t come with instructions.

But the one thing her father couldn’t teach her was how to handle loss. Natalie’s beloved sister was viciously murdered as a teenager, and she carries the scars deep in her heart. Although the killer was locked up, the trace evidence never added up, and Natalie can’t help wondering―is the past really behind her?

As the newest member on the force, Natalie is tasked with finding nine missing persons who’ve vanished off the face of the earth, dubbed “the Missing Nine.” One night, while following up on a new lead, she comes across a savage crime that will change everything.

Daisy Buckner―a popular schoolteacher, wife to a cop, and newly pregnant―lies dead on her kitchen floor. As Natalie hunts for Daisy’s killer in the wake of the town’s shock, her search leads to a string of strange clues―about the Missing Nine, about Daisy’s secret life, and reviving fresh doubts about her sister’s murder.
As the investigation deepens, Natalie’s every move risks far-reaching consequences―for the victims, for the town of Burning Lake, and for herself."

My Thoughts:

I jumped at the chance to read this book as soon as I saw that it featured a female detective main character as the focus of this book.  I've really been hooked on finding new series like this to follow so I knew that this one needed to be on my TBR list immediately.  I'm really glad that I didn't wait on this book because I enjoyed it a lot.  One of the things that I liked most about this book was how atmospheric it was.  From the very beginning, the author pulled me into this small town with its' dark past.  I loved the hints of witchcraft that were sprinkled in throughout this book.  It just added to the suspense and darkness that was present during the entire book.  I also really enjoyed the fact that there were two different mysteries that Natalie was looking into.  One is regarding the "Missing Nine" which is a cold case involving nine different missing persons throughout the years that have never been found.  She is just starting to dig into that case when she becomes the lead detective on the murder of Daisy Buckner.  These two cases have intersecting parts here and there that helped to keep me guessing the entire time.  My one complaint with this book was the constant flashbacks or memories that were included.  Normally, this isn't something that bothers me but when I say it was constant I'm not exaggerating.  It happened with every single individual that Natalie came across and honestly it was a bit distracting at times.  That being said, I enjoyed everything else about this book.  The mysteries both kept me guessing until the very end.  I also quite liked Natalie's character.  She is persistent and unafraid to look into every single corner in search of the truth.  The ending of this book really kept me reading and unable to put it down.  I'm excited that this is just the first book in this series and that we will have more of Natalie and this creepy little town to look forward to in future books.   

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am definitely planning on continuing on with this series.  I loved the fact that the author included hints of witchcraft throughout the book.  It really added to the suspense and atmosphere of the entire book.  This book also helped to reaffirm why I enjoy mysteries featuring female detectives as the leads so much!  I think that I will always be drawn to police procedurals and books like this are exactly why.  I love the mystery of them as well as watching the investigation go along as the characters search for the murderer and whys behind it all.  I would recommend this book to readers of mysteries and suspense.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  An atmospheric mystery that kept me guessing until the very end.

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

Sunday, December 1, 2019

November Reading Wrap-Up (2019)

I honestly cannot remember the last time that I did a monthly reading wrap-up.  There is a good chance that I haven't done one at all this year.  I would love to get back in the habit of it just because it's nice to look back on my month of reading (or lack thereof).  November was a really solid month of reading for me.  I was able to finish seven books total which ended with me hitting my Goodread's goal of 60 books read for the year and then surpassing it by one.  I also participated in #NetGalleyNovember this month and managed to finish two books for it (I'm also about 30% into another book which I didn't finish by the end of the month).  There is one thing that I think that I would like to do a bit differently in regards to my monthly wrap-ups.  On the blog, I don't share star ratings of books when I write up my reviews.  I've always struggled a bit with comparing a five star read to another.  I think though with my monthly write-ups that I will include my star rating.  We'll see if it works for me or not if I do start sharing my wrap-ups on a consistent basis.

In November I read the following:

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager - A creepy and slightly terrifying read that I just could not stop reading!  It was making me anxious, I knew bad things were going to happen, and yet I loved every minute of it.  My full review is here if you are interested but I can highly recommend this author (having read two of his books and loving them both)!  Five stars

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin - Wow!  Now I finally know what everyone was talking about in regards to this trilogy and how amazing this book is!  I was in the mood to just sink into a long book and new to me world which is exactly what I did with this one.  And it was absolutely AMAZING!  I'm honestly at a loss for how I'm going to talk about this one but expect my review shortly because it deserves a gushing post!  Five stars

The Wife and The Widow by Christian White - This is my 1st finished 2020 review copy (courtesy of Minotaur books) and what a book it was!  I absolutely flew through the pages of this book!  I probably won't share my full thoughts on this one until closer to the release date but it was such a good read.  It was unexpected but I won't say how for fear of spoilers.  I am really looking forward to discussing this one with other readers! 4.5 stars

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny - This is the 2nd book in the Inspector Gamache series and was a delightful addition to this mystery series.  These character and Three Pines itself are already becoming fast favorites of mine - I'm going to have to pace myself or I will burn through the entire series before I know it.  Review to come. 4 stars

The Cost of Honor by Diana Muñoz Stewart - This is my 2nd book in this romantic suspense series and just as enjoyable as the first (which is actually book two, this is book three in the series).  I've already shared my thoughts on this book here if you are interested. This was a review copy courtesy of the publisher. 4 stars

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert - This book is getting ALL of the hype on bookstagram and it really does deserve it in my opinion.  It features a chronically ill, woman of color main character and I was here for ALL of it.  This book was one of those books where I found myself smiling while reading.  It was just that delightful and I cannot wait to read more by Hibbert.  My full review is here if you are interested.  This was a review copy thanks to the publisher and NetGalley. 4.5 stars

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan - This book begins a new detective mystery series that I am absolutely planning to continue on with.  I wasn't sure how I felt about Josie (our main character) at first but before long I was absolutely hooked on the mystery that she was investigating.  This book was much darker than I expected but really good!  I hope that more readers find this series because it is one that I'm very excited about!  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley. 4 stars

What a solid month of reading that November turned out to be!  I'm still in the middle of two books that will carry over into my December reading.  I would love to carry my reading steam into December and finish out the year strong.

What books did you read and love this month?