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?

Friday, November 29, 2019

Fierce Justice by Piper J. Drake (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"As a K9 handler on the Search and Protect team, Arin Siri needs to be where the action is--and right now that's investigating a trafficking operation in Hawaii. When an enemy from her past shows up bleeding, she's torn between the desire to patch Jason up or put more holes in him. Then again, the hotshot mercenary could be the person she needs to bust open her case.

Jason Landon's team had always been about taking the contract, getting paid, and not asking questions. But after his last mission went south, he started to get curious. His questions quickly drove him out of his mercenary group and off the grid. Now, the only people he can think of to help him are the Search and Protect team -- and the dark beauty who is as ready to kill him as she is to bed him. And he's totally ready to risk the former for the chance at the latter. But he isn't the only person with a target on his back. Arin's in danger too, and he'll do everything he can to keep her safe."

My Thoughts:

Fierce Justice is a book that I read earlier this year and then just never shared my thoughts on it.  I'm going to work on catching up on reviews before the end of the year so wanted to finally write up my thoughts on this one.  I knew I wanted to read this book based off of that cover alone.  Our family has a German Shepherd that we love and adore so any book with one on the cover is one that is bound to draw my interest!  I'm also always on the hunt for good romantic suspense series to follow so I couldn't resist giving this book a try.  I started this series completely out of order as it looks like this is book five but it didn't effect my enjoyment of this book at all.  I do think I missed out on some details as I believe that Jason and Arin met in a previous book.  The author did a good job of filling in the details though so I didn't feel lost at all.  One of things that I really enjoyed about this book was the setting.  I haven't read many books set in Hawaii and I thought that the Hawaiian setting really added to this book.  I also really liked the suspense portion of this book.  The suspense portion was what kept me turning the pages the entire time.  I will be honest and say that the romance portion of this book wasn't really what drew me into it.  I liked Arin and Jason together but their relationship just felt like it almost took a backseat to everything else that was going on.  Which is almost more realistic if you think about it - when someone is in the midst of a dangerous situation I feel like the last thing that they are going to be focused on is falling deeply in love.  I liked that the author gave their relationship a more realistic feel (I don't want to say more because spoilers).  I'm also hoping that we will get to see more of them in future books!  

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book and plan on reading more from this series.  I think that I will try and go back to the beginning with the first book.  If you enjoy suspenseful reads, then I definitely think that this book is one to check out (and you don't need to read this series in order which is always a positive in my opinion).  I would recommend this book to romantic suspense fans and romance readers.  It's an enjoyable read!  

Bottom Line:  An enjoyable romantic suspense!

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen's new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid's disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew's dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building's hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent."

My Thoughts:

This book well and truly creeped me out!  Like I was reading it at night in bed and had to stop because it was making me anxious type of creepy.  It has this feeling of dread from almost the very first page that I absolutely loved.  I found myself reading in short bursts and then setting it down because I just knew bad things were going to happen (and I wasn't sure if I was ready for it yet).  It was just so darn creepy!  I'm going to get into slightly spoiler-ey territory so if you aren't here for that skip on ahead to the next paragraph and my final thoughts on this one.  I feel like I went into this book knowing that bad things were happening at the Bartholomew.  The reader is probably meant to guess more on if bad things are happening or if it was all in Jules' mind.  I just was certain that there were dark things going on and was intent on figuring out what.  I spent a lot of the beginning half of the book just trying to guess what was going on.  Let me tell you that we hit that second half though and the danger Jules was in got real!  By this point in the book I was already thoroughly creeped out by this book in general.  And then something that happened that I didn't see coming from a mile away.  I honestly have no idea if I should have seen this coming or not but I definitely didn't!  I finished this book while my youngest was practicing basketball, in a noisy gym, with the threat of being hit with a basketball in the head present the entire time.  Do you think I looked up once to ensure my safety because of this ending?  Heck no!  Also, who knew that you could be terrified while reading a book in a gym full of nine and ten year olds?  Lesson learned there because this book and that ending was truly terrifying!  Holy cow!  This author is officially on my must read everything he writes list! What a book!  If you've read this one, let's discuss because I am truly curious if I'm the only one who was blown away by this book and the answers behind everything or if other readers were able to guess the answers beforehand.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and will be reading everything this author writes at this point!  It was just so darn good!  I loved the horror type vibes that Sager uses in his books.  They were present in Final Girls and they were definitely present in this one as well!  I love a dark and creepy thriller which is exactly what this book is!  I'm so glad that I listened to the hype on this one because it deserves every single word of praise in my opinion.  I would recommend this book to fans of thrillers, mysteries, and suspense!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  One of the creepiest books I have read this year!  Five stars!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book originally from NetGalley but ended up checking out a copy from my local library.  Honest thoughts are my own.

Monday, November 25, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Nov. 25th)

"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 folks!  It's the week of Thanksgiving AND I have the week off of work which is pretty exciting!  We are staying home all week so it's officially a staycation and I couldn't be more here for that.  I have hopes for lots of reading and relaxing throughout the week.  In honesty, I'm hoping though to get some work done around the house, spends lots of time with my family, and get the Christmas decorations up.  It will be a low key week here which is exactly what I've been looking forward to.  Last week I hit my Goodreads goal of 60 books finished for the year.  It was strangely satisfying watching Goodread's celebrate my accomplishment with virtual confetti.  Has it always done that?  Maybe I've never paid attention until now.....but it was delightful all the same.

I'm actually having a really great month of reading in November compared to last month.  I've already finished six books so far so I'm pretty proud of that number.  I would love to finish two more books this week but time will tell.  I've been thinking a lot lately about blogging and the new year.  What is that going to look like for me?  Keep doing what I'm doing which is mainly just reviews and sporadic reading updates?  Maybe come up with a few fresh post ideas for the new year?  I haven't quite figured it out yet but I have been thinking about it.  Let me ask all of you:  what types of posts do you prefer to read on blogs?  Do you even read book review posts?  Is there something that you wish I did differently here or did more of?  I love reading updates myself.  I love informal talks about the books people have been reading and what their thoughts are as they are reading.  I don't read a lot of reviews myself.  These three things make me think that I need to change the way I'm doing things here and try something different.  But I like being able to go back and read my thoughts on books which is why I've kept writing reviews for so long.  It's something to ponder....

Last week I finished up Lock Every Door by Riley Sager.  I've already written up my thoughts on it and my review will post this week (tomorrow actually).  It was SO good and completely creeped me out!  I only have one more book of Sager's to catch up on which I plan on reading in the new year.  I'm now currently reading the following two books:

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny is the second book from her Three Pines series which I checked out from my local library.  I'm taking my time with this book and just enjoying visiting Three Pines once again.  The author writes beautifully and I find myself wishing that this was a really village readers could visit.  I'm curious to see where the book is going as there are hints of dark things to come but so far the murder hasn't yet happened.

Husband Material by Emily Belden is a review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley that I'm reading on my e-reader.  It's the perfect change of pace from the mysteries and thrillers that I've been reading lately.  I wasn't sure if this was going to be the book for me based off of the first chapter.  I kept going though and now I'm about 25% in and really enjoying it.

I would love to finish reading both of these books this week so that will be my reading goals.  I do think in the new year I'm going to work on participating in more read-a-thons, buddy reads, and group reads.  I've always enjoyed myself when I do participate in these type of things but I don't do it very often.  I think it will motivate me to also keep working on stretching my reading boundaries in the new year! I'm off to work on my laundry piles for a bit.

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Rose Dennis wakes up in a hospital gown, her brain in a fog, only to discover that she's been committed to an Alzheimer's Unit in a nursing home. With no memory of how she ended up in this position, Rose is sure that something is very wrong. When she overhears one of the administrators saying about her that she's "not making it through the week," Rose is convinced that if she's to survive, she has to get out of the nursing home. She avoids taking her medication, putting on a show for the aides, then stages her escape.
The only problem is—how does she convince anyone that she's not actually demented? Her relatives were the ones to commit her, all the legal papers were drawn up, the authorities are on the side of the nursing home, and even she isn't sure she sounds completely sane. But any lingering doubt Rose herself might have had is erased when a would-be killer shows up in her house in the middle of the night. Now Rose knows that someone is determined to get rid of her. 
With the help of her computer hacker/recluse sister Marion, thirteen-year old granddaughter Mel, and Mel's friend Royal, Rose begins to gather her strength and fight back—to find out who is after her and take back control of her own life. But someone out there is still determined to kill Rose, and they're holding all the cards."
My Thoughts:
This is honestly one of the most fun books that I've read all year!  I feel like I haven't read a lot of books featuring older main characters - Mrs. Pollifax's character by Dorothy Gillman is the first one that comes to mind.  It's a shame because there is something to be said about a main character that has lots of life experiences behind them already.  But I'm going off on a tangent there - anyways - I really, really enjoyed Rose's character.  I don't think that it is too spoiler-ey to say that at first as the reader I wasn't sure if Rose had dementia or really what was going on.  She isn't the most reliable of main characters mainly because her memory is so spotty thanks to all of the medications that she was on while in the nursing home.  As the reader I wasn't sure if I could trust Rose's memories or even fully trust the reality of the events as they were happening which added a layer of suspense to the book.  The thing about this book though was that reading about Rose's adventures was just so much fun!  I could never tell what she was going to do next!  Plus, you know that she in danger so it made me read even faster because I wanted to make sure that everything was going to turn out okay for her.  I also really loved her granddaughter who was just as spunky as Rose is and her sister Marion.  The book was also really fast paced so I flew through the pages of it.  I actually had to slow down a couple of times and go back to reread sections of the book because I reading too fast just trying to see what was going to happen next!  When I think back on this book, it makes me smile so that should really tell you all that you need to know in my opinion!

Overall, I found this to be a delightful and suspenseful read that kept me turning the pages the entire time!  It was a fun book to read and a nice change of pace from the thrillers that I tend to read.  This book is more of a suspenseful mystery and it was just what I needed to change things up a bit.  I really enjoyed this book and it was a nice reminder that I need to get back to her Anna Pigeon series very soon!

Bottom Line:  What else to say besides that this book was just a delight to read?

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Cost of Honor by Diana Muñoz Stewart (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"He gave up everything to escape his family
The only male to be adopted into the notorious Parish family, Tony Parish always did right by his vigilante sisters. But when an attempt to protect one of them went horribly wrong, he had to fake his own death to escape his fanatical family. Tony set sail and ended up in Dominica—face to face with the woman of his dreams...
Now he must give up Honor to save her
After the death of her mother, Honor Silva moved to Dominica, where her family could help her heal and move on. But her activist mother left her more than money, she left her proof that could take down one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.
Tony gave up everything he thought he knew when he fled his family. But when a threat too dangerous for Tony and Honor to fight on their own closes in, he has no choice but to go to them for help. Problem is, they'll demand something in return—something that could cost Tony not just Honor, but also the love that changed him forever."
My Thoughts:

I am officially hooked on this series!  A few months ago I read (and really enjoyed) the second book in this series The Price of Grace.  It left me completely excited about this book and happily it was just as good as I had hoped!  What a page turner this book was!  I swear I was 100 pages into this one and then all of a sudden I hit this point and knew that I wasn't going to be able to stop reading until I finished.  It was just that good and I HAD to see how everything was going to turn out.  One of the things that I really liked about this book was that there were two separate threats that Tony and Honor are facing.  One is an unknown threat to Honor's business that Tony is attempting to help her with.  The second one is the threat that Tony's family will find him and wipe his memories. These two things added a lot of suspense and tension to this book.  It also helped for me to really understand and get behind the relationship that developed between these two.  I'm not usually one for relationships that develop super fast - I prefer the building up of a relationship the majority of the time.  Not in this case though because I was completely behind their relationship and the why's that they were diving into it so fast.  They knew that there time was limited together so they weren't going to waste one second of the time that they did have.  They had the perfect blend of chemistry and heat which had me rooting for their happy ever after the entire time.  I really, really liked this book so I'm eager to see if there are going to be more books in this series.  In the meantime, I need to go back and finally read that first book that started this series.  I do recommend reading these books in order if possible.  I didn't feel like it hurt my enjoyment in the second book at all (not having read the first) but by the time that you get to this one, I'm sure there are too many spoilers otherwise.  Also, things that happened in that second book definitely carry over into this one so that's another reason to read them in order if at all possible.  Plus, the two that I've read were so good so definitely worth your time!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and this series in general so far.  I'm really, really hoping that we get more books featuring the Parish family because I'm not ready for it to be done.  This book had the perfect blend of heat and suspense - this is romantic suspense at its best in my opinion!  I would recommend this book and series to fans of romantic suspense, romance, and even suspense readers in general.  Read it in order if you can or start with The Price of Grace like I did!  An easy book to recommend!

Bottom Line:  The perfect blend of romance and suspense - what more do you need?

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

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Sunday Salon (Evening 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"

I'm posting a bit later than I usually do today but I was in the mood to chat with all of you.  The end of the year is rapidly approaching which is always a busy but fun time.  I'm already thinking about my reading year so far (I'm currently four books from my Goodread's goal for the year), the books that I'm anticipating in 2020, and what blogging will look like for me in the new year.  I've come to understand that I blog when I can.  This comes in waves - sometimes I'm more active and am able to get posts scheduled ahead of time.  Other times are more like today where I'm writing this post before dinner (so basically by the seat of my pants) but still want to share.  I would love to keep up with my posts more in the new year but time will tell if that actually happens or not. 

In other news, I have some new book mail to share with all of you.  I would love to get better about posting my book mail on a more consistent basis so this is also something I'm going to work towards in the new year. 

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt sounds like a SUPER creepy read!  I'm so excited to give it a try - honestly it just sounds like a book that should be read during this time of year with the long, dark nights.  I may end up giving myself nightmares with this one but still can't wait to check it out!

Life and Limb by Jennifer Roberson is a fantasy type of read (I believe).  As I just finished, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (and LOVED it), I'm absolutely there for this one!  I just cannot wait to check it out and see what new world this author has created.  I'm really in the fantasy mood now so I don't think I'll be waiting too long to read this one!

All The Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen is one of my most anticipated reads for 2020!  I have loved BOTH of the previous two books in this series.  The author isn't afraid to take chances with her books and the main characters are ones that just love to read about.  I have very high hopes for this one - honestly, it doesn't release until February but I'm pretty sure I will be reading this one next month at the latest.

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler isn't my typical sort of read which is why I'm so excited to read it!  I've realized lately that I need to push myself once in awhile to read more than just mysteries and thrillers all of the time.  This book also doesn't release until 2020 but I'm really looking forward to it as well.  I do plan on really working on stretching my reading boundaries in the new year however that looks!

I'm currently reading the following two books:

The Cost of Honor by Diana Munoz Stewart is a the third book in a romantic suspense series where I just recently read and enjoyed the second book not that long ago.  I'm about 100 pages in and enjoying this one as well.  It's a pretty fast read so I'm hoping to finish it this week.

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan is my current read for #NetGalleyNovember.  I've got a ridiculous number of review copies courtesy of both NetGalley and Edelweiss.  I'm working on focusing on reading a few of them this month.  This is my second book for this "challenge" so I already feel like I've been successful with it so far.  I would love to finish this one as well this week so that's my reading goals for the week.

As we are into the evening already, I don't really have any plans of the day to share.  I have been working diligently on my laundry piles this weekend and still really haven't made that much of a dent.  I'll continue on with that this week as well.  I also went to my youngest son's basketball game today which was fun.  It's always fun to watch at this age as they are still learning so much!  I'm off to curl up with one of my books and maybe a little Harry Potter movie to end my day.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"It's 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren't as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn't believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn't need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam. 

Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva's new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva's history―and her heart.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers."

My Thoughts:

The Widow of Rose House was everything that I love in a gothic romance!  Why are authors not writing more books like this?  I've always enjoyed books like this but they are from older authors like Barbara Michaels or Mary Stewart.  I'm sure you can imagine my delight when I read this description and saw the words Victorian Gothic included....I've never hit the request button on NetGalley so fast!  This book was everything that I hoped it would be and so much more!  One of the things that made this book stand out for me was Samuel's character.  I didn't even realize that I would love his character so much until I did.  The way that his mind worked just was so fascinating to read about, and I couldn't help but adore him.  The romance between Sam and Alva was also just so very delightful to read about.  Alva has had a hard time in her life - her marriage was horrible and her parents aren't much better.  On the other hand, Samuel's family was absolutely the best (please, please tell me that we are going to get more books featuring some of his siblings) so they had very different experiences.  The struggles that Alva faced with trust and love all came from her past and previous experiences.  It made the romance that was developing between her and Samuel all the sweeter though because of it.  I was fully behind these two working through everything so that they could find their happy ever after together.  I also really, really enjoyed the haunted house that Alva was trying to renovate.  I'm a sucker for a haunted house especially when there are ghosts in the mix.  I was so intrigued by those portions of the book and what exactly was going on.  Fair warning though, this book was unexpectedly darker than I thought it would be at times.  There are a few trigger warnings in here that readers may want to be made aware of (just leave me a comment or email if you want more details).  The ending of this book was absolute perfection - I cannot get over the fact that this book is this author's debut!  

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book so much and cannot recommend this book highly enough!  I NEED more authors to dip their toes in the gothic romance waters for sure. I also need Diana Biller to keep writing books just like this because it was both amazing and delightful.  This is honestly one of the top romances that I've read so far this year and I've already read some really great ones.  Fans of Barbara Michaels and Mary Stewart - take note of this author and book!  I would recommend this one to fans of romance, historical romance, and anyone who loves a great gothic read like I do.  I will be just sitting over here impatiently waiting for whatever this author writes next now!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  This book is everything that I wanted in a gothic romance without me even knowing it!  Such a delight!

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And... do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…"

My Thoughts:

This may be one of the most adorable books that I've read in a really long time!  I enjoyed it so much that I found myself grinning at my e-reader at times.  Because I'm that person apparently and this book was also that good.  Let's start off by talking about Chloe and how much of an enjoyable character she was.  Because you just don't see (in my experience at least) main characters that are not only diverse but also that have a chronic illness which isn't glossed over.  Let me be the first person to say that I cannot speak to any of the above as I'm neither of these two things.  I cannot speak to the accuracy but I can speak to how this book made me feel - and it made me feel so good!  It was a nice change of pace to read a book where the chronic illness wasn't the point of the story but it was an important factor and was acknowledged throughout the entire book.  Chloe has good days and she has bad days with her illness and this felt real to me.  I'm sure that her experiences and symptoms are not the same as everyone that has fibromyalgia and that's okay.  I just feel like this book helped to shine a light (however big or small) on what life is like for individuals living with chronic illnesses.  And then we had a character like Red who was just perfection as well.  Red's got some major relationship issues thanks to a past relationship but that doesn't stop him from being just about the most adorable love interest that I've ever had the pleasure of reading about.  And the chemistry between these two was just complete perfection!  Okay, I'm going to get slightly spoiler-ey here so if you aren't here for that move on to next paragraph.  I do have to also say here how much I enjoyed the fact that the relationship between Chloe and Red developed naturally without any huge misunderstandings or angst.  Yes, there is a few blips here and there but they were minor looking back which just really fit my reading mood perfectly.  I enjoy an angsty romance when I'm in the right mood but I didn't feel like this book was that which I really appreciated (because apparently that is NOT what I wanted without even knowing it).

Overall, I read this one with a smile on my face which should tell you everything that you need to know.  I even found myself highlighting passages on my e-reader (which I hardly ever do) because the writing was just perfection.  It was the perfect blend of humor and adorableness all rolled into one really great book!  I'm really excited that this is my first book by Talia Hibbert because it won't be my last!  I actually already have one of her other books on my e-reader but then when I finished this one I realized that it was beginning a series.  AND I AM HERE FOR ALL OF THE BOOKS in this series!  Like seriously!  I cannot wait to see what else she comes up with next!  I would recommend this book to fans of romance, contemporary romance, rom com readers, and just those that enjoy a really adorable book with a nice steam factor.  An easy book for me to recommend!

Bottom Line:  A really great book that I couldn't help but enjoy from the very first page!

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

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Nothing to Fear by Juno Rushdan (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Fearsome Gray Box operative Gideon Stone is devoted to his work and his team. He's never given reason to doubt his loyalty...until he's tasked with investigating Willow Harper, a beguiling cryptologist suspected of selling deadly bio-agents on the black market.

He knows she's innocent. He knows she's being framed. And he knows that without him, Willow will be dead before sunrise.

Thrust into the crossfire of an insidious international conspiracy, Gideon will do anything to keep Willow safe...even if that means waging war against his own. With time running out, an unlikely bond pushes limits―and forges loyalties. Every move they make counts. And the real traitor is always watching..."

My Thoughts:

Let me tell you how much I enjoy romantic suspense when it is done like this!  Books like this are why I enjoy this genre so much.  This book was the perfect blend of suspense and romance.  I was turning the pages as fast as I could the majority of this book while reading, but also just loving the developing relationship between Willow and Gideon.  And can we just shout out the fact that Willow is on the spectrum and the amazing way that the author writes her character.  She is who she is and we got to the struggles that she faces from being "different" (for lack of better word here) as well as the strengths that she has from it.  It isn't something that is glossed over at all in this book but is instead such an integral part of her character.  I cannot honestly say that I've ever read a romantic suspense book featuring a character like this until now which is a shame. How lucky am I though that I have another book in this series to catch up on after enjoying this one so much?  The chemistry between Gideon and Willow was HOT!  I enjoyed that they each had their own issues that they needed to work through before they were ready to even think about being in a relationship.  And I also have to say how much I appreciated that their romance came together during reasonable times - and not when they were literally in the middle of being chased by the bad guys like it does sometime in other books of this genre.  The feelings that grew between the two of them felt natural and I was completely here for it all.  I have a copy of the first book but didn't get the chance to read it before this one and it didn't affect my enjoyment in the slightest.  I'm super excited though to go back to that first book after enjoying this one so much!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book immensely!  It was the perfect mix of suspense and romance with characters that I just couldn't get enough of.  I'm so glad that I have now found this author and series because this book was that good!  I don't want to say too much more as I don't want to spoil anything.  If you enjoy action-packed, suspenseful books with romance mixed in, check this one out.  I would highly recommend it and am really looking forward to seeing what other readers think of it!

Bottom Line:  A book that has me just itching for more books just like it!

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

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. Once loved and cherished, the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back into the community he thought he had left behind, as deadly secrets hidden at its heart are revealed, and his past and present collide.

An astonishing new novel told with compassion and searing insight, The Long Call will captivate fans of Vera and Shetland, as well as new readers."

My Thoughts:

Don't you just love when you find the perfect book at just the right time that fits your reading mood?  This book was exactly the type of read that I needed without even knowing it.  This isn't a book to be rushed through in my opinion.  Instead, I took my time with this one and just enjoyed the ride that the author was taking me on.  And what a ride this was!  One of the things that I enjoyed most about this book was that the author really took the time to give the reader a sense of place with this book.  I felt like I was really there in North Devon investigating right alongside Matthew.  I also have to say how much I appreciated Matthew's character.  He's a quiet character but the strength in his character really shines through the pages even as he struggles with self doubt at times.  I really, really enjoyed him as a main character which makes me so happy that this is just the beginning to this new series.  I liked the conflicts that he had at times because of his upbringing and the experiences he had after leaving the community he grew up in.  The mystery portion of this book was also really enjoyable for me as it kept me guessing until the end.  I really liked that there were ties not only to Matthew's past with the case he was investigating but also ties to his husband's work.  It made the case more personal for Matthew which made the stakes for him figuring everything out that much more important.  The other characters in this book were also really enjoyable which has me so excited about this series.  I couldn't help but appreciate how everything came together at the end of this book.  I didn't see it coming and honestly I kind of thought that I had it figured out at one point while I was reading.  How wrong I was though!  That was probably the only part of this book that I rushed through and that was because I just had to see how it would all end.

Overall, I just really enjoyed my time with this book!  I'm so glad that I have finally given this author a try as I've had her books on my TBR list for years.  This new series was the perfect push to finally read her - now I have lots of other books to look forward to which will make the wait for the second book in this series not seem so long!  This isn't a book to rush through in my opinion.  Instead, I would recommend doing exactly like I did and just immersing yourself in this book.  Reading this book slowly allowed for me to appreciate everything that the author did with not only setting up the mystery but also the sense of place that she created.  I honestly am really looking forward to reading more of these characters because they were all so great!  I would recommend this book to fans of both mystery and suspense.  I also have to say that those readers who enjoy Deborah Crombie or Louise Penny should give this book a shot.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A lovely beginning to this new series that has me so excited to have found this author and all of her books!

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.

And no one is safe."

My Thoughts:

This book is JUST as creepy as that summary makes it seem!  Let me tell you, I cannot remember the last time that a book creeped me out enough that I was freaked out walking into my dark garage one evening after the overhead light had burned out.  Oh but this book did exactly that!  I picked this one up but honestly was a bit intimidated by the size at first.  I needn't have worried because the pages just flew on by with this book.  It WAS SO good and I just couldn't seem to stop reading.  I do need to say that this book is considerably dark so it won't be for all readers.  And there are definite trigger warnings in here that readers will want to be aware of as well.  All of that being said, books like this are exactly why I read (and I kinda have to wonder about myself after saying all of that - ha!)  But seriously, this book felt like the perfect read to start fall off with.  It was dark and creepy with a terrifying killer.  It's a police procedural which is something that I always enjoy.  And it has these characters that maybe I didn't understand at first but by the end I wasn't ready to let them go or even see this book end.  Somebody please tell me that this is going to be the first book in a series because I will be there for it!!!  I love a book like this that just wraps you up in the atmosphere of the story that the author is telling.  I could feel the chill in the air as these two detectives tried to figure out what was going on and who the killer was.  I really appreciated the fact that I was kept guessing with this book until the very end.  I didn't see the ending coming whatsoever which boosted my enjoyment of this book that much more.  I'm at the point off gushing but this book completely deserves it in my opinion.  I need more books like this in my reading life because wow....just wow!  Also, can we please discuss that ending and what you think that it means?

Overall, this book is a five star read for me which should tell you everything that you need to know.  It was dark, suspenseful, eerie, and just one of the most twisted but best books that I've read so far this year.  I can't give it any higher praise than that!  I don't think that this book will be for everyone but I do think that this book is the perfect kind of thriller to read for this type of year.  It's exactly the type of book that I look for with my fall reading which is why I want more books just like it!  I think that fans of thrillers, horror (although this book isn't exactly horror it does have those kind of vibes), and suspense.  I highly recommend this one and am so excited to see that so many other readers have been enjoying it as well!

Bottom Line:  An easy five star read for me! I need more books like this in my reading life!

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