Thursday, February 27, 2020

Egg Drop Dead by Vivien Chien (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"It was supposed to be a fancy, intimate dinner party by the pool. Instead, Lana Lee’s first-ever catering event turns into full-course madness when a domestic worker is found dead. Is the party’s host Donna Feng, the sweet-and-sour owner of the Asia Village shopping plaza where Ho-Lee is situated, somehow to blame? That’s what Lana―whose plate is already plenty full with running the restaurant, pleasing her often-disapproving mother, and fretting over her occasionally-serious boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau―must find out.

Before the police arrived at the crime scene, Donna had entrusted an odd piece of evidence to Lana: a thumb drive shaped like a terra-cotta soldier. Now it’s up to Lana to lead her own investigation, digitally and in real life, into a world of secrets involving Donna’s earlier life in China, whether the victim had a dark agenda, and if the killer is still out there. . .and plans to strike again."

My Thoughts:

Egg Drop Dead is the 5th book in the Noodle Shop mystery series and it is just a delight!  I actually started this series on book three and haven't yet had the chance to catch up on books one and two.  This is the first time that it seems to have mattered as this book referenced a previous case that Lana investigated that I'm guessing happened during either book one or two.  It didn't affect my enjoyment of this book in the slightest but I wanted to mention it in case you haven't read those earlier books either.  This book had everything that I enjoy about this series!  There are these amazing food descriptions that make me constantly feel hungry while reading.  Lana is Lana and finds herself caught up in the middle of a murder investigation yet again.  She is such a delightful character that I just always find myself rooting for!  Plus, all of my favorite secondary characters were present including Lana's detective boyfriend Adam.  I liked that in this book we learned a bit more about Lana through her ex-boyfriend's surprise appearance in her life once again.  I don't want to share any spoilers but I will say that I liked how everything turned out in that situation.  The mystery portion of this book was well done as well and kept me guessing.  This is a series that I really enjoy and will just keep reading more of!  I really do need to catch up with those earlier books though!

Overall, this book was another great addition to what has become a favorite mystery series of mine!  I swear that every time I read these books I find myself craving spring rolls.  Yum!  The characters are great and I cannot wait to see what kind of trouble Lana will get herself into next time.  I'm really enjoying seeing Lana and Adam's relationship develop.  Hopefully we will continue to see that happen in future books.  You can certainly read this series out of order (I did) but I do think that it would help your overall reading experience to start at the beginning if possible.  This is a cozy mystery series not to be missed!  Recommended to fans of cozy mysteries and mystery readers alike!

Bottom Line:  Another delightful addition to one of my favorite cozy mystery series!

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

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

All The Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother's killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She's eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn't about to give up now."

My Thoughts:

This series has fast become a favorite of mine at only three books in!  It's also a bit hard to review books that are part of a series without spoiling anything so I'll do my best not to spoil anything.  I do think that this is a series that should be read in order if possible.  There is just so much that we learn about and that happens in the first book that continues to carry over into each book of this series.  The author does a really amazing job with Ellery.  Her past is something that she continues to deal with and grow from.  I love her character and seeing how she has changed from the first book until now.  I also really liked the mystery that this book was focused on and the spotlight it shone on Reed's character.  We have always seen Reed trying to help Ellery and the shoe is really on the other foot in this book.  I love the dynamics between these two characters and their relationship with one another.  Neither of them is perfect but they come across that much more realistically because of it.  The mystery in this book kept me guessing the entire time as always.  There was one part of it that I had mostly figured out but then a different part that I didn't see coming at all.  I'm excited to see what kind of trouble that Reed and Ellery will find themselves in next.  I really appreciate that we continually see them grow and their relationship evolve in each book of the series.  This book was definitely a page turner and the perfect way to end my reading month in January!

Overall, I'm a HUGE fan of this series and will be impatiently waiting for the next book in this series to release!  This author and her books are on my must read list because I just love this series and characters so much.  If you haven't had the chance to read this series yet, definitely start with The Vanishing Season!  Every book in this series has been at least a four star read so I just cannot recommend it enough!  Fans of mysteries, suspense, and thrillers need to check this author out!

Bottom Line:  A really great addition to one of my favorite mystery series!

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

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Third To Die by Allison Brennan (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"An edgy female police detective…An ambitious FBI special agent. Together they are at the heart of the ticking-clock investigation for a psychopathic serial killer. The bond they forge in this crucible sets the stage for high-stakes suspense.

Detective Kara Quinn, on leave from the LAPD, is on an early morning jog in her hometown of Liberty Lake when she comes upon the body of a young nurse. The manner of death shows a pattern of highly controlled rage. Meanwhile in DC, FBI special agent Mathias Costa is staffing his newly minted Mobile Response Team. Word reaches Matt that the Liberty Lake murder fits the profile of the compulsive Triple Killer. It will be the first case for the MRT. This time they have a chance to stop this zealous if elusive killer before he strikes again. But only if they can figure out who he is and where he is hiding before he disappears for another three years. The stakes are higher than ever before, because if they fail, one of their own will be next…"

My Thoughts:

The Third to Die was a suspenseful read that kept me turning the pages as fast as I could.  This book is the 1st in a new series featuring a newly formed FBI response team.  They get called out to the newest murder in a suspected serial killer case where the killer kills three people every three years but then seemingly goes dormant in between killings.  It's a highly unusual type of serial killer and FBI special agent Matt has a limited timeframe if he is going to be able to help stop the new two killings before the killer strikes again.  I really enjoy police procedurals and books featuring FBI agents as the lead characters.  I always enjoy following along with the investigation in the hopes that they will be able to stop the killer in time.  In this book that feeling of suspense was heightened because they knew that their killer always killed the three victims in a short amount of time.  They didn't have much time to figure it out and on top of that this is a newly formed team where they were adding members as they went.  I really enjoyed the suspense and mystery aspects of this book.  I was kept guessing until the author was ready to reveal.  And on top of it, it was just such a page turner!  I really did whip through this book as fast as I could because I wanted to see how it was all going to turn out.  My one issue with this book was that there were times where it felt like I was missing backstory.  This book is the 1st in a new series but I'm kind of left wondering if these characters came from a previous series or book by this author.  It didn't happen the entire book but there were a couple of times where a past case was referenced that we were never given the full details behind.  Maybe we will learn more about that case and everything that happened in a future book?  Or maybe I missed the fact that this series is connected loosely to another book or series of this authors?  I haven't yet figured it out.  Despite that complaint, I really did enjoy this book overall.  The author wasn't afraid to take chances or make surprising choices with the story line.  It kept me on my toes the entire time!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am excited to continue on with this series!  I've previously enjoyed a couple of this author's books - I really need to get working on her backlist more!  She has quite the backlist so at least I have lots more to look forward to while I wait for the next book in this series.  I'm especially intrigued by the way the author chose to end this book.  The case was wrapped up but she left some major questions open for one of the characters that is going to have me jumping on that second book whenever it comes out.  I would recommend this book to fans of mysteries and romantic suspense - this isn't a romantic suspense by any means but there are hints at a possible developing relationship that I think those types of readers will enjoy.  This is an easy book for me to recommend!

Bottom Line:  A mystery that kept me reading as fast as I could just so I could see how it would all turn out!

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

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Sunday Post #62 (The Germs Edition)

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme"

Happy Sunday everyone!  It's a gloomy day here with rain, sleet, and the possibility of snow as well later this afternoon.  It has been a hectic couple of weeks which helps to explain the lack of posts.  My youngest came down with pneumonia first (and my husband was sick at the same time).  I then came down with some sort of virus the following week.  My oldest son tested positive for influenza the week after.  Germs, germs, germs I tell you!  I didn't even open a book the week I was sick because basically all I did was cough.  It was rough but we all (fingers crossed) seem to be on the mend now with it passing my daughter by completely and thankfully!

In bookish news, I finished my first five star read of the year this weekend which was VERY exciting.  I'm currently ahead on my Goodreads challenge which means that I'm off to a solid start.  There are a ton of books that are on my radar that I really, really want to read.  It's just finding the time that is the hardest sometimes.  I'm already starting to fall a bit behind on reviews so that is something I'm planning on working on later today.  I would love to get a couple of reviews scheduled out but I'm also wanting to curl up with a book - we will see which one ends up winning out.

So far this month I have finished the following two books:

The Third To Die by Allison Brennan was an enjoyable and suspenseful read with a hint of a romance.  I really liked this one although there were times that it felt like I was missing backstory (despite this being the 1st book in the series).  I'm curious if this book relates to any of her other books or series which might explain the missing pieces more.  I should be sharing my full thoughts on this one later this week.

In The Dark by Loreth Anne White was my first five star read of 2020!  It was SO GOOD you guys!  I'm not sure why I haven't heard more about this author or this book because I have all of the feelings.      I saw a review of this book on Instagram and was instantly intrigued.  I went ahead and requested it from the library, and I'm thrilled that I did!  Expect a full gushing review of this one but to just tease you a bit - this book is based off of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.  That's all I needed to hear before I knew that this was going to be a must read for me!

I'm now currently reading the following two books:

Egg Drop Dead is my current kindle read courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.  This is the 5th book in the Noodle Shop cozy mystery series.  I'm not too far in yet but I'm already enjoying myself. This is a delightful cozy mystery series and this book releases later this month.  In print, I'm getting ready to begin reading The Shape of Family by Shilpi Somaya Gowda which is a review copy courtesy of the publisher.  This isn't my typical sort of read but I really want to push my reading boundaries and genres this year so I'm looking forward to reading it!  It sounds like it might be heartbreaking but I'm ready for it!

My plans for today are pretty open other than I'm planning on cooking breakfast for dinner.  I would like to write up a few reviews like I said previously.  I would like to also read my book for awhile.  I also need to get everything taken care of to start off the week on the right foot.  Honestly, I might end up doing a mix of all three and call it a successful day!  I hope you all are enjoying a good book or two to start off your week as well.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!