Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

by: Robert Galbraith (psuedonym JK Rowling)
published by:  Mulholland Books
publish date:  June 24, 2014

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

This is the adult series written by J.K. Rowling in case perhaps you missed all the hoopla surrounding the release of the first book The Cuckoo's Calling.  I liked that book, particularly the characters of Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin.  

The Silkworm took me awhile to get into.  I had trouble with the story line for some reason.  I have this issue with books about authors for some reason.  There seems to be a lot of them lately and I'm just really tired of reading about authors and what a quirky lot they are.  Yeah, I get it, y'all are so tortured and no one gets you or your work or the deeper meaning of it or whatever it is you're trying to say about constantly writing about writers.  Anyway...enough about that quibble, I think what drew me into The Cuckoo's Calling was the character Robin.  She's Cormoran's assistant/secretary.  I really like her character and she seemed to take a bit of a backseat in this book.  I hope in the next book she's featured a bit more prominently, because her she's very enjoyable to read.  The tension between her and Cormoran and her fiance is good stuff!

I assume there will be a 3rd Cormoran Strike book at some time in the future.  I will definitely be reading it.  This is a great detective series by a great writer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blog Tour: The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad

Author: Eric Rickstad
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Date of publication: October 2014

With the dead of a bitter Vermont winter closing in, evil is alive and well …

Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective's badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an '89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.

Soon Rath's investigation brings him face-to-face with the darkest abominations of the human soul.

With the consequences of his violent and painful past plaguing him, and young women with secrets vanishing one by one, he discovers once again that even in the smallest towns on the map, evil lurks everywhere—and no one is safe.

Morally complex, seething with wickedness and mystery, and rich in gritty atmosphere and electrifying plot turns, The Silent Girls marks the return of critically acclaimed author Eric Rickstad. Readers of Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbø, and Greg Iles will love this book and find themselves breathless at the incendiary, ambitious, and unforgettable story.

I was in the mood for a good horror novel since I haven't really read a good one since Bird Box.  I had high hopes for The Silent Girls.  Sadly, it didn't live up to its expectations for me.  I got about halfway through and decided to give up. I'm not saying it was badly written, it just never seemed to get off the ground.

It started out promising with a gruesome and eerie opening.  In a flash back, a woman is brutally murdered on Halloween.  Fast forward to the present and private detective Frank Rath has been called to consult on a missing teenager's possible disappearance.    He has his own dark past since his sister and brother-in-law were murdered years before.  But then the book kind of seemed to move at a snail's pace.  I like my horror/thrillers to be fast paced and keep me on my toes.  That wasn't the case for me here.

I have included an excerpt from the book below.  It has gotten other great reviews.  I encourage you to try it out for yourself. Just because it wasn't for me, doesn't mean you won't like it!


The child stepped into the house and shut the door with a soft click. Its face hovered above the woman's. The woman reached up, clutched the mask's rubbery skin. Pulled. The mask would not come off. She dug her fingers in. Clawed. The mask stretched. The knife sliced. She tore at the mask, gasping. The child had been right.

Monsters did exist.

About the author:

Eric Rickstad’s taut, chilling literary crime novels strip back the bucolic veneer of rural America and root around in its tragic underbelly. His first novel Reap was a New York Times Noteworthy Book first published by Viking Penguin. His novel THE SILENT GIRLS, from HarperCollins, was published October 28, 2014. His short stories and articles have appeared in many magazines and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He holds an MFA from the University of Virginia where he was a Hoyns Fellow and a Corse Fellow. He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter, and is represented by Philip Spitzer of the Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Seduction by Design by Sandra Brown

Author: Sandra Brown wroiting as Erin St. Claire
First published in 1983 by Silhouette

Hailey Ashton projects an image that she's on top of everything, but no one realizes that she lives a life of quiet emptiness -- not ready to have a relationship, not willing to give herself body and soul to a man.

Never able to compete with her younger sister, the thoughtless beauty of the family, Hailey opted to be the "good girl." But when she meets Tyler Scott -- her rich, attractive new boss -- she longs to be anything but good. She wants to be chic, smart, and savvy.

Tyler is self-assured with women. But when it comes to being a father, he's got a lot to learn. Hailey Ashton seems perfect. His attraction to her is so powerful he wants her in his arms -- as well as in his daughter's life.

Seduction by Design is one of Ms. Brown earlier romances that she wrote under the alias Erin St. Claire.  For me, it was just an OK read.  I actually thought it could have been a cute story. I liked Tyler and his take charge personality.  I liked the way he wormed his way into Hailey's life.

I would have liked this book more had I liked the heroine.  I found Hailey to be annoying after a while.  Her insecurities really grated on my nerves. For every time that she seemed to be making progress, she would take something the wrong way and slide right back into her insecure self.  I got to the point where I was almost rooting for Tyler to dump her.  Of course, they get their HEA, but it took too long for them to get there for me. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blog Tour: The Red Book of Primrose House by Marty Wingate

Author: Marty Wingate
Publisher: Alibi
Date of publication: November 2014

Pru Parke has her dream job: head gardener at an eighteenth-century manor house in Sussex. The landscape for Primrose House was laid out in 1806 by renowned designer Humphry Repton in one of his meticulously illustrated Red Books, and the new owners want Pru to restore the estate to its former glory—quickly, as they’re planning to showcase it in less than a year at a summer party.

But life gets in the way of the best laid plans: When not being happily distracted by the romantic attentions of the handsome Inspector Christopher Pearse, Pru is digging into the mystery of her own British roots. Still, she manages to make considerable progress on the vast grounds—until vandals wreak havoc on each of her projects. Then, to her horror, one of her workers is found murdered among the yews. The police have a suspect, but Pru is certain they’re wrong. Once again, Pru finds herself entangled in a thicket of evil intentions—and her, without a hatchet.

The Red Book of Primrose House is the second in the book in the potting shed series.  Once again, the author has given us a good solid mystery with a great amateur detective.  This time around, Pru has taken the job as head gardener at Primrose House.  She has been given the task of restoring the gardens to their former glory.  Someone keeps sabotaging her work and then one of her employees is murdered.  As in the first book, Pru puts on her detective thinking cap and sets out to solve the mystery.

I enjoyed this one.  While I wasn't too surprised at who the murderer was, I still had fun watching Pru figure it all out. She is just such a likable character. We also learn a bit more about Pru and her background.  I won't spoil it, but she gets a big surprise that affects her family tree in a big way.  We are also treated to more of Pru and Christopher together.  Their relationship is really sweet.

Even though this is the second in the series, you could read this one as a stand alone. I do hope more books featuring Pru Parke are planned for the future.  I look forward to reading them!

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About the author:

Marty Wingate is the author of The Garden Plot and a regular contributor to Country Gardens as well as other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America. More Potting Shed mysteries are planned.

Purchase Links

Marty Wingate’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, November 3rd: Bibliotica
Tuesday, November 4th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, November 6th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, November 6th: Luxury Reading
Friday, November 7th: 5 Minutes for Books
Monday, November 10th: Reading Reality
Monday, November 10th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, November 11th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, November 12th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, November 13th: Under a Gray Sky
Friday, November 14th: Back Porchervations
Tuesday, November 18th: Dwell in Possibility
Wednesday, November 19th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, November 20th: Open Book Society
Friday, November 21st: 2 Kids and Tired Books
Monday, November 24th:  A Book Geek
Tuesday, November 25th: Brooke Blogs
TBD: Omnimystery News - guest post

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

Authors:Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
Publisher: Vintage
Date of publication:  March 2014

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

I am a huge fan of Veronica Mars.  I loved the TV show and was sad when it was canceled.  I also loved the movie.  So, I was excited to read the first in a new series by the show's creator, Rob Thomas and author Jennifer Graham.  The book picks up right after the events of the movie, so if you haven't seen that yet, watch it first.  In fact if you haven't seen the show at all, I would get caught up first.  This book kind of assumes you know all about Veronica and her past.

For the most part, I liked the mystery  There was a lot of the humor from the show.  There was also a couple of twists that surprised me.  I liked the older and wiser Veronica as much as the high school student.  She is still her usual snoopy sarcastic self.  What I was surprised at was the change in the way the story was presented. The book was in third person and not narrated by Veronica as it is in the show.  That was a bit strange.  I had to wonder why the author chose to write the story this way.  I think what threw me even more for a loop was the audiobook was narrated by Kristen Bell who plays Veronica Mars.  It was just weird to hear her read a book and not "talk" to me like she does in the show.  Fans of the show will know what I mean.

Anyway Mr. Thomas has said that these books will be written within the continuous world of Veronica Mars.  I assume that means any more potential movies will take place after the books.  The next one, Mr. Kiss and Tell comes out next year.  I look forward to reading it!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cowboys for Christmas anthology by Liz Talley, Kim Law, Terri Osburn

Authors: Liz Talley, Kim Law, Terri Osburn
Publisher: Intermix
Date of publication: November 18,2014

Claire, Georgia, and Mary Catherine couldn't be more different, but they promised they would be there for one another no matter what. And when they all gather in Holly Hills, Texas, for Mary Catherine’s Christmas wedding, they’ll find they have one thing in common: hearts that are about to be branded—by unforgettable cowboys.

In “Love Me, Cowboy” by Terri Osburn, wallflower Claire would be more excited about the wedding if it didn't mean running into Mary Catherine’s brother—the bull rider she once had a scorching one-night stand with…

Ivy League volleyball coach Georgia never wanted to see Holly Hills—or another cowboy—again. But a sexy veterinarian is making her rethink her vow to never marry a Texas man in “Kiss Me, Cowboy” by Liz Talley.

Claire and Georgia both think that Mary Catherine is getting hitched to the wrong man, despite how perfect he is. And in “Marry Me, Cowboy” by Kim Law, a local rancher with a wild reputation gives Mary Catherine a glimpse of what might have been—and what could still be...

Autumn and I were talking about getting into the Christmas mood the other day.  She mentioned that she has been looking for some Christmas themed stories to help get her there.  Cowboys for Christmas probably wouldn't be her cup of tea as I'm the romance reader, but it was definitely my cup of tea.  While not really a "holiday" book, I still enjoyed it.  It happens to take place before Christmas, but the holiday didn't really play a huge part any of the stories.

The three stories focus on three friends who are in town for a wedding.  Claire, Georgia and Mary Catherine have been friends forever.  Of the three women, I liked Claire's story the best.  I liked the friends to lovers part of her and Tyler's story.  I though their ending was sweet.  I felt like George's story was the most rushed and would have liked hers to be a little longer.  It was a little too much insta-love for me. Finally Mary Catherine's story was a great one about second chances.  I was rooting for her to make the right decision.  One that would be for her happiness, not everyone else's.

The book has a lot of humor and the writing styles of the three authors meshed very well together. The only thing I didn't care for was the rehashing of certain scenes.  I know that each time you get a different perspective, but it got a little repetitive at times.  I do recommend this one.  Any book with three sexy cowboys makes for a great read!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Joint Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Date of publication: September 2014

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.

I thought Get Even was a fairly good YA story.  It was a little bit of a crazy premise, but who wouldn't want to make a club to get back at the bullies in school?  The story got a little convoluted at times.  I also felt like it got way too long.  I think if it would have been a little more direct instead of trying to take so many twisty turns more readers would probably like it.  All that said, I found myself interested in the story and the characters throughout the book.  I couldn't wait to find out whodunit.  This book is the first in a series.  The second book Get Dirty comes out next year.

I know that Autumn liked this book, but it ended up being a DNF for me.  I kept having to restart the book because I felt like I kept getting lost.  There were too many characters to keep straight.   The story also wasn't too believable.  Once I got to the part where the girls find the date rape video and decide not to turn it over to the police, I gave up.  Try it for yourself.  Maybe you'll like it more than me.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Gratitude Giveaways Hop

Welcome to the Gratitude Giveaways hop.  For a full list of participating blogs go here.

As our way to say thank you to all of our readers, we are making this really easy.  Just "like" us on Facebook to enter! (see the rafflecopter below for details)

We have 2 packs to give away.  2 lucky winners will be chosen (US Only Please)

Pack #1

Pack #2

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Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

by:  Elin Hilderbrand
published by:  Little Brown and Co
publish date:  October 14, 2014

Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket's Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can't get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley's second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines. 

As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who's playing Santa at the inn's annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley's ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn. 

Is there anything I haven't already said about Elin Hilderbrand?  She's hands down one of my favorite writers.  Winter Street is her first Christmas novel.   Now that it's starting to get a little chilly outside in some parts of the world this would be a great book to snuggle up with and get in the holiday mood.

In Winter Street nothing in going right for the Quinn family.  Every family member is having their own personal crisis.  Despite that, they all have to put on a smile and carry on the tradition of the Christmas Open House at the Winter Street Inn.  I loved the idea of the Open House and it was portrayed so well.  It definitely got me in the mood for a good holiday party.

If you're looking for a book to read this holiday season Winter Street would be a great pick.  Or it would make a great present for the reader on your shopping list.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blog Tour: The Match Maker by Karey White

Author: Karey White
Publisher:Orange Door Press
Date of publication: November 2014

The Match Maker by Karey White (The Husband Maker #2)
(Summary contains spoilers if you have not yet read book #1 The Husband Maker)
It’s been six months since Charlotte and Kyle broke up, and the Husband Maker strikes again. Kyle is officially engaged, while Charlotte is still nursing a broken heart.
In an effort to get Charlotte out of her rut, she and her best friend decide it’s time for some good old-fashioned matchmaking. While Aleena arranges for Charlotte to meet up with a handsome Scottish tourist, Charlotte gets her two best friends together. But when sparks start to fly between Aleena and Angus, Charlotte is left feeling more alone that ever–at least until the charming Scotsman becomes more than just a safe, rebound guy and teaches her that maybe, just maybe, she can dare to open her heart again.

The Matchmaker is the second book in the "Husband Maker" series.  I reviewed the first book, The Husband Maker, back in July. I will say that I do recommend reading the first book before reading this one.  While I enjoyed The Husband Maker, I was sad to say that I was a little disappointed in the second book.  In this one, Charlotte finds out Kyle is engaged and takes a hiatus from dating.  Once she decides to put herself out there again, she meets Flynn from Scotland.  But Angus keeps acting weird toward her, even though she set him up with her close friend Aleena.

The one thing that I did like about this book was I felt that Charlotte does grow up a lot.  I felt like she learned more about herself and what she wanted from life and in a relationship.   I really liked Flynn,so I was disappointed to see that relationship fizzle out.  I was extremely unhappy with Angus. He acted like a supreme jerk to Charlotte when it was his own fault for never telling her how he felt about her.  The way he treated her at the end was appalling.  The book ends with a big cliffhanger with nothing resolved.  I have to wonder if this book could have been combined with the third book.  But I will have to see.  I really hope that Charlotte gets her HEA in the last book, The Wife Maker which comes out next year.  

About the Author 
Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.
She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.
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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.