Thursday, October 20, 2016

Honor Bound - Blog Tour Contemporary Romance Review + Giveaway

Honor Bound (Montana Hamiltons #6) by B.J. Daniels

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with B. J. Daniels

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Description:  Ainsley Hamilton has always been the responsible one of the family. As the oldest daughter of presidential candidate Buckmaster Hamilton, she's also a potential target. For months she's sensed someone following her. When an expedition to scout locations for a commercial takes a terrifying turn, she's rescued by a natural-born cowboy who tempts the good girl to finally let loose.

Sawyer Nash knows just how reckless it is to fall for someone he's gone undercover to protect. Yet masquerading as an extra on set, he starts to see beneath Ainsley's controlled facade. And with the election—and a killer—drawing closer, Sawyer stands to lose not just his job and his life but the woman for whom he'd gladly risk both.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been warming up to the Western Romances and Daniels is a name I've seen a number of times and have really been wanting to try her books!

My Impression:  Whew!  I think I need a nap after this one.  There is a LOT going on and tons of action.  I love a good romantic suspense and most of the Western romances I've read seem to be lacking the suspense element so I was pleased that this one seemed to have a good dash of danger.  And it really did!  This isn't overblown manufactured danger to throw the main characters together. The danger is very serious and coming from just about everywhere.

Ainsley Hamilton has been feeling like someone has been watching from the shadows for months but always chalked it up to her father's political position.  Normally when a character refuses help or seems to ignore danger but in this case it made sense.  She doesn't have any real proof - only a feeling and an occasional glimpse of a man disappearing into a crowd.  I think most people would think they were imagining things in that situation which is exactly what Ainsley thinks.  She's basically spent her life staying below the radar and not causing trouble and plans on continuing that pattern.  While Ainsley doesn't have the biggest personality I liked her.  She struck me as a real person and a nice one.  Sawyer is similar.  He's good at his job, loves a puzzle, and specializes in rescuing damsels in distress.  While I wasn't exactly sure of the relationship between him and Sheriff Curry the decision on Curry's part to call him in made a lot of sense.  I also really loved that Sawyer felt obligated to make sure Ainsley knew the whole truth before any relationship developed between them.  Honesty in a romance completely makes my day.

So we have the Sawyer/Ainsley relationship plus a stalker but this is the 6th book in the series and a LOT has happened in the previous books.  We have jewel thieves, politics, a crazy dysfunctional family, escaped killers, and a terrorist group as well as amnesia and a presidential election.   While Daniels did a good job of making me understand what was going on and who everyone was I think I would have benefited greatly from reading the previous books in the series.   While I liked the main characters and understood what was going on there were a few subplots I really wasn't invested in.

Because of all that was going on I kind of went back and forth on how I felt about the book itself.  I always found it incredibly readable but there were some moments in the middle where the book seemed to drag and I felt a bit overwhelmed with all that was happening.  Overall, this was an enjoyable read if you like romantic suspense but I do recommend starting at the beginning of the series.  After finishing this one I'm really looking forward to going back to the beginning!  Rating: Good

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I would.  While I enjoyed this one I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the series from the beginning.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  I would recommend this series if you like romantic suspense but I think you'd enjoy it more if you started from the beginning.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

All the Little Liars + Real Murders - Review

Rating:  Very Good
Description:  Aurora Teagarden is basking in the news of her pregnancy when disaster strikes her small Georgia town: four kids vanish from the school soccer field in an afternoon. Aurora’s 15-year-old brother Phillip is one of them. Also gone are two of his friends, and an 11-year-old girl who was just hoping to get a ride home from soccer practice. And then there’s an even worse discovery—at the kids’ last known destination, a dead body.
While the local police and sheriff’s department comb the county for the missing kids and interview everyone even remotely involved, Aurora and her new husband, true crime writer Robin Crusoe, begin their own investigation. Could the death and kidnappings have anything to do with a group of bullies at the middle school? Is Phillip’s disappearance related to Aurora’s father’s gambling debts? Or is Phillip himself, new to town and an unknown quantity, responsible for taking the other children? But regardless of the reason, as the days go by, the most important questions remain. Are the kids still alive? Who could be concealing them? Where could they be?

With Christmas approaching, Aurora is determined to find her brother…if he’s still alive.

After more than a decade, #1 New York Times bestseller Charlaine Harris finally returns to her fan-favorite Aurora Teagarden series with All the Little Liars, a fabulously fun new mystery.

My Thoughts:  I can't even begin to describe how excited I was when I discovered that a new Aurora Teagarden mystery was coming out!  Way before I had even heard of Sookie Stackhouse I discovered Harris' Harper Connolly series which had me wanting to try all her other books.  Aurora's story was definitely my favorite!   And I'm thrilled to say that this book takes up just about where the last one left off.  The characters felt just the same and not like strangers with familiar names slapped on them. 

  The mystery kept me turning pages and I was holding my breath waiting to find out just what had happened.  Harris drops enough clues to keep me guessing and feeling like the story is progressing but I really didn't have a clear idea of what was happening until the end.  There is a bullying aspect that is absolutely heartbreaking and while it isn't easy to read I liked that Harris didn't just fix it with a wave of her magic author wand.  This is a quick read and thoroughly enjoyable!

Before I dove into All the Little Liars I wanted to reread the earlier Aurora Teagarden books.  While I didn't have time to reread the whole series, I did get the very first one read.  Real Murders is the very first murder that envelops quiet librarian, Aurora Teagarden.  The concept is an intriguing one that involves a club that focuses on discussions of historic crimes.  When members start being killed in scenarios that mimic those historic crimes they know something has gone horribly wrong.  

While this book was published in 1990 it really didn't feel dated.  There's an occasional mention of payphones and answering machines but the actual book felt completely modern.  The main issue is that I don't think a club that discusses old murders would raise any eyebrows now though it seemed to at the time.    Rating: Very Good

While there are a lot of cozy elements in this book I'd hesitate to call this series a cozy.  There are several scenes that go into graphic territory either discussing the brutality of a crime or an emotionally brutal attack on a very vulnerable character.  These non-cozy moments are pretty short and easily skippable but just keep that in mind when reading this series.

If you're new to the series you can jump right in with All the Liars and I don't think you'd have to much trouble figuring out who is who.  Or you could just read Real Murders because all the important characters in All the Little Liars are introduced there.  One thing I really love about this series is that the characters really seemed to grow in a natural fashion which really made me feel that these characters, especially Roe, are real people.  

If you want to get a taste of the series before diving into the book Hallmark Mysteries and Movie channel has a series of movies (I think they're on #4) which is somewhat based on the books.  They're a bit lighter and not entirely accurate but are lots of fun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Characters I'd Name a Pet or Child After

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is 10 Characters I'd name a book or a child after.  This topic ended up being way harder than I expected!  A lot of my favorite characters either have really generic names or names I can't get my head around actually calling a cat or dog!  The timing is actually pretty good because we are most likely getting a kitten in the pretty near future and I need some serious name help!

1.  Penelope from The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher- I've actually had a cat named this after this book.  She died a number of years ago and I must say she didn't resemble the dignified but slightly bohemian Penelope at all!

2.  Anne from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - Anne (or Anna) was actually on the short list for if the Tornado had been a girl because of this book. While Anne isn't my favorite character I just couldn't name an infant Marilla!

3.  Bilbo from the The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - This is actually J's idea and I think it would be a fantastic name for a dog!

4.  and 5.  Daisy and Gatsby from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Though I hope they'd both be happier pets or children than their namesakes!

6.  Agatha because of Agatha Christie - I think this would be fantastic for an adult cat!  But only one that is dignified with just a dash of mischief!

7.  Tuppence from The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie - The only problem I have with this one is that I can't come up with a way to shorten it and Tuppence could be a bit of a mouthfull.

8.  Cinder from Cinder by Marissa Meyers - This one just seems like it should be done!

9.  Wimsey from Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books - This one just sounds kind of fun and definitely unexpected.  I think only diehard mystery readers would figure out where the name is from!

10.  Miranda from The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright - Though Miranda goes by Randy in the book.  I guess either could work?

Those are my ideas.  What are yours?  Have you named a pet (or a child) after a literary character?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rambling from the Stacks - What I'm Looking for in a Book

One of my favorite podcasts right now is What Should I Read Next? from Anne Vogel over at Modern Mrs. Darcy.  One of the things she does before giving reading suggestions is ask each visitor to list 3 books they loved, 1 book they hated, and what they're reading next.  After that she kind of does a quick summary based off all that on what she thinks they're looking for in a book.  I'm so in love with the concept and it's really gotten me thinking - What am I looking for when it comes to a book?

A few months ago I did this post about certain themes that always seem to draw me in and the few that repel me but those are specific topics and not the general theme which is what Anne normally focuses on.  So I've been looking over my Read list on Goodreads and going over some old posts about favorites to try and answer that question.

For me when it comes to picking the perfect book I'm looking for something with a historical element and either strong character growth or a fast moving plot.  I'm looking for a book that will teach me something and pull me into it's world so I'm not just reading I'm actually seeing the story unfold.  I like books that make me use my brain and teaches me something new but doesn't make me feel like I'm reading a textbook.

I'm not looking for a book centering around a hot button or controversial topic.  I don't like books that feel like they have the author is writing with an agenda or is lecturing me.  I don't want a book that feels like it is trying to make me cry

While I don't expect all action all the time I do want to feel like the book has a full story arc even if everything isn't tied up in a neat little bow.  I prefer books that aren't stream of consciousness writing or an open ended snapshot of someone's life or experience.

This year I've been trying to read out of my comfort zone with some success and I think knowing what I'm really looking for in a book will really help me step outside my usual box but still be able to choose a book that I'll enjoy or get a lot out of.

Big picture, what are you looking for in a book?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

This Week in Reading - October 16

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss - I really enjoyed the first book in this cozy series about a haunted museum and am really looking forward to this 2nd book.  I love that so far each book has really focused on one haunted item at a time.  (NetGalley)

Pretty Little World by Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino - I'm really curious about this one.  Originally I thought it didn't look like something I wanted to read but the more I mulled it over the more interested in the concept I became.  Basically, it's 3 close families that decide to knock down the walls between their houses and live in more of a commune type situation.  This is so opposite of anything that I would ever want to do that I'm curious to see what kind of conflicts arise in this story.  (Publisher)

On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins - I've read a few of Higgins' straight romance books and enjoyed her writing style.  This one looks a little more emotional and less of a straight up romance.  I'm curious to see how she tackles a more serious book and I love books about sisters!  (Publisher)


Reading:  All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris and Honor Bound by B.J. Daniels 

Listening:  I finished with the 3rd Flavia de Luce book (not my favorite but still good) and am waiting for my turn for the next audio book.  Until than I've been listening to podcasts.  My current favorite is Most Notorious which focuses on historic crimes and is fascinating.  The host interviews authors of true crime books and they really explore different crimes.  I just listened to The 1876 Northfield Bank Raid by James-Younger Gang and couldn't stop listening.  And of course now I'm an expect on Jesse James and the Younger Brothers!  

Watching:  We're finishing up season 3 of Blacklist and I'm liking the 2nd half of the season a little better than the 1st but the first 2 seasons are WAY better.  I haven't really started on any of the new shows but I'm looking forward to the American Housewife sitcom.  It looks hilarious.

Off the Blog:

This week was tons of appointments.  It always seems like the week after vacation ends up being that way.  Not sure why it works out like that but I'm looking forward to being back on regular schedule next week.  On the plus side the Tornado has no cavities and I got my hair cut!

This weekend we're going camping and we're all looking forward to it.  The weather here has been in the mid-70s and just gorgeous this week and I'm excited about the campground where we'll be staying.  Also on the list this weekend is getting the Tornado's Halloween costume.  He has announced that he wants to be either a Ninja or a ghost which don't seem to hard to find.  This is the first year he hasn't been a Star Wars character so that's taking some time to get used too!

Eleanor and her boyfriend were over for dinner earlier this week and it was nice to catch up with them.  Eleanor just got a part time job at Starbucks and so far is really enjoying it.  She's got about another year or so of school left and they sound pretty organized and willing to work with her schedule which is a big plus.

That's about it here.  Nothing too exciting which is usually the best way. This coming week I'm looking forward to getting in some scary or spooky movies to get in the Halloween spirit so I'm working on picking a few that look good. 

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Ramblings from the Stacks - What I'm Looking for in a Book
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Characters I'd Name a Child or Pet After
Wednesday:  All the Liars - Mystery Review
Thursday: Honor Bound - Contemporary Romance Blog Tour Review
Friday:  Friday Linkups with teasers from current book
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Charming Voodoo - Blog Tour Review + Scavenger Hunt Giveaway

A Charming Voodoo by Tonya Kappes (Amazon link) Rating: Good
Source:  Author


Bubble. . . bubble. . .
Whispering Falls is abuzz with the new
housing development and new shops
popping up all over the magical
village right before the annual All
Hallow’s Eve celebration.

Cures and trouble. . .
June Heal’s intuition
is on high alert and she just can’t shake
that something bad is about to happen.

Magic stirs . . .
June finds Violet Draper standing over a dead body
In the new pumpkin patch hours before it’s supposed
to open for hayrides.

And trouble doubles . . .
Once again, June has to put her sleuthing skills to work
and figure out who the real killer is before the new
citizens pack up and move right back out of town.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've enjoyed other books by Kappes before and liked the setting for this one.  Who doesn't want a magical village?

My Impression:  This book was absolutely bonkers and I mean that in the best possible way.  For starters this isn't just a pretty village with hints of magic this is a full on magical village where shops magically appear and have exactly what you need.  Candles change scents depending on what the smeller really wants to smell and the perfect item of clothing, book or cure for whatever ails you is right at your finger tips.  I'm so in love with the concept I can't even begin to describe it!  But things are completely unicorns and rainbows as there are new policies at work that are opening the town to "mortals" or non-magical people and there is the usual problems popping up with that growth.  Oh yeah - there's also a subdivision built around a 200 acre farm that constantly has a market going.  Seriously, I wish this village existed!

This is definitely a cozy mystery in the coziest of meanings with an amateur detective, her police officer husband and each character quirkier than the next.  There's a pretty good dash of busy body-ness as June pokes her nose into the doings of other people as she tries to figure out just who left the rather dead body on top of a pumpkin.  However, since it is a really small town and her husband is the detective in charge it does give her some credibility.  There are a lot of subplots and a lot of character that at times got a little confusing.  I sorted it all out pretty easily but occasionally I would have to think "Okay who was that again?"  Not a big problem but a pretty small hiccup.  Part of that could be that this is the 10th book int he series.  While I had no trouble understanding who everyone is and what they can do it might have been easier to keep track of the characters if I'd started with an earlier book.

All and all, this is a fun cozy mystery perfect for Halloween!  In addition to the fabulous Grand Prize Tonya Kappes is giving away a audio book at every tour site.  All you have to do is leave a comment below with your email address and let me know your absolute favorite Halloween candy!  My favorite are those little mini Reeses Pumpkins.  Anytime I spied one of those in one of my kids' Halloween bags I'd have to confiscate it!  That and Baby Ruths.  What are your favorites?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  I have several of her books from other series waiting on me and I've really enjoyed every book I've read.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  If you love cozy mysteries and enjoy a good dash of magic than don't pass this one up!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Linkups: All the Little Liars

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
You come across an old library that has one book you've been searching for for years, but the library happens to be haunted by ghosts.  Would you go into the library to find the book?

My Answer:
I'm going to need more information on these ghosts!  If they're the weeping ladies in white I can definitely handle that - especially for a book that I've been searching for for ages.  However, if it's the type of ghosts who can actually harm me than I might have to give the old Amazon search engine another try and pay the ridiculous price someone has it listed at!  I can handle a good scare but I don't want to risk being driven mad and jumping off a balcony by some scary specter.

I'm so excited I can barely stand it about this week's book!  Pre-blogging days I stumbled upon Charlaine Harris and loved her Harper Connelly mystery series.  After I finished reading those I started looking for more books by her and struggled because at the time I wasn't really interested in anything paranormal other than the occasional ghost.  When I found her Aurora Teagarden series I was so thrilled and promptly got them all and thoroughly enjoyed them.  It was definitely a series I was sad to see come to an end.  Except it didn't!  Last week the 9th Aurora Teagarden book - All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris - was released and I'm so excited to be reading it!

The Beginning:
"They only made one mistake," I said, reaching over to the butter dish.  I applied butter liberally to my scone.  Yum.

My Thoughts:
Well now I want scones.  And lots of butter.

The 56:
"Yes, this is he," he said next.  "What happened?"
Then something terrible passed over Robin's face, and all the sleep left me as if I'd never closed my eyes.

My Thoughts:
I'm not here yet so I don't know what's going on but I have a sinking feeling just reading this.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?