Interests

Goodbye 2017 – Top 5 Favorite Reads @carolewyer @colleenhoover @rachelcaine

As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to share with you my top 5 favorite books I have read this year! This year has been truly amazing for me. I am incredibly blessed to have met all of the people and new friends I have made in this book community. Without you, I would have never found out who I am as a reader/blogger. I have strengthen a lot of relationships with family and friends this year but I have also let some of those relationships go. I am very thankful for being in mostly good health all year long (besides the nasty sinus infections I’ve had) but most of all I’m very thankful for the opportunity for the new job I stepped into. Nothing makes my days than seeing the happy faces of preschoolers every day knowing they have a place to come where they know they will be taken care of and loved.

With that being said, here are my top 5 favorite books of this year!

Carol WyerHoly Crow .. My number one spot goes to Carol Wyer. She wrote 4 books that released this year and each book is amazingly gripping from the very first page till the last. DI Robyn Carter is by far my most favorite character ever written and she is hands down my hero. This series will be a series I recommend for a lifetime. To check out my reviews of the first three novels you can click here: Little Girl Lost, Secrets of the Dead, The Missing Girls. My review for The Silent Children will be coming in 2018!

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My second favorite book of 2017 was Without Merit by Colleen Hoover. Outside of the mystery/crime thriller genre, Colleen Hoover is my go to author. Colleen Hoover is my favorite adult fiction author when I need a nice break from all the horror inside of the thriller books I read. For this novel, I was asked to be apart of a blog tour. My first ever blog tour. I was so honored to be asked due to the fact that she has written some amazing novels that can be devoured in one sitting. To find my review for Without Merit click here.

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My third favorite book of 2017 was Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine. There was so much hype about this book that I was actually afraid to read it at first. I was afraid it would not hold up to the expectations like other readers said. Boy was I ever wrong! There is a second installment to this novel and I cannot wait to read along with the Criminally Good Book Club in January for Killman Creek. Here is my review for Stillhouse Lake.

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The Snowman written by Jo Nesbø was my fourth favorite book this year! This book was recommended to me by Abby over at Crime by the Book! It was also a buddy read of mine with Megan over at Coffee by the Novel and WOW! What a book. I fell instantly in love with Harry Hole and his investigative skills. This book definitely made me re-evaluate my love for snowmen as well. Click here for my review.

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Penpal was my fifth favorite novel of 2017. Penpal is incredibly written by Dathan Auerbach. This book has been the creepiest book I have read in my entire life. I was very leery at first when picking up this book because not a lot of people had read it and not a lot of people had reviewed it. After reading this book, I am extremely afraid of living in the woods, and it will be a great read to recommend to readers who are ready for a terrifying read. Check out my review here.


 

Thank you to everyone who has been following my book reviews on my blog and over on my bookstagram. There were plenty more books that I have enjoyed this year but I really wanted to narrow it down to my top 5 so I can get ready to celebrate with my loved ones tonight. I could spend all day here at my computer writing about the books I’ve read this year.

Thank you to all the amazing authors out there who have allowed me to read their novels for my honest reviews and to the awesome publishers who have sent me ARC’s and books just because to help promote those authors.

I can’t wait to see what the book publishers and authors have to offer in 2018! I hope everyone has a safe and lovely New Year! See you in 2018!

Happy New Year

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Book Reviews

The Christmas Gate (T.A. Cline) @Old_Farmer

Author: T.A. Cline
Goodreads Rating: 
★★★★☆ (4.22)
Pages:
100
Published:
December 6th, 2016 | Tate Publishing

Goodreads Synopsis:

Robert Robinson, a renown author from New York City, is traveling unwillingly through a snow storm on his way to a small farm in upstate New York owned by his editor. Robert’s fame from the success of his books has changed him. His indulgence in big-city parties and being in the spotlight has allowed his arrogance to swell and for him to lose focus of his obligations. Now, being excessively late on the third book of a three book contract, he is given an ultimatum.

Robert is oblivious to Christmas and all that goes along with it. His parents loved Christmas, but he hadn’t spoken  with them in over eight years. Over the years, he has slowly disconnected from everything that reminded him of them. Christmas just became a day for a bigger party. While at the old farm house, Robert discovers something that has been hidden there for possibly generations. What secrets lay just beyond an old screeching gate? Will the miracle of Christmas find its way to Robert?

My Thoughts (4 Stars)

This was an incredibly heart warming Christmas read. I am so glad I picked this book up to read for this specific season. This book is a novella and is part 1 of 2 that leaves you with a “to be continued…” The Christmas Gate 2 is the second book to this novella and I cannot wait to pick that up and hopefully finish it before the beginning of the New Year.

This novella could easily be turned into a Hallmark movie on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel. This is a traditional Christmas story that touches on forgiveness, family hardships, greed and spiritual beliefs. This is more of a Christian based novella but is not over the top to make you feel uncomfortable if you don’t follow the belief. It’s a story that highlights the different stages of love and grief along with showing us that life is too short to not love and live life to the fullest. I love how it kind of goes along the lines of the story A Christmas Carol.

I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it if you are looking for a cute holiday read or simply if you’re looking to meet your Goodreads goal before 2018!


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Book Reviews

Stillhouse Lake (Rachel Caine) @rachelcaine

Author: Rachel Caine
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.11)
Pages: 302
Published: July 1st, 2017 | Thomas & Mercer

Goodreads Synopsis:

Gina Royal is the definition of average –  a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor – the ultimate warrior mom. With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace. But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake – and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed – or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One this is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

My Review (5 Stars)

Looking at my pile of books that I have on book shelves gave me no intentions to go out and buy another book to read. I keep telling myself that I am not going to buy anymore books so I can read more from the books I already have. Well I was in a group chat with 3 other lovely ladies and they convinced me that I would not regret buying this book.

Upon buying the book I made this into a buddy read with a friend of mine, Kathleen over at betweentleaves and this book definitely lived up to all the hype I have heard. You always wonder and second guess the reviews of others. Sometimes books live up to those reviews and other times they don’t.

This novel was not only spot on to the amazing reviews but I was engrossed from beginning to end!

This is a riveting story about a family who is ripped at the seams due to their loving father being a serial killer. I loved this idea for a premise. For one, you didn’t see it coming. For two, you didn’t expect the opening to start with a bang and for three it just goes to show even though you think you may know a person, everyone has secrets.

This book had only a few things that I would have changed. Page lengths is the first one. I am such a stickler for long chapters. Don’t get me wrong, each chapter was equally filled with gripping scenarios and situations, I am just not a fan of long chapters. One only huge detail I would have changed (I will not ruin) is the ending. I realized a few chapters before the end what exactly was going to happen once the killer was caught. It was a little predictable but I still loved this book as whole regardless. I will be ranking this book as top 5!

This was a book that isn’t like all other thriller novels, it’s a book that builds on someone’s anxiety, it builds on a persons fears and it builds on a family’s will to survive. I am very thankful to my bestie Megan over at Coffee By the Novel for getting me the second installment: Killman Creek. I already know my 2018 is going to start of with a BANG!

This book is HIGHLY recommended. Enjoy!


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Interests

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge

I have not been present on my blog very much lately due to my work schedule being very busy and hectic. But now that I am on Christmas Break, I finally had the time to actually scroll through my blogging feed and boy did that feel good. I’ve been missing all of you fine bloggers and what you are writing!

Scrolling through my blog this morning I stumbled upon this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge posted by ReadRantRock&Roll. It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. I am very excited to share my Christmas spirit and love for the holiday seeing it is now already Christmas Eve!

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*Rules*

  1. Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  2. Link back to this post in the challenge so that way I can follow along as well.
  3. Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas!

  1. Favorite Holiday Tradition: 

My favorite holiday tradition that we like to partake every year is taking a night out of our busy Christmas schedule to go around the town we live in to look at the Christmas lights. We first stop off to get hot cocoa or coffee from a gas station and we slowly make our way around town to see all of the beautiful decorations.

Another favorite holiday tradition of mine is watching my most favorite Christmas movies before the day of Christmas actually comes.

2. Christmas Tree – Real or Fake?:

Surprisingly, I am a fake tree kind of girl. Real trees bother my sinuses so I stick with the fake and make it as beautiful as I can! Also, I remember my grandmother have real Christmas trees back in the day and the one thing that sticks in my mind is how much maintenance goes into having one.

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3. Favorite Christmas Cookie:

My favorite Christmas Cookies are hands down chocolate chip cookies. They are my favorite to make along with my favorite to eat!

4. Your Christmas Wish List:

A kitten and a proposal 🙂

5. Your Favorite Holiday Destination:

My house. I have never went anywhere for the Christmas holiday and I don’t think I would ever want to. I am huge tradition person and as long as my family lives close to me, my house is always going to be my favorite holiday destination!

6. How is you House Decorated? 

I have a 3 story home. They only story that is not decorated is the basement. My first and second floor is decorated top to bottom. The yard is decorated along with outside of the house. *I really decided going outside to take pictures so I could post then on here to show you but it is currently 0 degrees out there right now and I’m not going there unless I have to!* I currently have 4 Christmas tress up (Living Room, Dining Room, Front Porch and the loft) along with a lot of Christmas lights, Christmas houses and knick knacks.

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7. Favorite Christmas Movie:

My all time favorite Christmas movie is Elf. Then some close seconds are White Christmas, A Muppets Christmas Story, The Grinch and A Christmas Story!

8. Tree Topper – Angel or Star?

My favorite tree topper to use are stars.

9. Favorite Christmas Craft:

I am not an artsy fartsy type of person. I lack in this area of life but my favorite craft to be a part of is wrapping Christmas presents!

10. Decorations – Silver & Gold or Red & Green?

Right now, my house has colors of all four. But I am a more Red & Green kind of decorator. Maybe one day I’ll got elegant by doing Silver & Gold.

11. Your Christmas Dinner Menu:

Tomorrow for dinner we will have:

Ham
Chicken
Piroghis
Corn
Rolls
Cheesy potatoes
Green Beans

Dessert:

Cookies

12. What is Christmas like where you live?

Christmas in Michigan looks magical. Very rarely do we not have a white Christmas. This year we are looking at a snow storm coming for us tonight and it makes me so incredibly happy. To me, there is no holiday that brings out the magical personalities in people. It brings out the good in people the world needs right now. But waking up Christmas morning in the dark with only Christmas lights on in the house, while Christmas music plays softly in the background is where it’s at in my house. It’s where it is always going to stay.

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(Don’t mind all the hoof prints … the deer love to walk through our yard!)

Merry Christmas book bloggers! I hope you have a magical holiday with your friends and your families! 

Book Reviews

Penpal (Dathan Auerbach)

Author: Dathan Auerbach
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.88)
Pages: 243
Published: June 2012 | 1000 Vultures

Goodreads Synopsis:

How much do you remember about your childhood? In Penpal, a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic and horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years, you’ll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has shaped the entirety of his life and the lives of those around him. If you’ve ever stayed in the woods just a little too long after dark, if you’ve ever had the feeling that someone or something was trying to hurt you, if you remember the first friend you ever made and how strong that bond was, then Penpal is a story that you won’t soon forget, despite how you might try.

My Thoughts (5 Stars)

I have never been so afraid to live in the middle of the woods … until now. 

This is a book that a friend of mine; Brittany over at @brittreads recommended to me. It’s a book I was looking for during the Halloween season that I never really got around to reading. Finally I ended up picking it up and now I wish I hadn’t.

This book is realistically terrifying. Not only did it have me on the edge of my seat, I was afraid to read it alone. IN MY OWN HOUSE. This book gives stalking and child predator a whole new meaning.

When I first picked up the novel, I could not figure out if this author himself went through this or if this was strictly a made up story. Part of me is still on the fence but I was reassured this was truly fiction. Fiction or not though, I have never been so incredibly pissed off in a book nor have I ever felt so sick to my stomach.

Penpal looks into a young boys life and consistently stays around his kindergarten age while the story is being told. Only the last two chapters are told during his high school/adult life. During these times the narrator talks about the friendship he made with a specific child and how they were so adventurous. You watch them as children play imaginary games, explore imaginary places but what you don’t expect to find is them being stalked by someone you never get to understand completely.

The ending to this story is very hard to swallow. I expected the ending but not in a way that it was laid out. The synopsis was not kidding when it says “Penpal is a story that you won’t soon forget, despite how you might try,” because I would love to forget what I read.

This was the most terrifying, horrific, scary and effed up story I have read in my lifetime. All 27 years of it at least, and I recommend it to everyone who is brave enough to enter his life.

How far can you go into the woods? 


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Book Reviews

The Couple Next Door (Shari Lapena) @sharilapena

Author: Shari Lapena
Goodreads Rating: 
★★★★☆ (3.74)
Pages:
308 
Published:
August 23, 2016 | Pamela Dorman Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall. Your neighbor told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying. Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour. Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone. You’ve never had to call the police before. But not they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there. What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

My Review (4 Stars)

I wholeheartedly enjoyed this novel. This book had me on the edge of my seat and I could not read it fast enough. As in my last review most of you learned I went through a tough couple weeks when it came to reading books and doing bookish things. I’m so glad I finally read through this entire novel. It was very fast paced, has a lot of twists and turns and has the craziest ending!!

This was the first of Shari Lapena’s work that I have read and I can easily say that I enjoy her writing style. I love the way she led all of the clues in one direction at the beginning of the book. I indefinitely thought I had it all figured out when it came to the culprit and she threw in this tiny curveball that sent me back to square one trying to figure it all out again.

The character relationships and the characters backstories was something that didn’t please me the most. This book did not allow you to form a relationship with the characters, it didn’t give you time to decide if you liked a character or not. This book came down to figuring out the truth and getting justice for baby Cora. I did however, love Anne’s backstory. She was an emotional wreck and gave the reader quite the thrill ride!

At about half way through the novel, I figured out what was going on inside the story. From then on, it was a race to finish the book to get the answers to why this person did what they did. Why go to such an extreme of kidnapping a child?!

This was also a book that gave me a hard time deciding what to rate. I teetered on the fence for a 3 1/2 star and a 4 star. The reason I chose 4 stars is because I was significantly entertained through most of the book. I never thought that it was dragging or lagging very much to disinterest me. Would I recommend this novel, absolutely. It’s every parent’s nightmare.


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Wrap Ups

Weekly Wrap-Up: October 29, 2017

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Good morning bloggers!

As I sit here on my couch, cuddled up in blanket with a coffee beside me and a candle burning I just can’t help to think about what a great life I have. I am so sorry that I have been absent so much lately in the blogging and the book world. My job right now is very busy and I have been working from home a lot. I try to steer away from bringing work home with me but lately it has been a must. So with that being said, it’s good to be back and hopefully I’ll be back more consistently now!

Below you will find my week in books!

NetGalley Approvals:

I have not received any approvals yet but I just requested four new books through Bookouture, so they should be coming soon!
Books requested were:

Now You See Me by Kierney Scott
Mother by S.E. Lynes
The Mistake by K.L. Slater
No-One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day by Tracy Bloom

Bookstagram:

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Quote of the Week:

“If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.” – Lary Page


There you have it bloggers! My week in books. Not a lot going on but we’re getting back into the swing of things! Have a great week this week!

Happy Reading! xx