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About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay

About a Dog - Jenn McKinlay

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I just loved this book! It wasn't overly complicated but it was just a lot of fun to read. Once I started reading this book, I was almost instantly hooked. I couldn't get it out of my head and wanted to do nothing but sit down and read. I decided to read this book really just because of the title and description. It was really a pretty impulsive decision but one that worked out extremely well for me.

Mac is going back to her hometown in Maine for the first time in seven years. She moved away after being left at the alter and hasn't been back. She is back so that she can be the maid of honor at her best friend's wedding. There are two weeks of wedding activities planned and Mac is determined to do anything that is needed including being paired with with the bride's little brother, Gavin.

Mac and Gavin have a past that nobody is aware of. Gavin is Mac's best friend's little brother and is supposed to be off limits. Gavin has grown up a lot in the seven years since Mac left town. He is a veterinarian and stays really busy. The chemistry between Mac and Gavin was intense from the very first time they were on the page together. I just loved every interaction between this pair.

I loved the characters. Mac and Gavin were just wonderful together. Mac has tried to live a very safe life in terms of relationships since being left at the alter. Gavin has never been able to get Mac out of his head and was really such a nice guy. A lot of secondary characters also play a large role in this story as well including other members of the wedding party and Mac's aunts who are busy reinventing themselves.

I am a huge dog lover so the fact that this book features a dog was a huge draw for me. As the book started, I did wonder when we would meet the dog and it does take a while but Tulip ended up being worth the wait. I love that Tulip is such an important part of the story. I also think that both Mac and Gavin's interactions with Tulip really helped show how caring they really are.

I would highly recommend this book to others. This book was both funny and romantic as well as incredibly entertaining. This is the first book that I have read by Jenn McKinlay but I am really looking forward to the next book in this wonderful series.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read.

Initial Thoughts
I just loved this book. It was funny and romantic. Plus it has an adorable dog as a main part of the story.

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen

Gone Without a Trace - Mary Torjussen

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This book and me did not get along. I was so excited to read this novel because the story sounded exactly like the kind of book that I enjoy. I thought it started out okay but then I found myself wanting to put it down. I would set this book aside and read another book and go back to it and quickly find that I was bored again. I actually ended up reading a couple of other books in the middle of this one which is something that I rarely do. I considered not finishing this book but I pushed myself to finish it instead. After finishing the book, I do wish that I had just stopped as soon as I realized that it wasn't working for me.

Hannah comes home from work to find her boyfriend, Matt, gone from their home. Matt has taken absolutely everything that he had in their home. It is like Matt never lived there. Photos are gone. He even erased all of the phone records, texts, and emails. Hannah is stunned and has no idea where Matt has gone or why he left. She can't get his loss out of her mind and starts working to figure out where he has gone.

After the initial shock of Matt's leaving, there didn't seem to be a whole lot going on in this book. Hannah does not deal with his leaving well at all and her spiral downward is detailed in the story but it seemed to me that the story needed something to keep things moving forward. I found that I spent most of the book rather bored.

The story does have a big twist and the last quarter of the book does pick up the pace. I would imagine that most people will really appreciate this giant twist but by the time it was revealed, I had really lost any investment in the story that I had ever had. I did find that the last section of the book did seem to move faster and was more entertaining.

I think that this is a book that some readers will love but it will not work well for others. Unfortunately, I was in the later group. I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it that really thinks that they would enjoy it based on the description but I won't be encouraging readers to pick it up either.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This is a generous 2 stars. I didn't enjoy this book at all. There was a little bit of excitement towards the end but I found most of the book to be quite dull.

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie - Lisa Scottoline

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I have to say that there were a few surprises along the way in this story and I really like surprises. Especially in books. I started reading this book thinking that things were going in a certain direction until everything changed and I had no idea where this book would end up. That is exactly the kind of reading experience that I like to have. This was one of those books that kept me guessing.

Chris Brennan is seemingly perfect. But everything about him is a lie. He is hired to teach at the local high school and he is also going to be the assistant baseball coach. He has his story worked out and everyone seems to love him right from the start. Now he just needs to figure out which kid is going to be the best choice to fit into his plan.

The characters in this book grew on me. I had a hard time connecting with anyone at the beginning of the book but by the time I had reached the end of the story I thought they were great. Most of the characters are just really good people although imperfect. They all have things going on in their lives that impact their behaviors but they seemed to be doing the best that they could under the circumstances.

I loved the writing. There was a lot of action in this book that really kept the pace moving. There were a lot more twists and turns than I was expecting which really kept the story interesting. This story felt very real. While it is a fictional story, everything that happened in this story felt like something that could really happen which was actually quite scary. This was a big story and the fact that it felt authentic was a big plus.

I would highly recommend this book to others. It was a very fast paced story that could be hard to put down at times. I have been a fan of Lisa Scottoline for a number of years and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This book took a few turns that were a complete surprise. This was a very entertaining read.

Bang by Barry Lyga

Bang - Barry Lyga

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

What a powerful book this turned out to be! I am not someone who cries over books. I have done it before but it may happen only one time every couple of years. I almost couldn't figure out why the page was suddenly blurry but then I realized that my eyes were filled with tears which were making it hard to continue reading. This book melted my little heart of ice just a bit because it completely got to me. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this gem of a book.

This book isn't afraid to deal with tough issues. I am really surprised by how many important issues are tackled in this story and they are all done well. Gun safety, teen suicide, and prejudice all play a major role in this story. I have to admit that this book made me stop and think about how I would deal with these issues not only if I were in the character's place but also how I would react if as the adult in a teenager's life.

Sebastian has grown up shouldering an enormous amount of guilt. More guilt than any one person should have to deal with much less grow up with. Ten years ago when he was only four years old he shot and killed his baby sister. Imagine what he goes through every single day knowing what he did. People treat him differently because they know he is the kid that killed his sister. He sometimes just wants it all to stop.

I loved the characters in this book. They were so real to me as I read this story. Sebastian was pretty amazing. His range of emotions were wonderfully illustrated during the course of the story. His mother seemed to be having a difficult time dealing with day to day life much like Sebastian. They were able to function but neither seemed to be really able to deal with the past. Aneesha was a positive addition to Sebastian's life and her outlook on life was refreshing.

I would highly recommend this book to others. It is short but it packs a punch. The writing was absolutely excellent with wonderful pacing. I look forward to reading more from this talented author soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via TheNovl.com.

Initial Thoughts
What a powerful little book! I almost never cry while reading but this book brought tears to my eyes. Very moving.

The Child by Fiona Barton

The Child - Fiona Barton

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a good story and I found it to be very readable. I was really drawn into the idea behind the mystery. I wasn't blown away by the story but I did enjoy my time reading this one. I found that the pages of this book went by pretty quickly. I am glad that I decided to pick up this book.

This story is told from three main points of view. Kate is a reporter who is intrigued by the discovery of the remains of a newborn baby and decides to try to find out what really happened. Angela is the mother of a newborn baby that was taken from the hospital shortly after her birth. Emma lived in the area that the baby's remains were found when she was growing up and is very troubled by the news of the discovery.

I did like the characters in this book. Kate was smart and resourceful. She really did everything in her power to find out what really happened. Angela has been through a nightmare. I could only imagine how difficult the years have been since her baby disappeared. Emma was a bit of a mystery at the beginning of the story. She has had issues in her past and seemed somewhat fragile. There were a lot of other interesting characters that are met in this story and I think each of them were well done.

The mystery seemed rather obvious to me pretty early in the book. I kept waiting for something to happen that would make me realize that I was wrong but it never happened. I have had other readers tell me that they didn't figure anything out until the end of the book so maybe I will be in the minority with thinking the solution was too easy to figure out. I really don't like it when I can predict the solution to a mystery long before any of the detectives seem to have even the slightest clue. I think it just takes something away from a mystery when you are able to figure things out too early.

I did like the author's writing style. I think that the multiple points of view worked really well in this story since each character had an important piece of the puzzle. Besides the main mystery revolving around the baby's remains there were some other issues that came up in this book and I thought everything worked very well together.

I would recommend this one to fans of mystery thrillers. This is the first book by Fiona Barton that I have read and I look forward to reading more very soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read.

Initial Thoughts
The solution to this mystery seemed pretty obvious to me very early on in the book. Of course, it took all of the characters in the book forever to figure it all out. I thought it was okay overall but I do wish there would have been a few surprises along the way.

Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Walk of Shame (Love Unexpectedly) - Lauren Layne

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed reading this story. I needed a book that I was almost positive that I would enjoy so I immediately started reading this book. Yeah, Lauren Layne's work has become an almost guaranteed good read for me. There is just something about the way she is able to blend sexy and sweet into a romantic story that leaves a smile on your face that I just cannot get enough of. This book ended up being as good as I hoped it would be.

This book is listed as being the fourth book in the Love Unexpectedly series but there is really no connection between the books in this series at all. Readers can feel free to start anywhere you want with this series and read them in any order since they all function as stand alone novels.

This was an opposites attract kind of story. Georgie and Andrew are very different from each other. Georgie is a socialite who spends her time working on charity events and her nights going out on the town with her friends. Andrew is a top divorce lawyer who works hard and is very regimented. Georgie and Andrew tend to see each other in their building's lobby at 5 am when she is coming home from her evening and he is leaving to work out at the gym. Total opposites.

I loved the banter between Georgie and Andrew right from the start. Georgie is much more practiced at the back and forth but I loved how Andrew was able to keep up. It becomes evident quite quickly that this pair of individuals are very attracted to each other and the chemistry between then was wonderful. It was nice watching Georgie pull Andrew out of his uptight shell and I loved how perfectly ridiculous they really were together.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. This book is sweet, sexy, funny, and charming. I can't wait to see what Lauren Layne comes up with next!

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley.

72 Hours by Bella Jewel

72 Hours - Bella Jewel

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was such an entertaining book! I picked this book planning to read just a bit to get a feel for the story. Before I even knew what I happened, I had finished the entire book in a single afternoon. The whole concept behind this story is incredibly exciting and everything came together very well. I am so glad that I decided to give Bella Jewel's writing a try.

Lara and Noah used to be a couple but now they can't seem to even be able to talk to each other. Noah wants to talk and tries to get Lara to listen to him but she doesn't want anything to do with him. I have to admit that at the start of the book, I didn't really care for Noah or really Lara all that much. Lara's backstory was interesting so I was curious about her but Noah really was quite stalkerish at the start of the story.

Lara and Noah wake up and find themselves in the woods and learn that they have 72 hours before they are hunted. They finally have their talk and all as forgiven between each other and they work together to try to escape the wooded area they have found themselves in. They soon find a fence and decide that they need to prepare for their attacker.

Once they are in the woods, this is a pretty fast paced book. They are either planning in order to survive or actively working to evade the man who is trying to kill them. It was fun watching them work together to outsmart the killer and even when things calmed a bit there was always a bit of tension because you never knew when he would return.

This book was incredibly entertaining but there were some things that were very far fetched. This pair both seemed to be able to do some pretty amazing things despite some pretty serious injuries. In reality, they would not have stood any kind of chance against a man with weapons and years to plan. I understood this but to be honest, it didn't make me like the book any less. I keep thinking that every action movie that I have ever watched has some of these same unrealistic tendencies.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense looking for an action filled and fast paced story. I look forward to Bella Jewel's next romantic suspense novel.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This was a very entertaining quick read. Maybe a tad unrealistic at times but highly entertaining. I ended up reading the whole book cover to cover in a single afternoon.

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

Bone Crossed (Audio) - Lorelei King, Patricia Briggs

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this book even more during this re-read. This is definitely one of my all time favorite series and I honestly believe that everyone who hasn't read these books yet should run to the bookstore right away and buy them up. This is the fourth book in the Mercy Thompson series and it picks up right after the events of the previous book. It is really important that this series be read in order since some of the events are carried over from the previous book. I really had a lot of fun with this audiobook.

On major focus of this Adam and Mercy's relationship. They both really do care for each other and want to make things work. I like how carefully they are with each other. Mercy is a mess after the horrible events of the previous book and Adam is there for her. He really wants to help with her pain and if he could I am sure he would take it away.

The mystery in the story is centered around vampires. I like the vampires in this world so that works out well for me. The local vampires have painted crossed bones on the door at her garage and she decides it would be a good idea to get out of town for a bit. Her friend from college has a little problem with a ghost so Mercy goes to help...and runs into more than she bargained for. Stefan plays a large role in this book and really proved how much he cares for Mercy as well.

I love Lorelei King's narration of this series. I am amazed by how well she voices all of these characters and keeps things consistent from book to book. The emotional aspects of the story really come through during her narration. I was able to listen to this book for hours at a time largely due to her wonderful delivery of this story. Lorelei King is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators.

I would highly recommend this series to other. This was my second time experiencing this book and I hope to read it again in the future. It is really that good.

Initial Thoughts
Lots of vampires in this one. Mercy was awesome as always!

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone  - Anne Bishop

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This turned out to be my favorite book in the series. It is a really great series so that is saying a lot. It took me almost a week to read this book. Not because it was slow but because I was extremely busy with work. Anytime I had a free moment, I had this book in my hands and I enjoyed everything I read. There were some moments that really stayed with me and one scene was so touching that I had to stop reading so that I could share what was happening with my family. It was a really nice conclusion to the story revolving around this group of characters.

Some of the earlier books in the series spent quite a bit of time away from the Courtyard. This book stays with Meg, Simon, and the other characters living within the Courtyard which I actually liked a whole lot better. This book has a big focus on the humans that have become a part of the community, including Jimmy and his family who are new additions. The Others and the humans are working well together and things are looking really promising except that Jimmy and his family are not making life easy.

Jimmy is Lt. Montgomery's brother. Montgomery actually has his entire family at the Courtyard including his mother, daughter, sister, and her daughters. He didn't invite his brother who has been a trouble maker and criminal for years. Jimmy finds out where they are and shows up and starts causing trouble the moment he arrives. It was really easy to hate Jimmy and his wife was no better.

It has been really nice to see this group of characters grow and their relationships develop over the course of the series. Simon and Meg become closer with each book and some of the humans are also becoming very attached. Montgomery's mother, Twyla, was amazing in this book. She says what needs to be said and is firm but extremely caring. There is a scene with Skippy that really moved me and Twyla's reaction to everything made it even more. This is a series that really does need to be read in order since each book builds upon the previous one.

I would highly recommend this series to fans of urban fiction. I am looking forward to future books in this series even though they are supposed to be about a different group of characters. I have my fingers crossed that we will get a least a glimpse of these characters again.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group - Roc via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I liked this book a lot. One of my favorites in the series. I liked that it was really focused on the characters in the courtyard. Skippy earned a special place in my heart in this story.

Once Upon a Summer Night by Nancy Scanlon

Once Upon a Summer Night: Mists of Fate - Book Three - Nancy Scanlon

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a fun book. I am kind of partial to time travel romances. I guess I like the idea of imagining what it would be like to suddenly be thrust into an entirely unknown situation and trying to figure out what to do. I was really in the mood to read a time travel romance so I decided to pick up this book and I am glad that I did.

This is the third book in the Mists of Fate series and it read just fine as a stand alone even though I think I would have liked it a bit more if I had been more familiar with some of the characters. I definitely want to go back and read the first two books in this series so that I can see how things worked out for the other couples.

This book features Colin and Eleanor, or Ellie, and starts out in the modern time period. Colin runs a matchmaking business, Celtic Connections, and Ellie's aunt wants Colin to personally find her a match. Ellie and Colin have already met and the chemistry between them was intense right from the start. I had a lot of fun watching this pair together. Colin tried to suppress his feelings and Ellie went on the dates that were set up for her but they always seemed to come alive when they were with each other.

It did take this book a long time to get to any time traveling. It was fun once it happened and a lot of exciting things occurred while they were in the past. This was definitely what I would call a sweet romance. If you are looking for a romance with a lot of heat, this one may not be the right choice because kissing is about as steamy as this one will get. I enjoy this kind of sweet romance that really makes you see the main characters get their happily ever after.

I would recommend this book to fans of time travel romance. This was really a heartwarming romance that had a lot going for it. This is the first book by Nancy Scanlon that I have read but I definitely hope to read more of her work in the near future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Diversion Books via NetGalley.

And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken - Kiersten White

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a truly epic story. This story spans a lot of years and tells a sometimes brutal story. I was hooked by the book from almost the first page. I really couldn't get my mind to focus on anything besides this story until I had reached the end. It was a bigger story than I had expected with a lot of intricately woven layers. The characters were amazingly written and I found myself cheering for both Lada and Radu. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this wonderful book.

Lada is the daughter of Vlad and she is fierce. The book opens at her birth and even as a very young child, Lada is brutal when needed. Her brother, Radu, does not share the same trait. In every way that Lada is brave and fierce, Radu is sensitive and needs protection. Her father is force to leave both Lada and Radu in the Ottoman courts and they fear that they may never see Wallachia again.

By chance, Lada and Radu cross paths with Mehmed as children and from an unlikely friendship. Mehmed is third in line to the throne of the Ottoman empire, a throne he knows he will most likely never hold. He keeps Lada and Radu by his side largely because Lada will not treat him as anything but her equal.

I enjoyed the characters in this story. Going into the book, I thought I would fall in love with Lada. Who doesn't love a fierce female character that can hold her own? She isn't pretty but she is brave. I did like Lada a lot but I was more taken with her brother's character, Radu. I didn't realize that there would be as much of a focus on Radu in the story as there was. Radu really grew as a character over the course of the book and he was a character that I found I had a lot of respect for. He was really as resourceful as his sister and could be brave when it was necessary. Mehmed is a character that really left me with conflicting feelings since there were things I loved about him and other things I disliked.

The setting of the story was perfectly written. I really could envision this place filled with uncertainty and brutality. The descriptions of everything from the Head Gardeners duties to life in the harem really helped to bring this world to life. I thought that the descriptions of religion in the story was well done and I liked that it was an important part of some of the characters' lives.

I would highly recommend this book to others. The story really has so many great elements from the historical setting, great characters, political intrigue, and even a bit of romance. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in this planned trilogy!

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Children's - Delacorte Press via NetGalley.

The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne

The Fire Child by S. K. Tremayne (2016-06-16) - S.K. Tremayne

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I liked this book quite a bit. This turned out to be quite the page turner and I ended up liking it even more than The Ice Twins. This was a book that I never knew quite what might happen next. I ended up reading this whole book in a little more than 24 hours because I had such a hard time putting it down. I am very glad that I decided to pick this book up.

The story opens with Rachel and David as newlyweds at his family home, Carnhallow House. Rachel is now the step-mother to David's son, Jamie, whose mother has recently died. It is a huge adjustment for Rachel and the day to day task of caring for Jamie falls largely to her since David is away during most of the week for work. Jamie is still grieving the loss of his mother and it is showing in some of his actions. Rachel starts to wonder about what really happened to Jamie's mother and starts asking a lot of questions.

I thought this book had a whole lot going for it. It went in directions that I would have never imagined and I love being taken by surprise with this kind of book. The pacing was perfectly done with enough action to really keep the pages turning. Jamie was one of the creepiest kids that I remember reading about in a book which was a big plus. Add in the old house and the mining tunnels running all over the place and there is a whole lot of creepy in this story. I never really knew if I should trust Rachel. I think that Rachel's character was written in such a way that it was hard to tell if she was actually psychotic or if these things were really happening.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of psychological thrillers. This was one of those books that made me wonder if any of the characters should be trusted but I had to keep reading to figure out what was real. This is the second book by S.K. Tremayne that I have read and I can't wait to read more.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Grand Central Publishing.

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed this one quite a bit. I thought that the kid in this story was pretty creepy which I loved! The story took a lot of unexpected twists that kept me guessing.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

The Passenger - Lisa Lutz

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I thought that this book was just okay. I have been a fan of Lisa Lutz for a long time and have a great fondness for her Spellman Files series. I knew going into this book that this was going to be a completely different kind of story and I was really looking forward to seeing what she would do with it. There were things that I did like about this story but other elements were not quite as enjoyable.

The book opens with the death of Tanya's husband. Tanya immediately leaves town and starts working on assuming a new identity. Tanya tells us that she didn't hurt her husband, Frank, but we have no idea why she feels like she needs to leave town. I was really curious about her motivation to run. That wasn't a small decision and she knew exactly what to do so it was very obvious that Tanya had disappeared before. Tanya changes her name several times in the story but for the purpose of the review, I am just going to stick with Tanya.

Tanya meets Blue in a bar when Blue figures out that she isn't exactly who she says she is. They find themselves in a serious situation soon after they meet and they form an interesting friendship. Both Blue and Tanya are on the run and are both hiding who they truly are from the world. Blue's character was one that I didn't quite trust. Blue just seemed to have a more criminal mind than Tanya did.

I did want to keep reading so that I could learn why Tanya felt she had to run in the first place. If she didn't hurt her husband, it didn't make sense unless she had something else from her past. The emails that were sprinkled in the book between chapters quickly hinted that there was something from her past that we hadn't discovered yet. I also really liked the humor that was sprinkled throughout the book. This isn't a funny story but Lisa Lutz's sense of humor is still very evident in the writing.

I was really disappointed by the ending of this book. Seriously disappointed. I read all of those pages eagerly awaiting a big reveal that caused Tanya to be on the run and it just didn't do a lot for me. The big twist that was supposed to shock me at the end just added another layer of disappointment.

I am not really sure that I would recommend this book. I do think that a lot of readers will really enjoy this book a lot more than I did. I did like the book and I do consider 3 stars to be a good rating. It just wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. I do plan to continue reading Lisa Lutz's work in the future and commend her for writing a different kind of story.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Simon & Schuster via NetGalley and Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
Way late on reviewing this one. I must say that I am really disappointed by how this one ended. I would say that this book was okay overall but I feel let down now that I finished.

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

The Cutaway: A Novel - Christina Kovac

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I liked this story well enough even if I didn't love it. I think that the newsroom setting was one of the strengths of this book and it did add a rather unique quality to the story. Unfortunately, I was never completely hooked by the story. The mystery was interesting but I just never found myself truly invested in the story.

This story is told from the point of view of TV new producer, Virginia. When Virginia sees a missing poster for Evelyn, she knows that she has seen her face before. She remembers Evelyn being in another piece on the news station as a cutaway shot and she is drawn to her story. As Viriginia works to find out what happened to Evelyn, she soon realizes that the case may be much bigger than she originally thought.

This book actually had a whole lot going on. Probably too much if I am being honest. While Viriginia was working on this case, it seemed that her whole world was falling down around her. There is a big shake-up at the news station that makes everything tense. Virginia's personal life is also a major focus with past relationships, new relationships, and family making an appearance. These topics were interesting but it seemed to change the focus from the mystery so often that I had a hard time keeping track of everything and I don't think that it always added a lot to the overall story.

The overall mystery was rather complex. This book did take a lot of twists and turns that I didn't see coming but there was nothing that was truly unexpected. I thought that the mystery did make sense in the end. As the mystery really started to unfold, the excitement levels increased. I did enjoy the newsroom perspective and thought this felt rather authentic.

This is a book that I am glad that I read and I think that mystery readers will enjoy the newsroom point of view. I thought that this was a solid debut novel from Christina Kovac and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Atria Books - 37 Ink via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I liked this one even if I didn't love it. It was interesting to see a case solved by someone in a newsroom. This one took a few twists but there was really nothing that was completely unexpected.

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin by Stephanie Knipper

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin - Stephanie Knipper, Andi Arndt, Cassandra Campbell

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was really a great story. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started listening to this audiobook but I soon found myself hooked. The story touched on so many difficult topics and everything worked together in a way that I wouldn't have expected. I really liked that the story was told from multiple points of view and I thought that each perspective really added an important piece to the overall puzzle. I really ended up enjoying this book.

This is a book that is really about a lot of things. It is a book that tells the story of two sisters, Lily and Rose, mending their relationship. Lily and Rose have seen very little of each other in the years leading up to the start of the book but when Rose needs Lily, she comes to help. That is just one part of the story. This book also focuses on a little girl with disabilities who has a special gift.

Antoinette was a great character. She is nonverbal but she still says so much. She is her mother's world and the feeling is mutual. She is a caring child that doesn't want to see anyone or anything ill or in pain. She is willing to do anything she can to help take care of those that she loves. Unfortunately, Antoinette's gift comes with a price that those who love her work to protect her from.

I loved how so many different elements came together to tell this story. I loved the parts from Rose's point of view that really demonstrated her love for Antoinette. Lily's struggle to fit in and the things she struggles with in her life every day was very well told. Seth and Will both added to the story with their actions in the present and they both had really interesting pasts. I enjoyed the magical realism elements that helped to tell this story.

I loved the narration. I have listened to Andi Arndt several times in the past and have always enjoyed her work. This was the first time that I have listened to Cassandra Campbell and I thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the book that she narrated. I think that using two narrators really added to the impact of the story. Andi Arndt did narrate the bulk of the story but they both did an equally wonderful job. This was an emotional story and both narrators really did a great job expressing a lot of strong feelings.

I would recommend this book to others. This is the first book by Stephanie Knipper that I have read and I am really impressed by her ability to write wonderful characters dealing with a lot of difficult issues. I would definitely like to read from this author in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from HighBridge Audio via LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed this story. The narration was great. I really liked the little bit of magic that made its way into the story.  

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Iron Kissed (Mercedes Thompson) - Patricia Briggs, Lorelei King

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This book left me with all kinds of feelings. I have had a hard time getting it out of my head since I finished it hours ago. This was a re-read for me but it has been roughly 6 years since the first time I read this book and it really had a bigger impact on me this time around. I have so much love for this series having read all of the books set in the Mercy world and now working on re-reading them as time allows. This book felt like a really pivotal book this time around since I know how things do work out. I am in awe of the magic that is the Mercy Thompson series.

Mercy is asked by Zee to help out with an investigation investigation involving the fae. Things get a whole lot more complicated almost immediately after when Zee is arrested and charged with murder. Mercy knows that he is innocent so she is going to do everything in her power to set the record straight even when she is told to leave things alone. I will be honest and admit that I didn't remember who the bad guy was in this mystery and was trying to puzzle through everything right along with Mercy and she discovered new pieces of information.

The other major point in this book focuses on Mercy's love life. In the previous books in the series, Mercy has had both Adam and Sam showing interest in her. Sam ended up moving in with her as roommates and Adam has declared her as his mate. Sam and Adam are both very strong Alpha wolves and a choice has to be made. Mercy does finally figure out where her heart is in this book and she does it in a way that reminds me why I love her character as much as I do.

The final section of the book really got to me. It was intense to say the least. I was emotionally all over the place as I listened to the everything that happens to Mercy. I was angry for her. I wanted to cry for her. I wanted to help glue back all of the pieces or try to do something to make it be that things didn't really happen. I think that the way that Patricia Briggs decided to share how Mercy was feeling during the aftermath of the big event is genius. I am in awe of her writing ability. Mercy dealt with the pain by turning into her coyote. In doing so, the way she acted and her body language took on a very obvious meaning. It was powerful stuff to say the least.

I loved the narration of this book. Lorelei King did a spectacular job in narrating this story. There are quite a few characters in this book and she did a fantastic job in using different and consistent voices for those characters. She really showed the emotions of the characters during this story. The pacing of her reading was really nice and I found myself being able to listen for hours at a time.

I would highly recommend this series to others. I do think that this is a series that is best read in order since the relationships between the character grow and change over the course of the series and events from earlier books do come up from time to time. I can't wait to continue with my re-read of this fantastic series!

Initial Thoughts
The ending of this book was a lot more intense than I had remembered. Such amazing storytelling and the narration added to the experience.