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Mind of a Killer by Simon Beaufort

Mind of a Killer: A Victorian Mystery - Simon Beaufort

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

I liked this one a lot. I added this book to my reading list on a complete impulse. I liked the cover and when I took a closer look at the book's description, I thought it sounded like something I would like. That impulse worked out well in this case. I did take me a bit to really get into the story but once I was hooked, I didn't want to stop reading. I am so glad that I made the decision to read this book.

I really liked that the book was set during the Victorian period. I thought that the era was well represented in the story and I really liked seeing how a crime might have been solved with the resources that they had on hand. I found the scenes from the mortuary really interesting and found myself wondering how many crimes were missed. There were a lot of descriptions that really made the period come to life so it was really easy to visualize what was happening.

The mystery in this book is very solid. I usually read a book's description once when deciding if I want to read it and then promptly forget any details. I was shocked when the discovery was made about what was taken from the murder victim. I couldn't figure out what the killer's motive might have been and I had no idea who might have been behind the crimes. This is a book that kept me guessing until the very end.

The characters in the book were very well done. Londale was determined to find out what had happened and I liked the way that he went about finding out. He was smart and resourceful. I found myself liking him more and more as the book progressed. Hulda was such a fun character. She is the only female reporter working at the newspaper and she doesn't seem to worry if she is acting like a proper lady most of the time. When she needs to play a part to get someone to open up, she can quickly fit into just about any role and you never seemed to know what she might say or do. Londale and Hulda made a really good team and I liked the way they interacted with each other.

I would recommend this book to mystery fans. This had so many wonderful elements that came together to tell a rather thought provoking and entertaining story. I do hope to see more books featuring this amazing group of characters very soon..

I received a digital advanced reader edition of this book from Severn House Publishers via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I ended up liking this one a lot. I had a rather hard time getting into the story but I think that had more to do with my life than the book. I thought that the mystery was interesting and complex. I liked the characters quite a bit and thought the period was well represented. This one did keep me guessing until the very end which was a big plus.

Changing the Rules by Erin Kern

Changing the Rules - Erin Kern

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

I liked this romance quite a bit. I decided to read this book because I was in the mood for a romance even though I was in the middle of two mysteries. I really didn't know a lot about the book but it ended up being one of those books that I didn't want to put down. It is the third book in the Champion Valley series but I read it as a stand alone without any difficulty. I am really glad that I stumbled upon this sweet romantic story.

I loved the characters in this story. Audrey and Cameron were both wonderful on their own and even better together. They both have had some things to deal with in their past which really still affects the way that they approach relationships. I thought that the chemistry between was very well done. Piper was such a fun kid and incredibly resilient. I thought that the Bee Hive gang were all great characters that added just a touch of humor at just the right times.

The story starts with Audrey bringing Piper to her new guardian. Audrey's best friend and Piper's mother recently died and Piper's uncle is to be her new guardian. Cameron was not close to his sister and the idea of becoming the guardian of a 6 year old girl is more than frightening for him. Audrey is fiercely protective of Piper and plans to stick around until everyone is comfortable with the situation. 

I really enjoyed watching this trio figure things out. Cameron didn't know his niece until everything happened but he seemed to be a natural with her right from the start. Audrey has a hard time letting others take control but she is willing to try things Cameron's way at times. Cameron and Audrey had a ton of chemistry from the start but they are both very focused on putting Piper's needs first.

My biggest issue with the story was the whole guardianship issue. In this story, Piper's mother knows she is dying and has time to make plans. It didn't make sense that she would leave her daughter with a brother she really didn't know over a best friend that has been there with her every step of the way. I also had a few moments in the story where I wanted to tell the adults to stop talking about certain issues in front of the child. Young kids are sponges and will pick up every little thing you say whether you want them to or not. I had no problem putting those issues aside and just rolling with the story so it really is a very minor issue.

I would recommend this book to others. This was a really sweet romantic story with very limited heat. There are some adorable moments in the story, some great chemistry, and a few laughs. This was my first experience reading any of Erin Kern's work and I do hope to read more in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing).

Initial Thoughts
I liked this one. Cameron and Audrey were great together and Piper was adorable. This was a really sweet romance with characters that have had a lot to overcome. 

Tomorrow by Damian Dibben

Tomorrow - Damian Dibben

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

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed by this book. I went into this book with incredibly high expectations so some of that disappointment is of my own making. When I first saw this book's cover, I knew that I had to read it. Then I read the book's synopsis and knew that I would love it. I ended up liking the book but I didn't love it. 

This is Champion's story and is told from his point of view. Champion is not just an any dog. He is immortal and has lived for 217 years. Champion was separated from his master in Venice over 100 years ago and has spent that time waiting for him as he was told to do. He has made connections with others and even rescued another dog, Sporco, but he never stops looking for his master. 

The timeline of this story does jump around a bit. We see Champion after waiting for more than 100 years for his master before going to search for him and we also see different points in the past before they lost each other. I never found the time sequence to be confusing. It really seemed like the points in the past were important to the story and felt more like memories. I really liked the historical setting of the novel which spans from the 1600's into the 1800's which I thought added a lot to the story.

I really enjoyed Champion's journey to find his master more than any other part of the book. Sporco was my favorite character by far and I enjoyed his love of life. I really felt like Sporco felt much more dog-like than Champion did. Champion has lived a very long time and is wiser than most humans. His most dog-like quality would be his loyalty to his master.

The book felt a bit uneven to me with some parts falling flat. I liked the parts of the book that were focused on what the dogs were doing the most. During the last part of the book, the focus seemed to shift more to the humans as witnessed by the dog which wasn't as enjoyable for me. There were times that the book felt like it was longer than it needed to be and dragged at points.

I think that a lot of readers will enjoy this one a bit more than I did. It is a really unique story set in a vividly described period of time. I didn't love the book as much as I had hoped I would but I am glad that I made the decision to read it. I would definitely read more of Damian Dibben's works in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Harlequin - Hanover Square Press via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I am a bit disappointed with this one. The last part of this book fell really flat to me. It seemed like things became more about the people than the dog and I liked the parts more focused on the dog. This was probably more of a 2.5 star read for me but I am rounding up for now. 

Peripeteia by Sarah Lyons Fleming

Peripeteia - Sarah Lyons Fleming

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

I really enjoyed this book! I am so happy that I stumbled upon this author because I am having such a good time with her books. This is the second book in The City series which really does need to be read in order. This book had me hooked from the very beginning. It is not a short audiobook but I still listened to it in just a few days because I never wanted to put it down. I went into this book with high expectations and am happy to report that those expectations were all met or exceeded.

I got to know Eric, Sylvie, and the rest of the group in the preceding book and I was really excited to get the chance to spend some more time with them in this book. Watching the bonds grow and strengthen between these characters is really what I enjoy the most about these books. Like the previous book, this installment is told from both Eric's and Sylvie's points of view so we really get to know those two characters really well. I think I liked both Eric and Sylvie more and more as the book progressed.

The story continues with the high excitement level that was set in the first book. The group is in New York City trying to survive with zombies everywhere. And the zombies may not be their biggest problem. There are daily problems that need to be address such as finding food and water and other things needed for survival that the group must address. There are also safety issues involving the zombies and other survivors that take up a lot of energy. Resources in the city are limited and they aren't the only group trying to survive.

This book does have some pretty major developments. Just when things are looking good and everyone starts getting comfortable, things happen. Situations change and the group has to adjust. I have to admit that I was pretty nervous for the characters in this book because there are a lot of intense situations. 

I loved the narration. Luke Daniels and Therese Plummer do such a good job with this series. I was a bit surprised that the narration was a bit different than what was used in the first book. In this book, Luke Daniels performs the chapters from Eric's point of view including the female voices while Therese Plummer performs the chapters from Sylvie's point of view including the male voices. In the first book, the male narrator handled all of the male voices throughout the book and vise versa which I really liked and was looking forward to in this book. I quickly adjusted and enjoyed the book but wish that this book would have been done the same as the first book. That being said, I had no issues with any of the voices that either narrator used and thought that they both brought a lot of emotion to the story.

I do recommend this book to others. This series has a little bit of everything. There is romance, some humor, action, and zombies working together to tell a rather unique story. I can't wait to read more of Sarah Lyons Fleming's work very soon and plan to listen to the next audiobook in this series just as soon as it is available. 

Initial Thoughts
I am having such a good time with this series. The characters are amazing and the set of obstacles that they must face to survive are truly frightening. There is romance, some humor, friendship, action, and zombies all working together to tell a unique story. The narration was very well done but there were a few points that the audio quality wasn't perfect. I am ready for the next book!

Book source: Audible purchase

The Woman Who Couldn't Scream by Christina Dodd

The Woman Who Couldn't Scream: A Novel (The Virtue Falls Series) - Christina Dodd

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

I liked this book but I didn't love it. It has been years since I have read anything by Christina Dodd but I have really enjoyed her writing in the past so I was excited to get the chance to read this book. This is the fourth book in the Virtue Falls series and I think that I might have gotten a bit more out of it if I had read the previous books before jumping into this one. I didn't have any kind of difficulty following the story but there were times that I just felt like I was missing something. I did like the book and was eager how things would work out.

This book really seemed to be telling more than one story. There is Merida, a mute woman, who has been recently widowed. The other main focus was on Kateri, the newly elected sheriff. Both of these woman had there own issues to deal and relationships to figure out. I honestly think that I might have like the book a bit more if the focus didn't shift back and forth as much as it did. There were quite a few times that I was pulled out of the story a bit as the point of view changed.

There is a whole lot going on in this book. So much. There is a convict on the loose, a string of murders occurring in Virtue Falls, a relative in town causing trouble, romantic issues, a long lost lover, a comatose friend, plus a frog god. It was probably too much in a lot of ways and started to seem unrealistic. I am okay with the frog god not being realistic but I would have liked for a little more believability for the rest of the story.

I really did like Kateri. She seemed to be able to handle just about anything but was willing to take advice from others. I liked Stag as well but he wasn't in the book as much as I would have liked but he seemed to really be what Kateri needed. I also really liked some of the members of the police force and the older bar owner. Merida and Benedict never felt completely real to me. I didn't dislike them but I wasn't sure if I should trust them either.

I think that my biggest issue with the book was that things just seemed too convenient at times. As the excitement of the book peaked, the characters would catch a break that was too good to be true. Problems were solved a little too easily and solutions showed up just when they were needed. I am glad that all of the loose ends were wrapped up but I would have it to feel a bit more real.

I do think that a lot of readers will enjoy this one. I enjoyed this book even though I had some issues with the story. I do hope to read more of Christina Dodd's work very soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from St. Martins Press via NetGalley.

Blood Red by Wendy Corsi Staub

Blood Red Mundy's Landing Book One - Wendy Corsi Staub

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

This book was very well done. I have had a review copy of this book for a very long time and really regretting the fact that I didn't read this one a long time ago. I love a good mystery thriller and this book pulled me in right from the start. I had such a good time trying to figure out how everything would come together and who the killer would be in the end. I glad I finally decided to give this book a try.

I have to admit that some of my favorite parts of the book were the parts that let us in the killer's head. I liked the fact that we get to meet the killer from the very beginning of the book and even learn his name very early. His identity and everything about him was still a complete mystery to me. The book isn't overly bloody but getting to really see the thought process of this killer really took the story to a new level.

Rowan is a teacher and mother of three in the town of Mundy's Landing. She leads a happy life now despite a mistake that she made and put behind her in the past. When a simple package shows up that could threaten everything, she tries to figure out what is going on. Mick, Rowan's teenage son, leads the busy life of a high school boy. He plays a sport at the school and works a part-time job where he is trying his best to be noticed by the pretty teen girl. Rowan and Mick tell the majority of the story along with the killer but we do also get to hear from a couple of police detectives and Rowan's sister, Noreen.

There were times in the book that I did wonder where things were leading. Honestly, I couldn't understand why Rowan was making such a big deal about things. I kind of wanted to tell her to just move on but I had a feeling that there would be more to the story and there was. It was really the killer's point of view that helped keep the story moving forward. By the end of the book, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough because I had to know what would happen next.

I would recommend this book to others. I liked how all of the pieces of this book came together to tell a very exciting story. This book is the start of a trilogy but I really felt like the story in this book is complete. I am not sure if I will be reading the other installments in this series but I do hope to read more from Wendy Corsi Staub in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from HarperCollins - William Morrow via Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
This was very well done. There were a whole lot of things going on in this book and part of the mystery was trying to figure out how everything would come together. Three were a lot of POVs that were used to tell the story and I liked that we got to see things from the killer's point of view even though I had no clue regarding his identity or motivation. 

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Sometimes I Lie - Alice Feeney

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

I really enjoyed this book. I am actually a little surprised by how much I ended up liking it. I decided to read this book because I was intrigued by the description. It was that same description that had me worried that this book may not work for me. I love the idea of unreliable narrators but I have had mixed luck with them. Let me just say that this book worked very well for me on all levels. I read almost the whole book in a single day and could seem to stop turning pages. I am so glad that I decided to give this book a try.

This is Amber's story. Amber is in a coma and can hear what is going on around her but can't respond. I was immediately drawn into the story because I felt like I needed to know how Amber ended up in that coma. I wouldn't really say that I liked Amber or any of the other characters in the story but I didn't dislike them either. I had no idea who to trust at any point in the story.

The dual timelines in this book worked well. Piece by piece, we learn the details of what events led up to her hospitalization as well as everything happening around her while she is in the coma. I was really equally interesting in both timelines and thought that the story switched from then to now at just the right moments to keep the story moving forward.

This book was full of twists and turns. It is really best to go into this book as blindly as possible which I was thankfully able to do. As I read the book I quickly discovered that everything that I thought I knew about the story was completely wrong. I was taken by surprise many times over the course of the story and sometimes had to take a short break just to process what I had just learned. I quickly began to expect the unexpected and I still found that I was shocked by some of the twists along the way. 

I would recommend this book to others. I loved how this book kept me guessing until the very end. I am really impressed with Alice Feeney's style of writing and hope to read more of her work in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Flatiron Press via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
Well...that wasn't really what I had expected. I mean that in the best way possible. Everything I thought I knew while reading this book was wrong. I knew nothing and loved every minute of it.

Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Lake Silence - Anne Bishop

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

I enjoyed this book. After reading the earlier books in the series last year, I was really curious about this newest installment. I knew going into this book that it was set in the same world as the previous books but it would feature different characters. I was relieved to find that I liked this new group of characters right away. I had a really nice time with this story.

Vicki is a rather new resident in the area. She recently acquired a resort property, The Jumble, on Lake Silence as part of her divorce agreement. The resort is just starting to conduct business with its first renter. When a body is discovered near the resort, a chain of events begin that will put everything in jeopardy. 

This book had a colorful cast of characters. Vicki was easy to like. She was such an honest and dependable person that hasn't always been treated well by others. Grimshaw was the calm authoritative voice of reason that everyone needed. He really seemed to care about Vicki and the residents in town. Julian is a good friend to Vicki and Grimshaw and steps into help and give advice when it is needed. I really liked how the wider group of characters quickly felt like a community working together.

There was a lot of action to keep everyone busy in this book. Vicki's right to The Jumble ends up being called into question by a group that has their own agenda. The property has a very detailed list of rules that must be followed since it is in the territory of the Others that Vicki has worked to follow while those who want to take the property plan to ignore. I really liked seeing how scary some of the Others could be when agreements were not followed. I was never quite sure how things would work out and was a bit nervous for the characters at times.

I would recommend this book to others. I think that anyone new to the series would be okay jumping in with this book but the background information from the earlier books was very helpful. I thought that this book came to a very satisfactory ending. I am really not sure whether their will be future books with this group of characters or not since the story felt very complete but I would certainly welcome any future installments. 

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

The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason

The Rest Falls Away (The Gardella Vampire Hunters: Victoria Book 1) - Colleen Gleason

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

I liked this book quite a bit. I am so glad that I finally was able to get around to reading this book. I am kind of ashamed that I have had a review copy of this book for so long and neglected to read it until now. I really had a good time getting to know Victoria as she worked to find a husband at the same time she was becoming a vampire hunter. This book was a whole lot of fun from beginning to end.

I have read a lot of paranormal romances since it is one of my favorite genres. I haven't read too many that had a historical setting though and I really liked that aspect of this book. I think it would be hard enough to learn to kill vampires without worrying about being a proper lady or finding a husband at the same time. I really liked this aspect of the story and found it to be very well done.

I love a good vampire story so I do have to admit that I liked the parts of the book where Victoria was battling vampires the most in the book. Victoria really has some pretty amazing vampire hunting skills and it was just a lot of fun to watch. When she fought alongside Max, it was even more exciting because the stakes were usually just a bit higher. 

I liked the characters in this book. Victoria was tough and not afraid to try to get what she wants in a period of time where that was pretty unusual for a woman. Max was a bit of a mystery but he seemed to always watch out for Victoria. I have a feeling that there is a lot more to learn about it and I am looking forward to that in future installments. Sebastian was a character that I was never fully trusted. It seemed like he was Victoria's ally at times but I was never completely sure. There were other characters that added to the story and were very well done.

I do recommend this book to others. It was just a whole lot of fun to read and I had a great time with it. I am a little mad that I waited so long to start reading this series and can't wait to read more very soon!

I received a review copy of this book from Avid Press via Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
This was fun! Victoria is trying to find a good husband while she is taking on the role of vampire hunter. It was entertaining watching her trying to balance both sides of her life. Of course, I found the vampire parts to be the most interesting but I liked the idea of her living a double life.

Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren

Weave a Circle Round - Kari Maaren

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

I didn't like this book at all. I thought about abandoning the book pretty early on and those thoughts seemed to pop up over and over with increased frequency. I don't know why I just didn't give up on this book and move on to something that I would enjoy more but for some reason, I kept pushing myself to keep listening for just a little bit more. I do think that this is a book that some readers will really enjoy but it wasn't the book for me and I should have stopped as soon as I started considering it.

I found this book to be rather confusing at times. As I was trying to get into the book, I often found myself having to back up the audio to listen to sections again in an attempt to make sense of the story. Things happen that really make little to no sense and the story shifts time and place without a lot of explanation. There were times that multiple versions of the same character were in a scene which just added to the confusion. I had a hard time following the storyline at times.

I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters. Freddy, Mel, and Roland were the most likable characters in the book but I never really felt any kind of connection to them. Mel and Roland play large roles in parts of the book but are absent in a large portion of the story. Josiah and Cuerva Lachance were incredibly strange. Cuerva Lachance may win the prize for the strangest character that I have read in all of her various forms. Josiah was hard to trust and it always seemed that he was hiding important things from Freddy. Freddy was the main character of the story and while we spend a lot of time in her head I still didn't feel like I truly understood her at the close of the book. 

I did enjoy the narration. This was the first time that I have listened to Eileen Stevens and I thought she did a good job with the book. Honestly, her narration is probably the reason that I continued to listen to the book even when I realized it wasn't going to work for me. She did an excellent job with all of the character voices and her voice was very pleasant to listen to. I would not hesitate to listen to her narration again in the future.

I will not be recommending this book to others. There were parts of the book that I did like a lot more than others. I thought that the opening scene was well done and I generally liked all of the scenes with Freddy, Mel, and Roland a lot more than the parts of the book where the characters were twisting around in time. I do think that other readers may have a very different reaction to this book and may really enjoy it. I would say to give it a try if you think the concept sounds like something you would enjoy. 

I received a review copy of this audiobook from Blackstone Audio, Inc. via Audiobook Jukebox.

Initial Thoughts
Let's just say that I didn't like the book. At all. The narrator was good and there were some parts that were more interesting that others but as a whole this was not an enjoyable experience. The book was confusing to the point that I had to keep going back over parts to try to make sense of them. I found sections of the book to be incredibly boring and I never cared about any of the characters. Pretty early on in the book, I did consider abandoning the book but pushed myself on. I think I thought about marking the book as one I couldn't finish about once every 15 minutes of listening but for some reason I forced myself to continue. (Note to self - if you are thinking about marking a book dnf just too it and save yourself some pain.) I am honestly just glad that I finished it right now so that I can move on to a book that I will actually enjoy.

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

Burn Bright - Patricia Briggs

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

This book was amazingly good! I honestly loved every page of this story. It should probably come as no surprise to anyone who follows my reviews that I am a huge fan of Patricia Briggs. I was incredibly excited to get my hands on this book and went into it with really high expectations. This book exceeded every one of those expectations. 

Charles and Anna are back at home with the Marrock's pack but this time Bran is away. Charles has taken on some additional responsibilities with Bran's absence and he is working hard to keep the peace with Leah. When a call comes in from the mate of a wolf that lives in the wilderness on the outskirts of the pack, they are pulled into a much deeper mystery.

I loved so many things about things about this book but the characters are really at the top of the list. Charles, Anna, and Brother Wolf are some of my favorite characters. I really liked getting to see the bond between Charles, Anna, and Brother Wolf. Yes, Brother Wolf is the wolf side of Charles but he really does see things differently at times and is a distinctly different character. I love how Briggs is able to define these parts of Charles so seamlessly. 

The secondary characters were also great. Asil has been a character that I really enjoy and he played a very large role in this book. He was so strong in this book and I love the way that he watches over and protects Anna. Leah has always been a character that I loved to hate. She has always seemed more difficult than anything else in previous installments and she still has her moments in this book. I feel like I understand Leah a lot more after reading this book and now that I know why she acts as she does it is a bit more forgivable. I also thought that the wildlings that live on the outskirts of Bran's pack were very interesting and added a nice touch to the book.

The mystery in this book was very solid and kept me guessing. There were more than a few surprises along the way and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. There were quite few action scenes and there were a few moments that I was worried about how things would work out. It really was an exciting story filled with much loved characters. I did miss Bran at times but I do think that his absence let others take a turn in the spotlight.

I would highly recommend this series to others. This is the fifth book in the Alpha and Omega series and works best when read in order. This series takes place in the same world as the Mercy Thompson series with a lot of overlapping characters. This was a very solid installment in the series that I found to be incredibly entertaining. I cannot wait to read more from Patricia Briggs very soon.

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

Initial Thoughts
So damn good. I loved every part of this book. It was just amazingly good. 

Some of the things I loved about this book:
Brother Wolf
Leah <-----yes, I said Leah
Meeting some new characters
Solid mystery
Action scenes
A few surprising moments

So much to love about this book. I would say it was worth the wait.

Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Hello Stranger: The Ravenels, Book 4 - Lisa Kleypas

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

I loved this book! I have been a huge fan of Lisa Kleypas for a long time but for some reason I haven't read a lot of her work during the past few years. I can see now that this has been a big mistake on my part and that I should have made time for the Ravenels series because this was oh so good. I loved it on the first page, the last page, and all the pages in between.

The characters in this book were amazing. Dr. Garrett Gibson was such a refreshing character. She was willing to do what made her happy instead of what society expected of her. Can you even imagine the guts it would take to be the only female doctor in England? Garrett had the toughness needed to excel in her profession. Ethan Ransom was so easy to like. He started out as a bit of a mystery and worked to help keep Garrett safe. The more we learned about Ransom the more that I liked him.

Garrett and Ethan were wonderful together. I love that we get to see them with each other at the start of the book and the chemistry is there from the start. It only grows stronger as the book progresses. Ethan quickly showed that he is a romantic at heart and his words had me swooning quite a few times. While the chemistry between them was off the charts, they also really showed a lot of respect for each other and just seemed to enjoy being in each other's company. These two just belonged with each other.

There are some pretty exciting moments in the story. I did worry about how things would work out for a little while. There are some pretty serious nail biting moments in this book and a few characters that seemed to make the perfect villain since they were easy to hate. There are also some really lovable secondary characters in this book. I haven't read the other books in the series so I am not sure if West has played a large role in the other stories or not but I loved him. Just as Ethan had the ability to make me swoon, West often made me laugh. I really hope West gets his own book very soon.

I highly recommend this book to others. This book had all of the elements that I hope for when I pick up a romance with a fantastic plot, amazing characters, off the chart chemistry, a few laughs, and moments that melted my heart. The only thing about the book that I am not sure that I like is the cover. I think that the cover is very pretty but it looks way too modern for the story. I can deal with a cover that I am not sure about because watching Garrett and Ethan find their happily ever after was a wonderful reading experience. I am definitely going to be reading the other books in the series very soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from HarperCollins - Avon.

Initial Thoughts
It has been way too long since I read a Lisa Kleypas book. Seriously, why have I not made time for her books lately? This book had so much going for it. I had absolutely no trouble jumping into this series with this book. I loved the main characters and thought that they were amazing characters. And West! He seemed to be there when needed and kept everything fun. There were intense scenes, swoony scenes, funny scenes, and scenes that will make you wish you had a fan. This was a 4.5 star read for me so I am rounding up for now.

Skitter by Ezekiel Boone

Skitter - Ezekiel Boone

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

I am really enjoying this series. I have had a copy of this book for a long time. I had planned to read it around the publication date but for some reason it didn't happen. I am glad that I was able to get to it now because it really is a great story. This is the second book in the Hatching series which is a series that really does need to be read in order since this is a continuation of the story from the first book. I ended up enjoying this book just as much as the first book.

I really like the way that this story is told. I don't think it would work for every book but it does work well with this story. We get to see the outbreak from a lot of different points of view instead of following only a handful of characters. Sometimes we get a point of view and never encounter that character again. Other times, we get to see a point of view at various points in the story. All of these points of view helps to really paint a picture of the outbreak across the globe.

The spider outbreak in the first book was bad and many had hoped that would get better. It looks like it might be getting better. The spiders seem to have died off a bit and the pods are being taken care of. Unfortunately, things can get worse. Much worse. The spider outbreak takes a turn that is truly frightening and it was really interesting to see how things were developing and how the key characters would deal with it.

This was a really exciting story. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next with the spider outbreak and was also eager to find out what the authorities would decide to do to handle things. I couldn't imagine being responsible or having people look to you for answers during a time like this. Whenever I had a guess about how things would go, I would quickly find out that I was wrong so I just kept turning pages to enjoy the story.

I would recommend this series to others. This creepy crawly story was very original and entertaining. I ended up most of the book in a single evening because I had to see how things would work out. I am really excited to start the next book, Zero Day, very soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Atria/Emily Bestler Books via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I love the way this story is laid out. We learn what is going on in the world piece by piece. Some of the characters from the first book play important roles in this book and we meet some new characters. Lots of creepy crawly goodness here. 

One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

One Foot in the Grave: Night Huntress, Book 2 - Jeaniene Frost, Tavia Gilbert

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

I am having a lot of fun with my audio re-read of this series. It has been a little more than five years since I read this book the first time so it was definitely time to revisit this wonderful story. This was a book that once I really got into the story, I didn't want to put it down. I ended up listening to the whole audiobook in just a couple of days and I think I liked the book even more the second time around.

I do have to admit that I had a bit of a rough start with this book. This book begins several years after the events of the previous book where Cat left Bones to protect him. She is working her government job that she took to protect her mother at the end of the first book. She is very good at her job and has a good team working around her. 

I learned something very important while listening to this book. I like Bones a whole lot more than I like Cat. So much more. Bones wasn't around for the first part of this book so it was all Cat. I missed Bones. A lot. As soon as Bones entered the story again, my enjoyment increased dramatically. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you that I loved Cat and Bones. I discovered that I do love Bones but Cat has the potential to drive me a little crazy at times. Maybe by the end of my re-read of the series, I will love her just as much as Bones.

There are quite a few really important developments in this book. Bones and Cat are reunited which is a very good thing. Cat is in some danger which is not so good but Bones is able to help keep her safe since he is back in her life. We do also get to meet some other important characters including Cat's team and some of Bone's friends and acquaintances. There are some pretty intense action scenes and some scenes that are more than a little hot. 

Tavia Gilbert does such a great job with this series. She really brings both Cat and Bones to life. I love the voice that she used for Bones and think that the accent is perfect. All of the characters are very easy to distinguish with each voice used being unique and very believable. She handled a wide range of emotions and a lot of different types of scenes with ease in this book. I had no trouble listening to this book for hours at a time.

I do highly recommend this series to others. This is the second book in the Night Huntress series which really should be read in order since each book builds on previous events. I can't wait to continue my re-read of this amazing series!

Initial Thoughts
I had fun with this one. I had a bit of a rough start with it though. I found that I am a much bigger fan of Bones than I am of Cat and Bones was absent during the first part of the book. Even when Bones was back in the story, Cat still drove me nuts at times with her actions and jealous behavior. Don't get me wrong...I still had a great time with it. Tavia Gilbert did a fantastic job with the narration.

Book source: Audible purchase

The Duke of Her Desire by Sophie Barnes

The Duke of Her Desire: Diamonds in the Rough - Sophie Barnes

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

I liked this book. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, A Most Unlikely Duke, so I was really excited to read more of the series. I didn't love it and I don't think I will remember much about it long term but it was a nice enough story. I thought that this was a pleasant read and am glad that I read it.

Thomas, the Duke of Coventry, agrees to watch over his friend's sisters while he is away. Amelia and Juliette are still trying to fit into society after living in poverty most of their lives. Amelia has other dreams and hopes to open a school for children where she used to live. Of course, she starts this process while her brother is away and Coventry jumps into to help. She is still keeping social commitments and considering potential husbands at the same time.

This was a really tame historical romance. I actually don't remember ever reading one quite this innocent. I don't need a lot of heat in this kind of story to find it enjoyable but I found it rather surprising. I really didn't feel a whole lot of chemistry between this pair and I do wonder if part of that could be because most of the book was rather chaste until the story got closer to the end. I don't think that you need sex in a story to have chemistry but it just seems that something was missing between this pair.

I did find both Amelia and Thomas to be interesting characters. Thomas has quite the story which I was very eager to learn more about as the story progressed. Amelia's quest to run a school was ambitious and really showed what kind of person she was. I was probably most entertained by everything that went wrong with the preparations for the school. I liked that they both seemed really committed to the cause.

This was a book that I liked in the end. It was a nice enough read and a nice way to spend a bit of time. It wasn't my favorite in the series but it was an acceptable installment. I am actually not sure if I will be picking up the next book in the series or not at this point but I would like to read more from Sophie Barnes in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Avon Books via Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
This will end up either being a 3 or 4 star read. I am going with 3 for now but that may change. I liked the book but I didn't fall in love with it. I would have liked to see a little more between Thomas and Amelia. It seemed liked the book was nearing the end before things really started moving between them besides very tame interest. I did enjoy reading this one.

Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne

Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don't) - Lauren Layne

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

I loved this book! I am really kind of surprised about that to be honest. I don't like television shows like The Bachelor at all. I think they are kind of dumb and cannot understand why anyone would subject themselves to participating in something like that. So why would I want to read a book based on the same kind of thing? It is simple - Lauren Layne wrote it so I want to read it. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about it though. It actually turns out that this book is one of my favorites Lauren Layne books.

Gage and Ellie both end up on the reality show, Jilted. Gage is a famous actor that ends up on the show after losing a bet. He has left two women at the alter so he is the perfect man to fill the role for the show even if he is less than excited about it. Ellie wanted on the show so that she could promote her company. She hatched a plan with her friend and business partner that it would be good for business if she could wear the designer t-shirts that they sell. It turns out that Gage and Ellie seem to be the only two people that don't want to be on the show even though they are doing a pretty good job of faking it. 

I loved Gage and Ellie together. They have such wonderful chemistry with each other and I really felt their connection. I loved how they interacted with each other and I think that the parts of the book that they were alone with each other were the only times either of them really showed their true selves. I really enjoyed getting the chance to be in each of their heads so that I could really see what they were feeling. 

I had really wondered how a romance could be set on a reality show like this. It is not romantic to see the romantic interest spending time with other women. I liked that the relationship between Gage and Ellie happened when the cameras were off. Yes, there were a few situations that made things uncomfortable but I felt like both characters handled themselves well and it really helped them to realize what they were feeling for each other.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. I read this book with a big grin on my face the entire time and there were a few scenes that really had my heart beating like crazy. I had a fantastic time watching Ellie and Gage find their happily ever after and look forward to more from Lauren Layne soon.

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

Initial Thoughts
I loved this book! Really loved it! I am not a fan of The Bachelor or any of those kind of shows so I went into the book with a few doubts. Lauren Layne more than pulled it off. Ellie and Gage were wonderful characters that I wanted to see have the chance to make each other happy. I had a big ole grin on my face the whole time I was reading this one and my pulse may have been bumped up a notch a time or two.