Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top 10 Books of 2019

I've been out of the country (Cabo San Lucas) on a last minute holiday trip, which is why I've been scarce in the blogosphere, and why I'm posting this late.

  Anne over at Books of My Heart is hosting these end of the year posts and so I'm linking up with her to share my Top Ten of 2019, and Top Ten Tuesday by The Artsy Reader Girl. It's hard to narrow it down to ten, right? But here I go:

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

What were your top ten reads of 2019?

Monday, December 23, 2019

Mini Review & Giveaway: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Publication Date: December 3rd 2019 by Berkley Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the book: 

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh pivots in a new direction with her first mainstream thriller that will be sure to keep readers on their toes.

Anahera Rawiri left New Zealand at twenty-one, fleeing small-town poverty and the ghosts of her childhood with no plans to look back. But eight years later, she returns, seeking familiarity as respite from the shattered remains of her new life. And despite the changes brought on by a bump in tourism--the shiny new welcome sign at the town line and a decidedly less shiny new police presence--Golden Cove appears much as it ever was: a small settlement on the savage West Coast of the South Island, populated by all the remembered faces and set against a backdrop of lush greenery, jagged cliffs, and crashing waves.

Detective Will Gallagher knows all about ghosts; his own chased him out of a promising career in Christchurch, landing him as the sole cop in a quaint town where his most pressing concerns are petty theft and the occasional drunk. When Golden Cove resident Miri Hinewai goes out for a run and fails to return, Will finds himself heading up a missing person's search that rapidly escalates into an official investigation after this case is connected with similar ones from the past. As an outsider, Will begins to rely on Anahera's knowledge of the area and its residents to help him delve into Golden Cove's secrets, and to determine whether it shelters something far more dangerous than just an unforgiving landscape.
My Thoughts:
I love Nalini Singh’s paranormal stories, and so I was excited to experience her writing in a contemporary mystery/romantic suspense novel.  I feel like the story had a slow start, but was still engaging and atmospheric from the get-go. The rugged and remote New Zealand setting came to life with Ms. Singh’s beautiful descriptions, giving it an almost haunting quality.

I found the crime and mystery captivating and disturbing when all was revealed, yet I think I would’ve liked more of a glimpse into the history between Anahera and her friends, as well as more interactions in the present to give more feeling and depth when the truth came out.

Anahera and Will’s connection was quiet and intense at the same time, and I thoroughly enjoyed their romance.

3.5-4 Suns

The lovely people of Berkley Books provided a Hardcover Copy of A Madness of Sunshine and I'm giving it away to one reader. Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win. The giveaway is open to US Residents only. Good luck!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Sunday Post #56

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week. 

This is my first Sunday Post of the month, and I'm getting it in late. Been super busy, as I'm sure most are this time of year. I've been out of town a lot this month, last weekend I went to Santa Barbara Wine Country and the weather was beautiful! 

(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

I loved Sweep of the Blade (Maud & Arland's story) even more than Dina's! The Christmas Pact was less than 3 hours, narrated by two of my favorite narrators Andi Arndt and Sebastian York, and so much fun! Penny For Your Secrets was another win in the Verity Kent series. I hope there'll be more. Regretting You and In the Dark were both amazing and there's a giveaway of each along with an Amazon Giftcard in my posts. $100 for Regretting You! A Wedding in December was such a lovely story, perfect for this time of year! 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:
(Click on cover for Goodreads link)


Binge watched the series & I loved the choice of actors for the characters.  The setting, Mel's cabin, Jack's Bar, & the Doc's office were spot on and perfect IMO. Not too happy about the changes made with the whole Jack & Charmaine thing. I hate that plot device anyhow, but it was worse that it was used to complicate things for Jack & Mel, one of my all-time favorite couples. I just hope it (the Charmaine complication) doesn't pan out. Like maybe she's lying in hopes of getting Jack back? At any rate, can't wait for season 2. Hope we don't have to wait long!

I hope everyone enjoys the Holidays and the time off!

How was your week?

Friday, December 20, 2019

2019 Audiobook Challenge Final Update & 2020 Sign Up

Hot Listens and Caffeinated Reviewer are hosting their 7th annual Audiobook Challenge for 2019 and I'm posting my final check in. 

I was aiming for the Marathoner 50+ books and I accomplished that and then some. Right now I'm at 86 books, making audiobooks the format I've "read" books for more than 50% of the books I've read this year.  I'm sure I'll be adding at least a couple more before the end of the year. 

Here are a few of my recent favorites:
(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

I'm joining up for next the 2020 Audiobook Challenge as well, and this time I'm going for the 100 Club Audio Elite. Fingers crossed I can make it!  

If you'd like to join up click HERE for the link to the post and add your name. Good luck to all joining!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Mid Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop

I'm participating in Midwinters Eve Giveaway Hop hosted by BookHounds and will be giving away a $10 Giftcard to either US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble or up to $10 at The Book Depository to one readers. See below for a list of participating blogs or click HERE.

I thought I'd share a few of my new and old favorite Winter reads in the spirit of the giveaway:
(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

A $10 Giftcard to either US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble or up to $10 at The Book Depository. The giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. Click HERE for their list of countries.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Review: Into the Dark by Karen Rose

Publication Date: November 26th 2019 by Berkley
Pages: 621 Audio Length: 21 Hrs and 21 mins
Narrator: Hillary Huber
Source: Publisher & Audible Purchase
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible

About the book:

Michael Rowland is not your typical teenager. Deaf from birth, he’s always looked out for his five-year-old brother, Joshua. When his stepfather comes after Joshua, Michael takes the child and runs. He’s determined to protect his brother at all costs, even if that means making himself vulnerable to a danger he can’t hear coming. And the danger intensifies when Michael witnesses a stranger kill his stepfather.

Desperate and afraid, the boys have nowhere else to go but to Joshua’s soccer coach, journalist and ex-Army ranger Diesel Kennedy. When Diesel sees that Michael is injured, he takes them to see Dr. Dani Novak—not only because she’s fluent in American Sign Language, but because he’s drawn to her and everything she stands for. She never refuses Diesel’s requests—because she, too, feels their connection—but she resists him for reasons she doesn’t want to confess.

When Dani and Diesel learn that Michael saw the face of his stepfather’s killer, they fear for his safety. But they quickly discover that it’s even worse than they feared: They may have a serial killer on their hands—and all signs point to Michael as the next target.

My Thoughts:
Fourteen-year-old Michael witnesses the murder of his stepfather.  His stepfather was a pedophile and abused Michael, so I wasn’t too broken up over his death. My heart truly went out to Michael growing up with a neglectful, selfish mother.  She didn’t even bother to learn sign language even though Michael was deaf from birth. On top of all that, she marries an abusive asshole leaving her kids vulnerable! 

When the police start to investigate the murder, the killer realizes he may have left a witness, so Michael and his five year-old-brother are in danger.  That’s when Joshua’s soccer coach, Diesel, gets involved.  Diesel is a coach in his free time to give back to the community and help kids out, but he’s mainly a hacker for The Ledger, an investigative news/website.

When Diesel realizes Michael is injured and these kids may be victims of neglect or worse, he takes them to Dr. Dani Novak, not only because Dani’s is partially deaf and fluent in sign language, but because she’s the most compassionate and kind doctor he knows. His heart aches every time he lays eyes on her, because she has made it clear a relationship is off the table. Diesel knows there’s a mutual attraction, though so he’s not sure what’s holding Dani back.

Diesel and Dani’s attraction can’t be ignored when they’re thrown together to look after Michael and Joshua when they have no place to go.  However, they’ll have to deal with their feelings in between dodging a killer bent on eliminating Michael. 

I found that the romance drama was low, because Dani and Diesel didn’t have time to wishy washy back and forth, they had to just get their shit sorted and concentrate on not dying, lol! Dani might have tried my patience otherwise. There are a few reasons she’d held back, reasons she felt were valid, but any outsider could’ve told her they were BS.

There were a lot of heartbreaking moments here since Michael was the victim of abuse. Diesel has his own story to tell, and he helped Michael deal with the feelings of guilt, shame and anger.  

Despite Into the Dark being over six hundred pages long, I felt like I breezed through the story pretty quickly. Lots of action and danger, they kept me turning the pages, and I cared about what happened to Dani, Diesel, Michael and Joshua!

I switched back and forth from e-book to audio and I'm happy I did that because I didn't want to put the book down when I had to get real-life stuff done.  Hillary Huber did an excellent job with both the male and female voices.

4.5 Suns

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Review & Giveaway: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

I LOVED Regretting You by Colleen Hoover so I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour.  I have my review, an interview with Colleen Hoover, as well as a chance to win a copy of Regretting You and $100 Amazon Gift Card! Awesome, right?!

Publication Date: December 10th 2019 by Montlake 
Pages: 365
Source: Publisher
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible 

About the book:

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.
My Thoughts:
Morgan and Clara, mother and teenage daughter, are at that stage in their life where they don’t really connect, but a tragedy leaves the two of them forced to deal with each other. Both battle grief, but the tragedy unearths lies and betrayal.  Morgan and Clara deal with the fallout in their own way.  It’s hard to review this without giving away plot points that I think are best discovered by the reader on their own. We’re given Morgan and Clara’s POV’s in alternating chapters, and I loved experiencing the story from each, both coming from such different places in their lives even though they’re dealing with the same tragedy. 

This story wasn’t only about loss and grief, there’s a romance for Morgan and Clara and I loved that amid all this there was hope, happiness, and passion. I thought I loved Morgan’s romance more, still kind of do, but boy that video at the end was so amazing and unexpected that Clara’s romance rose a several notches! I was bowled over!

I started Regretting You and couldn’t put it down, and read late into the night, finally having to go to bed so I could make it work, but I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about the story. How it would all turn out? Colleen Hoover excels at bringing out so many emotions, I raged for both Morgan, and Clara, felt their pain, and their joy, as if they were real life people instead of characters in a book. Regretting You has to be my favorite CoHo to date!

5 Suns

Q&A with Author Colleen Hoover

You are ‘label-less’ in the fact that you write in several genres. Readers never know what to expect next. If someone asks, how do you label yourself?

When I self-published my first novel I had no idea what genre to put it in. I thought I had written a drama but it turns to that I had written a romance. I’ve learned a lot since then, but I still don’t put a lot of weight in genre when I write. When your best friend is begging you to read a book, it’s not going to matter what genre it is when someone you trust is passionate about the story.

To keep all of your stories and characters straight, you must be very organized.

I’m the most disorganized person you will ever meet! I have no schedule. I can’t wake up before nine in the morning. I probably don’t go to bed until like three in the morning. I usually work about 16 hours a day. 

What happens if you get blocked when you are writing? 

If I get stuck writing, I go for a drive and play music. Music really helps me plot. I love The Avett Brothers, X Ambassadors, Airborne Toxic Event...I could go on and on. 

What can you tell readers about your latest release Regretting You?

I would spoil it if I told you about it! Most of my books are like that. I can’t say what they are about or it spoils it. But I can say that Regretting You is told from a dual point-of-view centered on the inner lives of both a teen and adult protagonist.

Sounds like lots of different types of readers will be interested!

Absolutely. I wanted to write a book that bridged the gap between young adult and contemporary romance so that mothers can read with their daughters. I think it’s exciting to see people sharing reading experiences. 

About the author:
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including the bestselling women’s fiction novel It Ends with Us and the bestselling psychological thriller Verity. She has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance three years in a row—for Confess (2015), It Ends with Us (2016), and Without Merit (2017). Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Hoover and her family founded the Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service that offers signed novels donated by authors. All profits go to various charities each month to help those in need. Hoover lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Visit www.colleenhoover.com.

Connect with Colleen Hoover:

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