2014.50 REVIEW – The Kill List by Nichole Christoff

The Kill List
by Nichole Christoff

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 270
Rating: 4/5
Read: Dec. 7 – Dec. 12, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 50
Format: E-Book
Source: TLC Book Tour
Series: Jamie Sinclair #1

The Kill ListBlurb: In this taut debut thriller, Nichole Christoff introduces a savvy private investigator with nerves of steel—and a shattered heart.

As a top private eye turned security specialist, Jamie Sinclair has worked hard to put her broken marriage behind her. But when her lying, cheating ex-husband, army colonel Tim Thorp, calls with the news that his three-year-old daughter has been kidnapped, he begs Jamie to come find her. For the sake of the child, Jamie knows she can’t refuse. Now, despite the past, she’ll do everything in her power to bring little Brooke Thorp home alive.

Soon Jamie is back at Fort Leeds—the army base in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens where she grew up, the only child of a two-star general—chasing down leads and forging an uneasy alliance with the stern military police commander and the exacting FBI agent working Brooke’s case. But because Jamie’s father is now a U.S. senator, her recent run-in with a disturbed stalker is all over the news, and when she starts receiving gruesome threats echoing the stalker’s last words, she can’t shake the feeling that her investigation may be about more than a missing girl—and that someone very powerful is hiding something very significant . . . and very sinister.


Review: I received a copy of this book for free in conjunction with a TLC Book tour, all opinions expressed below are my own.

What a fun, solid book! I didn’t know what to really expect going into this one, but I sure got more out of it than I was expecting!! Let me just tell you that the book starts off with a pretty intense scene that really sets the tone for what’s to come. I was so wrapped up in everything going on in this book that I could barely stand to put it down!

I liked Jamie, but I also liked what she had going on with Barrett. It was a very gradual growing relationship and I liked that a lot. And I can’t wait to see how much more it unfolds in future books!

I have to say that I was amazed at how much I learned about military life through this book. I don’t know have any family or close friends in the military, so it was definitely a learning experience to me. And very enlightening to see it portrayed in such a respectful way. I also liked that Jamie was really able to succeed in such a male-centered world (military/government). I have read a few military-ish books in the past, and very few of them have women in any sort of leading/successful role. Definitely a fresh aspect on things!

Overall, the storyline was extremely interesting. There were a lot of twists and turns. Things were not as they appeared. And it really was a fun story! Definitely a book that I think will appeal to all mystery lovers!

Highly recommended.


About the Author: Nichole Christoff is a writer, broadcaster, and military spouse who has worked on air and behind the scenes producing and promoting content for radio, television news, and the public relations industry across the United States and Canada. Christoff is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime and the Jane Austen Society of North America. She also belongs to the Private Eye Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and three of RWA’s local chapters where she’s served as an officer and a member of the board. In Christoff’s first year as a member of RWA, her first manuscript won the Golden Heart for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements. Her second manuscript won a 2011 Helen McCloy Scholarship from the Mystery Writers of America. Her latest work, The Kill List, is a 2014 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense nominee.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Please be sure to check out all the other stops on the tour:

Tuesday, November 25th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Friday, November 28th: Nightly Reading
Monday, December 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, December 2nd: Bell, Book & Candle
Wednesday, December 3rd: Omnimystery News – guest post
Thursday, December 4th: CiCi’s Theories
Friday, December 5th: Reading to Distraction
Monday, December 8th: Read and Shelved
Tuesday, December 9th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Wednesday, December 10th: Book Nerd
Thursday, December 11th: Back Porchervations
Monday, December 15th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, December 16th: Booked on a Feeling
Wednesday, December 17th: A Fantastical Librarian
Friday, December 19th: Tales of a Book Addict
TBD: Queen of All She Reads
TBD: Annabel and Alice

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Looking Ahead to 2015

2014 hasn’t been too bad of a reading year for me. It started out pretty good and then I lost steam somewhere along the way. Actually I lost steam about the time I found out I was pregnant AND moving out of state (which was in the same month) … so can you really blame me?

But here’s something I discovered as I was living with my parents during the 3 weeks that we were between houses and technically homeless.

It had been entirely too long since I had picked up a book on a whim at a bookstore and just read it.

So this really got me thinking about 2015 and what I wanted to “accomplish” with my reading. I know it’s going to be a tough year. I still have a gazillion things to do with this house (boxes are everywhere). And let’s not forget the fact that almost mid-way through we will be welcoming another child into this world. So to say that 2015 will be insane .. yeah, that’s a pretty good description!

So …. I am taking back my reading in 2015. I am not going to accept review copies (I have three more previous commitments left, one scheduled for later this week, one at the end of December and one in January – after that, I’m done for a while). I am going to read my books. I’m going to read what I want when I want to. I’m not going to worry about how many books I read, how many pages I read, how many books fit challenges that I’ve signed up for. Nope, nope and nope.

I am reading for me and me alone.

I am not officially signing up for any challenges at this point. There have been a couple of TBR centered challenges that have seriously caught my eye. But I tend to feel bogged down when I sign up for those things. So I may or may not be participating in any challenges. And if I do, it will more than likely be unofficially and something that I keep off the blog.

2015 is going to be a year of reading for me.

And I’m sooooo excited to start!!

2014.49 REVIEW – These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

These Things Hidden
by Heather Gudenkauf

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 337
Rating: 4/5
Read: Nov. 23 – Dec. 7, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 49
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: N/A


These Things HiddenBlurb:
 When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult in her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn – shy, quiet Brynn – who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.

But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.

Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.


Review: So after I finished the book that I had been reading when we moved out, I realized that I had failed to hold out any other books to read until we moved into our new house and the movers brought all our stuff back. The horror! So of course I had to go to the bookstore and buy something to read! This is what I happened to come across. I had seen this book mentioned in (I believe) a Paperbackswap newsletter. I don’t know how I missed it when it was released in 2011, but somehow I did.

I had no preconceived notions going into this book. I had seen no buzz about it online. I had not read review after review of it from various bloggers. I did something the old-fashioned way. I chose a book in a bookstore that intrigued me and I read it. I cannot tell you how long it had been since I had done that. My reading has been so structured and scheduled for so long that it was really strange to do something so out of the ordinary for me.

I was just glad that the book was a great read and not a dud! Ha!

Overall I liked it. I had no idea really what was coming when it finally happened. But really thinking back on the way things unfolded, it really should not have been as much of a surprise as it was for me. I liked that the book was told from multiple character viewpoints. I felt like it really made everything come together so much better. You got all of the innermost thoughts and feelings of so many characters. It was an interesting way of setting up the book in my opinion.

Some of the characters in this book are doozies, to say the least. You’ve got a wide variety – the one fresh out of prison, the sister who has some obvious mental issues, the parents who pretty much checked out when their kids were found to be imperfect. And that’s just all in one family. There are plenty other dysfunctional characters within the book!

The storyline was interesting. I felt like the author did a really good job with it to be honest. Because it could have been pretty dull … teenage girl gets pregnant, gets rid of baby and *thinks* life will go on as normal. It doesn’t. Girl gets out of jail 5 years later and tries to reconnect with her family and society in general. But all is not as it seems. And that’s what makes this story so much more interesting as it unfolds before your very eyes. I liked it. A lot.

So I guess I found a gem in this one. I would definitely recommend it!

When One Door Closes….

….Another one opens.

On November 25th, we said goodbye to our house in Paducah.

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It was a very bittersweet day for us … well, at least it was for me. That was our first house. We put a lot of our heart and soul into it to make it our own (not to mention too much of our hard-earned money…). It had been our home for nearly 6 years. It was the only house Garrett has ever known. We had just refinanced last year and was excited to be able to go to a 15-year mortgage. We had no plans to move anytime soon. But oh how those plans can change in an instant.

My husband accepted a new job in late September. His start date was officially November 3rd. We knew it would be nearly impossible to list and sell a house, buy a house and move within a short time period. Boy were we wrong! Within two weeks of listing our house we had an accepted contract. Four short weeks after that we were at the closing. Yes, you read that right. We sold our house in 6 very short weeks. Unheard of, right?! Our realtor sure thought so!

I’m not complaining about how things ended up for us. We were extremely lucky. We were not going to have to worry about two mortgages. We weren’t going to have to worry about scraping together the money for the down payment on the new house that we had picked out. Everything was falling into place perfectly.

But not everything can be entirely perfect. Our Paducah closing was November 25th. Our last night in the house was actually November 19th. That left two days for the movers to do their thing and then 3 more full days for the clean-up. I didn’t think everything was ever going to get cleaned out of that house, but somehow we made it.

So what wasn’t perfect, you might ask? Oh, you know … the slight fact that our new house closing wasn’t until December 5th. Folks that is 16 days from the date we moved out until the closing. And we knew we weren’t going to actually move into the house for a few more days after that (actually, as of this writing, we still are not officially moved in … that doesn’t happen until Dec. 10th.). For those who don’t want to do the math … that is 21 days total. Do you know how long 21 days really feels like when you have almost everything you own in storage and are staying with your parents for the first time (for more than a weekend) in nearly 10 years?? It feels like 21 YEARS! I mean, I love my parents. We have a great relationship with them. And while I knew this was going to be a rough transition, I was not at all prepared for how hard it was really going to be. Whew, I am so thankful that it is almost over.

And that on December 10th, I will be able to sleep in our new house for the first time:

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2014.48 REVIEW – Eyes of Prey by John Sandford

Eyes of Prey
by John Sandford

Copyright: 1991
Pages: 358
Rating: 4/5
Read: Nov. 16 – Nov. 23, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 48
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Lucas Davenport #3

Eyes of PreyBlurb: Lieutenant Davenport’s sanity was nearly shattered by two murder investigations. Now he faces something worse … Two killers. One hideously scarred. The other strikingly handsome, a master manipulator fascinated with all aspects of death. The dark mirror of Davenport’s soul … This is the case that will bring Davenport back to life. Or push him over the edge.


Review: This is the 3rd book in the Lucas Davenport series. After loving the first book, Rules of Prey, I was excited to get into the second one, Shadow Prey. Unfortunately Shadow didn’t really work for me, so I was a little apprehensive to pick up the next one.

Stupid move, Tara.

I loved this book! Bekker is one creepy dude! And the ending … well, I don’t want to say too much, but I have a feeling that Bekker could possibly turn up in a future book! And whew, would that be interesting!!

I liked Lucas a lot better in this particular installment than I did in Shadow. My issue with that book was the womanizing … when he had a newborn and a woman he kept trying to propose marriage to. In this installment, he’s come back down to reality. He’s obviously spent some time in a serious depression. And this case somewhat snaps him out of it. I liked that we got to see Lucas a little bit vulnerable. And then we get to see him pulling himself back up and getting back on the right track.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. And I would highly recommend it. I think this series is just one that might be hit or miss. All series are like that to a point, some books are better than others. This particular book is better than the second in the series. But I’m definitely looking forward to getting to the fourth book.

And I’m kicking myself for letting the movers pack it up with all my other books! Boo!

2014.47 REVIEW – My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

My Sister’s Grave
by Robert Dugoni

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 408
Rating: 4/5
Read: Oct. 22 – Nov. 2, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 47
Format: Print
Source: TLC Book Tour
Series: N/A

My Sister's GraveBlurb: Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House – a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder – is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past – and open the door to deadly danger.


Review: I received a copy of this book for free in conjunction with a TLC Book tour, all opinions expressed below are my own.

What a fun, thrilling read! This book really sucked me in from the very beginning and didn’t spit me back out until I had finished with it. I was so engrossed by the characters and the story that I never wanted to put it down.

I liked Tracy’s character. She’s strong. And likable. I find that to be a difficult combination for female lead characters. But Mr. Dugoni makes it work with Tracy. I hope we get to see more of her in the future!

The writing was excellent. The plot line was exciting. I think I may have found a new-to-me must-read author! I don’t know why I’ve never read anything by Mr. Dugoni before, but I’m definitely not going to let him get past me any longer.

The flashbacks really helped us get to know Sarah. And in my opinion without knowing Sarah, we wouldn’t understand who Tracy is. I thought it all flowed seamlessly. Sometimes flashbacks don’t work for me, but it was very well executed in this book.

I went back and forth trying to figure out the truth behind everything. And in the end I didn’t have it right. But all the guessing and back and forth kept me reading and practically dying to know what happened! I love books that keep me guessing until the very end!

Overall I can’t recommend this book enough. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


unnamedAbout the Author: Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed and New York Times-bestselling author of the David Sloane series: The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder, and The ConvictionMurder One was a finalist for the Harper Lee Award for literary excellence. He is also the author of the bestselling standalone novel Damage Control, and the nonfiction work The Cyanide Canary.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Please be sure to check out the other stops on the tour:

Tuesday, November 4th: Crime Book Club

Tuesday, November 4th: Read Love Blog

Friday, November 7th: Not in Jersey

Monday, November 10th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Monday, November 10th: Psychotic State Book Reviews

Tuesday, November 11th: Mary’s Cup of Tea

Thursday, November 13th: Inside of a Dog

Thursday, November 13th: Lesa’s Book Critiques

Thursday, November 13th: Bibliotica

Monday, November 17th: Mystery Playground

Monday, November 17th: Red Headed Book Child

Tuesday, November 18th: Words by Webb

Wednesday, November 19th: Tales of a Book Addict

Friday, November 21st: Brooke Blogs

Monday, November 24th: A Bookworm’s World

Wednesday, November 26th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Date TBD: Simply Stacie

TBD: My Bookshelf

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2014.46 REVIEW – Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Dead to the World
by Charlaine Harris

Copyright: 2004
Pages: 291
Rating: 4/5
Read: Oct. 25 – Nov. 1, 2014
Challenge: RIP IX
Yearly count: 46
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #4

Dead to the WorldBlurb: It’s not every day that you come across a naked man on the side of the road. That’s why cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse doesn’t just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn’t a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It’s Eric the vampire – but now he’s a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life. Sookie’s investigation into who and why leads straight into a dangerous battle among witches, vampires, and werewolves. But a greater danger could be to Sookie’s heart – because this version of Eric is very difficult to resist…


Review: Paranormal is not normally my cup of tea, but for some reason I really enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse series. This book is another good installment, in my opinion.

What gets me every single time is just how much trouble Sookie manages to find herself in. And how she gets out of it is even more remarkable!

There’s not much that I could possibly say about this book that hasn’t been mentioned a gazillion times before.

I enjoyed it. And I would recommend this series to just about anyone.