I won something :)

Woo-hoo! I won these three books from the Read It Forward crew! I’m so excited, I never win anything, ha! More great historical fiction to dig into 🙂 They all three release in January and I’ve already seen some buzz about them, so I’m thrilled to have been a lucky recipient of this giveaway!

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Dec. 2017 What Should I Read Next Results

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Last week I posted a poll for my readers to choose my next read. I was feeling a historical fiction and selected The Empty Glass, The Yard, and Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

So per the rules of the event, I am here today to announce the winner of last week’s poll and the book that I am starting next!

Mr Churchill's Secretary

This one took an early lead and never relinquished the lead (I checked my responses obsessively, ha!) Even though I was looking forward to any of the three selections to win, I’m over the moon that this one pulled through!

I can’t wait to dig in 🙂  I hope you chose a winner for me!!

And I hope you’ll return for my review!!

Review: Oath of Office by Michael Palmer

Oath of Office
by Michael Palmer

Oath of Office

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 464

Read: Dec. 2 –8, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchased used

 

 

Blurb: In a suburb of Washington, DC, Dr. John Meecham goes on a shooting spree in his office, killing his associate, staff, and two patients before killing himself.

On a quiet country road, a housewife finds herself compelled to drive recklessly, nearly killing herself and her passenger.

In a quaint restaurant, a kitchen worker wields his knife, unable to stop himself from almost severing his hand.

What is the connection? How can Dr. Lou Welcome clear his friend Meecham’s name? And what is the unspeakable conspiracy that leads all the way to the White House?


Review: I’ve had this one on my shelf for quiet some time, but had been putting it off for whatever reason. Well, to be honest … it’s probably because I’m not usually a fan of medical thrillers. I figured it was time to get to it or get rid of it. (Remember, my shelves are at critical levels….)

So this one started out with a bang for me. I read the first couple hundred pages rather quickly. And then the book started to take a more scientific route and I kind of ran out of steam. I can handle medical storylines, but you really start to lose me with science.

Overall this book was a decent read for me, but not necessarily a favorite. It was interesting enough, and the storyline itself was quite believable. I look forward to reading more of Michael Palmer’s medical thrillers in the future.

Book Blast: A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow

A Mother’s Lie

by Jo Crow

Book Blast on December 5, 2017

Synopsis:

A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow

When her child’s life is at stake, a mother will do anything to save him.

Clara McNair is running out of time to save her son, James. When the two-year-old is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, only an experimental treatment can save his life. She desperately needs money to pay for the surgery, but she’ll have to travel back to the site of her darkest memories to get it.

Clara has escaped the demons of her youth—or so she thinks. It’s been ten years since the mysterious disappearance of her parents. Widely suspected of murdering her mother and father, Clara fled west to start a new life. Now, a documentary film crew is offering cold, hard cash—enough to pay for James’s treatment—in exchange for the sordid secrets of her past.

With no other choice but to delve into a long-ago tragedy, Clara must unravel the lies surrounding that terrible night. Facing hostile gossip, Clara is fighting to clear her name and learn the truth about what really happened. But how far will she go into the dark to save her son—and herself?

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published by: Relay Publishing

Publication Date: November 29th 2017

Number of Pages: 310

ISBN: 978-1979295420

Purchase Links: Goodreads đź”—

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Dense red clay was pushing between the teeth. Pond mist drifted across the manicured lawns, wisping through the dark eye sockets. Parts of the cranium were shaded a vile yellow-brown where decomposing leaves clung to its surface like bile expressed from a liver. The jawbone was separated from the skull, its curved row of teeth pointing skyward to greet the rising sun.

Two feet away, closer to the oak tree, other bones were piled haphazardly: a pelvis, high iliac crests and subpubic angle. A femur, caked with dirt, jammed into his empty skull. Sunlight decorated the brittle bones in long, lazy strips and darkened hairline fractures till they blended with the shed behind them.

It was peaceful here, mostly. The pond no longer bubbled, its aerator decayed by time; weed-clogged flowerbeds no longer bloomed—hands that once worked the land long ago dismissed. Fog blanketed the area, as if drawn by silence. Once, a startled shriek woke the morning doves and set them all into flight.

It was the first time in ten years the mammoth magnificence of the Blue Ridge Mountains had scrutinized these bones; the first song in a decade the morning doves chorused to them from their high perch.

A clatter split apart the dawn; the skull toppled over as it was struck with another bone.

In a clearing, tucked safely behind the McNair estate, someone was whistling as they worked at the earth. The notes were disjointed and haphazard, like they were an afterthought. They pierced the stillness and, overhead, one of the morning doves spooked and took flight, rustling leaves as it rose through the mist.

A shovel struck the wet ground, digging up clay and mulch, tossing it onto the growing mound to their left. The whistling stopped, mid note, and a contemplative hum took its place.

Light glinted on the silvery band in the exposed clay—the digger pocketed it—the shovel struck the ground again; this time, it clinked as it hit something solid.

Bone.

A hand dusted off decayed vegetative matter and wrested the bone from its tomb. Launching it into the air, it flew in a smooth arc, and crashed into the skull like a bowling pin, scattering the remains across the grass. With a grunt of satisfaction, the digger rose and started to refill the hole from the clay mound.

When it was filled and smoothed, and the sod was replaced over the disrupted ground, the digger lifted the shovel and strolled into the woods, one hand tucked in a pocket as they whistled a cheery tune lost to the morning fog.

***

Excerpt from A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow. Copyright © 2017 by Jo Crow. Reproduced with permission from Jo Crow. All rights reserved.

More About Jo Crow:

Jo Crow

Jo Crow gave ten years of her life to the corporate world of finance, rising to be one of the youngest VPs around. She carved writing time into her commute to the city, but never shared her stories, assuming they were too dark for any publishing house. But when a nosy publishing exec read the initial pages of her latest story over her shoulder, his albeit unsolicited advice made her think twice.

A month later, she took the leap, quit her job, and sat down for weeks with pen to paper. The words for her first manuscript just flew from her. Now she spends her days reading and writing, dreaming up new ideas for domestic noir fans, and drawing from her own experiences in the cut-throat commercial sector.

Not one to look back, Jo is all in, and can’t wait for her next book to begin.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Facebook đź”—!

Tour Participants:

Click here to view the A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow Participants

Giveaway:

 

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jo Crow. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card AND 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow. The giveaway begins on December 5 and runs through December 11, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

What Should I Read Next? – Dec. edition

Ok, so I’m trying something new this month. I actually just spotted this over on Musings of a Bookish Kitty’s site this morning. I’ve seen her do this in the past, but I never took the time to actually follow back to the original owner and figure it all out. Today I decided to do just that. And here I am, ready to participate!

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So the basics of this is to post three TBR books along with a poll for you guys to decide for me which book to read next! And then post the review by the end of the month. Easy peasy, right?! I’m looking forward to giving it a shot! I’ve really been feeling a historical fiction lately …. so here’s what I’ve got for you today:

The Empty GlassThe Empty Glass by J.I. Baker
Published July 19, 2012
336 
pages — not going to lie, I’m a Kennedy junkie, and that extends to Ms. Monroe also, so I picked this book up based on that alone. 

In the early-morning hours of August 5, 1962, Los Angeles County deputy coroner Ben Fitzgerald arrives at the home of the world’s most famous movie star, now lying dead in her bedroom. There he discovers The Book of Secrets—Marilyn Monroe’s diary—revealing a doomed love affair with a man she refers to only as “The General.” In the following days, Ben unravels a cover-up that implicates the Kennedys, the Mafia, and the CIA. Soon the sinister and surreal accounts recorded in The Book bleed into Ben’s own life, and he finds himself trapped—like Monroe—in a deepening paranoid conspiracy. A knockout combination of fact and legend, The Empty Glass is a riveting debut thriller.


The YardThe Yard by Alex Grecian (Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad #1)
Published January 1, 2012
422 pages — 
this was an impulse order off of Paperbackswap earlier this year … but it sounds really intriguing! 

Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only twelve detectives—known as “The Murder Squad”—to investigate countless murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own . . . one of the twelve . . .When Walter Day, the squad’s newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley. Together they track the killer, who clearly is not finished with The Murder Squad . . . but why?

Filled with fascinating period detail, and real historical figures, this spectacular debut in a new series showcases the depravity of late Victorian London, the advent of criminology, and introduces a stunning new cast of characters sure to appeal to fans of The Sherlockian and The Alienist.


Mr Churchill's SecretaryMr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (Maggie Hope #1)
Published January 1, 2012
358 pages — 
I am probably the last person on the planet to have read this book …. but it sounds really good!

London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.

In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character,  Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel.


Can I just say real quick that when I went through and picked these off my shelf, I had no idea they were all published in 2012? Strange coincidence! Anyhow …. here’s the poll:

Review: The Undertaker’s Daughter by Sara Blaedel

The Undertaker’s Daughter
by Sara Blaedel

The Undertaker's Daughter

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 320

Read: Nov. 26 –28, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: NetGalley

 

 

Blurb: Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen.  Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: her father–who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on Ilka and her mother more than three decades ago–has died.  And he’s left Ilka something in his will: his funeral home.  In Racine, Wisconsin.

Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn’t heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin.  Desperately hoping to gain some insight into her father’s life, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father’s things before preparing the business for a quick sale.

But shortly after her arrival, one of the bodies in the morgue is vandalized. The dead man, Mike, was suspected of killing his girlfriend in high school, but disappeared from Racine and was never seen again–until recently. Disturbed by the attack, Ilka resolves to find out what really happened all those years ago….


Review: I hadn’t signed on to my NetGalley account in probably more than a year … I’m not exactly sure what made me log in randomly one day last week, but I figured why not? I browsed around a little bit and checked out my auto-approved options … this book was one of those. So I figured I’d give it a shot – the blurb appealed to me almost immediately. Plus I have a friend who lives like 30 minutes from Racine, so I thought it would be interesting to read a book set there!

So what was my opinion? This book was extremely easy for me to read. I flew through it in 2 days flat. But …. it wasn’t necessarily compelling I suppose you could say. I think I was expecting this to be more mystery/thriller than this ended up being. I expected Ilka to follow through on the “find out what really happened” part mentioned in the blurb. That whole aspect of the book seemed to take more of a backseat. Yes, we did “find out what really happened” but it was not because Ilka solved the case – like I was sort of expecting.

I enjoyed Ilka’s character to a certain extent. I didn’t care for her very relaxed opinion towards sex at all. And I didn’t find it very believable that someone who had been a school photographer back home could suddenly start dealing with dead bodies (some in pretty nasty shape) with little to no problem. I did appreciate her drive and resolve to turn her father’s funeral home around. But honestly, she’s still sort of an enigma to me. The character development was a little bit all over the place. Every character had their quirks that were discussed at some point, but I never really felt like I got to know any of them. They were all still shrouded in mystery…. maybe that was supposed to be the draw of this series?

I’m not exactly sure what more to say. It really wasn’t a bad book … it just wasn’t what I expected it to be. I needed just a little bit more mystery in this book. And more character development. Plus … it ended in a cliffhanger – just, no! A huge pet peeve. I’m not sure I’ll read more in this series as it is released, but I do look forward to trying out Ms. Blaedel’s Louise Rick series in the future.

Thinking Ahead….

…. to 2018! It seems insane to think that 2018 is so close, but it’s definitely right around the corner! Scary!

So I’ve been thinking more and more where I’d like to go with my reading in 2018. 2017 has been a great year for my reading in terms of quantity. I’ve read more this year than I have in the last few years. That’s great, I’m happy to see my numbers go up. As far as quality … I definitely read more than a few home runs … but also a great deal of duds! Can’t all be winners I guess…

So what do I want to focus on in 2018? Hm.

(1) – I need to rein in the book buying. I don’t spend a whole lot of money on books (I utilize the used book store/goodwill/library book sales a lot). But when I buy books, I buy like 10-15 at a time. Ugh! That needs to stop. I say this every year and I doubt it will stop …. but I feel like I need to reiterate it. Maybe one day it will stick?

(2) – Clear off my shelves. Really focus on getting some of those older books moved. Get them read or get them out. At this point my shelf space is at critical level. I’ve rearranged so many times and I still do not have room for everything. And to be honest, I could seriously not buy a single book for the next 4 years before I ran out of something to read. Oops?

(3) – Goodreads groups/challenges. So I am still in love with my Goodreads challenges. I’m not going to stop participating over there. However, I want to take a break from group challenges. I had a slight run-in with a group member that left a bad taste in my mouth and left me not contributing to the point total that week. I’m being vague because I don’t really want to complain too much, but it made me realize that I definitely do better on individual challenges. Besides … I’m really feeling the burnout on not knowing what book I’m going to be able to read until the callout happens. It’s taken away a lot of my reading spontaneity and I’m wanting that back.

(4) – Continue to work on backlists, but also get some new releases in there. 2017 really saw me focus on backlists. But it also made me realize that I need more new releases as well. I need to find a better balance …. maybe for every 3 backlist titles, read 1 new(ish) release?

(5) – I have been a member of Book of the Month for over a year now and I have only read 2 of the books I’ve gotten from there. Oops? So I need to work on getting those books read. I would like to try to read one book every month from BOTM. This can go hand-in-hand with my desire to read more new releases.

So those are my “goals” for 2018. Who knows how they’ll go, ha! The main point is to read and enjoy what I’m reading 🙂

How about you? Do you have any reading goals for next year?