Jan 272015

My goal for 2015 was to read 140 books. That’s about two books a week or so. That’s about on par of what I typically read. Some of these books I read in December but a few are from this month so I am already on track with my goal!

I read a lot of fiction. Mystery and thriller type books are my favorite genre for sure. As a teen I could not get enough of the horror books. I also like nonfiction, too, despite the majority of the books I post about being mysteries. I have a few nonfiction books on my “to read” list and will be reading those next.

Here are a few of my favorites in the last month or two:

1. Abandon by Blake Crouch

This is the same author that wrote the Wayward Pines trilogy (which was REALLY good if you’re looking for an intriguing series to check out), which will soon be a TV show. I really enjoyed that series and wanted to read more by this author. I had the opportunity to read this particular book for free through Amazon Prime.

I LOVE this type of book…I don’t even know how to categorize it–mystery? Horror? Adventure with some paranormal aspects to it? It reminded me a bit of one of my favorite books–Thunderhead. In Abandon, a group of people get a special permit to visit an abandoned mining town high up in the mountains in Colorado that is near impossible to get to. It’s a professor, a journalist, two paranormal scientists and their guides. They traverse difficult landscapes on llamas to get to this town that was abandoned mysteriously over 100 years ago. Then everything goes wrong, of course. The book is told in both flashbacks to the 1800’s townspeople and the current day group trying to explore the town. There were some really gripping, exciting, horrifying elements to this book and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The ending was a little weak, I felt like maybe the author didn’t know how to finish it–but that didn’t ruin the rest of the book for me.


2. Run by Blake Crouch

Another free read from Amazon Prime for me. I read it right after Abandon because I just wanted to read more from this author! Where do I start? This book was a wild ride from beginning to end. Heart pumping action.

I would describe this book as a combination of The Road and how I imagine The Walking Dead to start–the downfall, essentially. No, this isn’t a zombie book, but it’s a book about society completely breaking down and what one family does to survive. I love survival type stories like this. I constantly think, what would I do in this situation? And I also constantly remind myself that I need to take some basic survival classes! lol

The “cause” of this downfall was unique and fascinating and I bought it. The character’s fear felt real. The panic and desperation jumped off the pages. It was a great book. My one complaint is that the book starts in the “future” (or present day) with an unknown character and then the end of the book goes back to that time period and character (revealing who it really is) but by the end of the book I had completely forgotten that first chapter and how the book started and was so wrapped up in the survival story I was confused. Then I remembered. The ending fits but it was abrupt.

This book was amazing. I was impressed beginning to end and felt like it was a solid book–and would be a great movie.

0285 Crouch_RUN_10

3. Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

The last book in this series! I hope he’s writing more because I love the characters. This book takes place in more recent times, while the earlier books in the series took place in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The main characters have grown up a lot and their lives have changed drastically.

The story brings back a character from an earlier book, Amanda McCready (the 4 year old girl that was kidnapped) but now she’s 17 years old and missing again. I LOVED the ending. It was so good and things wrapped up nicely. The sad part? It kind of felt like the end, too. I don’t know that there will be any more books in this series. It felt like a firm ending…

4. Ice Limit by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I’ve been a huge fan of these authors for a long time. But apparently I missed a bunch of their books! It was before I religiously used Goodreads and kept track of what I read so I bypassed several of their novels thinking I’d already read them but I hadn’t. This was one of them. It was a page-turner! Suspense from beginning to end. The story was an adventure story–kind of a cross between Indiana Jones and a book about explorers to a new land. I haven’t read many maritime adventure/survival stories and this was a great one that made me want to read more in this genre. I liked the characters, I was excited to finish the book and wanted to read more.

5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I didn’t really know what to expect with this book and had little knowledge of what it was about. At first it feels like chick lit; the story of several middle aged women who are friends because their kids are in the same kindergarten class. But as the story unfolds you realize it’s so much more. The way the author told the story was fantastic. The layers peeled back bit by bit and you suddenly realize there was so much more going on in the story. On the surface you think the book is about childhood bullying. At one point another mother starts a petition to get rid of one 5 year old who was deemed the bully of her kid. Reading this you get angry at this woman and angry at how the lemmings surrounding her follow suit. You realize that even as adults, you never really escape that snobby clique-y world that is school…The end of the book was CRAZY. It was such a good read and it had me hooked. It ended exactly the way I would have wanted it to end. GREAT READ!!


6. Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta

This book makes my top 10 books this year for sure. From beginning to end this book was fantastic. It was an easy, fast read and I loved the characters. I wanted them all to win in the end. The bad guys were good bad guys and you hated them. The heroes of the story (and there were a few) were so well written and REAL. The story was fascinating, exciting, on the edge of your seat fun. LOVED THIS BOOK. Cannot recommend it enough!


7. Abandoned: A Thriller by Cody McFadyen

I picked this book up by random at the library and was happy I did! Although, I later discovered that this was book 4 of a series! Dammit! I hate when that happens. However, it works as a stand alone book and I never felt confused or like I missed out not having read the first three in the series (and will be reading the other books soon).  I started reading the book and when I thought maybe there were previous books I checked it out on Goodreads and sure enough, this was book 4 AND this book had a lot of mixed reviews. As I kept reading, however, I found that I really loved the characters and how they interacted with each other. The story was new and compelling. It felt original and it was exciting. It kept me guessing! I enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it to anyone looking for a thriller.


Do you have a reading goal for 2015? Have you read any good books lately?

Nov 042014

Okay, maybe not really beach reading but I did read some of these books on my honeymoon!

I also read the second Harry Potter book at the beach. I read the first one when the movie first came out and disliked it. It was too childish. I gave up on the series, never saw any of the other movies and then last winter Michael and I decided to have a Harry Potter marathon and I found myself really enjoying the films. I started to think, maybe I should give it another try. So many people had loved the series (but they also loved Twilight, which I hated…). I decided to try again. I was told the books got better and more adult as the series went on. I really, really liked the second book. It was a fast read. I think I read it in two beach days in Maui. The writing was still juvenile, obviously, but not as bad as the first one. I will be continuing with the series!


As you can see in the above photo my Kindle is underneath that brave bird that decided to try and eat my lunch (he failed). I have to say, taking my Kindle to Hawaii was fantastic! This was the first real vacation where I’d used it and it’s SO much better than lugging a suitcase full of books (last time we were in Hawaii I was working through the Game of Thrones series and had several of the books with me–that was heavy and a pain in the butt).

Now for a few other recommendations:

1. Remains of Innocence by JA Jance

What a great book! I’ve been a fan of the Joanna Brady series for years and this is the newest installment and one of the best ones yet. The book was gripping and I couldn’t put it down. There were actually two story lines through it and they eventually converged. I also liked the main character of the secondary story, Liza, and hope they figure out a way to work her into other books.

2. Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany

This book read like a memoir and reading through the interview with the author at the back of the book it was based on her own life and struggles with alcoholism so it kind of was…just turned into fiction. Because of that it often read like a memoir and that left me feeling a little disjointed with the character’s voice vs. the author’s voice. It felt like it was at battle at times.

Why I didn’t LOVE the book — the actual alcoholism part wasn’t really discussed much. There were a few chapters, a few paragraphs here and there where she described the alcoholism and what happened but I never felt like it was enough. Like she didn’t hit ROCK BOTTOM…There were glimpses of rock bottom but not much detail. I feel like the author could have developed this part of the story more instead of focusing so much on her relationship with the kid. The very long dialogues and interactions with the 5 year old kid felt a little boring to me. I wanted to read more about the fall and then the rise back up. Despite those minor annoyances, it was a pretty good book and I liked the author’s writing style and character development.

3. The Cold Dish: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

Loved it! Started reading the series after watching the TV show (which I also loved). Kind of wish I’d read the books first because some of the characters are not the same as the TV show and that made it a little confusing. Good story, great writing. Looking forward to the rest of the books.

4. O, Pioneers! by Willa Cather

I read this for my book club and really, really enjoyed it. I might not have picked it up on my own but I’m glad we chose this book. It was short and easy to read. I loved the characters and the stories inner-twining. For such a short book the character and plot development was magnificent!

5. Ancient Enemy by Mark Lukens

What a great book!! It was definitely not what I was expecting. I bought it because I’ve been fascinated with the Anasazi lore forever and this was a new and interesting (and very believable) twist on the old theories…with some horror added to it! Great read!


4. Death Without Company: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

Another great Longmire mystery! Loving this series!

5. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

This book was perfect — from beginning to end, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was brilliant. The twist that reveals itself fairly early on in the book is amazing. Seriously, just so cool and it made the “traditional” survival book so unique. I LOVED this book and cannot recommend it enough.

This is a zombie book but it’s SO different from all the rest that are flooding the market these days. It’s an interesting twist and I love who is telling the story.

6. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

I really enjoyed this book. I had no idea what it was going to be about really and as the story unfolded I was surprised by the big “event” and the ending left me feeling sad for the main characters but I still liked the story. It’s interesting reading a story like this from that time period. It tackled some really big issues–feminism, lesbianism, birth control, women’s right to vote, the list goes on and on.


As always, here is my GoodReads profile. Friend me and we can share book reads!