Monday, September 26, 2016

Review: The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza (audio)

Title: The Night Stalker
Author: Robert Bryndza
Series: DCI Erika Foster, #2
Narrator: Jan Cramer
Published: June 2016, Bookouture
Length: 9 hours 38 minutes
Source: Personal copy via Audible
 
If the Night Stalker is watching, you’re already dead…

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

The global bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice is back with a heart-racing, electrifying thriller. If you love Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, you’ll be hooked on Robert Bryndza.

My thoughts: This is the second book in Robert Bryndza's DCI Erika Foster series and I am really enjoying it...it's dark and twisted and  I am so glad that I found this author and series...it's quickly becoming a favorite of mine!

I just love DCI Erika Foster...she's abrasive, yet extremely loyal, willing to go as far as necessary to solve a case. Her and her team will do whatever it takes to get the bad guys and that is clearly evident in this book. Erika is certainly a force to be reckoned with and I just love that!!! She may not always see eye-to-eye with her bosses and her co-workers - those that are equal to her - but those that work for her know her dedication to the job and are usually willing to go to bat for her.

I really liked how this story was told. Very early on we are clued in to the inner thinkings of the killer, yet we do not find out their identity until later on. This was a neat twist and really keeps you on your toes, especially as clues are revealed as to who the identity is. 

I found myself completely hooked and invested in this story right from the beginning. It's another fast-paced, shocking thriller and even though this one takes place in the sweltering heat of the summer, it's still has that chilling factor to it that all good mysteries do. I cannot wait for the next book in this series to come out...I need me some more Erika Foster!!! 

Audio thoughts: I really think Jan Cramer does a great job narrating this series...it's one of the reasons I continued with the audio after listening to the first one. Her pacing is great and she manages to give each character their own unique voice, infusing just the right amount of emotion when needed. I hope she continues narrating this series for however long it lasts!!!


Books in this series:
  1. The Girl in the Ice
  2. The Night Stalker
  3. Dark Water - due out Oct 2016
 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

#FitReaders: Weekly Check September 23

 
 
This is a really crazy time at work and I am definitely feeling all types of stress...so, I put my training on hold until for the time being. The last thing I need is to wind up really sick - and I know me, I definitely will if I push myself to do it all. So, while I did manage to get in 2 really good training walks over the weekend, that was it. The rest of the week I barely made my 10K step count and I just have to be ok with that...luckily it's only this past week and this coming week (I hope!).

 
My September Goals:


  • 10K steps M-F, at least 7,500 steps on the weekend - 4/5 and 2/2!!!
  • 30 minutes of active walking every day, M-F - 5/5 - thank goodness for the dogs!!!
  • Eat mindfully/eat enough (esp. in important while training!) - Did ok, though I tend to be a stress-eater, so this was tough this week!
  
My training plan for the Challenge Walk MS I'll be doing in March of 2017:

  • Tuesday & Thursday: 4 miles - 0
  • Saturday & Sunday: Distance walks( distances will vary) - 2/2
  • Try to attend one yoga class a week - 0
 
    
Here's how my week went:     
Sep 17:  22,482 steps (8 miles at mall - 10K)
Sep 18:  17,831 steps (6.2 miles at mall - 10K
Sep 19:  13,462 steps
 
Sep 20:  10,141 steps

Sep 21:  9,487 steps

Sep 22:  10
,064 steps 
Sep 23: 
10,174 steps 
Total Steps: 93,641 steps
 
 
Audiobooks listened to this week (since I'm not much of a music fan, I listen to books while I walk): 

  • Finished The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg, narrated by David Thorn

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.



***In March of 2017, I'll be doing the CHALLENGE WALK MS in Savannah, GA. It is a three-day, 50-mile walk that tests your strength and your spirit, and makes an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with MS and their families.


To help me reach my fundraising goal, click here :)

 
Virtual 5K /10K Tally:
     January:                               May:                             September:   
           5K  -  3                                  5K  -  9                                 5K  -  4
         10K  -  0                                10K  -  2                               10K  -  4
     February:                             June:

           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  5
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -  5                  
     March:                                  July:
           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  3
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -  1
     April:                                    August:
           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  8
         10K  -  5                                 10K  -  1


Friday, September 23, 2016

#FRC2016 Book Spotlight: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (Plus link to Review!)



Title: Behind Closed Doors
Author: B.A. Paris
Published: August 2016, St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
My review
 
The 2016 debut bloggers can't stop raving about. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Ice Twins

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

What readers are saying:

“Debut-novelist Paris adroitly toggles between the recent past and the present in building the suspense of Grace’s increasingly unbearable situation, as time becomes critical and her possible solutions narrow. This is one readers won’t be able to put down.” ―Booklist 

“Making her smash debut, Paris [keeps] the suspense level high. In the same vein as Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, this is a can’t-put-down psychological thriller.” ―Library Journal 

“This debut is guaranteed to haunt you ― especially if you’re about to tie the knot. Paris’s thriller asks the question: ‘The perfect marriage or the perfect lie?’ Jack and Grace, the couple at the center of this totally enthralling novel, are so clearly not what they seem you’ll have no choice but to read and read and read until their darkest secrets are revealed. Warning: brace yourself.” ―Bustle (10 New Thrillers to Read This Summer)

“A gripping domestic thriller…the sense of believability and terror that engulfs Behind Closed Doors doesn't waver.” ―The Associated Press, picked up by The Washington Post

“Behind Closed Doors takes a classic tale to a whole new level…This was one of the best and [most] terrifying psychological thrillers I have ever read…each chapter brings you further in, to the point where you feel how Grace must feel. The desperation, the feeling that no one will believe you and yet still wanting to fight because someone you care deeply about will get hurt.” ―San Francisco Book Review

“Paris grabs the reader from the beginning with a powerful and electrifying tale. Behind Closed Doors, a novel sure to make one's skin crawl, also reveals no one truly knows what does go on behind closed doors.” ―New York Journal of Books

“Newlyweds Grace and Jack Angel seem to lead a perfect life in British author Paris’s gripping debut, but appearances can be deceiving...Grace’s terror is contagious, and Millie’s impending peril creates a ticking clock that propels this claustrophobic cat-and-mouse tale toward its grisly, gratifying conclusion.” ―Publishers Weekly


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Behind Closed Doors  by B.A. Paris is one of  BookSparks "Fall Reads" reading selection picks.

Follow the #FRC2016 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other fall books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #FRC2016 #Shelfie Grand Prize Giveaway and other fun links. 


*** You can find my review here...I really enjoyed this book! If you end up reading this one, do let me know...it's quite addicting ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: Triple Love Score by Brandi Megan Granett

Title: Triple Love Score
Author: Brandi Megan Granett
Published: September 2016, Wyatt-MacKensie Publishing
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Source: Author via the Publicist


What happens when you stop playing games?
 
Miranda Shane lives a quiet life among books and letters as a professor in a small upstate town. When the playing-by-the-rules poet throws out convention and begins to use a Scrabble board instead of paper to write, she sets off a chain of events that rattles her carefully planned world.  

Her awakening propels her to take risks and seize chances she previously let slip by, including a game-changing offer from the man she let slip away. But when the revelation of an affair with a graduate student threatens the new life Miranda created, she is forced to decide between love or poetry.

My thoughts: When I was approached by the publicist to read this book, I have to admit, the cover alone peaked my interest solely because of the Scrabble tiles...I am a huge Scrabble fan!!! In fact, that was one of the items on my bridal registry that my husband and I agreed on :) Though, sad to say, life has been so busy lately, that we have not had time to play any games lately. Anyway, back to the book - I agreed to read and am so glad I did, as it was more than just a sweet romance that involved Scrabble!

I loved the characters in this book. I felt they were so richly drawn and so real. Miranda felt like she could have been a friend or even a sister, she felt that real. There were traits about her that I could identify with and problems that we have all dealt with. And while there is the love triangle, it's more than that that she is dealing with. There is substance to it all. It shows that love isn't always a neat little package or one that follows a straight line...sometimes it's quite messy and that is something Miranda can definitely attest to.

The idea of Scrabble poetry was so cool and I loved seeing how Miranda would take what was happening and create her poems. I also loved that we actually get to see some of the poetry boards throughout the book - very neat to include them!!! I would love to know how Brandi came up with this idea - how very clever on her part, that's for sure!

Once I started reading this book, I had a hard time putting it down. I quickly became invested in the story and wanted to know what was going to happen with the love story and with Miranda's new business venture. I have a feeling that after reading this book, there might be a renewed interest in Scrabble games!!! I know I have the itch to start playing again...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey

Yesterday, Anne-Marie Casey's novel, The Real Liddy James came out...another book with a striking cover!!! I'll be reviewing this book in the coming weeks, but for now, please enjoy this spotlight and be sure to enter the giveaway below!!! 


Title: The Real Liddy James
Author: Anne-Marie Casey
Published: September 2016, G.P Putnam's Sons
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages


Forty-four, fit, and fabulous, Liddy James is one of New York’s top divorce attorneys, a bestselling author, and a mother of two. Armed with a ruthless reputation and a capsule wardrobe, she glides through the courtrooms and salons of the Manhattan elite with ease. What’s her secret? Liddy will tell you: “I don’t do guilt!”

This is the last thing literature professor Peter James wants to hear. Devastated by his divorce from Liddy six years earlier, the two have a tangled history his new partner, Rose, is only just sorting out. But Rose is a patient woman with faith in a well-timed miracle and she’s determined to be sympathetic to Peter’s plight. Together, Liddy, Peter, and Rose have formed a modern family to raise Liddy and Peter’s truculent teen and Liddy’s darling, if fatherless, six-year-old.

But when Rose announces she’s pregnant, Liddy’s nanny takes flight, the bill for a roof repair looms, and a high-profile divorce case becomes too personal, Liddy realizes her days as a guilt-free woman might be over. Following a catastrophic prime-time TV interview, she carts her sons back to Ireland to retrace their family’s history. But marooned in the Celtic countryside things are still far from simple, and Liddy will have to come to terms with much more than a stormy neighbor and an unorthodox wedding if she ever hopes to rediscover the real Liddy James.

Fun, fearless, and full of heart, The Real Liddy James takes a fresh look at the balancing act every family performs. With the deft characterization and sharp wit that made her first novel an international bestseller, Anne-Marie Casey invites us into the ambitions, passions, and misadventures of this extraordinary heroine.

Praise for The Real Liddy James

"Although there are plenty of other novels exploring the consequences of trying to have it all, Casey adds new perspective . . . Liddy’s family history in Ireland and her difficult relationship with her parents offer substance and true understanding to how she became the woman she is today. The language is smart and funny, and the observations are wry. Liddy will resonate for readers who love strong, mature women with a bit of Irish fire, as with fans of Cecelia Ahern and Marian Keyes and Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette." --Booklist

"Whip-smart and crackling with energy, The Real Liddy James had me stopping nearly every page to read paragraphs out loud to anyone who would listen. A true delight!" --Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author

“[The Real Liddy James] is an energetic novel; Liddy's self-deprecating humor makes for chuckles in even the toughest situations. And while Liddy is clearly the protagonist, other characters have interesting triumphs and tribulations as well. . . . Liddy is a memorable character who could easily appear again as The New and Improved Liddy James in Casey's next novel. Let's hope so.” --Kirkus Reviews

"Rife with drama both in and out of the courtroom, infidelity, and more, The Real Liddy James is perfect for fans of women’s fiction with a dose of travel and a strong—and sometimes flailing—female lead." --Library Journal

“Wonderfully funny, brilliantly observed and completely addictive!” --Rosamund Lupton, New York Times bestselling author of Sister and The Quality of Silence

"Original, sharp, funny and timely, The Real Liddy James is a spectacular novel from Anne-Marie Casey, who understands the high wire act every working mother attempts in the circus of life. Your ringside seat to Liddy's big adventure will fill you with joy and empathy as you root for this everywoman, who might as well be your best friend, as she navigates love, parenting, and work in times so demanding you wonder if Liddy will possibly survive them. A dazzling gem." --Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars in the Heavens

"Zippy, smart, well-written . . . The great feat of The Real Liddy James is how it manages to be both delicious escapism and refreshingly real. . . . It's a delight to read about Liddy's glossy but stressful work life, and by switching viewpoints--mainly to that of Rose--we get a sympathetic portrayal of the varied attitudes women can have to career, children, and each other." --The Times (UK)

"A wonderfully entertaining take on a modern woman's dilemma in the manic, sparkling world of Manhattan. Liddy James is a fresh, deeply sympathetic character who keeps her coolheaded yet messy life in check until inevitable disaster. Immensely readable, fast-paced, and full of Casey's charming yet acerbic wit, the book is thoroughly engaging all the way through." --Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack, bestselling authors of Freud's Mistress and Love and Longing in L.A.

"Energetic and immensely readable . . . Liddy is sure to resonate with readers who like no-nonsense, mature heroines with a bit of bite and a good deal of self-deprecating humour, and the lively pace will suit fans of Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern." --Sunday Independent (Ireland) 

"If you're a fan of The Good Wife and like your Maeve Binchy-esque midlife tomes with a cynical bite, you're in for an existential crisis treat." --Stellar magazine (UK)

“Breakneck and bursting at the seams with all of modern life’s great questions and challenges, The Real Liddy James made me wish my chair had a seatbelt. Anne-Marie Casey has a way of skewering city life with her acute observations.” --Alison Jean Lester, author of Lillian on Life

"A charming and insightful study of one fabulous, forty-something woman." --Jules Moulin, author of Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes

"Smart, funny, and thought-provoking." --The Sunday Mirror (UK)


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Giveaway Details - (US only)
Thanks to the publicist, I have one copy of The Real Liddy James to give away to my readers. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the rafflecopter below by September 28th. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends September 28th.


Good Luck!!! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Spotlight: The Confectioner's Tale by Laura Madeleine

Today Laura Madeleine's debut novel, The Confectioner's Tale, comes out!!! I'm really excited about this book - plus isn't the cover just so stunning? I'll be reviewing this book in the coming weeks, but for now, please enjoy this spotlight on the book and do let me know if you plan on reading it :)

Title: The Confectioner's Tale
Author: Laura Madeleine
Published: September 2016, Thomas Dunne Books
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
 
What secrets are hiding in the heart of Paris?

At the famous Patisserie Clermont in Paris, 1909, a chance encounter with the owner's daughter has given one young man a glimpse into a life he never knew existed: of sweet cream and melted chocolate, golden caramel and powdered sugar, of pastry light as air.

But it is not just the art of confectionery that holds him captive, and soon a forbidden love affair begins.

Almost eighty years later, an academic discovers a hidden photograph of her grandfather as a young man with two people she has never seen before. Scrawled on the back of the picture are the words 'Forgive me'. Unable to resist the mystery behind it, she begins to unravel the story of two star-crossed lovers and one irrevocable betrayal.

Take a moment to savour an evocative, bittersweet love story that echoes through the decades – perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Victoria Hislop.

Praise for The Confectioner's Tale

“Delightful, delicious and so typically French sweet and salty: this debut is a must read for every reading gourmet and for any Paris-Lover. Tasteful, joyful, Parisian – je l’aime.”―Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop

“In her fast-paced, deliciously addictive debut novel, Laura Madeleine throws the reader directly into 1910 Paris. You can feel the grittiness of Montmartre, see the Left Bank streets, and smell the sugar in the patisseries. Featuring romance, family secrets, and a well-executed dual narrative, The Confectioner’s Tale is as transportive a book as you can read.” ―Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment and I'll See You in Paris


"A great tale of mystery, artistry, history, and a little romance."―Library Journal

"Madeleine skillfully weaves both narratives together, contrasting the sights, smells, and sounds of belle epoque Paris with modern London. Madeleine's extensive research is evident, giving the passionate and thrilling story a solid base in reality. Fans of Alex Rosenberg and Naomi Wood will enjoy this glimpse inside the decadent and sensual world of 1910s Paris." --Booklist

“Mouth-watering and mysterious... a compelling read.” ―Leah Fleming, bestselling author of The Postcard

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About the author:
After a childhood spent acting professionally and training at a theatre school, Laura Madeleine changed her mind, and went to study English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge. She now writes fiction, as well as recipes, and was formerly the resident cake baker for Domestic Sluttery. She lives in Bristol, but can often be found visiting her family in Devon, eating cheese and getting up to mischief with her sister, fantasy author Lucy Hounsom.


Author Links:
Website | Twitter




Sunday, September 18, 2016

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in September 16

 
 
 
This week, of course, things didn't quite go according to plan...I ended up with some crazy stomach bug so I didn't quite get in a full week of training. But, the good news is that I'm finally feeling like myself again! Hopefully this coming week I can get in a full week of training - I just want to see how my training plan fits into my schedule.  I did go out last week and buy new sneakers - and what a difference they are making! No more sore knees or hips :) Now I just have to remember to buy another new pair about 6 weeks before the walk so I have time to break them in and I'll be good to go!

My September Goals:

  • 10K steps M-F, at least 7,500 steps on the weekend - Nailed it!!!
  • 30 minutes of active walking every day, M-F - 5/5
  • Eat mindfully/eat enough (esp. in important while training!) - Ended up with a stomach bug this week, which derailed not only my eating but also part of my training :(
 My training plan for the Challenge Walk MS I'll be doing in March of 2017:
  • Tuesday & Thursday: 4 miles - 1/2
  • Saturday & Sunday: Distance walks( distances will vary) - 1/2
  • Try to attend one yoga class a week - 0
 
    
Here's how my week went:     
Sep 10:  15,932 steps (4 miles on treadmill - 5K)
Sep 11:  11,459 steps
Sep 12:  10,584 steps
(30 minute fitness walk)
Sep 13:  17,883 steps (4 miles on treadmill - 5K)

Sep 14:  10,050 steps (30 minute fitness walk)

Sep 15:  10
,490 steps (30 minute fitness walk)
Sep 16: 
11,053 steps (30 minute fitness walk) 
Total Steps: 87,451 steps
 
 
Audiobooks listened to this week: 

  • Started and Finished Missing Pieces  by Heather Gudenkauf, narrated by Christina Traister
  • Started The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg, narrated by David Thorn

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.



***In March of 2017, I'll be doing the CHALLENGE WALK MS in Savannah, GA. It is a three-day, 50-mile walk that tests your strength and your spirit, and makes an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with MS and their families.

To help me reach my fundraising goal, click here :)

 
Virtual 5K /10K Tally:
     January:                               May:                             September:   
           5K  -  3                                  5K  -  9                                 5K  -  4
         10K  -  0                                10K  -  2                               10K  -  2
     February:                             June:

           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  5
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -  5                  
     March:                                  July:
           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  3
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -  1
     April:                                    August:
           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  8
         10K  -  5                                 10K  -  1


 

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