Monday, March 18, 2019

The Beautiful Strangers
by Camille Di Maio

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:   1958. Kate Morgan, tethered to her family’s failing San Francisco restaurant, is looking for an escape. She gets her chance by honoring a cryptic plea from her grandfather: find the beautiful stranger. The search takes her to Hotel del Coronado, the beachfront landmark on the Southern California coast where filming is underway on the movie Some Like It Hot.

For a movie lover like Kate, it’s a fantasy come true. So is the offer of a position at the glamorous hotel. And a new romance is making her heart beat just as fast. But as sure as she is that the Coronado is her future, Kate discovers it’s also where the ghosts of the past have come to stay. Sixty years ago a guest died tragically, and she still haunts the hotel’s halls.

As the lives of two women—generations apart—intertwine, Kate’s courageous journey could change more than she ever imagined. And with the Coronado wending its way through her soul, she must follow her dreams…wherever they may lead.


Kritters Thoughts:  A book that takes you behind the scenes of filmmaking which has been done before, but this one feels unique and fresh.  Kate Morgan decides to take the biggest risk and leave her family in San Francisco to follow her grandfather's words to go find the beautiful stranger; these words take her to the Hotel del Coronado and in the middle of a film set.  

I will always love books that take you behind the scenes of any profession, but something gets me about reading about being on a film set.  Of course, a film set that has Marilyn Monroe on it makes it even more special and reading (yes fiction) about how she was on set and how the public and her cast and crew reacted to her was so fascinating.  It made it feel even more special that it was a famous actress that we were following behind the scenes.  

Kate Morgan was a great character and I loved reading through her point of view into this world that felt so big to her.  Of course the little romance storyline was sweet and a little extra to enjoy.  

I have read two out of four of Camille Di Maio's books and after reading this book, I want to move the other two up my TBR and get to them sooner rather than later.


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 14 out of 100



Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

It was a hard rough week all around, so one book was all I finished and I am just ok with this.

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Into the Night by Sarah Bailey

Currently Reading:
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Say You're Sorry by Karen Rose

Next on the TBR pile:
Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Woman in the Lake
by Nicola Cornick

Publisher: Graydon House
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  London, 1765

Lady Isabella Gerard, a respectable member of Georgian society, orders her maid to take her new golden gown and destroy it, its shimmering beauty tainted by the actions of her brutal husband the night before.

Three months later, Lord Gerard stands at the shoreline of the lake, looking down at a woman wearing the golden gown. As the body slowly rolls over to reveal her face, it’s clear this was not his intended victim…

250 Years Later…

When a gown she stole from a historic home as a child is mysteriously returned to Fenella Brightwell, it begins to possess her in exactly the same way that it did as a girl. Soon the fragile new life Fen has created for herself away from her abusive ex-husband is threatened at its foundations by the gown’s power over her until she can't tell what is real and what is imaginary.

As Fen uncovers more about the gown and Isabella’s story, she begins to see the parallels with her own life. When each piece of history is revealed, the gown—and its past—seems to possess her more and more, culminating in a dramatic revelation set to destroy her sanity.



Kritters Thoughts:  This was quite the gothic historical fiction with a hint of magic of sorts and I didn't completely love it.  

With a golden dress at the heart of the story and a prologue that sets the reader up for guessing, there were moments where I semi enjoyed the book and then moments where it just didn't completely work for me.  In the historical storyline there are two narrators, the lady of the house Lady Isabella Gerard and her maid Constance.  In the current storyline Fenella Brightwell takes the lead and I think it was her storyline that I liked less.  

Lady Isabella Gerard is in an abusive relationship and she decides to escape to the country to possibly change her situation for the better.  With her maid in tow, she goes to the country and oh the drama ensues.  I love a historical storyline where the woman is trying to better her situation and since it is in the past and all of her wealth and prestige is in the man she is marrying it makes it harder to make her life better - for some reason this is all interesting to me.  The use of the dress in this storyline was so interesting and I loved how it was more than just a dress, but had a purpose.

The thing that I didn't enjoy about the current situation was the magic behind the dress.  I felt as though it took on a life of its own and it just wasn't entertaining.  I felt as though it took away from the story and I could have liked the current storyline if the dress had just been a dress.  

If you are a reader of more gothic stories that you could like this one more than I did.  I wanted more from it in different places.  


Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Woman 99
by Greer Macallister

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Charlotte Smith's future is planned to the last detail, and so was her sister's - until Phoebe became a disruption. When their parents commit Phoebe to a notorious asylum, Charlotte knows there's more to the story than madness. Shedding her identity to become an anonymous inmate, "Woman Ninety-Nine," Charlotte uncovers dangerous secrets. Insanity isn't the only reason her fellow inmates were put away - and those in power will do anything to keep the truth, or Charlotte, from getting out. 


Kritters Thoughts:  Charlotte Smith decides to get herself admitted to an asylum so she can free the older sister that stood up for her throughout her life and quite possibly could be there because of Charlotte's own doings.  With an unfiltered view of an asylum of the time, this book had a few difficult parts that made me thank goodness for the time and place that I live in!

I love when a historical fiction book makes me do some looking to find out where the truth and the fiction are.  I was so intrigued by this asylum's make up and the different wards and how things were organized, I truly wondered if such a place existed and how a doctor came to decide to organize these women this way.

The main character in this book mentions Nellie Bly a few times and this has prompted me to want to do some research and read a few books about her, have any of you read anything that centers around Nellie Bly and her story?  I am inspired to go pick up something fiction or non fiction to get a little more of Nellie Bly's story.

In the end, I enjoyed this book, but didn't love it as much as some other historical fictions reads that I have read recently.


Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 13 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Beyond the Garden
by Ashley Farley

Publisher: Kindle Press
Pages: 236
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  All is right in Ellie Pringle Hagood’s world. Recently married to the man of her dreams and in anticipation of the big family she’s always wanted, she focuses on restoring the large home she inherited from her grandmother on Charleston’s prestigious Battery. Abbott, the father she adores, lives just down the street from her. She treasures her beloved housekeeper, Maddie, who offers wise counsel and loving support, and is the closest thing to a mother she’s ever known. Two days a week, she volunteers for an art program she piloted at an elementary school. But then, in the midst of all her happiness, comes news that throws Ellie’s life into a tailspin. Her brother-in-law has been murdered in Key West, and her sister, Lia, is wanted for questioning in the investigation. No one in Ellie’s family has seen or heard from Lia in the seven months since she disappeared and left her twin three-year-old daughters in Ellie and Julian’s care. The newlyweds, with several questions nagging at them, fly off to Key West in search of the missing sister. Where is Lia? How is she connected to her husband’s murder? What will become of her twin daughters? The two are only at the beginning of their quest for answers and solutions, and the path they take turns out to be far more torturous and complicated than expected.


Kritters Thoughts:  Ellie Pringle is back and if you haven't read book one, I would hesitate reading further as I am going to completely spoil some of the plot of book one in my review of book two!

Ok, you have been warned.

Ellie Pringle is back and married and housing her long lost sister's twin daughters.  In the beginning of this book her life is in a pretty good spot, but of course in a fiction book, life can't stay all sunshine and rainbows for long!  Quite a few things go wrong and there are a few storylines going on at the same time in this book, they are very different storylines so easy to keep them straight, but this book had quite a bit jammed into few pages.  

The storyline that I loved the most was watching Ellie piece together a new kind of family.  With the help that is hired in her home, to the girls that she "collects" she is able to create a new family that works just right for her and her husband.  I loved that it was so far from conventional but seemed just so right for her.  

After finishing this book, I was ready for another book with Ellie and the antics that are her life.  I hope there is more after this one, maybe a time jump that centers around Lia's twins and maybe the good and evil twin storyline can be repeated in an interesting way . .

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 11 out of 100



Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Magnolia Nights
by Ashley Farley

Publisher: Kindle Press
Pages: 294
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Ellie Pringle has spent endless hours and countless dollars working with a therapist to remember the lost years of her childhood. She’s baffled and more than a little intrigued when the grandmother she hasn’t seen in thirty-four years dies and leaves her a fortune. The time has come to face her past in person. Still reeling from a recent breakup of a long-term relationship, and with nothing to keep her in San Francisco, Ellie packs her meager belongings and boards a plane for the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Standing in the entryway of her grandmother’s antebellum home on South Battery Street in Charleston, Ellie faces the first of many ghosts who will soon haunt her. On her first night in the creepy, creaking mansion, as she’s perusing the titles in a dusty bookcase, she comes across her deceased mother’s leather-bound journal. Her mother’s words create more unanswered questions and send her on a quest to find more journals. As Hurricane Lorene bears down on the South Carolina coast, Ellie encounters Julian Hagood, a handsome architect who has the talent to restore her dilapidated mansion and the charm to mend her broken heart. But as Ellie reads her mother’s diaries, they dislodge a stone in the wall that safeguards her memories, causing her world to come crumbling down. Revelations about her childhood lead Ellie on a harrowing journey of discovery that will hold readers spellbound until the dramatic conclusion.


Kritters Thoughts:  Ellie Pringle has been left a house in Charleston by a grandmother who she hasn't spoken to in years.  By returning to that house she is going to end up bringing back memories of her past and just may learn about her and her family things that she never knew.  But will she end up in a better place after making such a big change in her life?

From the start I loved Ellie.  She was such a great character and I was excited to go on this journey with her to find out the truth about her past and maybe to send her down a different future.  I loved how the truth came out in bits and pieces and how it felt really honest each time Ellie learned something new and her reactions were just spot on.  I of course don't want to say too much to spoil the plot points of the book, but there were quite a few times where I just couldn't believe what she had gone through and what she had mentally blocked from her past.  

This book set up for the second one in just the right way that I immediately wanted to read it and find out what was going to happen next.  I love it when after the first book in the series, I want to immediately grab the second and not take any sort of breather in between.  Tomorrow I will review the second in the series.  



Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 9 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Last weekend ended up being extra busy, so I didn't get to post this, so this is two weeks worth of reading.  

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Goodbye Cafe by Mariah Stewart
Woman 99 by Greer Macallister
The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio
The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner
In the Blink of an Eye by Jesse Blackadder
The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

Currently Reading:
Say You're Sorry by Karen Rose

Next on the TBR pile:
Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly
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