Tuesday, September 1, 2015


My birthday month and anniversary month so two reasons for a cupcake and celebration!  We had more baseball games this month and work was again a little crazy, but reading at the gym and on a few quiet nights helped!

1.  The Best of Enemies by Jen Lancaster
2. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
3. Baker's Blues by Judith Ryan Hendricks
4. The Uninvited by Cat Winters
5. The Invisibles by Cecilia Galante
6. Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah
7. The Legacy of Us by Kristin Contino
8. The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton
9. Thrill Me by Susan Mallery
10.  The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff
11. My Townie Heart by Diana Sperrazza
12. A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
13. Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr
14. Just the Facts by Ellen Sherman
15. Summer at Hideaway Key by Barbara Davis
16. The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland
17. White Dresses by Mary Pflum Peterson
18. Star Craving Mad by Elise A Miller

Total pages read, clicked, and flipped: 6,193

Where Have I Been Reading?:
Chicago, IL 
Cleveland, OH
Los Angeles, CA (2)
Illinois
Pennsylvania
England
Philadelphia, PA (2)
California
Massachusetts
New Jersey
Oregon
Annapolis, MD
Indiana
Florida
New York City


Monday, August 31, 2015

Star Craving Mad
by Elise A Miller

Publisher: Warner Books
Pages: 246
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Single, adorable Maddy, a 30-year-old teacher at a Manhattan private school, must come back down to earth when she gets a little star struck by her students' celebrity parents.


Kritters Thoughts:  A teacher who is feeling extra single and is surrounded by celebrity things that she admires and she gets all mixed up in things that she probably should have steered away from!

I just didn't love Maddy, she was frustrating.  I didn't love how she was acting at 30 and as I am not far from her age, I just couldn't get on her page.  

The one part that kept me going were her students.  The classroom just made for great reading, I loved her students and the teachers (the principal, ehhh).  I loved how her writing was inspired by her students and I would have loved more of this.

I don't always love books, but to keep this blog real I want to share them alongside the ones that I adore.  Even though I didn't love this one, I would still read another by this author, I always give an author a few books before I write them off.  


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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from BookSparks PR.  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, August 30, 2015

This is two weeks worth of reading.  Last weekend was crazy with my sister spending some time over the weekend and getting a little rest and relaxation at my house with my zoo!  With a lot of baseball games, I had to fit reading in to any free moment!

A
 meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Thrill Me by Susan Mallery
The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff
My Townie Heart by Diana Sperrazza
The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland
A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr
Just the Facts by Ellen Sherman
Summer at Hideaway Key by Barbara Davis
White Dresses by Mary Pflum Peterson
Star Craving Mad by Elise A Miller

Currently Reading:
Again and Again by Ellen Bravo

Next on the TBR pile:
Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
Summer at Hideaway Key
by Barbara Davis

Publisher: NAL
Pages: 416
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  
Pragmatic, independent Lily St. Claire has never been a beachgoer. But when her late father leaves her a small house on Hideaway Key—one neither her mother nor she knew he owned—she’s determined to visit the sleepy spit of land along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Expecting a quaint cottage, Lily instead finds a bungalow with peeling shutters and mountains of memorabilia. She also catches a glimpse of the architect who lives down the beach….

But it’s the carton of old journals in the front room that she finds most intriguing. The journals were written by her mother’s sister, an infamous beauty whose name has long been banned from the St. Claire home. The journals tell a family tale Lily has never heard, of her mother and her aunt as young girls in Tennessee and the secrets that followed them into adulthood. As she reads, Lily gains a new understanding: about her family and about herself. And she begins to open her heart—to this place, these people, and the man next door. But can she ever truly learn to trust, to believe that love is not a trap but a harbor? And is it true that hearts, even broken ones, can be forged anew?

Kritters Thoughts:  A combo of mystery (not murder mystery!) and family drama with a little historical fiction thrown it made this book one that I literally read in 12 hours!  Lily St Claire was named after an aunt that she never met and she really didn't know why her mother never mentioned her and why they never saw her.  After her father dies and leaves her this mysterious beach cottage she comes to find out who her aunt really was and all the secrets in both her aunt's and mother's lives.  

I loved that Lily's aunt, Lily-Mae, had a voice through her journal entries and how they were seamlessly woven into the story as Lily discovered them.  They didn't just appear within the story and I appreciate the author taking the time to really make them work for the story.  

Throughout the story I had my thoughts of how the conclusion would go and in some thing I was right and in others I was wrong and I was completely satisfied with both!  I don't mind knowing the end if the journey is still satisfying.  

This is my second Barbara Davis read (also read The Secrets She Carried) and will definitely have to read The Wishing Tide soon!  I am adding Barbara Davis to my auto buy list and won't even need to know a synopsis!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from NAL.  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.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Just the Facts
by Ellen Sherman

Publisher: She Writes Press
Pages: 194
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When English major Nora Plowright finds herself staring at college graduation as if at the edge of a cliff, she decides to become a newspaper reporter—and right away, she manages to get a job at a local paper (which you could still do in 1978). Although fearful by nature, Nora pursues a tip from a stranger and soon is investigating corruption at the Maryland State Highway Authority regarding the controversial placement of a major freeway. The developing scandal, with its shady “players,” tests both her budding reportorial skills and her appetite for danger. Also, her passion for storytelling makes it increasingly difficult for her to stick to the facts.


Kritters Thoughts:  A young report straight out of college is at a small local newspaper reporting on the police blotter and obituaries when an interesting story falls in her lap and may have some major controversy behind it - a road project that could benefit some and harm others as well as the environment.  In the midst of her putting the pieces together for the story she is threatened by a few to stop her investigating and leave it all alone.

Nora was a great character to follow and I loved how "green" she was, but there were definitely some moments where I wanted to give her some self confidence and tell her to charge ahead and stop asking people's opinions!  I understood that she was feeling her newness, but I wanted her to get it together a little quicker.

The flow of the book was good, but not great.  I felt like it was a little jumpy at some moments and then at others it was reading so smoothly.  I feel like another editorial pass through could have helped this just a bit.

If you are a fan of books with a new graduate taking on their first job type books then this one is right up your alley.  


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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from BookSparks PR.  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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

White Dresses
by Mary Pflum Peterson

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  As a successful journalist at Good Morning America, Mary Pflum Peterson's persona is at odds with her complicated childhood, where she watched her brilliant yet emotionally vulnerable mother, Anne, unravel before her eyes. But their love of white dresses always united them—from their baptism dresses to their wedding gowns, white dresses embodied hope and new beginnings.

After her mother's sudden death, Mary dug deep to understand the events that led to Anne's breakdown. At twenty-one, Anne entered a convent, but lengthy periods of enforced fasting, isolation, and constant humiliation drove her to flee almost a decade later. Hoping to find new purpose as a wife and mother, she married, and was devastated when Mary's father revealed himself to be gay.

Anne retreated into chaos. By the time Mary was ten, their house was cluttered with broken appliances, stacks of mail, and teetering piles of assorted "treasures." But in spite of everything, their bond endured. Through the white dresses, pivotal events in their lives were celebrated, marking the journey through loss and redemption as Mary tried to save Anne from herself.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  A memoir that was unique from page one as the author told more of the story of her mother than of her own and I am used to memoirs being mostly about the author's own experiences.  The other thing that made this one unique that I did like was having a central theme to the book - White Dresses.  

I love how each story is centered around a white dress and made me realize how many white dresses can be present in a woman's life.  It challenged my view of how we visualize big moments and place white dresses in our lives.  I never realized how many moments in a girl's life not only were centered around clothing, but also contained a white dress.  I also loved that her mother although, yes a hoarder, placed a value on these dresses and the daughter could walk through both her and her mother's life through a closet of white dresses.    

I agree with the many reviews that I read after reading the book that it had a slow start, but stick with it and you will enjoy a mother/daughter relationship told in an interesting way.


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

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, August 27, 2015

Wildest Dreams
by Robyn Carr

Publisher: Mira
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Blake Smiley searched the country for just the right place to call home. The professional triathlete has traveled the world, but Thunder Point has what he needs to put down the roots he's never had. In the quiet coastal town he can focus on his training without distractions. Until he meets his new neighbors and everything changes. 

Lin Su Simmons and her teenage son, Charlie, are fixtures at Winnie Banks' house as Lin Su nurses Winnie through the realities of ALS. A single mother, Lin Su is proud of taking charge and never showing weakness. But she has her hands full coping with a job, debt and Charlie's health issues. And Charlie is asking questions about his family history—questions she doesn't want to answer.

When Charlie enlists Blake's help to escape his overprotective mother, Lin Su resents the interference in her life. But Blake is certain he can break through her barriers and be the man she and Charlie need. When faced with a terrible situation, Blake comes to the rescue, and Lin Su realizes he just might be the man of her dreams. Together, they recognize that family is who you choose it to be.
 



Kritters Thoughts:  Another episode in the Thunder Point saga and I didn't realize there was a hint in the last book that would lead us to the female lead in this book - Lin Su Simmons.  She moves to town to become a nurse for Winnie Banks who has ALS and knows that her health could deteriorate fast and needs help.  Lin Su has had an interesting childhood and even adulthood and is slow to trust and can't handle anyone else in control.  In walks a star athlete who also loves control and doesn't know that buying a home in Thunder Point will turn his world upside down.

Again another great solid romance from Robyn Carr.  This one moved at a much slower pace, but I loved it.  I loved how slow and steady this book went.  It felt right for these characters not to jump too soon.  Of course, the reader knows from the beginning who will most likely be our lovers in the book, but it isn't disappointing to know who because you don't know how or when.  

I think these books can be read on their own, but they are so much more when you read them in order so I suggest starting at the beginning, don't fret that this is book 9, they read fast!

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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Little Bird Publicity.  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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Window Opens
by Liz Egan

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Alice Pearse, a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social-media-obsessed, lean in (or opt out) age. 

Like her fictional forebears Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as “wearing many hats” and wishes you wouldn’t, either). She is a mostly-happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog-owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbor and a Zen commuter. She is not: a cook, a craftswoman, a decorator, an active PTA member, a natural caretaker or the breadwinner. But when her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in—and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up which promises to be the future of reading, with its chain of chic literary lounges and dedication to beloved classics. The Holy Grail of working mothers―an intellectually satisfying job and a happy personal life―seems suddenly within reach.

Despite the disapproval of her best friend, who owns the local bookstore, Alice is proud of her new “balancing act” (which is more like a three-ring circus) until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter gets fed up, her kids start to grow up and her work takes an unexpected turn. Readers will cheer as Alice realizes the question is not whether it’s possible to have it all, but what does she―Alice Pearse―really want?



Kritters Thoughts:  Alice has been a part time employee and a full time wife and mom of three for a long time but as her husband's employment makes a change, her life will change.  She goes back into the workforce to a company that is not quite fit for a woman with a family and outside commitments and she must decide where priorities lie for her.

I am not a mom of children, but we have three dogs and I have a full time job and a husband and a home all of which need my time.  And having to juggle it all is a constant job and this book reminded me that everyone has things they juggle and have to make priorities.  I loved that even though what Alice was juggling may not be what I juggle I could still find commonalities with her.  

I completely adored this book and as a debut it hit home for me.  I can't wait to see what is next for this author and am hoping for a long career.  Elisabeth Egan knows what to write that feels real, honest and authentic and I loved it!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from BookSparks PR.  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.





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