Monday, March 25, 2019

Go On Girl
by Hilary Grossman

Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Executive, wife, and mother of an outgoing first-grader, Sydney Clayton crushes her day-to-day obligations at work but flounders in the cutthroat world of parental politics.

She manages to avoid the local drama until she’s faced with an ultimatum: join the Forest River PTA or risk her daughter becoming a social outcast. Sydney reluctantly becomes treasurer, and takes the recently vacated position of the president’s sidekick. If protecting the children’s freedom of speech, one best friend ban at a time, isn’t complicated enough, Sydney and her husband receive an unexpected offer for their house they don’t think they can refuse. 

Embroiled in the deception and manipulation rife among the elementary school moms, Sydney struggles. Should she sell the home she worked so hard to build in a town where betrayal runs rampant? Or should she stay put to avoid the fallout from uprooting her child? As Sydney focuses on what is best for her daughter, and lets go of her judgments, she finds friendship can develop in very unexpected ways.


Kritters Thoughts:  What a fun story!  Sydney Clayton is new to the world of moms of school age kids with a first grader entering school she is swept into the world of PTA.  Being a working mom, she wants to be involved, but has to keep her commitments in line and being surrounded by moms who are not working and can commit more time is frustrating.  

My mom was an active mom in my school.  She did many things while I was at school and I was aware that she was a part of my school experience.  I am not a mom, but I work full time and I understand the inability to balance everything that a person would want to do with the limited hours that we get in a day, week or month.

I absolutely adored this story.  Even without knowing the ins and outs of motherhood, this book was so entertaining.  I loved the group think mentality and seeing a bully in adults compared to their children.  This book made me laugh out loud and completely cringe!  I wanted to call up my friends who are moms and have them read this book and tell me if this is close to the truth of the positives and negatives of PTA!

The other thing I completely loved about this book was the drama of home ownership and buying and selling and renovating and so on.  I live in a fixer upper and I felt the pains that this couple felt as they decide if they want to move into a dream home that needs a lot of work or stay where they are.  Home ownership is enough drama without anything else!

I loved this book.  It was a great read with just the right amount of funny drama but no where near a soap opera!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel


Ebook 2019 Challenge: 2 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from the author.  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 24, 2019

It was a surprisingly great reading week, getting back into the reading mode feels so good.

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Becoming by Michelle Obama (audiobook)
Say You're Sorry by Karen Rose
Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly
Glory Road by Lauren K Denton

Currently Reading:
One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

Next on the TBR pile:
The Cliff House by RaeAnne Thayne 

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Hunting Party
by Lucy Foley

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 336
Format: book
Buy the Book: Harper

Goodreads:  All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?


Kritters Thoughts:  Have you ever read a book at just the right time?  That was the case for me with this book.  I curled up with this book on a cold winter weekend and as the characters traipsed through piles of snow, I could feel it.  A group of friends get together once a year and take a trip over the New Years holiday.  This year one of the last to join the group, Emma planned it and took them up to the Scottish Highlands to a remote lodge where they will be the only group and will have the place to themselves.  

This is a book with a big cast of characters, so I would warn that you may want a piece of notebook paper to help you keep all the couples straight and maybe something to distinguish one from another.  I liked having notes to refer to as the chapters switched perspective and I could remind myself who was with whom and how they related to the rest of the group.

This is one of those thrillers where you know a bit of the what the beginning, but you have no clue of the who and it jumps in time just a bit, so you get clues in the present and in the past.  The culprit was a surprise but a pleasant one at that.  There were a few times where I thought the author was trying to throw us with some other culprits, but I caught her!  

I liked this mystery, it seemed different from the genre and I appreciated something a little different than the norm.  I am intrigued to try a book from Lucy Foley's backlist and see if I like it as much as this one.  


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, March 21, 2019

In the Blink of an Eye
by Jesse Blackadder

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The Brennans — parents, Finn and Bridget, and their sons, Jarrah and Toby — have made a sea change, from chilly Hobart, Tasmania, to subtropical Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Feeling like foreigners in this land of sun and surf, they're still adjusting to work, school, and life in a sprawling purple clapboard house, when one morning, tragedy strikes.

In the devastating aftermath, the questions fly. What really happened? And who's to blame? Determined to protect his family, Finn finds himself under the police and media spotlight. Guilty and enraged, Bridget spends nights hunting answers in the last place imaginable. Jarrah — his innocence lost — faces a sudden and frightening adulthood where nothing is certain.


Kritters Thoughts:  Finn, Bridget and their son Jarrah narrate this heart wrenching story in turn and I was glad to receive this story from three different points of view.  This review will be on the short side because thankfully there isn't a spoiler in the jacket copy and I don't want to spoil either.

This family endures a major tragedy and as these three narrate how each react to the tragedy and how they possibly recover was quite a story.  The tragedy made me cry and also made me think about how we each take blame for big and small things and how we are a part of a bigger picture.  

The thing that made me not love this book as much was all of the cheating and lies.  I try to avoid books with betrayals by spouses because it is just something I don't like to read, call me naive but I don't enjoy reading about it and it isn't healthy for me, so I didn't love that there was so much in this book and I didn't feel like half of it added to the story.  

When you get down to it though, this book was about the family and how they disbanded and the regrouped and the ups and downs of it all.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn't one of my favorites.


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 16 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from St Martin's Press.  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 19, 2019

The Last Year of the War
by Susan Meissner

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943--aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.

The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  Two young girls are ripped from their normal both due to the ethnicities of their fathers and the effects of war.  These girls start to form a new normal in an internment camp in Texas when again their lives are upended.  There are a few moments in the current day as Elise has decided that she needs to find her friend from those days before it is too late for her to reconnect.  

I have said this a lot on this blog, but one of the big reasons why I love to read historical fiction is when I get to learn something that I didn't know while also being entertained by a story.  I was aware of internment camps, but had read only of them in California with the asian population, to read that there was more and that more than that one ethnicity was affected really surprised me.  I also didn't know about the process to get into internment camps and appreciated that this author presented two avenues as to how these people ended up in these places.  Not the most positive points in America, but something that we should all be aware of not to repeat it!

Every book of Susan Meissner's that I read I loved, have you read any over her books?  I haven't read them all, but have given all the ones I have read either four or five stars.  I want to make an effort to complete her backlist and then keep up with her releases as they come out.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel


Ebook 2019 Challenge: 15 out of 100



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