Friday, August 22, 2014

In Bloom
by Katie Delahanty

Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Pages: 281
Format: eARC

Buy the Book: Amazon

My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.

I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me. 

How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I've ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it's all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all…

Kritters Thoughts:  If you have been reading my reviews for awhile then you know that I am a big fan of books that give readers a behind the scene glimpse of the Hollywood life and this book did not disappoint!  A regular girl moves from Pittsburgh to LA to follow her dream as a designer and ends up in a relationship with the Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake of the music world.  And this relationship will completely change her life, is it for good or bad?

What a great book!  I loved how the author mixed a regular girl and Hollywood, and really used the craziness of media to give their relationships ups and downs.  I will absolutely not spoil this ending as it is worth the read, but I love how the ending came about, the last twenty pages were a fantastic roller coaster of emotion.  The secondary characters were just as full and fantastic and I loved how they played against Olivia's newness to the city and the Hollywood life.

A great start to a new New Adult series, although I am not sure I would put it in that category, I would put it in the romance genre if someone asked me!  There were definitely some sexy scenes, but there was more than enough plot to really enjoy this book.  If you are a New Adult fan, then you could graduate to this book with a character that is out of school and pursuing her dream job.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (and we are getting one!)

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 46 out of 100

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.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Three Story House
by Courtney Miller Santo

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Renovating an historic Memphis house together, three cousins discover that their spectacular failures in love, career, and family provide the foundation for their future happiness in this warm and poignant novel from the author of The Roots of the Olive Tree that is reminiscent of The Postmistress, The Secret Life of Bees, and Kristin Hannah’s novels.

Nearing thirty and trying to avoid the inescapable fact that they have failed to live up to everyone’s expectations and their own aspirations, cousins and childhood best friends Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel seek respite in an oddly-shaped, three-story house that sits on a bluff sixty feet above the Mississippi.

As they work to restore the almost condemned house, each woman faces uncomfortable truths about their own failings. Lizzie seeks answers to a long-held family secret about her father in her grandmother’s jumble of mementos and the home’s hidden spaces. Elyse’s obsession with an old flame leads her to a harrowing mistake that threatens to destroy her sister’s wedding, and Isobel’s quest for celebrity tempts her to betray confidences in ways that would irreparably damage her two cousins.

Kritters Thoughts:  Three cousins choose to move to a very old home in Memphis to fix it up and help each other get all of their lives back on a better track.  They each are having some speed bumps in life, so this is the perfect pause and reset.

Divided into three parts to allow for each cousin to tell their own story, I loved how the full story kept moving as they each took turns to tell their parts, it was so different.  I loved how the chapters that took the reader back into the past for a supporting story were clearly labeled and didn't add any sort of confusion.  I can't even pick a favorite cousin because they were so perfectly different that each was so unique that I liked them for their own story.  

As my second book that I have read by Courtney Miller Santo and I have loved how both make families a central focus over the love relationships in women's lives, it is nice to read about the eccentricities of women's familial relationships.  If you are in need of a fantastic book that explores what defines family and to see three female cousins learn how they can really impact each other, then this should be the next book you read.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Desire Lines
by Christina Baker Kline

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  On the night of her high school graduation in 1986, Kathryn Campbell's best friend, Jennifer, vanished without a trace. It's been ten years since then, but Kathryn still feels the conspicuous void in her life - and the nagging, guilty sense that she has failed her friend.

When a divorce sends Kathryn reeling back to the Maine town where she grew up, the young journalist finds herself face-to-face with her past. At twenty-eight, she's been living for far too long on memories and questions; now she needs to take a hard look at her own life at the same time that she is delving into the mystery of what happened to her friend.

As she explores the seemingly random series of events that led up to Jennifer's disappearance, a pattern slowly begins to take shape. All the puzzle pieces are at her fingertips - it's a matter of whether Kathryn can put them together in a way that makes sense. As she faces her own fear and grief, she is finally able to come to terms with the ways in which the loss of her friend has shaped her life and the lives of those who knew her. In the process, Kathryn realizes that if she is ever going to understand the circumstances of Jennifer's disappearance, she is going to have to expose herself to the same risks and dangers. Ultimately, Kathryn's quest to find out the truth becomes a quest to save her own life as she races against time to keep Jennifer's fate from becoming hers.

Kritters Thoughts:  An interesting take on a mystery/thriller with a disappearance of a high schooler right near graduation and ten years as they gather for a reunion, there is still no body and no clues as to where she could possibly be.  With a tight knit group of friends, they all didn't know the secrets that were between them and as Kathryn tries to find more clues about Jennifer's disappearance some of their secrets will come out into the light and may cause some drama.

I loved that the author used Kathryn's journalistic profession to get her to go looking into the clues from the past and to try to find new ones.  It was a perfect avenue to get her into interviewing the players from the past and trying to put the old pieces together with new puzzle pieces.  I thought I had a clue as to the truth behind Jennifer's disappearance and I was pleasantly surprised by the real truth and even how it unfolded.  I was glad I was wrong in my guessing!

This was a great mystery thriller who dun it with past and present combining to make a full story.  There were some moments when the main character took her mind into the past and I had to really pay attention, but it didn't take away from the reading of the story.  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Pinch of Ooh La La
by Renee Swindle

Publisher: NAL Trade
Pages: 336
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

To get to happily ever after, sometimes you need to start from scratch....
Abbey Ross, who runs her own bakery in Oakland, California, is known for her visually stunning wedding cakes. But lately, Abbey’s own love life has become stale. According to her best friend, Bendrix, Abbey’s not the spontaneous young woman she was when they were teenagers listening to the Cure and creating attention-grabbing graffiti. Of course, her failed relationship with a womanizing art forger might have something to do with that. Nevertheless, it’s time for Abbey to step out of the kitchen—and her comfort zone—and Bendrix has even handpicked a man for her to date.
Samuel Howard is everything Abbey’s dreamed of: handsome, successful, and looking to raise a family. But a creamy icing might be needed to hide a problem or two. When Samuel complains about disrespect for the institution of marriage, Abbey’s reminded of her nontraditional family, with thirteen children from various mothers. And when Samuel rails about kids having kids, Abbey thinks of her twenty-year-old sister who’s recently revealed her pregnancy.
Soon Abbey is facing one disaster after another and struggling to make sense of it all. Her search for love has led her down a bitter path, but with the help of her unique family and unwavering friends, she just might find the ooh la la that makes life sweet.

Kritters Thoughts:  Abbey was a character from the beginning that I was rooting for and hoping for her to find what would truly make her happy - I love when I am a fan of the main character from the beginning, makes reading the book so much easier!

The part of this book that set it apart from other romantic comedies, for me at least, was her family and how that affected the person she became.  A father who is a musician that has romanced and married many ladies and fathered many children, but through it all they create this interesting family unit.  I loved how Abbey took her life experiences into her relationships and the affect that others had trying to enter into her crazy family life.  It really made the book more than others in its genre.

Because the characters are so engaging and real this book would be perfect to take on a vacation and read.  Although Abbey has some true ups and downs, I loved all the adventures she went through, it made the ending that much sweeter!

Rating: perfect beach read

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Peguin.  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, August 18, 2014

The Virtues of Oxygen
by Susan Schoenberger

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 242
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Holly is a young widow with two kids living in a ramshackle house in the same small town where she grew up wealthy. Now barely able to make ends meet editing the town’s struggling newspaper, she manages to stay afloat with help from her family. Then her mother suffers a stroke, and Holly’s world begins to completely fall apart.

Vivian has lived an extraordinary life, despite the fact that she has been confined to an iron lung since contracting polio as a child. Her condition means she requires constant monitoring, and the close-knit community joins together to give her care and help keep her alive. As their town buckles under the weight of the Great Recession, Holly and Vivian, two very different women both touched by pain, forge an unlikely alliance that may just offer each an unexpected salvation.

Kritters Thoughts:  What a book!  Told in two different ways, one part is through Holly's point of view and the other are podcasts by Vivian that she has left that take the reader through her childhood, young adult and adulthood with her disease.  

The set up was perfect, I loved how Holly provided the current story, but in her story the reader still saw Vivian as she spent a lot of time seeking advice from her.  In the opposite moment, Vivian's podcasts into her history were perfect.  It was the best way for the reader to find out more about her and how she ended up in the situation that she currently lived in.    

Before reading this book, I knew nothing about iron lungs and very little about polio.  I love reading books that not only provide entertainment, but also give me knowledge. 

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What a crazy week!  My birthday was Wednesday so I had many dinners and nights out with friends and a company event on Friday, not much reading happened.  Also had to spend the weekend getting ready for our vacation, lots of errands were done.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Bones and Roses by Eileen Goudge
The Virtues of Oxygen by Susan Schoenberger
Desire Lines by Christina Baker Kline

Currently Reading:
Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo

Next on the TBR pile:
In Bloom by Katie Delahanty

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bout of Books starts on Monday, August 18th and goes through Sunday, August 24th.

My goal for the Bout of Books 11.0 TBR pile is to read 250 pages per day, which amounts to 1,750 pages for the whole week.  

This week is a crazy week for me to do a readathon as it will be my last few days in the office and then on August 21st I am off on vacation for 10 days.  So I may be bouting of booking the following week when I will be fully in vacation mode and reading happens much more easily!

Let's see how this goes!

1.  In Bloom by Katie Delahanty (281 pages)

2. The Homecoming by Robyn Carr (400 pages)
3. Wild Within by Melissa Hart (336 pages)
4. 2am at the Cats Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino  (272 pages)
5. Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan  (465 pages)

Bones and Roses
by Eileen Goudge

Publisher: Cypress Bay Mysteries
Pages: 231
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Welcome to the northern California seaside town of Cypress Bay, where the surf’s up, the sixties live on and long-buried secrets are about to surface. 

From home invasions to cheating spouses, Rest Easy Property Management owner Leticia “Tish” Ballard thought she’d seen it all. Almost four years sober after flambĂ©ing her real estate career in an alcohol-fueled blowout, she’s finally in a good place in her life when the discovery of skeletal human remains rocks her world and plunges her headlong into solving a decades-old crime. Now she must delve into the darkness of her own past, including the one-night stand gone horribly wrong with Spence Breedlove, who happens to be the lead detective on the case. When the truth comes out at long last, Tish finds herself pitted against an enemy who will stop at nothing in a fight for her own life.

Kritters Thoughts:  What a who dun it!  Tish's mom disappeared to follow a man and a dream when she was young and has never heard from her, but in a twist Tish inherits a storage unit and inside is the body of her mother in the dress that she was wearing the day she supposedly left.  Obviously something is up and Tish is determined to find out because the police and detective that are in charge are people from her past that she believes may not perform at their peak due to some high school drama that still haunts her.

Just a hint longer than a novella, this book was quick and the pacing was perfect!  As the crime didn't happen recently, I enjoyed the added element of tracking through history to find the clues - made the book so much more dramatic.  I also loved the small town feel and how Tish had to help herself since she had burned some bridges and no one really trusted her.  I loved that I could trust her as a narrator, but she wasn't trusted by the people in town.  

I may have figured out the culprit a little on the early side, but it in no way made me disappointed in the ending.  If you are new to the who dun it genre, this is a quick read to enjoy.  On the flip side, if you have read many books in this genre, I would absolutely suggest reading this one as it had a little something different with the main crime occurring years in the past.

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

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 45 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.

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