Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Roar
by Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 273
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In this singular and imaginative story collection, Cecelia Ahern explores the endless ways in which women blaze through adversity with wit, resourcefulness, and compassion. Ahern takes the familiar aspects of women's lives--the routines, the embarrassments, the desires--and elevates these moments to the outlandish and hilarious with her astute blend of magical realism and social insight.

One woman is tortured by sinister bite marks that appear on her skin; another is swallowed up by the floor during a mortifying presentation; yet another resolves to return and exchange her boring husband at the store where she originally acquired him. The women at the center of this curious universe learn that their reality is shaped not only by how others perceive them, but also how they perceive the power within themselves. 

By turns sly, whimsical, and affecting, these thirty short stories are a dynamic examination of what it means to be a woman in this very moment. Like women themselves, each story can stand alone; yet together, they have a combined power to shift consciousness, inspire others, and create a multi-voiced ROAR that will not be ignored. 


Kritters Thoughts:  A collection of short stories where each story revolves around a woman.  Some of the stories had an interesting magical realism bit to them and some felt super feminist, it was a wide range and there were some that I liked and some that were just ok and a few that I didn't care for.  It was an interesting collection that I am glad to pass on to a girlfriend who needs to be reminded of all the cool aspects of being a woman!

What I loved about this collection is it seemed that every kind of woman was represented.  I am a married, working woman with no kids and a squad of dogs and I felt represented.  I have a sister who is a stay at home mom to three kids and I could see her in this collection and my mother is a grandmother, mother and wife entering the retirement years and I could see her in this collection.  I loved that any woman could pick up this collection and find a bit of themself in at least a story or two.  I think she did a great job of representing the entire broad landscape of women.

I love short story collections to live on my nightstand for night time reading where you can read just a short story or two before bed.  They are perfect to read alongside your other books.  


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 30 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Grand Central Publishing.  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, July 14, 2019

It was a busy week all around, so two books is good enough for me.

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird
Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen

Currently Reading:
A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

Next on the TBR pile:
The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
by Abbi Waxman

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book. 

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
 



Kritters Thoughts:  I absolutely adored this book!!  No other book could have hit that sweet spot and felt like I was reading a book about myself or my dream self!  

Nina Hill works at an independent bookstore and as an only child of a single mother who has recently passed away she is finding solace in her job and her life.  Through glimpses into her planner, the reader gets an idea for who she is and oh that made me wonder what people could learn about me from my own planner!  She schedules reading time (so do I), she makes lists (so do I) and you can see her life's ups and downs all through those pages.  

When her dad becomes known to her through his death, it sends her life into a tail spin with new family members and a different life with chaos and people she never imagined.  Although this storyline has been seen before, it felt fresh and new and was just so entertaining.  

I gobbled this book up in one day by the pool and it was the perfect summer read to just enjoy amongst the chaos of life.  Abbi Waxman has sky rocketed up to a favored author in my book.  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 29 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley PRH.  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, July 11, 2019

Everything is Just Fine
by Brett Paesel

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 432
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Coach Randy is working mightily to keep it together, and not simply with his vaguely unhappy wife, distant child, and a new boss who's eliminating half the sales force. This season's soccer parents are a demanding bunch. Diane's wine-fueled group e-mails are almost unintelligible; team mom Jacqui's enthusiasm for the league verges on manic; a divorced couple can barely conceal their murderous rage at each other; and another mom is laser-focused on schooling everyone on what constitutes a healthy snack option. 

All the secrets and lies bubbling below the surface of their membrane-thin civility threaten to combust when Alejandro, a young, foreign assistant coach refuses to play by the Beverly Hills code, which is to mind your own business and don't look too deeply into anyone's soul. Especially your own. 

Kritters Thoughts:  A satirical look at suburban life and although this book takes place in Beverly Hills, this book could take in any neighborhood with a kids athletic league!  This book focuses on a soccer league with 10 year olds and their parents.  Some parents are separated, some are together, some are doing great and some not so much, but they are all thrown together as a team in a league with a coach who maybe puts a little too much value into being a soccer coach!  

Told through emails and narrative, it was an interesting reflection on the craziness of parents, families and kids.  I loved the way this book was written, that is probably why I loved it so much.  I don't have kids, but I have a full time job with email and oh the things that go through email are just as entertaining as the emails these parents send and receive.  The ups and downs that can go through email is just so fun to watch from the sidelines.  

As a fair warning, there was some sexy times and cheating and such in this book.  I could have done without half of it and would have loved the book so much more, some of the plot could have stood on its own without and seemed distracting instead of adding to the story.  I probably would have passed the book onto more people if it didn't have as much of this as it did.    


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 Grand Central Publishing.  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, July 9, 2019

Bethlehem
by Karen Kelly

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A young woman arrives at the grand ancestral home of her husband’s family, hoping to fortify her cracking marriage. But what she finds is not what she expected: tragedy haunts the hallways, whispering of heartache and a past she never knew existed.

Inspired by the true titans of the steel-boom era, Bethlehem is a story of temptation and regret, a story of secrets and the cost of keeping them, a story of forgiveness. It is the story of two complex women—thrown together in the name of family—who, in coming to understand each other, come finally to understand themselves.


Kritters Thoughts:  There are two time periods in this book, in one in the 1960s, Joanna Collier moves into her husband's family home with his mother and grandmother which puts her in an interesting spot, she isn't quite the woman of the house, but she is trying to make it a home for her and her family.  In the other time period, it goes back further in time to her mother-in-law's time as a young woman in the 1920s in the same home and how maybe this home holds some bad juju.

For me neither of the time periods really grabbed my attention both were equally just fine.  I felt as though it took a long time for characters to develop and for action to start taking place and once things starting moving and happening the book was almost over.  I wish that there had been some sort of movement earlier in the book, it made it hard to get in and really enjoy the book.  

The atmosphere of the book made me the happiest when reading the book.  I could feel the eeriness of the setting and the home.  The reader could tell that this home held secrets and that maybe it even caused some of the pain in this family.  

This book was just ok with me.  As I read a lot of historical fiction, I am not sure I would recommend this one to my friends who do not read a lot in this genre, but for those friends who have read all the historical fiction, this was an interesting departure from the usual and doesn't take place in the heart of World War II!    


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 28 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.



Sunday, July 7, 2019

With a holiday and a few extra days off, I got a lot of reading done!!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Dining with the Dollar Diva by Elizabeth Fisher
Bethlehem by Karen Kelly
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
Everything is Just Fine by Brett Paesel
The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian
Roar by Cecelia Ahern

Currently Reading:
The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Next on the TBR pile:
Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird

Friday, July 5, 2019

Summer by the Tides
by Denise Hunter

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 302
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe's love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram's maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.

As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven--nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.

As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy's heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they've become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.


Kritters Thoughts: Maddy Monroe has both a professional and personal tragedy wrapped all in one and when her grandmother is discovered missing, this is the perfect escape from life, so she heads to small town South Carolina to find her grandmother and push a reset button.  Maddy's sisters Emma and Nora have had a battle for years about a betrayal from the past and all three sisters are called to find grandma and maybe also to confront the past and to hopefully heal.  

I love the dynamics of sisters who have had drama returning to a place of comfort and confronting it, it is a story that I will always love reading.  There is something special about sisters where we are required to be friends because we are family, but we probably hurt them the quickest and the easiest.  

The other thing that I loved about the book was that the author revealed the reason for the sister feud early in the book.  I don't love it when a reader is kept out of the dark and the characters know more than the reader.  Denise Hunter flashes back and the reader knows the basics early on into the book and then the details are revealed over time, the way this storyline was done was just on point.    

As a warning, Denise Hunter is a Christian fiction author and this one felt a little more infused with a message than other books have.  I wasn't offended by it, but I like to advise others in case that isn't something you like to read.  


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.

 

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