Friday, February 5, 2016

The Evening Spider
by Emily Arsenault

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Frances Barnett and Abby Bernacki are two haunted young mothers living in the same house in two different centuries.

1885: Frances Barnett is in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital, telling her story to a visitor. She has come to distrust her own memories, and believes that her pregnancy, birth, and early days of motherhood may have impaired her sanity.

During the earliest months of her baby’s life, Frances eagerly followed the famous murder trial of Mary Stannard—that captivated New Englanders with its salacious details and expert forensic testimony. Following—and even attending—this trial, Frances found an escape from the monotony of new motherhood. But as her story unfolds, Frances must admit that her obsession with the details of the murder were not entirely innocent.

Present day: Abby has been adjusting to motherhood smoothly—until recently, when odd sensations and dreams have begun to unsettle her while home alone with her baby. When she starts to question the house’s history, she is given the diary of Frances Barnett, who lived in the house 125 years earlier. Abby finds the diary disturbing, and researches the Barnett family’s history. The more Abby learns, the more she wonders about a negative—possibly supernatural—influence in her house. She becomes convinced that when she sleeps, she leaves her daughter vulnerable—and then vows not to sleep until she can determine the cause of her eerie experiences.

Frances Barnett might not be the only new mother to lose her mind in this house. And like Frances, Abby discovers that by trying to uncover another’s secrets, she risks awakening some of her own.
 



Kritters Thoughts:  Two mothers who are linked through a home, but are set apart far in time, both narrate in this book and tell a creepy story about how maybe history can stay in a home.  

A tangent - my home is older and I live near Mount Vernon.  I am the second owner and the home was built in the 1950s.  My home has raised three boys and housed a veteran and sat empty for two years, so I wonder what memories are in the walls of the home.  My property is one of George Washington's original farms, he had five!  So I wonder often about not only what happened in the home that I live in, but also on my property.  

At first this book wasn't working for me, I can't pinpoint it exactly, but neither storyline was really pulling me in.  In some dual narrative books, one or the other storyline hooks me from the beginning and I grow to love the other while reading.  

This is my first Emily Arsenault and will definitely not be my last.  I may have to read her next one with all the lights on because this definitely made me cringe, but I guess thats a good thing!

I heard rumor that this book was true, has anyone else heard this rumor?  Can anyone confirm?  If so, that would make this book jump up quite a few notches in my opinion!


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, February 4, 2016

Casualties
by Elizabeth Marro

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Some come back whole. Some come back broken. Some just never come back...
 
As an executive for one of the most successful military defense contractors in the country, Ruth Nolan should have been thrilled when her troubled son, Robbie, chose to join the marines. But she wasn’t. She was terrified.

So, when he returns home to San Diego after his second tour in Iraq, apparently unscathed, it feels like a chance to start over and make things right—until a scandal at work tears her away from their reunion. By the next morning, Robbie is gone. A note arrives for Ruth in the mail a few days later saying, “I’m sorry for everything. It’s not your fault. I love you.”

Without a backward glance, Ruth packs up Robbie’s ashes and drives east, heading away from her guilt and regret. But the closer she gets to the coast she was born on, the more evident it becomes that she won’t outrun her demons—eventually, she’ll have to face them and confront the painful truth about her past, her choices, the war, and her son.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  I am not sure if this is the first Iraq war fiction I have read and I am sad by that because there is quite a catalog of them now and I have heard great things.  This one started exactly where I hoped it would, but I lost if halfway and for that I am so sad - it went somewhere that I didn't expect and it didn't seem like the right path for Ruth, the main character.  It isn't what I would have chosen for her, so for that I didn't love it, but I would still read another book by Elizabeth Marro.  

Have you ever wished something else for a main character?  

The thing that I adored was how she portrayed Robbie as he came home from Iraq and wasn't ready to go back to "normal."  It felt completely honest and I appreciated that it was hard to hear how he felt about his friends and family.  


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

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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Feathered Bone
by Julie Cantrell

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In the pre-Katrina glow of New Orleans, Amanda Salassi is anxious about chaperoning her daughter’s sixth grade field trip to the Big Easy during Halloween. And then her worst fears come true. Her daughter’s best friend, Sarah, disappears amid the magic and revelry—gone, without a trace.

Unable to cope with her guilt, Amanda’s daughter sinks in depression. And Amanda’s husband turns destructive as he watches his family succumb to grief. Before long, Amanda’s whole world has collapsed.

Amanda knows she has to save herself before it’s too late. As she continues to search for Sarah, she embarks on a personal journey, seeking hope and purpose in the wake of so much tragedy and loss.  


Kritters Thoughts:  A hard book to read from beginning to end, but not for the writing, but instead the issues that Cantrell tackles with this book.  From Katrina, child trafficking, spousal abuse, to survivor's guilt, this book deals with it all in the most delicate way and even with all of this in one book, it didn't feel overwhelming.

I can't go on and on about this book because I would probably spoil it, so I will keep this short and sweet, but will say that I loved it.  I loved that the author interjected little moments from the child who is missing in the most creative way.  I also loved how she skipped time cleverly, but as the reader I didn't feel like I was missing anything.  I felt as though I was getting all the right moments in their lives to make a full story.

I will definitely be looking into Julie Cantrell's other works and you may see them here on this blog soon.

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

Ebook 2016 Challenge: 3 out of 50


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

Sunday, January 31, 2016




January was an interesting month.  The start of the new year had some quiet days still on vacation that was full of reading and then the end of the month was my corporate retreat which was beyond stressful and a busy week.  So I am impressed with the reading I accomplished, but ready for 2016 to really start in February!

1. The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
2. At the Corner of King Street by Mary Ellen Taylor
3. The View From Prince Street by Mary Ellen Taylor 
4. The Past by Tessa Hadley
5. Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
6. The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth LaBan
7. The Inn at Ocean's Edge by Colleen Coble
8. Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble
9. Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson
10. The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig
11. The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell
12. Casualties by Elizabeth Marro


Total pages read, clicked, and flipped: 4,252

Where Have I Been Reading?:
Alexandria, VA (2)
England
Los Angeles, CA
Philadelphia, PA
Maine (2)
Paris, France
New York City, NY
New Orleans, LA
New Hampshire



Monday, January 25, 2016


In 5 and a half years of blogging, I haven't taken a break.  Through a wedding, honeymoon, major job projects, and buying and renovating a home, I have kept up reading and reviewing.  

This week I am out of town for my 6th corporate retreat that sits mostly on my shoulders and this one has been the biggest with 450 employees attending and the feeling that it could really be the last.  

SO I am going to take a week break here from reviewing and I will be back in February with reviews and hopefully so more bookish things as my job may quiet down a little!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Another crazy work week, BUT a very quiet weekend at home with three dogs and a blizzard!  Next week I head to Atlanta (snow pending) for the big corporate retreat, so no clue how the reading will go, but February should be more on the quiet front all around!


A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell
Casualties by Elizabeth Marro
The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig

Currently Reading:
The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault

Next on the TBR pile:
Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Forgotten Room
by Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig

Publisher: Berkley NAL
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A rich, multigenerational novel of love and loss that spans half a century....

1945: When the critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, young Dr. Kate Schuyler is drawn into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion.

Who is the woman in Captain Ravenel's portrait miniature who looks so much like Kate?  And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother?  In their pursuit of answers, they find themselves drawn into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known.  But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room? 



Kritters Thoughts:  Three women, three generations, three authors - genius!  To dive right in, I want to say that I loved having three of my favorite authors come together and put a book together, but I was nervous as to how they were going to do it and it feel like a one seamless book.  But this one worked!  To have each author write one of the generations of this twisted family story, was just perfect!

I loved all three women characters, but for some reason Kate the doctor's story really stood out for me.  I don't know if it is because it was the most contemporary or because I felt like she was finding out the truths of both women that came before her, but her story seemed to encompass the other two and it was the one I kept really enjoying through the book.  But to clarify, Olive and Lucy were just as entertaining and I never didn't enjoy theirs - Olive was the foundation of the story while Lucy was the middle trying to not live by her mother's story but create her own.

For this book I had a scratch note pad, where I was family treeing!  This is one that is worth taking it slow and enjoying the story as it unfolds.  I may even dare say that I could read this again, which I never do!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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


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