Friday, January 19, 2018

Royally Wed
by Teri Wilson

Publisher: Pocket Star
Pages: 304
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Asher Reed, an American classical musician, is hired as a last minute replacement to perform at the royal wedding of Princess Amelia in Great Britain, he’s hoping he can shake his recent bout with performance anxiety long enough to get through the festivities and get his career back on track. Little does he know that his life is about to change forever.

As a guest of Buckingham Palace, he knows he has no business even speaking to the princess, but he’s completely awed by her beauty and more than a little intrigued by her rebellious spirit. Still, he definitely knows he has no business kissing her silly at the fitting of her wedding gown. He’s there to perform, not cause a royal scandal. But when he stumbles upon her groom’s appalling secret, the fate of the princess and the British Crown suddenly rest squarely in his cello-playing hands....

Kritters Thoughts:  The third and current book in this series and as I have said before this is a series where each book is self contained and there aren't repeat characters so you can start with any book in this series.

This book is about Asher Reed and Princess Amelia.  Asher Reed is an accomplished musician and through circumstances he is called to London to play for a royal wedding and in an interesting turn of events he runs into Princess Amelia and both of their worlds are turned upside down.  

I feel like a broken record when it comes to this series, but each book has such great plot.  I was reading this one while rewatching the first season of the Crown on Netflix with my parents and I love that this book helped add to my love of all things royal.  If you watch the Crown, are dying over royal weddings and the royal family, this book was made for you.  And of course like the other books, there are sexy times in this book but again they are perfectly timed and it added to the story.  

I couldn't find any information to see if we are going to have another book in this series, but I would love to have 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 Simon and Schuster.  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, January 18, 2018

Royally Romanov
by Teri Wilison

Publisher: Pocket Star
Pages: 304
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Finley Abbot is organizing the most prestigious art exhibit of her career at the Louvre museum—a retrospective of art from the House of Romanov. But the sudden appearance of Maxim Romanov threatens to turn her into the biggest laughingstock of the art world. When she finds herself falling in love, she realizes there’s even more at stake than her career. How can she trust a man with her whole world when he can’t remember a thing about his past?

After suffering a violent blow to the head, Maxim’s only clue to his identity is a notebook containing carefully researched documentation in his own handwriting indicating that he is the sole surviving descendant of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, previously thought dead in the murder of her family during Russia’s Bolshevik revolution. His struggle to put the mysterious pieces of his past back together leads him to Finley. At first, she’s convinced Maxim is nothing but a con artist. But there’s something undeniably captivating about the beautiful, brooding man who claims to be searching for his identity—something Finley can’t quite bring herself to resist. When he reveals a secret about one of the imperial FabergĂ© eggs in the collection, she accepts he may actually be telling the truth. But as soon as Finley and Maxim act on their feelings for one another, Maxim is confronted with evidence that calls into question everything he’s begun to believe about himself.

Kritters Thoughts:  The second in a series, but this is one of those series where book two is is a whole new story with different characters so this can be ready completely out of order.  This story is about Finley Abbot and Maxim Romanov.  It is a twist on the Anastasia story and I loved how they used that story as a foundation, but flipped it on its end a little.  This story took place in Paris and I just loved it.

Finley Abbot is a curator at the Louvre and has been working on this huge exhibit about the Romanovs as an anniversary is coming up of their execution.  And at a book reading for a book she has written about the Romanovs up shows Maxim who after ending up in a hospital has woken up with a journal full of Romanov genealogy and he has an inkling that there is some truth in it all.  

This was a great book.  Like the first book there was a great plot and I loved the characters.  Just like the first book also there are some sexy times, but they fit in the right moments of the book and didn't seem overtly used or in weird spots.  

Tomorrow I am reviewing the most current book in the series and am feeling hopeful that this is a series that I am going to hope continues for awhile.

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

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Royally Roma
by Teri Wilson

Publisher: Pocket Star
Pages: 251
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Julia Costa is too busy trying to complete her PhD while also holding down a full-time job as a private tour guide in Rome to keep up with celebrity gossip. So when she crosses paths with a real, actual prince, she mistakes him for a client and takes him on a daylong tour of the city.

Intrigued by the idea of spending time with someone who obviously has no idea who he is, and delighted at the prospect of a day free of royal obligations, Niccolo La Torre, Crown Prince of Lazaretto, acts on impulse and assumes the role of Julia’s client. He swears to himself that he’ll return to his royal duties after only half a day…but he’s having the time of his life.

Until Julia presents him with the bill. Since he snuck out of the hotel without so much as a dime, he tries to escape, only to discover that she won’t let him out of her sight until he can pay her back. She’s determined to get her money…and perhaps more from the handsome stranger she’s fallen for.

Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a series where each book is self contained, it is a remake of a story, but maybe with a little twist.  This book was a remake of Roman Holiday and from the beginning I was swept up into this grand story.  A prince is mistaken by a tour guide for her private tour of the day and as he wants to get out of his duties, he decides to go along for the ride.  

From the beginning, I loved Julia Costa the tour guide.  She was fun and spunky and I just loved her energy.  I almost wanted to try to get a plane to Rome and have her by my tour guide for the day, I loved that she was trying to do the tour guide thing to pay the bills while getting a degree that bled into her tour guide life.  The prince was fantastic.  He was the brother that never got into trouble and always followed what was told and for one day he wanted to throw caution to the wind and make his own decisions - I loved it.
I just adored this book and the writing and the pace.  The characters were right on point and with all things royal, I loved it.  This one is completely romance so if that isn't your jam you may not like it.  It definitely had some sexy times, but they weren't unwarranted or weirdly placed, they were just right.

I was excited to start the series and will be reviewing book two and three the next two days.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 73 out of 50

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Funeral Platter
by Greg Ames

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Pages: 266
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  From the author of the award-winning novel Buffalo Lockjawcomes a powerful collection of darkly humorous short stories. A young girl uses a burnt log for her ventriloquist act; Franz Kafka and an unnamed narrator cruise a dive bar for women; a grieving couple stage and execute their own funeral; a son brings hot chowder to his caged parents. This stunning collection―packed with moments of violence and tenderness―explores the humor and unease of modern life. Since he first began publishing his fiction, Greg Ames has been praised for his willingness to take risks and the strength and freshness of his voice. Assembled here for the first time, this collection brings together the best work from a brilliant American writer, a playful and innovative artist. In these twenty original short stories, Greg Ames earns his place as one of the best writers of his generation.

Kritters Thoughts:  When pitched this book, I was excited to do another short story collection in 2018, I am hoping to read more about of my usual comfort zone in 2018.

I rate a short story collection based on my feelings on the stories and if I would want any of these stories to be full blown novels.  I didn't want really any of these stories to have more time, the plots weren't compelling enough to make them longer than a short story.  

Unfortunately, most of the characters in these stories seemed the same and were completely beyond neurotic and nutty.  After the first few stories, I just felt as though each story had the same main character and not only did I not love them, I didn't want to keep reading with the same guy taking front and center of each story.  Now it wasn't the exact same character, but same traits and same personalities.

I was sad not to fall in love with this collection, but am still optimistic that I will find a collection that I love.  

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

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

Monday, January 15, 2018

End Game
by David Baldacci

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

Goodreads:  Will Robie and Jessica Reel are two of the most lethal people alive. They're the ones the government calls in when the utmost secrecy is required to take out those who plot violence and mass destruction against the United States. And through every mission, one man has always had their backs: their handler, code-named Blue Man.

But now, Blue Man is missing.

Last seen in rural Colorado, Blue Man had taken a rare vacation to go fly fishing in his hometown when he disappeared off the grid. With no communications since, the team can't help but fear the worst.

Sent to investigate, Robie and Reel arrive in the small town of Grand to discover that it has its own share of problems. A stagnant local economy and a woefully understaffed police force have made this small community a magnet for crime, drugs, and a growing number of militant fringe groups. 

But lying in wait in Grand is an even more insidious and sweeping threat, one that may shake the very foundations of America. And when Robie and Reel find themselves up against an adversary with superior firepower and a home-court advantage, they'll be lucky if they make it out alive, with or without Blue Man...

Kritters Thoughts:  I am semi embarrassed to say I had not read a David Baldacci book before now, so when Grand Central Publishing sent this review opportunity my way, I jumped at it because I wanted to try a book of his.  He is a local author, I have gone to a signing of his and yet hadn't read him, so putting him on my review calendar would make me sit down and try one!

I knew I was jumping into a series midway, but I also knew that each book was self contained other than a little of the main character growth.  Overall, the book was just fine.  Will Robie and Jessica Reel were great, there was enough detail given to know about the things of the past that probably happened in previous books, so I didn't feel clueless about them and their past with each other.

I would say my biggest complaint is Baldacci in the weirdest parts gets super wordy.  He was over explaining guns or military things or just the most uninteresting parts would get over explained and he lost my interest.  I would have edited down those bits to keep the story moving along.  It ruined the pace and with these kinds of books pace is everything.

I would read another David Baldacci book in the future, but this is not one of those authors where I am going to start hoarding everything from their backlist and go to town.  I think I would read one of his once a year when I need something that turns the page and can just be a "quick" weekend read.

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

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, January 14, 2018

This was a great Bout of Books!  There were some really good days and some days that were a little less, but overall, I know that Bout of Books spurred me to pick up my reading game this week!

Total book count: 5
Total page count:  1774

Day 1- Monday, January 8 Total 120 pages
Sounds Like Me by Sara Bareilles (continued and finished, 120 pages)

Day 2- Tuesday, January 9 Total 344 pages

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (started, read 340 pages)

Day 3- Wednesday, January 10 Total 164 pages

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (finished, read 44 pages)
This Love Story Will Self Destruct by Leslie Cohen (started, read 120 pages)

Day 4- Thursday, January 11 Total 453 pages
This Love Story Will Self Destruct by Leslie Cohen (finished, read 114 pages)
The Expendable Man by Dorothy B Hughes (started and finished, read 339 pages)

Day 5- Friday, January 12 Total 300 pages
I Know My Name by CJ Cooke (started, read 300 pages)

Day 6- Saturday, January 13 Total 344 pages
I Know My Name by CJ Cooke (finished, read 84 pages)
The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley (started, read 260 pages)

Day 7- Sunday, January 14  Total 49 pages
The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley (continued, read 49 pages)

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Brush with Love
by Rachel Hauck

Publisher: Zondervan
Pages: 150
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Ginger Winters is a gifted hairstylist with scars no one can see. The last thing she expects from the New Year is a new chance at love.

Overcoming a childhood tragedy, Ginger emerges from the pain and trauma with a gift for bringing out the beauty in others. From the top big city salons to traveling the world as personal stylist to a country music sensation, success was almost enough to make Ginger forget she would never be one of the beautiful people, that girl, forever on the outside looking in. But she needs her confidence this weekend. She’s the acclaimed “beauty-maker” for the Alabama society wedding of the decade.

When high-school crush Tom Wells Jr. also returns to town and shows up at her shop looking for a haircut, Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities threaten to keep her locked away from love, Despite Tom’s best efforts, Ginger can’t forget how he disappeared on her twelve years ago and broke her heart. Can she ever trust him again?

When Tom challenges her to see her own beauty, Ginger must decide if she will remained chained to the past or move freely into a new, exciting future.

Kritters Thoughts:  A novella from Rachel Hauck who is one of the only Christian fiction authors that I will read.  All of her books definitely fit in the Christian fiction genre and you would be remiss not to know that there is definitely some Jesus in each book.  But even though I don't tend to love Christian fiction, I love the plot lines and this one was right up there.  

I loved the characters and loved their back story.  I just loved Ginger's story.  I could have had so much more time hearing about her childhood and how she became the woman she was.  Although I say this again later, I wanted more time with her.  I wanted to hear more about her and wanted more from her.

The one thing I had with this book is I wish it wasn't a novella.  I wish the author had more pages to make the book feel more full.  I felt that the book had a part of insta love and a quick turn around of a main character, but I think it is solely because of the lack of pages and if given a few more pages, she could have built the story out more.  So my wish is for more pages!

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 71 out of 50

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