Friday, March 24, 2017

The Last Chance Matinee
by Mariah Stewart

Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish. In the process, they find not only themselves, but the father they only thought they knew.

When celebrated and respected agent Fritz Hudson passes away, he leaves a trail of Hollywood glory in his wake—and two separate families who never knew the other existed. Allie and Des Hudson are products of Fritz’s first marriage to Honora, a beautiful but troubled starlet whose life ended in a tragic overdose. Meanwhile, Fritz was falling in love on the Delaware Bay with New Age hippie Susa Pratt—they had a daughter together, Cara, and while Fritz loved Susa with everything he had, he never quite managed to tell her or Cara about his West Coast family.

Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had that could save Allie from her ever-deepening debt following a disastrous divorce, allow Des to open a rescue shelter for abused and wounded animals, and give Cara a fresh start after her husband left her for her best friend—but only if the sisters upend their lives and work together to restore an old, decrepit theater that was Fritz’s obsession growing up in his small hometown in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Guided by Fritz’s closest friend and longtime attorney, Pete Wheeler, the sisters come together—whether they like it or not—to turn their father’s dream into a reality, and might just come away with far more than they bargained for.


Kritters Thoughts:  Three sisters who didn't know they were sisters end up at the hearing of a will and their lives are turned upside down!  One sister was raised by an attentive mom who gave her all the love she needed and she grew up to be a business owner and an upstanding citizen.  Two other sisters are raised by an actress who was barely a mother.  These two are complete opposites - one is floundering and isn't sure what is next and the other went the opposite direction and is determined and likes to plan.  I loved that these sisters didn't know about the other and they are given a challenge that is entertaining.

From the beginning I loved this one.  The author wrote it with such ease to read and each of sisters was unique enough that I couldn't get confused and could just enjoy the story.  I loved that they head to a small town and get to enjoy small town life while learning the secrets their father kept from all three.  It was just the right amount of family drama and secrets and all the things rolled into one.

If you read a lot of romance and wish it had a little more plot and a little less sexy times this one is right up your alley.  If you read a lot of family drama and wish it was a little less drama - this one is for you!

I was most excited to start this book knowing that there was going to be more to come - it is going to be hard to wait for it!


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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 6 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Gallery Books.  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 21, 2017

The Roanoke Girls
by Amy Engel

Publisher: Crown
Pages: 276
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.


Kritters Thoughts:  After reading the synopsis when pitched this book, I was all in for a generational family drama, but after a few chapters the family secret is revealed and I just couldn't enjoy it from there.   I will not spoil the family secret because I don't believe in spoiling, but just let me say that its real icky and I am mostly sure that there is just a nitsch amount of folks who would enjoy it.

It pains me to rate the book so low and I just had a hard time because I actually enjoyed the way Amy Engel wrote and the generational part of it was entertaining, but I couldn't get past the family secret and I just wished it had been something else.  

There isn't much to say in this review.  I wanted more from the plot of this story and I just wish it had been different.  


Rating: not such a good read

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, March 19, 2017

It is sad, but the below is three weeks worth of reading!  Its been a rough reading with way too much going on during my professional job and the personal life is full of things also!  

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Windy City Blues by Renee Rosen
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen
Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart

Currently Reading:
It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

Next on the TBR pile:
The Promise of Pierson Orchard by Kate Brandes

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Bridge Across the Ocean
by Susan Meissner

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

Goodreads:  February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark...

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  Let me start by saying I am a huge Susan Meissner fan and even after this read I will continue to read her, she is a star author when it comes to historical fiction and I haven't even finished all of her backlist.  When I was pitched this book, I didn't read the synopsis because I knew that I would love it and after starting the book I went back and re read it and was surprised that a big plot point wasn't even hinted at in the synopsis.  

So there are ghosts and characters who can talk with ghosts and I don't tend to read books with these in them, so I was sad when it started but pushed on because I love this author and the characters beyond their abilities were interesting.  And that is what I would say after I read the book, I loved the plot and the characters, I just kind of wish they didn't have special capabilities.  

As in most historical fiction and in this one, I learned things which I always love when reading this genre.  I was mostly clueless about the Queen Mary and its historical significance and love reading fiction to learn about new things.

So I am on the fence on this book.  There were some characteristics that I absolutely adored, but I just couldn't enjoy it fully with the ghosts and things wandering around.


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 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.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Every Wild Heart
by Meg Donohue

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Passionate and funny, radio personality Gail Gideon is a true original. Nine years ago when Gail’s husband announced that he wanted a divorce, her ensuing on-air rant propelled her local radio show into the national spotlight. Now, “The Gail Gideon Show” is beloved by millions of single women who tune-in for her advice on the power of self-reinvention. But fame comes at a price. After all, what does a woman who has staked her career on being single do when she finds herself falling in love? And is the person who is harassing her in increasingly troubling ways a misguided fan or a true danger to Gail and her daughter, Nic? 

Fourteen-year-old Nic has always felt that she pales in comparison to her vibrant, outgoing mother. Plagued by a fear of social situations, she is most comfortable at the stable where she spends her afternoons. But when a riding accident lands Nic in the hospital, she awakens from her coma changed. Suddenly, she has no fear at all and her disconcerting behavior lands her in one risky situation after another. And no one, least of all her mother, can guess what she will do next…


Kritters Thoughts:  Mother daughter have been doing life and its been going quite fine until an accident happens and it sends their life into a tailspin!  Gail Gideon has had a successful radio show and a driver to help her keep her single mom life moving forward.  Nic is entering high school and is frightened by it all, the only place she can find comfort is at the horse stables where she can feel completely in control.

What a fantastic mother daughter story.  In the midst of a crazy time in my life, this book was just the right thing I needed.  It had heart and a great story, but just read so easy.  It was easy to dip into this book read a few chapters and then come back to it.  The chapters switched back and forth between focusing on the mom and then the daughter.  I loved both of their stories absolutely equally which made the reading even more enjoyable.

If you love a simple story then this is just the one for you.  I think this would be the perfect remedy for a busy life or a book hangover!


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.

Friday, March 10, 2017

In Farleigh Field
by Rhys Bowen

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 398
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?


Kritters Thoughts:  If you have been following me for a minute, you know that I am a historical fiction fan, so when I was pitched this book I was excited and ready to read it.  To cut to the chase, this one fell short for me - BUT it could be also related to the time in my life that I read it, let me explain.

My professional life right now is beyond crazy so when I got home to read each night I wanted something easy to pick up and put down and this one isn't.  With all the characters that are swapping sides and double agents and guessing what side of the fence they were working on was hard.  I wish there were a little less characters that were questionable, it just seemed like too many.

When I don't love a book, I like to say why because if you are into that thing than this book could be right up your alley.  The big cast of characters was hard for me and having to keep them all straight made the reading experience harder than enjoyable.  If you love a big gang of characters and love to try to keep them all straight - then check this one out.

I definitely would still read another book by this author with my read of this book I am in no way ruling out this author, partly because I semi blame myself for my frustrating read of this one.  


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

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

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Piece of the World
by Christina Baker Kline

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Harper

Goodreads:  "Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden." 

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.


Kritters Thoughts:  What a piece of work!  From beginning to end, I loved how this story unfolded.  Christina Olson tells her story of growing up in a small town in Maine and how her and her family did not quite move with the times and how apparent that is when an artist comes to stay for a few summers and Christina can then see her life and her home through his eyes.

This book starts each section with a title and starts in the "present" time where Andrew Wyeth the artist is living in their home and spending summers making art.  In the middle of this book while reading, I looked Andrew Wyeth and his artwork and read his Wikipedia page, it was interesting to see the truth behind this fictional story.  

Then naturally the book went back in time to Christina's story.  Moving chronologically, it felt as though Christina was telling Andrew and the reader her story and how they got to where they are now.  I loved how Christina told her story and I ached when she ached.  I was completely invested in Christina and really wanted to know where she would end up and hoped that she found satisfaction in the life that was thrown her way.

The way Christina Baker Kline weaves fact and fiction is just spot on.  I love wondering what parts are true and where she stretched it a little.  I will absolutely continue to read her take on historical tales.

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.


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