Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Collector of Dying Breaths
by MJ Rose

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years RenĂ© le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen's rivals.

But it's RenĂ© other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That's when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene's secret to immortality.

Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.


Kritters Thoughts:  A current story line and a historical line that takes very far back in 1573 as the art of perfume still has some magic to it.  Rene is a perfumer from the court of Catherine de Medici and she asks him to create perfumes for herself and some other concoctions for her to keep her place in the court.  At the same time Jac is a woman who has felt stories from people in the past and is newly mourning the mysterious death of her brother who was a perfumer trying to finish Rene's work.

This book bounced from the past to the present, but with fantastic editing it was easy to know what time and where the story was taking place.  Both stories are woven from the very beginning which I appreciated because there was enough mystery within the story.  The way the stories getting really woven in the end were seamless and fantastic - I loved it.    

I am a fan of MJ Rose and historical fiction, but there were some moments in the middle that moved a little slow for me, would have liked a little pick up in the pace!  If you have read MJ Rose before I would say you should read this 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 Meryl Moss Media.  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, April 21, 2014

Black Chalk
by Christopher J Yates

Publisher: Harvill Secker
Pages: 352
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  One game. Six students. Five survivors.

It was only ever meant to be a game.

A game of consequences, of silly forfeits, childish dares. A game to be played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University. But then the game changed: the stakes grew higher and the dares more personal, more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results.

Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round.


Kritters Thoughts:  6 students who are all freshman at university and they decide to start a game with levels of consequences and as you know from the cover, one student will not make it to the end.

Unfortunately, this book just didn't do it for me and I will tell you why.  For a time, I wasn't sure which of the 6 students was narrating in the present part of the book and I didn't love it.  As far as the format of the book - there are parts being narrated in the present and then the back story being told in chronological order.  There are NO chapters per say and roman numerals all over the place and I couldn't quite get the gist of them.  I would have preferred if in editing there had been something inserted to allow the reader greater ease as to know when it was present and when it was back during the freshman year.  

Having read Panic by Lauren Oliver before I read this one, I spent some time comparing and I enjoyed Panic a little more.  Although the characters were different ages, the overall concept was the same.  

As always, I like to point out which reader would enjoy this book even if I didn't.  I think readers who enjoy books in English universities where the cultural difference between Americans and English is right front and center would love it.  If you love a little mystery and having you as the reader left out of the loop a little, then you would enjoy this one more than I did.

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

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, April 20, 2014


What a great reading week!  A quiet weekend with fantastic weather meant some outside time for me and the dogs in out backyard!  With a May being a crazy travel month, I am hoping to get a few great reading weeks in first!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Monday, Monday by Elizabeth Crook
Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom
For Such a Time by Kate Breslin
Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini
Spin by Catherine McKenzie
Spun by Catherine McKenzie

Currently Reading:
Skinny Bitch Gets Hitched by Kim Barnouin

Next on the TBR pile:
Worth the Weight by Eileen Palma

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Other Typist
by Suzanne Rindell

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 356
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  New York City, 1924: the height of Prohibition and the whole city swims in bathtub gin.

Rose Baker is an orphaned young woman working for her bread as a typist in a police precinct on the lower East Side. Every day Rose transcribes the confessions of the gangsters and murderers that pass through the precinct. While she may disapprove of the details, she prides herself on typing up the goriest of crimes without batting an eyelid.

But when the captivating Odalie begins work at the precinct Rose finds herself falling under the new typist's spell. As do her bosses, the buttoned up Lieutenant Detective and the fatherly Sergeant. As the two girls' friendship blossoms and they flit between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night, and their work at the precinct by day, it is not long before Rose's fascination for her new colleague turns to obsession.

But just who is the real Odalie, and how far will Rose go to find out?


Kritters Thoughts:  A historical fiction with a little bit of an eerie thriller twist.  Rose is telling the story from the future and it is obvious that from the start the story is going to go downhill at some point, but the reader just doesn't know when, where and why.  The who part is easy - it is clear that the new typist Odalie will be involved in some way.

Rose was a great character and as a narrator I enjoyed the way the story was presented.  It made it interesting to hear her tell the story from the future with her thoughts added in for good measure.  I also enjoyed the concentration on prohibition - I don't think I have read many books that focused on the time period in this way with a look at this very big subject matter.  A fun side note, I am a police officer's wife and I loved reading about the inner workings of an older time in a police office.

I enjoyed this one, but didn't love it.  I think I have read quite a bit of historical fiction mainly set in New York and as I have read them all recently, I compare them and this one didn't live up to the others, but was still good in its own right.  At times I felt like the pacing slowed down in the middle and then just went crazy fast at the end, so maybe I would have ranked it higher if the pacing was more even.

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 Penguin.  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, April 17, 2014

Up at Butternut Lake
by Mary McNear

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  It's been ten years since Allie Beckett crossed the threshold of her family cabin at Butternut Lake, Minnesota. Now, newly widowed after the death of her husband in Afghanistan, she's returned with her five-year-old son.

There, she reconnects with the friends she had in childhood-best girlfriend Jax, now married with three kids and one on the way, and Caroline, owner of the local coffee shop. What Allie doesn't count on is a newcomer to Butternut Lake, Walker Ford. 

Up at Butternut Lake follows these four unforgettable characters across a single summer as they struggle with love, loss, and what it means to take risks, confront fears, and embrace life, in all of its excitement and unpredictability.

Allie Beckett could never have imagined, when she ran away from her old life, that she was running into a whole new life, up at the lake…


Kritters Thoughts:  Allie is a young mother who has been widowed due to war and is trying to make a new home for her and her son without the memories that linger in their previous hometown.  She returns to a lake house from her childhood where there are a few people who knew her before this most recent tragedy in her life.  

The minor characters had a story of their own which added to the story, but didn't distract.  The owner of the local diner is a recent empty nester and is really feeling the loneliness without her daughter at home.  Jax is a mom of three with the fourth on the way and has kept a secret from her husband and she must confront this to move her marriage forward.  I enjoyed having these full stories settle within Allie's story.

The one thing that really stuck out with me with this book was the effects that our military families are having as their loved ones are leaving and possibly not coming home again.  At the beginning of this book, I was surprised as to the length of time she had lived without her husband, but the author really helped me realize the length of time it can take for a family to start the processing of finding a new normal.

A predictable romance that didn't surprise me, even when I wanted it to!  I just wanted a twist or a turn that made me excited for the conclusion - the book ended exactly how I thought it would after reading the very beginning.

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

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, April 16, 2014

Silence the Dead
by Simone St. James

Publisher: NAL Trade
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In 1919, Kitty Weekes, pretty, resourceful, and on the run, falsifies her background to obtain a nursing position at Portis House, a remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War. Hiding the shame of their mental instability in what was once a magnificent private estate, the patients suffer from nervous attacks and tormenting dreams. But something more is going on at Portis House—its plaster is crumbling, its plumbing makes eerie noises, and strange breaths of cold waft through the empty rooms. It’s known that the former occupants left abruptly, but where did they go? And why do the patients all seem to share the same nightmare, one so horrific that they dare not speak of it?

Kitty finds a dangerous ally in Jack Yates, an inmate who may be a war hero, a madman… or maybe both. But even as Kitty and Jack create a secret, intimate alliance to uncover the truth, disturbing revelations suggest the presence of powerful spectral forces. And when a medical catastrophe leaves them even more isolated, they must battle the menace on their own, caught in the heart of a mystery that could destroy them both.



Kritters Thoughts:  Historical fiction with ghosts, crazy PTSD soldiers and all in a home that is completely isolated from the world.  Kitty is a woman who has been running from a past for a very long time and she ends up in this historical home that has been converted into a mental hospital working as a nurse without the proper qualifications.  She learns that the past doesn't always stay in the past both the past of the occupants of the home and those in her personal past.  

I am a historical fiction fan and I liked this one, but I wish there was a little more to the story of the previous inhabitants of the house.  Once their part of the story started to unfold it was then done; I think it could have been woven a little more throughout the entire story.  I completely enjoyed that the house was almost a full character on its own - the author described this house to such detail that I felt I was there.  

If you like historical fiction with a dash of ghosts then you would love this 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 Penguin.  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, April 15, 2014

On Grace by Susie Schnall

Publisher: SparkPress
Pages: 274
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  
Grace May is actually excited about turning forty in a few months. Now that her boys are both in school and she has a stimulating new writing job, the next chapter in her life can finally begin. She can't wait to rediscover the intelligent woman buried under the layers of mother and wife. But when Grace suddenly loses her job and receives unexpected news, she stands to lose everything: her marriage, her best friend, and her sense of self. By her fortieth birthday party, Grace will realize who and what matter most. With laughter. With tears. With grace.


Kritters Thoughts:  Grace is about to turn 40 and is feeling the effects of the big birthday.  She is trying to find herself and her new role as her children are leaving for their first years in school and don't necessary need her as much anymore.  I loved having a different age character trying to find her place in this new set of circumstances.

Although this book deals with some hard topics, I think the author did a fantastic job of keeping it authentic and real, but not too much of a downer!  I fell in love with this character and it was easy to want to follow her journey through it all.  The minor characters were full and just as enjoyable as Grace; which I think is key when they have such an impact on the journey of the main character.

So I have decided to put this book into a new sub genre of women's fiction that I am calling Coming of Age Later in Life!  I wish there were more books that took this approach with this age group of main characters because I felt it was a good view of how life can throw you a curve ball at any age.


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

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 20 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.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
 

Copyright 2010 Kritters Ramblings.

Theme by WordpressCenter.com.
Blogger Template by Beta Templates.