Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 528
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: HarperCollins

Goodreads:  1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth matter where it leads.

Kritters Thoughts:  If you have been following me for a bit, you know that I love me some historical fiction and the big reason I love this is because I get to learn something without feeling like learning something.  

Two storylines going on in this story, but this one felt different as neither of the two are present day, one is 1915 and Eve Gardiner is the main character as she is trying to survive a war and finds a purpose for her life working in an interesting spot in the war and the other storyline is 1947 and Eve Gardiner is present, but the main character is Charlie St. Clair and she is trying to find her lost cousin as the war has ended.  

Unlike other two storyline books, the reader knows from the beginning that there is a connection and can assume sort of where the connection lies and I liked that.  I don't mind knowing where the connection is along as there is still some mystery to unfold.  

I feel like I knew ahead of this book that there was a collection of ladies who were spies and helped on both sides of the fence, but to get a story that focused on them and their story was so interesting.  I love reading all the stories that highlight how women were helping with any and all of the wars in any capacity that they were able to.  

I definitely loved this one and was excited to be a part of a live Q&A with the author and found it interesting to see what motivated her to take a step away from what she usually writes and see if she plans on doing more like this.  

Here is the link to a recording of the Q&A:

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.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

On the Plus Side
by Allison Bliss

Publisher: Forever
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads: Big girls don't cry. They go after what they want.

Thanks to her bangin' curves, Valerie Carmichael has always turned heads-with the exception of seriously sexy Logan Mathis. Just Valerie's luck that the object of her lust-filled affection is also best friends with her overprotective brother. But Valerie's determined to get Logan's attention . . . even if it means telling a teeny little lie to get a job at his new bar. 

Logan can't remember a time when Valerie didn't secretly fuel all his hottest fantasies. Now the curvaceous she-devil is working behind his bar, tempting him every damn night. It's only when he finds Valerie's naughty things-to-do list that Logan decides to break every rule in the book-by making each red-hot deed a reality. 

No one warned them that they were going to fall this hard. And no one warned them that sometimes the smallest secrets can have the biggest consequences.

Kritters Thoughts:  The second in a series that centers around Leah's best friend.  If you haven't read book one or my review yesterday, Leah is the center of the first book and her best friend Valerie is the star.  She works in Leah's bakery and has always had an older brother to watch her back and defend her in everything.  Things may get turned upside down when her brother's best friend Logan returns to town for many reasons.

Another romance novel that of course was predictable, but as I always say its ok that you know the destination, the journey is still enjoyable.  Romance books are notoriously made with a formula, but as most romance readers know we are ok with the formula its almost nice to know that we will end with smiles on our face and a happy ending!

I liked this second book better than the first.  As I said yesterday the first focused so much on size and made me uncomfortable, instead Valerie had confidence and was excited to be able to love someone that she had wanted to love for so long.  I loved the ups and downs of the book, the flow was just spot on.  With a smidge less sexy chatter, I felt like this book had a smidge more content, not as much as some romance authors and made me pause, but enough to work better than the first book.

I am on the fence about continuing this series, but thinking I just might to see where it could go.  The second book absolutely saved this one for me, so I hope you will start at book one, but quickly move to book two. 

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 19 out of 50

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.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Size Matters
by Allison Bliss

Publisher: Forever
Pages: 294
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The rules of (fake) engagement . . .

Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she's sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren't enough éclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper - or the fact that he just told her mother that they're engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.

Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah's date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancee! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay "just friends," and make Leah's family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off . But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah's decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren't going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he's for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.

Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a new romance series that I was excited to try.  Not only a new series, but also a new author and by the time I started I was even excited that there were two books to get me into the series.  

I will start by saying the first book was hard for me - from almost the first page I was uncomfortable and not a good uncomfortable by the main character.  Leah the star of this story was the complete opposite of self confident and instead the most self deprecating character I may have ever read and she made me cringe often.  It was weird, it seemed as though she dressed confident about her weight and size but all the words coming out of her mouth were the opposite and I wasn't enjoying her.  There were a few times where I hesitated continuing, but I did.  In the end, the book was fine, but I can say I really enjoyed it because it was the springboard for book two.  (review live tomorrow on book two)

Let me continue to say, I am not a skinny minny lady.  I am average if a little above and a gym goer and working on my own confidence, but the way Leah spoke was hard to read, to be honestly frank if I had read this last summer when I wasn't on the fit journey (not there yet) that I am on, I probably would have put it down faster because I couldn't have handled it.  I want a series about larger main characters to exist, but I am not sure I would have started the series with this character, if she had been book two, I actually think I would have liked her better.  

So start here because there is some back story that will help with book two, but beware you may want to nudge Leah a few times during the book and just quietly roll your eyes at her!  

Side note - the amount of sexy times and sexy talk were above what I usually enjoy in romance.  I am not naive that romance obviously includes romance, but compared to other romance readers that I read often, this one was a little over the top.

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 18 out of 50

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, June 25, 2017

With a fun filled Father's Day, I forgot to post this last week, so this is a combination of two weeks worth of reading.  I am so thankful for the weather that allows for hours by the pool with a book!

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Presidential Conclusions by Douglas J Wood
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
One Wrong Turn by Deanna Lynn Sletten
The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes
The Light in Summer by Mary McNear
Size Matters by Allison Bliss
On the Plus Side by Allison Bliss
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Currently Reading:
The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

Next on the TBR pile:
Until it Fades by KA Tucker

Friday, June 23, 2017

The One that Got Away
by Leigh Himes

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

Goodreads:  Meet Abbey Lahey . . . 

Overworked mom. Underappreciated publicist. Frazzled wife of an out-of-work landscaper. A woman desperately in need of a vacation from life--and who is about to get one, thanks to an unexpected tumble down a Nordstrom escalator.

Meet Abbey van Holt . . . 

The woman whose life Abbey suddenly finds herself inhabiting when she wakes up. Married to handsome congressional candidate Alex van Holt. Living in a lavish penthouse. Wearing ball gowns and being feted by the crème of Philadelphia society. Luxuriating in the kind of fourteen-karat lifestyle she's only read about in the pages of Town & Country.

The woman Abbey might have been . . . if she had said yes to a date with Alex van Holt all those years ago. 

Kritters Thoughts:  Is the grass greener on the other side?  When you get what you have been dreaming of is it how you thought it would be?  There are many stories that tackle these questions and I will never stop enjoying them.  Abbey Lahey is full time mom, full time wife and full time employee and she is barely keeping it together.  She goes to Nordstrom to return a guilty purchase and after a fall she ends up in a life that she could have only imagined, but she may realize that is is so different than she ever thought it was.

I loved this book.  I love a story where if you make one different decision it can send your life down a different path and there are positives and negatives to this new path.   What made this book a little different from the rest is that the character knew of their other life and spent the book comparing the pros and cons of both lives - I like that she was aware that she had another life and could appreciate the difference between them.

I won't spoil a thing but I will say I definitely enjoyed the ending for this book.  I was a little worried about how the author was going to wrap it up and I think she did it just right.

This book has heart, but is still light enough to be a perfect addition to your beach or pool bag.  I loved reading it on the side of my pool over a weekend.

Rating: perfect beach 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.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

One Wrong Turn
by Denna Lynn Sletten

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 204
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The words “I’m her husband” roll off Clay Connors’s tongue, but with his estranged wife lying in a coma—and no assurance that she’ll awaken—he knows he’s perilously close to losing everything. A singular, terrifying accident has left Jess Connors suspended between life and death. Now Clay is reunited with the family he hasn’t seen for two years, including the daughters he left behind.

Clay should have been there for his family. He never should have stayed away so long. The alcohol that took over his life destroyed everything but a shred of his self-preservation. Sober and haunted, Clay revisits the memory of love, marriage, and how his life unraveled. He hopes that by trying to reconnect with the daughter who blames him and the daughter who barely knew him, he can find a light of hope in this darkest hour. As his family faces its most grueling, emotional test yet, Clay must summon the courage to make right what was wrong—and find forgiveness from his harshest judge: himself.

Kritters Thoughts:  Jess Connors takes a wrong turn and she ends up in a tragic accident that results in her in a coma.  Clay Connors must return to his family and take care of his girls and hope for his wife to return to them.  He had to leave his family two years ago to get himself in a right place and find a sober life, he did but didn't return and now he is back and has a lot of amends to make.

One thing I loved about this book is how the glimpses into this couple's past were sprinkled into just the right times.  It was the way to get Jess' voice as in the present she lay in the coma.  

One thing that I didn't love was the repetition of Clay and his alcoholism.  I understand that this could be truthful, but for a story it made the middle to end drag just a little.  When the conclusion happened (no spoilers) I just wanted more pages after that.  I thought that the end was going to happen, but I just wanted more.

So after all this, I would say I definitely want to read another Deanna Lynn Sletten, just need to figure out where to go next.

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 17 out of 50

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from the author.  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, June 21, 2017

This One Summer
by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Publisher: First Second
Pages: 320
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It's a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

Kritters Thoughts:  My first graphic novel read and I will have to say I read this months ago, but wanted to put the review up on the official first day of summer.  

I enjoy that as a graphic novel it read fast, but in the end I felt like I was missing something.  I don't know that I would continue to read them, I might on the side when life is crazy and I need something to read that is quick and easy, but this wouldn't be my go to reading genre.  

I loved the topic of this one.  A summer vacation and girls who are moving out of childhood innocence and into young adulthood.  I am glad this is the first graphic novel I read because I did enjoy the subject and I know that if I read more the subject matter would make a big difference in my enjoyment level.

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

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