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

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Kritters Thoughts:  Evelyn Hugo is the actress of the century and she has picked a junior journalist to entrust her story to and the question throughout is why. . . 

Sometimes and especially this time I loved knowing that there was a secret harboring underneath and the way Taylor Jenkins Reid unfolded a great story while still holding on to that one nugget was just right.  I liked that she didn't continue to remind you that she was holding something from you, she just continued the story knowing that you were wondering in the background.

So Evelyn Hugo - WHAT a character!  I loved how this story unfolded through Evelyn telling Monique her story through the husbands.  There were many times I wondered are the headlines we read now honest and truthful and are the celebrity relationships for business reasons or personal?  I like taking peaks behind the curtain and maybe seeing a new truth.

I was already a Taylor Jenkins Reid fan before this book and afterwards still!  Each of her books has a completely different storyline and make up so each book is perfectly unique.

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 16 out of 50

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

by Delia Ephron

Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Pages: 304
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine—Finn; his wife, Taylor; and their daughter, Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” Told Rashomon-style in alternating points of view, the characters expose and stumble upon lies and infidelities, past and present. Snow, ten years old and precociously drawn into a far more adult drama, becomes the catalyst for catastrophe as the novel explores collusion and betrayal in marriage. Set on the sun-drenched coast of the Ionian Sea, Siracusa unfolds with the pacing of a psychological thriller and delivers an unexpected final act that none will see coming.

Kritters Thoughts:  Two couples and one daughter head to Italy to vacation and maybe they shouldn't have left home.  The reader and maybe both couples know that this trip is doomed from the start, yet they go and of course drama ensues.

Before I dive into my thoughts, let me say that I had extremely high hopes for this book.  It had been buzzed about for awhile and it was on the list of books that I was over the moon to get a chance to review, so maybe my hopes and expectations were a little above what they should have been and it could have impacted my reading.

Let me start by saying, I love drama and I love my books to have drama, but I also love for things to move along and that is where I felt this book lacked.  The drama was a little over the top, but fine, but my goodness I felt like we were dragging from one chapter to the next.  The bulk of the plot for me was in the last 50-75 pages, it took way too long to get there and I didn't need that much build up!

I wanted more for this book.  There characters were fine, the setting was great, but I wanted more action.  

This is my first experience with Delia Ephron, have you read anything by her?  Should I try something else?

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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Blue Rider Press and Plume.  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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