Friday, May 26, 2017

by Anders de la Motte

Publisher: Atria
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  David Sarac of the Stockholm Police Force’s Intelligence Unit, weeks after his violent encounter with the enigmatic high-level informant, Janus, is recuperating from his gunshot wounds. While the hunt for the elusive Janus has ended, the secrets and lies linger. The mysteries of that night deepen when David’s nurse slips him an anonymous letter; the writer wants to swap secrets with David to bring someone powerful to justice after a betrayal at the Janus shoot-out. David’s only clues are two photos enclosed with the letter: a snapshot of a happy family and another of a dead woman sprawled over the hood of a car…

Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the series and if you haven't checked out my review of book one scroll down to see what I thought of book one.

If you haven't read book two, I may be spoilierie in this review, so don't continue on unless you are ok to be spoiled or have read book one.  

This book continues close to the finish of book one.  Spoiler - David is alive at the end of book one, but his fate isn't fantastic when book two begins.  

This book's mysteries didn't flip and flop as much as book two, I was more confident in my knowing all the things later in the book but knew that I knew what I knew!  I liked this much better in this book.  

I also loved the main character more in this book.  I loved Julia and loved how she was a little naive and novice and was learning the politics of the department while trying to figure out the who dun it.  

The other thing that I appreciated more in this book was the family drama and how much family and work drama meshed and there was no line in this story.  I love the politics of politics and how family dynasty and politics can go hand in hand.

I don't know if there is going to be a book three in this series, I am on the fence as to if I would read it, but I definitely liked book two more.  

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 10 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.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

by Anders de la Motte

Publisher: Atria
Pages: 448
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  David Sarac is a handler at the Intelligence Unit of the Stockholm Police Force, identifying, recruiting, and wrangling anyone who can support the police in their battle against organized crime. And David is very good at what he does: manipulation, bribes, and threats—anything goes, so long as he delivers. Other agents can do nothing but watch jealously as his top-secret, high-level informant, Janus, rockets David to success.

But after David suffers a stroke during a high-speed car chase, crashing violently into the wall of a tunnel, he wakes up in a hospital with no memory at all of Janus or the past two years of his life. David only knows that he has to reconnect with Janus to protect himself and his informants before outside forces bring the whole network crashing down. Fortunately, he has his supportive friends and colleagues to help him rebuild his life…or does he?

Kritters Thoughts:  Let me start by saying, I love Swedish mystery/thrillers.  I love this defined sub-genre, so when starting this book I was beyond excited.  Unfortunately this one didn't live up to the other Swedish mystery/thrillers I have read.  For me, this book had a little too much police procedural and less of the gory crazy drama that I love when it comes to Swedish mystery/thrillers.  Don't get me wrong there are dead bodies, but I felt like the body count was low and it was more about the hunt for the truth.  

I say all of this to say this book was fine.  I went into it wanting something very particular and it didn't do it, but it was fine if you like the detective work of other books.  

I liked that the air of mystery through the eyes of David Sarac with the book beginning as he has a major car accident which takes away a lot of his mind and memories.  It was interesting to read chapters through his eyes and discover the clues with him and know from the beginning that he was a semi unreliable character but only because of his injury.  
This book made me question myself and my answers to the questions often.  I flipped and flopped back and forth and I didn't love that I was flipping and flopping.  I was correct in the end, but it was frustrating to get major clues that made you as the reader doubt yourself.

Tomorrow I will review the second book in this series, so come back to check out if book two redeemed the things that I didn't love from book one.

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 9 out of 50

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Another great week of reading!  I also started a gym habit this week, fingers crossed that I can keep it up, here is to healthy living.
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Memorandum by Anders de la Motte
Ultimatum by Anders de la Motte
The Cottage Next Door by Georgia Bockoven

Currently Reading:
The Beach House: Coming Home by Georgia Bockoven

Next on the TBR pile:
All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg

Friday, May 19, 2017

Allie and Bea
by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 350
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Bea has barely been scraping by since her husband died. After falling for a telephone scam, she loses everything and is forced to abandon her trailer. With only two-thirds of a tank in her old van, she heads toward the Pacific Ocean with her cat—on a mission to reclaim what’s rightfully hers, even if it means making others pay for what she lost.

When fifteen-year-old Allie’s parents are jailed for tax fraud, she’s sent to a group home. But when her life is threatened by another resident, she knows she has to get out. She escapes only to find she has nowhere to go—until fate throws Allie in Bea’s path.

Reluctant to trust each other, much less become friends, the two warily make their way up the Pacific Coast. Yet as their hearts open to friendship and love from the strangers they meet on their journey, they find the courage to forge their own unique family—and begin to see an imperfect world with new eyes.

Kritters Thoughts:  Two people who are basically polar opposites end up in a car together with no plan and no agenda.  Bea has lost everything from a scam and decides to get in her van and drive away.  Allie has lost everything because of her parents and their issues, she "runs" into Bea and together they will repair each other and carve a new path.

I am not spoiling things by revealing this is a road trip book, it is the synopsis, but I guess I didn't read the synopsis before reading the book, I was pleasantly surprised.  I loved how these two characters ended up together and how they challenged each other.  It was different from the rest of the books I have read recently.  Be warned that once you start this one, it is hard to set down as each page has a new piece of their adventure.

I am a genuine fan of Catherine Ryan Hyde and although I have read quite a few of her books, I haven't read them all.  Have you read any?  Which book should I pick up next?

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 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.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Same Beach, Next Year
by Dorothea Benton Frank

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

Goodreads:  One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives.

A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own.

Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.

Kritters Thoughts:  Dorothea Benton Frank is one of those authors when pitched their book by anyone I don't read the synopsis, I just say YES!  I picked this book up and by the first few chapters I was nervous this was going down a road I wouldn't enjoy - cheating couples and such, without spoiling TOO much there may be a little of it, but it by no means was as much as I thought it could be.  

So let me back up a little.  There are two couples and a man and woman from each couple have a little bit in their past, their high school days, but happen at the same vacation spot with kids in tow and from there their lives take a turn.  I love how they come and go out of each other's lives but clearly make an impact.  

The epilogue just sealed the book with a great bow, not a nice and pretty bow and there is room for another book to follow (please!), but a great bow that made me really end the book with a smile on my face knowing where these two couples were headed next.

I love her writing.  I love her setting.  I love her characters.  Dorothea Benton Frank can just do a great book.  I will still continue to say yes to reviewing her books without a synopsis in hand.

A special shout out that is semi unrelated to my thoughts on the book, the daughter of one of the couples headed to Elon for her college education and it was just fun to see my alma mater show up in a book!

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 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, May 17, 2017

The Illusionist's Apprentice
by Kristy Cambron

Publisher: HarperCollins Christian
Pages: 356
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. 

Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.

Kritters Thoughts:  In this fictional tale, Harry Houdini took on a young girl as an apprentice after seeing her talent on the street.  He taught her all the things he knew and many in the illusionist circle coveted her close relationship to him.  She has also has secrets from her past that she is trying to keep out of the spotlight and all of these things are going to come to a head in this book.

I loved the deep dive into the world of illusion.  Wren Lockhart was a great character to follow into this world and I like the point at which this book started and stopped.  I would characterize this book as part historical fiction part mystery/thriller.  If you tend to skip out on the historical fiction the angsty mystery/thriller part may thrill you enough to forget that this is a historical fiction book!  To say the twists and turns were great is an understatement, I had a few moments where I may have said "Oh No" OUT LOUD, but they were perfectly timed and not completely from left field which at times can be frustrating.

This was my first Kristy Cambron read and I may have to look into her backlist to add to my TBR.

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 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, May 16, 2017

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence
by Alyssa Palombo

Publisher: St Martin's
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence―most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici―become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

Kritters Thoughts:  Another historical fiction book that completely took me into this place and time and I loved every minute of it.  The Birth of Venus is a famous painting, I would be surprised to hear of anyone who can't bring a picture of it up in their minds and to read a story inspired by the inspiration of the painting was so interesting.  To read of the drama that went behind that painting made me appreciate that painting more and maybe even made me want to find more stories about the creation of other paintings and how they came to be.  

As with all great historical fiction books, I was googling mid way through the book.  I wanted to see how close to the truth this book was and I loved how close it was to the truth.  I loved that I could finish reading this book and have new knowledge about how this painting may have come to life.  

I love how Alyssa Palombo writes.  The characters, setting and time all feel cohesive and honest.  Everything works together to make a great story.  I think part of the added help is that there is truth backing up the story as a perfect foundation.

I have read both of Alyssa Palmombo's books and loved them both.  I hope she has more to come.

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 St Martin's Press.  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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