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

Siracusa
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.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Knoll: The Last JFK Conspiracist
by Stephen Hillard

Publisher: SelectBooks
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A young protégé of Edward Snowden flees the NSA after she learns that her project (KNOLL) is designed to detect and destroy any person with new facts about the conspiracy to assassinate JFK. The project’s latest target: a small-town attorney, son of a mysteriously murdered cop, who has just discovered his family’s involvement with deceased Mafia Kingpin Carlos Marcello, and the events that day in Dallas. All paths lead to a small Louisiana town that still hides its secrets, and converge on the doorstep of Marcello’s still-active savant of assassins. He is unstoppable. His creed: Omerta Is Forever.


Kritters Thoughts:  I think most historical fiction fans love to read books across all times, so although I don't read a ton in this time and place, I enjoyed diving in for one book.  

The thing for me that made me not completely love this book was the writing itself.  It just felt short and choppy.  There was something missing in the flow of the book and it made it hard to read.  I liked the inclusion or nod to Edward Snowden and loved the idea of leaks being incorporated into a conspiracy novel, but the overall flow of the book didn't work for me.

I saw all the above, but have to say that I adored the concept.  There were many times during the book where I was like "could this be real!"  I wanted the author to say YEP and this is how it all went down.  I loved my idea of the truth being challenged - I may have to read more of this conspiracy theory soon.

I would like to try another by this author.  I would be hesitant to recommend this one to a reader that has a hard time getting into and staying in books.  If you are a history fan or a JFK fan than this book is right up your alley.



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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from FSB Associates.  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 14, 2017

Presidential Conclusions
by Douglas J Wood

Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 344
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Ripped once again from today’s headlines, Presidential Conclusions is a political thriller with unpredictable twists as the inspiring heroine and her rise to the nation’s highest office presents readers with hard decisions on what today’s politician must do and endure to leave their mark in American history. 

America sustains a concerted and devastating series of terrorist attacks, casting the country into chaos, prejudice and fear. Sam needs to find a way of establishing calm and hope. Through a series of moves that allies her with surprising allies, Sam tries her best to reunite the country and bring justice to the murderers who killed thousands of innocent souls. Sam knows she can’t do it all alone, but what compromises is she willing to make? What compromises must every President make to lead this nation? The answers paint a moral story of profound impact. 


Kritters Thoughts:  The third and I think final in the series, and like I said yesterday, if you don't want to be spoiled please stop where you are, but I am definitely going to spoil some things!

First before I really spoil, I haven't mentioned this in previous reviews but I loved how each chapter started with an expert of a speech that Sam made in campaigning or elsewhere.  This third book is different.  The beginnings of the chapters start with experts of speeches made by real people and I assumed that they were all honest experts from real speeches.  It was so interesting how speeches from the past both past past and recent past fit into what was happening in this book that took place in the future.

Now, I loved reading this book with Sam as the President.  I loved seeing her take control of the highest office and seeing where she was going to take the country.  There were times I was sad that her presidency was surrounded by devastation from terror organizations.

Minor but had to note, in this third novel there were moments where the author was recapping events in the past two books so if a reader was just picking up this one they didn't feel left out - I understand the reason for it, but it made for some awkward moments where I was skipping over some paragraphs. 

The other thing that was minor and a little disappointing but not enough to make me unlike the book.  Sam Harrison wasn't in this book as much as the other two.  The other two revolved around her and her decisions, this one focused very closely on terrorism, terrorists and her team as they were trying to rid the world of them.

This was a great series, I would absolutely recommend it to all sorts of readers.  Readers who love political dramas will especially love this one, but if you tend to skip those, try this one, it was a good one!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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

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