Friday, April 29, 2016

A Brilliant Death
by Robin Yocum

Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Pages: 275
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Amanda Baron died in a boating accident on the Ohio River in 1953. Or, did she? While it was generally accepted that she had died when a coal barge rammed the pleasure boat she was sharing with her lover, her body was never found. 
Travis Baron was an infant when his mother disappeared. After the accident and the subsequent publicity, Travis’s father scoured the house of all evidence that Amanda Baron had ever lived, and her name was never to be uttered around him. Now in high school, Travis yearns to know more about his mother. With the help of his best friend, Mitch Malone, Travis begins a search for the truth about the mother he never knew. The two boys find an unlikely ally: an alcoholic former detective who served time for falsifying evidence. Although his reputation is in tatters, the information the detective provides about the death of Amanda Baron is indisputable—and dangerous.
Nearly two decades after her death, Travis and Mitch piece together a puzzle lost to the dark waters of the Ohio River. They know how Amanda Baron died, and why. Now what do they do with the information?

Kritters Thoughts:  Travis and Mitchell are best friends.  Although this book is completely about Travis and his life, Mitchell his best friend narrates the story and can tell the whole story because he was by his side the entire time.  The story is their investigation into Travis' mother's death that happened when Travis was just 5 months old and his father has never wanted to talk about it, so he must do some major investigative work to find out the ultimate truth.

This was such a different story for me because of how it was told.  The first two or three chapters I may have read through 2 times and took notes, just because I wanted to make sure I knew who belonged to whom and how.  Once I got through the first three ish chapters, the rest flew by and there was no way to put it down!  I liked how Mitchell told the story and he tells you why he decides now is the time to tell the story - it made the book feel even more real.  

I read a lot of mystery thrillers and sometimes I feel like they all mesh together and follow the same path - this one was different.  The set up, the plot, the characters - it all just worked right.  I am intrigued to read another Robin Yocum - has anyone read any of his other books?  Where should I go 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 Promethus 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, April 28, 2016

Where We Fall
by Rochelle B Weinstein

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 291
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  By all accounts, Abby Holden has it all. She’s the mother of a beautiful teenager and the wife of a beloved high school football coach. And all it took to achieve her charmed life was her greatest act of betrayal.

Coach Ryan can coax his team to victory, but he can’t seem to make his wife, Abby, happy. Her struggles with depression have marred their marriage and taken a toll on their daughter, Juliana. Although this isn’t the life he’s dreamed of, he’s determined to heal the rifts in his family.

Chasing waterfalls and documenting their beauty has led photographer Lauren Sheppard all around the world. Now it has brought her back home to the mountains of North Carolina—back to the scene of her devastating heartbreak.

For the first time in seventeen years, a trio of once-inseparable friends find themselves confronting past loves, hurts, and the rapid rush of a current that still pulls them together.…

Kritters Thoughts:  Abby Holden is a mother and wife, but she has been battling a secret that could tear apart her seemingly perfect life, but the secret is also tearing apart her.  She must let this secret out and see where her world is after to get better.  This book is told through her point of view, and her daughter, her husband and a college friend - all of them will be affected when the truth is released.

I have critiqued quite a few books on how they handle mental illness and a few people on Amazon have written some nasty remarks.  I don't personally battle with mental illness, but I know what it looks like and even in fiction my wish is for books to portray things as honestly as possible - at least contemporary fiction, fantasy is a different story!  This book felt real and honest and as the character enters a home to battle her brain to find out how to live a full life, this book made me really love how the author wrote her.  

Rochelle Weinstein has written two previous books, have any of you read them?  I am intrigued by What We Leave Behind and just may have to add it to the TBR pile!

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, April 27, 2016

1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she's never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret -- a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for.

Many years before, her mother's hard-won dreams of staking her family's claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother's buried past.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.

​Buy the book:   Amazon  ~   Barnes & Noble  ~   Kobo  ~  Chapters  ~  Books-a-Million  ~   Book Depository   ~  iBooks

Author's Bio:

Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women's fiction for St. Martin's Press (Scent of Triumph, The Winemakers), contemporary women's fiction (Flawless, Beauty Mark, Runway), and nonfiction books (Vintage Perfumes, Fabulous Fragrances). Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details.

The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. She likes to talk to readers at and on social media. She lives in southern California and loves lattes and iced coffee, anything chocolate, and Whole Foods Double Green smoothies to balance it all out.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Pinterest   Facebook   Instagram

Thank you to Italy Book Tours for the opportunity to spotlight this book!  I can't wait to read it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Modern Girls
by Jennifer S Brown

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

Goodreads:  How was it that out of all the girls in the office, I was the one to find myself in this situation? This didn’t happen to nice Jewish girls.

In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in a family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options.

After the birth of five children—and twenty years as a housewife—Dottie’s immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she, too, is pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith.

As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never again be the same….

Kritters Thoughts:  Two women, a mother and a daughter, both find themselves pregnant and both are not happy about it.  One is a single woman with a lot of ahead of her and the mother has had her share of children and is ready for the next stage in her life and a baby isn't in her definition of the future.  

I loved seeing a mother and daughter dealing with the same "issue" and see how each solves it.  It was interesting to read a mother daughter relationship when they are both in a similar boat.  I also loved that both mother and daughter were given the opportunity to tell their story from their own eyes - I LOVE a dual narrative!  

Taking in mind that this is historical fiction at a time when women were nothing without a man "to take care of them", this book would have been so different if it took place now.  I am glad it is historical and also includes the heritage piece that as a Jew living in New York in this time was also hard.  I wonder how differently this book could be if the characters came from a different country or a different religion - would they have come about their pregnancies with different viewpoints?  My answer - I am not sure because although in this book their being Jewish was significant, I think all women at their specific ages would have reacted to the pregnancies in the same way and may have "solved" them in the same way.  Something to think about!

This was a fantastic book from a debut author and I would have to say, and maybe prematurely, that Jennifer S Brown could go on my auto buy after this one!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley NAL.  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 25, 2016

by Meghann Foye

Publisher: Mira
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Not quite knocked up… 

Like everyone in New York media, editor Liz Buckley runs on cupcakes, caffeine and cocktails. But at thirty-one, she's plateaued at Paddy Cakes, a glossy baby magazine that flogs thousand-dollar strollers to entitled, hypercompetitive spawn-havers. 

Liz has spent years working a gazillion hours a week picking up the slack for coworkers with kids, and she's tired of it. So one day when her stress-related nausea is mistaken for morning sickness by her bosses—boom! Liz is promoted to the mommy track. She decides to run with it and plans to use her paid time off to figure out her life: work, love and otherwise. It'll be her "meternity" leave. 

By day, Liz rocks a foam-rubber belly under fab maternity outfits. By night, she dumps the bump for karaoke nights and boozy dinners out. But how long can she keep up her charade…and hide it from the guy who might just be The One? 

As her "due date" approaches, Liz is exhausted—and exhilarated—by the ruse, the guilt and the feelings brought on by a totally fictional belly-tenant…about happiness, success, family and the nature of love.

Kritters Thoughts:  Liz is a single woman in her 30s and has watched her peers go down the mommy lane and she has watched them take maternity leave and has been left behind to pick up the pieces they leave while on "vacation."  Through a coincidence some co workers think that Liz is pregnant and she decides to go with it and instead of a maternity she will take a meternity and some time for herself!

I loved this plot.  If you are new here, I am happily married with three dogs and may not go down the kid route.  I see at my job folks go down the kid road and take maternity leave, BUT I am well aware that maternity is not a vacation and then the balance of work and home life is crazy.  SO I loved this book as it was a different plot that I had never read before.  I loved the honesty in the whole story.

For me this book seemed different from the beginning and I liked that it fit in the chick lit/women's fiction genre, but it was different!  If you feel like you have read all of it in this genre, try this one as it has just a little something extra.

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 Mira.  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 24, 2016

I may have missed the readathon on Saturday for a baseball game and some outdoor dining with family, but I made up for it with my own readathon by curling up Sunday for a full day of reading!

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Modern Girls by Jennifer S Brown
A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum
Where We Fall by Rochelle B Weinstein
Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta
Ten Rules for a Call Girl by Allison Leotta

Currently Reading:
Discretion by Allison Leotta

Next on the TBR pile:
Speak of the Devil by Allison Leotta

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Summer of Me
by Angela Benson

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  As a single mother, Destiny makes sacrifices for her children—including saying goodbye for the summer so they can spend time with their father and stepmother. Though she’ll miss them with all her heart, the time alone gives her an opportunity to address her own needs, like finish getting her college degree. But Destiny’s friends think her summer should include some romance.

Destiny doesn’t want to be set up…until she meets Daniel.  The handsome, warm and charming pastor soon sweeps Destiny off her feet. But is romance what she really wants? Or needs?

As the days pass, Destiny will make new discoveries—about herself, the man she’s fallen for, and the people around her. And she’ll face challenging choices.  But most of all, she’ll grow in ways she never imagined, learning unexpected lessons about trust, forgiveness, and the price of motherhood…and truly become the woman she wants to be.

Kritters Thoughts:  Destiny must spend a summer without her twins as they adventure with their father and his new wife.  Destiny is challenged by her mom and friends to make use of this summer and do all the things that she can't while trying to be a single mom.  

The writing of this book felt elementary and because of that for me it didn't flow well.  It felt staccato and I wanted more depth in the sentences.  I think if you are a reader who doesn't read as much as I do, you may enjoy this one more.  I think because I read so much, I may have some expectations in the writing in each book I read.  

I did love the plot and loved reading a story of a woman who at a young age entered motherhood without a partner and putting herself to the side and gets a summer to try to put herself first.  

Have any of you read Angela Benson and this one?  Should I read another, which would you suggest?

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.
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