Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
by Robert Dugoni

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 448
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils, he was called “Devil Boy” by his classmates; “God’s will” is what his mother called his ocular albinism. Her words were of little comfort, but Sam persevered, buoyed by his mother’s devout faith, his father’s practical wisdom, and his two other misfit friends.

Sam believed it was God who sent Ernie Cantwell, the only African American kid in his class, to be the friend he so desperately needed. And that it was God’s idea for Mickie Kennedy to storm into Our Lady of Mercy like a tornado, uprooting every rule Sam had been taught about boys and girls.

Forty years later, Sam, a small-town eye doctor, is no longer certain anything was by design—especially not the tragedy that caused him to turn his back on his friends, his hometown, and the life he’d always known. Running from the pain, eyes closed, served little purpose. Now, as he looks back on his life, Sam embarks on a journey that will take him halfway around the world. This time, his eyes are wide open—bringing into clear view what changed him, defined him, and made him so afraid, until he can finally see what truly matters.




Kritters Thoughts:  After reading this book and describing it to another person, my final statement was - "It's just good solid fiction.  A little bit of drama, a little bit of heart and a great story."  And I stand by that.  This book is just a good solid story.  Sam Hill was born with red eyes and they will define him his entire life.  From grade school to adulthood these feature of his will alter his life decisions and make him become the man he does.  

I loved this great family drama.  Two parents and a son who have strong Catholic beliefs and clear moral standards, this family will deal with the normal ups and downs of life and this book is Sam Hill reflecting on those moments.  Clearly edited so the reader knows the time and place, Sam Hill goes back in time to show how his family adapted and evolved to deal with life.  I loved hearing from Sam Hill's point of view and the way some characters went in and out of his life, it felt real and true to life.  I liked the moments that the author highlighted and how they were both positives and negatives.  

I always like to check out the author's Goodreads page after I finish a book I like and check out if there is more to add to my TBR.  Robert Dugoni has a series, but couldn't see any other stand alones like this one, I would love to read another by him.  I just like his realistic portrayal of life.  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 37 out of 100


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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Season to Lie
by Emily Littlejohn

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 290
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In Emily Littlejohn's follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Inherit the Bones, police officer Gemma Monroe has just returned to work from maternity leave. And what a first day back: a blizzard is blowing into her idyllic Colorado ski town, and while Gemma hopes for a quiet, warm evening in, she knows it will mean plenty of calls out for snow-related accidents. But when an anonymous caller reports seeing a lurker at the local high school, Gemma gets far more than she bargained for. Behind the school building, half covered in a drift of snow, lies the gruesomely murdered body of a world-famous author—whose presence in town was meant to be a secret. 


Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the series and I would absolutely warn you that this is a series where the mystery is self contained in each book but there is character development from book to book and I would say I would absolutely start with book one in this series.  

Gemma Monroe is a new mom and in this book starts after her maternity is ending and she is headed back to do what she does best, detective work in the small Colorado town.  Right as she returns to work there is a dead body and she is off to races.  With her partner Finn, she is having to balance being a new mom, a domestic partner and a detective.  

This mystery was interesting and again it was interweaving in and out of the community and unfolded in just the right pace.  It was so interesting to have it circle around an academy, but not completely focus on the students inside.  And again in this book like in book one there seems to possibly be more than one mystery to be solved and they may affect each other, but maybe not!

I enjoyed book two more than book one and it made me more excited to know that there is more to come!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel 
                          (and one is coming in November)

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

Monday, April 23, 2018

Inherit the Bones
by Emily Littlejohn

Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 322
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Secrets and lies can’t stay buried forever in Cedar Valley.

In the summer, hikers and campers pack the small Colorado town’s meadows and fields. And in the winter, skiers and snowboarders take over the mountains. Season by season, year after year, time passes and the lies, like the aspens and evergreens that surround the town, take root and spread deep.

Now, someone has uncovered the lies, and it is his murder that continues a chain of events that began almost forty years ago. Detective Gemma Monroe’s investigation takes her from the seedy grounds of a traveling circus to the powerful homes of those who would control Cedar Valley’s future.

Six-months pregnant, with a partner she can’t trust and colleagues who know more than they’re saying, Gemma tracks a killer who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets buried.


Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a series, with Detective Gemma Monroe who is pregnant and has already had a life full of tragedy and events now ends up in the middle of a murder investigation that will bring up things from the past.  

The only thing that didn't sit right with me with this book happened mostly in the beginning, but I felt as though I wasn't reading book one, but more like book three or four.  There were times where I felt as though I had missed something and wasn't starting in the beginning with these characters.  I had to check a few times that I was really starting with the first book.  

Beyond that feeling, I loved the story, the characters and the mystery.  The characters - Gemma Monroe is fantastic, I love when a mystery has a woman at the forefront and the men that surrounded her seemed as equals to her and I loved it.  The story and the mystery were so good.  They interwoven with the small town, its history and maybe a few mysteries were happening at the same time.  I loved how the clues were dropped in and how it unfolded.  

I was ready to keep up with Gemma Monroe and see her in the next book and see how here character would change from being pregnant to a mother and how that would affect her as a detective.  


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



Ebook 2018 Challenge: 35 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  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 22, 2018

Another good week in reading, with a few house projects and things going on, I had wished I had more time!
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Maybe I Do by Nicole McLaughlin
Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlin
Inherit the Bones by Emily Littlejohn
A Season to Lie by Emily Littlejohn


Currently Reading:
Daughters of the Winter Queen by Nancy Goldstone
The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

Next on the TBR pile:
Between Earth and Sky by Amanda Skenandore

Friday, April 20, 2018

Maybe This Time
by Nicole McLaughlin

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 300
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Jen Mackenzie has been knocked down more than a few times, but she always gets up and makes sure she has the last word. It’s the reason she now considers herself equal parts self-sufficient and free-spirit. But since losing her job and trying to help her mother beat cancer, real life―and her occasional careless choices―have begun to catch up with her. Her one saving grace: The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s go-to wedding venue. The only catch: One of the owners, TJ Laughlin, happens to be the one man who somehow manages to make Jen feel inadequate.

TJ has secretly had a thing for Jen since high school. Now, as her new boss, it’s a daily struggle between revealing his feelings and wringing her beautiful neck. Only one thing is for certain: he can’t stand idly by and watch the woman he cares for struggle. She may be convinced that accepting TJ’s help is a weakness. But all he sees in Jen is beauty and strength, inside and out. As things finally heat up between them, can TJ find a way to convince Jen that love is about give and take―and having it all, together?


Kritters Thoughts:  The second in a series and as I stated yesterday this is one of those series where you can read the books out of order because each book centers around a different character, but you may loose a little in the character development from book to book.  

This book centers around the main bartender and one of the other owners of the distillery, The Stag.  Jen has been a bartender at The Stag and while she lost her other job teaching theater due to a cut of funding she is able to fill in for their receptionist and this brings her to the Stag for many more hours and she has more chances to interact with that crew.  TJ is one of the other owners and he has known Jen since high school and there are definite positive and negative feelings between them and has been for awhile, but maybe some interesting circumstances could take this more positive or more negative.

I liked the story/plot in this book a little more than book two, but be warned there was a lot more sexy times in this one compared to the first.  I liked the characters and plot more so it didn't affect my reading but again if you try to avoid books with sexy times this may not be the book/series for you.  I loved the push and pull in this book so much - these characters had so much history to work through it was so good.  It reminded me of a relationship of mine and I won't share the details here, but I always love a book so much more when I have a personal pull to the story and the characters.  

I will continue with this series because I love the distillery, the space and the owners.  I am waiting for book three to arrive!


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


Ebook 2018 Challenge: 34 out of 100



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.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Maybe I Do
by Nicole McLaughlin

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 300
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  She doesn’t believe in fairy tales. He is married to his job. Maybe whiskey is the secret ingredient that will bring them together–and give true love a shot.

Wedding photographer Charlotte Linley loves her work –even though she hates weddings. Sure, she still holds a grudge after being left at the altar by her high-school sweetheart. But today Charlotte is just happy to have complete control over her career, which is flourishing. Especially since she joined forces with one of the three gorgeous owners of The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s hottest wedding venue.

Dean Troyer, bitter after the end of his own marriage, knows that Charlotte is the real deal–beautiful, talented, and successful. He may flirt with her every time she comes to The Stag, but Dean is determined to keep his professional distance…particularly now that she’s helping him with his own sister’s wedding. The only problem? The more time Dean spends with Charlotte, the deeper their connection grows. Is this a rom-com cliche’ or could it be that these two jaded souls in the wedding business have finally found their real-life happily ever after?


Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a series that takes place in a distillery and involves the wedding industry and from the start I was hooked!  Charlotte Linley is a wedding photographer and her favorite venue is a distillery that is still fairly new in town and owned by three hunky men!  Charlotte has been photographing for them since the beginning and one of the owners she has had an eye on for a while!  

As with any romance book the reader knows how it will more than likely end from the beginning.  You know the two main characters and you know where the end will be, but the journey and the story are usually completely worth the ride!  And so is the case in this book.  I loved Charlotte Linley she was sweet and nice, but not too perfect - she had some flaws and Dean Troyer, one of the owners, was definitely hunky, but not perfection.  I loved how their story unfolded and this was a hard one to put down.

I say all of these glowing things, but with most romance books I like to talk about the sexy times.  I may be more of a prude when it comes to the amount of sexy times I like in books and this one was definitely blush worthy.  There were a few moments where I would have preferred they shut the door and the imagination take over.  So if you are a reader that avoids those moments in books, I would beware, but I would also say there is enough plot in this book that was oh so good and worth the ride.

I am reviewing the second in the series tomorrow and like a lot of romance novels, the second book focuses on other characters in this town and at the distillery.


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


Ebook 2018 Challenge: 33 out of 100

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hurricane Season
by Lauren K Denton

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
 Pages: 352
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have decided to put life’s disappointments behind them. At least in theory. Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, while Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget the longing for motherhood set deep in her heart. But when Betsy’s free-spirited younger sister Jenna drops her young daughters off at the farm to attend a two-week art retreat in Florida, Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As those two weeks stretch much farther into the hot Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world and revel in a home that’s suddenly filled with the sound of laughter and life. Meanwhile, record heat promises to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She’d once been free to travel and pursue a career in photography, but all that changed with the appearance of two pink lines on a plastic stick and a boyfriend who hit the road. At Halcyon art retreat, she finally has the time and energy to focus on her photography. As the summer continues, she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home with her two children.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims her steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that could affect both her and her children’s futures, and Betsy and Ty find themselves protecting their beloved farm as well as their own hearts.


Kritters Thoughts:  What a perfect family/sister/marriage book.  Two sisters and one of their husbands narrate this book and to add his perspective was just right.  The two sisters in the heart of this story are in their adulthood and one is a single mom of two daughters and hasn't taken the usual path when decisions had to be made.  The older sister always followed "the path", but things haven't been easy and she isn't where she thought she would be at this point in her life.  

I loved the underlining impending storm and the reality of the hurricane hitting this farm, but also the other storms that we can possibly predict and other storms that take a different direction.  I am not a reader who reads completely into symbolism, but the storm in this book worked just right for me.


After reading quite a few books where the drama was over the top and too much, it was so refreshing to read this book where the drama was at just the right pitch.  I loved the way the sister relationship wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, but it also wasn't constant screaming and fighting, it was just right.  

I have read both of Lauren Denton's books and adored both.  I am really close to putting her on my auto read author list!  One more knock out of the park and she will make it on to that list.  You can't go wrong reading this one or her previous - The Hideaway.  

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.

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