Tuesday, July 22, 2014

After I Do
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 352
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

Kritters Thoughts:  My first Taylor Jenkins Reid and after hearing all the praise, I was so excited to read this one!  With a premise that I may have shied away from due to the subject matter - I am not usually one for negative relationship storylines, but I had to give this author a try.  

The set up for the book was fantastic.  The first chapter was a present day snapshot of their marriage in the middle of a speed bump and then the author takes you back in time to when they met, through their dating courtship and into the early moments of the marriage.  I loved the rewind to get the reader up to speed.  Then the real drama of the story began and I loved the honesty.  The characters felt like they were based off people in real life - I even laughed at some of the things they did and said because I could see myself doing those things.

I am officially a Taylor Jenkins Reid fan and will definitely be looking for her previous book and upcoming books.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 43 out of 100

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Left by Tamar Ossowski

Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Therese Wolley is a mother who has made a promise. She works as a secretary, shops for groceries on Saturdays, and takes care of her two girls. She doesn’t dwell on the fact that her girls are fatherless, mostly because her own father abandoned her before she was born and she has done just fine without him.  Even though her older daughter regularly wakes with nightmares and her younger one whispers letters under her breath, she doesn’t shift from her resolve that everything will be fine. She promises . . . and they believe.

Until the morning an obituary in the newspaper changes everything. Therese immediately knows what she has to do. She cannot delay what she has planned, and she cannot find the words to explain her heartbreaking decision to her daughters. She considers her responsibilities, her girls, and her promise. Then she does the only thing that any real mother would do. She goes on the run with one daughter . . . and abandons the other.

Kritters Thoughts:  Two little girls have known the company of only each other and right into this book they must learn to live without the other as a safeguard.  Through the story you learn the real story about how they became sisters.

Told through three different characters points of view - the mother, Therese; the older daughter, Matilda; and the young daughter Franny - they each contribute an unique view into the story of these women.  Therese's story is told straight from the past and gives the reader the background knowledge they need, while both Franny and Matilda are telling the current story of their separation and how each are coping without the other.  

Unfortunately the men in this book did not get a good deal - they were all told in a pretty negative light and each had issues keeping it together.  I think I would have enjoyed at least one male character showing how to be a respectable family man, would have balanced out the negativity from the rest of the men folk.  

This book was different and interesting, although definitely hard to read.  There were a few times where I wish Therese had told more of the past and maybe didn't keep me guessing as much!

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

Ebook 2014  Challenge: 12 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Edelweiss.  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, July 20, 2014

I feel like a broken record, but it was a crazy week of work - its the retreat time of the year and with 325 attendees, organization is ridiculous!  But after a crazy week of work, I checked out over the weekend and just read!  I was inspired to read with all of the booktubeathon things on twitter, it was fun to be on the sidelines for it.

Do you have a booktube channel?  I started one but life got crazy and that is what I had to drop.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault
Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele
Serenade by Emily Kiebel
The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

Currently Reading:
Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown

Next on the TBR pile:
Best Supporting Role by Sue Margolis
Gravel on the Side of the Road by Kris Raddish

Friday, July 18, 2014

by Denise R. Stephenson

Publisher: Mill City Press
Pages: 396
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  "Isolation" depicts a bleak but recognizable future in which the fear of contagion reaches a fever pitch as a bacterial epidemic catapults the US into an apocalyptic crisis. Touch is outlawed. Mothers like Maggie bind their infants' hands, terrified they might slip fingers into mouths. Gary, a Sterilizer, uses robots to scour the infected, avoiding all contact with human flesh. Trevor, the Chief Enforcer, watches, eager to report any and all infractions. One inadvertent touch will change all of their lives.

Kritters Thoughts:  A medical and political thriller all rolled up in one tight book.  Broken into three different sections with the first being the onset of the "disease", the second being the government trying to figure out the plan to control the "disease" and the final part is the community living with the actions that were taken.  I loved the clear distinctions in the book and the feel were each unique and added to that part in time in this world.  

I am not a huge medical fan, but the dystopian esque feel of the book combined with politics and humanity were spot on.  The medical/disease wasn't so scientific which helped!  I appreciated the author swirling all the elements together and she made quite the book.  

The one thing that made me giggle when I was reading this book was their focus on how germs were passed by touching the face - I found myself touching myself very very often while reading this one!

This book left in a good spot for a follow-up, but I can't seem to find it, anyone know if we have another one coming?

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 Premier Virtual 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, July 17, 2014

Elly in Love
by Colleen Oakes

Publisher: SparkPress
Pages: 285
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Curvy wedding florist Elly Jordan has had quite a year. First, she had to design her ex-husband’s wedding to the mistress who split them up, and then she broke up with the hottest musician this side of St. Louis. Three months have passed since then, and now Elly is primed for what promises to be the best wedding season of her life.

Helped by her loyal friends, Elly is on the verge of opening a chic flower boutique uptown when BlissBride, a popular wedding reality show, asks her to design the wedding of a famous—make that infamous--celebrity. Elly is about to get everything she’s ever wanted, when a stranger shows up at her store with a request that changes every aspect of her life--including her budding relationship with deli owner Keith. As she struggles to stay calm in the midst of growing chaos, Elly will learn the true meaning of love and sacrifice. 

Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the Elly series and I loved this one even more!  Elly is a successful florist in the St Louis area and after the drama from the first book that was solely focused on her business, this book split the focus between her business and her personal life.  She is in the beginning dating stages with the deli guy next door, but a person from her past that she doesn't even know about will show up on her front door and turn her life upside down!

I sailed through this book!  It was sweet and fun and I love Elly's quirkiness.  She is such a fun main character, I could read glimpses into her life for so much longer.  I love her ups and downs.  The secondary characters don't overshadow, but they also don't fade in the background - they are perfectly intermixed into the story.  I felt that since we saw a little more of Elly's life outside of her business that the reader got to know her a little more personally in this book - it was great!

This is definitely a second book where I would strongly advised to pause and read the first book first.  If I am correct, this will not be the last we hear from Elly!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

All I Love and Know
by Judith Frank

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 432
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  For years, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen have enjoyed a quiet domestic life together in Northampton, Massachusetts. Opposites in many ways, they have grown together and made their relationship work. But when they learn that Daniel's twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, their lives are suddenly, utterly transformed.

In dealing with their families and the need to make a decision about who will raise the deceased couple's two children, both Matthew and Daniel are confronted with challenges that strike at the very heart of their relationship. What is Matthew's place in an extended family that does not completely accept him or the commitment he and Daniel have made? How do Daniel's questions about his identity as a Jewish man affect his life as a gay American? Tensions only intensify when they learn that the deceased parents wanted Matthew and Daniel to adopt the children-six year old Gal, and baby Noam.

The impact this instant new family has on Matthew, Daniel, and their relationship is subtle and heartbreaking, yet not without glimmers of hope. They must learn to reinvent and redefine their bond in profound, sometimes painful ways. What kind of parents can these two men really be? How does a family become strong enough to stay together and endure? And are there limits to honesty or commitment-or love?

Kritters Thoughts:  More than the typical family drama book.  With political, religious and same sex discussions, I loved how all these controversial topics were woven into this one family and their tragic story.  Matthew and Daniel are monogamous partners living in Northern United States in a town that is very accepting of the lifestyle they have chosen to live.  When one of them loses their brother in a terrorist bombing in a controversial place and time - Israel shortly after 9/11; they are now thrust into the middle of tragedy and drama.  

I think no matter where you as a reader fall on the spectrum with each of the issues that are presented in this book, you can appreciate the family in the middle and enjoy how each of them are mourning and moving on with their lives.  It is a little on the heftier book side, but that gave the author plenty of pages to delve into how long mourning can take and the ups and downs of a year after a family tragedy occurs.  I also loved how none of these characters were perfect, instead they were so real and honest and I almost felt like I was sneaking a glance into someone's home - AND I loved it!

I am a Judith Frank and will definitely be watching out for her.  I love her characters, her story and the truth behind it all.

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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Line Between Here and Gone
by Andrea Kane

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The man she loved is gone forever. The child she lives for could be next.

Each day is a struggle for Amanda Gleason's newborn son as he battles a rare immune deficiency. Justin's best chance for a cure lies with his father, who was brutally murdered before Amanda even realized she carried his child.

Or was he?

One emailed photo changes everything, planting a seed of doubt that Amanda latches on to for dear life: a recent photo of a man who looks exactly like Paul. Could Justin's father be alive? The mother in her is desperate to find out. But tracking down a ghost when every second counts is not for amateurs.

Forensic Instincts is the one team up for the challenge.

The manhunt is on for the elusive father. Yet the further FI digs into his past, the more questions are raised about whether the man Amanda fell in love with ever really existed at all.

Dark secrets. Carefully crafted lies. From the congressional halls of Washington, D.C., to exclusive Hamptons manors, there are ruthless people who would stop at nothing to make Forensic Instincts forget about the man Amanda desperately needs to find.

Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the series, and unfortunately I read this series out of order, so I suggest stopping where you are at and going and finding the first and the third and read this one in order!

So the team was assembled in the first book and in this book, they get to take on a new case and it has fantastic twists and turns.  I loved how the case is solved by using each of the member's unique skills and without each of them it wouldn't come together as easily.  It was interesting to see the interactions from this private firm and the police and FBI.  

I am officially a fan of Andrea Kane and this series and hope that these three are just the beginning! 

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (or another!)

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