Friday, August 18, 2017

Girl Last Seen
by Nina Laurin

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Two missing girls. Thirteen years apart.

Olivia Shaw has been missing since last Tuesday. She was last seen outside the entrance of her elementary school in Hunts Point wearing a white spring jacket, blue jeans, and pink boots.

I force myself to look at the face in the photo, into her slightly smudged features, and I can't bring myself to move. Olivia Shaw could be my mirror image, rewound to thirteen years ago.

If you have any knowledge of Olivia Shaw's whereabouts or any relevant information, please contact...

I've spent a long time peering into the faces of girls on missing posters, wondering which one replaced me in that basement. But they were never quite the right age, the right look, the right circumstances. Until Olivia Shaw, missing for one week tomorrow.

Whoever stole me was never found. But since I was taken, there hasn't been another girl.

And now there is.



Kritters Thoughts:  Laine is working two jobs and trying to support herself and it is revealed early on that she had a hard childhood with a major experience that forever changed who she was.  While working one of her jobs, she sees a missing report, but this one seems different from the rest and pulls her in to figure out what happened to this girl.  

I loved the premise of this story and the first half worked so well for me, but somewhere half way thru I got lost and couldn't really get back into it.  There was a big thing about her past and what happened to her and how it happened that I just didn't get nor enjoy.  I actually rolled my eyes and got frustrated with the book because I just didn't think it worked with the rest of the story.

With all of that, the plot of the story was unique and there are details that I don't want to spoil that made this different from other missing girls books and I liked that.  I just wanted a few of the other things that happened to go a different way - sorry to be vague, but I don't want to ruin someone else's experience by revealing major plot points.  

I enjoyed Laine's present day life and I enjoyed her connection to the Olivia Shaw case.  I even enjoyed who ended up bring the kidnapper and liked their connection to all of it.  


So I am officially on the fence on this one.  There were major parts that I loved and how the plot unfolded, but there were also big parts that didn't work for me at all.  I will say this was a good debut and I would be interested in reading more for this author, but hope the next story is completely solid and a good book from beginning to end.


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


Ebook 2017 Challenge: 32 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Hachette.  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, August 17, 2017

If the Creek Don't Rise
by Leah Weiss

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In a North Carolina mountain town filled with moonshine and rotten husbands, Sadie Blue is only the latest girl to face a dead-end future at the mercy of a dangerous drunk. She’s been married to Roy Tupkin for fifteen days, and she knows now that she should have listened to the folks who said he was trouble. But when a stranger sweeps in and knocks the world off-kilter for everyone in town, Sadie begins to think there might be more to life than being Roy’s wife.


Kritters Thoughts:  In the hills of Applachia, there are towns that seem like they haven't aged and life is still primitive and this book explores one of those towns as a new teacher has come to town to teach the children and will maybe stir up things.  

With only a few chapters and each chapter narrated by a different character and only a few chapters had repeats, it was an full view because you saw life through the pastor, a woman who was abused by her husband, her grandmother and her aunt and so on.

I lived in North Carolina in two parts for quite a few years and North Carolina has a special place in my heart because it is where I was first an adult and I am not naive to say that there are towns like this both in North Carolina and in many if not all other states in the United States, but this book just didn't work for me.  It felt like a caricature of this lifestyle and just disingenuous.  I was cringing a few times not because I didn't think it was true, it just didn't feel right.  I feel like I am talking circles, but its hard to describe what I really didn't love about it, but I felt it through the whole book.

I would read another book by this author, only if it wasn't set in this area because it wasn't her writing her per say it was more her portrayal.  


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


Ebook 2017 Challenge: 31 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Sourcebook.  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, August 15, 2017

The End of Temperance Dare
by Wendy Webb

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Eleanor Harper becomes the director of a renowned artists’ retreat, she knows nothing of Cliffside Manor’s dark past as a tuberculosis sanatorium, a “waiting room for death.” After years of covering murder and violence as a crime reporter, Eleanor hopes that being around artists and writers in this new job will be a peaceful retreat for her as much as for them.

But from her first fog-filled moments on the manor’s grounds, Eleanor is seized by a sense of impending doom and realizes there’s more to the institution than its reputation of being a haven for creativity. After the arrival of the new fellows―including the intriguing, handsome photographer Richard Banks―she begins to suspect that her predecessor chose the group with a dangerous purpose in mind. As the chilling mysteries of Cliffside Manor unravel and the eerie sins of the past are exposed, Eleanor must fight to save the fellows—and herself—from sinister forces.


Kritters Thoughts:  A fantastically creepy book that has a little historical element and maybe a few ghosts.  Eleanor Harper was previously at Cliffside as a reporter when the car accident happened that took two lives and now she has returned to become the director and from the beginning things have been a little creepy.  

I spoil the book a little mentioning the ghosts, but I am not revealing too much.  I wish I had known about it ahead of time, I still loved the book, but I roll my eyes at a few moments with ghosts involved!

I loved the historical aspect so much.  To get an inside glimpse into a home that was used for TB patients and to see how those patients were treated was many things, but interesting is the only word I can come up with.  

I enjoyed my first Wendy Webb experience and I own one of her other books and after reading this one, it has moved to the top.  I loved how she slowly but surely gave the reader little bits of knowledge and the way she unpacked it was so perfect.  I will have to add that this was definitely a creepy book and I was home alone when I finished it and maybe that wasn't the best idea!


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


Ebook 2017 Challenge: 31 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Lake Union Publishing.  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, August 13, 2017

An extra crazy week at work and busy nights with fun things and my birthday weekend, so I am impressed with what I finished and am counting down the days til some vacation reading!

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
At Wave's End by Patricia Perry Donovan
If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss
The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb

Currently Reading:
Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin

Next on the TBR pile:
The Other Girl by Erica Spindler

Friday, August 11, 2017

At Wave's End
by Patricia Perry Donovan

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 366
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When her estranged mother wins a Jersey Shore bed and breakfast in a lottery and heads east to survey the prize, Faith Sterling fears her mother has fallen victim to yet another scam. Their visit to the B & B confirms her suspicions. Wave’s End is not as advertised—it's nowhere near the beach, it's sorely in need of an overhaul, and its finances are shaky. But despite Faith’s attempts to dissuade her mother, Connie Sterling is determined to try her hand at running the inn.

A frustrated Faith heads back to Brooklyn, dreading the havoc her mother's proximity will wreak on her well-ordered and successful life. She doesn't have to wait long. When a supersized hurricane pummels the East Coast, Faith reluctantly agrees to return and help her mother run Wave’s End…temporarily.

But just as inn life settles into a comfortable rhythm, a grievous secret about Wave’s End surfaces, threatening the inn’s future and fraying the already fragile mother-daughter bonds.
 



Kritters Thoughts:  A perfect mother daughter story that isn't too cheesy, but is completely heartfelt.  Faith Sterling has lived in New York City for awhile and is loving being a chef in a kitchen where she can create what comes to mind.  Her mother Connie enters all sorts of contests and is searching for the next thing always.  Connie enters THE contest and wins a B&B on the coast of New Jersey and Faith has to come to the rescue.

I love a good mother daughter story and this one was just right.  I loved all the ups and downs that this mother daughter duo had and learning some details and such about their past throughout the book was so good.  The nuggets were perfectly placed and when the pieces of the puzzle were put together you could see how they had ended up where they were.

I love that this book was "inspired" by the super storm Sandy that hit New York and New Jersey.  Not having lived in those areas and watching the storm hit all via the news, I liked reading a fictionalized tale that was "inspired" by it and read about survivors and what it took to live through that storm.  

I have read both books that Patricia Perry Donovan has written and have loved both.  I can't wait to hear where and when her next book takes place and what inspired it!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel


Ebook 2017 Challenge: 30 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.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Where I Want to Be
by Cortney Roudebush

Publisher: author
Pages: 279
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  For Olivia Goldstein, a timid 31-year-old financial analyst from Los Angeles, her passion for wine becomes a catalyst for change. A weekend trip to Napa Valley leaves her thirsty for additional wine knowledge, deeper relationships, and a more gratifying career. When she meets a cute tour guide at a winery who recommends enrolling in a local wine class, Olivia interprets his suggestion as an invitation and puts her life in LA on hold to take in a three-month wine education program.

After stumbling onto the Napa social scene, Olivia befriends three wine-savvy women who teach her more than she will ever learn in the classroom. With their encouragement, she dabbles in the small-town dating pool and learns to take chances with her heart. Despite her failed attempts at love and quite a few hangovers, she sips her way through an impressive selection of wines and finds herself falling in love with Napa Valley. By the time her classes are over and Harvest begins, she is not ready to leave...



Kritters Thoughts:  Olivia has followed her plan for herself and has always done what she was "supposed" to do.  After a quick vacation in Napa Valley she is inspired to take a life and work sabbatical and try something new in Napa and maybe the something new becomes her new normal!

I ADORED this book.  It was just the right amount of work and life drama with friends and love interests and everything to make such a well rounded book.  Most books focus on one or the other, but this book had the right amount of everything to make this character feel full.  

I am also a wine fan and reading a book that completely centers around Napa Valley and the wine industry there was just great.  I loved reading a fiction book that gave me a little extra information about a hobby that I love.  This book made me want to seek out more books that take place in Napa and celebrate the wine culture there.

I completely hope that this is the first in a series and that there are many more books to come in this town and with these characters.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 29 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.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Searching for Irene
by Marlene Bateman

Publisher: Convent Communications
Pages: 268
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What happened to Irene?

When Anna Coughlin, a modern 1920’s woman, travels to the secluded hills of Virginia to work for wealthy Lawrence Richardson, she discovers that the previous secretary, Irene, has mysteriously disappeared. Upon arriving at the castle-like mansion, Anna finds that Lawrence’s handsome, but antagonistic son, Tyler, wants nothing more than to have her gone. And he isn’t the only one—

Caught up in a maze of intrigue in a tormented and troubled household, Anna sets out to find the truth behind Irene’s disappearance. She is helped—and often hindered—by the temperamental Tyler Richardson, who—despite her best intentions—begins to steal her heart. 

But even as Anna begins to uncover dark secrets, she must continue to hide a significant one of her own. Then, her life is threatened, and Anna is left to wonder if she’ll be able to unravel the mystery before she disappears as mysteriously as the unfortunate Irene.


Kritters Thoughts:  A book on the shorter end in page count and while in the end I still liked it, I did have one thing that made me debate on if it was a 4 or 5 star book.

A who dun it taking place in 1920 in Virginia (right around the corner from me) about a woman who must go live on an estate to uncover the disappearance of the young woman who was there before her.  She has her own secrets that when revealed take the book to the next level - of course, I won't divulge those here!  

This was such a perfect marriage of historical fiction with who dun it and there quite a few moments where I waffled and wondered who would be the culprit.  I would say this is what bothered me a bit, for it being such a short book, there was a lot of wondering from the main character and towards the end I was over and ready for the reveal.  Now I was not disappointed as to who did it and their reasonings, but I wouldn't have minded it happening a few pages earlier.  

I read this book over two sittings one of which by the pool and I have to say it would be a good addition to your beach or pool bag or to be honest any vacation reading.  It was easy to pick up and put down and not get lost at all.


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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 28 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.

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