Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Sisters
by Rosalind Noon

Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Twelve years ago, Glory abandoned her two daughters--four-year-old Ruby and baby Aurora--at a fire station, running off to a man who promised love and protection. Though the refuge she hoped for turned out to be a sham, she believes Ruby and Aurora are better off without her. But Glory has since given birth to another daughter, who's clamoring for a life beyond their close-knit, tightly controlled world.

Sixteen-year-old Ruby loves her adoptive parents, but she hasn't forgotten Glory. Now that she has her driver's license, Ruby sets out in search of her birth mother. What she finds is a ramshackle house of castaway women, referred to as "sisters," ruled over by a charismatic bully who monitors their every move.

Glory would take ten-year-old Luna away in a heartbeat if they had somewhere to go. On good days, the girl is confined to the fenced-in yard; on bad days, she's sent to the dusty attic as punishment. When Ruby makes contact, Glory seizes on a chance for escape. Ruby is desperate to help, but how much does she owe to family she barely knows--and how can she fix someone else's life when she has so little power over her own?


Kritters Thoughts:  Glory abandoned her two daughters in hopes that they would have a better life and that she could start a new life.  Twelve years have passed and her oldest daughter Ruby still wonders about her birth mother and why their lives took a drastic turn.  When she stumbles upon her birth mother and finds the truth she realizes how much her mother really did for her all those years ago.

Although this seems weird to say, I have been a fan of cult books both fiction and non fiction for a long time.  I love reading about people forgoing their own safety and human priorities for the good of a group or a leader.  The way that the mind can be manipulated just fascinates me, so when I read the synopsis of this book and found out it was Rosalind Noonan, I was excited to read it.  

I appreciated that this story started in the past and gave the context as to why this mother made this decision and helped her become a sympathetic character so you could enjoy the present day story.  If I hadn't had that background, I am not sure I would have enjoyed this story as much.

I was a fan of Rosalind Noonan before reading this book and continue to be after.  Her writing is easy and has a great flow, but isn't elementary.  She creates great vivid characters that make you want to care about their futures. If you haven't read this author yet, I would suggest starting with this one.


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 7 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.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Victory Garden
by Rhys Bowen

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 305
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.

When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a “land girl,” tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It’s here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden. The journals inspire Emily, and in the wake of devastating news, they are her saving grace. Emily’s lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified—and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.

As Emily learns more about the volatile power of healing with herbs, the found journals will bring her to the brink of disaster, but may open a path to her destiny.


Kritters Thoughts:  I love a solid historical fiction and this one is. Set during World War I, Emily Bryce is turning 21 and is ready to be a part of the efforts of the war despite what her parents want her to do - find a suitable boy and marry him!  She goes against her parents wishes and enlists to be a land girl where she helps out on farms where the men have gone off to war.  

I love it when I read a historical fiction book set in a time and a place that I have read about before but takes a unique viewpoint and makes me think about the time and place in a whole new way.  I didn't know anything about the land girl program before this book and didn't even think about how the farmers survived while their sons and even the husbands went far to fight the war.  I know I have said it before but I love it when I learn something when reading a historical fiction but it isn't obvious until I am done reading the story!

Before reading this book I was a Rhys Bowen fan and I will continue to be after reading this one.  There are a few times when I wouldn't mind a sequel to see where these characters are a few years after I close their story and this was one of them!  I wouldn't mind checking back in on Emily Bryce a few years from now and see where she is and what is going on with her a few years after this story concluded.  


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 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.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Three Beths
by Jeff Abbott

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 345
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  My mom would never leave me.

This has been Mariah Dunning's motto. Her compass. Her belief. So when she glimpses her mother--who's been missing and presumed dead for the past two years--on the other side of a crowded food court, Mariah's conviction becomes stronger than ever. Or is she losing her mind?

Her mother disappeared without a trace and--even without a body or any physical evidence--suspicion for her murder immediately fell upon Mariah's father, leaving both father and daughter ostracized from their close-knit community.

Until one day, Mariah stumbles upon the fact that two other women have also disappeared recently from Lakehaven. And all three women had the same name: Beth.

Is it merely an unlikely coincidence? Or is there a deeper, sinister connection between the three Beths?

Mariah would give anything to find out what happened to her mother. But the truth may be worse than she could have imagined...


Kritters Thoughts:  Mariah Dunning's mother vanished over a year ago and she has searched endlessly to find her and bring her home safely.  When she thought all clues had come up short she meets a a guy who is into unsolved crimes and sends her down a path she could have never predicted.  Could her mother's disappearance have something to do with the disappearance of another Beth?

I always love a book where the person hunting down the clues is an amateur.  I appreciate their innocence of following a clue that ends in a dead end and then when the case finally breaks open it is overwhelmingly exciting.  I like these types of mysteries because I feel as though I am on the same playing field as the main character, they don't have any extra detective skills that I do not!

I loved how the clues weaved you in and out of Austin and Houston.  There almost seemed to be multiple questions and mysteries to be solved at the same time. I liked how some of the clues ended up solving the main mystery and then some did not, but there were still a clue worth keeping in your pocket.  

This was my first Jeff Abbott read although I own a few so I will definitely have to pick up the others quickly because I just truly enjoyed the writing.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Grand Central 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, February 17, 2019

What a busy week and weekend, I am happy with what I did read.

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
A Criminal Defense by William Meyers Jr.
Magnolia Nights by Ashley Farley
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - reread for book club

Currently Reading:
An Engineered Injustice by William Meyers Jr.

Next on the TBR pile:
Beyond the Garden by Ashley Farley

Friday, February 15, 2019

Map of the Heart
by Susan Wiggs

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 351
Format: book
Buy the Book: Harper

Goodreads:  An accomplished photographer, widow, and mother, Camille Palmer is content with the blessings she’s enjoyed. When her ageing father asks her to go with him to his native France, she has no idea that shes embarking on an adventure that will shake her complacency and utterly transform her. 

Returning to the place of his youth sparks unexpected memories—recollections that will lead Camille, her father, and her daughter, Julie, who has accompanied them, back to the dark, terrifying days of the Second World War, where they will uncover their family’s surprising history.

While Provence offers answers about her family’s past, it also holds the key to Camille’s future. Along the way, Camille meets a handsome American historian who stirs a passion deep within her she thought she’d never experience again.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  When a traumatic event happens to Camille Palmer it sends her life down a completely different path and affects the way she lives and the way she parents her daughter.  She now lives with fear and it has limited what she is willing to do.  When some interesting artifacts end up in her father's life it sends them down a road that could possibly change her life forever.

This was a women's fiction and a historical fiction all tied up together.  It had just a hint of historical fiction, but it was so perfect.  If you are hesitant to read historical fiction, don't hesitate on this one, it was just the right dash!  For the women's fiction parts, it had great heart and characters with a story that centers around a woman who is stuck and you really watch her grow in this book.  

Susan Wiggs knows just how to write a story that makes you curl up and lose track of time.  I really care about her characters and she sends them on a journey that is so satisfying with a few ups and downs along the way.  If you are looking for that great read that is entertaining and heartwarming, then Map of the Heart is it!


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.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Lies, Love and Breakfast at Tiffany's
by Julie Wright

Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  
The Lie
Women in Hollywood are just pretty faces. But Silvia Bradshaw knows that’s a lie, and she’s ready to be treated as an equal and prove her worth as one of Hollywood’s newest film editors.
 
The Love
She and Ben Mason had worked together as editors before Silvia got her big break, so he’s the perfect person to ask for feedback on her first major film. But even as their friendship begins to blossom into something more, a lawsuit surfaces, jeopardizing both Ben and Silvia’s jobs—as well as their fledgling romance. Audrey Hepburn once said: “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” Silvia agrees. Or she used to. It’s one thing to risk her job and her heart, but can she really risk Ben’s, too? Does she have the right to make decisions for her own happiness when they affect so many other people?
 
The Breakfast
With everything to lose, Silvia meets Ben for breakfast at his favorite diner, Tiffany’s, for one last conversation before the credits roll on true love.



Kritters Thoughts:  The perfect sweet romance with a behind the scenes look of Hollywood that is different from most behind the scenes.  Most behind the scenes of Hollywood take you into the actor's point of view, this one takes you behind the scenes into the editing bay.  Silvia Bradshaw loves being a part of the process in editing, she is slowly working her way up the ladder project by project, but her current boss is making life a little difficult.  Ben Mason was her previous boss and helped her get her to where she is now and when looking at things after they have happened, Ben and Silvia begin to see each other with different eyes.

I love romance books and I read a lot of them.  What makes a great romance for me is a good plot and two people who you can root for their love.  I don't tend to love romance books with a lot of sexy times, especially if I feel as though the author is leaning on that instead of putting in a great plot - not the case in this one.  It is all plot and I loved it.  

With most romance books, you know where the story will end, but the journey to that end is the joy of the book.  I loved the plot of this book, it had ups and downs as they all do, but it felt believable and real, yet still sweet and a great escape from life.  Silvia and Ben had just the right story.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Killer Holiday
by Amy Korman

Publisher: Witness Impulse
Pages: 176
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Kristin Clark and her offbeat crew of Bryn Mawr pals are ready for a festive holiday—one that involves sipping Blitzen’s Bourbons by a yule log, hot guys beneath the mistletoe, and a holiday cabaret starring ex-Mafia wife Sophie Shields. But this year, Saint Nick has something more dangerous in store.


A stranger dressed as Santa has Kristin’s friends on his naughty list. First, Sophie’s favorite handbag is blasted by a bullet. Then, Father Christmas shatters local golf-shop owner Chip Delaney’s car window with a 5-iron and leaves a threatening note demanding $50,000. When Chip goes missing, the stakes become deadly.
Much-hated Powerball winner Eula Morris is also back from a luxury cruise, more boastful than ever and toting a handsome new boyfriend (who looks oddly familiar), as well as a Samsonite filled with gold bars. When the suitcase is snatched, Eula implores Kristin and the gang to track it down.
Is Chip on the run, or was he kidnapped? And who stole Eula’s gold? The Killer WASPs and Kristin’s basset hound, Waffles, are on the case—before this white Christmas turns dark . . .

Kritters Thoughts:  Just over novella length, this short book is the final in this series for now.  Kristin Clark owns an antique store that isn't doing well, so she ends up spending her time solving mysteries in this Pennsylvania town.  Along with her large cast of characters they end up embroiled in one another's messes and antics.

As I mentioned yesterday it was some time between reading book one and two and then reading three and four.  I had the same feeling when I read this book as the previous.  They felt less edited and finessed than the previous two.  I don't that it is particularly the book's fault or more my reading tastes have changed.  

I did seem to like the mysteries that were needing solving more in this book compared to the previous and felt as though the adventure was just a bit more fun.  

I am glad to have finished the series and I am not sure if I would revisit if there are more to come.


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

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 100 out of 100


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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