Monday, October 15, 2018

by Lisa Scottoline

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The women of Rosato & Associates return, after the relaunch of the series that started with Accused. This second entry, Betrayed, stars Judy Carrier, who has had the starring role in only one previous Rosato book. When Betrayed opens, Judy Carrier finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her best friend, Mary DiNunzio, has just become partner and is about to become a bride, leaving Judy vaguely out of sorts. She's not jealous, but she's not happy either and she's wondering where her own career and love life are going. To make matters worse, she is rocked to her emotional foundations when she learns that her beloved Aunt Barb has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She races to her aunt's side, and so does Judy's mother, only to find that her aunt is dealing with the sudden death of a friend who had been helping her through chemo. The friend, Iris Juarez, was an undocumented worker at a local farm, but her death doesn't look natural at all, to Judy. Judy begins to investigate, following a path that leads her into an underground world far more dangerous than she ever imagined. Judy has to dig to uncover what happened to Iris, and at the same time unearth the secrets in her own family.

Kritters Thoughts:  The second in a series and when I review series I always like to give my opinion if you can read them out of order or if you should read them in a row.  I would say you can read them out of order because each case is self contained, but you would miss the character growth of the ladies of the law firm.  

I was excited when I started reading this book that it centered around a different character from the law firm - Judy Carrier.  She is an associate who usually works with Mary from the first book.  As in the first book, the reader gets a full picture of Judy and her life.  From getting to know her personal life and her family and then deep diving into her career.  

The case that takes center stage in this book is much more closely wrapped in her personal life than the case from the first book.  I liked that Judy's case had a personal twist as she is investigating the suspicious death of her aunt's best friend.  She meets her aunt's best friend and very soon after the meeting, Iris, her aunt's friend is found dead and it may look like a medical event, but her aunt and she believe differently, so Judy takes it upon herself to get to the truth of the matter.  Like the first book, this mystery is contained in this book so you can end the book with satisfaction.

I like that this series will hop characters.  It helped a lot for me personally as I am reading them back to back and was concerned that if it was the same main character that I would get bored and tired of reading about the same main gal.  I love that this series is like a romance series where the books take place in the same setting but rotate characters points of view.

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

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 82 out of 100
by Lisa Scottoline

Publisher: St Martin's
Pages: 403
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Mary DiNunzio, who just made partner, takes on her most unusual case yet, brought to the firm by Allegra Gardner, a thirteen-year-old genius from an extraordinarily wealthy family. Allegra’s sister, Fiona, was murdered six years ago, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case: the accused, Lonnie Stall, was seen fleeing the scene; his blood was on Fiona and her blood was on him; and, most damning, Stall pleaded guilty. But young Allegra believes Stall is innocent―and wrongly imprisoned. The powerful Gardner family and Allegra’s own parents oppose reopening the case, so taking it on is risky. But Rosato & Associates can never resist an underdog. Was justice really served all those years ago? It will take Mary and her team of unstoppable lawyers, plus one teenager, to learn the truth. 

Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a series that has been out for awhile.  This first book was first published in 2013 and this week I will review all 6 books that are out with the latest book just released in August of 2018.

The first book in the series focuses on the newest partner to this law firm, Mary DiNunzio.  She is an Italian with a large Italian family and this book was about both her professional and her personal life.  

The professional part of the book centered around a case.  A young thirteen-year-old girl wants this law firm to reopen the case about her sister who was murdered six years ago.  She believes that the wrong person is in jail and she wants this law firm to try to find the actual killer and bring them to justice.  

I read a lot of mystery books and I always enjoy the book when the person investigating is not a cop and isn't a "professional" when it comes to finding the clues.  I like stumbling along the ride with them and maybe I can pick out a clue before they do!

I also love that there were bits about her personal life.  Her parents are fully involved in her life, maybe too much at times and even help with her investigation.  I liked getting to fully deep dive into this character's life and at the same time the case was self contained in this book.  

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

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 81 out of 100

Sunday, October 14, 2018

It was a crazy week at work and a busy weekend, so any reading I accomplished I am proud of!

 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Accused by Lisa Scottoline
Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline
Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline

Currently Reading:
Damaged by Lisa Scottoline

Next on the TBR pile:
Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

Friday, October 12, 2018

Maybe For You
by Nicole McLaughlin

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  She’s never had a no-strings fling. He’s never had anything else. But maybe this time will be an exception?

After a year of mourning her fiancé, Alexis Parker has worked hard to rediscover what she wants out of life. Fresh out of the military and back stateside, her brother offers her a marketing job at the Stag Distillery. Ready for a new challenge, Alexis agrees to accompany her new co-worker Jake Cooper on a Stag cross-country promotional tour. He may have an infamous playboy reputation, but Alexis is surprised to find out that there is more to him than meets the eye. And she likes what she sees. . .

Jake promised Alexis’s brother that he’d be an absolute gentleman. Of course, that was before he and Alexis hit the road, and they both agree that what Alexis’s big brother doesn’t know won’t hurt him. The plan: to keep their fling confined to the RV, and everything will go back to normal once they head home. Things progress in ways neither of them could have imagined, and Jake realizes that he and Alexis make a perfect mix. Can he convince her that he’s ready to shake things up and give true love a shot?

Kritters Thoughts:  The third in a romance series and if you are new to the romance world, most books in a series are mostly self contained and each book focuses on different characters in the same town or setting.  This series has focused on a distillery and the men that work there and the women that come into their lives.  As I say in most reviews of romance books, it is obvious the ending of most romance books but the joy is in the journey!

This story centers on Jake Cooper who is the last bachelor to work for Stag Distillery and Alexis who is the little sister of one of the other owners of the distillery.  Alexis has made a few appearances in the previous books, but this book takes a deep dive into her life and what has happened.  

I loved these two.  Their story wasn't all sunshine and rainbows and it had distinct ups and downs.  I like it when the path to romance in a book isn't super easy.  This may have been my favorite so far for this series.  

I hope this author has more from this distillery, I like the town and the venue.  I could imagine myself hanging out there and being friends with the characters - I love when a book makes me feel that way.  

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

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 80 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.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Bess & Frima
by Alice Rosenthal

Publisher: She Writes Press
Pages: 276
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Bess and Frima—best friends, both nineteen and from the same Jewish background in the Bronx—get summer jobs in upstate hotels near Monticello, NY, in June 1940, they have visions of romance . . . but very different expectations and needs. Frima, who seeks safety in love, finds it with the “boy next door,” who is also Bess’s brother. Meanwhile, rebellious Bess renames herself Beth and plunges into a new life with Vinny, an Italian American, former Catholic, left-wing labor leader from San Francisco. Her actions are totally unacceptable to her family—which is fine with Beth. Will their young loves have happy endings? Yes and no, for the shadow of world war is growing, and Beth and Frima must grow up fast. As their love lives entangle with war, ambitions, religion, family, and politics—all kinds of conventional expectations—they face challenges they never dreamed of in their struggles for personal and creative growth.

Kritters Thoughts:  Bess and Frima are best friends.  They are both Jewish and both get jobs in upstate NY at hotels for a summer.  This is where there differences will begin and their stories will part.  One went to a hotel that is owned by her family and since she is under her family's roof will have the tame summer while the other is out on her own and will have quite a few experiences which will shape her for the rest of  her life.  

I liked both stories and it was interesting to watch each girl go in different directions.  Their stories were most interesting in contrast to each other.  When Bess went left, I was intrigued to see what Frima would do and how her life would go.  The book was entertaining because you could pit one against the other and wonder who was having "the better life."

I wanted to change the formatting or something about the book.  I enjoyed that it jumped in time to keep the story going, but there were a few times where I wish the chapter was labeled with a month and/or year.  I think more could have been done to allow for the reader to easily make the jumps with the characters.  

I have read quite a many historical fiction books, so my standards may be raised and this one was just ok for me.  At times it felt as though a few extra words were used to describe something and I was ready to get to the action.  Descriptors can be nice, but when they overtake a story it seems bogged down by it all.    

I say all of this and the book was good.  There were a few things that I would change, but it was an interesting look at a community at a time where maybe we don't always look at this community in the United States and how they were surviving here and maybe we always read about them abroad.  

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, October 8, 2018

The Great Believers
by Rebecca Makkai

Publisher: Viking
Pages: 421
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico's funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico's little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

Kritters Thoughts:  Two story lines that overlap from the beginning.  In 1985 in Chicago, Yale Tishman narrates the story and he is in the middle of the AIDS crisis as it takes many of his friends.  In 2015 Fiona, one of the sisters of one of the first AIDS victims in the 1985 storyline is in Paris trying to reconnect with her daughter.  

Usually when there are two storylines I like one more than the other and that was the case with this book.  I learned so much more and felt more invested in these characters and their story.  I know vague details about the AIDS epidemic in general, but am not sure I ever read a book and I really enjoyed learning more about the ins and outs and how much of a stigma these men felt even before they were diagnosed.  I also was intrigued to learn about the drama they had within the community and it wasn't all support and love.  

The other storyline was fine and the final pages of it made it feel mostly worth it, but I could have possibly done without it.  The one big thing that I liked was that it wasn't a mystery how these two storylines would affect each other.  The reader knows from the very beginning that the Fiona in 1985 is also the Fiona in 2015.  

This was my first Rebecca Makkai book and although I didn't love everything in this book, I am intrigued to read her backlist and see what else she has written about.  Have you read any of her backlist?  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 Viking Penguin.  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, October 7, 2018

It looks like I accomplished a lot of reading, but nowhere near what I wanted/needed to.  Life got more nutty than I predicted!

 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan
Maybe  For You by Nicole McLaughlin
Bess and Frima by Alice Rosenthal
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Currently Reading:
Accused by Lisa Scottoline

Next on the TBR pile:
Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline

Friday, October 5, 2018

Second Chance at Two Love Lane
by Kieran Kramer

Publisher: St Martin's
Pages: 326
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Sometimes love is waiting in the second act...

In her professional career, Ella Mancini plays matchmaker at Two Love Lane but, in her personal life, she takes the stage at the Dock Street Theatre. Now she has a chance at a new role in a Hollywood movie that happens to be filming in Charleston—one that features a big-name actress, Samantha Drake. Long ago, Ella passed up a major audition while awaiting a marriage proposal. Not only didn’t she get the role; she never got the ring, either. Instead, her boyfriend Hank went on to become a huge film star…leaving her, and all her dreams, behind.

But now Hank’s back in Charleston, cast as the male lead in the same movie Ella’s in. In spite of the dramatic tension off-screen, he and Ella try to stay cool onset. But when their old feelings start to heat up—at the same time leading-lady Samantha tries to play cupid—all bets are off. How can Hank convince Ella, after all this time, that she’s the one he really wants to be with in real life—and that some happy, rom-com endings really can come true?

Kritters Thoughts:  Another romance book where the reader knows where the characters will end up, but the book is more about the journey then the predictability.  Ella Mancini is a matchmaker at Two Love Lane and she is the final of the main three to find love.  She is doing some community theater in Charleston, SC while doing the matchmaking business and in walks a former love who is going to shoot a movie in Charleston and maybe he isn't there just for work!

I love Kieran Kramer's romance books.  They are on the tame side which I like and they have a pretty good plot.  On the tame side, I mean that there isn't a ton of sexy times, you can tell that the characters have attraction without it being in your face and awkward!  There is also plot.  There is a reason characters are doing what they are doing and to be frank they are doing something!

Kramer's characters are great also.  From the three main matchmakers at Two Love Lane to the secondary, they are just interesting and full.  I wanted to know each one of their backstories, maybe some of them can be the center of future stories!

I hope there is more to this series, maybe another business in Charleston because I love her writing and I want more of it.  

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

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 76 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.

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