Friday, May 24, 2019

The Question Authority
by Rachel Cline

Publisher: Red Hen Press
Pages: 224
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Nora Buchbinder--formerly rich and now broke--would be the last woman in Brooklyn to claim #MeToo, but when a work assignment reunites her with her childhood best friend, Beth, she finds herself in a hall of mirrors. Was their eighth grade teacher Beth's lover or her rapist? Where were the grown-ups? What should justice look like, after so much time has passed? And what can Nora do, now?

Nora's memories, and Beth's, and those of their classmates, their former teacher, and members of his family, bring to light some of the ways we absorb and manage unbearable behavior. From denial to reinvention, self-pity to self-righteousness, endless questioning to intransigent certainty, readers will recognize the ripples sent into the lives of others by one broken man.


Kritters Thoughts:  Nora never thought her work could bring up her past until she walks into work one day and a case not only feels like it is her past being revisited, but also a person from her past is connected to the case.  With some interesting twists and turns this little book packed some punch.

This was definitely an interesting read, but I think because it was on the shorter side, things felt glossed over or skipped.  I wanted more to be developed from Nora's current case.  I saw that the author was trying to make the connection, but I wanted more from the current allegations and for the connection from the past to the present to be more obvious.  I didn't feel as though the author spent enough time with the current storyline and with the case that Nora was developing.

This was a book that I liked but didn't love.  I would read another by this author but would read the synopsis and make a careful consideration.     


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

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.


Friday, May 17, 2019

The Printed Letter Bookshop
by Katherine Reay

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 336
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn, and when a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop—provided the women’s best combined efforts are not too little, too late.


Kritters Thoughts:  If you are a reader that loves books about books and books about bookstores then run don't walk to grab this one!

Madeline Cullen loved visiting her aunt and uncle who owned a bookstore in small town near Chicago.  When drama impacts her visits and they stop, she is taken back to that small town and this little bookshop will change the direction of her life.  This book had all the things I love, books, bookstores, family drama and a character that has to revisit their past in order to move forward.  Madeline Cullen was such a great character to watch grow and change during this story.

I could keep gushing, but I just adored this book.  The two older ladies who work in the bookstore each have their own drama that isn't distracting, but instead adds so much more to the story.  I couldn't get enough of both of them - just so good!  

Of course there was some love in this book, but I loved how in this book it was a side story and Madeline's concentration on her grandmother's legacy and her professional situation were the focus of the book.  I like when a main female character has drama that isn't centered on love relationships.

After finishing this book and loving it, I went and perused Katherine Reay's backlist, the books all seem like Austen reimaginations - where should I go next?


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.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Wonder of Lost Causes
by Nick Trout

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 464
Format: book
Buy the Book: HarperCollins

Goodreads:  Dr. Kate Blunt will do anything for her son, Jasper. Well, almost anything. Since Jasper has the incurable lung disease cystic fibrosis, Kate’s always told him he couldn’t get a dog. It’s a tough call, but she’s a single mom taking care of a kid who fights for every breath he takes. The daily medical routine that keeps Jasper alive is complicated enough. Worse still, Kate’s personal resolve runs contrary to her work as the veterinarian in charge of a Cape Cod animal shelter, where she is on a mission to find forever homes for dogs in desperate need.

The scarred, mistreated wreck of a dog that turns up doesn’t stand a chance. Named Whistler, he’s too old, too ugly. But the dog forms an instantaneous bond with Jasper. Whistler never makes a sound, yet he speaks to Jasper in a myriad of mysterious ways. The clock’s ticking, the dog’s future hangs in the balance, and Jasper would do anything to find him a home; but Whistler has chosen them—for a reason.


Kritters Thoughts:  This book had me at boy and dog on cover!  I am a dog mom of three and I can't help but love a book where a dog can more than rescue a family and help them recover from whatever it is that is bothering them.  

Dr. Kate Blunt is a veterinarian and works at a shelter where the hope is to get each dog adopted within 14 days.  While holding down a full time job, she is also a single mom to Jasper who has been battling cystic fibrosis since a very young age - medications, treatments and hospital stays rule their lives in the hopes that he can keep fighting the disease well into his adulthood.  

With alternating chapters between Kate and Jasper, I loved seeing their lives through both sets of eyes.  I especially loved Jaspers because seeing the world through kids lenses is always entertaining.  I loved reading how Jasper viewed his disease and how it impacted his daily life and his thoughts about his own future at such a young age.  

Without the epilogue, this book wouldn't have been half as good for me.  I appreciated the author including the epilogue so the reader gets the satisfying ending - no spoilers!! 

I have not read all of Nick Trout's books, but I need to get caught up!

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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

An Imperfect Rapture
by Kelly Beard

Publisher: Zone 3 Press
Pages: 282
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  An Imperfect Rapture is a coming-of-age story about growing up in the crucible of Christian fundamentalism and white American poverty. Kelly recreates the real-life shadowlands of her youth with the lyricism of a poet and the nuance of an insider. Her unflinching examination of the people and places populating the story offers the reader a rare glimpse into an experience hidden from or ignored by our first-world culture, and its unsparing, fiction-like narrative resonates as both a personal exorcism and a public plea for empathy.


Kritters Thoughts:  Kelly Beard had an interesting childhood.  She grew up in a home with very little money and the money they did have went straight to the church they attended before the basics were even met in their home with 4 children and 2 adults.  Kelly wrote her story with grace while telling the true behind the stories without the reader feeling like she is giving a weighted opinion to her upbringing.

As a former religious studies major in college, religion and people are so fascinating to me.  This book and others like it are right up my alley.  I am so intrigued by what people would do for an organized religion and how they would put things behind the good of their faith.  To see an organized religion from the eyes of a child was different and unique - to see the confusion of why things they are the way they are and to then realize that not all families act the way theirs does is so interesting to read.  

I really enjoyed this book and would love to read more like this.  Do you have a favorite memoir where the author recounts their family and their faith?  


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 JKS Communications.  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, May 12, 2019

A quiet rainy weekend made for a great weekend to curl up with some books.

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Only Ever Her by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay
Imperfect Rapture by Kelly Beard
The Wonder of Lost Causes by Nick Trout

Currently Reading:
The View From Alameda Island by Robyn Carr

Next on the TBR pile:
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Shadow Writer
by Eliza Maxwell

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 348
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Every writer has a story. Some are deadlier than others.
Aspiring author Graye Templeton will do anything to escape the horrific childhood crime that haunts her. After a life lived in shadows, she’s accepted a new job as protégé to Laura West, influential book blogger and wife of an acclaimed novelist. Laura’s connections could make Graye’s publishing dreams a reality. But there’s more to Laura than meets the eye.
Behind the veneer of a charmed life, Laura’s marriage is collapsing. Her once-lauded husband is descending into alcoholism and ruin and bringing Laura nearer to the edge.
As the two women form a bond that seems meant to be, long-buried secrets claw their way into the present, and the line between friendship and obsession begins to blur, forcing each to decide where her loyalties lie. Running from the past is a dangerous game, and the loser could end up dead.

Kritters Thoughts:  What a fantastic book!!  The characters, the plot, the pacing, just all so so good.  For those fans of the mystery/thriller genre, I have to warn that this one was a little on the tame side, so if you like the blood guts and gore, this one won't live up to that, but the mystery behind it is so good, still worth the read!

Grave Templeton changed her name to escape the infamy that befell her during her childhood.  With a mother that was murdered and she has the star witness, she wanted to leave it all behind and start fresh.  But her past will not be laid to rest and is about to resurface and may just haunt her until she confronts it.

The errie creep factor was legit in this book and for me when I read that is what I love most about the genre.  I love when I get the goosebumps and even when a little concerned about reading this book when I am home alone!  

The thing that I loved a lot was the inclusion of a book blogger in the book.  there are very few books that include characters who do what we do, whether it be as a career or hobby, so it is always fun to have someone in the book who is also in the book world.  It was a unique look into the book community through a different lens than the typical one in publishing.

I have read about half of Eliza Maxwell's books and have loved them all.  I want to make it a priority to get caught up on her books before the next one arrives.


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.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Only Ever Her
by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 298
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  It was to be the perfect wedding—until the bride disappeared.
Annie Taft’s wedding is four days away, and it will be one of the grandest anyone can remember in her small South Carolina town. Preparations are in order. Friends and family are gathering in anticipation. Everything is going according to plan. Except that Annie herself has vanished. Did she have second thoughts?
Or has something much worse happened to the bride-to-be?
As the days pass, the list of suspects in her disappearance grows. Could it be the recently released man a young Annie misidentified as her mother’s killer? Could it be someone even closer to her?
While her loved ones frantically try to track her down, they’re forced to grapple with their own secrets—secrets with the power to reframe entire relationships, leaving each to wonder how well they really knew Annie and how well they know themselves.

Kritters Thoughts:  Annie Taft is a bride-to-be and just a few days shy of her wedding she turns up missing and everyone is searching for her.  Almost every character in this book had a secret or issue that this wedding would either solve or disrupt and even a few had questionable motives.

I loved this suspense story, but my timing of reading this story maybe was a little off.  In this story Annie Taft's mother was murdered many years ago and the killer is just about to get out of jail and many of the characters wonder if her disappearance have to do with him getting out of jail.  In the book, The Shadow Writer which I read just before this book the mother is also murdered in that one, so I read two books in a row with dead moms, so that aspect of this story felt repetitive, but also had to do with my reading schedule.  

I liked the writing in this story and I love the multiple perspectives.  It was a large cast of characters, but it wasn't too hard to keep them straight.  I always rate this by if I had to get a piece of paper and start writing out names and descriptors and relationships - I didn't have to do that in this one!

I read some reviews after finishing the book and can agree that the plot itself could have felt slow because there wasn't as much action as in other books, but her writing more than surpassed any slowness in the plot's pacing.

I have read a few of Marybeth Mayhew Whalen's backlist, but I have nowhere completed it.  I hope to read more of them in the future.


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 22 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.


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