Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Becoming the Talbot Sisters
by Rachel Linden

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

Goodreads:  Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.

Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly's heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly's twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.

When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.

But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven't had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.

Kritters Thoughts:  Waverly and Charlie are twins.  After the death of their parents and graduating from high school, their lives went in two different directions.  Their aunt who raised them has recently passed and her death brings them back together where they vow to keep their relationship intact.  

This book frustrated me so much.  The beginning of the story I was so invested and loved both of these sisters and their reconnection seemed so genuine and real.  I loved what they had going and even loved one of the reasons that was going to keep them together.  And then further along in the book something happened and my believability and enjoyment went downhill.  I won't spoil anything, but just to say at a certain point I went OH NO and was glad I was near the end and could race through it.  I didn't like where the plot went and felt it was a little over the top and just a little too dramatic for my taste - at least when it comes to a good women's fiction book.

All in all, I liked the writing and the characters.  I wouldn't rule out this author, but I would hesitate to read another and would maybe read the synopsis and some reviews before doing so!
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.

Monday, May 21, 2018

by Molly Wizenberg

Publisher: Simon Schuster
Pages: 241
Format: audiobook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream–making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive—not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.

Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until—in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen—she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.

Kritters Thoughts:  With a push to listen to more books this year, this one was on my list as one to listen/read.  I knew before this year I like to listen to non fiction so I knew that I could listen to more of that, but I am hoping to even listen to some fiction and try that out this year.

Ok, now for the review of this book!

For audio books, I care deeply about the narrator and I tend to enjoy it when the author reads the book themselves.  Molly Wizenberg did not narrate, but it was a female narrator so you could almost pretend it was her!  I have never heard Molly's voice, but I just wish she had because I feel as though the author gives more character to their own words than a narrator does as they are not their own words.  But I did love how the narrator jokingly did the male voices almost as if she was making fun of her own impressions, it felt so real and true to how the author had intended it.  

With recipes throughout the book, I did feel like listening to the book I was missing out on being able to recreate some of her dishes, but I can absolutely go get a copy from a library and do them then.  But listening to her adventures in constructing, opening and operating a restaurant was beyond entertaining for my morning and evening commutes.

I had a personal connection to this book because my parents used to live in Seattle and frequently travel there for my dad's job.  I have challenged my mom to listen to this book and then visit the restaurant and provide feedback!  I hope she does both soon.  

Rating: the perfect listen!

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.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Another great week of reading!  A few novellas and some good books in a great series!

 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
I See Life Through Rose Colored Glasses by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax
A May Bride by Meg Moseley
A June Bride by Marybeth Whalen
Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax

Currently Reading:
Cooper's Charm by Lori Foster

Next on the TBR pile:
The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Italian Party
by Christina Lynch

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 336
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Newly married, Scottie and Michael are seduced by Tuscany's famous beauty. But the secrets they are keeping from each other force them beneath the splendid surface to a more complex view of ltaly, America and each other.

When Scottie's Italian teacher--a teenager with secrets of his own--disappears, her search for him leads her to discover other, darker truths about herself, her husband and her country. Michael's dedication to saving the world from communism crumbles as he begins to see that he is a pawn in a much different game. Driven apart by lies, Michael and Scottie must find their way through a maze of history, memory, hate and love to a new kind of complicated truth.

Kritters Thoughts:  Newly married couple, Scottie and Michael have moved to Italy for his job.  She will take on the responsibility of creating and maintaining their home while he ventures out to make the income.  Through some interesting escapades she ends up interacting with quite a few locals and ends up helping Michael with his job in the end.  

I liked this couple.  I loved the dynamic of being newly married and not knowing much of each other and also picking them up and putting them in an interesting circumstance - in a country where she doesn't speak the language and is overall clueless.  

I waited a few days to write this review and I am still on the fence about this book.  I loved the setting of Italy and the underlying espionage theme, but the book pacing or movement was just too slow and felt as though it was going on and on.  I went and looked up reviews after I finished and I agree with the love of the food in this book and every time they sat down for a meal, I was excited to hear about what they were eating, but this does not make a book for me.  This one will just end up being ok for me.  Definitely not a hate, but not a love either.    

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

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.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

by Katie Nicholl

Publisher: Hachette Books
Pages: 257
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads: On the eve of his wedding comes the most intimate and informative portrait yet of Prince Harry, from royal expert Katie Nicholl, author of the bestselling William and Harry and Kate.

Respected biographer Katie Nicholl details the most insightful book on Prince Harry to date, based on exclusive interviews with former Palace aides, courtiers, friends, and family members, and including stories, clandestine lovers, family feuds, and family secrets never before revealed.

Kritters Thoughts:  Prince Harry, has many other names and titles, but he has been known his whole life.  There have been millions of photos and stories both truth and outlandish and Katie Nicholl the author tries to separate fact from fiction and with perfect timing puts this book out in what some may call the year of Harry!  With his wedding coming in just a few days, I was excited to read and review it here on my blog.

Katie Nicholl starts at the very beginning and hits the highs and the lows of Harry's years up until the current moment.  I thought before I started this book that I knew pretty much all there was to know about Prince Harry, but I was only half right.  The most interesting thing that I learned about Prince Harry was about his military career.  I was aware that he had a military career, but the ins and outs were interesting.  I am surprised at how much they had to go through to allow him to go to the front line and fight two times.  

I would recommend this book to readers who are already fans of the royals (I am!) and know that some of the book is a repeat and things you know.  But in the end after reading this book, I felt like I knew him a bit more and was interested to see all the choices and thing that took place to get him to where he is now - a great place with a wonderful woman standing next to him ready to serve with him.  

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.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bridal Girl
by Meredith Schorr

Publisher: Henery Press
Pages: 276
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Warning: exposure to the contents of this book while eating or drinking could cause laughter-induced choking. Read at your own risk. 

Sassy book blogger-turned-author, Kim Long, thought her life couldn’t get any pinker when she received a two-book publishing deal and a marriage proposal in the same night. The wedding plans are coming together seamlessly, from the catering to the flowers to her much-coveted appointment at the exclusive and world famous Kleinfeld Bridal. Her debut novel is flying off the shelves to celebrated reviews, and her second book is practically writing itself. 

If only the above wasn’t a big fat lie. 

If only Kim could drown out the conflicting opinions of her overzealous bridal party, most notably, her sister and future sister-in-law, who haven’t stopped bickering since day one. 

If only everyone would adore her first book—or she’d take Nicholas’s advice and stop reading reviews—she might not second guess every new word she writes. 

If only Nicholas’s past would remain there rather than threaten their future.
The pressure is on, the clock is ticking, and in walks Hannah Marshak. 

Will the former “mean girl” lend a helping hand or make things worse? Will Kim ever write “The End” on her sophomore novel? And, will she and Nicholas make it down the aisle to say those two precious words: I do? 

We’ll never tell. So, put on your reading glasses, fill your champagne flute/cup of tea and prepare to laugh with (and sometimes at) Kim as she rewrites her happy ending until it’s worthy of five pink champagne flutes.

Kritters Thoughts:  The third in a series and a series would I completely recommend you starting at book one.  This series is a book for book readers and a book specifically for book bloggers!  Kim Long is a book blogger and in book three she is prepping for her wedding, dealing with her first novel's slow success and trying to write her second book - she has quite a bit on her plate and she is the personality that doesn't ask for help (don't blame her!!).  

I absolutely adore these books because they are light and breezy and I can completely relate to the main character.  I love that like me she has a full time job and book blogging is a happy hobby and I remember planning my wedding and doing full time job and book blogging and the overwhelming time commitment of all of those things.  I completely laughed out loud at moments in this book because I related so so well to it!

If you are a fan of the light and breezy genre of women's fiction or chick lit, this is a perfect addition to your collection for the summer.  I would definitely start at book one and start with Kim Long before she is engaged and in the middle of all the things.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 30 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.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go
by Amy Reichert

Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  1. Get through to your daughter. 2. Buy more cheese. 3. Don't forget to call your mother.

Grilled G's Gourmet Food Truck is where chef, owner, obsessive list-maker, and recent widow Gina Zoberski finds the order and comfort she needs to struggle through each day, especially when confronted with her critical mother Lorraine and sullen daughter May.

Image-conscious Lorraine always knows best and expects her family to live up to her high expectations, no matter what. May just wants to be left alone to mourn her father in her own way. Gina always aims to please, but finds that her relentlessly sunny disposition annoys both her mother and her daughter, no matter how hard she tries.

But when Lorraine suffers a sudden stroke, Gina stumbles upon a family secret Lorraine's kept hidden for forty years. In the face of her mother's failing health and her daughter's rebellion, this optimist might find that piecing together the truth is the push she needs to let go...

Kritters Thoughts:  Gina is still mourning the loss of her husband, but she is making ends meet and trying to connect with her daughter, May.  Early in the book, Lorraine, Gina's mother has a medical emergency and Gina, May and Gina's sister Vicky have to come together to help Lorraine and maybe put some pieces together as to why Lorraine has become the woman she has without her help.  I may have completely confused you by this synopsis, but really there are sister relationships, mother daughter relationships and maybe a big discovery as to the things that happen to you in your past will define your future.  

I loved reading about the girls putting together the pieces of Lorraine's past and how they inform the marriages that each girl went into.  I thought it was so interesting how the author had the girls learn about their mother's past and how she couldn't help them through the puzzle.  

I always love a book where the relationships seem real and authentic.  All the relationships presented in this book felt like one I am in or one my friend is in.  I laughed out loud a few times as the conversations between these women felt just so real.  I love a book where there are both positive and negative relationships and life isn't all cloudy days or sunshine and rainbows!

Amy Reichert has three books on her backlist and this is my first time reading her.  I will absolutely have to pick up one or more from her backlist soon because I loved these women so much!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 40 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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