Monday, September 25, 2017

The Trust
by Ronald Balson

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 368
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When his uncle dies, Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral—a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he’d anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland’s bloody sectarian war? After all, the Taggarts were deeply involved in the IRA. Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus’s estate? Otherwise, why postpone distributions to the heirs? Most menacingly, does the killer now have his sights on other family members? 

As his investigation draws Liam farther and farther into the past he has abandoned, he realizes he is forced to reopen doors long ago shut and locked. Now, accepting the appointment as sole trustee of the Fergus Taggart Trust, Liam realizes he has stepped into the center of a firestorm.

Kritters Thoughts:  When I was pitched this book, I had no clue it was the 4th in a series, but the story is mostly self contained, so you can start here, but I am hoping to go back to the beginning and start there!  Saying all that to say that if I spoil something from the previous books I will be clueless since I am starting here on this one.

Liam Taggart has been living in the United States far away from Ireland and the family that has had its ups and downs.  He is happily married with a small child and life as a private investigator is working and life is good, of course until he gets a phone call - his uncle has passed away and he is being called home to say goodbye.  Obviously it can't be that easily and there are suspicions as to his uncle's death and he is in the center of it all and must solve before he can return to the life he had going on.

I loved this epic story with quite a cast of characters and you can tell there was a ton of history amongst all of them.  As soon as I started I felt like I was dropped in the middle of the story and was sad to see that I was right and this was the 4th in the series, so I would say you may want to start at the beginning, I could tell that I had missed some details that the author tried to enlighten any new reader, but nothing beats reading the previous books.  

I will say that after reading this one, I wanted to stop all reading and start at book one and get caught up.  If I didn't have quite the blogging calendar lined up with many readings I would have done so.  I may have to mark a week in 2018 as the week of Liam Taggart and start at the beginning!

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 the 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.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

With a few short books in the mix this weekend and a few quiet nights, I got a ton of reading done and am getting closer to maybe meeting my goal for this year.  I am now only 10 books behind my goal!
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Moral Basis of Democracy by Eleanor Roosevelt
Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne
#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Murder at Broad River Bridge by Bill Shipp
The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti
The Dance Begins by Diane Chamberlain
The Broken String by Diane Chamberlain

Currently Reading:
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
Single, Carefree, Mellow by Katherine Heiny

Next on the TBR pile:
Plain Jane by Barrie Knee

Friday, September 22, 2017

Wish You Were Here
by Renee Carlino

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.

Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.

Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.

Kritters Thoughts:  When I read the synopsis for the book, I was immediately intrigued.  When I heard it had some romance, I got excited.  When I sat down and read it, I didn't love it.  

Charlotte is a flighty lady in her twenties and hasn't found her true passion.  She has hopped from job to job and relationship to relationship and nothing is sticking.  She has a magical night with a random guy and then he disappears.  Then she starts something with another guy and then things just go all wonky!

I don't love books where female characters entire world seems complete once they find the right guy.  I just wanted Charlotte to find satisfaction and contentment without needing a guy to hold her hand.  

I also didn't love the pacing or flow of the book - it felt so bouncy and all over the place.  First Charlotte was headed in this direction then when a guy spoke up she bounced over here and I just couldn't buy into her and her story.  

I love a romance book, but for many reasons this one just didn't work for me.

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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Atria Books.  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, September 21, 2017

Risking It All
by Nina Darnton

Publisher: St. Martin's
Pages: 397
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Marcia, a driven, successful editor in New York with a loving husband, finds she can't conceive a child, it rips the heart out of her seemingly-perfect life. Her desire to be a mother has become her obsession, and after trying and failing to become pregnant by every known method, she focuses all of her energy on her one remaining option: surrogacy. Her husband resists, and tries to convince her that they can be happy without a child; but faced with her unyielding determination, he relents, and reluctantly goes along with the idea. Everything looks good...until an unexpected tragedy occurs that changes their plans, their marriage, and their lives forever.

Kritters Thoughts:  Would you do anything to have a family?  Marcia must make that decision and with a resistant husband she must convince him to take the least paved path.  It was so interesting to read a story about a woman who had fulfilled all the professional goals that she had wanted, but starting a family was not working out for her so she must really push and exceed the obvious to get what she had always dreamed of.  Then when she gets her dreams answered things look a little different than she imagined and she must roll with the punches!

I don't want to divulge the major parts of the plot because as the develop it is interesting to see Marcia and her husband and how they each react in very different ways.  Both of their responses felt real and true and I liked that.  I liked that everything wasn't sunshine and roses and they had major speed bumps along the way.  

The one thing that made this book a little difficult was the slow pacing of it.  There were moments where it just wasn't moving that much and it was slow and steady and I was easily distracted away from it.  But I kept rolling through and was satisfied by the ending and how it all came together.

I would absolutely read another by this author.  I noticed she had one in her backlist and I hope she is working on something forthcoming.  

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 41 out of 50

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, September 20, 2017

A Dangerous Year
by Kes Trester

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Pages: 255
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Seventeen-year-old Riley Collins has grown up in some of the world’s most dangerous cities, learning political strategies from her ambassador dad and defensive skills from his security chief. The only thing they didn’t prepare her for: life as an American teenager.

After an incident forces her to leave her Pakistani home, Riley is recruited by the State Department to attend Harrington Academy, one of the most elite boarding schools in Connecticut. The catch: she must use her tactical skills to covertly keep an eye on Hayden Frasier, the daughter of a tech billionaire whose new code-breaking spyware has the international intelligence community in an uproar.

Disturbing signs begin to appear that Riley’s assignment wasn’t the walk in the park she’d been promised. Now, Riley must fight for her life and Hayden’s, as those around her reveal themselves to be true friends or the ultimate betrayers.

Kritters Thoughts:  Riley Collins hasn't had the typical childhood, she has missed out on the traditional experience, but at the same time has had some that are out of this world.  She has a little blip on the radar and this sets quite a few things in motion.  She is sent to the United States and must try to disguise herself as an American teenager while also completing a mission.

This was such a fun read.  It was easy to get into and invest in Riley Collins and hope for her to succeed and maybe even get a few life experiences.  I don't read a ton of YA partly because I just can't relate to the main character and I tend to get frustrated by them and their ways, but this one struck a great chord.  

I loved that this was a boarding school book, but had a great twist with a little mystery and drama!  If you are a fan of YA then you will love this one.  If you are like me and tend to limit your YA reading, I think this one will be a good one off to enjoy.  As a mystery reader, the way that Kes Trester put together the book was just right and the flow and the story were spot on.

Rating: perfect YA read

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from BooksSparks PR.  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, September 19, 2017

A Face to Die For
by Andrea Kane

Publisher: Bonnie Meadow Publishing
Pages: 312
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When a case of mistaken identity in Manhattan results in Gia Russo seeing a photo of a Minneapolis woman who looks exactly like her, she can’t resist reaching out to the mysterious stranger. Their Facebook private message exchange blossoms into a budding, long-distance friendship, and the two women agree to meet in New York and gauge the truth with their own eyes. 

Shocked at the sight of one another, Gia and Danielle quickly bond over drinks, childhood pictures, and an uncanny feeling that they share more than just a visual resemblance. But when they decide to end the speculation and undergo DNA testing, the test’s confirmation that they’re identical twins raises more questions than answers. 

And with good reason. The same mysterious forces that separated the sisters years ago are still at large, desperate to keep the two women apart. When the danger surrounding their reunion escalates and the sisters fear for their lives, Gia turns to an investigator whose wedding she just planned, Marc Devereraux of Forensic Instincts. 

Despite being embroiled in another case, Forensic Instincts can’t turn the panicked twins away and agrees to help. But as the team digs up skeletons long since buried, they unearth the shocking truth about who is willing to destroy the sisters and the families they have grown to love in order to save themselves. 

Kritters Thoughts:  The sixth book in a series and this is one of those series where you can read mostly out of order because the mystery is self contained, there is some character development that you may miss out on the Forensics Insights team, but I am actually two books behind, so I haven't read book 4 or 5 and I didn't feel like I was missing too much.  I would say at least read book 1 so you know how the team gets formed and then you can read this one if you want to.  

I have to start by saying I just love the team.  I love that everyone has their own nitch and each of them is a vital part of the team.  I love that once you learn everyone on the team you can get attached to one or a few and as a reader it is exciting to get a series where you care about the characters from book to book.

The mystery in this book was great.  I love the prologue which gives you a quick glimpse and then you go into the story and there are so many questions.  My big marker as to if I like a mystery book is if I am satisfied by who the "killer" is and this one was so good.  I say this often on this blog, but I don't want to divulge too much because to spoil a mystery is something I just will not do.  The way Andrea unpacks the clues they are just at the right moment and I was happy clueless and had a few AHA moments!

I will continue to read this series (and need to read book 4 and 5) because they way she constructs her books is just right!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Partner in Crime 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, September 18, 2017

The Summer That Made Us
by Robyn Carr

Publisher: Mira Books
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  That was then... 

For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything.

This is now... 

After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.

Kritters Thoughts:  Let me start by saying I am a Robyn Carr fan and I love her romance series and the stand alone women's fiction books.  She can write a book so I was surprised throughout this whole book that I couldn't get into it or care about any of the characters.  This book was all about the characters - two sisters who marry two brothers and each have three girls and one summer at their lake house sends these families spiraling out of control and many years later two of the girls decide to return and one invites the others and of course drama ensues.

As I said above this is a character driven story and not really any of the characters drew me in and I couldn't get to caring about them.  When other girls arrived to the lake house I was hoping to find one to connect with, but I just couldn't.

The thing about this book that was entertaining was the mystery about the past.  I liked learning the details about what tore the families apart, but it didn't make me care anymore about them in the present.

This book won't keep me from continuing to read Robyn Carr.  I will pick up the next one with the same excitement I have when she releases each stand alone! 

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

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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