Friday, April 18, 2014

The Other Typist
by Suzanne Rindell

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 356
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  New York City, 1924: the height of Prohibition and the whole city swims in bathtub gin.

Rose Baker is an orphaned young woman working for her bread as a typist in a police precinct on the lower East Side. Every day Rose transcribes the confessions of the gangsters and murderers that pass through the precinct. While she may disapprove of the details, she prides herself on typing up the goriest of crimes without batting an eyelid.

But when the captivating Odalie begins work at the precinct Rose finds herself falling under the new typist's spell. As do her bosses, the buttoned up Lieutenant Detective and the fatherly Sergeant. As the two girls' friendship blossoms and they flit between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night, and their work at the precinct by day, it is not long before Rose's fascination for her new colleague turns to obsession.

But just who is the real Odalie, and how far will Rose go to find out?


Kritters Thoughts:  A historical fiction with a little bit of an eerie thriller twist.  Rose is telling the story from the future and it is obvious that from the start the story is going to go downhill at some point, but the reader just doesn't know when, where and why.  The who part is easy - it is clear that the new typist Odalie will be involved in some way.

Rose was a great character and as a narrator I enjoyed the way the story was presented.  It made it interesting to hear her tell the story from the future with her thoughts added in for good measure.  I also enjoyed the concentration on prohibition - I don't think I have read many books that focused on the time period in this way with a look at this very big subject matter.  A fun side note, I am a police officer's wife and I loved reading about the inner workings of an older time in a police office.

I enjoyed this one, but didn't love it.  I think I have read quite a bit of historical fiction mainly set in New York and as I have read them all recently, I compare them and this one didn't live up to the others, but was still good in its own right.  At times I felt like the pacing slowed down in the middle and then just went crazy fast at the end, so maybe I would have ranked it higher if the pacing was more even.

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 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.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Up at Butternut Lake
by Mary McNear

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  It's been ten years since Allie Beckett crossed the threshold of her family cabin at Butternut Lake, Minnesota. Now, newly widowed after the death of her husband in Afghanistan, she's returned with her five-year-old son.

There, she reconnects with the friends she had in childhood-best girlfriend Jax, now married with three kids and one on the way, and Caroline, owner of the local coffee shop. What Allie doesn't count on is a newcomer to Butternut Lake, Walker Ford. 

Up at Butternut Lake follows these four unforgettable characters across a single summer as they struggle with love, loss, and what it means to take risks, confront fears, and embrace life, in all of its excitement and unpredictability.

Allie Beckett could never have imagined, when she ran away from her old life, that she was running into a whole new life, up at the lake…


Kritters Thoughts:  Allie is a young mother who has been widowed due to war and is trying to make a new home for her and her son without the memories that linger in their previous hometown.  She returns to a lake house from her childhood where there are a few people who knew her before this most recent tragedy in her life.  

The minor characters had a story of their own which added to the story, but didn't distract.  The owner of the local diner is a recent empty nester and is really feeling the loneliness without her daughter at home.  Jax is a mom of three with the fourth on the way and has kept a secret from her husband and she must confront this to move her marriage forward.  I enjoyed having these full stories settle within Allie's story.

The one thing that really stuck out with me with this book was the effects that our military families are having as their loved ones are leaving and possibly not coming home again.  At the beginning of this book, I was surprised as to the length of time she had lived without her husband, but the author really helped me realize the length of time it can take for a family to start the processing of finding a new normal.

A predictable romance that didn't surprise me, even when I wanted it to!  I just wanted a twist or a turn that made me excited for the conclusion - the book ended exactly how I thought it would after reading the very beginning.

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.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Silence the Dead
by Simone St. James

Publisher: NAL Trade
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In 1919, Kitty Weekes, pretty, resourceful, and on the run, falsifies her background to obtain a nursing position at Portis House, a remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War. Hiding the shame of their mental instability in what was once a magnificent private estate, the patients suffer from nervous attacks and tormenting dreams. But something more is going on at Portis House—its plaster is crumbling, its plumbing makes eerie noises, and strange breaths of cold waft through the empty rooms. It’s known that the former occupants left abruptly, but where did they go? And why do the patients all seem to share the same nightmare, one so horrific that they dare not speak of it?

Kitty finds a dangerous ally in Jack Yates, an inmate who may be a war hero, a madman… or maybe both. But even as Kitty and Jack create a secret, intimate alliance to uncover the truth, disturbing revelations suggest the presence of powerful spectral forces. And when a medical catastrophe leaves them even more isolated, they must battle the menace on their own, caught in the heart of a mystery that could destroy them both.



Kritters Thoughts:  Historical fiction with ghosts, crazy PTSD soldiers and all in a home that is completely isolated from the world.  Kitty is a woman who has been running from a past for a very long time and she ends up in this historical home that has been converted into a mental hospital working as a nurse without the proper qualifications.  She learns that the past doesn't always stay in the past both the past of the occupants of the home and those in her personal past.  

I am a historical fiction fan and I liked this one, but I wish there was a little more to the story of the previous inhabitants of the house.  Once their part of the story started to unfold it was then done; I think it could have been woven a little more throughout the entire story.  I completely enjoyed that the house was almost a full character on its own - the author described this house to such detail that I felt I was there.  

If you like historical fiction with a dash of ghosts then you would love this one.

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 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.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On Grace by Susie Schnall

Publisher: SparkPress
Pages: 274
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  
Grace May is actually excited about turning forty in a few months. Now that her boys are both in school and she has a stimulating new writing job, the next chapter in her life can finally begin. She can't wait to rediscover the intelligent woman buried under the layers of mother and wife. But when Grace suddenly loses her job and receives unexpected news, she stands to lose everything: her marriage, her best friend, and her sense of self. By her fortieth birthday party, Grace will realize who and what matter most. With laughter. With tears. With grace.


Kritters Thoughts:  Grace is about to turn 40 and is feeling the effects of the big birthday.  She is trying to find herself and her new role as her children are leaving for their first years in school and don't necessary need her as much anymore.  I loved having a different age character trying to find her place in this new set of circumstances.

Although this book deals with some hard topics, I think the author did a fantastic job of keeping it authentic and real, but not too much of a downer!  I fell in love with this character and it was easy to want to follow her journey through it all.  The minor characters were full and just as enjoyable as Grace; which I think is key when they have such an impact on the journey of the main character.

So I have decided to put this book into a new sub genre of women's fiction that I am calling Coming of Age Later in Life!  I wish there were more books that took this approach with this age group of main characters because I felt it was a good view of how life can throw you a curve ball at any age.


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

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 20 out of 100

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jaspar's War by Cym Lowell

Publisher: Rosemary Beach Press
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Greenwich, Connecticut socialite Jaspar Moran has it all-a magnificent estate, two beautiful children and a loving husband, Trevor, serving as the Secretary of the Treasury. Protected, admired and living in the lap of luxury, Jaspar is reeling from the news that his government jet has crashed just as her children vanish without a trace. An ominous message warns her to keep silent about her husband's role in the President's economic plan. Or else. Determined to save her children, she'll go to hell and back, form alliances with assassins, traitors and Mafioso, and commit unspeakable acts-if that's what it takes. With alarms sounding around the world, hunted from all sides, and unsure of who to trust, she finds herself depending on a mysterious figure without an identity. Jaspar journeys from the Australian outback to the palazzos of Rome, the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, and to the magnificence of the Vatican, in her quest. Can she rescue her children before the plot to crash the global economy is unleashed?


Kritters Thoughts:  A political and economical thriller that by using the economic fall of 2008 crafted a great thriller that is so modern - I loved it!  The pacing was fantastic, it didn't stop until the end and there was no lull at the beginning, this story picked up and didn't stop.  Although the economic side of the story was hard, it was presented in a way that I think I got most of it.  

The characters and setting made this book.  With fantastic settings abroad and a few sites in the States, the author used the international intrigue to a T.  I loved how the political piece of the puzzle wasn't just in the USA.  The characters were across the board - citizens, royalty, Indians, and beyond, it was great to see all the diversity in the characters and how they fit into the puzzle.  

I wish I could change the cover on this book, there was a quick moment where I automatically turned it down, but with a quick read of the synopsis I gave it a chance.  Thank goodness because the book is so much better than the cover!

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 Meryl Moss Media.  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, April 13, 2014

A very long week on the work front and a crazy weekend enjoying DC and friends and family!  Because of these things, the reading just didn't happen this week.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
In the Mirror by Kaira Rouda
The Book of You by Claire Kendal
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

Currently Reading:
Monday, Monday by Elizabeth Crook

Next on the TBR pile:
Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom

Friday, April 11, 2014

Children of the Revolution
by Peter Robinson

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 389
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A disgraced college lecturer is found murdered with £5,000 in his pocket on a disused railway line near his home. Since being dismissed from his job for sexual misconduct four years previously, he has been living a poverty-stricken and hermit-like existence in this isolated spot.

The suspects range from several individuals at the college where he used to teach to a woman who knew the victim back in the early '70s at Essex University, then a hotbed of political activism. When Banks receives a warning to step away from the case, he realises there is much more to the mystery than meets the eye - for there are plenty more skeletons to come out of the closet . . .



Kritters Thoughts:  Banks is an investigator in Yorkshire and is debating about retiring and saying goodbye to the police force.  An intriguing case gets him excited about his job as a former college professor is not only found dead but in an interesting spot that complicates the murder mystery.  

Another mystery that took place in England and felt very similar to ones that I have recently read and just moved way too slow for me.  Because the flow wasn't there the ending wasn't as satisfying, so I may have to think twice about picking up the next one in this series.

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

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