Friday, December 15, 2017

The Holiday Gift
by RaeAnne Thayne

Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 216
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  With two kids and an active life, widow Faith Dustin only wants peace and quiet for Christmas. But her snowy Pine Gulch ranch is nothing but chaotic. All that keeps Faith going is her helpful neighbor, cowboy Chase Brannon. He's always been "good ol' Chase," her faithful friend. Until he asks her out on a "real" date. 

Years ago Chase blew his chance with the woman he's loved since childhood. Now he's determined to step out of the friend zone…and into the role of husband. But the scared and stubborn Faith won't let herself fall. With Christmas just days away, Chase will need all the magic of the season—and the help of her two matchmaking children—to unwrap a second chance at love.

Kritters Thoughts:  Another book that I read that I was apprehensive because I didn't love the book that came before it in the series and thank goodness was surprised.  

Faith Dustin is one of the three sisters that was featured in the book - A Cold Creek Christmas Story.  She is the oldest of the three and like her sisters has been through a lot.  This is the love story between her and a life long friend and it is the sweetest most perfect love story!  Beware in this romance story there is little sexy times, so if you like to read romance books for that, this one won't work for you.  Instead this book is will they won't they cuteness and I liked the innocence of it.

Because I loved this one so much, I am looking forward to finishing out the three sisters and reading the final one in this series within a series.  I am not sure I will continue on in this small Idaho town, but I will definitely finish this family's stories. 

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 66 out of 50

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.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The First Lie
by Diane Chamberlain

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 35
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The First Lie gives readers an early glimpse into the life of thirteen-year-old Ivy Hart. It’s 1958 in rural North Carolina, where Ivy lives with her grandmother and sister on a tobacco farm. As tenant farmers, Ivy and her family don’t have much freedom, though she and her best friend, Henry, often sneak away in search of adventure…and their truest selves. But life on the farm takes a turn when Ivy’s teenage sister gives birth—all the while maintaining her silence about the baby’s father. Soon Ivy finds herself navigating the space between adolescence and adulthood as she tries to unravel a dark web of family secrets and make sense of her ever-evolving life in the segregated South. 

Kritters Thoughts:  The First Lie is a prequel short story of sorts to go before the full novel Necessary Lies.  I read Necessary Lies in March of 2016 and at the time didn't know there was a prequel short story, I kind of wish I had.  So if you haven't read Necessary Lies, read this one before you dive into that book - this sets such a good foundation for where that story is going to go.  If you have already read it, this is still worth the time, I enjoyed it.

This short story takes you back to a time where things can easily be swept under the rug and women and children have minimal rights for themselves and their lives and the crazy, surprising thing is that this book isn't set to long ago.  This book made me gasp and I had to remind myself over and over again that this was based in truth and isn't too fictionalized and made me realize how far we have come in women's rights - still not all the way there yet!

I love Diane Chamberlain and this is the second time that she has a short story that precludes the novel and I loved it.  I like a little set up before the main event, I wouldn't mind this set up for more books!

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 54 out of 50

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Breaking the Story
by Ashley Farley

Publisher: Leisure Time Books
Pages: 248
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Passion, peril, and a scandal that will rock American politics.

Scottie Darden is a train wreck. Her personal life is falling apart, and her career as a photojournalist has stalled out. To attract the attention of the main players in the news industry, she needs a standout story with a unique perspective. What she finds is a scandal that could turn the 2016 presidential election upside down. But before she can release her damaging images to the media, Scottie must uncover the truth behind the photographs. She turns to handsome mystery man Guy Jordan for help. When they join the campaign trail in search of answers, their investigation quickly becomes deadly.

Hop on board for a wild ride of adventure where desire ignites, lives are threatened, and secrets are revealed.

Kritters Thoughts:  A follow up to the novella I reviewed yesterday.  I was worried after not enjoying the novella that I wouldn't love this one much either, I am glad to say that is not the case.  To spoil a little, a lot of what I didn't love about the first book was the husband and everything about him, I was so so thankful that her husband is gone REAL quick and the book continues beyond that.

I loved Scottie Darden so much more in this book when she is off on an adventure that seems a little  more plausible and is worth true consequences.  This book felt more full and real and like a great adventure.  I read this one so quickly in basically one sitting, it was the perfect one to sit down and enjoy during the crazy holiday season.  

After reading this one, I wouldn't mind more from this author in this series and may need to try out another series of hers.  

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 65 out of 50

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Merry Mary
by Ashley Farley

Publisher: Leisure Time Books
Pages: 96
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A young woman longing for a child stumbles upon a Christmas miracle.

Investigative journalist Scottie Darden is photographing the homeless for her Lost Souls series when she makes a discovery that could change her life forever. Under a makeshift tent in subzero temperatures in a downtown city park, she finds a woman's dead body with her infant child. Without her cell phone to call for help, Scottie makes the split-second decision to take the baby home. Her initial instinct is to provide the baby with food and shelter until her family can be located. But as her fondness for the baby grows, she finds herself facing a life on the run or worse—prison time for abduction.

Kritters Thoughts:  The prequel to the book Breaking the Story that I am reviewing tomorrow, so when I found out there was a prequel I wanted to start there first and then dive into the book.  

Scottie Darden has been photographing the homeless in this park in Richmond, VA and there one night in the cold of December, she finds a deceased women with a crying baby.  When the homeless population vanishes, she takes the baby home with no clue what to do next.

I have to be honest, I am glad this book was short in length, I didn't love it.  Maybe because it was short in length the author couldn't put a lot into it and had to be choosy with the words.  I didn't really love any of the characters and thought Scottie was a little too cooky for me.  For obvious reasons I completely despised her husband Brad and just all around didn't love the story.

My hope is that the first book in the series, what I am reviewing tomorrow - Breaking the Story redeems Scottie and with a story that seems a little more too far from left field I will enjoy the book.

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 63 out of 50

Monday, December 11, 2017

Enchantress of Numbers
by Jennifer Chiaverini

Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 448
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the most brilliant, revered, and scandalous of the Romantic poets, Ada was destined for fame long before her birth. Estranged from Ada’s father, who was infamously “mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” Ada’s mathematician mother is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage. Banishing fairy tales and make-believe from the nursery, Ada’s mother provides her daughter with a rigorous education grounded in mathematics and science. Any troubling spark of imagination—or worse yet, passion or poetry—is promptly extinguished. Or so her mother believes.

When Ada is introduced into London society as a highly eligible young heiress, she at last discovers the intellectual and social circles she has craved all her life. Little does she realize that her delightful new friendship with inventor Charles Babbage—brilliant, charming, and occasionally curmudgeonly—will shape her destiny. Intrigued by the prototype of his first calculating machine, the Difference Engine, and enthralled by the plans for his even more advanced Analytical Engine, Ada resolves to help Babbage realize his extraordinary vision, unique in her understanding of how his invention could transform the world. All the while, she passionately studies mathematics—ignoring skeptics who consider it an unusual, even unhealthy pursuit for a woman—falls in love, discovers the shocking secrets behind her parents’ estrangement, and comes to terms with the unquenchable fire of her imagination.

Kritters Thoughts:  Jennifer Chiaverini is known in the historical fiction world.  For me she has written some really great books that have a foot in historical fact, but have a bit of fiction added to make it a good story!  

This one had a bumpy start for me.  With the prologue being quite lengthy and concerning how Lord and Lady Byron met and "fell in love" and how Ada was conceived, I from the start HATED Lord Byron and was nervous that I would not enjoy this one.  As soon as Ada is given the reigns of the story and narrates her own childhood I was ready for a good book.  

Somewhere in the middle of the book, this one took a dip for me and just dragged along.  I felt like once Ada took the reigns we were going a good 50 mph and then somewhere in the middle it hit a speed bump and went slow and slower and I couldn't get my attention to keep on it.  As soon as Ada met Mr. Baggage it got better, but it never picked up and really worked for me.  

This lackluster read wouldn't keep me from reading more by Jennifer Chiaverini, but I have to say I like her American history books more than this one abroad.  

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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Dutton.  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, December 10, 2017

With an unexpected weekend adventure, I actually inherited some reading time, so was able to get a lot more reading done than expected!
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini
Merry Mary by Ashley Farley
Breaking the Story by Ashley Farley
The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne
The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F&*!K by Sarah Knight

Currently Reading:
What Happened by Hilary Clinton
Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand

Next on the TBR pile:
Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Night Before Christmas
by Mary McNear

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 112
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:   Butternut Lake is so beautiful at Christmas—from the delightfully decorated shops, to the cozy homes with their twinkling lights outside, to the lake itself. And this year so much is happening!

A wedding: Caroline meticulously plans her perfect Christmastime dream wedding to Jack, remarrying him after many years apart.

A baby: Allie and Walker are expecting the best Christmas gift of all—their first baby together.

A reunion: Daisy, Caroline and Jack's daughter, is returning home after a long semester away at college.

But what's Christmas without complications? Walker smothers Allie with worry; Daisy pines for her true love, Will, away in the army. And then the unthinkable happens—and Caroline's wedding plans are ruined.

And just when it seems all is lost, the people of Butternut Lake come together to give their friends the greatest gifts of all. . . .

Kritters Thoughts:  The Butternut Lake series is a series that can be read out of order as each book centers around a different resident whether they be new to the lake or not, so as this book is technically 2.5 in the series, I have read the whole series minus #3 and may have to remedy that soon!

Set during the holiday season this novella centers around Caroline and Jack who have reconnected after decades apart and have decided to marry again and start new.  Their daughter comes home to celebrate and there are a few secrets and surprises in store for this short and sweet book.  

I am usually antsy about novellas that are a part of a series that I love and adore but this one stood up to the full novels.  I loved getting a glimpse of this community during the winter season because the rest of the series that I have read take place in the peak of summer season as the lake community has quite a bit of visitors and things going on.  

My review of this short and sweet novella will be short and sweet, I loved it.  I didn't regret for one minute that this was a novella and in fact I kind of liked to read something that I could curl up and finish in just one sitting.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (and got one!)

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 19 out of 50
   (read this back in June, hence the number is out of order)
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