Monday, June 30, 2014

The Tilted World
by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The year is 1927. As rains swell the Mississippi, the mighty river threatens to burst its banks and engulf all in its path, including federal revenue agent Ted Ingersoll and his partner, Ham Johnson. Arriving in the tiny hamlet of Hobnob, Mississippi, to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents on the trail of a local bootlegger, they unexpectedly find an abandoned baby boy at a crime scene.

An orphan raised by nuns, Ingersoll is determined to find the infant a home, a search that leads him to Dixie Clay Holliver. A lonely woman married too young to a charming and sometimes violent philanderer, Dixie Clay has lost her only child to illness and is powerless to resist this second chance at motherhood. From the moment they meet, Ingersoll and Dixie Clay are drawn to each other. He has no idea that she's the best bootlegger in the county and may be connected to the missing agents. And while he seems kind and gentle, Dixie Clay knows he is the enemy and must not be trusted.

Then a deadly new peril arises, endangering them all. A saboteur, hired by rich New Orleans bankers eager to protect their city, is planning to dynamite the levee and flood Hobnob, where the river bends precariously. Now, with time running out, Ingersoll, Ham, and Dixie Clay must make desperate choices, choices that will radically transform their lives-if they survive.


Kritters Thoughts:  If you have followed this blog for some time then you know I like historical fiction.  The reason I like it is because I feel like I am learning, but without the horrible symbolism talks or pop quizzes!  I was excited to read that this book was based on a historical event that doesn't get much buzz - a flood in Mississippi in 1927.

Dixie Clay married a man that she thought sold fur and would be the husband and father that she always dreamed of; instead he became a bootlegger and so did she.  It is Prohibition time and the whiskey industry is very underground.  At the same time in this small town in Mississippi they have seen gobs of rain and their levees are straining under the pressure.  Both Dixie Clay and a revenuer tell the story - it was nice to get both sides of the business and the story from one who has been in the town for a while and from a visitor.  

A slow moving book that I would only recommend to readers who are fans of the author or fans of the genre.  There were quite a few times where I just wanted the book to start running full steam ahead and it just puttered in my opinion.


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 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.








Sunday, June 29, 2014

I would count this as an average reading week.  Had some great nights outside with the dogs, the husband and the many mosquitos!  This weekend was quiet which was great - have had a few busy weekends in a row, needed a time out!  

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly
Grand Central by Assorted Authors
Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn
Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Currently Reading:
The House at Mermaid Point by Wendy Wax

Next on the TBR pile:
A Triple Knot by Emma Campion

Friday, June 27, 2014

In the Mirror
by Kaira Rouda

Publisher: Real You Publishing
Pages: 214
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Jennifer Benson has it all: a successful career, a perfect husband, two kids and abundant friendships. The only problem is she may be dying. IN THE MIRROR is the realistic love story about a woman facing a deadly illness, and her loves past and present. It's a story that unfolds with a delightful blend of humor and poignancy, ringing true in the heart of anyone who has ignored a warning of her own.


Kritters Thoughts:  Jennifer Benson was an easy character to fall in love with and I completely loved her story.  I was concerned that with her terminal diagnosis and her living in a hospital of sorts that this book would be super sad and somewhat stagnant as the location of the story doesn't really change, but I was completely wrong.  It was on the sad side, but not too much.  I think the author did a great job of balancing the severity of the illness and her surroundings with the entertaining guests who visit her and bring laughter and drama into her hospital room.

Although I am not a fan of hanging endings, I kind of felt like it was right with this one.  I enjoyed not knowing what happened with Jennifer and I may have changed my mind a few times as to how I would end it!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel


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.





Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chasing the Sun
by Natalia Sylvester

Publisher: Lake Union
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Andres suspects his wife has left him—again. Then he learns that the unthinkable has happened: she’s been kidnapped. Too much time and too many secrets have come between Andres and Marabela, but now that she’s gone, he’ll do anything to get her back. Or will he?
As Marabela slips farther away, Andres must decide whether they still have something worth fighting for, and exactly what he’ll give up to bring her home. And unfortunately, the decision isn’t entirely up to him, or up to the private mediator who moves into the family home to negotiate with the terrorists holding Marabela. Andres struggles to maintain the illusion of control while simultaneously scrambling to collect his wife’s ransom, tending to the needs of his two young children, and reconnecting with an old friend who may hold the key to his past and his wife’s future.

Kritters Thoughts:  Andres and Marabela don't have a history of the best relationship, so one day he comes home and she is not there and some may not agree with his non reaction, but after their history is explained the reader understands why he may not be so worried.

Set in a time and place where kidnapping wealthy relatives is common and ransoms are serious.  Andres ends up hiring someone to talk him through the process and until the very end I couldn't trust this guy - let me know if you could trust him from the beginning?  Without spoiling, the book is divided into two parts, the kidnapping and the days after Marabela returns home.  I appreciated that the author included this time as to show how life is after the victim returns home and the family must start a new chapter after this horrific episode.

A book out of my comfort zone and sometimes it is nice to read something from left field.  One of the hard things about reading this book was the quick change to the past and a story that supports the greater story, but the jump into the past was a little fast.  After the back story is shared, there is then a jump to the present.

A book that reminded me of a movie and I could see it clearly on the big screen.  


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 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, June 25, 2014

The Ways of the Dead
by Neely Tucker

Publisher: Viking Adult
Pages: 288
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When the teenage daughter of a powerful Washington, D.C., judge is found dead, three local black kids are arrested for her murder—but reporter Sully Carter suspects there’s more to the case. From the city’s grittiest backstreets to the elegant halls of power, wry yet wounded Sully pursues a string of cold cases, all the while fighting against pressure from government officials, police, suspicious locals, and his own bosses at the newspaper. Based on the real-life 1990s Princeton Place murders, Neely Tucker’s debut novel is a pitch-perfect rendering of a fast-paced newsroom and a layered, edge-of-your-seat mystery sure to please fans of Elmore Leonard and George Pelecanos.


Kritters Thoughts:  Fiction based on truth gets me every time!  Neely Tucker takes the true story of murders that occurred in DC and weaves them into a fictional tale.  Sully, a journalist who has recently returned from war reporting is thrust back into city dramatics with the murder of a high ranking official's daughter.  Although her murder looks isolated, Sully believes that it is one in a string and is out to prove it.

The plot was perfect and the characters were fantastically portrayed.  Sully interacted with the professionals at his paper and the characters on the street with ease and I felt the truth in it.  I loved his myriad of sources and meeting them and getting not only the information for the murders, but to learn about them was fantastic.  

The other part that made me a fan was the fantastic plot twist at the end.  The reader thinks that everything is buttoning up just so and then the character gets one more piece of information and it sets everything into a different place - loved it!

The one thing that kept tripping me up were the journalism terms - the deadlines and submission terms that were used throughout the book.  I may have had to gloss over those, but they only distracted from the story a little bit.  I don't know that there is a way to avoid it because coming from a journalist's point of view, it helped create the atmosphere.

I will be looking out for more from Neely Tucker, adding him to my favorites list!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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, June 24, 2014

Eyes On You by Kate White

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  After losing her on-air job two years ago, television host Robin Trainer has fought her way back and now she’s hotter than ever. With her new show climbing in the ratings and her first book a bestseller, she’s being dubbed a media double threat. 

But suddenly, things begin to go wrong. Small incidents at first: a nasty note left in her purse; her photo shredded. But the obnoxious quickly becomes threatening when the foundation the makeup artist uses burns Robin’s face. It wasn’t an accident—someone had deliberately doctored with the product. 

An adversary with a dark agenda wants to hurt Robin, and the clues point to someone she works with every day. While she frantically tries to put the pieces together and unmask this hidden foe, it becomes terrifyingly clear that the person responsible isn’t going to stop until Robin loses everything that matters to her . . . including her life.


Kritters Thoughts:  Robin is a tv personality and is having some pretty cruel things happen to her and there are a few people who may want her out of commission.  She has a few ideas as to who may want her out of her job, but there may be some others who don't enjoy her on air.  The bad things escalate and finally others are involved to solve the mystery.

Even though Robin was leaning towards a few people, I had my eye on someone the entire time and I ended up being right.  Sometimes I like to know before the victim does, but this time felt like I knew way too early and wasn't convinced otherwise through the happenings in the book.  I wanted something to sneak up behind me and point me a different way.  I still enjoyed this book, but would have loved things to come together a little less obviously.


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 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, June 23, 2014

The Promise by Robyn Carr

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Scott Grant has a bustling family practice in the small Oregon community of Thunder Point. The town and its people have embraced the widowed doctor and father of two, his children are thriving, and Scott knows it's time to move on from his loss. But as the town's only doctor, the dating scene is awkward. That is, until a stunning physician's assistant applies for a job at his clinic. 

Peyton Lacoumette considers herself entirely out of the dating scene. She's already been burned by a man with kids, and she's come to Thunder Point determined not to repeat past mistakes. When Scott offers her a job, at a much lower salary than she's used to, Peyton is surprisingly eager to accept…at least for now. She's willing to stay for a three-month trial period while she explores other options. 

Scott and Peyton know the arrangement is temporary—it isn't enough time to build a real relationship, never mind anything with lasting commitment. But love can blossom faster than you think when the timing is right, and this short visit just might hold the promise of forever.



Kritters Thoughts:  The next book in the Thunder Point series and not my absolute favorite, but I absolutely adore the creative ways that Robyn Carr brings new characters to this small town!  Peyton comes to town to escape a previous relationship that ended really poorly and she wants a moment to catch her breath and find a new path.  Of course she stops in this small town in Thunder Point and her stay may be longer than she first imagined!

I loved this coupling, but at times I was confused by their ups and downs.  I wanted the best for them and assumed it would work out, but they were just a little wishy washy for me!  The one thing I loved in this book was the increase of updates on other couples; for some reason I felt like I heard more than in previous books about the previous couples that I had loved so much!  I wouldn't mind a book that had mostly updates instead of a whole new couple and story.

A reminder that I would start this series from the beginning, but beware, you are going to want to read them back to back to back!

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.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It was a sad week on the reading front.  A lot going on at work and with a washer and a fridge crapping out in the same week, too much drama at the house and couldn't concentrate on a book at all.  Hopefully next week will be a little quieter!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Sweet Memories by Steena Holmes
Sweet Dreams by Steena Holmes
Eyes on You by Kate White
Chasing the Sun by Natalia Sylvester

Currently Reading:
Grand Central by Assorted Authors
The Tilted World by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly

Next on the TBR pile:
Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert

Friday, June 20, 2014

That Night by Chevy Stevens

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent
complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night. 

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.



Kritters Thoughts:  Small town, murder and lives lost in more than the typical way were the major themes for this book.  Toni tells this story, but from three different points in time with chapters nicely headlined as to what time period she is narrating from and I loved how the weaved together.  From the beginning, the author sets the stage that Toni's sister has been murdered and Toni and her not so clean cut boyfriend are found guilty for the murder, although they preach from the beginning that they are completely innocent.  The reader must decide at some point whether they are convinced that she is speaking the truth or really did commit the crime.

For some reason, early on, I was convinced of their innocence, but kept second guessing my gut feeling!  I appreciated how Chevy Stevens really created doubt and made this story have many ups and downs.  The other piece that I absolutely adored was this small town that was run by a few personalities - the cop, his daughter, her horribly mean friends and this family in the center.  I loved how everyone knew everyone - that is how I grew up and yet there were still secrets kept.  Even at the end when I thought it was settled more came out and I was still stunned by it all!

This may be a shock to both you and me, but this was my first Chevy Stevens book I had read.  I am officially a fan and will be reading her previous books immediately!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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, June 19, 2014

Supreme Justice
by Max Allan Collins

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  After taking a bullet for his commander-in-chief, Secret Service agent Joseph Reeder is a hero. But his outspoken criticism of the president he saved—who had stacked the Supreme Court with hard-right justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, amp up the Patriot Act, and shred the First Amendment—put Reeder at odds with the Service’s apolitical nature, making him an outcast.


FBI agent Patti Rogers finds herself paired with the unpopular former agent on a task force investigating the killing of Supreme Court Justice Henry Venter. Reeder—nicknamed “Peep” for his unparalleled skills at reading body language—makes a startling discovery while reviewing a security tape: the shooting was premeditated, not a botched robbery. Even more chilling, the controversial Venter may not be the only justice targeted for death...
Is a mastermind mounting an unprecedented judicial coup aimed at replacing ultra-conservative justices with a new liberal majority? To crack the conspiracy and save the lives of not just the justices but also Reeder’s own family, rising star Rogers and legendary investigator Reeder must push their skills—and themselves—to the limit.


Kritters Thoughts:  Although Supreme Justices make controversial decisions, they aren't completely entrenched in the scandal and drama of DC; instead they are nicely tucked away!  This fantastic piece of fiction brought the Justices to the forefront and both humanized them and showed the way they can be at the center of political drama.  

As I live outside of DC, I am always drawn to books that are set in DC, but also show the surrounding area - the DMV (DC, MD and VA) as we like to call it.  Max Allan Collins allowed this story to really use the surrounding neighborhoods and had them come alive in the story.  I absolutely adored the truth in how many police agencies are located in the DC area and getting them to work together as a team to one goal doesn't always end in timeliness!  

I like to do a little research after I read books, so much to my surprise I found Max Allan Collins large body of work after reading what I thought could be a debut.  Have you read any of his other books?  Any other great DC works that I should buy and read 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.




Wednesday, June 18, 2014

No Alligators in Sight
by Kirsten B. Feldman

Pages: 232
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In this coming of age novel, Lettie and Bert squeak by in a tiny town on Cape Cod, one parent an alcoholic and the other absent. After a string of bad decisions on Lettie’s part, their father ships them to their barely remembered mother for the summer, where they will learn hard lessons about themselves, their family, and their future by way of the Florida swamp. Throughout Lettie keeps her biting humor flowing, her razor-sharp pen at the ready, and her eye on her quest for a “normal” life.


Kritters Thoughts:  Lettie and Bert were two children who were definitely captivating and I just couldn't believe the lives that they were living.  The situations that these young children were put into was just beyond understanding.  The one character that I just couldn't get enough of was their father - he wasn't redeeming at the beginning, but by the end I definitely adored him.

One of the things that I would have loved was a little more growth in the character of Lettie.  Near the end she turned a little corner, but I just wanted more from her a little earlier in the book.  The other character that I wanted so much more from was Lettie's mom, Gertrude, she just fell flat for me and I didn't love reading a mom who acted the way she does and I just wanted her to improve a little.

Reading this one right after another YA book made it a little hard for me to enjoy this one because it didn't live up to the other one.  Like I said previously, there wasn't anything glaringly wrong, but it was just ok in my mind.


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


Ebook 2014 Challenge: 38 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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Happy to Be Alive, Because
by Chelsea Jacobs

Publisher: Nyree Press
Pages: 302
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Avery is a seventeen-year-old girl whose reality has just been shattered by the death of her mother. Feeling a desperate need to flee from what has become her life, she follows a travel plan meant for her mom that leads her to the little beach town where her mom grew up. It's there that she meets a group of three adventurous friends who adopt her into their circle, allowing her to experience a summer she never thought would be possible after suffering such a great loss. Unfortunately, her summer full of experiences threatens to end abruptly when she realizes that one of the three has a secret that causes her to question everything about the new life she has been building. Avery must learn to balance her grief and her desire for a future in order to achieve her mother's final wish for her: That she would be happy to be alive.


Kritters Thoughts:  Avery was a great character, I loved her age and the point of life that she was in - trying to figure out what her next move will be and all without a parent.  I was amazed that she left home so quickly on this adventure that her mom had planned out for her - amazed and kind of excited to follow her!  

Avery was an honest character and I appreciated her true reactions to her mother's death and that there were ups and downs through her entire grieving process.  I loved her hesitation with people, but her complete openness with others, I understood her.  The secondary characters were fantastic - they completely added to the story and didn't take too much focus away from the central storyline.  The twists at the end were absolutely satisfying, I was beyond excited about what the author left to unveil and how she wrapped it all up.

I hesitated for a moment and debated about labeling this a perfect YA read, but there were just a few moments that were a little questionable in adult matters and I like to label my YA reads when they are completely on the innocent side.  If you are willing to read and approve this for your young YA reader, than I would recommend this one.
Rating: perfect beach read

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