Saturday, January 31, 2015


January was the best reading month I have ever had.  The cold weather kept me hibernating and it helped that the first few days of the month were the end of my holiday staycation!  A few novellas also helped the numbers!  I don't think the rest of the year will go so well, but it was great to start on such a good foot!

1.  Lost and Found in Prague by Kelly Jones
2. City of Liars and Thieves by Eve Karlin
3. Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester
4. North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo
5. A Taste of Power by Elisabeth Elo
6. How Do You Know? by Meredith Schorr
7. Perdita by Hilary Scharper
8. The Art of Stealing by Sandi Perry
9. Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman
10. Cane and Abe by James Grippando
11. House Broken by Sonja Yoerg
12. The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle
13. Halfway in Between by Steena Holmes
14. The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek
15. The Wedding Dare by Steena Holmes
16. The Lonely Hearts Club by Brenda Janowitz
17. The Orphan Sky by Ella Leya
18. Last Words by Rich Zahradnik
19. Dirty Rush by Taylor Bell
20. My Father's Wives by Mike Greenberg
21. Megan's Hope by Steena Holmes
22. The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth
23. Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer
24. The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
25. Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm
26. A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor
27. New Uses for Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick

Total pages read, clicked, and flipped: 8,265

Where Have I Been Reading?:
Prague, Czech Republic
NYC, NY (5)
Gooseberry Island, MA
Boston, MA (2)
Maine
Ontario, Canada
Baltimore, MD
Miami, FL
San Francisco, CA (2)
Rogersville, TN
Montana
Azerbaijan
Delaware
Canada
Rhode Island
Washington, D.C.
London
Delaware



Friday, January 30, 2015

The Unimaginable
by Dina Silver

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 264
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  After twenty-eight years of playing by the rules, Jessica Gregory moves from her small Indiana town to Phuket, Thailand. But her newfound routine is upended with the arrival of Grant Flynn, a captivating, elusive man who is sailing around the world while trying to move on from a past tragedy. Jessica volunteers to help crew Grant’s boat, Imagine, on a passage across the Indian Ocean and finds herself falling in love with him as the voyage gets underway. But when disaster strikes, Jessica must summon her courage as the crew is confronted by unspeakable terrors—and, aboard a boat named for such promise, comes the unimaginable.


Kritters Thoughts:  Jessica is a young girl who after the death of her mother decides to make a drastic change in her life and chase a dream that she has had for a long time.  She moves to a new country without anyone and just clothing and starts to make it her home.  While there she meets a man who is sailing the world and joins his crew and they encounter the new danger of the sea - pirates.

A prologue sets up the reader to know that something will happen, just not sure when and the anticipation was half of the fun!  I knew that we were going to encounter pirates at sea, just didn't know when and this made the book for me.  

The love of the book was definitely cheesy, but sometimes I like cheesy!  It was predictable and inevitable, but still enjoyable.  

I am so thankful for the author's notes in the back because throughout the entire book I kept asking why the heck would you go there knowing that there is a concentration of pirates - the author's note helped a lot!  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Last Breath
by Kimberly Belle

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Humanitarian aid worker Gia Andrews chases disasters around the globe for a living. It's the perfect lifestyle to keep her far away from her own personal ground zero. Sixteen years ago, Gia's father was imprisoned for brutally killing her stepmother. Now he's come home to die of cancer, and she's responsible for his care—and coming to terms with his guilt. 

Gia reluctantly resumes the role of daughter to the town's most infamous murderer, a part complete with protesters on the lawn and death threats that are turning tragedy into front-page news. Returning to life in small-town Tennessee involves rebuilding relationships that distance and turmoil have strained, though finding an emotional anchor in the attractive hometown bartender is certainly helping Gia cope. 

As the past unravels before her, Gia will find herself torn between the stories that her family, their friends and neighbors, and even her long-departed stepmother have believed to be real all these years. But in the end, the truth—and all the lies that came before—may have deadlier consequences than she could have ever anticipated…



Kritters Thoughts:  Gia is the youngest sibling, but the one that left home and now is returning home to take care of her ailing father who is being released from prison.  She knows that her days at home are numbered, but she doesn't know that she will have to confront some demons while home.

First, I love the going home books where a character has to return home and face the things they "ran" away from.  Usually those things they ran away from turn up and I love seeing characters confront a fear or situation head on.  

I sometimes read into birth order and as a first born tend to enjoy books more from first born points of view.  It was interesting read from the third child, the baby in the family, but the child that actually has most of their stuff together compared to her two older siblings.  I had to remind myself often that she was the youngest in the family and I liked it.

This book was the perfect combination who dun it and women's fiction.  I loved that there was a mystery to solve, but the book didn't go dark and completely revolving around looking for the clues and the answer - that was just a part of this book.

What an amazing book - definitely an official Kimberly Belle fan!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Be Books Consulting.  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, January 28, 2015

House Broken
by Sonja Yoerg

Publisher: NAL Trade
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.
 
Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.
 
Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.



Kritters Thoughts:  Helen, Geneva and Ella - three generations of women narrate this story and I loved that each of them had a voice although Geneva took the lead most of the time.  In some books the teenagers and their story lines are minor, but somehow Sonja Yoerg gave the teenager's storylines as much weight as the adults and they intertwined so perfectly.  

I always say I love generational stories where you see that the decisions that your grandparents make will affect how your parent was raised and then in turn how you were raised.  I just love to read the trickle effect that happens in family dynamics.  

If you are weary of the "women's fiction" genre, this book has depth and not your soap opera drama!  I am officially a Sonja Yoerg fan and will be looking out for her next thing.  

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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cane and Abe
by James Grippando

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Unbelievable was the word for her. Samantha Vine was unbelievably beautiful. It was unbelievable that she’d married me. Even more unbelievable that she was gone . . . 

Samantha died too soon. Abe Beckham’s new wife, Angelina, feels like Samantha never left. Through it all, Abe has managed to remain a star prosecutor at the Miami State Attorney’s Office. But his personal life is a mess, and it’s about to get worse. 

When a woman’s body is discovered dumped in the Everglades, Abe is called upon to stay on top of the investigation. The FBI is tracking a killer in South Florida they call “Cutter” because his brutal methods harken back to Florida’s dark past, when machete-wielding men cut sugarcane by hand in the blazing sun.

But when the feds discover that Abe had a brief encounter with the victim after Samantha’s death, and when Angelina goes missing, the respected attorney finds himself in the hot seat. Suspicion surrounds him. His closest friends, family, professional colleagues, and the media no longer trust his motives. Was Angelina right? Was their marriage failing because he loved Samantha too much? Or was there another woman, and did Abe have a dark side that simply wanted his new but very unhappy wife gone?



Kritters Thoughts:  In the Everglades of Florida bodies of women are showing up and a prosecutor from the state attorney's office gets mixed up in the middle of the investigation and the crime.  Abe lost his first wife to cancer, but he hasn't left the family of his late wife behind and his current wife may not be ok with his connection to them.  At the same time, his friends in law enforcement are searching for a serial killer that gets close to home for him.

I read this book in one day - two sittings!  I was completely riveted from the beginning.  Abe was a great character and I loved that I started out completely on his side but started to waver and question him - I didn't mind losing faith in him during my reading.  

I also loved how Abe was tied to the serial killer - no spoilers!  The twists and turns weren't huge, but subtle and perfectly timed.  Can you tell that I loved it!

A book that mixes mystery, thriller, race, history and a few law enforcement folks hit it out of the ballpark for me.  This is one book that I will be talking about for awhile!  Has anyone read any of James Grippando previous books?


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.


Monday, January 26, 2015

The Other Shakespeare
by Lea Rachel

Publisher: Writer's Design Press
Pages: 197
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What if Shakespeare had been born a woman? What would have happened to her? And, what would she have accomplished?

Virginia Woolf first posed these questions in her acclaimed novel A Room of One’s Own…and now maverick author Lea Rachel steps up to tell the rest of the story.

The Other Shakespeare carries readers back to the sixteenth century to follow Judith Shakespeare, the older sister of William, as she tries to make a name for herself in a male-dominated society that consistently denies women their independence. Born with as much talent, creativity, and drive as her younger brother, she is stifled by the world around her and ultimately resorts to extreme measures to get accepted and have her talent recognized.



Kritters Thoughts:  William Shakespeare is the famous sibling, but this book centers around his older sister Judith and her struggle to find a place for herself within the confines of the social norms for women at the time.  

I love where this book started, 5 of the Shakespeare children are alive at the beginning and playing theatre in their backyard, it was the best place to start and show the history of how Judith would become so in love with theatre.  But the place where I got really attached with Judith was when she moves to London and isn't sure if this is the place for herself and then she finds her "people."  Seeing that growth and then her "inspiration" for Romeo and Juliet was awesome.  

I don't know much about Shakespeare and his childhood and past, which could have been a blessing and a curse while reading this book since I didn't have the truth to put this book up against.  This book definitely made me want to read some non fiction about the Shakespeare family.


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 Cadence Group.  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, January 25, 2015


Another great reading week, with some quiet nights I was able to curl up with some books.  

A
 meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
My Father's Wives by Mike Greenberg
Megan's Hope by Steena Holmes
The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth
Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

Currently Reading:
Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

Next on the TBR pile:
A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Casper mattress company is an interesting new concept - a mattress that comes in a box!  They have all sizes and I have the queen size on my wishlist!

They are pairing up with National Readathon Day to promote reading in a bed and I am a fan of books and beds!

As most of you know I have a sweet little pup who loves to curl up and read with me and night time reading in bed is a favorite of ours!

I live with two pups who get into things and a husband who is a non reader and non book lover, so only one book stays at a time on my nightstand and it is always the book I am currently reading, so at this moment I have The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.

BUT I am a lucky girl who has a library full of books, so all of my books live in that room!

I am excited to spend a few hours today reading along with others who are participating in National Readathon Day.

Are you participating?  What is your favorite spot to read?
The Wedding Dare
by Steena Holmes

Publisher: Kindle Worlds
Pages: 100
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Alexis Barr is focused on one thing, and one thing only—making sure Alethea Stone, her best friend, who months ago almost died, has the wedding of her dreams. Sounds easy, right? 

What she doesn’t expect is for Alethea to go behind her back and ensure Alexis has her own dream come true. 

Over a year ago, Alexis ended her own engagement because she lost faith in Ethan James, her soul mate. In the past year, she’s tried hard to move on: she started her own pastry photography company and is finally happy, or so she thinks. 

Thrown together with Ethan as part of the wedding party, Alexis has to fight against the pull in her heart to reconnect with Ethan. But since he’s determined to win back her heart…is she strong enough to resist or is it all ready too late for her? 

During Alethea’s bachelorette party, a game of Truth or Dare is played. Rather than face the truth, Alexis takes a dare...and kisses the first man she sees. 

Guess who that is? 



Kritters Thoughts:  A short novella that although may not be lengthy, it still packs quite the punch!  Alexis and Thea have been friends for awhile and the reader learns quickly that they have been through a lot together.  While Thea is getting ready for her wedding, Alexis is still feeling the pain from her broken engagement.  Thea is determined to set things right and quickly!

My favorite part is that the author was still able to hold a secret back in a novella and release at the end and still have a satisfying ending.  I always get weary of novellas as they don't have the extra pages to work with and therefore can sometimes give everything away at the beginning or not have a full ending.  This one had both and well rounded characters.  I wouldn't mind a full novel to follow with these characters!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel


Ebook 2015 Challenge: 8 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.

Friday, January 23, 2015

North of Boston
by Elisabeth Elo

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 432
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When the fishing boat Pirio is on is rammed by a freighter, she finds herself abandoned in the North Atlantic. Somehow, she survives nearly four hours in the water before being rescued by the Coast Guard. But the boat’s owner and her professional fisherman friend, Ned, is not so lucky.

Compelled to look after Noah, the son of the late Ned and her alcoholic prep school friend, Thomasina, Pirio can’t shake the lurking suspicion that the boat’s sinking—and Ned’s death—was no accident. It’s a suspicion seconded by her deeply cynical, autocratic Russian father, who tells her that nothing is ever what it seems. Then the navy reaches out to her to participate in research on human survival in dangerously cold temperatures.

With the help of a curious journalist named Russell Parnell, Pirio begins unraveling a lethal plot involving the glacial whaling grounds off Baffin Island. In a narrow inlet in the arctic tundra, Pirio confronts her ultimate challenge: to trust herself. 



Kritters Thoughts:  Pirio has had a checkered past (read Elisabeth Elo's novella - A Taste of Power to read about Pirio's days in institution for troubled youth), but she is trying to reform her ways with the help of one of her friends from that school.  She ends up on a boating trip that goes awry and the book starts at that moment.  Pirio must investigate the boating incident and what seems like an easy investigation gets bigger and bigger with each clue.  

I love inquisitive books that take you on a thrill of a journey, but this one kept getting bigger and bigger and almost got too big or so I think.  I loved the dynamic between Pirio and Russell Parnell for me that became my favorite part to read; I was waiting for their moments together.  

The other thing that set this book apart for me and made me really get hooked was the boating aspect.  I don't read a ton of books that have a lot of boating involved, but I loved having this book set in Massachusetts in a boating community it felt so real.  I really appreciated how Elisabeth Elo described everything about the boating life and the area - I could completely picture it in my head and I love that!

Although I thought the scenario got a little too big, I will definitely be putting this author on my radar and hoping for the next 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.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Baltimore Blues
by Laura Lippman

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 336
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In a city where someone is murdered almost every day, attorney Michael Abramowitz's death should be just another statistic. But the slain lawyer's notoriety—and his taste for illicit midday trysts—makes the case front-page news in every local paper except the Star, which crashed and burned before Abramowitz did.

A former Star reporter who knows every inch of this town—from historic Fort McHenry to the crumbling projects of Cherry Hill—now-unemployed journalist Tess Monaghan also knows the primary suspect: cuckolded fiancĂ© Darryl "Rock" Paxton. The time is ripe for a career move, so when rowing buddy Rock wants to hire her to do some unorthodox snooping to help clear his name, Tess agrees. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the Charm City shadows. And Tess's own name could end up on the ever-expanding list of Baltimore dead.
 



Kritters Thoughts:  The first in the Tess Monaghan series and I actually had read only one other Tess Monaghan, so I was excited to start back at the beginning.  Tess is a little lost and not sure if journalism is her future or really what is the future.  In the middle of her search she has a friend who is accused of something that she swears he didn't do and she has to help exonerate him. 

I loved that this book was obviously a who dun it, but still contained moments where the reader gets to know Tess and the other characters that would be present in the series.  It reminded me of a CSI show with a who dun it mystery to solve, but character development on the side.  I was glad that the mystery to solve was close to home for her, it started the series on a good foot.

Living close to Baltimore and having visited a few times, I loved reading this book because I could picture the neighborhoods and it makes it an even better read when I feel even more connected to the book and story.  As a reader I could completely tell that not only Lippman lived but also loved Baltimore.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (there are a few already!)

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 6 out of 100


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.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How Do You Know?
by Meredith Schorr


Publisher: Booktrope

Pages: 300
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon



Goodreads:  
What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach?

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn't look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding towards her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly-aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary "break" from her live-in boyfriend results in a "break-up," Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn't always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.



Kritters Thoughts:  The final countdown for Maggie Piper as she approaches 40 years old and with a book divided into months, it was a great way to read it.  Maggie starts the book in a relationship with a guy, but she is not sure he is the one and she doesn't want to enter 40 years old in a dud relationship.  She wants a break, but he does the break up.

Setting the book up by month and ending a month after her 40th birthday was great!  I loved reading month by month how she was doing approaching the milestone birthday.  Let's talk about her friends!  I loved that they were a main presence in her life and each had something going on, but it wasn't overly dramatic and they didn't steal the spotlight.  It was so fun to read about a group of women who would definitely admit to obsessing over men, but their careers and families were still on the main stage.  

A great older chick lit for a more mature crowd that is still coming of age, but a little older of an age!  If you have been reading chick lit for awhile and need a main character more in your age range, this one is for you! 


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 3 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Booktrope.  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, January 19, 2015

The Art of Stealing
by Sandi Perry

Pages: 278
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Valentina Philips is a respected Decorative Arts curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is also a thief. Growing up in Italy as the British ambassador's daughter, Valentina never felt she fit in. Her classmate, Luca, stepped in as a mentor introducing her to Florence's exquisite artwork and encouraging her to refine her artistic skills. He also taught her how to steal. As an expert forger, she replaces the masterpieces she steals with her spot-on reproductions. Her warring conscience ultimately wins over, and she sets about trying to legitimize her talent. If only it were that easy.

Luca appears at the Met as she's preparing their FabergĂ© egg collection for loan to the Bargello museum in Florence. Valentina knows his visit to New York can’t be a coincidence. Temptation plays many forms as Valentina relives the thrill of thieving, and Luca tries to charm her back into his bed. She has to decide which world suits her better, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to make the right choice.


Kritters Thoughts:  Valentina is a young woman who has left a shady past and has set up a life for herself in New York with a great job at the Met and her sister living close by, but when Luca shows up she knows that everything she has just done will probably become undone.  

The reader meets Valentina after she has been in New York for awhile, but there are a few moments in the book where we get to see bits and pieces of her and Luca's past - I loved being able to dip into and out of those moments, it worked perfectly.  Another thing that I loved was the two time jumps.  At two moments in the book, the author jumps the story ahead 11 years and I didn't feel like I was missing anything when those jumps happened - instead I got to skip what could have been mostly boring moments.

The one thing that made me cringe was the back and forth with Luca and Valentina - it went back and forth quite a lot, maybe too much.  By the end it felt overdone and it almost made me not even care if they would end up together or not.  

The character of Valentina won me over and I loved her family and her childhood that was so different from mine - it was fun to read!  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 5 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.
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