Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A New Hope
by Robyn Carr

Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  After losing her child, Ginger Dysart was lost in grief. But since moving to Thunder Point, a small town on the Oregon coast, and with the help of her cousin Ray Anne, Ginger is finally moving forward. Her job at the flower shop is peaceful and fulfilling, and she's excited to start her first big assignment, assisting with the Lacoumette wedding. 

In spite of her lasting heartache, Ginger finds herself swept up in the pleasure of the occasion. But the beauty of the Lacoumette farm and the joy of the gregarious family are ruined by an unfortunate encounter with the bride's brother, Matt. Struggling with painful memories of his own recent divorce, Matt makes a drunken spectacle of himself and Ginger when he tries to make a pass at her, forcing Ginger to flee the scene in embarrassment. 

But when Matt shows up at the flower shop determined to make amends, what started out as a humiliating first meeting blossoms into something much deeper than either of them expected. Discovering they have a lot in common, they form a solid friendship, though everyone around them worries that Ginger will end up with a broken heart yet again. But if Ginger has the courage to embrace the future, and if Matt can finally learn to let go of the past, there may still be hope for a happy ending.


Kritters Thoughts:  The latest Thunder Point book and as I always say they keep getting better and better.  Ginger the main character in this book, made a brief appearance in the previous book, but she takes center stage in this one.  Matt our other main character also made an appearance in the previous book, but you hear more from him in this one.  

Matt and Ginger come across each other in the first chapter at a wedding that Ginger is helping with the flowers and Matt is brother to the bride, but still reeling from the break up of his own marriage and a wedding isn't the place for him to be at the moment.  

As with all Robyn Carr books you know there will be a small town and romance, so although the ending can be predicted from page one, Robyn Carr still writes a great plot.  I love the ups and downs in the book, it created depth and interest - and of course a great story!  

As I keep reading and reviewing books from this series it is getting harder and harder to tell you to start at the beginning, but it is worth it.  You don't have to read the books back to back, but I would absolutely suggest starting at the beginning of this series in this small town.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

It's You
by Jane Porter

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 336
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In the wake of a tragedy that tore her life down to the foundations, Dr. Alison McAdams has lost her way. So when she’s summoned to Napa to care for her ailing father, she’s not sure she has anything to offer him—or anyone else.
 
What Ali finds in Northern California wine country is a gift—an opportunity to rest, and distance from her painful memories. Most unexpectedly, she finds people who aren’t afraid of her grief or desperate for her to hurry up and move on.
 
As Ali becomes part of her father’s community, makes new friends of her own, and hears the stories of a generation who survived the Second World War, she begins to find hope again. In a quest to discover the truth about another woman’s lost love, she sets off on a journey across oceans and deep into history. And in making sense of that long-ago tragedy, Ali is able to put together the broken pieces of her heart and make new choices that are right for her.


Kritters Thoughts:  Alison McAdams is a dentist and always thought she wanted to be one.  She found her match at dental school and just before they are to wed tragedy struck - won't spoil this one for you.  She escapes to Napa to visit her father and hopefully re center herself.  

I loved that this was an interesting twist on dual narrative with a contemporary storyline and a historical storyline.  Alison is the contemporary storyline while a "neighbor" of her father provides the historical storyline.  Although Edie is contemporary she lived through an interesting time in Berlin and it was so interesting to see their storylines cross and intersect.  

If you have read Jane Porter she definitely can be on the cusp of the romance genre.  This one romance took a back burner and I was glad.  I enjoyed reading Ali's journey where she took it all on her own and she needed to find herself before she could even think about a new relationship.

I have been a Jane Porter fan for awhile and this one completely met my expectation!  This is such a great and entertaining read.


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.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What was one of the craziest weeks at work I have had in my 5.5 years - the company I have been working for went public on Friday and as I am the EA to the CEO its been a long crazy time.  I don't talk about my work life here often other than the hours and I won't talk about it much, but I am tired, proud and excited for our future!

A
 meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne
A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax
Hotel Moscow by Talia Carner
It's You by Jane Porter

Currently Reading:
The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall

Next on the TBR pile:
Her Sister's Shoes by Ashley Farley

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hotel Moscow
by Talia Carner

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 448
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Brooke Fielding, a thirty-eight year old New York investment manager and daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, finds her life suddenly upended in late September 1993 when her job is unexpectedly put in jeopardy. Brooke accepts an invitation to join a friend on a mission to Moscow to teach entrepreneurial skills to Russian business women, which will also give her a chance to gain expertise in the new, vast emerging Russian market. Though excited by the opportunity to save her job and be one of the first Americans to visit Russia after the fall of communism, she also wonders what awaits her in the country that persecuted her mother just a generation ago.

Inspired by the women she meets, Brooke becomes committed to helping them investigate the crime that threatens their businesses. But as the uprising of the Russian parliament against President Boris Yeltsin turns Moscow into a volatile war zone, Brooke will find that her involvement comes at a high cost. For in a city where "capitalism" is still a dirty word, where neighbors spy on neighbors and the new economy is in the hands of a few dangerous men, nothing Brooke does goes unnoticed--and a mistake in her past may now compromise her future.



Kritters Thoughts:  I am not sure if I would classify this as historical fiction as it takes place in 1993, but at times I had to remind myself that this was taking place just 22 years ago.  Brooke Fielding, is on a forced vacation due to her job, so instead of going to relax on a beach she goes to Russia to help women gain some business knowledge as Russia is opening the market and leaving communism behind.

Brooke has entered Russia and is only there for 7 days, but from day 1 to day 7 it was a huge journey for the country.  I enjoyed seeing Brooke rebuild herself and "come of age" while Russia falls apart - I don't usually talk about themes, but this one really worked for me.  There were still many moments that I had to look up 1993 in Russia and kept reminding myself that this was fiction but could really be non-fiction.

I can't pinpoint what I didn't love about this book, it just seemed ok.  I am usually a fan of books that take place in Russia, but maybe I am more of a much older Russia instead of the more current one.  


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.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Week at the Lake
by Wendy Wax

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

Goodreads:  Twenty years ago, Emma Michaels, Mackenzie Hayes, and Serena Stockton bonded over their New York City dreams. Then, each summer, they solidified their friendship by spending one week at the lake together, solving their problems over bottles of wine and gallons of ice cream. They kept the tradition for years, until jealousy, lies, and life’s disappointments made them drift apart.

It’s been five years since Emma has seen her friends, an absence designed to keep them from discovering a long-ago betrayal. Now she’s in desperate need of their support. The time has come to reveal her secrets—and hopefully rekindle their connection.

But when a terrible accident keeps Emma from saying her piece, Serena and Mackenzie begin to learn about the past on their own. Now, to heal their friendship and their broken lives, the three women will have to return to the lake that once united them, and discover which relationships are worth holding on to . . .


Kritters Thoughts:  A book that is about friends who can sometimes take a higher place in their lives over family (especially if your family isn't the best).  These three women have been friends since college and have always been each other's first phone calls until one of them put some distance in between and after 5 years has decided to try to restore the friendships.  They take the restoration to the lake which was an annual tradition, but some bumps and bruises occur before they can even get to the lake.

It was so easy to get to know each of the women.  They were all distinct but the author did a fantastic job of allowing the reader to get to know them and then to get to know how they are as a unit of friends.  They way they bounced off each other was such fun to read, it just flowed well. 

As in most books I have read recently, I predicted the final reveal early on, but I was still satisfied with how the book ended and how it got to the ending.  The destination was still worth the journey!

I adored this book.  Although I didn't get the pleasure to read it on vacation, I wish I had!  This is one to pack for the pool or the beach and just enjoy a great honest book about female friendships and the value they add to your life.


Rating: perfect beach read

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley NAL.  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 24, 2015

Redemption Bay
by RaeAnne Thayne

Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  McKenzie Shaw would do anything for her beloved hometown of Haven Point. It may be small and struggling, but it's never let her down…unlike gorgeous, infuriating Ben Kilpatrick. He was her childhood hero until he closed his family's factory, leaving the town's economy in shambles. Now he's back—his tech firm is considering opening a local facility. For Haven Point's sake, McKenzie has to grit her teeth and play nice. 

What could a town filled with painful memories ever offer Ben? He left Haven Point behind years ago, for good reason. Yet seeing the town through the eyes of McKenzie—its fiery young mayor—he suddenly has his answer. If only he can resolve the animosity crackling between them, Ben may have found the place where he can build ties and find healing…a place where love arrives when it's least expected.



Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the series and the book that really introduces you to the town through the eyes of the mayor - McKenzie Shaw.  McKenzie was nominated without her knowing, but she loves this town so much and knew that she could do some big things for this small town.  Her nemesis who has been away from town - Ben Kilpatrick returns and the city is concerned as to why he has returned.

As I said yesterday, I loved RaeAnne Thayne's writing.  She is writing in the romance genre, but she has such great plots so it isn't just romance and romance!  Like I said yesterday (don't mean to sound like a broken record) I love how although the plot may be predictable from the beginning, the reader still doesn't know how the love birds will get to the end and what bumps and bruises can occur along the way.

I did wish for more scenes of Aidan and Eliza, but hopefully they will make a bigger appearance in a future book.

I am definitely hooked on this series and this small town and will be reading and reviewing each book along the way.  Don't forget to see the review yesterday of book one - Snow Angel Cove.  

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.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Snow Angel Cove
by RaeAnne Thayne

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

Goodreads:  Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward's Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke—literally—and now she's stuck in an unfamiliar, if breathtaking, small town. Precariously close to being destitute, Eliza needs a helping hand…for her sick young daughter's sake as well as her own. But she's not expecting her holiday hero to almost run her down with his car! 

Rescuing Eliza is pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. At first, putting the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge in Eliza's hands assuages his guilt—until he sees how quickly he could fall for her. Having focused solely on his business for years, he never knew that what his life was missing was Eliza and her little girl. But is he willing to risk hoping for a yuletide romance that could lead to forever?


Kritters Thoughts:  Eliza Hayward gets hit by the speed bumps of life a few times in 24 hours and ends up spending the night at Aidan Caine's home.  Aidan Cane is a tech "god" and has escaped to small town Idaho to get away and recover from something that he doesn't want the world to know about.  Aidan hires Eliza to help him get his home ready for the holidays and his large family who will be descending on said home.

Although most in this genre are predictable from page one, they are still fun to read.  RaeAnne Thayne perfectly balances a little bit of mystery in the characters with the love and romance that most expect.  This book refrained from all the sexy times and as my first RaeAnne Thayne read, is this normal?  Does she limit the sexy times?  For me that is a plus, I like the romance genre but sometimes we spend a little too much time in the bedroom instead of out in the real world!

A winter read which was hard and weird to read in June, but start here, the second book in this series will be reviewed tomorrow.

I am expecting this series to be perfectly sweet and will look forward to each book!


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.




Summer's List
by Anita Higman

Publisher: River North
Pages: 288
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A dying wish alters the course of a young woman's life.

Life hadn't been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness-caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother's bookstore-she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only tries she had at love... didn't turn out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something-or someone.  

Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind but gangly young man from Summer's past. A childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?


Kritters Thoughts:  This was an interesting read.  As a warning before you keep reading my review, I try my hardest to provide honest feedback.

As Summer Snow is advertised as the main character and this book through the title and synopsis will revolve around a life list that her grandmother wants her to complete.  Although this takes place in this book, I felt as though there was a lot of focus on a long lost friend that she reconnect with and his family - not Summer and her relationship with him, but instead his relationship with his brothers and his estranged parents.  I wish that there had been less focus on him and his brothers.

Another part that I didn't love was the language (not foul), but stuffy.  The conversation between all the characters felt monotone and too proper - not that there should have been all this slang, but it just didn't feel real and personal.    

Finally, let me say I never go looking for review books that I don't think I would like.  I only accept books that I think I would probably like in some way or another.  I have reviewed many books for Litfuse and have loved them all.  I couldn't find the last time I used the shoe below to review, so I wanted to share my thoughts in the most diplomatic way.  I wouldn't write this author off yet, I would never do that with just one book from their collection.  This one just didn't work for me.


Rating: not such a good read

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicty.  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 22, 2015

Summer Secrest
by Jane Green

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  June, 1998: At twenty seven, Catherine Coombs, also known as Cat, is struggling. She lives in London, works as a journalist, and parties hard. Her lunchtimes consist of several glasses of wine at the bar downstairs in the office, her evenings much the same, swigging the free booze and eating the free food at a different launch or party every night. When she discovers the identity of the father she never knew she had, it sends her into a spiral. She makes mistakes that cost her the budding friendship of the only women who have ever welcomed her. And nothing is ever the same after that.

June, 2014: Cat has finally come to the end of herself. She no longer drinks. She wants to make amends to those she has hurt. Her quest takes her to Nantucket, to the gorgeous summer community where the women she once called family still live. Despite her sins, will they welcome her again? What Cat doesn’t realize is that these women, her real father’s daughters, have secrets of their own. As the past collides with the present, Cat must confront the darkest things in her own life and uncover the depths of someone’s need for revenge.



Kritters Thoughts:  Cat Coombs is the main character, but the reader gets to get to know her at different moments in her life.  One story line take place in her late 20s and she is not in the best place in life.  She is struggling with alcoholism, but won't admit it which is the first step you must take to recover.  The other main storyline is "current" and she has been divorced for a few years and now sober for a few years and is realizing the destruction that she left behind in her drinking days.

I love that this is almost two small novels in one and the reader gets the full story of what happened in the past and what she must do to regain trust with her family and friends.  As much as this story is about alcoholism, I really took the redemption story to heart in this book and no matter what you do to your loved ones, a good apology is the only way to start repairing a damaged relationship.  

After reading the book I found out that there was a novella introducing us to Cat (Cat and Jemima J), I wish I had read it first, but will definitely be reading it to see the connection to one of Jane Green's previous characters - Jemima J.

As most Jane Green books go, this book read quickly and easily.  Cat was an easy character to fall for and as a reader you just wanted to root for her from 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 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.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

WHAT a week at work and the next one should be crazy too!  Hopefully I can tell you soon what all the fuss is about!

A
 meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Summer Secrets by Jane Green
Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen
Summer's List by Anita Higman
Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne

Currently Reading:
A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax

Next on the TBR pile:
Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Enchanted August
by Brenda Bowen

Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  On a dreary spring day in Brooklyn, Lottie Wilkinson and Rose Arbuthnot spot an ad on their children’s preschool bulletin board:
 
Hopewell Cottage
Little Lost Island, Maine.
Old, pretty cottage to rent on a small island.
Springwater, blueberries, sea glass.
August.
 
Neither can afford it, but they are smitten—Lottie could use a break from her overbearing husband and Rose from her relentless twins. On impulse, they decide to take the place and attract two others to share the steep rent: Caroline Dester, an indie movie star who’s getting over a very public humiliation, and elderly Beverly Fisher, who’s recovering from heartbreaking loss. If it’s not a perfect quartet, surely it will be fine for a month in the country. 
 
When they arrive on the island, they are transformed by the salt air; the breathtaking views; the long, lazy days; and the happy routine of lobster, corn, and cocktails on the wraparound porch. By the time of the late-August blue moon, real life and its complications have finally fallen far, far away. For on this idyllic island they gradually begin to open up: to one another and to the possibilities of lives quite different from the ones they’ve been leading. Change can’t be that hard, can it? 


Kritters Thoughts:  Yesterday I reviewed the classic - Enchanted April which this book was based on and today I share my thoughts on the modern retelling.

First, this was my first time reading a classic and then following it up with the modern retelling and I loved it.  I wouldn't mind doing this a few times a year - any suggestions?

I loved knowing the basic plot points already, but getting a different perspective with these four ladies going to Maine instead of Italy and having modern moments mixed in to the basic plot.  There were even conversations that were taken straight from the first book, or so I think.

The one minor thing that I completely loved about this book compared to the classic was the page breaks that helped the reader know that we were switching from one character to the next.  I loved it.  

I also felt like we got more story from the men in the book in the modern retelling and I enjoyed that.  It was great to read about the relationships from both sides instead of just getting half of the story.

I would still suggest reading the classic, but absolutely follow it up with this fantastic retelling!


Rating:  absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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




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