Thursday, March 31, 2016

Keep Me Posted
by Lisa Beazley

Publisher: Berkley NAL
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Sisters Cassie and Sid Sunday have not done a bang-up job of keeping in touch. In their defense, it hasn’t been easy: life veered in sharply different directions for the once-close sisters. Today, beautiful and big-hearted Sid lives an expat’s life of leisure in far-off Singapore, while harried, iPhone-clutching Cassie can’t seem to make it work as a wife and a mom to twin toddlers in Manhattan. 

It doesn't help that Sid spurns all social media while Cassie is addicted to Facebook. So when Sid issues a challenge to reconnect the old-fashioned way—through real, handwritten letters—Cassie figures, why not?

The experiment exceeds both of their expectations, and the letters become a kind of mutual confessional that have real and soul-satisfying effects. And they just might have the power to help Cassie save her marriage, and give Sid the strength to get her life back on track.

But first, one of Cassie’s infamous lapses in judgment comes back to bite her, and all of the letters wind up the one place you’d never, ever want to see them: the Internet...
 



Kritters Thoughts:  Two sisters decide to change it up for a year and instead of emailing, texting and all the other technologically inclined ways of communicating, they decide to write letters from New York to Singapore.  One sister wants to keep these letters for future posterity and loads them on what she thinks is a private blog, it becomes public and antics ensue!

I like books that have letters in them, but I like that this book has a story around these letters and the story moves within and around the letters.  Not only is there sibling/family drama but there is also relationship drama and the author strikes the perfect balance between.  It was easy to get to know these characters and root for them and I couldn't predict where they actually ended up, but I love it all the same.

I loved this book, it was different and interesting and these characters had real things going on in their lives. I have said this a few times recently, but this is another great book to throw in your beach bag and enjoy with your toes in the sand.


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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

When I'm Gone
by Emily Bleeker

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 355
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Dear Luke, First let me say—I love you…I didn’t want to leave you.…

Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for—a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home.

The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie’s cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they’re genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on—in written words, in memories, and in the promises it’s never too late to keep.



Kritters Thoughts:  Natalie has passed away and left her husband and three kids while in the prime of their family life.  As Luke has come home to a now empty home, no wife and no mother-in-law, he finds a letter in his late wife's handwriting with instructions and the promise of more letters to come.  He will live by these letters and they will create hope and heartache as he learns of secrets that his wife had in the last moments of her life that she is now sharing through letters.

I adored this book.  The ups and downs and twists and turns came at just the right moments and just as I thought the story was concluding the author sent me down a completely different path than I expected and I loved it.  

The characters were just so easy to get to know.  The author painted easy pictures of each character without overdoing on the word count.  I could picture this family and all the characters that they interacted with after this tragedy hits them.  

This is a tissue book and a don't read in public kind of book!  I am definitely going to go find and read her previous book Wreckage as soon as possible and will be excited for the announcement of whatever is coming 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.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The One You Really Want by Jill Mansell
ISBN: 9781492604471
Release date: April 5, 2016
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

About the Book
When it comes to love, never say never

When Nancy discovers the expensive jewelry her husband’s been buying isn’t for her, she decamps from the Scottish countryside to her best friend Carmen’s posh Chelsea town house to sort things out.

Nancy finds herself in a surprising new world, where rock stars are nicer than you thought, social workers are not necessarily to be trusted, and the filthy rich are folks with problems just like you. Everybody falls in love with the wrong people, and the path to true love twists and turns before you discover who you really want.


Buy the Book
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1SGAdth
Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/21n28yM

About the Author
With over 10 million copies sold, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Mansell writes irresistible and funny, poignant and romantic tales for women in the tradition of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Jojo Moyes. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.

Connect with Jill Mansell

Download an ELEVEN-CHAPTER SAMPLER herehttp://bit.ly/1RhP5zh

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

What a crazy good week of reading, but actually a crazy packed weekend full of activity - my parents open house at their new house and a big project at our house!  I also did a HUGE full day of purging in just my closet.  

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker
Spent by Avis Cardella
Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
What We Find by Robyn Carr

Currently Reading:
All Stories are Love Stories by Elizabeth Percer

Next on the TBR pile:
Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James
Terrible Virtue by Ellen Feldman

Friday, March 25, 2016

Summer at Little Beach Bakery
by Jenny Colgan

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A thriving bakery. A lighthouse to call home. A handsome beekeeper. A pet puffin. These are the things that Polly Waterford can call her own. This is the beautiful life she leads on a tiny island off the southern coast of England.

But clouds are gathering on the horizon. A stranger threatens to ruin Polly’s business. Her beloved boyfriend seems to be leading a secret life. And the arrival of a newcomer—a bereft widow desperately searching for a fresh start—forces Polly to reconsider the choices she’s made, even as she tries to help her new friend through grief.



Kritters Thoughts:  The second in a series which I absolutely recommend starting at book 1, so if you haven't read book 1, you may want to pause here and go read before reading my review!

We return to Polly who is in a groove in the bakery and loving managing them and creating breads and treats for this small town, but of course happiness can never last long in a book!  She hits a roadblock when the owner of the bakeries passes away and her family wants to come in and make them more "efficient."  Polly must roll with the tides of this small town living in a lighthouse.  

The pace of the book is the best thing for this book.  It just moves so well.  There was a lot of drama and ups and downs, but they were perfectly dispersed amongst quiet moments.  I felt the quiet small town of this book in the pacing of it and I just loved it.  

It still isn't beach weather here, in fact it was snowing the day I read this, but I would say grab book 1 and 2 and take them to a week at the beach.  

Rating: perfect beach read

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, March 24, 2016

The Promise of Forgiveness
by Marin Thomas

Publisher: NAL
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When it comes to family, Ruby Baxter hasn’t had much luck. The important men in her early life abandoned her, and any time a decent boyfriend came along, she ran away. But now Ruby is thirty-one and convinced she is failing her teenage daughter. Mia is the one good thing in her life, and Ruby hopes a move to Kansas will fix what’s broken between them.

But the road to redemption takes a detour. Hank McArthur, the biological father Ruby never knew existed, would like her to claim her inheritance: a dusty oil ranch just outside of Unforgiven, Oklahoma.

As far as first impressions go, the gruff, emotionally distant rancher isn’t what Ruby has hoped for in a father. Yet Hank seems to have a gift for rehabilitating abused horses—and for reaching Mia. And if Ruby wants to entertain the possibility of a relationship with Joe Dawson, the ranch foreman, she must find a way to open her heart to the very first man who left her behind.



Kritters Thoughts:  One woman has had a pretty tough couple of years and then she receives a note that changes the past, present and the future - she was adopted and never knew and now her adoptive parents have deceased, so she can't ask why and her birth father wants to reconnect.  Ruby must go back to where she was born to fit all the pieces together and its just at the right time as her teenage daughter needs a redo also.

I adored this story.  It had all the right elements - family drama, romance, and a little mystery (no one died), just trying to find answers.  The pacing was spot on and I never felt like there was a lull, but it also didn't feel overly dramatic.  This is one of those books that just hits the sweet spot.  

This book is Marin Thomas' debut in the women's fiction world and after looking at her long list of published books in romance, I love that she tried this new genre and I think she nailed it.  I would absolutely read Marin Thomas' next book, maybe without even reading the synopsis!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sisters of Heart and Snow
by Margaret Dilloway

Publisher: GP Putnam's Sons
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Rachel and Drew Snow may be sisters, but  their lives have followed completely different paths.

Married to a wonderful man and a mother to two strong-minded teens, Rachel hasn’t returned to her childhood home since being kicked out by her strict father after an act of careless teenage rebellion. Drew, her younger sister, followed her passion for music but takes side jobs to make ends meet and longs for the stability that has always eluded her. Both sisters recall how close they were, but the distance between them seems more than they can bridge. When their deferential Japanese mother, Hikari, is diagnosed with dementia and gives Rachel power of attorney, Rachel’s domineering father, Killian becomes enraged.

In a rare moment of lucidity, Hikari asks Rachel for a book in her sewing room, and Rachel enlists her sister’s help in the search. The book—which tells the tale of real-life female samurai Tomoe Gozen, an epic saga of love, loss, and conflict during twelfth-century Japan—reveals truths about Drew and Rachel’s relationship that resonate across the centuries, connecting them in ways that turn their differences into assets.


Kritters Thoughts:  Two stories that blend together, sort of, in the end.  One storyline is an ancient story or folklore from Japan about a unique female samurai warrior who has two brothers that she has to keep up with.  The other storyline centers around two sisters who had quite the dramatic upbringing and reacted in very different ways and now have to come back together to deal with an ailing mother and a difficult father.  

I love a good family drama.  I live for a good family drama.  I haven't read one that focuses on a Japanese family and as most folks have heard rumors about how their culture is tough on their children and set high expectations, so I was excited to read this one and enjoyed mixing the family drama with a folklore and trying to figure out how and when they would cross.  

I liked how both stories intersected.  There were a few ways that they intertwined and I liked that it didn't take a long time for the reader to find out where they crossed.  Although, I absolutely preferred the current storyline with the sisters I was still glad that the other one was included.  I appreciated that this one didn't overwhelm the current storyline.

This is actually my first Margaret Dilloway read and I can't wait to pick up her others both in the past and future and read them!

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 Random House.  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, March 21, 2016

The Total Package
by Stephanie Evanovich 

Publisher: William Morrow 
Pages: 256 
Format: ARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Star quarterback, first-round draft-pick, and heartthrob Tyson Palmer has made a name for himself with his spectacular moves. When the head coach of the Austin Mavericks refuses to let him waste his million-dollar arm, Tyson makes a Hail Mary pass at redemption and succeeds with everyone . . . except Dani, whose negative comments about his performance draw high ratings and spectacular notices of her own.

Dani can’t forgive Tyson’s transgressions or forget the sizzling history the two of them shared in college, a passionate love Tyson casually threw away. And even more infuriating, he doesn’t realize that the bombshell with huge ratings is the cute girl whose heart he once broke.

But can a woman trying to claw her way to the top and a quarterback who knows all about rock bottom make it to the Super Bowl without destroying each other? And what will happen when Tyson—riding high now that he’s revived his career—realizes he needs to make an even more important comeback with Dani? Can he make some spectacular moves to get past her defenses—or will she sideline him for good?



Kritters Thoughts:  Boy meets girl, boy gets famous and has scandal, boy meets girl again and again and again and maybe eventually it will work out!  

Tysons Palmer played football in college and Dani was his tutor to help him get through.  He graduates and goes professional, but without a support system he is a track wreck waiting to happen and it happens.  They cross paths a few times and finally end up working for the same team and have to interact often.  Dani has a secret that will eventually have to come out and may alter their course forever.

A quick fun read that literally took an afternoon to enjoy.  I loved how they kept missing each other and then one was ready for a relationship and then the other wasn't it was a great cat/mouse will they/won't they read.  

It definitely had some sexy times, but nothing too too over the top, but if you try to avoid books with any romantic bedroom moments, you may want to be wary about this one.

I know it isn't quite summer time yet, but this is a perfect one to throw in your bag for a day at the pool or beach or just outside.  

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, March 20, 2016

What a great week followed by a very quiet weekend made for a long list of finished books this Monday!  

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
North of Here by Laurel Saville
The Total Package by Stephanie Evanovich
The Changing Season by Steven Manchester
Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway
Summer at Little Beach Bakery by Jenny Colgan
The Promise of Forgiveness by Marin Thomas

Currently Reading:
When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker

Next on the TBR pile:
Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Crooked Heart of Mercy
by Billie Livingston

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Ben wakes up in a hospital with a hole in his head he can't explain. What he can remember he’d rather forget. Like how he’d spend nights as a limo driver for the wealthy and debauched….how he and his wife, Maggie, drifted apart in the wake of an unspeakable tragedy…how his little brother, Cola, got in over his head with loan sharks circling.

Maggie is alone. Again. With bills to pay and Ben in a psych ward, she must return to work. But who would hire her in the state she’s in? And just as Maggie turns to her brother, Francis, the Internet explodes with video of his latest escapade. The headline? Drunk Priest Propositions Cops.

Francis is an unlikely priest with a drinking problem and little interest in celibacy. A third DUI, a looming court date.…When Maggie takes him in, he knows he may be down to his last chance. And his best shot at healing might lie in helping Maggie and Ben reconnect—against all odds.



Kritters Thoughts:  There are two people narrating this story and one I liked and one I didn't enjoy that much.  Maggie the wife of this couple narrated the half that I liked.  I understood what story she was telling me and I grew to care about her part of the story.  On the other hand, Ben was the husband of this couple and I honestly couldn't even get his story and what he was trying to say until the bitter end and by that point I had lost any sympathy or empathy and really just didn't care about what story he was trying to tell.  

I think the biggest part of the reason why this book didn't resonate with me was Ben.  Yes, he was obviously not a trustworthy narrator because the reader knows that something is wrong with him mentally, but it was more than that I couldn't even understand what he was trying to say.

I am not sure about this one and it breaks my heart because I am a HUGE William Morrow publishing fan.  I don't usually even blink when I hear that a book is coming from their imprint!  

I am going to go read some synopsis' of Livingston's other books and maybe try one more, have you read anything else by this author?


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, March 17, 2016

The Changing Season
by Steven Manchester

Publisher: The Story Plant
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  This was supposed to be a simple summer for Billy; one more lazy expanse of time before college began. He'd fill the hours playing with Jimmy – his canine best buddy – going camping and doing all the things he promised Jimmy they'd do before Billy left.

But that was before the accident that shook the entire town.

It was before the summer job that turned into something so much more than a way to get a paycheck.

And it was before Vicki.

This summer was destined to be many things to Billy, things he didn't truly understand until now. But it was definitely not going to be simple.



Kritters Thoughts:  A recent high school graduate spends his summer finding out what is next for himself with his sweet dog by his side through it all.  A little romance, a little drama and a lot of questioning the future is the core of this story.

First let me say that I don't read a lot of YA, so having a main character right out of high school isn't my norm.  I did enjoy that Billy was dealing with all sorts of things, the romance, the friends and the future, but I wanted him to buck up a little earlier in the book!  I felt as though he spent a little too much time debating, contemplating and whining, instead I wanted him to make a decision and then read the consequences of that decision.

I have read all of Steven Manchester's books and for some reason this may be my least favorite.  I think I have to attribute most of my dislike as to the age of the character, so if you read more YA books and like to read the coming of age tale, then don't count this book out.


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


Ebook 2016 Challenge: 8 out of 50


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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