Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Hummingbird
by Stephen Kiernan

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

Goodreads:  Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse whose daily work requires courage and compassion. But her skills and experience are tested in new and dramatic ways when her easygoing husband, Michael, returns from his third deployment to Iraq haunted by nightmares, anxiety, and rage. She is determined to help him heal, and to restore the tender, loving marriage they once had.

At the same time, Deborahs primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and expert in the Pacific Theater of World War II whose career ended in academic scandal. Alone in the world, the embittered professor is dying. As Barclay begrudgingly comes to trust Deborah, he tells her stories from that long-ago war, which help her find a way to help her husband battle his demons. 


Kritters Thoughts:  A hospice nurse is sent on her next case and she is the third called to this home just from her agency, so she knows that she is in for a doozy!  Barclay Reed is a retired professor and knows that his days are numbered, but doesn't know how and when the end will come.  While this hospice nurse has enough on her plate, she is also dealing with personal tragedy as her husband is suffering PTSD as he has come home from another tour of duty and this one may have been the worst.  

This book was jam packed, but didn't seem overwhelming.  There was a lot going on, but it didn't feel like too much and there isn't anything I would have edited out.  I have now read a few books with veterans from our current war and it so very interesting to read how current combat affects their minds and even though technology has improved over the years, the act of killing someone is still traumatic.

One other thing that was interesting about this book was the story that was inserted throughout the main plot.  It chronicled the story about a Japanese fighter pilot who's plot to set fire to parts of Oregon went unnoticed in the history books.  The reader finds out semi early on that this story is Barclay's work that hasn't been published for many reasons and may or may not be true.

At first I wasn't sure about this one with a hospice nurse at the center of the story, but as the story progressed, I fell in love with her and her ability to prepare people for the end of their lives.  I came to respect the stress that she endured on the job dealing with both death and family members as they also prepare to say goodbye and THEN she went home to deal with her own personal dramas.  I couldn't imagine being about to do her job and also going home to even more stress.

I am definitely intrigued by this author and his ability to make me get interested in characters that I wasn't so sure about - the definition of great writing!  I am excited to read The Curiosity his previous work and what may come next.


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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Gilded Years
by Karin Tanabe

Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads:  Since childhood, Anita Hemmings has longed to attend the country’s most exclusive school for women, Vassar College. Now, a bright, beautiful senior in the class of 1897, she is hiding a secret that would have banned her from admission: Anita is the only African-American student ever to attend Vassar. With her olive complexion and dark hair, this daughter of a janitor and descendant of slaves has successfully passed as white, but now finds herself rooming with Louise “Lottie” Taylor, the scion of one of New York’s most prominent families.

Though Anita has kept herself at a distance from her classmates, Lottie’s sphere of influence is inescapable, her energy irresistible, and the two become fast friends. Pulled into her elite world, Anita learns what it’s like to be treated as a wealthy, educated white woman—the person everyone believes her to be—and even finds herself in a heady romance with a moneyed Harvard student. It’s only when Lottie becomes infatuated with Anita’s brother, Frederick, whose skin is almost as light as his sister’s, that the situation becomes particularly perilous. And as Anita’s college graduation looms, those closest to her will be the ones to dangerously threaten her secret.


Kritters Thoughts:  What a piece of work!  A fictional tale about a woman who can pass as Caucasian but comes from a home with negro blood in her past and uses her situation to get the best education to hopefully further her place in life.  Anita tells a few lies because if she told the truth her merit wouldn't get her into Vassar because of the family she comes from.  

I loved this story.  I loved the exact glimpse that Karin Tanabe picks in Anita's life where it starts and where it ends.  Not to spoil, but I am glad that Tanabe takes the story beyond Anita's years at Vassar and shows the reader how her life ended up after her stint at Vassar was done.  I am so glad she included it in the story and didn't end it earlier.  

I don't always read the end notes, but I read this author's note about where the fiction started and the truth was and I appreciated being told where the fiction was in this fictional story.  I always know that when I read historical fiction there is fiction within it, but there is always some truth that lies underneath.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel  
     (or just something else from this author!)

Ebook 2016 Challenge: 17 out of 50

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Atria Books.  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 27, 2016

The Space Between Sisters
by Mary McNear

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

Goodreads:  Two sisters couldn’t be more different. Win organized and responsible; Poppy impulsive and undependable. Win treads cautiously and plans her life with care; Poppy bounces from job to job and apartment to apartment, leaving others to pick up the pieces. But despite their differences, they share memories of the idyllic childhood summers they spent together on the shores of Butternut Lake. Now, 13 years later, Win, recovering from a personal tragedy, has returned to Butternut Lake, settling into a predictable and quiet life. 

Then, one night, Poppy unexpectedly shows up on Win’s doorstep with all her worldly possessions and a mysterious man in tow. And although Win loves her beautiful sister, she wasn’t expecting her to move in for the summer. Still, at first, they relive the joys of Butternut Lake. But their blissful nostalgia soon gives way to conflict, and painful memories and buried secrets threaten to tear the sisters apart. 

As the waning days of summer get shorter, past secrets are revealed, new love is found, and the ties between the sisters are tested like never before…all on the serene shores of Butternut Lake.


Kritters Thoughts:  The fourth in the series, but before you click away this is one of those series that takes place around a lake, but each book centers around a different neighbor that lives around the lake.  I have only read book one and now this book four, so you can definitely skip around in this series.  

Now with the business out of the way.  I loved this book.  I loved the mix of the sister relationship and romantic relationships.  I loved seeing that Poppy and Win came from the same crazy set of parents and turned out completely different people - this hits home!  I don't have crazy parents, but I do have a sister that is completely different from me on a different path and I loved seeing these sisters help each other with their flaws in their adult years.  

The romantic relationships reminded me of the romance books that I read.  I was pretty sure I knew where this one would end, but it wasn't as sure as most romance books are.  I did enjoy that unlike romance books both relationships felt real and authentic and had true ups and downs.

I look forward to reading book two and three in this series and the what comes next in this series.


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.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A crazy week in our house as my husband had surgery.  I have been playing nurse and full time dog mom this week!   A little reading was accomplished, enough for me to feel satisfied.

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
25 Sense by Lisa Henthorn
Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford
The Sweetheart Deal by Polly Dugan
The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear

Currently Reading:
The Hummingbird by Stephen P Kiernan

Next on the TBR pile:
The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Sweetheart Deal
by Polly Dugan

Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Leo has long joked that, in the event of his death, he wants his best friend Garrett, a lifelong bachelor, to marry his wife, Audrey. One drunken night, he goes so far as to make Garrett promise to do so. Then, twelve years later, Leo, a veteran firefighter, dies in a skiing accident. 

As Audrey navigates her new role as widow and single parent, Garrett quits his job in Boston and buys a one-way ticket out west. Before long, Audrey's feelings for Garrett become more than platonic, and Garrett finds himself falling for Audrey, her boys, and their life together in Portland. When Audrey finds out about the drunken pact from years ago, though, the harmless promise that brought Garrett into her world becomes the obstacle to his remaining in it.


Kritters Thoughts:  Two men are friends from a young age, through high school and then into adulthood.  One decides to be a firefighter while raising a family and sees the danger in his daily life due to the job he chose.  One New Years eve he is really feel the anxiety and asks his best friend to swear that if he were to die, he would marry his wife and help raise the three boys they have.  Trust me no spoilers, but he does in a skiing accident and Garrett is held to the promise he made on a drunken New Years eve.  

First, this may be minor, but I love how this book was written.  Most of the characters involved in the story get an opportunity to tell the story from their perspective.  The wife of the deceased, the friend and all three of their sons each take chapters to move the story along and tell their story.  I LOVE multiple perspective books, I love seeing the same story from more than just one character's point of view.  

This book felt familiar.  The storyline felt familiar, but not in a negative way in the least.  I feel as though I have recently read a book where a dying wish was made and the characters felt as though they had to do anything to uphold the wishes of the deceased.  This plot was also easy to predict.  BUT the ending.  Without spoiling anything, I felt as though this book ended in such a weird spot and I wouldn't have minded a chapter or two more.  I was almost nervous that I was missing a few pages!

After reading this book, I looked up the author and was excited to see that she has another book published, so I am in pursuit to read that one and see if she will be added to my authors to watch.  


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 BooksSparks 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, June 23, 2016

Riverbend Road
by RaeAnne Thayne

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

Goodreads:  Protecting the streets of Haven Point isn't just a job for police officer Wyn Bailey, it's a family tradition. But lately she's found herself wanting more, especially from her boss—and overprotective brother's best friend—sexy chief of police, Cade Emmett. The only problem is getting Cade to view her as more than just a little sister. 

Cade's hands-off approach with Wyn isn't from lack of attraction. But his complicated past has forced him to conceal his desire. When Wyn is harmed in the line of duty, Cade realizes the depth of his feelings, but can he let his guard down long enough to embrace the love he secretly craves?

Kritters Thoughts:  Another solid romance from RaeAnne Thayne that takes place in Haven Point.  This story centers around Wyn who grew up in this small town and returned to honor her family's legacy in law enforcement, but she isn't sure this is her permanent calling.  Cade is the chief of police and came from a horrible childhood and always admired Wyn's family and specifically her father which inspired his career choice.  Although each may have thought of each other at times, each has been off limits for many reasons.

As you know with many romances, the ending is beyond predictable, but of course as I always say  - the journey is so worth it!  I had a special place in my heart for this book as both characters are in law enforcement.  I loved seeing their story unfold and their passion for the community.  I felt like in this book more than others, I was able to get to see the town more - especially through their eyes.

The thing I love about this series is that Thayne switches off between a summer and a winter book in this town.  I like reading about their holiday traditions in the winter and then the fun summer days, this little thing makes this romance series unique for me.

Start at the beginning of this series and read your way through some great romances.


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.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Everybody Rise
by Stephanie Clifford

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 400
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  It's 2006 in the Manhattan of the young and glamorous. Money and class are colliding in a city that is about to go over a financial precipice and take much of the country with it. At 26, bright, funny and socially anxious Evelyn Beegan is determined to carve her own path in life and free herself from the influence of her social-climbing mother, who propelled her through prep school and onto the Upper East Side. Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, but when she gets a job at a social network aimed at the elite, she's forced to embrace them.

Recruiting new members for the site, Evelyn steps into a promised land of Adirondack camps, Newport cottages and Southampton clubs thick with socialites and Wall Streeters. Despite herself, Evelyn finds the lure of belonging intoxicating, and starts trying to pass as old money herself. When her father, a crusading class-action lawyer, is indicted for bribery, Evelyn must contend with her own family's downfall as she keeps up appearances in her new life, grasping with increasing desperation as the ground underneath her begins to give way.


Kritters Thoughts:  Evelyn grew up just on the outskirts of everything, she went to the fancy prep school, but wasn't in the in crowd.  She lived in New York City, but just one block away from where you were "supposed" to live, so when she gets the chance to be IN she may go overboard and go ALL IN!

Evelyn was a great character to follow into this world.  I thought her perspective was fun, not unique, but at least fun!  I thought the main plot of her working for an exclusive Facebook or MySpace was a great way to get her to reunite with her prep school alums and give her a reason to return to that world.  When a book doesn't have a ton of action, the plot and characters must be enough and this one had enough for a summer afternoon of reading.

If you don't enjoy a good WASPy tale of society, then don't pick this one up.  There isn't much action to speak of, but there is plenty of society parties and society do this and do that and don't do this and don't do that - so this Gossip Girl fan enjoyed this 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 BooksSparks 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.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

25 Sense
by Lisa Henthorn

Publisher: SparkPress
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Claire Malone didn t mean for this to happen when she moved to New York. She just wanted to live the city life and gain experience in television writing, her dream career. It s not like she meant to reciprocate when her married boss, Sean Vared, sent her flirty e-mails. And you can t blame her for coming into the office on the weekend when Sean told her he was going to be there . . . alone. She didn t mean to sleep with him but hey, she wanted to experience the city life, so no big deal, right? Wrong. By the time Claire wakes up on her 25th birthday, she s very much in love with Sean. At work, she struggles to hold it together when he passes her desk the very desk that they used to make love on. Soon Sean has turned his affection to the show s starring actress, and Claire is devastated. Can she break away from Sean without ruining her barely started career? Will someone find out what happened? Will she ever grow up and stop making stupid mistakes? 


Kritters Thoughts:  A coming of age where a young woman is out of college and trying to find her path in relationships and her career.  Claire is turning 25 and that is the age where "adulting" begins and you can see the full impact of the decisions you make both personally and professionally - the quarter life crisis!  

I enjoyed Claire as a character - she had flaws, but wasn't whining and making the same mistakes over and over again, she was learning from the mistakes and trying to correct herself.  

Behind the scenes will always be one of my favorite kind of stories.  Claire takes us behind the scenes of tv, but more specifically writing for tv and uniquely in New York City.  Although I have read quite a few of these kind of stories, the uniqueness of location and being in the writers room was so fun.  

I definitely liked this one, there isn't anything that blew me away, but is one of those purely entertaining reads.


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 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.

Monday, June 20, 2016

All Summer Long
by Dorothea Benton Frank

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  This is a story of people whose lives are changing—a southern gentleman returning home to lead a more peaceful life and his talented New York wife who is not quite sure she is ready to make the transition. They are moving north to south, fast pace vs slow pace, downsizing. And while they are doing this, they are getting glimpses into other people’s lives over the course of a summer, holidays that will amuse, shock and transform them.

This irresistible story is home to captivating characters as funny, complicated, and real as our best friends—husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, friends and family who wrestle with the complexities, pain, and joys familiar to us all.

Finally, we’ll come to recognize the face of love, the kind that deepens and endures but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. That leap changes them all.



Kritters Thoughts:  First, let me start by saying, I am a Dorothea Benton Frank fan.  I love her stories that take place in the South, they remind me of my years living in North Carolina and the people and the feel of the South.  

With the disclaimer out of the way.  I have to say I didn't like this one.  I think it was the characters and the plot.  I couldn't connect with the characters and what makes it more frustrating, I can't pinpoint as to why I couldn't connect.  Neither the main female or male struck a chord with me and even the secondary characters behind them, just weren't enjoyable.  

The plot.  I actually loved the idea of this New York couple uprooting and going South for a retirement and change in life.  The concept in the synopsis form intrigued me.  But it took a lot of pages for them to get to South Carolina and live there and have their lives change.  The vacation at the beginning felt like it came at a weird spot and I was ready from the beginning to see this Northern couple experience the South.  

I will still read Dorothea Benton Frank and will look forward to her next one, but if someone asked, I would say skip this one in her catalog.


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.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

This week was crazy!  I was reading books that I reviewed the next day, thank goodness for some quiet evenings for lots of reading!  With a quiet weekend I was able to get a little ahead!  

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi
June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Keep You Close by Lucie Whitehouse
Liar Liar by MJ Arlidge
Riverbend Road by RaeAnne Thayne
All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank

Currently Reading:
25 Sense by Lisa Henthorn

Next on the TBR pile:
Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford

Friday, June 17, 2016

Liar Liar
by MJ Arlidge

Publisher: NAL
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Detective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground...
 
With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes. 
 
One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her…



Kritters Thoughts:  I am a MJ Arlidge fan!  I love how the books are titled.  I love Detective Helen Grace.  I love!

This is the fourth in a series and I liken these books to Criminal Minds where each story/killer is self contained in each book, but I would recommend starting at the beginning because there are character arcs for the detectives who are running the cases.  

This case was about someone who was setting multiple fires in the city each evening.  The fires were usually two businesses and then a home.  As in each of the Detective Helen Grace books you think you are going down a road and then a turn happens and it may be jarring, but in the end you are satisfied!  

I will continue to read this series one by one, I just adore these books!  They are as close to cozy mysteries as this mystery/thriller reader will get.  


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

Ebook 2016 Challenge: 16 out of 50


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.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Keep You Close
by Lucie Whitehouse

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

Goodreads:  When the artist Marianne Glass falls to her death, everyone insists it was a tragic accident. Yet Rowan Winter, once her closest friend, suspects there is more to the story. Ever since she was young, Marianne had paralyzing vertigo. She would never have gone so close to the roof's edge.

Marianne -- and the whole Glass family -- once meant everything to Rowan. For a teenage girl, motherless with a much-absent father, this lively, intellectual household represented a world of glamour and opportunity.

But since their estrangement, Rowan knows only what the papers reported about Marianne's life: her swift ascent in the London art world, her much-scrutinized romance with her gallerist. If she wants to discover the truth about her death, Rowan needs to know more. Was Marianne in distress? In danger? And so she begins to seek clues -- in Marianne's latest work, her closest relationships, and her new friendship with an iconoclastic fellow artist.

But the deeper Rowan goes, the more sinister everything seems. And a secret in the past only she knows makes her worry about her own fate . . .
 


Kritters Thoughts:  I read a lot of mystery thriller and it is becoming my favorite genre.  This book was a mystery thriller with a literary fiction foundation.  I say this because yes it had the who dun it, but that story sat on top of a story about two friends who kept a secret and how that secret destroyed their friendship.  

At times this book slowed down for me and it was hard to keep my focus on the book, but then something would happen and I would be back in the story.  It definitely had an ebb and flow and sometimes the flow was great and sometimes it was just so so.  I would only recommend this to mystery thriller fans who enjoy books that are on the wordy side; this one isn't one of those lighter mystery/thrillers, this one has depth.

I loved Rowan.  What a great character to get us into the story and through the story.  I loved that she was complicated and interesting.  I wouldn't mind hearing another story from her perspective.  

This is my first Lucie Whitehouse read, but I have some of her previous on my radar.  After reading this book I am even more excited to pick up her one from her backlist and dive in.



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.

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