Sunday, July 31, 2016

This is a combined two weeks worth of reading because the first week, the only thing I read was The Valley - it is a chunky monkey!  This week was a crazy week at work and home, BUT I got a ton of reading done through it all!  
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Valley by Helen Bryan
Once Upon a Wine by Beth Kendrick
The Monster's Daughter by Michelle Pretorius
Divorced Girl Smiling by Jackie Pilossoph
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

Currently Reading:
The French War Bride by Robin Wells

Next on the TBR pile:
No Kidding by Romi Wittman

Friday, July 29, 2016

Once Upon a Wine
by Beth Kendrick

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

Goodreads:  Cammie Breyer needs a big glass of cabernet—her restaurant failed and her chef boyfriend left for a hotter kitchen. Just when she thinks she’s hit rock bottom, her Aunt Ginger calls with a surprise. She’s bought a vineyard—in Delaware. At Ginger’s command, Cammie returns to Black Dog Bay, the seaside town where she spent her childhood summers with her aunt and her cousin, Kat.
 
The three women reunite, determined to succeed. There’s only one little problem: None of them knows the first thing about wine making. And it turns out, owning a vineyard isn’t all wine and roses. It’s dirt, sweat, and desperation. Every day brings financial pitfalls, unruly tourists, romantic dilemmas, and second thoughts.  But even as they struggle, they cultivate hidden talents and new passions. While the grapes ripen under the summer sun, Cammie discovers that love, like wine, is layered, complex, delicious, and worth waiting for…


Kritters Thoughts:  The fourth in a great series that all take place in this small town in Delaware, known to be a perfect break up town.  Cammie has been to this small town in her childhood to spend time with her cousin and her aunt.  She is returning now because her aunt on a whim buys a vineyard and she wants to help her make it profitable.  Of course she will encounter a former fling who could become a current fling!

Each installment of this series is self contained, but I would definitely suggest starting at the beginning to get the groundwork of the businesses and people of this town.  I especially liked this one because of the whole vineyard aspect.  I loved reading about the ups and downs of growing grapes and being dependent on weather and crops for a profit.  

Of course there is romance in this story and like a typical romance story the reader knows who will end up with whom, but as I have said before the journey is worth knowing the ending.  I appreciated that these characters knew each other in the past so the quick relationship or insta love as it could be called seemed a little more believable as they have some history.

I am hoping for more in this series.  I definitely love reading books set in this small Delaware town.


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, July 26, 2016

In Twenty Years
by Allison Winn Scotch

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 322
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads:  Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.

But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality.

Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  Six college students make wishes on their last day of college as to where they hope they will be 20 years from then.  After one of them passes away, she sends requests to get them all back together through her lawyer so they can reconnect and maybe send them down different paths then what they were currently on.

Narrated by each of the friends, they each get the chance to tell their side of the story and remember what life was like in college and how they ended up where they are now.  I love these types of books where you can see their hopes and dreams and then where they ended up and maybe even get a chance to alter the future by evaluating the past vs the present.  

There were obviously some characters that I liked more than others.  The musician Lindy was probably my least favorite, she rubbed me the wrong way and I just couldn't get into her story.  I loved the overachiever Catherine and her inability to ask for help resonated with me from page to page to page!  

I definitely enjoyed that they were able to return to the scene of the crime aka college and regroup and although the circumstances were sad, I loved how they each used her death as a gut check to make sure that in the end they would be happy with their lives.



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.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Valley
by Helen Bryan

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 640
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads:  Left suddenly penniless, the Honorable Sophia Grafton, a viscount’s orphaned daughter, sails to the New World to claim the only property left to her name: a tobacco plantation in the remote wilds of colonial Virginia. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a handsome young French spy—at gunpoint—she gathers an unlikely group of escaped slaves and indentured servants, each seeking their own safe haven in the untamed New World.

What follows will test her courage and that of her companions as they struggle to survive a journey deep into a hostile wilderness and eventually forge a community of homesteads and deep bonds that will unite them for generations.


Kritters Thoughts:  I am not one to read a lot of chunky books, I just like to read a story in a smaller span of time, but the synopsis of this book was so amazing in the pitch, that I just couldn't say no!

Sophia Grafton comes from a family in England with wealth and prestige and when her world tips upside down she must make a drastic decision and a complete change in the direction of her life.  She moves from England to Virginia to inherit land bequeathed from the king to her father and then to her.  The journey is long and the threat of Indians is big and real and disease and the English and French warring, so life isn't easy.

First let me say, I latched onto reading this book due to the synopsis, so from the start I was ready for the journey to Virginia.  Not spoiling, but the journey to VA isn't that early in the book.  It took quite a few pages to even have her life change to send her on that journey and although I enjoyed those pages, I felt as though they could have been pulled and have been a prequel book and the Virginia journey and beyond was a book in and of itself.  This didn't make me dislike the book, I just was ready for a certain part of the book to get going.

This was a fantastic historical saga and I would recommend it to readers who love the epic stories, but it is definitely one of those chunky books that is better read with a slow and steady pace.  



Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Since She Went Away
by David Bell

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

Goodreads:  Three months earlier, Jenna Barton was supposed to meet her lifelong best friend Celia. But when Jenna arrived late, she found that Celia had disappeared—and hasn’t been seen again. Jenna has blamed herself for her friend’s disappearance every single day since then.

The only piece of evidence is a lone diamond earring found where Celia and Jenna were planning to meet, leading the national media to dub Celia “The Diamond Mom.” And even though Jenna has obsessively surfed message boards devoted to missing persons cases, she is no closer to finding any answers—or easing her guilt.

But when her son’s new girlfriend—who suddenly arrived in town without a past—disappears, a stricken Jenna begins to unwind the tangled truth behind Celia’s tragedy. And as long-buried secrets finally come to light, she discovers how completely lives can be shattered by a few simple lies.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  Jenna feels left behind as her best friend went missing months ago and she has been waiting on pins and needles for answers or clues as to what happened to her best friend.  Through her journey, the reader gets a glimpse at their friendship and the life that Celia "left behind."  

For a longer book, the short quick chapters made this book a read that was extremely hard to put down!  The writing was also just easy to follow, so the book just flew by, I love when mystery/thrillers have perfect pacing.

Although Jenna wasn't my favorite character and there were a few moments I wanted to bop her; this didn't ruin the book for me.  It didn't impact the search for the truth behind Celia's disappearance.  I actually loved her son a ton and I enjoyed having him a part of the drama.

This is my second David Bell read and I will definitely be adding the rest of his backlist to my TBR and will be looking out for what comes 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 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.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

This was my saddest week/weekend in reading.  It was a busy week at work and then I had my niece, Emma for the weekend and we had a jam packed weekend of activity.  SO not the best reading week, but a good week in general.  

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Since She Went Away by David Bell

Currently Reading:
The Valley by Helen Bryan

Next on the TBR pile:
In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Forever Fredless
by Suzy Turner

Pages: 262
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Kate Robinson has spent the past two decades yearning to find her soul mate, the boy she found and then lost during a family holiday.

Shortly after her twenty-eighth birthday, however, she inherits a fortune from an old family friend and becomes something of an overnight celebrity. Can her new-found fame lead her to him after all this time?


Kritters Thoughts:  What a fun story!  Kate Robinson has a quick encounter with a boy when she is younger and her entire life she has been on the hunt for him because she swears he is the man of her dreams.  She never told anyone close to her of him and how she hasn't been able to have a true relationship because of him sitting in the back of her mind.  

I loved this story.  It was just a sweet and fun story.  I loved the character of Kate.  The way Suzy Turner wrote her was just on point - she wasn't whining or over the top she was just in pursuit.  I loved that this book had more than just her aimlessly wandering looking for a boy, but she has ups and downs with her parents and friends and the story included more than just a potential romantic relationship.

No spoilers, but the ending was just perfect.  

I rate it below because it was definitely on the cutesy side and sometimes you can only read one of those in a row, but they are perfect books after reading a few heavy/deep books and you need a good break!


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2016: 20 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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Falling
by Jane Green

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either. 
 
On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son. 
 
Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.
 
But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all. 


Kritters Thoughts: I have not read all of Jane Green's books, but of the books I have read, this one has vaulted to the top spot.

Emma has quit her New York job and moved out to to the country to Connecticut to live a different kind of life.  Dominic has lived his entire life in this town in Connecticut and when he rents out his grandparents cottage to Emma he has no idea how this tenant will change his life.  

I loved the concept of this book that at any age you can make a drastic change in your life and send your life down a different path.  It was almost a coming of age, but coming into a new age!  

I also loved that even at any age your parents have influence over the decisions you make.  I loved how when Emma returns to her parents home she is still impacted by their opinions of the potential future she sees for herself.  

I am not sure if this is correct, but the entire time I read this book I remembered an interview of Jane Green where I feel like after the end of her marriage she decides to get away rents a cottage and ended up marrying her landlord, so maybe internally I was giddy that this book was inspiration from her own change in her life.  Anyone know if I am correct?


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, July 12, 2016

Like a River From Its Course
by Kelli Stuart

Publisher: Kregel Publications
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope. The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler's blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little--known history of Ukraine's tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch." He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Fuhrer's plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism.


To enter the giveaway.
Kritters Thoughts:  A unique look at World War II through a country that I haven't visited in life or fiction - Ukraine.  Told through multiple perspectives that take you into the real nitty gritty of war and how it affects all walks of life in the country where the war actually takes place.  

First, what really made me love this book was that not only did you hear from citizens in the occupied country but one of the perspectives was from a German soldier.  I am not sure if I have ever read a book that really portrayed why he felt that the war was necessary.  I am not sure he convinced me of his cause, but it was at least interesting to see it through his eyes.  

I also loved that this was more than a book about war.  It was a book about family relationships and love and loss all of those things in between.  Yes there was a war going on, but life also moves forward maybe differently but still moves forward while a country is at war.  I enjoyed reading about how these families were trying to keep it together and as many things as normal in the midst of chaos.

I read this book in 24 hours in just three sittings and I couldn't put it down.  I hope that Kelli Stuart tackles a different topic or spot in time with this detail because it was both thoroughly entertaining and insightful.  


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 Litfuse Publicity.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.








Monday, July 11, 2016

Rarely do I do much more than review and chat about the books I am reading on this blog, but there is some exciting bookish news with one of my favorite publishing houses!

MIRA books is launching a new imprint that sounds right up my alley and I look forward to reading/stalking all of their catalogs!

The new imprint will be called Park Row Books and in the last paragraph of the press release below they highlight some of the authors already signed to the imprint and they are some of my favorite authors!

Every paragraph in this ramble has ended with an exclamation mark because I am more than excited, may be dancing that a dedicated imprint for good reading is on its way!






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INTRODUCING PARK ROW BOOKSA New Literary Fiction Imprint from MIRA Books

New York, NY, July 1, 2016—MIRA Books announced today the official launch of Park Row Books, an exclusive line of thought-provoking and voice-driven novels by both celebrated and new authors. Park Row Books will be led by Margaret Marbury, Vice President, General Fiction Editorial, and Erika Imranyi, Executive Editor. Park Row Books will publish unique voices and powerful stories that inspire discussion. Inaugural titles are slated for release in summer 2017.

“With the success of MIRA’s rapidly expanding literary fiction program, we decided to establish a dedicated imprint that focuses on the incredible novels we are publishing,” said Marbury. “Park Row Books allows us to create new opportunities for talented literary writers who want a boutique publishing experience with the support of a powerhouse commercial publisher.”
“We are aggressively growing our imprints that publish hardcover and trade paper original fiction,” said Loriana Sacilotto, Executive Vice-President, Global Publishing and Strategy at Harlequin. “Park Row Books is acquiring powerful and compelling novels by talented writers who are looking for a house that will shine a spotlight on their titles.”

The name Park Row Books was inspired by the landmark street that runs through downtown Manhattan and ends at the Woolworth Building, the former home of Harlequin’s New York office for many years. Once known as “Printing House Square” and the location of many of New York’s major newspapers, Park Row has a rich heritage of fostering free expression, creative ideas and important voices.

“MIRA Books has a long history as an industry leader when it comes to publishing commercial fiction,” said Imranyi. “The passion and innovation of the MIRA team is second to none and we have seamlessly parlayed our strengths as a commercial publisher into our literary fiction program. It is a great privilege to be spearheading the expansion of MIRA’s powerful list with the launch of Park Row Books, which will be an exciting destination for talented literary voices whose books have broad mainstream appeal.”

The launch title for Park Row Books is the blockbuster debut novel The Improbable Flight of Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig, which Park Row acquired in a significant preemptive deal. The highly anticipated novel follows a recently adopted teenager with autism who is desperately plotting to get herself kidnapped by her birth mother. Told in an extraordinarily fresh and wholly unique voice, The Improbable Flight of Ginny Moon is a compulsively readable and unforgettable story about finding a place to belong in a world that doesn’t always add up. It will be published around the world in 11 territories and counting.

Park Row Books will also be home to the much-buzzed-about new novels by New York Times bestselling authors Mary Kubica and Heather Gudenkauf. Kubica’s book, a psychological thriller about a young widow’s pursuit of the truth in the wake of the devastating crash that took the life of her husband, takes readers inside the dark, twisted corners of a psyche plagued by grief. Her first novel, The Good Girl, has sold over half a million copies and has been published in two dozen territories worldwide. Gudenkauf’s next book, a high-concept crime thriller about a protagonist with profound hearing loss, features the bestselling author’s most compelling heroine to date. Gudenkauf’s first novel, The Weight of Silence, was an instant New York Times bestseller, spending 22 weeks on the list.

Other exciting titles forthcoming from Park Row Books include When I Think of You, from award-winning journalist and bestselling author Karma Brown, exploring how a woman’s life falls apart over a random act of courtesy; Hanna Who Fell from the Sky, a breakout literary novel set in the fascinating and unknown world of a polygamist society from award-winning Canadian author Christopher Meades; Undertow, by British journalist Elizabeth Heathcote, the much-buzzed-about debut domestic thriller in the vein of The Widow; and a new novel from Phaedra Patrick, the author of wildly acclaimed The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, that follows a down-on-his-luck jeweler whose life is changed when his estranged teenage niece makes a surprise visit to his quiet village.

Agents with manuscripts that feature strong, unique voices and groundbreaking content with mainstream appeal may send material to Erika Imranyi or Park Row Books editor Liz Stein.

About MIRA Books
MIRA Books is an imprint of Harlequin and features a lineup of some of the bestselling authors across North America as well as industry-anticipated debut authors. MIRA Books is committed to publishing the very best in commercial fiction, including women’s fiction, suspense and psychological thrillers, literary bestsellers, and historical. In 2015, 24 MIRA Books titles placed on bestseller lists (New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly) for a total of 194 weeks. MIRA publishes approximately 100 books per year in hardcover, mass-market and trade paperback formats. 

About Harlequin
Harlequin (Harlequin.com) is one of the world’s leading publishers of books for women, with titles issued worldwide in as many as 34 languages and sold in up to 102 international markets. The company publishes more than 110 titles monthly and more than 1,300 authors from around the world. Harlequin is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, the second-largest consumer book publisher in the world, and has operations in 11 countries. For more information, please visit Harlequin.com and Facebook.com/HarlequinBooks. Follow Harlequin on Twitter:@HarlequinBooks.

#  #  #

Media Contacts:
Melanie Dulos                                                                                                   Shara Alexander
Sr. Manager, Corporate Communications                                             Director, Publicity
Harlequin                                                                                                            MIRA Books/Park Row Books
(416) 391-7008                                                                                                   212-207-7902
melanie.dulos@HarperCollins.com                                                          shara.alexander@HarperCollins.com



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