Monday, October 31, 2016



Happy Halloween to all the ghouls and goblins out there!  


Sunday, October 30, 2016

This is two weeks worth of reading because two weekends ago was jam packed with fun with my niece Emma!  We spent a whole day at Mount Vernon and then another day going into the mountains of VA to pick apples!   

This weekend was semi quiet and full of house cleaning and reading and autumn things!

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Folly Cove by Holly Robinson
The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Sarah Bates
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Little Boy Blue by MJ Arlidge
Just Fine with Caroline by Annie England Noblin
Crossing the Horizon by Laurie Notaro
Madame Presidentess by Nicole Evelina
Bertrand Court by Michelle Brafman

Currently Reading:
The Survivor's Guide to Family Happiness by Maddie Dawson

Next on the TBR pile:
Beauty and Attention by Liz Rosenberg


Friday, October 28, 2016

Madame Presidentess
by Nicole Evelina

Publisher: Lawson Gartner Publishing
Pages: 400
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books. 

Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”

But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women. 

Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.

Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.


Kritters Thoughts:  A book that takes place before women can vote and before women really had a say in their own futures beyond being a good wife and mother.  This book takes our society back in time when women were helpmates and that was the goal in life.  My how times have changed and I am so thankful!

Bare with me as I am a book blogger and that is where I will always be, but it was very interesting to read this book in the life and times that we are having now as the election nears us.  I don't care how you will vote, but as a female it is at least interesting to see a female in the race backed by a major party.  This book reminded me how it wasn't too long ago that women were given a voice via a ballot and the power that that voice is.  I am so glad I was able to vote in this election whether it was for a female or not, just being able to vote is a privilege that I will no longer take for granted.  

Last Thursday, I reviewed a book called The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Sarah Bates and I was excited to see her make an appearance in this book.  I love when my reading intertangles and "characters" or people from one book pop up in another!

I hope that Nicole Evelina tackles another time and place in history and I can't wait to see what it could be.  I will be on the lookout for what is coming from her 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.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Crossing the Horizon
by Laurie Notaro

Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 464
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Ten thousand feet in the sky, flipping and twirling through the air, aviatrixes from London to Paris to New York—fueled by determination and courage—have their eyes on the century’s biggest prize. The year is 1927, and Amelia Earhart has not yet made her record-breaking cross-Atlantic flight. Who will follow in Charles Lindbergh’s footsteps and make her own history?

Three women’s names are splashed daily across the front page: Elsie Mackay, daughter of an Earl, is the first Englishwoman to get her pilot’s license. Mabel Boll, a glamorous society darling and former cigar girl, is ardent to make the historic flight. Beauty pageant contestant Ruth Elder uses her winnings for flying lessons and becomes the preeminent American girl of the sky.



Kritters Thoughts:  An interesting cross between fiction and non fiction with most of the content of the story being true, but told in a fictional way - I enjoyed reading the ups and downs of the first women to try to cross the Atlantic by plane and all of the hoops they had to jump through just to potentially get the plane in the air.  

The cast of characters was massive and with the common goal in mind it was hard at times to remember who was who and who they were working with.  This was definitely a notepad kind of book and at times I was a little frustrated.  In the first few chapters the ladies had their own chapters, but once they were all introduced their stories intermingled in each chapter, I am not sure I liked that.  Only as an editing opinion, I would have liked shorter chapters with each of their stories more defined than having them weave in and out.  

My timing of reading this book couldn't have been more spot on!  In early September I took my husband to see the Kitty Hawk Wright memorial museum and it was so fun to read about the first attempts for man to get into the sky!  Reading these women's stories after visiting that museum helped put the book in perspective as to not just financing but parts and the mechanics of flying took a lot for this industry to form.  

I appreciated the book for providing a lot of knowledge in such a great format through full stories.  I would absolutely read another book by Laurie Notaro, this was a fun way to learn something without cracking a "textbook."


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 Gallery 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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Just Fine With Caroline
by Annie England Noblin

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads:  Caroline O’Connor never dreamed she’d be back home in Cold River, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain town where everyone is ‘up your business.’…they mean well as they drive you crazy. She thought she’d left town for good, but now she’s back, helping to care for her New York born mother—struck with Alzheimer’s, and prone to saying and doing anything—and her father, the beloved local doctor frustrated he can’t cure his own wife.

As for Caroline, she’s doing ‘just fine’ coping with her parents, her brazen cousin Ava Dawn’s marital disasters, her mostly-deaf dog…and with Noah Cranwell, far-flung relative of a local family mostly infamous for running moonshine, an ex-veteran who’s come to Cold River with troubles of his own.

Caroline believes she knows everything about Cold River and the people who live in its hills and hollers … but sometimes life’s greatest surprises happen closest to home.


Kritters Thoughts:  Caroline returned to her small hometown in Missouri to help her father take care of her mother as she declines due to Alzheimer's.  Life had been moving at the same pace until an "heir" to a longstanding family returns to reopen the family business and maybe sparks will fly?  

I would put this book in the middle of a venn diagram between women's fiction and romance.  It had all of the plot of a women's fiction, but had the somewhat predictability and the sexy times of a romance.  I kind of liked the mix of both in one book.  

I may have said this before, but I come from a small town, so as much as I love reading the small town girl in big city, I love reading small town girl returns to small town and remembers the good and the bad of small town living!  I loved Caroline because she was real and honest about it all.  She had flaws and a "broken family" and she was honest and open about it all, she just felt real.  

My second Annie England Noblin and I am definitely a fan!


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, October 24, 2016

Little Boy Blue
by MJ Arlidge

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

Goodreads:  Detective Inspector Helen Grace is no stranger to tragedy. But when a body is found in a Southampton nightclub, the death cuts too close to the bone. Hiding her personal connection to the victim - and a double-life which must remain secret at all costs - Helen becomes a woman possessed, working her team around the clock to chase down every lead. As the killer strikes again, the investigation takes its toll not only on Helen but also her senior officers. Tempers flare, friendships fray and Helen faces an impossible choice. Confess her sins and lose control of the case? Or keep living a lie, protecting her darkest secrets, and risk getting trapped in this tangled web? But whatever she does, this killer will not stop until the truth is revealed: there are some fates worse than death.


Kritters Thoughts:  MJ Arlidge can write a mystery and can always surprise me out of left field with the culprit and every time I am completely satisfied!  

This installment in the series not only has a gruesome murderer, but takes place kind of in the underworld - in a community that likes to be under the radar, the BDSM community.  I have no opinions on this group, but even after reading this book I get the feeling that they are ok that they are known to be unknown.  I loved combining this underground community with a murder it made the book a little extra creepy and mysterious.  

I realized in this book that MJ Arlidge has a fantastic group of kick butt ladies taking center stage.  Basically the top three investigators are serious ladies who want to work hard to get to the bottom of the case and I am glad that it took me 5 books to see the lady power!  

I am excited to know that there are already two more books in this series and as they are perfect quick, creepy reads I can't wait to get my hands on them!  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2016 Challenge: 32 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, October 20, 2016

The Lost of Elizabeth Cady Stanton
by Sarah Bates

Publisher: Booklocker.com
Pages: 420
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Johnstown, New York, 1823: It is a time when a wife’s dowry, even children, automatically becomes her husband’s property. Slavery is an economic advantage entrenched in America but rumblings of abolition abound. 

For Elizabeth Cady to confront this culture is unheard of, yet that is exactly what she does. Before she can become a leader of the women's rights movement and prominent abolitionist, she faces challenges fraught with disappointment. Her father admires her intellect but says a woman cannot aspire to the goals of men. Her sister’s husband becomes her champion–but secretly wants more. Religious fervor threatens to consume her. As she faces depression and despair, she records these struggles and other dark confidences in diaries. When she learns the journals might fall into the wrong hands and discredit her, she panics and rips out pages of entries that might destroy her hard-fought reputation. Relieved, she believes they are lost to history forever.

But are they? Travel with Elizabeth into American history and discover a young woman truly ahead of her time.



Kritters Thoughts:  Elizabeth Cady Stanton is a name that you would know if you have read a few books about the relationship between getting women the right to vote and freeing slaves.  I hadn't known that these movements actually came together until I read about it a few times.  

I enjoyed this one.  It definitely was a good historical fiction read.  I loved seeing how one woman just kept pushing the envelope over and over again until someone got it and helped her move forward.  I loved how headstrong she was and I felt that the author portrayed that well in the book.

If I hadn't read those books before this one would have been a good introduction, but having already knowing a lot of what was the foundation of this book, there were moments where it didn't feel original.  There were also a few things that the characters repeated almost exhaustingly and I just wanted to say ok, I got it!  

I would say if you read this book and it made you want to read more on this topic or time period, I would recommend:
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
My Notorious Life by Kate Manning



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

Ebook 2016 Challenge: 31 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Virtual Author 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.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fractured
by Catherine McKenzie

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 360
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.


Kritters Thoughts:  Julie Prentice moves her husband and twins to a new state to start over after an interesting situation with a stalker, but will this new neighborhood be the right move?

I call these book post it note books.  The ones where you need a post it note to keep track of all the characters!  With about four main families with husband, wife and kids, it took a post it note to make sure I kept them all together with their professions and such.  I don't mind it if it helps me keep the large cast together and in this case it was definitely a must.  

There were almost two storylines going on at the same time.  The current storyline takes place in court as something has happened in the neighborhood, but the reader doesn't know exactly what.  The other storyline goes into the past when Julie first moves into the neighborhood and moves towards the present as she has encounter after encounter with the neighbors both positive and negative.  

I liked being kept out of the loop as to the reason of the court case.  It made me question all of the neighbors and why there could be a case.  I may have had a few guesses and parts of my guesses were right, but parts were so off!  

If you are a fan of neighborhood dramas like I am, they are like an amped up family drama then this should be your next read.  I have read almost all of Catherine McKenzie's books and they are all unique and different and I love that her novels are all over the place in terms of plot, but they are all so good!


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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Folly Cove
by Holly Robinson

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads:  The ties of family bind us forever—no matter how far we may go to escape them...
  
The Bradford sisters are famous in Rockport, Massachusetts: for their beauty, their singing voices, their legendary ancestors, and their elegant mother, Sarah, who has run the historic Folly Cove Inn alone ever since her husband disappeared. 
 
The two youngest sisters, Anne and Elly, fled Folly Cove as soon as they could to pursue their dreams and escape the Bradford name, while Laura stayed and created a seemingly picture perfect life. After a series of bad decisions, Anne has no choice but to come home and face her critical mother and oldest sister, reluctantly followed by Elly, another Bradford woman who’s hiding something.
 
As the three sisters plan a grand celebration for their mother’s birthday, they struggle to maintain the illusions about their lives that they’ve so carefully crafted. But when painful old wounds reopen and startling family secrets are revealed, they soon discover that even the seemingly unbreakable bonds of sisterhood can be tested...


Kritters Thoughts:  Three sisters all have a little bit of drama in their lives.  One sister still lives near where they grew up and has a successful business, but maybe not a successful marriage.  One sister returns home with a baby and no baby daddy and needs to push the restart button.  The other sister returns when one calls her there and doesn't realize how much a step away from her current life may help her move forward from a bad break up.  And their mother!  She is quite a character and I love who she is and how she makes no excuses for who she is.

What a great family drama.  I loved every page of this book.  Don't worry there is drama in this book, but nothing felt over the top or soap operaie!  It was just the right amount of family drama and personal drama and I loved how the sisters could come together and help each other through what they were dealing with.  

I wouldn't mind a sequel of this book.  I would love to check back in with these characters a few years from now and see how the Inn is doing and how they are doing in their current relationships and who is living where.  Do you like sequels or do you like stand alones where the book is fully contained?

I have read a few from Holly Robinson and have loved them all.  I need to continue to read her backlist because she is definitely a reliable author.  


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


Ebook 2016 Challenge: 30 out of 50


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, October 17, 2016

Deliver Her
by Patricia Perry Donovan

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads:  On the night of Alex Carmody’s sixteenth birthday, she and her best friend, Cass, are victims of a terrible car accident. Alex survives; Cass doesn’t. Consumed by grief, Alex starts cutting school and partying, growing increasingly detached. The future she’d planned with her friend is now meaningless to her.

Meg Carmody is heartbroken for her daughter, even as she’s desperate to get Alex’s life back on track. The Birches, a boarding school in New Hampshire, promises to do just that, yet Alex refuses to go. But when Meg finds a bag of pills hidden in the house, she makes a fateful call to a transporter whose company specializes in shuttling troubled teens to places like The Birches, under strict supervision. Meg knows Alex will feel betrayed—as will her estranged husband, who knows nothing of Meg’s plans for their daughter.

When the transport goes wrong—and Alex goes missing—Meg must face the consequences of her decision and her deception. But the hunt for Alex reveals that Meg is not the only one keeping secrets.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  Alex Carmody had a major tragedy happen on a big day for her and as her family is falling apart she hits some major bumps.  Her mother decides that sending her to a new place may be the best reset, but she may need someone else to get her there safely.  So she hires Carl and Begin Again and things don't go as planned.

I appreciated that the book was less about the tragedy that sent her spinning, but the after effects.  I think sometimes a book that has a tragedy, the tragedy is the main focus and I enjoyed reading about what came after for Alex and how she wasn't coping.  And although the reader knows that the transport is going to go awry, we don't know how and when and that was enough for me.

I also love that this was told from multiple perspectives - I always love when more than one character tells the story because I just feel like the story feels fuller.  The chapters were easily labeled which was nice, but each character really had their own voice so it was easy to switch from one to another.

Lastly, this book is about family.  I loved the flaws that this family had and how they were deep rooted.  This family felt real and their issues felt real because one fed off the other.  
This was a great debut and I am definitely excited to see what comes next from this author.


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, October 16, 2016

With baseball coming to a sad end (Washington Nationals fan) I will have more time to put towards all of the fall reading.  
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White
Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra
Fractured by Catherine McKenzie
Deliver Her by Patricia Perry Donovan

Currently Reading:
Folly Cove by Holly Robinson

Next on the TBR pile:
The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Sarah Bates

Friday, October 14, 2016

Only Daughter
by Anna Snoekstra

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

Goodreads:  In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.  

She'd been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.

Eleven years later she is replaced. 

A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.

Soon the imposter is living Bec's life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends' names. Playing with her twin brothers.

But Bec's welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter—and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.
 



Kritters Thoughts:  Two storylines that from the beginning the reader knows will eventually converge to make the full novel.  Anna went missing 11 years ago and no body and no clues were left behind.  Now a woman (no spoiler this is known from the beginning) has shown up and decides she wants to be Rebecca Winter and escape her own life, we don't know why we just know she does.  The chapters flipped and flopped between the two storylines and it was easy and obvious to move from one to the other.

Sometimes in books where there are two storylines, I usually like one over the other, in this case I liked them both equally.  I loved seeing what led to Anna's disappearance, that sounds bad in afterthought, but in fiction sense it was interesting to read the days that led up to her disappearing.  I also loved the storyline of the girl who inserted herself into Bec's life and ends up completely immersed in the investigation, but I have to say I was glad that it wasn't easy or obvious for her to figure out what happened to Rebecca.

This was definitely a different kind of mystery and I liked it.  There were just a few tiny moments where I may have rolled my eyes in the convenience of the happenings, but overall a great 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 MIRA.  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, October 13, 2016

Echoes of Family
by Barbara Claypole White

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 397
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began.

Marianne Stokes fled England at seventeen, spiraling into the manic depression that would become her shadow. She left behind secrets, memories, and tragedy: one teen dead, and her first love, Gabriel, badly injured. Three decades later she’s finally found peace in the North Carolina recording studio she runs with her husband, Darius, and her almost-daughter, Jade…until another fatality propels her back across the ocean to confront the long-buried past.

In her picturesque childhood village, the first person she meets is the last person she wants to see again: Gabriel. Now the village vicar, he takes her in without question, and ripples ofwhat if reverberate through both their hearts. As Marianne’s mind unravels, Jade and Darius track her down. Tempers clash when everyone tries to help, but only by finding the courage to face her illness can Marianne heal herself and her offbeat family.



Kritters Thoughts:   First let me say that I have not had much personal history with depression in my immediate circle of friends and family, so I am somewhat naive to mental illnesses, but I do believe that if something is broken you do what it takes to get it fixed - from a broken toe to a broken brain.  

I went into this book after reading the synopsis thinking that Marianne had healed from her depression and was excited to read a book about the after of mental illness, this was not the case.  When Marianne returns to England it may be to  heal, but she is far from a place of recovery.  This fact made the book a hard read for me.  It was hard to read her mania, especially before she makes an effort to move towards find a place of peace.  

I absolutely adored hearing from her daughter Jade.  To hear how mental illness affects the whole family was both heart breaking and interesting for me.  I loved that Marianne could use Jade as a reason to fight to find a place of healing.  Jade stood out for me as the character that made this book worth reading.  

I am not sure that this is my favorite book from this author, but it definitely won't keep me from reading her next.  I loved her book The Unfinished Garden, so try that one next if this is your first Barbara Claypole White experience.


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 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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