Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hard to Die
by Andra Watkins

Publisher: Word Hermit Press
Pages: 264
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  You’ve heard the raves about the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Hamilton. But what happened to ‘Dear Theodosia,’ the fiery daughter Aaron Burr serenades? Hard to Die is an engrossing speculative fiction novel that provides a new take on the uncharted fate of Theodosia Burr Alston, daughter of Alexander Hamilton’s murderer.

Theodosia disappeared at sea in 1813. In Hard to Die, she reappears almost 150 years later with one assignment: Help a living soul navigate a life-changing crossroad or be erased from history’s timeline, forgotten forever.

Former spy Richard Cox is a West Point cadet. But his former commander presents him with an impossible ultimatum: Return to spying… or die.

Theodosia and Richard are immersed in a world where no one is as they appear. As they fight their attraction, they must learn to trust each other – or become pawns for a bigger foe determined to see them fail.


Kritters Thoughts:  This was book two in a series, but is self contained, so you aren't missing much starting at book two.  

Theodosia Burr Alston died in a mysterious way and so she hasn't transitioned into the next "world" or something.  She is stuck in Nowhere and has to do a good deed to be able to move forward.  

This book was completely out of my comfort zone with spirits and ghosts, but it worked a little for me because I am quite the historical fiction fan.  Of course this book is also on point right now because of the whole Hamilton craze, so if you want more about Burr and his time after Hamilton this book hinted at his life through Theodosia's eyes.  

I am on the fence about reading the first book and continuing on in this series.  I enjoyed the historical parts, but I didn't love the complete concept of the book, I couldn't get past why she had to help someone to move on.  I wanted more of the historical bits.

Has anyone read the first book in this series?  Should I try it?


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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Smith 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, November 28, 2016

Find Her
by Lisa Gardner

Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 402
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Flora Dane is a victim. 

Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Flora Dane is a survivor.

Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.

Flora Dane is reckless. 

. . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.


Kritters Thoughts:  Told in three different parts - a. Flora's experience years prior being held captive, b. Boston detective DD is investigating a dead man and now a missing girl c.  current Flora and her adventures.

The eighth book in a series and only the second the series that I have read.  This is one of those series where the case is self contained, but the detective characters have stories that build from one book to the next.  I don't love reading out of order and not having read the first in this series, but it isn't necessary.  

I loved the case in this book.  I loved how there was a case that took place before the book and the after effects of the victim really impacted this book.  I liked the interjection of chapters from the previous case and learning about how Flora became who she was and how that influenced what was happening in the current storyline. 

I don't want to ruin this book as there are some fantastic twists and turns, but I will say that I loved it.  I read a lot of mystery/thrillers and this one definitely surprised me a few times.  

I hope to go back and read the previous books because I really like Detective DD Warren and I love how she investigates!


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

Ebook 2016 Challenge: 33 out of 50

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

What a great week and weekend of reading.  With the Thanksgiving holiday I was able to just curl up and read in between the eating and the shopping and the beginning of the holiday to do list!  I was quite proud of this week's reading!!

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Find Her by Lisa Gardner
Hard to Die by Andra Watkins
Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes
Love, Alice by Barbara Davis
Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

Currently Reading:
A Shoe Addict's Christmas by Beth Harbison

Next on the TBR pile:
Days Like These by Sue Margolis

Thursday, November 24, 2016


From my family to yours, I hope today is full of food, fun and family (however you define family!)  I am hoping for some turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and an hour or two with a good book!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  “They think I am still a little girl who is not capable of being a Queen.”

Lord Melbourne turned to look at Victoria. “They are mistaken. I have not known you long, but I observe in you a natural dignity that cannot be learnt. To me, ma’am, you are every inch a Queen.”


In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.

One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….



Kritters Thoughts:  If you are a historical fiction fan, stop what you are doing and get this book!  

Ok.  Started this review with an exclamation, but I am serious.  I absolutely adored this book.  A fiction tale based on a real person (which are always good!) on a former Queen of England who took the throne at an early age and had to put her foot down to give herself the authority to make the decisions a queen should.  

At first I didn't know that this was based in truth, but quick google search proved my instincts incorrect and I am glad I didn't read her whole wikipedia page or it would have ruined the big plot point - who would she marry!  Avoid wikipedia!

This book ends as she could be marrying and I liked that it took a deep dive into a small timeframe of her life.  My hope is that we can get another book or two on the rest of her reigning years.  

I love historical fiction, but this one was above a lot of what I have read.  I was completely sucked into the story from page one and had the hardest time just setting it down.

Sidenote - if you have watched The Crown on Netflix you would love this book and vice versa


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from St. Martin's 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, November 21, 2016

Wallflower Blooming
by Amy Rivers

Publisher: Wooden Pants Publishing
Pages: 186
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Val Shakely is a list-maker. Daily routine. Check. Calm, quiet (but successful) business. Check. No drama. No excitement. Some might call it boring, but it’s precisely the way Val likes it. She loves her hometown of Cambria, nestled in the mountains of Colorado, and runs a fruitful PR firm. And that’s more than enough for Val. So what if she doesn’t have a social life? Then, her cousin Gwen decides to take on the local political bully, the Mayor, in head-to-head combat for the Mayoral seat and Val takes her company reluctantly, and against her better judgment, into the fray. The minute Val takes on Gwen’s campaign, the safe world that she has carefully constructed begins to unravel. She feels the pressure of the campaign and the personal attacks by Gwen’s opponent. And as if that wasn’t complicated enough, Val finds herself falling in love. Val’s desire to stay on the sidelines is put to the test and she’s forced to reexamine the life she’s built as she trudges toward a new and more exciting future.


Kritters Thoughts:  An election, a PR firm, a set of cousins and a small town in Colorado.  Val and Gwen are cousins and Gwen has had a successful run on city council and has decided that a run for mayor is in her future.  She decides that she needs her cousin and best friend by her side to help her with this big thing.  In the midst of the campaign Val may bump into a guy who may change the course of her life.

I loved the combination in this book of personal and professional storylines.  I liked how it wasn't just a love story and Val had professional ups and downs.  I also loved reading the relationship between Gwen and Val - knowing they were cousins but had that sister relationship hit home with me.  I have a cousin who lives very close and we are so similar it may be crazy, so it is nice to bounce something off someone who may completely agree with me!

This is one of those books that at under 200 pages is a perfect book for a full day at home - especially perfect for a windy fall day when the temperature is dropping and a blanket is close!

I enjoyed this and would love to read more from this author. 


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, November 20, 2016

Another great weekend of reading and holiday prepping!
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Intersect by Brad Graber
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
Wallflower Blooming by Amy Rivers

Currently Reading:
Find Her by Lisa Gardner

Next on the TBR pile:
Hard to Die by Andra Watkins

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Intersect
by Brad Graber

Publisher: Dark Victory Press
Pages: 460
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Dave and Charlie relocate from the Bay Area to Phoenix, tensions ratchet up in their relationship as Charlie insists on buying a house on the grounds of the Arizona Biltmore as Dave contemplates leaving his job. Daisy, a spry septuagenarian, shows up at their front door after a long convalescence, unaware that her greedy, Michigan relatives, Jack and Enid, have already sold her home. Charlie assumes the older woman is Dave’s distant aunt and happily ushers her into a guest room. Meanwhile, across town, Anna, a gifted psychic who channels the dead, is concerned about her neighborhood. She hires a handyman to install motion-detectors, unaware that Ernie has entered the United States illegally from Mexico as a child. When Henry, a homeless gay teen, attempts to rob Anna, Ernie intervenes and a melee ensues. The police mistakenly arrest Ernie, leading to his deportation. 


Kritters Thoughts:  A very large book with many pages full of quite a few storylines.  I would classify this book as an ensemble cast book where there are a few connections between some of the stories, but they all live in Phoenix, Arizona and are just trying to navigate life.  

With every kind of relationship under the sun represented this book could easily move from book to tv form.  I almost felt as if each chapter could be a full episode.  I liked the obvious connections that some storylines had and then the slow burn of others where the reader gets an AH HA moment.  I would have thought with the largest cast of characters that I have ever read that I would have easily gotten confused, but because their stories were so unique it was actually very easy to keep the characters straight.  

Although this book wasn't hard to read, the length of the book made for a longer read.  There was constant action and within each chapter you almost get a glimpse of each storyline as it is progressing.  

I would definitely read another book by this author, but wouldn't be able to read anything back to back.  I liked this one, but my brain hurts a little from remembering everyone's story!



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 Claire McKinneyPR, LLC.  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, November 17, 2016

The Waiting Room
by Leah Kaminsky

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A young doctor in Haifa, Israel, must come to terms with her family’s painful past—and its lingering aftermath—as the conflict between Palestine and Israel reaches its height and the threat of a terrorist attack looms over the city....

Born to two survivors in the smoky after-haze of WWII, Dina has never been able to escape her parents’ history. Tortured by memories of Bergen-Belsen, her mother leaves Dina to inherit her decades of trauma. 

Dina desperately anchors herself in family—a cherished young son, a world-weary husband, and a daughter on the way—and her work as a doctor, but she is struggling to cope, burdened by both the very real anxieties of her daily life and also the shadows of her parents’ ghosts, who follow her wherever she goes. A witty, sensitive narrator, she fights to stay grounded in the here-and-now, even as the challenges of motherhood and medicine threaten to overwhelm her. 



Kritters Thoughts:  Set in a place I have never visited and maybe even in a country that I have never read a fictional tale about - Israel.  This story takes place in a country that is in unrest and you can tell that the characters are not in a steady place.  

Although I am not the biggest fan of ghosts and books with ghosts and spirits, this one was ok because the author presented them as ghosts from page one.  The books that frustrate me is when the reader doesn't know and the author is trying something.  I liked that the reader wasn't left out in the dark and I knew that she was consulting the spirit/ghost of her mom.  

I also loved the setting.  Because I had never visited or read anything in Israel, I liked reading a story here.  Although hard to read, I did enjoy listening to character describe living in a town where a bomb was a threat and they had to always be vigilant about their safety; that feeling is far from what I experience on a daily basis, so hearing a character describe that feeling was so interesting to me.

I did like those things about this book, but overall it was just fine.  There is foreshadowing at the beginning of the book and it gave me enough hints to know where the book was going to end and that disappointed me.  

If you have a particular interest in fiction set in Israel, I would recommend this one.  If you love a book where a character is struggling and gets a visit or two from a spirit/ghost then this one is right up your alley!


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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from FSB Associates.  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, November 15, 2016

Disruption
by Jessica Shirvington

Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 416
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What if a microchip could identify your perfect match? 

What if it could be used against you and the ones you love?

Eight years ago, Mercer Corporation's M-Bands became mandatory. An evolution of the smartphone, the bracelets promised an easier life. Instead, they have come to control it.

Two years ago, Maggie Stevens watched helplessly as one of the people she loved most was taken from her, shattering her world as she knew it. Now, Maggie is ready. And Quentin Mercer - heir to the M-Corp empire - has become key to Maggie's plan.

But as the pieces of her dangerous design fall into place, could Quentin's involvement destroy everything she's fought for?

In a world full of broken promises, the ones Maggie must keep could be the most heartbreaking.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  There are many YA dystopians, but when I read the synopsis of this one, it just had me and I had to read it.  

Maggie was the best character.  I loved her drive and her want to find the truth.  Unlike other dystopians she didn't spend the majority of the book bucking the new rules of this new system but instead searching just for the truth about her father and her family.  I liked that it didn't center around her being an anarchist - instead finding the truth.

I don't read a ton of YA, but when I do I read either contemporary or dystopian and I love reading about a different United States if the rules have changed and the world is flipped upside down.  I love reading about humans having to live by a different set of rules and especially if it goes against our own human experience and what makes us people - our right of choice and our ability to love.

I will say that this book definitely ended on a cliffhanger and I knew going in that there would be a book two, but I don't love that the book wasn't ok on its own.  I like books even though they are part of a series to have the ability to stand on their own.  This one didn't.

I am definitely counting down the days for book two, I need to know where this story goes.


Rating: perfect YA read

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Harper 360.  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, November 14, 2016

Girl Underwater
by Claire Kells

Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.



Kritters Thoughts:  A survival story that was so unique and I loved it.  

Avery is on a plane headed home for a holiday break from college and a guy that she isn't too thrilled about ends up in the seat next to her and as the plane is going down she may be glad that he is there.  The two of them and three little boys survive the crash, but will they survive the wilderness.

I loved how this book was written.  I will be a little vague in my review as to not spoil one iota of this book!  So let me say - I loved it.  There is some interesting way that each chapter fits together and I really enjoyed how the story flowed.  

The one thing that made me smirk and felt too convenient was that the main character is a legit swimmer and daughter of a doctor and has to use these skills while they are stranded.  It just felt a little too easy, but it didn't ruin the whole book for me, just made me a smile a time or two.

I know this review may feel disjointed, but I just didn't want to spoil this one because it is so good and I want to encourage you to run out and get it!  If you have read a survival story and it didn't meet your expectations - try this one.  


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 Dutton.  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, November 13, 2016

It was a very crazy week at work, the only reading happened on the weekend.  

And next week looks to be crazy too - hopefully I can find a quiet moment or two.  

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Six Days in Leningrad by Paullina Simons
Girl Underwater by Claire Kells
Disruption by Jessica Shirvington
The Waiting Room by Leah Kaminsky

Currently Reading:
The Intersect by Brad Graber

Next on the TBR pile:
Wallflower Blooming by Amy Rivers

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Six Days in Leningrad
by Paullina Simons

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

Goodreads:  Only a few chapters into writing her first story set in Russia, her mother country, Paullina Simons travelled to Leningrad (now St Petersburg) with her beloved Papa. What began as a research trip turned into six days that forever changed her life, the course of her family, and the novel that became THE BRONZE HORSEMAN. After a quarter-century away from her native land, Paullina and her father found a world trapped in yesteryear, with crumbling stucco buildings, entire families living in seven-square-metre communal apartments, and barren fields bombed so badly that nothing would grow there even fifty years later. And yet there were the spectacular white nights, the warm hospitality of family friends and, of course, the pelmeni and caviar.

At times poignant, at times inspiring and funny, this is both a fascinating glimpse into the inspiration behind the epic saga, and a touching story of a family's history, a father and a daughter, and the fate of a nation.



Kritters Thoughts:  I have never read a behind the scenes book and it was kind of fun to do that even though I haven't read any of the books by Paullina Simons.  For me this book was less behind the scenes of her book and more reading about her travel adventures with her father and it made me wish to have this sort of a trip with my dad - may need to book one soon.  

What a book!  It read so quickly.  I loved how Paullina spoke in a few instances about the difference between what she remembered as a child to what ended up being in front of her eyes years later.  I also loved how she spoke about how her time in the States really skewed her viewpoint of what normal living should look like and visiting these friends who felt they had made it really put her new home into a new perspective.  

This book made me think about other books where I would love a story about how the author came up with the subject and how the research into the subject happened and maybe even if it changed where the story was going to go in a different direction.  I would love this kind of a book for quite a few of my favorites.  

Have you read this series?  Would it be fun to read a behind the scenes book of a book or series?  Is it like the movies where you should read the original book first before the behind the scenes?

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, November 7, 2016

In the Blue Hour
by Elizabeth Hall

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 316
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Elise Brooks dreams of a car accident on an icy road. Weeks later, her beloved husband, Michael, is killed in just such a crash. Now, overcome with grief and uncertainty, Elise believes his spirit may be following her in the form of a raven, trying to tell her something from beyond the grave.

Desperate to understand the signs, Elise embraces both the Native American wisdom she grew up with and the world of psychics and seers. So when a tarot-card reader suggests she take a journey to the mysterious address found in Michael’s old jacket, she embarks on a cross-country trek to follow the clues.
Accompanied by Tom Dugan, an engineer and scientist who does not believe in psychics, mediums, or the hoodoo “conjure woman” they encounter on the road, Elise navigates the rituals and omens of the spirit world in an attempt to unravel the mystery of her husband’s message.

Kritters Thoughts:  This one was a little out of my comfort zone due to the subject matter, but every once in a while I like to stretch and make myself a little uncomfortable when I read!  I don't tend to really adhere to the belief of other worldly spirits and ghosts floating around, maybe because I haven't had an interaction yet with one (that I know of!), so I decided to join this tour to read the book to see if it may change my view.  

First, the reason I was able to stick with the book is the character Elise.  Yes, she was a believer from the beginning and was open to being led by spirits and her gut feeling, but she wasn't took quirky and weird.  She still felt real.  There is a chance I would have quit the book if it hadn't been for her and how the author wrote her.  

A road trip happens in this book and I started to like the book more once it started moving.  It was getting to a point where it felt as though it wasn't moving forward and once they got in the car and started traveling, it started getting better for me.  

So I liked the push out the comfort zone, but for some reason I felt like it took too long to come together and I wanted more of the book to happen after the big reveal.  I appreciated how it came together just wish it had happened sooner.  Hopefully that isn't too spoilerie!  


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.


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