Saturday, December 31, 2016


December was an up and down month, a lot of holiday fun that kept me from reading, but also had some quiet nights.  The month ended with a staycation turned home renovation, so didn't end up reading as much the end of the year as I had planned.

1.  Days Like These by Sue Margolis
2.  The Next by Stephanie Gangi
3.  Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa
4. The Expatriates by Janice YK Lee
5. The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis
6. Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde
7. When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
8. Marlene by C.W. Gortner
9. The Silent Children by Amna K Boheim
10. Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
11. Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia
12. The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
13. The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White
14. The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White


Total pages read, clicked, and flipped:  4,768

Where Have I Been Reading?:
London
New York City, NY (3)
Seattle, WA (2)
Hong Kong
Texas 
Minnesota
Charleston, SC (3)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Bout of Books starts on Monday, January 2nd and goes through Sunday, Janury 8th. 

My goal for the Bout of Books 18 TBR pile is to read 250 pages per day, which amounts to 1,750 pages for the whole week.  

 
Doing another round of Bout of Books, we shall see how it goes.  I love participating because there are really no rules, you are just challenge yourself to read more than you typically do.  So I am hoping for a great week in books!

This is a hard one to predict my books this far in advance with me still in vacation reading mode, so this TBR may change, but this is what I am hoping to read.  

Let's see how this goes!

1.  Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Starr  (342 pages)

2.  Lift And Separate by Marilyn Simon Rothstein  (296 pages)
3.  The Echo of Twilight by Judith Kinghorn (416 pages)
4.  Pretty Little World by Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino (320 pages)
5. The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams (384 pages)

This is a total of 1,758 pages!


For those that don't know what Bout of Books is... here you go:


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Monday, December 26, 2016


To end the year, I am taking a week off from the blog and spending it reading and enjoying time with the family!  I will start 2017 with my goals and challenges for the year and a wrap up of this year.   


Friday, December 23, 2016

Small Admissions
by Amy Poeppel

Publisher: Atria
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Despite her innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome, French “almost fiancĂ©,” she abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City, and leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it. Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews.

Miraculously, and for reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the height of the admissions season, or what her colleagues refer to as “the dark time.” As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likeable kids who aren’t very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

Meanwhile, Kate’s sister and her closest friends find themselves keeping secrets, hiding boyfriends, dropping bombshells, and fighting each other on how to keep Kate on her feet. On top of it all, her cranky, oddly charming, and irritatingly handsome downstairs neighbor is more than he seems. Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  Kate graduated top of her class and was headed to graduate school when something happens and sends her in a tail spin - this something is spoilerie so lets keep it vague!  With the help of her sister, she finds a job that just may get her out of the funk.  At the same time, her sister is pregnant with baby #2 and their parents have been galavanting around the world.  And there are two other best friends who's love lives take center stage.  

I love the job that took Kate out of the funk!  She became the head of admissions at a private high school and she is out of her league!  With her job, she interviews possible students and their parents and makes suggestions on whether to admit them or not.  Not only does this book have typical chapters, within the chapters are fun emails, notes and interview logs - I love a book that seems like it has extras to add to the story. 

What I thought would completely center around Kate and her climb from grace, really centered around the group of friends and their post college years and how friends have to morph from college friends to post college friends.  I liked that it was a lot about Kate but more than just her.  I would love another book, a companion perhaps that centers around another in this group of gals.  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2016 Challenge: 37 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Atria.  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, December 22, 2016

The Silent Children
by Amna K Boheim

Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Pages: 
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Vienna, 1938: Something's amiss at the home of young Annabel Albrecht. First, her favourite maid Eva disappears, then her friend Oskar. Worse is to come – her brother is murdered and her mother is taken away, leaving Annabel to fend for herself. 

Almost 70 years later, Annabel's son Max uncovers his mother's long-buried past, and unlocks the secrets preserved by Annabel's missing friends. But as Max is to discover, some children can never be completely silenced. Is he haunted by ghosts or by guilt, and will he ever escape?



Kritters Thoughts:  I wanted so much more from this book.  With a small vague synopsis, I was excited to accept this book for review - it sounded like just the right perfect of creepy for a winter night, but there were just some things that didn't work for me.  

This may be a spoiler, but I must say this to give my dislikedness some context, so stop now if you want to remain unspoiled.  

OK - there are ghosts in this one and like weird take over your body kind of ghosts and those kind of ghosts aren't my thing.  I have read books with spirits and ghosts and even recently and the way they were done just worked so well, but this one the puzzle pieces didn't match up for me.  The only thing I can say is, maybe if this had been a Halloween read for me I could have liked it a bit more, but I am not sure that I would be even open to trying another from this author.  

I also thought there was a lot going on in this plot and at times a little too much.  There were hints at World War II, but it didn't feel fleshed out.  There were major plot points with Max's ancestors - those I liked, but it just felt like the author was trying to tackle a bit too much in one book.

You will see my shoe rating below, I use this one very rarely, it is only reserved for ones that I just couldn't find a good light at the end of the tunnel.  I hope by telling you what I didn't love about the book could either keep you from it or even sell you on it.  I try to be honest and kind in all my reviews.  


Rating:  not such a good read 
       (only use this shoe rating about 2 or 3 times a year)


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.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Marlene
by C.W. Gortner

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

Goodreads:  Raised in genteel poverty after the first World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When a budding career as a violinist is cut short, the willful teenager vows to become a singer, trading her family’s proper, middle class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Weimar Berlin’s cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, seductive silk cocktail dresses, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses, and becomes entangled in a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention. 

For the beautiful, desirous Lili Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood can cure her wanderlust. As Hitler and the Nazis rise to power, she sets sail for America. Rivaling the success of another European import, Greta Garbo, Marlene quickly becomes one of Hollywood’s leading ladies, starring with legends such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. Desperate for her return, Hitler tries to lure her with dazzling promises. Marlene instead chooses to become an American citizen, and after her new nation is forced into World War II, tours with the USO, performing for thousands of Allied troops in Europe and Africa. 

But one day she will return to Germany. Escorted by General George Patton himself, Marlene is heartbroken by the war’s devastation and the evil legacy of the Third Reich that has transformed her homeland and the family she loved. 



Kritters Thoughts:  My second C.W. Gortner epic read and I am officially a fan!  

This one centers around Marlene Dietrich who had such an epic life.  From living in Germany and working in theater there to moving to Hollywood and living the ultimate Hollywood life and even to the USO tour and seeing the front lines of a war that involved her home country, she had an extraordinary life.  

Before reading this book, I knew very little of Marlene Dietrich, if anything!  Before this book, I read her book on Chanel and I knew much more about her.  I actually liked going into this book blind, it was fun to read a story and just enjoy it for the mix of fiction and non fiction that it was.  

The one thing that I can spotlight that I thoroughly enjoyed was reading a book about World War II through a German's eyes that was removed from it by living in the states and hearing her disgust with the people of Germany who didn't try to stop the horrific things that were happening.  I loved that she tried to do all that she could to make the situation better and her response when she returned to Berlin was so interesting.  

I will definitely be moving slowly but surely through the backlist, although most of what is left are Tudors and Queens, so slowly but surely I will read them all!


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, December 19, 2016

Days Like These
by Sue Margolis

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

Goodreads:  Recently widowed, Judy Schofield jumps at the chance to look after her two grandchildren for six weeks, while their parents are out of the country. After all, she’s already raised one set of children—and quite successfully, if she may say so herself. But all it takes is a few days of private school functions, helicopter parents, video games, and never-ending Frozen sing-a-longs for Judy to feel she’s in over her head.
 
As weeks become months, Judy feels more and more like an outsider among all the young mothers with their parenting theories du jour, especially when she gets on the wrong side of the school’s snooty alpha mom. But finding a friend in another grandmother—and a man who takes her mind off all the stress—almost make it worthwhile. She just needs to take it one food allergy, one incomprehensible homework assignment, and one major meltdown at a time...



Kritters Thoughts:  Judy has recently lost her husband and her daughter has come to her needing to go away for her job and needs childcare for a bit.  Judy is up to the task to fill her home with some noise and her life with some new things.

I am not a mom and don't always love the crazy mommy books, but this one seemed different seeing it through the eyes of a grandparent.  I loved hearing how disciplining as a grandparent is completely different than a parent.  

I also loved reading about how much not only did Judy give to her grandchildren but at the end of their time together how much they added to her life.  I would almost say that it was a good distraction that also allowed Judy to start moving forward after a hard loss in her life.

I really enjoyed this one.  I would definitely pass this book onto mothers and grandmothers, maybe to read together!  


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

Ebook 2016 Challenge: 35 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley.  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, December 18, 2016

With a crazy week to get ready for the holidays and a weekend getaway to NYC, not a lot of reading occurred, but my favorite reading week of the year is coming up - the one between Christmas and New Years!

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Say Goodbye For Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde
When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
Marlene by C.W. Gortner

Currently Reading:
The Silent Children by Amna K Boheim

Next on the TBR pile:
Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

Friday, December 16, 2016

When All the Girls Have Gone
by Jayne Anne Krentz

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Charlotte Sawyer is unable to contact her step-sister, Jocelyn, to tell her that one her closest friends was found dead, she discovers that Jocelyn has vanished.

Beautiful, brilliant—and reckless—Jocelyn has gone off the grid before, but never like this. In a desperate effort to find her, Charlotte joins forces with Max Cutler, a struggling PI who recently moved to Seattle after his previous career as a criminal profiler went down in flames—literally. Burned out, divorced and almost broke, Max needs the job.

After surviving a near-fatal attack, Charlotte and Max turn to Jocelyn’s closest friends, women in a Seattle-based online investment club, for answers. But what they find is chilling…

When her uneasy alliance with Max turns into a full-blown affair, Charlotte has no choice but to trust him with her life. For the shadows of Jocelyn’s past are threatening to consume her—and anyone else who gets in their way...


Kritters Thoughts:  What a mystery!  I loved the mix of elements from the past and things happening in current day and the two things coming together to create this major mystery.  Charlotte and Jocelyn are step sisters and they are all each other have after their parents died, but secrets come out that make them realize that maybe they weren't leaning on each other as much as they should have.  

I loved the ins and outs and ups and downs of this book.  Just as I thought that I knew where it was headed the book took a 180 turn and each time I loved it!  Sometimes I don't love books that take a lot of turns, but I enjoyed the windy curvy road of this one!  

This was a perfect book to read in the middle of the crazy holidays because it was so hard to put it down!  I loved that each time the book took a turn I couldn't put it down because I wanted to try to predict the next turn.  

This is only my second Jayne Ann Krentz book, have you read any of hers?  Where should I go next?


Rating:  absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2016 Challenge: 36 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley.  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, December 15, 2016

The Expatriates
by Janice YK Lee

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 352
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Now, in her long-awaited new novel, Lee explores with devastating poignancy the emotions, identities, and relationships of three very different American women living in the same small expat community in Hong Kong. 

Mercy, a young Korean American and recent Columbia graduate, is adrift, undone by a terrible incident in her recent past. Hilary, a wealthy housewife, is haunted by her struggle to have a child, something she believes could save her foundering marriage. Meanwhile, Margaret, once a happily married mother of three, questions her maternal identity in the wake of a shattering loss. As each woman struggles with her own demons, their lives collide in ways that have irreversible consequences for them all. 

Kritters Thoughts:  I always love a story with multiple characters and stories and even better when those stories intertwine!  From the beginning there are two main characters - Mercy who is Korean American and living in Hong Kong kind of a little lost and trying to find a path; the other main character is Margaret and she is in the middle of housewife life and trying to keep her family afloat in an interesting country.  

I loved from the beginning the reader knew that these two would be connected, but just didn't know how.  BUT we learn early enough on and the suspense is perfectly timed.  About a third of the way in another character is added and for some reason I thought her story would be even more woven into the other two that it was - no spoilers just saying.  I wanted Hilary's story to be even more connected and I had a thought, but can't divulge it would spoil the heck out of things!

I was most excited to read this book to read the different stories of people living in a country not of their own.  I have had a friend who lived in London for a bit and one in Germany and always thought it would be a fun adventure and/or departure from life in the States.  

I liked this book, it wasn't a love, but it was a solidly good read.  I loved reading a book not set in a typical place that I read, but had typical characters that I could easily enjoy.


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 Viking/Penguin.  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, December 13, 2016

Say Goodbye For Now
by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 366
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.
When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.
With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.

Kritters Thoughts:  Catherine Ryan Hyde has become my go to for just sweetly perfect stories.  I have read four of her books and they are all unique, but the same.  They have fantastic characters that draw you in from the very first page and you want to root for them and their story.  

In this story, Dr. Lucy has moved to a small town and has isolated herself.  She has surrounded herself with animals and outcasts, until a boy ends up on her front porch with a dog that needs care.  She decides to take him and the dog in and her world is turned upside down.  

I can not glow enough about this book.  The story switches from Dr. Lucy's point of view to Pete's and the chapters are easily labeled and the story seamlessly switches back and forth and moves along.  I loved how each character played off the other, it felt so natural.  

There is some currentness to this book as we are dealing with racial issues in the United States.  It was interesting to read how the world was in 1952 and compare how far we have come and still the issues we deal with now.  

Have you read Catherine Ryan Hyde?  I don't know I can name a favorite, but can you? 


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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


Monday, December 12, 2016

The Dollhouse
by Fiona Davis

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

Goodreads:  Fiona Davis's stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City's glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon's glitzy past.
 
When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren't: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn't belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she's introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that's used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.
 
Over half a century later, the Barbizon's gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby's involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman's rent-controlled apartment. It's a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby's upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose's obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.


Kritters Thoughts:  A book with two stories going on at the same time - my jam!  One storyline is 2016 and Rose, a journalist, is living in the Barbizon building and after a series of events she finds herself completely interested in the women who lived in this building when it was a hotel just for women.  The other storyline is 1952 and Darby, a young woman who moved from Ohio to the Barbizon hotel is trying to make it in NYC.

I love a book that has two storylines going on at once and I love it even more when the reader knows from the beginning where they intersect!  The reader knows where Rose starts and Darby begins but also where they absolutely overlap.  There are definitely some daddy issues in both stories, but nothing that doesn't seem honest and real.  I also loved that although Rose and Darby had some relationship issues, this book was more than I need to find a man, but more I need to find my calling and maybe a man can be on the side!  

I am putting this book on a shelf with all of my other NYC historical fiction favorites.  I was worried that when I started it, it would be just another NYC historical fiction read, but this one had a little more because it made me look up the Barbizon and learn about a building and its culture that I was completely unaware of.  

At just under 300 pages, this one was the perfect day of reading!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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, December 11, 2016

Another crazy week leading up to the holidays, but some quiet moments this weekend turned into two books read!


A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your First by Sunil Yapa
The Expatriates by Janice YK Lee
The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Currently Reading:
Say Goodbye For Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Next on the TBR pile:
When all the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
Related Posts with Thumbnails
 

Copyright 2010 Kritters Ramblings.

Theme by WordpressCenter.com.
Blogger Template by Beta Templates.