Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Runaway Midwife
by Patricia Harman

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

Goodreads:  Say “goodbye” to your old life, and “hello” to the life you’ve been waiting for…

Midwife Clara Perry is accustomed to comforting her pregnant patients…calming fathers-to-be as they anxiously await the birth of their children…ensuring the babies she delivers come safely into the world.

But when Clara’s life takes a nosedive, she realizes she hasn’t been tending to her own needs and does something drastic: she runs away and starts over again in a place where no one knows her or the mess she’s left behind in West Virginia. Heading to Sea Gull Island—a tiny, remote Canadian island—Clara is ready for anything. Well, almost. She left her passport back home, and the only way she can enter Canada is by hitching a ride on a snowmobile and illegally crossing the border.

Deciding to reinvent herself, Clara takes a new identity—Sara Livingston, a writer seeking solitude. But there’s no avoiding the outside world. The residents are friendly, and draw “Sara” into their lives and confidences. She volunteers at the local medical clinic, using her midwifery skills, and forms a tentative relationship with a local police officer.

But what will happen if she lets down her guard and reveals the real reason why she left her old life? One lesson soon becomes clear: no matter how far you run, you can never really hide from your past.


Kritters Thoughts:  A midwife is present at the highest of highs and potentially the lowest of lows - although medicine and technology have advanced the birth process, there are still times when things can go south and midwives are there through it all.  Clara Perry experiences a few lows and decides to run from them all.  She does things she never imagined she would and finds herself on a remote island in Canada trying to start over.

I was already a fan of Patricia Harman before this book and was excited to see something new come from her.  I love that she stays in her wheelhouse of midwifery and wraps a story around a woman who needs to push the reset button.  I loved Clara Perry.  I loved that she was honest that she couldn't believe she was doing what she was doing but doing it because she had to.  I loved the townspeople on the island and how they interacted with this newcomer - it felt real and genuine and I loved it.

This book seals my love for Patricia Harman and I will continue to anticipate what she writes 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 HarperCollins.  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, January 30, 2017

The Fire by Night
by Teresa Messineo

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: HarperCollins

Goodreads:  In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.

Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.


Kritters Thoughts:  There are many books about World War II so it takes a bit for a book to be unique and interesting and to set itself apart from the pack - this one did.  With two storylines that center around woman working in the war as nurses in two different places at the same time.  Jo gets stranded in a medical tent with 6 (I think) wounded and must really make do to survive.  Kay becomes a POW in a Japanese camp and must not only live the life of a POW but also still serve as a nurse - her story was harder to read.

Jo was my favorite storyline to read, it was so interesting to have her working but without an easy access to supplies.  I loved seeing her fight for her patients and it could have been its own book.  Kay's story was hard as I said earlier.  The POW conditions partnered with her still trying to work as a nurse were just hard, but necessary.  I am glad her story wasn't the whole book and I don't know that I physically could have handled it, but partnered with Jo's I enjoyed.  

I do wish there was more at the end, don't want to spoil, but I could have enjoyed a little more after the war ends.  Going to keep that thought short and simple!

I enjoyed this debut and will add this author to my ones to watch list.


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, January 26, 2017

Her Every Fear
by Peter Swanson

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 352
Format: book
Buy the Book: HarperCollins

Goodreads:  The danger isn’t all in your head . . . 

Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

But soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves . . . until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment—and accidentally learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? And what about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself . . . So how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?

Yet the danger Kate imagines isn’t nearly as twisted and deadly as what’s about to happen. When her every fear becomes very real.

And much, much closer than she thinks. 


Kritters Thoughts:  Kate thinks she is doing an easy apartment swap with her cousin and from day one she is thrown into an experience that is something that she is trying to escape.  She had a tragic experience a few years prior to this book and something happens and the post traumatic feelings are returning, but in this instance she decides to fight back and not be the victim.

This was quite the creepy book and although I predicted who the culprit was, it was still interesting.  The creep factor helped me be okay that I knew who dun it and guessed the ending.  If you have read this genre for a bit, you would probably guess it also, but you can still enjoy the journey.

What I loved about this book was Kate.  She was the perfect combination of vulnerable and strong.  She was still overcoming this tragedy but was definitely wanting to find strength.  I loved how the author wrote her, she was just perfectly right.  

This was my first Peter Swanson read and after finishing I looked and saw her had two previous, I am definitely intrigued to read the other two now, want to see if I can keep predicting his outcomes.


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

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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Wicked City
by Beatriz Williams

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

Goodreads:  When she discovers her husband cheating, Ella Hawthorne impulsively moves out of their SoHo loft and into a small apartment in an old Greenwich Village building. Her surprisingly attractive new neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement at night. Tenants have reported strange noises after midnight—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the place hid a speakeasy.

In 1924, Geneva "Gin" Kelly, a smart-mouthed flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin becomes entangled with Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers.

Headstrong and independent, Gin is no weak-kneed fool. So how can she be falling in love with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent when she’s got Princeton boy Billy Marshall, the dashing son of society doyenne Theresa Marshall, begging to make an honest woman of her? While anything goes in the Roaring Twenties, Gin’s adventures will shake proper Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead—secrets that will echo from Park Avenue to the hollers of her Southern hometown.

As Ella discovers more about the basement speakeasy, she becomes inspired by the spirit of her exuberant predecessor, and decides to live with abandon in the wicked city too. . . .


Kritters Thoughts:  Two storylines going at once and the reader knows from the beginning that these stories will connect.  Ella must move out of her loft with her husband and into a small apartment in NYC, she is dealing with a big change in life.  In a story set in 1924, Gin Kelly has left Maryland for NYC and is caught in the underground world during prohibition and her past in Maryland doesn't seem so far away.

I love Beatriz Williams and am absolutely a fan, but this one wasn't my favorite.  Mainly I didn't completely love it because I wanted more from the current storyline.  I would say 80% of the book was from the 1924 storyline and although I loved that storyline, I wanted both more of the current one and I wanted it to weave and intersect a little more than it did.  

I have a few of Beatriz Williams backlist and although this book didn't quite do it for me, I am still excited to get caught up on her books and 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, January 23, 2017

Pretty Little World
by Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 307
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  On a cozy street in Philadelphia, three neighboring families have become the best of friends. They can’t imagine life without one another—until one family outgrows their tiny row house. In a bid to stay together, a crazy idea is born: What if they tear down the walls between their homes and live together under one roof? And so an experiment begins.

Celia and Mark now have the space they need. But is this really what Celia’s increasingly distant husband wants? Stephanie embraces the idea of one big, happy family, but has she considered how it may exacerbate the stark differences between her and her husband, Chris? While Hope always wanted a larger family with Leo, will caring for all the children really satisfy that need?

Behind closed doors, they strive to preserve the closeness they treasure. But when boundaries are blurred, they are forced to question their choices…and reimagine the true meaning of family.


Kritters Thoughts:  Three married couples living side by side in Philadelphia decide to take some walls down and combine forces to live in a commune like way.  Upon reading the synopsis, I was completely intrigued and excited to read and review the book.  I knew that I would enjoy seeing if the author could convince me that this could work between three married couples.  Let me say that yes, I was convinced that combining some part of a living situation and splitting adult responsibilities could be interesting and work, but there were other things I had difficulties with in this book.

The biggest thing that really frustrated me in this book was that I didn't feel like the adults were adulting very well.  They all had different issues they were dealing with and that was fine with me, but the way they handled themselves was just ridiculous and made me feel like they were young adults trying to be adults.  I kept getting frustrated with the things they were doing, the decisions they were making and how they were treating each other - grow up.  

Because of the above, it left a bad taste in my mouth and although I loved the whole concept of communal living and each adult taking on what their are passionate about in the home, the way they were out annoyed the enjoyment of the concept.  

I wouldn't be opposed to read another book by these authors, but I would be a little cautious.  


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

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

Sunday, January 22, 2017

It was an awesome week and weekend of reading.  It has been such a good first month of the year.


A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Runaway Midwife by Patricia Harman
The Odds of You and Me by Cecilia Galante
The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo
Always a Bridesmaid by Jane Sullivan, Isable Sharpe and Julie Kistler

Currently Reading:
On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Next on the TBR pile:
Little Sacrifices by Jamie Scott

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Echo of Twilight
by Judith Kinghorn

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  As I watched him—his long legs striding the narrow path through the heather, his golden hair catching the sun—I had a hideous feeling in the pit of my stomach. For it seemed as though he was already marching away from me.
 
In 1914, despite the clouds of war threatening Europe, Pearl Gibson’s future is bright. She has secured a position as a lady’s maid to a wealthy Northumberland aristocrat, a job that will win her not only respect but an opportunity to travel and live in luxury. Her new life at Lady Ottoline Campbell’s Scottish summer estate is a whirlwind of intrigue and glamour, scandals and confidences—and surprisingly, a strange but intimate friendship with her employer. 
 
But when violence erupts in Europe, Pearl and Ottoline’s world is irrevocably changed. As the men in their lives are called to the front lines, leaving them behind to anxiously brace for bad news, Pearl realizes she must share one final secret with her mistress—a secret that will bind them together forever...



Kritters Thoughts:  First let me say, I read a lot of historical fiction and it is probably my most read genre, so suffice it to say I can be a little critical of my reads in the genre, so let me say I loved this one.  What an interesting way to experience the effects of war without too much real battling in the book.  I loved reading through the eyes of a woman who has had to fight each step of the way for the things that she has and takes a job not knowing how much it would impact the rest of her life.  

Pearl Gibson is an orphan from the moment she was born, but due to the open heart of a great Aunt she is raised beyond what she could have imagined and her Aunt instilled in her a sense of drive to better her life from how it began.  From the moment she entered Ottoline's home I was glued to my seat to read how this relationship would work and where it would go.  I was surprised where it went and loved it!

I am thankful for the liberties I have being a lady in the modern world, but I can't help to enjoy how living as a woman at a different time would be so limiting and hard.  At the end of this book, I wanted a sequel so I could continue down Pearl's path and maybe even see where her offspring end up.  

This was my second Judith Kinghorn read and she has two more in the backlist that I will have to pick up soon.  


Rating:  absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook Challenge 2017: 1 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, January 19, 2017

Lift And Separate
by Marilyn Simon Rothstein

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 296
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Marcy Hammer’s life has been turned upside down. Her husband, the head of a global brassiere empire, didn’t think twice about leaving her after thirty-three years of marriage for a 32DD lingerie model. Now Harvey the Home-Wrecker is missing in action, but Marcy’s through thinking about what a cliché he is. What she needs now is a party-size bag of potato chips, a good support system, and a new dress.

Striking out on her own is difficult at first, but Marcy manages to find traces of humor in her heartbreak. Even while devastated by Harvey’s departure, she still has her indomitable spirit and her self-respect. She has no intention of falling apart, either, even when her adult children drop a few bombshells of their own and she discovers a secret about her new, once-in-a-lifetime friend. Life may be full of setbacks, but by lifting herself up by her own lacy straps, Marcy just may be able to handle them all.


Kritters Thoughts:  If ever there was a book to make a cheating husband make me lough out loud this was it!  Marcy Hammer has been mostly happily married for 33 years and somewhat out of the blue her husband decides to leave the home citing stress and maybe a mistress!  

Let me first say I don't tend to read books with characters that are a generation before me - I just can't relate and usually can't connect with the character and the things they are experiencing, so I avoid.  I chose to review this one because I was intrigued by the synopsis and of course the cover!  I am so glad I did!  I was laughing out loud and even interrupted my mom reading a few times to share the funny quips by the author - I loved her outlook and hope that I can look at life the way she does.  She reminded me that even a stressful time in life you can find laughter.  

This is a great debut and I will anxiously await her next one!

Rating: perfect beach read (although it isn't beach weather right now!)

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, January 17, 2017

Sisters One, Two Three
by Nancy Star

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 342
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  After a tragic accident on Martha’s Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.

When a whispered comment overheard by her rebellious teenage daughter forces Ginger to reveal a long-held family secret, the Tangles’ carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. Upon the death of Glory, the family’s colorful matriarch, and the return of long-estranged Callie, Ginger resolves to return to Martha’s Vineyard and piece together what really happened on that calamitous day when a shadow fell over four sun-kissed siblings playing at the shore. Along with Ginger’s newfound understanding come the keys to reconciliation: with her mother, with her sisters, and with her daughter.

At turns heartbreaking, humorous, and hopeful, Sisters One, Two, Three explores not only the consequences of secrets—even secrets kept out of love—but also the courage it takes to speak the truth, to forgive, and to let go.



Kritters Thoughts:  An accident during vacation rips this family apart and an interesting happenstance may bring them back together.  I was surprised quite a few times in this book and loved each time that I was surprised!  

I don't know how to describe this interesting family drama without giving the major plot points away.  I will say that it was so unique and different that I read this book in two sittings in 12 hours.  I didn't want each chapter to end and wanted to know more and more about this bruised and battered family.  

I will divulge that a child dies during a family vacation and the way in which it happens was so different than anything I had ever read.  Not that I like reading about child tragedies, this one was so interesting and then the family's response after was heartbreaking and just a good read.  

This is my first Nancy Star read and her other women's fiction read Carpool Diem sounds like a great light read.  I would definitely recommend this one to a reader who likes their women's fiction to be deep and have weight to them.


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, January 15, 2017

Forgot to post this last night, it was a good reading week, but a crazy weekend - kitchen renovation that won't end!



A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Echo of Twilight by Judith Kinghorn
Pretty Little World by Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino
Dear Jack by Steena Holmes

Currently Reading:
Lift And Separate by Marilyn Simon Rothstein

Next on the TBR pile:
The Runaway Midwife by Patricia Harman

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Guests on South Battery
by Karen White

Publisher: Berkley NAL
Pages: 352
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  With her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than a year are about to invade her life once more. 
 
But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell hers as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission. 
 
Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street. 
 
Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried....



Kritters Thoughts:  The latest in this series centered around Melanie Middleton a realtor who has some hidden talents.  She is now juggling being a mom, her job, a wife, home owner - to a testie house and helping others.  Although this book wasn't my favorite of the series, I would say it is probably two or three.  

This one is high on the list because I love how it incorporates Melanie's family and really centers around her.  There were almost two separate mysteries in this one and it was interesting watching Melanie along with her mom solve them both.  

As I have said before I love Melanie as a character, I think I see myself in her a lot and reading it is just entertaining!  I just want to meet her and become friends with her!

My question after reading this book, is there room for more Melanie Middleton?  I could say yes, but not sure how much more.  

Rating:  absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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, January 12, 2017

Return to Tradd Street
by Karen White

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

Goodreads:  Melanie is only going through the motions of living since refusing Jack’s marriage proposal. She misses him desperately, but her broken heart is the least of her problems. Despite an insistence that she can raise their child alone, Melanie is completely unprepared for motherhood, and she struggles to complete renovations on her house on Tradd Street before the baby arrives.

When Melanie is roused one night by the sound of a ghostly infant crying, she chooses to ignore it. She simply does not have the energy to deal with one more crisis. That is, until the remains of a newborn buried in an old christening gown are found hidden in the foundation of her house.

As the hauntings on Tradd Street slowly become more violent, Melanie decides to find out what caused the baby’s untimely death, uncovering the love, loss, and betrayal that color the house’s history—and threaten her claim of ownership. But can she seek Jack’s help without risking her heart? For in revealing the secrets of the past, Melanie also awakens the malevolent presence that has tried to keep the truth hidden for decades.…


Kritters Thoughts:  As the title of this installment suggests, this book is a return to Melanie and her story.  This book centers around the house she lives in and although she may have taken care of a ghost or two in her home, there are more than perk up and need her help.  

This is repeating myself, but let me say again, start this series at the first book and if you take some time in between each book, the first few chapters help you remember the high points and get you back on track in this series.  

As I am a fan of the main character Melanie, maybe because I see a lot of myself in her, I liked that this book centered around her and the home she has come to know and love.  I loved that although she had helped some ghosts there were still more that were tied to this home that needed her.  It was interesting to read more about Nevin's former generations and how there are more than one secret in each family!  

Tomorrow is a review for the latest that just released, I enjoyed getting to read this series back to back and start my new year with this series.  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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

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