Monday, February 27, 2017

I See You
by Clare Mackintosh

Publisher: Berkley NAL
Pages: 372
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you're going.

You're not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .


Kritters Thoughts:  This book is not my first rodeo with Clare Mackintosh and most certainly will not be the last, but maybe the next time I read her, I will not be home alone!

I See You takes the reader underground where women are being stalked and all sorts of outcomes are happening.  Two have been murdered, but some are just getting the creeps, on one such metro ride, Zoe Walker sees her own face on an advertisement and she pushes the police to figure out what is going on. 

From the beginning, I knew this book was one of those that you can't put down.  From chapter to chapter, I needed to know who the stalker was and how they found out so much information!  The way Clare writes just keeps a reader reading page to page!

I am putting Clare Mackintosh in my top for mystery/thrillers and she is definitely an auto buy from now on.  I was surprised when I went to look her up and she only has two books and I have read and loved them both.  Keep writing Clare!


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

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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A very hard work week at work and the next few months could be hard also, so the reading could be sad for a bit!
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Currently Reading:
Windy City Blues by Renee Rosen

Next on the TBR pile:
In Farleigh Field by Rhys Brown

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir
by Jennifer Ryan

Publisher: Crown Publishing
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  "Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!" 

As England enters World War II's dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to shutter the church's choir in the absence of men and instead 'carry on singing'. Resurrecting themselves as "The Chilbury Ladies' Choir", the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives. 


Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit -- a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn't understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past -- we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir's collective voice reverberates in her individual life. 

Kritters Thoughts:  A book told through letters, journal entries and so on was such a new inventive way to approach the subject of World War II and set in a small town that is on the outskirts, but close enough to have fear of the impending doom.

I would say it was hard to keep all the ladies straight from the Chilbury Ladies' Choir and make sure I could remember who was who and what was what.  It may have been harder given the style of the book, but in the same moment I loved how it was written.  I read this one slower because I took a minute at the beginning of each chapter to remember who was talking and where they were coming from.  I loved that the characters varied in age and station in life so you saw the full view of the village.  

I have read numerous books on World War II, too many to count at this point, so to have a fresh take is actually kind of hard!  I am not a big cryer with books, but this one definitely had my heart strings pulled because I just was so invested in the characters and how they were going to survive.  

Again another great debut and excited to see what Jennifer Ryan has up next.


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.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters
by Amy Rivers

Publisher: 235
Pages: Wooden Pants Publishing
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A year after she is elected mayor of a prosperous Colorado city, Gwen's career and life are fully on track, all according to plan. So why is she in such a slump emotionally and physically? New conflicts keep boiling over in city government, and her earlier allies no longer support her. She and her boyfriend have an ideal relationship, which she finds inexplicably dissatisfying. Without telling her, he decides to take a new job that has him traveling out of state every week. Suddenly unexpected developments turn everything topsy-turvy, and Gwen is forced to re-examine her carefully-planned life.


Kritters Thoughts:  Book two in a series and sometimes I say you can skip around in a series and start on book two or twenty-two, but in this instance, I say start at the beginning, so if you haven't read book one - Wallflower Blooming then stop reading and go start there!

Gwen is one of the youngest mayors in the United States and after a contentious election season, she is hoping to move into easier waters, but sometimes the drama doesn't end once an election ends.  Not only does Gwen have professional drama in this book, her personal life also takes a few tumbles.

I read a lot of books in a year and sometimes I wonder how the characters get by without professional careers - not so in this one.  I love that Gwen had to go to work everyday and her professional life and personal life influenced each other - it made Gwen more real and even more loveable in my mind.

There were a few moments when this book may have dragged a little, but in the end I love this series and am ready for book three.


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, February 21, 2017

The Dressmaker's Dowry
by Meredith Jaeger

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  An exquisite ring, passed down through generations, connects two women who learn that love is a choice, and forgiveness is the key to freedom...

San Francisco: 1876

Immigrant dressmakers Hannelore Schaeffer and Margaret O'Brien struggle to provide food for their siblings, while mending delicate clothing for the city's most affluent ladies. When wealthy Lucas Havensworth enters the shop, Hanna's future is altered forever. With Margaret's encouragement and the power of a borrowed green dress, Hanna dares to see herself as worthy of him. Then Margaret disappears, and Hanna turns to Lucas. Braving the gritty streets of the Barbary Coast and daring to enter the mansions of Nob Hill, Hanna stumbles upon Margaret’s fate, forcing her to make a devastating decision...one that will echo through the generations.

San Francisco: Present Day

In her elegant Marina apartment overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, Sarah Havensworth struggles to complete the novel she quit her job for. Afraid to tell her husband of her writer’s block, Sarah is also hiding a darker secret—one that has haunted her for 14 years. Then a news headline from 1876 sparks inspiration: Missing Dressmakers Believed to be Murdered. Compelled to discover what happened to Hannelore and Margaret, Sarah returns to her roots as a journalist. Will her beautiful heirloom engagement ring uncover a connection to Hanna Schaeffer?


Kritters Thoughts:  One of my favorite sub genres is a dual narrative with one being present tense and one being historical - so this book started right in my wheelhouse.  I love when the reader knows how these two stories will intertwine from the beginning with still a few surprises held to the end.  

Sometimes in these books I tend to love and enjoy one storyline over the other and favor one, but not so in this one.  I honestly loved each storyline equally and wasn't trying to skip one over the other!  Sarah Havensworth has married "above her station" and into a family of prestige and wealth.  Hannaelore Schaeffer is barely making ends meet for her family and may find herself in the presence of people above her station and they will forever change her life.

One thing that stood out for me was reading about the different walks of life in New York City in 1876.  I loved reading a historical fiction storyline that didn't revolve itself around a war, but more about how life was like at the time.

The one way that I could knock this book is that maybe the similarities between the storylines was a little overt and obvious.  The reader was almost hit over the head with how obvious the historical storyline and characters were to the present day.  I wouldn't have minded a little more subtlety!  

I loved this debut book and am adding Meredith Jaeger to my must watch author list, hoping that she comes out with more and more just like this.  


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, February 20, 2017

Breaking and Holding
by Judy Fogarty

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 358
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  For Patricia Curren, the summer of 1978 begins with a devastating discovery: an unfamiliar black pearl button in the bed she shares with her controlling husband, Jack. Seeking the courage to end her desolate marriage, Patricia spends a quiet summer alone on beautiful Kiawah Island. But when she meets Terry Sloan, a collegiate tennis player trying to go pro, their physical attraction sparks a slow burn toward obsession.

Once Patricia and Terry share closely guarded secrets from their pasts, they want more than a summer together. But their love soon fractures, as a potential sponsor takes an unusually keen interest in Terry—both on court and off. And when single, career-driven Lynn Hewitt arrives, other secrets must surface, including the one Patricia has kept from Terry all summer.

Kritters Thoughts:  Patricia Curren had a hard childhood and Jack Curren came to her rescue and now has become a controlling husband.  She decides to stay the summer in their vacation home and this summer may send her life in a new direction.

From the beginning this book just read a little off.  I couldn't connect with Patricia and just didn't care to take this journey with her.  I almost wish I had learned more of her childhood and why she is who she is earlier because I maybe would have cared more about her from then.  

The parts of this book I enjoyed reading was Terry and his tennis time.  I don't know a lot about tennis, so I liked reading about his journey trying to get into the professional tennis world.  Terry was probably the one character that I could get into and really wanted to see where he would end up.

Although this book didn't hit the mark for me, I would still be interested in reading her next book - pending the synopsis.  


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.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Thanks to the quietest weekend in awhile, I got a ton of reading done!
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
This is Not Over by Holly Brown
Abby's Journey by Steena Holmes
Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
Plan Cee by Hilary Grossman
The Dressmaker's Dowry by Meredith Jaeger
Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters by Amy Rivers

Currently Reading:
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

Next on the TBR pile:
I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Friday, February 17, 2017

Plan Cee
 by Hilary Grossman

Pages: 244
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Would you abandon your present for a second chance at your past?

Cecelia Reynolds has spent most of her life trying to forget the commitment-phobic man who broke her heart. It wasn’t easy, but eventually she did it, or so she thought…

As Cecelia and her husband gather for a friend’s wedding, her perfect world is thrown into complete turmoil. Even though it’s been twenty years since she last laid eyes on Keith Emerson, all it takes is one glance for her to feel emotions she thought were long gone. When Keith ends up officiating the ceremony, she quickly realizes his message of love is directed at her, not the happy couple. But can she believe him?

We live our entire lives thinking we know ourselves. But do we ever really?

As secrets and lies cause Cecelia’s world to spin completely out of control, she is forced to seek advice from the most unlikely ally. In the process, she must confront the demons of her past and the events that shaped her into the woman she is now. Will she finally learn the real meaning of love, friendship, and family?


Kritters Thoughts:  The second in a series, but this is one of those series where the second book centers around a different character than book one, so yes a series, but two separate works that are linked.  I loved book one, so check out Plan Bea.

Plan Cee centers around Cecelia who had a hard childhood and still bears the pain from those years.  She runs into a past boyfriend and he turns her world upside down and she must confront those demons of the past so she can actually move forward.  

Because I loved the first book so much, I may not have read the synopsis before reading this one and had I known I am not sure I would have read it.  I personally don't love hard marriage books.  Call me naive, but I like to skip this sub genre and keep it out of my reading pile.  I have a great marriage and have never experienced a wayward spouse, but these books just don't sit right with me and I don't tend to enjoy them.  

I liked how the series moved to different characters and tackled a different kind of relationship, the mother daughter in the first book and a marriage in this one, but maybe not the way I would have loved it.  I would still read book three and like Hilary Grossman's writing, but had I known I might would have skipped this one for the next one.  


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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 5 out of 50

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Abby's Journey
by Steena Holmes

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 238
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Twenty-year-old Abigail Turner has only known her mother, Claire—who died shortly after she was born—through letters, videos, postcards, and journals. Abby’s father, Josh, has raised his precious daughter himself, but his overprotectiveness has become stifling. Abby longs to forge out on her own and see the world after a childhood trapped indoors: she suffers from bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which means a case of the sniffles can rapidly escalate into life-threatening pneumonia.
But when Abby’s doctor declares her healthy—for now—her grandmother Millie whisks her away to Europe to visit the Christmas markets that her mother cherished and chronicled in her travel journals. Despite her father’s objections, Abby and Millie embark on a journey of discovery in which Abby will learn secrets that force her to reevaluate her image of her mother and come to a more mature understanding of a parent-child bond that transcends death.

Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the series and it is imperative that you start at square one, so if you haven't read the first book, stop now go read and then come back.  I will ultimately spoil something for you.  

Ok.  First let me say I completely adored the first book.  I am pretty sure it was one of those books that made me cry OUT loud which rarely happens.  So this second book had a lot to live up to which may have been a little impossible!  

I adored that we got to read where Abby went and what became of her after the first book.  I like that it recapped the years that we missed and jumped to the perfect spot to tell a full story.  I have to say that it didn't make me feel all the feels like the first one, but it doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it.  

I am a hardcore Steena Holmes fan and this book lived up to the rest of her bookshelf.  it was heartbreaking to read about what Abby's mom dreamed of her life and then to know what may have fell short, I was absolutely rooting for Abby to find a happiness in the small things.  

A great book and I would encourage all of those who read book one to continue, its so worth the read.


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



Ebook 2017 Challenge: 4 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.


Friday, February 10, 2017

This is Not Over
by Holly Brown

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  You’ll have your deposit within seven business days, just like it says on Getaway.com. I’ve put through a refund to your credit card for the full amount, minus $200 to replace the sheets. I couldn’t get the stain out despite professional laundering and bleaching. . .
Miranda

All Dawn wanted was to stay in a beautiful beach house with her husband, to live like money’s no object, for just one long weekend. Then Miranda, the home’s owner, has to send an e-mail like this, full of lies and the suggestion that Dawn’s so dirty, she needs to throw out her sheets. Someone needs to teach Miranda a lesson.

Beware of your "host"
I wouldn’t leave a review on Getaway.com at all, if I didn’t feel it was my civic duty to warn others . . .
Dawn


Miranda cannot believe her eyes. Yes, she may be a doctor’s wife, but she needs the rental money from the beach house desperately. Someone needs to teach this Dawn a lesson.

Two very different women with one thing in common: Each one knows she’s right, and each is determined to win this battle of words and wills and (eventually) worse. Neither will yield, not before they’ve dredged up hidden secrets, old hurts, and painful truths that threaten to shatter the foundations of their lives.

Because it’s never really just about the sheets, is it?

This is not over.

This is so not over.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  Two women, one owns a home and rents it out like AirBnB and the other woman is the one who rented it - a dispute happens and it spirals from there.  Both women get a chance to tell their side of the story in alternating chapters and I would say the moral of the story is, you just don't know what is going on in another person's life.

Miranda is a doctor's wife and being seen as the perfect doctor's wife and family means everything to her, even enough to lie to everyone close to her to keep it up.  Dawn is hiding a hurtful past from those closest to her and maybe isn't her true self even in her own home.  They end up meeting and interacting and eventually combusting!

Let me first say, that this book was just ok in my mind.  Both characters were fine and even the set up of the dispute over a deposit to a home rental was fine, but the story just kept spiraling and eventually went to crazy town and I couldn't follow.  Every chapter I kept thinking well it can't get crazier than this, but it did!  For this, I didn't love it, I wish it hadn't gone to crazytown and she tamed it up a little bit.  

I have read one other of Holly Brown's and I kind of sat on the fence with that book too.  I can't say that I hated either, but both were just ok in my book.  I have one more in her backlist that I am still intrigued to read from the synopsis, but I will definitely going in with some reservation.

Have you read this one?  Did you enjoy the crazy?


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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Get Red PR.  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, February 9, 2017

Right Behind You
by Lisa Gardner

Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Is he a hero?

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Is he a killer?

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun. 

All she knows for sure: He’s back.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.


Kritters Thoughts:  To start, this is the 7th in a series and I started this series with this book, so I don't know the history of Quincy and Rainie, but as far as I know, this was a fine way to start.  I was clueless about their history throughout the read, but I did know I was jumping into this series midway and as most detective thriller series you can jump in and out because the who dun it is self contained, but the reader could miss some backstory of the detectives that won't affect the who dun it but affects the story.

Ok, after saying all that.  Specifically about this book.  I loved it.  This may sound weird and creepy but I love a detective mystery thriller when you get to see through the eyes of the killer from the beginning and hear his side of the story, not to sympathize just to learn the view point.  

I thought this story seemed unique.  With siblings separated and both in the foster care system and how a tragedy can affect siblings completely differently and one may go one way and the other could go another way.  

I definitely fell in love with Quincy and Rainie and may be spoiled with starting at book 7, but I am still intrigued to start at book one and recap their stories and see how they twist and turn.  Has anyone read a previous book from this series do you like Quincy and Rainie?


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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 3 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.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Odds of You and Me
by Cecilia Galante

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

Goodreads:  Thirteen days. That’s all Bernadette, “Bird,” Sincavage has left to go until she’s done with her probation and can be free again. Free from making payments to the supermarket she wrote bad checks to. Free from living at home with her overzealous mother who’s constantly nagging her about attending church again. Free to give her four-year-old son, Angus, the normal life he deserves. Her impending freedom and move to Moon Lake, where she’s plunked down a deposit on a brand new apartment, is so close she can almost taste it. What trouble could she possibly get into in just 13 days?

But trouble does follow in the form of James Rittenhouse—someone she worked with a few years ago. At first, Bird is stunned to see James make the evening news when he’s arrested for assaulting someone in a local bar. But that’s nothing compared to the shock she gets when she discovers James hiding out in an abandoned church choir loft. Somehow he escaped police custody, broke his leg, and got his hand on a gun, which he’s now pointing at her.

Although Bird doesn’t tell anyone she saw James, there’s no way she’s helping him. She can’t screw up her probation or her second chance for a new future. And she has her son’s welfare to think about. Still. If only she could stop thinking about the terrified look in James’ eyes and the fact that he’s hurt. If only she could forget that once, long ago, James helped her out, and she owes him a debt like no other. 

Will Bird jeopardize her future for someone who helped her out in the past? A past that holds secrets she’s not quite sure she’s ready to face? Or will she turn a blind eye and learn to live with the consequences?


Kritters Thoughts:  Bird Sincavage has spent the last year or year and a half (can't remember) trying to get back into a good space in her life, she moved her and her son back in with her mother and has been literally working hard.  Someone from the past will come back into her life and send her in a tailspin just before her probation is up.

This was one of those books where I may have talked OUT loud to the character and encouraging her to stop what she is doing and concentrate on the finish line!  I loved that Bird was a great character and full and the reader really knows her, but the secondary characters were just as full.  I fell in love with her son and although there were moments where maybe he acted above his age, I still loved him and he was a constant reminder that Bird was making major decisions each day.

A good simple book with a simple plot line that was just the right quick easy read.  


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.

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