Monday, July 31, 2017

Emerald Coast
by Anita Hughes

Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Lily Bristol arrives at a luxurious resort in Sardinia for the grand opening of her newest home furnishing store on the Emerald Coast. She's a successful business woman with an international chain of stores from San Francisco to Milan. Thirty-two and newly divorced, she's ready to handle things on her own. At least until her private butler, Enzo, escorts her to a beautiful suite where she notices a suspiciously familiar pair of men's slippers and shaving kit.

Lily is horrified. Her ex-husband Oliver moved out of their restored Connecticut farmhouse six months ago, but they booked this trip when they were trying to save their marriage and never cancelled the reservation. Oliver, a food critic for the New York Times, is here covering Sardinia's hottest new restaurant. The only other available room is the adjoining suite; and worse, Oliver isn't alone. He's brought a twenty-something named Angela with him.

Lily is determined to make do and enlists Enzo to find her a suitable man. But it's not as easy to find new love as they both expected. When Lily and Oliver find themselves alone on a very important night, they turn to each other. Sparks begin to fly, but can they be together without breaking each other's hearts?

Kritters Thoughts:  Each time I go into a Anita Hughes book, I am pretty sure I am going to either love it or hate it.  Her writing varies from story to story and her characters are either really interesting and I love or I just can't handle them.  Surprisingly I am completely on the fence about this book.  The chapters flip back and forth from Lily Bristol and Oliver Bristol's point of view as they both end up on the Emerald Coast shortly after their divorce is final and they each have work reasons to be there and keep running into each other.  

Each chapter starts in the present as their time on the Emerald Coast progresses, but within each chapter they have a flashback to when they met or dated or got engaged and those flashbacks are chronological.  I liked the set up, but also found it to be a little cheesy.  It just didn't work for me how they were romancing different people and then each get a thought about their past, the concept was fine, but it just was a little too convenient.  

I didn't love or hate the main characters, they were just fine.  Neither made me want to root for them, but I didn't hate them either.  These characters just didn't grow for me, I felt as though the things that they were trying to overcome in page one was the same 

This is my first Anita Hughes book that just lands in the middle for me, it was fine, but not impressive.  I will still continue to read her books as they come out and I hope the next one has a little more than this one.

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 26 out of 50

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.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Dress in the Window
by Sofia Grant

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

Goodreads:  World War II has ended and American women are shedding their old clothes for the gorgeous new styles. Voluminous layers of taffeta and tulle, wasp waists, and beautiful color—all so welcome after years of sensible styles and strict rationing.  

Jeanne Brink and her sister Peggy both had to weather every tragedy the war had to offer—Peggy now a widowed mother, Jeanne without the fiancĂ© she’d counted on, both living with Peggy’s mother-in-law in a grim mill town.  But despite their grey pasts they long for a bright future—Jeanne by creating stunning dresses for her clients with the help of her sister Peggy’s brilliant sketches.

Together, they combine forces to create amazing fashions and a more prosperous life than they’d ever dreamed of before the war. But sisterly love can sometimes turn into sibling jealousy. Always playing second fiddle to her sister, Peggy yearns to make her own mark. But as they soon discover, the future is never without its surprises, ones that have the potential to make—or break—their dreams.

Kritters Thoughts:  A set of sisters after a few life mishaps end up living together with one mother in law and one child and with both having a passion in fashion and the war coming to a close, these sisters are going to fight to make ends meet and move their lives forward.

I loved this different take on the effects of war on Americans and what they do to survive.  With chapters alternating from different perspectives, you were able to see how a widow and a single mom and a mother of a soldier make it in the new life trying to make their own money and keep their families afloat.  It was kind of empowering to read about women who had to get out in the workforce and make something just to keep food on the tables for their families and even in that what families looked like because a lot of men didn't come home.

A historical fiction story with a sociologic viewpoint and this reader loved it.  I will always love a book that teaches me something without me even realizing it!

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.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Last Breath
by Karin Slaughter

Publisher: Witness Impulse
Pages: 176
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Protecting someone always comes at a cost.

At the age of thirteen, Charlie Quinn’s childhood came to an abrupt and devastating end. Two men, with a grudge against her lawyer father, broke into her home – and after that shocking night, Charlie's world was never the same.

Now a lawyer herself, Charlie has made it her mission to defend those with no one else to turn to. So when Flora Faulkner, a motherless teen, begs for help, Charlie is reminded of her own past, and is powerless to say no.

But honour-student Flora is in far deeper trouble than Charlie could ever have anticipated. Soon she must ask herself: How far should she go to protect her client? And can she truly believe everything she is being told?

Kritters Thoughts:  A novella that comes before the first book in a series, so a fun quick start to try to decide before you want to start the new series.  Charlie Quinn is a lawyer and the daughter of a lawyer who has seen quite a few hardships in her life, so she a big heart for people who may be in the same spot she was in.  Flora enters her life in a pivotal moment and tugs at her heart strings and she decides to help her, was it a good idea?

I loved Charlie Quinn.  I loved the quick glimpses that you get into her past and I am assuming that the first book in the series centers around her and maybe using a full novel can spend more time and more detail to tell the full story of what happened in her childhood and how her family was affected.  

I also loved Flora.  As her story is the main part of the whole novella, I can't say much without ruining the whole thing, but I liked how her story started and ended.  

After reading this novella, I will definitely have to read The Good Daughter and soon!  

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 22 out of 50

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Partner in Crime 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, July 25, 2017

The Innkeeper's Sister
by Linda Goodnight

Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Welcome to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, where Southern hospitality and sweet peach tea beckon, and where long-buried secrets lead to some startling realizations

Grayson Blake always has a purpose and never a moment to lose. He's come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger.

Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can't erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she's lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth, and hope.

Kritters Thoughts:  The third in a series and as I said before I believe that in this series you need to start at square one, so if you haven't read this series from the beginning and want to stay away from any spoilers, you may want to avoid this review.

Ok.  I am officially in love with this series and in the deepest part of my heart I want it to go on for a long time!  Each book so far has had two story lines, one in the present about an innkeeper and her occupants and her family with this one focusing on her sister and then a historical storyline that started during the Civil War and has now taken it into Emancipation time and the effects on the people of the country with this change in how things work.  

In this book in particular, I loved the relationship between the two stories and loved that they really connected, but at the same time I felt as though the historical storyline was lacking until the very end when three chapters in a row focused on that part of the story.  In the previous books the chapters and stories flowed and seemed equal, as in both previous books I loved both stories I was disappointed that the historical storyline felt a little backburner.  

What helped for me in this book was that I more than completely adored the present storyline.  We had met Valery in the previous two books, so it was so easy to sink into her story and get completely attached to her and her journey.  I loved learning more about her and even Julia the innkeeper through her sister's story.  

I hope there are more books to come, does anyone know if there is more after this?

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 25 out of 50

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

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Rain Sparrow
by Linda Goodnight

Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: 375
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Famous yet anonymous, thriller writer Hayden Winters lives a life colored by lies. Deeply ashamed of his past, his hunger for an honest relationship and dreams of starting a family remain unsatisfied, and he can trust no one with his secrets. He's determined to outrun his personal demons, but the charming old Peach Orchard Inn and a woman whose presence is as gentle as a sparrow's song stops him in his tracks. 

Carrie Riley is afraid of everything from flying to thunderstorms, and pretty much of life itself. But meeting the enigmatic writer staying at the inn emboldens her to learn everything about him. When they discover a fragile boy hiding at the inn, Hayden is honor-bound to help Carrie protect him. Soon they're led to a centuries-old mystery that haunts Hayden's sleep, and his only safe haven is Carrie. As the secrets of the past and present force their lives to become entwined, all that's left to come to light is love—if the grim truth doesn't tear them apart first.

Kritters Thoughts:  Book #2 in the series and let me say before I go any further that this is one of those series that you really should start at book 1, so be warned that the things I say may be spoilers, so only read on if you are willing to be just a little spoiled.

Just like in the first book, there are two storylines, the present day at Peach Orchard Inn and a historical storyline at the same Peach Orchard Inn.  The present day storyline focuses on a different main character from the first - Hayden is a visiting writer who decided to head to this small town in Tennessee to write his next hit.  The historical storyline picks up shortly after the first book and although focuses on a different character, this one seemed a little more cohesive to the first book compared to the present day story.  I adored that the historical storyline continued on.  I loved that it was fluid from one book to the next.  

I loved Hayden as the main character and his potential relationship with a townsperson Carrie was fun to see a new kid in town and a person from book 1.  Just like the first book, the historical storyline and present day storyline have common themes and at times it was a little cheesy how aligned they were, but it in no way ruined the book for me.  

Tomorrow I read the latest addition to this series, book 3, come back to see if I liked it as much as book 1 and 2!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 24 out of 50

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Memory House
by Linda Goodnight

Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: 384
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Memories of motherhood and marriage are fresh for Julia Presley--though tragedy took away both years ago. Finding comfort in the routine of running the Peach Orchard Inn, she lets the historic, mysterious place fill the voids of love and family. No more pleasure of a man's gentle kiss. No more joy in hearing a child call her Mommy. Life is calm, unchanging...until a stranger with a young boy and soul-deep secrets shows up in her Tennessee town and disrupts the loneliness of her world. 

Julia suspects there's more to Eli Donovan's past than his motherless son, Alex. There's a reason he's chasing redemption and bent on earning it with a new beginning in Honey Ridge. Offering the guarded man work renovating the inn, she glimpses someone who--like her--has a heart in need of restoration. But with the chance discovery of a dusty stack of love letters buried within the lining of an old trunk, the long-dead ghosts of a Civil War romance envelop Julia and Eli, connecting them to the inn's violent history and challenging them both to risk facing yesterday's darkness for a future bright with hope and healing.

Kritters Thoughts:  Set in a small town in Tennessee in the sweetest inn - the Peach Orchard Inn and the owner Julia is still trying to put her life back together after her son goes missing.  Her marriage dissolved after he went missing and she is trying to put all her effort into the inn.  An interesting character ends up on her doorstep and she takes a chance and it changes her life.

The above story is the main story, but there are some chapters interspersed that take this story to the next level.  It is a historical storyline taking place in the same inn during the Civil War and a time when the house became a hospital and the habitants must try to survive the upheaval and the war. 

I absolutely adored both stories in this book.  When there are two stories in one book, I tend to favor one over the other, but I thought both stories in this book were strong and could have lived on their own which I love.  Although at moments it was obvious that there were glaring similarities in the stories and what the characters may need to learn, I still enjoyed it.

I especially loved Julia, she was just such a fantastic character.  She was vulnerable in just the right places and strong at the right time, I could see Julia as a friend and I love when I feel that way about a character!

I knew when starting this book it was part of a series and as a rule follower, I started with this book, book #1, I will be reviewing book 2 and 3 over the next two days.  Come back to see if I liked them as much as this one!

Rating:  absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 23 out of 50

I feel like I am repeating myself, but it was another great week of reading and another weekend of pool and books!  I love reading in the summer!
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter
The Child by Fiona Barton
The Last Breath by Karin Slaughter
The Memory House by Linda Goodnight
The Rain Sparrow by Linda Goodnight
The Dress in the Window by Sofia Grant

Currently Reading:
The Innkeeper's Sister by Linda Goodnight

Next on the TBR pile:
Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Child
by Fiona Barton

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

Goodreads:  As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

Kritters Thoughts:  A infant baby is found during construction and there is more than one person who may have connections to the baby, but reporter Kate is on the case and wants to get the story before anyone else.  

I have to say that I did figure out all of the things early.  I doubted myself at a few points, but in the end I was correct and I am still not sure how I feel about how easily I came to the conclusion.  

I loved how the story was set up, there were chapters told from the reporter Kate, a young woman named Emma who lived in the neighborhood where the baby was with her mom, who also has a few chapters from her perspective and the other person who did a lot of narrating was Angela who had a baby kidnapped from the hospital.  I loved how it hopped between all of these women and the story moved forward from one story to the next and even a few times a scene was repeated from a different perspective - it was very cool how she weaved it all in and out.

I will continue to read Fiona Barton, I like the way she puts together her stories and completely adore her characters!

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 21 out of 50

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sweetbriar Cottage
by Denise Hunter

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

Kritters Thoughts:  Noah and Josephine thought that they had been divorced for a year and a half, but due to some paperwork mix up they are technically still married.  A weather event, a horse and a few mistakes send this couple out into winter cold and they must depend on each other to survive.  

There were many times in this book where I rolled my eyes as something would happen that would make their situation worse and it was just too much.  I don't want to be too specific and spoil, but there was officially a moment where I went oh really, how convenient for the story and it was too obvious.  

What I did love about the book was the glimpses into their past.  From when they met to their love story, I loved seeing those snap shots as the full story was happening - it put the bigger story into context.  

Overall this book was just ok in my opinion.  I liked the overall concept of story and mostly how it was executed, there were just a few moments where I wish the author had tried something else to get the plot to move where she wanted it to.  

I wanted to add a little side warning - Denise Hunter is a Christian fiction author and this book definitely has some Christian moments.  I read Christian fiction often and some are obviously Christian fiction with scripture and such and some are very light on it, this one had quite a few moments, so if you are not into that thing, I wanted to forewarn you.

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.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But a Pool
by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The bestselling and “perennially hilarious” mother-daughter team is back with a new collection of stories from their real lives, guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Join Lisa and Francesca as they regret drunk-shopping online, try smell-dating, and explore the freedom of a hiatus from men - a Guyatus. They offer a fresh and funny take on the triumphs and facepalm moments of modern life, showing that when it comes to navigating the crazy world we live in, you’re always your own best lifeguard 

Kritters Thoughts:  I will have to admit this early, I have yet to read one of these kinds of books by Lisa Scottoline and her daughter Francesca Serritella, even though I own almost all of them, I just hadn't read them and when I was pitched this book to review I decided I had to do it!  

In a few of the essays I will say that Lisa specifically hinted at stories from the past and as this was my first read of theirs I felt a little left out, not enough to not laugh and get the moral of the story, but just felt as though I was missing a little piece.

There were some essays or stories that literally made me laugh out loud and even to the point of laugh crying, as a dog person, I tended to absolutely adore the stories where dogs were involved.  I was also a bit partial to Francesca's stories because we are close to the same age, so I related to her stories and was saying ME TOO during a lot of her stories.

Although, I didn't read this on a beach but instead in fits and spurts and here and there, I think this would be a perfect addition to your beach bag.  The quick essays allow you to read and pay attention if you have a little one frolicking in the sand or floating in the pool.  Of course the cover is even perfect to lounge by the side of the pool with! 

After reading this one, I will definitely be picking up the other ones and quick, I want to see the stories that I was missing and get to know these two better.

Rating: perfect beach read

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.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Serenity Harbor
by RaeAnne Thayne

Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In the town of Haven Point, love can be just a wish—and one magical kiss—away…

Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he's arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there's more to sexy, wary Bo than she'd ever realized.

Bo never imagined he'd be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn't know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he's ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there's room in it for him, too…

Kritters Thoughts:  The next in the Haven Point series and with each read in this series I love it more and more.  This episode centers around Bowie Callahan who has moved to Haven Point to work for Caine Tech a company that he has worked for since its founding and he has a big reason - his half brother Milo to live there in a small quiet town.  Katrina Bailey is from a prominent family in Haven Point and has come home for a wedding, but is determined to return to Columbia.

As all romance books go, the reader is pretty sure of what the ending may look like, but the journey is still fun!  With Katrina's background as a teacher and interest in children with needs she is a perfect fit to help Bowie figure out the best care for his half brother who has come into his life.

I loved the push and pull of this relationship, it never felt fake or forced and it just worked.  I completely loved both of these characters and it was so easy to read their meeting and eventual love story.  

I read this book completely in one sitting at the pool and it was the perfect companion for the pool day.  I will definitely be continuing this series as long as it continues.

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 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.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Bookshop at Water's End
by Patti Callahan Henry

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The women who spent their childhood summers in a small southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it...

Bonny Blankenship's most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey's mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.

Kritters Thoughts:  Bonny Blankenship has a something major happen at work and it throws her life for a spin, so she decides to go back to the place where she felt the most at peace and at home - a summer beach house that her and her brother still own after their parents have passed away.  Bonny thinks that escaping here for a moment can help her find a new north and send her down a better path in life.  Her best friend will meet her there, but her best friend has some negative memories but maybe returning can help her find peace.  

I absolutely adored this story.  I loved Bonny and Lainey and their friendship felt so real and true and I loved seeing small glimpses into their first few summers together and then the full story of their adult relationship.  I also adored the small town it was such a great setting for both of them to go to to regroup and you could see that pushing the pause button in the small town was easy.  

I am embarrassed to admit that I own quite a few Patti Callahan Henry and all of them sound like they will be great reads, but this was actually my first book of hers that I completed.  I loved her writing, characters and setting, so I will be picking up her others one very soon!  

Have any of you read any of her books?  What should I read 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 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.

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