Thursday, November 30, 2017

Merry and Bright
by Debbie Macomber

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 247
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Merry Knight is pretty busy these days. She's taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry's well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her--minus her photo--and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects--or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

Kritters Thoughts:  Merry Knight has put others first her entire life.  With a brother with Down Syndrome and a mother battling MS and a father who traveled for his job, Merry Knight has held her family together.  Her brother and mother decide to give her a gift and sign her up for online dating and the story takes off from there!

I love that this book literally makes a nod at You've Got Mail, because it is just that with a bit of a modern twist with online dating.  It also has a sweet holiday twist which was perfect for this time of year.  It is such a sweet romance with no sexy times, just the beginnings of a romance.  Of course with most romance stories it can be predictable, but I didn't care about it AT ALL.  This book is just a sweet ride to enjoy during the holidays.  

I also loved that this book was short, it was a perfect afternoon read getting away from the bustle of the holidays.  I like when holiday books are abbreviated so you can get in and out and enjoy in one day!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2017 Challenge:  59 out of 50

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Penguin Random House.  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, November 29, 2017

Fates and Traitors
by Jennifer Chiaverini

Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 382
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  John Wilkes Booth, the mercurial son of an acclaimed British stage actor and a Covent Garden flower girl, committed one of the most notorious acts in American history—the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

The subject of more than a century of scholarship, speculation, and even obsession, Booth is often portrayed as a shadowy figure, a violent loner whose single murderous act made him the most hated man in America. Lost to history until now is the story of the four women whom he loved and who loved him in return: Mary Ann, the steadfast matriarch of the Booth family; Asia, his loyal sister and confidante; Lucy Lambert Hale, the senator’s daughter who adored Booth yet tragically misunderstood the intensity of his wrath; and Mary Surratt, the Confederate widow entrusted with the secrets of his vengeful plot. 

Kritters Thoughts:  Before reading this book I was already a Jennifer Chiaverini fan, so even though I was worried about reading a book about John Wilkes Booth.  With my niece being a huge Abraham Lincoln fan, I am fully aware of what happened to him and she sees him with rose colored glasses.  But I was intrigued to read about how John Wilkes Booth became the man he did and what drove him to do what he did.  

What makes this book completely unique is the viewpoint on this one's man life, this book is written from the viewpoints of the four women in his life.  HIs mom, his sister, his fiance and a woman who helped in the plot.  Each woman gets a chance to tell John Wilkes Booth's life through the years they had with him.  I thought this was a genius idea to show a man who many people probably hate through somewhat of a sympathetic viewpoint because all of these women loved him and supported him.  

I also liked how the book began and ended.  It started with Booth's capture and death and then straight into his mother's story as to how she fell in love with his dad and their family was started.  The book ends with the entire crew telling the happenings of the plot and how it all went down.  I liked that the entire crew was able to tell what happened during and after he did the deed.  

I will say that although it was hard to read about John Wilkes Booth, it was interesting to find out more about him.  I would love to see Chiaverini do this with another person from the past that may have a bad reputation.

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Cold Creek Christmas Story
by RaeAnne Thayne

Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 233
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Celeste Nichols has always preferred to keep to herself in her hometown of Pine Gulch, Idaho…until she becomes an instant celebrity! When one of her children's stories becomes a major success, she's suddenly the talk of the town. Celeste should be gloriously happy…but something, someone, special is still missing from her life. Could the return of her childhood crush be the answer?  

Flynn Delaney has moved back home for his daughter's sake. Yet all the millionaire's resources can't help the little girl heal from the tragic loss of her mother. Shy librarian Celeste and her stories do hold some indefinable magic, though. Flynn came home looking for support—can he find that, and true love, in the one who got away?

Kritters Thoughts:  A book in the middle of a series, but this is one of those series where you can dip in and out and each book centers around a different character in the same town.  The main characters in this book are Celeste who is from a family that has lived in Pine Gulch for a long time and there is some drama in her past, but she is trying to live a life after the past.  Flynn Delaney has come back to this small town where he summered as a kid to clean up his grandmother's home and he always has positive memories from this town and with a child who has just survived a tragedy this small town may have some healing properties for them.

I loved the main characters in this book.  An author/librarian and a father who is trying to put his daughter first where just great to read about.  Of course as a reader, a book about an author is always a good read.  I loved reading about how her books came about and then the struggle to decide the future for her books, loved it!  

Even though I was inserting myself far into the series, I didn't feel clueless.  RaeAnne Thayne gives you enough of the back story for each character in an easy way so you can just get into their story and know enough about them to enjoy it.  

As I say often romance books are typically predictable and before you even open the book you will know how it ends, but as always the ending isn't the reason for the read, its the journey of how they get there!  

After reading this one, I am not sure I would read this whole series, like I do with RaeAnne Thayne, but this could be a series where if I am drawn to the main characters I would read it then.

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge:  60 out of 50

Monday, November 27, 2017

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe
by Melissa de la Cruz

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

Kritters Thoughts:  When I was pitched this book, I was excited to read a modernized take of Pride and Prejudice.  I liked that the heart of the story was similar but with some of the things turned upside down.  

When I got into this book, I thought it was a women's fiction book with the characters being of an age where I read a lot of women's fiction I was excited, but this book just didn't hit the mark for me.  Melissa de la Cruz is a YA author and I would say that the writing for this book felt like a YA book.  If you like that sort of thing, then this book would be right on the mark for you, but for me I was ready for a fluffy adult women's fiction story.  

I wished I had read Pride and Prejudice just before this one so I could have picked out all the little details that were repeated from the original to the remake.  

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 58 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.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

With the Thanksgiving holiday, I got some extra days off and I filled them with reading!   

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Fates and Traitors by Jennifer Chiaverini
Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz
A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne
Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

Currently Reading:
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Next on the TBR pile:
Christmas, Present by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Friday, November 24, 2017

Christmas Angels
by Viola Shipman

Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Pages: 78
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Kate, a single woman in her 30s, works as a designer/decorator for a large interior landscaping company bedecking and bedazzling St. Louis for the holidays. Her work keeps her from spending the holidays with her family and masks the loneliness and pain after a nasty breakup just before Christmas.
Known as "The Christmas Angel" for providing holiday beauty to the city's offices, homes, and malls, Kate's world changes when she decorates the home of a widowed single dad. Both soon realize that life (and love) must go on somehow and that perhaps Christmas (and guardian) angels are all around, if we only choose to see them.

Kritters Thoughts:  Recently I have read a few holiday novellas and they just weren't satisfying, they felt rushed and not complete.  NOT so with this one!  This was just the right holiday novella, it had enough holiday hoopla and a full story that felt complete when the final page was flipped.  

Kate is a interior designer/decorator and she specializes in the holidays and all holidays, but Christmas is her jam.  She decks out all the spots in St Louis and while working for a law firm she is asked to decorate one of the founders/partners and something more may happen when she shows up to decorate his home.  

As it is a novella, there isn't much to say except I absolutely adored it.  It was simple and sweet and just perfect for the holiday season.  I may have read it before my Christmas tree went up, but I may have to read it again with the backdrop of my lite Christmas tree!  
At the time of writing this review, it is simply 99 cents on Amazon and a quick and easy download for a night in and a break from all the Christmas crazy!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 40 out of 50

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

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your day is full of parades, food, family and 
maybe a few quiet moments with a great book!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Little Broken Things
by Nicole Baart

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

Goodreads:  I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn's house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.

While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.

Kritters Thoughts:  Two sisters are the heart of the book and after reading the synopsis I was ready for Quinn to tell the full story, but I was so pleasantly surprised when chapters from her sister Nora and her mother Liz appeared in the book.  

A book that focuses on sisters is usually a book that will get me hooked in the beginning.  The sister relationship will always be a complicated one, two females and usually there are similarities and differences and those impact how each sister sees themselves, the other, the family, and the world.  Its hard to see the world through someone who is similar and different and grew up in the same home that you did.  I love when a book presents sisters as real - hard work and rewarding.  

After reading the book, I read reviews that said the book was predictable and I could see that.  I could have guessed some of the endings bits, but I still enjoyed the journey to get there.  Without giving away the ending, I would say that this book is a good read for the time that we are in now.  With an emphasis right now on females having strong relationships with the other females in their lives; this book reminded me that there are safety in numbers, but we have to be honest with one another.

I would gladly read another by Nicole Baart.  Her writing was interesting and had a good flow.  Her characters were easy to get to know and easy to get invested in and I wanted to know what would happen and that is an A+ in my book!

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

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Is This It Then?
by Victoria Oliver

Pages: 265
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A humiliating experience at an office party prompts married mom-of-two, Becky, to ditch the junk food and start a healthy new lifestyle, with or without the help of her apathetic family. During one of her early morning workouts Becky meets an attractive new guy in town, whose attentiveness makes her question her 15-year marriage to sports-obsessed husband, Dave. 

Seemingly unflappable businesswoman Fay is convinced that her husband, Pete, is having an affair with his leggy, blond personal assistant. Determined to find out the truth, Fay enlists the help of Becky and HR nightmare Brigitte. After several failed attempts at playing amateur detective, Fay discovers that what she thinks she knows about Pete doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of his deception. 

Oblivious to her coworkers' marital woes, lovable but self-centered Brigitte is on a two-pronged mission: to beat out her arch-nemesis Tom for a departmental promotion, and to sleep with as many men as possible. Unfortunately her inability to separate business and pleasure means that Brigitte is more likely to get an appointment at the unemployment center than a desk in a corner office. Everyone can see Brigitte's impending career spiral…except for Brigitte.

Kritters Thoughts:  Three women who all work together take turns telling their stories and they will intermingle from the beginning and twist and turn.  Becky is a married mother of two who is trying to keep her professional life and personal life running.  Brigitte is divorced and is wanting her professional life to move forward, but is enjoying the life of a single lady!  Fay knows that there is a secret in her relationship and is willing to go to an extreme to figure it out, but will she be ok with the truth.

I loved that the story bounced back and forth between the three women and they all had a little drama going on in their lives.  At the same time they could each give the other some perspective on what was going on in their lives.  If you tend to shy away from books with ladies with drama, don't fret this one wasn't over the top, each character had real issues that either you or a girlfriend of yours has and it was more or less entertaining.

I like to read these semi lighter books interspersed between my mystery/thrillers or my heavy subject matter books, it is nice to take a breath now and then.  I lived Victoria's writing and would absolutely read another one.

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 57 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.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A quieter weekend made for some good reading moments.  Next week with Thanksgiving, I should have some extra time next week too!
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Silent Fountain by Victoria Fox
Is This It Then? by Victoria Oliver
Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Currently Reading:
Fates and Traitors by Jennifer Chiaverini

Next on the TBR pile:
A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne

Friday, November 17, 2017

Halfway to Christmas
by Steena Holmes

Pages: 76
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Christmas has always been one of the busiest times of the year for the women of Halfway, Montana, and this year is no exception. 

It’s barely been a year since Nikki Landon and her son, Ryan returned to town. But a lot has happened in such a short time, and this year, with her new love by her side, the holidays are set to take on a whole new meaning. 

Despite how busy Becky Jennings and her husband Matt are running their tree farm, Christmas has always been a time for love, laughter and…baking. Now, with a baby on the way, their lives are about to change—but is all the stress starting to take its toll? 

Melissa Tait has spent the last nine years celebrating the holidays without her husband Wade. Now that he’s returned, the whole family has a lot of adjusting to do. But is it too much? 

After ten years away, Nyah Henderson has finally returned to Halfway to take over her father’s medical practice. As happy as she is to be home, small town life can be tough. Maybe the holiday season is just what she needs to find her way? 

Join the women of Halfway, Montana as they celebrate love, friendship and the benchmarks of life this holiday season while learning some hard life lessons along the way. 

Kritters Thoughts:  The third in a series and I must warn that I would start at the beginning of this series because the story completely builds from one book to the next.

There are four women that in book one returned to Halfway, Montana and in this book their lives move forward just a bit.  As I would say this is more in the novella range, it is a quick short read and I loved the holiday theme, I wish it were a little longer.  

Each woman gets a chance to tell the story from her point of view and I absolutely love a book that does that, its interesting to see other characters through a different characters point of view - did I confuse you?!  It just felt a little too short and too sweet.  

If during the holidays short and sweet works for you, I would still say you should start with book one and end here.  

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 27 out of 50

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Uterus is a Feature Not a Bug
by Sarah Lacy

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: HarperCollins

Goodreads:  Working mothers aren’t a liability. They are assets you—and every manager and executive—want in your company, in your investment portfolio, and in your corner.

There is copious academic research showing the benefits of working mothers on families and the benefits to companies who give women longer and more flexible parental leave. There are even findings that demonstrate women with multiple children actually perform better at work than those with none or one.

Yet despite this concrete proof that working mothers are a lucrative asset, they still face the "Maternal Wall"—widespread unconscious bias about their abilities, contributions, and commitment. Nearly eighty percent of women are less likely to be hired if they have children—and are half as likely to be promoted. Mothers earn an average $11,000 less in salary and are held to higher punctuality and performance standards. Forty percent of Silicon Valley women said they felt the need to speak less about their family to be taken more seriously. Many have been told that having a second child would cost them a promotion.

Fortunately, this prejudice is slowly giving way to new attitudes, thanks to more women starting their own businesses, and companies like Netflix, Facebook, Apple, and Google implementing more parent-friendly policies. But the most important barrier to change isn’t about men. Women must rethink the way they see themselves after giving birth. As entrepreneur Sarah Lacy makes clear in this cogent, persuasive analysis and clarion cry, the strongest, most lucrative, and most ambitious time of a woman’s career may easily be after she sees a plus sign on a pregnancy test.

Kritters Thoughts:  I read very little non fiction these days, so when I saw a pitch for this book, I had to read it.  Although I am working woman and not a working mom, I still thought I could get some interesting information from this read and I wasn't disappointed.

Yes, she does focus on working moms and how important it is for companies to make sure working moms feel like they have the space to take maternity leave and to come back and do both a home life and a work life.  It is on us to make sure they know they have the space to do what they need to do, but also keep expectations that they be productive in the hours they are at work.  On the flip side, as a woman who doesn't have a child at home needing my time, I would love the same respect that my home time is just as valuable for my husband and dogs and I kind of wish she had hit on that for just a moment.  I wish she had highlighted that work life balance should be an expectation for all working women - moms or not - and even set those expectations for men also.  

I loved the parts where she highlighted other countries and what they have done to achieve a little more equality and their numbers are better than ours, but they still feel the need to fight for even more equality.  It seems like this conversation will never die, but maybe it will become a little less fierce if the US can make some strides in equality.  

I would encourage people who work to read this one and really take your time with it.  It has a lot of interesting points and this may be a book that I go back to a few times to give me the fire to fight for equality and justice.  

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

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 56 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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Silent Fountain
by Victoria Fox

Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 400
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Hollywood, 1978: 

Tragedy sends troubled film star Vivien Lockhart into the arms of Giovanni Moretti--and it seems her fortunes have finally changed. Until she meets his sister and learns that her new husband's past holds dark secrets...

Tuscany, Present day: 

Lucy Whittaker needs to disappear. But her new home, the crumbling Castillo Barbarossa, is far from the secluded paradise it seemed. Strange sounds come from the attic. The owner of the house will never meet her in person.

The fountain in the courtyard is silent--but has never run dry.

Kritters Thoughts:  Two storylines going on at the same time in this book and I loved that they wind around each other the entire book and then completely combust near the end.  Viven Lockhart is in both the present and historical storylines, in the historical storyline she is a retired starlet who has taken up residence in a beautiful Italian home with her husband and his sister and its worth reading the book to find out why the sister is in residence with the couple.  In the present day, Lucy has some drama on her own so she decides to get away to this Italian home for a job and escape, but drama always finds you!

I always love a book that has two storylines, but this one felt different.  With one character in both the past and the present the stories converged early, but there were still mysteries and secrets to discover.  With each page the reader is learning more and more and finally the bomb is dropped and it spins the story around and around and I loved it!  Of course I won't spoil when and where this happens, but when it does, it is oh so good!

I would encourage readers who don't always enjoy historical fiction to try this one, the historical storyline isn't too far in the past and isn't too "historical".  The guts of the story are the relationships - sister and sister-in-law, friends, women and women, relationships are hard and difficult and it takes work to maintain them with family and friends and sometimes they hurt you and sometimes they help you, and I loved reading this book with all the different relationships it portrayed.

This was my first Victoria Fox read and after checking out her Goodreads page I need to read her backlist, has anyone read anything else by her?  Where should I go next if I loved this one? 

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

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Wife Between Us
by Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks

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

Goodreads:  When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.

You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.

You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.

You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.

You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.

Assume nothing.

Kritters Thoughts:  There are certain tropes that a reader sees over and over again.  A cheating husband, the other woman and the wife are things that can be seen in many books.  This book presents them and then flips them upside down and inside out.  What you think is the truth may change a few times in this book.  

With a ton of twists and turns and u turns and wrong turns, this book was full of it and I loved it.  When there is good writing, I love being wrong and when a book takes a twist that is from out of nowhere I get so excited about where it will possibly go!  There were a few moments in this one where I just couldn't predict where it was going and it surprised me.  

I read this book knowing I was already a fan of Sarah Pekkanen and was excited to read a book by her and with a twist of her writing with another - Greer Hendricks.  Before reading this book I knew that Greer was Sarah's editor and knowing that they had a previous writing relationship I was excited to see them team up and write something together.  

This was a great collaboration and I would love for them to do it again!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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

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