Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Giver of Stars
by Jojo Moyes

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.
The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky.
What happens to them—and to the men they love—becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. Though they face all kinds of dangers, they’re committed to their job—bringing books to people who have never had any, sharing the gift of learning that will change their lives.


Kritters Thoughts:  In a small town in Kentucky, five women decide to make a change in their community by encouraging reading and bringing books to their remote neighbors via horseback.  These women come from different backgrounds and together they can make a big change in educating those who are from from society, both literally and figuratively.

Alice Wright is the main character of this book and she has just made a big move from England to small town Kentucky for marriage and a new life.  With life isn't as she expected, joining the packhorse library ladies gives her a new pep in her step and a reason to stay in this foreign land.  

The other character that meant a lot to me was Sophia.  I was glad of the inclusion of this person of color and felt that it could probably be close to historically accurate with her staying behind in the library in the evenings to set things straight for the next day.  

I always love a historical fiction book that seems close to history with a bit of fiction sprinkled in and loved the sense of small town feel woven throughout the book.  There were just a few moments where the book's pacing seemed to slow down and I thought it could have been tightened up, but overall this was a great read and always nice to learn something new.  


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


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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Lost Brothers
by Jack El-Hai

Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Press
Pages: 112
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  On a cold November afternoon in 1951, three young boys went out to play in Farview Park in north Minneapolis. The Klein brothers—Kenneth Jr., 8; David, 6; and Danny, 4—never came home. When two caps turned up on the ice of the Mississippi River, investigators concluded that the boys had drowned and closed the case. The boys’ parents were unconvinced, hoping against hope that their sons would still be found. Sixty long years would pass before two sheriff’s deputies, with new information in hand and the FBI on board, could convince the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to reopen the case.

This is the story of that decades-long ordeal, one of the oldest known active missing-child investigations, told by a writer whose own research for an article in 1998 sparked new interest in the boys’ disappearance. Beginning in 2012, when deputies Jessica Miller and Lance Salls took up the Kleins’ cause, author Jack El-Hai returns to the mountain of clues amassed through the years, then follows the trail traced over time by the boys’ indefatigable parents, right back to those critical moments in 1951. Told in brisk, longform journalism style, The Lost Brothers captures the Kleins’ initial terror and confusion but also the unstinting effort, with its underlying faith, that carried them from psychics to reporters to private investigators and TV producers—and ultimately produced results that cast doubt on the drowning verdict and even suggested possible suspects in the boys’ abduction. An intimate portrait of a parent’s worst nightmare and its terrible toll on a family, the book is also a genuine mystery, spinning out suspense at every missed turn or potential lead, along with its hope for resolution in the end.


Kritters Thoughts:  A little book that made me think about all the true crime tv shows that I love to watch and wouldn't mind an episode or two to continue this story.  This story is completely true and because of that it makes it almost that much sadder.   

In a town in Minnesota on a November day in 1951, three boys go out to play like they typically did on any other day.  Their older brother decided to stay back on this fateful day and it would set their lives on a course that no one intended.  These three boys never came home and nothing has ever come from any investigation.  This family continued to grow, but the older brother always felt a bit different because he remembered the days where the boys were in their lives.  

This book was so heartbreaking.  Each time I reminded myself that this was true I was so beyond sad for this family and those affected by this story.  I couldn't imagine in one afternoon losing not just one child, but three and to die not knowing anything at all or having anyone take responsibility would have broken my heart.  This was a little book, but so worth every page.

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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 40 out of 100


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, October 14, 2019

What I Lick Before Your Face
by Jamie Coleman

Publisher: Atria
Pages: 128
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  From the perks of face licking to considering what constitutes a good boy, these charming and laugh-out-loud funny haikus take us into the minds of our beloved pets. Capturing the quirky personalities of our dogs and their unique bond with us and illustrated throughout with adorable color photographs of dogs of all shapes and sizes, What I Lick Before Your Face is a fun and loving celebration of the canine spirit.


Kritters Thoughts:  The sweetest little book of haikus centered around everyday life with or as a dog!  From their thoughts to the things that dog owners love about having dogs, these poems were just spot on.  I laughed out loud a few times and maybe even teared up as I read this at a time that I was apart from my dogs for a trip.  If you are a dog owner or just a dog lover, this book would be a sweet addition to your collection.

I read this in ebook format and am waiting for the day for it to come out to purchase a physical copy, I want these poems and photos in my library!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 38 out of 100


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.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Not as much reading time as I wanted, was watching too much playoff baseball!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron

Currently Reading:
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Next on the TBR pile:
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Sweet Jiminy
by Kristin Gore

Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 240
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, Jiminy Davis abruptly quits law school and flees Chicago for her grandmother Willa's farm in rural Mississippi. In search of peace and quiet, Jiminy instead stumbles upon more trouble and turmoil than she could have imagined. 

She is shocked to discover that there was once another Jiminy - the daughter of her grandmother's longtime housekeeper, Lyn, who was murdered along with Lyn's husband four decades earlier in a civil rights era hate crime. With the help of Lyn's nephew, Bo, Jiminy sets out to solve the cold case, to the dismay of those who would prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.


Kritters Thoughts:  Jiminy Davis is sending herself in a new direction, but before that she goes to her grandmother's home to recenter herself.  When she returns home to find some secrets that she missed during her childhood, she decides to investigate and this small town in Mississippi may still have some issues that it was dealing with it years ago.  

I absolutely loved this book.  I love the subgenre of go home to recenter and then send your life into a new direction of women's fiction.  I love when a character goes back home and either finds out something about their family or the town or just things from the past - I always want to read more of these!  

Jiminy was a great character to follow.  She had heart and depth and just felt like someone I wanted as a friend.  I liked that she was trying to solve a mystery while also decide what is next for herself.  It wasn't all woo is me!

I want to read more from this author, this was easy to read, but wasn't fluff.  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Forgotten Bones
by Vivian Barz

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages: 298
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  An unlikely pair teams up to investigate a brutal murder in a haunting thriller that walks the line between reality and impossibility.

When small-town police officers discover the grave of a young boy, they’re quick to pin the crime on a convicted felon who lives nearby. But when it comes to murder, Officer Susan Marlan never trusts a simple explanation, so she’s just getting started.

Meanwhile, college professor Eric Evans hallucinates a young boy in overalls: a symptom of his schizophrenia—or so he thinks. But when more bodies turn up, Eric has more visions, and they mirror details of the murder case. As the investigation continues, the police stick with their original conclusion, but Susan’s instincts tell her something is off. The higher-ups keep stonewalling her, and the FBI’s closing in.

Desperate for answers, Susan goes rogue and turns to Eric for help. Together they take an unorthodox approach to the case as the evidence keeps getting stranger. With Eric’s hallucinations intensifying and the body count rising, can the pair separate truth from illusion long enough to catch a monster?
 



Kritters Thoughts:  In a prologue with an interesting car accident that unearths a skeleton starting this book began in such a sweet spot, but with chapter and chapter and page by page this book didn't live up to the beginning and I was sad with my reaction by the end.

In a small town in California, two police officers are used to responding to the random small town things when the skeleton is unearthed and a recently released predator goes missing - SHIT hits the fan!  At the same time in walks a man who just moved to town and is seeing visions and decides to see if they are related to the drama in the small town.  

I loved the premise.  I loved the plot.  But I didn't love the execution.  I read a lot of mystery thrillers so I know I am extra at looking for clues, but I felt as though I figured out the ins and outs of this one way too early and that always disappoints me.  There were moments where I honestly got frustrated that things seemed way too obvious and knew that I couldn't recommend this one to my friends and family who adore this genre.  If you are a casual mystery thriller reader this one would be great for you.

The premise with a man who just moves to town and has a disorder that makes him unreliable added to the typical small town police officer book, but it didn't work as well as I wanted it to.  I was hoping that this would bring on some creep factor, but it just fell flat for me.  

I would read this author again, but would definitely have to really review the plot and premise to make sure that I would be into those things before diving in.


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 43 out of 100


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, October 6, 2019

I am so excited my large work event is now done and in the past.  I hope my evenings and weekends can get back to being full of reading time!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Outspoken by Veronica Reuckert

Currently Reading:
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Next on the TBR pile:
Swimming for Sunlight by Allie Larkin
 

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