Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Appeal
by Janice Hallett

Publisher: Atria
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The Fairway Players, a local theatre group, is in the midst of rehearsals for an Arthur Miller play, when tragedy strikes the family of director Martin Haywood and his wife Helen, the play’s star. Their young granddaughter has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and with an experimental treatment costing a tremendous sum, their fellow castmates rally to raise the money to give her a chance at survival.

But not everybody is convinced of the experimental treatment’s efficacy—nor of the good intentions of those involved. New actress Sam, a former NGO worker, raises doubts. But are her suspicions justified? Or does she have a history with the doctor involved? As tension grows within the community, things come to a shocking head the night of the dress rehearsal. The next day, a dead body is found, and soon, an arrest is made. In the run-up to the trial, two young lawyers sift through the material—emails, messages, letters—with a growing suspicion that a killer may still be on the loose.


Kritters Thoughts:  A book presented through emails, news articles, text messages and the tiniest of narrative, this was my first read of 2022 and I had no idea it was not your basic novel before i opened the book.  

For me the format of emails and text messages can work, but I typically feel as though I am missing parts of the puzzle, especially if you aren't getting all of the emails from the characters.  So while the plot was interesting and the characters were a hoot, I couldn't get connected to the story in general because I felt as though I was always missing a side of the story while only getting emails from a few of the characters' points of view.  

The thing I liked and made me glad I read it was how the story concluded.  I loved how the author used these two exterior characters to investigate and come to a conclusion and how the author presented it all.  It worked for me.  

I would read another book by this author, but maybe not in this format.  



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


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

Sunday, January 23, 2022

With a dental procedure that made me slow down and curl up with some books, this was a great reading week!


A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Cherish Farrah by Bethany C Morrow 
The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird
Clean Air by Sarah Blake
Love & Saffron by Kim Fay
The White Rose Network by Ellie Midwood
The Future of the Office by Peter Cappelli

Currently Reading:
Now I Found You by Mila Oliver

Next on the TBR pile:
If She Wakes by Erik Therme

Friday, January 21, 2022

A Secret at Tansy Falls
by Cate Woods

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 222
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:   Connie knows she’s been lucky in life. She lives in a place that makes her soul sing—a beautiful red clapboard farmhouse among the daisy-strewn hills of Tansy Falls—with her soulmate Nate, her husband of twenty years.

But while she can still feel the sunshine on her face, there’s a heaviness in her heart that she can’t shake. The laughter and the lingering kisses are beginning to disappear. Ever since Nate lost his job, the man she thought she knew inside out has changed.

Connie knows this happens in long marriages. When Nate forgets her birthday, she’s determined to enjoy her day regardless. But as she blows out the candles on her lemon sponge cake, surrounded by her girlfriends, a stranger arrives and reveals a shocking truth about her husband. Nate is the man Connie has always loved but in just one evening her life changes beyond all recognition.

As Connie looks at the home she loves, and the husband she has known forever sitting beneath the cottonwood tree, she knows that starting over will be the hardest thing she has ever done. But if she doesn’t, will she ever find the woman she is meant to be?


Kritters Thoughts:  Connie is in the beginning of the empty nesting phase and with her husband recently unemployed, she is barely holding it together when a lodger makes her question it all.  

I am not sure I read the synopsis of this one closely because I as a reader tend to avoid the is he cheating books.  I just don't love to read that kind of a story and tend to avoid them.  So for Connie to question her relationship throughout the book, I just don't love reading that and don't love that kind of anticipation waiting to see the conclusion.  

As far as the characters.  I loved Connie when she was at work.  I loved the small town and her working at the inn and the characters that she interacted with there, so I slowly read those pages and skipped over the is he cheating parts!  

I would read more from this author if the characters are put into a different plot.  

Just as a warning, I didn't know this before starting this book, but it is book two in a series and there were a few moments while reading where I could tell that I had missed a previous book that had plot points that I would have liked before reading this one.  While I know in romance series, the romance is self contained, I tend to be a purist and like to start at square one, so go read that one before this one!


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

Ebook 2022 Challenge: 2 out of 100

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


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

How to Love Your Neighbor
by Sophie Sullivan

Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he's found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door--the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.


Kritters Thoughts:  Grace Travis is finally ready to move into the home that her grandparents left her and to start building a life on her own.  She was recently living and helping an older gentleman in the neighborhood and she is ready.  From the beginning, her neighbor, Noah Jansen, has expressed interest in buying her home to expand his own home/yard.  From the beginning, they start off on the wrong foot, but can they work together to help each other out?

Enemies to lovers isn't my favorite of the genres within romance and while this one wasn't too far into the horrible enemies territory, it got a little catty and I was glad when they started working together.  Because of their animosity it took me a long time to connect with the characters and care about the journey they were going to go on.  And for me, that is the moral of a story of a romance book, so I didn't love this one as much as I love some of the other romance books that I read in 2021.  

The characters themselves were great and the plot was good.  I liked that they ended up working together and the project led them to fall in love and that felt super natural.  

I did like the writing and would absolutely try another from this author.  I would like to read her previous book and look out for what may come next.    


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


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, January 16, 2022

Another busy week, but some quality weekend reading time!


A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Lobotomist's Wife by Samantha Greene Woodruff
Am I Allergic to Men? by Kristen Bailey

Currently Reading:
Cherish Farrah by Bethany C Morrow

Next on the TBR pile:
Clean Air by Sarah Blake
The German Wife
by Debbie Rix

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 399
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Germany, 1939: Annaliese is a doctor’s wife, living in an elegant grey stone house with ivy creeping over the balcony. But when her husband is ordered to work at the Dachau labour camp, her ordinary life is turned upside down by the horrors of war. And Annaliese finds herself in grave danger when she dares to fight for love and freedom…

America, 1989:
 Turning the pages of the newspaper, Annaliese gasps when she recognizes the face of a man she thought she’d never see again. It makes her heart skip a beat as a rush of wartime memories come back to her. As she reads on, she realizes the past is catching up with her. She must confront a decades-old secret – or risk losing everything…

Germany, 1942: Annaliese’s marriage is beginning to crumble. Her husband, Hans, has grown cold and secretive since starting his new job as a doctor at Dachau. When a tall, handsome Russian prisoner named Alexander is sent from the camp to work in their garden, lonely Annaliese finds herself drawn to him as they tend to the plants together. In snatched moments and broken whispers, Alexander tells her the truth about the shocking conditions at the camp. Horrified, Annaliese vows to do everything she can to save him.

But as they grow closer, their feelings for each other put them both in terrible danger. And when Annaliese falls pregnant she has to make an impossible decision between protecting herself and saving the love of her life…


Kritters Thoughts:  The book starts with Annaliese as an older woman with her adult son confronting her about his father and wanting the truth; immediately after, the book goes back in time and stays there until the very end.  Annaliese lived in Germany when a few encounters with a man, Hans will change her life forever.  

Annaliese marries Hans who becomes a doctor who works at Dachau.  While I do believe he went there thinking that he would be doing good work, it quickly changed and I do believe that he didn't think he could get out of the Nazi hold.  After finishing the book, I read a few other reviews just to see other's thoughts and a few said they couldn't believe how naive Annaliese was and I can see that.  There has been many accounts that the German people weren't fully aware and in that time where news wasn't on tv twenty-four hours a day, I can believe that Annaliese didn't know what all was happening at her husband's work.  

The author did such an amazing job of writing a World War II book where some of the atrocities were included, but it wasn't overwhelming.  I knew that there were experiments done on those being held in these camps, but to see them through the eyes of a doctor who had a little bit of a moral compass was interesting to read.  

This was my first Debbie Rix book, but will not be my last.   


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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 159 out of 100

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

Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Paris Bookseller
by Kerri Maher

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When bookish young American Sylvia Beach opens Shakespeare and Company on a quiet street in Paris in 1919, she has no idea that she and her new bookstore will change the course of literature itself.

Shakespeare and Company is more than a bookstore and lending library: Many of the prominent writers of the Lost Generation, like Ernest Hemingway, consider it a second home. It's where some of the most important literary friendships of the twentieth century are forged--none more so than the one between Irish writer James Joyce and Sylvia herself. When Joyce's controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Beach takes a massive risk and publishes it under the auspices of Shakespeare and Company.

But the success and notoriety of publishing the most infamous and influential book of the century comes with steep costs. The future of her beloved store itself is threatened when Ulysses' success brings other publishers to woo Joyce away. Her most cherished relationships are put to the test as Paris is plunged deeper into the Depression and many expatriate friends return to America. As she faces painful personal and financial crises, Sylvia--a woman who has made it her mission to honor the life-changing impact of books--must decide what Shakespeare and Company truly means to her.


Kritters Thoughts:  A piece of fiction that goes behind the scenes of the bookstore, lending library and publishing company that became famous of its own right as a destination for readers and writers - Shakespeare and Company.  Sylvia Beach was an American living in Paris and found her calling in opening an English speaking bookstore where writers can take refuge and maybe even get a little inspiration.  

I peaked at the author's note before I started reading and knew that the author tried to keep the book close to fact and with that it is hard to review a bit.  Sylvia Beach was an interesting character to follow and I was glad to have the context of the gay community at the time in Paris because I had no idea how accepted it was compared to the US.  It was fun to read about the community that surrounded this bookstore and I loved the casual name drops of authors who became famous and reading about them before their names were recognizable!

I liked this book, but didn't love it.  I am not sure exactly what it is, but maybe I had a big expectation of what I wanted from this book, but it was good not great.  I would love to read another story about this bookstore from the perspective of one of the authors who found a welcoming space in this store from the time where they were writing a book near the store.  


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

Ebook 2022 Challenge: 1 out of 100

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


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Sorority Murder
by Allison Brennan

Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Lucas Vega is obsessed with the death of Candace Swain, who left a sorority party one night and never came back. Her body was found after two weeks, but the case has grown cold. Three years later while interning at the medical examiner's, Lucas discovers new information, but the police are not interested.

Lucas knows he has several credible pieces of the puzzle. He just isn't sure how they fit together. So he creates a podcast to revisit Candace's last hours. Then he encourages listeners to crowdsource what they remember and invites guest lecturer Regan Merritt, a former US marshal, to come on and share her expertise.

New tips come in that convince Lucas and Regan they are onto something. Then shockingly one of the podcast callers turns up dead. Another hints at Candace's secret life, a much darker picture than Lucas imagined--and one that implicates other sorority sisters. Regan uses her own resources to bolster their theory and learns that Lucas is hiding his own secret. The pressure is on to solve the murder, but first Lucas must come clean about his real motives in pursuing this podcast--before the killer silences him forever.


Kritters Thoughts:  Lucas Vega is starting a podcast for his senior thesis and the reason for his podcast is to dive into a cold case from the university of a senior sorority girl who went missing for over a week and then her body was found.  And Lucas hopes that a podcast will jolt someone's memory and some clues can come out and the mystery of her disappearance and murder can be solved.  

Early on in the book, Lucas is paired with a retired US marshal, Regan, and I was glad that he had a professional by his side during the investigation, I think it helped with the clue gathering and processing.  I love when the person investigating is a novice, but I definitely liked that he had a professional by his side when this case went crazy.  I also loved Regan as a character on her own.  She had a past that she was dealing with and her own secrets and issues.  

The other thing that I loved about this book was the setting.  I love a book that takes place on a college campus and while I wasn't a part of greek life, I still love to read a book that takes place in a sorority or fraternity.  I liked that while there were current college students in this book there were plenty of characters that were no longer in college and I think it elevated the story.  

I have read many of Allison Brennan books, both stand alones and series and she is so good with characters and plot.  She creates characters that a reader can follow almost anywhere and then she creates a plot and crafts scenes that make you want to keep reading and reading until the mystery is solved!  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 158 out of 100

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

 

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