Monday, November 18, 2019

November Road
by Lou Berney

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: HarperCollins

Goodreads:  Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out.

A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn—he knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead, and Guidry suspects he’s next: he was in Dallas on an errand for the boss less than two weeks before the president was shot. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas, to see an old associate—a dangerous man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish.

Guidry knows that the first rule of running is "don’t stop," but when he sees a beautiful housewife on the side of the road with a broken-down car, two little daughters and a dog in the back seat, he sees the perfect disguise to cover his tracks from the hit men on his tail. Posing as an insurance man, Guidry offers to help Charlotte reach her destination, California. If she accompanies him to Vegas, he can help her get a new car.

For her, it’s more than a car— it’s an escape. She’s on the run too, from a stifling existence in small-town Oklahoma and a kindly husband who’s a hopeless drunk.

It’s an American story: two strangers meet to share the open road west, a dream, a hope—and find each other on the way.

Charlotte sees that he’s strong and kind; Guidry discovers that she’s smart and funny. He learns that’s she determined to give herself and her kids a new life; she can’t know that he’s desperate to leave his old one behind.

Another rule—fugitives shouldn’t fall in love, especially with each other. A road isn’t just a road, it’s a trail, and Guidry’s ruthless and relentless hunters are closing in on him. But now Guidry doesn’t want to just survive, he wants to really live, maybe for the first time.

Everyone’s expendable, or they should be, but now Guidry just can’t throw away the woman he’s come to love.

And it might get them both killed.



Kritters Thoughts: This book was on my to do list and in my pursuit of a historical fiction book not set during World War II for a book club I host, this one came up.  Without reading too much into the book, I thought it was deep into the conspiracy of JFK's assassination and I am here to say no, it is in the outer works of it, but not as close as I would have liked!

If you are a fan of road trip books, then this one is right up your alley.  A road trip set in 1963 which gives it some interesting color without cell phones and google searches made the book more entertaining than if it occurred this November.  I liked the road trip married with the mafia hunting down one of the road trippers making it a fun pursuit across the country.  The cat and mouse kept me on my edge of my toes and reading where I read this book in just two sittings.

The characters in this book were just great to follow on this journey.  I am so glad that I cared deeply for all of them because that made the story that much better.  I was rooting for Charlotte and her two girls to find happiness however that ended up - with Frank or without.  Knowing the moment in time and how big this was for Charlotte to make such a bold move that defies her husband's wishes, just made me fist pumping for her!

I wish the book had a much closer connection to the assassination, but having it in the backdrop at least set it in a grounded sense of time.  I would suggest this book to a reader who may avoid historical fiction, but like the road trip book.


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


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


Sunday, November 17, 2019

With Christmas books on the agenda, the reading time has been nice to get me into the holiday season.

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Christmas From the Heart by Sheila Roberts
A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
Tis the Season by Robyn Carr
The Rancher's Christmas Song by Robyn Carr
November Road by Lou Berney

Currently Reading:
One Day in December by Josie Silver

Next on the TBR pile:
The Christmas Wedding Ring by Susan Mallery

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Great Pretender
by Susannah Cahalan

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  For centuries, doctors have struggled to define mental illness-how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, how do you even know what it is? In search of an answer, in the 1970s a Stanford psychologist named David Rosenhan and seven other people -- sane, normal, well-adjusted members of society -- went undercover into asylums around America to test the legitimacy of psychiatry's labels. Forced to remain inside until they'd "proven" themselves sane, all eight emerged with alarming diagnoses and even more troubling stories of their treatment. Rosenhan's watershed study broke open the field of psychiatry, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever.

But, as Cahalan's explosive new research shows, very little in this saga is exactly as it seems. What really happened behind those closed asylum doors, and what does it mean for our understanding of mental illness today?



Kritters Thoughts:  The second book written by Susannah Cahalan and I was such a fan girl after the first that I was first in line at BookExpo to get a signed copy of this one!

This book is different from the first, but seems like a cousin and a perfect pairing.  After Susannah went through her episode and diagnosis that was expertly laid out in her first book Brain on Fire, she took this deep dive into psychiatry and thus this book was born.  Cahalan does a ton of research on a big name in psychiatry - David Rosenhan and his study that he did sending in "sane" people into an asylum to test doctors and nurses and the system.

What a journey this book was.  I am a novice when it comes to psychiatry and its checkered past, so this book was almost part textbook while I learned the ups and downs of institutions and diagnosing of patients.  At first I was hopeful that we had come a long way, but in the end I realized that as a society we are more accepting of mental illness as a true illness, but we haven't come close to making sure that our drugs and therapies are really helping patients.  

While I don't have anyone real close who has been impacted by mental illness, I found this book to be so fascinating and heartbreaking all at the same time.  I hope that Cahalan can write another book that takes us forward in this field and provides hope that we are treating patients as they need to be.  

This was another fantastic book by this author and I maintain my fan girl status!  


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 BookExpo.  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 12, 2019

A Year and Six Seconds
by Isabel Gillies

Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 256
Format: audiobook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  "A Year and Six Seconds" is the true story of "New York Times"-bestselling memoirist Gillies's vibrant yet bumbling efforts to pick herself up after her husband leaves her for another woman--and then of how she stumbles upon true love.


Kritters Thoughts:  Isabel Gillies has lived a life and she has written a few books to tell stories.  In this book she takes the reader through her separation, divorce and a big move for her and her two young boys to New York City to her parents' apartment.  There were moments were this book was hard to read because this is a hard moment in her life, but it was easy to read because the reader knows that she will end up in a good place.   

It was so interesting to hear her journey and one woman's experience through divorce and having two young kids to bring on that journey.  To get a real personal inside look into how all of the life changes happening at once and how she responds to it was really interesting to read.   

I listened to this story/her story and although it isn't narrated by the author I stuck with it and enjoyed it.  This is the type of story that I enjoy most on audio, so I am glad that I read it in this way.  I want to read more books like this in this way!  


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 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.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Ask Again, Yes
by Mary Beth Keane

Publisher: Scribner
Pages: 390
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne—sets the stage for the explosive events to come.


Kritters Thoughts:  When I went into this book, I was ready and prepared for a great novel about the affects of the police career on family and friends.  I was excited about the notion of this book as I was hoping for a book that would hit close to home that I could relate to.  This book was less about that and more about the families at the heart of the drama.  With forgiveness, hope and second chances, this book was quite the roller coaster of a ride.

Peter and Kate are two kids who from the beginning were doomed.  With parents with conflicting issues, they should have been pulled apart, but from the beginning they kept finding themselves in each other's lives.  The reader goes on quite the journey with these two and it was enjoyable to read their ups and downs.  

After reading this book, I went to a book club to discuss it and it was a great chat.  The first thing we debated which I didn't even think about was - "who is the villain?"  There were a few in this book and it was interesting to see where we all came from and who we thought was the victim and the villain.  

If you like to read those books that center around family drama, then this should be the next one you pick up.  This one walked the close line about having just the right amount of drama, it wasn't soap opera level - but close!


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 BookExpo.  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 10, 2019

With a few short and sweet Christmas books on the to do list, the reading this week was great!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Christmas in Vermont by Anita Hughes
The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street by Karen White
Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle
A Year and Six Seconds by Isabel Gillies
Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai

Currently Reading:
Christmas from the Heart by Sheila Roberts

Next on the TBR pile:
A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

Thursday, November 7, 2019

An Equal Justice
by Chad Zunker

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages: 217
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Inside a prestigious law firm, a rookie lawyer is pulled into a dark maze of lies and violence.
An ambitious Stanford graduate, David Adams has begun a fast-track career at Austin’s most prestigious law firm. It’s a personal victory for the rising superstar—a satisfying reversal from his impoverished and despairing childhood. Now he has the life he’s always wanted: an extravagant salary, a high-rise condo, a luxury SUV, and no limit to how far he can go in the eyes of the top partners.
But after the shocking suicide of a fellow associate—one who, in his final hours, offered David an ominous warning—he feels the pull of powerful forces behind the corporation’s enviable trappings. The suicide leads unexpectedly to David’s discovery of a secret enclave of the city’s homeless, where he can’t help but feel an affinity to these outcast souls. Nor can he ignore the feeling that they hold the key to the truth behind a dark conspiracy.
When one of his new street friends is murdered, David’s clear doubts about his employer start shifting into a dark reality. Now torn between two worlds, David must surrender all that he’s achieved to fight for a larger cause of justice—and become his firm’s most dangerous acquisition.

Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a series that centers around a rookie lawyer who moves to the big city of Austin and enters the workforce in a large competitive law firm and in his first week, another lawyer is found dead supposedly from suicide and before dying he gives David Adams some crazy advice.  David gets swept into a mystery and must use his new law school skills to investigate and get to the bottom of something.

With the first three chapters giving the reader glimpses, it takes a few chapters to get your bearings and understand who is what and how they could all be connected.  As a reader of the mystery/thriller genre, I have come to realize that when I find out the ending and I feel as though I got it too soon, I am disappointed and that happened in this book.  I could predict the ending early and I was bummed about it!  

Even though I knew the ending pretty early, I still enjoyed the book and mostly because I thought it felt it was unique.  The way the characters were linked was interesting and made for a good story.  I appreciated that you could see where David's unique past connected him to the mystery in this book, those where great moments.  

I would be intrigued to try book two in this series and see if there is some maturing from book one to the next and to see if the mystery has a little more hidden within it.   


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 48 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.

 

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