Friday, July 3, 2020

The Black Swan of Paris
by Karen Robards

Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 480
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected.

Paris, 1944

Celebrated singer Genevieve Dumont is both a star and a smokescreen. An unwilling darling of the Nazis, the chanteuse’s position of privilege allows her to go undetected as an ally to the resistance.

When her estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis, Genevieve knows it won’t be long before the Gestapo succeeds in torturing information out of Lillian that will derail the upcoming allied invasion. The resistance movement is tasked with silencing her by any means necessary—including assassination. But Genevieve refuses to let her mother become yet one more victim of the war. Reuniting with her long-lost sister, she must find a way to navigate the perilous cross-currents of Occupied France undetected—and in time to save Lillian’s life.


Kritters Thoughts:  A historical fiction book written during a time period where a lot of historical fiction takes place, but this one has the chance to stand out from the crowd as it is told through the perspective of Genevieve Dumont who has become a star and while she sings in many different venues across Paris, she is also sharing secrets of the Nazis to the Resistance.  Her mother is captured by the Nazis and Genevieve's mission becomes very personal.  

A hefty book at well over 400 pages, this book did linger in a few places where I would have sped up, but once you hit the race to save Lillian this book really is a sprint to the end!  

I have read a few books that hint at the existence of the Resistance, but I loved reading a whole book that focuses on them and shares with the readers all the ways that information was passed to and fro and how much organization was behind it all was just beyond fascinating.  

I always love when a historical fiction book teaches me something and I learned quite a bit of the behind the scenes of a whole group of people who were trying to collapse the Nazi regime in this book.  

This was my very first Karen Robards fan and I was completely unaware of her huge backlist until I finished and am intrigued to read more by her, where should I go next?  


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

Ebook 2020 Challenge: 63 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Harlequin.  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 2, 2020

No One Saw
by Beverly Long

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

Goodreads:  Nobody saw a thing. Or so they say…

Baywood police department detective A.L. McKittridge is no stranger to tough cases, but when five-year-old Emma Whitman disappears from her day care, there isn’t a single shred of evidence to go on. Neither the grandmother who dropped her off, nor the teacher whose care she was supposed to be in, can account for the missing child. There are no witnesses. No trace of where she might have gone. There’s only one thing A.L. and his partner, Rena Morgan, are sure of—somebody is lying.

With the clock ticking, A.L. and Rena are under extreme pressure as they discover their instincts are correct: all is not as it seems. The Whitmans are a family with many secrets, and A.L. and Rena will have to race to untangle a growing web of lies if they’re going to find the thread that leads them to Emma…before it’s too late.


Kritters Thoughts:  This is book two in a series with two detectives, AL McKittridge and Rena Morgan.  As is the case with most mystery series, the mystery to be solved is self contained in each book, but there is definitely some character development from book to book with the characters that are consistent from book to book, so I recommend starting at book one, but you won't be too spoiled by reading out of order.

In this book, the detectives are back and called in because a five-year-old has gone missing from a daycare where her grandmother dropped her off in a hurry to start her day.  Both parents, grandmother and many others in the book have reasons to lie and may not be the most upstanding adults!  There are plenty to not trust in this book and there was one road that the detectives went down that I thought was obviously wrong and may have voiced my opinion to no one!!

As a former employee of a daycare (in my high school years), I read this book with an interesting view from the perspective of the employees.  I am also not a parent, so I couldn't completely get into that headspace, but I could sure understand the terror of losing a child.  

I enjoyed this second book and am hoping for many more to come!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2020 Challenge: 61 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.

Ten Days Gone
by Beverly Long

Publisher: Mira Books
Pages: 377
Format: ebook 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  They know exactly when he’ll strike… They just have to find him first.

In all their years working for the Baywood police department, detectives A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan have never seen anything like it. Four women dead in forty days, each killed ten days apart. With nothing connecting the victims and very little evidence, the clock is already counting down to when the next body drops. A.L. and Rena will have to act fast if they’re going to find the killer’s next victim before he does.

But identifying the killer’s next likely target is only half the battle. With pressure pushing in from all sides, a promising breakthrough leads the detectives to Tess Lyons, a woman whose past trauma has left her too damaged to appreciate the danger she’s in. Unwilling to let another woman die, A.L. and Rena will put everything on the line to keep Tess safe and end the killer’s deadly spree once and for all—before time runs out again.


Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a mystery/thriller series which must do two things, one set the stage for the series in introducing place and characters and two must have a mystery of itself.  I think this book did a good job of both.  

There are two main detectives in this series.  AL McKittridge and Rena Morgan.  These two have worked together for a bit and know each other's quirks and can call each other out.  In this first book the reader gets to know them and their home lives that will at times interrupt the mystery that they are trying to solve.  

In this book, the case is self contained as in it is presented and solved within this one book.  These detectives find a fourth victim killed within forty days and from the beginning it is an obvious pattern and they are hoping to break it and prevent another victim.  

I always judge a mystery on the person who ends up being the guilty party and if the clues were perfectly crafted to finally point to them and I felt like the author did a great job in this one where I didn't find out early, but right on time!

I am excited to continue this series and learn more about these detectives and keep solving cases!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2020 Challenge: 60 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.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


Another month home. A month on the boat and by the pool. A month of reading.


1. Sweet Pea Summer by Alys Murray
2. We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall
3. Everything I Needed to Know I Learned From Judy Blume edited by Jennifer O'Connell
4. Dance Lessons by Aine Greaney
5. The Editor by Steven Rowley
6. Summer at Lake Haven by RaeAnne Thayne
7. The Falling Woman by Richard Farrell
8. Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger
9. The Wedding Dress Christmas by Rachael Hauck
10. When You Read This by Mary Adkins
11. Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long
12. No One Saw by Beverly Long
13. Two Truths and a Lie by Meg Mitchell Moore
14. What's Your Enneatype? by Liz Carver and Josh Green
15. The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'Neal
16. The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards
17. Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins
18. Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees

Total pages read, clicked and flipped: 6,217


Where having I been Reading?:
California
New York City (3)
Ireland
Idaho
Kansas
Tennessee
Wisconsin (2)
Massachusetts
England
Paris
Connecticut
Germany









Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Editor by Steven Rowley

Publisher: GP Putnam
Pages: 320
Format: ARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  After years of trying to make it as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally sells his novel to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie--or Mrs. Onassis, as she's known in the office--has fallen in love with James's candidly autobiographical novel, one that exposes his own dysfunctional family. But when the book's forthcoming publication threatens to unravel already fragile relationships, both within his family and with his partner, James finds that he can't bring himself to finish the manuscript.

Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, and she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to head home to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. Then a long-held family secret is revealed, and he realizes his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page...


Kritters Thoughts:  A young man just sold his first novel to a small imprint within a publishing house with an interesting head editor - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  James Smale, this debut author has no clue when he goes to meet his new editor that he is meeting someone that is literally a historical figure and through editing this book his life will change.  

If you are a Jackie Kennedy fan like me, this is a fun book to read to see a new perspective on her in her later years and a look at her passions and a profession.  Known as an avid reader and a book fan, to see her find the profession of book editor is cool and then to read a fictional tale of a debut author working with her is just great.  You can imagine if she had never entered the Kennedy family could this had become her profession earlier?  I would hope so!

This book is great for a book lover because it gives the behind the scenes glimpse of books and the way they come about.  All of the hands that take a book from a concept to printed and on the shelf.  I will always love reading about the ins and outs of the industry that I admire - more please!

There were a few moments in this book where the story went back in time and I just wish that the book had made a note of it.  Just a few times it was confusing that we were sent back in time and stayed there for a bit and it would have helped with the reading if it had been announced or notated ahead of time. 

I cried and laughed while reading this one.  It was the best escape from the news of the world and a great companion for a summer weekend.  


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 Putnam.  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, June 29, 2020

The Falling Woman
by Richard Farrell

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

Goodreads:  Tragedy strikes during a cross-country flight when sudden turbulence causes the jet to come apart in midair. The odds of anyone surviving are nearly impossible. Charlie Radford, a young National Transportation Safety Board investigator, is part of the team sent to determine what caused the crash. When he hears a rumor of a survivor, he assumes it is a hoax. As word of this “miracle” reaches the media and Congress, Radford is forced to track down “the falling woman,” said to have been found in a barn still strapped to her seat.

The woman at the center of the mystery, Erin Geraghty, was facing a losing battle with cancer when she embarked on her flight. With diminishing hope of a full recovery, she had considered herself essentially dead to her loved ones. Now, after the plane crash, she is intent on remaining dead to the world and to her family, to live out her final days in peace. And then Agent Radford arrives at her doorstep. Can he convince her to come forward, and does he have any right to?


Kritters Thoughts:  Charlie Radford works for the NTSB and recently it has been quiet with very minimal accidents, until one night when a major commercial flight goes down, but it seems as though there could be one survivor who literally fell from the sky.  At the same time, the reader meets Erin Geraghty who has been fighting cancer for a long time and it doesn't seem like there is an end in sight.  She boards a flight for a retreat and . . . 

I love when a story is told through multiple perspectives, it makes the story more dynamic.  I also love when the reader knows early on how all the storylines connect, so the mystery is about the characters arc, not why they are together in a book.  

Richard Farrell really wrote a great yin and yang with these two characters.  With both second guessing their life decisions, but for very different reasons.  Charlie wonders if he can do fatherhood and Erin wonders if she is doing what is right for her children.  Charlie seems at the beginning of a career and trying to find his footing, where Erin is wanting to button things up as she sees her life ending soon.  I loved the back and forth of these two and I wondered where they would end up.  

There was one part of the plot that I didn't love and as I am not a spoiler, I won't be too specific about it here.  I felt as though it didn't completely fit, but I understood why it had to be included for some parts of the story to work.  It just felt at times a little out of place.  

This was my first encounter with Richard Farrell and it looks as though he has quite the eclectic backlist, where should I go from here?


Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more
Ebook 2020 Challenge: 58 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Algonquin.  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, June 28, 2020

A busy week and a busy weekend, but was able to squeeze in 4 books!


A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'Neal
What's Your Enneatype? by Liz Carver and Josh Green
The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards
Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins

Currently Reading:
Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees
 
Next on the TBR pile:
Blacktop Wasteland by SA Cosby

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 336
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads: The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.

Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.


Kritters Thoughts:  This is a good book.  With a focus on the gymnastics community and the recent news that has happened in that community this book felt so honest and real.  

Avery Abrams lived a lot of life in a short time, training for many years with the 
Olympics as the end goal, it was taken from her right on the cusp and for this big of an event to happen at such a young age, Avey has been through a lot.  The book starts seven years later as Avery is returning home and she is at a turning point and has to decide what is next for herself.

The one thing for me that was sad about this book was that the Olympics were cancelled and this book set in the current time, of course, fiction is fictional and I could stretch my imagination, but it did make me chuckle and feel bad for the climate that this book ended up being released into.

I liked the writing, the plot and the characters and would read more from Hannah Orenstein.  


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 Atria Books.  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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