Thursday, April 22, 2021

The House Swap
by Jo Lovett

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 330
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  He needs an escape. She needs an adventure.
So why not swap lives?

When Cassie and James find each other on a home swap website, it feels meant to be. City hotshot James needs a bolthole after a relationship goes sour and Cassie needs to leave the comfort of her little island to research her new book.

Soon, James is living in Cassie’s cute but ramshackle house off the coast of Maine, and Cassie’s living in James’s super smart London penthouse. It’s the perfect solution.

Except it turns out it’s difficult to switch homes without getting involved in each other’s lives. Cassie’s unimpressed when James’s ex turns up, and James is furious when he discovers that he’s going to have to help organise Cassie’s neighbour’s eightieth birthday party.

But as the insults fly, so do the sparks, and when the time finally comes to swap back, Cassie and James find they aren’t ready to give each other up – until a shocking discovery brings the pair crashing back to reality and forces them to decide what life they really want.


Kritters Thoughts:  Two people are in need of a quick change of scenery to possible change some things in their lives, so they list their places on SwapBnB and end up swapping more than zip codes but the change really alters their trajectory.  James has a flat in London and after a relationship that ends abruptly his physical safety is threatened and he needs to get out of town for safety and to see a new perspective.  Cassie has been in a funk for a bit and a job opportunity in London pushes her to try to relocate for a bit to complete the job and maybe a personal goal or two.  

What a sweet romance that has such a fun plot and a great cast of characters as the neighbors and friends of each character play a part in both of their stories.  I adored the arrival stories as they each arrived to the other's places and how different they were in prepping for the other made me - laugh out loud!  

I knew this book was a romance, so I wondered going in how the author was going to achieve the romance of the book, but the interactions were done so cleverly that it just barely avoided the instalove feeling.  I may have felt as though it was a bit quick, but it was fun and sweet.  

With only one book in the backlist, I want to pick that up soon and read it and am hoping for more from this author in the future.   


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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 43 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.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Last Night in London
by Karen White

Publisher: Berkley Books
Pages: 480
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A captivating story of friendship, love and betrayal – and finding hope in the darkness of war.

London, 1939. Beautiful and ambitious Eva Harlow and her American best friend, Precious Dubose, are trying to make their way as fashion models. When Eva falls in love with Graham St. John, an aristocrat and Royal Air Force pilot, she can’t believe her luck – she’s getting everything she ever wanted. Then the Blitz devastates her world, and Eva finds herself slipping into a web of intrigue, spies and secrets. As Eva struggles to protect everything she holds dear, all it takes is one unwary moment to change their lives forever.

London, 2019. American journalist Maddie Warner travels to London to interview Precious about her life in pre-WWII London. Maddie, healing from past trauma and careful to close herself off to others, finds herself drawn to both Precious and to Colin, Precious’ enigmatic surrogate nephew. As Maddie gets closer to her, she begins to unravel Precious’ haunting past – and the secrets she swore she’d never reveal …

Kritters Thoughts:  One of my favorite types of historical fictions to read is when there is a historical storyline and a current storyline and they will weave in and out of each other throughout the book.  In this book, both take place in London, one in 1939 where Precious Dubose and her best friend Eva Harlow are trying to make it with the impending threat of a war and the other is in 2019 as Maddie Warner has traveled to interview Precious about the fashion that happened before and during the war and she gets much more than a story about fashion.

This book has quite the cast of characters because of the two timelines and they overlap a bit, but this was one of those books that I definitely took notes so I could make sure I knew who was who and major defining characteristics of each.  Without spoiling, it was good to have notes when the characters started partaking in nefarious activities and I wanted to keep alliances and enemies straight!  

This was one of those books that I would recommend to people who don't tend to read historical fiction often as the present storyline infuses some moments where the reader can get into present day shoes and enjoy them for a minute.  There were some great twists and turns throughout the book that kept the book pacing moving and moving, so this book read quick and easy and I loved that!

Karen White writes broadly so I love that she can write some straight women's fiction, but can also do historical fiction with the same great women characters just in a different moment in time!


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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 43 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, April 20, 2021

Under the Southern Sky
by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Recently separated Amelia Buxton, a dedicated journalist, never expected that uncovering the biggest story of her career would become deeply personal. But when she discovers that a cluster of embryos belonging to her childhood friend Parker and his late wife Greer have been deemed “abandoned,” she’s put in the unenviable position of telling Parker—and dredging up old wounds in the process.

Parker has been unable to move forward since the loss of his beloved wife three years ago. He has all but forgotten about the frozen embryos, but once Amelia reveals her discovery, he knows that if he ever wants to get a part of Greer back, he’ll need to accept his fate as a single father and find a surrogate.

Each dealing with their own private griefs, Parker and Amelia slowly begin to find solace in one another as they navigate an uncertain future against the backdrop of the pristine waters of their childhood home, Cape Carolina. The journey of self-discovery leads them to an unforgettable and life-changing lesson: Family—the one you’re born into and the one you choose—is always closer than you think.


Kritters Thoughts:  Amelia Buxton has quite the life events happen one on top of the other and they bring her back to her hometown to put the pieces back together and decide what she wants to do next, some interesting encounters with someone from the past may really alter her path.  

There is so much that happens in this book from journal entries from Parker's deceased wife to professional upsets to the most obvious of personal entanglements, this book had it all.  I don't know if you would define it as a women's fiction or romance, but either way, the reader knows that this could more than likely end up in a happy ever after, but the journey is so worth it with this one!  The ups and the downs were perfectly timed and I appreciated that life had some speed bumps before things could come together.  

I have been a Kristy Woodson Harvey fan for a long time and always anticipate her books as she writes women who are full and whole with honest hurdles and stories.  I don't need to read a synopsis, I will read what she writes!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from 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.

Monday, April 19, 2021

An Invincible Summer
by Mariah Stewart

Publisher: Montlake
Pages: 373
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  It was a lifetime ago that recently widowed Maggie Flynn was in Wyndham Beach. Now, on the occasion of her fortieth high school reunion, she returns to her hometown on the Massachusetts coast, picking up right where she left off with dear friends Lydia and Emma. But seeing Brett Crawford again stirs other emotions. Once, they were the town’s golden couple destined for one another. He shared Maggie’s dreams—and eventually, a shattering secret that drove them apart.

Buying her old family home and resettling in Wyndham Beach means a chance to start over for Maggie and her two daughters, but it also means facing her rekindled feelings for her first love and finally confronting—and embracing—the past in ways she never thought possible. Maggie won’t be alone. With her family and friends around her, she can weather this stormy turning point in her life and open her heart to the future. As for that dream shared and lost years ago? If Maggie can forgive herself, it still might come true.


Kritters Thoughts:  Maggie Flynn is a widow and isn't feeling at home in the city where her and her late husband made a home, with a reunion that takes her back to her hometown, she wonders if a move would "move" her into her next phase of life.  At the same time, her friends and her two daughters are going through drama of their own and the author gives them "screen time" to share with the readers their own struggles. 

For me this book had to live up to my current love of Mariah Stewart.  I have read a few books of hers and flew through them, so the pacing of this book was disappointing as at some moments it just meandered on.  It felt as though there were times where extra detail was given that could have been omitted and the need for action made it hard for me to concentrate on the story.    

The characters kept me reading this book.  I loved that the author not only concentrated on Maggie Flynn, but her friends and daughters.  There were moments when I was enjoying one daughter or the other better than Maggie's own story, but throughout the book, I loved the character development and interactions and was connected to them throughout the book.  

Before reading this book, I was a Mariah Stewart fan and although this book didn't live up to my love for her other books, I will definitely continue to read in her hopes of finding that initial spark!

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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 42 out of 100

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.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Three Missing Days
by Colleen Coble

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A shocking murder.

Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a tragic local murder, but everything in her personal life is unraveling.

Her son’s arrest.

Jane’s son is accused of manslaughter, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she’s going to trust Reid with her heart.   

Three missing days.

With the recent discovery of her mother’s whereabouts, Jane learns not only that her mother stole something vital all those years ago but that she drugged Jane so she wouldn’t be able to remember. What happened in those three days could change everything.

It all started with one little lie. But the truth is finally coming out.


Kritters Thoughts:  The third in a series and this is one of those that yes the mystery is self contained in this book, but there is a lot of character development from book to book and it is so much better to start at square one in this instance.

Chief Police Jane Hardy is dealing with a dead body in chapter one and the book sets of sprinting.  Along with her ex and their kid, they are navigating what kind of relationship they will have in the future and also dealing with his ex who has been giving them a hard time!  

I can't remember if I felt this way in the previous books, but there were quite a few mysteries happening in this one book and while they all get solved in one way or another in the end, there were times where I felt like it was teetering on too much.  The author did bring it together, but I was concerned.  

Only a side note, this is Christian fiction and I knew that going in, but it felt as though there were a few times where it was forced into the book and it didn't seem as natural as Colleen Coble tends to do.  

Colleen Coble is a great author and I love her stories.  It was fun looking he up after finishing this one and finding out I haven't completed her backlist - YET!


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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 41 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.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Last Bookshop in London
by Madeline Martin

Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads: August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.

Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.


Kritters Thoughts:  Another World War II book, but before you roll your eyes, this one is so good!  Most readers can get easily sucked in by a book set in a bookstore, so the setting is ideal and while there are numerous amounts of World War II books, this one just felt unique from the beginning.  

Grace Bennett has escaped the country and is now in London trying to find a job with the added benefit of being able to land at the friend of her deceased mother's and only worry about finding work and the onset of World War II.  She ends up in the sweetest of bookshops with of course an ornery owner, but this is just the start of the story!

I adored this book so much, I read it basically one sitting.  Grace was such a wonderful character to go on a journey with and I was enthralled by her from page one.  She was sweet and kind and vulnerable, but not saccharine.  this may be weird to say, but my favorite parts to read where when she was an ARP volunteer and she was rescuing those affected by the bombs that were dropping.  That was something I had never read about and with a few recent books that I have read set in London about bomb diffusing units, it was just another perspective on living through a war that is invading your home turf.  

I would love to read more like this - a unique viewpoint of something or some time that I know of and may have read about quite often.



Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 40 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.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Good Sister
by Sally Hepworth

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern's protector from the time they were small.

Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart's desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn't realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.


Kritters Thoughts:  The age old story of the good twin and the bad twin is confronted in this story as the reader is trying to figure out who is the good twin and who is the bad twin!  Rose and Fern are twins born on the same day, but that is where their sameness ends.  They are physical opposites and while grew up in the same dysfunctional home, had vastly different reactions to their upbringing.  

For me, the big thing that set this book apart from others was reading about a woman who is probably on the spectrum.  We often hear about men on the spectrum, so it was interesting to see how this same disease manifests in a woman and how that affects a different gender from what we typically think of.  I have personal experience and often in books there are males who are on the spectrum, so to see a woman living life on the spectrum was so interesting and eye-opening.

I love the twists and turns of the story, but even more so, I loved how the author conveyed the story.  With one twin recounting the current storyline while the other twin was writing journal entries, it made the book unique and of course without spoiling, it honestly really made the story work in general.  

I have read half of Sally Hepworth's work and have loved each of them.  I want to get caught up on her backlist in hopes that what I haven't read is just as good!      


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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 39 out of 100

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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