Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Blogger Holiday Swap

A great day at the post office - picked up a package and it ended up being my Book Blogger Holiday Swap gift from my Secret Santa!

I received The Girl who Played with Fire, a cute little bag and a sweet card. It was so great to open the package the day after Thanksgiving and start out the holiday weekend and festivities.

Thank you Annette - it was so nice to receive the package so early in the holiday season!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: The Long Road Home by Mary Alice Monroe

Goodreads: Recovering from the shock of her husband's suicide and trying to deal with his debts, Nora MacKenzie looks for peace on the small farm in Vermont, but a handsome farmhand shows up and her reaction is anything but peaceful.

Kritters Thoughts: A long read, but well worth all the pages. I absolutely loved all the twists turns and plotlines. There was a wealth of characters, but each unique and added a little piece to the story. I was captivated to the very end hoping that it would all work out like I assumed. I loved how a part of the story was sort of predictable, but there were still a few spots where I was completely surprised.

For the life of me, I can't think of anything critical that I would say to improve the book. There may have been a few descriptions that I would have ommitted, but nothing was excessive. I felt that the characters were real and the situation could honestly happen to any widow.

As for those I would recommend this read to - definitely a read for the women folk. I would not pass this onto the younger crowd, they would not relate well to Nora and the trials that she endures, but most women would enjoy the drama and romance of the book.

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

Pages: 400

GR Oct - Dec Challenge - It's So (Adjective)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In My Mailbox (17)

These are what showed up in my mailbox this past week. AND what I happened to run across on a goodwill trip.

For Review:

Blind Your Ponies by Stanley West
At the Crossroads of Terror by Lenny Emanuelli

Paperbackswap and Bookmooch:

The Frog Prince by Jane Porter
She, Myself & I by Whitney Gaskell
Somebody Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage
White Bikini Panties by Kelly James-Enger

Goodwill trip:

Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes
Sammy's Hill by Kristin Gore

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: Letters to Ethan by Tom McQueen

Kritters Thoughts: A small little book filled with letters from a caring grandfather to his young grandson. Full of life lessons and guidelines he provides his grandson to ensure that he can pass on his thoughts so his grandson has a roadmap for life's hardest decisions.

I thought the book was cute and had great meanings in each letter - but this book was definitely not my style. As I don't have children and they aren't in the near future, I think this book would be more appreciated by those with children. The one nerve it hit with me is the wish that any of my grandparents had left me notes of encouragement and wisdom.

I would pass this book along to my friends who are parents and the grandparents in our lives to encourage them to do the same - to provide their grandchildren with letters of their life stories that may aid them in making life's hardest decisions.
Rating:enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages: 170

GR Oct-Dec Challenge - Homophones

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review: My Life as a Doormat by Rene Gutteridge

Goodreads: Act I: Avoid conflicts at all costs. Even when someone signs you up for something you really don't want to do. Act II: Try to hold things together, even when your life is spinning out of control. Act III: (You'll have to read the book to learn how it all plays out).

Playwright Leah Townsend doesn't think of herself as a doormat. In fact, her life is pretty good. There's the gorgeous and dependable Edward (even if he is a little dull), and her challenging career (even if the last two plays were flops). The trouble is, Leah's feeling restless these days. The new play isn't going well. Her agent is handing out ultimatums. And her boyfriend Edward, who insists Leah "doesn't handle conflict well," has the nerve to enroll her in a conflict-management class full of people she's sure are her polar opposites, including a conservative talk-radio host named Cinco Dublin who thrives on the very thing Leah wants to avoid - making waves. Can a conflict-challenged playwright ever learn to stand her ground . . . even if life doesn't come in three predictable acts?

Kritters Thoughts: Ehhh it was ok. I hate to start a review like this, but I was left with a semi ok feeling. Nothing was super wrong with it. I guess my main area of concern was the main character - I found her to be super whiny and beyond believable. It took her way to long to discover that a changed needed to happen in her relationships and decision making.

BUT I loved the premise of the story - the sibling of the prodigal son and learning how to cope with not being the star child in the family. At times I felt a few commonalities between me and Leah - we were both the children of the family that followed the rules to a T and rarely bucked the rules our parents laid down. The big lesson comes when the sibling becomes the child that is in the forefront. Although this hasn't happened in our family, J and I have taken turns needing our parents attention for good and bad reasons.

Now after some negative comments, I would definitely pass this book along to the women in my life, but I would preface it that they should be read on the beach or huddled in during a quiet vacation. This isn't one of those "smart" reads.
Rating: perfect beach read

Pages: 320

GR Oct - Dec Challenge - Prepositions

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

A blast from my past! One of the people who made me - Kritter!

(from the good ole days as roommates)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Goodreads: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn't understand that once love-the-deliria-blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Kritters Thoughts: So, my first experience of Lauren Oliver and I was no where near disappointed. A far departure from what I normally read, this book put me in a world that if existed I would have to cross over to the "Wild" side. As I usually don't read books where the setting isn't realistic, I was absolutely emersed in this world - enough to try to convince the boy to read it. Not so much!

A world where love is a disease that can be cured by an operation and without it, your life is to be painless and worry free. As they believe that the pain from love causes other deadly diseases in the body - if you are not able to be cured you are jailed or executed. While reading this book it made me think of religious groups who are cultlike and are able to create panic and fear to keep their followers entranced by their crazy rituals and beliefs. It was one of those books where I kept thinking, come on people SNAP out of it!

In the middle of the book, I went to look up some stats and see if there were any reviews. I am glad I did this half way through or I may have not started it because sometimes I am just not risky in my reading. I found out that this will be the first of a series of at least three that I am aware of - well I will definitely be looking for the next two when they arrive on the shelves.

As to whom I would pass this book along to - almost anyone! Even though this may be out of your realm of normal reading genre, I would say the departure would be well worth the trip.

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

Pages: 440

GR Oct - Dec Challenge - Author Relay

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (16)

A good two weeks at the house, a few dramas, but overall they were good. Here is what came into my mailbox over the last two weeks!


Kiss Like You Mean It by Louise Harwood

For Review:

Defending the Enemy by Elaine Fischel

Ask Me About Mary Kay by Jackie Brown (not pictured)

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: Missing Mabel by Nancy Mehl

Goodreads: Watch the tangled mess a Kansas hairdresser gets herself into when she reports to the funeral home that the body she is to work on is not the same as in her reference photo. Is she being punished when the director accuses her of stealing a diamond ring? Will Hilde Higgins’s former boyfriend help her unravel the issue or only bring more trouble to her life?

Kritters Thoughts: I will have to keep this review short. I wasn't a fan of this one.

I enjoyed the first part of the book. It was a little on the preachy side, but the story itself was alright. I liked following her search for the missing cadaver. BUT I was beyond disappointed in the ending, I felt like the author unfolded all the details of the mystery too quickly and some I couldn't recall really happening in the story. My final negative thought - at the conclusion I felt like the ending was dumbed down for the reader.

It was an easy read that was ok. I don't think I would pass this book off to anyone, I am sorry to say.
Rating:not such a good read

Pages: 256

GR Oct - Dec Challenge - Author Relay

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Goodreads: Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.

Kritters Thoughts: AHHHmazing! I had delayed reading this for more reasons than one - mainly because when a book gets a TON of hype for some reason I tend to avoid it. I had friends reminding me often that this was a book to find and enjoy. So the book club that I recently joined was reading this book for November, I picked it up late, but was determined to read it. WELL then I got sick, so I ended up not attending book club.

After telling you all this - I must say - this book was definitely worth all the hype it received and more. I am a fan of this genre, the mystery/suspense who dun its. I love reading a whole book and at the very end being thrown for an absolute loop. I am even more excited when at the end I want to read it all through again to pick up even more details because you already know where the story will end up.

Now of course, I will not be providing any spoilers because for 590 pages you need to enjoy the hunt for who dun it and why.

So I will be passing this book along to all my ladies and may even sneak it onto JP's bedside table for a read! I think the menfolk would enjoy this book as well.
Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel
Pages: 465

GR Oct - Dec Challenge - Author Relay

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Review: Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark

Goodreads: Kendy Laswell and her daughter, Maisey, used to do everything together-until one fateful summer when Maisey witnessed something she shouldn't have, and their relationship fractured. Now, Maisey is back home to get married and Kendy realizes this is her last chance to reconnect with her daughter. Will Kendy and Maisey be able to reclaim the bond they once shared?

Kritters Thoughts: A wonderful read - Christian fiction with a real twist and story. I used to read Christian fiction more often in my younger years, but had veered away when I kept running into very "preachy" fiction. It was a random pick up at the library and I was hesitant to continue after I read the back of the book.

I am glad I decided to go ahead and read this great little book. A Christian fiction with a story that felt real and not to goody too shoes. There were a few verses and lifestyle moments that was imbedded in the book, but it was no where near too much or offensive.

This book flip flopped between the view points of the mother and daughter. They have to confront an issue from the past which changed their family drastically. The relationship between the mother and daughter was so genuine and true - I could remember my teenage moments with my mom. I would pass this book along to any mother and daughter duo who would love to read a real story that has depth and a true conclusion.

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

Pages: 320

GR Oct - Dec Challenge - Copyright Year Rally (Oct 2009)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner

Goodreads: Carrie Pilby doesn't fit in - and she's pretty much given up trying. A year out of college and settling in to life in the big city, this nineteen-year-old genius believes everyone she meets is immoral, sex obsessed and hypocritical, and the only person she sees on a regular basis is her therapist. When he comes up with a five-point plan to help her discover the "positive aspects of social interaction," Carrie, who would rather stay home in bed, is forced to view the world in a new light.

See life through Carrie's eyes as she opens up to unusual characters, gets herself into comprising situations and casts her keen eye on the ways people interact.

Kritters Thoughts: Different, sarcastic, unusual, too smart for her own good - those are the words I would use to describe the main character - Carrie Pilby. A character unlike I usually read and completely unlike myself. At times it was difficult for me to follow her thought process because she is way more than a methodical thinker.

I don't want to overwhelm you with negativeness - I loved this book. I read it for the New York part of my Goodreads challenge and I am so glad I did because it was so different. Carrie is an outsider. She has the hardest time in any social situation and it was almost awkward to read her adventures that took place outside of her apartment.

As to whom I would pass this one to - all my ladies, although I would probably limit it to the younger ladies. Carrie has just finished college and the young alumni group would enjoy hearing her antics entering into the adult world.

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't want me leaving more

Pages: 336

GR Oct - Dec Challenge - Land of the Free

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

A picture of the pup for my first wordless wednesday!

Charlotte playing in a box during the move

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman

Goodreads: In this modern twist on Rear Window, Tess Monaghan has been put on bed rest for the last two months of her pregnancy. Day after day she watches a girl in a green raincoat in the park with her greyhound, until one day Tess ominously notices the dog running loose. Convinced some harm has befallen its owner she becomes dangerously obsessed with learning her fate.

Kritters Thoughts: A quick little read that was packed with mystery and drama. I loved this little novella - it was a perfect read for a lazy Sunday afternoon. This was my first Laura Lippman book and I am now headed to goodreads to add more to my wish list!

I am a fan of the mystery caper where the reader knows a twist will occur at some point, but it always blindsides you in the end. Lippman provided the reader with all the necessary facts to correctly identify the "bad guy," but somehow I was way off mark. I will definitely be looking for more of these great reads for lazy Sunday afternoons when the weather takes a turn for the cold and dreary.

I would absolutely pass this little gem off to any reader who loves a little mystery in their lives. A great read for most ages with innocence and intrigue.

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

Pages: 224
GR Oct - Dec Challenge: Get Cozy

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (15)

An eventful week at work was made better by some emails from book publicists and a few things arriving in the mailbox!

Ralph's Party by Lisa Jewell


What was in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Review - CSN product

Awhile ago I was contacted by CSN to review another item off their website. Well knowing that we were moving, I decided to hold off and wait to see if we had any needs.

JP and I are big wine fans!! We used to be members at a local winery and enjoy collecting and drinking all sorts of wine. We had these great wine racks in our old place that would not fit in the new. So after some searching we found a great little rack that would work in our dining room.

It arrived three days before the scheduled delivery date - YAY! It was very light.

After some problems with the Allen wrench, it took me approximately 30 minutes to put it together and then another 30 to decide which bottles would go on it.

After completion we decided that we may have to order another, we had more wine than we knew - oops! At least this is a good problem to have!

Head to CSN and Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Goodreads: Allison Glenn tried to hide what happened that night . . . and failed. The consequence? Five years in prison. Now she's free. But secrets have a way of keeping you caged . . . When Allison is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult in her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces the whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn - shy, quiet Brynn - who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her. But then Allison is released, and is more determined than ever to speak with her sister. Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

Kritters Thoughts: A great book that will not arrive on shelves until February 2011. Thanks to NetGalley I was able to download this book and read it off my computer.

A story twisted among the viewpoints of several women - I found this book to keep me sucked in for hours at a time. I was able to read this in three sittings, because once I started there was no way to stop. A gripping story of betrayal, loss and heartache that are all wrapped up in this unknowing little boy. I loved how the author slowly unloaded all the details throughout the book, so the reader kept waiting for each small moment to realize more of the backstory.

This book has successfully recharged my reading batteries. I was having a slump and because of this book, I am headed straight to my shelves to pick up another in hopes of getting deeply involved in another story.

As far as passing this book along - I would send this book to all my lady readers. Not for younger eyes, but definitely a great read for women who are mothers, daughters and sisters.

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

Pages: 400

GR Oct-Dec Challenge - Copyright Year Rally (Feb 2011)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October in Review

What a month! Personally - I moved, went on a corporate retreat that I had been planning for more than 6 months, lost a grandparent SO in all I think October ended up beating me up. I was ready to see this month come to a close and begin another!

Books completed in October:

1. It All Started with a Dare by Lindsay Faith Rech (NetGalley)
2. Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten
3. A Dance of Sisters by Tracey Porter
4. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
5. As Always, Julia by Joan Reardon (NetGalley)
6. The Crepe Makers' Bond by Julie Crabtree (NetGalley)
7. Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum
8. These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf (NetGalley)
9. The Girl in the Green Raincoat (NetGalley)

Total Pages flipped - 2,900 pages

Some Highlights:

*Moved into a bigger place and cheaper rent!! Downside - longer commute.

*Went to a Borders tent sale - SUPER fun! And some successful trips to Goodwill added quite a few books to my shelves.

*A rough month as far as reading, probably the worst since I started blogging. I am having a hard time getting myself together and getting back on the horse. Hopefully next month will be a better reading and blogging month.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Review:The Crepe Makers' Bond by Julie Crabtree

Goodreads: Ariel is the head chef in her family kitchen. Cucumber salads, fettuccine carbonara, fish tacos, and peanut butter pie are just a few of the dishes she crafts when she’s feeling frustrated by the world. And it’s turning into a frustrating year. Ariel, Nicki, and Mattie have been inseparable friends since they were little kids, but now Mattie’s mom has decided to move away. It’s the girls’ last year in middle school, and they can’t fathom being separated. The friends concoct a plan that will keep Mattie in the Bay area she’ll move in with Ariel and her family. But before you can say "bff," the party is over. Everything Mattie does gets on Ariel’s nerves, and it’s not long before the girls are avoiding each other. This was supposed to be their best year ever, but some painful lessons are threatening to tear their friendship apart. Can the girls scramble to make things right before the bond crumbles?

Kritters Thoughts: Welp. I am completely torn on this short and quick read. I read it completely in one day, which was a boost to my ego since I have had a few rough weeks in terms of my reading completion. BUT I wasn't a super fan of this book.

A cute little read about three friends who are trying to complete middle school in the midst of middle school "drama." The concept of the story was great and I would definitely pass it along to my young friends and followers.

Although - as each chapter ends with a recipe, I felt like she made sure to include some kind of food product in each chapter whether it made sense or not to be able to put that recipe at the end of the chapter. Some fit into the story, some didn't quite fit so well.

My other point of frustration was the title. I have no idea where that title came from and I don't think it fit wth the book at all. I don't have any suggestions, but the title seemed like the characters would be older than middle schoolers.

Sad to read two books in a row that weren't my favorite, but always good to expand my reading.

Rating: not such a good read
Pages: 288

GR Oct-Dec Challenge - Er
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