Monday, February 28, 2011

February - the month of love

A month full of changes and surprises. The boy changed jobs and I have seen a few changes on my front as well - so I am a little sad and excited to see February end and another month begin! I finished a good amount of books, I hope this can continue through March.

Books Completed:
1. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
2. Game Change by John Heilemann
3. Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson
4. Ask Me About Mary Kay by Jackie Brown
5. How to Get Divorced by 30 by Sascha Rothchild
6. Fools Rush In by Kristan Higgins
7. Girls Night In by Assorted Authors
8. The Blessings of Animals by Katrina Kittle
9. Wish by Alexandra Bullen
10. The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich
11. Tell No One by Harlan Coben

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (11)

What a great week of reading!! I finished 4 books - and thankfully after a productive weekend, I was able to complete my long blog to do list. I hope everyone had a great reading week!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney.

Currently Reading:
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins
Love You More by Lisa Gardner
Top of the TBR pile:
Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran (a few things jumped in front of this one, really hoping to start it this week)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Ramble: Paperbax Book Holder

An interesting purchase I made a bit ago that arrived and I have now used a few times. A few of my family and friends may be seeing one of these in a stocking or gift bag in the future.

A book holder that I have used while reading on the couch, in bed or eating at the kitchen table. It is sometimes hard to keep a rather large book still or at the beginning and end of the book, but I have thoroughly enjoyed carrying it around and using it from now and then.

For my avid readers who enjoy taking their books to the coffee shop or lunch, this book is the solution to trying to balance the blackberry or iphone to keep the book open for reading.

You can order yours at Paperbax.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm? by Perry Romanowski

NetGalley: Why does my shampoo stop working? Are my cosmetics poisoning me? What does hypoallergenic mean? Are organic products better?

Every day thousands of people turn to the scientists at the popular blog for answers to their most pressing beauty questions. In Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm? you'll learn how cosmetic products work, what advertising claims actually mean, and how to make smarter buying decisions.

Kritters Thoughts: A quick little read that I enjoyed through NetGalley, I was first caught by the title and then intrigued by the subject matter. With as many cosmetic lines that are in the world today in all different price points, it was great to read an unbiased, scientific opinion on where to splurge and where to save.

I would say this would be a great book for both young and old, new to the makeup world and those who have been buying these products for years. I may steer my readers to grab this one from the library. A great read, but may not be one to keep on the personal shelf.
Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages: 256

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: The Blessings of Animals by Katrina Kittle

Goodreads: Veterinarian Cami Anderson has hit a rough patch. Stymied by her recent divorce, she wonders if there are secret ingredients to a happy, long-lasting marriage or if the entire institution is outdated and obsolete. Couples all around her are approaching imporant milestones. Her parents are preparing to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Her brother and his partner find their marriage dreams legally blocked. Her former sister-in-law - still her best friend - is newly engaged. The youthfully exuberant romance of her teenage daughter is developing complications. And three separate men - including her ex-husband - are becoming entangled in Cami's messy post-marital love life.

But as she struggles to come to terms with her own doubts amid this chaotic circus of relationships, Cami finds strange comfort in an unexpected confidant: an angry, unpredictable horse in her care. With the help of her equine soul mate, she begins to make sense of marriage's great mysteries - and its disconnects.

Kritters Thoughts: Read this in three sittings. I enjoyed my last Katrina Kittle read and I was super excited when I saw this on the Crazy Book Tours website.

From the way she describes her characters and their settings to how they interact and the situations they find themselves in - her writing just draws you in and keeps you hooked. A woman battling through separation and divorce, as she tries to raise her teenage daughter and continue her growing veterinary business. I felt connected to these characters real fast and wanted so much to know what was going to happen next at every moment.

Telling a story about a woman who is going through such a large transition with friends surrounded was such a great positive twist. I loved that she had a great cast of characters that came in and out, but they also had their own distinct storylines that also kept me glued to it.

I would recommend this book to my lady readers who love a story that keeps you hooked from the first page to the very end.
Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 426

Cover Challenge Jan-March: How Do You Go?

This book was provided by Crazy Book Tours.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (10)

With the boy staying at my parents home to attend the police academy - yep there is the news, I will be dating and hopefully marrying a police officer. As the academy is right down the street from my parents and more than an hour drive away, they are playing bed and breakfast to him during the week. I say all this because my reading will be increasing through the month of June as I have the weekday evenings with me, the pup and a book.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney.

Currently reading:
Love You More by Lisa Scottoline
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

Next on the list:
Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (25)

A great week in my mailbox and a great week at work! My pup will be a star - she will be featured as the family dog in a promotional video for my place of work. Hopefully I will be able to show you our little star in the future. Maybe a wordless wednesday with her signing autographs for her adoring fans!

For Review:
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Helping Borders fight bankruptcy:
How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O'Neal

Crazy Book Tours:
The Blessings of Animals by Katrina Kittle

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Ramble: One More Page bookstore

A wonderful little indie bookstore that so happens to be on my way home, happen I take that way! I stopped into their grand opening that was full of books and wine and chocolate covered bacon.
I purchased one - Admission and acquired two ARCs that they were sending out to patrons to review and provide critique. The placed in each ARC a piece of paper to complete or email them your thoughts that they could provide to future patrons - what a great idea!

One More Page Books - I will be spending a few dollars at this great little store because they have an interest in the book community, bloggers and avid readers and of course, who can turn down a bookstore with a side of wine!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Goodreads: The year is 1929. New york is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspure and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anythiing to be a star . . .

Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined - and more dangerous. It's a life anyone woudl kill for . . . and someone will.

The only person cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and hte love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer, hides a score of family secrets.

Kritters Thoughts: With the beginning of the book predicting that of the three females - "one will be famous, one will be married, and one will be dead," how could one not be hooked to the bitter end? The unfortunate thing is this is the first in a series, so I am still unsure which of the leading ladies will end up in each category. Although through this book, I was trying to take a guess at which one would see her life end, hasn't happened yet.

I loved going back in time to an era where alcohol was forbidden and an underground operation. Times were hard but exciting. Making it big happened rarely because it took great talent to become a true star. Now don't get me wrong I am a reality tv viewer, but it seemed so earned and precious when few found themselves with their name in lights.

I am absolutely hooked and am quietly anticipating book 2 in this series. I would pass this book along to those who don't mind take a walk back in time and to those who love to read of women who are trying to find a place to call home.

Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel (excited for book 2)

Pages: 389

Cover Challenge Jan-March: In

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson

Goodreads: As she approached her fiftieth birthday, Tracey Jackson found herself bombarded - at the gym, at parties, in conversations with friends - by a catchphrase on everyone's lips. "Fifty is the new thirty" and the endless magazine articles, photos, and T-shirts proclaiming the new aphorism had apparently bloomed out of a collective sense of denial, masking the true fears of a generation unwilling to relinquish their youth.

Kritters Thoughts: A great read for those who are about to embark on that special birthday that puts them in the second half of their life. Although, I may be a little young to be reading this book, with a mom who has recently entered this new era, I found this book to be informative as to the emotions that she may be dealing with.

A funny account of all the physical and emotional impacts that occur after you hit the hump of the mid life crisis - however it may happen. This book would be a helpful guide to those who may be inching close to this part of their life, in the thick of it, or just beyond. Jackson talks about everything from mood swings to financial planning. I enjoyed the fact that she covered the whole spectrum of how life changes once the big 5-0 is reached.

I would definitely recommend this book to both women my age who have parents who may be facing this time of life or to those who are facing this time of life themselves. A quirky account of how a hypochondriac is facing all the old age illnesses that may occur at this time in a woman's life.
Rating:enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages: 304

Cover Challenge Jan-March: 304

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (9)

A weekly meme to share what I am currently reading and what I think could come off the TBR pile next! Hosted by Sheila at BookJourney.

I didn't get as much reading done last week as I had hoped, instead I went to a few classes at the gym and went to a a great new bookstore opening in Falls Church. (more on that this coming saturday)

Currently Reading:
Fools Rush In by Kristan Higgins (nook)
How to Get Divorced by 30 by Sascha Rothchild

Next on deck:
I have absolutely no clue and kind of excited about it!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (24)

Another two weeks that had some ups and downs at work, but it was always nice to come home every so often to a package, two or even three! My shelves are overflowing - definitely need to get some hard core reading time in.

A meme hosted by The Story Siren.

(sorry no picture this week, but click the links to head to goodreads)

For Review:
Minding Ben by Victoria Brown
Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson
New Self New World by Philip Shepherd

PBS and Bookmooch:
Hit Reply by Rocki St. Claire
How to Get Divorced by 30 by Sascha Rothchild
Escape from Bridezilla by Jacqueline deMontravel
A Blessed Event by Jean Reynolds Page
The Recessionistas by Alexandra Lebenthal
Hanging by a Thread by Karen Templeton

Fake Perfect Me by Cari Kamm (thanks Chick Lit Central and to the author for signing!)
Rescue by Anita Shreve (audiobook) (thanks to Ellie at Books, Fitness & Other Stuff)

A Goodwill Trip:
First Comes Love by Whitney Lyles
Life Without Summer by Lynne Griffin

Trip to One More Page bookstore: (more on this next saturday)
Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones (arc)
A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review: Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo

Goodreads: On the 1984 night that changed her life, Jennifer Thompson was a 22-year-old college student when she was awakened from a sleep by a knife-wielding rapist. She escaped from her attacker, and several days later, she picked the culprit from first a mug shot and then a physical lineup. Or so she thought. Ronald Cotton, the man who Jennifer was "absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt certain" was her rapist, served 11 years for the crime before he was exonerated by DNA evidence. Two years after his release, he and Jennifer met and, against every expectation, formed a resilient friendship. Picking Cotton, their joint memoir, speaks not only to their tragic shared experience but also to the issue of mistaken eyewitness testimony, the number one cause of wrongful convictions. Heartbreaking and then inspiring.

Kritters Thoughts: Thank you to a blogger who recently reviewed this book, I am sorry I can't remember where I found it. A great read about a young woman who was burglarized and raped in the middle of the night in her college apartment. She went on to identify her attacker who was sentenced to life in prison. After 11 years, a simple DNA test set him free. Now the victim and accuser are friends, yep, crazy - but this makes the book a great read - to find out how it all happens.

When I read the review on the other blog, I was drawn in by the story because it is such a heinous crime, but the ending is very positive. Then I found out where this crime took place - my alma mater Elon University. I couldn't believe that I had never heard this story and I bumped the book to the top of my list.

Written from both of the perspectives of the victim - Jennifer and the accused - Ronald, this book overlaps with their viewpoints which I absolutely loved. I enjoyed being in the courtroom in Jennifer's shoes and hearing the verdict and then going back in time through the trial again in Ronald's shoes.

I would recommend this book to all of my readers who love non-fiction and especially those who may have a connection to North Carolina or Elon.

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

Pages: 304

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: The Big Show Stopper by Ken Dalton

Goodreads: The Big Show Stopper opens in a packed concert arena with everyone waiting for the entrance of Brady Blackstone, the richest, and premier concert performer in America. But before Brady sets his foot on the stage, a tragic accident takes his life in front of Bear and a devastated Flo. However, it does not take Bear and Flo very long to question if the death was it an accident or murder?

Once again, in the pursuit of a pile of money and a little justice, Pinky travels to an exotic site while Bear and Flo end up in one of the least desirable locations in California.

The Big Show Stopper brings back Pinky, Bear, Flo, along with a gaggle of quirky characters. A beer swilling wacko. A naked old fart. A couple of downright dangerous folks. And concludes on a dark night with the dynamic trio spread eagle counting down the final seconds of their lives.

Kritters Thoughts: A book that started a little rough, ended up being a great book that I am excited to share. From the beginning, there was a lot of language both curse words and crude, but once the story picked up you could push that to the side to enjoy the investigation.

Taking readers behind the scenes of the music industry and the business side of things, I could honestly picture the people in this country singer's inner circle. A person is who they surround themselves with and how they treat those who work for them. The singer who dies early on in the book was a domineering person who tried to control everything, yet had no control. You find throughout the book how many people he made angry and their motives as to why they may have wanted him dead. You are on the roller-coaster with Bear trying to find out who dun it!

This past summer I had the great opportunity to go backstage at a concert. I have a cousin who works for a record label in Nashville and her artist was an opening act, so a group of girls gathered and enjoyed the perks of backstage passes - watching the acts warm up, it was a private concert. I kept thinking about all of what I had seen from the side and behind the stage when Bear kept arriving at different tour stops.

I would pass this book onto both men and women alike - those who like the mystery.

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

Pages: 296

Cover Challenge Jan-March: Hobbies

Off the Shelf Challenge 2011: 3 of 50

My review is a part of the blog tour, stop by to see the other reviews.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Miss Charlotte curled up not feeling well.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

Goodreads: The three Andreas sisters grew up in the cloistered household dominated by their Shakespearan professor father, a prominent, eccentric academic whose reverence for the Bard left its imprint on his dauthers' names: Rosalind (As You Like It), Bianca (The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordelia (King Lear). The siblings eventually left home and escaped their ponderous monikers with nicknames, but their mother's medical maladies brings them back. Before long, their unwelcome reunion reveals that they all have problems: Rose is force-feeding a troubled relationship; Bean is entangled in a big city case of embezzlement; and unmarried Cordy is pregnant.

Kritters Thoughts: A book with a lot of recent hype, which always makes me a little nervous because I want the book to really earn the hype that it receives.

So onward to the review - purely wonderful read. I hate to say that I had a hard time finding a chunk of time to read it, but page by page I fell in love with this read. A story of three sisters that come home to regroup and get their lives on different tracks. Close to home, this story made me think about my return to "home" or where my parents currently live, with my boyfriend to take jobs and regroup. My little sister also came back to where my parents live to regroup and take her life down a different path. Fortunately, our own issues brought us close to our parents, unlike the book where the girls use their mother's illness as the reason to return home.

My one small minor issue that I was able to overcome was the frequency of quotes from Shakespeare. Not being a Shakespeare fan, I probably would have gotten into the read quicker because I felt as though there were quite a few more at the beginning in comparison to the end. They did fit in the story, so if you knew the story line, it was easy to interpret the quotes.

I quickly became attached to each of the three sisters in very different ways. Their story arcs were unique, but interconnected and the flashbacks to previous years helped guide the story along. The book centered around the three girls, but the parents and other minor characters were very much a part of bringing this story to life.

I am physically passing this book onto mom and would recommend those who have a sister or two to pick this one up.
Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 336

Cover Challenge Jan-March: Green cover

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (8)

A weekly meme to share what I am currently reading and what I think could come off the TBR list next! Hosted by Sheila at BookJourney.

Another long work week, made for very little reading time, but this next week has some potential - which makes me more than excited! I need a night or two with some wine, a book and the pup on the couch!

You may notice that The Birth of Venus on audiobook has been abandoned, just couldn't get into it.

Currently Reading:
Game Change by John Heilemann

Next on deck:
Ask Me About Mary Kay by Jackie Brown

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut by Jill Kargman

Goodreads: Jill Kargman is a mother, wife, and writer living the life in New York City . . . a life that includes camping out in a one-bedroom apartment with some unfortunate (and furry) roommates, battling the Momzillas of Manhattan, and coming to terms with her desire for gay men. In this entertaining collection of observations, Kargman offers her unique, wickedly funny perspective as she zips around Manhattan with three kids in tow.

Kargman tackles issues big and small with sharp wit and laugh-out-loud humor: her love of the smell of gasoline, her new names for nail polishes, her adventures in New York City real estate, and her fear of mimes, clowns, and other haunting things. Whether it's surviving a family road trip or why she can't stand Cirque du So Lame, living with a mommy vagina the size of the Holland Tunnel or surviving the hell that was her first job out of college, Kargman's nutty self triumphs, thanks to a wonderfully wise outlook and sense of fun that makes the best of everything that gets thrown her way. And if that's not enough, Kargman illustrates her reflections with doodles that capture her refreshing voice.

Kritters Thoughts: A snarky good humored comedy written in the form of small essays or short stories. I loved the variety of topics she covered from her childhood to raising her own children. I felt as thought I got to know her a little better and chuckled when I absolutely related to her crazy thoughts.

Hoping not to offend anyone - my favorite topic she covered was her love for the gay men community. Now some of you may now, I share her great love for this community. When I lived in my former city of Charlotte, NC, I took up residence with one of my best friends, a boy, who also likes boys. Those two years were beyond fun, exciting and life changing. In short, we had a blast. Walking into a gay bar and being told numerous times how beautiful you were and because welp they thought it, was amazing. Not veering too political or off the book review, I loved this chapter, it hit really close to home.

I would pass this book along to the ladies who love a little humor, but don't mind a little language thrown around. Those who are parents and those who aren't headed down that road yet (or ever), this book was a great little laugh.
Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 176
Cover Challenge Jan-March: Playing Favorites

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

Goodreads: When Alex and Lucy pick out wedding invitations, they wonder if they can be printed in vanishing ink.

Former NFL star Alex Sinclair is a man who has it all--except the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancee in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn't quite what he seems, Lucy will find her heart on the line--and maybe even her life. When God asks Alex and Lucy to scrap their playbook and follow his rules, will they finally say, "I do"?

Kritters Thoughts: A great girlie read! A story about a girl who thinks she is on a certain pass with the man of her "dreams", when she finds her world falling apart and fast. Then a not so knight in shining armor is willing to help, but only for a price. Although predictable, it was a very nice read to curl up with on a cold weekend.

A christian fiction read that was not overwhelming with its message, but definitely apparent that our main characters were following a godly lifestyle. I enjoyed the prayers that centered the main characters and enabled the audience to hear their true fears and worries, instead of what they were telling the rest of the "cast."

I would pass this book onto my girlie readers who don't mind an ending that can be seen from a mile away. I would also suggest this as a great beach read under a big umbrella - sorry, this cold weather is putting my mind close to a beach.
Rating:perfect beach read

Pages: 320

Cover Challenge Jan-March: Out

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: The Girls From Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow

Goodreads: Meet the Ames Girls: eleven childhood friends who formed a special bond growing up in Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eight different states, yet managed to maintain an enduring friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, a child's illness and the mysterious death of one member of their group.

The girls, now in their forties, have a lifetime of memories in common, some evocative of their generation and some that will resonate with any woman who has ever had a friend. Photograph by photograph, recollectoin, occasionally with tears and often with great laughter, their sweeping and moving story is shared by Jeffrey Zaslow, Wall Street Journal columnist, as he attempts to define the matchless bonds of female friendship. It demonstrates how close female relationships can shape every aspect of women's lives - their sense of themselves, their choice of men, their need for validation, their relationship with their mothers, their dreams for their daughters - and reveals how such friendships thrive, rewarding those who have committed to them.

Kritters Thoughts: Do you keep in contact with those friends from childhood? Do you have girls that you call with all of the good and bad news before anyone else? Are there friendships worth fighting distance, time constraints and obstacles? YES!

The Girls From Ames was a great book about 11 women who through many different ways came be a very close knit group of girls who have shared absolutely ALL the ups and downs that life can throw at anyone. Divorces, miscarriages and loves lost all bring them together even though they live in very different parts of the US. They have also been able to celebrate many good times from healthy children, job promotions and the men who make their lives complete.

I absolutely loved this book. I cried. I laughed. I wanted to call all the girls that are currently in my life and those who have been in and out to thank them for their listening ears and the moments we have had. Whether you have kept in touch with childhood friends or not, this book is definitely one to go to pick up and fast.
Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 297

Cover Challenge Jan-March: More

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