Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (32)

A fun weekend off with the boy, meant little reading accomplished. I was able to finish A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan - review to come after I chat with the ladies at book club at One More Page.

Currently Reading:
Ralph's Party by Lisa Jewell

Next on the TBR pile:

Sins of the Mother by Tara Hyland

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Goodreads: In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the country - and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town.

More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades.

Kritters Thoughts: A read for my book club at One More Page bookstore, it is definitely not one I would have picked off the shelf myself, but that is why I belong to book clubs. So on to my review. I am writing this review a full week after finishing the book and a few days after book club, why you say? Because I still have no clue as to what I make of it.

Confession - the story is about a black boy and a white boy and their relationship as it evolves over time. WELP this girl got the characters mixed up and had to back it up a few (50) pages and re read to get myself on track. So read closely and make sure you know who is talking!

Maybe because of my character mix up or because I just wasn't connecting with the story - I thought the characters were endearing and the story believable and interesting, but I just wasn't drawn to find out what was going to happen next.

Some people at book club empathazied with Larry, while I saw him as meek and a boy/man with very low self confidence. There were several times where I was trying to play therapist and give Larry some pep talks to buck up and confront the townspeople, but alas he just kept keeping on. I guess don't upset the apple cart!

Now without using too many more cliches, I am going to say that it was enjoyable, the writing was very descriptive, but not overbearing and it was worth picking up.

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

Pages: 274

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Well Rounded (mystery)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Life's a Beach by Claire Cook

Goodreads: Life's a bit of a beach these days for Ginger Walsh, who's single at forty-one and living back home in the family FROG (Finished Room Over Garage). She's hoping for a more fulfilling life as a sea glass artist, but instead is babysitting her sister's kids and sharing overnights with Noah, her sexy artist boyfriend with commitment issues and a dog Ginger's cat isn't too crazy about. Geri, her BlackBerry-obsessed sister, is also nearly over the deep end about her pending fiftieth birthday (and might just drag Ginger with her). Toss in a dumpster-picking father, a Kama Sutra T-shirt-wearing mother, a movie crew come to town with a very cute gaffer, an on-again-off-again glassblower boyfriend, plus a couple of Red Hat realtors, and hilarity ensues.

Kritters Thoughts: A story with woman who is trying to find her true passion while figuring out what her future will hold. The cast of characters was hilarious and entertaining - her family made the book even more enjoyable. As I have stated before, I have a sister and I enjoy reading about sister relationships - these two made me laugh out loud because I saw me and my sister a few years down the road in their shoes. As the sister obsessed about her upcoming birthday, I giggled as I may obsess about things in my life.

A love triangle which I always enjoy mdae this book a page turner. Sometimes I am sure which guy I want her to end up with and then I would flip a few pages and I was stumped - I had no clue which one would be the best in the end. Between the artsy glassblower and the methodical electrician from the movie set, I just couldn't decide who best fit her. As the story unfolded, I am glad the end came as it did and how it happened.

It may have beach in the title, but that isn't the only reason why I put this book into my beach read list. A light and easy great read that I would recommend to pack in your beach bag. NOTE - I don't have a clue why it was titled as such, didn't quite fit the story.

Rating:perfect beach read

Pages: 272

Cover Challenge April-June: Doubles

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review: Only Mine by Susan Mallery

Goodreads: You can't win if you don't play . . .

Her town's lack of men may make headlines, but it isn't news to Dakota Hendrix. The beautiful blonde has bigger problems to deal with, such as overseeing the romance reality competition filming in Fool's Gold. Screening eligible bachelors is a difficult enough task, but Dakota hits an unexcepted snag when a sexy stranger comes to town.

Finn Anderssen will do anything to keep his twin brothers - the perfect contestants - off the show. Despite Dakota's beetter judgement, she finds herself drawn to the mysterious outsider. Like her, Finn knows about heartbreak and how a family can fall apart, so she doesn't dare to hope for anything more than a fling. After all, even in the Land of Happy Endings, finding true love is never as easy as it looks on TV.

Kritters Thoughts: A mixed review for me on this book - on one hand I fell completely in love with the characters and the story, but the pages and pages of love scenes was at times uncomfortable and hard to read. Call me a prude, but I would have loved this book even more with a few pages omitted.

The story of an unlikely pair that from the beginning the sparks were flying, but they couldn't see them was written with such heart and truth. I became intrigued to hear more about this town full of women and the reality TV show that invaded it at every spot. The switching between characters to kept the story moving, but added depth.

Maybe I am a little naive or like my books to be a little PG13, but the sex in this book was very explicit and at times made me a little uneasy - I emailed my mom with a warning that you went in the bedroom and the characters' minds in this book.

So if you can handle the bedroom scenes, this book has a wonderful story of how life can take you down a different path, if you will only let it.

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

Pages: 384

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Review copy provided for an honest review by Little Bird Publicity.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: Blank Slate by Heather Justesen

Goodreads: Adrianna Mueller may be a world-renowned concert pianist, but when she wakes from her coma after a serious car accident, her ability to perform has disappeared as completely as her lost memory. As she recovers from her injuries, she struggles with the expectations of everyone - her family, friends, and fiance, Brock - who all want everything to go back to the way it was.

Everyone except Gavin Adrianna's brother's business partner, who finds himself drawn to the woman she is now. But he has his own problems. As he tries to get a handle on a former employee's embezzlement, he fights his growing feelings for Adrianna.

And then a trip to the emergency room shakes everything up, leaving her to stumble as she tries to regain her footing all over again.

Kritters Thoughts: A wonderful story full of heart and turmoil that makes you think about how much each person is defined by the people they surround themselves with and the skills and assets they have inherently. A slow start from the beginning, but once the story starts to unfold it is one book that is beyond hard to put down.

I was reminded of a true story where two college girls are in an accident and the one that lives is mistakenly taken care of the other girl's family. A heartbreaking story that may happen more often, but we just don't hear of it. How often are quick judgements made at the scene of accidents?

The characters were endearing and frustrating all at the same time. They were real to the core, which I found refreshing and beyond enjoyable. Their reactions to the situations they were put into was something that I can't rave enough about because I felt it was true each time.

I would recommend this book as a great read at just under 200 pages it is short, but a lot of punch is packed in this little novel.

Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 256

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Well-Rounded (women's fiction)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: The Social Climber's Handbook by Molly Jong-Fast

Goodreads: High society can be a killer.

Upper East Side socialite Daisy Greenbaum is accustomed to the finer things - designer clothes, summers in the Hamptons, elite private school educations for their daughters, and a staggeringly exclusive Park Avenue apartment. But Daisy finds her well-heeled lifestyle on precarious footing after her husband, master of the universe Dick Greenbaum, learns about some shady dealings that threaten his position at The Bank.

Daisy refuses to allow her family to slip down the social ladder, so she devises a madcap plan: Anyone who jeopardizes her place at the top will simply have to be dispatched - six feet under. From Dick's arrogant boss to his scheming former mistress to a pair of nosy bloggers, Daisy's hit list is a who's who of big names with even bigger secrets. But with the body count rising as the Dow Jones falls, can Daisy really get away with murder?

Kritters Thoughts: From the description of this book, I was excited to add it to my review pile. But after reading it, I am not so sure about it. With the excessive financial talk and the crazy lady killing, I just didn't enjoy it. I would put it in the genre of dark comedy and although some may enjoy it - not really my thing.

Rating:not such a good read

Pages: 240

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: JAS

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (31)

Another Monday has come upon us - I am hoping that this week holds a quieter week at work, so I can accomplish my large to do list and a quieter week at home, so I can dive into some great books for review and for pleasure.

A meme hosted by Book Journey.

Currently Reading:
Wicked by Sara Shepard

Only Mine by Susan Mallery

Next on the TBR pile:
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

In My Mailbox (39)

A quiet week in the mailbox and for shopping adventures, but no complaints here because my TBR pile is quite big! Sorry for the lack of vlog and pictures - a crazy week in my personal life and work life, so I am behind on blogging and reading.

A meme hosted by The Story Siren.

For Review:
After the Party by Lisa Jewell
Shut Up & Dance by James Rose
Telling Lies by Cathi Stoler

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Ramble: Signing with Jael McHenry

Another great event at One More Page bookstore - my local independent bookstore in Arlington, VA. Author, Jael McHenry spent time reading her book and then answering questions from the audience. I enjoyed hearing about her experience getting published - the ups and the downs. Especially her story as to how she ended up with the cover of The Kitchen Daughter, which I absolutely love.

After all the questions were answered, we were able to get our books signed and I was able to spend a moment chatting with her about the book and her research. I love the atmosphere at this small bookstore because I really get to have a moment with the author and don't feel like a number in a huge line.

I definitely enjoyed the event, it was a joyto meet her and spend some time at my favorite store!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster

Goodreads: Nine years ago, Molly Tanner witnessed a young girl's abduction in the busy city of Philadelphia, shifting her occasional clairvoyance into overdrive. Two days later, the girl's body was found, and Molly's life fell apart. Consumed by guilt, Molly escaped the torturous reminders in the city, fleeing to the safety of the close-knit rural community of Boyds, Maryland.

Molly's life is back on track, her son has begun college, and she and her husband have finally rekindled their relationship. Their fresh start is shattered when a seven-year-old girl disappears from a local park near Molly's home. Unable to turn her back on another child and troubled by memories of the past, Molly sets out to find her, jeopardizing the marriage she'd fought so hard to hold together. While unearthing clues and struggling to decipher her visions, Molly discovers another side of Boyds, where the residents - and the land itself - hold potentially lethal secrets, and exposes another side of her husband, one that threatens to tear them apart.

Kritters Thoughts: A gripping novel that will keep you in your seat reading until the whee hours because you MUST find out how it will all unfold. A story of 3 lost girls and the woman who has visions as to their whereabouts and how they ended up stolen from their families. A suspenseful book with just a hint of some paranormal twists. I definitely had a hard time putting this one down when it was beyond my bed time! There were a few slow spots that I would have speed up a bit and a lot of searching in the woods for the little girl, but as a whole this book sped along like a train.

I think the one thing that I absolutely loved was the description of the characters and places. I could really picture each character and feel their personalities - they became lifelike. The setting - Boyds, MD was unqiue and described with such detail that I felt as though I could picture it right in front of me. A distinct city with a rural setting that allowed for certain events to occur that could never have happened anywhere else.

As with every suspense, I rate a book as to how far in advance I find out who dun it or if they are in the story at all. I think I realized the captor at the best moment, because I spent the rest of the book trying to confirm my hunches. A perfect amount of hints were given along the way, but nothing too blatant.

A suspenseful book that is definitely worth the grab. A book for both genders and most ages to read whether it be in the middle of summer or curled up in the winter.
Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 377

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Real or Not

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: Inappropriate Men by Stacey Ballis

Goodreads: Sidney Stein (size 24) is as ready for sex as the next woman, but her husband, Mark, hasn't been interested in years. Love-starved Sidney then falls for inappropriate man No. 2, her father's business partner, with whom she begins an illicit affair, only to break it off when she realizes he will never, ever leave his wife. "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it," said Oscar Wilde, quoted in one of the chapter headers, and Sidney does just that, plunging into a new world of email dating, phone sex, and more.

Kritters Thoughts: Short and simple - did not like this one. Way too much language, sex and the like. I was just darn annoyed that a married woman honestly started an affair with another guy.

If you are a fan of the vulgar, this one is for you.

Rating: not such a good read

Pages: 352

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: RDI

Off the Shelf Challenge 2011: 16 of 50

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Post - Melissa Foster author of Chasing Amanda

Melissa Foster - author of both Megan's Way and Chasing Amanda and founder of The Women's Nest. A current resident of Maryland, with another book almost complete - Come Back to Me. She is back on the blog with a guest post for her blog tour for Chasing Amanda.

Without further ado - here is Melissa Foster.

How Reading Makes Me a Better Writer

Reading is fundamental - that's what teachers have been touting for years. I've never questions the prospect of reading being essential. I've been a reader since I was just a tyke. I've preached the importance of reading to all of my children, and can't imagine how many hours would be empty if reading was not a part of our lives. What I hadn't really thought about was how reading would make me a better writer.

I'm often asked who my favorite author is and what books I have enjoyed. My standard answer is that I have many favorite authors, and that I glean something from every book that I read. This is true, and I will explain why.

Even those books that may not have a storyline that I find compelling offer something that I can learn from. Whether I'm picking up on different ways to describe scenarios or characters, or learning which writing styles I might want to steer away from - it all helps to enhance my writing. Increased vocabulary is another benefit to reading. I always have my handy-dandy electronic dictionary nearby to look up words I may not have heard of before.

Another advantage of reading is to enjoy the escape. Believe it or not, even writes need an escape from writing, and time to rejuvenate our own thoughts.

The next time you hear that reading is fundamental, I hope you will smile and think to yourself, What can I learn from this book?

Interested in writing, or simply want to chat about books? Drop me an email: thinkhappygirl (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Thank you to Melissa for sharing her thoughts. I am a reader and a blogger and always love to hear about other's thoughts on reading and the impacts it can have throughout one's life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blogfest Giveaway Winner

Congrats to Alex Connolly for winning my Blogfest 2011 Giveaway!

Review: The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

Goodreads: Be careful what you wish for. A small town librarian lives a quiet life without much excitement. One day, she mutters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks it into a new beginning.

She goes in search of Lazarus Jones, a fellow survivor who was struck dead, then simply got up and walked away. Perhaps this stranger who has seen death face to face can teach her to live without fear. When she finds him, he is her opposite, a burning man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both are forced to hide their most dangerous secrets - what turned one to ice and the other to fire.

Kritters Thoughts: A book that flowed like a stream consciousness - which unfortunately I wasn't a fan of. The story overall was intriguing, but because of the writing style, it wasn't my favorite.

The use of strong adverbs made me fall in love with her descriptions of the "effects" of lightning strike survivors. I adored the relationship between the brother and sister and how the early death of their mother affected the both of them in two totally different ways. But through these likes, I still had a hard time reading and enjoying this one.

I would only recommend this book to those who love things that are artsy. Imagery and visualization would be key when reading this book.

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

Pages: 211

Cover Challenge April-June: The Royal Flush

Off the Shelf Challenge 2011: 13 of 50

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell

Goodreads: Lipstick Jungle weaves the stories of Nico O'Neilly, Wendy Healy and Victory Ford, numbers 8, 12 and 17 on The New York Post's list of "New York's 50 Most Powerful Women."

But this 21st Century New York, and to get ahead and stay ahead, these women will do anything, including jeopardizing their personal and professional relationships. Take for example, Nico, editor-in-chief of Bonfire magazine, who betrays her boss to rise to the top of the entire magazine division at media mega-giant Splatch-Verner. As president of Paradour Pictures, Wendy may be poised to win an Oscar for her 10-year labor-of-love, Ragged Pilgrims, but her marriage is in shambles and her children care more about a $50,000 pony than their mother. And for single, 43-year-old fashion designer Victory, pleasing tough critics may be more important than ever finding the real relationship she's convinced herself she doesn't need.

Kritters Thoughts: First, I must admit that I haven't had the pleasure of reading Sex and the City, so this is my first adventure with Candace Bushnell. I thoroughly enjoyed this book with three females as the center. I loved that each character was unique, but their friendships with each other were genuine and I could imagine how they became friends and why they stayed friends.

A story of their adventures in New York and the trials that women face. I absolutely adored how the women in this story were successful and powerful. It was interesting to read how the men in their life reacted to their successes. I enjoy reading books were the men are put into a different position and how the dynamics of the family must change due to the role reversals.

A great chick lit that made me want to continue reading Candace Bushnell. A must read for all chick lit fans.

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

Pages: 496

Cover Challenge April-June: All Made Up

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (30)

A Monday that starts the longest week at work. 11 new employees start on Monday, visitors in the office on Thursday and the board will be in the office on Friday, I saw all this because it means that this week will be super crazy. And on top of all of this - the boy starts his first week of on the job training on the evening shift, so life is just taking me for a wild ride. I hope I can hold tight for now.

A meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Currently Reading:

Unbelievable by Sara Shepard

Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster (got sidetracked on this one, starting it again - so good)

Next on the TBR pile:

Wicked by Sara Shepard

Blank Slate by Heather Justesen

In My Mailbox (38)

A very fun two weeks in my mailbox and a few bags from my mom and Aunt Gloria. It is always fun to get a note from my aunt with books that she has read and is ready to pass on. And then to meet up with my mom for an author signing and get two grocery bags - always a good time!

Just some pictures this week, as this weekend is jam packed and I have quite a lot of reading to get to for the next month!

A meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

For Review:
That Day in September by Artie Van Why
Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

The Orphan Sister by Gwendolen Gross

Paperbackswap or Bookmooch:
Pushing 30 by Whitney Gaskell

Gifts from my Mom and Aunt Gloria:
Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews
Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson
Bufflehead Sisters by Patricia J DeLois
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Shadow Baby by Alison McGhee
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg
All He Ever Wanted by Anita Shreve

What was in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review: Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson

Goodreads: She wanted to die. God had other plans.

Overwhelmed by wave after wave of emotional trauma, Kristen Anderson no longer wanted to live. One January night, determined to end her pain once and for all, the seventeen-year-old lay across train tracks not far from her home and waited to die.

Instead of peace, she found herself immersed in a whole new nightmare.

Before the engineer could bring the train to a stop, thirty-three freight cars passed over her at fifty-five miles per hour. After the train stopped and Kristen realized she was still alive, she looked around - and saw her legs ten feet away.
Surviving her suicide attempt but losing her legs launched Kristen into an even deeper battle with depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as unrelenting physical pain - all from the seat of a wheelchair. But in the midst of her darkest days, Kristen discovered the way to real life and a purpose for living.

Kritters Thoughts: An emotional story that from the very beginning is hard to hear, but well worth the read. A young woman who while a teen decides that her life isn't worth living and through a last minute thought lays herself down on railroad tracks. As she is telling the story - we all know she survives, but to hear her story about recuperating and living a different life is beyond interesting.

Whether you believe in the healing power of Christ and that God can intercede into daily lives, this book is worth the read to understand how depression can hit when you least expect and how far down one may go. It was refershing to hear a true story where she battled depression and had ups and downs - but life did end up on the up.

To parents of teens - this may be a rough ride because you may become overly cautious about the signs you could possibly see in your own teen. To the non parents, this is still a story for you about how depression can take hold of someone and send them down a road that no one would suspect.

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

Pages: 202

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: JAS

Friday, July 15, 2011

Review: Confessions of a Call Center Gal by Lisa Lim

Goodreads: Madison Lee is a fresh college grad, ready to take on the world of print media. But she has zero luck landing a job. Unemployment is at ten percent and on the rise. Desperate and left with no other options, she accepts a position as a service rep at a call center in Pocatello, Idaho. At the Lightning Speed call center in Spudsville, Maddy plunges into the wild and dysfunctional world of customer service where Sales is prided over Service and an eight hour shift is equivalent to eight hours of callers bashing her over the phone. Oh sure, the calls are bad. But Maddy manages to find humor on the phone and off the phone. And with all the salacious drama behind the calls, there is never a dull moments at the Lightning Speed call center. Lately . . . Maddy has been pining for her smolderingly gorgeous co-worker Mika Harket. Now things are heating up on the phone - and elsewhere.

Kritters Thoughts: A hilarious comedy with some snark and punk. I fell in love with our maine character Maddison from the very beginning and just couldn't wait to find out where she was headed. Her fun adventure included curious characters, a prime location - the dreadful floor of a customer service call center and witty banter. I flipped right through the pages wanting to know what kind of caller would be on the line next or what insane corporate mandate would come down the pipeline.

I have some quasi call center experience from a previous job and boy was it fun, the characters that I spoke with on the phone. Just ask my cubie mate Maria, man we had some doosies! But I digress. I laughed completely out loud at some of the calls she took both from how crazy people can be to the reality that there are people out there who makes these kinds of calls every day. I gained some perspective on how far being nice on the phone can get you somewhere with a customer service agent.

Lim's characters were both funny and heartwarming. It was such fun to get to know each character and I loved how true and geniune they each were down to their bones. I think I have one of each in my life! I think she correctly described the people that we can all interact with on the job whether we want to or not!

Although I didn't read this at the beach, I think this would be a perfect addition to the beach bag this summer - a cute and light read that will keep you laughing throughout. I may have been reminded a little of Jennifer Lancaster's spunky humor, but I will never compare one author truly to another!

Rating: perfect beach read

Pages: 259

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Numerology, Part 2

BlogFest 2011


Welcome to BlogFest 2011!

I will be giving away a great chick lit price pack to include:

2books - Declaring Spinsterhood by Jamie Lynn Braziel

101 Reasons to Shop by Jessica Waldorf

and a fun scarf that will go with any outfit!

Just fill out the form below to be entered into this giveaway.

Giveaway ends at midnight on July 17th.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

It's not Wednesday, but her bday was yesterday and I had a post scheduled, so a little delayed!

Happy Birthday to Miss Charlotte -

the best reading partner, tv critic, and pup a girl could have had for a roommate for 6 months!

(she is still with us, she was just demoted to pup since the boy is home from the academy)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: Unleashed by Emily Kimelman

Goodreads: Joy Humbolt is not a huge fan of people and after getting fired from her latest stint as a barrista she is becoming dangerously close to unemployable. So when Charlene Miller offers Joy her dog-walking business on the exclusive upper east side of Manhattan, Joy is happy to accept, despite a suspiciously quick transaction. But Joy's world is turned upside down when she discovers one of her clients murdered and Charlene gone. Joy can not help but become caught up in her employers lives.

With the help of a rouge Police Detective Joy enters her clients sphere of power and influence searching for the killer. Usually a loner, Joy is disturbed by how much she likes it in their world. These people make the rules but are not bound by them. When tragedy strikes IT becomes clear just how much Joy shares with those she is meant to serve.

Kritters Thoughts: A roller coaster ride that ends up with a few dead, but our heroine on a completely different career path. The twists and turns were fun to follow, while you chase after Joy as she hunts down a killer. Through an undercover NYC S&M club to a few gay and lesbian bars - this story took the reader through every neighborhood in New York City.

I loved the peaks and valleys of the story, from high intensity chase scenes in underground tunnels to the slow moments where she is trying to figure out her next step, it was all believeable and a fun ride. At times I was wondering how everyone was connected, but I believe in the end the puzzle pieces all matched.

The one change I would make was the chapters - at times choppy and short, I didn't understand the spacing of when a story ended and the next began. At the same time I loved how each chapter had a name - what a fun addition which you rarely see.

A great thrill ride for those who are not faint of heart. A little gore and some language may keep few readers at bay - but those who like a fun ride will definitely enjoy this one.

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

Pages: 326

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Numerology, Part One

Wedding Writer Giveaway

Congrats to Michelle Lawrence the winner of

The Wedding Writer Giveaway!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review: Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

Goodreads: The lives of four very different women intertwine in unexpected ways in this new novel by bestselling author Jennifer Weiner. Each woman has a problem: Princeton senior Jules Wildgren needs money to help her dad cure his addiction; Pennsylvania housewife Annie Barrow is gasping to stay financially afloat; India Bishop yearns to have a child, an urge that her stepdaughter Bettina can only regard with deeply skepticism until she finds herself in a most unexpected situation.

Kritters Thoughts: Another great story by Jennifer Weiner. A story with women at the center and the issue of bearing child - whether the inability or the women who help those who can't, I felt that this book was a great tribute to how women can create communities with very little in common. With each chapter based on a different character - it was easy and enjoyable to get to know each one and then see their stories mix and mingle.

A topic that is still working on becoming acceptable as conservation - infertility and everything that is involved in it. Suragocy, egg donation and the inability to have children is the center of each of these women's stories and I have always be intrigued by this subject that women have to deal with it on a daily basis. Some women worry that their significant other may leave them if they can't have children and some have worries when it comes to trying to help. I think this is a topic that we should continue to talk about because with each conversation the stigma will slowly diminish and women can feel more confidant in the decisions that they may have to make to create a family.

Without spoiling too much, there was one part of the book that my conservative friends and followers may not be too keen on. If you are one of those - please keep reading, the whole of the story is way more impactful while bypassing one part.

Another bestseller from Jennifer Weiner that will be enjoyed by women of all ages.

Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 400

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Brand Spankin' New

*Review copy provided by Simon and Schuester Galley Grab.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: Lot's Return to Sodom by Sandra Brannan

Goodreads: The Strugis Motorcycle Rally is no place for button-downed citizens - unless they're trying to hide a murder.

Sharp-witted Liv Bergen can't avoid becoming embroiled in murders, it seems. Her family's hometown of Sturgis, South Dakota, is quickly becoming the Sodom of the Black Hills during the dog days of summer as it hosts the infamous rally of grizzled hard-core motorcycle bikers - half a million of them. Crime comes too close for comfort when Liv must solve the mystery of a beautiful young townie to clear her brother's name.

Live witnesses the vile death of another young woman, and during her investigation of both crimes she attracts the uninvited attentions of the menacing leader of Lucifer's Lot - the baddest of the bad biker gangs. Her quick wit and pragmatic thinking are all that stands between her and certain elimination.

FBI Agent Streeter Pierce is back on the trail, working undercover to find the murderer and a shadow criminal called the Crooked Man. When he and Liv cross paths, sparks are flying, literally.

Kritters Thoughts: Another great Liv Bergen mystery. A little less gore, but definitely left me on my seat trying to figure out who the killer was and the hows and the whys. Again I spent the entire book trying to narrow down my options to find the killer at right towards the end I had two in mind, but the clues sent you a different way. Again the killer was in the book the entire time and didn't come out of left field - love it.

Brannan expertly loops her character Bergen into this next investigation. This book begins just after the completion of the first book and her therapy from her injuries. I absolutely believed the way she ended up in the middle of this investigation and felt as though it was completely smartly done.

Something that may be minor, but I enjoyed was that this book could be a stand alone. There were a few references to book number 1, but I felt as though anyone could grab this second in the series and enjoy it on its own.

I think any reader who loves the suspense and wants to piece together the puzzle to finish with a killer that no one would have guessed in the beginning would enjoy this one. I am anxiously awaiting for the next appearance of Liv Bergen.
Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 288

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: J A S

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (29)

Another Monday is upon us and this week may be a long one - with a family dinner on Monday and book club at One More Page on Tuesday, I may be zonked by Wednesday! So for this week, this is what is on my reading agenda.

A meme hosted by The BookJourney.

Currently Reading:

Unleashed by Emily Kimelman

Next off the TBR pile:

Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster

Review: In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannon

Goodreads: The first in a series, the book expertly lays the groundwork for Liv Bergen, amateur sleuth, and her love interest, FBI Agent Streeter Pierce. Liv becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of Jill Brannigan, a summer intern at the limestone mine Liv manages near Fort Collins, Colorado (a breathtaking setting that unwittingly becomes an accessory to crime). In doing so, she inadvertantly puts her friends, her family, and herself at risk of being swallowed in the belly of a madman bloated with perverse appetites for women, surrealistic art, and renown. Perhaps a bit too daring (and at times irreverent) for her own good, "Boots" as Liv's eight siblings call her, soon realizes she has a knack for outsmarting and tracking down the Venus de Milo murderer - and she enjoys it! As the gripping plot of In the Belly of Jonah unfolds, Liv Bergen takes her place alongside the best female crime-solvers as a woman with smarts, self-confidence, and intuitive savvy.

Kritters Thoughts: What a thriller! I have had this book on my shelf with the sequel for a few weeks and I was just able to work it into the schedule. A woman in the mining industry who is holding her own amongst the men ends up in the middle of not one but two murder investigations that are clearly linked, but how?

With each thriller/suspense that I read I love the genre even more. This one definitely held up to those big name suspense authors. A little on the gory side, but packed full of who dun its. I found myself in the middle of the book waffling between two characters and I just couldn't put my finger on the real culprit. I loved this. Nothing irks me more than the person who is the killer only popping up in the end of the book with no way to guess of his involvement.

Brannan effortlessly weaves the killer in and out of the reader's thoughts, while giving hints but no definite clues. A must read for those who love a good suspense but watch out because the reader has a bird's eye view when the murders occur.

Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 288

Off the Shelf Challenge 2011: 15 of 50

Friday, July 8, 2011

Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Goodreads: To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Kritters Thoughts: Another book that I delayed reading due to all the hype that preceded its release and after the release. I am glad I waited, but absolutely thrilled that the ladies of one of my book clubs picked this book out to read this year. I didn't read any of the reviews before diving in.

Now onto my review - A heart wrenching tale of a mother who is trying with all her might to protect her son from her kidnapper, but at the same time keeping him from knowing what is in the outside world that he is missing. Esentially she has made a world for him so he doesn't understand that his situation is different from anyone else's "normal." Some may think this weird of her - I find her to be heroic to not expose her son to the reality of the world they are trapped in while making sure that is enjoying their current status.

Without spoiling the ending for those of you who have not had the opportunity to pick this one up - the second half is very different from the first. I am still struggling as to which half I enjoyed more.

Because this book is written from Jack's perspective, the story is much easier to handle. At times I had a difficulty understanding what he was describing because I couldn't always get his 5 year old mind set and language. As I don't have children, I may not react to this book as my mom and sister will, but I think both groups should read and will enjoy this one.

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

Pages: 321

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Happy Birthday!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green

Goodreads: In a world where nothing is certain, a little magic couldn't hurt . . . right?

When Erin Channing's favorite aunt dies, Erin is bequeathed a pink crystal ball and a set of weird instructions. Granted, Aunt Kiki (aka Aunt Kooky) always lived "outside the box." But now Erin and her two best friends are convinced that the pink crystal ball holds the key to their future- or at least the key to getting dates . . . .

Consider your fate to be sealed . . .

Kritters Thoughts: A cute read worth grabbing off the bookshelf. A girl is given "power" through a crystal ball where she can help change her future, thanks to her aunt who has recently passed away. I fell in love with this YA book from start to finish.

An easy read with a main character and sub characters that grab your attention from the first page. I was drawn to these three girls and loved their differences, but knew their friendship was genuine even with their different family backgrounds. I loved the ups and downs of the plot that seemed realistic, yet with a twist of magic the story kept evolving.

The play on "Mean Girls" was a great addition to the plot. The dueling girl groups with funny nicknames were hilarious and the voodoo dolls and trickery between them was just fun to read.

A great light girlie read that was perfect for a day by the pool.

Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 320

Cover Challenge April-June: Bling! Bling!

Off the Shelf Challenge 2011: 14 of 50

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