Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

A pic of me and the boy from my mimi's funeral.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Shut Up & Dance by Jamie Rose

Book Cover:  At forty-five, Jamie Rose was an independent, take-charge woman whose career as an actor was going nicely, with frequent roles on hit television shows and in films.  Although she was ready to get married, her boyfriend wasn't.  His reason?  They fought too much - and unfortunately, he was right.  But something magical happened when she signed up for tango lessons, she began to understand that letting someone else take the lead from time to time wasn't giving up, but rather, letting go.   

Kritters Thoughts:  A book that combines two things that interest me, dancing and relationship advice.  As a dancer for most of my childhood and teen years, I love dancing more than most things.  I may admit to watching Dancing with the Stars and just wishing that I was a former star, so I could grace that stage with the costumes and dance combinations.  So when I heard about a book that uses dance as a platform to convey relationship advice, I was more than intrigued.

From the beginning, she had me hooked because I felt like she was talking about me - hard headed, stubborn and a woman who wants to find herself in control all of the time - yep that's me!  Thankful for my single years, which made me who I am, they may have also made me a little more self sufficient and needing of control.  Through her book, I realized that following the boy's "lead" doesn't mean I am giving up control, it just means we are moving together as a unit as we should be.

I would absolutely recommend this book to the ladies of my generation who had a time being single and may have become used to being in control of all the decisions of their lives.  We are a generation that didn't go straight from college to married life, but instead we are creating our own homes before we get into relationships - because of this we may not be the most accomodating to "someone" invading our homes and lives! 

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

Pages:  240

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Time for a Change

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: LA Woman by Cathy Yardley

Goodreads:  A girl who has done something that is not all that uncommon...moved to a new city for a guy who wasn't worth it. She moves to L.A. and changes her whole life in anticipation of marriage to her business-minded fiance, Benjamin. After continual stalling on Ben's part to join her, Sarah eventually snaps and dumps him. According to her new roommate, Martika, Sarah is in the perfect place to start a new life -- L.A. Before she knows it, Sarah has become Martika's project, getting pulled headlong into a crazy, chaotic world of nightclubs and day jobs, where the only constant is change.

Kritters Thoughts:  With a little hesitation, I pick up chick lit because I have to be in the mood for light and fluffy.  Although this quintessential chick lit, it had heart and soul that made it more than just a girlie read.  A story centered around a girl who makes the decision to "follow" or rather move to a new city - L.A., where her long-term fiance is said to follow.  Will he ever move and will they ever get married?  The ultimate questions.

As a girl who has decided to move with a boy, it takes some courage, guts and many conversations to confirm that this is the best decision both for yourself and the both of you as a couple.  Not recommended for everyone, but if done right, it can build a solid foundation.  Off the soap box - I loved this book, even if I had to read it in mass market form!  

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

Pages:  288

Off the Shelf Challenge: 19 out of 50

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Red Dress Ink

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (36)

An interesting week in weather in VA - an earthquake and a hurricane, we survived it all.  I had some great reading this past week and got myself a little ahead of the reviewing schedule, now to just stay ahead is the goal!

A meme hosted by The Book Journey.

Currently Reading:
LA Woman by Cathy Yardley

Next off the TBR pile:
When No One is Watching by Joseph Hayes

In My Mailbox (43)

A quiet week in the mailbox, which was quite alright as I still have a list more than a mile long to read and review!  Here is what came across my threshold this week:

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Paperbackswap or Bookmooch:
Burning the Map by Laura Caldwell
Lucky Girl by Fiona Gibson

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Ramble - an earthquake in VA?

Yes, you may have heard through one of many media outlets, there was an earthquake real close to my house on Tuesday.  I know I am just now getting to share my story - between the earthquake, a hurricane, friends having babies and a corporate retreat that is just over a month and a half away, my work has been coming home with me. 

Back to the earthquake, I work on the 14th floor of a building in Tysons Corner, VA and as I was cleaning up our board room - the shaking began. 

I share all of this to also share the below pictures of the ceiling tiles that were hanging right near my desk. 

As far as damage at our house - I had a picture wall that looked a little cock eyed and some books that fell off a shelf, but nothing was lost.  The boy was home with the pup, so she was not alone when our place did a little shaking.  She loves to bark at thunder and has no fear, so I just wonder what she was thinking when the ground beneath did a little shaking.  And just for kicks - a great pic of my reading partner and four-legged cuddler!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Goodreads:  Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own.  And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them.  Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends.  Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn't take.  Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can't seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await.  And indeed, it will change their lives forever - but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

Kritters Thoughts:  As a fan of the series - The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, although I was just beyond the usual age group, I was ecstatic to hear another book would be coming to finish the series.  What a finish. 

As excited as I was to read this book, the timing at which I picked it up was less than ideal.  A book that I took along with me on my Nookster as I headed out of town for my grandmother's funeral.  As a spoiler to the plot line for this book - one of the girls will die, but I will keep you guessing as to which character we have to say goodbye to.  In this book, as many have said the tone is different because they have to deal with the death of a close friend, who is more like a sister.  A somber tone to my already somber week, wasn't the greatest decision. 

But in the same breath, I appareciated reading it where because as you revisit the girls in a new place in their lives, they are each battling with life decisions and just at the same age as I am now.  It was refreshing to meet the girls who I had met awhile ago and see them at the same point in the road that I am at. 

I loved this ending to the series.  Although with a more mellow note than the rest of the books, the endeavors they shared fit with their childhood shells and as an adult I felt that their journeys were complete.

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

Pages:  349

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Name Game

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: Why I Love Singlehood by Elisa Lorello

Goodreads: Eva Perino is single and proud of it. So pround, in fact, that she regularly boasts about it in her blog, "Why I Love Singlehood." But upon learning of her ex-boyfriend's engagement, Eva discovers her foundation is weaker than her facade. So begins a clumsy (and occassionally uproarious) search for love as she secretly joins an online dating site, tries her hand at speed-dating, and gets involved with one of the regulars at her coffee shop, The Grounds. But the self-prescribed "experiment" quickly unravels as Eva witnesses the trials and tribulations of her best friend Minerva's marriage, her sister's suburban family, her manager Norman's possible crush on her, and the one guy she can't seem to stop thinking about. Soon Eva's simple search for a date becomes a deeper exploration of love - sexual, platonic, and familial - and a powerful examination of who (or what) is the true love of her life.

Kritters Thoughts:  A wonderful bright and easy chick lit read.  I completely consumed this book in two sittings each by the pool!  The book centers around a women in her early thirties who owns a coffee shop in a small college town.  Within her coffee shop are regular customers who had some spice to the story, each of them have their own plotline that adds to the overall story.  Eva is stuck in a relationship rut when she finds out that her ex is now engaged. 

With three men vying for her attention, it was pure joy to read and try to guess who she may end up with.  Sadly, I was wrong, but that made it even more fun and a lot less predictable.  I will not divulge as to whom she ends up with, but I will say that it was more than fun to see one of the men end up as a friend and just a friend. 

The writing and word choice were light and fun.  I felt as though it was Eva's true voice within each page.  As some chick lit books read, the character can be whiny and depressing - this was not that kind of read.  She was intelligent, successful and unsure as to whether a man would even fit in her life. 

I think young and old, married and single will enjoy this one.  A classy read with heart and depth.

Rating:  absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages:  356

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: On TV

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Little Bird Publicity.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Pretty Little Liars 7-8 by Sara Shepard

Goodreads: Hanna, Aria, Emily and Spencer have been telling some outrageous tales; only, the proof always seems to go missing.  The friends insist they're telling the truth, but all of Rosewood thinks they're just out for attention - and nobody likes a girl who cries wolf.  So when the big bad killer comes after them, will anyone believe the girls . . . or will they be the next to disappear?

Kritters Thoughts:  Another great set of books in the Pretty Little Liars series.  To make it short and sweet - I felt that at the end of Wanted it had come to a great conclusion, so I did some research.  I found that this was to be the end of the series.  Apparently as the tv show gained attention 3 books were added to the end of the series, so I decided to end my reading at book 8 - Wanted.

In conclusion of the series, I absolutely loved it.  It was perfect to read by the pool during the summer, nice and easy reading. 

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Heartless pages:  274
Wanted pages:  261

July-Sept 2011 Challenge:  Heartless: Starstruck
                                                Wanted: Going Paperpless

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: Pretty Little Liars Series 4-6 by Sara Shepard

Goodreads: Sometimes lies come back to bite you. In the case of four pretty little Pennsylvania liars, the chomp really hurts. For years, cutie Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily have survived and thrived with nifty prevarications; now, in this series clincher, it's time for them to 'fess up - or pay the piper!

Kritters Thoughts:  Call me a fan!  I have fallen even deeper into this series and with each book, I can't wait to find out more clues to eithe confirm or deny my guesses.  I think I could be close, but really I have no clue and I love it.

The writing has been so addictive.  It is easy to slip into the story after reading a book between and I found myself immersed in the hunt for A and the killer.  With each book, I hope to be closer and then at the end I find myself no closer, yet no further away from the truth.  As stated before, there is some repetitiveness to each book because as the story develops Shepard repeats clues from previous books, but it can be easily bypassed.  

As I still haven't started watching the series, I am intrigued as to how close to the characters they follow and if the intricacies of the story are apparent on screen.  Maybe a show I will check out soon, but I definitely want to complete my reading before I begin my viewing. 

I think this series can be enjoyed by all ages as the mystery is the heart of the story.  As they are high schoolers, the drama is obviously at that level, but I don't think the story is any lower due to their ages.

Rating:  absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Unbelievable Pages: 352
Wicked Pages: 320
Killer Pages: 320

July-Sept 2011 Challenge:  Unbelievable: Well Rounded (YA)
                                                 Wicked: To Be Young Again
                                                  Killer: Going Green

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Pretty Little Liars Books 1-3 by Sara Shepard

Goodreads: Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their cycle? Worse yet: Is Alison back?

Kritters Thoughts: A great series with some suspense but with a YA twist. To review this series, I am going to group the books in sets of 3. As I think, that reviewing each book may be a little excessive.

Reading a series basically in a row - I have a fear that there will be reptition in the story as the author tries to remind the reader what happened in previous books. My thoughts in regards to this series, yes there is repeating of facts in each book, but not to an extreme. As I read them one after another, I was a little annoyed, but if I had read them with space in between it probably wouldn't have hurt to be reminded of some of the events that occured in previous books.

These characters are funny and endearing - I grew to love them and hate them all at the same time. Each one was unique, but I could really see Ali as the glue that kept all these girls connected. As the books continued I loved trying my hand at figuring out not only who A was, but also who the killer was. At the close of book 3, I had some thoughts, but my guesses were less than educated!

I would recommend this series to young and old alike - a great summer read. I have enjoyed going from one book to the next trying to find out the who dun its and their motives.

I have unofficially decided to read one easy YA series or set of books each summer, so last year was Gossip Girl and this year it was Pretty Little Liars.
Rating:perfect beach read

Pretty Little Liars Pages: 286

Flawless Pages: 330

Perfect Pages: 298

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Pretty Little Liars - End/Start

Flawless - Stuck in the Middle
Perfect - Stuck in the Middle

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (35)

Another Monday has come and this should be an interesting one in many ways - more to share on this on a later date!  I will be working hard at the office on our annual corporate retreat - Nashville bound!  I am hoping to get a little more reading done this week compared to last week.  It became quite the busy week!

A meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Currently Reading:
Missing in Mexico by Stuart Gustafson
Telling Lies by Cathi Stoler

Next off the TBR pile:
Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (42)

A great week full of reviews, wins, and a small shopping trip.  I also had some free time to shot the vlog - sorry for Miss Charlotte's instance on being a part of the party.

A meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Barnes and Noble run:
Art of Social War by Jodi Wing
Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch

For Review:
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Just My Type by Simon Garfield
Unforseen Fears by H William Gruchow

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens
The Devil Colony by James Rollins
The Bond by Wayne Pacelle
Little Princes by Conor Grennan
Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank

What came in your mailbox?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: Rally 'Round Green by Judy Christie

Goodreads: Lois and Chris are eager to settle into a calm married life, but that won't happen. While Green continues to recover from a horrendous tornado, the state of Louisiana announces plans to close Green's schools, citing poor academic performance and the area's shrinking population. Lois and Chris know the loss will crush the community and harm students forced to travel more than an hour to classes.

Despite warnings from her coach husband, Lois gets in the middle of the controversy, butting heads with a new teacher, who appears to be a spy for bureaucrats, and pushing the state Legislature with Mayor Eva and Molly, who walks to Baton Rouge in protest. The hotshot consultant sent in to monitor the school is none other than Mayor Eva's long-ago, almost-forgotten ex-husband, mixing up Eva's renewed friendship with Dub McCuller. The district's legal woes bring attorney Terrence to town, much to Dr. Kevin's delight. The highway continues to creep forward, raising more doubts about the future of Green, and Lois learns that to make lasting changes, she will have to refuse to conform but be transformed.

Kritters Thoughts: A cute little read about a small town that is in a fight to save the school that provides the entertainment and social center for the community. Coming from a very small town, three stop lights in all, I related closely to the ability for a school to be the heart of a community and without that school the community would fall apart.

An extremely large cast of characters which at times were very hard to keep straight. I almost made a cheat sheet to remind me who was married to whom, who was fighting with whom, and where each of them worked. I think this was the key aspect that made it hard for me to fall absolutely in love with the book. Everytime I set it down, it was even harder to pick up because I just wasn't sure where everyone stood in the context of the main character Lois.

A christian fiction that didn't beat me over the head with its bible verses and messages to urge the reader to "come to jesus." I enjoyed that this book was sweet and thoughtful, but not crazy christian fiction as some stories can become. A great read for the beach, but please start at the beginning of this series as it may help with the merry cast of characters.

As I was finishing this book, I found out it was the 4th book in a series, so I will have to go found the first three and read them now - such a bummer.
Rating:enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages: 256

Cover Challenge April-June: Me, Myself & I

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book via NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review: Repairing Rainbows by Lynda Fishman

Goodreads: At thirteen years old, Lynda's life comes to a disastrous halt when her mother and two younger sisters are killed in a plane crash. Her father, overcome with despair, simply continues to exist, in a state devoid of hope. After burying a wife and two young children at the age of 44, the overwhelming responsibility of raising a daughter along completely immbolizes him.

Teetering on that tender brink between childhood and adolescence, Lynda faces the responsibility of a father in a complete state of shock, a house to take care of and hundreds of decisions about how to proceed with their shattered lives.

Kritters Thoughts:  A heartbreaking story that from the beginning pulls you in to want to hear from the beginning the full tragedy, which allows you to completely enjoy the extreme hope.  I was swept in because she had the ability to easily switch from telling the current events to jumping into the past to share a tidbit which provided depth and back story that was both enjoyable and informative.

Fortunately, I have not experienced such a tragedy, so to hear a story where she can end peacefully with a family and fulfillment, it made me completely emotional.  I recently lost my grandmother, so to read this story of loss (extreme loss) I found it interesting to see each "character's" reaction to the experience.  I had a heart for this girl who was still trying to grow up, but was left without a stable adult to lead and guide her through both her adolescence and her grief.

This book is not for the faint of heart, it is a definite ride through the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.  As someone who is reading memoirs more frequently, I would put this at the top of your list to read and enjoy.

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

Pages: 277

This book was provided for review by Tribute Books.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from the author in conjunction with Tribute Book tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Interview with author Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is the author of both Ralph's Party and After the Party, which I recently reviewed both in the last few days. She is also the author of many british chick lits. As a resident of London, she writes about the neighborhoods that surround her, which as a reader makes it feel all that more real.

Blessed with the opportunity to send her some questions, let's begin . . .

1. What do you find yourself rambling about?

I'm not much of a rambler. The only writing I do apart from my books is a daily e-mail to my friend Jenny who is also a writer and lives in France. We ramble on about our children and our friends and our husbands and our writing.

2. When looking at your female leads, do you put a piece of your own personality into the character?

Not that I'm completely aware of, though it's hard to put thoughts into the head of a fictional being without some of your own getting in there too.

3. Ralph's Party and After the Party were great brit chick lit books. Have you written anything or wanted to write another genre?

I would quite like to write a psychological thriller at some point, or maybe a murder mystery. Maybe the next one. The book I'm writing at the moment has a historical thread running through it, flashbacks to a girl in London in 1919, just after the war. It's fun to research things, I've never really had to before.

4. When did you realize you wanted to be an author? Were there any speedbumps along the way?

I always wanted to be a writer but assumed I'd have to be at least forty before I could even begin to consider myself mature enough to start a book. It wasn't until I read High Fidelity by Nick Horn that I thought I really could have a go at it while I was still young. I had no speedbumps at all. I wrote the book, an agent picked it up, she got me a book deal, the book was a bestseller. It was very smooth. It's only now, as the market is slowing down and women's fiction is suffering that things have got a little bumpier; I'm riding it out hoping that things will turn around eventually.

5. What is your favorite part f the writing process? And why? (i.e. beginning, middle or end)

End! End end end! I have no idea what I'm doing at the beginning, by the middle I'm convinced it's all a disaster, by the end I'm just typing and typing and imagining myself in a lovely restaurant with my husband sharing a bottle of champagne and feeling the weight of the thing gone from my head. And I love writing the last chapter. I can take my time then and really make it a corker, that's the only time I really appreciate the writing process.

6. What is next on your plate?

I am halfway through my tenth book, which is two concurrent stories, one of a young woman in London in 1919, and the other, her granddaughter coming to London in 1995, both young and wide eyed and getting in with racy crowds. There is a mystery at the heart of it, too, a stranger in her grandmother's will who the modern day heroine, Betty, is trying to track down. I would almost go so far as to say I'm enjoying writing it. Almost . . .

Thank you to Lisa for answering my questions, it was a pleasure getting to know you more. And to hear about what goes on behind the scenes and what is next on your plate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: After the Party by Lisa Jewell

Goodreads: Eleven years ago, Jem Catterick and Ralph McLeary fall in love. They thought it would be for ever, that they'd found their happy ending. Then two became four, a flat became a house. Romantic nights out became sleepless nights in. And they soon found that life wasn't quite so simple any more. Now the unimaginable has happened. Two people who were so right together are starting to drift apart - Ralph is standing on the sidelines, and Jem is losing herself. Something has to change. As they try to find a way back to each other, back to what they once had, they both become dangerously distracted - but maybe it's not too late to recapture happily ever after.

Kritters Thoughts:  What a roller coaster ride.  This sequel begins many years after Ralph's Party ends.  Ralph and Jem are now living together with children - not happily, but so so.  The book hops between Ralph's and Jem's points of view, which I adored. 

A story that was heart wrenching but honest.  Being someone that is in a relationship and has been in one for awhile and although we don't have children, we are currently partners raising a pup.  I could understand the rut that one may find themselves in and how people change and with them changing the relationship must change as well. 

The one thing I missed from the first book was the many characters that had stories that were interlocking.  I wish there was just a little more of the previous tenants on Alamanac Road.  The new characters were entertaining, but I missed continuing their stories along with Jem and Ralph's.

A great story that follows the couple that you will fall in love with from Ralph's Party.  I will never spoil the ending, but I believe that this book will keep you hooked until the end.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 498

July-Sept 2011 Challenge:

Check out the other stops on the blog tour:
Aug. 17 - Nicole @ Forbidden Reviews
Aug. 18 - Heather @ Proud Book Nerd
Aug. 19 - Cindy @ Oodles of Books

Aug. 20 - Andrea @ A Chick Who Reads
Aug. 22 - Lisa @ Books in the Burbs
Aug. 23 - Molly @ Reviews by Molly
Aug. 24 - Rebecca @ Beck's Book Picks

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from the author in conjunction with Crazy Book tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Review: Ralph's Party by Lisa Jewell

Goodreads: Meet the residents of the London brownstone on 31 Almanac Road who together weave a tangeled web of romance. Ralph, a ne'er-do-well artist, suddenly realizes he's head over heels in love with his new flatmate Jem, the most fun and sensible girl he's ever encountered. Unfortunately, Ralph's best friend, Smith, has already won Jem's affections, although Smith has not entirely given up his passion for the femme fatale, Cheri, who lives upstairs. Across the hall, Karl and Siobhan have been happily unmarried for years, until Karl gets a smashing job as a London rush-hour DJ and momentarily gets tempted into Cheri's cozy lair. These six star-crossed tenants become more enamored, and more confused, as the story progresses - until their true destinies are revealed on one crucial night - the evening of the extravaganza that is . . . Ralph's party.

Kritters Thoughts:  A wonderful fun and girlie read from the beginning to the end.  I easily fell in love with each character and was able to keep their relationships to one another straight - made me fall in love with brit chick lit.  

Taking in place in one building in London, with a cast of characters that are so woven together it makes the stories smart and a pure joy to read.  As they intermix and mingle, it made for scenes that made me laugh completely out loud.  In the basement are two men who are looking for a third flatmate and in walks Jem, a female looking for her dream come true - man that is.  The first floor houses a couple who have been dating for more than 15 years with very little ups or downs.  Finally, on the second level a very beautiful woman lives who has her eyes on one of the men in the building, while another has been pinning after her since she arrived 5 years earlier.  

The book was definitely a journey and although there were times where I may have been able to guess the outcome, I still enjoyed the road the book took to get to the end.  As I can't spoil the book - I will have to say that the ending was abrupt and I can't believe that a sequel has just been released this year!  The review for After the Party will be posted tomorrow.  

A read that I would recommend to those who may not always read brit chick lit, as I completely enjoyed this one.   

Rating:  absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 289

July-Sept 2011 Challenge:  Rollin' In My

Off the Shelf 2011 Challenge: 17 out of 50

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (34)

Another Monday has come and I am hoping that this week is much quieter than the last.  A heavy week for the boy's schedule and a heavy week of spending time with my mom and family.  I hoping for a few moments of reading and watching the new tv in bed!

Currently Reading:
After the Party by Lisa Jewell

Next on the TBR pile:
Repairing Rainbows by Lynda Fishma

In My Mailbox (41)

Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton
Paperback Swap:
Marriage by Design by Lynn Michaels
Birthday purchase:
Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

Flat Out Love by Jessica Park
It's a Waverly Life by Maria Murnane
Hand me downs from my Aunt Gloria (thank you!):
Good Grief by Lolly Winston
A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas
Safekeeping by Abigail Thomas
What Remains by Carole Radziwill

What arrived in your mailbox?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Goodreads: On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the slice.  To her horror, she finds that her cheerful mother tastes of despair.  Soon, she's privy to secret knowledge that most families keep hidden: her father's detachment, her mother's transgression, her brother's increasing retreat from the world.  But there are some family secrets that even her cursed taste buds can't discern.

Kritters Thoughts:  At the beginning I thought this was a great book with a little supernatural to it due to the little girl's ability to taste the feelings that the person cooking has while they are making what she eats.  What started with an interesting tale of a very dysfunctional family went downhill fast.  I still don't know what "special skills" her brother had and there were quite a few bits that I just didn't get, so maybe others could enjoy the dysfunction in this one - instead I was lost in it all.

                     Rating: not such a good read

                     Pages:  292

                     July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Cooking is the New Black

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Goodreads: Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black miad, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

Kritters Thoughts: After all the hype, I had to take a bit before I read this one. When I heard the movie was coming out at the end of the summer, I knew I wanted to read it before the movie came out - so here it is.

Anyone who has not picked up this book - you are officially crazy. It does live up to all the hype! This complex story is told from three very different perspectives that help guide the story along its path. From 1962, a time when white women had help in their homes that consisted of black women that lived just beyond their privileged neighborhoods. The rare relationship that is formed between the women and between the help and the children of the home were written with perfect ease.

The relationship that Skeeter, Minny and Abileen form is unique. I loved how the story unfolded page by page. At first, I thought maybe the length was too much, but as I neared the end - I decided I was absolutely wrong. The length was perfect for the story that had to be told.

I would recommend this book to just about anyone. Of course, I think you should read it before the movie arrives in theaters in August.

Rating:absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 451

Cover Challenge April-June: Don't I Know You

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review: Citizen Out by Marie Crist

Goodreads: A man patiently watches a group of young girls walk home from school, waiting for the perfect moment to take the one child he has designated as his next victim.

However, what this predator does not know is that he, too, is being stalked. There is someone in the shadows - a trained Citizen - who is ready to make sure that the child under his assigned protection is never harmed.

One pedophile, one abuser, one killer at a time; this Citizen and others like him will take a stand against those who prey on the weak and the innocent.

Kritters Thoughts: A hard subject to read, but one that we all need to think about because it is a form of slavery that still exists in our society - human trafficing. I have watched tv specials and read news stories, but nothing took it home like this book. Not for the faint of heart, this book and subject matter happens every day in many different forms.

The book jumps back in forth between life at the company - ARC, different Citizens hunting Marks, and then the surveillance of one Mark that has been on the hitlist for awhile. I enjoyed the different stories going on at once. The dark and gritty of surveillance and the on the field of the job contrasted completely with the happiness that occurred at the company headquarters. At times, it was hard to hear how nice the on the job was because you knew what their real jobs were.

I definitely enjoyed this one and felt as though it wasn't too hard to read because there were only a few instances where you were reading about being out in the field, most of the book took place at corporate headquarters. I would recommend this book to those who don't mind a little controversy and want a read that may challenge your morals and view points on some tender social issues.

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

Pages: 228

Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Sins of the Mother by Tara Hyland

Goodreads: The novel opens in 1946, when Franny Healy is a beautiful and spirited teenager living in the poverty of County Cork, Ireland. Franny wants nothing more than to escape to the excitement of London. But when she discovers she is pregnant, her boyfriend abandons her. Undeterred, Franny leaves the baby with her mother and flees to the city, where she finds work as a nightclub performer. She shines onstage and is soon propelled into a life she's only dreamed of, filled with Hollywood stars, glamorous parties, furs and fashion, plus a new husband - who must never know of the daughter she left behind in County Cork.

Over thousands of miles and three decades, through heartbreaks and death, Franny and her estranged daughter live vastly different lives, but remain connected, showing once again that the bond between mother and child always endures.

Kritters Thoughts:  What a fantastic read.  A little historical wrapped around a wonderful story with women at the core.  I fell in love with the story from the beginning and even with it being a chunkster, I couldn't put it down and finished it in two and a half days.

With a glimpse at the very beginning that would weave nicely into the ending - this book was nothing like the books I have been reading recently - it had heart, turmoil, twists and turns.  I fell in love with Franny from the beginning and just wanted to hear her story.  The characters that weaved in and out were dynamic and kept the story moving forward.  Even the ending had turns that I couldn't have even predicted!

I will not spoil this great read with any details, but will instead urge you to go to your closest bookstore (perferrably an indie) and grab this touching story.  Even a reluctanct historical fiction reader will love this one.   

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 448

July-Sept 2011 Challenge: Starstruck (Tom Hanks)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (33)

Last week was an emotional and long week.  This next week doesn't look to good.  My grandmother has passed away and the viewing and funeral are this next week, so not exactly sure how much reading is really going to happen.

Currently reading:
Sins of the Mother by Tara Hyland

Next off the TBR pile:
After the Party by Lisa Jewell
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