Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Hospice Tails by Debra Stang


Hospice Tails by Debra Stang

Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc.
Pages: 108
Format: print
Buy the Book:Amazon 

Goodreads:
  Funny, sad, and irreverent, Hospice Tails shares the stories of pets who traveled to the door of death with their humans.  Meet King, an abused pit bull fiercely loyal to his rescuer, Jasper and Jackie, Amazon parrots who sang their person to his final sleep, Washington, a golden retriever who became the only connection to the world for an Alzheimer's patient, and ten other animals who accompanied their beloved people on the hospice journey.


Kritters Thoughts:  Wow, emotional.  Being a pup owner, this story took on a whole different meaning and I became completely entranced by it.  Of course as  I was reading this gem, my pup, Miss Charlotte was curled up in my lap enjoying an afternoon on the couch with book in hand.


A book full of stories from a hospice nurse when a pet or animal has been involved.  Each was unique and fun to read in its own right.  From those who couldn't die without being surrounded by their pets to pets that were more of a menace than a comfort - I loved them all.


This book made me even more attached to my pup and how much our lives has changed as she has come in and made it her home too.  A book that is perfect for those who have a special pet in their lives and love to hear about how a pet can impact each human in the home.


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


GR Oct-Dec Challenge: It's Raining Cats or Dogs

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from the author and WOW (women on writing).  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.










Complete the below form to enter for a giveaway for a signed copy of her book.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand 

Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books 
Pages:  416
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads: Meredith Martin Delinn just lost everything: her friends, her homes, her social standing - because her husband Freddy cheated rich investors out of billions of dollars.
Desperate and facing homelessness, Meredith receives a call from her old best friend, Constance Flute. Connie's had recent worries of her own, and the two depart for a summer on Nantucket in an attempt to heal. But the island can't offer complete escape, and they're plagued by new and old troubles alike. When Connie's brother Toby - Meredith's high school boyfriend - arrives, Meredith must reconcile the differences between the life she is leading and the life she could have had.


Kritters Thoughts: My first experience with Elin Hilderbrand and I was more than thrilled about this heart-wrenching tale of two woman who are the same age, but struggling with their husbands' absences in completely different ways.  What starts with a Ponzi scheme which could mimic the well-known Bernie Madoff catastrophe, ends with a story of friendship that can defy the test of time.  


Switching between the two women's perspectives worked completely well in this book, from the simple aspect of labeling each chapter, so the reader was able to know from the flip of a page who was talking and which character was on the main stage.  To switch back and forth, the reader was provided with the complete picture of their friendship and the trials that it had to withstand.  The reader was also able to see what miscommunication and misunderstanding can do to two friends whose lives are intertwined.  


From beginning to end, I was swept into their stories and wanted to know if at the end of it all would these friends be able to continue their friendship as these new people they were becoming was happening.  A book that takes place over a summer was a great read as I said goodbye to summer and I brought in fall, but maybe some readers would love to experience the summer with them.




Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel


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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Monday, What Are you Reading? (48)

After a long holiday weekend full of reading on the couch, a full week at work is up ahead.  It may be a busy one too, so November may end quiet and December could start even quieter!  Trying to remember to be thankful for the long weekend I just completed.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney.

Finished this past week:
The Burn by Annie Oldham
Life After Forty by Dora Heldt
Inseparable by Dora Heldt

Currently Reading:
Shades of Gray by Andy Holloman
Cobwebs of Time by Tessa Jones


Next off the TBR pile:
The Daughter She Used to Be by Rosalind Noonan

In My Mailbox (52)



A quiet week on the mailbox front, but again no worries because the shelves are still full!


A meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.


Swapping:
Been There, Done That by Carol Snow (Goodreads Amazon)


Winnings:
Handbook For Hosts by Town&Country (Goodreads Amazon)


For Review:
Dark Lake by Louise Gaylord (Goodreads Amazon)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Ramble: Black Friday

So tell me who went out yesterday and braved the storm of crazy shoppers looking for the discounts?

I went out last year and ended up catching a theft in process at a local Target, so this year I decided to stay quiet at the home front and catch up on the reading list.  I will venture out later today, but there isn't anything on the list, so it will be more of an adventure than a mission.

A quick little ramble today, just wanted to see who made their way out to the stores and what they saw?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: Downward Dog Upward Fog by Meryl Davids Landau

Downward Dog Upward Fog by Meryl Davids Landau

Publisher:  Alignment Publishing Company
Pages: 296 
Format: print 
Buy the Book: Amazon 




Goodreads:  Lorna Crawford has a great boyfriend, longtime friends, and a well-paying job as special- events coordinator at a premium ice-cream manufacturer. But, out of sorts and filled with self-doubt, the 33 year old soon realizes that what she really wants is to stay on the spiritual path she keeps diving off of. Lorna jump-starts her efforts at a silent yoga retreat. But after returning from the mountain, she quickly loses her connection in the face of scheming coworkers, judgmental girlfriends, and, especially, her overly critical mother. Lorna also wrestles over her future with her boyfriend, a hot guy who takes her to the hottest places, but who can’t discern a meditation cushion from a toad stool. Reading spiritual books and visiting a channeler and energy healer move Lorna forward, but her confusion remains. Lorna’s seeking is put to the ultimate test when personal tragedy strikes. Will she come to truly understand that living spiritually has little to do with how you pretzel yourself on the yoga mat (although she gets plenty good at that), and everything to do with embracing the twists in everyday life?




Kritters Thoughts:  Lorna is a daughter, sister, co-worker and friend.  At times each one of these titles and the people that make her these titles causes her stress.  Throughout the book she tries out techniques to use to center herself and find more of the good in each situation.  At times, her struggles were resolved quite easily in comparison to the "real" world interactions the reader would encounter.  


A piece of fiction that made me reflect on my daily interactions with co-workers and friends, this doesn't happen often.  I was engrossed in Lorna's battle with becoming more centered, yet having to interact with co-workers that caused stress and a mother that pushed every button imaginable.  I took her struggle to heart and was able to start thinking about the techniques she used and try to place them in my every day life.  Although, this wasn't a self-help book - this book can help the reader find some of the things that she does useful to their everyday life.


I would recommend this book to those who have always seen the yogi existence as something that is too big to be achieved, but instead in parts some of her exercises can be incorporated into one's life.  We could all find a little positivity and yogi in our lives.     




Rating:  absolutely loved it and want a sequel


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

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Review: The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne

The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne

Publisher: Algonquin Books 
Pages: 304 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon  




Goodreads:  When Frances arranges to host Thanksgiving at her idyllic New England farmhouse, she envisions a happy family reunion, one that will include her sister, Cynthia, and their estranged father. But tension mounts as the sisters discover that each has a different version of their shared past.




Kritters Thoughts:  Rarely, do I read reviews for books before reading them - no need to spoil the fun, but for some reason I did on this one.  Depressing was the overall theme for the reviews, so I went in a skeptic and hoping that this book wasn't the downer it was potrayed to be.  


A story that centers around the two remaining sisters of a family that started with three.  With a less than wonderful childhood, these girls lost their mom early on and with that they lost their father to another woman.  A sister passing away and distance made this reconnection over Thanksgiving awkward and dramatic.  Add in random guests and one of the sister's two daughters, this book was even awkward in the reading.  


A connection between the book that sister Cynthia is writing about Mark Twain's three daughters and their childhood is interesting as she continues to give details about this book she is writing about the Twain family.  It was great to read this book in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, but I am not sure I would have enjoyed it if I had read it at another time of the year.




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


GR Oct-Dec Challenge: Happy Holidays!

Happy Thanksgiving!



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory


The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Publisher: Atria Books 
Pages: 497 
Format: ARC paperback and  eARC 
Buy the Book:Amazon 

Goodreads:  Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI.  Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her house-hold for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival King Edward IV.  Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected.  With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines.


Kritters Thoughts:  As I am not a huge historical fiction fan, I don't tend to read a ton of books each year from this genre, but every so often I am drawn to a story not matter what year it took place.  If I read historical genre, I usually lean towards Philippa Gregory because she has this unique ability to make a historical story feel accessible to any reader.  


This story centered around a mystical woman who is living in a time where people are very apprehensive of magic and mystical things.  Through two marriages and many, many children - Jacquetta is a woman who has power when women don't usually have power or even a say in their lives.  I loved how she exerted power, but also uplifted the man in her life as the center of the household.  To learn about the impact that she had on future kings of England was interesting and really made her a bigger character that one may think at the beginning.  


I absolutely loved watching her "views" into the future come true in one way or another.  That was something that kept me intrigued and reading way beyond page 200.    


A great read that is part of a series that is perfect to curl up with during these  cold months.  Add this one to your list as a readable and enjoyable historical fiction read.


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

GR Oct-Dec Challenge 2011: Who Would You Like to Sleep With?

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from 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, November 21, 2011

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 

Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. 
Pages:  374 
Format: nookbook
Buy the Book: Amazon  


Goodreads:  In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. 


Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.




Kritters Thoughts:  As a young fan of dystopian, meaning I have only read 3 dystopians, I am still hesitant to read the genre, even though I have loved each and everyone I have read.  After the hype died down for this series, I decided it was time for me to bite the bullet and try out the first in the series.  So thankful I did!


A story that centers around a young girl who is thrown into a do or die situation that is televised around her country.  She encounters love, evil and is torn between fighting for what is right and saving one's own self.  I was enveloped into a new world that was easily explained.  It was interesting to read about this made up country and find the similarities in the country we are currently living in.  


With the movie on its way to theaters, I was torn as to knowing who they had cast for the characters and visualizing them myself.  I did cheat a little and check out the main characters and I guess I can't give an unbiased opinion about the cast because I read the book with the cast already in my mind, so they work for me!


A story that you just can't put down once you are half way through because you must see it to the bitter end.  I will be definitely picking up the next two in this series to see where Katniss ends up and where this country goes from here.  I would recommend this book to those who haven't read a dystopian for a little glimpse into the genre and to those who are definite dystopian fans.




Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel


GR Oct-Dec 2011 Challenge: Popularity Contest

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (47)

What a great reading week!  I was able to finish quite a bit, maybe because my On Demand was acting a little crazy.  Either way it was nice to not only get caught up, but also get ahead on my reading and posting!  With Thanksgiving this week, I have no expectations as to what my reading will be like.  


Be on the lookout later on Thanksgiving day for a review of a book you may want to put on your list for a November read for 2012.


A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney.


Finished this past week:
Downward Dog, Upward Fog by Meryl Davids Landau
Silver Girl by Elin Hildebrand
Across Eternity by Aris Whittier
What Stays in Vegas by Beth Labonte
The Ghost at the Table Suzanne Berne


Currently Reading:
The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman


Next off the TBR pile:
Sad but true, I don't have anything picked to read yet.

In My Mailbox (51)



What a screen shot!  From Twilight to The Hunger Games to lots of books from the swap sites, this was a good week.  If only I could read the same amount that were coming in each week, maybe some day!  

A meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.


Swapping:
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond (Goodreads Amazon)
This Year's Model by Carol Alt (Goodreads Amazon)
Glamour by Louise Bagshawe (Goodreads Amazon)


For Review:
The Complex by Donald W Tucker (Goodreads Amazon)
The Daughter She Used to Be by Rosalind Noon (Goodreads  Amazon)


Winner:
A Year and Six Seconds by Isabel Gillies (Goodreads Amazon)



Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Ramble: So Thankful

Thankful - the word of the week.  I have quite a few things to be thankful for.  Between friends, family, the pup and my blogging friends - my life is full and complete.


Family - I am a daughter, sister and aunt.  I have two great parents who are cheerleaders and fans to everything that I do.  I have one younger sister who is creative, funny and encouraging.  I love challenging her with new crafting ideas, my goal in life is to find new things for her to make and sell!  I am Aunt K K and each day I get to talk on the phone with my Emma as she asks "What you doing" and she really wants to know.  I even get phone calls from Emma or her mother saying "Please talk to her, she has been yelling for you!"


And, I am a girlfriend.  I have been dating a boy for almost four years and through the ups and downs,the job changes, the moves; we have supported each other to make sure that we are both happy and content in everything.  He is my partner, which is how I was raised, to find a partner.

Friends - I have great friends from my childhood to college and even now.  I am thankful to each one for the endless conversations from blogging to books to all my ideas for planning a wedding.  I cherish each one because each of my friends is unique, they come from different backgrounds and now are at different stages in life - having babies, happily married and proud to be single, I love them.


The pup - What can I say about Miss Charlotte that I haven't already shared?  I won't bore you with all the things I love about her, but she is my cuddle buddy and fell review comrade.  She has read just as many pages as I have!  



And to you the blogging community!  I have only been blogging for a year and a half, but this community is warm and welcoming and everything I needed after starting a job that was demanding and needing an outlet for a hobby.  What a perfect combination of reading books that I love and sharing them with fellow readers and book fans.



Friday, November 18, 2011

Giveaway: Under the Neon Sky


Check out my review from yesterday - November 17th.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review: Under the Neon Sky by Jay Rankin




Under the Neon Sky by Jay Rankin

Publisher: self-published
Pages: 268
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A gripping, true story about a Las Vegas doorman who worked the graveyard shift at one of the major hotels on the Strip.  The sights, smells, and page popping characters are unforgettable as we take a journey that will transform how we used to envision the city that never sleeps.  We watch as this doorman begins to emotionally break and wonder if he will become broken seeing his friends, his wife, hotel guests, and himself cross too many boundaries in this riveting, page turning story.


Kritters Thoughts:  After sitting a day to write the review, I am still on the fence for this one.  From one side of the fence, there were a crazy amount of curse words and the language was very crass.  But the other side of the fence - this book provided an awesome insider's view of the city that many wish to visit for one reason or another.  


A doorman for the largest hotel in Las Vegas that within it are held the biggest boxing matches on the same nights of concerts, shows and more.  A huge job that at times can be downright overwhelming partly because you are dealing with the public the entire time.  I felt for him at his job where his supervisors were conniving and his co workers were deceitful.  From his work life to his home life, he was surrounded with destruction.  But I wonder and I think he wondered if it was all due to living in Las Vegas?  


An entertaining story that due to my being in Vegas for a quick work trip helped me see a different view of the city that maybe vacationers don't want to admit to seeing while they are in town.  When I go back to vacation, I will definitely have this book in the back of my mind with questions about how well the employees are being treated in such a harsh atmosphere.    

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

GR Oct-Dec 2011 Challenge: Through the Decades: 2000-2009


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from the author in conjunction with NURTURE 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.

Follow the author:

Twitter – Under the Neon Sky & Jay Rankin




Schedule of the Tour:
November 1st – Jaidis S. @ Juniper Grove
November 2nd – Krystal L. @ Live To Read
November 3rd – Beverly G. @ Everyone Loves A SiNner
November 4th – Lisa Ma. @ A Casual Reader’s Blog

November 7th – Stephanie Ba. @ Mother Of Insanity: Are we crazy yet?
November 8th – Bobbie @ NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™ Blog
November 9th – Tina A. @ Read More
November 11th – Bonnie S.B. @ Hands and Home
November 14th - April R. & Wendy @ My Book Addiction and More
November 15th – Jaidis S. @ Juniper Grove
November 16th – Mason C. @ Thoughts in Progress
November 17th – Kristin D. @ Kritters Ramblings
November 18th – Lynda M. @ Hubpages
November 22nd – Evangeline H. @ Sugarpeach
November 23rd – Lea. R. @ Journey Reader

November 25th – Farrah K. @ The Book Faery Reviews
November 29th – Bobbie @ NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™ Blog
November 30th – Lindsay H @ Everyday Is An Adventure


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WLC Author Give Back Blog Hop




Cyber Cooperation and Community by 
Gerria Johnson

In the next couple of weeks, our eyes and ears will be flooded with images and words of gratefulness and thanksgiving. Television, radio, internet – all of these places will be overflowing with messages of thanks and, of course, the obligatory images of dinner tables full of turkey, stuffing, and other good foods. Some of my online friends have even gotten an early start by posting things they are grateful for daily on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

In the midst of this surge of gratitude, I have seen lots of posts and comments that mention things that I agree with and am thankful for myself. However, my most profound discovery has been that more than the things that are mentioned, I am most grateful for the people doing the posting. How boring my day would be without the inspirational quotes, cute pictures of family and funny jokes that constantly stream by my eyes as I write and promote each day!

On an even deeper level, consider how many people on our various lists of friends, fans, and followers that we don’t even know, yet the spirit of community and cooperation among us is just as real as if we all lived on the same street, in the same neighborhood. Retweets, shares, and shout outs become a part of our normal routine, but in this flurry of shared words, I remember that not one of these people is obligated to support me in any way. It is truly a gift from God to have such meaningful connections to virtual “strangers” and for this I am grateful.    



The WoMen's Literary Cafe is very thankful for all of the support from bloggers, reviewers, and readers during the Come Back To Me book launch and 99 cent event. 


As a thank you, we are giving away GE Johnson's book Love& Wrath: The Beginning for free today only. To win your copy just leave a comment with your email address and I can provide a smashwords coupon code for yours to enjoy the book for free!  


I am excited to start reading this book today!



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Interview with Kristan Higgins Part Two

As a fan of Kristan Higgins, it was an honor and a pure joy to interview her.  I reviewed her latest book yesterday and I was given the opportunity to send her some more questions and here are her answers . . .  Check out our first interview here - Kristan Higgins Interview Part One.



1. I always start my interviews with the question what are you rambling about?  Is there anything new that you are rambling about?

All I do is ramble!  Lately, I've been talking a lot about how nice teenagers can be.  I love teenagers, which is lucky, since I own a couple.  Sometimes I'm surprised at how generous and kind they can be . . . for example, there's a special needs kid on my son's cross country team, and he's usually the last kid in.  The best runner on the team finishes, then goes back and finds that other boy and runs with him, encouraging him the whole way, and when they finish, man.  You should hear the cheering.



2. Your books usually take place in the Northeast, have you ever wanted to transplant to another place and set your characters in a different setting?

I'm a Yankee, so that's the mindset I know and love.  But yes, I'd love to set a book in a completely unfamiliar place!

3. Do your characters names have any significance?

Absolutely.  Naming characters is something I spend a lot of time thinking about, and they all mean something.

4. Have you based any characters on family members or people in your life?  Do they know about it?

I did base a couple of characters on some relatives, all of whom have passed away.  I hope they know about it!  It was an homage - The Black Widow in The Next Best Thing are based on my great aunties.


5.  Your writing atmosphere: Do you have a favorite place to write?  A favorite time of day?

I have a lovely little office apartment over my neighbor's garage, and I like to write while my kids are in school.  Can't seem to write at night, though.
6. What is next on your plate?

I'm working on revising a book that will come out in May.  After that, I'm taking on a three-book series based around a family-run vineyard in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Thank you so much for having me today!


Thank you again to Kristan Higgins for visiting Kritters Ramblings and answering some questions.
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