Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Whisper Privileges by Dianne Venetta

Whisper Privileges by Dianne Venetta

Publisher: BloominThyme Press
Pages: 404 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  Miami, Florida is the venue for the Special Olympics National Games and Clay Rutledge’s son is competing in the games. A sure bet to win the gold, father and son plan to ride their tropical victory to the World Games—until an unexpected turn of events jeopardizes their plans for fortune and fame.

Tasked with managing the events, Sydney quickly learns that Clay’s quiet, sexy confidence demands special attention, something she’s more than willing to oblige. But a jealous ex-lover of a boss has other plans, as does her office nemesis.
Trapped between a desire to mix business with pleasure and a boy who reminds her of a life she swore to move beyond, Sydney is at a personal crossroads. She can have career or love—but to attain both requires a consent she yearns to give but fears impossible. 

Kritters Thoughts:  The first Dianne Venetta book that I didn't immediately pass on to a friend - this one lacked a little in story and for me went on for days and days.  From the beginning, I was excited to have the Special Olympics at the center of the story, I have yet to read a book that centers around these games.  The Olympics part of the story was fantastic, I loved reading about the athletes and how the games impacts their lives.

Where I felt it fell short was in the love story, at times our female lead Sydney was assertive and decisive and then in a moment's notice she is unsure of the relationship and its too wishy washy for me.  I wanted to fall in love with her and root for her with this great guy, but every time he made a great gesture she second guessed it.

This wasn't my favorite Dianne Venetta book, but I am not giving up, I truly loved her others and will wait for the next one.  

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

Ebook 2012 Challenge:  44 out of 25

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from A Cozy Reader's Corner.  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 30, 2012

Review: The Dirty Secret by Brent Wolfingbarger

The Dirty Secret by Brent Wolfinbarger

Publisher: Smallridge Publishing 
Pages: 446 
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads: The difference between victory and defeat in the Electoral College comes down to 259 votes in West Virginia.

A state senator desperately fights back against a lawsuit that is pushing his family’s company toward bankruptcy.

A vice presidential candidate’s adulterous affair threatens to explode in his face and burst into the world’s headlines with devastating consequences.

A ruthless billionaire will stop at nothing to avoid facing justice for his crimes.

A small town prosecutor stumbles upon a plot to win the election by any means necessary: High-tech manipulation of electronic voting machines, creative interpretation of arcane election laws, bribery, blackmail and even murder.

And Rikki Gudivada and Dave Anderson – two star-crossed former lovers from opposite sides of the political fence – are drawn back together as the battle rages for West Virginia’s 5 electoral votes, racing to solve a murder that imperils the very heart of America’s constitutional system while each struggles over the same question:

Is anything more important than winning the White House?

Kritters Thoughts:  A politically minded story that centers around a presidential race that ends up in an absolute mess of a recount in the state of West Virginia.  Being a resident of Northern VA and near the political center of the nation, I am enjoying these politically minded books more and more.  

What happened in Florida with Bush and Gore is something that I always wondered.  I loved reading this story and seeing what can go into a recount and how many lives it affects.  This book went from political intrigue to murder mystery and back and I definitely loved the interweaving of two genres.  

One of the hard things about this book was keeping the sides straight, I had to make a little post it note cheat sheet to keep all the characters in line and who they were rooting for or didn't like.  There were many relationships that were introduced right at the beginning and keeping them all in order was quite a task, I don't know that there is a better way to alleviate this issue, but my post it note sheet was mighty handy!

Presidential election, international intrigue and simple drama kept this book moving from page to page.  I would recommend this book to those who love a little cat fight among grown men!

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

GR July-September Challenge: 1,000 Reads Under the Sea

Ebook 2012 Challenge: 40 out of 25

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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Wedding Edition

Just a peek from the very fun Durham Jones Wedding!!  
I am currently honeymooning - will be back shortly!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: The Unfinished Garden by Barbara Claypole White

The Unfinished Garden by Barbara Claypole White

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 384 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  James Nealy is haunted by irrational fears and inescapable compulsions. A successful software developer, he's thrown himself into a new goal—to finally conquer the noise in his mind. And he has a plan. He'll confront his darkest fears and build something beautiful: a garden. When he meets Tilly Silverberg, he knows she holds the key…even if she doesn't think so.After her husband's death, gardening became Tilly's livelihood and her salvation. Her thriving North Carolina business and her young son, Isaac, are the excuses she needs to hide from the world. So when oddly attractive, incredibly tenacious James demands that she take him on as a client, her answer is a flat no.

When a family emergency lures Tilly back to England, she's secretly glad. With Isaac in tow, she retreats to her childhood village, which has always stayed obligingly the same. Until now. Her best friend is keeping secrets. Her mother is plotting. Her first love is unexpectedly, temptingly available. And then James appears on her doorstep.

Away from home, James and Tilly forge an unlikely bond, tenuous at first but taking root every day. And as they work to build a garden together, something begins to blossom between them—despite all the reasons against it.

Kritters Thoughts:  What starts as a story of a woman who is trying to recover, three years later after the loss of her husband becomes a story of love and redemption.  Tilly is a native Englander who relocated to the United States for her now deceased husband, she has a son and a new business that she is trying to keep afloat.  After an encounter with James who is debilitated by OCD, she is called home to take care of her mother.  So the story goes to England.

A love triangle, a childhood best friend and returning to your childhood home were the pillars for a different coming of age story, coming of age later in life.  Tilly is trying to recenter herself and the author does a pitch perfect job of giving the reader the feeling of angst that Tilly is living with and having Tilly heal appropriately.  I may be one of a few, but I found James OCD issues to help with the story and paralleled Tilly's issues with resolving her husband's death.

Even though I am quite a bit younger than the main character Tilly, I still found this book relateable.  I would say that maybe an older crowd would enjoy and appreciate it more.  The heart of anxiety about the future can affect a woman at any age.

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

Ebook 2012 Challenge:  42 out of 25

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC 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 27, 2012

Review: Running of the Bride by Rachel Eddey

Running of the Bride by Rachel Eddey

Publisher: skirt!
Pages: 256 
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  When Rachel's handsome studio exec boyfriend proposes to her on the Sex and the City movie set, she can't fathom the dizzying adventure about to begin. Accepting a once-in-a-lifetime venue deal helps their budget, but it puts them on a crash course to get married in just four months - and time isn't their only challenge. They battle a wacky assortment of vendors, including a hair stylist who fakes a car accident and a makeup artist overly inspired by Marilyn Manson. This while testing their love and discovering much-needed truths about each other amid tastings and tulle. Determined to use her nervous energy productively, Rachel enters every contest she can find, winning diamond earrings, a honeymoon, a photographer, and not one but two wedding gowns. Her obsession with pop culture lands the entire wedding party on not one but two hit reality television shows. As the clock ticks down, there's just one problem: her staunch perfectionism and fear of dancing threaten to derail everything. She has to learn to redefine perfection and embrace the mistake - or risk losing it all.

Kritters Thoughts:  If you are planning a wedding or just got married, run to the closest bookstore or hop online and order this book - cute, funny and the perfect read!  I read this book, the weekend before I got married in two sittings and wanted to read half of it aloud to my sweet, sweet groom who's to do list, is quite longer than mine at this point!! 

Rachel is a New Yorker who has a great boyfriend who has connections from his job as a studio lot executive.  He proposes on the set of the second Sex and the City movie, and then finds the perfect location from the nuptials with only four months to plan the wedding of her dreams.

Rachel had me completely laughing out loud because I had endured half of the interesting trials that she had over the past 6 months; I completely understood her story.  This is the book I will buy for all of my friends the minute I find out they are engaged; they will need the laughs to get through some of the conversations that occur while planning a wedding.

SIDE NOTE: I had a semi-similar experience in that I had only 6 months to plan the wedding, work a full time job and keep the blog up and running, oh and keep the relationship in working order, so he still wanted to marry me in the end of it all!  My full time job isn't high stress, but is definitely demanding of my time at all times of the day - an assistant to a CEO is never off duty!  It was quite a balance to keep it all running smoothly while planning a corporate retreat for the full company with 140 employees and growing, each day was a marathon to the end!  But as our wedding was this past Saturday, I am glad to say that we made it and I am on a beach relaxing with my next book in hand and my phone is turned off!

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 at BEA 2012.  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.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Review: Pinch Me by Adena Halpern

Pinch Me by Adena Halpern

Publisher: Touchstone 
Pages: 265 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon  


“Never marry a man unless he’s short, bald, fat, stupid, and treats you badly.” That is the advice that twenty-nine-year-old Lily Burns has heard her entire life from her grandmother Dolly and her mother, Selma. Despite this, when she meets Gogo, the handsome, successful pediatrician who treats her like a queen, she has no choice but to let her heart take over. When she agrees to marry him, Dolly and Selma are inconsolable. They decide it’s time to tell her the truth: their family is cursed. If she marries for love, there will be unimaginable consequences. 

Nevertheless, Lily and Gogo elope. Unable to believe her good fortune, Lily asks Gogo to pinch her—to make sure all this isn’t just a dream. The moment he does, Lily finds herself transported back to the house she lived in when she was single. Gogo is gone. When Lily tracks him down, she finds that he’s married to someone else and has no memory of her. In this modern fairy tale, Lily must find a way to break the curse and turn her nightmare back into a dream come true.

Kritters Thoughts:  What a cute book!  Lily grew up with a mother and grandmother who thought that a family curse ruined each of their relationships with men.  After they went through their fair share of men, they decided that raising Lily to avoid relationships would be best for her.  I think that since they raised her that way, she wanted even more to find the man of her dreams.

Lily finds the man that she wants to marry in Gogo (I know why would you name a character Gogo?).  Even after all the warning from her family she runs off and elopes.  I thought it was endearing to still believe in love even though she didn't have an example to live up to.  The curse really does exist, which gives this very chick lit read a little twist.  

With an ease to its reading, this book was a quick read that would be perfect for a week at the beach.  I thought it was a great take on a chick lit classic storyline.  It made the story feel fresh and new.  I would recommend this book to all the fans of the chick lit genre.

Rating: perfect beach read

Off the Shelf Challenge 2012: 4 out of 50

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Diary of a Mad Bride by Laura Wolf

Diary of a Mad Bride by Laura Wolf

Pages: 294 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  My wedding was starting in less than twenty minutes, and I was stuck in a 7-Eleven parking lot with popcorn kernels wedged in my gums and vanilla ice cream melting on my dress. It was a disaster too large to comprehend. After an agonizing year spent planning my wedding, could it really end like this? The voices chronicling a year of wedding hysteria swirled in my head....

— My grandmother upon viewing my engagement ring:

“What do you mean he gave you an emerald! Diamonds are eternal, emeralds say, maybe five years.”

— My future father-in-law on the night of my engagement party:

“To a happy marriage and, if necessary, a painless divorce!”

— My best friend, Anita:

“Oh, screw congratulations. Of course I’m happy for you. Stephen’s a major piece of ass and he’s got a sense of humor. Just as long as you’re certain this is what you want.” 

Would I survive this day after all....?

Kritters Thoughts:  What a perfect read for a bride to be and any of her friends who may experience the crazy!  Formatted in a diary fashion the book chronicles the months and plans leading up to a wedding.  I love that our main character from the beginning put out the front that she was trying to avoid any bridezilla moments, but they can sneak up on you when you least expect them.

With a groom that is very busy at work and a rough times with both families, I loved reading this story in the middle of my planning.  The characters felt real and I could picture them walking down the street and passing me by. The book had the perfect mix of humor and comedy mixed with character development and heart/soul.    

I would put this book in the hands of every bride and bridesmaid to see a fictionized version, but to know that there will be a moment in each planning process where crazy can hit a fan.    

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Off the Shelf Challenge 2012: 3 out of 50

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: What I Did by Christopher Walking

What I Did by Christopher Walking

Publisher: William Morrow 
Pages: 288 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  Six-year-old Billy loves animals, David Attenborough documentaries, and sneakers that flash when he runs. He does not love sitting still, the blood-soaked sky in "Watership Down," or his father's cell phone.

When Billy runs into a busy street, ignoring his father's commands, he sets in motion a series of unexpected, family-altering events.

Kritters Thoughts:  A book narrated by a six year old that took a few pages for me to get into the way he was sharing the story.  He starts his story running into the street and being reprimanded by his father in front of a stranger and the story kind of goes down hill from there.  

I think the voice of the story coming from a six-year-old made the story very different because at times I wasn't sure if what he was telling me was the full story and the truth or what he imagined it to be.  I also wasn't quite sure during most of the story if his father was truly abusing him or it was many mishaps unfortunately occurring in their home.

The hardest part I had after getting comfortable with his narration was his messing up jargon and not American jargon, but the British terms and lingo that I am not familiar with at all.  There were a few times I had to look up what he was saying incorrectly to eventually find out what he really meant!

A book that mimics the story of Room by Emma Donoghue by having a child narrator, but is quite different in the plot of the story.  I think if I had known a little more of the sayings that he was mixing up I would have enjoyed it a little more.  I felt a little out of the loop for parts of the story.
Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC 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 20, 2012

Review: So L.A. by Bridget Hoida

So L.A. by Bridget Hoida 

Publisher: Lettered Press 
Pages: 384 
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  Magdalena de la Cruz breezed through Berkeley and built an empire selling designer water. She’d never felt awkward or unattractive… until she moved to Los Angeles. In L.A., where “everything smells like acetone and Errol Flynn,” Magdalena attempts to reinvent herself as a geographically appropriate bombshell—with rhinestones, silicone and gin—as she seeks an escape from her unraveling marriage and the traumatic death of her younger brother, Junah. Magdalena’s Los Angeles is glitzy and glamorous but also a landscape of the absurd. Her languidly lyrical voice provides a travel guide for a city of make-believe, where even Hollywood insiders feel left out.

Kritters Thoughts:  What a book, definitely a different take on life on Los Angeles and maybe not the prettiest look at it.  The reader is taken on a loopy journey through life in LA with Magdalena as the tour guide.  Magdalena is trying to cope with the loss of her sibling, a marriage that is falling apart and a loss of interest in her job.  

For some reason, this book just didn't strike a cord with me, I found the main character to be whiny and unrelatable, I couldn't connect with her at all.  I wanted to see her get through the problems she had, but I just felt like she wallowed and muddled through it all.  

Maybe it was the satirical style, maybe it was just me, but I didn't love this one.  I would say people who are fans of the more cynical books, should pick this one up.

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

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

Other Tour Stops:

Thursday, July 5th:  CBS Los Angeles – LA’s Summer Reading Guide
Monday, August 13th:  The 3R’s Blog
Wednesday, August 15th:  Peppermint Ph.D.
Thursday, August 16th:  Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Monday, August 20th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, August 22nd:  Sweet Southern Home
Thursday, August 23rd:  Book Chatter
Monday, August 27th:  Reviews by Molly
Tuesday, August 28th:  Travel Spot 
Wednesday, August 29th:  Book Club Classics!
Thursday, August 30th:  A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, September 4th:  A Bookish Affair
Thursday, September 6th: Bookish Whimsy
Friday, September 7th:  In the Next Room
Monday, September 10th:  Colloquium
Tuesday, September 11th:  Oh! Paper Pages
Wednesday, September 12th:  Conceptual Reception
Thursday, September 13th: Seaside Book Nook

Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (85)

An eventful week at our house preparing for the big day next weekend!  I was able to read a little here and there, but I can definitely feel my time curling up with a book has been limited.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:

What I Did by Christopher Wakling
Section 132 by Helga Zeiner
Running of the Bride by Rachel Eddey

Currently Reading:
Whisper Privileges by Dianne Venetta 

Next on the TBR pile:
Finding Emma by Steena Holmes
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