Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

Publisher: William Morrow 
Pages: 320 
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can't help sneaking a look at something he's not supposed to—an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess's. It's a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he's not prepared. While there is much about the world that still confuses him, he now knows that a new understanding can bring not only a growing danger and evil—but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance as well.

EXTRA from the publicistTop 10 Reasons Book Clubs will want to read A Land More Kind Than Home

Kritters Thoughts:  Set in rural North Carolina, with a different kind of church at the center, this book took the reader into a part of the country that isn't in the news that often.  Jess and his older brother Christopher have been kept out of the church meetings with the rest of the children by the aid of an elderly women, and one of the three narrators - Miss Lyle.  Jess is the second narrator and the third is a police detective by the name of Clem Barefield, these three narrators each have a different perspective on this story and help it to unfold seamlessly.  

Christopher is a mute and through a significant event becomes the center of controversy and must have his story told for him.  Each character had their own quirks, I enjoyed seeing this family at the center and how their decisions affected the family and the town as a whole.  There were events in the past that slowly unfolded to the reader and with each detail, it was easier to understand how they had all ended up where they currently were and in the mess that they were in.  

I loved how the author weaved through the book, the history of the town and how it affected the current situation.  I think a lesson that I took away from the book is the thought that you may not know one person's history and how it affects the decisions they make.  I may have sympathized with a character or two that I shouldn't have because I learned the reasoning for how they made the decisions they had and it all fit like a puzzle.

With a few moments that made me cringe, I would recommend this book, but maybe not for the faint of heart.    

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

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.

The tour schedule

Tuesday, January 22nd: Man of La Book
Wednesday, January 23rd: The Book Garden
Thursday, January 24th: Lit and Life
Monday, January 28th: Book Addict Katie
Tuesday, January 29th: BookNAround
Wednesday, January 30th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, January 31st: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, February 4th: My Bookshelf
Wednesday, February 6th: Stephany Writes
Wednesday, February 13th: Seaside Book Corner
Thursday, February 14th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Tuesday, February 19th: Luxury Reading

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: The Tell by Hester Kaplan

The Tell by Hester Kaplan

Publisher: Harper Perennial 
Pages: 352 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Mira and Owen's marriage is less stable than they know when Wilton Deere, an aging, no longer famous TV star moves in to the grand house next door. With plenty of money and plenty of time to kill, Wilton is charming but ruthless as he inserts himself into the couple's life in a quest for distraction, friendship--and most urgently--a connection with Anya, the daughter he abandoned years earlier. Facing stresses at home and work, Mira begins to accompany Wilton to a casino and is drawn to the slot machines. Escapism soon turns to full-on addiction and a growing tangle of lies and shame that threatens her fraying marriage and home. Betrayed and confused, Owen turns to the mysterious Anya, who is testing her own ability to trust her father after many years apart.

Kritters Thoughts:  A book that centers around a couple living in a very old home, the childhood home of the wife in the couple and after a tragedy in her family, she never left the home in fear of losing a connection to her family.  Her husband moves in and is marking time next to his wife's things.  A change in neighbors sparks the beginning of the book and a rollercoaster that will forever change this couple.

The actor that becomes their neighbor is fantastically quirky and there were a few older actors that I imagined while reading about his character.  I found his intrusion in their marriage to be odd and strange, but so was he, so maybe it fit.  I will not reveal what happens after he gets quite in the middle of the marriage or whatever happens to him, but he is the drama in the book and he is the center as he puts himself into the center of things.    

I guess my main issue with the book was the lack of action, it was very everyday and the author used quite a few words to describe almost everything and everyone, maybe too many.  I wanted more to happen than just the everyday.  But if you are a reader who likes a book that is just the everyday, then this would be the perfect book for you to pick up for a cozy weekend.    

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

Ebook 2012 Challenge: 87 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.

The tour schedule

Tuesday, January 8th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, January 10th: Excellent Library
Tuesday, January 15th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, January 16th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Thursday, January 17th: Books in the City
Monday, January 21st: Between the Covers
Wednesday, January 23rd: Speaking of Books
Monday, January 28th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, January 29th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, January 30th: Bibliophiliac

Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Wineocology by Caitlin Stansbury

Wineocology by Caitlin Stansbury

Publisher: skirt!  
Pages: 288 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  Take the mystery out of Merlot and put the pleasure back into pairing and sharing wine with sensory secrets from Hollywood’s Sommelier! Caitlin Stansbury’s revolutionary book will teach you to understand what wines you like and why you like them so that you can evaluate and enjoy their sensual delights on your own terms, regardless of price tags or product reviews. The crown jewel of Wineocology is Caitlin’s "Simple Sommelier System," the groundbreaking program that changes the way you see, smell, touch, and taste wine. A strengthening system for your senses,Wineocology shows you how to sharpen your eyes, nose, and mouth so that the information they provide is used to expand and enhance your relationship with wine. Whether you are an adventurous beginner or a seasoned connoisseur, Wineocology will make you an expert wine-know!

Kritters Thoughts:  A different kind of wine book that takes an educational approach to make any wine drinker a better educated and more aware wine drinker.  By using all of the senses that every individual uses on a daily basis, Stansbury brings wine to the people to allow for everyone to learn a new way to approach wine and enjoy it at a fuller level.

I consider myself a fan of wine and before reading this book, knew my fair share of the basics of wine, but have always wanted to read a book that could give me a little more knowledge to grow on - this book did it.  I felt that it had the basics in a fresh way to remind myself of them and then it had the advanced learning presented in a way that was easy to read, understand and then implement.  My one challenge for the book was the repetition - I felt like there were some spots where some concepts were driven home a few too many times and could have been left out.  

A wine book for the masses and a perfect gift for someone who is wanting to get into wine or who is getting into it and needs a little more.

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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Booksparks PR.  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, January 27, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

SO - I absolutely meant to post this last week, but with a wedding we attended and the inauguration festivities, the weekend swept away from me!  So this is what I have read over the past two weeks, a few days of good reading, but a few days where I didn't even crack a book, it was kind of nuts.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Political Suicide by Michael Palmer
How to Forget Your (Boy) Friend by Kathleen Kitson
Yesterday's Sun by Amanda Brooke
The Tin Horse by Janice Steinberg
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman
The House Girl by Tara Conklin
The Wedding Day by Joanne Clancy
The Truth About Love & Lightning by Susan McBride
Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City by Holly Denham
Perfect Match by Jane Moore

Currently Reading:
Another Forgotten Child by Cathy Glass

Next on the TBR pile:

Condemn Me Not by Dianne Venetta

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Across My Doorstop

For Review:
The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee  (Goodreads Amazon)
The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Yesterday's Sun by Amanda Brooke  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Wanderer by Robyn Carr  (Amazon)
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Seduction by M.J. Rose  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The King's Jar by Susan C. Shea  
Deadly Stakes by J.A. Jance  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Swap Sites:
The Yoga Club by Cooper Lawrence  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Half Truths & White Lies by Jane Davis  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Working Stiff by Tori Carrington  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Gift by Ceclia Ahern  (Goodreads  Amazon)
In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Wedding Season by Darcy Cosper  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Who's That Girl? by Alexandra Potter  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Monkey Business by Sarah Mlynowski  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Baby Trail by Sinead Moriarty  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Jinx by Jennifer Sturman  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

Publisher: Harper Perennial 
Pages:  352
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  A young woman tries to save three people she loves in this elegant and remarkably insightful coming-of-age debut.

Afraid of losing her parents at a young age--her father with his weak heart, her deeply depressed mother--Naomi Feinstein prepared single-mindedly for a prestigious future as a doctor. An outcast at school, Naomi loses herself in books, and daydreams of Wellesley College. But when Teddy, her confidant and only friend, abruptly departs from her life, it's the first devastating loss from which Naomi is not sure she can ever recover, even after her long-awaited acceptance letter to Wellesley arrives.

Naomi soon learns that college isn't the bastion of solidarity and security she had imagined. Amid hundreds of other young women, she is consumed by loneliness--until the day she sees a girl fall into the freezing waters of a lake.

Kritters Thoughts:  A hook in the synopsis that involves a girl as she heads off to college and gets involved with a secret Shakespearean society and drama should ensue.  As the book started, I was confused as to the amount of pages that were devoted to her early childhood; towards the end I understood why that took such a precedence  but I was lost and wanting to get to the college years.  

Finally our main character heads to college, leaving quite a bit of drama behind at home in hopes of pursuing the career that she has been eyeing for quite awhile.  At this point, I was so excited to get to the drama and she met a lot of girls and it took a few pages to get them all straight.  Drama ensued, but not to the level that I was anticipating, I wanted more than was there.  I felt like she went off to college and it kind of plateaued for a bit and then right at the end it all came together, but the middle part left me hanging just a bit.

If you are a fan of the college years and a lot of character development, then this would be the book for you.  

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.

 The tour schedule: 

Wednesday, January 9th: Oh! Paper Pages
Thursday, January 10th: nomadreader
Monday, January 14th: 5 Minutes for Books
Tuesday, January 15th: Bibliosue
Wednesday, January 16th: Dreaming in Books
Thursday, January 17th: The Feminist Texican [Reads]
Monday, January 21st: Peppermint Ph.D.
Tuesday, January 22nd: Book Hooked Blog
Wednesday, January 23rd: Ted Lehmann’s Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorms
Thursday, January 24th: Great Imaginations
Friday, January 25th: Kritters Ramblings

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster

Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster 

Publisher: NAL 
Pages: 320 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn't understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped...beloved...feared. Present day, not so much. She's been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband, and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she's struggling to start a business out of her parents' garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom.

Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it's not like she can go back in time and change who she was...or can she?

Kritters Thoughts:  If you took the movie 13 going on 30 and added a little cocktail twist, you would get Jen Lancaster's latest trip to fiction - for me it was one of the best books in her portfolio.  Lissy Ryder is the high school queen who led the rally of the Mean Girls and after a class reunion is regretting a few things that may have happened in the past.  Through an interesting encounter with a classmate she is given the opportunity to rewind the clock a bit and change a few things, will all the changes result in good?

Although this is Lancaster fiction, it still has the signature Lancaster snark that we all love.  Her main character Lissy ruled the school and through this character you feel Lancaster's view of the high school years and how some classmates make it out alive to tell the tale and some wish to erase the entire episode.  Obviously, I was reflecting back on my high school days and wondering if I made a different decision here or there, would I still be in the spot I stand now?

With many classmates involved in the story, somehow it was so easy to remember who was whom in high school and who they had become after graduation.  I rooted for the underdogs and then hoped for those whose lives had not met potential after leaving school.  I wonder if after reading this book would any other alum want to change a moment in their high school chapters or keep it all the same?

There is a quiet underlying storyline about the importance of family and how everyone has a family unit in some way shape or form and how critical these relationships influence our upbringing.  I wasn't prepared for a moment in the book to go very serious and subdued, but it drove the message home that family is the center of it all.

My first read of a Lancaster fiction and I am now headed to pick up her first foray - If You Were Here.  I would recommend this book to both fans of Jen Lancaster and those who may be a little uneasy with her non-fiction titles.  Funny, sassy, and entertaining - you can not ask for more from a book!    

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2012 Challenge: 56 out of 25

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

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