Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Publisher: HarperCollins 
Pages: 384 
Format: ARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can't believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who's never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate's faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead. 

Seemingly unable to cope with what she'd done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of "spontaneous" suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text: 

She didn't jump.

Sifting through Amelia's emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall's roof that day-and why she died.



Kritters Thoughts:  A high school sophomore is found dead on the ground outside of her prep school and from the beginning it is deemed a suicide, stating that she jumped from the roof, but her mother can't believe that her straight A fantastic daughter would ever committ suicide.  So her mom being a lawyer, used her skills and tracks down the true story of the "accident" that left her without her child.

I loved the twists and the turns of this story, they were like driving down a perfect country road, not to sharp.  The final verdict (which I absolutely can not share) was great, it was semi unexpected, but not completely out of left field.  The other thing that I loved was the inclusion of Amelia's text messages and facebook and the school gossip blog, they added dimension and helped create the full story of what was going on in Amelia's word before the day she died.

Although I hesitate to make this comparison and debated for a long time whether I should say this, I found this book to be a great adult version of Gossip Girl - with prep school high schoolers, a few moments of crazy parties and a murder mystery, it had all the ingredients, but it had the extra kick of one of the main narrators being a parent to give it more of a sophisticated adult edge.  I absolutely loved this who dun it and loved the journey to find out if it was a suicide or not and if not, who did it??

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 25 out of 50

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, April 2nd: Bookish Habits
Thursday, April 4th: Twisting the Lens
Monday, April 8th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, April 9th: Book Hooked Blog
Wednesday, April 10th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, April 15th: A Book Geek
Tuesday, April 16th: In the Next Room
Wednesday, April 17th: Peppermint Phd
Thursday, April 18th: nomadreader
Monday, April 22nd: A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, April 23rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, April 24th: Speaking of Books
Thursday, April 25th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, April 30th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, May 1st: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Thursday, May 2nd: Short and Sweet Reviews



Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate

Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate

Publisher: Bethany House 
Pages: 384 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  At thirty-four, congressional staffer Mallory Hale is about to embark on an adventure completely off the map. After a whirlwind romance, she is hopelessly in love with two men--fortunately, they're related. Daniel Everson and his little boy, Nick, are a package deal, and Mallory suddenly can't imagine her future without them. 

Mallory couldn't be more shocked when Daniel asks her to marry him, move to Texas, and form a family with him and motherless Nick. The idea is both thrilling and terrifying. 

Mallory takes a leap of faith and begins a sweet, mishap-filled journey into ranch living, Moses Lake society, and a marriage that at times reminds her of the mail-order-bride stories. But despite the wild adventure of her new life, she discovers secrets and questions beneath her rosy new life. Can she find answers on Firefly Island, a little chunk of property just off the lakeshore, where mysterious lights glisten at night?


Kritters Thoughts:  With a hook at the beginning that shows a bit from the future, the reader is quickly taken into the past and through the entire story to find out how this young woman goes from a single lady working in DC to a married woman in rural Texas.  From the beginning, I was rooting for Mallory and wanted to know not only where she was going to end up but how she would get there.

I was hooked line and sinker from the beginning.  I wanted to know the mystery behind this little town where she ended up with a new husband and a stepson - how would she find herself in the middle of a mess and would they all get out of it alive.  The flow of the book was perfect, it was even difficult to put the book down as each chapter swept into the next as the story was building and building.  The small town feel with interesting characters gave the story another dimension beyond the mystery of this wealthy gentleman and his habits and traits. 

This book can be defined in the genre of Christian fiction, but as I am a pretty harsh critique of the genre, I would just it is fiction with a little more morals than your average piece of fiction!  It didn't go all preachy and try to teach me Bible verses, it was a great piece of fiction that gave great mention to a transformation of a young woman with grace and character.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

Well, we moved!  All that is left is finishing up cleaning our rental condo and the long process of unpacking and filling a house! I had literally only a few seconds to read this week with the moving and house projects and still working through it all, SO a sad result for this week, but hopefully it will all balance out!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
The Love Wars by L. Alison Heller

Currently Reading:
Not a darn thing - it is so sad

Next on the TBR pile:
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's Official - we are homeowners!

So on Tuesday, April 23rd we signed our life away!  We purchased our first home and signed ourselves up for quite a long list of renovations and projects, but we are both definitely excited. 

 The living room with the carpet that came out the day we closed!

The moving in is still in progress as there was a delay while the floors were refinished, but I can't wait to spend our first night there together tomorrow!

Our new living room from the dining room, without the carpet, it looked completely different.

I hope that even though this is a book blog, you guys will be excited to see what is happening at the house!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble

The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble

Publisher: Touchstone 
Pages: 352
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  What makes a house a home? 

For Eve Gallagher, home is miles away in England since she and her husband relocated to an apartment building on New York's Upper East Side. And life isn't coming up roses.

What makes a neighbor a friend? 

Violet has lived in the building for decades, but she's always kept herself apart, until Eve's loneliness touches her heart.

What makes a wife a lover? 

Jason Kramer in apartment 6A is no longer sure he loves his wife, but he's head over heels for Rachel Schulman in 6B.

What makes the girl next door the woman of your dreams? 

Meeting Emily Mikanowski from 3A turns Trip Grayling's world upside down. It's love at first sight, but he needs help from Charlotte, the shy romance novel addict in 2A, if he's going to get his girl.

What they all have in common is an address, but it is also a home where their lives and secrets intertwine. Come in and enjoy this bittersweet story of friendship and love.


Kritters Thoughts:  Everyone has neighbors, no matter where they live, you could have many or a few; they could be very close or far away, but this fictional book dives into the relationships we can have with our neighbors and how if we were to just get to know them a little, the impact they could have on our lives.  Taking place in a co-op apartment building in New York City, there are quiet a few residents and some have a lot in common and they don't even know it.  

Eve is the most central character of them all and her and her husband have just moved into this apartment building from England for his job and she has left everything behind to accompany him to the States.  The thing I loved about their storyline is hearing their mix ups with American words because that is always my difficulty in reading books that are based in England, is the somewhat slang that is different between the two countries.

The one thing that saved me a lot of headache and I applaud the author for putting it in the beginning was the list of the cast of characters.  I flipped back to these pages often to make sure I knew their quick facts and then kept reading - lifesaver!  

I loved this character heavy book with their interactions in the building and outside of the building.  Although I am in a condo right now and am headed into a house where my neighbors will be a bit further away, it made me appreciate some of my neighbors that I interact with on a daily basis.

Rating: absolutely loved and want a sequel 
                 (I heard there was one coming, is this true?)

Off the Shelf 2013 Challenge: 4 out of 30


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Where's the Groom? by Sophie Meyer

Where's the Groom? by Sophie Meyer

Pages: 277 
Format: ebook 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  Ashley, just turning thirty, is stuck with a string of bad dates that keep getting worse. The last of her group of friends to be single, she’s quickly becoming hopeless about finding The One.

When a friend convinces her to attend a new-age workshop on making your dreams come true, she gets onto a roller coaster she can’t get off of. The poignant and hilarious comedy of errors begins. The workshop sweeps through her life like a tornado and turns her reality upside down. She is told: visualize it, and he will come. But Ashley takes it seriously, and before she knows it, she’s planning a wedding. There’s only one problem: there’s no groom.

Things quickly spiral out of control as one misunderstanding after another occurs, and Ashley’s friends and family find out a wedding is happening, and want to know who the groom is. Backed into a corner, she finds herself having to lie, and to make her wedding planning more and more a reality. Things intensify as Ashley chooses her bridesmaids and is caught in a whirlwind of looking for dresses, choosing a venue, finding a band, and everything else. Soon a date is set, invitations are sent out, and there is no backing out!


Kritters Thoughts:  A woman approaching 30 has found herself repeating bad dates and relationships, so after a conversation with her yoga teacher she decides to join him to a life workshop where they are advised to act like their dreams are coming true.  As her dream is to find and marry the One, her yoga teacher decides that planning a wedding will be like acting as if her dreams are coming true.  Queue her crazy friends and family and this book is definitely a fun read.

I loved reading the craziness of the wedding planning with the added addition of the lack of groom and trying to explain it all to her friends and family - it definitely made me laugh out loud a little and remember my craziness of planning and I clearly had a groom in mind! I think this would actually be a perfect read for a bride who is in process of planning to add some hilarity to what can be a stressful time.

Although it may be considered fluff, I like to read these every once in awhile for a quick and cute read, it was definitely entertaining!

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

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 23 out of 50

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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review: The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope
by Rhonda Riley

Publisher: Ecco 
Pages: 432 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  During WWII, teenager Evelyn Roe is sent to manage the family farm in rural North Carolina, where she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier on their property. She rescues him, and it quickly becomes clear he is not a man . . . and not one of us.  The rescued body recovers at an unnatural speed, and just as fast, Evelyn and Adam fell deeply in love.  


Kritters Thoughts:  An interesting combination of historical fiction and a little bit of sci-fi which took me out of my comfort zone, but I definitely enjoyed the gentle nudge.  Set during WWII and ending in the 1970s, this book takes the reader on a tour of history through the eyes of one family as they live with an extraordinary secret.  

Evelyn Roe meets a man, but maybe not in the most conventional way, but together they raise a family of girls to become successful women.  I definitely fell in love with Evelyn from the beginning and couldn't wait to read how Adam was going to appear in her life and how they would create a family of girls.  Although Adam wasn't the most usual character, it was still easy to fall in love with him and care about him.  I couldn't wait to find out how he would affect the family they would raise and the future of their girls.  

I am not usually the biggest fan of other worldly mixed with history, but it was enough to enjoy, but not too far out there!   


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.



Monday, April 22nd: Bookmagnet’s Blog
Tuesday, April 23rd: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, April 24th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, April 25th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, April 29th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, May 6th: A Night’s Dream of Books
Tuesday, May 7th: Giraffe Days
Thursday, May 9th: Book Snob
Thursday, May 9th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, May 14th: Bibliophiliac


Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

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

Goodreads:  "Love me. Love me. I'm not what you expected, but oh, please love me. "

That was the most defining moment of my life. That was the beginning of my story.

From the outside looking in, Kelle Hampton had the perfect life: a beautiful two-year-old daughter, a loving husband, a thriving photography career, and great friends. When she learned she was pregnant with her second child, she and her husband, Brett, were ecstatic. Her pregnancy went smoothly and the ultrasounds showed a beautiful, healthy, high-kicking baby girl.

But when her new daughter was placed in her arms in the delivery room, Kelle knew instantly that something was wrong. Nella looked different than her two-year-old sister, Lainey, had at birth. As she watched friends and family celebrate with champagne toasts and endless photographs, a terrified Kelle was certain that Nella had Down syndrome--a fear her pediatrician soon confirmed. Yet gradually Kelle's fear and pain were vanquished by joy, as she embraced the realization that she had been chosen to experience an extraordinary and special gift.



Kritters Thoughts:  A book that started as a blog to keep family updated on their first born child ended up a book about the life changing event of having a second child, and not just a second child, but a second child with Down Syndrome.  Although I may not be a mom and may never become one, I still found lessons in this book with ways to handle difficult ways with grace, courage and surrounded by close friends.  

The main takeaway I took from this book was the need for as Kelle Hampton calls it "The Net."  I have a few close girlfriends and I may not always keep constant communication with them, but if something were to happen, I would fly, drive or walk to be there for whatever they needed.  Spouses and family are fantastic, but sometimes only a girlfriend can sit by your side and make you laugh, cry or think through a tough moment.  So I am going to work hard to reach out to my friends and make calls during the day to day life, so that when something big happens, we know that we are only a phone call or email away from each other.

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, April 2nd: Book Club Classics!
Wednesday, April 3rd: Tina’s Book Reviews
Thursday, April 4th: Lavish Bookshelf
Monday, April 8th: 5 Minutes for Mom
Tuesday, April 9th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Wednesday, April 10th: From L.A. to LA
Thursday, April 11th: A Patchwork of Books
Monday, April 15th: The Well-Read Wife
Tuesday, April 16th: Mrs. Q: Book Addict
Wednesday, April 17th: The Betty and Boo Chronicles
Friday, April 19th: Momma Jorje
Saturday, April 20th: Words of His Heart
Saturday, April 20th: Simeon’s Trail
Sunday, April 21st: Unringing the bell
Monday, April 22nd: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, April 23rd: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Thursday, April 25th: Suko’s Notebook

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


A crazy week at work definitely rolled over into after work hours, but had to get things done before I completely mentally check out while we move!    But thankfully all of these books were great!  A short list this week, but a great list!


A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue
Saving Saffron Sweeting by Pauline Wiles
The Repeat Year by Andrea Lochen

Currently Reading:
The Love Wars by L. Alison Heller

Next on the TBR pile:
And She Was Good by Laura Lippman
The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Across My Doorstop


Another two weeks of books that came across my doorstop in a few ways.  The move hasn't begun yet, but it is the calm before the storm.

For Review:
The S Word by Chelsea Pitcher  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Repeat Year by Andrea Lochen  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Love Wars by L. Alison Heller  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Purchases:
The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Crooked Branch by Jeanine Cummins  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Smart One by Jennifer Close  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Various Positions by Martha Schabas  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Girls in Trouble by Caroline Leavitt  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli  (Goodreads  Amazon)

From mom:
Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Library Loot:
The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo  (Goodreads  Amazon)
And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman  (Goodreads  Amazon)



Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen

The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen

Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 352
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  Following a once-in-a-lifetime invitation, a group of old college friends leap at the chance to bring their husbands for a week’s vacation at a private villa in Jamaica to celebrate a former classmates' thirty-fifth birthday.

All four women are desperate for a break and this seems like a perfect opportunity. Tina is drowning under the demands of mothering four young children. Allie needs to escape from the shattering news about an illness that runs in her family. Savannah is carrying the secret of her husband’s infidelity. And, finally, there’s Pauline, who spares no expense to throw her husband an unforgettable birthday celebration, hoping it will gloss over the cracks that have already formed in their new marriage.

The week begins idyllically, filled with languorous days and late nights of drinking and laughter. But as a hurricane approaches the island, turmoil builds, forcing each woman to re-evaluate everything she’s known about the others—and herself.


Kritters Thoughts:  A group of friends from college are invited on all expense paid trip to Jamaica to celebrate a birthday, although some of the friends haven’t stayed in touch, so the trip is a little out of the blue.  Each of them are escaping issues at home to the paradise of Jamaica, except sometimes your problems can come with you on vacation.

Another book that needed a cheat sheet to make sure I had each couple put together correctly and the main issue that they were dealing with, but once the cheat sheet was made, I was good to go!  The couple I loved the most was Allie and Ryan, her fear that all her life things have come easy and at some point the chips have to fall really hit me.  My life hasn't been an uphill battle, some things have come my easily and some I have fought for, but in the end I usually end up right where I want to be and there is a fear that I could wake up and it all could be gone.  I am so glad she included this character and the struggle with waiting for a catastrophe   

Another Sarah Pekkanen book that had me up late at night reading and wanting a sequel to continue the stories of each of the characters.  Pekkanen's characters are full, deep and utterly human which I absolutely adore because sometimes I just want to read about people in a true situation.   

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 21 out of 50

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