Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Widow Woman by Julia Tagliere

Widow Woman by Julia Tagliere

Pages: 178
Format: ebook 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  1962 helped kick off a decade of tremendous change. President Kennedy bans all trade with Cuba. Jackie Robinson became the first African American elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Beatles recorded their first song together, and Illinois became the first U.S. state to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults. 

For Audrey Randolph, a young Midwestern wife and the main character in Widow Woman, by Minnesota author Julia Tagliere, 1962 also brought personal tragedy: her mother died suddenly, leaving behind a lifetime of letters, photos and unimaginable secrets. Audrey, stunned by her mother’s death and the subsequent revelations of past loves and lovers, can no longer trust the reality she has always known. She must come to terms with dual losses, both her mother's death, as well as the unanswered, nagging question: Was anything she knew real?



Kritters Thoughts:  A young woman who is having troubles in her own marriage must return home to bury her mother after her sudden death.  As she is going through her mother's things she unravels secrets that were kept from her her entire life. 

Although I can't ruin the book by divulging the big secret, I do feel like I had to remind myself of the time of this book because this secret may not have been as huge of a deal now as it was in the 1960s.  I couldn't imagine my parents keeping this large of a secret from me my entire life and having my mother pass away without the news being shared.  I think a part of Audrey's anger was not hearing it straight from her mother and I completely agreed with her feelings.

I definitely came away with this book with a wonder of what I do not know about my parents.  What have they kept from me for my safety and what have they kept from me "for my own good."  In the same respect, what deep secrets do we keep even from those closest to us - our immediately family.  Although the premise was great, I didn't love the book due to the extreme repetition of the character's thoughts and I wish that there was a little more content and interaction between some of the characters.

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

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 26 out of 50


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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo

The Roots of the Olive Tree 
by Courtney Miller Santo

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

Goodreads:  Set in a house on an olive grove in northern California, The Roots of the Olive Tree is a beautiful, touching story that brings to life five generations of women--including an unforgettable 112 year-old matriarch determined to break all Guinness longevity records--the secrets and lies that divide them and the love that ultimately ties them together.


Kritters Thoughts:  Five generations of women all living under one roof and that is just the tip of the iceberg with this family.  Each woman has their own unique story and is a piece to the family puzzle.  

It was hard at the beginning to remember the lineage, but once I established the order, the family became this one living being with quite a history.  I loved when a piece of their personal history was shared and it made the reader realize why the character is reacting the way they do and how the generations decisions before them affected them.  This was definitely a story that revolved around characters that had to have depth and soul and the author did just that!

I will definitely be keeping my eye on this author, I loved the mix of a little bit of US history swept into a greater story about one family trying to survive and pass on a legacy.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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, May 1st: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, May 2nd: The Book Bag
Monday, May 6th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Wednesday, May 8th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, May 9th: A Dream Within a Dream
Tuesday, May 14th: Traveling With T
Monday, May 27th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, May 29th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Thursday, May 30th: Kritters Ramblings
Thursday, June 6th: Amused By Books

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Across my Doorstop

1,001!  That is this post!  I am so excited to hit 1,000 posts and my 3 year mark in May.  I am definitely excited to share the progress on the library and what has come across my doorstop in the last two weeks, so here it goes!









For Review:
I'll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan  (
Goodreads  Amazon)
The Rockin' Chair by Steven Manchester  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Time Flies by Claire Cook  (Goodreads  Amazon)
A Question of Honor by Charles Todd  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Second Watch by J.A. Jance  (Goodreads  Amazon)
After Her by Joyce Maynard  (Goodreads  Amazon)
For God, Country and Coca-Cola by Mark Pendergrast  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Face the Music by Joe Anderson  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Some Nerve by Patty Chang Anker  (Goodreads  Amazon)
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams  (Goodreads  Amazon)
A Girl Like You by Maureen Lindley  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Book of Someday by Dianne Dixon  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Swap sites:
Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Jane Porter winnings: (box of goodies!)
Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter  (Goodreads  Amazon)
What a Mother Knows by Leslie Lehr  (Goodreads  Amazon)


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

Publisher: Ballentine Books 
Pages: 352 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.


Kritters Thoughts:  A 20 something woman has spent the last 2.5 years trying to make her mark in New York City on the theater world and just can't seem to catch a break.  As things start going in a good direction, she must take a step back and make some decisions.  

Franny and her two room mates were great, I definitely felt like they were truly New Yorkers and showed the true struggle to make it in New York in the entertainment industry.  The inclusion of Franny's calendar with the dates was a great addition - it gave the book character.  There is nothing I would change about this one!

I absolutely loved reading a fiction story written by a celebrity author.  I hope that Lauren Graham inserted some of her own story, I would love to ask her how much of this story comes from her or her friends lives.  This was a great chick lit and I hope that Lauren Graham will write another!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 27 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.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue

All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 288 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon  
Goodreads:  In Philadelphia, good girl Kate is dumped by her fiance the day she learns she is pregnant with his child. In New York City, beautiful stay-at-home mom Vanessa is obsessively searching the Internet for news of an old flame. And in San Francisco, Dani, the aspiring writer who can't seem to put down a book--or a cocktail--long enough to open her laptop, has just been fired...again.

In an effort to regroup, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani retreat to the New Jersey beach town where they once spent their summers. Emboldened by the seductive cadences of the shore, the women being to realize how much their lives, and friendships, have been shaped by the choices they made one fateful night on the beach eight years earlier--and the secrets that only now threaten to surface.




Kritters Thoughts:  Three friends who grew up just as close as sisters have now grown apart and are brought back together and their shared history will either tear them apart or bring them closer.  Each of the friends were unique, but it was easy to realize how they would become friends and that they each were a part of how they stayed friends for so long.    

I loved the combination of a story about friends with some mystery included.  I spent the entire book trying to figure out what secrets they kept from each other for so long and why they would keep anything from each other.  The author definitely kept me guessing as to what happened to the twin brother, Colin, and who was involved.  I was glad when it all came out and how all the details surfaced, it felt real and not too perfect.  

I would recommend this book as a great summer read, it was light enough to enjoy on vacation, but still had some depth and substance.  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 36 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, May 21st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, May 22nd: Mom in Love With Fiction
Thursday, May 23rd: A Bookish Affair
Friday, May 24th: Sweet Southern Home
Monday, May 27th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, May 28th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Thursday, May 30th: I Read a Book Once
Monday, June 3rd: A Musing Reviews
Tuesday, June 4th: Giraffe Days
Wednesday, June 5th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Monday, June 10th: Literally Jen
Tuesday, June 11th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, June 12th: Write Meg



Sunday, May 26, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


A busy weekend doing home things again, but after lots of paint on walls, it is looking like a whole new house!  Pictures and video to share on Wednesday!  Also was able to visit my sister's new house, quite a drive, but such a great house for her and her family - so busy weekend, but a few good reads this week!

Finished this past week:
And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier
The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio

Currently Reading:
Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin

Next on the TBR pile:
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Come Fly With Me by Sandi Perry

Come Fly With Me by Sandi Perry

Pages: 225 
Format: ebook 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Allison Ross is a twenty nine year old gallery owner in Chelsea who has life all figured out. That is until her father dies unexpectedly in a car accident. She is called in as interim CEO of his luxury jet company, RossAir and she must choose a new candidate for the position. Enter Alex Coventry, a brilliant southerner who would love the opportunity to show Allison exactly what position he has in mind for her. She questions his motives, but reluctantly accepts his help to look for her father's murderer. Alex challenges her in a way that opens raw wounds and forces her to examine a past tragedy she'd be happy to leave in the past. Allison pushes back and these two dance around each other as they jockey for power and try not to fall in love.


Kritters Thoughts:  One young woman is hit with a load of responsibility when her father passes away suddenly.  While the investigation into his untimely death is going on, she must take the lead in their family business while trying to avoid the short list of men who want the CEO position.  She wasn't just sitting around, so while she takes on these new responsibilities she must also maintain a gallery that she owns and operates - this makes for some good laughs and rough tears with balancing time.

For once, we have a character who comes from a wealthy family who isn't just sitting around living on her family's dime.  I loved that she had her own jobs and life when her father passed away and left the company and the decisions up to her.  Because of this, I was rooting for her from the beginning.  

Although I thought the ending was a little rough with the who dun it pieces coming together quickly, it didn't make me think less of the book.  I think readers who like a light entertaining read with a female lead who has some sense to her, will absolutely adore this one.  I will definitely be keeping my eye on this author!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 32 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.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: The Weight of Small Things by Sherri Wood Emmons

The Weight of Small Things
by Sherri Wood Emmons 

Publisher: Kensington 
Pages: 352 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Corrie Phillips has an enviable life—even if it’s not quite the one she wanted. She enjoys working at her university alumni magazine, her house is beautiful, and her husband, Mark, is attentive, handsome, and wealthy. But after years of frustration and failed attempts, Corrie is desperate for a child—and haunted by the choices in her past. 

A decade ago, just after college, Corrie’s boyfriend Daniel left town, intent on saving the world even if it meant breaking Corrie’s heart. Now he’s returned, and despite her misgivings, Corrie feels drawn to him again. But the emotions that overwhelm her may put her marriage and her secure, stable life at risk. Faced with an unexpected choice, Corrie must unravel illusion from reality at last and weigh what she most needs against what her heart has always wanted.


Kritters Thoughts:  Corrie is a woman who had a rough childhood with a mother who didn't quite do the parenting thing so well, but she has since graduated from college, married and is living in her college town and is editor of the alumni newspaper/magazine.  The only thing that she hasn't accomplished that is still on the list is motherhood herself  and she and her husband have been hoping for it for awhile.  Enter a former love and drama ensues.

The characters were just ok and the story was fine, but this wasn't one that left me wanting to hear more from these characters.  I think the biggest thing that I didn't love about this book was the constant whining of the main character - I didn't sympathize with her and found her to make her own troubles and issues.  I enjoyed her best friend Bryn more, but not enough to love the book.  If you are a reader who doesn't mind a character who is a little of a drama queen and ends up wallowing in her own mess, then maybe you would enjoy this one more than I did.

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

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 24 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.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Not so Wordless Wednesday

So this won't be such a Wordless Wednesday, but it will be chock full of great pictures.  My mom and I went on Saturday to the Gaithersburg Festival in MD.  We had printed the schedule ahead of time and had signings and talks that we definitely wanted to see.  Minus the cold and damp weather, it was such a fun book day!

Caroline Leavitt read from her latest Is This Tomorrow.  I had read it, so it was fun to hear here talk about the research she had to do to find out the small details of life in the 1950s for both men and women.


 Jeanine Cummins is a Gaithersburg native.  She read from her parallel narrative The Crooked Branch.  I bought this book to get it signed, haven't read it yet, but definitely excited to after she talked about it.
 Jennifer Close is an author that I have now seen a few times and have read both of her books.  She was (maybe still is) an employee at a local indie bookstore in DC - Politics and Prose.  I liked her first book, Girls in White Dresses, but LOVED The Smart One her latest book.   
Finally, Jane Green was the one author that both mom and I were so excited to see and hear from.  Jane was there to promote her latest Family Pictures, BUT she ended up reading a part from her next book - Tempting Fate.  That was so awesome to hear from a book that isn't out yet, and trust me this one sounds good!  She talked about her own personal author history and then the book industry, I loved hearing everything she had to say.


All in all, we had such a fun time.  It is a smaller festival, but still has some great big name authors.  The signing lines were manageable and there was plenty of time to chat with the authors and make some connections.

AS we are not going to BEA this year, this was definitely a good filler event.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve

In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve

Publisher: Hub City Press 
Pages:250 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Shortly before daybreak in War, West Virginia, a passing train derails and spills an avalanche of coal over sixteen-year-old Emma Palmisano's house, trapping her sleeping family inside. The year is 1924, and the remote mines of Appalachia have filled with families like Emma's immigrant laborers building new lives half a world away from the island of Sicily. Emma awakes in total darkness, to the voice of a railroad man, Caleb Sypher, digging her out from the suffocating coal. From his pocket he removes two spotless handkerchiefs and tenderly cleans Emma's bare feet. Though she knows little else about this railroad man, Emma marries him a week later, and Caleb delivers her from the gritty coal camp to thirty-four acres of pristine Virginia mountain farmland. 


Kritters Thoughts:  A generational story that takes place on one plot of land through a 50 year span as the land passes on and on and what can happen from one generation to another.  With both male and female leads, this book went somewhere different than I ever expected it to.  

My favorite narrator was Sadie, her story begins before she is on the property that is the central focus, but after she gets onto the property, I felt like the story really took off.  I loved her story and where she began and the journey she took while on the land was significant.  Her daughter's perspective was my other favorite, Haddie was able to tell another side of her immediate family's story and I found her to be a little more honest than her parents.

I absolutely adored the beginning and the ending, but the middle just kind wore on and at moments I felt like there were a few repetitive spots.  I wanted to like this book more than I ended up, but for fans of historical fiction where a family takes center stage and you watch them evolve from year to year, this book would be one to pick 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.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Bella Summer Takes a Chance by Michele Gorman

Bella Summer Takes a Chance 
by Michele Gorman

Pages: 323
Format: ebook 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Bella's career and relationship are her life's foundationwear: not glamorous and perhaps a bit binding, but supportive enough... until she realizes that they are not enough. Her life is sagging badly. She's never been in love with her boyfriend, despite a decade together. And somehow she stopped being a musician-with-a-day-job and became a consultant-who-was-musical. So she takes a terrifying leap of faith, leaving her relationship and resolving to follow her musical dreams no matter what.

Unfortunately, the life you walk away from doesn't always let you walk away.



Kritters Thoughts: An American woman has been living in London trying to make it as a singer while in a less than amazing relationship and working full time as a consultant; over the course of a year things unravel and she must find where her true passions lie.  The ups and downs of her relationships were entertaining, but at some point I was ready for her to find a sliver of happiness and thankfully it happened right when I wanted it to!

I absolutely adored that the characters were not given names unless and until they were significant in the book.  Instead they were nicknamed by some large quality about themselves.  This reminded me of the times I lived in Charlotte with one of my best friends and him and I would nickname each other's current flings in one way or another!  To this day, I am upset that we didn't write some of these things down because some of them were quite good!

A great chick lit book for those who may not be absolute fans of books set in London, because told through an American's eyes, the "britishness" of it wasn't as much in your face as I have read in other "London" books.  The characters were great and I definitely found myself rooting for the main character.

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

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 33 out of 50

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


Saturday, May 18, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

We are still in the thick of moving in and settling in the new house.  I have used my uber organized skills and created spreadsheets of each room and the to do lists are growing, but after having purchased a pantry cabinet and getting closets organized, I am feeling a little more moved in.  

Now to get my library complete!

This is two weeks worth of reading, since last Sunday, I was in the thick of painting in the library, that this post was completely forgotten.


A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
If You Were Here by Alafair Burke
Is This Tomorrow by Caroline Leavitt
The Registry by Shannon Stoker
The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver
The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

Currently Reading:
And She Was Good by Laura Lippman

Next on the TBR pile:
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier

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