Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

Only two books read this week, but a lot of things accomplished in the house!  I am definitely excited about this holiday week with some extra hours for reading and house work!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice
The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

Currently Reading:
The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

Next on the TBR pile:
The Rockin Chair by Steven Manchester

Across My Doorstop

Some technical difficulties and a long weekend.  I will have more books to share from a library sale that I attend this weekend with my mom and sister.  I promise to have a video of those soon!

Happy Reading!

For Review:
Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson  (Goodreads  Amazon)
What Maisie Knew by Henry James  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by Emma Straub (Goodreads  Amazon)
Mandatory Release by Jess Riley  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Mirrored World by Debra Dean  (Goodreads  Amazon)
More Bitter Than Death by Camilla Grebe  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Imperfect Pairings by Jackie Townsend  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Never List by Koethi Zan  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Royal Inheritance by Kate Emerson  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Godiva by Nicole Galland  (Goodreads  Amazon)
City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Bow Wow Club by Nicola May  (Goodreads  Amazon)
A Diet to Die For by Sarah Steding  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Drift by Jon McGoran  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Anomaly by Krista McGee (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Equilibrium by Lorrie Thomson  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The White Princess by Philippa Gregory  (Goodreads  Amazon)


Swap Sites:
The Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice  (Goodreads  Amazon)
In Stereo Where Available by Becky Anderson  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Beach Read List - Books that Inspire


The summer is just beginning and I was given the opportunity to be a part of a tour for JKS Communications to share some great summer reads, so this is the list of books that can Inspire!  I can't wait to pick one and read one this summer!



Karl McMilen - Triumphs and Tragedies





Wil Drouin, Jennifer Thomas and Bill Hayes - Butterfly Tears: Stories of Entrapment

Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin 
Pages: 256 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  There are some things you can’t leave behind…

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.



Kritters Thoughts:  Carey is no ordinary 14 year old, she has spent 10 years in the woods with her mother fighting for her and her younger sister's life each and every day with no help.  After being found after an unusual circumstance, she has to quickly adapt to a whole new and different world while helping her sister see the outside world for the first time.

At the beginning, when I started this book, I was definitely concerned with the way Carey spoke, as she was the main narrator I knew I would be hearing from her a lot, it was definitely southern and I was nervous that the dialect would trip me up.  Thankfully once she was found, she quickly turned her language up a notch and I stopped noticing the way she spoke.  The author did such an amazing job with the integration of the girls and the impact it had on this family as they tried to rearrange their lives to make a new normal.

Although a YA book, this subject matter was definitely difficult and deep at times, maybe a little too rough for some young readers at times.  I would think this may be a YA book for an adult audience and with a quick twist at the end, it takes this one to a whole different level that gave Carey a very interesting history.


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

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 19 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.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Emma's Secret by Steena Holmes

Emma's Secret by Steena Holmes

Publisher: Amazon
Pages: 235 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  For two years, Megan, Peter, and their two older daughters, Alexis and Hannah, dream of nothing but being reunited with the family’s youngest child, Emma, who was kidnapped just before her third birthday. When Emma is miraculously found living with an elderly couple just miles from the family’s home, they are hopeful that her return will heal the wounds her disappearance created.

But Emma is vastly different from the sunny toddler they remember. She barely remembers her parents or her older sisters. She is quiet and withdrawn, and, worst of all, longs for the very people who kidnapped her.

Megan is consumed with bitterness, while Peter works later and later nights in the company of his gorgeous business partner. And in the middle of everything, Megan’s best friend has become suddenly distant and secretive.

Then a chance encounter in town leads to a secret that changes everything again for Emma. And Peter must decide between the happiness of his youngest daughter and the trust of his family.


Kritters Thoughts:  Before you read this review, STOP and pick up Finding Emma by Steena Holmes.

Ok.  Now proceed.  Emma's Secret picks up where the first ends and oh am I so thankful for this sequel.  It definitely lived up to the first book and I was very glad to find out what happened after Emma returned to her family.  Thankfully this author made the experience feel very real and showed what could be the truth when a kidnapping victim is returned to their former life.  

There is a major plot twist in the end that definitely went a way that I wanted it to.  I can definitely not reveal anything because it is very central to the book, but trust me that i think the author choose the right path for this character.

I am officially a Steena Holmes fan and am adding her to my authors to watch for!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA 
Pages: 368 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Single dad and Thunder Point's deputy sheriff "Mac" McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he's found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they're feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can't get enough of one another. 

And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac's long-lost-and not missed-ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. They're wondering if their new feelings for each other can withstand the pressure...but they are not going down without a fight. 



Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the series that takes place on the Oregon coast, Robyn Carr takes this town to the next level and I couldn't even predict what she was going to do with this great cast of characters.  This book gave each of the characters in the town a focus and storyline to move them all forward a little.  I was glad to have more depth than just the surface area of learning the people and the town like the first book.

I absolutely loved that not only the adults, but also the teens took center stage at some point.  There were work problems, school problems and of course relationship problems.  The romance was perfect, not too much, but just enough to enjoy!  I think my favorite characters in this book were Gina and the sheriff Mac, to see where they were going to go was a lot of fun and their families were full of a lot of drama.

At times the issues and solutions were a little cheesy, but cheesy light and fun were exactly what I needed as my personal life was a little rocky.  I breezed right through this one and was left on a cliff wondering what was going to be next for a few of them.  I can not wait to see where she takes the town and the people in it in the next book.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (and sure we are going to get it!)

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 42 out of 50

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

Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio

The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio

Publisher: Plume 

Pages: 320
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  On the eve of the Second World War, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is at once brightened by new love and threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes.

More than half a century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple’s shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener’s notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?


Kritters Thoughts:  Two story lines collide in a manor outside of London as two women are trying to find out the full story behind the misshappenings in this large English home.  One story takes place in the 1940s as World War II is beginning while the other is a current story, but the run parallel and intersect in the most fascinating ways!

My first book I have read by Sarah Jio and now I will be running very quickly to read her other two books, I was swept into this story so quickly and just wanted to know what would happen to both Flora and Addison.  Neither of their stories dominated and I appreciated how the mysteries unfolded in both of their story lines.  Only after I finished and thought about it did I find the hints in one story that would have helped me uncover a clue or two in the other - it was pieced together so well!

I can not rave enough about this one!  I read it in two sittings and absolutely loved it.  Even though it has a historical flare to it, I would recommend it to any reader who may dabble in the historical fiction realm.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 43 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.





Sunday, June 23, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

What a great week of reading!  It helped to be out of town and away from the house projects with a few more hours to just sit with a book!  And a few plane rides as well!  

For those who have followed for awhile, the retreat planning has begun and I am nervous it will be one more thing to take away from my very limited time to read and blog.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 


Finished this past week:
Together Tea by Marjan Kamali
Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole
Playing Tyler by t.L. Costa
Emma's Secret by Steena Holmes
All My Restless Life to Live by Dee DeTarsio

Currently Reading:
The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice

Next on the TBR pile:
The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Together Tea by Marjan Kamali

Together Tea by Marjan Kamali

Publisher: Ecco
Pages: 336
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Darya has discovered the perfect gift for her daughter’s twenty-fifth birthday: an ideal husband. Mina, however, is fed up with her mother’s years of endless matchmaking and the spreadsheets grading available Iranian-American bachelors. Having spent her childhood in Tehran and the rest of her life in New York City, Mina has experienced cultural clashes firsthand, but she’s learning that the greatest clashes sometimes happen at home.

After a last ill-fated attempt at matchmaking, mother and daughter embark on a return journey to Iran. Immersed once again in Persian culture, the two women gradually begin to understand each other. But when Mina falls for a young man who never appeared on her mother’s matchmaking radar, will Mina and Darya’s new-found appreciation for each other survive?



Kritters Thoughts:  Mina is an Iranian-American who is trying to find her true self and what that may look like, can it have bits of both cultures that she has lived in?  Parts of the story are told from her mother's perspective - Darya who spent many more years in Iran and misses her home and has a difficult time making America her true home.  The push and pull with making a new place home and missing the former place really hit home with me.

At the heart of this story is a mother and a daughter who grow up in two different worlds/generations and must bridge the gap to maintain a relationship.  Although this story has cultural implications to it, any mother/daughter duo could read this book and feel the heart of the story.  I am waiting for my mom to read it, so we can have a great chat about how it can translate to all mothers and daughters.  

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.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: The Gingerbread House by Nell Carson

The Gingerbread House by Nell Carson

Publisher: Avalon Books 
Pages:185 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  After a tumultuous past, Greta Kendall has focused mainly on her bridal shop, located on the first floor of her beloved Queen Anne Victorian near Aspen. For two years she’s fought to save her house from Stephanie Harwood of Harwood Development, who is intent on razing her home to build a new mall. But now Greta’s running out of time. The town council is about to approve the final plans for the mall.

When Gray Daniels walks into her shop, Greta is immediately attracted to his rugged good looks and midnight blue eyes, until she learns he’s Stephanie Harwood’s fiancĂ©. She’s furious to find they’ve tricked her into a publicity stunt aimed at garnering support for the mall. So now her little war has a new front: Gray Daniels. If only she could also fight her growing attraction to him.

A knock on the door brings a return of old danger, and Greta must now put aside her anguish over the house to discover if she’s at last capable of looking the past in the eye and overcoming it—and if she’s finally free to love again.



Kritters Thoughts:  Greta is a young woman living in her hometown and working in her family's wedding dress shop.  Along with her mother in their historical home in a town just minutes from Aspen, they are fighting to keep their home and their business against a developer who wants to put a mall where their home currently sits. 

These characters were fantastic and so easy to get to know and fall in love with; it made it so difficult to put the book down.  I read it in one sitting!  I felt for Greta as she was confronting problems from her past and trying to move forward, but there was definitely some questions up in the air about what her future would look like and who would be a part of it.  I was definitely rooting for Greta the entire time.

My biggest concern was due to the length the book felt quick and choppy, but I think if a few parts had been fleshed out, it wouldn't have felt so choppy.  But overall, I absolutely adored this book and will definitely be keeping my eye out for this author.  


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 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, June 19, 2013

Review: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton 
by Elizabeth L. Silver

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

Goodreads:  Six months before her execution date, Noa is visited on Pennsylvania's death row by a high-powered attorney named Marlene Dixon who initiates a clemency petition on her behalf. Marlene also happens to be the mother of Noa's victim, Sarah, and ten years earlier, she helped cement Noa's fate on the witness stand. What unfolds is the haunting account of Noa P. Singleton, an insular, acerbic thirty-five-year-old woman who agrees to entertain this last-minute appeal because Marlene has unexpectedly reversed her belief in the death penalty.

Marlene wants to know why her daughter died, and she scours Noa's past to reveal the bright loner who took Sarah's life. Haunting those involved is the fact that the motive was never revealed, but Noa doesn't want to fight for her life, and she is only slowly persuaded to tell what happened that day. A character-driven story about two women whose lives are inextricably linked through the law, through shared sentiments of guilt, and through irreversible mistakes, Noa and Marlene's motivations become increasingly nebulous, and in the end they must accept that they are in fact a blurred spectrum of good and evil.



Kritters Thoughts:  A morbid central plot, but presented in an interesting way with the person on death row telling the story popping in to the past and back to the present to catch the reader up on all the important details.  Noa P. Singleton is awaiting her execution day and it has been set, but out of the blue comes the mother of her victim claiming to help her get clemency and this is where the real story begins.

This book definitely took a turn that I couldn't predict and although it added some drama to the story, I am not sure I loved it.  I did love how the facts as to why she was incarcerated were presented to the reader - it was great to get the real story piece by piece and not all at once at the end.  With letters from the victim's mother to her daughter included throughout the book, the reader is given a lot of her intentions and story.  While most of the story is told in Noa's voice and she easily moves to the past to tell stories about herself long before the crime and then leading up to the event - I thought that it was kind of generic that she had a bad family history.  Why do all criminals claim a past abuse that may influence their future decisions?  

A different book to include in the mystery genre where the victim is known and already met their demise, but the how and why are the heart of the story.  I would definitely recommend this book, although it is definitely very different.

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

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 41 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.

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