Saturday, August 31, 2013

August


The best month in a very long time!!  Thank you to the Bout of Books push and the home improvement projects becoming less frequent.  I am still a few books behind on the goodreads challenge for the year, so hoping that these cooler months will warrant some good reading days!

1.  Pushing 30 by Whitney Gaskell
2.  Unfinished Business by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
3. Escape From Eden by Elisa Nader
4. Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes
5. Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel
6. The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim
7. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
8. Widow's Might by Sandra Brannan
9. Noah's Rainy Day by Sandra Brannan
10. The Hero by Robyn Carr
11. The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate
12. Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes
13. Lying to Meet You by Anna Garner
14. Equilibrium by Lorrie Thomson
15. In the Shadow of Revenge by Patricia Hale
16. Emma vs Tech Guy by Lia Fairchild
17. Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman
18. Sisters in Love by Melissa Foster
19. Some Act of Vision by Lori Ann Stephens
20. Love and Lament by John Milliken Thompson
21. Swimming in the Moon by Pamela Schoenewaldt

Total pages read, clicked, and flipped: 6,601

Where Have I Been Reading?:
Washington, D.C.
Atlanta, GA
South America
Miami, FL
Paris, France
Nashville, TN
London (2)
South Dakota
Denver, CO
Oregon
Hatteras, NC
New York City, NY
New Hampshire
Portland, ME
Vienna
Los Angeles
Colorado
Plano, TX
Cleveland, OH
North Carolina


Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: The Hero by Robyn Carr

The Hero by Robyn Carr

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

Goodreads:  In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need. 

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind...just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart. 

Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it...and sometimes, you find a hero.



Kritters Thoughts:  The next in the Thunder Point series from Robyn Carr.  With the addition of Spencer to town, this book mostly revolves around his adjustment to the small town and a new character addition by the name of Devon.  Devon has stumbled upon Thunder Point by escaping a religious compound and has fear that she still isn't really safe.

I love reading about books with characters that are involved in extreme "religions."  Maybe it is the religious studies major in me, but I just love reading about the psychological effects this situation can have on someone.  The added addition of fear for Devon's daughter who is a child of the religious leader created some great mystery in the book.  I also loved the updates on the other couples in town who were featured in previous books.  It was a perfect balance of update and new storyline!

I absolutely adored this book of this series and I am so glad that I was able to start with the series at the beginning and with each book become more connected to the town.  This is a series that is perfect to read straight through or take a break in between the books.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel


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.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Noah's Rainy Day by Sandra Brannan

Noah's Rainy Day by Sandra Brannan

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
Pages: 394
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  From birth, Noah Hogarty has lived with severe cerebral palsy. He is nearly blind, unable to speak, and cannot run, walk, or crawl. Yet his mind works just as well as any other twelve-year-old’s—maybe even better. And Noah holds a secret dream: to become a great spy, following in the footsteps of his aunt, Liv “Boots” Bergen.

Now, freshly returned from training at Quantico, FBI agent Liv Bergen is thrown into her first professional case. Working side by side with veteran agent Streeter Pierce, enigmatic agent and lover Jack Linwood, and her bloodhound Beulah, Liv must race to find five-year-old Max—last seen at the Denver International Airport—before this Christmastime abduction turns deadly. Meanwhile Noah, housebound, becomes wrapped up in identifying the young face he sees watching him from his neighbor’s bedroom window, but he can neither describe nor inscribe what he knows.

And his investigation may lead to Noah paying the ultimate price in fulfilling his dream.



Kritters Thoughts:  The fourth installment in the Liv Bergen series and this one may be my favorite!  Told through both Liv's point of view and the perpetrator who kidnapped the missing child, it was interesting to see the investigation go on while at the same time you hear the story from the kidnapper.  Another point that set this book apart from the rest in the series was the focus on Liv's family - they were key players in this book.

The big thing that really stuck out with me was the character of Noah and in particular his chapters because he was unable to physically talk, his chapters although not told in a diary form or anything felt the most real.  I loved how he was coping with cerebral palsy and how his family found creative ways to communicate with him.  I don't have much knowledge on CP, so it was especially enjoyable to read about a main character who was living with it and still having a full life.

As a side note on this series - although each book is a stand alone mystery, I would say you need to read from the beginning because there is a clear progression in the character growth of Liv and the key people in the books and although the mystery is the focus of each book, the personal side of things are enjoyable and build and grow throughout the books.  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (this series could go on forever!!)

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 58 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from JKS Communications.  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, August 27, 2013

Review: Widow's Might by Sandra Brannan

Widow's Might by Sandra Brannan

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The third Liv Bergen mystery picks up right where the second one left off: the murder of Liv’s sister-in-law has been solved, but an older rancher has been bludgeoned to death in a style eerily reminiscent of a long-inactive killer known only as the Crooked Man. FBI agent Streeter Pierce, still on assignment in Sturgis, South Dakota, must now turn his sights on tracking down the killer, who happens to be his nemesis from ten years earlier. Pierce doesn’t complain, though; he’s falling in love with Liv Bergen and sets in motion an unconventional way to recruit her for the FBI’s training camp in Quantico, Virginia, as they work the case together. But is Liv falling for the brilliant, exotic-looking agent Jack Linwood instead?

Once again, Liv’s vast knowledge of the Black Hills of South Dakota—the territory General Custer made famous—and the modern day ranchers and environmentalists who live there leads her to unearth critical clues about the Crooked Man. Aided by her elfin sister with rainbow-colored hair, a sad-eyed bloodhound, and a terminally ill Norwegian widow, Liv ultimately identifies the deranged killer. But will her barrage of questions be enough to fend off a fatal blow from the very cane he used to crush the skulls of thirteen other victims?


Kritters Thoughts:  Liv Bergen slips into this next mystery right after the last one ended and this one feels a little too close to home.  Add in some relationship drama, and this book is another great one by Sandra Brannan. 

With a little historical lesson involved, I loved how these FBIers slowly but surely unfolded all of the clues to find the killer.  It felt like a real progression of facts and clues, which I think is a hard thing to do when there are so many things that are trying for the reality of crime.  I was excited to read that Liv would be trying to join the FBI and hope that this is a sign of many more Liv mysteries to come! 

The third in the series and with a gap between reading this one and the second book, it may have taken me a moment to get into the swing of things, but once I was reaclimated, I loved how she unfolded the story.  Once again, the killer came out of left field, but not too far out where I felt duped.


Rating: absolutely loved it and wanted a sequel 
(the next one in the series to be reviewed on Thursday!)

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from JKS Communications.  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 26, 2013

Bout of Books Wrap Up

So I would say that my Bout of Books was definitely successful!  I didn't meet my goal of 300 pages a day, but a few times I got close and I most definitely read more each day than I normally do.  So here is to hoping that I can have more reading weeks like this one!

In total I finished 7 books, although 2 were short ebooks, they still count!


Sunday
Finished Sisters in Love - 23 pages
Started Love & Lament - 148 pages
129 less than goal

Saturday 
Finished Freud's Mistress - 223 pages
Started Sisters in Love - 157 pages
80 pages above goal!!!

Friday
Freud's Mistress - 68 pages
Finished Emma vs the Tech Guy - 171 pages
61 less than goal

Thursday
Freud's Mistress - 40 pages
Started and Finished In the Shadow of Revenge - 203 pages
Started Emma vs Tech Guy - 9 pages
48 less than goal

Wednesday

Finished Equilibrium - 85 pages
Finished Lying to Meet You - 132 pages
Started Freud's Mistress - 20 pages
13 less than goal

Tuesday
Equilibrium - 200 pages
Started Lying to Meet You - 55 pages
45 less than goal


Monday
Finished Human Remains - 200 pages
Started Equilibrium - 30 pages
70 less than goal

Review: Mocha, Moonlight and Murder by MaryAnn Kempher

Mocha, Moonlight and Murder
by MaryAnn Kempher

Publisher: Booktrope 
Pages: 248 
 Format: ebook 
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Instead of feeding her late-night appetite, a midnight food run nearly gets 28-year-old Katherine O’Brian killed. She’s the only person to see the man who brutally murdered a local woman, and the killer is hell-bent on making sure she doesn’t talk.

Scott Mitchell left a broken engagement behind when he moved to Reno, and the last thing he needs is more melodrama. But when he and Katherine are paired for a college project, that’s what he gets. It can be very distracting when someone is out to kill your lab partner. Together, they try to figure out what the police haven’t been able to—the identity of the murderer. Passion flares, but with Katherine’s life in danger, romance seems like more than a bad idea.

Scott and Katherine will face jealousy, misunderstandings, lust, and rivals, not to mention attempted murder—and all before their first real date.



Kritters Thoughts:  Katherine moves away from her life with her husband and back to where her parents used to live to start over.  She witnesses a crime and from there it is an adventure until the end.  Scott comes into her life and they spend the majority of the book trying to decide if they could be a couple.

I will keep this review short because this book just wasn't one that I adored.  The book felt jumpy and not a smooth read.  I felt as though the author left out some vital bits and pieces that could have given the book more depth.  I wish that more of the crime and the suspect were in the book, it was introduced at the beginning and only made a brief appearance and then a little at the end, wish there had been more.  I also didn't love the "relationship" between Scott and Katherine; I didn't feel like they were acting their age, the waffling back and forth was too much.

I am not sure this book was for me, if you like a book that centers more around the moonlight and mocha than the murder, then maybe you would enjoy it more than I did.

Rating: not such a good read

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 53 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.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


With Bout of Books this week, I spent many more hours this week reading, so it was awesome to see the hours meant many books finished!  Now I have to get back to some house projects this week!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes
Lying to Meet You by Anna Garner
Equilibrium by Lorrie Thomson
In the Shadow of Revenge by Patricia Hale
Emma vs Tech Guy by Lia Fairchild
Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman
Sisters in Love by Melissa Foster

Currently Reading:
Love & Lament by John Miliken Thompson

Next on the TBR pile:
Swimming in the Moon by Pamela Schoenewaldt

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bout of Books Update 2


So for the second update, I have what I completed on Wednesday and Thursday.  They were definitely some better days on the reading front, and may have some good hours during this weekend, we shall see.  Tonight I am headed to my local indie bookstore for a Fall Preview of books, so not as much reading may happen tonight.

Thursday
Freud's Mistress - 40 pages
Started and Finished In the Shadow of Revenge - 203 pages
Started Emma vs Tech Guy - 9 pages
48 less than goal

Wednesday

Finished Equilibrium - 85 pages
Finished Lying to Meet You - 132 pages
Started Freud's Mistress - 20 pages
13 less than goal

Tuesday
Equilibrium - 200 pages
Started Lying to Meet You - 55 pages
45 less than goal


Monday
Finished Human Remains - 200 pages
Started Equilibrium - 30 pages
70 less than goal


Review: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything - her family, reputation and life - in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie's portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting's dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened...



Kritters Thoughts:  A book with fantastic twists and turns that could keep any reader guessing until the very end!  Liv has been holding on to a painting given by her late husband who died way too young and it is the one thing that helps keep the happy memories of their marriage alive.  While at the same time, the subject of this painting - Sophie is fighting to keep the memories of her husband who is off to war alive, whether he is alive or not.  

Usually when there are two stories going on at one time, one in the past and one in the present, the chapters alternate, although in this book, you get a few chapters in one story and then a few in the other - I LOVED this.  I think the reader would have been lost and confused and not as fully engaged in each story if it had switched around so much.  

Although there was a hefty cast of characters between the two stories, Moyes made it so easy to remember and become attached to each story and each cast of characters.  I wasn't sure how I wanted the court case to end, but I couldn't wait to find out how Sophie's story would eventually fully intersect with Liv's.

I reviewed the novella prequel yesterday and I would say it was definitely great to read about each of these couples before embarking on this part of their journey.  So first read the novella and then curl up with this book, you won't want to put it down!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Penguin.  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 22, 2013

Review: Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes

Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 75
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads: At the heart of Jojo Moyes' heartbreaking new novel, The Girl You Left Behind, are two haunting love stories - that of Sophie and Edouard Lefevre in France during the First World War, and, nearly a century later, Liv Halston and her husband David.

Honeymoon in Paris takes place several years before the events to come in The Girl You Left Behind when both couples have just married. Sophie, a provincial girl, is swept up in the glamour of Belle poque Paris but discovers that loving a feted artist like Edouard brings undreamt of complications. Following in Sophie's footsteps a hundred years later, Liv, after a whirlwind romance, finds her Parisian honeymoon is not quite the romantic getaway she had been hoping for...

This enthralling self-contained story will have you falling in love with Liv and Sophie, and with Paris then and now, and it is the perfect appetizer for the The Girl You Left Behind, a spellbinding story of love, devotion and passion in the hardest of times.



Kritters Thoughts:  A short novella as a prequel before The Girl You Left Behind comes out was kind of exciting.  It was great to quickly meet the characters first and then to find them again in the full book.  To meet these two couples from two very different time periods, I was intrigued to find out how they would intersect in the full story.

I would say this is definitely worth picking up before reading the full book; its nice to get a quick glimpse of the characters before you start the novel.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel 
               (as this is a prequel, the sequel will be reviewed tomorrow!)



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bout of Books - Update 1


Here is my mid week update on this Bout of Books Challenge.  I wanted to read 300 pages a day, so far not so good, but at least my reading has greatly increased!  

Monday
Finished Human Remains - 200 pages
Started Equilibrium - 30 pages
70 less than goal


Tuesday
Equilibrium - 200 pages
Started Lying to Meet You - 55 pages
45 less than goal


Wordless Wednesday

We have a new addition to our family!  Since we bought the house with a great back yard, we have wanted to add a bigger friend for Charlotte to the family and a German Shepherd was the right breed for us!  So this is the new little man in our lives - Bruno.  We adopted him from a rescue here in Northern VA and it may take a little bit for Charlotte to be completely welcoming, but we are excited to have him!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Escape From Eden by Elisa Nader

Escape From Eden by Elisa Nader

Publisher: Merit Press
Pages: 271
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape. 

But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s fa├žade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?


Kritters Thoughts:  Have you seen any of the news story about Jonestown?  A big news story of the late 70s where a crazy fanatical man took the lives of his followers including men, women and children.  One could say that Edenton made me immediately think about the many things I have heard and read about the life and times in Jonestown.  There were some details about Edenton that I hope were only unique to its members.

Mia moved to Edenton as a ten-year-old and had been living there for 6 years until a new move in changed everything for her and confirmed her uneasy thoughts about this so called utopia.  Although there was a bit of young love in the book, it was definitely not the focus of this adventure novel.  At a certain point towards the end, the action was so crazy, that I couldn't walk away.  I loved the mix of adventure, friendship and crazy people - it was so good!

With a 16 year old as a narrator, this book had a YA feel, but I would definitely have parents read this book first to see how you feel about the action that this book has, it was chock full and had a few questionable subjects.  


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

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 56 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Kelley & Hall Book 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, August 18, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

A quiet week on the reading front as painting and some other home type things got in the way.  Does anyone do audio books while doing home improvement?  I keep wondering if maybe I can do it.  I can't do audio while driving, can't handle all that going on!!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Noah's Rainy Day by Sandra Brannan
The Hero by Robyn Carr
The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

Currently Reading:
Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes

Next on the TBR pile:
Love and Lament by John Milliken Thompson
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