Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween


The husband and I are spending our first Halloween in our home handing out candy!  Rumor has it our neighborhood is hopping on Halloween - hopefully I have enough!  Here are some pics from our front stoop that we decorated for the season!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Across My Doorstop - October



Book Events:
The Lincoln Deception by David O. Stewart  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta  (Goodreads  Amazon)
My Story by Elizabeth Smart  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding  (Goodreads)

Review:
Almost True Confessions by Jane O'Connor  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Mrs. Poe by Lynn Collen  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Baby in the Window by Alretha Thomas  (Goodreads Amazon)
Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Tilted World by Tom Franklin  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Holdout by Laurel Osteramp  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Absence of Mercy by John Burley  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield  (Goodreads)
The Secrets She Carried by Barbara Davis  (Goodreads)
Death Overdue by Mary Lou Kirwin  (Goodreads)
The Sowing by K Makansi  (Goodreads)
The Sister Season by Jennifer Scott  (Goodreads)
The Alligator Man by James Sheehan  (Goodreads)

Swap:
The Beach House by Georgia Bockoven  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Her Sister's Shadow by Katherine Britton  (Goodreads  Amazon)
The English American by Alison Larkin  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Another Summer by Georgia Bockoven  (Goodreads  Amazon)




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Killer Image by Wendy Tyson

Killer Image by Wendy Tyson

Publisher: Henery Press
Pages: 316
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  As Philadelphia’s premier image consultant, Allison Campbell helps others reinvent themselves, but her most successful transformation was her own after a scandal nearly ruined her. Now she moves in a world of powerful executives, wealthy, eccentric ex-wives and twisted ethics. 

When Allison’s latest Main Line client, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter of a White House hopeful, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney, Allison fights to prove her client’s innocence when no one else will. But unraveling the truth brings specters from her own past. And in a place where image is everything, the ability to distinguish what’s real from the façade may be the only thing that keeps Allison alive.



Kritters Thoughts:  A great mix of chick lit and mystery had me reading this book in only one day!  Allison was such a great character, she had wit and realism and I wouldn't mind trying out her profession!  She is oddly connected to a murder that is not only in her neighborhood, but connected through a few people (maybe a little too connected).  And she forgoes her day job to help find the killer while also trying to protect a client/girl.  

The twists and turns in the mystery were perfectly timed.  I had an inkling about the killer, but wasn't quite satisfied with my guess and I loved that.  It wasn't obvious, but also wasn't completely out of left field - Wendy Tyson hit the right notes for me in this book.  I will be on the look out for the next in this series.

I loved the mix of genres and enjoyed that the mystery wasn't too gooie and the chick lit wasn't too sweet - a perfect mixture!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (good thing this is the first in a series)

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, October 28, 2013

Review: We Are Water by Wally Lamb

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 576
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In middle age, Anna Oh-wife, mother, outsider artist-has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Anna has fallen in love with Vivica, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.

Anna and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family's hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But the impending wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora's Box of toxic secrets-dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs' lives.



Kritters Thoughts:  A family saga that takes you into the past of each character to explain why they are who they are and how they got to the place they are whether it be in a good place or a bad place.  The central couple is Anna and Orion Oh and although they are now going in separate directions, it was still worth it to hear how they got together and the ups and downs of their marriage.  

Wally Lamb is known for writing some very powerful books.  It is sad to admit this was my first of his books that I have read, although I do own three others.  I wasn't quite prepared for the saga that it was, but I immediately fell into it and wanted to know more and more about this immediate family and the outside characters that would influence them.  This book was all about the characters and thankfully Lamb made a great family that I easily grew attached to.

I was most impressed that this book which is over 500 pages didn't feel like too much at any point.  I enjoyed the amount of coverage each character received and did not for one second think that some things should be cut to make it a little bit more manageable.  Although a hefty book, it is worth curling up with and may be a perfect read for the upcoming cold weather!


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.



Tuesday, October 15th: Love at First Book
Wednesday, October 16th: Alison’s Book Marks
Thursday, October 17th: Read Lately
Friday, October 18th: The Little Reader Library
Monday, October 21st: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, October 22nd: Girls Just Reading
Wednesday, October 23rd: The Well-Read Redhead
Thursday, October 24th: West Metro Mommy
Friday, October 25th: Drey’s Library
Monday, October 28th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, October 29th: Bibliophiliac
Wednesday, October 30th: Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, October 31st: Lit and Life
Monday, November 4th: Book-alicious Mama
Tuesday, November 5th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, November 6th: Books Speak Volumes
Thursday, November 7th: Book Hooked Blog
Friday, November 8th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 12th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, November 13th: Turn the Page
Thursday, November 14th: Dolce Bellezza

Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


What a great weekend with an awesome series!  I can't wait to share my thoughts on the Valentine series by Adriana Trigiani.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Buying In by Laura Hemphill
The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle
Brava Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Currently Reading:
The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer 
(this one will be here for awhile as I am reading it chapter by chapter with my sister)

Next on the TBR pile:
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

The Wedding Gift
by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When prestigious plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa’s hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah—her slave and her half-sister.  Raised by an educated mother, Clarissa is not a proper southern belle she appears to be with ambitions of loving who she chooses and Sarah equally hides behind the façade of being a docile house slave as she plots to escape. Both women bring these tumultuous secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral into a tale beyond what you ever imagined possible and it will leave you enraptured until the very end.


Kritters Thoughts:  Two half sisters, one is a slave to the family and the other sister and she realizes through the book that freedom is all she wants and she is willing to give up many things to get it.  This book starts when both girls are at a young age and then progresses through many ups and downs and ends when adulthood is under way.  

I loved the new take on a subject that has many books written about it - slavery in the South.  Told from two perspectives made the book so much deeper than if it had only been told from one - both the slave Sarah and the mother of the home Theodora Allen tell the story and sometimes a scene overlaps which was awesome to see two people tell a story through their own eyes.  If you think you have read all the books about slavery in the South, stop and read this one - a different glimpse that with the hope of freedom put the book in the most positive light.

I was so glad to be surprised on the very last page!  It made the whole book completely worth the trip!  Read this one to the very last word!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes

Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes

Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 324
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What would you do if you had to design your lover's wedding?

Surrounded by lush flowers and neurotic brides, chubby 32-year old Elly Jordan has carved out a sweet little life for herself as the owner of Posies, a boutique wedding florist in St. Louis. It’s not bad for a woman who drove away from her entire life just two years ago when she found her husband entwined with a red-headed artist. 

Sure, Elly has an embarrassingly beautiful best friend, a terribly behaved sheepdog and a sarcastic assistant who she simply calls “Snarky Teenager”, but overall her days are pleasantly uneventful. As a bonus, her new next door neighbor just happens to be an unnervingly handsome musician who has an eye for curvy Elly. 

Just when she feels that she is finally moving on from her past, she discovers that an extravagant wedding contract, one that could change her financial future, is more than she bargained for. 


Kritters Thoughts:  The sweetest book about a character that had me roped in from the very beginning.  Elly endures a major life event and reacts in the most extreme of ways and abandons her life to find a new one.  She makes a home in a small town in Missouri and is finally getting her feet under her when a turn of events takes her down to her knees.  

There were quite a few moments where I wanted to knock some sense into her which I love because it means I cared for her so much!  Not only was Elly the main character, quite a fantastic one, but her band of characters to accompany her were beyond enjoyable.  Most employees of the floral shop, so many scenes took place in this magical little place that Colleen Oakes described to the reader with great adjectives.  

The ending was thankfully gratifying, while leaving moments for the sequel to come!  I may still be squealing because this book was everything I love about the "chick lit" genre and why I stay a fan of these books.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 68 out of 50


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, October 22, 2013

Book Feature - Black Dog

Black Dog by Stephen Booth

Published: PocketBooks

Goodreads:  As helicopters search Northern England's Peak District for fifteen year-old Laura Vernon, Detective Constable Ben Cooper quietly dreads the worst. And when her body is found in the woods, Cooper's investigation begins with a short list of markedly uncooperative suspects: retired miner Harry Dickinson, whose black Labrador discovered Laura's body, and Laura's wealthy parents. Uneasily teamed with ambitious newcomer Detective Constable Diane Fry, Cooper tests a town's family ties, friendships, and loyaties -- and finds that in order to understand the present, they must unearth the past.

Kritter Quick Thoughts:  So rarely do I not finish a book, but this was the one book this year that I just couldn't get into.  I think it was the setting and the amount of build up the author put in.  It took way too many pages for something to happen and I just couldn't get invested to find out what happened next, so read at your own risk.  If you like a huge build up, this is for you!

Any Stephen Booth fans out there?  Is there one of his that is better?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: The Joshua Stone by James Barney

The Joshua Stone by James Barney

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In 1959, in an underground laboratory in a remote region of West Virginia, a secret government experiment went terribly awry. A half dozen scientists mysteriously disappeared, and all subsequent efforts to rescue them failed. In desperation, President Eisenhower ordered the lab sealed shut and all records of its existence destroyed. Now, fifty-four years later, something from the lab has emerged.

When mysterious events begin occurring along the New River Valley in West Virginia, government agents Mike Califano and Ana Thorne are sent to investigate. What they discover will shake the foundations of science and religion and put both agents in the crosshairs of a deadly, worldwide conspiracy. A powerful and mysterious force has been unleashed, and it's about to fall into the wrong hands. To prevent a global catastrophe, Califano and Thorne must work together to solve a biblical mystery that has confounded scholars for centuries. And they must do so quickly, before time runs out . . . forever.


Kritters Thoughts:  Does the government still have secret projects?  Will the consequences of former projects harm us in the future?  How much does the public need to know about what is going on in their country?  All of these questions took a center stage in this book as a government project gone wrong comes back to life more than 50 years later.  

Set in many places around where I live, this book felt like it really took place in my backyard, this was a fun part of the book!  The chase between the different places kept my flipping the pages so quickly!  I loved how things were so interwoven and how a few dropped hints didn't provide too much to give too much away, but just the right amount.

The formatting of chapters and the sequence of how things were revealed was genius!  I will definitely be checking out James Barney's past book and will keep an eye on his future.  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Partner in Crime 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, October 20, 2013

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

What a good week and weekend of reading!  Recovering from a few crazy weeks made for some really good nights in with books and the nook. 

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Killer Image by Wendy Tyson
Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes
The Girl, the Gold Tooth and Everything by Francine LaSala
Strings of Glass by Emily Kimelman
The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden
Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

Currently Reading:
The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer 
(this one will be here for awhile as I am reading it chapter by chapter with my sister)

Next on the TBR pile:
Buying In by Laura Hemphill

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review: Take Me Back by Sally Mandel

Take Me Back by Sally Mandel

Publisher: Diversion Books
Pages: 166
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Lily Adams is the animating spirit of those around her, even in her twilight years. Perhaps none is more touched by her presence than her granddaughter, Amy, whom Lily saves from a teenage crisis. The family saga of three generations of the Adams clan is filled with crises of identity and the pains of romance, with Lily's presence profoundly felt throughout.


Kritters Thoughts:  A book told in short stories that are linked by the narrators being all in the same family.  From grandmother, daughter to granddaughter and some of the men in their lives, the short stories jumped from time to time and at times felt a little disjointed.

Lily Adams, the grandmother, was the central character, but her family definitely took center stage at times and each had issues that they were trying to deal with - from drugs, to abusive relationships to job dissatisfaction the author put almost any negative personal struggle in the book. 

If you are a reader that enjoys short stories that are linked, this is a great book to pick up.  It took a lot of effort to know who was talking and what time period we were in - although if you put the work into it, this could be a really enjoyable book. 

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

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 67 out of 50


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

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: A Secondhand Murder by Lesley Diehl

A Secondhand Murder by Lesley Diehl



Publisher: Camel Press

Pages: 260
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Spunky and outspoken Eve Appel moves from Connecticut to rural Florida intent on starting a new life, free of drama, and more importantly, her soon-to-be ex-husband. The rural Florida town of Sabal Bay, situated only an hour from West Palm, proves to be the perfect spot for her consignment store. Thanks to the recent economic downturn, Florida's society matrons need a place to discreetly sell their stuff and pick up expensive-looking bargains. But Eve's life, and her business with it, is turned upside down when a wealthy customer is found stabbed to death in a fitting room.


As accusations fly and business slows, Eve decides to take matters into her own hands. With the help of an unlikely bunch of friends--including her estranged ex, her best friend, a handsome private eye, and a charming mafia don--she struggles to find answers and save lives. Through a maze of distorted half-truths, dramatic cover-ups, and unrequited passions, Eve learns just how far the wealthy will go to regain what they have lost.


Kritters Thoughts:  Eve moves away from her life to make space with her future ex husband and opens a consignment store.  Unfortunately at opening, her dressing room becomes a crime scene and she gets wrapped up into the motive and mystery behind the murder.

I loved the characters and the way their lives intertwined   The twists and turns behind the who dun its was great!  I couldn't wait to read and read to find out how it was all going to unravel.  The one thing that I would suggest to make this book even better - is better transitions, this book just didn't feel like a smooth read.  A great plot and characters, but with some edits this book could be over the top!

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

Ebook 2013 Challenge: 66 out of 50

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Partner in Crime 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, October 17, 2013

Review: Little Island by Katherine Britton

Little Island by Katherine Britton

Publisher: Berkley Trade
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Grace
Flowers
By the water
Have fun!
 


These are Joy’s grandmother’s last words—left behind on a note. A note that Joy’s mother, Grace, has interpreted as instructions for her memorial service. And so, the far-flung clan will gather at their inn on Little Island, Maine, to honor her.

Joy can’t help dreading the weekend. Twenty years ago, a tragedy nearly destroyed the family—and still defines them. Joy, Grace, her father Gar, and twins Roger and Tamar all have their parts to play. And now Joy, facing an empty nest and a nebulous future, feels more vulnerable than ever to the dangerous currents running through her family.

But this time, Joy will discover that there is more than pain and heartbreak that binds them together, when a few simple words lift the fo
g and reveal what truly matters…

Kritters Thoughts:  A generational saga that really proved the point that when you go home you also go back in age.  When children return home, they revert back to the ways and the people they were when they were children in the home.  So in this book, Grace and Gar have their children - Joy, Roger and Tamar returning home for the memorial of Grace's mother.  

Joy is the only character who narrates in first person and I think the author perfectly chose her to guide the story along with the eyes of the story.  The rest of the cast of characters are not left out, but none get to share straight from their point of view.  I think I know why the author did this and once you read the book, I would love to know if you agree (but I can't share or else it would spoil the fun!).  

A fantastic family book that made me laugh, cry and absolutely startled me at a few moments with the things that this family had gone through and was currently going through at the time of the story.  

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 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.

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