Friday, February 28, 2014

Laura Lippman Signing

What a fun night at Politics and Prose!  My book partner in crime - mom (check her out at Opes Opinions!) and I stopped for pizza and then headed to Politics and Prose to see Laura Lippman.  Not our first time at a signing of hers, but the first since I have read and reviewed a few of her books!  That was fun to have recently read the book she was currently promoting - After I'm Gone.
 
She spoke about how the idea was brought about as for the first time she received an idea from an outside source - this one being her husband!  She said she spends so much time with her characters and the idea that she doesn't often get ideas from others that would interest her for a whole year.  It was fun to hear that there will be another Tess Monaghan book with her being entrenched in motherhood and the issues that come along with that stage in life.  

It was definitely a fun night!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

The Perfume Collector
by Kathleen Tessaro

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 464
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London's most refined and ambitious social circles. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn't come easily to her—and perhaps never will.

Then one evening a letter arrives from France that will change everything. Grace has received an inheritance. There's only one problem: she has never heard of her benefactor, the mysterious Eva d'Orsey.

So begins a journey that takes Grace to Paris in search of Eva. There, in a long-abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank, she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising, complex love story. Told by invoking the three distinctive perfumes she inspired, Eva d'Orsey's story weaves through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London.

But these three perfumes hold secrets. And as Eva's past and Grace's future intersect, Grace realizes she must choose between the life she thinks sh
e should live and the person she is truly meant to be.

Kritters Thoughts:  Two characters with two stories and although you don't know their connection until the end, they are seamless.  Usually when there are two different stories going on I tend to favor one over the other, but in this book I loved both equally.  Grace is sent on an adventure as she inherits an apartment and shares from an unknown woman, as her marriage isn't on the ups she decides to go and check it out on her own.  Eva is the woman who leaves her everything and her story unfolds while Grace is learning it.

The things that made me sit and read this book in two sittings - settings (Paris, New York, London) all were described with just perfect words, characters - I loved the mystery of them and how they each had their own story, and finally the perfume - the words the author used to describe how perfume was created, bottled and so on was just fantastic.   

The one thing I thought was weird that the one storyline that took place in 1955, the characters seemed not to be current.  Their dependency on men and marriage just didn't seem accurate, but it didn't take away from the heart of the story.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, this one hits the mark.  

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, February 25, 2014

Review: The Chance by Robyn Carr

The Chance by Robyn Carr

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

Goodreads:  With its breathtaking vistas and down-to-earth people, Thunder Point is the perfect place for FBI agent Laine Carrington to recuperate from a gunshot wound and contemplate her future. The locals embraced Laine as one of their own after she risked her life to save a young girl from a dangerous cult. Knowing her wounds go beyond the physical, Laine hopes she'll fit in for a while and find her true self in a town that feels safe. She may even learn to open her heart to others, something an undercover agent has little time to indulge.

Eric Gentry is also new to Thunder Point. Although he's a man with a dark past, he's determined to put down roots and get to know the daughter he only recently discovered. When Laine and Eric meet, their attraction is obvious to everyone. But while the law enforcement agent and the reformed criminal want to make things work, their differences may run too deep; unless they take a chance on each other and find that deep and mysterious bond that belongs to those who choose love over fear.


Kritters Thoughts:  The fourth book in the Thunder Point series and as the previous book, this one as the others takes a look at different people in this small town in Oregon.  In this one, a FBI agent moves to town after a very hard assignment that involves a previous character in the book and she is trying to decide what her next steps will be in her life both personally and professionally.

As always, Robyn Carr includes a little love, but what I like most about this series is that in each book different characters take center stage, but you still receive updates about the ones you have read in previous books.  Eric and Laine were easy characters to get to know and it was interesting watching them learn about each other and see if their extremely different pasts would work well together.

While this book wasn't my favorite in the series, I am completely hooked and excited for the next one!

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.



Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: Beyond Justice by Joshua Graham

Beyond Justice by Joshua Graham

Publisher: Dawn Treader
Pages: 448
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  THE DESCENT INTO HELL IS NOT ALWAYS VERTICAL…

Sam Hudson, a reputable San Diego attorney, learns this when the authorities wrongfully convict him of the brutal rape and murder of his wife and daughter, and sends him to death row. There he awaits execution by lethal injection.

If he survives that long.

In prison, Sam fights for his life while his attorney works frantically on his appeal. It is then that he embraces the faith of his departed wife and begins to manifest supernatural abilities. Abilities which help him save lives– his own, those of his unlikely allies–and uncover the true killer’s identity, unlocking the door to his exoneration.

Now a free man, Sam’s newfound faith confronts him with the most insurmountable challenge yet. A challenge beyond vengeance, beyond rage, beyond anything Sam believes himself capable of: to forgive the very man who murdered his family, according to his faith. But this endeavor reveals darker secrets than either Sam or the killer could ever have imagined. Secrets that hurtle them into a fateful collision course.


Kritters Thoughts:  Sam Hudson is an attorney who gets caught up on the other side of the law and has to to do some work to get his name cleared as he is not guilty of the crimes.  

I am amazed that a book with this length kept my attention - I read this book in two sittings.  I loved how the book took you through the crime, time in jail and beyond.  It was a complete story where normal legal thrillers only tell a part of the full story.  

Although I loved the legal side of things, there was a sub plot that had me confused and wondering if I would like any of Graham's other books.  The religious part of the storyline was at times awkward and didn't always fit in the flow of the book.  There were some times where I thought it was weirdly included and maybe would have omitted it.

Overall, I liked my first read of Joshua Graham and am intrigued as to his other works.

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 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, February 23, 2014

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


Probably my quietest reading week ever!  Two book signings, some Home Depot trips and a Saturday in Richmond - this week was crazy!!  Next week is packed too!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
The Memory Child by Steena Holmes
The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor
Panic by Lauren Oliver
Precious Thing by Colette McBeth

Currently Reading:
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Next on the TBR pile:
Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dark Days tour

So this past week my mom (Ope's Opinions) and I went to Bethesda, MD to see four YA authors for the Dark Days tour!  I had read books for two of the authors and was excited to attend a YA signing - I don't go to many.




 
Sophie Jordan who is the author of the Firelight series, I was excited to see her because I am excited to read Uninvited.  I was excited to hear that it will be a dualogy - just two books!  I loved hearing how the idea of Uninvited came to her as she was with her child at a Little Gym - fun to hear the ways that authors get their ideas!









Kiersten White was also promoting a new dualogy Mind Games and Perfect Lies.  I have read Mind Games and bought Perfect Lies, but I just may read the first one again and then the second, hope to review those both here on the blog soon!  She was just sweet and fun to listen to!  






Finally there was Tahereh Mafi who is author of the Shatter Me series, still need to read the final installment.  I was surprised by how much romance was in this series, maybe I like my dystopians to have a little more action and a little less love!  At the event, you could completely tell how passionate of a reader she was and I loved how she promoted reading to people who want to be authors.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

A Fall of Marigolds
by Susan Meissner

Publisher: NAL Trade
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon
 
Goodreads:  September 1911. On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries…and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions she’s made. Will what she learns devastate her or free her? 

September 2011. On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, widow Taryn Michaels has convinced herself that she is living fully, working in a charming specialty fabric store and raising her daughter alone. Then a long-lost photograph appears in a national magazine, and she is forced to relive the terrible day her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Towers…the same day a stranger reached out and saved her. Will a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life?


Kritters Thoughts:  Two main characters and their stories intertwine in the most eloquent way through a beautiful scarf that has stood the test of time.  The smaller of the two stories is the modern day story about a woman who lived through the tragedy of September 11th in New York City and lost her husband when the towers collapsed.  The story that took center stage centered around a woman who lived through the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York in 1911 - Clara is a nurse and lived through this tragedy and is still trying to put the pieces of her life back together.

There were moments in this book that completely took my breath away as these two women find out bits of information surrounding their deepest moments that help them recover and figure out what can be next after hitting extreme lows.  The way these two tragedies in New York City mirror one another was amazing - I couldn't believe that the history behind it was completely true.  

Meissner brings two women who have very similar experiences and puts them side by side for the reader and just pulls your heartstring!  I was completely invested in both women from the start and honestly had a hard time saying goodbye when the book ended.  

This book is already on my top books for 2014, I would suggest this book to all readers who love two storylines that intersect with a past and a present nature.  I would even suggest this to readers who don't tend to enjoy historical fiction.  A must read for 2014!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 8 out of 100

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, February 20, 2014

Review: The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharine Hagena

The Taste of Apple Seeds
by Katharine Hagena

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Iris unexpectedly inherits her grandmother's house in the country, she also inherits the painful memories that live there.

Iris gives herself a one-week stay at the old house, after which she'll make a decision: keep it, or sell it. The choice is not so simple, though, for her grandmother's cottage is an enchanting place where currant jam tastes of tears, sparks fly from fingertips, love's embrace makes apple trees blossom, and the darkest family secrets never stay buried.

As Iris moves in and out of the flicker between remembrance and forgetting, she chances upon a forgotten childhood friend who could become more.



Kritters Thoughts:  Iris is a young woman who has recently lost her grandmother and has now inherited the family home.  With a mother and two aunts who are quite possibly offended by her inheritance she moves into the house to learn about her heritage and figure out what she is going to do with the home.

My main issue was this book was just generally hard to follow.  The story changed from past to present and it was had keeping all the characters straight and their relationships to one other in line.  I think the reason why this book didn't feel like it flowed was it is a translation.  I was unaware of this until after starting to read it, but I just couldn't keep up with the story and the characters.   


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


Ebook 2014 Challenge: 2 out of 100

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.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

Princess Ever After
by Rachel Hauck

Publisher: Zondervan
Pages: 368
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Regina Beswick never dreamed of faraway places. She’s happy with her life as a classic car mechanic and owner of a restoration shop.

But an unexpected visitor and the discovery of a fairytale, drawn by her great-grandma, causes Regina to wonder if she might be destined for something more.

Tanner Burkhardt, Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, must convince the strong-willed Southerner, Miss Beswick, that she is his country’s long-lost princess. Failure could destroy his reputation and change his nation forever.

As Regina and Tanner face the challenges before them, neither are prepared for love to invade their hearts and change every thing they believe about themselves.

However, when a royal opponent nearly destroys Regina’s future, she must lean into God and trust He has sovereignly brought her to her true and final destiny.



Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the Royal Wedding Series and I loved this one even more.  This book centered around a different royal - Miss Regina Beswick who is living in Florida and has left a safe career of CPA to open a car restoration shop.  Her life will be turned upside down as a country comes to find out that she is their long lost queen and she must decide what life she would like to live.

An interesting way to continue a series by taking a different royal and put them at the center.  I loved Regina's real debate about whether she wants to move to another country and become a Queen or stay and pursue the new path that she had just started to pave.  The love story in this book didn't take center stage and I liked that.  I liked the focus on Regina's quest for personal happiness came first and then love kind of fell in her lap!  

My only wish for this book was a little more of an appearance of Susanna and King Nathaniel, I loved them so much from the first book.  And now I wonder who will be at the center of the third book??  

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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

Once Upon a Prince
by Rachel Hauck

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

Goodreads:  Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess---just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.



Kritters Thoughts:  An ordinary Southern gal from Georgia has been waiting for the guy in her life to propose for many years - 12 to be exact and instead he breaks up with her!  After the break up she keeps running into this guy in town and he seems nice, but he is only visiting.  

What great characters!  I fell in love with the hope of this sweet couple immediately and loved seeing the ups and downs of the beginning of their relationship.  Although there was definitely a prince involved, the arch of their relationship felt real, but what girl doesn't love reading about a commoner falling in love with a prince!  I loved how Prince William and Kate Middleton make an appearance, just another thing that made it feel more real!

I am well aware that Rachel Hauck is a Christian fiction author, but there seemed like a little much preaching in this book.  I love for the Christian fiction that I read to keep the chaste qualities of the relationship, but this one went beyond a little and kept reminding the reader that they needed to pray for guidance, just a little too much.  

My review of book two in the series will be up tomorrow!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (glad already had it on hand!)



Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton

The Edge of Normal
by Carla Norton

Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 308
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In many ways, Reeve LeClaire looks like a typical twenty-two year old girl. She’s finally landed her own apartment, she waitresses to pay the bills, and she wishes she wasn’t so nervous around new people. She thinks of herself as agile, not skittish. As serious, not grim. But Reeve is anything but normal.

Ten years ago, she was kidnapped and held captive. After a lucky escape, she’s spent the last six years trying to rebuild her life, a recovery thanks in large part to her indispensable therapist Dr. Ezra Lerner. But when he asks her to help another girl rescued from a similar situation, Reeve realizes she may not simply need to mentor this young victim—she may be the only one who can protect her from a cunning predator who is still out there, watching every move.


Kritters Thoughts:  A thriller were the reader knows the killer from the beginning, but is just waiting for the detectives and team to put all the pieces together.  Told from many point of views, the reader is able to get a full picture which was beyond entertaining.

My most favorite part of the book was thinking that it was concluding, but realizing that there were quite a few pages to go and clearly there was still a few things that were going to happen!  

I also enjoyed how the author was able to switch from character to character with such ease.  Although this may sound weird - I love hearing from the killer during the book while the rest of the characters are still trying to find out who it is.  Hearing their thoughts helps the reader find out the why which is what we are all wondering about when we hear that crimes have been committed.

Carla Norton is now an author on my radar!  I am still amazed that this is her first foray into fiction, it was so spot on!  I would recommend this book to readers who are already avid readers of the thriller genre and those who may not read it that often.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (or another book!)


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.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


Four novellas, a short one, two new adults and 3 full novels made for quite a full week!  It also helped having a snow day!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Four Friends by Robyn Carr
Left by Tamar Ossowski
Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi
Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdams
Deceiving Lies by Molly McAdams
Mind Games by Kiersten White
Anna and Fia by Kiersten White
Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren
It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren

Currently Reading:
The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

Next on the TBR pile:
Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day


A Happy Valentine's Day to you!  I know some scoff at a day devoted to love and things, but no matter where you are in life it is a good idea to remember the love - whatever it looks like!

I recently read a great book that is perfect for a wintry Valentine's Day - Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.  What a sweet YA and perfect even if you aren't a typical YA reader, like me!  I am planning on reading Lola and the Boy Next Door soon and will be purchasing Isla right when it comes out!  

I had the opportunity to go to a signing with my mom where she was on a panel at a library in sweet downtown Bethesda, MD and we had a LOVELY time!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: This Dark Road to Mercy

This Dark Road to Mercy
by Wiley Cash

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are shuffled into the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina, a town not far from the Appalachian mountains. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player whom they haven't seen in years, suddenly appears and wants to spend more time with them. Unfortunately, Wade has signed away legal rights to his daughters, and the only way he can get Easter and Ruby back is to steal them away in the middle of the night.

Brady Weller, the girls' court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn't the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due.



Kritters Thoughts:  My second book by Wiley Cash and this one was even better than the previous!  An expert in Southern fiction, Cash set this book near where I lived for four years in Gastonia, NC with perfectly crafted southern characters that felt true.  

Told through three points of view - one of the daughters - Easter, their court appointed guardian and ex cop - Brady, and the man hunting their father down for a reason - Pruitt.  The author did a fantastic job of moving the story forward through all three views and allowing each to have a completely distinct voice that added depth to the story.  the mystery of how each of these characters were connected and the backgrounds they each brought to the table was so interesting and kept me reading.  

A little dark, but the innocence of the girls brought the right amount of light into the book.  I am officially a Wiley Cash fan and would recommend both books, but loved this one more!  


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.



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