Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: Vintage by Susan Gloss

Vintage by Susan Gloss

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

Goodreads:  
At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women who are drawn there.

Yellow Samsonite suitcase with ivory, quilted lining, 1950s...
Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. Though she knows the personal history behind each precious item she sells, Violet refuses to acknowledge her own past. When she is faced with the possibility of losing the store, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.

Taffeta tea length wedding gown with scooped neckline and cap sleeves, 1952...
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect 1950s wedding dress, she discovers unexpected possibilities and friends who won't let her give up on her dreams.

Orange sari made from silk dupioni with gold paisley design, 1968...
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her old clothes, remnants of her past life. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears she has nothing more ahead for her.



Kritters Thoughts:  What a sweet book with three fantastic main characters, all at different points in life and all at crossroads where they must make big decisions.  Violet owns a vintage clothing store and each chapter starts with an item that she has in the store or that is on its way in and has something to do with the action in that chapter - I loved this, it made the book feel uniquely vintage!  Amithi is an older Indian woman who is an empty nester and is trying to find what really makes her happy at this moment in life.  Finally, there is April and she is pregnant and very young and must figure out the path that she wants to choose.

I loved this one!  It was a great one to curl up with and just venture into a small town and a small store.  I loved the way this one switched between each character and it was so easy to follow each of their own stories.  

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.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


An extremely quiet week at work lent itself to some quiet reading nights!  But a weekend with a sweet little visitor - my niece Emma, the reading during the weekend didn't happen!  But we made some memories!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
The Secret History by Donna Tratt
The Island of Doves by Kelly O'Connor McNees
The Promise by Robyn Carr
Jaspar's War by Cym Lowell

Currently Reading:
The Collector of Dying Breaths by MJ Rose (loving this!!)

Next on the TBR pile:
Catching Air by Sarah Pekkanen

Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: The Memory Child by Steena Holmes


The Memory Child
by Steena Holmes

Publisher: Lake Union
Pages: 245
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Brian finds out that his wife, Diane, is pregnant, he is elated. He's been patiently waiting for twelve years to become a father. But Diane has always been nervous about having children because of her family's dark past. The timing of the pregnancy also isn't ideal ? Diane has just been promoted, and Brian is being called away to open a new London office for his company. Fast-forward one year: being a mother has brought Diane a sense of joy that she?d never imagined and she's head over heels for her new baby, Grace. But things are far from perfect: Brian has still not returned from London, and Diane fears leaving the baby for even a moment. As unsettling changes in those around Diane began to emerge, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. A woman's dark past collides head-on with her mysterious present in this surreal and gripping family drama.


Kritters Thoughts:  Diane had a horrific childhood and is still recovering and because of the events that occurred she has feared becoming a mother and becoming like her mother.  She becomes pregnant at a time where her and her husband are both seeing positive changes in their professional lives, but she still continues with the pregnancy.

Told in through both Diane's point of view and her husband Brian's this story was told both in the past moving forward and in the present moving forward - I loved it!  I loved how Brian was narrating the story of her pregnancy and how they were trying to make a home to start the family, while Diane was dealing with the present.  As always, there is a major plot twist that I will absolutely not reveal or even hint at because it was worth it!  

I read this book in one night, I couldn't put it down and had to know the entire truth of the story.  As a professional woman, it was nice to read a book with a woman who is hesitant about having children and not feeling the baby fever!

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.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Four Friends by Robyn Carr

Four Friends by Robyn Carr

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

Goodreads:  Gerri can't decide what's more devastating: learning her rock-solid marriage has big cracks, or the anger she feels as she tries to repair the damage. Always the anchor for friends and her three angst-ridden teenagers, it's time to look carefully at herself. The journey for Gerri and her family is more than revealing—it's transforming.

Andy doesn't have a great track record with men, and she's come to believe that for her a lasting love is out of reach. When she finds herself attracted to her down-to-earth, ordinary contractor—a man without any of the qualities that usually appeal to her—she questions everything she thought she wanted in life.

Sonja's lifelong pursuit of balance is shattered when her husband declares he's through with her New Age nonsense and walks out. There's no herbal tonic or cleansing ritual that can restore her serenity—or her sanity. 

Miraculously, it's BJ, the reserved newcomer to Mill Valley, who steps into their circle and changes everything. The woman with dark secrets opens up to her neighbors, and together they get each other back on track, stronger as individuals and unfaltering as friends.

Kritters Thoughts:  Four friends who are also neighbors and each have very large personal hurdles that with the help of each other they will be able to overcome and find the best solution for themselves.  Cheating husbands, deep depression and a sordid past all take hold of these women and they must figure out what lies next - I won't reveal who had to deal with what to keep a little bit of surprise to the book.

The one thing that I had a hard time swallowing was that each neighbor had such big drama all at the same time.  I had to remind myself often that this was fiction and it was nice to see how each of them could help the others in their own personal ways.  

On the other hand, I absolutely adored how the wife of the cheating husband handled the situation - it felt so real.  She wasn't completely forgiving, but you could see her heart change.  

I liked reading a Robyn Carr book that wasn't tied up in a long series and was just put together all in one book.  If you know Robyn Carr, she definitely included a little steaminess in this book which I think worked perfectly with the characters who partook!  Definitely a romance, but with female relationships taking center stage.


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

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 11 out of 100

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.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review: Heart on a Shoestring by Marilyn Grey

Heart on a Shoestring
by Marilyn Grey

Publisher: 
Pages: 158
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Rebelling against a life of black and white, Miranda Ryan paints the world in a technicolor fever. She spends her free time on park benches, analyzing people from the outside in and creating whimsical stories about their lives. Unbridled and full of life, her ever-changing heart is a revolving door no man can figure out. And she likes it that way. But when Derek Rhodes enters her life, he stubbornly challenges her every move. As she unsuccessfully avoids this opinionated prankster her colors fade to gray and she is forced into a choice . . . to lose the self she knows or the self she has never been.

Derek Rhodes wears the same shade of brown every day and avoids eye contact with strangers, until Miranda walks into his life and splashes his world with streaks of colors he swore he’d never touch. Drawn to her imaginative personality, he finds himself questioning his own cynical nature and flat-lined ideals, only to fall in love and realize the only woman he’s ever let into his heart has no plans of letting a man into hers. Follow them both as they poke and prod and test each others limits on a journey of discovery.


Kritters Thoughts:  The fourth book in the series and maybe my least favorite, but I won't abandon the series since each book is based on different characters.  

For me, I didn't enjoy this book because I didn't enjoy the characters that it was based on and I was missing the updates from the other characters in the group.  The book centered around two very very quirky characters Miranda and Derek and both have some huge issues that they are keeping secret and still haven't overcome.  Through encouragement by each other they are able to help the other through their issues and may even fall in love.

I may be a little too square to enjoy their quirkiness and their very quick love story.  I missed them interacting with characters from previous books, but I am not willing to give up on this series just yet. 

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


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.

Review: The Life I Now Live by Marilyn Grey

The Life I Now Live
by Marilyn Grey

Publisher: Winslet Press
Pages: 182
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  After her husbands death, Heidi Chase refuses to take off her rings and swears another man will never steal her heart. She is extremely faithful and while her friends think it's virtue binding her to the past, it's really fear.

Patrick Wheldon never intended to give his heart to Heidi. Not until her vows to her previous husband were no longer standing between them. But he did and the relationship between them quickly changes into a battle he’s not sure he has the strength to fight.


Kritters Thoughts:  The third book in the series that centers around a different set of characters - Heidi and Patrick.  Although like in the past books in the series, you get updates on other characters, it was interesting to see the group through a new set of eyes.  Both characters lost their original spouses and are trying to deal with picking up the pieces after this sort of tragedy occurs.  

I loved seeing this way of how a couple can form through helping each other through difficult times.  There is a twist in this one that threw me for a loop, but I liked it!  Heidi was definitely introduced in the first two books, but to see her take center stage and to learn even more about her was interesting.  I thought I would be sad to see someone else take the center, but I was wrong, I loved it!

Marilyn Grey definitely has me hooked on these characters and I want to read each one to see who takes the spotlight and even more about the ones I have already met!


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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: Down From the Clouds by Marilyn Grey

Down From the Clouds
by Marilyn Grey

Publisher: Winslet Press
Pages: 149
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Gavin Kessler is one of the most sensitive and emotional people you'd ever know, except you'd never know it. Trying to find out how he feels is like pulling a one-hundred pound bucket of water out of a seventy foot well. But when he finally falls in love and meets the woman of his dreams, who is set on getting to know every part of him, for better or worse, his walls crumble as he is forced to stand face-to-face with the past he's been avoiding. 


Kritters Thoughts:  SPOILER ALERT
              Do not read further if you have not read the first in this series.  

Told completely from Gavin's perspective, he shares the beginning of his relationship with Ella and how he must deal with the past before he can truly move forward into a healthy relationship.  It was interesting to read this book from a male's perspective and see how vulnerable he was trying to be in the beginning of a relationship and how hard that can be.  I loved the new view of Ella as she wasn't telling the story and I definitely related to her at certain moments.  

Even though the book is told through Gavin's point of view, the author does a clean job of moving forward other character's stories to allow for the next book to take a look from another person's point of view.  

Although I think these books are a little on the dramatic side and some things come from left field, I am hooked and will definitely want to continue and complete this series as Marilyn Grey releases them!

Rating: a perfect beach read

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.

Review: Where Love Finds You by Marilyn Grey

Where Love Finds You
by Marilyn Grey

Publisher: Winslet Press
Pages: 158
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Ella and Matthew have many differences, but they share a common goal: to find the one person they are meant to spend their lives with.

Years ago, Ella Rhodes looked across a crowded cafe and saw the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She left her number, but he never called. Wondering if he somehow missed the note on the back of the receipt, she spent her twenties waiting for this man to walk into her life again. After all this time, will Ella finally discover “the one” she’s been waiting for? Or, after being sent on various blind dates, will she give her heart to someone else?

Meanwhile, Matthew Ryan breaks up with his long-time girlfriend. Searching his heart he wonders if there is really a “one” for every person, or if there is simply a good, better, and best. Where does Lydia, the girl who would do anything for him, fit into the story of his life? Confused, Matthew sets out to explore his options and find the love he’s been looking for his entire life. Will he find love before it’s too late or will he lose everything?



Kritters Thoughts:  Marilyn Grey introduces this group of friends and acquaintances through the eyes of one male and one female.  Ella Rhodes opened a coffee shop in hope of running into one of its former employees whom she thinks is the LOVE of her life.  Matthew is having a hard time committing to his long time girlfriend and needs a push in either direction.

Quite a few dramatic moments which made me feel like I was reading a soap opera.  There were a things that came out of left field, kind of liked something out of nowhere in a dramatic book as that usually happens during mystery/thrillers.  There is quite a turn with 10 pages left and it made the ending go in a completely different direction!

The one thing that kept me puzzled through this book was the amount of time the boys spent talking about love and relationships.  For me it didn't seem real, I am just unsure as to how much time the men in my life really speak about those two topics.  

The first in a series from Marilyn Grey and I was excited to try out this new author, especially after my mom raved about the first three!  You will see my reviews of the next two in the series over the next two days.  

Rating: perfect beach read


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.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Review: It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren

It Had to Be You
by Susan May Warren

Publisher: Tyndale
Pages: 480
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother Owen's cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career. She dreamed of making a name for herself as a reporter, but is stuck writing obits--and starting to fear she doesn't have the chops to land a major story. If only someone would step up to mentor Owen . . . but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran and bad-boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen.  Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behavior--on and off the ice. Now at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip he's getting from Eden Christiansen isn't making things any easier. But when Owen's carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together . . . and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.


Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the series and the paperback edition includes a novella about the parents of the Christiansen clan that is definitely worth reading!  This book centers around Eden Christiansen who always wanted to be a journalist, but has found herself stuck at a newspaper in the obituary section and always on the sidelines of her family - through this book she finds where she fits in.

I absolutely loved Eden's journey, although it was pretty predictable as to the romantic storyline in this book.  Because Eden lives in Minneapolis with one of her brothers - Owen, this book didn't include the rest of the family that often, they were only in the book in bits and pieces.  I wish there had been more moments with more of the family members, but I understood their absence.  

The storyline that I enjoyed even more than Eden's was Jace Jacobsen's hockey mentor - Sam and his daughter Maddy who is struggling with a heart transplant.  Their storyline completely brought me to tears; it was sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time.   

I am officially a fan of this series and am excited for the next one to come this summer.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (its on the way!)

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.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

It was an absolutely HARD week at work, one of the hardest, so my nights were spent completely crashing and not much reading happened.  Thankfully I have an easier week coming up!
A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank
Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson

Currently Reading:
The Secret History by Donna Tratt

Next on the TBR pile:
Jaspar's War by Cym Lowell

Review: Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren

Take a Chance on Me
by Susan May Warren

Publisher: Tyndale
Pages: 400
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near. 

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case. 



Kritters Thoughts:  The first in the series that centers around the Christiansen family who own a resort on the North Shore of Minnesota and the eldest son who is trying to bring their property up to date.  At the same time Ivy who has been searching her entire life for a permanent home that she can make her own has moved to town and has a history that could greatly impact the small town.

I absolutely adored this book as it set up this family and still centered around one son.  He has overcome some obstacles that left him a widower and single father in the small town where he grew up and I enjoyed watching him try to put the pieces back together.  I loved that the things that Darek didn't love about his town and family where the exact things that Ivy craved and through her viewpoint Darek could realize the good things that he was surrounded by.  It was easy to follow this book as it switched between these two characters and two of Darek's childhood friends - Claire and Jensen.    

Although it was a little predictable, it was still a great read!  Just as a warning this is definitely a Christian fiction and there were some moments where it was a little preachy, but those moments didn't take away from the story.  I am excited to review the second book in the series tomorrow!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel 
(will be reviewing it tomorrow)


Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.


Kritters Thoughts:  Emily has endured a very public tragedy and escapes to her aunt's home and then boarding school to recover.  The reader is given bits and pieces of the story as it unfolds, but only as it is needed.  

If you are a reader that is not in any remote way a fan of poetry, you may want to skip this one.  As our main character incorporates the poetry that she is currently writing into the story and is quite obsessive about Emily Dickinson; I enjoyed having her poetry add to the story, but I am not the hugest of poetry fans.

This one is definitely not for the faint of heart because of the serious young adult subjects it tackles, no sunshine and rainbows in this one!  I liked how the book felt serious and by the use of poetry instead of a traditional journal entries it gave the character some depth and maturity as she was recovering from such extreme tragedies.

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

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 19 out of 100

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, March 20, 2014

Review: Deceiving Lies by Molly McAdams

Deceiving Lies
by Molly McAdams

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Rachel is supposed to be planning her wedding to Kash, the love of her life. After the crazy year they've had, she's ready to settle down and live a completely normal life. Well, as normal as it can be. But there's something else waiting—something threatening to tear them apart.

Kash is ready for it all with Rach. Especially if all includes having a football team of babies with his future wife. With his line of work, he knows how short life can be, and doesn't want to waste another minute of theirs. But now his past as an undercover narcotics agent has come back to haunt him ... and it's the girl he loves who's caught in the middle.

Trent Cruz's orders are clear: take the girl. But there's something about this girl that has him changing the rules and playing a dangerous game to keep her safe. When his time as Rachel's protector runs out, he will turn his back on the only life he's known, and risk everything, if it means getting her out alive.



Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the series and what an interesting start.  The story began before the first one ended (which ended on quite the cliffhanger!), I loved this!  There was a convenient gap at the end of the first book and the author also used both characters to fill in the gap.  

Another feature I loved was the addition of a third narrator - I can't reveal who it is as I would be taking away from the experience, but I loved the addition of his voice to round out the story.  I was taken aside by it, but loved it!  

At the time of this post, I don't know if there will be a third, but I wouldn't mind another round with Kash and Rachel.  As I said in my review of the first book yesterday, I am a new fan of New Adult and will definitely be keeping my eye on this genre.

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

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 13 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.




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