Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Precious Thing by Colette McBeth

Precious Thing
by Colette McBeth

Publisher: Minotaur
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Some friendships fizzle out. Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last forever.

They met in high school when Rachel was the shy, awkward new girl and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Instantly, they fell under one another’s spell and nothing would be the same again. Now in their late twenties Rachel has the television career, the apartment and the boyfriend, while Clara’s life is spiraling further out of control. Yet despite everything, they remain inextricably bound. Then Rachel’s news editor assigns her to cover a police press conference, and she is shocked when she arrives to learn that the subject is Clara, reported missing. Is it abduction, suicide or something else altogether?

Imagine discovering something about your oldest friend that forces you to question everything you’ve shared together. The truth is always there.


Kritters Thoughts:  An eery book from the beginning with one girl missing and her friend thrust in the middle of it as a news anchor.  The way the author unfolded this story bit by bit and putting stories from the past interspersed was fantastic!  With each chapter done, I wanted to know more and more - made it hard to put down.

One of the fantastic things about this book was that the author wrote from Rachel's perspective, but not only that, but she wrote it as if the character was talking to her missing friend - added an extra eery layer!  The reader finds out at the very end as to why the book was formatted this way and I loved it.  It made for a different kind of reading.

I have read many mystery/thrillers and know that they are mostly written in the same kind of format, but this book is set apart by the writing style and it was great to read something different.  I would recommend this to long time fans of the genre who need something new and unique to read.

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

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 16 
out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  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, September 26, 2014

Review: Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler

Uganda Be Kidding Me
by Chelsea Handler

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 257
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Wherever Chelsea Handler travels, one thing is certain: she always ends up in the land of the ridiculous. Now, in this uproarious collection, she sneaks her sharp wit through airport security and delivers her most absurd and hilarious stories ever.

On safari in Africa, it's anyone's guess as to what's more dangerous: the wildlife or Chelsea. But whether she's fumbling the seduction of a guide by not knowing where tigers live (Asia, duh) or wearing a bathrobe into the bush because her clothes stopped fitting seven margaritas ago, she's always game for the next misadventure.

The situation gets down and dirty as she defiles a kayak in the Bahamas, and outright sweaty as she escapes from a German hospital on crutches. When things get truly scary, like finding herself stuck next to a passenger with bad breath, she knows she can rely on her family to make matters even worse. Thank goodness she has the devoted Chunk by her side-except for the time she loses him in Telluride.


Kritters Thoughts:  I am well aware that Chelsea Handler specializes in crass humor and I am a fan, you may call it a guilty read!  I had never read a book that she had written and was always intrigued, so when I saw the ecopy on NetGalley, I thought this was the perfect time!  I was not disappointed.  

I loved how she was honest about her travels, but there were still a few moments were I could not decide if she was telling the truth or stretching it!  I may have read the book in a few public places and had to keep my laughter inside, which was very hard!  If you are in need of a break from your normal reading schedule (like I was!) then this is a perfect vacation.  

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

Ebook 2014 Challenge: 25 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley.  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, September 25, 2014

Review: The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline

The Way Life Should Be
by Christina Baker Kline

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 288
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Angela Russo is thirty-three years old and single, stuck in a job she doesn't love and a life that seems, somehow, to have just happened. Though she inherited a flair for Italian cooking from her grandmother, she never has the time; for the past six months, her oven has held only sweaters. Tacked to her office bulletin board is a picture torn from a magazine of a cottage on the coast of Maine, a reminder to Angela that there are other ways to live, even if she can't seem to figure them out.

One day at work, Angela clicks on a tiny advertisement in the corner of her computer screen—"Do Soulmates Exist?"—and finds herself at a dating website, where she stumbles upon "MaineCatch," a thirty-five-year-old sailing instructor with ice-blue eyes. To her great surprise, she strikes up a dizzying correspondence with MaineCatch—yet as her online relationship progresses, life in the real world takes a nosedive. Interpreting this confluence of events as a sign, Angela impulsively decides to risk it all and move to Maine.

But things don't work out quite as she expected. Far from everything familiar, and with little to return to, Angela begins to rebuild her life from the ground up, moving into a tiny cottage and finding work at a local coffee shop. To make friends and make ends meet, she leads a cooking class, slowly discovering the pleasures and secrets of her new small community, and—perhaps—a way to connect her heritage to a future she is only beginning to envision.



Kritters Thoughts:  Angela makes a major mistake on the job and is fired, as this was never the dream job she is now stuck in a spot where she must do something to find where she would eventually want to be.  In a very small remote town in Maine she meets a cast of characters with quite the personalities and each of them help her find herself. 

I have read a few books that have this same concept as woman goes to the middle of nowhere to find a new path, but I loved that a dating website took her there - gave the book some originality.  I loved using the remoteness of this town in Maine to make Angela feel even more isolated and made her really look within herself to find out where her true passions lay.  

Although there were some repetitive moments, the heart of the book really shown through and it was easy to fall in love with all of the characters.  I would suggest reading this curled up under a blanket as the cold weather of Maine was absolutely evident in this book.


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, September 23, 2014

Review: Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn

Secrets
by Robin Jones Gunn

Publisher: Multnomah Books
Pages: 288
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Jessica ran from her past...but can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the place to start over—Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets—including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her. 

Will Jessica’s deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all? 



Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a series that has been out for awhile, but has been recovered and redesigned and re-released.  I like being able to read the first in a series and trying to decide if it is one to keep reading on - especially when there are many books to follow and they are all already out!  

Jessica has moved to this small town to start anew and she has brought in her bag some secrets and of course the reader doesn't get the secrets unveiled to them until the last 50 pages, it was hard to wait that long.  The love story was sweet and although they are adults, it reminded me of the love people have in high school - innocent and sweet.  

I read Christian fiction off and on.  It isn't my favorite genre, but the thing I love about it is the wholesome characters and the innocence to the love stories.  The thing that keeps it off the list from my top genres is the preachy quality that can happen.  I don't love how the Christian message is shared; it can be a little off putting so I tend to stay away sometimes.  This book hit the preachy mark a few times and I had to just grin and bear it.  I would have preferred a more subtle approach.  If you are a fan of the genre, then this series I would completely suggest.  


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


Ebook 2014 Challenge: 42 out of 100

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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

Murder at the Brightwell
by Ashley Weaver

Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads:  Amory Ames is a wealthy young woman who regrets her marriage to her notoriously charming playboy husband, Milo. Looking for a change, she accepts a request for help from her former fiancĂ©, Gil Trent, not knowing that she’ll soon become embroiled in a murder investigation that will test not only her friendship with Gil, but will upset the status quo with her husband.

Amory accompanies Gil to the Brightwell Hotel in an attempt to circumvent the marriage of his sister, Emmeline, to Rupert Howe, a disreputable ladies’ man. Amory sees in the situation a grim reflection of her own floundering marriage. There is more than her happiness at stake, however, when Rupert is murdered and Gil is arrested for the crime. Amory is determined to prove his innocence and find the real killer, despite attempted dissuasion from the disapproving police inspector on the case. Matters are further complicated by Milo’s unexpected arrival, and the two form an uneasy alliance as Amory enlists his reluctant aid in clearing Gil’s name. As the stakes grow higher and the line between friend and foe becomes less clear, Amory must decide where her heart lies and catch the killer before she, too, becomes a victim. 



Kritters Thoughts:  A fantastic game of clue as the reader follows wealthy Amory Ames as she puts herself into a love triangle on holiday where a murder occurs and she must help find out who the killer is - it was so good!  With quite the cast of characters, I would suggest taking a few notes so as the book goes along you can refer back to them.  I had a time with the couples and remembering their quirks!  

I absolutely loved this book.  The twists and turns were perfectly timed and I loved the final outcome - the killer part at least.  I am not sure I loved the outcome of the love triangle, but it didn't make me like the book any less.  

Yes, there was a large cast of characters, but they were all such a perfect part of the story.  I loved how it wasn't obvious who would want to kill the first victim and that it took some real investigative work to find out who the killer was.  Amory was a great sleuth and I loved following her thoughts and clues.  

I would love a sequel where Amory ends up in the middle of another investigation!  


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 Macmillian.  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, September 21, 2014

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


A work trip that took me across the country with a nice long flight was the only reason that any reading occurred this week!  My corporate event is next week with 310 employees to help get from place to place, so next week's reading is already looking sad and pitiful, BUT soon there will be some lazy fall days of reading!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
House of Wonder by Sarah Healy
Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

Currently Reading:
Rock Angel by Jeanne Bogino

Next on the TBR pile:
In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: To See the Moon Again by Jamie Langston Turner

To See the Moon Again
by Jamie Langston Turner

Publisher: Berkley Trade
Pages: 400
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The first step to letting go of the past is forgiving it… 

Every day of her life Julia Rich lives with the memory of a horrible accident she caused long ago. In the years since, she has tried to hide her guilt in the quiet routine of teaching at a small South Carolina college, avoiding close relationships with family and would-be friends. But one day a phone call from Carmen, a niece she has never met, disrupts her carefully controlled world.

Carmen is a study in contrasts—comical yet wise, sunny yet contemplative, soft yet assertive. As she sets about gently drawing Julia from her self-imposed solitude into a place of hope, she also seeks her own peace for past mistakes.

Together, the two women embark on a journey that takes Julia far from the familiar comfort of home and gives Carmen the courage to open her heart. Together, their sightseeing trip turns into a discovery of truth, grace, redemption, and, finally, love…



Kritters Thoughts:  Most family dramas deal with siblings or parents and children, this book was unique in the aunt/niece relationship and I loved it.  As an aunt myself and not a mother, I loved reading a book that solely focused on this unique relationship.  Julia Rich is a professor on the cusp of a sabbatical year and just recently lost her husband, so her quiet house is comforting and unnerving at the same time.  Carmen is the niece who has been wandering for awhile and running away from something that only with the help of her aunt she can confront and find something that she can call home.

With two very quirky characters, I was nervous this book was going to get artsy and quirky, but the author balanced the quirkiness of the characters with true heart and the perfect developing relationship.  I wasn't quite sure where the book was going to go and then the author threw in the truth to Carmen and from that point on, I was sucked in and couldn't read fast enough!  Although it took some time to get to that point, I don't think I would have wanted it to come any earlier.

A sweet book with quirky characters that made for a perfect weekend of reading.  


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 Penguin Random House.  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, September 18, 2014

Review: Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

Someone Else's Love Story
by Joshilyn Jackson

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 352
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  At twenty-one, Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Natty, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Catholic mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up in a gas station mini-mart and falling in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who willingly steps between the armed robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice.

Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, in a funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness,; about a virgin birth, a sacrifice, and a resurrection; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. It’s a novel about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need.


Kritters Thoughts:  A crazy love story that started in the most craziest of ways and sure had the ups and downs, but I can't divulge where it ended!  (It's too good to spoil!)  Shandi is a young single mom and throughout the book I had to keep reminding myself of how young she was because she definitely didn't act like it at times.  William is a scientist to the core and may lack in the social skills, but definitely doesn't lack in the book smarts.  These two along with a few others are held up in a convenience store and that is where the crazy love story started.

Shandi was a great character, there were a few moments where I thought she repeated herself and once had an enlightenment, but went back to doing the same thing she did before.  There were a few times where I wanted to smack her and say wake up!  William was the same way, he had some moments where I really gravitated towards him and then he would have a moment where I greatly disliked him - thankfully the good outweighed the bad!

This was a solid love story.  It is only my second Joshilyn Jackson read and I would have to say I think I loved the other a little more (Backseat Saints), but I would still recommend this to readers who love the romantic comedy genre.  

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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review: House of Wonder by Sarah Healy

House of Wonder
by Sarah Healy

Publisher: NAL Trade
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Amazon:  When we were little and I needed Warren, I would rub my earlobe.  And perhaps it was the alchemy of childhood, a magic that happened because I believed it could, but I swear it worked. He always came.

Theirs wasn’t always the misfit family in the neighborhood. Jenna Parsons’s childhood was one of block parties and barbecues, where her mother, a former beauty queen, continued her reign and her twin brother, Warren, was viewed as just another oddball kid. But as her mother’s shopaholic habits intensified, and her brother’s behavior became viewed as more strange than quirky, Jenna sought to distance herself from them. She is devoted to her career and her four-year-old daughter, Rose. But now, in his peculiar way, Warren summons her back to 62 Royal Court.

What she finds there—a house in disrepair, a neighborhood on tenterhooks over a rash of petty thefts, and evidence of past traumas her mother has kept hidden—will challenge Jenna as never before. But as she stands by her family, she also begins to find beauty in unexpected places, strength in unlikely people, and a future she couldn’t have imagined. 


Kritters Thoughts:  A set of twins that were born on the same day, but from that day forward have led very different lives.  Jenna is a single mom trying to raise her daughter while also building her own business with her best friend.  Her twin Warren has never left their mother or the safety of their family home and could maybe be on the autism spectrum.  Jenna returns to her family home a few times and realizes that the neighborhood has changed and her family may not be so welcome with all of their quirks!

I love reading about twins, both when they are so similar and in this case when they are so different.  They still had their ways of communicating with each other that no one else would understand and I love how Jenna sees Warren as a brother and doesn't see any disabilities that he may have.  I absolutely enjoyed the ups and downs of the neighborhood, being a new home owner it was fun to hear about how neighborhoods must change as generations move in and out.  

This was one fantastic family novel with perfectly dramatic characters that played off each other so well.  If you are wary of family dramas, I would still pick this one up, the drama was realistic and not over the top - nowhere near soap opera level!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Penguin Random House.  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, September 16, 2014

Review: Ghosting by Edith Pattou

Ghosting
by Edith Pattou

Publisher: Skyspace
Pages: 392
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  On a hot summer night in a Midwestern town, a high school teenage prank goes horrifically awry. Alcohol, guns, and a dare. Within minutes, as events collide, innocents becomes victims—with tragic outcomes altering lives forever, a grisly and unfortunate scenario all too familiar from current real-life headlines. But victims can also become survivors, and as we come to know each character through his/her own distinctive voice and their interactions with one another, we see how, despite pain and guilt, they can reach out to one another, find a new equilibrium, and survive.


Kritters Thoughts:  Written in verse, this is only the second or third book that I have read in this style and each time I am amazed at how very few words can be used to get the same point across.  Told through a lot of perspectives, it took a moment to get the relationships between all of the characters, but once I had that down, this book read so fast!  

Told in two parts, the before and the after, the before completely sets the scene of mostly high school seniors, enjoying the last days of summer before senior year will begin.  With beverages, a gun and the need for scary their night turns a horrible turn fast and they all have to live with the consequences.  This may sound weird, but I loved the debate as to who was at fault for it all, once you read it you will understand.

If you are a Ellen Hopkins fan, I would say this one would be right up your alley.  If Ellen Hopkins is a little dramatic in her topic choice, this one has drama, but seems to be on the tamer side.


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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Ballroom by Alice Simpson

Ballroom
by Alice Simpson

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Time has eroded the glamour of the Ballroom, but at the end of the 1990s, a small crowd of loyal patrons still makes its way past the floor-to-ceiling columns which frame the once grand hall each Sunday evening. Sweeping across the worn parquet floor under a peeling indigo ceiling, these men and women succumb to the magic of the music, looking for love and connection, eager to erase the drab reality of their complicated lives.

Nearly forty and still single, Sarah Dreyfus is desperate for love and sure she’ll find it with debonair Gabriel Katz, a dazzling peacock who dances to distract himself from his crumbling marriage. Tired of the bachelor life, Joseph believes that his yearning for a wife and family will be fulfilled—if only he can get Sarah to notice him. Besotted with beautiful young Maria Rodriguez, elderly dance instructor Harry Korn knows they can find happiness together. Maria, one of the Ballroom’s stars, has a dream of her own, a passion her broken-hearted father refuses to accept or understand.



Kritters Thoughts:  Told in short chapters from each person's perspective, this book was different.  Each character comes to the Ballroom every Sunday evening and participates in the dancing that evening, but their friendships and relationships are just on the surface and they each have things that they are hiding and easy to hide as they don't even know each other's last names.

I enjoyed this book, but didn't love it as much as I thought it would.  I grew up as a dancer, so I thought this book would be right up my alley, but the only reason this was a like and not a love was kind of petty - I wish that there were a few more characters that were younger, most of them were of the older variety and I wish there were a few dancers that were younger.  

I loved the dancing.  I loved the passion that each person had and the dedication to dancing.  I loved the pursuit of a partner and the drama about partner abandonment.  

This was a like, not love, but I would still completely recommend it to readers.  


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.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


WHAT a crazy week!  A friend's birthday dinner, a baseball game, a work happy hour and just the craziness in event planning and being an assistant to a very busy CEO!  So very little reading occurred until this weekend when I curled up with some pre fall crisp weather and ran through some books! and I am hoping with a work trip this next week and some hours on a plane for some full on reading time!  

Is September crazy for anyone else?

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith
I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
To See the Moon Again by Jamie Langston Turner
Ballroom by Alice Simpson
Ghosting by Edith Pattou

Currently Reading:
House of Wonder by Sarah Healy

Next on the TBR pile:
Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
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