Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: Caught Dead by Andrew Lahn

Caught Dead
by Andrew Lahn

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Pages: 283
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  One of the beautiful Le sisters is dead.

Hartford, Connecticut’s small Vietnamese community is stunned. Mary Le Vu, wife of a poor grocery-store owner, died gunned down in a drive-by. Her twin sister insists dutiful Mary “wouldn’t be caught dead” in that drug-infested zone. The police rule it an unlucky accident. Skeptics hire private eye Rick Van Lam to get to the truth. 

Amerasian Rick—his father an unknown US soldier—is one of the boi doi, children of the dust, so often rejected by Vietnamese culture. But his young sidekick, Hank Nguyen, a pureblood Vietnamese, can help Rick navigate the closed world of Little Saigon. Surrounded by close friends—a former-Rockette landlady, his crusty mentor, and his ex-wife Liz—Rick immerses himself in a world that rejects him—but now needs his help. Especially when a second murder strikes in Little Saigon.

Rick and Hank delve into the families of the Le sisters, one poor, one very rich, and uncover a world of explosive ethnic tension and sinister criminal activity ranging from Hartford’s exclusive white suburbs to the impoverished inner city. To solve the murders—and bring closure to Mary’s grieving circle—Rick looks to long-buried memories of his Buddhist childhood for the wisdom that will lead him to a murderer. 



Kritters Thoughts:  Someone who hasn't every felt like a full part of his culture is asked to help solve a crime for close family friends, but some members of the family aren't as accepting of him - as he is half white and half Vietnamese.  But he is chosen to investigate the murder or a mother and aunt and get to the bottom of it.  

I loved the uniqueness that the Vietnamese culture gave to this who dun it.  And the two sets of siblings and an "adoptive" son were the meat of the story for me.  I loved hearing how the two sets of siblings grew up in two very different homes but with their mothers as twins you would think it would have been very similar upbringings!  The sibling rivalry mixed with family rivalry made this book for me.

The way the book ended was interesting - not what I expected and not sure I completely loved it, but it wasn't bad.  


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.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Twin Piques by Tracie Banister

Twin Piques
by Tracie Banister

Pages: 383
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common. 

How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (A teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head? 

Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore? 

To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?



Kritters Thoughts:  A set of twin girls that can't be any more different!  Sloane is the serious twin, an accountant, but definitely avoiding the seriousness in relationships.  Willa, a pet psychic, living day to day and had quite a bad run on relationships.  They balance each other and I loved how they found the best advice in each other.

Personally, I may be more of a Sloane, so I LOVED reading her chapters more than Willas chapters.  As they were labeled, (and very different characters), it was easy to switch from one twin to another.  As I have said about previous books, I loved that this book didn't completely revolve around drama in their love lives, they also had drama on the work front.  

As far as I know, only ebook version, but a great add to any ereader for fans of chick lit.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 15 out of 100


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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: Megan's Hope by Steena Holmes

Megan's Hope
by Steena Holmes

Pages: 70
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What is normal when a kidnapped daughter returns home? 

Emma is now home and Jack, the man Emma calls Papa is part of their family. Life should be good, right? 

Except Jack is dying and no one is quite ready to say goodbye. 

This novella follows the life of Jack and Emma throughout the past year and if you thought your heart had already broke while reading Finding Emma and Emma’s Secret - get ready. 


Kritters Thoughts:  A year of short stories for each month starting in January after Emma has returned to her family, but Jack is still involved with the family.  Dottie has passed away, so Emma's family is all Jack has and thankfully they have welcomed him with open arms.  He is definitely aged and this book follows the family as they prepare to say goodbye to him.

As per usual with the Emma books, I cried during the entire book!  I loved having stories from each month to take a peek into the family, but the "cliffhanger"ish ending of each month was great!  I found out after reading that these were short stories released to Steena's fans that she compiled and put into this novella - I am so glad, I loved it!  

If you haven't started this series, start at the beginning and definitely read this one.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 10 out of 100


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, February 24, 2015

Review: One Wish by Robyn Carr

One Wish
by Robyn Carr

Publisher: Mira
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Grace Dillon was a champion figure skater until she moved to Thunder Point to escape the ruthless world of fame and competition. And though she's proud of the quiet, self-sufficient life she's created running a successful flower shop, she knows something is missing. Her life could use a little excitement. 

In a community where there are few eligible singles, high school teacher Troy Headly appoints himself Grace's fun coach. When he suggests a little companionship with no strings attached, Grace is eager to take him up on his offer, and the two enjoy…getting to know each other. 

But things get complicated when Grace's past catches up with her, and she knows that's not what Troy signed up for. Faced with losing her, Troy realizes Grace is more than just a friend with benefits. He's determined to help her fight for the life she always wished for but never believed she could have—and maybe they can find real love along the way.



Kritters Thoughts:  The 7th in the Thunder Point series and before I start the review, I would suggest picking this series up from the beginning, although somewhat companion novels, there are details of other characters that you will miss and it is better to let it build.  

Now for the review.  I don't know what it is, but I like these books more and more as this series goes.  Each of them has a little bit of sexy times, but nothing over the top and in your face and distracting from the true story.

Grace has escaped to Thunder Point to start on a clean slate with her past buried.  Troy is a high school teacher who recently got his heart broken has his crush just got married.  They keep it light and fun for a bit, but circumstances throw their relationship out of the fun zone and into the serious zone.

I absolutely adored this book!  Even more so than previous books, I loved how the secondary characters (who all have books about them in this series) were perfectly woven in and out of the story.  In some of the other books in the series, I didn't see the secondary characters and the story was caught up on the main characters.  

I also loved this couple, although I am not sure the synopsis on the book was the best representation of the book, I liked the story better than the synopsis!  Again, I would say start this one in the series.  They read fast and once you get started you won't want to stop!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (and I know there will be more)

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 23, 2015

Review: The Forgetting Place by John Burley

The Forgetting Place
by John Burley

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

Goodreads:  A female psychiatrist at a state mental hospital finds herself at the center of a shadowy conspiracy in this dark and twisting tale of psychological suspense from the author of The Absence of Mercy Menaker State Hospital is a curse, a refuge, a prison, a necessity, a nightmare, a salvation.

When Dr. Lise Shields arrived at the correctional psychiatric facility five years ago, she was warned that many of its patients-committed by Maryland’s judicial system for perpetrating heinous crimes-would never leave.

But what happens when a place like Menaker is corrupted, when it becomes a tool to silence the innocent, conceal an injustice, contain a secret? Why is it that the newest patient does not seem to belong there, that the hospital administrator has fallen silent, and that Lise is being watched by two men with seemingly lethal intent? The answers are closer than she realizes and could cost her everything she holds dear. 


Kritters Thoughts:  Have you ever had a book completely screw with your mind and when it is over you want to read it all over again?  If yes and you enjoyed it - pick this one up now!

My second John Burley book and I am officially a fan and will read anything he writes even without knowing the premise.  

Dr. Lise Shields is a psychiatrist at a mental hospital in Maryland and a new patient arrives without any paperwork and she must find out why this patient is at her hospital.  Interwoven through the big narrative are glimpses into Jason's past and Dr. Shields' past also and they are both within chapters of the story and have chapters of their own.  

This book took such a turn towards the end that I maybe could have predicted, but still felt out of left field and I loved it.  I absolutely wanted to reread it to see the clues again with the end in mind.

I want to divulge more, but this is one where a written review just won't suffice, if you were in person I would talk your ear off on this one!  


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, February 22, 2015

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


What a week!  Work was completely nuts and when I got home, it took everything in me just to eat dinner and fall in bed.  I had a packed weekend, but the snow took those plans out, so it ended up being a reading weekend! 

A
 meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman
Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue
Terror Never Sleeps by Richard Blomberg
Splinters of Light by Rachel Herron

Currently Reading:
Elephant in the Sky by Heather Clark

Next on the TBR pile:
How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Review: The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman

The Curvy Girls Club
by Michele Gorman

Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 386
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Where Confidence is the New Black. Fed up with always struggling to lose weight, best friends Katie, Ellie, Pixie and Jane start a social club where size doesn't matter. It soon grows into London's most popular club - a place to have fun instead of counting carbs - and the women find their lives changing in ways they never imagined. But outside the club, life isn't as rosy.


Kritters Thoughts:  Four friends who may tip the scale meet during a slim down class/workshop and decide that the negativity in the class is not working, but they really enjoy each other's company - and The Curvy Girls Club is formed.

Although Katie narrates the book and is the main character, the author geniusly provides the back stories for the other girls in the club.  I loved hearing how each of them got to the size they are, how they have tried to get the weight off and just generally their stories.  Once the club is created, which is early on in the story, the reader gets to slip into a fantastic story about prejudices against weight and the way people look and how far our society needs to go to accept people just as they are.  I loved that this book took place, in social settings, the workplace, schools and beyond - it encompassed every spot that a person can feel belittled or undervalued.

I am a Michele Gorman fan and this book tops the list for me.  I laughed, I cried and I wouldn't mind a sequel!


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

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 14 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.



Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: The Swimmer by Joakim Zander

The Swimmer
by Joakim Zander

Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Klara Walldeen, orphaned as a child and brought up by her grandparents on a remote Swedish archipelago, is now a political aide in Brussels. And she has just seen something she shouldn’t: something people will kill to keep hidden. 

On the other side of the world, an old spy hides from his past. Once, he was a man of action: so dedicated to the cause that he abandoned his baby daughter to keep his cover. Now the only thing he lives for is swimming in the local pool.

Then, on Christmas eve, Klara is thrown into a terrifying chase through Europe. Only the Swimmer can save her. But time is running out...
 



Kritters Thoughts: A political thriller that may have been originated in Sweden, but should not be grouped with the rest of the Swedish thrillers that are out there right now - this one is different.  

With a large cast of characters and chapters where a few get the chance to tell the story and taking place in different times and places, I was worried that it could get confusing, not to worry, this author sets the book up so well it was easy to read.  Klara is the main character and the reader learns about her past and some details even before she does.  Almost all of the characters revolve around her someway.  

There is quite a bit of action and maybe a little blood, so if you have a queezy stomach, this one isn't for you, but for the audience that does - it was great.  There were cars, boats, and everything in between.  It was nice to get a pure action thriller with no love, no heartache and just pure adrenaline!

I would liken this book to The Bourne trilogy where there are great chase scenes, but the audience doesn't know for a bit what the chase is about and why.  We finally learn the reason for the chase and I couldn't help but flip pages until the end.  Once you get to a point in this book, you won't be able to put it down until the end!

Rating: definitely a good, 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.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: The Long and Faraway Gone

The Long and Faraway Gone
by Lou Berney

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 464
Format: ARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery, while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever solved.

Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that left six of his friends dead. 

Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past—with the day her beautiful older sister Genevieve disappeared. When Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has resurfaced, she’ll stop at nothing to find answers.

As fate brings these damaged souls together, their obsessive quests spark sexual currents neither can resist. But will their shared passion and obsession heal them, or push them closer to the edge? Even if they find the truth, will it help them understand what happened, that long and faraway gone summer? Will it set them free—or ultimately destroy them?


Kritters Thoughts:  What a book!!  Four storylines, two in the past and two in the present and they mix and mingle and made for such a great book.

So two of the storylines take place in the summer of 1986 - one is centered around a shooting in a movie theater with one survivor and the other is a younger sister who goes to a fair with her old sister and her sister goes missing and it is never solved.  The two current storylines revolve around one PI who has returned to Oklahoma City to help solve a mystery about a night club who is having some vandalism and such; the other is the younger sister who is still trying to solve the mystery.

With all of that above, you would think it would be an utter mess, but NO the editing and chapter titles helped to keep the stories organized and clear.  I loved having all the storylines all in one book.  The conclusion of each storyline was timed perfectly and I was completely satisfied with who did what, where and how.  And although it was a bit of a chunky book, it read so fluidly that I didn't even realize it!

If you are new to the mystery genre or have read them all, pick this one up.  It is so different from most things that I have read.  

I am officially a Lou Berney fan and will be looking for his previous and future books.  


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.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Review: The Last Good Paradise by Tatjana Soli

The Last Good Paradise
by Tatjana Soli

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

Goodreads:  On a small, unnamed coral atoll in the South Pacific, a group of troubled dreamers must face the possibility that the hopes they’ve labored after so single-mindedly might not lead them to the happiness they feel they were promised. Ann and Richard, an aspiring, Los Angeles power couple, are already sensing the cracks in their version of the American dream when their life unexpectedly implodes, leading them to brashly run away from home to a Robinson Crusoe idyll. Dex Cooper, lead singer of the rock band, Prospero, is facing his own slide from greatness, experimenting with artistic asceticism while accompanied by his sexy, young, and increasingly entrepreneurial muse, Wende. Loren, the French owner of the resort sauvage, has made his own Gauguin-like retreat from the world years before, only to find that the modern world has become impossible to disconnect from. Titi, descendent of Tahitian royalty, worker, and eventual inheritor of the resort, must fashion a vision of the island’s future that includes its indigenous people, while her partner, Cooked, is torn between anarchy and lust. By turns funny and tragic, The Last Good Paradise explores our modern, complex and often, self-contradictory discontents, crafting an exhilirating story about our need to connect in an increasingly networked but isolating world.


Kritters Thoughts:  A couple who have fighting an uphill battle - opening a restaurant with an untrustworthy friend, in a job that makes her feel soulless, doing anything to conceive a child; and then something happens where there future is in jeopardy and they have to take their future in their own hands and escape to "paradise."

The best thing I can say is this one is interesting.  When they escape to "paradise" this book took a turn and it became just ok for me.  With some interesting characters on the island I enjoyed the interactions between them, but their quirks where quite quirky!  Sometimes the book got a little too outlandish for me, but when it came back to Ann and Richard I felt like it got back to an honest place.  I liked the concept of running from your troubles but not sure I loved the island completely.

I still want to read Tatjana Soli's two other books and am still intrigued by this author.


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

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, February 16, 2015

Review: A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor

A Memory of Violets
by Hazel Gaynor

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In 1912, twenty-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London, to become assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the home has cared for London’s flower girls—orphaned and crippled children living on the grimy streets and selling posies of violets and watercress to survive.

Soon after she arrives, Tilly discovers a diary written by an orphan named Florrie—a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after she and her sister, Rosie, were separated. Moved by Florrie’s pain and all she endured in her brief life, Tilly sets out to discover what happened to Rosie. But the search will not be easy. Full of twists and surprises, it leads the caring and determined young woman into unexpected places, including the depths of her own heart.



Kritters Thoughts:  Two parallel stories are happening in this book and they intermix and mingle at interesting times.  One follows Tilly Harper who has taken a job as a house mother at a home for girls who are orphaned and crippled and are able to make fake flowers to sell to ladies of the time.  The other story is a former flower girl who has died and died looking for her sister that she lost and could never find.

I absolutely adored each storyline and the way the author wove them together.  Tilly's story was easier to read only due to her lack of accent and ability to form real sentences, although I appreciated the authenticity of Florrie's telling her own story in her own words - it just took me quite a bit longer to read her chapters!  I loved when Rosie's perspective was introduced and the reader was able to see her side of the story, I wasn't sure that I was ever going to get it and was so glad when I did!

I loved learning about a true person in history with a fiction twist.  It was so interesting to read about the girls from the street finding a new way of life and a home and safety.  This one really pulled on my heartstrings which I enjoyed!

Hazel Gaynor is now on my official historical fiction list and I plan on reading anything she writes!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 12 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.





Sunday, February 15, 2015

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


Another crazy work week and a semi busy weekend.  We celebrated Valentine's on Friday for many reasons, so the actual day of Valentine I spent with the pups curled up reading!

A
 meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
The Forgetting Place by John Burley
The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman
Twin Piques by Tracie Banister
Hush Hush by Laura Lippman
The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman

Currently Reading:
The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman

Next on the TBR pile:
How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck
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