Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: The Mind of a Child by Marshanne Mishoe

The Mind of a Child
by Marshanne Mishoe

Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Pages: 242
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Two eras, two women, one story of strength and love. 

1940: When Jessa gives birth to her youngest son, instinct tells her all’s not well. Her husband and doctor are keeping something from her, but what? 

2007: Willa adjusts to her new job serving as an assistant teacher in a special needs classroom. At first she balks at the work she has to do – often involving bathroom issues and tantruming children. As she grows into the job, she comes to truly love her students, even as she learns that things aren’t all that they seem within her own family. 


Kritters Thoughts:  Two stories - one in 1940 with a mom who gives birth to a child who is not normal.  The other story is more or less present day at 2007 with a woman who has to take a job to keep her family afloat and ends up in a classroom with a variety of special needs children and in this situation she learns patience and a level of content with what you have that I don't think she would have learned anywhere else.  

I am a huge fan of dual narratives and especially when they intersect and without spoiling, these two stories come together and just the right moment.  It is late in the book, but I was quite ok with that!  I loved reading the difference between not only the acceptance of children and adults with special needs now and in the 1940s story, but also the resources that parents and families have for all of the different areas of special needs.  I do not have a child with special needs in my immediate circle, but I love hearing that parents and families aren't as alone and isolated.

This isn't my first book to read about specifically about Down Syndrome and I just love reading how far we have come as a society to help integrate those with special needs into the "normal" classrooms and life.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 23 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Booktrope Publishing.  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 30, 2015

Review: Never Too Late by Robyn Carr

Never Too Late
by Robyn Carr

Publisher: Mira
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Clare Wilson is starting over. She's had it with her marriage to a charming serial cheater. Even her own son thinks she's given his father too many chances. With the support of her sisters, Maggie and Sarah, she's ready to move on. Facing her fortieth birthday, Clare is finally feeling the rush of unadulterated freedom.

But when a near-fatal car accident lands Clare in the hospital, her life takes another detour. While recovering, Clare realizes she has the power to choose her life's path. The wonderful younger police officer who witnessed her crash is over the moon for her. A man from her past stirs up long-buried feelings. Even her ex is pining for her. With enthusiasm and a little envy, her sisters watch her bloom.

Together, the sisters encourage each other to seek what they need to be happy. Along the way they all learn that it's never too late to begin again.



Kritters Thoughts:  Three sisters all still live close to where they grew up in Colorado and are very much a part of each other's lives.  Clare the middle sister is the main character and with a husband who has used up a few second chances, she is finally ready to cut the chord and say goodbye, but not without a little drama!  The younger sister Sarah took their mother's death the worst and is still trying to get her life back on track after the death.  Maggie the older sister thinks she has her life in working order, but little does she know!

If you have followed this blog for a bit, you know that I love a good family/sibling drama.  Although Clare took the lead, the reader still had plenty chance to hear the stories of what was going on in the other sister's lives - mainly because they were in each other's lives.  

There is a slight love triangle, but I loved how it wasn't the main focus of the book.  The family, the sisters and how they helped each other was the reason for the story.  I loved that love wasn't the only thing that these sisters were dealing with - children, each other and work drama all came into play in this book.

Robyn Carr is known for romance, so there are definitely a few sexy times in this book, but it definitely doesn't overtake the story.  If you tend to avoid those books, try this one out and maybe read a little quickly through the few short sexy time scenes.


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.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

It's Monday, What are you Reading?


What a good week in reading!!  Thank goodness for some good engaging reads!

A
 meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Never Too Late by Robyn Carr
The Mind of a Child by Marshanne Mishoe
Secrets in the Sky by Pauline Wiles
Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown

Currently Reading:
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

Next on the TBR pile:
Haven Lake by Holly Robinson

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Margaret Fletcher Gallop Girl by Genevieve Dutil

Margaret Fletcher Gallop Girl
by Genevieve Dutil

Pages: 193
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Poise, class, confidence, fantastic thighs and an even better ass: these are the spoils of an equestrian lifestyle. And Margaret Fletcher has them all. 

But then suddenly, she doesn't. Broke and horseless for the first time in her pampered life, Margaret is lost in a sea of tangled hairnets until a cranky old horseman introduces her to the not-so-glamorous world of exercising young racehorses. Margaret knows she can jump a five foot fence with style. But can she gallop forty miles an hour on a two-year-old rocket launcher with sticky brakes? 

Enter Emily Morris, a working class eventer who’s spent her whole life eating the dust of rich girls like Margaret. Now, charged with the task of turning this clueless Hunter Princess into a fully-functional Gallop Girl, Emily will have to teach her the basics of horsemanship from the ground up ― mud, manure and all. Can a former Hunter Princess and a scrappy kid from the wrong side of the racetrack team up to conquer the “Sport of Kings?” 



Kritters Thoughts:  Two very different young women narrate this story - Margaret is in a new place without her parent's funds and is trying to still be around horses still as she has been in the horse world for her entire life, but through her parents funding.  Emily has a single mom and has wanted to be in the horse world, but has always felt on the outskirts because of her lack of funds.  These two girls lives intersect and they will have to learn from each other to help each other get what they really want.

First, let me say that I think this character at the beginning is meant to be very unloveable, so that there is a journey, but if she called herself by the third person, her own name, one more time I was going to sock her!  I absolutely hated it when she was telling the story and then referred to herself, it was done one too many times and enough to be distracting.  

Overall, I did love the book, but it wasn't one that stood out for me.  

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

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 22 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.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos

The Precious One
by Marisa de los Santos

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary — professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk: her father.

Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter Willow only once. 

Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister — a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?



Kritters Thoughts:  Dual narrated by a set of sisters who don't know each other at all, but are thrust into each other's lives and hopefully can form a bond and help each other to find true happiness.  Tasiy is a woman who had her father in her life but not quite the most attentive father until she turned 18 and her life fell apart.  Willow was born out of the collapse and he was a completely different father to her, almost too attentive.

First, I already know I love dual narratives and then to have two sisters who weren't in each other's lives come together, I knew this book would be a hit.  I love a sibling story and that was the core and center of this book and man I adored it.  The arc of their relationship felt real and worked for me.

With an interesting father at the center I loved reading about him through both of their eyes and trying to understand they were talking about the same man!  I definitely despised him, but I think that was the moral of the story and I don't mind having a book with a character or two that I don't like as long as the rest of the cast is likeable.  

This is only my second Marisa de los Santos read and although I have the rest of her backlist on my shelf, this one is moving them to the top of my TBR pile!  


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.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: The Kill Shot by Nichole Christoff

The Kill Shot
by Nichole Christoff

Publisher: Alibi
Pages: 282
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Jamie Sinclair’s father has never asked her for a favor in her life. The former two-star general turned senator is more in the habit of giving his only child orders. So when he requests Jamie’s expertise as a security specialist, she can’t refuse—even though it means slamming the brakes on her burgeoning relationship with military police officer Adam Barrett. Just like that, Jamie hops aboard a flight to London with a U.S. State Department courier carrying a diplomatic pouch in an iron grip.
 
Jamie doesn’t have to wait long to put her unique skills to good use. When she and the courier are jumped by goons outside the Heathrow terminal, Jamie fights them off—but the incident puts her on high alert. Someone’s willing to kill for the contents of the bag. Then a would-be assassin opens fire in crowded Covent Garden, and Jamie is stunned to spot a familiar face: Adam Barrett, who saves her life with a single shot and calmly slips away. Jamie’s head—and her heart—tell her that something is very wrong. But she’s come way too far to turn back now.


Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the series with Jamie Sinclair and this one topped the first!  Jamie ends up over in London on a trip to protect a US State Department employee and the person who sends her, her father, doesn't quite give her all the details she needs for this mission.  

The one thing that sets this book apart from the previous is the amount of characters that I flip flopped in feelings for - I couldn't decide if I trusted them or hated them all on the same page.  AND I loved it!  I love having mixed feelings about characters and thankful that the author resolved all of my feelings by the end!  

This one had a smidgen less action than the first one, but still was a page turner and with the characters having more depth, I didn't miss the action one bit.

I absolutely can not wait for the next installment and I am really hoping that this isn't a trilogy, but a long series to follow.  I want more and more of Jamie Sinclair.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (and sure I am going to get one!)

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 20 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, March 25, 2015

Review: The Witch of Painted Sorrows by MJ Rose

The Witch of Painted Sorrows
by MJ Rose

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.



Kritters Thoughts:  A courtesan, a grand daughter, some witches/ghosts and 1920s Paris, France made this book a REAL interesting read!  Sandrine escapes her home of New York to her grandmother's of Paris hoping to start new and reconnect with the grandmother that didn't play a big role in her childhood, but raised her father who she gravely misses.

Sandrine arrives to Paris - scared and alone, but with some interactions in Paris she becomes quite a different person.  Watching Sandrine's character evolve was enjoyable, but I didn't completely fall under the spell of why these changes occurred. I love ghost stories, but this one went a little too far and above and beyond what I tend to enjoy.  The other aspect of the book I loved was the painting.  I loved reading Sandrine as she explored the painting side of herself and learned about the contemporaries of 1920s France.  I did appreciate how the paintings in Sandrine's grandmother's home intertwined with the mystery at the heart of the story.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, let me send out the warning that there quite a few sexy scenes in this one and with ghosts and witches abound, this wasn't your run of the mill historical fiction.  I was a fan of MJ Rose before I read this book and still am one, but not sure that this was my favorite from her shelf.


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 Meryl Moss Media.  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 24, 2015

Review: The Kill List by Nichole Christoff

The Kill List
by Nichole Christoff

Publisher: Random House
Pages: 247
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  As a top private eye turned security specialist, Jamie Sinclair has worked hard to put her broken marriage behind her. But when her lying, cheating ex-husband, army colonel Tim Thorp, calls with the news that his three-year-old daughter has been kidnapped, he begs Jamie to come find her. For the sake of the child, Jamie knows she can’t refuse. Now, despite the past, she’ll do everything in her power to bring little Brooke Thorp home alive.

Soon Jamie is back at Fort Leeds—the army base in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens where she grew up, the only child of a two-star general—chasing down leads and forging an uneasy alliance with the stern military police commander and the exacting FBI agent working Brooke’s case. But because Jamie’s father is now a U.S. senator, her recent run-in with a disturbed stalker is all over the news, and when she starts receiving gruesome threats echoing the stalker’s last words, she can’t shake the feeling that her investigation may be about more than a missing girl—and that someone very powerful is hiding something very significant . . . and very sinister.



Kritters Thoughts:  What a heart stopper!  Don't start this book without having a whole day to just read from start to end!  With just less than 250 pages, it was easy to read in one day, but even more so because this action packed, fast paced book was just hard to put down!

Jamie Sinclair is the main character and from the beginning I was rooting for her and loved following her through her adventures and the investigation.  Although Jamie Sinclair comes for a well known parent, she doesn't use it to her advantage and the minute I learned this about her, I gave her more credit.  But I did think she stupidly put herself in situations that weren't always the smartest decisions.  

There were a few investigations going on at the same time and I definitely solved one on the early side, but was still surprised by the rest.  And I felt like there were some interesting twists and turns, but it did feel jam packed.  At moments, I couldn't take a breath!  

If you love books with constant action this one to pick up and never put down!  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel 
         (thankfully one is already written, to be reviewed on Thursday!)

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 19 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.



Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: The Mystery Writer's Cookbook

The Mystery Writer's Cookbook

Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 176
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The Mystery Writers of America have joined forces to deliver this superb collection of more than 100 wickedly good recipes. From Mary Higgins Clark’s Game Night Chili and Harlan Coben’s Crab Meat Dip to Scott Turow’s Innocent Frittata and Kathy Reich’s Shrimp Scampi, this cookbook offers one tasty treat after another. Complete with a glamorous art-deco design and intriguing sidebars on the surprising—and sometimes deadly—links between food and foul play, this is the ultimate cookbook for crime aficionados.


Kritters Thoughts:  What a great collection!  I already know that I love to READ cookbooks and I am a huge fan of the mystery genre, so this was right up my alley.  What I loved even more was reading the blurp ahead of each recipe as to where the recipe came from - whether it was from a book they have written or just from their lives, it was great!

I picked out a few recipes to try and here they are:
Whole Wheat Wild Blueberry Lemon Pecan Muffins
Avgolemono
Charlaine's Very Unsophisticated Supper Dip
Rigatoni a la Bolognese
Worth-the-Effort Turkey Tetrazzini
Cheddar-Monterey Jack Cheese Sauce with Broccoli
A Tomato Sauce for All Seasons
Holiday Grogg

I absolutely loved the format of this book and would love to see more!


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

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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

So two weeks worth of reading.  Two weeks ago, I had a really rough week at work followed by a weekend in NYC with my husband - only one book completed.  Thankfully with a more quiet week at work and the husband working a few nights, a lot more reading was had!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
All the Roads by J Cotter
The Snow Globe by Judith Klinghorn
Margaret Fletcher: Gallop Girl by Genevieve Dutil
Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham
The Witch of Painted Sorrows by MJ Rose
The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos

Currently Reading:
Never Too Late by Robyn Carr

Next on the TBR pile:
The Mind of a Child by Marshanne Mishoe

Interview: Samantha Lien -

Samantha Lien is owner of Roger Charlie, a company that specializes in publicity and management for creative professionals - particularly authors, musicians and small businesses. Through her years of experience in marketing and management for a variety of industries, she has curated an abundant network of contacts in the music and literary world, and loves working to support those who value a more personal approach through communications so that they can stay focused on their craft. She’d love to hear from you, and invites you to be in touch directly through email (sam@rogercharlie.com) or via any of her social media platforms (available on her website).

1.  What do you find yourself rambling about?
Oh, I laugh because anywhere I go - whether it be dinner with friends, a business lunch or a night out on the town, or conversation always wraps back around to entertainment; the best new book, movie, album, celebrity. You name it, and I tend to somehow always direct the conversation there. That’s how I really knew I wanted to pursue my own company to focus on what I do - it just flows right into everyday life, and so I really enjoy it!

I also really love chatting about travel. I have a rolling list of states that I cross off, and aim to hit at least 3 new ones each year.  I just visited Texas for the first time for my birthday, and am going to Kentucky for the Derby in May. I still need to come up with a 3rd for 2015!

2.  What do you love about working with authors/publicists/publishing companies?
I have a Masters of Business and Entertainment Management from the University of Colorado - Denver, and as I went through the program, I found it so neat that there was finally a way to meld the two together.  All business is hard work, but when you enter a creative field like literary, music or the arts, it takes that to a whole new level! Everyone is so passionate and dedicated to a great outcome for all parties  involved, and I really admire the drive and tenacity of everyone putting forth 100% in that team effort.

3.  What do you love about working with bloggers?
You are all the best! Believe it or not, my first introduction to the literary world was BEA in New York City in 2011, so I got to connect with some of the most well-known bloggers all over the country right off the bat.  For me, I love that it’s like having an extended network of friends that always want to talk about the next good book, and again, it goes back to the passion of those in the industry. You do this all because you love it, and that drives me to keep great content coming! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a rough day, and a blogger has sent over a random e-mail just to say ‘hi,’ or update me on a book they enjoyed, and it totally makes my day!

4.  What do you read?  Favorite genres/books?
I’m all over the place, really, and if I really enjoy an author, I’ll stick with them through thick and thin. I’m so guilty of reading 5 books at one time, mostly because if I’m not grabbed within the first 35-40 pages, then I tend to be pretty slow to start.  I’m either a binge reader in one sitting, or take months to finish something.

If I really enjoy an author, I’ll stick with them through thick and thin, and usually tend to bust through a book in one sitting. I love mysteries, which I think goes back to my days of Encyclopedia Brown and the original Nancy Drew novels with my mom growing up.

I’m also a sucker for a good comedic romance (like One Day or Bridget Jones’s Diary), love some of the classics (The Great Gatsby, Slaughterhouse-Five) or a book written from a really unique standpoint. About 10 years ago, I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and just recently saw that it had been made into a play in NYC while I was there on my honeymoon in December. I wish I would have had time to see it and the creativity behind making that into a live performance!

Really though, my absolute favorite would have to be a great memoir (usually celebrity) or self-help that has a humorous approach, as I’m big on self-improvement. Steve Martin’s biography is still one of the funniest books I’ve ever read - but I am also a crazy huge fan of his!

5.  What are you most excited for this new endeavor?
I’m really looking forward to expanding into new territories and keeping the creative juices flowing on new ideas and approaches to market individuals and small businesses! There really is no magic formula in publicity, and so I love the constant learning and brainstorming it takes to create a successful result. It’s so fun to work with authors, musicians and small business owners who think the same way, and I can’t wait to see what develops in 2015!

Thank you for the interview, Kristin! :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Review: All the Roads by J Cotter

All the Roads
by J Cotter

Pages: 414
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  From the onset of the novel, it is clear that Jay and Elle have a past; running into each other haplessly leaves them both feeling winded and uncomfortable. Elle continues on from Alaska to a rented apartment in Maine, where she is set to begin working on a small film. Jay leaves for Anchorage before heading back to California. Their distance is minimized, however, by a constant flow of memories and thoughts, which hauntingly intertwine the two of them. 

Jay and Elle met at a Christmas party almost six years prior to their awkward Alaskan run-in, immediately recognizing in the other a fellow introvert seeking a break from the hum of the party. When they part ways the following morning, each feels an odd tug to stay with the other. Brushing it off, they separate, with plans to see each other in June with a group of friends for a summer road trip. Their relationship, which begins slowly as a powerful and intense friendship, ends abruptly, shocking them both with its finality and loss. 



Kritters Thoughts:  Two people meet and fall in love, but this story goes beyond that.  After you fall in love, then real world begins with work commitments and family things and life doesn't stay in perfect bliss.  The thing about this book is the reader doesn't start at the meeting and end with the after the break up, instead the stories that make up their relationship are all out of order.  

The fact that the story isn't chronological is interesting.  At times it was hard to keep up with where the bits all fit in, but it may have been because I wasn't able to read this in chunks, but instead it in bits and pieces and it was very difficult.  I loved the concept, but I think the time that I could put towards the story was not right for what it needed.  

The one thing that I would change is that each chapter was named two years before or 18 months after and the moment that defined the time came so late in the book.  I wish it had arrived so much earlier, would have helped put the rest of the book in more of a perspective.

If you have read a lot of women's fiction and love stories and need something different, then this one is perfect.  

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

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 21 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.

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