Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September - the start of fall


September didn't seem like a good reading month, it was packed full of work craziness and baseball and a fall purge that I did of our house, but 23 books seems like a great reading month to me!

1. Again and Again by Ellen Bravo
2. Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
3. Come Away with Me by Karma Brown
4. Montpelier Tomorrow by Marylee MacDonald
5. All the Difference by Leah Ferguson
6. Crooked Little Lies by Barbara Taylor Sissel
7. Surface by Stacy Robinson
8. Beautiful Affliction by Lene Fogelberg
9. Cold Feet by Amy FitzHenry
10. The Gates of Rutherford by Elizabeth Cooke
11.  The Good Neighbor by AJ Banner
12. Never Said by Carol Lynch Williams
13. The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg
14.  Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey
15. BigLaw by Lindsay Cameron
20.  Sit! Stay! Speak! by Annie England Noblin
21. Evergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne
22. Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne
23. The Island of Worthy Boys by Connie Hertzberg Mayo


Total pages read, clicked, and flipped: 6,361


Where Have I Been Reading?:
Catskills, NY
Washington, DC
Philadelphia, PA (2)
Houston, TX
Denver, CO
Venice Beach, CA
London (2)
Washington
John Muir Trail, CA
Paris, France
New York City, NY
Arkansas
New York
Boston, MA


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review: The Island of Worthy Boys by Connie Hertzberg Mayo

The Island of Worthy Boys
by Connie Hertzberg Mayo

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

Goodreads:   In Boston at the turn of the century, two indigent adolescent boys, Aidan and Charles, are brought together by a common desire: earning enough money each day to feed themselves (and, in Aidan’s case, his mother and sister). Together, they achieve this goal by robbing drunken sailors in the brothel district of the city—until one night they accidently kill their victim. To avoid arrest, they leave the city, conning their way into an island school that only accepts boys with squeaky-clean pasts. But the pressure of keeping their stories straight soon fractures their friendship—and when the cracks begin to show, they find out that they are not as safe from the law as they had hoped.


Kritters Thoughts:  A historical fiction that really felt real and I loved that.  There are three parts and an epilogue make up this book - the first part is when these two boys meet in Boston and become friends and it ends with a night that goes downhill fast; the second part is when these boys head to an island to a boy school that prides itself on building up good boys and keeping them on a good path not setting them from a bad path to a good path; the final part is labeled justice and not to spoil anything It is just that.

I loved these boys.  They had gumption and wanted more for themselves than what the streets of Boston could provide and with the help of an interesting "friend" they end up at the home that could really really help them and I loved reading about a book that centered around boys.  I also loved reading about a school that had a mission in keeping boys who could fall off the tracks on and it seemed like an upstanding school and I hope that there were many of these in the country at a time when youth were easily falling into trouble with parents who couldn't help them.

I am a fan of historical fiction and definitely try to read a "quota" of sorts per month that are historical fiction, but if you are a reader that shies away from historical fiction - try this one out.  These boys' story feels real and it may very well could be, but that realness made this a book that I couldn't put down and read in just two sittings.


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 28, 2015

Review: Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne

Everything She Forgot
by Lisa Ballantyne

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  They’re calling it the worst pile-up in London history. Driving home, Margaret Holloway has her mind elsewhere—on a troubled student, her daughter’s acting class, the next day’s meeting—when she’s rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage. Just as she begins to panic, a disfigured stranger pulls her from the car just seconds before it’s engulfed in flames. Then he simply disappears.

Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something’s wrong. She’s having trouble concentrating. Her emotions are running wild. More than that, flashbacks to the crash are also dredging up lost associations from her childhood, fragments of events that were wiped from her memory. Whatever happened, she didn’t merely forget—she chose to forget. And somehow, Margaret knows deep down that it’s got something to do with the man who saved her life.



Kritters Thoughts:  With two major storylines going on at the same time, this book was interesting, but I definitely liked one storyline over another.  In 1985, a young man has decided to win back his ex girlfriend and baby mama and their daughter and start a life 7 years after their daughter was born.  The current storyline is a woman who gets into a major accident driving home from work in a snowstorm and from this storm she is rescued from her car by a man who keeps her guessing.  

I didn't love the current storyline.  I think I wanted more from it, it was just kind of bland and I didn't feel like Margaret was really trying hard to find the clues from this unknown rescuer.  

On the other hand, I absolutely adored the 1985 storyline and loved that I knew it was connected to the current storyline, but not completely until near the end.  There were two major points of view within this storyline - a reporter and a father who abducted his daughter sort of by accident.  The reporter storyline entertained me, it didn't completely add a ton to the story but he was entertaining because of his devout religious views and his high standards yet he was abusing his own family - hypocrite with a capital H.  The story could have probably been fine without him, but I didn't mind it included.

This is my second Lisa Ballantyne book and not on my autobuy list, but will definitely still read new books as long as the synopsis sounds like it could be good.



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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Partner in Crime Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

The last week of baseball games and a hard week at work, so not much reading happened, but the last baseball game of our regular season is tomorrow, so more quiet nights of reading are in the future!

A
 meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Sit! Stay! Speak! by Annie England Noblin
Evergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne
Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne
The Island of Worthy Boys by Connie Hertzberg Mayo

Currently Reading:
Reading the Sweet Oak by Jane Stites

Next on the TBR pile:
The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo

Friday, September 25, 2015

Review: Sit! Stay! Speak! by Annie England Nolin

Sit! Stay! Speak
by Annie England Nolin

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Addie Andrews is living a life interrupted. Tragedy sent her fleeing from Chicago to the shelter of an unexpected inheritance—her beloved aunt’s somewhat dilapidated home in Eunice, Arkansas, population very tiny. There she reconnects with some of her most cherished childhood memories. If only they didn’t make her feel so much!

People say nothing happens in small towns, but Addie quickly learns better. She’s got an elderly next door neighbor who perplexingly dances outside in his underwear, a house needing more work than she has money, a best friend whose son uncannily predicts the weather, and a local drug dealer holding a massive grudge against her.

Most surprising of all, she’s got a dog. But not any dog, but a bedraggled puppy she discovered abandoned, lost, and in desperate need of love. Kind of like Addie herself. She’d come to Eunice hoping to hide from the world, but soon she discovers that perhaps she’s finding the way back—to living, laughing, and loving once more.



Kritters Thoughts:  Addie Andrews has had a rough year, she lost someone close to her that she loved and her great-aunt passes away and leaves her a home in Arkansas, so she decides to escape Chicago and hide, but hiding in a small town isn't that easy!

Addie was great, I loved big city girl moving to small town and thinking she was going to be there temporarily so she wasn't trying to fit in but was observing it from the outside!  I grew up in small town and now enjoying living right outside of big city, so I liked seeing the reverse.  

I enjoyed this one, it read quick and was a solid story.  As a dog lover, there were some parts that made me cringe and I had to skim a little.  I felt like it ended in a weird spot, I could have had a few more pages to feel a little more complete.  But I did love how all the secrets were revealed and all my questions were answered.


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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg

The Middle of Somewhere
by Sonja Yoerg

Publisher: NAL
Pages: 336
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  With her thirtieth birthday looming, Liz Kroft is heading for the hills—literally. Her emotional baggage weighs her down more than her backpack, but a three-week trek promises the solitude she craves—at least until her boyfriend, Dante, decides to tag along. His broad moral streak makes the prospect of confessing her sins more difficult, but as much as she fears his judgment, she fears losing him more. Maybe.

They set off together alone under blue skies, but it’s not long before storms threaten and two strange brothers appear along the trail. Amid the jagged, towering peaks, Liz must decide whether to admit her mistakes and confront her fears, or face the trail, the brothers and her future alone.


Kritters Thoughts:  Liz wanted to embark on the John Muir Trail to find some clarity about herself and her relationship, but her boyfriend Dante insists on joining her and they embark on 18 days of pure togetherness - will they make it out still together and talking?

Liz definitely had some secrets and some things that she needed to settle before she could really commit herself to someone and I think Dante knows that he has these 18 days to either move their relationship forward or they will have to walk away.  

I loved that there was a little mystery suspense added to the book.  So although the journey and relationship were enough to fill a story, the added bonus element I liked.  The mystery suspense lurked in and I loved how it was a slow build and then basically exploded!

Someone called this a fictional Wild retake and I haven't read Wild, but with everything I have read, I could see some similarities, but there are definitely some things that set this one apart, so if you have read both Wild and this one, what do you think?


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, September 22, 2015

Review: BigLaw by Lindsay Cameron

BigLaw
by Lindsay Cameron

Publisher: Ankerwycke
Pages: 304
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Mackenzie Corbett has always dreamed of living in New York City. Now, almost two years into her job as an associate at a premier Manhattan law firm, she's living her fantasy--big salary, high profile deals, cute boyfriend, designer bag on her arm. The giant bags under her eyes from lack of sleep don't fit into the fantasy, though. To make matters worse, she's being tormented by a bitter, bitchy senior associate, her boyfriend is annoyed she never has time for him, and now she's stuck on the deal from hell with a partner whose biggest claim to fame is throwing a stapler at a cleaning lady because she touched his ficus plant. 

With the opportunity to secure a prestigious secondment on line, the overachiever in her is determined to endure whatever it takes to close the biggest deal in the firm's history. But when Mackenzie finds herself the focus of a devastating investigation her dream job begins spiraling into a nightmare. 



Kritters Thoughts:  A young lawyer is trying to work her way up the ladder in a big New York law firm, but she has to sacrifice a long list of things to make it to the top.  

Mackenzie is a typical character in a typical book, but following her journey was more than typical.  She was spunky and had sass but even in a lawyer world she had morals and tried her darndest to stay near her moral compass and I adored her for it.  It was interesting to read about her relationship with a fellow lawyer and how different departments in law firms have a varying level of workload and hours they are expected to be in the office - learned something new!  I loved how real Mackenzie was and how real the book felt.  

This book can be put in the large category of new girl, big city will she survive?  And I love these books!  They are a refreshing break from some more daunting books and I love the light easy quality of them.  This is a debut and I am excited to put this author on my ones to watch list, I could buy her next book without knowing much of the synopsis!

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 21, 2015

Review: Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey

Paris Time Capsule
by Ella Carey

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Pages: 290
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  New York–based photographer Cat Jordan is ready to begin a new life with her successful, button-down boyfriend. But when she learns that she’s inherited the estate of a complete stranger—a woman named Isabelle de Florian—her life is turned upside down.

Cat arrives in Paris to find that she is now the owner of a perfectly preserved Belle Époque apartment in the ninth arrondissement, and that the Frenchwoman’s family knew nothing about this secret estate. Amid these strange developments, Cat is left with burning questions: Who was Isabelle de Florian? And why did she leave the inheritance to Cat instead of her own family?

As Cat travels France in search of answers, she feels her grasp on her New York life starting to slip. With long-buried secrets coming to light and an attraction to Isabelle de Florian’s grandson growing too intense to ignore, Cat will have to decide what to let go of, and what to claim as her own.



Kritters Thoughts:  Cat Jordan is a photographer in New York and yes she wants to be a photographer, but taking photos of fancy New Yorkers and their children isn't what she really wanted to do.  She is dating one of those fancy New Yorkers when she receives a mysterious package where she has inherited something as both her grandmother and mother passed away at young ages and this inheritance has passed down to her.  The catch is that she has to go to Paris to sort out the inheritance.

I loved the premise of the story.  The flow was a little slow, but with it being a short book it was ok.  Cat was a great character, I thought she was a great narrator and I loved her no stone left unturned attitude.  

My favorite part of all was the author's note that advises the reader that this book is based on a lot of truth.  The apartment left abandoned and the famous author - I was so excited to find out that there was truth behind the story.

I enjoyed this one, but not completely my favorite one.  It was a good read for an afternoon.


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 20, 2015

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

With a work trip to Atlanta and the quietest weekend in a LONG time, some great reading happened!  Nothing more to say!

A
 meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Cold Feet by Amy FitzHenry
The Gates of Rutherford by Elizabeth Cooke
The Good Neighbor by AJ Banner
Never Said by Carol Lynch Wiliams
The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg
Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey
BigLaw by Lindsay Cameron

Currently Reading:
The Girl From Krakow by Alex Rosenberg

Next on the TBR pile:
Sit! Stay! Speak! by Annie England Noblin

Friday, September 18, 2015

Review: Never Said by Carol Lynch Williams

Never Said
by Carol Lynch Williams

Publisher: Blink
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  For as long as she can remember, Sarah’s family life has revolved around her twin sister, Annie—the pretty one, the social one, the girl who can do anything. The person everyone seems to wish Sarah—with her crippling shyness—could simply become.

When Annie suddenly chops off her hair, quits beauty pageants, and gains weight, the focus changes—Annie is still the star of the family, but for all the wrong reasons. Sarah knows something has happened, but she too is caught in her own spiral after her boyfriend breaks up with her and starts hanging out with one of Annie’s old friends.

Annie is intent on keeping her painful secret safe. But when she and Sarah start spending time together again for the first time in years, walls start to break on both sides … and words that had been left unsaid could change everything.


Kritters Thoughts:  Told through both sets of eyes of a set of twins.  Annie's chapters are told through poetry while Sarah's chapters are told in usual novel form.  Something has changed in Annie's life but the family has no clue; the only thing they know is she has changed and she is gaining weight and has cut her hair.  Sarah usually the quiet, more reserved twin is being pushed into the spotlight and doesn't like it at all.

I have to be honest I didn't love this one.  It took way too long to find out what happened to Annie and I would have loved more book to happen after the reader finds out what made Annie's life change.  I wanted more about how her and her family really came to terms and helped her overcome this life changing event.


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

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, September 17, 2015

Review: The Good Neighbor by AJ Branner

The Good Neighbor
by AJ Branner

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 206
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.
Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?

Kritters Thoughts:  Sarah is somewhat newly married and as her husband is out of town for work she is left at home when tragedy strikes a neighbor's home and their house goes up in flames.  The flames jump and destroy her home too and this big tragedy sends her world spiraling!

I enjoyed this book, it was the quickest read.  I read it in two sittings while in Atlanta for a work trip and the pages flipped very quickly.  It was easy to get to know the characters and all the drama kept me wanting to read read read.  

Although the culprit was in the book almost from the beginning, they came out of left field and I am not sure I loved it this time, wasn't completely satisfied with their reasoning for doing what they did.  

If you are in need of a quick read I would definitely recommend this one, but you could get some frustration with the outcome of the storyline.


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.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review: The Gates of Rutherford by Elizabeth Cooke

The Gates of Rutherford
by Elizabeth Cooke

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The rain fell softly on the day that she was to be married…Sometimes the longing for the old untouched days at Rutherford would return to her; the innocence of it all, the feeling that England would never change…

Charlotte Cavendish has been dreaming of her old home at Rutherford Park. It is April 1917; she is nineteen years old. And everywhere there is change. The war still rages on the Continent, where her brother fights for the Royal Flying Corps. Her parents’ marriage is in jeopardy, with her mother falling for a charming American in London.

But not all is grim. Charlotte is marrying Preston, the blinded soldier whom she nursed back to health. Her parents couldn’t be happier about this. The young man hails from a well-established and wealthy family in Kent, and he’s solid and respectable. They hope he’s the one to tame their notoriously headstrong daughter.

But as time passes, Charlotte slowly comes to the realization that she is not truly happy. And for a reason she is only just beginning to understand. A reason she dare not reveal to the family—or the world…


Kritters Thoughts:  With a huge cast of characters, this book was very hard to get into in the beginning.  As soon as I started getting into a storyline it switched to someone else and I wish that there had been more before it changed.  It also took me awhile to figure out who belonged with whom and where they all fit into the bigger picture.  If you don't tend to enjoy big cast of characters, this book may not work for you.

This book was the third in a series and I could tell that I was missing something a few times, so I kind of wish I had started this series at the beginning instead of starting at book three.  If you have read book one and two, did the story build?  Are you glad you started at book one?

When I finished the book, I read a few reviews that compared this book to Downton Abbey with its "upstairs and downstairs" storylines and as I haven't watched the show, I can't make that comparison, have you seen the show and read this book, thoughts?


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 Berkley NAL.  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 15, 2015

Review: Cold Feet by Amy FitzHenry

Cold Feet
by Amy FitzHenry

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 304
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Everyone’s expecting her to walk down the aisle.
But something is telling her to run.

Emma Moon's mother thinks it's acceptable to miss her only daughter's wedding rehearsal dinner for a work obligation. Her father left when she was six months old. Emma hasn't exactly been raised to be a happily-ever-after kind of girl.

So when her anxieties get out of hand, Emma and her best friend, Liv, decide to take a road trip to San Francisco, find her long-lost father, and put her family issues to rest.

But her quest for the truth stirs up events and emotions she didn’t expect. The urge to run away may just be a part of Emma’s genetic makeup, because she’s growing more and more tempted to do just that…



Kritters Thoughts:  Emma Moon knows she came from an atypical family and she thinks that it affects the person she would be in her future relationships and a week before her wedding she is doubting everything and decides to search to find the father that left when she was young to see if she can be a good married partner.

I loved the mix in each chapter of lawyer tidbits and how the things she learned in law school affected the person she has become and I think she has a lack of trust from her schooling and profession.  

I also loved the journey of finding her mother and learning about her mother through the journey.  I appreciate when a child doesn't really know their parent until they delve into the decisions they made as the child was young and I loved seeing Emma's eyes open as she almost got to really know her mom.

I loved the combo of wedding drama and family drama.  This book was a fun ride into someone else's personal life.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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