Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween


Out of all the holidays, Halloween is a little low on my list, not into dressing up and things.  BUT I do love some creepy books, so for this Halloween tell me your most recent or favorite creepy book!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: The Year of Necessary Lies by Kris Radish

The Year of Necessary Lies
by Kris Radish

Publisher: Spark Press
Pages: 350
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  One amazing year in a remarkable woman's life journey becomes the inspiration for generations when she takes a huge risk, follows her heart, embraces forbidden love, and unwittingly becomes the champion of a winged world that is on the brink of extinction. It’s 1903, the world is poised for drastic change, and Julia Briton is a naive, beautiful Boston socialite who suffers a series of devastating losses and discovers that her beloved husband is involved in the plume trade—the massive slaughter of birds for use in the fashion industry. When Julia is secretly ushered into the early 20th century by a group of brazen female activists, she boldly risks everything and embarks on a perilous journey to the wilds of untamed Florida, a place of great danger where men will stop at nothing to get what they want and where one man, and a faithful friend, force her to make yet more life-changing decisions. Years later, when Julia’s great-granddaughter, Kelly, discovers some hidden tape recordings in her famous great-grandmother¹s dresser and learns the real truth about Julia’s year, a year that changed the course of history, she must decide what to do with her grandmother¹s incredible legacy. Will she keep the real “secret of the year”, or will she be brave enough to follow her own heart?


Kritters Thoughts:  With two semi plotlines going on at the same time, one took over a little and I was so glad!  The main plotline is fiction, but felt like truth throughout the whole book (and I liked it) was set in 1904 and are actually recorded tapes from a great grandmother reliving a major year in her life as she leaves her privileged life in Boston and goes to Boston to help fight against plume hunters who are killing birds for their feathers for fashion.  The secondary plotline is the great grand daughter who finds the tapes and when she first finds them is going through a hard moment in her life and finds comfort in the tapes with her great grand mother's life story unfolding in the tapes.

This was a great concept.  Although I absolutely adored one plotline over the other, I still appreciated the inclusion of the secondary plotline.  

As I said before there were many moments where I had to remind myself that this was historical fiction instead of historical fact.  I absolutely loved reading about famous historical figures as they wove through this book and their impact on this woman as she is trying to find her place in the Audobon society and trying to change society's view on the inclusion of feathers in fashion.

I definitely liked this book, it had a great pace from the halfway point to the end as the reader gets more into Julia's story.  Once I got really into Julia's story, I couldn't put it down!


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

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 44 out of 100

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.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: Pop Goes the Weasel by MJ Arlidge

Pop Goes the Weasel
by MJ Arlidge

Publisher: Berkey NAL
Pages: 426
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  DI Helen Grace returns in Pop Goes the Weasel, the electrifying new thriller from M. J. Arlidge.

The body of a middle-aged man is discovered in Southampton's red-light district - horrifically mutilated, with his heart removed.

Hours later - and barely cold - the heart arrives with his wife and children by courier.

A pattern emerges when another male victim is found dead and eviscerated, his heart delivered soon afterwards.

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse; revenge against the men who lead sordid double lives visiting prostitutes. For Grace, only one thing is certain: there's a vicious serial-killer at large who must be halted at all costs . . .



Kritters Thoughts:  The second in the series and before you keep reading, I completely recommend starting with the first book and since this is only book two, you don't have a lot to catch up.  I reviewed the first book yesterday.

So now onto the review.  I loved it!  This second book like the first follows Detective Inspector Helen Grace and it follows both her personal and professional life.  With short chapters just like the first book, the pace just kept moving and moving.  I read this one in just three sittings and loved it.  

This book had a different serial killer, female again and a different motive and different "set" of victims.  I love how MJ Arlidge weaves Helen Grace's personal life with the investigation.  I also love how we learn about the personal lives of those on her team.  

This series is really reminding me of a CSI series with each book or episode would have one case, but each book builds on the other as we learn about the team and its members.

I am hooked on this series and am going to anxiously wait for number three to be published on this side of the pond!

Warning again that this book had the same amount of gore in the first and if you have a tender stomach, you may want to think twice about it.


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.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: Eeny Meeny by MJ Arlidge

Eeny Meeny
by MJ Arlidge

Publisher: NAL
Pages: 420
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense....
 



Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a series that centers around Detective Inspector Helen Grace.  Through this first book, the reader gets to know DI Helen Grace and her team while the go through their first major case.  A serial killer is kidnapping people in sets of two and giving them an ultimatum they live when someone between the two dies.  A little confusing, but trust me it was good.

I loved starting this series at the beginning and getting to know the DI and her team while they are in action trying to track down a serial killer.  With the chapters being short and sweet, I thought before starting that this book would lack flow - I was wrong, it did not.  Instead I kept reading and reading well past my bedtime when I picked it up and almost got halfway done.  I just wanted to keep reading and reading and the pace didn't slow from page one to the very end.

I have read quite a bit in the mystery/thriller genre, but this one definitely made me squirm a little, there was definitely some gore and gross in this one, so if you have a light stomach, you may want to be careful with this one.  But if you are a longtime fan of the genre, this one is for you.  

Tomorrow, I will be reviewing the second in the series and I can't wait to keep up with this one as they come out.


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row (I did though!)

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.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

A really sad week on the reading front.  Busy week and busy weekend, hopefully next week is a little quieter!
A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 


Finished this past week:
Blessed are Those Who Mourn by Kristi Belcamino
Eeny Meeny by MJ Arlidge


Currently Reading:
Pop Goes the Weasel by MJ Arlidge
The Year of Necessary Lies by Kris Radish

Next on the TBR pile:
Food Whore by Jessica Tom

Friday, October 23, 2015

Review: Blessed are Those Who Mourn by Kristi Belcamino

Blessed are Those Who Mourn
by Kristi Belcamino

Publisher: Witness Impulse
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni has finally got it all together: a devoted and loving boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan; a beautiful little girl with him; and her dream job as the cops' reporter for the Bay Herald. But her success has been hard-won and has left her with debilitating paranoia. When a string of young co-eds starts to show up dead with suspicious Biblical verses left on their bodies--the same verses that the man she suspects kidnapped and murdered her sister twenty years ago had sent to her--she begins to question if the killer is trying to send her a message.

It is not until evil strikes Gabriella's own family that her worst fears are confirmed. As the clock begins to tick, every passing hour means the difference between life and death to those Gabriella loves... 

Kritters Thoughts:  A crime reporter and a detective are dating and have a child together and with the history in the crime reporter's past, they both live on edge and always looking over their shoulder.  With a young daughter, they have put a lot in place to keep their family safe.  Of course, there is no story without something happening - so tragedy strikes and their world and large Italian family are turned upside down.

As they don't spoil what happens in the synopsis, I won't spoil here either.  What I will say is the pacing in this book was fantastic.  It seems to be on the shorter side (I read it digitally) and in my first sitting I got about 60 pages and then finished it in the second ending.  Once the tragedy strikes, you can not even try to put this down.  The pacing gets you and I loved it, I was glad that once the real action started, there was no stopping.

The fourth in a series and they are mostly self-contained, but I wish that I had started at book one as I feel like I missed a lot.  I could tell that the author spent time reminding readers or telling back story if you had missed others, but I felt left out of the details.  I would recommend this one, but start in the beginning.

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

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 43 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from William Morrow.  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, October 22, 2015

Review: Water on the Moon by Jean P Moore

Water on the Moon
by Jean P Moore

Publisher: She Writes Press
Pages: 244
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Early one morning, Lidia Raven, mother of teenage twins, awakens to the sound of a sputtering airplane engine in the distance. After she and her girls miraculously survive the crash that destroys their home, they’re taken in by Lidia’s friend, Polly, a neighbor who lives alone on a sprawling estate. But Lidia has other problems. Her husband has left her for another man, she’s lost her job, and she fears more bad news is on the way when she discovers a connection between her and Tina Calderara, the pilot who crashed into her home. In the months following the crash, Lidia plunges into a mystery that upends every aspect of her life, forcing her to rethink everything she thinks she knows. 


Kritters Thoughts:  A plane crashes into a home and the people in the home survive, but the pilot does not.  On the same day, water is discovered on the moon and although it may not seem that these two relate, but the author does an interesting connection between these two events.  

A family drama with a little historical mixed in.  Lidia is a mother of teenage twin girls who are about to start applying for college and her husband recently left her for another man and she is still dealing with this change in life.  So when the accident happens in her home, she absolutely thought this was a low point, but I loved seeing her find that a low point can have high points in it.  

As I said in my review on Tuesday, that book and this book had a great full cast of characters.  Each character had their own story, but also fit nicely into the big story.  It was a shorter book, but I didn't feel like it was missing anything.

I loved this debut novel and will definitely keep my eye out for her next 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 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.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: House Trained by Jackie Bouchard

House Trained
by Jackie Bouchard

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 291
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Alex Halstad, a childless-by-choice interior designer and dog mom, is a true perfectionist. But her orderly life turns chaotic when the teenage daughter her husband, Barry, never knew he had shows up on their doorstep...with a baby girl of her own in tow. While Alex’s dog enthusiastically welcomes the new arrivals, Alex struggles with the loss of her steady routine. She desperately needs peace and quiet to get her business back on track before Barry finds out she’s spent most of their savings. Meanwhile, the arrival of the girls stirs up old insecurities, and Alex can’t help but worry that Barry’s ex will make an entrance too. With her tidy life a distant memory, will Alex be able to learn from her dog the true meaning of love and acceptance?


Kritters Thoughts:  If there was ever a book that hit close to home, this one did!  Alex is a dog mom and has always been satisfied with a childless-life.  Her and her husband from day one have wanted to be puppy parents and keep their house a childless zone!  She has a younger sister who is the ultimate mom with three boys and is doing the stay at home.  When her husband has a child from a previous relationship come into their life, this couple's home and life is turned upside down.

This book hits home in so many spots.  I am a doggie mom (I have three).  My sister is doing the work from home mom thing with two daughters.  So from page one, I was sucked in and literally read this during a readathon in two sittings.  

I liked the "twists" of the book and loved the storyline.  I loved how often the sisters interacted.  The whole cast of characters were great and even the second tier characters felt full and I liked getting to know them.  Bouchard can write characters.

I have read two other Jackie Bouchard books and loved them, so I am officially a fan and will read anything she writes!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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, October 19, 2015

Review: Uncovered by Leah Lax

Uncovered
by Leah Lax

Publisher: She Writes Press
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In "Uncovered," Leah Lax tells her story beginning as a young teen who left her liberal, secular home for life as a Hasidic Jew, and ending as a forty-something woman who has to abandon the only world she s known for thirty years in order to achieve personal freedom. In understated, crystalline prose, Lax details her experiences with arranged marriage, cult-like faith, and motherhood during her years with the Hasidim, and explores how her creative, sexual, and spiritual longings simmer beneath the surface throughout her time there. The first book to tell the story of a gay woman who spent thirty adult years in the Hasidic fold, "Uncovered" is the moving story of Lax s long journey toward finding a home where she truly belongs."


Kritters Thoughts:  Leah Lax came from a hard childhood and found refuge in a religion that her family was a part of, but a specific sect within the religion with very specific ways of living.  I believe someone who has a hard childhood finds solace in the structure of a very organized religion.  She gets married at a young age and has many children and after she has lived almost a full life, she finds that her marriage isn't what she wants and she takes an interesting turn.

As a former religious studies major in college, I naturally have an interest on organized religion in all forms.  I loved studying the correlation between the evolution of religions and the evolution of people and societies.  I say all this because with this, I liked reading this book.  I loved reading how a sect of a religion has tried to keep its ideals as the "outside" world has changed and may start "coming in."

I don't read a ton of memoirs.  I like to read memoirs when I have an interest in the person or the "theme" of their memoir or life story.  If you are a reader of memoirs, I would suggest this one.  If you are like me and are interested in people and religion then you would enjoy 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 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.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

A semi quiet week on the job and then a weekend with the Dewey's Read a thon made for a GREAT reading week!!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
How to be a Grown Up by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani
If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins
Uncovered by Leah Lax
House Trained by Jackie Bouchard
Water on the Moon by Jean P Moore

Currently Reading:
Blessed are Those Who Mourn by Kristi Belcamino

Next on the TBR pile:
The Year of Necessary Lies by Kris Raddish

Deweys Readathon 2015 FINAL update

Below is last year's final post and I feel the exact same this year!

So, after my last update my nap became a full night of sleep!  Have a quiet morning, so going to put in a few more hours this morning of reading.  I wouldn't call this a bust, I absolutely loved being a part of the readathon.

Book currently reading: 
Water on the Moon by Jean P Moore

Books finished:
Uncovered by Leah Lax
House Trained by Jackie Bouchard

Running total of pages read:  823

Deweys Readathon - 12AM Update

A little pumpkin cider, pumpkin fudge and some pumpkin tea made up the past four hours.  

The dogs have been great reading companions all day, but we have hit curfew so may have to move to the bedroom so they will stop whining for having to stay up past their bed times!  Reading in bed isn't always successful, we shall see!

Currently reading:  Water on the Moon by Jean P Moore

Books finished: Uncovered by Leah Lax
House Trained by Jackie Bouchard

Pages read:  791

I will be updating on this blog every four hours, but will be chatting it up on twitter @kdurham2 .  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Deweys Readathon - 8PM Update

In the past four hours, I have sent the husband off to work, had dinner and caught up on some social media things.  I only have 120 pages left in House Trained, so my goal is to finish that before the next update.

Currently reading:  House Trained by Jackie Bouchard
Books finished: Uncovered by Leah Lax
Pages read:  558

I will be updating on this blog every four hours, but will be chatting it up on twitter @kdurham2 .  

Deweys Readathon - 4PM Update

So I have only finished one book, but took a power nap, ate and had to clean a little.  I am excited about my next read and hopefully I can get into it fast and it will read well.

Currently reading:  House Trained by Jackie Bouchard
Books finished: Uncovered by Leah Lax
Pages read:  348


I will be updating on this blog every four hours, but will be chatting it up on twitter @kdurham2 .  

Dewey's Readathon - 12PM Update

My first update at noon.  I started about a half an hour late, didn't get up in time and had morning dog duty, but once I got settled with breakfast and tea, the reading began!

I started a new book this morning - Uncovered by Leah Lax.  A memoir about a woman who lived her life as a Hasidic Jew and left the church.  I am just over halfway done at 188 pages and hoping to finish before my next update at 4pm.

Currently reading: Uncovered by Leah Lax
Books finished: none yet
Pages read:  188

I will be updating on this blog every four hours, but will be chatting it up on twitter @kdurham2 .  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon 2015

With a quiet Saturday in the works, I decided to sign up for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon.  I have done this once before and updated every four hours, so I think I am going to do that again.  Not sure if I will  make it all 24 hours, but I am going to make a valiant effort!                                                                                                                                 Here is the stack that I am going to work through, it is probably overly ambitious, but here it is:

Uncovered by Leah Lax
House Trained by Jackie Bouchard
Water on the Moon by Jean P Moore

If you want the minute by minute details, check me out on Twitter - @kdurham2

Review: If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins

If You Only Knew
by Kristan Higgins

Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate understands the happily-ever-after business, yet somehow she's still involved in her ex-husband's life. In fact, Owen's new wife may—inexplicably—be Jenny's new best friend. Sensing this, well, relationship isn't helping her move on, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she'll be able to bask in her sister Rachel's picture-perfect family life…and hopefully make one of her own. 

Her timing couldn't be more perfect, since Rachel will need her younger sister. Her idyllic marriage has just fallen to pieces in spectacular fashion after she discovers her husband sexting with one of his colleagues. Second chances aren't in Rachel's nature, but the desire for an intact family has her rethinking her stance on adultery, much to Jenny's surprise. Rachel points to their parents' "perfect" marriage as a shining example, but to protect her sister Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship­—and reveal a secret about their family she's been keeping since childhood.

During this summer of secrets and lies, temptation and revelation, Jenny and Rachel will rely on each other to find the humor in their personal catastrophes, the joy in their triumphs…and the strength to keep hanging on.
 



Kritters Thoughts:  Two sisters who are in two very different moments in their life end up living in the same city and helping each other through these transitional times in their lives.  One sister, Jenny is leaving New York City because her ex-husband and his current wife have had a child and she needs to make a change in her life.  The other sister Rachel, has a major tragedy strike her marriage and she must make some major life decisions.

First, I loved that both sisters took turns narrating the book.  I love a dual narrative!  I also loved that they were both at crossroads and that each sister could help the other through the rough patches.  It automatically made me think of my sister who is a work from home mom of two girls and has gone down a different life path than I have and neither is right or wrong, it is just left and right, yet we can still give each other advice or just a listening ear.  

Although she bugged the heck out of me, their mother was quite the character.  There were quite a few times where I wanted to kick her into being a better mother to adult children and I never grew fond of her even when she was supposed to redeem herself at the end I couldn't handle her.  

Kristan Higgins is always an author I will read and I especially love these one off books that aren't part of a long long series.


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.

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