Sunday, February 28, 2016

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

I started back at the gym this week and I can actually read while doing the eliptical, so it was fun to read and get the fitness on at the same time.  

The weekend ended up a little more hectic than expected, so not as much reading happened, but it was still good reading!

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
No Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn
What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine
Baggage by SG Redling

Currently Reading:
My Notorious Life by Kate Manning

Next on the TBR pile:
The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine

What the Waves Know
by Tamara Valentine

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

Goodreads:  The tiny state of Rhode Island is home to even tinier Tillings Island—which witnessed the biggest event of Izabella Rae Haywood's life. For it was there, on Iz's sixth birthday, that her father left...and took her voice with him.

Eight years later in the summer of 1974, Iz’s mother is through with social workers, psychiatrists and her daughter's silence. In one last attempt to return Iz’s voice, the motley pair board the ferry to Tillings in hopes that the journey will help Izabella heal herself by piecing together splintered memories of the day her words fled.

But heartbreak is a difficult puzzle to solve, and everyone in Tillings seems to know something Iz does not. Worse, each has an opinion about Izabella's dreamer of a father, the undercurrents of whose actions have spun so many lives off course.

Now, as the island's annual Yemay√° festival prepares to celebrate the ties that bind mothers to children, lovers to each other, and humankind to the sea, Izabella must unravel the tangled threads of her own history and reclaim a voice gone silent…or risk losing herself—and any chance she may have for a future—to the past.



Kritters Thoughts:  A young girl experiences something that at the age of 6 she can't comprehend and because of it, she goes mute for 8 years.  Her mother at her wits end decides that maybe they should go back to the island where the event occurred to possibly cure her daughter and find closure for them as a family.  And so the story began!

I was first interested in this book to see how an author can make a character full and whole without them able to speak their mind without use of words, but she did.  From the beginning, I wanted to know why Izabella went mute and what could help her find her words again.  I won't spoil the outcome, but I was happily surprised by how she found her words and what made her lose them in the first place.

I was excited to try out this new author and after this great book, I am definitely adding her to my must buy list.  I will be on the look out for what is coming next from her.

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.








Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: No Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn

No Ordinary Life
by Suzanne Redfearn

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Suzanne Redfearn delivers another gripping page-turner in her latest novel, a story about a young mother's fight to protect her children from the dangerous world of Hollywood. Faye Martin never expected her husband to abandon her and her three children . . . or that she'd have to struggle every day to make ends meet. So when her four-year-old daughter is discovered through a YouTube video and offered a starring role on a television series, it seems like her prayers have been answered. But when the reality of their new life settles in, Faye realizes that fame and fortune don't come without a price. And in a world where everyone is an actor and every move is scrutinized by millions, it's impossible to know who to trust, and Faye finds herself utterly alone in her struggle to save her family. 


Kritters Thoughts:  Have you ever wondered life for a child actor was like?  Have you also wondered how it impacted the other members in the family - the parents, siblings and so on?  If so, go pick up this book now!  It may be a fictional tale, but it felt just too real.  

Molly is a four year old who through the magic of YouTube gets discovered by a talent agent and then gets a part on the number one hit tv show and life should be perfect.  But life isn't perfect and there are some realities about being famous that maybe people just don't think of.  

I always love a good behind the scenes book that makes me feel like I am getting insider knowledge and seeing behind the curtain.  I loved that life wasn't perfect after they found fame and that each of them had to learn to live with this new life both the good and the bad.  

This book was more than a family saga book with the added twist of fame, fortune and the glitz of Hollywood.  

I own Suzanne Redfearn's previous book and after reading this one, I am excited to pull it off my shelf to read it!


Rating: perfect beach read (even if it isn't quite yet beach read season!)

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Suzy 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, February 23, 2016

Review: In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson

In Another  Life
by Julie Christine Johnson

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Historian Lia Carrer has finally returned to southern France, determined to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. But instead of finding solace in the region's quiet hills and medieval ruins, she falls in love with Raoul, a man whose very existence challenges everything she knows about life--and about her husband's death. As Raoul reveals the story of his past to Lia, she becomes entangled in the echoes of an ancient murder, resulting in a haunting and suspenseful journey that reminds Lia that the dead may not be as far from us as we think.


Kritters Thoughts:  An interesting twist of history, fantasy and romance in this book.  Lia Carter lost her husband and now her job and has decided to go back to her roots to finish her research and recenter her life. 

This book centers around a religion that has real historical roots and the book is based on a historical fact - an assassination and the fall of this religion to Catholicism.  As a religious studies major in college this book did it for me - I loved it.  The part of religious studies that I loved was the study of how religion fits into history and how much history and religion go hand in hand, no matter the religion you practice you can enjoy reading how the rise of Catholicism affected this "heretical" religion from the past.

The fantasy was just right for me who doesn't love fantasy!  It is a little time travel, but it actually fit in with the thread of the religion and the story.  If you are hesitant about time travel, try this one, it is tame and easy to follow and even for a hesitant fantasy reader like me, enjoyable!


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 Suzy 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, February 22, 2016

Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

The Widow
by Fiona Barton

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

Goodreads:  When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen...

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…
 



Kritters Thoughts:  A young girl goes missing, a man is accused and his wife stays by his side - the general gist of the story but really so much more!

Told through multiple points of view, the widow, a reporter, and the lead detective go back in time and tell the story of the kidnapping, the investigation, trial and the aftermath.  

Every time I thought I knew where this book was going, it turned on me!  There were quite the twists and turns, but I liked them.  I couldn't believe each time it took a turn, but each time it worked for me.  

If you have a hard time reading books with kidnapping and a little kid drama, then this one may not be for you, but if you are an avid mystery reader add this one to your pile as it will be different then the rest.


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.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

I hadn't had such a good week of reading this year!  Glad to feel like I have time to read again.

A meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Beside Myself by Ann Morgan
One More Day by Kelly Simmons
The Widow by Fiona Barton
In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson

Currently Reading:
What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine

Next on the TBR pile:
No Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn

Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: One More Day by Kelly Simmons

One More Day
by Kelly Simmons

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Don't look away

No one wants to be the mother whose child disappears. It's unthinkable, the stuff of nightmares. But when she turns her back to pay a parking meter, Carrie Morgan becomes that mother. Ben is gone, and more than a year later, it's clear that he is never coming back.

Until he does...for just twenty-four hours, before once again vanishing from his crib without a trace. Rumors start to circulate through Carrie's small town. Whispers that she's seeing things. That her alibi doesn't quite add up.

Her husband and friends start to think she's crazy. The police start to think she's guilty. As the investigation heats up, Carrie must decide what to share, and why. Because the crime is about to be solved... and her secret revealed.



Kritters Thoughts:  Carrie is still mourning her missing child who has been gone for 15 months.  She always wished for one more day and she actually gets it in this book, plus more!  

After reading the book, but before writing this review, I went and read other reviews.  I don't tend to do that as I like my reviews to be completely from me, but I was so baffled by this book that I had to see if I was alone - I was not!  The synopsis of this book felt like the perfect mystery with a child gone missing that returns, but it isn't.  There are ghosts, dead people and weird paranormally things that I just didn't love.  Yes, I thought of the movie The Sixth Sense at times, but that wasn't what I went in thinking this book would be and that is what was frustrating.  

To be honest, I felt like this book just ended.  It was weird and unusual and the second half to the end just didn't work for me.  With how off this book was from what I thought it would be, I would have to think twice before picking up her next book.


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

Ebook 2016:  4 out of 50

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Sourcebooks.  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 18, 2016

Review: The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle

The Good Liar
by Nicholas Searle

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  This is a life told back to front.

This is a man who has lied all his life.


Roy is a conman living in a small English town, about to pull off his final con. He is going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings. But who is the man behind the con? 

What has he had to do to survive a life of lies?

And who has had to pay the price?



Kritters Thoughts:  At the heart a con story, but beyond that an interesting story about how one's past informs their future.  Roy has been a con man since an early age and even in his old age he is ready for one last con and has found an older woman who he thinks he can completely con out of her money.  Betty the woman he has found to con has more than meets the eye and as the story unfolds I fell more and more in love with her.  

Once the story establishes itself, the chapters start to alternate between the present con and through Roy's history in reverse almost from one con to another.  For the longest time I was wondering why it went in reverse and it almost bugged me til the end and I understood why and I finally liked how it was formatted.  Can't tell you why!

As this book totally hinges on the reveals, I can't talk too much about it, but I can say keep reading because it starts slow and you stay confused for a long time, but it is so worth it.  There were actual moments in this book where I almost shut it and gave up, but stay til the end.  


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, February 17, 2016

Review: Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Beside Myself
by Ann Morgan

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

Goodreads:  literary thriller about identical twins, Ellie and Helen, who swap places aged six. At first it is just a game, but then Ellie refuses to swap back. Forced into her new identity, Helen develops a host of behavioural problems, delinquency and chronic instability. With their lives diverging sharply, one twin headed for stardom and the other locked in a spiral of addiction and mental illness, how will the deception ever be uncovered? Exploring questions of identity, selfhood, and how other people's expectations affect human behaviour, this novel is as gripping as it is psychologically complex. 


Kritters Thoughts:  A set of twins that at an early age play a game and switch places which I imagine most twins do, but one twin decides she likes the swap and convinces everyone that she is now not herself and continues to live her life as the other twin.  This sets crazy things in motion.  Told in alternating chapters between the past when the switch happens and the present when a twin has been in an accident and is in coma and the other twin is pulled back into her life.

First, let me say that this is told from one point of view and the reader is basically told that she is untrustworthy and I am not usually a fan of untrustworthy narrators and this book proved my point.  I spent more time in the book guessing as to if what she was saying was truth and even just trying to figure out what she was trying to tell me then I like to do actually just reading the story.  

The one thing that made me think in this book is how one defines themself against others and how that makes you you.  I think about what makes my sister and I different people beyond looking different as in this book they are twins that look alike, but if my sister took on my qualities and I took on hers how crazy it would be if we lived each other's lives.  

I wouldn't count this author out from this book, I think I would still read her next book.  


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.






Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson

Girl Through Glass
by Sari Wilson

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In the roiling summer of 1977, eleven-year-old Mira is an aspiring ballerina in the romantic, highly competitive world of New York City ballet. Enduring the mess of her parent’s divorce, she finds escape in dance—the rigorous hours of practice, the exquisite beauty, the precision of movement, the obsessive perfectionism. Ballet offers her control, power, and the promise of glory. It also introduces her to forty-seven-year-old Maurice DuPont, a reclusive, charismatic balletomane who becomes her mentor.

Over the course of three years, Mira is accepted into the prestigious School of American Ballet run by the legendary George Balanchine, and eventually becomes one of “Mr. B’s girls”—a dancer of rare talent chosen for greatness. As she ascends higher in the ballet world, her relationship with Maurice intensifies, touching dark places within herself and sparking unexpected desires that will upend both their lives.

In the present day, Kate, a professor of dance at a Midwestern college, embarks on a risky affair with a student that threatens to obliterate her career and capsizes the new life she has painstakingly created for her reinvented self. When she receives a letter from a man she’s long thought dead, Kate is hurled back into the dramas of a past she thought she had left behind.


Kritters Thoughts:  In one storyline we are in 1977 in New York in the ballet world as a young girl is yearning to make it and is doing almost anything to get her place in the professional ballet world.  The other storyline is present day as a professor who teaches dance history and things of that nature and she gets a letter that takes her back in time and she must go to New York City to confront the past and get some answers.  At a certain point these storylines will converge.

As usual, I liked one storyline over one - Mira in 1977 as she is a young naive thing entering the ballet world.  As a young girl who loved ballet fiercely, but knew from day one it would never be a profession, I could semi understand Mira and her drive for perfection.  I loved reading a girl's story as she is learning about herself and trying to decide what she wants her future to look like.

This book had some hard moments as it deals with some very difficult issues and both to young Mira and in Kate's story.  It was both interesting and hard to read about the what one would think the pink ballet world mixed with deep dark issues - even though I know that they are there.  As a ballet fan I liked this one more than if this story took place in another "world."


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.
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