Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October - the heart of fall



source
October was a so so month for me. I ended up with more busy moments then quiet reading ones. With the weather changing and a few life changes on the horizon, I am hoping for a few more quiet afternoons with a book or two!

1. The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan
2. Maybe For You by Nicole McLaughlin
3. Bess and Frima by Alice Rosenthal
4. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
5. Accused by Lisa Scottoilne
5. Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline
6. Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline
7. Damaged by Lisa Scottoline
8. Exposed by Lisa Scottoline
9. Feared by Lisa Scottoline
10. Under My Skin by Lisa Unger
11. Evergreen Tidings From the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony
12. The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay
13. Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly
14. Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall
15. Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone


Total pages read, clicked and flipped:  5,702

Where having I been Reading?:

Scotland
Kansas City, MO
Chicago, IL
Philadelphia, PA (6)
New York City, NY
Minneapolis, MN
Paris, France
Ireland




Monday, October 29, 2018

Review: Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly

Secrets of a Happy Marriage
by Cathy Kelly

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Bess is happy and in love with her new husband Edward, a recent widow. However, when she plans a big celebration for Edward's birthday, this May-December romance goes into a tailspin. She quickly realizes that joining a family isn't going to be as easy as she thought. Especially when it comes to getting along with her step-daughter, Jojo who can't seem to come to terms with her fathers new marriage, all the while battling inner-demons of her own. Jojo relies on her cousin Cari a fierce career-woman who isn't unnerved by anything except for facing the man who left her at the alter--the man who Bess invited to the party.

Thanks to laughter, tears and a big surprise, the Brannigans might just discover the secrets of a happy marriage. . . But will they find out before it's too late?

Kritters Thoughts:  Bess and Edward are both on their second marriages and Edward is about to hit a milestone birthday.  Bess wants to celebrate this birthday over the top, so a party in a memorable location with the ENTIRE family is on the to do list.  I capitalize entire because this book was not just about Bess and Edward, but the entire family.  

I like a book with a big cast of characters, but this one had a few too many.  There were way too many meaty storylines going on and not a lot of secondary characters that just floated in the background.  I would have almost loved this as a small series where one or two couples are focused on each book and the other family members are in and out.  There were some notes taken while reading this book so I could remember who was who and what was what.  

I did love the family aspect of this book.  I love reading a family drama when there is interesting happenings going on with the family and if they each help each other they could almost solve all of the problems.  

I liked her writing and would read more of her books, but I would want the cast of characters to just be a bit smaller.  


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

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 87 out of 100


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

Sunday, October 28, 2018

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

Another crazy week on the job and at home!  A fun weekend with my mom going to Reese Witherspoon event and doing some Christmas shopping!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay
Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly
Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall

Currently Reading:
Season of Wonder by RaeAnne Thayne

Next on the TBR pile:
November Road by Lou Berney

Friday, October 26, 2018

Review: Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners
by Gretchen Anthony

Publisher: Park Row
Pages: 368
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Dearest loved ones, far and near--evergreen tidings from the Baumgartners!

Violet Baumgartner has opened her annual holiday letter the same way for the past three decades. And this year she's going to throw her husband, Ed, a truly perfect retirement party, one worthy of memorializing in her upcoming letter. But the event becomes a disaster when, in front of two hundred guests, Violet learns her daughter Cerise has been keeping a shocking secret from her, shattering Violet's carefully constructed world.

In an epic battle of wills, Violet goes to increasing lengths to wrest back control of her family, infuriating Cerise and snaring their family and friends in a very un-Midwestern, un-Baumgartner gyre of dramatics. And there will be no explaining away the consequences in this year's Baumgartner holiday letter...


Kritters Thoughts:  What a perfect family drama!  Violet and Edward Baumgartner are about to enter the next phase of life with his retirement they will have new opportunities to do life the way they want to when they want to.  Violet is ready for this phase and is excited about the party to start Edward's retirement on the right foot.  But of course nothing can go perfectly . . . 

Told through multiple perspectives including Violet and Edward's only child, their daughter Cerise.  Even their friends get a moment to move the story along from their point of view and I liked getting all of these different perspectives of the story.  All of the chapters were perfectly marked and it was easy to keep all the characters straight.  

The book also travels back and forth and time and not to worry this is all clearly marked, but the cool thing is it is driven by Violet's annual Christmas letter.  Violet recaps the year in the lives of the Baumgartners in the letter and sometimes it opens to a chapter to give more explanation and sometimes it doesn't and it is just the right moments.  

If you love a good family drama like I do and with the added bonus that it centers around the holidays then this book should be on your November or December to be read list!


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Review: The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

The Rain Watcher
by Tatiana de Rosnay

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The Rain Watcher is a powerful family drama set in Paris as the Malegarde family gathers to celebrate the father's 70th birthday. Their hidden fears and secrets are slowly unraveled as the City of Light undergoes a stunning natural disaster. Seen through the eyes of charismatic photographer Linden Malegarde, the youngest son, all members of the family will have to fight to keep their unity against tragic circumstances.


Kritters Thoughts:  A book that centers around a family who has come together to celebrate in Paris, but the weather and circumstances make this celebration a little more dramatic that it should be.  Paul and Lauren wanted a weekend in Paris with their two children and no one else, so Talia and Linden meet them in Paris.  

The weather was almost a character of its own in this book.  With rain and a threat of flood, the weekend goes downhill fast.  I had a hard time getting into the setting of this book, I kept having to look up pictures to really picture how this rain and flood could affect the city and these characters.  

The writing was just ok for me in this book.  There were times when I was hooked on the story and loving it, but then the story would go somewhere and I couldn't figure out how that worked with the bigger picture.  There seemed to be moments where I didn't feel as though it added anything to the central story of Paul and Lauren and their children.  The long chapters and long paragraphs made the pacing not work for me and I couldn't get completely hooked on the characters or the story.

It has been awhile since I read Sarah's Key, so I will say my view may be a bit flawed, but this book felt so different from that one.  I remember not being able to put Sarah's Key down and this wasn't the case with this one.  

If you are a reader who likes more lyrical less literal then you could disagree with my view and love this one.  


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


Ebook 2018 Challenge: 86 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  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 22, 2018

Review: Under My Skin by Lisa Unger

Under My Skin
by Lisa Unger

Publisher: Park Row
Pages: 304
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What if the nightmares are actually memories?

It's been a year since Poppy's husband, Jack, was brutally murdered during his morning run through Manhattan's Riverside Park. In the immediate aftermath, Poppy spiraled into an oblivion of grief, disappearing for several days only to turn up ragged and confused wearing a tight red dress she didn't recognize. What happened to Poppy during those lost days? And more importantly, what happened to Jack?

The case was never solved, and Poppy has finally begun to move on. But those lost days have never stopped haunting her. Poppy starts having nightmares and blackouts--there are periods of time she can't remember, and she's unable to tell the difference between what is real and what she's imagining. When she begins to sense that someone is following her, Poppy is plunged into a game of cat and mouse, determined to unravel the mystery around her husband's death. But can she handle the truth about what really happened?


Kritters Thoughts:  Poppy's husband was brutally murdered on a morning run and although it has been awhile since his murder, Poppy is still deep in grief and wonderment and trying to solve it.  Jumping from past to present, this is a book that centers around a woman who may not be the most reliable, but has quite a story to tell!

Let me start by saying if you do not like reading a book with an unreliable narrator then I would stop here.  I like it when I am not sure if I can trust everything the narrator is saying and I don't mind questioning everything they are saying, but I know a reader or two where an unreliable narrator would drive them batty!  

Along with the unreliable narrator, this book hops around a bit through her memories and right back to the current day.  If you are along for the ride with her and you can just go with the flow then you will like this one.  I wouldn't define this as a light read, but I like when I can suspend all my thoughts and just ride the ride with the character.  

When it came to the solution, I didn't love when it happened in the book.  Without spoiling too much, the resolution came too late in the book for me, I would have preferred it happened a bit sooner and we could have a little more story after.  That would be my biggest critique with this one.  

Although I own a few Lisa Unger books, this my first reading of hers.  I am excited to read more of her backlist.


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, October 21, 2018

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

Had some extra quiet days this week and weekend, got quite a bit of reading done!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Damaged by Lisa Scottoline
Exposed by Lisa Scottoline
Feared by Lisa Scottoline
Under My Skin by Lisa Unger
Evergreen Tidings From the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

Currently Reading:
The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

Next on the TBR pile:
Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone

Friday, October 19, 2018

Review: Feared by Lisa Scottoline

Feared
by Lisa Scottoline

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When three men announce that they are suing the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm for reverse sex discrimination—claiming that they were not hired because they were men—Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato are outraged. To make matters worse, their one male employee, John Foxman, intends to resign, claiming that there is some truth to this case. 

The plaintiffs’ lawyer is Nick Machiavelli, who has already lost to Mary once and is now back with a vengeance —determined not to not only win, but destroy the firm. It soon becomes clear that Machiavelli will do anything in his power to achieve his end…even after the case turns deadly. The stakes have never been higher for Mary and her associates as they try to keep Machiavelli at bay, solve a murder, and save the law firm they love…or they could lose everything they’ve worked for. Told with Scottoline's trademark gift for twists, turns, heart, and humanity, this latest thriller asks the question: Is it better to be loved, or feared...


Kritters Thoughts:  Since I have spent the week reading this series, I will say this one more time, but please start at the beginning of this series.  The cases are completely self contained in each book, but you will miss so much by not reading them in a row when it comes to the ladies in this law firm.

This book has quite a few cases going on, but one that is timely and interesting is the reverse discrimination claim that the women in the law firm knowingly do not hire men except the one associate and ex police investigator.  One of their rivals from a previous book is the one to bring on this case and it is so interesting that they have to hire an outside counsel to manage this case.  I enjoyed reading about this case and how they dealt with it most in this book.

The other thing that I loved about this book is that since they were all involved in the case above they all worked together in this book and not one person felt like a main character, it felt like they split this book equally among the three - Judy, Mary and Bennie.  I have come to love reading about these women and how they compliment each other in that they all recognize that the other has strengths that they do not have and that they may need to solve one case or another.  

I really hope there are more books to come in this series and I hope to read them now as they come out one a year or so.  


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

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 85 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from St Martin's Press.  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 18, 2018

Review: Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

Exposed
by Lisa Scottoline

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 341
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Mary DiNunzio wants to represent her old friend Simon Pensiera, a sales rep who was wrongly fired by his company, but her partner Bennie Rosato represents the parent company. When she confronts Mary, explaining this is a conflict of interest, an epic battle of wills and legal strategy between the two ensues—ripping the law firm apart, forcing everyone to take sides and turning friend against friend.


Kritters Thoughts:  The fifth book in a series and in this one both Bennie and Mary take starring roles and it takes both of them to solve all that is going on in this book!  One of Mary's childhood friends has quite a bit going on in his life and a bit of it needs the help of Mary and her law firm.  

Again as all the books in this series, the case or in this case cases are self contained in this book, but I would absolutely read these in order because you will miss out on so much when it comes to the characters in the law firm.  

I think what I loved most about this book was seeing this entire law firm work as a team to solve all that is going on in this book.  To see all of the three main ladies use their strengths to help the other was so fun.  In the previous books they have mostly worked independently, so it was such a good change to see them work as a unit.  

I really fell more in love with the characters in this one through them interacting with each other.  I think this book was perfectly timed in the series for you to reconnect with the law firm and see them come together to work on one case.  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 84 out of 100



Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Review: Damaged by Lisa Scottoline

Damaged
by Lisa Scottoline

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 416
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  One boy. One lawyer. One chance for justice.

Ten-year-old Patrick O'Brien is a natural target at school. Shy, dyslexic, and small for his age, he tries to hide his first-grade reading level from everyone: from his classmates, from the grandfather who cares for him, and from the teachers who are supposed to help him. But the real trouble begins when Patrick is accused of attacking a school aide. The aide promptly quits and sues the boy, his family, and the school district. Patrick's grandfather turns to the law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio for help and Mary DiNunzio is on the case. Soon Mary becomes Patrick's true champion and his only hope for security and justice. But there is more to the story than meets the eye and Patrick might be more troubled than he seems. With twists at every turn and secrets about the family coming to light, Mary DiNunzio might have found the case that can make her a true protector, or break her heart...


Kritters Thoughts:  Still reviewing the series here that centers around a female driving law firm and their investigations that are spurred on by the cases that are brought their way.  

This fourth book in the series returns the attention back to the new partner, Mary DiNunzio.  She is weeks away from her wedding and a case that is in and out of her wheel house lands on her doorstep.  Part of the case that takes place in this book is about special education and the school system and the other part deals with child abuse.  This book was hard to read at spots.  There were a few moments where I had to close the book and take a step back because as the reader I wanted to reach in and help Mary fight for the good of this kid.  

I have said this earlier about this series, but I love how the cases are all self contained within each book, but there is a lot of character development that helps, so you don't want to skip around in this series.  I felt as though with this book in particular this case really affected Mary's personal life and I just enjoyed seeing her take her work home with her like us normal people do!

Onto the next book tomorrow!


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

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 83 out of 100

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Review: Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline

Corrupted
by Lisa Scottoline

Publisher: St Martin's
Pages: 464
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Bennie Rosato the founder of the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm hides her big heart beneath her tough-as-nails exterior and she doesn't like to fail. Now, a case from her past shows her how differently things might have turned out. Thirteen years ago, Bennie Rosato took on Jason Leftavick, a twelve-year-old boy who was sent to a juvenile detention center after fighting a class bully. Bennie couldn't free Jason, and to this day it's the case that haunts her. Jason has grown up in and out of juvenile prison, and his adulthood hasn't been any easier. Bennie no longer represents those accused of murder, but when Jason is indicted for killing the same bully he fought with as a kid, she sees no choice but to represent him. She doesn't know whether or not to believe his claims of innocence, but she knows she owes him for past failures--of the law, of the juvenile justice system, and of herself. Forced to relive the darkest period of her life, Bennie will do everything in her power to get the truth, and justice.


Kritters Thoughts:  The third in the series and as I have said before the cases in each book are self contained, but I would say that there is definitely character development that you would miss if you read them out of order.  And why would you when they start with letters in the alphabet in a row!

This third book takes the focus and shifts it to the lead partner in the law firm, Bennie Rosato.  Like the other two books, the reader gets a full picture of Bennie.  I loved reading about her family and getting to know the person behind the lawyer.  

This book and the case were different from the previous two.  The young man that asks her to represent him in a murder case is someone from her past and the book goes back in time to tell the full story of how they met and what happened then to compel her to take his case now in the present.  The thing I loved about this book was that she was a seasoned lawyer, but she was out of her element representing a murder suspect.  

For the book so far in the series, I think I liked this one the most because the case was so different and in this book the reader spends a lot of time shadowing her in the courtroom.  There was a lot of procedural and it was interesting and different from the other books in this series.  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel 
(of course there are three more in the series!)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Review: Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline

Betrayed
by Lisa Scottoline

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 352
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The women of Rosato & Associates return, after the relaunch of the series that started with Accused. This second entry, Betrayed, stars Judy Carrier, who has had the starring role in only one previous Rosato book. When Betrayed opens, Judy Carrier finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her best friend, Mary DiNunzio, has just become partner and is about to become a bride, leaving Judy vaguely out of sorts. She's not jealous, but she's not happy either and she's wondering where her own career and love life are going. To make matters worse, she is rocked to her emotional foundations when she learns that her beloved Aunt Barb has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She races to her aunt's side, and so does Judy's mother, only to find that her aunt is dealing with the sudden death of a friend who had been helping her through chemo. The friend, Iris Juarez, was an undocumented worker at a local farm, but her death doesn't look natural at all, to Judy. Judy begins to investigate, following a path that leads her into an underground world far more dangerous than she ever imagined. Judy has to dig to uncover what happened to Iris, and at the same time unearth the secrets in her own family.


Kritters Thoughts:  The second in a series and when I review series I always like to give my opinion if you can read them out of order or if you should read them in a row.  I would say you can read them out of order because each case is self contained, but you would miss the character growth of the ladies of the law firm.  

I was excited when I started reading this book that it centered around a different character from the law firm - Judy Carrier.  She is an associate who usually works with Mary from the first book.  As in the first book, the reader gets a full picture of Judy and her life.  From getting to know her personal life and her family and then deep diving into her career.  

The case that takes center stage in this book is much more closely wrapped in her personal life than the case from the first book.  I liked that Judy's case had a personal twist as she is investigating the suspicious death of her aunt's best friend.  She meets her aunt's best friend and very soon after the meeting, Iris, her aunt's friend is found dead and it may look like a medical event, but her aunt and she believe differently, so Judy takes it upon herself to get to the truth of the matter.  Like the first book, this mystery is contained in this book so you can end the book with satisfaction.

I like that this series will hop characters.  It helped a lot for me personally as I am reading them back to back and was concerned that if it was the same main character that I would get bored and tired of reading about the same main gal.  I love that this series is like a romance series where the books take place in the same setting but rotate characters points of view.


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

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 82 out of 100

Review: Accused by Lisa Scottoline

Accused
by Lisa Scottoline

Publisher: St Martin's
Pages: 403
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Mary DiNunzio, who just made partner, takes on her most unusual case yet, brought to the firm by Allegra Gardner, a thirteen-year-old genius from an extraordinarily wealthy family. Allegra’s sister, Fiona, was murdered six years ago, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case: the accused, Lonnie Stall, was seen fleeing the scene; his blood was on Fiona and her blood was on him; and, most damning, Stall pleaded guilty. But young Allegra believes Stall is innocent―and wrongly imprisoned. The powerful Gardner family and Allegra’s own parents oppose reopening the case, so taking it on is risky. But Rosato & Associates can never resist an underdog. Was justice really served all those years ago? It will take Mary and her team of unstoppable lawyers, plus one teenager, to learn the truth. 


Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a series that has been out for awhile.  This first book was first published in 2013 and this week I will review all 6 books that are out with the latest book just released in August of 2018.

The first book in the series focuses on the newest partner to this law firm, Mary DiNunzio.  She is an Italian with a large Italian family and this book was about both her professional and her personal life.  

The professional part of the book centered around a case.  A young thirteen-year-old girl wants this law firm to reopen the case about her sister who was murdered six years ago.  She believes that the wrong person is in jail and she wants this law firm to try to find the actual killer and bring them to justice.  

I read a lot of mystery books and I always enjoy the book when the person investigating is not a cop and isn't a "professional" when it comes to finding the clues.  I like stumbling along the ride with them and maybe I can pick out a clue before they do!

I also love that there were bits about her personal life.  Her parents are fully involved in her life, maybe too much at times and even help with her investigation.  I liked getting to fully deep dive into this character's life and at the same time the case was self contained in this book.  


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

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 81 out of 100



Sunday, October 14, 2018

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

It was a crazy week at work and a busy weekend, so any reading I accomplished I am proud of!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Accused by Lisa Scottoline
Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline
Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline

Currently Reading:
Damaged by Lisa Scottoline

Next on the TBR pile:
Exposed by Lisa Scottoline
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