Sunday, June 30, 2019

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

A great reading week!  With some time at the pool and on the boat, I was able to get some reading time in this week.

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell
A Beach Wish by Shelley Noble
Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter
Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

Currently Reading:
Everything is Just Fine by Brett Paesel

Next on the TBR pile:
Bethlehem by Karen Kelly

Friday, June 28, 2019

Review: A Beach Wish by Shelley Noble

A Beach Wish
by Shelley Noble

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: HarperCollins

Goodreads:  Zoe Bascombe has never said no to her family. When she blew her Juilliard audition, she caved to their wishes and went to business school. But when her mother dies and leaves instructions for Zoe to spread her ashes at a place called Wind Chime Beach, she defies her brothers and starts out for a New England town none of them has ever heard of and discovers a side of her garden club mother that her wildest dreams hadn’t imagined.

Zoe has another family.

Her first instinct is to run home. Instead she is caught in the middle of her feuding new relatives. With one family fighting among themselves and the other not speaking to her, Zoe must somehow find a way to bridge her new life with her old.

For the first time in her life, Zoe must make a stand for her family—both of them. If only she can only figure out how.

Her answer lies at Wind Chime Beach where for generations people have come to add their chimes to the ones already left among the trees. And when the wind blows and the air fills with music, their secrets, dreams, and hopes are sent into the world. There’s a message for Zoe here—if she has the courage to open her heart.


Kritters Thoughts:  Zoe has followed the sensible path for a long time.  She didn't go to music school and instead went into business and took the sensible job in the music industry, so when her mom passes away and sends her on an adventure she is ready for a life change.  Zoe ends up in a small town and has no idea what her mom's connection is until she starts meeting people and clues starting getting revealed.  

I loved Zoe in this book.  I loved how she was discovering the life her mother had before her and her brothers were born and the concept that children have that their parents lives start when they are born is so interesting.  This book prompted my mom and I to have a few conversations and to hit the lesson home that parents have lives before the kids enter the world and after they leave their homes.  

I loved the writing and the characters but the thing about this book that kept it from really shining in my mind was all of the things the author was trying to tackle at once.  From a crazy grandmother terrorizing the town to interesting parentage and so much more, it felt like there were too many plot things going on in one book, I felt a little overwhelmed by it all.  I thought that she could have taken a few things out and they could have been books of their own.  

I was a Shelley Noble fan before this book and will continue to be one after because the writing and the characters were still strong in this book and the main plot was a good read.

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.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Review: I'll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie

I'll Never Tell
by Catherine McKenzie

Publisher: Lake Union
Pages: 380
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  What happened to Amanda Holmes?

Twenty years ago, she washed up on shore in a rowboat with a gash to the head after an overnight at Camp Macaw. No one was ever charged with a crime.

Now, the MacAllister children are all grown up. After their parents die suddenly, they return to Camp to read the will and decide what to do with the prime real estate it's sitting on. Ryan, the oldest, wants to sell. Margo, the family's center, hasn't made up her mind. Mary has her own horse farm to run, and believes in leaving well-enough alone. Kate and Liddie—the twins—have opposing views. And Sean Booth, the family groundskeeper, just hopes he still has a home when all is said and done. 

But then the will is read and they learn that it's much more complicated than a simple vote. Until they unravel the mystery of what happened to Amanda, they can't move forward. Any one of them could have done it, and all of them are hiding key pieces of the puzzle. Will they work together to solve the mystery, or will their suspicions and secrets finally tear the family apart?


Kritters Thoughts:  A set of five siblings have lost their parents and are returning to the summer camp that their family owned to make some decisions and also maybe find some truth behind an incident that happened 20 years ago.  

20 years ago at a summer camp, a friend of the family - Amanda was found unconscious floating in a canoe and all signs pointed to one of the family members being involved, but which one?  In the will that their parents left the MacAllister kids, they must solve this open question before they can make a decision about the property.  

This was such a twisty turny book that I couldn't feel confident in my thoughts about the clues almost until the end.  I had my eye on one of them and then something would come out and I would change my alliance and then back and forth - I loved it!  When I read these books and get to the end, I want to go back to the beginning and try again to see if I can find the clues and the resolution faster.

I am so glad I read this in summer in the midst of summer camp season.  It also helped that I had been to a camp, so I could picture all of the things.  I could feel how these adults felt years ago and how they covered for each other - I would do almost anything for my sibling and can't imagine how that amplifies when there are more than just two in a family.

I was already a Catherine McKenzie fan before this book and although this feels a little different from the rest of her books, I still liked it just the same.


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 27 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, June 24, 2019

Review: The Poison Thread by Lauren Purcell

The Poison Thread
by Lauren Purcell

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 368
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy, and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor, and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea's charitable work brings her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted by the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person's skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets one of the prisoners, the teenaged seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another strange idea: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread--because Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations--of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses--will shake Dorothea's belief in rationality, and the power of redemption. Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer? 


Kritters Thoughts:  Dorothea Truelove has been trying to uphold Catholic values especially since her mother passed away - one of those values is visiting inmates at the local prison.  On one of her recent visits, she meets Ruth Butterham who is a young girl in prison for murder.  Dorothea wants to learn about Ruth and see if she can rehabilitate her and get her out of prison and on a good path.

Told in two parts, one from Dorothea's voice that is the present and tells of her backstory and her current interactions with Ruth and then from Ruth's point of view that goes back in time a bit and tells Ruth's whole story.  I loved the alternating chapters and how they were placed at just the right spots.  

This book was the perfect creepy read, I wish I had read it in October!  I loved how Ruth believed so much in her power and at the same time Dorothea was waffling between trying to decide if Ruth really had a power or explaining away the things that were happening around Ruth.  There was a real atmosphere in this book and it gave me the goosebumps a few times!


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 Viking.  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, June 23, 2019

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

Not a lot of reading happened, falling a little behind on things.

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage
I'll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie

Currently Reading:
The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell

Next on the TBR pile:
A Beach Wish by Shelley Noble

Friday, June 21, 2019

Review: The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

The Favorite Daughter
by Patti Callahan Henry

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Ten years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home--until she learns of her dad's failing health.

Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs the family's Irish pub and has borne the burden of his sisters' rift. While Alzheimer's slowly steals their father's memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As his secret past brings Lena's own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.


Kritters Thoughts:  Lena Donohue has only returned to her small hometown in South Carolina a handful of times since her disastrous wedding day, going back there takes her straight back to that day, so when her brother calls her home because their dad is in declining health, she must return and face the truths that she has avoided for years.

Although I have been avoiding books with cheating in them, this book is more a story about family and the resilience of family.  Through it all your family will be there wether you like it or not!  It was so interesting watching this family confront truths and really trying to rebuild their family piece by piece.  I loved how Henry wrote this family, you have sympathy for all and you are really hoping for each to find resolution and happiness.

Characters are one thing in this book, but so was the setting!  I loved this small town in South Carolina.  I could picture it completely.  I grew up in a small southern town and the feeling of everyone knowing everyone else and knowing everything about you and your family is such a feeling that is missing in big cities and it makes everything about this book possible.  

I was already a Patti Callahan Henry fan before this book and continue to be so after!    


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 26 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley PRH.  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, June 20, 2019

Review: The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

The Woman in the Dark
by Vanessa Savage

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 346
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  For Sarah and Patrick, family life has always been easy. But when Sarah's mother dies, it sends Sarah into a downwards spiral. Knowing they need a fresh start, Patrick moves the family to the beachside house he grew up in.

But there is a catch: while their new home carries only happy memories for Patrick, to everyone else it's known as the Murder House - named for the family that was killed there.
Patrick is adamant they can make it perfect again, though with their children plagued by nightmares and a constant sense they're being watched, Sarah's not so sure. Because the longer they live in their 'dream home', the more different her loving husband becomes . . .

Kritters Thoughts:  Sarah and Patrick have different ideas as to how to improve their family's lives.  Sarah thinks a vacation or two using some money her mother has left behind could really help them.  Patrick wants to purchase his family home that has a checkered past, but he thinks moving the family into this home they could remake the home and the family.  Both are keeping secrets that could eventually take this family to its knees.

From the synopsis, I was prepared for this book to be right up my alley, but there was one big thing that frustrated me and it was the unreliable narrator.  As the book is from Sarah's point of view there are some scenes at the very beginning that wipe away all trust that the reader has in Sarah and you question everything she says if it is truth.  I am not a fan of this plot device and I don't like wondering if I can trust my narrator, I need to be able to believe her to enjoy the reading experience.

Overall I liked the writing, the plot and how everything unfolded, but for me the narrator was so distracting that it took away from the book.  I would read another book by this author, but in hopes that I could trust the main character!


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 25 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.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Review: Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick

Dark Blossom
by Neel Mullick

Publisher: Rupa Publications
Pages: 224
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Sam returns home from a business trip a day before his son's thirteenth birthday and is looking forward to being with his family, when his world is cruelly shattered in one fell swoop. Initially he thinks he can cope with the loss, but finally seeks the help of Cynthia, an experienced therapist, to regain his equipoise. What he does not know is that Cynthia herself is trying to cope with a debilitating divorce and the sinister shadow of her ex-husband over her daughter...

What happens when doctor and patient find themselves in the same sinking boat? Moreover, when they are rowing in opposite directions--one clinging to the past, and the other unable to get rid of it! In the midst of it all is Lily, Cynthia's daughter, who harbours a secret that has the power to explode the lives around her.

Kritters Thoughts:  A small, petite paperback that was easy to sit down and read in one sitting, but for me the story just didn't work.  Sam was a father and husband until a tragedy hit his family and he is still trying to cope with all of the change.  Cynthia is a therapist and is having her own life upheavals and when Sam comes to her for help their lives get very intertwined.  

I think my biggest complaint about this book was that I just couldn't trust either of the characters from the beginning.  I was waiting from page to page for something sinister or something to surprise me and it wasn't the good reading feeling that one can get from a mystery.  I wish one or the other of the characters was a little more honest and that I could trust them for the truth.  All of this made me just not care about the characters and I don't like not caring, I am fine with not trusting, but its hard not to care and keep reading.

The redeeming feature of the book was the twists and turns.  I won't spoil but I liked how the Sam and Cynthia's lives ended up connected.  That was interesting and I would have loved for that to come out earlier and for them to have to deal with that earlier in the book.  

AND the ending.  Call me an optimist, but I like a book to end with as few lingering questions and when it came to the end of this book I had some many questions and concerns and I felt very unsettled and I hated that feeling.


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


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from FSB Associates.  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, June 17, 2019

Review: Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers

Waisted
by Randy Susan Meyers

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Alice and Daphne, both successful and accomplished working mothers, harbor the same secret: obsession with their weight overshadows concerns about their children, husbands, work—and everything else of importance in their lives. Scales terrify them.

Daphne, plump in a family of model-thin women, learned only slimness earns admiration at her mother’s knee. Alice, break-up skinny when she met her husband, risks losing her marriage if she keeps gaining weight.

The two women meet at Waisted. Located in a remote Vermont mansion, the program promises fast, dramatic weight loss, and Alice, Daphne, and five other women are desperate enough to leave behind their families for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The catch? They must agree to always be on camera; afterward, the world will see Waisted: The Documentary.

The women soon discover that the filmmakers have trapped them in a cruel experiment. With each pound lost, they edge deeper into obsession and instability...until they decide to take matters into their own hands.


Kritters Thoughts:  Alice and Daphne both have lives that many would envy - careers, husbands, families, but with each carrying around a bit of extra weight they decide to make a big change and go to a remote Vermont mansion to hopefully send their lives in new directions.  

The experience at Waisted was an interesting behind the scenes.  It reminded me of the tv show The Biggest Loser and although I didn't watch that show religiously I caught it a few times and I wondered how close some of these women experiences were to that show.  To hear how hard they were working and what little change they would see in their bodies was so hard to read.    

This book had me questioning my own health which doesn't happen often when I read fiction.  I have gone through ups and downs with my health and weight, so to read a fiction book with women at the center and the unique experience it is to be a woman and fight to be near the "ideal weight", I enjoyed reading this one.  

I am not sure how often I want to read about this, but I am glad that books like this one exist.  


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 24 out of 100


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

Sunday, June 16, 2019

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

Another busy week and a some hours spent playing on the phone instead of reading!!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers
Tiffany Blues by MJ Rose
The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

Currently Reading:
The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

Next on the TBR pile:
The Poison Thread by Lauren Purcell

Friday, June 14, 2019

Review: The Friends We Keep by Jane Green

The Friends We Keep
by Jane Green

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

Goodreads:  Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known each other since university. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and none of them ever found the lives they wanted – the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible.
 
Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man. 
 
Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with at university, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause. 
 
Topher became a successful actor but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy.
 
By their thirtieth reunion, these old friends have lost touch with each other and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness… until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything.


Kritters Thoughts:  Let me start by saying, I am a Jane Green fan and even though I didn't completely love this one, I am still a Jane Green fan.  Three friends are at the center of this book and they meet in university and then travel in and out of each other's lives for the rest of their lives.  

This book was just ok for me.  There were moments where I felt like the story dragged and then moments where I wanted more.  I didn't get completely swept away by any of the characters.  Each had a bit of drama that they needed to work through and unlike my favorite stories they almost had to be apart to grow instead of be together, they were holding each other back.  

I wanted more from this book.  I love stories where friendship is the center, but for me the drama overshadowed the emphasis on how friendships matter and most of the drama was about romantic relationships.

I will always read Jane Green because I love almost all of her backlist.  I hope she has more up her sleeve with interesting characters that I can root for.


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

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley PRH.  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, June 11, 2019

Review: This is Home by Lisa Duffy

This is Home
by Lisa Duffy

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Sixteen-year-old Libby Winters lives in Paradise, a seaside town north of Boston that rarely lives up to its name. After the death of her mother, she lives with her father, Bent, in the middle apartment of their triple decker home—Bent’s two sisters, Lucy and Desiree, live on the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent often works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ care. Shuffling back and forth between apartments—and the wildly different natures of her family—has Libby wishing for nothing more than a home of her very own.

Quinn Ellis is at a crossroads. When her husband John, who has served two tours in Iraq, goes missing back at home, suffering from PTSD he refuses to address, Quinn finds herself living in the first-floor apartment of the Winters house. Bent had served as her husband’s former platoon leader, a man John refers to as his brother, and despite Bent’s efforts to make her feel welcome, Quinn has yet to unpack a single box.

For Libby, the new tenant downstairs is an unwelcome guest, another body filling up her already crowded house. But soon enough, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, when Libby and Quinn stretch and redefine their definition of family and home.


Kritters Thoughts:  Libby Winters and Quinn Ellis take turns narrating this book and between the two of them you get a full picture of how a family reacts to their loved ones returning from contemporary war.  Libby Winters lives with her father and he returned from war with physical and mental scars, he became a police officer and is living a mostly normal life.  Quinn Ellis' has been abandoned by her husband who returned from war with major mental scars and may never heal from what he saw abroad.  

I enjoyed reading about the real impacts that people feel from going to war and how it not only affects them but also affects their families and friends.  War is no joke and what they see, feel and experience lives within them forever.  This book really hits home on how different people react different ways to what happens to them while at war.  Not to spoil, but the puppy dog story that Quinn finds out about just really made me stop and think about everything.  

This was both a hard book to read but also necessary.  If you have an inkling of wonderment of how people are affected by war then pick this up.  If PTSD is a trigger warning for you, then I would possibly avoid this one.  It was well written and put together quite nicely.  


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

Ebook 2019 Challenge: 23 out of 100


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

Monday, June 10, 2019

Review: Nobody's Wife by Laura Pearson

Nobody's Wife
by Laura Pearson

Publisher: Agora Books
Pages: 267
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  ‘Of the four of them, only three remained. And there was no going backwards from there.’ 

Emily and Josephine have always shared everything. They’re sisters, flatmates, and best friends. It’s the two of them against the world.

When Emily has the perfect wedding, and Josephine finds the perfect man, they know things will change forever. But nothing can prepare them for what, or who, one of them is willing to give up for love.

Four people. Three couples. Two sisters. One unforgivable betrayal.



Kritters Thoughts:   Two couples, a set of sisters and betrayal.  Emily and Josephine share a mother and more than that their mother has abandoned them so they are all each other has left when it comes to family.  Emily gets married and they know that will change their relationship, but actually it is Josephine's new love that will really rock their world.

The reader knows from the beginning that there will be a betrayal and that it will really affect this small group.  But there is one reveal at the end that I will not spoil that really sent this book down a road I wasn't prepared for.  I am still not sure how I feel about it and I finished the book a few days before writing this review - have you read this book?  Without spoiling what are your thoughts on this ending?

I accepted this review before I really started avoiding books that had cheating and spouses, so I wanted to keep to my commitment, but also trying to decide if this really is a sub genre that I am going to avoid - answer is yes.  I just don't love reading books with this at the heart of it and I am going to avoid these in the future.


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

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

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