Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Review: This Place of Wonder by Barbara O'Neal

This Place of Wonder
by Barbara O'Neal 

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 316
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In the wake of a personal tragedy, four women face the past, their futures, and each other in a novel of broken ties and healing by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids.

When famed chef Augustus Beauvais dies, he leaves behind a celebrated reputation―and four women grappling with loss, anger, pain, and the question of how the world will turn without him…

Meadow, the ex-wife with whom Augustus built an empire―and a family―still holds a place for him in her heart, even as she continues to struggle with his infidelities, which ended their twenty-year marriage. More unforgiving is Maya, his estranged daughter, who’s recently out of rehab but finally ready to reclaim her life. Norah, his latest girlfriend, sidelined her own career for unexpected love and a life of luxury, both of which are now gone with Augustus. And then there’s Rory, Meadow’s daughter, the voice of calm and reason in a chorus of discontent.

As Meadow, Maya, Norah, and Rory are flung together by tragedy, grief, and secrets yet to be revealed, they must accept―or turn away from―the legacy of great intentions and bad decisions Augustus left them. And when the circumstances around his death are called into question, their conflicted feelings become even more complicated. But moving forward is the only choice they have, and to do so, they’ll need to rely on family, friendship, and inner strength.

Kritters Thoughts:  A famed chef dies and the four closest women in his life are dealing with all the things he left behind with his unexpected death.  Two daughters and two exes must come together to pick up the pieces and all move on.

Told through multiple perspectives, which I loved, the reader gets to see the story move along through different points of view and how each cope with this tragedy.  It was so interesting to read about this man from the women in his lives and how each experienced him a different way.  From his current love to his epic love and the daughters in his life, seeing them grapple with his departure made for an enjoyable read this summer.  

While I can't spoil a thing, I sure loved that I thought this book would end in one place, there was a great twist and turn that took this book in a different direction and I was so surprised when all the puzzle pieces fit together!  

I have only read 3 of Barbara O'Neal books and I am hoping to fix this soon!      

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2022 Challenge: 57 out of 100

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, July 10, 2022

Review: The Lost Sister of Fifth Avenue by Ella Carey

The Lost Sister of Fifth Avenue
by Ella Carey

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 327
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  New York, 1938: Martha pulled the door of her Fifth Avenue apartment closed, her heart thumping, re-reading the telegram she’d been dreading. Her beloved sister Charlotte needed her help. She was alone in Paris, and the threat of Nazi invasion grew ever stronger. The time had come for Martha to make the bravest decision of her life. She needed to bring Charlotte home.

As Martha looks out of her bedroom window at the blossom-covered trees in Central Park, she is a world away from Europe and the threat of war. But when a telegram arrives from her sister Charlotte telling of the death of their Jewish friend Anita, Martha’s quiet life changes in an instant. With the threat of the Nazi invasion growing, Martha knows she must travel to Paris to convince Charlotte to return home.

When Martha arrives, she finds a city preparing for war. Soldiers patrol Paris’ cobbled streets and families talk of packing up and fleeing with whatever they can carry. Clutching her sister tightly, Martha knows that Charlotte has already decided to stay. Charlotte’s heart is in France, and as an American in Paris she believes she will be safe.

When the Nazis march through Paris’ streets and raise their flags over the city’s most beautiful buildings, Charlotte is determined not to give in. She works for the Resistance with a Frenchman named Louis, carrying messages, and hiding Anita’s family’s precious art collection from the Nazis. Meanwhile, Martha vows to help a female Jewish professor to safety in America, only to be faced with impossible odds.

But as the war rages, Martha and Charlotte’s determination will be tested like never before. And when Charlotte uncovers a shocking secret about her family which threatens her own life, can she find the strength to protect those she loves the most?

Kritters Thoughts:  The fourth book in a series where you can read them as you wish and don't need to start at the beginning.  A set of sisters who have been living different lives and one finds herself in a comprising situation as the Nazis make their way across Europe.  Charlotte is living in Paris with her mother's best friend and loving her life when Hitler and his regime start making trouble for the Jewish population.  Her sister Martha is living in NYC and must travel to help Charlotte make decisions for her future.

While the sisters storyline is going on in the book, we also go back in time to the sister's mother and her two friends as they were recovering from World War I.  I loved both storylines and they wove in and out of each other so well.  The older storyline revealed such fun clues in the perfect way.  The pacing for both stories was spot on, there was no way I was putting down this book and not finishing it in one setting!  

I have loved all the books in this series, but this one may be my favorite.  I sure hope that Ella Carey writes more, even if it isn't in this series.  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2022 Challenge: 55 out of 100

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

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Review: A Shoe Story by Jane Rosen

A Shoe Story
by Jane Rosen 

Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Esme Nash is eager to leave her small town and begin her carefully planned post-grad life: a move to New York City, an apartment with her loving college boyfriend, and a fancy job at an art gallery. But when tragedy strikes, instead of heading to Manhattan, she returns home to care for her ailing father, leaving every bit of her dream behind.

Seven trying years later, Esme is offered a dog-sitting job in Greenwich Village by a mysterious stranger, giving her access to all of her long-buried hopes and dreams--as well as to an epic collection of designer shoes. Esme jumps at a second chance to step into the future she's sure was meant to be hers.

As she retraces her steps, one pair of borrowed shoes at a time, making new friends and reconnecting with her old love, Esme tries on versions of herself she didn't know existed. But the hazy August days and warm summer nights pass too quickly, and Esme must decide how much of the life she imagined still fits, and what--and who--is on the road ahead of her.

Kritters Thoughts:  Are you looking for that fun summer read - this is it!  Esme Nash heads to NYC to dog sit, but it is the city that alluded her years ago when family took priority.  She has three weeks to live in the city and decide what is next for her life while holding on to a special pair of shoes that her mother gave her at her college graduation.  

First, let me say that I LOVED how each chapter started with a pair of shoes and looking up the shoes and thinking about where the story may go with Esme in these shoes made my read so much more fun.  Esme has access to some fantastic shoes and she loves picking the right ones for the right occasion.  With a little bit of a love triangle, Esme has a new guy that came into her life while she is also reconnecting with a guy from the past - I loved this.  I also loved the other people that came into her life through her adventures in New York City, just a fun book.  

As this is a fiction book, there were a few times I had to stop myself from an eye roll as the character made some decisions or things happened that seemed beyond reality!  BUT that is why we read fiction!!  

With two books in her backlist, both sound so good and after loving this one, I want to pick them up quickly! 

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2022 Challenge: 54 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley.  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, July 7, 2022

Review: Reputation by Sarah Vaughan

by Sarah Vaughan

Publisher: Atria
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  As a politician, Emma has sacrificed a great deal for her career--including her marriage and her relationship with her daughter, Flora. A former teacher, she finds the glare of the spotlight unnerving, particularly when it leads to countless insults, threats, and trolling as she tries to work in the public eye. As a woman, she knows her reputation is worth its weight in gold, but as a politician, she discovers it only takes one slip-up to destroy it completely.

Fourteen-year-old Flora is learning the same hard lessons at school as she encounters heartless bullying. When another teenager takes her own life, Emma lobbies for a new law to protect women and girls from the effects of online abuse. Now, Emma and Flora find their personal lives uncomfortably intersected--but then the unthinkable happens: A man is found dead in Emma’s home, a man she had every reason to be afraid of and to want gone. Fighting to protect her reputation, and determined to protect her family at all costs, Emma is pushed to the limits as the worst happens and her life is torn apart.

Kritters Thoughts:  Emma Webster was surprised when she was elected a MP so quickly and was torn as it would greatly impact her husband and her daughter.  A few years later this book begins as she has been a MP for awhile and it has impacted as her husband and her have divorced and they are trying to coparent their teenage daughter.  And not a spoil here, but the book begins as Emma has found a dead body at the bottom of her stairs and we immediately go back in time to find out how she got there.  

There were so many things that I loved about this book.  I loved that the author allowed more than just Emma to relay this story.  From chapters from her daughter Flora, to her husband's new wife Caroline, to a journalist Mike and I loved seeing the story through various points of view; to see through Emma, but then to see Emma in her own story was so good.  

I also loved the plot.  I loved the juxtaposition of what Emma was going through on her job while her daughter Flora had similar issues at school - like mother like daughter.  And while the story took place across the pond, I could easily relate how Emma, a public figure was dealing with social media and journalism invading her personal space while she tried to also do her job.  

I was surprised to find out when I finished that this was my first Sarah Vaughan book, but will for sure not be my last.  I hope to read her backlist very soon.  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel 

Ebook 2022 Challenge: 52 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Simon and Schuster.  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, July 5, 2022

Review: Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare

Miss Aldridge Regrets
by Louise Hare

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

Goodreads:  London, 1936. Lena Aldridge wonders if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn't worked out. Instead, she's stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho, and her married lover has just left her. But Lena has always had a complicated life, one shrouded in mystery as a mixed-race girl passing for white in a city unforgiving of her true racial heritage.

She's feeling utterly hopeless until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York. After a murder at the club, the timing couldn't be better, and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. But death follows her onboard when an obscenely wealthy family draws her into their fold just as one among them is killed in a chillingly familiar way. As Lena navigates the Abernathy's increasingly bizarre family dynamic, she realizes that her greatest performance won't be for an audience, but for her life.

Kritters Thoughts:  Lena Aldridge is a singer who used to have her father by her side until he passed away and without him her life has completely changed.  She is currently performing in a semi sketchy club that is owned by her friend's husband when a chance encounter with someone who can fulfill her dreams of performing on Broadway enters her life.  After a "bit" of drama in the club she takes the job and hops on the Queen Mary to head to the US.  This is where the story really begins.  

This book reminded me of the Agatha Christie book that was just made into a movie - Death on the Nile; people stuck on a boat and one by one they are dying and who is the killer.  I often judge the mystery books by the resolution and while I won't spoil, I was pleased by the culprit, it came together at the end, but I didn't guess too early.  Their reason for the actions was plausible and I liked the twists and turns to get there.  

After saying what I did like, I have to say I don't know if it was me or my timing of when I read this book or the book itself, but I felt as though the story's pacing was so slow and just kind of went on and on.  There were as an enormous cast of characters where half were related and it was confusing and hard to get engrossed in the book.  I also know my reading time is limited these days and to capture my attention beyond the things that I need to do right now is difficult, so I wonder if I read this at a different time would I react the same way.  I would like to read another book by this author and decide if it is me or the writing.  

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

Ebook 2022 Challenge: 51 out of 100

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

Friday, July 1, 2022

June - the heat of the summer!

Another small completion number due to another busy month from work to house things to other things taking priority - pretty proud of my veggie garden!

1. The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor
2. Meant to Be Mine by Hannah Orenstein
3. Privacy by Nina Sadowsky
4. Island Time by Georgia Clark
5. When it Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee
6. The Girl From Jonestown by Sharon Maas
7. Out of Her Depth by Lizzy Barber
8. Dog Friendly by Victoria Schade
9. After Camelot by J. Randy Taraborrelli

Total pages read, clicked and flipped: 3,549

Where Have I Been Reading?:
Outer Banks, NC
New York City, NY
San Diego, CA (2)
Florence, Italy

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