Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Review: Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin

by Alexis Schaitkin

Publisher: Celadon Books
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Vera grows up in a small town, removed and isolated, pressed up against the mountains, cloud-covered and damp year-round. This town, fiercely protective, brutal and unforgiving in its adherence to tradition, faces a singular affliction: some mothers vanish, disappearing into the clouds. It is the exquisite pain and intrinsic beauty of their lives; it sets them apart from people elsewhere and gives them meaning.

Vera, a young girl when her own mother went, is on the cusp of adulthood herself. As her peers begin to marry and become mothers, they speculate about who might be the first to go, each wondering about her own fate. Reveling in their gossip, they witness each other in motherhood, waiting for signs: this one devotes herself to her child too much, this one not enough—that must surely draw the affliction’s gaze. When motherhood comes for Vera, she is faced with the question: will she be able to stay and mother her beloved child, or will she disappear?

Kritters Thoughts:  A place where girls know that their mothers may not be here tomorrow and women know that there is no guarantee for tomorrow.  Once a woman becomes a mother there is a chance that they may just disappear.  

The story centers around Vera who at the beginning of the book is a young girl and eventually she will fall in love and become a mother, but the best thing about this book is it doesn't end when she disappears, the reader gets to see what happens after she disappears and for me that was the moral of the story.  

While I am not a mother, I may not have picked up on all the things, but for me the big theme of women disappearing as motherhood becomes their identity was really something to read.  And then for these women to wind up in a different atmosphere and try to find themselves again really made me think about the roles women take throughout the years of their lives and how some of those phases a woman can really lose her identity.  

With maybe hints of dystopia I liked this book.  I had access through netgalley to the ebook and audiobook and I enjoyed having both forms to read and I would completely suggest either form as they were both 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 Celadon 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.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Review: Notorious by Allison Brennan

by Allison Brennan

Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Maxine Revere has dedicated her life to investigating murders that the police have long since given up any hope of solving. A nationally renowned investigative reporter with her own TV show and a tough-as-nails reputation, Max tackles cold cases from across the country and every walk of life. But the one unsolved murder that still haunts her is a case from her own past.

When Max was a high school senior, one of her best friends was strangled and another, Kevin O'Neal, accused of the crime. To the disgrace of her wealthy family, Max stood by her friend, until she found out he lied about his alibi. Though his guilt was never proven, their relationship crumbled from the strain of too many secrets.

Now Max is home for Kevin's funeral―after years of drug abuse, he committed suicide. She's finally prepared to come to terms with the loss of his friendship, but she's not prepared for Kevin's sister to stubbornly insist that he didn't kill himself. Or for an elderly couple to accost her at the airport, begging her to look into another murder at Max's old high school. Max is more interested in the cold case at her alma mater than in digging around Kevin's troubled life, but she agrees to do both. As Max uncovers dark secrets, she finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies that hit far too close to home. And it's becoming increasingly clear that someone will do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.

Kritters Thoughts: The first in a series and before even starting this one, I was already a big Allison Brennan fan, so I knew this book would be a great addition to my beach bag this summer.  While published nine years ago, I am a stickler for starting a series from the beginning so I picked this one up and enjoyed it on the beach.

Maxine Revere is an investigative journalist that ends up getting caught up in a few mysteries while visiting her hometown for a funeral of a friend.  When I say a few mysteries, I mean a few and while reading I kept thinking there was too much to keep straight, but when it all came together I wouldn't have taken one out, so just know that there are a few mysteries to keep straight with characters in each one.  

While this is the first in a series, there were a few moments where I thought that I was missing something because it felt as though the author was referring to previous happenings, but this is book one!  Maybe its just me, so I am excited to move on to book two and read more about Maxine and see what mysteries she gets into next. 

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Review: The Light After the War

The Light After the War
 by Anita Abriel

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from Hungary, they managed to escape from a train headed for Auschwitz and spent the rest of the war hiding on an Austrian farm. Now, the two young women must start new lives abroad. Armed with a letter of recommendation from an American officer, Vera finds work at the United States embassy where she falls in love with Captain Anton Wight.

But as Vera and Edith grapple with the aftermath of the war, so too does Anton, and when he suddenly disappears, Vera is forced to change course. Their quest for a better life takes Vera and Edith from Naples to Ellis Island to Caracas as they start careers, reunite with old friends, and rebuild their lives after terrible loss.

Kritters Thoughts:  Two women who have barely survived the war and this book is their recovery from it all.  Vera and Edith have been best friends since birth and through the swift thinking of their mothers they were spared a trip to Auschwitz and with the help of some strangers they made it through the war.  Throughout the book they move around to find their new normal and hopefully put down some roots.  

I have read so many books on World War II and I keep thinking I have read it all.  I loved that in this book the action takes place after the war and you are seeing these two young women pull themselves together and try to figure out how they want their post war life to be.  I am so thankful the author put two characters together who are both similar and different - they come from the same neighborhood and are the same age, but going into the war were in different places in life and have reacted so differently to the life they are now trying to build.  

My first Anita Abriel read, but will surely not be my last and thankfully I have all of her others books on netgalley, so can pick up my kindle and read them very soon!  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Reading recap - April - June 2023


As the second half of the year of 2023 begins, I wanted to do a quick recap of my reading so far, which is less than I would want to admit, but I am hoping that the second half will pick up.  Between buying a house and spending many hours making it my own and my professional job being quite busy, my reading hours have been greatly impacted.  

In April, I completed my fourth book of the year - Amanda in France by Darlene Foster.

My reading in June picked up thankfully due to some extra time spent enjoying the sunshine:
1. Notorious by Allison Brennan 
2. The Light After the War by Anita Abriel
3. Misprints of America Burke by Adonia Holden-Dunivan
4. The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault
5. Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen 

I will be reviewing a few of the above in the next few weeks as I am hoping to get the blog back up and running!  
Back to Top