Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Review: It Happened One Christmas Eve by Jenn McKinlay

It Happened One Christmas Eve
 by Jenn McKinlay

Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Pages: 121
Format: audiobook
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Claire Macintosh is about to get engaged to a man she doesn't love at the holiday gala she is hosting as director of the Museum of Literature. Her mother, Hildy Macintosh, has made it clear that if the museum is to continue to receive the enormous donations from the family trust that Hildy has approved all these years then Claire will marry the man Hildy has chosen for her and start to produce some grandbabies. At forty and single, Claire feels she has no choice. But when the horse and carriage arrive at the gala with the driver dressed as Santa to deliver Claire's engagement ring, she just can't go through with it. She hijacks the horse and carriage with Santa still on board and escapes!

Reporter Sam Carpenter thought he was being so clever convincing his friend to let him step in as Santa so he could get up close and personal to the subject of his upcoming magazine expose. He is completely unprepared for the events that unfold and finds himself dashing through Central Park with a runaway would be fiancé. Now the only way to save his story is to broker a deal with Claire Macintosh. In exchange for his help in getting her to her cottage in Maine by Christmas Eve, she'll grant him an exclusive interview. As their journey takes a series of unexpected twists, turns, and misadventures, both Claire and Sam realize that there's more than their careers on the line. And it's going to take a Christmas miracle to find their happily ever after.

Kritters Thoughts:  Claire is on the cusp of an engagement that would set her life down a very certain path when all of the sudden she decides to take a different route.  A man who has been on the perimeter of her life now becomes a main character as Sam Carpenter a reporter who has written about her and her family helps her escape and this book is their adventure.  

I love all those road trip adventure books, but only every so often.  It was fun to combine that sub genre with a little Christmas cheer.  I think what helped this book the most was their lack of funds and the inability to get them, so forced some creativity for them to get to their destination.  Of course, this was an easy enemies to lovers romance where I felt like the enemies part was believable and their romance wasn't too quick as they had some history leading into this adventure.    

This was a great audiobook read while driving during the lead-up to the holidays and then while decorating the house.    

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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, November 27, 2023

Review: We Must Not Think of Ourselves by Lauren Grodstein

We Must Not Think of Ourselves
Lauren Grodstein 

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

Goodreads: On a November day in 1940, Adam Paskow becomes a prisoner in the Warsaw Ghetto, where the Jews of the city are cut off from their former lives and held captive by Nazi guards, and await an uncertain fate. Weeks later, he is approached by a mysterious figure with a surprising request: Will he join a secret group of archivists working to preserve the truth of what is happening inside these walls? Adam agrees and begins taking testimonies from his students, friends, and neighbors. He learns about their childhoods and their daydreams, their passions and their fears, their desperate strategies for safety and survival. The stories form a portrait of endurance in a world where no choices are good ones.

One of the people Adam interviews is his flatmate Sala Wiskoff, who is stoic, determined, and funny—and married with two children. Over the months of their confinement, in the presence of her family, Adam and Sala fall in love. As they desperately carve out intimacy, their relationship feels both impossible and vital, their connection keeping them alive. But when Adam discovers a possible escape from the Ghetto, he is faced with an unbearable choice: Whom can he save, and at what cost?

Kritters Thoughts:  A historical fiction set in the time period of World War II, but thankfully we are not inside a concentration camp, but conditions are close in this Warsaw Ghetto.  A teacher, Adam Paskow is living in an apartment with two other families as they are just trying to survive until this war ends.  Adam is asked to document the lives of those living in the Warsaw Ghetto and recording the big and the small of life inside in hopes that it can be shared when all is said and done.  

While I do read a lot of historical fiction, I tend to limit my reading of World War II books because it all just seems so sad and while I am not denying the horror of it, I don't want to read too much of it.  This one sounded interesting from the synopsis and it lived up to my wonder of how this author would share this community at this time.  I loved how Grodstein made me feel the humanity of these characters, they weren't just a number in a war, but instead we learned of their back stories and I liked reading the mundane of the day to day survival of it all. 

My first read of Lauren Grodstein and will by no means by my last.  I would love to read her two previous novels and then I surely hope for more in the future.  This is a book I will recommend to readers who haven't read a lot of World War II AND for those who feel they have read it all!  

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

Ebook 2023 Challenge: 7 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Algonquin 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, November 1, 2023


The first month this year, where I felt like reading took a front seat and I spent a lot of time reading - a COVID diagnosis and lots of time curled up with books was the to do list for this month! 

1. Faking Christmas by Kerry Winfrey
2. Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
3. Ignorance by Michele Roberts
4. Distant Sons by Tim Johnston
5. And Again by Jessica Chiarella
6. Young Queens by Leah Redmond Chang
7. The Second Home by Christina Clancy
8. Anthony Bourdain Remembered by CNN
9. Actually the Comma Goes Here by Lucy Crisps
10. The Takeaway Man by Meryl Ain

Total pages read, clicked and flipped: 3,179

Where Have I Been Reading?:
Chicago, IL
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
New York City, NY

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