Friday, April 16, 2021

Three Missing Days
by Colleen Coble

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A shocking murder.

Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a tragic local murder, but everything in her personal life is unraveling.

Her son’s arrest.

Jane’s son is accused of manslaughter, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she’s going to trust Reid with her heart.   

Three missing days.

With the recent discovery of her mother’s whereabouts, Jane learns not only that her mother stole something vital all those years ago but that she drugged Jane so she wouldn’t be able to remember. What happened in those three days could change everything.

It all started with one little lie. But the truth is finally coming out.


Kritters Thoughts:  The third in a series and this is one of those that yes the mystery is self contained in this book, but there is a lot of character development from book to book and it is so much better to start at square one in this instance.

Chief Police Jane Hardy is dealing with a dead body in chapter one and the book sets of sprinting.  Along with her ex and their kid, they are navigating what kind of relationship they will have in the future and also dealing with his ex who has been giving them a hard time!  

I can't remember if I felt this way in the previous books, but there were quite a few mysteries happening in this one book and while they all get solved in one way or another in the end, there were times where I felt like it was teetering on too much.  The author did bring it together, but I was concerned.  

Only a side note, this is Christian fiction and I knew that going in, but it felt as though there were a few times where it was forced into the book and it didn't seem as natural as Colleen Coble tends to do.  

Colleen Coble is a great author and I love her stories.  It was fun looking he up after finishing this one and finding out I haven't completed her backlist - YET!


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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 41 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, April 15, 2021

The Last Bookshop in London
by Madeline Martin

Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads: August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.

Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.


Kritters Thoughts:  Another World War II book, but before you roll your eyes, this one is so good!  Most readers can get easily sucked in by a book set in a bookstore, so the setting is ideal and while there are numerous amounts of World War II books, this one just felt unique from the beginning.  

Grace Bennett has escaped the country and is now in London trying to find a job with the added benefit of being able to land at the friend of her deceased mother's and only worry about finding work and the onset of World War II.  She ends up in the sweetest of bookshops with of course an ornery owner, but this is just the start of the story!

I adored this book so much, I read it basically one sitting.  Grace was such a wonderful character to go on a journey with and I was enthralled by her from page one.  She was sweet and kind and vulnerable, but not saccharine.  this may be weird to say, but my favorite parts to read where when she was an ARP volunteer and she was rescuing those affected by the bombs that were dropping.  That was something I had never read about and with a few recent books that I have read set in London about bomb diffusing units, it was just another perspective on living through a war that is invading your home turf.  

I would love to read more like this - a unique viewpoint of something or some time that I know of and may have read about quite often.



Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 40 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Harlequin.  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, April 13, 2021

The Good Sister
by Sally Hepworth

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern's protector from the time they were small.

Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart's desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn't realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.


Kritters Thoughts:  The age old story of the good twin and the bad twin is confronted in this story as the reader is trying to figure out who is the good twin and who is the bad twin!  Rose and Fern are twins born on the same day, but that is where their sameness ends.  They are physical opposites and while grew up in the same dysfunctional home, had vastly different reactions to their upbringing.  

For me, the big thing that set this book apart from others was reading about a woman who is probably on the spectrum.  We often hear about men on the spectrum, so it was interesting to see how this same disease manifests in a woman and how that affects a different gender from what we typically think of.  I have personal experience and often in books there are males who are on the spectrum, so to see a woman living life on the spectrum was so interesting and eye-opening.

I love the twists and turns of the story, but even more so, I loved how the author conveyed the story.  With one twin recounting the current storyline while the other twin was writing journal entries, it made the book unique and of course without spoiling, it honestly really made the story work in general.  

I have read half of Sally Hepworth's work and have loved each of them.  I want to get caught up on her backlist in hopes that what I haven't read is just as good!      


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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 39 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.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Silent Girl
by Kelly Heard

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 341
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:   I wake in a bed, with a stranger leaning over me. She asks my name and I realize I don’t know what it is. I don’t know who I am or why I’m here…

I’m grateful to the police who found me on the remote stretch of highway, covered in blood, with crimson flowers in my hair. To the doctors, too, who brought me back from the brink of death.

But I see the suspicion in their eyes.

They don’t believe me when I say I don’t remember who I am. They are unsure if I can be trusted.

Am I the innocent victim? Or guilty of a terrible crime?

No one has reported me missing or come looking for me. But today, a bouquet of blood-red roses has been delivered to my room.

Am I in danger? Or is someone trying to help me?

Searching for anything in this town that might seem familiar, I’m cornered by a woman with wild eyes who calls me I name I don’t know. She tells me my brother is in danger and only I can save him.

But how do I know if I can trust her, if I can’t even trust myself?


Kritters Thoughts:  A great book where a woman wakes up without knowing how she ended up in the hospital and has no idea of her past, present or her future.  After breaking out of the hotel, she finds the perfect job on a secluded property and slowly gets memories that help her realize what happened to her and what she wants her future to look like.  

I loved the way the author inserted her memories into the story, so the reader gets to know about what brought this women to her present life and the clues were perfectly sprinkled throughout the book.  The pacing was perfection, which kept me on the edge of my seat and flipping from page to page or chapter to chapter as this book had 60 chapters in it!  

I am always excited to look up an author after I finish a book and find out there is a backlist and I want to jump into Kelly Heard's backlist to see how they line up with this one.  

While I did enjoy the book from beginning to end, I am not sure if the title works for me - a minor complaint, but I would have come up with something a little different.  This didn't impact my reading, just an after thought when I finished.


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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 38 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.



Sunday, April 11, 2021

A quieter week at work and on the home front which made for great reading time!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Silent Girl by Kelly Heard
The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin
Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble
Food Americana by David Page (audiobook)
Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Currently Reading:
An Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart

Next on the TBR pile:
The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy Reichert

Friday, April 9, 2021

Summertime Guests
by Wendy Francis

Publisher: Graydon House
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  The Seafarer is the place to see and be seen in the summer…

With its rich history and famous guests, the glamorous Boston hotel is no stranger to drama. But the bustle at the iconic property reaches new heights one weekend in mid-June when someone falls tragically to her death, the event rippling through the lives of four very different people. 

Bride-to-be Riley is at the hotel to plan her wedding. She would have preferred a smaller, more intimate celebration, but her bossy mother-in-law has taken charge and her fiancĂ© hasn’t seemed to notice. Jean-Paul, the hotel’s manager, is struggling to keep his marriage and new family afloat, but now he must devote all his energy to this latest scandal at work. Claire, recently widowed, comes to town to connect with a long-lost love, but has too much changed in the last thirty years?  And then there’s Jason, whose romantic getaway with his girlfriend has not exactly gone the way he'd hoped and instead has him facing questions he can't bring himself to answer.

Over three sun-drenched days, as the truth about the woman who died—and the secret she was hiding—is uncovered, these four strangers become linked in the most unexpected of ways. Together, they just might find the strength they need to turn their own lives around.


Kritters Thoughts:  This book is half a mystery and half a women's fiction story of a cast of characters, as early in the story a young woman dies at the hotel and the reader must get to the end to find who died and the circumstances surrounding her death.  

Without spoiling the outcome, I can say that I was caught by surprise by the outcome and I am not sure if I was satisfied with it, but getting to know this cast of characters surpassed my feelings and I loved getting to know them and seeing them pass in and out of each other's stories.  From a young couple who is planning their wedding at the hotel when the death occurs to a young couple who is trying to vacation and get away from the day to day life to an older woman who is trying to reconnect with a past love and make a new future.  And the manager of the hotel who is from France and with a young infant is trying to do a full time job while also dealing with this major tragedy at this newly renovated historical hotel.  For me the cast of characters and their fully developed stories is what made this book a great read for me.  

I loved how Wendy Francis sprinkled in elements of a typical mystery with the basics of a women's fiction with a cast of characters of women and men who have great story arcs.  


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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 37 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from HarperCollins  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, April 8, 2021

In Times of Rain and War
by Camron Wright

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  During World War II, an American soldier encounters a German woman living a secret life in bomb-blighted London.

In September of 1940, the Blitz had begun. Like other British civilians, Audrey Stocking is determined to survive, except she isn’t from England. She is a German—a young Jewish woman with a fake passport and a nearly-perfect British accent, trying her best to blend into the city. Her days are kept busy working for the Woman’s Voluntary Services to evacuate British children into the countryside, saving them from nightly bombings over London. But she also writes secret letters addressed to her father’s factory back home. Audrey longs to be reunited with her father and younger brothers in Germany, but she isn’t holding out much hope. If the bombs don’t get her, British Military Intelligence will. And then there’s the paralyzing nightmares and flashbacks—something from her past she can’t quite remember. When an air raid leaves an unexploded bomb wedged in the floor of Audrey’s flat, an American soldier training with Bomb Disposal Company 5 is a welcome sight.

Lieutenant Wesley Bowers arrived in England the day the Blitz began. He knows the average life expectancy of soldiers disarming bombs is ten weeks, and not all of the men in his unit will survive. Wes struggles with the idea of losing men who are starting to feel like family. Although he’s committed to being a soldier, he grapples with the thought of death. Meeting Audrey, an attractive, intelligent, and caring British girl has been the one bright spot during the war’s unending bleakness. Wes has a girl waiting for him back home, but he’s never met anyone like Audrey. There’s an immediate connection between them, and they open up to each other, sharing their innermost feelings. Will he still feel the same if he discovers the truth about her identity? Even Audrey doesn’t know the whole truth. Not yet.


Kritters Thoughts: Another World War II novel, but this one felt unique and unlike the others.  The novel follows two main characters - Audrey who is an active member of the WVS as she is helping get kids to safety while the war ravages the country.  The other main character is Wes, an American who is on the "Bomb Disposal Company 5" and is disarming bombs that Germans are dropping in hopes of saving lives before they detonate and cause more damage.

While I knew more about Audrey and the things that she did for the war effort, I appreciated her storyline in this book to show different efforts made in the war for the communities impacted by war.  But Wes' storyline felt more new and different and with all the things I was learning, I was more captivated by his work and the team that he was surrounded by - they were entertaining!

For me, I enjoyed the characters and they are the reason I kept reading, but the writing just didn't capture my attention.  I also kept reading because my favorite thing about historical fiction is when I am learning something and Wes' storyline and the details about the bombs that were dropped was all new information to me.  In other books, bombs are dropped and there isn't much more detail than that, so to read about the teams that dispose of them, but also the scientists that are trying to learn things about the bombs, kept me going in this book.

This was my second Camron Wright read and while I didn't enjoy this as much as the first, I am still intrigued by his backlist and hope to get to them soon.  


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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 35 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Shadow Mountain 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.
The Bookstore on the Beach
by Brenda Novak

Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  How do you start a new chapter of your life when you haven’t closed the book on the previous one?

Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac’s husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers, and she can’t imagine moving forward without him. But for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try.

Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort working alongside her mother and aunt at their bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a huge life change and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into the boy who stole her heart in high school, old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband’s return? She can only trust her heart…and hope it won’t lead her astray.


Kritters Thoughts:  Autumn Divac has spent the last year and a half looking for her husband who went missing on a work trip that went very different from what he predicted.  After losing a year and a half of her life to a search, she decides to escape Florida for the summer and go to her mother's home in a beach town in Virginia and just get away from it all for a summer.  Little does she know that her mother has some secrets that are about to come to light and her kids will have more than a transformative summer than she could have predicted.  

My favorite thing is when an author hints at secrets, but lets the reader in on the secret before the characters.  On the other side of the coin, I don't love when a secret is hinted at and the reader is left in the dark!  Brenda Novak lets the reader in on the secrets and the anticipation is more about how the characters will react when these secrets come out.  While there were a lot of characters with secrets, for me this didn't feel over the top.  

This was one of those great stand alone books that I suggest taking on a vacation or to the beach or pool because it is easy to get into, but also easy to put down and pick back up when/if an interruption happens!  The characters were easy to get to know and each storyline was easy to keep apart and the plot kept moving, so there wasn't a dull moment in the story.  

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

Ebook 2021 Challenge: 36 out of 100

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