Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Book Review: The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis


Pages:320
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 


Goodreads says, "Some bury their secrets close to home. Others scatter them to the wind and hope they land somewhere far away. Judith Kratt inherited all the Kratt family had to offer—the pie safe, the copper clock, the murder no one talks about. She knows it's high time to make an inventory of her household and its valuables, but she finds that cataloging the family belongings—as well as their misfortunes—won't contain her family's secrets, not when her wayward sister suddenly returns, determined to expose skeletons the Kratts had hoped to take to their graves.  Interweaving the present with chilling flashbacks from one fateful evening in 1929, Judith pieces together the influence of her family on their small South Carolina cotton town, learning that the devastating effects of dark family secrets can last a lifetime and beyond."





Judith Kratt has inherited the Kratt family estate along with all the other family heirlooms.  It's a crumbling mansion in South Carolina and it's filled with a lot of Kratt family secrets.  Judith's sister, Rosemarie, left home at thirteen years old and she hasn't heard from her since.  After many years, Judith receives a post card from her saying that she is returning home.  Judith hasn't seen her sister since her brother Quincy's mysterious murder.  The main suspect in Quincy's murder was an employee of the Kratt Mercantile Company, but he also missing, so the murder has always been shrouded in mystery.  Rosemarie thought that Judith committed the crime and this is what made her flee the house so many years ago.  Judith is determined to go through the house and all of its belongings, but as she uncovers each and every heirloom more and more Kratt family secrets float to the surface.  The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis is a debut mystery that fans of Southern fiction will enjoy, especially ones filled with dark family secrets.

The character of Judith is an interesting one and the Kratt family captivated me from the beginning in The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt. I mean how could it not? There's a murder mystery in her family, a crumbling mansion, heirlooms, and an estranged sister, and so much more.  Plus, there's the fact that Judith has a serious Miss Havisham vibe going on as she relies completely on her maid for just about everything.

In The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt, the mystery of Quincy's murder and why the killer did what he did kept me interested and I was surprised by the outcome.  Bobotis tells the story through flashbacks and that definitely kept me engaged as I loved the setting of 1920s in South Carolina.

Despite the slow start to The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt, I think it's a solid debut novel. Be forewarned, its themes are a bit darker as it does highlight some of the racial tension present in South Carolina in the 20s, screwed up sibling relationships, and some other darker themes as well.  But this is just a word of warning, especially if you like your beach reads to be a little less serious and a whole lot more fluffy.


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Stacking the Shelves (103)



Can't Wait Wednesday: A Constellation of Roses
Book Review: Surfside Sisters by Nancy Thayer  





This week I'll be sharing my thoughts on The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt. I didn't love it as much as I was hoping as it was a bit more serious than I thought, but it was a good historical mystery with a lot of family secrets.  





 



Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza - Thanks to Thomas and Mercer
A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Acebedo - Thanks to Harper Teen and Edelweiss
Freaky in Fresno by Laurie Boyle Crompton - Thanks to Blink YA


Have you read any of these books? Are they on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts. This meme is hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, August 16, 2019

It's Not You, It's Me (23)



It's not you, it's me." This feature will be showcasing books that I never finished or reviewed; you know…...the dreaded DNF.  It has been awhile since I've shared my recent additions to my DNF (did not finish) pile and I wanted to share my thoughts and get some feedback from you guys.  




Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank

I have read a few of her books and while they weren't earth shattering, they were usually light beach reads. This time around I truly struggled with Queen Bee, so I put it aside.  I knew this book wasn't for me when her main character was irritating me and the dialogue seemed hokey.  Would a thirty year old woman actually speak like this?  Frank's writing just seemed dated to me, so perhaps I am not her target audience?  Have you read this book? Are you a fan of Dorothea Benton Frank? Let me know your thoughts.





The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

I was so, so excited to start this audio book as many people have compared it to Game of Thrones meets Outlander. That sounds like a sure-fire win for me, right?  I listened for a few weeks, but I kept getting confused. The dialogue was challenging. The main character often speaks in quotes, obscure references, riddles, etc, and barely anything was an original thought. He kept referencing various things that I wasn't sure about, whether it was a person in history, an event, or even just a character, so I felt myself having to go back and listen again or look it up. I think this book could be good, but not as an audio book.  I tend to do other things when I listen to audio books and this one required my complete attention.  I think for me, it would have to be a close read and I might have to have the companion reference novel in hand.  Have you heard of this novel? Let me know your thoughts. 


I try to power through most books, especially if they are for review, but I couldn't continue on with these two.  What's the last book you added to your DNF pile? What makes you put a book down? Let me know in the comments. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday: A Constellation of Roses

Can't Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Asebedo
Pub. Date: November 5, 2019



Goodreads says, "Ever since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.  Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.  Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life . . . or keep running from the one she’s always known.  With lovable and flawed characters, an evocative setting, and friendships to treasure, A Constellation of Roses is the perfect companion to Miranda Asebedo’s debut novel The Deepest Roots."

Doesn't this YA novel sound good? I haven't read her debut novel yet, but I am really intrigued by this one. I haven't read as many YA novels as I would have liked so far this year, so hopefully this one will be a hit. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Book Review: Surfside Sisters by Nancy Thayer


Pages: 304
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: July 2, 2019
Publisher:  Ballantine
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Keely Green always dreamed of leaving the beautiful shores of Nantucket to become a writer. Now she’s a bestselling novelist living in New York City, attending glamorous cocktail parties and mingling with the literary elite. Keely is also dating a charming, perfectly fine pediatric surgeon who looks good on paper but isn’t “the one.” She just can’t bear to break it off—until he declares his desire to settle down. Then Keely’s editor rejects her latest novel. With her personal and professional lives suddenly in shambles, Keely longs for the soothing island way of life.  Growing up, Keely and her best friend, Isabelle, were inseparable. Nothing could come between them—except, as it turned out, Keely’s high school boyfriend, Tommy. Returning home would mean facing Isabelle’s bitter betrayal and seeing for herself the family Tommy and Isabelle have created, the life that might have been Keely’s.  But when Keely’s mother falls into a deep depression, Keely knows what she must do, even though she is reluctant to face her estranged friend. And encountering Isabelle’s older brother, Sebastian—Keely’s longtime crush—only complicates things.  In one incredible summer, Keely must confront the mistakes of the past if she has any chance of finding true happiness in the place she will always call home. Nancy Thayer shines yet again in this uplifting tale of forgiveness and self-discovery."

Keely Green has grown up as an only child living in Nantucket. Her life has been rather quiet, except when she is hanging out with her best friend, Isabelle.  Isabelle's life is the polar opposite of Keely's.   She has grown up in a privileged household on Nantucket. Her brother, Sebastian, is one of the most popular and charismatic boys in school.  Although Keely and Isabelle have the love of books in common, their similarities end right about there.  As Keely and Isabelle get older, Keely finds herself drawn to Sebastian, but doesn't want Isabelle to think that she is just like every other girl in school, so she keeps her attraction to him hidden.  As they become teenagers and then adults growing up in a small town, there are problems between the two girls, especially when it comes to boys and competing as aspiring writers.  Fast forward many years and Keely is living in New York as a published author and she has to return home to Nantucket to help her mother and reignite her latest novel she is working on.  This all seems well and good until she has to face Isabelle, Sebastian, and her ex-boyfriend, Tommy.  Nancy Thayer's Surfside Sisters is the kind of beach read I love. It's light, there's family drama, a gorgeous location, and a story of forgiveness between life long friends.

I absolutely adored Keely from the minute I met her in Surfside Sisters. Bookworms will especially love Keely and Isabelle's appreciation for the written word and their desire to be published authors.  Their friendship really warmed my heart, that is until boys became an issue.  Isabelle has always loved Tommy, a James Dean sort of person, who isn't the type of boy that her family would expect her to date.  Things get awkward when he asks Keely to the prom; of course she turns him down, but still.  There's a rift between them now.  Then fast forward many years and Keely is home in Nantucket and Isabelle is at college.  Insert Tommy in the equation and cue the drama.  It doesn't help that they both have a desire to become published authors; nonetheless,  I still really loved their relationship and was always rooting for them to reconcile.

Isabelle is a more complex character in Surfside Sisters. I didn't always agree with her actions, but I still cared about her relationship with Keely.  As Isabelle goes off to college and experiences things without Keely, their friendship falls apart a little.  Instead of supporting one another, they find themselves competing.  While I felt for Isabelle a few times in the novel, overall, she wasn't my favorite character as she just seemed so self-absorbed.  As the years go by, she does get a lot better though as she learns and grows. 

The setting of Nantucket was very well done and it's the perfect location for a beach read. Thayer's descriptions of Nantucket during the off season as well as during summertime are very well done; readers can truly get a grasp on what life is life for locals on an island.  

I liked that Thayer's Surfside Sisters was a light beach read that was ultimately a coming-of-age tale, but it also touched on bigger issues, such as, jealousy, friendship throughout the years, aging parents, forgiveness, and so much more. I have to say this is my favorite of Thayer's that I've read yet.  Are you a fan of Nancy Thayer's beach reads? Let me know in the comments.



Friday, August 9, 2019

Books on the Big Screen


There are so, so many great books coming to big and small screens alike the end of this year into 2020.  Here are a few that caught my eye:



The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - Nicole Kidman is in this upcoming movie due out this September.

Little Women by Louise May Alcott - It's coming out this Christmas and Emma Watson is in it along with Meryl Streep. I feel like there's been a lot of Little Women adaptations lately. Wasn't there just one last year on PBS?




 

The Call of the Wild by Jack London - It's due to come out in February and Harrison Ford will be in it!

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - Lily James, from Downton Abbey fame, is going to star in it and it will be on Netflix. Hopefully I can read this classic before it hits the small screen.




 

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer - Judi Dench is in this Disney adaption and it is out May 2020.


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - Colin Firth (!!) is in this family friendly movie due out April of 2020.  




 

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke - This animated movie is coming out in 2020 and Patrick Stewart is providing his voice along with Felicity Jones. 


Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie - This classic mystery will hit big screens on October 2020.  Gal Gadot will be starring in it.







The Witches by Roald Dahl - This classic children's book will be hitting the big screen on October 2020.  Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Chris Rock, and Stanley Tucci will all star in it. It sounds really promising!


The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn - Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman are staring in this thriller, which is due out in 2020.  





 

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty  - This book will be adapted for the small screen and will star Nicole Kidman. It will be on Hulu late 2020.


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng - Joshua Jackson, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon are all promised to star in this TV series with Reese and Kerry co-producing. It will also be on Hulu in 2020.  





 

Fear Street series by R.L. Stine  - This old school teen horror novels will be adapted for the big screen and it's due out in 2020.  The 90s teen in me is thrilled! 


Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli - I love that this YA novel is coming to the big screen in 2020.  Spinelli is a local (to me) author and I've been a fan of him for years!




  


The Witcher by Andrezej Sapkowski - Thank you TV Gods for casting Henry Cavill (swoon!) in this TV adaptation coming to Netflix in late 2019.  This show has been getting a lot of buzz and comparisons are being made to GoT.  Perhaps I should read the bestselling book ahead of time? 

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before 2) by Jenny Han - This sequel is coming to Netflix in 2020. I am excited!





Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn - This romance series is being adapted by none other than Shonda Rimes. Julie Andrews is attached to it (!!) and it will be on Netflix in 2020. I love the Regency Era England, so this seems right up my alley. Will this fill my Downton void? Fingers crossed. 



Which books are you most looking forward to being adapted for TV or movie? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday: The Map From Here to There

Can't Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

The Map From Here to There by Emery Lord
Pub. Date: January 7, 2020



Goodreads says, "Acclaimed author Emery Lord crafts a gorgeous story of friendship and identity, daring to ask: What happens after happily ever after?  It's senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing "the rest of her life," Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be--how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?  Emery Lord's award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life's most important questions."

Ahhh! I am so excited that there is going to be a sequel to The Start of Me and You. I absolutely adored that novel and can't wait to continue Paige's story.  What do you guys think?  

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