AnnAlysis: Ripper

The Jackson women, Indiana and Amanda, have always had each other. Yet, while their bond is strong, mother and daughter are as different as night and day. Indiana, a beautiful holistic healer, is a free-spirited bohemian. Long divorced from Amanda’s father, she’s reluctant to settle down with either of the men who want her-Alan, the wealthy scion of one of San Francisco’s elite families, and Ryan, an enigmatic, scarred former Navy SEAL.

While her mom looks for the good in people, Amanda is fascinated by the dark side of human nature, like her father, the SFPD’s Deputy Chief of Homicide. Brilliant and introverted, the MIT-bound high school senior is a natural-born sleuth addicted to crime novels and Ripper, the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world.

When a string of strange murders occurs across the city, Amanda plunges into her own investigation, discovering, before the police do, that the deaths may be connected. But the case becomes all too personal when Indiana suddenly vanishes. Could her mother’s disappearance be linked to the serial killer? Now, with her mother’s life on the line, the young detective must solve the most complex mystery she’s ever faced before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:
I listened to this on audio book. It was on the new shelf and I thought the combination of murders and teenage online sleuths sounded pretty intriguing.

Unfortunately, I liked the summary better than the book itself. There were a few times I almost stopped listening, but I never have the heart to do it.

I liked a couple of characters in the book. I liked Amanda. She’s a dork and she’s witty, but she is extremely rude to her grandfather. I liked Ryan, former military, whose dog is his right hand man. The rest of the characters, they fell flat for me.

The story itself fell flat for me too. I felt there was a lot going on, taking into account all the stories of all the characters, the police and gamers trying to track down the murderer and how it was going to hit home.

I have been reading a lot of other reviews on this book. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m not the only one who thought the book fell flat. It appears that others have loved former books by Allende and that this is her first attempt at mystery writing.

I give Ripper 2 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: January 2014
Author Website

AnnAlysis: The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

romanov sistersFrom Goodreads:
They were the Princess Dianas of their day—perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.

Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. With this treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, we learn that they were intelligent, sensitive and perceptive witnesses to the dark turmoil within their immediate family and the ominous approach of the Russian Revolution, the nightmare that would sweep their world away, and them along with it.

The Romanov Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia, World War I and the Russian Revolution. Rappaort aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections. It is a book that will surprise people, even aficionados.

My Thoughts:
I must be honest that prior to me getting this book, I had heard the name “Romanov” but couldn’t have told you anything about the people the name belonged to. I was intrigued to learn about these young women, and the life they lived, and what led to their deaths.

I try to add in a little historical fact/fiction in my reading every now and then so I’m getting a grasp on reality, as well as adding to my vast collection on fiction. But, I am a very slow reader when it comes to history. This is something I struggled with since I was little. It just doesn’t click with me. I have to re-read things several times. The names and places, they all just swim in my head. A couple of the things that I really liked about this book are the notes and index that goes along with the story. But those also slow down my reading time! :)

I also really liked the use of diary entries to really give you a feel of what was going on during this time. It’s amazing what a first hand account can do for a story.

If you like history, this is a great book. But even if you’re more of a fiction lover, like myself, this book really reads like fiction. It’s really hard to believe this story is real. If you can get the names and locations down, you should be golden.

I have not finished this book yet. It’s one that I am leaving by my bedside and will continue to read here and there to get more of the story. Since I haven’t finished it, I hate to rate it at this time, but I have enjoyed what I have read so far. To check out what others are saying, click the links below. The book is getting an average of 4-4.5 stars.

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eleased: June 3
Author Website


Defining Ethos

I am so excited to share this new shop with you guys. My good pal Kevin, who helps with all the technical stuff on my blog that is above my head (yes I used the word stuff), has opened up a new shop and I absolutely love it!

It’s called Defining Ethos. You can find all kinds of goodies: bracelets, necklaces, scarves, charms, and other accessories.

Here are some of my favorite items in the shop right now:







Aren’t these cute?? I hope you noticed the Mockingjay Pin on the second bracelet and the cats on the scarf!! And the best part? They are priced great! Scarves start at $7, and necklaces and bracelets as low as $5! Oh and if you put in the promo code kari10, you’ll get an extra 10% off your total purchase!

Make sure that along with checking out the site, you also follow along on social media for updates and other awesome discount codes!

AnnAlysis: Cherringham: Murder on Thames

cherringhamFrom Goodreads:
Cherringham is a quiet and peaceful town in the Cotswolds. Time moves slowly here, and nothing out of the ordinary ever happens, until one morning a woman’s body is discovered in the river. Sarah Edwards has just returned to Cherringham with her two children following the breakdown of her marriage. Sarah had been friends with Sammi Jackson – the woman in the river –before they both moved to London and she’s certain there is more to her death than meets the eye. But juggling the school run and her job as a web designer doesn’t leave much time to solve murder mysteries.

After the death of his wife, former NYPD homicide detective Jack Brennan has retired to Cherringham hoping for a quiet life. He soon realises “peace and quiet” isn’t really him and, despite his misgivings, he’s persuaded by Sarah to help her look into Sammi’s death. It quickly becomes clear that the case isn’t as simple as the police hope. From her violent ex-boyfriend to her alcoholic father, it seems everyone has something to hide. Sarah and Jack will need to use all their wits to get to the bottom of this case.

My Thoughts:
I love cozy mysteries! I love these fun, quick reads, especially when they are set in a lovely sleepy little English village.

This is one of 12 episodes to be released throughout this year.  And I’m told I can already get my hot little hands on the first 7 episodes, so expect more where this came from. I really like that this is something that can be read in a Sunday afternoon when not much else is going on. Sometimes after a tough read or two, all I really want is something quick and easy. You’ll definitely get it from here.

The main characters in this book are Sarah, a local, back in town after a failed marriage. And Jack, a Yank, and former NYPD detective. Sarah is obviously drawn to the murder because in a different life, she was best friends with Sammi. And Jack, he realizes from the get-go that something smells a little fishy with this body washed ashore. I like Sarah. Jack’s a little grouchy, but they work well, after the ice thaws. I’ll be interested to see how their relationship develops in the rest of the series.

I give Cherringham: Murder on Thames 4.5 out of 5 bookmarks. I’m giving this one a little room because I’m hoping for big things through the rest of the series!!

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Released: December 2013
Virtual Tour Site

AnnAlysis: The Glass Kitchen

the glass kitchenFrom Goodreads:
Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan . . . and never cook again.

But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own.

Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from.

What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream. 

The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family.

My Thoughts:
Before I start with what’s inside the book, let’s discuss what’s on the outside and the beautiful, amazing work of art that it is. Mason jars have made a come back. Everyone loves the rustic country feel of them, especially in my neck of the woods. One of my favorite decorations I have is a mason jar lamp. So obviously the cover stole my heart. I love the jars, the color choice of paint and the flowers. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Simple and perfect and by far my favorite cover this year so far.

Now to the book. Well, I loved it just as much as the cover. I loved that Portia has this thing, the “sight” for food. She sees something in her head and has to cook it. Only later does she find out what it all means. Blessing and a curse, huh? So of course with the sight, and the word “kitchen” in the title, you know we’re going to have some time in the kitchen and great recipes to go along with it. I love nothing more than a novel about food with recipes in the back! I’ve only ever made one, but it’s nice to know if I’m reminiscing about a book and its food, I can go back and try them later.

Along with the food, I also really liked this story. I liked the growth of not only Piper and her sisters, but also Gabe and his girls. Every single person in this book has a little storyline and something they are needing to deal with or come to terms with before they can be happy or complete again. Lee did a great job of writing these lines for all ages. You have two little girls, their father, and three grown women all with different struggles and Lee makes you feel so close all of them and what they are going through. Portia’s character, and Gabriel’s younger daughter, Ariel, are my two favorite characters in the book. Portia is very witty and while she has been through quite a bit with a nasty divorce, and is trying to find her feet, she starts fresh in NYC and she lets the “magic” that she hid inside run free…. or semi free. And Ariel. Who doesn’t love a feisty little girl who is years beyond her age? She is an awesome character!

I give The Glass Kitchen 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: June 17, 2014
Author Website