Sunday, January 26, 2014

Speak Outlander Lesson 3: Mo Nighean Donn

Squeeeeeee!!!!   : )

REVIEW: The Book Of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Title: The Book Of Tomorrow
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: December, 2009
Genre: General Fiction

Description: This is a story about how tomorrow can change what happens today...

Tamara Goodwin has everything she ever wanted and she never has to think about tomorrow. But suddenly her world is turned upside down and she has to leave her glamorous city life for a new one in the country. However, Tamara is soon lonely and longing to return home.

Then a travelling library arrives in the village, bringing with it a mysterious leather-bound book locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What Tamara discovers within its pages takes her breath away and everything starts to change in the most unexpected of ways...

My Thoughts: The Book of Tomorrow is another story by a very talented author who continues to amaze me with the scope of her talent.

The Book of Tomorrow revolves around Tamara, a young girl coping with the sudden death of her father and loss of her home. She and her mother are forced to move away from all of her friends to live with her aunt and uncle.

Tamara soon meets a boy who drives a travelling library van and he gives her a leather bound book. At first, Tamara is disappointed to discover the pages inside the book are empty, but the magic begins the next day when she opens the book and discovers her own handwriting on the pages detailing the events of tomorrow before it happens!

I wasn't sure I was going to like Tamara at first. She comes across as a very spoiled brat carrying a lot of bad manners and hostility. The more I got to know Tamara, I realized how much pain she is in over her father's death and the circumstances surrounding it, the guilt she feels and her fear at her mother's withdrawal into a near catatonic state.

This story has a lot of very interesting secondary characters that round out the plot and made it much more intriguing. I quickly got pulled into anticipating what events would be described in the pages for Tamara to discover and try to either alter or allow to occur.

I asked myself several times while reading this book if I would want to know in advance what tomorrow brings and I couldn't come up with a definite answer. The idea is very appealing and frightening at the same time. Knowing what is coming forces Tamara to grow up a little bit faster, while making some hard decisions.

My Final Verdict: Fans of Cecelia Ahern's work will enjoy this story immensely. The Book of Tomorrow wasn't my favorite out of the many by her that I have read, but I highly recommend it for its unique story and interesting characters.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 Reading Wrap

Another year has come and gone and the best part of the reading year is upon me as I get to look back and evaluate what I read and how my stats measured up. Unfortunately, 2013 found me reading less and giving up on more books than I did in 2012. I read 37 books and gave up on 4. My goal was to read 50 books in 2013 and I reached 84% of my goal. At the end of 2013, I had to come to the conclusion that I have been kidding myself and setting myself up for massive disappointment by committing to a goal of 50 or more books. I’m lowering it quite a bit for 2014.

Goal for 2014: 40 books

The biggest change to my reading in 2013 was the addition of Travel, Non-Fiction (both spiritual and humorous) and Self-Help. In addition, 2013 saw me adding several Christmas holiday themed books, which I normally do not do. In 2013, I read less Mystery / Suspense / Thriller and more Chick-Lit. I usually get at least one James Patterson in, but I didn’t this time around. There were several Christmas themed books, but I will classify them under Chick-Lit since the primary genre for them fits there. The Young Adult genre was non-existent for me in 2013. That comes as a surprise as I usually am drawn to their fun and interesting plots. Overall, there wasn’t a lot of deviation from my usual reading tastes or preferences.

I was fortunate to come across many new to me authors in 2013 which is always a joy as well as reading multiple titles by favorite authors. Here's how 2013 stacked up:

Chick-Lit: 12
Contemporary Romance: 2
Cozy Mystery: 1
Historical Romance: 1
Mystery / Suspense / Thriller: 10
Paranormal Romance: 5
Romantic Suspense: 3
Urban Fantasy: 2
Non-Fiction: 2
Self-Help: 1
Travel: 1
Young Adult: 0
Other Fiction / Literature: 1

A big shout out to the authors who were new to me and the authors that made multiple appearances in my reading year:

New To Me Authors In 2013
Mali Apple
J.K. Beck
Alafair Burke
Todd Burpo
Anita Clenney
Michele Gorman
Wendy Holden
Catherine Jinks
Jan King
Chrissie Manby
Christy Nicholas
Tim Sandlin
Sherry Soule
Linda Wisdom
Anya Wylde

Authors Read Multiple Times In 2013
Michele Gorman
J.D. Robb
Nora Roberts
Karen Rose
Kate White
Anya Wylde

My selection for the best reads of 2013 in the order they were read are:

You Don’t Know Jack by Erin McCarthy
When Blood Calls by J.K. Beck
Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo
Dead Connection by Alafair Burke
Haunted by Kelley Armstrong
Scream For Me by Karen Rose
Deadly Legacy by Robin Burcell
Delusion In Death by J.D. Robb
The Witness by Nora Roberts
The Night I Got Lucky by Laura Caldwell
Return To Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
Everything In Its Time by Dee Davis
The Accidental Virgin by Valerie Frankel
Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
Fourplay by Jane Moore
Bella Summer Takes A Chance by Michele Gorman
Calculated In Death by J.D. Robb
Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman
The Christmas List by Chrissie Manby
Kill For Me by Karen Rose
Ireland: Mythical, Magical, Mystical: A Guide To Hidden Ireland by Christy Nicholas
So Pretty It Hurts by Kate White
Penelope by Anya Wylde
The Eggnog Chronicles by Carly Alexander
The Racketeer by John Grisham
The Dangers Of Mistletoe by Theresa Alan

Here's hoping 2014 will be a more productive year!

Monday, January 13, 2014

REVIEW: Lying To Meet You by Anna Garner

Title: Lying To Meet You
Author: Anna Garner
Publication Date: September, 2013
Genre: Chick-Lit

Description: Does being in a relationship make you a hot commodity in the eyes of would-be suitors?

Chloe Lane is about to find out. When her childhood pal, Ethan Webster, asks her to play the part of his girlfriend in order to test this theory, she reluctantly agrees. As a work-crazed fashion designer, boutique owner and soon-to-be reality show judge, Chloe has no time for a real boyfriend, but being part of a faux pair will do just fine. Not that she has any intention of trying to attract someone else.


Opportunity unexpectedly knocks when Chloe meets fellow reality judge, William Shannon. Super successful and super sexy, this high-powered entrepreneur inspires Chloe to test Ethan’s theory herself. Now, on top of keeping her fashion business productive, carving out a new role as a television personality, maintaining a fake relationship and attempting to lay the groundwork for a future relationship, she’s lying to William, lying to her friends, lying to her family and quite possibly lying to herself. Will Chloe be able to keep it all together, or are things about to explode?

My Thoughts: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Lying to Meet You was a very cute and entertaining story by new to me author Anna Garner about an up and coming fashion designer who lands a gig as a judge on a reality television show. Over dinner one evening with her childhood friend, Ethan, they discuss the topic of being attractive to the opposite sex only when they are in a relationship. Deciding to test the theory, they agree to pretend to be in a relationship. Ethan has his eye on a coworker and Chloe is quite smitten with William Shannon, a fellow judge on the reality show.

I really enjoyed the premise of this story. Chloe and Ethan’s ruse could result in several outcomes, to my way of thinking. They could learn that their theory proves bupkis and they are no more attractive to others regardless of their relationship status. They could learn that the theory is true and they both get the relationship they are wanting. They could learn that this theory brings them closer together and they develop feelings for one another or the whole thing blows up in their face and not only does it destroy their friendship, but brings down a whole hot mess from all of their friends and family who have been lied to about this project. Exciting, isn’t it? I was quite literally rubbing my hands together in gleeful anticipation to read this book.

I absolutely loved Chloe and Ethan. As friends, they have a great relationship, very close and comfortable, like you would expect to see of life-long friends. I enjoyed their easy dialogue with one another and their companionship. As a pretend couple, I got such a kick at watching them try to come up with cute pet names for one another, having “dates” (I will never look at Karaoke the same again) and being lovey dovey in front of friends and family.

My Final Verdict: As a new reader to Anna Garner’s work, I give her a high-five for delivering a story that immediately drew me in and kept me connected to the story and the characters. I will definitely be on the hunt for more of her work. Fans of contemporary romance and the chick-lit genres will find this story appealing and a lot of fun. If you are already familiar with Ms. Garner’s work, Lying to Meet You will provide another enjoyable experience for your reading adventures. If you are new to her work, this book is an excellent choice to begin.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

REVIEW: Caught by Harlan Coben

Title: Caught
Author: Harlan Coben
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: March, 2010
Genre: Mystery / Thriller

Description: 17-year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate-and nationally televised-sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

In a novel that challenges as much as it thrills, filled with the astonishing tension and unseen suburban machinations that have become Coben's trademark, Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can't trust her own instincts about this story-or the motives of the people around her.

My Thoughts: A very fascinating riveting story that drew me in immediately. Several plots are occurring simultaneously in this book that appear to be separate and individual but begin to connect together. A missing teenager who vanishes in the middle of the night without a trace and leaves the entire community baffled. A social worker’s arrest as a sexual predator of children opens up more questions than answers. I was prepared to dislike Wendy Tynes initially. She struck me as a Nancy Grace type of journalist looking for explosive headlines and bright lights and assuming her target was guilty without due process. The story weaves in and around the characters of this story to make the reader unsure of their own convictions. Several times while reading this book I was positive that Dan Mercer was a pedophile and had killed the missing girl, but a few pages later, I began to doubt and then start the process over again. This book really made me think about the criminal justice system in this country, when it works and works well, and also when it doesn’t.

This book is also about rash decisions and how they can alter lives forever. Decisions made by Haley, Dan, Wendy and others lead to actions by others that cause a tsunami effect of destruction in their wake. This book showed me that nothing is ever as it seems on the surface but all too often, people go with that perception and make judgments based on it.

Harlan Coben is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors to turn to when I want a story that packs a solid punch but still manages to surprise the reader. This story brought out a range of emotions in me while reading. Everything from anger and shock to fear and sorrow combined with some tears and laughter will give the reader a thoroughly entertaining, though exhausting experience.

My Final Verdict: If you enjoy James Patterson, I highly recommend you try Harlan Coben. He is definitely a master of his craft. Find a comfortable chair, kick off your shoes and settle in for a thrilling adventure when you open this book. You won’t want to put it down.


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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)