#ThrowbackThursday: Love The One You’re With by Emily Giffin

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

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Love The One You’re With
by Emily Giffin

coffeesynopsisdThis is the story for anyone who has ever wondered: How can I truly love the one I’m with when I can’t forget the one who got away?

 Ellen and Andy’s first year of marriage doesn’t just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she’s living is the one she’s meant to live.

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The story began with Ellen Graham, who reasoned she’s got OCD and thus counted the days since she got married with Andy. And it had been eight years and sixteen days since she heard his voice again. And bumped into him while walking the streets. Her ex lover’s voice. Her former flame. The one that got away. Her Leo.

Ellen got great taste in photography, she had the talent and skill. So when Leo offered her a job to take pictures of celebrities, she grabbed the opportunity. She didn’t tell her husband Andy about her encounter with Leo. No, she hid it and managed to forget about her husband while she was with her ex. As the reader, I was hurting.

Andy no longer filled her wife’s thoughts. Andy seemed to be getting farther and farther away from Ellen’s mind. Andy, poor Andy.

After reading the book, I was left hanging. I didn’t know what I am looking for, but somehow, I felt like there should have been more story to it. While I was contented with how Ellen and Andy ended, I still had this feeling that Ellen shouldn’t have done what she did. But it was just me.

“Sometimes there are no happy endings. No matter what, I’ll be losing something, someone. Maybe that’s what it all comes down to. Love, not as a surge of passion, but as a choice to commit to something, someone, no matter what obstacles or temptations stand in the way. And maybe making that choice, again and again, day in and day out, year after year, says more about love than never having a choice to make at all.”

Emily Giffin expertly wove a tale of love entangled with infidelity, trust, presumptions, choices and decisions. While I have been vocal about my uneasiness with unfaithful married couples, I couldn’t really put down a good book. The author’s writing had been effective, because it made me mad at her and Ellen. To me, that’s a brave trait authors should all practice and possess!

 

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#ThrowbackThursday: Heist Society by Ally Carter

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

Here’s my share for this week. Ally Carter’s Heist Society series. First up is Heist Society.

 

Heist Society (Heist Society #1)
by Ally Carter

coffeesynopsisdWhen Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

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Katarina Bishop is not your ordinary teen-age girl. At her tender age of 3, she had been witness to her father’s various heist adventures that made her family infamous in the field of theft. But Kat has a rule – “I don’t take things that don’t belong to me.”

When she got tired of his family’s affair, she enrolled herself in the highly reputable Colgan School and enjoyed being a normal student until 3 months later, was accused of trashing the headmaster’s car at 2am. She got expelled, of course, but she was surprised when Hale came to fetch her.

Now, imagine a younger Brad Pitt from his character in Ocean’s 12, or a teenage Pierce Brosnan from Thomas Crown Affair – dashingly handsome and witty – and you’ll get a picture of W.W. Hale the Fifth. Hale has been part of the Heist Society where Kat & her family belong. Kat discovered that her father was accused of stealing valuable paintings from a mobster, Arture Taccone and now it was up to Kat and Hale and their teenage gang (with newcomer gorgeous Nick!) to get everything right – including an operation of stealing 5 paintings from one of the greatest museums – The Henley Gallery.

I love this book! After some reading some New Adult books full of raging male-testosterone, I decided to read something that mysteriously cozy light story and I was impressed with Carter’s take on Heist Society. Although this is still considered YA, which I am not, I really couldn’t put the book down. I really like Kat, she’s strong-willed, knows what she likes and how to get it – even having to turn her father to the Interpol just to make sure that the mobster Taccone won’t hurt him. That’s how she values her family and friends.

Furthermore, I really like he way Carter gently nudged Kat’s attention to Hale without making their potential love story the focus of the book. It’s great to read something that doesn’t involve in head-over-heels love affair. As mentioned above, it was like imagining the younger Ocean’s 11 or 12 cast, only with Julia Roberts at the helm and not George Clooney or Brad Pitt.

I commend Ally Carter for this wonderful series. She manages to combine great action, humor, history and romance in this well plotted novel. I loved this story of teen thieves pulling the ultimate con/heist. Really well written and a fun plot.. do I really need to say this again and again?

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4cocu (2)

#ThrowbackThursday: The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins

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It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

Today, I’m featuring the mystery thriller, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which was made into a movie a year ago. Take note, I haven’t seen the movie so this review is purely related to the book.

The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Everyday, Rachel Watson rode the train, with alcohol in her hand, reliving the moments of her day, wove stories in her head and somehow still wished she was still married to her ex, Tom. She was an alcoholic and often had blackouts. Everyday, she passed by “Jess and Jason’s” house and imagined their perfect wonderful life. Until one day she saw something that shocked her and changed everything she knew about the people in her old neighborhood.

Megan and Scott didn’t exactly resemble the happy family that Rachel imagined them to be. Megan had issues with her neighbors, her job (or lack thereof), her husband. Megan’s disappearance in the story came as a shock and Scott’s abusive nature gripped my throat.

Anna Watson, Tom’s new wife and mother of their child, was something else. She’s unreliable, pretentious, insecure. I can’t say much about her because really, there was nothing likeable about her in my opinion. So there.

The characters were so unsettling that for the first time in my life, I didn’t favor any of them, wasn’t at all thrilled at anyone,  In my eyes, Rachel Watson was desperate, Anna Watson was unforthcoming, and Megan was erratic. Tom and Scott were both horrendous, that’s all I could say about them.

But darn it, I wasn’t expecting that ending! Sure I’ve had my fair share of mysteries and thrillers, I thought I have already mastered the art of eliminating the possible suspects and guessing whodunnit. But I was wrong. Once again, I was left with my mouth hanging open at the turn of events.

The Girl on the Train had been a great read, quite disturbing and somehow  I found the whole story gripping and madly disturbingly awesome.

 

#ThrowbackThursday | Review: Deception Point by Dan Brown

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my newest favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

Today, I love some science fiction and drama, so I chose Deception Point by Dan Brown.


Deception Point
by Dan Brown

When a new NASA satellite spots evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory…a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election. With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Milne Ice Shelf to verify the authenticity of the find. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery — a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy.

But before Rachel can contact the President, she and Michael are attacked by a deadly team of assassins controlled by a mysterious power broker who will stop at nothing to hide the truth. Fleeing for their lives in an environment as desolate as it is lethal, their only hope for survival is to find out who is behind this masterful ploy. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.

Rachel Sexton is one tough woman who isn’t fazed by her own powerful senator-father. NASA makes a very interesting discovery, one that might change one’s beliefs about aliens. There’s a conspiracy within the political ranks and the powers that be were doing their best to keep NASA from being dismantled.

A year after Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was turned into a movie, I got the chance to read this other book with sci-fi distinction. It was only then I realized that this book came first before A&D and Da Vinci. I never thought Brown could write something like this. I liked that the use of cutting-edge technology and futuristic fighting equipment was prolifically translated in the book.

This book leaves you wondering what’s coming next, and makes you feel like watching a great flick instead of just reading it. Well, actually, this book reminded me a lot of X-Files (Moulder and Scully!!! – ugh, I feel old!)

Overall, if you’re into science fiction and astronomy stories, this book is for you. I hope to read other books by the author (the last book I read of him was Da Vinci Code) and hope to understand what makes people tick when they read Dan Brown. Admit it or not, he is quite controversial, don’t you think?

 

ThrowbackThursday: The Devil Who Tamed Her by Johanna Lindsey

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again, the first one in July and I’m back with my newest favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) This is her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

I wasn’t able to do the whole TBT meme for the month of June as I had been knee-deep at work and at home. I scheduled mostly of my posts (promo tours, reveals, etc) and had lesser book reviews last month. This July, I hope to be more productive and engaging at the same time.

So for my #ThrowbackThursday book – it’s from one of the all-time favorite romance bestseller, Johanna Lindsey, The Devil Who Tamed Her.

The Devil Who Tamed Her (Reid Family 2)
by Johanna Lindsey

Johanna Lindsey presents a spirited Regency-era novel about the transforming power of true love.

 

Ophelia Reid is an incomparable beauty and a ruthless gossip. Having purposely wrecked her arranged engagement to future marquis Duncan MacTavish, Ophelia wants to return to London’s marriage mart and make her own choice of a wealthy husband. But on her journey home, something unexpected happens….The heir to a dukedom, Raphael Locke is the most sought-after young lord in England. When MacTavish claims that Ophelia will never be anything but spiteful, Rafe bets his friend otherwise. Whisking her to his country estate, Rafe shows his furious, sharp-tongued “guest” the error of her ways and discovers the surprising reasons for her bad behavior. When Rafe champions the new and improved Ophelia’s re-entry to London society, marriage proposals pour in. But has Rafe gone and fallen in love with Ophelia himself?

What will change her mischievous ways: prudence or passion?

 

This second book from the Reid Family series (I haven’t read the first one, silly me!) is exquisite. Ophelia is a character that you would surely love to hate and eventually hate to love. No wonder young Raphael Locke, Viscount Lynnfield, heir to a dukedom, (wow, that’s a mouthful!) is having a hard time with his feeling while taming “Her Royal Shrewdness.” Misunderstood at first, Ophelia gradually healed the wounds that she herself had inflicted before. What started as a bet might just end up with no winners at all. Sounds kinda familiar, but the feelings of butterflies in my stomach always turn me into a gushing little child.

This is a nice read, perfect bedtime story or when lounging on the sofa waiting for an appointment. I wish I have read the first book so I could very well understand why Ophelia was hated by almost everyone. For sure there’s a reason behind this. I myself wasn’t sure I’d like her in the beginning, but eventually, she warmed up to me.

As for the young Viscount, he’s always welcome to bet on me anytime. Kisses from him would be the ultimate reward. Ha!

Johanna Lindsey really knows how to tickle everyone’s imagination. A regency romance like this is always a welcome respite on a hot summer day. Looking back at those previous books written by Lindsey, I’d say this is actually tamed. But still titillating nonetheless. That’s why I always go back to her books when I feel blue.

ThrowbackThursday: A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my newest favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

In my case, I decided to re-read and feature my favorite book of all time. Yes, whenever someone asks me what book really got me, it’s none other than Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk To Remember.

A Walk to Remember
by Nicholas Sparks

Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he’d fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister.

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it.

Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter’s life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood…

I was supposed to re-read this last month, being April was the special month for Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan. But my busy daily routines got in the way so I had to postpone it. Good thing I finally got to squeeze some time for Nicholas Sparks, and here I am bawling again.

I don’t know why I never get tired of Landon and Jamie. To me, they are proof that love beyond time is possible. That love is something we can always hold on to until our last breath. Their love story always touch my heart. A Walk to Remember is my ultimate favorite book of all time. It’s always my number 1.

As a Christian myself, I loved Jamie’s character. She wad very inspiring; she didn’t lose hope. She was able to reach out and changed Landon’s character for the better. There was not a single moment that I did not cry. And there’s no one else to blame but Nicholas Sparks. I’ve read this book so many years ago even before it was made into a film, and I make it a point to read it every year.

I always wonder how a guy could ever write something as cheesy as his writings! I always thought women authors were better writers because they are more adept to everyone’s feelings. Nicholas Sparks proved me wrong. He is a work of art, his writings are masterpieces. Although many people tell me his characters always end up dead or getting sick and senile and sometimes, no promise of a happy ending, I still want to read his books over and over again. Because his books serve as my anchor to reality, to truth, to God and to life.

I’ve read almost all of Sparks’ books and would still be reading them even when I get old and grey.

Throwback Thursday: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Throwback Thursday is a new meme created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. I started joining last week and I loved the idea so I am participating again.

Today, it’s Agatha Christie’s turn for some mystery and suspense. Here’s one of my favorites from her Hercule Poirot series, Murder on the Orient Express.

 

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Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Series: Hercule Poirot #10
Author: Agatha Christie

“The murderer is with us – on the train now…”

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again…

I’ve read books featuring Orient Express, and I’ve always been intrigued with its reputation. The first time I heard about this was on the book, Dracula by Bram Stoker, if my memory serves me right, where Dracula escaped to Paris using the renowned train. When I got this book in College, I knew I had to read it because it involved murder and mystery and mayhem.

This had been one of my favorites from Agatha Christie. I liked Hercule Poirot not only for his wit but also for his abrasive personality. This dapper Belgian detective was quite a character, who had the audacity to refuse a certain malevolent millionaire Samuel Ratchett, simply because “I do not like your face, Mr. Ratchett,” he says. Ha! Burn!

I’m sorry if I seem to have enjoyed that particular scene, I was just amazed by Christie’s protagonist’s over-the-top personality. Well, of course, the dead man happened to also be a kidnapper, so I couldn’t blame Poirot if he wasn’t as enthusiastic as he was when he first met him.

Furthermore, the way Poirot handled the murder scene investigations was impressive and meticulous. He used his charm and wit to his advantage in order to solve the case. Every chapter, my guesses shift from one person to another, until that moment when it hit me, I never guessed the murderer correctly.

Overall, I thought this was a well-thought up mystery that only Agatha Christie could deliver. I wouldn’t get tired reading her books!