#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.

thoughts-divider
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?

myrating

4cocu (2)

Advertisements

#ThrowbackThursday: PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han

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 🙂

Okay, here I am again with Jenny Han’s books, this time with PS I Still Love You.

P.S. I Still Love You
(To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2)
by Jenny Han

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

I totally liked how this story veered through some changes after the first book in the series. I liked how the story progressed. I thought John Ambrose McLaren was really a cool and devastatingly handsome guy (imagine a younger Robert Redford, oh my!) but I felt that he was lacking something, I just couldn’t pinpoint what. Peter Kavinsky, well he hasn’t changed since in grade school but there was something about him that endeared to me. I can’t explain how I felt about him. But Lara Jean’s decision in the end made my heart go pitter-patter like rain – the emotions flowed right through me and I couldn’t contain it.

The Lara Jean I met in the first book, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, was a little awkward and goody-goody until the bath tub scene. For this second story, I liked that she became stronger and more opinionated. As usual, her family was really loving and lovable at the same time. I am excited for Daddy Song’s possible lovelife, yay!!

When I first read this story about a year ago, I didn’t know about Jenny Han’s decision to write another book. What I thought was a beautiful duology already became a trilogy and now I have re-read this book to prepare myself for the third installment, Always and Forever Lara Jean. Yes, I am definitely going to dive in to the third story as soon as possible, I wouldn’t want to be left out!

#ThrowbackThursday: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

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 🙂

For the first Thursday of August, I am re-reading this book by the adorable Jenny Han, and reminiscing the friendship before Lara Jean, Peter, Margot, Josh and Kitty hit the big screen soon!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 
(To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1)
by Jenny Han

coffeesynopsisd

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.

They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only.

But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. And suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

coffeethoughts

Dear Crush,

You knew first hand during grade school that I’ve got a crush on you, right? The first time we met, it was during an oratorical contest and we were competitors. You caught me staring at you multiple times and I had the audacity to tell you that you were cute. But I just did that because I thought we would never see each other again.

Lo and behold! A year later, we entered high school, and I was surprised to see you standing beside the flag pole, looking lost. Then there was that flicker of recognition in your eyes that made me smile. You remembered me! I was so happy! What made me more ecstatic was when I learned that you were gonna be my classmate for the next four years!

And then my bestfriend told me he saw you kissing Rosalie under the mango tree. My heart was crushed. Why was I so blind? Of course you had a girlfriend already. With your good looks, bedroom voice, sweet smile and bright mind… who wouldn’t fall for you?

So this is my hello and goodbye letter. But before I end this note, let me tell you one thing. I am now over you.

Seriously. You know why I decided to write you a letter? I actually got this inspiration (more like stole the idea) from Jenny Han, a very effective author if I may say so. You should read this. I mean her book. You should read it. You’ll like Peter Kavinsky, you might feel an affinity with him.

Lara Jean, the female main character, was a little too childish at first. Really, I thought I wouldn’t be able to get through with the whole book because I had this impression that she was a weakling and acted like a 12 year old instead of 16. Like she didn’t know what to do with her life, or with herself, now that her older sister Margot was moving to Scotland. It was time for her to grow up!

Then her love letters happened. Love letters that were mysteriously sent out to the boys she loved before. Peter Kavinsky, her first kiss, got a letter. Josh, her next-door neighbor and her older sister’s ex-boyfriend got a letter. The one from the camp got a letter. Even the one who happened to be gay got her letter. Lara Jean was doomed.

Except, everything seemed to change once the love letters were received. Soon, Josh learned the truth, became more interested in her. But she asked Peter to pretend as her boyfriend just to save face. Could their pretend relationship lead them out to nowhere?

loveletter

 

In the end, I realized, I liked Lara Jean and her unique “quirky” self. I liked how she was slowly growing up, how she was slowly taking in the things she’d been afraid to do before.

And Peter.. well, he’s the one who really stood out for me. He got me all giddy and dreamy, and reminded me a lot about you, my dear crushie. He was a total heartbreaker, and I don’t blame him one bit.

Josh.. I still got some issues about Josh. I think he better get his act together. For Lara Jean’s sake. For Margot’s sake. For his sake.

I want to end this note in a promise. A promise that I won’t ever be bothering you again, my dear crush. I’m glad I didn’t pursue you in high school. Ha, that would have been very awkward and embarrassing, don’t you think?

But this is not the end yet for Lara Jean and Peter and Josh.. And Kitty and Margot and Genevieve, too. And then there’s still McLaren, another guy from Lara Jean’s past who mildly intrigued me. They’re more interesting to know now, you know.

So, this is it. Goodbye Crush. Thanks for your time. Have a nice life.

– P.S.
I was the one who put the cupcake on your locker on our last Christmas party.

#ThrowbackThursday: The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins

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 🙂

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.

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.

 

IMG_20160929_082230

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!