What I’ve read, so far, this year

Good evening, bloggers! My apologies for not being as active on my page for a while. I believe I’ve overwhelmed myself with the many books I’ve wanted to read, including the surprise book mail I’d receive from giveaways. Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, but I think we all have been there, right?

No matter, I’ll make the most of it. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a list of every book I’ve read this year, mainly ones I did enjoy and ones I found just okay.

  • The Second Life of Nick Mason, by Steve Hamilton
  • Hausfrau, by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  • The Killer Inside Me, by Jim Thompson
  • The Dark Lake, by Sarah Bailey
  • 24: Deadline (24: Live Another Day, #1), by James Swallow
  • Background Music, by J.R. Rogue
  • The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, by Cherise Wolas
  • The Butcher’s Wife, by Li Ang
  • Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life, by Gary John Bishop
  • The Aquitaine Progression, by Robert Ludlum
  • Convicted, by Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins
  • Cicada Summer, by Maureen Leurck
  • The United Continuums (Continuum Trilogy, #3), by Jennifer Brody
  • Swann’s Way Out (Henry Swann, #4), by Charles Salzberg
  • The Gemini Contenders, by Robert Ludlum
  • The Dog Who Was There, by Ron Marasco
  • The Map That Leads to You, by J.P. Monninger
  • Come Sundown, by Nora Roberts
  • The Breakdown, by B.A. Paris
  • Lift and Separate, by Marilyn Simon Rothstein
  • He Said/She Said, by Erin Kelly
  • Public Library and Other Stories, by Ali Smith
  • Luellen & Lucy, by Dee DeTarsio
  • Definitions of Indefinable Things, by Whitney Taylor
  • Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
  • The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition, by Gary Chapman
  • Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls, #1), by Lisa See
  • The Summer That Melted Everything, by Tiffany McDaniel
  • The Golden Gate, by Vikram Seth
  • Still Missing, by Chevy Stevens
  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough
  • The German Girl, by Armando Lucas Correa
  • The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, by Louise Miller
  • Not Exactly Love: A Memoir, by Betty Hafner

So there’s my list. I hope you all are enjoying your current reads. Are there any books on this list you’ve read or want to read? Feel free to post your comments. New reviews will be up as soon as possible. Happy reading!


“The United Continuums”–Review

513Kz8kOo8L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Hello, bloggers! I can’t believe this trilogy has come to an end. I was so excited to read all of the books in the Continuum trilogy, so here’s my review of the final installment.

Aero Wright, of the outer space Second Continuum, must lead a group of insurgents to overthrow his rival, Supreme General Vinick, and to unite his space colony’s military forces. Seeker, from the underground Seventh Continuum, embarks on a secret mission back to her colony to reinforce Earth’s defenses and protect the First Continuum against an even greater threat. Meanwhile, Myra Jackson, from the underwater 13th Continuum, is anxiously preparing the fight against the Dark Thing that is approaching Earth with the threat to eradicate the planet’s fledgling populace if the secret of the Doom isn’t handed over. The only way the three Carriers, including their armies, can avoid another coming of the Doom is to stand together and destroy the Dark Thing and save the remaining colonies.

I’m sad to see this superb trilogy come to an end, but it was definitely worth reading. I enjoyed the suspense, the dialogue, and how it all left me wanting more. The characters were amazing, as well. Many scenes made me sad, some angry, and some happy. What I also like about the idea behind the stories is that, no matter how badly things have turned out, there’s always a chance of hope. The author did a wonderful job. If you haven’t read these books, I encourage you read them. Honestly, these books will be on my mind for a while. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Jennifer Brody lives and writes in Los Angeles. After graduating from Harvard University, she began her career in feature film development. Highlights include working at New Line Cinema on many projects, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Golden Compass, and Love In The Time of Cholera. She’s a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She also founded and runs BookPod, a social media platform for authors. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

“He Said/She Said”–Review

51C2M6jShgL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Who Do You Believe?

With chapters alternating from past to present, this is a story of Laura and Kit, a couple who were young and in love in the summer of 1999.  Kit has always been an eclipse chaser, so he and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun.  It is also a first time that Laura’s witnessing an eclipse.

After the moment is over, Laura wanders about and then just happens to witness what looks like a rape.  Although the accused man, Jamie Balcombe, swears it’s not what it appears, the victim, Beth Taylor, is practically mute and in shock.  But Laura knows what she saw.  After Jamie is arrested and later convicted, an appreciative Beth moves in on Laura and Kit’s lives.  While showering them with gifts as a token of her gratitude, it isn’t long before Beth’s attitude changes.  Kit wants Beth out of their lives, while Laura wants to see the best in her.  However, Laura starts to see that Kit just might be right, so they go to great lengths to get away from Beth.

Fifteen years later, in 2015, Laura and Kit live in a new home and changed their names.  Laura is pregnant and Kit is preparing for his trip to see a new eclipse.  No matter, Beth couldn’t possibly find them.  They’ve been living as carefully as possible and have agreed to not have any social media accounts.  But why have they had to live this way?  And why do they still feel as if they’re being watched?

As the story progresses, more secrets are revealed, including some unexpected twists.

I enjoyed this story because each chapter made me wonder whose side I was going to take.  How far are people willing to go to save themselves?  And who was actually telling the truth?  With every surprise, I wasn’t quite sure whom to believe.  As for Beth and Jamie, was it rape or consent?  It gets interesting, in my opinion.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

He Said/She Said will be available on June 6, 2017.

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Erin Kelly has worked as a freelance journalist for ten years. A regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Psychologies, Red, and Look, she has also written for Elle, Marie Claire, and Glamour.  She also is the author of The Poison Tree and The Burning Air.

“The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition”–Review

51AXd5ixNpL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Great advice for any relationship.

In The 5 Love Languages, the reader learns how to give and receive love in different types of love languages, which helps their relationships—not just romantic relationships—to grow.  I’ve never read the original book; however, it’s been recommended to me.

The singles edition describes the 5 love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.  Each chapter will help the reader:

  • Understand themselves and others better
  • Relate to others more confidently
  • Grow closer to family and friends
  • Discover the missing ingredient in past relationships
  • Date more successfully.

This book is definitely helpful for those who would like to learn the love languages of their family members, friends, significant others, etc.  Not sure what your love language is, no problem.  The book includes a quiz to reveal your language.  In fact, I still need to take the quiz.  And if you’ve ever been curious about online dating, there’s a section in the back of the book giving the pros and cons.  This was worth the read, in my opinion.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Moody Publishers, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Gary Chapman is an author, speaker, and counselor, who has a passion for helping people form lasting relationships.  He is the bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages series and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc.  Gary travels the world presenting seminars, and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations.  For more info on the author, click here.

“The Long Journey to Jake Palmer”–Review

410mbxgu66l-_sx322_bo1204203200_What if there was a place where everything wrong in your life could be fixed?

That’s an interesting question.  What if there was such a place?  And would you be willing to find it?  In this story, Jake Palmer is a corporate trainer who coaches people to see deeper into themselves, to motivate and provide inspiration to their lives.  The problem, however, is that Jake no longer practices what he preaches.  Recently divorced and after a near-death experience, Jake is discouraged with life.  Even after his seminars, he questions his own purposes, all the while feeling sorry for himself and just wanting to be left alone.

Although he’s not too excited about the idea, Jake agrees to meet his close friends at a lake-house for a ten-day vacation.  While he’s there, Jake is informed of the legend of Willow Lake, where a lost corridor leads to a place where one’s longings can be fulfilled, where their lives can be completely healed.  Jake’s not sure what to believe.  Although he considers the idea absurd, he still can’t help feeling tempted to find this corridor.  And when he meets a man who talks of particular beliefs of the corridor, Jake becomes determined to find this path, to find himself, and to have his life back.

This book is quite an inspirational read and I’m happy for having the opportunity to read and share this with you.  It definitely wasn’t what I expected, but it was great.  Some of the scenes where almost as if I’d stepped into a fantasy novel and I liked the creativity behind it.  Sometimes, no matter where we are in our lives, we all could use that little push.  I don’t want to spoil it, so I’ll just recommend you check it out.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

FTC Disclosure: I received this copy from BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: James L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker.  He is the author of the bestselling novel Rooms, as well as Book of Days, The Chair, the Well Spring Novels, and The Five Times I Met Myself.  He lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest.  You can visit his websiteTwitter, or Facebook.

“Power Your Happy”–Review

51zfsuzy5ll-_sx329_bo1204203200_An inspirational, upbeat memoir sprinkled with advice and encouraging stories from the founder of the hugely popular website POPSUGAR.

Lisa Sugar spends her days creating content about pop culture, must-have handbags, makeup, healthy recipes, and recommended sweets on Instagram.  Her company, POPSUGAR, is rapidly growing and has hundreds of employees who enjoy what they do.  At home, she and her husband, Brian, have three daughters.  Lisa enjoys attending their soccer games, as well as reading bedtime stories to them every night.

In this book, Lisa tells her readers about how she did it all, how she had to figure out what her dream job was, including taking risks, and having confidence in herself.  Because of that, she wants to motivate others to live life, to figure out what their dream jobs are, and to take risks, as well.

While sharing her personal and business stories, she provides advice on creating your dream.  She shares the pros and cons of when it comes to working to achieve your goals, such as starting a company to ditching a relationship that isn’t working, etc.  Working toward our dreams is hard work, after all, and it takes a lot of patience and experience.

This is quite an interesting memoir and I enjoyed reading it.  In fact, it got me to think more about getting back into my novel-in-progress, which is now a second draft.  Perhaps before the end of this year—or the beginning of this coming year—it’ll be ready for the world.

I recommend this book for those who love motivational reads, especially for those who are fans of POPSUGAR.  Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice, and Build Your Dream Life will be available on September 20, 2016.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Dutton Books, in exchange for an honest review.

“Fates and Traitors”–Review

615KoCva7YL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_A riveting novel of four women forever linked to the notorious assassin, John Wilkes Booth.  The mother who cherished him. The sister who was his friend and confidante.  The devoted sweetheart whose love he betrayed.  The Confederate widow who conspired with him to bring down a president.

Fates and Traitors is a story based on John Wilkes Booth, who was the son of an acclaimed British stage actor, Junius Brutus Booth, and a Covent Garden flower girl.  Like his father, John Wilkes Booth went on to become a stage actor.  He was one of the best, adored by many.  In the end, however, he’d put his career and reputation at risk only to commit one of the most infamous acts in American history—the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Each chapter tells the stories of the four women Booth loved and who also loved him: Mary Ann, his loving and patient mother; Asia, his sister and confidante; Lucy Lambert Hale, the senator’s daughter who loved him, yet refused to see him for who he was; and Mary Surratt, the Confederate widow who was sworn to secrecy of Booth’s plot.

I was ecstatic when I’d first picked up this book.  During the middle of it, however, I found myself at a slump and wasn’t sure whether or not to continue reading.  At the same time, though, something was telling me to continue; perhaps I’ll like it.  It started to get a little better when I got to the chapters on Mary Surratt.  Now I’m glad I read the whole thing.  I didn’t really know about John Wilkes Booth until I started reading this book, so now I’m curious to read up on some of his history.  It was a bit of a sad story of a man risking his career and family’s name, all because he claimed to love his country.

For the history enthusiasts, including fans of historical fiction, this book is highly recommended.  Fates and Traitors: A Novel of John Wilkes Booth, will be available on September 13, 2016.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Dutton Books, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, The Spymistress, Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival, and Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, as well as the Elm Creek Quilt series and Christmas Bells.