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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Before I Go To Sleep ~ S.J. Watson

Can you imagine waking up one day and not knowing a thing about the day before?
(Ha, okay, well perhaps we have been there- done that after a night of binge drinking in our idiot youth....but that's not what I mean....)

Imagine waking up next to a person you don't know or recognize (One night stands don't count....) 
Imagine looking in the mirror assuming you are a youthful 20 year old, but the shocking reality is you are much older than what you remember.....(Okay, I'm guilty I do that every morning)
Imagine having to your life told to you over and over again on a daily basis, by a stranger who you learn is your husband.
Imagine learning that when you go to bed at night, your memory will be wiped clean and when you wake it will all start over again.

It reminds me of that Adam Sandler -Drew Barrymore comedy.....(50 First Dates).....but this novel is far from comedic.
It's tragic and frightening.

Released in 2011 "Before I Go To Sleep" by S.J Watson is an absolute MUST READ for people who like a dramatic thriller..... or anyone looking for an amazing novel to lose themselves in!!



Book Description:



Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man.
She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.
But it’s the phone call from a Dr. Nash, a neurologist who claims to be working with Christine without her husband’s knowledge, that directs her to her journal, hidden in the back of her closet. For the past few weeks, Christine has been recording her daily activities -- tearful mornings with Ben, sessions with Dr. Nash, flashes of scenes from her former life -- and rereading past entries, relearning the facts of her life as retold by the husband she is completely dependent upon. As the entries build up, Christine asks many questions. What was life like before the accident? Why did she and Ben never have a child? What has happened to Christine’s best friend? And what exactly was the horrific accident that caused such a profound loss of memory?
Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.

My Summery and Take:

There is a surefire reason this book is getting buzz and has a major motion picture coming out! This novel is beyond intense.
The plot had me completely hooked. Christine wakes up every day feeling young only to discover that is far from the case. She is shocked to discover she is much older than she remembers....and that strange man in her bed is her husband. It's his job on a daily basis has to fill her in and reintroduce her to what has become of her life.
She learns she is keeping a journal and with the help of a Dr. Nash.....a psychologist who contacted her in hopes of studying her usual case.The thing is, it's to be kept a secret from her husband (who has given up on her ever remembering). She and the doctor secretly work together as she struggles to remember and regain her memory. His methods seem to work as the more she documents, the more triggers she's shown.... the more flashbacks she has. As we read her entries, we discover bits and pieces and learn things that don't quite add up. The question is, why has nothing worked until now?
 As the novel progresses, you really start wondering if you can trust anyone....including her journal entries. Can she even trust herself?? Is she documenting everything in her journal correctly? What kind of person was she before she lost her memory? What will happen if her husband was to discover the journal? Where are her friends and family from before the accident? What is real and what is her imagination???
This book gave me chills. I always like to put myself into the characters shoes and really digest a novel like this but not even I can even fathom what this character goes through. The paranoia, the distrust.....your life having been stolen from you and you can't recall anything or anyone. This is a novel that will haunt your thoughts long after you have read it. It's a truly frightening thought to know that people suffer from amnesia on a daily basis and my heart goes out to those who suffer from this condition.
It's been days since I completed the novel and I still can't shake the story. That's the mark of a great read!
A wonderfully written novel, it captures the desperation and struggle of Christine's character beautifully. I do believe I may have suffered from some anxiety reading it which would explain why I didn't want to put it down. I needed to know how it ended so I could relax! I highly recommend this one!

On a side note...It's very rare my husband shows any interest in books, let alone in one I am reading. I don't know if it was the cover of the novel or if I was making sounds while reading it.....but my husband started asking questions about what it was about. I summed it up for him, this turned into a discussion on related movies-books-situations (Odd....) and I was quite happy when he said "If that was a movie, I would see it!" (...because Heaven-forbid he actually picks a book up....)
One Google search later and it looks like we have a date!!! Before I Go To Sleep is releasing in theaters later on this year....starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong.
(Now, if only I could read a few passages to him from Fifty Shades of Grey....maybe... just maybe I can convince him to see that one with me as well? ;)  )

Ladies, Gentleman.... Add "Before I Go To Sleep" to your reading lists and be sure to see this one once it hits theaters!! Make a night of it! ;)


Happy Reading!


Saturday, 11 January 2014

Omens ~ Kelley Armstrong



I do not know where to start with this blog!!!
Why is that you ask?
Well, it just so happens that I am writing about an author who's work I am a HUGE fan of!
(The proof is on my bookshelf, never mind my e-reader)

Kelley Armstrong ranks extremely high as one of my favorite authors!
That statement led me to wonder how I could actually choose 'who' could win the title of my 'All Time Favorite Author'. After giving it much thought.....and ditching the idea of them fighting to the death (we don't want that) I'm convinced there is only one way I could be forced to name a winner:
Picture it, I hold a meeting with them where I give them all a challenge....Throw out character names (Lead character will obviously a charming blonde named Irene....) a plot outline, tell them to than pick their own genre and than GO!! Whoever writes the best novel wins my top spot.....(Reasonable request...no?)

Not only is Kelley Armstrong a Canadian (Eh!) but she writes one of the most incredible paranormal series of all time.....Women of the Otherworld. (If you have not read or heard of this series, please remove yourself from thy rock, oh sheltered one.....)
It is no secret to anyone who knows me well, that I am completely in awe of that series. I LOVE IT.
I love it so much that I don't like lending her books to people. I would rather spend the money to buy you a copy to keep, than lose one of mine. I love the writing style, the characters, the plot lines, the Canadian content, the twists, turns.... the way she turns monsters like vampires and werewolves into believable, every day creatures.
This is an author to read and recommend and I am not the only one who thinks so! It's safe to say that in my social circles author Kelley Armstrong is a popular choice!


I was lucky enough that she came into my neighborhood for a book signing a couple of years ago, and I did attend! I'm not gonna lie....I totally geeked out. I mean, I stammered, smiled, could barely talk to her because to me, meeting my favorite author is a total rock star moment. I actually forgot to ask if I could get a proper picture with her. (Dumbass that I am) It was awfully embarrassing and completely out of character for me. (Ask my friends or family how often I am ever speechless or shy.....)
HOWEVER, having her sign a book for me was amaze-balls. (Can people over 30 use the term amaze-balls??)


 Anyway....now that I have totally geeked out again via my blog, I shall continue......

Omens has been on my reading list since I first heard whispers about it. Since I have been trying to read a lot of books on my TBR list, I decided to hold off on this novel. Holy Moley this book did not disappoint, and if you want the truth I'm a bit upset with myself that I waited so long to get a copy.



The synopsis from Amazon.com:


Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.
But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.
Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.
Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home, and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.



My Take:

You could not pry this book (or my e-reader) out of my hands if you tried.

I love how the novel began. It has a heart pounding-creepy-tricky vibe to it that really helps set the story up....I thought it was a cleverly executed way to set the mood!
It's hard to really describe Olivia's character before she discovers her true identity as Eden Larsen. We really don't get to know too much about her 'before' she discovers the truth of her parentage, but we know she is intelligent, beautiful women and has the world laid out at her feet. She has a plan! Marriage, career, maybe kids one day....As the story continues you can see how losing her identity actually helps her grow as an individual. We discover that she is brave, willful and even stronger than anticipated. I have to say, I was a bit surprised at times when Olivia would have a thought or made a decision that seemed 'outside the box' for her personality. An example would be how she comes to treat both of her mothers, especially the one that raised her. (Those who have read the story will know what I am talking about) That plot line alone makes me wonder, Does Olivia's sixth sense have something to do with her behavior toward her adoptive mother~ making it 'more' than just the typical shock and anger one might have? Is there more to that particular storyline that meets the eye?? (undoubtedly, there is......)

The whole novel leaves you wanting more and questioning everything!

All that said, you don't need to read too far into the novel before you see how Olivia's life comes crashing down on her and it is like a run away roller-coaster ride. There are omens everywhere throughout the book and the more they show up, the more she realizes there is more to this than just weird rhymes popping into her head out the blue. She ends up in Cainsville, a mysterious town that even by the end of the first novel leaves you guessing and coming up with theories. There are so many eerie and strange layers to that creepy, sleepy town.... the people, the gargoyles, the ravens, even the cat.....Cainsville is a big ol' bag of worms that I am dying to know more about, never mind the actual mystery about the serial killings and who is really behind them.

One character to watch is Gabriel Walsh.....He's a smarmy lawyer who represented her birth mother once upon a trial, and at first I just did not know what to make of this guy. Even though he is rather unlikable, he really grows on you as the novel develops, but even toward the end of book one, he's remains a very strange mystery.....I look forward to seeing how his character is to develop along the way and I am hoping a romance develops between the two.....

This novel combines styles we have seen from Kelley Armstrong in the past. The incredible imagination and paranormal-fantasy of the Otherworld series mixed with the more mainstream, mystery-thriller seen in her Nadia Stafford series....She writes with a great wit and captures the sense of foreboding in a way that makes me want to draw comparisons to the likes of Stephen King, Anne Rice,VC Andrews.....
When describing her novels when recommending them to my friends, I typically give the same speech "She takes the unbelievable and makes it believable...You're going to want more of it!"
You can tell the author puts a lot of thought into how she creates her characters and plots. No stone is left unturned and we are left with incredible tales. Kelley Armstrong novels are ones you can read over and over again!
She gets more than 5 Stars from me!

A fun fact about Omens: At the start of the novel there is an authors note regarding little 'Easter Eggs' she has dropped throughout the novel. If you are wanting to get ahead of yourself with the mystery than you can follow these Easter Eggs and do your own search ahead of Olivia and the story.
I personally decided to pass at this game, I want to go a long for the ride as the novels unfold....but for any of you who like a good mystery.....well there is your bonus incentive on why you should add this book to your reading list! 

As you can imagine, I am on pins and needles waiting for the next installment in the Cainsville Series to release. Look for Visions (Book #2) to release in August 2014. I am so excited about the next novel that I actually created a reminder on my phone. 

**Bonus News** Tonight on Space in Canada (Or on January 13th on Syfy in the US) is the release of "Bitten" (Women of the Otherworld!) and we get to watch Elena and Clay in action!!! I can not wait!! Check your local listings!!!!

Visit the authors website for more information: http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/

To sum up this review:

If you love Kelley Armstrong novels. Read Omens.
If you have never read her novels. Read Omens.
If you need a great thriller. Read Omens.
If you need a great paranormal. Read Omens.
If you don't like the way your hair looks today. Read Omens.
If your husband or wife asks you to complete a chore today. Read Omens.

Get it? Got it? GOOD!!

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Private Paradise ~ Jami Alden

Baby it's coooooold outside.

Don't get me wrong....I enjoy winter...I love the snow... Never mind hibernating...there is so much to do....snowshoe through the woods, go tobogganing, build snow sculptures (Mere snowmen are not enough!)....Hey, I even have fun shoveling!
Look! Proof I'm an Angel! Or Crazy. You decide.


 Alas not everyone does appreciate the cold, wintery weather like I do...That said, I certainly know when to throw in the towel when the temps outside reach -40 below! (GO AWAY Polar Vortex!!!!)
All that said, while I like winter, if you have followed my blog for awhile you know that I love to jet off to the Caribbean sun for a week to relax. Unfortunately sometimes (like this year) that isn't an option.
(@#$%^&!!) 

I am here in spirit!!


Whether you are escaping this frigid cold weather by vacationing to an island (TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!) or taking a time out in a hot bubble bath (DO NOT TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!)...... I recommend grabbing a copy of this sexy book to keep you company and help warm you up!


 
Book Description from Amazon.com:

 After years of catering to the whims of the rich and famous at one of the Caribbean's most luxurious resorts, there isn't much that can rattle Carla DeLuca.
Until Sam O’Connell shows up.
Tall, dark, and sexy, Holley Cay's new security chief is no stranger. He's the irresistible bad boy who seduced her over a long, hot summer only to leave her heartbroken, humiliated, and determined to never again fall for a player like him. But though her heart still stings with the memory of his rejection, her body can't forget the all-consuming pleasure of his touch.

Sam never forgave himself for his too cruel rejection of Carla over a decade before. Young, reckless, and convinced it was only a matter of time Carla regretted hooking up with a trouble maker like him, Sam pushed Carla away before she could realize her mistake. But when Sam lands a job working for Carla in paradise, he seizes the chance to finally make things right.

When a hurricane strands them alone on the island, Carla is unable to resist the passion simmering between them. She doesn't fool herself that what they have will last past the storm. But little does she know, Sam will do whatever it takes to make her his – forever this time.

My Take:

I liked it! So much so that my standard complaints apply to this review. It wasn't long enough for me, could have used more detail, why did it have to end so soon?? I enjoyed the characters chemistry, however the novel at times felt rushed to me (Gah, I hate when that happens!) I found myself wanting 'more'....more story, a few more twists, turns, more details etc...just to keep these characters and novel going a bit longer.... That is not a negative thing at all. It just means I like "MOOOORE" (I totally just sang that word like the Madonna song on the Dick Tracy sound track...Google it...)

I think it is safe to say that my favorite type of love story involves two characters with a past connection.....I also give extra bonus points for the scenarios that involve some level of animosity... (I maintain there is something extra sexy about those scenarios....the fiery and passionate the better..just sayin'!)
Sam and Carla have this amazing chemistry and it's pretty obvious that after all the years, they are still hot for each other. This novel follows both their points of view, so we are treated to the good ol' His and Her version of what went down all that time ago. The full story eventually reveals itself through flashbacks. (....and I wanted to slap him for her)

I have already read this book twice and will do so again. I've added author Jami Alden to my 'authors to read' list. I really enjoyed her writing style and the sense of humor. It made for a fun, sexy read.

A link to Jami Alden's website for those curious about her work!  http://www.jamialden.com/

Contemporary Romance Lovers....or anyone interested in giving this novel a read. You are in luck! If you have a Kobo run to the site and grab yourself a copy while it's still being promoted for free.....and while you are there, pick up the rest of her novels too!
If you have a Kindle..don't feel left out.....Amazon.ca currently has it for free as well!

Dr. Reenie's Cure for the Cold Weather Blues:
A romantic-sexy book with a tropical setting.
Hot Coconut Scented Bubble Bath.
Glass of Wine...or if you really need to get away in your head, mix up a Mimosa or make a Pina Colada!

Keep Warm, Stay Safe
Happy Reading!!