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Friday, 11 November 2016

Lest We Forget

I know this is a book blog and this is the first time I am really stepping out and not blogging about books here. (Never fear, after this post it will be back to regular scheduled programming)

Today is Remembrance Day, a day we need to step back, reflect and honor those who have sacrificed so much for us.

The post I am about to share, is one I wrote a year ago for family and friends. It showed up in my memories today, and for whatever reason, I felt compelled to share it with you all:

I had a conversation with someone in recent months. A conversation that has resonated with me over the past while. With someone who told me that they do not like Remembrance Day. 
Now, before you become outraged at such a thought. I will honestly tell you, that for this person and their personal story (which is not mine to tell, so don't ask) I can certainly understand where they are coming from, and why they can't find it in their heart to want to participate in ceremonies that cause them great upset. I don't agree with them, but I can listen.
That said, a comment was made from this person about how soldiers weren't brave. that war is not something to be remembered or glorified.
This upset me. As you know me, I am highly argumentative and when pushed past a limit, that's that. Gloves off.
I argued that how can you not say a person who sacrifices their life isn't brave? For a soldier to make that choice that could mean the end of their life. Their LIFE. In this day and age, this is a decision which in our country is made willingly and it's certainly not one to be taken lightly. For those men who were once drafted, they may have had fear in their hearts, but they still went and did it anyway. That takes courage. Cowards run. The brave stand tall and actively defend their country and what it represents. Our Canadian soldiers are a large part of why we have a free country and can live life the way we please. They are not monsters. They ARE our heroes. Your freedom is because of them.
To say war isn't to be remembered, it has to be. We have to remember and learn from history so we don't repeat it.
We are not glorifying war by paying our respects. We are honoring memories.
My own grandfather fought in World War 2 and I will tell you right now, he was one of the bravest, loveliest men you will have ever met and I miss him every day. Do not tell me he wasn't brave.
To the person whom I fought hard to show our Canadian side of the story, I can only hope I shed some light on the 'why' we remember and pay our respects and perhaps lightened your heart a bit.
To our soldiers past and present. Thank You for what you have done for us.

 Lest We Forget.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Girl Who Stayed ~ Tanya Anne Crosby

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If you are like me, then you have reading moods that shift from day to day or even week by week.
(Oh, did I say 'reading moods' ...I meant moods in general...if you see me wearing my "I'm Grumpy 'Cause You're Dopey' Shirt" while listening to the Dangerous Minds soundtrack.......RUN!!!)

Sometimes I am in the mood for something lighthearted and sweet, other times I want something sexy or historical....maybe I want a great mystery or a horror..... My moods can be all over the map (Just ask my husband or see my Twitter feed!)

This past week I loaded up my Kobo with books to reflect all my moods, most of them on sale (Hooray!) and I decided I would read through them as the mood struck.

The first few books were fluffy romances, I realized I have had my fill of those. (One of them I didn't even bother to finish... ) so I turned to the one which had an intriguing premise. "The Girl Who Stayed" by Tanya Anne Crosby. (Released earlier this year)

I HIGHLY recommend this if you are looking for something more gritty and honest or just prefer a solid drama.

The novel is told in the narrative of protagonist Zoe Rutherford. She's not only running away from her present, but seeking answers from her past. Through her thoughts flashing back, you learn about her life's story as the eldest child in a family who suffers unspeakable tragedy. You see her struggle with her current life situation and how they all connect. Like so many of us, she is a chronic over-thinker, full of what ifs and in need of self discovery. The entire novel is mainly a reflection as she searches her soul and the real world for answers, all the while prepping her old family home for sale.

The Girl Who Stayed was a novel that I didn't want to put down and when I did- I found myself wondering where the story was going next. I liked not being able to figure out the exact plot. What was happening the ex? What happened to her sister Hannah? Was Zoe on a path to self destruction or self discovery? Is her subconscious trying to tell her something?? Who can she trust? I felt really bad for this character. She felt really 'real' to me, it was like reading the unfiltered mind of someone else.
The ending actually left me with a small book hangover for the simple reason that it was a bit abrupt after being in her head all that time. That said, I was both satisfied with the ending but like with most books I enjoy I always want a bit more. (I am selfish like that!)

 I give "The Girl Who Stayed" a rating of 4/5 stars. I could see this novel played out dramatically on television, like the Netflix series Bloodline. (If I am going to make a small comparison)

The bottom line, If you are in a book club or like a book that makes you step back and think, or that has a bit of mystery and zero fluff.... Then I suggest that you give this one a try.

This was my first novel that I have read by Author Tanya Anne Crosby, and I certainly will be adding her novels to my 'must read author list' from now on.
Click here to visit her website for more books and information.

Here is the official book synopsis:

Zoe Rutherford wasn't sure what she was expecting when she returned to Sullivan's Island. The house on Sullivan's hadn't represented home to her in decades. It was the place where she endured her father's cruelty. It was the place where her mother closed herself off from the world. It was the place where her sister disappeared. But now that her parents are gone, Zoe needs to return to the house, to close it down and prepare it for sale. She intends to get this done as quickly as possible and get on with the rest of her life, even though that life seems clouded by her past, both distant and recent. But what she discovers when she gets there is far beyond her imagining and will change her in profound ways. 

Happy Reading!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Mr. President ~ Katy Evans

First off, let me say I really wish that I was creating a video blog on this novel, that way I could open by treating you all to my delightful, breathy impression of Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday Mr President"....  but this is a written blog so you can just picture it instead. (It's spot on, I promise you)

I spent some time in Washington D.C this past summer, my first visit and I completely fell in love with it! So much so that not only do I want to go back, I am quite convinced I must have lived there in a past life. (Sorry Ottawa, you are a beautiful capital but there is something about D.C.....) We stayed at the The Melrose Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue (I HIGHLY recommend it!!) and spent a few days walking around Capital Hill, touring the Monuments, Museums and Memorials. It was such a great trip.
I have found since my visit I have been quite obsessed with watching shows and reading novels which take place in that area (Scandal, Designated Survivor....) so yeah.... when I saw Mr. President and that it was written by Katy Evans.... well.... into the Kobo shopping cart it went!

I know most people are probably so sick and tired of politics and elections after having front row seats to the (how do I put this nicely?) 'very interesting' if not 'scandalous' (and looooooooong) Election across the border.....(We're rooting for you America!)
The good news is, the election is finally coming to an end (Thank the merciful heavens!) and even better news.... This is a book blog so we need not discuss it here and focus on fictional events instead!

Now that is out of the way, I shall bring your attention to a new novel with a Presidential Candidate who sounds like an utter (and scrumptious) delight.

All of you who are looking for your next hot read **cue drum roll** look no further for your next series... may I introduce you to Mr. President by Katy Evans. (White House Series Book 1)

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Here is the synopsis from the novel:

He's won the hearts of millions. But is he willing to lose his?

I met the president’s son when we were both young. Matthew Hamilton was handsome, polished, and intelligent. I’d never met a guy like him.

He promised me that he’d never run for president. I promised that if he did, I’d be by his side.

Two terms later, an invitation to join Matthew Hamilton’s campaign is the most exhilarating opportunity I’ve ever experienced. I'm determined to make a difference; he is determined to win.

Focused on his goal, Matt is steadfast, ruthless, and disarming. All eyes are on him and his popularity is surging. But soon, the next possible president of the United States is possessing me in more ways than one—and despite the risks, I'm helpless to resist.

We're stealing touches, stealing moments, and stealing away at night. But our chemical connection is quickly becoming dangerously combustive, putting not only my heart, but Matt's chance at the presidency on the line.

Winning will take everything.
Walking away will be the hardest thing of all.

My Take:

Recently released (October 31, 2016) The story is told in alternating perspectives. That of Charlotte Wells, daughter of a Democratic Senator and Matthew Hamilton, son of a former President and now running himself as an Independent. The two have a small history and she ends up on his campaign. I always enjoy those backstories where they knew each other when......(sigh)
This novel was very focused on the love affair and how Matt and Charlotte felt dealing with the obstacles and reality of their situation.
There wasn't as much drama in this first novel as I typically enjoy. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of tension and stress with our two leads, I was just waiting for some bonus fireworks compliments of the supporting characters. Given how the story really focused on how the main characters felt, I don't think it was too necessary for this first book to focus on anything but their clandestine relationship on the path to the White House. I really don't want to give out any spoilers, but I will say certain seeds have been planted within their campaign circle, so who knows what the rest of the series has in store for us in terms of dramatic story lines! We'll just have to wait and find out! (And you will just have to read the book and see what the heck I am talking about) 
I have a feeling the next novel will bring more complications....(Can't wait!)
The way the author writes the characters and the tender build up to their relationship, kind of makes me wish I was young and dating again (I said 'kind of'' in a wistful wouldn't it be nice not to have stretchmarks- no mortgage- no kids interrupting bathroom time -kind of way.....) so the fact that it made me a bit wistful means it was well done. I really enjoyed the flirty will-it/won't it/what is happening? feeling in the pages. It really had a way of sweeping you into their love story. (Gooooooosebumps!)
Like I said toward the beginning of this post, I most certainly do recommend this novel to my ladies who are looking for their next sexy series. I read through this first novel very quickly. While the topic clearly involves politics, it's not at all political. It's a sweet and seductive fictional romance. (And may I say a welcome reprieve from.... you know......any real world political crapfest..) Since I know I do have some readers that are not into sexy books, this one has a lot of passionate scenes, so this novel isn't for you if you aren't comfortable with them.

I am looking forward to the release of 'Commander in Chief' (Book 2) early next year!

So there you have it.

Need a sexy read?

Vote Matt Hamilton as your next book boyfriend!

For more information on Katy Evans and her novels please visit her author website (link here) or give her a follow on Twitter @authorKatyEvans or Facebook !
(And while you're at it... look to the sidebar for my info-follow me as well and say HI!)

Happy Reading!