Friday Faves: The best books I’ve read this year

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Good morning Loves.  So, sadly summer is over.  It’s time to get back into the groove of things and get the summer lovin out of our heads.  If you are looking for a new book, may I suggest one of my faves…

- An easy read and light hearted:

These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen

- Read in solitary because you will laugh like a crazy person:

White Girl Problems by Babe Walker

- If you are in a serious mood:

Tick Tock by James Patterson

- If you have a Kindle:

A Better You by Tahnya Kristina…that’s me! I am just reminding you that I have a book available now on Amazon and I would love to hear your feedback.  Get a copy right here.


Let us know what you are reading. I’m always looking for a good book to read.

If you don’t want to commit to a book right now, check out these great blog posts:

- NZ Muse – Wanted: American advice!

(She is looking for good places to stay on a cross country road trip…help her out)

- The Succulent Wife – Fun Ways to Stay Active, aka Play!

- Well Heeled Blog – The I Love Cocktails Budget

(What’s the most you will pay for a drink at a bar?)

- L Bee and the Money Tree - Why People Aren’t Taking You Seriously

 Have a great weekend.

Love Always,

Photo by SimonC

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Friday Faves: Looking for a good book to read?

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Happy Good Friday Loves.  I recently finished reading two great books and – as is the case with all good things that happen to me – I feel the need to share with you.

Tick TockIf you have checked out my bookshelf lately you will notice that I recently finished reading Tick Tock by James Patterson. In true James Patterson fashion this book was a good read.  It took a little bit of time for the story to get going, but a quarter of the way into the book I was hooked and I had to know what happens next in the life of Detective Michael Bennett.

This crime thriller has an action packed storyline with an interesting and unexpected twist at the end. I love it when the story in a book all comes together, in crime thrillers the why is very important for me.  I like to guess what will happen – although I very rarely figure it out.  That’s why the motive behind a crime thriller is so important to the story.  If you want an easy read with a mysterious plot and a little bit of family drama pick up a copy of Tick Tock by James Patterson.

After reading a serious crime thriller I like to take a break from the serious side of life and read a lighthearted, feel good, funny book…let me tell you that White Girl Problems by Babe Walker is just that.

White Girl ProblemsI absolutely loved reading this book; it was the perfect pick me up.  White Girl Problems by Babe Walker will make you laugh so hard that you will cry.  If you have ever let a superficial mishap take over your life and turn into the end of the world as you know it then you have had a white girl problem.

My two favourite parts of this book are Babe’s jungle themed birthday party and the first time that she has sex.  Everyone needs to pick up a copy of this book because it will change your attitude and make you rethink what really matters in life.  A little word to the wise – things that you think are problems are really not!

A little piece of advice – but not a spoiler alert – read this book in the comfort of your own home or in another secluded area.  I made the mistake of reading White Girl Problems on a four hour flight and I was laughing so hard I must have seemed like a crazy person to the man sitting beside me.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Love Always,

Photo by Horia

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Book Review: Sunday at Tiffany’s by James Patterson

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Sundays At Tiffany's

This book was given to my by a co-worker and I absolutely loved reading Sunday at Tiffany’s by James Patterson.  This book tells a light hearted story that is easy to read.  Reading Sunday at Tiffany’s made me smile and I felt warm inside throughout the whole book.  It is comforting to know that there is someone out there for everyone; somewhere out there in the world our perfect match is just waiting for us.  Patterson tells the tale of a scared young girl who grows up to become very successful young woman while living a very luxurious lifestyle in New York City.  The young girl has an absentee father and a mother who is so busy with her own life that she often forgets she has a little daughter.

In order to find comfort and companionship the young girl creates her perfect imaginary friend.  Of course the man does not really exist in real life, but nevertheless he is by the little girl’s side everyday throughout the early years of her life. The imaginary friend provides unconditional companionship to a lonely little girl.  It is very sad to know that children have to grow up in a world where they do not have real friends, but at the same time it is comforting to know that a child can grow up and find personal security based only on the idea of having a best friend.

As she grows up the little girl finds that her life is full of dreams and full of success, but it is missing love and human emotion attachment. As an adult the girl reconnects with her childhood (imaginary) friend; she once again turns to him for companionship and comfort, but this time also for love.

Sunday at Tiffany’s by James Patterson is definitely a feel good story about love, friendship, companionship, family, and all of the other little things in life that make us happy such as ice cream, shiny objects, and finding the perfect dress.  Sunday at Tiffany’s takes readers on an emotional roller coaster ride as we watch a lonely and insecure young girl grow up to become a successful and confident young woman who falls in love with the (imaginary) man of her dreams.

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Book Review: Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder

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Buried SecretsI first discovered author Joseph Finder when I read his best selling novel Company Man at the recommendation of a co-worker.  I absolutely fell in love with Joseph Finder’s stories and his writing style. After reading the book Company Man I couldn’t wait to read another Joseph Finder novel.  I read the book Vanished and I completely fell in love with the main character Nick Heller.  He is handsome, intelligent, and sophisticated. I love a hero, and Nick Heller is definitely a modern day Prince Charming.

I waited a little bit impatiently for the book Buried Secrets to be released in Canada so that I could read about what happens in the next chapter of Nick Heller’s life.  I am happy to say that the Book Buried Secrets was definitely worth the wait.  This is the third book that I have read by Joseph Finder and as usual I was definitely not disappointed.

In Buried Secrets Nick Heller returns with a vengeance and he is on a mission to find a missing teenage girl. The daughter of a prominent Investment Banker is kidnapped and Nick Heller is hired by an old family friend to find her, find her kidnappers, and bring her home alive.  As usual Nick Heller combines his private investigator skills with his army survival tactics to complete his mission, but he definitely makes some enemies along the way.  He uses his circle of contacts, informants, colleagues and friends to help him solve the mystery of why a teenage girl was kidnapped and why her Father can’t help save her.  Along the way an old flame is rekindled and Nick Heller learns that some secrets are better left buried.

If you want to know what is happening in the life of author Joseph Finder you can follow him on Twitter @JoeFinder

Happy Reading Everyone!

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Book Review: Devils in Exile by Chuck Hogan

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Devils in Exile: A Novel

I picked up this book a little bit over a month ago and it was one of my best reads of 2011.

Devils in Exile by Chuck Hogan tells the story of how ex Military Men adjust to their new lives back in America.  Devils in Exile is full of action, conspiracies, and corruption as Chuck Hogan tells the story of how an ex-soldiers military tactics can be used to get ahead in their new everyday lives.

The truth of the matter is that no matter where a Military Man is currently living he will always be a soldier for life.  Even if the soldier isn’t currently away at war, he is still an active soldier because in one way or another we are always at war with something.

Neal Maven is the main character in the book Devils in Exile by Chuck Hogan and he is the type of character that everyone can relate to.  Throughout the book we experience a mass of emotions from sadness to determination as we get to know Neal Maven and his life story. This is the one aspect that makes a book a must read for me.  If I can relate to the main character, if I can feel what they are going through emotionally, and if I can connect with them then I have to keep reading so I can discover what happens next in their life.

Chuck Hogan is a Boston native.  I don’t know what it is about Boston boys that I love so much, but honestly I love everything about them; from their sexy accents to their rugged badass swagger.  Another one of my favourite authors Joseph Finder also lives in Boston.  I have been obsessed with Boston ever since the 1980’s when I fell in love with New Kids on the Block.

The name Chuck Hogan may sound familiar to you because he is the bestselling author of the book Prince of Thieves which became the major blockbuster movie The Town.  Chuck Hogan writes with enthusiasm and intrigue. I love it when the plot of a book could actually be a true story; I really hate it when a story is not realistic. As I was reading Devils in Exile I tried to piece together some parts of the plot and make the connection between different story lines so that I could figure out what was going to happen next, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

Chuck Hogan keeps us on the edge of our seat throughout the entire book right until the very last word on the very last page. The last line at the end of the book sums up everything about Neal Maven’s story and at the same time it opens the door to a new beginning.  I look forward to reading about what happens next in the life of Neal Maven!

All I can say to the author Chuck Hogan about Devils in Exile is that I am a “Tomorrow (Wo) Man.”  Devils in Exile is available for purchase @ Amazon.   You can follow Chuck Hogan on Twitter @Chuck_Hogan.

Happy Reading Everyone!


BOOK REVIEW: The Fund by HT Narea

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Win a Copy of The Fund.

Some of you may already know that I make a living from my 9-5 office job, but my real passion in life is writing.  I started writing professionally in 2004 and I started blogging in 2009, I currently write for several different couples and financial websites. I also actively manage the Social Media for two different companies. One of the perks of freelance writing, other than the secondary income, is that people often contact me to review their books on the various websites.

I first learned about HT Narea 6 months ago when his first novel called The Fund was released in May.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find the book in Canada and therefore it was on my list of books to buy at Barnes & Noble on my next trip to NYC.  Needless to say I was more than thrilled when a promoter for Planned Television Arts contacted me to review The Fund by HT Narea for one of the websites.

The Fund by HT Narea is a story about modern day financial terrorism and how it affects our entire financial system. Money is the Weapon in this book and in my opinion money is possibly the most powerful weapon in the world.  With money comes the power to buy what you want as well as the ability to influence the people who make important decisions.  Money is a common denominator between people of all races, religions, and beliefs.

The Fund by HT Narea follows a young US Defence Agent named Kate on her journey around the world as she searches for the source of large international financial transactions. She continuously crosses paths with the former love of her life Nebibi who is an up and coming international financier.

Nebibi is a well travelled and suave young man with style and intelligence.  He is creating an Investment Fund that follows Islamic laws and beliefs. During his mission for Islamic domination Nebibi has created a tangled web which involves several politically powerful countries around the world, a few terrorist groups, as well as a biohazard chemical that turns cowardly soldiers into fearless warriors.

Although the primary story of this book is financially based on the creation of The Fund it also tells a passionate story about lost loves, lifelong friendships, and family bonds. You don’t need to be a financial enthusiast in order to follow the story in The Fund because HT Narea writes for the masses.  Please trust me when I say that once you start reading The Fund you won’t be able to put it down.

I am giving away a copy of The Fund by HT Narea on DINKS Finance and there are two ways that you can enter to win.  Click Here to visit DINKS Finance and win your own copy of this amazing book that is full of love, secrets, and scandals in a world terrorized by money.

Good Luck Everyone.

Book Review: Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card

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Shadow Of The Hegemon

I just finished reading Shadow of the Hegemon, which is the second book (of four) in the Ender’s Shadow series.  After reading Ender’s Game which is the first book in the life of Ender Wiggin, I fell totally head over heels in love with Ender’s little protégé Bean.  I usually don’t enjoy reading Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels; however, I have not been able to stop reading about the adventurous, triumphant, and sad life of Bean.  When my friend Jamie  recommended Ender’s Game for me to read I admit that I was reluctant.  I usually read crime drama novels or thrillers, with the occasional girly love drama; Sci-Fi novels are definitely something new to my world of reading

Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card is an intelligent mind game complete with treason, strategic war, and loyal friendships.  How far would you go to save a friend?  The aspect of Shadow of the Hegemon that sets it apart from the other books in the Ender Series is the emotion felt and displayed by the Characters, specifically by Bean.

Bean’s world is turned upside down when a second close friend dies. He tries to live with the pain and regret of not being able to save his close friend.  Bean remembers the pain of losing his first friend on the streets of Rotterdam, and after losing a second close friend Bean has made it his life goal not to let it happen for a third time.  However, to prevent a third tragic loss Bean must come face to face with his once protector (now enemy) and the man (or should I say boy) who murdered his two close friends.

Bean makes new friends and new alliances as travels the world and uses his super human intelligence to try to save his friend from Battle School. All the while Bean never forgets his one true friend from Battle School Ender Wiggin.  Unfortunately Ender was exiled from Earth by his own brother, and Bean will never be able to see him again.  After being reunited with his real family and then having his family torn apart by his enemy, Bean struggles for personal and spiritual peace.

My favourite line from Ender’s Game was when Ender told Bean “Take your Men and Tell Me What’s Behind That Star”.  I was shockingly surprised to read that same line again in the parallel novel Ender’s Shadow.  That was a turning point in Beans career and life at Battle School.  My favourite line from Shadow of the Hegemon is when Bean says “You can also wake up in six hours with a headache.” I won’t spoil the setting for you.

I definitely suggest reading Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card, as well as the other books in the Ender’s Series.  The books are available at Chapters Online and it is a lot cheaper to buy the Ender’s Shadow box set (of four books) than it is to buy the books individually.

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Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

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I bought this book online a few weeks ago from Chapters because it was recommended for me based on my previous purchase. I loved having Room delivered right to my doorstep, but trust me when I say that I would have walked 20 blocks in the rain to go and pick it up at the Chapters store.  I completely and totally loved reading about the struggles and victories of Jack and his Ma.  Emma Donoghue writes in a way that we can connect with the main character even though he is only 5 years old.

I admit that it was a struggle for me at the beginning to read Room by Emma Donoghue through the eyes of 5 year old Jack because I am 30 years old.  However, by the end of the book I felt like I had been in Room with both Jack and Ma. I felt that I had personally experienced their trials, torture, and tribulations.  When I finished Room I was sad that I would no longer be reading about Jack, I felt that something was suddenly missing.

Since I didn’t really connect with Jack or Ma within the first few pages of Room I wasn’t even going to continue reading the book. However, I am definitely glad that I did!  Once I got into reading Room by Emma Donoghue I couldn’t put it down and I read the entire book in 2 days.  It usually takes me a month to read an entire book, but I had to keep on reading Room because I had to know what happens next!  The only other book that I have ever read in less than a month was about a young man named Jacob, his nemesis Edward, and a girl named Bella.

Even though I have never lived through a tormenting experience like Jack and his Ma I definitely felt a connection with both characters.  Ma’s hatred for her captor is overshadowed by the love that she has for the one gift that he has ever given to her.  Jack and Ma have an unbreakable bond that only a mother and son who are confined in a small space can form.  Jack’s innocence and Ma’s determination are the underlying happiness of Room by Emma Donoghue.  The freedom that Ma craves is the exact comfort that Jack seeks to hold on to.  Together their journey into the world from Room is both uplifting and inspiring.  Ma hates her captor, but without him she wouldn’t have Jack.

Room by Emma Donoghue is a must read for anyone who has ever overcome a defeat or achieved a goal.  No matter how bad we think our lives may be, we always have to remember that someone else has it worse.  With the recent passing of my Step Brother Michael and the recent turmoil in my family, this book couldn’t have come into my life at a better time.

The life lessons that I learned from Room by Emma Donoghue are that no matter what happens in our lives we have to be thankful for what we have. No matter what happens with our families we should always cherish our loved ones.

(It is interesting to note that Emma Donoghue lives in my hometown of London, Ontario)

The New Chapters Plum Rewards Card

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Last week from Chapters I ordered Room by Emma Donoghue along with The Ender’s Shadow 4 book box set to continue reading about the life of Bean.  I totally fell in love with little Bean after reading the original book Ender’s Game.  As I was checking out from Chapters it asked me if I had an iRewards membership card, and since I don’t it asked me to sign up for a new rewards program called the Chapters Plum Rewards Card.

I had to read extensively about the Chapters Plum Rewards Card before signing up because I personally feel that the Chapters iRewards card is overpriced.  I don’t feel it is worth spending $25 on the annual fee for only a 10% discount on books.  I was pleasantly surprised to read that the Chapters Plum Rewards Card is completely free for all readers.  It takes less than 3 minutes to sign up and readers start earning rewards right away.

The Chapters Plum Rewards Card gives readers up to 5% off all of our book purchases online and in store.  We also collect points which we can later redeem for a discount on our book purchases.  Rewards start at 2500 points which gives us a $5 discount; Chapters gives us 100 points when we make our first purchase and 400 points when we complete our online profile.  The maximum reward is $100 which equals 35,000 points.

When we sign up for the Chapters Plum Rewards Program online we receive a virtual Membership Card with a Membership Rewards number.  If you are like me then you prefer to have a physical membership card in your wallet.  We can visit any Chapters, Coles, or Indigo store and get a physical card; the process took less than 2 minutes.  I was impressed with the Chapters Plum Rewards Program and how effortless it was to sign up and start receiving rewards.

Thanks to the Chapters Plum Rewards Program my online book order only cost $40.07 instead of the original $29.99 for Room by Emma Donoghue, and $10 each for the 4 books in the Ender’s Shadow box set by Orson Scott Card.  Chapter’s online prices are already a lot cheaper than their in-store prices, and now we can save another 5% off our total purchase and earn rewards points with the Chapters Plum Rewards Card.  Chapters is also now offering Free Shipping on all orders over $25, instead of the previous $40.

I was definitely pleased with my Chapters online purchase and my new Chapters Plum Rewards Card.  For more information about the Chapters Plum Rewards Program click here.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Book Review: Vanished by Joseph Finder

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Vanished is another great piece of literary work by Joseph Finder.  When I read a book I don’t necessarily have to relate to the story; but I do have to relate to and feel a connection with the characters.  I really fell in love with Nick Heller, his intelligence and his loyalty.  We learn a little bit about the dark and secretive past of former soldier Nick Heller in Vanished, but I have a feeling that this is only the beginning of his story.

My work friend gave me Vanished by Joseph Finder as a good bye gift when I left my previous employer.  He is actually the person who also gave me Company Man, which was the first novel I read by Joseph Finder.

Vanished by Joseph Finder is the story of a family who is tangled in a web of obstruction, lies, and cover ups in the corporate world.  This story is different from other crime stories because it implicates the whole Heller family, and not only the family patriarch.  Nick Heller is the younger brother who formed a protective bond with his older brother after their family was torn apart by a corporate scandal involving their father.

For Nick Heller and his brother it seems that old habits die hard.  Once again the Heller brothers become involved in a corporate scandal that will test the bond of their brotherhood.  Since they have experience dealing with the aftermath of sandals, the Heller brothers are familiar with the damage and devastation that it can cause to their careers, their fortunes, their friends, as well as their family.

The story of the Heller family in Vanished by Joseph Finder is both trilling and full of suspense.  However, it is really the personality and actions of the main character Nick Heller that kept me turning pages.  Nick Heller is the type of guy that we can always count on to do the right thing.  As a bachelor, Nick Heller may not be a potential loving boyfriend or husband; but his love for his family is undeniable.

With broken relationships and no job, Nick Heller is ready to start over and move on with his life.  Nick Heller’s story will continue in Joseph Finders next book titled Buried Secrets which is due to be released in 2011.  I can’t wait to continue reading about the next stage in Nick Heller’s life.

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