Friday, July 26, 2013

Where or where has the summer gone?

The summer it seems is almost gone. My sweet five year old starts his Prep for Kindergarten classes next week. How did this happen? 

I have not been reading as much or getting through so many audio books this summer. I've had a bit more time off lately but I am choosing to spruce up the house and work on those "honey dos" of mine that have been waiting years to happen. (i.e, cleaning the attic.) Not fun but necessary and rewarding once it's done. Today I will be cleaning the basement which I call affectionately, the "Man Cave". I may never return. :)

Waiting to hear back on a few full-time jobs that I interviewed for. Looking forward to a change that allows me to go to ONE place, ONCE a day and stop all the running that I do. My son will be in school every day now until 2, so it's time I focus my work time during that time so I can be available for him after school.

Currently on my nightstand, I'm trying to plug away with Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz (Book 5) because The Last Word (Book 6) just came out and I was a bit behind.

In my CD player, I am listening to Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, a women and business audio book that I can not really relate to but am finding extremely fascinating.

On my TV, I am currently hooked on Friday Night Lights. I have been blasting through each season while doing my projects around the house. Currently started the 3rd season and consider one of the best shows I've watched so far.

As for my kiddo and I, we read every night and are moving into easy chapter books to help him read with me. We discovered a beautiful book called I'm Here by Peter Reynolds, a story about the world of a young boy on the Autism Spectrum. Beautiful. I highly recommend it!  When you have a child with special needs, it's so wonderful to find stories out there that just hit the nail right on the head and you can relate to it completely. 

I must now jump my list of things to do. 

Happy Reading, Listening, Watching and Living and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Book Review: The Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardiner

Sarah Keller is a single mother to five-year-old Zoe, living quietly in Oklahoma. She’s also a skip tracer, an expert in tracking people who’ve gone on the lam to avoid arrest, prosecution, or debt—pinpointing their locations to bring them to justice.

When a school bus accident sends Zoe to the ER, their quiet life explodes. Zoe’s medical tests reveal what Sarah has been hiding: Zoe is not her daughter. Zoe’s biological mother—Sarah’s sister, Beth—was murdered shortly after the child’s birth. And Zoe’s father is missing and presumed dead.

With no way to prove her innocence, Sarah must abandon her carefully constructed life and go on the run. Chased by cops, federal agents, and the group responsible for Beth’s murder, Sarah embarks on a desperate journey. Can her knowledge as a skip tracer help her stay off the grid, remain one step ahead of her pursuers, and find a way to save her daughter? (Goodreads)

I have seen so many posts from fellow bloggers about Meg Gardiner's books. Like most things, I am late to the game. This book was awesome, to say the least! It had me from page 1 and that says a lot. Not many books, as of late, have been able to do that for me.

I felt the same way reading this that I did when I first discovered Lisa Gardner. It included an intense writing style, terrific character development and fast paced action. A major story line of Shadow Tracer involves a religious cult and the horrendous people that are involved in it. Why this fascinates me, I don't know? Chalk it up to the unbelievable and my fascination with that.  I picked up China Lake, her Edgar Award winning book from 2008 and it too involves a religious cult. 

I also really enjoyed the back and forth chase game between Sarah and those that hunted her. Her fierce protection for her child I could totally relate to. Sarah's experience in finding people who are lost played out in her attempt to lose herself; using throw away phones, safe houses, and changing her appearance. This also fascinates me. 

The ending of the book gave me a feeling that this may not be a stand alone but time will tell. It is marketed as a stand alone thriller but she certainly has many other books that are in series. Either way I am planning on reading more of her. If you are a fan of Lisa Gardner or Joy Fielding, pick her up. I'm only 40 pages into China Lake and am just as wrapped up as I was with Shadow Tracer. 

I originally agreed to do a feature for this book because I didn't think I would have time to read it. I finished it in two days. I love it when a book just takes you away and you forget the obligation behind it or heck, laundry! 

Author Website:
Meg Gardiner

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Guest Review and Blog Tour: The King's Deception by Steve Berry

I like to joke with my friend and fabulous Guest Reviewer that she is such a dude reader.  Her love for authors like Nelson Demille, John Jakes and Steve Berry is so funny to me because she also is a fan of seriously fluffy chick lit. Cheryl's got range and that is what makes her a book know-it-all and lover of all things literary.

 I could not pass up this blog tour so I asked her to hop on with me.

Book description from the website (

Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe. As a favor to his old boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. After a gunpoint greeting in London in which both the fugitive and Gary disappear, Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdown-an international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets.

At its heart is the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103, who is set to be released by Scottish authorities for ‘humanitarian reasons.’ An outraged American government wants that stopped, but nothing can persuade the British to intervene.
Except, perhaps, Operation King’s Deception.
Run by the CIA, the operation aims to solve a centuries-old mystery, one that could rock Great Britain to its royal foundations.
CIA Operative Blake Antrim, in charge of King’s Deception, is hunting for the spark that could rekindle a most dangerous fire: the one thing that every Irish national has sought for centuries-a legal reason why the English must leave Northern Ireland. The answer is a long-buried secret that calls into question the legitimacy of the entire 45 year reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, who completed the conquest of Ireland and seized much of its land. But Antrim also has a more personal agenda, a twisted game of revenge in which Gary is a pawn. With assassins, traitors, spies, and dangerous disciples of a secret society closing in, Malone is caught in a lethal bind. To save Gary he must play one treacherous player against another-and only by uncovering the incredible truth can he hope to stop the shattering consequences of the King’s Deception.

Cheryl’s review:

I started reading Steve Berry several years ago. Once I find an author I like, I do my best to read all or as many as possible of his or her books. When Michelle asked me if I wanted to review The King’s Deception, I realized I was behind on my Steve Berry reading. So within a week, I read two novels and four short stories to catch up before starting the new one.

Berry’s short story “The Tudor Plot” is a prequel to The King’s Deception and provides a bit of a back story but it’s not necessary to read it first. With The King’s Deception, Berry continues his Cotton Malone series and delivers his usual fast-paced thriller with numerous twists and turns. Having read all his books, Berry follows his usual formula of creating a race between bad guys and slightly less bad guys trying to expose or bury a deep dark historical secret while the good guys (Cotton Malone) try to figure out the mystery to stop the world from finding out the secret that could change the course of history and the future.

What is enjoyable about Berry’s book is knowing what to expect and having him deliver, while he always adds a few unpredictable twists and turns. The King’s Deception transports the reader to England’s royalty history filled with secrets and conspiracies. He leads readers in a direction where they think they have it all figured out, then surprises the reader by veering in a different direction. It was strange to have a book without Cassiopeia Vitt, but Berry always brings in new and sometimes returning characters to provide Malone with friends, enemies, and frenemies. As someone who works alone and on the fringe, Malone has to figure out who the enemies are and who is on his side, with alliances often changing for surprising reasons.

I read a lot of thrillers and Steve Berry is always one I return to. I like that he takes historical events and twists them into modern day conspiracies, providing a history lesson that leaves you thinking “what if?” One aspect I appreciate about Berry is his explanations at the end to clarify what’s true and what he concocted. It’s easy to tell that Berry does extensive research to ensure he portrays historical facts and figures accurately prior to adding his own layer of intrigue. After reading The King’s Deception, and after I read any of his books, I always want to go to the library to read more about the central historical plot.

The King’s Deception is a perfect summer read. Even though there are references to previous books’ plots and characters, it’s not necessary to read Berry’s books in order. Unless he comes out with more short stories, I will have to wait until next year to see where Berry’s imagination and research collide into an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride through the past and present.

What an awesome review Cheryl! Thanks!

Doesn't it make you want to read it? Check out his website for more info and some rave reviews under the below link.

Author Website:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, July 1, 2013

Audio Review: Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

The sequel you’ve been waiting for: the follow-up to the sensational #1 bestseller The Devil Wears Prada.Almost a decade has passed since Andy Sachs quit the job “a million girls would die for” working for Miranda Priestly at Runway magazine—a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Andy and Emily, her former nemesis and co-assistant, have since joined forces to start a highend bridal magazine. The Plunge has quickly become required reading for the young and stylish. Now they get to call all the shots: Andy writes and travels to her heart’s content; Emily plans parties and secures advertising like a seasoned pro. Even better, Andy has met the love of her life. Max Harrison, scion of a storied media family, is confident, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. Their wedding will be splashed across all the society pages as their friends and family gather to toast the glowing couple. Andy Sachs is on top of the world. But karma’s a bitch. The morning of her wedding, Andy can’t shake the past. And when she discovers a secret letter with crushing implications, her wedding-day jitters turn to cold dread. Andy realizes that nothing—not her husband, nor her beloved career—is as it seems. She never suspected that her efforts to build a bright new life would lead her back to the darkness she barely escaped ten years ago—and directly into the path of the devil herself...(Goodreads)

I was so excited to see this one on an upcoming release list. This author fell off my radar even though I LOVED Devil Wears Prada. It was chick lit at its best. And the movie is one of my favorites, one I can watch over and over again and never grow bored.

I chose to listen to this one this time and I'm glad I did. Actress Megan Hilty, from the TV show Smash (which I don't watch) is the narrator. She is absolutely fabulous! You can really tell in audio, when a narrator is a skilled actor. It comes across in the nuances of the characters and the range of emotion. She didn't over act the male parts or annoyingly talk in a baby voice for children. Every character was subtle yet defined. 

The story line is just as juicy and engrossing as Devil Wears Prada. This one was a bit more relatable considering Andy becomes a mother. But it's still filled with fashion, drama, money, New York and romance. I loved it. The way Hilty narrated Miranda Priestly was spot on and her character still makes me feel like I'm hearing nails on a chalkboard.

Since Devil Wears Prada is so engrained in our heads because of the movie with Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, I would say it would be fine to just pick this one up. But if you want to do a back to back fun summer beach reading pair, these books would be perfect!

Because Hilty was so amazing in her narration, I think I may have to check her out on Smash. 

Author Website:
Lauren Weisberger

Publisher and Ordering Information:
Simon and Schuster

Happy reading and/or listening, and as always thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child