In my mailbox – Mistakes I made at work

Received an ARC of this collection of stories about learning from failure and am loving it already.

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tomorrow is another day

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecilia Ahern

A sort of meta-diary, The Book of Tomorrow is the story of Tamara, a teenaged girl who finds herself at a loss after her father’s suicide and bankruptcy brings her life of privilege to a halt. The sort of girl who grew up on a steady stream of lavish parties and Louis Vuitton bags, Tamara is spoiled rotten and superficial, but her father’s death forces her to see past her need for instant gratification. With her mother in a near catatonic state, a silent uncle, and an aunt who tries to fix everything with food, Tamara waits listlessly for her life to return to normal until she finds a very special book–a diary tucked away among the motley collection of novels and biographies that make up the region’s traveling library. What Tamara finds inside the diary is her own story… one day ahead of schedule. What do you do when you have the future in your hands?

The first thing I noticed about The Book of Tomorrow was that it reminded me of Liz Berry’s The China Garden, one of my favorite books. Not only is Tamara a snarky, smart protagonist, she is infinitely curious and more than willing to try to get to the source of a problem, even if it means putting herself in danger. Family secrets, personal turmoil, and a touch of magic instantly drew me into the story. The idea of the diary seemed odd at first, but it worked. Tamara grows as she learns that what will happen tomorrow is not set in stone, and that her actions have very real consequences. The spoiled girl who whined about presents and weekend trips becomes someone who looks beyond money and objects to find her own worth.

This is the sort of novel that can appeal to readers of YA and chick lit alike. A fast pace and good character development add depth to the plot, and the mystery elements turn it into something more than a story about death and redemption.

I received my copy from William Morrow. No payment was received for this review.

Truly, Madly

This review is based on an ARC copy. I got my copy through Barnes & Noble’s First Look Book Club. This book will be released in February 2010.

Heather Webber’s Truly, Madly is a fast-paced, fun read with a dash of mystery and suspense thrown in for good measure.

Lucy Valentine, daughter of world-renowned matchmaker Oscar Valentine, is a little skeptical when it comes to love and matchmaking, but when her father gets caught in a compromising and career-threatening position, Lucy is left to run Valentine, Inc. and maintain the companies near perfect record for matches. Nevermind that Lucy lost the famous (and secret) power that has made the Valentines successful matchmakers for countless generations, independent Lucy has a job to do and a lot to prove.

But Lucy soon finds that there is more to matchmaking than finding complementary auras. When client Michael Lafferty tells Lucy the story of a long-lost first love, Lucy finds herself tangled in a mystery that she never expected.

Hiring Sean Donahue,  PI, to find  Michael’s old girlfriend, Lucy feels an instant electric connection that challenges everything she’s ever thought about love and attraction.

What is a reluctant matchmaker to do when she knows she’s cursed to never find her own perfect match?

When I first heard about Truly, Madly on the First Look Book Club, I thought it sounded like a fun read and it certainly was. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, but the book was very readable and I didn’t want to put it down! The blurb on the back of the book promises that there will be at least two other books in the series (there is a preview of the next book, Deeply, Desperately) and I will definitely be looking for them in future.

The characters were charismatic and believable (yes, even with the psychic powers), and the plot was engaging and well-developed.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in a fun romantic mystery. I think fans of Meg Cabot’s series will probably enjoy it as well.

For more information on the Lucy Valentine series, visit Heather Webber’s site