young adult

Book Review: The Party by Robyn Harding

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Book Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars to The Party by Robyn Harding.

the party

Why This Book
The publisher, Gallery Books, sent me a copy of this book either because I won a Goodreads Giveaway or they thought I might like the book (I get lots of books and I can’t remember how this one came to me exactly). I’m trying to close up my 2017 Reading Challenge and clean off all the outstanding books my bookshelf, so this one’s turn was up next!

Plot, Characters & Setting
Hannah is turning 16. Her parents throw her and some friends a party in the basement of their $2.5 million San Francisco home. Hannah invites some of the popular girls, as her fame is on the rise. She wants to fit in, but the girls bring alcohol and drugs. When something awful happens, her parents, Jeff and Kim, are thrust into a lawsuit and a divided high school. Hannah’s friends are typical 16-year-old girls searching for acceptance and adult experiences. Kim and Jeff’s marriage is having a few issues and they are each keeping a secret from one another. Their friends aren’t sure what’s wrong, but someone isn’t telling the truth about the night of the party. The novel explores the lengths to which parents will go to protect their children, as well as those young adults will go to keep their own secrets.

Approach & Style
I read this 340 page paperback book in two sittings over the course of one day. It absorbed me! It’s told in third person POV from the perspective of 4 or 5 main characters. Chapters alternate their focus, revealing different aspects of a story over the course of a 6-month period. The writing is clear and concise, which made it quite a quick read.

Strengths & Concerns
Harding quickly makes you dislike these characters, which is a good thing. I was immediately taken back to what life was like in high school for many students. While I felt some components were an exaggeration, I also know that things like this happened to varying degrees. For the most part, it really captured the reality of what 16-year-old girls go through, but it also showcased a particularly nasty strain of kids hoping to climb to the top. It angered me (the plot), but it also impressed me (the quality of the details). I enjoyed the leaps between different characters. It was a page-turner for me and brought me back to when I once lived in San Francisco.

On the flip side, the ending was not what I wanted nor expected. It had a few too many open questions. For a story with lots of tight components, I think this was a bit of a let-down. Ultimately, I’m not sure if I learned a less or just saw a slice of life during a short time period. I’d be fine if it were either case, but it was a bit too blurry. I definitely took sides in the conflict, which makes me wonder what kind of a person I am… in terms of who I rooted for. While I understand both sides, ultimately, the wrong people were punished for something they had little responsibility for. At the same time, it propelled the lives of every person in that school toward a new direction. If everything came together better in the end, this would have been a solid 4-rated book for me, but it unraveled in a few too many places so I knocked a half star off.

Final Thoughts
I’d still recommend this book despite the ending which threw me too much. You’ll be drawn in and really enjoy witnessing the battle, as there isn’t necessarily a right and wrong in an unfortunate accident like this one. It’s a strong point of view and really shows the differences in the way parents and children think.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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Why This Book 
I run a poll each month on my blog called the “Book Bucket List” where followers choose one book each month for me to read. November’s winner was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas — and I’m quite glad it was! You can vote in December’s poll at https://thisismytruthnow.com; there are 12 books to choose from and I will read it mid-December.

court

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Feyre is a 19-year old girl trying to support her sisters and father, living by poor means in a very small hovel, as one character puts it, near the forest. The book opens with her attempting to kill a doe that could feed her family, but a wolf steps in her way. She considers the wolf might be a faerie, a creature she’s not allowed to kill, but ultimately reasons it is not. That’s the beginning of her mistake, as she kills the wolf, then takes both animals to feed and clothe her family. From there, the story evolves into a fantasy where she is captured by the High Fae and brought to a distant world to make amends. Everything she knew to be true about the faeries is not actually true. She falls in love with her captor, along the lines of a Beauty & the Beast re-telling, but the book is so much more. I can’t wait to read the second one as there is family drama, bonds of friendship, danger, love and morality.

Approach & Style 
This is the first book in the ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ series. I read this 420-page young adult fantasy novel on iPad through Kindle Reader. It took me about 5 hours over the course of 3 days to finish it. It’s told in first-person POV with a focus on Feyre, the main character.

Strengths & Suggestions 
I remember when one of the later books came out in the series earlier this year, seeing people going a bit nutty over the release. Some complaining how awful the books are, others loving them. I avoid fantasy under most conditions, but since this was the winner, I had to read it. I wasn’t thrilled with the first two chapters, but once Feyre leaves her land and goes back with the faeries, it’s an absolutely beautiful tale. I read for 3 hours non-stop, turning pages quickly, loving the words, the style, the setting and the character. It truly has a great deal to praise and I love the morality and lessons each character learns. It’s a great series with very few concerns. At times, it was a bit wordy (but so am I in my own books, I acknowledge that). It has a few open plot holes, but they might be resolved in a future book, so no complaints here. Overall, it’s a definite 4+ for me right now. I can’t wait to read the next one, probably in 2018 after I clear a few ARCs off my plate and finish my second novel. All I can say is for someone who isn’t always fond of fantasy, this was a fantastic book. Thank you to those who picked this book as my November read!

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 259 – Young Adult (LIST: Fiction Genres)

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Young Adult: literature generally meant for teenagers through early twenties, though some feel it ends at nineteen

young adult

Sundays are LIST days and today is no different. For this group of 5 Sundays, I chose a favorite book genre and discussed all the reasons why I love it. In our fifth and final week, it’s all about young adult fiction. Let’s first chat about why I adore this genre:

  • There’s usually a moral, which often can be extrapolated to cover general life lessons.
  • I enjoy it more if there’s a small element of science-fiction or fantasy, nothing too big, but enough to make it different from a normal read.
  • The characters are usually going through something we’ve all been through before, though not always; however, when it is something, we can compare how we handled the situation.
  • There’s often an innocence or thirst for knowledge which is admirable and easy to connect with.
  • I miss my youth? Ha!
  • The story tends to be a bit more simple, but has great depth in the characters.

While young adult isn’t my top two or three favorites, it is a bit of a favorite. I like to read one every 5 or 6 books to keep myself immersed in a wide range of plot and setting. I have found a few authors I like, and at times, these are often turned into TV shows or movies I’ve found appealing.

What are some of my favorite reads from the last few years?

What’s next on my list in this genre to read in 2017/2018?

How about you? Any favorites or recommendations? Do you not like this genre? Time to share!

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, often organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Past weeks included:

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held
  • Weeks 26 – 30: Top 10 entertainment options
  • Week 31: How to follow or contact me across all social media platforms
  • Week 32: How to help an artist with promotion
  • Week 33 – 37: Favorite Book Genres

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks.

 

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Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Book Review: I run a monthly poll on my daily blog where voters choose a book I read each month from my Book Bucket List. Last month, voters chose Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

crows

Before I get into the review, a few housekeeping items… I do not normally read fantasy or young adult books as a regular part of my reading genres. I tend to prefer historical, contemporary, thriller or mystery fiction; however, I try to branch out each month and read something out of my ‘comfort zone.’ I love Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Book Thief, The Hunger Games, and many more, so I do often find myself with top ratings for books in fantasy and young adult. Before I opened Six of Crows, I had been warned the first 50 to 75 pages would be difficult until I was absorbed into the story, given all the background on the fantasy world and the new terms / descriptions; however, I was not warned it was almost 500 pages long. I probably should have put something smaller on the list that voters could have chosen! Let’s get into the review…

The plot, characters, setting, themes and perspectives are intense and beautiful. I could easily see the story unfolding before my eyes as I immersed myself into the new world. It feels like this could grow as popular as some of the other fantasy tomes I’ve read (see above) among various reader groups. It hits all the sweet spots for transferring your mind from the monotonous and ordinary to an explosively and wildly imaginative universe. The way character back stories are woven together, the order in how events unfold and the dynamics between so many of the major and supporting characters is well thought out, planned and developed. Kudos to the author for building such an amazing playground for readers to frolic in.

All that said, I struggled through the book – not because it wasn’t a good one – because it was so different from what I normally read and enjoy. I need clarity on a world when I read about it mostly because I like to figure out the connections and history of what’s going on. I wasn’t sure of the boundaries and parameters here because it could literally have gone anywhere (then again, that’s the point of fantasy, so it seems like an obvious statement). If I put my analytical cap on, I think had I watched this as a film to gain the broader perspective of all the components of the world and the character profiles, I might have had a strong enough baseline to let myself become completely absorbed in the book while reading it afterwards. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible at the moment, so I read it first.

One of the key things I believe in life – especially as a book reviewer and a writer – is to be honest and fair, but to also look at a situation from all perspectives. This is a tremendously good book with a huge and wide appeal for its audience. It wasn’t an ideal match for me as a reader, perhaps right now, or perhaps given its genre. That said, rating it is tough. Ratings are personal and reflect how a reader feels about a book, but as an author, I would hate for someone to rate my book poorly because it wasn’t a good match for them; because a reader doesn’t like it doesn’t mean it isn’t a fantastic book. It is in that tenuous space that I try to come up with a rating that is fair given all the circumstances. If I loved fantasy and this type of novel, it would hands-down be a 5-star rating. Because this is not something that normally appeals to me with great significance, it’s probably a 3-star rating. To be fair, I think the book deserves a middle-ground to represent the best of both worlds – my personal opinion and that of a critical reader and author.

4-stars to this book… while some may applaud my effort to be fair, others might yell at me for misunderstanding the book or not being creative enough. Either way, I would recommend this to anyone who loves this genre or even wants to explore the genre more. If you’re not a fan of this type of work, don’t start here. You won’t be able to absorb what is probably the true greatness of this book and its appeal until you’ve had a bit more experience in the fantasy world.

Kudos to the author… and hopefully people reading my review see that I did not follow my normal review style in this book, rather I took a step back to find the best approach for me to review it. Thank you to the voters in my poll. I’m definitely open to more fantasy, but perhaps I should start a bit lighter to grow into this genre. I think you voted A Crown of Thorns and Roses for November… here I go!

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

TAG: Fight Like a YA Girl

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Thank you so much Patty @ Moohnshine’s Corner for tagging me on this cool tag. It’s the most difficult one I’ve ever done… and she’s gonna pay for it one day. Possibly with a cake… Hahaha! So fair…

gir

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Mention the creator Krysti at YA and Wine
  • Match at least one YA girl with each of the themes below.
  • Tag as many people as you like!

 

1.WARRIOR GIRLS:

johanna.jpg

2. GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR MIND:

  • Hermione from Harry Potter. She always knows the right spell to deal with the enemy.

hrmione.jpg

 

3. GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR HEART:

  • Lou from Me Before You. At first glance, it may not appear that she does, but in the end, her heart brought her back to him and tried to convince Will to change his mind. She may or may not be a young adult, but in my mind, she was young enough.

mebeforeyou

4. GIRLS WHO ARE TRAINED FIGHTERS:

 katniess.jpg

5. STRONG GIRLS OF COLOR:

  • Rue from The Hunger Games. She stayed in the game for a long time.

rue.jpg

6. GIRLS WHO FIGHT TO SURVIVE:

  • Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She will never die.

dragon.jpg

7. GIRLS WHO ARE WEAPONS MASTERS:

 

*** See anyone from The Hunger Games ***

8. GIRLS WHO DON’T CONFORM TO GENDER ROLES:

 

*** See several from The Hunger Games ***

9. GIRLS WITH KICK-BUTT MAGICAL POWERS:

  • Lyra from The Golden Compass. Imagine what Lyra can do with the alethiometer.

golden compass.jpg

 

10. STRONG GIRLS IN CONTEMPORARY NOVELS:

  •  Pretty Little Liars

pretty.jpg

11. SERIOUSLY FIERCE GIRLS:

*** See anyone from The Hunger Games ***

12. MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK WITH A STRONG LEADING LADY:

 

  • WOW!!! Too many to come up with,  but none are Young Adult. I’m gonna have to think about this one… suggestions?

Nominations To Do This Tag

 

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Book Review: Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

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3.5 out of 5 stars to Girl in Snow, a new mystery and suspense novel written by Danya Kukafka and set to be released on August 1st, 2017.

snow.jpg

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to review an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this novel. I enjoyed it and would be interested in reading more by this author.

Why This Book
This is slightly embarrassing, but I’m not one hundred percent certain how I came to read this book. I was awarded the novel on NetGalley in May, but I believe someone recommended it to me, or maybe the publisher reached out to me to take a look at it. I can’t find any emails, which I normally save, or any comments that might refresh my memory… so bottom-line, it was part of a NetGalley list of books I wanted to read.

Plot, Characters & Setting
Lucinda is a teenager in a small Colorado town who is found dead in the snow on a school playground by a custodian. She was hit in the head with a blunt object and left to die. The story follows several people in the town who either knew the girl or knew of her, each having different opinions about whether Lucinda was a good person or a bad girl.

Cameron is the boy who loved her from afar, except someone knows he was stalking the girl and watching through her windows. He’s had mini-breakdowns after his father left town years ago under very bad circumstances. He doesn’t remember doing anything, but people close to him know he was missing, saw him talking to her and believe he’s guilty.

Jade is a fellow schoolmate who did not like Lucinda. Lucinda stole the boy Jade loved, but the boy never really loved Jade. Jade is not upset that Lucinda is dead, but her younger sister is angry. Jade’s mother treats her daughter poorly and seems to be hiding some sort of a secret.

Russ is the cop assigned to investigate Lucinda’s death. He’s harboring a secret about his friendship with Cameron’s father, as well as the reasons Cameron’s father disappeared. He’s also certain the school custodian, who happens to be Russ’s wife’s brother, is guilty. He tries to navigate the situation, but finds himself stuck on the past.

A few other characters intersect, e.g. a couple with a young child that both Lucinda and Jade babysat for. A young school teacher accused of flirting inappropriately with his female students. And the friends and family members of all 3 main characters.

One of these people is guilty. But the question is who… and you’ll need to read the book to find out.

Approach & Style
I read the novel on my iPad through Kindle Reader. It was about 4500 lines, which is about a 300 page hardcover — not that long. Chapters are relatively short and alternate perspective from the 3 main characters: Cameron, Jade and Russ. The language and writing are absolutely beautiful. So much background and description are revealed in the narration and prose. There are limited amounts of dialogue.

Jade tells 2 sides of every conversation — what she wishes she said (through a play she is writing) and what she actually said. For a young and new writer, the author has a firm grip on flourishing language. On occasion, it fell a little too simple, but it balanced out from the lengthy details of everything else going on in the background.

Strengths
The best part of the story is the absolutely beautiful descriptions of the characters and the scenery. Everything feels authentic. The plot is complex in that there are different levels of relationships happening behind the scenes, which readers only see when certain characters happen to stumble on the supporting cast. It’s a good approach to hold interest in the story. The plot has many interesting sub-components, which help reveal who people really are on the inside versus who they appear to be on the outside.

Concerns
I didn’t know enough about nor care much for Lucinda. A lot of details were revealed about her, but she’s dead when the story starts. As a result, I felt like she could have been anyone as opposed to having a real strong desire inside me to want to know who killed her. I felt less of an attachment to her, but if it were written a little differently, I think it would have been an easy 4 rating for me. Also, once the killer is revealed, there is no scene explaining how/why it happened. You have a hint at the reason for the murder, but you never actually watch or hear the scene played out from either the narrator or a confession from the killer. It felt like a bit of a letdown.

Author & Other Similar Books
This is a very typical story about 3 seemingly disconnected characters where you have to figure out how everyone knew each other. There are a lot of similar type stories on the market right now, as it’s a popular genre and sub-genre. In a way, it was similar to “Beartown” in the structure, focus on teenagers and the mystery portion. But it was also like “I Found You” where the 3 stories will intersect somehow, but you just don’t know until the end, but also that this this was about teenagers and “I Found You” was not only about teenagers.

This is the author’s first book. She definitely has writing talent and storytelling abilities. I think with more experience, she’ll flush out some of the areas that felt a bit weak to me and become a fantastic and creative author in this genre. I’m glad I read it and will chance her next book.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: Treasure Island

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Treasure IslandBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to Treasure Island, a coming-of-age-of-sort novel, written in 1882 by Robert Louis Stevenson. I read this book as a young adult when I received it as a Christmas present from an aunt and uncle. At first, although I knew it was a classic, I wasn’t too anxious to jump into it. I wasn’t a big fan of pirates and boats. I wasn’t a normal kid, what can I tell you. But… it was a gift and I thought I should give it a chance. And once I did, I loved it. I had read Peter Pan recently and felt a kismet connection of sorts between them. From the adventures to the bonds, to the test of good versus evil, the book had so many wonderful moments. And since then, I’ve sampled many different iterations, from movies to other books with pirate stories, all the way to Once Upon a Times interpretation. It’s truly a remarkable story that helps young adults figure out how to approach a world full of fears, hopes and questions. And to think it’s a pirate and a cook who help you to figure some of it out. But it’s more. There’s bonding. And team work. And treasure hunting. And challenges. And mystery. All culminating in reaching one’s goals in ways you didn’t necessarily expect.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews