Friday, July 18, 2014

Plan Overboard (Toronto #14) by Heather Wardell

Release Date: May 28, 2014
Publisher: Holly Leaf Press
Series: Toronto series, Book 14

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

After failing to achieve her lifelong dream, Corinne took some time to create a new, deeply detailed life plan for herself before putting it into action. Nearly three months later she was enjoying a long overdue time of relaxtion on a cruise. Her intention to study her books and go over her future plans vanished the moment she laid eyes on Austin. His easy-on-the-eyes looks and carefree attitude excited her, but also sent shivers of terror through her. His presence threatened to derail every bit of her plans.

Warm, sunny days and beautiful, star-filled nights made it too easy for Corinne to drop her guard around Austin. The more time they spent together, the more she questioned her decisions. As they neared the end of the cruise, a heavily hidden truth revealed itself and sent Corinne reeling for a second time in her life. Months of changes followed the cruise. So did the lingering questions. Should she give up her methodically planned life for something more exciting? Will she ever let go of the past enough to have a future?

I was offered the chance to read this title by the author herself in exchange for a fair and honest review. This book followed the last two books by Heather Wardell that I reviewed (Everybody's Got a Story and Fifty Million Reasons). It's also the long-awaited sequel to All at Sea which chronicled the events between a portion of the key characters which frequently appeared throughout this novel. This story stood well on its own, but the author did a wonderful job weaving in the events of the previous one without shifting the focus away from the main character of this story, Corinne.

Oh, Corinne. The poor woman's world crumbled the moment she failed to achieve a dream that had been the driving force of her life for over a decade, maybe longer. The weight of that failure drove her to the other extreme and led to what many would consider to be a life-altering decision. I was a little taken aback by what she did because her behavior at the start of the novel didn't lead me to believe that she'd do something like that. Then again, I could understand it as the story progressed. Most of the characters in this novel had easygoing natures which made a lot of the book a fun read. Each of them kept their individuality while blending well when grouped together, especially during the cruise segments of the book.

As I mentioned before, some of the characters were introduced in an earlier book. Nick, Mel and Austin all had their histories and reasons explored in more depth in it, but the author was able to weave in the important events during conversations and other small ways. Not only did it help to me understand the reasons why they said or did something, each instance helped to advance the plot in a way that kept me interested. The pace of the story was fairly consistent from beginning to end, allowing me to enjoy the story but also helped keep those pages turning.

In the end I found myself enjoying this book for a couple of reasons. The main reason was the fact I could relate to Corinne in the way she perceived herself for not achieving what was her lifelong dream. I've been there myself. I've also met a man similar to Austin in a lot of ways. Though he's not as well off as the character, it was a treat to read a book and see similarities in one's own life. Now, I will admit that I found a couple of the plot devices as easy to guess. However, the chapters before the ending really hit the nail on the head in regards to realizing what life was all about. It made the ride worthwhile for me. If you're looking for a book about an instant connection, dealing with the shards of broken dreams, or coming to terms with life and its scorn of plans, then this is the book you'll want to add to your collection.

Plan Overboard (Toronto #14) by Heather Wardell is currently available for purchase at many online retailers including Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble. It can be found in either paperback and Kindle formats. Below is the book's Amazon page.
Plan Overboard (Toronto #14) by Heather Wardell

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