Day: May 11, 2017

Review: It’s Always the Husband

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It's Always the Husband3 out of 5 stars to It’s Always the Husband, a new thriller and suspense novel set to release to the public on May 16, 2017, by Michele Campbell. It’s a quick-read with a few slow spot, but keeps you guessing all throughout the chapters, almost playing a bit of Russian Roulette with who’s behind the whole plot.

Why This Book
I saw it pop up on a few Goodreads reviews. I looked on NetGalley and thought it sounded like a strong psychological thriller. I was awarded the book in lieu of a fair and honest review, which is always the case with me. And who wouldn’t be curious about a book with this title?

Overview of Story
Kate, Jenny and Aubrey were roommates their freshmen year in a New England college. Each girl came from a different background: Kate was a rich NY trust fund girl. Jenny was a townie who wanted to get out badly. Aubrey came from Vegas with little support from her family. Somehow, they form a bond and remain friends over the course of 22 years. The book alternates between when they were 18 and when they turned 40, covering different boys they date, men they marry and the secrets they keep from each other. During that freshmen year, something awful happened, which sent Kate running out of the country. But when they all re-connect years later, the details of the night begin to unravel, especially when someone else ends up dead. This is the story of friendship and enemies, love and hate, secrets and revenge.

Approach & Style
The book is told in third-person limited omniscient, carefully navigating from character to character, telling the events as they were unfolding or did so in the past. It covers two distinct time periods: when they were 18 and freshmen and when they’re about to turn 40. It’s always clear which time period you’re in, but not in an overt way.

The book starts off with someone taking a walk on a bridge. You soon learn this person is being forced off the bridge. And then something happens, but your not sure what it is. Then the real story begins, describing how the girls meet and the subsequent events that occur throughout their lives. You never re-visit that scene in the present time, rather re-live in through each character who was involved via memories and dialogue, explaining what they thought happened.

But in the end, you will clearly piece it all back together — you know who was behind the entire situation. Cleverly told in small pieces, you learn just enough to keep your mind guessing… and when you tie in the title, you’ll keep asking yourself which husband killed someone, but you’re not entirely sure as there are many of them it could have been.

Strengths
1. Each of the 3 girls are very clear and distinct. You can picture them, you understand their motivation and you know what is likely going to be their downfall.

2. The men are less important, mostly as catalysts to help propel the relationship growing between the women. But as background characters, they all have a certain appeal, be it positive or negative. You get a sense of real people with real problems in most cases.

3. The suspense and timing is strong. The bounce back between periods keeps your mind guessing, even up until the very end when you have 3 pages left and are still waiting to figure out exactly what happened that final night for the victim.

Open Questions & Concerns
1. These girls did not like each other and I don’t buy their friendship. For one thing, Kate was an uptight trust fund baby who tried to play it off like she wasn’t. But she was. There is no way Jenny would be friends with her. Jenny even sparred with her the first few scenes and chapters, to the point where you question why they stayed together as roommates and then as friends. I struggled to believe they would help each other. Aubrey was definitely the glue, and given where she came from, she needed both of them to help propel her life forward. But I really think they would have had other people in their lives to prevent the disaster of their relationship as a triad.

2. The story with the new cop seemed to come from nowhere and go nowhere. He wasn’t very likable. He had no connections except to Kate, which was very unclear. Felt like extra fluff, just to cause readers to not guess the actual mystery.

3. Something is just missing from this story. It’s got lots of good parts. Some of it felt a little disconnected. And I was waiting for a bigger surprise payoff. I was surprised with the final overall explanation. I guessed part of it about 50% thru the book. But it felt like so much time was spent throwing readers off from guessing the details, when a little more should have been spent tying things together a little more closely with some additional emotions, connections and struggles.

Author & Other Similar Books
It’s in the vain of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. It’s a bit more about the friendships between the 3 girls rather than a focus entirely on problems between a husband and wife; although, that does play a significant role given the number of affairs happening over the course of the 22 year period.

Final Thoughts
As for thrillers and suspense, it certainly has some. The biggest issue was that the 3 girls weren’t all that likable… too much dependency on drugs and alcohol which made me really question why I cared who died and who was the killer. I’m all for drugs and alcohol in books, to match the realities of life, and to help propel the plot… but it felt like 80% of the characters relied on it to move the day forward rather than a background to the emotional and mental drama brewing within the extended group of friends. And that’s how I felt about the book. Too much extraneous and not enough focus on the missing years. So much could have happened and caused the tensions when they turned 40, but little of it was ever front and center.

That said, it’s a quick read… 4 hours, and has some great character development and intrigue as far as which person died, who is hiding what and how will this all end. You only know parts of the final death scene in the beginning and that’s what keeps you holding on throughout the rest of the 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.

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TAG: Why am I a reader?

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reader

I found this tag on a blog created by Reading Through The Nights  who found the tag on thriceread before that… I thought it was a good way to get to know people as readers –without going into specific details about a book. So here goes…

1. Choose one word that would describe you as a reader.

Eclectic. I read every genre, every sub-genre and sub-sub-genre. It’s words that I love, and when there is a character, plot or setting that speaks to me, whether fiction or non-fiction, it goes to my To-Be-Read (TBR) list.

2. What is the first book that made you fall in love with reading?

As a child, there was a children’s book series in my local library that had beautiful, colorful book covers and had a theme across each edition. But sadly, it was so long ago, I cannot remember the author or series name. Though I can picture it on the shelves and vividly recall the feeling I had looking at them. Going to the library every week that summer, picking out a new book for the summer reading competition, encouraged my love of reading. Since then, I’d say there are a number of books that show me why I love reading, but most recently that pleasure falls to Kate Morton’s historical fiction novels.

3. Hardcover or paperback?

In the last year, I’ve grown accustomed to electronic reads through the NetGalley or other ARC programs. I tend to buy paperbacks because they are less expensive and I am able to purchase more; however, I prefer the feel of a hardback cover to everything else.

4. How has reading shaped your identity?

I’m a shy person. I also don’t learn well from other people. I have always learned (lessons, knowledge, information, etc.) by reading about it on my own. When you can search the internet to find articles and blogs on topics you love, or pickup a book with a story that speaks to you, the world is at your finger tips. I will never get to see or do everything on my so-called bucket list; however, through reading, I can get close enough to quench my thirst, even just a little. Books have made me confident and able to learn without feeling unprotected and reachable when I crave independence and solitude.

5. What book do you read when you want to be comforted?

A cozy mystery series full of lovable and kooky characters who are hiding secrets.

6. Who influenced you to be a reader?

I wish I could point to a single person or entity, but there is none. I have no great story to tell about the biggest influence in my life in this area. Words in books have just simply “always spoken to me.” And I’m not ashamed to admit that on any given day, I’d be comfortable stating I need books more than I need people.

7. Describe your dream reading lounge.

Absolute quiet. Not any other sound. Not too bright, not to dark. Plenty of champagne to drink for hours, but the kind that won’t ever make you drunk. A comfortable chair, near a window, overlooking mountains. Around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Comfy blanket thrown over me. Legs lifted up on an ottoman. Green plants around the room. Nothing on the walls but grey, brown, black and white colors. No door in or out… entry would be through an elevator that opens directly to the room, but only ever reachable by me. Ryder by my side.

8. What book changed the way you saw the world?

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

9. What defines your life a reader?

Freedom. Flexibility. Fortune.

I am free to read whatever I want. But I know that not everyone else is.

My mind has the flexibility to read every genre and find books I love. So many readers stick within a comfort zone and miss out on things that could change their world forever.

I am able to buy the books I love, though not everyone has that fortune. But I also am fortunate to be able to write, as well as read. And I want to bring that fortune to others in my own stories and books.

I could discuss reading forever and under any circumstance. It is my life. It is where Jay meets happiness.

10. What are your favorite quotes?

  • “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Mark Twain
  • “A life well lived is a life full of decisions.” (Guess!)

TAG: To no one specific… consider yourself tagged if you wanna be… and NOT if you don’t wanna be.

Review: The Murders in the Rue Morgue

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The Murders in the Rue MorgueBook Review
Edgar Allan Poe was a brilliant author, who died too early; I can only imagine what his macabre mind would have dreamed had he not perished. In The Murders in the Rue Morgue, a short story first published in 1841, Poe introduces a detective character, C. Auguste Dupin, who will show up in a few later stories. Many future writers, (Dame Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) were influenced by this work in particular. It’s quite possible the father of the detective story. A gory, macabre story, it’s not nearly as graphic as the things we read today, but it will still send the shivers up your spine. The most famous part of this work is how readers never suspect the culprit, given how well done the story is. It’s a quick read, worth any mystery fan’s attention… and a good sampling of the early genre for those interested in giving it a chance. My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

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Review: James and the Giant Peach

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James and the Giant Peach Book Review
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is a very creative story built for everyone of all ages to enjoy. I think of it as a cross between 3 things: (1) Dr. Seuss, (2) Jack and the Beanstalk and (3) Harry Potter. 4 of 5 stars to this lovely keepsake.

I had to read this book, when it’s my namesake, James. But the similarities end there. James’ parents have passed away and he lives with his awful aunt and uncle. A mysterious man gives him a package which helps him grow this giant peach. And then the peach turns into a house, rolls away into fantasy-land and brings tons of new cartoon characters for James to have his own family.

It’s a great children’s story / younger young adult story to help show the different types of family, love and support one can get. So many fun things come from here, it’s a must read for all kids. My favorite character would probably be the ladybug… such a treasure in words and pictures.

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.

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Review: The Taming of the Shrew

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The Taming of the ShrewBook Review
The Taming of the Shrew is one of William Shakespeare‘s earliest plays and comedies, produced in the mid-1590s. We read this play in 8th or 9th grade as one of the introductions to Shakespeare in an English course. I’d rank this somewhere in the middle in terms of his comedies as well as works in general. It’s got several funny moments (ironic humor) but it’s also a bit weaker in terms of style and hidden meanings among all the words and characters. The plot is strong, and copied by may in the last 420+ years. Two men want to date / marry two women; sisters, brothers or friends, doesn’t really matter. But only if both girls are married at the same time, thus forcing the hand where 1 man must step up and “take one for the team.” My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some argue the play is sexist. I won’t debate that, only say it is over 400 years old and probably more forward-thinking than most others at the time. Not saying it’s right of fair, tho. What does a man do when he agrees to marry the “shrewish” girl… especially when she won’t have anything to do with him. Inject some humor, fiendish plot and sarcasm, of course. What makes this an interesting play is there is a lot of action and definition in the characters. There’s enough to go around unlike some of the other works where you can’t quite tell which characters are important… and sometimes mix up a few. Much easier to stay focused here. But it’s not as funny as you’d like it to be. I like plays with strong female characters. Katherine is strong but unfortunately has a few weak moments. And then ending doesn’t fit for me.

But… as far his plays go, definitely worth a read!

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.

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Review: The Cat Who Sniffed Glue

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The Cat Who Sniffed Glue Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, the 8th entry in the “Cat Who” cozy mystery series written in 1988 by Lilian Jackson Braun. Moose County is certainly a memorable town. It’s full of insanely eccentric characters who bring a bunch of laughs, whether it’s over their appearance, action or words. And while Pickax, the town where Qwill, Koko and YumYum live has been the focus for the last couple of books, we’re introduced to Chipmunk, the next town over, in this installment. And Chipmunk must be the bad side of town, as they have all the hoodlums who cause crime. How could a town called Chipmunk be so bad? I must put this place on my bucket list; sounds fun… but on a lighter note, this one made me think of The Cat Who Played Post Office, simply due to the postage stamp adhesive and now the glue Koko and YumYum become obsessed with… focuses on the crazy hijinks at a bank, a robbery possibly turned murder, and Qwill’s decoration of his new pad… and a few added laughs when the woman gives Polly a run for her money in trying to capture Qwill’s heart. I love when there’s Polly competition because she and Qwill can be super boring — sometimes. Not always… and it’s nice how it’s only a little tease, believable, but never a real threat.

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.

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Review: E is for Evidence

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E is for Evidence Book Review
E is for Evidence, written in 1988, is the fifth book in the “Kinsey Millhone” mystery series by the hilarious Sue Grafton. It’s just before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature is stirring, except for one of Kinsey’s two ex-husbands: Daniel Wade. And if that’s not enough, she takes on a small investigation involving arson, only to find a mysterious $5K deposit into her bank account that she didn’t put there. Something smells a little too much like gas… and yup, it’s her because she’s practically on fire in this installment. Between arson, bombs, odd family relationships, creepy ex-husbands and some sort of money pay off scheme, Kinsey’s stuck in the middle of a bad puzzle. My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kinsey is a fantastic character. She has a few flaws and annoying habits, but for the most part, she’s a strong female lead who can demonstrate intelligence, charm and consideration. The series is dependable, providing laughs, a little drama and suspense, a cozy warm feeling and usually something new and exciting. This is a fine example of a typical novel in the series, and you really either like these types of books or you don’t. I enjoy them because it transports you into a world you likely never get to participate in… solving crimes, pushing people, getting a bit nosy… and we all like those things from time to time. What’s good about this one is you learn more about the Kinsey from the past thru her relationship with her ex, Daniel.

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.

View all my reviews