Day: May 25, 2017

Author Alert: Jenn McKinlay

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As part of our Author Alert series, we’re now on our second week and I’ve completed nearly 350 reviews on the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog site. This week, I’ve selected… Jenn McKinlay!

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Jenn McKinlay writes romance, humor, suspense, and mystery fiction. To learn more about her, you can see her profile on Goodreads, her personal website or her Facebook profile.

Two of my favorite things about Jenn McKinlay is her creativity and her down-to-earth and humble personality. You can tell by all her posts [on Facebook about her family, vacations and the writing process] that she is a genuine and caring person. Reading things like those posts about an author help readers feel close to the people who create the stories they love, which in turn develops a strong fandom for the books being written. And she has a lot of books… mostly serial fiction… many of which I’ve read across multiple series. See below for some highlights.

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Book Series – Library Lovers Mysteries

Lindsey Norris, director of the Briar Creek Public Library, in Connecticut, has returned to her hometown after losing her position at a bigger library. She’s inherited an interesting group of employees at the new library, plus she’s falling for a few of the people who live around town. The book currently has 8 in the series and often focuses on books and libraries as part of the mystery thrills. Lindsey is a great character, full of fun and surprise. She seems a little reticent to get into a relationship, but it’s getting better. I can’t wait to meet her parents, especially having seen what her brother was like when he was the center of a mystery.

Book Series – Library Lovers Mysteries — Favorite Series

  1. Books Can Be Deceiving (2011)
  2. Due or Die (2012)
  3. Book, Line & Sinker (2012)
  4. Read It and Weep (2013)
  5. On Borrowed Time (2014)
  6. A Likely Story (2015)
  7. Better Late Than Never (2016)
  8. Death in the Stacks (2017)

Book Series – Cupcake Bakery Mysteries

The Cupcake Bakery mysteries feature owners Melanie “Mel” Cooper and Angela “Angie” DeLaura and contains 9 books in the series. These best friends are also openly embracing the dating world and trying to decide which one belongs with their male best friend! Reminds me a little bit of Hannah Swensen from the Joanne Fluke cozy mystery series.

  1. Sprinkle with Murder (2010)
  2. Buttercream Bump Off (2011)
  3. Death By the Dozen (2011)
  4. Red Velvet Revenge (2012)
  5. Going, Going, Ganache (2013)
  6. Sugar and Iced (2014)
  7. Dark Chocolate Demise (2015)
  8. Vanilla Beaned (2016)
  9. Caramel Crush (2017)

Book Series – Hat Shop Mysteries

Scarlett has left the US after a disastrous and public break-up, deciding England may be a better place to re-start her life. She comes to visit her cousin and helps run the hat shop, finding murder wherever she goes. I love cozy mystery books that take place in England. I’ve only read one to day, but just purchased the next two which are due to arrive this week. I’ll read them in June. The series has 5 books to date.

  1. Cloche and Dagger (2013)
  2. Death of a Mad Hatter (2014)
  3. At the Drop of a Hat (2015)
  4. Copy Cat Murder (2016)
  5. Assault & Beret (2017)

In addition to the above 3 series, Jenn also has some other books:

Book Series – Bluff Point Romance

A romance series featuring the dogs who in the main character’s lives. Contains 3 books in the series either currently published or about to be published.

  1. About a Dog (2017)
  2. Barking Up the Wrong Tree (2017)
  3. Every Dog Has His Day (2017)

Note: If there is an active link, I’ve completed a review.

Link to the Jenn McKinlay page where you will be able to return in the future to see when I post new reviews and book thoughts.

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” 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… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking. Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All 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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TV Show Review: Grace & Frankie

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4+ of 5 stars to Grace and Frankie, a Netflix original TV comedy series created in 2015 and currently in season 3. What an amazing show! Only a few things holding it back from being a 5 star rating for me (covered below). Let’s get into the fun!

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Why This Show?

  • Netflix has become a go-to for TV viewing. I don’t have to worry about recording a show. I always find something new and interesting. And the quality is always strong.
  • Lily Tomlin is hilarious. I’ve grown fond of Jane Fonda over the years. And the thought of a reunion since their movie “9 to 5” is enough to make anyone want to see this show. I just hope they get Dolly Parton to stop by for an episode or two.
  • What a great concept… and to show them living their lives separately, dealing with their husbands leaving them when in their 70s… I don’t think that’s been done before!

Show Overview

  • About thirteen (13) episodes in each of the three (3) seasons. Netflix releases them in May each year, so you can binge watch the whole season at once or keep it for longer by watching one every week or so like me!
  • Martin Sheen and Jane Fonda play Robert and Grace Hanson, married for about 40 years, with 2 daughters in their 30s, Brianna and Mallory. Martin’s an attorney and Grace ran her own consumer products business for women.
  • Sam Waterston and Lily Tomlin play Sol and Frankie Bergstein, also married for about 40 years with two adopted sons in their 30s, Bud and Coyote. Sol’s an attorney and Martin’s best friend. Frankie’s a free spirit who paints and invents things. She and Grace have never liked one another.
  • Robert and Sol fell in love over 30 years ago and have been engaged in a long-term affair, unable to tell their wives and children that they’re both gay. In the first episode, it’s finally revealed… and life is never the same again for the two couples.
  • Both divorce in the first season, and Sol and Robert finally move in together. Grace and Frankie realize they only have each other right now, as they don’t want anyone else to know… so they end up moving in together in the beach house the couples shared. And they become friends, learning how to deal with each other’s very different personas and styles.
  • Each episode is about the relationships they all share from dating, to parent/child to friendships. Grace and Frankie have to re-invent themselves in their 70s, trying to decide how to prove they are more than just jilted wives. Robert and Sol just want to move on and finally be happy together. When both families find out, everyone’s surprised but at the same time, sorta saw it coming.
  • The show also has several side stories concerning:
    • Brianna takes over her mother’s business when Grace retires.  She doesn’t ever want to get married or have children, preferring to live the single lady and professional business woman’s life.
    • Mallory is married with a lot of kids, living the family life. She’s often jealous of her sister, but also loves her children.
    • Bud is following in his father’s footsteps and about to take over the law firm. He was adopted at birth and is from Africa.
    • Coyote had a drug and drinking problem, recently released from a rehab facility. He used to be in love with Mallory, but has left her alone ever since she got married. He’s still trying to figure out his life and future.
    • Grace and Frankie open a business together with a focus on providing sexual products to women over 65. Both women have tried dating, finding some success but also lots of struggles.

The Good and The Bad

  • It’s a great slice of life for both gay men and straight women in their 70s. What happens when your relationship ends and you have to move on? Can you do it alone? Do you rely on friends? How do you re-invent yourself? What is important?  All good questions and the show tackles each one with careful aplomb.
  • I do not buy Martin Sheen or Sam Waterston as gay men. Both are playing a little lighter than their normal personalities in other roles; however, it can come across as a bit of a caricature or as a little too effeminate. It’s not bad, but enough that I sorta squint my eyes and glance sideways to accept it. I think there could have been better casting for them both; however, I do enjoy watching their performances. Grace and Frankie are the stars of the show tho.
  • The four kids all feel a little over the top, as they each have their own issues. It makes for good drama, but I feel like too much stress is put on those aspects and less about the positive side of the relationships between parents and children. Too much fighting, but then again, maybe my family just never outwardly fought.
  • I laugh every episode. I get a little emotional in many of them. It’s never boring. And often, you can relate to them, even though you might be 30 or 40 years younger.

Final Thoughts

  • So many great topics: assisted suicide, coming out, inter-racial dating, affairs, dementia, hip replacement, robbery, guns, business ownership… something different each time, guaranteed to leave you with interesting thoughts and reactions.
  • You should know there is a bit of risque language and topics, especially when it comes to the products that Grace and Frankie have invented, designed and produced for their business for the 65+ women with arthritic hands. By now, you’ve probably guessed what I’m referring to… but it keeps going from there. So if those things are out of your comfort zone, you may want to skip the show.

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Each week, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” 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… see how you compare!

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. 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.

Blog: 350 Book Reviews on ThisIsMyTruthNow

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After I finished looking at all the updates on Goodreads, WordPress and my other social media accounts this morning, and posting today’s 365 Daily Challenge blog, I began writing up a few reviews for books I’d read in the past. When I finished, I realized I’d written 350 book reviews in the last 9 months. I was shocked I’d gotten that far already. Just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for reading and providing feedback on all the reviews. I’m about 75% complete with finishing prior reads and hope to finish by the end of June. Below are some statistics as well as a link to the Book Review section here. This will help give you some insight into the different authors, books and genres I’ve read in case you want to go poking around in previous posts.  Thank You!

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Welcome to my collection of book reviews. My favorite genres are thrillers and historical fiction. I’ve broken the categories into the following 11 genres: (1) children’s literature, (2) classics [pre-19th century], (3) cozy mystery, (4) fantasy & science fiction, (5) general fiction, (6) historical fiction, (7) non-fiction, (8) other & about TV shows, (9) thriller & suspense fiction, (10) young adult fiction and (11) alternative fiction.

As May 2017, there are over 350 book reviews on my blog and website, ThisIsMyTruthNow. Within each menu, you will find all the books I’ve written a review for organized by genre. I first post the book review on Goodreads and then send it over to this site, where I explore more about the genre, book series and authors. Since I only started publishing book reviews in October of 2016, I have been trying to catch up on everything I’ve read to date. As a result, there are two types of book reviews being posted.

Book Review Type 1 – Full & Detailed

  • For any book I’ve read since I started this website and blog in mid-2016, there is a full and detailed book review containing the following items: author, title, genre, rating, year published, overview of the story, initial thoughts, characters, strengths, areas for improvement, similar books by this author or another author, why I chose the book and some final thoughts. There are also pictures and graphics to help provide a fun and informative review.

Book Review Type 2 – Short Summary

  • Although I have a good memory when it comes to books and authors, I can’t possible remember everything about all 500+ books I’ve read in the last few decades. For anything before 2016, if I don’t have a vivid recollection, I have a shorter version of the review with some general thoughts, the good and the bad of what I remember, ratings, and some recommendations on similar items. These are generally only 1 paragraph long and do not have pictures or graphics.

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Thanks for stopping by and perusing the site. If you aren’t sure which genre the book falls into, you can also search by author in the next menu category called “Genre/Author/Series” or you can enter the book into the “Search” box on the main home screen. If you have any feedback, please share… I love to hear from everyone, as well as get book recommendations. To see my profile on Goodreads, click here.

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. <i>Note</i>: 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: The Fall of the House of Usher

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The Fall of the House of Usher3.5 of 5 stars to The Fall of the House of Usher, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, written in 1839. I found myself a slight bit bored the first time I read it. It seemed to only be about some guy that went to go visit an old school buddy. When he arrives, some type of curse or disastrous mood hangs over his house and looms until the man is a bit fearful. Then, his best friend is dying of some odd disease. They watch his wife die, but only when the man is about to die himself does he reveal that he buried the woman alive. She is still down there breathing. It was powerful imagery of the heart still beating and her breaths. It was unlike in “The Tell-Tale Heart” when the heart wasn’t really beating, a figment of his imagination. This time, it was real. Fast forward a few years later, I read the story again at the end of my college years, as a look on mystery and the Gothic origins. And the story is really vivid. It’s not Poe’s best, but you really get a sense of his imagery and his talent for describing things in a most unique way.

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.

View all my reviews

Review: Book of the Dead

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Book of the Dead Book Review
3+ of 5 stars for Book of the Dead, the 15th book in the “Kay Scarpetta” thriller series, written in 2007 by Patricia Cornwell. When I saw the title and read the description, I had very high expectations of this book. I really enjoy the series and hoped it would explore a bit of the occult side, perhaps venturing a little into historical Egyptian themes like the movie “The Mummy,” which I love. I won’t spoil anything, but it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. Still a decent book in the series, and worth a read for a fan of Scarpetta, it was not without issues. Another psycho from Kay’s past pops up. Another weird murder with ties to a victim in Rome and a small boy in Charleston, South Carolina. Too many coincidences for me. That said, the detail is great. The investigation is strong. The mystery is OK. But it was too formulaic for me. Characters are always memorable, and Cornwell does a great job at showing the crazed personalities of these serial killers. Trying to come up with new material is not easy and I do give her credit. Has the usual cast of characters… not sure what I think of Benton anymore. I kinda want him to be written out… again… since he came back from the dead at one point. Sensing a theme? :O

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

Review: T is for Trespass

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T is for Trespass Book Review
4 of 5 stars to T is for Trespass, the 20th book in the “Kinsey Millhone Alphabet” mystery series, written in 2007 by Sue Grafton. A great addition to the thriller series with this release. And a few things begin to change. Grafton introduces some updates to the format, including a different perspective and point of view by introducing the thoughts of the villain. A very timely book too, focusing on elder care and the abuse that happens once people start to need assistance in order to live or survive. I was pleasantly surprised with this book and enjoyed reading it from beginning to end. It was the last book in the series I’ve read, and once I finish catching up on a few reviews of the older ones, I plan to dive back into this series. I’m hoping the voice change is here to stay… not in an overwhelming capacity, but enough to carry us thru the final 6 books in the series. Kinsey is an amazing character. You rarely tire of her as she grows a bit with each book, shows up how her job impacts her life, but it’s never too drastic. I’m curious how it will all end…

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

Review: The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell

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The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell, the 28th (and next to last) release in the “Cat Who” cozy mystery series, written in 2006 by Lilian Jackson Braun. For fans of the series, this one was a bit of a disappointment. The last few books took longer than usual to come out and may have had a ghost writer for parts of them, due to the author being in her 90s and starting to get ill. It’s also hard to come up with new ideas after this many books in a single series, but the characters are always fun and memorable. In this one, Pickax is turning 150 years old and the inhabitants want to celebrate their town. When an architect sees the converted apple barn Qwill now lives in, he begs to spend time there. Koko and YumYum aren’t having it, leading Qwill to suspect the architect is up to no good. Of course, there’s some murder and mystery… and Qwill provides his usual sleuthing skills to the story. Mystery was weak. Characters were good. It’s one o the less fulfilling in the series, but still worth a read for fans.

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