Day: December 1, 2017

Book Review: Time of Death by Lucy Kerr

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A great read in a new series by Lucy Kerr with ‘Time of Death’ — my book review is below…

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Why This Book
I’ve read several books published by Crooked Lane, which led to chatting with their marketing department a few times. I was offered an opportunity to read the second book in this series, but since I’m a bit too Type-A, I had to go back and read the first book. It’s a great publisher, I love book series and the plot sounded interesting. I am clearing ARCs by 12/31 so I have a blank reading slate in 2018. I jumped on this one over the weekend in preparation for reading the second book in another week.

Plot, Characters & Setting
ER nurse Frankie Stapleton, 32, ends her third engagement in Chicago, then rushes home to assist her sister who’s having her second baby. Though she only plans to stay the weekend, as the family hasn’t been very close since Frankie left town more than a decade ago, she stumbles into a few too many problems. First of which is finding a man about to have a heart attack in the hospital where her sister is giving birth six weeks early. Frankie steps in, helps get the doctors to save the man and goes off to see her sister. Unfortunately, someone else with an ax to grind, steps in and kills the heart attack victim. Frankie looks guilty of doing something wrong and must fight to prove her innocence. Along the path, she runs into ex-fiance number one, as well as a few old friends, and some financial issues with her family’s hardware store.

Approach & Style
The 323-page book is told in first-person POV (except the Prologue) and focuses on Frankie. There are 35 chapters, which makes each relatively short at nine pages. I read the paperback in 4 hours throughout 1 day when I had some free time. It’s clear, direct and focuses almost entirely on the main story, while building the world of Stillwater General and the town Frankie will undoubtedly move back to if the series continues.

Strengths
Frankie is a fantastic character. She has flaws, but you like her. She pushes your buttons just enough and then pulls back. She’s smart, but also has a lot to learn about herself and life. She is methodical and independent, yet she asks for help from others. The plot is also very intriguing. It’s clear from the Prologue that someone is going to kill the heart attack victim, but we have no idea when. The victim knows something’s wrong with him, but even he’s unsure who did it, at first.

You’ll be pulled in right away when this story takes off. It’s rare I have a strong emotional connection, but this one made me focus immediately. Once Frankie arrives in the ER at Stillwater, she is a dynamo and you can’t decide whether you’re hurting more for the heart attack victim, Frankie’s third failed engagement or her sister who may lose her baby. I very much enjoy the author’s style, which balances detail and dialogue quite well. A clear recommended read from me.

Concerns
Very little. For the most part, everything flowed quite nicely. There’s a few areas of suspended disbelief, but not anything big. I struggled with the victim’s daughter so willingly connecting to the nurse who is named in the lawsuit, but it is a small town. I couldn’t quite tell what the family drama was in the past, but something felt like it was a little too rushed. I suspect that’s due to it being a potential plot in a future book (which is OK with me!). I also thought too many people were willing to sneak information to Frankie as she worked on the case, but in a small town, perhaps that’s just how it is. Nothing that alarmed me nor should it worry you. It’s good to push readers sometimes, at least I like when that happens. Boundaries are limitless in books.

Final Thoughts
For a debut in a mystery somewhere between a cozy and a thriller, it’s intriguing. It’s not quite a medical drama, but it’s got enough sophistication to push readers beyond normal laymen’s terms (which is a good thing). I will definitely read book number two and am quite interested in how this story will evolve. Thanks to the publisher for keeping me in mind for this and future ones.

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: The Black Painting by Neil Olson

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Book review on ‘The Black Painting’ by Neil Olson…

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Why This Book
I stumbled on this via NetGalley several months ago. The cover was creepy and it revolved around a family mystery involving a missing painting and the death of a grandfather. I had to add it to my TBR, then they awarded it to me. I am trying to clear off all NetGalley books by 12/31 so I can start the new year with a clean slate, so this was last week’s choice.

Plot, Characters & Setting
The Morse family head passes away, leaving behind a few children and four grandchildren, all after his money to varying levels or degrees. He may or may not have a lot, they’re unsure. Yet there was a mysterious Goya painting that had been stolen and could still be lurking around. The family all come home to his Owl’s Point, New England estate to attend the funeral and will after someone finds him dead. Each family member, particularly the cousins, are all a bit kooky and very focused on the painting. As the story unfolds, you learn different components of the past, especially where everyone was the day the painting went missing. We soon learn the grandfather may have been murdered and the family begins pointing fingers at one another, including their grandfather’s housekeeper and confidant, Ilsa. There’s also a small fantasy element in knowing the painting might have a ghost that makes anyone who views it go mad.

Approach & Style
I read this ~300 page novel in 5 hours over a weekend. It’s told in third-person POV with a perspective from each of the major family members. I read it on my iPad via Kindle Reader.

Key Feedback
This was a tough read; I found myself skimming way too often. I very much looked forward to the family drama, suspense and mystery elements. These all existed, but something was missing. It was very difficult to connect with the characters, everything was quite vague. It felt like the story focused on the smallest of details and went on for pages on actions that had no true bearing on character development or plot. That said, the writing style and tone were very strong. The author clearly writes well, but I think the characters didn’t match the plot in this book. In the end, I enjoyed parts of it, but it could have been so much more with a different approach. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to others as a good read, but there’s nothing bad about it. It just didn’t have a great impact on me, perhaps I am the wrong audience for it.

Questions & Final Thoughts
So much about this book had potential. And for some readers, it’s probably going to be quite strong. For me, the most memorable component was that it just always felt 10% off the mark in terms of what I like in a family drama. I am curious to see other works by this author in the future, as I think the writing and talent is present.

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.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 264 – Simply (Author Alert: Melanie Mole)

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Simply: (a) easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty; straightforward or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Melanie Mole

If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who she is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work. Melanie and I met about 6 months ago when we somehow connected via this blog. She’d read a few chapters of my work and then introduced me to her publisher, which eventually lead to me publishing my novel. I am eternally grateful to her for helping me cross that finish line. Today, she’s out guest author and I am very happy to share more information about her and the wonderful books she’s written. I read her novel, Simply Does It, earlier this year — please check out the review. A small part of it below:

‘Every once in a while, it’s good to take a chance on a new author or a new book topic. I’m glad I did with this one and encourage others to take a look at the book for their own world. It may just give you a different perspective, one you might have heard before, but always need a reminder of. And if simplifying life is not for you, it’s still a fun tale about three experiences many of us don’t have very often in life. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to visit a convent or a monastery… now I have a good sense.’

———-

When Melanie and I chatted this week about life being an author, one of the first things that came to mind for me was how she accomplishes everything she does. I read her book and learned a lot about her life, but I wanted to know more… Is there anyone pushing her  on the sidelines, I asked, curious to compare our experiences. She had a great response:

Support for a writer is so important. Yes, you can write without it, but it is so much easier to know that someone has your back no matter what you are going through. I am so lucky to have full and continued support from Rob, my other half. As soon as we met I knew that he was one in a billion, and he hasn’t disappointed me. I feel both lucky, and privileged to have him in my life, and I wouldn’t ever want to be without him, or his support.

 Everyone should be as lucky as her!

To see more about Melanie, below are the key links

Website – melaniemolecom.wordpress.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/melaniemolebook

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/melaniemolebooks/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/57372902-melanie-mole

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/melaniemolewriter/

Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Simply-Does-Simplicity-Melanie-Mole/dp/1975877519/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511459102&sr=8-1&keywords=simply+does+it

Other book on Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Man-Woman-Trouble-Melanie-Mole-ebook/dp/B0759YBZDJ/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1511459178&sr=1-7&keywords=melanie+mole

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To see more about Melanie Mole on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and books will added as she publishes them and I review them.

Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

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’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.

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