Day: January 8, 2018

Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins was the book selected by my blog followers as my Book Bucket read for January 2018. Each month, I hold a poll where you can pick from 12 books I want to read, rotating a new one in and out each month. I was excited to read this one, but hadn’t read Girl on the Train before, so Hawkins is a new author for me. I enjoyed the book a great deal, despite a few areas that didn’t quite work for me, but I’d still recommend it to others as a strong thriller and suspense novel.

The novel focuses on a small town in England, following a core set of about 10 characters. Chapters alternate to provide the history and perspective of multiple deaths by drowning in a local river. It all begins with the death of a suspected witch from several hundred years earlier, culminating with a few deaths in modern times that could be suicide, accidental or murder. As each character shares parts of the story, readers learn what truly happened to each victim.

Ignoring the historical murders, the current day plot is intricate. Several teenagers fight to be popular or earn respect while in high school. Sisters struggle to accept their differences with one another. Parents and children argue about parenting styles. Families are broken by affairs. Police detectives walk a fine line of doing the right versus the wrong thing. Each of the stories are weaved together in a way you can’t help but want to know all the connections. And there is, of course a ‘surprise’ twist in the end… which for many readers, probably won’t be a surprise.

I’m primarily a plot reader, followed closely by character. The plot is definitely strong; however, at least 50% of the characters have some flaws or issues in how they were written. Keeping characters in the grey zone is important within a suspense novel; readers need to know that they might be missing part of the picture, but in the end, it should be clearer than it was in this book. For 3 characters, I felt like the actions didn’t quite match what we’d come to expect from the personalities we’d gotten to know – and it wasn’t due to the grey area. It felt like a totally new character had replaced the ones we’d spent attaching ourselves to. If there are connections we just failed to see because of how good the writing is, then I am OK with it. But if it feels disconnected, then I think the book fails a bit. That’s what I felt happened here… what started out as a 4.5 rating began going south as parts of the plot unraveled. It was clear the entire way that something wasn’t right with a certain character, yet the twist in the end doesn’t do any justice to ‘why’ certain things happened.

All that said… as I kept turning the page, my interest was held and I liked many aspects of the book. I lowered my rating by 1 star because of how it seemed to fall apart in the end… ending somewhere between a 3.5 and a 3.75, rounded up to a 4 in the rating. I’ll keep reading Hawkins’ novels, but if another has a similar downturn, I might not stick with it.

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Thanks for picking this one for my January Bucket List! I was glad to read it.

 

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: Black Arts, Tarts & Gypsy Carts by Erin Johnson

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Another great cozy mystery from Erin Johnson with the second book, Black Arts, Tarts & Gypsy Carts, in the Spells & Caramels series. After I read the first book last year, I downloaded the second and third to read in between other ARCs and thrillers I had set for January and February. I need to balance the light and heavy, or I get bored/frustrated with too much of the same thing. It seems this series continues to deliver on quality, imagination and humor. I recommend it for anyone interested in cozy mysteries, witches and cooking.

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Imogen is new to the magic world, trying to learn how to cast spells and stay away from the prince in her new mystery land. He’s engaged, she’s nervous and there seems to be murders happening all the time a war goes on with the Badlands Army. In this edition, a carnival is in town, but when a seer is murdered, a rival is arrested for the crime. Imogen’s certain her friend Rhonda wasn’t the culprit — and fights to prove it, all the while meeting different carnival folk and learning how to practice magic. In the end, she unearths the true killer when she makes a connection with the dead during an annual creepy ritual.

My favorite part of this series is the imagination behind all the characters, setting and actions. It’s clear the author has built an entire world before writing the books, as it takes depth and design to architect this layer of intricacy in a story. Information about Imogen’s background is kept minimal, as I’m sure that will be a focus of a future book, but when you learn things, you learn them quickly! Between vampires, shifters, and swallows, there’s an entire structure to the world of witches and wizards. Add in Imogen’s role as an assistant to the royal baker in the palace, she’s constantly in the middle of situations where she is always out of her element. It’s a great break from contemporary fiction, full of quirky but lovable characters, that leaves you wanting more. I enjoy the series and will definitely keep reading it in 2018. Charming. Vivid. Comforting.

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 302 – Grandma (RYDER RANT)

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Grandma: Ryder’s dad’s mom, and the one who never does anything wrong

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Hi, it’s Ryder and I need to whisper. I’m writing this post while Dad’s in the shower. I’m in hiding, as I think he might be out to get me. I admit, I’ve been a bit of a pain the last few days, but I never thought he would try to kill me! Let me explain with my view on the events — a very accurate story to anyone who knows me.

I’m a tiny, helpless little creature. I am getting a bit older and sometimes my bones hurt a little. I need to sleep more than usual and it is helpful if someone picks me up to put me on the couch, so I don’t have to jump. I occasionally play in the snow, but not always. Some days, I’m not very hungry, so I don’t eat a lot. Over the last few days, I must have had a cold or not been my normal 100% healthy self. So… I didn’t feel like eating much and I spent a lot of time in my own bed. I may have not taken my morning and evening pills on the schedule that Dad likes me to keep. I know they worry, so eventually I give in and accept the pills. Anyways… yesterday morning, I just didn’t want to take the pill. I refused cheese, apple, yogurt and anything else Dad tried. He pushed it in my mouth one time, I held it for a few seconds, then I projectile spit it across the room. It landed near one of the potted plants. I thought it was funny. So did the other Dad. But shortly afterwards, that’s when Dad 1 tried to kill me! Please call the police. It’s no longer safe here. Have you ever had someone stick their fingers down your throat to shove medicine inside you? He held my mouth closed, even though I fought back. He kept rubbing my throat, trying to force me to swallow the pills! HELP! I think he’s trying to murder me. I need to escape… if anyone can get to NYC, I live at 41………

 

******************** Then the Internet ‘went offline’ and Ryder was not heard from again for awhile. No one really knows what happened. *****************************

 

Hi. It’s Jay.  Ryder is out playing with friends and asked me to write his post for him. Let me tell you what that little rascal did this weekend… He’s starting to get some arthritis and probably has more aches than normal in this frigid cold. He’s been curling up against me a lot more, stealing my blankets, claiming it’s too cold in the house. So, I turned the heat up for him as I am nothing but a wonderful, perfect, loving caretaker. He is a monster patient. He refused to take his pills for 2 days, so I had to very gently coax him into eating them yesterday, as he managed to only take 1/2 the dosage the day before. I couldn’t let it go too long without the full dosage, so I had to be the bad guy and force him to swallow the tiny pills, including a doggie tylenol to help with the arthritis.

He hadn’t eaten much and wouldn’t even accept an apple or cheese from me, even though he loves both. It was like I’d done something horrible to him, when all I expressed was love and concern for his well-being. About ten minutes later, my parents arrived and we made brunch. Ryder slowly emerged from his cocoon (he hid in the bedroom away from me) when his Grandma showed up. He played and cuddled with her. He ate several treats, including apples, yogurt, ham (anything she would give him) — it was almost as if nothing was wrong. I’d try to give him a treat, he would refuse it. The other dad just laughs, refusing to be the mean one. I got the cold shoulder from Ryder all day long. Only Grandma could get him to listen, eat, or play. A few lessons:

  1. Ryder is spoiled. He likes to play games and torture me.
  2. Dad W is now responsible for pills. I’m officially on strike.
  3. It’s time to give Ryder his morning pill today. He BETTER take it. If not, he’ll be writing next week’s post from the Arctic Circle with a seal as his prison guard.
  4. I love Ryder and will always be the bad one who forces him to take the pills if I need to be. It’s my job to see that he is kept healthy.
  5. Thank you, Mom, for getting Ryder to eat yesterday.
  6. I guess Grandmas (and moms) really are the best!

 

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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