365 Challenge: Day 306 – Crime (Author Alert: Agatha Christie)

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Crime: (a) an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law, or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Agatha Christie

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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. I usually feature a new author who is currently writing: I share an interview with him or her, as well as fresh content about their upcoming work and fun facts. This week, as I wasn’t able to secure a new author in time, I’ve gone retro to cover an ole favorite! 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 (s)he is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work. I am pleased to present a few tidbits about the very talented Agatha Christie. 

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First, I apologize for not bringing you a new author this week. I had a few possibilities falling into place, but given their schedule and my reading schedule, we opted for posting about them later this month or in early February. So… rather than rush to read someone else’s book at the last minute (to prepare me for a new author alert), I went with one of my go-to authors for when I want to have an amazing read!

I can’t imagine there is anyone out there who doesn’t know who Agatha Christie is… perhaps they’ve not read one of her books, or seen a TV/Film adaption, but the name must ring a bell. Just in case… huge fiction writer in the early/mid 20th century known as England’s Grand Dame of mysteries. She’s produced ~70 books in her lifetime, many focused on popular characters such as Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Tommy & Tuppence; however, there are also non-series books that are as equally compelling.

Miss Christie herself also had a bit of a mystery when she disappeared for months. To this day, many people still wonder whether it was staged or real. It’s an interesting story because she was considered quite famous at the time — no one would believe she’d stage such a thing, but then again… think about all her characters! I’ll leave it at that… let you have a bit of a puzzle to go in search of what really happened.

Mystery fiction is my favorite genre, and it’s because of Agatha Christie. The ingenuity built into the plots is often so clever, you will never be able to guess it; yet when you finally get to the reveal, it makes 100% perfect sense. In “And Then There Were None,” my all-time favorite of her books, ten people are invited to an island where one-by-one, they are murdered according to a poem they found in the remote house. It’s a bit of a controversial book in that the title was changed a few times; it had previously been called ‘Ten Little Indians,’ but far worse, it once held a name using the nasty ‘n’ word. Although it was ~100 years ago, and didn’t necessarily have as bad/awful/shameful a connotation as it’s grown to have, it was still a shock when I learned about it years ago. As it’s clearly WRONG, I won’t go into it anymore, but it did give me some concern when reading the books. Ignoring that for a moment (as the plot is purely about murder and revenge), the story is absolutely top notch.

When I need something brilliant and curious, I will always turn to a Christie. I love the inherent English tradition within them. When they visit the Middle East or India, it’s quite eye-opening to see how people (both the English and the native inhabitants) behaved in foreign lands at that time. Some of the dialogue and words are peculiar, which makes me want to look up more about the culture to get a better sense of reality. It’s engaging and analytical. I can usually push through one of her novels over 3 hours in one sitting, as you don’t want to put them down.

If you’ve never read a Christie, but want to… ask for a recommendation! If you want to buddy-read one with me this year, let me know. I’d love to share this author with others and have a great discussion about their beauty. And we can use our ‘little grey cells’ together.

 

Links To Learn More About Miss Christie

Goodreads

Amazon

Author Site

 

I’ve read about 20 of her books, but you’ll see below that I only have 7 listed with reviews, as I read them too long ago to be sure I could write a proper review. Instead, I challenge myself to read another 7 in 2018 as part of my Goodreads Challenge to read 104 books this year. I wonder which ones I will select…

Books I’ve Read

  1. And Then There Were None (1939) — My favorite Christie & in my top 5 of all books

Book Series – Hercule Poirot Mysteries

  1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
  2. Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
  3. Death on the Nile (1937)
  4. Evil Under the Sun (1941)

Book Series – Miss Marple Mysteries

  1. The Body in the Library (1942)
  2. A Murder is Announced (1950)

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

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To see more about Agatha Christie on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and reviews will added as I read her books.

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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Watching Glass Shatter – Feedback & Thoughts on Change Today and in the Past

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I met a new blogger this week who had provided some feedback and a fantastic review of my book, Watching Glass Shatter. A few days later, she surprised me with a really thoughtful and analytical set of questions about how some of the characters handled change in the book… in particular the growth of Olivia, in how she accepted all that happened around her, comparing it to how someone may have handled it 80 years earlier… These are the types of conversations that make me so happy I took a chance on writing a book and connecting with bloggers around the world. This is a must check-out post. I’m confident you’ll find someone new to follow. Thank you, Michelle @ ReadingMinds. Read more via Book Inspired Musings

365 Challenge: Day 305 – Rafflecopter (9 BOOKS — GIVEAWAY)

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Rafflecopter: a easy and fun giveaway site you need to look into

raffle

You might remember that one of my author alerts a few weeks ago was the dynamic and fantastic Lina Langley who published another, Welcome to Crash, last year. Click the links here to see her dedicated author page and my book review. Both were popular posts in December… well, she’s taken it a step further by hosting an amazing giveaway contest you can enter via the Rafflecopter site:  Enter Giveaway.

Lina’s offering 9 books to one lucky winner — open for US entries —  through early February. See the graphics below for all included books; some even have signatures!

  • For those of you new to Rafflecopter, it’s a great place to win free books (and other items, too). Authors and Readers should stop by.
  • For those of you new to Lina, she’s a must-read in several genres: queer and spec fiction, sci-fi and romance. You want to read her book!
  • For those of you new to or interested in these genres, there are tons of great books to research below. Go get ’em!

Good Luck to Everyone!!!

 

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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Book Review: No One Can Know by Lucy Kerr

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Why This Book 
Crooked Lane has become one of my favorite publishers. They email me from time to time to suggest books I might want to read and send me copies of upcoming releases. I will forgive them for declining me on the last three I requested on NetGalley (really???), but that’s another story! They asked if I would read this book, which is #2 in the series, so I had to ask for #1 first and read it. I finished that last month, so it was time to read Lucy Kerr‘s second in the series, No One Can Know. I’ve given it 3.5 stars, and I’d recommend the series to mystery readers looking for something between a cozy and a thriller/suspense novel.

noone

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Frankie has agreed to remain in her hometown, Stillwater, Illinois, to help her sister re-build the family business and care for her premature baby. Frankie left to work in Chicago after some family issues and a failed engagement, then rarely returned during the ten year absence. As an ER nurse, she sees it all, then feels compelled to solve whatever mystery has landed at her feet. In this second book, a male car accident victim seeks help, but Frankie knows he’s lying. When 8-month pregnant woman is also brought in after a car accident, she knows it’s connected, but can’t do anything until she’s saved the woman’s life. Unfortunately, only the baby makes it, and then the male victim disappears. Add in some trouble with the hospital administration, a political candidate and an old fiancee-turned-detective, Frankie’s smack in the middle of chaos. As she tries to solve the mystery, she steps in danger and opens her family up to potential risk. When the baby is kidnapped, Frankie pushes everyone to the brink, but ultimately, she leads them to the culprit.

Approach & Style 
I read an advanced physical copy of this 325 page book. It’s broken into 31 chapters, each about ten pages long, and told in first person POV. The perspective remains on Frankie the entire novel, showing her thoughts and opinions on each event she encounters. It took about 4 hours over the course of 2 days – a relatively quick read with minimal hospital & medical terminology, just enough to keep it feeling real.

Key Thoughts 
I really enjoyed the first book in the series. All those aspects carried into this second book, but the plot was a bit weaker than the first. When the crime centers around a car accident, politics and baby theft, you expect something quite complex. If you read a lot of these types of novels, you’ll know the culprit pretty early on, as well as guess why it happened. I would have liked a few more red herrings, a couple of other suspects and some additional side-stories that wove in and out of the main story, creating some interesting dilemmas and confusion. It was just too straightforward for me to give it a 4 or 5 star rating. It was a good book, just needed a bit more darkness, depth and puzzles to solve.

That said, I’m a big fan of the author for her writing style, character creation, and approach to balancing medical terminology and creating a truly realistic setting. She builds a world that is fast-paced, rough and keeps your attention. There’s a lot going on in the ER and you bounce back and forth between a few cases, giving readers time for suspense, questions and connections to the story. When Frankie’s out of the ER, you feel the draw with the former fiancee, the love with her family, and the concern about coming home forever. I look forward to each interaction she has because you learn more about who she is and what she’s made of. There’s no filler in these books — the substance is pretty strong, which is why I will continue to read them. I just want to push the author on a bit more complexity to help break the series out of ‘just another decent mystery series.’ I think there’s potential for this to be quite big if some focus is put on long-term development options.

Summary 
I will keep reading the series. I like the main character, the setting and the author’s writing style. The small concerns with the overall tone and citizens being too close to the police work are not enough to bother me. I mention them only because it is something you just need to accept. The characters and family dynamics are very strong, and I look forward to seeing what happens in the next release.

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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365 Challenge: Day 304 – Pantry

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Pantry: a small room or closet in which food, dishes, and utensils are kept

antry.jpg

I was on the phone yesterday with someone who shall remain nameless, as I wouldn’t want to embarrass this person. We were discussing something about my eating habits, and somehow the word pantry came up. We had a fun disagreement about whether the word meant room or closet. One of us was adamant that it referred solely to a room where all the kitchen items are stored; the other firmly believed it meant the cabinet where things are stored. We bantered for a bit, then it was suggested that should be a word for the 365 Daily Challenge. Not one to back down… I immediately woke up thinking about it (and not whether my underwear matched my clothes — that should give you a clue as to who this person was who foolishly attempted to win a battle with me). Hence… today’s word is pantry, and the definition is clearly listed above. Apparently, it can be both the room and the closet. Mystery closed. Or is it?

It got me thinking about pantries… when I lived in the suburbs, I had a larger kitchen (and house), where I could store back-ups of all the key food items and supplies. Now, I keep only the major items in the hall closet, and the necessary food back-ups in a cabinet in the kitchen — I do not have a pantry. I guess that tells you which side of the coin I was on in this disagreement. I miss having the extra space and saving a bit of money buying in bulk. In prior homes, I did have dedicated food/supply cabinets or closets, but I never had a pantry. I always think of a pantry as something in a big estate house, or from the movie and board game Clue. If you can be locked in said pantry, then I think I’d consider it a pantry. In this pantry, I’d keep tons of ingredients to make very moist cakes. But there should be no moisture in the room, or the ingredients will no longer work properly.

As you can see, I’m a bit snarky today, as same said person mentioned many times that the word moist was an awful word. I know many people feel that way, and I humbly apologize for using that word in today’s post. It’s only meant to bother a single, solitary, specific individual, as when I texted to say ‘Good Morning’ today, this person responded by asking if my clothes finally match my underwear — do you see how I am tortured? Anyways, I digress, almost as bad a Ryder Rant day. Do you see a difference between the word moist and the word moisture? I personally feel if you dislike one of those words, you must also dislike the other. This other person is fine with the word moisture, but nearly threw a tantrum over the word moist. So many oddities out there… how about the concept of a pantry? Is it a room or a closet for you? And don’t try to play the middle game… if you’re going to respond about it, pick a side!

Psst. This was all true, but in humor. Not meant in a mean way. PERIOD.

 

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.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Book Review: Mermaid Fins, Winds & Rolling Pins by Erin Johnson

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After I read the first book in this series by Erin Johnson, I had to download the second and third, Mermaid Fins, Winds & Rolling Pins. I read both in the last week so I could stay current on a few series, as there are so many I want to catch up on; however, when it’s about cooking, witches, pirates and set in cozy Europe, who can resist!

fins.jpg

Cozy readers have so many options today… every possible setting, background, character, locations (okay, not everything, but a large breadth of choices). I’ve always enjoyed the ones with a unique setting and something to do with baking. In this release, Imogen visits the mermaid and pirate kingdoms to bake for a wedding. When she arrives, it’s no royal palace! As she gets to know the ins-and-outs of the very young queen, her aging grandmother and the staff supporting them, something is fishy among the fins. By embracing her magic skills, dancing the night away in an underground club, and learning about secret monsters and liquor/drugs, she’s fully embroiled in quite a little mystery and unfamiliar environment.

The tone of the book took a slight turn in this book — it got a little more saucy than usual. I liked it, no complaints here — lighthearted, humorous and tasteful. The story was good, but it wasn’t as strong in the middle as I was expecting (needed more understanding of the mermaid world, how the whole place fits together with each kingdom, how many people lived there, et al); however, by the end, it came full circle, added in a few surprises and balanced out the book well.

I finally learned more about Imogen’s biological family, as well as her connection to witchcraft in the past. For those reasons, I definitely gave this one 4 stars — the drama and intrigue have been set. Most kick-off events in cozy mystery novels occur around the 17% to 20% mark, allowing just enough time to get to know the characters, then BOOM – a murder. In these books, it’s happening around the 40% mark. In some ways, it makes the mystery a tad too light for me, but in others, it builds a world with a bunch of side stories that keep your interest. The author balances the main story with everything else quite adeptly.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes as there is a lot of potential within the world being created. It’s holding my interest and I will download/buy the 4th book this month as it’s just been published. Hope you enjoy the new series if you take it on.

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 303 – TBR

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TBR: To Be Read, as in the next few books on my list of reads

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I’ve spent the last 6 months feeling highly disorganized with my reading and book purchasing. I have favorite authors, books people have bought for me as gifts, books I want to read, and requests for reading & reviewing other people’s work. My TBR shelf grew to over 1200 in 2017, which prompted me to create the Book Bucket List, where you can vote each month to select a book from my top 12 that I want to read. I thought that would help, but it’s not as streamlined as I need it to be.

I promised myself I could no longer buy or download any books in 2018 until I finished everything I already owned — 31 currently either via Kindle or on my physical library shelf. So… I have 31 books to read in the next 2+ months before I will accept any book review requests or buy new books. I’ve created custom shelves on Goodreads to show what I’ll be reading in January, February and March. I’ve listed only January and February in this post, which will be my new guide for reading until things are back in control. I’ll post this update once per month with a rolling two-month period showing my planned reads.

I’ll still have the monthly Book Bucket List, which will have some of these, plus ones from my future TBR that I haven’t yet purchased. This new approach will hold be accountable while I get through a balance of books I chose and ones I agreed to read for other people, including my fellow published Creativia authors. The list within each month below is not in reading order, but they will all be read that month. Let’s see what’s on my list to read the next few months!

January 2018

The Forgetting
*Randomly received as a gift last year (Young Adult)
Prayer for the Dead
*Received from the publisher in lieu of a review (Thriller)
The Resurrection of Joan Ashby
*Received from the publisher in lieu of a review (Contemporary Fiction)
Outside In
*Friend of a mutual friend who gave me some writing advice (Contemporary Fiction)
No One Can Know
*Received from the publisher in lieu of a review (Mystery) — READING NOW
Still Me
*Won Goodreads Giveaway (Contemporary Fiction)
Mermaid Fins, Winds & Rolling Pins
*I enjoy the series and received a free copy (Cozy Mystery) — READING NOW
Funeral Platter: Stories
*Received from the publisher in lieu of a review (Short Stories)
Down to the Needle
*Fellow Creativia (my publisher) author I’d like to read (Mystery)

 

 

goodreads.com

Share book reviews and ratings with James, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

February2018

Plum Pudding Murder
*Fun series I enjoy (Cozy Mystery)
Apple Turnover Murder
*Fun series I enjoy (Cozy Mystery)
Citadel
*Final book in a trilogy I enjoyed (Historical Fiction)
W is for Wasted
*In honor of her recent death (Mystery)
A Column of Fire
*One of my favorite authors to read (Historical Fiction)
Origin
*One of my favorite authors to read (Thriller)
Sea, Sky & Skeleton
*Fun series I enjoy (Cozy Mystery)
Time, Tide, and Trouble
*Fun series I enjoy (Cozy Mystery)
Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13
*Fellow Creativia (my publisher) author I’d like to read (Children’s)
What Happened In Vienna, Jack?
*Fellow Creativia (my publisher) author I’d like to read (Historical Mystery)
Erin Bailey is a Time Lord
*Fellow Creativia (my publisher) author I’d like to read (Fantasy & SciFi)

 

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.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin