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Book Review: Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

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3+ out of 5 stars to Lies She Told, a thriller set to be released on September 12th by Cate Holahan. I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to sharing this review with you.

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Why This Book 
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books, the publisher, for sending me this copy to read and review in advance as an ARC. They found me on Goodreads based on my reading tastes, reviews and ratings, suggesting this as a potential book I might find engaging. And they were right. I had it sitting on the shelf for a few weeks as I got through other books, but as all my NetGalley reads aren’t due until September, I had some time to squeeze this one in.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Welcome to the concept of a book within a book… The primary story revolves around Liza Cole, an author living in the NYC metro area who’s had some good books and some not so good books. She’s been given a deadline to get the next one written since she won’t first draft an outline, which prompts her to dive head first into her own thrilling plot. While she’s writing the book, readers learn Liza’s trying to conceive a baby with her husband, David, but they’ve been unsuccessful due to a few issues she’s had in the past with uterine damage. David’s best friend, Nick, is presumed missing, which is setting off a few alarm bells. David starts worrying when they can’t find Nick and he’s being suspected of causing the disappearance. Eventually, his body is found in the East River, dying in a very similar way to the character in Liza’s book. Liza’s supported by her mother, agent Trevor and best friend, Chris.

In Liza’s story, her primary character, Beth, is a new stay-at-home mom who suspects her husband, Jake, is cheating on her. When she secretly monitors his behavior, Beth learns he has been spending a lot of time with a cop named Colleen. When she accuses her husband, he forces her to go to therapy, where Beth meets Tyler, a therapist who attempts to get her to realize she needs to end the marriage. Unfortunately, Beth isn’t ready and soon finds herself stalking Colleen. Next thing she knows, she’s killing Colleen and dumping her body in the East River, then sleeping with Tyler.

As the two stories begin weaving in and out, readers learn there are common things occurring in both, leaving us to question which one is real and which one is a story. Or perhaps… it’s all the same story happening from different perspectives. You don’t really know until the last few chapters when the random clues begin fitting together, revealing what has actually been happening along the path.

Approach & Style 
I read the paperback version sent to me by the publisher. It’s just under 300 pages, broken into three sections and alternating back and forth between the two story lines. There are 19 chapters, each dividing into two sub-chapters: (1) Liza and (2) Beth. As a result, chapters are relatively short, usually under 8 pages each. Both stories are told with first-person narration from the main female character’s point of view, and both are told in the present tense. I read the book over 3 days, about 100 pages each day.

Strengths 
The concept of the book is great. I love trying to solve not only the mystery within the novel, but also determining how the two stories would eventually link together and which was fake. I enjoy seeing parallels between the two lead characters and their families. The emotional aspects of the characters are strong and offer readers an easy connection. You can understand the pain and feel the impact of the actions happening around them. It’s full of suspense, some very descriptive scenes and lots of potential suspects and angles.

Concerns 
It was a hard read, and I’m normally good at keeping story lines separated. A few things that could have worked differently, which would have helped readers retain which characters belong in which section, as well as distinct from one another. Character names were too similar: Beth and Liza. I know this is supposed to help with the parallels, but it left you a tad confused at times. Jake and David. Sound a bit similar. Go with two very different options to help us keep it straighter. Something long, something short. I had to stop and start a lot. I don’t like to re-read the same thing over and over again. But I was OK here as it was a complex story, plotted out in a good way.

The ending came a bit from out of left field. You can guess the connection between reality and the made-up story, but why it happened was very unexpected. There were a few clues, but we needed more to not be fully surprised. I would have liked to be reading it and go “oh, now I understand how it ties all together.” Instead I went “Hmm… there were no clues of this before…” It wasn’t too much of a distraction, but it was enough to make me think the book needed another round of editing before its release. Add in a few more connected pieces of history. Make me impressed with the things I missed along the way.

Author & Other Similar Books 
The author has two other books prior to this one. I might give them a chance, depending on the plot and setting. I’ve read another book in the last few years like this one, but I can’t recall the title. It’s not a common story where there is 1 real story and 1 fake story an author is writing, which makes it a different type of read. You’re sure to be excited and thrilled at parts, but you will also be confused at some parts.

Questions & Final Thoughts 
The author can certainly write. She has a good eye for characters, setting and details. I’m glad the publisher sent this one to me, as I definitely found myself wanting to read it each night. But it was also one where I stopped a lot to check if the story had an error or if it was being written in a vague way on purpose. Overall, good book… lots of complexity in the details… good supporting characters and a treasure of relationship drama that you find quite engaging. Put it through another round of beta readers or editing and it would have been an easy 4 from me.

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.

Novel: Father Figure (Week 2 – Friday, July 14th, 2017)

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Based on the votes, you chose Father Figure as the next novel I write. Last time, we kicked off the weekly updates with an introduction to the book and my accomplishments during week #1. It’s already the end of week #2, and I’m happy to report that it’s been a productive one. For a summary of the novel, scroll to the bottom of the post.

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Status:  Friday, July 14, 2017 – Week #2

  • I edited the chapter by chapter outline by moving a few events around, adding two additional chapters to add to the drama in the opening pages, and incorporating some key dialogue points and lines into the first ten chapters.
  • I flushed out detailed bios for the 2 main characters and 6 of the 12 supporting characters. Molly’s and Brianna’s physical descriptions have been fully detailed, as well as their relationships with each of the family members. Both women have clear goals and objectives, thus driving the story arcs where I need them to go.
  • I’ve settled on the ethnicity, race, age, sexuality and attitudes for 6 of the 12 characters. By doing this, I’ve come up with two sub-plots which will help drive the story along, as well as provide depth to the characters. I’m finding myself slightly enamored with one of these supporting characters, trying to decide her ultimate fate among a sea of options.
  • I’ve listed approximately 20 locations that will appear in the book, organized by the 3 primary cities in which the story takes place. I’m working with a few friends who know those places well enough to provide some critical backdrop details. And within those 20 locations, e.g. coffee shop in NYC, professor’s office in the university, I’ve prepared a summary of the overall look-and-feel that will be included in each setting.

 

Next Steps: Plan for Week #3

  • The remaining characters will be flushed out so that I have a 1 to 3 page detailed bio for each supporting character, depending on how frequently (s)he appears, and a 7 to 9 page bio for the 2 main characters.
  • The narrator’s voice still needs more focus. It will be third-person omniscient but I’m debating the structure of the voice, e.g. direct and clear versus amusing and fluctuating, pending which main character is the focus point. Hard things to figure out, but important before you start writing in my world.
  • Detailed timeline by date, not specific to chapter. A true list of dates and times that all the action occur so that I can ensure I’m including appropriate connection points, drama, red herrings and shocker moments. You are in for a thrill (at least I hope) with 3 really suspenseful scenes and 3 moments where the intention is for a WTF reaction of “no… that can’t happen!!!”

 

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • While I didn’t have as much time as I’d hoped to work on the novel this week, I definitely devoted a solid 10 hours to it. It’s amazing the moments of brilliance you have about a plot or a character when you find uninterrupted time to truly ponder.
  • I’ve decided to add some big diversity points into the story. I’d known in the beginning that I wanted one of them to be included, as I felt it was a major component of a character; however, as I thought about what story I’m trying to tell here, I felt it needed to play a larger role. I’m going to need to research more as a result of this decision, but I think it’s also going to make the connection deeper with readers.
  • I’m debating the father. I keep picturing a scene from Star Wars and going back to…. “Well… maybe her father really should be X instead of Y.”

Ugh, just tell me who your father is, Brianna. NOW!

 

Open Questions / Thoughts

  • I’m still working through the ending. Cliffhanger or fully tied up? I may write both and see what a few beta readers think. The way it’s planned, I’d only have to write 2 to 3 chapters differently, which is less than a week’s work for me, especially since I have both endings clearly in mind already. The response last week from everyone was split fairly evenly, so if you have any examples of good or bad cliffhanger endings in books with sequels, throw ’em out there for me to consider.
  • My first thought on the opening lines… still very much a work in progress… and more just about setting the tone:
    • “I didn’t raise no harlot, Amalia. When you’re done with school today, you will go directly to the hardware store and help your father and me manage that register.” The back of Janet Graeme’s left hand stained her daughter’s flushed cheek with a burning imprint as she pushed passed her towards the stove. The piercing whistle of the tea kettle not only took precedence over the conversation, it disguised Amalia’s unexpected hollow whimper.
    • “But Momma, all the girls from my soccer team will be at the lake. We’re just gonna go for a swim and watch the sun set. I’ll be home to help with dinner,” Amalia replied, the strain in her voice grew weaker with each of her mother’s refusals to let her be a normal kid for once. She knew it wasn’t time to give up.

 

Summary of Father Figure (if you’re new to it)

  • A young girl’s quest to find her father, unaware of all the circumstances she’s placed herself in due to the choices both her mother made 18 years ago and the young girl has made on her own in the present. How well do you really know your parents? And do they truly understand you?
  • A mystery and contemporary fiction novel set in two time periods with two primary characters:
    • 1998 – Amalia Graeme, about to turn 18, attends college, leaving behind a mother with whom she had a difficult relationship. While Amalia has a boyfriend, she’s secretly attracted to an older professor, Dr. Jonah West. She begins an affair with him and realizes she must come clean to her boyfriend. After she tells the boyfriend, they have a huge fight and she leaves to find Jonah who she thinks can comfort her. Along the path, she’s attacked by a stranger and her life is never the same again. Amalia makes a few choices which will later have disastrous consequences.
    • 2018 – Amalia, going by Molly and living in NYC, sends her daughter, Brianna, away to college. Just like her mother, Brianna begins dating one of her professors, probably looking for a father figure, as she’s never met her real father. Brianna has always accepted her mother’s story that her father was a military man whom Molly had a one-night stand with and later found herself pregnant and no way to find him. When Brianna uncovers her mother’s old journal, she learns a shocking secret that her mother never knew who the father was because it could have been more than one man. As Brianna searches for clues to find her father, she stumbles upon a few facts which could completely change her future. But when the stranger who attacked her mother re-surfaces, not even Molly knows if she can protect her daughter anymore.

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read 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, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access 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.

Novel: Quotes from “Watching a Glass Shatter”

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Although my attention has turned to writing my second novel, Father Figure, I thought it was time to share a few of my favorite quotes from my first novel, “Watching A Glass Shatter.” For more on this book, and to read 3 sample chapters, please go to Watching a Glass Shatter. For now, you’ll find some of my favorite quotes below…

Please feel free to share (as always) your thoughts on the quotes… bad, good or indifferent. I’d love to hear it all!

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“And in Ben’s case, although they only lasted ten explosive seconds, those moments managed to include all sixty-nine years of his life, each image punctuated by a blinding flash of pure white light and deafened by the harsh snapping sound of an old-time camera shutter.”

“The slow, melodic sound sliced away at the newly loosened threads that had once kept her heart intact and sheltered from truly acknowledging a widow’s pain. Her battered eyes betrayed any remaining fortitude she’d stored deep within her body and as the chords of “Amazing Grace” resounded from the chanter pipe, the cords of her soul once intricately woven into Ben ripped from Olivia’s chest.”

“None of those ugly cows would even fit in this couture. It would be as if we asked Miss Piggy to model a new petite line of muumuus.”

“Despite summer’s early attempt to burst on the scene, the weekend ushered in dark clouds and a cool, heavy rain. For Olivia, the tattered noise of the drops hitting the window were simply another item she added to the growing list of reasons why she couldn’t sleep.”

“It was a comfort for him to see their confused faces, knowing he was already ahead of his peers. But he never acknowledged them as his peers; even his classmates were inferiors.”

“Too many people relied on cell phones to track time and felt little need to wear a watch these days. For Olivia, the watch you wore made a statement. If you chose something large and showy, you were an attention-seeker. If you chose a digital timepiece, you had no respect for history. If you didn’t wear a watch, you weren’t detail-oriented. She wore her 1940’s Waltham silver and diamond antique watch around her wrist as a badge of courage to give her the confidence she needed to confront her son.”

“…stepped forward to reach for the towel, suddenly losing his grip on the handrail, his feet reaching the drops of water that fell from his skin. Within seconds, his legs gave way and his body slipped on the final step sending him a few feet forward, landing right on the “Welcome” rug where Olivia firmly stood. When he came to a full stop, with his naked body sprawled across the foyer and his legs spread wide apart, he closed his eyes and tried to hide the faint glimmer of a smile.”

“I’ll never be that little girl who imagines falling in love, stripping petals off a forget-me-not until the last one says ‘he loves me so.’ I won’t ever get to see a magic that can heal the world. And my heart knows what darkness lies in wait each night, stealing a piece with every sun that sets and moon that rises.”

“A day to come seems longer than a year that’s gone. It’s an old Scottish proverb. Years may pass, but when ye have somethin’ difficult to do, a decision that is just around th’ corner, a minute, an hour, a day can feel like an eternity. Ye can choose to think that we ne’er have enough time. Or ye can choose to believe we are given just the amount we need.”

“The gift of life is unlike any other gift one can receive. To imagine that two people come together, each bringing a requisite piece of the puzzle, feels like magic to someone like me. When this happens, destinies and paths are set, hopes and dreams begin to grow and love takes course.”

“She stood in silence, feeling the wind gently blow across her face, watching drops of pure white snow cascade across her husband’s grave and smelling the cold of winter begin to settle in.”

 


 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read 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, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access 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.

Author: Spotlight on William Shakespeare

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As part of our Spotlight on the Author series, we’re now on our fourth week and I’ve completed 500 reviews on the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog site. This week, I’ve selected… William Shakespeare!

 

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William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) wrote 37 plays and 157 sonnets. You can find more about him on Goodreads or Wikipedia.

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He married Anne Hathaway and had 3 children. She looks great for being nearly 500 years old, but given she’s an actress, she probably has tons of people taking care of her! Oh… that’s right, it’s a different Anne Hathaway. Silly me. I get them confused a lot… probably because I’ve read at least 21 out Shakespeare’s 37 plays. See below for links to all the reviews. I should probably keep on reading…. which one…. feel free to suggest a good one I’ve missed. It’s been a while and although a re-read might work, something “new” is even better.

  1. Sonnets (1590 – 1610)
  2. Richard III (1591)
  3. The Taming of the Shrew (1593)
  4. Comedy of Errors (1594)
  5. Romeo & Juliet (1595)
  6. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595) — would love to do a re-read some day
  7. Richard II (1595)
  8. The Merchant of Venice (1596)
  9. Much Ado About Nothing (1598)
  10. As You Like It (1599)
  11. Julius Caesar (1599)
  12. Hamlet (1600) — favorite tragedy
  13. The Winter’s Tale (1600) — least favorite of all!
  14. Twelfth Night (1601) — favorite comedy
  15. Measure For Measure (1603)
  16. Othello (1603)
  17. King Lear (1603)
  18. Macbeth (1606)
  19. Antony and Cleopatra (1606)
  20. The Tempest (1610)
  21. Cymbeline (1611)
  22. Henry VIII (1613)

 

I adore Shakespeare and took a 4 month course on him in college (many years ago). Saturday mornings 9 to 12… some days, I wasn’t sober enough to have a lot of input, and I think my grade showed it. It was the only class where I didn’t have at least an A-. Very disappointed in myself. Now you probably are too!

I also love the movie Shakespeare in Love. Have you ever seen it? I wonder if that is representative of who he really was… I might have fallen in love myself. And then there’s Shakespeare in the Park.

To see the actual author page and all the reviews, click here. All 20+ reviews I’ve completed are there…

The Cat Who series I adore has a book with Shakespeare in the title by Lilian Jackson Braun.

What’s your favorite thing about Shakespeare? What other things have you seen / read about Shakespeare that weren’t actually his own writing?

 

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.

Blog: To Write — Choose What Novel is Next For Me!

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As many of you already know, I tend to write and post a lot on this blog — sometimes too much from I’ve heard. Between the older book reviews and the 365 Daily Challenge, I’m constantly in your mail box! Part of this journey has been a self-induced push to get me into a habit of writing every day. Last fall, I wrote a book and am currently working with and searching for the best agent to represent me to publishers. If you’re interested in reading a few chapters, you can find out more here.

While I’m on that path with an agent, I need to get started on the next book. And as I’m nearly done with updating all my older book reviews, I’ll probably get more seriously started in July or August with writing the next novel. I’ve created several outlines over the last few months and a couple of chapters here and there, but I haven’t quite latched on to what story to tell. Since I’ll have more time on my hands once the older book reviews are completed, I should directly replace that time with writing the next book. And I think I’ve got the perfect idea.

I’m going to spend a week writing each chapter, a few days editing it, and then post it online on my blog. This is both good and bad… it means if I have edits or changes from previous chapters, it might be a bit disjointed at times, and it also would make it harder to publish in the future. I’m also locking myself into several hours of work every week for the next 52 weeks — a whole year! But… I’ve completed 25% of the 365 Daily Challenge, so I obviously have the stamina. I can and will do this. Maybe we’ll decide instead of 1 full novel it will be several shorter novels, or a few major sections of several I get started on. The goal being to get myself back on track. And that’s where you come in….

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Once the older book reviews are completed and I have a few weeks to outline my next book, I will post a chapter every 7 to 10 days (depending on editing time) on this site. Anyone who wants to read it can read it. Anyone who wants to reply can reply through comments, polls or privately email me. But… to make this even more interesting, I’m going to summarize the eight (8) options I’m currently considering. And based on all votes received between today and June 30th, I will begin drafting the next book based on the summary that receives the highest count. So you get to choose!

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Some may say I’m throwing away content that a publisher will never want if it’s already so public. Others may say I could confuse readers if things change with the plot along the way. But you know… where else can you take a chance if not among your blogging friends? Is anyone else doing this? What if this helps me become a better writer and the next book I write is the best seller? It’s not about finding the secret formula to getting published. It’s not about how to make the most money. It’s how to tell the best story. And that’s my goal. Without further ado, below are the 8 options to choose from with the poll at the bottom of this post.

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  1. Memory of Time
    • Historical Fiction (1860s to Present)
    • Over the course of a two hundred year period, five (5) people’s lives are connected. Readers will learn bits and pieces in each chapter, as each section will focus on one of the five characters. You won’t see how or why they are connected at first, but it will become more clear as the story unfolds. And when it finally comes together, through tragedy and happiness, a single thread connecting them all, will culminate in a choice one person has to make: revenge or forgiveness.
  2. Father Figure
    • Mystery (Present)
    • A young girl’s quest to find her father, unaware of all the circumstances she’s placed herself in due to the choices both her mother made 18 years ago and she made on her own. Two Time Periods:
      • 1999 – Amalia Graeme (17) attending college. She has a boyfriend. But she’s secretly attracted to her professor, Dr. Jonah West (40). She begins an affair with him but one night, a stranger attacks Molly and her life is never the same again.
      • 2018 – Amalia, goes by Molly, sends her daughter, Brianna, away to college. Brianna begins dating her professor, Charles Villing. Brianna has always accepted her mother’s story that her father was a military man she only met one night and never saw again, but found herself pregnant months later. But Brianna uncovers her mother’s old journal where she confesses to finding out she was pregnant and not knowing who the father was. And then she reads an entry about who her mother’s boyfriend really was back then. Could that be her father… and if so, what does she do now?
  3. Amulet of Hope
    • Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Mystery
    • Two spinster sisters fell in love with a man in 1700s Germany when they were 39. Ruthless Ottilia tricked Nikolai into sleeping with her and became pregnant. Innocent Eva pined and when she learned of the trickery, she confronted her sister after she gave birth… the two sisters fought and Ottilia went over a cliff. As she fell, she cursed her sister with the amulet that each of her children would suffer by having to make the choice to save one child while letting the other die. If no choice made by the time the mother was 40, all her kids would die immediate and tragic deaths.
    • Fast-forward to present time.  17 year old Vera finds the amulet among her mother’s belongings. Her mother is about to turn 40 but had a car accident and is in a coma. She meets her grandmother who’s been estranged for years. She’s faced with a choice… to use the amulet to save her mother and kill one of her siblings, or let her own mother die. What’s happened over the last few hundred years that drives everyone’s choices?
  4. College Campus Mysteries
    1. Mystery (Present) 
    2. Kellan Brunswick is a 32-year old writer who has recently moved back home to Wellington, Pennsylvania, a small historic town on the central PA border with New York tucked away between the Wharton Mountain range and Crilly Lake.  Kellan’s come home to Wellington to see family for a little when Braxton College, the school Kellan’s father recently retired from (as President), has a murder. Kellan needs a break from his Hollywood writing life and sticks around to help clear his dad of the murder, only to find out way more secrets about his family than he expected.
  5. Hillcrest Hunting
    • Cozy mystery series (Present)
    • While the series focuses on Brody and his cousin Evelyn, the extended family will play a large role in each book.  Brody Hillcrest disappeared years ago to escape a tragic accident only to find himself hiding in Italy away from his entire family.  When his clever cousin Evelyn finds a way to hunt him down, Brody’s forced to face his family and explain his absence. Evelyn throws a party in honor of her first book being published where family and friends celebrate her success.  But a murder happens while Evelyn is revealing that she brought a surprise guest — cousin Brody is home after a 5 year disappearance. Brody and Evelyn learn that many of their cousins have some connection to the deceased welcome-home party guest, but neither wants to believe their own family could commit murder. The duo investigate the murder victim and their family, even though they have no professional cop or PI experience, as they want to protect one another but also find themselves intrigued with the challenge of detective work.
  6. All the Gifts I Have Received
    • Thriller and Suspense (Present)
    • A woman receives gifts from a secret admirer. At first, they are sweet. They soon turn dark and dangerous. As she turns to the people closest to her, they all begin to look suspicious to her. She involves another friend she’s just met who’s a detective. As he closes in on finding her stalker, he realizes there’s a lot more to the puzzle than anyone knew. The woman’s family is not who she thought they were. And when the woman disappears, he fears he’ll never find her again. But he does. And when he does, he’s shocked to learn who has her.
  7. Graveyard Mistakes
    • Thriller / Mystery / Suspense (Present)
    • In the opening chapter, a man is at a grave saying goodbye to someone he loves. As the chapter ends, he asks how it all happened… how they ended up with him sitting by her grave and her being dead.
    • Reverse the story back to the beginning… and you’ll learn what happened to them, how much love can cost you and what lengths someone will go to in order to get what they want. The goal is to be chilling and suspenseful, each chapter dropping a few clues as to how the person died. But when you get to the final chapters, and the truth comes out, it may be a good thing it turned out this way.
  8. The Power of a Pact 
    • Family Drama (Present)
    • A family has the perfect life. But one by one, things turn for the worse. It sends them all spiraling into disaster. The father hits a point where he can no longer go on. One night while up late, he stumbles upon a chat room where people make a pact to meet up one night and kill one another, as they are afraid to take their own life. He spends weeks discussing the ways and places with the friend he meets online. They finally settle on the details. But as one of them is on the way to the meeting site, someone they know learns of the plan. It’s a race to see if the disaster can be prevented.

Note: These are working titles, which may change as the book unfolds. Also, the plot is general so that I have some room to work within the lines.

Thank you so much for participating in the vote, spreading the word and reading any content you choose to read in the future. I’ve enabled it so you can choose your top 3 choices, as there may be a few you can like. Ask any questions you have!

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.

TAG: Unpopular Opinions Book

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Many thanks to Meltingpotsandothercalamities for tagging me for the “Unpopular Opinions Book” tag. If you haven’t yet checked out this blog, I encourage you to take a gander as it is full of content from both a reader and writer perspective. Great ideas and points of view.

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A POPULAR BOOK OR BOOK SERIES THAT YOU DIDN’T LIKE:

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. I haven’t read a lot of science-fiction or fantasy, but this didn’t do it for me. I laughed a few times, but it was too over-the-top in a way I couldn’t connect. I am enjoying more fantasy books, and I like Star Trek and Star Wars, but this one… nah… I’ll pass.

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A POPULAR BOOK OR BOOK SERIES THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO HATE BUT YOU LOVE:

The Philosopher’s Apprentice by James Morrow. I’m not actually all that into philosophy, but the story in the first and third sections of this book were fantastic. I had some issues with the second section of the book, and had to turn my head and squint to accept it. I’d say it’s absolutely worth a read, purely based on the story and depth of thought that you come away with.

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AN OTP (ONE TRUE PAIRING) THAT YOU DON’T LIKE:

Do Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey from “Fifty Shades” by E. L. James count? I love the concept of the story and its characters, but I just couldn’t buy her falling for him, nor him wanting her. They seemed too much of a mismatch. And when I saw the movie, I felt it coming off the screen too. Maybe it’s just me!

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A POPULAR BOOK GENRE THAT YOU HARDLY REACH FOR:

Romance. I’m not really keen on reading all about romance. I don’t mind it being a background sub-plot, but if it’s the primary driver for the story, I’d probably pass! For example, I love Outlander, as I classify it historical fiction with some romance or love angles to it.

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A POPULAR/BELOVED CHARACTER THAT YOU DO NOT LIKE:

Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t care much for her… and I was an English literature major who loves classic literature. I try putting myself in her place at that time, but I’m still just not very fond of her approach, style and persona. I much prefer other stronger female characters with vehement conviction who lead their novels.

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A POPULAR AUTHOR THAT YOU CAN’T SEEM TO GET INTO:

Neil Gaiman. I’ve only read Neverwhere, but I struggled with the way the book was written, the characters and the plot. It’s been a few years since I read it, and I want to try his other things, but I feel like he just may not mesh with what I like in my reads.

A POPULAR BOOK TROPE (OVERUSED PLOT DEVICE) THAT YOU’RE TIRED OF SEEING:

The dead person is not really dead. If done well, then it’s great. Most of the time, it’s not… introduced purely for the shock value, as opposed to it being the best solution for the crime and victim.

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A POPULAR SERIES THAT YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN READING:

Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather”. I haven’t even seen the movies. It seems too overdone and over the top for me… that many books about the mafia? Too much. One book is enough, or one supporting story-line seems sufficient. But that’s just me!

godfather

THE SAYING GOES “THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE”, BUT WHAT MOVIE OR TV SHOW ADAPTATION DO YOU PREFER MORE THAN THE BOOK?:

“The Hannibal Lecter” series by Thomas Harris. I loved the movies and only read parts of the books. They’re good, but the actors in the movie just push it up a few notches, such that I can watch those movies anytime.

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I Tag:

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.

Author: Spotlight on Diane Mott Davidson

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As part of our Spotlight on the Author series, we’re now on our third week and I’ve completed 400 reviews on the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog site. This week, I’ve selected… Diane Mott Davidson!

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Diane Mott Davidson (1949 – Present) writes cozy mystery fiction. To learn more about her, you can check out her profile on Goodreads, Fantastic Fiction, Wikipedia, Facebook and Harper Collins publishing website. Though she doesn’t write novels anymore, you’ll occasionally see a fun post or recipe.

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Book Series – Goldy Bear Schultz Culinary Mysteries

This is truly one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I am sad that it finished in 2013. I didn’t know it was the end of the series and finished reading #17. It felt like it had come to an end, but I assumed it was just a nice conclusive book. Then I checked out some articles on line and learned it was the last one. How sad!

It takes place in a small town outside of Denver, Colorado, where Goldy Bear is a caterer who ends up solving crimes. When she marries Tom, she becomes Goldy Bear Schultz. Each book is usually 25% recipe and 75% mystery story. Always humorous and fun, they range from strong mystery to very lightweight. Easy reads in about 4-hours.

Key Characters

Goldy: Primary sleuth. Mother to Arch. Best Friend to Marla. Wife to Tom. And mentor / boss / mother figure to Julian. She’s been almost killed a few times, and almost killed her ex-husband (Arch’s father) who physically and mentally abused her.

Marla: Goldy’s best friend who follows her to Aspen Meadow, Colorado. Rich divorcee. Helps with the sleuthing from time-to-time. Searching for her next husband. Julian’s aunt (although not known at first).

Tom: Aspen Meadow Police. Falls for Goldy and they eventually marry. They want to start a family together. Step-dad to Arch. Tough but good guy.

Arch: Goldy’s son from her marriage to ex-husband. He’s a teenager for most of the book, learning how to deal with his mother’s antics. Good kid, always respectful and caring with family and friends.

Julian: Marla’s nephew. Had some family issues and ended up coming to work for Goldy during his college years. Brilliant cook. Very sweet guy who has some dating issues.

  1. Catering to Nobody (1990)
  2. Dying for Chocolate (1992)
  3. The Cereal Murders (1993)
  4. The Last Suppers (1994)
  5. Killer Pancake (1995)
  6. The Main Corpse (1996)
  7. Grilling Season (1997)  — least favorite
  8. Prime Cut (1998)
  9. Tough Cookie (2000)
  10. Sticks & Stones (2001)
  11. Chopping Spree (2002)
  12. Double Shot (2004)
  13. Dark Tort (2006)  — most favorite
  14. Sweet Revenge (2007)
  15. Fatally Flaky (2009)
  16. Crunch Time (2011)
  17. The Whole Enchilada (2013)

Diane also wrote a cookbook full of Goldy’s recipes and general life musings. You can see more at:  Cookbook. Though I’ve never cooked any recipes, the desserts sound amazing. And to think… you too can eat the murder weapon from some of her crimes!

Link to the Diane Mott Davidson page where you will be able to return in the future to see when I post new reviews and book thoughts. For now, I’ve posted reviews on all 17 books in the series.

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.