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Book Review: Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

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I’ve been trying to catch up on the Hannah Swensen series this summer, so I picked up the 17th book in the series, Blackberry Pie Murder, written in 2013 by Joanne Fluke. All I can say is I just can’t get enough of this silliness. The murders and mysteries are very light, but the characters are fantastic. I want to live in Lake Eden and be Hannah’s new best friend solving crimes together. No, I don’t want to be killed… just putting that out there!

In this one, Hannah accidentally hits someone with her car. She’s then charged with vehicular manslaughter because of a few interesting traffic laws. Although it’s completely not how it should happen, the laws are actually in place and could be used to convict someone. After 17 books, you have to cut the author some leeway to make the reason for the mystery be something stronger. For that reason alone, I give 5 stars to Fluke for coming up with this one…. but then it gets a bit dull with the actual investigation once we learn the guy was already beaten up and likely to die from a head injury. And he’s really not connected to many people we know, so for those reasons, I dropped it down to a 3.

That said… I still want to read more and it’s fun for 2-3 hours of light reading. Bring on more!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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.

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365 Challenge: Day 215 – Chill

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Chill: (a) amazing coolness in the air, (b) relax, (c) shiver up your spine when frightened, (d) what you do to a bottle of wine or champagne to celebrate

chill

Today’s 365 Daily Challenge word was both easy and cathartic. I felt like a kid in a candy shop when I awoke to such an amazing and beautiful temperature in my bedroom. It was chilly, but not from the air conditioner; I left a window open overnight and the cool air danced its way around me. I love autumn and this is the first day I actually felt like it was beginning to materialize. I’ll forget that on Sunday it will be back up to 78, but then it drops and I will be a very happy guy. I can wear a light pair of pants and a v-neck tee, perhaps a comfy cardigan or sweater, and not feel like I’m in the depths of hell. Hallelujah, the weather deities are on my side. Sorry to everyone who misses summer or is concerned about winter’s approach… between Game of Thrones and this, you must be on high alert.

The word “chill” is also appropriate because W is back from a business trip and we will celebrate my book’s launch this week by chilling a few bottles of wine and champagne; we can celebrate the next step in my hopefully new and permanent career. Even Ryder might get a taste, although he’s a Prohibitionist. He turns his nose up (literally and figuratively) whenever either of us has a drink. I often use it to keep him away from the dinner table when he begs for too many scraps. I bring my drink to his nose as if to give him a treat, but he gets all huffy and walks away, perturbed at my beverage choices. And for anyone who thinks I’m being cruel… this lovable little monster gets scraps everyday, but after one or two, that’s enough people food. He’s only twenty pounds and I’d like him to live forever. Even if he and I have different views on many social and political topics.

Yet another reason to choose the word chill is today’s date: Friday the 13th! It means the beginning of a few scary movies this weekend to lure in the horrors of Halloween. It will send a chill up my spine but scary movies are my favorite. Thrillers… serial killers… and chillers… what a wonderful way to leave reality and just get lost in a good piece of fiction with a spot of danger. I know it’s not for everyone, but I like ’em. And lastly, it’s time to put my feet up and relax this weekend, as it’s been a busy week full of excitement and stress (all in a good way). I will chill for 24 hours and not worry about anything I have to do, rather I will focus on doing whatever I want to do. We all need a weekend day like that…

So tell me… which of these interpretations of the word chill do you most identify with? Or have you located another definition I’ve forgotten?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. 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.

365 Challenge: Day 27 – Warm-Blooded

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Warm-Blooded: (1) ardent, passionate, or (2) relating to or denoting animals (chiefly mammals and birds) that maintain a constant body temperature, typically above that of the surroundings, by metabolic means; homeothermic

I’ve wanted to blog about this topic for a few days, but I was mulling over whether to call it “warm” or “hot” blooded. I only intended to cover one of the two definitions, but figured I’d list both, since education is a good thing. “Hot,” to me, speaks to ardent and passionate, whereas “warm” speaks to the body temperature, which is what I want to discuss. A reader’s first thought is likely… “what does body temperature have to do with a trait about you or your personality?” And you’d be correct to let that thought cross your mind. But by the end of this post, it will become more clear.

The weather’s been getting warmer here in NYC where I live. I had a few days this week where I needed to pull out shorts, not only to lounge around my apartment, but also when I left to run an errand around town. And I’m not happy. I much prefer the cooler weather of early spring and late autumn; even winter is better than the temperature during the summer. But why, you ask, I’m sure… do you care so much about the temperature? That’s simple… I seem to feel temperature more than most others; my body seems to register on high alert anytime the temperature goes above 60 — and it just makes me uncomfortable, miserable and a sourpuss.

Our normal body temperatures are supposed to be 98.6 degrees. We’re all taught that when we are youngsters. Some people float a little low or a high, which is normal. My average body temperature tends to be 97 degrees. I’m not exactly sure what this means (any medical professionals out there know?), but I believe it has wrecked with body’s reaction to the change in external temperature.

Once it hits 60 degrees outside, I sweat! I will often wear one shirt to work (walking to the subway) and change when I arrive at the office — not because I look sweaty or smell (don’t even go there) — but because it irritates me, I feel sickly and my positive outlook on the day just drains away. I almost shut down when I get too warm or sticky, unable to focus or think. And it makes me a bit miserable to be around. I know it. I admit it.

On the flip side, if I trudge through snow to get to my destination, I arrive all happy, optimistic and ready to get the day started. How odd…. go ahead and say it… I often think the same thing to myself. But being comfortable is essential to being happy and productive throughout the day. I’m sure some folks feel the same if they are shivering and unable to focus because it’s too cold, so you surely must understand my predicament.

It’s much worse during the summer months (mid-June thru mid-September) where I barely function. I can tolerate it for a little while longer, but I know it’s coming and I am not thrilled about sweaty, hot, smelly subways, stagnant and moist (yes, I used that word…) air you feel all around you… perhaps I should move to an environment where the weather is much more amenable to my body temperature needs. Back to the topic.

So warm-blooded applies to us all, as we’re mammals, but to me, warm-blooded means I am always warm. I generate an inordinate amount of body heat. Everyone loves to cuddle with me. I hate it because they don’t take the body heat away from me. They just give me more of their body heat. Ugh. I rarely feel cold or chilly, and if I am, it usually means I’m catching a cold.

Being warm-blooded is probably a good thing, tho, and I shouldn’t complain about it. But because of it, and my body’s reaction to external temperature, my entire personality is affected when I hit my pressure point… which unlike most people is not just at the extremes, given it’s anything above 60 degrees. Hence why I said this is more a characteristic than it may have sounded like at the beginning. If the temperature goes up, you know what to expect when you see me. I’ll complain about it right away. I’ll only travel so far to meet people for dinner or drinks. Selfish… irritable… short-tempered… whiny… that’s what I become. And if those aren’t annoying traits, I don’t know what is!

A friend brings me an Evian mister spray when we go out during the summer. It’s kinda amusing, but it helps.

At least people know this about me and try to work with me on it. Perhaps I’m exaggerating a tad, but in all seriousness, the weather has a huge impact on me. I love rain. I love snow. I hate heat. I abhor humidity. There, I said it. No beach vacations for me.

So what do I do with this knowledge: move to the mountain tops, find a job as a sleigh driver in the Arctic Circle, buy an air-conditioned suit? Or learn to live with it, push the boundaries a bit each time and hope for the best. Eh… A LOT OF SHOWERS too… coincidentally, how cute is that graphic below! 😛

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. 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.

 

365 Challenge: Day 21 – English

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English: containing roots from England

We’ve concluded another week, and on this, the third 365 Challenge Sunday, it’s time to select one of the countries from which my ancestors hail. I’m about 33% English, though Ancestry says my DNA is 81% English; however, those numbers include Irish, and Scottish, which will be next week’s “end-of-the-week” post, thus covering my four primary heritages. But I’m pretty certain at least half of me hails from Great Britain when I look at all the records and the family genes. I am pretty pale, remember! My favorite English last name in my family history: Pantridge. So formal and eloquent.

I’ve been fascinated with the royal families and ascendancy to the thrones of England for years. At one point, I could name most of the Kings and Queens in order, but I’ve forgotten some of those details in recent years. I would love to find out that I descend from one of them, but I highly doubt it’s true. Perhaps Henry VIII’s court jester is my real ancestor!

And in keeping with tradition, I’ve located the Top 10 English traits… but this time, it’s according to the Metro UK news. Let’s see how I fare:

1. Talking about the weather

  • I do often use that as an easy line of conversation, given that I tend to be shy and quiet when it comes to conversing with others. I am fascinated by whether it will be warm or cold, rainy or dry. I hate, loathe and despise hot weather. I prefer the temperature to be a nice 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A good topic for another day!
  • Score: 1 out of 1.

2. Great at queueing

  • Yes! I love lines. It’s the most fair way to ensure those of us who arrive early don’t get left out when a crowd forms. My favorite place for a proper queue is at the airport, but it does not always happen. Each American airline (don’t get me started on other countries’ approach to the ticket counter) calls group by group to queue for an orderly on-boarding to the aircraft. EXCEPT, most Americans (of which I am one) are RUDE (not me, I am orderly). They all just run to the line even though their group hasn’t been called, and then orderly people like me have to ask people to move, step over all their luggage, blah blah blah. Get the @#*& out of my way is what I really want to say. Wait your turn. If you’re group 5, don’t stand right at the beginning of the line. Don’t be an @$$^&*%.  OK, rant done.
  • Score: 2 out of 2.

3. Sarcasm

  • I had a post dedicated to that… remember? Although, someone wise said I am probably more clever, so…perhaps not. But in general, I think the English are sarcastic like I am – never in a cruel way.
  • Score: 3 out of 3.

4. Watching soaps

  • Yes, I must confess. I used to watch a lot of soap operas when I was a teenager, not including prime time soaps. Let’s see if I can remember them: Loving (became The City), Another World, Days of Our Lives, As The World Turns and Guiding Light. I had lots of VCR tapes going while I was in school. And I also had 3 magazine subscriptions to keep me well read when not watching them on TV. Such a LOSER!!!!!
  • Special Kudos to anyone who can name the fake soap opera in the clip below.
  • Score: 4 out of 4.

5. Getting drunk

  • I remember covering this during the Irish post. Are all British drunks? Or is it really just everyone in the world at this point? Yikes. But no, I’m not a drunk. I drink but know when to stop on most occasions.
  • Score 4 out 5.

6. A love of bargains

  • No, definitely not me. I am careful with money, but I am not a bargain shopper. I like to get a discount, and I will usually balance quality and cost when making a purchase, but I always wonder “what’s wrong with this?” when it seems like a bargain.
  • Score: 4 out of 6.

7. A love of curtain twitching

  • I am stumped. What the… is curtain twitching? Let’s Google it……… OK, I’m back. OMG, I would not have guessed this. Seriously? OK, well curtain twitching is “a nosy person who watches his or her neighbours, typically from a curtained window.” AND it uses the British spelling in the word “neighbours.” Laughing so hard, I can only think of one thing. AbFab! Too bad they weren’t actually curtain twitching the neighours in the clip below. But yeah, I’m a little nosy sometimes. Remember curious?
  • Score 5 out of 7.

8. Stiff upper lip

  • Sometimes I do, sometimes I do not. I tend to be pretty strong, but not always. I’m gonna say yes to this one.
  • Score: 6 out of 10.

9. Love of all television

  • I watch TV almost every day. Besides reading, it’s the other hobby I have that involves sitting down a lot. 🙂
  • Score: 7 out of 9.

10. Always saying sorry

  • I used to do this ALL the time. I’m much better about it now, but if I get too close to someone and almost bump them, the first words out of my mouth are “I’m sorry.” It would never occur to me to say “excuse me” or “watch where you’re going!” I always assume it was my fault.
  • Score: 8 out of 10.

And what does this tell me?  I am emblematic of 80% of these things… and that matches the 81% noted above. How am I always so in sync with my DNA? Quite a stumper…