Book Review – The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

Wonderful Wednesday friends! I have been going non-stop for the last week it has been very rewarding though. Sometimes those busy times are the best times, am I right?

I want to tell you about the book I just finished listening to. Have I told you all how much I love audio books? They are truly amazing and make my commute not terrible. The latest book I listened to was The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn. This book brings to mind the old school Hitchcock thrillers we have all come to know and love.

Here is the summary from Amazon.

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble―and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Twisty and powerful, ingenious and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock—an unforgettable thriller that Gillian Flynn calls “amazing.”

My review:

This story had so many twists. I loved the way the author revealed the story. It is clear as the story starts that Anna is not in a good place. The way that unfolds is a great ride.

I did not anticipate the ending at all. This was a surprise for me because usually I always guess the ending.

The general plot of the story was not new. This did not feel like anything new and exciting. It was told well but I couldn’t help feeling it had been told before.

Overall, I’m going to give this one a 📚📚📚 out of 5. If you are a super thriller fan go for it. If you are looking for something original perhaps you should pass.

What are you reading my friends?

Love and 📚,

Becky

Thursday Story Telling – Update

I want to thank you all that have taken the time to follow along with the story, The Intervention. I want you to know that it means a lot to me that you would take the time to read and care about this work. I wrote this story many many years ago and it was my first and to date only “finished” work. Perhaps I will start another story and reveal it/publish it here on this blog in a similar format. If this is something that you would be interested in, please let me know.

To make it easy for future readers to check out my story in it’s entirety, I am going to link to each chapter in order below. Thank you again everyone for supporting me through this weird journey of putting my own words out there for all of you to read, critique and hopefully enjoy.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

I hope that if you are just finding this blog, you will take the time to check out the story chapter by chapter. It has been a scary and fun journey to reveal this personal work on this blog. For some reason, this work of fiction was more intimidating to publish here than all the times I have told about my personal life. I’m sure some psychologist would have a blast with an explanation for that weird part of me.

Thank you again my friends.

Lots of love,

Becky

Thursday Story-Telling The Intervention Chapter 10 (The Final Chapter)

Anthony walked into the room and sat beside her. She was so still, and she didn’t look like herself. Her body was lifeless as if her soul were not inside. No! He would not let himself think that way. She was just sleeping and everything was going to be fine. He would have her beside him forever. He had decided moments before in the waiting room that they would be married and have babies. They would grow old and grey together. He held her hand and watched her. How could he have ever thought that he could be without her? He knew that he had made mistakes, and today had shown him that he couldn’t risk losing her again. He would never go through this feeling again because in his heart he knew that this feeling he had would have been the same feeling if she had walked out of the door, left him, and moved on with her with life a part from him. He was dying inside not being able to hear her voice and see that beautiful smile that only she had.

Britney opened her eyes and saw him. She watched Anthony watching her, and she was scared. There were tubes and machines and she didn’t look like she was in very good shape. Watching him sit with her and the tears that were coming down his face, she couldn’t handle it anymore. She had to put him out of his misery and let him know that she was OK. She would find a way to do it. She put her hand to his shoulder, and he didn’t move. She knew that hadn’t felt her this time. He was too involved in his pain and worry for her that he couldn’t feel anything else. She kissed him on the top of his head and she moved towards her body. She had to get back inside. This was not a dream, and she wasn’t sure how she was going to do it but she had to get back in her body. She sat on the bed next to herself and lay down; her soul reentered her body like a soft cloud disappearing within itself.

As the tears continued to flow down Anthony’s cheeks, he couldn’t help but remember the early morning and the stupid fight that had led to yelling and tears. He couldn’t remember what the fight had been about; it couldn’t have been anything important. He would never make her cry again, and he would never shed tears about something stupid again. He held her hand as tightly as he could and just cried. He was going to help her no matter what happened when she woke up, because she would wake up. He held her hand, and suddenly felt as if she squeezed back. Was it possible? Was she waking up? He wiped the tears from his eyes and looked at her. She looked different then just a few moments ago. Her soul was there again. Anthony saw her color improve. Was she going to return to him? He spoke her name, “Britney, I am here. It is going to be ok.”

He watched her waiting for a response. Her eyes began to flutter open. She smiled at him and he began to cry again.

“Don’t cry.” She whispered.

“Oh Britney, I love you so much. You can never do this again.”
“Anthony, I love you too.” She smiled at him again and knew that everything was going to be OK. She had a man that loved her more than anything in this world, and she loved him, too. Of all the places she could have floated to, the only place she wanted to be was with him. She was ready for a future with him. She held his hand and felt him squeeze. She was suddenly very tired.

“Doctor,” Anthony was calling for the doctor. “She is awake. Hurry, she is awake.”
The nurses and doctors came rushing into the room to check the monitors and all of her functions.

“Wait,” She whispered. “Anthony, don’t leave me.” She was crying.

“Baby, I will never leave you.” He smiled knowing that she was going to be OK.

He hated that it had taken this event to make him realize the strength of their love but he would make sure that they never lost it again. As Britney relaxed, she became so tired. But she heard something very lightly. “Britney, just remember I am always here, and Anthony is really the one to stand beside you, he will take care of you when I can’t and hold your hand when you can’t feel mine. I love you darling. Rest and make sure that you never forget the power of your heart and the strength of your love for the man that sits beside you.”

“Thanks Mom for the intervention. I needed it.” Britney whispered as she let herself fall back asleep this time she would stay in her body and she would allow her body and her heart to heal.

Author Interview – Mike Wells

Mike-Wells-Author

Wonderful Wednesday my brainy amazing readers! I am so excited to share this interview with you all. I came across Mike Wells on Twitter many many years ago.  He went to Vanderbilt, always a Nashville connection my friends. Most importantly he was just wonderful. So friendly and real, I will admit I geek out a little bit when an author or actor or anyone I admire really responds to a message I send.

Here is a link to his Twitter so that you can also enjoy his wit and banter! He was giving away a free copy of his book and well I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. I went for it. I read some of his stuff and well just really loved it.

I thought I should finally share this goodness with all of my friends. You can find my review for Book One of the Lust, Money & Murder series here. Yes, you can look forward to more reviews. I really love this guys stuff. As I mentioned before, he is so kind and quiet responsive so it only slightly surprised me when he honored me with taking some time to answer my questions about him, his life, and his books. Here it is:

RGR – Where is your favorite place to write?

Mike Wells (MW) – My favorite place to write is outside by the sea—it’s very relaxing and inspiring.  But there are other factors that are more important, such as being comfortable.  If it’s too cold, hot, windy, or there are too many flies and mosquitoes, etc., it’s better to be indoors.  With two young kids (8 months and 2.5 years), I pretty much have to snatch any time I can find and this forces me to write anywhere and everywhere.  I have a large phone and wireless keyboard which I do a lot of my writing on, highly portable.

Mikes.workspace.untitled

RGR – Who is your favorite character from literature (your creation or other)?

MW – If I named one of my own I would feel like I was shamelessly promoting my own work in this interview, which I actually have no problem doing, but I’ll say Hannibal Lecter.  Most of my favorite characters are villains, not heroes.  I love Hannibal because he’s erudite and sophisticated yet so disgusting at the same time.  Also, he has a black sense of humor.

RGR – Where is your favorite place to take a holiday?

MW – I live on the beach year round, so my favorite place to take a holiday is a big city like London or New York.  I love to go to those two cities in particular because I enjoy Broadway and West End plays. I love seeing top notch actors perform on stage, especially my favorite movie actors. I’ve seen Damian Lewis, Elizabeth Moss, Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Rob Lowe, David Suchet, Kiera Knightly, John Goodman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and more in various plays.  I believe writers can learn a lot about how to create good drama just from observing these pros in their element.

RGR – Do you have any interesting rituals associated with your writing process?

MW – Definitely.  The quality of my writing depends highly on the T-shirt I happen to be wearing when I’m sitting at the screen.  For example, if I’m writing action scenes, I wear my AC/DC T-shirt.  If I’m writing tense, frightening scenes, I wear my NOTHING CAN SCARE ME – I HAVE TWO DAUGHTERS shirt.  If I’m doing heavy research or writing technical explanations, I wear my SCHRÖDINGER’S CAT- WANTED DEAD-AND-ALIVE shirt.  You get the idea.

(This might be my favorite question and answer, of any interview!)

RGR – You write suspense and with a suspenseful undertone to all of your work (my opinion), what is next in store for you?

MW – My main focus will be to continue to develop the Lust, Money & Murder series because that’s the most popular series I have, and keeping my readers happy is my number one priority.  I’m working on the fourteenth LM&M book right now and see no end to the series in sight. It’s somewhat of a challenge to keep from repeating myself, but I don’t really seem to have that much trouble with it.  If ideas for future books feel repetitive to me, I just discard them and come up with more. I will definitely continue on with other series (Wild Child and Baby Talk, for example) but those have to take a back seat for financial reasons—I’m a professional author and I make my living writing books.

RGR – Part of the first book (Lust) is based in Bulgaria. Have you been there? Why did you choose that location? Where did you learn Russian to use in the books?

MW – I chose to set that part of the book in Sofia, Bulgaria for several reasons.  First, I visited the country once and its better to write about a setting from first-hand experience.  Second, I wanted a remote-seeming place (to Western readers) that would probably be seen as an undesirable European location for a government job post, compared to a more “glamorous” place like Paris or Rome. Third, those glamorous locations are grossly overused in international thrillers, almost cliches — I wanted to choose a less known location that readers could learn something about and perhaps be pleasantly surprised, as Elaine was. The posting there was intended as punishment for her, yet it turned out to be a delightful, relaxed place where she also met the love of her life. About the Russian language bits used in my books, I speak basic conversational Russian because I studied it at one point for work. My wife is fluent (bi-lingual in English and Russian), so she checks everything I’m not sure about, which is most of it!

I want to thank Mike for taking the time to answer all of my questions. He is really just the best. His novels are something that anyone into suspense or strong female characters, should absolutely read. I would highly recommend that you check out his website here.  He is great about keeping up his website and making sure you know the latest and greatest that is going on with him and his next fabulous book.

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I do. Also, if you think of any questions, you would like me to ask, please let me know!

Love in Reading,

Becky

Thursday Story-Telling The Intervention Chapter 9

Anthony looked up, it had already been two hours and no one had come out to see him. Kathy walked into the waiting room and found him immediately. “Anthony, how is she?”

“I don’t know. I am still waiting. I am so scared Kathy.”
“Don’t be. It is going to be ok.”

“I know. I am trying to tell myself that. I can’t lose her. I have to fix things. I will do anything. I will be the perfect boyfriend and if she will have me, the perfect husband. I will do everything to make her happy and just the way she wants it. I can’t lose her.”

“Now don’t go making promises that you can’t keep. You love her and that is what matters. Every couple has their problems. It is just a matter of loving each other through it. You can do that. I saw you at the lake house, and you can do it.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Kathy. I really do appreciate it.”
“Anytime. You know I am here for you both.”

Just then a doctor came out of the ER doors. He walked straight to Anthony.

“Mr. Jones, we need to talk to you about Ms. Henson.” Anthony gulped. He wasn’t prepared for this conversation.

Kathy reached over, grabbed his hand and squeezed. He looked down and she mouthed to him. ‘It is going to be OK.’

He smiled at her. Knowing that she had the best intention of making him feel better, but until he knew exactly what was going on with Britney, his stomach would be somersaulting and his heart would be racing a million miles a minute. The doctor waited patiently with a look of sympathy on his face. The look concerned Anthony as he squeezed Kathy’s hand back.

“Yes Doctor.”
“Mr. Jones, Ms. Henson’s condition is teetering at the moment. The accident was very severe. She was hit by a truck going 40 miles per hour. She was hit on the passenger side, which did help with some of the impact, but she is still in a coma. We can’t get her to wake up. She is stable and her vitals look good. The brain activity is our main concern at this point. She had some internal bleeding, broken bones and ribs. One of the broken ribs caused a puncture to her lung. This is why it has been so long; we had to rush her to surgery. She has come out of surgery but she still isn’t waking up. All of her functions are working. She is breathing with some help of a machine, and her heart is beating on its own. However, she is not as responsive as she should be at this point. We will have to wait and see what happens. Only time is going to tell if she will wake up, and when she wakes up, we will have to do some tests regarding her capabilities for recovery.”

“So you are telling she could be brain damaged?”

“Well the part of the brain that has been affected is the part that holds our talking, walking, and cognitive thinking. Her brain is keeping her heart beating and reminding her to breathe, but we will not know the extent of the damage until she wakes up. But I would like you to be prepared for what you may see. She can have visitors, and it is good to talk to her and hold her hand. She will know that you are there. It could be the best thing to speed along her recovery and hopefully wake her up.”

“Thank you Doctor. I would like to see her now, if that is OK.”

“Of course. I will have a nurse bring you back.”

Britney was ready to go back to him. Why wasn’t she there yet? She just had to close her eyes and think of him; that is what she had to done to get to the office. She couldn’t stand not being close to him. She was starting to get very cold. She was getting tired. She began to feel her muscles and bones ache. Would she be able to get back to him? Was she going to die? She closed her eyes and she thought about him as hard as she could. She felt someone squeeze her hand. “Thanks Mom. I know you are here.” She smiled and continued to think of him. If she could just get back to her body and to him, she knew that everything would be OK.

 

Book Review – Lust, Money & Murder

New Design LM&M Books 1, 2 & 3 with Amazon

Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells

Summary provided by Amazon:

Born in the worst suburb in Pittsburgh, Elaine Brogan is bright, beautiful and bold. When her father is falsely arrested for passing counterfeit $100 bills, Elaine vows to become a Secret Service agent and track down the man responsible. After barely surviving the arduous Secret Service Training Academy in Laurel, Maryland, she is transferred to bleak and blustery Great Falls, Montana. But things do not go as planned, and Elaine soon finds herself betrayed and thrown into an adventure that takes her halfway around the world, from dark and mysterious Sofia, Bulgaria, to Moscow Russia, and finally, to Milan, Italy. In the end, will Elaine find the love and happiness she truly seeks…or will she turn to a life of obscene wealth, power and corruption?

Book 1 – Lust

Elaine Brogan is quite the character. She is introduced to us as a precocious child. She is the light of her father’s life and it is very clear by everything he does. Elaine’s journey takes her so many places. One of the things I have enjoyed most (at least in the first book), is the fact that we get to experience so many different places through Elaine’s eyes. It always impresses me when a male author can capture such a strong female spirit. Mike Wells does this in spades.

The first book ends in Sofia, Bulgaria. I am excited to go to the next locations Russia and Italy. Through the story, you find yourself cheering for Elaine in so many different respects. Not only do we want her to find love, get her revenge and finally live her life, but she is just a real person that is likeable. I think one of the things about this agent going after the bad guy story that I really enjoy is that although she may have some talents as far as her job is concerned, Elaine comes across as a very real person. She is average in every way other than her skills. The ability to make her relate-able helps to push the story forward.

Nick LaGrange is introduced around the time we get to Bulgaria. In the description it describes Sofia, Bulgaria as dark and mysterious but I am applying that description to Nick. How is he going to play in Elaine’s life? What secrets is he keeping? The best part of Mike Well’s writing is that he keeps it interesting and keeps you on edge, just waiting for the next line, the next chapter and the next book. I plan to continue to read this series. I will do a follow-up review for Book 2.

In the meantime, if I have interested you in checking out this book, please feel free to take advantage of the deals on Amazon. Click here to order your own copy.

Also, please check back next week, when we have an interview with the author. Mr. Mike Wells has honored us with his time. Here is a link to his website as well. Check out all the other great books that Mr. Wells has to offer. He is quickly making himself a king of suspense.

Overall, the first part of this book is a ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️out of 5 cappuccinos. Check it out, you guys! Really, get a cup of your favorite coffee and curl up to enjoy this tale of Lust, Money & Murder!

Love and 📚,

Becky

Thursday Story-Telling The Intervention Chapter 8

Britney was still sitting at her boss’ desk when the room suddenly became darker and began to fill with smoke. She couldn’t see anything. She was very afraid and started to wonder if this was it. Was she finally dying? Had she been floating long enough?

“Britney” she heard someone whisper her name. Who was calling her?

“Britney!”

She suddenly recognized the voice. It was her mother. “Mom! Where are you? I can’t see you.”
“I am here Brit. I need you to just listen, OK?”

“OK” her voice was shaking and she knew that she must be dead. Her mother was hear to take her with her.

“Brit you are hearing me, because you are finally able to listen now. I have been trying to reach you for quite sometime, young lady. You have been headed down a bad path. I know that you have been having problems with Anthony, and you don’t feel like you can go forward and you certainly can’t go backwards. It was time for me to step in. I didn’t want it to be this way, but your head is too full with the fighting, worrying about work, and other things that aren’t important that you couldn’t hear me. I didn’t want to have to get your attention this way but it was necessary.”

“The car accident? That was you? Mom, you wouldn’t put my life in danger.”

“No honey, the car accident was not me. That was you not paying attention; the coma was my doing. I can not let you wake up until I have told you what you need to know.”

“I am not dead?”

“No, it is not your time. You have a lot of work left to do. Part of that work has to be done with a very special person by your side.”

“Who? Who is going to be by my side?”

“Anthony.”

“What? Mom we fight all the time. I love him but I don’t think that we are going to stay together. I can’t continue this way and I know that he can’t either.”

“Well honey he can’t, but you have to fix it. You two are going to have children that are meant to do great things in this world. It is very important that you fix this. You love him and you can get through this.”

“But we drive each other crazy. I wouldn’t want to bring children into that. How could they possibly end up great? They would end up more messed up then me and Anthony individually.”

“We all have our struggles and we all have our special qualities that make us unique. No one is perfect and we have to love each other for our hearts not for our annoying habits. You have to remember it is OK to not like everything about each other. You just have to remember that you love each other. You are not messed up either, but apart you would be.”

“I do love him. I do want to fix things. Can you tell me what happened? Can you tell me where it went wrong? What can I do to make it better?”

“I can’t give you all the answers. I have already told you more than I should have. But I can tell you this, the next time you get mad at him or one of his little habits makes you want to yell at him, just remember how you feel at this exact moment knowing that you can’t hold him and let him know how much you love him. Remember what it is like knowing that you can’t have his arms around you and know that you are going to be safe. Is that something you could truly live without?”

“No, I don’t think that I could. I couldn’t stand to be away from him for another minute. I want to be with him, I want to be with him right now actually.” Tears started to fall down Britney’s face. She could feel them. She had to be waking up. She had to be.

“Britney, you won’t always hear me and you won’t be able to see me, but I love you and I will always be with you in your hear. If you are really quiet, you will hear me. I will help you through this. Make sure that you pray a lot and keep Anthony close and remember that a career that brings personal accomplishment will never equal the feeling in your heart that comes from your family and those that love you, regardless of your title at work.”

“I will Mom. I will. I love you so much. Can’t I see you before you? Can’t I have a hug? Just one last time.”

“I am sorry Brit. I can’t. I am not able, but believe me, honey I am here for you I promise.”

“But I am not ready for you to go. I need to know more. I need your help. Will he forgive me for everything?”

“When you wake up, you will know how to fix it. I am sure of it.”

The smoke began to clear and Britney was floating around the corridors of the office building. She went to her desk and sat in her chair. It was strange, she couldn’t really feel the chair as she had felt Kathy’s but she was sitting in it. She looked at the pictures on her desk. She saw pictures of her friends and their kids. She found almost too many pictures of Anthony and her, they were so happy in all of them. She knew that her mother had been right, and she was going to fix things with him. She was going to make it better as she looked at the pictures of them together on vacations and during holidays, she knew that she could fix it. She knew that whatever was supposed to come of them and their children, it would happen.