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

Movie Review – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Wonderful Wednesday my amazing reader friends!!!

I hope your week is going awesome! Mine has been a little weird. I have not been feeling well but I’m pushing through! I have been reading and watching a lot of movies lately as I have been on the treadmill a lot and well that’s what I do, other than walk of course, on the treadmill.

One of the movies I watched recently was today’s review!

First, let me say isn’s Lily James just the best? I just think she is absolutely adorable and a wonderful actress. I reviewed the book a few weeks ago and you all know I really loved it! Here is the review in case you missed it!

The movie is different then the book. I will be honest and tell you up front I liked the book better. The movie jumps into the story so quickly and the book really develops the relationships between the characters. I prefer the more in-depth look at all the relationships.

As a book lover, I have to say the idea of the story and a book bringing people together makes my heart happy! I am also a big history buff so a movie based on this time in history is fascinating. One thing that was easier to recognize in the movie quicker than the book was the chemistry between the main characters. In the book I imagined Dawsey older as a fatherly figure until the end. With the movie, Dawsey is presented as a handsome potential love interest.

I’m going to give this a 🍿🍿🍿🍿 out of 5. Only 4 because I felt the character development was a little rushed in the movie. The story is still true to itself but definitely a little lacking. Lily James is worth watching alone but it’s a good movie if you need a heartwarming afternoon.

Love and 🍿,

Becky

Book Review – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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Wonderful Wednesday reader friends! I hope that you are all having a fantastic week. I have been reading a lot lately and I will be spending a lot of time updating you all on some great reads over the next few weeks.

This week we are talking about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Have you heard about this book? Perhaps you have heard about or even seen the movie of the same name. It is currently on Netflix.

Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. . . .

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

My thoughts:

This story captured me in the first sentences. The style is a series of correspondence that takes you on a journey with the characters. I found it a very intriguing take on life after World War II. How each of the characters was affected by the horrible war, is told in such a unique and interesting way. Juliet is such a likable character. She leads this cast of unique individuals on a stunning journey of growth and love. Each of the different members of the Potato Peel Society brings their own special flair to the story. I can not tell you all how much I have loved this story. By use of the correspondence as the way to tell the story, everything flowed so easily. Each of these characters is searching for their own love and security. I found myself dreaming about writing letters more often as I read this story. Maybe this little blog is my way of writing a letter to each of you. Does that count? Now I need to find myself a pen pal.

Overall, this was an amazing read. Full of laughter, drama, tragedy and of course, love. I am giving this for sure ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ out of 5. If you would like to purchase the book here is a link on Amazon.

I am going to watch the movie and share my review of that as well very soon. Also, I need to seriously find a pen pal!

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.

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.

 

Author Interview – Michele Campbell

I recently reviewed It’s Always the Husband, author Michele Campbell. You can check out that review here. Michele was kind enough to join our book club for some discussion about the book as well as some personal questions. She also was kind enough to let me share that interview with you all here.

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RGR (RealGirlReview) – Where is your favorite place to work/write?

MC (Michele Campbell) – I write in a home office or else in libraries. I need to be free of distractions. I like silence, good light, a desk and an officey sort of chair. I’m not one to write in coffee shops, in bed or lounging on the sofa.

RGR – What is your favorite vacation/relax place?

MC –  I love to travel and see the world. I prefer going to new places over returning to a favorite. My last trip was to England and Scotland.

RGR – Who is your favorite character from literature?

MC – Lily Bart from The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. She’s a tragic figure because she was too independent for the times she lived in.

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

MC – I send myself notes via email constantly then print them out every morning to update the WIP that day.

RGR – This has been my first of your novels to read, is your style consistent with suspense? Do you have a favorite style?

MC –  I’d say my style is relatively consistent with standard suspense novels except probably more character driven than most.

RGR – Your next novel is coming up, do you have a book signing tour scheduled? If so, where will we be able to meet you in person and get a signed book?

MC –  I tour virtually all the time for all my books. I do chats like this or book club skypes several times per week and am very accessible on line. IRL, I do larger marquee events when I’m asked. For example, last weekend I appeared at PopSugar Playground which was heavily featured on all my social media if you’d like to see photos. I’m on Facebook and Instagram as Michele Campbell Books, and those who would like signed copies should follow me there bc I do lots of giveaways.

RGR (Question from a bookclub member) – I really enjoyed the character development in this book, I often wonder where the profiles come from. Do you have a particular source for inspiration?

MC – Life plus imagination. I observe people in the real world, take bits and pieces as inspiration, and recombine. The characters grow and develop on their own once the writing process begins. They come to life, and I learn about them as I go.

RGR (Question from a bookclub member) – I read this book earlier this year and loved it. But it’s not as fresh in my mind as it is the other readers in this group.
What advice would you give to a young (12 1/2) aspiring writer?

MC – How exciting!! Twelve and a half is a perfect age to start writing seriously. Here’s my advice. Read all the time and read widely. Practice writing. Keep a journal. Write stories. Enter writing contests if your school offers them. Join the school paper or literary magazine. If your school doesn’t offer these opportunities, talk to a teacher about starting them. Junior high and high school are where real writers are born!

Michele was very kind to give us so much of her time. I am including a link to her website below. I hope that you will check her out. I am also including a link to a teaser video for her next book to be released. I hope that you will all check it out.

Michele Campbell Website

Teaser for A Stranger on the Beach

Love and

Becky