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

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Book Review – The Murder House James Patterson and David Ellis

The Murder House

Wonderful Wednesday Reader Friends,

So here is a little secret, I don’t always “read” these books. I have a decent commute every day (around 45 minutes each way) so I will often listen to audio books. I do not subscribe to Audible or anything like that, I use an app called OverDrive. This app is connected to my local library and I can “check-out” books to read through my Kindle or audio books to listen to through the OverDrive app on my cell phone, hands free of course people. I know this app is available via iTunes, not sure about other services like GooglePlay, etc.

Sometimes, I start to listen to a book and a stop for whatever reason. Maybe I didn’t get through it and the borrowing period ended, there is always a reason something didn’t get done. Anyway, as I started to listen to this story, it was very familiar. I was about a chapter in and realized I had started this before. I didn’t however, remember enough to make me want to stop listening and I am so glad that I didn’t. I never finished because the ending was a complete surprise to me.

The book I am talking about is of course The Murder House by James Patterson and David Ellis.

Summary (via James Patterson’s website)

Detective Jenna Murphy comes to the Hamptons to solve a murder-but what she finds is more deadly than she could ever imagine.

Trying to escape her troubled past and rehabilitate a career on the rocks, former New York City cop Jenna Murphy hardly expects her lush and wealthy surroundings to be a hotbed of grisly depravity. But when a Hollywood power broker and his mistress are found dead in the abandoned Murder House, the gruesome crime scene rivals anything Jenna experienced in Manhattan. And what at first seems like an open and shut case turns out to have as many shocking secrets as the Murder House itself, as Jenna quickly realizes that the mansion’s history is much darker than even the town’s most salacious gossips could have imagined.

As more bodies surface, and the secret that Jenna has tried desperately to escape closes in on her, she must risk her own life to expose the truth-before the Murder House claims another victim. Full of the twists and turns that have made James Patterson the world’s #1 bestselling writer, The Murder House is a chilling, page-turning story of murder, money, and revenge.

My take:

This story starts off from the very first sentence with action. You are pulled along for the ride whether you want to be or not. If I were reading this book physically, I have no doubt it would be a page turner. I know that I struggled to stop the audio when I would get to the office each morning or when I got home each evening. The characters are all flawed enough to be very believable. One character that we are introduced to, rather quickly is Noah Walker. The ups and downs of this character are enough to be a novel in itself. Jenna is one of those characters that you feel for, but at the same time you have moments where you want to grab her by the shoulders and shake her.

I enjoyed this story from start to finish. The town in the Hamptons is as much a character as the people in the story. You learn about the area and how it affects the comings and goings of all of the characters. I think that with this one James Patterson has outdone himself. I was very impressed by the speed of the action as well. For a novel that is 451 pages, you truly get 451 pages of interest. There did not appear to be a lull to me. Also, while I will not give spoilers, I will say that the ending left me satisfied. There were no holes that were left to annoy me when I  finished. It was a good wrapped up story.

I am going to give this read 🥐🥐🥐🥐🥐 out of 5 croissants. This is a grab a cup of coffee with a croissant, that turns into a glass of tea with your lunch, and a glass of wine after dinner kind of read. You won’t be able to put it down.

Sadly, I don’t have an author interview to go along with this review. I do have some things in the works though, so please keep checking back with me 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.

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 – It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

Some of you may not know this, but the real girl behind RealGirlReviews (me!) has an online Facebook book club. The book club reads different books every month that are selected by the members. We then enjoy some discussion about the books at the end of the month/beginning of the following month.

We select our books by vote, there are always three books to choose from, fiction, non-fiction and classic. If you are interested in joining our club, please drop me a line. We are 65 members strong and growing. We have members all over the country and would invite anyone that loves to read to join us.

For June the book selection was the fiction selection It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell. This is a story of three women that meet in college as freshman. The girls are all very different. Kate is the rich beauty that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of time for classes. Jenny is the smart local girl that wants to go places. Aubrey is the girl from the wrong side of the tracks that is on financial aid and considers herself lucky to meet these other girls. Twenty years later, when one of these girls ends up standing on a bridge in a desperate situation, how do they all move forward with their lives and current situations. When one of them ends up dead, where will the fingers point. Is it always the husband?

Have you ever had a frenemy? This novel took me on a journey of friendship and enemy loathing like I could never have imagined. You want to like all of the girls. You want to hate all of the girls. The story grips you in a way that I honestly wasn’t expecting. As you learn more about each of these woman, you finds pieces of yourself in each of them. The insecurities and struggles. The book does a great job of going back and forth between the past and the present. Sometimes when I read a book that does that, I get frustrated or can’t understand the purpose of the “flashbacks”. With this story, I felt like every part of the past and present was relevant. Michele Campbell created a world where although you didn’t fully like everyone or maybe even anyone, you can’t put it down. You have to know what happened to these people and all of the details.

I will not give any spoilers away about the book, but I will say you are left in suspense and guessing right up until the very last minute, which I absolutely love. This is an excellent beach read. I would highly recommend you check it out. Check back next week when we have an interview with the author. The following is a link to this book on Amazon, I do not get anything from this but wanted to provide a quick way for you to check out and/or purchase this excellent novel.

 

Overall I am going to give this one 🥐🥐🥐🥐 out of 5 croissants.

Love 📚 and 🥐,

Becky

Thursday Story-Telling The Intervention Chapter 4

As Britney watched Anthony worry about her, she couldn’t believe this was happening. He looked so small as he returned to his seat. She had watched the encounter with the nurse from where she had been sitting, yet somehow she had heard the entire conversation as if she had been standing beside him the whole time. This had to be a dream. This was not humanly possible. She put her hand on his arm. She wanted him to know that she was there. Perhaps the touch of him could wake her from this dream.

“Anthony I am here, I am here with you.” She whispered in his ear. Anthony shivered, and she wondered if he had heard her. His face was wrapped with fear. How could she make him understand? And most importantly how could she wake up from this nightmare? She got up from beside him and floated over to the nurse at the admitting desk. She thought, that poor woman, what a job to have to deal with all of these grief-stricken people all day. She had to be a pretty tough lady. She floated behind the desk next to where the nurse was sitting and looked at the computer screen in front of her. It was a blank screen. Britney couldn’t see anything on it. Britney saw pictures of children and a wedding photo beside the screen. What a great life, to have all of that love surrounding you. This would be how the nurse handled all the stress and sadness keeping her memories of her happy family close to her, because with the kind of love in those pictures you could surely get through anything.

Britney floated back into the main emergency room leaving Anthony to sit in the chair and the nurse to her duties. She floated back through the curtain that held the room, where was on a gurney and all of those noisy machines were working hard. The doctors and nurses were still working on her. It was as if time had almost stood still while she had been away. It did not appear they were making progress as the machines had not slowed and the doctors and nurses appeared almost panicked. The thought of watching this for much longer was not appearing. She decided to take advantage of her dream and see how far her floating ability would take her. She wanted that chance to be a fly on a wall, she had to try.