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 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

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

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

Story-Telling Thursday The Intervention Chapter 2

“Where is she? Where is Britney?”

“Sir, please, I need you to calm down. Please spell her last name for me again.”

“Are you kidding me? I have already spelled it for you three times. It is Henson H-E-N-S-O-N. And my name is Anthony Jones J-O-N-E-S. I have the paperwork right here that give you permission to speak with me. She just came in from a car accident.”

“Yes I see here. Sir, she is currently with the doctors and I do not have an update for you. I will let them know that you are here and they will come and get you when they are ready for you.”

“I want to see her. I want to know that she is ok. I want to know what is going on.”

“I will ask someone to come out and speak with you just as soon as I can. Right now they are helping her. Please have a seat.”

Anthony walked away from the counter. He didn’t understand why no one would tell him what was going on. His was the last number dialed in her cell phone and was saved as her ‘in case of emergency’ number and they had called him to check about next of kin. The thoughts had instantly started running through his head. Why did they need next of kin? What exactly had happened to her? She had been fine this morning. She was not exactly speaking to him, but that wasn’t anything unusual. They had been fighting a lot lately, and they had been talking about needing space. But he didn’t mean it. At least he didn’t think he did. Not knowing if she was ok and not knowing if he was going to see her again had him more scared than he had ever been in his whole life. After he got the call about the accident he had grabbed their medical paperwork, neither of them had family close and they had appointed each other for medical decisions long ago.

He sat in a chair in the waiting room. He was surrounded by kids coughing and adults who looked drugged. He hated the hospital. He had not been in a hospital in years and had wanted to keep it that way. A sudden twinge of guilt crept over him as he thought that he had almost not answered the call on his cell phone when he saw the number. He thought it was her. He thought she was calling to continue their fight from earlier that morning and he just couldn’t fight anymore. He just wanted to be done. He wanted them to be able to love as they had loved in the beginning; back when she had needed him, and most importantly had wanted him. Now he didn’t know where he fit into her life. She had her friends, her work, and her dreams for the future that didn’t seem to include him when she talked about them. So where did he fit and did he even fit at all? He looked at the double doors behind the counter where he just stood and worried about what was happening and if he would see her face again. Maybe one more fight wouldn’t be so bad.

Who was he kidding? If she was ok, he wouldn’t ever fight with her again. He would just let her have the future she wanted and try to support her in any way he could. She was the love of his life.

 

Thursday Story Telling 

So I’m starting something new and you guys will have to let me know if you like it. I will be posting “chapters” if you will, of stories I have written. This is fiction material and all original personal work by me. I hope you enjoy it. Here’s the first story:

The Intervention: Chapter 1

Is it possible to love someone too much? Is it possible to have your heart ripped out repeatedly and still truly be able to use it? These are the questions that plagued Britney as she drove to work that morning. She had just had another fight with her boyfriend Anthony and she couldn’t understand why she was still with him. She couldn’t imagine a life without him, but she also couldn’t imagine a future with him. They had only been together for two years, yet the struggles and arguments they had been through made it feel like fifty. There was always something that tried to tear them apart, or caused them to doubt one another. She knew that she loved him and that she ached when he wasn’t with her, but she didn’t know how to love him and not lose herself.

He had been there for her when her mother had passed away suddenly. It was the event that had brought them closer and lead to a romantic relationship. They had been friends for a couple of years before, and when she got the phone call about her mother, he was the only one that she could think of that would understand and let her cry. He had stood by her, helped her with all of the arrangements, and didn’t leave her side unless she asked him to. But somehow that perfect person that had been so caring and strong for her, had turned into this man that she felt like she didn’t even know. They didn’t live together, but for the better part of the last six months they had not spent a night apart. Maybe that was the problem; maybe they both needed space. Maybe it was time to figure out what the cards really held for them, together and otherwise. Her favorite song came on the radio and she turned up the volume. She could definitely use a little Ice Ice Baby this morning. She was singing along and dancing in her car when the light turned red. Britney didn’t see the light change and kept going through the light. A blue pick-up came through the light at full force and slammed into her car. Everything suddenly went black.

To find out what happens next to Britney you will have to tune in next week. Thanks for checking it out guys. And please let me know what you think in the comments.

Love,

B