Dear Serial Reader, I’m breaking up with you…

I’m sorry, it’s too much pressure. I thought I could do it, but in the end, it was too hard to commit to reading an extra book, even if it was only ten minutes at a time.

We had fun in the beginning. I was excited to hear from you, eager to read what you sent me. I enjoyed our first few times together. But then I began to dread your cheerful notifications and I realized we had to end this chapter.

It’s nothing personal. You did everything right. I just wasn’t ready for a relationship. Maybe if we had met at a different time, we would have gotten along great. But I have to move on. You’ll find someone else, someone better who’ll appreciate you for all you do.

It’s not you, Serial Reader, it’s me.

Image: Pixabay

Are you a Serial Reader? I loved the idea but I couldn’t make it work. I have always preferred to read one book at a time. Maybe that’s why our relationship was doomed.

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Blog views and other obsessions – something is shifting!

Source: brainsonfire.com

Something is changing in my obsession with blog views. I’m still setting goals and trying to reach them, but it hasn’t taken over my life. I don’t live and breathe it. It’s a hobby and something that helps me relax and get away from the pressures of life. It’s fun.

But now I think less about how many views and likes I’m getting—though I do check throughout the day ;). What I think about more is this:

  • What are my blogging friends up to?
  • Will they comment about a book we’ve both read?
  • Will my friends read and reply to the comments I’ve left on their blogs?

So what exactly is changing? It’s the sense of community. The positive feedback. The friendships. You might not get it if you don’t blog, but blogging is the best form of social media out there. In five years of blogging, I have experienced none of the following:

  • Feeling inadequate
  • Feeling unpopular
  • Receiving snarky comments

See what I mean? Blogging, if you can get through the first couple years of figuring it out, defining your “brand” and writing posts, you will begin to understand. Most blogs, like new restaurants, don’t survive the first year. But the reward is all these connections.

So here’s what I say as I wonder whether the odometer on my car will reach 100,000 miles before I reach 100K on my blog:

“Hop in people, we’re going for a ride!”

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Friday Fiction – “Fake Cry”

“Fake Cry”

“You pushed me! I’m telling my Mom that you pushed me!”

She stared at this boy, this small person who was on her front step, down, legs tangled in the screen door. She had not pushed him. She knew that. But it was only the two of them and she quickly thought ahead at what her neighbor, this young boy’s mother, would say about it.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I’m telling my Mom!”

That was enough. She didn’t push him, but she wasn’t sorry to see him tangled up in the door. He hadn’t been a good playmate to Tyler that morning and he certainly deserved a scolding for flipping over the Chutes and Ladders board and for throwing that Batman at Tyler. Telling someone else’s kid a thing or two was something she knew she shouldn’t do, but Amy knew she had to do something. Especially now that he was making up a story.

“Who’s anyone going to believe?” she asked herself. “Me or a little boy?”

Of course anyone who knew Timmy also knew he was fully capable of making up a story that put him in a good light and someone else in trouble. She didn’t know what Timmy had against her, except that, before he fell out the door, she had had enough of him and his actions in her house and, as she always did when one boy or one girl or another had worn out the invitation, she announced, “Well, that’s enough for one day. Let’s pack up your things and send you home.”  It usually worked well because it was swift and direct and no kid ever picked up on the fact that Amy was really at her limit, she thought. Any other mom in the room, if there was one, would surely know that this phrase was Amy’s way of saying that was the last straw.

How could a four-year-old boy manipulate her this way? Amy thought quickly. “I didn’t do a thing wrong. I know that, but I’d better do something now or Kristin’s going to be at my door with a fake-crying kid in a few minutes, asking me just what went on here.”

“Timmy,” she said as she helped him up and looked at him squarely and seriously in the eyes. “You know I didn’t push you. I wasn’t even near the door when you took a tumble. If you tell your mother you fell, you’d better think very hard about how you tell her you fell.” Amy wasn’t sure she had convinced him, so she quickly added, “Because if you tell her I pushed you, there will be no more visits over here to play with Tyler’s Batman figures.”

Timmy stood and looked at her. He shoved his hands into his bunched-up pockets and his hands looked like fists under the fabric. He looked evil to her. “Well…” he said. Amy thought she had him and she waited for him to say something more. Then as quickly as the falling had unfolded, Timmy turned and ran out the door and over to his house.

“Mommy! Mommy!” It was Tyler calling her from inside. “I can’t find my Batman Beyond! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Thank you for reading!


Copyright © 2018 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Tell No One by Harlan Coben

Tell No One
by
Harlan Coben

Rating:

Dr. David Beck’s life fell apart eight years ago when his wife Elizabeth was taken by strangers. Even though a serial killer sits in prison, Beck can’t move on. He trudges through life and work as a pediatrician in a low-income New York neighborhood. The years have passed, but how can he let go of his best friend and sweetheart?

When Beck receives a computer message, he’s certain it’s from Elizabeth because it’s about something only she would know. But there’s a warning: “Tell no one.”

Readers are in for a wild ride as Beck tries to make sense of this message and later instructions. Set in New Jersey, New York and parts of Pennsylvania, the story revolves around Beck, his sister Linda and her partner, plus-size supermodel Shauna, as well as Elizabeth’s cop family. Added to the mix is the powerful billionaire, Griffin Scope, a third-generation rich guy. Scope is consumed by avenging the death of his golden-boy son Brandon and by preserving Brandon’s good-works charitable foundation, headed, coincidently, by Linda.

Several messages later, Beck is certain Elizabeth is still alive. He needs help and turns to Shauna. Shauna keeps him grounded, but events get out of hand when Beck becomes a wanted man for murder.

Coben leads the reader through the preliminaries, then adds a great variety of side characters, including my favorite, the conflicted Tyrese Barton and the unknowable bad guy Eric Wu, someone you don’t want to meet in an alley. Other characters with questionable morality, but a sliver of conscience make this story more than just a thriller, but an interesting character study.

In addition to an exciting plot, Coben’s writing style is full of dry humor as well as many laugh-out-loud moments, as Beck somehow escapes certain death, more than once.

Just as in an action movie, Tell No One is a terrific, fast-moving suspense, with twists and turns to the final page. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading about the battle between good and evil in a highly entertaining story.

And if you like watching action movies, Tell No One was adapted to the screen in the French film of the same name. Read all about it here.

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Five-star love stories to celebrate Valentine’s Day

Image: Pixabay

Love stories are never simple and love is never a straight and clear path, is it? Take a look at these tales of love, longing and deception. Five classic love stories worthy of many re-reads!


A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
One of my favorite Hemingway books—love during wartime


Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Scarlett turns many heads, but she meets her match in Rhett!


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Will Jane and Mr. Rochester ever get together?


Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
This classic French novel caused quite a scandal!


The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
When you marry one, but long for another. Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize.


Can you add to this five-star list?

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Books set in New Jersey

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

When you’re a Jersey Girl like me, you like to read a book that’s set in your home state. Nothing wrong with that! More than a few have made their way to my shelf.

But before I share my list, you may be surprised to learn these lesser-known facts about the nation’s most densely populated state:

New Jersey has the most diners in the world.

Arlington Diner – Source: nj.com

These famous people and groups are all New Jersey natives: Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Redman, Das EFX, Naughty by Nature, Sugar Hill Gang, Lords of the Underground, Jason Alexander, Queen Latifa, Shaq, Judy Blume, Arron Burr, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Frank Sinatra, Grover Cleveland.

Source: brucespringsteen.net

New Jersey has the tallest water tower in the world, the Union Watersphere, near Newark Liberty International Airport. It holds 250,000 gallons of well water.

Union Watersphere – source: worldstallestwatersphere.com

The state seashell is the knobbed whelk and is found on all the 130 miles of Atlantic beaches and in all the bays of New Jersey.

Knobbed Whelk – Source: wikipedia.org

Source:  50states.com

Now take a look at these New Jersey books. Have you read any of them?

        

Casey of Cranberry Cove by Susan Kotch – Sweet YA love story set “down the shore.”

Caught by Harlan Coben – fast-moving crime suspense about entrapment, vigilantism, destructive viral marketing and secrets

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume – historical fiction about three plane crashes in Elizabeth in the 1950s

Onion John by Joseph Krumgold – 1961 Newbery Award winner and coming-of-age story in a small NJ town

        

Seized by the Sun by James W. Ure – true story of World War II WASP pilot Gertrude Thompkins

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs – truly tragic story about a super smart guy from East Orange

Tell No One by Harlan Coben – fast-moving, highly entertaining crime thriller set in the suburbs with a wild chase scene in New York

Their Fifteen Minutes: Biographical Sketches of the Lindbergh Case by Mark W. Falzini – detailed look at the key figures in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping

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Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth
by
Zoje Stage

Rating:  3.5 bookmarks

Here’s a psychological thriller that will make you very uncomfortable. What are Suzette and Alex to do when life with their demonic 7-year-old daughter gets dangerous? Try to understand? Rationalize? Maintain a normal façade? What’s their breaking point?

Hanna is an adorable little girl, on the surface. But she refuses to talk and plays her parents against each other. No school will have her, so Suzette has tabled her art career to home school Hanna while Alex builds his new Scandinavian design business in Pittsburgh. Mommy is the bad parent. Daddy can do no wrong. And when Daddy’s away, Hanna’s evil deeds become more and more alarming.

When Hanna finally speaks, it’s in the chilling voice of an alter ego.

Zoje Stage’s debut thriller poses an interesting dilemma and her characters shoulder additional complex problems. Suzette comes from an unhappy childhood and struggles with Crohn’s disease. Alex wants the perfect family and misses many signs that their life is in trouble. Hanna is, well, we don’t know. The reader can only try to understand her and see what happens.

In addition to the uncomfortable subjects, readers should brace themselves for graphic language and ideas. Stage’s rough descriptions and dialogue can be very jarring. I found some of this excessive and much of it did not seem to fit her characters, who are portrayed as smooth and sophisticated. Perhaps that’s the point however, their façade is nothing like who they really are.

Alex and Suzette ultimately seek professional help which gives the reader better insight into Hanna’s problem, or maybe it doesn’t.

Themes of unconditional love, marriage, family, careers, and self-preservation run through Baby Teeth, making it a relatable story for all readers.

This is the kind of book that demands you read it straight through. Stage has created a powerful momentum and I couldn’t rest until I finished.

I received an ARC of Baby Teeth from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. While there was a disclaimer at the beginning assuring readers that all formatting issues would be addressed, these jumps and other rough draft problems were more frequent than other ARCs and were a bit of a distraction.

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Who’s That Indie Author? Annika Perry

whos-that-indie-author

Author name:  Annika Perry

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction / Short Stories

Book:  The Storyteller Speaks

Bio:  Although writing has been a lifetime passion for Annika, her route to full-time writing has been circuitous. She formerly worked within journalism and the timber trade before severe illness followed by motherhood gave her an opportunity to pursue her dream. The Storyteller Speaks, a collection of short stories, flash fiction and poetry, is Annika’s debut book. She has also written a novel, Island Girl, which is in its final editing stages as well as two, as yet unpublished, books for younger children. Annika is an avid reader (a world without books is unimaginable to her), a keen gardener, walker and she enjoys travel (in spite of her well-documented fear of flying!)

Favorite thing about being a writer:  The very act of writing, of losing myself in the story and gradually letting itself unravel to me. It is pure magic when the characters almost come to life, speak to me and lead me along unexpected paths to surprise endings. Finally it is a richness to be able to share my work and know it reaches people’s hearts.

Biggest challenge as an indie author:  Never having enough time in a day! Whilst publishing my book I realised the writing element was the easy part! The time and work involved in self-publishing is immense, even with excellent support, and consumes the hours in the day. On top of this, my blog, promotion and publishing problems (I’m currently sorting out an issue with Amazon) eats into a day.

Favorite books:  Here are just a few! The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce; If This Is a Man by Primo Levi; An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan; Illusions by Richard Bach; The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein; All the Light We Cannot See by Alexander Doer; The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey; The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.

Contact Information:
Blog: annikaperry.com
Twitter:  @AnnikaPerry68
Amazon: Annika Perry

Goodreads: Annika Perry 

Awards/special recognition:  First Prize in Writing Magazine Short Story competition in 2014; Short-listed in InkTears Short Story competition in 2015.


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

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Book Talk – The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

Image: Pixabay

Welcome to a new and occasional feature on Book Club Mom called Book Talk, home to quick previews of new books that catch my eye.

Every Christmas my dad gives the women in our family a book. We each receive a different title, chosen specifically for us. I like this tradition. It reminds me of years ago when he used to pick out books for me and my siblings. This year I received The Rooster Bar by John Grisham.

Back in the 1990s, I tore through The Firm, The Pelican Brief and The Client. I wonder if he remembers this? These were excellent stories and the movies were also very entertaining. A few years ago I read The Racketeer and remembered why I liked John Grisham books.

So The Rooster Bar is waiting for me and I’ll get to it soon. Meantime, here’s a quick blurb from Amazon:

Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

But maybe there’s a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they would first have to quit school. And leaving law school a few short months before graduation would be completely crazy, right?  Well, yes and no . . .

Pull up a stool, grab a cold one, and get ready to spend some time at The Rooster Bar.

John Grisham has written thirty-one novels, one nonfiction book, a story collection, and six novels for young readers. You can learn more about him at jgrisham.com.

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Books about football

Congratulations to the Super Bowl World Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles and their loyal fans! A great story and a well-deserved victory! If you didn’t get enough exciting football last night, here are some great football reads.

Book Club Mom

Image: Pixabay

Since football season is once again upon us, I thought it would be fun to look at some interesting football books. Certainly not a comprehensive list, the books below tell about a couple famous quarterbacks, a legendary high school team and offer two good middle school fiction reads.


Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger :  Excellent account of the Permian Panthers high school football team in Odessa, Texas, the “winningest team in Texas history.” Bissinger chronicles the 1988 season and tells the story of the small town that revolves around Friday night games and elevates its players to hero status. If you like to know the real story behind ultra-competitive high school football programs, check out the book and the movie. And for those who like the relationship drama behind any story, the television series is a good choice.
Gunslinger by Jeff Pearlman :  Excellent biography of Brett…

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