Thursday, 31 March 2016

Thursday Thought for Wooing Wednesday: Relationship Goals from In Death

This post is dedicated to my Dr. Mira  - JA

When I was a manager for an independent bookstore I had this one sales associate that displayed her emotions for books in a large way.  She loved all things Twilight that had I not read the series I would picked it up based her passion for the story and characters.  One day during our shift we were talking about something and I confessed I had not read JD Robb's In Death series.  After lifting her jaw off the floor she was speechless.  The next day on my "desk" was Naked in Death. So again, due to her passion I read the book.  I read it and thought it was okay.  Just okay because I had the second book but did not pick it up for 5 years.

Fast forward to 2012...a really dear friend of mine, that reads as much as I do, voiced her love of In Death, Eve and Roarke.  Listening to her talk about it and receiving her invite to the In Death group (on Shelfari) I joined.  I didn't really have any plans to read the series but joined because of that friend.  Reading her and other people's posts I thought, "What did I miss?" Since I reread books and read pretty quickly I thought, "What the hell?" If I don't like it I can at least remember the details of why now.


When I first read the book I was reading a lot of suspense thrillers, literary fiction and historical fiction.  I also read it with a "meh" frame of mind and the fact that it is set in the future sidetracked me a bit.  This time I went in for the characters and then the plot...BOOM, I am hit with In Death addict stick.  I saw Eve Dallas as this strong female lead that is a cop first and everything else second.  When she lets down her walls we see her flaws and the past that helped create her and she is just even more amazing as a heroine.  Then there is this guy - who if he had not met Eve probably would not have been my cup of tea but as he falls for Eve he also melts a lot of his armor.

Last year I finally caught up on all the In Death novels and novellas (it took me three years) and instead of just doing my Rocky dance and moving on...I am starting the series all over again.  I just finished the third book last month and am all ready for the book 4 and also the newest book, Brotherhood in DeathI am now hooked on this series.  When I am having a reading slump or feel like no one understands my pain I pick up an In Death audiobook and all is right in my life again.

I enjoy the In Death series because of Eve Dallas. She is a strong female lead with flaws and past she tries to overcome little by little. I also like all the other characters that make up the In Death world.  I heart her relationship with (Delia) Peabody, Mavis and Nadine because they are an amazing source of support (much like my own circle). One of the major reasons I am rereading the series this year is because while the suspense keeps me reading, it is the personal stuff that comforts me, and gives me hope for my own demons. I have a lot of my own baggage and the thought that you can find someone that loves you because you are strong enough to live through it is amazing. This time around I have come to like Roarke beyond his charm but more for his supportive and encouraging traits.

Roarke is Eve's strength and the reason she can fight her demons.  She has a partner.  She is tough as nails and nothing gets in her way when she has a case.  Eve can take her anger out on him sometimes or just freeze him out.  He stays and works through it.  Not many people would do that. I was about the same age as Eve when I start this series and I have come to value different things now and focus on myself more.  In Death didn't change my life or anything but often at times it give me things to think about.  What do I think about things, my own stubbornness, my strength and that I am not alone with problems.  These suspense novels also give me relationship goals.  While a billionaire boyfriend sounds great, the idea of having the a partner who understand why you wake up with nightmares and embraces the issues is a far better deal.

Reviews for individual books....COMING SOON!

k (My Novelesque Life)  

QUICK REVIEW: Love in WWI

Real Life Love Story

FALL OF POPPIES: STORIES OF LOVE AND THE GREAT WAR
Written by Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangelina Holland, Marci Jefferson and Lauren Willig
2016; 356 Pages
Genre: fiction, historical fiction, romance, world war one, short stories, anthology

​(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★1/2

Nine historical fiction writers get together and put out an anthology of love stories set in World War I.  Each story is a standalone from each other and for me some stories were a bit stronger than others.  While almost every author is on my TBR list, I have not yet read anything by these authors. Lauren Willig and Beatriz Williams have moved up on my list and I am looking forward to Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor and Jennifer Robson's novel.   This is a perfect collection for those who are interested in historical fiction, light on romance war tales, or women during World War I.  These women write primarily historical fiction so if you are interested in the genre this is one way to see how the authors write.  Fall of Poppies is also a great book to keep nearby when you only a moment to read.

k (My Novelesque Life)
 

Reread Review: A Game of Thrones


A GAME OF THRONES
(A Song of Ice and Fire: #1)
Written by George R.R. Martin

1996; 835 Pages
Genre: fantasy

Rating: ★★★★1/2


(SYNOPSIS)

When I first read A Game of Thrones in 2012 I was a bit confused with all the names and places that it took me a bit longer to get through the book.  I did enjoy the writing of Martin but also the complicated world that he has created.  So when the TV series came out I watched season 1 and with faces to name I had it all
Drop Everything And Read!
clear in my head.  When I started to reread the first book (so I can continue the series) I realized I was breezing through it and loving it much more this time around.  As I knew the story I could focus on the characters and details.  I loved the way characters interact with one another and the language and dialogue is so great I found myself saying some lines out loud.  I cannot wait to read the next book and see where this series is going.


MAY 2012 REVIEW
★★★★

A Game of Thrones is told from the point of view of several characters - which adds to the novel's appeal.  If it had been told through just one or a few characters you would miss much of Martin's imagination and the world he has created.  This epic novel - in length and genre- had me moving through it quicker than I ever thought I would.  In a way it reminded me of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series - for it's appeal to a greater audience.  I would recommend this to anyone who like a good story.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wooing Wednesday: Review for Darkness


DARKNESS
Written by Karen Robards
MARCH 29, 2016; 384 Pages
Genre: romantic suspense, thriller, mystery

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★

Dr. Gina Sullivan is a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska.  One day while she is gathering research she hears a BOOM and see a plane go down.  When she goes to see the wreckage there is a survivor...a man named, Cal.  Cal mistrusts Gina so will not share anything of his circumstances but demands she tell him everything about her.  He starts to think maybe her team was sent for a purpose other than research.  Before they can figure anything out they realize there is a killer on the island and they need to save themselves.

I have read Karen Robard's historical romance, contemporary fiction, and romantic suspense and enjoy most of her novels.   I even liked her Dr. Charlotte Stone series which is romantic suspense with paranormal aspects; however this novel never gelled for me.  I did not bond with either character and it felt sort of like I was reading the story secondhand.  It just feels like something is missing for me...it was too formulaic.  Most reviews on Goodreads has been good...but if you find yourself not being able to get into...abandon ship on this one.

k (My Novelesque Life) 

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Toddlers, Tots and Teens: Review and Recommendations



REVIEW:


LITTLE BO PEEP AND HER BAD, BAD SHEEP
Written by A.L. Wegwerth 
Illustrated by Luke Flowers
2016; 40 Pages
Genre: picture book, nursery rhymes, children's, humour

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★★

I enjoyed this cute, funny story about Little Bo Peep losing her bad, bad sheep! As she starts to look for her sheep others join her and make the nursery rhyme into a tongue twister.  This silly story will keep parents entertained as they read the book to their kids.  I do recommend that maybe this is not a bedtime story as it is high energy.



RECOMMENDATIONS:

POETRY FOR THE TOTS:

WHAT ARE YOU GLAD ABOUT? WHAT ARE YOU MAD ABOUT?: POEMS FOR WHEN A PERSON NEEDS A POEM
Written by Judith Viorst 
Illustrated by Lee White
2016; 111 Pages
Genre: poetry, children's, humour
 
Rating: ★★★★

I loved this new collection of poetry written by Judith Viorst - who also wrote  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Lee White's illustrations are complimentary to Viorst's words and sentiments.


PICTURE BOOKS:


WORM LOVES WORM
Written by J.J. Austrian
Illustrated by Mike Curato
2016; 32 Pages
Genre: picture book, social issues, children's

Rating: ★★★★


Worm meets worm. Worm falls in love with worm.  Next worm and worm want to marry. BUT their friends want to know how they will do their wedding, who will be the groom and the bride, and what they will wear.  Worm and worm realize they don't care because love is enough.

LIBRARY MOUSE
(Library Mouse: #1)
Written and Illustrated by Daniel Kirk
2007; 32 Pages
Genre: picture book, children's

Rating: ★

There is a shy little mouse living in the library names Sam.  One day he decides he will write and illustrate stories. He puts the stories on the shelf and the patrons and librarians soon enjoy his work and want to know who the writer is.  I loved this cute story and it's set in the library!


A FRIEND'S TALE
(Library Mouse: #2)
Written and Illustrated by Daniel Kirk
2009; 32 Pages
Genre: picture book, children's

Rating: ★

Sam, the library mouse, is a writer and illustrator that shares his works with the patronsOne of those patron's becomes Sam's writing partner as well as his new friend. A super cute story taking place in the library.



A WORLD TO EXPLORE
(Library Mouse: #3)
Written and Illustrated by Daniel Kirk
2010; 30 Pages
Genre: picture book, children's

Rating: ★★★

One night at the library, Sam finds out there is another mouse living in the library.  Sam likes to write books for the patrons in the library, while Sarah likes adventure.  Sarah takes Sam on an adventure in the library.  I enjoyed this story but not as good as the first two.

A MUSEUM ADVENTURE
(Library Mouse: #4)
Written and Illustrated by Daniel Kirk
2012; 32 Pages
Genre: picture book, children's

Rating: ★

Sam and his new friend, Sarah go on adventure outside the library.  They visit the Museum next door and see new exciting things.  A fair story but very much like the last book.

HOME SWEET HOME
(Library Mouse: #5)
Written and Illustrated by Daniel Kirk
2013; 40 Pages
Genre: picture book, children's

Rating: ★

Sam and Sarah's home, the library, is being renovated so they must find a new place in the library to reside.  They research different homes and find that the library is their home.

k (My Novelesque Life)


 

Monday, 28 March 2016

Mystery Monday: Revisiting Solitude


In late 2014 I read a novella serial written by Melinda Leigh and Kendra Elliot called Rogue River.  It was a four part serial where each writer wrote a novella.  There was one overall story arc with two characters' point of view (two sisters).  They are romantic suspense thrillers and I found myself really enjoying the books.  While each author gave their character a distinct voice at times I would forget which author was writing as they were quite seamless.

In 2015, I was again offered to review two more novellas written by the same authors in the same town.  This new two part serial is called Rogue Winter.  I am not sure if there are more in this series or town but I am down to read them if they are!

TRACKS OF HER TEARS 
(Rogue Winter: #1)
Written by Melinda Leigh
2015; 99 Pages
Genre: romantic suspense, suspense, mystery, thriller, crime, novella

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★★

As Seth, a County Investigator, tries to get things right again with his estranged family, a murder in town threatens to ruin it all.  First, the murder victim is a young mother who also happens to be dating his wife's youngest brother,  Calling his brother-in-law, Bruce he discovers he is missing and is hoping he has not come to the same fate as his girlfriend. Although it is a sore subject with Seth and his wife, Carly, he calls her in to take control of the dead woman's young daughter.  Soon the two find themselves trying to locate Bruce before the killer gets to them him and them.

I have had issues with Seth's hypocrisy of his wife's devotion to her job as he is just as passionate.  However, I do enjoy them together and with their daughter.  This one was predictable on the murderer yet I enjoyed the plot and suspense.


DEAD IN HER TRACKS
(Rogue Winter: #2)
Written by Kendra Elliot
2015; 99 Pages
Genre: romantic suspense, suspense, mystery, thriller, crime, novella

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★★

It is Stevie and Zane's first Christmas together and of course there would be a murder case that would have their attention.  And, just as they are getting a handle on that case there is another murder.  Stevie and Zane must race against time to find the killer but first have to investigate if both murders are connected and by the same killer?

I love Stevie and Zane...and love the way they work together.  Again I figured out the killer in this book but the personal stories and the suspense of how they come to the conclusion is worth the read. I was sad there were only two parts to this series!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Friday, 25 March 2016

Fiction Friday: The Conclusion of The Wentworth Boys


THE WENTWORTH BOYS
Written by Kris Kaila


 “…don’t ask the guys to dance.  They will do the asking, if they ask at all.  Don’t touch anything that looks expensive.  Actually, don’t touch anything.  Don’t…” Jocelyn went on and on telling me all the rules of the party.
   

   “I’m not a complete idiot, you know.  I do know how to behave at parties.””
   

    “Really? And, how many parties have you attended?  None.  I’m still surprised you were asked to this one.”
   

     I was about to say something when my mother entered the room.
    

     “Girls, I am off now.  I should be back at 10 or so.  Have a great night.” My mother kissed us and went out the door.
    

      My mother had a date with a widower, who worked at the mining company with her.  He was an office manager.  They had been seeing each other for a couple months, which really irked Jocelyn, and made me happy for my mother.
    

      “Carla, if you are coming, lets go.  Wendell is here,” Jocelyn handed me my purse and sweater.
   

       Jocelyn sat in the front while I was pushed into the already crowded back seat.  After giving her several sharp jabs, Jocelyn introduced me to Wendell and the girls.
   

      “This is Carla, my sister,” she grudgingly spitted out the introductions.
   

       “Nice to meet you…” I started to say.
  

       “So then Mike told Donna that he was going to Yale and not Princeton…” A girl beside interrupted me.
   

        I sat back in the seat and absorbed all I could.  Then we were at the Wentworth’s.  I stepped out of the car and could not look away from the large house surrounded by trees.  I had never been inside in the Wentworth’s gate, let alone the house.  The house looked amazing.  It had red bricks, with white trimming and doors.  Moving pass the trees, the front yard was neat and was like a large walk in garden.  I felt like I was no longer in Avelle.
    

      “Carla come on,” Jocelyn grabbed me the arm and pulled me to the front door.
  

       The inside of the house was even more elegant with famous paintings on the wall, and sculptures strategically placed around the house.  The parlor room, I think it was called, was dimly lit with soft music flowing from the record player.  I think it was Frank Sinatra on the record.  There was a table filled with drinks and food.  Couples were lingering in corners getting to know one another or getting reacquainted.  I was led to another room, a larger room.  If the room had a proper name, it was escaping me at the moment.  This room had the same spread of drinks and food on a larger table.  This room however was playing Elvis Presley’s faster tempo music.  People were dancing more so in this room.  It was in this room that I lost Jocelyn and Wendell in the crowd.  Looking around, I spotted Hunter right away.  He was entertaining his guests with his stories, making them really laugh.  I sat close by and listened.
   

      “So then I said, if that’s the way you want it, doll face…”
  

       I watched in awe the way he held his audience’s attention with a story that to me made no sense.  The way he moved his arms around, and would get and act out the scene was hypnotizing. After two more Hunter center stories the crowd broke up and began to dance.  This was my chance.  I could either walk up to him and say hi, or follow him around like an idiot.
   

       I got up and tapped him on the shoulder. “Hi, Hunter.”
  

      He turned around and looked me in the eyes, and for once I could feel him actually looking at me instead of through me.
   

      “Hey.  Do I know you?”
  

      “I’m Jocelyn’s…I’m Carla Fisher,” I introduced myself.
   

        I was not going to be the other Fisher girl tonight.  Tonight I was going to be the Fisher girl.
   

       “Right, the fat girl.  You look different somehow.  Is it your hair?”
  

        He hadn’t even noticed that lost weight.  I was still fat to him.  Before I could think of some response, he staggered off laughing to himself.  I stood there in my new dress in a body that I had worked so hard for, feeling like the biggest loser in the world.  I hadn’t changed a bit.  I was still the other Fisher girl.  I was the not so pretty one.  I spent years thinking about Hunter Wentworth, and how our first conversation would be like.  Hunter was not going to magically fall in love with me one day.  I was never going to be the one he wanted.  The more I started to think about it, did I really want him?  Was I willing to change myself for a guy who I wasn’t even sure I liked up close.  He was cute, very cute, but not a nice guy.  What did I know about him?  Does he like to read on Sundays, like I do?  Does he think Marlon Brando is the greatest actor ever? Is he even nice?  As I stood there thinking, a guy in my grade came over and asked me to dance.  His name was David, and we had math together.  He likes James Dean better, but doesn’t mind Brando. After David I danced with a few more fellows.  I ate finger sandwiches, and drank the punch.  I was having a great time.
    

       “Carla.” Jocelyn approached me around 11:45 pm. “It’s going to be midnight soon, and we all got to get out of here.  So look for a ride home.”
   

      “I thought Wendell was our ride.”
     

      “He was our ride here.  Now a guy has to ask you to the beach with him. Or you have to bum a ride with a couple that is willing to drop you off at home.  See you later,” Jocelyn said, quickly leaving the room.
    

      “What is with these rules?” I said out loud.
    

      “At 12 the maids start to clean up and put the house back exactly the way it was before my parents come home,” Cameron answered, coming up close to her.
    

     “Hi.”
    

     “Hey, you want a ride home?”
    

    “Where were you all evening?  I thought we were supposed to meet up or something,” I asked him.
   

    “I thought so too.  But it looked like you were really into Hunter…”
   

    “I was.  I’m not anymore.”
   

    “Oh.”
   

    “Look, I’m really sorry Cameron.  You asked me to this party, and I should have come to find you as soon as I got here.  Better yet I should have came here with you.  I have been a idiot.”
    

    “Do you want to go to the beach?” Cameron asked.
    

    “What?”
    

    “ Do you want…”
    

     I interrupted him. “What about…”
    

     “You liked Hunter, and Hunter likes Hunter. Now you know.  I like you, and maybe you could like me…”
    

    “I do, like you.”
    

    “So let’s go to the beach.  We’re sixteen, let’s not make it complicated.”
    

      
    “Okay. Let me grab my stuff.”
    

     Cameron led me by the elbow out of the room.
    

    “Do you like reading?”
    

    “Reading what?”
    

    “Anything.”
    

    “Yes. But mostly on Sunday nights when it’s quiet.”
    

     I smiled to myself he liked to read on Sundays.
    

     “What do you think about Brando?”
    

     “A damn good actor.  Why?”
    

     “Just wondering.”
     

      I liked him. With him I always felt like Carla Fisher, not Jocelyn’s sister.  And, he was really nice.
 


                                                  *                      *                        *
    


      After that night I attended many more Wentworth parties.  Even after Cameron and I broke up, he would still send me invitations.  We broke up senior year of college. We both went to the community college, me because of money and him because of me.  After graduation, he went off to Yale law, and I stayed here and became the manager of Caraway boutique.  I could not follow him around, and he could not stay. Jocelyn that night had a little too much fun.  She and Wendell got married that September, and nine months later had Wendell Jr.  She is a wife of a miner, like our mother. They have four children. A year ago Cameron returned to Avelle to join his father’s practice.  And, yesterday, I received an invitation to a private party for two at the beach.  I don’t know what will happen with us, but with or without him I feel like Carla Fisher, one of the Fisher girls.





k (My Novelesque Life)

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Wooing Wednesday: The Wentworth Boys: Part III



THE WENTWORTH BOYS
Written by Kris Kaila

           The next summer I had finally turned fifteen and lost about twenty-five pounds.  (It was not as hard as I thought it was going to be.  After the first week, eating less junk food and exercising more, it became routine).  Jocelyn was voted Prom Queen 1959, and had graduated from high school.  She was now getting ready to go to community college to become something more than she already was.  I did not know what that something was, and I don’t think Jocelyn did either.  She had received a scholarship for her straight A’s and all her after school activities.  My mother had gotten a second job as a housekeeper to help her pay for college.  Jocelyn herself would have to get a job in fall for the first time if she wanted any spending money.  She was bummed that she would have to go to community college because that meant she would have to stay in town.
 

         “Some day I’m going to get out of Avelle and move to some large city.  I’m going to make something of myself, something big.  When people see me, they will say, ‘There goes Jocelyn Fisher.  She become somebody.’”
 

        Jocelyn was halfway to her dream.  People of Avelle were already saying, “There goes Jocelyn Fisher isn’t she something.” All I wanted was to be noticed by Hunter Wentworth, and maybe by Jocelyn.  If he liked me as much as I liked him, that would be enough for me.  I wished I could tell Jocelyn all about my crush on Hunter but she would not care.
Jocelyn, this summer, would probably spend time getting ready for college, hanging out with her friends, and being free of all responsibilities.  Every summer from the age of 11, I babysat for various families to help my mother out with the bills.  In reality, I was actually helping my mother pay for Jocelyn’s clothes.  Amanda always asked me why I would get a job just to pay for my sister’s keep.  While I earned enough money for Jocelyn to buy things, my mother could work less and still manage to pay the bills, and have money for groceries.  I wish sometimes that Mother would have made Jocelyn get a job, but I knew she would never ask either one of us to work.
 

        This summer I had managed to secure a cushier job working for Caraway Boutique.  Opal Caraway, a New Yorker, owned the boutique.  Every May, Mrs. Caraway would blow into Avelle with crates filled with expensive formal and informal wear, and accessories.  By Labour Day, the remaining items would be packed and sent back to New York. Opal Caraway was originally from Avelle until she married Paul Caraway from New York. Her visits would be sporadic and limited to her family home, and occasional town visits.  Ten years ago, Paul Caraway died of a heart attack at age 45.  Opal, a young widow, with too much money and not enough time to spend it, decided to open up a boutique in Avelle for the summer.  She brought things here that Avelle would not know was fashionable for several months.  And they were cheap.  Clothes that originally sold in New York for hundreds of dollars were sold for about twenty dollars.  Every summer she would hire two or three high school students to work in her store. Those who worked for Mrs. Caraway often received free clothes, or very high discounts.  I was going to get to wear things that were new and in style.  For four months Caraway Boutique would be swarmed with women and men from 11 am to 6 pm.  And, I was going to be in the middle of it all.  I was really excited about this summer.
 

        The first morning of summer break when Jocelyn announced her plans to go to the beach, I for once was not envious.  I put on my best hand me down outfit and sat smiling at breakfast.
 

       “Carla, since Mother’s going to be gone before you start for work, Jean said that she would give you ride to the store.  I mean the store is on our way,” Jocelyn offered sweetly.
For the first time I could almost hear the admiration in my sister’s voice.  She was actually talking to me like an equal.
 

       “Sure, I’d love that.” As soon as I finished my sentence, I heard Jean’s car pulling up our gravel driveway, with the radio blaring.
      “Well, I do not want the whole world knowing that my sister has to work.  Going with us makes it look like you choose to work there,” Jocelyn put on her sunglasses and picked up her beach bag. “Well, come on then.”
 

       I wanted to say something to her, something really mean, but I didn’t.  What would be the point anyway?
 

      As I got into Jean’s car with the other girls, I felt like Jocelyn that night getting into Wendell’s car.  I wanted to laugh like my sister had done, but that would be too weird, too soon.  Instead I relished in the attention I was getting from the other girls I had admired my whole life.  I was getting closer to achieving my goal than I ever thought. Just ten minutes later, the girls waved and wished me luck.  I took in a deep breath and walked through the door of Caraway Boutique.
 

      “Good morning. Carla, would you mind grabbing the box off the counter in the back on your way? Thanks,” Sherri asked, looking up from the register.
Sherri was a college student home for the summer.  She had worked for Mrs. Caraway since she was sixteen.  She was the assistant manager, and I already liked her.
 

      “No problem, Sherri,” I answered, skipping my way to the back room.
The first month of summer went by in a daze.  It felt like the days were melting into one another.  I never had so much fun working before.  I even stayed late cleaning up, and setting up for the next day.  I had been able to purchase a few items, and receive others for free.  Even without a Wentworth invite, I was having the best time of my life.
Even Jocelyn’s remarks refused to penetrate my thin skin.
   

  “Don’t go around telling anyone that Mrs. Caraway give you clothes for free.  I will end up looking like a charity case.  Just tell people you bought them, okay?” Jocelyn instructed, as I handed her the new white blouse Mrs. Caraway had given me. 

                                                    *                    *                      * 

            In the middle of July, Patrice Wentworth and her youngest son, Cameron came into the boutique looking like celebrities.  Cameron and I had known each other since we were 5 years old, having to always be in the same classes.  We were not friends, nor did we hang with the same group of people.  I do have to admit that he has always been nice to me.  I wished it were his brother, Hunter, who was nice to me.  Patrice just fascinated me beyond words, her clothes, her hair and the way she walked and talked.  She reminded me of my sister and how much I was unlike these women.
 

     “Hello, Opal.  How are things in New York?” Patrice asked, giving the store a once over.
    

     “I did not stay much in New York this year, dear.  I was in Chicago visiting my husband’s sister.”
    

     “Hello Carla,” Cameron said, coming from behind his mother towards me.
   

      “Hi Cameron,” I choked out.
    

      Raising her immaculately tweezed eyebrows, Patrice turned to her son, “Do you know this…girl?”
  

     “Carla and I go to school together.  Her sister, Jocelyn and Hunter were in the same grade.”
  

     “Ah, yes Jocelyn Fisher.  You must be the other Fisher girl,” Patrice smiled.
   

     With that, Patrice steered Mrs. Caraway towards the front of the store.  She needed a new dress for some party, and needed Mrs. Caraway’s input. Cameron did not move away from me.
    

     “My parents are going to some party or another this Saturday, so my brothers and I are throwing a party of our own.  If you were free that night, it would be cool if you came. Do you want to?”
    

       I was being asked to a Wentworth party.  Me, Carla Fisher, the other Fisher girl was being asked to a Wentworth party.  Was he kidding in asking me whether I was too busy for a Wentworth party?
    

      “Yes! I mean sure, I have Saturday nights off.”
    

     “Good.  I will pick you up around 7:30.”
    

    For a second I was lost in my thoughts of dancing with Hunter. “I thought Wendell Jones picked up the girls from Ivy Lane.”
   

     There was no way I was going to be deprived of getting into Wendell Jones’ latest blue Ford.  I had dreamed about it forever, well a couple of years anyway.
    

     “H-he does.  But I thought since you don’t really know him and all…I could pick you up.”
    

     “Isn’t my sister invited?”
    

     “Well, sure.”
    

     “Well I know my sister, and there is no point in us getting picked up separately.”
    

      “That does make sense.  So, I’ll see you there.”
    

      “Definitely.” I smiled, as he turned to walk away.
      

      “Cameron, honey, we’re leaving now,” Patrice called him from the door.
      

      When I was recounting the story to Sherri, who had never been invited to a Wentworth party, Mrs. Caraway offered to give me the dress of my choice for free. I could not wait for the party.
       

      The night before the party, I called Amanda down to the shop to help me pick out a dress.  She had just returned from her grandmother’s and did not yet know about my exciting news.
   

      “You got invited to the Wentworth party by a Wentworth?  Are you going to go?” Amanda asked.
      

      “Yes and yes.”
     

      “Going to that party only shows how materialistic and snobbish you are.  Is that the kind of person you want to be?”
    

       I came out of the fitting room wearing a pink dress that closely resembled the one that Jocelyn had worn last year.  Amanda made a face and shook her head at the dress.
    

       “If you were invited to a Wentworth party, would you really say no, Amanda?”
       

       “Don’t answer a question with a question,” Amanda said flipping her hair to the side.      

       “Besides it was Cameron who asked you to this party, not Hunter.”
    

        I went back into the fitting room with a peach dress.
      

       “So?”
     

       “So, you are technically Cameron’s date.”
   

       “You don’t really have dates to this thing,” I informed her, hoping she was wrong, and came out of the fitting room. 
    “Well, if you have to go, that is the dress.”
    

        The peach dress hung just above my knees, and had thin straps with a high neckline.  It hugged my hips and breasts.  As I smoothed down the dress, I could see Hunter and I dancing.  This was the dress.
    

        “Yes,” I answered.
    

        “Huh?” Amanda asked.
        

        “Yes, I want to go the Wentworth’s party even if it makes me a shallow person.”
    

         “I think I would too,” Amanda said quietly.
         

                                                            *                      *                       *





k (My Novelesque Life)


  

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Mystery Monday Part II: Far from True



FAR FROM TRUE
(Promise Falls: #2)
Written by Linwood Barclay
MARCH 22, 2016; 480 Pages
Genre: mystery, suspense, series

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★1/2

Wow, this seemed like one very long novel! I thought I would finish Far From True yesterday but I literally just finished reading.  Trying to complete this book has put me a bit behind on my posting schedule so please forgive me and Linwood Barclay on that delay :)  I will first say that I enjoyed this novel a lot more than I thought I would especially since the last book was not as promising (pardon the pun) as I expected from Barclay.  (His standalone novels are very much like Harlan Coben's writing).  I think with all the introductions of characters, background and plots and setting up of the series arc finally out of the way it was more enjoyable to read. In having said that, I am sure this one could have been edited down a wee bit more.

Barclay's novella (Book #1.5) Final Assignment sets us up for Cal Weaver's point of view in this novel.  Cal, former cop turned private investigator, is a likeable and a character you root for so it was very easy to look forward to more of him in the next book.  Far From True opens up with the a drive-in theater screen collapsing and killing four people.  Cal is hired by the daughter of one of the victims to look into a break-in at her late father's place.  As he investigates Cal learns that this couple has a secret room for their sexual games and it appears that DVD discs are now missing.  What is on the DVD and why they were taken is Cal's next steps.

Cal's former co-worker, Detective Barry Duckworth, is looking into why this incident has happened but also investigating the case from the previous book, Broken Promises. He thinks that that case may be connected to another one three years ago...but is on his own in finding the truth.

We also have David Hardwood, who was the "main character" in Broken Promises returning in this novel as another major character.  He is now working as a campaign manager for Randall Finley, has his parents living with him and trying to win over Sam Worthington.  Cal is also trying to help Sam who is being threatened by her ex-boyfriend's parents and want to kidnap her son. And, then we get a cliffhanger..

In this book we get Cal's first person point of view instead of David's but we do still get everyone else's point of view in third person.  I don't know why Derek is in the novel at all as his appearances do not help the story much.  I love the scenes between Cal and Crystal (the young daughter of Cal's client).  I am very curious to see how Crystal and her mother fare in the story and what decisions Cal makes towards them.  With a cast of some very unlikable people - Clive, Liz and Randall are on my top 3 list.  I am hoping they keep getting the bad part of the karma stick. On the whole, the book had me engaged and I did not skim much in this book.  I am looking forward to the third book which is coming out in the late Fall and we will finally know what is behind the number 23. I will let you know then if sitting down with this very long series was worth the time!

k (My Novelesque Life) 

Monday, 21 March 2016

MORE Mystery Monday: Novella Fun



FINAL ASSIGNMENT 
(Promise Falls: #1.5)
Written by Linwood Barclay
January 2016; 77 Pages
Genres: novella, mystery, suspense, series

Rating: ★★★★

In this novella we see Cal Weaver, a private investigator, hired by a mother looking to get back at the school that wants to punish her son for writing a disturbing short story.  As Cal tries to to tell the mother that there is nothing he can really do the young man's story comes to life with the death of his best friend.  The dead teenager's parents are Cal's friends, and along with his curiosity, he soon finds himself trying to find the murderer. I enjoyed this story as it was very concise and suspenseful. I am hoping that this is good news for the second book, Far From True. My one thing about the first book was that it was too long and too drawn out.  This short story is like Barclay's other standalone novels that I love.

I will be reviewing FAR FROM TRUE tomorrow on it's release day.  I was unable to finish the book for tonight.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Mystery Monday: New Release for Harlan Coben


North American Cover
FOOL ME ONCE
Written by Harlan Coben
MARCH 22, 2016; 400 Pages
Genre: suspense, mystery, thriller

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★

I have been reading Harlan Coben's novels since about 2002 and his stand alone novels have had me up nights racing to the end.  He has this great talent of building up suspense and not letting the reader breathe until the last page.  Even with his last novel, The Stranger  I had enjoyed the novel even though the end was messy and seemed a bit forced.  I had given the novel 3.5 stars.  In Fool Me Once we have a strong female lead yet I found it difficult to relate to her and found her a bit too hard.  Maya, a former Special-Ops pilot, is burying her husband after he murdered in front of her eyes.  In the war she saw many deaths but she never expected to lose first her sister and then her husband to murder.  Before she can grieve for her late husband she sees something on the nanny cam that changes her world. And soon she cannot tell what is real or not.
UK Edition

I was totally into the story until Maya confronts her nanny on what is on the nanny cam.  While I found the novel easy to read as Coben is a great writer and I did feel his signature suspense, I just couldn't buy all of the plot.  This may be more of my issue than all readers as I was expecting something a little different.  Some may think the twist is great but I saw the twist and thought it would go another way because it was too easy and yet unrealistic the way the book ended.   Vague enough? I am also still contemplating the epilogue - I understand the purpose but it felt very out of place.  I gave this novel 3 stars because I enjoyed the first half of the book, it kept me reading and it was suspenseful.  I would recommend this novel to Harlan Coben fans because you appreciate all of Coben's signature pieces.  If you are a Coben virgin or new to him - I would suggest trying his earlier standalone novels first.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Short-Delay for Short Story Sunday: The Wentworth Boys Part II


THE WENTORTH BOYS
Written by Kris Kaila

     “Carla, would you stop staring at me. It’s so creeeeepy.  Isn’t there something else you can be doing?” Jocelyn screeched.
    “Not really, “ I responded.
   

      Jocelyn, my sister, was only two years older than I and got to do everything before me. She got to do stuff I would never get the chance to do.  She was now getting ready to go to a Wentworth Boys’ party, while I was getting ready to plan Gin with my mother.  While my mother questioned me on non-existent life, Jocelyn would be playing spin the bottle with Hunter Wentworth.  Since the day that she was born Jocelyn had been invited to the Wentworth parties.  There was not one party where a Wentworth boy had not invited Jocelyn Fisher, the reigning Beauty Queen of Avella.  She was beautiful, only for a lack of a better word.  My sister was everything I wanted to be, and was not. Long white-blonde hair, and shimmering blue eyes that were almost too cliché, and yet on Jocelyn were perfect. The left and right sides of her face were even perfectly symmetrical.  Due to that, Jocelyn never had a good side, because on her a bad side did not exist.  Her skin was flawless and lacked any sort of blemish.  At 5 foot 6 inches she was tall and willowy without towering over any of the boys she fancied.  In short, she was simply the Beauty Queen.  And I, at fourteen, was nothing.  I was just the other Fisher girl.
    

       Jocelyn had my mother’s features and my father’s colouring.  She received all their shining qualities.  I had both of my parents’ hair, medium length brown hair that was straighter on the left side, and curlier on the right.  I had my mother’s chocolate brown eyes, but on me it made my skin look pale.  Worst of all I was a bit on the heavy side. Okay, I was fat.  My Aunt Bertha gets the credit for that.  To be polite, people just describe me as, “The other Fisher girl.”
   

       “I’m off, Mother,” Jocelyn sang out, grabbing her pink sweater off the ironing board.
 

        I stuck my tongue out at her, but she didn’t see it. As if I really existed to her.
    

      “Have fun dear,” Mother was shuffling the deck as she nodded to Jocelyn.
    

       Walking to the living room window, I watched mutedly, as my sister got into Wendell Jones’ new shiny blue 1958 Ford.  Each boy with a car was assigned to a street and had to pick up the girls who received invites to the party.  The parties of the Wentworth Boys seemed to have more rules than the army.
    

      “Carla, are you coming? The ice in the cokes is melting.”
    

       I looked back at the kitchen where my mother was sitting dealing out the cards, looking as lonely as ever.  Wearing an old shirtdress from the early 1940s, the faded blue material matched her ratty old slippers.  Her once long hair was cut too short, and it hung just past her ears.  I turned to look back out the window and saw my sister and Wendell laughing as they finally drove off.  Tonight she was wearing her pink sundress with the matching sweater, shoes and purse.  It was the outfit my mother had worked extra long shifts to buy.  It was all done for my sister, so that then maybe she could forgive my mother for not being more than we could be.  My father had been a miner who had just made enough money to feed and clothe a family of four. When he died, my mother paid his debts and bills and was left with hardly any money.  She had to take a job as a secretary for the mining company my father had worked for. Working overtime was the only way my mother could afford to buy Jocelyn her pretty clothes.  Without looking back out of the window I scurried over to my mother with as much enthusiasm as I could muster.
   

      That night I heard my sister sneaking up the creaky stairs outside my door. I could picture her hunched over a bit as she walked slowly up the steps.  She would have her new shoes in her hand, and hair just as perfect as when she had left.  Sitting up in my bed I wanted to scream or throw something that would wake my mother.  If Mother knew that Jocelyn came home at 3 am (and on some nights even later) she would surely be in big trouble.  Then maybe Jocelyn would not be so perfect.  When I heard her shutting the bedroom door, I slipped out of my bed.  After a long shift at work, Mother could sleep through an earthquake.  This enabled my sister to sneak in late almost every night.  Knowing this we would still move around quietly, just in case.  Softly I knocked on Jocelyn’s door.
 

     “I’m sleeping,” Jocelyn quietly hissed.
   

     “It’s me, Carla, “ I put my face closer to the door as I spoke.
  

       Jocelyn opened her door partway, “No shit, Sherlock.”
   

      Leaving the door open partway, Jocelyn walked back to her closet.  She was hanging up the outfit she had worn tonight, and already picking out tomorrow’s.  I did not wait for my engraved invitation.  I walked in and looked around her spacious room, well in comparison to mine.
   

     “Do not touch anything,” Jocelyn hissed again.
     

     “Like I would.”
    

     Everything was neat and in its place unlike my room.  Next to her closet was a collage of black and white photographs of Jocelyn and her billions of friends.  There was even a picture of my parents before they got married.  The only photo missing from the collage of her life was mine.  I looked away because I did not need to be reminded of how little I meant to my sister.  Everything was pink in her room, including the matching white curtains with the pink rose buds.  My father had made Jocelyn’s pink bed himself, so that his little girl would be happy.  My room was a hospital white, except for my pink curtains, which were hand-me-downs.
    

    “How was the party?” I asked cheerfully.
    

    “It was okay.”
 

    “What did you guys do?” I inquired, as I touched some of her make-up that was left on her homemade vanity table.
 

     “Nothing.”
 

     “You had to have done something, it was a party.”
 

     “We partied.” Jocelyn gave me a look as she continued to browse through her closet.
 

     “Well that sounds kind of boring.”
 

     “It wasn’t.  Now get out,” Jocelyn said a little louder this time.
 

     “Fine, I’m going.  Who cares about your stupid little party anyway,” I said.
 

      As I walked out of her room, I knocked down one of her dolls that had been perfectly in place with the others.
 

      The next morning, after all the death glares my sister threw at me all through breakfast, I decided to walk over to my friend Amanda’s house.  Jocelyn, of course, was going to spend another day at the beach with her friends, to get the last tan of summer vacation. On my way to Amanda’s I saw Cameron Wentworth coming from the opposite direction.
 

     “Hi Carla.”
 

     “Hi,” I greeted, looking to see if Hunter was anywhere around.
 

     “So, how was your summer?”
 

     “Good.  Yours?”
 

     “Good.” He kept looking away every couple of seconds, as he dug his hands further in his trouser pockets.
 

      I wanted to ask him about the party last night but couldn’t.  I would look exceedingly desperate asking about a party that I was never going to be invited to.
 

     “How’s…Hunter?” I asked casually.
 

     “Good.” He paused for a second. “Where are you off to?”
 

     “I’m going to Amanda’s house.  You?”
 

    “I’m meeting couple of the guys down at the theatre.  You should come.”
 

    “I…,” I started to say.”
 

     “I mean you and Amanda,” Cameron clarified.
 

      “Oh, I know.  It’s just that…we already saw the movie.  Maybe we could meet up next month when something new is playing.”
 

      The truth was, I had no money.  Things were so tight at our house with the bills and groceries.
 

      “Okay.  I’ll see around then,” Cameron said as he turned to walk away.
 

      “Bye.” I waved until he was couple of houses away.
 

      I never made it to Amanda’s house that day.  Instead I ran into Spencer and Hunter Wentworth ten minutes after Cameron.  I was so exited to see Hunter that I waved over to them hoping that we could chat.  I heard Hunter mutter to Spencer, “Who’s the fat girl?” Spencer shrugged, and they kept walking.  I turned around slowly and raced home.
 

       After a good cry, face down on my bed, I dragged myself into Jocelyn’s room.  I flung open her closet and went through her wardrobe. Picking out the pretty pink sundress that Jocelyn wore to yesterday’s party I held it close to my body.  I knew right away, without actually trying on the dress, that it would be a cold day in hell before it would fit me. More importantly, I would never ever look like Jocelyn.  Everything about me was wrong.  I hung the dress back up in the closet, and decided right then and there that I not only had to lose weight, but most of Carla too.


                                                    *                     *                     *

TO BE CONTINUED...


k (My Novelesque Life)

Friday, 18 March 2016

Flashback Fiction Friday: The Wentworth Boys: The Hook


This is a story I wrote back in 1999 when I was in a Creative Writing course

THE WENTWORTH BOYS
Written by Kris Kaila 

            If it were not for the Wentworths, our lives would have been dull.  In a small town with only one movie theater, where a picture ran for months, the Wentworths were our only real entertainment.  Everything about them was glamorous.  The way they talked and even just the way they lived their lives fascinated our town.  The things that the Wentworths would be remembered for years later were their parties. The senior Wentworth parties, winter through fall, went on for hours until the morning light would finally indicate the end.  The senior Wentworths’ threw the most elegant parties, where the town’s upper crust would allow themselves to mingle with the upper and lower middle class.  The wealthy used these parties as an excuse to remind the not so rich what they lacked. Yet no one had ever declined an invitation into the Wentworths’ lives.  These parties ended almost as elegantly as they had started.  By morning the affluent people were seen disappearing into their expensive new 1958 model cars.  Most were half drunk on the verge of vomiting over their new upholstery.  Meanwhile, the other guests, the not-so-rich people, would have left long before they had their second drink, feeling foolish for coming every time.  Those were the twice a month senior Wentworth parties.  Parties that I, of course, had only heard of through the grapevine.   The parties that I saw, and remember vividly still, were the parties of the Wentworth Boys.
   

     The parties that the Boys threw were far more exclusive than their parents’ were.  Only the most influential and popular boys from our town were invited.  The Wentworth Boys themselves were the only ones who could invite the girls to their parties.  No other male guest was allowed to bring a date even if you were going steady with someone.  Spencer Wentworth, the eldest of the three, made these rules to work in his favour.  There was usually one boy for every two to three girls, once all the guests had arrived.  Most of the girls were from town, but a few were from neighboring cities.  The parties would begin at 8:30pm, just as the senior Wentworths were leaving for one of their own events.  Just as precisely as they started, they ended at the stroke of midnight, when most of the guests would squeeze into various vehicles, and head down to the beach.  If it was late spring to early fall, the beach parties lasted until breakfast.  The parties during winter would end around 3am, when the guests would break up into couples.  Every year, every party, things would always go according to the Wentworth Boys’ plan.
             


                                                                 *          *          * 

TO BE CONTINUED...

k (My Novelesque Life) 

Forgive Me Friday!




Where have I been this week? 

Well, I actually had shifts all this week at work and that was amazing.  I was lucky enough to get two shifts in the Children's section - one was a crazy craft day with young kids and teens (it is spring break so it has been a busy week).  Accident-prone me has injured my knee (again) over the weekend so have been icing it when I get home and pretty much have not had the energy to think.  Tuesday was my face-to-face book club and as always it was a great blast.  SO there you have it...I have been letting my laziness takeover this week, haha.

As always...I could be on death's door, but I will find the time to READ.    

I am hoping to review them over the next few weeks.  I will also have some reviews for the latest books by my favourite and popular authors.   I am hoping to start a few new things next week...to see if you guys like it.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Humpday Wednesday


Imagine those jars are books!

Hey all,

I am a bit behind in...life.  I will have some reviews and other writings up on Friday night.

k (My Novelesque Life)