Thursday, June 25, 2020

{I've Been Reading} Gretchen

Gretchen by Shannon Kirk

This one started out strange and got progressively stranger. Lucy and her mother are on the run, setting up housekeeping in their eleventh state because a stranger seemed to think Lucy had reminded him of someone. It's a blessing to find a landlord who will accept the rent in cash and not ask too many questions, but the man and his daughter have secrets of their own. Lucy has always wanted lasting friendships, but soon she realized that Gretchen is really, really weird and has no respect for personal boundaries.

There's an obvious twist or two, then it snakes and spirals into something I don't think anyone would expect. At about the point where the story got insanely convoluted and twisted, I really found myself getting attached to Lucy and her mother.

It's not quite as good as Method 15/33 by the same author, but if you're in the mood for something weird and suspenseful (and don't require things to be actually plausible) give it a try. Especially if you've got Kindle Unlimited.

The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne

The cover copy tells you that Rebecca has stepped into Nicole's old life, living in Nicole's house with Nicole's husband, surrounded by Nicole's things. What it doesn't mention (but is revealed early enough in the book that I don't think I'll spoil it by telling you now) is that Rebecca and Nicole were best friends who haven't communicated much since Nicole and Richard were married.

After meeting them at the funeral, Rebecca is drawn to Richard and his adult daughter...and she also wants to find out what happened to her best friend. The perfect house doesn't seem to line up with what she knew about her friend. The fact that Nicole has given up her beloved oil painting doesn't seem right. The chapters alternate between Nicole in the days before her death, and Rebecca as she tries to learn what happened to cause Nicole's death. There is a lot of sex in this book. Far more than I've ever encountered in a domestic thriller. More than in a lot of romance novels. It kept me intrigued, but it's not one of the best.

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

I Stitched A Goose in a Dress

Or maybe she's a duck. If you'd asked me last year I'd have told you that the last thing on earth I wanted to stitch was a goose....but I'd never seen a goose like this one by Barbara Ana Designs.

Pattern: The Key by Barbara Ana Designs 

I love the patterns with animals in dresses, but this is the best dress ever, with its great colors and geometric details. I started her for Maynia and got a corner of the dress done before moving on to something else because it was the next day and time to switch. A while later, I did some more stitching on the dress, but I was missing one of the shades of floss that I needed and wasn't feeling all that motivated... Then two nights ago the stitching bug bit hard.

Over the course of two evenings I went from "part of the dress is done" to having it completely finished. How long do you think it will take me to finish the fox?

If you enjoy huge single color samplers (or think you might), head over to Long Dog Samplers and download Pandemic. It's free for the next couple of days and absolutely amazing. I've been debating which of their samplers I might want to tackle and I guess this is the one.  It's got birds and flowers and a ton of amazing detail and I'm just deluded enough to think that I might be able to stitch it.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

{I've Been Reading} The Empty Nest

The Empty Nest by Sue Watson

When her daughter doesn't call home or answer her phone, Kat is worried. When she checks Amy's social media accounts and there are no recent posts, she panics. They share every bit of news. It's unlike Amy to go for so long without contacting her mother.

It quickly becomes obvious that Kat isn't the most reliable narrator and that maybe her relationship with Amy isn't quite as perfect as she describes it....but Amy is nowhere to be found and there seems to be something going on. The plot builds slowly but it kept me turning pages and I definitely didn't expect it to end the way it did.

Bottled by Stephanie Ellis

Tyler Vitrum wants nothing to do with his late grandfather's house or the collection of bottles filled with impossibly intricate scenes, some created by his grandfather and others created by family members who came before them both. But Tyler has inherited  the house and his mother and ex-wife both have their eyes on what they think the estate must be worth. So he returns to spend a night, satisfying the terms of the will.

Bottled is a short, bleak read with what seemed to be an interesting premise. The secret lurking behind the house and bottles is, sadly, standard horror fare.

The publisher provided  me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

{I've Been Reading} The Happy Couple

The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney

I went into this domestic thriller without any information other than what was on the cover and, as much as I try to avoid spoilers, it's going to be impossible to tell you about this book and my reaction to it without mentioning one huge thing that's already in most of the other reviews.

If you don't want that element revealed, go ahead and skip down to the next cover image or to another post. Somehow this book manages to be a domestic thriller with all off the usual trappings and something else entirely.

Abbie, who was in a terrible accident five years ago and just woke up with gaping holes in her memory, is a robot. Her tech genius husband has developed an artificial intelligence, fed it with all of the real Abbie's social media posts and texts and re-created his wife with a few holes in her encyclopedic knowledge. Some fill themselves in as her mind reaches out to the cloud for answers. Others remain stubbornly empty, like the details of how the real Abbie died.

I struggled with this one at first because Abbie wasn't actually Abbie. I can get attached to fictional characters, but apparently not if they're machines pretending to be someone else. The chapters alternate between the new Abbie in the present and the first days of flesh and blood Abbie's relationship with her husband, all of it told in second person. It took a couple of chapters, but before long I was completely caught up in it. The robot isn't the same as the woman, but that works because she's a separate being with her own fears and problems.

I'm very glad I read it even though something at the climax left me completely and utterly confused.

You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

This is another one where the book's description didn't give me any idea what I was in for. A reclusive novelist has been missing for a year, presumed dead. Her heirs are instructed to go to her house and read her last manuscript. In its pages, they'll find the password they need to claim their inheritance. It's told in second person, which works because the author is speaking to her niece and nephew, predicting their movements and reactions.

This has to be one of the darkest domestic thrillers I've ever read, even when it's only hinting at what might have really happened behind the events the narrator describes. Like Little Darlings, it includes a fantasy element that may or may not be real. This time, I don't want to think too hard about what the real events behind the narrator's supernatural explanation might be because it's just too uncomfortable. I loved the book and I highly recommend it, but only if you're in the mood for something dark and emotionally challenging.

The Happy Couple by Samantha Hayes

Jo's husband has been missing for a year. He left the house one morning and was just gone without a trace. Except for the fact that Jo keeps seeing visions of him everywhere and having conversations with him. She's definitely an unreliable narrator and doesn't let us in on the fact that there actually is a reason Will might have run off until well into the book. It's hinted at on the back cover, but I almost never reread the description before starting the book.

After a friend convinces her that she needs to get away for a while and signs her up for a house sitting service, Jo sees a listing with pictures of her missing husband on the mantle. There's no question that the pictures are of Will. She took them herself.

The plot of this one twists and turns and despite a hard to accept coincidence or two, it was pretty entertaining.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Ecru Embroidery Floss on Navy Aida

Who would have guessed that I could be so happy stitching with a single color of embroidery floss? Definitely not me! 

After finishing Lobster Bouquet, I switched back to Flowers in a Window, a free download from Stone Street Stitchworks. It's amazing how much fun you can have with a piece of thrifted navy aida and a couple of skeins of ecru DMC.

This one is trickier and I've had to break out the highlighter because one flower or sprig of leaves is easy to mistake for another while I'm looking back and forth from the chart to the fabric.

There's definitely a big single color project in my stitching future, if I can just make up my mind which one. Long Dog Samplers and Ink Circles both have a lot of tempting possibilities.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/5/20}

Just a reminder that, for the moment at least, I've switched the Let's Make Baby Quilts linky party to the first Friday of the month. I've got plans that I hope I can get started on very soon, including some new tutorials. 

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

{I've Been Reading} The Boy in the Photo

The Fallen Girls by Kathryn Casey

After learning that one of her half sisters is missing, detective Clara Jeffries returns to the small town where she grew up. Life in Alber, Utah has changed drastically. Clara's mother, Ardeth, and Ardeth's sister wives have moved with their children from the house where Clara grew up into a run down trailer outside of town. They insist that the missing twelve-year-old is on a mission with a family in Salt Lake City, that nothing is wrong. Beyond that, they refuse to speak to Clara at all. But there are other missing girls, from families who insist that they're not missing at all, and a decomposing body is discovered in the cornfield behind the trailer and Clara isn't leaving town without answers.

I absolutely loved this one. I don't usually pick up books where the main character is involved with law enforcement because, somewhere along the line, I got the idea that police procedurals aren't my thing. This book kept me turning pages.  I can't wait for the next book in the series, but since this one was just published today I guess I'm going to have to be patient.

The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope

It's been six years since Megan went to pick up her son after school and learned that his father had picked him up earlier in the day. Her ex husband and son are gone and the authorities haven't been able to find a trace of either of them. For all that time, she's been hoping that Daniel will come back to her. Then one day the phone rings.

Daniel has walked into a police station, alone. There was a fire in the isolated shack where he was living with his father and now he's come back to her. The boy is Daniel. They'll do a DNA test to confirm that he's her missing son, but Megan doesn't question it for a moment. Her loving, happy six-year-old son had grown into a sullen, angry twelve-year-old who won't reveal much about the past six years.

This one kept me holding my breath. One of my hunches did turn out to be right, but there were still twists and revelations that I didn't see coming until the end.

One by One by D. W. Gillespie

Behind the wallpaper of the house her family just moved into, a young girl finds a drawing of a stick figure family -- mother, father, son, daughter, dog. Not long after that, the family cat goes missing and an X appears over the family pet in the drawing.

Creepy old houses absolutely appeal to me, especially when there seems to be something sinister and/or ghostly involved. Parts of this book really worked for me, like the "tangle of hallways" and Alice's discovery of an old diary and her fear of reading further. Other parts definitely fell flat.

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails