The Forest Bed: Free ebook

Author and fellow blogger Shaily, has exciting news I had to pass on. Her short story collection, The Forest Bed is now available and the the Kindle ebook is free until 6/26. All she asks is for you to leave a review after reading it. What could be better than that?

Short Stories | Fish-eye Perspective

It is finally here! My very own short stories collection: The Forest Bed and other short stories. After long delays for ‘technical’ reasons, my book is finally available worldwide as an ebook. What’s even better?

The ebook is free.

The Forest Bed ebook is available to readers worldwide for free on Amazon Kindle

Offer valid from June 22, 2021, 12:00 AM PDT till June 26, 2021, 11:59 PM PDT.

  1. Open your Kindle app.
  2. Type The Forest Bed in your Search bar.
  3. Select the book.
  4. Download and read.
  5. Provide an honest review.

Or depending on where you live, you can find it on Amazon. Just click the relevant link below:

Amazon.com

Amazon.in

Amazon.co.uk

Just type in the comment box if you can’t find it. I’ll provide the link.

Book in Print: If you are more of a love-the-smell-of-books person like me, you can order the printed book from Amazon or…

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Nanny Needed, By Georgina Cross ~ 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bantam for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: October 5th, 2021

368 Pages

Synopsis: A young woman takes a job as a nanny for an impossibly wealthy family, thinking she’s found her entry into a better life–only to discover instead she’s walked into a world of deception and dark secrets.

Nanny needed. Discretion is of the utmost importance. Special conditions apply.

When Sarah Larsen finds the notice, posted on creamy card stock in her building’s lobby, one glance at the exclusive address tells her she’s found her ticket out of a dead-end job–and life.

At the interview, the job seems like a dream come true: a glamorous penthouse apartment on the Upper West Side of NYC; a salary that adds several zeroes to her current income; the beautiful, worldly mother of her charge, who feels more like a friend than a potential boss. She’s overjoyed when they offer her the position and signs the NDA without a second thought.

In retrospect, the notice in her lobby was less an engraved invitation than a waving red flag. For there is something very strange about the Bird family. Why does the beautiful Mrs. Bird never leave the apartment alone? And what happened to the nanny before her? It soon becomes clear that the Birds’ odd behaviors are more than the eccentricities of the wealthy.

But by then it’s too late for Sarah to seek help. After all, discretion is of the utmost importance. (Goodreads)

Nanny Needed is one of those books that you need to be willing to suspend disbelief, but if you can do that, it’s an eminently fun and addictive read that you’ll find difficult to put down once you begin reading.

Sarah is a relatable protagonist that you can’t help but connect with. While she makes some poor decisions regarding this too-good-to-be-true nanny position, given the financial circumstances she and her supportive fiancé Jonathan are in, you can understand why she doesn’t run as fast as she can once she starts learning about the mysterious Bird family and the secrets they’re keeping. 

As for the Bird family, well to say they’re a train wreck is putting it mildly. They’re a perfect example of how you can be fabulously wealthy, but not have a clue about the correct way to handle personal affairs. 

The plot is completely crackers (in a good way) and I could easily see this being adapted for tv as a movie or miniseries. I did guess what the big twist was going to be fairly early in the book, but it was still entertaining seeing the events unfold up to the climax. The ending perfectly wrapped everything up, but I have to admit I was saddened over the death of one character. You can’t have perfectly happily-ever-afters all of the time though.

Nanny Needed is the first book I’ve read by Georgina Cross, and it’s made me want to go read her two previous books: The Missing Woman and The Stepdaughter. It’s completely over-the-top entertainment which I guarantee you’ll find unputdownable!

The Hawthorne School, By Sylvie Perry ~ 3.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: December 7th, 2021

304 Pages

Synopsis: For fans of Riley Sager, The Hawthorne School is a twisty psychological suspense about the lengths one mother will go for her child, inspired by present-day obsession with cults and true crime.

Claudia Morgan is overwhelmed. She’s a single parent trying the best that she can, but her four-year-old son, Henry, is a handful–for her and for his preschool. When Claudia hears about a school with an atypical teaching style near her Chicagoland home, she has to visit. The Hawthorne School is beautiful and has everything she dreams of for Henry: time to play outside, music, and art. The head of the school, Zelma, will even let Claudia volunteer to cover the cost of tuition.

The school is good for Henry: his “behavioral problems” disappear, and he comes home subdued instead of rageful. But there’s something a bit off about the school, its cold halls, and its enigmatic headmistress. When Henry brings home stories of ceremonies in the woods and odd rules, Claudia’s instincts tell her that something isn’t quite right, and she begins to realize she’s caught in a web of manipulations and power.

The author’s work as a psychotherapist, with a focus on narcissistic manipulation and addictive power dynamics, guides this exploration of a young mother wanting to do the best for her child. (Goodreads)

The Hawthorne School didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but it was an extremely quick and creepy read, that I mostly enjoyed for the couple of hours it took me to read it. The time it took for Claudia to figure out that there was something sinister behind this “too good to be true” school, had me a little frustrated. I’m not a parent, but my danger radar would have been pinging madly away by the second visit. I kept trying to give her the benefit of the doubt because she was a single mother with a four-year-old son with behavioral issues, but my patience was stretched thin. The rest of the characters weren’t exactly one dimensional, but neither did I find them memorable. The mystery was a tad predictable, but I still wanted my suspicions confirmed and I was eager to get to the ending. The biggest strength of the novel was the beautifully detailed, atmospheric setting, and despite the flaws, the story still managed to be a page-turner. The Hawthorne School is another book I’m struggling with the rating. My first impulse was to give it 3 stars, but I’m rounding it up to 3.5, because as I said, it’s a very quick read and despite the issues I had, I was still entertained.

Literary Lines ~ Summer Solstice Edition

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Solstice

How again today our patron star
whose ancient vista is the long view

turns its wide brightness now and here:
Below, we loll outdoors, sing & make fire.

We build no henge
but after our swim, linger

by the pond. Dapples flicker
pine trunks by the water.

Buzz & hum & wing & song combine.
Light builds a monument to its passing.

Frogs content themselves in bullish chirps,
hoopskirt blossoms

on thimbleberries fall, peeper toads
hop, lazy—

            Apex. The throaty world sings ripen.
Our grove slips past the sun’s long kiss.

We dress.
We head home in other starlight. 

Our earthly time is sweetening from this.

~ Tess Taylor ~

Weekend Break

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Happy Friday everyone! It’s going to be a rather stormy weekend here in Alabama, so I’m going to take the next couple of days off from blogging, snuggle in and binge watch movies and read. Before I do so I did want to acknowledge two very important holidays that are taking place.

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Tomorrow is Juneteenth, which commemorates the day that the last remaining slaves in the U.S. were informed they were free. If you’d like to learn more visit https://juneteenth.com This year it takes on a whole new meaning as it was just made a federal holiday. The Senate unanimously voted for it, and the House overwhelmingly approved it except for 14 Republican representatives. 

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94-year-old Texas activist, Opal Lee, has tirelessly worked for years to make Juneteenth a national holiday, and yesterday she got her wish as President Biden signed it into law.

President Biden Signs Juneteenth National Independence Day Act Into Law

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 17: (L-R) Ninety-four-year-old activist and retired educator Opal Lee, known as the Grandmother of Juneteenth, speaks with U.S. President Joe Biden after he signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law in the East Room of the White House on June 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Juneteenth holiday marks the end of slavery in the United States and the Juneteenth National Independence Day will become the 12th legal federal holiday — the first new one since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

While there is obviously so much work left to be done in this country, make no mistake, this is a huge victory and should be celebrated.

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Sunday is Father’s Day, and I want to wish Dads everywhere a very happy one. Have a wonderful and safe weekend everyone and I’ll be back on Monday!

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The Wonder of Libraries

I had to pass on this marvelous tribute to the wonder of libraries from Darlene!

Darlene Foster's Blog

“When I got [my] library card, that was when my life began.”
Rita Mae Brown

Do you recall the first time you stepped into a library? I do. I felt like I had entered Nirvana. All those books, and I could borrow them for free! I would pick out a stack of books to take home to the farm, read them and the next time we came to town, return them and bring home another stack. I must have borrowed most of the books in the children´s section of the old Medicine Hat Library.

The Old Medicine Hat Library

A new modern Medicine Hat Public Library was built in 1964 which was very exciting. This is the library I took my children to. My grandchildren and great grandchildren now visit this wonderful place. I still get that happy-all-over feeling whenever I enter. I had the pleasure of doing a…

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The Perfect Family, By Robyn Harding ~ 3.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: August 10th, 2021

352 Pages

Synopsis: The bestselling author of the The Swap—praised by Samantha M. Bailey, author of Woman on the Edge, as “wickedly delicious, addictive, utterly compelling”—explores what happens when a seemingly perfect family is pushed to the edge…and beyond.

Thomas and Viv Adler are the envy of their neighbors: attractive, successful, with well-mannered children and a beautifully restored home.

Until one morning, when they wake up to find their porch has been pelted with eggs. It’s a prank, Thomas insists; the work of a few out-of-control kids. But when a smoke bomb is tossed on their front lawn, and their car’s tires are punctured, the family begins to worry. Surveillance cameras show nothing but grainy images of shadowy figures in hoodies. And the police dismiss the attacks, insisting they’re just the work of bored teenagers. Unable to identify the perpetrators, the Adlers are helpless as the assaults escalate into violence, and worse. And each new violation brings with it a growing fear. Because everyone in the Adler family is keeping a secret—not just from the outside world, but from each other. And secrets can be very dangerous….

This twisty, addictively page-turning suspense novel about a perfect family’s perfect façade will keep you turning pages until its explosive ending. (Goodreads)

I have to be honest and admit I’ve had mixed results with Robyn Harding’s previous books, and I hesitated before requesting The Perfect Family. The premise however was too much to resist, and although I had a couple of issues, including the ending, I did wind up enjoying this.

Neither Thomas or Liv Adler, nor their two children Tarryn and Eli, are the most likable of characters, although I did eventually wind up feeling more empathetic toward Eli. They’re all keeping secrets from each other, which makes it impossible to guess who is the primary target of their mysterious tormenter. Their actions at times are as puzzling as the actual mystery, and don’t always come off as believable. However, the storyline itself with the twisty mystery make this a page-turner despite the characters’ shortcomings, and I found myself unable to put this book down. The ending, I suspect will leave readers either loving or hating it. It aggravated the heck out of me which is why I gave it 3.5 stars instead of the 4 stars I had originally planned on. Still, despite the elements I disliked, The Perfect Family was a quick read and kept me entertained for the three hours I spent reading it.

Under the Whispering Door, By T.J. Klune ~ 5.0 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: September 21st, 2021

384 Pages

Synopsis: Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy with TJ Klune’s signature “quirk and charm” (PW) about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love withWhen a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy. (Goodreads)

Last year I saw numerous rave reviews for T.J. Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea, and while I still haven’t had a chance to read it, I did finally purchase it. I’ve also enjoyed the first two books in his Extraordinaires series, so I was quite excited to be approved for an eARC of Under the Whispering Door. I’m writing this review after just finishing it and I am happy to say this ticked off all of my boxes.

The characters were wonderful, starting with Wallace. Before he died he was a cold-hearted, selfish man who didn’t appear to have an empathetic bone in his body. But after his death, when he meets sassy Mei, a reaper, and she brings him to Charon’s Crossing Tea and Treats, where he’s introduced to Hugo, a ferryman, his road to redemption begins. Also residing in this strange weigh station are Hugo’s deceased dog, Apollo, and his grandfather, Nelson. It’s a quirky little family and they take hold of your heart almost instantly. The Manager is a little more frightening, as he’s very much an unknown, although near the end even he undergoes a transformation of sorts. The setting of the tea shop and its quirkier attributes is very visual and I could easily picture it in my head. This isn’t what you’d call an action-packed story, but then it’s not meant to be. By turns it’s a whimsical, heartbreaking, and thoughtful exploration of death, grief, and letting go. It’s quite unlike anything I’ve read and I can honestly say I fell in love with both the characters and the story.

Under the Whispering Door is an absolute treasure of a book that by turns will have you laughing out loud, and sobbing into a tissue. Most of all, it will leave you sad when you’ve come to the end and will remain in your mind even after you’ve moved on to other books.