Five Total Strangers, By Natalie Preston ~ 4.0 Stars

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

Release Date: October 6th, 2020

320 Pages

Synopsis: When Mira flies home to spend Christmas with her mother in Pittsburgh, a record-breaking blizzard results in a cancelled layover. Desperate to get to her grief-ridden mother in the wake of a family death, Mira hitches a ride with a group of friendly college kids who were on her initial flight.

As the drive progresses and the weather conditions become more treacherous, Mira realizes that the other four passengers that she’s stuck in the car with don’t actually know each other.

Soon they’re not just dealing with heavy snowfall and ice-slick roads, but that somebody will stop at nothing to ensure their trip ends in a deadly disaster.

Natalie Richards is a popular YA suspense/thriller author, but I have to admit I’ve been somewhat disappointed by most of her previous books. When I saw the cover and premise of Five Total Strangers, I decided to try her one more time and I’m glad I did, because this really sucked me in. Granted, the idea that an eighteen-year-old would willingly get into a car with a group of strangers, seems at first glance ridiculous, but given Mira’s desperation to reach her mother, it becomes more understandable. Every character is hiding something, but one of them is a dangerous predator. While I had my suspicions as to the who, almost from the beginning, Richards casts just enough doubt into the mix that I wasn’t completely sure of my deduction until right before the big reveal. The main weakness of the story is the number of coincidences the reader is expected to accept, but the suspense and mystery are so tension-filled, I wound up willingly letting go of my scepticism. There’s also a gaping plot hole regarding a superfluous character which was quite annoying, but overall this was a nail-biting read which kept me guessing right up to the end.

Hurricane Sally

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Hi everyone. Hurricane Sally has made landfall in the Gulf Shores of Alabama, making it the first hurricane to do so since 2005. Even though we’re about 3 1/2 hours away, we’re now under a tropical storm warning, a flash flood warning, and a tornado watch for the next several hours. Given that we don’t live in a low lying area, I’m not too worried about our safety (knock on wood), but it won’t be surprising if we lose power at some point. I have a post already scheduled for today, as well as one for tomorrow, but if I disappear for a little bit, I didn’t want you to worry.

“It’ll Start Getting Cooler. You Just Watch.”

Jeff has shared an open letter to Mr. Trump from Washington Governor Jay Inslee which lays out exactly why wildfires are getting worse each year. “It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch,” is an idiotic statement even for a man known for making them.

On The Fence Voters

Every day, the current president seems to be on a mission to eliminate as many people as he can in the United States of America. Whether it’s through his immense incompetence and failures to address the worst pandemic in a century, or ignoring the ongoing climate crisis, we can see in real time how devastating another four years of this administration would be to human life and suffering.

Today, I’d like to share a letter written by the current Governor of the state of Washington, Jay Inslee, that was published today on Medium. In it, he addresses the current president in an open letter to lambaste him for his abject failure to even acknowledge there’s a climate crisis emergency in progress.

Open letter to President Donald Trump on the role of climate change in historic wildfires

WA Governor’s Office

WA Governor’s OfficeFollowSep 14·5min read

September 14, 2020

The Honorable…

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Netflix’s Rebecca Trailer

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There are quite a few offerings coming to Netflix in October that I’m excited about including: The Haunting of Bly Manor, Cadaver, The Trial of the Chicago 7, The Queen’s Gambit, and MANK. But at the top of my list is their adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, which is one of my favorite classic mysteries. Here’s the official trailer.

Randy Rainbow Song Parody …. “🗳 ‘I Won’t Vote Trump’ 🗳 …. “!!

Here’s Randy Rainbow’s latest brilliant video courtesy of Dr. Rex.

It Is What It Is

~~September 13, 2020~~

I WON’T VOTE TRUMP

We are 7+ weeks from election day Nov. 3 … but who’s counting?

Randy does it again … at least for me. I get a reprieve from the ‘dumbfuckery‘ that this ‘so-called presidency‘ is. I’ve read Mary’s book, I’m on Michael Cohen’s right now. I have pre-ordered Bob Woodward’s ‘Rage‘ and have his 1st one on Trump – ‘Fear‘ – on my waiting list to read!

M’gawd … get this done!!

#VoteBlueNoMatterWho

RANDY, RANDY, RANDY!!

HortyRex©

Randy Stewart Rainbow is an American comedian and singer, best known for videos published on YouTube, in which he spoofs interviews with famous figures and parodies musical numbers with a political focus.

~Wikipedia~

Donation collected by HeadCount YouTube covers all transaction fees  

HeadCount is a national non-profit organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy…

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The House at the Bottom of a Lake, By Josh Malerman ~ 3.0 Stars

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

Release Date: December 1st, 2020

208 Pages

Synopsis: Both seventeen. Both afraid. But both saying yes.

It sounded like the perfect first date: canoeing across a chain of lakes, sandwiches and beers in the cooler. But teenagers Amelia and James discover something below the water’s surface that changes their lives forever.

It’s got two stories.

It’s got a garden.

And the front door is open.

It’s a house at the bottom of a lake.

For the teens there is only one rule: no questions. And yet, how could a place so spectacular come with no price tag? While the duo play house beneath the waves, one reality remains:

Just because a house seems empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.

I enjoyed Malerman’s Bird Box, so even though I’ve had mixed success with novellas, I requested A House at the Bottom of a Lake on NetGalley as soon it was offered. The main issue is that contrary to what the cover and synopsis imply, it’s not horror. Maybe magical realism with a touch of eeriness, but definitely not horror. I overcame my disappointment and actually did enjoy this little tale, but I don’t think it was one of Malerman’s best works. Amelia and James are likable enough and I did find myself connecting with them, although I was puzzled over their sudden expertise in scuba diving. There are a few plot holes like this and the fact that not one person questions where these two seventeen-year-olds are disappearing to for hours every day. The ambiguous ending was also much too rushed, but it did leave me pondering the book for several hours after I finished. Overall, A House at the Bottom of a Lake is an intriguing read full of symbolism and the exploration of first love. While I was left wanting more in the end, Malerman’s deft writing still pulled me in and I finished this in less than two hours. If you’re a fan of his and haven’t read it, I’d recommend you check it out.