Synopses Of Six 2018 Books That Caught My Eye


I've discovered six books coming out in 2018 that have caught my interest. I'm sure I'll be finding more soon. Maybe you will find an intriguing book from this list.


 Amazon Blurb...
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room, a powerful story about the ways an entire life can change in one night: A flight attendant wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man - and no idea what happened.
 
Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. 

When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. 

She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. 

Afraid to call the police - she's a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home - Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. 

Soon it's too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.



Amazon Blurb...
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookseller comes a gripping literary suspense novel set in the 1960s about a deeply troubled family and three women who will reveal its dark truths.

In the autumn of 1960, Angie Glass is living an idyllic life in her Wisconsin hometown. At twenty-one, she’s married to charming, handsome Paul, and has just given birth to a baby boy. But one phone call changes her life forever.


When Paul’s niece, Ruby, reports that her father, Henry, has committed suicide, and that her mother, Silja, is missing, Angie and Paul drop everything and fly to the small upstate town of Stonekill, New York to be by Ruby’s side.


Angie thinks they’re coming to the rescue of Paul’s grief-stricken young niece, but Ruby is a composed and enigmatic seventeen-year-old who resists Angie’s attempts to nurture her. 


As Angie learns more about the complicated Glass family, staying in Henry and Silja’s eerie and ultra-modern house on the edge of the woods, she begins to question the very fabric of her own marriage.

Through Silja’s flashbacks, Angie’s discovery of astonishing truths, and Ruby’s strategic dissection of her parents’ state of affairs, a story of love, secrets, and ultimate betrayal is revealed.



Amazon Blurb...
The highly anticipated new novel from the author whose debut was called “The smart summer thriller you’ve been waiting for...The novel you should be reading tonight” (NPR’s All Things Considered) and was named a Book of the Year by NPR and an Entertainment Weekly Must-List Pick

Christopher J. Yates’s cult hit Black Chalk introduced that rare writerly talent: a literary writer who could write a plot with the intricacy of a brilliant mental puzzle, and with characters so absorbing that readers are immediately gripped. Yates’s new book does not disappoint.

Grist Mill Road is a dark, twisted, and expertly plotted Rashomon-style tale. The year is 1982; the setting, an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City. 


There, among the craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three friends—Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah—are bound together by a terrible and seemingly senseless crime. 

Twenty-six years later, in New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again—with even more devastating results.


Amazon Blurb...
Former political correspondent Vaughan makes an impressive debut with this savvy, propulsive courtroom drama.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. 


Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?


Amazon Blurb...
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. 

But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. 

Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. 

As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control.  


An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward--with hope and pain--into the future.


Amazon Blurb...
A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

"You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark."

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer."

Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. 

He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. 

He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

 Photo of McNamara and her comedian husband

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. 

It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. 

Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. 

Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

***
The book caught my eye because in the late 1980s I delved into the disappearance of two young girls from the Oklahoma State Fair (1981). 

I spent a year communicating with the main suspect who was in prison for kidnapping a young girl in another state. He was tried but not convicted for the kidnapping in Oklahoma.

This suspect requested that I meet him in person, but I was ultimately stopped by authorities for reasons still unknown to me. 

The suspect would not disclose more information unless it was face to face.

The disappearance of the two young girls in Oklahoma was never solved. 

That suspect died while in prison. He evidently took his secrets with him to his grave. 


More Tests & Questions


I spent hours at the doctor's office yesterday. 

My gynecologist ordered a vaginal ultrasound, and told me to come back to her office once that was done. 

The cyst on my ovary is small, so she doesn't think it is bothering my bladder. She said my bladder may still be irritated by the infection I had weeks ago. 

Or, she said, it could be Painful Bladder Syndrome.

Oh joy.
 

But that wouldn't cause me to feel as I've been feeling.

One test to go right now, the echocardiogram next week.

When I got home, I looked up symptoms of right atrial enlargement and here's what I found.

Symptoms Of Right Atrial Enlargement
  • a reduced ability to practice physical exercise;
  • weakness and fatigue;
  • feeling lightheaded or faint;
  • dizziness and confusion;
  • tightness or pressure in the chest;
  • shortness of breath.

I don't know. But I'm tired of being poked and prodded. 


I stopped at Lowes for steel wool (I think the mice may be visiting under the kitchen sink again) and caulk.

Then once I left the doctor's office I stopped at the grocery and picked up a few items. Tabouli and pasta salad from their deli, salad, almond milk, cheese, crackers. Apples and grapes.

I'm really not very hungry. But I want easy things on hand that I can eat. 

I want food I can put together quickly like cheese and crackers and fruit and veggies.

Years ago at this time I would be busy baking for Christmas. Making all kinds of candy. 

One year I made every single person on my list a basket of homemade goods.

This year, still not really feeling it. How about you? Are you in the mood for holiday baking and making?


Consternation


The photos I am showing today I took of the container plants on the patio yesterday. Can't believe I still have daisies, etc.


Sweet lavender petunias too.

This morning I have an appointment with the gynecologist. That seems to be the next step. 

I had about two good weeks. Now I'm back to feeling nauseous and faint. Hormones?


My glasses came in, thank goodness. So I went to get them yesterday. And not a minute too soon.

Then I stopped at Hobby Lobby on the way home because they had a few things half off that I'd been wanting. While in there, I felt faint a number of times.

I've never fainted, so I don't know what that's like. But I get very hot and kind of dizzy and light-headed. 

And feel an almost desperate need to get outside into moving air. My mouth gets very dry and I want a drink of water and thank goodness I have some in my car.


I got home and turned on the news in time to hear the president speaking to a Native American group. And he called Senator Elizabeth Warren (from Oklahoma) "Pocahontas." 

I couldn't believe it. 

Clearly, clearly, that was not the appropriate thing to say. For the love of all things holy, how could someone not know that???

I don't think I've ever shaken my head in consternation at things I hear coming out of Washington D.C. as much as I have this past year. From the press secretary on up. 

I must say that I am continually shocked.


Well, it is highly entertaining I guess I can accurately say. But also a bit disturbing.

I do think 2018 is going to be the year of the woman. Onward to 2020. Women are winning key elections all over the nation. And it's about time.


Warm Sunny Days & Almost December


The weekend was nice and sunny. Saturday the air conditioner was on for a time. We're still in that "in-between" weather.

I didn't go out from Wednesday all the way through the weekend. If my glasses come in today, I will go get them.

Some of you have emailed me to say that I can take my current eye glasses to a store to get a new nose piece. 

But that isn't possible for these type glasses. There is no frame, so there is nothing to attach them to.

I'd have to have a whole new bridge piece that holds the two lenses together, because that is what the nose piece is attached to.


This past weekend my ovary was really pressing on my bladder and that drives me crazy. It's also making me nauseous again. I'll call the doctor today. 

If I only get a week or so reprieve with this cyst, I want to know what options I have. I hate feeling like I have to be in the bathroom all the time.

Someone asked me if I really had a UTI last month, or if it was the ovary causing problems. 

The test came back positive the first time I went to the doctor, but came back negative the second time. Which was when they ordered the ultrasound.

The echocardiogram is scheduled for I think the 5th, but I'm waiting to see what my part of the cost will be. 


Christmas is very scaled down at my place. I'm still debating whether I'm putting a tree up or just decorating table tops. 

I think I'll make my decision based on how I'm feeling physically the first part of December. 

I'm thankful I don't have to do what many of you do for holidays. No huge family or stress for me. 

So I can decide based on only what I want and not take anything else into consideration. I know many of you love the bustling holiday activity. But I don't. I like it calm and quiet.

I did all the bustle and activity when my kids were young. Now I consider myself retired from all that! 


I did a lot of reading over the weekend. Finished one book, and all but read most of  "The Mistake" Saturday evening. I lay in bed with a hot pad on my lower tummy and read till I get sleepy.

I got a notice that management will be coming in during this week to check and see if we have kitchen and bathroom electrical GFCI outlets. 

I've actually forgotten what that looks like. But my outlets look normal, so guess I'll have to have them. I'm dreading it. I don't feel like having anyone in here.

What's going on at your house this week? 

Book Review: Only Child


Zach Taylor is 6 years old when this story begins. The book opens when a gunman is shooting at people in the elementary school.

The first paragraph... 

The thing I later remembered the most about the day the gunman came was my teacher Miss Russell's breath. It was hot and smelled like coffee. The closet was dark except for a little light that was coming in through the crack of the door that Miss Russell was holding shut from inside. There was no door handle on the inside, only a loose metal piece and she pulled it in with her thumb and pointer finger.

Zach is huddled with his teacher and classmates in a closet, trying not to make any noise. He describes the sounds and smells he experienced in that closet.

After the gunman is contained and shot, the children are herded into a nearby church where the parents are to pick them up.

When his mother arrives, it is only then, when his mother asks him about Andy, that Zach thinks about his brother. He feels guilty about this.

Tragically Andy was killed by the gunman. Who just happens to be the teen-aged son of one of the school's most beloved employees.

Zach's words...When you die and it's time for your funeral, that's when people say goodbye to you.

Children are more honest than adults. There are no nuances. To a six year old, things are up or down, black or white.

By the end of this story you will remember what it felt like to be a short person in a world full of adult complications. 

Because there is a child in all of us.

Zack's words...I never knew you could feel more than one feeling inside of you at the same time.

But more than one feeling at the same time, right next to each other or on top of each other and all mixed up inside you? I never knew that could happen. 

This author did a superb job of being able to see and write this entire story through the eyes of a child.

***


About the author... 

RHIANNON NAVIN grew up in Bremen, Germany, in a family of book-crazy women. 

Her career in advertising brought her to New York City, where she worked for several large agencies before becoming a full-time mother and writer. 

She now lives outside of New York City with her husband, three children, and two cats. 

This is her first novel.  


Staying Home & Sweet Gift In The Mail


Well, I got so tired of wearing the old blurry glasses that I resorted to wearing the glasses that now have only one nose piece.

Progressives have layers of prescription to them, which is why they're so expensive. 

So wearing a pair of these glasses with one nose piece means I can see pretty well out of one side, but the other eye is looking out of the wrong spot with no nose piece to anchor my vision. 

Which means you're mostly okay with one eye, and blurry with the other.

So I'm doing as little as possible until I can get my new glasses, which should be (I hope) Monday. Going to be a long weekend looking out of this pair.

However I still have a meal or two from the leftovers my daughter brought over. And I can put together various meals from what I already had. 

So I won't be going out. Driving would be a bit difficult.


A sweet reader sent me the above gift. There is a pretty table runner with rick-rack and colorful striped dish towels. Along with paper napkins and a little notebook. All beautifully color coordinated. Thanks Pam!

I will probably finish the book I'm reading this weekend. I'm really enjoying "Only Child."


It is written from the viewpoint of a first grader who was in an elementary school when a gunman came in and started shooting. His older brother was killed, and this tragic event changes his whole family.

I would think it would be hard to write a book from the viewpoint of someone so young. Rhiannon Navin handled this task splendidly however. 

I am not one to go out during the weekend after Thanksgiving. I wouldn't get out in those crazed crowds for love or money. 

Do you go out to shop on Black Friday weekend? If you do, I consider you a very brave soul!


Holiday Leftovers & Other Stuff


I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

How many of you had to wear elastic waist pants yesterday due to overeating?

My daughter brought me much of their leftovers because they're traveling out of state. Didn't have to cook yet I have all the leftovers. Yea!

Did any of you notice that I changed the flowers in the jar in my blog header? I was Googling around and found this bouquet free to download.


For some reason it just grabbed my attention and I downloaded it. (It might have had something to do with the fact that it had a red flower in it. And you know how much I love red.)

Then I took this jar graphic...

And it became this...


I'm still on the fence about Christmas decor. So no, I haven't started decorating yet.

One problem is that my glasses are driving me crazy and I can't seem to adjust my eyes to the older pair once the pair I was wearing broke. 

The new ones should come in Monday I'm hoping. 

The other is that I still need to finish painting. Still haven't finished the living room.

And then there's the fact that I purchased more paint for the dining room because I ran out and needed to fill some nail holes. 

And you know what? Apparently I bought a different white than I normally do. It's brighter. Guess I grabbed the wrong one. 

So before I realized it, I went ahead and patched holes and covered them with the new paint, and it looks spotty crazy now. 

So I will have to repaint the dining room. 

Also, when I painted the living room, I used a semi gloss white. 

And now every flaw in the walls (of which there are many) stick out like sore thumbs. I didn't realize that would happen when I painted over the flat white.

I don't like to decorate for the holidays with spots and flaws glaring at me from every wall. So I haven't figured out how much time I want to devote to a painting project I hadn't anticipated before Christmas.


I've been having a lot of Granny Smith apple slices with peanut butter. A good little snack. Do you like apples with peanut butter?

Have you decorated for Christmas yet? If not, when do you plan to start?

I've been seeing Christmas decorating on many blogs before November even began. Personally I just can't go there that early. 


Mammogram & My Glasses Break


Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!

Yesterday was my mammogram. Every time I have something like this, I get the questionnaire to fill out about my family. Most importantly for this one; your mother, grandmother, aunts, sisters, etc.

I really don't know this info about my family. And I just write that at the bottom and draw an arrow to it.

Just before that, my glasses broke. 

Glad I had my new ones ordered. But they won't come in until Monday. So I'll be wearing old glasses that are not strong enough and kind of blurry. 

I hope to be digging out my Christmas decor over the weekend. But if my eyes grow weary, I might wait until next week. 

Have a happy day! I truly cherish all of you!


Eye Exam & New Book In The Mail


Monday I had an eye exam. I knew I needed new glasses. But I put it off because my glasses are always expensive. But the nose piece was just about broken off. So I had to do it.

I have to wear bifocals. But I just hate those lines across the middle of the lens. So I always get progressive glasses.  If you're not familiar with them, here is some information for mature wearers of glasses.

So my glasses end up costing around $500. Which is what I paid to order them this time too. A good chunk of change, huh? But worth it to me because if I'm awake, I'm wearing them.


(Another clematis bloom.)

I was told that I will probably need cataract surgery within the next year or so. He said I might even notice a difference in my sight in my right eye earlier than that.

He also said that it is possible that once I have surgery, I have around a 90% chance of not having to wear glasses all the time anymore. Just reading glasses.

Have any of you had that happen?

That would be a pleasant surprise, because I've worn glasses since childhood. I never opted for contacts, because I cringed at the idea of putting anything in my eyes.


Aside from the petunia plant above, I have another petunia plant that has about a dozen black blooms. I just didn't capture a decent photo of it. 


I also still have tomatoes to eat. Though as you can see the leaves look pretty bad!

 

And I still have loads of Johnny-Jump-Ups. Plus I still have purple petunias blooming.


And roses, though they look a little bedraggled...


Now to the book I received yesterday...


Here is the summary blurb from Amazon.com...

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. 


A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. 

While Zach's mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter's parents, holding them responsible for their son's actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. 

Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours. 

***
Here's how I've been getting books lately.

I look for new books on Amazon.com, or I go to Goodreads.com and find them. 

Then when I have the author's name, I look for a link to their website, or I Google their name. Many times I find their email address listed, and I then email them telling them of my interest in their book.

I've had quite a few email back and give me the link to their publisher or publicist. Who I then email with my interest, and they email back and ask for my address in order to send me the book.

Mary Kubica's publisher, after I sent them the link to my review, said they'd put me on a list for all women's fiction and suspense books, which is what I told them I prefer to read. They told me if there's anything specific that I want to read to let them know.

So this has been a great way to get books for my daughter and I to read. Authors and publishers really want feedback and reviews of their books on blogs as well as social media.

Speaking of my daughter, she will be bringing me a Thanksgiving meal sometime that afternoon. So I don't have to cook or do anything this year. I'm planning on digging out my Christmas decor over the weekend.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, however you choose to spend it.


Books & A No Caffeine Update


I figured out how far is too far with my ankle. I got up on a stepladder a few times hanging a small shelf. It was the first time in probably two weeks that I felt any pain. 

Note to self: Try to stay off step ladders. 

Took a bit of the wind out of my sails. But I'm still pleased I made so much progress before that. And that after a few days of rest, I was okay.


I'm looking forward to reading these books. I love to have a stack of unread books next to my bed. 
***

No Caffeine Update:
After a few weeks of having no caffeine, I find that I now only crave water. It was no problem for me to get off of it at all. No coffee, no tea, no chocolate for me.

Many of us needs to drink more water. One suggestion I've seen and may implement is drinking from a one gallon jug of water all day long until you've emptied it. 

That's how you would get in your 8 glasses per day. 

The Improvements I've Seen So Far: 
1. My face has cleared up

2. I sleep better and am less anxious

3. With much less sugar, I'm not getting hungry all the time.

Because I am post menopausal and I figure many of you are as well, I have looked up the symptoms for having an ovarian cyst. 

Many don't have symptoms. But I did, and that led to getting the abdominal ultrasound.

Symptoms Of Ovarian Cysts During Post Menopause:
Though ovarian cysts don't always cause symptoms and can go away on their own, there are some symptoms that may indicate the presence of an ovarian cyst. The most common include:
  • Sudden pain in the lower abdomen
  • Bloating or swelling of the abdomen
  • Ache of the pelvis, lower back or thighs
  • Pain with nausea and vomiting
  • Fever, weakness, and dizziness
  • Rapid breathing
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be that you have an ovarian cyst, and you should go to the doctor immediately.