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Friday, December 15, 2017

Odd Child Out: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

How well do you know the people you love…?

Best friends Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable.  But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal, Abdi can’t–or won’t–tell anyone what happened.

Just back from a mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident.  But tragedy strikes and what looked like the simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle.  Noah is British.  Abdi is a Somali refugee.   And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol.  Against this background of fear and fury two families fight for their sons and for the truth.  Neither of them know how far they will have to go, what demons they will have to face, what pain they will have to suffer.

Because the truth hurts.

my thoughts:

Wow! Talk about a riveting read.  I absolutely LOVED Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan. Its the second book in her DI Jim Clemo series, but can definitely be read as a standalone.  I've read the first book, What She Knew (and LOVED it as well), so I was definitely excited to pick up this next book in the series.  I just knew that it would be another unputdownable story chock full of drama, suspense and mystery - which happens to be my favorite kind of book to read during the holiday season.

Odd Child Out focuses on two best friends, Noah and Abdi.  Considered to be two peas in a pod, everyone is shocked when both boys are involved in an accident that leaves Noah comatose.  Abdi refuses to talk (at all) and tell anyone what happened.  Noah can't talk.  So, their parents are left to wonder what happened to both boys and how Noah wound up floating in the canal where he was found.  DI  Jim Clemo is called onto the scene to piece together the events leading up to Noah's accident.  Its his first case since being on mandatory leave, so he's definitely eager to be back on the job.  Clemo and his partner begin their investigation into the boys and their friendship - trying to figure out the truth as quickly as possible.  You see, Abdi and his family are refugees from Somalia, and the news media is using that fact to target Abdi as the villain. Of course, this creates even more drama and makes handling the case even more difficult for Clemo - especially as the main journalist happens to be his ex.  Talk about bitter exes! Now, I won't tell you what happened between Noah and Abdi, suffice it to say - Be prepared!   

Odd Child Out is a terrific story that explores the complexities of friendships; the hot button issues of race, immigration, and news media; and the realities of battling a terminal illness.  Macmillan's writing is top notch and her characters are unforgettable.  This is one book you won't want to miss!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Odd Child Out
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Friday, December 8, 2017

My Friday Five...

1.  Books.  Is it crazy that I want to purchase multiple copies of my favorite books? I want all of the different covers and editions. Is that too much? Or is every bookaddict doing this?  Here are some of the books I am coveting:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/117728.A_Confederacy_of_Dunceshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8108445-cat-s-cradle
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27845657-my-name-is-lucy-bartonhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32874103-anything-is-possible
https://juniperbooks.com/store/kurt-vonnegut-set/
2.  TV.  I have not watched TV this week. Okay, so I did watch the news a few times and maybe one Christmas movie on Hallmark, but that was it. I just found that nothing really interested me this week. The Christmas I did watch was on a whim. It was called Engaging Father Christmas and was a sequel to a movie I have never seen. Its basically about this young woman who found out who her father was the year before. Turns out he was a famous actor who cheated on his wife with her mother! Anyhow, he's passed away and so has her mom.  The family he's left behind take her into their fold, but at a distance.  Of course, she's met someone in the small town the family lives in and gets engaged when she returns (hence the title) to visit with her new family.  Along the way, she runs into her ex, who she confesses her secret to - that her dad was a famous actor. And suddenly, she's getting texts threatening to reveal the truth about her parents. Now she's worried that her new family will drop her like a hot potato once they found out that their secret is out. In the end, everything works out and she gets the man she loves and her new family's trust - plus, the home her father first bought.  Its a bit unrealistic, but still heartwarming. And I loved it.

3.  NetGalley.  So many great books to choose from! I am getting addicted to requesting again - OMG! I just go approved for these three and can't wait to devour them:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35297314-the-glass-forest?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35734062-women-in-sunlight?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29736467-the-beauty-that-remains?ac=1&from_search=true

4.  Christmas shopping. I am nearly finished - Hurrah! I've been buying so many things online lately - its a huge help.  I'm headed to the shops this weekend and can't wait to finish off my list.  For some reason, its been a lot of fun buying gifts this year. And I'm looking forward to wrapping them all up, too. I think its the holiday spirit in the air that's cheering me up lately and I love it!

5.  Music.  Christmas music and Selena (not Gomez).  I was in Target the other day and found a Selena CD for 5 bucks and bought it on a whim. And now, I can't stop listening to it. 

And now, I'm off to re-read A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear.  Hope you all have a great weekend! Happy reading!!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

My Christmas Wish List...

Its nearly Christmas and that means making lists. I've already made a few and crossed some names from them.  Now its time to make a list of my own.  Of course, mine is filled with books, but I can't help it. I'm bookworm at heart and all I want for Christmas are books.  Here are some of the titles I have on my Christmas Wish List:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29936927-the-best-we-could-do?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30347689-literature-class-berkeley-1980?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31212863-the-wide-circumference-of-love?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31130686-smitten-kitchen-every-day?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31944834-the-river-bank?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32452160-strange-practice?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33163378-moxie?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33395084-the-complete-stories-of-leonora-carrington?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33830437-far-from-the-tree?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34390247-go-went-gone
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31117613-tin-man?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32905835-the-lost-art-of-letter-writing?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31690144-the-lost-plot?ac=1&from_search=true

What do you think? Not a bad bunch, right? My fingers are crossed that I'm gifted some of these lovelies for Christmas.  What about you? Are there any books you're hoping making it into your stocking this year? Here's to hoping we each have a book-tastic holiday season!
 
Happy reading! And, Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 1, 2017

My Friday Five...

1.  Its December 1st and that means Christmas is on its way - hurrah! My tree is up and fully decorated. I have ordered gifts, crossed names off lists, and have stocked up on wrapping paper. My cookbooks are out and ready to be perused, so that I can choose a few (or a lot) of recipes to bake this holiday season. Christmas music is playing throughout the house and in my car - I love it!  I'm ready to watch Love Actually and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation over and over again.  And I'm making a list of everything I need to do this holiday season - yikes!

2.  TV shows.  I am still watching the Housewives shows on Bravo. I'm addicted, so what can I do?  The OC's reunion was rather lackluster.  Although I do hope that Vicki and Tamara are friends next season, because this past season was seriously dull.  NJ is beyond ridiculous and I'm starting to wonder why I watch it. Dallas was seriously the best, but way too short - they only show 10 episodes compared to the other shows which get over 20.  And BH is coming back this month - woo hoo!  I've stopped watching TWD - its just so boring lately.  They really need to defeat Negan and move on.  Stranger Things 2 was so much fun. I loved the Snow Ball at the end - it was one of the highlights of the season.  Plus, the 80s music was awesome - who doesn't love Cyndi Lauper?  And I finally discovered Ghosted, starring Adam Scott and Craig Robinson. OMG! What a fun and ridiculous show - I loved it!

3.  Books.  My reading has fallen to wayside. I can't seem to find a book that I actually want to get lost in. So, I've been re-reading the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. I love these books and tend to re-read them every year.  I'm currently on the third book in the series, Pardonable Lies. I'm near the end, where Maisie is discovering the truth about one of her clients. She's been through the ringer with this story - realizing that slaying one's dragons isn't as easy as she had imagined. Its definitely one of my favorites in the series. Oh, and I just found out that Winspear's next book (To Die But Once) in the series comes out next March - woo hoo!!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7432.Pardonable_Lies?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35068555-to-die-but-once?ac=1&from_search=true

 4.  Planners.  I have recently fallen down the planner rabbit hole on IG and YouTube - OMG! So many planners and so many ways to plan. I decided to try the Hobonichi Techo. I love the covers and the idea of using different planners for different things. I hope that I can stick with it - I usually start a new planner and then forget about it midway through. I tend to write lists and jot down appointments on notepads.  Wish me luck!  And let me know what type of planner you use - give me some new ideas.

5.  Photograph by R.E.M. featuring Natalie Merchant. Two of my absolute favorites!! I hadn't heard this one in ages:

And now, I'm off to go through the latest issue of Vogue. I just received it in the post and can't wait to check it out.  Happy reading!! 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Three Things...

Howdy strangers! Its been so long since I last posted and I have to admit that I've missed writing on my blog. I have a huge stack of books to read and review.  And I need to catch up and read your blog posts, too. I feel so out of the loop.  Hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving - mine was chock full of family and too much food (all of which I love). 

I thought I'd write a quick post sharing three things - something to get my blogging back on track.

1.  Losing weight.  Yes, I want to lose weight to get healthy and feel healthy.  Except that the way I recently lost weight is not my ideal strategy.  So, my sister and I had McDonald's one night for dinner (we were lazy and wanted fast food).  I ordered the Chicken Nugget meal - something I never normally get, but for some reason wanted.  As a result of that meal (which tasted sub par), I wound up getting sick.  Like I was basically chained to the bathroom all night long throwing up. I felt wretched and weak afterward.  And the stomach issues lasted all week long. I wound up losing nearly 12 pounds.  Shortly after that dinner fiasco, I decided on the spur of the moment to join my parents and favorite aunt on a road trip to visit family up north in Ohio.  Well, we ate at a service plaza for dinner one night and I wound up getting sick from that meal (KFC - yes, I know, I need to stop with the fast food).  I spent the week we were in Ohio eating nothing, because everything and anything made me sick. I wound up losing another 10 pounds. So, all in all, I lost over 20 pounds by getting sick on fast food. Talk about an unhealthy diet. Knock wood, I am finally feeling better and so I've been slowly adding foods back into my diet. Healthy foods - tons of veg, fruit, and lean meats. And, I started going to the gym again.  My fingers are crossed that I never throw up again. 

2.  Ohio.  I had not been in ages (since I was in college) and my aunts are getting older (late 70s), so I figured why not go. My parents were already packed and ready to leave when I decided to join them. It was the three of us, plus my favorite aunt.  We drove the whole way and stopped too many times, but enjoyed the road trip.  I have to admit to loving seeing the different states along the way - the leaves are changing, the mountains rise up high, and the fog settles in thick.  Its definitely fun to leave behind the palm trees and sunshine, especially when its Fall.  My mom's family lives in a small town called Fostoria, or as my favorite aunt likes to call it, "the town that time forgot".  She is so right. This town has not changed that much since I last visited (which was sometime in the late 90s).  The only difference between now and then is that more shops have shut down and more homes have been abandoned. Its crazy how so many people live there, but they all work and shop in a different town instead of their own. Driving around, my mom and aunt were reminded of the places they lived and shops they frequented when they lived there.  And seeing my aunts, uncles, and cousins was a blast from the past. Especially, since my favorite uncle came down from NY to see us.  It was so nice to catch up with everyone in person and just talk, laugh, and spend time with each other. Oh, and the weather - freezing! It was in the 20s and low 30s when we there, so we had to borrow jackets and scarves. I had anticipated 40s and 50s, but apparently there was a sudden drop in temperature the week we were there. It was cold and I loved it! Of course, everyone had their fireplaces roaring and their heaters cranked up high.  We made a trip to Amish country and bought tons of their baked goods to enjoy with the family (none of which I could eat).  So much food on this trip! And all I ate were flour tortillas (which were delicious, because they were homemade) and drank ginger ale or water. Ugh! I had to pass on my aunt's tamales (which she made just for us). The not eating was the only downside of the trip.  By the by, I couldn't help but think of that show, Breaking Amish, when we were in Amish country - how crazy is that?!  All in all, it was a great trip and the car came back  loaded with Christmas decor we bought at local craft fairs - I love craft fairs! 

3.  Holidays.  Thanksgiving has come and gone.  And now, we are gearing up for Christmas and the New Year. Talk about time speeding up. I feel like the year is ending much too quickly, but I am certainly looking forward to 2018 - I have my planners all lined up.  Hallmark is on all the time and I am loving all the new Christmas movies they have been showing lately. Of course, whenever I watch them all I do is complain about the lack of diversity and how the women are portrayed - and yet I can't stop watching them.  The tree and house are decorated. Presents are being bought and wrapped. I'm making a list of what to bake.  And I'm already planning what to cook for Christmas dinner and New Year's brunch.  Oh, and my car is loads with Christmas CDs.  I am definitely enjoying the holiday season. 

P.S.  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged - how exciting!!  They make such a lovely couple. I watched their interview on the BBC and thought they seemed so happy and in love. I feel like William and Kate are so reserved compared to them. 


Hope you all have a great week!! Happy reading!!