Always Watching is Chevy Steven’s third book published by St. Martins. The biggest difference that readers will notice is Steven’s departure from writing about young women being abducted. I am excitred that the author was able to make the change in her focus so she could write about a differnet topic and type of female protagonist.
Nadine is a psychiatrist andthe protagonist of Always Watching. Being a psychiatrist, Nadine begins working with a young lady who has just tried to commit suicide who recently left a commune. Now Nadine must confront her own issues that stem from her being raised on the same commune during the 60s-70s.
Not everything is different in Always Watching. Chevy Stevens remains faithful to her familiar landscape of Vancouver, BC by placing her story in and around Victoria. You can tell that Stevens is an outdoorsy kind of person who must enjoy being surrounded by nature. Her characters are often placed in dangerous situations in the wild and this setting/scenario is no different.
It is clear that Stevens spent a lot of researching the field of psychiatry/counseling to help develop Nadine’s character and the inner workings of a psychiatric unit. Most of the internal dialogue and conversations that take place in the book sounds exactly like a counselor would say or do in situations that involve conflicts, dealing with addiction, and cults.
This is a quick read that will draw in readers with simple dialogue, crafty female characters, and an emphasis on healing past emotional trauma. Nadine eventually comes to term with what happened during her childhood at the River of Life cult while also realizing that her grown daughter, Lisa has her own demons that haunt them both.
Readers who like mysteries, crime novels, and psychological thrillers will enjoy Always Watching. I read the book in three days and it helped me get over reading the absolutely boring (The) Secrets of Mary Bowser. Fans of Chevy Stevens will enjoy her new book but may be disapointed that most of the story focuses on Nadine trying to cope with her own psyche instead of her usual protagonist who must remain focused on being able to escape a physical barrier.
Always Watching will be published this summer by St. Martin’s Publishing.
This month has gone by in a blur of work, doctor’s appointments, and football games. I have had to take off some time from work to squeeze in several doctor’s appointments since I seriously neglected my health last year. Now, after punishing myself for the past four months I am finally feeling better and keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to continue healing. For those who are curious I am battling a female issue that has been lingering…..so without revealing too may details it involves bacteria and lots and lots of penicillin…and no it is not an STD for all you negatives out there. One last note, I am very thankful for my new OB/GYN for helping me to get to this point.
On the baking front……I was told at one point to go on a wheat-free diet but did not have stick to it. The good news is that we live close to a farmer’s market, whole foods (whole paycheck) and several other gluten-free resources but I am not sure I would be able to manage a gluten-free diet long term. It is definitely a commitment to a lifestyle change. However, while I was on the diet I found two excellent products: Udi’s Gluten Free blueberry muffins (YUM!) and gluten-free pretzels. Have you ever heard of Almond Breeze made by Blue Diamond? Well, they make these rice crackers that are like crack cocaine….no joke. Those crackers are both gluten-free and yummy. I usually eat them as a snack and with my sushi adventures.
Reading front: check out NetGalley.com if you are looking to get into blogging about the books you read. I have joined their mailing list and was able to receive a copy of Love Unscripted by Tina Reber. What a great romance…the ones when the love wary girl meets Mr. Right and they fall in love. HARD. Actually, the story is about a twenty-something lady who owns a pubs in a small north east town. One day while cleaning up her pub she realizes that a very cute guy is being chased by a bunch of crazy girl fans and offers him a place to hide. The sudden rescue turns into a tentative friendship and eventually grows into a full blown Hollywood romance filled with exotic vacations, paparazzi, and the other normal relationship happenings like meeting the parents for the first time, etc. I have to admit that I did not have high expectations for this novel but was quickly swept off my feet by the gentle romance scenes, hot make out sessions, and the fact that this guy truly loves his partner. One word of caution: this story is LONG but worth reading. I highly recommend it for those who still believe in romance, good guys, and read People magazine.
What else happened this month? I received a copy of Fifty Shades Darker and finished it while waiting for most of my Dr’s appointments. At least it made the four hour wait for the CT scan go much quicker. I also think it allowed me to feel so good that everything came back looking normal. Whoohoo. Oh, then there was the oven fiasco but that is a post worthy of its own. Otherwise, it is hard to believe that it is only 80 degrees outside and almost October.
Sitting on my window shelf right in front of my sink is my collection of Star Wars Chubbies which are otherwise known as Russian nesting dolls. One day, I was washing the dishes and decided that it was time to increase my collection since I would be returning to work and might need something to inspire me. Hence, my latest Etsy purchase. Have you ever spent time on Etsy? It is almost as bad as Pintrest but not as bad. I probably waste a few hours on Etsy each month. So, my search for Russian nesting dolls landed me at this beauty.
It is from RockitBot and is a local company which really piqued my interest since I always think about the whole idea of staying local and not buying from a chain store. But, while this looks like a piece of fabric or simply a wallet it is much better because it is designed to hold all of your electronic accessories like a cell phone, SD card, jump drive…and a small amount of money, a few credit cards/ ids, etc.
One of the coolest features of shopping on Etsy is that sometimes you will order an item from a really crafty, creative vendor and they will send you all kinds of what I call tag-alongs including candy, cards, paper, etc. My package came wrapped in tissue paper and was wrapped in a cellophane bag tied with a pretty, simple, ribbon bow. There was also a card included which had a golf pencil too which was used to advertise the company. I was very impressed and elated to see the whole package literally.
If you have not shopped on Etsy before I highly recommend checking it out and find something to buy. You are supporting local artists, stay-at-home moms, and just good crafty people in general. Check it out!
If you knit or crochet you have probably found yourself spending a few
hours days perusing the wonderful website Ravelry. On there, you will literally find thousands of patterns from hats to weenie warmers. Phydeaux Designs was advertising one of her new patterns on the website and the colors immediately caught my eye. I began following her online on FB, bought a couple of her beautiful shawl patterns, drooled over her yarn clubs, and joined her mailing list.
Today, Phydeaux Designs announced to her mailing list that she is becoming a fully, independent designer, knitter, and yarn dyer starting today after working full-time while attending to her budding knitting business on the side. I am very excited for her and wanted to share this wonderful news with my readers. Congrats to Phydeaux and go check out her new website.
I fixed the widget on here to enable the Twitter feed for my blog. Please feel free to check it out and post a comment.
Have a great Tuesday! It’s finally raining around here…… What is on your plate for today???
After finding Sally’s Baking Blog I decided to try one of her recipes because I had 90% of the ingredients needed already. That makes the process even sweeter. Making the recipe was super easy and requires a handful of
ingredients. The best part of making the recipe is being able to use my favorite kitchen gadget: my Kitchen Aid mixer.
After mixing together all of the ingredients and scraping them out of the bowl into an 8×8 glass pan. I baked the blondies until they were beginning to brown around the edges like the directions indicated. This took about 32 minutes ( a bit longer) because my oven is literally on its last leg. I let the blondies cool on a cooling rack for almost 45 minutes, cut them and gave it a try. YUM!!! They tasted just like confetti cake and were still warm. The best part was the blondies were even better the second day…and third day….and the fourth day. I am pleased with how they came out and am definitely looking forward to trying another sweet recipe from Sally’s website.
The other morning I woke up at 5am and could not go back to sleep so I came into the DH’s office and began searching the web for some work-related information. I found the work-related stuff I need but I also stumbled upon this blog. Sally’s Baking Addiction is like porn for bakers……yes, I said it. I spent way too much time looking through her recipes and settled on three that I would like to make before returning to
work reality. I even thought that I could make one of the recipes for my colleagues since we have some new people on my team this year. Definitely check out Sally’s blog and let me know if you try any of her recipes. Yum!!
After spending two hours in a meeting that could have been condensed into 45 minutes it was time to go home and get to work using all the details given in the meeting OR head to the movies. Like any responsible, mature adult I went to the movies and saw Magic Mike. I feel like there should be one of those noise machines that goes, “ooooooohhhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhh, wowwwwww.”
My SIL had seen it opening weekend and reported that she thought it was boring and was only interested in the dance scenes. At times it does drag but the dance scenes will help it move along. I luv’d the dance scenes and may have moved Channing Tatum from my top twenty list to the number one position (ahem, position, hehe). However, I must say that the club scenes were a bit over done because I will admit to going to an all male revue and don’t recall the audience being given a full face of c–k but this may have just added to the whole (giggle) package. I almost had a private screening of Magic Mike but ended up sharing the theater with five other women who managed to behave themselves.
Right now there are several movies in the theater that I would like see before having to go back to
work reality including Spiderman, The Watch, Batrman, and several others that I cannot remember because I am still thinking about Channing Tatum dancing in a pair of sweatpants and nothing else……..sigh.
This novel is the perfect choice for young adults, teens, and adults to read before heading back to school this fall. “What I Didn’t Say” by Keary Taylor is perfectly described by its title. Taylor does an excellent job of helping set the tone for discussions between parents/guardians and their children. Like the title suggests, this book is about the things that are not said but also touches on social topics: underage drinking, small-town life, falling in love, unique families, high school, and homelessness. It is written as a timeline with Jack counting down to graduation, then counting the days of his recovery, to the minutes after making a stupid mistake, and finally the countdown to graduation.
The story revolves around Jack who loses his voice as a result of a car accident. Yet, the story also focuses on his crush Samantha who is also facing a crisis of her own. “What I Didn’t Say” storyline focuses on issues like the death of a parent, homeless children, living in the Pacific Northwest, growing up in a large family, and coping with a disability. Taylor handles these topics with great understanding by writing realistic scenarios involving sensitive characters who are going through their own crisis. If I had to compare Taylor’s writing to another author I would immediately mention Simone Ekeles who also writes realistically about teenagers facing a life changing event.
Immediately after I finished the first chapter I asked DH, “why has no one (publishing house) gotten their hands on this amazing writer? Later, I discovered that Taylor has been mentioned as a top self-published author in a respectable publication. Taylor knows how awesome of a writer she is and that it is not necessary to have the backing of a major publisher. Her writing speaks for itself. I was never disappointed by the dialogue, the characters’ reactions, the parents’ reactions, and the decisions each character makes when faced with a conflict.
The only (minor) downside was a scene that places Jake and Sam in a lingere store sharing a dressing room….I won’t spoil the details but this may have been written in a way that it was implied or simply skipped. The only other element that left me with questions was Jake’s parents. I was wondering why they had so many children and if this was a religious choice or simply a part of the characterization element.
At the end, I had a very emotional reaction to Taylor’s note telling her readers about the loss of her hearing while growing up. As a young lady who wears hearing aids I wanted to rip the pages from my book and show it to DH since he often has no clue what I go through to try and stay in the conversation or focus listening in loud situations. Hopefully, “Things I Didn’t Say” will allow its readers to begin a dialogue with someone who has caught their eye or simply allow people who are going through a change in their life help cope with this alteration. I plan on recommending it to everyone who asks for a good novel to read before heading back to school.
This past week I have read some amazing books worth mentioning on the blog. Many people do not realize that when I am not working, I usually read a book a day. So far, I have read almost 20 books this summer.
It is not too often that I am able to read four or five books in a row that are all equally rated in my Goodreads queue. However something must be stirred up during the daily afternoon thunderstorms that has allowed me the pleasure to read The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow, The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, and Criminal by Karin Slaughter.
The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow was an emotional roller coaster to read. Each story was unique and filled with lessons about love. I spent several hours reading this book and wiping away tears since it helped me remember my own wedding memories and how lucky I am to to be where I am today. The Magic Room is not for those who just got engaged or are thinking about getting engaged. Instead, this book is a love letter from fathers, mothers and other parental figures to their daughters and daughter-in-laws. It gives those with a broken heart a sense of hope, it allows the bitter to begin working towards the next step in regaining their individuality, and it continues to sing the praises of those fortunate enough to be married to the one she loves.This would be an excellent book club pick for those groups who are struggling to bond since there are so many different stories that readers from different backgrounds can relate to and therefore share their stories with one another. It’s just too bad that Mr. Zaslow passed away this year since he was truly a talented writer who had a gift for capturing the essence o a person’s soul.
Since the beginning of the spring, I have patiently waited for this book to go on sale so I could buy it. I would receive an e-mail advertising it only to find it really was the normal big-chain price, then I would pass by the book pile at Costco and look longingly at the cover but still kept walking. Finally, USA Today announced The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty as their summer pick. The price for an e-book went to $2.99 and I bought it immediately while someplace in the middle of Alabama and even used my Ipad’s 4G wireless to purchase this book. That is how bad I wanted to read this book and knew that the price would be going up the next day. I had to have this book. I would have loved this book just as much if I had spent $17.99 on it but the low price tag just sweetened the deal. I read The Chaperone in just a day and a half. The characters in the book just captured my imagination. I imagine the New York skyline during the early 1900s. I imagined the journey that Cora took from NY to Boston searching for the mother who left her behind. I thought about Louise Brooks as a movie star, a small town’s easy girl, and the unique family unit Cora and Allen created back in Kansas. I probably was more intrigued by the idea of a young girl being shipped off to the new West to find a loving family. There is not a lot written about this time period that results in happy endings but Cora’s story is both bitter and sweet. With all the talk about same-sex marriage, many Americans would be greatly served by reading this book since it helps its audience realize the struggles men and women had to overcome during a time when society really was laced up in a moral corset. This book helped remind me why historical novels do serve a place in our library when well-researched and written. I hope that the author will continue to write other novels like The Chaperone so that our younger generation can continue educating themselves on the struggles women and men went through to help create today’s society.
Finally, I cracked open Criminal by Karin Slaughter. I LOVE Karin Slaughter as a writer and as a humanitarian since she has began working to save our local public libraries. Her latest book, is also considered a sort of historical novel in the sense that she ties a murder mystery from the 1970s to today’s front page headlines. Will Trent, Sara Linton, Amanda Wagner, and Angie return to help close a case that can only be described as horrific. Yet, this crime is the beginning of Will’s place in Atlanta and the GBI. Readers who has been devoted fans of Karin Slaughter will not be disappointed. I read several reviews that moaned and groaned about Angie being the evil wife yet I actually felt like giving her a high-five when the novel came to an end. Angie is really, really, really devoted to Will and their promise to each other. I am planning to write more about Criminal in another post since I want to spend more time talking about the historical context of the story. As a native of this town……I always have a better appreciation for Karin’s research yet I long to sit down with this author and show her my point of view. I’ve been in this town long enough, consistently enough to earn this seat. OK, now I sound like one of her characters…….back to reading.