Saturday, April 06, 2024

Sunday Synopsis


The Waltham MurdersThe Waltham Murders by Susan Zalkind
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was not as enlightening or as true crime-ish as the blurb promised. The Waltham murders refers to a triple homicide that took place exactly ten years after 9/11 in Waltham, Massachusetts. It was extremely brutal. The victims, who were part of the drug culture, were also robbed, but the police did not seem to give the crime high priority. The case went cold, but the author, who was friends with one of the slain and who was also an investigative journalist, wouldn't let the case die, especially after finding what she considers ties to the Boston Marathon bombing.

There are a lot of characters, and the author gives complete backgrounds on all of them, including herself. The number of characters gets very confusing, particularly when she discusses parents of some of the victims and possible perpetrators that are tangential to the entire topic. It is difficult to tell who is who and how they relate to the murders, if they actually do. Some of the events have nothing to do with either the Waltham murders or the bombing.

The link between the bombing and the Waltham murders, according to this author, is that Tamerlan Tsarnaev is guilty of both crimes. That is the only connection between these two crimes. There is only circumstantial evidence in the murders, which also exists for a few other people besides Tamerlan who were in the same social circles and could just as easily be guilty. No one has ever been arrested or tried for the Walthum murders.

I feel for the author's personal situation, losing a friend to a heinous murder, but the book is mostly assertion of opinion as opposed to cold, hard facts. Much of the information is unnecessary and repetitive and does not point to any person definitively. No one was ever held accountable; in fact, both of the men the author believes to be involved are dead.

I was hoping to get more clarity on exactly what happened in Boston during the bombing and its aftermath, but the author was brief on that topic, nonchalantly stating where the bombs were placed, and that Dzhokhar was found in a boat. The book is based on hours and hours of interviews, and I respect that process, but the book is mostly the author theorizing on what could have happened. We will never know for certain.  It is more memoir than true crime.

View all my reviews

Monday, April 01, 2024

Happy Random Tuesday

I heard the term scot-free on the news a few days ago (in reference to one of our embarrassing public officers), and I agree with the newscaster, which is actually besides the point. What exactly does scot-free mean?  To me, it means with no punishment. 

Disappointingly, it has nothing to do with being Scottish! It actually originated in Icelandic from the word skot meaning tax or payment.   It was also referred to as bescot and escot.  Now we just say scot.  So literally, it means, without tax or without payment.  That could be seen as not paying for one's transgressions, I suppose.  So that was my language lesson for today.

How about some funnies?

and this is actually the truth!

Have a great week!  Don't forget to visit my friends at Random Tuesday Thoughts and Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Sunday Synopsis


Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24)Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe because I have read so many Stephanie Plum novels, they fail to impress me greatly, but more likely, it was because this one had to do with zombies, and I don't like zombie anything (book, show, movie).

This book has bounty hunter Stephanie Plum continuing to chase FTA's (failure to appear) for her cousin Vinny's bail bonds business. One of her FTA's goes quietly, but only when Stephanie agrees to take care of his giant pet snake. Did I mention I don't like snakes, either? She's also chasing a crook who wants to shoot a movie about zombies, and apparently, there is a new drug on the streets that makes the user into a zombie of sorts. And did I mention there are headless bodies showing up?

Believe it or not, there is actually some humor in the book, in large part (pun intended) from Stephanie's sidekick Lulu, a plus-size black woman in petite-size clothes who used to be a prostitute. Morelli, Stephanie's police officer on-and-off boyfriend, and Ranger, her self-appointed guard, also show up in the book.

This is an easy read, and it would be fun if not for the subject matter, so I can only say that the book was "okay."

View all my reviews

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Sunday Synopsis

It's One of UsIt's One of Us by J.T. Ellison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a convoluted plot for sure!

Olivia is a designer/decorator. Park is a ghost writer. They have been trying to have a child, but IVF and one miscarriage after another leads to bouts of depression and self-blame.

Meanwhile, a woman's dead body is found. The treatment of the body is very similar to a murder that happened when Park was in college, a murder for which he was questioned since he had been dating the victim.

Then, things get complicated. Detectives start coming around because DNA shows that Park is the father of the murderer. He and Olivia have no children. How could he have a son? Then we learn that Park donated to a sperm bank many years ago. The facility is only supposed to use the sperm on a finite amount of embryos, but they obviously did not follow that rule. Park is the father of many, and one of them is the murderer.

Olivia is devastated by this news. Even though she has her own secrets.

This is a very brief summary of the events in this book, but it has such depth and so many layers to the story, that to reveal it all would spoil the story for others, and I don't want to do that. The plot is twisted. The only part I didn't like was the epilogue where one of the big questions about who murdered the college girl back when Park was questionedin college. I won't give it away, but I did not like the scenario in the epilogue. It didn't add up. But the rest of the book was good: hard to put down!

View all my reviews

Monday, March 18, 2024

Random Happy Tuesday

 Hello!  I didn't forget this week!  But, about the time you read this, I will be under the knife getting a partial shoulder replacement (hemiarthroplasty). Oh what fun (sarcasm)!  But it needs to be done! This may be more info than you want, so keep scrolling if medical procedures give you the heebie jeebies.

It will look something like this.

I wonder where the phrase "under the knife" came from.  Let's find out!  Here's no suprise:  It originated from the field of surgery (duh).  It refers to the instrument used to make incisions such as a scalpel.  It's been used as a metaphorical expression since the early 20th century.

Well, that was not nearly as exciting as I hoped it would be!  I so love looking up the origins of idioms.  Maybe I can find something to make you laugh, although that's not what I'll be doing!

Praying this doesn't happen to me!

And something sweet before you go...

Visit my friends at Stacy Uncorked (Random Tuesday Thoughts) and Comedy Plus (Happy Tuesday) and have a great week!

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Sunday Synopsis


The InmateThe Inmate by Freida McFadden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Brooke Sullivan's parents have died and left her the house she grew up in. She returns to town and takes a position as a nurse practitioner at the men's prison where she's been warned not to get too close to the prisoners. The problem is, one of the prisoners is her ex-boyfriend Shane and father of her child, though he doesn't know it. He's in prison for murder, and Brooke's testimony was the strongest evidence that convicted him.

Brooke has also begun seeing her son's school assistant principal with whom she was best friends growing up. He has always warned her that Shane is dangerous. And when he began spending more time with Brooke, some strange things begin happening and Brooke thinks that maybe the wrong man is in prison, that it wasn't Shane but Tim who killed her friends.

This novel has some twists and turns. You think you have figured it out, then there is a twist. But I do think part of the ending was a little ridiculous due to lack of motive from the character.

Freida McFadden is a new author to me, and I like the way this book had me thinking one thing, then the oppositve would happen. She's not as polished as an author as some others yet, but I think that will improve as she continues to publish.

View all my reviews

Monday, March 04, 2024

A toast!


While watching Northern Exposure (never watched it when it was on back in the 90's), Maurice told a story of how the "toast" came to be, and I looked it up thinking he was wrong.  But he was right!  Or the writers were right.  Maurice is just a character!
This is the character Maurice.

But back to the toast! According to Sazerac House (which we visited in New Orleans last week), in the late 17th century, it was customary to put a crouton or a burned piece of toast in your wine.  Supposedly, it made the wine taste better, and perhaps helped the toast taste better, too. It became a party snack! That is why it is called a toast.

But the origin of saying "Cheers" or encouraging words before taking a drink came about in the 6th century with the ancient Greeks.  At first, the sayings were blessings to gods for bringing them health and long life. While the toasts themselves changed over the years, the custom was, and is still, used by many different cultures for many types of celebrations. The good wishes last even after the drink is gone.

But actual toast, now that's under-rated.  There's nothing like a lightly golden piece of buttery toast!

This cracks me up!

Instead of a test pilot, he's a toast pilot!

And last...

Remember to visit my friends at Happy Tuesday,  Random Tuesday Thoughts, and Crafteverly.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Random Happy Tuesday


Yep!  A day late and a dollar short!  Well, not quite a day and with inflation, who knows what dollar amount!  Did you ever wonder where the phrase, "A day late and a dollar short" came from?  I bet you can guess that it is believed to have started during the Great Depression when so many people lived in poverty.  The first record of the phrase being used in print was 1939, but it surely came about many years before that.  But that's me today... late.  It's still Tuesday where I am, though.  How about we just move on?

Have a great week, and don't forget to visit my friends at Happy Tuesday and Random Tuesday Thoughts!

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Sunday Synopsis

Run, Rose, RunRun, Rose, Run by Dolly Parton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by this book! At times it was a little hokey, corny, or cheesey. I felt the authors (Patterson and Parton) tried a little too hard to give it that "aw, shucks" country feel. But getting past that, it was a good story that was told quite well.

AnnieLee Keyes shows up in Nashville hoping to make it big in the country music industry. It is easy to tell that she is running from something in her past, but the reader will not know exactly what until near the end. Thankfully, the story has a satisfying resolution.

AnnieLee meets Ethan Blake at a honkey tonk where she asks to get onstage and sing during "open mic" time. Ethan is mesmerized by Annie with the first notes out of her mouth. He also happens to know the owner of the bar, Ruthanna Ryder who also happens to be a retired country music star. Eventually, as much as AnniLee will let her, Ruthanna takes her under her wing and tries to guide her in her quest for country music stardom. Things are going well for AnnieLee until her past catches up with her.

The story is a good mix of description about how the music industry operates with a little humor stirred in with the drama. As I was reading, Ruthanna Ryder always conjured images of Reba McEntire in my head, yet I'm wondering now if I was supposed to be picturing Dolly Parton. Well, it doesn't matter.

This is a fast-paced book with dynamic characters, a well-developed plot, and an actual ending. It is also less grizly that some of Patterson's other books.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 19, 2024

Random Happy Nonsense

 Hello, friends!  I'm so excited.  We're going to New Orleans tomorrow.  We are going to a basketball game at the Smoothie King Center, and we have reservations at Brennan's restaurant. 

My husband and I love the food in New Orleans!  Gumbo, muffalettas, roast beef po' boys, grilled oysters, and so on.  I don't know what else we are going to do. I'm sure part of it will involve Bourbon Street and Harrah's.  I've been on a swamp tour and sight-seeing in different sections of the city, so I'm open to suggestions if you have any good ideas about what to do. Luckily, Mardi Gras is over!

How about some funnies?

Have a great week, and don't forget to visit my friends at Comedy Plus and Stacy Uncorked!

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Sunday Synopsis


Out of the AshesOut of the Ashes by Kara Thomas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would have liked to give this more than three stars because the premise is interesting, but it's really only a 3 star read at best. The main character, Samantha, is back in her hometown to help her uncle take his own life (she's a nurse; he has cancer). 20-something years ago, her parents and sister were killed and her home completely burned in a fire. She was only 13 at the time and ended up living with her aunt (Michelle, also know as Mitch which was confusing) and her cousin. There is no love lost between her and the aunt and cousin, but that is beside the point.

This is a story of lies, secrets, and betrayals, which sounds like a great story-line. However, the author went off on tangents with the numerous characters, many of whom added nothing to the plot. There is a big twist at the end, but an avid reader of thrillers can probably guess at some of the details. There really was not a satisfying ending, either. Big bomb drops, no follow-up.

Maybe the author is going to write a sequel. If she does, I hope it will have fewer characters, more character development, events directly related to the conflict rather than tangential events that change nothing, and a satisfying conclusion, all of which were missing from this book. Which makes me wonder why I gave it three stars. Hmmm.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Happy Tuesday and Random Nonsense

 I imagine that most of you watched the super bowl like we did.  It was tense, to say the least!  What did you think of the half-time show?  It was pretty spectacular, but not my favorite.  I think Lady Gaga's and Katy Perry's are my favorites in recent memory.

What did you think of the commercials, because, let's face it, that's why many of us watch!  According to USA Today and the 160, 000 people that registered to vote for commercials, the best one was State Farm's "Like a Good Neighbaaa."

  That was pretty funny, but my favorite was the "Mayo"  commercial from Hellmann's, which only ranked 12. 

What can I say?  I'm a cat lover!  Here's a link in case you didn't see it. Mayo/Meow!

Some of the Superbowl memes are pretty funny...

This is my fave, and probably true!

Travis Kelce's mom!

Have a good week, and please visit my friends at Happy Tuesday and Random Tuesday Thoughts.


Related Posts with Thumbnails