Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

Today is Harry Potter’s 38th birthday, so I felt like a post was necessary!

As a kid I was not interested in reading Harry Potter. I remember checking it out of the library, and then never finishing the first book. I saw the movies right when they came out, and I still watch all of them about once a year. When I was younger, Harry Potter didn’t fit into my genre of books I liked reading.

I visited Harry Potter World with my boyfriend a year ago though, and it was so amazing! From the Butterbeer to the Hogwarts Express, no detail got left out of this amazing park. I think I could go back once a week and still find something new to look at each time.

Since then I have read the first four books, and I plan to read the last three soon. J.K. Rowling is an absolute genius, and her writing is unparalleled.

Harry Potter’s influence on my generation, as well as younger and older generations, should always be celebrated.

(I’m a Ravenclaw, by the way.)

What I’m Reading Right Now

Hi friends!

I am having a little bit of writers’ block for my blog, also known as “blogger’s block”. So, I thought it could be fun to see what everyone has on their reading lists right now!

Currently, I am reading Carrot Cake Murder- A Hannah Swensen Mystery- by JoAnne Fluke. She’s a favorite murder mystery writer of mine. Her reads are easy and fun. I’ve been reading her books for probably thirteen or fourteen years, and I have always enjoyed them.

We are going to be driving to Nashville next weekend, and it’s about a nine hour drive. So, by pure necessity since most of our trip will be while it’s dark, I have the first book from the Nocturne Falls series queued up on my Kindle App on my phone. The first book is titled: The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride. This book series was recommended to me by a follower. It reminded me a lot of the Disney movie Halloweentown (that I was OBSESSED with as a kid…and still am), so I was excited to hear about these books. They seem like a light, easy read also, so perfect for a long road¬†trip.

My book is…umm coming along….sort of. It’s so easy to get sidetracked from writing, so I really need to take the time this weekend to sit down and write some more.

Happy Thursday ūüôā

 

Mr. Confidence- A Book Review

book review pic

About a month ago I was contacted by Laura from Prodigy Gold Books, and I was asked to write a review for a new book they have coming out, Mr. Confidence by Rahiem Brooks. Of course I said yes, so I was sent the book (which is only available by download since it has not come out yet). I finished it last night, and I immediately wanted to sit down and write out my thoughts on it.

It is not the genre of books I reach for when in a library or a bookstore, but I enjoyed reading something a little different. It still had an air of mystery, as well as the crime aspect that I enjoy, but it does not fall under a mystery category. So for me, it was a good change of pace.

I don’t want to give too much away, and being that this is the first real book review I have been asked to do, I don’t know what or if there is a correct way to do this, so forgive me if I give too few or too many details. I don’t want to ruin the book’s plot for any potential readers out there!

Don Juan is the main character, he’s just gotten out of jail, and he has a lot of drama. Drama is the best word to describe the book, as well as the character. He is thrown back into the middle of the world that landed him in jail in the first place: the mother of his child, a mistress, and a world full of drugs and lust.

Don Juan is determined to not end up back in jail, and he will do (and does do) anything to keep that from happening. His main priority is his daughter, and the¬†picture of the relationship¬†Mr. Brooks draws for us between Don Juan and his daughter, Trinity, is one of a gentle dad who always goes the extra mile for her. He is also a thief, a con artist, and a ladies’ man that has no regard for the feelings of other people, except for his daughter. Mr. Brooks takes us on a short journey where a lot of life altering events occur for Don Juan. Just when we think our main character is at the end of his road, Mr. Brooks throws in another curve and changes everything.

The only complaint I have of the book, and it’s a small one, are the different view points the book goes through. Most of the book is told from the point of view of either Don Juan or his friend/business partner¬†Lex. Several other instances in the book though, the story felt like it was being switched to the viewpoint of several background characters. The story still made sense, but a couple different times I had to look back and see why we were being told the story from that character’s point of view. Other people may enjoy the different view points of each character, no matter the significance, but it just didn’t feel as natural to me. Again, a very small detail in the scheme of things and likely just personal preference.

Mr. Brooks does a good job of capturing the dialog and the mannerisms of the area and the culture. It was an easy read, and one I enjoyed each night after work. It had it all: betrayal, love, crime, and greed. I would not recommend this book to young adults, as there is some explicit content, but it is a great read for a more mature audience.

I will be reading another book by Mr. Brooks, A Butler Christmas, that is already available to the public. I will make sure to update on that one as well!

 

Thunder Rolls

When Molly returns from a work trip to Syria, she meets a cute guy named Preston online. But the hours following go from flirty to deadly…

Molly normally¬†liked when the weather was bad. She preferred the rain to other types of weather; she always got her best writing done when there was thunder and lightning in the background.¬†She just didn’t have it in her tonight.

After a couple of hours trying to get through the piece she was writing for work about her recent trip to Syria, she called it a night. She had about a page and a half to show for her efforts, but it would just have to wait.

She went downstairs to feed her cat and pour herself a glass of wine. Molly palmed her glass of Cabernet as she leaned against the counter. Her sleep schedule was still off from her trip and she knew she wouldn’t sleep for hours. She grabbed her cell phone and pulled open one of her dating apps. She had a message from a guy named Preston.

“How is your night going?” he wrote.

He was cute and she was bored so she responded with “It’s good. Just drinking some wine and relaxing.”

They chatted for a few minutes, and Molly went and plugged her phone into the charger in the hallway. Molly took a long, warm bath and when she went to check her phone, her heart fell into her stomach.

“That pink robe looks good on you” the message read.

Molly ran to the front door and made sure it was locked, and then she sprinted to the back door and latched it. She had a lump in her throat and her hands were shaking as she typed out “how did you know I’m in a pink robe?”

But no one messaged back.

Molly went up to her room and locked the bedroom door behind her. She checked under her bed and in her closet and when she was sure no one was in the room with her, she grabbed her pistol out of the nightstand by her bed and loaded it. She didn’t want to call the police over what was probably just a prank anyway.

She sat on her bed clutching the gun, trying to calm herself down.

Her phone beeped. “Why do you look so nervous Molly? I’m not going to hurt you; you can put your gun down.”

Molly let out a cry, and quickly muffled her mouth with her hand. She thought about calling her ex-boyfriend Danny, but after she had broken up with him before her trip he made it clear he didn’t want to speak to her.

Just as Molly was about to call the police, her phone beeped again. Another message from “Preston.”

“Call the cops and I will kill you. I can see you.”

She could feel the warm, salty tears streaming down her face. The sound of glass breaking downstairs pierced her thoughts. She grabbed her phone, ran to her closet, and¬†barricaded herself in it. She didn’t have anything to lose, so she called the police.

“911- what’s your emergency?”

She kept it short. “There’s a man breaking into my house, I’m at 473 Cherry Lane, please hurry I’m in my bedroom closet with a gun.”

“Okay ma’am, there’s an officer not far from you. He will be there as quick as he can. Stay on the phone with me. Do you know how to use your gun?”

“Yes, I think so. I have it loaded.”

“Okay, just don’t panic. You’re going to be fine.”

“Oh Molly, where are you?” teased the intruder. “I thought I told you not to call the police?”

She could hear him opening doors and getting closer. The voice sounded familiar, but through the closet walls everything was muffled. She heard her bedroom door shake. Whoever the man was couldn’t get it open. He threw himself into the door a few times until it broke open. Molly held her breath, not knowing what to expect. She was thankful she had a dresser in her closet that she had been able to push in front of the door…maybe it would delay him more until the officer could get there.

Her hands were shaking as she backed herself into the wall of her closet and braced the gun in front of her. She had only shot it a couple of times, but she figured at such a close range, she wouldn’t miss. She didn’t know if he was armed or not, but she wasn’t going to wait and find out.

“Oh Molly, this wasn’t very smart. I’ve got you cornered now. Those cops you called won’t get here in time.” he said.

She saw a knife plunge through the door. He stabbed it until he had made a whole big enough to see through, and as soon as she saw his eyes and the knife, she shot.

Her ears were ringing and tears were streaming down her face but she was alive and no one was trying to get through the door anymore. Before she could stand up she heard a voice coming up her stairs asking if she was okay.

“Yes, yes I’m okay. I’m the one who shot,” she screamed out.

She stood up, knees shaking and pushed the dresser away from the door so she could get out. When she opened the door and saw the officer she knew she was okay.

Then she looked down, and saw Danny on the floor. She hit her knees and cried out, finally realizing why she recognized the voice.

Over the next couple of¬†hours, after several officers combed through her house, she learned about Danny’s plan. While she was in Syria, he had used his key to her house to set up cameras and microphones, so he could watch every move she made. He¬†knew where she was and what she¬†had been doing for the¬†days since she had¬†been back from her trip.¬†They didn’t know the point of the dating profile, other than to make her feel even more vulnerable, and make her think it was someone else torturing her until he revealed himself. They found his car a block away with ropes and tape in the trunk.

The only thing he didn’t think through was that she could have a gun, because she had never told him.

Outside, the thunder rolled.

Just Another Maniac Monday

If you ask my family and friends, they will be the first to tell you that if my television is on, it is likely on the I.D. Channel (Investigation Discovery). I have always loved watching any show dealing with crime, murder, mystery, etc. When I was younger, my mom introduced me to mystery books, and as I got older, Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew turned into Agatha Christie and Lois Duncan.

I am fascinated by serial killers, and I am keenly aware of how odd it is to write that. In another life I would be¬†a profiler for the FBI on serial killers. The closest I ever came to that was taking¬†a “Psychiatry and the Law” class in law school. My paper for the class included several different serial killers and the legalities of their cases- from the things that were missed throughout their lives to their actual trials and sentences.

Honestly, they are all terrifying. You don’t get lumped into the category of serial killers without being scary. In terms of which serial killer scares me the most though, I would¬†without hesitation¬†say John Wayne Gacy. The man dressed like a clown for parties and charity events, and ended up killing around thirty-three young men. Have you ever seen anything more terrifying?

“The Killer Clown”

john-wayne-gacy

No, you have not. He is the real life version of Pennywise, and just from writing this post I will likely have a nightmare about him tonight.

For me the scariest part about serial killers is their otherwise normal existence. Most of them lead normal lives with families and jobs. No one is ever the wiser about their real personalities, until they are. Often, the scariest monsters are the ones who look just like us.

Hopefully your Monday is less horrific than “The Killer Clown”!

 

 

Christmas with Bobby

December 21st, 1987- Justin

Justin’s parents didn’t stay anywhere for long. The Johanssons had lived in Florida and North Carolina in the last five years. He was twelve, so he had never lived in one place for very long.

They were writers. They could live wherever they wanted. Justin’s social life was not of consequence to them. Justin mostly stayed to himself, because he was never in one place long enough to make friends. He was into history, and most of his spare time was spent reading a book about some war or in the library looking at pictures from one.

Justin reached for the front door of the two-story, brick Victorian house that they were going to be renting. The door was heavy and a deep, rich mahogany. The owner had left a Christmas wreath hanging on it.

Justin took his coat and hat off and put them on the coat rack just inside the entryway. Since they were virtually nomadic, his parents opted out of owning furniture and instead only rented a house if it came furnished. They brought with them whatever would fit into their van, and if it didn’t it got left on a curb in whatever state they were fleeing. As long as Justin had his books and his supplies for painting his model battle figures, he didn’t pay much attention to anything else.

He walked around the house looking into each room and then made his way up the spiral staircase. He could choose between two different rooms. He chose one that had a brown, four post bed and a fireplace. There was a bookcase with a set of books on the top shelf and a stiff chair in front of it with a tall lamp.

That afternoon he unpacked his clothes and his figurines and books; when he was finished, he went outside to look around. There was a tire swing and an old shed, and then there was a pond about a hundred yards away. He went to the edge of the pond closest to the house and sat down.

As Justin was staring at the lake, he heard leaves crackle and he turned around expecting to see his mom or dad. It was a boy who looked about Justin’s age. He had brown hair, dark brown eyes, and he was dressed in jeans and a brown sweater.

“Hi, I’m Bobby,” the boy said.

Justin assumed he must be from one of the houses down the road so he stuck his hand out for the boy to shake.

“I’m Justin. We just moved in today.”

Justin invited Bobby in. He wanted to show him the figurine collection and all of his books. He walked into the kitchen and asked his mom for two glasses of lemonade and a plate of cookies, and then he and Bobby ran upstairs.

December 21st, 1987- Rhonda

Two glasses of lemonade. Maybe he was just thirsty, but she was worried it was starting up again.

They moved a lot. She knew it sometimes upset Justin, even though he didn’t show it. When Justin was younger, the moves were easier. He was more easily persuaded by the promise of new adventures.

The first few moves were about the experiences and making a better life. The last couple have been to escape the experiences of th past lives.

She hoped this latest move would be one of the last ones. Her husband, Raymond, loved the thought of settling down in Maine, and he was tired of running.

December 22nd, 1987- Justin

Since there wasn’t any school because of Christmas break, Bobby said he would be back over the next day. Bobby was quiet and didn’t have much to say when Justin asked him questions, but Justin was just glad to have met someone before he had to go to the new school- at least there would be a familiar face.

Justin waited on the front porch, and at about 10:00 a.m. Bobby came walking down the driveway.

They spent the afternoon inside. It was too cold to stay outside. Bobby told him about how he had been the new kid last year, and he didn’t have many friends either.

“All the kids here play hockey. My dad is in the military so we move a lot too. I can’t even skate,” said Bobby.

Justin felt like someone his age finally understood him. For the rest of the afternoon and the next day Justin and Bobby painted figurines, and went and explored the property around the new house.

Justin was going to ask his mom if his new friend could spend the night.

December 22nd, 1987- Rhonda

Justin walked in and he looked excited.

“Hey honey, get washed up for dinner. It will be ready in twenty minutes.”

“Okay. Can Bobby stay for dinner and spend the night Mom? I was hoping he could help put up the Christmas tree and decorations,” an excited Justin asked.

Her face fell. “Sure, I’ll set an extra plate for him.”

She talked to her husband that night when they were doing dishes and Justin had gone to decorate the tree.

“Baby, what are we going to do? We’ve been here two days, and it’s the same problems as always,” said a tired Rhonda.

“I don’t know anymore Rhonda. They said anything could trigger it,” he sighed. “I’m done moving though.”

December 23rd, 1987- Justin 

His parents didn’t like Christmas. He knew that, but he still loved celebrating, so he was excited to get a small tree (that his dad begrudgingly went and got for him) up and decorated last night just in time.

Bobby had gone home that morning after breakfast, but he said he would come back tomorrow so they could hang out.

Five years earlier (Denver, Colorado): December 24th, 1982-Rhonda

Her life was shattered. She sat next to Jonathan praying and rocking back and forth. It had been an accident- just an accident. She wouldn’t let herself think anything else.

Justin stood at the top of the stairs staring blankly into space.

December 24th, 1987 (Morning)- Rhonda

Justin didn’t remember that Christmas Eve in ’82. He didn’t remember his brother either. The doctors ran tests and they talked to him for months after it. They finally just said that he had disassociated himself, and that anything regarding his twin brother or the incident seemed sort of like a dream to him.

From the outside looking in, Justin seemed like a normal twelve year old.

The last five years around Christmas Justin would see people who weren’t there. They were all boys about his age. They thought if they moved that Justin’s “friends” would go away, but they never did. The doctors had put him on medicine, but the medicine made him violent, so Rhonda took him off of it.

When they lived in Florida, he had pushed her husband down the stairs on Christmas Eve for telling him that his friend “Dustin” didn’t exist. They chalked it up to it being the anniversary of Jonathan’s death, but it seemed like every anniversary, Justin had some type of outburst.

She hoped as he got older, things would improve, but it seemed like the delusions were just getting stronger. She was terrified to take him to a hospital though, because she knew they wouldn’t let her leave with him. She had lost one son, and she was determined not to lose another of her babies.

December 24th, 1987 (Afternoon)- Justin

Bobby showed up around 4 p.m. and they were upstairs in his room looking through some of the old books that had been left in the bookcase.

Justin could tell his mom and dad didn’t like Bobby. They didn’t speak to him at all, not even a “hello” until Justin called them out on being rude. They forgot to offer him anything to drink or eat unless Justin asked. It was ridiculous. He knew they were in their own little worlds writing, but that wasn’t an excuse.

He wasn’t going to lose his friend like they had run away all of his other ones. His Dad had said Dustin didn’t exist; he obviously did. He just didn’t want Justin forgetting about Jonathan. How could he forget Jonathan? He had ruined his life. He had broken Justin’s new toy he got, and when Justin got mad and pushed him, he fell down the stairs and died. Justin didn’t mean to do it. He just meant to hurt him.

Everyone blamed him for it. They didn’t want him having any friends, or having anyone to talk to. They just kept taking them away from him.

Not this time.

He heard his Dad coming out of his room.

December 24th, 1987 (Night)- Rhonda

She sat with her husband’s head in her lap; he was still breathing but it was shallow and he was weak. She screamed in agony when she saw Justin at the top of the stairs. She didn’t know why she bothered to even look up. She knew when she heard her husband screamed what had happened.

“Baby please don’t leave me,” she wailed.

She could hear the sirens. For the first time, she prayed they would take her son away too.

Carrie’s Cup- Final Chapter

Carrie tried to muffle out a scream for help, but she knew it was useless. It was getting dark and people would be arriving for the play soon. It was so cold and she was only wearing a thin sweater. Her hands were ice and the only thing keeping her teeth from shaking was the cloth Donovan had so generously shoved into her mouth. She looked around for anything that could cut the rope around her. She saw some garden shears, but she couldn’t exactly pick those up and use them, so she kept looking.

The rope was not very thick and Carrie knew if she could just find anything sharp that she could back up to, she could possibly cut it off. She could stand, but she was tied to a chair and the door was shut, so she knew her only way out was to free her arms. She scooted her chair closer to the edge of a metal table and tried to use the corner to saw through the rope.

“How could Donovan have done this?” mused Carrie.

Carrie blamed herself. If she hadn’t hired Mary-Anne, Donovan never would have had the opportunity to be near her. She knew there was not anything she could do to help Mary-Anne at this point, other than to stop Donovan from getting away with this.

She kept sawing at the rope until one popped. She moved on to the other one and she prayed by the time she got it undone, Donovan wouldn’t have already left town.

After what felt like another hour, Carrie finally got the second rope undone. She ripped the ropes off, pulled out the cloth from her mouth, and tore across the greenhouse only to find that the door was blocked by something.

“Wonderful! Someone please help me!” screamed Carrie. She kicked and screamed on the door until tears were streaming down her face and her voice was growing raspy.

Suddenly she could hear someone coming. She backed away from the door and grabbed the garden shears she had seen earlier in case it was Donovan coming back to check on her.

It wasn’t Donovan.

“Beatrice!” exclaimed Carrie. She had never been so excited to see that woman, or anyone for that matter, in her life. “Thank God you’re here. How did you find me?”

“Carrie,” cried Beatrice, “why are you in here? What is going on? When you weren’t there for final alterations and curtain call, I went looking for you. Donovan said he thought you had just run back to the coffee shop, but I knew something was off.”

“He’s still here? Listen Beatrice, Donovan put me in this shed. He is the one who killed Mary-Anne. I figured it out, or I was about to, and he confronted me when I got to the school earlier today. We have to go right now.”

Beatrice looked pale, but she nodded her head and they ran towards the school.

“Beatrice, go inside and find a phone and call the police department. Ask for Detective Johnson- tell him to meet us here and not to make a big scene.”

Beatrice nodded and followed it with “Wait where are you going Carrie, why aren’t you coming in to wait on him?”

“I have something I need to grab while I still can from Donovan’s house. If he’s in there, and does not know I’m out of the shed, this is the best time to do it” said Carrie, and she took off down the sidewalk.

Donovan lived close to the school, so Carrie hurried towards his house. When she got there, she ran around the back and grabbed a key from under the stone frog beside his door. She let herself in, and gasped at how the heat felt on her face. She looked around. She knew his laptop had to be here; she just needed to find it. She wouldn’t need any more proof than that to hand Detective Johnson.

She grabbed a coat out of his hall closet to try to stop her bones from shaking, and she made her way into his bedroom. The laptop wasn’t there. She was walking out of the room when she saw it on the master bathroom counter out of the corner of her eye.

Carrie snatched the laptop up and ran out of the house as fast as she could back to the elementary school.

As she opened the double doors, she was met by Beatrice and a confused Detective Johnson and ushered into a side room.

“Beatrice, go make sure he stays where he is until I can talk to Carrie and figure this out,” ordered Detective Johnson. Beatrice left the room, closing the door behind her.

“Tell me what happened Carrie. Beatrice was a mess and I only got half of what I assume is the story.”

“Donovan killed Mary-Anne,” said Carrie flatly.

She explained how she found the mug handle, how Waffle had gone missing, how she had gone through Mary Anne’s Facebook and figured out she was talking to someone. Then, she explained the connection of Donovan and Connor’s name, and how he confronted her and tied her up inside the greenhouse.

“So, you left to go to his house to get his laptop so he wouldn’t be able to destroy it?” asked Detective Johnson.

“Exactly” smiled Carrie.

Detective Johnson opened the laptop and looked through the messages. Turning a shade of red, he closed it and stood up.

“Carrie, you did really good with this. I’m going to go get him now.”

Carrie nodded her head and followed him out of the room. No way was she going to pass up the opportunity for Donovan to see her.

His reaction did not disappoint. He pitched a fit in front of everyone standing in the lobby of the auditorium. As Detective Johnson put handcuffs on him, Carrie smiled and waved at the frowning face of the man she once considered her closest friend in town.

Guess she would have to find someone new to have coffee with every morning.