In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb18I LOVED this book! Not because it was so wonderfully written or such a great story. (Maybe I should amend my opening statement.) I REALLY enjoyed this book, for reasons that may be hard to describe. It was a nice blend of dark and light, of sinister and funny, which may or may not have been the author’s intention.  Plus, I have a soft spot for British books written with a strong vernacular.

The book centers around a hen party (bachelorette party in America). Can you think of a better setting for a murder? I mean, really, when I read the blurb I thought, “What fun! That’s the PERFECT situation for homicidal intentions to brew.” To be honest, I was a little jealous that I didn’t think of the idea first. The very premise of the book tickled my funny bone. I love plots with a sardonic edge. So maybe it was the idea of the book I loved more than the actual work – I’m not entirely sure – I think I’m too biased on this occasion to say for sure.

The bottom line is that for whatever reason, I really did enjoy this book. The humor may have only been in my head, but this was a quick, fun read. Exactly what I needed, when I needed it. 5 stars.

Just for Fun: How Many Peeps Does it Take to Stop a Bullet?

Educational and entertaining 😉

The Writer's Guide to Weapons

Peeps are like inverse zombies. They want you to eat them, not the other way around. This makes them especially insidious. Julie Clopper / Shutterstock.com Peeps are like inverse zombies. They want you to eat them, not the other way around. This makes them especially insidious. Julie Clopper / Shutterstock.com

Marshmallow Peeps are the fruitcakes of Easter. They’re a time-honored tradition obligation, the novelty wears off after exactly six seconds and they refuse to die. Or do they? What would happen if you shot a bunch of Peeps? Would the science that brings these gooey creatures to life also stop a bullet?

Kirsten Joy Weiss, a terrifically talented shooter with a great YouTube channel, decided to find out. The following videos chronicle her heroic attempts to destroy the zombies of food, marshmallow Peeps.

How Many Peeps Does It Take to Stop a Bullet?

Weiss answers that question with a .22 rifle and a dead eye.

Of course, that begs the question…

What Would Happen if You Shot a Peep at Point-Blank Range?

And if…

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Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse in Maine

The Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth in Maine is a picturesque lighthouse on a small jetty in the Atlantic.

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I visited on a sunny day in mid-March when the winds were high and chilly.

The photos don’t do the beauty of this spot justice.

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The water was an unbelievable shade of blue.

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A cliff walk snakes along the shore, providing the perfect place to get some fresh air and sunshine.

Nine by Jan Burke ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb16I read my first Jan Burke book over ten years ago and really enjoyed it. Yet, for some strange reason that I still can’t figure out, I never picked up any of her other books until a few months ago, when I read her short story anthology, Eighteen, which I loved so much that it inspired me to write a fresh batch of my own short stories.

I know Burke’s Irene Kelly series is wildly popular, but I’m fickle about series. You get attached. You make (imaginary) friends. Eventually the author takes the characters you know and love down a character arc you can’t forgive, and you lose a loved one. I no longer see the point in entering what is bound to be a tragic relationship doomed from the start.

Nine is one of Burke’s stand alone novels. It seems as though she feels that it’s important for the reader to really know the characters, to understand where they’re coming from and what their motivation is. That may have slowed the pacing in this book a bit. By the end of the book, it didn’t matter at all. If she had sped through the plot instead of building the slow and steady suspense that culminated in a big, breathless climax, it wouldn’t have been the same ride. (And this book is a ride.) 5 stars.

Living Large with Life Sized Chocolate

lenny1While this winter has been mild, it’s also been long and uneventful. I haven’t gotten to do much hiking, and the needle on the adventure scale has been buried at zero. So when my birthday came around, I seized the opportunity to plan a Sunday Funday.

Birthday adventure pickings have been slim for me in New England, what with so many fun things being closed until summer. But I was bound and determined to find something I’d never done before. I narrowed my focus to a day trip to the coast of Maine. I wanted to stop by all the gorgeous little towns sprinkled along the Atlantic, but I didn’t want to spend the entire day in the car, AND again, not much is open right now, so I further narrowed my focus to the Portland area, where I was sure I could cap off the adventure with a delicious dinner. lenny5

That’s when I stumbled upon Len Libby Chocolatier in Scarborough, Maine. I love chocolate. One of the good things about New England is that specialty chocolate stores are not in short supply, which ALMOST makes up for everything still being on winter lock-down in March. But this chocolatier has something the rest don’t.

A LIFE SIZED chocolate MOOSE.

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Yeah, that’s right. I kid you not. And while maybe that’s not your thing, maybe you could go your entire life without seeing a 1700 pound chocolate moose, once I knew he existed, I had to pay ‘Lenny’ a visit. So I did. And now I’m spoiled. Now I want all my chocolate life sized, and I want all my friends to smell that good! 😉

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Len Libby Chocolatier is just a short drive from the Portland, Maine area. And yes, their chocolate is fantastic!

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb15This is the third book I’ve read by Aussie author Liane Moriarty, and while I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the other two, I wouldn’t say the book disappointed, either. There was a lot of hype about this title and I opened to the first page with my expectations set very high.

Moriarty is a talented author who writes stories with interesting characters and compelling plots. That said, I’ve found in all her books that there’s an element of the ‘not very likely’ and by that I mean her books are best approached by those who read with suspended disbelief. If you need a novel where all actions and reactions are firmly ground in reality, this would not be your best choice.

With the title, it would be near impossible for her to have kept the major plot line from being predictable, and I must admit that I didn’t identify with any of the characters, but despite all that I found it difficult to put the book down. 4 stars.