• Book Reviews

    Running From Scissors: a book review

    TCW

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    Running From Scissors (A Running Store Mystery #1) by T.C. Westcott

    How could I possibly pass up this Advanced Reader’s Copy with this blog name, Blunt Scissors Book Reviews, and my Instagram handle, @thatgirlrunswithbluntscissors ?

    I’m also a runner so a murder mystery that takes place in running group based out of a local running store was really appealing. Add to that, Staxx, the best friend of the protagonist, Lacy, owns a local bookstore that she and her brother inherited from their parents.

    • Scissors – check
    • Running – check
    • Books – check

    I’m in!

    Lacy, recently divorced, starts her life over in a small Oklahoma town. As part of her fresh start she takes up running. Her local running store hosts group runs on the weekends as well as during the week for all levels of runners.

    There are the usual group dynamics that are a part of any group including the queen bee and her friends. Marlene is not well liked outside her own little group of friends and even that is a bit questionable. Lacy has made her dislike of Marlene quite clear but remains a part of the group.

    Someone starts sending Marlene messages in the form of barber scissors; most notably a pair stabbed in her car tire. This is obviously troubling to Marlene and but life continues on.

    Then on a long trail race, Marlene never crosses the finish line.

    The whodunit commences here with a cast of characters from the running group and store all being examined for their motives.

    Ruby, one of the group’s older and slower runners, was a best-selling mystery author in her former life. She still has her mystery solving skills and ropes Lacy and Staxx and running a parallel investigation to the police investigation.

    From there, suspects are brought in, then eliminated, and brought back again once Marlene’s body is found and the missing person investigation intensifies into a murder investigation.

    This was my first exposure to the “modern cozy mystery”. If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, it’s basically a murder mystery without the gory details of violence and mystery solving using detective skills rather than the latest and greatest forensic testing.

    Ruby added an Agatha Christie flair to the plot which I enjoyed immensely as a life long Christie reader.

    This was a quick read with quirky characters in a quirky town. It was a nice change of pace after reading several sad and/or intense books.

    What I enjoyed about the book: the return to the cozy crime fighting methods. It was executed well in this book and Ruby was a wonderful character to bridge the gap between the old style and the more modern style of the genre.

    What I enjoyed less about this book: this is small because a character is who they are but Staxx, a character intended to be a bit over the top and rough around the edges, irritated me at times. Again, this is small in the grand scheme of things but I did find myself skipping some of her dialogue toward the end because I already knew that whatever she would be saying would be grating to me.

    Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who loves running (or not), appreciates the quirks of runners, and likes the cozy mystery genre. An Agatha Christie fan would be at the top of my list of someone to recommend this book to.

    This was a quick and fun read and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

    Thank you to BooksGoSocial and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader’s Copy that I received for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • Bookish,  NaNoWriMo,  Personal,  Writing

    Wednesday Words: on writing

    person using green typewriter
    Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

    November means NaNoWriMo!

    What?

    I’ve gotten that question a few times in the past week. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. It has nothing to do with Mork & Mindy and Mork’s famous tagline.

    The basic premise is that you write every day in the month of November and end up with a novel of 50,000 words. That breaks down to 1667 words written per day which sounds a lot less intimidating.

    The program has been in existence since 1999 so obviously there are a lot of people that participate willingly and have some fun throughout the process. And let me emphasize some when we are talking the about fun part.

    I have watched from the sidelines since I first started seeing it talked about. Sure it sounded interesting but did I really want to do that?

    It turns out that this year was the year I decided it would be an interesting experience. So in the last week of October, I spent time outlining a few different ideas and putting real names and descriptions to the characters I have thought about for years.

    Where will this end up? I’m not sure at all. I’ve been writing everyday and it’s been a fun/interesting experience. I have always loved to read but actually working out your own process makes you appreciate the books you read even more.

    Writing is hard work. It’s also a mind game where your creative brain spends a lot of time making plot pieces fit together like puzzle pieces while the logical side of your brain tells you that there is a missing piece and what a bad idea this was in the first place.

    Remember the some fun part from earlier? This is precisely the some part that I was talking about.

    I enjoy writing so why not add in a challenge to mix it up?

    Why not? I’ll let you know on December 1st.

    In the meantime, I’ll be writing. And when I’m not I’ll be enjoying the books I am reading. Because when you are paying attention to plot structure and characters when you write, you pay even better attention to what a seasoned author has done with their characters and their own plot.

    For me, this alone makes NaNoWriMo worth it because I’m enjoying the books I read that much more.

    As for the rest – I’ll just have to see where it goes.

    Until then, while I write, here are a few big novels to come out of NaNoWriMo in past years:

    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    and Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell

    … just to name a few.

    Are you participating in NaNoWriMo or have you in the past?

  • ARC's,  Book Reviews,  Bookish

    Hope and Other Superpowers: a book review

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    A book about superheroes, our current political landscape, and hope? And they go together all in one book?

    Yep.

    I have followed the author, John Pavlovitz since 2016, shortly after Trump was elected. He popped up in my Facebook feed and I headed to his blog to read more. He is viewed as polarizing pastor in some circles but oddly enough, it’s primarily the church circles who view him as such.

    So, a book review about politics, religion and a polarizing pastor? This should go well.

    It will. I promise. Because this book is about hope and I don’t know a single person, in the church or out of the church, who doesn’t need hope. I know I do.

    And did I mention superheroes? He uses all the well known superheroes to beautifully illustrate the points of his book. I’m a sucker for superheroes so I was hooked.

    What this book boils down to is how we treat each other and how we inspire and give hope to others. That issue is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, and really, the past several years.

    John gave an example of watching coverage of Hurricane Harvey and rescue after rescue – others helping others without a care as to what their political views were, what church they attended or didn’t attend, their race, or whether they were legal citizens or not.

    That was eye opening to me because he was right; I watched the same footage and I never wondered if the woman stranded in her home voted for Trump or Clinton.

    I would be lying if I said that my heart doesn’t hurt for how our president treats others or that I can support that behavior just because he is our president. I can’t look past it in favor of policy. But at the same time, I can’t directly influence a change in him either and that realization has been deeply dividing for our country.

    This book helped me to refocus.

    He wrote about activism; a word that scares a lot of people. But it’s really not frightening at all when it ends up as simply looking to help those who have been marginalized in your own community. I don’t have to 100% agree with someone to be kind and helpful.

    I don’t even agree with the author on every point but I took from the book what I needed for my heart, for my life. And that’s the approach I’m going to start taking on a daily basis. It’s hard to be angry and despondent when you are focused on helping others.

    From a writing perspective, John is a great writer. He is passionate and he has a way of conveying his passion through examples, like the Hurricane Harvey passage, and of course the superheroes.

    This was a fairly quick read and left me feeling better than I did before I started the book. I am still thinking about what he wrote and that is typically a sign of a good book – if it sticks with you after you turn the final page.

    Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone in need of hope; especially the weary and the hurting. And please don’t let the pastor thing scare you off. This book was written for everyone and quite possibly more for those who have been hurt and turned away by the traditional church.

    This book is available on November 6th which just happens to be Election Day. Well played, John Pavlovitz. Because no matter how the results come in, hope is still needed whether you are red or blue.

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for the advanced reader’s copy. I received this ebook for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • Book Club For Introverts,  Bookish

    Book Club for Introverts

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    Our first pick!

    I am an introvert at heart. Life and my career force me to talk to people and I manage just fine. But by the time the day is over, I am out of words and energy to interact with other humans. Even talking to my dogs is pushing it at times.

    I also love reading and talking about reading. But the idea of a face-to-face book club just doesn’t work for me because of time and just wanting to be home at the end of the day. So I started thinking about online book clubs. Were they even a thing?

    Well, Oprah and Reese Witherspoon certainly would agree that they work so why not?

    Enter in “Book Club for Introverts“. Each month we will select a book by voting on four choices. Two lucky members will win their choice of the hardcopy, ebook, or audiobook.

    We have almost 60 members and for our first month Bitter Orange is our book choice. The author, Claire Fuller, graciously sent me the readers guide and I’m so excited to start reading and discussing.

    It’s not too late to join and anyone is welcome; just click this link. Anyone is welcome!

    And yes, I find it humorous that we have a book club of nearly 60 introverts.

    adult blur books close up

    Introverts unite! … online!

    Here are the hardcopy, Kindle, and Audible links if you’re interested. These are affiliate links; you are charged no more, I just get a little extra money to buy more books!

  • Book Reviews,  Bookish,  mental health,  parenting,  Recommendations

    Book Review: This is How It Always Is

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    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    – Martin Luther King Jr.

    Rating: ✂️✂️✂️✂️.5/5

    If you want to read a book that will make you laugh, cry, think, and easily find your way into someone else’s shoes, This is How is Always Is is a great pick.

    I was raised conservative Methodist, went to private parochial school, and was indoctrinated with conservative southern views and politics just by living in the buckle of the Bible Belt. Today I classify myself as a moderate liberal but more than that, I classify myself as pro-kindness and believe it’s important to extend respect and grace even when we have different views.

    This book does a beautiful job of illustrating just that: grace.

    When Claude, the youngest of five boys bounds down the stairs in a dress and insists on wearing it outside the house and eventually to school, everything this family knows as normal is turned upside down as Poppy emerges as their youngest family member.

    Remember the part about being in someone else’s shoes? That happens a few minutes into the book and the author doesn’t let you change your shoes until the end. And at that point I don’t really think you will want to anyways.

    From each family member’s perspective, the reader gets to question, grieve, get angry, keep secrets, and learn to accept their youngest sibling/child as Poppy.

    There were the expected struggles in school, with friends, and most often with other adults but you also got the unique voice of Poppy, an intelligent, insightful, and brave girl. The author did a fantastic job giving us a glimpse of the inner dialogue of a child trying to figure out who they are; just like all kids.

    It gives the reader plenty of time to consider what they would do and for me it was obvious: I would love my child and support them as they figured out the world.

    We all have our differences, be it mental illness, a physical disability, personality quirks, or even something that happened in our past that permanently changes who we are. Despite that, we all want to be who we are and to be accepted. Same with Poppy.

    The characters were all well-developed and I especially enjoyed the relationship between the husband and wife, Penn and Rosie, who also had non-traditional roles. Penn is an author and stays at home. Rosie is a physician. The dialogue between the two of them was real, honest, and accurate for parents navigating raising five children.

    My one problem with the book as a whole was when Penn and Rosie referred, multiple times, to having four and a half boys. It’s their story but it felt like a minimization of their youngest child. A kid is never half a kid.

    I enjoyed this book immensely and while I found the writing a tad sloppy at times, it never distracted from the story or the very timely message. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories about real families dealing with real issues. Don’t be afraid of an “agenda” because it’s just not there.

    The only agenda here is that parenting is messy and all we can do is love our kids for who they are, not who we want them to be.

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