Friday Finds (April 18)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

First up today is The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar, I really enjoyed her last novel Accidents Happen and her debut The Playdate so I’m hoping this will be equally good.

The Hidden Girl

Blurb

Hannah Riley and her musician husband, Will, hope that a move to the Suffolk countryside will promise a fresh start. Hannah, a human rights worker, is desperate for a child and she hopes that this new life will realise her dream. Yet when the snow comes, Will is working in London and Hannah is cut off in their remote village. Life in Tornley turns out to be far from idyllic, who are the threatening figures who lurk near their property at night? And why is her neighbour so keen to see them leave? Plus Will’s behaviour is severely testing the bonds of trust. Hannah has spent her professional life doing the right thing for other people. But as she starts to unbury a terrible crime, she realises she can no longer do that without putting everything she’s ever wanted at risk. But if she does nothing, the next victim could be her . NetGalley

If this sounds good to you too it is due to be published on 22 May 2014 by Macmillan

I have also got a copy of The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum. I’ve not read anything by this author before so this will be a new to me read.

The Murder of Harriet Krohn

Blurb

Charlo Torp has problems.
He’s grieving for his late wife, he’s lost his job, and gambling debts have alienated him from his teenage daughter. Desperate, his solution is to rob an elderly woman of her money and silverware. But Harriet Krohn fights back, and Charlo loses control.
Wracked with guilt, Charlo attempts to rebuild his life. But the police are catching up with him, and Inspector Konrad Sejer has never lost a case yet.
Told through the eyes of a killer, The Murder of Harriet Krohn poses the question: how far would you go to turn your life around, and could you live with yourself afterwards? NetGalley

This is due to be published 5 June 2014 by Random House Vintage.

Next is a book by Sabine Durrant, Remember Me This Way. Her previous book Under Your Skin has been on the TBR for a long while so if I enjoy this I will have to read that one too.

Remember Me This Way

Blurb

Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.
A year after her husband Zach’s death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place.
As she makes her way along the motorway, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again.
At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her.
Lizzie loved Zach. She really did.
But she’s starting to realise she didn’t really know him.
Or what he was capable of . . . Amazon

Due to be published on 17 July 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton.

I Read Novels has a great review of The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay by Andrea Gillies, another author whose debut novel, The White Lie, hit all the right spots is firmly on my TBR

The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay
Blurb

Nina Findlay, alluring, accomplished, deluded, always the heroine of her own life, has found an irresistible safety in being adored by two men, brothers she’s known since childhood. But when her sister-in-law becomes gravely ill, the triangle that Nina’s depended on becomes catastrophically unstable. The life she’s known begins rapidly to unravel, and odd things begin to happen which those around her insist are all in her mind. Separated from her husband, she goes on holiday to a tiny Greek island, the honeymoon island of 25 years earlier, and is involved in a serious road accident. There, while recuperating, she becomes close to her doctor, who’s also on the point of divorce. A new relationship seems possible – but what’s real in the situation, and what’s imagined? Pressed in at all sides by other people’s truths, how can Nina be sure of identifying her own? A diary that was her mother’s proves to be a turning point. Perhaps romantic love is always a kind of undiagnosed madness. Face to face with the facts behind her assumptions, the time has come for Nina to unravel the taut knot of her past. Amazon

My resolve weakened and I bought a copy of Snarl by Celina Grace, the fourth in the Grace Redman Mystery series.

Snarl
Blurb

A research laboratory opens on the outskirts of the West Country town of Abbeyford, bringing with it new people, jobs, prosperity and publicity to the area – as well as a mob of protestors and animal rights activists. The team at Abbeyford police station take this new level of civil disorder in their stride – until a fatal car bombing of one of the laboratory’s head scientists means more drastic measures must be taken…
Detective Sergeant Kate Redman is struggling to come to terms with being back at work after a long period of absence on sick leave; not to mention the fact that her erstwhile partner Mark Olbeck has now been promoted above her. The stakes get even higher as a multiple murder scene is discovered and a violent activist is implicated in the crime. Kate and the team must put their lives on the line to expose the murderer and untangle the snarl of accusations, suspicions and motives. Amazon

What have you found to read this week?

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WWW Wednesday (April 16)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah this is the ninth book in the Culver Valley Series.

The Telling Error

Blurb

Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It’s definitely him, the same police officer, stopping each car on Elmhirst Road. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-turn and makes a panicky escape.
Or so she thinks. The next day, Nicki is pulled in for questioning in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road.
Nicki can’t answer any of the questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why the killer used a knife in such a peculiar way, or why ‘HE IS NO LESS DEAD’ was painted on Blundy’s study wall. And she can’t explain why she avoided Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her life.
Because although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent . . . Amazon

I have recently finished The Last Boat Home by Dea Brøvig

Click on the book cover to read my review

The Last Boat Home

 

Next I am going to read Before You Die by Samantha Hayes

Before You Die
Blurb

Oh God, please don’t let me die.
It has taken nearly two years for the Warwickshire village of Radcote to put a spate of teenage suicides behind it.
Then a young man is killed in a freak motorbike accident, and a suicide note is found among his belongings. A second homeless boy takes his own life, this time on the railway tracks.
Is history about to repeat itself?
DI Lorraine Fisher has just arrived for a relaxing summer break with her sister. Soon she finds herself caught up in the resulting police enquiry. And when her nephew disappears she knows she must act quickly.
Are the recent deaths suicide – or murder?
And is the nightmare beginning again? NetGalley

What are you reading this week?

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Teaser Tuesday (April 15)

Teasing Tuesday CB

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to

My Teaser this week is from The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah

The Telling Error
Blurb

Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It’s definitely him, the same police officer, stopping each car on Elmhirst Road. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-turn and makes a panicky escape.
Or so she thinks. The next day, Nicki is pulled in for questioning in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road.
Nicki can’t answer any of the questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why the killer used a knife in a way that involved no spilling of blood, or why ‘HE IS NO LESS DEAD’ was painted across Blundy’s study. And she can’t explain why she avoided Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her life.
Because although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent . . .Goodreads

Choosing a teaser from one of Sophie Hannah’s books is a tough call as you are never quite sure what constitutes a clue so I’ve chosen one from the begging of the book  where a message is posted on the internet…

My Teaser

When alive, he was well known and – though this might well have nothing to do with anything – strikingly attractive in a stubbly, cowboy-without-hat kind of way. If I were to include his name in this account, I think most people would have heard of him.

 

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The Last Boat Home – Dea Brøvig

Psychological Thriller 4*'s

Psychological Thriller
4*’s

Dea Brøvig conjures up a desolate and harsh debut novel which is mirrored by the unforgiving Norwegian winters which is described so vividly that I longed to pass the young Else Dybdahl yet another jumper to keep her warm on her ferry home from the town at the end of each school day.

The story is split a past that covers the time from 1974-1976 and the present day, 2009, where Else is forced to confront those memories she had hoped were safely buried when her boyfriend returns to the island to live in his family home with his young wife and children.

We know that Else is the mother to Marianne, and Grandmother to eleven year old Liv who she lives with in the same town that she grew up in but what we don’t know is how Else came to have a baby which is where the narration begins, at an early age. A shocking event especially considering how important the church is to the inhabitants.

This is a bleak story as we peek behind the door to the realities of the Dybdahl household, one where the family turn up to church no matter how many bruises Else’s mother Dagny has to cover with powder, a household ruled by the ups and downs of an alcoholic father and husband. The descriptions of the hardships that feature in the daily life of the Dybdahl’s along with the cold and wet feet from snow and ice only serve to make this an almost unbearably claustrophobic read.

Brøvig cleverly keeps the pace slow reflecting the long and cold days as Else and Dybdhal struggle to keep life moving forwards with the small relief of a visit from a travelling circus, so that the reveal happens when the tension has been ramped up to the maximum. Else has school to distract her but she is ever mindful of the cow that needs milking as well as the pressures her boyfriend, Lars, heaps on her to sneak out join him. With the fire and brimstone sermons seemingly aimed at the inhabitants by the fearsome Pastor, Brøvig accurately captures the desires and fears that rule Else’s days not least the shame she would heap on her family if caught.

A book which is thought-provoking, rather than enjoyable, this would work well as an interesting, if somewhat harrowing, book club read.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers Random House UK in return for this unbiased review.

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The End of the Affair – Graham Greene

Literature 5*'s

Literature
5*’s

I fell in love with this book from the first page, the beautiful writing far outweighs the somewhat depressing underlying story of the end of the affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah. This tale is told from the protagonist’s viewpoint, interestingly, some years after this defining mark in his life and it is quickly apparent that Bendrix (he is a man known by his surname) is still trying to make sense of the strong feelings, of both love and hate he still harbours.

The quality of Graham Greene’s writing was simply brilliant. My copy had an introduction by Monica Ali that I was reading out of curiosity soon after receiving the book and despite already having started another book I turned to the first page and I simply couldn’t stop reading, fortunately this is a fairly slim book at only 160 pages or so.

So if the quality of the writing that had me hooked, this was closely followed by the description of life in London at the time of, and immediately after, the Second World War which for me was fascinating. Parkis the Private Detective who along with his son trail Sarah on Bendrix’s behest, finds the person she is visiting by the powdering of a doorbell which is so much more romantic than rummaging through her rubbish or hacking into Facebook.

I’m grateful for Lady Fancifull for suggesting this book to me; it is as the back cover says ‘One of the most true and moving novels of my time, in anybody’s language’ William Faulkner. The truth is in part because this novel holds up as a mirror a myriad of human actions that all of us have surely observed, and too many of us have participated in… How quickly love can turn from:

“…the moment of absolute trust and absolute pleasure, the moment when it was impossible to quarrel because it was impossible to think.”
to
“I became aware that our love was doomed; love had turned into a love affair with a beginning and an end. I could name the very moment when it had begun, and one day I knew I should be able to name the final hour.”

When at this point Bendrix begins sabotaging the affair, pressing Sarah for more, imagining her unfaithfulness with others can only hasten the end that he so fears.

I struggled more with the aspect of Catholicism that threads through the book, there is lots of philosophising about God which would normal have me closing the book, but because this was a book I was experiencing rather than simply ‘reading’ the quote that follows made me think more deeply about why encountering strong religious views has the power to affect me so much as much as it does…

“I hate you, God. I hate you as though you actually exist.”

I am going to finish my review here (because I need to stop somewhere and I could write about this book for ages) with a simply statement: if you haven’t read this book, you should, there is simply so much power packed between the pages of this slim novel it blew me away and I know that this is one book I will be re-reading very soon.

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Tigers in Red Weather – Liza Klaussmann

Historical Fiction 3*'s

Historical Fiction
3*’s

How far back do you need to go to find the seed that was planted that lead to an event? Liza Klaussmann tells us a story that starts in 1946 with two young cousins preparing for a new life following the end of the war and ends with an event some twenty-five years later.

Nick is off to Florida to meet her husband Hughes whilst Helena is off to marry Avery in Hollywood, a man summed up by her cousin as a charlatan. Along the way both women have a child each, Daisy is the daughter of Nick whilst Helena has a son Ed. Nick and Helena have the sanctuary of Nick’s family home Tiger House to meet up in the summer with their two children.

I enjoyed the structure of this book as it spans the years 1945 to 1969 told from five characters viewpoints: Nick, Daisy, Helena, Hughes and finally Ed. This was done well with the story building up in layers as we get a clear picture of some of the events, not least the murder of a maid which took place. I felt the story started fairly strongly with an insight into what life for a housewife was like in the late 40’s and early 50’s, especially for one who expected her life to be one big adventure. What wasn’t so good was that the next three parts are fairly tedious in places with little happening except an awful lot of drinks being made and served. The characters simply weren’t very nice or may I say, terribly interesting most of the time. Section five picks up the pace and I enjoyed this part the most but ultimately the ends should be tied together at this point, and they were partially, but there were so many of them that this was less of a neat knot and more of a half unravelled piece of knitting.

This was not the historical novel that I expected, there are some events that lead back to the war but this is more a novel about how people deal with the hand that life gives them. The book does offer contrasting views of how these characters filled the gaps between their expectations of life and the reality but as I hadn’t really connected with any of them this felt more contrived than it should have done.
An ambitious debut novel which had a lot of potential but fell a little flat for this reader.

I received my copy of this book from Amazon Vine in return for this impartial review.

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Friday Finds (April 11)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

Well after counting my TBR last weekend I shouldn’t have anything to share with you today… but I do have a couple of additions to my reading list!

First up is a book I’m so excited to have as I have read the nine (yes, nine) previous books in the series and not only because there is a character called Cleo! Want You Dead by Peter James
is due to be published on 5 June 2014 by Pan Macmillan.

Want You Dead

Blurb

IF HE CAN’T HAVE HER, THEN NOBODY CAN . . .
Virtual romance becomes a terrifying obsession in Want You Dead…
Single girl, 29, smouldering redhead, love life that’s crashed and burned. Seeks new flame to rekindle her fire. Fun, friendship and – who knows – maybe more?
When Red Westwood meets handsome, charming and rich Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, there is an instant attraction. But as their love blossoms, the truth about his past, and his dark side, begins to emerge. Everything he has told Red about himself turns out to be a tissue of lies, and her infatuation with him gradually turns to terror. Within a year, and under police protection, she evicts him from her flat and her life. But Red’s nightmare is only just beginning. For Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has ever known and loved – and then her too . . .

I have also been lucky enough to receive a copy of Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly which I have been coveting for quite some time along with her first book What Kind Of Mother Are You which I haven’t read yet….

Keep Your Friends Close

Blurb

Natty and Sean Wainwright are happily married. Rock solid in fact. So when Natty’s oldest friend, Eve Dalladay, appears – just as their daughter collapses on a school trip in France – Natty has no qualms about leaving Eve with Sean to help out at home.
Two weeks later and Natty finds Eve has slotted into family life too well. Natty’s husband has fallen in love with Eve. He’s sorry, he tells her, but their marriage is over.
With no option but to put a brave face on things for the sake of the children, Natty embarks on building a new life for herself.
And then she receives the note.
Eve has done this before, more than once, and with fatal consequences…NetGalley

I also have a copy of The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah. I’m intrigued to read this one despite the fact that I found her last book, The Carrier, almost incomprehensible. I have both liked and disliked earlier books in the Culver Valley Crime Series so I will have to wait and see what side of the fence this one falls. Telling Error is due to be published on 24 April 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton.

The Telling Error

The amazing Lady Fanciful recommended a book after reading that I have a fascination with affairs, so I am now the proud owner of The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

The End of the Affair
Blurb

The love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah, flourishing in the turbulent times of the London Blitz, ends when she suddenly and without explanation breaks it off. After a chance meeting rekindles his love and jealousy two years later, Bendrix hires a private detective to follow Sarah, and slowly his love for her turns into an obsession. Amazon

My copy arrived yesterday and I’m trying to work out where in the schedule I can squeeze this book that  I am sure I’m going to love, after all it has an affair and obsession!

What have you found this week?

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The Dead Ground – Claire McGowan

Crime Fiction  4*'s

Crime Fiction
4*’s

The Dead Ground takes up the story from where The Lost, which was the first in the Paula McGuire series, ended. Paula McGuire, forensic psychologist is still in Ballyterrin, Northern Ireland with her father an ex-policeman and the ghost of her missing mother haunting her.

Paula is a likable character, she has made mistakes, not least with her boss DI Guy Brooking at the MPRU and newspaper owner Aiden O’Hara, but for now she has work to do, someone has snatched a baby from the hospital and there is a race against time to find him. This book has the constant theme of pregnancy and babies running all the way through it which although compelling, can be more than a little disturbing at times. It is impossible not to imagine the televised appeal for the return of a new-born baby or to wonder at the local hatred from both Catholics and Protestants, for the English doctor who helps pregnant women to arrange abortions. This is very much a modern novel which includes postings on social media site as well as placards to cajole Dr Alison Bates and anyone who wants to use her services into stopping. Alongside this is the insistence of the head of Serious Crime, DCI Helen Corry for the area on consulting the local psychic to find the new-born.

There was plenty to keep me turning the pages throughout this book, not least the on-going mystery of Paula’s missing mother as she searches in vain for clues to her disappearance seventeen years previously. I like that Paula makes mistakes, she doesn’t have the answers and she appears to have curbed the more maverick tendencies which featured in the last investigation. The plot moves at a pace with plenty of twists and turns although I had figured most of the whodunit by the time of the reveal.

An excellent read and one that has confirmed that I will be looking out for the third in the Paula McGuire, but one that does come with a warning that the subject matter is extremely sensitive and I for one would not recommend that you read this book if you are pregnant or have recently had a baby!

Although I’m sure this could be read as a stand-alone read I do think you’ll get more from this book if you read The Lost before picking this one up.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers Headline in return for this honest opinion ahead of the publication date of today, 10 April 2014!

Previous books by Claire McGowan
Standalone
The Fall
Paula McGuire Series
The Lost

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WWW Wednesday (April 9)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Tigers In Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

Tigers In Red Weather

Blurb

Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summers at Tiger House, the glorious old family estate on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. As World War II ends they are on the cusp of adulthood, the world seeming to offer itself up to them. Helena is leaving for Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is to be reunited with her young husband Hughes, due to return from London and the war. Everything is about to change.
Neither quite finds the life she had imagined, and as the years pass, the trips to Tiger House take on a new complexity. Then, on the brink of the 1960s, Nick’s daughter Daisy and Helena’s son Ed make a sinister discovery. It plunges the island’s bright heat into private shadow and sends a depth-charge to the heart of the family.
Summer seemed to arrive at that moment, with its mysterious mixture of salt, cold flesh and fuel.
Magnificently told from five perspectives, Tigers in Red Weather is an unforgettable debut: a simmering novel of passion, betrayal and secret violence beneath a polished and fragile facade. Amazon

I have just finished The Dead Ground by Claire McGowen, a crime novel featuring Dr Paula McGuire, the second in the series which is set in Ireland where the past intrudes on the present. My review will be posted later this week.

The Dead Ground
Blurb

A stolen baby. A murdered woman. A decades-old atrocity. Something connects them all…
A month before Christmas, and Ballyterrin on the Irish border lies under a thick pall of snow. When a newborn baby goes missing from hospital, it’s all too close to home for forensic psychologist Paula Maguire, who’s wrestling with the hardest decision of her life.
Then a woman is found in a stone circle with her stomach cut open and it’s clear a brutal killer is on the loose.
As another child is taken and a pregnant woman goes missing, Paula is caught up in the hunt for a killer no one can trace, who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
The Dead Ground will leave you gasping for breath as Paula discovers every decision she makes really is a matter of life and death… NetGalley

Next I am going to read The Last Boat Home by Dea Brovig 

The Last Boat Home

Blurb

On the wind-swept southern coast of Norway, sixteen-year-old Else is out on the icy sea, dragging her oars through the waves while, above her, storm clouds are gathering. Surrounded by mountains, snow and white-capped water, she looks across the fjord and dreams of another life, of escape and faraway lands.
Back on shore, her father sits alone in his boathouse with a jar of homebrew. In the Best Room, her mother covers her bruises and seeks solace in prayer. Each tries to hide the truth from this isolated, God-fearing community they call home.
Until one night changes everything.
More than thirty years later, the return of an old friend forces Else to relive the events that marked the end of her childhood. NetGalley

What are you reading this week?

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Teaser Tuesday (April 8)

Teasing Tuesday CB

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from Tigers In Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

Tigers In Red Weather
Blurb

Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summer heat, sunbleached boat docks, and midnight gin parties on Martha’s Vineyard in a glorious old family estate known as Tiger House. In the days following the end of the Second World War, the world seems to offer itself up, and the two women are on the cusp of their ‘real lives’: Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own young husband, Hughes, about to return from the war.
Soon the gilt begins to crack. Helena’s husband is not the man he seemed to be, and Hughes has returned from the war distant, his inner light curtained over. On the brink of the 1960s, back at Tiger House, Nick and Helena–with their children, Daisy and Ed–try to recapture that sense of possibility. But when Daisy and Ed discover the victim of a brutal murder, the intrusion of violence causes everything to unravel. The members of the family spin out of their prescribed orbits, secrets come to light, and nothing about their lives will ever be the same.
Brilliantly told from five points of view, with a magical elegance and suspenseful dark longing. Goodreads

My Teaser

To her ear, the name Avery Lewis sounded exactly what he was: some Hollywood wannabe selling insurance and pretending he had dated Lana Turner, or whoever it was he was always going on about.

At least this way I won’t turn into an old maid, mad as a hatter and warts on my nose.

Please share your comments with me.

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