The Good Girl by Mary Kubica ~ 2014


“I’ve been following her for the past few days.
I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works.
I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared.
But I will.”



Author: Mary Kubica
Publisher: MIRA
Publication: Original edition (July 29, 2014)
Pages: 352
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780778316558
ISBN-13: 978-0778316558
ASIN: 0778316556
Author photographer: Sarah Jastre


5 Stars


This novel was ripped and read from my ever teetering TBR list and so I may be prepared for my conversation with Ms. Kubica




Mary Kubica
Folks who know me, know I love debuts. For me, it's a bit like sticking your toes in the water before jumping in and swimming in the pond. After reading this read, I'd swim in Ms. Kubica's writing for hours on end.

Gratefully, she has a few:

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of six novels including The Good Girl, Pretty Baby, Don't you Cry, Every Last Lie, and When The Lights Go Out and her new release, The Other Mrs.

Her debut, The Good Girl is a page-turner of a kidnapping that did not go according to plan. With only a handful of characters, Ms. Kubica pens such an intriguing tale of mystery, I must warn you, you will not want any interruptions while you are entertained.
Give yourself a couple of minutes, I'll give you a quick synopsis of this read you'll enjoy as much as I ~

Mia Dennett, the neglected daughter of a distinguished Chicago judge, James Dennett, is the victim of the kidnap. This story is told in alternating first-person perspectives, before and after Mia is recovered. Eve Dennett is the mother of the victim, Colin Thatcher is the kidnapper, and Gabe Hoffman is the detective that will get to the bottom of this come Hell or high water.

Mia has a somewhat of a boyfriend who at times keeps to their dates and more often then none doesn't for one reason and the next. One night while Mia is waiting for him and becomes a no show, she meets Colin. The scene that takes place at the bar, Mia feels comfortable enough with Colin to leave with him for a one-night stand.

Later that night, she finds herself being thrown into Colin's truck and instead of being handed over to the man that had hired Colin for the job, they head out of town. Ending up in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, where the emotional psychological roller-coaster starts for Mia. And Colin. And folks, the season is heading toward winter.

Eve and Detective Hoffman are determined to find Mia where Eve's husband, Judge Dennett is pretty much in the background and stays aloof. He has a demeanor of being 'greater than thou' and demanded some questions from the detective not to be bothered with. After all, they are the "perfect" little family and they do have an image to uphold in the eyes of society. Even Mia's older sister, Grace, who was off at college following her daddy's footsteps in the field of law seems not as terrified as one should feel when their sister goes missing.

But then, during this whole read nothing is quite as it seems.

Ms. Kubica's style in writing keeps you close to the characters and taunts the reader's anticipation of trying to figure this mystery out with a flair of penmanship that is sublime. To add to the going back and forth of before and after Mia's recovery, you also have subplots that add some flavor to the mix.

Colin's mother plays a part where I found a liking toward her yet I did have a suspicious eye on after the introduction. There is also a love story going on, actually two love stories, one going sour and another sweetening. And let's not forget the enigmatic man going by the name of Dalmar with the unforgiving black eyes who had hired Colin for the kidnapping. He has his agenda one would think he wants to maintain.
Folks these subplots wrap up nicely too, in the end. Love how your thoughts you still have in the back of your mind when you're nearing the end all get answered.

The characters' growth in this tale is a minimum. I find Eve a bit meek and submissive as with Mia. Gabe's strong character stays linear throughout. Even Colin's character stays pretty much the same other than he grows with inter-monologue thoughts. And this bully, Judge Dennett; he stays a polished arrogant ass.

The atmosphere made the settings radiate off the pages from the characters. With the bitter cold of winter in Minnesota, you could easily imagine what Mia and Colin went through in that secluded cabin. Especially Colin's fight with his inter-monologue. How lonely and distraught Eve was during the whole read and with Gabe, his determination; both personal and professional.

One keynote in this tale I enjoyed was Mia's dialogue - it was next to nil. I thought the three other characters narrating this story did a superb job of communicating with what was going on with Mia. And with the 'before and after' effect in this style of writing, the reader has no worries about what is going on with the victim. None so ever.

As the ending comes to a close, all the loose strings are tied neatly to a nice bow. Secured, and with the epilogue making a safety knot that you won't see coming, you'll close this book and say the same thing I'd said, "Damn, that was a read!" By the way folks, it's not a cliche' when it's meant as the real thing.


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I have had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Kubica one evening in late April, via Zoom, answering questions that added depth to this fantastic story of a kidnapping gone awry.

She tells us it all started with an atypical plot, a kidnapping plot that is not actually what it seems, but as she wrote, the characters told her the story, other than the other way around.
She had never been an outliner, she would write a chapter, and then it would just take off from that point. She likes the spontaneity of writing. She remembers had talked with "20 different writers and pretty much they collectively said there is no right or wrong way, you just pick a method that works for you."

One of her biggest challenges in writing The Good Girl was finding the time to write. Her daughter was just a year old and her son was yet to be born. It took her five years to write this novel. Starting early in the day, while her young children were still "sleeping in" she would write. Starting around 5 a.m. with her first cup of coffee, she had the freedom to bring a new life into this world - The Good Girl.

Another one of her challenges was keeping this novel a secret, other than to her husband, she wanted to keep it a secret from her family and friends until it was actually published.
That in my opinion folks would be daunting in and of itself. But, after 70 or so rejections from her queries, she could excitedly announce to her family, "Look what happened!"

She had chosen to write The Good Girl in three different segments, merging them all together upon completion: Eve and Gabe in the Before chapters, Eve and Gabe After, and finally, Colin Before. Telling a story altogether different than the individual parts.

Ms. Kubica wanted to become a writer at an early age of around eight or ten years old and then around the age of twelve, she and her cousin Carrie had a sleepover at their grandparents' house, where Carrie produced her first manuscript for Mary to read, and she remembers "holding the crisp computer paper (the continuous feed paper with perforated edges) and thinking: this is where books come from." It was then she knew she wanted to become a writer.  In the months ahead she would steal away with the family's typewriter to her bedroom to write in private.

However, the writing was more of a dream or hobby and less of a career.  Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. Although she loves teaching, she is now a former high school history teacher.

As I read The Good Girl there were some off the wall questions that rolled through my curiosities as a reader. As Mia and Colin were at the secluded cabin in Minnesota, does Mary camp? Since Mia was a talented artist, does Mary draw? Was there a different title she started out with? To which she smiled and told of how she remembered one night while she and her family camped, a rainstorm came and their tent collapsed in the middle of the night (and it was her last night camping) and with her knack for drawing, yes she does, but, not very good.

To the question of a different title, yes. At first, the novel was going to be called Migration. Once she had an editor, "the editor made it very clear that was a terrible title." Once all the edits were done they had put their heads together and came up with a handful of titles. The Good Girl, The Good Daughter, The Perfect Daughter. They were all pretty much similar. When they had talked with marketers and all collectively voted, The Good Girl won. This book came out about two years after Gone Girl and Gone Girl was hugely popular and she voiced herself with some concern with the similarity with Gone Girl. But she remembers someone had said by the time this novel comes out, everyone would have forgotten about Gone Girl. Still, she had voiced that Gone Girl was soooo huge, she thought that Gone Girl will never go away. (by the way, folks, Gone Girl and The Good Girl is very different reads)

There were many parts with this Zoom meeting I cannot talk about for the sole reason I will not give away any of the twists nor the ending, but, it was enlightening for me to hear 'behind the scenes footage' of how these twists and this book became to be. For example, who the kidnapper was actually going to be and then not. Mia was going to be one of the main narrators, but...
With the character Colin, how she became closer to that character as she wrote and then...
Ms. Kubica states she has a very close relationship with her characters. Taking ordinary characters and putting them in not so ordinary situations.

And, she loves book clubs with all the input from the readers. I totally agree, because just as Edmund Wilson had stated: No two persons ever read the same book.

With all novels, there is one part I find folks hardly ever talk or ask about: the dedication. The Good Girl is dedicated - For A & A ~ I had an inclination A & A stood for her children. She smiled brightly and confirmed my gut feeling.


***

Mary, on behalf of the Madison Public Library and myself, I would like to thank you for your time. Such a great great time with you. I enjoyed myself immensely with the smiles and all the laughs. I wish you all the best with your writing career.


~ Folks, if you want a read to kidnap you from your daily doldrums of reality, you've come upon it. Highly recommended read. 


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Here's where you can get your fingers on The Good Girl:
  • Amazon ~ Hardback $15.59 ~ Paperback $10.94  ~ Kindle $7.99 ~ USD
  • Barnes & Noble ~ Hardback $24.95 ~ Paperback $15.95 ~ NOOK $7.95 ~  USD
  • IndieBound ~ Support your local book stores

About the author:





Connect with Mary













Mary Kubica is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including THE GOOD GIRL and her new release, THE OTHER MRS. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature.

Her first novel THE GOOD GIRL was an Indie Next pick in August of 2014, received a Strand Critics Nomination for Best First Novel, and was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards in Debut Goodreads Author and in Mystery & Thriller for 2014. Mary’s novels have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide.

She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children.

Read an excerpt from The Good Girl
on Mary Kubica's site


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Spirits by Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel ~ 2019


A hauntingly delicious horror ride




Author: Sheri Sabastian-Gabriel
Publisher: Haverhill House Publications LLC
Publication: July 22, 2019
Pages: 213
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1949140083
ISBN-13: 978-1949140088
ASIN: B07R5ZJMPZ
Cover illustration & design: Dyer Wilk


4 Stars


Without my stack collapsing, this was ripped from my TBR list ~



Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel
Victoria Garrett, is also known as Tori throughout the tale, is a young woman not being able to live with the fact she hit and killed a teenaged girl, Lexi Perez, with her car. Turning to the legal medicinal liquid to quell her pain, liquor, she quickly spirals downhill and her life becomes a weekend read that will envelop you fighting for the protagonist.

Becoming a self-induced souse, Tori loses her prestigious VP job, and not wanting to listen to all the gossip from her 'so-called' friends at work, she decides to get away from it all. To a memorable place from her childhood, Cape May, New Jersey.

But, before she goes, there has been a stalker stalking her for over a year. And, this stalker she knows all too well. The mother of the child she killed, Carla Perez. She's been watching Tori, seeing what her life became after the so-called 'accident' and it was plain to see Tori was drinking to excess. Why? Carla ran a few ideas through her head, but still, those reasons still didn't add up to equal justice in her child's name. Carla comes face to face with Tori one night in a lounge, "My daughter died, and you walk free, living life like nothing ever happened. ... "I ought to beat the living shit out of you," Carla growled.

Carla Perez had other plans, she went to see Miss Tanuja. A West Indian lady living in the inner city. Miss Tanuja asks what she needs and after a moment, "Revenge.", Carla wants revenge against that bitch who took her baby from her. Miss Tanuja asks Carla if she is familiar with bhoot. A Spirit. Soul. Ghost. Yes, ghost. After instructing Carla on how this bhoot could terrorize and haunt and letting her know of its limitations, Carla took herself on a mission.

Now, Tori believes she can get her life back on track and continue life in a some-what respectable way in Cape May. It is during the off-season for the tourists and some elbow space is what the doctor in her has ordered.

She arrives and spots a B&B called the Seaside House. It is run by a motherly older lady by the name of Amelia Warren. Now, Amelia came across to me as a fragile little old thing and (no spoiler here) has a backbone. And a strong bone that is and more than likely a foot that will kick you straight from where you came from if ever you cross her path. I personally like people like her.

Amelia is lonely and she is heartbroken after the death of her husband from the Big C, cancer. Tori asks if she was taking anyone in and after the two of them settle on a price, Tori lugs her one piece of luggage inside. Now, it's off-season, and not too many folks are around and Amelia is thinking she can become friends with Tori. She quickly finds herself with a loose cannon. Tori is losing all sense of reality as she immerses herself deeper and deeper into her drinking habits.

This tale is filled with demons you see being so damn drunk all the time. Some real, some not so real ... or are they? Tori finds herself surrounded. And it's driving her mad. I personally could see Carla smirking in the background. Wait a minute, is it Carla or is it Tori's reality?

Read on reader ~

Spirits has a handful of characters that play well together in the story-line. One, in particular, is a gentleman running a comic shop by the name of Chris Silver, a.k.a. QuickSilver. He has this innate desire to right the wrong he sees during his trek in life and it gets explained why in a heartfelt way. He becomes a favorite character for me during this read. It is the most upstanding way of how Chris and Tori meet for the first time. Years later, their paths cross again and Chris believes he can save her from the Hell she is putting upon herself.

The sub-plots work nicely within the story folks. Also, with all the characters adding for a fullness, you can rest assured the settings and atmosphere narrative are there in the read. The theme of this tale Ms. Sebastian-Gabriel nails it, as I have seen some inebriates demonstrate. So, I believe she is spot on.

This tale is more than a ghost story folks. It is a tale of a surreal look at addiction and how one is coping with guilt. What was very well done, it is written with, I believe, an intentional sense of getting close to the reader's emotions and feelings. Seamlessly, you are wrapped in some parts of the story of what Tori is going through. Kudos on those notes.

The ending leaves me to believe there is another story with a certain character. And with the MC, Tori, I don't know how to say what I believe without giving the ending away. So, I'll just put a cork in it and let it ferment with you all.



So now the big question, would I recommend it? Well, folks, 2019 was a good year ~



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Here's where you can get your fingers on Spirits:
  • Amazon ~ Hardback $24.99 ~ Paperback $16.95 ~ Kindle Unlimited $0.00 ~ USD
  • Barnes & Noble ~ Hardback $27.95 ~ NOOK $7.99 ~  USD
  • IndieBound ~ Support your local book stores



About the author:


Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel




Connect with Sheri












Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel's fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies over the past decade. Her debut novel Spirits was released in July 2019 from Haverhill House Publishing. She lives in the Northeast with her partner, the writer Matt Bechtel; her three children; and an 80-pound lapdog named Nya


Folks, enjoy my interview with Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel


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The Dystopian States of AMERICA by Matt Bechtel ~ 2020


You may be repelled, you may be shocked,
you will certainly be horrified, but,
you will read every last word.

This is NOT our future




Editor: Matt Bechtel
Publisher: Haverhill House Publications LLC
Publication: February 28, 2020
Pages: 396
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1949140199
ISBN-13: 978-1949140194
ASIN: B0859RQL2G
Cover Design and Interior Artwork: Matt Bechtel
Introduction: Christopher Golden


50 United Stars


Matt Bechtel
After a quite frank and open voice of an introduction from New York Times best-selling author Christopher Golden, comes a slew of authors voicing surreal tales of current disturbing times.

Each tale is peppered with a personalized voice from each contributing author.  These are many independent authors I have heard of from all over the social media outlets and was eager to read some of their handy-work.  And, now is prompting me to pick up some of their tales.

Many of these tales throughout this collection of short stories had me shaking my head and grinning.  Many of them left me realizing just how truthful these stories are - without the fictional demented imaginations from the author's story-telling of course.  What else are many of them made me angry.  Angry to a realization that we have many in office directing us into an oblivion course of mayhem and some cases to extinction, because - simply put - they are clueless.
Just as this person who is currently running for the United States Senate did not know the Federal Reserve is a different entity from the government!  This person is running for the Senate folks!  A straight-up fact.

Christopher Golden
Tale after tale, this anthology will wake you.  The authors each took a topic/subject of a newsworthy item and told you an amazing twisted fictional tale, only when you get done reading it, you'll reflect that that is actually what the hell is going on.  It is only peppered with their take on how to incorporate fiction to get their point across to readers.

Folks, if your into horror and tales from another dimension and are hep to the reality of our current worldly affairs, this anthology is a must-read.  It will break up the pang of the doldrums you are faced with on a daily basis, if not on an hourly basis.   You will see that there is a light at the end of this tunnel of what we need to decipher from which is a true fact and from what is not.  For the sole reason, what you will possess in your attitude after you read each of these tales.

Remember the times when we heard the news from the governments of the world and we would, for ourselves, opine what we will decide?  Times have changed and now are forced to hear what the governments decide is the truth, and sadly for many, for their own personal gain - instead of for the people. Your neighbor, your friend, your loved one.

Ah, the dystopian states we live in.  Yet, this is not our future.  The future is not as bleak as it looks from these current times.  Rest assured folks.  Rest yourselves with that assurity, because, you have a voice.  Give a fuck - same as these fantastic authors I have read are doing.  Use your voice.


Recommend? -  Yes, I highly recommend these not so fictional tales ~


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All proceeds from The Dystopian States of AMERICA will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation. The ACLU Foundation is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation, donations to which fund the ACLU’s litigation and public education efforts. As such, all contributing authors have donated their work to this anthology without payment.


Here's where you can get your fingers on The Dystopian States of AMERICA: A Charity Anthology Benefiting the ACLU Foundation
  • Amazon ~ Paperback $19.95 ~ USD



The contributing authors:

Passage of Life: Stage 1 — Underground by Abby Bechtel • No One Who Runs is Innocent by Bracken MacLeod • Artificial Unintelligence by Linda D. Addison • Fake News by Tony Tremblay • Frontrunners by John M. McIlveen • Carving Out the Other by William D. Carl • The New Corbridge Free State by Dana Cameron • What You Need by Hillary Monahan • Abbatoir Blues by James A. Moore • Pigs by GD Dearborn • Divided We Fell by Hildy Silverman • Before I Formed You In The Womb I Knew You by Michael Rowe • For Want of Blue Eyes by Stephen Lomer • Antibodies by Justine Graykin • Blue & Red by Wrath James White • The Rules Are Different Here by Nadia Bulkin • Abandonment Option by Lucy A. Snyder • Close Your Eyes in Peace Tonight by Craig Wolf • Passage of Life: Stage 2 — Exiting by Abby Bechtel • Deep, Dark by Jonathan Maberry • the revolution will be in color by doungjai gam • Heart of ICE by Jeff Deck • African Twilight by Michelle Renee Lane • Xenophobia by Billy Martin • How All This Ends by Brad J. Boucher • The Twenty-Second by C.M. Franklyn • On a Dusty Trail by Cat Scully • Six Plus Four by Matt Bechtel • Scarves by Elizabeth Massie • The Sick House by Josh Waterman • Enemy of the People by Dan Foley • Abortion Diary by KL Pereira • Drive by Tim Lebbon • The Night Listener by Chet Williamson • We All Live Under the Sun by Errick A. Nunnally • Revolt by Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel • Passage of Life: Stage 3 — Molting by Abby Bechtel

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