Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4-stars

Patriarch, Benjamin “Ben” Glass, has a successful law practice, five grown sons, a spectacular home and a wife of 40 years who adores him. He cherishes his life and his family, but he has a secret that could shatter everything he holds dear. When Ben’s attorney and friend, Ira Rattenburg, is given specific instructions regarding how the secret he’s been keeping from his family should be handled upon his death, Ira obliges him and locks away the pertinent documentation should there ever come a time when it becomes necessary to unveil it. Ben Glass meets an untimely death. The time has come.

When Olivia, Ben’s wife, learns part of the secret that her husband’s been keeping from her, she is initially shocked, dismayed and infuriated by it. It involves one of their five sons. She decides to spend time with each one of them while a woman by the name of Rowena Hector, the final key to the mystery, is located by Ira Rattenburg. Olivia will soon learn that her husband wasn’t the only member of the family with secrets. Each son has a secret of his own, and it’s up to Olivia to shred her austere, exacting ways and conservative values, to embrace her sons’ unconventional approach to living their lives.

Watching Glass Shatter started out a little shaky. I found it a bit wordy and overly descriptive in the beginning, causing the narrative to appear forced at times, but it quickly gained its footing and fell into a more natural flow as the book progressed. It was at this point that I began to enjoy it. The author’s personality shines through; his sense of humor, compassion and natural way with words. I liked the premise of the story, albeit I had to suspend disbelief to some degree as it was hard to imagine that some of the events in the book could really happen. But hey, it’s fiction, and I’m okay with that as long as it’s an entertaining read.

I found this to be a good debut novel. Admittedly, a few scenes were a bit too raw or TMI for my taste—entirely personal preference. The midpoint of the book was the most page-turning part for me. I wanted a little more meat regarding the implications of some of the characters’ actions nearest the end of the book. All in all, well done.

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Hummus and Homicide by Tina Kashian (Audiobook-Tantor Audio) **Top Pick**

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5-stars   5-stars

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I absolutely loved Hummus and Homicide!! The completely convincing suspect list, sleuthing tactics and loyal family dynamic; including the cultural traditions the Berberian family so tightly clinged to, were all factors that made the book worthwhile. I cracked up many times while listening. The pace never wavered, and the ethnic dishes that Lucy’s mother prepared in Kebab Kitchen made my mouth water!!

And now a little summary of the book…

When Lucy Berberian returns home to Ocean Crest, NJ, after her professional life in Philadelphia as a patent attorney takes a nosedive, her parents welcome her with open arms and a waitress uniform so she can get right to work at their family-owned Mediterranean restaurant, Kebab Kitchen.

Before long Lucy bumps into former classmate and nemesis, Heather Banks. When Heather introduces her boyfriend, famous suspense writer Paul Evans, to Lucy and then exclaims “Lucy’s parents are foreigners who own that Mediterranean restaurant,” Lucy is mortified by Heather’s tactless, erroneous statement (her parents are citizens) and corrects her in front of Paul. The two women exchange words and Lucy later regrets the tiff after learning that Heather is the new health inspector, replacing her father who’d given Kebab Kitchen’s inspection a pass every year for the past 30 years. Heather inspects Kebab Kitchen shortly thereafter and cites the restaurant for several infractions and demands corrective action within 7 days or she will shut Lucy’s parents’ beloved restaurant down. So Lucy is surprised when Heather comes back to Kebab Kitchen to eat the following afternoon, engulfing various varieties of hummus from the very hummus bar she’d verbally assaulted just a day earlier. But when she’s found dead in the restaurant’s parking lot, Lucy comes under suspicion and must act quickly to find out what really happened to Heather before the negative publicity destroys her parents’ health and livelihood, and she gets put away.

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Audiobook narrator, Rachel Dulude, did a fabulous job with the storytelling and numerous accents and dialects in the book. Her performance most definitely added to my enjoyment of it, being that I’m originally from NYC and thus familiar with various cultures, I felt that her imitations were quite realistic and thoroughly entertaining, making the book that much more enjoyable.  I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, Stabbed in the Baklava.

Very highly recommended.

Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a complimentary download of Hummus and Homicide. In exchange I have provided an honest review

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Hummus plate

Have a wonderful weekend!!

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

Look what I found. The U.K. edition:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫- 4.5 stars

The Perfect Nanny gets off to a chilling start and then takes us back to what leads up to its tragic beginning.

The nanny, Louise, does everything right. EVERYTHING! The delicate-looking, dainty woman is much stronger than she appears, and handles domestic chores with ease while still proficiently looking after Myriam and Paul’s two young children, Adam and Mila. Myriam feels relief that she can pursue her career goals again now that Louise keeps things running smoothly and efficiently at home. She does get in the way sometimes though, when Myriam wants to spoil and nurture her children. And Louise’s quirks can be a bit irksome at times. But Myriam can’t deny the confidence she has in the woman’s adeptness and dismisses any concerns that crop up along the way. That is until some of her noticeably bizarre behavior becomes unsettling. Why are the childrens’ parents delaying in taking necessary steps to dismiss her? They will pay the ultimate price for their callousness.

Sometimes when things appear too good to be true, they really are….

The Perfect Nanny is a psychologically gripping page-turner. Incredibly, this book is not laced with violence and profanity, just a subtle creepiness that gives you pause. Tidbits dispersed throughout the book help us to piece together how and why the nanny may have become deranged. The author wants us to draw on Louise’s life circumstances to reach our own satisfying conclusion regarding her ultimate insane act. Initially, I was thoroughly miffed about the ending. I felt like why did the author do this to me, ….

But after a few days of ruminating on it I started to feel much better about it, to the point of actually liking it. (Thank you Holly B of Dressed to Read, my reading buddy, you were right!!) 😉

Holly also alerted me to the fact that this book was inspired by true events.

Some scenes were a bit wordy at times, and the litany was causing me to feel like, ALRIGHT ALREADY! I GET IT!! But overall, this book was an excellent read. Just keep in mind that it’s the journey that will amaze you, not the destination. Recommended.

Thank you Edelweiss for a complimentary copy of The Perfect Nanny. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

Has anyone else read The Perfect Nanny? I’d love to hear what you thought about it.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!!