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Read This: What She Knew

If you’re like me, the weekend isn’t only a time to recharge your batteries for the week, but if you’re lucky it’s a chance to dive into another new book and not have to worry about how late you stay up reading it. A few weeks ago I picked up Gilly Macmillan’s What She Knew. I saw it on a list of suggestions if you enjoyed Gone Girl. Okay, first of all – I really enjoyed the plot twists of Gone Girl. They were shocking, and unexpected. Unfortunately, now I compare any mystery novel with a female narrator to that story. After reading Girl on the Train I thought maybe some of these mysteries were starting to run together in their run of the mill use of plot devices. I’ll admit, I think I ill-judged What She Knew for about the first sixty pages.
In this novel, young mom Rachel is at a park with her 8-year old son Ben and their dog Skittle. Ben begs to run ahead to the rope swing, and Rachel agrees trailing behind him. When she reaches the swing, as it sways in the empty clearing, Rachel doesn’t see Ben – instead of assuming the worst, she thinks maybe he’s playing hide and seek. That is until all the normal go-tos don’t bring  him out of hiding. Of course, Rachel starts to panic. Thus begins a mother’s (and the father who she’s divorced from) worst nightmare – her son has been abducted. I found this story very well written, and hard to put down because I desperately wanted to know what happened next. Rachel’s sister and her journalist friend end up being her main avenues of support in this harrowing ordeal. Unfortunately, Rachel is put in the media spotlight and it does not bode well. Then there’s the blogging world that turns ugly, pointing blame and suspicion on her. The detectives try to research everyone involved in their lives on a daily basis, from friends and parents on the soccer team, to school personnel, to old patients of Ben’s father who’s a pediatric surgeon who may have a vendetta against him.

This is one of those stories that makes readers question the information in front of them. If Rachel a reliable narrator? Are we getting the whole story? Are the investigators sidetracked by their own personal grief?

The story digs into the personal lives of these people, and long buried revelations are revealed. I have to say there were some surprising elements to this story, that I was extremely pleased with. The novel wasn’t entirely predictable, which can be hard to do sometimes. The suspense was carried out though the end. I think the story also lent itself to an introspective reading – displaying so many sides to a story and all of the emotions that go with it. If you’re looking for a fresh mystery novel, check this one out.

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Listen to This: “Funeral Beds”

Happy Sunday, everyone! I woke up this morning and the sky is dark and grey, and I can see the trees swaying in the wind out my window with rain on the horizon. I’m not quite ready to crawl out of that comfortable Sunday morning feel yet, though to be honest my dreams were wild and I woke up from the crash of thunder several hours ago. So, I poured myself some coffee and I’m doing what I do sometimes, which is listen to the same handful of songs by The Districts on repeat. I know I’ve mentioned my love for them on here before (through an old search, I see in my Watch This: About Alex post,) but I think it’s been awhile. “Funeral Beds” is one of those songs where if I’m not being careful, and don’t have on cruise control, my foot gets heavy on the accelerator. It’s a jam out song of mine for sure – especially when they start riffing on the harmonica. The Districts are cemented in several memories of mine over time. (Like that time they played a smaller stage at Bonnaroo 2015, and my friend piggy backed me for a better view.) I mean, the song itself is heavy and the words cut deep – but the delivery is something else entirely, and it just makes my whole body want to move. “Funeral Beds” is a track on The Districts 2013 release Telephone. For any of you haven’t heard it yet, or if you have listen again. Here’s a good little tune to get your day going:

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Listen to This: Calling All Angels

I was driving to work this morning and Train’s “Calling All Angels” came on the radio, and I haven’t heard it in a while. With news of Chris Cornell’s death yesterday, I was thinking about the personal demons we face, and how so many times people fight those battles silently. That line “I need to know that things are gonna look up.” People need something to hope for, and they need to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and that even on dark days when you feel absolutely horrible, you are not always going to feel like that. It’s hard to say when the clouds will lift, but one day they will. And sometimes, well I think almost all the time – people need to know they’re not alone. People just want someone to reach out to them, to listen, to provide a sense of company in our crazy world – even if you can’t physically be there in a moment. We all get so busy in our day to day lives, and have our own ordeals and struggles to handle, but just remember to check in with each other. It helps ease the burden of the weight we all carry.

I know this song probably sounds cheesy in memory, but the message is a good point and it’s a good reminder. So, here’s to a little Friday throwback. And as always, remember to be kind to each other – what a difference it can make.

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Listen to This: “From the Dining Table”

Harry Styles long awaited self-titled solo album was released last week. I waited to listen until Saturday morning (after loving the new radio hit “Sign of the Times”) and I CANNOT STOP LISTENING. The whole album is so dang good. Don’t brush it off as a teeny bopper album, or you’ll be missing out. One of my favorite tracks on the album (too hard to choose – addicted to “Meet Me In the Hallway” “Sweet Creature” “Ever Since New York” “Two Ghosts” – okay all of them, I guess) is “From the Dining Table.” I think one of the endearing things about this album is that the lyrics are so relatable. Don’t hate me for this comparison, but the fist thing that came to mind was AM by the Arctic Monkeys. The songs are so emotional and heartfelt, but there are also songs you can move to, and they’re perfect for jamming out in the car. OK, honestly, they’re perfect for everything because I also listened while I was running this morning. “From the Dining Table” is the last track on the album, the imagery is so vivid, but also the longing is palpable. His vocals are smooth, and the music is original. This guy is talented, and hopefully his true artistry is recognized.

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Listen to This: “We Could Happen”

My friend Jared has made me a number of fantastic mixed CDs. This morning on a dreary drive to work, I popped one in to make the ride a bit cheerier. One of my favorites, that I’d never heard before until he introduced me is AJ Rafael’s “We Could Happen.” It’s vulnerable and honest, but it has a happy beat. Something about it reminds me of the butterflies of anticipation when you’re entering new territory with someone you like. It really encapsulates that whole wave of hesitation and uncertainty before you take the jump. It’s a unique tune, and it’s a little sappy, but I like sappy. If you haven’t heard it yet, give it a listen: