Tag: contemporary

Book Review: Super Me by Jessica Dazzo

Author: Jessica Dazzo
Release Date: 20th July 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal
Series: Super Series (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 327
Publisher:
Blurb:
What does it mean when your mind goes rogue and starts making stuff up? For example, if you were to hear the radio talk to you—say your name and tell you to do something… that couldn’t be a good sign, right? Or when everyone keeps saying your ex-crush’s name in random conversation when you’re just really trying to get over the jerk because he’s actually terrible? Not good.
Seventeen-year-old Faye Aldright has never quite fit in, but when she starts hearing and seeing things all wrong, it makes life so much harder. Faye knows she’s the cause of all of the intense, awkward, and sometimes explosive misunderstandings with her mom, best friend, and the new boy who she definitely hates. She knows it’s all in her mind and that for some reason, it’s turned against her. It’s trying to ruin her life. She just has to figure out how to fight the crazy in order to get her life back on track–in order to find out what’s really going on in her little town, because something supernatural is definitely going on.
But how do you fight your mind? And what kind of person has their own mind as their nemesis?

Review

★★★★

Super Me by Jessica Dazzo is a refreshing new YA paranormal novel that is hard to put down once you get into the story.

Initially, it took me a while to get into the story, but once I was in, it was hard not to read and finish it off in one sitting. The story is complex, in a good way, and engaging. The writing is good and makes the book an easy and quick read. The characters believable and the setting fitting to the tone of the overall plotline. So, on the whole, it was a complete package and I enjoyed reading it. But what really set this book apart from the others in the genre is the emotional believability of the protagonist’s internal (as well as external) conflicts. I was able to connect with Faye and felt deeply for her. Other characters were also developed well and, hence, the ending proved to be emotionally exhausting yet rewarding at the same time.

If you’re into paranormal and supernatural fiction, then you must check out this book.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Book Review: For The Lover Of Stories by Charlie Avinash Nicholas

Author: Charlie Avinash Nicholas
Release Date: 20th April 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Cross-Genre – Poetry Collection & Short-Stories,
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 316
Publisher:
Blurb:
Dear you,Welcome to my double feature. “For the Lover of Stories” contains two of my books:

1) “Sanity’s War” is an anthology of interlaced short stories and narrative poems. It depicts epic battles between kingdoms, against nightmarish forces, and within broken souls.

2) “Strange: And Other Accounts From the Taboo War” is a novella of short tales, poetry, and letters. It deals with the Unsung Heroes’ battles against the Grim Reaper’s strange sons.

Review

★★+1/2

For The Lover Of Stories by Charlie Avinash Nicholas is a cross-genre contemporary fiction that is an unusual and somewhat interesting collection of poems (mostly narrative), short stories and epistolary texts and overall it was an okay read.

The writing was okay, not great but not bad either, and the content of each and every chapter was also okay, but because of the different types of texts, I felt a bit disconnected from the book. The tone of the book, which was basically dark and war-based, some literal some metaphorical, was something I liked, but the real problem was that I wasn’t able to relate to any of the characters in any of the texts. Microfiction is tricky and I wasn’t overly impressed by author’s brevity in this book (which is actually a combined version of two books.)

If you like reading cross-genre fiction and won’t mind trying out both poetry and microfiction by a new author then you can go for this one, though I can’t say for sure if you might like it or not.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

ARC Review: The Flawed Ones – A Story of Mental Illness, Addiction and Love by Jay Chirino

Author: Jay Chirino
Release Date: 2nd November 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mental Illness
Edition: e-book
Pages: 260
Publisher: Archway Publishing

Blurb:

After leaving behind a trail of drug-addled destruction, Jay finds himself confined to the walls of a psychiatric hospital. He is now compelled to confront his actions, his issues, and the past that led him to such downhill spiral. But what surprisingly affects him most are the people that he becomes surrounded by; people with considerable deficiencies that will shed some light on the things that truly matter in life.

“The Flawed Ones” is a thorough examination of the struggles of mental illness, depression, addiction, and the effects they have on the human condition. Most importantly, it proves that physical and mental shortcomings do not necessarily define who we truly are inside- that the heart is, in fact, untouched by our “flaws”, and that love will always prevail above all.

Review

The Flawed Ones by Jay Chirino is a very interesting book on a subject that is not only sensitive but also taboo for many people – mental illness.

The beauty of this book lies in the fact that it not only concentrates on the mental illness but it also tells us about what lies beyond the dark face of the illness itself. This book is a highly compelling and a very intelligent book.

The writing is good and it complimented the story quite well. The descriptions were painfully realistic and I was able to connect to the lead character’s angst. Reading this book made all the situations Jay had to go through, feel very… intimate and real.

The starting of the book was simple yet powerful and good. Even the Author’s Note was really good. As the story progressed I found myself unable to put the book down. It was gripping on an emotional level and that is where this book impressed me.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who likes reading as we all, from time to time, have or will come across people and/or situations where this kind of intense familiarity in regards to mental illness might prove very helpful. If you don’t want to read this book for entertaining purpose then read it for the sake of awareness.

More from the author:
- Author Interview: Jay Chirino
- Book Excerpt: The Flawed Ones by Jay Chirino

Goodreads

Book Review: Hiding In Third Person

Author: Phil Bradley
Release Date: 31st May 2017
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery
Edition: e-book
Pages: 260
Publisher: Archway Publishing

Rating: ★★★+1/2

Blurb:

Ricky, a flippant orderly befriends a mental patient at an asylum he refers to as the spa and dude ranch. He listens to the sick man, the others refer to as Mr. River, tell a dubious tale of two teenage boys on the run from an assassin.
In River’s story, the boys take refuge at an abandoned military base, BOMARC, nestled in the idyllic New Jersey Pinelands. Also trailing the boys are several cops. False identities and coded messages hinder the cop’s search.. Mr. River’s story ends in a bloody showdown at BOMARC.
Asylum doctors plan to move Mr. Rivers to a dark and remote facility. Their ultimate decision hinges on the validity of the sick man’s story. Seemingly, Ricky is the only believer and he has to risk his life to prove the patient’s story to be true.

Review

Hiding In Third Person is an entertaining yet light-hearted read.

I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect from the book in terms of plot and the story, but once I started reading it I found it a very engaging and an entertaining read. The writing is good and has a nice flow to it. No complex words, no complicated sentence structures and no unnecessary detailing – in short, it was a light and casual read.

The characterisation was not great, but I did care for the main lead, Ricky, enough to finish the entire book pretty quickly. As I already mentioned, it is a light read so it worked for me.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes action, adventure or mystery and even to those who are looking for a breezy read to take a break from their usual reading genres.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin

25592056-2Author: Jen Benjamin
Release Date: 25th March 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Edition: E-book
Pages: 176
Publisher: Wallace Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.

Review

Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin is a light and enjoyable Contemporary Romance read that’ll win your heart in a blink.

I get extremely choosy when it comes to Romance genre, therefore I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. But fortunately, this book turned out to be a really pleasant and a light-hearted read. I liked the premise of the story as it was unique and was impressed by the execution and the balance of the emotions the author was able to maintain throughout the book. Romance is a very tricky genre because there needs to be a very strict balance otherwise, the story may either be lifeless or too cheesy and as far as I’ve seen only a few authors can do it correctly. And I’m glad to say that author Benjamin was able to pull off this balance quite well.

I liked the characters and was able to connect to the leading lady as I’m a writer myself (I’m pretty sure that if you want to be a writer or if you are one already, you’ll love this book simply because of its story and theme.) I liked the other secondary characters as well and found the writing pleasant and simple.

I’d recommend this book to all the Romance fans and also to those who’re looking for a light-hearted, breezy quick read to read this summer.

More from the author: Author Interview: Jen Benjamin

Goodreads and Amazon

Evening Tea – #Blogbattle (Jessie #5)

BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge in which participants write short stories using a single word for inspiration. You can visit the BB’s blog to find out more about it: Blogbattle: Inspired To Write.

This week’s word is Tea.

Evening Tea (Jessie #5)

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Image Source: Pixabay

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

 

I set my cup of tea down on the table careful not to spill it on the white cloth beneath it and, taking a deep breath, I say after gathering myself, “It’s not as easy as you think, Mom.”

“But it is,” She puts her cup down too and leans forward in her seat, “Look, Jess, I know the past year has been really tuff on you – first the accident, then Rick’s affair and then this,” she waves a hand at my belly and continues as if she’s not talking about her only daughter miscarrying her 6 weeks old unborn child, but simply making an observation about a filthy sack full of crap.

Looking at me she sighs heavily and continues, “But sweetie this is not how you deal with your problems. You can’t just take  a break from your life and isolate yourself.” Adding more sugar to her tea, she continues, “You need to keep yourself busy. These things are not that significant dear. look at the bigger picture.”

When I start to protest, she raises a hand and continues her lecture, “All I’m saying is at least try to do something that’ll keep you busy and help you to get your mind off of such things.”

The clinking noise of her spoon makes it difficult for me to maintain a straight face. I start tapping my feet first slowly, then intensely and try to sound nonchalant, “And what exactly do you mean by ‘such things’?”

She looks up at me and furrows her brows for a second and then reclaiming her calm exterior she says, “You know what I mean, your accident, Rick’ betrayal, the baby and your failures on the whole.”

Unable to contain my anger any longer, my voice rises a notch, “My failures? What the hell do you mean by my failures?”

She sips her tea calmly and after patting her mouth with the napkin she says, “I didn’t mean to offend you, Jessie. It’s just a manner of speaking.”

The patting of my feet grows so intense that it starts to hurt me, “Seriously, mom?”

“What?” she says shrugging.

I pick up the spoon next to my cup and start pouring sugar in my coffee not wanting to fall for my mom’s sick game.

“Say something, Jessie. I came all the way here just to talk to you and this is how you treat me?”

I stop pouring sugar in my cup and tighten my grip on the spoon’s handle,”Stop it, Mom. Please. Just stop it!”

She sits straighter, making it clear that she disapproves my tone and says, “No, you stop it, Jessie. You need to face it. We both know that you’re blaming yourself for Rick’s affair. So say as much and be done with it. You can’t feel guilty forever.”

“No, that is so not the case, Mom. I’m not guilty of anything! He cheated on me not because I wasn’t good enough for him, but because he is a worthless piece of shit who doesn’t know what loyalty is. So please don’t go there because that’s really not the case.”

“Oh, but I know that this is exactly what’s troubling you.”

“Oh, so now you are what? A break-up specialist?”

“Well, considering my experiences I think you can call me that.”

Unable to contain the storm brewing inside me I look at her and fixing her with a glare I say gritting my teeth, “Stop it already. You’re doing it again.”

“What am I doing?”

Giving up, I get up with a jerk, pushing the chair behind me, and throw the napkin on the table, “Nothing.”

“Don’t you stomp off in front of me Jessie. I am your mother.”

I stop in my tracks and turning around I try to bite back the words that form in my mouth, but knowing her as well as I do, I let the words out of my mouth, “You’re again getting it all wrong, Mom. And that’s why I was trying to avoid meeting you in the first place. You just love assuming things. You don’t even try to find out what’s really wrong. All you know is to make others feel miserable for all the things that are going wrong in their life.”

“No. That is absurd!”

“Yeah? Well, tell this to someone who hasn’t spend 20 years of their lives living with you under the same roof.”

“That’s enough. I’m leaving.”

“Good for you. And please don’t bother checking up on me after today, because I won’t be staying here anymore.”

She gets up from her chair and throwing her purse over her shoulder she says, “Why? Is this place not good enough for you now that I know where you are?”

I shake my head and release a long breath.

“At least tell your old mother where she can find you in case if there’s an emergency or something.”

“Well, you won’t be calling me in any kind of emergency if you knew where I’ll be.”

She turns around and looks me in the eyes, “Where are you going, Jessie?”

“I’m going to Dewar.”

Her mouth falls open and she turns red. Throwing her off guard this way, even for a minute, makes me feel so much better. She quickly regains her cold composure and narrows her eyes at me as if I’m a 4-year-old girl, “And might I ask where will you be staying?”

“With dad.”

She studies my face for a long time and then quietly makes a beeline for the door but before leaving, she stops abruptly and turns around, “Goodbye, Jessie. I hope you have a great time with your father.”

She spits out the words so ferociously that it feels more like “Rot in hell with your father,” which, I think, is exactly what she wanted to say.

***

You can read the previous parts of Jessie: Story About A Girl series here:

  1. Baking A Pie (Jessie #1)
  2. Ruined Dreams (Jessie #2)
  3. The Sting (Jessie #3)
  4. Autumn (Jessie #4)

NOTE: This is a piece of fiction any resemblance to any person or place (living or dead) is purely coincidental.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Novella Review: Home Is Where The Start Is (Roseland #1)

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Author: Eric Ugland
Release Date: January 29, 2015 
Series: Roseland Series
Book: Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Detective Fiction | Cozy Mystery | Cozy Paranormal 
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 113
Publisher: Air Quites Publishing 
Source: Author 
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

When Ginger Mitchell finds out her mother committed suicide, she packs up her life as a Vegas “dancer” (hey, somebody’s gotta do it) and drives her cherry-red SUV straight home to Portland. Without a disapproving mom to rebel against, what was the point?
But things aren’t what they seem once Ginger gets to the City of Roses. For one, nothing about her mother’s suicide adds up, but no one else even wants to entertain the idea that it could’ve been murder. No one that is, except the ghost of Ginger’s mother, who keeps scaring the crap out of her. It’s probably just a psychotic break because of the grief, right? Sure.
In any case, it’s during one of these visits from Ghost Mom that Ginger decides to solve the murder on her own. She really only ever wanted to be a cop, so maybe she should start a private detective business and see where it takes her. And look, that hippie kid running down the street after a muscle car right now probably needs help. Another case!

Rating

4-stars

Review

Home Is Where The Start Is started off pretty well. I really liked the don’t-give-a-damn attitude of Ginger and most of all the first line that really kick started the book. As I went along it kept on getting more and more interesting. As it’s the first book in Roseland series, it dedicated a good amount of time in setting up the basics (characters, locations, situations, etc.) and honestly, I  enjoyed reading every bit of it.

The writing is exceptional and packs a big dose of humor. I loved the imagery and at more than a dozen occasions it made me laugh out loud.

The book ended on a high note and left me craving for more. I had low expectations from the book considering that it borders on the paranormal realm, but I really enjoyed the ghost angle. Though what I really found strange was Ginger’s mother’s personality. She seemed a little opposite of what was expecting her to be especially  considering her profession. Maybe in the next book it’ll be clearer.

For a novella, this book really packs a punch and is totally worth the time spent on reading it. I’d recommend it to anyone really as it’s a nice cozy mystery to read and enjoy.

You can also read this review at: 
Goodreads and Amazon

Other Stuff

Opening Line: I wish I hadn’t been sucking cock when my mother died, but I was.

Highlights: Storytelling

Lowlights: 

Final Thoughts: A nice and cozy mystery.

Book Review: Southern Solstice

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Author: Sarah Sadler
Release Date: June 2, 2015 
Series: None 
Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Edition: Kindle (.mobi)
Pages: 404
Publisher: Blue French Press
Source: NetGalley (Requested by Tammi Weed, Director of Media Relations, Modern PR.)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

As rich and distinctive as the Lowcountry itself, Southern Solstice presents a clever and charismatic journey of love, heartache, adaptation and emotional fortitude as told through a patina of family heritage.

When twenty-four-year-old Larken Devereaux is left brokenhearted by her fiancé on the West Coast, she reluctantly returns to her charmed aristocratic roots in Charleston, South Carolina to rebuild her life and gain self-determination in a prominent southern family that offers everything and requires nothing.

As her impetuous mother orchestrates a reunion with a first love, Larken becomes entangled in a dilemma where she must choose between an intriguing, passionate plastic surgeon—who is anything but superficial—and the annoyingly irresistible man who has silently loved her forever.

Rating4half-stars

Review

Plot Story:

The plot-line of this book is really impressive considering it’s a contemporary-romance story. I enjoyed reading this book and would felt myself pulled into the story from the beginning till the end.
I had a great time reading it and this book will make an excellent summer read. I’d recommend to anyone who loves the genre. I’m not a huge fan of romance novels but this book really stood out. The simplicity of the plot is commendable and so is the rich writing and characterisation.

Characters:

I absolutely loved the characterisation in this book. I was able to feel a strong connection with the lead character- Larken Devereaux. I also loved the male leads – Jackson and Miles.

To be honest, I loved all the other characters as well and felt like I’d known them forever. Each and every character had substance and spoke for itself making the reader feel so comfortable reading the book that you’d want to loose yourself in it.

Romance:

It’s a romance fiction… so figures. The sizzling chemistry between Larken and Jackson is to die for. But when Miles comes into the picture, everything gets upside down and that’s when the the subtle bond between Larken and Miles starts to shine through. It’s amazing how the author not only successfully pulled off a love triangle but also ended it on a brilliant note.

To my surprise, I found myself enjoying the little moments of lovey-dovey stuff without actually cringing away from it. And that’s how, at least for me, a romance book should be.

Writing:

The writing is rich, as I already said, with a few new and heavy words sprinkled here and there. I enjoy this type of writing and I’m looking forward to read more books by the author. The book is written in third-person omniscient narration and the imagery created by the author is brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed the detailed narration. That said, yes, there were times, especially in the second half of the book, when I skimmed over a few lines here and there. But maybe that’s because I was so curious to find out how it all comes together in the end.

Beginning:

I thoroughly enjoyed the book from the beginning. The emotional turbulence at the very beginning of the book pulled me right in and instantly connected me with the female lead – Larken. After that as I read further the story got more and more interesting with each and every page. I love books with powerful beginnings as they draw me inside from the start and this book did just that.

Ending:

The book ended on a brilliant note and the ending itself was quite surprising. Generally, in romance novels the ending is pretty predictable but in this book but in this case it came as a pleasant surprise and it beautifully pulled out Larken from the web of a love triangle.

Cover Art:

I absolutely adore the cover art. I think it’s pretty classy and goes well with the theme of the book (esp. with Bunny’s quote – Jewels anyone crown.)

Blurb:

The blurb seems perfect to me. I accepted the book based on the blurb itself.

You can also read this review at Goodreads, Amazon and NetGalley.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Don’t make this harder on me than it already is, Larken.”

Highlights: Brilliant plot.

Lowlights: A little too descriptive in the second-half.

Memorable Quotes:

Jewels On Your Crown.

And then she thought of Dr. Miles and the scar he had promised not to leave. Then she realised in a strange, hopeless way that he had left one anyway. Men always do.

If the shoe don’t fit, run barefoot the other way.

When you trouble yourself to be obligated to someone, they better have already proved their worth to you.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant summer read.


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P. aka The Reading Bud

My name is Heena and I’m a freelance writer, blogger and a book-reviewer (and soon-to-be author.) I’m an introvert, thinker, neat freak (cleanliness OCD), hardcore idealist, fitness junkie, music fanatic, compulsive reader, self-assertive, opinionated, dog lover and an atheist.

The Reading Bud is my brain-child and is a huge part of my life. I love reading and reviewing. What started as a hobby has become my passion.

Read more about me here.


Ruined Dreams (Jessie #2)

Jessie: Story About A Girl is a contemporary fiction short story series based on the theme of love and family.

Each part of this story is written for the photo prompts at Describli.

Ruined Dreams

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Genre: Contemporary Fiction

 

“I love someone else,” one sentence that changed everything – my dreams, my expectations and, most of all, my life.

A sentence that completely shook the foundation of the only relationship in my life that I cherished.

Sitting in front of him, I can see that he’s still trying to explain me something animatedly. As if his falling in love with someone can be justified. As if all this is just something that can be explained. What really ticks me off is seeing him bothering to explain me all this. How can he not see that what he just said has literally destroyed my life, even more that that horrible accident I had about a year ago?

Looking at Rick making desperate attempts at finding a pathetic excuse for an explanation an odd thought hits me, is it because of that accident that he wants to leave me?

I remember, a few months back he was worried about my chances of conceiving a child. The doctors thought that because of my broken lower back I won’t be able to conceive a child, and he was really upset, at least more than I was expecting. I mean it’s only been two years since we got married and the truth is we never even really talked about it (about the baby) before that day, and the next thing I know, Rick got really upset with the news.

But if that’s the reason, then should I tell him that against all the odds I am pregnant?

I was so happy yesterday when I found out that I was expecting. I thought I’d tell him today and surprise him with the news but looks like life’s not meant to be that simple for me. Will he stay if he knows that he can be a father? Should I tell him after he’s just confessed his love for someone else? 

I don’t think so. No. I cannot. Because I don’t want him to love me just because I’ll be the mother of his child. Or worse yet, he might still leave, but not only just me but our child too. That will be really awful.

Why did you do this Rick? Why?

I look into Rick’s moist eyes and asks the question that’s been bugging me since he’s said those cursed 4 words, “Who?”

He looks taken aback for a second and the looking down, he says in a voice that is barely audible, “Nikita.”

“What?”

He nods his head slowly and looks at me, “Yes. It…. it just happened.”

Great. My husband is cheating on me with his secretary. Classic.

Was he going around with her when I had that accident? Or did all this started while I was being operated and my broken hands and legs were being fixed? Was she there for him when I was not?

Or did he start dating when I was crying day and night for all the opportunities that I missed?

Was he sleeping with her while I was trying to fix the crutches and dying with pain standing on my own legs?

How dare he?

How can he? How can he do something like this to me? He doesn’t have the right to destroy my life. He can’t just love someone else… or can he?

All of a sudden I’m feeling like the guy sitting in front of me is not the caring Rick I fell in love with,but an arrogant bastard full of shit.

I’m still sitting dazed and he’s still talking, to me or to Juno I’m not sure. I still can’t wrap my mind around it, “I love someone else” how can he say something like this and completely throw me off track?

It’s worse than anything I could have ever imagined.

Tears start rolling down my cheek. Suddenly I feel vulnerable. I wipe off my tears, smooth out the creases on my dress and stand up saying, “please leave.”

I go straight to the kitchen, turn off the stove, pick up the pan of the burned applesauce and place it on the platform.

I come out into the hall and see that he’s closing the door behind him.

I go to the closed door and see through the peephole – he is getting into his sedan.

I turn around and go to where Juno is sitting, set him off leash and sit where Rick had been sitting just a few minutes ago and as soon as I hear his car leave, a steady stream of tears start flowing down my cheeks.

I hug Juno and dropping all the pretences, I start crying.

***

You can read the previous parts of Jessie: Story About A Girl series here:

  1. Baking A Pie (Jessie #1)
  2. The Sting (Jessie #3)
  3. Autumn (Jessie #4)
  4. Evening Tea (Jessie #5)

NOTE: This is a piece of fiction any resemblance to any person or place (living or dead) is purely coincidental.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Baking A Pie (Jessie #1)

Jessie: Story About A Girl is a contemporary fiction short story series based on the theme of love and family.

Each part of this story is written for the photo prompts at Describli.

Baking a Pie

five-spice-apple-pie
Image Credit: Pixabay

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

 

I’m drenched in sweat, trying to figure out this new recipe mom e-mailed me yesterday and keeping Juno out of the kitchen – all at the same time.

Sometimes, I feel like I’ll go insane taking care of a dog with anxiety issues. It gets really difficult at times, especially since I’m in no condition to be able to run behind him or even to hold on to him when he tries to get away. There he is again, trying to get my attention by jumping like a possessed dog next to the kitchen counter, “Juno. Bad boy. Go, sit in the hall.” I try to give him one of the many commands I tried to teach him when he was a pup, but he happily disobeys as if he’s getting it all right by not following them.

I put the pastry lined pie tray in the oven hoping to god that I’ve got the right settings on the oven. Turning around, I leave kitchen trying to cajole Juno with a handful of treats into following me to get his leash from the bedroom. After tying him to the  leg of the sofa, I make my way back to the kitchen, and after taking a deep breath, I start preparing for the applesauce.

I smile to myself thinking that Rick will be surprised to see me out and about baking again. Let’s just hope that he won’t get angry that I’ve been working in the kitchen alone, especially when he’s away.

I put the diced apple in the pan, light the stove and add sugar to it. After adding cinnamon sticks, I go and check the oven for the time. It’s far from done. I check up on Juno who gives me an innocent look and when I don’t open him, he starts barking loudly.

I quickly go back to the stove making sure that the sugar is starting to melt and gently stir the apples. The sooner I’m done with this, the sooner I can let Juno free.

After a few minutes, as the sauce starts bubbling, I hear Rick’s car pull outside the main gate. Juno launches into a new barking frenzy and I can hear him aggressively struggling against his chain.

I go to the hall and try to calm down Juno, “Quiet, Juno. It’s just Rick. He’ll meet you in a minute, boy. Sit down.” Sighing I leave him to his crazed wiggling and slowly make my way to the main door smoothing down my hair.

I want to look perfect today. It’s our 2nd year anniversary and I’ve spent almost 2 hours in front of the mirror getting my hair all curly and bouncy. I’m sure he’ll be surprised to see me this way considering that the last time I got dressed nicely was before the accident last year.

I open the door with a huge smile on my face and watch, Rick, my first real crush turned boyfriend turned husband, getting out of his car. Behind me, Juno’s barking and wiggling intensifies because he hates to be tied up, especially when the main door is open.

I look at Rick’s beautiful face as he turns around and tries to take in his beautiful features. Small eyes, thin lips, sharp and long nose and a straight and slick face. He’s tall with 6’2” height and has a great athletic physique. He looks like a proper gentleman, which he obviously is, as he makes his way towards me with a bouquet in his hands looking great in his black suit.

“Welcome home, sweetie. I really missed you!” I say as I hug him.

I’m seeing him after three days, he’s been out for work, and I can’t believe just how much I missed him in these three days. I miss the days when Rich and I used to be so inseparable that he used to turn down out-of-station meetings just to be with me. But lately, it’s like he’s trying to attend as many meetings out of town as possible. He’s always out, at least twice a week, and I’m considering talking to him about it.

I can’t stay alone in this huge house, at least not now. And I’m sure that once I tell him about the big news he’ll only insist on staying at my side all the time. Today, our 2nd anniversary is the perfect day to tell him that he’s going to be a Daddy.

I lean closer to him and kiss his neck, but that’s when I notice that he’s holding me very weakly. I pull back from him and notice something that I missed to see before –  he’s looking tired, very tired. I smile at him and say, “I’m so sorry sweetie, are you okay? Come let’s go inside. I’ll get you some water.”

As we make our way inside, my heart drops just a little because I was expecting him to comment on how I’m looking or maybe the fact that I was standing straighter and walking better. Guess, he’s really tired.

I take a glass of cold water to the hall where he’s sitting patting Juno. “Here,” I say handing him the glass. Juno seems to have finally decided to sit quietly.

After gulping down the entire glass of water in one long swig he looks at me as if he’s seeing me for the first time today and says, “Oh, you look good, Jess. Is that makeup?”

I blush and nod.

“You look nice.” He smiles awkwardly and then shifts uncomfortably in his seat, looking like he wants to say something.

I know that he’s been driving since morning but that doesn’t mean that he can’t remember our anniversary. How can he?

I site on the sofa-chair next to the sofa Rick’s sitting on and realize that something’s not right. I sit there looking at Rick from the corner of my eyes as he tries to look at everything in the room except for me. None of us has spoken in the last ten minutes and now it’s really getting a little awkward. I try to push back the weird feeling in my gut and try to break the silence when I see him staring at his shoes, “You remember what day is it today?”

Looking relieved to have something to talk about, Rick smiles at me and says, “I guess it’s Tuesday.”

“Yeah. It’s Tuesday.”

He looks at me for a second and then resumes staring at his shoes. Losing my patience, I open my mouth to ask him how can he forget our anniversary, but right then Rick blurts out, “Umm… Jess, I need to talk to you.”

Studying him and noticing that his forehead is covered in beads of sweat, I stop myself in time and say, “Yes?” but that’s when the timer of the oven sings, “Oh shit, I’ll be back in a minute.”

Forgetting about our exchange and the heart-sinking feeling, I try to walk towards the oven as fast as I can and take out the pie tray. It feels a little dry when I check it, but it doesn’t matter because I was anyway making the sauce slightly runny, just the way Rick likes it.

I put the pie on the counter next to the stove and after stirring the applesauce, which is starting to look a little dry, I remember that Rick got a mail from his office yesterday that was marked urgent. “Oh shit!” Without turning the gas off I go back to the hall and picking up the parcel from the TV stand I hand it to Rick, “This came for you yesterday. I’m so sorry I forgot to tell you about it.”

I look at Juno and smile when I see that he’s dozed off.

I turn back to Rick, who gives me a small smile, takes the parcel and without even looking at it, he puts it beside him and shifts in his seat to face me, “Listen, Jess, I really need to tell you this right now, otherwise I won’t be able to get through with it.”

I sit down on slowly thinking what is the matter with him. “What happened Rick?”

“I wanted to tell this to you before, Jess, but I didn’t have the courage to tell you.” He closes his eyes tightly and takes a deep breath. Opening his eyes, he says “It’s not something that I planned for, so please, don’t hate me.”

All of a sudden my heart is pounding so loudly that I feel like throwing up, “What are you talking about?”

“I… I love someone else.”

My entire body freezes. What? 

I sit there staring at Rick’s face for a long time. My mind seems to have shut down. I see that Rick comes closer to me and gently shakes me by the shoulder. I look into his eyes and when my eyes settle on his lips I realize that he’s saying something. I shake my head as if to break the spell and hear him say, “Please say something Jessie, you’re scaring me.”

That’s when I smell a very strong smell of burning, but instead of rushing to the kitchen like I should, I sit there, still dumbstruck, and looking into Rick’s eyes I say, “My applesauce is burning.”

***

You can read the previous parts of Jessie: Story About A Girl series here:


NOTE: This is a piece of fiction any resemblance to any person or place (living or dead) is purely coincidental.

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