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The math is simple. The more I read the less I write. That’s my excuse for the last few days anyway.

I was given the gift of reading for Christmas. It was awesome. Not only did I get a new, fancier Kindle, but I got a Kindle gift card. Wahoo! I also got two physical books, including Stephanie Black’s new book, Played for a Fool. Heath regretted not thinking of having her sign it for me before Christmas. It’s okay. We know where she lives. Heath is pretty tight with her husband being his executive secretary and all.

While the kids played their new Disney Infinity and Madden games with their dad, I read. All day long on Christmas I read. I never changed out of my pajamas. I never showered. I read until I fell asleep. (I had maybe two hours of sleep Christmas Eve) When I woke up I read some more. It was blissful.

I read the first chapter of Played for a Fool and decided I better reread Fool Me Twice. Enough time had passed since I read it that I needed a refresher on the characters and details before diving into the sequel.

The book was awesome again. It did make me a little extra wary about things. Heath had taken Parker to Best Buy on Saturday to spend his gift card money from Grandma C. He called to ask if he should bring something home for lunch. Yes please!

I had been having this strange panicky moment all morning thinking that our house would be broken into again if we left for lunch. Security Sal did not ease my fears. Even with alarms blaring and cops on their way, someone could have easily scooped up all the new Xbox One equipment and games. It’s like we hadn’t fully cleaned up our Christmas loot. It’s hard for the kids to listen to me when I’m ignoring them for a book!

Last night I struggled to stay awake through Tomorrowland. At one point I snored so loudly I woke myself up. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Gwen giving me a weird look. I said, “I heard it. Shut up.” Everyone laughed. That little power nap was my undoing.

When we all headed to bed – the kids are really going to have a hard time going back to school after staying up till nearly 10:00 every night watching a movie – I pulled out my new Stephanie Black book. Heath researched camera equipment next to me for a while. Then he got tired and went to sleep. I kept the light on reading until 3:30 am. Much to his dismay I’m sure. I was up at 8:00 to finish.

Books are my weakness. Stephanie Black books feed that weakness. Her suspense novels are too good to put down. As usual, this continued story did not disappoint. The first book was interesting in that as a reader you try to figure out what in the world is going on. Who dunnit? The pieces stitch together at the end and you say Bravo! Well done.

The sequel sets up the evil masterminds right from the start. You know exactly who is doing what and why. Oh the why. That was my favorite part of these stories. If I were to explain the plot in a couple sentences you would think the characters are crazy. But Stephanie develops the characters in such a way that you understand how even the vilest of villains came to their wretched conclusions. You almost feel bad for them.

The mental illness, shall we say, in every character is the most intriguing part of the why. Knowing who is doing it and why sets you up to sit back and enjoy the ride. You read to see how it all plays out. How will it end? It’s a fun way to read suspense. She has used the technique before and I like it.

Her descriptions are vivid. I read a couple paragraphs out loud to Heath because I was so impressed with her descriptions. The first paragraph of the book is the best. I read that out loud and said, “There you go. Scene set. And right away we’re in the middle of the story!” It reminds me of my fourth grade teacher. She always wanted us to start our stories in the middle of the action. When we balked she said we could have two sentences of setup. Even then I think it was too much.

Stephanie puts her readers right there in the middle of the action. No setup necessary. The reader is right there and better keep up because she weaves the backstory into the plot. Her sequels are not stand alone stories. If you didn’t read the first book you will be lost. Guaranteed.

When I finish a book, the only problem is I’m caught between worlds. I get so involved in what I’m reading that it is difficult to resurface in reality. I think I may be back now. Next stop … The Martian. Or maybe I will hang out with my family. After losing the whole week before Christmas to gout and Primary, we have a lot of playing to do this last week before school resumes.

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