A Tale of Two Pages

Books, life, motherhood, and more!

With Musket and Tomahawk: The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777 — May 11, 2018

With Musket and Tomahawk: The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777

Note – there are some spoilers in this review, I could not do it justice without them! I apologize in advance! I do my best to keep most spoilers out, but there are times I just cannot bypass them.

THE BRITISH ARE COMING!!

Michael O. Logusz brings to the forefront a little followed section of the American Revolution. When we think of the American Revolution, we think George Washington and his amazing and daring tactics in bringing the British to their end in the American colonies. However, there is much more to this war than many are familiar with.
As we move through the many facets of the Wilderness Campaign, it can get really easy to get bogged down with some of the details. If you are looking for a novel read, this book is NOT for you. But if you want to get a deeper understanding of the Wilderness Campaign of 1777, the major players AND the mistakes that plagued both sides, then this is a MUST READ!! Logusz breaks down the campaign by days, not just notable markers. You get to know the mindset of not only the American Continental Army, but the British Officers as well. Taking the day by day approach, readers are treated to not only to maps and details from correspondence between the leaders, but to the fears and the doubts that plagued both sides. As the troop movements commenced and the Wilderness Campaign heated up, the Northern Army operated as well as they could. Supplies and moral were in place. However, on the British side, things were much different. Lack of supplies, risky intelligence, lack of knowing the area, and loyalist advisors who were in it for themselves, a reader can almost feel as though they are marching through these forests themselves.
Michael Logusz brings readers not only the big picture of how the Wilderness Campaign was lost, but the smaller and finer details that often escape other writers. From some of the first snipers in American history to the murder of Jane McCrea by Native Americans fighting for the British, the nitty-gritty details are brought to the front.
As General John Burgoyne began to prepare for his foray into the war, he studied the maps and what little intelligence that they had concerning the wilderness areas of the colonies. What they did not realize was that their maps were completely out of date and what they were being told from some of the loyalists that were still residing in the areas was not always completely true. According to the maps, what should have been a straight and narrow shot through the countryside was in fact, full of ravines and other obstacles that had not been noted. The British considered the American Patriots weak, and thought the war was won before they even started. As they moved into their first battles with the patriots, they were shocked at the tactics that they employed. To this point, British regulars had only been faced with pitched battles where each side would come out and meet each other head on. Instead, the patriots borrowed from their Native American counterparts, and began to use more guerilla tactics. They hid, they jumped up and fired, then ran. General Burgoyne kept waiting for the many loyalists that he had been told were waiting for the British before they would join but those loyalists never fully materialized. As for the American Patriots who were opposing the British, they were entrenched and more determined than they were given credit for. Even though they lost Fort Ticonderoga early, they managed to not give up much more.
As you read through there are several details that will catch you and make you thumb back a few pages. This is not a bad thing! The facts are such that you have to almost view British and American thought side by side, and Logusz does just that!

Grab the book and join the Wilderness Campaign today! From triumph to hesitation, “With Musket and Tomahawk” will take you on a journey that will have you wanting to dive deeper in.

 

The Darkling Bride – A Book Review — May 10, 2018

The Darkling Bride – A Book Review

If you are searching for a great read – one that is thrilling, enchanting, and just hinges on the dark… then this is the book for you!! Oh my goodness!! Total book hangover today! I could not put it down, and I had to figure out how it ended before I could sleep. Dive in and discover the delicious mystery housed within the walls of this medieval castle!

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A decades old murder, and a abandoned tower that holds more than just memories…

Carrah has landed her dream job. She has been tasked with working through the library at the Gallagher castle. As they prepare to turn the castle over to the National Trust, a full inventory must be made of all the books. While she prepares to begin the monumental task of going through the thousands of books in the room, she meets the Lord of the Castle. Aiden is not your normal Viscount. He is a Detective Inspector in London, and has no time for the memories that are held within the castle walls. It might have been his inheritance, but he wants nothing to do with it.

Decades earlier, his parents were murdered in the castle. Only ten years old at the time, Aiden and his sister Kyra went to live with their Aunt Nessa in Kilkenny. The castle was shut up, except for a few workers who have maintained the home, no one has been there in years.

Carrah knows that Evan Chase, one of her favorite authors, had spent time at the castle. He married Jenny, daughter of the viscount, and agreed to remain there with her, due to the “delicate health” that she suffered from. But Jenny begins to lose her grasp on reality, and refuses to accept her son as such. She is convinced that he is a changling, an imposter. Nothing her family can do can change her mind about the child. When Jenny commits suicide, Evan leaves the castle for London, abandoning the book on the Darkling Bride that he had been working on.

The Darkling Bride – an old Irish legend which haunts the castle. Happiness never seems to last for the Gallaghers who reside within its walls, and the Darkling Bride is always lurking within the mists surrounding the castle.

As Carrah and Aiden become closer, the castle begins to share some of the secrets held within. As they work together to solve a riddle that his mother had left behind decades earlier, they find a lot more than a birthday present stashed away….

Murder, family secrets, and intrigue come together to weave a spellbinding story – one that you cannot walk away from until you have finished! I can not say enough about this book! I LOVED IT! I have a book hangover from reading through – it was that good! Grab your copy today and get lost in the Irish legends, a haunted castle, and one explosive secret…

Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book, for an unbiased review.

Sons and Soldiers – A Book Review — May 9, 2018

Sons and Soldiers – A Book Review

Before the beginning of World War II, a new power was rising in Germany. It was a party that had only one doctrine, and it was willing to annihilate anyone that stood within their path to achieve what they saw as a true and pure race. One where they were the dominating force, subjugating the rest of the world to their will. As the Nazi party rose within the country, and German nationalism rose, there were just as many living with the Germany territories that were afraid for the future. While many of them looked to escape early, some held on thinking that the worst was behind them. They could not have been more wrong. Six boys faced a future of uncertainty, and while their families did everything they could to remain together, it was eventually clear that some of them had a chance to get out, and these families grasped at the chance. These young boys, from all different walks of life, all had one thing in common. They were Jewish. That alone was the one factor that separated them out from the rest of their neighbors and friends. It did not matter that they had been born in Germany and had grown up there. It did not make a difference that their fathers had fought for Germany in the first World War, many of them were decorated veterans. The only thing that mattered was their faith, and that was even turned around to become a race. They were despised and ridiculed. The children picked on, many by former friends. A few made it out early, but others like Stephan, were not as quick to leave the country. There were organizations set up to help get children out of the country, and parents jumped at the chance to have their children removed from the danger, with the hope that the rest of the family could soon follow. Sometimes families were reunited quickly, some took years. Still others were never reunited, never to see their loved ones again.

But these boys were not finished with Germany yet.

Being sent to America, they flourished. Living with relatives, holding jobs, going to school was something that they jumped at. While life in America was much different than it was back home, they all assimilated into their new surroundings. Learning the language (if it was not already known) was key, and many of them still spoke their native tongue at home. But while they were living in America, they were still aware of the events swirling around Europe. With the outbreak of the war, they felt as though they needed to do their parts to help win the war against Hitler. Many of them had ideas of what they wanted to do, but not being a United States citizen held them back. While attending training, they were pulled out and send to a specialized training which would allow them to act as interrogators overseas. Their mastery of the languages and by knowing the countryside, as well as how the people within the country would think would help them to gain information that would be vital in not only pursuing the German army, but by saving American lives as well. Working with the units they were assigned to, the information that they managed to get gave not only troop numbers and movements, but placements of mines. It was not just the American lives that they were saving. Through their interrogations, war crimes began to come to light. The concentration camps were revealed and the true horrors of what the Germans were trying to hide was uncovered.

Werner Angress, Victor Brombert, Stephan Lewy, Martin Selling, Manny Steinfeld, and Guy Stern are not just footnotes in a history book. These six names, six heroes are just a few of the brave soldiers who not only defied Hitler once by leaving Europe before they could be scooped up, but returned with the United States Army to bring him down. There is a longer list of names within the pages of the book, all men who willingly risked their lives to save people that they loved, and people they had never met. Sons and Soldiers follows their stories in a vignette, and masterful intertwining of history and facts that shows just how personal the war was for some. It was not just nameless souls they were trying to save. They were out to save their heritage, their families, their past, and their future.

If you only read one book this year, this is it! Wow! I could not put this one down! I was glued from the start. Well researched and fantastic detail.. this book leaves nothing to the imagination. This book was everything I was hoping it would be and more. Tissues will be required at a few parts, due to the heartbreaking nature of the material.

The End of the Semester Is In SIGHT! — May 8, 2018

The End of the Semester Is In SIGHT!

Finals week is finally upon us! I have been buried in grading, writing finals, and prepping students. There are days I struggle, and wonder if I am really doing my job as a teacher. I do my best to encompass all types of learning into my classroom, in order to give my students the best chance to learn everything that they need to pass my course.

Of course, there is one resource students often overlook – the teacher themselves! We are there to do more than prepare lessons, give harsh grades, and fail students. I hate to fail students, I hurt when I see students struggling. But no one wants to ask the teacher for help.

I teach online college courses, and I know that some students struggle more when it comes to online courses. They require dedication and commitment. There is a level of independence there, but at the same time, learning to turn things in on a deadline can really pull some students down. I urge my students to tackle their assignments early in the week, not waiting until the last minute to complete all the assignments.

I am sitting here, looking over the courses that I have taught this semester, and I begin to wonder what I can do to help my students more. I want to give them the best opportunities, but how do you teach students – yet, not hand them everything. I want them to learn, to grow, and to form their own opinions. Keeping a bias out of a classroom can be extremely hard, but it can be done. I do not tell students which side of the fence I am on with issues, I let them debate and learn, and we go back and forth with learning and discussion.

As a teacher, I am thankful for finals. I look forward to see what my students have learned, and what they have gained out of the course. I want to see that their level of interest have changed, and how their knowledge can be put to work. I am sitting here at my desk, thinking back over the semester – and I know that I did everything that I could to help students succeed. Even though I continually question myself, I know that by doing so, I keep my information fresh, engaging, and give my students what they need to complete the course successfully.

I am thankful that now I can turn my attention fully back to my kids, and get them through the remainder of the school year. We are so close to being finished. Who ever said that home school was easy – WHATEVER. There are days that we struggle to get through what we need to – simply because the sun is shining and we would rather be outdoors than inside. There so many things that we can do outdoors, but there are some things that we have to complete inside. I would do school outside everyday if I knew that my children would truly pay attention and not let their minds wander to the park and the fun that they could be having there.

I have started the adventure of looking for the material that we are going to use next year. I need to change things up for my boys and get something a little more hands on than what we are using right now. Boys need to keep their hands, and feet, busy. We take frequent breaks through the day, just to get the wiggles out. I cannot say much – sitting still all day is not fun for me either! : )

What are you summer plans!??

 

Life Flying By… — April 22, 2018

Life Flying By…

April has been flying by, and there are days I wonder if I am even noting the passing days. This last week was one that really pushed me to the brink of binge-eating all the chocolate in the house!

It started on Monday. Monday’s are rough anyway, but ya know, sometimes you have to shake things up and make them REALLY bad. Anyway, I woke up to no internet – and several deadlines staring me in the face. I spent the next two hours frantically trying to figure out what in the world was going on, then calling the provider to see if they could figure it out. I ended up with a technician at my house – on a rush job. Tuesday – same story – no internet, technician scheduled…. got internet, only to lose it again while I was in the middle of meeting. Then I spent the next almost two hours on the phone to get internet working again, to have the base where we are living completely lose power. GO FIGURE. At this point, I had to laugh. It was either that or break down into tears. So laughter won out – and I was trying to keep a positive outlook. The provider we have decided to send out ANOTHER technician, and see if they could get things figured out. Well – I guess we have somewhat figured out what is causing the issue, but we are going to see how long this solution lasts.

I am not a downer – I try to see the positive on everything, but I felt as though this week pushed me to the point of breaking. Deadlines, kids, homeschooling, and life in general has ways to kick you, and make you question everything. I love my kids – so there are no worries there.

As a parent, I worry constantly about finding the “niches” that my kids need to get ahead. I know where our weak points are, and where they struggle. There are days that I struggle to discover how I can really help move them forward. I do not want to put them back into public school. We just have to discover the perfect curriculum that will work for them. I have considered writing my own, and putting my own information together. Of course, I am going to have to buy the math and science, those are NOT my strong points at all. I am okay with buying those. I just want the rest of what we are doing to be something that they are going to mostly enjoy. Why must that be so hard!?

There are going to be some long and trying days ahead. I am going to be working on laying out a better plan, and I look forward to sharing those with you as we move forward. For any homeschooling families out there – what are you looking for? What do you love using, and what would you change?

Days come and go.. and there are going to be some fantastic ones ahead, and there will be some not so great ones ahead. I will take each day as it comes and look forward to bigger things ahead!

What is one thing that you would like to accomplish this year?

The Abbots Tale by Conn Iggulden – A Book Review — April 21, 2018

The Abbots Tale by Conn Iggulden – A Book Review

Well, I have another review for you! If you enjoy historical fiction – then you will really enjoy this book. There were times I hated the characters, there were times I loved them, but through it all – the book pulled together really well, and it covered a person who has largely been forgotten in history. I have given this book 4/5 stars.

Review:

England was far from settled, and the early days of the country are beset by death, turmoil, and of course, a few great men who would rise from the ashes…

Dunstan came from humble beginnings. While his father was a well known lord, Dunstan was a lesser son. He and his brother would have to work for whatever they wanted to achieve in life, while their older brother would inherit the bulk of their fathers estate.

Dunstan and his brother Wulfric are taken to the abbey at Glastonbury, to work and to eventually take holy orders. They are to be taught, and guided. Life for the boys was not easy, and Wulfric suffered much more than Dunstan. Dunstan is a quick learner, and he picks up everything that is brought his way. From the forge, to herbs, to devouring the languages presented, he grows and yearns to learn more. He wants to build, design and bring the abbey into a new life. As the time at the abbey goes forward, Dunstan pulls a stunt that he says had him “carried by angels.” This of course makes the abbey more popular, as everyone wants to see the boy who has been touched – but it also marks a turning point in his life. While he does his best to get rid of the bullies and those who have wronged him – it turns against him, and they accuse him of murder. He begs his teacher for confession, and then pulls him over the cliff with him. As Dunstan struggles to get to the kind lady Elflaed, he hopes that they have not left him behind. Yet, she is there waiting for him when he stumbles out of the woods, broken, dirty, and exhausted.

After that, life takes Dunstan on a new road.  Lady Elflaed takes him to court where she introduces him to her brother, the king. He also meets his uncle, who is a very well known bishop in England. He is eventually confirmed in his holy orders, although the king at the time does not take kindly to Dunstan. He is sent away to be the Abbot for the Glastonbury abbey, and to fulfill the vision of rebuilding and growing the community. He is met with some dissension at first, but as time goes on, the priests settle back into a routine. Dunstan however, is not done. He becomes treasurer for the next king, and serves him faithfully, as he does the next several kings.

Dunstan is a figure that is enigmatic. He could have been killed any number of times, but he always managed to survive. He worked for what he wanted, but as a priest – he still suffered from the fall of pride. Any injustice to him had to be answered, and that included kidnapping a queen and selling her into slavery for the pain and embarrassment she caused him. He plotted and carried out his plans carefully, selecting those who were indebted to him (and not letting them forget it either). In his own way, he was exactly what many of the upper clergy of the time had become. They had their wealth squirreled away, and were their own tiny kingdoms in a larger kingdom. He served those faithfully who supported him, and did his best to raise them up when he could, but his temper would always get the best of him.

I did enjoy this book, although there were several times that Dunstan really got on my nerves! He was that character that you really want to hate, but at the same time, you want to see what happens to them. He is someone that has not been written about extensively, and Conn Iggulden did a great job in bringing this forgotten life back to the world of the living.

This book is due out May 1, 2018. Put it on your pre-order list now! Thanks to Edelweiss for an advanced copy for a unbiased review!

On A Cold Dark Sea – A Book Review — April 20, 2018

On A Cold Dark Sea – A Book Review

If you have not seen the new novel from Elizabeth Blackwell – check it out! This book was amazing! New release, just in time for Mother’s Day!

 

THE TITANIC HAS SUNK! 

These words reverberated around the world, and tore countless families apart. But for the people who were on the Titanic and survived it created a bond. Regardless of station in life, they had to pull together to save themselves, and then learn to cope with the guilt of surviving in the aftermath.

The story follows three passengers, Esme, Charlotte and Anna. Each one of these ladies have goals, dreams and secrets. Esme is cheating on her husband. Charlotte is pretending to be a married woman. Anna is secretly in love with Josef who is going to marry another.

Esme covers her affair by eventually marrying the man whom she pulled into the boat, leaving her husband to his fate aboard the sinking vessel. Time has not been kind her to her, and the excitement that she felt with the clandestine relationship quickly soured after a few years of marriage. Seeing the marriage through to the end, she discovers a secret strength within her, and of course, a friend who has always been there. While Sabine may have only started as her maid, she has been the one constant in the headstrong Esme’s life.

Charlotte is a thief. She has fallen in love with the roguish Reg Evers, and is willing to follow him anywhere. But he has been hiding several secrets from her, and while she goes along with his plans, she is deeply hurt by his rejection of her affections. Styling herself Mrs. Evers aboard the vessel, she and Reg are travelling with a young English aristocrat who has been disowned by his family. The secrets that she carries from the Titanic that night will push her to new heights in creating her new identity, but they also eat away at her as the years go by. After she is contacted by a family looking for their son, she begins a search that will take her from England to America in search of answers, resolution and peace.

Anna survives, but has to live with the guilt of being separated from her two companions. She wants to search for them, but the rest of the people in the boat cannot understand her Swedish tongue. As she makes her way to Josef, she worries about what the future will hold, and what she will say to him when she arrives. He lost his brother and fiance in the sinking. But as they grow their lives together, she has one secret that she never shared with him….

As we watch the story of these three ladies unfold, and how the Titanic sinking affects them in the future, we see more than just people. We see their stories, their pain, and the growth that they must learn to accept as time moves forward.

Fantastic book! I loved the twists and turns, and the many layers that each person seemed to possess. Anna’s story really struck me harder than the rest, and of course, the massive loss of life that was incurred during the sinking. Strength and determination are some of the major themes through this book, and I enjoyed watching many of the secrets play out and unfold upon the pages of this book!

Mistborn: The Final Empire – A Book Review — April 18, 2018

Mistborn: The Final Empire – A Book Review

Good day dear readers! I had originally intended to bring you this blog last week, but there was a little trouble with my WordPress account, so I had to sit on this delicious review for a couple of days. I hope that you enjoy it, and of course, if you have not read the book – you need to! It is one of the more fascinating reads I have completed in a while!

Review:

The skaa have been beaten into submission. They keep their heads down, work hard, and do their best to survive. Some dare to dream of something more in the Final Empire. Kelsier has begun to plan something larger than the Final Empire has seen in centuries – an uprising that will destroy the Lord Ruler and free the skaa from the meager existence that they are eking out.

While he begins to build his team, he has once again recruited several men that have worked with him before, but he is also looking to bring on another member – one that has hidden powers, that they do not fully understand themselves. As he brings Vin into the crew, her demeanor is one of distrusting and wariness. She does not trust these men, even though they appear to be a lot closer than most of the crews that she has dealt with in the past. Her last crew was one of pain, hunger and humiliation. Members would sell you out for the smallest offense. Vin learned early on to keep her head down and keep to herself as much as she could.

Kelsier has started a small rebellion, one that started with the killing of a nobleman on a plantation – while the skaa hid in their homes. He has built a name for himself. He is a survivor of the Pits. The pits of Hathsin are a desolate place, one where people are sent to die. The atium that the Lord Ruler hoards so closely is mined there, and it is worth a fortune. No one has ever returned from the pits before, so Kelsier has become a celebrity in the underground networks, a person who should not be alive but has defied all the odds so far. As talk of rebellion begins – Kelsier lays out a plan so daring, most think he has finally lost his mind and is wandering around insane. Death does not scare him, and yet he is willing to lead others into danger to accomplish the task that they have been asked to fulfill.

As Vin and Kelsier begin working on the powers that lay hidden within Vin, she learns that she can do so much more than soothe the people around her. While it is a good power to fall back on, there are so many other areas that she did not know she could access. She is a Mistborn, an allomancer. Allomancy is the mystical power held by the nobility, granted to them by the Lord Ruler some thousand years before as a reward for their loyalty. Skaa are not supposed to have these powers, and anyone who shows knowledge of them without being of noble birth is slated for execution. While there are some skaa who have these powers, they are few and far in between, and they have to be extremely careful, as they are hunted by the Obligators and the Inquisitors, who stifle any form of rebellion or security risk to the Lord Ruler quickly.

The plan? Draw the armies out of the city, put the major houses in a power struggle and war against each other, and then hopefully be able to defeat the Lord Ruler. The odds are definitely stacked against them, and the chance of actual success is slim. Vin is going to act the part of a noblewoman, and begin to infiltrate the noble houses, and begin to glean some information on the members within each household. Sazed, who is a keeper, begins to give her some pointers and tips on passing as a noblewoman from the countryside, the niece of a minor nobleman. As she debuts into society, she meets the heir of the highest house, but this young man is much different from much of the nobles in the city. He thinks differently, and prefers to spend his time with books instead of people. While she is not impressed with their first meeting, feelings quickly change and a small friendship begins to open between the two.  But the tensions between the houses are rising, and nobleman are beginning to turn up dead. It is only a matter of time before the entire city erupts, and the plans that have been laid so carefully by Kelsier, Breeze, Clubs, Dockson, Ham, and Vin are about to be swept away like the ashes that rain down on the city….

 

Oh my! My friends over at Gamerati have been after me to read these books for a couple of years. I cannot believe I let these go as long as I did!!! THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING! If you have not read this book before, you need to do so! I was immediately transported into the book, and hours would slip by before I realized, I should probably be sleeping or working. In my head I kept singing “Radioactive” by the Imagine Dragons as I was adventuring through this book. Brandon Sanderson draws you completely into the pages of his novel, and does not release the hold he has over you at all. This is the first book in a series of three – so be prepared for an epic journey! Pack your favorite treats and drinks and settle back on your couch for a vacation that will leave you breathless.

This is one book that honestly will make you sit on the edge of your seat and wonder what is going to happen next – the twists, the turns, the secrets…. they are all there waiting for you to discover them!!

If you enjoy gaming, did you know that there are games set in the world of the Mistborn novels??  The Mistborn: House War board game is set during the
events of the first novel: http://mistbornboardgame.com/ There’s also the Mistborn Adventure Game, which allows you to play adventures in the form of a tabletop role-playing game: http://mistbornrpg.com/

Grab your copy today – and remember – There is always another secret….

The Good Liar – Catherine McKenzie – A Book Review — April 4, 2018

The Good Liar – Catherine McKenzie – A Book Review

I have a new book review for you! This book comes out today, so grab it while its still hot off the printing press!! You will love this book from start to finish. *There are some adult themes, and language used*

5/5 stars!

More twists and turns than a daytime Soap Opera!

Cecily has seen her life torn apart twice in the space of less than a year. On the outside she exhibits a strong personality, but inside she is quaking as she hides the secrets of the past couple of years. Fanny is just wanting to help families of the victims, but she seems to be driven by something that no one can really understand, and Kaitlyn just wants to run away from her life and start over somewhere… These three women, their lives pulled together by tragedy. Kaitlyn can’t take much more of her “perfect life” and the explosion in her office building gives her the perfect chance to run. Franny seems to have a heart of gold, but under that exterior the cracks are beginning to show and the madness that is trapped within is about to spill over. Cecily just wants to move on, but she is stuck in the persona as the face of the Triple Ten.

As we see the story unfold, each of these women are trying to overcome the hardships of their past lives. They want something better, and they want to just live their lives. But each of them carry a secret so large that one secret alone could sink the Titanic. Kaitlyn has run away to start a new life in Canada, leaving her family to believe that she died in the explosion. She missed her daughters, but she has convinced herself that they were more her husbands daughters anyway.
Cecily knew her husband was cheating, he sent her the texts by mistake. She never knew who he was cheating with, but to find out while shopping for their anniversary trip – it put a damper on the entire weekend. He confessed to the affair, and then asked if their family was ruined. She was so devastated by his betrayal, she never thought about the affect it would have on their children. She keeps the secret, leading their children to believe that everything is fine and normal. But on the day set to make some huge changes – their lives are literally blown to pieces. She has to act as though everything was fine and pick up the bits and pieces the best she can. Her children deserve to have their father remembered in a good way.
Franny wants to help, but her claims of who she really is stumps Cecily. She never knew that her best friend carried a secret with her, she never confided in her about it. But as the pieces of Franny’s life begin to unfold in the documentary that is being filmed about the event, questions arise as to her real identity, and what she is truly after.
As the story unfolds, so do the real motives, and the secrets are laid bare for all to see….

 

Oh my goodness! Get this book and prepare for book hangover central! There are so many twists, plot developments and more! This book kept me engaged from page one, and I had a really hard time putting it down (why does real life have to get in the way??). Catherine McKenzie weaves a masterful story, and keeps you guessing most of the way through! Don’t start this book before bed!

With One Shot by Dorothy Marcic – A Book Review — April 1, 2018

With One Shot by Dorothy Marcic – A Book Review

More twists and turns than a wadded up roll of duct tape…. which in this case, could have been extremely useful!

Warning…. there are spoilers..

Vernie Stordock was a family man, respected police officer and all around great guy – until the night he was murdered. It was not just murder… it was the slow systematic wiping out of any life he might have had before he met Suzanne. His niece, Dorothy and his daughter Shannon have had theories and questions for years. Dorothy finally decides to see if she can get to the bottom of the story, and begins to unravel the mysterious surrounding involving Suzanne, her children, and of course – how in the world a professed murderer gets only 11 months in a mental hospital to be “cured” and released.

Now the juicy parts of the story. You are going to hate Suzanne. You have to. The entire story reeks of narcissistic/pathological issues that you can see building through the fabrics of the relationships she had before she met Vernie. It was Suzanne or the highway.. her way or no way. Somehow, she always got exactly what she wanted. She used her body, she used threats, and when it came down to it – violence (for real, exactly how MANY bodies have to accumulate around someone before it gets questioned). But I digress, we are discussing the Vernie situation here..

Suzanne admitted her role in the murder, explained how she did it, and then somehow manipulated the system to barely spend any time in prison, walk out smelling like roses, and managed to claim the entire estate of Vernie, and then some. She was not happy to walk away with the life insurance, she had to hurt his first family by taking half of everything they had, just because she could.

This book… this book is a hard one for me to rate and review. I liked it, I hated it, I questioned the author and her true motives. I wanted more. I wanted to see more answers from the departments involved, the DA, the ADA (who was disbarred), the Sheriff, and most of all, the doctors who allowed this woman to outsmart them. She played each and every person like a fiddle and they sang the exact tune that she wanted. Beethoven would have been proud at the master theater production she managed to concoct and have everyone swaying to her own personal waltz.
I had to admit, I got a little irritated with all the “we had an instant connection” “they were wearing a….” moments. I don’t care what someone is wearing. This book is not about clothing and fashion, or the sound of someone’s voice. It was a fact, theory expounding, nail the murderer of her uncle book.
I honestly could not tell if the author was satisfied with the findings of the case by the time the book closed. It felt to open to me. Why was David never fully questioned? How in the world could they not go back and amend the charges? There is no statute of limitations on murder, and the fact that the person they suspected was now dead had nothing to do with it. Suzanne was a liar, and that was enough to throw everything out the window and start again. Sadly, the records from the case have mostly been destroyed and many of the people who knew anything are also passing away. This case is a huge miscarriage of justice, and the family of Vernie Stordock never got full closure. As I worked through the case putting the evidence together, it never fully fit to me that Suzanne was the person who pulled the trigger. She was a master manipulator, and would get anyone else to do their work for them (i.e. she even used her own step-daughters research for her thesis/dissertation). Suzanne was not mentally ill, she did not have a lapse in judgement, and I very highly doubt that her husband was ever violent towards her, unless he was protecting himself from her. She manipulated each and every situation she was in. Full blown narcissistic behavior, and more probable, a high functioning sociopath. This woman was the very epitome of evil, who used her children to get what she wanted, and ignored them the remainder of the time. For them to have stuck with her as long as they did, I was surprised, but then again – manipulation goes a long way and when you have been conditioned since childhood with it, there is not much you can do to get away from it.

Like I said above, I had a hard time rating this book. I felt it was really rambly in a lot of ways (kind of like my review), but I think she started off on the right track. If she had stuck to the case, and not let emotion sweep through (hard because it was family), it would have made a more cohesive read. I wonder now about the family of this master manipulator, and how much they truly knew about the “unfortunate situation”.