A Tale of Two Pages

Books, life, motherhood, and more!

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”.

Gasping For Air.. — March 29, 2018

Gasping For Air..

Oh. My. Goodness. I am not even going to lie! It might only be Wednesday night, but this week has been BUSY! As a home school mom, this time of year always makes me panic just a little bit. March is almost over, which means we only have a few more months of school…. and there are days I wonder if we will ever finish everything I set out for us to accomplish. Then I have to sit back and remind myself – we home school. We CAN do this!

Since I am completely honest, I am just going to lay it out. I absolutely KNOW that we will finish. There are days that I love home schooling, there are days I like it, and there are days that loathe it – with every single fiber in my being. Those are the days that we fight, struggle, and agonize over every single thing that has to be done. But – then we have days like today, where they zip through whatever I put in front of them. I don’t get it. They know the information, they have all the information at their fingertips, but there at times they do not want to utilize the lessons in front of them. While they grow and mature, I know that we are going to see days like this, but I still hope that as they mature a bit more the love of learning grows with them.

Learning is something that we do our entire lives. I love it. Learning and gaining more knowledge is never ending – a fountain of wealth. We can never hope to know it all, but yet we keep attempting to garner whatever we can. With that being said, adults learn more through books. I bet you didn’t see that coming – me throwing books in here! Ya’ll should know by now the love I have for written words. Which brings me to the title of this blog – gasping for air.

I have a mountain of books sitting here – which is great for ya’ll, cause there are some fantastic ones coming your way. I sit here at times and wonder what in the world I have gotten myself into. Reading is an escape for me. A way to wander into worlds unknown to me, grand adventures, and soul ripping mysteries. There are times that it is hard for me to pull away from them to get anything else done. I do not mean that I neglect my kids – but the housework will often slide for “just one more chapter.” Haha! It is one of the things that I have on my to do list to tackle for the weekend – clean through my entire house, deep clean and declutter, and gain some peace of mind back. Clutter to me is equivalent to stress. Messes stress me out more than I put into words.

Until the next one – “Today A Reader, Tomorrow A Leader” Margaret Fuller

 

 

The Boy In the Box – A Book Review — March 26, 2018

The Boy In the Box – A Book Review

I originally wrote this last year, as a book review on Goodreads.com. This book is one that I cannot stop going back to. The details, the heartbreak, and the determination of the police officers, even after all these years, to try and solve the case. This is a cold case, over 50 years cold. This little unnamed boy deserves a name, and some closure. The person or persons responsible should have their names known. I have been slowly working on trying to get more information on this case. I recently ran across another book on this case, and I am hoping to sit down and dive into it soon. I want to see this case closed, and the police officers who have worked so hard deserve to see this case closed.

The Boy in the Box: The Unsolved Case Of America’s Unknown Child

A child who was loved more in death than in life… I have to give this five stars for the excellent work that the author put in to writing this heartbreaking history. The tragedy of losing a child is made harder when the child is not reported missing or people coming forward to claim or identify a missing child.The case of the Boy in the Box, from Fox Chase Pennsylvania, is something that consumed the careers of many police officers and left many of the brightest minds scratching their heads. Discovered in February 1957, the young boy was seen a case that would be easily solved, as someone would come forward to claim the body. The medical examiner noticed the bruising and wounds on the body. Each person who worked the case of the Boy in the Box became so involved, that the child became an silent member of each family. With the hope of a fast solve quickly becoming dashed as the days turn into weeks and then stretching into months and years. The Boy in the Box was buried by the police department, everything being donated and contributed by the community and the homicide detectives. The case was never closed and they continue to work the case and follow any and all leads. Nothing was considered to small to follow up on, and the case moved from small files to the several boxes of notes and mementos. Today the case is still open, and the young boy who was more loved in death than he was in life, remains nameless, cared for by the policemen who take over the case and the community who have adopted him as their own..This book was a hard read. I love true crime and the many facets of what can make a person tick, but this story… this was enough to keep me awake nights. I don’t often cry while reading or watching a movie, but this book had me in tears more than once. I found myself asking questions throughout this entire read.. how could anyone do this to a child? Who could not claim the young boy and give him his full identity back. I found myself wishing that they could have done more, even though they did everything they could and then some. While this case is still open, given the length of time, its entirely possible that this case will never be solved, and that makes it even worse. As a mother, I can’t imagine how any parent could not come forward and claim their little child. I hope that this case will continue and that maybe with the leaps and bounds that forensic science has taken, that this little boy will be identified. Even if the person who caused the injuries or placed him where he would be found is gone, knowing the full story and getting a conclusion to the story would help complete the thousands of hours of work that the original officers and medical examiner put into trying to find the answer. Closure will never fully happen, but a completion and explanation will go a long way to helping a community and police department close the case of the young child who became the “Boy In The Box.”

The Forgotten Ones – A Book Review — March 24, 2018

The Forgotten Ones – A Book Review

Alright ya’ll – I have a new book review for you – and I guarentee, this is one book that you are going to want to add to your pre-order list today! The Forgotten Ones by Steena Holmes releases on 1 April 2018.

5/5 stars

Danger, wonder, secrets, family, and forgiveness. This book is a MUST HAVE.

Elle has done a good job of managing life. Her mother is certifiable, and the mood swings can take a toll on her. However, life has a way of taking a detour, and Elle is fixing to stumble on a huge secret – one that her mother has kept buried for years.

When Anna Marie was growing up, she had a rather dysfunctional childhood. Her father was a long haul trucker and her mother – well her mother lived in a world all her own. Gertie lost many of her children, and they were all buried in the backyard. David would weave stories for his little daughter, weaving a fantasy world that will stay with Anna Marie for the remainder of her life. As much as she loathed her parents, she used that same fantasy world with her daughter Elle.

Brennley, Elle’s best friend and roommate is also a fellow nurse. Together they weather the storm of losing patients and battling the emotions that come with it. Brenn and Elle balance each other out. While Brenn knows the background of Elle’s mother, their past is as much of a secret to her. One of her patients, a man dying of cancer, becomes more than just a patient. Brennley is becoming more and more attached to the lonely older man. But as they become closer – a bit of Elle’s past is opened. Brennley calls her, reading a letter that David has written. She believes that Elle is the granddaughter of the man in the hospital bed. Elle does not think so, her grandparents are dead – it is what she has always been led to believe. But secrets have way of reaching the surface and this one is about to put her entire family on a roller coaster that is going to take many twists and turns. Buckle your seat belt, and get ready for a story that will literally knock your socks off!

A missing child, an imaginary friend, and the secrets of the past have come back to haunt Elle. As she listens to the stories that David tells her from his hospital bed, she believes that they are made up – at least at first. As her mother becomes more and more unhinged, Elle begins to wonder what really happened, and who Bella really was.
By continuing to delve into her mothers past, she begins to push against the history that she has been told, and comes to not only love her grandfather, but wonder what her own future is going to hold. But before her world entirely gets turned upside down, there is one major secret that her grandfather has been hiding – and it could entirely destroy her mother.

OH MY GOODNESS. When you sit down to read this book – do not start it late at night! Book hangover material! The twists and turns that Steena Holmes weaves will keep you guessing, and wondering. As the story progresses, you begin to really feel sorry for David. Choosing between a wife or a daughter is not a decision any person should have to make, but when you are hiding an even darker secret – life becomes a torment. Elle is determined to find the truth, but her mother is becoming more and more unhinged.

This book is one that will make you laugh, it will make you angry. It will leave you horrified and mystified. Ya’ll this book has it all! There are no disappointments, no letdowns, just page turning electricity.

Life Unfiltered — March 22, 2018

Life Unfiltered

Life has been one roller coaster after another these past few weeks. It seems as if one thing can go wrong – five will. Having constant upheaval, and watching as events unfold around me – it makes one sit back at times and wonder what will happen in the end.

Today, I am sitting here watching it snow. For some reason everything calms down on snow days. These are some of my favorite days! I love the quiet, the calm, and the ability to curl up on the couch and get some reading done. Reading is the best way to relax!

I have been reading – I have just been terrible at getting the reviews transferred to the blog, so that I can share them with you. Right now, I am 43 books in for the year. There have been some fantastic reads, some blah reads, and some that are just time fillers. Discovering that I can listen to audio-books while I get some other work done has helped immensely at getting through several that I have had tagged to read for quite a while. Newer books are harder to get on audio, but that is alright! I am content to wait and watch for them to hit the platforms I use to listen through.

Do you dislike paying for books or audio-books? I do! There are some books that I want on my shelves. Favorites, research materials, and of course the must-have reads are ones that I will invest in. For all the others, I am happy to use to library and the many different apps available for reading. I have been using Scribd.com for quite a while to listen to audio books. I pay by the year (cheaper that way), but I can listen away to my hearts content, and get my book fill in. I also use free apps like Hoopla, OverDrive and RBDigital. I am a book junkie to the core!!

How do you get your book time with a busy schedule? Let me know your favorite methods for reading!

Francis I: The Maker of Modern France – A Book Review — March 16, 2018

Francis I: The Maker of Modern France – A Book Review

Francis I of France has long been overshadowed in history. He lived through the times of Henry VIII and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Leonie Frieda breathes life back into one of the major players in European policies and military movements, in such a way that you feel as though you are walking through the halls of the french palaces.

Francis was not born with the promise of a great future, but through his mother and her endless working and dealing, he claimed the French throne. As he sought to bring France into the newer Renaissance era, he also managed to make himself one of the most enigmatic figures of the time. While he lacked Henry VIII’s flair of marrying and throwing off of wives, Francis did his maneuvering through military show and treaties. Eventually, much of this backfired on the monarch, who was seen as unable to carry through with the majority of promises. Most monarchs at the time would have dealt with the treaties the same way, Francis almost took his to extremes. He wanted to prove himself time and time again, and that lack of faith in himself could have lead to the loss of throne more than once.

This book was a fascinating read. I was hooked from the beginning. Not only does the author lay out the life and death of Francis, but she also ushers in the next era, laying the groundwork for some of the more disastrous events that will befall France. Francis may have been the founder of the modern era in France, but it was his daughter in law that brought that dream to full fruition.

5/5 stars

Publishing Date: 10 April 2018

 

I Will Find You – A Book Review — March 8, 2018

I Will Find You – A Book Review

Oh dear readers, I have a delight for you! If you enjoy true crime, then you are going to want to check out this book! If you have ever watched Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda on the ID channel then you are familiar with the author! Check it out!

 

If you have a weak stomach, can’t handle real life situations or bad language – then this book is not for you! This book gets down to the real life, dirty, heinous side of life that police officers deal with on a daily basis. This book will not sugar coat, give you warm feels, or wrap you in teddy bear hugs. Lt. Joe Kenda breaks it down, and takes you on an inside view of what his life on the police force was like.

I will start off with saying, I admire Lt. Kenda. I have been watching his show on TV for the past couple of years, and have enjoyed each and every case that he has presented. I like his honesty, and the brutal assessment that he uses. He has a no bar hold view and for me that says something. This is a person where you know where you stand, and if he is coming after you – you can run but you will not get far. He is relentless, and he will do whatever it takes to bring you in.

We see the glamorized view of police work on television all the time. Life must be good, right? Well, think again. Each of these cases stick with the police officer. Each face, each horror show is different. As you work through the book, you are confronted with many different facets of life. Homeless victims, murdered children, suicides, and so much more. This book takes you on a walk that is much different than many that have been published, and it is definitely not for the squeamish. Each smell, each fear, each new scene is described so you feel as though you are walking through the crime scene yourself. You will also experience many different emotions through this book. Anger is the one that you are going to experience the most. Many of these cases leave you wondering WHY. They are finished, closed, and put away. But the motives, the cause and effects can leave you scratching your head at times. There are cases where they for sure had it coming, and you are almost cheering for the person who finally took them off the street, or out of the way, but the innocent victims are the ones that stay with you.

Toward the end of the book, Lt. Kenda briefly describes some of his nightmares. I read through them, walked away, and then came back and read through them again. I laughed at the reaction of the doctor that he went to see (and I hope he got his money back from that visit), but I sat back and had to combat the “mom feels.” The terror, the horror, and the relentless feeling of pursuit is something that won’t go away, but hopefully through the telling of these stories, and the gut-honest truth portrayed on these pages, some peace of mind will be found.

I absolutely LOVED this book. I loved each case, each moment, each “GOTCHA” scene. Like I stated at the beginning – this book is NOT for everyone. This is very much a mature audience only read, and one that should not be taken lightly. Read at your own risk!

Elizabeth’s Rival – A Book Review — March 6, 2018

Elizabeth’s Rival – A Book Review

Elizabeth I was the glittering jewel in her court, and she was unwilling to share any of the limelight with anyone. As her reign progressed, she made her feelings on marriage well known, and many in her court were afraid to ask her permission to get married. Some married in secret, and for those unfortunate souls, the effects were long reaching and dire.
Robert Dudley was the favorite of the queen. They doted on each other, and there was fear among the queens Councillors that he would persuade her to marry him. After the death of his first wife, his name was tarnished enough that she could never give him much credence in his suit, but he continued to pursue her for years. Finally realizing that his dreams would never be realized, he set about to find a wife that could provide him with heirs for his landed estates and title.
Lettice Knolly’s was a close relation of the queen, whether it was remarked on or not, and her role in the court was tenuous. Given her mothers relationship with the queen, she was given a court position, but marriage and motherhood kept her from the court much of the time. Upon the death of her husband, and the massive debts that he had incurred, she began to make plans for her future. Whether she and Dudley had been more than friends for many years is a point of conjecture that we will never fully have an answer to, but she waited the required amount of time for mourning before considering marriage again. Her marriage would be the cause of contention for decades to come. Lettice might be well loved by the queen, but she threw it all away for the love of one man – and the one man that no one else in the kingdom had dared to make any designs on. He was the queens favorite, her darling, her right hand. That Lettice and Robert dared marry in secret, and then continue to hide it from the queen make it all the worse for the pair when it was finally outed to the monarch.
Dudley was forgiven, but Lettice was never again fully welcomed at court. She was banished from the sight of the queen, but the long drawn out spite was not to be forgotten. There could be only one and the queen was not about to share with anyone. But which one will outlast the other….

Lettice is quite a enigmatic figure. That more has not been written about her prior to this is a shame. She was a woman to be reckoned with, and one that did not back down no matter who was on the other side. While her family would find their tempers caused them lucrative positions at court, they always managed to come back up around. Fortunes wheel doth turn and turn. This is one book that I would read again – as there is so much information presented, that it is hard to take it all in at once, but it would be a good one.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Release Date: 6 March 2018

Elizabeth’s Rival:┬áThe Tumultuous Life of the Countess of Leicester: The Romance and Conspiracy that Threatened Queen Elizabeth’s Court – Nicola Tallis

This is the week that never ends… — March 1, 2018

This is the week that never ends…

Have ya’ll ever gone through the weeks that seem like no matter what you do, it will not end!? We have been through one of those weeks – and this was supposed to be a short one!

There are times that I have to sit back and take stock of everything. I tend to run a buffet instead of just loading my plate with things to do. I am behind in life right now. Reading, cleaning, work, it all seems to have taken a dive this week through stress. I am sitting here right now, looking at five books that need to be read and reviewed within the next two days, and of course a project that needs to be completed and mailed off, as it was a CHRISTMAS PRESENT! The proper term to be applied here would be, fashionably late, LOL!

I have been writing midterms for my students, and trying to get them ready for the upcoming exams. To say that they are taking forever to write is an understatement. I am sure that my students would not be upset if they are never completed. In fact, they might throw a party! I do not think I have any Hermoine Granger’s in my class this year. I have some fantastic students, but none of them who would be disappointed in exams being canceled.

As we work into March, I am praying that this month is better than the last. February was rough, and one of those months that needed to go back to bed and try again. I hope that each person that is reading this, are working into a fantastic and productive month!

I have my list set, and I am about ready to head off on a fantastic adventure! I am going to do my best to make the most of the month ahead! One of the first things to tackle is the tax mess (I hate tax season), work a budget, and set my reading goal for the month. I am hoping for 15 books this month.

What is your reading goal this month??