A Tale of Two Pages

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Rapid Falls ~A Book Review~ — 2018-11-16

Rapid Falls ~A Book Review~

Christmas is coming, and so is the release of RAPID FALLS. You are going to want to add this to your book mountain now! I just finished reading this, and so many thoughts are tumbling through my head about this book! I am not sure that I could say enough about it, but the short review below might help! Amber Cowie delivers one fabulous novel, perfect to give you shivers of horror and delight as you work through the muddied relationships of a family whose lives have been shattered by one accident…

The release date for Rapid Falls is 1 December 2018.

~Review~

When tragedy ripples through a small town, one person is pegged with the blame. But time does not heal all wounds. Cara and her boyfriend Jesse were supposed to be together forever, but a car accident on the night of their prom leaves Jesse dead, and Cara and her sister Anna injured. Anna is charged with DUI and spends time in prison for the accident, but she cannot remember anything that happened that night. She has snippets of memory, but nothing concrete.

As time moves forward, Cara has moved on with her life, but Anna cannot. She has sunk into drugs and alcohol, forever relying on her sister to bail her out of trouble. As questions begin to surface in Anna’s mind about the night of the accident, Cara is desperate to keep them quiet. She does not want her husband to know about their past.

Cara is about to discover that secrets can only be kept for so long before they bubble to the surface…. and some secrets are better left buried in the past…

OH MY GOODNESS. This book was amazing! I read through it in one sitting, and could not have loved it any more. Family secrets, haunting dreams, and desperation all come together in one thrilling novel that will leave you gasping for more!

 

**I received an Advanced Readers Copy for a fair and honest review. Thank you to Lake Union Publishers, Amber Cowie, and NetGalley for the digital copy.**

The Royal Art of Poison ~A Book Review~ — 2018-08-06

The Royal Art of Poison ~A Book Review~

Good day, dear readers!! It has been a little bit since I have brought you a new book to peruse through. This summer has been super busy, and we have been on the go, but there is always time for reading! I have some fabulous reviews to be bringing your way.

I don’t know about ya’ll, but there are some book companies that I watch like a hawk. St. Martin’s Press is one that I have on a watch list. They are always rolling out fantastic reads, and I always get excited to see what they have upcoming. Let me tell you that this fall, they will have a slew of books that are going to have you parked on the couch reading your heart out. I have been working on a handful of books from St. Martin’s Press, but I am so excited to share this one with you!

Hang on for a fabulously fantastic book!

Book Review:

Eleanor Herman takes us on a tour of one of the areas in history that are talked about, yet not. While that sounds a little weird – it is. Poison is something that we read about it books, suspected deaths and uses, but not really discussed and brought to the forefront.

From germs that were unknown and illnesses that today could be cured with simple remedies – life was not that simple back in the medieval ages. Doctors killed as many patients as they saved. Dirty hands and instruments were some of the leading killers, yet, their concoctions were just as unsafe. Now, there are going to be times within this book, that you might not want to eat before, during, or after… these “recipes” for medicines were NASTY. I have a very strong stomach, and there were a few times that I felt a tad queasy just reading through the ingredients that would go into a balm or drink for a cure.

Doctors though were not the only ones to blame. Cosmetics were also a leading cause of death. Women have always been very vain about their looks, and it was no different 600 years ago. Lead-based products, mercury, arsenic… the list goes on and on. Arsenic was used in just about everything! From clothing, cosmetics, fruit washes, and more. There was no test to see how deadly the many uses were at the time, and these were seen as agents that could “help” and “preserve” items. Little did they know that they were killing themselves slowly.

Mercury was used as a medicine, although in small doses. One of the main uses was for the treatment of syphilis, yet it would kill you just as quickly as the actual disease. It could be used though to kill someone if that was your intent. The Medici family perfected the art of poison and used it most effectively to eliminate many of their rivals. Yet, they were not the only ones to do so. While they are most commonly associated with poisoning – it was used on a far wider scale than many realize. England, France, Germany and many of the other world powers at the time had their own ways of poisoning a rival. Lady Francis Howard was convicted of murder in England, after removing a rival for her lover’s affections.

Kings, queens, ambassadors, and many others were liable to fall victim to poison, just as easily as they could fall victim to the many germs that were rampant. Cleanliness was not as prevalent as it is today, and bathing was seen as opening the pores of your body too bad humor. They would bathe just a few times per year (depending on the person, they might never bathe). King James I was known to boast that he had never bathed in his life, and the smell that his body emanated certainly backed up that fact.

I absolutely LOVED this book! From murder to daily products that could kill you, ancient to more modern times, I was hooked! I love a good mystery, and these cases draw you in. Eleanor Herman really draws you in and takes you down the many facets that made up the known world at the time, from famous figures to some lesser known ones as well. You can read about Napolean, Mozart, and so many more.

This book is now available! You can search for it at your local library or favorite book spot! I give this book 4/5 stars!

Links for Book Purchases:

With One Shot by Dorothy Marcic – A Book Review — 2018-04-01

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”.

The Boy In the Box – A Book Review — 2018-03-26

The Boy In the Box – A Book Review

I originally wrote this a couple of years ago, 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 by David Stout

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 into writing this tragic 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 as 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 a 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 too 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.

Final Thoughts

This book was a hard read. I love real crime and the many facets of what can make a person tick, but this story… this was enough to keep me awake for multiple nights. I don’t often cry while reading a book 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 was left feeling angry, confused, and trying to figure the many different possibilities of why any parent would not come forward. I popped in on my kids more than once while they were sleeping to just look at them, and contemplate the horrifying truth that was printed in this book. There were several moments while I was reading this book that left me absolutely horrified. Times have changed, yes, but the love that parents have for their children have not. 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. The closure will never entirely happen, but bringing the case to completion and finding an explanation will go a long way to helping a community and police department close the case of the young child who has become the “Boy In The Box.”

I Will Find You – A Book Review — 2018-03-08

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!