Book Review of Better Off Dead by Michael Fleeman

courtesy of Wild Blue Press

ONE DEAD BODY AND A LOVE TRIAGLE

On August 17, 2014, around 7:30 pm, Robert Limon has been found dead by co-worker Shaun Ware. Both Robert and Shaun worked for BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway). Robert was soon to end his 12-hour day shift and Shaun was about to start is 12-hour graveyard shift. The apparent weapon was a .44 caliber revolver. The suspects aren’t many but the suspicions are all around. It’s not long before detectives are able to zone in on a suspect or suspects. When it comes to light a love triangle may have been the motive, the detectives have more than they can chew.Better Off Dead by Michael Fleeman poses a good premise and what could have been a great suspenseful read if it wasn’t for the extremely mediocre writing. From the first page to the last, the book left me wanting it to end rather than them find the killer or killers. I was flabbergasted to find out this is Michael Feldman’s 11th book.

The dialogue between two parties was long and drawn out. Basically, too much information. The descriptions of locations were also long and drawn out. I’m reading a murder mystery book, not a road atlas. Fleeman also lost me in a lot of places to where I had to go back to re-read passages or sections to figure out what’s going on.

I was let down down a great deal from this book. As mentioned the premise sounded great and I was expecting writing like that of Ann Rule and M. William Phelps. Instead, I got the writing of someone trying too hard to be a good writer of true crime.

I give this book 1star just on it writing alone. If the writing had been better I would have given the book 5 stars.

Sabrina and Robert Limon

Better Off Dead: A Sordid True Story of Sex, Sin and Murder

The Night Child by Anna Quinn – Book Review

DISCLAIMER: I received an advanced copy of the book. It won’t be released until 30 January 2018, but don’t bother reading it. My other disclaimer is, I try to be very open when I do my reviews. I try to keep my deep personal thoughts out. If I do put my personal opinion in, as in the case of The Shoeless Child, in which I gave my honest opinion, but encouraged others to read the book. I may have disliked Shoeless Child a great deal, but I didn’t want others to dislike it without reading it first. My goal in my reviews is to be honest, without being downright mean. However, with The Night Child, I am going to be completely honest in my review because there’s no other way around it.

The bad writing along with unbelieve scenes and actions just don’t allow me to write this review in any other way than in a no-holds-barred way.

THE PREMISE

The premise of The Night Child is the protagonist, Nora (a high school AP English teacher), sees a vision of a child (female), towards the back of her classroom (I’m seriously trying not to laugh as I type this). The child doesn’t have arms or legs, just a head and I believe shoulders. Errr, that should be enough to have you all laughing. And I’m speaking of the laughter that comes when something is so ridiculous, all you can do is laugh.

THE HUSBAND, THE CHILD, AND NORA

The husband, Paul, is a complete asswipe as it is. The daughter, Fiona, is a pain in the ass spoiled kid. And Nora is a straight up nutter.

Paul is a developer, or something like that, and is working on a big business deal that could get the business and himself big bucks and him a possible promotion. He ignores his wife and thinks she overreacts to things. I’m inclined to agree. The daughter, Fiona, is very much catered to by her mother. And Nora is just a straight up whack job with pent-up childhood memories. Once they are brought to light, you really don’t care.

THE PSYCHIATRIST, OR IS PSYCHOLOGIST, DAVID

As mentioned, Nora is nutter. And this is the kind of nutter that will make you nuts just reading about her. She decides to see a psychiatrist (I decided to search this god-awful book to find out what David is). And I believe it’s on the second or third meeting (trust me, I’m not giving anything away by my next words) Nora’s other personality comes out, and her personality is named Margaret. Margaret is six-years-old and just as annoying as Nora. Margaret, Nora has come to assume, is the ghost she saw in her classroom.

WHAT MAKES THE BOOK HORRIBLE

Let’s start with the writing. Chapter 1 and I believe Chapter 2 is good. I started the book believing I was going to really enjoy the ride. The first chapter really starts out good until she sees the vision of a child in her room. However, that’s easy to overlook because it’s a brief encounter and the writer, Anna Quinn, moves on to something else.

It’s when Nora goes to see David, the shrink, the writing takes a spiral turn down a dark, muddy road which seems to have no end to stupidity. I’m not an expert in what happens in sessions like this, but someone revealing their other personalities shouldn’t happen in the second or third session. This was the first *eye rolling* that took place. The second *eye rolling* was the description of Margaret emerging, or making herself known.

Prior to the Margaret reveal, the writer had Nora constantly clutching a pillow, tightening her knees, blinking rapidly, other extremely stupid, eye-rolling things, that seemed way off base. I think what made it seem so way off is there were no indications prior to all this that Nora was a straight up whack job. If the book slowly introduced us to Nora’s mental state, and the psychiatry visits were at least five deep before revealing Margaret, maybe, just maybe, it would be believable. But that’s not what happened. We are introduced to Nora in chapter one and taken straight down the rabbit hole of insanity.

NEVER ENDING PAIN – OF THIS BOOK

I ended up scheming over a chapter in which Nora was at the psychiatrist office because not only did the writing turn juvenile, the scenes described were painful to read. Not painful for Nora, but painful for the reader. These scenes went into too much detail.

When David retrieved a bottle of water to pour into a bottle or cup was so exact to where the writer documented every little thing he did pertaining to the water bottle. I was trying to find the exact passage, but unable to do so. But basically, she would say and mind you, this is me making up something as an example of how overly detailed she was,”he moved from his chair to get a bottle of water. Putting one foot in front of the other until he reached the water. When he returned to his chair, with his left hand holding the bottle, he unscrewed the cap with his right hand. With the cap off the water bottle, he poured the water into a glass sitting on his desk, near the edge. After pouring the water, he swiveled his chair around and with his left hand, he threw the empty bottle in the trash can.”

My job as a reviewer is not to rewrite the book, just to review it. With that being said, the passage example I provided didn’t need that detailed. I’m not sure if the writer was trying to fill up space or felt we, as readers, were that dense, we needed to know exactly how someone retrieves water, or holds a pillow tightly or removes a cap from a marker to be used on a whiteboard (these are things that take place in the book).

STARTED OUT GOOD

When I read a book, I visualize everything I’m reading, which is how most people read books. But when you start laughing and meaning, side-splitting laughter and there’s no laughter to be had in what you’re reading, it’s time to call it quits. The book isn’t going to get any better.

I stopped reading 67% into the book for I knew this book wasn’t going to get any better. And those that gave the book good reviews must either be friends with Anna Quinn or didn’t want to hurt the author’s feelings. As for me, and I’ve mentioned this already as well, I try to be honest without being downright mean. But in this case, I’ve decided to be brutally honest about my thoughts on the book.

I give this book 1 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I would have liked to give it negative 5 out of five stars. This book was an absolute waste of my time

The Night Child is Anna Quinn’s first book and I hope her last. I read her bio and it says, “She has thirty years of experience teaching and leading writing workshops across the country.” This was my face when I read that

And what I said while making that face

Image result for oy vey

I wish I could say give this book a try for there’s probably something I missed that you may pick up on, but I can’t. If a book hasn’t gotten any better by the time you reach 67% it’s not going to get any better.

I ALMOST FORGOT THE ONE GOOD THING ABOUT THE BOOK

There were a group of words in the book in Chapter 17 I absolutely loved and going to use to describe my blog:

This was the only good thing to come out of the book.

WHAT I’M CURRENTLY READING

Betrayal In Blue by Burl Barer

NYPD officers Mike Dowd and Kenny Eurell knew there were two ways to get rich quick in Brooklyn’s Lower East Side. You either became drug dealers, or you robbed drug dealers. They decided to do both. 

“I promised my wife that we would make a lot of money, and that she had nothing to worry about. I LIED!”

Dowd and Eurell ran the most powerful gang in New York’s dangerous 75th Precinct, the crack cocaine capitol of 1980s America. These “ Cocaine Cops” formed a lucrative alliance with Adam Diaz, the kingpin of an ever-expanding Dominican drug cartel. Soon Mike and Ken were buying fancy cars no cop could afford, and treating their wives to levels of luxury not associated with a patrol officer’s salary. They Were Daring, Dangerous and Untouchable Until …Then “ the biggest police scandal in New York history” exploded into the headlines with the arrest of Mike, Ken, and their fellow crooked cops. Released on bail, Mike offered Ken a long shot at escape to Central America—a bizarre plan involving robbery, kidnapping, and murder—forcing Ken to choose between two forms of betrayal. – source amazon.com

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland – Book Review

DESCRIPTION SOUNDED BETTER

I picked up Need To Know as an advanced copy due to being a book reviewer. The description sounded intriguing:

In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, CIA analyst Vivian Miller uncovers a dangerous secret that will threaten her job, her family—and her life. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—is threatened.‎ (NetGalley)

I was reading Friend Request by Laura Marshall and was going to start another book right after when I received an email from NetGalley for Need To Know. I read the description and mentioned, I was intrigued and thus requested a copy.

PREFACE STARTED OUT GREAT

The book opens with the protagonist at a computer at home trying to make a decision if she should turn her husband in or not for being a Russian spy. Trust me this is not a spoiler for the book straightaways tells you who the culprit is and what he’s done.  As I’m ready the preface and already knowing who the suspect is and what he’s done, I knew the rest of the book would take me back to when it all started. When did Vivian find out about her husband? Or was it Vivian that even found out? But once the truth was brought to her how did she make the decision to turn her husband in? But that wasn’t to be.

SELF-LOATHING, SELF CONFLICT

The entire Chapter 1 focuses on two things: 1. should Vivian tell Matt she knows about him, and 2. her telling Matt she knows. From there we are inside Vivian’s head and it’s annoying as hell.
 
There was an episode of Black Mirror Season 5, Episode 4 called Black Museum. A traveler stops to recharge the battery in her car. While waiting for the car to charge (3 hours times), she visits the Black Museum. I’m not going to go into details about this episode but say it had episodes within this one episode. One of the episodes had to do with having the person who is dying transplanted into your mind. It’s like having someone in your head all the time. And therein lies the problem..having someone in your head and you can’t get rid of them. This is what Need To Know felt like to me while reading it. I felt like Vivian was in my head. I had to hear her thoughts and feelings, when she was driving, when she was at work, and when she was at home. It was like I couldn’t get her out of my head and it got worse with each passing chapter.

CONSTANT WORRYING THAT GRATES THE NERVES

She constantly worried about how this would affect the kids should she turn her husband for being a spy. Which is a valid concern, but the way it was written you wanted to run in the house and tell the kids yourself and let her be done with it. She did have baby twins that were more of a concern for her for she didn’t want to be left having to deal with five kids on her own. She talked about things are easier with Matt around and she shouldn’t turn him in for this reason. This reason one of many.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING

The book spends time on their first meeting and how they got together and ended up together. They have been together for some time, about 10 years now and Vivian doesn’t want to throw 10 years down the drain. But she also loves Matt and this is the biggest conflict. She learns that her life before marriage with Matt was basically a lie and her marriage to Matt is a lie.  But for Matt, his feelings for Vivian have always been real and continue to be real. He gives her little insight into what was real and what wasn’t. He also gives her a way out by telling her she should turn Matt in.

CIA ANALYST? REALLY?

I know we would know what to do if someone we loved was a spy. I get that. But having to sit with Vivian in front of her computer screen at work wondering what to do with the information she found by using a program called Athena to hack into someone else’s computer to obtain this information and now her work ethics are conflicting with her home, children and husband feelings. She makes a decision that could lead her down a rabbit hole of destruction. Not only for herself but for her family. But Vivian is given an out in the midst of her bad decision.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The book dragged. I skipped a lot of chapters. I couldn’t take Vivian constantly wondering what she should do with different information being presented to her. The book focused more on her life at home and having to deal with Matt’s secret than it did with finding the handlers and sleepers. After the reveal in the preface, I thought the book would focus on her finding out about her husband by way of going back to the beginning of her receiving an assignment to find handlers and sleepers. The book would have definitely read much better for me.

On Goodreads the book received a 4.09 rating. I’m not sure how, unless these are friends of the author or just can’t be honest with a review. Even when I got to certain parts of the book I thought would present something worth biting into, I faced with Vivian’s endless thoughts. Vivian was definitely in my head for way too long that the law allows.  I equate this book to The Shoeless Child as in I didn’t care for it at all, but others may. This dislike is more of a personal taste…sort of.

I have learned this book is being turned into a movie starring Charlize Theron, who is also producing the movie. Need To Know Movie.

My rating on Goodreads: 1 out of 5 stars

Published: 23 January 2018
Ballantine Books (part of Random House Publishing)
General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers (not sure where they got these genres from **rolling eyes immensely**

Friend Request by Laura Marshall – Book Review

http://www.friendrequestbook.com/

YOU HAVE A FRIEND REQUEST 

Louise Williams arrives home from work as an interior designer to find a Facebook friend request from Maria Weston. There’s only one problem…Maria has been dead for 25 years. Or has she.  Louise was never much of a Facebook person. She could take it or leave, but this particular day will have glued to Facebook every day, all day. 

25 YEARS LATER 

After Louise accepts the Facebook friend request from Maria her mind starts wondering to her high school days and what she and another girl did to Maria back in 1986. A secret Louise has been carrying with her 25 years. 

The friend request has Louise a bit perplexed and very concerned.  If Maria is dead then who could be on her profile page. But as Louise explorers, she becomes even more concerned that perhaps Maria isn’t dead after all as she and others have been led to believe 

BACK TO HIGH SCHOOL 

Louise decides to look up some old high school classmates. One of them being Queen Bee of the school, Sophie Hannigan. Upon finding her Facebook page she finds Sophie’s page and looks it over to see what Sophie has been doing in the last 25 years.  

Sophie wasn’t Louise’s favorite person, but someone she wanted to impress in high school. Anxiety fills Louise as she debates if she should put a friend request to Sophie or not. After some thought, she puts in the request in which Sophie accepts straight away. Right after the acceptance, Louise receives a message from Sophie which seems to take Louise back to high school when she sought Sophie’s approval. From there, they begin messaging each other. A connection Louise partially wants and doesn’t want But this connection will bring up than just memories Louise had been hiding for 25 years. 

25TH HIGH SCHOOL REUNION 

The same night Louise gets the Facebook friend request from Maria and through her messaging with Sophie Louise learns of the 25TH high school. A reunion she was not provided an invitation to. This stings Louise a bit. She finds the page about the reunion to see all who are going and surprised by the list for of the people going know what Louise did 25 years ago. 

SECRETS AND LIES 

The night Louise accepts Maria’s Facebook friend request which leads her to her reconnecting with Sophie sets off a chain of events for Louise that not only produces sleepless nights but could possibly put her successful interior design business in jeopardy. Not to mention her longtime friendship with Polly, who is also her business partner. 

Louise is getting Facebook messages from Maria and these aren’t regular messages. These are messages that tell Louise that Maria knows a lot about Louise, her son Henry who is 4, and her business. Each message Louise receives not only makes her face her demons from 25 years ago, but they also make her wonder who is really behind the Maria Weston profile for Louise is sure Maria died 25 years ago after their senior prom. But Louise begins to think more and more that perhaps Maria didn’t die on that night and the truth will come out at the high school reunion. 

STORYTELLING AND CHARACTERS 

Laura Marshall does a great job of keeping the reader enthralled on what’s going on. The characters are introduced within the context of something happening. Therefore, we are not overwhelmed with too many details about each character. As the characters show up throughout the book more details are given about them and their relationship to Louise. 

The relationship Louise has with her four-year-old son Henry is well written and feels real as with her relationship with her now ex-husband, Sam, whom she shares custody of Henry with. Again, without going into much detail, the reader is given insight into how Henry’s relationship with Sam and his new family affects Louise and Henry. 

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE 

Friend Request explores more than Louise getting a Facebook friend request from a supposedly dead classmate. It explores the relationship between a single mother and her child. The effects divorce has on a child. Those you thought had it all in high school really didn’t and still don’t as adults. Those you thought didn’t have had it all in high school become somebody in adult life. And it definitely explorers the affects high school have on people long after they have left, whether it’s good or bad. 

FOUR STARS 

I give the book four stars for the mere fact that when the reveal, and there were two, happened I was shocked for two reasons. The first reveal was someone who wasn’t in the book enough for me to care about. If the character had been built up more I think I would have had a chin on the floor, but that wasn’t the case. 

The second reveal was someone I didn’t care for in the book. I will say this, the second reveal put a lot of things into perspective for Louise and for the reader. But the question still remained, is Maria Weston really dead?  

Click on this link Friend Request to purchase the book on Amazon.
Published September 5th, 2017 by Grand Central Publishing

The Other New Girl [Book Review]

PREP SCHOOL AND EIGHTH GRADE

Susannah Greenwood and Daria McQueen haven’t seen each other in over 45 years, since their days at Foxhall Co-Ed Prep School (boarding school). Daria was Queen Bee while Susannah was the new girl trying to fit in. Luckily for Susannah, she was taken in by Daria and her friends, Fath, Brady, and Jan.  But there was another new girl at school named Molly Grimes, also known as Moll. Moll was an awkward girl who didn’t fit in anywhere and has been that way her whole life. Susannah or Susie, for short, does her best to befriend Moll, even to the chagrin of Daria and the other girls. Then there’s Miss Bleaker, the dean of students. Susie’s desire to befriend Moll as well as help her impress a boy leads to a tragedy no one saw coming and the effects of that tragedy stay with everyone involved long after school ends.

BRINGING UP MEMORIES

The Other New Girl, told through the eyes of Susie, explores one year of Susie’s life at the Quaker prep school and the lives of those she connected with either directly or indirectly. Although set from 1959-1960, it will still bring back memories of being 15 years old and thinking the issue you had then were major. For Susie one particular issue was major, but she didn’t let it define her, but she never forgot about it either.  This book also explores young men and the draft along with social issues of the time.

JUDY BLUME COMES TO MIND

I found The Other New Girl to be an easy read by the mere fact it’s told in first person format. Gschwandtner does a great job of making you feel like you are with Susie every step of the way. The writing is not forced and the stories flow with ease. This book reminded me of Judy Blume’s In The Unlikely Event as we are witness to the trials and tribulations of being young and how it affects the lives of those much later in life.

On Goodreads, I gave The Other New Girl five stars. I highly recommend this book to everyone. And while you’re at it, pick up In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume.

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The Other New Girl by LB Gschwandtner
Published 26 September 2017 by She Writes Press

Best books of 2017

Shoeless Child: Book 4 in the Kerri Blasco Series by J.A. Schneider [Book Review]

PLOT

A five-year-old boy named Charlie witnesses the murder of his mother’s friend and the attempted of his mother. Charlie is able to escape into the cold New York night but has his mother’s blood on him and no shoes on his feet. Hense the title Shoeless Child.

It’s not long before the child ends up in the hospital where his mother is but in a different Ward. The doctors are trying to get Charlie to talk about that night but he won’t say anything.

His mother, Rachel, under heavy sedation, comes and in out of consciousness and is unable to give a full account of what took place. At least not right away.

Detective Kerri Blasco and Detective Alex Brand must try to solve this murder and attempted murder mystery by getting the only witness to the crime to talk; a five-year-old Charlie who is too petrified to speak.

SUSPECTS

There were three main characters in the book that stood out to me as suspects:
Dr. James Burke, and psychiatrist and Rachel’s employer. She worked as his receptionist. Through Kerri’s and Alex’s questioning of Burker, we get a sense that he had a thing for Rachel.

Scott Mullin was supposed to be Rachel’s date that fateful night but he never showed up. In addition, no one is able to get in touch with him to find out why he didn’t show up.

Frank Wheat, the apartment building’s super where Rachel and her son lived. He also had a thing for Rachel and whenever he saw her he would offer to help her with her groceries, fix things in her apartment or anything else he could do for her.

MORE SUSPECTS

There were more suspects, but the three mentioned stood out for me. I thought I had the killer pegged until it was revealed who the real culprit was and I was surprised. After the killer was exposed, I went back to parts of the book to see if there were clues I had overlooked and there weren’t any. And the motive? Well, you’ll just have to read the book for yourself to find out.

BOOK #4

Shoeless Child is book #4 in the Detective Kerry Blasco series and the first book I’ve read by J.A. Schneider. Here is a list of her books in order: Detective Kerri Blasco series

MY THOUGHTS

I personally didn’t care for the book. And I say personally because this was really a ‘me’ thing and nothing to do with the book itself.

I couldn’t connect with the characters at all. Not the detectives, the victim, the child, the witnesses, no one. I found the writing a bit dry and forced. I’ve come across this before with Patricia Cornwell’s Cruel and Unusual, which happened to be book #4 in the Kay Scarpetta series. For Cornwell, I absolutely loved her first three books, Postmortem, Body of Evidence, and All That Remains. I found it hard to pick up another Cornwell book after Cruel and Unusual. 

After finishing Schneider’s book I did give it some thought to let the story sink in hopes of time passing I would feel differently, but I didn’t. This is something that happens with readers and has nothing to do with the author themselves. Not every book I read I am going to like. And at times, the issue is more on my side, as with this book, and the issue is on the author’s side.

NO DISCOURAGEMENT AT ALL

I do not discourage anyone from reading Shoeless Child (link to purchase the book from Amazon is below). If you’re already a fan of the Kerri Blasco series, continue being such. If you’re new to the series, give this book a try.

As mentioned, my thoughts on the book are strictly on my end. And as mentioned, I’m not going to like every book I read but I am willing to give books a shot.

_____________________________________________

Shoeless Child by J.A. Schneider
Expected publication date: 24 January 2018 (being a book reviewer I was able to get an advanced copy)
Publisher: RSG Media

You can pre-order the book via the link below.

 

 

This Could Hurt by Jillian Medoff – Book Review

ELLERY CONSUMER RESEARCH

The book is set in 2016 but speaks of 2008, during the recession that affected a lot of businesses. Not just those in the real estate industry, but businesses all over. But it’s more than just that. It’s about the goings-on in the prestige research firm Ellery Consumer Research in New York. This is one of those companies everyone strives to get a job in after college. But the office politics and layoffs can become too much for some, as with any job as well as not feeling appreciated for the work one puts in.

THE CENTER PLOT

As with The Best of EverythingThis Could Hurt centers on a group of employees at Ellery, starting with Rosa, the Chief of HR (human resource). We witness the ups and downs of working at a prestige company, which includes layoff, family life, lack of family life or a family and the need to find something better when you feel you’ve reached your end at your current company.

Given insight into each of their lives, we learn that working at a prestige company is not at all what we’ve heard.

We are also privy to the shrewdness of layoffs. Most of us think it’s our managers that determines who leaves and who stays in a time of downsizing, but, from my reading of this book, it’s HR who determines that. Now, this may not be the case in all businesses, but it was the case at Ellery. However, HR (i.e Rosa) was not the only one playing a hand on who still has a job at the end of the week and who doesn’t.

OUT OF OFFICE

But the book doesn’t just spend time in the office. It also spends times at people’s homes and shows how a job can affect a family and what type of job can affect a family. For example, Kenny’s (Manager oF Compensation and Operations the, wife came from money and has acquired a high paying job herself. Kenny has always tried to live up to her standards. He wants to quit Ellery but can’t tell his wife. Instead, he begins looking for work at another prestige company. But will it be enough personally and professionally for Kenny.

It’s stories like Kenny’s we can all relate to. There’s also Lucy, a go-getter herself who can’t wait to take Rosa’s place as Chief of HR once Rosa retires. She’ll do anything Rosa asks her to while mentally picturing herself behind Rosa’s desk. We have Leo who is happy with his job but is lacking in the love field. 

But the most pivotal part of the book is when tragedy strikes one of the employees and how in a time of need everyone came together. It’s also during this tragedy that we see who comes out on top and show accepts their fate.

WHY I LOVED THIS BOOK

There are two reasons, actually a ton of reasons why I absolutely loved this book, but I’m only going to touch on a few.

This book is well written as well as easy to read. It doesn’t bore you down with fantasy words or go into too much detail about people’s past. It gives you the information you need while tying it in to their current situation. Medoff does a great job of keeping the flow of the book going to where it is a page-turner. She sets up the players perfectly, as with Kenny looking for another job, and follows through with jaw-droppers. She gives a human side to those who seem to have it all and shows that a high paying job has its price. 

NO ONE CAN MAKE THIS UP

This book felt too real to from the mind of a writer. As with Over My Shoulder (read my review) by Patricia Dixon (a book about domestic violence from the point of view of the victim), This Could Hurt could only be written from someone who either witnessed everything she’s written or experienced it first hand. Here’s a snippet of Medoff’s biography (career-wise):

Along with writing novels, Jillian has had a long career in management consulting. She’s worked for a wide range of employers, including Deloitte, Aon, Marsh & McLennan, Revlon, Max Factor and Medco, and is currently a Senior Consultant with a professional services firm, where she advises clients on how to communicate with employees during periods of organizational change. (source: Amazon)

No wonder the story and events in the book seemed so real. Only someone who has been through it could write something so hard-hitting as this book. And it will definitely resonate with anyone who has been through a downsize, felt unappreciated at work or just wanted do and be more than they are at their current job. And let’s not forget the pressure of the spouses who expect more and forget being in a relationship is about supporting each other and not tearing each other down. 

I highly recommend you get The Could Hurt when it comes out on 9 January 2018. And if you can, watch The Best of Everything. For those of you that watched Mad Men or are watching Mad Men via a streaming service, you’ll enjoy this book.

Other recommended reading:

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THIS COULD HURT
AUTHOR: Jillian Medoff
PAGES: 366
RELEASE DATE: 9 January 2018
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
WHERE TO BUY:  AmazonBarnes and Noble and iBooks

Charles Ray’s Frontier Justice: The Story of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S Marshal [Book Review]

BASS REEVES

Bass Reeves knows the land they call Indian Territory in Arkansas as well as the surrounding areas. And because of this, Reeves is given a job as US Marshal by Judge Fagan. Only thing is, Reeves can’t read nor write. Reeves was born into slavery and slaves weren’t allowed to learn to read or write. He was to become a run away slave after roughing up his master up a bit over a card game. Bass hid in Indian Territory among the Indians until he knew things were safe enough for him to carry on his way. He would make a life for himself and his family by cultivating a farm.
Fagan has hired Reeves as a US Marshal (or Marshall) to serve warrants to a few outlaws, but with Reeves not being able to read this might be an issue. At least to Fagan. Reeves explains to Fagan that he has a great memory and if Fagan reads the warrants to Reeves he’ll be able to do his job. Fagan tests Reeves by reading a warrant to him in which Reeves repeats all the details back to Fagan. With this, Fagan is satisfied and sends Reeves on his way to get his men.

CHARLES RAY’S STORY

Ray does give you a sense that you are there with Reeves and the other characters. I did have an issue with the writing itself, but as to not deter anyone else from reading the book, I won’t say what my issues were. Although, as a reviewer, I do like to give the good and the bad of a book. However, this is my foray in to the old west genre and I will need to read a few more books order to validate or not validate my thoughts on the writing.

I will say, the book had me so intrigued that I looked Bass Reeves to see if he’s was a real person and he was. You can read about Bass Reeves on the Legends of America site.

Pick up a copy of Frontier Justice: The Story of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S Marshal and let me know your thoughts. If you’re not a fan of old west stories, I would still say give this a shot.

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Frontier Justice: The Story of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S Marshal 

Author: Charles Ray
Publisher: Uhuru Press
Pages: 253
Release Date: 1 February 2014
Where To Buy: Amazon

 

Bass Reeves

 

M. William Phelps Don’t Tell A Soul [Book Review]

STAR WITNESS YOU WON’T BE

Cherry Walker was a kind-hearted 29-year-old who matured mentally slower than the rest of us, but that’s not to say she wasn’t smart. Cherry loved everyone and everyone who met Cherry loved her. Her one joy in life, besides kids and her parents, was getting her done on Saturdays.

Cherry met Kim through an upstairs neighbor who used to watch Kim’s kids. Kim’s youngest son started being cared for by Cherry, which most thought shouldn’t be the case since Cherry is a child herself, mentally. But there was one quirk about Cherry, she loved horror movies and when I say, love, I mean LOVED horror movies. And because she wasn’t mature enough to understand, she would watch these movies with Timmy, Kim’s youngest child she watched.

Cherry would soon be the star witness in Kim’s custody hearing and the one who could expose Kim for the rotten mother and human being she was, but Kim couldn’t let this happen and would do anything to prevent Cherry from testifying. With the help, a male friend, Kim killed Cherry, burned her body and left her on the side of the road.

DESPERATE TIMES DOESN’T NOT ALWAYS CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES

Kim felt she was entitled to her kids just because they were her kids. But then again, Kim always had this entitlement complex her entire life. Some make chalk it up to her being adopted and this affecting her self-esteem. But after reading this book and the despicable things Kim did to her kids and people around her who disagreed with anything she wanted to do, my bet is on Kim and no one or nothing else. Kim was just born bad and no amount of counseling would cure the evil inside of her.

She lived in complete filth. Had four kids by four different men. She yelled at her kids and physically abused them. She was just downright to mean to her kids and degraded them any chance she got, especially the oldest boy Brian, whom she seemed to take her aggression on since he was a baby.

When Kim’s ex-husband found out Cherry was taken care of Timmy he filed for custody (it was thing along with marks he saw on the kid’s body – not from Cherry but from Kim) and paid with his life. As mentioned, Kim will stop at nothing to keep her kids from being taken away from her. She would also use people for the same purpose.

HIGH SCHOOL REUNION COULD BE MY OUT

Kim needed people to be character witnesses for her so she went to her high school reunion to reconnect with a few people she was friends with in high school. After the reunion, she made sure to keep up the charade with one of her friends and in doing so, she was able to get this ‘friend’ to lie on her behalf through letters. Soon the friend was not feeling right about what she was doing, as well as realizing she could face prison time for falsifying information (she wrote what a great mother Kim was and such when the friend had never seen Kim with her kids) and stopped helping Kim. Let’s just say Kim gave the friend a tongue lashing she’ll never forget.

I’M THE QUEEN OF MY DESTINY BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

I’m not sure what gets into people who think killing others will make things better for them. I’ve always wondered where does the thought of causing harm and actually causing harm to others stop for us normal folks? And where is that line blurred for people like Kim? How did she think she wouldn’t get caught in the killing of Cherry Walker? Kim was so blinded by the fact that someone was going to tell her No by taking her kids away. Her thought process only focused on stopping the one person who could stop her and who wasn’t afraid of Kim.

Cherry might have had the mind of a child but she had the heart of gold and ensuring the little boy be removed from the toxic environment (both by filth and his mother) was her goal. Cherry also wasn’t afraid of Kim, which I think through Kim off her game and I think this added the need to kill Cherry for Kim.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is another great book by Phelps. Anne Rule used to be my true crime author, but now it’s Phelps. He has a way of telling stories that keep you on the edge of your seat. His writing style puts you in the middle of everything, so much so you want to warn those to be killed or hurt.

Other books I recommend by M. William Phelps:
Obsessed
Dangerous Grounds: My Friendship With A Serial Killer
and his latest book Targeted: A Deputy, Her Love Affairs, A Brutal Murder (I will be doing a review of this book in about a month).

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DON’T TELL A SOUL
Author: M. William Phelps
Pages: 469 
Publisher: Pinnicle – 28 February 2017
Where To Purchase: AmazonBarnes and Noble, iBook

Lady Killers by Tori Telfer- Book Review

 FEMALE SERIAL KILLERS – SHE WAS NOT THE FIRST

When people think of female serial killers, they automatically think of Aileen Wuornos. Why? Because in the day and age of television and newspapers and the media just wanting to get that piece of news out, she became well known while she was alive. But she wasn’t the first female serial killer and we may never know who was the first female serial killer by the mere fact that there were so many before her and more wicked than her.

WHEN FEMALES KILL

It’s hard to phantom a female being a killer, not to mention a cold blooded killer, but that’s just what these females in the Lady Killers book by Tori Telfer were: cold blooded serial killers. Their primary weapon: poison. If you were a noblewoman back in the 16th and 17th century, or any century for that matter, then beating or torturing someone to death, mostly servants or Serfs, was the way to go. When they didn’t want the cause of death to be detected, poison, particularly arsenic, was the weapon of choice.

NOBLEWOMEN AND MURDERS

From reading this book, it seems the rich has always gotten a way with murder, literally, as they do today. And even when they got caught years later, they have gotten away with murder or murders. As mentioned, most noblewomen resorted to beating their servants, in the case of Erzsebeth Bathory or their Serfs in the case of Daryl Nikolayevna Saltykova. Because these women came from money and then married into money or men of noble status themselves, they were able to beat, torture and murder upwards of 50 people without being questioned. It wasn’t until they fell out of a favor of those in power or, in the case of the King that owed money to the Bathory’s, the King was no longer in their dept, the crimes of these women were investigated, found guilty and sentenced to death.
Other women of means during the same time period was Marie-Madeleine who was convicted of killing her father, brothers, attempted murder of her sister and sister-in-law among other people. Her reason for killing was simple: they either stood in her way of money or disagreed with her. Unlike her counterparts who beat their victims, Marie’s method of murder was poison.

POISON FOR EVERYONE. ENJOY!

A good point that was brought up in either in this book or an episode of Deadly Women or both is how some feel that poison is a coward’s way to murder. That’s far from the truth. With poison, unlike beating someone, strangling someone or shooting/stabbing them, poison takes time to work. The poisoner has to be patient, but also have the coldness to watch their victim die a slow and painful death. Arsenic was readily available for some time and thus the perfect poison to use. Why? With arsenic poisoning, when given in small dosages over time causes the following:


It could play a role in the development of diabetes, cancer, vascular disease and lung disease. The Food and Drug Administration says that long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with higher rates of skin cancer, bladder cancer and lung cancer, as well as heart disease (google.com)

For a long while, arsenic was easy to get. No one questioned anyone buying arsenic, no matter how much they bought because arsenic was also used to kill rats. And back in those days in which arsenic was readily available tracking who bought it and how much was not necessary.
A famous poisoner was The Giggling Grandma Nannie Doss. She was also known as the Lonely Hearts Killer for she would find lonely older men who had money, marry them, and then kill them. Her killing spree was from the 1920’s to 1954.

BUT SERIAL KILLERS ARE MEN, AREN’T THEY?

Serial killers being men is the popular consensus. I think it’s because men are more brutal in their acts. Men use guns or knives on their victims.They also leave a trail of blood. But when women kill, they do it silently via poison. Even today, women use poison such as antifreeze, to kill their victims including their own children.

If the woman was good looking as in the case of Erzsebet Bathory and Marie-Madeleine no one EVER suspected them of killing anyone. But if you weren’t good looking, in the case of ahem, Wuornus, it’s still hard to accept that fact that she would murder the number of people she did. And mind you, Wuornus’s murders were brutal and bloody, like the women noblewomen of the 1600’s and 1700’s.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in murderers or murders. But what I really enjoyed was the diverse group of women that became serial killers and their reasons. One thing they all had in common they felt they would get away with it. And when caught they maintained their innocence. Most used their feminine wiles to try to win either the judge or jury over. I was more intrigued by those from the 1600’s and 1700’s.
I find the most brutal of them all was Kate Bender of the Bender family. She wasn’t alone in the killings but she was the most brutal.
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LADY KILLERS
Author: Tori Telfer
Released: 10 October 2017
Publisher: Harper Perennial sold by Harper Collins
Pages: 352