Killing Mother: A Son’s Memoir
I recently picked up this Kindle book to read. My, my! This is quite a book in the vicious figure of mother Sandy. It hits like a freight train as you realize its from a real childhood. It becomes sickening but you can’t stop reading to see what’s going to happen next. The mother is so hateful and cruel towards her kids and foster kids, it will make you ill. It should be read despite this and a heavy dose of preachyness in the latter third of the book. If you like true crime, check it out if you dare. It’s very well researched and written and will leave you mind-blown.
Written by Robert Wallace
Independently published – 404 pages
Publication date: Oct 8, 2017
My rating: 4/5 Stars
A Tangled Web: A Cyberstalker, a Deadly Obsession and the Twisting Path to Justice
I was so excited when I saw that there was a true crime book coming out by Leslie Rule, Ann Rule’s daughter, that I was beside myself! Now I just had to get my hands on an early copy to review. I struck out in the first place I tried, then it turned up in another and I got it then. I was really thrilled to get an advance copy of this book folks, Ann Rule was one of my favorite writers and dear people. I still have some books that she signed for me just for sending them to her. She also took the time to respond to emails from people who thought they might have an interest in writing true crime, and had a newsletter with updates on the cases she wrote about, which was really cool.
So on to the book, A Tangled Web. This is an awesome case for a book, I must say. I do recall the case, whether it was in a book or on TV, I’m not sure, it’s been too long ago. But it’s a whopper, and Ms. Rule does a wonderful job with it from start to finish. She lays it out and explains the details in a manner that keep it from getting too confusing, despite the use of some Internet terms and different methods used online to try and cover your tracks. The story kept me engaged and turning the pages until it was over, and I can’t believe I inhaled it all at one go. It’s really a sick, twisted story that I would have doubted had I not already known of it, and that it was certainly true. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Leslie Rule, and the publisher.
Publisher: Citadel – 304 pages
Publication: Apr 28th, 2020
My rating: 5/5 Stars
The Author– Leslie Rule is a Seattle area artist, photographer and bestselling author of two suspense novels, five nonfiction books, and dozens of articles in national magazines, including Reader’s Digest. At seventeen, she began to work with her mother, author Ann Rule, as research assistant and trial photographer. Many of Leslie’s courtroom photos appear in her mother’s books. Visit Leslie’s website: authorleslierule.com
Losing Jon: A Teen’s Tragic Death, a Police Cover-Up, a Community’s Fight for Justice
This was a good true crime book by author David Parrish that’s coming out next month (April 2020). It certainly got my attention and kept me involved with the story of twin brothers Mickey and Jon Bowie, who were at a party in a motel room one night when the cops were called over a noise complaint. There were a group of others there that night too, but the twin Bowie brothers ran afoul of the anger and received the brunt of the punishment of the police that night. It was really over the top. The aftermath left ongoing animosity between several of the cops and the underage partiers. The twins, with Jon in particular, was being harassed daily. Tt gets really twisted a few nights later when Jon is found dead, and the mystery is on to figure out how it really happened. Many twists in this true crime book. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author David Parrish, and the publisher.
Publisher: Citadel – 256 pages
Publication: Apr 28th, 2020
My rating: 4/ 5 Stars
The Author- David Parrish is a semi-retired technical writer and first-time author of the non-fiction book, LOSING JON. He writes about witnessing the unexpected twists and turns of a disturbing and often-frightening journey through the criminal justice system and beyond. It takes place in Columbia, Maryland, a planned community once advertised as New America where he and his wife raised their two sons and still live. He grew up in a blue-collar family near Durham, North Carolina, graduated with a B.A. in English at the University of North Carolina, married his Ohio-raised wife, and followed a public health job to Jackson, Mississippi. He then switched careers and moved with his wife and sons to Maryland, halfway between their Ohio and North Carolina families. Three or more days a week he commutes – usually top-down in his aging green Mustang convertible – the short distance to his network security writing job. The rest of the week he does chores, plays golf, occasionally fishes a local reservoir, and meanders through county backroads on his Mustang-matching-green, retro Triumph Bonneville motorcycle.
For more information visit http://www.davidkparrish.com
Find David on Instagram and Facebook @DavidParrishAuthor.com
The Case of the Vanishing Blonde: And Other True Crime Stories
This was an interesting group of true crime stories that was entertaining to read. I think only one of them I had read before. There is a PI that is just astounding at solving tough cold cases that I think most will enjoy. He’s rather like a magician. I’ll be looking for more to read about him, I know, this Mr. Brennan. This was certainly worth the read if you enjoy true crime and are looking for separate stories. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Mark Bowden, and the publisher.
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press – 400 pages
Publication: July 7th, 2020
My rating: 4/5 Stars
The Author- Mark Bowden is the author of thirteen books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down. He reported at the Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty years and now writes for the Atlantic and other magazines. He is also the writer in residence at the University of Delaware.
Busted: A Memoir of Teenage Years
The author writes of her experiences immigrating to America from the Caribbean with her family. They end up settling into a small space in a building in Brooklyn, where Phianna tries to fit in. Being a teenager is hard enough without adding all the challenges of a new country too. Not your typical memoir, I enjoyed reading it. A 3.5 of 5 stars read.
Written by Phianna Rekab
Publisher: Rekab – 168 pages
Publication: Nov 11, 2018
My rating: 3.5 /5 Stars
The Author- Phianna Rekab is an American author trying her hand at as many genres as she can. She writes for fun, pushing herself outside her comfort zone for a little imaginative intrigue and “badness”.
Along with her husband, Barry Dennis; her children, Jackson and Stephanie; and Buddy, their yellow Lab, she is a proud fan of the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors. To learn more about Jackie, visit http://www.speier.house.gov/about.
This started out sounding like it was going to be a good story. Maybe I should stick to strictly non-fiction, because I got lost in all of the characters and never quite got back to knowing what was what from that point on. I understood the basic story about the college student who was killed by her boyfriend. Then there’s the newspaper reporter who felt it might have something to do with the serial killer of several women. But the melange of characters rotate so much that I couldn’t keep up, until I’d wasted a lot of time, and then it was time to switch to another character again. I read this mostly in one day, so it’s not like I dragged it out over weeks and lost the thread of the story or the characters. It just felt like too many balls juggling in the air at one time to me. I’m staying away from fiction with my crime. Just the facts, Ma’am, from now on. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Nicola Maye Goldberg, and the publisher.
Bloomsbury Publishing – 240 pages
Published date: June 23rd, 2020
My rating: 2/5
The Author- Nicole Maye Goldberg is a graduate of Bard College and Columbia University. She is the author of the novella Other Women (Sad Spell Press, 2016) and the poetry collection The Doll Factory (Dancing Girl Press, 2017). Her work has appeared in CrimeReads, The Quietus, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Winter Tangerine, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.
Magnetized: Conversations With a Serial Killer
Author Carlos Busqued started looking into the four murders of taxi drivers in Buenos Aires that happened back in 1982, spread out over a week. Then he moves on to the murderer. The man who is in prison for the killings is Ricardo Melogno, who was just 19 at the time it happened over 30 years ago. This is an interesting true crime book about a killer in a foreign country. I enjoy this type of book that has input from the killer in interviews. It tells what his time has been like in various mental institutions versus prison facilities, and the kind of treatments he got at different times and places. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Carlos Busqued, and the publisher.
Publisher: Catapult – 192 pages
Expected publication: Jun 2, 2020
My rating: 4/5 Stars
The Author– Carlos Busqued was born in Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña, Chaco (Argentina) in 1970 and lives in Buenos Aires. His first novel, Under This Terrible Sun, was a finalist for the 2008 Herralde Prize and later adapted for film (El Otro Hermano, Adrian Caetano, 2017). Magnetized is his second book.
The Translator– Samuel Rutter is a writer and translator from Melbourne, Australia.
More Than Love: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother, Natalie Wood
A beautifully told story of what it was like to grow up as the daughter of Hollywood royalty, with the twist of losing her mom, Natalie Wood, when she was only 11 and her mom 41. Natasha Gregson Wagner shares what it was like having her beautiful mom until she was 11, and then trying to cope ever after. How she managed with two dads, her bio dad, and her daddy Wagner, who she lived with and grew up with.
This book is a love letter to Natalie and an excellent memoir at the same time. Well done and recommend. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Natasha Gregson Wagner, and the publisher.
Publisher: Scribner – 304 pages
Publication: May 5th, 2020
My rating: 5/5 Stars
The Author- Natasha Gregson Wagner is an American actress. She is the daughter of British film producer Richard Gregson and American actress Natalie Wood. She is married to actor Barry Watson. They have a daughter, Clover Clementyne Watson.
The Author- Natasha Gregson Wagner has acted in such films as Another Day in Paradise, High Fidelity, Two Girls and a Guy, and David Lynch’s Lost Highway, and she has received acclaim for her stage work and television appearances in Ally McBeal, House MD, and Chicago Hope. In 2016, she coauthored a coffee table book titled Natalie Wood: Reflections of a Legendary Life. She is one of the producers of the upcoming HBO documentary of her mother’s life: What Remains Behind. Wagner lives in Los Angeles with her family.
The Silver Swan: In Search of Doris Duke
Such a mysterious person, this Doris Duke. It’s almost like she didn’t want anything much of herself left behind for posterity, as she was going to live as she pleased. And she certainly had the money and will to do so. The author was granted free rein to go through Duke’s papers for this book, but she just didn’t write letters much, and shunned publicity, as she was hyper-private. Doris was a very tall, athletic woman, at least six foot in her prime, and she enjoyed physical activities like swimming in the ocean and tennis. I’ve read a previous book about her years ago, but I don’t recall much from it. Much seems to be made of her being expunged from the Social Register, but it seems to have meant nothing to Doris herself, who probably made light of the fact.
I enjoyed reading about her life, her marriages, her parents and brother, along with the power company and university and offshoots that the family left as their legacy. I’ve always enjoyed reading about philanthropists and imagined being able to do that and how it must feel so wonderful to help others and leave behind something that will live on and do good things for people long after you are gone. It’s just too bad Doris Duke didn’t leave more of herself behind for us to get to know her better. It doesn’t really feel like there’s much of her in the book, despite all of the paperwork that was used to research her, she still seems quite ephemeral and out of reach. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Sallie Bingham, and the publisher.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux – 338 pages
Publication: Apr 7, 2020
My review: 3.5/5 Stars
The Author- Sallie Bingham is the author of several memoirs, short-story collections, novels, plays, and poetry collections. Her work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in the Atlantic, New Letters, Southwest Review, and other publications. Sallie’s books include Passion & Prejudice and The Silver Swan.
Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back
This book really drew me in. Some parts are rather slow compared to other more exciting parts, but that’s how her life went. She became a lawyer and went to work for Leo Ryan as his legal counsel. She made up her mind on something and then she followed through. A very determined lady, which likely is what saved her life at Jonestown. There is much about her early life and her life post-Jonestown, it’s the majority of the book really. There is quite a bit about her long career in public service, she’s really quite inspiring. I give it a good 4 of 5 stars.
Written by Jackie Speier
Publisher: Little A – 199 pages
Publication: Nov 4th, 2018.
My rating: 4/5 Stars
The Author- Jackie Speier is a California congresswoman. She is a recognized champion of women’s rights, privacy, and consumer safety—as well as an avowed opponent of government inefficiency and waste. In 2012, she was named to Newsweek’s list of 150 “Fearless Women” in the world and is included in the 2018 “Politico 50” list of top influencers transforming American politics. She is coauthor of This Is Not the Life I Ordered. Jackie received a BA in political science from the University of California at Davis, and a JD from UC Hastings College of the Law.