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.
To Me, He Was Just Dad: Stories of Growing Up with Famous Fathers
This is filled with incredibly moving essays written by the offspring of famous fathers and put together in this book. Some of the fathers I knew and others I hadn’t heard of but I found the whole concept to be an interesting one, and the essays were so good for the most part that it didn’t matter when it was a stranger. It’s getting a peek at what these men were like as a dad, and that makes it charming, especially in tandem with the inclusion of a picture of the dad and child that really makes it glow.
This was better than I had expected and I’m glad I picked it up as it was a fun read that would really be great for Father’s Day. I liked the mix of fathers chosen also. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Joshua David Stein, and the publisher.
Publisher: Artisan – 192 pages
Publication: Mar 31st, 2020
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
The Author- Joshua David Stein is the editor at large at Fatherly, the leading digital media brand for dads. Its mission is to empower men to raise great kids and lead more fulfilling adult lives through expert parenting advice, original video series, podcasts, events, and more. Stein is also the host of The Fatherly Podcast, the coauthor of Food & Beer and Notes from a Young Black Chef, and author of the children’s books Can I Eat That?, What’s Cooking?, and Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture.
The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy by Elizabeth Kendall
This updated book I felt was very well done, given the wisdom of several decades to reflect, and to help improve Liz’s harsh feelings about herself at the time. I was shocked at how much I’d forgotten of the original story. I’m still absorbing it, I suppose. The part written by the daughter, Molly, was enlightening and heartbreaking all at once. But she seems to have made peace with the past fairly well.
I would recommend for any true crime fan, especially for any that are interested in Ted Bundy, one of the better known serial killers with many books written about him, even long after his execution. There are also many never seen before pictures in the book of Bundy and the author and others.
Purchased: Jan 15th, 2020
Published: Jan 7th, 2020
Publisher: Henry N. Abrams Updated, Expanded Edition, 224 pages
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
The Author- Elizabeth Kendall’s memoir, The Phantom Prince, was originally published in 1981.
Molly Kendall, her daughter, considered Bundy a father figure between the ages of three and ten.
Williams’ Gang: A Notorious Slave Trader and His Human Cargo of Black Convicts
This is a very thorough history of slave trader William H. Williams of Washington, DC who ran the infamous Yellow House. It was a boarding stable of sorts for slaves who were being held between points of transport, and some were viewed for possible sale. This is also the place where Solomon Northup found himself after being drugged and kidnapped, and where he was later sold into slavery, despite being a free man from New York. He later wrote about his experiences in his autobiography titled Twelve Years A Slave.
Williams’ Gang is filled with information on the state of the slave’s situation in the US and also for various dealers in human chattel, aka bondsmen and women in the 1800s. When in 1840, Williams gets involved in buying 27 convict slaves, who were only to be sold and taken outside the US territory. He had even been made to put up a bond to that effect. But that’s not quite how it worked out, and legal matters ensued that went on for decades. A good read for anyone interested in slavery in this time period of history. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Jeff Forret, and the publisher.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press – 450 pages
Published: Jan 16th, 2020
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
A Story of Survival and a Quest for Meaning
An amazing memoir about a young woman who beats the odds and so much adversity to find her way through incredible challenges and pain. I had to take some time to digest all that she went through after I was done reading it, and then all that she did to work on herself in the latter part. It’s really quite admirable, and I’m glad she had family to help at times. I just flew through this book like a person starved for text, it was so readable to me and kept pulling me along. I was hooked, and had to know what came next. It’s truly a story that will make you wonder how much a person can take, yet shows you how some can keep going on in the face of harsh adversity. This is one tough lady with tons of determination. I recommend for those who like to read about people with high adrenaline lives. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Katherine Keith, and the publisher.
Publisher: Blackstone Publications – 280 pages
Publication: Feb 4th, 2020
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
The Author- Katherine Keith is a wilderness athlete, experience junkie, spiritual questor, long-distance dog musher, and mother to a fifteen-year-old daughter and thirty-five dogs, living above the Arctic Circle in Kotzebue, Alaska. Professionally, and as a jack-of-all-trades survivalist, she is a small business owner, rural Alaska project director, energy engineer, commercial fisherman, and wellness advocate. Accomplishments such as completing six Ironman triathlons and five 1,000-mile dog sled races form the cornerstone of Katherine’s philosophy of generating grit through overcoming real-time obstacles. A never-ending dreamer, Katherine is currently pursuing climbing the seven tallest summits on every continent as a budding alpinist. Above all, she loves spending time star-gazing, chasing northern lights, and playing cribbage by the woodstove with Amelia at camp.