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Showing posts from April, 2015

Identity Crisis: The Murder, the Mystery, and the Missing DNA by Jefferson Bass

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Identity Crisis: The Murder, the Mystery, and the Missing DNA by Jefferson Bass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ebook, 112 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Witness Impulse

A novella, or the nonfiction equivalent, in which Bill Bass ,mostly, of the Jefferson Bass duo, describes a case the two worked on in the early 2000s in which a family asked to have the remains of a long buried relative identified with DNA to quell a constant family rumour that it may not actually be her buried in the family plot. In this case, the author tells how what he assumed would be a simple DNA profile turned into a puzzling two-year search to positively identify the remains. Not exactly a riveting case, but one that shows DNA is not the be all and end all it is often portrayed to be on TV. In this case, the DNA came back with more questions than they had started with and Bass details the various technology used to identify the remains as well as the repeated attempts at different methods of DNA sampling.




Julius and Ethel Rosenberg - Spies or Scapegoats? You Make the Call! by Joe Bruno

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Julius and Ethel Rosenberg - Spies or Scapegoats? You Make the Call!
by Joe Bruno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 80 pages
Published August 31st 2014 by Knickerbocker Publishing Company

Short but good book giving the entire story of the Rosenbergs. The author starts with the foreknowledge of what we know today and with an attitude that Julius is a "creep" so we know how things will turn out and are aware of the author's opinion from the get go. I haven't studied this case but am aware of it and the change in public opinion over the years and the knowledge that has come to light in more recent years. While the author tells the story giving us knowledge that wasn't known publicly at the time he does leave some surprises for when then were revealed many years later. Although public opinion often swayed towards claiming this husband & wife had been martyred by the anti-red cause, the author's take and the general opinion today is that Julius was justly…

Winemaker Detective Series #4: Deadly Tasting by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen

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Deadly Tasting by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 140 pages
Published October 17th 2014 by Le French Book
First Published: 2005 in French

Winemaker Detective Series: #4

I have been reading this series and quite enjoying it but have to say I was quite disappointed in this one. First, I did like the mystery. It was a neat serial killer puzzler which was described as gruesome but still kept a cozy as no details were given. The problem was there was way too much history packed into this tiny novel that the story suffered from it. I'm already fond of Benjamin and Virgile, but the book didn't allow for their lovable characteristics to come forward. I read a lot of WWII history so know about Vichy France, yet it felt like the book went into history teacher mode; this has been translated into English so I'm sure this information would have been elementary to the original audience and was just tedious for me. I kept wanting the lesson to end and…

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

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At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by Bond Street Books

This is the first book I've read by the author, although I've wanted to read the others. I can't believe I waited this long! I just loved this! It had a little bit of everything I enjoy: historical fiction, quirky characters, and suspense. Although I'm not a romance reader, I found the love story just beautiful. Mostly I enjoyed the suspense as the secrets were revealed throughout and the dramatic ending. I also enjoyed all the characters; the Scottish ones were adorable. Maddie was an engaging, believable character and I enjoyed the personal journey and awakening she went through during the story. Hank and Ellis, on the other hand, are not likable, nor are they meant to be; Ellis, I found to be the weakest written character being somewhat unbelievable and over-the-top while I had wished Hank had been developed more. I found myself wanting t…

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow

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Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Golden Books

Little Golden Books
Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book (1)

I've read and own the other books in this series and, of course, loved this first one that started it all. An inspirational pick-me-up on how to live and enjoy your life to the fullest using illustrations and values from the early 1940s-1960s Little Golden Books. This is not a children's book; it contains original text written for adults though this one, unlike the others, would be fitting for children also. This is a cheery little ditty with a positive, uplifting message, but it is the illustrations that will delight the LGB fans for the nostalgia effect. All the famous illustrators are here: Tibor Gergely, Garth Williams, Feodor Rojankovsky, Richard Scarry, Eloise Wilkin, and many more. A wonderful book for an inspirational pi…

Have You Been Saved?: A Catholic Perspective by Rev. John Dowling

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Have You Been Saved?: A Catholic Perspective by Rev. John Dowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 24 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Liguori Publications

A small pamphlet (booklet) which explains to Catholics what evangelicals and fundamentalists mean when they ask "have you been saved?" The book is written to the cradle Catholic to whom this question may be baffling and not know how to respond. Then gives a 10-step thorough, excellent understanding of what salvation actually means and the Catholic view, supported by Scripture, of this ongoing process. I am a convert and having been on both sides of the coin certainly understand the saved question but found this an excellent, concise source of the information one should be armed with tackling the topic with non-Catholics.


The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

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The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 135 pages
Published July 23rd 2002 by Perennial
(first published 1972)

The ending is very tight and suspenseful but otherwise I found it greatly outdated. The roaring feminism is a product of its times; thankfully the type of woman who spent their life being a victim of men are now reaching senior-hood. I feel pretty confident in saying that most mentally healthy 21st-century men would become bored *very* fast with a robot wife. LOL




Crime Seen: Stories from Behind the Yellow Tape, From Patrol Cop to Profiler by Kate Lines

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Crime Seen: Stories from Behind the Yellow Tape, From Patrol Cop to Profiler by Kate Lines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Random House Canada

Kate Lines was the second Canadian and first Canadian woman to complete the FBI's criminal profiling course at Quantico. She started her career with the police force as a traffic cop, moved up into undercover vice, then became a detective and rose to higher positions of authority once she became a leader in profiling in Canada. She is much decorated and honoured in the profession and this is her personal story up to the present. What drew me to reading this memoir was, of course, the profiling aspect due to my interest in that field, however, the best part of the book was the first half. Kate starts off briefly with her childhood and upbringing to how her interest in police work began. Her days of training and becoming a cop follow with details of her work as a traffic cop and undercover "narc&q…

Tom Gray #1: Gray Justice by Alan McDermott

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Gray Justice by Alan McDermott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 216 pages
Published July 8th 2011 by Amazon Digital Services

Tom Gray (#1)

I have to admit I put off reading this for the longest time because the reviews are all over the place with ratings from 1 to 5. But it sounded good and I'm glad I finally read it. I was hooked right away and glued to my seat from the get-go. This was a can't-put-down page-turner. Certainly, it's a vigilante anti-hero vengeance story with a highly unlikely scenario and belief has to be suspended to enjoy it. The better title would have been "Gray Vengeance". I won't critique it as I could go on about what was wrong with the logic of the plot, the dialogue, the writing, etc. But in all honesty and reality, I didn't care. I loved it!!! I didn't like Tom Gray, he is morally ambiguous and not even relativistic as he knows he's doing wrong but doesn't care and thinks if he can get through the loopholes the…

Hellfire & Damnation II by Connie Corcoran Wilson

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Hellfire & Damnation II by Connie Corcoran Wilson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 170 pages
Published July 28th 2012 by Quad City Press

A collection of stories based on the 9 level's of Dante's Hell. I wasn't terribly impressed with this collection. I love Dante's version of Hell and had been expecting more; perhaps more horror or terror. The stories were mediocre. Some were real duds and the majority were just ok. The last few stories were better than the earlier stories making the average rating come out to a close 3/5.

1. Cold Corpse Carnival - A man died by falling into an ice pit and is kept there frozen, eventually becoming the small town's main (only) attraction. But the 130-odd-year-old corpse is in a state of Limbo. His body may be dead, or more like in suspended animation, but his brain has been completely functional all these years and he's vowed to exact vengeance on people in general who represent the decades of people who have dishonou…

Dear Canada: If I Die Before I Wake: The Flu Epidemic Diary of Fiona Macgregor, Toronto, Ontario, 1918 by Jean Little

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If I Die Before I Wake: The Flu Epidemic Diary of Fiona Macgregor, Toronto, Ontario, 1918 by Jean Little
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published 2007 by Scholastic Canada

Dear Canada series

Jean Little's contributions to this series are exceptional and "If I Die Before I Wake" is no different. Little portrays life in 1918 Toronto vividly. The Spanish Flu Pandemic is, of course, the main theme but various other topics are also explored: the last year of WWI, Armistice Day, class distinctions, women doctors and the growing changes in women's freedom. General everyday life is explored deeply showing the great conveniences now available since the parent/grandparent's Victorian days and the hardships the reader will notice compared with modern day's easy use of technology. Fiona introduces us to her unique family consisting of multiple twins, widowed father and Aunt caretaker bringing great character development and a charming, lovely household that …

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

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Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Enchanted Lion Books

An illustrated picture book of famous poetry about animals from the quaint to the silly to the serious. There are free verse, rhyming stanzas and even one limerick. Poets include those hailed for children such as Christina Rossetti, those famed for the humorous such as Ogden Nash and the masters such as Blake. I always say I'm not a poetry person, and I'm not really. But! This is the way I like my poetry: presented in an illustrated children's collection. Several of these have prominent places on my shelves and this one is worthy of buying also. I read an egalley provided by the publisher so did not get the full experience of this but some of the pages are even magnificent fold-outs. The illustration is gorgeous! It reminds me of a childhood book of poems I have by Polish illustrator Krystyna Stasiak. JooHee Yoon's artwork is very reminiscent of the…

Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45/Texas Killing Fields by Kathryn Casey

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Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45/Texas Killing Fields by Kathryn Casey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 25th 2014 by Harper

I wasn't particularly acquainted with these murders which all occurred along a specific portion of the Texas I-45 near Galveston so it was all pretty much new information to me. This is my first true crime by this author also and I found her writing incredibly sympathetic to the victims and their families which I always appreciate when reading modern accounts of murder. This book covers a lot of information and many, many cases while covering a time period from the late '60s to 2000. Some victims had a short amount of time spent on them while others had chapters while Casey covered trials that brought their killers to justice. Casey manages to skillfully keep the abundant information from becoming an overload by presenting the Killing Fields' history in chronological order and revis…

Deadly Appearances by Gail Bowen

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Deadly Appearances by Gail Bowen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mass Market Paperback, 265 pages
Published February 1st 1992 by Seal Books
first published 1990

Joanne Kilbourne Mystery (1)

Well, I sure wish I hadn't waited so long to start this series! It's not my usual "serial killer thriller" mystery and I thought it might be lame because of the politics theme but this Canadian author is up to book 15 in this series so I had to see what was up. Deadly Appearances is at heart a political mystery with the book starting off with the murder of the prime candidate for Premier of Saskatchewan. The main characters then are all those surrounding his political campaign, spouses, and friends. I found this an engrossing quick read but not because of the actual mystery. What impressed me the most was character development and the focus on the amateur sleuth's family and its dynamics. Mysteries often forgo characters for action. The mystery wasn't very hard to figure out but th…

Button Hill by Michael Bradford

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Button Hill by Michael Bradford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 253 pages
Published April 2015 by Orca Books

I enjoyed this horror/fantasy for middle graders. An exciting tale that has a brother and sister involved in the Underworld and afterlife risking their very own life force and in one case beating heart. I was quite pleasantly surprised at the amount of horror in a book for this age group. It gets pretty scary (and a little gruesome) at times but always remains age appropriate. The characters are realistic and likeable with the brother and sister behaving like real siblings having an antagonizing relationship yet one based on love at the heart. The secondary characters are a motley crew and I especially enjoyed Aunt Primrose, the keeper of Dayside. The author's mythos of his imaginary world does have quite a few holes that keep it from holding together under scrutiny; I kept finding myself asking questions as to how this would apply to the supposed entire afterworld it o…

Bruce Coville's Shapeshifters

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Bruce Coville's Shapeshifters by Bruce Coville
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 6th 1999 by HarperCollins

Bruce Coville has been the editor of a ton of anthologies for young people and this is the first one I've actually had a chance to read. It's a mediocre collection with a handful of previously published stories and the majority written for the collection. I'd only heard of a few of the authors, plus two great authors are also included Ray Bradbury and Jane Yolen. Obviously the theme that ties these stories together is shapeshifters of various kinds and forms. There were a couple of gems, a few duds, and most were just ok but they all averaged out to a solid rating of three. I'd read another of Coville's anthologies, especially because he did everything right as an editor. I read a lot of short story collections and Mr. Coville included everything I like to see. First and foremost, a copyright page that dates all the stories inc…