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Showing posts from May, 2016

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell

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Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published August 12th 2014 by Scribner
Source: Kindle Store


Excellent! I really enjoyed this biography of Dr Melinek's training. I have read a lot of books about both forensics and corpses; there is really nothing left to shock me. But Working Stiff is highly entertaining and interesting giving wonderful insight into both the medical profession itself, teaching circumstances and mostly the work that a medical examiner does. We also meet Melinek's coworkers and learn much about different speciality sidelines in anthropological forensics: the bone experts, the brain experts, etc. I also enjoyed the way Dr Melinek described how the ME's office truly works with law enforcement and when necessary the court system, giving TV viewers a much more accurate take on the relationship. Dr Melinek wrote this book along with her …

Anthem by Ayn Rand

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Anthem by Ayn Rand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 123 pages
Published 1946 by Signet
first published May 1st 1937
Source: purchased secondhand


This is my first foray into Ayn Rand, not really knowing much about her philosophy except its focus on individualism vs collectivism. This is a dystopian novella, originally written in 1937, today's reader may find the story/plot cliched but one must remember those cliches came from these early writers of dystopia. It's a well-written story of a man finding himself rebelling against the post-apocalyptic world he's only known. He's being force-fed happiness and seeing through it now. It ends happily enough for him and a mate he meets of like-mindedness who escape. However, unlike dystopian books written today Rand had a purpose and agenda for writing her story. The last two chapters summarise what was wrong with this society they lived in (her thoughts on socialism) then continues with how the main character will build a bett…

5 More Perfect Days by Mark Tullius

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5 More Perfect Days by Mark Tullius
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 82 pages
Published March 22nd 2014 by Vincere Press
Source: Kindle freebie

Five more stories which take place between the events of the original novel "25 Perfect Days". Brings back many characters and a must read for fans of the first book. Since it is a short novella, it only whets my appetite for more books.



December Park by Ronald Malfi

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December Park by Ronald Malfi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 634 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Medallion Press
Source: LibraryThing early review program


This is a hard book for me to review; I was under the impression it was a horror. It most certainly is not. As I read I came to think it was a thriller, but it hardly is that either. It defies my definition of any genre and yet I liked the book, very much. More than anything it is a coming of age story, five boys on the cusp of manhood in the early 1990s, set against the backdrop of their town being gripped by fear from a rash of disappearing young teens. The boys become obsessed with finding out who is responsible. The papers have nicknamed the perpetrator "The Piper" and while no bodies are found it's assumed there is a serial killer on the loose. So, the boys spend the summer finding a couple of clues, hanging out in the park which has been deemed a "no go" area by the authorities and travelling …

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner: Stories by Alan Sillitoe

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner: Stories by Alan Sillitoe
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

ebook, 144 pages
Published April 19th 2016 by Open Road Media
first published 1959
Source: egalley via netgalley


A collection of stories with the running theme of life for the working class British man pre & post-WWII. The main focus of each piece is a character study, with their being little to even no plot. I enjoy character stories and they are well-written gloomy fare but still I must admit they just really didn't do anything for me as a whole. Fortunately, I understood the historical and societal era the tales depicted as this is where and how my father grew up. Even though the book has a brief biographical afterword about the author I do wish there had been an Introduction which introduced us to his writing.

1. The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner - A novella taking up 29% of the entire book, this story has no plot but is the running commentary of the thoughts of a 17yo i…

Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession by Scott Hahn

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Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession by Scott Hahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 214 pages
Published March 18th 2003 by Image
Source: Purchased new print copy


I usually get carried away and write big long review's for Scott Hahn's books but I'm not going to this time. "Lord Have Mercy" is a much more personal book for the reader than any other book I've read of his. It's a wonderful book, which goes without saying, whenever I've read Hahn, I've underlined so many things and filled it with marginalia. Scott takes us through "Confession", which is known by many different names through the ages and even now we no longer call it that but "Reconciliation". As one can expect from the author he delves into the origins of the sacrament from its use, practice and purpose in the Old Testament. He goes deeply into the whys and wherefores with his usual light bulb moments and engrossing information. But it is when he star…

Karen Vail (#6) Spectrum by Alan Jacobson

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Spectrum by Alan Jacobson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 438 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Open Road Media
Source: purchased at kindle store

Karen Vail (#6)


This is totally 100% excellent! I loved it! And I loved the way it was written! This is Karen Vail's origin story going back to the 1990s when she was a rookie and her first day on the job. She shows up at a crime scene which turns out to be the first work of a serial killer that Karen will end up chasing for the next twenty years. The book starts off with alternating chapters between a crime taking place in the 1970s and Karen's work in the 1990's. Karen's story then progresses straight through the 2000s to the present day. What is absolutely cool is that chapters hit upon her checking in with this serial killer case while she's on the job with cases we've read in the previous five Karen Vail books! Every character we've met to date through the series is either a major character or does a…

The Stuff of Dreams: The Weird Stories of Edward Lucas White

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The Stuff of Dreams: The Weird Stories of Edward Lucas White by Edward Lucas White; S.T. Joshi (Editor)
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 20th 2016 by Dover Publications
Source: egalley via netgalley


This is a new author to me and the first few stories did not endear him to me but by the time I'd finished I realised I'd enjoyed more than not and all together they averaged out to a good 3.5/5 rating. He is quite wordy with his descriptions and that is where I thought his downfall was as a suspense writer as it was hard to keep the reader's attention when being bombarded with needless minutia. He did manage to make this work to the stories advantage in some circumstances. After reading the Introduction and end matter I am more interested in finding out more about the author himself than actually reading his other work. His stories were based on his dreams as he was a vivid dreamer. I am also, and can relate to an instance he tells in the afterwor…

The Tomorrow City by Monica Hughes

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The Tomorrow City by Monica Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published November 11th 1978 by Methuen Publishing
Source: bought secondhand

This is a re-read for me but I didn't really remember the story, just that Monica Hughes was one of my favourite authors as a kid. For a 1970s science fiction story based on computers, this really holds up well! Set in the not too distant future, a girl's father invents a computer to run their city. The computer learns from itself and inevitably takes control of the city, brainwashing the citizens through TV and spying on them through cameras and light sockets, etc. The city becomes a dystopia with no tramps, low-income families, or old people through unethical means. Citizens become trained to obsessively comply with orders and keep the city clean and running smoothly and efficiently. Since the girl and her best friend, a boy, spend a lot of time way out in a clearing in a forest they miss being brainwashed by the TV and …

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

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We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Tundra Books
Source: review copy via library thing review program


I almost didn't read this book. I don't like YA "issues" novels and after reading the blurbs and a couple of reviews of this I really knew it was not my kind of book and wasn't going to bother reading it BUT I had high expectations of the author. "Word Nerd" is one of my all-time favourite YAs ever, and I really enjoyed "Dear George Clooney", so how could I just not read this? So I bit the bullet and dove in. I ended up reading the first half in one sitting and quickly finishing the book in the next! Nielsen is a great storyteller and this is an engaging read that the intended audience is going to lap up. It was not my type of book but Nielsen's writing hooked me and kept me reading right on through. Not overanalyzing it and we have a book about teen issues, …

25 Perfect Days by Mark Tullius

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25 Perfect Days by Mark Tullius
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 322 pages
Published March 15th 2013 by Vincere Press
Source: egalley via netgalley

A fast-paced dystopian set in a future where a religious cult and the government are in cahoots and control the world (or at least North America). Written as a series of vignettes, each one taking place further and further into the future. The stories contain some of the same people and generations of the same families with the book beginning at the start of this cult becoming popular and ending with a completely totalitarian society and an underground movement set to take it down. Because of the episodic nature of each chapter the book has no character development nor characters who stay around long enough to become attached to so that is one thing I missed as I am a character driven reader. However, it's a unique device to tell a story and I was well invested in this nightmarish dystopia which had many possibilities that could beco…

No Way Out by Alan Jacobson

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No Way Out by Alan Jacobson
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 411 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Open Road Media
first published 2013
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Karen Vail (#5)


It took me a while to get into this book as it's not a typical Karen Vail serial killer thriller. Two themes run through the book which I usually am not interested in reading; first a conspiracy theory and secondly terrorists. Karen is sent off to England for consultation but quickly finds herself being told of a stolen manuscript and the reason? one of the many who really wrote the Shakespeare plays conspiracy theories. This part bored me to tears but Karen's sarcastic personality and annoyance with British parlance kept me going. The plot quickly turns to terrorists, arms dealers, Arab terrorist cells and black ops with Karen in the middle of it all. I'm not into terrorist plots or political thrillers so was slow to warm up to the book. But have to admit that once the chase starts I go…