An extremely fast read, this book suffers from a lack of depth in researching Jeffrey Epstein -- these are not direct quotes, but the author(s) resort An extremely fast read, this book suffers from a lack of depth in researching Jeffrey Epstein -- these are not direct quotes, but the author(s) resort to phrases like "no one seems to know . . ." and "by some means . . ." rather than delving deeper into researching how situations occurred. This man's actions, as well as those by his cronies, make my blood boil -- reading this book has tarnished the respect I once had for some people, especially those who continue to associate with Epstein after his admission of being a pedophile. For a general overview of this case, not bad, but it would be interesting to see a much more thorough analysis of this case....more
Fascinating look at several cases of apparent drowning -- the authors analyze the details of each case, pointing out inconsistencies and explaining th Fascinating look at several cases of apparent drowning -- the authors analyze the details of each case, pointing out inconsistencies and explaining the mechanics of drowning, as well as the decomposition processes after death. I believe this is a textbook, and it can read like one at times -- the material is repeated frequently, which would be an asset to anyone learning how to glean information through the autopsy process. This book is mentioned in David Paulides's Missing 411: A Sobering Coincidence and is a good read for anyone interested in these cases. Due to it being a textbook, it is expensive, but in my opinion well worth the cost....more
Skip Hollandsworth explores Austin's "Midnight Assassin", a forgotten chapter of Texas history. How these murders aren't more widely known is baffling Skip Hollandsworth explores Austin's "Midnight Assassin", a forgotten chapter of Texas history. How these murders aren't more widely known is baffling, as from what I can tell from reading this book these cases were world-wide news.
The book succeeds in many aspects -- the murders themselves are discussed at length, but the author examines many of the prominent people of Austin at that time as well. It was interesting -- and infuriating -- to read about how Austin's African American population was treated at that time; I would love to read a book on that subject alone. It was also frustrating to read about how some of the suspects were railroaded, even though there was virtually no evidence linking anyone to the crimes.
The book is understandably hindered due to the amount of time that has passed since the murders, as well as the attitudes of those recording history at that time -- there seems to have been a "sweep it under the rug" feeling after the killings ceased. Unfortunately for us that led to there being far fewer sources of information on the case now.
I would have liked the author to risk speculating just a bit on who he thinks might have been behind the attacks. I understand that there is precious little evidence to base a conclusion on at this point, but it would be interesting to see if he had any further insights from his research. I would have also liked more information about some of the people involved. Again, I'm not sure how feasible that is, given that source material is probably limited.
Kind of a cross between Douglas Adams and Franz Kafka -- laugh out loud funny, but somehow ominous. I really enjoyed this, and I'll definitely check o Kind of a cross between Douglas Adams and Franz Kafka -- laugh out loud funny, but somehow ominous. I really enjoyed this, and I'll definitely check out the podcast at some point. Looking forward to their other books coming out....more
Robert Kolker's Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery is an in-depth (and very depressing) look into the lives and disappearances of several women whose bodies were found dumped on Long Island, New York. The cycle of poverty (and all of the social disadvantages that come with it) is explored -- the victims were all working as escorts at the time of their deaths, primarily due to a lack of education that would have allowed them to have the ability to make a better life for themselves. I found it tragic that each of these women was victimized time and again, by the way our society devalues certain types of people and ultimately by a man who believed it was his right to take their lives. These crimes remain unsolved.
The book's structure was problematic for me -- each woman's family history and childhood is explored, one after the other; the author then cycles back around, focusing on how each entered the sex trade. I found it difficult to keep track of the families and life circumstances of the victims, and the book suffered for that.
I can't speak to the recipes, as I haven't made anything from this book yet -- I received it as an motivational Mothers' Day gift, LOL. But I'm not muI can't speak to the recipes, as I haven't made anything from this book yet -- I received it as an motivational Mothers' Day gift, LOL. But I'm not much of a cook, so . . .
Beautiful photos, though, and the instructions seem clear enough. The recipes look delicious, so who knows, I may actually cook one some day. ...more
I'm having a tough time writing a review for this book, not because I didn't like it, but because what I enjoyed about it most is difficult to put intI'm having a tough time writing a review for this book, not because I didn't like it, but because what I enjoyed about it most is difficult to put into words. James Renner is a great writer. Not perfect, but interesting and engaging. Generally I prefer his fiction, but this one grabbed my attention from the first page and I had a hard time putting it down. Even though it does go into detail about the abduction of Amy Mihaljevic, as well as the investigation into her death, it is more an exploration of one man's obsession with this case. And therein lies Renner's charm. I found his recollections of hearing about this crime as a little boy, and his childish desire to be the one to find her and bring her home completely disarming. I think we can all connect with that (for many of us) long ago dream of being the hero -- to see someone admit to having that dream is somewhat surprising. It was interesting as a reader to see the author allowing us to really SEE him, not just as a writer, but as a human being. That tone of openness is carried throughout the book, and I found it as fascinating as the details of this still unsolved mystery. ...more
This review will be ALL SPOILERS, so do not read if you haven't read the book yet!!
Having read all o**spoiler alert**
This review will be ALL SPOILERS, so do not read if you haven't read the book yet!!
Having read all of Christopher Buehlman's previous books, the lowest I've rated any of them was 4 stars. I consider him one of my favorite authors, and was so excited to see he was releasing a new book. And then . . .
I didn't love it.
I was a little disappointed to see that it was vampires again -- after The Lesser Dead I wasn't sure there was anything else on the subject that needed to be said. Then I got a little excited, thinking that perhaps we would have a new story that tied into the characters of that book. Sadly, that hope did not come to fruition. Unless Buehlman follows up with another book that somehow pulls it all together, there doesn't seem to be a connection here.
My biggest complaint with this book is that it seems like the author had a lot of really great ideas . . . but no clear notion of how to combine them all into a great story as a whole. So we have a lot of extremely interesting characters without any real purpose within the book.
Some scenes are described in an overwhelming amount of detail, while others are cut so short that you're left with the feeling that you've missed something.
There are a lot of characters -- both central and incidental -- that make it hard at times to follow the story, but many of these characters could have been left out of the book without anything being lost.
What I believed to be the primary goal of the main character -- killing the vampires who she believes have killed her husband and son -- is rushed. She doesn't even kill the leader of the group, the one who directed the action leading to the end of her family, focusing instead on the vampire who physically pulled her son from the car. This was extremely unsatisfying, because the vampire she chose to focus on was responsible for the abduction only because he was following the leader's orders. He also wasn't responsible for turning her son into a vampire and abandoning him to die. (This is revealed at the end of the book, but early enough for Jude to choose to pursue the vampire who was directly responsible.)
When the leader finally is killed, his death is caused by someone we meet literally in the last chapter or so -- while mentioned in passing earlier in the book, he is in no way involved in the rest of the story. Additionally, when the leader is killed it is in an indirect fashion, being burned by the rising sun rather than being forcibly attacked and killed. Don't we all want our evil vampires to be beheaded or staked through the heart? I would probably even be satisfied with sun exposure which was deviously planned by our hero during the course of an extended fight scene -- I don't think I'm OVERLY picky! I wanted to see these vampires be VANQUISHED.
There were some wonderful details -- the deaf vampire, the Down's Syndrome sister, the really horrible mistress -- that the author just didn't use effectively. These details are all kind of thrown away, when any of them would make a great story in their own right.
One bright spot -- that not everyone will agree is a bright spot, I'm sure! -- is the older vampire, Clayton. He reminded me of the protagonist inThe Necromancer's House, and I really enjoyed this character a lot.
I could go on, but I'll close here.
I'm looking forward, as always, to Buehlman's next book -- hopefully I will enjoy it much more than I did this one....more
By far the best I've read this year. I was enjoying the book from the start, but once all the separate story lines started coming together and the cha By far the best I've read this year. I was enjoying the book from the start, but once all the separate story lines started coming together and the characters began interacting with each other I couldn't put it down. The author is one of my must-reads, but I always have a little trepidation because what if the new book doesn't stand up against the previous ones? Well, no worries here -- Donald Ray Pollock outdid himself with this step back into time. I'm already looking forward to re-reading this one....more
I loved The Girl with All the Gifts, so when I saw M.R. Carey had a new book coming out I couldn't order it fast enough. So fast, I didn't actually read anything about it, assuming it was a sequel to TGWATG. (I think I can be forgiven, just a bit, for thinking that -- the cover of this book actually has the little girl from TGWATG on it. Great marketing, but this is definitely NOT a sequel.) So my copy of "Fellside" arrives, and . . . What the heck?! This is about a women's prison?? Noooooo! Suffice it to say, this isn't really my genre. Sigh. Oh well, the book is already purchased -- guess I might as well give it a try. Then . . . something weird happened. As I'm reading this book I'm getting more and more engrossed in it, starting to care about these characters, and I'm not even minding the setting. Amazing! Okay, so this book is really well written. It's a mix of mystery and supernatural -- the supernatural parts reminded me of good Stephen King (I love King, but he's a bit hit or miss for me). The mystery was suspenseful -- I did see where it was headed eventually, but it kept me guessing for quite a while. The characters are complex and interesting, even the "bad guys", which made me anxious to see what would happen to them. The only complaint I have is (view spoiler)[I felt like the author left a loose end with Paul Levine -- I would have liked to have seen him included at the end of the book, maybe given a glimpse of him getting on with his life after the events of this book? And I really wouldn't mind seeing him featured in his own story, either, Mr. Carey! (hide spoiler)] The only thing stopping this from being a 5 star book is simply because I'm not sure how long it will stick with me, but if it's anything like The Girl with All the Gifts I think it will keep sneaking up on me when I least expect it. Highly Recommend
I forgot to mention a point that kept bothering me as I was reading this. (view spoiler)[One of the most unlikeable characters in this book is specifically stated to be an atheist. As most of the other characters were not noted as being any particular religion, I feel like this was a deliberate slur on the part of the author. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I found this distracting and unpleasant. (The only other character whose religious beliefs are noted is what I would guess to be a "born again" Christian. He's portrayed as somewhat of a naive bumbler, but not as malicious -- unlike the atheist character.) I'm not sure what the purpose of either of these characterizations is -- neither character's religious beliefs is in any way integral to either the character or the story as a whole, seeming, rather, to be more of a shortcut in describing these people. For me, this was definitely a dark spot in an otherwise great story. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I think readers going into this with a perception of it being "True Crime" might be disappointed. I've read a few books in that genre, and th 3.5 Stars
I think readers going into this with a perception of it being "True Crime" might be disappointed. I've read a few books in that genre, and this one doesn't seem to fit. There is no in depth analysis of the crime, or even many details. The author discusses the murders directly in just one chapter, and seems to try to maintain a certain distance even then.
This book is more about the issues and factors that played a part in creating circumstances ripe for this kind of tragedy. Tillman looks at the city of Brownsville as a whole, investigating the killer's background (although both husband and wife took part in killing their children, the focus here is primarily on John Allen Rubio, rather than his wife) -- while far from absolving him from responsibility, the author points to Rubio's early life, showing the reader how we as a society fail those who need our help most. One could view that as a plea for help for people like John Rubio, whose life of extreme poverty and abuse led to long term drug use (lowering his IQ measurably) and possibly exacerbated his later diagnosed schizophrenia, but ultimately it is also a plea for help for victims like the children he murdered.
John Allen Rubio, as well as his wife, both come across as sad but somehow still likable people. Despite their horrible actions, before that point -- and in spite of poverty most of us could never imagine -- they were decent parents. As far as I can tell, no one really disputes that they loved their children, even though they weren't capable financially or mentally of providing them with appropriate care. They used the resources that were available to them, taking the children to eat at a nearby soup kitchen, for example, rather than letting them go hungry -- but they also showed poor judgement by allowing a revolving cast of unsavory people live with them in order to be able to pay the rent. When the couple was investigated for neglect of their children (the children were dirty and anemic, but not malnourished or physically abused), they worked hard to meet the requirements needed to have the children returned to them.
Although the prosecution pursued the theory that John Rubio killed his children due to financial issues, and that he was interested in "getting rid of them" so he could start his life over, the evidence presented here doesn't seem to support that. It seems more likely that Rubio's mental illness was the impetus for this crime, his paranoia spiraling out of control -- Tillman points to acts immediately preceding the murders that seem to show his delusions and fears of demons or evil spirits increasing alarmingly until eventually culminating in his conviction that his own children were possessed. Tragically, Rubio still seems to believe it's possible the children were harboring evil spirits.
My complaints about the book have more to do with the distance the author maintains throughout. Even when she's analyzing her own feelings about the crime, there is a remove, as though she's trying to explain how someone else is perceiving the events. At the same time, the book seems to be more about her and her thoughts on and responses to the murders, as well as the murderers. I think this could work for some readers, but I needed something more.
What a crazy rollercoaster ride this book is!! Wow! Okay, I don't want to say much about it because it would be too easy to ruin the surprises in stor What a crazy rollercoaster ride this book is!! Wow! Okay, I don't want to say much about it because it would be too easy to ruin the surprises in store for you, I'll just say "alien invasion" and hope that piques your interest. I loved the characters, I loved the story -- can't wait to read the next book. Highly recommend....more
Lots of fun, just not a genre that normally appeals to me -- I preferred the more contemporary style of Vicious. On the plus side, the story did keep
Lots of fun, just not a genre that normally appeals to me -- I preferred the more contemporary style of Vicious. On the plus side, the story did keep me guessing and the characters were engaging. The author includes a chapter from the next book in this series (A Gathering of Shadows) that instantly sucked me in, so chances are I may like the next book more. I will definitely read more of this series, even if it wasn't my favorite. I would recommend for those who enjoy what I would term "historical fantasy"....more
Mary Roach hits it out of the park once again with this one. She's quirky, interesting, and always, always funny. This time she's taking us on an expl Mary Roach hits it out of the park once again with this one. She's quirky, interesting, and always, always funny. This time she's taking us on an exploration of military science, and boy is it fascinating. Roach asks the questions I think we'd all like to ask, delicately balancing curiosity with a deep respect for those whose lives are on the line -- she has a lot of compassion for military personnel, which in my opinion adds to the charm of her writing. The worst part about this book is that . . . it's short. And as her most recent, we probably won't be seeing a new one for a while. I guess I'll have to make do by re-reading her previous books -- they're all winners.
I'm really torn on this one. I'm a huuuuuuuge David Wong fan -- I was crazy happy when I saw he had written a new book, and had this one bought before I'm really torn on this one. I'm a huuuuuuuge David Wong fan -- I was crazy happy when I saw he had written a new book, and had this one bought before it was even released. But . . .
Many of the characters here are not nice. They're horrible. And they treat our protagonist, Zoey, horribly. But it's worse than that. They're brutal and cruel and mysogynistic. It's just ugly -- and she's put into danger with these horrible people over and over and over again. And part of me gets it -- this is the world that Zoey (and many real women) live in. But it's so grim and awful. I hated reading these repetitive, degrading things.
But even worse is that the "good" guys really aren't much better. And maybe there's a whole point to that, too.
Some of it is really funny and charming -- a lot of the characters have you rooting for them, even if they aren't necessarily on the moral high ground. Zoey is a lot of fun, although she makes so many stupid decisions it's hard not to get frustrated with her.
So the book has issues. And it's way too long. But many parts have the same goofy likability of Wong's other books. So I'll give it 3 stars and call it a day. Either way, you know I'll most likely buy whatever he releases next....more
Very quick read, but packs a real punch. This story explores a different kind of world where the dead have risen -- instead of an apocalypse, this is Very quick read, but packs a real punch. This story explores a different kind of world where the dead have risen -- instead of an apocalypse, this is a world where beauracracy has stepped in, where people adapt to the notion of checking a box on a form stating whether they want to be prevented from returning after their deaths. The reality of trying to maintain a reanimated corpse is described in depth -- these aren't the desiccated zombies of 2016's "The Walking Dead", these are fresh, bloated with the heat. Although these descriptions increase the monstrousness of situation, the real horror comes from seeing the living attempt to cope with this new situation. Thought provoking and sad -- highly recommend. ...more
Contains a lot of interesting ideas, perhaps too many, as the author doesn't seem to have the space to explore any in depth.
Unfortunately, nutrition Contains a lot of interesting ideas, perhaps too many, as the author doesn't seem to have the space to explore any in depth.
Unfortunately, nutrition and the way our bodies process food is quite a bit more complicated than initially believed -- Le looks at the current science as an evolutionary biologist, which is fascinating, pointing out ways in which one person might differ from another in terms of what their bodies need to be healthy. Because of these differences, the food that makes me feel best and maintain a healthy weight might not be what works for you. It just isn't as simple as "calories in vs. calories burned" or "we should all eat low fat (or low carb, or no meat, or . . .)".
The author recommends following an "ancestral diet" -- eating the way your particular ancestors would have eaten 500+ years ago. The other takeaway I got from this book was the importance of walking -- not necessarily hard exercise, but just moving -- for at least 2 hours per day.
I would say there is good information here, but I wish the author would have looked at fewer subjects, but with greater detail given to each....more
I think this is one of those books where being an American affects my opinion of it. I just couldn't relate to the characters at all -- that British r I think this is one of those books where being an American affects my opinion of it. I just couldn't relate to the characters at all -- that British reserve, how concerned they all were with their reputations and how they were perceived by others. So many of the challenges they were given as part of the game seemed just plain silly, and the fact that they were all so intent on not forfeiting was ridiculous, regardless of the amount of money involved. I'm giving it three stars simply for the fact that it kept me reading, but I can't say I really enjoyed it....more
The author is even handed in his coverage, open minded yet skeptical -- he raises several possibilities and gives each a thorough look, supporting his thoughts on each by looking at facts. There is also a resource index included in the back of the book for those wishing to do their own research.
I docked a star due to the smaller number of cases examined, and the fact that each case wasn't examined in greater detail. Due to this, the Paulides book would probably be a good companion read in order to get a fuller picture of the issue.
A thorough examination of the disappearance of the three lighthouse keepers at Eileen Mor in the Outer Hebrides in 1900, this book is divided into sev A thorough examination of the disappearance of the three lighthouse keepers at Eileen Mor in the Outer Hebrides in 1900, this book is divided into several parts:
The first, and longest, part looks at the life of lighthouse keepers and the history of the NLB.
The next section covers the missing men and reconstructs a possible scenario for the day they went missing.
The author then looks at the immediate aftermath of the disappearance, including provisions made for the keepers' families.
The chapters discuss various theories, both probable and more unlikely scenarios.
Although I bought this in the hopes of reading something on the eerie side, by far the most interesting part of the book was the chapter on the history of the NLB and the realities of being a lighthouse keeper. I found this part extremely fascinating, and if you have ever had any interest in this topic this would be a great book to read.
The book bogged down for me when the author got into the Giant Wave theory. This seems like the most likely cause of the disappearance, and he states the case well, but we then are given more details about giant waves than might seem absolutely necessary. Normally I enjoy following an author off onto little tangents, but for some reason this part didn't hold my attention, and I never really regained my focus throughout the rest of the book.
Sadly, the supernatural explanations -- which I have to give the author credit for exploring in a decent amount of detail -- just seem silly. Is this how normal people feel when they read about the stuff I love? I don't want to live in that world!
All in all, a great historical look at lighthouses, but disappointing if you come to it in search of a chilling supernatural mystery....more
I'm really unsure how to rate this book, and I guess I'm really not even sure how to review it. My copy was the 1996 Second Edition,**spoiler alert**
I'm really unsure how to rate this book, and I guess I'm really not even sure how to review it. My copy was the 1996 Second Edition, which is important in a couple of ways. The 1996 edition is composed of the original 1992 book, with an additional forward by the author (which includes some extremely brief updates on some of the people discussed in the first edition) -- this section seems to have been added between the author's update and actual publication -- and a more substantial section of newer material at the end of the book. The notes at the beginning are so rushed, there aren't any real details, which is very frustrating. About half of the new material added at the end of the book doesn't have anything to do with the Franklin scandal, as far as I can tell. It's interesting in its own way, but I think it would have been better to present it in another book, rather than including it here. Because the book was originally published in 1992, it is severely out of date at this point (2016). While it's interesting to take a step back in time to the early 90s, it's also somewhat disconcerting -- there are a lot of ideas and attitudes that would have been perfectly normal then that really stand out as being completely unacceptable now. Yea for progress! I do have to commend the author for being very even handed -- he doesn't pull any punches, regardless of which side of the aisle a particular politician is on. In this day, very refreshing. As to the content of the book -- wow, where to start? This is a non-fiction account of what was initially an investigation into banking irregularities, as well as embezzlement. This part of the story is fairly cut and dried. In the course of the investigation, details emerged that seem to indicate the people involved (wealthy, powerful people) were also involved in a lot of very unsavory things -- drugs and blackmail, as well as child abuse and pornography. These passages are very difficult to read. Again, even though very few people were actually prosecuted for these acts, it seems to be pretty well established that these things did happen. But then we enter the realm of Satanic Ritual Abuse. I don't know. I think the witnesses here probably believe these things happened. Maybe they really did. But jeez, it all seems so far fetched. The McMartin trial is mentioned in passing, and all I could think was "wasn't all of that debunked?" I know, I know -- didn't I just post a review on another book about this kind of thing? (The Ultimate Evil: The Truth about the Cult Murders: Son of Sam and Beyond) Well, yeah. And that book does seem believable to me. I'm not sure why this one seems so out there -- perhaps it's in the way the story is told. Or maybe I just don't want to believe what these kids say happened to them. I suppose it's up to each reader to decide for himself. My final thoughts on this book: The author really grew on me, especially in the final update at the end. I'm still undecided on the rest of it, but it seems like John DeCamp truly believes in this cause....more
It's obvious Quan Barry writes poetry -- this book is filled with poetic imagery. Once I started it, I could barely put it down. It reminds me of "One It's obvious Quan Barry writes poetry -- this book is filled with poetic imagery. Once I started it, I could barely put it down. It reminds me of "One Hundred Years Of Solitude", with flashes of magical realism, as well as how it follows the characters through time. The author references the Buddhist Wheel Of Life, and the book's structure reinforces this idea. A truly incredible book about a topic many westerners haven't given much thought to -- highly recommend. ...more