Author: Caitlin Rother
Expected publication: February 1st 2011 by Kensington
Nonfiction, True Crime, 416 pages
Source: Pump Up Your Book, free of charge for honest review
Summary from Goodreads:
Good CoupleHappy and retired, Tom and Jackie Hawks lived a charmed life in sunny Southern California. They were delighted when former child star Skylar Deleon and his pregnant wife Jennifer offered cash to purchase their 55-foot yacht The Well Deserved. . .
But a trial voyage turned into a nightmare. Out at sea, the Hawkses begged for their lives as they were forced to sign everything over to Skylar. In return, they were tied to the ship’s anchor and thrown overboard–alive…
Skylar and Jennifer’s twisted story became even more shocking when Skylar’s unusual sexual motivations were revealed in court. After killing a man while out of jail on work furlough, he reportedly tried to hire hits from prison on four witnesses, including his father. . . For this former child actor, the answer to “Where Are They Now?” is Death Row.
My Two Cents:
I may be one of the only people that never heard of this crime. In my opinion it is one of the most horrific murders I have read about. To tie two defenseless people to an anchor of a boat and throw them overboard alive is unthinkable to me. The fear they must have felt, the helplessness of knowing neither could help the other was very hard for me to read about. What kind of people can do this?
Two young people, a couple that had a child and another on the way. One being a former child actor who had a bit part in The Power Rangers. What the heck happens in these peoples lives for them to take a turn like this? I always ask myself that question when I read true crime. For these two, especially Jennifer I came up with nothing. Just plain greed. For Skylar he most definitely had a screw or ten loose but yet he knowingly commited this murder and had no remorse. Unforgivable in my eyes.
While I did enjoy the book I gave it a 3/5 rating due to the confusion of the writing. I felt that it was all over the place and at times very hard to follow. There were numerous key characters involved in this whole story. I found it hard to separate them and remember them. For me it did not flow smoothly.
Overall DEAD RECKONING was a good telling of an awful crime. I could not stop shaking my head reading of Skylar’s deceit, lies and the mixed up way his mind works. I do believe he is where he belongs.
Be sure to check out the author’s website: Caitlin Rother
Check out Pump Up Your Book for more information on who is touring.
Author: A. Scott Pearson
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing (March 7, 2011)
Fiction, 312 pages
Source: Free from Netgalley for an honest review
Summary from Amazon:
While recovering from a career-threatening injury, surgeon Eli Branch is pulled into the turbulent world of Dr. Liza French, a colleague he hasn’t seen in ten years. Liza uses their past to lure Eli into a highly-publicized debacle in a Memphis hospital that has put her own career in jeopardy. But when the murder of medical personnel at Gates Memorial appears related to Liza’s surgical complication, Eli finds that more lives are at imminent risk.Eli discovers clues from the victims that match anatomical art found at the crime scenes, a connection that leads him to the manuscript of a sixteenth century anatomist whose methods of dissection are over four centuries old-but are being reenacted in the present.Aided by the expertise of forensic pathologist, Dr. Meg Daily, Eli uncovers a pattern to the escalating deaths and the search begins for a killer the media and the city come to know as The Organist.
My Two Cents:
I have always been a lover of medical mysteries. Maybe it’s because I am in the health care field or maybe it’s because I like blood and am fascinated with doctors and surgery. A reason is not really necessary though is it? Public Anatomy is right up there with Michael Palmer and Robin Cook.
Reading it was scary at times because we are so close to this Robotic Surgery, it’s already being preformed to some extent. And reality shows? Seems like that is all that is on anymore. Imagine a reality show where operations are streamed on the internet and can be watched live. Now imagine a horrible error, blood everywhere, OR staff scrambling to try to save the patient and ALL this is streaming across the internet! That is exactly how our story opens. Are we heading in this direction? I for one hope not. Nothing takes the place of a human doctor in my opinion.
I really connected with all the characters. Some in a good way and some not so good but every one made an impact on me while I was reading the book. How could I not root for Dr. Eli Branch, a main character, a former surgeon who was injured and can no longer operate so he works the graveyard shift in the ER. I didn’t know when I started this book that it was the second one, the first being RUPTURE. In that book we get the full story on Dr. Branch and how he was injured, etc. I will for sure pick that up.
The relationship between Dr. Branch and Meg Daily, the pathologist was funny and touching. They used to be a couple but are not now. It’s very obvious that the feelings are still there and I hope to see them in future books where that can be explored.
I have to say my favorite part of the book was with the detective investigating the murders, with the help of Dr Branch of course, was telling Dr Branch about how his mother used to take him all the time to visit the Victorian Mansions in Memphis because she wanted him to grow up with some class. It was a very witty conversation with Dr. Branch saying: “Did you say doilies?” You must read the book to appreciate the humor in that but it was by far my favorite sentence in the book.
Having lived in Memphis and Oxford Mississippi it was enjoyable to visit again. I loved knowing the places where the story took place. It was nice to be able to picture them while I was reading.
This book if chock full of some pretty grisly murders. Dirty doctors, amateur sleuth doctors, alcoholic professors and so much more. It is full of twists and turns and I had not figured it out until the author was revealing it. I had my suspicions but they turned out to be wrong every time.
I highly recommended this book for mystery lovers looking for an engaging and fast read that they will be thinking about long after reading the last page.
Visit the author’s website: A. Scott Pearson
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Atria Expected publication: March 1, 2011
Fiction, 496 pages
Source: Crazy Book Tours for review
Summary from Goodreads:
Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and after multiple miscarriages and infertility issues, it looks like her dream is about to come true – she is seven months pregnant. But a terrible turn of events leads to a nightmare – one that takes away the baby she has already fallen for; and breaks apart her marriage to Max. In the aftermath, she throws herself into her career as a music therapist – using music clinically to soothe burn victims in a hospital; to help Alzheimer’s patients connect with the present; to provide solace for hospice patients. When Vanessa – a guidance counselor — asks her to work with a suicidal teen, their relationship moves from business to friendship and then, to Zoe’s surprise, blossoms into love. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of having a family, again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that were never used by herself and Max.
Meanwhile, Max has found peace at the bottom of a bottle – until he is redeemed by an evangelical church, whose charismatic pastor – Clive Lincoln – has vowed to fight the “homosexual agenda” that has threatened traditional family values in America. But this mission becomes personal for Max, when Zoe and her same-sex partner say they want permission to raise his unborn child.
SING YOU HOME explores what it means to be gay in today’s world, and how reproductive science has outstripped the legal system. Are embryos people or property? What challenges do same-sex couples face when it comes to marriage and adoption? What happens when religion and sexual orientation – two issues that are supposed to be justice-blind – enter the courtroom? And most importantly, what constitutes a “traditional family” in today’s day and age?
Jodi Picoult is a good author. For me her books can be hit or miss but always they touch your heart or a nerve and get you thinking. SING YOU HOME did both. Touched my heart and a nerve. I often times wonder just what makes Ms. Picoult write what she does, not necessarily where her ideas come from but how she can grab an idea and make it into what she does. That is her gift.
The characters in this book are very well developed. Like most of her books each chapter is told in the voice of one of the characters. Zoe, Max or Vanessa. We hear their sides of the story because we all know there are always two sides to every story. I love this about Ms. Picoult’s writing. She really takes us deep into the minds of the characters but having them tell their story this way.
I love music but had never heard of music therapy. Once I started reading about it, it made perfect sense and I could really understand how much it would help people. Zoe has many patients, ranging from babies, to burn victims, to elderly people in hospice. That’s the thing about music, it has the power to touch every one of us in some way, good or bad. I have to say her therapy with the teenage Lucy was frustrating at times and downright funny at others. Did she breakthrough to her? You will have to read the book to find out.
There were a few things said in the book that really stood out for me. I read an ARC copy so I won’t give page numbers, etc just in case but I feel they will for sure make their way into the final edition.
Vanessa said at one point
“I know the first person I kiss won’t be nearly as important as the last person I kiss.”
That certainly made me think. I never looked at it that way. We all talk about our first kiss but do we think about our last kiss? Who we want that to be with? I agree 100%. My first kiss was sweet and yes important but my last kiss will be the most important kiss that I will ever receive in my life. Much more important than my first.
Zoe asks this question:
“What songs would be on a mix tape that describes you?”
Again, something to think about. Honestly? I haven’t been able to answer that yet and I may even make a blog post out of it. There are so many and my music taste change according to my moods. Very hard to come up with eight songs.
Last but not least Zoe explains:
“…..there are lots of different kinds of families, one isn’t any better than the other.”
I LOVE that statement. It is very true in our day and age. We have children of divorce, children of single parents, child of same sex parents, children being raised by grandparents and siblings and yet, they are all families, all special, all full of love and none is better than the other. Just different and we need to reach a place where those differences do not matter and are accepted.
There is what touched my heart. What hit a nerve? Ignorance. Supposedly religious people passing judgement on other people who do not fit their mold. Brainwashing and how easily it can be done. Close minded people that turn the Bible into what they want it to say and never think for a split second that the Jesus they love so much, who stands for love itself would never treat people or judge people like that. People who use any method to get their way, prove their point and don’t really care about the long term outcomes.
Overall this was a fantastic book. One of her best in my opinion. It will no doubt get you thinking. If you like Jodi Picoult this is not to be missed. If you never read one of her books, this is a good place to start.
I have to apologize to both Pump Up Your Book and the authors for a late review due again to my mother’s health problems. Thank you for your understanding.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=readireadi-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1936144611&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrTitle: Toto’s Tale
Authors: K.D. Hays & Meg Weidman
Illustrator: April Martinez
Publisher: Zumaya Thresholds (August 25, 2010)
Children’s Fiction, 248 pages
Source: Pump Up Your Book for review
Blurb from Amazon:
Everyone knows how Dorothy and Toto save Oz from the Wicked Witch of West…or do they? How will Dorothy survive in a land filled with haunted bags of straw, hollow metal men and giant smelly cats? How will she fight off killer bees, mad wolves and really annoying monkeys? How will she defeat a witch with mind control and an all-seeing eye? And how will Dorothy ever find the way home? The simple truth is that she won’t, at least not alone. Of course, she’s not alone-she has Toto, her best friend. That is, Toto used to be her best friend. But in Oz, Dorothy spends more time talking to a cat than to him. And Toto finds new friends, too. Maybe, he should just take his wolf friends back to Kansas instead…
My Two Cents:
I loved the idea of hearing the story of Dorothy’s adventures in Oz from Toto’s point of view. I often wonder what my dog and cats are thinking. I do believe they are a lot smarter then we give them credit for!
That being said, while the story itself was very cute, I found it to be a difficult read. I had to go back and re-read things to understand what the authors were trying to get across. Naturally Toto didn’t always have the words for what he was trying to say and in their place he used the word ‘something.’ This was quite confusing to me until I got used to it.
All of our old friends from Oz are there, the Man of Tin, scarecrow and lion. It was amusing to hear the descriptions of them from Toto. He thought the scarecrow needed brains and the lion porridge.
I think kids would like this book especially younger ones if it’s read to them. I could actually see it as an animated cartoon or movie. I think the things that were hard to read would come out much better in a cartoon. Overall it was a cute read that fans of The Wizard of Oz would enjoy.
About K.D. Hays and Meg Weidman
K.D. Hays and Meg Weidman are a mother-daughter team who aspire to be professional roller coaster riders and who can tell you exactly what not to put in your pockets when you ride El Toro at Six Flags. Meg is studying art in a middle school magnet program. For fun, she jumps on a precision jump rope team and reads anything not associated with school work. K.D. Hays, who writes historical fiction under the name Kate Dolan, has been writing professionally since 1992. She holds a law degree from the University of Richmond and consequently hopes that her children will pursue studies in more prestigious fields such as plumbing or waste management. They live in a suburb of Baltimore where the weather is ideally suited for the four major seasons: riding roller coasters in the spring and fall, waterslides in the summer and snow tubes in the winter. Although Meg resents the fact that her mother has dragged her to every historical site within a 200-mile radius, she will consent to dress in colonial garb and participate in living history demonstrations if she is allowed to be a laundry thief.
You can visit their website at www.totostale.com.
Technorati Tags: Reading+Reading+Life, Pump+Up+Your+Book, Toto’s+Tale, K.D.+Hays, Meg+Weidman, YA+book, review, Wizard+Of+Oz,
FTC Disclosure: I received this book free of charge from Pump Up Your Book for an honest review.
Title: Big Wheat
Author: Richard Thompson
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (January 2011)
Fiction, 250 pages
Provided free of charge from publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
Summary from Publisher:
1919 on the high prairie, and a small army of people and machines moves across the land, bringing in the wheat harvest. Custom threshers, steam engineers, bindlestiffs, cooks, camp followers, and hobos join the tide. The threshing season is on.
But there is also an evil upon the land. A killer who calls himself the Windmill Man believes he has a holy calling to water the newly plucked earth with blood. The moving harvest is an endless supply of victims. He’s been killing for years and has no plans to stop. Who could stop him? Nobody knows he exists.
But then a young man named Charlie Krueger, jilted by his childhood sweetheart and estranged from his drunkard father, joins the harvest as a steam engineer. But in a newly harvested field in the nearly black Dakota night, he comes upon a strange man digging a grave. Now he is the only person who can stop the evil. But the killer knows his name and when next they meet, one of them will have to die….
My Two Cents:
Big Wheat is quite a lot of book in just 250 pages! The story takes off right from page one and it provides enough twists and turns for any mystery lover.
Charlie is a lovable guy who takes off on his own after being jilted by a girl and putting up with years of abuse from his father. We follow him along as he meets some interesting people, The Windmill Man being one, he is also a murderer.
Big Wheat takes us onto the Great Plains right after the end of World War II when times were changing and technology was coming into play in the harvest. You will learn what a bindlestiff is if you didn’t already know. I didn’t! Big Wheat is an interesting, informative read, fast moving and has you eagerly awaiting what is next to come.
I don’t want to give too much information away in this review so I will only recommend that you give it a read. I bet you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Richard A. Thompson is a civil engineer who traded his transit for a laptop and now writes mysteries full time. His first book, Fiddle Game was short-listed for a Debut Dagger Award. The second in the series about bail bondsman and former bookie Herman Jackson, Frag Box, was a finalist in the Minnesota Book Awards. Big Wheat is his first stand-alone historical mystery.