Posted in Books & Reviews, Sweet Trinidad!

Books #122-#124: Patterson, history and something cozy

Trying to read around the World Cup is proving to be doable. Also, I’ve acquired tons of new books and I am itching to read them, but I must finish at least another third of my TBR. I know I said that I was going to get around to doing some tags, but it’s highly unlikely at the moment. When the tournament winds down a little, I’ll get to them. 

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But I’m immune to coffee so let’s do some reviews. 😄

Book #122: The Murder House by James Patterson

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I am sceptical of characters called Noah. This one got a pass for his Matthew McConaughey hair. Wait, does Mc C even have nice hair? However, there was no need for the crucifixion reference on page 158 so I took away a coffee for that.

This book was peppered with too many F-bombs and Detective Jenna Murphy got her Irish up too many times.  I don’t think the book was particularly great. David Ellis could’ve done better and JP could’ve looked at the work before slapping his name on the cover. 1/5.

Book #123: Historic Landmarks of Port of Spain by Michael Anthony

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Although Spanish, POS has more of a French touch.

Imagine a Port of Spain in which trams ran and where horses were ridden into town. This is the POS that I wished I had known! Trinidad became an independent nation in 1962 and over the years, they’ve grown into their independence. 

This book covers the Great Fire of POS, however, POS was gutted by lots of fire over the years. It covers famous landmarks such as Woodford Square, the beautiful Magnificent Seven buildings, Globe Cinema and the Treasury Building. My utmost favorite part of POS is the Maraval area given that it’s rich in French history.

The book is divided into 10 parts so it is easy to navigate and the pictures are beautiful! 

A FEW HISTORICAL NOTES:

^ The 31-metre (103-foot) Colonial Life building on lower St Vincent Street was our first ‘skyscraper’. It was opened in 1954.

^ Fort Picton was built in 1803 on the Laventille Hill, but it was never used to defend POS.

^ The Church of the Holy Rosary is POS’s most outstanding example of late Victorian Gothic architecture. 

^ The Lapeyrouse Cemetery is on part of an old sugar estate established by Picot de Lapeyrouse after arriving from Grenada to Trinidad.

Matt-Damon-Good-Will-Hunting-Cheering-Happy

#Yay4History

The book was a 6/5 for me. 

Book #124: Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander

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Okay, first, I want to look at this bit in the plot summary:

The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all…

This was one big lie. Although one can tell that he is indeed smitten with his ex, Thomas did not flirt deliciously with Juliet and Juliet did not want to have any type of cake and eat it too because she was married to Carlos. These two characters have no sort of chemistry. Thomas is her ex-high school sweetheart and she is married. It doesn’t matter if she left her job on the ship because she had some problems with her Catalan husband, but she is married and she does nothing to state otherwise. She does not have any fantasy thoughts about Thomas and he doesn’t try to kiss her or touch her at any point during my speed reading.

That out of the way, this story is a tribute to Shakespeare *rolls eyes* and I think authors need to stop riding on the backs of old authors for attention. I am no fan of Shakespeare, but I read it anyway. To write a cozy mystery, you’ll need a small town (fictional if possible) where everyone knows your name.

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The town is Ashland, Oregan and everyone knows Juliet Capshaw’s name. 

The story starts off slow and eventually builds, but then it was back to slow again bordering on boring because most of the book was spent cooking. You know? Adding an ingredient to this, mixing things, pouring things, baking things! And when Jules isn’t baking, she is accusing EVERYONE of murder when she could’ve asked me for when I read the very first chapter I knew exactly who the murderer was no matter how hard the author tried to throw me off the train. So let us recap shall we?:

* Everyone in this story moonlights as a theatre actor even Thomas!

* Too much talking and showing how to bake or cook fancy dishes; less mystery.

* This line: The man in black had to be a man. (Page 170) I don’t like it. ‘Person’ would’ve been a better fit. I laughed out loud because like I said, Ellie tried her hardest to throw me off the train. 

* This fool (Juliet) never locks the door to the bakeshop.

* The “Romeo & Juliet” reference. Know what? One day, I’m going to sit down and read some of this man call Shakespeare’s work and see what the hype was all about. Solomon was a better writer, of this, I am certain.

* It was annoying whenever Jules asked her mom about Torte (the name of the bakeshop) financially, someone/thing cut in avoiding the reply. This went on for about a million or so chapters. Also, Jules teased about why she left her husband Carlos for the entire book. Of course, it’s only natural for the reader to think that cheating was involved when she talked about letters she found and declined to elaborate further until the dying chapters. It turns out that Carlos had a son who was writing to him and he didn’t tell her and when she found the letters, she left him. I could understand why she left, but I thought it was selfish. As his wife, she should’ve stayed and listened to what his reason was behind in not telling her about his son. 

2/5. I am beginning to think that maybe Cozy Mystery is not for me. 

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Posted in Books & Reviews

Book 121: Love is a Thief

Join the quest to take back what love stole!

Kate Winters is an ordinary girl, with a not-so-ordinary mission: take back what love stole!

Kate Winters might just be ‘that’ girl. You know the one. The girl who, for no particular reason, doesn’t get the guy, doesn’t have children, doesn’t get the romantic happy ever after. So she needs a plan. What does she like doing? What didn’t she get to do because she fell in love? What would she be happy spending the rest of her life doing if love never showed up again?

This is one girl’s journey to take back what love stole and maybe find love again along the way Feel-good, witty and addictive; Love is a Thief is the book everyone’s talking about.

I sort of just made some notes while reading and here they are:

^ Opening scene read like a Bollywood movie with Kate bawling her eyes out in the airport over the French boyfriend who left her for an upgrade.

^ British writers and their annoying footnotes. It’s not a textbook! However, the Tom Cruise footnote…

I have an obsession with Tom Cruise and his attitude to life. He is passionate about everything he does, enthusiastic, dedicated, committed. If you ask Tom Cruise to wash up dirty dishes, he’d wash them up so hard those plates would gleam. If he gets angry, he’s like a raging bull. Tom Cruise commits to everything 110% and I aspire to be more like that. So when questioning my own attitude to life or when facing its hurdles, obstacles, the odd broken heart, I ask myself the following: ‘What would Tom Cruise do?’ then I try to embody the spirit of Tom. More often than not life starts to feel pretty damn good. Try it. Say it. ‘What would Tom do?’ Feels good, doesn’t it? I love you, Tom! I actually love you!

…was unnecessary. It is the truth about TC’s commitment, but still, this footnote was never needed. Her love for TC could’ve been incorporated into the story. I love me some TC, but not in that way. 

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^ Maybe she should’ve tried asking ‘What would Jesus do?’

^ Annoying Chad! I couldn’t stop seeing him as Andy Serkis.

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^ So, I um, met Peter Parker and this was the result:

“Peter Parker, as in spider man?’ Federico asked.

“No silly,” Beatrice chortled, “although he was terribly serious…”

IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE! Peter Parker is obviously named after Spiderman and he doesn’t smile, but this PP is not Spiderman! Didn’t you have a childhood friend named Peter Parker, Federico? Some common sense! Are you that dense? Parker didn’t have any chemistry with Kate. I think I had more chemistry with him than Kate.

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^ I loved Gabriel 2.0! He was the best character in this messy story and I wish the story focused on him instead of boring Kate and the even more boring Parker.

^ The bold words were EXTREMELY annoying.

^ I love that plain old boring but good looking Peter was jealous of the even dreamier Frenchman, Gabriel. Why do most good looking Frenchmen get named Gabriel? Why do writers stereotype Frenchmen? Why can’t we get a Frenchman who is not dreamy for once? I write about Frenchmen and they’re not all dreamy. What was I saying about Frenchmen again? 

^ Kate is obnoxious, rude, inconsiderate, whiny, bratty, silly, downright annoying, childish… let’s get to the point: I hate her. 

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^ The story jumped around from here to there to over the cliff. Half of the time I didn’t know what the writer was talking about.

^ Federico, Kate’s friend, ties with her for being most irritating characters.

^ Instead of being funny, the story ends up being whiny and trashy. In a nutshell, this story is about a stupid grown woman who still acts like a child and whines whenever a boy breaks her heart. I’m glad Gabriel did. He should’ve stomped on it too. Stomp on it HARD and leave it in smithereens.

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^ Love was not a thief. Kate was just a selfish bore and this story just dragged. She should’ve just moved on with her life. I didn’t feel sorry for her and as far as I was concerned, Gabriel dodged a bullet.

COVER

Eh! I like the blue, though.

OPENING

The bog standard public display of being over your last relationship is when you get yourself into a new one. It’s like holding a giant banner in the air that reads:

VERDICT:

love coffee

Another book to set on fire!

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Posted in Books & Reviews

Books #117-#120: sucky YAs

I sometimes wonder about the lifetime of books I’ve read thus far – both good and bad. Like, have I read a thousand books or more? Maybe the number is around 800 or less? How many books I loved? For lately, it doesn’t seem that I love many. 

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Eh, that’s enough musing for now. I am having fun catching up on your blogs, but I took a little break to do a couple of books reviews. 

Book #117: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

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A story about searching for yourself, clawing your way out of the dark abyss and finally coming to terms with who you truly are and how a disability does not set us back, especially where love is concerned. It is also about believing in one’s self.

Well, that’s what it’s supposed to be about, but I wanted to read it because… LOOK AT THAT BEAUTIFUL COVER! That is cover goals to the max and I can’t resist an interracial pairing. The story (a retelling of The Little Mermaid) and characters… eh!

We have Christian, a charming womanizing playboy with a father who takes him for granted. If daddy says to jump, he’ll jump. But he is quite arrogant and cheeky and I did not warm up to him. Elyse is a Trinbagonian (the other reason I wanted to read this book is that of my island representation!) who lost her voice in an accident and heavily laid the blame on her twin sister for taking it away, although the twin (Natalie) actually saved her life. So. Ungrateful. Once, a gifted performer, she now has to take a back seat and watch as other people live the life she always dreamed of, given that she has no Plan B.

The author did not do a great job at capturing Tobago and Tobagonians. The authenticity was missing and it just did not sit well with me. If you’re going to do a book right, do your research. Aside from that, there is Sebastian “embracing and showcasing his personal truth!” I mean, come on! He’s only SIX YEARS OLD! How does a child who has an interest in chasing mermaids jump to thinking that he is in the wrong gender and wants to dress like a female? Political agenda much, Miss author? 

However, the writing was good, so 2/5.

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Book #118: I’ll Give You the Sun by  Jandy Nelson Image result for Book #118: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

When I read the blurb for this book via Amazon, I thought I’d give it a chance, and boy did I ever regret doing so! I did not like this book. Nothing about this book was amazing. The so-call chapters were too long and it was a put-off. It tortured me until I started skimming eager to get it over and done with all the while gritting my teeth and humming Daniel Beddingfield’s ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ in my head.

I don’t like the implied Biblical references. Jude is named after a Saint, Noah (Noah and the Ark), Jude relies on Grandma Sweetwine’s ‘bible’ for advice because she probably doesn’t believe in the Holy Bible. I wish the author would’ve left God out of it. An English character cursed in a church, Jude calls God ‘Clark Gable’ because her dead boring useless Grandma used to address Him as if He is a figment of her imagination. And I thought Yash Chopra had issues with God! I disliked the blasphemy and at one point, I wonder if the author was projecting her anger onto God because she is an atheist. Not saying she is, but that’s what it felt like. Like an atheist wrote this book.

The book was slow and boring and failed to hold my attention. The dialogue was no better. Whenever Grandma Sweetwine spoke, she spoke like a child. I did not get old womanly vibes from her. AND OH, THE PROFANITIES!! Then we have this…

“Jude barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I’m the only one who notices.”

“I breathe in dramatically. Jude breathes in dramatically. Everyone in California, the United States, on Earth, breathes in dramatically.”

We get it! EVERYONE breathed in dramatically. Heck! Even Batman and Superman must’ve breathed in dramatically! I can’t rate this book. I’ll Give You the Nothing.

Fail

Book #119: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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YumYums. 

Fries obsession.

Saint Bathilda, patron saint of the children.

An abandoned carousel in the woods.

Loopholes.

Loopholes.

It was fast.

It was slow.

It was in-between.

It was meh.

Like what happened to Margaret and Jenn after Jenn’s birthday party? Did Chris even like Jenn? I felt nauseated almost after every page because everyone was pigging out in this story. Adults and teenagers alike were always shoving something in their mouth.

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The story didn’t exactly knock the socks off my feet. It felt like déjà vu. Like I’ve read this story somewhere already before. The characters were mediocre, but sometimes we need them, though they did nothing for me in this story. The dialogue was rubbish and I wonder if the author has family issues.

The ending was quite disappointing. 2/5.

Book #120: Paper Towns by John Green

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The name of the novel could’ve easily been called Margo Ruth Spiegalman, the girl Quentin was pining after. Since the beginning of the story, I’ve been acquainted with the name and it was beginning to wear out by the time I reached the third chapter.

Q and Margo have two things in common: hatred/jealousy and the tendency to annoy. They set out on this night trip to take revenge on Margo’s boyfriend who was cheating on her. They participated in vandalism, breaking and entering of people’s homes and even SeaWorld. Margo is an airhead. I started speed reading soon after Part 1, but I just couldn’t finish.

There is nothing magnificently adventurous about Margo. This was a waste of ink and paper. I did not feel a connection with any characters. Q was too dense, his friends weren’t any better and Margo was too self-absorbed and selfish. Marcus AKA Radar was sort of my favorite character. His eccentric parents were pretty weird, though! They collected black Santas. Giving characters annoying quirks is not a substitute for character development. It’s plain lazy writing.

Terrible book, idiot dialogue, thin plot, no character development. I won’t read another book by this author. 

Those horrible books out of the way, let’s hope I find some treasures in the heap of books waiting to be read this summer!

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Posted in Books & Reviews

Book #116: Champagne: A Global History

From the smash of a bottle on the side of a new ship to the pop of the cork at a New Year’s Eve party champagne signals celebration, fun, and camaraderie all over the world. Bubbly, as we affectionately call it, is a symbol of luxury and decadence and the go-to drink whenever there is an important toast. This history from Becky Sue Epstein is a celebration of the world’s most celebratory drink.

Here, Epstein chronicles champagne’s story, from the world’s first sparkling wine, produced in Limoux, Languedoc, in 1531 by monks at an abbey in Saint-Hilaire to the celebrities who made champagnes famous and continue to do so today— from Dom Perignon to the widow Veuve Cliquot. Most important, Epstein fully explains the distinction between champagne and sparkling wine. In this informative chronicle, she answers whether French champagne is really better than other sparkling wines and elucidates the science behind that characteristic fizz and bubble. She takes the reader on a tour of vineyards in wine regions around the world and teaches the correct techniques for storing and serving champagne and sparkling wines.

Whether you prefer magnums of Cristal or the affordable thrill of Cold Duck, Champagne is an invaluable complement to any bubbly glass and an informative, elegant gift for connoisseurs, beginners, and wine lovers of all kinds.

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The tradition of celebrating with champagne began with French royalty.

This book briefs us on the history of champagne. Champagne is given to the name of the sparkling wines produced in the region of Champagne, France (100 miles east of Paris). Outsiders are not allowed to use ‘sparkling wine’ on their product. 

The monk Dom Pérignon is often associated with inventing champagne.

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Dom Pérignon

I enjoyed reading about some of the French champagne pioneers and how champagne came to be. This book is perfect for students studying Food and Beverage and it’s also perfect for the history lover.

We should toast this book. Here’s to you, Epstein!

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COVER

4/5

OPENING

In the month of June, right in the middle of the recent recession, the world’s longest champagne bar opened in London: 95.8 metres of confidence that travellers on the high-speed Eurostar train between London and Paris will continue to toast departures and arrivals in a celebratory manner – with a glass of champagne. Champagne bars like New York City’s Flute and The Bubble Lounge are opening branches in San Francisco, London and Paris, while British department store Harvey Nichols recently launched a Belle Époque champagne bar at its flagship Knightsbridge store in London.

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Posted in Books & Reviews

Book #115: The Night Stalker: The Life and Crimes of Richard Ramirez

Twenty years after Richard Ramirez left thirteen dead and paralyzed in the city of Los Angeles, his name is still synonymous with fear, torture, and sadistic murder. Philip Carlo’s classic The Night Stalker, based upon three years of meticulous research and extensive interviews with Ramirez, revealed the killer and his horrifying crimes to ve even more chilling than anyone could have imagined. From watching his cousin commit murder at age eleven to his nineteen death sentences to the juror who fell in love with him, the story of Ramirez is a bizarre and spellbinding descent into the very heart of human evil.

A SHOCKING NEW CHAPTER

Incredibly, since The Night Stalker was first published, thousands of women from all over the world have contacted Carlo, begging to be put in touch with the killer. Carlo interviewed them and, in this compelling tenth-anniversary edition, presents their disturbing stories and the dark sexual desires that would drive them toward a brutal murderer. And in an exclusive interview, the killer himself gives his thoughts on the “Ramirez Groupies” – and what he thinks they really want.

THE AUTHOR

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Carlo was born in New York and from an early age, he was involved in gang activity. He was only 15 when he witnessed a friend shot to death by hitmen. He was shot in the forehead at 17 and decided to turn his life around. Carlo became a journalist and he was the bestselling biographer of Richard Ramirez, Richard Kuklinkski, Anthony Casso and Thomas Pitera. He suffered from ALS and died from the disease in 2010 at the age of 61. I could see why he felt a certain ‘bond’ with Richard Ramirez.

THE WRITING

The author divided the book into four parts: Book 1 was dedicated to The Night Stalker’s victims, the second book dealt with his childhood in El Paso, the third book was about his capture, and the fourth was about the trial. The author was overly descriptive at times, and also repetitive. At other times I felt as if I was reading a fiction novel about a serial killer. But overall, good storytelling and writing. I also liked that he didn’t jump around the timeline as other true crime writers do.

RICHARD RAMIREZ

He makes many serial killers including Charles Manson look like a boy scout. (“To be a good killer you have to plan things out carefully. You’ve got to be prepared in every way when the moment comes to strike; you cannot hesitate.”) This pretty boy Satan-worshipping killer was exposed to the wrong company while growing up in El Paso including his older brothers and a big cousin named Mike who shot and killed his wife in front of Richard. He had a penchant for cocaine and was good at stealing until it escalated into breaking into people’s homes at nights and torturing them. Heavy metal music was his gospel and Satan was his protector. Yet, Satan abandoned him in the end.

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young Richard

This coward son of a gun snuck into people’s homes at night – dressed in black from head to toe – and terrorized, raped, sodomized, killed and beat his victims (sometimes to death). He mostly preyed on the invalid in the name of Satan and yet, women found this a major turn-on. I just had to ask:

Had Richard not been good looking, would he as the Night Stalker, have the same effects on these crazy hormone-induced women?

Some citizens of Los Angeles were careless given that the media had warned them about the crazy ruthless killer. Yet, some left their doors and windows open. During his trial (which was a circus if you ask me. There should never have been one in the first place.), the ‘Ramirez groupies’ came out in full force to support him. They were attracted to his face and the fact that he was dangerous. They fought over him and offered their bodies to him. Even juror Cindy Haden fell in love with him during the trial. 

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He was right about one thing during his interview with Mike Watkiss:

“People in this day and age, are brainwashed and programmed like a computer and being nothing more than puppets.”

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Ramirez died on June 7, 2013, due to complications secondary to B-cell lymphoma at 53 years old. He had been on death row for over 23 years.

COVER

4/5

OPENING

The downtown area around the Los Angeles Greyhound Bus Terminal is a very dangerous place after dark. Colorful legions of thieves, muggers, fences, crackheads, junkies, alcoholics, and ten-dollar whores prowl like hungry sharks around a bleeding man. Known as skid row, people here often sleep in the filthy, vermin-infested streets where they dropped the night before.

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffeelove coffee… My last True Crime book for now. Although I still follow court/cold cases and read law books be it fiction or not, I’ve come to the realization that I’m happy I didn’t follow the path to become a Lawyer. 

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Posted in Reading Confessions

Reading Diaries: Covers/Titles I dislike

Dear Diary,

You know I don’t judge, but that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing today: judging… books by its covers.

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Yeah, that’s what they said, but there’s some book covers out there that sometimes make me pause and think: Will the story be any better than the cover? Is the story even related to the cover? What even is this cover?

Let the judging begin!

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My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon

When I first saw this cover, I questioned many things about the intimacy of it and wondered if this was the new Beauty & the Beast and the acceptance of bestiality, so I read a bit of what’s it about:

Nora has bad luck with men. When she meets an (actual) bear on a hike in the Los Angeles hills, he turns out to be the best romantic partner she’s ever had! He’s considerate, he’s sweet, he takes care of her. But he’s a bear, and winning over her friends and family is difficult. Not to mention he has to hibernate all winter. Can true love conquer all?

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I was also quite surprised with all the raving positive glowing entertaining reviews. How can it be funny, sweet, sincere, quirky, beautiful and all of that lovely jazz? From what I understand, Nora is having a relationship with a 500-pound wild beast because all of mankind is terrible. Did she ever stop to think that maybe she is the one making all the wrong decisions? That there are still good guys out there? She just had to fall in love with a bear and bring him home.

Right. And my boyfriend is a crazy psychopathic host call Chris McLean, but it doesn’t mean I want to take him home and play house with him.

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Someone is gonna die in that relationship and it ain’t me. *clears throat* Oh, I mean, someone is going to die in that bestiality relationship and it ain’t the bear. If there’s a sequel in which the bear eats the lunatic, good for the beast. And if you were to tell me that I am reading too much into the cover and it’s actually a sweet and warm story, I’ll call you a liar for I read a reviewer’s account of the heavily implied bestiality relationship and she had to stop reading the book when she came across “he literally spat into my…” Yep, Nora is talking about her lady part. 

I rather read about someone’s account of finding true love with Jesus. Books like these shouldn’t see the light of day. I can tolerate cheesy YA and boring romances, but I can’t get on the bestiality wagon. I don’t care if it’s for the open-minded, no one should be open to having sexual relationships or attractions to animals. That’s just wrong. 

I think it would’ve been better had the bear been an actual man in a bear suit. It doesn’t make it right, but at least, it would’ve been a man instead of an animal. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass

Amazon, please stop recommending this author to me for I don’t want to buy her books. I don’t like magic, fantasy or fairytales for that matter and I don’t want to read this dark looking book! Man, I just don’t understand the appeal of this author. She’s like J.K. Rowling 2.0 popping up everywhere. I don’t like this cover… and all other covers from this author for that matter. 

Thirteen Reasons Why

Another book Amazon has been dangling in front of me for a while. Here’s the thing, many readers love the book, and that’s fine, but I don’t think I’ll read it. On the surface, it sounds like suicide glorification.

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I won’t ever read this book – or watch the show for that matter – and I dislike when people keep shoving this book in my face encouraging me to read it. I figure if I do read it, I’ll be listing 13 Reasons Why I Hate This Book and I don’t want to walk down that route. I don’t want to be insensitive when it comes to handling suicide, but the book and the show seem to handle the situation quite differently. Apparently, the girl is a saint and she blames everyone, but herself for committing suicide. The bottom line I take away from this story base on what I’ve read concerning reviews and the plot: if you’re having problems, it’s fine to kill yourself. How can the girl be a hero when she takes her life, huh? HUH?

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

The book is about a prankster taking a joke too far one day causing her father to sentence her to spend her summer working on his food truck and some boy name Hamlet has a crush on her and she’s probably going to like him back in the end, and this is the best cover that publishing came up because…? I’ve come to realize that Korean YAs tend to have the least interesting covers out there. I’ll skip this story and take Michael Jackson’s contribution instead for he was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the title.

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The first time I saw this video, let it be known that I was impressed with his stalking behavior. He went from being stalked in “Billie Jean” to being the actual stalker in TWYMMF. 

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

I don’t like this cover a latte and I think the font is boring, but I’ll be reading this book once I get my hands on a copy.

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Over to you: Have you ever judged a book by its cover? 

Posted in Books & Reviews

Book #114: Cellar of Horror: The Story of Gary Heidnik

Serial killer Gary Heidnik’s name will live on in infamy, and his home, 3520 North Marshall Street in Philadelphia, is a house tainted with the memory of unbelievable horrors. What police found there was an incredible nightmare made real. Four young women had been held captive–some for four months–half-naked and chained. They had been tortured, starved, and repeatedly raped. But more grotesque discoveries lay in the kitchen: human limbs frozen, a torso burned to cinders, an empty pot suspiciously scorched…

This is not a story for the faint-hearted. Cellar of Horror is a shocking true account of the self-proclaimed minister with a long history of mental illness, who preyed upon the susceptible and the retarded in a bizarre plan to create his own “baby factory.” It is a macabre web spun around money, power, and religion, tangled with courtroom drama and lawyers’ tactics, sure to send a chill into your very soul.

THE WRITING

Like many true crimes books out there, authors seem to enjoy going back and forth, sometimes clutching at straws when trying to tell a murderer’s story. I hated the back and forth of Heidnik’s life in this book. This is not supposed to be a fascinating page-turner that it leaves you at the edge of your seat where you can’t wait to turn the page to find out what really happened. The author should’ve started from Gary’s childhood thus producing a significant timeline. The back and forth was sickening and I almost flung the book across my room.

The information was also repetitive, another thing true crime writers have in common. The last two-thirds of the book focused on the trial and it was very boring at some point.

GARY HEIDNIK

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Like most (if not all) serial murderers out there, we can always look back to their childhood and blame something from their past that causes their brain to malfunction making them turn into killing machine. But where killing is concerned, there is no excuse, although Gary’s childhood was a dysfunctional one. His father was abusive and whenever he wet the bed he’ll be forced to hang up his sheets outside his window. He was a loner, but he was smart and at 17, he was drafted into the Army. It was during this stint that he showed signs of mental illness and things eventually went downhill from there.

He was said to be an LSD guinea pig for the military, but the most disturbing thing was the fact that he tried to commit suicide 13 times.

Twenty-one times Gary Heidnik entered mental health facilities. Twenty-one times he was discharged. Even when he said he wasn’t ready to go. Even when he begged to stay. (Page 274)

This started after his alcoholic mother committed suicide. Had he gotten the help he had needed, who knows? Things could’ve turned out differently today for him.

Intelligent, with an IQ of 130, Gary kidnapped, tortured, and raped six African-American women. During their captivity, Gary fed them dog food and even forced them to eat Lindsay’s body. 

Was Gary really mentally ill? Did he really suffer from schizophrenia? Was he faking it? How does someone who is mentally ill capable of making sound investments?

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Police digging in Heidnik’s basement (Pic via murderpedia.com)

Gary was executed by lethal injection on July 6, 1999. As of 2016, he was the last person to be executed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

THE CAPTIVES

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via Google Images

Josefina Rivera, age 25, kidnapped on November 25, 1986. She was accused of beating the other captives and enjoying it even when Gary was not around.

Sandra Lindsay, age 24, kidnapped on December 3, 1986. She was murdered in February 1987.

Lisa Thomas, age 19, kidnapped on December 23, 1986.

Deborah Dudley, age 23, kidnapped on January 2, 1987. She was murdered on March 19, 1987.

Jacqueline Askins, age 18, kidnapped on January 18, 1987. (featured on The Steve Wilkos Show “I Survived A Serial Killer”)

Agnes Adams, age 24, kidnapped on March 23, 1987 (rescued the same day).

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Heidnik’s house (via criminalmindswikia.com)

COVER

2/5

OPENING:

Officer Julio Aponte shook his head. “No,” the rookie cop said emphatically. “I can’t do it. Not without checking with my supervisor.”

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffee…just one more True Crime book to go and then I’ll be reading a short history book on champagne and reviewing two YAs. 

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