Posted in Personal Blogs

Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you had fun or got to relax with a big bag of your favorite candy or sweets.

Thanks for all of the love and support!

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Deep by Nick Cutter

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*No Major Spoilers*

A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, a heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave couple of people to descend through the light-less fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.

I will put a warning up front, read this with caution. I listened to the audiobook and it gave me terrible nightmares.

This thriller/horror starts from the first page. The impending doom of an unknown and incurable disease makes for a great premise of a horror novel.

Our main characters include Luke, a man who lost his wife and child, Clayton, a popular famous scientist, and Alice or “Al”, who delivers supplies to the scientists.

The Trieste is a multitrillion-dollar scientific base that is eight miles under the sea in the Mariana Trench. Being isolated from society to that extreme could drive perfectly sane people to their breaking point.

Things go haywire as soon as Luke and Al arrive on the Trieste, vivid memories begin to surface, nightmares terrorizing everyone on board. Something is up, and it’s up to Luke and Al to find out what is going on.

I noticed that the author takes inspiration from authors like Stephen King. It ends unsatisfyingly and abruptly. With that said, overall it was a good book, I found it to hold my attention, even though it gave me terrifying nightmares. If you’re looking for a good scare I would say this is a perfect book of choice.

Posted in Book Club Reads, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

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*No Major Spoilers*

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her best friend was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

In this month’s book club read, I was interested in the premise of this novel. A unique twist on the zombie/paranormal genre. Teen Wiccans or “witches” as society calls the group. Solving a possible murder case with no help from friends or family.

“A scoop of dried rosemary goes into the bag, followed by salt. Sometimes, magic looks a lot like how my mom prepares chicken”- Undead Girl Gang

When I found out that this was a young adult novel, I was hesitant. With my book readings, I find most young adult fiction to be immature and drama that is unnecessary to the plot. This novel does have patches of teen drama, but it’s not too much to break the immersion. I groaned and complained when I felt like the drama was going on for too long. But overall, it sticks with the main story fairly well.

I know a lot of adolescents go through with body image issues, but it still bothered me how the main character kept saying that she was a “fat witch” or paints herself in a negative light.

One of my favorite parts that I found to be clever in the storytelling was how the girls couldn’t be further than 100 paces apart without the undead girls to turn into actual-looking zombies.

The only character I found to be likable was Xander, who is Riley’s older brother. Over the course of the book, Mila and Xander become close as they both mourn the loss of their friends and his sister. He seems to be a likable guy who I can relate to somewhat from real life experience.

This book’s plot twist blew me away in that I didn’t see it coming! I won’t spoil who the killer is, but if it’s someone I didn’t guess then you won’t see it coming either.

The bad guy’s motives I found to be realistic and relatable. I was worried about how the author was going to explain the motive for doing the evil deeds. Sometimes authors try and pull a huge plot twist, and they make a weak motive or don’t explain the motive very well.

“Most magic is just telling the universe that you’re thankful to be here”- Undead Girl Gang

Overall, I found this book to be a good read if you want a fun read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you like paranormal, zombies, high school crushes, and a good mystery, this is the book for you!

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Novels

REVIEW: The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

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*No Major Spoilers*

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist chronicles how the courts and Mississippi’s death investigation system–a relic of the Jim Crow era–failed to deliver justice for its citizens and recounts the horrifying story of the two men who built successful careers on the back of this system. For nearly two decades, medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne performed the vast majority of Mississippi’s autopsies, while his friend Dr. Michael West, a local dentist, pitched himself as a forensic jack-of-all-trades. Together they became the go-to experts for prosecutors and helped put countless Mississippians in prison. But then some of those convictions began to fall apart.

Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington argue that bad forensics, structural racism, and institutional failures are at fault, and raise sobering questions about our criminal justice system’s ability to address them.

When I first read the description for this nonfiction novel, I assumed it was going to be discussing how a doctor and a dentist conned the justice system. This goes way deeper than just a couple of crooked medical professionals being paid to lie about results and give false testimony. It goes as far as proving that all forensic sciences may not be exactly as though they seem.

With my initial intrigue of this novel as I read, it became much, much more interesting. It gave me quite the insight into some of the past history of forensics and how easily it can be botched, mishandled and or abused.  This novel has piqued my interest and has made me even more curious about forensics and it has also inspired me to look into going to school for Criminal Justice.

This book is an excellent read for anyone into criminal justice, forensics or the sciences of anything related to criminal justice.  I really did enjoy it and was surprised by the information in this book, I wasn’t expecting it to go as deep as it did.

Posted in Author Q&A

Q&A with Larry Ehrhorn

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**Spoilers for Four Months in Brighton Park**

Q: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Mr. Ehrhorn: “The only two authors that I personally know are Sue Massey (Letters from the Heart) and Erica Hughes (several self-published romance novels).  They both encouraged me to self-publish, and Erica took me through the technical aspects.”

Q: What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Mr. Ehrhorn: ” I have really enjoyed August Derleth’s Sac Prairie saga novels, the first being The House on the Mound, followed by Bright Journey, actually a prequel.”

Q: What was your hardest scene to write?

Mr. Ehrhorn: “The death of Mary Harker, a guide/friend for Kelly Elliott.  I wanted it to be sad, unexpected, and somewhat cruel from the hotel manager’s behavior.”

Q: What aspects of your novel reflect your personal experiences?

Mr. Ehrhorn: “Chicago, 1965, big high school, friends, activities, and some adventures.”

Q: How did you choose the main character’s name?

Mr. Ehrhorn: “I simply do not remember that.  I began this book, literally, thirty years ago.  I know I wanted the “kid with two first names,” but how I arrived there, I do not remember — perhaps some guys in the dorm?”

Thanks, Mr. Ehrhorn for reaching out to me and introduce me to your amazing book! I can tell that you’ve put a lot of time and love in your book.

Read My Review of Four Months in Brighton Park HERE

Buy Four Months in Brighton Park HERE

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Novels

REVIEW: Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8? by Ethan Brown

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*No Spoilers*

An explosive, true-life southern gothic story, Murder in the Bayou chronicles the twists and turns of a high-stakes investigation into the murders of eight women in a troubled Louisiana parish.

Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of eight women were discovered around the murky canals and crawfish ponds of Jennings, Louisiana, a bayou town of 10,000 in the heart of the Jefferson Davis parish. Local law enforcement officials were quick to pursue a serial killer theory, opening a floodgate of media coverage—from CNN to The New York Times. Collectively the victims became known as the “Jeff Davis 8,” and their lives, their deaths, and the ongoing investigation reveal a small southern community’s most closely guarded secrets.

This True Crime novel interested me because I have never heard of the Jeff Davis 8 before. I also thought it’d be an interesting read because it’s a case not discussed very often.

This book investigates the murder of eight women who were involved in drug and prostitution world of Lousiana. As Mr. Brown is delving into this mystery, you begin to realize it goes much deeper than just a drug deal gone horribly wrong.

The discussion on corruption by the police force as well as the racial tensions makes this mystery much more enticing. You never find out who the real culprit is or whether it was a group of people involved or if it was a serial killer.

I would highly recommend this novel if you are a true crime buff and if unsolved cases peak your interests.