06 June 2022

The best true crime book I have read in a few years. Bone Deep by Charles Bosworth JR. and Joel Schwartz


 I will admit, I had never heard of the Betsy Faria murder case until a reading cohort of mine suggested we get the book from Netgalley and read it. Being a person who is intrigued by true crime books, I readily agreed,  Then another true crime afficionado friend of mine told me about the 6 episode miniseries on Peacock called The Thing About Pam.  I am really glad that both of these friend brought this case, and Charles Bosworth's book to my attention. 

As soon as I began reading the book, the murder of Betsy Faria fascinated me.  There were several reasons for this.   case was fascinating to me for several reasons.  First, I grew up in Florissant, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis that is close to Tray and O'Fallen.  It was interesting to read a book set in an area that I am so familiar with, even if it is a book about crime.  And the crimes in this book were horrendous.  The murder of Betsy Faria was bad enough, but the behavior and actions of the police, prosecuting attorney, and judge in the original trial were just as much a crime, and just as fascinating at the murder;   Charles Bosworth Jr. does a marvelous job of chronicling the case in the book. His writing is stellar and his ability to highlight the ups and downs of the case kept me riveted to the story. I couldn't wait to see what the major players in the story were going to do next and how it was going to play out. This was a top notch thriller, complete numerous surprising twists and turns, only these were real. In fact, I became so immersed in the story that I am currently looking for a way to get the original Dateline programs that were referenced in the book to see how their coverage compares.

Another positive I will point out regarding Bone Deep is that the story was well enough written that I felt a number of emotions as I continued to read it.  Anger at the police and prosecutor who originally handled the case.  I couldn't decide if they were inept, or just disregarding the information that was  apparent to me reading the book.  It certainly didn't make the law enforcement agencies in the area look good to begin with. I also felt extreme sorrow for Russ Faria and his family for what they had to go through, and for Betsy's family who were the real victims of the shell game played by Pam Hupp and the Lincoln County police force.  And lastly, there was the feeling of incredulity that someone could get away with such a bungled crime for so long.

When I finished reading the book, I saw that the author has several other true crime books that I am looking forward to checking out. Also interested in getting the old Dateline episodes referred to in the book if possible. I am very glad that I was granted a copy of this book from Netgalley and Kensington books. As far as true crime books go, I am giving this one a 5 out of 5 stars.

NOTE:  I understand that they changed a lot in the Peacock show.  I have only watched the first episode, and I have to agree, there are a lot of differences  from the account in the book.  It is still fascinating, but I am glad to have read the book so that I can compare the entertainment from the facts. 

24 January 2022

The Maid by Nina Prouse


3 out of 5 stars


 I'll start by saying that I enjoyed this book, but was not able to give it more than three stars. 


When I read a mystery, I like to look at it as a puzzle. Part of the fun for me is figuring out who are the good guys, who are just pretending to be good, who are the likely suspects and why, and who are the unlikely suspects. What are the connections between the characters that may come into play. In the case of The Maid, by Nita Prose, I was not able to do this. The plot was a good one. Molly the maid finds a dead body in one of the rooms she is cleaning and ends up being the prime suspect in the murderer. It wasn't that pace of the story, or the lack of twists, there were plenty of those. It wasn't even that I was able to figure out the puzzle too easily, although I did figure most of it out, including who was the actual killer, early in the book.

The big thing for me was the characters. Unlike most of my book buddies, I was not able to really connect with the maim character, Molly. Instead of the sympathetic character that most saw her as, to me she just seemed pathetic. The investigating detective to me seemed mean and rigid in her thinking, with a total lack of empathy, which made it hard for me to have any empathy for her. The dead man's wife just seemed shallow, as did a number of the other characters. It turns out that I just had a hard time connecting with any of the character. That said, I think I am the only one of the people I know who has read this book that thought it was just okay. And the book is showing up on quite a lot of "must read" lists in websites and blogs that I follow, so I figure I must just be missing something.

I do want to thank the publisher for making this book available on Netgalley and giving me a chance to read and review it. I enjoyed the book and I'm not sorry I read it, but for me it was an average read.

22 May 2018

Review: Lies by T. M. Logan

4.5 of 5 stars

I don't think that I have read a more appropriately titled book in a long time.....if ever.  The title [book:Lies|33652433] ( St. Martin's Press, September 2018) certainly says it all.  The book begins with a snap decision made by the main character, which leads to a little lie, which leads to bigger lies....and so it goes.  I was mesmerized by this book from beginning to end, and yet the story was highly believable.  I could see myself, or others falling into the trap that Joseph and his wife Mel found themselves.  In addition, the reactions of those around them were true to life.   The characters were definitely interesting and well thought out.   The author's portrayal of the villain was exceptional. 

In addition to fascinating characters, the flow of the story really intrigued me.  The plot was full of interesting plot turns and twists, some of which I could see coming, but most of which I did not.  That is what drew me to the story the most.  I confess, I am a sucker for plot twists, especially when they surprise me and as each one was revealed, I found myself more and more intrigued.  By the time that I got into the meat of the story, I had a hard time putting the book down.  This book definitely will go onto my highly recommended list and is one of the best books that I have read so far in 2018. 

The only downfall, if any, was my desire to skip ahead a few time, hence the 4.5 and not 5 star rating.  In all truth, though, that rating might be more due to my desire to know if I was on the right track figuring out the next twist rather than any problem with the way the author laid out the story. 

T. M. Logan is a "first time" author for me, and I would definitely give him a high five.  I am putting his first book [book:29 Seconds|36217426] on my list of books to find and look forward to reading more by this author.

I received a copy of this book from through Netgalley and would like to thank St. Martin's Press  and the author for the opportunity.

24 October 2017

The revival post and October Witchy books

It has been forever since I blogged, and I have really missed it.  Under the old format I was mostly blogging reviews, which I still enjoy doing, but it seemed like it was getting to be a chore in some ways and I think I just got burned out.  At any rate, I have been thinking about reviving my blog for most of this year, and I have been trying out different scenarios in my head of ways to make a comeback and have come to the conclusion that I should just jump in and take the plunge.  So here I am plunging away. 

The biggest difference that I intend to make with the blog is to blog about things other than reviews.  Many times when I am reading a book and I have comments I want to make about the book, the writing style, the author in general, the type of book.  I start all of these conversations in my head and I have decided that I should just write them down here.

Writing a blog is a weird thing because unless people comment on what you write, you really have no idea whether people are reading your thoughts or not.  I think to be a successful blogger, you have to do it for yourself as much as anything else. So here goes my second attempt.  Hopefully you will like the new format and find things that interest you to read about.  And if you feel like leaving a comment, I will certainly try to get back to you.  I love Conversations. 


October Books About Witches

I have a younger sister who knows me better than almost anyone, and she knows how much I love reading and books.  Often she will tag me on Facebook with links to articles about books and reading and I love getting them.  The other day she sent me this one: 


And I am passing it on to you.  It lists 18 Historical Fiction books about witches and there are some really great ones on the list.  Although I read all types of books, I would have to say Historical Fiction is probably my favorite genre.  Something about reading books about other times and cultures just fascinates me. So any list that has Historical Fiction in the title gets my attention. Of the 18 books on the list, I have only read four, I own 4 more and have them on my to read list, and I have not heard of 10. 

I read  The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spear while I was still in high school and it was probably my first fictional connection to the Salem/Colonial witch mania.  I remember being enthralled by the book.  The other three that I have read, The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Kaltherine Howe, and The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston have been read in the last few years.  I would recommend them all, but I think that the Kathleen Kent book was probably my favorite.  Another interesting tidbit, I believe that Kathleen Kent and Katherine Howe are both descended from Salem "withches".  

The four that I have to read are The Witches of New York by Ami McKay, The Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan, The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch, and The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown.  The Witchfinder's Sister is the next one on my list.  

As for the 10 that I have not heard of before...I will definitely by checking them out. There are a few books about witches that I have read that aren't on the list and should be, I think.  The most notable one is A discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  Although it is a hefty book, it really held my interest and it read quite quickly.  I am anxious to see what they do with the TV/Movie adaptation that is in the works.  Another one that I would add to the list is Daughters of the Witching Hill  by  Mary Sharrat which I currently have checked out from the library.  

What is your favorite Historical Fiction book about witches?  What about witchy books from other genres?  Which ones do you recommend? 

21 October 2015

Review: Haven Lake by Holly Robinson


NOTE:  A copy of this book was provided by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have read several of Holly Robinson's books over the last few years.  I started with The Wishing Hill  (Review Link)  the story of three women whose lives are linked in an unusual yet unbreakable way.  That was followed by Beach Plum Island (review link ) a story of three sisters whose lives are linked and who are just beginning to understand the meaning of the word  "family".  Recently I had the privilege of reading a third book by Holly, Haven Lake, published April 2015 by NAL, $15.00 US.   I am pleased to say that I think this is Holly's best work yet. 

Like all of Holly's books that I have read, Haven Lake is a story about people, the connections that they make, and what actually constitutes a family.  In this case, we are introduced to Sydney Bishop, a women who left home at the age of sixteen after a pair of tragic deaths tore her family apart, and her mother, Hannah Bishop, a sheep farmer who still lives at the family farm where Sydney grew up.  Sydney is currently a child psychologist working with troubled students and engaged to marry Gary, a top notch surgeon with a teenage son.   The story unfolds as Sydney tries to forge a bond with Dylan, Gary's son, and steer clear of her mother and their strained relationship.

As I stated in my other reviews of her books,  Holly Robinson's strengths are the characters that she develops in her stories, and the actual flow of the stories themselves.  In that respect, this book is no different.  The main characters, Sydney, Hannah, and Dylan are all amazingly complex characters with a lot of depth and many facets in their personalities.  In fact, even the minor characters, Sydney's fiancee Gary, her grandmother, Hannah's friend and neighbor, Liz, and Dylan's crush are all complex and interesting in their own right.  In fact, there is not a single character in this book that did not do something surprising at one point or another.  The fact that the characters in the story were unpredictable at times only made them seem more real and allowed me to connect with them all the more.  As for the story itself, Haven Lake is once again filled with plenty of emotion...love, loss, betrayal, and enough twists and turns to make the story a page turner.

There were, however, two big differences that set this book apart and made it, for me, the best effort from Holly Robinson yet.  First were the male characters in this book.  I felt that the male characters in this book were more developed and played a bigger role in the flow of the story.  I was especially happy with the character of Dylan, as he is the first male character that has been used as the stories focus among the Holly Robinson books that I have read, and he was an excellent one at that.  The second reason that this book resonated with me more than some of the others has to do with the last quarter of the book, and the ultimate ending.  There were so many things revealed about the characters in this section of the book that made for a fascinating read.  In addition, the ending of this book was so realistic.  One thing that I really appreciate, is authors who do not succumb to the urge to always give books an ending where everything works out perfectly.  Don't get me wrong, I love happy endings, but I also appreciate realistic endings where you see that the characters still have decisions to make and journeys to go through.   In this respect, I found the ending to this story very satisfying.

The next Holly Robinson book on my list to read is Chance Harbor, which I highly anticipating.  Over the course of time as I have been reading Holly's books, I have become a true fan of her stories and look forward to much more from her in the future. 

19 October 2015

This week at a glance


This Week's Reading: 

The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie

The first in a new trilogy centered around France's King Louis XV and four sisters who shared his heart and his bed.

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Elizabeth Grey is a witch hunter who ultimately is accused and convicted of being a witch herself in this debut YA fantasy novel

The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuk

The new novel from the author of Hemingway's Girl.  This novel centers around the marriage between author Nathaniel Hawthorne and artist Sophia Peabody.

The Reviews: 

Haven Lake by Holly Robinson
The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

Series Spotlight: 

The Stonechild and Rouleau Mysteries by Brenda Chapman