Book Review: From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses who Murder by Mindy M. Shelton

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses who Murder
Book Author: Mindy M. Shelton

Introduction: I received the entire series from Mindy M. Shelton as a trade for some honest reviews. Thank you for this opportunity!

Review:

This series of books is non-fiction. The books describe true crime murders that have been initiated by spouses. Like the previous encyclopedias, each chapter starts with a form about the Murderers and what they have done. The forms give information such as the date of the murder, the murder weapon, the sentence and any other information needed to give a basic insight into their situations. Following that, Mindy gives a thorough description derived from many trusted sources of every murder and the follow-up. Each investigation is explained in an unbiased tone, which makes this an excellent book to use for research or for citations.

Compared to the previous books in this series, I felt like this textbook in the series had a lot more description an writing in regard to the murders. This added ‘umph’ of explanations gives a better insight into what actually happened to these murders.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series as a whole. There weren’t any hiccups or negative aspects that I could find. I do hope Mindy continues researching and creating more non-fiction textbooks (whether it’s about murders, crime or any other subject) as I would love to continue reading them!

As always, I should include a disclaimer for individuals wanting to read  this book: This is NON-FICTION and is written as if it is a TEXTBOOK. This is not a fictional story or tale. Going into this book expecting a crime novel format will leave you disappointed because that is not how this book was written. If you are looking for a set of facts, or an encyclopedia to assist in research than this book is for you!!

Five out of five stars – what a wonderful “end” (for now? Maybe?) to this great set of textbooks!

Book Review – From Playground: Siblings Who Murder (Ready Research #4) by Mindy M. Shelton

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: From Playground to Prison: Siblings who Murder
Book Author: Mindy M. Shelton

Introduction: Mindy M. Shelton sent me her entire Ready Research series for me to read and give an honest review. Thank you for this opportunity Mindy!

Review:

I love reading fictional crime and mysteries novels, and I also love researching true crime – so this book was a great read for me.

It’s set up as profiles of each murderer(s), giving the reader as much as information in an unbiased form as possible. Their names, the victims, the date of the murders, accomplices and any other basic information needed is provided as a form. The following pages has the situation and investigations written out similar to a newspaper article. This format expands on the initial profile to give the reader more insight into how and why the murders happened.

One really great aspect of these books is that Mindy has done rigorous research. There isn’t just one website or book referenced, there’s many! This helps with the unbiased approach Mindy takes with these non-fiction accounts.

Overall, I’m impressed with this series. Each book highlights these horrible true crimes in an unbiased, appropriate fashion. There are no opinions in this book, which makes it a great reference for true crime fans, justice students, or just curious readers.

Keep in mind – these are not fiction and are not presented as such. This isn’t a Kathy Reich’s or Steven King novel – it’s a non fiction encyclopedia of murderers.

Five out of five stars – what a great non-fiction read!!

THEORY Blog Post: Five Night’s at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes

I have loved Five Nights at Freddy’s theory videos since the first day I came across FNAF 1 the video game. I never played it (mainly because I didn’t have the money to pay to get those games) but I loved watching other people play it. And of course, then the theory videos began…

I would sit and binge watch every theory video on YouTube possible. I would knit my little heart away and watch 8BitGaming, Razzbowski, Dawko, Matpat, TheGameTheorists, Markiplier and any other video that I could find. It was so interesting to see these theories, so of course I wanted in on it.

This book has already been theorized and discussed in full, but I wanted to add my little pinches of knowledge in this blog post. Will it help solve the final and true ending to FNAF? Probably not. Does it make this theorizing a little more interesting? Potentially!

While this may seem obvious, here is the SPOILER ALERT. If you have not read The Silver Eyes or have not played any of the FNAF games (including FNAF 1,2,3,4, FNAF World or FNAF: Sister Location) I may be spoiling any or all of these! You have been warned!!

So here….we….go…

 

Five Night’s at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes

Authors: Scott Cawthon & Kira Breed-Wrisley

Here is some of the facts and knowledge I have collected from the book. I will summarize what my thoughts are at the end.

 

  1. The animatronics were originally “toys” for Charlie (her father Henry was the creator of these “robots”).
  2. In the video game (Sister Location) you can hear a little girl say “you made them just for me”.

It there a connection here? Yes, the books and video games are not exactly canon, but it can hint that maybe in the video games the little girl was also the daughter of the creator? Who else would make these animatronics for a small girl (who sounds to be about 3-7)?

3. Freddy Fazbear has two colours – brown and yellow.

Yellow appears to be the “Golden Freddy” suit, or the one that the workers could put on. The brown one seems to be the actual animatronic who is walking around and killing people at the pizza place.

4. Michael is a character in the books (a kid) but also a character in the games (seems to be an adult).

Any links? Or just to show there are two very different characters within this universe? There is a reason there are two Michaels, most fans realize Scott does not leave little clues like this for nothing.

5. The Night Guard is named “Dave” – ends up being William Afton (one of the creators of the pizza place).

Was there a nightguard before this? Why is there no talks about the past night guards or the night guard room?

6. The Clashes from the kitchen in this book appear to be in reference to the Chica clashing in the kitchen of the games.

7. “Act alive but aren’t.”

Why are these words so specific? It has been a big question in the FNAF Lore Fandom for a long time if the animatronics are alive, if it’s the children who were stuffed in the suits, if it’s souls, etc. Could this be a crucial hint?

8. The metal skeleton in the home office has the “silver eyes” referenced in the title.

What is the significance of this specific set of silver eyes? Why are silver eyes important? It seems to be one of the lesser parts of the entire book.

9. Charlie has a twin brother, who was killed by “Dave” or “William Afton”. He is in the Freddy Fazbear animatronic.

10. William Afton is covered in scars, like he was once attacked by the springlocks.

Was he one of the attacks a long time ago? Perhaps in the 80s? There seems to be many different theories regarding 1983, 1982, 1984, etc, etc. Was he one of them? He was attacked at some point, we just don’t know when. And why was he attacked?

11. Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza and Fredbear’s Family Diner are both referenced, concluding that these are in fact two different locations.

12. Charlie and her brother would play with the animatronic suits in the closet.

Does this reference how the purple guy put suits on the other employees in the closet?

13. The aura of the Pizzaria makes businesses not want to buy the giant mall.

What about this aura? The dead children’s souls? “Dave”? Why will NO one? Not even crazy, psychopaths? How has no one broke in before to the pizzaria if there was so much coverage of this murder?

14. A man was arrested for Michael’s murder, and he was wrongly acquitted. Who is this man?

15. Charlie’s father, Henry, was killed with a knife.

Does this reference the FNAF World murder of the “creator”? Is there any connection between these two?

16. A skeleton animatronic killed Henry.

Does this reference the animatronics without suits or ennard?

17. The bear animatronic tells Carlton the kids were stuffed in suits and are still there.

Why are they still there? Can they be released? Does this suggest the good and bad endings in the fnaf games?

18. “They’re here with me. Their happiest day.” and “Now I have loved”.

Why hasn’t William Afton loved? Why is it the kids happiest day? Is it because of the birthday party? This is so specific and out of the whole book these two quotes stood out the most to me.He references that grown ups take away from their happiest day and now those kids are stuck in the suits killing adults. What makes them kill though? Are they influenced by Dave? And why would Dave/William want to kill so much? There are so many unanswered questions.Why do these ghosts/spirits “forget” yet “Michael” remembers Charlie?

19. Yellow Freddy disappears when William Afton is killed.

Was this a metaphor as Henry watching over Charlie? Scott Cawthon is known to be religious, so there is potential. Or is this a reference to the disappearing golden/purple freddy?

20. The ending references Charlie pointing at crows with Henry.

There are many items of symbolism in literature, so I decided to look up crows. What is so important about crows and making this the final sentence in the book? This final scene needs to be of importance if it isn’t a cliffhanger.

There are many ways the crow can be a spirit animal. A crow can stand for:

Fearlessness

Trickster

Personal Transformation

Life Magic

Higher Perspectives

Destiny

Death

Change

Mystical Changes

 

So what does this all mean? There’s so many unanswered questions but with another book on the way it may be answered.

 

My thoughts? I believe these books are more connected than Scott is letting on. By saying that these books have no connection (or being a different universe of FNAF, like the different universes in DC) if something doesn’t perfectly connect he can shrug it off. Scott has a lot of lore and sometimes it all won’t connect, so this is kind of the “perfect” ending in case something changes or doesn’t go the way he wants.

I think these books give a slight pinch of background help – like explaining the Aftons (since they ARE referenced in Sister Location). If anything, I think Scott is holding back on us again and will surprise us.

 

So that is all for now. When more FNAF games/books/info comes out I would love to theorize more. These theories get me incredibly excited for more.

 

Thank you!
Briar

 

Book Review: DC ESSENTIAL GRAPHIC NOVELS 2017

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Book Review
Book Title: DC Essential Graphic Novels 2017

Introduction: I LOVE comic books and graphic novels, and I LOVE superheroes (you can often find me lurking in the graphic novel section of any bookstore I go to…maybe for a bit longer than necessary!).  It is very obvious to anyone who has met me that I am obsessed with everything DC and I’m uber fond of Marvel. So, when I got the chance to read and review a graphic novel from the DC collection I was over the moon excited and I hopped on it immediately.

I received this book for free through Netgalley for an honest review.

Review:

The first comic was The Flash and he is holding this exact graphic novel in his hand. It’s quite amusing, and it’s totally in the Flash’s realm to do this. He’s always a comic relief!!! The artwork is impressive in this initial comic, which impressed me. The Flash discusses the comics that will be featured within the novel all while saving the day!! What a great way to start a graphic novel!!

This graphic novel is an introduction to the DC comic book line up and I definitely suggest it to anyone trying to get a basic start within this massive series of comic books. You get a little pinch of many titles and this can help readers figure out which comic book characters and series are best for them! Every comic book character/series has a different tone and might not match every reader so it is important to be informed!

Some of the comics/characters introduced within this series: Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, The Justice League, Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad as well as collectibles, suggested reading orders and back list (plus an ordering list!).

Each series is described and showcased at the beginning of this graphic novel. For example, the Watchmen are given a description for a general reader to understand what they are about and some of the characters. This series is described as grim and psychological realism – this can assist readers who do not want a gritty, real story to make an informed decision on what series to read or delve into.

Readers also get a sneak peak at artwork and covers, which showcases the illustrators wonderful artwork! Some of my first comic books I became interested in were just because of the artwork – you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but sometimes that introduces you to books you never thought you’d like!

Some of my favourite parts of this graphic novel include:
The Batgirl art and comic book – oh how I love her!
Batman: The Killing Joke – I have this graphic novel, but I always love seeing it pop up everywhere! It’s perhaps my favourite graphic novel of all time (so far…).
Justice League Origin Vol 1 Cover – I love superhero team up covers!
Everything Harley Quinn – I love this character, and seeing her pop up made my heart swell!! I try to pick up every comic book and graphic novel I find involving her!
DC: The New Frontier – this Justice League comic book has a very different art style than the typical Justice League stories, so it was great to see this line of comics shown off within this graphic novel.
DC Universe: Rebirth – Again, seeing the different styles and editions makes a great introduction to new (and old!) comic book enthusiasts!
Injustice Gods Among Us – For fans of the video game, there is in fact a graphic novel with the same name!!
Gotham Academy – I had never heard of this series before I noticed it in this book! So I’m pleased to see a small introduction floating around!
Aquaman – I have so many Aquaman comics hiding in my house, how could I not love seeing him showcased in this graphic novel?!
Birds of Prey – For those not introduced to the Birds of Prey, it follows some of the major female characters in the DC universe. Girl power!!
Nightwing – I haven’t seen as much of Nightwing lately as I would like to, so a splash of Nightwing makes my day!
Red Hood and the Outlaws – Another great character I haven’t seen floating around as much as I would like!
Teen Titans – For a very long time I have been obsessed with the Teen Titans, yet I’ve only seen the animated series getting more attention than the fantastic comic books.
Modern Classics section – While the old graphic novels are fantastic, some of the newer graphic novels and comic books have been hitting me the right way. Seeing a whole section on this fantastic selection is great in my eyes.

There’s also a little introduction to the current Zack Snyder film universe and DCEU on television and the comic books that influenced them/readers could enjoy.

Overall, I thought this was a great introduction to many comic books. This graphic novel would be fantastic for anyone wanting to get into the DC universe but not knowing where to start! I wish I had this when I started my obsession in June 2016!!

Five out of five stars.

Side note: I am now using the selected backlist to make sure I read in the correct order and not purchase second copies of comic books and graphic novels. How helpful!!!

Book Review: Mind = Blown: Amazing Facts About This Weird, Hilarious, Insane World by Matthew Santoro

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Mind = Blown: Amazing Facts About This Weird, Hilarious, Insane World
Book Author: Matthew Santoro

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Review:

Matthew Santoro is a YouTube creator who I’ve watched many videos of. When I received this book I was interested in reading what he had to say – and if you are a fan of his YouTube work, this book is essentially the written version of his online work. If you aren’t interested in a large pile of facts with a splash of sarcasm and humor, this book is not for you.

I enjoyed reading this book, although it didn’t stand out compared to other fact books. The only difference between the many other fact books I’ve come about in my years is the sense of humor. This might make it stand out to the younger audience, but it didn’t make me yearn to read more fact books.

Although, Matthew Santoro does a great job of making this book interesting. While the book itself might not stand out, it wasn’t a book I felt the need to put down. The sense of humor and descriptions Matthew gives makes the book tolerable. It’s not like an encyclopedia – it’s just like his YouTube videos. It’ll keep you interested throughout.

I do recommend this book to readers who want to learn more random facts without an encyclopedia of knowledge thrown at them.

Three out of five stars.

Book Review: THE BASIC NEEDS OF A WOMAN IN LABOUR by RUTH EHRHARDT

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: The Basic Needs of a Woman In Labour
Book Author: Ruth Ehrhardt

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Perhaps what makes this book the most interesting on all of my shelves is that it came from South Africa, but that doesn’t sound to exciting…does it? What if I told you it took seven months to make it to my home? And that I couldn’t stop wondering about the magnificent trip this little book had made across the globe?! Maybe it’s not as exciting to the readers as this excitable reviewer, but it made my heart jump a little just thinking about the adventure this book took around the world. In short, I’m super jealous of this teenie tiny book.

Review:
I have not given birth, nor have I watched someone (in live action, not as a film) give birth. So, this book seemed out of my territory of knowledge, yet I agreed with it at the same time. Ruth Ehrhardt discusses Dr. Michel Ordent’s theories regarding childbirth and she goes quite in-depth in such a little book!

One of the first pages of this book discusses women needing a calm, dimly-lit, comfortable and private area. To me, that makes sense. Childbirth is such a beautiful phenomenon and somehow it has been made into a business. When giving birth, who would want a million people yelling and directing orders, saying words you wouldn’t understand and giving you disruptive and concerning looks? Childbirth can be incredibly scary, and doctors and nurses do not always help in these situations. With the tremendous pain  and opportunity for something to go wrong, a comfortable environment seems best – at least in my opinion.

I also agreed with her thought that words matter. As a population, we tend to use words in the negative atmosphere. Everything is bad and we complain about anything! It’s important to remember that your choice in words can affect your overall well being – so while being pregnant, positivity counts! Life will always have it’s troubles and not everything will be beautiful an smell of roses, but we can try to make the best of every situation! Assisting and caring for pregnant women – even if it’s just with a positive thought – can make a big difference! You don’t need to work on hands and feet to care for your pregnant friend on facebook, but positive thoughts and comments will help outweigh those negative ones if we all band together! It is better to assist with a small, happy comment than cause a world full of anxiety for a mother already facing her other worries in the world.

Ruth also discusses how childbirth is like sleep – something that can often happen when it’s least expected! I loved this little simile, because it’s so obvious and true yet I’ve never related the two together! While both can be forced in some situations, they have very similar concepts. We can make both easy or hard, depending on the situation.

Another concept that blew my mind is about oxytocin and how it can relate to women’s labouring slowing down. The hormone that revolves around love can disappear when she feels uncomfortable..And somehow, all the building blocks and puzzles pieces fit in my mind – these questions regarding how women can have their labour slow down when they hit the hospital makes sense! With such a simple concept…

The book continues to discuss a general birth plan and how birth takes place (without all the gory details) and how important it is for the mother to be comfortable and for the mother and baby to bond. In a few pages, such a beautiful and obvious experience is discussed. As I have said, I have never given birth but I agree with every word in this novel. It makes so much sense (at least in my mind). While every woman is different and not everyone will totally agree with everything in this book, I feel like most people will understand or be able to see it from the perspective of someone they know.

Overall, this book was beautiful and insightful. I felt like I learned a lot even though this book is so small.

Five out of five stars! I would give it six if possible! I believe all women who gave birth, will give birth or are just interested in how the body works should read this! And some men too, that might give them a couple hints about how the process happens.

Author Interview: Mindy M. Shelton. Author of FROM FIRST VICTIM TO LAST: SERIAL MURDERERS

Today, I am featuring a debut author on my blog – Mindy M. Shelton! This interview will give a different perspective into the life of a non-fiction true crime author that has recently been featured on my blog!

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Mindy M. Shelton has written both non-fiction and fiction in her career including the Ready Research Series and All  Tucked Inn: An Elizabeth Burke Thriller. It is such an honor to be able to interview her and be able to feature her books on my blog! Thank you Mindy for such an incredible opportunity and thank you for all of your hard work!

Now onto the hard-hitting questions…

1. For an introduction, can you try to describe yourself in one sentence?

Just a hardworking mother and wife, who loves to spend her time putting ideas to paper (or computer screen!).

2. What got you interested in true crime?

My first short-stint in college was as a Criminal Justice student. My mother was a paralegal and my father a policeman in the Army, so it truly is in my blood. I would have become a CSI, which was known as an ID Tech back then, but my husband and I had twins at the very young age of 19, so I had to delay my college dreams for a few years. By the time I went back, business was a better fit for my lifestyle. But, now I do everything I can to read and write within my first love, criminal justice.

3. How did you choose which murderers to feature in your books?

That’s a great question as I didn’t think at the time to really describe that in the books, but I chose them based on a couple of metrics. The first was that they had to be convicted, or had already pled guilty. I didn’t include anyone who was acquitted. For instance, Casey Anthony was not included in Mommies who Murder, no matter what my personal opinion of her case happens to be. The second metric I used was if there were any accomplices. I tried not to include a Bonnie and Clyde type situation, only because I didn’t want to include Bonnie if Clyde were the true murderer. And thinking on it now, I also tried to balance the well-known cases with the lesser-known, if that makes sense. In Serial Murderers, I made it a point to use a couple we all had heard of, like John Wayne Gacy and Gary Ridgway, but then I also included some I’d never heard of, like Wayne Williams and Robert Hansen. I learned a lot researching all of these books, so it was beneficial for me to include murderers I didn’t remember.

4. Out of all the murders you listed in the books, which were your favourite? Did any leave you speechless?

Many left me speechless! I seriously had nightmares when I was writing Serial Murderers. I think the ones that stick out in my memory though, were the children murderers. There was a case where the child (around 15-years-old, I believe) was being punished. Nothing severe, just a typical “go to your room and think about what you did” situation. Well, he got a gun and snuck up behind his parents, who were just innocently sitting on their couch watching TV, and he whispered, “Close your eyes, I have a surprise for you” and then shot them both in the head! I couldn’t believe it. And the only reason we know he said this was because the poor father lived to tell the tale. What makes a person think through this type of retribution and actually commit the act? It’s fascinating.

5. How long do you spend researching before you begin writing?

I spent a good couple of weeks researching before the writing began and then continued to research throughout the process. I tried to make a list of the people to include before beginning the book, but several times something caught my eye during research and the list changed.

6. What is one fact about yourself that you think might shock your readers?

Both times I’ve been pregnant has been with multiples! My doctor said I could have had a litter, but when it was all said and done, we were blessed with three healthy, wonderful children. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Oh, and thanks to being an odd child myself, I can say the alphabet backwards really fast. Not sure if any of this is shocking, but my husband uses it as my party trick.

7. Is there a genre of book you would like to write in the future?

I’m working on a fiction book right now that I’m extremely excited about. I’ll be sure to request your thoughts when it’s ready to be beta-tested, but all I can say right now is that it’s a YA thriller. Think FBI-meets-a-nonmagical-Harry Potter. LOL, actually it’s about ten teenagers, but I’ll leave it all that…

8. How do you get yourself inspired when going through writer’s block?

That’s such a depressing situation, but it happens to us all. Since I have a full time “non-writer” career, I travel a lot. Through those travels, I have found I do my best thinking while driving on a long trip. So, when things get stagnant, I hit the road and play an audiobook. It gets the brain going and the ideas flowing!

9. If you could collaborate with any professional (writer, actor, director, etc), who would you like to collaborate with?

The expected answer would be Ann Rule, and yes, I’d love to sit down with her, but if I could only pick one person it would be Nora Roberts. I’ve read, and loved, her novels since I was a teenager. I want to work with her and figure out how she can put out so many books in a year and if it really is ghost writers, how did she find so many that can duplicate her format. It’s impressive. No matter the book, or information in the book, I always love it. Not sure if I’ve ever read a Nora Roberts (or J.D. Robb) book I didn’t enjoy.

10. Finally, what question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

I guess I always expect to be ask why I write. It sounds so simple, but it’s not. I write because I have to. I write because I love it. No, sometimes I hate writing, but the outcome is what I crave. But, here’s a funny story. When I was a waitress, and said twins were about three-years-old, there was a Psychic Convention in the city. Not something I ever believed in, but I waited on a psychic who wanted to read my fortune to me. She used cards and as she flipped one over, I saw a single letter in the corner of the card. By the time she flipped five cards, those letters spelled out the word NOTES. She turned to me and said, “Oh, you’re going to be a writer.” I was shocked. Never even thought about writing. Then over the years, no matter my profession, I was always tagged with writing the documents everyone needed. I thought about that psychic and sat down to write a book. All Tucked Inn can be found on Amazon and is a fiction murder mystery. Isn’t it strange how one person can affect your life? I find it so very interesting. Was I destined to be a writer? Or did I become a writer because I was nudged? Fascinating, to say the least.

Oh, and I’ve always wanted to be asked about my least favorite part of the process. It’s definitely the editing, creating a book cover, and marketing. Every single part except writing. I’m not sure the average reader knows what is in involved in self-publishing. When I see a review on a new writer that gives him or her one star and mentions a couple typos, I cringe. It’s so easy to make an error and that poor writer probably didn’t know they’d have to be line editor, copy editor, cover designer, agent, publicist, etc. Just to get a book out there is an accomplishment, so I ask people to be nice if they are taking the time to review a book. Especially if it’s free or very inexpensive. Yes, it should be up to “James Patterson” standards, but he has teams of people telling him where the typos are J And that is why those ebooks are $13.99!

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: Website
Blog:  Expert of None Blog
Facebook:  Mindy M. Shelton Facebook
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mindy_shelton
Amazon Author Page:  Amazon: An Elizabeth Burke Thriller by Mindy M. Shelton
Goodreads: Mindy M. Shelton on Goodreads

Thank you so much to Mindy M. Shelton for such an in-depth and fantastic interview! It was a pleasure to be able to interview her and get an insight into her life (on and off the page!).

Interested in Mindy M. Shelton’s books? Here are the Goodreads Links and Photos:

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Form Birth to Death: Mommies Who Murder (Ready Research #1)

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From Cradle to Grave: Children Who Murder (Ready Research #2)

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From First Victim to Last: Serial Murderers (Ready Research #3)

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From Playground to Prison: Siblings Who Murder (Ready Research #4)

30969534From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses Who Murder (Ready Research #5)

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All Tucked Inn: An Elizabeth Burke Thriller