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

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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 readĀ  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!

April Anthology Book Review: A Cup of Roses, Stories by 8 Writers by Fiona Gold Kroll

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Book Review
Book Title: A Cup of Roses, Stories by 8 Writers
Book Author: Fiona Gold Kroll, Ruth Frankel-Graner, Gerda Frieberg, Carol Green, Sam Hoffer, Raizie Jacobson, David Rapoport, Jenny Roger.

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. As per usual, I was having a particular type of book craving – today it was anthology, and an overall short read. A Cup of Roses filled the bill, so I decided to pick it up and got so hooked I finished it in one sitting.

Review:

This anthology holds many different types of stories – humor, religion, drama, romance, food, history, joy, poetry, tragedy and so much more. For being so little, you wouldn’t expect much of an impact, but this book really had me interested and wanting more.

The book is incredibly easy to read, and each story is not to short but also not to long. The individual stories each have their own focus, none of which really seem connected. This helped me out when I began to get bored with a few of the short stories – each one had it’s own plot it centered around and did not depend on the others. These standalone stories are all well written, and are all written in different writing styles (since there are many authors that created this anthology).

Was this book my top, all time favourite anthology? No. Did it rank high? Yes. While it doesn’t get the gold, it definitely gets second place in my books. While the book didn’t wow my socks off, it did give me an interesting perspective into many different aspects of the writers lives/imagination. I wasn’t expecting to have to think or have my opinions rattled with this book, but it does just that. And as a reader and reviewer, I love a book that makes me think and form different opinions – or just gives me insight into something I haven’t thought about before.

I don’t have any recommendations for how to make this little series of stories better. It’s perfect in it’s own little way. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to read an anthology that doesn’t have one clear focus (and doesn’t have a connection between all of them). It’s great for a rainy day, a small lunch break, a school project, or just as a different type of read.

Would I want more from these authors? Absolutely. I enjoyed each story – while not all of them had my hooked to every word, they were all beautifully written and well thought out. I didn’t want to put the book down, I had to keep going (which is rare. Often I can set a book down and forget about it for a while, but I didn’t want to leave this book behind. I had to finish it).

Overall, this was an incredible read. I enjoyed each story, I felt educated, and the book made me think.

Four out of five stars.

Book Review: Destinare by Matt Micros

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Book Review:
Book Title: Destinare
Book Author: Matt Micros

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I decided to read this book since I was craving some quick, short reads and this book fit the bill!

Synopsis: Everyone’s lives are interconnected in some way. If we didn’t make certain decisions in our past, how would the future turn out? This book has everyone connected (and it gave me a short but sweet, with less themes Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell feel) and it’s very clear and obvious why they are.

Review: Dear readers, this book is FICTIONAL. It even states in the opening lines that it is FICTIONAL. I’ve read other reviews where people were upset about the twist ending in this book, but the book is FICTIONAL and, therefore, can have any ending it wants to be and does not need to be realistic. Did I like this book having an unrealistic ending? No. But did it fit with the novel? Yes. This book has a big plot twist at the end that shows how lives can be connected, and makes it clear that anyone’s decision will have a big impact on other people (whether you realize it or not). So, since I have mentioned the word FICTIONAL four times now, I feel like whoever reads this review should get the point.

This book is an easy, quick read that I managed to finish in one go. I sat down for an hour and took my time through it, and I really enjoyed it! It definitely didn’t blow me out of the water and want to scream at everyone to read this book, but I really liked it. The theme of everyone being connected in some way and how our decisions affect others was a great plot driver for this story. There were times where I felt like the book was a little cheesey, but it worked within the context.

If anything, I would have liked some of the stories to be extended. I really liked reading about each individual character, but some of their chapters were just to short! You’d move onto the next chapter and it felt like fifty years had passed in those few lines!!

Overall, I really like this novel. I’m impressed and I would definitely recommend people who want a fictional but short read to pick it up! Matt Micros did a fantastic job and I want to read more by him. The characters were relatable, the story hit home quite a few times, and the themes were realistic (minus the final plot twist, but hey, it’s literature! Everything does not have to be super realistic!).

Four out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Coronation Street the Novel by Katherine Hardy

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Book Title: Coronation Street the Novel
Book Author: Katherine Hardy

Introduction: A lovely friend of mine lent me his copy of Coronation Street the Novel – ironically I had the same book on my shelf (his cover was purple and my cover was red). He asked me to read it first and give him a small recap, and I hardly think I’ll need to! Why? Read the rest of my review! šŸ˜‰

Review:

This book is a great starter for anyone wanting to get some back story on Coronation Street (especially if you don’t want to go through a million pages of Coronation Street wiki…Those websites are insane!). It starts off at the early years of CS and continues up to about the 2010s. For those who want a back story (if they are new) or want a recap (those who’ve watched the series for years) this is a great start!

There are parts of this novel that are not perfectly aligned with the show – characters missing, characters doing something another character did or entire plot lines gone – but how can you fit over 50 years of television into a 1000 page book? it’s quite difficult, and Katherine Hardy has done an excellent job.

As an avid Corrie fan (I’ve been watching for about 10 years), I can say this was a great book to give me some back story on the famous families and characters I already knew. To me, it was a lot nicer to read from the beginning and understand the movements of the plot then just hop onto the Wiki page and try to figure it out as I click different characters and read their entire life story.

The book starts out with Elsie and Ena, moves into Ken Barlow (who’s still on the show! He’s incredible), and continues forward with Valerie, Deidre, the twins Peter and Susan, and Tracy Barlow as well! It showcases Gail and Brian, as well as Nick, Sarah and David with a splash of Audrey as well! Sally and Kevin make an appearance, Molly, Jack, Fiz, Steve! So many great characters from across the ages make an appearance and tie this series together.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It rolls along like the television show. For a different manner of showing off Coronation Street, I think this is great for readers. It shows how crazy and dramatic Coronation Street came be as a soap opera but in book form.

Four out of five stars!

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

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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!!

Manga March Book Review: Vampire Knight Volume 16 by Matsuri Hino

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Book Review
Book Title: Vampire Knight Volume 16
Author: Matsuri Hino

Introduction: I read this series a long time ago, but I completely forgot to pick up this volume in the series. It’s been sitting on my book shelf, so I decided to pick it up and get back into this wonderful series.

Review:
Vampire Knight 16 brings yet another great spin to the ever continuing, fantastical story!

This story is for sure one of my favourite manga series. This ongoing soap opera has kept me hooked at every turn, and I cannot wait to pick up the next book in this series.

Yuki getting back into being a strong, female lead. For a while she wasn’t the strongest character in the series, but she is slowly getting back to her initial ways. While it may take a few issues for her to get back to her truly, incredibly, strong self, I’m glad she’s getting back to the character i initially fell in love with.

Kaname was the main focus of this Volume. He wants to kill purebloods, and Yuki and the Headmaster do not want him to do so. This novel also gives some insight into Sara and her ulterior motives within her position.

This volume in the series is a little more confusing than the others, but I still enjoyed it. The plot of this story seems to more be focusing on what the characters are up to, instead of plot development. That being said, when a series goes this long sometimes the authors need to drag the story out a little bit to keep readers interested – maybe the confusion in this volume will be answered in the next.

Overall, I enjoyed this volume. While it isn’t the best volume in the series, it is still a great addition. The artwork is fantastic, it kept me interested, and now I want to read the next Volume to know what’s going on.

Five out of five stars!!

Book Review: PAPER IN THE WIND by OLIVIA-MASON CHARLES

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“I came to the realization that a diagnosis of autism is not the end of the dreams that parents envision for their child. Have the courage to dream another dream and by the grace of God, your child will find the strength to embrace the gift of life and rise above their circumstances.”

Book Title: Paper in the Wind: Peeling back the lifespan of autism in the wake of tragedy
Book Author: Olivia Mason-Charles

Introduction: I was approached by Olivia Mason-Charles to review her book and I had to accept. Growing up there was a boy with Autism in my class throughout elementary school. I ended up bumping into him many times in the future. As a child, I never understood why he was so different and why he was always called “The kid with Autism” by everyone (students, teachers, principals, parents, etc). Now that I’m older and I understand more, I’m frustrated by this. He was not “The Boy with Autism”. He had a name and a story and a life. This story mirrored much of my thoughts – Autism may be a disorder, but it’s not a title. It’s a situation and shouldn’t be the only reflection someone sees in the mirror.

Book Review:

This book was inspiring, heart warming, and motivational. It describes the troubles a parent might have when they are raising children with autism. Yes, it gets hard and people need to realizeĀ  that. Parents try their very best and work incredibly hard to raise their children, so reading this little slice of life was awe inspiring. I appreciated reading about the hard work that goes into raising a child with autism and all the struggles that may come along with it.

The book was beautifully written and expressed many emotions. If people could read this book and try to understand the potential struggles, maybe there wouldn’t be as much bullying and hatred in this world. If I would have had this book growing up (but more aimed towards a child’s point of view) maybe I would have been able to get a little grasp on why the boy in my class behaved the way he did.

This book also was informative. Someone with Autism can have a “normal” life (is there even a “normal” life? That’s a debate for another day). They can still go to school, go to prom, get married, have children and have life experiences. They shouldn’t be labelled and put into a group that says they can’t!

This book made my heart swell. I felt like the Grinch at the end of his story, with my heart growing ten times bigger. I really appreciated having the opportunity to read this book. Without it, I wouldn’t feel as if I had grown or realized how much I had changed since I was younger. I do believe everyone should read at least one book like this in their life – a book that explains so beautifully what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. It gives you a small insight into someone’s life that you probably wouldn’t have even though about. It shows the struggles, but not in a negative light. It shows the positive outcomes that can happen, but explains some of the negatives as well.

That being said, this book gets five out of five stars.

Could it have had more action, adventure, horror or romance? Of course. But this book wasn’t designed to be a Jason Bourne, Temperance Brennan, It, or Nora Robert’s novel. This little book was to give a flash into someone else’s life. It’s goal it to inform, and not to make you feel scared, or romantic, or thrilled. This book did it’s job and I am so honored that I was given this chance to read it.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book in return for an honest review.