Monthly Archives: March 2016

This Is Where It Ends by: Marieke Nijkamp

This is where it ends

I have read a few books that involve school shootings; Columbine by Dave Cullen and Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult and have always been interested by them.  I think it is because of my educational background as a School Counselor.  They are the scariest stories to read but if written well, can provide an interesting insight to a situation that unfortunately has become more and more prevalent in today’s society.

This is a YA book that is written in the viewpoint of several of the students of the school during the 54 minutes of the shooting.  Most of the students are inside the auditorium of the school where the shooter is and a few others are outside of the shooting area.

I could not put this books down.  I was emotionally invested in this story and it could be because this is such a current event or because I have a high school aged daughter or because of my career; or a combination of all of these things. It wasn’t because it was the best school shooting story ever written but it did a personal level to this situation.  The Goodreads reviews are very harsh and I don’t really understand why.  I would recommend this story to anyone who wanted to read more about the thought process of students who are in that situation.  It also involved some diversity issues that YA books today are trying to incorporate more and more.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

4_crowns

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Filed under mature topics, Young Adult

Guilt by Association by: Marcia Clark

Guilt by Association

Ok, I had no idea that Marcia Clark…yes, this Marcia Clark marcia clark1-web

became an author after her infamous career as the DA of the O.J. Simpson trial.  I was reading through an Entertainment Weekly magazine and saw that she became an author and wrote mysteries that had nothing to do with this case.  Oh, and she changed her hairstyle…thank God!

Meet Marcia Clark, author.

marciaclark0411marciaclark

Anyway, I was looking through Bookoutlet.com (surprise, surprise) and saw that they had all 4 of her Rachel Knight series.  I ordered them…book buying ban be damned.

So I read the first of this series: Guilt by Association and loved it.  This is book #10 of #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.  I really enjoyed the writing style and the honesty and snarkiness of the main character D.A. Rachel Knight.  Marcia took what she knew and created stories that are so realistic you can envision them in your head as you read.  In this story we are introduced to D.A. Rachel Knight and her friends.  They are devastated by the untimely and mysterious murder of a coworker.  She is also assigned to solve the case of a rape victim whose father has some strong political ties in the community.  I really enjoyed the suspense and details throughout the story.

I will read this series and look forward to her new book out this year.  I gave this book 5 crowns.

5_crowns

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Filed under #ReadMyDamnBooks, Mystery

He Wanted the Moon The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him by: Mimi Baird with Eve Claxton

He Wanted the Moon

About He Wanted the Moon   by: PenguinRandomhouse.com

Soon to be a major motion picture, from Brad Pitt and Tony Kushner

A Washington Post Best Book of 2015

A mid-century doctor’s raw, unvarnished account of his own descent into madness, and his daughter’s attempt to piece his life back together and make sense of her own.

Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Dr. Perry Baird was a rising medical star in the late 1920s and 1930s. Early in his career, ahead of his time, he grew fascinated with identifying the biochemical root of manic depression, just as he began to suffer from it himself. By the time the results of his groundbreaking experiments were published, Dr. Baird had been institutionalized multiple times, his medical license revoked, and his wife and daughters estranged. He later received a lobotomy and died from a consequent seizure, his research incomplete, his achievements unrecognized.
Mimi Baird grew up never fully knowing this story, as her family went silent about the father who had been absent for most of her childhood. Decades later, a string of extraordinary coincidences led to the recovery of a manuscript which Dr. Baird had worked on throughout his brutal institutionalization, confinement, and escape. This remarkable document, reflecting periods of both manic exhilaration and clear-headed health, presents a startling portrait of a man who was a uniquely astute observer of his own condition, struggling with a disease for which there was no cure, racing against time to unlock the key to treatment before his illness became impossible to manage.
Fifty years after being told her father would forever be “ill” and “away,” Mimi Baird set off on a quest to piece together the memoir and the man. In time her fingers became stained with the lead of the pencil he had used to write his manuscript, as she devoted herself to understanding who he was, why he disappeared, and what legacy she had inherited. The result of his extraordinary record and her journey to bring his name to light is He Wanted the Moon, an unforgettable testament to the reaches of the mind and the redeeming power of a determined heart.

My Review:  I requested a review copy of this book because I have always been interested in mental illness and its’ various “treatments” throughout time.  This was pieced together by Dr. Baird’s daughters and it contains his personal accounts of his various times and experiences with treatments for his condition of bipolar disorder.  Dr. Baird was in and out of Psychiatric hospitals and during those stays he was subjected to many different forms of torturous treatments.  At this time, doctors didn’t know much about bipolar disorder and how to regulate the drastic “mood swings” that accompany it.  Dr. Baird was eventually stripped of his license to practice Dermatology and he tried to escape these facilities many times.

Mimi did not know much about her father as his illness started to manifest when she was a young girl.  Her mother did not talk about her father’s disease and after a while she refused to talk about him at all.  He father’s manuscript came to her after his passing.  As she spoke to his various friends and looked into some correspondence between him and others, she was able to fulfill his wish and put together this book so that other would know about his experience with bipolar disorder.

I found this to be interesting but slow.  It reminded me of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces and I wasn’t sure what exactly I could trust as fact.  I am interested to see what Brad Pitt does with this as a movie.  I gave this book 2 1/2 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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Filed under Non-Fiction

The Willing by: Gary Smith

the willing

From the Publisher:

The Willing’s protagonist, Warren Steelgrave, has had a unique and successful life. Recently retired and a little bored, Warren decides that unlike his friends, he is not going to sit around, play golf, and wait to die. At age 65, he is going to Italy to start the last chapter of his life and find adventure.
In Florence, Warren falls in love with Cindy O’Brian, a singer/songwriter in his Italian language class. But someone is watching them, and Warren soon suspects that Cindy may not be who she claims. Smitten by love, however, he decides to help her flee Italy, and the chase begins. Before it’s over there will be two dead bodies, a secret government file, a jealous husband, fake identities, a safe house, and personal betrayal as the FBI searches for them and others want to kill them both. Warren wonders if the strange and disjointed life he’s led has been preparing him to fulfill his destiny—and is this it?
My Review:  I loved the synopsis of this book and readily agreed to read this book in exchange for an honest review.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I expected.  The writing and sentence structure was choppy and the editing was almost non-existent.  There were so many spelling and grammatical mistakes that I was annoyed.
At one point in the story, the author listed street name after street name after street name while telling us where the main character was heading.  I honestly don’t care about the name of the streets unless they hold some relevance to the story.  It was a very short book and the story line could have made for a intriguing read but it just wasn’t good.
I gave this 1 crown.
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Filed under Mystery