Oct 052017
 

The Sinner

Author: Petra Hammesfahr
ISBN: 9780143132851
Publisher: Penguin

Summary

On a sunny summer afternoon by the lake, Cora Bender stabs a man to death. Why? What would cause this quiet, kind young mother to stab a complete stranger in the throat over and over again, in full view of her family and friends? For the local police, it’s an open-and-shut case. Cora quickly confesses and there’s no shortage of witnesses, but those questions remain unanswered. Haunted by the case, the police commissioner refuses to close the file and begins his own maverick investigation. So begins the slow unraveling of Cora’s past, a harrowing descent into a woman’s private hell. A dark, spellbinding novel, where the truth is to be questioned at every turn.

About the Author

Hailed as Germany’s Patricia Highsmith, Petra Hammesfahr has written more than twenty crime and suspense novels, and also writes scripts for film and television. She has won numerous literary prizes, including the Crime Prize of Wiesbaden and the Rhineland Literary Prize. Her breakthrough novel, The Sinner, was a major critical and commercial success internationally, including in Germany, where it stayed on the bestseller list for more than fifteen months. The Sinner has been adapted for television as a limited series on USA starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman.

My Review

I decided to purchase this book after being completely enamored with the limited series on USA. It was an amazing show, if you haven’t watched it, go binge those 8 episodes -you won’t regret it!!

As for the book, it is equally amazing. It does follow the show fairly closely but we do see a lot more of the abuse that Cora has gone through as she grew up and the way she came to be. I feel like the show was more about someone else inquiring into Cora’s actions that day on the beach, but the book explains to us how Cora was raised and really answers everything amazingly well. The show did too and I honestly can’t compare them as far as quality goes.

Normally, a show is either better or worse than the book, and while I would love to say that the show was better simply because the English wasn’t the greatest for the book as it was translated from German, the story itself is equally as compelling and forces you to keep turning the page. If you love one you will love the other.

I am looking forward to reading other books by Hammesfahr that are translated to English.

The basis for the “instantly gripping” (Washington Post) limited series on USA starring Jessica Biel, The Sinner is an internationally bestselling psychological thriller surrounding an unexplained murder

On a sunny summer afternoon by the lake, Cora Bender stabs a complete stranger to death. Why? What would cause this quiet, kind young mother to commit such a startling act of violence in front of her family and friends?

Cora quickly confesses and it seems like an open-and-shut case. But the police commissioner, haunted by these unaswered questions, refuses to close the file and begins his own maverick investigation. So begins the slow unraveling of Cora’s past, a harrowing descent into the depths of her own psyche and the violent secrets buried within.

A dark, spellbinding novel where the truth is to be questioned at every turn, The Sinner is now a smash summer hit, with the TV series hailed as one of the best new shows of summer.

“As I read [the novel], I kept going, ‘I know where this is going—there’s no way this could be interesting.’ And then it would just take a com­pletely different direction.” —Jessica Biel

“The Sinner is unnerving and weird and guaranteed to stick with you weeks later.” —Sarah Weinman, editor of Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives and Women Crime Writers

“Hauntingly insightful and sensitive.” —The Guardian

Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
Feb 212017
 

Chaos (Scarpetta #24)
by Patricia Cornwell
ISBN: 0062436724
URL: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062436726/chaos

Summary

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.”

My Review

I absolutely LOVE Cornwell and the Scarpetta series, however this wasn’t the best in the series. There was a lot of buildup to a fairly fast ending. The book is entirely narrated by Kay Scarpetta and talks about her family and the past and things that anyone who has read the majority of this series would already know. That said, its a GREAT book for someone who is new to Cornwell and the Scarpetta series! It wasn’t as big of a page-turner as other Scarpetta novels, but it was still good and a book I will keep on my shelves to read again!

I did feel like I have missed the last book previous to this because there were some major life changes for one of the main characters, but it was explained enough to understand and to be honest, I don’t know if it would be in a prior book. I will certainly find out when I see the book I am missing!

About Patricia Cornwell

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.”

Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

 

May 262015
 

Author: James Anderson
Hardcover: 288 pages
Published: February 15th 2015
By: Caravel Mystery Books
ISBN: 0912887109
ISBN13: 9780912887104

Summary

BEN JONES, the protagonist of James Anderson s haunting debut novel, The Never-Open Desert Diner (Caravel Books, February, 2015), is on the verge of losing his small trucking company. A single, thirty-eight-year-old truck driver, Ben s route takes him back and forth across one of the most desolate and beautiful regions of the Utah desert. The orphan son of a Native American father and a Jewish social worker, Ben is drawn into a love affair with a mysterious woman, Claire, who plays a cello in the model home of an abandoned housing development in the desert. Her appearance, seemingly out of nowhere, reignites a decades-old tragedy at a roadside café referred to by the locals as The Never-Open Desert Diner. The owner of the diner, Walt Butterfield, is an embittered and solitary old man who refuses to yield to change after his wife s death. Ben s daily deliveries along the atmospheric and evocative desert highway bring him into contact with an eccentric cast of characters that includes: John, an itinerant preacher who drags a life-sized cross along the blazing roadside; the Lacey brothers, Fergus and Duncan, who live in boxcars mounted on cinderblocks; and Ginny, a pregnant and homeless punk teenager whose survival skills make her an unlikely heroine. Ben s job as a truck driver is more than a career; it is a life he loves. As he faces bankruptcy and the possible loss of everything that matters to him, he finds himself at the heart of a horrific crime that was committed forty years earlier and now threatens to destroy the lives of those left in its wake. Ben discovers the desert is relentless in its grip, and what the desert wants, it takes. An unforgettable story of love and loss, Ben learns the enduring truth that some violent crimes renew themselves across generations. The Never-Open Desert Diner is a unique blend of literary mystery and noir fiction that evokes a strong sense of place. It is a story that holds the reader and refuses to let go and will linger long after the last page.

My Review

I *thought* I had reviewed this book but apparently I somehow forgot, which is a surprise because the book is a really great one! My dad is a truck driver so in some of the things I can relate simply by going to work with him when I was a kid. This book begins with a man who seems to be hiding in the desert, away from his feelings, we are then introduced to several other characters, all of whom have their own degree of mystery. The book is well written, a fun and easy read and one I am excited to keep on my shelf. I have an uncorrected proof that was sent to me in exchange for my honest review so I won’t go into detail in case edits were made. Overall five stars and a thumbs up!

About the Author

James Anderson was born in Seattle, Washington and raised in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. He received his undergraduate degree in American Studies from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and his Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Boston Massachusetts.

Undergraduate thesis: Word-man/Poet: The Poetry and Poetics of Lew Welch

Masters thesis: The Never-Entered Kingdom: Beyond Linguistics in the Rendering of the Literary Child in Adult Fiction

His first publication in a national magazine, a poem entitled Running It Down, occurred at age nineteen, in Poetry Northwest. The poem was later anthologized. His poems, short fiction, essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in Northwest Review, New Letters, The Bloomsbury Review, Solstice Magazine and many others.

In 1974, while still an undergraduate, Anderson founded Breitenbush Books, a book publisher specializing in literature and general interest trade titles. From 1974 to 1991 Anderson served as publisher and executive editor. Breitenbush received many awards for its books, including three Western States Book Awards, juried by Robert Penn Warren, Elizabeth Hardwick, N. Scott Momaday, Jonathan Galassi, Jorie Graham, Denise Levertov, William Kittredge and others. Notable authors published include Mary Barnard, Bruce Berger, Clyde Rice, Naomi Shihab Nye, Michael Simms, William Greenway, John Stoltenberg, Sam Hamill and Gary Miranda.

From 1995 to 2002 Anderson co-produced documentary films, including Tara’s Daughters, narrated by Susan Sarandon. The film, which won Best Documentary at the New York Film Festival, chronicled the plight of Tibetan women refugees as carriers of Tibetan culture in the diaspora.

May 242015
 

Proverbial Beauty: Secrets for success and happiness from the wisdom of the ages
Paperback:
244 pages
Expected publication: July 1st 2015
By: Timewise Press
ISBN: 0692369201
ISBN13: 9780692369203

Summary

We live in a world of endless contradictions. Work vs. family. Money vs. fulfillment. Desires vs. obligations. The body vs. the spirit. We rely on conventional wisdom to point us forward. But conventional wisdom gets it wrong more often than we imagine.

Open this book and celebrate the marriage between the greatest collection of verbal images in history — King Solomon’s Book of Proverbs — and the most famous visual image in the world — Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

· Find tranquility in the midst of conflict
· Develop attitudes that deepen relationships
· Gain clarity through times of darkness and confusion
· Decrease cynicism and find joy in the daily miracles that fill our lives.

Take a guided tour beneath the surface of the world we live in through the lens of news stories, historical vignettes, folktales, the wonders of nature, and the discoveries of science — all woven together in a lyrical and surprising medley of the human experience.

Researchers have no explanation why people, when blindfolded, can’t walk a straight line; but what is it about human nature that makes us wander in circles? What does former NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to ease Manhattan traffic with “congestion pricing” reveal about the way we make decisions? What can fig harvesting, migraine headaches, and two Miss America titleholders teach us about the underpinnings of emotional well-being?

The answers to 3000 years’ of questions are here, revealed for every seeker of truth and self-awareness in the language of our modern era. Guided by the wisdom of Solomon and the mysteries of the Mona Lisa, learn how to find tranquility in the midst of chaos, how to savor the moments of everyday life, and how to resolve the paradoxes of the human heart.

My Review

I was raised Catholic and have been a Christian for as long as I can remember. So when Yonason Goldson emailed me inquiring about a review of this book I was a little hesitant. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. The book is amazing and I found myself taking notes before the first chapter even began. This book is full of wisdom and is beautifully written in a way that makes it relatable to everyone. It took me awhile to read through because I was note-taking and such. It will be on my shelf and in my “to read” pile for years to come!! Love it!

About the Author

I graduated the University of California with a degree in English in 1983, then set off across the United States hitching rides and sleeping in hostels, campgrounds, or by the side of the road.  Half a year later, I set out farther afield, this time across Europe, intending to circle the globe via Africa, Australia, and a return trip to Asia.  (But that’s another story.)

Too weary to carry on after months on ten-dollars-a-day, I crossed the Mediterranean for the Land of Israel.  There, I planned to occupy myself picking oranges on a kibbutz before stalking the southern hemisphere.  You can read about some of my adventures here .

We know what happens when Man plans.  A strong dollar had given a few million other young Americans the same idea, and there wasn’t a spot to be found on any kibbutz in the country — an unprecedented event.  With dwindling funds and a depleted constitution, I took a most unlikely turn and found myself as a neophyte in a talmudical seminary.

It took two months, ceaseless bouts of syllogistic sparring, and a former professor of philosophy from Johns Hopkins University to convince me to see the world in a new light.  Read about how my background in literature sparked my personal awakening here .

I spent the next nine years learning ancient languages and studying the accumulated wisdom of 3300 years, starting a family, earning my rabbinic ordination, and acquiring the credentials to teach Mankind’s most profound wisdom to others.  After leaving Israel, my wife and I spent a year teaching in Budapest, Hungary.  You can get a taste of our experiences here .

Two years later we moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where we have lived since 1996.  I teach high school, lecture adults, and write on contemporary issues, currents events, inspiration, education, childraising, history, philosophy, spirituality, and self-awareness for Jewish and popular journals.

In between the responsibilities of my day-job, I have been invited to address such organizations as the Kiwanis Club, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Oasis, as well as a variety of religious and secular audiences.

http://yonasongoldson.com/

Jan 052015
 

Colliding with Destiny by Sarah Jakes

Colliding with Destiny
By: Sarah Jakes
Published: September 2014Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Hardcover, 215 pages

Summary

The story of Ruth is a journey of transformation. By allowing God to transform her circumstances, Ruth went from a widow who would be excluded from society to a wife with a secure and protected future, a future that ultimately paved the way for the birth of King David! Her story is full of collision–loss, heartache, poverty, even shame–but she never let her past define her. Instead, the most painful time of her life became her most pivotal, propelling her to a destiny she never imagined.

Perhaps you have a past you’re struggling to overcome. If disappointments, whether a result of your own choices or the actions of others, have kept you from being your true self, this book is for you. Follow Ruth’s life and discover the hope available to each of us. Your yesterday does not have to dictate your tomorrow. 

Despite your past pain, you, too, can find redemption and restoration.

My Review

Sarah Jakes does an awesome job with this book, jumping right in with “Life Doesn’t Always Go As Planned”. She dives deeper into the story of Ruth and this tiny little Biblical chapter and shows us all the richness and glory that is in God for not only the women of the Bible but ALL women of Christ.

She applies the teachings of the book of Ruth to her own life and engages us by making it into a sort of self-study as she asks the reader questions at the end of the chapter and before closing that chapter with prayer.

It took me quite awhile to read through this book. I wanted to take notes and really reflect on the story. It is an easy read but I think if you want to really get the most out of it you should participate in the questions Sarah asks you to reflect on and pray the prayers.

Overall, I think this book is a five star. It is not only great writing but the dust cover is embossed and has a beautiful metallic finish. The book without the dust cover is white with a gold binding and the title of the book on the spine. This is important for me because many books lose their dust cover over the years and they don’t have anything on the spine except a publishers mark, making it harder to find the book you are looking for. I know this book will be in my arsenal and read many times over my life!

About the Author

Sarah Jakes oversees the women’s ministry at The Potter’s House of Dallas, the church led by her parents, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes. She regularly blogs at sarahjakes.com and occasionally serves as a TV host on The Potter’s Touch.

 

**I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own**

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