(Review) A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Love, Hope and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson

A Serial Killer's Daughter

Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas Nelson. January 29, 2019.
Genre: Nonfiction. True Crime. Biography.
Pages: 336.
Source: I received a complimentary ebook copy through NetGalley/Thomas Nelson, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Okay.
Audience: Readers of true crime who don’t mind Christian language per Bible verses and belief.

Amazon

 

Article from People magazine about Kerri Rawson’s story.

Author Info:
Kerri Rawson is the daughter of Dennis Rader, better known to the world as the serial killer BTK. Since her father’s arrest, Kerri has been an advocate for victims of abuse, crime, and trauma, sharing her journey of hope, healing, faith, and forgiveness. She lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Michigan.
Facebook page: Kerri Rawson.
Kerri Rawson

Further links on BTK:
Biography
Murderpedia
Investigation Discovery
Britannica

Summary:
On February 24, 2005 Dennis Rader was arrested for murder. Between the years 1974 and 1991, Rader murdered ten people. The murders were both adults and children. Rader had a wife, daughter, and son. He had a job. He had a home. He lived a double life. There were a few glimpses of that “other” person in the home with his family.
Kerri Rawson has written a biography of her life with Dennis Rader.

My Thoughts:
First:
Thomas Nelson is the publisher. This is Kerri Rawson’s first book. I’m sure Thomas Nelson had an editor work with Rawson, but the book is her lone words.
This point is important, because often with a first book by a new author, a more experienced author will work alongside to help tell the story. When the inexperienced author writes their biography the reading can come across choppy or remote. Add to this mixture, through most of the book Kerri Rawson is in shock. She bounces between, “Oh my God!” and “he is my dad…this can’t be true.” At times, I felt yanked along like a pet out for a dangerous walk. On the other hand, Rawson’s story is organic and raw.

Second:
This year I’ve read true crime books for the first time. It has been important for me to read a book written from the perspective of the criminal’s family. It’s rare to find a book or article written from this perspective. I now realize, a serial killer’s family does not want to be found and interviewed. A Serial Killer’s Daughter gave me an idea of what they go through: news media who peak through windows, telephone constantly ringing, family members homes are watched, interviews by law enforcement, and warrants for search and seizure. A serial killer’s family become victims too. It is a death to the life they “thought” they had. It is a death to privacy. And, it is a death to the relationship they had with the family member who is the criminal, perpetrator, and murderer.

Third:
Through the entire story I looked for how Kerri felt. Further, how does she feel about how she feels? The book is more about what is happening and less about how she feels. These emotions were hard to find. Later in the book she explains her, “life feels like a lie.” She expresses words like, “numb,” “shaking,” and a “stinging” feeling “in brain.”

Fourth:
I believe the book centering on Kerri and how it relates to her dad as a serial killer should be in the book. It’s unnecessary to give an entire descriptive bio of Kerri’s life. For example, Kerri describes in detail about how she fixed her hair and what clothes she wore.

Last:
It is so interesting how Kerri has brought along her father (so to speak) in telling her story. For example, she explains how her father did things, how he taught her to deal with strangers, etc. Can someone explain this one?
Kerri felt they had a close relationship before his arrest. It must be painfully difficult, awkward, and confusing to try and understand and define life as Dennis Rader’s daughter.

I bought the documentary through Prime Video, BTK: A Killer Among Us. Kerri Rawson is interviewed for this documentary. In addition, family members of the victims are interviewed. The law enforcement who were apart of the investigation are interviewed. This is a well put together piece about the BTK. This documentary followed by reading the book clarified some things. It’s a brave act for the victims families to come forward for interviewing. Heartbreaking.

 

 

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(Review) Understanding Antidepressants by Wallace B. Mendelson M.D.

Understanding Antidepressants

Publisher and Publication Date: Independent published. March 2, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. Psychology. Depression. Antidepressants.
Pages: 123.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Excellent.
Audience: Readers who want a better understanding of antidepressants.

Amazon
The ebook is free through Kindle Unlimited.
Amazon page for info in Wallace B. Mendelson M.D.

Dr. Mendelson is currently in the clinical practice of psychiatry. He was formerly Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Pharmacology, and director of the Sleep Research Laboratory, at the University of Chicago. Dr. Mendelson earned an MD degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and completed a residency in psychiatry there as well. He has held professorships at Ohio State University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, was Chief of the Section on Sleep Studies at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD, and Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Mendelson is a past president of the Sleep Research Society. Among his honors is the William C. Dement Academic Achievement Award from the American Sleep Disorders Association/American Academy of Sleep Medicine as well as a Special Award in Sleep and Psychiatry from the National Sleep Foundation, and he is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Mendelson has authored four books and numerous peer-reviewed papers on various aspects of sleep research and psychiatry. His website, describing his interests, a blog devoted to literature, as well as a downloadable curriculum vitae, can be found at: www.zhibit.org/WallaceMendelson.

Wallace B. Mendelson M.D.

Summary:
“About 16 million Americans experience a major depression each year, and at any given time about one in ten adults is taking antidepressants. There are many different ones, in what can seem like a bewildering variety. In this book, Dr. Mendelson makes sense of the many treatments for depression, and shows that understanding how antidepressants work can help in making better decisions.”

My Thoughts:
Recently, I reviewed a previous book written by Mendelson, Understanding Medicines for Anxiety. Both books have been eye-opening in understanding how these types of medications work. In understanding how a medication works that a patient has been prescribed, it makes the patient and family feel knowledgeable about what is happening; as well as a bit in control about the aspect of knowing what the medication will do and how it will be done. So often a physician will write a prescription and the patient will take the medication not knowing what happens after the pill is swallowed. I’m a person who wants to know!

Chapters:
•”How Drugs Work”
•”Antidepressants”
•”If Things Aren’t Getting Better”
•”Other Depressive Disorders”

Further reasons I love this book:
♦Explains how antidepressants are handled by the brain itself.
♦Other types of mood disorders are explained. Bi-polar is addressed in several areas of the book.
♦List of commonly used drugs for depression and dosages.
♦A history of antidepressants.
♦Types of antidepressant medications are explained, and their interactions with other medications, side effects, and overdose.
♦24 illustrations are included. This includes graphs and photographs.

(Review) Goodbye Paris (Pono Hawkins #3) by Mike Bond

Goodbye Paris Banner

Goodbye Paris

Publisher and Publication Date: Big City Press. June 11, 2019.
Genre: Fiction.
Pages: 376.
Source: I received a copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Audience: Readers of thriller/CIA operative novels.
Rating: Okay.

Goodbye Paris is #3 in the series but can be read as a standalone.

ISBN: paperback: 978-1-949751-02-4
ISBN ebook: 978-1-949751-03-1

Amazon link

Goodbye Paris_Mike Bond
About the author:
Author of eight best-selling, critically-acclaimed novels, an award-winning poet, ecologist, and war and human rights journalist. Mike Bond has worked and lived
in many dangerous and war-torn regions of the world. Based on his own experiences,
his novels portray the innate hunger of the human heart for good, the intense joys of love, the terror and fury of battle, the sinister conspiracies of dictators, corporations and politicians, and the beauty of the vanishing natural world.

Mike Bond Books

Mike Bond @ Facebook

France Book Tours
Link for the book tour: Goodbye Paris

Summary:
Special Forces veteran Pono Hawkins races from a Tahiti surfing competition to France when he learns that a terrorist he’d thought was dead, Mustafa al-Boudienne, has a backpack nuclear weapon and plans to destroy Paris. Pono was once Mustafa’s prisoner, and he is now the only one left alive to identify him. Joining allies from US and French intelligence, including a fearless and brilliant French agent, Anne Ronsard, with whom he soon falls in love, Pono faces impossible odds to stop Mustafa before he can
destroy the most beautiful city on earth. Third in the Pono Hawkins series after best-selling Saving Paradise and Killing Maine, the newest Pono thriller takes the reader into never-before revealed depths of covert action on three continents, insider secrets in the war against terrorism, and intense memories of combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and
elsewhere. Alive with covert action and unknown details of the war against terrorism, Goodbye Paris is a hallmark Mike Bond thriller: tense, exciting, and full of real places, and that will keep you up all night.

My Thoughts:
During a book tour, the material is provided to write the review post. For example: summary or synopsis information. But, the section titled, “My Thoughts” is always my honest review.
Several years ago I read a spy/espionage book written by a retired CIA person. He explained, “most people don’t realize how much of the work is spent waiting and observing.” I thought about his comment while reading Goodbye Paris.
Goodbye Paris is an active book. Whether Pono is surfing, riding on a fast motorcycle, having sex, or catching the bad guys the book is busy. The book reminds me of a James Bond type film. It is busy, masculine, and virile. For the reader, there is rarely a moment of respite.
Pono uses language that would make my mother wash his mouth out with soap. Cursing is one thing, crude language about the female anatomy is ridiculous and uncalled for. It doesn’t make the character Pono any tougher. It just makes him seem juvenile. I understand that when men are together they talk and use coarse language (sometimes.) My point is the character Pono tries too hard and it comes off as a caricature of something he should already be. A person (male or female) who has endured combat, or other military type action, or police action does not need to use language to make them seem brave, courageous, and strong. They just are. They are brave and courageous, because they’ve faced the fear. The people I know personally who have been in combat operations during a time of war, this includes those who were taken prisoner, when they do speak about a memory they are matter of fact, and depending on their audience they choose words carefully. Pono made a life changing choice at the tail end of the book. I’m hoping his character will evolve in to a steadfast, immovable, mature force to be reckoned with. Before I move on from this point, Pono is a character I could grow to love and feel an investment in. At this point, he seems to be a wanderer, not knowing the why of what he does. He needs a focal point, something to live and fight for, something or someone to love and die for.
I love the unpredictable conclusion at the end. I’m so glad the story left me unable to guess how the story was going tie-up at the end.

 

(Review) Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

9780764232664
Publisher and Publication Date: Bethany House. April 2019.
Genre: Christian fiction.
Pages: 368.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Audience: Readers who love family saga, World War II, and dual time period stories.
Rating: Very good.

Amazon link

 

 

For more information: Bethany House. At this link you can read an excerpt!

Dykes_Amanda

About the author:
Amanda Dykes (www.amandadykes.com) is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. Give her a rainy day, a candle to read by, an obscure corner of history to dig in, and she’ll be happy for hours. She’s a former English teacher, and her novella, Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, was met with critical acclaim from Publishers Weekly, Readers’ Favorite, and more. She is also the author of a novella in The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection. Whose Waves These Are is her debut novel.

Summary:
In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Its message? Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss’s humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the harbor village on the coast of Maine, and he sets his callused hands to work.
Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when GrandBob, the man who gave her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is the one in need of help. But what greets her is a mystery: a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Memories of stone ruins on a nearby island ignite a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.
Together with the handsome and enigmatic town postman, Annie uncovers the story layer by layer, yearning to resurrect the hope GrandBob once held so dear and to know the truth behind the chasm in her family’s past. But mending what has been broken for so long may require more of her and those she loves than they are prepared to give.

My Thoughts:
I love the front cover! And, I love the title!
Bethany House is a Christian publishing company. They have some of the best front covers in the publishing industry.

Dual time periods are a popular way of telling stories. I’m tired of it. It is being done way too often in fiction books. It’s time to take a break from this.

What I like about this book (very good rating.)
•The bond of twins. Twin brothers are the main characters in the book. Their twin brother bond never changes no matter what happens in life.
•The setting is Maine. I love books with a setting close to the ocean.
•A moral story. Integrity. To do the right thing no matter how afraid or what the cost will be.
•Scene descriptions are wonderful. Maine is vivid and real.
•For the modern time period the main character discovers her family history.
•The love stories are inspirational. There is a depth to them. The love stories are not focused on the erotic, but on a lasting dedicated love.
•There are layers of stories not just the main story.
Whose Waves These Are is a well-written story to curl up with in your favorite chair.

Book Spotlight for The Fire of Winter by D. K. Marley

The Fire of Winter_Poster.jpeg02_The Fire of Winter

Publisher and Publication Date: The White Rabbit Publishing. June 1, 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 355.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author, but was not required to leave a positive review/spotlight.
Audience: Readers who love Scotland history, medieval era, and the story of Macbeth.

This is not a review but a spotlight.

Amazon link. Free ebook if you have Kindle Unlimited.

The book tour runs July 22 to August 19, 2019 @ Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Direct link for the giveaway: https://gleam.io/competitions/2IeSS-the-fire-of-winter

Summary:
She is known as Lady Macbeth.
What leads her down the path of murder?
What secrets fire her destiny?
Gruah, granddaughter of King Cìnéad III of the Royal Clan Alpin, marries two men in less than six months, one she loves and one she hates; one in secret, the other arranged by the High King of Scotland. At the age of eighteen, she lays her palm upon the ancient stone of Scone and sees her destiny as Queen of Scotland, and she vows to do whatever necessary to see her true love, Macbeth macFindlaech, beside her on the throne.
Amid the fiery times and heated onslaughts from Denmark and England, as the rule of Scotland hangs in the balance, Gruah seeks to win the throne and bring revenge upon the monsters of her childhood, no matter the cost or amount of blood tainting her own hands; yet, an unexpected meeting with the King called the Confessor causes her to question her bloody path and doubt her once blazing pagan faith. Will she find redemption or has the blood of her past fire-branded her soul?
The story weaves the play by William Shakespeare with the actual history of Macbeth and his Queen in 11th-century Scotland.
“…a woman’s story at a winter’s fire…”
(Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV)

Praise:
“This beautifully written reworking of the Macbeth tale told from Lady Macbeth’s point-of-view flows from the page and you quickly become immersed in the politics and intrigues of feudal Scotland as she fights for her rightful place and her true love! A mesmerizing read that grips from start to finish and Gruah is now one of my all-time favorite literary crushes.” – Iain Leonard, ARC Reviewer
“Brilliantly conceived and beautifully written, The Fire of Winter is a tale not to be missed by lovers of Shakespeare, lovers of history, or lovers of the written word.” – Riana Everly, Author of Teaching Eliza and Through a Different Lens

Author:
D. K. Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in Shakespearean themes. Her grandmother, an English Literature teacher, gave her a volume of Shakespeare’s plays when she was eleven, inspiring DK to delve further into the rich Elizabethan language. Eleven years ago she began the research leading to the publication of her first novel “Blood and Ink,” an epic tale of lost dreams, spurned love, jealousy and deception in Tudor England as the two men, William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, fight for one name and the famous works now known as the Shakespeare Folio. She is an avid Shakespearean / Marlowan, a member of the Marlowe Society, the Shakespeare Fellowship and a signer of the Declaration of Intent for the Shakespeare Authorship Debate. She has traveled to England three times for intensive research and debate workshops and is a graduate of the intense training workshop “The Writer’s Retreat Workshop” founded by Gary Provost and hosted by Jason Sitzes. She lives in Georgia with her husband and a Scottish Terriers named Maggie and Buster.
Links to the author: Goodreads. Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest.
03_DK Marley