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Welcome to those who have joined this book review blog. I’m blown away by your support! And to those who just stumbled on to this blog, I welcome you too.
I read most genres. At this time I’m going through a true crime interest. Soon, I will be reviewing the following true crime books: The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, Why They Kill by Richard Rhodes. In addition, Idols of the Heart by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker.

 

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(Review) The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

the memory house

Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas Nelson. April 2, 2019.
Genre: Christian fiction.
Pages: 384.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Good.
Audience: Readers of Christian fiction. Readers of romance stories.

Amazon link

link to read an excerpt

Additional link to Audra Jennings post
At this link there is a giveaway.
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About the book:
When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either.

Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

About the author:
Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.
Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.
Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.
Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.
A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.
At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.
A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.
She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.
For more information: Rachel Hauck’s website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Rachel Hauck

My thoughts:
I don’t read Christian fiction often. I actually have a stack of books in this genre to read.
I was drawn to The Memory House because of the title, and secondly the main character, Beck Holiday’s career in law enforcement.
Beck Holiday is 31. She’s been a New York City Police officer several years. She lives at home with her mother, step-dad, and a younger brother.
Early in the story I became surprised at Beck’s emotional immaturity. Her age did not match the maturity level I’d expected. Her knowledge and experience in law enforcement did not match the maturity level. I didn’t understand her dependence on her parents. I didn’t understand her aloof nature in regards to all relationships. As the story progressed, and in learning about her dad’s death, then I understood. When a person at a young age goes through a crisis like the death of a parent it can cause an emotional vacuum. Another words, Beck’s emotional maturity has been hindered or restricted because of the trauma. Rachel Hauck never explains this in the story, but I caught on. Hauck did a great job in the portrayal of Holiday in regards to her background, parents, and the national event that changed everyone’s lives especially Holiday.
Beck has a break down of sorts in the first few pages, this leads to getting a letter about an inheritance-house in included. This changes her life. I love this huge change. Things seemed to be going no where for Beck. Life was a gray winter. The new change is fresh and sunny.
A secondary background story is from the voice of Everleigh Applegate. Her story is from the 1950s. I loved it when I finally understood the tie-in between the two women. Dual time periods with characters are popular in fiction books. I’m bored with this. A story can be told without going back and forth in time. I was able to keep up with the two time periods, but I’m just tired of reading this technique.
The romance element of the story is okay. I feel Beck has things going on in life that need to be dealt with. She needs to know who she is and become settled. And, why did this have to be apart of the story anyway? Why does there need to be a girl meets boy or boy meets girl. There is nothing wrong with just being who they are and enjoying life.

(Review) Zodiac by Robert Graysmith

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Publisher and Publication Date: Berkley Books. 2007. Originally published 1986.
Genre: True crime.
Pages: 367.
Source: Library.
Rating: Very good.
Audience: True crime readers.

Amazon link

An updated version and continuation of this book is Zodiac Unmasked.

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I am very new to reading true crime books. This new interest began a month ago. So, I’m a green newby.

In the introduction, it is explained the Zodiac killings “were not simply killings.” The killings are considered sex crimes. The Zodiac is considered a sexual sadist.
The introduction to a book is important info for me. It is there I find out why the author wrote the book, how they feel about the subject, and what the reader should take away from the book. Other things can be written in an intro like problems the author had, what they felt was accomplished, and things to look for while reading. The introduction is the jumping off or sending off for the reader, a sort of bon voyage.
Robert Graysmith was there from the start. He was working at the San Francisco Chronicle when the Zodiac killer began his murders. Graysmith knew the police who investigated the case. He knew the reporters who covered the case. He lived in the area. These are all big positives for an author of this subject. Add to this, he read through the previous interviews from the survivors, and was able to later find and interview them again himself. He has seen the written letters from the Zodiac killer. He has spent many years studying the Zodiac killer. This book made an impact, because of the reasons stated. I feel Zodiac is a very good book, and a very good place to begin reading about the Zodiac killer.

Reasons why I loved this book:
•Lengthy, painstaking, devoted research for the book.
•Chronological events of the tracking, abduction, and murders.
•Included illustrations and texts of the Zodiac letters.
•The Appendices includes the lengthy list of those known to have been killed by the Zodiac and those thought to be. Also, the Zodiac writings and writing style. This section ends with a pysch profile. What I listed are examples but are not complete in detail.
•Gives complete info about the families of those murdered plus their friends.
•Graysmith shows the best suspect. He does not use the words without a doubt this is exactly the suspect.

One thing to mention: the book is not narrative nonfiction. Graysmith lets the subject matter carry the force of the book. Some reviewers have not liked this book, because they wanted a narrative story like reading. They’d seen the film and wanted entertainment like the film. I did not expect narrative and am cool with the book.

(Review) Once a Midwife: A Hope River Novel by Patricia Harman

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Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow. 2018.
Genre: Fiction.
Pages: 512.
Source: Library.
Rating: Okay.
Audience: I’m not sure. World War II readers are not going to be attracted to this book. People who’ve read the other books in this series will be drawn to reading this book.

Amazon link

This is the only book I’ve read by this author. So, I have cannot compare this book to the other books written in the series.

It is November 1941. Liberty, West Virginia. Patience Hester is a midwife. She is a wife and mother. Her husband is a veterinarian, Dr. Daniel Hester. They have four children. He is a veteran of World War I. He has made the decision to never participate in another war because of his combat experience. He is a pacifist. She does not agree with him. She’s concerned about his stance and what it will mean for their family.
The book begins days before the Pearl Harbor attack. The book ends in early 1943.

I was drawn to this book because of the midwife theme. The rest of the book was extra fluff.

Patience keeps a journal, mainly detailing the midwifery events. This journal is the background for the book.

I’ve given this book an okay rating. It’s not that I don’t like it. I did read it quickly. It just didn’t sweep me up in the people or story. It is a book that didn’t effect me either way. Daniel’s pacifism-I do not care. Hester’s response to Daniel’s pacifism-I do not care. Why do I not care? Because the book didn’t convince me. Daniel comes across as stubborn. Patience comes across as compliant.
Patricia Harman’s husband was a pacifist during Vietnam. She has the knowledge and ability to create a story about a couple going through this type of experience.

And, it is difficult for me to read a story like this and not have an opinion.
My paternal grandfather was a soldier during World War I. My dad was a soldier during World War II. My son was a soldier during the Operation Enduring Freedom. I have several other relatives who have served in different military branches.
I’ve not met a person who is a pacifist. I don’t understand them, but they are entitled to their opinion.
If the military aspect of the book was removed, Patience still came across as milky-toast. Is she just tired? That’s a possible reason this book is not a hit with me.

(Review) The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching For My Father And Finding The Zodiac Killer by Gary Stewart with Susan Mustafa

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Publisher and Publication Date: HarperCollins. 2014.
Genre: Nonfiction. True crime.
Pages: 384.
Source: Library.
Rating: Good.
Audience: True crime readers.

Amazon link/Kindle Unlimited ebook is Free

An interesting rebuttal to the book: The Most Dangerous Daddy of All

There are several websites dedicated to the Zodiac Killer. I’m including Britannica, because they are a solid starting point for facts.

The Most Dangerous Animal of All is an interesting book. The author, Gary Stewart, believes the Zodiac killer is his birth father. The book is his journey of discovery. It is also his theory against other theories about the Zodiac killer. So, I advice reading the book with a grain of salt. I just finished reading Zodiac by Robert Graysmith. His book became the adapted 2007 film, Zodiac. The actor Jake Gyllenhaal portrayed Graysmith. The film is on Netflix at this time.

The Most Dangerous Animal of All began when Stewart’s biological mother contacted him when he was age 39. Stewart had been adopted as an infant. In finding out about his birth mother, he finds out about his birth father. The book gives all the chronological steps, interviews, and the paper trails leading up to his theory.

I’ve given this book a good rating. It is readable, interesting, and put together in a way that made me wonder if it’s possible about Stewart’s belief. However, I’m not convinced, not after reading the above rebuttal link in the beginning of this review. I’m also not convinced after reading the book by Zodiac by Robert Graysmith.
One of the top reasons I feel this is a readable book is it is narrative, it reads like a story. And, Stewart and Mustafa narrate the book well.