Review: Adnan’s Story: The Truth by Rabia Chaundry

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Goodreads Blurb

In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. Syed has maintained his innocence, and Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, has always believed him. By 2013, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in hopes of finding a journalist who could shed light on Adnan’s story. In 2014, Koenig’s investigation turned into Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners

But Serial did not tell the whole story. In this compelling narrative, Rabia Chaudry presents new key evidence that she maintains dismantles the State’s case: a potential new suspect, forensics indicating Hae was killed and kept somewhere for almost half a day, and documentation withheld by the State that destroys the cell phone evidence — among many other points — and she shows how fans of Serial joined a crowd-sourced investigation into a case riddled with errors and strange twists. Adnan’s Story also shares Adnan’s life in prison, and weaves in his personal reflections, including never-before-seen letters. Chaudry, who is committed to exonerating Adnan, makes it clear that justice is yet to be achieved in this much examined case.

My Review

Wow. Just wow. I remember first listening to the “Serial” podcast early 2015. I listened to each of the episodes on the series while I was at the gym, on my iphone. I didn’t know anything about the case it was based on, that of Adnan Syed and his ex-girlfriend, for whom he is currently serving a life sentence plus 30 years for her murder.  Of course, after listening to the podcast, I did a little research but due to my own studies, that was limited.  I then picked up this book, and have to admit it’s been one of the best true crime books that I’ve read in a while.

If you’ve listened to Serial, you’ll know that it was 12 episodes, so you would think that that is A LOT of information. It’s not. It’s only a very small portion of Adnan’s case, and that is what Rabia herself has said.  This book is soooooo rich in information. Information on Adnan, on his case, on the prosecutions case, on the defense case, on the detectives and police, Adnan’s family, and of course, Adnan’s ethnicity and religion which has played a very important role in his trial. Not only does Rabia talk about the issues in Adnan’s case, but also addresses the issues of the ‘broken’ system that we rely so heavily on.  I’m in awe of the amazing job that Rabia has done in the case, and the book, and how enthralling it is to read. I go to 60% through and couldn’t tear myself away from it, having to finish it over an hour and a half, whilst holding onto a full bladder!

The flow and style of writing was definitely an absolute pleasure. The release of information was plentiful but manageable, and the way theories and evidence was revealed was fascinating. I really learned a lot about the case, but also about Muslims, which admittedly, I really didn’t know a lot about. So I loved all this information and education. Really, I can’t speak more highly enough about this book. I believe that there could be no better person to be advocating for Adnan, and Rabia has certainly done a spectacular job throwing her time and effort into this. Adnan would be very proud and thankful for it.

Do yourself a favour and GRAB THIS BOOK. You can do that here for the ebook, and here for the paperback.

You can also visit Rabia Chaundry’s website here

I rated this book: 5/5

Happy purchasing and reading

Nat

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What Am I Reading At the Moment?

Christmas is just around the corner. Literally. Two sleeps away. Got my shopping done a little earlier this year, and to be honest, I’m patiently waiting for it to be done for another year so my purse can recouperate! img_1979

I’m almost half-way through Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry, which is the story from the podcast Serial, if you’re familiar with it. And despite some less than fantastic reviews, I’m very much enjoying it.

his-kidnappers-shoesI’ve also just decided on His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James to start on my Kindle. I received that as a ARC from Lake Union Publishing, and it actually sounds very intriguing so I look forward to starting that one in the next day or so.

Hope you all have a safe and happy holidays and I hope Santa’s good to you. By good, I mean buys lots of books!

Happy receiving, buying and reading

Nat

Review: Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett

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Goodreads Blurb

A serial killer murdering for kicks.

A detective seeking revenge.

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.

With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

For the killer, the game has only just begun…

 

About the Author

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Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014.

An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.

You can keep in touch with Rachel by signing up to her mailing list via her website (http://www.rachelamphlett.com), or via Facebook (http://on.fb.me/TN7rpu) and Twitter: @RachelAmphlett

 

My Review

This book is the first in the Detective Kay Hunter series and opens with a kidnapping scene of a teen, with her parents frantically trying to battle the ticking clock to save her.  Personally, I didn’t find this one to be as ‘fast-paced’.  For me, there were times when it was slow and the the characters lacking a certain spark, this mainly being the serial killer. I have to admit, it wasn’t the most interesting serial killer that I’ve read. In fact, if anything let this story down, it was that character for me. I, like many other readers, enjoy a deep, dark, and twisted character but unfortunately, this one just didn’t have that vibe. It’s a complicated character to emulate on paper, and while there are a number of ficitonal books out there with them in it, I’ve read few that have been able to win me over.

The writing is enjoyable, and the chapters are the perfect length for those “Just one more….” moments, where you don’t want to put it down; however amongst the other series that this book now joins, I didn’t find it reaching a 5 stars just yet. I did enjoy Detective Hunter, she was tough and dedicated but also showed a more vulnerable side to her.  Her relationship with her husband was quite nice to read, as was her professional relationship with her colleagues.  And I very much enjoyed the last few chapters of the book, the author wrapped up in a way that’s got me eager to read the next in the series, and hopefully it will be another serial killer character that she’ll be able to win me over with!

Thank you very much to the author for allowing me to take part in the book blog tour, and for providing an ebook version to review, and I wish you all the best with the remainder of the tour!

You can purchase this title from Amazon here.

I rated this book: 4/5

Happy buying and reading

Nat

Review: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Wow, wow, wow. Now, I’ve heard on the bookworm grapevine, that Jodi Picoult work is pretty darn good. If her other stuff is like this book, then I’d better get into it, quick smart!!!

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Goodread Blurb

In Sterling, New Hampshire, 17-year-old high school student Peter Houghton has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of classmates. His best friend, Josie Cormier, succumbed to peer pressure and now hangs out with the popular crowd that often instigates the harassment. One final incident of bullying sends Peter over the edge and leads him to commit an act of violence that forever changes the lives of Sterling’s residents.

Even those who were not inside the school that morning find their lives in an upheaval, including Alex Cormier. The superior court judge assigned to the Houghton case, Alex—whose daughter, Josie, witnessed the events that unfolded—must decide whether or not to step down. She’s torn between presiding over the biggest case of her career and knowing that doing so will cause an even wider chasm in her relationship with her emotionally fragile daughter. Josie, meanwhile, claims she can’t remember what happened in the last fatal minutes of Peter’s rampage. Or can she? And Peter’s parents, Lacy and Lewis Houghton, ceaselessly examine the past to see what they might have said or done to compel their son to such extremes. Nineteen Minutes also features the return of two of Jodi Picoult’s characters—defense attorney Jordan McAfee from The Pact and Salem Falls, and Patrick DuCharme, the intrepid detective introduced in Perfect Match.

Rich with psychological and social insight, Nineteen Minutes is a riveting, poignant, and thought-provoking novel that has at its center a haunting question. Do we ever really know someone?

My Review

You know at the beginning, I didn’t think i was going to like this one. I wasn’t a fan of the swapping from present to past with chapters, or the characters. However, I grew to actually love it. I don’t really have any other negatives! I loved this book. It was full of emotion, and so rich in research. The author did a wonderful job researching, I found myself getting lost in each and every character.  I think my favourite character was Peter. It’s a controversial topic,  and you’re often more inclined to to see his and his actions as ‘evil’ and you still may after reading this, but to me, I see Peter (and others who have acted like him) as human.  I think the author did a realistic, and gut-wrenching job at portraying the heartache and pain that the family of Peter, and real-life families in the same position, go through.  You can’t even begin to imagine how much your life could change if you were put in the same position. It’s almost unfathomable.

There’s no denying that Peter actions were wrong, however, it’s only natural to me, to feel empathy and sympathy for him especially at the author tells his story from kindergarten to the event.  It gave his character a face and emotion.  My heart broke for him in scenes that included his brother, and how he acted towards Peter.  The court scenes towards the end were fantastic. The dialogue between lawyers and witnesses flowed so beautifully, I flew threw it.  And started crying in the last three chapters when the little twist was revealed. Amazing. Definitely a book that makes you think and question life and being a parent.

I rate this book: 5/5

You can purchase this via Amazon ebook here

Happy buying and reading!

Nat