What Did I Read In 2018? #bookblog #2018reads #goodreads #booknerd #books

So last year I was super busy writing a textbook, writing a thesis, and the rest. But I did manage to exceed my Goodreads challenge or 10 books.  I ended up reading 39.

Two of my favourite books was by Stephen King and Diane Chamberlain. Two books that I didn’t think I’d continue reading simply because I got the first plot twist and thought uh oh, this isn’t really something I’d read… However, I pushed on and was pretty much BLOWN AWAY.

The Outsider has had mixed reviews by others, and really that’s no surprise because we’ve all got our own likes and dislikes. If we didn’t the world would be a pretty boring place.  My opinion of it was that I loved how it started. Smack bang into some action, and I have to admit given my areas of research and interest academically, I wasn’t at all turned off by the brutality of the first few chapter.  I love when a story starts off with 36124936action, it’s a great way to draw readers and keep them interested.  Other authors have lost me sometimes because after that great action, they enter too much info on the characters and the settings and it drags things down. Obviously King is a master at the written word, and achieved this effortly.  I got lost in the world of this story, I didn’t want to put it down and go back to real life, LOL.  I found myself really enjoying each and every character, and they were all so different from one another.  I really had no idea, how King was planning to explain Terry’s supposed part in the crime, because it was really looking like it was him for a while, but he was pretty convincing that it wasn’t. The amount of times I said “WFT” out aloud was quite funny. My husband would be sitting mext to me and say, “What?” He’d listened to it on Audible and agreed that is was a pretty compelling read.

My other book of the year for 2018 was Diane Chamberlain’s The Dream Daughter.  I ugly cried in this one.  I was pretty invested in it thanks to the author’s use of an unborn baby 37638145with a series health issue in the womb, I mean who can flag a book when that’s at the heart of it? But when I got to Hunter’s plot twist, I was saying “WTF” but not in a good way.  I put the book down and had a serious think.  Normally, I would NEVER read a book with this in it, I know that some people have a real hard time accepting a story when it’s too unbelievable or strays too far away from fact which I’ve always found quite humorous considering that they’re reading fiction, however when I got to Hunter’s plot twist I thought I’d stop reading because it was too unbelievable. BUT I kept going and boy am I glad I did. It was a truly wonderful read.  I don’t want to give anything away, but at two points I slammed the book shut in disbelief, gasping “OMG, no way”, plenty of tears, and I laughed once.  Like King’s book, I found my self lost in the words of this book. I was reading this while away on a campy holiday with the family, so was able to finish it pretty quick, and I was truly devastated that it had to end. Although to my husband, who had to listen to me recap almost every chapter after I’d finished them, it couldn’t end soon enough!

Other books I read in 2018

2018 books

The Misbegotten Son by Jack Olsen was fantastic, probably my true crime pick of 2018. I absolutely loved Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult, the very last page, had be gasping “WTH” and then i was thinking about it, trying to go through everything I’d read whist I was trying to go to sleep trying to figure out how I should have picked that ending! Talk about plot twist. I wanted to really love A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult because I’d waited so long for it’s release, but the format just ruined it for me, and I wasn’t a fan of the constant heading hoping throughout chapters. It made it hard to get to know characters because you couldn’t sit with them long enough and it felt like you were ripped from them to get into another characters head.

But, it was a great selection of books. A whilst I didn’t mark them all 5 stars, it certainly didn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the hard work that every single one of those authors put into them.  They way I rate books is that they all start out with 5 stars, and then as I’m reading I subtract for various reasons i.e. too slow, information dump, cliche’, predictable etc. They can get those stars back though if I’m made to feel an emotion physically (say if I laugh or cry), surprising plot twist, awesome character development etc.  And obviously like I’ve mentioned we all score differently and have different opinions.  I’ll always look forward to trying another book by that author because it could always me the next “One”.

Did you read any of these books? What did you think of them and which was your favourite?

Bring on 2019 reads,

Nat

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1st Review of 2019 – The Innocent Man by John Grisham #theinnocentman #johngrisham #bookblogger #truecrime #booknerd

So, if you have Netflix then you know about the new docoseries – The Innocent Man which is actually based on the book of the same title by the one and only John Grisham.  Now I’ve actually never read anything of Mr Grisham’s although I know that he’s a big seller, and that a number of his books have been made into movies. However, this book of his is particularly special because it is the one and only non-fiction story that he has published to date.

The Innocent Man centers around two murders of two young women in the early 1980’s

debra-carter-4

Victim Debra Carter

in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma.  The first murder was horrific, with the rape and murder of Debra Carter in 1982.  The two men charged with her murder were Ron Williamson, who was once a big time baseball player, and Dennis Fritz.  Despite the railroading that both men received, the polygraph tests the took didn’t help them (but let’s face it,

ron

Ron Williamson

they’re junk science really and give out so many false positives that they’re inadmissible in court), Williamson had serious mental health conditions, and the police had pressure to find a culprit (or two) as well as tunnel vision. Which ultimately ended up in the life sentence of Fritz, and a cell on death row for Williamson.

 

The second case in the book was that of Denice Haraway who was found shot once in the

denice haraway

Victim Denice Haraway

head on April 28, 1984.  The police believed that Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot walked into the convenience store that Miss Haraway worked at, abducted her and shot her.

tommy ward and karl fontenot

Karl Fontenot and Tommy Ward

Despite the fact that they both denied doing so multiple times, however like the first case the police had tunnel vision and no doubt added extra pressure of another murder in their small town.  They used the polygraph tests again, and Ward is a skittish/anxious person so it was no surprise when Wards came back as failed a number of times.  The police also frustrated that Ward wasn’t admitting to a crime that they suspected he had committed, and instead used a dream that he had about the crime as a confession.  Unfortunately Ward and Fontenot are still incarcerated. However that did receive a retrial. In the first sentencing they both had received death. In the retrial, Fontenot was again sentenced to death and Ward is currently serving a life sentence.

In the case of Debra, they arrested, charged, and sentenced Glen Gore with her murder after DNA evidence cleared Williamson and Fritz.  What for this, Gore was questioned after Debra’s murder however no DNA evidence was collected from him, and he testified against Williamson and Fritz. Further, DNA evidence connected Gore to the crime scene, along with witness accounts of him being with Debra the night of her murder.  Unbelievable, I know.

My Review

I didn’t really expect anything less than a brilliant read, and that’s what I got.  I was a tad worried that Mr Grisham may embellish or right the story as a fiction piece, however it read smoothly and matter-of-factly.  The depth of information was excellent, and being someone who hadn’t heard of these two cases before, I felt as though I got just the right amount of information without feeling as though there was an overload.  Generally, when too much information is given, it reads sluggish and boring. Not for me.  It’s outrageous quite frankly, that four innocent men (five when you add Greg Wilhoit who is also added in the story and shared the same death row as the men) in the same county are sentenced for horrific crimes they didn’t commit. You can only imagine what that would be like. Especially for Williamson who was already suffering from mental health issues that were magnified being in a place where prisoner welfare is at the bottom of the list of importance.  It’s truly heartbreaking, and even though two of those men were released, it’s forever changed their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Not to mention the anguish for the victims families.

If you enjoy true crime, and stories of innocence then I highly recommend this one for you.  I think I also recommend myself to try some of Grisham’s fiction work, because if it’s as half as good as his non-fiction I’m in for awesomeness!

 

Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know.

Currently Reading – The Sunset Murders 

I’m a lover of true crime and have just started:

  • The Sunset Murders by Louise Farr 

  
I actually don’t know a lot about this pair so I’m enjoying learning about them. A review wil be up once I’m finished it, though I still have four weeks of the semester left with exams during two of those weeks. 

Happy reading!

Nat 📚

REVIEW: On the Farm by Stevie Cameron

It’s taken me a while to get through this one, not because it has over 700 pages, but because there aren’t enough hours in the day! And most certainly not because I wanted to put it down!!!  This would have to be one of the best true crime books I’ve read yet.

On the Farm — Stevie Cameron (Click link to buy kindle version)

IMG_5904If you’re like me and not too familiar with the serial killers in Canada, then I suggest that you make this book your first. Robert William Pickton is one of three sibling born in western canada.  He admitted to killing 49 prostitutes, saying he was trying to get to 50.

What I really loved about this book is it’s thoroughness of in her investigation of all of those who were involved in the case. Right from the start of the missing woman, the start of the investigation task force, the trial, and the verdict.

I’ve seen other reviews that complained about the detail the author goes into with the victims. Also of those such as the police and other criminal justice professionals. But I loved it. Too often are we told all the details of the offender and sometimes that can be seen as disrespectful to victims. This book almost focuses on the victims a fair bit more than the offender I believe, and there are many. We learn who they are as people; where they grew up, their struggles, and their families. It’s heartbreaking because only some of the victims didn’t have families that noticed their disappearnace and report them missing. There’s only a few sentences about those ones.

It’s more heartbreaking when you read the heartbreak of their families, who remind us that these women, whether you agree with their lifestyle or not, were human. They were loved and missed, and in many instances they had children who continue to love and miss them.  What’s equally sad is that when they were reported, the police didn’t acknowledge them, and as a result this went on for 30 odd years.  That’s a long time, and as a result a lot of woman went missing and murdered.

It was great to read about the police, detectives, and lawyers who were also involved. Read about the politics and hardships that they face. Even though there were mistake made by them, you can’t imagine the incredible difficulties that the criminal justice system have, and how single officers or detectives don’t have the luxuries of taking things upon themselves, they have to follow the system. It doesn’t make this story any less tragic, but I see the difficulties they face. Admittedly, there were people in the book I didn’t take to. And if you choose to read this, you might agree.

Overall, this book was wonderful. It didn’t drag for me, I really appreciated and enjoyed the thorough description of those people this tragedy touched, as well as a look at the offender, his life, and his family. I was disappointed with the trial in that it wasn’t the outcome I wanted for the families, some of them haven’t received their justice and it’s really very heartbreaking, some of those women weren’t even found, or only DNA or tiny parts of them found. You can’t begin to imagine what they went through or their families. Stevie does an excellent job of making us notice the victims. Feel for the victims. It’s the victims that deserve to have their story told and she doesn’t this wonderfully.

I give this book: large_cute-bookworm 1large_cute-bookworm 1large_cute-bookworm 1large_cute-bookworm 1large_cute-bookworm 1/ out of 5

Happy reading

Nat large_cute-bookworm 1

What am I reading at the moment?

I’ve got two weeks until start of semester and I’m enjoying the break. Currently, I’m reading On the Farm by Stevie Cameron which is about Canadian serial killer Willie Pickton. It’s a big book, but I’m really enjoying it. Look forward to seeing my thoughts on it soon. 

  
Happy reAding

Nat 📚