For readers around the globe. :)

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Phantom Prince

When I first took an interested in true crime, Ted Bundy's name popped up. I was so intrigued by him. I devoured all the articles and books on him. So when I took a Serial Killers course in college, I wrote my final paper on Ted Bundy. That's when I found this book, written by his ex-fiance.....for $1000+ on a wide variety of book retailers. When they announced the movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (which is based off of this book) I had high hopes for a re-release of his original book. 3 days ago, I got my copy in the mail.

So that's a lot of hype that I was putting into this book.
But Liz, oh man, Liz.She was so young, so naive, so vulnerable when she met Ted. She had no idea this would become her life. She really, truly humanized Ted in her original manuscript. She got to write about a side of him that the general public following him never got to see. She saw the love of her life, playing with her daughter, playing house, dreaming of a future. Which is how she missed all the red flags that kept popping up even before the kidnappings and murders. She abused alcohol, she trusted a man she hardly knew, she stuck with him until he was arrested in Florida. FLORIDA. AS IN WHERE HE COMMITTED HIS LAST 3 MURDERS. And then she still couldn't turn him away when he called after that! 

I know love is a tricky thing.
The phrase "Blinded by love" is no joke.
But Liz and Ted were toxic for each other. Their entire relationship was based on their own selfish needs and codependent behaviors. The hardest part for me, was watching Liz battle herself over the details directly in front of her. He tried to drown her, he abandoned her for days, she knew he spent time with other women, she found a hatchet under the seat of his car, she turned him into the police multiple times and still could not see a future without him in it. It was sad, really.

Looking for other books on Ted Bundy?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020


Ben Moon was in his mid-20s, living near the mountains, and trying to save his crumbling marriage. This was never the life he wanted, but he began building his new life around climbing, surfing, and photography. That's when he knew he needed a new companion, a dog. Denali was just a few weeks old when Ben spotted him in the shelter. He knew this was the dog he wanted to spend forever with.

Ben and Denali lived in a van, living the "dirtbag" lifestyle. They lived a life on the road, camping near Ben's climbing sites and enjoying every ounce of fresh air nature could offer. Until Ben was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, ultimately halting their nomadic lifestyle for the immediate future. Ben put out the diagnosis for as long as he could possibly handle. When he heard the news that he would have to use a colostomy bag for the rest of his life, his world was turned upside down. How could he continue climbing and surfing? How was this going to affect his career and future? He was an athlete through and through. 

Denali stood by his side through every chemo treatment, every metallic sweat filled night, every trip to the bathroom to vomit. Denali became his only constant throughout his entire journey. So when Denali's body became cancer-ridden, Ben knew he had to step up for his best friend, his confidante, his dog. The two of them continued on adventures until Denali's very last breath.

Denali was a quick read for me.
I expected it to be about Ben and Denali's relationship more so than Ben's cancer diagnosis. With quirky inserts of what can only be described as Denali's innermost thoughts, Ben included Denali in every aspect of the book. It was almost as if a subtle mentioning of Denali made you love their relationship even more. Some people have a rare, raw relationship with their dogs and I definitely can tell that through Ben and Denali's life together. They steadied each other for many years until Denali's time had come. They truly loved one another.

After Denali, Ben wanted to do something special for him.
I'm including the short film Ben Moon, Ben Knight, and Skip Armstrong made in his honor.
 Beware, I cried. A lot.

Huge thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me an arc!
Denali hits shelves January 14, 2020!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

A Dark Night in Aurora

July 20, 2012
People all over America were gearing up in their Batman tee's for the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. Meanwhile James Holmes was gearing up to wreak havoc on those unsuspecting movie goers.
There's a lot that can be said about this case. There's a lot I don't totally agree with and there's a lot that leaves me scratching my head as to why more wasn't done to protect the community and protect James Holmes from himself. Now before you guys start saying, "BUT JESSICA, HE WAS A MASS MURDERER," let me explain. James Holmes was in most ways your average guy, a bit misunderstood, sure. But overall, he never stood out. When he began seeing a psychotherapist in college, she became concerned that he would hurt someone, not necessarily a whole crowd of people, but she definitely knew what he was capable of. Which is why it drives me absolutely CRAZY that more wasn't done to help James Holmes after he intentionally flunked out of grad school. 

James Holmes had this human capital ideology that if he could take other people's lives, it would more or less, reduce his apparent suicidal ideation. Now I'm paraphrasing there, because his idea was based on a point system for each life he took but the points didn't actually do anything. But the overall gist of his explanation was that it calmed his anxiety. Which brings to me agree with Dr. William H. Reid, the author of this book. James Holmes plead not guilty by reason of insanity, but that mean he had to have been impaired at the time of the crime. Giving the amount of planning he put into purchasing guns, stockpiling ammo, ordering cans of tear gas and ballistic gear, along with researching how to make bombs (which he used to rig his apartment to explode), there's no way he was impaired while following out his mission to commit mass murder.

He expected his psychotherapist to be able to read his mind. He never gave her specific details, he never let on that he might actually commit murder, he never told her when he began buying weapons, but he expected her to be able to stop him when the night of his "mission" came. He even went so far as to write everything out in his notebook and mail it to her in the hopes that she might be able to use his story to predict the next mass killer she encounters.

This book had me questioning so many things, like how could he buy over 6000 rounds of ammunition in a matter of weeks and no one was concerned in the least. How was he able to purchase guns when he had a severe mental condition? How did the police mistake him for another officer when they arrested him? How has life treated him so poorly that he felt the need to commit mass murder just to calm his anxiety?

There's so many questions I could ask, but the truth is we can only speculate the "why" behind this happening.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Anthony Bourdain: The Last Interview

 "Anthony Bourdain (n) (adj); Anthony Bourdain is an author, chef, and television host. This is ironic because he is also Satan. He is one of the baddest motherfuckers to grace television. His books are well written, conscious, and can be quite humorous. His restaurant Les Halles serves amazing French Cuisine and is located in New York."

That Urban Dictionary quote for Anthony Bourdain had me cracking up.

I actually grabbed this book in the hopes that my husband would read it (he hasn't yet), so instead I went ahead and gave it a quick read. I mean, like a 2ish hour read. The Last Interview is exactly what it sounds like, Anthony Bourdain's last interviews. Reading this made me love him even more, I loved hearing how he describes different cultures and viewpoints, all while adding his trademark sense of humor.

A few things my husband and I love to watch (and inevitably fall asleep to) include ANY of Anthony Bourdain's shows or literally anything featuring Neil Degrasse Tyson. So, when I came across the interview "Anthony Bourdain: Dishes on Food" on Startalk, yeah you can imagine this was my favorite interview of the entire book.

This farewell to Bourdain didn't feel like a farewell. I could still hear his voice and picture his mannerisms throughout the entire book. It felt like I was sitting there during the interviews just watching. He had such a way with words, and a love for not just food but the culture behind it. It was honestly an all around great read.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Darling Rose Gold

So I found this book awhile ago Goodreads. The second it became available on NetGalley, I requested an arc.

These are some of the worst characters ever.....
and that's why I LOVED it.

I could not put this book down. 

I initially wanted to read Darling Rose Gold because it sounded eerily similar to the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case. Turns out, I was right. While it doesn't follow Gypsy Rose's story to a t, it definitely had a lot in common. It's mostly based on Münchhausen Syndrome, which if you followed the Gypsy Rose case, you know what it is. For those who don't, Münchhausen Syndrome is when a caregiver creates or exaggerates symptoms of various illness for a while in their care. Keep that in mind while I talk about this book.
Darling Rose Gold is told in alternating perspectives through flashbacks following the daughter, Rose Gold and a present day story line for mother, Patty. In the flashback, Rose Gold leads us through her life after her abusive mother is put in prison. We get to see her grow into the young woman, fending for herself, getting a job, and moving on from her mother. We get to see her take the stand and testify. We see her building new relationships and becoming who she truly wants to be.
Then there's Patty.
Fresh out of prison and ready to start controlling her daughter again. She hasn't had control in 5 years,  but she's ready. She was born to be a mother. We see her hometown turning against her, and standing up for her daughter. We see her struggling to survive. We get to see her take on her newest task, being a grandmother to little Adam. But little does she know the woman her daughter has become. She believes she needs to get Adam out of her daughter's grasp and raise him on her own. Her fantasies closely resemble the life she built for Rose Gold.
What intrigued me about this book was how unreliable both characters were and how they were playing each other. They each had a grand scheme, scheme's that wouldn't include the other. They were both portrayed as victim and villain, that alone is an incredible feat for any author. It's definitely going in my list of most anticipated reads of 2020!

Huge thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Random House, and of course, author Stephanie Wrobel!
Darling Rose Gold hits shelves March 17, 2020!

Looking for other books featuring Münchhausen Syndrome?

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

 Sarcasm sold in the form of a self help book? Uh, yes please.

My coworker and I traded books over Christmas break.
I loaned her my all time fav, I'll Be There for You: The One About Friends and she loaned me The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.

This book definitely had some chapters that felt like they dragged but I did learn a few things about life, relationships, and learning how to just let things go. For me, the last one is the hardest part. I get so wound up in emotions over something ridiculous. But as it turns out the ridiculous thing is part of a bigger issue and I just need to start asking myself WHY I'm so worked up over it. There's a deeper meaning to everything we do in our lives. It's just a matter of choosing what we should and should not give a fuck about. 

It's a quick read that easily held my attention with chapters like, "You Are Not Special," "You're Wrong about Everything (But So Am I)," "......and Then You Die." It's bound to keep you laughing as you learn.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Escaping from Houdini

 Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell are back.
Their love affair with murder continues onto the Moonlight Carnival Cruise.
Their minds are forever at work when bodies begin showing up on the very first day of the cruise. But really, how far can a murderer go when they're confined to a ship? The answer is obvious, the murderer is using the carnival as a cover. They're using the sleight of hand they were taught by the ever so charming ringmaster, Mephistopheles. He's mysterious, handsome, and quite the charmer. When Audrey Rose realizing her missing cousin Liza is a part of the carnival she uses it to her advantage. She can use Liza as an excuse to go undercover and seek out clues that the carnival may be hiding. But, when she the opportunity arises for Audrey Rose to make a midnight bargain with the ringmaster, she barely hesitates! We all can guess the danger that comes from making deals with a potential murderer...

I honestly didn't like this book as much as the others, based on the mere fact that Houdini is a side character (hello, is called Escaping from Houdini, yet he's barely involved). I also wasn't found of the romance portion of the story which was A L O T of the story. I love Wadsworth and Cresswell but I also love Wadsworth and Mephistopheles. I feel like including that love triangle was necessary for the story but the way the relationships turned out was a tad cliche.

Looking for the rest of the series?