Category Archives: Court System

Book Case #90 – Voices

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Book and Author Details:
Voices on Good Reads
Voices on Amazon
Author’s Website

Description from Author:

Sometimes the ghosts from your past…are real.

Moira Flynn is arrested for attacking a door-to-door solicitor with a knife. She claims a voice told her the man was intent on assaulting her. The trouble is, she was the only one that heard that voice. Moira strikes a plea bargain and is sent to a psychiatric hospital for voluntary treatment. Dr. Richard Cassano is hesitant to treat her as schizophrenic, as she does not show the standard symptoms. As their sessions progress, Moira confesses there are two voices—and they aren’t voices in her head, but the voices of ghosts. Are they imaginary? Or are they actual spirits, attached to her for reasons of their own? As Moira’s doctor uncovers more of her past, he begins to realize that her ghosts are real. And one of them is determined to drag Moira into the afterlife with him.

My Review:
Moira is an intelligent, vibrant protagonist. As children, both her and her younger brother were both wards of the state. Hidden deep within her are stories of traumatic events from her youth; stories that lead to spiritual attachments. Now, she’s a professional architect who is troubled. When a door-to-door religious peddler comes to her door, her life is torn apart.

Moira finds herself committed in a mental hospital. She’s stuck in a tug-o-war with mental health professionals who feel she’s schizophrenic and needs medications, and those who actually believe she may be haunted by something evil. Moira’s brother, Liam, her foster mother Mom Adel and her therapist all push to get her early release and into the care of her brother.

Moira connects with another patient, and with his help, she attempts to purge her attachments.

I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read, entertaining, and well written. Clarissa is a strong author who weaves a fantastic storyline and creates believable characters. Her stories in the paranormal genre’ never disappoint.

You know it’s wonderful book when you’re still up at 5am reading until you’ve finished. I look forward to more books Clarissa Johal puts out. You will not be disappointed with Voices by Clarissa Johal.

Book Case #76 – Blazing Obsession

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Book and Author Details:
Blazing Obsession – Amazon
Blazing Obsession – Good Reads
Blazing Obsession – Matadour Publishing
Dai Henley Website

Description from Author (Shortened to fit blog):

How would you react if your wife, stepson and baby daughter were murdered in an arson attack and the arsonist was tried and acquitted on a technicality? How would you feel if DNA evidence proved the arsonist’s guilt, but the 800-year-old laws of double jeopardy meant that he couldn’t be retried?….

Blazing Obsession shows how powerful the emotions of revenge and obsession are, and how they can result in fatal consequences. The novel, which combines police procedural, legal drama and amateur sleuth genres, will appeal primarily to crime fans.

My Review:
This is a great book to pump blood back into my review blog. I was contacted by Matadour/Troubador  Publishing to read and review Blazing Obsession by Dai Henley. I am really glad I agreed to. This book had my heart pumping, hands trembling and mind reeling.  There’s just so much to take in with this book, and I’m so excited to have finished it, I don’t even know where to begin. I can tell you that my mind was active all night after finishing it. 

Blazing Obsession is broken into three parts. In the first part, we learn about James, the main character, and the courtship he pursues with Lynne. James is a successful, wealthy businessman who falls for the simple woman with a charming smile. Lynne brings to the relationship a child, Georgie, from a previous marriage. We learn about the struggles Lynne has with her ex-husband; the abusive, demanding, controlling Nick Burrows; father of Georgie.

Nick is obsessed with Lynne, determined that they will forever be together. He cannot handle the idea of Lynne dating anyone else. Hell breaks loose after Nick finds out Lynne is pregnant with James’ child. A kidnapping happens. A marriage happens. A birth of a beautiful baby girl happens….. and then the arson happens.

James’ whole family is taken out by an arson at their vacation home. The arsonist is left off on a technicality that sends James into a revengeful spiral. James, with the assistance of a Private Investigator and his wife’s best friend, Alisha, the begin to unravel the reality behind double jeopardy, a broken court system and the truth behind who murdered his family. 

There is such a HUGE TWIST in this book, that I did NOT see coming. Once the literary bomb hit, I could not put the book down. I was totally blindsided, I did not see it coming. But once it was released, and I was reading through the aftermath, so much more that was written in the book began to make sense. There’s a strong story within the story.

The strongest line, for me, in this whole book was near the end. “I realized all three of the men involved in relationships with Lynne were shaped by their attitude to revenge.” Ka-POW!! Right there people, is the book, story and review. Revengeful relationships.

The story is easy to read, and not overly complex. It flows incredibly well and the author did a fantastic job of keeping the reader’s attention. It’s a strong story with a fantastic road map full of rest stops called,  “Revenge”, “Obsession”, “Mystery”, “Anger and frustration”…. Such a fantastic story. 

Published: 28/11/2014
ISBN: 9781784620516
eISBN: 9781784627560
Format: Paperback/eBook

Book Case #71 – Better Left Buried

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*HONORABLE MENTION WINNER NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL 2014

Book and Author Details:
Better Left Buried on Good Reads
Better Left Buried on Amazon
Better Left Buried on Create Space
Belinda Frisch on Good Reads
Belinda Frisch’s Website

My Review:
I read Belinda Frisch’s, Strandville Zombie Series. I fell in love with her writing abilities in, “The Cure” and it’s been a great relationship since. She sent me a copy of, “Better Left Buried” and again I was not disappointed.

Harmony Wolcott could very well have been written after my childhood, teenage self. I really, maybe overly, related to her character. Jaded, burned by the system, uncaring mother, all of it. Her life starts to unravel after a suicide attempt. Her best friend, Brea, is trying to help her piece together the fragments of a memory that’s come forth in the form of a spirit energy trying to harm her.  With each thread of time that becomes untangled, Harmony’s security falls out from beneath her.

Bad boyfriend(s), waffling best friend, and a spirit that is trying to hurt her, and Harmony is cracking more and falling into a deeper dark abyss. Her mother abandoned her 14 yrs ago, when her father walked out of their life. Brea is trying hard to help Harmony with these struggles.

I recommend this book for anyone YA to Adult. Anyone who is into paranormal and main characters with attitude would love this book. Belinda is a fantastic, strong writer who does a kick ass job at pulling you in as a reader.

Any author that make me throw my book down and say, “SCREW YOU BELINDA!!!” at certain scenes within the book, and can evoke that emotion in a person, has a strong ability in their craft. I am looking forward to more from this book.

Description from Author:

It’s not just the house that’s haunted.

Harmony Wolcott has lived her entire life on the fringe, wishing more often than not that she could end it all. After a failed suicide attempt heightens her visibility in the Child Protective Services system, she has no choice but to hide the details about the home life she’s run from.

Adam, Harmony’s formerly homeless boyfriend, has learned to fend for himself. Despite a past he’s reluctant to talk about, Adam has risen above his circumstances and is trying to get Harmony to do the same.

Only loving someone so damaged isn’t easy.

A recurring nightmare chips away at Harmony’s facade of normalcy, reminding her of a time hidden so deep in her memory that it blurs the line between dream and reality. Convinced the nightmares are an otherworldly attempt at telling her something, Harmony employs the help of a spirit board and her best friend, Brea, to uncover a secret she’s kept, even from herself.

Brea, who is trying to piece together the mystery of why her father walked out on their family fourteen years earlier, knows it’s something to do with Harmony’s mother and a night no one is willing to talk about.

A tragic discovery threatens to unravel Harmony’s patched together life, dragging both Brea and Adam down with her and proving, with devastating consequences, that sometimes the past is better left buried.

 

Book Case #68 – Fear Alone

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Book and Author Details:
Author Jim Martin
Fear Alone on GoodReads
Fear Alone on Amazon

Description from Author:

After having been brutally attacked and left for dead by an abusive husband, Gillian Adams has made a full recovery and is only days away from moving across the country in search of a brighter future. In the sleepy town of Shadow Lake, however, things are not always what they seem, and an unexpected radio announcement reignites all of her darkest fears. Gillian knows her only chance for survival is to get out of town before it is too late. But outside, a storm is brewing, bringing with it a series of strange occurrences which threaten to unravel both her plans for the future and her very sanity as well. Shadow Lake, it would seem, has its own plans for Gillian, and she is about to discover that this day may not only be the most terrifying of her life, but also the deadliest.

My Review: *trigger warnings for domestic violence victims*
This is my second written work by Jim Martin that I have had a chance to read and review. As you recall from Book Case #18, “A Madman’s Song” I thoroughly enjoyed his work.

Fear Alone is a novella that is packed with so much intensity I feel like I held my breath from cover to cover.  I have to admit, it was somewhat hard to get through on a personal level. If you are, or have been, a victim of domestic violence, this may be a hard book to get through. Despite my personal reactions to some of the more intense scenes, this book is very well written.

Gillian, a survivor of a horrific event that almost took her life, discovers that the very person who did this to her has escaped prison. Knowing she was set to flee, she now felt the push to make it happen quicker. As her predator chases her, she chases time; eventually, someone is going to give up the chase.

What struck me the hardest was how poetically weaved the abuse, the build up and the ending creating a well written story. The battle within the few hours we tracked Gillian’s life was easy to relate too,  and believable.

For a quick, powerful read, check out Jim Martin’s “Fear Alone”. 

Book Case #45 – Broken

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Broken on Amazon – Will not be Released until Feb 2014

Book and Author Details:
Broken on Good Reads
Vanessa Skye – Author Website
Vanessa Skye on Publisher’s Site
Vanessa Sky – Facebook

Description from Author:

A mother is murdered in an apparent robbery.

A young woman is raped and beaten in a home invasion.

Chicago Detective Alicia “Berg” Raymond doesn’t believe in random crime and is certain both cases are more than they seem—but can she trust her instincts, or is she too distracted by the feelings she has for former partner and new boss? For Berg, the need for justice burns deep and fills the emptiness where therapy and relationships fall short.

She’s certain the husband knows more than he’s willing to admit, but the trap to catch the killer is the loophole that sets him free.

The rapist is caught and sent to prison, but when Berg gets closer to the family devastated by his depravity, their behavior doesn’t add up.

As Berg fights to prevent another murder, she crosses the line between hero and villain—and there’s no turning back.

My Review:

This book .. whoah.. THIS Book!

A little insight on the author of “Haunted Book Case”… I have been diagnosed with clinical depression/situational depression years ago. It is very important that I mention this prior to reviewing “Broken” by Vanessa Skye. . . as it is very pertinent to where my mind was just prior to starting this novel. I had a depression breakdown about a week before starting this book. Little did I know, when requesting this book for review from Net Galley, that I’d be reading a book that reflects my soul at current state. 

Biggest plus of this book was the creative use of song lyrics before the start of each chapter. So poignant, so stark, so dead on. The way the author writes about depression the lives within the main character is so gut twisting, I too found  myself hard to breathe. 

“Berg”, the main character, is an detective who  is so deeply whittled with wounds from childhood it literally incapacitates her every aspect of life: Living, Breathing, Loving and accepting Love, Communicating, Sleeping. She’s a wreck of a woman… She’s BROKEN. However, the pain and abuse from childhood makes her ONE HELL OF A DETECTIVE. Her senses are sharp. She sees things her male counterparts cannot. She has the highest closure rate on cases. 

However, your detective skills become questionable when she tries to juggle love and her heart, her past, a new partner that is relentless about sleeping with her, and an ADA who’s a total narcissistic bitch. The characters in the book as so well written you either hurt for them, hate them, or love them.

Vanessa Skye is a strong, poetic, articulate author. Broken is a second part novel, from the “Edge of Darkness” series. I have not read the first novel, “The Enemy Inside.” The author did a fine job of creating a second book that reading the first one is not required. This is a great stand alone book, which has areas of reflection into the first novel. I would love to read this book, as I’m highly attracted to the main character, her flaws and the author’s ability to bring it all to life.

I am so very impressed with this book. It gripped my innards and ripped them out, little by little, each time Vanessa wrote about the deep, sinking, killing feeling depression has on a person.

Negatives for Me

I was a little confused as to why we had two different murders as the plot outline. One murder, Em’s, would have been sufficient enough. The two murders did not tie into each other, but, I do understand that being a detective you are working various cases at once. It just made for too many plots. I understand that the compilation of various stressors were needed to show that Berg was cracked, and cracking further.

I was thoroughly shocked that the doctor Berg was seeing did not insist on medications to help level Berg out. If she was mandated to seek counseling from the CPD, she would probably need to be medicated as well.

One Final Note

Since this book was so well written about depression, I wanted to post a few things.

Depression is not a “Get over it” or “She’s just looking for sympathy” emotion. It’s a crippling mental health issue that has hard to get a grasp of.  There is “cure” only little band-aids that are used to prolong the “happy” moments a person with depression has. . .

http://www.pinterest.com/rebelregan/żoloft-junkie/

Some insights on depression in the link above.

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Book Case #42 – Desperate


Book and Author Details:
Desperate on Good Reads
Desperate on Amazon
Desperate on Facebook
Desperate on Smash Words
Author Christine Wilkinson’s Website

Description from Author:

A well-respected husband manipulates a small town into believing his abused wife causes her own injuries. Ten brutal years later, he murders her father and claims it was her during one of her violent rages. Having nothing left to lose, she escapes and finds refuge with a local cop whose secret could destroy her delicate trust in him, as well as her freedom. Will she be able to prove her innocence, and her husband’s guilt, before he finds her?

My Review:

So much to say about this book, both negative and positive. For the most part, this book was pretty good. This is author Christine Wilkinson’s debut novel, and not a bad one at that. It is creative with a great descriptive aspect and a solid suspense outline. She did well with keeping the reader tuned in and turning pages. I started the book last night with the intent of getting at least the first couple chapters at out of the way. I just kept turning pages. Somewhere around a quarter to 2am, I had reached the end. 

My first observation of the book is a possible reflection of the author. The details in the abuse (physical, emotional, verbal, and especially sexual) were so real and raw I hope that she did not write from a more personal point of view. This book definitely needs to come with *trigger* warnings!  It was really very real, from the abuse to the scars and damage done; both physical and emotional. The author captured the victim, Eris, so well as a real, viable victim.

Christine also did well at painting a sociopath, psychotic individual rather well too. I hated Eris’ husband from the first page he was written on.

The events that lead up to the deaths in the book, the twists and turns, gripped the reader’s view incredibly well. However, with that said, I have two negatives about the book.

Negative Impressions

First negative impression was that of a woman who suffered(s) 10 years of severe, crippling abuse who runs right into the arms of another man. I think even the author, Christine, might have sensed that about the book while she was writing it. There were numerous moments were she implied from Eris’ point of view, “What am I doing? Why am I so attracted to this man?” etc. I personally cannot see a horrifically abused woman less than 24 hours after her escape cling to the body warmth given by another man.

Well, wait.. I guess maybe I can. The main character was so starved for any compassion, love, kindness… I can see her slipping quickly into another relationship scenario.

Second negative impression stems from the first one; all the sexual interludes. I found myself skipping pages to just get through the sex scenes. I am not a prude. I do enjoy a tasteful, classy written sex scene, but not every other page. The middle of the book was a plethora of various sex scenes. I just found it awkward to read, because in the back of my mind I kept thinking, “No woman who escaped that kind of abuse would do this.”

But, then again… I guess I can see where she would. I think a few of the sex scenes were vital in the mental impression the author wanted to present Eris as. Sex is trust. Sex is giving and taking. The sex scene with Eris’ first orgasm was a crucial, imperative plot point for Eris.

Overall, this is a well written, very creative book. I want to thank the author, Christine Wilkinson, for sending an author review copy. It will forever have a home on my Haunted Book Case at home.

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Book Case #32 – Soft Targets

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Book and Author Details:
Soft Targets on Amazon
Soft Targets on Good Reads
Soft Targets on Net Galley
Author John Gilstrap
Author John Gilstrap’s Facebook
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.

Description from Author:

Four children’s lives hang in the balance. A vicious criminal is on the loose. With law enforcement at a dead end, there’s only one man who can recover the hostages–Jonathan Grave.

FBI Special Agent Irene Rivers is horrified to learn that because of mistakes made by agents under her command, a murderer and child molester will walk free. When Irene’s own daughters become the monster’s next targets, she reaches out in desperation to an elite Special Forces operator. His name is Jonathan Grave. For Grave, results matter more than procedures. Together, they discover a new kind of justice–and a new breed of evil. . .

My Review:

When I read a book for review, I try not to do too much research on it so it is an unbiased review. I do not read other reviews, the author’s website/facebook page, etc., until after I have finished reading, started notes on my review and begin pulling it together. That is why I am pleasantly surprised that my review follows along well with what the author had written on his facebook page:   It’s a novella–about one-third the length of my novels–and it tells the story of how Jonathan first came to work with Irene Rivers, long before she became the director of the FBI.” – John Gilstrap.

When I read this book, I was unaware it was a novella. As I finished the book I thought to myself, “Man, this would make the great beginning to a series of novels based on the two main characters.” I was excited to see that it was in fact a living, thriving series from John Gilstrap. 

With that said, this is definitely something I would enjoy. I am glad I was one of the few who had the chance to read the prequel of their lives before jumping into the series. I like having the back story. I like knowing what brought the individuals together, makes them tick, makes them a cohesive investigative unit. I am glad the author piqued my interest and left me eager for more. This novella, “Soft Targets” is a perfect segue into the heart of his passion: Jonathan Grave and Irene Rivers.

This novella is a fast paced, edge of seat sitting, “can’t get enough” story. John Gilstrap is a strong author when it comes to stirring emotions and building a story around them.

Irene Rivers is an FBI agent whose team botched up a major investigation and arrest of a pedophile. When her case hits her right in the heart, she has a quick decision to make: Uphold her shield as an agent or toss credentials to the side and stand up for her family. Any woman, any person with a child, thrown into the very same mix would find themselves with the hardest decision of their life. 
In steps Jonathan Graves, mysterious, knowledgeable and passionate followed by a gruff, giant of a side kick. He has the funds and the compassion to follow through, regardless of laws and regulations.

 This novella is wonderfully packed with tension, emotions, and the scum of society. I know for a fact it is a great advertisement to get me into buying or scoping out his other novels in the series.

 

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Book Case #29 – Accidental Exorcist

9577969Book is still available for free on Amazon right now. Click the book cover to take you to Amazon for your download.

Book and Author Details:
Joshua Graham’s Website
Joshua Graham on Facebook
Accidental Exorcist on Amazon

Accidental Exorcist on Good Reads

Description from Author:

When forensic psychiatrist Abigail Lee meets a baby-killing mother who has been declared criminally insane and acquitted, she discovers something lurking beneath the surface. Something far deeper and more insidious than mere psychopathy.

But can she come to terms with her own struggle with science and faith in time to confront it?

My Review:

I picked up this book on Amazon during a free download offer. I read the intro from the author and it piqued my interest. 

This was a short novella that I read in 20 minutes or so. However, it has the potential to be SO much more. As another reader mentioned in their review on Good Reads, I can see this either expanding into a full novel, or being created into a bunch of stories around the main character.

Abigail Lee, a forensic psychiatrist, not only discovers that science is not the answer for everything, but the strength of God within her.

I would love to see more stories with this character. I would love to see more stories where she meets something that is a struggle, and uses her Professor as a side kick. I would love to see his character expanded on.

They definitely could be a great mix like “Mulder and Scully” or the brothers on “Supernatural” but only in a religious/demonic fighting duo team.

For a quick read, this was well written and creative. It interested me enough to check out Joshua Graham‘s other “Accidental” book series.

Book Case #23 – Criminal Decisions

Criminal Decision

Book and Author Details:
Criminal Decision on GoodReads
Criminal Decision on Amazon
Jill Kramer’s Website

Description from Author:

Divorced mother Gina Seymour fights a corrupt family court to protect her three-year-old from abuse at the hands of the child’s wealthy and powerful grandfather.

Suspecting that her little girl is being molested when she spends the night at the grandfather’s house, Gina throws herself into a court battle to change the custody-sharing agreement. But the judge, in cahoots with the influential old man, believes she is fabricating the charges. Accusing Gina of “parental alienation,” he threatens to place the child in the hands of her alleged molester.

Despite having sworn off men since her disastrous marriage, Gina falls in love with Jack, an old schoolmate of her ex. Now she’s faced with a heartwrenching decision: if the justice system won’t ensure her daughter’s safety, she must leave Jack, break the law and take her little girl on the run.

My Review:
** Triggers **
Emotional and sexual abuse.
Bleak, stark, and disturbing, but an eye opener just the same. This book grabbed me by the guts, gripped tightly and never let go. This is not a book with “happy endings.” It is not a book of Hollywood/Media contrived thoughts and feelings of safety, security and the “good guys always win.” This book is real, raw, and very traumatic.  It reads like an episode of Law & Order: SVU, but even in those programs the good guy usually wins.

Gina has a three year old daughter who is being messed with by her wealthy, disgusting, slovenly grandfather. Gina has no money and no attorney to fight the attorney hired by the grandfather. This douche-bag, Ryan Cocker, is apart of the  Rancheria County Family Court and apart of the “FLEAS” (Family Law Elite Attorneys). Gina has no other option. She has never fought the courts for child support, but he does his best to make it seem like it’s a monetary greed on her behalf. He paints her as this horrible, gold-digger, ex-wife. She’s just a woman who’s trying to protect her daughter.

The most gut wrenching moment in the book that made me physically ill:

‘“Wait, Mommy, I’ll take off my pajamas.” Emily lifted her hips and pulled down her pajama bottoms.
“Why are you doing that, honey?”
“So we can play. I don’t like it with Pop-Pop, but I love you, Mommy.”
Struck speechless for a moment, Gina stifled a sob. “No, baby, no. Put your pajamas back on. We don’t play like that.”
She gathered Emily in her arms and held her close, silent tears running down her cheeks. All doubt was replaced by an iron resolve that now settled in the pit of her stomach.”

This sealed the decision to disappear with her daughter. Roller coaster ride of a book with both emotions and truths of our court system.  Jill Kramer, the author, does a fine job of adding in actual accounts of statistics surrounding real life court cases with abuse involved. Our Family Courts are corrupt, and have been for years. “Honorable” Judge Hannity is just as dirty as the rest of the “elite” lawyers he hob-nobs with. 

The ending of the book is harsh. It hurt to turn the last page. I was plagued with the ideas and thoughts that Emily would get to come home. I was hopeful, just as Gina was every time she stood before the judges, that her little girl would be safe. I was let down, just as Emily was throughout the book. I was left with thoughts of, “Is she going to turn out like Doree?”

Inspired by actual cases covered by award-winning journalist Jill Kramer, CRIMINAL DECISION exposes the tragic failings of family courts throughout the nation which mistakenly place thousands of children in the homes of their abusers.

Negative Aspect:
It’s all fine and good that both Gina and her ex-husband come from money. It is nice that she had the resources to disappear. But what about woman, and men, who are of a lower income fighting these very same battles?