Look Forward, Monthly Recap

Month at a Glance: August 2022

I haven’t written one of these in a long time. August was quite a busy month for me and I, unfortunately, didn’t get much reading done. Plus there was one week I got sick and didn’t have any motivation to read. But here is a glance at August 2022.

Books Read:

Ice Crown by Kay L. Moody- 2 stars
The Palace of Lost Memories by C.J. Archer- 3.5 stars
The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread by Richard Booker- 4 stars
Knox by Susan May Warren- 4 stars

Books DNF:

Dwindle by K.A. Gandy
Rafe by Kathy Ivan

Books that stuck out:

A funny story about the two books I am about to mention is due to the heroes of the stories. Even funnier the books are named after the hero.

Knox because the hero Knox knew boundaries and respected the heroine and understood why she was the way she was.

Now with Rafe, it has more to do with the author not properly educating herself on law enforcement. It wasn’t even anything that couldn’t be researched either. I don’t think I have had a book that made me rage like that in a while.

Books I look forward to:

Some upcoming books I plan on getting in next month are:

Rise by J.M. Kearl
The Designate by J.B. Cantwell
Between Ink and Shadows by Melissa Wright
Nobody Left Out by Michael Murray
He Healed Them All by Barry Bennett

Challenges:

Disney Challenge will be finished at the end of next month. I plan on doing a Fall challenge that will go through October and November. Then of course a Christmas challenge to end the year.

Hope yall have a blessed September.

Me being me!

Why I’m not active

Hey everyone, sorry this year I haven’t been as active as I was earlier in the year and last year. I haven’t announced it on here but I have a surprise.

I’m pregnant.

With this news, I am letting you know why I haven’t been active and won’t be for a while. I am seven months along and will not be active for a while. In the future, I may have more kids’ books on here. We will see what the future holds.

I hope you guys will have amazing holidays coming up and God bless!

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Not Cinderella’s Type by Jenni James

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 150
Series: Modern Fairy Tales #1
Genre: Contemporary, YA,
Published: March 29, 2017
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis:

Indy Zimmerman has a new stalker who won’t leave her alone, no matter what she says to him. Never mind the fact that he’s one of the most popular guys at school—she’s positive Bryant Bailey is only trying to appease his own conscience after pretty much destroying her life. But when Bryant doesn’t back down and insists on having some sort of bizarre friendship with her, his magic works, and her walls slowly start to crumble. He’s not her type. She’s never been into guys like Bryant, but then again, she’s never really known anyone quite as stubborn, or caring, or who can get her to confess stuff she wouldn’t even tell her best friend.

Review:

To start off with the truth, I didn’t know this was a book. I have seen the movie on PureFlix and I actually like it. It’s a high school girl who doesn’t quite know what is happening until Bryant Bailey comes on the scene. Now fair warning while on Goodreads this is listed under abuse, it is emotional abuse. No physical abuse happens.

Bryant keeps asking Indy if she will forgive him for ruining her life. While she says no because she thinks he is just wanting to soothe his ego, she finds out they actually have more in common than she thinks. Bryan gets Indy. He actually gets her. He can guess things that even her best friend for three years never could guess let alone get Indy to confess. As Indy finds a new direction in her life she has to choose if she wants to stay hidden or actually experience the world.

Bryant is much different from the movie. Of course. In this, he is dark-haired and dark-eyed. In the movie he is completely opposite. But personality, I feel like he has more depth in the book. Not surprising at all. Both him and Indy were deeper. The conversations were deeper and it feels like they got connected better in the book than in the movie. The movie left out certain details that got the connection between the two. Maxton was okay. He wasn’t my favorite in the movie and nothing has changed at that. He is in wrestling than soccer. But I will say the movie gives him a bit more credit at a certain point than the book does. I can’t say or else I would spoil it.

Also some other changes were that instead of an attic room, she had a basement room. The stepsisters aren’t actually mean to her in the movie just the aunt and uncle. They tend to forget about her. Bryant has three sisters in the book instead of two. We get more of a feel for Bryant and his dad. But with this book being just Indy’s POV I understand that we won’t get everything we did in the movie.

One thing I absolutely love about the book is that Bryant’s dad is a psychiatrist and he tells Bryant he has to wait to date Indy until she has time to heal. I love that. This way they won’t jump in so quickly and it be a hero complex.

I would say I like the book and the movie about the same. What I didn’t like in the movie the book made up for and what I didn’t like in the book the movie made up for. So it’s a win-win.

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Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry

My edition: Audio
Time: 26 hours and 29 minutes
Stand alone
Genre: Non-Fiction, True Crime
Published: Sept. 13, 2011
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider’s position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.

Review:

I always knew Charles Manson was insane, but I had no idea the full extent of it.

Helter Skelter took me into a deeper look into the murders and the motive behind Manson. I learned quite an abundance about him and the family. For one thing I didn’t know before this was that Manson tried to start a race war with the murders. I knew he was a racist but I didn’t know about that part of the motive behind the murders.

Now on the book itself I was kept interested until halfway through part six. That is when I started to loose interest. Twenty-six hours is quite a long time and while listening to this while working when I wasn’t with customers, I really found it quite hard to follow along once the trial was finished and they were going for the death penalty. Which ended up being a waste of time because the State of California did away with the death penalty. Now they are all doing life expect Susan Atkins who died in 2009 and Charlie Manson who died in 2017. Epilogue made this feel like it was longer than it was. I just wanted it to end by then. I wasn’t fully invested at that point let alone half.

I can see why some people would want to know about the Manson Family and about the murders, but I don’t quite understand the full gravitational pull Manson had on people. Quite frankly the man gives me the willies along with the girls. It is quite sad that none felt remorse (Whether now if they are remorseful I don’t know.) for what they had done and how easily they turned on one another once found that other members, who were trying to get out, was going to testify.

I may read a few more books but I don’t know if I will ever get into the hype of learning all there is to know about the Manson Family or about Charlie. While I do like reading about cults and cult leaders, after this Manson is not as exciting as he sounded. Instead of just charisma alone to control his members he actually used drugs to help his control. Not normally the kind of cult leaders I like to learn about.

Now I can officially cross this off my ever growing TBR list. Any recommendations on books to read about cults?

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The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

My edition: Kindle owned
Pages: 315
Stand alone
Genre: Classics, Historical fiction
Publish: Nov 8, 2001
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come. 

Review:

I have been putting this book off for years. It’s a classic. Much hype comes with classics. I remember watching the movie a long time ago. But push comes to shove and one must simply fall down the rabbit hole at some point.

Standing there, I loved myself and I hated myself. That’s what the black Mary did to me, made me feel my glory and my shame at the same time.

I had thought to keep this one on the shelf until October for one of my challenge points, but in searching for a book to read I decided to go all the way to the bottom of my kindle sorted under unread recent. This gem sat there at the bottom. The oldest unread book I had on my kindle because if we looked at my bookshelf it wouldn’t even be close to the oldest.

At first this book started out great for me, but I slowly got burned out. I just stopped caring on what happened at the end. I didn’t feel much emotion when reading. I scooted along with this coming of age that kind of feels out dated. Nothing really connected with me. Maybe I’m too young to know references but then again I wasn’t fully invested.

Big hype books are hard for me because most times I tend to fall on the dislike side then the liked/loved side. The good news though is I finally get to say I read this book and finished it.

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The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story by Patricia Posner

My edition: Kindle
Pages: 257
Stand-alone
Genre: Non-fiction, WWII, Holocaust
Publish: January 18, 2017
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis:

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is the little known story of Victor Capesius, a Bayer pharmaceutical salesman from Romania who, at the age of 35, joined the Nazi SS in 1943 and quickly became the chief pharmacist at the largest death camp, Auschwitz. Based in part on previously classified documents, Patricia Posner exposes Capesius’s reign of terror at the camp, his escape from justice, fueled in part by his theft of gold ripped from the mouths of corpses, and how a handful of courageous survivors and a single brave prosecutor finally brought him to trial for murder twenty years after the end of the war.

The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is much more, though, than a personal account of Capesius. It provides a spellbinding glimpse inside the devil’s pact made between the Nazis and Germany’s largest conglomerate, I.G. Farben, and its Bayer pharmaceutical subsidiary. The story is one of murder and greed with its roots in the dark heart of the Holocaust. It is told through Nazi henchmen and industrialists turned war criminals, intelligence agents and zealous prosecutors, and intrepid concentration camp survivors and Nazi hunters.

Set against a backdrop ranging from Hitler’s war to conquer Europe to the Final Solution to postwar Germany’s tormented efforts to confront its dark past, Posner shows the appalling depths to which ordinary men descend when they are unrestrained by conscience or any sense of morality. The Pharmacist of Auschwitz is a moving saga that lingers long after the final page.

Review:

Real power, however, was the ability to sometimes play God, to spare a life, even if it was only a temporary and brutal respite from the gas chamber.

For those who have seen one of my reviews on a WWII or Holocaust book, you know I grew up learning about this time period more than any other. My grandpa, my dad, and my brother are history buffs. Their specialty you wonder… WWII and the Holocaust. I have known about one of the world’s most horrific events since I was very little. I can’t even remember what age I started to learn about it.

Unlike the men in my family, I haven’t delve much into the subject, though I do have the curiosity but sometimes not the heart to learn of such horror. This book brought to my attention several little details about the Holocaust I didn’t know about. I seriously wish my grandpa and dad were here today so I can pick their brains on such of the subject matter.

The book is mostly about Victor Capesius. But it gave more of insight of the pharmaceutical company I. G. Farben and their involvement in the concentration camps, Auschwitz (I), Birkenau (Auschwitz II), and Monowitz (Auschwitz III).

Among this, the book also addressed a thought that had never crossed my mind before. When the Jews came to the ramp to be selected, they may know the guards or doctors (in this case) on a personal level. That before the war they may have done business or hung out with the guard or doctor. Such was the case for Gisela Bohm and her daughter Ella.

Ella had fond memories of Capesius from when she was twelve and her father had introduced him to her as her “pharmacist uncle.” He had given her a Bayer notepad as a gift.

Not all Germans who worked at the camp agreed with what was going on. Dr. Adolf Kromer was one, who became more depressed the longer he worked at the camp.

“Your eyes will pop out of your heads, this is Sodom and Gomorrah,” Krömer warned Capesius. “The inferno in the underworld is nothing compared to this.”

He was killed for such thoughts.

That is not to suggest that those who were unhappy at being posted to Auschwitz did anything less than their full duty in helping to murder millions of innocent civilians.

Capesius denied having involvement with Zyklon B, the pesticide that was used in the gas chambers. Many witnesses though proved him wrong by placing him as the pharmacist that gave the order to gas prisoners.

After the war he would claim that “the horrible things” he had seen at the camp were “depressing, it makes you want to vomit. You feel like you will puke any second. At first. Then you get used to it.”

Capesius and men like him took from the belonging s of the Jews arriving. The SS made prisoners extract gold teeth from the dead to be melted into golden bars. Human life did not matter if it belonged to a Jew in Auschwitz.

Out of the many concentration camps the SS had operating, Auschwitz was the number one killing machine.

ultimately 1.1 million of the 1.5 million deported to Auschwitz died immediately.

Whether denying medications to inmates was a sadistic strategy or simply a result of making the SS personnel his top priority, what is indisputable is that many prisoners who were not immediately gassed died from treatable illnesses.

Though by the beginning of 1945, the Allies were winning and Germany started to fall.

Despite their furious last ditch efforts, the Final Solution at Auschwitz had been so grand it proved impossible for the Nazis to destroy all incriminating evidence before fleeing.

God always has a way of bringing to light evil. This was one of those times. While the Nazis tried to get rid of the heinous crime they committed against human beings, they couldn’t. Their sins finally caught up to them.

Capesius was detained by the British, but they let him go. But later an inmate from Auschwitz recognized him and turned him into the U.S. He continued with his lies until finally admitting hours later that he was at Auschwitz and he worked for the SS. Capesius was acquitted of war crimes twice. He later opened his own pharmacy and started a new life. But that would all change in 1959, when he was arrested and a further investigation was conducted.

During the trial Capesius acted oddly. Many times he would smile or laugh when witnesses told testimonies or gave weird answers when asked what he had to say against the crimes he was being accused.

August 19, 1965 Victor Capesius was sentenced to nine years in jail for aiding and abetting murder, for his crimes at Auschwitz.

How much emotional brutality, what devilish sadism, what merciless cynicism must it take to act in the way that this monster acted.

While I cannot be the ultimate judge for Capesius, as that is God’s job, I still think many got away with less than what they deserved. As for the book, I really got tired after thirty percent. I’m not much of a fan of non-fiction. Trying to get through a non-fiction for me is like pulling teeth. I didn’t want to throw this on the get to later pile though. I felt that the victims of the Holocaust deserve to be heard and that the crimes of the Nazis need to be taught or lest history repeats itself.

If you are into non-fiction and can read through dry history, I highly recommend, but if you don’t like reading history in dull essay form, stay far away.

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Awkward by Marni Bates

My Edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 259
Series: Smith High #1
Genre: YA, High School, Romance
Publish: Dec. 27th, 2011
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:

I’m Mackenzie Wellesley, and I’ve spent my life avoiding the spotlight. But that was four million hits ago…

Blame it on that grade school ballet recital, when I tripped and pulled the curtain down, only to reveal my father kissing my dance instructor. At Smith High, I’m doing a pretty good job of being the awkward freshman people only notice when they need help with homework. Until I send a burly football player flying with my massive backpack, and make a disastrous–not to mention unwelcome–attempt at CPR. Just when I think it’s time for home schooling, the whole fiasco explodes on Youtube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, I’m the latest sensation, sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes. I even catch the eye of the most popular guy at school. That’s when life gets really interesting… 

Review:

Mackenzie had a normal life. She tutored a hockey star, helped anyone with homework, oh, and she’s a klutz.

An unfortunate incident happened and it just so been Mackenzie’s luck that it got filmed and put on Youtube.

Now pushed into internet stardom Mackenzie is trying to navigate how to be famous and not lose herself completely in the fame.

Mackenzie was hard for me to like in a way. She had a quirk and she tended to babble. After halfway through the babble started to get annoying. Some of the things that happened it the book didn’t overall feel like the story was connecting.

I didn’t quite feel the connection of Logan and Mackenzie. Or Mackenzie with anyone really.

I liked the plot. Just wish it was more detail in certain areas.

Me being me!

Well…

Okay I know I said I was going to be on here more this year and I haven’t been doing that.

Well the reason is… Wy and I finally set a date for our wedding. I am doing a lot of the wedding decorations and stuff on my own. I am a bit behind on everything.

I won’t be taking any ARCs as of right now.

Trying to get through my TBR 2019 Challenge has slowed way down. Hopefully I can start getting on here a little bit more in the future to do fun blog posts. For right now I will be just posting reviews.

Me being me!

TBR List

As I have mentioned in many posts this past month, that I have been reading my TBR from A-Z by author last name. Well I think I will change that.

I don’t know if I can last on that, so my new proposal/challenge to myself is reading books only on my TBR list. I can’t read anything else but the 836 books that are on my Goodreads list.

Now if I will make an exception on series. I don’t add a complete series to my TBR just in case I DNF the series. When I start a series I will finish the series unless I end up not liking it.

Wish me luck.