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manicdanie

BookWormed

I love reading books from many different genres.

Currently reading

Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder
Steve Hodel
Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three
Mara Leveritt

The Advent of Netflix Like Book Apps Monthly Book Clubs: Scribd.com and OysterBooks.com

To find out more about me and WHO I am you can find my website @

 

http://bipolarqueen.me/

 

 

 

 

Like many college students I had encountered Scribd.com a few years ago as mostly a place where papers and sometimes illegal copies of PDF books were uploaded.  On in the last days of April for some strange reason I ended up back on Scribd.com and found it changed.  It had become what I had been hoping and praying to the book and literature Gods and Goddesses GoogleBooks would (as it was trying) to become but never did.  

 

For a monthly fee at Scribd.com you can read any book in their collection.  You get a free month to try it out. I did.  I loved it  I got to read books without buying them and being disappointed.  Little did I know however in the Apple Platform on Download in Itunes (as well as like Scribd) you can read from any web browser.  

 

I haven't had a chance to try oysterbooks.com yet.  

 

But I have been trying Scribd out. I have found myself LOVING it actually.  A lot of us bookworms are totally against the eradication of paper books.  I was too.  But thenI got the first Kindle Tablet in color as a gift.  I always said in a haughty tone I'd never buy one of those E-readers that for 100 or often more have one functionality.  Then I was given the first Kindle that did apps, had documents, email.  A very low functioning Tablet?  Yes.  But the price wasn't bad.  And my passion is reading and occasionally wasting time on stupid apps.  So I backed down from my calls of injustice on this new technology and realized something.  E-readers, were PC compatible with Apps on PCs and Macs.  This means books become more accessible via the internet.  That is actually a good and beautiful thing.  So I fell in love with my Kindle.

 

At the start, there were still many books you couldn't get in Kindle format.  But I still began a love affair with my Kindle.  I even ended up buying the Kindle HD and I actually after that WON another Kindle HD from some contest being held I just entered.  So my huband and I both had them then.  My husband isn't much of a reader but the apps, are his time wasting favorites.  

 

Between the first Kindle coming out that Xmas to the last week of April my Kindle PC app says I have purchased over 400 books.  As time went on and the competition between the Nook and Kindle heated up ebooks became cheaper than new hardbacks.  And about the same as paperbacks.  The pay off, you got them instantly.  My love affair with my Kindle has been wilting for a while now.  First off, it doesn't keep the charge it says it does.  I can't add memory or add docs with a flash.  I'm constricted by Amazon.  So I said,the next time I'm in the market for a tablet of any kind I'm going to get a different Android based tablet.  Mostly for th extra functionality plus I could easily download the Kindle App and my books.  

 

Then came Scribd. I found Scribd.  And I though before I looked it over it wouldn't have any worthwhile books.  I mean this was the dream GoogleBooks was trying to put together but publishers and the like cried and bitched as if was the worst thing to ever happen in publishing. Then I looked around on the book list and saw that a very significant portion of the books I bough over the past few years and even recently, were on offer right there for a monthly fee on scribd.   That was it.  I was getting a new Tablet when the time came for sure.  Scribd had apps but I didn't see any for Kindle.  But then about a week ago, I found one for Kindle. Okay! I thought I suppose hope springs eternal. The app pretty much sucks.  Every book I try to read comes up blank so I end up using the web feature on the kindle to do what I should do with the app.  And I did realize a few things I missed in reading on Scribd from Kindle.  I love highlighting passages in diffrent colors (blush) and posting them on Facebook and/or Twitter.  I'm a book geek like that.  

 

But you just can't beat the price for a library of books.  And I searched Google to see if any other of these type of 'book clubs' existed.  At the time I didn't get any results.  But I stil thought it was spectactular.  Then a few hours ago I found Oysterbooks.com which seem to be only for Apple products on the App level.  However, work in browser form for those of us with PC laptops and probably web android features.   

 

I haven't had time to fully investigate my equally free month with Oysterbooks.com quite yet which means I will be updating this.  Is one better than the other? Are they the same? Scribd claims to have over 400,000 books on offer.  Oysterbooks.com claims 500,000.  Well you know they may be the same books.  Or some that I couldn't find but searched for on Scribd might be on OysterBooks.  I'm going to find out.  I am definitely a fan of Android.  So that throws a wrench off the bat in my OysterBooks ambitions.  But hopefully they will as they grow to get a wider audience adjust and maybe, just maybe blow me away so much that it won't matter anyway.  I can use the web feaure on my kindle and whatever tablet I get if decide t keep OysterBooks.com.  We'll just have to see if they have on offer a different selection of books.  And if they are different in other ways.  I will update my findings after a month.  Only because I have been using Scribd a month and it seems fair to use Oysterbooks that same length of time before coming up with any judgements. 

 

To find out more about me and WHO I am you can find my website @

 

http://bipolarqueen.me/

Changling Troll Nightmare

The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer - William J. Birnes, Robert D. Keppel, Gary Leon Ridgway, Ann Rule

I thought it was a good book. A good addition to the Canon on Ted Bundy. A study on the scariest serial killer ever who had NO inhibitions about going into a young coeds room filled with roommates and steal her from her bed fate whacking her in the head... carrying her out the front door wrapped in her sheet with no one in the house noticing or hearing a thing. That is supremely horrifying. his thoughts on his "river man" says a lot about serial killers & Bundy himself even if he wasn't aware of it. He admits to his slayings as himself doing itfor the first time, maybe really only time inrint in person to this police detective.

 

I think the highlight of this book is Ted Bundy's conversations.  "Insights" if you will.  Truthfully the most compelling interesting parts are on Ted's own talks to Keppel.  Don't get me wrong, as a True Crime reader it was incredibly fascinating to read the story from his point of view.  Then delve into the "Riverman".  But certainly the most compelling figure are the words, thoughts, and what not of the most terrifying changling troll to have existed from my father's generation.  This man, single handedly is a horror story of unbelievable proportions.  The reason I read so much on him is the brazen abuctions.  The charm it had to have taken to take women feet from others.  In Linda Healy's case, he stole her out of her room.  Where we are supposed to be the safest and snuggest.  She wasn't living alone, no there were many roommates.  In fact one slept in the room nextdoor with a very thin partrition. Yet he had the nerve to do what he did.  And even more amazing no one noticed a thing.  The other is GeorgeAnn Hawkins on outside of her house just talking to a male friend in the U district!  Anyone could have at the right moment stole a look out a window on that fateful party night. Or passed by.  Yet he was able to carry her off too! His signature was the horrific daring he employed in the capture of his victims.  He seemed to enjoy pulling off what should have been impossible crimes.  He carried out plenty of crimes that were opportunistic on people like hitchhikers but one senses he carried an extra thrill from pulling off what should have had him caught by eyewitness (and in the end, his arrogance did just that at his double murder at Lake Sam).  Each victim was trolled by a callous predator playing a game of life and death built on the fantasy in his head.  The astonishing part was he pulled these off brazenly till 20, 30, MORE?---young women were dead.  He is a horror story who makes you look twice at anybody who needs help. Makes you double check your windows and locks. The reason why Ted Bundy is probably the Jack the Ripper of our age is purely because of the evil cunning employed.  There wasn't any mystery in the end.  We got the horrible monster.  Yet what he did was horrible.  And then HOW he did it somehow even exceeded sensible thinking.  Really, in a way of reverse psychology maybe that is how he pulled it off.  Surely no creep would try something in such places, right?  Wrong.  Ted Bundy was diaobical enough to do just that.  As a holder of a Bachelor's degree in Psychology he was in some ways insightful to himself.  But it did in the most twisted way make him even more insightful to those creatures like him.  Yes, he could see himself as a Hannibal Lector Erudite. But the truth was, his only accomplishments were in despicable feats of human destruction.  The only people who could appreciate him on that level in his own mind were below him.  A man who could have so many things but decided to destroy lives in schemes a movie script or book would be rejected for (before his existence was known) would be thrown out.  THAT is what makes him unique.  And for all the wrong, disgusting reasons when you contrast it with the what he could have done with his keen intellect and all consuming ambition if it hadn't be entirely focused on murdering young beautiful girls.  Even little girls... his youngest victim was indeed I believe 12 in Floridia but I could be off.

SPOILER ALERT!

Cries Unheard... Until it was too late.

Cries Unheard: Why Children Kill: The Story of Mary Bell - Gitta Sereny

When this book was first released, it created a massive controversy over criminals profiting from their crimes in the nation where this story really happened: Britain.  I can only surmise that those whom so vigorously felt that way didn't even read the book.  Not long ago, I got my hands on a first edition American Version of the book published in 1999 from a thrift store.  

 

This book is the horrific story of tragedy.  When a child of barely 11 years old strangles two young boys between the ages of 3-4 the mob mentality kicked in.  Everyone rushed to put away the monstrous little girl who could do such vile acts without ever thinking or asking what on earth caused this child to act out in this way?  Instead she became a living incarnate of the "Bad Seed".  A child simply born evil.  

 

The Book Cries Unheard by Gitta Sereny looks at the entire picture of the phenomenon that is Mary Bell, who is often billed as the world's youngest serial killer.  A misnomer if there ever was one since Mary Bell was released in 1980 and has never re-offended in the slightest way while it is a fact true serial murderers are incapable of stopping (often knowing they under police surveillance...or at least suspicion).  

 

This was one of the best books I've ever read on the subject of child murder and child murderers.  The author gives us a full biographical account of the child's life into womanhood.  In the case of Mary Bell, to know what happened in her young life to lead her to act out the way she did is essential to understanding why and how she ended up killing two young boys.  Some children have hellish childhoods and are able to cope.  They go on and live reasonably normal lives.  When children murder (in the WAY) Mary Bell did, you can't look at a child who doesn't have the capacity to fully understand what it was they did as you would even a child a few years older.  We all know maturity and understanding grows in leaps and bounds in those years.  

 

This book was incredible with its indictment on the system.  The system failed Mary Bell and through that failed her victims.  Starting as a baby she suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of her mother.  Her mother Betty had tried to give her away to strangers but refused to allow her more stable family members adopt her. Betty worked as a prostitute from possibly even before Mary was born.  She specialized in giving her clients unique 'experiences'.  Some of those were her being a dominatrix and forcing her young daughter to have oral sex with her clients.  Also allowing her to get beat during these sessions.  In fact her mother practiced Erotic Asphyxiation on her clients till they passed out in Mary's presence while also subjecting her to the same strangling that would cause her to lose consciousness.  This left Mary with a belief that when you strangle someone to the point of losing consciousness, they will wake up as she had and seen others do countless times!

 

The end point of this abuse dovetails with what a young girl did, to two boys younger and weaker than herself.  It is completely probable that as she strangled these boys she didn't understand she was killing them.  She had been subjected to the same strangling where she woke back up.  But there is something else that culminated in these murders.  A young girl had been acting out for months begging for attention so someone would take her away from her mother.  No one noticed until they finally realized she killed two young boys.  By that time nobody cared that in the most final and horrific way she was seeking attention to get away!  No one labeled her mother what she was: a sexual abuser who prostituted her own daughter, drugged her in the presence of other people by mixing sedatives with her candy, physically abusive!  Mary was the bad seed with no one realizing she was reacting to the home she had to grow up in.  

 

None of this absolves of her or excuses her crimes.  The child needed to be put into a mental institution to get help for the trauma she was subjected to rather put into a reformatory school till she was 16 that indeed CHANGED her life, making her a better human being (all that needed to be done was for them to take her mother away and replace a stable set of individuals to teach the maturing girl how to behave in society 11-16).  But throwing a 16 year old with her trauma into a women's prison was vengeance on behalf of a world that couldn't see Mary Bell wasn't BORN evil, nor inherently evil at all!!  In fact she was created.  Prison could have totally regressed her.  Luckily those years in an also unsuitable Reformatory School taught her how to live correctly as a good person.

 

So you see this story is controversial for many, many reasons.  It cuts open for the world to see what happens when someone like Mary at such a young an age commits the ultimate crime how unprepared we truly are to handle it as a society-- be it Britain or the USA.  Something happened to these children to cause them to act this way and we should be exceptionally thankful that the murderous reaction to unbearably inhuman abuse by children is rare (at least while they are STILL children.)  These factors are common in the childhoods of real serial killers.  But this is why I don't consider Mary a 'serial killer' in the truest sense since true ones are like sharks that can never stop devouring.  Mary needed structure, then she needed help to move on with her life.  If somehow at 11 years old she had some sort of murderous impulse, it wasn't like what we see with male or female serial killers the world over who lose control of those impulses at some point or another.  For Mary, it stopped being an issue once she left the custody of extremely abusive mother.  

 

The book is debated ethically for many reasons.  One being Mary Bell was paid for participation.  I understand the anger of the victims family's.  At the same time it is hard for me personally to see Mary Bell getting paid for her painful, excruciatingly abusive life that culminated in the murders of two young boys as on the level of a callous murderer looking to profit off what he did.  There is nothing in common in this book with say Ian Brady's arrogant "Gates of Janus" where he in a Ted Bundy arrogance tries to tell the world who he is as such an incredible expert in serial murder.  

 

Cries Unheard is an astoundingly poignant book that rips open the tragedy that befell everyone involved.  In order to understand it, you had to know... you had to have the details from Mary Bell herself. She opened herself to examination is ways few of us would dare even without her past.  Yet Mary's story is vitally important for understanding what causes children to kill (and if they grow up without intervention...reveals the personal horrors driving them).  Maybe the saddest part of all is in order for Mary to end her abuse, she had to commit soul ripping acts of horror herself to get the attention she had been trying to get for a long time acting out.  In fact she may have aggressively, been reenacting the erotic asphyxiation that she witnessed her mother perform on clients and was performed on her.  

 

Mary has grown up into a rather normal woman no doubt to being taken away from her mother's influences (as much as possible, her mother used the press to further her daughters image as evil murder for money while in reformatory and prison--she was never above USING her own child.  Especially since no one called her out as the creator, except the author of this book and a book on the case before it).  Mary has now become a grandmother!  She has never done ANYTHING illegal again (she is on a strict parole for life).  

 

I think before people damn this book they should read it.  I found myself aching for two little boys who paid the price for Mary's mothers sins. And maybe for the failure of society to help them all.

 

The only part of the book that I didn't particularly care for were the author's 'solutions' to this problem of abuse that results in these acts of murder.  In her view all children should be given over to the government for raising so parents just can't have the opportunity to commit vile acts of abuse.  While it is true no one can really understand what goes on behind their neighbor's closed doors...  The answer is not allowing the state to have control.  The fact of the matter is most of the time family's love their offspring and make mistakes.  You open up the can of worms that an UNLOVING institutional government agency can do better than the majority of parents is not only naive, it's stupid.  We have to believe in the sanctity of family.  The issue is reporting.  In the book the author often sites that lots of people KNEW Mary Bell wasn't being treated well even if they didn't know the full extent.  An abusive mother who is a prostitute, I think it's perfectly fine to report that situation to the authorities.  Especially when the woman's family closes ranks behind her trying to hide her shortcomings and even abuses.  Regardless of how totally niave and unrealistic the author's conclusions are on how to handle children with troubled backgrounds the book is amazing.  And more amazing because in the end the young girl, at the center of it all made a recovery into the integration back into society.  It will just never cease to hurt ones heart what had to happen for someone to take notice of the tragedy brewing until it was spilling over in the streets of her neighborhood.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Bartimaeus 3-book boxed set - Jonathan Stroud

Upon reading the cover and the first few pages I thought this was a knock off Harry Potter.  But first impressions are often wrong--and I was so wrong that I find it funny now!  Reading this book I fell in love with a sassy mid-level Djinni named Bartimaeus.  I never thought I'd ever be able to see lovable in a demon character (fiction or nonfiction)! I found the book enchanting, engaging and interesting.  It was a surprising mix of themes.  You could see parts of the book being inspired by 1984 where the elite were 'magicians' or people who used demons as magical slaves over their proletariat masses. Interestingly the world was crafted so layered, imaginatively, and well thought out-- that it included a seemingly modern world that lacked most modern advances of our actual civilization because the elites stifled innovation by using their supernatural and dangerous slaves as work force instead of relying on human innovation.  It is a unique concept written plausibly to a logical conclusion in the world written.  I really enjoyed the story! 

Fablehaven: The Complete Series by Brandon Mull; Read on November 22, 2012 and in April 2013

Fablehaven: Complete Set (Boxed Set): Fablehaven; Rise of the Evening Star; Grip of the Shadow Plague; Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary; Keys to the Demon Prison (Fablehaven, #1-5) - Brandon Mull, Brandon Dorman

What do I want to say since this finishing, this amazing series? I'm in love with Fablehaven. I want to go live on a preserve. I wish I was fairy kind or at least fairy struck!! I want to know a Unicorn's avatar! This series was really one of the most UNIQUE tales I've ever read and I'm sorry for it to be the end.<br/><br/>First set of books full of magic and the struggle of light and dark in the book sections of Young Adult/Fantasy that have literally captured my heart and riled my imagination to splendorous new heights since I finished reading THE HARRY POTTER SERIES BY MS. J.K. ROWLING.<br/>This series is meant for a younger set of readers. YES. The series stays in the level of 9-12 through all 5 books. BUT I still am in love with it. It is has become among the second of my all time favorite YOUNG ADULT FANTASY SERIES. I don't if it is exactly second to tell you truth. It actually may enter a co-first spot with my dearest series ever, Harry Potter.<br/>Mr. Brandon Mull, like my other favorite author you have a skill of not just weaving a wonderful tale through several books. At times just like in Ms. Rowling's fantasy books, the words you wrote are the REAL and PUREST magic the world can ever expect to know! Mr. Mull, you are the second writer to do this to my eyes. Your imagination is full of folktales, myths and legends with a side of ancient history all used and twisted to make them your own. Your imagination is full of humor, depth, and an appealing charm I can't shake off. I'm reading your Fablehaven Series. I've rarely been so completely enthralled. Every single time I read begin reading I am transported to the dimension where Kendra and Seth live. I feel like a stowaway in on there adventures. Oddly enough I am sort of like Bubda. An inveterate hermit (though hopefully not a bit "trollish" But I suppose it would depend on WHO you ask.) whom loves books. I have a particular love Young Adult Fiction. Maybe that is because when I was a Young Adult I was too busy reading books much too grown up for my age. And now that I am 31, with all those very real grown up responsibilities....it feels good to read Young Adult Books on occasion to go to worlds of fantasy.<br/>It's incredible really. I'm done with my Kindle version of Fablehaven: The Complete Series (Fablehaven #1-5) and just like when I began the Deathly Hallows, I'm a little sad...and dragging the book out. I'm SAVORING the last book because you may never write another book about Fablehaven. And it's your choice never to write about that wondrous world again. But I honestly think it would be a worthy endeavor. So would many of your young fans (and "older" like me alike).

SPOILER ALERT!

READ: October 20, 2013; Divergent: Book 3 Allegiant (2013) by Veronica Roth

Allegiant  - Veronica Roth

I liked the first two in the Trilogy. I don't know what I hated more about this book. Was it the sloppy explanation of what was beyond the fence? The over complication of Genetically Pure people and Genetically Damaged people? Maybe this complication could have worked had the author thought out the plot, story continuity, and scenario fully. Instead we were given this ridiculous ending to what had been a really good book series. The sex scene between Tris and Four read like a horrible True Romance magazine. Characters like Four's mother suddenly changed her entire character for her son's love. If it had been that simple, why didn't she kidnap him from his abusive father? What is worse, being factionless or being tortured? Then Four's father just leaves even though he has a history of being an aggressive tyrant in his home and love of power in the public? It seemed as if the author was sloppily trying to tie up lose ends. Nothing compares to the end. I could have withstood Tris dying. I expected it from the moment I began to read TWO perspectives in the book. I knew for certain she was dying after her and Four had sex. It just doesn't tend to happen in YA books. For them to allow her to put in one of the worst written romantic love making scenes I've ever had the misfortune to read, I knew the main character Tris was dead. However what stunned me was the undignified manner in which it happened. For crying out loud the sex scene had more poise in its thought and writing. I think at times the author highlighted how the three books took place in a short space of time. It wasn't the lead up for years or even one whole year. At the end of this story we had a 16 year old girl in terrible grief over her parents dying by protecting her (a noble, good and generally right thing for any parent to do for any of their children) and then the loss of her last remaining living family member--her brother through his base treachery (THAT WAS NEVER ADEQUATELY EXPLAINED TO MAKE HIM IN ANY FORM FORGIVABLE OR REDEEMABLE A FIGURE. ALL HE COULD DO WAS OFFER THAT THE LEADER OF ERUDITE WAS CONVINCINGLY MANIPULATIVE. I'm reaching for manipulative because he never explains exactly what on earth that woman could have told him to make him betray his entire family and his values for her cause.) was in a way lost to her as well. In the short space of time the story takes place Tris is always a 16 year old girl. In the armed conflicts in her home she loses nearly everyone she ever cared about. The author of this book tries to make Tris' final act a graceful stroke of self sacrifice like her parents did for her. I'm sorry if I read a young 16 year old rationalizing her suicidal wishes. At the end she was a 16 year old GIRL who was in terrible grief for her tremendous losses. Instead of making her end fit the spirit I loved in Tris in the first two books we see the same scenario she was supposed to 'grown from' play out as she martyrs herself. Nothing about that is okay with me. I think the woman who wrote Divergent and Insurgent could have written a better book to end Tris' story. Tris could have died a number of ways, but why did she die in the one way where it showed her character had zero growth throughout the series? As someone with Bipolar I who has tried to commit suicide and lived to tell the tale (luckily) when I was 19 years old I was offended at first by the fatalism in Tris' character. I was a child when I began to have suicidal ideations. I only got caught when I was very close to successful. I am thankful EVERY SINGLE DAY I was saved. My mother was dying. My father was mentally gone. I understand the grief of adoloscent girls intimately. To honor the ones who passed on you don't do something fatal. You honor their sacrafice by living, and living well with honor. So the rationalization for Tris' death makes sense only if she lied to Four. Only if she lied to him about her love. About living for him. The fact that the author herself lost sight that she was writing the story of a 16 year old girl in a dystopian world is troubling. Tris had gifts but wasn't an adult super soldier. The ending was ridiculous with no real meaning. Tris deserved a death that expressed meaning, growth, the love she had for FOUR. Instead we had her doing the same thing she did in the previous two books. In the end Tris Prior died for nothing. The irony is the corny message from the author to 'mend each other' through our social relationships. She can write this when her own main character didn't have the will power to do that! In my opinion this hypocrisy is what makes her death meaningless. And it is a shame--the first two books were really good in my opinion. I wonder if the author was rushed to publish? Or was she so arrogant that anyone who tried to address these issues were shot down by her hubris? This book is an example of how good editors are crucial to a successful book. If only to be a spare pair of eyes. Something went badly wrong and this book feels like the rough draft that got published without any of the major story issues being ironed out.

“And I don't want to die anymore. I am up to the challenge of bearing the guilt and the grief, up to facing the difficulties that life has put in my path. Some days are harder than others, but I am ready to live each one of the. I can't sacrifice myself, this time.”
- Tris

But we learn that Tris isn't true to her word. Nor is she consistent with ANY growth. It is sad. If Tris would have died in a way where she wasn't PURPOSEFULLY sacrificing her promises, supposed character growth, and loving future with Four along with the friends she could help mend through the grief of many, many characters!!!