Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt


Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks.  When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.

Most of us are familiar with that eerie little rhyme, maybe not being completely aware of the meaning.  Some of us even know the story behind it, knowing that it’s based on a true crime occurring in the late 1800s.  But have you ever wondered about the dynamics behind the family tragedy?

When Lizzie discovers first her father and then her stepmother brutally murdered, everyone immediately feels sympathy and concern for her.  To have witnessed the aftermath of such a gruesome scene surely must have been a shock.  As time goes on, however, events come to light casting doubt on her innocence.  And the family itself surely wasn’t a happy little group.  There’s enough suspicion to go around.  Was it Lizzie?  Or was it the mysterious man sent by her uncle?  Or maybe one of her father’s business associates?

The story weaves itself back and forth between the day of the crime, the days leading up to the murders, and the aftermath.  It’s fascinating for the criminal investigation procedures of the time if nothing else.  The author does a great job of creating an entirely believable story that very well could be the true story behind an unsolved crime.  And it absolutely made me want to read more about it!


Buy It Now:  See What I Have Done


Review: Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes


Shame and honor clash where the courage of a steadfast man is motley like the magpie. But such a man may yet make merry, for Heaven and Hell have equal part in him.” – Wolfram von Eschenback “Parzival

This quote at the beginning sums this novel up nicely.

I think it’s a book that people should read. I think it’s important. Doesn’t matter if you agree with war and politics or you don’t. This book is important.

As I read it, all I could think of was how people often forget that despite the politics and the cause of war…well at the end of the day, the people who fight war…well…it’s often just unsure and untested young people.

You have commanders giving orders based on information that they’ve been told. This information is being gave to them by men that don’t wish to displease him. They might not outright lie, but they certainly don’t give 100% accurate information either….Who wants to be the bearer of bad news to a commanding officer? At the end of the day, the men out on missions are pushed harder than many can endure…harder than any can endure…and the bottom line is, casualties can be offset and justified by the bottom line of damage and killings you’ve done to the enemy. When it’s all said and done, war too is just a numbers game.

My heart broke many times during this reading…and honestly, all I could think of is, “these men are only kids!!!!!!!” I don’t mean to take away from their service. There should be no way my statement could ever do that. However, think back to when you were 18. 19. 20. Now imagine watching your brothers in arm dying…or sometimes, worse, not dying soon enough…and knowing its your job to prevent it…that your decision, or hesitation, or non hesitation could cause it. Imagine knowing that the order from above will get you and your brothers killed, but it’s an order and it’s your job to make sure those orders are carried through. Imagine experiencing all of this, when in reality all you fucking want is to be back home in your lover’s arms…

As wonderful as the book was, I just can’t imagine! I can’t imagine what these young men were going through. We often get pissed at politicians for decisions they make. We often get mad at military situations…right or wrong…well that isn’t for me to decide…sure, I have my opinions, same as everyone else…but what I took from this book is that everyone dehumanizes during the event. People often forget the boys that are just out there doing as they are told. They look to congress, or the president or to the leaders of other countries…they make it an “event” or a “situation” or a “military action”. They don’t face the reality that it’s dirty, gut wrenching, diseased, no time to think reality for men that might not even be of legal age to drink. These are the men that are fighting….not some politician behind a desk…or a faceless entity. These men are brothers, sons, husbands, fathers and friends. They are not just numbers at the bottom of a count sheet…no matter how much the public and the politicians try to make it so…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

Review: A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante

20140312-091008.jpgAfter reading A Circle of Wives, my second read from this author, I can safely say that Alice LaPlante writes one hell of a story! I’d been looking forward to this one for awhile and was not disappointed.

When Dr. John Taylor, a renowned and respected pediatric plastic surgeon, dies a sudden death in a hotel room, at first glance it appears to be a sad yet simple case of a heart attack. However, detective Samantha Adams is convinced there’s more to the story than meets the eye. She’s young and highly motivated to prove herself. Not to mention there’s something deeper beneath the surface. You see, dear Dr. John was leading a double life. Or maybe more. In the course of the investigation, three separate wives come to light as well as other sinister secrets. There’s wife number one, Deborah. As the first wife, she’s a micromanager of the utmost kind. She even goes so far as to manage John’s other life. MJ is wife number two, a free-spirited hippie type who was completely unaware that she was sharing her husband. As was wife number three and the most recent acquisition, Helen, a fellow physician. Of course, there are other twists and turns along the way that you’d expect from such a story.

There’s always a risk when a story is written from multiple perspectives as this one is. If not done carefully, the reader is left wondering who is saying what and whose turn it is to speak. That’s not a problem with this book as the author seamlessly switches between the three wives as well as the detective, Samantha. I won’t claim any particular affinity for the wives as none of them did anything to endear themselves to me. And to be honest, none of them were particularly likeable. But isn’t that one of the signs of a truly gifted author, one who can keep you reading even when you don’t care for most of the characters?

Although this would be categorized in the psychological thriller/suspense genre, there’s none of the urgency often found in these types of stories that results in a page-flipping mad dash to the finish. The story hums long nicely but steadily and as a result it makes you want to slow down and savor each and every word. Still, there’s no lack of suspense in this book. Even though I thought I knew who dunnit, it could have plausibly been any one of several people up until the very end. My only gripe with the story is that there were too many loose ends and unfinished bits to leave me fully satisfied. Some people are okay with open-ended conclusions. I am not. I like to know what happens to each and every character after the big picture is revealed. Still, this is a good story told through the gifted words of Alice LaPlante.


Buy it Now: A Circle of Wives