adult, ARC, Four Star Book, Memoir, true crime

Behind the Murder Curtain ARC Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Post Hill press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

When Veterans Hospital patients on the road to recovery suddenly die in increasing numbers, it’s up to VA Special Agent in Charge Bruce Sackman to find out why. His shocking discovery rips open the hidden world of what goes on behind the bedside curtains when a killer doctor or nurse decides a patient must die.

Behind the Murder Curtain is the true story of Bruce Sackman, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. Sackman’s main responsibilities had been investigating white-collar crimes such as embezzlement when he is drawn into the macabre world of doctors and nurses who murder their patients. Sackman evolves from an investigator of routine cases to the world’s leading expert on Medical Serial Killers—MSKs—doctors and nurses who ply their evil trade hidden behind the privacy curtain at a patient’s bedside.

Behind the Murder Curtain tells how this dedicated investigator brought down four MSKs in Veterans Hospitals while developing the RED FLAGS PROTOCOL, which is now taught to investigators and forensic nurses throughout the world as a tool for stopping an MSK. 

– Goodreads

I was super excited to get an ARC of this true crime, and I am so sad it took me so long to get to! I am a huge true crime fan, especially when it comes to medical crimes, so this was right up my alley!

This is Bruce Sackman’s memoir about his time spent with the VA. He started out investigating fraud cases, but then got called to investigate a suspicious doctor. This turned into a lifelong journey in learning the best ways to catch MSK – Medical Serial Killers.

As a nurse, it amazes me that people can go into this profession with intent to harm. I remember how upset I would get if a patient of mine died. I cannot imagine killing them on purpose! And the doctors and nurses were usually well liked among their comrades. Just goes to show you never really know a person.

I loved seeing how Bruce’s process changed from his first case to the last. He even created a manual that they use to teach today! MSKs beware!

I recommend this to any true crime fan, especially if you are in the medical profession!

What is your favorite true crime book?

Until next time..

ARC, Four Star Book, Memoir

Toil & Trouble ARC Review

“Here’s a partial list of things I don’t believe in: God. The Devil. Heaven. Hell. Bigfoot. Ancient Aliens. Past lives. Life after death. Vampires. Zombies. Reiki. Homeopathy. Rolfing. Reflexology. Note that ‘witches’ and ‘witchcraft’ are absent from this list. The thing is, I wouldn’t believe in them, and I would privately ridicule any idiot who did, except for one thing: I am a witch.”

For as long as Augusten Burroughs could remember, he knew things he shouldn’t have known. He manifested things that shouldn’t have come to pass. And he told exactly no one about this, save one person: his mother. His mother reassured him that it was all perfectly normal, that he was descended from a long line of witches, going back to the days of the early American colonies. And that this family tree was filled with witches. It was a bond that he and his mother shared–until the day she left him in the care of her psychiatrist to be raised in his family (but that’s a whole other story). After that, Augusten was on his own. On his own to navigate the world of this tricky power; on his own to either use or misuse this gift.

From the hilarious to the terrifying, Toil & Trouble is a chronicle of one man’s journey to understand himself, to reconcile the powers he can wield with things with which he is helpless. There are very few things that are coincidences, as you will learn in Toil & Trouble. Ghosts are real, trees can want to kill you, beavers are the spawn of Satan, houses are alive, and in the end, love is the most powerful magic of all.

– Goodreads

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I love reading about Augusten’s life. I’ve been a fan since Running with Scissors and this new novel did not disappoint.

Thanks, giphy!

What I liked:

As I said, I’ve loved Augusten for a while now. His life is so interesting, but I guess it’s always interesting when someone other than you is facing grief and trauma. Not all of Augusten’s life has been sad, but he’s seen some shit.

I loved getting to learn about him being a witch, the way he can just know when things are going to happen, the spells he casts. He takes you through what it’s like to be an actual witch. It’s super interesting.

The story goes present to past and back again. We get to learn about him learning he’s a witch, the people who taught him how to harness his abilities. We get to see the present day life of he and his spouse, Christopher. We get to see how he uses his powers now. Honestly, I’m a little bit jealous.

What I didn’t like:

Nothing! This book was just as good as his past ones.

Would I recommend?

Yes! This is a perfect book for Halloween. Its such a fast read that pulls you in. I loved it!

Until next time…

adult, Five Star Book, LGBT, Memoir

Naturally Tan Review

  • ★★★★ Title: Naturally Tan
  • Author: Tan France
  • Book Form: Audio
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
  • Genre: Memoir, LGBT
  • Rating: ★★★★★

In this heartfelt, funny, touching memoir, Tan France, star of Netflix’s smash-hit QUEER EYE, tells his origin story for the first time. With his trademark wit, humor, and radical compassion, Tan reveals what it was like to grow up gay in a traditional Muslim family, as one of the few people of color in Doncaster, England. He illuminates his winding journey of coming of age, finding his voice (and style!), and how he finally came out to his family at the age of 34, revealing that he was happily married to the love of his life–a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City.

In Tan’s own words, “The book is meant to spread joy, personal acceptance, and most of all understanding. Each of us is living our own private journey, and the more we know about each other, the healthier and happier the world will be.”

– Goodreads

I loved this memoir. I love Tan France. I love Queer Eye. SO MUCH LOVE. 

I really liked hearing about Tan’s life when he was growing up. It showed a great perspective. I loved hearing how he built himself from the ground up and how his business and brand evolved. 

I especially liked the parts about Queer Eye. The hiring process, behind the scenes, the Emmys, everything. It was great. 

There’s also life lessons and notes on style and how to style yourself. Which I may or may not need. 

Also as a plus – Antoni appears in the audio!

Pick this book up if you love queer eye, style, memoirs, or just need a pick me up. Listening to this book made me so happy!

Until next time…

adult, Four Star Book, Memoir, Nursing

The Shift Reveiw

  • Title: The Shift
  • Author: Theresa Brown, RN
  • Book Form: Ebook
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • Genre: Memoir, Health/Nursing
  • Rating: ★★★★

In a book as eye-opening as it is riveting, practicing nurse and New York Times columnist Theresa Brown invites us to experience not just a day in the life of a nurse but all the life that happens in just one day on a hospital’s cancer ward. In the span of twelve hours, lives can be lost, life-altering medical treatment decisions made, and dreams fulfilled or irrevocably stolen. In Brown’s skilled hands–as both a dedicated nurse and an insightful chronicler of events–we are given an unprecedented view into the individual struggles as well as the larger truths about medicine in this country, and by shift’s end, we have witnessed something profound about hope and healing and humanity.

Every day, Theresa Brown holds patients’ lives in her hands. On this day there are four. There is Mr. Hampton, a patient with lymphoma to whom Brown is charged with administering a powerful drug that could cure him–or kill him; Sheila, who may have been dangerously misdiagnosed; Candace, a returning patient who arrives (perhaps advisedly) with her own disinfectant wipes, cleansing rituals, and demands; and Dorothy, who after six weeks in the hospital may finally go home. Prioritizing and ministering to their needs takes the kind of skill, sensitivity, and, yes, humor that enable a nurse to be a patient’s most ardent advocate in a medical system marked by heartbreaking dysfunction as well as miraculous success.

– Goodreads

So Nurse’s Week is May 6-12. I read this book in honor of Nurse’s Week. And I just love nursing memoirs. It reminds me why I became a nurse, because it’s so easy to forget sometimes.

This follows Theresa Brown, RN through one of her shifts. Just 12 hours. Parts of it my soul remembered, and reminded me why I now have a desk job. Parts of it my soul remembered in a good way, and made me miss patient care. I loved growing close to patients and feeling like I made a difference. I wasn’t as excited about the difficult patients, though.

Theresa works on an oncology ward – cancer and blood diseases. When I was a nurse, I worked medical-surgical (medical illnesses and some surgery post-op). We were right next door to the oncology unit, so I got pulled there frequently. The nurses over there always had the best attitudes and were so friendly, which surprised me since they dealt with cancer daily.

There were some major differences, though. Theresa talks about having four patients and being overwhelmed. If I had four patients, my day was going good, but it would probably go to shit. I routinely had 5-6 patients. Sometimes SEVEN. SEVEN PATIENTS to ONE ME. There is no time to adequately assess seven patients. Theresa talks about her struggles with four.
On that note, did you know California is the ONLY STATE with SAFE nurse/patient ratios? Yeah. When you think your nurse doesn’t care, maybe she doesn’t. Or she may have 7 people she’s trying to keep alive for 12 hours.
NEWSFLASH – If you want better nursing care, we all have to fight for safer nurse/patient ratios, whether you are in healthcare or not. It could be you laying in that bed one day. Would you want your nurse to be looking after you and three others, or you and six others? Yeah, I’ll let you think on that.

Ugh, sorry for that rant. That’s why I left bedside nursing. I currently am in love with my job. But I know I’ll never go back bedside unless safe ratios are established.

Back to the book. Theresa talks about feelings of inadequacy as a nurse. I should have done that sooner. I should have picked up on that. Is there something wrong here, or am I just freaking out? Nursing is STRESSFUL yall. We are the eyes and ears for the doc. The doctor sees them for 5 minutes. We see them for 12 hours. It’s up to us to pick up on anything and everything.

This was such a great read. If you want to know what nurses really do, please read this book. It’s such a realistic view into a day in the life. A life we all chose. A life some regret choosing. It’s hard. It’s emotionally draining. But sometimes, its the most rewarding profession in the world.

Until next time…

adult, Five Star Book, Humor, Memoir

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told Review

  • Title: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
  • Author: Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
  • Book Form: Audio
  • Pages: 269
  • Publisher: Dutton
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Humor, Memoir
  • Rating: ★★★★★

At last, the full story behind Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman’s epic romance, including stories, portraits, and the occasional puzzle, all telling the smoldering tale that has fascinated Hollywood for over a decade. 

The year: 2000. The setting: Los Angeles. A gorgeous virtuoso of an actress had agreed to star in a random play, and a basement-dwelling scenic carpenter had said he would assay a supporting role in the selfsame pageant. At the first rehearsal, she surveyed her fellow cast members, as one does, determining if any of the men might qualify to provide her with a satisfying fling. Her gaze fell upon the carpenter, and like a bolt of lightning, the thought struck her: No dice. Moving on.

Yet, unbeknownst to our protagonists, Cupid had merely set down his bow and picked up a rocket launcher. Then fired a love rocket (not a euphemism). The players were Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, and the resulting romance, once it ignited, was . . . epic. Beyond epic. It resulted in a coupling that has endured to this day; a sizzling, perpetual tryst that has captivated the world with its kindness, athleticism, astonishingly low-brow humor, and true (fire emoji) passion.

How did they do it? They came from completely different families, endured a significant age difference, and were separated by the gulf of several social strata. Megan loved books and art history; Nick loved hammers. But much more than these seemingly unsurpassable obstacles were the values they held in common: respect, decency, the ability to mention genitalia in almost any context, and an abiding obsession with the songs of Tom Waits.

Eighteen years later, they’re still very much in love, and have finally decided to reveal the philosophical mountains they have conquered, the lessons they’ve learned, and the myriad jigsaw puzzles they’ve completed, in a book. Featuring anecdotes, hijinks, interviews, photos, and a veritable grab bag of tomfoolery, this is not only the intoxicating book that Mullally’s and Offerman’s fans have been waiting for, it might just hold the solution to the greatest threat facing our modern world: the single life

– Goodreads

Okay guys. This book!!! I was so in love. I’ve been a huge Nick Offerman fan for a while now so I loved learning about his real life. I’ve never seen Will and Grace (I know, shame) but Megan was so funny and instantly pulled me in. I listened to the audio, which I fully recommend. It’s so funny to hear their back and forth banter and plethora of sex jokes.

This is a book about, well, the greatest love story ever told. It takes you from when Nick met Megan, their dating, their wedding, and how they manage to stay in love when other Hollywood couples fail.

I love learning the things they do to stay connected with one another. They take you through this journey in such a funny way. I just loved learning about them.

One downside to the audio was you couldn’t see the section of pictures that comes with the print book. Obviously. But never fear! Nick and Meagan hilariously describe the pictures to you. Sure, it’s not the same as looking at them, but it gave me a good laugh.

If you are a fan of Parks and Rec or Will and Grace, you should read this book. Or listen, that’s probably even better. It shows the love these two still have for one another. They are great #relationshipgoals

Until next time…