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I have The Perfect Getaway five stars- grab your copy and find out why!
Get The Perfect Getaway by Kiersten Modglin on Amazon NOW!
Exciting news! There are several new places you can connect with me! Pinterest, BookBub, LibraryThing, and many more. My username is kkecreads across all of my socials! Let’s get reading!
Oh man. I don’t even know where to begin to unpack this book. It’s the ultimate game of clue- winner takes all. In a oddly structured, blended family, the death of the patriarch leaves both sadness, and a bizarre will, behind.
Getting to know the characters in this novel was seriously wonderful. The dynamic storytelling, and the lead-up to the twist is insane. You will seriously not be able to put this one down.
I really enjoyed the themes of self-reflection, and the grass not always being greener on the other side, and things and people not being what they seem throughout this novel. It is so well played, and it is so relatable in terms of relationships.
This is my first Rose Carlyle novel, and I can honestly say it will not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing. Her characters all had such depth and dimension. She dangled the plot in front of you, like a carrot on a stick, and she keeps the pages turning with her seriously devious, suspenseful, twists. I am so please with my October BOTM selection. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Find The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle on Amazon
Severe TRIGGER WARNING for this book. This book contains sexual trauma, involving minors, and “swinging” among semi-consenting adults. If you are sensitive to things containing trauma or sexual exploitation, please do not read this book or my review.
Immediately we are greeted by the extreme, deep, insecurity within the main character, Kat. Everything she is delivering in her inner dialogue is wrapped in almost scathing insecurity and doubt. She explains people, not by name but by something that strikes her about them. Mentions she married her husband (Doug) because he has the ability to make people feel important, and she needs that. Yikes.
We jump pretty immediately into a conversation about having more children, comments are made about IUDs, and then a neighbor starts gossiping about another neighbor who is supposedly trying to get pregnant again. I have a few issues here. One: what adult person honestly says anything about their chosen form of birth control, around someone they have literally just met? Two: I don’t like the stereotypical trope of “gossipy” gays. I love the inclusion of having a gay couple, and their adorable daughter. I think that is so important. But having one of the men immediately labeled as “such a gossip” to be seems extremely disingenuous. Three: talking about trying to have more babies, especially in front of someone you have just met and do not know yet, is very personal, and honestly insensitive. People struggle with fertility issues. There are hidden heartbreaks hidden within the world of pregnancy, or attempting to get pregnant. Four: what four-month old baby is flirting and picking things up, just to drop them, for you to pick-up? Now, I am not a parent. But I have been around a lot of kiddos. Every child is different, and some babies are more cognizant than others. But Sadie sounds like she’s 6+ months old, not four.
From there we segway into discussing finances. The price of selling a house, and buying a house. At least here, the narrative voice addresses how this is a taboo subject we don’t tend to talk about with strangers.
And right back into sexual conversation. I’ve met a lot of people in my life… and I have never discussed kinks within the first 30 minutes of meeting someone. I am far from a prude, and I believe in being open and honest with people, but yikes. More on this later.
The main character (Kat) immediately goes back into insecurity, attempting to imitate the behavior of another couple, presuming that their (the other couple) dynamic is better and more likable. This lady is already a nightmare.
“… pimping out our newborn.” Holy. Shit. Probably not the best turn-of-phrase to use in any situation. And this is just the first chapter. Buckle up friends…
While I understand the unease of having unexpected guests, especially after just waking up from an unexpected nap and the minor embarrassment of having new people in your unfinished space… but our main character is a tad over-the-top.
“I’ve been around the block, so to speak. I know what chemistry looks like.” How in the ever loving hell are we supposed to unpack THAT? I have no words. Wow. There is NO context to justify or explain the above statement. Just a quick and dirty word plop.
“Sadie’s still sucking on that pacifier, a baby crack pipe, but I can’t worry about that now.” WHAT IS WITH THESE ASSOCIATIONS? A baby crack pipe? Are you kidding me right now? It’s a pacifier…. not a freaking crack pipe. Addiction isn’t funny… it’s not the butt of a joke. I really can’t with this author.
Also… we are hearing about how much Sadie loves eating purées… The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old. While babies can be introduced to certain food items between 4 and 6 months old… it seems really premature. There is really so much inconsistency with Sadie… one scene she is sitting up in the sandbox, watching and playing, and the next she can barely control her head… what in the world?
I also don’t understand the reasoning behind not sharing the notes with her husband. If they are causing her such internal stress… it would make more sense to explain and share that with her husband… who would be able to in turn, help figure out the writer. Kat has so many secrets, many of which are very deep, very brutal, and things she needs to workout… but keeping the notes a secret doesn’t make sense. Kat keeps everyone at an arms distance… even when it’s potentially dangerous to other people.
TRIGGER WARNING STARTING AT PAGE 53. If you are sensitive to mention of pedophilia, stop reading this book now.
TRIGGER WARNING STARTING AT PAGE 99.
“But you know how you can get.” Yikes. Nothing like the implication that a woman having concerns regarding her families safety, is overly emotional. Don’t love that.
Shit gets… awkward on page 130. Possible TW.
Swinging. What the actual eff is happening right now? We took a HARD LEFT TURN. Stop the car… I wanna get out. This honestly comes so far out of left field. And I don’t see how this is going to tie in to anything… too each their own, but time and place? Or perhaps some context? It seems to be a habit of Monago’s to just drop things for shock value, and again, I scream IRRESPONSIBLE.
TW ON PAGE 142.
TW ON PAGE 165.
I am all for female empowerment, and women being in control of their sexuality, but I don’t love that the author is equating swinging with feminism. I also don’t like that the main character has obviously sexual trauma in her past, that she has hidden from her husband, and has to “force herself to have sex”, or “seduce him because that is what she had been taught.” This is extremely concerning behavior, and the author is a practicing therapist (which comes across quite obviously in her writing style) so she should know damn well this could trigger the hell out of someone who has suffered sexual trauma in the past. Ellie Monago is being extremely flippant, the way she is writing about and describing sex, swinging, partner sharing, and monogamy. It feel extremely inappropriate to me… as a therapist she (Monago) would most likely have first hand knowledge in how someone who has been sexually abused feels and thinks about themselves, relationships, people and sex. And she is exploiting those feelings in this book. It is disgusting. The fact that Monago writes about Doug (husband character) being able to make Kat (wife/main character/narrater) opt in, when she doesn’t want to makes me sick. Abuse isn’t funny. No means no. CONSENT MATTERS.
I also have to mention, that there are individuals and couples who do live happy, healthy, polyamorous lives. It’s all consensual, it’s not at all predatory, and it works within those dynamics. That lifestyle is not fairly, or accurately depicted within this book.
The twist in this book was relatively predictable. I figured it out before it played out within the pages. There was one portion of the twist I didn’t see coming, but otherwise it was just okay.
The way the book wraps is fairly “and they lived happily ever after”, which is fine. There is no real closure, and no real evidence of healing, though there is the promise it’s in the works. We leave things settled, in a non-committed way, but the ends are all tied in neat little bows. Love it like that.
Overall, this book handles some extremely heavy topics. And there was zero trigger warnings, zero lead-up. And in my opinion, zero conclusion. Kat is dealing with childhood sexual trauma, which has greatly impacted her life, and who she has become as a person. She kept it a secret from her husband, and everyone else, which only makes her situation more difficult. There are honestly not any likable characters within this book.
There is minimal character growth, until the last chapters. There is minimal growth, depth, and likability. I honestly could have enjoyed this book, despite the obviously clinical writing, had the book contained a trigger warning for the content. I just don’t feel like the topic of sexual trauma was handled well, and that as a practicing therapist, who has to have knowledge and insight into how trauma can affect a person, and how to write things in a way that can affect and trigger someone who has gone through trauma, Monago had a responsibility to her readers that her book contained things that would be potentially harmful. As a practicing therapist, Monago had a responsibility to inform and protect any readers who may have suffered from sexual trauma, and for readers who have empathetic tendencies. It is exploitation at its finest.
I also don’t think the whole swinging aspect… was honestly not necessary to the story. Monago could have worked the same concept, and the same “openness” without that. That lifestyle was not shown in any kind of accurate or fair light, and representation matters.
I feel as though this book was written from the perspective of a therapist, and you can tell within the context, who wanted to come across as smart, witty, and controversial. I am disappointed by the utter disregard for people’s well-being within this book. I give this book 2 out of 5 stars, and this book is NOT Katy Approved.
You can find Neighborly by Ellie Monago on Amazon.
How Tara Sivec manages to write books that are funny, real, sexy, and romantic is beyond me. But oh my goodness… this book is the total package.
I absolutely adore Wren, and getting to know her throughout the book. She is such a strong, spunky, brave character. I absolutely cheered for her growth throughout the book, and the final chapters did not disappoint. She found her voice in such an empowering way.
Shepard was sarcastic and fun. His love of glitter and crafting was a pretty adorable characteristic. And the fact that he loves Wren and Owen so completely and is not afraid of making that known, is incredible.
I very much enjoyed the sassy banter and charming wit within these pages. Who knew being a baseball player could be so much fun? Middle field is one hell of a position.
The writing is great, the internal dialogue is funny, and the storyline is simply sexy Disney. I loved the way the journey was splayed out, and I really appreciate that Tara doesn’t shy away from the grittiness and complications that arise within a relationship. Her characters all have such big, dynamic personalities, and they are all so well rounded, but also such hot messes, it is very relatable. I really enjoyed this one. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Final thoughts: who knew vanilla ice cream was sexy?
Find Swing and a Mishap by Tara Sivec on Amazon
Kiersten Modglin’s novel, “The Liar’s Wife”, is on sale for 99¢! If you need a good read, head to amazon and snag this book!!
Buy The Liar’s Wife here!
This is a long one, friends… buckle up and hold on to something, because I did not hold back any of the feelings.
Early in the book, Cheryln claims she has always wanted to be a writer, that she has a natural gift for it. Ma’am, after reading this highly plagiarized, poorly edited, “book” with atrocious grammar and a serious lack of punctuation, I am here to tell you three things:
1. You may be able to write a great grocery list… but novels, absolutely not.
2. Just because someone in your family told you one time you were a naturally gifted writer… does not make it true.
3. Your book claims Chris Watts is making no excuses for the horrific things he did, but you sure as hell are.
This book is not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting to see copies of handwritten letters from Chris Watts, with minimal blurbs from Copy-Cat Cadle. Whelp, poke me in the eye and call me a goon, because what I got was a Facebook status quality love letter to Chris freaking Watts, that pretty much made it sound like everyone else was to blame except poor Christopher.
I very quickly noticed that there are several passages (I kid you not- passages) copied from another book… Cadle straight up tried to pass the writing of Anne K. Howard as her own. HA. Anne K. Howard wrote a book called “His Garden”, and it is excellent. Howard reached out to serial killer William Devin Howell, and together they formed a strange friendship, in which he confesses everything to her, knowing she is writing a book. It is so well done, so well written and I highly recommend it, if you haven’t read it. For more details about the plagiarism checkout Kimberley on YouTube. She goes way into detail, citing specific passages stolen and provides a side-by-side comparison. She is also funny. But I digress- see even in my review I am attempting to avoid discussing this love letter. Ugh.
Several time throughout this book, Cadle claims “research shows” or “research says” but she cites no research. She did not interview a psychologist, or any such professional in her “research” of this book. For example:
“On Saturday night, August 11, Shanann had less than 36 hours to live. Did she start to feel her life was almost over?
Research has shown people do not have a clue.” (Chapter 10, pg. 55, first paragraph, lines 1-3)
What research? Who made this claim? What qualified human stated that people do not have a clue? This is opinion. Not fact, not a scientifically solid theory or hypothesis… just a fluff line thrown in to make yourself sound smarter than you are. Sorry to tell you… you failed. My research shows, that you just spewed words out, much like a college freshmen frantically writing a 10-page research paper the night before it is due. Also, spoiler alert, she does not include a reference guide or a sources cited page AT ALL in the book.
On page 57, Cadle states, “Christopher has an IQ of 140. The Binet-Simon Scale of Intelligence says a genius or almost a genius is 140 or over. Possibly his genius brain did not afford him common sense.” Yet she offers absolutely nothing to explain just how she knows his IQ. Did he tell her? Did his mom tell her? His sister? Did she just guess? How does she know that Chris Watts has an IQ of 140? WHO DETERMINED THAT? If his IQ is 140 on the Cheryln Cadle scale of intelligence, and she says that’s genius or almost genius I am terrified.
On page 109, Cadle makes the statement “Christopher shows signs of alexithymia, the inability to express emotions or to understand other’s emotions.” Yet nothing scientific to support that claim. No doctor to agree or disagree, or clarify or further explain. Yet, on the Dr. Oz Show (again, clips can be found on YouTube, part 4 is what I am referencing here- part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4), Cadle made it very clear she is not a doctor. So she should not be making such bold claims, without a single iota of fact behind them. Chris Watts also says IN HIS OWN WORDS, that he has never had a psychological exam. AND I QUOTE: “In answer to your questions, no I’ve never had a psychological exam. If I were to of seen a doctor during my case, then anything I said could’ve been subpoena by the court of DA. And the Asperger’s symptoms do make a lot of sense and I can match up a bunch of instances in my life that correspond with it too.” Page 218. We also see that not-a-doctor Cadle has obviously written something inquiring if Chris has Asperger’s. This lady just cannot seem to help herself. She has to diagnose all the things, because she is clearly an expert. Sigh. Do I think Chris Watts is a sociopath? Definitely. Do I think he could have been showing signs of alexithymia? Absolutely. I think Chris Watts is a disgusting monster, and a horrible human being… but I still think any statements made regarding any disorders or signs there of, need to be made by a licensed professional, and not a wannabe true crime writer.
There were several continuity errors, things were repeated, and Cadle seemed to bounce back-and-forth between Cervi-319 and Cervi-219. On page 173, Cadle offered three definitions (sane, insane and possesses), yet offers zero sources to where she found her definitions, and she asks the question “Is Christopher insane?”, which again, I have to state that Cadle is not a doctor of any kind… and therefore unqualified to assert such assumptions.
On page 204, Cadle bounces back-and-forth between Bella and Belle. This is extremely disrespectful, to the victim, and her family. This is something that should have been caught and corrected in editing. Cadle also states on page 204, “She had approval from her mom, something most girls long for but never achieve.” Where is the statistic proving that?
On page 205, Cadle says, “These grandparents have suffered so much. The pain they have faced is indescribable, and a pain that even time cannot dull. Perhaps soon the media will leave them all alone and allow them to grieve privately. People do not understand how cruel it is. They have not only had to endure their pain from their loss, but the pain the media and people who had some kind of cruel agenda have made things even more difficult.” What does she think this book is doing to these families? On The Dr. Oz show, Cadle said the reason she did this (write the book) is because the family deserves closure and she wanted to give that to them. Excuse me… but SHE wanted to give these families closure? Cadle has zero ties to this case or to these families. She is a Chris Watts sympathizer, who thought she could exploit some air-time for herself. She didn’t even send the Rzucek’s a copy of the book before it came out… and her (Cadle’s) reasoning is that because they didn’t want to be a voice in her shitty book, they don’t get a free pre-release copy. And yet, she dares to mention the pain these families are going through? This wack-a-do IS PART OF THE MEDIA AND PEOPLE (I am using media lightly here- let’s be real) THAT NEEDS TO LEAVE THEM ALONE. The audacity of this woman is mind-boggling.
On page 206 Cadle writes, “There is so much more to this story that Christopher does not even know.” Except if anyone knows more about this CASE (story? Really? Show some respect) it is Chris Watts. I would be willing to venture, that there is so much more to this case, that even the families and the public do not know. Chris Watts knows. He admitted it. He wrote down what he is willing to share. Any details or facts that are still hidden, are absolutely known by the monster who caused them. I really cannot even begin to understand the audacity of this woman.
Cadle misspells Rzucek throughout her book and it makes me extremely angry. She spells it “Rzueck”. She couldn’t even have the decency to spell Shanann’s family name correctly. Cadle also misspells Dieter’s (the dog) name wrong throughout her book. It’s almost as though she didn’t actually fact check anything that didn’t directly have to do with Chris Watts. Also, whoever her editor was seriously failed. The most basic of details, SHANANN’S MAIDEN NAME!, were grossly overlooked.
On page 214 Cadle writes, “It’s all very sad to see where he has come from and where he is now. Many would say he deserves less than he gets. However, if he was oppressed by a dark spirit, does he deserve another chance? He is not seeking an appeal right now, but should he? I will leave that up to you as the reader. Ronnie and Cindy recently received the wallet he had on him at the time he was arrested. He had $13.00 in it. Is this a coincidence?” I really don’t even know how to begin addressing the rage I felt reading that paragraph. Actions have consequences. You don’t get to brutally murder and dispose of your family, and then claim “mulligan! It was a dark spirit!” later on.
A lot of this book focuses on the “dark spirit” that had a hold over Chris Watts… and personally, I think that is just a BS way of skirting full responsibility. He chose to murder his family. He chose to dispose of their bodies in a cruel manner. He chose to lie about their whereabouts at first. He chose. He, Christopher Lee Watts, chose to murder his pregnant wife and two daughters. And the responsibility of those crimes lay solely in his shoulders. Just because he has found God, and asked for forgiveness, doesn’t mean all culpability is relieved from his shoulders.
I did not enjoy this book. The plagiarism aside, any writing that was solely Cadle’s was poorly constructed, poorly punctuated, and poorly written. The “best” (for lack of a better term) parts of this book were from the few letters she actually shared, and the transcripts from various interviews and the actual court documents. I found Cadle’s absolute lack of research and fact-checking to be in extremely poor taste. For majority of the book she comes across as a Chris Watts sympathizer, and she makes statements that are so incredibly insensitive to both the Watts and Rzucek family’s. The (serious lack of) editing within this book is shameful. The absolute disrespect shown to the Watts and Rzucek family is obscene.
It was also extremely misleading to not include both HER letter and Chris’ response. We have no way of knowing what she said to him, what questions she asked, how things were actually discussed, and that does not sit well with me. For a book titled, “Letters from Christopher” there really weren’t very many letters from Christopher. It was a handful of letters, and a whole lot of poorly attempted writing (by Cadle). This book was not worth the money, it was really not worth the read, and it is not worth the paper it is printed on. I do not recommend this book. It also annoyed me how Cadle only referred to Chris as “Christopher”… when literally everyone else called him Chris. Nice try, you pretentious nut.
I also have a theory, that is mine and mine alone, that Nikki (the mistress) was more involved than Chris is willing to admit. In this book, we get it confirmed that Chris gave Shanann oxy, in the hope of causing her to miscarry their son. When asked where he (Chris) got the oxy, he says that is something he will take to his grave. Just seems kind of fishy to me. This mistress obviously wanted to be upgraded from side piece to wife. So why wouldn’t she help make that possible? Admittedly, I have not gone down the rabbit hole involving my speculation, so maybe that was ruled out. I honestly don’t know. But I definitely think Nikki was more involved that Chris wants us to believe.
This book is one hundred percent Katy Disapproved. I give this book 0 out of 5 stars.
I will not be linking this book to purchase. I do not want anyone else to waste their time or money on this filth.
He is guilty. He admitted it. There are literal facts and actual evidence to support and prove that Chris Watts murdered his family in cold blood. He, and he alone, murdered his family. My heart breaks for both sets of parents, and all the family members, who were devastated by this tragedy. This book should not have been written. It sure as shit never should have made it through editing, and it most certainly should not be read by anyone who wants any type of accurate depiction of what happened in this case. You want a Bible verse? How about the Ten Commandments?!
I honestly wish I could apologize to the Rzucek family, and the Watts family for this dumpster fire.