The Stranger Beside Me


Chilling and thoroughly researched story about one of the most notorious serial killers in history!

~ Highly recommended especially as Halloween is upcoming!!



About The Author:

Ann Rae Rule (née Stackhouse; October 22, 1931 – July 26, 2015) was an American true crime author of The Stranger Beside Me, about serial killer, and Rule’s co-worker, Ted Bundy. Rule was also known for her book Small Sacrifices, about Oregon child murderer Diane Downs. Many of Rule’s books center on murder cases that occurred in the Pacific Northwest and her adopted home state of Washington. Read more ~ Wikipedia



Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo

Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo

Do you want to improve your presentation skills and ability to talk in the public? Then you have to read this book. 

Have you heard about those Ted talk presentations on Youtube with millions of views? This book is an in-depth analysis of some of the most compelling and captivating topics given on Tedx.   The author closely examines each of these highly viewed presentations to find out what strategies the presenters incorporated.   

 I enjoyed the discussions about some of the riveting  presentations on Tedx.  One of the things that struck me is the account on how one could fit a whole grand idea into 18 minutes which is what the presenters on are limited to.  Who doesn’t want to learn from the best? By analyzing some of these great speeches, the author presents practical guidelines on which you can draw inspirations on how to give your next spell binding  argument such as – building connections with the audience, story telling, using analogies, and how to generally remove boring elements from your speech.  In addition, the book lays strong emphasis on practice, practice practice – no more rambling and going off topics!

I found the topics in this book very useful and very educational especially the part about neurology, how our  brain functions and its relationship to our communication.  She further goes on to break down  the science behind creating and giving an effective presentation, which I found very eye-opening!  Talk Like Ted shares very detailed and very useful ideas and strategies on creating a concise speech, that would draw in your audience right from the start.  Another take away from this book is that the author listed a couple great speeches that has gained millions of views so far. This would allow anyone to go on Youtube and actually watch these presenters that he has analyzed!

If you want to be a great communicator and presenter,  then you have to read this book!!

About The Author:

Carmine Gallo

Carmine Gallo is the author of 7 business books including the international bestseller The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, the award-winning The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Apple Experience, the first book to look behind the scenes at the world’s most successful retail store. His books have been translated in over a dozen languages. Continue reading

The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer

This a fast-moving thriller with an intricate plot about espionage, the FBI and political games as played out in the 90’s among foreign diplomats for the governments of Libya, Egypt, and the USA. The story is centered around Sophia Kohl the wife of Emmett Kohl, a mid-level diplomat at the American embassy in Hungary. Her husband is shot dead by an unknown gunman right after she confesses to him about having an affair. The story then follows as Sophia goes awol with a determination to find out who killed her husband and why. Her unauthorized and secretive quest set in motion an inquisition that threatens to expose years of deceit, lies, murders and cover ups.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Cairo Affair. This book starts off at a breakneck speed, and builds up intensity as the story progresses. It is a complicated and layered plot which makes it even more exciting!

This is one of those books you can’t put down because of the eye-opening discoveries that you make as you get deeper into the story. There are themes of evil schemes, betrayals, rivalries, backstabbing and deceptions all interwoven in this intricate plot.

Set in North Africa, from Hungary to Libya, Yugoslavia to Egypt, this story offers great insights into new places, people and cultures. I especially love stories that take you through foreign lands where you can learn a thing or two – this book does just that.
Pick up this book – It’s well worth your time!
Similar books – The Hidden Man by Charles Cumming, A Cold War by Amelia Levene, and The English Girl by Daniel Silva –

About The Author

Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has since lived in Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Massachusetts, and New York. Outside the US, he’s lived in Croatia (when it was called Yugoslavia), the Czech Republic and Italy…Read more from Amazon

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

John Grisham writes his first nonfiction novel. This is one of the best nonfiction stories I have read. This novel is also a legal thriller just like most of his books. I couldn’t wait for the story to unravel – I was completely blown away!

This story follows Ron Williamson, an upcoming and ambitious baseball player widely expected to make the big leagues. Ron’s hopes into the big leagues crashes upon sustaining an arm injury. Consequently, he is dropped by his team – the Yankees. Roy returns home to small town Ada, and while not having anything to occupy him he starts to live the wild life – chasing women, booze and staying out late. Slowly Roy starts exhibiting some form of mental instability and soon, he is diagnosed with some form of mental illness.

Fast forward – Roy Williamson turns into a local bum and when an eighteen year old girl is found murdered, Roy and his friend Fritz are questioned, and with no physical evidence linking them to the murder are charged and found guilty for the crime. Both men are sent to death row where they serve 11 years but later exonerated by DNA evidence and thereupon released.

Grisham writes in compelling detail about the entire legal process. He delves into the intricacies of our legal system in a very engaging style that fans of legal thrillers would find it hard to put the book down. This enthralling true story explores wrongful convictions, criminal injustice, and police incompetence as show cased in the Roy Williamson tragic story.

The Innocent Man is a deeply researched and well written book. This book is a scary reality of how easily and how frequently – in our society innocent people are convicted for crimes they did not commit.

Author – John Grisham
Genre – Nonfiction
Publication Date – 2012
Pages – 448

About The Author:

“Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel…” ~ More

61 HOURS -Jack Reacher by Lee, Child

Given how much I love mystery thrillers I can’t believe I never read any Lee Child’s books especially his popular Jack Reacher series. I have to tell you, all the accolades given to these series are well deserved. I borrowed an ebook copy from my local library which I read over the weekend.

Already, there are a lot of reviews about this book so I will go ahead and list some important take aways – From the title – 61 Hours you can already tell this is a count down to a major event. Jack Reacher the protagonist, an ex military man turned private investigator is a drifter. This time he hitches a ride and finds himself in a rural small town that has very limited police capabilities. As things begin to happen, a sense of an impending doom is imminent. The count down is already on which keeps you at the edge of the seat.

The author writes in simple and straight forward language – only facts that are relevant to the story – no fluff, all read meat. The book starts at a break neck speed and continues that way. The writing is third person POV, so the reader sees every angle which increases suspense.

The plot is complex where you peel away the narrative like an onion. The author creates various plot threads with each chapter ending in a cliff hanger. I love that the author takes time to build relatable characters. The reader gets to know the characters well enough where you establish some connection. As a result, I really found it hard letting some of the characters go at the end of the book.

This is a book to read when you have enough time to devote to it because you can’t put it down. Your heart’s racing and you feel you’re on roller coaster ride!

I’m not usually a huge fan of series, but I like that Jack Reacher series do not have to be read in order. Even though this is #14 in the Jack Reacher series, you can start from any book without feeling as though you’re missing anything.

If you’re a mystery thriller fan and haven’t read this book, please do yourself a great favor by grabbing one!

I really would like to read a similar book from a new author, please feel free to suggest anyone, I would really appreciate it!!

Author – Child, Lee
Publication – 2010
Pages – 528
Location – South Dakota

About the Author:

“Lee Child is the #1 internationally bestselling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers. His debut, Killing Floor, won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery, and The Enemy won both the Barry and the Nero awards for Best Novel. “Jack Reacher”, the film based on the 9th novel, One Shot, stars Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike, Jai Courtney, and David Oyelowo and debuted in December 2012. Child, a native of England and a former television director, lives in New York City and the south of France with his wife and daughter”~ Amazon

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author – Rebecca Skloot
Publication Date – 2010
Number of Pages – 400
Genre – Biography
Time Period – 1956

She’s been dead for decades but her cells live on!

“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.
Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave…” ~ Burb from Amazon

My Take:

From time to time I like to dabble into non fiction stories. Non fiction (if it’s not comic), has to be gripping and irresistible for me to want to read. This is such an awesome book to check out! I find it remarkable – the amount of time and effort Rebecca Skloot, a graduate student at the time – put into researching this first novel of hers. It is said she spent ten years doing research and interviewing subjects for this story. I have to say, the final product is well worth all the effort.

On the surface, this book sounds scientific and boring but I assure you, it is nothing like that. I personally do not like or understand science, but this book is so intriguing and quickly sparked my interest. Scientific terms are not so heavily used and even when they are, they are easy enough for any lay person to follow. I learned quite a number of significant things. For one, it is astonishing that (prior to Henrietta) no other cells had been found to behave the way HeLa cells did. Secondly, all the amazing new discoveries in medicine that has happened with the help of HeLa cells is unbelievable. Nonetheless, the fact about removing Henrietta Lacks’ cells without her consent and her family’s ignorance of this fact until twenty years after Henrietta’s death raises ethical and moral issues – which Rebecca Skloot rightly explored. Apart from this, while Henrietta’s cells grew into a billion dollar empire for the science and research world, her family are languishing in abject poverty without the ability to even afford health insurance. This is a book you really want to read for yourself. It is a story of discovery and of love and unity for family.

Notably, Rebecca Skloot’s writing is powerful and at the same time respectful for the Lacks family. Though most of the Lacks family members are of low-income and uneducated, Skloot took time to befriend them and explain in detail her findings of how their mother’s cells has been wonderful in aiding the advancement of medicine and all the diseases that can now be cured with the help of HeLa cells. She also went ahead – without bitterness or judgement – to show the injustice done to Henrietta and subsequently to some of the family members who were also experimented upon without their consent.

Hey! – this is a great book that you cannot put down. Just try a page or two – I promise you’d be hooked like I was. This is one of those true stories that keep you on the edge of your seat. It drives you to ask a lot of questions and look for answers about why and how some of the things happened in this book, it is just an eye opener. This book indeed is a non fiction that reads like fiction. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack is fast paced, enthralling, and thought-provoking.

This is a great old favorite which has won so many awards since it was written. Readers of true stories would eat this up.

About The Author:

Rebecca Skloot is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Her award winning science writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many other publications. She specializes in narrative science writing and has explored a wide range of topics, including goldfish surgery, tissue ownership rights, race and medicine, food politics, and packs of wild dogs in Manhattan…Read more ~