High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

Highroad to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft by Michael Kunze

Thoughts Before Reading:

I had to read this for my class on Early Modern Europe, but didn’t.

I know. Since I couldn’t return it I decided to just hold on to it and read it later.

Plot Synopsis:

This book is the account of the Pappenheimers family. This unit of five-father Paulus; mother Anna; sons Jacob (sometimes called Michel), Gumpprecht, and Hoel (sometimes called Hansel). They were a lower class family that moved around like gypsies.

An arrested thief named them as his conspirators in murdering pregnant women and called them witches. They were arrested and taken to Munich.

There they were tortured and accused of committing over hundreds of thefts and murders, basically any unsolved crime.

Michael Kunze gives a deatailed account of life in the 17th century, and a detailed account of the horror of the witch hunts and trials.

Thoughts After Reading:

I have tried to read this book five times and barely make it out of the first few chapters.

Ugh

It is so dense and I just can’t connect to the work. I’m not sure if it is his style or maybe the translation, but after the fifth time trying to read it; I just kissed it goodbye.

For more nonfiction, go to The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

For more books featuring witches, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

For more books I read for class, go to The Midwife’s Tale

For more book reviews, go to Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

How to Wash a Cat

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How to Wash a Cat (The Cats and Curios Mystery #1) by Rebecca M. Hale

Thoughts Before Reading:

I picked this book up at a book sale, you all know how much I love those:

I mostly chose it because it centered in cats, and I love cats:

Plot Synopsis:

So our main character…now that I think about it, I don’t think she is ever given a name.

Hmm…

I remember people introducing themselves to her, but she just says hello never stating her own name.

I do know that she is an accountant.

Anyways, she has become very close to her Uncle Oscar since she moved to San Francisco, CA. She often goes to visit him and for dinner, bringing along her two cats-Rupert and Isabella.

Her Uncle Oscar owns an antique shop that specializes in the Gold Rush items. One day she goes over to talk to him and finds his dead body!

Even thought she is an accountant and knows nothing about running her own business, let alone antiques; she decides to take over her uncle’s shop, the the Green Vase, as it was left to her in his will.

She meets her uncle’s former buisness associates, all who have a deep interest in the shop; but why?

Soon she has a real mystery on her hands as she discovers strange clues, a jet, a trap door, and a map.

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Thoughts After Reading:

This seemed like a real winner: cats, mystery, history, taking place in Northern CA, etc. But i just could not stand it.

I couldn’t get into the novel. The style of the writer was weird, such as writing “drug” instead of “dragged” and switching from present to past tense.

I also didn’t like how her writing inferred that gold was found around San Francisco, the gold rush occurred farther north. Get your history right.

And the characters did not feel real at all, but caricatures.

It wasn’t good at all. Sad really,  as it had a good premise. It was just too boring.

For more cat centered mysteries, go to The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

For more mysteries about treasure hunts, go to The Madwoman Upstairs

For more Charles Dickens, go to Harlem Tea Room Cheddar-Thyme Scones

The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars

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The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins

I first became aware of this book through a contest. You entered to win the book, the only thing required of you was to write an honest review.

I entered and couldn’t wait for my email saying they were sending the book to my kindle!

Please!

I checked my email, and I saw that they decided to not send me the book.

What?

As they felt I wasn’t suited to it, that I wasn’t the “right choice” of reader.

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I was so mad.

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But I still really wanted to read it. So I put it on my Goodreads’ list, and decided to wait until my library bought a copy, to borrow and read it.

So lo and behold, I got my hands on a copy and I LOVED IT!

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The book chronicles the discovery of chopped up body found in different sections of New York City, in 1897. All the great newspapers were sparring at the time and competing as to who could find the man’s identity and figure out the killer first. The book is divided into seven parts.

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I: The Victim

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The pieces of the body are found scattered throughout the city and surrounding, minus a head. From boys discovering the chest while taking a dip off a pier; a family going cherry picking and finding a leg; to a farmer looking at a red duck pond and realizing that not only has blood tainted the water but there is also a body part.

Which such an astounding discovery, reporters are sent out everywhere, investigating before the police even decided it was a murder case.

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II: The Suspects

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After figuring out who the mutilated corpse was, reporters discover his lover Mrs. Nack, her estranged husband, and new love interest. Which one did the killing? Who is innocent?

Each newspaper backs up a seperate person as innocent and persecutes who they believe to be a villian. It is up to the police to do actual work in investigating who has the motive, means, and of course: who actually did it not who makes the best news.

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III: The Indictment

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The police settle on who they believe the killer is, the D.A is building a case and defense attorneys are fighting for their chance to represent the case of a lifetime.

Now just because the police are preparing to prosecute someone, doesn’t mean it is all over fpor the newspapers. They are still contending with each other, and making sure everyone knows the facts and fiction.

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IV: The Trial

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Jury selection begins, a truly difficult matter as with the newspapers how they are, as practically every person is aware of what the case entails.

As the accused await trial, the newspapers continue to cover and predict what will happen next. Men and women travel from all over to watch the trial, enduring a rotten stench, extreme heat, and other issues arising from the poor construction of a courthouse.

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V: The Verdict

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The jury and judge decide whom the guilty parties are and distribute sentence. Appeals are made to the government and the newspapers.

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VI: Epilogue

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Collins concludes with not only a summarization of what happened next in our main character’s lives; but also gives a brief lesson on the newspapers rises, falls, and buyouts.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book.

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I thought it was supremely perfect. It was informative, historical, and told everything in an amazing and interesting way. I know many historians fall victim to being dry and dull, but not this work. In fact I had the hardest time putting it down.

from janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

from janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

Everything about it was just amazing! I am dying to buy a copy. And I am looking forward to reading more of Collins’ work.

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For more Goodreads recommendations, go to The Dollhouse Murders

For more book reviews, go to Good, Clean, Murder

The Italian Wife

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The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall

The year is 1922 and Isabella Berotti is a young, expectant mother living in Milan. She and her husband are visiting the outdoor markets when he is shot and killed. Isabella rushes over to help him, and is shot in the back, losing her baby and ability to walk.

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Ten years later, Isabella has used all that frustration and grief to motivate her into walking, only suffering from a slight limp, and achieve her dream of becoming an architect. She is currently residing in Bellina, helping to achieve Mussolini’s dream of reclaiming the marshlands for Italy, and creating a modern state.

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While life has been good, the day of the accident and death of her husband still haunts her. This anniversary she is spending her time reminiscing at a café, when a woman approaches her asking if she could watch her daughter Rosa. Before she can refuse, the woman whispers that “they” know who really killed Isabella’s husband and takes off. Intrigued as to what the woman may know, Isabella sits with Rosa, entertaining her. Everything is fine until Isabella sees the woman throw herself off a building Isabella created.

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Now Isabella finds herself caught up in a web of political intrigue, as Rosa proves to be a powerful piece both the fascists and the rebels wish to use. She teams up with a photographer, Roberto Falco, to protect Rosa, remain out of prison, bring to light the dirty deals in government, and finally solve who murdered her husband.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I absolutely loved this book.

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I thought it was thrilling, interesting, and impossible to put down. The historical truths of Mussilini attempting to control and reshape the land, even going as far as building cities and farms in impossible places, was a fascinating backdrop and made me interested to learn even more.

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The writing was extremely well done and the characters are multi-dimensional, lovable, and always exceeding my expectations as to what would happen next. In fact, I am not only looking forward to her next project, but planning on reading everything she has written prior to this novel.

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I would give it five out of five stars.

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For more stand alone mysteries, go to The Unsolvable Mystery: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

For more mysteries, go to The Silence of the Llamas