KATE GOSSELIN: HOW SHE FOOLED THE WORLD: The Rise and Fall of a TV Reality Queen by Robert Hoffman


PUBLISHER: CreateSpace, 4/2014
ORIGINAL PUB: 2012, e-book
GENRE: Nonfiction/Biography
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: INSIDE KATE GOSSELIN’S ‘HOUSE OF HORRORS’ Conspiracy. Massive Coverup. Lawsuits and Legal Threats. Exploitation. Fraud. Abuse. Animal Cruelty. Lies. Read The Book that two of the most powerful law firms in the country have tried to stop from being published. You’ll never look at ‘Reality’ TV the same again. “She has as much right to this being kept private as anyone,” Gosselin’s attorney, Marc Randazza, told ABC News.

MY THOUGHTS: The author has a burning hatred for this woman, star of TLC’s Jon & Kate Plus 8/Kate Plus 8. At the time he was a celebrity reporter for a well-known magazine and he happened to live about 10 minutes away from Kate. He stole her trash on more than a few occasions, which had some of her journals in it, and interviewed some of her family members, became friends with her ex husband Jon, and basically stalked her for a few years. That’s where a lot of the material for this exposé came from.

He said Kate was promiscuous as a teen (p. 15) but gave no information to back that up. He said she left home then but didn’t elaborate on it, knowing full well we’d want to know all about it. Does he know more about that but didn’t want to share it or is he saving it for a sequel? The chapter titled The Formative Years was good but could have been so much better, more detailed. It was no surprise to find out in that chapter that Kate really is mentally ill but I never expected that to be made public.

Since the author interviewed some of her siblings it would have been nice to have learned a bit more about Kate’s childhood and when her bipolar diagnosis came about. It must have been before she became famous, maybe as a teenager, since she stopped talking to her siblings then and I can’t imagine her telling any of them her personal business after that.

Self-published books are notorious for having spelling issues and this one is full of those and formatting problems. Too much time was spent on her poor spelling in her tweets and he felt the need to point out twice that she misspelled the word ‘gorgeous’. Without the bad Twitter spelling, contract details, and the repetitiveness of things already discussed this book could have been 200 pages shorter. Much of the material in this is repeated throughout. Better editing on his part would have caught that. I do give him credit for exposing her lies in her tweets.

My complaints about the author: Too much time was spent nitpicking every little thing about her, like her going to get her hair and nails done while the kids were home with a babysitter. He complains that Kate never takes eight kids to the theater when really, who cares? Are they really missing out on anything? He bitches about her using newspaper as wrapping paper with no bows. So what? He complained about Kate not taking her kids to the beach then proceeded to tell us what a great father he is for taking his three kids to one. He toots his own horn quite a lot.

The author went too far in calling Kate racist and even had that word printed on the cover of original e-book version of this book when again he had no evidence to back up that claim. He considers her making ‘Asian eyes’ once to be racist when we’ve all done it, especially as children, and there’s nothing ‘racist’ about it. It’s just people acting silly. Jon’s Korean mother or grandmother would make them Korean food so once on camera Kate called her their ‘Korean food maker’. I took that to mean she’s the maker of Korean food but since the author hates Kate’s guts he chooses to believe Kate is pointing out the woman’s ethnicity, calling her their ‘Korean food maker’. She had an African doctor so she calls him ‘African’, and again, the author thinks that’s racist. If she called a German man ‘German’ or a Welsh woman ‘Welsh’ he’d have never said a word…because they’re white. He’s really grasping at straws when really it’s so unnecessary; she looks terrible on her own without you trying to invent more ways.

I believe all of what the author said was written in her journals and I believe all of what he said her siblings and relatives have told him about Kate. I just wish he had focused less on trivial stuff like bad spelling and salon visits. I do hope that one day there will be a follow-up book. I’ve been a fan of the show since season 1 and even though Kate is very disturbed (she pulled poor Collin up by his hair when he was 2), I’ll continue to watch her show, Kate Plus 8.

You can read a good summary of the book here.

I purchased this book myself.

 

LOOSE GIRL: A NOVEL OF PROMISCUITY by Kerry Cohen with Book Trailer

PUBLISHER: Hyperion, 6/2008
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen’s captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction–not just to sex, but to male attention–Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. Never less than riveting, Loose Girl re-creates what it feels like to be in that desperate moment when a girl tries to control a boy by handing over her body, when the touch of that boy seems to offer proof of something but ultimately delivers little more than emptiness. The unforgettable story of one young woman who desperately wanted to matter, Loose Girl will speak to countless others with its compassion, understanding, and love.

MY THOUGHTS: This was very sad and very honest. Kerry (born 1970), from a very early age, 11/12,  has been looking for love and attention from males and would have sex with just about any of them in hopes of becoming their girlfriend. She felt she was unlovable because she didn’t often have a boyfriend but had plenty of males willing to have sex with her. She didn’t use condoms much either and has gotten STD’s.

She comes from a well-off dysfunctional family in New Jersey, felt like she didn’t get attention from either parent, and was jealous of her sister’s relationship with their mother. I’d have liked for her to have interviewed both parents to get their opinions of her feeling neglected. Oddly enough she never mentioned whether or not she was ever depressed, but I would imagine she was, at least back then.

Here’s her speaking at The Mystery Box in 2013.

 

KEEPING SECRETS by Suzanne Somers

PUBLISHER: Warner Books, 2/1988
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: A+

FROM PUBLISHER: This is the story of the Suzanne Somers the world never knew…the shy, frightened child trembling at her father’s drunken rages, the troubled teenager who became a pregnant bride, the young model struggling to support her son, the rising star still haunted and controlled by her past. It’s the story she wrote for America’s millions of adult children of alcoholics, people who don’t drink, yet suffer from and need help against the ravages of this insidious disease. And it’s a story of incredible courage, a candid, sometimes shocking autobiography of a woman who dared to face the dark side of her soul and triumph over it.


MY THOUGHTS: This memoir was much darker than I’d anticipated. Actually, I didn’t expect anything like it. Suzanne’s father (born to Irish immigrant parents) and all three of her siblings are recovering alcoholics, or were before the book was published in early 1988. Her father’s side has quite a few in the family.

Her father was an angry, verbally abusive foulmouthed man who was never not drinking. The house was constantly filled with chaos and there was some violence. The father was assaulted by three of the children at different times when they were teenagers. Suzanne once hit him in the head with a tennis racket when she was sixteen, resulting in a bloody head injury that required medical attention, her older sister kicked him in the ribs and broke them, and her younger brother broke his ribs too. Suzanne wet the bed until she was in her early teens, her younger brother did too, and Suzanne began having nightmares in first grade. She’d hide in her bedroom closet a lot too to get away from the yelling. Her mother stood by her man and allowed her four children to be raised up in a mess but Suzanne holds nothing against either parent.

Suzanne didn’t have it easy in her early life and career. She comes from a religious Catholic family and went to Catholic schools. She got expelled from one when she was 14 because a snooping nun found in her locker a somewhat explicit poem she wrote about a boy she was interested in. She got pregnant when she was not quite 17 1/2, got married to the father, had the baby, Bruce Jr., in November 1964, one month after her 18th birthday, then began having an affair with a much older man (47). Her marriage ended a few years later and she began dating her current husband, Alan Hamel, even though he was married with two children. They married about nine years later, in 1977. Acting and modeling jobs were few and far between so she had major trouble paying bills and was even arrested for bouncing checks. She got pregnant by Alan shortly after and had an abortion and almost hemorrhaged to death in the days following. She shot nude test photos for possible publication in Playboy magazine but changed her mind about it and never signed the release. Playboy released the photos anyway years later after she became famous by being on Three’s Company.

Sadly she didn’t discuss the controversy surrounding her firing from Three’s Company in 1980 but she may discuss it in her second memoir, 1998’s After The Fall.

I think the book is well written, I loved it and have nothing bad to say about it.

 

FROZEN IN FEAR: A True Story of Surviving the Shadows of Death by Jane Carson-Sandler

PUBLISHER: True Directions, 6/2014
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/True Crime
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Jane Carson-Sandler, a native of Northern New Jersey, entered the US Air Force Nurse Corps in 1969 and retired in 1999 after serving 30 years of active and reserve duty. Seven years after entering the military, she was raped in her own home while her three year old son was lying beside her. Thirty eight years have passed. This notorious rapist and serial killer, known as the East Area Rapist (EAR), has raped 50 women and has murdered twelve people including men and women in California. He still has not been caught. With raw emotion, Jane’s story entails how she survived not only this trauma, but some other bruising encounters with death such as her battle with alcohol and other serious health issues. Through the Grace and love of God, Jane went from being a victim to a survivor. She describes her God inspired journey in making this transition in hopes of helping and inspiring others.

MY THOUGHTS: This book is very condensed yet very informative about Jane’s life. She survived a prolific California serial rapist in October 1976 (50 known victims) who went on to become a serial killer (The Original Night Stalker/ONS) of at least 10 people.

Jane’s had a very interesting life. She’s the daughter of a sometimes violent alcoholic electrician father and a mother who’s a nurse. She became a nurse herself and has lived throughout the U.S. and Europe and now resides in South Carolina with her third husband.

I really wish she had expanded on her experience with talking to prison inmates about being a rape survivor. I’d love to know what they had to say about her story, especially since some of them are rapists themselves.

She’s been a recovering alcoholic since 2003. I take issue with her comment, “God removed my addiction”. An addiction doesn’t get ‘removed’ by anything or anyone.

Jane’s known as victim #5 in this case. You can see her interviewed on The Original Night Stalker episode of I.D.’s Dark Minds, season 2, episode 1.

HE KILLED THEM ALL: ROBERT DURST AND MY QUEST FOR JUSTICE by Jeanine Pirro

durstPUBLISHER: Gallery Books, 9/2015
GENRE: True Crime
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHER: Former prosecutor Jeanine Pirro—the “true hero” (New York Post) of the hit HBO documentary series The Jinx—offers the transfixing true story of her tireless fifteen-year investigation into accused murderer Robert Durst for the disappearance of his wife Kathleen Durst.Former district attorney Jeanine Pirro was cast as the bad guy fifteen years ago when she reopened the cold case of Kathleen Durst, a young and beautiful fourth-year medical student who disappeared without a trace in 1982, never to be seen again. Kathie Durst’s husband was millionaire real estate heir Robert Durst, son of one of the wealthiest families in New York City—but though her friends and family suspected him of the worst, he escaped police investigation.

Pirro, now the host of Justice with Judge Jeanine on Fox News, always believed in Durst’s guilt, and in this shocking book, she makes her case beyond a shadow of a doubt, revealing stunning, previously unknown secrets about the crimes he is accused of committing. For years, Pirro has crusaded for justice for the victims, and her impassioned perspective in the captivating HBO documentary series The Jinx made her one of its breakout stars. Featuring Pirro’s unique insider’s perspective on the crimes, as well as her exclusive interviews with many of the major players featured in the The Jinx, this comprehensive book is the definitive story of Robert Durst and his gruesome crimes—the one you didn’t see on television.

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MY THOUGHTS: Unfortunately this book is mostly about Jeanine. I couldn’t even estimate the amount of times she mentioned by name her designer clothes, shoes, and handbags. I didn’t learn anything about Robert at all. Nothing about his family either. I was really wanting to know more about his father but the man was hardly mentioned. Same goes for his mother, Bernice. She didn’t say much about Susan Berman’s background or current wife-in-name-only, Debrah Charatan. Debrah seems interesting enough to me to write at least a few chapters on but Jeanine couldn’t be bothered to. She didn’t tell us anything that wasn’t in The Jinx already. She goes on ad nauseam about how poorly she’s been treated in the press since getting involved with this case in 2000 and is constantly defending herself.

If someone didn’t know who Robert was and decided to read this they’d be confused, I’m positive. The flow is terrible. I like for true crime books to start at the beginning with the criminal’s background and work their way up to modern day but this book is all over the place. I’m stunned and disappointed in this book, to be honest with you. It’s a shame Jeanine had such great subject matter but didn’t know what to do with it!

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

MURDER IN PLEASANTON: Tina Faelz and the Search for Justice by Joshua Suchon

murderinpleasantonPUBLISHER: Arcadia Publishing, 9/2015
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
SETTING: California, 1984-2000’s
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: In April 1984, Foothill High freshman Tina Faelz took a shortcut on her walk home. About an hour later, she was found in a ditch, brutally stabbed to death. The murder shook the quiet East Bay suburb of Pleasanton and left investigators baffled. With no witnesses or leads, the case went cold and remained so for nearly thirty years. In 2011, the investigation finally got a break. Improved forensics recovered DNA from a drop of blood found at the scene matching Tina’s classmate, Steven Carlson.

Through dusty police files, personal interviews, letters and firsthand accounts, journalist Joshua Suchon revisits his childhood home to uncover the story of a disturbing crime and the controversial sentencing that brought long-awaited answers to a city tormented by questions.

MY THOUGHTS: This is such a sad story. Tina was picked on at school and on the bus by a few girls but Tina was also a bit troubled herself, it seems, since she wasn’t the nicest to everyone. I can’t help but wonder if she was mean to some because she was being picked on herself. And at least one of the girls who picked on Tina feels horrible to this day for her own behavior back then.

This book was well written in most areas. Tina’s mother, brother, stepfather, and best friend were interviewed. The author needed to explore Steve‘s early childhood. There was something seriously wrong with that family. Steve was already a rapist/pervert before he murdered Tina when he was just sixteen and his slightly older sister, Tanya, was bulimic. She was interviewed and apparently wasn’t asked anything about what she thinks may have caused both of them to have problems. The author said they were neglected by parents who liked to party and that’s about it. I want to know if either of them were abused in some way by someone.

I learned of this case in September by watching a new episode of I.D.’s On the Case With Paula Zahn. Tina’s episode was called Shortcut to Murder.

There’s a Facebook page with lots of photos of Tina.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

MURDER IN THE FIRST-CLASS CARRIAGE: The First Victorian Railway Killing by Kate Colquhoun

murderPUBLISHER: The Overlook Press, 11/2011
ORIGINAL PUB: Little, Brown, 5/2011 as Mr. Briggs’ Hat
GENRE: Nonfiction/Biography/Historical true crime
SETTING: England, 1864
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: In July 1864, Thomas Briggs was traveling home after visiting his niece and her husband for dinner. He boarded a first-class carriage on the 9:45 pm Hackney service of the North London railway. At Hackney, two bank clerks discovered blood in the seat cushions as well as on the floor, windows, and sides of the carriage. A bloodstained hat was found on the seat along with a broken link from a watch chain. The race to identify the killer and catch him as he fled on a boat to America was eagerly followed by the public on both sides of the Atlantic. Kate Colquhoun tells a gripping tale of a crime that shocked the era.

MY THOUGHTS: This was a very detailed, well researched and descriptive account of the crime but not as exciting as I was expecting. That’s not the authors fault, though. When I get a book that sounds so interesting I build it up so big in my head, telling myself it’s going to be the greatest book ever, and I end up let down.

I just wish there had been sketches of the key players in the case, especially of the killer, German immigrant Franz Müller. He’s described as being twenty-three, not very tall, thin, fair-skinned, prominent cheekbones, small gray eyes, and wavy dark blond hair with eyebrows so light you can barely see them.

I like that the author hypothesized what probably went down in the carriage that night, saying Franz likely didn’t even know he’d murdered Thomas in a botched robbery. What she didn’t say is how he got out of a moving train without any injuries.

The book is 339 pages but the actual story is only 282 pages. There’s an extensive bibliography as well as a very helpful section in the back that’s got the names of all the people mentioned in the book and who they were/what role they played in the trial.

There’s a mediocre hour long BBC documentary about this from 2013 called Murder on the Victorian Railway that you can watch.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Franz Müller

Franz Müller

PAUL BERNARDO AND KARLA HOMOLKA: The True Story of the Ken and Barbie Killers (Crimes Canada: True Crimes That Shocked the Nation #3) by Peter Vronsky

paulPUBLISHING INFO: VP Publication, 5/2015
GENRE: Nonfiction/true crime/serial killers
PURCHASE: link
PAUL WIKI: link
KARLA WIKI: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were so perfectly iconic as a newlywed couple that they were dubbed “Ken and Barbie”. But their marriage had a dark side involving sex, death, and videotape. The ‘perfect couple’ first raped and murdered Karla’s little sister and then kidnapped teenage schoolgirls whom they enslaved, raped, tortured and killed while gleefully recording themselves on video doing it. Vronsky will take you on the journey from the Scarborough Rapist (Bernardo) to Bordelais (Homolka’s current last name) and her return to Canada in October, 2014 from the island of Gaudeloupe where she lived for several years with her husband and three children.

MY THOUGHTS: Though this book is condensed, just 161 pages, I feel like all the pertinent information was given and I don’t really feel like I missed out on much. Though I know what Karla’s been up to since her release from prison in July 2005, I think a bit more information should have been given about it. It wasn’t even mentioned that she’d had an online children’s clothing line until 2012/13.

The author is very unprofessional in his language. He used the word ‘shit’ to describe something, called another female serial killer ‘stupid’, called three other female killers ‘trolls’ when talking about how he doesn’t think they’re as attractive as Karla. He said Karla was a Facebook ‘slut’ before there was a Facebook. He called something a ‘cluster-fuck’, talked about ‘blow jobs’, ‘licking ass’, and ‘sick, horrific shit’. Said Karla’s husband was ‘troll-like’ and called Karla a ‘homicidal bitch’.

He incorrectly stated that the three murdered girls would be ‘in their forties’. Wrong. Only Karla’s sister Tammy would be 40 this year, the other two, 39.

I’ve read many a nonfiction book, have since 1995, and have never seen an author sound so unprofessional. That would never have been allowed in a book being published by a major publisher. I’m embarrassed for him and don’t know why the publisher allowed it. That’s the type of language you read on blogs, forums, ect., not in professionally published books.

I think the book is well written, though lacking a bit in information in some areas. For someone who’s never read about this case before, I don’t recommend that you start with this. I think you need to start with one that has more information, such as Deadly Innocence (which has interviews with their friends), Invisible Darkness, or Lethal Marriage. I’d never read anything by this author again because of his lack of professionalism.

Other books about Paul and Karla:

Karla’s Web by Frank Davies (published before Paul’s trial in ’95, I bought this in 2002 but never finished it)
Deadly Innocence (My favorite. I’ve read it three times and even wrote to Alan Cairns in 2002.)
Lethal Marriage by Nick Pron (read once)
Invisible Darkness by Stephen Williams (read twice)
Paul’s Case: The Kingston Letters by Lynn Crosbie (not interested in reading)
Karla: A Pact with the Devil by Stephen Williams (read once)
Finding Karla by Paula Todd (not interested in reading)
Behind Every Successful Psychopath by Patricia Pearson (not interested in reading)
The Masks of Karla Homolka: My Interviews with Karla Homolka – The Ken and Barbie Sex Killer! by Dr. Paul Dawson (I bought this the other day. It’s a gigantic paperback.)

Lori Homolka’s (now married and goes by Logan Valentini) Facebook page is here. Her father, Karel, is the man in the photo wearing the green shirt and holding a beer. Lori is married with three (?) children.

Anything you want to know about Paul, Karla, and the trial can be found on the Watching Karla Homolka forum.

I’ve been reading about Paul and Karla since February 2001 and have seen three or four documentaries on them. My favorite is MSNBC Investigates ‘To Have and to Kill’ episode from 2000.

I purchased this book myself.

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THE BUNDY MURDERS: A Comprehensive History by Kevin M. Sullivan

bundyPUBLISHING INFO: McFarland
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: Theodore Bundy was one of the most infamous, flamboyant American serial killers on record, and his story is a complex mix of psychopathology, criminal investigation, and the U.S. legal system. This in-depth examination of Bundy’s life and his killing spree that totaled dozens of victims is drawn from legal transcripts, correspondence and interviews with detectives and prosecutors. Using these sources, new information on several murders is unveiled. The biography follows Bundy from his broken family background to his execution in the electric chair.

MY THOUGHTS: This was pretty informative and would be a good book for someone to begin with if they’ve never read about Ted. For the most part the murders are in chronological order but the story does jump around a bit.

I wish the author had gone into Ted’s childhood/parentage a whole lot more and maybe discussed past interviews that his mother had given to the press. I wanted to know more about his wife, Carole Boone. He never mentioned Carol having Ted’s child or how she could have gotten pregnant by him while he was in prison, since they had no conjugal visits (that we know of). But this book is titled ‘The Bundy Murders’ so murders are the primary focus of the book.

I don’t like how, instead of using the word ‘rape’, the author says Ted either ‘made love’ or ‘had sex’ with the victim, during or after death. You can’t do either to a kidnapped victim.

Ted confessed to over thirty murders and I wish there had been a list of names and dates in the book.

Overall I found this to be pretty detailed in some ways, every interesting throughout, and totally lacking in details in some places.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. You can order a copy by calling them at 1-800-253-2187 or visiting their website, http://www.mcfarlandpub.com.

 

MY STORY by Marilyn Chambers

mystoryPUBLISHING INFO: BearManor Media 7/2014, updated
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: Warner Books 1975
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/Pornography
MARILYN ARCHIVE: link
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: The intimate, uncensored reissued erotobiography that is pure-as-Ivory Snow. The sexy girl next door who turned on the world talks openly in detail about her fantasies and what turns her on. Twenty-six pages of personal photos of the star of Behind the Green Door and The Resurrection of Eve.

MY THOUGHTS: This autobiography started out good with all the stuff you’d expect in one. Where she grew up, what her childhood was like, how she got into the sex business, and so on but damn, it’s a nonstop sex fest and I got so sick of reading it, and it’s a short book…couldn’t wait for it to end. Literally almost every single page was just graphic sexual ramblings of how horny she is. We get it, Marilyn, you like sex, but your filthy language was too much.The page count for the original publication of this book was around 200 and nineteen of those was taken up by sexually graphic fan mail letters she received, which I didn’t care at all about. Another twelve pages was taken up by letters people wrote to her for her sex advise column in Genesis magazine in the 70’s. Total waste of space.

There’s a three-page forward by her daughter that was really pointless and unnecessary and just a two-page afterward/epilogue. Since this book was written thirty-nine years before the reissue in 2014, the epilogue should have been at least a chapter long and should have been written by someone who actually knows something about her and could have given some useful, interesting information on the woman, who is a legend in the porn world.

Wikipedia has more info on her, like her drug addition that wasn’t even mentioned in the epilogue, and her death in 2009.

You can read her adult fimography here.

You can read my review for her 1980 porn Insatiable here.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Same review here.

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