The Innocent Killer – A Review

The Innocent Killer by Michael Griesbach.

The Innocent Killer MG

I think like the rest of the world there was a time a good few months ago when all I could talk about was the Netflix documentary ‘Making a Murderer’ after I watched it I was in a state of disbelief (and rage) so when I saw this in my local supermarket I just had to get a copy.

Now I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there who feel that the documentary was one sided and believe Steven Avery is guilty and has been rightfully convicted, so you will love this book because it is mostly unbiased apart from towards the end of the book, which in my opinion, the author pretty much states that he believes the conviction received by Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey is justified. However if you’re like me and believe that Avery is innocent then this book gives you A LOT more insight into his first wrongful conviction in 1985 and the battle it took for him to be, eventually exonerated, of the crime. It looks at Avery’s past misdemeanours and yes, understandably, he wasn’t an angel, but he was getting his life back on track (which those who watched the documentary closely will know IS mentioned) I couldn’t believe the lack of care or responsibility Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department displayed in the handling of the sexual assault on Penny Beernsten. I won’t spoil anything for you in case you decide to read but there is SO much more that happened, so much more evidence and people approaching the Sheriff saying he’d got it wrong, only for it to be ignored so that Gregory Allen could spend another 10 years on street, which led to the brutal rape of a woman whose daughter was asleep in the room next door.

The book looks at the Steven’s appeal for compensation for his wrongful imprisonment for 18 years where he was set to get a $36 million dollar pay out, so for me, it comes as no surprise that when Teresa Halbach went missing and the Avery Salvage Yard was the last place she was seen, that all fingers pointed to Avery. Now you’re probably familiar with the case as it’s what 8 of the 10 episodes focused on, but it does offer more insight, including motions that were filed by everyone’s favourite justice league Dean Strang and Jerome Buting. One of which was to suggest that anyone who had access to the Avery Salvage yard should be considered as perpetrators of the crime, including two of Avery’s brothers, one of which had been arrested for trying to strangle his girlfriend to death with a telephone cord.

An eye opening book that offers more insight into the first case than the second but its well worth a read if you’re looking for more information after watching the documentary.

Star Rating out of 5: 3

I’d love to know what your thoughts are on the case below, so please do comment.

Thanks, Georgina.

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2015 – My Year in Books

Now back to books. 2015 was a very varied year for me, I was reading and reviewing books for ‘Belle About Town’ but also reading a book a month with my book club. I have to say having not one, not two but three outlets to discuss the books I read is really rewarding and I know I have said it in a previous post but thank you so much to all the people who have read, commented and liked my blog. It really means a lot, and this year I want to try and make sure I’m writing a least a blog post a week. I thought it would be fun for me to share some stats with you about my reading habits in 2015, and I’d love to know yours too, so please do comment below.

The first book I read in 2015 was ‘Foxcatcher: A True Story of Murder, Madness and The Quest for Olympic Gold’ by Mark Schultz and the last book I read in 2015 was ‘Forever’ by Judy Blume.

The book that made me cry the most in 2015 was ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce. I’m talking full on crying with snot and everything, I’m just glad I was at home when I finished reading it as I think my fellow commuters would have been fearful had it been on the train.

The book that made me laugh the most was ‘Bossypants’ by Tina Fey. I genuinely laughed out loud and even snorted like a pig at one point, unfortunately this did happen on a rather crowded train during peak time and the person who was sat next to me moved seats at the next stop…How subtle.

The most powerful book I read was ‘Asking for It’ by Louise O’Neill. I read and reviewed this for ‘Belle About Town’ it was without doubt one of the most raw and infuriating books I have read. An incredibly important YA novel that all teenagers and adults alike should read.

Favourite literary magazine had to be ‘The Happy Reader’ by Penguin Classics. A seasonal magazine that interviews a well-known celebrity about their reading habits and then dissects a chosen book. Perfect for book recommendations/inspiration.

My favourite book of the year has to be ‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir. It had me hooked from the opening sentence and kept me that way until the very end. Weir seemed to perfectly balance, science, tension and humour and it was the top of my list of book recommendations whenever people asked me what they should be reading. Also the film adaptation was pretty accurate and perfectly executed which is a rarity.

I only re-read TWO books this year and they were ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl and ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens. This is a miracle for me as I tend to re-read books out of some form of need for comfort and nostalgia so this is like a breakthrough for me.

I have plenty of books on my ‘TBR’ pile and there’s plenty of new titles coming out this year that I am looking forward to reading, so I have a feeling 2016 is going to be just as good as last year. Please comment below with your favourite read of 2015 and anything else you want to share.

Happy reading my lovelies.

Georgina.

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2016 – More About Me, Less About You

Whilst most people are setting themselves numerous resolutions for the New Year which consist of going to the gym or finding a new job, I once again find myself feeling reflective. I’m quite happy for people to make their own choices with their life but with me I’ve never been big on setting myself a list of things to achieve in a year, whilst this would probably be a good thing for someone like me (who suffers quite badly from anxiety) I just feel that it’s also quite pressurising, if you get mid-way through the year and haven’t achieved half of what you set out to do it can make you feel even worse off than when you started.

My proposal for this year is simple I’m only going to set myself tasks for things that will give me full enjoyment. My mum, friends and Dr have told me a lot recently that I put too much stress on myself, and that I need to find ways to relax more. I can’t help but feel that I need to look after everyone else which often means I neglect myself and put the needs of other people before my own, and whilst I have no intention of being selfish and making it all about me, me, me, I am going to use this year to give myself a little time to do things that I enjoy.

I worry too much about work, working in the Television industry whilst being incredibly varied and fun also means a lot of uncertainty and lacks stability. I’ve been very fortunate up to now moving from one project to another but with a mortgage to pay and a life to live the stress of not knowing can often leave me feeling unbelievably stressed. So this year I want to take my time and apply for job roles that offer permanent positions as opposed to fixed term contracts. The annoying thing about this is with the economy being the way it is, it’s going to make it more difficult but to allow myself peace of mind I feel that it would be beneficial for me to find work that is permanent.

Secondly is about embracing nature a bit more. I won’t be joining a gym as exercise just doesn’t excite me like it does with most people, but I am going to make sure that at least once a week I spend a couple of hours outdoors enjoying a nice brisk walk in one of the many parks local to me. As a child my brother and I rarely spent a full weekend in the house and we were always being taken to visit my Grandmother in Yorkshire or frolicking at nature trails and parks. So this year I endeavour to tap into this aspect of my much younger self.

More time for hobbies. I already partake in a weekly podcast and two monthly meetings with the WI and the Book Club I run for the WI (The Bookish Broads) and these are great but I want to make time for more of my hobbies. I would love to get back into sewing and making things again and would love to use some of my time for this, I also started a cross stitch last month and found it really relaxing so I want to do more. Also I now own 4 adult colouring books and have found that these really help relax my very busy mind, so I want to set aside at least a half hour every evening to do some colouring in.

I usually always set myself a target of books I’d like to read in a year via Goodreads. In 2015 I set myself a target of 50 and read 62. This year I have set myself a target of 30 and have already read 1. The reason it’s such a low number is because, due to my anxiety, I felt like I was letting myself down if I fell behind with reading. I increasingly found myself with no time or no interest in reading in 2015, largely due to my job. 5am wake ups with 14/15 hour days and not getting home till nearly 10pm had a huge effect on my reading time. Also on the days I did have time I was often suffering from a stress headache or just lacked the energy to sit and truly immerse myself in a book. So this year I have vowed to read for enjoyment and use my ‘To Be Read’ Jar as a way of helping with the decision making process, by decreasing my number it will make me feel less stressed and mean I take time to read for enjoyment, whereas I often felt I had to binge read a book to stay on target.

But above all this year I want to be healthy and happy. I’ve been going through some pretty stressful moments recently, the main one being my husband and I struggling to conceive. We’ve wanted to start a family for a long while now and about 3 weeks ago we thought we were pregnant, I was having morning sickness, I was feeling tired, my breasts were tender but then I started cramping really bad and started bleeding heavily. I was in pieces for days and went to see my Dr, I’ve had blood tests done and it turns out I have hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) which can have a huge effect on fertility. So I’m now taking medication and have a scan in a week or so to make sure there’s nothing else preventing me to conceive. Since I lost my father in 2009 I know what a gift life is and I don’t want to spend it stressing out and worrying, achieving pointless things just for acceptance from people who don’t really care. So for me, 2016, is about doing things that make me happy, things that make me relax and things that will help me get one step closer to creating the only thing I truly want, a cosy house with a loving husband and a little family of our own.

Whatever your plans for this year, I hope you are happy.

Georgina

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Us – A Review

Us by David Nicholls.

 Us David Nicholls

I’ve never read a book by David Nicholls before. He’s always been highly recommended to me (both my brother in law AND mother in law have suggested him) I have had Starter of Ten sat on my Kindle for just over a year and I know what you’re thinking, that surely it would have been better to start with one of his older books rather than jump in with his most recent. And you’re probably right, I should have done. But this book was loaned to me to by a work colleague’s wife (pass my thanks to Amanda please Dan) so I figured I’d start with it.

The book starts with Douglas telling us how in the middle of the night his wife Connie tells him she thinks their marriage has come to an end. Douglas cannot understand it, he’s still perfectly happy and in love with his wife, but it seems the feeling isn’t reciprocated. However it’s decided that no further action should be taken (moving out/divorce) until they have finished their ‘Grand Tour’ holiday around most of Europe. A trip they will take with their teenage son Albie, a sullenly young man who Douglas can’t seem to connect with and only seems to annoy and embarrass.

Almost instantly what I loved about this was the humour, it was genuine and I couldn’t understand why son and wife didn’t find Douglas funny (but of course that’s the point) it was observational and warm and honest, almost like reading a story of your own life or experiences. As the novel progressed the tensions of family life and the dynamics of the relationships between the characters become clearer, this was both incredible and infuriating. As a reader you know and understand that Douglas seems to ‘moan’ but it’s because he loves his son and wants to provide him with the kind of relationship he never had himself.

‘Why should it trouble me? It’s the face itself that I love, not that face at twenty-eight or thirty-four or forty-three. It’s that face.’

Douglas clearly loves his wife and son but he feels that it’s very much them against him. Which at times was heart breaking to read, especially when he tried to be more relaxed and approach things with a more devil may care attitude. The book went up and down, very much like life and it was this very human heart that kept it so engaging. Well that and the humour. I really loved this and laughed my way through many a page (the section with the jellyfish particularly made me chuckle although I quickly felt terrible) the ending wasn’t what I wanted, but neither is life, and I feel that’s the point that David Nicholls is trying to make. That life throws things at you and doesn’t always turn out the way you hoped, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful and memorable.

Star Rating out of 5: 4.5

‘..And it occurred to me that perhaps grief is as much regret for what we never had as sorrow for what we have lost.’

By sheer luck a few days later I stumbled upon a pre-loved copy of One Day for 50p but think I’m going to read Starter for Ten first.

Happy reading fellow bookworms.

Georgina.

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