If you want to feel better about yourself as a parent, you should read this book. It gives you some pretty descriptive detail about how to be the shittiest parents possible.
Fourth of July Creek takes you back to the early 80’s, and introduces you to the Pearl family. This family is extremely religious, and heavily lean on conspiracy theories to keep themselves thoroughly crazy as they live in the wilderness, completely off-grid. A CPS worker, Pete Snow, gets wind of the family and shows up to try and help – and it eventually leads to ATF and the FBI searching for the family – and for Pete.
Maybe the conspiracies aren’t just theories anymore.
Even though this type of story is normally not my thing, the novel was good. The characters are colorful, giving you an in-depth look into some pretty serious cuckoo birds, and some pretty intense assholes.
My full opinion – worth the read, but probably only once.
In a world similar to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Hillary Jordan’s world of When She Woke takes place in a future where women have little, to no, choice on what they can do with their bodies.
Criminals are not often kept in jails or prisons anymore, instead their skin is dyed a color that matches their crime. The protagonist, Hannah, wakes in a temporary cell with her skin dyed a deep red. Scarlet. The color of murder. The victim was her unborn child.
The current political climate of the United States makes this novel seem less like science fiction, and more like a premonition. Religious leaders, such as Pat Robertson or Joel Osteen, try so desperately to make us (especially women) live a guilt-ridden life, terrified of upsetting a very angry god. In this story we watch Hannah wake up to the reality of life and religion – and maybe start making choices to follow her own beliefs and not those of the “righteous” men that run the country.
Another suspenseful thriller by the author of Gone Girl. Dark Places is the story of Libby Day who confronts her traumatic childhood memories of the murder of her mother and two sisters. Libby begins her own investigation into the murders, and into the possibility that her brother is innocent of the crime.
Flynn is a great storyteller. She creates interesting and flawed characters that the reader can really connect with. I would recommend, both, Dark Places and Gone Girl.
“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”
― Gillian Flynn, Dark Places
“I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.”
― Gillian Flynn, Dark Places
“But I was born bent out of shape. I could picture myself coming out of the womb crooked and wrong. It never takes much for me to lose patience. The phrase fuck you may not rest on the tip of my tongue, but it’s near. Midtongue.”
― Gillian Flynn, Dark Places
It was a soft chime that signaled the readiness of the mixture. She considered it for a moment; a soft chime. There should be bells and celebratory horns of cheer, she thought. If only this machine knew what it had just done.
She gripped the cylinder with all four gloved digits wrapped tight. A thought launched from her lower brain, traveled down the cable into the robotic arm of the lab’s chair and swung her around. She came face to face with the tube. The side was open and waiting, like the arms of a mother. Gently, she laid the canister in and locked it into place. The tube’s walls closed in checkerboard materialization until the sidewall was whole and solid. The chair brought her to the communications terminal of the laboratory. She pressed one button and a familiar, yet unfriendly, face greeted her on the screen.
“It is ready,” she said. The face did not answer. His elongated head and prominent brow ridge just nodded, and cut the visual connection.
On one end of the lab was the quarantine chamber. The large transparent wall allowed for ease in observing whatever subject may have to reside in there. But it was the window at the opposing end of the laboratory that held the subject she was interested in. Out there, beyond the transparent screen, floated a young orb surrounded by the coldness of space.
The chair’s multi-jointed arm lifted and realigned itself, positioning her one-quarter of a meter from the windowed wall. The tilt of the ship allowed her to look downward and stare at the blue-green ball that had so recently coalesced into its planetary shape. From this view she could not see the volcanoes that were bursting across the surface, nor the geologic plates that wrestled each other in a struggle to find position. This world had just been born and was still in the throes of infancy. It was beautiful.
She knew the window’s screen would allow for magnification. She could look down on the primordial soup of the seas that covered so much of the surface, but she did not. She loved the view from up high; to be able to take in the whole of this world at once.
“Doctor, the Admiral has requested that you accompany him on the bridge’s observation deck while the capsule is implanted.”
She had not heard them enter. She turned in her chair and watched as they escorted the tube out the laboratory. It’s silvery-white housing hovering its way through the door guided by the device held in the speaking one’s hand.
“Yes, of course,” she said.
She dismounted her chair and followed them out. Her stark, white body wrap stood in metaphoric contrast to their industrial graphite colored ones. A junction in the hallway separated them from her. They continued down the hall, while she found her way to a lift platform that took her to the Admiral’s observation level.
Many others were there and had been awaiting her arrival. She tried to divert her eyes from them as they spoke her name and gave praise and appreciation for her accomplishments. Some of them truly meant it, she realized. Some cared little for the science and only what they could make of her design. Their adulation was false, and the words which they spoke held a stink that she swore would blacken her mind if she spent more time among them.
“Doctor, thank you for joining us,” The admiral nodded again. His brow lifted and his arms extended as he turned to face the others once she had taken her position within the room.
“My fellows,” he continued. “Today we have embarked on a great experiment. On behalf of the council, I thank each of you for your individual part. Now, I will turn us over to the doctor as she guides us through the final implementation of the project. Doctor… the short version, if you will.”
“Yes, of course,” she said.
She gestured them to the window screen where she began explaining how the project had come from dream to idea to fruition. She quickly took them through each of the steps that had brought them all to why they stood before her.
“… and finally we see the capsule being launched. The mixture of amino acid compounds that define our structural genetic coding is making its way to the chosen planet. This planet. The third from its sun in this isolated arm of its galaxy. From here we will learn if we will become gods.”
Finding Alice is about a young woman attending college that starts to show symptoms of schizophrenia. She quickly learns that of the worst things about being crazy is that you really have no idea that you are crazy. With the “help” of her family and the exorcisms from her local church, Alice runs away just to feel safe. She spends time living on the streets before she finds a kind woman who offers her a place to stay, which is a turning point for Alice and her “friends” that live inside her brain.
The book is pretty good. It gives the reader a decent insight into mental illness, which is something that we should all try to understand. It does seem to lean toward being a religious story, but with strong opinions against hallelujucination. I may read other books by Melody Carlson, but probably only if I find them in a thrift store. Good to pass the time, but I don’t want to spend full price.
M.D. Parker, the husband half of Write on the Road, has launched a Kindle Scout Campaign. Please take a minute and go nominate his novel for publication! It is FREE! All you need is an Amazon or Kindle login. If his book is chosen to be published, you will receive a FREE copy of the novel just for nominating it! Thank you so much for your support! Please go HERE to nominate! You can read the excerpt below.
The Genesis Echo (An Excerpt)
She stopped spinning the metallic cup and watched as the liquid continued to swirl inside. She lifted her vision without lifting her head to the edges of the room. The barman stood in front of a mirrored glass serving wall, which she used to further scan the depth of the room. Lyn brushed back the single lock of blonde-streaked hair that hung in front of her face. Might be time to change it now that the job is over. Maybe red this time. It’ll match, she thought as she noted the drops of dried blood on her coat sleeve. Yes, the job was done. Each job came with its own highs and lows. This time had been especially low, but a job is a job… until the next one comes. At least she got herself a little personal bonus on the side. She wiped at the stain on her sleeve.
There were other patrons off to her right seated at the polished wood-trimmed metal bar. She wondered where the barman could have acquired so much glass and wood in this forsaken little system. Her mind took a brief stroll trying to estimate the sheer cost of it all. She knew her estimates were coming up short. Why would someone have put so much into a nameless hellhole like this? I guess it’s not nameless,she thought, remembering the image of the glowing sign above the door that read simply: Bar-04. She took a long swallow from her cup. She snickered out loud; both at the wasted extravagance, and the man moving toward her from her left side.
Lyn had already taken notice of him. His stance and coy attempts at stalking her without being seen had given her all the information she needed. She wondered why he couldn’t do the same? He only saw what he wanted, and paid no mind that she was clearly not there to talk to anyone – especially him. Well, might be fun to shatter a man-child’s dreams today.
He moved, oblivious to her subtle shift in posture. Lyn studied his reflection through the mirrored wall at the edge of her vision. He was coming in from her left, and it was obvious he failed to note that she was armed. A smart man would have looked her over completely. A smart man would have seen the sidearm on her lower hip, and the utilitarian way her hair was tied back. Most importantly, he would have noticed she had not spoken to a single other soul since she entered the backwater hole tucked into the space left between two backwater colony outbuildings.
She was the antithesis. For Lyn had already looked him over. The pilot’s jumpsuit with the top unzipped and tied about his waist revealing what he hoped was a desireable chest covered in an undershirt at least a size too small. She watched his stance, the way his eyes wandered the room without taking in its depth. She saw the smoothness of his hands, the cleanness of his hair, and the lack of wear on the jumpsuit. All betrayed the lie he was trying to sell of a well-worked and rugged male specimen. He was not that smart. Maybe, this would be entertaining. Her forehead lowered her eyebrows as her eyes narrowed. She smelled the residue of his perfumed soap. He was almost to her.
Lyn spun herself around, dropping off her stool with her feet slightly apart. She did not allow the startled reaction of her sudden movement to wane. She moved with rehearsed speed. Her left hand clutched the front of his undershirt, snapping his head backward as she jerked him forward into her. Her face moved alongside his. Cheek to cheek their skin almost touched.
“Hush. Say nothing,” She felt a smile grow on her lips. “Say nothing at all. I wanna make sure you hear every word.” She waited for him to nod before going on and saw the light of perverse hope in his eyes. “Go away from me. Do so quietly and I won’t embarrass you in front of all these nice people.”
He drew in a breath and she continued before his mouth could betray his body, “I’m not looking. I am not interested. You can’t handle me. So we share a mind – I would rather have a romp with a Clicker than even think about how you’re going to end up diddling yourself alone tonight. Hush.” She put a single finger up to his lips, and then patted his cheek as she pushed back. “Now, be a good boy and try to remember, I don’t know what patience is.”
Lyn began to turn as he stepped into her, his fingers curling around her wrist.
“Feisty one, aren’t ya?”
I told him, she thought. He’s just not a smart one. She rolled her arm up and around locking the same arm that he just attempted to control her with. She brought her other hand up, hard into the underside of his jaw. She heard the teeth slam together in his head and wondered how big the piece of tongue was that just detached from the rest. Her foot came down along the back of his knee and she made no effort to control his descent. His forehead struck the bar on the way to floor. She let him go.
“See? No patience.”
Lyn pantomimed brushing her hands off on her rust-colored dungarees and straightening the tan waistcoat she was wearing. A few people stopped with their eyes locked on her little scene. She picked up her drink, moved one stool over, sat back down, and took in one large gulp.
She began cataloging the two men at the end of the bar. They seemed most interested in what just happened – their eyes reviewing her. The shorter one was more stout with a scarred forehead and a militant haircut of flaming red hair. The other was taller, thin, and dark skinned like the blackness of the Void itself. His hair had begun to lose color, showing a paleness at the edges that was neither gray nor white exactly. His eyes showed a slight unevenness. The left one with a laziness that was almost unperceivable, as if he was trying to self-cure his amblyopia. They both still held the same drinks in their hands that they ordered when they entered.
She set herself against the leering gaze and locked eyes with them, one at a time, in turn. Lyn gave Stumpy the once over first, realizing that he was sitting straight up, not slumped over or leaning into the bar, making him shorter than her, but he would still be the bigger problem if it came to that. Darkey on the other hand was leaning, and was still taller. Something in their eyes; they were sizing her up. Neither seemed to be interested in duplicating the man-child’s mistake, nor did they want to take on something of a more sporting nature, they were mentally recording all of her. They were… assessing her. She saw then that Stumpy was no longer watching her, but seeing something behind her, something her attention had been diverted from.
She became so transfixed with what Stumpy and Darkey were doing that she ignored the rest of Bar-04. That was until she noticed Stumpy’s single nod to her. The subtle indicator that maybe she should turn around. And turn she did, but a nanosecond too late. Lyn didn’t see Mister I-lie-to-get-laid stand up. She did see the front of his closed fist as her face turned. She did hear some curse about her lineage and her ignorance as the knuckles made contact with her upper lip and nose. As she slid off her barstool, she gathered her feet as best she could, and he laughed.
Lyn didn’t hit the floor fully. She managed to get both feet under her, and raised her head to see him set himself for her counterstrike. He could fight, she saw, but he wasn’t practiced. She let him move in. She closed the distance as he started to change his weight. She allowed it to last long enough for him to get three swings, only one of which connected, albeit just a grazing blow. She merely gained a hold, introduced his abdomen to her knee and stood him back up with a second knee to his face. He grasped for her throat, and ended up with a thin lock of hair as he landed face up on the nearest table. In his rearward flail, he sent a hot drink flying into the lap of the blue-gray tinted skin of a Roliquin. Bar-04 erupted.
“Fuck.” Was all she said before she started laughing her way through the next thirty seconds. She backed against the bar to prevent someone circling. Lyn saw an incoming stool that missed its intended target, which she believed was the Roliquin, and was able to sidestep enough that its metal leg barely brushed by her hip. She spun and threw out a front kick into the gut of the first one coming at her. The man-child was back on his feet, and coming in for her. Behind him, four other patrons of Bar-04 were now involved in their own individual wars. The place descended into chaos. She smiled. She let him come. Lyn heard the crack of bone as she dropped him to the ground for the third time. Before he could make any attempt to regain his feet, she dropped on him wrapping herself around him. It’s what he had wanted all along, she considered as all of her teeth could be counted through her grin. His head lulled back onto her shoulder as his consciousness drifted away.
She began to release her grip. His eyes popped open. His hand, broken just above the wrist, clutched at her, “You’re going to have to kill us all,” he said.
His voice came out guttural and cracked. His eyes blank. On her knee, she still had a half hold on him as the words dripped out one by one. They were not his eyes. Not the eyes of the man-child she denied. Even the color in them had changed. The sounds of the ensuing bar brawl failed to reach her ears.
“You’re going to have to kill us all, before the morning comes, if you want to save yourself – if you want to save him,” said the sluggish voice from elsewhere.
She started to stand, to match the hair on the back of her neck and arms. She felt a hand reach and grab hold of her shoulder. The sounds of the bar returned. She dropped her shoulder, slacked her knees and spun, dropping low, to sweep out the legs of the new attacker. She missed as he was pulled back from behind. It was Stumpy, the redhead, being pulled back by Darkey.
“Whoa!” Stumpy’s hands went up into a ‘not me’ gesture.
“Quick! Follow us, and we can all get out of here.” Darkey nodded toward the front of the bar. The large round entrance, with a rolling pneumatic-powered door, sat open along its track with the final few inches protruding from the receiving recess in the wall.
There were seventeen others in the bar. Only two were not actively fighting or attempting to flee. Both were hiding under their tables, and by the end of the night, they would be the only ones to leave feeling they met someone new, someone special, in their life. Though they would never return to that particular watering hole, they would spend a great deal of time in them together. And when they did find themselves out, they would always sit near an exit.
The melee forced the three of them to fight their way out. Stumpy led and Darkey followed her. She saw Stumpy shove one off-balance man in greasy overalls out of their way as they went. Lyn put down two other patrons of the once quiet bar. One was just knocked back out of the way, but the other was sent to the stars and was not going to appreciate the first couple of hours after he woke up. She did not bother to turn and see how the dark one was doing.
Out the entrance and across the gap between buildings – down an open air corridor created by two buildings, set at a diagonal, to form an angled street – they went. Once on the main street, Lyn spat blood from her mouth and wiped at the trail coming from her nose. The streak of blood it left on her sleeve ran alongside the drops that had dried there before. The street was nearly deserted. A single shop, of what purpose she was clueless, stood open. A tracked people-hauler was parked across from them.
“I guess I should be thanking you for the assist.” Lyn nodded at Stumpy as she spoke.
“Evelyn Ab…” The dark one started, but was cut short.
“Lyn. Just Lyn,” she corrected him. Lyn instantly felt the rush of calculations going on in her head. How did he know who she was, especially her whole name? Her innards twisted; nothing good was to come of this, she thought.
“Fine. Lyn. I would like to introdu…”
“Want to tell me how you know my name?” Her question shot across his words as a demand. She postured for the attack, wanting to keep him backpedaling. Who were these two?
“I was tryin’ to do just that.” His deep baritone voice carried a practiced authority. Nothing in his voice said he was pretending to be tough. It was the voice of someone sure of himself, in the I-have-been-in-charge-for-a-long-while kind of way.
“Well, then get to it.” She wasn’t about to let up. Her eyes darted back and forth between the two of them, watching their hands and stance. She searched for any sign of their next move.
“Lyn,” Darkey nodded toward her, still authoritarian, but with am allowed hint of submission, “this is Slone.” He motioned to Stumpy. “I’m Khenu, Captain of the Genesis.”
“So, I’m here to offer you a job.” Khenu’s eyebrow lifted as the one he called Slone offered a medwipe to her. Lyn took it, and pinched her nose off to stem the bleeding.
“You didn’t tell me how you know my name.”
“No. I didn’t.” Khenu did not flinch; his jaw set. He stared straight at her. Lyn kept her shoulders squared off. The two spent a lifetime sizing each other up, from his blackened irises to her green ones and back. She’d been offered jobs under more questionable circumstances, and a job is a job. These two helped her when they had no cause to. Besides, she thought, maybe this time the job will have a better ending.
And twenty seconds into that lifetime Lyn relaxed her shoulders, straightened her tan waistcoat once more, lifted an eyebrow of her own, and spoke.
“It’s gotta be something inside the lens right?” Denise turned the cell phone’s face back towards him.
Stephen looked at it for a long minute before finally conceding, “You’re right; creepy looking as hell.”
He glanced at the dark humanoid blob in the far corner of the room behind Denise in her self-taken photo. She had been trying to be coy, sending him the selfie with her pouty face look, adding the message that he better hurry home before she changed her mind about the evening’s plans. He hurried. When he came through the door, there she sat, hands shaking as she stared at her phone.
“I mean it isn’t there when I take a regular picture,” she said as she switched the aperture setting and snapped a picture of the room again to show him. She had already done this twice. He didn’t blame her and avoided calling her silly. The shape was just so human-like, and the way the image was angled – it was just there in the darkest corner of the room.
He looked again. She was right, no black form in the front facing picture. She was beginning to calm, as she was proving her own theory. He handed her the phone back again.
“And now, I bet it’ll be there again. Just like it was the first two times.” She held the phone up, facing herself and pressed the button. She saw it again. The image, that black form, but it was different. For an unmeasurable amount of time, she didn’t see it – until she did. It had moved. The form was in a different place.
“Yeah, but shouldn’t you be able to see the spot on the screen when you face it tha…” Stephen’s voice broke as she saw her face. All the color was gone. Those baby blues that he was so fond of were wide and frozen. Her hands began to shake, slightly at first, but grew in intensity.
“Oh, God. It’s not possible.” Her voice stuttered as tears filled her eyes. She jammed the button again and saw it instantly. The shape was closer than before. She mashed it again and the shape came closer yet again. “No … not possible,” She said once more.
Stephen’s face was a reflection of the dumbfounded wave that washed across his mind as she pressed the button over and over pausing only long enough between to see what each push captured. He reached for her. He moved to grasp her shoulders and pull her in close. He meant to bring her into the safety of his arms. She pushed the button one more time, and his hands closed on nothing. Her phone clattered hard against the floor. She was gone.
Stephen looked down. He saw the phone on the floor and picked it up. It was Denise’s phone. He walked toward the kitchen. “Must have dropped it on her way out. Better leave it here so she can find it when she gets home,” he said to the earless walls. He laid the phone down on the edge of the breakfast bar and snatched up a beer from the fridge. Stephen sat down on the couch and grasped the television remote, and began the wait for Denise to come home.
The Missing is a thriller novel written by Chris Mooney and published in 2008. It is fast-paced, as it leads you through a well-traveled storyline – although there is a bit of a twist at the end, it is fairly predictable.
The best part of the book is that it felt like an extended episode of a Criminal Minds and CSI crossover. The worst part of the book is that it felt like an extended episode of a Criminal Minds and CSI crossover.
There was really nothing new in the storyline, but the same old story was told in a gripping manner with likable characters.
If you are into thrillers, then read this one. I tend to like my thrillers with a supernatural twist, but this was a good book, an easy read, and I will probably pick up another Chris Mooney novel in the future.
Let the Right One In is a vampire novel that was written by John Ajvide Lindqvist, a Swedish author, and was published in 2008. It was later adapted into a movie.
I saw the film before I read the book. And it turns out this was one of those rare occurrences when I actually liked the movie better – and I didn’t even think the movie was that good.
You can tell the book was written in another language and translated to English (translated by Ebba Segerberg). The story was intriguing, but the dialogue was…immature. The conversations left a lot to be desired, and made the characters lack personality.
Admittedly, I read ¾ of the book and just skimmed the last ¼. I’m a loser that should not be writing a book review on it, but here it is anyway.
On a good note, Let the Right One In did have an amazing quote that I will forever remember – “Real love is to offer your life at the feet of another, and that’s what people today are incapable of.” – John Ajvide Lindqvist
The Fireman, written by Joe Hill and published in 2016, is an excellently told post-apocalyptic story.
The end of us is a virus called Draco Incendia Trychophyton, which causes spontaneous combustion – it is highly contagious – and now the world is burning. But there is a hero to save the day…sort of. Mostly he is just a British asshole that has figured out how to use the Dragon Scale to his advantage.
The story follows Harper Grayson, a lovely and dedicated pregnant nurse, and The Fireman, who saved her from her crazy-ass husband. Thankfully, Harper does more saving, than getting saved – I do love a strong independent woman. The story covers the span of a year, and follows the destruction of humankind -and the world. Joe Hill has created another wonderfully scary story with some very strong characters. I really enjoyed this novel, and will keep picking up Hill’s books as I find them.