Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
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.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A Book Review
The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel that takes place in the future in what used to be the United States. The novel shows us a future that the majority of women have fought quite hard to prevent. The land is ruled by men and religion. Most women are infertile (according to the men), so those that are fertile are trained to become handmaids.
“And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.” Genesis 30:1
The handmaids live with a Commander, and their wife, and are forced to have sex with the commander every month during their most fertile time. This story follows Offred, a handmaid to Commander Fred, and his wife, Serena Joy. Offred used to be known by another name, and used to be known as a mother and a wife. Offred yearns to find her way back to her daughter and her husband – if they are even still alive.
The Handmaid’s Tale is terrifying – and touching. In a world where your choices are taken away, would you make a final choice for yourself anyway?
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
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
Book Review – Finding Alice by Melody Carlson
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.
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
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.
“What a blessed if painful thing, this business of being alive.”
― Joe Hill, NOS4A2
Written by Joe Hill, my new author obsession. He is an amazing storyteller, with a great (creepy) imagination.
NOS4A2 is the story of The Brat, Victoria McQueen, a young girl that has a special talent for being able to find anything that she needs to find – which is all fine and dandy until you find a serial kidnapper that thoroughly believes he is doing good things. After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions – and so is the road to Christmasland.
“I felt like it needed some color down there, so I painted the walls with the motherfucker.”
― Joe Hill, NOS4A2
Charlie Manx has his own special talent – he is the only person who knows the way to Christmasland, and he loves to take kids there so they can find eternal happiness with presents, carnival rides, and games like Scissors for the Drifter. So much fun to be had!
Hill did an amazing job with the writing, superb dialogue, the strongest of characters, and a fantastic story. It creeps you out in all the right ways! Hill throws us some treats by giving nods to his father’s novels, such as It and Doctor Sleep – it’s always nice to come across old acquaintances in new ways.
I recommend this novel to anyone that enjoys King, Koontz, and Gaiman. I loved it even more than I did Heart-Shaped Box – the first of his that I read. I have already finished reading a third novel by Joe Hill – The Fireman, which I will be reviewing next.
Whale Season: A Really Good Story was published in 2006 and written by N.M. Kelby. This book is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
The story takes place in Whale Harbor, Florida…a town where there are no whales. The characters are ridiculously likable – even the bad guy. The townsfolk of Whale Harbor are reminiscent of the residents of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls. Just take all that quirkiness and move them all to Florida, add a better mayor, a serial killer – and then add a Jesus or two.
If you are a religious person and/or easily offended by humor, maybe this book isn’t for you. If you are longing to find Jesus in the pages of a hilariously written novel full of suspense, strippers, and alligators then I suggest immersing yourself into this humor filled gem.
I can’t wait to pick up some more N.M. Kelby – she is my kind of weird.
This novel is a supernatural thriller written by Joe Hill, who just happens to be the son of the King of Horror.
I knew ahead of time that Joe Hill was Stephen King’s spawn, but I really didn’t find King in the pages – and that was a good thing. Joe Hill is a master storyteller in his own right.
This book is quick moving, with characters that are…well…unlikable, but incredibly interesting. The concept of the anti-hero is embedded deep in the story, but redemption is not the goal; survival is.
I loved the book and I have NAS4A2, another novel by Hill, sitting on the bookshelf to be read.
One a side note – in the author’s pic of Joe Hill on the jacket cover he looks like he is the love-child of Stephen King and John Ritter. That’s probably a good story in itself.