Creatures of Appetite and Trophies

I subscribe to a really great email list called Bookbub. They send me links to free and deeply discounted books. I have over 1500 free books saved on my Kindle cloud. I don’t read most of them, honestly, but occasionally I will stumble upon one that catches my attention. Creatures of Appetite by Todd Travis was one of them. I read it back in 2014 and have anxiously been awaiting the sequel, checking Amazon and Travis’ Facebook page periodically. And then, one day, there it was. Trophies.

Creatures of Appetite follows two FBI agents on the hunt for a serial killer, or two. She’s young and enthusiastic. He is grumpy and cynical. Both are brilliant and make for an excellent team.

Fast forward a few years and Trophies begins. She’s still FBI, he’s retired and they don’t speak. Women are being kidnapped and no one knows where they go or who has done it. They have to reconcile and work together to find these women.

These books are fairly graphic in language and violence (fair warning) but I really enjoyed them. Most free books that I stumble upon are really poorly written. Creatures of Appetite has over 1000 stars on Amazon, most being 4 and 5 stars. As of today, it’s 3.99, but keep an eye out because it could drop to FREE, again!

Night Film

This was another two birds with one stone book. I needed a murderĀ  mystery for my 2016 book challenge, and it was also one a friend recommended. Technically, this book starts with a suicide and the rest of the book is figuring out if it really was a suicide or if it was murder (no spoilers) but let’s just saying I’m counting the book as a murder mystery based on the actual death and mystery aspect of it.

The story follows a reporter’s journey to uncover the truth about Ashley Cordova’s suicide. Ashley is the daughter of a famous reclusive director, Stanislas Cordova, a bit of Roman Polanski, Stanley Kubrick, and David Lynch all combined. Cordova gave one interview to Rolling Stone and has been in hiding for over 30 years. His daughter, Ashley, is a gifted pianist who kills herself at the young age of 24.

The reporter has a previous tie to the director and is naturally curious whether or not Ashley killed herself. Given the mystery and secrecy of Cordova, the fact that people close to him keep disappearing, and the story of Ashley slowly uncovered starts to lead the reporter down a path towards the occult, it makes perfect sense that a suicide is too easy of an answer.

The best part about this book is the multimedia experience. There are newspaper articles, internet pages, medical reports, etc all within the book. You can also download an app (which I did not, but only because I didn’t know about it until I finished reading) to “unlock exclusive multimedia content” (from http://marishapessl.com/decoder-app)

The story takes you on more twists and turns than most books, but you are never left hanging about the events. I’m not a big fan of stories that revolve around the occult, but this one really kept me hooked.

Song of Susannah

The suspense is building. I finished the penultimate book in The Dark Tower series. I started in Jan of 2015 and am plowing through the series to finally reach The Tower. And to put it simply, this series is a masterpiece. Few authors are the caliber of Stephen King, especially in this series. The Stand is still my favorite, but The Dark Tower is what he should be remembered for. What’s sad is that most of his readers haven’t ventured into this series because it isn’t his typical genre. But that is what is so spectacular about King. He. Can. Write. Anything.

 

The Ka-tet is still alive (I apologize if I misspell things in this review. I’m listening to the series and am unsure how certainly MidWorld words are spelled), but Susannah is in our world set to give birth to the chap. She, Mia, Odetta, and Detta together must work together to deliver the baby safely and return to MidWorld to continue the journey.

I am so lucky to have found this series after it was finished. I’m not sure I could have waited years in between the books, especially between these two. Instead, I waited one minute for the book to download for me to listen to. And, of course, the movie comes out soon (see picture below…. thanks Idris Elba for tweeting this).

And on a side note, I have no issue with Idris being Roland. He will be fantastic. I have seen much of his work, and he has yet to disappoint. He is gruff and serious. He is focused and purposeful. And he is wonderful. I can’t wait for this movie.

ClUVPvSXEAAoaOy

Lost in a Good Book

I first read The Eyre Affair back in 2011. I don’t remember much about it, other than the general premise. SpecOps agent, Thursday Next, can enter books, move around within the characters, and even change events. Thursday lives in a world of dodo birds, time travel, and a disappearing father. This series is perfect for classic literature lovers.

In Lost in a Good Book, we pick up immediately after The Eyre Affair leaves off. Thursday is famous for her actions in the previous book and not everyone is happy with this, so they “eradicate” her husband. Thursday has to jump into a book to save a character previously left to rot in the first book, and she gets help from Miss Havisham. Thursday has to go on trial in, of course, Kafka’s “The Trial” (English translation).

These books are delightful. I believe there are seven of them, and I will be finishing the series this year. I keep giggling to myself at all the literary references. It is helpful, but not necessary to have read the works mentioned (most certainly read Jane Eyre before tackling the first book, though). I’ve never read “The Trial” and wasn’t confused in the least.

I look forward to the rest of the series, following Thursday, seeing if her dodo bird hatches her egg, and jumping in and out of books I know and love.

End of Watch

I’m to the point in my reading journey that I will read everything Stephen King writes. We are slowly amassing a collection of his work in hardback. I used to buy his stuff at Half Price books for $1/paperback, but for an author as wonderful and prolific as he is, I think it’s worth it to buy his work in a more lasting format. Still from Half Price books, of course!

However, I received Mr. Mercedes as a gift for my Kindle, and once I start in series in one format, I usually keep buying it in the same format. Just a habit, I guess. Once I finished Mr. Mercedes, I immediately purchased Finders Keepers, and preordered End of Watch. The wait was finally over, and on my birthday I got the download.

I had no idea what Mr. Mercedes was about when I started it, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was absolutely nothing like King’s usual books. Basically, it’s a police detective novel. Retired detective Bill Hodges is mulling over the one who got away when said person contacts him and taunts him. The rest of the novel is Bill trying to find the identity of the person (Mr. Mercedes) and stop him from committing any further crimes.

The second book in the series, Finders Keepers, doesn’t involve Mr. Mercedes at all, but rather follows Bill in his new work as a private investigator. But we return to good old familiar Mr. Mercedes in this final book.

I really enjoyed this series. The last book was a satisfying conclusion and tied up all loose ends.

The Bluest Eye

I’ve never read Toni Morrison. With all the profound, important books I’ve read, all the authors we will be reading for decades to come, she is one I haven’t gotten around to, until this week. And let me make this clear- I get it.

I get why she is required reading. I get why she is considered a master of her craft. I get why she has won a Pulitzer. This book simply took my breath away. So many memorable phrases and sentences of just a few words, but their meaning and context is profound.

The story is so difficult to read, especially since it involves children and their fears, terrors, horrors. However, even though the events in the book take place in the past, their importance cannot be forgotten easily. We should value children, protect them, love them, no matter what.

I am absolutely going to read more from this formidable author. There should be another word for people who are heads and shoulders above their peers. Author doesn’t seem like a strong enough word for what Morrison is. It’s downright insulting to put her in the same category with Nicholas Sparks or James Patterson. Morrison’s words and legacy are limitless.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

I am pretty sure I’ve reread everything from high school, aside from random Christopher Pike books, but I have no desire to ever read those again. But all the meaningful books I read back in the day, I have reread as an adult, considering I taught high school for a number of years. And I thought of revisiting one that I taught but haven’t read in awhile, but nothing jumped out at me. So, instead of going the high school route, for this challenge, I chose to reread a book that I read in college. In my American Lit II class, we read Their Eyes Were Watching God. The only thing I remembered from this book (which I’m almost positive I did actually read it) was that it was African-American lit and there was a character named Tea Cake in it.

And while I was reading, I was consciously aware that this was a brand new book to me. I remembered absolutely nothing. So, maybe I didn’t read it in college, but that doesn’t sound like me. I slogged my way through everything. In any case, I’m glad I went back to this one. I really enjoyed it, given the plot is pretty sparse. However, the characters are quite rich and the writing was wonderful. Much of it is written in dialect, so I did have to slow down a bit, but once I got the hang of it, for example “Ah” instead of I, I was able to move quicker through it. The main character, Janie, just wants love, the universal desire. She wants to be in love, the sweet nectar honeybee kind of love. Her grandmother wants her to marry for security, so Janie does. It doesn’t work out, though. She moves on to another man, one who promises to love her and treat her well. Eh, not so much there either. Finally, the last one, Tea Cake, does a fair better job. They are like cats and dogs at each others’ throats at times, but he understands her best, but not fully. Such is the way of life, I suppose. Can anyone FULLY understand us?

Even though this book is nearly 80 years old (right? 1937…. my math is terrible), I was able to relate to it. Don’t we all want to be loved, treated right, and understood at our cores?