Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages. I’ve been aware of Christopher Moore for ages, own a few of his books, but haven’t gotten around to reading any of them. This was recommended to me by several people in my online book group, and, being non-religious, I knew it wouldn’t be offensive. But fair warning, if you take your religion seriously, I wouldn’t read this one.

Not that the warning is out of the way, let me just say this book is hilarious. Mary Magdalene wants to grow up to be a fisherman, but she instead ends up as a fisher of men. Ha! The story follows Jesus (or Joshua, in this book) and his best friend Levi (called Biff) as children all the way through the end. They travel together to discover other religions, ethnicities, and plenty of women (although Joshua doesn’t partake). All these travels make Joshua learn the true meaning of diversity and inclusion.

Once their travels are finished, they return home and then the general plot of Jesus’s remaining years, according to the Bible, is resumed. We meet Judas and Pontius Pilate. We see the “end” of Joshua’s life, although there are some twists that are, of course, not in the Bible.

I’m sure there were a lot of jokes that I didn’t get simply because my knowledge of the Bible is pretty bare bones, but I really enjoyed this book. Given the above warning, decide if this book is for you or not, but if so, you’ll get a good laugh out of it.

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The Woman in Cabin 10

I like a good thriller. And after reading Gone Girl and In the Woods, I got a bit spoiled with well written stories that kept me guessing. But finding a good writer has proven difficult. I think I just have high expectations, but I really want an author to be creative and not use cheap plot devices. And, granted, it has been a couple weeks since I finished this book and I have forgotten a bit, but I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.

Here’s what I remember not liking about it. There was a lot of telling rather than showing. You spend so much time in this character’s head that nothing really happens. She is trying to figure out who the woman in cabin 10 is, why this person has vanished, and who might be behind it all. But there’s a really ridiculous plot device of the main character, Lo, being drunk and tired so she second guesses herself a lot. This is just not creative storytelling at all. And I was really disappointed that this book got such great reviews.

If anyone has great mysteries that are creative and unique, send them my way. Because I keep getting let down.

Career of Evil

Whew. Wow. This one was intense. My third round with Cormoran Strike was the best one yet. I previously read The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm and found them both great, if not a bit predictable in parts. The Silkworm is the weakest out of the three, but still worth reading. I ended up listening to 95% of this one and then couldn’t wait to see how it ended, so I grabbed my copy off the shelf and finished it up.

The plot of this one finds Robin, Cormoran’s partner, receiving a leg in the mail. It’s clearly a woman’s, but who it belongs to is quite baffling. Cormoran quickly realizes that Robin has been targeted because of him so he narrows down a list of suspects that want to hurt him. He pulls out three names from his past and begins to track them down, mostly with no luck. There’s a bit of a side plot with Robin’s personal life, but the main focus of the story is on the leg, its owner, and the killer. Most chapters are about Robin and/or Cormoran but interspersed are some about the killer, namely what he is thinking.

The police, of course, think Cormoran is targeting the men on his list out of personal vendetta, but don’t we all know by now that Cormoran is never wrong? This one kept me guessing until the end. I had no idea who the killer was, even though we hear from his perspective throughout the book. Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) has said the fourth (and final, I believe) book is finished, but there is no publication date yet. I definitely will be checking it out, though. I can’t wait to see how everything ends up.

A Higher Loyalty

For the Read Harder challenge, I had to read a celebrity memoir. This isn’t a category I was looking forward to. I like a good memoir, but I never really feel like a celebrity has anything important to say just because he or she is a celebrity. I read Troublemaker by Leah Remini, which was really interesting. But I couldn’t think of any others that I wanted to read. But when I heard Comey’s book was coming out this year, I figured he’s celebrity enough and requested it from my library.

I’m going to say this now, I didn’t vote for Trump. I don’t support most of what he says or does, though I still respect the office of the President. But I generally feel he’s an awful person and lies without conscience. I watched Comey testify last year and found him eloquent and credible, so when I heard his book was coming out, I wanted to read it to see what he really had to say about the entire mess. Most of his book, however, isn’t about Trump. Only the last 60 pages or so take place with the current administration. Most of the book is about formative events in Comey’s life, getting robbed as a teenager by a home intruder, first jobs that taught him lessons, and finding his career path as an attorney. These parts were really interesting and gave a lot of background to Comey’s personality.

If you have seen Comey’s interviews, you know a good chunk of the Trump debacle. But the book is a lot more than that. This isn’t a good I would necessarily buy or read again, but I was glad my library had several copies because I did enjoy reading it and learning more about a man I have come to respect.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

I’m working my way through Patrick Ness’s books. So far, I’ve read Chaos Walking, Release, More Than This review, and A Monster Calls (why I didn’t review this, I have no idea… it was AMAZING). I only have two books of his left. And Ness is easily one of my favorite authors. His works are so varied, which I really appreciate. The Chaos Walking trilogy is inventive and dystopian. Release is realistic. A Monster Calls is more of a fairy tale, but hauntingly gorgeous. More Than This is, hmmmm, not at all what I saw coming, not sure how to put that into words, but it kept me guessing. And finally, we have The Rest of Us Just Live Here, which is a cross between realistic and fantasy.

Mike and his circle of friends are about to graduate high school. He and his sister, Mel, have some emotional stuff going on, on top of the prospect of graduation and moving away to college. Mike is in love with his friend, Henna, is dealing with absent parents, has a little sister who adores him and he wants to protect, and is balancing his emotional stuff. He handles a lot of this poorly. One of the best things I love about Ness’s writing is how accurate he gets teenagers. He is clearly not a teenager (judging by his twitter photo), but he hasn’t forgotten what teenage life is like. It is hard and stressful and damn near impossible at times, and Ness captures that perfectly.

The fantasy aspect of the story is in the beginnings of the chapters. There’s a strange story within a story about “indie kids” trying to keep the town from burning down. There are blue lights, zombie animals, and a character who can heal others. So, set inside this very real high school setting is a fantasy world living parallel.

Like all his others, I loved this book. He has yet to write something that I didn’t enjoy. And don’t ask me which one is his best. I can’t tell you that because my favorite might not speak to someone else like it did to me. However, each one has something to offer, so I beg you to read everything of his. He’s just amazing.

Unbury Carol

I read Bird Box after a friend recommended it to me. That book scared the crap out of me. One of the most suspenseful books I’ve ever read. I read it in one day and absolutely loved it. So when Black Mad Wheel came out, I snatched it up immediately. Another great one, although different from Bird Box. And here we are with Josh Malerman’s newest, Unbury Carol. Again, a great one, and again, nothing like the previous two. I really like that Malerman isn’t getting sucked into one genre. They are all in the horror idea but have enough variations between them that I feel like he’s doing a great job of uncovering his abilities.

Unbury Carol is a fairy tale meets western concept. Taking place in the 1800s (probably, it never says, but it’s before there are cars, so it’s a plausible guess), we meet Carol who has an unusual affliction. She goes into a coma and appears dead. Since this is before any kind of technology, the doctors think she is dead because her heart only beats a couple times a minute and her breath doesn’t fog up a mirror like it should. Her entire life, Carol’s mother has protected her while in the coma, or Howltown as Carol calls it, tending to her and keeping her safe. Carol’s mother died, Carol got married, and now Carol is in Howltown, her husband has decided to bury her and be done with her forever. He *knows* she’s alive, but he wants her money.

Unfortunately for him, Carol’s ex-love (also an outlaw….because this is a western, remember) hears of this plan, knows Carol is alive and is on his way to save her. The husband gets wind of this and dispatches a hitman to dispense with the ex-love. Let me tell you. This hitman, Smoke, is one of the best characters I’ve stumbled across in quite some time. He jumps right off the page. A villain to the core, but his scenes are unforgettable. Anyway, the ex-love in one the way, Carol needs to be buried quickly before she wakes up from the coma, the hitman is on the path as well, lots of things need to happen in a certain order for all this to work out in the husband’s favor.

The plot isn’t as complicated as my terrible summary makes it sound. I’m not much of a writer 😉 But I absolutely recommend this book, along with all Malerman’s other books. I’ve read enough of his work to know I will keep reading anything he publishes.