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amonstercalledme

Let's Talk About Books

An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading. 

Currently reading

The Snowman
Jo Nesbo
Progress: 68/550 pages
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places
Colin Dickey
Progress: 34/336 pages
SPOILER ALERT!

Mommie Dearest

My Sweet Angel: The True Story of Lacey Spears, the Seemingly Perfect Mother Who Murdered Her Son in Cold Blood - John Glatt

Finished it and just in time 'cause it was due back yesterday. Also, forgive the eating metaphors. Not doing it because of the subject matter but just how I describe reading. 

 

My Sweet Angel is the true crime account of Lacey Spears, one of those Mommy Bloggers that goes on and on about their kid. You know the type. I happen to be related to one. But unlike your typical overbearing Mommy Blogger, Lacey was up to something a lot more insidious. In January 2014, Lacey delivered a fatal dose of salt into her son's stomach via his G-Tube, causing the 5 year old Garnett to suffer a horrible, painful death. She was brought to trial and convicted in 2015 but the question remains, why? Going back to the beginning of Lacey's life and following her actions until that faithful January day, John Glatt paints an incredible yet horrifying picture of a woman considered by some to be a textbook case of Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy. 

 

This book is an incredible read but so incredibly gut-wrenching. True crime is often rough by this one shook me in a way the genre hasn't shook me before. Glatt spares no detail in his depiction of all the medical procedures Garnett was forced to endure and his mother's bizarre behavior. At the same time, it was all necessary to help us understand what exactly happened and why the jury found Lacey guilty in the end.

 

My favorite part of this book was the third part, which detailed the description of the investigation and the trial. It was incredible to see just how the detectives worked in compiling evidence and just how much evidence they really had. I read a lot but didn't feel like I was swallowing a lot. I understood it all for the most part and was impressed with their diligence. For example, the detective's work in reading all of Lacey's texts, internet history and social media posts. It totaled about 1800 pages and they went through all of it. Really, just astounding police work and what I consider to be a great example of why True Crime is such an awesome genre. 

 

In my opinion, the biggest weakness in the book is it starts out with you knowing she was found guilty or had Munchausen's, which took away the ability to be unbiased. The writing itself also seemed to indicate that Glatt is convinced of her guilt and I wish it wasn't quite so heavy handed to make the reader able to form a more impartial opinion. That said, Lacey didn't exactly help portray herself as innocent in the actions described in the book. There's a lot of evidence against her and I was shocked to see her defense team didn't seem to think there was any. I actually think her attorneys kinda failed her but that's a discussion for another time I think. 

 

Final rating: 4.5 out of 5. Incredible but difficult read. Read for the police work for sure. It's incredible. 

 

Final thought: Glatt has a book on the three women who were abducted in Cleaveland. I think I'm gonna have to read that one too. 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 151 out of 432 pages.

My Sweet Angel: The True Story of Lacey Spears, the Seemingly Perfect Mother Who Murdered Her Son in Cold Blood - John Glatt

It's amazing how hot the lit fire of "This book is due in 5 days" is. Super motivating. The goal is to chew out at least 50 pages a day, which so far I've been keeping to. It's hard though. This case makes my stomach turn. 

My Sweet Angel

So, I'm having trouble finding it on here, but I've started reading My Sweet Angel by John Glatt. It's true crime and details the case of Lacey Spears, a young woman who ended up killing her son as a result of her Munchausen syndrome by proxy. The disorder is very controversial in the world of Psychology so I'm always fascinated by cases involving them, disturbing as they are. 

 

Honestly, I'm only 50 pages in and this book is more horrific than any of the horror novels I've read this year, The Troop included. Very excited to finish (In part 'cause it's due back on Monday, hooray procrastination!) but it's gonna hurt and I know it. 

 

Separate note: I've finally moved out of my mom's house! I found an awesome place really close to my work, affordable rent, and my new roommate has a dog! Daisy is a West Highland Terrier and I have not been able to assess her reading buddy compatibility yet. So we shall see. It's weird being independent again after almost a year of living at home but it'll be nice. I just wish I could have taken one of the kittens with me. Particularly He-Man, though he went back to the shelter on Friday with She-Ra. So if you're in Western Colorado and need a cat...

SPOILER ALERT!

Spooky Scary Skeletons

Ararat: A Novel - Christopher Golden

All right. Home and I have a nice glass of Yellowtail Wine so let's get going!

 

In Ararat, an earthquake reveals the Turkish mountain to be the resting place of Noah's Ark. Of course the archeological world is fascinated and chomping at the bit to study it. As they investigate, though, they find a sarcophagus with a decidedly not human corpse inside. Paranoia and fear start to spread like a virus. Then the murders start...

 

As I mentioned earlier, I really liked this book. I find biblical history fascinating and this take on the Great Flood was ridiculously interesting to me. It's an original concept that I haven't seen done before, investigating why Noah's Ark may have been remained hidden, what the flood was really meant to wash away, etc. Great premise and for the most part, great investigation. The elements of fear were lovely and I had a lot of fun reading it. 

 

One thing I particularly liked was the way this book is similar to The Thing. Spoilers, the demon can body hop and it's very similar to The Thing, right down to body horror-esque face ripping. The John Carpenter classic is one of my favorites so it did help me enjoy the book a lot more than I may have otherwise. I do wish Golden had played on the themes of paranoia and Man v Nature more, the story still embodied those themes enough for it to be enjoyable. 

 

Also, the ending. Amazing. The last line in particular is one of my favorites in a book ever. It wasn't super poetic or anything, it just had a punch to it that I loved. 

 

There are three reasons why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5: the pacing, the characters, and a lack of originality. Let's start with the middle one . Overall, I found the characters kinda meh. There were too many, in my opinion, so I wasn't able to really form a connection to any. That said, I did really like Walker's squad and Adam. Still, in horror I think it's really important that you make at least one really loveable character for the reader, or else it won't be as scary. 

 

In regards to the pacing, there was something just kind of off about it. I would never say the book was boring, but there were many places where that wasn't a ton actually happening, mainly characters reflecting on their lives/relationships or archeology work. Then things got super actiony super fast and it had an odd beat about it. It wasn't enough to keep me from continuing to read, but I could definitely feel the off pace. 

 

Lastly, it felt like Golden took the easy way out. This book is original in it's concept. I stand by that. But, the concept in action became kinda standard demon horror. I was expecting the demon to be like manipulating the people into worshipping/sacrificing it, or that they'd flee deeper into the cave where things go even worse. Instead the demon just wanted to brutally mass murder them all, which is kind of demons are portrayed as doing traditionally. I feel like Golden missed an opportunity to follow up on an incredible set up and settled instead for standard survival plot. It went from The Thing to Predator and, while both are good, the latter is kinda the standard angle. So it was a little disappointing on that front. 

 

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Definitely recommend and would read again. Just a little underwhelming. 

 

Final thought: After reading the part about the nail gouges in the door, the kittens started clawing at the door and spooked me. 

Ararat: A Novel - Christopher Golden

At work so no full length review until I get home. Overall though I liked it. Wasn't amazed by it but I liked it. Excited to discuss it once my shift ends. 24 minutes left to go. 

The Tux Kitties

I'm about halfway done with Ararat, so I figured I'd celebrate with pics of the fosters we got a few weeks ago I mentioned. No pics of Betty and Stratos since they're a little harder to get good ones of. Hopefully soon. 

 

This is Orko. He's kind of an ass but he's friendly at the same time. 

 

 

This one is Skeletor. He's a ridiculous cuddle bug and likes to sit on your shoulders and nuzzle your face. You can't tell in this picture, but he's very unusual looking. Like, he's built like a Sphinx. 

 

 

Last but not least, Teela. She's my mom's favorite, in part 'cause she looks like a foster we had a few years ago. She's also very sweet. 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 33 out of 448 pages.

Hex - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Not sure how to feel about this one so far. The writing's a little clunky and I've gotten lost a few times. Still, there's a charm to it (pun kinda intended) that makes me want to keep reading. So we'll see. 

 

Separate note: Got 5 new fosters in addition to He-Man and She-Ra. They're Skeletor, Teela, Orko, Stratos, and Betty. They make it impossible to read but damn they're cute. Unfortunately no group photos yet. They wiggle around too much. 

I know there's a book by the same name, so I'm fairly confident this is an adaptation of said book. Just got it from the library too, which makes me pretty excited to read it.

His Name Is Justice

Hard Justice (Body Armor) - Lori Foster

Not gonna do one of my long, in depth reviews for this one 'cause really, I just read it for the giggles. 

 

I really enjoyed this one. Like I said, not normally into romance but when I do read them I prefer them overdramatic and silly. This one fit both the bills. So many points where I laughed and just HAD to text a line to my friends 'cause it was just so ridiculous. It's a decent plot, a cute story and a quick read. And, as a romance novel, it was delightfully steamy and romantic. 

 

That said, Lori Foster is not allowed to use the word "hard" every again. You could turn it into a drinking game how many times the word was said. 

 

This was such a fun read. A nice break from the more serious novels I've been reading. 4 out of 5 Stars. 

Reading progress update: I've read 88 out of 384 pages.

Hard Justice (Body Armor) - Lori Foster

I don't normally read romances but this one came through at work and I found it so delightfully funny that I had to read it. So far it's not disappointing. 

Reading progress update: I've read 20 out of 320 pages.

Ararat: A Novel - Christopher Golden

I'm really excited for this one. The concept is fascinating and I think this will be a really fun ride! 

SPOILER ALERT!

The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out...

The Troop - Nick Cutter

Alternative name for this review: Fifty Shades of Fuck That, pardon my french. 

 

This book is the definition of horrifying. It pushed on literally one of my worst fears. Despite all that, I devoured it and that's really ironic considering the subject matter. 

 

In The Troop, Scout Troop 52 is taking it's annual camping trip to Falstaff Island. They're cut off from the mainland for a whole weekend with no cell phones or computers, only a radio for communication and the trust that a boat will come for them at the end of the adventure. Then The Hungry Man shows up, impossibly thin and carrying something within that will challenge every boy's worst nightmare. 

 

I loved this book. It was simply incredible. Part of it was how unique it really was. When I first read the premise I thought it was going to be a zombie-like situation. Which, I was fine and down for, but come on. Zombies are not the most unique thing in horror. Then I get worms and when I realized that my heart sank and sped up at the same time. Seriously, when was the last time a horror movie had worms that weren't exactly monsters, just animals? It was original, incredibly unique and that made it all the more horrifying. 

 

One of Cutter's greatest strengths is he knows how to create a suffocatingly ominous atmosphere. The kind that makes you read something super innocent and go, "Oh no." Like when Scoutmaster Tim wanted crackers. Or when Kent had the sip of scotch. Or just an article in a magazine written after the incident. It was nothing overt. Just a little sentence that immediately connected all the dots in your head and made you go, "Oh no." And made me not want to read on because I knew what was going to happen but I HAD to read on and see what was happening. It's like the worst (read: best) kind of horror because I was pushing myself into the situation further, despite the anxiety and terror it caused me. It's just so well done I'm floored. 

 

If I had to describe this book in one sentence, I would say Lord of the Flies meets Alien. There are so, so many threats to the boys' safety - the worms, surviving stranded on an island, fucking Shelley - that it creates sort of the perfect disaster. Best of all, it had a natural rhythm too it. At no point did it feel like, "Oh, things are fine, better throw this in to stir drama up". Every obstacle in the story had a place and a purpose and I really applaud Cutter for that because I have read survival stories in particular that don't do it as well. 

 

Along with being scary, this book is heartbreaking. You come to really know these boys and they're very complex characters. Sure, maybe they're little shits in the same way all teens are little shits but I loved them. I didn't want to see them suffer but it's horror so of course they have to suffer. That made it hard to read at a lot of points but the story is so intense and had me so sucked in that I had to read it.  Which really, I think that's a sign for a terrific book. 

 

Final rating: 5 out of 5. Won't read it again any time soon because it scared the bejesus out of me but I want to. I hunger for it, if you will. 

 

Final thought: Last time a book shook me up as much as this one, it was The Mist by Stephan King. Fog still makes me uneasy.

 

 

 

New Foster Kittens!

We have new foster kittens! 

 

This one is She-Ra. She is skittish but proud. 

 

And this is He-Man. He is a cuddle bug. 

 

 

They were feral when they were found so I like sitting in the kitten room and reading to help them get used to humans. They are excellent reading buddies. They don't eat books or get in the way while I'm trying to read. 

Reading progress update: I've read 110 out of 355 pages.

The Troop - Nick Cutter

Oh god, this book is my worst nightmare in the best possible way.

 

I'm having flashbacks to middle school when I would gleefully tell my mom what we learned about tapeworms while eating dinner.

Reading progress update: I've read 43 out of 355 pages.

The Troop - Nick Cutter

Thank you all for the well wishes on my interview! I think it went really well though I'll have to wait a few weeks to find out. 

 

This book is so eery. Kinda reminds me of the trailers for It Comes At Night, which I still need to see. 

Reading progress update: I've read 16 out of 355 pages.

The Troop - Nick Cutter

This one's good so far. Spooky. I have to go up to Denver for a job interview tomorrow (finger's crossed) so I think this book will be a fun way to spend my down time.