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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

Cold Storage
David Koepp
Progress: 180/457 minutes
Last Days
Adam Nevill
Progress: 312/531 pages
NOS4A2
Joe Hill
Progress: 100/692 pages

Say No To Spoilers

Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty

I saw a book club question that compared this to "And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie. Let's be honest though: In the world of Christie, this was 100% a clone of Murder On the Orient Express, not None. And it's incredible.

 

I had a professor who once joked that if you took a concept and put in space, it would be even cooler. That's what we see here. A classic murder mystery set up set in space. The mystery itself was well crafted and I found myself constantly guessing who the murder was and while I wasn't right, I wasn't wrong either and not even mad. That to me is the sign of a well-written mystery. I loved all the characters and didn't want to see any of them erased. I was fascinated with the way Lafferty handled the ethical questions of cloning. It could have ended up REALLY dry but I was fascinated. Maybe it's just the nerd in me. I don't know. My heart was racing to the end and I was definitely satisfied with the ending.

My biggest critique of the book was the pacing could be slow at the times and there were a few areas that felt overly convenient, more so in the beginning of the story. I can't remember any specifics but I do remember a few points where I was like, "of COURSE you did, Maria."

 

Final rating: 4.5 out of 5. Bebe is my favorite character, hands down.

Reading progress update: I've listened 30 out of 552 minutes.

Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty

Time to begin this! I like it so far and think it'll be a fun discussion for our next Book Club. 

Reading progress update: I've read 312 out of 531 pages.

Last Days - Adam Nevill

So I think I'm going to have to put this one on pause for a bit and not just 'cause I got an email from the library saying it's overdue. I need to start Six Wakes for book club and there are some other reads I'd like to get to. I have until the end of the week to decide. 

Book Club Options

It's my turn to choose for my book club again! Here are the options I subjected the others too: 

 

1. Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

2. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty 

3. Illuminae by Amy Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

 

My group tends to choose literary fiction or non-fiction, so I really wanted to shake it up with some Scifi and horror. What do y'all think of the options?

Reading progress update: I've listened 28 out of 457 minutes.

Cold Storage - David Koepp

Reading progress update: I've read 215 out of 531 pages.

Last Days - Adam Nevill

The goal is to finish this by the end of April. Will it happen? No idea.

Reading progress update: I've read 154 out of 531 pages.

Last Days - Adam Nevill

Today Was Hard

 

Today we had to say goodbye to our big bear, Harvey. He was originally my grandparents. After my grandpa died and my nana moved into assisted living, he came to live with my family. With us he's stayed for the past 5 years or so. He's always been adored by my family and I'm so grateful we got to spend his last years with him. He was old and it was his time. I'm going to miss my bear. 

 

 

Scalping is Rude

News of the World: A Novel - Paulette Jiles

Finished just in time for Book Club tomorrow (held virtually, as you'd expect). Miss Pandora politely sat in my lap the whole time I binged the last 100 pages, which made the day super peaceful and cozy given we just got hit with a snowstorm. 

 

News of the World follows Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a traveler who reads newspapers to crowds in post-Civil War Texas for money, as he makes the treacherous journey to deliver Johanna, a 10-year old white girl who had been raised by the Kiowa following a rade that killed her family, to her relatives in near San Antonio. The Captain is an elderly man and Johanna has no memories of English or "civilized" society, so they make an unlikely duo on a very dangerous journey.

 

The writing of this book was what I would call poetic. The word choices were crisp and precise and I would love to hear them read out loud by someone with a voice like Hugo Weaving. It fit perfectly with the story given that language and oral stories are such a big part of it. 

 

Jiles' writing style reminds me a bit of what I've read of Cormac McCarthy, though I like the way she writes much better. McCarthy's writing is good but could rag while Jiles' kept me wrapped up and didn't feel like I had to push to finish it. Her descriptions of the Texas landscape were really pretty and the characters felt real to me. I absolutely adored Johanna. She felt like a child, which was awesome, but a very different child character than what I've read in the past. I think I was expecting someone more like Eleven from Stranger Things but Johanna has way more spice and sass in my opinion.

 

My favorite part of the book was the ending. It wasn't a perfect ending for all involved but it was a happy ending. It left me feeling warm and fuzzy and also a bit like crying, which I think is a good way for a story to end.

 

Final rating: 4.5 out of 5. A wonderful historical fiction story with one of my favorite pairings I've followed in a while.

 

Final thought: A actual part of the book is Captain teaching Johanna that scalping is rude and it's hilarious. 

Reading progress update: I've read 58 out of 224 pages.

News of the World: A Novel - Paulette Jiles
News of the World: A Novel - Paulette Jiles

This is what my book club chose for their March read. I put this on hold IN JANUARY. Just came in today. Needless to say, I'm behind but look forward to digging in. 

 

Get ready for a speed read!!!

Reading progress update: I've read 96 out of 531 pages.

Last Days - Adam Nevill

This book gives me some strong House of Small Shadows vibes. Does Neville have a fear of elderly men? I don't blame him but...

Last Days - Adam Nevill

I love spooky cults and have been wanting to give this one a read for a while. Hopefully it's a good one!

Creature by Hunter Shea

Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea

Wow. I'm shook. Like, crying on my couch needing to watch Forensic Files to calm down shook. 

 

When I checked out this book, it was a leap of faith based on a review from Char's Horror Corner. After all, this is the same writer who felt it was important to describe the penis of the Jersey Devil. So to read a book packed with so much emotion, deep characters, and really dark subjects knocked me off my feet to be sure. 

 

The book is a bit of a slow burn but it's far from boring. Andrew and Kate are such a good duo and I love reading about their day to day life, even if it was mundane. The scares were awesome and so true to the Bigfoot form. 

 

 

It wasn't REALLY a Bigfoot, which kinda disappointed me, but it honestly really had nothing to do with the enjoyment of the story

 

(show spoiler)

 

 

It would have been easy to write Kate or Andrew in a way that would be completely obnoxious. Kate could have been a "woe is me" whiner and Andrew could have been the unsympathetic, resentful husband, both of which I would have hated. And while there were flavors of this in their character, there were just as many wonderful traits that made me love both of them even when those traits came through.

 

Overall, I'm just REALLY impressed by this book. It connected to me in a way that I wasn't expecting and stirred up emotions I wasn't expecting to be stirred. That exactly what I hope for from a good book.

 

Final rating: 5/5 It was so much more than I was expecting.

 

Final thought: I can't decide if I wish there was more monster genitalia or not.

Reading progress update: I've read 155 out of 256 pages.

Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea

Critical Role: Legends of Vox Machina

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins - Matthew V. Mercer, Matthew Colville

I think I've mentioned I play Dungeons and Dragons and it's hard to be in that community without having heard of Critical Role. I'm still listening to campaign one so of course, I had to read Legends of Vox Machina when I saw it was available. 

 

I absolutely adored this graphic novel. For one thing, I really captured the spirit of Dungeons and Dragons. For example, Scanlan singing Queen even though the band wouldn't - or at least, shouldn't - exist in a mystical fantasy world. Or the quirky humor and problem-solving. Or the way combat worked, how we see everyone's turn. It read like an actual Initiative and that made it more fun to read. 

 

Additionally, I don't think you'd have to be a D&D player in order to enjoy this. It's a well set up fantasy world. The rules are clear, the characters engaging and realistic, and the problems are worth investing in. 

 

Final rating: 5/5 Where you're a player or just a curious reader, you'll enjoy this graphic novel.

 

Scanlan and Vax peeing on the ruin to destroy it is the most D&D thing that could have been done and I lost it  at that part. 

(show spoiler)