Mr. Mercedes

34752268 (1)

Mr. Mercedes

By:  Stephen King
Published:  2014
# of pages:  449
Series:  Bill Hodges Trilogy (#1)
Challenges:  Full House (last book added)

4stargreen

Goodreads description:  

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

My review:  I placed a hold on The Outsider a few weeks ago.  My mom read it and said that she didn’t really enjoy it, but maybe because she didn’t get some of the references to other King novels.  She has read Mr. Mercedes and said that was referenced.  So I decided to read Mr. Mercedes and the other books referenced in The Outsider.

This is a crime mystery sort of book and not a horror like many of King’s novels.  I’m not super into crime/detective books, but I liked the main character, Bill Hodges, as well as his unlikely sidekicks.  Bill is a retired police officer.  His unsolved cases still bother him, but he spends most of his days laying in front of the TV and eating junk food so he doesn’t waste too much brain power fretting about the past.  However, one day he briefly thinks about an unsolved past case about the “Mercedes Killer” and is struck by a thought.  He can’t stop thinking about it and he soon finds himself getting out of his armchair, out of the house, and back into the world of crime solving.  His teenaged neighbor is the only friend he still sees since retiring, but he soon adds to his number of friends as he’s pulled farther and farther into the investigation.

The reader is also pulled into the world of Brady, a disturbed young man who isn’t afraid of his own death but also isn’t afraid to end the lives of others.  If you’ve read many of King’s novels you know how disturbing some of his characters can be and Brady Hartsfield is no exception.

Overall I’d recommend this if you like crime and detective books.  And if you aren’t afraid of seeing into a depraved murderer’s mind.

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars:  Nothing super amazing, but the characters are fun and I’m eager to see what happens in the next books in the series.

Sometimes I Lie

36112959

Sometimes I Lie

By:  Alice Feeney
Published:  2018
# of pages:  264
Challenges:  Full House (new author from another country: UK)

4stargreen

Goodreads description:

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me: 
1. I’m in a coma. 
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. 
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

My review:  Someone on the Silent Book Club I’m a part of on Facebook mentioned how the newest trend in titles now is the word “lie” or “lying.”  We’ve got The Lying GameOne of Us is LyingLet Me LieLie to Me, etc.  And here is Sometimes I Lie.  For a good part of the book I was a little annoyed by the title.  I felt like there was probably a better title the author could have used.  However, towards the end the title became a lot more appropriate.

I usually don’t read any Goodreads reviews of a book before or even after reading.  However, after you finish this book you will want to talk to someone about it, you will want to read what others have to say.  So I went onto Goodreads.  A lot of people were complaining that it was confusing and they missed the plot twist and had no clue what was going on at the end of the book.  I didn’t feel that way because I followed along pretty well, but I can see why it’s confusing to some people.  This is one of the few books I want to read again just after reading it for the first time.  I probably won’t do that, but it would be interesting to read it again after knowing the plot twists.  Yes, twists plural.  Also, it’s really hard for me to type the word twists for some reason. 😛

The story is about Amber Reynolds, who begins the book with the revelation that she’s in a coma.  She can’t remember what happened in the days before she regained consciousness, but while she is unable to move or communicate in any way, she has plenty of time to try to remember.  The book alternates between NOW, when Amber is in a coma, THEN, which is the days leading up to her coma, and BEFORE, when she was a child.

Some of the reviews I read accused the author of adding too many details to throw off the reader, but I wonder if there was more purpose than we think to many of the descriptions.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the author writes a sequel that explains the ending and other things that happened throughout the novel.

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars: Suspenseful and well paced story, interesting characters, plot twists I didn’t see coming.

Mosquitoland

40188426

Mosquitoland

By:  David Arnold
Published:
  2015
# of pages:  352 (Kindle edition)
Challenges:  Monthly Motif (vacation read)
Quote:  “Maybe I could muster the courage to speak those words so few people are able to say: I don’t know why I do the things I do. It’s like that sometimes.”

5stargreen

Goodreads description:

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

My review:  I can’t adequately describe how much I love this book.  I’ve given it a few days to soak in before writing a review, but I still don’t know exactly what to say.  My reaction to this book reminded me of my reaction to Turtles All the Way Down.  The main character, Mim, had a hard struggle with mental health issues in her past just like Aza struggles with her mental health in Turtles.  Mim’s still learning to deal with her health as well as the divorce of her parents and her dad’s sudden remarriage.

She sets out on a journey from Mississippi to Ohio.  Along the way she has all sorts of adventures and meets all sorts of interesting characters, both good and bad.  Not only is Mim a beautiful character, but I loved many of the other characters.  I also appreciate the way Mim is willing to admit when she’s wrong or change her opinion/perspective as needed.  She’s witty and makes profound statements, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s “just” a teenager who still has more to learn.

While this is a great YA book, it does have some strong “bad language” if that’s a concern.  Also, I found myself at times thinking how great it would be to just run away from responsibilities and go on a spontaneous road trip like Mim’s.  It’s a little concerning to think that some people, especially younger teenagers, might actually consider doing that for real!  Maybe not, maybe it’s just me that has that desire (I do relate to Mim in many ways), but if I gave this to my teen to read I’d make sure to have a little talk about the dangers of a teenager being on his/her own on a cross country trip.  😉

I do highly recommend this to adults and teenagers alike and I think there’s many more positive messages than negative throughout the novel.  Also, I was initially leery of the book based on the cover.  It seemed like one of those contemporary teen books that you see everywhere, but I was amazed at the depth of emotion and thought evident in the writing.  It’s definitely worth giving it a chance.

Why I gave this book 5/5 stars:  Great characters, entertaining story, important messages.

10 Hype Worthy Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  Today’s theme is top ten books that are worthy of the hype they received.  These are my ten picks, in no particular order.

 

10032672


The Language of Flowers
  by: Vanessa Diffenbaugh – This was before Goodreads was as popular and before I was part of The Silent Book Club on Facebook.  So I heard about this book a on a few book blogs and from my mom.  It was excellent and I’ve always heard good things about it, whether or not that qualifies as “hype.” 🙂

 

10644930


11/22/63
  by: Stephen King – I read this fairly soon after it was released, but I still hear a lot about it today from book lovers.  On Silent Book Club it is always one of the first recommended when someone asks what King book they should read.  I loved it, in spite of the weird ending (which is true of many of King’s books).

 

19063
The Book Thief  
by: Markus Zusak – Awesome, amazing book that people recommend all the time and rightly so.  My husband did read the first chapter and decided he didn’t like it, but he’s not a cultured reader so he doesn’t count.

 


32487617
Beneath a Scarlet Sky
  by: Mark T. Sullivan  – I haven’t heard as much about this book recently, but it was talked about a lot when it was first published.  I loved it, whether or not it was an accurate portrayal of the real Pino’s life.

 

7937843
Room
  by: Emma Donoghue – This has been made into a movie that I haven’t seen yet, but it’s an excellent novel.  The first few chapters were some of the most agonizing suspense scenes I’ve ever read.  My oldest child was the same age as the protagonist of the book, which made it affect me even more.

 

4667024

 

The Help  by: Kathryn Stockett – There’s a reason this book is one of the most popular novels of the modern age.  The fact that it’s a movie has helped, but that’s the reason it became a film in the first place.  Great story, well written, interesting characters.

 

43641

 

Water for Elephants  by: Sara Gruen – I don’t hear as much about this book now, but for a while it was highly talked about amongst book lovers.  I never watched the movie, but the book was excellent and deserved to be recommended as much as it was.

 

3

Harry Potter series  by: J.K. Rowling – Do I even need to justify why this is on my list?  This series grows along with the characters and along with many of the first readers.  That is neat in and of itself, but the original story, fun characters, and unique setting tops it off.

 

13510287


Wonder
  by: R.J. Palacio – For years I heard about this book but kept putting off checking it out.  I figured it was just blown out of proportion or just appealed to young readers.  Boy was I wrong.  It’s fascinating how well this was written that it can reach young and adult readers.  The message is so important as well.

 

37449


To Kill a Mockingbird
  by: Harper Lee – Once again, I don’t feel there’s anything I can really add to make you understand why this book is on this list, but it truly is a classic tale.  Part of it is how incredible this book was released when it was, at a time when the message was controversial as well as important.  The message is still incredibly important.  Also, I want to take this opportunity to say that I didn’t like Go Set a Watchman and I honestly don’t think it was ever supposed to be published.  Harper Lee wouldn’t have wanted that considering it was a first “draft” of Mockingbird and she obviously decided to write something else instead.

 

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper

40727470

Stalking Jack the Ripper

By:  Kerri Maniscalco
Published: 
2016
# of pages: 
337 (Kindle edition)
Series: 
Stalking Jack the Ripper (#1)

3stargreen

Goodreads description:

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.


My review: 
I was excited by the description of this book and while it was slightly disappointing, it was still a fun read.  I had to keep telling myself that it was young adult and I’d probably enjoy it more as a teenager.  There’s young adult novels that are written to be just as enjoyable for adults as teens and then there’s young adult novels that are geared solely for young adults.  And this book falls in the latter category.

Audrey Rose is an aspiring forensic technician in 1880s London.  She apprentices for her uncle and nothing makes her happier than cutting into the cold flesh of corpses.  The problem is that her father doesn’t know she’s chosen an inappropriate career for a lady of that time.  Her secret life suddenly becomes harder to hide when one of the bodies she helps dissect turns out to be a murder victim of a killer who soon became known as Jack the Ripper.  Audrey Rose feels a kinship with the female victims and takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of the murderer’s identity.  Add in a handsome, mysterious young man named Thomas and things get even more complicated.

I figured out the mystery fairly early in the book, which I’m sure didn’t help with my opinion.  Audrey Rose is an interesting character, but whether purposefully or just because of poor writing, she’s very flighty and doesn’t come across as talented and intelligent as she should have been.  Thomas on the other hand…  I’ll admit, I have a little crush on him.  If I do read the next book in the series it will solely be because of Thomas.

Overall I recommend this book to young adults who are able to handle reading about some blood and gore (nothing too detailed).  The concept of a novel about Jack the Ripper is intriguing and I wouldn’t mind trying to find another one that’s better written.


Why I gave this book 3/5 stars: 
Cool concept for a young adult (or adult) novel, steamy male protagonist, main character was meh.

10 Books Linked to Memories

I was traveling this past Tuesday so I missed That Artsy Reader Girl‘s Top 10 Tuesday meme, but I thought it was an interesting topic so I will do it late.  This week’s topic is 10 books linked to specific memories/moments in your life.

1656001The Host  by: Stephenie Meyer – My mom gave me this book the day after I miscarried my first baby, along with a bouquet of flowers.  It had just come out and I had been wanting to read it, but of course I wasn’t even thinking of it after the trauma of losing a baby.  It was so thoughtful of my mom.  I had a lot of trouble sleeping in the weeks following the loss and I vividly remember laying on the couch in the middle of the night reading this book, which I loved.

407813

 

The Blue Sword  by: Robin McKinley – This was the book that got me hooked on fantasy.  My mom recommended it to me and I remember sitting on my bedroom floor reading this for hours.  Looking back I can’t believe I could sit/lay on the floor without being sore after.

 

10365

 

Where the Red Fern Grows  by: Wilson Rawls – One of the first traumatic books I ever read.  I was in fifth grade sitting at my desk during silent reading time and was struggling not to cry.

 

 

847947Maniac Magee  by: Jerry Spinelli – I read this when I traveled to Arkansas to visit my grandma all by myself (can you imagine an 11 year old traveling on a plane across the country along nowadays?).  While reading this I noticed I was feeling kind of funny.  That night I had nightmares about Maniac Magee running lost around town and woke up with a raging fever.  I had do delay my flight home because I was so sick.

 

21726

 

The Ruins  by: Scott Smith – I read this one the way home from my honeymoon in the Caribbean.  I just remember being on the plane reading this horrifying book.  Haha, not the most romantic honeymoon read. 😉

 

532090

 

The Little Book of Baby Names  by: Karen Kaufman Orloff – Here’s a more romantic memory.  Sitting on the deck of a cruise ship on our honeymoon talking about names we liked for a future baby.

 

17288636

 

The Shining  by: Stephen King – I read this with my “book club” (two best friends).  It always reminds me of them.  I even took it to my friend’s house and we read it at the same time while sitting on her couch.  And then they came over on Halloween and we talked about it.  Fun times!

 

61146

The Myst series  by: Rand Miller – I read these in high school when I had just started dating the guy who would become my husband.  They give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

 

 

58696David Copperfield  by: Charles Dickens – My dad gave me his childhood copy of this book (that I think may have belonged to his grandmother) when I was in second or third grade.  I started reading it and he was just so proud that I could read it at such a young age.  But it was so boring and I didn’t really understand it, but I didn’t want to stop reading it and disappoint him.  So I just pretended to read most of it.  I still own it and I still haven’t read the whole thing!

263012


Star Wars: The Crystal Star 
by: Vonda N. McIntyre – I read this in high school and listened to the same song on repeat while reading it.  For years after every time I heard the song I would think of this book.  And now I can’t remember the song!  But I still remember the feeling I had from the music and book combined.

Before We Were Yours

33154628

Before We Were Yours

By:  Lisa Wingate
Published:  2017
# of pages:  334
Challenges:  Full House (dual time line)
Quote:  “Since coming home I’ve readopted words like y’all, which I had expunged from my vocabulary up north. They’re good words, I’ve now decided. Like the humble boiled peanut, they serve perfectly in many situations.”

4stargreen

Goodreads description:

An engrossing novel inspired by shocking real events—the kidnappings and illegal adoptions of children conducted by the notorious Tennessee Children’s Home Society—Before We Were Yours is a poignant, uplifting tale for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

My review:  Wow, this book was even more shocking and interesting to read just after reading The Girls Who Went Away.  The novel has a dual time line and follows Rill, a 12 year old girl who lives on a riverboat on the Mississippi River, and Avery, a 20-something year old lawyer with a political future in South Carolina.  I’m going to interrupt my review to say that part of the book takes place on Edisto Island, which isn’t far from my grandparents’ house and is where I go a couple of times a year on day trips to the beach.  It’s beautiful there and I loved the descriptions of the SC low country throughout the book.

Back to the review.  One night Rill’s life is turned upside down when her parents suddenly have to leave her in charge of her three younger sisters and baby brother.  Within less than 24 hours, the children find themselves at the Tennessee Children’s Home in Memphis.  Not only are they confused about why they are in the house when they have two loving parents, but they soon find themselves starving, abused, and separated from each other one by one.  It was incredibly hard reading about Rill and her siblings knowing that while Rill was fictional, these stories really did happen to hundreds of children in the earlier 1900s.  But I loved Rill and how realistic her character felt.

Now compare this to Avery Stafford, a successful DC lawyer who came home to South Carolina to follow her father around to train to be a future senator.  Not only has she been raised with the best of the best, she takes it for granted and tries to justify her family’s wealth and comforts whenever she’s confronted with even a hint of criticism.  I’m not going to lie, Avery annoyed the heck out of me for most of the book.  She’s spoiled and even worse, doesn’t think she’s spoiled.  Avery is stressed out dealing with her father’s bad health and training to be a future senator.  Every move she makes is planned out in order to maintain her family’s media and public appearance.  However, her life is also turned upside down when she meets a woman named May.

Instead of continuing her apprenticeship and maintaining appearances, Avery decides to do a little investigating into the past.  In the process she loses most of her entitled attitude and gains an insight into the past and the life of her grandmother.

I recommend this book to everyone because it’s an important part of history that should be learned and remembered.  I had never heard of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, but I’m interested in learning more about it now.  The author includes references in the back of the book that I’d like to check out soon.

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars:  Avery was annoying at times, but the other characters were great and the story was well written and an important story to hear.