Category: Mystery

Jun 16

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Mystery 11

Howdy Bookworms!

Wow, you guys! Four posts this week?! I AM ON FIRE! BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! Reviewathon, FTW! Today we’re talking about another one of the books I got at BEA. I was wandering aimlessly by myself (for what purpose I can’t remember) when I saw Florinda standing in line to get a book signed. I hopped in the line to chat up Florinda and got a book signed for myself with no idea who the author was or what the book was about. Turns out, I make pretty solid decisions when I’m oblivious, because the book I picked up was Before the Fall by Noah Hawley.

beforethefallWhen I went to start this book, I read a smidge of the “about the author” segment which informed me that Noah Hawley is a successful television writer and totally writes for Fargo, which Hubs and I watched obsessively last season. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know this beforehand or I’d likely have asked something weird and embarrassing about Kirsten Dunst or The Mother from How I Met Your Mother. Yep. Case in point of how much I suck at life. I don’t know the name of the actress who played “The Mother.” (I just looked it up. Her name is Cristin Milioti. Maybe I’ll remember that now.) Do TV writers even get to meet the cast? I honestly have no idea. But I’d have said something dumb, that’s for darn sure.

I was supposed to be discussing a book, wasn’t I? Alright, Before the FallOne summer night, a down on his luck painter finds himself riding in a private plane from Martha’s Vineyard to New York City. The plane belongs to a television mogul and his family, and they’re accompanied by some friends and the crew. Unfortunately, the plane goes down en route shortly after takeoff. The only two survivors are the painter and the four year old son of the television mogul. The book artfully weaves between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew. In the present, a series of odd coincidences cause media speculation to spiral out of control while the two survivors grapple with notoriety and loss.

I’m not usually huge on the whole mystery-suspense-thriller front, but I’ve got to admit I was fully engrossed in this read from page one. I was invested in the characters and MAN did I want to punch Bill Cunningham in his smug horrible face. (Bill Cunningham is a controversial TV pundit who works for the late mogul’s news network and his is absolutely THE WORST.) This is a good one, folks, give it a read!

Talk to me, Bookworms! Who was the last fictional character you wanted to pummel?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receives a small commission.*

 

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Jul 13

Shirley Jackson Reading Week: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Crime, Frightening, Mystery 18

Greetings Bookworms!

I’m highly susceptible to suggestion. Why, last week I was reading a book where the characters were devouring a ham, and I really wanted to eat some ham. A legit ham, too, none of this cold cut nonsense. The very next day someone posted a photo of their fried fish that happened to be shaped like Illinois on Facebook, and doggone it, I wanted to eat all the fried fish (I later got that fried fish, and it was delicious. I still haven’t had any ham.) It’s not just food, though, folks. It works with books too! For example… I saw that several delightful bloggers were planning a Shirley Jackson Reading Week July 13-18 and I was all, “oooh I should do that. Get me some Shirley Jackson, stat!” (Thanks to fabulous hosts Stuck in a Book, Reading the End, and Things Mean a Lot!)

Shirley-Jackson-Reading-Week

I’d read The Lottery, which is a creeptastic short story in school at some point, but that was it. I decided to tackle We Have Always Lived in the Castle for two reasons. First, I’d heard it was awesome. Second, the cover is haunting, yo. I knew chills were just around the corner. I hauled up a copy on Scribd to read with my ears and let me tell you, that Bernadette Dunne? What a narrator. Whew. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Blackwood house has a sinister past. Once one of the town’s most respected and stately homes, it is now the macabre scene of a mass poisoning. The suspected murderess is dwelling in the massive house again, along with her elderly uncle (and arsenic poisoning survivor) Julian and younger sister Merricat. To say that the crew is odd is an understatement, but just how many secrets they harbor start to be revealed when a distant relation comes to call.

So creepy, right?!

So creepy, right?!

I’ve always heard that I should check out Shirley Jackson because she’s the queen of the dark and twisty. Turns out everyone was right. Because for real. What in the actual fiddlesticks? This book, man. Constance, Merricat, what in heaven’s name went on during your formative years?! And holy macaroni, the townsfolk. I can’t even! If you haven’t read any Shirley Jackson yet, I highly recommend We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It’s deliciously devious and enough to make you fear children, townsfolk, and sugar bowls. Dun dun dun!

Talk to me Bookworms! Anybody have a recommendation as to which Shirley Jackson I should read next?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Mar 05

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

Dystopian, E-Readers, Mystery 9

Good Morrow, Bookworms!

Raise your hand if you use your smart phone more than you’re proud of. My hand is high in the air, y’all. (I blame Trivia Crack.) I remember hearing a whole bunch of folks talking about the awesomeness that is The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon so when it popped up as available from my library’s digital services, I had to download it. Because I’m controlled by machines. They’re becoming sentient. OooOOOOOooooO.

wordexchangeEnter the world of The Word ExchangeIt’s a few years in the future and a smart-phone-like device known as a Meme has become ubiquitous. The Meme ain’t your average iPhone though. This thing pretty much predicts your thoughts and behaviors. It’s more than a little creepy. It kind of makes me wonder why everyone is all kinds of surprised when things go terribly, terribly wrong. (Of course, the characters in the novel didn’t have the advantage of reading about the whole thing at a distance. Omniscience is a gift. Gosh, I love fiction!)

Anana Johnson works for one of the world’s last remaining dictionaries. When her father goes missing, she stumbles upon a conspiracy, a secret society, and contracts a potentially deadly plague. Makes your Friday night seem uneventful, doesn’t it? A “word flu” has begun spreading that’s causing people to speak gibberish along with a nasty case of physical flu-like symptoms. I’ll give you three guesses as to what creeptastic device is behind the spread of the plague, but you’ll only need one! Anana teams up with her colleague (and secret admirer) Bart in order to track down her father and try to save the day.

The Word Exchange is a fun, weird, ride. It’s not an especially lengthy novel, but I found myself taking longer than usual to get through it. I typically get most of my reading in at night before I go to sleep, and I found my brain rebelling when I hit passages where infected folks were speaking gibberish. And by “brain rebelling,” I mean I fell asleep. I wasn’t bored, I’m just really spoiled by standardized spelling. If you’re in the mood for a fast paced, semi-dystopian mystery with a side of word nerd (and who isn’t?) The Word Exchange is your book!

Sound off, Bookworms! Do you think that we as a society have become too reliant on our smart phones? Will it bring about the end of days? (I might be watching Doomsday Preppers. I can’t be held responsible for my alarmist tone.)

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Feb 05

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Psychological 21

Greetings Bookworms,

There’s little that drives me as crazy as when EVERYONE is raving about a book and I haven’t read it yet. Right now, that book is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and heck yes I read it! How could I not? I mean, everyone is calling it the next Gone Girl (review). I wouldn’t necessarily go there, but it’s still a good book, so let’s get to it!

thegirlonthetrainSo there’s this gal named Rachel. She commutes into London on the same train every day. She’s a bit of a sad sack, mourning the loss of her marriage and drowning her sorrows in booze. (Uh, side note. Since when are pre-mixed gin and tonics in a can a thing? Is this only available in England? I love G&T but I don’t drink often so my seltzer always goes flat before I use it up. I need these in my life.) She spends her commute fantasizing about a couple she often sees out on their terrace, as one does. One day, she sees something that shatters her view of the perfect couple and a whole lot of crazy goes down.

You know thrillers aren’t normally my thing so I don’t have a much in the way of grounds for comparison, but I thought The Girl on the Train was pretty great. I wasn’t wouldn’t say I was fully gobsmacked at any point during the book, but I certainly didn’t see where things were going until Hawkins was good and ready for me to know where things were going. It really irks me when I figure things out way ahead of time, so this was a HUGE factor in me digging this book. Well played, Ms. Hawkins! If you’ve got a hankering for a little psychological thriller goodness, you need to check out The Girl on the Train

Talk to me, Bookworms! Do you ever make up stories for people you regularly pass? Perhaps people watch and make up lives for folks? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Which I will spend in my quest to find canned Gin and Tonics stateside!*

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Nov 24

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Audio Books, Mystery 12

Hi Ho, Bookworms!

One of my all time favorite books as a kid was Harriet the Spy (review), but Flavia de Luce would give good old Harriet a run for her super-spy money! I finally got around to checking out the audio book version of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley and I am utterly charmed!

sweetnessathtebottomofthepieIn 1950, Flavia de Luce is 11 years old. She’s the quirkiest little chemist in all of Great Britain and she’s got a passion for poisons. She lives with her father and two sisters at the de Luce family estate, Buckshaw. Flavia has a natural curiosity that tends to get her in tight spots, and loves nothing better than deviling her older sisters.

A series of unusual events is set into motion one day when a dead bird with a postage stamp on its beak is discovered on the de Luce doorstep. Later, Flavia overhears an argument between her father and a stranger. Then? A dead body mysteriously appears in Buckshaw’s garden. DUN DUN DUN!! Flavia, of course, is first on the scene of the crime and is determined to uncover exactly what happened.

Flavia de Luce is one of the most irresistible characters I’ve encountered in a good long while. Her plucky detective skills were plenty impressive, but it was the glimmers of the 11 year old girl that really won me over. The narrator reading this book did a phenomenal job- I could HEAR her smiling when Flavia was feeling pleased with herself. The perfect instance of an audio book being absolutely superb. I’m not big on mysteries, but Flavia’s my girl. You can bet I’ll be diving deeper into this series!

Alright Bookworms, tell me. Do you have a favorite young protagonist? Inquiring minds want to know!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Nov 06

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK is a saucy minx)

Audio Books, Mystery 23

Howdy Bookworms!

It will come as no surprise to my regular readers that I don’t typically go in for thrillers and mysteries. I do, however, go in for all things JK Rowling. If I didn’t know that Robert Galbraith was JK Rowling incognito, the odds of me ever picking up The Cuckoo’s Calling were nil. Luckily, someone leaked Robert Galbraith’s identity, and I’m confirmed in my suspicions that JK Rowling can write anything. I’m also confirmed in my suspicions that my library’s selection of digital audio books is completely awesome.

thecuckoo'scallingThe Cuckoo’s Calling begins by introducing a down-on-his-luck private detective named Cormoran Strike. After having his leg blown off in Afghanistan, he left his military career behind and went out on his own to decidedly disappointing effect. He’s just split up with his emotional roller coaster of a fiance and he owes money to just about everyone and their mom. It’s almost cliche, really, but somehow it stays out of of kitschy place. Just as Strike is on the verge of complete collapse, he’s visited by the distraught brother of a recently deceased supermodel. Though Lula Landry’s death has been ruled a suicide by the police, John Bristow begs Strike to investigate the case. He simply doesn’t believe his adoptive sister jumped to her death from her apartment balcony. He thinks foul play must be involved.

I can’t help but think that Rowling’s own fame influenced the way she portrayed the paparazzi-hounded Lula Landry. I imagine press coverage has died down a bit since Harry Potter has been a (mostly) a closed book in recent years, but I think that insight was helpful in imagining what super A-list celebrities deal with on a daily basis.

I should probably dabble in thrillers more often, because I found this book quite a lot of fun. Dark and twisty characters, mysterious motives, scandals, and a lovely variety of English accents? (Did I mention the narrator was brilliant?) What’s not to love? A colorful cast of quirky characters and varying degrees of dastardly behaviors made The Cuckoo’s Calling a winner for me. It also made me happy that I’m not obscenely wealthy and constantly photographed. I would TOTALLY end up on the cover of a tabloid picking a wedgie… Or my nose. Siiigh.

Talk to me, Bookworms! If you were a celebrity, what embarrassing situation would you most likely be caught in?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Nov 18

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: The Fellowship of the Worms

Book Club, Mystery, Romance, Uncategorized 33

smarty-mcwordypants-199x300Hello Bookworms,

Before we start here today, I want to let everyone know that I am a-okay. You probably saw on the news the devastation wreaked on Central Illinois from a tornado outbreak. Some of those touchdowns were a few miles from us, but luckily we are safe and sound, as is our home. Thanks to everyone for your concern!

Now, without further ado, let us get our Fellowship on! This month we’re discussing the classic tale of gothic mystery Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of Rebecca and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, on your own blog. A linky list will be provided at the end of this post for anybody who has reviewed Rebecca on their own blog. Don’t be shy, please link up!

1.Talk about your whirlwind courtship! Our heroine agrees to marry Maxim de Winter after knowing him only a few short weeks. Her decision is fueled in no small part by her wish to escape her snobby employer. Anybody think she should have thought the decision over a bit more carefully, or does love, as they say, conquer all? I am of the opinion than if something SOUNDS too good to be true, it ALWAYS is. I’m also of the opinion that if on one of your first “dates,” your suitor gets lost in a creepy fantasy on the edge of a cliff, you should cut and run. Being able to spell an unusual name correctly is NOT a good foundation for marriage. I’m not sure saying “yes” was your best move, No-Name Girl.

2. Could Mrs. Danvers possibly BE any more creepy and evil? That woman had wicked written all over her from day one. Sherebecca1 was a combination of Mean Girl and psychopath. Mrs. Danvers had an unnatural attachment to the late Rebecca de Winter (Maxim’s mysteriously departed first wife) and was none too pleased to have a new lady of the house. She was a bully and dead set on wreaking havoc. The stunt she pulled at the fancy dress ball? That nutjob even tried to coax No-Name Girl into suicide. Not cool, Danny. Not cool.

3. Rebecca’s presence was palpable throughout the novel despite the fact that she was deceased. How does Rebecca’s memory torment No-Name Girl? Poor No-Name Girl is haunted. Everything she hears she interprets as Rebecca’s perfection. Mrs. Danvers doesn’t help matters by discussing how fashionable, well bred, intelligent, and active Rebecca was. No-Name Girl is convinced the Maxim is still grieving Rebecca and that she’s a piss-poor replacement.

4. Were you surprised by Maxim’s revelation about what really happened to Rebecca? I wasn’t surprised, because I think I’d read a spoiler somewhere. More than that though, Maxim’s behavior where she was concerned was pretty sketchy. What I hadn’t anticipated was that Rebecca was a full on sociopath. Gah! That woman! She makes Mrs. Danvers look like a well adjusted and productive member of society! The debauchery, the promiscuity, the intentional meanness to the mentally disabled guy… I can’t say it was too great a loss to the world as a whole, though it sounds like Mother Nature was taking care of that bit of business before Maxim stepped in. Yikes! 

5. Who do you think burned down Manderley? My money is on the collusion of the evil Mrs. Danvers and the drunken incestuous (yeah yeah I know it didn’t USED to be incest to hook up with your first cousin, but EWWW anyway) Jack Favell. Team of crazies, those two. I can’t imagine that the place went up in flames purely by coincidence, especially since old Danny had removed all her personal belongings earlier in the day. Seriously though, it was MAXIM’s house, NOT Rebecca’s. There is just no reasoning with sociopaths.

What did you think, Bookworms? If you would like to share your thoughts in blog form, be sure to link up below! 

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Next month’s selection will be The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I know it’s a book that’s been out for a while, but I haven’t read it yet, okay?

gurnsey

On a side note, I have had several inquiries as to my address recently, as I’m sending out holiday cards and bookmarks this year to any reader who wants one. If you’re interested, I’m mailing internationally- all you need to do is send your address to wordsforworms@gmail.com! There is no need to send me anything, but since I was asked, here you go:

Katie Kelly

PO Box 3078

Peoria, IL 61612-3078

P.S. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Rebecca for your own collection, please use this link. Any purchases made through this site on Book Depository will net me a small commission. 

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Sep 17

Falling for Fall: Top Ten Tuesday

Dystopian, E-Readers, Frightening, Mystery, Supernatural, Top Ten Tuesday 62

Good Day, Bookworms!

It’s the middle of September now, so I’m feeling very Autumnal. Luckily, the ladies of The Broke and The Bookish seem to be feeling this way, too! Today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday listy goodness is the top ten books we plan to read this fall.

toptentuesday

Halloween is just around the corner, and this year to celebrate I thought I’d do some spooky reading. I know what you’re thinking. “Katie, you are afraid of everything and you are setting yourself up for a month of nightmares, you big chickeny chicken face!” You’re right. But I’m gonna do it anyway! Let’s get our creepy on!

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin. It’s October’s Fellowship of the Worms selection! Zombie/vampire hybrids? Yep. Nightmares. But at least we’re doing this TOGETHER!

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker. This is THE classic vampire novel. How have I managed this long without having read this book? It seems so terribly wrong…

3. The Walkng Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. The new season of The Walking Dead  begins in October and I’m so excited! I got a copy of this book at BlogHer13 after watching Gale Anne Hurd’s kickass keynote. ZOMBIES!

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4. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I’m trying to incorporate some more classics into my literary diet and it’s spooktacular. (I know. I am already kicking myself for using such a dumb phrase. My shins shall be so very bruised…)

5. Feed by Mira Grant. ZOMBIES! I’ve heard great things about this series, so I’m pretty stoked about it. Braaaaaaaains. Om nom nom!

6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Halloween brings out the kid in me, why not indulge in a creepy kid’s story? Everybody loves the classic “kid raised by wolves ghosts” tale!

TheGraveyardBook_Hardcover

7. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Aliens and religion. When you dig deep into religion you get into some secretive, scandalous, and mysterious tidbits. Add aliens?! Well. I mean, ALIENS! (I love ET. That doesn’t have a whole lot to do with anything, but that’s what comes to mind when I think of aliens. I cannot watch that movie without crying. He’s like a weird ugly otherwordly chihuahua.)

8. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I’ve been meaning to read this for ages. I’m SUPER annoyed that I can’t get it for my kindle yet. Ugh. Seriously, people. I love me some digital books. I haven’t got the storage space to bring more physical books into my house. It seems exceptions will have to be made, but not without a little grumbling. Grumble grumble grumble…

9. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Duuuuuuuuuuun dun dun dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun! Sorry, sorry. It just got a little Andrew Lloyd Weber up in here. I would like to read this ghostly little tidbit though. I hear that no one tells a story like Gaston, so…

10. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. What is scarier than the end of the world, dude?! Let’s do this thing!

What are your plans for the fall, bookworms? A little bit of frightful fare for the spooky season? Tell me about it!

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Aug 15

The Shadow of the Wind: A Fellowship of the Worms Experience

Book Club, Mystery, Psychological 29

smarty mcwordypantsGreetings, Bookworms! The Fellowship of the Worms is back in session. Our book club choice this month was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Shadow of the Wind and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. :)

1. When Daniel describes Carax’s novel within the novel (of the same name… because that’s not even a tiny bit confusing) The Shadow of the Wind, he says, “As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable ever-smaller dolls within” (p. 7).This book contained the threads of narratives for several different stories. Did you find yourself intrigued by following the pieces of the puzzle or confused by the similarities in the tales?

Brutal honesty here: I had a hard time getting into this book. I don’t know if it was just that I kept reading while I was really tired, but I got a little frustrated keeping the characters straight. Because Julian and Daniel’s tales in particular were so similar, I found myself thinking things like “Wait… Was this Julian? Was this Daniel? Gah! Go back three pages!” That said, once I did get sucked in, I was hooked. There was a certain beauty in the similarities of the characters’ stories. I think Daniel’s description of the Russian dolls is most appropriate.

Things you shouldn't be surprised that I own... Russian nesting dolls: penguin style.

Things you shouldn’t be surprised that I own… Russian nesting dolls: penguin style.

2. Were you able to guess Lain Coubert’s identity before it was revealed?

I didn’t immediately realize that Coubert was indeed Carax, but I definitely had it figured out before it was laid out in plain language. Once it was revealed that Fermin (who didn’t LOVE Fermin?!) was tormented with a blowtorch by Fumero, I was CONVINCED that Fumero had somehow tracked down Julian and tortured him in a similar fashion resulting in his burns. I was wrong… Though I still think that would have been an interesting twist. 

3. What is with all the incest? Seriously. We are now 2 for 2 on the incest in our Fellowship choices. This time it was purely accidental, thanks to the elder Aldaya being a man whore AND being vain enough to want his illegitimate offspring within his grasp. Were you shocked by the revelation?

I wasn’t. Why? I’d seen very similar storylines play out on both House, MD and Law & Order: SVU. In each of those cases, a philandering father had messed around outside his marriage and tried desperately to keep his star-crossed offspring away from each other. Come on, guys. If you’re going to screw around and you see your kids falling in love, or even hanging out? You come clean. The worst part was that it was all Aldaya’s own fault that Julian and Penelope even MET because he was disappointed in Jorge, his legitimate heir. HUBRIS. UGH.

the-shadow-of-the-wind-by-carlos-ruiz-zafon

4. Dreams and premonitions come up quite a bit in this book. Jacinta and Carax in particular had their dreams come to fruition. Since Miquel was so obsessed with Freud, let’s take a psychological approach. How do you interpret the various characters’ dream-induced premonitions?

I am not great with dream interpretations, since I only ever have anxiety dreams. I suppose the manifestation of the devil in Jacinta’s dreams could have been a sigh of her future heartbreak… Julian and Penelope dreamed of eachother, but that wasn’t really a good thing since they were siblings! Mostly though? The dreams were just sort of creepily psychic.

5. Since we’re playing psychologist here, how’s about a nature vs. nurture discussion? Julian Carax was the bastard son of his musically inclined mother and Aldaya, the unscrupulous business man, though he’s raised by the cuckhold hatter, Fortuny. Fumero is the son of an honest groundskeeper and a status seeking attention starved mother. How are the sins of the parents meted out on their offspring? Given their similarly screwed up childhoods, what do you think was the largest factor divergence of Carax and Fumero’s paths?

Sins of the parents? Whooo boy. Julian is raised by a “father” who is well aware that Julian is not his biological son. Fortuny is emotionally and physically abusive of both Julian and his mother, so that sucked pretty hard. As if that weren’t punishment enough for his mother’s misdeeds, poor Julian unwittingly knocks up his half sister, thanks to his biological father’s douchbaggery. That’s pretty grim punishment for the sins of one’s parents, wouldn’t you say?

And Fumero. That kid’s mom did a number on his psyche, what with the implied sexual abuse and her parading around in her underpants… Not to MENTION that god awful sailor suit. Personally, I think Fumero’s mom had a whole lot of mental illness going on and that she passed some of that to her son on a genetic level. He was displaying serial killer tendencies as a child, and the older he got the crazier and more violent he got. Things that are not the hobbies of mentally stable people: torturing other people with blow torches. Just. No. (I may have done a little cheer when that son of a gun got his comeuppance!)

6. All in all, how’d you like this one, Bookworms?

I very much enjoyed this book, despite my early reluctance with it. I’m rather attached to Daniel and Bea and want to know what becomes of their son and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books! I’m thinking I may need to read the rest of this series to put my curiosity to rest! I hope everyone had as much fun as I did this month. For next month, I’m excited to announce that our selection will be Attachments by Rainbow Rowell! (Not only is she completely amazing, she also responded to my weird tweet. I LOVE YOU, RAINBOW!!!)

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Aug 01

The Silent Wife… Says Farewell

Book Club, Mystery, Psychological 36

Hey There, Bookworms!

In case you’re new here, you should know that I’m an equal opportunity bookworm. Much as I absolutely ADORE you, my digital community, I sometimes interact with people face to face. In fact, I am a part of not one but TWO in-real-life book clubs. I refer to one as “Wine and Whining” and the other as “My Neighbors are Better Than Your Neighbors.” I’m very literal in my descriptions. Anyway. This month’s selection for My Neighbors are Better Than Your Neighbors was bittersweet.

That’s right, one of my neighbors is moving and shall no longer be my neighbor… Except in spirit, obviously. I don’t know that she’d be pleased with me using her actual name, so I’ll give her a pseudonym. We’ll call her Agatha. Agatha is a fabulous neighbor and a great book club member. She is retired now, but she used to work as a psychologist (or something closely related) PLUS her brother lives on a mountain with goats. You really can’t beat a book club member who can speak with authority on the human mind AND goats. (Alright, she’s not a goat expert or anything, but any time you can work goats into conversation, you do it!)

silentwife

Since Agatha is moving, she chose this month’s book. She toyed with the idea of choosing Gone Girlbut since most of us had read it already, she opted for The Silent Wife: A Novel by A.S.A. Harrison. (No lie, I totally Freudian slipped while typing that and put in A. S. S. I wouldn’t mention it if it weren’t COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE for this book. Seriously, the dog was named Freud!) Have you ever read a book and thought to yourself, “So and so would LOVE this!” The Silent Wife is SUCH an Agatha book.

So here’s the deal. Jodi and Todd are married. Well, married-ish. They’ve been living together 20+ years and consider themselves to be in a common law marriage. They live in Illinois, which is NOT a state that recognizes common law marriage (this fact becomes rather important.) Jodi cooks, keeps house, and sees patients in her part time practice as a psychologist. Todd is a real estate developer who divides his time between his comfortable “marriage” and his busy adultery schedule. He likes ’em young, and sometimes, professional (oh yeah people. I’m talking hookers.) Jodi’s not dumb. She’s aware of the infidelity, but since Todd always comes home to her, she’s willing to overlook it. A very modern approach, if you will.

This all works out fairly well, the denial, the cheating, the cute dog named Freud… Until Todd knocks up his young chippy (who happens to be the daughter of his best friend.) Todd is SUCH a slimeball. I mean, he’s got a back story that explains WHY he’s a slimeball, but still. Gross, right? So, the pregnant side girlfriend throws a major monkey wrench into the whole business, and craziness ensues.

Freud also suffers from Snarky Eyebrow Syndrome. (Source)

Freud also suffers from Snarky Eyebrow Syndrome. (Source)

The Silent Wife was billed as the next Gone Girl. I think the blurb writer was aiming too high in that description. That’s probably part of the reason this book fell flat for me. There were some twists, the occasional turn… But overall I felt like I could see them coming. I had too much knowledge of each character’s past and motivations to be well and truly SHOCKED by anything. Plus, well… This isn’t typically my genre. Psychological thrillers (really, thrillers in general) tend not to be my cuppa. That said, to a receptive audience, this book would be great. It’s solidly written and well characterized, just not really my bag. It is, however, a TOTAL Agatha read. If you gravitate toward this genre (Charleen of Cheap Thrills, I’m looking at you. And Lyssa of Psychobabble. You too.) The Silent Wife might just be a winner.

It makes me a little sad to know Agatha won’t be around in the coming months to push me out of my reading comfort zone. Perhaps we can just Skype her into the meetings. Just because we’re an IRL book club doesn’t mean we can’t utilize technology, right?

Since we’re on the subject of neighbors, I’m sure you’ve ALL got stories. Good neighbors, bad neighbors, apartment neighbors who regularly bring home strange men and give you fleas (oh wait, was that JUST me?) Tell me your neighbor stories!

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