Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2) by Stephen King

About

A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes.

“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.

My Thoughts
I’m not usually a Stephen King book reader but I read the first in this series, Mr. Mercedes, and fell in love with the character of Bill Hodges, a retired detective. I waited impatiently for this second part of the trilogy to come out and I wasn’t disappointed.

In this part of the story, we meet Morris. He’s obsessed with a book character, Jimmy Gold. So much so, that he breaks into the authors house to try and find any manuscripts that will tell the rest of Jimmy Gold’s tale. In his obsessive state, and also his deranged state, Morris ends up killing the author and taking all the manuscripts and money. Morris is so obsessed he lives his life by Jimmy Gold’s words, “Shit don’t mean shit”. He buries his treasures in his back yard. Morris, who shouldn’t drink and knows it, goes out and gets plastered one night. He ends up beating and raping a woman from the bar and he is sentenced to prison for this heinous crime- no one knowing that it was him who killed the author. Karma is a bitch.

Years later, a young boy named Pete discovers the buried chest of money and manuscripts. He uses the money to help his parents get through a rough spot, which helps them also with their marriage. When the money runs out, his parents are still happy and they are okay- the roughest part of their monetary woes behind them. Pete’s little sister figures out he was the one who anonymously sent their parents the money she can’t keep it a secret and goes to her friend. Her friend happens to know Bill Hodges and takes her to him to let him hear this tale. This puts the Ret Det on a case he never thought he would be on. He helps Pete before it’s too late- although in a sense it is too late as Morris has his sister.

Bill and Pete find out where Morris is holding his sister- the same place where Pete has hidden the manuscripts; the community center behind his house. Bill and Pete get there in time…his sister is badly hurt but alive. Pete also accidentally burns the manuscripts (which again, is Karma for Morris). In the end, everyone is fine..well, except, Morris (which he deserves).

For those readers who are like me and don’t typically pick up a Stephen King novel to read, do it. Pick up Mr. Mercedes and read it first then read this one. I promise you, it’s not like his more gory, icky stuff that make you have nightmares at night. This trilogy is so good and it makes me crazy that I have to wait for the last book. Damn you, Stephen King. Even though the trilogy is full of awesome and awfulness, the whole story is so awesome that you can get past the awful (somewhat). The story King weaves is brilliant. His characters are believable- I mean, there is bound to be some teenage boy out there who gets himself into a major clusterf**k like Pete does. Right? Totally plausible. But the story, is good. The evil in the main character, Morris, is believable too- as a parent, I don’t want to think that there’s monsters out there like him, but I know there are and as scary as that is, it makes you appreciate that this is a book of fiction and not real life. And you hug and kiss your baby even if she says, “No mommy”.

5 out 5 for the series.

4 out 5 stars for Finders Keepers

M

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More Than This by Patrick Ness (possible spoilers)

About

From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this…

My Thoughts

I’ll be honest, I was a little bit hesitant at first to continue to read this book because I didn’t really get into it until halfway through. BUT, I kept reading and I’m glad I did. It’s a good book. If you’ve ever seen Bruce Willis’ 2009 movie, Surrogates, then you can imagine what this book is about.

It’s not your usual death by suicide Young Adult book. It’s something MORE. Much more. It’s an interesting twist on a surrealist, dystopian-type of world. Seth is the main focus/character of this world and you follow him through him figuring out what in the hell is going on. In flashbacks (which I mostly hate when books do the whole flashback stuff but in this case, he’s getting his memory back so it fit the scenario), you understand how Seth became to be in this ‘world that not’s a world’ it’s more of a hell because it’s certainly no heaven. Seth wakes up, nude with only a few bandages covering him. As his head starts to clear, he remembers what happened and why it happened. He tried to commit suicide because of pictures that went around with a friend of his. Then he woke up here- wherever here is. He’s not sure what this place is, only that it resembles the small house he grew up in when he was younger in England. Before what happened to his brother took place, before his brother became everything to his parents, especially his mom. Before he tried to kill himself.

Seth starts to search for food, water, and clothes. He starts to wander outside and finds a little store where he loads up on canned foods. One day while out, he runs into a couple more kids. That’s when they all start putting together what is REALLY happening. This world, is the real world and the world they thought was real is only what they want them to see. Seth and his friends figure out that there are people hooked up to machines that control their “world” and everything they think is real. There’s also a man, who’s the Keeper of the people, who tries to capture them in order to put them back in their coffins for hook-up to the world.
This is where it kinda lost me- he wants to hook them up in order for them to go back to the world where they died…yeah, that makes sense. But then you find out, that Seth’s brother really died and they brought him back so his parents could deal easier with his death- it wasn’t him in the he’s brought back to life but more of a figment that people can interact with but his smarts aren’t there, he grows but his mental age stays the same as when he died. (yeah, it took me forever to analyze this book to understand it cause I’m pretty sure Ness’s whole point was to confuse you with this idea). So you have ‘Them’ who control this and the Keeper who takes care of these people in their hooked up coffins in the prison, and you just are supposed to accept the fact that this world we live in is something better than if we were really awake in a wasteland of nothing that resembles hell. The way they try and save the world is unbelievable and just doesn’t make sense. I mean this book will give you headache from all the thinking you have to do to keep up. It’s an emotional roller coaster of WTF & OMG, with a little bit of sadness and happiness thrown in.

I liked this book but I had to wrap my head around the whole idea for a while. I don’t think I fully understood the whole idea until after I finished reading the book, put it down, and started to actually really think about what Patrick Ness was saying. It’s an interesting take on death, life, and the in-between but confusing. The ending was disappointing to me as well.

Even though I told you what sort of, kind of, happens- you need to read the book to fully understand what is going on. There’s so much vivid detail in the book that reading it is the only way to make sense of what I’m saying.

4 out of 5 stars.

M

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

About
Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

My Thoughts

I really liked this book. It was a quick read and a good story.
We meet Emmy and Oliver as little kids first. We find out that they are next door neighbors, and best friends. Then one day, Oliver is gone. Kidnapped by his dad. His dad tells him that his mom doesn’t want him and that they are starting over. (How horrible is that?!)
Then one day, Oliver is back. He’s been found. He turned himself in as a missing child. But he lets his Dad get away before the cops arrive. He goes home to find that nothing is the same. His mom is remarried with new kids. His sisters. Everything is different, and so confusing.
Emmy is there. She wants to help but is told to keep her distance. To give Oliver time. Can you imagine? Your best friend from childhood, who was kidnapped and feared dead, returns and all the adults in your life, say give him a few weeks before talking to him- even at school. I mean, WTH.

Eventually, Emmy and Oliver start talking again and they share their stories. Oliver’s is crazy but he had a good life with his Dad. Even if it was a lie. What’s crazy is that when his dad reaches out, Oliver goes to him.
This story surprised me in many ways. I think I was expecting the author to sugar coat parental kidnapping. But she doesn’t. It’s a good depiction of the heartache, trials, and confusion that happens when something like this happens. And it happens all the time. Just turn on the news. It happens more often than we think. It’s a YA book but it touches on topics that can affect YA and even younger children- which it did in the book. Oliver was 6 when he was taken. The romance that happens between Emmy and Oliver was a tad bit confusing but thinking about it, it could happen. Two high school kids who were once best friends reconnect and become closer because of the events that have happened in the past. Not only is this book a good topic for discussion, parental kidnapping, but it also shows how to pick up the pieces if such a tragic event happens. Yes, it takes time but with caring, loving, and patient loved ones you can overcome it and anything.

5 out of 5 stars!

Jurrasic Park by Michael Crichton

About

An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong…and science proves a dangerous toy.

My Thoughts

This book was one I read for book club. It was said to be as addictive as reading a Harry Potter book. As someone who LOVES HP and is obsessed with anything HP, I was all, ‘yeah right’.

The first few chapters with all the scientific and mathematical wordings and such, are a bit hard to get through BUT they are worth it to get to the Jurrasic Park chapter. Once you are IN Jurrasic Park, that is when all the good stuff happens. Much like HP where all the goodness happens once Harry finds out he’s a wizard.

It’s very much like the movie. There are things that are left out that you will find in the other movies but for the vast majority the movie follows the book very well. Think of HP, not ALL the goodness was in it- which is a bummer but if you read the book then you know what others don’t- the GOODness.

There are always characters that you love, like, and hate. This book is NO different. From the very moment I met Hammond I wanted him to get eaten by his oh so precious dinosaurs. His billions made him blind to the dangers that are these beasts. I was so glad he died in the end (this is in fact, NOT a spoiler since most people have seen the movie or read the book).

Dr Grant, easily the character I liked the most. And he’s the hero. Along with Ellie they are the most likeable. The kids are so annoying, ESPECIALLY the girl. I was hoping throughout that maybe she died in the book. Which I know is horrible but she is a whiny little brat.

Even though the science made it slow at the beginning, once the dinosaurs appeared the story took off. I read the book over a couple days. If you do read it, don’t let the first 3 or so chapters hinder you from finishing. IT”S REALLY WORTH IT!

4 out of 5 stars!

Am I Making a Mistake?!

So recently I decided, on a whim, that maybe joining forces with the ASC on base may bring more support and people to the book club. Maybe it’s because I’m 19 weeks pregnant and care so little about anything else outside my family right now (this child is making my life miserable, I’m pretty sure I’m having a baby dragon with all this heartburn), that I just was all, yeah sure join but you won’t be taking over anything.

I had considered this before until it was mentioned charging for membership- nope not gonna happen. I already have a terrible time getting people to show the hell up for book club, charging people even as little as $5 won’t help matters. I have catered to everything these women want- allowing children, weekend meetings, meeting at one location instead of house hopping…earlier meetings.

And still the same 5 people show up. I might as well change the name to Margaret’s Awesome Friends- who happen to read club.

Who knows? Maybe I made the right decision. Maybe I didn’t. I do know if any old bitties try and usurp this club from me they will rue the day they messed with me. I’m that far gone in this pregnancy. Total bitch mode. 21 more weeks.

M