My most recent read got me thinking. Kiss Me First is author Lottie Moggach’s debut novel, and it takes you on a journey into the realm of cyberspace…and makes you think about who is behind the screen when you are communicating online.
What disturbed me most about the story was the everyday believability of the situation. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Catfish you’ll know what I’m talking about: it seems commonplace for people to pose as someone they are not when they are online. Although Kiss Me First isn’t the same type of plot as an episode of Catfish, it definitely puts you in the same, somewhat creeped out, state of mind. The main character, Leila, is an active participant on a web forum called Red Pill. When the creator of the site contacts her and contracts Leila to carry out a strange task, she agrees. Leila is hired to take over the online persona of a real woman, Tess, who wants to take her own life without her friends and family’s knowledge. As time goes on, Leila becomes more fixated and obsessed with the fake life she has created for Tess.
I suppose I’m going to have to make a harder-to-reach goal for my reading in 2014. After completing my latest book, I’ve reached 20 books in 2013. Again, not the largest amount in history, but hey – I’m very happy with it!
I began reading NOS4A2 (by Joe Hill) in the days leading up to Halloween. It just seemed appropriate. I was eager to delve into a book written by Stephen King’s son. I was curious if the same talent for spinning a mysterious and creepy tale runs in the family. Sure enough, it does.
NOS4A2 is a supernatural novel, so you have to suspend your sense of reality for parts of the tale. The main character, Victoria McQueen, has had a special gift for locating things that are lost since she was a child. Her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike is the vehicle that transports her to the locations where she will discover the missing items…by passing over a rickety bridge that was demolished years before. Sometimes the bridge takes her locally, sometimes it is across the country – within seconds. Victoria isn’t the only one with a special ability like this; Charles Talent Manx happens to drive a Rolls-Royce Wraith with the ability to transport him onto hidden roads leading to a magical place he calls “Christmasland.” He takes children for rides in his Wraith…and once they arrive in Christmasland, they will never return home.
I’ve officially blown past my goal of reading 12 books in 2013. I knew it was likely I’d read more than one book a month, but thought I’d make my goal attainable nevertheless (as I never want reading to become a chore; I love it). As of now, I’ve completed 16 books in 2013…and am quickly approaching the conclusion of #17 this week. Now, I realize that for many other reading enthusiasts out there, this number doesn’t seem all that large. However, up until two or so years ago I wasn’t reading on a regular basis anymore. This change has been a great one. I think my problem had been that I wasn’t on the look out for new and exciting books; I wasn’t keeping my eyes and ears open for new releases, and I felt stuck in a rut. Now, thanks to sites like Goodreads and a little more investigation on my end of things, I’ve compiled a “to-read” list that is quite expansive. I am so excited to log on to my library website and request copies of new books. Nerd alert, I know…
Anyway, speaking of being aware of new releases, my most recent read is one! The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes was published on June 4th of this year, so it has only been around for a few months. The quirky description of the book caught my attention right away. The Shining Girls is a serial killer tale with a twist: the killer, Harper Curtis, time travels. His victims hail from completely different times. Each of his victims are known as “Shining Girls” – they produce a magnetic pull that Harper can’t ignore, and he feels compelled to kill them to put out their “shine.” Harper remains untraceable…until one of his would-be victims, Kirby, survives. Kirby is determined to bring her killer to justice, and begins searching for the truth…
Is the time travel explained? Not really…you just have to accept that the house Harper discovers happens to be a time portal and run with it from there. The book is written through many different perspectives: the beginning of each chapter identifies who is relaying the experience…as well as which year in time they happen to be in. Each chapter jumps back and forth; one chapter you’ll be in 1930, the next will be 1992. Admittedly, the first few chapters had me a little confused, but once I got further into the story it all made sense. Although you are jumping back and forth through time, the story is told in a linear fashion. You find yourself rooting for each and every Shining Girl, even though you know they will be meeting their demise by the incredibly twisted antagonist.
Did I enjoy this book? Absolutely. The mystery, the thrill, it was all there for me. Does it top my favorite book of 2013 so far? Nope. But The Shining Girls was still a great read in my opinion, and I’m glad I got my hands on it while it is still fresh in the world of books…if you enjoy mystery and suspense books you might want to get yourself a copy to read as well!
What books have you read lately?
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I feel like I started reading Gillian Flynn’s books out of order.
To be fair, I really did. Not that it matters; her novels don’t need to be read in an order. Once I finished reading Gone Girl at the end of last year, I knew I had to add Flynn’s other works to my “to-read” list. It took a while for me to get my hands on Sharp Objects, but a copy finally came available at my library.