Marie’s Reading: “Someone Like Me” by M.R. Carey

someon like meLiz Kendall has divorced her abusive husband, but that doesn’t stop him from launching one last attack–only this time, Liz fights back and wins.  However, in the moment, she feels as though someone else entered her body and controlled her actions.  She continues to have episodes where it’s almost as if a second consciousness has entered her mind, taking control of her body and driven mostly by rage.  Day by day Liz becomes more and more unsettled by what she thinks is a coping mechanism created by her own brain, but turns out to be a lot more sinister.

At the same time, a young girl named Fran is the survivor of a kidnapping.  It’s ten years after her trauma and she still has vivid hallucinations, including one of a fox companion named Lady Jinx who acts as her dearest friend and protector.  Along with hallucinations, Fran is missing a lot of memories.  Determined to uncover the truth about what happened to her and overcome her trauma, Fran decides to go digging into the story of her kidnapping and the man who did it.

Eventually Fran and Liz’s stories intersect.  Fran and Liz both go to the same psychologist, and then Fran becomes friends with Liz’s son Zac.  Soon enough it is clear that it’s up to Fran to save Liz and her family from the violent interloper who threatens them.

This is a poignant and unsettling book about the nature of self, the aftermath of domestic violence, mental illness, and the possibilities of parallel universes and different realities.  It’s also about love and loyalty and friendship.  Carey’s writing is vivid and compelling, and he’s got a real way with his characters’ voices.  This is a supernatural thriller, but one that’s firmly grounded in a story about family and love.

If you enjoyed Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts, you’ll probably like this one, too.  I’d also suggest Jennifer McMahon’s The Night Sisters or All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage.

–Marie

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Marie’s Favorite Reads of 2014

I have the oddest feeling that this is all a trick.  There’s no way it can be New Year’s Eve.  I barely had Christmas, man.  How is this possible, that 2014 has come and gone so quickly?

My personal favorites for this year are the books that I devoured.  The ones I wanted to spend all my time with, and then, once I was finished, I couldn’t shut up about.  There were only seven of them this year.  Like a lot of what happened in 2014, much of my reading seems a blur to me now.  So I sifted back through my reading journal, my Goodreads page and my Shelfari account, and here are the titles I came up with as my very favorites of 2014.

Here are my top favorite reads of 2014.  Catch you in 2015, where more reading adventures await!

hereHere by Richard McGuire
A moving, melancholy, slightly mind-bending graphic novel, Here is the affecting life story of one room.

RoomsRooms by Lauren Oliver
This is a ghost story where the living haunt the dead just as much as the dead haunt the living.  Poignant and character-driven, Rooms was one of my very favorites of this year.

Elizabeth is MissingElizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Like Rooms, this one stayed with me long after I finished it.  It’s an absorbing mystery, for sure, but it’s also an achingly sad portrayal of aging and dementia, and the thin veil between the present and the past.

Ice CreamThe Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman
This was my fun read for the year!  If Charles Foster Kane had driven an ice cream truck, he’d fit right into this tale of America’s ruthless self-made Ice Cream Queen.  I loved Lillian’s character most of all–she’s a force to be reckoned with and you don’t always like her, but she makes you laugh.  Not always a particularly nice laugh, but all the same…

winter peopleThe Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
I loved loved loved this so much that I went on a full-tilt McMahon binge after I finished it.  It’s dark and melancholy and full of ghostly happenings and bumps in the night, as well as all too human motivations.  McMahon’s writing is so compelling, and builds to such a reveal that you’re always desperate by the final pages.   So Good.  Favorite of the year.

JoehilllockekeyLocke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
This was a wonderful series, with everything I love about Joe Hill’s work: themes of love and friendship and death and growing up, an ear for dialogue and some good old-fashioned creepiness.  Rodriguez’s realistic and wonderfully acted art style is the perfect match for the story.  I cried at the end!

girl with all the giftsThe Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Hooray for an original zombie book!  I loved the plot, I liked the characters, and I especially enjoyed how Carey wove in so many different tropes into a cohesive, believable whole.

Honorable Mentions:  Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea by Morgan Callan Rogers, The Hundred Year House by Rebecca Makkai, and The Witch and Other Tales Retold by Jean Thompson.

Happy Reading in the New Year, folks!

–Marie

 

Marie’s Favorite Scary Books, Part III: The Revenge of the Scary Book

The first one’s usually pretty okay.  Perhaps some concepts or ideas you haven’t encountered before.  Then there’s a sequel, and most people are in one of two camps: “Yay, they’re making another one!” or “Ugh, they’re making another one.” By the time the third one rolls around you know what to expect.  Usually this is the one that continues all the motifs, maybe wraps some things up, but mostly it’s what you’ve seen before.

My third scary books list is no different.   The same things that freaked me out years ago freak me out now.  It’s just that I find them in different books every year.

So here you go, the third installment of my favorite scary books!  I’ve also got print copies of my favorite scary books lists on my Horror Display at the library.

Marie’s Favorite Scary Books, Part III: The Revenge of the Scary Book

girl with all the giftsThe Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
A creative, gory, and enjoyable zombie read.  I talked about it on the blog here.

winter peopleThe Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
A ghost story reminiscent of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, but with a chilling magic all its own.  Click here to read more.

severed03_coverSevered by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft, art by Attila Futaki
Human horror at its finest.  A tale of a monster on America’s highways, searching for victims.  The artwork is brutal but gorgeous, striking a distinctive and effective balance.  This is the blog post about it.

ScowlerScowler by Daniel Kraus
A tale of abuse and survival, and the monsters that lurk inside all of us.  Thinking about it gives me a bad taste in my mouth.  You’ll understand when you read it and get to the end.  This one set me so sideways I never wrote a post, so here’s the Goodreads page.

horrorstorHorrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Let’s end on a relatively peppy note!  Read my blog post about this inventive, scary, and clever new title here.

I’m not going to say “The End,” because I want to leave the door open for a fourth installment in October 2015.  Maybe I’ll set it in outer space.   Or somehow go back in time and do a prequel list.

During Horror Time, the possibilities are limitless.

Marie’s Reading: “The Girl With All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey

girl with all the giftsStill more zombies?  It’s 2014, and there are still waves of the undead?  I guess the zombie scourge never really goes away, does it?  Even when we think we’re safe and rebuilding society.  Most of the marketing for this novel is hiding the fact that it’s a zombie story, but I’m not going to play along.  You figure it out pretty early on.

But there is some good news.  The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey is original and refreshing, supplies sufficient gore and sufficient heart, and actually has believable science behind the explanation for zombies.

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