what I’m reading: into the drowning deep by mira grant.

Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” about mermaids. All contact was lost and when the ship was finally located, it was deserted. The only sign of the crew was bits of found footage that showed the crew being slaughtered by some sort of mermaid-like creatures. Most people wrote the footage off as a hoax, but there are those that believe the footage is real. Now, a new crew and boat has been assembled. Their mission – to go back to the Mariana Trench and discover what happened to the Atargatis. For Victoria Stewart, this might be the only chance she has to figure out what really happened to her sister all those years ago.

This book combines horror, science, and humor, and I really liked it. There is a huge cast of characters, and I thought they all brought something interesting to the story. There are big game hunters brought on board to hunt the mermaids, media personalities to report on everything that is happening, security, doctors, and of course scientists. There are many different types of scientists, as well as plenty that I had never even heard of before. The story is told from a variety of view points and I liked reading about the story from the different characters.

The science plays a large role. This book is science fiction and is filled with a plethora of scientific “facts”. I’ll be honest – I don’t know how much of the facts in this book were real. But I kept reading like it was all real. The facts just made the story all the more compelling.

There’s a lot of tension in the book. Mainly because the characters are trapped in the middle of the ocean on a boat and have nowhere to escape to. You know something is going to happen, but you don’t know what it is. This isn’t a book that wonders if mermaids exist. We, as the readers, know that they do. We are just waiting until the characters in the book figure it out as well.

I don’t know much about the author but I have to wonder what her background is. It wasn’t until I was finished reading the book that I realized there is a prequel that explains exactly what happened to the Atargatis.


what I’m reading: memory man by david baldacci.

Memory Man was my book club’s latest pick. Everyone loved the book; it was a great read.

After being violently injured in a football game, Amos Decker was left with an unbelievable side effect – a photographic memory that ensures he will never forget anything. It’s that memory that made him a great police detective, and it’s that memory that hasn’t let him forget the tragic murder of his wife, daughter, and brother-in-law. Since that horrific night, Amos left his job and his home and ekes out a simple living as a private investigator, living out of a motel. More than a year later, Amos is pulled back into the police world when a horrific event occurs that becomes linked to the murder of his family. In order to find out the truth of what happened, Amos must revisit that night and brave the memories he cannot forget.

I really enjoyed this book. The character of Amos Decker is an interesting and complex character. I loved that he is flawed and not a typical protagonist – he is overweight and out of shape, he has no tact, and doesn’t care what most people think. His memory makes him incredibly brilliant, as he is able to rewind and replay any event he has experienced since his football collision. He’s extremely curt and blunt and it takes a while to warm up to Amos, but I enjoyed the character.

I found this book to be a quick read, as I could not stop turning the pages. I found myself reading at random times because I would get sucked in. I would read on the bus to work and then would get angry when I was at my stop because I had to stop reading and I wanted to know what happened. I was constantly on the edge of my seat.

Memory Man is the first in a series and sets the basis for an interesting series. Without a doubt, I will be continuing reading.

what I’m reading: white bodies by jane robins.

From a young age, Callie has been obsessed with her twin sister Tilda. Callie spends her time watching and observing as Tilda grows up to be an actress while Callie spends her days working in a bookstore. When Tilda invites Callie over to meet her new boyfriend Felix, Callie is struck by how neat, tidy, and domineering Felix is. Callie watches as Tilda seems to stop eating, stop acting, and does everything that Felix tells her.

Callie becomes even more worried when Tilda shows up with bruises on her arms. Convinced that Felix is hurting Tilda, Callie joins an internet support group for controlling men where she becomes friends with some of the anonymous women posting on the forum. But when one of the women is killed by an abusive man and then Felix turns up dead, Callie begins to doubt herself and soon starts to wonder if Felix was murdered.

I’m sitting here, thinking of what I want to say about this book. On the one hand, I didn’t like any of the characters and I didn’t connect to anyone in this book. The characters were unreliable, creepy, and I didn’t understand anyone’s motivation. The central premise of the book revolves around Tilda and Callie’s strange twin/sister relationship. Callie is odd and a bit too obsessed with her sister. I found myself cringing at most of the things she did and conclusions she would jump to. We don’t learn much about Tilda, as we only see her through Callie’s eyes and how she interacts and speaks with Callie. Tilda’s motivations were always unclear and I didn’t really understand either her or Callie.

On the other hand, I thought the overall plot was creative and it kept me reading, despite the lack of character development. There’s a nod to “Strangers on a Train” and I felt that the mystery surrounding Felix’s death was really intriguing.

I would have liked a longer ending. I think that if there were more explanation, the characters would have seemed more real. Additionally, although the mystery was solved at the end, there were a couple of minor plot points that weren’t resolved which bothered me. This book may have been just a little too peculiar for me.

what I’m reading: nightblind by ragnar jónasson.

Nightblind is the next book in the Dark Iceland series and takes place 5 years after the events of Snowblind. Ari Thór Arason is a policeman in the town of Siglufjörður, a remote fishing village in Northern Iceland. His old partner has since moved south to Reykjavik and a new policeman has taken his place. When the new policeman is murdered during a routine patrol, Ari Thór worries that he could be next.

The Dark Iceland series consists of six books, all of them published in Icelandic. While Nightblind is not technically the 2nd book in the series, it is the 2nd book to be translated into English. Since the events in the first book, Snowblind, a lot has happened to Ari Thór. His girlfriend has moved to the city and they have a son together. He is no longer the new guy in town and is more confident of himself and as a police officer.

This book had a bit of a different tone than the last. The Arctic winter is closing in but there wasn’t that since of darkness and isolation that I felt in Snowblind. Unfortunately, I also wasn’t as invested in the murder. There were a couple of subplots about some of the other characters that I felt were way more interesting.

Additionally, the story is interspersed with journal entries from a psychiatric ward patient. It’s not clear until the end who the patient is or what connection they have to the story, but I was definitely more interested in that sub plot than in figuring out who killed the other policeman.

This book was fairly short, a little more than 200 pages, which surprised me. I am enjoying reading about this northern Icelandic village.

what I’m reading: snowblind by ragnar jónasson.

snowblind book coverAri Thór Arason is a rookie policeman who has taken his first job in Siglufjörður, a remote fishing village in Northern Iceland. When an elderly man falls to his death down a flight of stairs and then a young woman is found bleeding and unconscious lying in the snow, the town wonders if there is a killer loose in their midst.

This is a slow moving whodunit, in a town where anyone can be a suspect. The town is so close knit that everyone knows everyone and none of the townspeople want to believe that a person they’ve known since they were young can be a killer.

I picked this book up because it takes place in Iceland and I love reading about Iceland. That said, Iceland and the city of Siglufjörður are one of the main characters in this book. The story takes place during January so there is not a lot of sunlight to be seen. The snow and the darkness and the fishing village history play such a part and by the end you feel as if you are right in Iceland with Ari Thór. As the book goes on and bodies are found, an avalanche cuts off the only road in and out of Siglufjörður. The sense of darkness and claustrophobia builds tension in the town until Ari Thór is not sure he can take the stress.

I have to confess this book was a bit hard to read because I couldn’t pronounce all of the Icelandic names. As a result, I ended up skipping over many person’s names which made it hard for me to remember who was who.

This book is the first in a series of Icelandic novels translated into English and I am curious to find out what happens next to Ari Thór.

what I’m reading: i see you by clare mackintosh.

Every day Zoe Walker takes the same route to and from work, stands at the same place on the subway platform, and sits in the same seat. It’s her routine and she follows this routine until one day, while glancing through the newspaper, she sees something startling. It’s a photo of herself along with a telephone number and a website listing called findtheone.com. Zoe thinks she must have imagined the photo until she starts seeing other young women appearing in the same ad with the same telephone number and website. The women look familiar and Zoe realizes that they’ve all become victims of violent crimes. With this realization, Zoe has to wonder if she is the next target.

This was a delightfully creepy story. It kept me guessing until the very end as like most psychological suspense novels, everyone is a suspect. I was with Zoe as she became more and more paranoid and didn’t know who she could trust.

I especially liked the unsettling undertones of this story. This story takes something that a lot of people find mundane, public transportation, and adds an extra level of spine-chilling feelings to it. The thought of being watched and followed was nerve-wracking. You think you’re safe because you’re in a public place and surrounded by people, even though they are strangers, but you have to wonder what that person sitting across from you is doing with their phone.

This was an enjoyable read, all the way to the last page!

what I’m reading: horrorstör by grady hendrix.

The employees at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio are mystified. Every morning they arrive at work only to find rearranged furniture, broken bookshelves, and graffiti in the bathrooms. When three employees volunteer to spend the night at the store to figure out what is going on, they find something more sinister than they ever believed.

You guys, this book is creepy and twisted. If it were a movie, I would have watched it with my hands in front of my face, peeking through my fingers, and I never would have watched it at night in the dark.

I thought this might be a good book to read on vacation. It wasn’t. The reviews for this book said it was fun and funny and light-hearted. I have to wonder if we were reading the same book. I kept waiting for something amusing to happen, and while the beginning of the book starts off light and humorous by comparing store employees to zombies, the book soon takes a dark turn.

This book was clever, as it’s a horror story set in a knock-off Ikea store. I’m not dissatisfied that I read this book, but I wish I knew what I was getting into.

If you’re looking for a scary book to read with ghosts, this is one for you.