Reading Journey 3: The Boys by Katie Hafner

Hello, fellow bookworm! Today I'm going to share with you updates on the book that I am reading, The Boys by Katie Hafner.  It's about an introverted man Ethan who fell in love with Barb, an extroverted woman. They thought that they complemented each other but it turns out their differences drove them apart.  In the beginning, Ethan left the most impression on me because of his introvertedness to which I could relate. His sad childhood made me identify with him more. When he met Barb, it's so nice seeing he's opening up to new experiences. Barb was his total opposite. She loved to explore the world.  They got married, went to an amazing escapade in Italy, but when they fostered twin boys, their relationship became wobbly. It was aggravated by the pandemic when people globally literally stayed and worked from home. This part made the story realistic as I also experienced staying at home, social distancing, and the wearing of the mask and plastic face shield.  The strain

Book Review: Stone Maidens by Lloyd Devereux Richards


⭐⭐⭐⭐☆


A single TikTok video blasted off Stone Maidens from an unknown mystery-thriller novel to a bestselling book in February 2023. The video has 55.2 million views as of this writing.


Out of love and respect for his father's endeavor to write his debut novel for 14 years, Marguerite Richards created a 16-second video showing his father,  Lloyd Devereux Richards, sitting at his writing table, going through some papers, the song "Beautiful Boy" is playing in the background, and text on the screen is displaying the number of years it took him to write his debut novel and its commercial failure after publication.


Support from people accelerated as they were in awe of Richards' dedication to his craft, pushing Stone Maidens to bestseller status.


Lloyd Devereux Richards is a father, an author, a lawyer, and a globetrotter. He was born in New York City but worked as a lawyer in Vermont where he also looked after his three children.


He gained experience in the legal field as a Senior Law Clerk for an Indiana Court of Appeals judge, where he researched and wrote drafts for dozens of published opinions, including the appeal of a serial killer who was sentenced to death and subsequently electrocuted.


Before practicing law, Richards had been to many places in Europe, Africa, and Central America, enjoying journal writing and bird watching. He enjoys hiking, writing poetry, and sketching pen and ink drawings.


Together with her daughter, he appeared in many shows talking about the viral Tiktok video, how this video made him a bestselling author, and how his life was changed.


OVERVIEW


A serial killer is on the loose, killing young women. He is sneaky and elusive, leaving a signature move -- shoving stone figurines down his victims' throats.


Before the killer adds more to his list of victims, chief forensic anthropologist Christine Prusik had to work against time.


However, the ghost from her past, her debilitating anxiety, and the big boys in the FBI strain her effort to solve the crime.


Not only this, Christine was baffled by the serial killer's history.


She needed to make sense of it before she could stop the killings.


Would she be able to crack the case and save other young women from being murdered?


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS


1. What do you think about the title of the book?

2. How did the characters change throughout the story, and how did that affect your opinion of them?

3. How would you describe the personality of Christine Prusik?

4. Is the book character-driven or plot driven? Why?

5. Which part of the story do you like the most? Why?

6. Which part of the story do you like the least? Why?

7. What symbols are presented in the story and how do they contribute to the plot?

8. Is the book worth the hype? Why or why not?

9. Which parts of the book you'd like to change? Discuss.

10. What questions would you like to ask the author?


QUOTES


"Pills couldn't erase the fact things were getting worse." ( on Christine's taking of pills for her anxiety) -- page 21


"It’s all about science with a sense of urgency, gentlemen. I work late. You work late." -- Christine, page 34


“Dreams are as much a part of us as, say, driving a car is, or having a baby, or going to work. Even more, dreams say something unique about each one of us, and if we can decode their language, they can give us valuable information.” -- Dr. Walstein, page 43


"The past is never done with us..." -- Christine, page  96


"The loss of someone who truly understands, knows what you are going through without having to be told anything at all would be a devastating blow. Even if the someone was a monster." -- Christine, page 332


WHAT I LOVED


- Christine Prusik is relatable. She has anxiety and she's been looked down on by her male counterparts in the FBI. Despite this, she is focused on the job that she has to do.

- The background of the serial killer is fascinating. The way he carries out his evil act and why he commits the crime send chills down my spine. I even delved into his condition by reading more articles about it. It was something that I had never heard of.

- The pacing of the story is just right for me. I kept on turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next.

- The twist, in the end, was unexpected.


WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE


- Some parts of the story were unbelievable. For instance, there was a point when the serial killer was almost caught up but Christine let him go away. Considering the gravity of the crime, I thought she would have questioned everyone in the vicinity of the place where the suspect was deemed to be staying.

- There was one sentence that was not necessary. It obviously describes what's going to happen next. I think removing that sentence cannot affect the whole story. I think it's better for readers to draw their own conclusions.


SUMMING-UP


Marguerite Richards' Tiktok video made me believe in his father's book, Stone Maidens. In the video, I could feel the love and appreciation she had for her father. As someone who grew up without a father, her words touched me deeply. If Lloyd Devereaux Richards were my father, I would do the same to show him the same love and appreciation. The video was so heartwarming that it went viral.


But, is the book any good?


I didn't expect much from the book after reading some reviews before the Tiktok video. Some enjoyed the story, while others didn't. However, I was surprised to find the story of Christine Prusik a pleasure to read. She exudes a strong female lead character but she's relatable. She is intelligent and resourceful, highly skilled, and persistent despite her struggle with anxiety, being underestimated by her male counterparts, and the setbacks she encountered along the way.


I also find the serial killer and his proclivities fascinating.  He displays the complexity of the human brain which is capable of great things, but it can also be a source of great harm. Mental disorders can drive people to commit acts of violence. What's even more intriguing was his relationship with another person, as their mysterious actions contributed to the shocking twist at the end. I didn't expect that I would keep turning the pages until the end.


Personally, the book was enjoyable but it also had flaws. Some parts are unbelievable and predictable. I was pulled out of the story when Christine encountered the serial killer for the first time. I believe she could have caught him sooner, but then the story would have been over too quickly.


I also found one sentence to be unnecessary. It felt like I was told what to think, rather than letting me come to my own conclusions. This somehow affected my excitement for the story.


On the whole, Stone Maidens is a unique and exciting suspense thriller that reveals the intricacy of the human mind, the politics and traditional constructs in the male-dominated nature of law enforcement, and the power of parental influence. The characters are well-written but the plot was predictable. However, the story is still enjoyable. The novel is a must-read for anyone interested in police procedure, strong female lead, and the complex nature of human beings.


FURTHER INFORMATION

TikTok


Book Information:

Stone Maidens by Lloyd Devereaux Richards

Published on November 6, 2012, by Thomas & Mercer

324 pages (Kindle)


Find it here:

Goodreads



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