This tale of young Rena and Petrov, Soul Seeker and Companion, reminded me in some ways of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (although Rena doesn't start out a...moreThis tale of young Rena and Petrov, Soul Seeker and Companion, reminded me in some ways of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (although Rena doesn't start out as strong or as snarky as Buffy, although her strength develops as the story progresses). Brought together time and again, Rena and Petrov have spent lifetimes fighting soul-eating monsters. They hope that this lifetime will be the one in which they're victorious.
Rena and Petrov combine rituals from various cultures and belief systems - Wiccan symbols and herbs, Native American rituals, and Chinese totems – to attempt to ensure their safety from the creatures hunting them down. I'm not sure how to feel about that, since to my way of thinking, it's the belief in a particular faith that makes the symbology of that faith work. Since Rena and Petrov don't profess belief in the belief system behind the symbols they're using, I would think the symbols wouldn't be effective for them. Sort of like how if you're fighting vampires, a cross won't work unless you have a personal belief in the religion behind the symbol of the cross. That could just be me overthinking things (again), though. Maybe it's just enough to believe that the symbols and rituals work, without needing to believe in the entire belief system.
I did find the beginning of this book a bit rushed feeling – very little backstory is given on the characters. There's not a slow build-up over a chapter or two to introduce the reader to Rena, Petrov, Brea, and Ben; instead, the reader is thrown right into the main action. There are other spots in which transitions between sections feel rushed as well, and the Ben's role in the story seems murky and undefined (which may be a set-up to a reprisal of the character in a follow-up to the book, perhaps?)
Lillie J. Roberts provides many small details into the specifics of the world she's created – without giving too much away, items like the ankhs, the journal, and the rings are nice touches. I enjoyed the world-building the author employed, with the details of Rena and Petrov's past lives in particular. The two teenager's past selves were unsuccessful in defeating the monsters, but with each incarnation they gain knowledge and skills that they seem to carry forward with them into their next life. I would've actually liked to have read more about their past adventures, despite the unhappy (temporary) endings to those lifetimes. I think that's the historical fiction aficionado coming out in me. As this book concludes in a way that makes a sequel almost inevitable, I hope that Ms. Roberts does expand more on Rena and Petrov's past lives together in any sequels.(less)
There's a lot going on in this book. Pretty much anything that can go wrong for the Carriers and the Preppers, does. (Graham's Resolution 2: Murphy's...moreThere's a lot going on in this book. Pretty much anything that can go wrong for the Carriers and the Preppers, does. (Graham's Resolution 2: Murphy's Law?) I don't want to give too much away, but the entire book is an almost never-ending stream of crises that the characters have to deal with in a post-apocalyptic world with limited resources.
As with the first book, this one could also use an editorial overhaul. I was more willing to let it slide the first time around; now, with the second book in the series showing the same types of errors as the first (despite myself and other reviewers mentioning the problems), I find myself less willing to overlook them. Things like comma errors, missing words, stilted dialogue (not using contractions), and so forth. As both a reader and a writer, I found the mistakes very irritating and distracting; they pulled me out of what was otherwise and interesting story.
Shaw's characterization is great - there are quite a few characters, but they're all written with a unique voice (even the twins, Marcy and Macy) so that the reader is easily able to differentiate them. Even the less-than-lovable characters are well crafted, and you're likely to find yourself emotionally invested in what happens to Graham and his crew of survivors. The ending to this one, while it also has its sad points, is more uplifting and cheerful than the ending of the first book.
Overall, the storytelling is good and the plot is interesting, so despite the editing issues I'll be looking for the next book in the series. "The Cascade Preppers" is an interesting (and frightening, in the sense that it's realistic enough that the events are actually feasible) book that's worth reading if you can get past the editorial issues. Without those issues, this book would be a solid four stars for me.(less)
"Dark and gritty" is the best way to describe this book. While this book is fiction, it's based on actual events. I live in a small town in northern M...more"Dark and gritty" is the best way to describe this book. While this book is fiction, it's based on actual events. I live in a small town in northern Michigan, so the environment in which Noel and Terrell grow up is quite foreign to me. It's both terrifying and heartbreaking to know that some children really do grow up like these characters do, surrounded by drugs and guns and crime and murder. When my son turned 18, I bought him an iPhone. Terrell's mother gives her son a wallet, $5,000, and a gun. And a hooker.
The chapters alternate narration between Noel and Terrell, and each chapter is headed by a line from later in the chapter designed to draw the reader in and make him/her keep reading. It worked; if I read the heading, I had to keep reading because I was curious about the context of the heading sentence. It would have been helpful if the chapters been headed with the name of the narrating character. If I stopped reading at the end of a chapter and went back to the book later, I couldn't always immediately remember which character it was speaking when I picked the book back up.
The grammar was rough in places, but this is one of those rare cases where I (mostly) didn't mind, because it fit the tone and style of the book. The story is told in a first person POV, so the language of both the narration and the dialogue has an urban slang feel to it. There's also one spot where a character is mentioned as if the reader should already know who she is, and then is introduced later in the chapter, which was a little disconcerting.
That aside, "Blinded Thoughts" is one of those books that stays in your mind long after you've finished reading it. I was really drawn into these young men's lives. Much like real life, the ending isn't wrapped up and tied off with a pretty little bow, and there isn't a "happily ever after." This is not a book for the faint of heart. If it were a movie, it would be rated R. There's swearing, drug use, child abuse, guns, violent crimes up to and including murder, and some sexual situations. This is not an easy book to read, content-wise. (In terms of writing style, however, I flew through it in less than a day). It is, however, a sad and tragic tale of how people's environments affect not just the choices they make (and the consequences of those choices), but also how it shapes the people they grow up to become. (less)
I very much enjoyed this novel, and would both recommend it AND am excited that it's a series (and that book two is already out - no waiting around, h...moreI very much enjoyed this novel, and would both recommend it AND am excited that it's a series (and that book two is already out - no waiting around, hooray!) Joe Knowe is a likeable character - quiet, reserved, and precognitive. She wants to do the right thing, but her fear of failure (and guilt from past failures) is almost crippling at times.
The book is titled "Joe," but this isn't just Joe's story. The author weaves eight different perspectives throughout her narrative and alternates the POV between these characters who are all connected. Some of the connections were fleeting (two of the characters are lab partners; one of the characters is a student of the professor's) while others were more in-depth (like Michael and his interest in Joe). Joe herself is very likeable and appeals to readers who don't quite "fit the mold."
I did have a little difficulty keeping the various characters straight at first, mostly because I wasn't expecting the multiple perspectives. I hadn't read any reviews of this book beforehand, just the blurb and excerpt, but I think if I'd known ahead of time that the story is told from multiple POVs they would have been easier to keep track of. I also would have liked to have seen an unlikeable (although not evil) character amongst those featured in the novel. All of the characters whose lives come together in the final conflict are good, decent people; a less-than-admirable character whose life would also be affected by the upcoming potential bloodbath would have provided a nice contrast.
The author does get a lot right, however. This novel provides interesting insight into the mind of a psychopathic would-be mass murderer as he outlines the steps for his plans to propel himself into infamy. The pacing as the story moves towards the climax is almost spot-on; as the conflict draws near, the chapters get shorter which really helps to speed up the action and heighten the tension. Ultimately, as the conflict itself is happening, the chapters not only shorten but actually merge into one another, with the thoughts of one character blending into the thoughts of the next as the author shares each person's view of the events. I really liked this technique and thought that it worked very well. Also, the author has no qualms about "killing her darlings" – literally.
This fast-paced supernatural thriller is definitely worth reading.(less)
An Etiquette Guide To The End Times is set in 2028 Toronto, after global warming has brought life as it was formerly known to a slow halt. Olive O’Mal...moreAn Etiquette Guide To The End Times is set in 2028 Toronto, after global warming has brought life as it was formerly known to a slow halt. Olive O’Malley is a 33-year-old etiquette guide columnist doing her best to survive and guide others in the ways of etiquette as society adapts to a new way of life.
I found this novella a really interesting take on the end-times scenario. Maia Sepp wanted to write about what would happen if the apocalypse was slower and sneakier than a sudden zombie outbreak. She did a great job setting up a world in which global warming has led to massive changes in the way of life we currently take for granted. This is one of those books that, while written with humor, can also be taken as a serious warning. Some of the changes the government has instituted in Olive's world – like surveillance drones that fly overhead every day to make sure you don't have, say, more chickens than you have permits for – seem scarily possible, even predictive.
I appreciated the seeming incongruity between Sepp's tongue-in-cheek writing style and the Orwellian government of Olive's reality – Sepp took what could have been a very dark, heavy topic and made it lighthearted without trivializing it. Overall, I found this novella , which can be read in a single sitting, well-written and very much worth the read – it's both humorous and scary in a "this could actually happen" sort of way. (less)
Even though I've gone through a divorce (twice), there are topics and circumstances covered in this book that I never even considered. I actually did...moreEven though I've gone through a divorce (twice), there are topics and circumstances covered in this book that I never even considered. I actually did my divorce myself both times (which Mr. Landers highly suggests against), and would have greatly benefited from the information in this book. Whether you're doing your own divorce or hiring professionals; even if you haven't filed any paperwork, if you're just considering that you may need to get a divorce, you should definitely still check out this book– I believe that it would be helpful at pretty much any stage of a divorce, but the earlier you educate yourself, the better off you'll be. (less)
The description of this novel made me think of The Thorn Birds, which was not my "usual" genre, but which I just LOVED once I picked it up. The settin...moreThe description of this novel made me think of The Thorn Birds, which was not my "usual" genre, but which I just LOVED once I picked it up. The settings are different (The Thorn Birds is set in Australia, whereas The Angry Woman Suite is set in America), but both are long-spanning family histories that cover the same time periods (roughly 1915-1970).
The story opens with Elyse sharing the story of her family and life in 1955, when she was five years old. I was immediately drawn into her tale of her early years in Sacramento with her loving extended family. Her father had passed away before the novel begins, so she and her mother and little sister share their home with Elyse's grandparents and aunt Rose. That is, until her mother remarries to Daddy Francis ("just Daddy," as her mother tells her, not wanting anyone to think that she might have been previously divorced) and moves with her daughters to Missouri. My heart broke for the young Elyse and her sister as they were ripped away from their beloved family and thrust into a nightmare.
The next section is told from Francis' point of view, as he provides his version of Elyse's childhood. He discusses his own early childhood and the experiences he had that molded him into the man he later became in 1933 Pennsylvania. The real mysteries of the novel begin here, from the perspective of a five-year-old boy who lives in the crumbling Grayson House with his brother, mother, grandmother, and two aunts. I was able to feel the confusion he felt as he starts trying to figure out his home life and the events of the past that had created his present.
When Aidan Madsen steps in to narrate the next section, the mystery deepens. All the primary characters have now been mentioned, with lots of hints of love and loss and betrayal, but the connections are still unclear.
Since the story is told from the point of view of these three very different characters, the reader gets three conflicting views of various events. Each narrator tells his/her tale from his/her own unique perspective, with personal prejudices and biases clearly expressed. Hints are dropped as to the various traumatic events that shape each character, which thickens the plot and keeps the reader flipping the pages to find out more about these various tragedies that plague the characters.
Having three narrators could be confusing, but the chapters are clearly titled with not only the narrator's name, but also the location and year in which the events that the narrator discusses occurred. There are no abrupt POV shifts. I do suggest using the list of Narrators and their circles found in the front of the book as a reference rather than trying to understand the connections at the beginning.
This book is an epic saga of a severely damaged family, told from the viewpoints of three people who lived through the events. This is not a feel-good book full of sunshine and happiness. The Angry Woman Suite is an intriguing page-turner full of lies, betrayals, and secrets that are slowly revealed throughout. Definitely a must-read, but make sure you have some free time lined up because you won't want to put this one down. (less)
I received an e-ARC of this novel courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I read my first Dean Koontz book at the tender age of ten (th...moreI received an e-ARC of this novel courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I read my first Dean Koontz book at the tender age of ten (the same age as the protagonist in The City, interestingly enough). The book that first introduced me to Dean Koontz was The Vision – not at all appropriate for a ten-year-old girl, but I read everything I could get my hands on and my mom never really censored my choices in reading material until I was older. I assume that she never thought I'd pick up a Koontz novel at that age, when most girls were still reading Judy Blume and The Babysitter's Club – books that I was also reading and enjoying in the same time period. I was kind of a weird kid.
The City takes place primarily in the years 1966 and 1967, a time of upheaval and change throughout the United States, a period of race riots and the draft and the Vietnam War. Jonah is a young black boy living in The City (which city is never specified; I pictured New York in my head as I was reading, which is definitely not the city Jonah resides in, but nevertheless that's where my mental images of his environment took me). Despite the time frame, though, the book's focus isn't on the standard topics associated with those years, although surrounding events are mentioned.
The narrator of The City, Jonah Ellington Basie Hines Eldridge Wilson Hampton Armstrong Kirk, is a likeable character (and if you recognize any of his string of middle names, you already know one of the primary themes of this novel). Like many Koontz protagonists, he's almost TOO likeable and TOO perfect, though. (Odd Thomas is another who immediately comes to mind – don't get me wrong, I love the Odd Thomas series, but Oddie is unrealistically awesome). As with Odd, even Jonah's "faults" aren't really faults, per se, but more an unrelenting and overly harsh self-criticism resulting from unreasonably high expectations of himself.
But that's part of the fun of a Koontz novel. While Koontz's style has grown and changed over the years from fast-paced "fun reads" to a slower tempo and a more literary style, his good guys are still almost perfectly good, and his bad guys are still almost purely bad. There are very few "shades of gray" characters in a Koontz novel.
The pace of this novel is a lot slower than earlier Koontz books, especially early on – as I mentioned, I've noticed that his style has gone more literary (or more "flowery," if you will) over the past 27 years that I've been reading his novels. The beginning of the novel was actually a bit confusing to me at first, because Koontz (by virtue of the narrator) jumps around a bit on the timeline. But he settles into a "starting point" soon enough, and though the storytelling is somewhat dry to start out with, the novel progresses steadily forward (with a fair bit of foreshadowing) from there. It's kind of like a small, slow-flowing stream that gradually merges into a river, which slowly increases in speed until it would give a white-water rafter an enjoyable run, which then cascades down into a raging waterfall, which empties into a small calm pool (with some after-ripples spreading throughout). Or, to use a more apropos musical analogy – it's a song that starts out slowly and quietly, gradually picking up in both volume and tempo. Kind of like Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King.
There are certain events that are hard to buy (also a common thread running through Koontz's novels, and one that doesn't particularly bother me; I'm pretty good at suspension of disbelief for the sake of a good story). Jonah's innate and utter goodness is one of those things, as well as his reactions to certain events – he handles some of the things that are thrown at him much better than I could imagine any child of ten coping. Although he does tell his neighbor, Mr. Yoshiako (another amazingly good guy) that he (Jonah) is "not his age," and Mr. Yoshiako agrees with him. Speaking of Mr. Yoshiako, he's a great character – incredibly wise and clever, with the serenity of a Buddhist monk despite the tragedies that he himself endured as a Japanese-American during World War II. Some of his decisions and actions likewise stretch believability , but in a fun way rather than an annoying way.
I thought I knew where Koontz was heading with the ending, but he surprised me. It's good to know that after almost three decades together, Koontz can still hit me with things that I didn't see coming. Even the events that I did see coming didn't play out as I'd expected. Koontz does a great job tying up all the loose ends by the conclusion of the novel (I HATE it when authors leave those loose ends just lying around!)
Overall I really enjoyed this book, although the slower-paced style of his writing in The City did take a while to get moving and really draw me in. The overarching themes of love, art, and acceptance of onself, even amidst tragedy, left me with a bit of a melancholy warm fuzzy feeling by the final page, if that makes any sense. If you can be patient with the first third or so of the book, I think you'll find this one well worth reading by the time it ends. (less)
Tracy Tappan's writing reads like that best friend who's a lot of fun and tells questionably inappropriate jokes that make you laugh at completely ina...moreTracy Tappan's writing reads like that best friend who's a lot of fun and tells questionably inappropriate jokes that make you laugh at completely inappropriate times, like funerals and abductions.
The Purest of the Breed, Book Two of The Community Series, picks up where the cliffhanger ending of Book One left off, with the Vârcolac warriors heading out on a mission to attempt to rescue four women from the REAL bad guys.
The descriptions of the characters, locales, and scenery within the book are very well done. Tappan provides just the right amount of descriptive detail - enough so that the image in your mind is clear, but not so much that she bogs you down and bores you with unnecessary information. That's a hard balance to find, and one that many authors never quite master.
Another strength of Tappan's writing is her ability to stay true to each character's unique voice in a series that has many characters with very different personalities. With so many characters, the easy way out would be to have some of them be flat and static background characters, but Tappan stays true to her characters and lets them breathe and live independently of one another with their own distinct quirks. This also allows the reader to more easily keep the multiple characters straight in his/her own head, since each character is individually memorable.
You could, theoretically, read The Purest of the Breed without first reading The Bloodline War, as Tappan covers all the pertinent information about the events of the first book in this one (another challenging task that she accomplished admirably). Her editorial team also deserves a shout-out, as it's very obvious that the author and editors go through these books with a fine-tooth comb before publication to make sure everything's as close to perfect as possible.
In a genre that's rife with opportunities for gaping plot holes, Tappan manages to weave explanations into her narrative so everything makes sense with no hiccups to pull you out of the story. She expands on the world-building she began in the first book with more details about the culture and mythology surrounding the Vârcolac race, as well as that of the other non-human races the Vârcolacs associate with (either by choice or by necessity). I loved the historical flashbacks into the early years of Dev's mother, Pettrila in 1877 Romania, and the tragic story of her escape from the vampire hunters. The book ends on another cliffhanger, making me desperate to get the third book in my hot little hands. This series is definitely a must-read.
*I received a complimentary e-ARC of this book for review purposes; all opinions remain my own.(less)
Malcolm and his sister Amalia have a less than idyllic childhood, filled with secondhand smoke and TV dinners. Their father is cold and emotionally di...moreMalcolm and his sister Amalia have a less than idyllic childhood, filled with secondhand smoke and TV dinners. Their father is cold and emotionally distant, while their mother lives to watch television and gossip with the (other) neighbor. The two children, although five years apart, are very close. The strength of the love between the siblings ends up being of utmost importance to the resolution of the story.
This is a short-story prequel to Dean Koontz's upcoming novel "The City," which will be coming out on July 1st. Whereas "The City" is the story of musical prodigy Jonah Kirk, "The Neighbor" is the story of Jonah's lifelong best friend, Malcolm Pomerantz and the strange events that happened a few weeks before the two men met as young boys. From what I can tell, this is a standalone story – you can read it even if you don't plan to read "The City," and/or you can read "The City" without reading this story. But if you like ghost stories, "The Neighbor" is worth grabbing. It's a great quick and spooky read with both human and supernatural scariness. The characters of Malcolm and Amalia are very likeable, and I'm curious to read more about them in "The City" (even though it's not *their* story). (less)
I can't say much about this short story without spoiling it that isn't already in the blurb. My overall reaction to the story is heavily influenced by...moreI can't say much about this short story without spoiling it that isn't already in the blurb. My overall reaction to the story is heavily influenced by the ending and I don't want to give that ending away.
This is a "coming of age" type of story, with imaginative children who discover an actual plesiosaur washed up on the beach - and then can't get anyone to come help them move forward with their discovery, as the adults believe that this is just the kids playing make-believe again.
This isn't the first story about the consequences of not listening to children because "they're just making it up and playing games," and it won't be the last, but it's a very enjoyable read. The ending, which focuses on both the short- and long-term consequences of the adults' indifference to the children's discovery, will stick with you for much longer than it takes to read the entire story.(less)
I’ve always been a big fan of paranormal fiction, and this YA Paranormal Fantasy fits right in with the books I first discovered as a younger reader....moreI’ve always been a big fan of paranormal fiction, and this YA Paranormal Fantasy fits right in with the books I first discovered as a younger reader. I still enjoy revisiting the YA paranormal genre, and Tarot: The Magician is a great addition to my collection. If you’ve ever read any of Lois Duncan’s paranormal YA novels, this book has the same type of feel.
Kassandra has had a rough year; she’s starting a new school year in a new city with little more than the clothes on her back. Her mom isn’t around much, and Kassandra depends on her offbeat Aunt Jo (not her real aunt, but a family friend) for guidance and direction. Recent tragedies have hurt Kassandra deeply, and she struggles to fit in at her new school. And then the mysterious Tarot deck finds her, and things start to change…
The story itself is well-written and engaging. Each chapter begins with a quote from a Romantic poet (Keats, Byron, Wordsworth, etc.), as Kassandra is a poetry lover. As a fan of the Romantics myself, I liked this added insight into the character and her interests (and her emotional state). This book is a page-turner; it’s fast-paced and the author keeps the action moving. I especially enjoyed Kassandra’s journey through the cards as she tries to solve the problems she’s faced with and find her way out. And the ending gives me hope for a sequel (or a series?)
This book touches on some sensitive topics – suicide, cutting, the loss of a parent, drug abuse, bullying (although “tormenting” would be a more appropriate word). They’re not the main focus of the book – Kassandra’s experiences with the Tarot cards and the lessons she learns from that experience is the main story – but these real-life topics add realism to the paranormal adventures, and the author handles them admirably. (less)
I finished this book in a marathon overnight reading session, interrupted by only a four-hour nap before I got back into it. (Thankfull...more(No spoilers!)
I finished this book in a marathon overnight reading session, interrupted by only a four-hour nap before I got back into it. (Thankfully my husband is also a reader and fully supported my endeavor). For those who avoid Stephen King because they don’t like horror novels, never fear – this one isn’t a horror novel. There are some gory and gruesome scenes, but they’re human-inflicted, not supernaturally-inflicted . Mr. Mercedes is more a detective thriller novel, if I had to classify it under a specific genre. (For me, the genre is “Stephen King” and that’s good enough for me – I love the man’s writing no matter what section of the bookstore each new release ends up in).
A brief synopsis, for those unfamiliar: Mr. Mercedes tells the tale of a cat-and-mouse game between recently retired detective Bill Hodges and the “perk” in one of his rare unsolved cases - the Mercedes Killer, Brady Hartfield.
In the early morning hours of April 10, 2009, hundreds of people are lined up outside an auditorium waiting for a job fair to begin when a Mercedes plows into the crowd. Eight die; many more are injured. The driver escapes.
Bill Hodges, along with his partner, was the detective who investigated the case, but Hodges retires before the case is resolved. Depressed, lonely, and suicidal, one day he receives a letter in the mail. This letter is from the Mercedes Killer, and suddenly Hodges finds a reason to live again – to hunt down the man responsible for the deaths of those desperate job seekers before he can kill again.
The killer is introduced early in the story, a very disturbed – and very careful - man named Brady Hartfield who lives with his alcoholic mother. Another case where “the monster walks among us,” his coworkers (he has no friends) don’t suspect that the man they see every day is in fact a cold-blooded killer who’s already planning his next big event. Brady wants to up his personal body count, and is willing to die to do so. But first, he wants to bring Hodges down, either by driving him to suicide or, failing that, to kill the retired detective himself.
Hodges must determine the identity of the Mercedes Killer and stop him before he kills again – without being killed himself.
Stephen King is the master of suspense, and in this novel proves that he doesn’t need malevolent ghosts or evil vampires or telekinetic teenagers to keep the reader flipping the pages. I was hooked from page one, and was once again amazed at King’s ability to tell a captivating story that draws the reader in. King is great at dangling small little hints and tidbits of information to the reader, giving you just enough that you HAVE to keep reading to find out the rest of what happened. Brady Hartfield alludes to other incidents that occurred in his life, but the full story isn’t provided until much later in the book. (I couldn’t go to bed until after I’d reached that point in the novel. I just couldn’t – I HAD to find out the whole story).
The point-of-view shifts between Hodges and the killer, a technique that in the hands (keyboards?) of less capable writers can be confusing. King makes it look easy. The reader is “treated” to a front-row seat into the life and mind of the demented Hartfield, who obviously could have benefitted from some strong anti-psychotic medication. It’s also terrifying how realistically the character is portrayed (I was reminded of Ted Bundy in particular, with his surface charm that fooled so many people for so long). You may never look at your neighbors and co-workers in quite the same way again.
One line in particular struck me as I was reading this novel: "He returns his attention to her, a woman in her mid-forties who's not afraid to sit in bright sunlight." It’s a simple line, but to me it highlights King’s talent at observing life and using those observations to SHOW his characters instead of just telling us about them. Sure, he could have said “He saw that this forty-something woman is obviously confident in herself and her appearance,” but instead he takes something that all women past the age 30 or 35 know – that direct sunlight does nothing to improve the appearance of older skin – and uses that to show us the character’s poise and self-confidence.
It feels almost sacrilegious to say anything negative about a Stephen King book, but… the foreshadowing in this one was a bit heavy-handed at times. Worse, there were also a couple of instances where it was flat-out misleading (in my humble opinion). Without giving too much away (I hope), here’s a for example: if it’s said that a character is going to regret an action or a lack of action later in the story, then that action/lack thereof should be significant and have a major impact on the development of the rest of the story. Instead, a couple of times those bits of foreshadowing were just half-lies without much importance to the story, and never really came to fruition. I feel like they were placed in the text only to keep me reading. It worked, but I feel just a little bit betrayed by the whole thing. That being said, it’s still without a doubt a five star book, and I’ll still gladly sacrifice another night of sleep when Revival is released in a few months.
Finally, after (or while) you’re reading this one, make sure you check out Under Debbi’s Blue Umbrella – there’s not a whole lot there right now, but it’s a neat little add-on, and I’m curious to see if more is added to it after more people have had time to finish reading the novel.
I was also amused by his references to his own earlier works, as I always am. :)(less)
This ghost story of a tormented man whose recently deceased wife’s spirit is being held hostage is a great, fast-paced read.
Stillwell is both a ghost...moreThis ghost story of a tormented man whose recently deceased wife’s spirit is being held hostage is a great, fast-paced read.
Stillwell is both a ghost story and a love story. There are also elements of mystery as Paul uncovers the sordid past of Stillwell Manor and the secrets that the well on the property holds.
Parts of the story are sadly amusing, like when Paul is trying to figure out how to care for his children and run the household without his wife there. It’s tragic because his wife will never be back, but as the schedule coordinator and accountant for my family of six, I know my husband too would be lost if I weren’t around (even if just temporarily). There are also parts that are so sweet they actually made me tear up – Paul Russo was very much in love with his wife, and some of the descriptions of the love they shared for one another before her untimely passing are heartbreaking in retrospect.
Paul does eventually confront the demon that’s holding his wife’s soul hostage, in an unexpected twist to the story. I’ll leave it to you to read the story and discover the outcome of that battle.
I was also pretty happy to see that Stillwell’s cover art is taken word-for-word from the actual story, right down to the weeping willow.
I definitely recommend this book to fans of ghost stories, especially if you like a little mystery and romance mixed in. (less)