**spoiler alert** As soon as I got a copy of Harbor in my hands, I immediately dove headfirst into it with an eager desire to be drawn into a very sca**spoiler alert** As soon as I got a copy of Harbor in my hands, I immediately dove headfirst into it with an eager desire to be drawn into a very scary story. And at first, it did just that. I was captivated by the unfamiliar terrain and the feeling of sneakily peering into the lives of an insular community. The impossible disappearance of a little girl while vacationing with her parents immediately plunges the story into emotional turmoil, and the eerie happenings that follow when her father moves back to the island after trying unsuccessfully to drink himself in oblivion, fulfilled all my expectations. A creaking ice cream-man sign quickly became a part of my own nightmares... his ability to fit under any bed, under any door, was effortlessly built into a thing of terror. And the ocean... oh, the ocean. Already an intimidating thing to those of us who only visit it occasionally... but the idea of being at the mercy of an immense and unseeing, unthinking entity is chilling to say the least.
On the whole, I enjoyed the story tremendously. It is very different from any horror novel that I've read, but like a long drink of ice cold water tinged with salt, it was refreshing but not without a little regret. My small disappointments stemmed primarily from the structure of the story. The author interrupted the immediate story every few pages with incidents from the past that highlighted the weird history of the island community and occasional asides and memories of other characters. I felt that the abrupt switching and the new point of view brought me unwillingly out of the depths of the story when I should have been still completely immersed. Horror novels rely on building momentum to keep the reader propelled through to the end of the story, and this constant shifting felt like someone pumping the brakes every few miles. My only other complaint would be that some of the terror of the story was lost with two of the phantoms of the story. These frenemy ghosts are obsessed with a certain cult genre of music, and speak primarily in lyrics. I am myself familiar with the band, but apparently not thoroughly enough to understand all the references. No doubt this may delight many readers, but for me, much like a teenager making a faux-paus in front of their friends showing that they don't know about the new popular band, I found myself wanting to break out the full discography and bone up before I picked up the book again.
Any structural preferences aside, I would thoroughly recommend this novel for horror fans. ...more
**spoiler alert** This is a must-read book for anyone who has ever lost a dog, or is fearing an imminent loss. After losing our own dog a few short we**spoiler alert** This is a must-read book for anyone who has ever lost a dog, or is fearing an imminent loss. After losing our own dog a few short weeks ago, I was devastated by the unexpected depth of my grief. There is something uniquely special about the relationship of a human to a dog, which this book does an excellent job of illustrating. Your dog becomes a part of you, a not-quite blank slate of affection and dependence that most often reflects your own heart back to you. The Art of Racing in the Rain is not a cheesy, heart-warming book about a dog. I didn't even find it to be just the story of a dog bearing witness to his human's life and struggles. I saw the Art of Racing in the Rain to be at heart, a challenge to one's innermost self, asking "What would you do when faced with a threat to your dignity and your family? Would you give up, or would you look ahead to the next curve in the road and deal with whatever lays ahead as it comes?"
I cried from the first page to the last, and for several minutes after I put the book down. I cried for the struggles we endure in life, the blessings that dogs bestow on us with their love, and for my own loss of that blessing. I don't know that I can accurately explain just how this gave me comfort, but it did. ...more
Loved this book. It's the kind of story that you hate to put down even though you're exhausted and need to sleep! A little bit of history, a little biLoved this book. It's the kind of story that you hate to put down even though you're exhausted and need to sleep! A little bit of history, a little bit of romance, a little bit supernatural, the parts add up to a wonderful world that you end up wishing that you could personally escape to. The author even managed to surprise me once or twice, when I thought that she would only explore the tender side of passion, and nothing more complicated. ...more
Wonderfully atmospheric book. The story is good, and doesn't even rely that much on actions or events to keep the characters in motion. In a way, it'sWonderfully atmospheric book. The story is good, and doesn't even rely that much on actions or events to keep the characters in motion. In a way, it's very much like real life... in that small occurrences and habits add up over time. I think that I may have enjoyed the writing moreso than the actual storyline, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I definitely recommend if you're looking for a good ghost story. ...more
Not a typical book by any means, Ellen Hopkins uses cleverly laid out "poems," in various shapes and movements through the chapters, to tell the storyNot a typical book by any means, Ellen Hopkins uses cleverly laid out "poems," in various shapes and movements through the chapters, to tell the story of Kristina, an average girl-next-door who goes to visit her estranged father, and ends up also meeting "the monster". Once you get used to the format, it's quite an enjoyable read, for all the tragedy contained in it. ...more
I cannot recommend this book strongly enough if you have ever wondered what's going on in your dog's head. Jean Donaldson writes clearly (most of theI cannot recommend this book strongly enough if you have ever wondered what's going on in your dog's head. Jean Donaldson writes clearly (most of the time) in lay person speak about why your dog is behaving the way that it is, and what you can do preventatively and remedially to shape your dog's behavior.
Often, we humans tend to erroneously believe that our dogs "know" what we want from them even if we haven't really ever trained it into them, and this book helped me see why my expectations of perfect dog behavior were unrealistic and misguided, given the way that I was not-training my dog.
I read this book through my local library, but I intend on purchasing it to refer to again. Highly recommended!...more