I was excited to read Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James! I usually shy away from novellas because I miss getting to see more developed characteri...moreI was excited to read Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James! I usually shy away from novellas because I miss getting to see more developed characterization. I am so glad that I made an exception for Winning the Wallflower. It definitely proved me wrong about novellas, y’all.
This is meant to serve as an introduction into the third book in Eloisa James’ Fairy Tales series. (I’ll be reviewing The Duke is Mine soon!) For me, it did so much more. The characters in Winning the Wallflower were so well developed – I couldn’t get enough of them!
Lucy Towerton goes from wallflower to heiress. Her thrilled family encourages her to break it off with her current fiancee. She can do a lot better now that she has money (or so they say). She is hesitant because she is super attracted to Cyrus even if he is “just” a merchant and not part of the aristocracy. So, what is a girl to do?
Cyrus and Lucy grew on me incredibly quickly. Y’all, Eloisa James packed so much fantastic characterization into a really small package. I definitely wish they could have gotten their own full-length story, but I am still happy with what we do get.
The chemistry and tension came across so well, Cyrus makes Lucy incredibly angry and you can definitely feel the sparks flying. Then later, sexytimes sparks start flying and you can definitely feel those too. Excellent writing.
So, not only did this stand out as a wonderful novella – it stands out as one of my favorite historical romances period! Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James is absolutely worth reading (especially since the ebook is only a buck!).(less)
Mistletoe & Margaritas by Shannon Stacey is a novella written for the holidays. Y’all, I don’t read that many novellas. I like my books to have lo...moreMistletoe & Margaritas by Shannon Stacey is a novella written for the holidays. Y’all, I don’t read that many novellas. I like my books to have lots of character development so I tend to steer clear of shorter books. But, I figured Christmas was the perfect excuse to bend my rule and pick one up!
Claire Rutledge has been a widow for the past two years. She loved her husband and has taken a lot of time to try to heal. When she starts having sexy dreams about her best friend, she figures it means she should try to get back out into the dating world.
Justin McCormick is not only Claire’s best friend, but he was also her husband’s lifelong close friend. He has always been in love with Claire, but is now hesitant to do anything about it because he feels like it would be a betrayal.
Enter in some mistletoe and a boozy holiday party. Fireworks ensue.
So, Mistletoe & Margaritas was definitely sufficiently hot as far as the sexytimes go. I also really appreciated the characters despite the short time I spent with them. Claire and Justin both grew on me within just a few pages! But then, I am a sucker for friends-to-lovers plot lines.
I definitely think Shannon Stacey is fantastic with characterization all around. I really enjoyed the other books I’ve read by her thus far, and am happy to say that Mistletoe & Margaritas lived up to my expectations.
If you’re in the mood for a quick read to get you in the mood for the holidays, I definitely recommend picking up Mistletoe & Margaritas by Shannon Stacey!(less)
Deeper Than the Dead is the first in Tami Hoag’s Oak Knoll series. Tami Hoag is known for her romantic suspense, and I thought the plot of Deeper Than...moreDeeper Than the Dead is the first in Tami Hoag’s Oak Knoll series. Tami Hoag is known for her romantic suspense, and I thought the plot of Deeper Than the Dead sounded intriguing. I had some mixed feelings about the book, but I definitely enjoyed it overall!
Four kids stumble across a body buried in a park – and the lives of everyone in the small Oak Knoll community change forever. When it turns out to be the work of a serial killer, no one is safe and everyone is a suspect. From the parents of all four children to their teacher – everyone has skeletons in the closet. All those secrets being revealed makes for very entertaining reading, y’all!
Deeper Than the Dead is set in 1985 at the birth of the FBI’s profiling unit – so a specialist from that department comes in to help. Most of the cops think learning the psychology of the killer is a complete waste of time. Tony Mendez, who works in the sheriff’s department, is the exception. Can he help bring the killer to justice?
So, picking out who the killer is among all the suspects isn’t particularly difficult, but you will be second guessing at every turn! Secrets are constantly being revealed, and basically everyone is guilty of something. For the first half of the book or so I found that fascinating. It ended up being more of a “seriously? him/her too?” situation. Absolutely everyone involved in the story has a suspicious secret. It was a little much.
Still – the plot in Deeper Than the Dead was fascinating!
The romance kinda let me down too. I did not see the pairing coming! I’m leaving out names to avoid spoilers because I was really surprised by who ended up together.
Anyway, despite the romance being mostly a bust and the central conflict being bogged down with way too many other crimes – I mostly enjoyed Deeper Than the Dead. The base plot line was really good and I couldn’t put the book down because I was dying for confirmation as to who the killer was!(less)
Y’all, I love British romantic comedies so much. Fair Game by Liz Young just reminded me why. (It is known as A Promising Man (And About Time, Too) in...moreY’all, I love British romantic comedies so much. Fair Game by Liz Young just reminded me why. (It is known as A Promising Man (And About Time, Too) in America.) The characters are hilarious and cranky. The settings are always a nice break from big cities in the USA. The writing a little less contained. They definitely make me happy.
Harriet Grey is a little tired of drama. After all – she lives with it daily. Her best friend, Sally, is also a new mom. She adores the baby, but she is a little over Sally’s Debbie Downer attitude. When she runs into John Mackenzie, he seems like the perfect man. Except…isn’t he dating Harriet’s arch nemesis? Well, whether he is or not they seem to keep running into each other. Then they end up spending Christmas together as well. So, is he the man for Harriet or not? Heck – is he even available at all?
Fair Game has one of those comedy of errors plots. Constant misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions keep our characters from being together. This goes for Harriet and John AND for Sally and her love interest (another thing I’ve noticed about British rom coms is that they put more emphasis on side characters). Liz Young definitely knows how to keep her readers guessing.
Now, admittedly – the misunderstanding thing can get a little old. Harriet’s bullheadedness took on Mount Everest sized proportions. I wanted to hit her. I wanted to yank out her hair. I wanted her to just plant one on John Mackenzie already. But, sigh. If she’d done that she wouldn’t be Harriet. Even when I was frustrated, I loved the characters in Fair Game.
There are definitely some hot sexy moments, even among all the unneeded drama. All the tension just made it better. Liz Young knows what she is doing, y’all!
By the end of Fair Game, I was really invested in the characters. I was thrilled to see how things turned out in the end! I definitely think this one is worth reading if you’re a fan of contemporary romance. Especially if you’re intrigued by reading one set in England!(less)
What I Did For a Duke by Julie Anne Long was a nice refresher from some of the less engaging historical romance novels I’ve been picking up lately. Th...moreWhat I Did For a Duke by Julie Anne Long was a nice refresher from some of the less engaging historical romance novels I’ve been picking up lately. The characters were fascinating and the plot vastly amusing. This is the first book I’ve read by Julie Anne Long (despite the fact that it is the fifth in a series), but it certainly won’t be my last.
Genevieve Eversea has a giant target painted on her back – and she doesn’t even know it yet. The Duke of Falconbridge is determined to seduce her in order to get revenge from a transgression committed by her brother.
Further complicating matters is that Genevieve is in love with her long-time friend, who has just admitted to her that he wants to marry someone else. Things quickly change when he sees that the Duke is interested in her however – could he be jealous?
Admittedly, What I Did For a Duke doesn’t have the most original plot line…but these characters make it shine. And their chemistry makes it sizzle. There is a twenty year age difference between the characters and it didn’t bother me in the slightest! I expected it to, but the magic of the book swept me away and I really can’t summon a single fault anywhere.
The sexytimes were definitely smoking hot, have no fears there. An unexpected highlight was the humor. Seriously – these characters are extremely witty. Their conversations are all highly diverting and I couldn’t get enough of them in bed or out. Julie Anne Long definitely knows her characterization.
So, even though of course I knew how What I Did For a Duke would ultimately end, I literally could not put it down because I was aching to see my characters come together. The Duke is such a complicated man, constantly the subject of rumors about dueling and poisoning his first wife. I loved how confused and surprised he was by the intensity of emotions Genevieve brought out in him. Nothing like seeing a man brought to his knees, y’all.
Like the measles, love is most dangerous when it comes late in life.
George Gordon, Lord Byron, had said that, and it was a dire day indeed when he found wisdom in the words of that bloody fool. But he understood. Before he’d been too young to really understand; he’d loved and he’d married as a young man will. But now he understood why someone would write things like “she walked in beauty like the night” and so forth. Because poetry was a barrier against raw emotions. It distilled them into bearable music, allowed one to accommodate them a little at a time.
Because he’d known the sort of loss that sent a man spiraling into nothingness as surely as if he’d been dropped out of the sky. He’d felt the wind of the abyss whistling behind him.
And so of course he was afraid.
Because he was staring down yet another loss.
I’ll definitely be remembering Genevieve as one of my favorite heroines from this point forward. Since she is quiet and content to keep mostly to herself, she is considered shy and unoriginal. Nothing could be further from the truth. She is passionate about art, her friends, her family…just passionate in general really. Seeing her finally decide to let her personality shine was a highlight of What I Did For a Duke.
And the ending? Sa-woon. Oh my gosh, one of the best ever.
Seriously you guys, everything about this book is brilliant. I can’t believe I haven’t heard more about Julie Anne Long, and I’ll be picking up more of her books very soon.
What I Did For a Duke started out as a book I picked up on a whim and quickly turned into one of the best historical romances I’ve read in a very long time. Highly recommended.(less)
The bronze man’s head was melting. It oozed fat splats of liquid metal and swirled down the front of his...moreTrance by Kelly Meding has an awesome opener:
The bronze man’s head was melting. It oozed fat splats of liquid metal and swirled down the front of his old-fashioned suit jacket to puddle at his feet. Some of it hit the bronze duck below him, adding layers of new metal that mutated it into a nightmarish goose.
A man’s head is melting? A nightmarish goose? Consider me intrigued. The beginning of Trance definitely reeled me in very quickly – it was easy to start caring about Teresa West, code name Trace. Yes – I said code name y’all. In the coolest, X-Men, superhero way possible. Teresa and the friends she grew up with (but was eventually separated from) reunite when their powers return to them after having disappeared for over a decade. Enter danger and chaos.
So, obviously I think several things about Trance are pretty awesome. Unfortunately…I had a lot of problems with it too. While I enjoyed all the characters’ personalities, once they start communicating with each other things go downhill fast. I thought the dialogue was awkward and I never felt any actual connections or emotions (platonic or romantic). Teresa quickly develops a relationship with Gage, and I did want them to be together – but I never got the vibes. I just could not find a way to get into the writing style.
This is Kelly Meding’s second series, so I was definitely expecting a lot more skill from her on those counts. Seriously disappointing, definitely held the book back. Of course, it is possible that my failure to connect with her writing is some personal preference versus an actual lack of writing ability on her part.
Plus…they are all supposed to be mid-20s to early-30s. I’m not buying it. I know several years of limbo between childhood and the time of the story was necessary for the plot line, but I still think they should have come back together as teenagers. Mainly because that is exactly what they acted like. Besides the sexytimes, I never felt like any of the characters acted like adults. Plenty of YA books bring the sexytimes though, so I really think this book would have been executed more successfully as a young adult novel.
The easiest way to explain my feelings for Trance is to just say that the plot and synopsis are majorly cool but the writing execution and lack of characterization work like an anchor, keeping it from being a really notable read. Definitely makes me wary of picking up anything Kelly Meding writes in the future.
I am curious to know if my thoughts about the writing are shared by anyone else – so if you’ve read this, let me know what you think!(less)
I put off reading Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane for several months after first coming across it on Goodreads, mainly because the synopsis includes hint...moreI put off reading Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane for several months after first coming across it on Goodreads, mainly because the synopsis includes hints of a love triangle. The super cheap price of the ebook called to me though, so I downloaded it. What an addicting series! I’m actually glad I put off reading it, but only because I had three books to sail through instead of just one.
Chess Putnam is far from the normal heroine you’d expect to meet in a paranormal romance/urban fantasy world. She comes loaded down with enough baggage and issues for about 34 pack mules and she is not easy to get to know (for the other characters or for the reader). She also has a severe, dangerous and disturbing addiction to drugs. I was shocked when I quickly found myself rooting for her! Hard to really blame her for wanting to stay high in order to keep from feeling. I wouldn’t want to be constantly surrounded by painful memories if I was her either.
So, yeah. I found myself really impressed with Stacia Kane’s ability to make Chess so likable. Same goes for all the side characters. Terrible, the local gang’s enforcer, shouldn’t be likable either. Beating and killing people regularly and being described as completely ugly – when did these things become so endearing?
The plot of Unholy Ghosts really worked for me too. Chess works for the Church – the world’s main authority. She is a witch that is put on the job of investigating hauntings. If the hauntings are legitimate, she banishes the ghosts. The governmental and political powers of the Church make for very interesting world-building and I found the ghost-lore fascinating. It didn’t remind me of anything else, and I enjoyed the sense of originality.
Between all the darkness, death and drugs, I definitely didn’t find much to connect with in the story. That is the only downside, but I got so caught up in the story that it didn’t matter as much as it might have if everything else wasn’t so stellar.
So what happens when Chess’ drug problem catches up with her and the dealer, Bump, suddenly wants her help with a ghost – off-books and illegally? Throw in a rival gang, a stalker-ish ex-boyfriend and a reluctant attraction to Terrible (Bump’s right-hand man) and you have got yourself a book well worth reading in Unholy Ghosts!
I definitely found Unholy Ghosts to be raw, edgy and gritty. The darker personalities of the characters definitely made them memorable; Stacia Kane has created a series I will be following until the very end!(less)
The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen is the first of the Sons of the Revolution trilogy, featuring three brothers who all suffered to varying degree...moreThe Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen is the first of the Sons of the Revolution trilogy, featuring three brothers who all suffered to varying degrees from the French Revolution (the book is set in England years later). This book had a lot of things going for it – interesting character descriptions and an intriguing premise. Unfortunately, the book’s execution left a lot to be desired.
One of the biggest disappointments was the plot twist at the very end – it was way too easy to figure out. I won’t go any further into it to avoid spoilers (although it won’t take you long if you pick this up). But the second I realized what would probably happen at the end I actually felt a little insulted – like “am I not supposed to be able to figure this out?” Maybe Shana Galen just didn’t intend for it to be a surprise – either way, it should have been made much harder to discern.
And, while I found the synopsis intriguing, the way the overall plot ended up playing out was also a let-down. I wish a more experienced historical romance writer had written it – I think it would have been carried off much more successfully.
Anyway. Moving on. Sarah Smith, an orphan-turned-governess, is forced by her employer to become a spy for British Intelligence. Julien Harcourt, a French duc, has been making secret trips to France and is assumed to be a spy. Sarah takes on an assumed identity to get close to the duc in order to find proof of his activities. What she ends up discovering, however, has nothing to do with spying – in fact, she ends up deciding to help him. Their attraction quickly leads to complications that carry The Making of a Duchess on to its conclusion.
Their mutual attraction does not work for me at all. While Julien Harcourt is definitely the typical historical romance hero, Sarah Smith acts like an idiot. To be fair – it isn’t her fault. She is dropped quickly, without enough preparation, into a very difficult situation. But still. It makes absolutely no sense to me that Julien is so enamored of her. Then, once he discovers who she really is, he gets over it and falls in love with her way too quickly. The entire romance was completely disappointing, the first word that comes to mind is actually “idiotic” because once again, I felt insulted that I was supposed to just fall in line and find them a legitimate couple.
So, I basically found The Making of a Duchess to be a complete let-down. Despite the promising synopsis, I do not think it is worth picking up. If you like the thought of spies playing out in historical romance – pick up the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig instead!(less)
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers really brings something a lot to the fantasy genre, y’all. The plot had a lot of originality and intrigue. The character...moreGrave Mercy by Robin LaFevers really brings something a lot to the fantasy genre, y’all. The plot had a lot of originality and intrigue. The characters were well fleshed out. The setting had nice complexity. I ended up being pretty impressed by this one!
Ismae ends up being a handmaiden for the god of Death. That very fact – along with being raised in an old remote nunnery – added a big Gothic-y creepy factor that I loved. She is basically trained to be an assassin, working to fulfill Death’s wishes. How awesome is that? I fully admit to lovingassassin stories.I refuse to delve too far into the plot in my review, because the whole mysterious assassin thing is best left for you to discover on your own. I’ll just hit the highlights. When she ends up on a more long-term assignment and her emotions get tangled up with duty, the job doesn’t seem as easy as Ismae always thought. She ends up at high court in Brittany, and trying to navigate court politics and figure out what is going on under the surface becomes her personal mission. Too bad what she is discovering doesn’t seem to line up with what Death is asking her to do…
Seriously – the way Ismae acted sometimes throughout Grave Mercy made me want to scream. While I appreciate and respect a certain level of prickliness and self-awareness, there can be a fine line between stubbornness and idiocy. Wanting to think for yourself and not trust easily is one thing, being insufferably obstinate to the point that you become somewhat blind to reality is another. Seriously, this book had me completely frustrated at times. When characters blindly follow what they are taught, it always makes me think of jihadists. Not exactly a good impression there. (Although, come to think about it, I guess Ismae is a religious extremist in a way.)
You guys, despite my frustrations with Ismae, I still absolutely loved Grave Mercy! Besides, Ismae is able to come into herself throughout the story. It isn’t really her fault that she was taught the things she was. Despite wanting to beat my head against the wall at times, I actually think Robin LaFevers did do a really great job with her character arc.
One of the best things about Grave Mercy is that it stands alone! It is the first book of a trilogy, but each book will have different main characters. They will be connected – and I will be thrilled to revisit the world that Robin LaFevers has built. But, I will be returning because I want to, not because I have to continue an unfinished story line.(less)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater wasn’t a book I was initially interested in. I was not a fan of the Shiver series, so I figured I’d just be pas...moreThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater wasn’t a book I was initially interested in. I was not a fan of the Shiver series, so I figured I’d just be passing this one by as well. Then I saw Melissa at i swim for ocean’s review saying that she wasn’t a Shiver fan either – but loved this book. I thought hmm. Then Holly at Book Harbinger and Angie at Angieville both gave it rave reviews which pretty much guaranteed that I’d be reading it. So – was it worth picking up? Well...
YES! Thank goodness I have such great taste in blogging friends, right? Without them I’d have passed this one by. And I’d have been missing out on a lot.
The island becomes a living breathing thing – perhaps the strongest of the characters. I felt pulled into the magic of the capall uisce, the deadly horses from the sea. They were always both terrifying and mesmerizing, which is, I imagine, exactly how the characters in the book felt about them as well. It was the island that made the entire book feel real. Because I was so immersed into this place, Sean, Puck and everyone around them became real as well. I tasted the November cakes (I really really want one for real y’all, I may have to make that happen. Angie posted the recipe.), I both felt the punishing winds and tasted the salt they carried with them…reading this book was a very sensory experience.
Also – while there are no sexytimes, there was amazing breathless tension. The progression of Sean & Puck’s relationship was very slow and subtle, a definite rarity these days. They rode a horse together and I think it was one of the sexiest scenes I’ve ever read. No romantic physical contact whatsoever and still – wowza. When an author can bring you so fully into a world and connect you in such a real way to the people inside it, it is definitely time to be impressed. Maggie Stiefvater has definitely impressed me in a big way.
The relationship between Sean and his horse, Corr, was also brilliantly handled. Incredibly complex and layered. Getting through all the tangled emotions in the book made that ending incredibly stirring. I will be incredibly sad to leave Sean, Puck and Corr behind. (In fact, I’m writing this review about five days after finishing the book and I am still feeling the loss.)
Whether or not you’ve loved Maggie Steifvater’s books in the past doesn’t matter you guys, trust me. Don’t pass on the chance to experience this one! It now has a nice comfortable spot on my all-time favorites list.(less)
So why are all the versions of the stories you’ve heard so mind-numbingly boring? You know how it is with stories. Someone tells a story. Then somebod...moreSo why are all the versions of the stories you’ve heard so mind-numbingly boring? You know how it is with stories. Someone tells a story. Then somebody repeats it and it changes. Someone else repeats it, and it changes again. Then someone’s telling it to their kid and taking out all the . . . well, the awesome parts…and the next thing you know the story’s about an adorable little girl in a red cap, skipping through the forest to take cookies to her granny. And you’re so bored you’ve passed out on the floor.
The real Grimm stories are not like that.
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz has got to be one of the most disturbingly charming books in existence. I was in love from the first page – I’m glad the book is fairly short because once I started I couldn’t stop.
This is a children’s book. Sorta. It captures the true spirit of the original Grimm fairy tales – decapitations, mutilations and all. There are also incredibly witty asides at every turn, conversing with older readers and cautioning the younger ones to stop reading. Very entertaining, I couldn’t get enough of any of it.
Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, you should go ahead and rehire that babysitter that came by for the previous story. Make her take the little ones out to a movie this time. A G-rated movie. Or an R-rated movie, for that matter. Whatever it is, it probably won’t be as bad as what you’re about to read. I know, you don’t believe me. “How much worse could things get?” you ask. Believe me. Much worse.
I don’t want you to take my word – or the brief quotes I’m giving you – for it though. You can read the first chapter of A Tale Dark and Grimm online, and I demand you do so at once! It will charm the pants off you, I promise.
I was in awe of the way the book managed to be incredibly creepy and disturbing and still be charming and witty as well. Adam Gidwitz manages to keep a lot of balls successfully juggling in the air, and I was suitably impressed.
I don’t know what else to say without going into more detail – which I absolutely refuse to do! This is a book meant to entertain, the less you know before starting the better.
Pick it up and fall into a fantastically original world! Whether you’re an adult that wants to be entertained or a child that wants to be frightened – this is definitely a book for everyone.(less)
Damage by Anya Parrish has such a cool premise - two teenagers that had homicidal imaginary friends as children suddenly come together and realize the...moreDamage by Anya Parrish has such a cool premise - two teenagers that had homicidal imaginary friends as children suddenly come together and realize the nightmare isn't over yet. Unfortunately - the awesomeness of the plot far exceeded the characterization, leaving me feeling mostly disappointed.
I will say first that this book was definitely creepy. Did you have an imaginary friend as a kid? What would you do if it suddenly turned up and tried to throw you off a building or breathe fire at you? Top it off with being chased by shady governmental officials and we have definite Halloween-worthy drama on our hands.
Dani and Jesse are in a horrible bus crash, which reawakens their childhood nightmares, leaving them scared out of their minds and in terrible danger. They try to unlock the secrets as to why both of them have such similar problems - which ends up wrapping them up in medicinal complications and governmental intrigue. Whoa boy, are they in for a wild ride.
So, the plot was pretty much non-stop. They went from one terrible situation to the next, constantly trying to battle their imaginations and collect more information about their pasts. Unfortunately - the danger catches up to them far too quickly. There is a massive twist at the end that will leave you bug-eyed, my friends!
Too bad the characters fail to live up to the plot in basically every single way. Both Dani and Jesse basically function only as plot devices. None of their actions or emotions ring true. Ever. I was so totally disappointed by this. The book should have been longer, giving them more room to develop naturally. Example: Dani goes from having never been kissed and hating having people touch her at all to suddenly being in love with Jesse and hating being unable to touch him every second. (I'll pause here so you can roll your eyes.) Seriously, I don't know how to say it any other way - the characterization was just plain bad.
Still, if you don't care as much about the people as you do about a crazy-intense-thrilling-high-octane plot, than Damage is a book you'll enjoy! Creepy and suspenseful at every turn.(less)
The Long Walk by Stephen King seriously impressed me. Every time I pick up a book by Stephen King, some piece of the book always reiterates why he is...moreThe Long Walk by Stephen King seriously impressed me. Every time I pick up a book by Stephen King, some piece of the book always reiterates why he is basically the storytelling master. The Long Walk is absolutely no exception. You guys – this book is brilliant.
Brilliant it might be, but it also redefines the word bleak. It is a dystopian, so that is mostly to be expected. However – with most dystopians circulating these days, there is some form of hope. There is someone fighting for a cause they believe is right – readers devour the pages in hopes of seeing the protagonist succeed.
In this book, you can forget about it. Just check out the synopsis:
On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as “The Long Walk”. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying.
The book never pretends to be something it isn’t. We meet all these teenage boys – including Garraty, the MC – and we know from the beginning that most (if not all) of them will die. This is where the Stephen King magic touch comes in – because who would really want to read a book like this? Why get to know all these characters knowing they will die? Only one author I can think of could ever make me want to pick this book up.
From page one, I couldn’t put it down. Every single person introduced in the story is compelling – all of them in completely different ways. I was so torn when I found myself caring for some of them, because I knew I’d most likely be watching them die at some point. As the pages kept turning and I watched a hundred pairs of shoes start to fall apart and starvation and exhaustion set in – I was riveted. The rules of the walk say that it will only end when one person is left – so who was that person going to be? Or was there going to be a twist of some kind saving more than one of the boys?
If you know Stephen King, you know things are never as simple as they seem. The end will surprise you.
So, even though the entire book is overwhelmed with hopelessness, pain, exhaustion and cruelty – I can’t help but recommend you pick it up. It is storytelling at its very best, and is definitely a book I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.(less)
I read The Shining by Stephen King in honor of Halloween. It was a great choice too, let me tell ya! I’m not much of one for being afraid of ghosts, b...moreI read The Shining by Stephen King in honor of Halloween. It was a great choice too, let me tell ya! I’m not much of one for being afraid of ghosts, but by the time I was well into this story I sure was constantly terrified to see what would happen next…
Stephen King has this gift of being able to write normal, everyday people having normal everyday conversations over and over again in a way that makes you want to read it. When you look back on those parts of the story and try to figure out why you’re so captivated – you can’t quite put your finger on it because there isn’t anything extraordinary there. Just a gifted writer with the ability to remind you that the ordinary is worth reading about.
Of course, that is the truly scary part of the story. What can happen to normal, everyday people.
King also has the gift of making normal things seem unsettling. Even the simple act of the family going on an introductory tour of the kitchens gave me the heebie jeebies. Some of the most unsettling parts are just the pieces that foreshadow something worse to come:
As he got behind the truck’s wheel it occurred to him that while he was fascinated by the Overlook, he didn’t much like it. He wasn’t sure it was good for either his wife or his son or himself. Maybe that was why he had called [the hotel's manager].
To be fired while there was still time.
And of course, there is the big bad in this particular story: the Overlook Hotel. It starts off pretty slow and vague – but by the end of the story that hotel has woken up one rip-roaring demonic mess.
The Overlook faced it as it had for nearly three-quarters of a century, its darkened windows now bearded with snow, indifferent to the fact that it was now cut off from the world. Or possibly it was pleased with the prospect. Inside its shell the three of them went about their early evening routine, like microbes trapped in the intestine of a monster.
So, you better believe this book had me freaking out. Not because I was looking over my shoulder expecting a crazy ghost to be there – but because this family – Jack, Wendy and Danny Torrence along with Dick Hallorann – got a hold on me and I was scared out of my mind waiting to see how their story would end.
I didn’t know much at all about the plot of The Shining before starting it, and that is what I want for everyone that might pick it up one of these days. Most of my enjoyment came from my crazed anticipation to see what would happen next – and dreading coming to the end. It was absolutely worth the ride y’all!(less)