You should see my copy of this book. One of my co-workers, who, for various reasons, has only recently seen how much I read, saw all the neon post-it...moreYou should see my copy of this book. One of my co-workers, who, for various reasons, has only recently seen how much I read, saw all the neon post-it flags sticking out of the side of my book and asked me what on earth I was doing. I blushed and tried to explain how the people in Bailey White's humorous little reflection on life in the South kept reminding me of people I know, so I was just marking the pages. She said that she'd never heard of anyone doing that, looked at me like I was weird, and moved on.
But it's true. "Mama" in particular kept reminding me of different people. I can see all the family members reading this and bracing themselves, but none of you put in an appearance, I promise! Well, Luis does, but he's been warned. Mostly they were little descriptions, but they were so spot-on that they just tickled me. There's this one that reminds me of my grandfather: "When Mama starts to move across a room, people pay attention. You can never be sure she's not going to grab you by the top of the head to steady herself. And she's pretty free with that walking stick too." Her description of the house that she shares with Mama could have been a description of my grandmother's house. I even recognized myself, but I can't tell you where, because it's the punchline to one of the stories. Here's my favorite, reminding me of my husband. After Bailey covers herself from head to toe to brave some repairs among the spiders under the house, she says, "It was no mean trick doing the wiring with those mittens on. But I managed it and crawled out, batting spiders into the shadows. I could hear a thud as they hit the floor joists, then a scuttling sound, then, worst of all, the silence of spiders." I wish you all could see the picture of my husband that this brings to mind. We were picking blackberries in a huge wild, thorny patch of them when he found a gigantic spider. Obviously, he's not a fan, but to be fair, he lived in Colombia when he was young. If I'd had to deal with those mega-spiders, I would probably have arachnophobia too. Anyway, there's a gigantic spider next to a nice juicy patch he found. He yells at me to look over, and I look. From about 50 feet away, I could actually see it. I don't know what kind of spider it was, because we don't grow them that big around here. But Luis decided to brave the spider for the blackberries and he manned up, keeping an eye on The Enemy. And then it was gone. I heard a cry of "I can't find it!" I looked up, and he was high-stepping it out of that patch as fast as he could go! I am not lying about the high-stepping. Those skinny white knees were clearing the tops of the thorns! I laughed till I cried! So, anyway, he understands about the silence of spiders. And the absence of spiders.
These were mostly just short, two or three page vignettes telling an amusing story about Bailey and her eccentric family. But there were a few stories that just told about a poignant memory she has, such as the time she came eye-to-eye with a bald eagle. I loved them all, funny and touching. Well, almost all of them. There were three stories about snakes and I had the willies by the time I finished the last one! Anyway, I do recommend this for anyone looking for a good laugh. I don't think the appeal will only be to Southerners. We're all just people, after all.(less)
We got this for my brother-in-law for Christmas. *making sure he won't see this*
Of course I had to check it out first. I'd never heard of the LOLcatz,...moreWe got this for my brother-in-law for Christmas. *making sure he won't see this*
Of course I had to check it out first. I'd never heard of the LOLcatz, but this was very cute and funny. My favorites included the surveillance kitteh and the cats doing invisible things. Invisible kick to the gut anyone? Recommended for cat lovers. I also just had to subscribe to the feed at icanhascheezburger.com.(less)
"My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister, Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I...more"My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister, Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead."
And so begins Merricat's story about life for the last surviving members of the Blackwood family. There has been some sort of tragedy in the past, but Mary Katherine doesn't want to talk about it. She does want to talk about how much the villagers hate her family, how much she hates them, and how she wishes she could live on the moon.
Unsettling. That is by far the best word to describe this book.
Odds are that you didn't make it through high school without reading Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery." It would be a tossup between that and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman for my choice as most disturbing short story ever.
Jackson somehow kept that same tone alive throughout a novel.
Short stories are generally creepier for me than novels are. Authors end up explaining too much in a novel and I'm able to put them out of my head. But all those unresolved questions in short stories cause them to stay with me in a way that very few novels do.
But Jackson pulled that off here. Wow.
So much of the eeriness comes from Mary Katherine, or Merricat, herself. She's eighteen, but it's almost like her mind stopped progressing at twelve, which is when the tragedy happened. I don't mean that she's "challenged" in anyway, it's just that she doesn't really see the need to grow up. I found myself constantly questioning her motives and her truths. Are her truths widely-accepted truths? And if not, who are you supposed to believe?
There is the feel of a hedge witch about Merricat. She has daily tasks that she sets herself, and part of that is making sure that their property is secure from strangers. Oh, she does check the locks, gates, and fences, but she also makes sure that the talismans she has hung from trees and buried in fields are also intact.
I felt sorry for her sister Constance. Constance is apparently beautiful and she seems to be happiest when she's taking care of others. But whatever happened in the past has left her ostracized from society, and honestly even agoraphobic. She should be raising a beautiful family, but she's instead trapped living in a museum of a house with her younger sister and her elderly uncle. But she sweetly goes about her days.
I do recommend this book if you're looking for something unexpected and...unsettling. That really is the best word. It was great for Halloween, and I won't be forgetting Merricat or Constance anytime soon.(less)
I don't think I can even begin to explain the appeal of these books. A synopsis is going to make it sound ridiculous. A giant shaved vampire cat named...moreI don't think I can even begin to explain the appeal of these books. A synopsis is going to make it sound ridiculous. A giant shaved vampire cat named Chet is stalking the San Francisco night? Puh-leeze.
Except that leaves out Abby Normal, Emergency Backup Mistress of the Greater Bay Area Night. I. Heart. This. Chick.
Abby is hilarious! I loved her in You Suck: A Love Story and I was thrilled when I found out that she tells most of this newest story. She makes grown men cry. She intimidates the hell out of Foo-Dog, her manga-haired love monkey. I mean, she wears Skankenstein boots. What more do you need to know?
There are vampire cats, rats, and birds; a Samurai-sword-wielding old guy; UV-light jackets and dusters; UV, um, bazookas? that rack up serious points in the vampire elimination game; vampires climbing face first down walls a la Dracula; a fortune-teller who actually gets it right but doesn't understand any of it; a sea captain named Kona who speaks like a Rasta; truly crazy vampires; and overseeing it all is The Emperor of San Francisco, protector of Alcatraz, Sausalito, and Treasure Island and his two loyal men, Bummer and Lazarus. Sound over the top? It is. But it's so much fun.
So take note beyotches. There will be a test.
Yes, that's pretty much a quote. If it offended you, steer clear because this won't be the book for you. The f-bomb abounds.(less)
I bought this hoping to find some cute Halloween cupcakes to make. I usually like to make some sort of cake for the younger relatives as they make the...moreI bought this hoping to find some cute Halloween cupcakes to make. I usually like to make some sort of cake for the younger relatives as they make the rounds on Halloween and it was getting harder to find ideas. I feel like I hit the jackpot! There are a lot of cute Halloween cupcakes, but there are plenty of ideas for all kind of occasions too. By the time I get through experimenting, the family may be tired of cupcakes! I will say that they give instructions for cutting the corners of a Ziploc baggy to decorate with frosting. I quickly got frustrated with that and dragged out my decorator bags and tips. Much easier. I'll also add that I have taken a cake decorating several years ago, but I only make a few birthday cakes a year and I'm FAR from being an expert. I think they're right when they say that anyone (with patience) can make these.
So, anyway, here's a pic of my first attempt at fixing up some of these babies! The werewolves are nothing but cupcake, frosting, marshmallow, fruit-by-the-foot, M&Ms, and a jelly bean.
It's very hard to summarize this book without giving anything away. Let's see.... Jonah Skidmore was adopted when he was three months old. Just before...moreIt's very hard to summarize this book without giving anything away. Let's see.... Jonah Skidmore was adopted when he was three months old. Just before his thirteenth birthday, he receives a cryptic message in the mail and he starts questioning the little that he knows about his past.
Very, very bare bones there. After getting hooked by the fantastic prologue, I had a little bit of an idea as to where this might be going. I was right to an extent, but mostly I was hugely surprised by the time the ending rolled around. I woke up, started this as I ate breakfast, kept reading, and finished it in about three hours. Sure, it's an older kids' book and I'm a pretty fast reader, but I could not put this down. The action and discoveries didn't stop and I just kept frantically turning pages to find out more.
Jonah is an engaging character. Not too good, not too bad--just your average seventh-grader. His actions, reactions, and interactions all felt real to me. Even his sister Katherine and his friend Chip are believable and well fleshed-out. I will say that the Skidmore parents felt a little too perfect.
Really, there are only two things keeping this from being a five-star book for me. One, it's science fiction and I'm not really a fan of the genre. Two, by the time I got to the ending, I felt like this was mostly set up for the following book(s). There's nothing wrong with that, and there's nothing really wrong with this book, but I feel like there's room for the sequel to be even better and I just want to leave some wiggle room in my ratings. If I were the author, I would feel cheated, but there you go. Four stars.
Highly recommended as a surprising page-turner for young teenagers and even those older folks who don't allow the age of a protagonist to keep them from enjoying a great story.(less)
I would never have picked this up on my own. A book about cadavers? How morbid can you be? Not to mention th...moreChalk this up to a win for the GR friends.
I would never have picked this up on my own. A book about cadavers? How morbid can you be? Not to mention the heebie-jeebies that would be sure to haunt me throughout the book.
But so many people have read this and raved about it that I decided to go ahead and give it a try.
It's somehow hilarious. But not disrespectful. And odd. And hilarious. And hard to describe.
With chapters ranging from human decay, to body snatching, live burial, and new ways to "dispose" of human remains, I never realized that there were so many aspects of death to think about.
I can't say that I was completely comfortable with all the topics covered (I really don't need to know exactly what happens to a decomposing body), but neither did anything give me too bad a case of the heebie jeebies.
I was surprised by how interesting I found most of the topics to be. There's a lot of history, anecdotes, trivia, and science crammed into this book.
If you think you can handle it, and most people probably can, I recommend this for an upfront look at a topic most of us avoid.(less)
Picking up exactly where Bloodsucking Fiends left off, Jody is feeling a little lonely in her immortality and decides to bring Tommy over for a littl...morePicking up exactly where Bloodsucking Fiends left off, Jody is feeling a little lonely in her immortality and decides to bring Tommy over for a little company. Once that happens, they realize they need a new minion to do their daywork. Enter Abby Normal.
Perky goth girl Abby Normal made this book for me. She was hilarious! If I were a better creative-writing type of person, you would be reading this in my best imitation of her. As it is, you'll just have to take my word for it that she's a fantastic character. I don't know how well this will come across out of context, but here's a sample of one of Abby's chapters:
"OMFG-WOOT! I have failed, left my duty undone, like so much dog poop on the gloaming sidewalk of the tragedy that is my life. Even as I sit here at the Metreon Starbucks, writing this, the froth slaves seem to move like silver-eyed zombies and my nonfat, soy Amaretto Mochaccino has gone as bitter as snake bile. (Which is like the bitterest bile you can get.) If there wasn't a totally hot guy two tables away, acting like he doesn't notice me, I would weep--but real tears make your mascara run, so I'm staying chilly in my despair. Your loss, cute guy, for I have been chosen. Suffer, bitch!"
Did I forget to mention that she's sixteen?
Anyway, only parts are written like that, but I thought they were the best parts.
The Animals are back and in trouble with a blue prostitute. The old vampire is busking as a living statue. The Emperor is still worried about his city. Cavuto and Rivera are watching their dreams of golf and a used bookstore fade away. All is pretty much as it was in the previous book.
Which brings me to where I complain about how I hate reading series books back to back. Both this book and Bloodsucking Fiends stand alone, but I read them together. So every time I got the refresher about "Remember how this happened last time?" I was thinking, "That happened about half an hour ago. Get on with the story already!" Yeah, I need breaks between series books.
The ending was not very satisfying. Someone said this about another book I've read recently and I think it applies here: It's like Moore thought, "You weren't crazy about my first ending? Let's see how you like this one! Mwahahahahaha!" I'm afraid to say that I hope there will be another, because who knows how he'll end that one!
So, this is more fun from Moore. Don't feel like you have to read this after Bloodsucking Fiends. I think you'll be fine either way. Just watch out for that Abby Normal. She just might have you in stitches.(less)
A giant dome suddenly appears over the town of Chester's Mill, Maine one beautiful October day, and the townspeople are left to their own devices.
That...moreA giant dome suddenly appears over the town of Chester's Mill, Maine one beautiful October day, and the townspeople are left to their own devices.
That's a lame synopsis, but I don't want to give anything more away.
What would you do if you were cut off from the rest of the world? Perhaps more importantly--what would your neighbors do? Would everyone pitch in together to get through the crisis the best way they could? Would everything dissolve into complete anarchy?
What would you do?
As I read this, I kept mentally comparing it to Lord of the Flies, which I hated. I hated almost everything I had to read for class though, so I don't know what that says. Anyway, as I recall, in Lord of the Flies, the boys run wild and only bad things happen and I'm supposed to buy that that's the way people in general would act if all authority and rules disappeared. I can't buy it. I just can't. Call me a deluded optimist if you want. Oh, I'll give you that some people will get up to nasty things. But there will always be people who do the best they can, for themselves and their neighbors.
And that's what Stephen King got right here.
Sure, it is what it is and a lot of terrible things happen. But there is also a core group of good people. I loved them and I loved King for creating them. There was Barbie (a man), who might have been a little too good to be believable, but I still liked him. There was Julia, who never backed down. There was Piper, struggling with her faith, but still trying to minister to people's emotional needs. There was Andrea. I respected the hell out of that woman. And then there was Rusty. Rusty somehow became my husband in my head. I could see Luis just shining right through the guy, so of course I loved him too.
And then there was Big Jim Rennie and his son, Junior. I loathed Big Jim within about 3/4 of a page of meeting him. It was obvious I was going to dislike him right from the start, but I was impressed with how quickly King got such a strong reaction out of me.
It got knocked down a star mostly because I thought a merciless editor could have cut quite a bit off the 1027 page count. Some sections, like the immediate aftermath of the Dome plopping down, just got a little too long. It all added to the suspense, but I still wanted to tell King, "Enough! I got it. Let's move on already." Most die hard fans will disagree with me, but there it is.
This is such a little thing that I hesitate to even mention it, but here it is. I wish that Twitch, the ambulance guy, had been a paramedic rather than a nurse. My husband is a medic, and let me tell you, they are under-appreciated and underpaid, at least where we live. Every little bit of publicity has got to help, so I wish that King had helped them out a little. There's a whole gigantic soapbox I could get on, but I'll leave it at that.
Mostly though, this was just a great book that started off with a bang and didn't really let up. I thought it would take me forever to read this beast, but I got through it in about four days. Don't let the size intimidate you. If you're interested, pick it up and buckle up for the ride.(less)
In this very, very dark telling of Peter Pan, Peter is abused and unwelcome everywhere he wanders until he stumbles onto the island of Avalon. There,...moreIn this very, very dark telling of Peter Pan, Peter is abused and unwelcome everywhere he wanders until he stumbles onto the island of Avalon. There, he finally carves out a home for himself, although not without a certain amount of danger. As conditions on the island deteriorate, Peter recruits children from the world of men to come live on his island and help fight the battle to save Avalon and his Lady.
I haven't read Peter Pan and I only have vague memories of the Disney movie, which I didn't care for. So I can't say anything about how this compares to the original source.
I can say that it worked for me.
Peter's mother is a human and we only get a vague hint that his father is some sort of forest spirit. He lives up to that lineage admirably. He can be serious, playful, deadly dangerous, funny, loyal, and unforgiving in the space of a few heartbeats. His temperament can only be described as mercurial. As such, I was never entirely sure whether I should be rooting for him to succeed or not. I could tell he definitely had an ulterior motive or three but I didn't know if I should sort him out to be a hero or a villain. It was nice to be kept on my toes! Honestly, I still don't know what to think of him. I guess he's more like a force of nature--he just is.
The children he recruits to come to Avalon call themselves Devils. They were heart-breaking. The first chapter is very disturbing, with Peter saving a little girl from another night of being molested by her father. Holy cow. That was not what I expected from Peter Pan! But once I thought about it, those are exactly the children who would give up their homes and follow a strange boy into the mists--the ones who have nothing to live for here, the abused and neglected children, not the ones who have a "Mother Darling" waiting for them and worrying for them at home.
The conflict on Avalon is only slowly revealed so I won't say much. I did find it to be all too realistic, even if this is a fantasy book. It arises from people who are unyielding in their beliefs and who refuse to really sit down and speak to each other. They even want the same thing to happen, they're just too stubborn to work it out. How familiar does that sound?
I believe author Brom is primarily known for his artwork. Each chapter opens with a full-page illustration in black-and-white and there's a center section of color portraits of the main characters. They might be a little dark and disturbing for some people, but I thought they fit the mood of the novel perfectly.
The book has a definite ending that I'm not entirely happy with, but there's room for a sequel too. After all, the boy who never grows up will always have another big adventure waiting.(less)
Several GR friends have read this and raved about it recently. I've been doing a lot of Halloween-related books this month, so I...moreReview of I Am Legend
Several GR friends have read this and raved about it recently. I've been doing a lot of Halloween-related books this month, so I decided to give it a try.
It somehow wasn't exactly what I expected, and I mean that in a good way. I've seen bits of the Will Smith movie (and what I've seen has very little in common with the book), I've read my friends' reviews, but it's still something that I think you have to experience for yourself to understand.
I would definitely call it a horror book, but not exactly for the reason that I expected. There are the vampires, and there are a couple of intense scenes with them, but that wasn't what made the book scary to me. It was more about the absolute aloneness that Neville experiences. He truly is the last man in the world. How would you deal with that? Would you give up? Would you keep fighting? Would you start searching for others? Would you search for the reason behind the horror that has become your life? Matheson explores all of these avenues and more. Neville's reactions felt very real to me. I experienced all of his emotions with him. The vampires were scary at first, and then they just sort of become background noise. Then there's the rage, despair, curiosity, really the whole gamut of emotions that you would feel in that position. There's even one scene that just broke my heart. It's all in here, it all feels very real, and I am very impressed. Highly recommended.
Review of the other stories
I finished out the other stories and they were pretty good. They weren't on a level with I Am Legend, but there were some genuinely spooky pieces in here. My favorites were
"Prey" about an insecure woman and an African doll "Dress of White Silk" about a little girl showing off her mother's evening dress "Person to Person" about a guy who answers a phone that's ringing inside his head
My least favorite were
"Buried Talents" about a carnival game "Dance of the Dead" which is vaguely post-Apocalyptic "Mad House" about an angry man in an angry house.
I'm glad I read them, but I Am Legend was definitely the star of this show.(less)
I'm wimping out on this synopsis. It's on the book page.
I am surprised by how much I liked this book. I had to read Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of...moreI'm wimping out on this synopsis. It's on the book page.
I am surprised by how much I liked this book. I had to read Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath for school, and I pretty much hated them both. Of course, I hated almost everything I had to read for school, so I don't know if that says more about Steinbeck or about me. Either way, I was left with bad memories of Steinbeck.
I have several friends on GoodReads comment on how much they love this book, so when I found this edition with this cool retro cover at a library book sale, I went ahead and picked it up. It would probably have languished for a few more years in my stacks if I hadn't decided to read it for Banned Books Week. (See, book challengers? You are only hurting your case and giving authors publicity. Leave it alone, and a lot of books will fade into obscurity).
Anyway, I started to love this from the first page. Who could resist this prose?
"I remember that the Gabilan Mountains to the east of the valley were light gay mountains full of sun and loveliness and a kind of invitation, so that you wanted to climb into their warm foothills almost as you want to climb into the lap of a beloved mother. They were beckoning mountains with a brown grass love. The Santa Lucias stood up against the sky to the west and kept the valley from the open sea, and they were dark and brooding--unfriendly and dangerous. I always found in myself a dread of west and a love of east. Where I ever got such an idea I cannot say, unless it could be that the morning came over the peaks of the Gabilans and the night drifted back from the ridges of the Santa Lucias. It may be that the birth and death of the day had some part in my feeling about the two ranges of mountains."
I was blown away. Where was the grim author who had written such depressing books that I had been forced to read against my will? This wasn't the same guy, surely!
And that was kind of how I continued on through the book. Oh, it got dark and grim (more on that momentarily), but Steinbeck can write! Who knew?
Let me just jump right in with Cathy. What a psycho bitch. Seriously. I don't know if they used words like psychopath back in the day, but she really is. My status update after she is introduced: "Wow. *blinkblink* Cathy." That said with wide, surprised eyes. She certainly made her mark on me in a hurry. She is just pure evil.
My edition was deceptively thin, so I didn't realize it was over 500 pages of tiny font until I'd gotten a good start. Still, I made my way through this quicker than I expected to. Cathy was the character that I felt the strongest about, but I'm also intrigued by Caleb. He's the one who is truly struggling to be a better person. He thinks that he was born evil, yet he still tries to fight it and be good. I have much more respect for him than for Aron, who just pretended that evil didn't exist and so of course it couldn't describe him. Cal has a bit of "Jacob wrestling the angel" in him.
I find myself almost wishing that I had read this in school. There's so much to mull over and discuss here. I think my younger self would have hated the ending, and even now I wasn't immediately taken with it. But as time goes on, I keep chewing on it, thinking it over, and liking it more and more. Really, it's sneaking it's way onto a special new list I'll have in my head called "Strongest Ending to a Novel." Right now it's all alone on the list, but I'm sure I could come up with some others if I had to.
There are so many things I loved about this book. I loved the philosophical conversations between Lee and Samuel. I loved that I could follow along with them! They had a way of suddenly getting me to see something in a new light. I loved that Samuel Hamilton loved his land even though it wasn't very good, and the way he loved to invent things. I loved watching his son Tom struggle to become himself. I loved that Lee made me think about my expectations and how they affect my perceptions. I loved how Adam made me think about how we choose to either move on or not, because it is always a choice.
I highly recommend this when you're in the mood for a book that will actually make you think rather than just help you escape. We all know I love escapism, but sometimes even I need something meatier, and this certainly fit the bill.(less)
Peter Mayle and his wife finally decide to say goodbye to dreary British weather and move to sunny Provence in France. This book tells about their exp...morePeter Mayle and his wife finally decide to say goodbye to dreary British weather and move to sunny Provence in France. This book tells about their experiences living in Provence, from the colorful locals to the excellent food to the workmen who come and go like forces of nature.
This book had me ready to go on vacation in Provence. Notice that I don't say "move to Provence." I would starve. All those lovingly written descriptions of French food left me cold. I could survive for a week or two though.
Parts of this had me roaring with laughter. My favorite part was probably the goat race. Oh my gosh! I read this on one of my last nights at my old job, and let me tell you, I was doing my best to hold back my laughter while sitting around on my downtime in the emergency room, but little snickers and giggles were escaping, and I had tears rolling down my face. Not exactly the appropriate place for that, but luckily I was tucked away in my little corner, and I don't think anybody noticed. I hope.
Another of my favorite parts was the translation of the French person's body language. I'm sure it's different, but I hope this gives me a place to start in translating my Cuban father-in-laws body language. He doesn't just tell a story, he enacts it, with hands flying everywhere.
I think any homeowner can relate to the stories of the workmen. At least these guys did show up, but, wow, I don't know if that's good or bad. The Mayles did come up with an ingenious way to get them back to work though. I may have to give that a try sometime...
So there's no big, earth-shattering plot here. This still felt like a vacation in a book, and it's nice to come across those every once in a while.(less)
Do we all know the basic story of Cujo? Big, lovable St. Bernard gets rabies and goes on a rampage. That's it. Sounds so simple, and it mostly is, but...moreDo we all know the basic story of Cujo? Big, lovable St. Bernard gets rabies and goes on a rampage. That's it. Sounds so simple, and it mostly is, but King can tell one heck of a story.
Really, this was about 3.5 stars for me, but I'm rounding it up because I read it without once closing it, in one 12-hour night shift, without even thinking about getting tired. In fact, I found myself idly wandering around the office, doing things that needed to be done, holding this book in one hand and working with the other. I seriously couldn't put it down.
But it was a little weak. There was this little subplot where he tried to make the story supernatural. I thought it was silly and unnecessary. It was scarier for being something that I (in my complete ignorance of rabies) think could maybe happen, at least for a little while.
And can I go on record as saying that I hate the name Tadder? If Tad is too short for you, why not move on to Theo? Your kid will not thank you for Tadder when he's being beaten up on the playground. I'm just glad I had finished this before my husband said, "How do you know he didn't mean it to sound like tater?"
But the fact that almost all the "horror" elements take place in such a confined space with just three characters, one of whom is a St. Bernard, earns King huge points. This really should not have been a page turner, and yet it was. There is a reason the man is so popular.(less)
Shutter Island is off the coast of Massachusetts, housing an asylum for the criminally insane. As a nasty summer storm brews up, U.S. Marshals Teddy D...moreShutter Island is off the coast of Massachusetts, housing an asylum for the criminally insane. As a nasty summer storm brews up, U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule cross over to the island to search for an escaped inmate. But Teddy knows that things are not as they seem on Shutter Island.
Ho-lee crap. It's been a while since a book has messed with my head this much. Just as I thought I knew what was going on, a new revelation would come along and knock all my theories out from under me. It all ultimately made sense and brought me deeper into this world, and I have to say that I loved it. I didn't really know what was going on until the very last few pages, and I find that even after I finished it, I'm sitting here thinking, "Well, maybe it still really wasn't what it seemed..." You'll see. I bet almost everyone is surprised by this ending.
The twists and turns were the big draw of this book for me, but I loved Lehane's style. This is the first book I've read of his, but it won't be my last. Shutter Island is set in 1954, and I love the way these marshals speak to each other and so quickly establish common ground through The War. Their speech, their mannerisms, it all fit together to make them feel like real people.
If I say anymore, I'll give something away, so I'll leave it at that. I highly, highly recommend this if you like your thrillers gritty and unpredictable.(less)
Bestselling author Paul Sheldon wakes up one day to find that he's been in a car crash, his legs are shattered and he's the prisoner of Annie Wilkes,...moreBestselling author Paul Sheldon wakes up one day to find that he's been in a car crash, his legs are shattered and he's the prisoner of Annie Wilkes, his not-quite-stable "Number 1 Fan." And it only gets worse. Much worse.
I'm probably the only person in the world who hasn't seen this movie, so I didn't have much of an idea what to expect. I'm glad I was able to approach it that way. I think it made it so much worse. I mean that in a good way. Because I wasn't waiting to see when this part happened or if that part was actually in the book, I got to just take it as it came. And King kept it coming. I think I was sweating in pain with Paul and tightening up with terror, thinking, "Hurry, Paul! She's coming! SHE'S COMING!" I'm not really exaggerating. I was awfully invested in this.
And that brings us to Annie Wilkes. So, like I said, I haven't seen the movie, but she was Kathy Bates. Or Kathy was Annie. Whichever way. I can only imagine how scary and perfect Bates was in this role. But aside from that, Annie was terrifying. She had such eerily cute little sayings that she would utter as she was doing some unspeakable thing. "Cockadoodie" and "dirty birdie" immediately come to mind. So silly, but so chilling when you've read the book. She has some sort of psych problem that I'm not even going to attempt to diagnose. Whatever it was, as she started to cycle down, my muscles tightened and I started to brace myself for what was coming. It wasn't going to be pretty. And she was going to be frighteningly matter-of-fact about it. Without thinking about it too hard, she just might be one of King's scariest characters for me. That's probably because she's firmly of this world.
If you can handle the violence, I do recommend this. I was scared to death, but that's exactly what I was looking for.(less)
Miss Amelia Peabody is a confirmed spinster. Her father died and left her a comfortable inheritance and she has decided to start traveling to those an...moreMiss Amelia Peabody is a confirmed spinster. Her father died and left her a comfortable inheritance and she has decided to start traveling to those ancient sites they both loved. She acquires the lovely yet troubled Evelyn as a companion in Rome and she sets off to visit Egypt. There, she meets the Emerson brothers. Younger brother Walter is a nice lad, but the older Emerson? Has a towering temper. The group accidentally fall in together and begin investigating some mysterious appearances around the Emersons' archaeological dig.
I loved Amelia! In real life, I would probably chafe against her decisiveness and take-charge attitude, but safely on the page, she was great! She just ignores facts, people or attitudes that don't fit with what she's trying to do and goes about her business of leading everyone around. Fortunately, she's an intelligent woman, so her plans generally do work out for the best. Of course, she has a good heart under her tough exterior, and I was glad to see her friendship with Evelyn softening her up a little bit. I do love how she writes about Emerson. She calls him a big, hard-headed, stubborn bully every chance she gets, but when she gets close to him, she physically melts a little every time. She admits to it in her writing in moments of softness, then she goes on her merry way, arguing with him again.
Emerson was great too. I didn't feel like I got to know him quite as well as I would have liked in this first book of a series, but he's a good match for Amelia. He's just as stubborn, but he's also passionate about archaeology and quietly yet fiercely loyal. Amelia exasperates him to no end, but he acknowledges her as an equal companion.
The mystery part was not that great, and that's the biggest reason this got knocked down a star. I knew who and why, I just wasn't clear on how it fit together.
I had a lot of fun reading this and recommend it if you're looking for a character-driven light read. I giggled pretty frequently throughout the book, and I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series.(less)
The Lies of Locke Lamora was a hugely fun tale of a group of con artists called The Gentlemen Bastards and their lives in Camorr, a fantasy version of...moreThe Lies of Locke Lamora was a hugely fun tale of a group of con artists called The Gentlemen Bastards and their lives in Camorr, a fantasy version of Venice.
I'm going to say right out that I actually struggled a little with this, and that says more about my attention span at the moment than it does about the book. Locke and his group of friends are fantastically funny and amazingly great at what they do. Some of their antics just left me in admiration at the sheer *ahem* balls of what they pull off. I would read and think, "Oh, no. They aren't. Oh, yes. They are. I can't believe these guys!" And then I would frequently shake my head in admiration or burst into (mostly) silent gales of laughter. And then I would tell my husband, "You won't believe what The Gentlemen Bastards just did!" like they were real people I was talking about. Well, take out the "Gentlemen" part and he probably would have thought I was talking about a couple of people at work. :-) But anyway... The witty dialog was actually witty and layered and pointed in so many ways that I still wouldn't swear that I got it all, and I was supposed to know what was going on! Again--that's me, not the book.
But it wasn't all lighthearted scams and tricks, and there were times that I was so upset with the direction that the story took, I could have thrown the book against the wall. And that's all I'll say about that.
I feel like I have to throw this in here. If you're offended by language, skip this one. I didn't think it was that bad, but I'm fairly tolerant of that kind of thing. There were parts that were pretty violent too.
But for a rip-roaring tale of adventure, thievery, more double-crosses than you can keep up with, smartass characters that you actually end up caring about, and brilliantly engineered scams, go ahead and pick this up. Just make sure that your attention span is up for the challenge.(less)
I used this to plan my recent trip to San Francisco. Apparently, there is a newer edition out, which I didn't realize, but this is the one my local B&N...moreI used this to plan my recent trip to San Francisco. Apparently, there is a newer edition out, which I didn't realize, but this is the one my local B&N had shelved.
I felt like I learned a lot that I need to know before heading out to the city. The hotel I picked based on the books recommendation was very noisy though. I wish that had been mentioned somewhere. Some admission fees had increased (a lot in some cases), some hours had changed, and the one restaurant that we went to based on the dining recs had closed. This might all be fixed in the newest edition, but I did read this wishing that Rick Steves did American tour guides. It got us where we were going and we had a good time. What more can you really ask for?(less)