Book Review–Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) by Stephen King

brvws14

 

This is the 85th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) by Stephen King
Published September 24, 2013 by Scribner

 

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

 

 

——

 

So I had a kind of long review going on and then my computer decided to turn off without warning. So I’m going to summarize my initial thoughts because there is no way I am re-writing all that.

The beginning started off strong, got a little boring/slow, and then went to being awesome and exciting not too far from the halfway point. So if you start to feel the story is getting boring, keep going!

The character development was very strong. I originally didn’t care much for grown up Dan, but ended up loving him by the end. Abra is probably my favorite “good” character, though I also liked Billy Freeman, too. Most of the villains were also well written and had a likable edge despite their awful actions. I especially liked Rose the Hat and Snakebite Andi.

There’s some neat twists in the book. I especially liked the twist with “the baseball boy.” The final battle scene isn’t nearly as anti-climatic as a scene from earlier, but still very enjoyable. Also loved the guest character who makes an appearance.

The ending was so incredibly sweet that it brought tears to my eyes.

Overall, a wonderful sequel to the original. Would definitely recommend to horror fans, Stephen King fans, and especially <i>Shining</i> fans. I’d love to see a movie adaptation just to get a better picture of the characters, especially the True Knot ones.

Make sure to check out the beautiful illustrations that are in an out-of-print version by Vincent Chong: http://www.brianjamesfreeman.com/2013/05/11/doctor-sleep-by-stephen-king-color-artwork-by-vincent-chong/

 

3halfstars

 

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Hell House by Richard Matheson

brvws14

 

I will be skipping Book vs. Movie posts until next year. Thank you for your patience.

This is the 84th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Hell House by Richard Matheson
Published 1971

 

Can any soul survive?


Regarded as the Mount Everest of haunted houses, Belasco House has witnessed scenes of almost unimaginable horror and depravity. Two previous expeditions to investigate its secrets met with disaster, the participants destroyed by murder, suicide or insanity. Now a new investigation has been mounted – four strangers, each with his or her own reason for daring the unknown torments and temptations of the mansion..

 

——

 

Hell House is a novel that gets a lot of praise from horror masters and fans, so I was excited to read this, but tried very hard not to get my hopes up after my last two horror disappointments.

While I was somewhat disappointed, it was much better than the previous novels I read. The beginning hooked me in, though the story seemed to drag a bit toward the middle. However, it quickly picks back up almost crazily. The final confrontation and ending were disappointing, though.

Character wise, I only really liked one of the characters, and of course they ended up being one of the house’s victims. I felt really awful for that character, too. The other three were kind of boring and I found myself not really caring what happened to them.

Not recommended for the faint of heart or those who dislike graphic gory and sexual scenes. There’s some pretty messed up things going on in this book.

Overall, I liked it, though. Definitely one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read, though.

 

3stars

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Lost Boy Lost Girl by Peter Straub

brvws14

 

 

This is the 83rd book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Lost Boy Lost Girl by Peter Straub
  October 7th, 2003 by Random House (NY)

 

Nancy Underhill commits suicide for no apparent reason. A week later, her son — fifteen-year-old Mark — vanishes. The boy’s uncle, novelist Timothy Underhill, searches his hometown of Millhaven for clues that might help unravel this horrible dual mystery. He soon learns that a pedophilic murderer is on the loose in the vicinity, and that shortly before Nancy’s suicide, Mark had become obsessed with an abandoned house where he imagined the killer might have taken refuge.

 

No mere empty building, the house whispers from basement to attic with the echoes of a long hidden true-life horror story, and Tim comes to fear that in investigating its unspeakable history, Mark stumbled across its last and greatest secret: a ghostly lost girl who may have coaxed the needy, suggestible boy into her mysterious domain.

 

——

 

Words can not express how much I am happy to be finished with this book.

I don’t think Peter Straub is for me. I’m not sure why he’s considered a “master of horror.” I certainly expected more, especially with Stephen King vouching for him. Stephen King’s cover blurb proclaimed “May be the best book of his career!” If that’s the case, I’m seriously doubting whether I want to attempt any more of Straub’s works, though I’ve really wanted to read Julia and possibly Shadowland.

While I did manage to trudge through this one, unlike the awful Ghost Story, I still didn’t enjoy reading it. I wanted to give up at several points, but I really hate not giving a book a chance. Sadly this one didn’t do anything for me.

Straub’s writing is excessively wordy and often doesn’t come across as realistic, particularly when involving teenagers. I also didn’t care for any of the one dimensional characters. The story was “okay” but progressed so slowly that I was bored to tears. The “ghost” story fell flat, though the setting and history was pretty interesting.

There were a few parts in which things got interesting, only for me to get dragged back into boredom once again. Would not recommend and wondering if I should give up on Peter Straub’s work. 1.5 stars, only because it was slightly better than Ghost Story.

 

1halfstar

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

brvws14

 

 

This is the 82nd book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published January 1st, 2014 by Delacorte Press

 A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

 

 

——

 

I really wanted to love this one. Most of my reader friends have this highly rated. But as hard as I tried, it just wasn’t happening.

It didn’t happen since page one. I didn’t care for the writing in general, though a few pretty lines and neat descriptions stuck out. The main character was difficult to connect with. I now get that she’s supposed to be a mess, but as a result it made the entire story kind of a mess for me to care about.

I actually didn’t care for anyone much in this book, so when the final “twist” came about, I wasn’t nearly as shocked as I should have been. The dogs, though…that got to me. Cadence’s relationship with Gat didn’t sweep me off my feet. Neither did her close friendships with her cousins.

The twist was probably the most interesting thing about this book. The rest of it seemed to drag on, making me wonder on several occasions what the point of this book was and where the story was. Most of the time Cadence and her self-righteous attitude just grated on my nerves. The setting is pretty neat, though–gotta give it that.

Just not for me, but had potential.

 

2halfstars

 

 

jncname

Book Recommendation: Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

br14

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Last week I did a book vs movie post with Skipping Christmas/Christmas with the Kranks. I’d totally forgotten about this one, but I definitely recommend reading Skipping Christmas, especially if you liked the movie Christmas with the Kranks.

If you’re looking for a fun Christmas read, Skipping Christmas might be a great book to check out.

 

Intrigued?

 

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences – and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.
 

 

jncname

Book Review–Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

brvws14

 

 

This is the 81st book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater
Published July 1st, 2014 by Scholastic Press

 

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?

 

 

——

 

I kind of forgot about this book coming out, but when I saw it at the library last week, I snatched it right up. I enjoyed the Wolves of Mercy Falls series pretty well and loved Isabel and Cole. This book focuses on them. I wanted to love this one, but unfortunately that didn’t end up being the case.

The relationship of Isabel and Cole was pretty good. I also loved the addition of new characters, such as Leon and Jeremy. The new setting was cool, too.

However, the series is supposed to be about werewolves. Not much of that going on here, minus one small scene and then other small instances that we’re mostly left to wonder about. I’m not the biggest werewolf fan ever, but it seemed strange to kind of go around the topic in a book series about werewolves?

The other problem was the plot. It just really seemed to drag once I got to the halfway point.

Probably not something I’d re-read, but it was nice to see the conclusion of these two considering how the last book ended. Recommended for fans of the series, but if you’re expecting to see as much wolf action as in the previous books, you’re going to be disappointed.

 

3stars

 

 

jncname

 

Book Review–The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle

brvws14

 

 

This is the 80th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle
Published September 14th 2010 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

 

Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy. He is a savage little creature, but the Yorkshire moors harbor far worse, as Tabby soon discovers. The ghost of the last maid will not leave Tabby in peace, yet this spirit is only one of many. Why do scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House with a jealous devotion that extends beyond the grave?

As Tabby struggles to escape the evil forces rising out of the land, she watches her young charge choose a different path. He is determined to keep Seldom House as his own. Though Tabby tries to befriend the uncouth urchin, her kindness cannot alter his fate. Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the boy who will become Heathcliff has doomed himself and any who try to befriend him.

 

 

 

——

This book is geared more toward middle grade though I found in the Young Adult section, but I decided to read on. The cover is what drew me, though the synopsis sounded interesting. And although I personally hated Wuthering Heights, I decided to read it anyway.

This was one of those books that took me a while to get through, even though it’s short in length. The author failed to hook me at the beginning and I just felt “meh” about the entire story and most of the characters.

The only character I truly liked was Himself. The main character, Tabby, got on my nerves. She was so self-righteous that I wanted to strangle her most of the time. While her faith did eventually come in handy, I still didn’t care for her.

And while the illustrations before each chapter are kind of creepy, this book wasn’t as creepy as I was expecting. The plot near the end made little sense to me, especially concerning the tie to Wuthering Heights.

Not the worst book I’ve ever read, but I don’t plan on ever re-reading it nor recommending. Could have been better.

 

1halfstar

 

 

jncname

 

Book Review–Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

brvws14

 

 

This is the 79th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
Published in 1967

 

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor-husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.

As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavet’s circle is not what it seems.

 

 

——

I saw the movie first, so it was a little hard not to picture the Rosemary from the movie. Didn’t have that problem with the others as it’s been a year since I’ve seen it.

The movie was good, if somewhat trippy at times. The book was even better. Though the book is definitely dated, Ira Levin has a lovely writing style. I felt bad enough for Rosemary in the movie. I felt even worse for her in the book.

Very enjoyable though also deeply disturbing. I’m not sure if it’s because I knew what was going to happen (because the movie proved to be very faithful to the book), but the atmosphere was creepy and unsettling. I do think even if I had no idea what was going to happen next, I would still feel uneasy.

Definitely recommended. The ending worked better for the book, too. Will definitely check out more of the author’s works.

 

4stars

 

 

 

jncname

 

Book Review–The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

brvws14

 

 

This is the 78th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Published in 1959

 

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror.

It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

 

——

This was another Stephen King recommendation. I love Stephen King and am glad he was inspired, but lately it seems I don’t really enjoy any of his recommendations.I was really excited to read this one, especially since I’d heard great things about The Lottery, which I still intend to read one day.

As for Hill House, it was really just “okay” to me. The writing style was a bit difficult to get into at first–really long sentences and almost excessive punctuation–but once I did, the book moved along fairly fast. I didn’t fall in love with her writing or the story, but it also isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read, either.

I’ve seen the 1999 version of the movie, which I actually remember liking. I couldn’t help but picture the characters from that movie even though they didn’t much mirror them in the book. As far as the book goes, I didn’t care much for any of the characters. Theo came off as being overly harsh, the doctor’s wife was beyond annoying, as was her partner Arthur, and Luke was drab. The only characters I could tolerate was the doctor, and for the most part, Eleanor.

The atmosphere is creepy, but there’s not much of a haunted house story. Half the time things happened I was confused at what was exactly going on since it’s vaguely explained most of the time. I also found the dialogue to be really odd. Not sure if this was how they spoke back then or if all of the characters were mad.

The saving points of the book was the scene where Eleanor believes she is holding Theo’s hand, the actual journey to Hill House, and the next-to-last scene before the climax. As for the ending, I’m not sure what to think. It was definitely brash and unexpected, but also kind of left me hanging.

Overall this is something I would never read again and don’t agree that it is a great haunted house story. I will continue on my quest to find one.

 

2stars

 

 

jncname

 

What I’m Working On: December 2014

wiwo14

 

Since finishing Our Reasons, I really haven’t been working on anything new. I do have some tentative plans for 2015, though. With Christmas and everything, I probably won’t work on anything until it’s over. I might not even work on anything until January. I’ll just have to see how things go.

 

Here’s my tentative goals for early 2015:

 January:

* Begin editing Our Reasons

February:

*If time, write UnSeen Cupid as a short story for Valentine’s Day

* Finish (hopefully) editing Our Reasons by Feb. 20

*Submit Our Reasons for Pitch Madness on Feb. 23

*Submit Our Reasons to Swoon Reads if Pitch Madness is unsuccessful.

*Work on the beginning of Whispertown

March:

*Re-submit Whispertown to PitMad on March 11

 

My basic plan for 2015 is to mostly edit. I want to have more options for querying as well as submitting to contests. I will probably also start querying for Whispertown again after I have strengthened the beginning (tips I got from agents who were interested).

 

Since I have no plans to work on anything for the rest of this month, I will probably be skipping these posts until the new year.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway! Like my Facebook page and this post (or you can comment if you would like) to win a $25 gift card to any bookstore of your choice! Winner will be picked at random through a Rafflecopter app.

 

jncname

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 310 other followers