Tag: Stephen King

Review: IT – Stephen King

How does anyone even go about reviewing such a mammoth book as this? It is something I have been thinking about for a few days now. After much deliberation, I decided that much like George Denborough, I was just going to get dragged into it somehow…

IT clown
I won’t give up my day job, I promise. I’ll just crack on with the review, shall I…?

IT
GoodReads – IT

It was the children who saw – and feel – what made the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread.

Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as it stirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

 

The year is 1985. The residents of Derry have lived in peace for the last 27 years. When IT awakes once more, the town slips into quiet unease. IT feeds off fear. Lurking in the shadows and manifesting as the beholders worst nightmare, it manipulates the wild imaginations of children, using it to terrorise and murder them.

After the death of his brother George in late 1957, Bill Denborough and his friends Beverly, Ben, Eddie, Mike, Stan and Richie unite against the monster in the sewers and somehow make it out alive. 27 years later, Mike Hanlon watches the death toll begin to rise once again and tries to reason against the truth. Eventually, he makes good his promise made all those years before: if IT came back, then he and his friends had to go back and kill IT for good.

If there is anyone out there who doesn’t know, this book is incredibly long. The edition I read was precisely 1,376 pages. Not only is this the longest book I have read ever, but I also managed to read it in just about two weeks! I was quite impressed I will admit. The next longest book I have read is War & Peace (which I also read this year). This is a few hundred pages shorter but still tops over a thousand. This also took me two weeks to read. Not bad going, in my book.

IT’s length is probably a turn-off for a lot of people, but I genuinely think that the length is necessary. I’d like to explain why.

A person’s way of thinking, their experience, history and relationship with fear is very personal. In order for the reader to get under the skin of each of the seven characters of this story, we had to learn an awful lot about them.

I absolutely agree that there is a lot of description and back story before we get to any real point of hair-raising action and from what I have read, some people aren’t so fond of that. I don’t think I could truly have invested into the characters without it.

That’s not to say I loved each and every one of the characters all the time; there were moments I liked and disliked them.

I loved Beverly when she fought and left her abusive husband to go to Derry and make good on her promise. That isn’t to say I understand why she would have tolerated that in the first place, exactly. Well, I do; she says as much herself that she married her father (not literally, but her father was violent towards her  child-self). I’m saying, having blessedly not grown up with that, I don’t understand because I would never tolerate that behaviour towards me. Just a word of warning, lads.

“You pay for what you get, you own what you pay for… and sooner or later whatever you own comes back home to you.”

IT – Stephen King

I cannot praise this book highly enough for the way it was written. King really does know how to draw you in as a reader. It is his realistic portrayal of characters that I love best about his writing.The perspective of the book frequently changes between time periods, especially so at the end, but manages to achieve this seamlessly.

Naturally, each of the characters has changed dramatically during a quarter of a century, but the consistency of the character’s mindset and attitudes to the respective timeframe (and to their background) is spot on.

The timeline of events for each “period” is also frequently discussed and this also seemingly consistent.
I have already mentioned the manner in which the book splits between the time periods of 1958 and 1985. One of the effective techniques King uses to maintain suspense is by slowly unveiling the events of the first encounter in 1958 by having trigger events in 1985 prompt each character to recover memories of IT.

It is entirely possible, when an individual experiences a traumatic event, for the mind to repress these memories as a coping strategy.

Therefore, not only does each of these small revelations keep the reader engaged with the story, but it also has a psychological foundation.

As events unfold in 1985 we simultaneously re-live the first encounter with IT. Whilst we have glimpses of the end of their troubles in 1958, we only learn the detail of their duel with the devil at the same time as when they go back that second (and hopefully last) time. The last few hundred pages flew for me. I also have no nails left. Literally.

I’m going to be honest and say that I didn’t find the book “scary”. Of course, it is unpleasant to read about children being murdered and vulnerable people being manipulated into committing heinous acts. What I am saying is this, I didn’t lose any sleep from reading it. The majority of fears experienced and again re-lived as adults are the fears of children – the dark, clowns, werewolves and the school bully, for instance. Whilst the book absolutely lives up to the genre of horror, I wasn’t uncomfortable reading it.

Despite the genre of the book, I found it had some lovely, positive notes that could be taken away from it; for example, the power of friendship. Here is one of my favourite quotes by way of an example:-

“Maybe there aren’t any such things as good friends or bad friends – maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you’re hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they’re always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for too, if that’s what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.”

IT – Stephen King

 

Emotions like fear, anguish, anger and despair are what makes us human. But what also make us human is our ability to hope, to dream and to believe.

Would you rather live having never experienced emotion?

I say give me the good, the bad and the ugly – after all, they say that it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.
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Sunday Summary – 22 October 2017

Aren’t the weeks just flying by?! I cannot believe it is Sunday already… AGAIN!
It really will be Christmas before we know it!! (Don’t hurt me for pointing out the unequivocal truth – honestly, it’s sneaking up on me too!)
To get away from that slightly depressing thought, let’s talk about books instead!
 

Books Read

IT
This week has once again been dedicated to making my way through IT by Stephen King. When I prepared my Sunday Summary post last week I set myself the challenge of trying to get the book read by today. This week has presented a few interruptions to my usual reading time, so had you asked me yesterday if I was going to achieve my target, I would have said no.
I managed to catch up yesterday though (I read over 200 pages as well as all the housework, washing and other Saturday jobs) so now I have about 155 pages left to read until the end. It’s a new day and I’m going to push myself to get it finished. It’ll be a relief not to have to carry it around anymore! Plus the paperback cover has suffered a little having been carried around, but I knew it was going to happen. I just have to remind myself it shows the book is well loved every time I start crying on the inside.
 

Books Discovered

I have been very good this week – for me! Yes, I still bought a book.
A Plague of Giants
I saw a pre-release review for this book and I knew instantly I wanted it, so I bought it on release date, 19th October. I mentioned in my Sunday Summary on the 8th October that I had added it to the list – but now I can officially celebrate owning a copy!!
That is literally it for this section this week. It feels like a ghost town. I’ve been so absorbed in reading I think to even look for anything new. Not that I need to exactly, my TBR well and truly testifies that.
 

Coming Up…

Normally I would post a review on Tuesday. Whilst I am on track to get IT finished by then, I think my review would be rushed if I dived in straight away. Therefore I am changing up my schedule a bit! I feel like I am always talking about books I love, so on Tuesday, I am going to be publishing a “Top Ten” post featuring books I was disappointed with. My review of IT is going to be published on Friday – I haven’t even finished the book yet and I am already looking forward to sharing my thoughts on it!
My review of IT is going to be published on Friday – I haven’t even finished the book yet and I am already looking forward to sharing my thoughts on it!
As always I’ll be rounding up the week on Sunday – and hopefully, I’ll have a bit more to talk about next week!
What have you been reading?
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Reading List – October 2017

October is nearly upon us!! Where has this year gone? I think back to when I started this blog back at the end of April and it seems like it was yesterday. Well, not quite, but you get the picture…
I normally publish my reading list on the first of every month, however as I don’t want this post to interfere with my Sunday summary post, I have decided to publish this list a couple of days early!
I’m not making my life very easy next month because I am setting myself a mammoth challenge. I have two ARC’s to read plus an additional three books. I know this is less than my September reading list, but take a look at which books I am reading and perhaps you’ll understand…
 

1  The Kitsune in the Lantern – Daniel Curry

The Kitsune in the Lantern
GoodReads – The Kitsune in the Lantern

“You were chosen by Yako, the bringer of Darkness.”
Join Argus Todd and his friends as he uncovers a great power exploring an old ruin, that has stood for decades in his town.
Inari, an age-old Kitsune must train Argus in his new gifts, in order to stop the chaotic Yako from bringing the darkness to our world.
But Yako appears a complex character, and all may not be as it seems…
Debut novella from author Daniel Curry, for Children and Teens. Experience the magic of the power of the Kitsune in this first book of a brand new series.

I am very kindly being provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book is marketed as for children / YA and it should make for an interesting read! This is Daniel Curry’s debut book release… so watch this space – a review to follow.
 

2  The War Queen – J M Robison

The War Queen
GoodReads – The War Queen

Altarn is the first woman to hold the position of State Head in Blindvar. When Lord Kaelin, State Head of Ruidenthall, propositions her to merger with their states, Altarn believes it’s his subtle way of taking her state for his own, making himself king. On the cusp of war, she rides in disguise to her last ally, Luthsinia, to ask for help.
During her journey, Altarn is ambushed but rescued by a man called Torren who offers her protection. Quickly they realize they share a mutual attraction. Upon their arrival to Luthsinia, Altarn receives news that an army has invaded Blindvar in her absence and blames Kaelin. Except it’s not Kaelin’s army, because she discovers Kaelin is in Luthsinia for the purpose of spying on her to take her land. And Torren is not who she thought he was.
Taking advantage of the unraveling situation, Kaelin kidnaps Altarn so he can take her state without her in the way and brings her to Ruidenthall. There’s a war ship on the horizon, led by a fallen angel craving mortal worship. Kaelin realizes he needs Altarn’s help to fight this army if he’s to save his state. She’s forced to agree, but how will she react when he’s wounded in battle? If she lets him die, can she fight the enemy on her own? Or if she saves his life, will he still try claiming her state, or try claiming her heart?

This is the second ARC I have been kindly provided with and will be reading this month. Not only is the genre of this book right up my street, having read the first chapter online this looks to be full of promise and I cannot wait to read it!!
 

3  IT – Stephen King

IT
GoodReads – IT

It was the children who saw – and feel – what made the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread.
Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as it sirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

So… now you guys might have realised what I meant by my mammoth challenge this month. For anyone who is unaware, this book is HUGE. In fact it is 1,376 pages long, and once completed, it will trump War & Peace at being the longest book I have read a) this year, b) all-time.
No pressure…
 

4  The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings
GoodReads – The Way of Kings

Speak again the ancient oaths,
Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

And return to men the Shards they once bore.
The Knights Radiant must stand again.

Roshar is a world of stone swept by tempests that shape ecology and civilization. Animals and plants retract; cities are built in shelter. In centuries since ten orders of Knights fell, their Shardblade swords and Shardplate armor still transform men into near-invincible warriors. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.
In one such war on the ruined Shattered Plains, slave Kaladin struggles to save his men and fathom leaders who deem them expendable, in senseless wars where ten armies fight separately against one foe.
Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Fascinated by the ancient text namedThe Way of Kings and troubled by visions of ancient times, he doubts his sanity.
Across the ocean, Shallan trains under eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece Jasnah. Though Shallan genuinely loves learning, she plans a daring theft. Her research hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

In the Down the TBR Hole post I published yesterday, I announced the little spoiler that there would be a Brandon Sanderson book featuring on this month’s TBR, and here it is. I haven’t read any of his books for so long, and this was personally recommended to be by a friend, so I felt it was time to pick up one of his books again.
 

5  The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

The Black Prism
GoodReads – The Black Prism

THE BLACK PRISM begins an action-packed tale of magic and adventure . . .
Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.
When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

If I’m completely honest, I will be delighted if I get to start this book by the end of October, never mind finish it. It’s not that it can’t be done… but it will be a big push. I added it onto the list to try to motivate myself to push through any difficult periods, but as to whether it will work or not remains yet to be seen.
Brent Weeks is another author I haven’t read for a long time. Back when I read the Night Angel series, The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows, I fell in love with his writing so I’m looking forward to picking this book up. It’s been on the TBR FOREVER!!!
What books are you reading at the moment?
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Special Post – My favourite books!

Hi everyone!!
At the time you are reading this I am probably running into as many shops as physically possible, dragging my mum in tow, before our shopping trip has to come to an inevitable end. *sigh* Admittedly, I’ll probably be just as knackered too!
In my absence I didn’t want to see you disappointed, so I have prepared a post featuring two of my favourite books/series – the first being my favourite book out of the selection I have read this year so far and secondly, my favourite series of all-time. Let’s get started!!
 

Favourite Book of the Year

When I decided this was the kind of post I was going to be writing I knew exactly which book I was going to be featuring in this section.
I love books that tackle major issues in society and challenge our views, be that past or present. Whilst today I would LIKE to think there is far less discrimination going on than in the 1930’s, truthfully that’s not the case. Instead of hatred being aimed at individuals based on race, today religious discrimination is huge. I don’t condone it at all. I can understand why people might come to the conclusion that all individuals of a minority group behave in the same way as a select few that do end up on the news, having committed awful acts or crimes, but if you do this, you are wrong.
We should not tar 99% of the population of the minority group with the same brush as the 1% of individuals who take the views of their religion to the extreme. That isn’t fair. If you stop to take a look you will find that that remaining 99% are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Seriously.
Let’s think of it another way and use another common misconception to bring this a little closer to home. British holiday makers are often accused of being drunken troublemakers. I have absolutely no doubt that in holiday resorts a large percentage of the drunk and disorderly individuals arrested are British. Yep. That’s not to say ALL British are drunks. I can count on one hand the number of times I have had a drink this year, and if I had to have a finger cut off for the number of hangovers I have had, I would still have all of them.
Now I’ve gotten that little rant over with, I can tell you which book it is that has really made me feel so passionately about this.
Green Mile
Yes folks, it’s The Green Mile by Stephen King. If anyone is interested in reading my review of this book, it can be found here.
 

Favourite Book(s) – All-time

So, having thought about this I truthfully cannot pin this down to one book, but rather a series. It’s probably a predictable answer as well, but it’s the truth!!
My favourite series of all time has to be the A Song of Ice and Fire series, better known as A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin!

Whilst I have other books that I have rated five stars over the years, this is the only series I have gone back to read again in it’s entirety (as much as possible anyway). I found it amazing that upon reading the first book again, it’s actually quite easy to understand. Thankfully, the plot building and diverging happens gradually so as not to throw you into the deep end of a pit of sharks… not immediately at least!
I don’t know what else I can add other than that series is amazing (and I’m obviously not the only one to think so!) and that I can’t wait for the next book.
No really, I can’t. Not only that, we are potentially having to wait until 2019 for the final season to air on TV?! I’m going to have to find another TV or book series as a crutch to keep me going until then!!
What is your favourite book or series? Do you agree with me, or do you have another?
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Sunday Summary – 10 September 2017

Good afternoon!! Here’s wishing you a great weekend here from our not-so-sunny little Island today.
Without any further preamble, here is how I have been getting on so far this week:-

Books I Have Read


I haven’t gotten as far as I would have liked on the reading front this week. I finished Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett on Tuesday night, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was the first book on my TBR for September. I then started American Gods by Neil Gaiman on Wednesday. In order for me to keep on track with my reading goal I need to finish a book, on average, every six days. Today is day five of reading American Gods and so far I’m only at 57%.
When I started this book I was advised that it is the kind of book you probably need to read again to be able to understand/appreciate it a bit more. If anyone ever tries to tell you this book isn’t peculiar and easy to follow.. they are lying to you. It’s perfectly readable, don’t get me wrong. I personally find it’s one of those books where you read a bit, then make yourself a cup of tea. Read a bit, sort out some washing. Read a bit more. You get the picture. I need to take breaks to digest what is going on in order to continue, and that’s taking time. I’m actually a couple of books ahead of schedule at the moment so no need to panic about taking a bit more time, but it’s a little frustrating.
Up until the beginning of this month I was under the impression I was about four books ahead of schedule – it was only when I was going through the books I have read this year I found GoodReads had chucked in a couple of duplicates for good measure. Oops. Better to find out now than on the 31st December I suppose!!
 

Discovered Books


I was reasonably well behaved again this week and only bought one book, on offer for £1.99! I subscribe to daily emails to notify me of discounted books and I came across Killing Floor by Lee Child, the first of the Jack Reacher novels. Lee Child is one of those authors for whom I have seen loads of books around but never really known much about him or his work. My mum, being one of the fonts of all knowledge in my life mentioned that her dad, my grandad used to read the Jack Reacher novels. At the time I thought about adding this first one to the list but I’ll admit I forgot. When I read the email telling me it was discounted, I figured even if I didn’t like it I may as well find out and get to know what my grandad used to like reading.
I also added a couple of books to the TBR without actually buying them yet, being After the Fire, by Will Hill, The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver, Carrie by Stephen King and Sleeping Beauties, a collaboration between Stephen King and his son Owen.
Also, following on from my post on Friday, Down the TBR Hole #4, I have added the books I decided to keep to my list. The five books I featured this time were mostly books I was interested in keeping – in fact I only discarded one.

One of the simple facts of life is that a reader is always going to have a stack of books they want to read. There is no such thing as the “end of the pile” unless you are physically picking it up to put another book on the bottom. There is no end of the tunnel – that light you can really see is just for maintenance purposes. As much as this is the case, that is exactly how we want things. Much like that tub of ice cream hidden from everybody else in the freezer, you continue to eat it but really you don’t want to have to be scraping out the sides at the end of the tub.
One of my favourite things about blogging is getting to see what everybody else is reading. At least fifty percent of the books I add to my list are as a result of looking at other people’s reading lists or reviews, so thank you to everybody for sharing. I am proud to be a part of this community and I hope I can inspire other people to read the books I am too.
 

Coming Up…

As I mentioned above I finished reading Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett on Tuesday and I will be publishing my review of the book on Tuesday next week. My next post will be on Friday and I am doing something a little different. You may have noticed that I am beginning to post on a regular basis now. Equally, you probably haven’t. That’s fine – you’ll just have to take my assurance that I am. My post on Friday will be explaining how I am managing my reading and my blog, as well as any other reading/writing projects I am doing. On Sunday (it will creep around again far too quickly) I will be giving you another summary of my week.
Just one final note from me before I sign off – whilst I haven’t had an overly productive reading week, yesterday I managed to finish my first draft of a short story I am looking to enter into a competition! That’s one little victory for me. I’m exploring a re-write with a different (and I think better ending), so that’s my next little project. I have until the 15th October to submit the story, but I’m not sure if the re-write will be ready in time. I have some time off work this month, so I can only try.
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Review: Pet Sematary – Stephen King

I don’t wish to tempt fate and speak too early on the matter – but with this book I think Stephen King has made a fantastic introduction of the horror genre to me.

I realise I was wrong to exclude the genre from my reading preferences. Truth be told – I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I have mentioned on several occasions now how I dislike poorly made horror films made with an awful plot just to get you to jump out of your skin and hide behind the sofa. My dislike of these films is not because they scare me… in fact the problem is just the opposite. They are so predictable it’s not even funny.

If I ever watch anything remotely in the genre of horror, I prefer a psychological thriller with sophisticated plot twists. As it happens I don’t really watch much TV at the moment anyway – much less films.

I should have known I would be getting better than the equivalent of a budget blockbuster with Stephen King. I openly apologise now and admit I was wrong – this book was fantastic!

Pet Sematary

GoodReads – Pet Sematary

When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son-and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly car. But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth-more terrifying than death itself-and hideously more powerful. The Creeds are going to learn that sometimes dead is better.

 

My Thoughts…

Death is always going to be a difficult topic to discuss – yet inevitably a fact of life is that one day it comes to an end. As to when that day is, I pray I never have to know when my time is up. I have had my fair share of experience with grief. I am only young, yet in my lifetime I have watched five family members make their final journey. Almost all of those were premature. At the age of 22 I have no living grandparents – the first of which died when I was 8. I barely had anytime to get to know her. Equally, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 99 and didn’t want to make it to her 100th birthday. How different we all are.

When the Creed’s moved to Maine, little did they know what lay in the woods nearby. After welcoming them to the town their neighbour Jud leads them up the tended path to the cemetery. Little did the Creed’s realise the power it had.

On his first day at work as a physician at the local university, Louis loses his first patient within minutes…but that’s not the last he sees of Victor, however. The cemetery and Victor haunt his dreams with a foreboding warning – never to go beyond the deadfall.

During the Christmas period whilst Rachel, Ellie and Gage are away visiting family, the family cat has an unfortunate accident. Knowing how devastated Ellie would be, Louis ignores Victor’s warning received months before and follows Jud beyond the “Pet Sematary” tended by the generations of children of Ludlow and Winston Churchill, or Church for short, is buried in the darkness of night.

The next day and much to the surprise of Louis, Church comes back… though not quite the same as before. Cats can be creepy anyway, but imagine having an undead cat stalking around your house like it owns the place…

As it happens, the cat turns out to be the last of the Creed’s worries.

As the plot begins to unfold with the book, you realise what is going to happen. I cannot dispute that as much as this is my pet peeve with some other exhibits within the horror genre, this was written exceedingly well and very delicately. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who has neither read the book or seen the film adaptation made, but what was more important was how events were going to play out. The pace of the book throughout suited the narration. As the plot unravels the suspension builds to the end yet doesn’t drag beyond necessary. It could be very easy to make a reader impatient waiting for the big moment, the make or break; the do or die.

Louis’ perspective was remarkably believable. It was easy to slip into his shoes and see the world from his point of view. Even though he is an unreliable narrator, his perspective is relevant to his circumstances. It is easy to justify his actions, almost to the point of reason. Almost. Equally chilling to me is Ellie’s awareness of what is going on. She dreams of Church’s death the night it happens. Victor also visits Ellie’s nightmares when his warning is ignored and Louis is on the path to destruction. The poor child can do nothing about it. They say that children are more perceptive and some can see ghosts. That thought currently isn’t making me feel any better.

I think Stephen King handled the theme very well. Is death easier to cope with if you knew that things would never be the same? Would it be worth the risk? Having read this I certainly wouldn’t meddle with it – even if coping with such a loss is heartbreaking, it is better to keep your memories sacrosanct and untarnished.

Sunday Summary

Sundays come around far too quickly and today is no exception! The only bonus is that tomorrow is a bank holiday here (yay!)
The Sunday Summary is a post I am going to be submitting weekly from now on to let you guys know how I am getting on, what I have been reading throughout the week, tell you about books I have discovered and added to the never ending TBR pile and lastly,  what to expect coming up in the following week.
 

Books I have Read

Following on from last Sunday I finished Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory on Monday night; the review for this book I posted on Friday and can be found here. If anyone is interested in historical fiction I would highly recommend reading this book, as it gives background to the beginnings of the Wars of the Roses without too much nitty gritty detail.
On Tuesday I began reading Extracted by R R Haywood, a science fiction book based on the concept of time travel. I haven’t read any science fiction for a while so this made a refreshing change! I am yet to post the review for this book, but it will be coming your way on Tuesday so keep your eyes out for that if you would like to hear my thoughts.
As well as finishing Extracted on Friday night I also started reading the eagerly anticipated Pet Sematary by Stephen King. I can happily hold my hands up and say I have never read anything in the realms of the horror genre before and so far, being approximately half way through the book I am not disappointed. With Stephen King as the author I didn’t think I would be, but you can never be sure until you try. The review for this book will also be published in the near future and I hope you can check it out.
 

Discovered Books

I have added a lot of books to the TBR pile this week. It’s no wonder I don’t stand a chance of ever seeing the pile in a manageable state (and preferably less than 100 books – next joke!).
This week is quite rare in that I have acquired a number of physical books. The majority of books I purchase are on kindle due to cost and convenience of being able to carry them everywhere I go, but this week I have three books added to the bookshelf in my hallway. They are:-

  1. Eagles in the Storm – Ban Kane
  2. Kill the Father – Sandrone Dazieri
  3. The Good Life – Martina Cole


I always love a book bargain when I can get one. Eagles in the Storm and Kill the Father were purchased in my local supermarket at two for £7 – which is a really good offer bearing in mind you could easily spend this on one book alone!
The best bargain of the week has to be Martina Cole’s The Good Life. My sister is a customer of a UK mobile network that allows customers to buy the book they have on offer every week for £1… yes you read that right! She lets me know what the book is every week and if I’m interested she will get it for me. As it happens, she is visiting this weekend so I managed to get this book quickly.
I have also downloaded two books for my kindle this week, including:-

  1. Mayflowers for November: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn – Malyn Bromfield
  2. The Elizabethan World – Lacey Baldwin Smith


 
You can tell I’m being a bit of a history geek lately but I’m excited all the same!
 

Coming Up…

I figured as well as telling you what I have been doing, it would be nice for you all to know what will be coming up on my blog next week.
As mentioned above, Tuesday’s post will be a review of Extracted by R R Haywood. I always try to avoid spoilers, so if anyone is concerned about that please be assured I try my hardest not to give anything away.
Friday brings to us the start of a new month so I will be publishing my reading list. This month I was too ambitious in adding six books to the list, but as it happens I had to add one to the DNF pile (hopefully only temporarily). Next month I have only added five books to the list to read but if I get ahead of myself and manage to squeeze in another, I’ll keep you posted.
Lastly I will be posting again next Sunday with another weekly update! Until then, I hope to see you around
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Source: Giphy

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Review: The Gunslinger – Stephen King

Hi! So we are fast approaching the end of June and that makes us halfway through the year already!! Now isn’t that scary…
As promised in my last post, here is a review of The Gunslinger, the first installment of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Before this, I have only read one other book of King’s, being The Green Mile (I’ve decided this is my all-time favourite book), so I was curious to try some of his other works.
The Gunslinger takes a very Western/Apocalyptic style. We learn about Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger, whilst he seeks the man in black, following him through a quaint little town and expansive desert; danger always looming over him and any that happen to accompany him. The other somewhat prominent characters are Alice, a bar maid, and Jake, a small boy from New York city. The Gunslinger has not met these individuals by chance; the man in black has made sure of that.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of the book at first. You are drawn in by the Gunslinger describing his path and you discover he is tracking somebody, described only as the man in black. Very ominous sounding, right? You find out he is his arch-nemesis. Are you biting your nails in anticipation yet? I was.
Then for me when The Gunslinger met Alice it went a bit flat for a while for me. Why, I hear you ask? Because to my mind, if the Gunslinger had been chasing after his nemesis for so long and found himself closer than ever to catching him, WHY WOULD YOU STOP? He had his fill of all his needs, (and I really do mean ALL of them), so then why wouldn’t he carry on? Alas he didn’t, but resulted in some mean shooting action so I shouldn’t complain really. He isn’t called the gunslinger for nothing!!
I didn’t mind so much when Jake came along, as he journeyed with the Gunslinger so progress was always being made. At this point we lose a little of the mystery of this gun wielding, gun flipping dead shot as we discover more about his upbringing and training as a boy. We learn he is the last Gunslinger, yet equally see the human side of him in his love of Jake and the lengths he will go to in order to protect him.
Once Roland leaves Tull the book really picked up for me. Put it this way, I started the book on Thursday night, read some more Friday when I wasn’t at work and I finished it on Saturday afternoon. Despite the “slow” start, I loved it overall and it gets a 4* rating from me. I can’t wait to continue the series!
I also discovered not too long ago that this is being released as a film in the US in November this year, starring Idris Elba as the Gunslinger himself. I couldn’t be happier about this – if anyone has seen the TV series “Luther” (in which Idris Elba plays a slightly unconventional police detective) I think you will agree with me that he is perfect for the role.
That isn’t for another five months yet and not even in the UK, so I’ll have to hold my horses. In the meantime, there is lots of reading to do! My next read, which incidentally I have also managed to get through far quicker than expected is To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I was expecting this to be the last book I squished in this month as I hadn’t originally planned this in by June TBR, but turns out I was as keen as mustard and got through that too!
That being said, I really am squeezing just one more book in before the end of this month – Animal Farm by George Orwell. After this  quick spurt of classics any followers who happen to be fantasy readers will be delighted to know the next three books are of that genre at least. I’m going to publish a full list shortly so watch this space!
Rebecca   🙂
 

Little Indulgences

Hello everybody! Just a quick post whilst I am in the middle of reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy! As I’m sure you will appreciate this is an incredibly long book, and whilst I have been making progress, it is going to take some time to finish.
I’m currently about a third of the way through the book. At first I wasn’t sure how I was going to take to it, being that it’s not my usual style of read. As it happens, I have taken to it very well, though I attribute that to having watched the BBC’s TV adaptation last year! How do I not watch that I wouldn’t have a clue what was going on in the beginning so probably wouldn’t have seen it through.
In the meantime however, and seeing as how it’s payday today I decided to treat myself. What I’m not planning to read any of these books immediately, here are my latest purchases so please watch this space for reviews in the near future!
I would argue that I am a very balanced person on the whole kindle versus book debate. I am not going to lie, I absolutely love my Kindle and that’s how I read predominately. But nothing compares to the feel or smell of a real book!
Having loved my last Stephen King read, the Green Mile, I’ve decided to treat myself to a further three of his books.
I found a recent review for Laini Taylor’s “Strange the Dreamer”, so I want to give this a try too.
I am also making an effort to read more in the way of classics. Whereas some of my peers at school have read “To Kill a Mockingbird”, it is not something I got the opportunity to study.
Last but not least I am trying something new by an author of a genre I am familiar with, being Neil Gaiman and his novel “American Gods”.
I hate to have a review of Leo Tolstoy’s “war and peace” to you before too long, however I’m not going to kill my enjoyment of the book over targets. Having up to my target from reading 20 books this year to 60 (as I finished 20 by the end of April) I have about 32 weeks left this year to read 36 books. With War and Peace going to take me approximately another week to complete I’m going to have a challenge on my hands, but not undoable.
If all else fails, I just have to remember:

It’s a million-to-one chance, but it just might work – Guards Guards by Terry Prachett

The Green Mile – Stephen King

I am going to begin this post very simply, and I apologise in advance for my language, but I feel it absolutely necessary.
 
This book is FUCKING FANTASTIC!
 
This is my first read of Stephen King’s work and it has absolutely skyrocketed to the top of my list of all time favourite books . It is rare that a book can truly make you feel the full range of emotions, but by God did this one take me for a ride. I first wanted to read the book as I knew the story and I wanted to see how it covered the topics of the death sentence and racial inequality. I want to come back to this a bit later – what I have to say might be too much heavy reading for only 100 or so words in. I’ll start on a lighter note.
“The Green Mile” explores an incredibly sensitive issue. The punishment of death by electrocution was first used in 1890 and was served only to those deemed as absolute scum-of-the-earth (oh, and black people of course). Does it then sound bizarre that despite knowing their crimes, you invest yourselves into these criminals? All readers have to love John Coffey, I think that goes without saying, but I think Delacroix (and Mr Jingles) are equally powerful characters. I was devastated when he walked the green mile and how it all transpired actually made me feel sick. Criminal or no, nobody deserves to die like that. King is very good at vivid descriptions – I’ll give him that.
So what is it about these murderers that makes you like them?
For me, I think it becomes easy to overlook the crimes committed purely because you can see how human they are. For the most part they are remorseful and perhaps did not intend to commit the crimes they did. This isn’t always the case however (cough cough Wharton – I certainly didn’t invest into him emotionally!) The most human thing about all the inmates, but particularly Delacroix is with the attachment to Mr Jingles the mouse. In the contrast, you then have people like Percy on the outside. That to me seems as much of an injustice as John’s sentence to die. People like Percy thrive on cruelty to others and to me is the absolute embodiment of archaic social attitudes. They say what comes around goes around, and rightly or wrongly, karma gets Percy good.
In case there is anyone out there reading this that has neither had the privilege of reading the book or watching the film, I will explain to you all about what is special about John Coffey – like the drink only spelt differently.
After two girls are kidnapped, a manhunt finds six foot and eight inches tall John cradling to the two dead, naked twin girls. He is crying his eyes out saying “I tried to take it back, but it was too late.” John is convicted of the rape and murder of the twins and is sent to E Block of the Cold Mountain Penitentiary to ultimately walk the green mile. What we later discover is that John has the power to heal and throughout the narrative performs several ‘miracles’.
John is a very interesting character. Whilst being seemingly dimwitted, I would actually disagree with this completely. Yeah, maybe he can’t tie his shoelaces, is afraid of the dark and all in all doesn’t say very much, but the power that John holds makes him far more perceptive than the average person. He can read people’s minds, he can feel people’s suffering and pain as well as heal it. I as the reader had doubts throughout the book about John’s involvement in the crime; eventually so do the prison wardens who have to pull the switch.
The most tear jerking moment in the book for me (remember that emotional roller-coaster) took place two days before John was due to sit the chair. Paul Edgecombe is making final arrangements for John’s last evening and John says the following:-
“You and Mr Howell and the other bosses been good to me,” John Coffey said. “I know you been worryin, but you ought to quit on it now. Because I want to go, boss.”
I tried to speak and couldn’t, He could, though. What he said next was the longest I ever heard him speak.
“I’m rightly tired of the pain I hear and feel, boss. I’m tired of bein on the road, lonely as a robin in the rain. Not ever havin no buddy to go on with or tell me where we’s comin or goin to or why. I’m tired of people bein ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. I’m tired of all the times I’ve wanted to help and couldn’t. I’m tired of bein in the dark. Mostly it’s the pain. There’s too much. If I could end it, I would. But I can’t.”
 
I just want to leave that one with you to mull over – a quote from a six foot and eight inches tall black man, convicted and sentenced to die over the rape and murder of two girls. There were holes in the evidence given in Coffey’s trial, but nobody cared to look at them. He’s only a Negro, after all. It couldn’t possibly have been a white man now, could it? I hope I’ve made my opinion on his sentence to die clear.
Tackling these issues must be difficult for a writer without sparking one form of controversy or another, but I’m glad these issues are raised. I’ve also just found out that the electric chair is still an optional method of execution in some states of America, as an alternative to the lethal injection.
Eww.
They say history repeats itself, but I only hope we can arm ourselves with the knowledge so that we do not go back to these dark ages of discrimination again. I’m just saddened that this particular history isn’t that old.
I know this is quite a long post and I apologise. I feel very strongly about the issues raised I’m keen to hear from you if you do too!