Showing posts with label Stephen King. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stephen King. Show all posts

Friday, January 19, 2024

#FridayReads: The Langoliers by Stephen King

So I'm keeping to my 2024 reading initiative idea so far. This month I've read a mystery, fantasy, even a non-fiction book. Now I'm taking the opportunity to read horror by specifically picking up my copy of The Langoliers by Stephen King. I think it's going to make a fantastic read over the weekend. But, having watched the mini series back when it aired in the 90s, I'm most super excited to finally get the full cake of King's creation via his own written words. 

Anyway, with all my personal and creative business pretty much settled, let's turn on the coffee maker and get to reading!

What're you reading this weekend? Share with me in the comments below!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Just Because It's FRIDAY Book Haul

Just because it’s freakin’ Friday and I got paid Book Haul.  Let me tell you, I be out of the house by 11:30am every other Friday to handle some business.  Once that’s done, I hit up bookstores while the traffic is low.  And today, here’s what I got…

1.  The Gunslinger by Stephen King.  Tried to read this thing back in 2008–per the urging of a co-worker.  I couldn’t get into it, and eventually sold my copy.  Flash-forward eleven years later; I think I’m finally ready for it.

2.  The Institute by Stephen King.  While I stopped buying Stephen King books upon their releases (mainly because of shelf space), I ended up bending to The Institute.  I had it on hold at my library.  However, being number 15 in line didn’t sound fun.  This was one of those purchases where I knew I would think about the book until I bought my own copy.  So I just did it.  Plus, I love the cover's composition!  And it sounds interesting.  Maybe if it’s good I’ll go back and check out some of his latest releases that I’ve skipped over the past few years.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Reviving Recourse of King's Revival (Lots of R's There)

"A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.
In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs -- including Jamie's mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town. 
Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family's horrific loss. In his mid-thirties -- addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate -- Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil's devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. 
This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It's a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe."
~ Revival via Goodreads 
It’s been a long, long time, Mr. King.  A long, long time since I’ve picked up a book of yours and read it.
Okay, okay.  With all the singing and lyricism out of the way, today I want to bring up Stephen King’s Revival.  It's a book I finally got to after taking a year-long break from King.  If you’re wondering why I took a break, it had a lot to do with the funky taste I swallowed after reading 2014’s Mr. Mercedes.  A funky taste further inflamed after reading his Richard Bachman book, The Running Man.  There’s a clear and recurring reason why I took the King break.  And it had a lot to do with King going into race and over-emphasizing the black anti-stereotype.  I won’t get into it, though.  Just know two back-to-back commentaries on each halted me for a year.  When I get to the point where I feel as if an author is exploiting the use of racial and homophobic slurs a little too unnecessarily often, I get in my feelings.  Done through character or not, it sends my alarm bells ringing.  
Yet, between Mr. Mercedes and Running, I enjoyed Mr. Mercedes' crime-fiction thriller-esque storytelling.  Even as far-fetched and elementary as its (optionally racist-ass) villain was.  So issues and all, it was a decent read that had the misfortune of The Running Man following close behind it.  (The Running Man did far worse on slur-control.)  However, considering Mr. Mercedes is the first in a trilogy, I finally believe I'm ready to make my way through the proceeding entries.  Thanks to my stepping out on faith with Revival.
Revival did its job.  I walked into it with apprehensions, and came out transfixed by its story.  Resoundingly, I’m happy to report King applied the “n” word (yes, I don’t care to use it) once and in a plausible context. 
Nevertheless, what stood out most was King's commentaries and themes.  (Also what I believe was a semi-discreet nod to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.)  Either way there’s much more commentary on religious dedication and the belief in God soaked into Revival.  Some of which I found myself actually agreeing with, and some more debatable.  There's also the commentary on placing value on thriving to live, while accepting our eventual death.  And it's the search for Death that really drives the book.  When the questions of what happens when we die hasn’t produced a concrete answer for the protagonists, King takes them (reader included) straight to its twisted source.  And if the panicked psychology and neurotic longings of his characters don’t shake you up, the end will.  Well, marginally.  I found it a little questionable and dubious (creatively speaking), but an interesting approach to the afterlife.
For me the best part of Revival were the chapters centering Jamie Morton’s childhood and family.  While boring to some, it’s here where I attached myself to the story and reacquainted my love of King’s writing.  Well, in honest retrospection, I almost felt like someone else wrote those chapters.  Whereas King handled the last chapters of the book.
Anyway.  Enough of my vagueness.  Revival revived my taste for more King.  That I can say.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Running Man

Ohhhhh, what can I say about Stephen King's The Running Man? Does anything that hasn't been said come to mind, seeing that it was released in 1982 and underneath Stephen King’s other pen name, Richard Bachman. Hmmm. Well, for starters, the book takes place in the year 2025. The world is heavily dystopian and littered with financial and social status classification problems. The rich get richer. The poor get poorer. Or something to that economic philosophic twist. As a form of entertainment, the wealthy and high-status individuals/companies offer the poorer individuals the chance to earn massive amounts of money by participating in a variety of supposedly entertaining reality game shows.  

A concept that's more or less different than today. 

Nonetheless, the deadliest of these shows is The Running Man; and with an eighteen-month-old daughter ill and slowly dying, and a wife who has resorted to prostitution to gather money for medicine, twenty-eight-year-old Ben Richards decides that he’s had enough of watching his family suffer.  Therefore, he steps forward as a contestant in one of the games, run by one of the aforementioned super companies with economic sway and power. Unfortunate for him, he’s saddled as an enemy of the state in The Running Man reality show. The whole nation is after you in this game. Police, Hunters, average citizens; everyone stands a chance of collecting money off your bounty–whether through your death or capture. However, if you survive 30 days, you are rewarded one billion dollars. Will Ben Richards make it that far?  From chapter 100 counting down to 0, that's the question that keeps you locked to the thrill involved in The Running Man.

I'll keep this quick. I hope…

There’s plenty to take from this angry book; the suspenseful speeding plot/storytelling, the dark themes, the ugliness of a capitalistic society, and the general thrill of it all. It made for a fun, quick read. Something not too involved or complicated for a leisure afternoon reading.  In other words, while it was obviously themed, it was all mostly surface and arguable because of the speeding plot leading the way. 

All the same, I had a lot of grievances with Ben Richards himself.  Those grievances were tied to this pull I had for totally hating him as a character, but admiring his resourcefulness and ability to survive. I mean, I did perk up when Ben was crawling his way through a maze of sewer drains to escape both the police and his self-created arson attack. And some of his confrontational stand-offs with empowered characters were fun.  He expressed his attitude regarding his circumstances as well as his balls to challenge authority without hesitation. And moments where the fast-pace crawled, they were saved by the discussions of dystopian conspiracies.  So that part was cool.

But perhaps it’s the tone of the book–or maybe it’s the voice of Ben Richards’s narrative–that caused me to mostly wince.  I found some heightened hypocritical things going on in The Running Man. See, one minute Ben was sloshing around the n-word to press his disgust of a particularly character in a certain position within the game (a controlling and higher position at that), the next he was deploying the assistance of two black kids to help him out of his situation. One minute he was sloshing around the f-word to press his disgust of a particular character, the next (well, a lot later in the book) he pulled a total reverse in the form of exposition regarding how important it was to put an end to cold bigotry, or what he calls, “queer-stomping“. Then there’s the burly somewhat sideman who presses racially derogatory terms aimed at Irish and Hispanic people. And you know what? Even the black kid takes a returned racial jab at a white character within the book. Really, with all the anger between the rich and poor worth focusing on in a dystopian world charged with economic depravity, I just wished everyone would shut the hell up.

Maybe it’s the stress of the economy. Maybe it’s something else altogether inside of my own hopes and beliefs for mankind.  At the end of The Running Man, I prayed that our real, actual 2025 would have progressed a lot further than some unspecified time within our 1930s. I did enjoy the book; I just didn’t really care for but a small number of characters that helped guide the thrill along. The trap was that I was stuck in Ben Richards’s head, one in which I grew so tired of that I had little sympathy for him toward the end.  Despite appreciating his ingenuity to survive.  My lasting view of him was that he was a part of the problem.

Monday, June 9, 2014

What to Read Next Issues...

I finished Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes before noon today. Once finished, I spent an afternoon racing through Kroger with my aunt. We were buying groceries for my grandma, and had our asses out of that place in less than forty-five minutes.  I'm not a fan of grocery shopping.  Swerving carts, comparing off-brand from popular brands, calculating budgets; I rather do without all that fuss, though I know it's necessary if you want to eat.  

Okay, okay. I'm getting off track. This post is about books!

Anyway, after that was finished, I did something I haven't done in awhile: I visited the three used bookstores in my area. My immediate focus was to use a credit slip to buy Laurell K. Hamilton's new, ninth book in her Merry Gentry book, Shiver of Light. That's right. You read me correctly. Laurell K. Hamilton. Merry Gentry. I'm such a hack sometimes, feeding myself foolishly with both of this author's insufferable series. But see, it's hard for a completionist--such as myself--to walk away.  By the way, I didn't find it.  However, here's what's going on...

Bought 5/3/10 and never read
According to my receipt, I bought book eight in the Merry Gentry series, Divine Misdemeanors, from a used bookstore on 5/03/10. And I have yet to crack open the book! Seriously, it's been sitting on my shelf for that many years unread.  So now that the ninth book has recently released, after a five-year series hiatus, book eight is suddenly calling me. Seemingly... from the grave I should add. And so I hate this. I hate having to finish things! Especially concerning this series—this author! The truth is that without even reading it, I can review this book blindfolded without missing a beat.  How?  Because there's a 101% chance that there isn't a plot to construct a review with. I know this! I know this stuff for facts! Yet! I've held on to the book with the intention of one day plowing through it with a bottle of Vodka at my bedside to wash each wasted, printed word down. 

My fingers are itching to verbally bodyslam the book before I've read it. Can't you tell?

So that's part of my conundrum. As painful and insipid as it sounds. I know I should just do away with the whole idea and put the sonofabitch back on the shelf where it belongs. However, Shiver of Light is out there, and here I am with an incomplete series.  Grrrr!

It's especially hard when I have a stack of great books I just received from The BookOutlet. We're talking books by Nnedi Okorafor (an African-American female sci-fi writer the likes of Octavia Butler); P.D. James's first book in her Adam Dalgliesh mystery series; the biography of Madam Chiang Kai-Shek; and The Book of Night Women by Jamaican novelist, Marlon James. So I have books I can and want to read. They are definitely there calling out.

Back to the bookstore tour from today. I walked out with Julia Cameron's Walking in this World, the sequel to her highly inspirational book, The Artist's Way. I even snagged something off my Amazon Wishlist in Martha Grimes's crime fiction novel, Hotel Paradise. Then there's the third book in Barbara Neely's Blanche White mystery series. If you don't know what that series is about, it's about an African-American domestic worker who solves mysteries.  Which, of course, is right up my alley!

I have books to read. Better books. Greater books. And it's equally disturbing that I want to follow a Stephen King novel with a book about a faerie princess who whines about sex from a team of faire men with peas for brains.

Ah, the frustration.

I want to crack open a new book tonight, but I think I'll play some form of Resident Evil and figure this out in the morning.


On page 4 of Divine Misdemeanors comes this halting--yet familiarly expressed--form of thought:

"Detective Lucy Tate came to stand beside me.  She was wearing a pants suit complete with jacket and a white button-up shirt that strained a little across the front because Lucy, like me, had too much figure for most button-up shirts.  But I wasn't a police detective so I didn't have to pretend I was a man to try to fit in."

Yep!  Totally called it quits!  We're quickly back to focusing on body image and women in law enforcement again.  Something like a resident leitmotif in both Hamilton's Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series--among other tired conversations.  We'll put this book away until I have absolutely nothing else to read.

Pardon the rant!  But what do you do when you're trying to find out what you want to read next?  Top that by asking yourself what series do you loathe but find yourself unable to turn away with each new release?  Share your thoughts below.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday Reads: Mr. Mercedes

"In the predawn hours, in a distressed American city, hundreds of unemployed men and women line up for the opening of a job fair.  They are tired and cold and desperate.  Emerging from the fog, invisible until it is too late, a long driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over innocent, backing up, and charging again.  Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded.  The killer escapes.

Months later, an ex-cop named Bill Hodges, still haunted by the unsolved crime, contemplates suicide.  When he gets a crazed letter from "the perk," claiming credit for the murders, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, fearing another even more diabolical attack and hell-bent on preventing it.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born.  He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again.  Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of eccentric and mismatched allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again.  And they have no time to lose, because Brady's next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of his obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable."

~ Mr. Mercedes blurb

It's storming again today, so thankfully I picked this book up yesterday and have all day to listen to the rain and read.  Somewhat of a perfect setting, considering we are talking about Stephen King.  Nonetheless, I'm going into this without any expectations, other than I trust King will deliver me something enjoyable and psychotically delicious.  With a cast of dedicated, heroic-style characters, I should add.  So time to open up the window, turn up the blanket, and start diving into Mr. Mercedes.  Stay tuned for my final thoughts.

Have you read Mr. Mercedes?  Without spoiling anything, what did you think of it?  1-5 stars, where does it gauge?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Few Favorite Kings

So Stephen King is releasing two new books this year; Mr. Mercedes arrives June 3rd and Revival releases November 11th.  As one moderately dedicated readers (I say this for good reason considering the intensively of his readership), I'm excited to have my yearly reads stretched by two new King novels.  Especially after the fun of last September‘s Doctor Sleep, a book I followed immediately after my complete reading of King‘s classic, The Shining.  One day, after I manage to read all of King’s 60+ stories, I’ll be able to fully construct what appeals to me about his books just as effortlessly as his thorough readers.  Until then, there’s a jumble of thoughts clouding my head as I type this.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  Nonetheless, I delved into King at the unappreciative age of 12/13 when my aunt lent my copies of The Green Mile and Rose Madder.  So I started young--like many of his readers--but ultimately didn't hold tight to his stories until my early twenties.  Actually, it was Lisey’s Story that anchored me deep into King.

Before I go on I have to stress that this list isn't in any rank or order.  Nor can I press on the details that make up each book.  Also, some of the classics I haven't read or choose to skip because they're always mentioned in King listings.

Lisey's Story

I think Lisey’s Story is a great start because I’ve always liked King’s female protagonist over his men.  That’s kind of a general endorsement of mine, as there’s always been something special about literary women defying circumstances.  Especially those circumstances known to plague men protagonist.  Nevertheless, Lisey’s Story served much of what I love regarding King’s female protagonists.  Lisey is intelligent, resourceful, brave, and human.  And while she is nowhere near weak in the beginning of the novel, she organically blossoms into her true strength and out of that sort of wife-nizing (yes, I make up words here) shadow she held underneath her late husband Scott and his success as a troubled, bestselling writing.  With all that said, you can tell how incredibly personal this novel is to King and his relationship with his wife--especially considering it’s a love story Stephen King style.  Still, I wouldn’t doubt that she [Tabitha King] wouldn’t hesitating to chase King’s demons off in a terrifying place such as Boo’ya Moon.

Salem's Lot

I love old, old horror films.  I grew up watching scary movies with my mom, which developed my specific love of 80's slashers.  Seriously, Friday the 13th movies used to babysit me.  Anyway, while the original Night of the Living dead done untold things to my childish imagination, I would have to say that one of my favorite horror movies above even that was Horror Express.  Not too many people talk about that film, but it terrified the shit out of me as a kid.  Yet, I indulged in it every time I popped the cassette in.  Bleeding that film with films like 1977’s The Sentinel, and there’s no other way to express the creepy horror I received from reading Salem’s Lot.  It’s a combination of straight up horror, subtle horror, blood and guts, and that mystic religiously-themed (or occult-themed) psychological horror.  Then there was the vampire, Barlow, himself that King illustrated so beautifully that I was almost positive that nobody was going to make it out of that book alive.  Which I should add that I actually lost a tear when Susan and Father Callahan fell to Barlow.  Salem’s Lot had all the flavor I grew up loving about horror films.  And it is probably one of the few King books that I could say actually kind of scared me.


For some reason Stephen King’s Cell gets a lot of good and bad reviews.  Mostly bad I believe.  Something about his version of playing into zombie apocalyptic horror didn’t seem to move some readers.  I didn't care because I loved the book to pieces, mainly because it did a great job of conveying suspense and mystery.  And of course horror when you factor in "The Raggedy Man" and his plague of industrial science-twisted techno zombies.  Second to that is King’s cast of characters carrying the story.  While they were all capable and witty when it came to their survival, they glowed even more as doomed, cynical survivors.  That leads me to the most memorable character of the book... Alice.  Every once in awhile you come across a book where you’ll absolutely never forget a certain character and his or her exploits during the story.  For me, that character would be Alice.  Some may disagree, but I regard her as the true hero in Cell.  King gave her the spirit to be so.

Gerald's Game

If I ever make a comprehensive list of my favorite Stephen King books from Carrie to 60-something-plus Revival, the often underappreciated Gerald’s Game would easily land in my top three favorites.  Yes.  You heard me.  Gerald’s Game.  A book revolving around a single bedroom setting.  A narrow cast consisting of a dead body, a dog and a difficult woman handcuffed to a bed.  This was one of those early 90s books like Misery, yet it’s linked directly with Dolores Claiborne in which they both share the themes of abuse.  Nevertheless, this particular period seems to me where King sucked out many of his monsters from the past and placed them inside of his characters.  And tackling that on top of conceivable situations only heightened the intensity in those books.  Gerald’s Game was a good display of that intensity, as Jessie Burlingame, handcuffed to a bed, went to the rawest of human desperation to break out of her helpless situation.  That’s not to say that she didn’t have any motivation by a lurking presence known as "The Space Cowboy".  On so many different levels can I express how I found Gerald’s Game to be troubling, uncomfortable, and creepy.

On Writing

As much as I wanted to share how I felt about the Jockey in Duma Keys and how that book seems to bounce back to Bag of Bones, I’m not.  I made this list and will stick to my initial idea to add On Writing.  It is one of my favorite King books after all.  Besides, what better book to mention that encompasses where all the previous books listed have come from?  On Writing is part memoir part writing course--according to how you approach it.  I certainly took it from both standpoints considering I wanted to get near King’s inspirational story as well as his craft.  The book is really that intimate.  My favorite quote from the books states:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.  There’s no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.”

That’s all I got for today, folks.  I just wanted to share five King books that I really enjoyed while it’s on the top of my mind.  We're less than a month away before Mr. Mercedes releases and hopefully I can swallow it and throw my thoughts together in a blog post dedicated to the book--as well as Revival later this year.  I got this good mind to re-read some of my older King books (Gerald’s Game is suddenly looking really good) and post “final thoughts” on each.  In the meantime share your top five favorite Stephen King books or your favorite King book as a whole.  I’m interested in learning what and why a certain book appeals to different King readers.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

7 Favorite Reads of 2013


With each year comes one concrete, consistent thing that forever entertains, comforts, and enlightens me... that would be books.  According to Goodreads I read more in 2013 than 2012.  I felt a little surprised, certain that it was the other way around for some reason.  Still, I had a few decent books on that list that I cropped through to find my 7 Favorite Reads of 2013 that I wanted to share on the blog.  Some of the books I've never written about; this is the perfect time to do so.  I also have another list comprising of a few of the books I rather leave in 2013.  Neither list is necessarily numbered in order of greatness, flavor, or level of entertainment.  It’s just a list of the books I walked away from feeling mostly inspired (or uninspired) by.
Here goes…
1. The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino

Natsuo Kirino is a Japanese crime writer best known outside of Japan for the English adaptation of her grizzly novel, Out.  I was introduced to her by that particular book, after a bored bookstore stroll for new titles to read.  Quickly put, Out is about four hard-up Japanese women working in a bento factory while disposing bodies for extra cash.  Their method of disposal?  Divide the bodies into pieces before each takes a part to an undisclosed location for dumping.  It doesn't take long before their trust with one another, concerning money and their nasty dealings, begin to unravel from within.  And true to its nature, some of these women don't make it till the end of the novel.  While Out may sound like some sort of ABC crime novel under the streets of Tokyo, the psychology Kirino goes through with each of the women places this book a whole step above.  That exploration into a character's dark psychology (and impulse) is familiar in Japanese crime novels.  You see it in authors Keigo Higashino and Miyuki Miyabe as well.  Nonetheless, I was sold by Out's synopsis and have been a fan of Kirino since.  

The next novel adapted into English was her book, Grotesque.  Just as dark as Out, Grotesque follows the story of two Japanese sisters weighted by the inferior treatment of women in Japan.  One sister has turned to prostitution underneath the weight.  When I say this story will take you down some dark and scary places--I mean it.  It is one ride that will keep you hanging on just to find some kind of resolution with these sisters.  If you can stomach it, of course.  In 2008 the English adaptation of Kirino’s Real World was released.  Here we had another dark story featuring a group of Japanese teens assisting a murderer-on-the-run within their group.  Naturally, Kirino’s dark stories reflect societal concerns, particularly bullying and the heavy amount of pressure placed on Japanese students and academics, so addressed in Real World.  

So what is Kirino’s fourth English adapted book about?  

Almost the same theme concerning the overthrow of women in Japanese society; however, it’s told underneath a retelling of an old Japanese kwaidan-like myth.  The Goddess Chronicle takes place on a Japanese island shaped like a teardrop (let’s go ahead and push the symbolism).  On this island we’re introduced to two sisters born and designed to fulfill a local prophesy.  One sister, Kamikuu, must be a representative of purity and light, whereas the other sister, Namima, resides in the shade.  Natural to Kirino’s characters and storytelling, Namima wishes to escape her position underneath her sister’s shadow.  This wish becomes increasing dire when Namima is ordered by tradition to serve the goddess of darkness.  To serve the goddess is to live in isolation without the island’s graveyard, attending to the dead.  However, Namima carries a secret that breaks her tabooed position as a servant of the darkness.  Namima devises a plan to escape the island.  Should the tradition-baring locals find out about her secret, the consequences could equal up to her life.  Where Namima's eventual escape leads her is to the Realm of the Dead, where she meets the goddess of darkness herself.  It's here that Namima realizes that she has a lot to relate to with the goddess herself.  They both share the pain of the betrayal.  Now to find absolve (or maybe revenge) within those betrayals are the women’s common goal.

2.  Night by Elie Wiesel

3.  Tar Baby by Toni Morrison

4.  Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor

My post on Linden Hills.  

5.  The Shining by Stephen King

7.  Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Now the 3 books I'd probably leave in 2013 follows...

1.  Jazz by Toni Morrison

Seems a little off I'm sure.  It's not that I disliked the book, it just wasn't what I'd hoped for.  I've learned that much of Morrison's material post-80's has what I see as a distracting dip in vivid prose and language.  The problem for me is that that "distracting" sometimes lures me away from gathering some sense of the plot of the book, or even the order of the plot.  Add in the multiple themes and narratives in JazzI just didn't leave fully connected with overall story.  However, some of the individual narratives in the book stood so strongly that it was like reading an individual short story inside the book.  Glimpses of pieces of the past that made the two main characters was where I enjoyed the book the most.  In any regard, it's definitely a book that needs a second, focused read.

2.  The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

The Urban Fantasy genre has failed me over the years.  After Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake series set the tone for what to avoid while writing/reading in the genre, I've been sketchy on picking up anything that even distantly suggests a girl must sleep with vampires and werewolves for a plot.  Save for the authors who introduced me to the genre (sadly, Hamilton is one), I try to look carefully for new authors in the genre.  I'm afraid they'll try to pull me in with a ridiculous plot about sex and a she devil who thrives on it to survive.  Williams, luckily, isn't any of those things.  However, what did annoy me about this particular book was that the heroine spent a little too much time than I cared for ruminating on her affection between two guys.  One guys is labeled bad.  One guy is labeled good.  We got a love triangle and the whole time I just wished the main character, McKenzie, would give up the need for romantic stability and just start slaying heads.  Something tells me that's a personal taste of mine.  Nevertheless, I'm actually on the fence about continuing the series.  I'll let it get a few books in then see.

3.  Deadline by Sandra Brown

She has some good ones.  She has some boring ones.  This was a boring one.  I hate to say it, but many times Brown's characters are all the same.  Their careers are different, but their desires are not.  Predictable in many senses.  I saw a lot of that in Deadline.  Same as in 2012's Low Pressure.  Same as in 2011's Lethal (which I actually liked).  As I said before, Brown's books sometimes read like Lifetime movies--and that's not a bad thing.  But here's what I see too often that annoys me.  There's a guy.  He's often a suspect involved in the murder contained within the book.  He likes the girl.  She's often related to the victim in some way.  They're either on the run from cops or bad guys.  Between that running, she is a wall to his desperate sexual advances.  She cracks.  He makes way.  Together they become a force to smoke out the true killer.  That's been her last 3-4 books.

That's the end of my list folks!  Wish I could've written about them all, but trust and believe me when I say that the ones that I didn't write about would've required an entire post.  Any suggestions or comments?  Do you have a list 2013 book list of favorites?  Share and let's compare notes!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Text Message Rant & September Reads

It’s Saturday and I’m off work!  WHOOT!  One day--real soon--all Saturdays will be like this.  At least in the context of me making money doing something I actually love to do and not being tied down to making money for someone else’s grand business.  With that aside, I’m happy to have the interest of several people reaching out to me these past weeks.  A few commission ideas have crossed my path, and now is the perfect time to get started on a few new projects.  Nevertheless, before September closes I want to do a blog post featuring my September reads.  Accompanying the post is a new video detailing these reads and my view on them.  However, a small text message rant introduces the video, so beware of language.  It was unavoidable, seeing that have yet to practice editing videos.  Nevertheless, let’s commence.

The books:

1.  A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki  

2.  When the Night Whispers by Savanna Welles

3.  Voodoo Season by Jewell Rhodes Parker

4.  W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

5.  The Shining by Stephen King

6.  Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

7.  Deadline by Sandra Brown

8.  Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume 1 by Naoko Takeuchi


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