Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: It by Stephen King

Title: It
Author: Stephen King

Read copy: Paperback
Published: August 7, 1987
Publisher: Signet
ISBN: 0451169514
ISBN-13: 9780451169518

The story follows the exploits of seven children as they are terrorized by an eponymous being, which exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey. "It" primarily appears in the form of a clown in order to attract its preferred prey of young children. The novel is told through narratives alternating between two time periods, and is largely told in the third-person omniscient mode. It deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma, and the ugliness lurking behind a façade of traditional small-town values.

My rating:

I was among those who watched this when it came out as a miniseries. I was definitely too young to watch the miniseries, which proved itself when I kept inspecting out bathroom sink for any signs of blood for months afterwards.

Anyway, with the movie coming out (which I probably won’t go see), I became interested again, and after reading about the books having a much more developed Pennywise storyline, I decided to give it a go. After more than a week, I must say, the book proved to be quite a disappointment.

It started off great and the creepy factor was high, but then it sort of fizzled out and should’ve become a DNF, but somehow my stubborn streak kicked in. It was too long with too many things crammed into it going from creepy and gory into rather disgusting territory (with the animal torture and the “orgy” in the sewers) to downright bizarre with the whole alien and the Ritual of Chüd thing.

Somehow it all felt overblown, bloated and overburdened with all these different elements while most of it could’ve been cut creating a leaner, meatier tome.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: The Shining by Stephen King

Title: The Shining
Author: Stephen King

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 0307743659
ISBN-13: 9780307743657

Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

My rating:

The Torrance family moves to the Overlook Hotel in order for the recovering alcoholic patriarch, Jack, to start his new job as caretaker. But bringing his family with him proves to be a huge mistake for Jack, since his psychic son seems to bring out the worst in the old hotel.

Nicely plotted and well developed with realistic and believable, somewhat heart breakable (Jack in this instance) characters and plausible actions and reactions, this books flows more along the lines of psychological thriller than straightforward horror.
The suspense builds up so slowly that the true horror and evil creeps up suddenly and (almost) unexpectedly, although it also has its silly moments that break the flow of the story and the slow, inexorable progress of the creeping evil.

What also breaks the stride of the story is the length. It felt overblown, overdrawn, and was slowly getting very boring indeed. Fact is, it took me ages to finish. But maybe it was just me having an adverse reaction to King’s narrative style.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Review: Experiment in Terror, Seams of Destruction & Murder in Lava Cove by Alene Anderson

Title: Experiment in Terror
Series: Koehler Brothers
Author: Alene Anderson
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: January 30, 2015
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Matt Koehler

His assignment is to go undercover as a homeless man in a university town in order to catch a serial killer who has raped and killed three girls.

Amanda Barton

She is successful businesswoman who finds herself attracted to a homeless man, not knowing he is an undercover officer. When she is kidnapped by the serial killer, can Matt find her in time to prevent her from being raped and murdered?

My rating:

DNF @ 14%

With almost every minutiae of the day explained in detail, I was bored before the first chapter was through.
There was nothing exciting, nothing to pull me in, to make me want to read forward.

Title: Seams of Destruction
Series: Koehler Brothers
Author: Alene Anderson
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: August 19, 2015
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

When model Jade McDermott stumbles over the dead body of the production manager of Sorrento’s House of Fashion, the police suspect her of the murder. Scheduled to go on a trip to Milan, Italy, where she will be participating in a fashion show, she is told she will be accompanied by a policeman since she is considered a flight risk.

Mitch Koehler is the man the chief of the LAPD has chosen for the trip to Milan because of his dislike of women. But he has a wonderful time with Jade in Italy and begins to believe that she isn’t a murderer. When they return to Los Angeles, can Mitch save Jade when she is threatened by the real murderer?

My rating:

DNF @ 14%

Once more rather dull with every minutiae described, despite the heroine actually stumbling upon a dead body and spending the night in jail in the first chapter.

I figured I don't care about the narrative style and voice. It sounds very high-school essay-y, and not like a "novel".

Title: Murder in Lava Cove
Author: Alene Anderson

Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: September 28, 2016
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Maggie Garrett graduated from medical school and is doing her residency in Lava Cove, Utah. The first day in the new town she is out running with a Golden Retriever and she discovers a dead body.

Zach Landel is the owner of the Desert Winds Casino in Las Vegas. He was a helicopter rescue pilot in the Marines and when he stepped on a land mind, it exploded and he lost one eye. Now he wears a patch, one that bothers him but doesn’t seem to faze the intriguing Maggie Garrett.

Despite their differences, can he and Maggie work together to solve the murder of his employee?

My rating:

DNF @ 15 %

The writing style and voice is definitely the problem for me with this author. Juvenile-sounding, with too many details crammed into the descriptions...

Then I decided to try something "new" and went for the last chapter...And promptly got a cavity thanks to all he sugary sweetness. It sounded like a Barbara Cartland knock-off.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Review: The Proper Way to Stop a Wedding... by Victoria Alexander

Title: The Proper Way to Stop a Wedding (in Seven Days or Less)
Series: The Lady Travelers Guide
Author: Victoria Alexander
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: April 1, 2017
Publisher: HQN Books

The family of the bride is expected to revel in the joy of the upcoming wedding. Instead, Miss Celia Bromley faces the most heartbreaking dilemma of her life: she’s fallen in love with the man engaged to marry her scheming half sister. Worse, he might love Celia in return. But handsome, bookish Henry Saunders is a man of honor. He would never break his promise to his bride-to-be, no matter how horrid she may be.

Celia’s despair hasn’t escaped the notice of keen-eyed Aunt Guinevere, who, along with her crafty friends, is determined to see true love triumph. Unraveling a wedding takes a delicate, subtle touch, and in the mad dash to break one engagement and encourage another, the ladies may well hear the whispers of scandal instead of the peal of wedding bells...

My rating:

The premise was interesting, and promised loads of humor and shenanigans, which unfortunately weren't delivered.

Bland characters, non-existent romance, and a dull and predictable story. Disappointing.