Holy crap this book was long. IT by Stephen King tells the story of 7 childhood friends, 6 of which reconnect 27 years later. A horrific string of murders happened in their childhood that they all barely remember, and they must come together again to end a new string of murders. Somehow in the intervening years, only one of them remembers what happened in Derry, Maine in 1958 and can see what is happening in 1984.

King is so incredibly detailed in this story, giving each character a unique voice, back story, current story, and action scenes. Its like the reader relives everything that the adults behind to remember with them, from each perspective. Derry has an evil presence that everyone in town seems to be subliminally aware but manages to ignore. This was a horror story to beat horror stories!

Excellent read! Might make me unable to finish my 1 book a week this year since it took so long to finish this, but worth it! I think I’m ready for some short, non-horrific novels after this one. Give myself a little break.

Read November 2017


The Gunslinger

I must preface this with the fact that I like Stephen King’s novels and was excited to read the first of the Dark Tower series based on the recommendation of several people who were rereading the entire series since a movie is coming out. I read the introduction in my copy of The Gunslinger which was written by King himself. In it, he talks about how he feels this was a young novelist’s book written in youth and surrounded by pretentiousness.

There’s not much that happens in this novel, but I imagine that it was written to help set up the remaining series. Not having read any of the other series, I cannot say whether it works for that or not. What I can judge is this novel by itself since that’s how I read it.

The Gunslinger as an independent book, is not exciting and incredibly drawn out. I had a hard time getting through the chapters of nothingness as we follow a character through a bleak world. I cannot tell the exact setting, but I’m guessing that its in the future after something has gone awry in the world. Some of the scenes were gripping but many others were not.

I haven’t decided if I’ll read any further in this series, but if I do, I hope the story is better than this.

Read October 2017

The Winter Foundlings

Holy hell, The Winter Foundlings is an addictive read. Kate Rhodes takes a horrible story of a child murderer and somehow makes it worse. In The Winter Foundlings, we follow Alice Quentin, a psychologist who transfers to the high-secutrity prison to study the treatment methods for the worst criminals, outside of London. While there, Alice is hoping to meet and study the treatment for Louis Kinsella, a child killer with no remorse, when back in London a child is found murdered in a way that matches Kinsella’s murders.

Quentin must remain impartial and clearheaded as she’s pulled into Kinsella’s world and manipulated by her own mentor and premier crime psychologist.

Rhodes tells the story of Quentin’s investigation interspersed with an abducted child who’s fighting for her life in whatever way she can. The details of the murders are horrific and hard to read, but Quentin’s devotion to them and finding their killer is hypnotizing.

There’s a similarity between this novel and Silence of the Lambs, not that I’ve read that recently, but the feel is the same with a male psychotic killer manipulating a woman investigating a current crime. There’s more of a copycat killer in this novel than in the other. But it doesn’t matter. This story feels so original and is so gripping, I can overlook the similarity.

Read July 2017

The Shadow Land

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova follows a young American woman, Alexandra Boyd,  who lands in Hungary and accidentally steals an elder woman’s bag as she’s getting into a taxi. Trying to return the bag, she turns to the police and another taxi driver. Alexandra and her new taxi friend travel around Sofia and the surrounding countryside desperately trying to find the older couple and their son who lost their bag.

Along the way, the duo gets caught up in the story about the man who’s belongings are in the lost bag, a young violinist who was detained in politically oppressed Bulgaria. Alexandra’s story is interspersed with the tales of Bulgaria from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, spilling secrets that somebody wanted hidden.

There is an old world gothic feel to this story, as if ghosts might pop out of the corner. But the horrors in the real world are more terrifying than any ghost story.

Great novel!!! Read May 2017

The Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes The Shining Girls is weird and absolutely horrifying. A serial killer that travels through time and has his victims picked by a house. There are many time loops where the killer, Harper Curtis, visits his victims years before their death and leaves a memento from a different victim from another time.

Beukes manages the characters and the time line really well and leaves hints and victims as she goes through the story. This was a fantastic read! I really enjoyed the weirdness mixed with the grotesque.

Read February 2016.

Prince Lestat

Almost 20 years ago (20 years after the original release) I read Interview with a Vampire for the first time and I was mesmerized. I was young, impressionable, trying to find my own way in the world and I came across Anne Rice’s vampires in a used book store. Having seen the movie already, I was intrigued by Lestat and how his character came out against Louis in his own self-centered books following the Interview. Over the years, I’ve read most, if not all, the books in the Vampire Chronicles. I would never say they were great literature, but Anne Rice was inventive, dark, and strangely romantic in her telling of the vampires.

I hadn’t read another Anne Rice book in several years and was intrigued when I came across Prince Lestat at the library. I can’t say I had the highest expectations, but I expected to be drawn back to the world that Anne Rice created with these rich, beautiful vampires wandering around the globe.

Unfortunately, this novel disappointed me. There were too many characters and each had their own chapters to tell their stories. It wasn’t until the end when Lestat, oh the enigmatic Lestat, finally came to the front of the story to take his thrown as the Prince of Vampires and the central narrator of the story.

Overall, I love the Vampire Chronicles. This was one of, or the, weakest book of the group. It was hard to get through the first half or 2/3, but once I did, I enjoyed the novel. I believe Anne Rice wrote this for her fans who wanted to know what’s been happening with all the characters and instead of breaking up the tales, she shoved them all under one cover. Oh well, can’t win them all.

Read July 2015

Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger tells the story of beautiful twins and how twin-ness can consume them. 20 years ago, Elspeth and Edie parted, never to be together agin, when Edie left her twin and England under strange circumstances that no one quite understood. Edie and her husband have twin daughters who are beautiful mirror images of each other, outside and inside. Julia is the strong willed twin and Valentina is more timid and sickly, and both are currently stagnating in their parents house.

When Elspeth receives a terminal diagnosis, she writes her will so her nieces will inherit everything with a caveat being that the girls must live in Elspeth’s apartment for a year and their parents are barred from entering the apartment.

Niffenegger creates a gothic novel with Julia and Velentina living a warped life, totally codependent on each other and their twin-ness. Once they move into Elspeth’s apartment, right next to the famous Highgate Cemetery, Niffenegger begins to show the differences between the 2 girls. Their symmetry and closeness only allows for one personality to thrive but there are 2 of them to contend with.

To add more strangeness to the story, Elspeth, who passed away early on, begins a second life trapped within her apartment walls. While the twins and Elspeth get to know each other, the story about why the mom and aunt are estranged remains a secret.

This ghost story delves into the supernatural and creates a reality that many hope exists, life after death. Although I cannot imagine anyone hoping that when they die they get trapped in their home to watch the next generation of twins living out a replica of their life. This is a strange, compelling story that I had a hard time putting down. And unlike many horror books that lose their audience with the final horrific reveal, in Her Fearful Symmetry, Niffenegger keeps the reader engaged and the story plausible until the end. Creepy as the end is, I still bought it and all the characterization throughout the novel lead the characters to making the choices they made and created the ending.

Great read! Read October 2014.