Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

I love how Stephen King can make me squirm, shiver, and laugh out loud all at the same time.

Book Description
"I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . ." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922," the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

In "Big Driver," a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

"Fair Extension," the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.

When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.

Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.

1922 was my favorite of all four stories.  It was dark, it was gross, and it was highly entertaining.  King paints a vivid picture you don't want to see, but can't take your eyes off of.

All of the stories in Full Dark, No Stars are human horrors.  Big Driver delves into the human emotion of rape, and it was definitely the most uncomfortable tale for me.  I had a harder time letting myself enjoy this one.

Fair Extension explores making a deal with the devil.  What would be darker than making a deal with the devil?  Making a deal and actually enjoying the consequences.  I enjoyed the unexpected on this one.

I listened in on an interview Stephen King did regarding Full Dark, No Stars, and he mentioned there being a screenplay for A Good Marriage.  That would be fantastic.  I loved this story.  As a devoted wife I could relate to the trust the main character had in her husband, but at the same time there was this voice "You have to go through that box.  You can't just let it go.  It will eat at you.  Somethings not right here!"  This tale made my heart race.

I really enjoyed this collection.  Humans are down right scary.



Are you a King fan?  Have you read any of Full Dark, No Stars?

Additional Topics of Interest
Other Stephen King Reviews at Book Den

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Blog Hop: Favorite TV

Today's Follow Friday question over at Parajunkee's View is:

Share your current fav television show! Tell us a bit about it...

That is a hard question for me!  I'm a TV junkie.  If I could watch every show out there... I probably would.  I'm going to interpret "current" to mean a show that is still producing new episodes.


OK. I can't pick just one.  I really like Dexter.  It gets better every season.

I just started watching Harry's Law which is absolutely hilarious.  I love it.

Supernatural, Smallville, Bones... love 'em, but I'm behind in episodes so NO SPOILERS!  :)

Book Blogger HopJennifer over at Crazy For Books asks:

Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?

Nope.  I like it.  It has a good feel to it.

Have a great day, hoppers!!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Dream Sequence: Not a Fan

Are there any techniques used in writing (any form of entertainment) that just get under your skin? For me it's the dream sequence. The last few books I have read were all fantastic, but they all also had the dreaded dream sequence. [Which is why this is fresh in my mind. :)]

Filler Dreams

I usually have a strong urge to skip over dreams because (unless the bad guy is wearing a christmas sweater and has knives for fingers) the events aren't even real.

Fake Suspense

The action picks up, characters become badass, events are spectacular, my adrenaline starts pumping, and then the character wakes up... *facepalm*. I hate that. I'm a suspense junkie.  Give it to me, but give it to me FOR REAL.

Wishful Thinking

We've all heard it. "Maybe he was just dreaming." The internet was all a buzz following the unforgettable season 4 finale of Dexter. People said it. Maybe next season it will have all been a dream. The writers came out immediately saying it was not a dream. Yes, let's squash that right where it started. I gave my mom all of the seasons of Dexter for Christmas. (Aww.  The loving gift of serial killer awesomeness.) She watched them all with my grandma.  They called me immediately - "We have to know. Was he dreaming?"  Seriously? Because you would be OK with that...

Cop Out

The "he was only dreaming" is such an easy cop out. Do you remember how many times you heard that theory for LOST? Someone was dreaming about the island? Well, shoot, you can do *anything* in a dream. You don't even need a plot.

The Cure for Amnesia

If you need your character to remember something, please don't have them dream it. I have dreams that mean stuff. Alligators eat me when I'm stressed. I've never dreamed real events like a home video, though. My friends never say "Man, I had this crazy dream last night. I relived the time that I..."

Dreams

Dreams as dreams are fine. Your fevered character can be wracked with nightmares. A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dreamscape... all good stuff. Just don't use a dream to create temporary (and fake) suspense and please don't use a dream to explain something away. It feels cheap.

Do you have a problem with the dream sequence?

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield

I love a good zombie book, and this one does it right!

Book Description
Awakening in a bleak landscape as scarred as her body, Cass Dollar vaguely recalls surviving something terrible. Having no idea how many weeks have passed, she slowly realizes the horrifying truth: Ruthie has vanished.

And with her, nearly all of civilization.  Where once-lush hills carried cars and commerce, the roads today see only cannibalistic Beaters—people turned hungry for human flesh by a government experiment gone wrong.

In a broken, barren California, Cass will undergo a harrowing quest to get Ruthie back. Few people trust an outsider, let alone a woman who became a zombie and somehow turned back, but she finds help from an enigmatic outlaw, Smoke. Smoke is her savior, and her safety.  For the Beaters are out there.  And the humans grip at survival with their trigger fingers. Especially when they learn that she and Ruthie have become the most feared, and desired, of weapons in a brave new world….

Cass Dollar was sheltering in a library with her daughter Ruthie when the zombies took her.  Cass recalls some of the events leading up to the attack, but she doesn't remember what happened, how much time has past, or how she has even survived.  She is desperate to get back to her daughter.

I did not want to put this book down.  As scary as the flesh eating zombies were in this book, the humans were even more frightening. 

If you are a zombie fan, this is a great read, but I'm also recommending this book to anyone who likes to be on the edge of their seat.

Aftertime is the first book in a planned trilogy.  While Littlefield delivered a strong story in this first installment, I have the feeling we are just getting started.  I will be anxiously waiting to get my hands on the next book.


Let me hear your thoughts on Aftertime!

Review copy provided by publisher

Additional topics of interest:
Book Review: The Rising by Brian Keene

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

I loved this book.

Book Description
Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books—but we are real.

Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. we have lived among you without you knowing.

But they know.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.

I am Number Four.

I am next.


I already cut to the chase by saying I love this book. It's well written, imaginative, and fast paced.

Who wrote this? This may be a debut for "Pittacus Lore", but it's not a debut for someone. The author bio leaves no dispute that Pittacus Lore is a pseudonym:
Pittacus Lore is Lorien's ruling Elder. He has been on Earth for the last twelve years, preparing for the war that will decide Earth's fate. His whereabouts are unknown.
I just did some googling and it appears James Frey - controversial author of A Million Little Pieces - is the guy behind Pittacus Lore. I can't wait until August 23 to get my hands on The Power of Six.


Can I just say how much I :heart: Bernie Kosar?

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Leisure Horror & Other Genre Fiction at Big Lots Stores

If you have a Big Lots (closeout store) in your area, I spotted some great genre fiction including some Leisure Horror books today for $2.00.

These are the books I scored:

Monstrosity by Edward Lee

It turns out this one was already on my bookshelf.  *sigh*  I do that a lot.  This to be read pile of mine is uncontrollable.  Now when I do get a chance to read it, I'll have an extra copy to give away to you guys.

MonstrosityBlue skies, palm trees, and flawless white sand beaches. Clare Prentiss thinks her new home is paradise, and her brand-new job as security chief at the clinic almost seems too good to be true.
It is.
Lurid dreams, erotic obsessions, and twisted sexual fantasies aren’t the only things that abruptly invade Clare’s life. Is someone really peeping into her windows at night?
Yes.
Are those screams she hears just her imagination?
No.
Is Clare being stalked?
Yes. But not by a man. By a monstrosity.
Will the last scream Clare hears be her own? 

Dark Mountain by Richard Laymon

Dark MountainThe description for this book reminds me a lot of Laymon's No Sanctuary.  I didn't want to go camping again after reading that one.  I'm certain this book will do the same!

A thriller set in the Californian mountains as two families embark on a camping holiday.
Scavenger by David Morrell 

Scavenger is the second book in the Frank Balenger series.  (Creepers is the first.)

ScavengerFrank Balenger, the resolute but damaged hero of David Morrell's acclaimed Creepers, now finds himself trapped in a nightmarish game of fear and death. To save himself and the woman he loves, he must play by the rules of a god-like Game Master with an obsession for unearthing the past. But sometimes the past is buried for a reason. Scavenger is a brilliant, frightening hunter-hunted tale that layers modern technology over the dusty artifacts of earlier times. The result is a surreal palimpsest, one that contains the secret of survival for Balenger and a handful of unwilling players who race against the game’s clock to solve the puzzle of the time capsule, only to discover that time is the true scavenger.

Lost: Endangered Species by Cathy Hapka 

Endangered Species is the first novelization of the show.  I couldn't help myself.

Lost: Endangered Species - Novelization #1LOST, the television series, takes place on a remote South Pacific island, where a plane crash has left 48 survivors stranded. In ENDANGERED SPECIES we read about Faith, an environmental activist and reptile specialist, whose dream industry conference turns into a nightmare and lands her among the survivors on the island. While Locke isn’t suspicious of her, there are more than a few others who openly wonder about how much she uses her knowledge to help – or to terrorize -- the other survivors.
I have a decent commute to work, and there is another Big Lots out in that area.  I know where I will be during lunch on Monday...

Obsessed.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Blog Hop: My Favorite Science Fiction

Today's Follow Friday question over at Parajunkee's View is  

If you are a fan of Science Fiction what is your favorite book?

My favorite type of Science Fiction is in the style of Michael Crichton.

Sphere and Jurassic Park are two of my favorite science fiction novels.

SphereBook Description for Sphere


In the middle of the South Pacific, a thousand feet below the surface of the water, a huge vessel is discovered resting on the ocean floor. It is a spaceship of phenomenal dimensions, apparently undamaged by its fall from the sky. And, most startling, it appears to be at least three hundred years old.
But even more fantastic—and frightening—is what waits inside . . . 


Jurassic ParkBook Description for Jurassic Park
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong...and science proves a dangerous toy....
 Both of these books have excellent movie adaptations to watch afterward, too!

Have an awesome Friday, hoppers!  Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Review: Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower #4) by Stephen King

I'm making my way through Stephen King's The Dark Tower series.

Wizard and Glass is the fourth book in the series.

Book Description
The end is near.
Start at the beginning.

The Dark Tower saga builds to an explosive climax...

Wizard and Glass picks up where The Waste Lands leaves you hanging - in the clutches of Blaine the Mono. The action of the speeding train soon turns to a love story as we flashback to Roland's first love. I didn't realize what was missing from the first three books until I found it in the fourth - Stephen King makes me squirm. Rhea the witch makes me squirm.

I'm happy to be reading this series. I feel pretty certain I won't recommend it to someone who isn't already a Stephen King fan, but I do feel it is a must read for fans who haven't yet experienced the quest for The Dark Tower. I'm looking forward to continuing on with Wolves of the Calla.


Have you given The Dark Tower series a try yet?

Additional topics of interest:

Book Review: The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King
Book Review: The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King
Book Review: The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3) by Stephen King

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Review: Transparent Lovers by Scott Nicholson

Transparent Lovers is a noir mystery novella by paranormal author Scott Nicholson.

Book Description
Private investigator Richard Steele must solve his most difficult case ever—his own murder—while caught between women on both sides of the grave. His lover Lee is tangled up in the mess he left behind, and his dead ex-wife Diana has been waiting on the other side for her chance at revenge.

In a race against time as his spirit slips away, Richard confronts his many, many failings and faces a power beyond his understanding--love. His only weapon is faith, and he's running out of bullets.

It's going to be a hell of a final showdown.

In order to make it to heaven, P.I. Richard Steele must do one thing - solve his own murder before his funeral.  Having a body that can only corporealize for brief periods of time, an obsessed dead wife, and the ability to re-die are a few of the obstacles that stand in his way.

Transparent Lovers is a quick mystery mixed with a touch of humor and noir romance.


Let me hear your thoughts on Transparent Lovers!

Review copy provided by author

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