IT – Stephen King



This book took me over three months to complete. Okay two and half months. Frankly, I am almost gave up a few times. Once I got to the 500 page mark though I was determined to finish it, even if it took the rest of the year.

It isn’t that I don’t like big books, if it has less than 400 pages I usually won’t even pick it up. I love The Stand and that has 1,152 pages (unabridged version). IT has 1,138. So you see, it wasn’t the length of the book that made this hard to read. Of course, it wasn’t the writing either. I love Stephen King’s writing style and do not find him to be wordy. He mentions in a little note to the Constant Reader in the beginning of the Stand that he has been accused of being wordy: “for a writer who has been accused over and over again of having diarrhea of the word processor”  I, personally, do not believe he has that at all. His stories are rich, engaging and I can’t imagine the unabridged version of The Stand nor have I read it. So, neither the page count nor the writing put me off from this story. It was just difficult to read.  I found it might have been because I watched the movie when I younger so I have this image of John Ritter playing one of the characters and one scene where little Eddie says “This is battery acid you slime”. I recently saw the re-make, not bad as far I could tell, and so had a little of that in my head as well. I think what it really came down to was I just didn’t care. I didn’t care if Pennywise won, or the kids did, or if the whole town went up in flames. Again, by absolutely no fault of Stephen King. I did finish it though, and certain scenes will stick with me, little Georgie and his boat, seven scared kids wandering in the sewer system fighting something they can not comprehend, the idea that there are somethings in this world that go beyond all reason.

This book was published in 1986. The book goes back and forth between 1958 and 1984. The children are 11 in 1958 when Bill Denbrough’s little brother, Georgie, is murdered by a thing in the sewer. The adults chalk up the strange murders that happen to the kids as the work of a serial killer perhaps, or childhood accidents, perhaps they run away. Bill and his six friends, know otherwise. Once they start to learn about the thing that lives in the sewers and comes out every 20 or so years to feed before going to sleep again, the thing starts trying to scare them away. It becomes a mummy for Ben, a leaper for for Eddie, Georgie’s ghost for Bill, a werewolf for Richie, two drowned boys for Stan, a bathroom of blood for Beverly. They decide it is time to kill it, for their peace of mind and for all the dead children. Even though they think they have accomplished it, they make a blood oath to come back if it the events start happening again.

As adults, they have all forgotten Derry Maine. When they receive a phone call from a long lost friend reminding of the oath, they come back. This time to finish what they started.

I will say the movies don’t do the book justice at all. There is no way Hollywood could capture some of the images in the book, the concepts or the internal monologues.

IT has the themes that have become a part of what we expect from Stephen King, horror of course, forces of good and evil and what people do when faced with the choices. Friendship, love, human condition, childhood trauma. Above all it is the playing of fears, it is the unknown and the unthinkable. It makes you shudder and wonder when you wake up at three am and look in the mirror. You think to yourself…is it true? Do we all float?



Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King and Owen King


Imagine a world without women in it. At first, it may just sound weird. It may not seem like that big of a deal. After some thought though, the realization that woman are the only ones that can reproduce, are usually the primary care givers of small children and generally, whether it is unspoken or not, organizers of the households. For any length of time, the lack of women in the world would make a very chaotic world. Now imagine, that instead of disappearing, the woman are all asleep, wrapped up in cocoons. When they are disturbed they turn violent and harm the person who disturbed them before going back into their cocooned sleep. This is the world that Stephen King and his son Owen King have created in Sleeping Beauties. 

The story takes place in a small town where, there is one woman who seems to be able to fall asleep and wake up without turning into a cocoon. Stephen and Owen weave a tale that sounds very believable while still being a fantastic fantasy. They create characters that are both lovable and despicable. They create unlikely connections within these characters and show how quickly things can go from weird to Armageddon. As usual, with Stephen King’s work, you are often left wondering, what would you do in this situation? How would your react? Who do you feel is right? Who is wrong? Or is anyone right or wrong?  And what would happen if it had been the other way around? What would happen if all the men disappeared?

This is a wonderful, deeply intricate tale of a world that could be if all woman somehow just ceased to exist and what that would may look like if all hope was balanced on one person. Or even, if all hope was lost. I suggest this book to anyone who loves Stephen or Owen King, mystery, fiction, horror, or fantasy novels. A very good book to end my 2017 book challenge.

One perfect lie – Lisa Scottoline


I love these kind of books – obviously. The mystery and intrigue keep me turning page after page until my eyes can’t see anymore. I usually finish them in a few days, neglecting  import things, like dishes.

In this book Chris Brennan is working as a high school teacher and coach. On paper, he looks like the perfect guy. However, Chris isn’t who he says he is. The story focuses around three kids, a loner, a rich kid, and a troubled teen all with their own secrets. There is a plot in place to cause some sort of destruction on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and Chris is at the center of it. Is he trying to help one of the kids do it? Is he trying to enlist one of them to help him? Or is he trying to prevent it? The reader is left wondering while lies and secrets come pouring in from all the families.

This novel, as I said, leaves you turning pages and wanting more. It is a fast paced, heart thumping novel and is a fine example of how wonderfully Lisa Scottoline weaves a story.

I would recommend to lovers of: Lisa Scottoline, Stephen King, Lisa Jackson…, mystery and fiction lovers as well thriller and suspense lovers.


Winter Moon -Dean Koontz


This book originally came out in 1993 and focuses on a cop and his family after a tragedy occurs, forcing them out of L.A. and into a smaller rural town in Montana. The issues that the family deal with are ones that cops still deal with today. It was interesting to read a story that took place over 20 years ago and realize one sad thing that had nothing to do with the story line…we haven’t learned from our mistakes at all. We still murder without abandon, we deal drugs to children, we blame everyone and anyone for our shortcomings, and innocent lives are the ones that ultimately suffer when the adults decide to fight. It is honestly that hard truth more than the actual story that I will probably take away from this. And wonder, will we ever learn?

Dean Koontz is a master at weaving mystery and suspense into horrifying nightmares beyond imagination. He develops rich characters and beautiful landscapes that allow you to immerse yourself fully into his works. Winter Moon is no different.

After deciding to leave the hard streets of L.A. to what they hope will be a new start for them, the family barely gets unpacked when strange things start happening. They soon discover that maybe people are less scary than they thought, especially when the universe is full of even more mystifying and terrifying things than they had ever dreamed.

Fans of Dean Koontz, Stephen King, mystery, horror, suspense, or science fiction will enjoy this book for sure.


The Gunslinger -The Dark Tower Series – Stephen King


So first I must tell you, in case you didn’t know, Stephen King is one of my favorite authors. I have a few whose books I will devour whenever new ones come out, and I am always searching for older ones I may have missed. My first journey with Stephen King was Pet Sematary – to this day I look under my bed before sleeping. Kidding, but you get the idea. I have read everything I can by Mr. King, and have thoroughly enjoyed most of work. My favorite will always be The Stand; however, each book is like finding a long-lost friend.

It is because of my love for him and his works that I write this with unwilling fingers. The Dark Tower series, for me, just isn’t interesting. I tried and failed to read this book many times over the years, and just couldn’t get into it. I finally finished it, and to be honest, don’t think I missed much. However, I am told it all makes sense and it all comes together when you read the rest of the series. Since I know Mr. King, and have had a hard time with some of his earlier work (Salem’s Lot comes to mind), I will continue to try this series out.

To the review though:

It starts with Roland chasing the Man in Black. Anyone who has read any novels by King will instantly recognize the Man in Black as Randell Flagg or the Dark Man. Roland is the last of his kind, a Gunslinger and from what I gather, his home has been destroyed. The world they live in is like our world, but it is either a parallel world, or many years in our future. They know things like Bible and the Beatles, but don’t have any knowledge of skyscrapers for example. King never comes out and says parallel or future, but I am sure the next books divulge deeper into that.

Along the journey to meet the Man in Black and in his search for the Dark Tower, he meets some colorful characters that sometimes confuse more than help the plot line. It spans a massive dessert and goes into pitch black caves. The descriptions were great, as was the character development. I personally just didn’t care if Roland ever met the Man in Black. HOWEVER, I feel this is all me and not Mr. King’s writing or the story itself. I must emphasize that because as I said, I love his writing and most of his stories, so when I come across one I don’t like I know it must be me.

Anyway – this got off tangent – I would recommend this book (and series) to anyone who likes adventure, science fiction, alternate universes, maybe even westerns. I think it could be a very enjoyable book to anyone familiar with his work.



Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel


It is no surprise that I enjoy reading dystopian fiction. I like it for many reasons, but mostly I enjoy reading what other people think of humanity. You can tell how positive or negative they feel by the world they create when the world as we know it ends.

This novel reminds me a lot of The Stand by Stephen King. The Georgia Flu has taken out 99% of the population. (Capt. Tripps or Project Blue – a man-made super flu – killed off 99% of the population) Society must put itself back together. Instead of having a good/evil that puts the society that is left in two camps. It follows the more likely Glenn Bateman theory of a bunch of little societies popping up and being led by different forms of government. From Socialism to Dictators and everything in between. The way we can experience this, is by following the Traveling Symphony. The members of the group preform Shakespeare plays and play music while traveling around the mostly deserted landscape that used to be America. For 20 years they have done this, but of course, the good people aren’t the only ones that survived and as such, they run into problems trying to find some friends of theirs.

The whole novel sweeps back and forth through landscapes and over time, from before the flu to the present, going from one character to another and bringing the reader into a world where everything is gone. The internet, modern medicine, TV, cold food from the fridge, cooking on a stove, going to drive through for food, flying across great distances, getting in your car and traveling hundreds of miles in only few hours. Families, friends, jobs, useless degrees all gone in the blink of an eye and what remains is only what we are. Musicians, doctors, mothers, fathers, electricians, trying to find ways to find meaning in the new normal.

I think what I enjoyed most about this book was the other reason I like dystopian novels. I feel like most of humanity (not all) is stuck in rut. We live each day going about our business with very little thought to our futures, or even our present. We work, we sleep, we eat, we repeat and for what? Is that living? Or just existing. Two parts of the book stick out for me that make me feel like the author feels the same way. There was a monolog in the middle where a woman is describing her boss and she describes him as: “High-Functioning Sleepwalker” Deep. Because I look around and see a whole lot of “high-functioning sleepwalkers” every day. The second reason is a recurring phrase: “Because survival is insufficient” which is apparently originally from Star Trek. Again – isn’t it true? Just because you are alive doesn’t mean you are living.

Another thing that stuck with me is the way she would make you think about morality – one minute here, the next gone. There was one reflection where one of the characters was remembering making snow ice cream with his mother and brother. “Frank standing on a stool on his wondrously functional pre-Libya legs, the bullet that would sever his spinal cord still twenty-five years away but already approaching” again – deep. Thinking about it makes you think about your life, what events have shaped where you are and what events are still to come.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even if it took me a long time to read it. I would highly recommend this to anyway one wants to read as good dystopian novel.