Peruse Carefully (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams – A Book Review)

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Author: Stephen King
Published: 2015

On Goodreads

Bazaar of Bad Dreams

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

A master of horror, crazy, and supernatural, Stephen King brings another collection of short stories. A few you may know. Others come at you with a realistic and horrifying twist that will make you shiver. From a people-eating car to a little green god of agony possessing an elderly, rich and entitled asshole to a Kindle linked to the Dark Tower.

In this latest collection, the King still stirs that pot, mixing the dark and morbid side of reality with that of the fantasy side.

 

Personally, Nightmares & Dreamscapes is my favorite collection of the King’s stories: the hardcover, purple with the gravestone. Just beautiful. This one wasn’t as great, but their were a few stories that really perked my interest. Just something about the way they caught me by surprise.

Mile 81

The Bad Kid

Ur

The Little Green God of Agony

Obits

Summer Thunder

The ominous shadow that hangs over all of these stories really enticed me. It kept me curious.

I found the title of the book to be intriguing. A bazaar-a market that sells goods-was a unique choice for it, emphasizing that you can peruse these short stories instead of reading them in order. And, bad dreams? Yeah, the King isn’t kidding. Some of these stories are what nightmares are made of. And the cover, looking at a person and only seeing death, is beautiful and chilling.

Short stories are an art form. I agree with this. Very hard to conquer. Sometimes. With this book, I feel that. This was one that I had 50/50 feelings about. It was good, yet not really. The imagery was powerful with each one. Some of the stories I enjoyed immensely and others not so much. There were points where I just couldn’t get invested into the story. I felt like I was getting dragged.

However, each detailed intro to each story was poignant and beautiful. It’s getting a backstage pass to what I believe to be one of the funniest yet outspoken minds of fiction. He truly writes some beautiful words in a cloud of morbidity. I dig it.

Thumbs Up

Now, my favorite stories (above) are favorites because of one BIG element. Shouldn’t be that hard to guess if you’ve been keeping up with me this far in the blog. There’s that special supernatural touch. Though, if I had a specific favorite it would be Obits. The story centers on a journalist’s dark comedy obituary and his sudden ability to kill people with it. So much power and so dangerous!! This was the greatest page turner, and maybe that makes me a bit morbid, but I’ve read stories similar to this—where you could write someone’s death and then it actually happens. Its creepy and unnerving. Imagine having that kind of power. It’s mind-blowing!

mind blown

And I swear, when reading this, I can hear the King’s voice ring so clearly, and it sounds very close to a professor’s I had: cocky and condescendingly intelligent with a thrive for life. It made me smile. I liked that professor, because while he did sound like that, he was a cool guy. Made everyone feel included and nobody felt stupid. There was learning to be had and he did a great job of helping with that.

 

Overall

This book left me tied up on how I feel about it. There were some great stories. They really pulled me in. But…I wasn’t moved to love the entire book. That’s what’s interesting about short stories. Because you don’t like one, doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy the entire book.

Beautiful words, chilling stories, intense characters, but a one-time read for me.

 

Quotables:

“If you saw a guy lying by the side of the road, it didn’t matter if he was a Samaritan or a Martian. You stopped to help.” (Mile 81, p. 23)

“Arr, reality’s a dirty place with no religion in it.

So buy me a drink, goddam you!

We’ll toast elephants that never were.” (The Bone Church, p. 162)

“I think the world is mostly populated by shitheads. You take it from there.” (UR, p. 210)

 

More to comes soon…

-K.

 

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P.S. Song today? Tainted Love by Marilyn Manson

 

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It Runs in the Family (Willow – A Book Review)

Willow (De Beers #1)
Author: V. C. Andrews
Published: 2002

On Goodreads

Willow

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 

All that glitters isn’t gold…

After the death of her father, Willow goes in search of her biological mother after reading his journal, finding her in the ritz and extravagant Palm Beach. Being rich is the name and throwing luxurious parties is everyone’s game. She assumes a name and pretends that she is conducting a study for her college graduate thesis in order to grow closer to her mother.

Willow discovers not only that her mother is in Palm Beach, but that she also has a son. Willow has a brother. Now, she’ll work to get to know her mother and uncover all of the secrets surrounding her fall from the glamorous lies of this beach town. It’s slippery down the rabbit hole and Willow must be careful not to lose herself in the life of the rich and famous.

 

This story started out pretty slow, but gave a really good overture of Willow’s upbringing with her adoptive family. Her mother, who she called A.M., is treacherous and took pleasure in destroying Willow. She wasn’t the only one either. People just thrived on the destruction of others in this book. It was unbelievable. I was disgusted!

Willow, while I love her backbone and inability to let people manipulate her, also started to make me wonder after a while. We all converse with our conscience. It helps us make decisions and confer with our feelings. Willow took it to an EXTREME! It got a little weird because of the way she didn’t seem to be conversing with herself, but other voices in her head. Like, I believe she needs some psychological help, which is funny since her biological mom spent time in the psych ward.

Crying of Lot 49

The other characters were a range of wild, too. Thatcher Eaton came swooping in as a kind of prince charming. Kind of, because he’s rather full of himself. His parents were no better. They were MUCH worse. And Linden, Willow’s newly discovered brother, is especially odd. He comes across as a loner and rather morbid with his artwork and possessive. I was ODing on the crazy with all of them and I’m pretty sure Willow was, too.

The lustrous setting of Palm Beach was filled with crashing waves, speedboats, sunsets, glitz and glam…and secrets. This really got me thinking about Revenge—great for building upon secrets until you begin to tailspin. It was crazy!

The difference between the rich glam-train and the poor on the shore in this book was how they were perceived and the stories told about them. The folks who live the life of never-ending luxury carry themselves with extreme narcissism, as if they’re saviors and should be thanked for constantly, yet go on about those with less as if they’re a disease. It’s despicable. I got pretty worked up about it.

I will say: this the writing really threw me off. It’s typically what pulls me in ultimately. Now, this wasn’t written by the true V.C. Andrews, but it did come from her notes. This just didn’t have that ominous tone that she originally had. The tone actually came off bland for me.

 

Overall

I wish psychological—I wouldn’t’ call this a thriller—books were my thing, but this one was slow and dragging. I was really intrigued by the idea of delving into the dark chasm of the rich and how this side of it was explored. However, I just couldn’t get into it as much as I wanted to. A good one time read for me.

 

Quotables:

“Bad news travels with the wind. It’s as if everyone who hears it feels an obligation to pass it along, or maybe a need to get rid of it before it affects them and their lives as well.” (p. 57)

“Most people I meet here are empty, mindless. I call them Hollows.” (Linden to Willow, p. 245)

“Secrets have a way of twisting themselves around your heart like a python and choking the joy out of you.” (Thatcher to Willow, p. 325)

“Daddy taught me never to run and hide but to face my problems head on and never be intimidated by them. Good Advice, don’t you think?” (Willow to Aunt Agnes, p. 434)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Shadow of the Day by Linkin Park.

 

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Mighty Gods? Maybe…Not. (Norse Mythology – A Book Review)

Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

Norse Mythology

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

Having been long inspired by mythology, Neil Gaiman has come up with a collection of retellings through his own unique (and crazy) point of view of Norse mythology and, yes, this includes the great Ragnarok-the end of the world.

With cameos from Odin, Thor, Loki and even Sif, Gaiman’s humor and powerful storytelling takes flight. Thor’s hammer goes missing. The gods trick the giants. And Loki continuously talks his way out of death.

 

First off, I’m a regular geek-out over Neil Gaiman. The man is a pleasant kind of crazy. I also LOVED his V/O in Lucifer, though it took me the entire episode to figure it the eff out. He’s a phenomenal writer with an untouchable talent. I swear he gives birth to the kind of stories that become legendary star constellations…then again, maybe I’m just fangirling. *shrug*

 

This book didn’t compare to American Gods or The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but it was still amazing. Starting off with an informative introduction and ending with a glossary specifically to help with further understanding, this book was rather fulfilling and enjoyable to my yearning for mythology. I love mythology. Usually, I’m quite attached to Greek myths, so this was a great change-up.

Also, the glimmering, gold on black cover of Thor’s powerful hammer is breathtaking. Just saying. I fondled the cover with glee.

From the creation of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, to the end of the gods’ world-Ragnarok, there was both humor and seriousness. Most of all, it was magical. With dwarves and large wolves. I was so enthralled. I think the wolf-son of Loki-was actually my favorite character. What can I say? I’m a dog person.

Norse Mythology

I loved the imagery of Asgard, the world of the gods and the description set up alongside it. Gaiman has this way of explaining and showing and describing, and all of these things that make the images move in your mind, so that it’s easy to understand, yet in depth and smooth like the ocean. Cheesy way to describe it? Maybe. But, I like it and it’s suitable. He’s a real genius and it shouldn’t have taken 20 years just to read his work.

What really caught my eye was the way all of the stories tied together for an epic ending. I won’t give anything away, except to say that there’s a lot of blood and loss and rebirth. Simply wonderful. The gods were certainly not the ones we all know and love out of Thor.

Norse Mythology

Nope. Thor actually red hair. And Loki isn’t even Thor’s brother. He’d Odin’s brother. Might I add that Thor is basically the Kelso of the group. LOL. Not even kidding. It’s hilarious. Loki is basically Hyde, who gets away with shit by blaming somebody else. (If you haven’t watch That 70’s Show then go do it.)

Norse Mythology

AND THE GODS ARE SOME REAL JERKS. LOL. I was stunned by this. Granted, I figured there’d be selfishness and possibly some incest and weird family love, but whoa! They also brought all of the tragedy and mishaps upon themselves with their paranoia.

 

Overall

I fun and delightful read with many surprises. Doesn’t feel educational and partially because it’s not, though it is. Worth a read if you enjoy Gaiman and if you haven’t read any of his work yet, start with one of his novels to a feel and then read this one.

 

 

Quotables

“Now he understood magic. Now the world was his to control.” (p. 22)

“When something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.” (Thor, p. 52)

Norse Mythology

“That was the thing about Loki. You resented him even when you were at your most grateful, and you were grateful to him even when you hated him most.” (p. 67)

“Listen and you will learn.” (p. 269)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? The Heat of the Moment by Asia.

 

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From Another Time, Another Dimension (Watcher in the Woods – A Book Review)

Watcher in the Woods (Dreamhouse Kings #2)
Author: Robert Liparulo
Published: 2008

On Goodreads

Watcher in the Woods - Scholastic

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

It’s not just the house that’s keeping secrets.

After Xander’s mom is kidnapped and dragged through one of the dimensional doorways of the house, the rest of King family rallies together to get her back. Secrets about they really moved into this mysterious house is divulged and the Kings will never be the same.

A new school year begins and the townspeople of Pinedale are starting to suspect the King family of strange things, like abuse. With the mystery of the house, and a strange man stalking them, they have to stand together if they hope to get their mom back.

 

This book was better than the first one by a hair. There were many new elements and characters. Turns out, Dad has been in this house before. There’s an assassin that came through one of the dimensional doors that wants the house for himself. A bully harasses David.

I liked that the novel spread out some, going to school and that clearing where you can nearly fly. New settings really open up a book. However, the clearing (the anti-gravity clearing as I call it) was very strange and out of place feeling. There was so much I Don’t Know that it was just pointless. It didn’t bring very much to my imagination nor did it do anything for me but feel weird. The school was really cool because there was a glimpse of it in the first book. Now, school is in session and obviously, nobody wants to go.

The storytelling didn’t improve by much. I’m still a little confused because the characters aren’t making much sense of everything so neither am I, but I did like that the emotions were higher. Dude, mom is gone. Time to crank this up to eleven! And there’s an assassin! (The flashback of the assassin’s time before getting teleported into the Dreamhouse was out of place feeling, too.) I liked that the intensity was kicked up a notch. Everybody is freaking out.

What is happening

 

Overall

Still not a book that did much for me. My heart got pulled a little. I love my mom beyond words and I’d be going all terminator if somebody kidnapped her so, I can relate to Xander on that level. The storytelling felt like a jumbled mess and therefore didn’t really pull me in even though the imagery was great. A strong feeling of meh.

 

Quotables:

“He thought he could be a hero, and now he was about to get shot or blown up or…something that amounted to the same thing: dead.” (David, p. 4)

“It’s not kidnapping if I asked you to take me.” (Keal to Jesse, p. 280)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

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A Door to Anywhere (House of Dark Shadows – A Book Review)

House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings #1)
Author: Robert Liparulo
Published: 2008

On Goodreads

House of Dark Shadows

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

15/25

 

Dream house…or bad dream?

When the Kings up and move from L.A. to the small town, Pinedale, Xander is more than upset. But when they happened across an old Victorian house hidden out in the woods, they think they’ve hit the jackpot. Everyone gets their own rooms. There’s woods for miles to explore.

Weird things begin to happen as they get ready to move in. There are prints of larger-than-normal feet in the dust. A special door in the linen closet. There a hallway with doors that lead to different periods in time like the Civil War. Xander begins to wonder if this is the coolest thing ever or just a dread nightmare come true.

 

This book marks 15 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I was really drawn in by the artwork and weirdness.

 

I honestly don’t know how I’m feeling about this book. It felt a little all over the place for me. I know this book is geared toward the independent reader genre, but still, I didn’t feel all that enthralled. Much of the bits were very intriguing, but I felt like they were lost in the story. Crazy things are happening in this old house, but they just didn’t work together, not in any way that made sense to me. My curiosity was piqued for sure, but unsatisfied. I did love the many TV references—Misery, Star Wars, and Supernatural to name a few. It puts the story in the real world, and lets readers relate more.

The setting of the small town and the old house was very cool. Everything was secluded, adding to the growing ominous feeling. The boys, Xander and David got a tower in their bedroom. Call me jealous, I’ve always wanted my own personal tower; a spot where I can read and have my own world. I really liked the blueprint of the house in the beginning of the book. Things like that really make me feel a little closer and involved with the story.

I struggled in following the story. There just wasn’t enough detail to make all of this click. I just couldn’t get emotionally invested either. This was written to get you on the edge of your seat with all of the wild things happening and sadly, I was just wanting it to be over.

ITBT

The closeness between Xander and his siblings was so special. At such a young age, most siblings fight and bicker and that wasn’t the case at all. They were there for each other and protecting one another. However, the parents were very odd. There wasn’t much of a difference between them and the kids. They talked and acted like them. Any real parental authority was overshadowed by them wanting to relate to the kids and be their friend. It really threw me off.

 

Overall: this book wasn’t what I imagined. I knew it wouldn’t be gory or utterly spine-tingling, but I do feel like this should’ve been more to help make the story more vivid and enthralling. Connect the dots. With tigers in the jungle and a creepy man wandering the property and other unexplainable things, I hoped for something more.

 

Quotables:

“What was embarrassing or personal, dreams and fears—it was all fair game in the King household.” (Xander, p. 107)

“We’re humans, not robots.” (Mom to Xander, p. 107)

“Loved ones die. Fact of life.” (Xander, p. 271)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

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You’re Not Jay…(Jay’s Journal – A Book Review)

Jay’s Journal
Author: Anonymous
Published: 1979
On Goodreads

Jay's Journal

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

14/25

 

On a cold January night, Jay put a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger.

He was sixteen.

Jay didn’t understand the point of keeping a journal. As a teenager, he’s hormonal and troubled and just trying to find his way. Suddenly, he’s sucked into a group of friends and convinced by his girlfriend to join in on witchcraft, Ouija boards, and demon summoning. As life takes a dark turn, Jay feels isolated with no chance to escape. His only escape are within the pages of this journal.

 

This book marks 14 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I’ve met people who’ve read from Anonymous and they really liked the books. I wanted to open up to new authors and this was one of them.

 

Okay, this book seemed pretty upfront and not all that out of the norm. From my own point of view, magic is neither good nor bad. It’s the believer and practitioner and their intentions that determines whether the magic goes good or bad. So, when I read this, I was real effing shocked by the gradual darkness that swallowed Jay.

Jay's Journal

The magic went from interesting and nifty to dark side. It was unnerving and actually pretty damn scary by the end of the book, and I don’t scare that easy, but this…this was chilling.

Set in the 70s, Jay had an ordinary life. He had normal parents that he felt like were smothering him. Had a sibling, Chad, that looked up to him. It was the typical, nuclear family. More so, the language really promoted the period with such words as neat and Judas. It pulled me into it even more.

It was from Jay’s personal POV that we came across this story. That alone left me a little unnerved. The thing about a POV such as this is that you aren’t looking through a person’s eyes. You’re looking from their personal emotions. The way he recalled everything that happened and how it felt was haunting and unnerving. From out of body experiences to ESP, he wrote it all down. Most of the time he wrote in prose, but from time to time he wrote poetry, which I really liked. The emotions reached great highs and scary lows.

Jay's Journal

What made this book so scary? It’s all true. These are Jay’s real words that his mother allowed to be read by everyone. It’s her hopes that it’ll warn and help others.

 

This book was just amazing, creepy, and all around a perfect read. It encompassed the time period and emotions. My best friend officially wants to read this book. I recommend to fans of both fiction and nonfiction. This was crazy.

 

Quotables:

“I WAS SURE I COULD HANDLE IT!” (Jay, p. 9)

“Night…endless is thy name” (Jay, p. 21)

“All evil lurks inside and hides it so I cannot see. But it sees me.” (Jay, p. 168)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Fleur Blanche by Orsten.

 

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To Heaven or Hell With Them (Marked – A Book Review)

Marked (Servants of Fate #1)
Author: Sarah Fine
Published: 2015

On Goodreads

Marked

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

13/25

 

In post-apocalyptic Boston,

Supernatural factions battle

For human souls.

 In a world that’s been swamped by environmental collapse—coasts have flooded, countries have gone dry or iced over, and disease has spread—Boston paramedic and heiress, Cacia-Cacy-Ferry risks her life on the front lines in the dangerous city. What most don’t know is that she also ferries those who die on to the afterlife. That’s right, she goes into limbo to make sure souls go where they need to go, whether to heaven or to the fiery depths of hell.

Enter, new transfer and partner to Cacy, Eli Margolis, who has a past of his own, and who’s only concerned with making sure his sister is safe. Though wary of the Ferry family, Eli finds himself attracted to Cacy. Cacy isn’t sure about jumping into a relationship, but she can’t stay away from Eli either. But, when he’s marked for death, Cacy will do whatever it takes to save him, even risk her future, and he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her and his sister.

This book marks 13 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. Every once in a while…okay a little more than that, I will pluck a book at random to give myself a chance to read something new. This is one of them.

A death rocks the Ferry family and Cacy won’t stop until she finds out who did it. She blames the Ker-vicious, sharp toothed, red eyed, greedy creatures that mark people for death, much like the fates. The Ferry an Ker factions are close to war and Eli has no idea just how in the middle of it he and his sister are. And let me just say, I wish I knew more about these factions. There wasn’t enough information on them at the start. It was about halfway through the novel that I had a hook on them and how they worked.

This book was intense, steamy, and supernatural. I was just hanging on for dear life as Cacy’s and Eli’s lives collided. This was so action packed whether from heart pumping danger or seriously sexy moments that were breath stealing. I really enjoyed it. This was certainly one of those stories filled with drama, romance, and everything else under the sun. It’s fantastic and shock worthy! There was a lot I didn’t see coming.

Side note: This isn’t YA. It contains mature language and sexual content. However, that’s not to say young adults can’t it shouldn’t read it. They’ll read whatever they please. This is just a warning that it actually doesn’t fall into that genre.

I get really into world-building and this one was really interesting. Our planet is in a bit of a rough spot as it is with climate change and pollution, so Fine’s creation/morph of the world in her book is nice! She captured future in which the world rages back against humanity incredibly and realistically. A third of the world was wiped out from disease and from there everything else just collapsed. People are stealing organs like plucking apples from a tree, and technology has advanced so that vehicles can drive right on to the water and medical supplies It’s so creative, yet a great way to play on the real world. This alone really got me interested in reading this.

Marked

The chemistry between Cacy and Eli was electrifying! They’re hot and cold and HOT! It’s gasp worthy. They connected instantly and I couldn’t get enough. The build-up was enough to make me pop.

I loved that they both had a story and that they collided. They’re incredible together—a wildfire blazing in a dark world. Eli doesn’t come off as a hot shot nor an overly broody man. The way that Cacy is so straightforward, knowing what she wants, and she’s strong is powerful and endearing. I love a female character like this, especially because she kicks ass and takes names. Both she and Eli propel into danger for those they care about. That trait is always one that sweeps me off my feet.

Dead of Winter

Fine’s writing was incredible. It was entertaining and gripping. I couldn’t put this book down! My heart skipped beats. My pulse was racing. The supernatural element was fresh and original. However, I did find it a little confusing every once in a while. I wish the way the way Cacy’s supernatural ability worked was more accessible. Every once in a while, it just didn’t get through to me or was a little repetitive. I did think it was interesting, how dark and light intermingled with how heaven and hell were described by Cacy. I just wish the imagery had been stronger with limbo, the marked, the coin that moved the dead to their afterlives, and the Ker.

Overall, this was a pretty good book. This wasn’t a what I consider a literary piece, but it was a fun ride! There many parts I reread because I couldn’t get enough. I hope to find the second book sometime in the future. For those of you that enjoy really in depth, supernaturally original. Oh, and this is totally not YA.

Quotables:

“Life isn’t fair, Cacy, and neither is death.” (Dec to Cacy, p. 58)

“I’m on your side, Eli. There is more going on here than you understand, but there one thing you can count on. She. Is. Yours.” (Moros to Eli, p. 210)

“I see you better than you see yourself.” (Cacy to Eli, p. 283)

“I don’t believe in deserving. You haven’t deserved most of what has happened to you. But it happened anyway. So did we.” (Cacy to Eli, p. 285)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Trouble by Natalia Kills.

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