Book Reviews

Misery by Stephen King

MiseryTitle: Misery
Author: Stephen King
Rating: ★★★★

The #1 national bestseller about a famous novelist held hostage by his “number one fan” and suffering a frightening case of writer’s block—that could prove fatal. One of “Stephen King’s best…genuinely scary” (USA TODAY).

Paul Sheldon is a bestselling novelist who has finally met his number one fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes, and she is more than a rabid reader—she is Paul’s nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also furious that the author has killed off her favorite character in his latest book. Annie becomes his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house.

Annie wants Paul to write a book that brings Misery back to life—just for her. She has a lot of ways to spur him on. One is a needle. Another is an axe. And if they don’t work, she can get really nasty.

“Terrifying” (San Francisco Chronicle), “dazzlingly well-written” (The Indianapolis Star), and “truly gripping” (Publishers Weekly), Misery is “classic Stephen King…full of twists and turns and mounting suspense” (The Boston Globe).

Misery is a story of an author trapped in Stockholm syndrome with his #1 Fan. Author, Paul Sheldon, escaped away to focus on writing his newest piece of work when he was involved in an automobile accident. #1 Fan and former nurse, Annie Wilkes finds Sheldon after the accident and nurses him back to health. Body broken, Sheldon is held captive in an upset Wilkes’ house. His only way to stay alive is by writing Annie Wilkes’ favorite character Misery back alive after her death in the previous novel. Afraid to make the wrong, movie Sheldon is forced to do as Annie pleases or suffer the consequences.

The aspect I loved the most about the novel was that the reader was able to read Sheldon’s chapters on Misery, you know the “story inside a story”. I loved that! Compared to King’s other novels, this was a much faster read to me, quite possibly because it is more realistic than the other novels by the author that I have read.

Annie was such an interested and clever character. One second you think that Paul will get away with whatever plan he has next, and she was always a few steps ahead, but was very precise in when she would bring up Paul’s attempt at escape.

What is most interesting is that we were reading about an author. In some ways, it felt like we were inside King’s head in possibly how he “dreams up” his ideas on novels to write.

King is one of the best authors out there and it is apparent in this work. Misery takes readers into the psychological mind of King where obsession, addiction, and overcoming adversity rules. I’m so excited to watch the movie!

Book Reviews, Bookish Features

[BLOG TOUR] Tears of Frost (Heart of Thorns, #2) by Bree Barton

Tears of Frost Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the Tears of Frost book tour! Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Tears of Frost2

Title: TEARS OF FROST (Heart of Thorns, #2)
Author: Bree Barton
Pub. Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Formats: Hardcover
Pages: 480
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&N, iTunes, TBD, Kobo, Google Books

The electric second book in the Heart of Thorns trilogy explores the effects of power in a dark magical kingdom—and the fierce courage it takes to claim your body as your own.

Mia Rose is back from the dead. Her memories are hazy, her body numb—but she won’t stop searching. Her only hope to save the boy she loves and the sister who destroyed her is to find the mother she can never forgive. Pilar is on a hunt of her own. Betrayed by her mother, and plagued by a painful secret, she’s determined to seek out the only person who can exact revenge. All goes according to plan… until she collides with Prince Quin, the boy whose sister she killed.

As Mia, Pilar, and Quin forge dangerous new alliances, they are bewitched by the snow kingdom’s promise of freedom and opportunity. But with the winter solstice drawing near, they must confront the truth beneath the glimmering ice, as lines between friend, foe, and lover vanish like snowflakes on a flame.


REVIEW

Compared to the last novel, this one started out action-packed! I knew from the first 100 pages that I was going to enjoy this installment better than the first (and that is rare for me!).

I think what readers will enjoy most is the parallels the novel portrays to our present. This is definitely a “girl power” novel. Note that there are some scenes containing sexual abuse that could make readers uncomfortable. Depression also makes a presence in the novel.

I loved the growth we see, not only from our characters, but from the author herself. The confidence is apparent in the writing. Tears of Frost has a million times more depth than Heart of Thorns. As readers, we get to experience the pain and suffering the characters experience, we embark on the same journeys through the struggles of family expectations, and finally, we get to experience the characters overcoming adversity and becoming their own people.

Barton is an author unlike anyone else. Tackling touchy issues in the way she knows best: writing, Barton takes readers on a journey of unlikely friendships struggling with alcoholism, sexual assault, depression, and suicidal ideation until finally, finding themselves.

★★★

See my review for Heart of Thorns here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bree Barton

Bree Barton is the author of Heart of Thorns (KT/HArperCollins 2018), the first in a series of fierce feminist fantasy novels. Her books have been published in seven countries and four languages. When she’s not crafting story, Bree teaches dance and writing to teen girls. You can find her on Instagram @SpeakBreely. She lives in Los Angeles but dreams of the northern lights.

Follow Bree:
GoodreadsWebsite | YouTubeInstagram


GIVEAWAY

1st Prize
Win a TEARS OF FROST bundle: signed hardcover copies of HoT and ToF, HoT bookmark, ToF bookmark, HoT candle, ToF candle (US ONLY)

2nd Prize
Win a TEARS OF FROST goodies bundle: signed bookplate, HoT bookmark, ToF bookmark, and a customized poem in the style of the epigraph (INT)

Starts: October 30th, 2019
Ends: November 13th, 2019

ENTER HERE


EXTRAS

 


October 30th

October 31st

Careful of Books – Review
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Utopia State of Mind – Review + Favourite Quotes
Risah’s Book Blog – Promotional Post

November 1st

L.M. Durand – Guest Post
Luchia Houghton Blog – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Reading Corner for All – Review + Favourite Quotes

November 2nd

NovelKnight – Guest Post
Bookishly Nerdy – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Caffeinated Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookish Looks – Promotional Post

November 3rd

Reads Like Supernovae – Review + Favourite Quotes
Dazzled by Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Book Bratz – Promotional Post

November 4th

Wishful Endings – Interview
Wine, Tea, & Paper – Review + Favourite Quotes
Polish & Paperbacks – Promotional Post

November 5th

Kait Plus Books – Interview
Synopses by Sarge – Review
Novel Nerd Faction – Review + Playlist
Oh Hey! Books. – Promotional Post
Book Reviews

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill HouseTitle: The Haunting of Hill House
Author: Shirley Jackson
Rating: ★★★★

The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre. First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting;’ Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Stopping myself from finishing Season 1 of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, I decided I ought to read the book first, especially since it came in the September 2019 OwlCrate box.

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

Dr. Montague, a scholar, invites Eleanor, Theodora, and Luke to Hill House to “test” how gifted people react to the supernatural events the house has to offer. While many more were invited, only three show up.

This house, which seemed somehow to have formed itself, flying together into its own powerful pattern under the hands of its builders, fitting itself into its own construction of lines and angles, reared its great head back against the sky without concession to humanity. It was a house without kindness, never meant to be lived in, not a fit place for people or for love or for hope.

Honestly, I was looking for more of a spooky atmosphere coming from the novel that helped define the genre. At one point, I was too afraid to continue on with the novel, but most of the time I felt it was a little boring and I wanted more ghostly action.

Possibly what I enjoyed most about the novel was the ambiguity of the “supernatural” events happening. Did a visitor perform them or were they actually supernatural? Personally, Mrs. Dudley was by far the creepiest thing about the novel.

From watching part of the Netflix series, I definitely found that more interesting and detailed. However, it was nice to get inside Eleanor’s head in the novel.

Journeys end in lovers meeting.

The Haunting of Hill House is a story of one’s own interpretation, mystery, and offers the chance to be reread and interpreted differently every time.

Book Reviews

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

ShiverTitle: Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: ★★★★

From a dazzlingly talented young writer, a haunting and original supernatural romance in the vein of TWILIGHT.

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.;Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the novels SHIVER, LINGER, and FOREVER. Her novel THE SCORPIO RACES was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association, while PUBLISHERS WEEKLY selected Maggie’s THE RAVEN BOYS as a Best Book of the Year. She is also the author of LAMENT and BALLAD. Maggie lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children. You can visit her online at www.maggiestiefvater.com.

Initially, I felt the writing was a little juvenile. But, as the story started to evolve, I found myself hooked on the writing. While, at times, the immaturity of a teenager was present (a little weird reading while an adult), the lack of responsibility of the parents was even more profound.

Sam is the epitome of a selfless person. I love his protectiveness and relentless love for Grace. Not at any point was he a selfish, conceited jerk. He didn’t try to push Grace away knowing the inevitable would happen. He was realistic and sensitive, making him a very likable character.

But then there is Grace…she was just so immature, especially for someone having to be independent because her parents knew nothing about being responsible. Later on, she grows some balls, making her more likable, but in the beginning it is like she can do no wrong. BORING! Does anyone else imagine her making the Kristen Stewart face (teeth showing)?

 

What I loved most about this novel is the ending! There were two things that threw me off guard, although one was kind of predictable. Loves of Twilight will love this, however, it is completely different than Twilight. More like lovers of Jacob Black will love this.

Image result for team jacob

Shiver is a love story intertwined with pain, suffering, and finding meaning to life when nothing was really as it seemed.

Book Reviews

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1) by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent and DoveTitle: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Rating: ★★★

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

War is brewing (ha!) between the witches and the Church. Lou, a young witch trying to keep her powers at bay and hiding from her mother, runs into Reid (a Chasseur: whose main goal is to not let a witch live) by mere chance. After their debale on a theater stage, they find themselves bound in holy matrimony.

A witch and a witch hunter bound in holy matrimony. There was only one way such a story could end — a stake and a match.

Plot twists, how I do love thee. And Serpent & Dove provided many!

Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay.

I think I am in the minority in saying that I found certain parts of the novel to be boring. And honestly, I felt like some characters were forced…aka Ansel. While easily lovable, his role felt forced and rushed. He went from pretty much being a mute slave to this ultimate stand-up guy the next second we encounter him. But Coco, there is a fun character! She was the only truly believable character to me and by far had the most personality.

Lou and Reid were just kind of “meh” to me. Everyone keeps mentioning a slow-burn romance, but I felt it was rushed and not believable.

One other thing that i felt could’ve been improved upon was the world-building. I didn’t “feel” like I was there. I had trouble imagining the setting. France? I’ve never been there, though, so without some details, it is hard to picture.

C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour.
That is love, to give away everything, to sacrifice everything, without the slightest desire to get anything in return.
-Albert Camus

Serpent & Dove is a story of high-stakes, plot twists, and a change of heart. While this wasn’t my absolute favorite, the story line has so much potential! With world-building improvements and a look deeper into the world of covens, I believe the sequel can be a standout novel!

Book Reviews, Bookish Features

[BLOG TOUR + Q&A] The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

The Memory Thief Banner

Welcome to my stop on The Memory Thief book tour! Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Memory Thief Cover

Title: THE MEMORY THIEF
Author: Lauren Mansy
Pub. Date: October 1, 2019
Publisher: BLINK
Formats: Hardcover
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&N, TBD, IndieBound

In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.


REVIEW

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Shadows can help her.

I brush the memory of Ryder’s plan away as another replaces it.

They help people who can’t help themselves.

In a world where memories are transferred as money, we follow Etta, a 17-year-old girl living in the shadows and trying to keep her secret safe from those around her: she is a “Gifted” labeled as an “Ungifted”, but the catch is that people only see blankness when they look into her mind. Under a corrupt government, the “Gifted” have all of the power. Four years ago, Etta made a deal with Madame (her enemy at the time) and betrayed her allies in order to have a place for her mother to stay in the asylum. Now, with the Auction day upon her, she realizes that her mother is up for auction and all deals between herself and Madame are off. When a person is put up for auction, the memories are put up for sale until the person has nothing left of value and dies. In order to save her mother once again, Etta is forced to confront the people she betrayed to ask for her. But the only way to save her mother is to embark on a mission to save the “Shadows'” leader.

“Gifteds” can transfer memories between people by touch.
“Ungifteds” have no special powers.
“Sifters” can transfer memories without touch.
“Shadows” are the “protectors” of the realm, but are thieves and contribute to a black market of memories.
“Ghosts” give unpleasant memories in order to make people suffer.
“Hunters” take the memories of animals.

The idea of memories being a form of currency is a unique and intriguing idea. It slightly reminds me of the pensieve from Harry Potter. Ryder, Etta’s sidekick reminds me of Rue from The Hunger Games. She is comical, brave, and loyal to a fault. She looks up to Etta as an older sister. I wish we learned a little more about the backstory of the other people in Etta’s life, specifically the ones she has the leather bracelets of.

The one thing I had a hard time with was the instance romance. I thought I missed reading 100 pages all of a sudden. Also, I wish Etta wasn’t as gullible as she is made out to be. She wasn’t exactly the easiest to relate to. With a few tweaks to the story and the pacing, I think this novel has a real chance to be a star since the concept is so gripping.

The Memory Thief was a concept unlike anything else: memories being used as currency in a corrupt government, where the removal of memories can truly change someone’s life. The Memory Thief is a story of loss, grief, lies, deceit, and the ability to forgive oneself for mistakes.

★★★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren MansyLauren lives in the Chicago area, where she’s spent years working with youth, from young children to high schoolers. When she’s not writing, Lauren is usually with her family or exploring the city to find the best deep dish pizza. The Memory Thief, which was inspired by Lauren’s own journey with her mother, is her first novel.

Follow Lauren:
Website | Twitter | Instagram


Q & A

Q: What was the hardest scene to write? What was the easiest?
LM:
The scene where Etta visits her mother in the asylum was actually both the hardest and the easiest to write. Because this book is based off memories that I share with my mom, that scene was very cathartic yet difficult to put down on paper. It caused me to revisit a lot of my memories of when my mom was in the hospital, and it was very uncertain if she would survive. I remember how vulnerable my mom had been yet she never stopped fighting to get better. Ultimately, it was her ability to cling to hope even in hardship which made me want to share this story, so writing that scene will forever have a big impact on me.

Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)
LM: What a fun question! When I was drafting, quite a few characters were named after family members, all of whom actually ended up being cut during my revision stage! Since none of the characters made it onto the final pages, I like to joke that the famous writers’ phrase “kill your darlings” took on a whole new meaning for me 🙂

Q: What do you hope people remember about The Memory Thief?
LM: The main thing that I hope people take away from TMT is that it isn’t the hardships of the past which define us but the strength we find in overcoming them. Etta is a character who struggles with a lot of regret and has lost hope that things will ever get better. But on Etta’s journey to save her mother, she begins to realize that she’s believed a lot of lies, not only about the world around her but about herself, as well. I hope Etta’s story might inspire readers to never give up fighting for what you believe in, even in the midst of impossible odds.

Q: Did The Memory Thief have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?
LM: I was all about the Jurassic Park soundtrack while drafting TMT! I adore movie soundtracks, and John Williams is a favorite composer of mine. I’d highly recommending listening to “Remembering Petticoat Lane”. It’s hauntingly beautiful and was on repeat for about 95% of drafting TMT!

Q: What is your dream cast for The Memory Thief?
LM: Oooh, great question! I love movies, tv shows, plays, and musicals, and I have such a huge amount of respect for those who are able to visually bring stories to life. Whenever I’m drafting, the characters always embody their personalities, which results in a feeling for me rather than an actual face. So while I don’t have any specific actors in mind, I’d say that my dream cast would be filled with individuals whose passion for storytelling really shines through – a trait actors express so wonderfully. It’d be such an honor to see The Memory Thief brought to life in this way!


GIVEAWAY

1 Finished Copy of The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy + a poster and signed bookplate (USA Only)
Starts: 10/14/19
Ends: 10/21/19


ENTER HERE


October 14

That Artsy Reader Girl – Welcome Interview

October 15

Adventures and Reading – Review (E)
L.M. Durand – Review
Dazzled By Books – Review, Creative Post, Instagram Post (B)
Metaphors and Miscellanea – Review, Favorite Quotes
Gwendalyn’s Books – Review (E)

October 16

The Baroness of Books – Review (B)
Petrichor – Review (E)
Alpha-Beta-Hannah – Review (E)
The Reading Chemist – Review (E)

October 17

Reading Is My Superpower – Author Guest Post
Becky’s Book Blog – Review (E)
Clarissa Reads It All – Review (B)
Feed Your Fiction Addiction – Review
Lori’s Bookshelf Reads – Review (E)

October 18

Library of a Book Witch – Review (B)
Sincerely Karen Jo – Review (B)

Starlight Reads – Review, Creative Post (B)

books_andpoetrii – Creative Post
YA/NA Book Divas – Review (E)

October 19

NovelKnight – Author Q&A
Natalie Helena – Review (E)
Bookishly Nerdy – Review, Creative Post (B)
Books of Amber – Review (E)
Forever the Wanderer – Review (E)

October 20

Lifestyle of Me – Review (E)
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review (B)
Savings In Seconds – Review, Favorite Quotes, Instagram Post (B)
Nay’s Pink Bookshelf – Review, Favorite Quotes (B)
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review, Creative Post (E)

October 21

Lost In Storyland – Author Guest Post
Synopses By Sarge – Author Q&A
PopTheButterfly Reads – Review (E)
TheSecret Reader – Review
A Bella Fairy Tale – Review (E)
Book Reviews

Harry Potter Murder Mystery Party

For a late birthday party (or just an excuse to throw a party), I threw a Harry Potter-themed murder mystery party and I thought I’d share some pictures. Please note, that most of these are pre-party and I was so busy coordinating during it that I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of anything of the completion 😦 I meant to add letters coming out of the fireplace.

I hid golden snitches around my house and that was how people received House Points.

Resized_20191005_143020 (1)

One thing I am sad that I didn’t have enough time to setup…the flying keys!

Resized_20191004_235106

One of the coolest decorations in my library…

Resized_20191005_100120

What I’m most proud of…Honeyduke’s!

And last but not least…can you guess who I was?!

Resized_20191006_020702