Welcome to my train of thought. Just a warning, there might be turbulence. I'm a little eccentric, but hopefully you'll find something here that'll make the crazy worth it. Stay tuned for book reviews, ramblings on random things, and all sorts of stuff that tickles my fancy. But keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. My brain is a scary place!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Shining by Stephen King

(Originally published on my blog Your Rainy Day Reading List on 3/20/2013)

Wow. Where do I even begin? I now understand the world's obsession with Stephen King. Why did I wait until 2013 to start reading him? I'm not sure now. I've loved most of the movies as long as I can remember. I love horror stories. What's wrong with me? Haha.

RECAP: Danny Torrance is a special boy. He's touched, has a gift, the ability to see things he shouldn't -- like into people's minds, into the future, things from the past.

Jack Torrance is a struggling man. Mediocrity and failure have followed him since his abusive childhood, but he has a loving wife and a good boy. After making some mistakes, he gets a second chance -- a job to get them through for a while that will also provide free lodging and food. So he takes his family up to the Overlook Hotel in Colorado so he can be the caretaker over the winter months.

They arrive on closing day, where they meet the cook, Dick Halloran, who instantly sparks with Danny. The special bond comes from what Dick calls "the shining," the gifts that Danny has above and beyond the others Dick has met.

As they settle in and prepare for winter, strange events start to unfold -- voices, lingering presences, moving topiaries, and the like.

While the snow cuts them off from the rest of the world, the Overlook stirs to collect its prize...

REVIEW: I have NEVER read a book with so much set up and build up information and storyline that didn't feel like filler or wordiness. I seriously felt that every detail King provided about this family's history was necessary to properly tell the story of what happens to the Torrances over their time at the Overlook.

The characters in this story are all very well-developed -- Danny, Wendy, Jack, Dick, and most importantly, the Overlook Hotel and its denizens. Yes, it's fair to say that while Danny is the main protagonist, the hotel itself is just as much a main character as he is.

This book masters the haunted house story, as well as the "cut off from the rest of the world" feeling, the buildup of impending dread, and the creation of a rich history surrounding the hotel and the family.

King's novel does a much better job of showing this family as a normal family -- one that has its issues but still is happy and loves each other -- and how the hotel tears this family apart than the movies do. Kubrick's film unfortunately makes Jack's character appear insane before the real story begins, whereas the novel makes you go through his transformation and eventual loss of himself. Terrifyingly sad, really. It shows how the hotel can chip away at the man's weak points and destroy him.

I seriously enjoyed this novel, and can't wait to read more of his classics. Now, I'm off to go rewatch both Kubrick's film and the TV miniseries of The Shining. This is definitely on my re-read list. :)

Check it out on Amazon: The Shining.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Six Years by Harlan Coben

(Originally published on my blog Your Rainy Day Reading List on 3/12/2013)

Recap: Jake met the love of his life, Natalie, at a retreat while writing his thesis. They spent the summer falling in love, only for him to be emotionally blindsided when, at the end of the summer, she married an old flame. She invited him to the wedding so that afterwards, she could tell him to leave, never look back, and promise to NEVER come looking for her.

Fastforward six years... Jake is a professor at his alma mater, and while consulting a student in his office, notices an obituary for the man his Natalie married, who happened to be an alumni. Breaking his promise, he heads for the funeral to just get a glimpse of the woman he lost six years prior. Much to his surprise, the man has a different wife, teenaged children, and no Natalie. So he decides to dig deeper, leading to a wild roller-coaster of plot twists, all leading back to the simplest of questions: Whatever happened to Natalie?

Review: What a thrill ride! I will definitely be picking up some of Harlan Coben's other works, because this one was so fun! Twist after twist, turn after turn, he reveals the story of what really happened six years previous to Jake and Natalie. As crazy as the story gets, once you get the whole picture, it all seems entirely plausible. It's seat-of-your-pants, non-stop action, turn-on-a-dime fun. If his others are like this, I'm really excited about delving further into Coben's stories.

Thanks to NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy of this novel. My only complaint would be that the ARC was very poorly formatted, but this should have all been taken care of before release.

Want your own copy?  Check it out at Amazon: Six Years.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nefertiti's Heart by A.W. Exley

(Originally published on my blog Your Rainy Day Reading List on 3/25/2013)

I took a chance requesting this one from Netgalley, and it was WELL worth it.

This is a fun romp through a Victorian-era London, with the steampunk technological twist.  Likeable characters, an intriguing mystery, and a vividly described (and brought to life) world made this a 5 star for me.

Cara Devon's father was NOT a good man.  At the age of 14, after some seriously rotten events (that are revealed over the course of the book), Cara bolts and doesn't return until 7 years later after the death of said father.  Her arrival thrusts her smack dab into the middle of a mystery.  A serial killer has begun tearing his way through the young debutantes, each attack growing more and more violent.  In the meantime, Cara has met the Viscount Nathaniel Lyons, a sky pirate of dubious (and delicious!) nature, and a game of one-ups and cat-and-mouse ensues.

Adventure, mystery, romance, sex!, action... you'll find it all if you take up the enigma of Nefertiti's Heart!

Pick up this book.  Make this author famous, if only so we can have more of her fantastic and fun work.  Nefertiti's Heart on Amazon.