Book Thoughts: Needful Things

 

 

 

needful things

Buddy Read with these amazing ladies Kat and Jenna.

“Everyone loves something for nothing…even if it costs everything”.

Damn King knows how to raise a girl’s blood pressure up!

I’ve been craving a good scare and Stephen King hit the spot with Needful Things. This book is filled with, terror, smut, and downright creepy shit, and oh man was it ever good.

Welcome to “Needful Things” the new little shop in the small town of Castle Rock where they sell you guessed it “things.”

Stuff and thn

Oh yes, anything you’ve ever needed Mr. Leland Gaunt has got you covered.

Collector items: Check
Sexy pics: Check
Weird animal tails: Check
Books that promise buried treasures: Check
Cure for you ailments: Check

All you have to do is one small favor for Gaunt, and  you’ll have your heart’s desire.

sounds

Owned by the enigmatic Leland Gaunt a.k.a The ULTIMATE TRICKSTER.
The people of Castle Rock are curious, excited, and a little skeptical about Gaunt and the store. However, their curiosity for both gets the better of them, and before you know it business is a-booming for Gaunt.
Meanwhile, the town is lost in schemes of revenge and betrayal.

This is my second King book, the first being Salem s Lot and I’ve learned that King don’t play. No one is safe. Nothing is out of line. Nothing is too graphic, and just when you think you’re safe. Haha

think agaon

It was one hell of a roller coaster, but I loved it! The plot moved at an even pace, it slows down a bit for us to catch our breath, then plunges you back in with no warning and before I knew it I couldn’t EVEN.
King’s characters are so well done. I loved the “good” ones and hated the “villains”.

Overall, if you’re craving some creepiness in your life. Read this!

I had a little too much fun with gifs on this one, but here’s another that was too good to pass it up.

things and stuff

You’re welcome and don’t forget to stop by (*creepy wink*)

 

Book Thoughts: The Likeness

The Likeness

 

ugly crying

^ Me after finishing this.

The Likeness is the sequel to  In the Woods, and it’s not your typical sequel, it’s more like a companion novel. Same characters different story arc completely. In fact, nothing from the first book gets resolved in this book, nothing barely even gets touched upon. And, although I did end up liking this one, I kept waiting and waiting for something anything about the first book and nothing.

fari

“Or maybe, and I like to hope it was this one, because the truth is more intricate and less attainable than I used to understand, a bright illusive place reached by twisting back roads as often as by straight avenues, and this was the closest I could come.”

Cassie Maddox former Murder squad investigator is now spending her days breaking apart Domestic Violence cases. She’s still hasn’t quite recovered from the after math of Operation Vestal. (Neither have I). She gets a call one morning from her boyfriend Sam. A body has ben found of a girl who looks just like Cassie.

Dun Dun Dun.

Not only looks like her, but was also using a former alias that Cassie herself once used when she used to work undercover. Frank her former boss from back in her undercover days, doesn’t miss a beat. He convinces Cassie that this is the case of a lifetime. She is the perfect bait to uncover this murder and before she knows it Cassie is thrust into the world of Operation Mirror where she may look the part, but can she act it?

I liked Cassie from the first book. She is tough as nails, smart, and she knows how to do her job. She has a personality and knows how to hold her own in any situation. She observes everything and being in her head gives us such a clear picture of everything. Cassie doesn’t know how to take no for an answer. She pushes and shoves till whatever is in her way get out. She is a strong independent woman and it warms the reader to her.

“I sighed. “Me woman, Frank. Woman multitask. I can do my job and have a laugh or two, all at the same time.”

However, she isn’t perfect and there were times when she aggravated me. She gets emotionally invested which is understandable, but not smart. The reader can see it, so can everyone one around her, and we can see what a disaster that is going to turn out to be.

The actual mystery isn’t as compelling as the one in In the Woods. When it finally gets resolved it’s not like it hits you out of nowhere. For the last half of the book, you’re pretty sure you know what happened, you’re just waiting for the details. That doesn’t mean that when the details hit you you’re numb to them, my heart was still racing, and French did manage to pull some surprises on me at the very end.

So why the ugly tears? It’s the way that French ends her books that really does you in. They’re haunting and they unleash a dam of emotions you didn’t even realize you had. You become invested, and turning the last page and saying goodbye to characters who are still in many ways in limbo leaves an ache.

Overall, loved it, was a mess after it, and I’m still waiting for my resolutions.

Book Thoughts: The Goldfinch

Goldfi

“Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty?”

Up and down like a roller coaster with this one. One minute I was laughing, the next I yawning. Still I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I went into The Goldfinch knowing very little. It wasn’t until I was about midway through the book that I checked out the synopsis. Which let me say is a bit misleading. So I’ll try to give you a more accurate one.No spoilers promise

One day Theo Decker and his art loving mother enter The Met Museum in New York. They admire a set of Dutch paintings by Carel Fabritius.

 

finc
So cute!

Suddenly a bomb goes off killing his mother and many other people. During the chaos of the explosion, Theo meets a strange old man who convinces him to do two things. These things will eventually have a huge affect on Theo’s life, both positive and negative. After his mother’s death, Theo avoids the system by going to live with the wealthy socialite family of his old friend Andy Barbour. They take him in graciously and warmly, but with the understanding that if his alcoholic father ever came back to reclaim him he would have to leave. Eventually he does come back and Theo heads off the Vegas with him. He never lets go of his grief for his mother, and the memory of what he did the day she died.

Donna Tartt is known for her beautiful prose, and I have to agree with that. It’s poetic without being overly flowery or purple.

“…as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.”

Most of her characters are real and well developed. Her story grabs you from the start and when you think, “Oh, I’ll just read a few pages before bed” turn into an hour gone by and you not knowing where it went. It’s apparent that she really did her research for this one. There is heavy art references and as well as antiques.
Theo our protagonist starts off very relatable. I enjoyed his narrative and his perspective on life and how he views other people.
“Often times I saw interesting-looking people on the street and thought about them restlessly for days, imagining their lives, making up stories about them on the subway or crossing town”

He is dealt a terrible card, and learns how to adapt and roll with the punches. There were times I found him unbearably annoying, and I found his choices questionable. Furthermore, these choices also endeared him to me. It showed how flawed and real he was. How many times do we make mistakes and then don’t know how to fix them?

His depiction of grief was real and raw.
“But unexpectedly, grief pounded over me in waves that left me grasping; and when the waves washed back, I found myself looking out over a brackish wreck which was illuminated in a light so lucid, so heartsick and empty, that I could hardly remember that the world had ever been anything but dead.”

Anyone who has lost someone will understand his feelings perfectly.
Ultimately his story is about loss and trying to find a way to fill it, and to belong.

The secondary characters especially Andy and Boris really made this book for me. They were a source of entertainment, but also carried the book forward especially in the early stages. Hobbie was the grandpa I always wanted to have. His rationality was the voice of reason Theo needed desperately to hear.

However, something that bothered me was the portrayal of women. They’re all weak sauce. They are either objects of desire, shrews, or mother figures. The only woman who showed any bit of personality was Theo’s mom, but then we all know what happened to her.

Another critique of the book is that it drags. I like directness and it has a lot to do with my short attention span. If a book is going to be this long (775 pages!) It needs to make sure it’s going to keep the reader entertained. Unfortunately, it failed to do that for me for about 30% of the book, and when a book is this big those 30% matter.

As I said this this was roller coaster for me. A bumpy one. One minute I’m highlighting passages and writing them down in my notes really thinking about what I just read, the next I’m yawning and checking how much of the book there is left. I can easily think of a few things that could have been cut. Perhaps this can be blamed on my short attentions span, but all of this really got in the way of me adoring this book. As it is I don’t have terribly negative feelings towards it, but as a result I kind of just like it. It wouldn’t be the first book I would recommend to someone out of my recent reads list.

Overall, not in any way bad. It’s very well written, it’s a very good story, but if you’re attention span is just as short as mine you might want to prepare yourself to spend at least two weeks with this one.

 

Also, congrats to Donna Tartt for her Pulitzer.

Book Thoughts: The Fifth Child

fifth

 

“I hated writing it,” said Doris Lessing. ”It was sweating blood. I was very glad when it was done. It was an upsetting thing to write – obviously, it goes very deep into me somewhere.” –Doris Lessing

Meet Ben. 

Ben

“He was a squat, burly little figure, with a big head, the yellow stubble of his course hair growing from the double crown of his head into the point low on his heavy narrow forehead. He had a flattish flaring nose that turned up. His moth was fleshy and curly. His eyes were like lumps of dull stone.”

He is Harriet and David’s fifth child. Harriet and David are a happy couple whose only wish is to have a big family. The more the better. If they had their way they would cram every one of their rooms with their offspring. All goes according to plan until Harriet’s fifth pregnancy starts presenting it’s own batch of complications. Then little Ben is born, a baby more alien looking than human, and overnight Harriet and David’s world gets turned upside down.

When I read the blurb for this book I expected horror on the scale of Rosemary’s baby, hair raising, goose-bump inducing terror, and while it did have those moments this books is not that type of terror.

It’s a psychological horror that preys on unspoken fears. It makes you understand that so much of our lives is really a 50/50 toss up. You can plan and make list till you run out of paper, but you can never fully be in control of what life throws your way, and we humans don’t like knowing that.

“We are being punished, that’s all.” “What for?” he demanded, already on guard because there was a tone in her voice he hated. “For presuming. For thinking we could be happy. Happy because we decided we would be.”

Then there is Ben who never really had a chance. From the moment his mother gave birth to him, he was dubbed a freak. Therefore, he is never treated like a human being by anyone, including his parents. Ben is a sort of stand in for the different, the strange, the awkward. The people who are viewed as the “lesser” in society. The lesser that no one cares about, no one wants to look at, no one wants to admit there is something wrong with, or that they may need help, because acknowledging that means looking at the problem, and God forbid dealing with the problem. However, Ben is not a problem he is a person, yet he is constantly being dehumanized to the point that everyone really does believe he’s another species.

“…she could see Ben, standing rather apart from the crowd, staring at the camera with his goblin eyes, or searching the faces in the crowd for another of his own kind.”

I’ll admit Ben doesn’t make you think warm fuzzy feelings. He is often equated to not just looking like a goblin, but acting like one too.

“Grunting with satisfaction, he tore the raw chicken apart with teeth and hands, pulsing with barbaric strength.”

And let me tell you that’s not even the most disturbing thing he does. Moreover, that doesn’t excuse actually treating him like a troll or goblin.

This is a hard book to dissect. I’m not sure who I sympathize with more. Harriet and David or Ben. Most of the time it’s with Ben because despite his constant dehumanization, he is human, a child at that, and no child deserves to be hated, much less by his family. However, I do sympathize a bit with his parents because raising children is not easy, not to mention a child like Ben who is far from a walk in the park, but I don’t condone their treatment of him ever.

Also, despite their Harriet and David’s cherry demeanor they’re not very likable. They want to have a huge family and that’s fine if you can support your kids and your lifestyle, than to each their own. However, they can’t. They are constantly in both financial and physical need, and their parents are forced to bail them out. They’re selfish and don’t seem to care that their choices effect more than themselves.

Despite the disturbing subject matter, this was an easy read. I would have finished it in a day, unfortunately I was hit with a migraine that made reading painful. It is haunting and scary, but not in the way I was expecting. There is a sequel which I might check out, but I think I prefer to leave this ending the way is

Book Thoughts: Reality Boy

rea

Ever wonder what happens to reality stars once their fifteen minutes of fame are over?
Think reality TV has actual reality in it?

Well, Gerald (The Crapper) Faust is here to answer your burning questions.

Life isn’t so great for Gerald a.k.a The Crapper Faust. Not since his mother wrote a letter to Network Nanny pleading for her help to handle little five year old Gerald’s problem of well, you guessed it crapping everywhere.

Yes, apparently that is a thing you do when you can’t get your mother’s attention because it’s all consumed by your psychopath of a sister.

In came the cameras documenting every one of Gerald’s misbehaving steps for the world to see. Except not everything went down the way we saw it on TV.

Now twelve years later, Gerald deals with the anger that started when the cameras entered his home, and stayed even after they left. He deals with his anger by keeping himself busy and dreaming. Dreaming of the day when he can finally leave his unstable home and be far away from his psychopath sister Tasha, and where the past isn’t always there to dictate his future.

A.S. King’s usual brand of magical realism is weaved into the story as Gerald’s daydreams. When things get too tough for him, he heads over to Gersday where he completely blanks out on whoever is talking-no matter how important whatever they’re saying is- and eats ice cream, and has conversations with his other sister Lisi. Sometimes Snow White and Cinderella get it on the fun. It’s a grand time.

Not the type of daydream you would expect from a seventeen year old boy right? The thing to rememberer is Gerald is really screwed up thanks to his childhood. His mind is still stuck on wanting to relive the perfect childhood, and there lies my issues with him.

I get that parents screw up their kids all the time, and Gerald’s mother is a special case of off the wall crazy. I don’t know what this lady is on, and what the hell kind of parenting class she took. My Mama wouldn’t have let me or my siblings get away with half the stuff this lady ignores. It’s all about her all the time. Then she wants to get help when her kid starts crapping everywhere? How about your kids getting help to deal with your mental ass? Gerald’s dad is a bit better, but not by much.

So I understand why Gerald is the way he is. I get being nostalgic for a life you never lived. However, I don’t believe dwelling on the past and checking out of your present is going to make your situation any better.
He does go through a growth in this book, and he finally reaches that conclusion which did make me sigh with relief. However, it was overshadowed by my annoyance with how his family issues were just sort of glossed over.

Gerald also happens to be very selfish. A trait he is well aware of and acknowledges, yet doesn’t do a whole lot to try to change. His girlfriend Hannah is also going through her issues, and she tried to talk to him about them and his response is always, “Well I’m the Crapper and it couldn’t possibly be worse than that.” This is basically his response to everyone else’s problems.
Dude.

grump_zps84ce8749
We all have our issues and yes, having yours televised sucks extra hard, but that doesn’t give you the right to discredit everyone else’s problems.

Reality Boy is obviously making a commentary on reality TV and the impact it has had on our society. Even if you don’t watch much TV it’s hard to escape certain personalities like Honey Boo Boo, The Jersey Shore kids, and The Kardashians etc. It makes me cringe to know what future generations, or aliens will think of us when they observe our “sources of entertainment.”
I don’t think many people are fooled anymore into thinking these shows are actually reality, yet we haven’t been able to stop watching them. Not being able to look away from train wreck I suppose.

The book itself is not as engaging as other A.S. King books. It did have some rare funny moments, and I enjoyed the solidarity between Gerald and the friends he makes. Although, for the most part the main characters were not likable. It was also bit slow in the middle. I normally love the way A.S. King uses magical realism in her writing see Everybody sees the Ants, but I didn’t care for it here.

Overall, not bad. It has some good moments, and great writing, but it didn’t quite hit it home for me.

Book Thoughts: The impossible Knife of Memory

and

Can’t escape pain, kiddo. Battle through it and you get stronger.

Laurie Halse Anderson was one of my favorite writes when I was a teen. I was absolutely floored by Speak, and The Winter Girls, so I was very excited to read her latest The Impossible Knife of Memory which tackles PTSD. Unfortunately, my excitement for it did not match my enjoyment of it.

Haley Kincain is the protagonist of the The Impossible Knife of Memory. A senior in high school Hayley has come back to her home town after years on the road with her Military vet dad. Hayley lives in fear for her who father drinks severely to deal with his PTSD. He is tortured by his memories which impair his ability to function in society, and be a decent parent to Haley.

While I cannot say to know too much about PTSD I do know it is no walk in the park. I sympathize with Hayley and her situation she shouldn’t have to deal with this issue at her age, at any age for that matter. However, her attitude does not improve her situation one bit in fact, it adds to it. Her negativity and her angst made the book difficult to read at times. She picks fights with her boyfriend for childish reason, she refuses help from people who genuinely care, and she sees everyone around her as an enemy.

I needed to hear the world but didn’t want the world to know I was listening.

She tries too hard to be tough and self-reliant, which is great in a female character, but sometimes it’s just pride. I was so frustrated with her for most of the book. The only thing that redeemed her for me was when she stood up for a kid who was being bullied, her occasional dry humor, and that she likes to read.

I’d treat myself to a reading marathon all weekend. All the ice cream I could eat, all the pages I could read. Heaven.

Haley is very negative and being in her head is not easy. Haley would love to believe that the world is one giant conspiracy against her. A part of me gets her, not to long ago I also was an angsty teen, and high school was not my cup of tea. Haley refers to her classmates as zombies which at first I found funny. Some times when you don’t fit in you pretend like you don’t want to in the first place. It’s a defense mechanism and it’s easier to lash out then you actually taking the time to try at something. However, I quickly realized that this wasn’t the case with Hayley. It was not a defense mechanism, it was judgment pure and simple. In her eyes her classmates were nothing but “zombies” who weren’t on her level, and didn’t go home to their own issues.

Lastly, the romance didn’t work for me and the reason being that neither of these characters were ready to be in a relationship. They had so many internal issues that surfaced at the wrong times.This caused them to lash out at each other constantly. If there had been any responsible adults in this book, (which there is none) that were close to either of these kids, they would have brought that to their attention. Sadly, this book falls under the irresponsible adult category often found in YA.

Overall, not a bad book, I just found the characters to be very unlikable. However, Laurie Halse Anderson is a great writer, and I would recommend Speak or Winter Girls by her.

Book Thoughts: Mine Until Midnight

mine

Thanks to my lovely friends who recommended this book to me, and especially thanks to my BR buddies Cam and Dulce. I enjoyed this book more because of you ladies:)

I don’t believe in fate,” she said. “People are in control of their own destinies

I do enjoy romance in books, but I’ve never been a huge fan of pure romance, certainly not the Lovey Dovey “I just met you but lets get married” kind. I’ve always said that I like my romance with some grit, I like a slow build. HR is not particularly known for that, so I’ve always stirred clear of it. However,Mine Till Midnight has me singing a different tune now, and may have something to do with a certain hazel eyed gentlemen.

Amelia Hathaway is the eldest sister of the Hathaway family. The family has recently run into a bit of bad luck thanks to their inheritance of the Ramsay title. Instead of this bringing them good fortune and the solution to their problems, it brings them nothing but more misfortune. Amelia assumes the position of head of the family since her older brother Leo is lost in his own desolation and destructive behavior to be of any real help. With the help of Merripen, a gypsy who was rescued by the family as a boy, and is like a brother to the Hathaways, Amelia tries to navigate the chaos that is her life.

In enters Cam Rohan, a half gypsy half irish all parts intriguing man who makes Amelia feel and do things that her carefully controlled nature has never allowed her to do before.

I loved Amelia from the beginning and related to her so well. She is fierce and independent and tries to solve her own problems before ever asking for help. She takes initiative and doesn’t wait around for a man to tell her what to do. Her stubbornness is border line prideful at times, and this is also a fault of mine. I have been told many times that I need to learn how accept that I can’t do everything by myself. It makes me annoyed, angry and more determined to do so even though I know it’s the truth. Like Amelia, I like to think I can do everything only to find myself burned out and very grateful for the help I do end up receiving.

Watching Amelia let go and accept help from Cam, her sisters, and Merripen was so nice to see.

Did I mention she was fierce?

Forgive me if I’m less than impressed by your authority Leo. Perhaps you should practice on someone else.

Burn.

I also loved the entire relationship between the siblings. Leo and Amelia’s fights reminded me of my fights with my brother. They love each other, but are so ready to strangle the other at a moments notice. The younger sisters were also a source of entertainment particularly Bea. I just found myself smiling every time she was around.

“Beatrix,” she said after Win had finished a chapter, “why in heaven’s name would you cheat at solitaire? You’re playing against yourself.” “Then there’s no one to object when I cheat.”

I perhaps am also known to do this from time to time Shh..

Then there is the romance which is so well done. I recount what I said earlier about how much I don’t like lovey dovey stuff. The romance here has that, but it’s not overbearing. It’s sweet and does take it’s time to blossom into something real and amazing. Cam is swoon worthy with his honey colored skin and hazel eyes, but he also has a big heart, and I was rooting for him and Amelia the whole time.

There is some great gypsy, or I should say Romany lore sprinkled throughout the book which I found fascinating. I’ve always been intrigued by their culture and enjoyed catching glimpses of it here.

I’m so happy to have found these book(again thanks awesome friends) because now I know how enjoyable HR can be!

My only complaint is the beginning was a bit slow to draw me in, but I was 100% invested in the characters and near the end I didn’t want to say goodbye. Lucky for me this is the first in a series, so off to see what happens to the crazy Hathaways in Seduce Me at Sunrise!