I’ve never been a huge fan of horror. Of course there are some exceptions ~ I love Stephen King’s writing, of course. I liked a few books by Dean Koontz. After that, the list sputters to a halt. As far as films, I generally pass. The only one I truly enjoyed was The Shining, based upon King’s book. Other King novels have been made into movies, but… meh. His writing focuses quite a bit on the characters’ thoughts and feelings, bringing the reader’s sense of unease to a slow boil, but horror movies are more about making you gasp in fright from the shock value of gore and/or surprise. The music keeps you edgy for something to jump out… and I find that stressful and ultimately annoying. I watch a movie to relax, not to get an adrenalin rush.
I’d call this a “cover reveal” except I think I posted it a year or so ago. Yeah, this book is taking a while to finish. I need to get it right! I’m hoping to be done by the end of the year, since I have only a couple chapters left to go. But I don’t want to rush them… I was very careful with the rest. Double-checked the dates multiple times, received help with the Catholic and police info, etc. All errors are my own. However many times I proofread, I know I’ll miss something. That’s standard when you don’t use beta readers, plus have made multiple revisions. 😱
So is this actually a supernatural novel? It all depends on your point of view… 👻
PCGuyIV continues his Truthful Tuesday prompt with some questions about books.
Do you have a favorite author? If so, who and why? If not, why not?
I have several! For romance novels, I love Jennifer Crusie. She creates very multi-dimensional characters. When I’m in the mood for a detective story, I like the late Lawrence Sanders, especially his Delaney and McNally series. When I want to read a short story, Ray Carver is my guy. He packs so much meaning into so few words. I also enjoy novels and short stories by Haruki Murakami… they’re a bit weird in a good way. And Robert Frost is my favorite poet. Hard to explain “why” with poetry!
What was the first book you remember enjoying reading?
Arty the Smarty! It was about a fish. Let me see if I can find it… Yes! Amazon has it for $149. Yipes, wish I’d kept my little books. 💰
What three books best sum up your taste in literature?
Jennifer Crusie’s Faking It (romance). Ray Carver’s Where I’m Calling From (literary fiction/short stories). The Third Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders (murder/drama/police work).
Welcome to Blog Carnelli! This is a fun, no-pressure, no time limit prompt. The idea is to use the six degrees of separation concept (that everyone is only six or fewer people away from Kevin Bacon) to connect books, movies, and songs.
Today I’m starting with the last item from my Six Degrees 2 post. That was the novel My Trashy Romance by Terry Black. I’m using the word black to connect to the first entry in this post.
1. “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones. This 1966 song has darkly themed lyrics about depression and death. It’s one of their greatest hits, maybe because most people can relate to feeling hopeless from time to time.
2. The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. This is a suspense novel centered upon a Degas painting that the heroine has been commissioned to reproduce. She suspects that the piece is itself a forgery and becomes involved in a tangle of lies and thieves.
3. Faking It by Jennifer Crusie. This romance novel is a fun romp through the world of art fakes and forgeries. Tilda, the heroine, and many other characters are constantly pretending to be people they aren’t.
4. We’re the Millers, a filmstarring Jennifer Aniston. This comedy centers on a drug dealer who needs to go to Mexico and pick up a shipment or else be killed. To be inconspicuous, he recruits a stripper (Jen) and a couple random teenagers to pose as a family.
5. “Fly Like an Eagle” by Steve Miller Band. This 1976 song talks about revolution and the impoverished. Yet, despite these heavy themes, the narrator would prefer to simply fly away to the sea and be free of it all.
6. Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien. This is a heartfelt story of a little broken bird and the biologist who cares for him his whole life. It’s a love story and it’s wonderful. I highly recommend it.
Okay then. That wraps up my third post on Blog Carnelli. I hope you enjoyed it and will join in with your own. Since I want to keep track of my connections in order not to repeat any, I created this handy little table in Word. In real Carnelli, if you repeat any item in a round, you are out of the game.
I’m doing this challenge in groups of 6 so that I end up with 5 posts at the end of June for my 30 day book challenge instead of 30. This is my fourth set of books.
19. As I said, I don’t care for audiobooks, but if a man with a sexy British accent wants to read something to me, I won’t put up a fuss. I watched a multipart show about meerkats of all the silly things because the narrator had such a delicious British voice.
20. I love unreliably narrated books! So much fun. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson is a good example of a book with an unreliable narrator. Merrikat pulls you into her world and you think you know what’s going on… or do you? I do have a preference for books about sisters…
21. Orange County Noir, edited by Gary Phillips, is an anthology of short stories that are set in Orange County, California. Many are very dark, giving us a peek at the desperate lives people live behind the facade of glittering McMansions and shiny new cars. I see it has a whole bunch of bad reviews because people want Orange County stories to be upbeat, I guess. Well, they aren’t. WE SUFFER HERE.
22. I had to find a brand new book to read for the LGBTQ love story, as there were none on my list. It’s definitely not a genre I seek out, though I’ve read bits of pr0n here and there, as you do. Naturally, I chose the L, since it’s bad enough having one man in a love story, but two of ’em? Gah. Anyway, I picked Endless Love by Lauren Trevino. This book was just okay. It could have used an editor/proofreader ~ there were lots of typos and elided words. We all make mistakes and it’s hard to catch our own when we’ve gone over the same pages a hundred times and made changes. Beyond that, the heroines were rather bland with cookie-cutter motivations. Just like the cliched male/female romance novel, every character was incredibly beautiful, there was a friend who betrayed them, one walked in on the other at exactly the “wrong” moment (twice), the sex was always amazing, yada. Some chapters were too disjointed and short. There were POV breaks. Etc. But the story still pulled me along well enough to the end with some tension anyway. I was planning to give the book 2 stars but gave it 3. Why? Because at the end, the lovers discussed the 2016 election and actually went out in the street to protest. Generally, romance novels don’t take any political stance, and for that act of bravery, I awarded another star.
23. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” This is the last line of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books. It’s probably due for a reread.
24. Wow, I don’t have any true collaborations in my Goodreads list. This means a book written by 2 or more authors, not a collection of stories by 2 or more writers. Different things. I must have read some, but I don’t recall any. To rectify this, I’m going to buy one of the books by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. She’s a romance writer and he’s a suspense writer ~ they wrote a few books together (I actually attended one of their workshops in San Diego several years ago). I’ve wanted to read one, so this is my opportunity. I don’t have time to read it before this goes live though. Sorry about that.
See you on the 30th with my final set of June books!
For the dystopian novel, I chose Snow and Ash by Theresa Shaver. This is first in a series of 4 books, so the ending wasn’t a grand finale, but that’s okay. It’s in the teen and young adult science fiction category, but maybe that’s good for me because I like stories about people and don’t want to get all bogged down in loads of narrative on geopolitical barf and the actual details of what thermonuclear war specifically would do. It’s bad, mmkay? We don’t even know why all the countries attacked each other and let fly at Canada too… what did they ever do? But who cares. On with it!
Great characters (two main, Skylar and Rex) and good side characters, especially Marsh the skateboarder, made the story stand out for me. They seemed like real teenagers coping with a horrible situation and having to mature quickly. The pacing and surprises were excellent. Except for the inevitable romantic attraction between Sky and Rex, the twists were unpredictable.
But the book had a lot of problems, sorry to say. It was absolutely loaded with errors. There were tense errors, POV flips, elided words, inconsistent tenses, missing quotes, on and on. This stuff stops the reader from fully immersing in the story. You have to step back and go huh? Who said that? It’s really a shame. I’ll probably not continue on with the series because of this. 😞
I’m going to do this challenge in groups of 6 so that I will have only 5 posts total in June on this topic instead of one per day which would be an annoying chore. Here are my second set of books…
7. I don’t like audiobooks; silence is my jam. I do love to read on vacation though, but not in a car (barf). For a fast-paced, fun, suspense novel, I recommend Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn if you haven’t gotten to that yet. It’s so unexpectedly well done. I just love the way Flynn draws us in to the husband’s version of his missing wife’s story with the easy, conversational style so that we really feel like we know what’s going on… but then Flynn switches to the other voice. Whoops. Good stuff. I bet it would be great in audio, if you enjoy listening to books.
8. Dunno about everybody, but cat lovers as well as anyone who enjoys poignant, heart-warming, and witty storytelling in general might consider reading Peter Gethers’ The Norton Trilogy, an absolutely lovely series of books about Gethers’ adorable and brilliant Scottish Fold kitty Norton. I must confess that I’ve only read the first and last book, since that’s what was available to me at the time, but if I were to start fresh, I’d buy the trilogy as a set.
9. Hmm, I don’t have one favorite book to give as a gift, although I must say that books are my favorite gifts to give. Who doesn’t love books?! I know I do (hint, hint). I’ve already given Goodnight Moon to my granddaughter ~ every baby must have that one (plus loads of others too!). Cookbooks can be nice gifts (for people who enjoy cooking obvs). One of my friends always appreciates the latest Stephen King novel. Another likes bios of his favorite musical artists.
10. Not sure if they were “happy tears,” but When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal made me cry. What an excellent book this was! I highly recommend it, especially to anyone who enjoys family dramas and/or surfing. So good.
11. I’d love to meet Archy McNally of the Lawrence Sanders’ detective novels. Archy is such a fun and interesting guy! But just dinner, okay? I know how he is. Charming, witty, sexy, and so flirtatious… but he is a cad and he always goes back to Connie. Why she puts up with him who even knows. Perhaps I could change him though. Maybe he simply hasn’t met the right woman yet? Interesting idea. I guess I could be open to the possibility of more than dinner if the vibe was right…
12. A popular book I hate? Any book by Nicholas Sparks! Ick ick ick. I can’t stand his writing. I’m also not a fan of hobbits or Potter. Or that Dan Brown book they made into a movie with Tom Hanks. What was the name of that? Horrible. I’ve blocked it from my mind. Maybe I should end this post now… hehehe…
My friend Doug gave me Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli. At first, I was a bit wary. A book for young adults about a mermaid? Wha? But no! This is a super fun book, and it’s packed full of cool stories about Greek mythology. In fact, it takes place during the Trojan War itself. I love Napoli’s vivid writing. I felt like she truly had spent time living in a mermaid… pod (?) because I was transported into another world full of rich and glorious mermaidian detail. At heart, though, this was a love story, and it was a beautiful one at that. Four stars!
A big thanks goes to Angie for suggesting a Stephen King novel for the 500+ page book! I chose Full Dark, No Stars, which is four novellas. They aren’t specifically connected to each other except by the theme of ordinary people doing something extraordinarily horrible, which King more fully explains in his afterword. I enjoyed the book a lot, but for me the afterword was the best part. It was definitely the icing on the cupcake. 🧁 I gave this book five stars.
I’ll briefly review the stories in order. They will probably contain some spoilers.
The first one, 1922, isn’t the type of story I usually enjoy, but I liked it a lot. It was all narrative/backstory, which normally I avoid, but it worked, so… It took place on a farm, which… eh… but King made that work too. And it was completely disgusting and horrible. So, it had that going for it. 🤣
Big Driver is next, which is a rape revenge fantasy. I can totally get on board with this kind of thing, except idk… I just wasn’t so much into this one. I loved a lot of the details though, especially how she talked her way through the whole thing with her GPS. I guess I don’t feel the rapist suffered enough at the end, or at all really.
Fair Extension is fantastic! I had no idea how it would end. We’ve seen this kind of “deal with the devil” many times before, and yet this still felt fresh and exciting. I just gobbled it up. Loved it all the way through, just perfect.
The last story is A Good Marriage. Just wow. This is one of the best things I’ve read from King. Every moment of the story felt so real and true to me. I was right there with Darcy when she found that box and with each decision she made afterwards. Her character had been crafted so expertly that I felt mind-melded with her the entire time.
My choice for a book in the middle of a series was Faye Kellerman’s Murder 101. I read a bunch of her books way back when, loving her main character LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker, along with his Jewish wife Rina. Peter met Rina on a case and their relationship blossomed; he eventually discovered his own Jewish roots too. The cases themselves were super interesting as well. If you don’t know, Faye is married to bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman ~ I’ve also read some of his novels, but prefer hers.
Anyway. I grew bored with the series after a while and quit reading the new books. But then I found Murder 101 in the used book pile and it intrigued me. Peter has retired from the LAPD and moved with Rina to a sleepy town in upstate NY where “nothing ever happens.” Hehe. There’s a snotty young Harvard dude named Tyler that Peter is forced to work with. Fun! It is a fun read… for a while.
Then the book gets totally bogged down in this morass of art history relating to stolen Russian religious whatsits. Tyler literally googles shit and reads it word for word to Peter in blocks of text. Ughhh boring! And while Faye did her usual great job with the main characters of Peter, Rina, and Tyler too, the suspects were interchangeable and dull. I couldn’t care about any or remember who was who after a while. Honestly, now, a few days after finishing the book, I don’t recall who the actual murderer was! Omg.
Here’s another issue with Faye’s writing, and I vaguely recall it from the past: too few dialog tags. While it’s not necessary (and sometimes annoying) to put “Peter said” and “Tyler said” after every para, you can’t go a dozen with none. Several times, I found myself going back up and counting them to figure it out. Happy medium, folks.
All that said, I gave the book 3 stars. I liked it overall. Some good, some meh. I see there are more FK novels continuing with Peter working in the sleepy little town and interacting with Tyler, who has become a family friend, and I’d give the next one a shot.
But not for this bingo… it’s time for a sci-fi or dystopia methinks. I mean, besides the one we’re living in… 😱
Welcome to Paula’s Friday Flashback! This is a challenge begun by Fandango and it’s fun to see what we posted back when (as well as the comments). The post below is a reblog of a book review post I made on February 7, 2015.
I finished this book tonight and gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. Kinda disappointed and I think this will be the last GF book I buy.
I adored Gone Girl, despite the preposterous plot. I simply loved the way Flynn went so deeply into both protagonists’ mindsets, motivations, backgrounds, etc. She put us right there, not on their shoulders, but behind their masks, down into their twisted souls. We totally perceived everything they did and understood how they processed each bit of data. Their behaviors made sense, given their set of circumstances.
Flynn does all that again in Dark Places,but only for Libby. I could not relate to Ben very well or understand his behavior. I don’t feel his extreme actions were earned by his circumstances. I also couldn’t relate to Patty or Diondra. They simply made no sense to me, especially Diondra. I guess she was “just a wacko.” We have to accept that. But it’s unsatisfying.
The worst thing though was when we discovered the truth about “that night,” and it came down to a series of unbelievably ridiculous coincidences all occuring in perfect harmony. I was totes disappointed.
I loved the entire scene with Libby, Diondra, and Crystal. Perfectly executed. And the small, predictable action of Libby’s that led to the later big reveal was very clever. But that simply wasn’t enough to overcome the suspension of disbelief required to comprehend Ben’s character and the coincidences.
So, 3 stars for Dark Places,meaning I liked it, but that’s all.