Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King

Hello, Dear Bloggites. 🙂  I am bringing you another book review from my favorite author, Stephen King, who partnered with his son, Owen King, to write the book called Sleeping Beauties.

I have read almost ALL of Stephen King’s books and have the rest on order to read but I have never read one of his son’s books.  I was looking forward to seeing how their writing styles complimented or contradicted each other, as well as, how well they meshed together in the book.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen KingSleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King is about a small town that is struck by the latest disease hitting the world called the Aurora Flu aka The Sleeping Sickness which causes women of all ages to grow a cobweb type of cocoon around their bodies once they fall asleep.  If you were to wake up these women in the cocoon, they became feral animals attacking and killing whatever or whomever woke them from their sleep.  There was one female, Eve, who seemed to not be affected by the disease which cause a big fight among the townspeople.  Some wanted to take her to kill or study her and some fought to keep her alive until it wore off in a few days as Eve promised them.

I did not know what to expect out of this book when I first bought it.  I know Stephen King’s voice in all his written works, but I did not know Owen King’s voice, so I was a bit concerned about how well the book would flow.  The story flowed well, you could tell the different voices at the beginning of the writing but as the story continued, the two author voices became in unison thus making the storyline easier to read without any tone changes.

The characters were developed, and several had their own unique personalities and quirks and throughout the book you did get the background stories of each of the key players.  While I enjoyed the book, I did not find myself invested in any one character.  I do not know if it was due to the many players in the book or if it was due to the actual story line.  Either way, I was not consumed with wanting to know the next move as I normally am while reading a Stephen King book.  Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it was anticlimactic for me in the end.

I give Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King 3 out of 5 Bookmarks.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Phantom Of The Opera by Gaston Leroux

Hello, Dear Bloggites! 🙂  This book review is on The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux.  Now, I did not read this one, but I did listen to it.  This story is my absolute favorite love story in the world – even bigger than Prince Charles and Lady Diana! 🙂

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston LerouxMost of you are probably familiar with The Phantom of the Opera story, but for those who are not, it is about an up-and-coming opera singer, Christine Daae, who believes she is receiving lessons from “The Angel of Music” for Opera Populaire.  The Opera house where Christine works is reported to be haunted by the Opera Ghost.  While Christine is learning from the Angel of Music, she rekindles a friendship with Raoul de Chagny and that friendship turns to a passionate love affair.  While Christine is building her relationship with Raoul, Eric (Angel of Music nee Opera Ghost) becomes enraged with jealousy and vows to have Christine as his own even if it means killing Raoul.

Exciting, right!  The author, Gaston Leroux, was a well-known French journalist and detective story writer when he was alive.  The Phantom of the Opera is his best-known work of literature; however, he does have other novels he wrote before passing away.  I have not read any of his other works, but I do plan on remedying this fact after listening to the original novel.

Gaston Leroux wrote an amazing novel with complex characters and a mystery to solve to boot.  The story swept you away to another time and place where you root for the love between Christine and Raoul while hurting for Eric at the same time.  The author broke down his novel to feature specific characters and what they were thinking or doing throughout the book, but you never found yourself confused or lost within the story line of what was going on.

There really is nothing to critique this novel on other than the repetitive nature when a character addresses a person – the names were repeated each time a statement was made instead of letting the reader follow the dialogue without the repetitive names.  I am sure the author wrote as the people spoke in that age, but it did become annoying at times.

I give The Phantom Of The Opera by Gaston Leroux 5 out of 5 Bookmarks!  Go pick up your own copy and read or listen to the original story.

4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

“No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.” ~May Crandall (in Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Ya’ll!  I am writing this book review on February’s book chosen by The Books & Broads Book Club: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.  I was hesitant about this book based on the story line.  It sounded very depressing and I do not like depressing…LOL

Before We Were Yours by Lisa WingateThe story line is about five siblings who were kidnapped from their river home while their Mom and Dad were at the hospital for their Mom to give birth to their twin siblings.  The story follows Rill Foss and her determination to protect her sisters and brother when they are taken to Georgia Tann’s Memphis, Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage.  The story toggles from 1939 to Present day while the different stories are played out throughout the book.  Present day finds an up-and-coming politico, Avery Stafford, who moves back to Aiken, South Carolina to help care for her father who is fighting Cancer and to get her name out there to take his place in the Senate if he passes from the Cancer.  During her time in Aikin, Avery, meets an older lady named May Crandall who sets her in motion to find the long-hidden secret of her family’s history to find out how May Crandall is associate with her grandmother, Judy Safford.

Onto the review, Dear Bloggites.  This story is an emotionally draining story in my opinion.  It is written in first person (which I hate) and toggles between 1939 Tennessee and present-day South Carolina.  Even though I do not like first person, it worked well in this book because of the different players you are following throughout.  Lisa Wingate created well developed characters in this book and even though the topic was deep and depressing, you did find moments of humor and lightness to help comfort the reader and give them a break from the heaviness of the subject.

The story became very predictable as I read the book and by the middle, I had already figured out who each person was and how it was going to end.  This was sad for me because, while I am reading a depressing topic, I was hoping the author would put a twist in there so the reader was surprised by the ending instead of underwhelmed and left with a feeling of, “Meh, okay.”  The book is a work of fiction but is based on real life events that happened in Memphis, Tennessee with Georgia Tann and her kidnapping of children from poor homes to place them (at an expensive cost) in the homes of financially well, established members of society.

I give Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you don’t mind depressing topics, go out and give this book a whirl.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: News Of The World by Paulette Jiles

“This is writing.  This is printing.  This tells us of all the things we ought to know in the world.  And also that we ought to want to know.” ~Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (in Paulette Jiles’ novel News of the World)

Hi Ho, Dear Bloggites.  This book review is on January’s Books & Broads Book Club choice.  In January, the book club read News of the World by Paulette Jiles.  The setting and premise of the book was interesting.  The book was set in 1870 North Texas.  Of course, I was immediately intrigued because that is the part of Texas where I live.

News of the World by Paulette JilesThe book was about Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an elderly man who travels through Northern Texas and stops in towns reading the latest news from papers he picks up along the way.  In Wichita Falls, Captain Kidd is approached to take a young orphan, Johanna, who had been kidnapped four years earlier by Kiowa raiders after killing her parents, back to her relatives in San Antonio.  The journey was a 400-mile trek through rough terrain, but Captain Kidd agreed to return Johanna to her family.

Pretty good premise, yes?  Sadly, I did not like this book.  Many, many times I found myself wondering what the purpose was of the author, Paulette Jiles, when she decided to write this story.  Not only was it boring, but there seemed to be no core purpose in the storyline aside from traveling 400-miles.  I know fiction does not have to have a purpose, but it does have to make sense and this book did not make sense to me with how it was formatted.

When it seemed like some action was going to happen, I was disappointed to see nothing happen, and the minimal moments when there was action it was underwhelming.  The characters were not as developed as I like and there were moments of humor and moments of emotion, but not enough to keep me engaged as much as I could have been.

There was great imagery and some clever sentences in the book, but it did not help this book capture my attention like so many other books have.  Throughout the book you followed Captain Kidd and Johanna as they travel on the road and he tries to reteach her the English language while learning what certain Kiowa words meant.  I know the author really tried to engage the audience, it was almost palpable during many scenes, but she just could not take it the rest of the way through.  Kudos to the author for writing a passion project, because that is the only thing that makes sense to me after reading this book.

I give News Of The World by Paulette Jiles 2 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Happy Reading!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis

This is it!  I have finally finished the last book the Books & Broads Book Club agreed to read for this year.  The November Book chosen by the book club was The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis.  Let me tell you, Dear Bloggites, I made a huge sigh of relief finishing this one because I finally feel “caught up” to the other ladies in the club…LOL  On to the review:

The Moment She Left by Susan LewisI was unsure if I would like this book only because I was told the majority of the ladies in the book club did not like this book.  So, I figured it was going to be one of two things for me: 1. I hate it or 2. I love it.  The answer is 2!  I loved this book!  I was already intrigued simply because it was a mystery AND a fiction book AND not about Hitler or WWII or any other war there is! 🙂  The story line for The Moment She Left was about a young girl who disappears one day without a trace.  This young lady had everything going for her and her life was perfect, then she disappeared.  Two years after the disappearance without a single clue what happened, the father, Blake, asked an ex-detective, Andee Lawrence, to revisit the case.

Andee, as a favor for a friend of hers, agrees to revisit the case even though she was sure the police did everything they could to find her and yet could not find any leads.  Andee is a woman newly separated from her husband and is trying to find her way for herself outside her husband and children even though she is getting a lot of grief from everyone in the family.  Taking on this case is a good distraction for Andee and as she starts digging in, finds that there is an area that was missed by the police.  Once this area was discovered, a whole world of secrets are exposed for almost the entire town and one way or another, the key players are all tied to this disappearance.

No more story giveaway, on to the review.  Susan Lewis did an amazing job and building out each character in this story while adding to the overall plot.  The characters were well rounded and while this story was a mystery, there were funny characters that lightened and endeared the readers that much more to the town and people.  This story is the first in a series on Andee Lawrence and I do plan on buying the others in the series because I really liked this character.  Andee’s struggles with balancing life and work are struggles any one can relate to and the author wrote so well that you felt the emotions each character was feeling at the moment they had those feelings.

The only thing I did not like was that two-thirds of the way through the book, the end result of who did what to whom was apparent and so there was no surprise ending.  That was a bit of a disappointment for me because I like those stories that keep me guessing until the very end.  Even though the end became predictable, I still enjoyed the book and liked how each character was tied into the disappearance and how they were tied into the incident.  Overall, I loved this book and recommend you go get it if you enjoy a good mystery that does not confuse you.

I give The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you like a mystery, go out and give it a read.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Hello, Dear Bloggites.  Here is another book review from my personal collection on Audible.  Amazon offered this book as an early read/listen before its release date, and because of life (you know that crazy thing that screws up all plans), I just got around to listening to it.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot HutchisonI love a good mystery, I love a good detective novel, and this book offered both.  The book is called The Butterfly Garden (The Collector #1) by Dot Hutchison.  The story is a different twist on a serial kidnapper/rapist.  Instead of writing the novel like most detective books where the reader follows the detectives on their journey of solving the crimes being committed, Dot Hutchison writes from the view point AFTER the bad guy is caught and follows the interviews of the kidnapped victims by the detectives.  This story line intrigued my sense of all things odd and unusual.

The main character is a kidnapped teen/young woman who was renamed Maya by the Gardener, the name the kidnapper told the girls he took to call him.  The Gardener would kidnap young girls around the age of 16 years old, the age he felt all women were in perfect form, and would rape them and tattoo huge butterfly wings on their backs.  He called them his “butterflies” and created this enclosed garden for the butterflies to live in until they turned 21 where he would then “capture them into an eternal beauty”.  I cannot tell you more on the story line without giving it all away so you will have to grab a book and find out. 😉

The way the author wrote the story, I was a little confused as to what was going on at the beginning because she toggled from one-character point of view to another.  Once I realized her cadence with the writing, I was pulled into the story.  As Maya fills in the detectives about what happened in The Butterfly Garden, the reader learns of how the Gardener hunts his prey when he picks his ‘Butterflies’; how the girls obtain their ‘wings’; and how the sons of the kidnapper became involved with all the girls being kept as captives.

The ‘Butterflies’ in the garden had to learn to get along with one another and as their knowledge grows of each other and their shared treatment from the Gardener, they form their own family with each other and always looked out for one another and mourned the loss of any ‘butterflies’ that were taken from the garden.  Maya was a sort of housemother to the girls in the garden taking on the role of caring for all of them and the newly kidnapped girls.  The other girls looked to Maya for answers due to her ability to manipulate the Gardener and one of his sons to obtain things the girls need in the garden.

The only issue I had with this book was that it did toggle back and forth from one point of view to another in the first person which I am not a fan of.  This book is the first in a trilogy written by the author.  I have not read Dot Hutchison before and I will probably get the other two in the trilogy to round out my collection.  She does write well and is able to give the readers a true understanding of the bad things that happened to the women by the kidnapper without providing too much detail or gore.

I give The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison 3 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Toodles for now! 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Death By A Honey Bee by Abigail Keam

Here it is, June’s Books & Broads Book Club choice, Death By A Honey Bee by Abigail Keam.  Getting closer to this month, eh, Dear Bloggites?

Death By A Honey Bee by Abigail KeamDeath by a Honey Bee (A Josiah Reynolds Mystery) by Abigail Keam was a fun read.  The author wrote the book in an easy to follow flow with fun, quirky characters.  The story is about a beekeeper, Josiah Reynolds, who finds her rival dead with his head stuck in one of her bee hives on her property.  While the man died of a heart attack, the cops felt there was foul play afoot and their primary suspect was Josiah.

To clear her name, Josiah partners with her assistant, Matt, and begins her own investigation into the death of her rival.  All the characters in the novel were written with fun individual personalities and Josiah’s dry sense of humor and no-nonsense attitude kept the reading interesting.  This novel is the first in a series and the first mystery novel written by Abigail Keam.  Unlike many series novels, Death by a Honey Bee can be read as a stand-alone book which I like.

The only two minor issues I have (well one minor and one pet peeve of mine) with this novel is the ending was predictable as to whodunit and it was written in the first person (I hate that).  I know, some novels are better in the first person and I will one day write a novel in the first person and have to eat crow, but it is an annoyance of mine.  I don’t like being in the mind of each character so intimately that I cannot utilize my own imagination when reading a book in the third person.

Okay, off my high horse before I fall and break a toe, overall, I really did enjoy this book and how the author wrote it.  I was immediately interested in the novel as soon as I started reading because of the quirkiness of the main character.  I will probably go and get the rest of the novels in this series because of my OCD and not being able to just stop when I KNOW there are other books to this series, but also because I did enjoy this storyline and the author’s way of writing.

I give Death By A Honey Bee by Abigail Keam 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you are looking for an easy, fun read with a little mystery, I recommend you go get this book.  Smooches!

~4-Ever, P