Book Review: Lisey’s Story

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Lisey Landon lost her husband Scott two years ago, after a twenty-five-year marriage of profound, sometimes frightening intimacy. Scott was a celebrated, award-winning, novelist. And a complex man. Lisey knew there was a dark place where her husband ventured to face his demons. Boo’ya Moon is what Scott called it; a realm that both terrified and healed him, that could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed to write and live. Now, it’s Lisey’s turn to face her husband’s demons. And what begins as a widow’s effort to sort through her husband’s effects, becomes a perilous journey into the heart of darkness

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Title: Lisey’s Story

Author: Stephen King

Published: October 2006 by Scribner Book Company

Time it took me to read: 10/05 – 29/05

Rating: 3 out of 5

the story

Two years after the tragic death of famous writer Scott Landon, his widow Lisey finally has worked up the courage of cleaning out his workplace. Many hidden treasures are hidden here, treasures that more than one collector wants to get their hands on but Lisey has been able to keep them away from what remains of her husband’s legacy. But as she breaks ground on this project, things seem to go horribly wrong.

Scott was a troubled man, growing up with an abusive father who had taken it on himself to make sure that he and his sons regularly let out ‘the bad-gunky’ by making blood-bools to make sure they stayed sane, until one day his brother Paul is overtaken with the real bad-gunky and dies. All his life Scott has had to deal with the consequences of what happened to Paul and took to Boo’ya Moon to heal and find whatever he needed to cope with what was happening.

Now it is Lisey’s turn to take over from Scott. Danger comes from two sides as her oldest sister is taken ill and seems to have permanently vacated the premises and a dangerous southerner is threatening her to ‘hurt her where she wouldn’t let boys in middle school touch’ if she doesn’t turn in Scott’s unpublished work to certain professor.

Lisey is forced to follow the clues that Scott seemed to have laid out for her before (or after) his death to make it out of this one alive. Through flashbacks, we learn about Scott and Lisey’s marriage and that Boo’ya Moon is not just the imaginary place where Scott got his inspiration, but an actual mystical land where many dangers lie, and where Lisey has to go to save her sister, and herself.

my thoughts

Okay so here’s the thing. I love Stephen King to death, I really do. But every once in a while there’s this book where I think ‘whyyyyyy’. This especially happens when at first it seems to be a non-supernatural story that works really well, when suddenly he plomps in this magical world. This happened in Rose Madder, an amazing book about a battered woman when suddenly her abusive ex husband turns into an ox and she takes him inside of a painting where he is dealt with (sounds familiar maybe?), and it happened again with Lisey’s Story. I think that if Boo’ya Moon would have remained an imaginary place, his creative refuge maybe, I would have liked it so so so much better.

The story is really very compelling though, from the first page you just keep reading. I do have to say that it’s very confusing, you don’t really find out what is actually happening or what the plot is until you’re maybe halfway through the book. But if you keep with it, you’ll be fine. You won’t regret it. At least I didn’t.

What did annoy me a little were the many ‘Scott-isms’ that are used. A couple is fine, especially if they add to the story, but after ‘bad-gunky’, ‘SOWISA’, ‘smucking’, ‘bool’ and ‘boo’ya moon’, I thought it was enough. Scott seemed to have a different word for everything and that’s great, he’s a creative genius, but we don’t need to hear every single one multiple times.

Speaking of creative genius.. I don’t care how much they loved each other but if my boyfriend put his hand through a greenhouse window so he can bleed for me as an apology when I’m upset with him, I’m running in the opposite direction. Like seriously. What the hell, Lisey.

I did enjoy our crazy Southern friend in the story. He reminded me a little bit of the guy from Secret Window, but it turned out to be something completely different. I think if it would have been a non-supernatural stalking/crazy person story, it would have been perfect.

But of course, it remains a SK book and that means that even if I don’t agree with certain decisions he made, it is still awesome. You won’t regret reading it. 3 out of 5 stars for Lisey’s Story.

SOWISA, babyluv, Strap On Whenever It Seems Appropriate

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Book Review: Game of Thrones pt.2

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

(Goodreads)

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Title: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice #1)

Author: George R. R. Martin

Published: August 1996 by Bantam Spectra 

Time it took me to read: 21/09 – 9/10

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Part two of the book review. Last time I talked about how much I liked the book and the TV series. This time, I will be talking about the story itself.

Last time, I said that when I started watching the TV show, I actually put it on two times before I really started watching it because I couldn’t get through the first few minutes. And that was very similar to my experience while reading the book. The prologue did not draw me in. I actually pretty much skimmed it.

But after that, when the story really began, I was hooked.

The first book is divided between the point of view of 6 people: Eddard Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Catelyn Stark and Daenerys Targaryen. It is amazing how well all the people in this book are written. Especially the women. I guess it’s very easy to write different characters that end up sounding the same. But that was definitely not the case here. I love that literally all female characters are strong women, but all are so in a different way. Arya is fierce and fearless, Sansa is determined and is able to stay strong in the face of adversity, Catelyn fights for her family, whatever it takes and Daenerys is sold to a Dorthraki king by her abusive brother but somehow is able to make the best of it. Seriously, it made me very proud.

Confession: When I first saw a picture of George R R Martin, I thought he was some random fisherman or something.

It has definitely helped that I watched the TV show before reading the books because I don’t think I would have been able to keep the characters apart. It is a very complicated and intricate stories with a lot of minor characters that I, even now, have a hard time keeping straight. I could not remember who Varys was. Which is kind of funny as that’s probably how he likes it. I think that that’s probably the only downside to this series (apart from the prologue). But once you get into it, you get used to it.

Another thing that stood out to me is that the writers for the TV show stayed extremely close to the source material. Seriously, it was almost line for line. Apart from the huge amount of sex that’s in the show. There isn’t nearly as much sex and mentions of nakedness as seen on TV. But still, very impressive.

As in the TV show, Daenerys and Tyrion are definitely my favourite characters to read about. Daenerys is so strong and develops amazingly, and Tyrion is funny and sarcastic and cunning. Both very entertaining. My least favourite is Catelyn. Although she is strong and determined to protect her family, she just doesn’t excite me as much. My favourite part of the Catelyn chapters was when she said this:

“It must not come to war. They must not let it.”

I laughed out loud at that and said “LADY, HAVE I GOT SOME BAD NEWS FOR YOU.” It was pretty funny.

I believe Sansa will become one of my favourites later in the series. I know how she develops and deals with things from the show and I can’t wait to read more about her. I believe she will be one of the few left standing at the end of all this. She is a survivor that one.

What else do I want to say…

Oh yeah.. in the books, the ‘older’ kids (Robb, Jon, Daenerys) are all a couple of years younger than they were depicted as in the show. For example, Daenerys is 13 on her wedding night. I’m choosing to ignore that and imagine them about 3 – 4 years older than the books say. So that’s between 16 en 18 years old. That makes me much more comfortable. Sure, seeing as it sets in an alternative middle ages, the ages of the characters are pretty realistic but still.. for my own comfort, I imagine them older.

 Also, my only wish in this whole series is for Arya to be reunited with Nymeria. I don’t care if it’s the last line of the last book while their surrounded by 100 bodies of all their foes and allies, I want Arya to see her Direwolf again. It will happen, I can almost feel it.

So… yea. 5 out of 5 rating for the first book in the Song of Fire and Ice series. I honestly can’t wait till I read the third and fourth book. That’s when shit is really going down. *excitement*. No but seriously, it is amazingly well written, all of the characters are beautiful and brave and interesting and most importantly: different! They all have their own signature. It’s a long read but it’s definitely worth it!

I’m reading a Clash of Kings now but I haven’t made much progress while I’m dealing with this shoulder thing. Which is also why I’ve been absent this past week. Typing with a sling is annoying. But luckily my shoulder is improving every day so I’ll be able to blog like usual again from now on.

Now excuse me while I dive back into the Westeros world.

You know nothing, Jon Snow.
You know nothing, Jon Snow.

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything. (Goodreads)

♦♦

Ethan lives in the little southern town of Gatlin. A town that you can’t help to want to get out of. In fact, the only people who don’t leave are either stuck or stupid. Or so Ethan’s dad says. Ethan is a regular kid, except that his mom died, his dad’s a hermit and that he was raised by a woman who leaved charms all over the house to protect them. But the strangest thing about Ethan is the dreams he has. Every night he dreams about a beautiful girl that Ethan is desperately trying to hold on to. Without ever having met her, Ethan falls in love with his dream girl, which is weird seeing as she doesn’t even exist, right? Wrong. Or so Ethan finds out when the girl that he’s been dreaming about walks into his school.

Her name is Lena Duchannes (Du-cain, it rhymes with rain), and she is Old Man Ravenwood’s niece. This doesn’t help her much with fitting in, seeing as her uncle is a shut in. Nobody has seen him or heard anything about him for years. Ethan has never even laid eyes on him. Because of this, Lena is not welcome in the Gatlin community. She’s being bullied and ridiculed by the popular girls and avoided by the rest of the schools population. All except for Ethan, who can’t stay away.

Every since Lena showed up, strange things started happening in Gatlin. Windows suddenly breaking, freak rainstorms and so forth. Soon, the town has decided that it is all Lena’s fault and go on a witch hunt in order to get her expelled from the High School, forcing her to move away. Problem is, they are not totally wrong. See, Lena is a Caster, just like everyone in her family, and her powers start to grow fast as the days to her 16th birthday grow closer. When Lena turns 16 on Februari 11th, she will be Claimed for either Light or Dark and nobody knows which way she’s going to go.

Besides that there’s a bit about visions, ghosts, voodoo and a magical library, an evil cousin and of course, the wicked witch of the South. It’s all very exciting.

♦♦

I read this book after I saw a blogpost by someone, I can’t for the life of me remember who it was, about the movie coming out and them looking forward to it. I have to be honest, it took me a little bit to get into the book but when I did, I read it so fast you can call me the “Flash” of books.

I liked that Ethan was the protagonist instead of Lena, even though that might have been the more logical choice. I think the book might have been interesting from Lena’s point of view but I think that it would have become a 400+ page work of depression and fear. Reading the book from the point of view of the person from the sidelines is not something that I have encountered often, in fact, I think this may be the first time. It feels natural because Ethan doesn’t know what the hell is going on and neither do we. So, everything he discovers, we discover. We’re on even foot so to speak.

The world that the writers have created is very appealing to me. I wrote a post a while back on how I love it when a book has a feature that is different for each person or situation. For example the patronusses in HP, the different Arenas in the Hunger Games, the soulgazes in the Dresen Files even the vampire powers in Twilight. Which is why I absolutely loved that each Caster has a different power or ability. I immediately wanted to learn about every sort of Caster and other creatures that’s out there. According to an app on Facebook, I’m a Light Caster and an Empath, like Gramma in the book. Man, I wish.

The characters in the book are all very nicely written. I wasn’t irritated by any of the people in the town and I’m dead in love with Ridley. Just call me Link. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot twists at the end. However, I also sometimes thought that the story was moving kind of slowly, I wanted it to hurry along already.

The most annoying part of the book was the blatant rip-off of Stephen King’s Carrie. When Ethan takes Lena to the prom, the sweet innocent students of the High School drop a bucket of foam on her when she and Ethan are about to take a picture. I half expected Lena to go nuts and burn down the school. She didn’t, luckily because I’m pretty sure that would have been plagiarism, but Ridley did mess around with the electricity and made the sprinkles start working. All things that happen in Carrie. This would have been acceptable if Carrie would have been referenced in any way, acknowledging the likeness between the scenes, but it wasn’t. That scene was a big disappointment.

Overall it’s a very enchanting book. I know this because I felt the immediate need to buy all the other books in the series, too, even though I don’t have the money. But I did it anyway. I’m really looking forward to reading Beautiful Darkness. I’m really curious about what’s going to happen.

Rating: 3,5/5

Book Review: The Hobbit

For this review, I’m going to skip the blurb and the synopsis. Why? Because you have either read the book and I don’t need to tell you or you haven’t and I don’t want to spoil the films to come for you. But what I am going to do is talk about what I thought of the book in general.

The Hobbit is a children’s book. Now, I’m guessing that the kids in 1937 were a whole lot smarter than I am because I wasn’t able to read this book when I was about 12. That’s the first time that my father shoved a Dutch copy in my hands and told me to take it with me to swimming meets so I could read it while I was waiting. After that, I sporadically picked it up every couple of years but I never read it all the way through. I think the furthest I got were the trolls who got turned into stone when the sun came up. But now, I have read it! Yay me! It only took me a couple of weeks..

But anyway.. You (well I did) start reading The Hobbit thinking that it’s an amazing story about adventure and fights and epicness. Especially if you have seen the Lord of the Ring films and more recently The Hobbit film. I’m not saying that it’s not an amazing story because it is but it does move slow and without about 90% of the action that Peter Jackson has made us think that was in the books. Seriously, the only fight in the movie that was actually in the book was the bit with the Goblins. The rest was all the product of Peter Jackson’s (and his writer’s) imagination.

Anyway, so the story moves a bit slow but the content is good. Does that make sense? Even though it’s slow, it’s not exactly boring. I am really looking forward to see what PJ is going to do with the whole Mirkwood scene because to be honest, when I was reading the book, I found it a bit difficult to visualize. So yea..

Best part of the book is definitely the riddles with Gollum. Yea that was fun. Also, again it was hard to visualize because basically Tolkien wrote that it was pitch black in the cave. Bilbo literally could not see anything. So I’m kinda glad that I saw the movie so I could see that in my head kinda.. or else my mind’s eye would have been blind and I find that annoying. Like, when I read about blind people, it takes me a lot of effort to continue to visualize what it would have looked like. Weird right?

Probably the biggest thing that I wanted to say about this book is that I didn’t like the ending.

//SPOILER//

Basically, you read this whole damn book about this group of dwarfs and a hobbit who set out on a quest to kill the evil dragon who has stolen their treasure but then when push comes to shove, the freaking dragon gets killed by a random villager?! How messed up is that?! Talking about an anti-climax. When I was reading, I seriously hoped that Smaug was going to show up, creating an epic battle between the dwarfs and the dragon but nooooooo.. it had to be all calm and whatever. Eugh. Okay rant over.

//END OF SPOILER//

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system. But yea, I am 100% convinced that the movie ending will not be the same as the book ending. It’s just to vague and like ‘whut?’. But anyway, yea it’s a good book. You should read it because it’s the Hobbit and everyone should have read it. It shouldn’t have been 3 movies though. Two would have been more than enough.

Ehm.. so in conclusion? It’s a cool book, I guess (writer’s note: I totally just wrote ‘it’s a cool butt’. Freudian slip, anyone?), but it’s not the most epic novel of all time. To be honest, it doesn’t even get a spot on my favourite’s list. I’m curious about reading the Lord of the Rings though..

Please, don’t shoot me for my opinion, okay? 

Rating: 3/5