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Book Review: Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill

Book Review: Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill


Full Throttle by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vary rarely do I review the audio of a book. Though I’m a big audiobook reader/listener, I tend to swap between the physical and audio versions of I’m reading and generally just review the actual book itself, not the audio production. There have been a few notable exceptions, most especially Daisy Jones & The Six, but those exceptions are few and far between. Today, I have another exception to add to the list with Joe Hill’s most recent short fiction collection, Full Throttle. And it was such a strong collection! There were only two stories that I really didn’t care for and two that I felt were just okay, as opposed to the nine stories that were either 4, 4.5, or 5 star experiences.

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Book Review: Misery by Stephen King

Book Review: Misery by Stephen King


Misery by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

October is all about the spooky for me, and King is my preferred supplier. I’ve read roughly a third of his body of work and, while I’ve enjoyed all of them for the most part, most of them have been suitably creepy without actually scaring me. Exceptions to this have been Revival and IT the first time I tried to read it. I can now add Misery to that list. This book legitimately gave me nightmares while I was reading, because, though not probable, every event in the book is actually possible.

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Book Review: The Institute by Stephen King

Book Review: The Institute by Stephen King


The Institute by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“Great events turn on small hinges.”

I love Stephen King. This has not been a lifelong truth, and my infatuation began a mere 5 or so years ago. Since then, I’ve read a third of his body of work, and I’ve been largely impressed. While I do believe that King would benefit from a harsher editor, and that he often fails to stick that landing with his endings, Stephen King has an incredible mind. The plots he dreams up, and the characters he creates to populate those stories, are pretty spectacular and always feel original. While I’ve enjoyed everything of his I’ve read at least in part, some of his books are more successful than others. The Institute is just such a book. The plot was disturbing and vaguely supernatural without seeming implausible. The cast of characters was beautifully fleshed out and varied. And the ending didn’t suck!

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In Defense of IT: Chapter Two

In Defense of IT: Chapter Two

I’ve heard so many mixed opinions on IT: Chapter Two.  I adored the first IT (not the Tim Curry one, the 2017 one), so I was super hesitant to even give Chapter Two a try, fearing that it would sour its predecessor in my mind.  I bit the bullet and watched it anyway, and now I am both confused and just a little angry with the internet.  Chapter Two was AMAZING.  How anyone could watch that movie and not think it was incredibly well done is beyond me.  It was thoughtful and well balanced and more than I even hoped it would be.  

**Beware: Mild spoilers ahead, because I didn’t know how to write this without referring to the ending.**

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Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)

Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Revisiting a famed story over 35 years after its original publication has to be terrifying for any author, even the King of Horror. However, King handled this with great aplomb and, though I was skeptical in the beginning, I feel that he did right by Dan Torrence. In his author’s note King said that this story spawned from two questions: “Whatever happened to that kid from The Shining?” and “What would have happened to Danny’s troubled father if he had found Alcoholics Anonymous instead of trying to get by with what people in AA called “white-knuckle sobriety”?” Through Doctor Sleep, we get answers to both of these questions, but with Danny himself standing in for Jack Torrence in the alcohol department.

“There are other worlds than these.”

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UR by Stephen King

UR by Stephen King

UR by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I don’t know that I’ve ever yearned from something as terrifying as Wesley’s pink Kindle.

“A crazy certainty had arisen in his mind: a hand – or perhaps a claw – was going to swim up from the grayness of the Kindle’s screen, grab him by the throat, and yank him in.”

Imagine a world ten years in the past. Electronic books and e-readers are just beginning to take the world by storm. Wesley Smith is a college English literature professor who, after a nasty breakup partially over his distaste for the new trend of reading on a device, has decided to bite the bullet and purchase his first ever Kindle from Amazon. It arrives sooner than it should, sans instructions and sporting an odd pink color instead of the white of all other Kindles. Also unusual is the fact that, under the ‘Experimental’ section is a handful of subsections called Urs. Ur is evidently representative of alternate realities in which authors lived longer or died younger, attached themselves to different genres or penned more and greater works than are present in our reality. If this doesn’t sound like an incredible and awe-inspiring addition to the Kindle store, you and I view the world very differently.

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Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stephen King is such a master storyteller. I’ve come to love him over the past few years, and I now count him among my favorite authors. I have to agree with the masses, however; King tends to fall flat when it comes to endings. Thankfully, that’s not really an issue when it comes to short stories. They’re not supposed to really end, which I think is a huge boon in King’s favor. As with Night Shift, the first of King’s short story collections I read, Skeleton Crew was chockfull of the interesting, terrifying, and uncomfortable. While not every story was a resounding success, there were far more hits among these twenty two installments than their were misses, and a handful of these stories will be staying with me for a good long while.

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Elevation

Elevation

Elevation by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Gravity is the anchor that pulls us down into our graves.”

Elevation is not your typical Stephen King book. First of all, it’s a tiny thing clocking in at fewer than 150 pages. Compared to most of King’s published works, that’s insanely short. He does have some wonderful novellas and short stories, but when a man known for publishing doorstoppers like IT, 11/22/63, Under the Dome, and The Stand publishes something that can be read in a day, it seems like a pretty radical difference. Second, this is not a horror story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely strange, but it didn’t strike me as horror. Instead, it was bittersweetly moving, focusing on friendship and its ability to get us through even the toughest of times.

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Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)

Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)

Finders Keepers by Stephen King
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I had no plans to pick this book up because I was so disappointed in Mr. Mercedes, the first book in the trilogy. (You can read my Goodreads review of that book here.) My major complaint with that book was its blandness; it just felt incredibly forgettable to me. Not so with Finders Keepers. In this story we have a much more multifaceted plot and, even better, a plot that revolves around books!

I’m a huge sucker for books about books. Even though Finders Keepers is at its core a suspense and a crime drama, fiction played a huge role in the story. A Salinger-esque author has hidden himself from the world, but continues to handwrite more stories and poems and essays, locking the notebooks away in his safe instead of sharing them with the public. When he’s murdered and the notebooks go missing, the author becomes even more cloaked in mystery.

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The Mist

The Mist

The Mist by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Mist is another of King’s works that, like Carrie, has become such an integral part of society’s collective consciousness regarding fear that it’s become almost cliche. And, as with Carrie, my visit to the Mist completely altered my perception of a story I thought I knew. In my opinion, it went a long towards explaining why King chooses to end stories the way he does, which I’ll get into later. All that being said, The Mist is a quick little journey into the frightened mind, a dissection of mob mentality and the way fear plays itself out within a group of strangers who are thrown together by sudden and unexplained danger. It’s disturbing and thoughtful and does a fantastic job of putting readers in the shoes of its characters.

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