Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Shining by Stephen King

The Shining by Stephen King
Published January 28, 1977
Summary on Goodreads

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This is probably one of the most classic horror novels that I am aware of; however, I think this book was a slight disappointment for the most part.

So I finally got a chance to read this classic book and while I found the overall plot to be intriguing and certainly a little scary, I thought that the writing style to be quite messy and confusing.  After reading another of Stephen King’s book (well, I listened to it via audiobook), I honestly do not think that his writing style is my style at all.  His plots are always good but the execution and the way how he writes seems very erratic and unclear.  He doesn’t write in a straight forward fashion.  Instead, he writes an excess amount of details that isn’t necessary as well as jumping from perspective to perspective.  All in all, it made the book quite confusing and there were a few times when I felt like I could not follow it as well as I would have liked to.

As for the scary aspect of it, it was certainly creepy especially as the book progressed.  In the beginning, Stephen King was still laying the foundation of the book so there weren’t that many scenes that was actually creepy.  However, by the second half, that’s when things started to get real.  And since I actually watched Ready Player One recently where one of the obstacles was going through the entire movie of The Shining, there was that one specific scene in the bathtub which freaked me out.  It wasn’t because it was super scary but because I saw the scene play out in a movie already so my own imagination went on over gear. 

The one thing that I wish Stephen King went into more details was the whole shining part.  I mean, it’s clearly important since the book is named after it but he didn’t give much information in terms of where or how or why Danny, the little boy, had the shining.  I also wish he discussed a bit more about Tony and the origin of that.  In general, I thought the whole “shining” aspect was a bit vague.

At the end of the day, I don’t think I will pick up the second book.  I think I need to go on a Stephen King break or something because I already read two of his books this year and I think that’s enough for now.  Plus I am honestly not that invested with Danny to read a book where he is now all grown up.

Monday, May 21, 2018

FBI/US Attorney Series by Julie James

FBI/US Attorney Series by Julie James
Published between 2010-2014
Summaries on Goodreads

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I actually found myself enjoying these books quite a bit.  They were fun, entertaining, full of romance and usually had a splash of suspense or action in it.  The books were great for a breath of fresh air because since I typically read a few books at a time, it’s good to have a more light-hearted book as well.

I honestly thought that all of the books would cover a FBI/US Attorney pair but that wasn’t the case.  Other than the first book, the rest of the books only had one half of the couple as a FBI agent or an US attorney.  However, I did like the fact that they were all characters that were previously introduced so they weren’t brand new characters.  I also liked that because as I continued the series, the previous main characters would show up and I can find out what stage that couple were currently in.  For example, in the first book, Cameron and Jack ended up together and in a later book, I found out that they were getting married.  And still in a later book after that, I found out that they were having a kid so it was nice for me to get a better closure for the couples.  Of course, with the final book, there weren’t any of that closure simply because it’s the final book and there is no future couple to provide hints.

Out of all of the couples, I think my favorite would be the first one – Cameron and Jack – as well as the third pair – Rylann and Kyle.  I think something about the fact of finding someone again and falling in love is really special.  For both couples, they actually knew each other previously due to work or school but then due to circumstances or situations, they either weren’t in the best of terms or they lost contact.  And then of course, they meet up again years later and fall in love.  I find that whole situation quite romantic and that’s probably why I really enjoyed these two couples the most.  There is actually some sort of history between them that makes it even more special.

Overall, I really liked these books and definitely recommend.  I liked the fact that they weren’t just chicklit novels because all of them had some sort of suspense either from a murder suspect or a rejected admirer, etc.  It definitely made the books much more interesting.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham

Talking as Fast as I can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham
Published November 29, 2016
Summary on Goodreads

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Lauren talked a lot about how surreal it was for her to be filming Gilmore Girls after so many years and to me, reading this book felt the same way.  It was this surreal experience and I’m not entirely sure why.

First of all, I do want to disclose that I have never watched the original Gilmore Girls and it was only because of a group of friends binging on the Netflix series that I was introduced to the Gilmore Girls edition 2, nine years later.  And even then, I only watched the first two or three episodes because at that time, we did not realize that each episode was 90 minutes long and thus we were running quite late into the night already.  I also never went back and finished the last episode or two… So with that being said, my only useful knowledge of Lauren Graham was the fact that this book won Best Humor for 2017 in the Goodreads Choice Awards.

So there are a few things that I wanted to point out while reading this book.  Lauren has a really unique sense of humor, if I can even call it that.  It’s funny but more of a dry ha-ha kind of way.  In fact, I would call most of her jokes corny because they’re so lame that they’re kind of funny.  She also really enjoyed adding quite a number of parentheses notes riddled throughout the book that added humor (and again, dry humor, really – see what I’m doing here?).   However, at the end of the day, I can’t imagine how this book won Best Humor because it really wasn’t all that funny.  Yes, there were a few chuckles here and there but overall, I would not really categorize this book under Humor yet alone win the Humor category.  Mind-blowing stuff, really.

Despite the fact that I didn’t find this book incredibly funny, I did find myself debating about watching Gilmore Girls, the original series from so long ago.  The only reason why I’m a bit hesitant to pick it up now is because I’m not sure if I would enjoy the show since 1) I don’t like watching shows that are old due to the graininess of it especially with the first season 18 years ago and 2) Lauren mentioned that the beginning of the first episode is quite slow and nothing really happens until later.  And knowing me, if the first episode is slow then I definitely don’t have the patience to watch 7 seasons of it.  But I did check to make sure that Netflix did have the entire series available so if I do decide to pick it up, at least I have the option to.

So overall, as far as nonfiction goes, this wasn’t as terrible as I had originally thought – I really do hate any nonfiction books.  However, this book was relatively short at only 200 pages and it took me only a full day to finish it.  Not too bad, I think.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


Check out my video that I did on my YouTube channel, Shut Up & Read, to see what happened at YALLWEST plus my book/swag haul!  You will see that I have already published a few videos that are all book related from book reviews to compare & contrast and more!


Friday, May 18, 2018

Weekly Author Fridays featuring Amelia Brunskill - Author Interview

Time to feature another author!  This time I will be featuring Amelia Brunskill, author of The Window.

Can you tell us a little about your book? 
THE WINDOW is about a teenage girl, Jess Cutter, whose twin sister, Anna, dies in an alleged accident. Jess does not believe the official story about what happened to Anna, and she becomes obsessed with uncovering the identity of Anna’s secret boyfriend, believing that he will be the key to understanding what really happened that night. 

How did you get the idea for writing The Window? Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? 
I’ve always been interested in what it would be like to have a twin sister, and, because I apparently have a bleak kind of mind, I’m also really interested in close relationships that get abruptly severed. There (fortunately!) weren’t any real life inspirations behind the plot of THE WINDOW, but there are definitely a number of personality traits/tendencies that I share with Jess. 

How long did it take for you to finish writing the book? 
I signed with my first agent about a year after I first started drafting THE WINDOW. We worked together for a while, but unfortunately it ultimately didn’t work out due to changes at her agency, which meant I had to start querying for another agent. It took another year before I was offered representation by my second (and beloved current!) agent. She sold my book fairly quickly, and then I spent several months working with my editor to revise it. 

Why did you choose to write YA novels? 
I really love writing from the perspective of teenagers. I think that the teenage years are such a fascinating period of one’s life, when so many things are happening for the first time. I love that feeling of discovery, and also how it’s paired with a growing disillusionment with the world. Ultimately, I like writing characters who have a lot of questions and who aren’t willing to accept things the way that they are, and YA is pretty perfect for that. 

Any advice for future authors? 
Perseverance can play a huge role in getting published. Almost all authors experience a ton of rejection, even for manuscripts that ultimately go on to be published and do really well in the marketplace, so don’t let yourself be derailed by rejection, and don’t internalize any one person’s negative opinion. There may be someone out there who will love your book, and be incredibly excited to work with you on it, and you’ll never find them if you give up too quickly. 

Thanks so much, Stephanie!
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