Cujo by Stephen King

cujoTITLE: Cujo
AUTHOR: Stephen King

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★
Overall: ★★★★★ (4.5)

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:
The #1 national bestseller for Stephen King’s rabid fans, Cujo “hits the jugular” (The New York Times) with the story of a friendly Saint Bernard that is bitten by a sick bat. Get ready to meet the most hideous menace ever to savage the flesh and devour the mind.

Outside a peaceful town in central Maine, a monster is waiting. Cujo is a two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard, the best friend Brett Camber has ever had. One day, Cujo chases a rabbit into a cave inhabited by sick bats and emerges as something new altogether.

Meanwhile, Vic and Donna Trenton, and their young son Tad, move to Maine. They are seeking peace and quiet, but life in this small town is not what it seems. As Tad tries to fend off the terror that comes to him at night from his bedroom closet, and as Vic and Donna face their own nightmare of a marriage on the rocks, there is no way they can know that a monster, infinitely sinister, waits in the daylight.

What happens to Cujo, how he becomes a horrifying vortex inescapably drawing in all the people around him, makes for one of the most heart-stopping novels Stephen King has ever written. “A genuine page-turner that grabs you and holds you and won’t let go” (Chattanooga Times), Cujo will forever change how you view man’s best friend.

Buy it HERE on Amazon!

THE CRITICAL POINTS

WRITING: When you pick up a Stephen King book you know exactly what you’re going to get… AMAZING! Now, Cujo isn’t my favorite of King’s novels… but I loved it… and I hated it… I think I have a love/hate relationship with Cujo, mainly because it makes me feel ALL THE FEELS! It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time and when Donna Trenton is stuck in the car fighting for her life and the life of Tat, her little boy, Cujo becomes the monster that nightmares are made of. The thought of Cujo wakes you up at night in a cold sweat.

STORY: Like pretty much all of Stephen King’s books, Cujo had a slow start for me, but once the story got going it was a page turner. I had a hard time putting it down. I wanted… needed to know what would happen next, who Cujo would go after and if they would survive. Stephen King has a way of making you relate to his characters… care for them… and then he rips them away showing you how truly unfair and unexpected life can be. If this story doesn’t tear at your heartstrings, shock you to your core, and leave you feeling depleted and saddened then I’m not sure what else would.

CHARACTERS: Stephen King is known for his amazingly complex characters, and this book delivers, to include Cujo. A dog as a lead character could have been a disaster in the hands of any other author, but not for Stephen King. Cujo left me with conflicting emotions. His life… his story was bittersweet. As an animal lover, I found it hard to read some of the more gruesome parts. The pain, corruption, and changes that Cujo had to endure was painful to read, especially since they all stemmed from something so out of his control… a minor incident that led to so much pain.

APPEARANCE: My copy of Cujo is an old one… the cover isn’t particularly great, but Stephen King’s name is on the front so the cover doesn’t really matter. If you like Stephen King’s writing, like I do, you’ll read just about anything he makes available.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE: “…Wife, that’s fine. But you’re gone at work, even when you’re home you’re gone at work so much. Mother, that’s fine, too. But there’s a little less of it every year, because every year the world gets another little slice of him.” This has to be one of my favorite quotes from Cujo. As a mother I can totally relate. I feel the world taking my kids away from me, one tiny sliver at a time year-by-year. I know it has to happen, they have to grow up and become independent adults. I just wish it didn’t have to happen so quickly. 

WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE?
While Donna and Vic Trenton struggle to save their rocky marriage, their son Tad befriends the loveable 200-lb St. Bernard who belongs to their mechanic. But what they don’t realize is that a bat bite has transformed Cujo from a docile pup to a vicious killer.

Watch the movie trailers HERE and HERE!

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review (SPOILER ALERT) below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Self-Defense: How Prepared Are You?

Self-defense may seem a bit off topic for me, but as I research and plan for my next novel, self-defense strategies keep coming up. When I think of self-defense I always think of walking down a dark alley and what I would do if someone jumped out at me. The truth is self-defense is so much more than that.

self def.There are three different elements of self-defense:

Defending oneself from harm
Defending one’s property from harm
Defending the well-being of another person from harm

I’ve taken self-defense classes at different times throughout my life – the kind of classes that really kick your butt and makes you realize you have muscles in places you never knew. The thing that always amazes me is that typically the instructors of these courses don’t actually condone “fighting”. They teach you how to defend yourself “physically” but stress that the first and most important thing you want to do if you are ever in a position of physical danger for you or someone else is to GET AWAY!!! Put as much distance between you and the attacker as possible and as quickly as possible.

There have been studies showing that the amount of distance needed, in order to deter an attacker from continuing his/her attack is 15-18 feet. That’s right 15-18 feet. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but pull out your tape measure and take a look – it is a lot longer than you might think.

If you sign up for a self-defense class, you’ll do a lot of cardio and strength training, you’ll learn kicks, punches, even slaps to help protect yourself. These are all great things to learn and remember, and honestly I recommend taking a self-defense class to EVERYONE! You are never to big, to small, to old, or to young to learn to defend yourself. It is also important to remember – for those of you that have had training – reacting in a real life situation isn’t always as easy as reacting to an attack you know is coming in class.

MY REAL LIFE STORY…
During my freshman year in college – I won’t give dates – I had an apartment just off of campus. As in so close it was practically on campus. I was a Theatre Major, and my apartment building was directly across the parking lot from the theater building that I spend most of my nights in. That’s right, I would be there for rehearsals, set builds, etc. etc. etc. until long after the sun went down. My campus had on-site security that you could call up at any time. Someone would then come and walk you to your car if you were parked on campus. It was a safety measure. Well, me being the “tough-independent girl” that I was, I never used their services. I figured I could see my apartment building from the theater building and therefore, I didn’t want to waste the security guards time just to walk me fifty yards.

**Big Mistake**

Yes, I can admit that now. I was young and stupid, and full of pride. One night, as I was making my way home someone grabbed me from behind. Lucky for me – I was also a Military Science ROTC student, which meant I was actively involved in self-defense classes and training on a regular basis. My brain told me to get away, but he had ahold of my arm and wasn’t letting go. I turned and stepped into him – he wasn’t expecting me to get closer to him because most victims just struggle to get away – I grabbed his arms and used them for leverage as I lifted my knee as fast and as hard as I could. I connected directly with his groin and he went down, letting go of his grip on me as he fell. I turned and ran the rest of the way home as fast as I could.

You might be wondering what I learned from that experience. I’d love to say that it reaffirmed my “tough-independent girl” nature, but in reality it showed me the importance of never putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation no matter how tough you think you are. From that point on I always used the “Buddy System” and I made sure my friends did the same. I didn’t let my pride get in the way of my asking for help or asking to have someone walk with me. I never wanted to be seen as the girl who needed a man to protect her, but I also never wanted to be a victim of my pride. The situation above could have gone so much worse, I was very lucky that my instincts kicked in and I reacted the right way, but had he been ready for me to defend myself things could have been so much worse. I believe my guardian angel was watching over me that day, but I know that I can’t always rely on that.

I will leave you with a few things you can do TODAY to help protect yourself and your family:

– Have a safety plan at home –

Do you have a safety plan for emergencies in your house? If there is a fire do you and our family (including kids) know where to go and how to get there? Do you have a plan for if there is a break-in in the middle of the night, or if you come home and the door is open – Do your kids know what to do? If you answered NO to any of these questions – then you need to sit down, as a family, and put your plan in place.
Having a home safety plan and practicing what to do is important not just for adults but for children too. More often than not people panic in emergencies – if you know and practice your plan you are more likely to make it out of the situations safely.

– Have a safety plan for when you’re out of the house –

First off, if its late – you’re alone or with your kids – and you need something from the store make sure you park close to the building AND under a light. If that isn’t possible GO HOME! There is nothing so important that it can’t wait until tomorrow.

Second, you and your kids need to have a plan (A SAFETY WORD) for when you spot or sense danger. Yes, kids are kids and they will argue and bicker from time to time, however, in a store or parking lot isn’t the time to only focus on them and lose sight of your surroundings. Make sure you have established a ‘safety word’ that your kids know and understand to mean ‘Get close, hold hands, and be prepared to run.’ This is helpful for when your walking to your car and spot someone suspicious lurking close by. Once that safety word is said, everyone should know their role – be it grab hands, run to the car, run directly back to the store, etc. If you have a son that feels like he should be the protector make sure he understands that his role is one of the most important… instead of fighting, tell him to run back to the store and call for help. Whatever their role is – you as a parent need to remain calm and make sure they know what they are doing. Practice these procedures, when there is no danger, that way they feel comfortable in cases where there may be danger.

What other self-defense/safety tips do you and your family use? Have you taken self-defense classes and if so what did you find more valuable about the training? Share your tips and thoughts by commenting below! 

My 2 Cents… Nostalgia

nostalgiaNostalgia – Directed by Mark Pellington, Nostalgia is a mosaic of stories about love and loss, exploring our relationship to the objects, artifacts, and memories that shape our lives.

I knew nothing about this movie when I hit play, sitting on the plane waiting for my flight to take off. I had no expectations other than to be entertained. I felt like the cast held up their end of the deal… they were beautifully tragic. Although it was an extremely talented cast (Hugo Armstrong, Shinelle Azoroh, Annalise Basso, Ellen Burstyn, Arye Gross, Jon Hamm, Catherine Keener, Lindsey Kraft, and so many others), but unfortunately, the story/script left little to be desired (for me). I’m still trying to figure out the film’s message, other than ‘what’s important to you is junk to everyone you leave behind when you die.’

I can recognize that there were some though-provoking concepts/topics brought up in the film, but it was to spliced and diced to make a coherent film.

Just my two cents. If you saw it, what did you think?

Watch the official trailer here:

 

Origin by Dan Brown

OriginTITLE: Origin
AUTHOR: Dan Brown

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★ (4.5)

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist, and one of Langdon’s first students.

But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced to flee. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch. They travel to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.

Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme re¬ligion, Langdon and Vidal must evade an enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace. They uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery…and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

Buy it HERE on Amazon!

THE CRITICAL POINTS

WRITING: The only other Dan Brown book I’ve read was The Da Vinci Code, which I loved. This one was even better! You only have to look at the thousands of 5-star amazon reviews to know that Brown is a world-renowned author and that Origin was named the #1 worldwide bestseller for a reason.

STORY: Origin asks the questions we’ve all wondered… Where do we come from and, where are we going? Diving deep into such philosophical questions, Brown analyzes both creationism and science. Origin is masterfully written and thought provoking, making you question your own beliefs and reasoning. It is fast-paced, action packed, and will keep you on the edge of your seat as you quickly turn page after page to find out what will happen next.

CHARACTERS: As in The Da Vinci Code, and I’m sure all the other books in the series, Professor Robert Langdon, Brown’s lead character, is fleshed out to the point that you feel like you could reach into the book and shake his hand. Brown has not only given the character of Langdon purpose and a mission, he has breathed life into him. Reading a Brown book is like taking a master class on character development. There isn’t anything you feel you don’t know about his characters. From Langdon to Edmond to Ambra and especially Winston, Brown’s characters are unique and special.

APPEARANCE: The cover of Origin is beautifully simple and the circular staircase representation in the middle is surprisingly appropriate once you’ve read deep enough into the book.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review here… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

 

How do you find a good book?

book

As an indie-author, I’m interested in how my readers find my books and knowing which of my marketing efforts are effective. On the flip side, I’d like to know how readers, who haven’t yet found my books, find the books they gravitate toward.

I did a little research. Then, I did a little more. What I found was a list of different ways authors can promote their books. I’m not yet doing them all, but I just might need to add a few more to my list.

 

AUTHORS… MARKET YOUR BOOKS!

OFF-LINE

  • News paper and magazine press releases, advertisements, interviews, etc.
  • Media Appearances (TV or Radio interviews)
  • Promotional Items/Giveaways (pens, pads, coffee mugs, free books)
  • Social Networking
    • In person book signings
    • Store events
    • Trade shows
    • School speaking engagements

ON-LINE

  • Online press releases, advertisements, interviews, etc. 
  • Author website or blog
  • Blog tours
  • Social media direct marketing sales
  • Social networking
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Instagram
    • LinkedIn
    • Pintrest 

I’m pretty sure this list isn’t complete, but it’s a start.  And no, I’m not yet doing all of these things just yet, but I have begun the plans to expand my marketing reach. 

It only makes sense that the more marketing you do, the more prospective readers you’re likely to reach. So, in theory, by using a variety of these methods an author would have a more effective marketing strategy. Which, if done correctly, should increase the overall number of sales in a given year.

If you’re an author and you’d like to share other ways you like promoting your books PLEASE COMMENT BELOW! 

If you’re a reader and you’d like to share how you discover new books, PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!