The Outsider by Stephen King ~ Book Review

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TITLE: The Outsider (June 4, 2019)

AUTHOR:     Stephen King

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

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

Soon to be an HBO limited series starring Ben Mendelsohn!

Evil has many faces…maybe even yours in this #1 New York Times bestseller from master storyteller Stephen King.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is discovered in a town park (WARNING – IT IS VERY GRAPHIC). Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens—Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon have DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems iron-clad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying details begin to emerge, King’s story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

* Disclosure: Some links within this post are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small commission if you purchase. I only recommend products/books/tools I use and love!

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

There has been so much talk about and praise giving to this book that I just had to read it and see if it lived up to the hype. In my opinion, yes… YES it does. I’m a huge King fan, but I’ll be the first to admit that some of his recent work, I’m talking in the last few years, hasn’t really been my favorite. This one however, I really loved this book. It is a classic good vs. evil story and yet it is still completely original and has the natural clearly Stephen King feel.

WRITING (★★★★★): Stephen King can weave words together like a spider weaves a web. His words are beautiful, haunting, freakishly terrifying, and they trap the reader like an unsuspecting fly never letting go until the spider is done with him.

The Outsider has an uneasy realness quality about it. It’s the same feeling you get when reading the Mr. Mercedes novels. Its less about the things that go bump in the night and more about the unexplainable murder mystery and wondering just how much of it could really happen. It isn’t until late in the novel that King introduces his signature supernatural twist. I won’t lie, I was waiting for it. I even predicted who the killer really was. I’ve read enough Stephen King to know there is always more to his stories than just the reality we live in and if you’re looking for them, he leaves breadcrumbs – or clues – along the way.

STORY (★★★★): The Outsider is a crime novel with a classic Stephen King supernatural twist. Because it comes in at just 560 pages, this one is rather easy, quick to read. It is well paced and definitely one I would recommend to anyone who loves crime thrillers.

Stephen King is great at making you relate to his stories. In The Outsider, he pulls you in right from the beginning with the introduction of a horrific crime that has been committed against an eleven year old boy. Immediately it activates the readers sense of sympathy and compassion for the family involved and the town in which the boy lived. It makes you biased against the man they have in custody before you even know if he is guilty or innocent. King makes you feel like the world he has created could be your own.

Like most King novels, there were no weak elements in this story.

CHARACTERS (★★★★★): King has put together a great cast of characters in this one. Like other books, many of his characters are just normal people experiencing the horrific crime that has taken place and King allows us to watch through their eyes. There is even a character from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy that makes an appearance, to help with the investigation. That was really cool. I love when he ties his novels together showing us exactly what world or King universe, they are playing in.   

APPEARANCE (★★★★): I love the cover! It is stunning.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“People had the mistaken idea that Poe wrote fantastic stories about the supernatural, when in fact he wrote realistic stories about abnormal psychology.”

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

“Dreams are the way we touch the unseen world, that’s what I believe. They are a special gift.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His first crime thriller featuring Bill Hodges, MR MERCEDES, won the Edgar Award for best novel and was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award. Both MR MERCEDES and END OF WATCH received the Goodreads Choice Award for the Best Mystery and Thriller of 2014 and 2016 respectively.

King co-wrote the bestselling novel Sleeping Beauties with his son Owen King, and many of King’s books have been turned into celebrated films and television series including The Shawshank Redemption, Gerald’s Game The Shining, It, and the list goes on.

King was the recipient of America’s prestigious 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters. In 2007 he also won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife Tabitha King in Maine.

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Also by Stephen King…

I can’t list them all, but below are a few of my favorites. Just click on the cover photo to read the description and order your copy!

Disclosure: Some links within this post are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small commission if you purchase. I only recommend products/books/tools I use and love!


The Friar’s Lantern by Greg Hickey (Book Review)

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Title: The Friar's Lantern
Author: Greg Hickey
ISBN-13: 978-1733093705
ISBN-10: 1733093702
Paperback: 224 pages
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars

RATING OVERVIEW ~ (Overall: ★★★ (3.33)
Writing: ★★★ Story: ★★★ Characters: ★★★


AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

You will judge a man of murder.

Choose-your-own-adventure makes a comeback in The Friar’s Lantern.

An eccentric scientist tells you he can read your mind and offers to prove it in a high-stakes wager. A respected college professor exacts impassioned, heat-of-the-moment revenge on his wife’s killer – a week after her death – and you’re on the jury.

Take a Turing test with a twist, discover how your future choices might influence the past, and try your luck at Three Card Monte. And while you weigh chance, superstition, destiny, intuition and logic in making your decisions, ask yourself: are you responsible for your actions at all?

So choose wisely – if you can.


MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

Let me start by saying that I received a free copy of this book for my honest impartial review… That is what I mean to give here.

WRITING (★★★): Lets first address the fact that Hickey has chosen the very difficult task of writing a “choose your own adventure” style novel. This concept allows the reader to make decisions throughout the story which then determine the path the characters take. I grew up reading choose your own adventure stories as a kid and have loved them ever since. In fact, my current work in progress is also an interactive adventure novel. If I’m being honest, the main reason I agreed to read and review The Friar’s Lantern is because I wanted to see how he tackled the meticulous mapping of his story threads. His method, I believe, was very different from my own. This is an ambitious novel structure for any author and the fact that he successfully completed his story is impressive.

As for the quality of Hickey’s writing, although it is clear that he is extraordinarily articulate, I felt that some of his descriptives felt forced. Many of his sentences were so long that by the time I reached the end of the stringed together adjectives, I forget what it was he was originally explaining.

“…The stadium, Ozymandian on the bitumen shore, is beset to the north by woodlands, and here the hard blacktop, the steel girders and thick slabs of concrete devolve into dirt and dead yellow leaves and broken branches overhung by untrimmed trees and dotted with tangled bushes. The little laboratory remains as a mere afterthought, its wearied face shrouded by the sallow, emaciated branches of a willow tree, devoid of leaves even now in mid-May, the tree dead or dying as its limbs sag down on despair to scratch the top of the building.”  

Unfortunately, because of the wordy writing style, I think I enjoyed the idea of this novel more than the actually story itself.

STORY (★★★★): The concept of the story is intriguing… How do our choices effect our outcomes and do we really have free-will? The main problem I had with this story, aside from the wordiness of the sentences, was the ending. It felt rushed… or rather pre-determined as if he wrote the book knowing the concept and the ending. With the “choose your own adventure” style, I felt that there should have been something more. I didn’t feel as if my choices were really leading the story, it was more that the story was leading my choices.

CHARACTERS (★★★): Honestly, as the reader, you are the main character. With that said, I imagine trying to include any sort of arc or character development had to be hard for the author. The character doesn’t really seem to grow or change throughout the story. However, it does provide for the wonderful opportunity, when reading the story for the second time, to make different choices based on the previous outcome.


AUTHOR BIO

Greg Hickey is the author of the INDIES Book of the Year-nominated novel Our Dried Voices and an award-winning screenwriter. He is also a former international professional baseball player and coach and current forensic scientist and endurance athlete. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.

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


Also by Greg Hickey

Our Dried Voices

In 2153, cancer was cured.
In 2189, AIDS.


And in 2235, the last members of the human race traveled to a distant planet to begin the next chapter of humanity.

Several hundred years after their arrival, the remainder of humanity lives in a utopian colony in which every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for human labor, struggle or thought. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to malfunction, the colonists are faced with a test for the first time in their existence.

With the lives of the colonists at stake, it is left to a bright young man named Samuel to repair these breakdowns and save the colony. Aided by his determined friend Penny, Samuel rises to meet each challenge. But he soon discovers a mysterious group of people behind each of these problems, and he must somehow find and defeat these saboteurs in order to rescue humanity.


The Supernaturals by David L. Golemon (Book Review)

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TITLE: The Supernaturals

AUTHOR: David L. Golemon

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★★

OVERALL: (4.5)

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

Named One of Riffle’s Ten Best Haunted House Books of All Time

Built at the turn of the twentieth century by one of the richest and most powerful men in the world tucked away in the pristine Pocono Mountains, Summer Place, a retreat for the rich and famous, seems the very essence of charm and beauty, “a scene borrowed from a wondrous fairytale of gingerbread houses, bright forests, and glowing, sunny meadows.”

But behind the yellow and white trimmed exterior lurks an evil, waiting to devour the unwary…

Seven years ago, Professor Gabriel Kennedy’s investigation into paranormal activity at Summer Place ended in tragedy, and destroyed his career. Now, Kelly Delaphoy, the ambitious producer of a top-rated ghost-hunting television series, is determined to make Summer Place the centerpiece of an epic live broadcast on Halloween night. To ensure success, she needs help from the one man who has come face-to-face with the evil that dwells in Summer Place, a man still haunted by the ghosts of his own failure. Disgraced and alienated from the academic community, Kennedy wants nothing to do with the event. But Summer Place has other plans…

As Summer Place grows stronger, Kennedy, along with the paranormal ghost hunting team, The Supernaturals, sets out to confront…and if possible, destroy…the evil presence dwelling there.

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

WRITING (★★★★): Although a bit slow and repetitive at times, I feel like David Golemon is one of the best haunted house storytellers I’ve read in a long time. I was on the edge of my seat most of the time and even when the story slowed down, at no point was I ready to give up on it. He is descriptive and captivating and makes you feel what his characters are feeling. This is not the book to read at night in a large, dark house by yourself.

STORY (★★★★): I liked how Golemon brought the modern twist of reality television into his traditional haunted house story. It did get a bit repetitive, the same haunting events happened over and over throughout the book… the doors pushing in, loud banging noises, a misty black entity, and the animals in the woods surrounding the house going a bit mad. However, I still loved this story.

When I picked up the book, recommended by a friend, I was expecting to enter a haunted house and be scared. I wasn’t scared, nor did I enter the house never to leave. The story takes you to a number of locations before you’re even allowed inside the house with ‘The Supernaturals’ a group of ghost hunters that have gathered to not only seek out, but to kill, the entity haunting Summer Place.

CHARACTERS (★★★★★): I’m a huge fan of books where the characters have powers. That can mean vampires, shifters, or witches. It can also mean, as in this book the power to dream walk, possession, and to feel or sense the spirits and ghosts among us.

I loved each of the characters that, by the end of the book, were known as The Supernaturals; Professor Kennedy, John Lonetree, Jennifer Tilden, Leonard Sickles, George Cordero, Julie Reilly, Harris Dalton, Jason Sanborn, Kelly Delaphoy, and Detective Damian Jackson.

APPEARANCE (★★★★★): The cover is beautiful. The house looks creepy and the wispy tendrils of light floating around it are ominous. This book was given to my by a friend, but had I seen it on the shelf at the bookstore, I would have picked it up.

QUESTION: My only question is this, why has this book not been turned into a movie yet?

FAVORITE QUOTE: “Now tell me I don’t know how to throw a Halloween party.” ~ Professor Gabriel Kennedy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David L. Golemon was born and raised in Chino, California. He come from a family steeped in military history, from the Civil War through to Vietnam. He raised three children, Shaune, Brandon and Katie Anne. After spending many years in Loveland, Colorado, he now makes his home on Long Island, New York.

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

Also by David L. Golemon:

In the Still of the Night: The Supernaturals II

Set in the world of The Supernaturals, one of Riffle’s Ten Best Haunted House Books of All Time, In the Still of the Night, a supernatural thriller from New York Times bestselling author of The Event Group series David L. Golemon, will make your Halloween extra spooky this year.

Event: A Novel (Event Group Thrillers Book 1)

In the summer of 1947, an unidentified object crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. There were no survivors. Now it’s happened again. But this time, two creatures have emerged from the wreckage alive . . .

Empire of the Dragon (Event Group Thriller)

230 B.C. – The first sovereign emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, has consolidated his ultimate power with battles against the last of the dissenting tribes of China. With one last province to take, he knows he will be pitted against the one man he fears–his mysterious half-brother, Li Zhang, leader of a peaceful province to the north. The new Emperor’s goal was to murder Li Zhang for the secrets he has kept from the world that would give Qin Shi Huang the power to strike beyond the borders of ancient China. The power over earth, water, fire, and air. After a fierce battle by the Great Wall of China, Li Zhang used the powers of Air Bending to escape with his many villages into the expansive and brutal Gobi Desert. There, Li Zhang and his nation will vanish from the histories of not only the First Emperor, but of China itself.

The Mountain: An Event Group Thriller

In 1863 a meeting takes place between legendary war leaders–a secret alliance that will never show up in any American history books. A clandestine arrangement has been struck for a single chance to heal a war-torn nation. The mission is to bring the greatest prize in the world back to American soil-remnants of pre-history’s greatest ship and most startling mystery. The prize may lie on a mountain top inside the fierce Ottoman Empire, yet the men who seek it are only days away from trying to kill one another.

Carpathian: An Event Group Thriller

Rumors of the seemingly magical victory that allowed the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt have resonated through the archaeological world for decades. Now evidence has been discovered that points to a new explanation of how the ancient Hebrews destroyed the unstoppable army of Pharaoh with a tribe of warriors who disappeared a generation later, after the destruction of the City of Jericho, taking with them the most valued treasures of a people without a homeland.

Auggie and Me by R.J. Palacio

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Auggie and meTITLE: Auggie & Me
AUTHOR: R.J. Palacio

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

GOODREADS DESCRIPTION:
Auggie & Me gives readers a special look at Auggie’s world through three new points of view. These stories are an extra peek at Auggie before he started at Beecher Prep and during his first year there. Readers get to see him through the eyes of Julian, the bully; Christopher, Auggie’s oldest friend; and Charlotte, Auggie’s new friend at school. Together, these three stories are a treasure for readers who don’t want to leave Auggie behind when they finish Wonder.

Buy the book HERE

MY 2 CENTS:

WRITING (★★★★★): Palacio is a wonderfully talented author. She is an artist in the way she created the world around Auggie in Wonder, and the three short stories in Auggie & me are no different.

STORY (★★★★): Auggie and me contains three different short stories; The Julian Chapter, Pluto, and Shingaling.

The Julian Chapter is all Julian – the boy who is Wonder is portrayed as the bully. In this short story we really get a glimpse of who Julian really is, what drives him to behave the way he does, and even the remorse he feels when he realizes what he has done wrong.

Pluto is about Chris – Auggie’s oldest friend. Because of their mothers’ friendship, Auggie and Chris had been friends since birth. It wasn’t until Chris’ family moved away that he started to see Auggie as different… he started to pull away… It was interesting to see, through Chris’ eyes, how a friendship with Auggie might be difficult at times. However, when friendship wins… and kindness prevails… it is a beautiful thing.

Shingaling was about Charlotte. This story, although I enjoyed it, was the least about Auggie then the other two. It centered around Charlotte and the ‘girl drama’ that was happing around her. Honestly, it is the same as the girl drama happening in every elementary and middle school around the world. Probably every High School too. I have to admit, I’m glad to have my school days behind me. I enjoyed learning about Charlotte, and Summer who was a pivotal character in this story. The lesson of Choose Kindness was very strong in this story.

CHARACTERS (★★★★): I loved learning more about Julian, Chris, and Charlotte. These three short stories not only showed us their relationships with Auggie, they also showed us how the interact with other kids, what they are like inside and outside of school, and what is going on in their minds throughout the things that happened in Wonder. The character development in Auggie and Me built upon what we learned in Wonder and succeeded at enhancing the connection the reader has with each character.

APPEARANCE (★★★★★): The cover of Auggie & Me is the perfect fit with the original Wonder cover. The simple blue background with the minimalist character illustrations is eye catchy and inspiring.

FAVORITE QUOTES:
“Good friendships are worth a little extra effort.”

“Sometimes it’s good to start over.”

“One mistake does not define you, Julian. Do you understand me? You must simply act better next time.”

“If you want to be a star, you have to be willing to work harder than everyone else to achieve your goals and dreams! The way I see it, a dream is like a drawing in your head that comes to life. You have to imagine it first. Then you have to work extremely hard to make it come true.”

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

Week 2 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the second edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

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Remember, #WritingWednesday is an easy, stress-free, weekly writing challenge. Just read the writing prompt below, then spend 5 minutes writing whatever comes to mind. DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT! You can choose to respond to the question/writing prompt literally or you can respond through the voice of a character you are currently writing. The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Like last week, today, I’ve elected to write in scene from the manuscript I am currently working on, The Beast Within! I’m not sure if this scene will make it into the actual screenplay, but writing prompts are a fun way to learn more about your characters. 

Today’s writing prompt:

Have you ever seen something that you knew was wrong? Were you scared? What happened?

“Hey guys, I think I found something,” Sophie called. “It looks like the trail continues this way.”

About an hour later, tired and ready to turn back, Sophie heard something coming from just off the trail. “Did you hear that?” she asked, looking back at Kim and Dean who were already regretting their decision to come on this little adventure.

“I didn’t hear a thing,” Dean said, stomping past her.

“Shhh.” She grabbed his arm so he’d stop and listen. “Listen.”

It was faint, but the crackling of a fire and the sound of something being dragged across the dried leaves could be heard off to their left.

“This way,” Dean said as he left the trail and headed down the hill. Kim and Sophie followed close behind, but quickly stopped when Dean fell back, scrambling to get back to his feet. He tried to yell for them to run, but his voice was caught like a lump in his throat.

“What’s wrong?” Sophie asked, as she made her way past him to where the fire could be seen up ahead. Dean tried to grab her, tried to hold her back, but he was too late. Austin had already spotted them.

A young woman, with long blond hair stained red with blood, was laying on the ground in front of the fire. “What are you doing here?” Austin hissed, as he moved toward them.
Sophie was frozen, but Dean had grabbed Kim and was quickly pulling her back up the hill toward the trail.

“Dean,” Austin yelled, his voice echoing around them. “Stop,” he commanded. Without knowing why, Dean obeyed. It was over before Dean or Kim could even get a single scream out. Austin had rushed up the hill, circling around them, and swiftly lunged forward ripping their throats out with his teeth. He didn’t have time to savor the rush of blood as it flooded his mouth. He wasn’t feeding, he wasn’t even thinking. His beast was killing them in order to ensure his survival. He’d think about what he had done later, when the weight of it began to sink in.

Their bodies fell to the ground at his feet and he stared, in shock, as they bled out.

“A…Austin?” Sophie was watching, unable to look away. The blood had drained from her face and she was pale, with beads of sweat beginning to form at her hairline. She had begun to shake, uncontrollably, and her legs gave out beneath her as she fainted, slamming her head against a fallen stump before the world went black around her.

(c) 2019 Nina Soden

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Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with!

Have you ever seen something that you knew was wrong? Were you scared? What happened?

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I’m on YouTube!!!

im-on-youtube

OK… Some of you might already know, others might not…

I joined the YouTube craze a while back, but I haven’t really been advertising my page or my videos and I haven’t really put myself out there, not much anyway. That’s all about to change! Today, with some trepidation, I am sharing my YouTube pages with all of you lovely readers. 

Please be gentle!

With the new year upon us, WELCOME TO 2019, I’ve decided to focus on consistent content on both of my active YouTube channels.

bookreviews

If you’d like to check out my book review videos, you can find them at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpT3nSZ13WwQ0KFDroYj_kg

By clicking on ‘Share a public Comment’ when you view one of my videos, you can share your thoughts on the book I’m discussing as well as give me some suggestions on books you think I’d enjoy. I love hearing what you think, so please don’t be shy. 

Be sure to click subscribe at the top of my YouTube page so you never miss a video!

skincare and selfcare

If you’d like to check out my Mindfulness videos, you can find them at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6tK3aoZdquZCGT0LffRuCA

By clicking on ‘Share a public Comment’ when you view one of my videos, you can ask questions and share your thoughts. I love hearing what you think, so please don’t be shy. If you have questions about mindfulness or skin care please let me know, I’m here to help. If you’d like to check out my mindfulness book you can do so by following THIS LINK. If you’d like to check out the #1 Skin Care Brand in America, follow THIS LINK

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