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review 2017-11-13 18:11
Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales (James)
Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales - P. D. James,Peter Kemp

P.D. James' estate has gone back to the well for this second annual book of short stories in time for Christmas sales, and I for one am very glad they did.  There's variety in tone and setting amongst the six stories, but they have in common James' clear prose, strong sense of character, and the "twist in the tail" that is one of the delights of this genre. Of the six, four are told in the first person, a good expedient for twists, since the narrator merely has to withhold one pertinent piece of information. Several (including the most shudder-inducing, "The Girl Who Loved Graveyards" - interestingly not one of the 1st-person ones) are tied closely to the viewpoint of a child or youth, and often are distanced from the actual telling by the lifetime of that person. Moral ambiguity abounds; there are comeuppances, but we are not allowed to rest in simple notions of good characters and bad characters, even within the narrow bounds of short fiction.

All of the stories are comfortably distanced from us in time (two are explicitly set in World War II, with all the accompanying paraphernalia of blackouts and the hovering menace of much greater disturbance than a mere country house murder or clifftop shove). No-one is distressingly poor, distressingly foreign, or distressingly gender-atypical. In this sense, but in no other, you might stretch the term "cozy" to cover these stories. I don't find some of the characters - most particularly the murderer in the aforementioned "Girl Who Loved Graveyards" to be in any way cozy or comfortable, but it's true that, the subtitle notwithstanding, this collection not only did not rob me of sleep, but sent me off happy and satisfied with another taste of P.D. James.

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review 2017-11-12 15:52
"Doctor Sleep", by Stephen King
Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

The Shining #2

In this sequel to the “Shining” we see booze hound and drifter Dan Torrance finally settling down in a small town in New Hampshire, going to AA meetings and working as a night porter in the local hospice. Being sober, his supernatural talents enable him to help people die peacefully while receiving telepathic messages from a young girl.

This meaty book leisurely describes in gratuitous details scenes of mundane action. It goes on and on and the longer it went on I was hoping that something weird or horrible will happen soon or that some kind of abnormal happening would eventually irrupt to keep me from falling asleep. What a boring story….yes we do have some eerie moments but this book does not deliver a good scare and definitely lacks in brute fright. Having said this, some of the melancholic scenes are very touching especially when Dan accompanies elderly residents during their final moments. Although I may not have cared much for this book it is by far better than its prequel: the sentences are crisper and the imagery far more surprising. As for the characterization: the main player, Dan, lacks brightness and is uninteresting, Abra, the young girl is too perfect, too powerful and too amazing and the True Knot members are a loathsome bunch that were not as frightening beings as those in the “Shinning”. One of the most loveable characters is the therapy cat, what is not to love when a cat can predict the deaths of terminally ill patient and be at their side till their last breath….I said enough; definitely this story was not for me.

Whether you like this book or not “Doctor Sleep” is a far-fetched read that delves into the darkest depths of human frailness….. 

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text 2017-11-07 12:52
Story Ghosts, Headaches and Sleep yo-yos

Guys, I´m having so much fun over here!

 

I've somehow gotten my sleeping schedule so screwed up that I wake up around 6 PM.  Last night my husband was so annoyed that I didn´t want to eat the taco´s he made for dinner.  I just woke up!  It was time for breakfast not dinner. There are just a few odd things that I will eat cold for breakfast like left over pizza or fried chicken. Not tacos.  I did, of course, have tacos later when I was ready for dinner (just before he left for work in the morning).  I can´t help my weirdness.  

 

I've been reading a lot lately and when I don´t go to sleep at the usual time (not sure when that is anymore) I get a second wind and just keep reading.  Sometimes when I am dog tired I still can´t sleep even if I do go to bed because I can´t shut off my brain.  Story Ghosts from books past haunt me and make it impossible to sleep.  And then there are the books I haven't read and I want to ponder their potential goodness.  Please tell me I'm not the only person who has this problem!  

 

Anyway, I also have some health problems and when the weather does funky stuff I sometimes have flare ups and end up sleeping longer than usual or not being able to sleep because of pain.  So add that to the Story Ghosts of books past and you end up with sleep yo-yos. 

 

The last two days I've had this nasty headache too. I´m pretty sure they are caused by my youngest son but so far nothing has helped.  Well, the OTC meds I have haven´t helped but I think smacking him might.  He is pretty big though and might smack back so I probably won´t try that.  

 

What to do.... what to do...... 

Oh, hey, a just got a new book in the mail!  I think I´ll go read.  

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review 2017-11-05 23:29
The Glittering Court - Richelle Mead

I started this book as a young woman I finished old and wrinkled, it was that long and dull. I want my youth back ! I almost quit it so many times. I didn't, I held on because I knew she had some secret BOOM moment coming that would make all the nodding off and forced reading worth it. No, it was 400 pages of slow conversations, inner dialogs, dressing and hair, boring meetings and even more boring problems. I thought the last 40 pages were picking up. Gods that sounds so sad. Well I thought they were picking up but I was foolish again. It built up to a huge semi better than bland so obvious resolution. I know you're thinking, wow that sounds boring. YES it was ! 400 pages that could have easily fit into 75 pages and not missed a bit of the story. I never liked the spoiled Countess, the MC, never admired her stupid choices, or attitude.
What was the book about ? A rich Countess doesn't want to marry her cousin to save her class standing so she runs away and sells herself to a group that will train her to be an good upper class wife in the new world sold to the highest bidder. She decides not to follow those rules and fall fro another. Then she must lower herself even lower and do actual labor.

I will not be reading anymore in this series

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review 2017-10-24 16:21
Doctor Sleep / Stephen King
Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless - mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining" power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep."

 

 

Read to fill the “Modern Masters of Horror” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.

I must be getting tougher as I read more in the horror genre—I barely twinged when the Overlook ghosts showed up in this sequel to The Shining! As sequels go, I thought this one was done really well. I read it all in one sitting, stayed up until 2 a.m. to do so, and I didn’t cower under the bedclothes once!

What really impressed me was King’s depiction of struggling sobriety. As Dan sits outside a dive bar and longs to go in to sample that first drink that will wreck 15 years of being straight, I felt that longing right along with him, the desire to drown myself in booze, despite the fact that I have never had an alcohol problem. Write what you know, the advice goes, and this seems to be absolutely true in this instance. I’m betting the author has felt that same desire on more than one occasion!

As with The Shining, the true horror in this story is what regular people can do to each other and themselves, the destructiveness of addiction, and the rarity of kindness.

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