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review 2017-10-22 18:15
Little Star, by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Little Star: A Novel - John Ajvide Lindqvist

After seeing the recent adaptation of Stephen King's It, I was inspired to delve into a big, fat horror novel (I already read It a few summers ago); plus, 'tis the season. John Ajvide Lindqvist has been referred to as Sweden's Stephen King, and I can see why. What I like most about King's writing is his characterization: characters feel like real people, no matter how fantastical, or evil. Little Star is my second Lindqvist novel, and he has a similar gift for creating engaging characters.


In some ways, though, I find his horror even more frightening than King's. He has a way of providing the details that are often skipped over in horror movies, such as the way the human body reacts to terror. Acts of violence are shockingly brutal (early in the novel a husband savagely breaks his wife's kneecap). He also appears to be interested in children as protagonists, especially girls. Little Star, like Let the Right One In, the other Lindqvist novel I read, features two children as the characters who drive the narrative. One (Theres) does not seem to be quite human (like the vampire in the latter novel), while the other (Theresa) is a human who is an outcast (like the boy who befriends the vampire). Each one's story is told separately at first, including their parents' points of view, until they meet--virtually and then in person. At this point we know the two will be frightening together.


Much of this novel details the angst and alienation of young girls, which can be painful to read if you're a woman who felt like an outsider at some point during your childhood. That alienation is weaponized; it's a freight train whose collision you can't stop but also can't look away from. It reminded me of Dietland, which I read a while ago and is not a horror novel, or even Kill the Boy Band and The Girls. I suppose I'm drawn to stories where patriarchal suppression erupts in violence.


I was left with a question or two, including Theres's origins (she's left to die as an infant in a forest before being discovered) and the red smoke she and the girls feed on. I also wanted a bit more of Theres's adoptive mother's perspective at the beginning.


Despite these questions, this novel shocked, disturbed, and awed me. I tore through it. AND I learned about several Swedish pop stars!

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quote 2017-10-19 07:43
I want you to take your picture and send it to me
Its a little dark
Turn on a light , genius
Should I send it to you now
I'm going to hang up , I said , and then you're going to send it to me . But there's one last thing .
What ?
I want you to be naked in the picture .
More silence
Its only fair . I think you know that .
I didn't wait for a response . I just ended the call. And I fully expected that he would call right back and try to argue his way out of it . But he didn't do that . And as time passed at this rate about an hour per second, I wondered maybe if it was better if he didn't do it
It would give me a chance to break contact , to prove that he never really wanted to be on even ground with me .
What does a true liar do , after all , when you ask him to stand naked .
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quote 2017-10-19 07:25
You can't just run away from your grief . you have to deal with it head on . no matter how difficult and strange it is . we both took a drink of coffee. There are no shortcuts she said . you have to do the hard stuff before it gets any easier.
Page 135
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review 2017-09-02 06:04
Good Me. Bad Me.
Good Me Bad Me - Ali Land

By:  Ali Land


Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: 9/5/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating:  4 Stars  




UK author Ali Land has dedicated her new breakout psychological gripping thriller to mental nurses everywhere. In fact, it happened to be a conversation the author had with a teenage girl when she was working as a mental health nurse that sparked the idea for the book. 

Ultimately this became her chilling debut hit, GOOD ME BAD ME. An Interview with Ali Land 

Land, once a full-time nurse to a full-time writer. It seems her former career has inspired new talent in the area of mental health; crosses psychological thriller. This is one highly courageous debut novel, and can only imagine how difficult this was to write — as she delves into the disturbing mind of a teenage girl. 

Milly (Annie) tries so desperately to be good. However, is this possible? A strong contender for debut of the year! 

“ . . . The playground. That’s what she called it. Where the games were evil, and there was only ever one winner. When it wasn’t my turn, she made me watch. A peephole in the wall. Asked me afterward. What did you see, Annie? What did you see?” . . .

“Forgive me when I tell you it was me. It was me that told.”

Annie’s mother Ruth is a serial, killer. (Peter Pan Killer). Her mom kidnapped and murdered children.

Annie has finally turned over her mom to the authorities. She loves her but she must keep her from killing other children. 

Now she has a new family with a new name. Milly. This is her chance to start over. 

Or so she thinks . . .

A foster dad named Mike. A psychologist, an expert in trauma. His wife Saski and daughter Phoebe. (Phoebe is not so nice). Phoebe turns out to be a bully, making it more difficult for Milly. She turns others at school against her.

Milly has enough problems with the stress of her traumatic childhood, sexual abuse, the guilt of her mother and the damage she has inflicted on her daughter, plus the upcoming trial, and now this girl and this family. 

Plus, the voices in her head. The continued taunting voices from her mom. The lessons she taught her.

She curls up in the floor. She read once that people who are violent are hotheaded, while psychopaths are cold hearted. Hot and cold. Head and heart. But what if you come from a person who’s both? 

What happens then?




The person Milly wants to run from is also the person she wants to run to. Game on.

Milly has secrets. What is she hiding?

Will she ever be normal growing up with an abusive and murderous mother? Good or bad?

She wants desperately to do the right thing, but her mother’s voice urging her on to do bad things. A child groomed and sexualized from a very young age, now fifteen. She has to take the stand. 

“Good me. Bad me. Siamese twins inside of me at war.”

The upcoming trial and the dreams. Now another toxic home. What happens when the trial is over? Can Milly fit in anywhere? Maybe she thinks there may be no place. 

A skillfully woven plot, with an unreliable narrator, GOOD ME BAD ME is heart wrenching, engrossing, terrifying, disturbing and filled with horror, tension, and suspense. 

This unsettling yet gripping tale will keep you glued to the pages. The author does an outstanding job of portraying mental and physical damages and trauma to a young disturbed girl and its outcome… A struggle between good and evil. 

For fans of Ruth Ware, Candice Fox, Wendy Walker, Louise Jensen, Jennifer Jaynes, and Jennifer Hillier. Looking forward to seeing what’s next. (love the cover and the twisty conclusion).

A special thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. 


Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/20/Good-Me-Bad-Me
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review 2017-08-31 16:25
Review: Words on Bathroom Walls
Words on Bathroom Walls - Julia Walton

I received a copy from Netgalley.


Never expected to get approved for this one and was quite surprised and pleased when I was. (I so rarely get approved by Random House). Really impressed with the book as well. (Always kind of makes me feel a bit guilty when I get approved for something by a publisher I don’t get approval from and then find I don’t like the book. Thankfully not the case this time.)


This novel tells the story of teenager Adam who suffers from schizophrenia. Adam has quite a unique personality, he knows he’s schizophrenic. He sees illusions, people who aren’t there but the interesting thing I found was while each of these illusions of his seem to have their own personalities and speak to him, he’s actually quite aware of the fact that these people aren’t real. They seem to be some form of emotion he can’t express.


The novel follows Adam as he struggles with his illness and a new experimental treatment drug and starting at a new private Catholic high school. Dealing with the bullies, the geek who winds up becoming a good friend and the girl he has a crush on who becomes a friend and something more.


The novel is told in diary entries through Adam’s therapy sessions – he refuses to speak to his therapist and writes down what’s been going on in his daily life. He’s got a brilliantly blunt tell it how it is attitude, and can be deliciously snarky. Added in some complicated family drama – dad not in picture, mom has new husband. The mom’s new husband was actually pretty decent if a bit dim. Though step dad’s mom was a nightmare.  Some interesting ideas on faith as well considering Adam attends a Catholic private school without being too preachy.


Quite realistically handled as well, I though. Some deep emotional turmoil, a sweet romantic storyline as well.  Well handled, without being sickly sweet, fair amount of drama, but not too over the top. Ups and downs, sad and funny. Likeable characters, believable parental involvement. A really good read.


Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children’s for approving my request to view the title.   

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