In a Nutshell – The Outsider by Stephen King

Anyone who’s avidly read King over the years will know all too well that his novels can be extremely hit and miss. It’s simply just how it is for a lot of us. Having said that, I’m always in an open mindset when entering new SK work; which way will this one swing on the ratings scale?

The Outsider, from the synopsis, had such promise and intrigue. A brutal child murder. An impossible scenario of being in two places simultaneously. I was all set-up for an intense + thrilling read. HOWEVER, I left feeling…deflated.

To begin with, the writing style itself often didn’t even seem like the King I’m so accustomed to. I’ve seen speculation around the possibility of that being due to age, but it doesn’t add up that your signature way with words would change that much? Secondly, the overwhelming amount of character interviews just grated on me, not to mention the waffling between the characters themselves. Was it all relevant? No probably not. But did it add to the reading experience? Also probably not.

*HERE’S WHERE THE SPOILERS COME IN*

The premise: someone being in two places at once.
My reaction: OOOOO how is THIS going to pan out?!
The reality: it was a monster. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
My new reaction: eye rolling so hard that I can see the back of my own head + the nonexistent monster who’s coming to devour my brains.

Now, I’m well aware that King is all about the paranormal; things that go bump in the night and shit everyone up. But this was really not the right kind of book to add that into. For me, it either had to be all suspense + REALITY or all suspense + PARANORMAL. Many of you may disagree and I welcome that kind of difference in opinion. The depressing dullness of everyone agreeing sends me into such a state of desperate despair. Alas, I am still feeling guilty for having to give this read such a negative review. I appreciate that coming up with entirely new stories for decades upon decades is, at best, a mammoth task. So yes I do admire the work, effort + sweat that must have gone into every paragraph. However, for me, it just didn’t land.

Sorry SK. I still love you 🖤

In a Nutshell – Sleep by C.L. Taylor

Seeing as I powered through this in just over 24 hours, I’d say it was one heck of a read! An instant 5 star read, right from the opening page. Nothing was as it seemed AT ALL. I thought I’d gotten something sussed out and then BOOM, curve ball. The story doesn’t let you get comfortable. There’s always something unexpected around the corner; not to mention how crazy atmospheric the whole thing was. Each of the characters had their own depth, layers and plenty of flaws/strong points. Some of them were created to be liked, others were created to be… mysterious? And others were created to simply annoy, confuse and irritate you; just like real life then!

It is a genuine + thrilling page turner. 5 stars from me

In a Nutshell – The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

After seeing so much hype around this, I was PRAYING that it was justified rather than falling prey to the ever present overhype monster that all bookworms dread. But thankfully, this was in fact a super read that I ploughed through extremely quickly. Admittedly I am one of these readers who LOVES the whole mental hospital/asylum etc trope; Shutter Island, for example. So I may be slightly biased. I’d also heard a great deal about the ending. Some readers saying how they didn’t see it coming, others saying how easily predicted it was. I’m pretty in the middle with it. It wasn’t a major surprise ending that left my mouth agape, nor was it something I worked out early on. It was just a solid, twisty ending that didn’t leave me feeling disappointed or cheated

In a Nutshell – The Ice Child by Camilla Lackberg

My first Camilla Lackberg read + it was fairly good. The constant mini cliffhangers were a slight pain though, as well as it jumping from different characters in very short spaces of time. Aside from that, it was a decent thriller

In a Nutshell – Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe

HOLY S*** SNACKS. That was honestly the creepiest book I have read in a long time. I don’t know why but the haunted house trope always gets me right in the anxiety. But this? This was like a haunted house story but amped up by a thousand. So so insanely gripping, tense and disturbing. The atmosphere throughout was absolutely bang on as well. I finished it in just two sittings in one afternoon as I simply NEEDED to know how it panned out. Cannot recommend it enough for those who love a proper creepy, sleep-with-the-lights-on read. 5 stars!

In a Nutshell – Gravity by Tess Gerritsen

I’ve read a number of Gerritsen novels over the years; predominantly the Rizzoli + Isles series. Gravity was quite a jump from those, what with it being in space and all. At first I wasn’t so sure how I’d connect with it as it’s not my usual kind of setting for a read. HOWEVER, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The claustrophobia element of it had me feeling genuinely tense throughout, not to mention the detailed + downright disgusting (love it!!) descriptions of the symptoms, disease progression etc. The only slight issue was, whilst I admire the research, the use of a number of NASA terminology. There is a glossary at the back but I found myself not bothering going backwards + forwards to look up abbreviations. Still a definite 4 star read though, without a doubt

In a Nutshell – The Reckoning by Jane Casey

My first experience of anything by Jane Casey, although I had heard good things from my Bookstagram friends. It was a great read. A genuinely dark crime thriller that tackles some really complex judicial + social issues head on; making you reflect upon your beliefs + moral alignment. As the book gathers pace, these issues are completely overshadowed by how the story develops; we’re thrown into something that is very much universally disgusting, horrific and tragic.

Wow that was a bit of a deep review for little old me! All true nonetheless. 4 stars.

Bookish News!

Yes I’m one of those people now: I’m starting a Bookstagram.

It’s the same link as the one I *think* is already hooked up with my blog. But in case you’ve missed it and want to check it out, here it is 😊

http://www.instagram.com/thosedarkpages

Reading, reading and more reading

As some of you know, the Goodreads app allows you to set a yearly reading goal, aka the number of books you aim to get through in a year. Before I got my PS4 a few years back, I was easily reaching 70+ or so. But once the gaming addiction kicked in, that went right out the window! I know, I know. I betrayed my beloved books.

HOWEVER, this year, I made a deal with myself: because there were no PS4 games I was eager to play ASAP, I stopped playing on it. Full stop. Ideally, this will mean that, when I introduce gaming time again, I can cope with only an hour or so a day without feeling like I’m missing out. So far so good. I’ve not played anything for weeks. And the impact on my reading goal? I’m halfway through my 24th book of 2019…so it seems that I’ll absolutely SMASH my goal of 70 🙂

Unite, bookaholics, unite!!

How to Spot a Bookaholic

A very warm welcome to you on this Monday afternoon!

So it’s confession time today. I need to get something off my chest…

I am a bookaholic

But how can you spot the signs of a bibliophile, bookworm etc? Do you suspect a family member, friend, partner, or co-worker? Or maybe you think that you yourself has a penchant for bookish ways? Well, the wondering could stop right now with my extremely (not) scientific list; based on my own traits and those I recognise in other book loving folk.

  1. Buying new books when you already have mountains of unread ones at home
  2. Struggling to walk past any bookshop without at least browsing the selection on offer
  3. Owning more bookmarks than you can possibly use at any one time
  4. Staying up late to read ‘just one more chapter’
  5. Being overjoyed when receiving bookshop gift cards for a birthday, Christmas etc
  6. Scouring through charity/thrift shops and claiming it would be rude not to buy anything at such low prices
  7. Feeling irritated when people try to converse with you whilst immersed in a book
  8. Moaning that you don’t have enough space in your bookcase but continuing to buy more regardless
  9. Trying to convert a non-reader
  10. Getting mildly high off the smell of books, bookshops and print
  11. Using apps such as Goodreads to overwhelm yourself with all the beautiful novels you want to read
  12. Having a reading routine/ritual, such as burning a specific candle, sitting in a certain place, drinking or eating something in particular
  13. Putting off starting a new book as you’re still emotionally attached to the last one
  14. Feeling utterly heartbroken and personally offended when someone folds the corners instead of using a bookmark
  15. Stalking authors online
  16. Signing up to every book giveaway site you can find
  17. Remarking on the differences between the book + film adaptation, much to the annoyance of those non-readers around you
  18. Feeling exhilarated when discovering a new author + immediately yearning to read everything they’ve ever written
  19. Going to the library regularly
  20. Telling anyone + everyone that they must read this book, this author, this genre

I’d say that’s a pretty extensive and accurate list. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read my 9th book of the year.

TTFN

Kelsey xxx