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

Inner Reader

Hooked on pages

The story inside

World within

Teleportation

Printed beauty

Escapism first

Cover to cover

Transportation

Sentences flow

Paragraphs born

Coming together

Exhilaration

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 – Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

A properly creepy read for the first 100 pages or so, as well as being super tense and eery. But after that something just disappeared. The plot itself became even more farfetched (yes I know ghost stories are already fairly unbelievable but you know what I’m getting at) 😂 I found the jumping between reality and flashbacks/dreams to be quite confusing for my fatigue-addled brain, but I grasped most of it eventually. Overall it was an enjoyable read, despite the ending being predictable + the writing/storyline losing its power less than halfway through

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!