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 – 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 – 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.

In a Nutshell – The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

What an enjoyable gothic-tinged story! I’m not really sure what else to add to this review if I’m honest. The characters were solid + well formed. The story itself was executed perfectly. The many twists and shocks kept me on my toes. Hell, there’s even talk of ghosts + hauntings. It was just a hands down really decent read.

A definite 4 star one for me. Highly recommend

In a Nutshell – Others by James Herbert

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Sunday. I’m still sat in my PJs at 11:45am and it’s glorious.

So here’s something a bit different for you guys; something that I’d like your opinion on. I’ve been writing short and to the point book reviews on Goodreads for AGES now. I never write anymore than a couple of paragraphs generally as I think it’s best for everyone to read a book for themselves instead of bowing to reviews 🤷🏻‍♀️ ANYWAY! I was thinking of copying some of my reviews from there onto my blog as and when I finish books etc. Oh and I’ve decided to call them my In a Nutshell reviews; short, sweet and concise 👍🏻 here goes nothing!

As an avid reader of James Herbert novels, I opened the pages of Others with tangible excitement. I knew that I was likely in for a dark and disturbing nightmare of a read; and that is precisely what I got.

Some of the scenes were particularly ghoulish or violent, which is exactly what I like in my books. Call me morbid if you will, I don’t mind one bit. The ‘haunting’ scenes were especially creepy and left me feeling a wee bit edgy!

Overall a solid 4 star read and would highly recommend to anyone who loves a twisted read.

Any feedback would be awesome!

Kelsey x