Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Book Review: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

Media Type: Audio Book
Title: Sleeping Beauties
Authors: Stephen King, Owen King
Publisher: Scribner
Pages: Hardcover; 702
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Source: Library Borrow
Genre: Horror, Thriller

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a mildly dystopian story, set in a small town.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze.

If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place.

The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease.

Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

Ah, this book. I make no apologies for the fact that I will read all things Stephen King, regardless of what the subject matter is. He's one of my favorite authors and, across the board, I've been enamored enough with his writing that he's essentially an auto-borrow/auto-buy for me. When this dark story, featuring his son as a co-writer, came out I was intrigued. It went straight to the top of my library hold list and I waited patiently for my turn. All the while, I secretly hoped I would be blown away at this.

As it turns out, Sleeping Beauties didn't quite live up to what I was hoping for. The concept of the story I did very much enjoy. Imagine a world where almost all women are out of the picture. Oh, they haven't disappeared but, worse still, they've simply ceased to function. They lie dormat, as a reminder to the men in their lives of what they've lost. I loved the idea of a world where men were left to fend for themselves. I think the Kings really took the time to ponder over what kind of madness would ensue and, for the most part, I think they hit it right on the head. Not one bit of what the men in this book did when "the Aurora virus" hit surprised me. In all its darkness and brutality, it felt right.

I also loved the idea between Evie Black's character, and the choice that she presents to the women in this book. As a gender, women have come to begrudingly accept the fact that men continue to make the rules that govern our lives. What if that wasn't the case though? What if there was a chance to start over, without that fact in place, and do things differently? This whole idea just felt so perfect to me. Watching these women choose between a new world, and the men and boys they left behind felt... right. I don't know how else to explain it. Honestly.

What really lowered my star rating of this book though was just the god awful length of it. It drags, and drags, pulling out things that could have easily been resolved in a chapter or two. Although I appreciated the time to get to know the characters, after a while I began to hate them for how human they all were and how long it took them to make decisions. Everyone was always so blind to the needs and wants of everyone else. I suppose that's real life, and that's probably why it was so frustrating. I'm not going to lie, I almost gave up on this book multiple times for how slow it was moving.

However at the end of it all, I'm glad I finished. The message here is actually one that I think is really important. One of my respected reviewer friends referred to this as a "smart book" and I'm apt to agree. This story isn't being told to be entirely easy to read and mindlessly entertaining, it's being told to make a point. I think it does that, so 3 stars are totally deserved.


Monday, June 11, 2018

Book Blitz + Giveaway: The Secret Lives of Royals by Shalini Dua

Happy Monday lovely readers! Need a little pick me up to get through the day? Look no further than this fabulous new release (TOMORROW). If you're like me, you've always had a morbid fascination with royalty. This exciting new fairy tale is sure to be a fantastic read. 

The Secret Lives of Royals
Shalini Dua
Publication date: June 12th 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales, New Adult, Romance
Olivia can’t take it anymore. She’s had enough of the big city and it’s lack of fulfilling her dreams. Then, just when she’s about to give up and move home, out of the blue, she is offered her dream job. Olivia is suspicious but that could just be the New York in her. She decides not to pull at threads. Despite her best efforts to remain blissfully oblivious, the secret to her life upgrade is soon uncovered when she finds herself invited to be part of a secret society.
Olivia learns that there is a thin curtain separating our world from theirs. Just beneath the surface, an entirely different one exists. One that is controlled by those of Royal lineage. The chosen ones, the Royals, hold the fate of the world in their hands. Will Olivia be able to bear the weight of the crown?
Add it: Goodreads / Amazon

I’m getting a very weird feeling. I consider turning around and leaving, but getting a cab on a cold rainy night before 2AM is going to be tough as they don’t begin frequenting the area until the bars start to close, and the nearest Uber appears to be 25 minutes away. Plus, I did go to all of this trouble to get my lazy self dressed and over here.

There is a crest engraved in brass metal on the front of the red door, an intricately designed crown and some lettering. I tilt my head to read it all the way around. ‘Alea iacta est memores acti prudentes uturi modus operandi’ I read aloud, and below, ‘Posteriori’. I recognize the language as Latin from the three weeks we spent on it during Intro to Languages, which was designed to help us choose one to focus on during our tenure at the university

Against my better judgment, I push on the heavy door, which creaks open. I enter into a cold stone-walled hall with a stone slab floor, lit by what appears to be a row of fire lanterns on each side. I guess this place is a bit behind the times in converting, or maybe they think it’s super ironic and hipster to not jump on the modernization bandwagon. Or maybe it’s me. I’m not exactly the authority on architectural trends. Maybe converted vintage is over and re-vintaged vintage is back in. Ugh, I can’t wait until I’m old and have an excuse not to be hip.

I walk down a windy stone hallway that seems straight out of a period film. Wow, they are really taking this theme seriously. How cool would it be if this stuff was authentic? I take a few pictures with my phone just in case. I mean as Cultures Editor, it’s always nice to be the one to discover the next big thing, like Connor said.

As I round the corner I hear, before I see, a British male mumbling to himself, apparently in debate.

“It’s so bizarre. But it couldn’t be. Could it? Stranger things have happened.”

I find myself face to face with a short-ish man, though taller than me, with glasses, wearing a sports coat with suede elbow patches. I scream in surprise and jump about five feet in the air. He seems slightly taken aback as well but less jumpy than me, or at least less vocal about it. He’s good looking in an intellectual sort of way and his dark floppy hair is conservatively combed back. I’m not sure if he’s startled by our unexpected encounter or my scream, but he does a bit of a double back.

“Sorry,” he recovers charmingly, “I didn’t see you there.”

“No, me either.” I try to breathe. I feel like I know him from somewhere.”

“Stuart Stephens.” He proffers his hand in greeting.

“Olivia Grace Thorpland.” I shake his in return. “But you can call me Gigi.”

“Hello, Gigi. Nice to meet you.” He is impeccably mannered even after our near death collision. Must be the British thing.

“So are you here for the party too?” I inquire. “Do you know where it is?”

“Party?” he asks, confused. “No, I just had a meeting here.”

“Ah, I see,” I say, although I don’t, given the hour. I definitely know him from somewhere. Got it, he’s a comedian.

“Well, care to join me anyway?” I offer politely. After all, he’s British, I’m being a good ambassador. He appears a bit bewildered.

“No, thanks. I best be going.”

“Are you sure? My friends are in there.”

“Really? Your friends are in there?” He seems surprised to see where I’m gesturing.

“Yup,” I tell him confidently.

“Oh, well, thanks for the invite, but I’m completely sure. Thanks anyway,” comes his nervous reply. “But, can I ask you a question?” I nod. “Is this all, um, kosher?”

“I, I, don’t know.” I hesitate. Is he Jewish and British? Is that a thing?

“Well, I’ll let you get on “he says. “Have a good night.”

“You too. Bye,” I reply. And with that, we walk off in opposite directions.

Finally, I reach a semi-circled entryway that has the option of five doors, one straight ahead and two on either side. These are not your ordinary doors either. They are heavy, arched, rustic, dark brown, slated wooden doors. I’m not really in the mood to crash a wedding reception, murder, or worse, a live band performance; and, given that anything could be behind these doorways, I’m about to give up on this expedition completely, when one of the doors, the entryway smack dab in the center, starts to creak open, apparently of its own accord. A feeling of unexpected dread overtakes me. I brace myself, unsure of what to expect to find behind it.

An international upbringing and a love of stories laid the foundation for wanderlust. Shalini aspires to spend her time country-hopping and consuming pop-culture, comedy and good food but the reality is often frantically downing coffee, meeting deadlines at exactly the last second and working her un-glamorous corporate job to fund all of the other pursuits. The Secret Lives of Royals is Shalini's debut novel. Her other work includes published poetry and scripts only she has read.



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