The Dirty Dirt….

Okay, so I may be reviewing books that have been out for a long, long time…..but as I’ve only just discovered them, so maybe some readers out there are the same. In any case, this book is part of my trip back in time to the 80s rock scene. You can see other related posts here and here.

So here’s my latest review….

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The Dirt – Motley Crue
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Having recently read the excellent Dirty Rocker boys by Bobbie brown, I thought I’d spend some of my Amazon Kindle vouchers on purchasing The Dirt by Motley Crue. It’s always good to get the other side of the story where possible, and after reading Bobbie’s book, I was intrigued to learn more about the guys from the Crue. I’d already read the Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx and the truth was, I ended up quite liking the guy. His chapters were easily the best ones in this book, however the others didn’t fare that well…..so where do I begin?

Let’s begin with Vince Neil.  This book makes him come across as total dirt. He’s cheated on every woman he’s ever had, betrayed ever person he could ever call a friend, killed someone (and then bitched about how badly off he was afterwards…..whining on for sentences about how hard his life was in the aftermath, without ever mentioning the other people in the other car again), let down his family, his friends, himself; all while trying to justify his actions. He called the car crash an accident. How is it an accident when you’re off your face on booze and drugs? Or driving like an idiot and doing 70 in a 25 zone? He literally comes across as the most self-centred, spoiled, egotistical brat on the face of the earth. The only time I felt any sympathy whatsoever for him was when his little 4 year old girl died (very, very sad story). He could have taken something utterly tragic and it could have made him a better person; made him take stock of his life and turn his ass around but I don’t think he did, I don’t think he ever will.  He may be an outstanding front man, but he is one selfish, self-important shit. Safe to say, his chapters in the book and the way others spoke about him did not endear him to me. At all.

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Tommy Lee doesn’t come off looking much better. He’s not an arrogant prick like Vince Neil and I can see that he has a good personality and maybe a good heart from what I read, but seriously this guy’s favourite line is something about “…..never in my life would it have occurred to me to hit a chick..” just before he hits chicks. I’m not saying it’s okay that Pamela Anderson hit him (it really wasn’t), but to kick her when she was carrying their son? And then push her? Nice guy! This is after what I’d read in Bobbie’s book about how he attacker her in front of her daughter. Then he complains about being perceived as a wife beater. Hmmm.

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Mick Mars comes across as mostly okay although he seems to consider himself enlightened and everyone else pretty much stupid because they don’t have the secret cool knowledge that he does. But that’s okay, he’s also one of the sanest guys in the band and his battle against his illness is talked about candidly and the ‘grey ghost’ concept done really well. His chapters are few and far between though, almost as though he thought it beneath him or just couldn’t be bothered.

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These guys were real asshole in the day – beating up men, women and cops just because. Knocking a woman’s teeth out and leaving her bleeding on the sidewalk. Making babies all over the place but never being straight or sober enough to raise them. Drink, drugs, parties, fights, arrests, rape, violence, theft, guns, killings, vandalism, cheating, lying, jail…….for a long time, this was the world of the guys in Motley Crue.  They thought they were rock gods, but they were just overgrown kids with parent issues and insecurities and no place to call home.

I still have a soft spot for Nikki though.

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I wish I could say I liked this book, after all, I’ve always liked the music. The truth is though, I rolled my eyes at when they talked about how many drugs they did how often, or which musical instrument they inserted into which woman’s body part….they seem to think that their wild lifestyles were what made them cool and ‘legendary’. They’d be wrong. It was what made them thoughtless, selfish, inconsiderate assholes who people didn’t want to be around. They used people, they abused their partners, wives and girlfriends, they abused themselves and each other and all in the name of being one of the coolest rock bands to rule the sunset strip.  It made for very entertaining reading indeed, it just left a sour taste in my mouth…..they did some seriously questionable, illegal, horrible immoral things and then seemed pleased with themselves about it. They’re unapologetic, still full of shit and the only redeeming quality is that now they’re mostly clean and have maybe (hopefully) seen the errors of their ways.

Unbelievable tales of debauchery await you if you fancy giving this a read.

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Charlaine Harris : Sookie Stackhouse Series

Beware! There are spoilers below!

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If you’ve never read the books before, stop – and read them. If you have read them all, it’s safe to read on!

Before the HBO TV show, there was Sookie Stackhouse in book form, namely the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris.

Long before Kindles and tablets existed, I was a member of WorldBooks (The Sci-Fi and Fantasy division). I had signed up and got something like 6 books for 1p each and then you just had to commit to buying more books throughout the year. Well, the magazine came one month and I was in a situation where I had to order something to fulfill my membership deal. I scanned the magazine over and over again and then thought I would give this set of 3 books for £15 a whirl. The covers intrigued me. It looked like the best I was going to get out of the magazine. These 3 books were:

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When the books arrived, I started reading without much enthusiasm. However, from the first page, I was hooked. I have relations from Tennessee and I’ve travelled to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida etc….it wasn’t too hard for me to picture Sookie’s town, her house, the bar…..I was fully immersed from page 1 of book 1. When I came up for air a few days later after reading all 3 books, I wanted more. These first books are definitely the best of the series – I am just re-reading them now for the 5th or 6th time (I’m up to Dead to the World). So I started looking and found out there were about 2 more books out. I ordered them – one I had to get from the states – and then quickly got up to date. From then on, I picked up a new novel every time I went on vacation to the US to see my family. The last few novels I bought I had to get the tacky HBO TV series covers (booooo!) and were bought from Amazon.co.uk, right up until the series concluded with book 13. By then, I was ready for Sookie’s tales to come to an end. There was a lack of originality, nothing new to add to the mix and little remaining of the Sookie from book 1. I know that character development means people change, but thinking about the last book I read…..it didn’t have me hooked as the first ones did, as the re-read is proving!

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Still, I would much rather be in Sookie’s world than most other novels, these days. It’s familiar and fun. There’s humour, action, great writing and fantastic characters. Sometimes, there’s genuinely heartbreaking moments such as Bill confessing to Sookie why they really met and how it was engineered. That scene still reduces me to tears, even now, after many reads. The betrayal and hurt that Sookie feels leaps off the page and thumps into your chest with a boom! Fine writing.

For me, where things started to get tangled and a bit blurry was when the fairies appeared. I think there was just a little too much of them, too much betrayal and double crossing (when you think Sookie has found some kin and happiness at last, but tons of people still want her dead). I liked the back story to Sookie’s Grandmother. I liked the Cluviel Dor. I liked a lot, but there was a lot I could take or  leave. Sookie getting almost tortured/beat to death lost its impact after 9, 10, 11 books……we always know she’s going to make it. In the beginning, the attacks and injuries were shocking and upsetting, but later it’s just like yup – Sookie is almost dead again. The Supes will save her. Again.

Having said that, it’s easy to feel Sookie’s pain and frustration at being dragged into that whole world. Like when she’s been through so much but just can’t seem to find a way out of always being caught up in their wars and fights for power and domination. Also sad is the way Sookie’s own mother treated her – again, piognant, well-written and heartbreaking. Thank goodness for Grandmother Adele!

I was so excited that there was going to be a TV show of my beloved book series. The books had been getting more and more popular in the UK and I was delighted other readers were discovering Sookie and her universe. Let it be said that I love the show – mostly. I love elements of it. I didn’t particularly enjoy when it went off canon, or when characters who should have been long dead by book 1 were still parading around in series 5. I liked the introduction of new characters like Jessica and some of the casting was utterly inspired. Having said that, I didn’t let the TV show affect the mental pictures I had imagined about characters and locations. They got Merlotte’s spot on though – I definitely saw that one in my mind!

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The series was due to end at book 10. But Charlaine’s publishing house managed to squeeze her for another 3 books, and it shows. I do utterly agree with the way the series ended though – that Sookie was more than likely going to end up in a relationship with Sam. No neat, parcelled up ending. Why would there be? Charlaine knows her readers are intelligent enough to not need to be spoonfed a sugary sweet ending. Sookie was never going to end up as a vampire – she loves the sun too much, and she was never going to be the other woman on the side for Eric. Likewise, Bill never stood a chance because she could never fully trust him again.

There was a huge outcry when she didn’t end up with Eric or Bill, but I just can’t understand why. From book 1, Charlaine Harris lets you know that Sam has feelings for Sookie and she has them too for Sam. They go on a date. There’s love, understanding, friendship, warmth, and genuine affection in this relationship from the very start. Sam was always there for Sookie, was a rock for her in many ways. He helped her whenever he could and he saved her life more than once. Unlike the vamps who betrayed, lied to, used and abused Sookie. From the very beginning I could see where Sookie would go; it was inevitable really. Sookie loved to sunbathe – she likes warm, sunny, bright things. The vampires may have brought silence in her head, but they also took her to dark places where she never belonged. At the end of the series, you get the feeling that she really will get to step out into the light and live happily there.

Here are some of my favourite bits of Sookie art (aside from the Lisa Desimini covers which I love):

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Book Review: Dirty Rocker Boys by Bobbie Brown

Dirty Rocker Boys – Bobbie Brown & Caroline Ryder, Gallery Books.
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Following on from this post, you might have correctly guessed that my music genre of choice is rock and that I have more than a passing interest in the bands and musicians of that era. The book has been out for quite a while but I only just discovered and read it recently.

Bobbie Jean Brown was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and her stunning natural beauty helped her to win beauty pageants and become a model. She ended up in LA during the height of the Glam Rock/Rock movement (think back to Motley Crue crusing the Sunset strip in a limo. With a pool in the back. Surrounded by women. And champagne and drugs….yeah, you’ve got the idea!). Bobbie did modelling and also found fame by starring in rock music videos (most famous for Warrant’s Cherry Pie). All of Hollywood was teeming with gorgeous, successful long haired rock gods during this time and Bobbie Brown was the woman who many of these rock stars wanted to get with. It’s really not difficult to see why.

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Front of that queue was Warrant’s lead singer, Jani Lane who was already head over heels with Bobbie after seeing her in another video. Jani Lane and Tommy Lee of Motley Crue were both after Bobbie and it was a contest to see who got there first. Jani did after getting Bobbie to star in one of Warrant’s videos, and he sealed the deal by marrying Bobbie and getting her pregnant with their daughter, Taylar Lane. However, Jani soon succumbed to drink and also cheated on his wife, so next in line was Tommy Lee. He and Bobbie seemed to genuinely have a good time together and were engaged to be married. But whenever they argued, Tommy Lee went running to Bobbie’s rival Pamela Anderson, to make Bobbie jealous. This worked several times until he was violent towards Bobbie in front of her daughter Taylar. Bobbie left him this time and meant it. He paid her back by marrying Pamela Anderson mere days later on a beach.

Pamela Anderson was on the scene at the same time as Bobbie. They had much in common and might even look inter-changeable to some people. BUT, that’s where the similarity ends. Bobbie was still open, friendly and warm at a time when Pamela was guarded, cunning and smart. Pamela made an open play for Tommy Lee, right in front of Bobbie when she was all too aware of Bobbie & Tommy Lee’s relationship status. There are 2 sides to every story, sure…..but the facts speak loud and clear. Pamela married a man she hadn’t had a relationship with and barely knew. The same man who 4 days earlier had just come out of a long term relationship. I know which lady comes off looking better in this scenario – and it isn’t Pamela.

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Pamela – already with painted on eyebrows and immaculate make up, Bobbie – natural and stunning.

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2013-2014: Bobbie, proving her natural beauty. Pamela? Not so much.

I don’t want to give too much of the book away but what I am trying to highlight is that yes, Bobbie has been around. Is it her fault? Yes, some of it. BUT whenever she has been with a guy, she has been a one guy woman and hasn’t slept around. She wanted her marriage to work, she wanted to have a secure, loving relationship with Tommy Lee. The men in her life always seemed to have other ideas.

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She was approached by so many rockers of the day – Vince Neil, Sebastian Bach, Dave Navarro, Bret Michaels – they all wanted a piece of Cherry Pie. Most of them had girlfriends and wives at the time but seemed to think that they had a god given right to sleep around and treat women like Bobbie as trophies. What they didn’t bank on was her unbreakable spirit, strength and street smarts. Bobbie had to learn quickly what an unforgiving town Hollywood is. Sometimes she didn’t do so well when she found herself homeless and addicted to drugs, but she always managed to do what was best for herself and her daughter in the end and get herself back on her feet.

The book contains many tales about the sordid, dark side of Hollywood. There are chapters featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kevin Costner. Bobbie doesn’t pull any punches. The book is written in a sincere voice though and is completely uncensored, making it highly entertaining. I did feel that the ending didn’t tell us where Bobbie is now, but I hear rumours of another book so maybe she was saving some of her story for that. I hope so. My only criticism of this book is that it was too short and I didn’t want it to end. I ended up really liking Bobbie and being glad that she’s still around in the entertainment industry now. I hope we hear a lot more from her.

Awesome links:

Bobbie Jean Brown on Twitter
Bobbie on Facebook
Bobbie’s online clothing store
Ex-wives of Rock official Fuse page

Bobbie Gallery:

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Author of the day – Stephen King

The first writer that I remember seriously getting into at the age of 15 was Stephen King. I read everything and anything I could find and all the money from my babysitting job was spent on books.  Other kids my age were buying CDs, beer, weed etc, but I just wanted to read, and I wanted to read anything he’d written.

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I was so enamored with ‘Steve’ (as he’s known), that I wrote to him when I was 16 years old, back in 1989. Imagine my immense pleasure and surprise when a big, thick, fat envelope arrived from America, with embossed spideweb gates on the top left hand corner!! It wasn’t a personal letter from the man himself, but a fab letter from his secretary, complete with a short story, some articles and stuff that kept me entertained for hours. And it had come from him own Maine address! I was in heaven.

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In the envelope was also a complete book list. This was before the Internet, you understand. Certain books only printed certain titles, so how could I be sure I got them all? I used that list to buy every book I could get and when my collection was complete, I then played the waiting game.  I bought every book as soon as it came out. I was part of the contingent that widely acknowledged that some books were okay, some were good, some were great and some were works of completely incredible story telling and were called The Stand. Stephen King has the ability to frighten me, but also to take me away into another world so completely and utterly, that sometimes I’d hear a noise and blink back into consciousness, surprised to find myself in Nottingham, England and not in Jerusalem’s Lot. Or Derry, Maine. Or travelling with Larry through the Lincoln Tunnel in New York…

Generally, every story was magic.  Some were sheer brilliance.  Some people are still surprised to find that he penned the novellas, novels and short stories behind the movies Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.  Everyone knows that The Shining, Firestarter and Carrie are his though!

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Around about Gerald’s game, he lost me a little. I just wasn’t enjoying his books as much and something was missing for me. In fact, I started to miss books out and just not bother.  Then, the accident happened.  Steve was hit by a drunk driver and was so close to death that we very nearly did lose him. Once that fear was out of the way, it was then a case of  him nearly losing a leg and fighting to keep it and enduring all the subsequent surgeries.

Around this time., something inside him seemed to changed.  After he gave us the great On Writing,  he went to a darker place and gave us the masterpiece Duma Key. Up until the release of this book, my favourite King novel, hands down had been Firestarter. Duma Key knocked it off the top spot. I read it during the Christmas of 2008 which we spent in the Florida sunshine in a bid to help my mum recover from her intensive Chemotherapy. The novel really spoke to me, really frightened me and I loved it.  After that, he was back on track. He gave us the brilliant 11.22.63 and then the sequel to the Shining, my runner up book of the year, Doctor Sleep.

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There is no stopping this man, his urge to write and the brilliant works he produces, but then, Constant Reader, why would we want to?

My top 5 King books:

  1. Duma Key
  2. Firestarter
  3. The Stand
  4. ‘Salem’s Lot
  5. The Eyes of the Dragon

Also, the entire Dark Tower series.

Recommended links:

Official website UK

Official website Worldwide

Stephen on Wikipedia

Stephen King interactive office

Steve on goodreads

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Author of the day – Jane Austen

After featuring the likes of Neil Gaiman, Marian Keyes and Sarah Addison Allen, it’s time for something else! Something from the world of the classics….

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Jane Austen was smart, witty, observant and did not suffer fools gladly.  Or write about them nicely!  She hasn’t just given us Pride & Prejudice; don’t forget the beautiful tale of 2 sisters in Sense & Sensibility or the story of that spoiled little rich girl Emma growing up and getting over herself.  Then there’s the tale of common Fanny Price coming good in Mansfield Park and the haunting supernatural elements of Northanger Abbey.
Jane’s novels are still cherished to this day because the observations and sentiments within them were spot on and are still relevant now.  Plus, she could tell such a damn good story!

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I enjoy the movies and TV shows created from her novels as they bring her work to a brand new audience.  The audience who want instant gratification and can’t be bothered to real an ‘old’ book.  The type of people who just don’t have the time or inclination to sit and read her novels.

Her works have inspired sequels and further stories, as well as satire novels and guides on how to live your life the Jane Austen way (presumably as a proper lady).

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The fact is that Jane Austen created such memorable stories and characters that we can’t bear to let her creations go off to their happy every afters. I am currently reading Death Comes to Pemberley and the BBC adaptation premieres at Christmas. Lizzy Benntett is still alive and kicking, it seems!

So what was it that made her characters so memorable?  Let’s take Elizabeth Bennett as an example – Lizzy (like Jane Austen) didn’t suffer fools gladly (or at all), or allow anybody to look down on her, undermine her or belittle her.  This includes people far above her rank who had every right (back then) to do so.  Lizzy was a strong, determined, educated woman in a time and place when those qualities were certainly not desirable in a lady.  So we love Jane’s heroines because they aren’t typical of those times and in a way, they’re the underdog and we always root for the underdog! It’s worth noting that Elizabeth Bennett was similar to Jane Austen in a few ways. Jane, who was a writer when she should have been getting married and producing heirs.  Jane, who didn’t live conventionally and actually dared to not like visiting Bath and go against the grain 🙂 I like to think that Jane based Elizabeth upon herself to some extent.

Jane received only a few positive reviews of her works during her lifetime and only became so well loved after a publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public. By the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer, and to this day is considered a national treasure.

So yes, a very worthy author of the day! And now, for your viewing pleasure, a selection of Elizabeth & Darcy images.  Enjoy!

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What was I reading at age 15?

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My favourite author growing up was one that I discovered at school – something totally unexpected.  But when my English teacher gave us a book by S E Hinton called Rumble Fish, I was the only one who didn’t groan at having to read it, but instead devoured it and then raided the school library looking for the rest of her books. I’ve read all of her books for young adults (but not the children’s books!), and my favourite is Taming the Star Runner, followed by the now iconic The Outsiders.

S.E. Hinton, was and still is, one of the most popular and best known writers of young adult fiction. Her books have been taught in some schools, and banned from others. Her novels changed the way people look at young adult literature. 

I for one, am glad that her books were taught in my school.  She captured perfectly at that time how some of us at that age felt. I came back to The Outsiders at College when I did my final paper about how growing up in different times didn’t change the fact that the problems and emotions were still the same. I used The Outsiders, Little Women and another book I can’t remember to show how times changes, but the feelings of teenagers don’t.  This is what S E Hinton always excelled at.

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The film worked so well too.  Although nothing could beat the book, the look and feel in the film perfectly captured the essence of the novel.  Plus, it spawned a generation of infamous actors who all went on to much bigger and better things but who will all be remembered on some level for this movie.

I will always remember the first and last lines of the book:

“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman, and a ride home.”

THIS is a really great website, well worth a visit if you want a trip down memory lane, like I’ve had this morning. Sometimes, things, times and places just pop into my head (especially as I get older) and I would love to go back there.  I’d like to be 15 again, reading The Outsiders for the very first time and be wowed by it all over again. It never has the same impact as the first read, but it always works it’s magic on me, even at 39 years of age!

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Today, S E Hinton is very active on Twitter. She’s a huge Supernatural fan and she still visits and chats to actors from her movies like Rob Lowe and Matt Dillon, so well worth a follow!

Author of the day – Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah Addison Allen is the author of some of the most readable, magical, sweet, heartfelt books I’ve ever read. Except, there is nothing twee or mushy about her books; each one has an element of magic, but the most basic elements that make a good book are there too – three dimensional characters, a damn good story line and excellent writing.

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Sarah is a cancer survivor and a lover of cats who can’t drive. But man, can she write! She’s also wonderfully active and interactive on Social Media sites – she shares lots with her readers and gives plenty back. Not surprising that she has a wide readership and lots of fans, really.  Her new book, Lost Lake is due out January 21st 2014 and this will be her 5th novel.  Her previous novels are:

Garden Spells
The Sugar Queen
The Girl who chased the Moon
The Peach Keeper

I remember spotting this book on a shelf in my local Supermarket (in the UK), and thinking I would get it and give it a go. So far, I have read Garden Spells about 5 times.

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I have all her other books and I’ll be pre-ordering Lost Lake as soon as I get around to it. That will help cheer me up about going back to work after the holidays!

Anyway, I can truly recommend Sarah Addison Allen. Her website is better than the average author site, packed full of information, links, pretty visuals and facts.  It’s kept up to date with events and news and is well worth a visit.  In the meantime, sink your teeth into one of her books. You’ll be glad you did!

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What do I love most about her website? The gorgeous visuals that have been created for each of her books! Just beautiful.
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Runner up book of the year

This book felt very much like sitting down with an old friend I hadn’t seen for years and years, but was very pleased to see once more. I wish I hadn’t read it on Kindle because it ruined the mood somewhat and wasn’t the same as sitting down with a new hardback book like I did back in the day.  Still, it didn’t ruin this most excellent book for me.  I’m talking about (of course) Doctor Sleep, by arguably the greatest writer of our time, Stephen King. First off, it’s time literary snobs stopped looking down on Mr King and his works.  Yes, I know he created Pet Semetary…..but he also crafted the stories behind The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and Stand by me.  He is the master of his craft and although he did seem to lose his way a little around Gerald’s Game (argh!), he came back fighting with Duma Key and every work since then has been back on form – the form of the old days.

Doctor Sleep in no exception.

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We are back with that little boy Danny Torrance from The Shining, but now he’s all grown up and disappointingly, he’s a bit of an asshole.  His father would be so proud…..

With a huge drinking problem (he drinks to dull the ‘Shining’), a drifter existence and not a lot going for him, the book catches up with Danny at a pivotal moment in his life, as a young girl Abra reaches out to him.  She has the Shining so bright it makes Danny’s Shining look dull.  She first connects with him when she’s a baby. They continue to have dialogue through various forms during the following years, until one day she is much older and then she’s suddenly reaching out to Danny for help.

Rose & her crew are ancient beings.  They survive by consuming ‘The Shining’ from kids – they extract it from them by torturing them to death.  Abra has just hit their radar as the meal of all meals and now Abra needs Danny’s help.  Except Danny is now ‘Dan’, drunk drifter……can he help her?  And why does he have this special connection with Abra?

You’ll have to read to find out, and if you’re a King fan it’s one you will not want to miss! There’s an excellent twist and a couple of great cameo appearances 😉

View Stephen King’s fantastic online library here. A great part of his website and a good chance to cross off all the books you’ve read and read up on the ones you’ve missed.

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