The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Book Description:

Published: November 3, 2015  

Format: Audio/Library Book

A master storyteller at his best—the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories, several of them brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.

Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.

There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”

Review –
Always a pleasure to read a Stephen King book and this one was no exception.
The principal purpose of  the stories in this book is to entertain. Mr. King  says, “Although life experiences are the basis of all stories, I’m not in the business of confessional fiction.” No, he really isn’t, and the reason “The Little Green God of Agony” is one of the strongest stories in “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” is that in this one, at least, King finds a serviceable horror metaphor for what’s on his mind, rather than trying to express it more directly. (He wrote this during his rehabilitation after his near fatal accident and all the pain he suffered)
There were some stories that I liked more than others but on the whole it was a delightful (if anything about Stephen King can be called delightful) collection of short stories concerning  various life changing subjects. What’s unusual about the tales in this volume is how many of its deaths are ordinary, mundane sorts of demises: deaths by cancer or heart failure or car accident or simple, non-­supernatural homicide. 
If you’re a “constant reader” or have never (GASP!) read Stephen King this is a great book to add to your TBR list or pile. Since it’s a collection of short stories it’s easy to commit to the book because you know you can read one story and put it down, but I doubt you will want to put it down after you start reading.
Loved it!
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Niceville by Carsten Stroud

Book Description:

Published: June 12, 2012

Something is wrong in Niceville. . .
A boy literally disappears from Main Street. A security camera captures the moment of his instant, inexplicable vanishing. An audacious bank robbery goes seriously wrong: four cops are gunned down; a TV news helicopter is shot and spins crazily out of the sky, triggering a disastrous cascade of events that ricochet across twenty different lives over the course of just thirty-six hours.
Nick Kavanaugh, a cop with a dark side, investigates. Soon he and his wife, Kate, a distinguished lawyer from an old Niceville family, find themselves struggling to make sense not only of the disappearance and the robbery but also of a shadow world, where time has a different rhythm and where justice is elusive.
. . .Something is wrong in Niceville, where evil lives far longer than men do.
Compulsively readable, and populated with characters who leap off the page, Niceville will draw you in, excite you, amaze you, horrify you, and, when it finally lets you go, make you sorry you have to leave.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

I loved this book from the very beginning.  It’s a combination of a black comedy,ancient-but still active hatreds, pure evil and paranormal activity.

So much happens in this book so here are some high points:

  • Rainey Teague vanishes one afternoon in the sleepy Southern town of Niceville. Several days later, he is found in a place where it seems impossible for him to be. (a grave)
  • The Teagues are one of the four families who have ruled Niceville since its founding and that bitter feuds, going back a century or more, rage among them.
  • Two bank robbers are pursued by police as they make off with more than $2 million dollars.
  • Their confederate, stationed on a hillside, proceeds with military precision to shoot and kill the drivers of all four police cars in pursuit of the robbers and also downs a news helicopter.
  • Kate Kavanaugh, an idealistic lawyer, is married to Nick Kavanaugh, formerly of the Special Forces, now a “ruthless but fair” lawman with a taste for vigilante justice that leaves suspected criminals unlikely to sin again — or perhaps even to walk and talk.
  • For decades, people have vanished from Niceville at a rate far above the national average. In the course of this novel, several more leading citizens go missing.
  • There is talk of a curse on the town, and outside Niceville looms Crater Sink, an apparently bottomless body of water that Native Americans have long considered a source of evil. Many of the missing, it is feared, might have somehow met their fate in Crater Sink.
  • We witness demonic, truly frightening deaths (“darkness flew at him, black wings, razor-edged beaks, claws ripping, yellow eyes with a green light, a crushing force thick with rage and hate. The feeding began”),
  • We meet many twisted characters. A leading citizen has for years been photographing his teenage daughters with a camera hidden in the ceiling of their bathroom. A dentist dispenses overdoses of happy gas to make young female patients “unwitting models in erotic photo-essays.” We see a drunken father “teaching his toddler how to pull-start a gas-powered weed whacker.” We’re then warned, unnecessarily, “It wasn’t going to end well.”
  • Most of the twisted characters meet their just demise and justly so while others remain alive at the end of the tale.  Just which ones, you’ll have to read the book for yourself.

Five stars *****

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The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

Book Description:

Published: June 18, 2013

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways.  Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

I’m probably one of the few readers who are not crazy about author, Neil Gaiman, but I’ve always thought his books were just okay, nothing special. That it, until this one!

This is a beautifully  told and read story (the author was the narrator) about a short period of time where in a young boy of seven became friends with a young girl of eleven and her mother and grandmother. The women owed and ran a farm at the end of a lane in England and had paranormal powers which were never really questioned by the boy. Wouldn’t it be great to be that age again and take everything and everyone at face value?

Though he didn’t mean to, the boy brought a previously bound entity into his world and the story deals with how and what it took to banish it back to where it came from.

I won’t go into detail but the girl ends up sacrificing her life for the boy and has to be put under the water of the pond on the farm. Her mother said it would take some time for “the ocean” to heal her. It’s been forty years when the story starts and she is still unhealed  and nowhere to be seen.

It’s a remarkable story of youth, believing, friendships, family, and sacrifice. It made me cry and I loved it!!!

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Drawn to the Alpha(BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance PurPure Souls #1) by Willow Brooks

Book Description:

Published: May 14, 2015

Sophia has always believed that her one true love was out there. When she meets the mysterious and very handsome Van Longshadow at an office party, she instantly feels like she’s finally found him. But what about the rumors that surround him? He lives alone in the forest, a recluse, but is he hiding something dangerous?

Review –

This is supposedly about a BBW and a paranormal creature having a romance. Okay. first of all, the BBW  was described as having curves, and I don’t consider that being a BBW. The paranormal creature turned out to be a very darkly handsome man who is actually a werewolf. And then there is the romance between the two.

I have no problem with the werewolf/man and his relationship with Sophia but if I were her I wouldn’t be so fast to fall head over heels for him because it seems he is drawn to her because she is the ONLY one that can stop the werewolf curse and make him totally human again and not only him but ALL werewolves. No pressure for Sophia at all.

I rated this book two stars ** because I never could totally invest myself into the plot or the characters so I think I have discovered that PARANORMAL ROMANCES are not for me.

But if you like this genre you might disagree and if so try the series and let me know what you think.

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Shattered Promises(Shattered Promises #1) by Jessica Sorensen

Book Description:

Published: February 26, 2013

For twenty-one year-old Gemma, life has never been normal. She knows nothing about her past and has been haunted by the same monsters in her nightmares for the last few months. Unemotional and numb to life, she feels disconnected from everyone. Until the very first day she cries. After that, nothing in her life is the same.
Her emotions slowly surface and she starts experiencing love, happiness, and anger, feelings she never knew existed. But they leave her confused and she doesn’t know whether to embrace them or run away from them.
Her life only gets more complicated when she meets Alex. Sexy, arrogant, and secretive, Alex can get under Gemma’s skin like no one can. Yet she’s drawn to him by an invisible connection she has no control over. She’s also seen him before. In her nightmares.
Every part of Gemma’s mind is screaming at her to stay away from Alex, but every other part of her is begging to get close to him. But the closer she gets, the more she realizes Alex knows more about her than he originally let on.
As secrets about her past unravel, Gemma’s life becomes threatened. She needs to figure out what’s going on, before she winds up dead. But the only person she can turn to for answers is the one person she isn’t sure she can trust.

**Mature Content Warning** 17+ for language and sexual content.
(A re-imagining of the authors young adult book, The Fallen Star, told as a New Adult Paranormal)

Review-

Although I read the book to the end and rated it four stars **** on Good Reads, it wasn’t my cup of tea. By that I mean that there were too many unknown factors about almost every character   and I really didn’t  care for the mythological side of the story, but maybe that’s how all Adult Paranormal books are. Maybe this was my first venture into that genre, I don’t even know but it lost me. There is a lot of explicit sex and seemed out of context with the story line sometimes  but maybe that was needed to make it Adult. 

If you like Adult Erotic Paranormal Romances and this is for you but I’m not going any further with the series.

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Undivided (Unwind Series #4) by Neal Shusterman

Book Description

October 14, 2014 
Teens control the fate of America in the fourth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman.

Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future.

But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.

Review –
This book was an incredible finale to the Unwind series.  Shusterman’s dystopian world is so realistic it will send chills through your body. The characters are all sympathetic, fleshed out characters, even the minor ones. Feelings of all kinds came to me near the end. I cried, cheered and was just in awe.  I think this series has been overlooked but it is one of the best out there. Make a New Year’s Resolution to read this series, you won’t be disappointed.
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14 by Peter Clines

Book Description

June 5, 2012
Chosen by Audible.com as the best sci-fi novel of 2012!

Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches.

There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment.

Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much.

At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends.

Or the end of everything…

Review –
I just finished listening to the audio version of 14 by Peter Clines and I have to say I was blown away. Thank heavens I ran across this one while browsing for something new and exciting to listen to.
From the very beginning it held me spellbound. I even put off doing some things around the house just so I could listen to what happened next to the brave band of tenants of a very strange building in Los Angles. It was creepy and mysterious,  and Ray Porter, the narrator did a superb job with all the voices of the different characters. He  really made them come alive.  The plot was right up there with Twilight Zone and I found myself talking back to the characters or yelling at them to pedal faster. I’m not going to give anything away so you’ll have to read or listen to the book to find out where they were pedaling to or from.  Fantastic book and I rated it 5 stars *****. I can truthfully say that this book will NEVER leave my memory.
I rated this book 5 stars *****
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Emergent (The Shapeshifter Chronicles #3) by Natasha Brown

Book Description:

Published: June 16, 2014

When eighteen-year-old Chance Morgan kills another shapeshifter to save his girlfriend, Ana Hughes, he contracts a dangerous shapeshifting sickness that makes him crave power uncontrollably—and without restraint he’s a threat to the person he loves most. Desperate to keep Ana safe from harm and to find a cure for himself, he abandons her in the Yucatan and escapes into the wilderness. Violent memories and voices surface in his head, creating a dangerous tug-of-war between good and evil.

Companionless and alone, Ana meets a woman who claims to have the same shapeshifting and healing abilities as her and vows to teach Ana the skills to help Chance, but as weeks pass she begins to question if her new mentor truly intends to keep her promise.

With time running out, Ana must find the power within herself to heal Chance before he loses his battle against the powerful voices inside his head.

Review –

Before Ana would leave the area to go to Lifen’s home/retreat, which happens to be in Canada, she convinces her to go back to Balam’s  mountain home and see if Chance is there. Ana desperately wants to see if he is alright. Lifen is not keen on the idea but goes along. He wasn’t there but Lifen found him when she went out searching animal form but told Ana he was too sick to be around her. They fly to Ana’s home in Idaho, where Lifen stays in the shape of a dog most of the time(fewer questions from everyone). They leave for Canada in a few days and finally arrive at Lifen’s picturesque home built on the ridge of a mountain and near a beautiful lake. The inside was more amazing than the outside and reminded Ana of a museum. There were three other Shapeshifter trainees there but at first there was a lot of tension between the boys and Ana but eventually they became friends. Ana has to learn to focus her mind on pushing energy out and back toward her,how to meditate and learn self-control and finally how to shift properly.

Meanwhile Chance meets Batukhan, who was a friend of Balam and he takes Chance under his wing. Come to find out Batukhan and Lifen had known each other, in fact, loved each other hundreds of years ago but neither one really knew what had happened to the other. While traveling together they meet up with Mac who supposedly can remove some of the bad sickness in Chance’s mind but not all. But something is not right and the evil ones in his mind are taking him over and he leaves to find Ana because it is her strong energy that the entity wants. He finds Ana and she does heal him, or at least he seems to be himself again, but it Ana herself? The book ends with Chance proposing to Ana.  The next book won’t be out for quite a while so I’ll have to try and be patient but it won’t be easy.  Great series.

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Perilous Light (The Afterglow Trilogy #2) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Book Description

Published: March 27, 2012

Would you sacrifice everything for a world you barely knew?

A year has passed since Charlotte and Kevin first stepped
through the gate into Energo and neither has been able to settle back into their normal lives. Charlotte tries to distract herself from thoughts of Calvin with the antics of James and her growing friendship with Liam. Kevin can’t seem to shake his feelings for Samantha as he adjusts to his new identity as a college basketball player.

When they unexpectedly return to Energo, both Charlotte and Kevin must face their fears and become the leaders they were always meant to be.

 

Review –

A great follow-up to Beckoning Light and even stronger in character development. There is a lot more action in this book and we get to see more interaction between the characters and learn a little more about Calvin, although Liam is still my favorite. (fingers crossed)  Now I have to wait for the third book to come out to see what will become of Energo and Charlotte.

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Beckoning Light (The Afterglow Trilogy #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Book Description

 July 15, 2011
*YA Fantasy Romance*

As Charlotte steps through the gate, she has a strong feeling that nothing will ever be the same again.

Moving back to South Carolina after three years away, Charlotte knows she’s going to have to face people from her past and adjust to a new high school, but she’s completely unprepared for what else waits for her in Charleston.

Drawn through an old garden gate, Charlotte discovers a hidden world where she meets Calvin, a boy to whom she is inexplicably attracted. As Charlotte is pulled deeper into this hidden world, it’s up to her older brother Kevin to rescue her. No matter how hard Kevin tries, the rescue depends upon Charlotte fighting her intense feelings for Calvin while mastering a set of abilities that she has only just discovered she possesses.

Review –
A paranormal fantasy romance which allows the reader to escape into another world and forget about reality. A very good read for a hot summer day.
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