Category: Review

Someone We Know

Someone We Know
Author: Shari Lapena
Published: July 30, 2019
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: October 7-16, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars

Book  Description:

Maybe you don’t know your neighbors as well as you thought you did . . .

“This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much. . . My son broke into your home recently while you were out.”

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses–and into the owners’ computers as well–learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

In this neighborhood, it’s not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide . . .

You never really know what people are capable of.

Jessica’s Review:

Yet another thriller that had an intriguing premise that did not deliver for me. The beginning definitely pulls you in with a brutal murder, but from there the book just did not work for me.  I really did want to like this novel. The idea of a teenager sneaking into homes and getting on people’s computers and possibly finding out things…. Oh yeah!  But I was not attached to any of the characters or care about them in any way. I just know one thing: I would not want to live in this neighborhood as everyone has secrets.  This one was ultimately forgettable for me. 

Do yourself a favor and read Lapena’s first novel The Couple Next Door. I LOVED IT! Other than her first novel, Lapena may be another author I need to steer clear from as all of her other novels have fallen short for me. 

My review for The Couple Next Door is here.

 Purchase Links:
Amazon US  
Amazon UK

Short Story Sunday: A Double Review of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and Movie Comparison

Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Shirley Jackson’s classic short story The Lottery, and I also give a film comparison of the 1996 TV movie.

Author: Shirley Jackson
Published: June 26, 1948
Short Story

Short Story Description:

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is a memorable and terrifying masterpiece, fueled by a tension that creeps up on you slowly without any clear indication of why. This is just a townful of people, after all, choosing their numbers for the annual lottery. What’s there to be scared of?

Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Kim’s Review:

I love Shirley Jackson so much; she keeps getting better and better the more I read. The Lottery is one that sits quietly in anthologies and literature textbooks. We’ve all read it,  back in high school where we complained about the required reading. It wasn’t until I read it again as an adult that I really understood its value and potency. Everything about this story is unassuming, until you reach the end, when all hell breaks loose, but calmly and simply. And that’s how Jackson gets her readers. A little bit of discomfort here, a little bit of creepy there, but then when you see the bigger picture …mind blown. The Lottery is an extra layer of brilliance since the terror is hidden until Jackson is ready. You don’t see the problem until the end. And then, the goosebumps raise on your skin and the story sticks with you for days. Genius in every way!

Jessica’s Rating: 4 Stars
Jessica’s Review:

I read this one back in high school and really enjoyed the story.  As an adult I still enjoy it. What does that say about me???? LOL.  The Lottery is a classic short story and Shirley Jackson has influenced so many authors today. Not popular at the time it was written, The Lottery shows the mob mentality and how ‘tradition’ keeps going despite not knowing where it started and why it continues.  This short story moves at a quick pace and there are signs showing what is to come, but until you reach the end you don’t see it for what it is. 

This is one lottery you don’t want to win! I also realize that I need to read more by Shirley Jackson….


1996 TV Movie Comparison

Jessica’s Rating: 4 Stars

**I was unable to find a trailer of the movie, which is understandable as it was a tv movie.  I was able to find the movie poster**

I watched the tv movie version from 1996. I watched this as a teen and remember enjoying it and also enjoyed it as an adult. This version stars Dan Cortese (I have no idea who he is), Keri Russell (Felicity) , and William Daniels( Mr. Feeny!!!) Again, what does it say that I enjoyed this film?!?!?  I can’t help it that I enjoy dark situations that could actually happen! 

You can’t really compare this film to the short story: It takes Shirley Jackson’s story and brings it to present day (in 1996) and builds upon the story.  Jason Smith’s dad just passed away and there is a mystery to his mom’s death when he was a child. Jason’s father wanted his ashes poured over his wife’s grave, thus begins Jason’s journey to Small Town America (New Hope) and a journey he never expected, including a romance with a small town girl torn between family and tradition and an altogether possible different life. 

Despite the cheesiness of the Lifetime-esque movie, it still has aged relatively well and does the Shirley Jackson short story proud. 

Purchase Links:
short story

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Haunting of Hill House: Book Review and TV Series Comparison

Today Kim is bringing you a book review/Netflix TV show comparison of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson!  This classic was first released 60 years ago this week!

Author: Shirley Jackson
Published: October 16, 1959
260 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Kim’s Review:
Ivan and I are weird horror freaks, that’s just the way we are. So when we find something scary, we run with it. Ivan’s brother suggested we watch The Haunting of Hill House tv show on Netflix so we did and it was amazing! Believe it or not, we did not consider it to be horror. There were definitely some scary elements, but it was mostly drama/mystery/thriller. I fell in love with Hill House and all the characters. Naturally, I wanted to read the book and see how it compared. Now, don’t get mad . . . Are you ready? I actually preferred the tv show over the book. I said DON’T get mad! Hear me out. Y’all know that I am not the deepest person in the world. Sometimes, in order for me to get things, you gotta spell it out pretty clearly. Shirley Jackson is definitely good at the horror element, it’s just that she is far more implied; whereas the tv show is more explicit in its horror.

I still love the book so much. Jackson managed to build up the tension so well that my shoulders kept creeping up towards my ears. I just kept waiting for the snap. My one real issue with the story is that I feel that the ending was a little anticlimactic, while I was reading it. Once I sat and considered for a while after, I liked it better. It also left a lot of questions, definitely on purpose and very well, but y’all know me, I like lots of answers and getting all the information and learning everything I possibly can.

Dang, this totally sounds like a negative review, but I promise it isn’t! I really enjoyed the book and I want to read it again later to see what I missed. The story itself was creepy and fascinating and the characters were all interesting and likable. Hill House is scary and you feel the “offness” on every page. I absolutely recommend it even to younger readers. A classic, chilling story that should satisfy most readers.


Netflix Comparison:

Kim’s Video Comparison:

 

Purchase Links:
Novel

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Season One of the TV Show:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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