Tag: fiction

Book Review: Later by Stephen King

Author: Stephen King
Published:  March 2, 2021


Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 28- May 5, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine – as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave.

Later is Stephen King at his finest, a terrifying and touching story of innocence lost and the trials that test our sense of right and wrong. With echoes of King’s classic novel IT, Later is a powerful, haunting, unforgettable exploration of what it takes to stand up to evil in all the faces it wears.

Jessica’s Review:

Jamie Conklin is our narrator who starts from 4 years old to now being 22 years old.  He has a unique ability: He can see and communicate with recently deceased people.  They appear to him how they died; wearing what they were or were not wearing, and the cause of death still apparent.  Also, if Jamie asks them a question then they must tell him the truth.”

This is an interesting premise and Later shows what happens when Jamie’s abilities are used by various people for a variety of means.  But what happens if Jamie interacts with the wrong newly deceased person who decides to not go away?  This is where King’s story happens.

Jamie lives with his single mom and her girl friend who is also a detective.  This detective is important in many ways to the story, as much as the dead who make appearances.

This is not one of King’s best works, leave that to 11/22/63, The Green Mile and The Stand (which one day I WILL read!).  The reason I picked Later up is because it was written by King and I inhaled his books as an older teenager. Later is just average for me.  I was expecting a horror novel, Jamie himself even states throughout the novel that “Remember this is a horror novel” but in actuality it is far from that as it is not scary. When I got to the tipping point about halfway through I thought the horror element was going to come in full force, but it did not.  And then there is a twist towards the end that I had figured out.

Overall, I would say to read King, but maybe one of his other novels.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: U Up? by Catie Disabato

U Up?
Author: Catie Disabato
Published: February 2, 2021
302 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 28-April 3, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 1 star

Book Description:

Eve has a carefully curated online life, works occasionally, and texts constantly with her best friend, Ezra. Basically, she is an archetypal L.A. millennial. She has also been carrying on a year-long conversation with her deceased friend Miggy over text. But when Ezra goes missing on the anniversary weekend of Miggy’s death, Eve feels like her world is shattering.

Over a frantic weekend Eve investigates Ezra’s disappearance, scouring social media for clues, while drowning her anger and anxiety in drinks, drugs, and spiritual cleansing. Eve starts to spiral as her friends try to convince her that she’s overreacting, and ghosts–both real and metaphorical–continue to haunt her. When she uncovers clues to a life Ezra kept hidden, Eve starts to question how much she really knows about her best friend… and herself.

In U UP? Catie Disabato holds a mirror to the ways the phantom selves we create online permeate our emotional lives and hide our worst traits from everyone, including ourselves.

Jessica’s Review:

I am not the target reader for this novel, in fact this one did not work for me at all. I received a copy from Amazon Vine for review, otherwise I would have put it down much earlier than I did. When sent something from the Vine, yes you must review it. Yes, I did ultimately DNF this one, with just 50 pages left which I will go into that later.

Eve is our narrator and speaks to us directly in addition to texting her friends which include Miggy who is a ghost. Yes, an actual ghost. He committed suicide, and we are at the one year weekend anniversary of his death and Eve is experiencing a variety of emotions. And then her best friend Ezra disappears after his girlfriend Noz breaks up with him. So goes Eve’s search for finding Ezra. Sounds interesting right? Yes, but the delivery of this novel did not work for me at all.

Eve is very unlikable; she and her friends use offensive language (The f word) and cocaine throughout the novel. She also uses the word d*ke repeatedly describing herself and other lesbians. This is a world I am not a part of and maybe it is ok to call yourself and others this word, but I just did not agree with the constant usage of it. And yes, Eve is a lesbian herself. I did not know going in to the novel that she is, and I did not have an issue with that, but we do go into that world of nightclubs and more. There are female on female sex scenes as well.

Another issue I had with the novel was with the text messages. The messages start and then a few pages later the messages continue but previous texts are shown again. The length of the novel could have gone down with just continuing the message stream versus repeating the texts.

The novel does go into showing how the excessive use of social media can affect a person. I do realize that we are at the anniversary of Miggy’s death, which brings up a variety of emotions and Eve’s grief, but Eve just comes off as shallow, so I did not connect with her character at all.

Once we find out what happens to Ezra is where I ended up DNFing the novel. There was just so much anger and more going on that at that point with just 50 pages left I just did not care about the ending and could not bring myself to read anymore. I was hoping in some way the novel would redeem itself. Maybe it does, but I just could not finish it. As I previously mentioned this one would have been put down much earlier, but I have to review it since it came from Amazon Vine, and I hate that it is a negative review.

All books are not for everyone and this one is not for me. I cannot recommend this one at all.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Review: Blood Cruise by Mats Strandberg

Blood Cruise
Author: Mats Strandberg

Published: May 1, 2018
560 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

On the Baltic Sea, no one can hear you scream.

Tonight, twelve hundred expectant passengers have joined the booze-cruise between Sweden and Finland. The creaking old ship travels this same route, back and forth, every day of the year.

But this trip is going to be different.

In the middle of the night the ferry is suddenly cut off from the outside world. There is nowhere to escape. There is no way to contact the mainland. And no one knows who they can trust.

Welcome aboard the Baltic Charisma.

Kim’s Review:

This book was crazy: It was like watching an 80s slasher film, minus all the cheese! My only criticism was that it seemed to take forever to get to the blood; a lot of detail about a lot of people on the cruise that I can’t really say that I cared about. But Strandberg kept everything moving at a good pace and boy when disaster hit, it really hit!

I can’t really say much because this book is an ordeal of pretty big proportions and it should be experienced! It had me from page one and then stuck in my brain after I closed it! It is perfect for a slasher fan and will scratch whatever horror and gore itch you may have! I absolutely recommend it to the horror fans out there!! It was crazy, but awesome!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK