Soon Due and a New Car! 🌻 Weekly Vlog Wednesday

Collected some snippets of what’s been going on over the last couple of weeks 🌻

Books mentioned in this video:

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Disloyal by Michael Cohen

Basketful of Heads by Joe Hill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

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September 2020 📚 Wrap Up

Where I talk about all of the books… Well… The three books I read in September😅

Links to the books (Bookdepository with free worldwide shipping):

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Basketful of Heads by Joe Hill, Leomacs, and Dave Stewart

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Hometown Visit 🌻 Weekly Vlog Wednesday

Taking a trip to my hometown and sharing some snippets with you my lovelies🌻

Taking a trip to my hometown and sharing some snippets with you my lovelies🌻

Links to the books mentioned (Bookdepository with free worldwide shipping):

Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King

Relic by Tom Egeland

The Guardians of the Covenant by Tom Egeland

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Firestarter by Stephen King 📚 BOOK REVIEW

My review of Firestarter by Stephen King📚

I read a hardback edition of Firestarter.

Genre: Horror, Science fiction

Publisher:  HODDER & STOUGHTON

Originally published: September, 1980

Pages: 428 (hardback)

Audiobook length: 14 hrs and 53 mins

Synopsis by the publisher:

Andy McGee and Vicky Tomlinson participated in a drug experiment run by a veiled government agency known as The Shop. One year later, they marry. Two years later, their little girl, Charlie, sets her teddy bear on fire by simply staring at it.

Now that Charlie is eight, she doesn’t start fires anymore. Her parents have taught her to control her pyrokinesis, the ability to set anything – toys, clothes, even people – aflame. But The Shop knows about and wants this pigtailed “ultimate weapon”. Shop agents set out to hunt down Charlie and her father in a ruthless chase that traverses the streets of New York and the backwoods of Vermont.

My thoughts:

Firestarter is one of those Stephen King novels that has been mentioned and recommended to me several times as a King classic. I’ve also talked to several readers who told me that Firestarter was their very first King book.
I stumbled across a first-edition of Firestarter at Mockingbird Used Books last year and I was excited to finally read it myself (even though it stayed on my shelf for a while before I finally got to it).

Firestarter starts with a bang, as Charlie and Andy are on the run from agents from The Shop (a secret government agency).
(✨The Shop is mentioned both in The Stand and The Dark Tower series. It has also been compared to The Institute and the agency is suspected to have a part to play in several other Stephen King stories as well)
And this story is one that never gets boring. Even the passages that are not as action-packed are filled with interesting character development and great storytelling. I know a lot of readers have an issue with some of the King stories dragging out too long and having unnecessary parts in the story, and I think Firestarter is a better choice for those readers.
Its fast pace and overall engaging story will take a hold of you and not let go before the story ends.

Charlie’s pyrokinetic ability is scary on its own, but the really terrifying thing in this story is a secret government agency who sees themselves above the law (isn’t that a secret fear a lot of us carry around with us?), and the terror that grows in Andy as he fears for his daughter’s future, life, and the limits (or possible lack thereof) to her abilities.

My favorite part of this story is the bond between Charlie and Andy, and how it grows with all their experiences throughout the book. Their relationship is the thing that keeps the story going and engages the reader.
Another favorite of mine was the character Rainbird, an agent/assassin of The Shop. He’s the perfect villain in the way that he’s a psychotic and amoral person, but his intelligence and lack of conscience makes for an extremely dangerous character and a whole new level of creepy. And he truly loves Charlie in his very own disturbing way.

Firestarter is one of those King novels that I feel like deserves more attention than it has gotten. It’s a gem of a story with all the right elements of a thrilling psychological horror read, with a dash of science fiction, that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

Highly recommend!

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Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky 📚 BOOK REVIEW

My review of Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky 📚

Stephen Chbosky

I read a hardback edition of Imaginary Friend.

Genre: Horror

Publisher: Orion Publishing Co

Originally published: October 1st, 2019

Pages: 720 (hardback)

Audiobook length: 24 hrs and 32 mins

Synopsis by the publisher:

IMAGINE…
Leaving your house in the middle of the night.
Knowing your mother is doing her best, but she’s just as scared as you.

IMAGINE…
Starting a new school, making friends.
Seeing how happy it makes your mother.
Hearing a voice, calling out to you.

IMAGINE…
Following the signs, into the woods.
Going missing for six days.
Remembering nothing about what happened.

IMAGINE…
Something that will change everything…
And having to save everyone you love.

My thoughts:

It’s been five years since I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and to be completely honest, even though I really enjoyed that novel, I haven’t read anything else by Chbosky.

But then all of a sudden, Imaginary Friend started to pop up in my feed and was recommended to me a few times. It sounded like something that was up my alley. I then stumbled across a signed copy while I was in London last year and so it ended up traveling back to Oslo with me (adding quite a bit of weight to my luggage).

Imaginary Friend is a chunker of a book, coming in at 720 pages! So, if you’re not reading it on a Kindle or listening to it as an audiobook, be prepared for some heavy lifting.

I’m not really sure what I was expecting going into this one, but what I didn’t expect was forgetting several times throughout the book which Stephen had written this book. Because the truth is that it felt like reading a Stephen King novel!

This book is filled with interesting characters, and quite a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. And even though there’s much focus on the “monsters” and mystery of this imaginary friend that Christopher encounters, what really gives this story depth is the people and the horrors and evil that lives in them. This is what makes it feel like an early King novel. At one point I was almost certain that it must’ve been a prank of the Stephens, and at the end, Stephen King would jump out and reveal himself as the one with pen in hand.

I get the frustration that many readers might feel if they jumped into this novel with their utter love for the writing in Perks of Being a Wallflower, and what they got was a haunting horror story with a completely different writing style. But my horror-loving heart absolutely loved it and found it to be a pleasant surprise.

I (like so many others) struggled a bit with Christopher’s age. He’s supposed to be 7-8 years old, but he reads like a character of 10-12 years. Some of it does make sense though when you know what it is that Christopher goes through in this story. There are many ways of forcing kids to grow up too fast.

It is rare that I read books of this size and don’t find myself bored at any moment. Imaginary Friend definitely grabbed my attention and kept it from beginning to end. That being said, it still felt like the book could have been 100 pages shorter. Some parts of it felt just a tiny bit repetitive and unnecessary. That, and the vast amount of biblical references was the thing that made it into a 4.5 rating instead of a 5.

If you love your Stephen King novels, and you like to get lost in horror stories, I would definitely recommend giving Imaginary Friend a go! It’s dark, twisted, mysterious and haunting!

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The Bachmann Books by Stephen King 📚 BOOK REVIEW

My review of the four novels Stephen King published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman📚

I read a hardback version of The Bachman Books.

Genre: Horror, fiction.

Publisher: Erid Press Inc. 

Originally published: May 22nd, 2019

Pages: 263 (paperback)

Synopsis by the publisher:

Rage

A disturbed high-school student with authority problems kills one of his teachers and takes the rest of his class hostage. Over the course of one long, tense and unbearable hot afternoon, Charlie Decker explains what led him to this drastic sequence of events, while at the same time deconstructing the personalities of his classmates, forcing each one to justify his or her existence.

The Long Walk

In the near future, where America has become a police state, one hundred boys are selected to enter an annual contest where the winner will be awarded whatever he wants for the rest of his life. The game is simple – maintain a steady walking pace of four miles per hour without stopping. Three warnings, and you’re out – permanently.

Roadwork

Barton Dawes’ unremarkable but comfortable existence suddenly takes a turn for the worst. Highway construction puts him out of work and simultaneously forces him out of his home. Dawes isn’t the sort of man who will take an insult of this magnitude lying down. His single-minded determination to fight the inevitable course of progress drives his wife and friends away while he tries to face down the uncaring bureaucracy that has destroyed his once comfortable life.

The Running Man

It is 2025 and reality TV has progressed to the point where people are willing to wager their lives in exchange for a chance at enormous wealth. Ben Richards is desperate – he needs money to treat his daughter’s illness. His last chance is entering a game show called The Running Man where the objective is to elude police and specially trained trackers for a month. The reward is a cool billion dollars. The catch is that everyone else on the planet is watching and willing to turn him in for a reward.

My thoughts:

First of all, I want to thank Alex Ochoa, the wonderful YouTube subscriber that sent me a hardback copy of this book! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I was very excited to get my hands on the stories that Stephen King chose to publish under a pseudonym. This edition also has “Rage” in it which is a story that is no longer being printed. This is because a real-life event in 1998 was inspired by the book and Stephen King felt morally obliged to let the book die from the publishing world.

The typical Stephen King voice and references are definitely easy to spot when you already know that it is his work.
So let’s go through each of them, story by story.

Rage

The story of a young man named Charlie Decker who has been sent to the principal’s office because of an assault on a teacher. After that, he goes on a tirade in the school and holds a class hostage.

I thought it was interesting to read a story like this with the thoughts in mind of how often events like this take place nowadays. It’s equally as current now, and maybe even more so than it was back then. It is hard to try to set oneself in the shoes of someone who acts out in such an extreme way, and maybe even more interesting to see just how confusing it can all be inside the head of that person as well.
The story is one of slow-burning suspense and I thought it was quite interesting.

I can definitely understand why King felt it necessary to take it off the market, but in the same way, it seems like all the school shootings around are not specifically inspired by the literature that takes on that specific setting but more inspired by other events like them. Even so, I highly respect King’s decision to take the story out of print.
Rage was an interesting read, but it didn’t quite grab me.

The Long Walk

And what a long walk it was indeed! I have no idea why it took me what felt like forever to get through this story. It’s a really interesting story about the will to live. You have 100 boys setting out for The Walk where they have to hold a certain pace and always stay on their feet until there’s only one boy left who will win “the prize”.

It touches on some really good subjects of mental strain and mental health. Showcasing the way a mind can completely fall apart when it’s put under too much pressure. It’s also a take on a very conservative futuristic America.

It is a gruesome tale of staring death in the eye and trying to find the will to survive when everything feels hopeless. I also really enjoyed the friendships that we got to see between the contestants, as well as the rivalry. The pressure put on humans can bring out both the best and the worst in us all.

Roadwork

Roadwork tells the story of Mr. Dawes who has a lot of anger towards the new highway extension project in his town that forces him to move away from what has been his home for many years. We also get to know a lot of Dawes’s emotional hardships, and his unwillingness to let go of the past throughout this story.

We follow a man on a mission. A man who completely unravels.
Reading Roadwork is like watching a train crash in slow motion. You know it’s going to end in horror, but you just can’t look away. It’s a detailed and interesting journey of how a single thought or an idea can grow into something truly insane when fuelled by hate and unresolved issues.

I enjoyed it as much as I found it uncomfortable, but in a good way. If that makes any sense?

The Running Man

In The Running Man, we visit a dystopian US in 2025 where there’s a television game show that hunts its contestants to their death. Ben Richards joins the game show in the hope of winning enough money to get medicine for his gravely ill daughter. The contestants earn $100 for every hour they stay alive, an additional $100 for each law enforcement officer or Hunter he kills, and a grand prize of $1 billion if he survives for 30 days.

It’s a suspenseful cat and mouse kind of story, with an interesting and mysterious countdown going on throughout that has you guessing.
I really enjoyed this story and found it to be the only one in the book where I felt like I was kept at the edge of my seat and did not want to put it down.
It touches on some interesting subjects of the economy and society. How far are we willing to go? How much are we willing to accept as entertainment instead of cruelty? How easily do we eat up the information fed to us by the media?

Again, this truly is a story of how horrible and selfish some people can be. I loved it!

Overall I found The Bachman Books to be a solid collection of good stories. It took me forever to get through them, but not because I didn’t enjoy them. I kind of wish that I would’ve read them as separate books instead of a collection. It might not have felt as intimidating as individual books.

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3 Books that Shaped Me as a Reader

Here are three books that have shaped me as a reader through the years 📚

I’m pretty sure that all of us bookworms have certain books that shape us as readers, both as kids and later on in our adult lives as well. We change, our preferences too, and sometimes a book can surprise us into a whole new genre we never even considered being our thing.

I thought I would share some of the books that has shaped me as a reader over the years.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

My dad was the one that introduced me to Anne Frank. I was about 8 years old and I already knew quite a bit about World War II as my fathers side of the family has Jewish heritage, and actually had to get away from the Nazis by moving to Sweden at that time. So the interest in WWII came at a pretty early age for me, and The Diary of a Young Girl definitely shaped my reading a lot. It was where I truly discovered how horrific, but also interesting and fascinating that time of history was, and still is. I’m still a WWII fanatic, just like my dad. I love reading non-fiction and historical fiction, and the well-written ones (especially those who are based on true stories) always breaks my heart and fill my eyes with tears. Reading Anne Frank’s diary was also what made me start journaling back in the days, which is something that I still do.

I think every kid should read this book. It’s so important and captivating. My dad also took me to Anne Frank’s house later on, which was a really interesting but also intense experience. If I remember correctly, I believe my dad has told me that I didn’t speak for a good while after we got out of there, and it is something I will never forget. I also would highly recommend going there if you ever get the chance to.

Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Bag of Bones is not my favorite King novel, but it was my very first. I remember browsing one of my local bookstores as a teenager and coming across this particular book. I can’t remember exactly what it was about Bag of Bones that compelled me to buy it, but buy it I did, and it has been quite the journey ever since.

I remember bringing it with me on a family vacation (but can’t for the life of me remember where we went), and was so captivated by this story that I was unable at times to put it down. It’s one of those stories that just made such a lasting impression on me that I actually remember quite a lot of what happened even though it has been years, and I’m pretty sure I would be surprised to find out how much I’ve probably forgotten if I tried re-reading it today (which is something I’m considering doing).

Let’s call it love at first sight, and King’s writing and I have been in a happy relationship (for the most part) for many years now, and it will continue to be that way for two reasons.

1 – The man has written so many books that I hardly doubt I will get through them all.

2 – It’s first book love, and that lasts a lifetime. Everybody knows that, right?!

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Did you just roll your eyes at the screen?! Well, if you did, I don’t blame you. Twilight is not great. It’s not even really good, but never the less, it is a book that played a pretty big role in my reading life. At the age of about 20, I found myself not having really read much in a few years. I don’t know what started that massive reading slump, but I do know that the easy entertainment that Twilight offered was what got me back into reading, and with a whole new love of fantasy and paranormal fiction. And because of that, I got to discover so many great books! So, even though I fully agree with the eye roll (and I have tried re-reading it some years later and wish that I hadn’t) it still deserves a spot on this list, and it will always hold a special place in this book lover heart of mine.

These three books are not my top three of all time, but they are all very special to me. If I hadn’t crossed paths with them, I probably would’ve had a very different reading journey than I’ve had so far.

Do you have a book that defined you more as a reader than any other? I would love to hear about it💛