Reading progress update: I’ve read 1 out of 405 pages.

Revival - Stephen King

Breaking with my Stephen King chronological read to get to Revival — it’s been on my mind a lot lately, this novel, and I wanted to include it in my Halloween Bingo. I read this one on its release day and finished it in about ten hours, so I know I missed a lot. Reading for ‘Horror Genre’. 



I will read and review Desperation in November. 🙂 

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The Town - Bentley  Little

Torn between a 3 star and 4 star rating. I guess I will go with 4, as I did enjoy reading this novel and feel a 3 is unfair.


Bentley Little seems to be a master of making the mundane horrific, and sneaking up on his readers. It is out of the most benign, banal situations and circumstances he wrings true terror. He is also great at challenging expectations: his novels are fairly safe and comfortable until the proverbial fecal matter hits the fan. The Town, my second Bentley book, has these talents on front display.


This is the story of the Tomasovs. Having recently won the California lottery (though they only get one check per year, so it’s not like they’ve got tons of money to burn) and decide to move to the hometown of Gregory, the family patriarch. Said hometown is McGuane, Arizona, a backwater place with only a few stores and a dying population. Having gone from southern California to this place, they must get used to a different way of life. I really enjoyed these parts of the novel; I appreciated seeing things from the point of view of each family member. Adam, the teenage son, was my favorite, as he felt the most fleshed out.


Perhaps it’s because I just read Night Stone, a genuinely scary novel about a family moving to a new house and dealing with malevolent spirits, but this story just felt a little . . . boring, maybe? Nothing in it feels new or exciting. Family moves to small town, mysterious deaths occur, said family becomes convinced their house is haunted, family is blamed by their fellow townspeople for all things that go wrong. It just felt formulaic, that’s all. And the ending was more than a little silly and extremely convoluted — I couldn’t really follow what was happening and found myself skimming.


Still, this is Bentley Little. He has talent and I enjoy his prose. So I will give this 4 stars.


Read for ‘Terror in a Small Town’ for Halloween Bingo.



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The Cool Kids - Jason Pellegrini

One day in 1994, three friends set off for an adventure in the woods — they are going to kill a mythical monster, and save the world. Of course this story is largely about the relationship between these three boys and their coming of age.


I liked this novella. I easily identified with the main character as I was never very sporty growing up. We share something else in common, too: Misery was my first Stephen King novel! Growing up with two sporty older brothers and a football loving dad, our main character feels he doesn’t quite belong until he discovers a love of reading . . . Very relatable, for me.


This is a quick, breezy read that will take you back to your own childhood. It is fun and honest and bittersweet; it’s quick, too. I do wish it were a bit longer, but I suppose that is a positive. Jason Pellegrini left me wanting more! This was my first taste of this author, and I will seek out his previous works. King’s The Body is an obvious influence, but Pellegrini’s short tale manages to avoiding feeling derivative. I did notice a number of grammatical errors, however, and that really took me out of the story at times. So I must give this four stars.


Read for ‘Free Space’ in Halloween Bingo.


Also: thanks to the author for the free copy, which was given in exchange for an honest review!



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My Top 10 Scariest Stephen King Stories 

My Top 10 Scariest Stephen King Stories 

Inspired by my buddy Edward Lorn, I’ve decided to talk about my top ten scariest Stephen King stories. I say ‘stories’ instead of novels — careful distinction there! What I find scary might not have affected you at all; Constant Readers are nothing if not varying in their opinions. Much of Kong’s output has scared me in some way, so it was a bit challenging narrowing it down! Slight spoilers abound. 

10. “Children of the Corn,” Night Shift 

You’ve all seen the infamous 1984 movie . . . and hopefully not all the ridiculous sequels. This one has a simple premise: couple gets lost in a small Nebraska town, and things get crazy from there. The movie ranks among my least favorite King adaptations, but I love this story. It is the stuff of nightmares. 

9. The Tommyknockers

I have a fascination with (and deep fear of) aliens, and I live deep in the woods. Naturally this story calls to me, making it one of my favorites. When King writes about the vastness of the Maine woods, it typically makes for some excellent horror. This one is unsettling, for me, from start to finish. 

8. Duma Key 

The scares in this novel are certainly low key — I did not pick up on them until I reread it sometime in 2014. What makes this novel, for me, is the setting: a Haunted beach house on a desolate Florida Key? SIGN ME UP. 

7. ‘The Raft,’ Skeleton Crew

Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, King was the master of isolation horror: getting his characters off by themselves and killing them one by one, in circumstances beyond their control. This is one such story. The ending of this tale is one that has always stuck with me: the main character singing a refrain from a Beach Boys song, and the call of a loon . . .

6. ‘A Good Marriage,’ Full Dark No Stars 

I’m going to be honest: I don’t remember a whole lot of this story. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I do remember being deeply unsettled by it. The sheer horror of finding out one’s spouse is a serial killer makes for one of Kong’s finest novella plots, and he gets all he can out of it. Though I do not remember but the foggiest details about this one, I remember it did scare me. 

5. Pet Sematary

Jesus. Do I really have to explain it? This novel is nightmare fuel. That is all. 

4. Revival 

Okay, yeah, only the last couple of chapters are ‘horror,’ but what makes those chapters so scary is the exquisite character development leading up to them. I have never closed a King novel feeling so sick, so uneasy. Even Pet Sematary told the reader ‘Sometimes dead is better.’ In Revival, King reveals death is not better at all. 

3. ‘Salem’s Lot 

For a long time, this was at the top of my scariest King stories list . . . now it isn’t, but that is more of a comment on how scarring numbers one and two are. This one is filled from top to bottom with iconic scenes (the boy scratching at the window made me lose sleep for two nights) — and it oozes with a seventies vibe I just love. 

2. The Shining

Haunted hotels fascinate me. In the last couple of years I’ve really become obsessed with them, making me love this 1977 novel even more. Like ‘The Raft,’ this is King doing isolation horror, and doing it well. Jack’s descent into madness is not so much scary as it is sad . . . the hotel itself, the Overlook, is what makes this one such a gripping and jarring read. And I agree with my friend Edward: the topiary animals are freaky AF. 

1. Gerald’s Game 

GAH. Reading this novel is like having all my nerves cut up with blades set on fire . . . or something. I don’t know. The Moonlight Man is King’s scariest creation. The whole premise is almost too much for me, really — the thought of being handcuffed to a bed for days and no one hearing me scream turns my stomach. Just thinking of this book really almost makes me sick.

That’s my list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments! 

Bingo Card Update



9/3/17-Cozy Mystery (N/A)
9/5/17-In the Dark, Dark Woods
9/9/17-Locked Room Mystery (N/A)
9/11/17-Murder Most Foul
9/17/17-Modern Masters of Horror
9/19/17-Terrifying Women
9/21/17-Diverse Voices
9/23/17-Haunted Houses
9/25/17-Serial Spree Killer 
9/27/17-Terror in a Small Town
9/29/17-Aliens (N/A)
10/1/2017-Darkest London 
10/5/2017-80s Horror
10/7/2017-Classic Noir (N/A)
10/9/2017-Chilling Children
10/11/2017-Magical Realism (N/A)
10/13/2017-Romantic Suspense (N/A)
10/17/2017-Country House Mystery (N/A)


Red = Called but not read
Green = Read but not called
Blue = Called and read



Once I read a book for my free space and ‘Supernatural’ is called I will have a Bingo! 

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Night Stone - Rick Hautala

The Inman family — Don, Jan, and daughter Beth — have just moved to Maine and they are living in a house that once belonged to Don’s grandparents. The house and woods surrounding it have a sordid, creepy past; naturally, strange occurrences start happening. Beth finds an old doll in the house, and for me that was one of the creepier aspects of this novel. Dolls scare me!


A lot of this book deals with Native American culture, which I find interesting — and it is something that can make for good horror. The skeletal remains of a human hand are found in the Inman’s backyard, and it is soon discovered that their yard could be home to an Indian burial ground some thousands of years old. Naturally, curiosity gets the best of the Inmans (especially Don) . . . and, well, things go from bad to worse.


I really loved this novel. I picked it up at my local thrift store yesterday and expected nothing more than a cheesy Stephen King-wannabe tale. Rick Hautala’s 1986 bestseller is much more than that: it is a genuinely unsettling look at Native American burial traditions, and what can happen when an old house ‘goes bad.’ Fans of King would do well to check this out, though, for it does take place in Maine and bears a few passing resemblances to some of SK’s novels such as The Tommyknockers and Pet Sematary. A ripping good read, I finished this thing in two days — I didn’t want to put it down. 5 Stars.


Read for ‘Haunted House’ in Halloween Bingo.



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