I know, I'm three books behind in my book reviews. I've set aside time today to get you caught up. As of right now, I'm three books AHEAD of my 2014 Reading Challenge (holla!) You can always keep up with my reading challenge progress by looking at the top right of my blog. It is automatically linked to my GoodReads account and will let you know how many books I've read so far. You can click on it to see what books I've read this year.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
(4 out of 5 stars)
I would be willing to bet that MOST of you have seen the movie The Wizard of Oz (or you at least know the plot of it), so I really don't need to give a summary (do I?) I have seen the movie version more times than I can count. It's not my favorite movie of all time, but I do enjoy it. I didn't realize that the Wizard of Oz series had 14 books in it (click here for that list). I knew there were a few, but had no idea it was fourteen total. I found the first five books on sale for like $5 (it was five books in one), so I went ahead and bought it. I finally finished the first book (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). I guess so people don't freak out, I need to put SPOILER ALERT (but seriously, these facts will NOT ruin the book-you know what happens). I noticed a few differences right off the bat. First of all, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry didn't have three farmhands. The book starts with the tornado hitting Kansas. There was no mean old lady trying to take Toto away, Dorothy did not fall into a pig pen, and she did not meet up with some carnival fortune teller. She did land in Munchkin Land, but Glinda was not the name of the good witch that helped her (although Glinda does make an appearance later on in the book). Oh, and the famous ruby red slippers that belonged to the Wicked Witch of the East? They were silver in the book, not red. She met up with the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, although their back stories were a little different. The flying monkeys were there, and the Wicked Witch of the West was still very wicked (although her death came a lot earlier in the book). The Wizard promised to take Dorothy back to Kansas in a hot air balloon, but it takes off without Dorothy in it. She is finally told by Glinda that she can click her heels together three times to get home. There were many other characters not mentioned in the movie- like a land full of people made of china. I could probably go on a lot longer about the differences and what was left out of the movie version, but in case you want to read it, I'll leave it there. I did enjoy it. I plan to read the other books in the series at some point. I'm interested to see what happens.
11-22-63 by Stephen King
(5 out of 5 stars)
Summary: If you had a chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be what you hoped? Jake Epping, 35, teaches high school English in Lisbon Falls, Maine, and cries reading the brain-damaged janitor's story of a childhood Halloween massacre by his drunken father. On his deathbed, his friend Al divulges a secret portal to 1958 in his diner back pantry, and enlists Jake to prevent the 11/22/1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Under the alias George Amberson, our hero joins the cigarette-hazed, full-flavored world of Elvis rock 'n roll, Negro discrimination, and freeway gas-guzzlers without seat belts. Will Jake lurk in impoverished immigrant slums beside troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald, or share small-town friendliness with beautiful high school librarian Sadie Dunhill, the love of his life?
I heard so many people say that this was a great book, and they were right. When I started reading it, I kept thinking, oh, this book is so long, it's going to take forever to read (the book is around 850 pages). I'm not lying when I say I read over 600 pages in two days. I had started reading it during my lunch breaks and was about 250 pages in, and then one Sunday afternoon I did nothing but read about 400 pages of it. The next day after work, I forced myself to stay awake long enough so I could finish it. By that point I was just ready to see what happened and how it would all end. It was really good- it was different than most books, but that is what I liked about it. What was funny is that the whole time I'm reading it, I kept thinking, "how could they make this into a movie? I bet they would need to make it a miniseries." I would totally watch it! The only nit-picky thing that bothered me (and I don't even want to say it bothered me, it was just something I noticed) is that Stephen King spelled the town of Killeen with only one "L" (very minor). He also made it seem like Killeen (Kileen) was close to Dallas. It's probably about a two and a half hour drive. Also at one point he said something about being able to smell the oil fields and refineries of the Permian Basin while in Dallas. I believe those are out in west Texas (hundreds of miles away) so I don't think you could smell them in Dallas. But like I said, very minor, and it didn't take away from the story (and for those who don't live in Texas, they wouldn't even notice it). You can tell that King did his research on the Kennedy assassination though. Even if you aren't a huge Stephen King fan, give this one a shot, I think you will enjoy it.
Murder Hooks A Mermaid by Christy Fifield
(4 out of 5 stars)
Summary: Nestled in Keyhole Bay, Florida, Glory Martine's souvenir shop, Southern Treasures, is supposed to trap tourists- not ghosts. But a possessed parrot may be just what Glory needs to solve a murder. Inheriting her great-uncle Louis's shop should have been a breeze for Glory. Instead it's been one headache after another- with a lot of them generated by Bluebeard, a parrot with a mouth like a sailor and a personality a lot like her great-uncle. But Glory's troubles pale in comparison to those her best friend Karen, whose ex brother-in-law is about to get locked up. A diver has been found with a gaff hook in his chest, and Karen turns to Glory to help get her former brother-in-law off the hook for his murder. But casting the net for the real killer won't be easy. Glory and Bluebeard are about to find out that the secrets in Keyhold Bay run deeper than anyone ever imagined...
After reading a deep and intense book by Stephen King, this was just what I needed to read next. It's a easy read, fun little mystery book. If I had the time, I could have finished this in one sitting, but alas, I do have to work, so it took me a few days. I didn't realize until I had already started it that it's book two in a series, so I plan to find book one at some point. I found on the author's website she just released book three, so I look forward to that as well. I like her characters and her writing style. Unlike some murder mysteries, it doesn't get into the gory details of what happened (so if that usually discourages you from reading murder mysteries, you won't have to worry about that here). Like I said, it's a fun read. Almost borderline YA (Young Adult), but I like that writing style. If you are looking for something deep and meaningful, this might not be for you. If you are looking for a quick read on some rainy afternoon, check this one out!
Okay, there, I'm caught up for now on my reviews. I leave for my business trip tomorrow, hoping to catch some reading time on the flight to and from the convention. :)