Later by Stephen King


source: purchased
title: Later
author: Stephen King
published: March 2, 2021
pages: 264
genre: crime fiction/paranormal horror first line: I don’t like to start with an apology-there’s probably even a rule against it, like never ending a sentence with a preposition-but after reading over the thirty pages I’ve written so far, I feel like I have to.
rated:
5 out of 5 stars

Blurb:

SOMETIMES GROWING UP MEANS FACING YOUR DEMONS

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.


My thoughts:

Out of the hundred or so books on my TBR I randomly grabbed my copy of Later by Stephen King and wound up nearly finishing it in one sitting this past Sunday.

Although this is advertised as one of his hard case crime books like Joyland and The Colorado Kid I’d say Later is more a mix of coming of age story, horror and a paranormal ghost story. Inside this book were some of the creepiest scenes I’ve read and I’ve read a decent amount of horror over the years.

The story centers around young Jamie Conklin who lives in NYC with his single mother who is a literary agent. Adult Jamie narrates his story. He has an ability that sets him apart. Without giving too much away, the book revolves around Jamie and his mom while his unique gift is at times an odd blessing in disguise but also a curse. King has a way of writing child characters who are endearing to the reader and I was rooting for Jamie as I read. The story is really mainly about him.

Reminiscent of the film The Sixth Sense Later was an engaging and thrilling story that I found hard to put down. There’s nods to It in the storyline and the creepy plot twisted and turned and shocked me more than once. I also enjoyed the NYC setting. While I read some mixed reviews on this one, I really enjoyed it. I was entertained throughout and nearly finished it in one sitting which is what I expect from a good book. This was a solid scary read and I recommend it to fans of paranormal horror. It was not too long at just a little over 250 pages so it was a nice quick dose of horror during a busy week.

“I thought of asking her if it freaked her out to look up at night and see the stars and know they go on forver and ever, but didn’t bother. I just said no. You get used to marvelous things. You take them for granted. You can try not to but you do. there’s too much wonder, that’s all. It’s everywhere.-p 90, Later by Stephen King

About the author:
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His first crime thriller featuring Bill Hodges, MR MERCEDES, won the Edgar Award for best novel and was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award. Both MR MERCEDES and END OF WATCH received the Goodreads Choice Award for the Best Mystery and Thriller of 2014 and 2016 respectively.

King co-wrote the bestselling novel Sleeping Beauties with his son Owen King, and many of King’s books have been turned into celebrated films and television series including The Shawshank Redemption, Gerald’s Game and It.

King was the recipient of America’s prestigious 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters. In 2007 he also won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife Tabitha King in Maine. -quoted from Amazon.com

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of Later by Stephen King. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The first book photo here is my own.

Your Words Your World by Louise Bélanger



source: review copy via Poetic Book Tours
title: Your Words Your World
author: Louise Bélanger
genre: poetry
published: July 2, 2021
pages: 99


About:

Poetry For Your Soul – Stunning Photographs
Zoom to Heaven
The most beautiful love poem
Where God is not there
Promises…
A handful of cloud
Clowns…
During the night

These are some of the titles of the poetry you will read in this beautiful, inspiring collection complemented by captivating nature photographs.

Read poems about God and having a relationship with Him. Poems about trust, missing a loved one, childhood memories, Christmas, Heaven, Easter…

Other poems are lovely stories, the length of a page.
The poetry is easy to understand. It is for everyone whether poetry is your genre or not, you will enjoy it.

Advance Praise:

There are a number of 5-star reviews on Amazon, including this one: “Your Words, Your World is a beautiful collection of poetry, photographs, and story poems about God and the world He created, and the second book of poems by Louise Bélanger. It helps the reader look at the world in a new way. Among my favorite poems is Ordinary, about how God can take something ordinary, like a star or a body of water, and make it do extraordinary things. I also loved Dust, which reminds us that God created us all from something we don’t really like–dust. A War Erupted paints a beautiful and tumultuous picture of a thunderstorm. The Contest is a thought-provoking story poem about a conversation between flowers. Zoom to Heaven is probably my favorite of all, as it talks about what it would be like to have a Zoom conversation with a loved one in Heaven. Your Words, Your World takes a unique look at God and the world He created, and it makes me appreciate Him and this world all the more.” – BonnieD


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My thoughts:
Your Words Your World by Louise Bélanger is a lovely collection of poetry and the author’s photography. The poems are mainly about God and how everything He created like the clouds, fire, the ocean and the flowers are extraordinary if you stop to think about it. These inspirational and spiritual poems are also about living your life with intent and having faith in pursuing your dreams. I’m a big believer in living with intent so this theme resonates with me. The pretty nature photography throughout adds a nice touch as you read the collection. I recommend this one if you enjoy spiritual poetry about everyday life.

One of my favorites in the collection is titled “I Want”
I want…
Creativity
To explode on the page

Stories and images
Invading my head

To crack open my heart
So it flows from the page


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“God lifts the veil”

Life can be so difficult
Keep planting, in faith
It always produces a good harvest
Whether you see it or not


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About the Poet:

Louise Bélanger is a Canadian poet and the author of Your Words Your World and Your Words. Both books are beautiful, inspiring, and spiritual poems complemented by nature photographs. She started writing poetry in the spring of 2020. She poured her emotions onto paper, describing beautiful scenery and stories that came to life. With encouragement and help from friends, her dream came true. She loves photography and music, is an avid reader, and loves movies. Visit her website.

Available at Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Dec. 3: the bookworm (Review)

Dec. 6: The Book Connection (Review)

Dec. 15: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Guest Post)

Jan. 5: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)

Jan. 11: Just A Bookish Blog (Review)

Jan. 18: Christian Bookaholic (Review)

Jan. 19: Author Anthony Avina Blog (Guest Post)

Jan. 25: Author Anthony Avina Blog (Review)

Feb. 8: The Mary Reader and Instagram (Review)

Feb. 10: Savvy Verse & Wit (Interview)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtags #yourwordsyourworld #LouiseBélanger #poetrycommunity


Click here for the main tour page.


Special thanks to Serena at Poetic Book Tours — Where Readers Come to Poetry
@PoeticBookTours
Poetic Book Tours on Facebook



Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. My copy of Your Words Your World came via Poetic Book Tours
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Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 11/21/2021: Book Updates and Happy Thanksgiving

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….


Good morning everyone, happy Sunday. I hope this post finds you well. I’ve been MIA from blogland these few weeks but it’s the same old story, just busy with life and work as usual. I’ve been mostly working fully remote lately and will be remote through most of December which is nice. On the days I drive into the office it’s been cold and frosty in the mornings and the traffic has been awful. Thank you for commenting on my last updates and wishing my step-dad well with his surgery recovery. He is getting better now and has been getting back to his daily routine slowly but surely.

Also, Happy Thanksgiving this week to those who celebrate. We’re having a quiet one at home. My daughter helps me cook the meal and desserts and my parents come over. What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Also, Otis had a lovely Halloween last month and as promised his costume pics are at the end of this post.


Onto my bookish updates….


recently on the blog:

I hosted a book giveaway for Last Stop on the 6 by Patricia Dunn. Congrats to C. Lee for winning a copy. C. Lee please email me your mailing info naida1276@yahoo.com.


Author Ruth A. Casie stopped by this past week for a chat and a gift card giveaway. Please check that out and enter to win if you’re interested there’s still a few days left for that.

in my mailbox:
Alot of crochet these few weeks!

Modern Crochet Style: 15 colourful crochet patterns for your and your home, including fun sustainable makes came via Netgally and the Publisher.


Anyone Can Crochet Amigurumi Animals: 15 Adorable Crochet Patterns arrived via NetGalley and Fox Chapel Publishing. How cute.

coming soon:

I sound like a broken record but my review of Simple Tryst of Fate: Some Rules are Meant to be Broken by D.M. Barr will be up this week.


Up next is Our Trespasses: A Paranormal Thriller by Michael Cordell.

watching:

OMG Midnight Mass. I binged this one in a few days and it was fantastic and terrifying and crazy. I recommend if you enjoy horror. Have you watched it?

We also finished American Horror Story: Double Feature which was very good.


crochet:
I started this Christmas ripple blanket in late October because I wanted to have it done in time for Thanksgiving. This took me 3 weeks and I worked on it every day and I like the result. I started bringing some of the Christmas decorations out already and will put up the tree this week.




I took on 3 commissions this month so I’m working on those now. It’s 2 hooded scarves and an ear warmer so I’ll share pics when those are done.



That covers my updates, happy reading this week! Thanks for stopping in. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments. I’ll be doing some blog hopping today. I’m curious to see what everyone’s been up to.

I’ll close with the Halloween pics. Here is Otis in his costume as Obi-Wan Kenobi. I dressed up as Princess Leia with him 🙂

“Use the Force, Luke.”





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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos in this post are my own and not to be removed from here.

Book Spotlight/Author Interview: The Lady and Her Quill by Ruth A. Casie




Hello everyone. TGIF! Please welcome author Ruth Casie as she stops by today to chat about her newest book The Lady and Her Quill How pretty is the cover? This is the start to her The Ladies of Sommer by the Sea series. I enjoy Regency romance and this series sounds wonderful. Please read on to learn a bit more about the author and to read an excerpt. There’s also a chance to win a $25.00 Amazon gift card below.

author interview:

Hi Everyone! I’m Ruth A. Casie. For me, Fall is the beginning of the holiday season, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas , and Chanukkah. They are all filled with fun and good cheer. For the holidays, my children and grandchildren all move back home, and we have awesome celebration. I have my fingers and toes crossed our son and his wife and their new baby will be in from Massachusetts for our celebration this year.

For those who don’t know me… USA Today Bestselling Author of sweet small-town contemporary romance – Havenport Romance and historical romance – The Stelton Legacy, Pirates of Britannia, and The Druid Knight series. And a NEW Regency Romance Series – The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea releasing this November! I’m Passionate for Happy Ever Afters I Dance When I Cook My Sudoku Book is in the Bathroom. I live in Northern New Jersey with my husband. I have three children and three grandchildren.

What is your recent release all about, some details please?
I’m so excited. My new story The Lady and Her Quill, releases November 16.
Her mind kept telling her to stop loving him, but her heart couldn’t let him go.

Renowned author Lady Alicia Hartley has lost her muse after a bad review. She blames it all on the author J.C. Melrose. A chance encounter with a handsome, witty Justin Caulfield has her heart racing, and her muse seemingly back. Is he her savior or her worst nightmare?
He didn’t see the turbulent ocean. He was too busy dealing with a different tempest.

The recently retired Captain Justin Caulfield is facing his own demons. As gifted author J.C. Melrose, his stories honor men who died at the hand of one man. His only focus is to avenge their deaths, that is, until he meets and falls in love with Lady Alicia.

The two authors take on a writing challenge based on a story of stolen gold taken from the newspaper headlines all to determine the better writer. While researching the story, Lady Alicia is captured by the thieves’ ringleader, Captain Caulfield’s emesis. Can Lady Alicia turn this mystery into an award-winning story? Can Justin save his real-life heroine? Can they both overcome their own challenges for a happily ever after?

The Lady and Her Quill is Book One of my new Regency series, The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea Welcome to Sommer-by-the-Sea, a vibrant village nestled on the rugged northeast coast of England, 15 miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne. Here, the world is centered on the country village and the lives of the landowning and professional families. Sommer-by-the-Sea is populated with aristocrats, gentry, self-made men, shop owners, local workers, and servants, a cross-section of the people of the time. Steeped in history dating back as far as the Vikings, the villagers are proud and celebrate their heritage.

Everyone from the elite summer residents to the year-round residence keep businesses flourishing and gossip thriving. As with any small town, there are challenges and successes, secrets, disagreements, and feuds. There is no shortage of romance, mystery, drama, and even a murder or two.

Graduates of the Sommer-by-the-Sea Female Seminary have a unique education. Along with the usual studies available, the head mistress has nurtured each woman’s innate ability and helped them develop into the women they are today. This shared unique experience has kept the graduates close.

Each lady has her own story to tell as she is called to action and must demonstrate she is smart, strong and sensible and must challenge the accepted definition of a “woman’s place.” For these women, arranged or political marriages will not do. If she chooses a husband, it will be for love, on her own terms, and with a man who will accept her as a partner.

What or who inspired you as a writer?
I never imagined myself a writer although I always had stories in my head. On my long trips overseas (especially the year I filled my passport and before e-readers) I was a voracious reader. Romance stories were quick reads and on trips to Asia I could finish two books before the plane landed. I read Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood, Beatrice Small, Johanna Lindsey, Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, Tasha Alexander, Kathryn LeVeque, and Eliza Knight. I also read Clive Cussler and Tom Clancy. You can throw in Conan-Doyle too. All of these writers have influenced my style. I enjoy a good love story with a dash of adventure.

So, always having stories in your head and reading good ones was a jumping off point for me. When a friend of mine said she was writing a romance story. I offered to brainstorm with her and be her Beta reader. One thing led to another, and we decided to both write stories and sell them as a series. Life got in the way for her, but I went on to write my book. That was ten years ago. I remember all the well-wishes when I left my day job. I told them I wasn’t retiring from banking I was retiring to writing. I have never been so happier and felt more fulfilled.


What do you love best about being a writer?
I love those ‘aha’ moments when your character takes the pen (or keyboard) from you and tells you writes. In The Lady and Her Quill, I didn’t find out until I was half-way through my rough draft that Captain Caulfield’s nemesis had an active part in this story. When I was editing it gave me lots of opportunities to exploit. I loved it!


What is your typical writing day like?
I found there are two times of the day when I have bursts of writing energy, 8am and 4pm. I think it’s a hold-over from my day job. With my To-Do list in hand, I started the day knocking off those items. The second burst of energy was the push to get all those items completed and… create the following day’s list. It has remained much the same.

I usually do marketing and graphics tasks after lunch. I try not to work after dinner. I prefer to spend that time with my husband. Although, when I’m on a deadline, my schedule is solely focused on the book. EXCEPT this past several weeks. We have a new grandson and Logan Max took preference.

Nana and Poppop went to Boston to meet, hold, kiss, feed and yes, even change diapers!

Where do you usually write?

We’re empty nesters. I waited a year after our last child moved into their own apartment then transformed the room into an executive office. I do most of my writing there on my desktop computer. With my laptop there were times when I would wonder into the den, the living room, kitchen, or the deck. In the winter, I enjoy writing in the living room with the fireplace on with a large cup of hot tea (or a cold glass of wine).


Do you have other creative outlets? Beside ballroom dancing I do counted-cross stitch. I have lots of project that I’ve hung around the house. I also have a lot of half-finished ones in the closet (hanging head in shame). My new hobby is creative paper folding. I make some of my own swag.


What is your next project?

I am finishing THE LADY AND THE SPY, Book Two in this series. This story is about an English widow, a Russian spy, and top Napoleon supporter. The story takes place in February 1815 when Napoleon escapes from Elba Island. A list of Napoleon supports located across Europe is up for grabs. The English and Russians want it. Napoleon wants it destroyed.


Where can we find you?
Website: http://www.ruthacasie.com
Email: mailto:ruth@ruthacasie.com
Blog: http://www.ruthacasie.blogspot.com
Google+ https://plus.google.com/+RuthSeitelman
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RuthACasie
FB Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/RuthACasie
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ruthacasie/







book excerpt:

“How did the tower prevent you from acquiring a fine Scottish brogue?”
“It was during a nine-week siege by Scottish invaders in 1644. They made all sorts of demands. But the people wouldn’t agree to any of them. There were skirmishes and fights. Your ancestors, forgive me Captain, but they were not a nice lot, stole the grain and scared the wild stock so there was no milk from the cows or eggs from the chickens. The villagers fought back valiantly and took prisoners.”
“It’s an unfortunate part of war,” he said softly.
“The invaders took whatever they wanted and when there was nothing left to take, they demanded more. They wanted gold. But the mayor stood firm. The only item of value in the cathedral was the treasured chalice. He wouldn’t surrender the relic.”

“So how did the tower save the good people of Sommer-by-the-Sea?” he asked. “Patience, I’m coming to that.” She placed her hand on his arm.
Her brief touch made him more aware of her standing at his side than he wanted to admit. Her playful banter charmed him. He enjoyed her tale, and her telling even more.
She leaned in as if she told him the greatest secret. Her large hazel eyes grew bigger when she spoke, and her smile sparkled. He found himself hanging on her every word.
“The Scottish men who came here, not your direct forbearers I’m sure, threatened if the mayor didn’t give them the gold chalice, they would bombard the tower. Gold? There was no gold chalice, especially in the 1600s. The relic’s value was in what it symbolized in the religious ritual, not the substance of which it was made. But I digress. The attackers made their threat, and our mayor Sir John Whitaker developed a plan.” She lowered her voice intriguing him even more.

“Your forbearers suffered their losses. I’m sorry to tell you some lost their lives and others well they became guests of the mayor. He provided quarters for them at Sommer Castle, in the dungeon, deep underground. “The deeper they went into the ground, the greater the stink of wet, pungent mildew. Black mold grew across the walls and parts of the floor. Despite the smell, they were forced to go on. At the bottom, they came to a door. The door opened onto what appeared to be a stone forest, a broad, pillared hall with stone columns as large as tree trunks.”

“It sounds frightening.” Her eyes twinkled as she artfully painted the picture with words. The story enchanted him, but not as much as the enchantress.
“The dungeon was horrifying. Thick cobwebs filled the corners of the room. Wisps of webbing hung from the ceiling and waved in the stale air. The room held a curious array of tools. Winches and levers projected from every wall, and chains with handles dangle from the ceiling. Manacles were set into the walls. One set of manacles was broken open. This is where the men were held.”

Alicia’s voice had taken on a lost, distant sound reminding him of men who relived their battlefield experiences. His concern grew to alarm. Strong men had crumbled under less. “When were you there last?” he asked as he gently took her hand.

“I haven’t been there in many years.”
He lifted her chin with the crook of his finger. The urge to kiss her was all consuming. He wanted to kiss away the pained expression in her eyes and bring back the warm smile to her now pale face. Instead, they spoke not a word and let their eyes convey what they couldn’t.


GIVEAWAY:

CLICK HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN AN AMAZON $25.00 GIFT CARD

See the rest of the tour stops: https://caffeinatedpr.com/2021/10/10/blog-tour-the-lady-and-her-quill-by-ruth-a-casie/

Special thanks to Caffeinated PR!



about the author:

RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of historical swashbuckling action-adventures and contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. Her stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. She lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a product/marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now-writing romance. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures.

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Last Stop on the 6 by Patricia Dunn

Hello everyone. Today I am spotlighting a book called Last Stop on the 6 by author Patricia Dunn which is being released on November 9th. I’m also hosting a book giveaway!
Read on for more about the book, a book excerpt and the giveaway details.



ADVANCE PRAISE FOR LAST STOP ON THE 6

“Bravo to Patricia Dunn for creating this uniquely powerful journey from which it is nearly impossible to turn away.” -Mary Calvi, author of Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel of George Washington’s First Love, Emmy® award winning journalist, anchor for CBS 2 News and Inside Edition

“If you like quick-witted, fast-talking, and street-smart characters who have big dilemmas and even bigger hearts, look no further than Patricia Dunn’s Last Stop on the 6.” -Kathy Curto, author of Not for Nothing: Glimpses into a Jersey Girlhood

“Last Stop on the 6 is a rip-roaring love song to the Bronx, a coming-of-age story about the places that make us, that we try so hard to leave, and that so often pull us home.”- Melissa Faliveno, author of Tomboyland

“Dunn writes with verve and eloquence in this deftly told, gorgeously crafted story that crackles with wry humor and remarkable observations about love, departure, and its aftermath.” – Jimin Han, author of A Small Revolution

“Last Stop on the 6 is one of the funniest books I’ve read—laugh out loud funny—and one of the wisest. A miracle.” -Kathleen Hill, author of Still Waters in Niger, Who Occupies This House, and She Read to Us in the Late Afternoons

“These are characters you will want to know and live with through her novel. Get on that 6 train now and take it until the last stop.” – David Masello, executive editor of Milieu, author of Architecture Without Rules, Art in Public Places, and a forthcoming book from Rizzoli

“A superb book that I couldn’t stop reading.” – Joan Silber, author of Secrets of Happiness, Ideas of Heaven, and Improvement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award

“Dunn has introduced me to characters all possessing questions for which there are no easy answers-only the slow and steady reawakenings of familial bonds and moral responsibility. A heartfelt work of art.”- Carolyn Ferrell, author of Dear Miss Metropolitan and Don’t Erase Me



About the book:

LAST STOP ON THE 6 By Patricia Dunn

Can you ever really go home again? Theresa Angela Campanosi is about to find out in LAST STOP ON THE 6 by Patricia Dunn (November 9, 2021; Bordighera Press; $20). This hilarious, hard-hitting and big-hearted novel brings to mind the movie A Bronx Tale as it follows Angela back home to her Italian-American family in the Bronx to prepare for her brother’s wedding.

After a decade as a political activist in Venice, California, Angela is back in her childhood home about to topple her family’s tower of secrets—the truth about her brother’s accident, impending marriage and subsequent disappearance, her alcoholic father’s fall off the wagon, and her former boyfriend’s recovery from heroin addiction. And most of all, why Fat Freddie is tormenting her family.

As Angela navigates love, guilt, and red gravy, she learns the price of living in the past, allowing her parents to squeeze her back into her childhood bedroom, and the cost of redemption. LAST STOP ON THE 6 is the express train back to those feelings we thought we left behind and the heartfelt promise of something better when we face them at last.

PATRICIA DUNN is an Italian rebel raised in the Bronx. She is the author of the young adult novel, Rebels by Accident (Sourcebooks Fire). Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, The Village Voice, The Nation, LA Weekly, and The Christian Science Monitor. Dunn has served as the senior director of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, where she holds an MFA in creative writing. She is the co-founder of The Joe Papaleo Writers Workshop in Cetera, Italy.

LAST STOP ON THE 6 by Patricia Dunn
Bordighera Press; November 9, 2021
$20; 286 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-59954-173-0


Excerpt from Last Stop on the 6 by Patricia Dunn

Size 9 was printed on the front of the shoebox. Since my mother was barely a size 6, I knew whatever was in that box was for me. The only thing that made her happier than buying shoes for herself was buying shoes for someone else.

“Open it.” She smiled widely, somewhat resembling The Joker from Batman.

Inside the box was exactly what I didn’t want – six-inch sling- back stiletto heels. Mommy thought my five-foot, eight-inch model height was my best feature, and accentuating it was, she claimed, the main reason she focused on my achieving model weight. The only feature these shoes were meant to accentuate was a latent desire to join the ranks of prostitution. But the height of the heels wasn’t the most disturbing part of the shoes. They were dyed to match a color – mauve. Dyed-to-match mauve shoes meant there was a mauve dress I was expected to wear – a bridesmaid’s dress? Was this the big secret Mommy didn’t want me to know yet? She expected me to be a bridesmaid? I don’t know if I was more relieved or repulsed, but I was certain my brother and the bride-to-be had no intention of my being part of their wedding party.

I dropped the shoes back into their box and reached up over the closet to touch the hanging crucifix, which had instilled fear in me since my First Holy Communion. With the exception of a tiny black mole on his cheek, which Jimmy had put there with an indelible Magic Marker, this Jesus’s features were erased. His head leaned to one side, and he was missing the fake-blood color in all those places where he had been nailed to the cross.

After I made my First Communion, everything was Jesus to me. Every day, I’d climb up on a chair so I could kiss Jesus on each wound – the palm of his right hand, the palm of his left hand, and the place where his ankles crossed. Then, one day, Jesus slid down and fell off the cross. Convinced I’d broken Jesus, I started to cry, until Jimmy came into the room, stepped up onto the chair, and standing at my side, demonstrated how Jesus slid up and down.
“See, his body is a panel, hiding a secret compartment.”
The inside of Jesus was empty.

Mommy later told me the secret compartment once held a vial of holy water and two candles, which a priest would need to perform last rites. “Priests don’t need to break glass in case of an emergency, they need to break Jesus open.” It was rare for her to make a joke, and I wanted to encourage her, so I laughed extra loud before I asked, “Who died?”

“No one died.” She stopped smiling. “The candles and holy water vanished.”

When I asked her if Jesus was a magician and could make things disappear, she bent down and whispered in my ear, “Only children who misbehave.”


Giveaway Details: U.S. residents only please.
To enter to win a print copy of Last Stop on the 6 by Patricia Dunn:

1. Comment on this post.
2. For an extra entry share this post on your social media and let me know in the comments section.

Thanks everyone. This contest is now closed. Congrats to C. Lee!” Thank you for entering and sharing. Happy reading!

Special thanks to Meryl Moss Media for making this possible.