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

++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde



source: review copy via Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley
title: Seven Perfect Things
author: Catherine Ryan Hyde / Twitter
genre: fiction
pages: 320
published: May 2021
first line: When Elliot opened the door, the woman on his welcome mat stuck him as bizarrely young.
rated: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Blurb:
A heart-stirring novel about the joy that comes from finding love in unexpected places by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Thirteen-year-old Abby Hubble lives in an unhappy home in the Sierra Nevada foothills where her father makes life miserable for her and her mother, Mary. One day Abby witnesses a man dump a litter of puppies into the nearby river. Diving in to rescue all seven, she knows she won’t be able to bring them home. Afraid for their fate at the pound, she takes them to an abandoned cabin, where all she can offer is a promise that she’ll be back the next day.

To grieving widower Elliot Colvin, life has lost meaning. Looking for solace, he retreats to the hunting cabin he last visited years ago, before his wife’s illness. What he discovers is not at all what he expected: seven puppies and one determined girl with an indomitable heart.

As Abby and Elliot’s friendship deepens, Abby imagines how much better her life—and the puppies’ lives—would be if her mother were married to Elliot instead of her father.

Seven Perfect Things is a story about joy, where to find it, how to know it when you see it, and the courage it takes to hang on to it once you have it.


My thoughts:
I have yet to read a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde that I didn’t enjoy. This author has a way of writing wonderful stories about everyday people who do everyday things to help each other out. She writes about everyday heroes so well.

Seven Perfect Things revolves around 13 year old Abby, her mother Mary, newly widowed Elliot and 7 puppies. Abby finds herself responsible for a litter of 7 puppies and in trying to take care of them she’s also learning life lessons about responsibility and trust. The puppies need her, and she needs them.

Abby’s mother Mary married young and has lived in an unhappy marriage to her verbally abusive and controlling husband since then. Dependent on her husband financially she continues to say with him.

Elliot’s wife recently passed away and he goes to his vacation cabin in the woods for peace and quiet before he returns to work in the city. At the cabin is when he meets Abby and the puppies by a twist of fate. As the story flows, Mary, Abby and Elliot form a bond. The puppies bring theses three together.

Like I said, I really enjoyed Seven Perfect Things. I sped right through it. I found myself invested in these characters and the puppies tugged at my heartstrings of course. Abby was written really well and I rooted for her from the start. She finds these puppies who need help and she does everything she can to care for them. I felt bad for Mary who was always on edge worried about her husband’s moods. She has an awakening and finally realizes how her life revolves around her husband and that staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of her daughter is doing more harm that good. Elliot is grieving the recent loss of his wife and in meeting Abby and Mary he finds a new purpose in helping them out.

The ending was nice as well and nothing felt rushed. These three seemed like real people with real daily struggles to overcome. I recommend Seven Perfect Things if you’re looking for an engaging read with realistic and relatable characters.

“Though she couldn’t quite put it into words, she resented having been thrust into a world where such perfect little beings could be treated as worthless. She knew she had been living in that world all along, but she resented having been forced awake. Forced to recognize it. But the puppies themselves…they were perfect.”Seven Perfect Things, 21% Kindle



About the Author:
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of forty books (and counting). An avid traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she shares her astrophotography with readers on her website.

Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association (ALA) for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than twenty-three languages in over thirty countries. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow list, and Jumpstart the World was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013, and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other journals; in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts; and in the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Copilot. Her stories have been honored by the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and have been nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in the annual Best American Short Stories anthology.

She is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

For more information, please visit the author at www.catherineryanhyde.com. – quoted from Amazon



Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. My copy of Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde came via Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah



source: purchased
title: The Four Winds
author: Kristin Hannah
genre: historical fiction
pages: 464
published: February 2, 2021
first line: Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars

Blurb:
The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it―the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.-quoted from Amazon

My thoughts:
The Four Winds was my first foray into author Kristin Hannah’s work and it won’t be my last. I picked this one up after seeing a few book bloggers rave about it.

This book was my vacation read last week and I was transported as I read. I could not put it down, reading as many as 200 pages in one day which is alot for me since I usually tap out at maybe 100 pages a day.

Without giving too much away, the story takes place during the 1930’s Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. The book centers around Elsa Wolcott who by age 25 has been written off by her family as an old maid. She is born in Texas to a well off family since her father owns a tractor business. Elsa loves to read and wants to have fun and be a flapper and become a writer one day. Everything changes for her and she becomes a mom and suffers through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. With themes of family, motherhood, the bonds women form, poverty and American life during the 1920’s and 30’s this was an epic story that utterly drew me in. I could not turn the pages fast enough.

The author writes about the Dust Bowl and the storms so vividly I could easily imagine it. Of course while reading I had to google the Dust Bowl to familiarize myself with the details and I was shocked at what I learned and what so many people suffered at that time. The images of these dust storms look like something out of a nightmare. The dust from the Plains region even reached up as far as Washington DC and New York City at one point. The author paints such a vivid picture of what people went through at that time and of the poverty people suffered that it both shocks you and pulls at your heartstrings as you read.

Kristin Hannah’s descriptive writing style and the way she shaped these characters had me enthralled. I felt for them and I wanted them to be alright. The relationships within the story are what grab ahold of you as you read. Elsa is a good mother trying to survive it all and take care of her children. The people she meets who are going through similar struggles become like family to her. This is a story about strong women and about surviving against all odds and pushing forward no matter what.

The Four Winds is definitely one of my top reads for 2021 and I highly recommend it if you are looking to get swept away into a well written historical family saga. Have a box of tissues handy.
As per the photo below, my reading view last week was perfect. I’m so glad I chose The Four Winds as my vacation book. Have you read this one?



“Books had always been her solace; novels gave her the space to be bold, brave, beautiful, if only in her own imagination.”– p14, The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

“Heartache had been a part of her life so long it had become as familiar as the color of her hair or the slight curve in her spine. Sometimes it was the lens through which she viewed her world and sometimes it was the blindfold she wore so she didn’t see.”- p.117, The Four Winds

“Love is what remains when everything else is gone.” -p.425, The Four Winds

++++++++++++++++++++++++

About the author:
Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. Additionally, it was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week.-quoted from Amazon


++++++++++++++++++++++++

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 The Four Winds. 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 book photo here is my own.

My Little Crocheted Christmas by Doerthe Eisterlehner

source: review copy via NetGalley / Dover
title: My Little Crocheted Christmas: Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright
genre: crochet patterns
published: Dover Publications; Translation Edition (September 18, 2019)
rated: 4 out of 5

blurb:
Add a little handmade warmth to Christmas with these charming crocheted decorations, toys, and charms. The projects include tree ornaments, a cuddly fox and animal Santas, a mouse quartet, a tabletop nativity set, finger puppets, gingerbread “hearts,” and many other delightful ornaments. These projects are suitable for crocheters at every level of experience — a How-To section explains the basic techniques, so even beginners can whip up many of these items. Each features detailed instructions and full-color photos of the completed piece. The handmade items will be lovely gifts with a personal touch for friends and family as well as keepsake additions to your own holiday decorations.

my thoughts:
Yay for Christmas crochet! This review is literally one year overdue so shame on me but I like to crochet something from the pattern books I receive for review so I didn’t want to share this one until I made something from the book.
My Little Crocheted Christmas: Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright is a lovely pattern book to add to any crocheter’s collection. The festive patterns inside are whimsical and fun.

“At the coldest time of year, it’s especially fun to cozy up on the sofa, light a fire, and grab your crocheting. This book is full of patterns for a colorful and vibrant Christmas season and a festive,sparkling Christmas celebration.- “My Little Crocheted Christmas by Doerthe Eisterlehner

The crochet patterns within these pages include cookies and sweets, an Advent Calendar, a cuddly fox, festive pencil toppers, small Nativity set, thermos cozy and several other gift ideas that would make for cute stocking stuffers and presents.
The well written patterns all come with clear photos. I love the presentation throughout the book it’s very festive. I’d say this is for the beginner crocheter through the advanced one as well because these are fun projects and most are not too time consuming so you can spend an afternoon whipping something up for yourself or a loved one without too much time commitment. This is a nice pattern book to bring out for crocheting while watching Christmas movies.


These wrist warmers look very cozy.

I whipped up the snowman jar cozy. The pattern was very simple and I tweaked mine a little to fit the smaller candle.






I think my snowman looks more like a penguin though lol.


Overall, this is a terrific crochet pattern book to add to your shelves. I recommend it! Special thanks to NetGalley / Dover for my copy.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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 received my free review copy of My Little Crocheted Christmas: Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright via NetGalley / Dover in exchange for my honest thoughts. Some of the links in the post 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 mine and not to be removed from here.

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

brave
source: free ARC via Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing
title: Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde
published: May 19th 2020
genre: fiction
pages: 300
first line: It started that day with just the normal levels of my mother driving me crazy.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
starstarstarstar
blurb:
Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke’s life is shattered when she’s carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night.

Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness. Thrown away by her parents, and with a future as stable as the wooden crate she calls home, Molly survives day to day by her wits. As unpredictable as her life is, she’s stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm’s way to protect a child as lost as she is.

Out of one terrible moment, Brooke’s and Molly’s desperate paths converge and an unlikely friendship across generations and circumstances is formed. With it, Brooke and Molly will come to discover that what’s lost—and what’s found—can change in a heartbeat.

my thoughts:
If you want to read an emotional story revolving around important issues that will pull at your heartstrings may I suggest Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

As the story starts off Brooke is a 30 something divorced single mom living with her mother and 2 year old daughter Etta. Brooke takes Etta out one evening to the movies when she is carjacked and dragged out of the car. The carjacker proceeds to speed off with baby Etta still in her car-seat. A mother’s worst nightmare right?

Continue reading