Review: Revival

RevivalRevival
By Stephen King
(Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781476770383, November 2014, 405pp.)

*No Spoilers*

The Short of It:

A young, impressionable boy is taken with the local minister and his ability to make things magical, but when their faith is tested, both battle their own demons to survive.

The Rest of It:

Jamie Morton is only six-years old when Charles Jacobs comes to town. Jacobs, married with a young son of his own, quickly takes a liking to Jamie and his family. In fact, many of the folks in town begin to attend church again just to hear what the new minister has to say and when Jamie’s brother loses his voice in a freak accident, Charles Jacobs comes to his aid and heals him. Not with spiritual healing, but with electricity.

After a tragic accident, Jacobs faith in God disappears entirely and what he chooses to hold dear, are the electrical experiments he’s developed over the years. Traveling from town to town, he reinvents himself, peddling what is essentially lightning and a whole lot of fanfare. It’s at this point in his life, that he runs into Jamie again. This time Jamie is an adult, battling a wicked heroin addiction. Can Jamie be saved?

King has said in many interviews that Revival is his return to true horror. I believe his definition of horror and mine vary greatly these days. Perhaps writing about a heroin addiction IS horrific, given King’s personal battle with drug and alcohol addiction but the story itself is not scary in that “clowns in the sewer” way. Nope. It reminded me a lot of Frankenstein and the one Mary Shelley reference did not escape me. I hardly think it was a coincidence that he included it because just as I was thinking ‘Frankenstein’, the name dropped.

Without being specific, lots of terrible things happen and they are all devastating. Devastating enough to absolutely wreck a person and let me tell you, it tore me up. These characters are damaged and flawed and King does damaged and flawed so well.

But…

The story lagged for me and since I was expecting a real horror story, I was slightly disappointed with the direction that it took. It seemed too safe and yet, I still enjoyed it. What King nailed is childhood itself. Those moments where Jamie is young and all of the wonders that go along with childhood… King was spot-on with them. That sense of innocence lost? Heartbreaking.

ReviveMe 2014

A group of us read this together and I must say, it was pretty quiet on Twitter. Nearly everyone was curious as to where the story was going but there wasn’t a whole lot to discuss. Compared to his other novels, the ones he is known for (IT, The Shining, The Stand, Carrie), this one seems a little thin but if you dig deep, there is substance there and some well-developed characters to spend some time with.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Sunday Matters: Lounging, Watching Movies, Still Not Reading

Sunday Matters

Well, hello again. I unintentionally took the week off from blogging. As many of you know, I took the week off from work but was hit with a major headache which lasted a good couple of days. That damn headache made reading impossible. Although I did tough it out to finish one book, I could not read much after the one. Instead, I napped, watched TV and movies and for once, took it easy.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had planned to be all by ourselves but that changed. In the morning, The Teen’s girlfriend came over to watch the parade on TV and then later The Teen’s friend from choir, whose father was working Thanksgiving evening, joined us for dinner. The meal was great but I had no appetite by the time dinner hit. I am looking forward to the leftovers today.

We did not hit any of the stores for Black Friday and I am really glad we didn’t. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenzy of it all. I used to have a lot of fun shopping with friends but these days, I much prefer getting up late, enjoying some coffee and browsing the stores online. And, The Girl put all of the Christmas stuff up for me. How cool is that?

Christmas Tree

Right Now:

The Teen isn’t feeling well and has to go caroling later tonight for choir. Hope he perks up soon. My plan this morning is to hit church and then do nothing, Think it will happen?

This Week:

We have a lot going on this week. The Teen has a driving lesson, we have two doctor’s appointments scheduled for the kids, our dental appointments, my book club party/meeting, my hair appointment, a co-worker’s party and The Teen’s Winter Concert for choir. Work will most likely be hectic because I was off last week. We’ll get through it. Oh, and we are supposed to have some weather! Rain, lots of it but it keeps getting pushed so we’ll see if it actually produces a drop.

Reading:

I did finish Revival but I am not sure what to think. Good story, but definitely not the return to horror that King claimed. Unless, the subject of drug addiction is what he was referring to. He battled his own demons in that area so I supposed returning to that subject would be horrifying.

I need to read my book club book for this week’s meeting, A Gathering of Old Men.

Watching:

We’ve been enjoying a free movie weekend and I am catching up on all the movies I either haven’t seen in awhile, or recording the ones I’ve been wanting to see. I saw Maleficent and really enjoyed it. I watched Annie Hall again, Miracle on 34th Street, The Exotic Marigold Hotel, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Pretty in Pink, Rush Hour and that is only what I can remember. I have so many recorded that I will be watching movies for weeks.

Making:

After all that cooking and then not wanting any of it, I am all cooked out. I have no desire to make anything.

Grateful for:

Grateful that my family could spend this time together, Grateful that I was able to take the week off and although The Teen is not feeling well, I am grateful that he’s had the tail end of this week to recover. Also grateful for The Girl’s mad decorating skills. I just was not feeling it when it was 88 degrees out! Now with the decorations up and the lights up on the house, it does feel a bit like Christmas is around the corner.

Happy Thought For the Week:

That by this time next week, my crazy week of appointments will be over. I booked many of these appointments over six months ago never thinking this would be a busy week. Normally the weeks closer to Christmas are busier but oh well. What can you do?

Also, Murakami’s new book, The Strange Library,  hits the shelves this week!

How is everyone? How was your Thanksgiving? Did you travel? Stay home? Cook your first turkey?

Sunday Matters: A Sunday Where I Can Finally Rest!

Sunday Matters

You know how I am about grocery shopping but guess what folks? I got it ALL done Friday night! All of it. Even for the big meal on Thursday. I left work early for a doctor’s appointment, went to make another appointment for something else and the gals at the front desk told me they’d see me right then so I got two of my appointments out-of-the-way without even trying and then had time to do my shopping. So glad that is done. Now, I can enjoy my week off.

As for the appointment and the health issues I mentioned the other day, my doctor didn’t seem as concerned with my low iron or the shape of my red blood cells since my numbers in other areas looked really good. But he can’t seem to understand how I am functioning with the levels being what they are. He said my reserves are depleted and that I should be completely exhausted. Sometimes, I am but not always. He’s choosing to continue to keep an eye on it for now.

Right Now:

My coffee this morning is so good. I really look forward to that first cup in the morning and today’s cup is especially good. The weather is nice. Cool in the morning and evenings but warmish in between and I am just sitting here while the sun streams in through the window. The Otter Pup is on my lap and we are cozy, at least for a little bit. Gotta pick up The Girl from a sleepover and then we are off to church.

This Week:

Did I mention that I am off the for the week.? There will be some cooking on Wednesday and of course on Thanksgiving itself but that’s okay. The kids are not out of school until Thursday so I can tidy-up a little and hopefully read a lot.

Reading:

King!! Gotta finish Revival. I want to start The Rosie Effect and I need to finish up all the other stuff I have halfway read. I DID ditch The Slap and I got an ARC for a book written by a blogger called It Was Me All Along which is about her drastic weight loss and how she struggles to keep it off every day. I normally don’t read books like this but I feel as if I already know her since I’ve been reading her blog, Can You Stay For Dinner, for well over a year.

Watching:

I am still on a Lucy kick. Oh, and I guess I can share it now. The Teen got the lead in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels so of course we had to see the movie on Netflix even though it’s quite different from the Broadway show. We are very proud. He really wanted this part and he’s very excited!! To keep it all straight, he’s doing The 39 Steps in December, Annie in February and now Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in May.

Making:

I made tacos this weekend but have no idea what we’ll have for dinner tonight. My inclination is to keep the week simple since we will be in a food coma come Thursday.

Grateful for:

I am very grateful for being able to take this week off.

Happy Thought For the Week:

The smell of roasting turkey while watching Miracle on 34th Street. Also, I love the Macy’s parade and seeing all those Broadway numbers!

For those who celebrate, are you staying home this week or will you be hitting the road to see family?

My NOT So Reading Life

I swore, SWORE I would not allow a slump to hit me and it has. Not fully, but sort of. First off, this time of year is difficult. I’ve been given a rather large project and the deadline for said project is the end of the year, but I am taking a lot of time off at the end of the year so really that only gives me a good ten days to get it done. I’ve made progress though so there is hope but my mind is a little scattered lately which makes reading difficult.

Speaking of reading, this book I am reading is good, but I don’t want to read it! It’s The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. In theory, there is really nothing wrong with it but for whatever reason I am not eager to pick it up. It’s a library book that I have already renewed once but it’s messed up my 2-3 at-a-time book reading. I do have King’s Revival to keep me company, but I am reading that one slowly on purpose so that I can comment along with the other read-alongers.

I also have some health stuff going on. Not serious, as least I don’t consider it to be serious but my iron levels are at an all-time low. No one can figure out why and now my gluten-free diet doesn’t seem to be helping me anymore and I am not sure why. It’s made me tired and grumpy. Not good for the reading mojo.

My action plan? I am going to ditch the one book because it’s really screwing with me. I have recently gotten some really good ones, like The Rosie Effect and I’ve Give You The Sun and Dead Wake about the sinking of the Lusitania. They all sound so good.

I go to the doc on Friday so we’ll see what he has to say about all of my other stuff. If I eat nothing, I feel good but I can’t eat nothing forever.

Anyway, thought I’d check in so that you didn’t think I fell off the planet or something.

This time of a year is a challenge for a lot of you, what do you find challenging right now?

Sunday Matters: Clearing House

Sunday Matters

It’s been an interesting week. The Teen is driving. He took his first lesson and he’s been driving all over the place with us. He’s not bad. Better than I expected him to be. I told him that if a zombie apocalypse should overtake us, he can at least drive us out of it. Progress.

I’ve been working on a project at work and it’s coming together. It taps my creative side so it’s nice to use that part of my brain. However, my eyes! All that close computer work is really getting to my eyes which affects my reading, to a degree. I just load-up on eye drops and tough it out because let’s face it, the act of reading must continue or I’ll lose my mind. It’s my only break in the day.

Right Now:

As I sit here enjoying my first cup of coffee, I am pondering my house and all the stuff in it. TOO MUCH STUFF. Which is why we ended up in debt, no sense trying to hide it. I used to buy stuff all the time, especially when the kids were younger. That stopped years ago when furloughs hit and my husband’s business started to tank. I’ve learned a lot from the experience. Mostly, that I am happiest when I don’t have a lot of stuff. Sitting here, warm, under a blanket with  my family around me is really what makes me happy. Not the stuff that I’ve accumulated throughout my life.

Live Simply

Source: Pinterest

I hate clutter. Hate it with a passion so I am always tossing stuff out but I am thinking there is a lot more than can go. Especially since I’ve come to terms with it all and accepted that I will never be a “spender” again. I see all of the waste and it makes me physically ill. After church today, I plan to go through the garage to see what can go. It’s not all that relaxing but it makes for a satisfying day.

Also, if any of you struggle with simplifying, like I do, check out this awesome post on how to become ‘unbusy’.

This Week:

Not a whole lot going on this week. Same old rehearsal stuff but no extra meetings or anything that I know of. I guess I will be picking up a few things in preparation of Thanksgiving. The Girl wants to pick out another puzzle to do that day. We sucked when we tried to do the last puzzle. It was a Titanic theme, so cool, but it was all blue and dark and there were too many pieces, it was too large and the pieces were too small. I kept having to get up close to it to see it and that was a major pain. The eyes. Them again. They betray me these days.

What else? I have a door that needs painting. Exciting, huh?

Reading:

A group of us are reading Stephen King’s Revival for #ReviveMe2014. It is so hard to pace myself when reading this book. It’s not like we have a schedule or anything but usually King’s books have some heft and this one does not. It’s relatively short, for him, so I find myself rationing out bits to myself here and there. I am really liking what I’ve read so far but where is he going with it? It has been advertised as his return to true horror but as of yet, I don’t see it. It’s a good story though. He always tells a good story.

Watching:

I did end up watching Snowpiercer. The first hour totally sucked. Good premise but it was weird and strange and dark and seemed way over the top with some of the acting. One of my friends said she walked out of the theater, it was so bad. That first half was horrible, but the second half was pretty good, or at least I feel it redeemed itself.

American Horror Story continues to be all about Dandy. What a strange character. I find myself loving his Man Child ways. When he loses it, I lose it. I find him so interesting.

The Walking Dead fizzled out a little with the last two episodes but I know how it works. Back story for any of the characters always slows it down but then it picks up again. I am expecting a lot of action tonight.

Still watching a lot of I Love Lucy and yes, Chrisley Knows Best and Kendra On Top. I think I just lost bonus points with you all for admitting it but those shows, along with all their drama is what entertains me at the end of the day.

Making:

After attending the Newhall Old Town holiday lights kick-0ff  last night, I opted to enjoy a cheese tamale and did not go to the market. That means I have nothing in the house to cook. My family abandoned me for church this morning so maybe if I go to an earlier service, I can hit the market on my way home. Still not sure what to make tonight though.

Grateful for:

Very grateful for our beautiful home. It may not be perfect but it’s cozy and with this red-flag wind warning, I am very happy to be inside, nice and warm.

Happy Thought For the Week:

This week I am saying goodbye to the glorification of busy. I know lots of people who thrive on a full calendar but that’s not me. I am going to start blocking out time in my planner that is just for me.

What are you doing this week that is just for you?

Holiday “Creep” and Keeping it Real

Give Thanks

What is it with everyone this year?

Christmas began to creep into stores early October and now it’s full-blown Christmas everywhere you go. I used to love waking up the day after Thanksgiving and seeing the stores transformed into a Christmas wonderland. It signaled the arrival of Christmas and it was so exciting!

This year, I am struggling with it. I love Christmas for a lot of reasons but I love Thanksgiving too and I feel as if it’s getting the shaft big time this year. How do you avoid the holiday “creep”? Or do you? Maybe you just give into it. I feel pressured to start my shopping but you  know what happens when I shop early? I forget how much I’ve gotten and I end up with a lot of extra stuff and really, none of it is needed. Sometimes, I even forget to wrap stuff and find it later! That has happened to me at least three times.

This whole holiday thing has really been on my mind lately. Has it been on yours? When I get  like this, it helps to jot stuff down that makes me happy and I invite you all to join me. I’m grateful for so many things and taking a moment to focus on Thanksgiving keeps it real.

Things to look forward to between now and Thanksgiving:

  • Slowly planning the holiday meal. Usually I make the same things but there are a couple of new dishes that I add to mix it up a little. This recipe, was a new dish that I tried when I went gluten-free and it became a staple.
  • Time off! I am taking the week of Thanksgiving off. I try to every year, but this year with all of the job changes at work, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to. I’m looking forward to the time off.
  • Coming up with my Thanksgiving reading list. I’ve got the week off, I must have stuff to read. I don’t always stick to the list but it’s fun to make one.
  • Sitting down with my December calendar and having a come to Jesus moment. Mapping out December can be a little stressful for some, but I take comfort in knowing what I’ve got coming up. I geek out when it comes to my planner.
  • If the weather cools down, it will be nice to take some walks with the Otter Pup. It’s been warm so I’ve left that job to The Hub but as the decorations go up, it’s fun to walk around the neighborhood.
  • Coming up with my holiday playlist. For both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I tend to not listen to music all that often. Weird, but around the holidays I really like it.
  • Movie watching! I watch a lot of movies this time of year. A must-watch movie: A Miracle on 34th Street (1947). It puts me in the mood for Christmas. We usually watch it on Thanksgiving day.
  • Spending Thanksgiving day with my immediate family which is just the four of us and the pup. We lounge around in our pajamas, eat and eat and just enjoy each other’s company. I cherish this time together.

Your turn! What are you looking forward to between now and Thanksgiving?

 

Sunday Matters: Countdown to Thanksgiving (I think)

Sunday Matters

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love it so. I’ve been thinking about the meal and our day-long pajama party. What could be better? The fact that Christmas has been pushed upon us so soon, really gets to me! Just a few years ago, you’d wake up the day after Thanksgiving and everything would be transformed and you’d be anxious for Christmas. Not now. Sigh.

Of course, time seems to be flying by too. Tuesday, The Teen takes his first in-car driving lesson. He’s also looking at colleges. I think The Girl has skipped over the Tween stage and gone right into Teen. She’s been a real treasure lately. Smirk.

Last night we hit the ice rink. Everyone was bundled up in coats and scarves which was funny given it was close to ninety degrees yesterday. Us West Coasters try really hard to create seasons for ourselves but it’s not working out that great.

The first shot is The Teen and his girlfriend. The second is The Girl and her friend, The Girl is on the right.

Ice Rink

Right Now:

Sitting here with a cup of coffee as the rest of the house sleeps. It’s a beautiful day and yes…sunny!

This Week:

Driving lessons, Annie rehearsals and some doctor stuff.

Reading:

  • Driftwood by Elizabeth Sutton (REALLY enjoying this one)
  • The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (at a suburban BBQ a man slaps a child who is not his own. Drama!)

Watching:

The same two shows that I always watch, American Horror Story and The Walking Dead. Both happen to be really good this season. I saw that Snowpiercer is on Netflix instant view. I’d love to sneak that one in today,

Making:

Even though it’s warm out, I am craving chicken noodle soup. Yes. NOODLES. I’ll use gluten-free ones which won’t quite be the same but so be it. When you’ve got a craving, you gotta satisfy it. I think biscuits are called for as well. Mmmmm.

MS soup

Grateful for:

I am grateful that I am able to take a good chunk of time off for the holidays. I’ve got Tuesday off for Veteran’s Day but I will be taking Thanksgiving week off and a couple of weeks around Christmas. I LOVE and need this time off.

Happy Thought For the Week:

Stephen King’s new book comes out on Tuesday. Revival is said to be his return to TRUE horror and of course I am hosting a read along for it. If you want to read it with us, you can check out the details here:

ReviveMe 2014

 

What are you grateful for today?

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