Announcing the “Revival” Read Along!

ReviveMe2014

When King releases a new book, you pay attention. I  know when he released Mr. Mercedes a few months ago, folks who didn’t even read King picked it up and were pleasantly surprised at the story telling contain within. He is quite the story teller and that is the one thing I say over and over again to readers who are afraid to read his stuff. Granted, some of his stuff can be terrifying (IT, comes to mind) but many of his books are good stories and memorable characters. Good versus evil. I love it.

This year, fans get to gush over another book release! Revival hits the shelves on November 11th and I am SO there. Just in time for my holiday reading. I love to read something really good over Thanksgiving break and the anticipation of a big release is almost too much for me! Do I buy the Kindle version? The hard copy? Both? Ah, decisions.

The only thing better is getting to read it with others. Wanna join me?

Details:

-The read along begins on November 11, 2014 (release day!) and ends on November 30, 2014. Take longer if you need to but it’s Uncle Stevie! Chances are we will finish early.

-This read along will take place mostly on Twitter using the hashtag #ReviveMe2014. Use the hashtag to share your thoughts while reading. Search for that hashtag on Twitter to see what readers are saying.

-Since most of us have to buy the book on release day, this will be a “fly by the seat of your pants” read along without any structure! Just read, comment if you feel the need and enjoy it! A lot of us did this informally with Mr. Mercedes and it was fun to catch people on Twitter talking about the book.

Are you in? A good resource for you is this site! It’s his return to true horror. Be ready for it.

Sign-Ups

To sign-up, click on the green Mr. Linky below. It asks for blog URL but if you don’t have a blog, just use my URL. Anyone can sign-up.

Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes (Read-Along & Final Update – Part Three)

Something Wicked

Something Wicked This Way Comes
By Ray Bradbury
(Avon, Mass Market Paperback, 9780380729401, March 1998, 304pp.)

The Short of It:

The calliope music signals that the carnival has arrived, but the carnival itself is a host of horrors for the inhabitants of this small town.

The Rest of It:

I can sum this story up in just  a few words. Hallucinogenic, batshit craziness.

A couple of weeks ago we talked about part one and part two and today, I am happy to report that our read along is complete! Part three, titled, ‘Departures’ was both strange and welcome. It’s been a crazy ride. Bradbury’s imagination was all over the place and it was hard to work the reading into my other reading. It stuck out like a sore thumb.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, but like it? Not really. It’s not really the type of book you like. That said, I can’t imagine reading it at any other time of the year because the setting and time frame just beg to be read in the Fall. Yes, I think WHEN you read this is very important. It DOES put you in the mood for Halloween and out here in sunny, Southern California with our never-ending 85 degree temps, I need all the help I can get.

The book though, it’s very disjointed. Odd. Feels a little nightmarish. I had two read-alongers listen to the book on audio and they gave-up on it. I think it would be very hard to follow on audio and that’s a shame because listening to a spooky book is so much fun, usually. What was Bradbury trying to accomplish with this one? That is the question I keep asking myself. The first part really set the stage, but the middle section was very difficult to make sense of. I will say this, it came together at the end and I found the end notes very interesting.

Peril the Second

This book counts towards the R.I.P IX Challenge!

Did you know that Gene Kelly was the reason this book was written? Apparently, Bradbury was good friends with him and always wanted to work with him, so he pulled out some of his story ideas and Kelly decided that this story, would be great to adapt in some way. It never worked out, but Bradbury then took it and turned it into a novel which later became a movie after all.

I’ve never seen the movie version of this book but recently, on American Horror Story, a new character was introduced (Mordrake) who reminds me a lot of Mr. Dark. This season of AHS seems to be paying homage to classic horror movies like Halloween and the like, so seeing Mordrake  in the freak show background does make me think that maybe the movie of Something Wicked might be better than the book.

Have you read this book or seen the movie?

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

Something Wicked Read-Along Update – Part Two

Something Wicked

A couple of weeks ago we talked about part one. We are now approaching the end of our read along. By today, 10/24, we should be wrapping-up part two, Chapters 25-44. This section is so bizarre and strange.

  • Continues to be very atmospheric but less so than part one.
  • What is up with the witch? The hot air balloon was a nice touch but strange and nightmarish.
  • Will & Jim continue to be too much alike. I like to refer to them as “Wim” because I have given up trying to tell them apart.
  • Will’s dad. We knew something was up with him but the whole thing with his hand… I can’t make sense of it.

On Twitter (#EnterTheRingmaster) one blogger wondered what Bradbury was on when he wrote the book. That’s a good question because part two seemed a little disjointed to me. You’ve got this crazy witch chasing the boys and the visuals he uses to tell that part of the story are so odd. Mr. Dark is still after the boys as well but he seems less of a threat than everyone else and virtually no time is spent AT the carnival. Another adult has been turned into a child, but for what purpose? Will’s father comes to their aid but it’s still questionable how he fits into all of this. I’ve spent the last day pondering what I’ve read but my thoughts are all jumbled up. Partly because of how this part was told. It’s a little chaotic. Pursuits and chases can be like that. I am anxious to see how this story ends.

Next up on the schedule?

  • Finish Section 3 (Chapters 45-54) by Friday, October 31st

If you wrote-up a post, just add the link in comments or feel free to comment away here or on Twitter using #EnterTheRingmaster as the hashtag.

Something Wicked Read-Along Update – Part One

Something Wicked

Our read along for Something Wicked This Way Comes is in full swing! By today, 10/10, we should be wrapping-up part one, Chapters 1-24. What do you think so far? Here are my thoughts and then I have some questions for you to ponder:

  • Super quick read. The first 24 chapters flew by.
  • Very atmospheric. Think dark clouds, wind, dry leaves and the smell of ozone.
  • Odd narration. The language is a little stilted. Almost like a regional thing but not quite. Didn’t take long to get used to though.
  • Two main characters, boys, Will and Jim. Too much alike. Hard to determine who is talking sometimes.
  • CRAZY happenings involving a carousel and a weird little ‘nephew’ of one of the neighbors.
  • Right now, I am totally sucked into the story which promises to be very strange from what I’ve read so far.

Now, a couple of questions for you from Shmoop.com:

  1. We have a third-person narrator in this novel, but how much of this narration is influenced by Will and Jim’s way of looking at the world? That is, how “close” is the narrator to our main characters?
  2. What do you think is the target audience (age group) of Something Wicked This Way Comes? How might its meaning change for readers of different age groups?

Everyone on Twitter (#EnterTheRingmaster) has mentioned the narration. It’s a little odd. One blogger said the flow was a little difficult to pick up, but once she got over the hump, she was totally into the story. For me, the third-person narration is not an issue but the language, prose, whatever you want to call it, was a little disjointed at first. It did kind of add to the story though because it felt to me as if I was listening to someone from another part of the country. How close is the narrator to the boys? I’d say pretty close, almost too close because I am having a hard time keeping the two boys separate in my mind.

The target audience? Good question. Although the main characters are young boys, I’m not sure that’s the intended audience. There is something going on with Will and his father, something that maybe only an adult can appreciate. There is the whole old versus young thing too. I’m not sure a young person can appreciate youth when they have it. Do you?

My feeling right now is that the fun is just beginning. Part one dealt with the arrival of the dark carnival and part two is titled Pursuits.

If you want to still join us, it’s not too late. It took me one sitting to read through chapters 1-24. The biggest challenge will be finding a copy.

Next up on the schedule?

  • Finish Section 2 (Chapters 25-44) by Friday, October 24th
  • Finish Section 3 (Chapters 45-54) by Friday, October 31st

If you wrote-up a post, just add the link in comments or feel free to comment away here or on Twitter using #EnterTheRingmaster as the hashtag.

‘Something Wicked’ Begins Today!

#EnterTheRingmaster

Our group read for Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury begins today! It’s not too late to join us. To sign-up or to see the reading schedule, check out the announcement post. We’ve got an entire month to read this baby and I have to say, from the opening pages I am hooked.

Something Wicked cover

Plus, it also counts for the R.I.P IX challenge which a lot of us are doing as well.

I hope you can join Sandy and I!

The Sunday Salon: What a Week

Sunday Salon

It’s been a rough week. The Girl was sick-ish last week and guess what? Even with my excellent preventative measures, I am a walking petri dish right now. I can’t really figure out how I caught what she had because I hardly ever catch colds but I did. Monday, I knew I was a goner but was in denial and Tuesday was much worse but since I was alone in the office, I figured I’d tough it out and drown myself in cold meds and tea and hope for the best.

I am still sick though. The low-grade fever continues to linger which is not bad enough to make me bed-ridden but just enough to throw me off my game. I can still read but not without a lot of Sudafed. I’d go to the doctor but everyone seems to have this same head cold. There’s nothing that can be done. I just need to let it run its course.

But, the kids got through their first round of auditions for Annie. The callback list comes out Tuesday afternoon. Let’s hope they get to go another round. The Girl was coming off of her head cold, so her voice was a tad scratchy but I think for the most part, she got through it okay.

What am I reading?

I am still reading The Bone Clocks and finishing up Fahrenheit 451, which I started for Banned Books Week. But soon, I will be reading Something Wicked This Way Comes. More details on that below.

What am I cooking?

I am so done cooking! I made five dozen brownies for the choir bake sale and twenty or so fruit loop necklaces. I do have to go to the store later because I think my kids are sick of cereal and I have a tiny craving for Chicken Alfredo.

What am I watching?

I watched an adorable movie that just happened to be on, Definitely, Maybe. It was so darn cute! Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin. Adorable. Not sure what I’ll watch today.

Now for some exciting news.

Read Along Info:

Something Wicked This Way Comes button

Our read along for Something Wicked This Way Comes (hashtag #EnterTheRingmaster) starts this Wednesday, October 1st. Did you find a copy? Did you sign-up? Because there is still time to read this Bradbury classic with Sandy and I.

Something Wicked cover

Here is a little taste of what it’s about:

The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmares (Indiebound). 

How can you resist?? Freaky carnival action? I am so there.

Review: The Sparrow

The SparrowThe Sparrow
By Mary Doria Russell
Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780449912553, September 1997, 448pp.)

*No Spoilers*

The Short of It:

This is one of those stories that innocently skips along and then delivers such a powerful punch to the gut, that you’ll want to forget what you’ve read as soon as you’ve read it.

The Rest of It:

I am not even going to attempt to describe the story to you in detail because that is half the adventure and this is definitely a novel you will want to experience on your own. I will say, that it’s about a newly discovered planet and the group sent to investigate it.

As you can imagine with a book like this, part of the suspense comes from WHAT is on the planet and how our group which includes Jesuit priests, a doctor, an engineer, an astronomer and an indentured computer specialist deals with what is thrown at them. And there is a lot thrown at them. Figuring out food and cultivating plants that they recognize is one challenge, determining the effects that the climate and environment have on their bodies is another challenge and really, just learning how to adapt to what they have in front of them is what keeps them busy much of the time.

What makes this an entertaining read is the group itself. Many were friendly back on Earth before their mission, so there is a lot of humor and well-placed sarcasm as everyone gets used to spending so much time together. They all fit, if that makes any sense even though many of them come from very different backgrounds.

But something terrible happens.

The story jumps around a bit between the before, during and after parts of the mission so very early on, you know that something horrible has happened and so this cake walk of visiting an unknown planet and the funny parts interspersed between the more serious issues, felt like I was being led along a very long plank and that any moment I would be plunged into the icy depths below. And that is EXACTLY what happens!

Everyone who reads this book says stuff like, “I feel totally wrung out”, “This book destroyed me” or “I cannot un-see what I’ve seen in my head.” I agree with these statements but what’s totally weird is that I saw it all coming and NONE if it really shocked me and yet, because I was strung along for so long, it hit me HARD. I read this for the #sparrowRAL (read along) and I finished it when others were still reading so when the air was sucked out of me, I had no one to turn to! I finished it at work too which added to my overall anxiety over the ending.

As far as science fiction goes, it felt very current to me even though much of it takes place in 2060. There is a sequel, Children of God, which I did not know about until after I finished The Sparrow but I feel absolutely no need to read the second book.

Things you should know:

  • Contains heavy religious themes but mostly deals with the question of whether or not God exists
  • Packs a punch and you will be a little ill after reading it. Make sure you have someone to discuss it with or you will lose your mind.
  • It takes a long time to get into the story (IMO). Lots of set-up and back and forth.
  • The idea of interacting with an alien race and how it’s handled here will fascinate you.
  • If you are at all interested in societal structure, you will have loads to consider.
  • After finishing the book, I suggest you gaze at pictures of cute puppies and kittens for a day or two because the images that Russell paints will be stuck in your mind for a very long time.

I can’t say that it’s a favorite of mine but it is a book that will stay with me forever and I am glad that I finally read it. Thanks Trish for hosting the read along. I probably would not have picked it up had you not chosen it.

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

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