The Long Walk by Stephen King

How do you talk about a book that you loved and hated?  

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Let me explain. I have been a fan of Stephen King’s books for many years.  When I first read The Stand, I read it with a high school friend many years ago. I have vivid memories of reading The Shining, my first King book.  I adore many of his short stories.  Night Shift is one of my favorites. I have an entire bookshelf filled with SK books.  11/22/63 is also an all-time favorite.

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Yet, I never read The Long Walk.  It’s set in a dystopian vision of America.  Every year on May 1, one hundred teenage boys compete in “The Walk.”  There is only one winner. He will receive The Prize.  Anything he wants for the rest of his life.

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I finished this book in one afternoon, two weeks ago. Once I started it, I was on that walk with those boys.  I was all in.  This was a book where I shut out everyone in my life (except the dogs).  I felt everything.  This is not a behemoth of a book.  It’s sparse.  The prose is tight.  I don’t know too many authors who could write a book like this, a book about 100 kids walking, a book that left me psychologically drained.

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When I finished this book, I hated it.  Seriously.  My first knee-jerk reaction was, “WTAF was that?”  But then I gathered up some brain cells and started thinking about it. Because most of the time my knee-jerk reactions can be pointless. This book was published in 1979, when King was writing under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman.  But King actually wrote this book much earlier when he was a student at the University of Maine.  King came of age during the Vietnam War.

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I gave my copy of The Long Walk to my dad.  He said, “Will I like it?”  I told him I couldn’t answer that for him.  After I thought about this book for two weeks, I decided I loved it.  This book is one of the many reasons I love to read.  I’m not doing a monthly wrap-up for August. Because this is the one book that stood out for me. That isn’t to suggest that the other books I read this month were less worthy. But this was my favorite book, the one that mattered to me the most.

Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

I have made a pledge to read 10 Book of the Month titles #10BOTM2019 by the end of the year and this is my first one on that list.  The Turn of the Key was my August 2019 pick.  I had waited many months for this book because I’ve read every book that Ruth Ware has written.  I love the creepy, gothic feel that all her books have.  I read this on a cloudy, rainy vacation day and well into the night.  Not once could I shake that familiar creepy feeling that I get when I read one of her books and I love that.  I was absorbed in the story from the first page, and since I really didn’t read the synopsis, I had very little clues about the book.

The story opens with the main character, Rowan, writing a letter to a solicitor from a prison in Scotland.  I immediately wanted to know more and so began my journey with Rowan Caine, a young nanny who gets the job of a lifetime caring for three young daughters of a high-powered couple who own a large house, Heatherbrae, in the Scottish Highlands.  Heatherbrae is part smart house with ultra modern voice activation on nearly everything and part Victorian mansion.  The house is not only a setting, but a character in this story.

How I pictured the setting: Sort of. Minus the stream. I am fascinated with Scotland. I definitely want to travel there someday.

I will tell you that I couldn’t put this book down.  I was pretty much glued to my chair throughout.  When I had to stop reading, I kept wanting to get back to it.  I ended up having to read it later in the evening after it got dark outside and thunderstorms were brewing in the distance.  This ended up making me feel even more on edge.

Let me talk about the ending. I thought the book was 85% fantastic until the ending. It wrapped up too quickly and the end just didn’t work for me. I had one of those, “Really?” moments. Maybe it’s me. Have you read The Turn of the Key? Is it on your TBR? I’m giving it a 4/5 pawprints. 🐾 Compulsively readable and creepy, but I was let down by the ending.

Book Review: The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

Book Summary:

In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his estranged father’s funeral takes place. On the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back to the people and places of his past, as deadly secrets hidden at their hearts are revealed, and his new life is forced into a collision course with the world he thought he’d left behind.

From Ann Cleeves, bestselling author of Vera and Shetland, beloved by readers and TV viewers alike, comes a spectacular new series, told with deep compassion and searing insight.

My Thoughts:

I had a bit of a tough time sorting through my thoughts on this book.  There were things that I loved—the setting in North Devon, England and the mystery of a dead body found on the beach.  I was immediately curious about the mystery.  I pictured gloomy skies and unreliable witnesses.  It’s a police procedural with a side of family drama mixed in.  That family drama comes with the main character, detective Matthew Venn who is the lead investigator of the dead body on the beach.  The Long Call, which refers to the sound of a herring gull, begins with Matthew watching his father’s funeral from afar.  He is estranged from his family because he has strayed from their strict religious beliefs.  All the characters were both interesting and flawed.

But, the book was so slow in the beginning that I almost couldn’t stick with it.  That was sad for me because that initial slow pace really distracted me from the story. Overall, this was a very interesting British police procedural mystery that is well-written and sure to please many readers of this genre.

Thank you to Minotaur Books for the invitation to read and review this book via NetGalley.  This book is also the start of a new series by this author, The Two Rivers series introducing Detective Matthew Venn. The Long Call is available on September 3rd.

Book Tour!

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this legal thriller!

About Rule of Capture

• Paperback: 400 pages
• Publisher: Harper Voyager (August 13, 2019)

“This one is fresh, intelligent, and emotional with a plot that envisions an alternate reality hard to dismiss as unreal.  It’s a legal thriller, with a big twist, stirring and imaginative, brimming with skullduggery, that will have you asking: is this possible?”

— New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry

Better Call Saul meets Ben Winter’s The Last Policeman in this first volume in an explosive legal thriller series set in the world of Tropic of Kansas—a finalist for the 2018 Campbell Award for best science fiction novel of the year.

Defeated in a devastating war with China and ravaged by climate change, America is on the brink of a bloody civil war. Seizing power after a controversial election, the ruling regime has begun cracking down on dissidents fighting the nation’s slide toward dictatorship. For Donny Kimoe, chaos is good for business. He’s a lawyer who makes his living defending enemies of the state.

His newest client, young filmmaker Xelina Rocafuerte, witnessed the murder of an opposition leader and is now accused of terrorism. To save her from the only sentence worse than death, Donny has to extract justice from a system that has abandoned the rule of law. That means breaking the rules—and risking the same fate as his clients.

When Donny bungles Xelina’s initial hearing, he has only days to save the young woman from being transferred to a detention camp from which no one returns. His only chance of winning is to find the truth—a search that begins with the opposition leader’s death and leads to a dark conspiracy reaching the highest echelons of power.

Now, Donny isn’t just fighting for his client’s life—he’s battling for his own. But as the trial in the top secret court begins, Xelina’s friends set into motion a revolutionary response that could destroy the case. And when another case unexpectedly collides with Xelina’s, Donny uncovers even more devastating secrets, knowledge that will force him to choose between saving one client . . . or the future of the entire country.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Christopher Brown

Christopher Brown’s debut novel Tropic of Kansas was a finalist for the Campbell Award for best science fiction novel of 2018, and he was a World Fantasy Award nominee for the anthology Three Messages and a Warning. His short fiction and criticism has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including MIT Technology Review, LitHub, Tor.com and The Baffler. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he also practices law.

Find out more at his website, and connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.

My Thoughts:

This book takes place in a dystopian, post-war America.  The US lost a war with China and now the country is descending into a civil war with a president who grabbed power and fancies himself a dictator who continually abandons the rule of law.

Does this sound at all familiar?  Rule of Capture is a fictional, legal thriller that takes place in an alternate reality version of America that doesn’t sound too far from the truth.  As I read this book, I felt a chill crawl up my spine because some of the events in the book didn’t sound too far from our reality.  Donny Kimoe is a lawyer who defends enemies of the state.  When he is tasked with defending a woman name Xelina Rocafuerte who is accused of terrorism.  But she is really part of an opposition movement in the US, a country now in the midst of a burgeoning civil war and in the throes of climate change.

Not only did this book terrify me with its visions of a future America, but it’s also an interesting legal thriller.  Donny is the kind of character I really enjoy.  Flawed, reckless, but with a heart of gold.  In his quest to save Xelina, he risks his own life to uncover dark secrets and conspiracies that reach all the way to the top of this new, so-called “government.”

Highly recommended!  I would really love to read The Tropic of Kansas at some point.  I love dystopian, alternate reality novels and if you are reader that enjoys them as well, definitely add Rule of Capture to your book list.

Thank you so much to TLC Book Tours and https://www.harpervoyagerbooks.com for my copy of this page-turning thriller!

Happy New Book Tuesday!

The Whisper Man by Alex North

This book is one of my favorite thrillers I read this year!  I’m so grateful to NetGalley and Celadon Books https://celadonbooks.com/ for my copy because I loved this one.  What really stood out for me and made me love this so much is the relationship between Tom and his son, Jake.  Many thrillers are simply unreliable narrators filled with one twist after another without much in the way of character development.  This book is different.  It’s a story of fathers and sons within an eerie, creepy mystery about a serial killer that terrorized a small town.

This book is everything a thriller should be.  I don’t want to say anything else that would give away any more details.  I will say one other thing:  READ THIS BOOK! 

Summary from the book: In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

In the Book Nook Spotlight

Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

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Thank you to Forever Publishing https://www.read-forever.com/ for sending me this book!  I would love to dive into a new series and this is the first book in the Cedar Ridge series.  It will also be my first time reading a book by this author. I know many of you have read her books already, so I’m excited to start this one. 😊

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Here’s the summary: Lily Danville’s life is crumbling around her. With no money and no home, her only choice is to go back to the one town she swore she’d never see again: Cedar Ridge, Colorado. Back to the memories of her sister’s tragic death. Back to the place where, ten years ago, she shared an unforgettable kiss with Aidan Kincaid-the man her sister once loved.

A new job at the town’s hottest resort is just the fresh start Lily has been looking for…until she discovers the resort is owned by none other than the Kincaid family. How can she possibly see Aidan every day without feeling as if she’s betraying her sister?

But as secrets from the past come to light and Lily starts to realize the truth, she can only hope it’s not too late to find love, family, and forgiveness.

About The Author:


New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit http://www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
http://www.facebook.com/jillshalvis
http://www.twitter.com/jillshalvis
http://www.instagram.com/jillshalvis
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or email her at contact@jillshalvis.com

Molly: The True Story of the Amazing Dog Who Rescues Cats by Colin Butcher

Celadon Books. Pub Date: October 8, 2019.

Let me just start out by saying:  I loved this book!  Colin Butcher’s book about his amazing dog, Molly, warmed my heart and gave me back a little faith in humanity.  I named my blog after my dogs, so I loved reading Colin’s story of how he formed his UK Pet Detective Agency.  I know what you’re thinking.  Like Ace Ventura?  No, it’s nothing like that Jim Carrey movie.  Colin Butcher tells us about his background, first in the Royal Navy and then as a police detective.  He had been an animal lover since childhood.  During his time on the police force, he was privileged to help other police officers who worked with police dogs.  Colin left the force to start his own detective agency.

Colin knew he needed a partner to help reunite owners with their lost pets, specifically cats.  He turned to the experts at Medical Detection Dogs for help in finding and training a dog.  I loved how the author specifically wanted a rescue dog and after much searching, he found Molly, a black cocker spaniel.  Molly was young and stubborn, but she and Colin made it through the rigorous training.  I really enjoyed learning about the science behind the training of a dog who can search for cats through each cats’ unique scent.  I also loved reading about  all the different cases of missing pets.  I felt like I got to know each person’s story through Colin’s writing.  I’ve been an animal love my whole life and I could completely understand all the emotions of every person who needed Colin and Molly’s help.  I also loved reading about the bond between Colin and his amazing dog.

This is such a great book to read for any animal lover.  And it was a perfect time for me to read this book too.  When everything seems so dark and horrible,  it’s lovely to read about a man and his dog helping others.  I know how important a pet is.  My beloved dogs are older now.  They are my family.  I know many of you feel the same way about your own fur babies.  Do yourself a favor and pick up this book.  It publishes on October 8th.  Thank you so much to @celadonbooks #partner for my copy! My black lab, Benny, was happy to serve as a book model!

About the book:

As a veteran of the Royal Navy and longtime police officer, Colin Butcher was no stranger to dangerous situations. But a career in uniform can wear anyone down, so, in 2003, Colin left the force to start his own private detective agency, specializing in helping reunite people with their missing pets. And yet, despite his hundreds of successes, there were still heartbreaking cases where Colin couldn’t find the missing on his own. He knew he needed a partner.

When Colin first met Molly, his friends doubted that she would be up for the job. Where Colin was battle-tested, Molly was young and inexperienced. She was willful, wayward, and stubborn. But Colin could tell that Molly was unusually charismatic and intelligent. He decided to take a risk and bring on Molly for training. 

Yes, Molly is no ordinary deputy, but a black Cocker Spaniel, and this is no ordinary detective agency. Trained by the top canine behavioral experts at Medical Detection Dogs, Molly can find missing cats―who are uniquely skilled at eluding humans―by detecting a unique scent signature, and she has been wildly successful. 

The work is not always easy. Molly has faced hardships ranging from a near-fatal snakebite to the challenge of winning over Colin’s girlfriend, Sarah. But through it all, Colin and Molly share an enduring love and affection. More than a working relationship, Molly is part of the family. Together, they are the Sherlock and Watson of missing pets.

About the author: Colin Butcher is the Company Director and Chief Investigator of the UKPD. Previously a Detective Inspector in Surrey Police, and a veteran of the Royal Navy, Colin was awarded a prestigious Chief Constables Commendation for his contributions to the advancement of the Criminal Investigation Department. He has been recovering stolen and missing pets for over twenty years and has a wealth of experience in the investigation of pet crime. His first successful assignment was back in 1994 when, serving as a Detective Sergeant with Surrey Police, he recovered two German Shepherd puppies stolen from a breeder’s kennels. Molly: The True Story of the Amazing Dog Who Rescues Cats is his first book.About the author: