Doctor Sleep – Stephen King Book Review

I should start by explaining that I adore The Shining, it wasn’t the first King book I read as a teenager but it was the one that stuck with me, so much so, that I make it a point to re-read my battered paperback copy of it at least once a year, it’s hard to pick a favourite King book but this one would be in my top three for sure. So when I heard the news that a sequel was to be written I awaited its release with much anticipation but also quite a mix of nerves too……what if it was an awful book? what if (god forbid) it completely ruined The Shining for me? So, I pre-ordered Dr Sleep with much trepidation, but I was also very excited by the thought of an update on Danny, Dick and Wendy.

Below you can find the interactive cover for the novel, featuring the cat Azzie – who can foretell when a person will die.

And so onto the book itself, I remember reading a critics review of the book who said that it was an ‘emotional roller-coaster ride’ and boy they weren’t wrong. The first section of the book deals with getting us back up to speed with Danny, Dick and Wendy and that part of the book was like putting on an old pair of comfy slippers for me, I loved it, one of my favourite parts of The Shining is the relationship between Danny and Dick and to revisit that was quite lovely.

Shortly after that, we start to read about Dan (as he is now known) as an adult and without spoiling it, this part was a very difficult read not because it was badly written but just because of how much I love Danny Torrance as a character, to see him go through something so difficult as trying to quit booze and stay sober was hard to read.
I nearly cried when he reached the bottom: stealing money from a woman he had just met in a bar – a single mom with a coke addiction…

“Caddy!…”

I’m so glad I persevered because that’s when the story really kicks into a higher gear, it becomes a very fast paced, exciting, tense and at times incredibly emotional to read.
The characters as always are beautifully written so much so that you start to feel as if they are a part of your family.
rose_the_hatThe villains of the piece are “steam” vampires, living like wanderers, looking like ‘normal’ people, travelling around in their RV’s.
I called them vampires because they feed off people. They like special people – especially children – who show talents like pre-cognition, far-seeing and telekinesis. Basically, people who have the shining.
What they do, they find them using their trackers in the group and then they kidnap them, torture them to make the steam purer and they kill them.
Somehow this made them all the more scary because they didn’t look like monsters (I’ll never look at a camper van in the same way again) and I wonder if maybe Stephen King might re-visit the True Knot one day, there seems to be a whole lot more to their story. The leader of the villains is Rose the Hat, named so because she always wore a top-hat.

The Dream with Abra, Doctor Sleep

The Dream with Abra, Doctor Sleep

ABRA is such a child. When she was born, her great-grandma told everyone this kid was special and she was not wrong.
Both parents dreamed that the child was in terrible danger and when they woke, they found out that she would not stop crying. She cried and cried and no soothing will calm her. Even the people at the hospital did not know what to do. The crying abruptly stopped as soon as two airliners hit the World Trade Center in 2001.

As the child grew, she learned to control her powers and would only be showing them when something terrible happened (like when her momo fell down and broke her hip) or when she wanted to show off (like trying to imitate a magician on her 5th birthday and made all the spoons in the kitchen stick to the ceiling). One night, she was awokened by a terrible dream, where she saw a woman killing a child in a horrible way. They were the True Knot and they had just kidnapped and tortured a boy with the shining.

The vampires attract the unknowing boy into their camper vans, Doctor Sleep

The vampires attract the unknowing boy into their camper vans, Doctor Sleep

The little boy was powerful and managed to feed the entire group. But he also managed to give them a disease he had – measles – for which these ancient vampires did not have any immunity.
Very soon, Rose the Hat detected the girl and saw how powerful she was. She decided to go south, leaving her stem to mature so when they DID kill her, she would feed the entire group and also be enough left to fit into a few canisters for the pantry.

ABRA grows up and she has this imaginary friend called Tony who is none other than Dan’s own imaginary friend. Through him, the two get in touch and exchange hello’s on a blackboard. It’s only years later when they meet – when Abra desperately needs Dan to protect her from Rose.
doctor-sleep_abraWhen Abra took in the mail, she saw the boy she witnessed killed on the back of the newspaper, under the missing children section. She decides to find his killers and focuses on the picture of the boy. By doing so, she connects with Rose shortly and she sees what she is seeing while Rose is looking through her eyes.
The contact is short but powerful and Abra is so scared she causes a small earthquake in her neighborhood. Rose is now determined to find her and she only has a few clues to go by. One – she lives somewhere in the mountains, two – she is a girl of 12-13 years old.

Abra feels that Rose the Vampire is coming for her.

Abra feels that Rose the Vampire is coming for her.

So, she uses her group’s computer wiz to dig out pictures of mountains – and when they also find a report of a local earthquake at the same time the switch happened, they begin to form a plan on how to get the girl.

Abra reaches out to Dan and they meet up. They get really well along and Dan, who by now is an orderly at the local hospice, offers to help her.

His life was linked to Abra’s for years without any of them knowing,. He scribbled ABRA in big letters during his AA meetings, he knew about the chalkboard and they could talk telepathically.

He asks for help from a common friend – Dr. John – who knew about Dan’s talent – and also asks permission from Abra’s dad. He’s not very happy to use his only child as a bait, but he sees that this is needed in order to divert the vampires and get them to move on.

They plan an ambush on the attacking party and they manage to kill 3 of the vampires. What they did not plan for is a change in the attack – which split into two. The Crow manages to kidnap Abra from her house and also Billy Friedman, her guardian.

Killing a True Knot Vampire

Killing a True Knot Vampire would make him “Cycle” – which is appearing and disappearing from this realm, faster and faster – until there was nothing left – except the clothes.

Dan gets some additional help from Abra’s momo – her life force which he stores into him – and they go to fight Rose on the old Overlook Hotel Grounds.

The final battle is amazing and once momo is released, the vampires choke on her mist and die poisoned. How Rose dies is for you to find out as I do not wish to spoil quite everything.

Dan Torrence - Signs of Death

Dan Torrence – Signs of Death

All in all, it is an extremely well written and entertaining book which I really enjoyed. I can’t give it 5 stars but that’s only because I consider The Shining to be a 5 out of 5 star book and this one, although a great sequel, it’s not The Shining!

A real must for any Stephen King fan and although it doesn’t matter too much if you don’t do this, I would recommend that you re-read The Shining first before starting Dr Sleep, it is a stand alone book, but it makes for a much better read if you read the books together.

Happy reading!

Visuals from Vincent Chong Art

Buy on Amazon: Doctor Sleep (Shining Book 2)

I see ghostie people

I see ghostie people

O Captain! My Captain!

BY WALT WHITMAN

RIP Robin Williams

RIP Robin Williams

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
The arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Innocence – by Dean Koontz Review

Innocence-Cover-e1384364403238

I have officially just put the book down and I must say this little gem will be one of my favourites for a long time to come. It’s a story of good versus evil; it’s full of fantasy, mysticism, hope and love interspersed with plenty of thrills and chills.

The story revolves around Addison Goodheart (a very good name indeed) who is an innocent little boy when his mother commits suicide. His mother was not troubled by life, she was troubled by the look of her son, a monstrosity that would make anyone who would stare at him immediately want to kill him. She confessed to him that she did try to kill him when he was just a babe but her mother instincts took over and she stopped at the last moment.

He goes to the big city where he meets one like him who he then calls “Father”. Guided by the night, hiding in the shadows, never to be seen or met by anyone, he lives until he’s 26 – when on one December night he meets a girl in distress and offers to help her.

Gwyneth is a girl on the run from a sexual predator (and also her father’s murderer) and she claims she has a social phobia that will not allow her to touch anyone as she cannot bear to be touched herself.
This Goth beauty is charming and even I, on the other side of the book universe, wanted to give her a hand in apprehending her worst nightmare. Addison falls in love with her, his first friend, his first human contact in years and he wishes for a miracle – of her feeling the same towards him. It’s Romeo and Juliet against the world, though not necessarily the world as we know it – but then again, maybe it’s exactly the world as we know it.

130d6bb591abdfac17f8258181c6d1f5

“Love is absorbing, related to affection but stronger, full of appreciation for – and delight in – the other person – marked by a desire to please and benefit her or him, to smooth the loved one’s way through roughness of the days and to do everything possible to make her or him feel profoundly valued”

 

The story continues with a promise of him never touching her and she never looking at him. And throughout the book, they do just this.

I will not spoil the plot too much but I must say that the look in the past along with the continuous description of the present was a good way to do exposition while keeping the reader in the loop. Throughout, the writing is nothing short of exquisite. Every word is a treasure, creating sentences and pages that almost dazzled my mind. Mr. Koontz, I’ve always enjoyed your books. But for the life of me, I don’t know how in the hell you’re ever gonna top this one.

One of my favourite quotes from the book (I even read it aloud to one of my best friends) is the following:

tumblr_msxqcyuR6T1ruwy81o1_500

THAT WE SHOULD MEET IN THE WHIRL OF LIFE that spins more people apart than together, that we should feel in each other so much that was compatible, that we should lift each other out of doubt and out of weakness into conviction and strength, that we should fall in love in spite of being unable to consumate it physically, a love that was of mind for mind, of heart for heart, soul for soul:
This rare gift was priceless.

 

Overall Rating: 3/5

Interesting characters and setting, but lacking that special something that makes you think about a book long after reading it. There isn’t much of a connection between his characters anymore, the story starts off strong with a good premise, but the love I felt between the characters in other books just isn’t here anymore.
Towards the end, I didn’t really understand what I was reading or where Koontz was going with the story. There were no threads throughout the book that would have led to this explanation. I am wrong – there was a vague conversation between some priests but … seriously… Armageddon? End of days? Ebola virus? Sounds too much like he is trying to be a writer of doomsday but not quite making it.

If you really wish to read about the end of days, why not pick up one of the books from this list?

Plague fiction – why authors love to write about pandemics
From Michael Crichton and Dan Brown to Shelley and Boccaccio, the theme of infectious disease is not a new affliction

AMBIDEXTERITY EXERCISE

by Melvin D. Saunders

ncaa-ambidextrous09132010Ambidexterity is the ability to use both your hands with equal ease or facility, but if you’re armless, it could be your feet! In fact, it is quite advantageous in certain sports and martial arts to be able to use both your feet with equal facility. The Greeks encouraged and tried to promote ambidexterity because it was simply logical in sports and battle to be adept with both hands instead of one. By combining the Phoenician style of writing right to left with their own left to right system, the Greeks created a reading and writing system called boustrophedon, where the lines ran alternately right-to-left and left-to-right. With alternating sweeps of the eyes back and forth, reading was more swift and efficient.

Michelangelo (1475-1564) was a multi-faceted genius like Leonardo da Vinci. He often painted with both hands. When one got tired, he switched to the other. British artist, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873) could draw with both hands simultaneously — a horse’s head with one hand and a stag’s head with the other. He taught drawing and etching to Queen Victoria who was a lefty that became ambidextrous.

Fleming, Einstein and Tesla were all ambidextrous. Benjamin Franklin was also ambidextrous and signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with his left hand. U.S. 20th president, James Garfield was a well educated backwoodsman born in a log cabin. Although he could write with either hand with equal ease, he could also write Greek with his left hand and Latin with his right hand simultaneously! Harry Kahne demonstrated his mental dexterity in 1922 by performing several mental operations simultaneously. While one hand was writing mirror language, the other hand intermingled upside down and backward letters.

Rats given diverse and enriched environments have more connective dendritic spines to their neurons and overall heavier brains than rats exposed to dull, unchallenging environments.

siltberg-ambidextrousLeft-handed and ambidextrous people have 11% larger corpus callosa (the bundle of nerve fibers joining the right and left sides of the brain) than right handed people.

An autopsy of Einstein’s brain revealed a larger profusion of superficial capillaries interlacing the cerebral cortex than the average brain, as well as an additional amount of glial cells.

Obviously the more we use and exercise our brain, the more it physically grows.

The following exercises are designed to task the little used areas of the brain to allow such growth.

To be able to use both hands equally well, practice is the key. During the day, use your left hand more (if you’re right-handed) by consciously switching when you’re about ready to do something — pouring a glass of milk, bouncing a ball, flipping and picking up coins, hammering a nail, cutting and buttering bread, stirring your coffee, swirling water in a glass, twisting off bottle caps, etc. Wherever you would use your one hand, use the other instead — putting a key in the door, combing your hair, brushing your teeth, shaving, grasping objects, etc.
When putting on your clothes, put your other hand or foot into the garment first. Thread your belt around your waist in the opposite direction. Put your watch on your other hand. Use your other hand in sports — hitting a baseball or a tennis ball, throwing a football, shooting a basketball, etc.
Practice stirring 2 cups of tea simultaneously, swirling 2 half filled glasses of water clockwise and counterclockwise, and bouncing two balls at the same time. Get used to the kinesthetic feeling of using the muscles of both your hands and arms together. Catch 2 balls thrown to you at the same time. Throw 2 paper wads at the same time into the same paper basket — one underhand and the other overhand. Throw 2 darts simultaneously at a dart board with both hands. Write with both hands at the same time.

Draw a butterfly, a vase or a geometric figure using both hands simultaneously, but keep practicing these exercises.

TheSmartist - Ambidextrous_thumb[3]

Many musical instruments are played ambidextrously, and many athletes are adept at using both of their hands. Since swimming is an ambidextrous activity, teaching dyslectic children to swim often helps them to read and write normally because it balances the brain hemispheres.

Become ambidextrous and along with an added physiological brain growth, a more balanced integration of your 2 hemispheres will be achieved. Studies have shown that ambidextrous people are more emotionally independent, more determined, more adaptable to new situations and more apt to handle problems without giving up.

 

100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

cat-in-christmas-treeAilurophile A cat-lover.

Assemblage A gathering.

Becoming Attractive.

Beleaguer To exhaust with attacks.

Brood To think alone.

Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.

Bungalow A small, cozy cottage.

Chatoyant Like a cat’s eye.

Comely Attractive.

Conflate To blend together.

Cynosure A focal point of admiration.

Dalliance A brief love affair.

Demesne Dominion, territory.

Demure Shy and reserved.

Denouement The resolution of a mystery.

Desuetude Disuse.

Desultory Slow, sluggish.

Diaphanous Filmy.

Dissemble Deceive.

Dulcet Sweet, sugary.

115 Love & Romance WallpapersEbullience Bubbling enthusiasm.

Effervescent Bubbly.

Efflorescence Flowering, blooming.

Elision Dropping a sound or syllable in a word.

Elixir A good potion.

Eloquence Beauty and persuasion in speech.

Embrocation Rubbing on a lotion.

Emollient A softener.

Ephemeral Short-lived.

Epiphany A sudden revelation.

Erstwhile At one time, for a time.

Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.

Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.

Evocative Suggestive.

fetchingFetching Pretty.

Felicity Pleasantness.

Forbearance Withholding response to provocation.

Fugacious Fleeting.

Furtive Shifty, sneaky.

Gambol To skip or leap about joyfully.

Glamour Beauty.

Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk.

Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.

Harbinger Messenger with news of the future.

Imbrication Overlapping and forming a regular pattern.

Imbroglio An altercation or complicated situation.

Imbue To infuse, instill.

Incipient Beginning, in an early stage.

Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.

ingenueIngénue A naïve young woman.

Inglenook A cozy nook by the hearth.

Insouciance Blithe nonchalance.

Inure To become jaded.

Labyrinthine Twisting and turning.

Lagniappe A special kind of gift.

Lagoon A small gulf or inlet.

Languor Listlessness, inactivity.

Lassitude Weariness, listlessness.

Leisure Free time.

Lilt To move musically or lively.

Lissome Slender and graceful.

Lithe Slender and flexible.

Love Deep affection.

Mellifluous Sweet sounding.

Moiety One of two equal parts.

Mondegreen A slip of the ear.

Murmurous Murmuring.

Nemesis An unconquerable archenemy.

Offing The sea between the horizon and the offshore.

onomatopeeaOnomatopoeia A word that sounds like its meaning.

Opulent Lush, luxuriant.

Palimpsest A manuscript written over earlier ones.

Panacea A solution for all problems

Panoply A complete set.

Pastiche An art work combining materials from various sources.

Penumbra A half-shadow.

Petrichor The smell of earth after rain.

Plethora A large quantity.

Propinquity Proximity; Nearness

Pyrrhic Successful with heavy losses.

Quintessential Most essential.

Ratatouille A spicy French stew.

Ravel To knit or unknit.

Redolent Fragrant.

Riparian By the bank of a stream.

1425Ripple A very small wave.

Scintilla A spark or very small thing.

Sempiternal Eternal.

Seraglio Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem.

Serendipity Finding something nice while looking for something else.

Summery Light, delicate or warm and sunny.

Sumptuous Lush, luxurious.

Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky.

Susquehanna A river in Pennsylvania.

Susurrous Whispering, hissing.

Talisman A good luck charm.

Tintinnabulation Tinkling.

Umbrella Protection from sun or rain.

Untoward Unseemly, inappropriate.

Vestigial In trace amounts.

Wafture Waving.

Wherewithal The means.

Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.

In the tall grass (Stephen King and Joe Hill Short Story)

TallGrass
In the Tall Grass begins with a sister and brother who pull off to the side of the road after hearing a young boy crying for help from beyond the tall grass. Within minutes they are disoriented, in deeper than seems possible, and they’ve lost one another. The boy’s cries are more and more desperate. What follows is a terrifying, entertaining, and masterfully told tale, as only Stephen King can deliver.

There are other people lost in the tall grass (7ft high) – the boy’s dad and his mom and their screams and chuckles make the two siblings weary as they try to find them. The grass is like a maze – it does not flatten nor burn – and jumping high to get a position reference always shows different surroundings, even when jumping from the same spot.
The sister is heavily pregnant and while being attacked by the crazed dad, she falls and hits her baby bump hard, causing her to go into labor and deliver her baby as a stillborn.
Her brother meets the young boy who pulled them into the grass and sees him as he takes a bite from a dead crow. The boy tells him that there is a stone in the middle of the grass field that when hugged will show him the way out, but he will not want to get out anymore. They do go to the stone and it looks like something out of this world, that has been around for centuries and millenia. It features stick men dancing under the surface and it emits a low buzz and warm radiation that manages to “turn” the brother into a beast, much like the boy and his father.
Once he hugged the stone, he knows where his sister is and is able to find her quickly. In a disgusting turn of events, he takes her still born girl and then feeds on it, at the same time passing slices of its meat to the delirious mother.
He then takes his sister to the rock to turn her.

The book ends as an unsuspecting 60’s hippie group pulls by the side of the road to have a picknick and hear the screams of the boy and the man in the grass, shouting out that they are lost.

Overall, it was quite a good book. 67 pages of terror dealing with the mystery kept by a town, a tall labyrinth and the despair of being lost, not captured though to the real extent depicted in Stephen King’s book “The girl who loved Tom Gordon”.
I loved the depiction of hunger, slow loss of senses, the abandonment and regression into the animal nature inherent to all humans.

What I would have done different:
If you pull by the side of the road and you hear screams of someone lost in a tall grass, ask them to jump first so you get a glimpse of where they are so you know what direction to go into if you want to rescue them. If they can’t jump, tell them to make some continuous noise.

Even children know to hold on to a safe rope not to get lost or stray from the group

Even children know to hold on to a safe rope not to get lost or stray from the group

Do not go into a place where you can’t easily find your way out without a sort of a rope holding you by the middle and anchored into a safe spot.
If you are a villager in a dangerous area, surround the field with barbed wire and put warning signs around it.
If you are pregnant, do not venture into the unknown. Since they were two, the best course of action would have been for the sister to remain on the side of the road and wait for the police to show up and for the brother to look for the boy, tethered by a piece of string.
Also, if you are deep in the mud and feeling cold, break down the grass and braid it into a small mattress. You can sit on it and not get wet.
Also, don’t drink unfiltered water. Besides mud and worms, it can also contain bacteria that can give you bad dysenteria, causing dehydration by vomit and … you know, … number 2s.

Back to the book – it’s a good story – grab it, read it, tell your children.


About the Authors: Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are Full Dark No Stars, Blockade Billy, Under the Dome, Just After Sunset, the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything’s Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Lisey’s Story and Bag of Bones. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, was recently re-released in a tenth anniversary edition. King was the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and in 2007 he was inducted as a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Maine with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Joe Hill is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Heart-Shaped Box and Horns and writes an ongoing comic book series, Locke & Key.

Fallen Skies – Philippa Gregory

Ever wanted to read a story about the ugliness of the life post World War I? Set in the 1920’s, Fallen Skies is a story of a girl who makes a bad choice when it comes to men.

Get from Amazon: Click Here

fallen_skiesFrom Publishers Weekly

After losing her father in the Great War, working-class girl Lily Pears becomes chorus girl Lily Valance to help support her widowed mother in Gregory’s moody 1920s historical. When her dreams of being a featured singer in a dance-hall revue are interrupted by her mother’s death, Lily accepts a marriage proposal from Stephen Winters, a regular at the stage door. Stephen, a reluctant but decorated WWI enlistee still wakes up screaming from the horrors he witnessed in the war and hopes marriage to the bubbly Lily will dispel his terror. But Lily’s entrée into the gloomy Winters family home saps her cheer, and singing onstage becomes her only joy. Predating her popular Tudor series, this novel (originally published in the U.K. in 1994 and being released for the first time stateside) attempts to give equal time to both halves of its unhappy couple with mixed results; the domestic misery and foiled longings will be familiar to fans of Gregory’s Boleyn work, but even if this is narrower in scope, it still has plenty of power. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

For some the First World War never ended: for the wives and sweethearts of the men who didn’t return; and, especially, the men who did return, damaged beyond repair. This is the story of three who carried the horror of what happened to them into the ‘peace’ that followed – a deeply disturbing, empathetic, irresistible novel that kept us up all night. (Kirkus UK)

Philippa Gregory (The Other Queen, 2008, etc.) leaves Tudor gowns behind for the Jazz Age in this addictive tale, originally published in the United Kingdom in 1993, of two wounded soldiers and the pervasive cost of war.The novel begins with Stephen Winters recalling the Flanders fields of World War I, of the deep mud and bits of bodies underfoot, of the unrelenting terror of gunfire. Since his father’s stroke (at the news of favorite son Christopher’s death), Stephen has taken over the law practice, and he finds solace only with Coventry, his mute chauffer and wartime aid. Then he sees Lily Valance singing at the theater and is thunderstruck by the luminous joy of her face and voice – she reminds him of girls before the war, before everything was ruined. He courts her with his wealth, but his advances are rejected; Lily is 17 and in love with the theater’s musical director, Charlie Smith (though devoted to Lily, he refuses to marry her – a war wound has left him impotent). When Lily’s mother dies, Stephen, convinced Lily will cure him of his shell shock, coerces her into wedlock at her most vulnerable. Their honeymoon is a disaster (Stephen is sadistic and controlling), and the marriage continues in this vein when Stephen brings her to live with his mother Muriel, disapproving of the merchant-class theater girl, and his father Rory, upstairs and half-dead. But Lily is bright and resilient, and soon she is singing again professionally (after a fat lip from Stephen). She has Rory up and beginning to speak, and even Muriel begrudgingly admits Lily has an undeniable grace. Their house becomes fashionable with both society mavens and young bohemians – the only one not happy is Stephen, who has become more violent and unpredictable. When they have a little boy, the emotional torment really starts. The only bright spot in Lily’s life is Charlie Smith, who vows to save Lily and her son, if only he’s able before Stephen destroys them all.This great doorstop of a romantic tragedy illustrates Gregory’s winning formula: A young woman triumphs despite a hostile male society. (Kirkus Reviews) –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

My Review

Rating: 3/5

fallen_skiesThis is the story of Lily – a cabaret dancer, who finds herself drifting away after her mother died and agrees to marry Captain Winters who offers her financial stability and the dream of a family.
All nice so far, a girl with a singing carrier gets married to a rich bloke.
Problem is, he does not encourage her singing, does not like her to behave in an unladylike manner and also abuses her sexually every time he gets the chance.
I’m not at all into marital rape (this is what it is) and there are plenty descriptions in the book on the occasions and the happenings.
I know they are there to make Captain Winters look like a bad-ass and he IS sick as he came back from war with a bit of a nerve damage, but honestly, if the guy I was married to decided to punish me for going singing by raping me, I would cut off his balls the moment he falls asleep.
That’s just me.

Anyways, the girl becomes pregnant and gives birth to an adorable baby boy. Daddy now finds himself the less liked person in the household as everyone’s attention is drawn to the cute baby.
To take the mother away from the kid, he hires a nanny who thinks that mothers should not show care and affection to their first born and should let them cry to sleep. (again another character I would de-ball)

A love triangle happens as captain Winters starts going out with Cabaret Girls and Lily starts seeing her old pal Charlie more. He is warm, cuddly and very manly, except the fact that he can never ever ever raise his willy due to a war injury.
Sad, no?
It gets a bit more twisted, as the baby disappears one day, kidnapped to be killed. I’m not going to say who did it – you have to read to find out.

Favourite scene: in the bedroom with Charlie before Lily’s mother died, Coventry smiling and cooing at the baby
Least favourite scene: Sexual abuse scenes.. Not fond of those.

Karen Robards – Scandalous Review (Banning Sisters Trilogy Book 1/3)

16269649England, 1810: When Lady Gabriella Banning receives word that her half-brother, the Earl of Wickham, has died on his tea plantation in Ceylon, she faces the reality that she and her younger sisters, Claire and Elizabeth, are suddenly penniless. The family’s riches will pass to the next male heir — a distant cousin — and the Banning sisters are doomed unless Gabby thinks fast.
Which she does. Pretending that Marcus is still alive, Gabby arranges beautiful Claire’s London season. She’ll keep up the pretense just long enough for Claire to marry a fabulously wealthy nobleman. But when a handsome gentleman arrives at the door and claims to be Marcus, Gabby’s plan backfires. For if she exposes this mysterious stranger’s deceit, she exposes her own. Bound by secrets and lies, Gabby and the roguish adventurer strike sparks off each other — and soon London society is abuzz over the scandalous pair of “siblings” who appear to be falling in love….
With this beautifully rendered romance, bestselling author Karen Robards begins a sweeping series about three unforgettable sisters poised to take the ton by storm.

This is book 1/3 and I must say I found it extremely delightful, knowing fully I would get some hot scenes, my only worry was that I did not know exactly whether it would be Claire or Gabby who would find their match in this book. I have read Shameless a while back and I knew it was Beth’s story. After a few chapters in, it was clear that Gabby, the older of the three sisters, the mature old maid who could not find a suitable match due to her small handicap (a small limp caused by  a jump through a window) would fall in love with captain Nick, her fake brother.

The cat and mouse game between them is well played, starting off with her refusing to say who he was and why he was impersonating her dead brother and her shooting him point blank. From a medical perspective, a shot through the body at such a short range, would have caused shock, powerful bleeding and death. He survives and Gabby is the one who nurses him back to health, taking time to admire his well built body, his hair, and his appendage :)

HOT-GUY-143-Manday-Hotties-Abs

Further along the book he teaches her how to French Kiss, has time to initiate a virgin and they go through the struggles that every new couple goes through: her being jealous of her exes, him being jealous of current suitors (like a widower with children). I would have loved it if she made the poor widower more attractive (not a balding fat man) so at least she would have found it difficult to choose between them (much like Vampire Diaries and not Hot or Not).

VicRomFinal grade: 3/5 stars

Favorite part: The virgin initiation

Least favorite part: Child rape, be it implied or stopped mid-way. That is a no-no.

Children’s Party Games (Getting people of the world to have fun together)

Are you planning a party for your kids? Have a look at the games we have collected!

whispersChinese whispers
Sit everyone in a circle. Whisper a long phrase to one person. They, in turn, whisper what they heard to the next person, and so on. The last person announces what they heard.
Pass the Parcel
Wrap a bar of chocolate (or some other gift), in a layer of paper. Now wrap it in another layer and repeat until you have about 10 layers. Finally wrap it in gift paper (so it looks nice). Sit everyone in a circle and play a short snippet of music. When the music stops, the person holding the parcel removes ONE layer of wrapping. Repeat until the last layer of wrapping has been removed. The winner keeps the present.
Pass the Parcel with forfeits
As above but every layer contains a forfeit (E.g Sing a song, Eat a teaspoon of Mustard, have your belly button filled with water).
The Chocolate (or Jelly) Game
Sit everyone in a circle and place a tray in the middle with a hat, scarf, gloves, knife and fork, die and a wrapper bar of chocolate. In turn, players throw the die. If they throw a SIX, they must put on the Hat, Scarf and Gloves before they start to unwrap the chocolate with the knife and fork, ad then start to eat it. To speed up the game add a second die and require a Double SIX. The Jelly Variation is to turn out a set jelly onto a plate and eat it with the knife and fork.
musicalchairsMusical Chairs
The old favorite. With one fewer chairs than people, a short snippet of music is played while the people move around the room. When the music stops everyone tries to sit on a vacant chair. (Only ONE person per chair) The person who doesn’t find a chair is out. One chair is taken away and the game continues until only one person (The Winner) is left.
Memory Game
On a tray, place about 10 to 15 small items (e.g. pencil, watch, comb, shoe lace, spoon, toy car, etc.) and cover with a cloth. Sit everyone in a circle. Place the tray in the middle of the circle and remove the cloth for 60 seconds. Everyone has to remember the objects. When the time is up, replace the cloth. In turn, each person has to name an object on the tray. The first person to fail to name an object, repeat an object or name something not on the tray is out. The tray is then removed and some or all of the objects replaced, and the game re-started with the person following the one who is out. If the game is too easy for the group, add more objects or reduce the time.
musical_statues_16bsn4f-16bsn5h.15210928_stdMusical Statues
This is like Musical Chairs, but when the music stops, the players have to keep still. Anyone who moves, quivers, shakes etc is out. The winner is the last one still playing.
Listen and Move
Place party shapes on the floor in a circle. For example if your theme is Knights the shapes could be shields, swords, and castles. Children walk around circle while listening to music. If the music is loud the children move fast. If the music is quiet the children move slow. If the music stops, the children stop on the closest shape. Young children like to play it this way.
To make it more challenging for older children have 1 less shape than the number of children. Continue remove shapes as the children are ‘out’.
Postman’s Knock
All the boys gather in a group and each takes a card with a sequential number (One, Two, Three etc). The girls do the same. The boys then form a line (shoulder to shoulder) facing the girls who are in a similar line. (Players should NOT stand in order. First a girl calls out a number and the boy with that number goes across to kiss her. The a boy calls out a number and the girl with that number goes and kisses him.
Port and Starboard
On the command (from the list below) the children have to do the appropriate action. After a while, start removing the last player to comply, until only one remains.
  • Port (Run to one side to the area)
  • Starboard (run to the other side)
  • Captains Coming Aboard (Stand to attention and Salute)
  • Submarines (Lie on the floor)
  • Hoist the Mainsail (run on the spot – like climbing the rigging)
  • Mess Deck (Sit cross legged on the floor – ready for lunch)
  • Davey Jones (Climb a tree, stand on a chair – anything so that you are not on the floor)
  • Up Periscope (Stand up straight and old hands to eyes as though looking through binoculars)
British Bulldog
Caution: This game can get rough. All the players (except one) line up at one side of the playing area. The remaining player (The Bulldog) stands in the middle. When he is ready, he shouts “Go” and all the other players have to get to the other side without being caught. Any player the The Bulldog can lift off the ground while he shouts “British Bulldog”, joins him in the middle as a Bulldog. On subsequent runs, the Bulldogs may work together. The winner is the last one to be caught.
mummy_kidsMummies
Split the party goers into teams of three and give each team a toilet roll. Two persons then wrap the third in the toilet roll so that they look like an Egyptian Mummy. The winning team is the one who in a set time (say 2 minutes) have the neatest and most covered Mummy.
Stations
Everyone stands a circle (except one who is standing in the middle) and has been told to remember a different station name. The person in the middle calls out two names. The stations have to change places quickly, before the person in the middle can get to one of the empty spaces. Who ever is left without a place is the person in the middle for the next game.
Pass the Orange
Arrange for teams of about 8 to stand in a line, one behind the other (arranged boy, girl, boy,…). Give each team an orange which the first person should tuck under his chin. This should be passed to the person behind.
When the orange gets to the last person, they come to the front of the line and start again. The winning team is the first one which gets their starting person to the front again.
Sleeping Pirate
All the children (except one – The Pirate) sit Cross Legged on the floor in a circle. The pirate sites Cross-legged in the middle of the circle, blind-folded, with a large bunch of keys on the floor in front of him. A child is nominated to creep up and take the keys and then return to their place, without the pirate hearing them. The Pirate has three goes to point to where he thinks the raider is. If he is sucessful, the raider becomes the Pirate.
Balloon Pop
Place notes inside deflated balloons,1 or 2 of the notes should indicate that this balloon is a winner. Inflate the balloons and hang them around. Let each child pick a balloon then pop it to see if their note is a winner.
Balloon Relay
Divide the children into 2 or more equal teams and stand them in a line. Give each team ten balloons in a basket. The first in each line takes a balloon and runs to the other side of the room/yard/area and sits or stomps on the balloon to pop it. After popping the balloon they run back to the line and tag the next person who does the same thing. The game goes on until one team has popped all of their balloons. The winning team gets a small prize (like a ribbon) while EVERYONE gets a small toy.
Toy Walk
This is done like a cake walk. Have numbers on the ground for as many children (1-10). Walk on the numbers until the music stops. Have numbers on some small toys. If a child is standing on the number of the toy, they win the toy
Whistling Crackers
You give every child 3 soda crackers. When you say “GO” every child puts all the crackers at once in his/her mouth. The first one to whistle wins. (You can also substitute the soda crackers with peanut butter but make sure there are no Allergies).
Can You Guess
Put several small items into a brown paper bag. Blindfold one person and hand them one of the items in the bag. Give them a few seconds to guess what the item is. If they are unsuccessful they are out. The last one wins.
Stuck in the Mud
One person is ‘IT’ and has to run round touching as many people as they can. When they have touched someone, that person has to stop and stand with their legs apart and their hands outstretched, until someone crawls through their legs. If you’ve been caught three times, then you are out. The game ends when everyone left is standing still.
Ducky Ducky
Everyone sits in a circle except one who is given a pillow and blind-fold. They then go and place the pillow on a persons lap, sit on it and say ducky ducky. The person should say”quack quack” this can be done only 3 times. If the blind person guesses the name the person, they should now be given the blind fold and the game run over again – after everyone has changed their places.