Category Archives: Must Read

MUST READ: Stephen King’s The Shining

Sometimes the scariest and craziest thoughts can lead to such an adventure in the world of a novel. The Shining, by Stephen King, is no different. It’s about a struggle between right and wrong, between reality and fantasy, and between ourselves and those we love. This horror story will take you somewhere you’ll never forget and leave you wondering what kind of demons may be lurking under the surface of yourself and those around you.

Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror
Plot Summary: The novel follows Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy and their son Danny as they travel to the Overlook Hotel for the winter. Jack is a recovering alcoholic with a vicious temper, Wendy has considered divorce, and Danny “shines”, allowing him to read other people very quickly. The Overlook has a history of death and destruction and the family remains alone at the hotel for the entire winter as the weather bears no visitors and no mercy. The Shining shows what happens when three very different people in one family, are left alone for months and how silence can really be deafening.
Why you should read it: This horror novel is packed with twists, turns, gore and things that are just unexplainable. It takes you to the core of Jack Torrance’s soul and his struggle to decide between good and evil. You won’t be disappointed by the images conveyed, the depth of the characters or the insanity that is sure to come at the Overlook Hotel.
Publisher: Gallery Books
Length: 528 pp.

Buy this book on Amazon.

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A Love Letter for Beth Kephart

Dear Beth Kephart,Cover of Beth Kephart's young adult novel Small Damages

It was a week ago that I wrote on my Facebook that I picked up your newest book, Small Damages, from my mother, to whose apartment it was mistakenly delivered. That night, I started reading it. And slowly, all week, I’ve savored your words. Your words that float on the tongue, light and tasty as mascarpone cheese laced with lemon curd.

Kenzie’s dilemma is one that most young women are terrified of. It is my greatest fear; that I’ll find myself “in the family way” before I’m ready, before others think I’m ready. And I know that if it ever happened, my mother would try to make my choices for me. Of course, she wouldn’t offer me the option of traveling to Spain. That one is particular to Kenzie’s situation.

So from page one, Kenzie had my empathy. And you, Beth, did beautiful things with it. I saw what she saw, heard what she heard, felt what she felt. You took me to Spain. Tossed me into that beautiful place, and while I knew it was horrible that Kenzie’s mother sent her there, sort of against her will, I felt like she was incredibly fortunate in this “mistake.”

And for all 288 pages, I followed this young girl, whose narration flows in the most beautiful, most poetic of ways but who talks like a normal teenager, and I loved her. I wanted to hug her, tell her it would be okay. I wanted much for this heroine. You had me going, Beth, you tricky angel. But in the end, I was satisfied, like I’d eaten a plateful of paella until I was just starting to feel full.

There’s a sense of accomplishment that washes over you when a thick stack of neat, beautiful book pages stands resolutely between your fingers and you know that you’ve read those words, seen them with your eyes, felt them tremble on your lips, tipping in, sinking in. I’m not sure that feeling is ever stronger than when I held Small Damages, the back cover closed behind the last word, and realized that I’d just come back from Spain, back from a beautiful, lyrical world that I am anxious to dive back into.

You’ve done it again, you beautiful storyteller, you crafty word-stringer. I can’t wait for the next book.

Love, Rosella

Buy Small Damages, Beth Kephart’s latest young adult novel, at Amazon. (And please, please, buy the hardback version. It’s gorgeously designed and so much more delightful than reading on a screen.)

MUST READ: The Nature of Jade

As we grow into adulthood, as we face the “real-world,” as we struggle to find our identity, we all secretly hope it is an easy quest. Who wants to face so many trials and tribulations on their way to discovering who they really are and what they really want? For some of us, it happens in an instant, for others it takes a lifetime. The story of Jade DeLuna is one of struggle, a fight for self-esteem and a discovery of the self in a very unlikely place. – Ashley Andrucyk

Author: Deb Caletti
Genre: Fiction
Plot Summary: Jade struggles through high school, friends and family trouble all while trying to figure out who and what triggers her anxiety attacks. You see, like any other young adult, Jade just wants to be normal but she has yet to master the feeling of suffocation that strikes at inconvenient times. But when Jade begins volunteering at the zoo, working with elephants, she never expects to fall in love with them or to find herself. Nor does she expect to meet the boy with the baby, Sebastian, the boy with a secret that makes her question right from wrong.
Why you should read it: Jade DeLuna has characteristics that we can not only relate to but that we can all see in ourselves. She struggles to find hope in a dismal situation and yearns for an understanding of situations as yet beyond her grasp. The Nature of Jade sheds a light of hope on the journey to womanhood and the climb we must make to reach our identity.
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Length: 288 pp.

Buy the paperback on Amazon.

Who Cares About Finals? It’s Summer and the City Time!

By: Rosella Eleanor LaFevre

Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City and Lipstick Jungle, has come full circle. Her professional career began when she was 19 and wrote a children’s book for Simon & Schuster. Since then, she has written a sex column and several books. Last May, she released a prequel to Sex and the City called The Carrie Diaries. On Tuesday, Balzer + Bray released the second book in the origin series.

Summer and the City: A Carrie Diaries Novel finds young Carrie Bradshaw in New York City where she is to attend a writing seminar at the New School. On her first night in the city, Samantha Jones drags her to a party where she meets some big names in the literary scene. She feels, for once, like she belongs.

Her writing seminar, unfortunately, does not give her that warm fuzzy feeling. In fact, it leaves her with more doubts about her writing ability than anything. Especially plaguing are her relationships with classmate Capote Duncan, who doesn’t seem to like anything she does or writes, and Bernard, her famous playwright boyfriend who doesn’t pay much attention to her or her work.

The summer leaves Carrie with all kinds of questions about sex and relationships and whether or not she belongs in the big city. Through Summer and the City, Carrie really doesn’t do much writing but she does plenty of living, and it’s a super fun ride for the reader.

Although I love The Carrie Diaries more, this second installment is still a tender, heartfelt, relatable book, one you’ll be eager to see through to the end. Just don’t hate me too much when you finish and you’re salivating for the third book!

Buy Summer and the City here.