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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen King’

Once upon a time, dear reader, Kat came up with the idea to host her very first readathon on her channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures. With tender care and lots of hard work, that idea soon blossomed into a month-long adventure of reading folktales, fairy tales, and fables. That whimisical adventure starts tomorrow, February 1st.

I have had a blast planning the reading prompts, creating graphics and thumbnails, choosing the books I want to read throughout the month, and seeing the books others in the booktube community are planning to read for this event. Many of the books I will be reading are picture books which I absolutely adore reading. I have a middle grade retelling on my list called Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin. It is based on the Brothers Grimm’s tale, “Snow-White and Rose-Red.” Fairy Tale by Stephen King is also on my list. Even though it is a dark fantasy thriller, it does include fairy tale elements. I am super excited about my pile of possibilities for the month.

Dear reader, if you are interested in joining me for Folklore February, I have a graphic with the reading prompts as well as a graphic where you can keep track of the books you read throughout the month on the highlights section on my Instagram, katherineloyacano. I will also include the reading prompts below. Additionally, not all nine prompts require reading, but instead encourage watching folktales, fairy tales, and fables. I am planning to watch Guillermo del Toro’s Pinnochio. It was released on Netflix on December 9th.

Folklore February Prompts

  • Read a Folktale.
  • Read a Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
  • Read a Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm.
  • Read a Fable.
  • MOOD READ or WATCH
  • Read or Watch a Retelling of a folktale, fairytale, or fable.
  • Read a Fractured Fairy Tale. Read a Folktale from a country other than your own.
  • Watch a screen adaptation of your favorite folktale, fairy tale, or fable.

To kick off Folklore February, I am having my first livestream on my channel that will include reading sprints. Basically, sprints are designed to give you time for reading or other productivity tasks. The sprints will begin at 4pm CT. In between sprints, we will chat and see how everyone is using their time. My goal is to do 3 sets of sprints, starting with 30 minutes for the first sprint. If you have never done sprints, dear reader, I encourage you to join me. They are a great deal of fun and a terrific way to be productive.

While I am exploring whimsical worlds through folktales, fairy tales, and fables, what will you be reading in the month of February, dear reader? To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“The narrative of so many fairy tales are timeless in so many different cultures, and they have been since the dawn of man. They represent escapism, but they all feature themes that have such poignancy in a modern world.” ~ Lily Cole

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I know I am a tad bit late, dear reader, with sharing all of the books I read in December; however, I want to complete my year in books for 2022. December was another outstanding reading month for me! I completed books and 3 short stories in the month of December, finished Melissa’s 7th Grade Book Challenge, fulfilled one prompt for Cloak and Dagger Christmas, and completed the Christmas Evil Readathon. I completed a total of 75 books in 2022!

Since I quadruple dipped with one book for the different challenges, I will wrap up the month by Readathons instead of my normal categories. Needless to say, I successfully read a nonfiction book, several children’s literature books (#Read21in2021 Challenge), and a book written by Stephen King for Year of King. We did not have a selection in December for my Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club.

#Book Challenge & Cloak and Dagger Christmas

I read two terrific books to fulfill the last three prompts to complete Melissa’s 7th Grade Book Challenge.

  • Read a Book Suggested by Mrs. Morrison (Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige )
  • Read a Book That Has a Mystery to Solve (Crooked House by Agatha Christie)
  • Read a Book a Classmate Suggested to You (Crooked House by Agatha Christie)

Dorothy Must Die is a YA novel and a retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It is also the first book in the Dorothy Must Die trilogy. It was a 4-star read for me. Crooked House is an adult mystery and one of Agatha Christie’s standalone novels. This book was suggested to me by my friend Amy to read for this challenge, and it did not disappoint. Definitely a 5-star read! I also used it to fulfill one prompt for Cloak and Dagger Christmas, which was 3 French Hens: Read a Translated Work or from a Different Country from Your Own. Crooked House begins in Egypt and takes place in England.

Christmas Evil Readathon

Kelsi co-hosted the Christmas Evil Readathon on her channel alongside four other co-hosts (Crystal, Katrina, Michelle, and Kelly) on their channels. I completed the entire board! Woo-Hoo! This readathon was super fun and had so many additional activities happening throughout the entire month of December (movie nights on Discord, picture prompts, a virtual Christmas party).

  • Black Xmas (Witches Copse by Math Bird)
  • Krampus (The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil by Al Ridenour)
  • A Christmas Carol (The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand)
  • A Gifted Book (It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies! A Book of Christmas Carols by Michael P. Spradlin)
  • Mood Read (“Little Monsters” and “Dinner is served!” from Christmas Evil by Mark L’Estrange)
  • Slay Bells (Crooked House by Agatha Christie)
  • Winter Wonderland (The Shining by Stephen King)
  • Santa’s Little Helper (Dead Voices by Katherine Arden)
  • Reindeer Ride (“The Adventures of the Blue Carbuncle” by Arthur Conan Doyle)

Dear reader, if you want to hear more about my thoughts on any of the books I read in the Christmas Evil Readathon, please check out my YouTube channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures. In addition to my December Reading Wrap Up, I have two more videos where I share my thoughts on the other books I read in December along with more bookish content.

Year of King

Kelsi and I chose The Shining for December. This wonderful novel was a reread for me, and I enjoyed revisiting it so much. The Shining was also the last book for our Year of King project.

After losing his teaching job, Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic, secures the winter caretaker position at the Overlook Hotel. His wife and young son will join him. It seems like a fresh start the aspiring writer and his family need; however, the hotel has an unsavory past and a penchant for preying on the vunerable.

The Shining is one of my favorite Stephen King novels. It has its ghosts and suspenseful moments, but it is also a story about fear, addiction, loss, love, and redemption. It will always be a 5-star read for me.

Kelsi and I had a marvelous time discussing The Shining (novel, film adaptation, three-part television series, and documentary called Room 237) on January 15th. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel.

January is almost over which is hard to believe since it feels like the new year just started. I took a break from readathons in January, so I could catch my breath after three back-to-back months of intense reading and to prepare for a special project I am hosting in February. I finished No Exit by Taylor Adams for my book club. I am currently reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman for the Cozy Cottage Book Club and really enjoying it. I am also reading Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam and participating in her Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge. My sister and I are buddy reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life. We are currently on Chapter 3: “You are Not Special” which we will be discussing this Sunday evening, 29 January.

Speaking of this Sunday, Kelsi and I are having a live chat on Sunday, 29 January at 2PM CT to wrap up our Year of King. This project was a super fun collaboration between Kelsi and me. I loved revisiting King’s classics and discovering new stories along the way.

Thanks, dear reader, for stopping by and reading another long bookish post. I am hoping to share my February reading project with you very soon. February will be a whimsical month of reading. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“Books and doors are the same thing. You open them, and you go through into another world.” ~ Jeanette Winterson

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November was an outstanding reading month for me! I completed 10 books in the month of November, finished the #moremontgomerychallenge, fulfilled four prompts on Kelsi’s Nostalgic November Readathon, and made progress on Melissa’s 7th Grade Book Challenge. November is also the month I completed the most books of the year. As of today, I have read 70 books throughout 2022. I have surpassed my Goodreads goal of 50 books, and I still have two more weeks left of the year with plenty of superb stories to finish the year off splendidly. How I would love to end the year with at least 75 books under my belt in 2022!

Since several of my books/stories overlapped for the different challenges, I will wrap up the month by Readathons instead of my normal categories. With that being said, I still managed to read a nonfiction book, several children’s literature books (#Read21in2021 Challenge), a Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club selection, and a book written by Stephen King for Year of King.

#MoreMontgomeryChallenge

Of all of my bookish adventures in November, I am the most proud of completing every prompt on the bingo board for the #MoreMontgomeryChallenge that was hosted by booktubers, Mitzi (Mitzi Reads and Writes) and Elizabeth (LizzyfayeLovesBooks). This was a three-month long reading challenge (September-November) which ended on November 30th, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s birthday. However, I read only one book in September (Anne of Avonlea) for the “Read An Anne Book” prompt and did nothing in October because of the spooky season.

Therefore, I had to complete the remaining eight prompts in November. In addition to reading stories/books, two of the prompts were to watch something related to the works of L.M. Montgomery. For “Watch Any Anne Adaptation,” I watched the 2016 version of Anne of Green Gables which I really enjoyed. There are two other versions that I would love to watch in the future. For “Watch Any Non-Anne Adaptation,” I chose an episode (Season 1, Episode 4) from the television series, Road to Avonlea. Although Anne Shirley is not a character in the episode, it does include other characters from Anne of Green Gables. I really enjoyed the episode and plan to make some time in the future to watch the entire series.

As for the reading prompts, my favorite book was Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side. This young adult selection fulfilled the “Short Story Collection” prompt. This collection includes 19 tales, some with supernatural elements and some with darker societal subject matter. Since I have not read much L.M. Montgomery, I chose “The Deacon’s Painkiller” from this collection to satisfy the “Reread or Rewatch A Favorite” prompt. It was one of the more humorous stories in the collection and provides a good lesson for Andrew, the protagonist in the story. While I enjoyed all of the stories in the collection which I read throughout the entire month, the following stories were my absolute favorites:

  • “Davenport’s Story”
  • “The Deacon’s Painkiller”
  • “Detected by the Camera”
  • “The House Party at Smoky Island”
  • “The Man on the Train”
  • “Miss Calista’s Peppermint Bottle”
  • “Some Fools and a Saint”
  • “White Magic”

Another young adult selection that I read was Kilmeny of the Orchard. What a pleasant surprise! This short novel, counted for the “Standalone Novel” prompt. It is a sweet love story about a recent college graduate, who takes a temporary teaching position in the small town of Lindsay where he meets a beautiful mute girl named Kilmeny. Mitzi recommended both this book and the short story collection to me which turned out to be wonderful recommendations.

Two middle-grade selections for this challenge were Maud: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Harry Bruce for the “Nonfiction or Biographical” prompt and Emily of New Moon adapted by Pricilla Galloway for the “Book From Duology or Trilogy” prompt. While both books were well-written and entertaining, I want to read more biographies about L.M. Montgomery and an unabridged version of Emily of New Moon, especially if I continue the Emily trilogy.

The final prompt, “A Retelling or Anything Related” and a huge disappointment was Anne of Manhattan, an adult fictional retelling by Brina Starler. While I think Starler writes well and is a good storyteller, I was not thrilled with how the characters of Anne of Green Gables were portrayed overall in this retelling. Personally, it could have been fantastic minus the excessive drinking, the graphic sex scenes, and the situation with Anne’s thesis professor. It was hard imagining Anne Shirley, who is one of my favorite literary characters, and her friends behaving the way they did in this novel.

I loved participating in this reading challenge. L.M. Montgomery has become a new author favorite of mine. I look forward to reading more of her work as well as reading more about her life. Additionally, since I got blackout on the bingo board, my name was put into a drawing, and I won a prize. I will be receiving two books from the Pat series by L.M. Montgomery. Elizabeth will be mailing them to me. Exciting!

Nostalgic November

Kelsi hosted Nostalgic November on her channel. I completed four squares on the board.

  • Old Technology on Cover/In Story (Only The Brave by Paul Evan Lehman)
  • Female Author/Woman Protagonist (Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw)
  • Witches or Magical Elements (Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman)
  • Retro/Vintage Mood Read (The Dead Zone by Stephen King)

#Book Challenge

My friend Melissa, who I worked with at HGCS, teaches 7th Grade Language Arts and created a challenge for her students as a way to make reading for Accelerated Reader more fun. So, I decided to participate in this challenge as well. This challenge runs from mid October until December 12th. I had already reached my AR goal, so I fulfilled the Free Space. Otherwise, I did not complete any prompts in October. I did a combination of books and short stories for the prompts I read in November.

  • Read a Book Outside for 15 minutes (“White Magic” from Among the Shadows by L.M. Montgomery)
  • Read a Genre that You have Never Read (Only the Brave by Paul Evan Lehman)
  • Read a Book from a Series (Emily of New Moon adapted by Priscilla Galloway)
  • Read at an Appointment (Maud: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Harry Bruce)
  • Read a Book Just Because It Has an Amazing Cover (Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw)

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman was our November book club selection. It has witchy vibes, magical elements, and romance. A bit more romance than any of us was expecting.

It follows three generations of sisters who are gifted with magic of varying degrees. There is plenty of heartwarming moments blended with heartbreak and dangerous situations. Even though some of the romance was over the top, and I am not a fan of insta-love, I enjoyed the relationships between the women and the overall plot. 4 stars!

Dear reader, if you want to hear more about my thoughts on any of the books I read in November, please check out my wrap up on my YouTube channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures.

Year of King

Kelsi and I chose The Dead Zone for November. This slow burn was a reread for me, and I was excited to revisit it.

After having a second serious accident, Johnny Smith falls into a five-year coma. When he awakens, he discovers his life has dramatically changed and he has developed second sight. Because of his new gift, he finds himself involved in a murder case and faces an adversary with political connections. It has a good balance of heartbreak, turbulence, and rawness that make for an enjoyable read. 4 stars!

Kelsi and I had a grand ole time discussing The Dead Zone (novel, film adaptation, and first episode of the television show) on December 11th. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

My sister Rachel and I finally finished the 5-star read, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. I recently published a blog post, “Book Nook: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” where I shared my thoughts on this AWESOME book. We are planning to read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life, starting in January 2023.

December is in full force, and I am participating in three readathons. What is wrong with me, dear reader? LOL. I am currently reading The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand for #Read21in21. NO book club selection for December. My book club is on hiatus until January. Our first selection for 2023 will be No Exit by Taylor Adams. Kelsi and I are reading The Shining for our Year of King project. This will be our last book for this reading project. Our live discussion about the novel, movies, and documentary will be in January. Date and time TBD. Last but not least, my nonfiction selection this month is The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil by Al Ridenour. 

Thanks, dear reader, for reading this very long blog post. I appreciate YOU. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

There is no friend as loyal as a book. ~ Ernest Hemingway

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The spooky season was a bootiful reading month for me! I completed six books in the month of October. As of today, I have read 57 books throughout 2022. I have surpassed my Goodreads goal of 50 books, and I still have two more months left of the year with plenty of terrific titles to tackle. What an awesome reading year for me!

Nonfiction Selection

Fear Itself: The Early Works of Stephen King, edited by Tim Underwood and Chuck Miller, is a fascinating collection of literary criticism focused on Stephen King’s earlier works (short stories and novels) prior to the publication of Christine. There are 9 essays, an introduction by Peter Straub, a forward by Stephen King, and an afterword by George Romero. Anyone who is a fan of King’s writing and has enjoyed reading Salem’s Lot (my personal favorite), The Shining, Carrie, The Stand, Firestarter, The Dead Zone, and Cujo will enjoy going

back in time and discovering why Stephen King became a popular writer and a household name for horror fans.

I especially enjoyed the introduction by Peter Straub and the afterword by George Romero. Stephen King’s forward is also wonderful because it gives insight into his struggles of becoming a writer and how he achieved brand name status as a horror writer. Stephen King is my absolute favorite author, so I enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane to learn more about the start of his writing career and his early works from the perspectives of other writers as well as the impact his work has had on both literature and film. This was a four-star read for me.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I read three children’s literature selections this month, two middle-grade selections about witches and a young adult novel centered on clowns in a small town. All three books were fantastic in their own way.

The Witches by Roald Dahl is a wicked good time. An 8-year old boy, who lives with his Norweigian grandmother after the death of his parents, narrates this delightfully dark tale. The fantasy novel is set partly in England and partly in Norway and follows the young boy and his grandmother as they encounter witches on their summer holiday. The vile and disgusting witches despise children and hatch a plan to get rid of them everywhere. This middle-grade selection is entertaining, terrifying at times, but excudes a great deal of heart. I adored it and gave it 5 stars.

Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare is a young adult novel with spooky season feels. Quinn Maybrook, a high school senier, is uprooted from Philadelphia when her father takes a job as a family doctor in the small, seemingly quiet, town of Kettle Springs. Quinn and her father embark on a fresh start and begin adapting to rural life. Quinn has even made a few friends at school. Unfortunately, her new friends have objectionable reputations and a turbulent history with the town’s elders. Small town secrets, deep-rooted grudges, and death-dealing clowns make for a terrifying tale. 4 stars!

The Power of Poppy Pendle by Natasha Lowe is a magical middle-grade adventure. Poppy happens to be an amazing witch, who loves to bake and is quite awesome at it. Her desserts delight everyone except her parents, who only want Poppy to concentrate on witchcraft and carry on the legacy of her great-grandmother Mabel. The only problem is Poppy hates magic. Since her parents refuse to let her bake along with studying magic, she makes a dastardly decision that could cost her everything and everyone she loves. This story is warm-hearted, at times heartbreaking and dark, but full of charm. The book includes baking tips from Poppy and recipes which I would love to try in the future. 5 stars for Poppy Pendle!

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas is an AWESOME selection for the spooky season. It has all the ingredients to keep a horror fan engaged from beginning to end, Gothic vibes, a haunted house, and a pervasive evil that hungrily awaits those who dare to cross Kill Creek’s threshold.

Four esteemed horror writers receive an invitation to spend Halloween night in an abandoned house that is purported to be haunted. All four writers, reluctantly accept the invitation, hoping the publicity will bolster their careers.

Unfortunately, they are not prepared for what will greet them and the aftermath of that one meeting. Kill Creek is a slow burn that builds tension in the most satisfying way, leading the reader to a gratifying conclusion that stays with you long after you have finished the book. I gave this brilliant horror novel 5 stars.

Year of King

Kelsi and I chose Needful Things for October. This delightful story was a reread for me, and I was thrilled to revisit it. Leland Gaunt, the mysterious but charming proprietor of Needful Things, sets up shop in Castle Rock. His store offers the most curious items for sale. Sadly for the residents of Castle Rock, the treasures they purchase cost them more than money. Their quiet little town will never be the same when Leland Gaunt is finished doing business with them.

Needful Things is one of my favorite novels written by Stephen King. I love the well-developed characters, especially Sheriff Alan Pangborn and his cunning adversary, Leland Gaunt. There is more to the story than residents playing pranks on one another. It is a story deep-seated in greed, hypocrisy, and the harmful effects of selling one’s soul to fulfill one’s deepest desires. Needful Things is a definite 5-star read for me.

Kesli and I had a devilish good time discussing both the novel and the film adaptation of Needful Things on November 6th. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

November is well underway, and I am participating in three readathons. I am currently reading Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Mongomery for #Read21in21. My book club selection for November is Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. Kelsi and I will be reading The Dead Zone for our Year of King project. We will have a live discussion about the novel and movie on Sunday, 11 December at 12:00 PM CT. Last but not least, my nonfiction selection this month is Maud: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Harry Bruce. 

My sister Rachel and I are reading the last chapter of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. This Wednesday evening we will be discussing Chapter 10, “A New Earth.” Rachel and I have had such a blast buddy reading A New Earth that we are planning to read another book together which we will start in January.

As usual, I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in November. To see my complete November TBR, follow me on YouTube at Kat’s Novel Adventures (see below). To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home.” ~ Anna Quindlen

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I DID it, dear reader! I reached my Goodreads goal of 50 books for the year when I finished reading Harvest Home. I am ecstatic! This is the first time I have ever reached my reading goal before 31 December. In addition, I was able to complete five books and three short stories in the month of September.

Nonfiction Selection

My nonfiction read for September was by Mel Robbins called The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage. The 5 second rule is a simple strategy that yields huge results. Robbins uses her own personal stories and testimonials through emails and social media posts she received from people from all walks of life to demonstate the effectiveness of this strategy. Personally, I am reaping the benefits from using the strategy in my everyday life, especially with taking risks in improv and stopping my EGO from managing me. Additionally, it has motivated me to exercise, to step out my comfort zone, and to complete tasks that have lingered a bit too long on my to-do list.

Basically, you count backwards from 5 and take action. According to Robbins, “When you start to count 5-4-3-2-1, it is the beginning of a chain reaction that not only awakens the prefrontal cortex, but also gets you ready to make that physical “initial huge push” that’s required to change” (106). This was an enjoyable 4-star read for me.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I read three middle-grade books in September. Ghost Beach was actually on my August TBR, but I ran out of time, so I carried it over. Juniper Berry has been on my bookcase for quite sometime and has autumn vibes, so I thought September was a marvelous month to finally read it. Since I am participating this fall in the #moremontgomerychallenge, I chose Anne of Avonlea for the “read an Anne book” spot on the bingo card. I had bought it right after reading Anne of Green Gables, so it worked out wonderfully to read it in September for the start of this challenge.

Ghost Beach by R.L. Stine is creepy, and I must admit, the scariest of the Goosebumps books I have read to date. Siblings, Jerry and Terri, are visiting a distant cousin and his wife in New England for the last month of the summer. The children’s excitement is short-lived when they discover a cave by the beach is haunted by a ghost. It is suspenseful with a twist I did not see coming. A haunting 4 stars for this spooky selection!

Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky is a terrific middle-grade tale of terror and temptation. Despite living in a beautiful mansion with her famous parents and her trusty sidekick Kitty, Juniper Berry is lonely as heck. She misses the life she once had with her parents, who were loving, kind, and always there for her. Now, they are miserable in spite of their fame and fortune and act as if Juniper does not exist. One stormy night, Juniper follows them into the woods and discovers the cause of their unhappy transformation. 4 stars for this entertaining and suspenseful story.

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery is the next charming chapter in Anne Shirley’s life. Anne postpones attending Redmond College, so she can remain with Marilla on the farm and help her raise orphaned twins. Anne also takes a teaching position at the local school. We are introduced to new and interesting characters in the Avonlea community and amused by more of Anne’s adventures. This second installment was a delightful read and worthy of all 5 stars.

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon is the perfect autumn read. It has all the fall feels with full fields of corn and festive autumn traditions set in a quaint New England town that harbors a sinister secret.

This beautifully written psychological horror novel takes its sweet time telling the story of Ned Constantine and his family’s move to the village of Cornwall Coombe. On the surface, the small farming town seem idyllic with its simple lifestyle, friendly faces, and a matriarch that welcomes the family wholeheartedly.

Once the family gets settled, Ned stumbles upon a mystery that had been buried, and no one in the town seems too interested in talking to him about it. Unfortunately, Ned’s curiousity is persistent, and he continues digging up the past. Unsettling moments are sprinkled throughout this slow burn, building up to an off-putting conclusion that has stuck with me since I completed it. I gave this horror gem 5 stars.

Year of King

Kelsi and I switched gears for this month and read three short stories from Stephen King’s Night Shift collection. All three stories have something to do with manual labor which was perfect for September with the celebration of Labor Day.

“Graveyard Shift” takes place at a textile factory in the small town of Gate Falls, Maine. John Hall, an aloof drifter, works the graveyard shift at the mill, running the picker machine. Warwick, his cruel foreman, decides that after 12 years, the rat-infested basement needs to be cleaned out.

So, he recruits a few of his workers, including John Hall, to complete the terrible task that leads to a disturbing discovery. This horror story was a 3-star read for me. Even though I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere, the rapacious rodents, and the men’s scary situation, I wanted more.

“The Mangler” takes place at an industrial laundry in a small American town. John Hunton, a local police officer, receives the call to investigate a gruesome accident involving a Hadley-Watson Model-6 Speed Ironer and Folder, also known as the mangler, at the Blue Ribbon Laundry. Unfortunately for Hunton and the employees of the laundry, more grisly deaths unfold surrounding the menacing machine. I gave this horror story 4 stars for being chilling, suspenseful, and macabre.

“The Lawnmower Man” takes place at the home of Harold Parkette. Harold takes pride in his manicured lawn until an unfortunate accident occurs while his neighbor’s son is cutting it. After almost a year of not cutting his grass, receiving lame lawn jokes from his neighbor, and spotting a woodchuck sitting happily in his backyard, he finally decides to hire someone to take care of his overgrown yard. That someone is the unusual lawnmower man from Pastoral Greenery and Outdoor Services. This horror story has mythological elements, humor, gore, and a bizarre twist which I loved, so I gave it 4 stars.

I wish I could tell you, dear reader, that the screen adaptations were as good as the short stories. I knew at some point our luck would run out because not all of Stephen King’s work translates well on the big screen. Although, Kelsi’s opinion of the films differs greatly from mine. She and I had a lively conversation about all three stories on September 25th, discussing the stories and their film adaptations. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

It’s October, which happens to be my favorite month of the year. I have chosen some spine-tingling selections to read in celebration of this spooky month. I am currently reading The Witches by Roald Dahl for #Read21in21. My book club selection for October is Kill Creek by Scott Thomas. Kelsi and I will be reading Needful Things for our Year of King project. We will have a live discussion about the novel and movie on Sunday, 06 November at 2:00 PM CT. Last but not least, my nonfiction selection this month is Fear Itself: The Early Works of Stephen King edited by Tim Underwood & Chuck Miller. 

My sister Rachel and I are still buddy reading A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. This Wednesday evening we will be discussing Chapter 7, “Finding Who You Truly Are.” What an important and impactful chapter!

As usual, I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in October. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

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That’s a wrap, August! I was able to complete six books in the month of August. As of today, I am 13 books ahead of schedule. I will definitely reach my Goodreads goal of 50 books by the end of September because I am only FOUR books away from reaching it. Thrilling!

Nonfiction Selection

My August nonfiction selection was Clean & Lean: 30 Days, 30 Foods, a New You! by Ian K. Smith, M.D. This is the fourth book I have read by Smith. It takes The Clean 20 nutritional and fitness plan to the next level by incorporating intermittent fasting and 10 additional clean foods to the menu. Since June, I have been working on my health and fitness goals, so I reread The Clean 20 and reintroduced myself to clean eating. Reading Clean & Lean and implementing the guidelines was the next step. It is a simple plan that anyone at any level in their health and wellness journey can follow, and it includes daily menus, inspiration, nutritional facts, and workout plans. I love the format of the book and the simplicity of the program. I am happy with my results, and may consider completing another month of Clean & Lean before the end of this year. I am giving the book and myself 5 stars!

#Read21in21 Challenge

I read three terrific children’s books this month, one classic and two that are considered horror/mystery. I have a soft spot for haunted houses, animals, and gnomes. All three stories touched my soft spot and were enjoyable to read. I recommend them all to middle schoolers and fans of middle-grade fiction.

The Haunting of the Old Yellow House on Millard Road by D.A.L. is a short, supernatural mystery tale about a 12-year-old boy named James, who wants to spend the night inside an old house that is supposedly haunted. He barely convinces his friend, his cousin, and his two siblings to join him on his adventure which also includes retrieving an artifact as proof of their overnight stay. It is a satisfying read for middle schoolers with charming characters, humor, and spooky moments. The author kindly sent me a complimentary copy of this book which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I look forward to reading more of his stories in the future. It was a 4-star read for me.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is a classic fantasy novel with captivating characters who have the most amusing adventures in the English countryside. The story centers around four main congenial critters, Mr. Badger, Mole, Rat, and Mr. Toad. These four friends enjoy life and each other’s company until the debonair Mr. Toad discovers motor cars. His outrageous obsession with them lands him in a puddle of trouble, and only his faithful friends can save him and set him on the right path. This beautifuly written tale focuses on friendship, adventure, and the importance of home. This 5-star adventure has become one of my favorite classics.

The Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes by R.L. Stine is an entertaining anecdote that involves tacky lawn ornaments, prize-winning vegetables, and midnight mischief. Joe Burton is looking forward to the lazy days of summer until his father adds two hideous garden gnomes to the lawn collection. Let’s just say, once they arrive on the Burton lawn, Joe’s life gets weird and a bit messy. I give my gnomies 4 stars.

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher is an atmospheric gothic horror novel with supernatural vibes. It is an imaginative retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher” which I recommend reading before diving into Kingfisher’s beautifully written tale. I must admit I was drawn to this book because of its hauntingly beautiful cover.

Madeline Usher summons her childhood friend, Alex Easton, to her family home in the countryside of Ruritania where she lives with her twin brother Roderick.

In her letter to Alex, she tells him that she is dying. He immediately leaves his home in Gallacia with his horse Hob. He is stunned upon arrival at the Usher estate where he finds Madeline and her brother are both visibly unwell and their home has fallen into a miserable state of disrepair. What has befallen the Usher siblings, and is Alex too late to save them? This 4-star read is creepy and delightfully off-putting.

Year of King

Kelsi and I decided on Cujo for August. We found ourselves in the fictional, small town of Castle Rock, Maine. I dreaded reading this novel simply because I had seen the movie back in the 80s, and all I could recall was a rabid St. Bernard terrorizing Dee Wallace’s character. I have dogs, and I could not imagine reading an entire book about someone’s beloved dog getting rabies and transforming into a murderous monster. While the director, Lewis Teague directed a terrific film adaptation of Cujo, it does not compare to the amazing novel written by Stephen King.

Kelsi was also not looking forward to reading Cujo for her own reasons. However, we were both blown away by it. This story is so much more than a rabid dog. It is about fear, loss, and the power of love. Stephen King wrecked me with Cujo, especially the second to last paragraph of the book. This novel will stick with me for quite awhile and earned all 5 gut-wrenching stars.

After reading the novel, I watched the movie in a totally different way. I now had backstory, and my feelings towards Cujo the dog was totally different. I had compassion for the gentle giant, especially since as the reader, I got glimpses from his point of view. Dee Wallace and Danny Pintauro acted phenomenally in their roles as mother and son (Donna and Tad Trenton). I highly recommend reading Cujo before watching the movie.

Kesli and I had an engrossing conversation about Cujo on August 28th, discussing the novel and the film adaptation. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

September! Hard to believe the 9th month of the year is already underway. I have chosen some exciting selections to read during this month. I am currently reading Ghost Beach by R.L. Stine for #Read21in21. My book club selection for September is Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon. Kelsi and I will be reading three short stories (“Lawnmower Man”, “The Mangler”, and “Graveyard Shift”) for our Year of King project. We will have a live discussion about the short stories and their movies on Sunday, 25 September at 2:00 PM CT. Last but not least, my nonfiction selection this month is The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins. 

My sister Rachel and I are buddy reading A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. In August, we decided to read a chapter a week for 10 weeks and meet every Wednesday on ZOOM for 10 weeks to discuss it. Our first discussion took place on the evening of 17 August. The experience has been both enlightening and enjoyable. We should complete the book and weekly discussions sometime in October.

Of course, I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in September. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” ~ Edmund Burke

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July has come and gone while my reading life continues to thrive month after month. I was able to complete six books in the month of July which is AMAZING, considering one of them is a behemoth. IT by Stephen King is 1,138 pages long! Rereading it after so many years has been nostalgic and super satisfying. As of today, I am ten books ahead of schedule. At the rate I am going, I will reach my Goodreads goal of 50 books by the end of September. Awesomesauce!

Nonfiction Selection

My July nonfiction selection was The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit by Mel Robbins. I had been wanting to read a book by Mel Robbins for ages, so when the opportunity to read The High 5 Habit presented itself with my friend Kathryn and the members of her Live Healthy Team, I took it. Anyone struggling with self (self-worth, self-doubt, self-esteem, etc.) can benefit from reading this book. Giving a high 5 to someone else is easy, but when it comes time to high 5 ourselves, it becomes much harder. Why?

We deserve to encourage ourselves just as easily as we encourage others.Through personal stories, science-based research, and examples of real-life results, Robbins shows readers how to incorporate this simple but effective tool in their everyday lives. This book will definitely be a resource I will refer back to again and again. I high 5 this book with 5 stars.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I went a different route this month and read an entire middle school series about the Gaither Sisters written by Rita Williams-Garcia. Marvelous series! All three historical fiction books are narrated by the spirited 11-year-old Delphine Gaither and are incredibly refreshing. I truly hope Rita Williams-Garcia will write more adventures about this delightful trio in the future.

One Crazy Summer is the first book in the Gaither Sisters series. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern live in Brooklyn with their father and grandmother. Pa decides it is finally time for his daughters to spend a month during the summer in Oakland, California with their estranged mother Cecile, who abandoned them shortly after Fern was born. Set in the middle of the Black Panther Movement in 1968, the girls learn a thing or two about their mother, the Black Panther Movement, and themselves. This well-written middle school historical novel is heartfelt, honest, humorous, and so deserving of being a Newbery Honor Book. I fell in love with the characters, especially the sisters and their mother. It was easily a 5-star read for me.

P.S. Be Eleven is the second book in the Gaither Sisters series, and it did not disappoint. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are back in Brooklyn after spending an eventful month during the summer with their mother Cecile. This novel follows the girls through their school year, Pa’s girlfriend news, the unexpected return of their Uncle Darnell from the Vietnam War, and the Jackson 5. Delphine, now in 6th grade, deals with fitting in, friendship turmoil, and her feelings about Ellis Carter. I continue to enjoy reading about Delphine and her experiences during this pivotal time in history. Another 5-star read!

Gone Crazy in Alabama is the third and final book in the Gaither Sisters series. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are sent to Alabama to visit Big Ma, their great grandmother, and Uncle Darnell for the summer. The girls quickly learn that the ways of the south are much different from their home back in Brooklyn or where their mother Cecile lives in Oakland. The girls discover a family feud, learn more about their family and cultural history, experience the power of forgiveness, and embrace the importance of family. 5 stars, ya’ll!

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

The atmospheric Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand is a wonderfully written novella with gothic horror vibes. The tale of the missing lead singer of Windhollow Faire, the summer he and his fellow band mates lived at Wylding Hall, is told in an interview style format with multiple viewpoints. The question on everyone’s mind is, what happened to shy, handsome Julian Blake? English folklore, musical elements, unreliable narrators, and the setting of an ancient country home and its mysterious surroundings create a delicious amalgamation of subtle horror. A bewitching 5-star read for me!

Year of King

For July, Kelsi and I tackled our most ambitious Stephen King selection to date. IT is one of my favorite King novels. It embodies horror elements that will frighten any reader because we are all afraid of something. Derry, Maine is the setting of this chilling tale about an evil entity that awakens every 27 years to wreak havoc on the residents of this small New England town. Seven children, who are viewed as losers among their peers, are drawn together and form an impenetrable bond which fuels their quest to seek out the murderous Pennywise and destroy it once and for all.

It should not come as a surprise that I gave this beautifully written coming-of-age story 5 stars. Well-developed characters, a terrifying clown, and a battle between good and evil make this a must-read for any Stephen King fan.

Additionally, IT translated remarkably well for both television and the big screen which is not always the case with King’s stories. Watching the screen adaptations of IT was a huge undertaking for Kelsi and me. We watched the 1990 television miniseries, the 2017 film, and the 2019 film. That calculates to roughly 500 minutes of screen time which I personally think was time well-spent. I thoroughly enjoyed all three adaptations.

Kesli and I had a stirring conversation about IT on August 7th, discussing the novel and all three movie adaptations. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

August is already in full swing, and I have some terrific selections picked out to read throughout this month. I am currently reading The Haunting of the Old Yellow House on Millard Road by D.A.L. for #Read21in21. My book club selection for August is What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher. Cujo is the novel Kelsi and I will be reading for Year of King. I think it is going to be a tough read because of content. We will have a live discussion about the novel and movie on Sunday, 28 August at 2:00 PM CT. I have chosen two nonfiction selections this month, Clean & Lean by Ian K. Smith, M.D. and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. My sister Rachel and I are both planning to read it which makes it our first buddy read together. It should be a fun experience, and I am looking forward to discussing it with her. Of course, I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in August. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” ~ Paul Sweeney

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We are at the halfway mark in the year, and I am on fire with my reading goals. Despite having a great deal of activity in my life last month, I was able to complete five books in the month of June as well as a short story from the Everything’s Eventual collection by Stephen King. As of today, I am ten books ahead of schedule. Amazing!

Nonfiction Selection

I chose The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There by Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey for my June nonfiction selection. I was super excited about this book ever since the Office Ladies announced they were writing it. I am a fan of both The Office and the Office Ladies podcast. Thanks to Simon, mon frere, for gifting me this beautiful book with lots of fun facts, personal photos, and special stories from Jenna and Angela’s time on The Office. These two ladies became best friends as a result of working on that television show, and their friendship is still going strong today. This is a delightful read and deserves all 5 stars.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I only read two middle school books in the month of June, but I enjoyed both of them immensely. One book was actually a reread and the other was recommended by the booktuber Mitzi of Mitzi Reads and Writes. Mitzi is participating in an #annealong with some other booktubers, and they are reading the entire series of books about Anne Shirley of Green Gables.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery took me by surprise. It is considered a classic historical fiction novel. I absolutely fell in love with this story, and I simply adore the main character, Anne Shirley. So much so, that I have already ordered the second book in the series. Basically, Anne Shirley is an orphan who is mistakenly sent to live with unmarried siblings, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, on their farm called Green Gables located in Avonlea. Anne is a spirited young lady, who has a wild imagination and a compassionate heart. This charming coming-of-age story follows Anne as she navigates life in her new home while capturing the hearts of all who cross paths with her, including readers of this timeless classic. This is stellar story worthy of 5 stars.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg is a realistic fiction book filled with adventure and a mystery. I chose to reread it on a whim for June because Andrew and I visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in June, and that is where this marvelous novel takes place. Two children, Claudia and Jamie, run away to New York City and take up residence in The Met. While enjoying their newfound freedom, they stumble upon a mystery surrounding a sculpture that has ties to a famous artist. After reading it, I decided to have my own adventure in the museum. This Newbery Medal book is another 5-star read and remains one of my favorite middle school books.

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie is a magnificent mystery novel that kept me guessing literally to the very end. Ten unsuspecting strangers from all walks of life have been invited by an unknown wealthy millionare to spend the weekend at his newly purchased home situated on the isolated Soldier Island. Shortly after arriving, the guests discover that they have one thing in common…murder. Then, one of the ten dies suddenly, and the remaining nine soon realize a murderer is among them, waiting to pick each one of them off one by one. Ooooh, so good and a brilliant 5 stars!

Year of King

For June, Kelsi and I chose a novella from Skeleton Crew and a short story from Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales to read for our Year of King project.

The Mist is a psychological horror novella with science fiction undertones and Lovecraftian vibes. The small town of Bridgton gets swept up in a thick fog following a violent thunderstorm. While David Drayton and the rest of the townspeople are trying to regroup and recover from storm damage, loss of electricity, and lack of communication, they soon discover the thunderstorm brought along more than just the fog. It was an entertaining 4-star read for me.

“1408” is a supernatural horror short story that takes place in a New York City hotel. The skeptical and bestselling author of haunted places, Mike Enslin, gets more than he bargains for when he attempts to spend the night inside the haunted room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel. The moment I read about the crooked door of 1408 is the moment I would have returned the room key to the front desk. Haunted places and objects give me the willies, and this short story is no exception. It earned 5 stars for sheer creepiness.

As Kelsi and I do with all the stories we read by Stephen King, we watched the screen adaptations for both The Mist and “1408.” The Mist followed the novella pretty closely but with a much bleaker ending. I thought the director, Frank Darabont, did a fine job bringing the story visually to life. “1408” was fleshed out a bit more in its film adaptation, effectively using the short story as the foundation for the film. I loved how the evil hotel room comes to life with a personality all of its own. Both films were decent adaptations, enjoyable to watch, and earned 4-star ratings from me. Kesli and I had an interesting conversation about The Mist and “1408” on June 26th, discussing both stories and their movie adaptations. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

July has already started which means another month with an awesome list of books to read. I am currently reading One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia for #Read21in21. My book club selection for July is Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand. It is the novel Kelsi and I will be reading for Year of King. It is a chunker! We will be chatting live about the novel and the two movies on Sunday, 07 August at 2:00 PM CT. Finally, for my nonfiction choice, I will be reading The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit by Mel Robbins. I will be reading this book along with members of my friend Kathryn’s Facebook group Kat’s Live Healthy Team. I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in July. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” ~ Roald Dahl

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As I predicted, May was a zomberific reading month for me! Since May is Zombie Awareness Month, every book I chose to read this month included zombies or the resurrected dead. I completed four books in the month of May, and as of today, I am nine books ahead of schedule. Wowzer!

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

Our book club selection for May also counts as my nonfiction read for the month. The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis is about real zombis (Haitian French spelling), not the ones you might expect to see on an episode of The Walking Dead. Wade Davis, a Harvard scientist, traveled to Haiti for the purposes of medical science, investigating a powerful drug that had the capability of turning people into zombis. Through his investigation of the poisons and the zombification of Clairvius Narcisse, he discovered the secret societies of Haitian voodoo and their cultural beliefs.

While I think Davis’s anthropological experience in Haiti is fascinating, I feel there were a few parts of the book that dragged on a bit too long. I enjoyed learning about the secret societies of Haiti, their role in zombification, the case studies of people turned into zombis, as well as Zora Neale Hurston’s adventurous fieldwork in Haiti. Hurston was an American author, anthropologist, and a filmmaker. She is the author of one of my favorite books, Their Eyes Were Watching God. I knew she was an anthropologist; however, I had never read anything about her in that role. What a pleasant surprise! I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads, but it feels more like 3.5 stars overall.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I read only two zombie books for this challenge. I started the month reading a middle grade book and ended it with a young adult one.

Dead City by James Ponti is the first book in the middle-grade Dead City trilogy. Ponti has created a fresh perspective of the zombie genre. It is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure about a middle-schooler named Molly, who is selected to join an elite group after extensive training to help protect the city from the undead. I enjoyed the characters (especially Molly), the story, and the different zombies. I will definitely read the other two books in the trilogy. I give it 5 stars.

The Enemy by Charlie Higson is the first book in the post-apocalyptic young adult series, The Enemy. Like Dead City, it is fast-paced and action-packed but definitely way more brutal and geared toward an older group of readers. The story takes place in London where adults have been infected with a virus that turns them into cannibalistic zombies. The children, who are left to fend for themselves, must learn how to rely on each other in order to survive against the grownups. There is a substantial assortment of interesting and dynamic characters as well as dark and heartfelt scenes meshed well within a gritty storyline. This book is another 5-star read. I am invested in the characters which makes me want to read the rest of the series.

Year of King

May’s selection was Pet Sematary. The story is about the Creed family, who leave the hustle and bustle of Chicago behind for a simpler life in the sleepy town of Ludlow, Maine. Louis, a doctor, takes a position as director of health services at the University of Maine where he feels sure the demands will be less stressful.

His wife Rachel looks after their new home and two small children, Ellie and Gage. They soon make friends with their elderly neighbors, Jud and Norma Crandall. Jud warns them about the busy highway that runs past their house and is used regularly by speeding trucks. Within a few weeks of getting settled, the family learns about the Pet Sematary behind their home and its significance to the locals in the small town. Soon, tragedy touches the lives of the Creed family, and they are propelled into a nightmare of inexplicable horror.

Pet Sematary is one of my absolute favorite novels by Stephen King. I was thrilled Kelsi wanted to read it for our Year of King project, so I could revisit it for the third time. It is a 5-star read, hands down. The novel is not only dark, atmospheric, creepy, and beautifully written, but also provides a heart-wrenching peek into the effects of grief, guilt, and despair.

There are two movie adaptations of Pet Sematary. Kelsi and I watched both films. Stephen King wrote the screenplay for the 1989 film, so it follows the novel pretty closely. The 2019 film is a different story. I did not care for it for a variety of reasons, especially its ending. Kelsi and I had a terrific conversation about Pet Sematary on May 29th, discussing both the book and the movies. In fact, we had a passionate, but friendly disagreement about the 2019 film. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

I have a couple of recommendations for fans of Pet Sematary. The first is Stephen King: Pet Sematary Complete Series BBC Radio drama on YouTube. This radio dramatization was recommended to us by Arlene, one of Kelsi’s Slime and Slashers subscribers. Because of time constraints, I have only listened to about 30 minutes of it but have plans to listen to the rest of it by the end of this month. It is so well-done and worth the listen. In addition, there is an excellent documentary, Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary, about the making of Pet Sematary (1989) that Kelsi discovered which can now be streamed free on Tubi. Having worked in television production and as a background actor in both film and television, I appreciated learning about the details in the making of Pet Sematary.

June is already underway, dear reader, and I have a stack of great books and two short stories to read this month. I am currently reading Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery for #Read21in21. My book club selection for June is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. My nonfiction choice for this month is The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. Kelsi and I will be reading two short stories, “The Mist” and “1408,” for Year of King. We will be chatting live about the novel and both movies on Sunday, 26 June at 2:00 PM CT. June should be another awesome reading month for me. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

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What a gratifying reading month April was for me! I continue to choose stellar stories, making my bookish adventure this year all the more joyful. I completed eight books in the month of April, and as of today, I am eight books ahead of schedule. Woot-Woot!

Nonfiction Selection

I chose The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp (with Mark Reiter) for my April nonfiction selection. I had been wanting to read this book ever since Gretchen Rubin recommended it. At the library book sale, I attended with Michelle back in March, I snagged a copy for two bucks. Twyla Tharp is a dancer and one of the greatest choreographers in America who has created a plethora of dances since her career began in 1965. She has also received many awards and recognition for her contribution to the world of ballet. While many of her ideas about developing a creative habit stem from her experience as a dancer and choreographer, she has written this book for anyone who is pursuing a creative life as well as anyone who chooses a more traditional career path. Each chapter focuses on lessons Tharp has learned over her thirty-five-year career, along with 32 useful exercises, to help readers make creativity a part of their lives through developing a creative habit. This book was an enjoyable read. It is a terrific resource with plenty of exercises to help readers tap into their creativity. I gave it 4 stars!

#Read21in21 Challenge

I started April off reading a young adult short story horror collection, followed by four middle grade books. I read another Gordon Korman novel (no surprise), a mystery, and two selections in the horror category.

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys compiled by April Genevieve Tucholke contains 14 short stories that are all inspired by novels, short stories, songs, television series, or movies, but each one has its own unique twist. Some of the stories are creepy while others are more psychologically thrilling. My top five favorites are “Fat Girl with a Knife,” “M,” “A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow,” “Stitches,” and “In the Forest Dark and Deep.” I gave it 4 stars.

Unplugged by Gordon Korman was a terrific middle-grade read. Personally, I do not think anyone can go wrong reading Kormon’s books. Many of them are hilarious with heart at the core. And, Unplugged is no exception. Jett Baranov is a spoiled, rich kid who ends up at the Oasis in the middle of the Arkansas wilderness for the summer after pulling one too many pranks. His goal is to get thrown out; however, he quickly gets immersed in a mystery, develops unlikely friendships, and learns not everything is a joking matter. This is another 5-star read by Gordon Korman.

The Girl from Felony Bay by J.E. Thompson was a marvelous middle-school mystery. Abbey Force and Bee Force (no relation) become fast friends when Bee’s father buys Abbey’s plantation home near Felony Bay. Abbey is forced to live with her mean-spirited Uncle Charlie and his unsympathetic wife after her father falls into a coma, following an accident, and can no longer care for her. Abbey and Bee stumble upon a mystery at Felony Bay, involving Uncle Charlie and some other shady locals, and the girls work together to solve it. I enjoyed this debut novel and gave it 5 stars.

While Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine is not my favorite book in the Goosebumps franchise, it was still entertaining and a good introduction to Slappy the dummy. Twin sisters, who love to compete with one another, soon find out their dummies have a sinister side. I am not a huge fan of dolls, dummies, mimes, or clowns because they are CREEPY, especially when they are possessed.  This was a 3-star read for me.

The Girl in the Headlights by Lindsey Duga is a ghost story with the right amount of creepiness for young readers. Briana Jensen moves in temporarily with her grouchy Uncle Shane on Shadowborn Road while her mother attends a training program. Shortly after arriving, Brianna encounters a ghostly young girl, who went missing on her way home from the town’s fall festival many years ago and uncovers the circumstances surrounding her murder. This middle-grade ghost story held my interest and earned 4 stars.

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill is a ghostly gothic horror novella that I absolutely adored from start to finish. Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer, narrates the story of the harrowing ordeal he experiences while staying at Eel Marsh House in the small town of Crythin Gifford. I found this atmospheric story riveting and spine-tingling. Hands down, it is a 5-star read for me, and I look forward to reading more of Hill’s ghost stories.

Year of King

April’s selection was The Dark Half. The story is about Thad Beaumont, a writer, who after struggling to achieve success under his own name, decides to write novels under the pen name, George Stark. While these novels are commercially successful, they are dark, violent, and bring out unsavory qualities in Thad. An unexpected turn of events prompts Thad to retire his pseudonym, causing dire circumstances to befall anyone connected to Thad and his decision to bury his dark half.

I had seen the movie back in the 90s, but I had never read the book. Boy, am I glad Kelsi and I chose this underrated gem to read for our Year of King. I thought it was gripping, chilling, and disturbing. It earned a 5-star rating from me. There were so many terrific scenes throughout the novel. The surgery scene is one of my favorites. While researching and taking notes on The Dark Half for my chat with Kelsi, I discovered a bunch of fun facts about psychopomps, where King got the idea for this story, and how King came up with the name Stark for his villain. We had an congenial conversation about The Dark Half on May 1st, discussing both the book and the movie. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

I would be remiss not to mention my failed attempt at participating in Kelsi’s April Readathon/Watchathon. I just could not fit another book into my already packed schedule. I really thought spring break would help, but I just had too many other activities and scheduled reading that I can only count three reads for the Readathon (Night of the Living Dummy, The Dark Half, and The Woman in Black) and three watches for the Watchathon (an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants and Goosebumps – “The Haunted Mask” as well as The Dark Half movie). Oh well, there is always next year.

May has officially begun, and it is Zombie Awareness Month! Therefore, I will be reading books all month that are related to zombies. I am currently reading Dead City by James Ponti for #Read21in21. My book club selection for May is The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis. It will also count as my nonfiction choice for the month. Pet Sematary is the novel Kelsi and I will be reading for Year of King. We will be chatting live about the novel and the two movies on Sunday, 29 May at 2:00 PM CT. May is going to be a zomberific reading month for me. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~ Charles W. Eliot

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Effective Websites Focused on Results

Get On With It

Writing and drawings about work, family and the stuff in-between

theleadlesspencil

Doing the best that I can, at writing, running and living

Daniel J Bockman

Businessman, Author and Speaker

Li. A. Wake

Author and Screenwriter

dastardly.reads

procrastination.queen

This West London Life

Attempting to live a better story ... and scrapbooking it.

Ask Dr S.

Lifestyle, Performance, Physical Medicine