RevivalRevival by Stephen King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Stephen King, the Master of horror has presented another book for us Constant Readers to read and discuss. If you are a Constant Reader, like me, your heart will jump in your throat before you even crack the spine. You might be disappointed with this one, or you might not.

Revival sounds like it has a hidden message lurking in the title. It doesn’t. If you are looking for vintage King, you won’t find “none of that ’round here.” What you will find is a mellow story with a little spark at the end.

Revival starts in a (you know where I am going with this.)small New England town in 1962. Jamie Morton is a small boy who befriends the new preacher. From that point on, their lives weaver together like a spider web. The preacher leaves town after a horrible accident and equally horrible sermon. Jamie goes from a small boy playing with his toy army men, living a picturesque American life, into a drug shooting, rock-n-roll playing loser. Jamie, down on his luck and almost at the end of his drugged out life, comes crashing into the preacher’s world. Divine interference? Nah, just King. Jamie’s life is changed forever when friend, now an ex-preacher, cures him of his drug habit in a most Kingly way. From that point forward, the story follows them both as they trudge through life.

Revival is full of glimpses of the King of old but, it is mellow. The writing felt a little forced in places and lacked the spark of his previous novels. The 1st few chapters had me pounding the table with my fist, as I expressed my elation-even if it was short lived. The Terrible Sermon is the best part of the novel, in my opinion. I even read it to others while proclaiming my joy of reading this book. Then, everything stopped. MELLOW. It got real mellow. Where was the horror? The thrill? I couldn’t find it. I kept waiting for the punchline, the bolt that would shock me into the place. It never came. The ending was a let down. It seemed rushed and restrained, as if someone edited a little too much.

This book is full of religion. Some may find that insulting, if you are a believer. But, if you are a constant reader, you will not be surprised. This was the best part, it is what kept me reading. I wanted to see what he would say next. King has a way of saying all the things I have been thinking and he hits the mark with Revival when it comes to religion, faith, and death. He also includes information on interesting books in the story that I am now seeking more about. Overall, it was a decent book. It is short, a little over 400 pages and is easy to read. It is a little bit Shelly, Lovecraft, and King rolled into one. I am glad I read it and it will sit in a place on the bookshelf with his other books- at the top with the ones without any dust.

Give it a go and let me know what you think.

~ C

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Driving with the Top Down: A Novel. Book Review.

Driving with the Top Down: A NovelDriving with the Top Down: A Novel by Beth Harbison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brutally Honest. This book rocks!

I won Driving with the Top Down by Beth Harbison, after entering a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. The book is published by St. Martin’s Press.

As I said, this book is brutally honest. The book follows two woman in their 30’s and one 16 year-old girl on a strange road trip. Colleen Bradley, the married, mother of one, with a small business on the side, decides to take a road trip. She is having a small mid-life crisis and needs to take a break, while her husband and son go on a ‘boy’s trip’ for a week or so. Right before she is set to leave, her husband asks her to take his niece, 16 year-old Tamara, along because his brother has to go out of town. Tamara is damaged goods. Weed smoking, drinking and all around bad girl, Colleen is less than eager to take her along. Other than a heated disagreement over a Facebook post, the two have not spoken. Colleen dreads it, but agrees to take her along. Once on the road, the two are accosted by a sick-o in a semi-truck and they take the next exit on the highway to get away from him. The exit just happens to be for the town Colleen went to college at. It has a great diner and they stop for some home-cooked, greasy, southern food. While at the diner they run into Colleen’s ex-best friend from college, who is having a crisis of her own. After circumstances make them pile into the old worn out convertible of Collen’s, the three set out on a wild trip down the east coast to Florida. All the while, coming to terms with their own personal demons.

This book is raw, personal, truthful and so much fun. It is also dark, and very real. Beth Harbison tackles real issues in her novel many women face every day. She brings to light the darkness, and heartache that go along with bad choices, fate and destiny with grace. She also gives the reader a sense of hope when everything else fails.
The only issue with this novel is that it could be a trigger for some people who have been abused, or are depressed. Do not let this keep you from reading this amazing story.

This is the first novel I have read from author Beth Harbison and I will be searching for more of her books. I started the book yesterday and finished it this morning. It is that good. Driving with the Top Down is more than just ‘chick lit’, as some would call it. It is a lesson in what it means to be a woman, mother and human in this crazy messed up world. I recommend giving this book to your mother, sister, daughter or best friend.

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