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May 18th, 2016

Book #25 of 2016: Full Dark, No Stars

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Rating: Loved (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)


(Other versions of the cover are nicer, but I always try to use the one I read.)

I used to read Stephen King all the time. For a long time, I was caught up with him -- I had read every book he published, and read the new ones as they came out. Then there were a few in a row that didn't work for me, and I got distracted with other authors, and for no real reason I just stopped reading any book by him. Turns out I was really missing out.

He's such a good storyteller. Some people say he's not a good writer, but I had no issues at all with anything in this book.

Full Dark, No Stars contains four novellas (and one bonus story, though unfortunately only in the paperback version of the book but not in the ebook version). None of them were what I'd consider horror, but all were disturbing and "horrible" (in a good way).

1922 - Set in the beginning of the Great Depression, a man kills his wife. The whole story is his confession letter, which seems like it shouldn't work but it very much does (King books are long, and this first story was nearly half the book, and it's all one long letter). Even when one gets away with murder, that doesn't mean they're home free...

Big Driver - This one was the most disturbing story in the book. A woman's car gets a flat, a man pulls over to help her, and ends up repeatedly raping and beating her, and then leaves her for dead. While not graphic, it was too damned realistic. All parts were too realistic: the set-up of her situation, her reactions during it, and her reactions immediately after. Her later revenge didn't really work for me, but the rest of the story was more than strong enough to carry it. This was my "favorite" story in the book, though "favorite" seems like the wrong word for it. It hit me the hardest (and I suppose I should thank King, it made me realize I don't really take the threat of rape as seriously as I should).

Fair Extension - The least disturbing, most "fun" story of the book. ("Fun" doesn't seem the right word choice, but there isn't really one. "Most lighthearted" for a story in which a man is destroyed, loses his family, and all sorts of bad accidents happen?) Basically a 'deal with the devil' story. The least disturbing of the four stories. A good story, but without a harsh emotional blow.

A Good Marriage - 25+ years into a marriage, a woman finds out her husband has an awful secret, a pitch black dark side. While the story was great, her actions and the process she went through fully believable, it's the last pages of the story and a minor character that I fell in love with. I wish we'd see more of him, but I suspect we never will.

How much did I enjoy this book? I'm going to try to catch up on all the King books I haven't read yet. :) *googles* Which looks like 11 books. Well, that's going to take me a while... At least it should be good reading!

Random book bits

I look though lots and lots of books when searching for ones to read. When I find something odd, cool, wacky, or WTFish, I usually just frown or chuckle at it, then move on. However, after posting about that women who credited her dark side as a co-author, I thought now and then it might be amusing to post a collection of odd things I find while looking for new books to read.

Things that will keep me from reading your book: Having your cat edit it. "Edited by the outspoken and fearless Timothy the Talking Cat..."

Things that will tempt me to read your book: A nice cover. (Though I passed on this one anyway. Summary was generic dreck, and it's from Smashwords.)



But not so much odd covers. Linked for size and NSFW? And this one: Linked for size, utter WTF-ness, and total NSFW.

It's nice when a summary shows a complete lack of professionalism, making it easy for me to pass up on a book:

Set in a distant land, a boy grows into a man as he learns about the gifts of his ancestral blood from a mysterious mentor. And then, on one fateful day, he learns that some knowledge comes with a price.
* Attention: this is not a story about werewolves/lycans/whatever you want to call them *


(Out of curiosity about what kind of story it was then, I googled it. It doesn't seem to even have an Amazon page at all, just Smashwords. Also, no ready answer, and I don't care enough to put more time into searching.)

Summary #2:

Meet Mark . . . a man who has everything, a life that is perfect and a woman who honors his every desire. And if he has it all, why do the visions . . . the uncertainty . . . the demons . . . invade his mind and chase him into what could be his own personal hell?

. . . the ellipses . . .

Added bonus, the title/author of Summary #2 is: T.H.E.i. by T. Duncan Butler.

And then there are books that I just know will be bad, but I cannot resist them:

Pet Noir by Pati Nagle
Overview: Can a lowly gumpaw hope for love with a girl who rides in a jewel-encrusted carrier?

Feline investigator Leon, with opposable thumbs and the ability to talk, is possibly the most dangerous cat in the galaxy. Indentured to the Security department of Gamma Station until the cost of his creation is paid off, Leon alternates between harassing his human partner/roommate Devin and fighting sleazoid criminals, yet still finds time to flirt with the lovely Leila, an exotic Burmese who lives in the swankiest level of the station. Will he win her heart, and more important will he win his freedom?


Bad photoshop? Image choice? All-around bad cover design:

(Took me forever to make out that she must be riding, wearing white pants.)

Sometimes a book seems to come together. Attention-grabbing title "The Girl With Glass Feet", interesting cover:

When that happens, I hit up Amazon to check reviews and such. Unfortunately this one didn't have very good ones, so I'm skipping it. Still, kudos for the title and cover!

Another interesting title, though the book wasn't for me: A Fierce and Subtle Poison

I had really bad luck with my book hunt today. I looked at more than 1,700 titles and authors, clicking links to read summaries and look at cover when the title/author caught my attention, more than three hours combing through them, and only came up with a total of three new books to read. One will likely be bad (the Pet Noir one), one sounds interesting but comes from Smashwords (Shadows of a Superhero so it will likely be bad, and one I have hopes for (The Gaslight Dogs). Usually after this much time I have 12-20 new ones to read.

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