Human Places Make Inhuman Monsters: Reviewing The Shining by Stephen King

Happy Halloween everyone! In honor of today, I decided I’m going to review one of the most classic horror novels from the master of horror novels himself. Despite the novel not being long, it took me a while to get through it but I survived the Overlook and I’m here to tell you about it so sit back and enjoy my review of Stephen King’s The Shining. 

Jack Torrance is troubled man struggling to overcome his personal demons. When he is given an offer to be a seasonal caretaker at the famous Overlook Hotel, he seizes the opportunity to offer a better life for his young family and to work on his writing. As a terrible winter creeps in, the Overlook begins to a reveal a darker side that brings about the worst in the Torrance family. Soon, Danny – the gifted child, Wendy – the caring wife, and Jack – the struggling writer must fight for survival against the long-buried ghosts lurking in the Overlook Hotel.

I have to admit that I have only recently seen the movie, along with finishing the novel. I must say that I was surprised by some of the drastic differences in the plot that were not shown in the movie. That, however, is a different tangent for a different time. The Shining is a brilliantly frightening novel that puts the reader into the isolation that the Torrance family faces. King’s narrative is a perfect balance of suspense, shock, and gore all wrapped up into one haunting novel. Surprisingly, this one of the shorter Stephen King novels so, if you don’t want to commit to one of his longer novels, then I recommend this one. Any horror fan is guaranteed to love this book as (in my opinion) it provides more shock and thrills than the Kubrick movie. Note: I’m not saying the movie is bad but, compared to the book, you would be surprised by how much Kubrick left out.


Creepy Quotes and Spooky Short Stories for Halloween

Hi Everyone! Since Halloween is this upcoming Tuesday, I decided to share some quotes to get you in the mood for something frightening then some short stories for us bookworms to enjoy if you’re planning on staying in. Some of these stories will be classic Halloween tales while other will be “creepy-pastas” but I hope you check them all out. I will try to leave links for you. Anyways, here we go.

“There is something at work in my soul which I don’t understand.” – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

“It is only when a man is face to face with such horrors that he can understand their true import.” Bram Stoker, Dracula 

“I have meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at the belly and it might slide out meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you can stomp on it.” – Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

“Deep in that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” – Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven

“Hell is empty and the devils are all here.” William Shakespeare, The Tempest

“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

“Sometimes human places create inhuman monsters.” – Stephen King, The Shining

“You said I killed you – haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in the abyss where I cannot find you!” – Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

“A thick, black cloud swirled before my eyes, and my mind told me that in this cloud, unseen as yet, but about to spring upon my appalled senses, lurked all that was vaguely horrible, all that was monstrous and inconceivably wicked in the universe.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot

Short Stories to Scare You:

“The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allan Poe – This one is my personal favorite Poe story. It has some very creepy sensory details that will send chills down your spine as you wait to see how the narrator tries to escape.

“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs – I remember reading this one in middle school. Jacobs’ twisted take on being careful what you wish for will have you holding your breath as the suspense grows with each page.

“The Children of the Corn” by Stephen King – I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with the movie based off of the story but you might want to check out the original story. It’s especially creepy if you live somewhere with a lot of cornfields.

“The Outsider” by H.P. Lovecraft – I could have composed this list of nothing but Poe and Lovecraft but I’m just giving you some of my favorites. This one in particular is really creepy as the narrator finally escapes the castle he had spent his whole life in.

“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury – This is another one I read in middle school and this falls under sci-fi horror and I definitely recommend it if you’re into apocalyptic type stories.

“Snow, Glass, Apples” by Neil Gaiman – I would be remiss if I didn’t include any Neil Gaiman. This is a fucked-up version of Snow White that will never let you see the classic fairy tale in the same way again.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – I’ve found this one several times throughout my school career and its uniquely creepy as it follows the diary of a woman who is slowly being driven mad through her husband’s misguided attempts to help her. It’s also kind of a feminist story, if you’re interested.


 Candle Cove”

Anasi’s Goatman Story

The Russian Sleep Experiment


NoEnd House

Smiling Man 

I hope I gave you enough to keep you occupied this Halloween. I apologize if any of the links don’t work. Let me know if any of these scared you or if you have some other favorite scary stories that aren’t here. Happy Haunting! Stay safe if you’re going out.




The Zombie Apocalypse Book Tag

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this but I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead. I saw this tag and thought that the timing was perfect since Season 8 (and the 100th episode) premiered last night. I completed two of my midterms thus far with confidence so I’m going to do a fun tag. Shout out to Bionic Book Worm who has already done this tag.

Here are the rules:

  • Choose 5 random books from your shelf
  • Randomly set your books
  • Flip to a random name and record the first two names that you see
  • Put the names in the categories listed below in the order that you saw them

The five books I picked are: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The First Person to Die in the Apocalypse – Goddammit, I got Hermione. Of all of the people you don’t want to die, Hermione is one of them.


The Person You Tackle to Escape the Zombies – I got Viktor Krum and I don’t think I would feel bad about sacrificing him to the zombies.


The First Person to get Turned into a Zombie – Fortunately, I ended up picking the Foxfaced girl from The Hunger Games

daryl killing walker

The Person who Tackles me to Escape the Zombies – I got Haymitch and, with his personality in the first book, that wouldn’t surprise me.

shane walker

The Team’s Idiot – For this one, the name that came up was Laura Moon from American Gods. I’m certainly not a fan of hers so I’ll accept it. Also, (spoiler but not really) she’s undead for most of the book so she’s allowed to do stupid things.


The Brains of the Team – I got the main character, Shadow Moon. I would definitely trust him to hold a group together. He’s adaptable and logical.


The Teams Medic – Wesley from The Princess Bride is the medic. I would trust the guy who developed an immunity to poison.

daryl and judith

The Weapons Expert – Hell yeah! We’ve got Inigo Montoya on our team!


The Team’s Brawler – I ended up with Sherlock Holmes and he’s a boxer so I’m fine with him punching the zombies in the face.


The Team’s Leader – I am trusting this team to Dr. John Watson and that sounds good to me.

rick smiling

I’d love to hear from my fellow Walking Dead fans about what they got for this tag or tell me what you thought of the Season 8 premier if you’re caught up.

Book Tropes I Absolutely Hate Pt. 2

I’m technically supposed to be studying right now, but in order to stop myself from freaking out, I decided to rant a bit more about book tropes that I’m tired of seeing. Side note: Is it weird that I stop myself from studying out of fear that I’m “over studying?” Does anyone else do that? Anyways, back to my rant, I’m going to share a few more tropes I can’t stand and I would love to hear your feedback.

Overly-Possessive Relationships – This trope tends to pop up more in the fantasy genre more often but this fictional couple just needs each other. They can’t be apart from each other for whatever nonsense reason that the author gives them. Jealousy may be a natural part of a relationship but it turns into abuse when taken to the extremes. We shouldn’t be seeing relationships bound together with too much love. Examples of this are Bella and Edward from Twilight, Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, and Ana and Christian from Fifty Shades of Grey. 

table flip

The Snark Master – Listen, I’m a very sarcastic person and I love sarcastic characters but their personality can’t be solely that they are the sarcastic one. I want to see character traits outside of quips and one liners. It’s the worst when this character cracks jokes even during dire moments. At a certain point, it even gets cringey so please use sarcasm respectfully.


Overly Metaphorical – Metaphors can make your book or break your book. We’ve all seen the memes from The Fault in Our Stars about the cigarette as a metaphor. You know, that’s fine but what I hate is when a writer tries to shoehorn in as many metaphors as they can. Most books are set around one over-arcing metaphor or have several running metaphors throughout but it’s just bad writing if every other person, object, or situation is a metaphor of some kind.


A Whole Lot of Exposition – World building is a wonderful thing for writers. In fact, I admire writers who create entire fantasy worlds. But, what I don’t like is when a novel has to stop to give you a history lesson about the world. You can weave in the backstories without taking away from the ongoing narrative.

angry writing

The Awkward Virgin – This character knows nothing about sex. Their parents never gave them the “birds and the bees” talk. They must have slept through high school sex ed or even just biology because they are just so shocked by any sort intimacy. Female characters like this are typically supposed to be “cute” because of this while male characters like this are laughed at. How about we don’t shame people for being virgins as much as we shouldn’t shame them for being sexually active?


Hip with the Kids – I may be only 21 but I struggle with learning the newest slang. Adults authors may feel the same way and you shouldn’t use modern slang if you don’t know what it means. Urban Dictionary is a great reference, honestly. If you want to write convincing teen characters, don’t try too hard. Teenagers aren’t completely stupid or self-centered and they don”t speak a different language.

angry drake

The Wimp – This character is the complete opposite of “The Punching Bag” that I mentioned in my other book trope rant. A cold breeze blows and this character is all of a sudden in a coma, or something. This character is taken down with one hit and is somehow saved by the other characters. We don’t all have to be good fighters but don’t make your character completely useless if you’re going to put them in a combat situation.

sherlock angry

The Romantic Weakness – This character is written as strong and stoic until their true love rolls around. Then, just like magic, this character melts into some kind of romantic mess from a completely different story. This sudden personality shift is so lame and takes the reader out of the moment.

sheldon angry

I realize that this is more of a writing ranting as opposed to a book trope rant but I still hope some of you share my thoughts and feelings. I’ll link you to my previous book trope rant. I would love to hear some of your most hated book tropes. Maybe we can even make this into a tag. Book Tropes I Absolutely Hate


Spiraling Out of Control: Reviewing Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

So I’ve pretty much recovered from my cold just in time to run through a gauntlet of midterms starting on Monday. I decided to finish the book so I wouldn’t have any distractions while studying. I mean, I’ll find distraction anyway but my urge to finish this book will not be one of them. Just a note for all of you have not finished the book, I promise to not spoil it. In fact, all of my reviews have been spoiler free but I can happily do some spoiler discussions on my blog if you are interested. For now, I will give you my review of Turtles All the Way Down, John Green’s latest literary venture.

Aza Holmes is trapped in her own mind with her recurring thoughts of bacterial microbes. When a local billionaire, Russell Pickett, goes missing, she finds herself thrust into a world outside of her worries. Along with her best friend and famous Star Wars fan-fiction author, Daisy Ramirez, Aza sets out to find out what happened to Pickett and bring his son, Davis, closure. Green’s latest novel is a journey of self-relization, over-thinking, and coming to terms with the world on a micro and macro scale.

I’m a bit biased because I’ve been a John Green fan since high school but I have to say that this book struck a cord with me that the other books have not. Aza is a chronic over thinker and so am I. Though she deals with OCD whereas I deal with anxiety, I still understood where she was coming from. Green uses his signature wit and philosophy to create a narrative about dealing with the uncontrollable. He isn’t afraid to tackle any kind of illness, mental or physical, and how it affects teens. The plot summary on the book makes it sound like a road trip kind of story but it’s more of an internal journey about finding how to cope with your problems, knowing that they may never leave you. That may sound depressing but I promise that the novel is way more hopeful than that. John Green fans will certainly not be disappointed by his latest endeavors and new readers will understand Green more through this novel. Turtles All the Way Down is a step forward in teen literature in its own honest and remarkable way.

The Guilty Reader Book Tag

I found this one on Books Are Only The Beginning so check out her blog. I’m a little under the weather right now so I have some time to blog a bit more. Hopefully, I’ll feel better soon and I can get you a review of Turtles All The Way Down, which should be arriving via Amazon today. In the meanwhile, let me tell you about all of the things I’ve been guilty of as a book lover.

Q: Have you ever re-gifted a book that you have been given?

A: I know I’ve gotten book that were re-gifted but I don’t think I’ve ever re-gifted a book. I might have given someone a book and told them it was a re-gift because I figured that they would like it more than me.

Q: Have you ever said you’ve read a book that you haven’t?

A: I have lied about reading The Diary of Anne Frank and Dante’s Inferno. I’ve lied about finishing plenty of books but I at least tried to read them and then just skipped to the ending after getting bored and/or frustrated.

Q: Have you ever borrowed a book and not returned it?

A: I have this book that I got as a kid titled The Other Emily about a girl named Emily who thinks her name is so unique until she meets another girl named Emily. I liked finding a book with my name in it so I just kind of kept it. No one said anything.

Q: Have you ever read a series out of order?

A: I accidentally read The Vampire Diaries out of order because the books don’t have numbers or editions on them so I had to guess to figure out if I was reading the correct one. Also, there are a few “non-series” that I read out of order. By “non-series,” I mean that the books all feature the same character or something like that but the stories aren’t directly connected by the events of the previous stories. A lot of detective novels work this way.

Q: Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?

A: Kids in grade school would ask me to spoil the books for them because I always read ahead and they didn’t want to read. I actually got in trouble for that once. Also, I’m pretty sure I spoiled one of the Harry Potter book for someone.

Q: Have you ever dog-eared a book?

A: No, because I’m not a monster who was raised by rabid raccoons.

Q: Have you ever told someone you didn’t own a book when you do?

A: I was hesitant to tell people I had the Twilight books. I’ve since given them to Good Will.

Q: Have you ever told someone you didn’t read a book when you did?

A: I haven’t read anything that I would be particularly embarrassed about. We all go through phases. I’ll admit I took part in the vampire craze.

Q: Have you ever skipped a section or part or chapter of a book?

A: I just finished North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and I kind of skipped through the rest of that for the sake of time. I reviewed The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and ended up skipping chunks of the book in order to finish it.

Q: Have you ever bad-mouthed a book that you liked?

A: I’m not afraid to admit that my favorite books have flaws but I’ve never just completely ranted against a book I liked.

That’s the end of the tag. I can’t wait to here your responses. Let’s all be guilty little bookworms together.

Monsters, Fathoms, and Witchcraft: Reviewing The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I’m surprised it took me as long as I did to get to reading this book. In a moment of weakness that I experience whenever I am in a bookstore, I decided to add yet another Neil Gaiman book to my growing collections. What can I say? I’m guilty of being a Neil Gaiman fan. I will now tell you about The Ocean at the End of the Lane. 

When a middle aged man returns to his childhood home for a funeral, he finds himself drawn back to an old farm where his friend, Lettie Hempstock, lived. As he stands by Lettie’s “ocean” (that was really a pond) behind her farmhouse, he remembers a frightening, magical, and fantastical time in his life that no small boy could have even imagined. The Ocean at the End of Lane follows the journey of children trying to make sense of a strange world where adults aren’t always right and magic inhabits the forest.

You are all aware of my bias as I am a Neil Gaiman fan but, regardless, this novel is a delicate and dark look at childhood and the struggles that come with it. Gaiman takes his signature dark storytelling and turns it into a fairy tale that is surprisingly relatable. It’s a quick read too, at only 273 pages but Gaiman makes every last page count. This coming-of-age story presents the reader with a new outlook on adulthood, humanity, bravery, and kindness. The Ocean at the End of the Lane takes you a whirlwind journey through the magic world that we grow out of.

The Trouble with Titles

If you are anything like me, then you dread having to give your book or short story a title. I’m awful at giving things titles but I have good reasons for it. After spending a great deal of time browsing the bookstore shelves (or sometimes window shopping online), I’ve noticed some patterns that come up when it comes to book titles. Here I present to you my observations about the do’s and don’t’s of book titles. Note: This is my personal opinion. I don’t mean to hate on any books but sometimes, the titles could use improvement. Also, I don’t mean to hate if your stories have titles like the ones I’m about to complain about.

Edgy Buzzwords: Darkness, shadow, smoke, death, ash, night…these are all words that pop up when you’re browsing the sic-fi or fantasy section. YA lit tends to use these “edgy” words in their titles more because the authors realize that teenagers want to feel rebellious in how they choose their literature. Adult books are guilty of this too. So, if you want to refer to darkness or fire in your title, just know that the market is currently saturated with these “gothic” book titles. Sometimes, it just feels as though the authors are trying too hard to be dark.

Avoid “And The…”: Ever since Harry Potter debuted, it’s been common to see titles that sound something like “So-and-so and the Thing of the Thing” or whatever. This typically only works for series, though. I suggest avoiding “and the” titles for standalone novels. If I read a “and the” title my mind immediately assumes that this is part of a series. Think carefully using the “and the” title.

Make the Title Relevant to the Whole Book: A big pet peeve of mine is when the title of the book only refers to once specific scene in the book in one part of the book. For example, in Twilight there is only once scene that is set at twilight and that’s it. Stephanie Meyer thought she was being really clever with her metaphorical titles but they hold no real relevance to the story itself. Think of an ongoing motif in your story or an event that your novel is set around. Example, The Hunger Games is obviously set around the titular event or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is set around them finding the Deathly Hallows. You don’t always have to make your titles a stretch.

Titles Based on Quotes Work: For years, authors have been using parts of quotes from other books in order to titles their books. You know what? This works. I’m a big fan of quotes so if I see a book title that refers back to another story I like then I’m tempted to read it. This mostly works with references to plays or poetry. A few good examples are: Of Mice and Men, The Fault in Our Stars, The Sound and the Fury, A Raisin in the Sun, As I Lay Dying, No Country for Old Men

Be Careful with Long Titles: Some of you out there might be fans of Panic! At The Disco or Fall Out Boy. Do you remember when they had those super long and ridiculous song titles that made you laugh and love the song more for its quirky title? Well, it works with books too. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them all own their long and weird titles. Just make sure these titles are still attention grabbing and not tedious to read. Especially be careful with subtitles.

Make it Meta: Meta titles are some of the best. By this, I mean that I like titles that refer to stories within the stories. Self-aware stories are fun so make the title self-aware. Examples: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith refers to the title of a book of a murdered author that helps Cormoran Strike solve the murder. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman centers around the prophecies predicted by the witch and how they come true throughout the novel.

Bonus: I found some links of examples of really bad book titles and covers (sometimes a combination of the two). If you’re bored then check these out.

Bored Panda: 40 Worst Book Covers and Titles

eBaum’s World: 35 Hilariously Bad Book Titles and Covers

Buzzfeed: 26 Hilariously Bad Book Covers



The Horror Movies Book Tag

It’s October so I might as well do something Halloween-themed. Shout out to Thrice Read for posting this tag on their blog. I welcome you all to do this super spooky tag too.

Zombie Apocalypse: Name a book you would save when civilization ends.

If I were to pick a series, then I would say Harry Potter. If I were to pick a standalone novel, then I would pick The Odyssey.  


The Vampire: Name a book you would stake through the heart.

The Circle by Dave Eggers pissed me off to no end with its infuriating characters who don’t learn anything at all. I get that the point of the book is that sometimes you can’t escape innovation (good or bad) but I thought that was a little pessimistic.


Haunted House: A book that still haunts you

The Secret History by Donna Tartt has stuck with me since I read it for the first time, not knowing what I was getting into. It’s easily Tartt’s most quotable book. Bonus: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak also stuck in my mind after I read them.

haunted house

The Psychological Thriller: A book with a twist that you didn’t see coming.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn definitely threw me for a loop. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher also does a great job with plot twists as Hannah tells her story. Bonus: American Gods by Neil Gaiman (that I love) includes some great plot twists as well. Red Shirts by John Scalzi has a really meta plot that messed with me.


The Creepy Doll: A book that seems innocent but it’s not.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green both begin out innocently enough only to rip your heart out and stomp on it. (I mean, you can say that for most John Green books, though. I can’t say the same for John Steinbeck.)

creepy doll

The Monster: A book that you could barely tackle.

I reviewed The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt before I actually finished because the book was so long, at least for me. I still enjoyed it, though. Admittedly, I’m still not quite finished with IT by Stephen King either.


The Comedy Horror: A book with mixed genres that worked or didn’t work.

Rooms by Lauren Oliver did a really good job mixing a ghost story with a family drama. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is a great combination of supernatural elements and comedy as well.


The Cliched Teen Horror: A book you found super cliche.

The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer was riddled with cliches. I also found An Abundance of Katherines by John Green to be a bit cliche but it wasn’t nearly as bad as Twilight if you ask me.

teen horror

The Demonic Possession: A book that was so gripping that you needed an exorcist to escape it.

The Harry Potter series, The Percy Jackson series, American Gods, The Princess Bride, Looking for Alaska, The Little Friend, The Lost Symbol


The Science Fiction: A book you would sacrifice to the aliens for the good of mankind.

I would happily give the aliens The Book Thief and To Kill a Mockingbird in order to illustrate the best and worst parts of humanity.





Book Tropes I Have Yet To Get Tired Of

I already did my rant about book tropes that I hate and I’m glad to see that a lot of you feel the same way. As I was thinking about that, I realized that there are also book tropes that I still find endearing. I don’t feel books need these tropes in order to be be good but, if they show up, I thoroughly enjoy them. Let me know if any of you like these too or if you have some beloved book tropes that you enjoy.

Opposites Attract – I already talked about how I hate uneven couples but this is a bit different. I like the couples or friendships who have opposite personalities or ideas but still connect. Whether you have the optimist and the pessimist or the overachiever and the slacker, these relationships are charming in how they both see the world differently but compliment each other’s differences. These character pairs also provide a good foundation for character development. (The gif below is an example.)

kirk and spock

Villain Turned Weird Ally – I don’t see this one too often in literature but I love this trope regardless. There is nothing quite as funny (in my opinion) as seeing the once mighty villain end up befriending the hero in some way, even becoming their best ally. It’s a weirdly specific trope but I think it’s a good one. (Again, I present another example in gif form.)


The Grand Romantic Gesture – I have never been a huge fan of romance novels but I’m a big sap at heart so when I read about some heartfelt romantic gestures I tend to melt inside. I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic somewhere deep in my heart so I can’t help but find some unique expression of sincere love.

princess bride

The “Alice in Wonderland” Plot – Honestly, I really don’t mind the plots that involve a relatively normal character suddenly finding themselves in a topsy-turvy world unlike their own. I think they can be done really well. As long as the story isn’t trying too hard to be like Lewis Carol’s most famous novel then I will continue to eat up the general plot.


The Over-Eager Hero – While I am a fan of the reluctant hero trope, I do find the over-eager hero to be an enjoyable trope as well. I think it’s quite entertaining to have a character who only wants to help in whatever capacity that they can. They’re typically young and wide-eyed but they have all the best intentions. The budding young hero must transform and mature in order to fulfill their dreams of saving the world. (This character can sometimes come across as annoying but they mean well.)


Girls Who Don’t Take Anyone’s Shit – You’ve got to love a well-written, strong female character who is not there to mess around. She knows exactly what she needs to accomplish and she will not let anyone stop her. The world may look down on her but she doesn’t care because she is so sure of herself. These fictional girls should be known the world over as the inspirations that they are. The world can never have enough of these characters in any medium, not just literature.


The Reluctant Companion – This kind of ties into the “Opposites Attract” trope but I love the relationship between the one character who wants to do dangerous and stupid shit and the other character who can’t stop their friend from doing dumb shit so they might as well tag along to make sure their friend makes it out alive. I relate to both of these characters and I love to read about them.