July 4th, 2011

Book 4: Needful Things

Title: Needful Things
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Suspense/Thriller/Horror
Pages: 739

Synopsis: Leland Gaunt comes to the town of Castle Rock, Maine and opens up an unusual shop called Needful Things. Right away, the wonder of what the new place, downtown in the tiny New England town, specializes in leaves everyone, young and old, in awe. Soon enough, the place is open for business, which allows people to learn that Needful Things has most anything and everything that the towns people absolutely cannot live without. Whatever their deepest desire, Mr. Gaunt's probably got it, from a rare and valuable baseball card and old comics, to cures for medical maladies and dates with "The King" himself, Elvis Presley. Soon enough, though, people in town learn that the bargains they receive to quench their desires are anything but.

My take: What prompted me to read this book next, after I picked up a used copy at a bookstore several months prior in the city, was the fact that the last several books I've read only range anywhere from the high 200's to the 400's. None of these ever have taken me any less than about two days, or four days, tops, depending on my work schedule or if I had any days off in the time. So, I felt as if I needed something to keep me busy for at least a few more days, which is one of the purposes that this book served. I also did get a lot more than I bargained for, however, in reading Needful Things. I mean, I started reading King in middle school and knew, from the get go, that his work is quite out of the ordinary. And with the recent mix of YA lit I've been frequenting as of late, it was time to mix it up.

I haven't read very many of King's books in their entirety, but Needful Things has prompted me to change that. Because, quite frankly, the plot seemed a bit hokey at first and, dare I say, I even was thinking maybe I had read something like this before; that is, someone gets what they think they need, but there's a price to pay. Man, was I wrong. Conflicts between characters start in within the first couple of hundred pages and, all the way to the very end, it doesn't let up. The book is broken up into three main parts. By the time I made it through Part I, which is 343 pages long, mind you, I'll be damned if I found myself trying to force myself to stay awake just a little longer to read through chapter after chapter. The plot is so twisted, so good, and was never predictable to the very end. Not to give anything away, but what I will say is that of most any book, of any genre I've read, this is the one that takes the cake for most carnage; not the B-slasher flick variety, either.

Bottom line, Needful Things is an insanely good psychological horror novel.

Grade: A

Book count: 4/50 (Start date: June 18, 2011)
Pages: 1684/15000
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June Reads

41.  Enduring Love by Bonnie Leon This is the third book in the author’s Sydney Cove series. John’s thought to be dead wife comes back to Australia in order to search for him, invalidating his marriage to Hannah, the woman that he loves.  He tries to make a life on the farm with his wife Margaret while still having feelings for Hannah.  He has to live apart from Hannah in order to flee from temptation since this is a Christian fiction book.  Throughout the book both him and Hannah have to learn how to live apart since it is very difficult to obtain a divorce in the time period that the book is set in.  The two of them also have to raise their adopted son separately.  Hannah finds out the real reason that Margaret had reappeared in John’s life after being gone for a long period of time and betraying him along with his cousin.
42.  Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead  Rose is a dhampi who took her best friend, Lissa out of their school and lived on the run for two years.  Lisa is a Moroi vampire princess who is in danger.  Rose is also training to be a guardian who protects the Moroi vampires from their mortal enemies.  Both Lissa and Rose are normal teenage girls who are also experiencing normal teenage things such as socializing with their friends and being attracted to the opposite sex.
43.  Come Spring by Tim LaHaye and Greg Dinallo
44.  Southern Comfort by Fern Michaels   Tick is a former homicide detective who left the force after the murder of his wife and children.  He retires to Mango Key where he is enjoying his life as a recluse and as a bestselling writer until two former DEA agents move in right next door staking out a large house on the island where the owner is suspected of either smuggling drugs or immigrants.  Tick’s twin brother comes to stay with him and the two men get to know the two female agents with Tick offering up his help.  Kate Rush is one of the two agents that is staking out the large house where her and Tick get along.  This is another good book by Fern Michaels with surprising twists and turns at every turn in the book.
45.  The Silent Gift by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley  Jack is a deaf mute child growing up in the Midwest during the Great Depression.  Mary is his mother trying to keep her son with her inside of sending him to an institution which is what her husband wants to do with him.  Mary eventually leaves her husband with her son Jack when she finds out that he plans on leaving her and Jack first and penniless.  She soon discovers that Jack has the gift of prophecy and she finds those who are kind to her and her son to help her out.  She is a single mother who has fallen on hard times and has a hard time trusting in God because of the things that have happened to her.  She eventually finds the strength to trust in God again and even to open up her heart up to love.  The authors do a wonderful job in describing how children with disabilities were treated during this time period also in the circus part of the book which is a small part of the book the circus slang was correct.  This is a heartwarming light read for the summer months that is not too preachy that some inspirational books can be.
46.  Learning to Cry by Christopher C. Payne   This is a story told from two different points of view about the life of a troubled teen both the father and the teen girl herself.  Melissa is the oldest of three girls who is living a seemingly perfect life until her parents get divorced and she goes back and forth between the two of them.  She starts getting into trouble, drinking, doing drugs and even sleeping around.  She hears three voices in her head pushing her to do those things.  We hear both Melissa’s point of view of events and her own father’s point of view of events.  The ending is an unexpected ending to a story like this one.
47.  Sisterhood of the Dropped Stitches by Janet Tronstad
48.  Pet Noir by Pati Nagle This is a cat mystery book with a science fiction twist.  Leon is a genetically modified cat who can speak and has thumbs like a human.  He is sent to Gamma Station far away from his mother and siblings when he is only a few weeks old in order to serve out his time to pay for his modification by helping out the security force on Gamma Station.  He assists his human partner, Devin in solving crimes on the station.  The book is actually a set of different short mysteries that work together in this e book.  The readers see Leon’s point of view of life on the station and he even makes a few friends that help him in solving the crimes.  This book would appeal to fans of the Cat Who and the Mrs. Murphy books.  
49.  A Taste of Fame by Linda Evans Shepard and Eva Marie Everson  When Lisa LeAnn’s son filmed a wedding that the Potluck Club had catered the women didn’t read the fine print in the documents that he had asked them to sign.  It turns out the tape was also submitted to a reality television show that selected the Potluck Club to compete in the competition.  Each of the women have their own reservations about being entered in the competition, even getting over them and going through with  the program.  This is a humorous light read about women of all ages getting together for a common purpose.
50.  Frostbite by Richelle Mead In this second book in her Vampire Academy series the school is on lock down after a vicious Strigoi attack.  The school makes their annual winter trip mandatory since the school officials think that it would be safer for the students to be in a luxury ski resort instead of at the school.  In this book, Lissa and Christian are a couple which makes it sometimes uncomfortable for Rose to be inside her head since she is sometimes in there during awkward moments such as when Lissa and Christian are getting intimate with each other.  Meanwhile Rose has a crush on her tutor Dimitri and one of her classmates has a crush on her.  When three of the students escape from the school trip Rose and Christian also leave school in order to find the three students.  The five students run into the Strigoi and the novice guardians in the group have their first encounter with them.  You also get to peek inside the political situation in Lissa’s and Rose’s world and even meet Rose’s mother the famous Janine Hathaway who left her at the academy at a young age so that she could perform her duties as a guardian.  You do not see a whole lot of interaction between Rose and her mom which hopefully will be shown in later books in the series.