Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

Still getting caught up on reviews. These are all older books that I enjoyed and are fitting for the season.

Crooked Hearts by Lissa Evans

Crooked Hearts by Lissa Evans is an adorable story about found family that just happens to occur during the Blitz. Both funny and charming, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with Vee, who is nothing but a walking disaster, which, I think, is part of her charm. While any story during which the Blitz, its damage, and the loss of life and property play a key part could be dark and upsetting, Ms. Evans finds a way to keep the entire story lighthearted. Perhaps it is the fact that Vee is unabashedly a scam artist, or that Noel is too smart for his own good and yet endearingly naive. Together, they make you smile.

Billy Summers by Stephen King

Billy Summers by Stephen King is another found family story in which the bad guy is not as bad as the really bad guys. Moral ambiguity abounds as Billy Summers, an assassin for hire, decides to hang up his hat after one last hit. Except someone tries to do it for him. What follows is an epic spy thriller/whodunit that is twisty and tragic and yet absolutely mesmerizing. Billy Summers is more in the vein of Mr. King’s newer novels than his older horror. Personally, I like his newer stuff more, and I particularly like the moral greyness of this latest. As with his other books, there really are no poor narrators for Stephen King’s books on audio. I feel Paul Sparks did an admirable job with his narration, as he was able to show Billy’s lack of remorse as well as his softer feelings.

Christine by Stephen King

Even those who are not Stephen King fans most likely know the story of Christine. The name is synonymous with a possessed evil car. Yet, like all of Stephen King’s books made into movies, the movie leaves out SO much. In this case, I believe the movie does the original story a disservice because it is so much more than a possessed car running rampant. There are nuances to it that help flesh out the story so that it makes sense. These details also add a layer of tragedy to everything, which also enhances the story.

Audio is most definitely the way to go if you want to read the book. Holter Graham is absolutely fabulous as narrator. The way he adapts his voice as Arnie changes is thoroughly chilling. While the story itself may not be all that scary, Mr. Graham’s narration ups the creep factor by ten.

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