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Book Review: Music From The Dead by Bebe Faas Rice

Music From The Dead by Bebe Faas Rice is a young adult horror novel originally published in April 1997.  Marnie and her cousin Peter drive up to the mansion that Marnie's father rented for the summer ahead of her father.  When the cousins arrive at the mansion called Stonycraig and settle in, Marnie is nervous because she thought she saw a shadow in one of the windows.  Then, she starts hearing a woman crying late at night.  Are the stories about Stonycraig being haunted true? This is a book I originally read as a teenager, and I remember being impressed by the storyline and writing.  I recently decided to reread it as an adult to see if it was as good as I remembered.  I have to say it was phenomenal.  Well-written and unputdownable.   Even though there were parts that came back to me as I made my way through Music From The Dead , I still found it to be perfectly eerie and creepy.  There was even a little bit of romance but nothing inappropriate for a tween or teen.  The only com

Book Review: The Institute by Stephen King

To say I was excited about Stephen King's newest book, The Institute, coming out last year is an understatement. However, I wasn't sure I wanted to pay full price for a brand new book, but while shopping at BJ's Wholesale Club, they were selling The Institute for under $16.00, so it was an easy decision that I should buy a copy. Although I was super excited about this book, I needed to wait a bit to read it because I was reading another of King's books.

There were a few things that I loved right off about The Institute. Since most of Stephen King's books take place in the Northeast, at least that is the impression I've gotten from the books I've read by him so far, I was extremely surprised that several cities in the Southeast were mentioned. The one I loved the most was the mention of Marietta, Georgia, which is where I grew up. It's in the Metropolitan Atlanta area, so it isn't some small town, but unless you live in Georgia, you've probably never heard of it. 

I also loved that he brought up George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. (A Game of Thrones for those of you who don't recognize the official title of the book series.) I think when one of the characters made the statement that he didn't watch the television show was an autobiographical tidbit about Stephen King. Who else felt that way?

Then, there was the blast from the past when the song Mambo Number 5 was mentioned. That was a very popular song from my high school days, and it was a song that I absolutely loved. Later in the book, Stephen King made a mention of the movie adaptation of his book The Shining (The Shining, #1) without specifically mentioning it. I loved this since I just finished reading this same book not too long ago, and it made me want to watch the movie again. A little further on, he mentions The Walking Dead! I haven't watched that show, but I love all the references he's making. Usually, it annoys me, but King does it so well that it doesn't detract from the story.  There were so many other references to other things that it would take up to much time to list them all, but I absolutely loved them.

As with all of the books I've read by Stephen King, he takes his time with the set up of The Institute. This causes the story to be a bit slow at first, but I don't think it's a negative. It was still really interesting to me. However, once we got to the meat of the story, it started to get even more engrossing, and I found myself rushing through the book and had to slow myself down so I didn't miss anything.

When the main character Luke Ellis was being tested at the institute and getting the inside scoop of what was happening in the back half, it was reminiscent of L.J. Smith's Dark Visions trilogy, which includes the books The Strange Power (Dark Visions, #1), The Possessed (Dark Visions, #2), and The Passion (Dark Visions, #3). It definitely makes me want to go back and reread the trilogy. If you read the Dark Visions trilogy by L.J. Smith, did you get the same vibe when you read The Institute by Stephen King?

I haven't read a lot of books written by Stephen King, but of the ones I have read so far, The Institute is my second favorite book by him, only to be outshone by 11/22/63. My rating is five out of five stars.

Synopsis of The Institute by Stephen King:  Child prodigy Luke Ellis is kidnapped from his home in the middle of the night and taken to a remote location in Maine. The sinister government run organization known as The Institute tests children with telepathy and telekinetic abilities. All the children start out in the "Front Half" before graduating to the "Back Half", where they check in but never check out.

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