Watching What I’m Reading….

I was so looking forward to this weekend, the first that I haven’t had to work for some time. The weather has been perfect for the gardening I had planned to do. Instead I have been laid up with a particularly nasty stomach bug that is doing the rounds. I am feeling better this afternoon (Sunday) and even though it is a long weekend here in New Zealand, the weather forecast for tomorrow is cold, wet and windy 😞 so I won’t be getting much done outside. I guess I will just have to read, and the lawn and gardens will have to wait!

Currently I am reading


Which I am loving!

I am almost finished listening to 38225791._sy475_-1

This week I plan on reading


It’s been five years since Mackenzie Darroch was abducted and held captive in a derelict house.

She thought she’d found her way out of the darkness. She was wrong.

When she witnesses a car crash and saves the driver’s life, it sets in motion a chain of events that will alter both their futures.

The two women get involved in a high profile police case and draw the attention of a ruthless reporter. Gina Calvi is convinced Mackenzie is not what she appears and is prepared to do anything to prove it.

Meanwhile, across the city, Kirsty McBride, a young single mother, is persuaded to leave a violent relationship. Her partner, Malkie Boyle a Glasgow hardman, is due to be released from prison. Once back on the street and bent on revenge, Boyle is determined to find the people responsible for stealing his family from him.

Can Mackenzie save them or will Boyle get his revenge?


Pennsylvania, 1940s. The only life Brighton Friedrich has ever known is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of Riverside Home—the rural asylum where she was born. A nurse, Joann, has educated and raised Brighton, whose mother is a patient at the hospital. But Joann has also kept vital information from Brighton—secrets that if ever revealed would illuminate Brighton’s troubling past and the circumstances that confine her to Riverside. Brighton’s best friend is a boy she calls Angel, and as they grow up together and face the bleak future that awaits them, they determine to make a daring escape.

Nothing can prepare Brighton and Angel for life beyond Riverside’s walls. They have no legal identities, very little money, and only a few leads toward a safe place to land. As they struggle to survive in a world they’ve never seen before, they must rely on each other and the kindness of strangers—some of whom may prove more dangerous than the asylum they’ve fled.

5 ARCs from Netgalley this week, plus I picked up 2 books from my library sale….






Were all from Netgalley. And from the library sale I purchased



Plus I have been buying books for the grandchildren’s Christmas parcels. But as the eldest regularly reads my blog, I have to keep mum.

Have a wonderful week’s reading my friends and keep well.


Watching what I’m reading…

At last the weather is starting to warm up. I have spent a few hours in the garden today and enjoyed the sunshine.

I am a little over half way through


and enjoying it, but so far The Rules of Magic is still my favourite by this author.

I am also a little over half way through listening to


Which is one of those books where I find myself talking to the characters 😂🤣

This week I am planning on reading


Her only daughter has just gone away to college, and Maggie O’Farrell knows she’s turning into one of those helicopter parents she used to mock. Worrying constantly, texting more than she should, even occasionally dropping by the campus “just to say hi.” But Maggie can’t shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen to Emma. And then, just as Maggie starts to relax, her daughter disappears.

The clues are disturbing. An empty dorm room where Emma was supposedly living. A mysterious boy described as Future Husband in her phone. Dormmates who seem more sinister than friendly. As Maggie combs over the campus looking for signs of her daughter, she learns more about Emma’s life than she ever thought possible.


A married woman’s affair with her boss spirals into a dangerous game of chess with the police when she discovers he’s been murdered and she clears the crime scene of all evidence.

One little secret between a married woman, her lover, and a killer.

It should have been just a mid-life fling. A guilty indiscretion that Neve Connolly could have weathered. An escape from twenty years of routine marriage to her overworked husband, and from her increasingly distant children. But when Neve pays a morning-after visit to her lover, Saul, and finds him brutally murdered, their pied-à-terre still heady with her perfume, all the lies she has so painstakingly stitched together threaten to unravel.

After scrubbing clean every trace of her existence from Saul’s life—and death—Neve believes she can return to normal, shaken but intact. But she can’t get out of her head the one tormenting question: what was she forgetting?

An investigation into the slaying could provide the answer. It’s brought Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, and Neve’s worst fears, to her door. But with every new lie, every new misdirection to save herself, Neve descends further into the darkness of her betrayal—and into more danger than she ever imagined. Because Hitching isn’t the only one watching Neve. So is a determined killer who’s about to make the next terrifying move in a deadly affair…

This week I have had 3 new ARCs from Netgalley…




And one direct from the author


That’s my lot for the week. Enjoy your Sunday and happy reading my friends.


Watching What I’m Reading…

I am 3/4 of the way through


which I should finish tonight, and review tomorrow. And I am at about the same place with listening to


so I should finish that either tomorrow or Tuesday.

This week I am planning on reading


Nathan West loved his wife Laura with all his heart. But now she’s gone, taken from him in a seemingly random act of violence. Laura was the glue that held their family together. And for Nathan, life without her feels almost meaningless.

As he tries to find hope in the darkness, his three young daughters express their grief in different and challenging ways – with one set on a path of self-destruction that could devastate their family all over again. Desperate to understand his own heartbreak better, he reaches out to others who had known Laura. Including her new friend Maria, whose light and warmth are exactly what their grieving family needs, and who is soon helping out and providing emotional support for them all.

But the picture Maria paints of Laura is unfamiliar to Nathan – of a wife who felt ignored, a mother who felt she couldn’t do enough – and he struggles to reconcile it with his own memories of the woman he loved. Is it possible he didn’t know his wife after all? And can he trust Maria? He can’t escape the feeling that she’s keeping something from him.

Maria is hiding a secret with the power to rock Nathan’s family to its core. Because it is about what happened the day that Laura died…


In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.

What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.

I have received 4 new ARCs from Netgalley this week….





Plus two directly from the authors….



Have a wonderful week reading….I have just been and requested the latest Susan Mallery, so fingers crossed that you will see it in next week’s list of approvals.


Betty Bites Back: Stories to Scare the Patriarchy edited by Mindy McGinnis, Demitria Lunetta andKate Karyus Quinn


EXCERPT: It started with a hashtag.

Well, it started about five years earlier – the first time Billy Ruperts noticed that I’d hit puberty. We were sitting in the hallway, working with a few of our friends on our final history project of Grade seven. He looked at me, then at my chest.

‘Savvy, you’re growing.’ He leaned forward and flicked my pint-sized breast.

That was the first time I felt it. That subtle stomach-churning twirl of rage. I shoved him into the lockers. He split his forehead open on a rusted hinge.

I got an in-school suspension, even after I told them what he did.

Billy got stitched up and a break from homework for the rest of the week. (excerpt taken from ‘The Guardians 1792 by Jenna Lehne)

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Behind every successful man is a strong woman… but in these stories, she might be about to plant a knife in his spine. The characters in this anthology are fed up – tired of being held back, held down, held accountable – by the misogyny of the system. They’re ready to resist by biting back in their own individual ways, be it through magic, murder, technology, teeth, pitfalls and even… potlucks. Join sixteen writers as they explore feminism in fantasy, science-fiction, fractured fairy-tales, historical settings, and the all-too-familiar chauvinist contemporary world.

(While most of the content is YA appropriate, please note the editors recommend this anthology for 16+.)

Liz Coley
Shannon Green
Elaine Griffin
Lindsey Klingele
Kamerhe Lane
Jenna Lehne
Demitria Lunetta
Emilee Martell
Tracie Martin
Cori McCarthy
Kyrie McCauley
Mindy McGinnis
Kate Karyus Quinn
Melody Simpson
Amanda Sun

MY THOUGHTS: As with most short story collections, there were stories I liked, and stories I didn’t like. ‘The Guardians 1792’ was a particular favorite of mine; as were ‘What She Left Behind’ by E R Griffin and ‘We Have But Lingered Here’ by Liz Coley. There were a couple I couldn’t finish, and the remainder were, for my reading palate, decidedly meh. Some were just too extreme.

An interesting collection.

#BettyBitesBackStoriesToScareThe Patriarchy #NetGalley


ABOUT THE AUTHOR/EDITOR: Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning novelist who writes across multiple genres, including post-apocalyptic, historical, thriller, contemporary, mystery, and fantasy.

While her settings may change, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Mindy McGinnis, Dimitria Lunetta and Kate Karyus Quinn via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Betty Bites Back for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon and

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

EXCERPT: Upstairs, Jakey stirred as the front door shut on his father’s anger. He was neither asleep nor awake, but somewhere in between. The halfway world of awareness and dreams.

A shadow man with sharp teeth and long skinny arms who looked just like the Bogeyman on the cover of Daddy’s book was leaning over him, but Jakey gave a muffled scream, kicking out with his legs, and he disappeared in the dusty black hole beneath the bed, or inside the toy cupboard. Jakey wasn’t sure.

All Jakey knew for certain was that the man meant to hurt him. Just like that little girl he’d heard them talking about on the television. And that dark things like dark places.

He pulled his Spider-Man duvet up to his nose, and tried to reach out with his sore arm. His fingertips brushed the hard plastic of his torch and knocked it on the floor. The door was open when his daddy said goodnight, but now it was shut. Jakey didn’t like it when the door was shut.

Ol’ Tommy Rawhead’s here. Ol’ Bloody Bones. 

As soon as the name came into his mind, Jakey fought against the rise of panicked tears.

He’s in my bedroom. He’s come to take me away. And there’s no Daddy to scare him off.

He tried to shout for his mother, but something was stopping him, something was crammed in his mouth. He clawed at it with his right hand, but it was only his old stuffed rabbit, Mr Bunnikins.

Jakey squeezed his eyes tight, and counted to three, the way his father taught him to when the pain was too much.

Underneath the silence of the room, he could hear the rattle of Ol’ Tommy’s breath. Could he make it to the door? No, nooo. Those bony fingers would wrap around his ankles as soon as he got out of bed. What about the window? Too high in the sky. If only he could turn on the light. That would scare the Bogeyman away.

His eyelids fluttered, heavier now, the twin ropes of imagination and sleepiness binding Jakey to his bed. Ol’ Bloody Bones has stolen that little girl, and next he’s coming for me. 

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

MY THOUGHTS: Even though I knew how this book was going to end, the peril of having read the second book in the series first, my eyes sucked the words from the page, and I often found myself not breathing.

Fiona Cummins is a first rate storyteller. She conveys both childish pleasures and fears onto the page in such a way that you can feel them. The same with the pressures the parents face, the unravelling of their relationships, the sniping and back biting, the dark thoughts that creep unbidden into their minds. She conveys the frustration of the investigating officers so that it is palpable in the air around the reader. You can taste it. . . that, and the evil of the perpetrator.

This is an absolutely amazing debut novel, and Cummin’s second book, The Collector, is every bit as good. Highly recommended to lovers of the darker side of life.


THE AUTHOR: Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family. Rattle is her first novel.

DISCLOSURE: I borrowed Rattle by Fiona Cummins, published by Macmillan, from Waitomo District Library. A huge thank you to Julie for fast tracking the purchase of Rattle. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Murder in the Dark by Simon R. Green

Murder in the Dark by Simon R. Green

EXCERPT: ‘It makes you wonder if there’s anything left out there,’ said Paul, his voice eerily calm. ‘If the world has just gone away, or the dark has eaten everything up . . . If we’re all that’s left now, alone in the night.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The sudden appearance of a sinister black hole in the English countryside leads to a baffling murder investigation for Ishmael Jones.

“The past is England’s dreaming, and not all of it sleeps soundly…”

Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny have been despatched to assist a group of scientists who are investigating a mysterious black hole which has appeared on a Somerset hillside. Could it really be a doorway to another dimension, an opening into another world?

When one of the scientists disappears into the hole — with fatal consequences — Ishmael must prove whether it was an accident — or murder. But with no clues, no witnesses and no apparent motive, he has little to go on. Is there an alien predator at large, or is an all-too-human killer responsible? Only one thing is certain: if Ishmael does not uncover the truth in time, more deaths will follow…

MY THOUGHTS: This is the second book that I have read and enjoyed in this very different series. I am not an alien/sci-fi aficionado, but I love this quirky series!

The books are quick reads, entertaining and, although they nudge the boundaries of believability a little, mostly plausible. This is an excellent blend of many genres – and it works! Beautifully!

The main characters complement each other, and the peripheral characters all have purpose and are solid additions to the plot. I never knew where the author was taking me, but it was a very enjoyable journey, and one that I made in one sitting.

I have not read the whole series, nor the first book, but it hasn’t impacted on my enjoyment or understanding whatsoever. I will be reading more in this series.


THE AUTHOR: Simon Richard Green is a British science fiction and fantasy-author. He holds a degree in Modern English and American Literature from the University of Leicester. His first publication was in 1979.

His Deathstalker series is partly a parody of the usual space-opera of the 1950s, told with sovereign disregard of the rules of probability, while being at the same time extremely bloodthirsty.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House Publishers via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Murder in the Dark by Simon R. Green for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

A Taste of. . . Tuesday

Because I am struggling to read as much as I would like to  (work is the curse of the avid reader), I am introducing a new feature where I give you a brief taste of something I have in my ‘to be read’ mountain.

This week I am going to tempt your reading taste buds with House of Falling Embers by Krystal Jane Ruin.

House of Falling Embers

‘It’s too dark. And it’s too quiet. I can hear everything and nothing at once. The only outside lamp is at the top of the street, and its dim orange light doesn’t even begin to reach our corner.

I splash cold water onto my face and stare at my dark reflection in the mirror. Fenton’s words press into my skin like sweaty little fingers. And then they snap.

Am I snapping? I haven’t slept well since I got here. Living in this town again. Catching the probing stares and gossipy whispers at the grocery store. Being in this house. In front of those woods. My grandfather’s story playing on repeat in the deep recesses of my mind. Once upon a time. . .’

I hope you have found this tasty morsel of House of Falling Embers by Krystal Jane Ruin as tempting as I did. I will be reading it in the coming weeks, so if you would like to read along with me, let me know.



Watching What I Read

Our Sunday is chilly and overcast, so much so that I changed my mind about taking my toddler grandson back to the park today to see the ducklings. He is absolutely enamoured with them and bounces up and down in his buggy quacking at them.

I don’t know why I thought I was going to get piles of reading done this week and make inroads into my backlog, because it never happened. But I would not change one second of it. Both boys have been an absolute delight.

I have not quite finished


but, in my defense, it is not a book to be rushed through. It is a book that is to be savoured,  one that will make you think about your own life experiences.

So, I still have, as a hangover from last week’s reading list,

Tear Me Apart

The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison’s Tear Me Apart is the powerful story of a mother willing to do anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully constructed world unravels around them.

One moment will change their lives forever…

Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.

Who knows the answers?

The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.

With vivid movement through time, Tear Me Apart examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.

And I expect only to read one more book this week, which will be

Leave No Trace

From the author of the “compelling” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) and critically acclaimed Everything You Want Me to Be, a riveting and suspenseful thriller about the mysterious disappearance of a boy and his stunning return ten years later.

There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

I have had only two ARCs approved by Netgalley this week which, in hindsight, is a blessing.

House of Falling Embers

Jessica's Promise

Have a wonderful time with whatever time is left of your weekend. I will be driving home early tomorrow morning, and then I am back to work with a busy week ahead of me.

Happy reading my friends 😎

Half-Minute Horrors edited by Susan Rich

Half-Minute Horrors by Susan  Rich

EXCERPT: ‘… ought to know about the man who watches you when you sleep.

He is a quiet man, which is why you don’t know about him. You don’t know how he gets into your home, or how he finds his way to the room in which you sleep. You don’t know how he can stare at you so long without blinking, and you don’t know how he manages to be gone by morning, without a trace, and you don’t know where he purchased the long sharp knife, curved like a crescent moon, that he holds in his left hand, sometimes just millimeters from your eyes, which are closed and flickering in dream.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: How scared can you get in only 30 seconds?
Dare to find out!

Dive into the shortest, scariest, spine-tinglers, hair-raisers, and eye-poppers ever created.

MY THOUGHTS: It is September, and any day now, Halloween merchandise will be hitting the shelves, if it hasn’t done so already. This is an ideal pick for the young bookworms in your lives. The stories are 30 seconds long. . . Some even shorter. There are stories, graphic stories, poems and even a limerick.

I bought this for my grandson some years ago, and found it on his bookshelf today when I was looking for something else. So I picked it up and read it (out in the bright sunlight) and enjoyed it all over again.

WARNING: You’ll never look at your closet door, your cat, your sock drawer, or even yourself in the mirror the same way again.


THE AUTHOR: These instant thrills come from astounding talents, including Lemony Snicket, James Patterson, Neil Gaiman, R.L. Stine, Holly Black, Brett Helquist, and many more.

DISCLOSURE: Although I purchased this book, it belongs to my grandson and fellow bookworm, Kayden Webby, who is in the process of setting up his own book blog.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

The Green Mile by Stephen King

The Green Mile by Stephen King

EXCERPT: This happened in 1932, when the State Penitentiary was still at Cold Mountain. And the electric chair was there, too, of course.

The inmates made jokes about the chair, the way people always make jokes about things that frighten them but can’t be gotten away from. They calledit Old Sparky, or the Big Juicy. They made cracks about the power bill, and about how Warden Moores would cook his thanksgiving turkey that fall, with his wife, Melinda, too sick to cook.

But for the ones who actually had to sit down in that chair, the humor went out of the situation in a hurry. I’ve presided over seventy-eight executions during my time at Cold Mountain (that’s one figure I’ve never been confused about; I’ll remember it on my deathbed), and I think that, for most of these men, the truth of what was happening to them finally hit all the way home when their ankles were being clamped to the stout oak of Old Sparky’s legs. The realization came then, (you would see it rising in their eyes, a kind of cold dismay) that their own legs had finished their careers. The blood still ran in them, the muscles were still strong, but they were finished, all the same; they were never going to walk another country mile or dance with a girl at a barn raising. Old Sparky’s clients came to a knowledge of their deaths from the ankles up. There was a black silk bag that went over their heads after they had finished their rambling and mostly disjointed last remarks. It was supposed to be for them, but I always thought that it was really for us, to keep us from seeing the awful tide of dismay in their eyes as they realized they were going to die with their knees bent.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When it first appeared, one volume per month, Stephen King’s THE GREEN MILE was an unprecedented publishing triumph: all six volumes ended up on the New York Times bestseller lists—simultaneously—and delighted millions of fans the world over.

Welcome to Cold Mountain Penitentiary, home to the Depression-worn men of E Block. Convicted killers all, each awaits his turn to walk the Green Mile, keeping a date with “Old Sparky,” Cold Mountain’s electric chair. Prison guard Paul Edgecombe has seen his share of oddities in his years working the Mile. But he’s never seen anyone like John Coffey, a man with the body of a giant and the mind of a child, condemned for a crime terrifying in its violence and shocking in its depravity. In this place of ultimate retribution, Edgecombe is about to discover the terrible, wondrous truth about Coffey, a truth that will challenge his most cherished beliefes… and yours.

MY THOUGHTS: When The Green Mile was first published in 1996, I bought it in its six volumes over six months. It is the most frustrating way to buy a book, and yet strangely pleasurable also. There was an exquisite agony in having to wait for the next volume. I had mine pre-ordered, of course, so that there was no danger of missing out.

I have had a mixed relationship with The Green Mile. The first read was a five star one. I couldn’t get enough of it, fast enough. There were those who said that was exactly why Mr King had published them this way, to create demand, to ensure sales, because who is going to stop buying a series half way through? But in reality the story behind how The Green Mile came about, and came to be published as a serial, is a very different, and interesting, one. If you get the chance, look it up, but what appealed to Mr King was ‘simply put, Constant Reader, you cannot flip ahead and see how matters turn out. ‘

Anyway, over the years my rating has swung between three and five stars depending, I guess, on my mood at the time, or the phase of the moon, or some such thing. But I stumbled across this collection earlier this year when I was ransacking the packing crates looking for something else entirely which, by the way, I never found and now have no idea what it was, and pulled it out intending to use it as a filler read while the Kindle is charging. But, of course, that never happened. I started it, as planned, and was swept away by Mr King’s writing, resulting in the full five stars for Mr King, and my being well behind on my scheduled ‘read for review’ books. So to those authors whose books I ought to have read and reviewed recently, I apologize, and lay the blame squarely on Mr King’s shoulders. Please don’t be angry with me, indeed why don’t you pick up a copy to read, or reread as the case may be, while I play catch-up.


It has been said that this is Mr King’s best ever work. I might not quite agree with that 100%, but it’s close. Classic King. And one day I may even be tempted to watch the movie.

THE AUTHOR: Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father’s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men’s magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale (“The Glass Floor”) to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of The Green Mile, well worn and a little battered from the many miles it has traveled, and which is about to be replaced in its packing cratefor yet another house move. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page