My Never Ending List

Loves:  books, cooking, family and being outside. 

 

As a book lover,  I read almost every genre and I enjoy venturing into unfamiliar territory.   Being a library volunteer, I am constantly bringing home stacks of novels to add to my overflowing library at home.   I read a lot of YA novels and children's novels as I am currently a substitute teacher who is always talking books with the students.    

 

 

Read 219 pages out of 492

The Whispering Room - Dean Koontz

 I'm seeing a meeting of the minds here and this might be what needs to occur, this could be good!

 

I'm enjoying this novel much more than I did The Silent Corner.

 

I went to bed with a sore wrist, dang this novel is a heavyweight to hold! The morning couldn't come fast enough as I couldn't wait to pick it back up this morning as it seems to be moving at an alarming pace.  Go, Jane Go!

The Skin Above My Knee

The Skin Above My Knee - Marcia Butler
What exactly do I know about music? I have been on the receiving end of music most of my life: enjoying it, being lost in it and watching its effects. I am not a musician, I have never been one nor do I want to be one. I know that it takes discipline, patience and hard work to be a musician, things that I possess but I just don’t have the talent to be one. After reading this novel, I realize that I don’t have the tolerance nor the flexibility to be a great musician either.
 
This novel caught my eye based on the destructive lifestyle Marcia led as she tried to make a name for herself in the music field. I seem to gravitate towards novels of this nature and I found myself just as devoted, reading about Marcia mental health as I did about the woes of her music career. I had never phantomed what Marcia described as she waited for her career to take off. Her daily schedule, the anticipation and emotional desire to be needed and appreciated and the unknown which came from being in the field. Marcia opened up the doors to this world that I knew existed but I had never stepped through.
 
I think what really surprised me was that Marcia choose this field. With an empty and abused childhood, Marcia went into a field where the market was tight and were an emotional roller-coaster existed until your name has been secured in the field. This field was more difficult than I had imagined but Marica proved to be a stronger individual than she let on to be.
 
Her adventurous, yet toxic lifestyle began when she started music school and increased both in severity and nature as she matured. Her position waitressing at the bar, provided an outlet for her behavior. I was all for Marcia to have fun while she was going to school but she took risks which were foolish and extreme. After graduating, the wait began. A degree in music did not insure the job that she wanted, so now she had to stop and wait for someone to need her sound, to notice her talent and desire her for their concert. The wait seemed long and the emotional stress weighted heavily. Marcia did a lot of thinking and assessing, too much thinking for a person who had other issues on her mind.
 
Marcia issues with men, her family, relationships and drugs revolved continuously throughout the novel. I was hoping she would learn and move forward but it was like her life was on repeat and she just couldn’t move to the next phase. I enjoyed this novel more than I anticipated that I would. There were moments of bedlam, moments where her emotional being explained it all, moments where I wanted to just be her friend and moments where I could hear the music. I appreciated Marcia sharing this memoir with me and other readers.
 
I received a copy of this novel from a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to Little Brown and Company, the author and Goodreads.

 

The Grip of It

The Grip of It: A Novel - Jac Jemc
This was a psychological horror novel that kept getting creepier the more that I read it. As the house became more active, it’s actions more intense, the couple has to find a way to handle its effects.
 
Wanting to get a fresh start, the couple looks for a house away from the city. Wandering inside a house that was built between a forest and an ocean, they notice a few strange abnormalities but the house was such a great deal, they hate to pass it up. The house is huge. It has the potential to last them a lifetime so, as the couple moves in they’re excited for their future.
 
It began before they bought the house but events surrounding the house begin to increase dramatically now that the couple has moved in. It began with noises, then later it progressed to strange shadows, rooms moving, and drawings appearing, just to name a few of these events. It wasn’t just the eeriness and the mysteriousness of these events occurring that I enjoyed but it was also the couple, the new homeowners that I savored. It was their reaction to what was happening, their relationships with each other and the people around them and their personalities that make this novel great. Alternately, we hear from each of them in this novel and the worlds they are witnessing and speak of cannot be imaginary because their stories are identical in a world where communication is lacking. Where once this couple conversed, this couple is now silent and words are implied or absent. With new employers, the couple has a few, new acquaintances to converse with but they’re fearful of what to say and how to explain what is happening in their lives. Everyone seems to know something about the house they have purchased but what is the truth? As James tries to find out the history of the house, Julie is ready to move and leave the house behind.
 
I really enjoyed this novel as I loved the odd, unexplained events surrounding the house and I thought the main characters were perfect for this novel. I liked how the house had a history, yet as we hear from other individuals, this history is extensive. Although the ending was not neatly packaged up, I liked it and thought it tied with how the novel flowed.

 

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

Love and Other Consolation Prizes: A Novel - Jamie Ford
I absolutely loved this novel. As I read, I was completely infatuated with the story that was occurring in the early 1900’s. I looked forward to reading about the life that encircled the Tenderloin and the individuals surrounding it. I felt an attachment and a passion towards Ernest and the girls as each one of them was vital, vital to the Tenderloin and crucial to me. Life outside the house was hostile, the controversies were splitting the town, some of them running deeper than what met the eye. As the stories began to twist together more, the story that was developing in the 1960’s tore at my heart and stole the show. Reflecting upon the past, it brought it to the forefront and tried to make it shine. With this sunshine, it also brought the truth.
 
I fell in love with the historical element of this story. Yung Kun-ai talked about being rounded up with other small children in a cemetery as his mother was no longer able to care for him. Placed inside a ship and held below for a month in the cargo area, he talks of cutting his way out of a burlap bag after being thrown overboard. He is a survivor but for what? Yung’s name is now changed to Ernest and he is attending boarding school, thanks to a Mrs. Irvine. She thinks she is doing him a favor but in reality, Ernest is living it and he wants more. His wanting lands him at the World’s Fair. Exciting! It’s opening day at the fair and it’s time for the raffle. An opening day tradition. As the crowd gathers, Ernest wonders what they are raffling off. Ernest begins to notice that everyone is staring at him. As the questions storm through this head, Mrs. Irvine informs Ernest that he is the raffle. He will be going home with one of the 30,000 attendees. Ernest minds wanders farther, what purpose will he serve them?
 
Ernest got lucky as his new home is with Madam Flora at the Tenderloin. I liked Ernest’s confidence as he sizes up his new home. He has no idea what he is walking into but he welcomes anything with a positive and firm attitude. Ms. Flora changes Ernest’s life. What she and her business provide for him is far more than he could have obtained elsewhere. It wasn’t all roses for Ernest as he reflects back over the years. It’s a sentimental and reflective time as Ernest thinks about the choices he has made throughout the years. I enjoyed everything about this novel including the relationships and my emotional journey through it. I highly recommend this novel.

 

The Poison Artist

The Poison Artist - Jonathan Moore
She nailed him with a glass. It wasn’t just the heated words that were exchanged, he was now dealing with a visible injury. Caleb slipped into the stylish bar after checking into the hotel. He needed a drink. He needed to wind down. He saw her and his eyes couldn’t move away. She looked out of place. She was sensual, her mannerism suggestive and Caleb was falling into her trance. I was fearful that she would become a rebound for Caleb but as the novel progressed, she popped up in Caleb’s life over and over again and Caleb started to ignore Bridget. There were things about Emmeline that bothered me, this woman seemed out of Caleb league and she was too controlling over every situation but Caleb was plummeting head-first over her. She was becoming his oxygen.
 
Caleb is a toxicologist, he’s working on a case with the medical examiner who happens to be his friend. Victims are being dumped in the river, victims who the police can’t tie together. Caleb does an amazing job analyzing and investigating what he can get his hands on to provide some solid facts.
 
This novel flew by as I read and the last half of the novel, I wouldn’t put it down. I read as I walked, ate and waited. I had people smile at me as I walked downtown with my head in the book, just glancing up periodically to make sure I didn’t run into anything. This novel was engaging, adventurous, and intense and terrifying at times. I really enjoyed it! 4.5 stars

 

This Is How We Do It

This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World - Matt Lamothe
What a great concept and book! This children's book look into the lives of seven real families from seven different parts of the country and compares them. I liked that the illustrations were not done on glossy paper as I thought the card stock paper suited the novel perfectly. Upon opening the novel, the pages are nicely broken up into individual sections as each family explains their answer to the topic that was questioned. On the first page we are introduced to a young child in each family between the ages of 7-9 years old. It tells us where they live and they tell us their name and there is an illustration of them. At the back of the book, we get to meet the children's family and there is a real-life photograph of them, which I really enjoyed.
 
Inside the novel, each child answers the one question that is asked, on a two to four-page spread. The questions range from where they live, where they sleep, what they eat each day, what they wear to school, how they get to school, how they learn, how they play, how they spell their name, etc. There are lots of inquiring questions and their answers are all interesting and things that even I, as an adult, find appealing. I thought the most interesting was how they each eat dinner. The time they each eat at, what they eat and what they drink was entertaining. I noticed that some things that they do are not that usual and the author follows that notion as he ends the novel.
 
I really enjoyed this children's novel and I recommend it to others especially those who have inquiring minds.

 

Essex County

The Collected Essex County - Jeff Lemire
I read the first book in this series as a standalone so I am just going to comment on the two remaining books in this huge graphic novel. I have to say that Ghost Stories was my favorite out of the two. This story is about Lou’s life. He is living alone out on his farm which he has for years when a visiting nurse realizes that he can no longer stay by himself. I love Lou’s feisty attitude with this new woman in his life. This nurse finds him a room at a nursing home and it is emotional watching Lou fade. Just watching the illustrations as Lou is taken from his farm and seeing the farm gets smaller and smaller in each picture frame as Lou is driven away, is emotional. With nothing to do all day at his new residence, Lou reminisces about his younger days. I could see the life draining out of Lou as he sat alone at the nursing home yet I also understood the position the visiting nurse took when she thought of his safety and well-being out on the farm. This was a great story and the illustrations were fantastic.
 
In the County Nurse, this story was a bit confusing to me. There was the story of the sister who ran the orphanage. Sister treats the caretaker of the orphanage badly and wants to inquire about getting a new caretaker soon. When a fire breaks out, their building is destroyed and everyone must make the two-day journey on foot to Essex County for shelter. The journey is rough and emotions are shed on their way. This mini story ties in with another short story about a county nurse who tries her best to encourage family ties. It wasn’t as emotional or dramatic as I thought it could be but I thought the illustrations were top-notch. With just the tweak of a line, the illustrator captures the essence of the story and draws you in. I’m glad I finished out this series.

 

A Girl Like That

A Girl Like That - Tanaz Bhathena
What can I say about a novel that made me stop and breathe. This was a novel that was more immense than the pages that held its words. It was a novel that threw out the punches over and over again, a fight that never seemed to disappear. It was a novel that was hard to read yet one that was also hard to put down.
 
As the story unwinds, there seemed to be individuals with motives and those that were sincere and existed. It wasn’t too hard to tell them apart for most of them were open about their opinions. It was an emotional read for me. What can I say when I find myself throwing the novel across the floor and then later, I am heartbroken and frustrated over what I have just read.
 
The character development was excellent. These were well-rounded individuals, profound in thought and in presence. I highly recommend this novel.
 
I won a copy of this from Fierce Reads on a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you!!

 

Behind Her Eyes

Behind Her Eyes: A Novel - Sarah Pinborough
What a twisted mess! An enticing, ruthless mess that left me sitting in my garage listening to this audio as I couldn’t walk away. They belonged together, they righteously, belonged together yet they didn’t know how connected they were to one another. They were playing a game and each one of them was a token, someone to move around the board, the only question was, who was making the rules?
 
I didn’t see where this novel was headed when I first started listening to it. David met Louise in a bar and before the night is over, they have gotten extremely close. Monday morning as she arrives at work, Louise runs into David, he is her new boss. Louise and David share some hushed remarks about the night that they were together. It should have never occurred as David already has a wife but they realize that it was the beginning of something and now, they need to keep things professional at work.
 
While out, Louise runs into Adele who claims to be new in town and a friendship forms between the two women. No, it can’t be! Adele is David’s wife and she is up to something. It doesn’t end there though as Louise is not the dumb secretary Adele thinks she is. Louise’s story comes to light and I am all in. I can’t tear myself away from this novel! It’s entertaining to me but I fear what is coming. How long will this charade go on? Then I hear David’s words and I know that they belong together. They’re perfect for one another. It’s getting messy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I really enjoyed this novel.
I was debating between 4.5 and 5 stars - since this novel took me by surprise, I'll give it a 5.

 

Closing time

A Girl Like That - Tanaz Bhathena

I'm coming to the end of this novel and I'm thinking why?  Why this ending? It's not right! She's been "something" ( entertaining and daunting) this whole novel and now... crap!  

No.  

I want the other ending, anything but what I just read.

Take me back about 20 pages in the novel and erase in my mind what I have read.  

.........

Time to go pick up the novel off the floor,

I'm ready to rip the ending pages out!

The Wife Between Us

The Wife Between Us - Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
She could not let him get married again. She was determined to not let this happen. It became her obsession; her ex-husband Richard, consumed her and she couldn’t let him go. Then, suddenly the string broke, her fervor switched and now she is focused on Nellie, the woman that Richard is planning on marrying. I didn’t know what to think of this divorcee as her passion and her feelings ate up the hours of her day. It wasn’t until she started to talk about her past that I finally began to understand where the trouble existed. She’s trying to warn Nellie about Richard, she is doing everything she possibly can, her determination is relentless. Their reactions typical but troubling to her. The more she reveals about her past, the more I am wondering where this is all headed and why she cares so much. If she scares off Nellie, where will that leave her? Is there something about Richard that neither of the woman know?
 
I got so tired of Richard’s psycho talk. He used it to belittle the individual he was aiming his remark at and it was just one of his ways that he used to take control of the situation. Richard was an individual who always had to be in control. They say that love is blind and Richard had their eyes covered and they loved it. I loved how this novel kept building and building until the end when the author just lets go with the unexpected. It’s one of those endings where I want to go back and reread the novel, Richard didn’t have my eyes covered, the author did. Just like the book jacket states, “You will assume………You will assume…….…You will assume……..Assume nothing. Read between the lines.” I made assumptions. I highly recommend this novel.
 
I received a copy of this novel from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. #thewifebetweenus

 

Candy Bombers

Candy Bombers - Robert Elmer
I had never heard of the Candy Bombers before so when I heard about this, I knew I had to read more about it. The idea of the Candy Bombers occurred after WWII when Berlin was divided amongst different countries and an American pilot decided to take matters into his own hands. This one individual started a movement, a movement to bring some happiness to the children in the area. His one small act touched the lives of many.
 
Erich and Katarina are two young teens living in Germany after WWII. They are living in the American section but their Oma refuses to move in with them, as she has roots in the area that she is living in. The teens know that the Americans have food at the airport and Erich has the idea to raid their stash of food. It sounds like a great plan until they get caught. The Americans scold the teens for their actions, give them a small portion of food and then send the teens on their way, telling them to get home. Erich has a huge heart as he instantly thinks of his Oma when he gets the food from the Americans and he wants to share it with her. Erich is determined to head back to the airport tomorrow to obtain more food but this time, as the teens check out a cargo plane for food, the plane begins takeoff. Stuck on the plane, the stowaways are scared of what awaits them aboard this plane.
 
It’s a interesting read and although it doesn’t give you much in-depth information about the Candy Bombers, you get a great adventure story and become a part of the Candy Bomber crew. I enjoyed the story, as I thought it was entertaining, adventurous and educational. A great book for young readers to find out about this event in history.

 

Candy Bomber The Story of Berlin's Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot'"

Candy Bomber - Michael O. Tunnell
I had never heard of the Candy Bombers before so when I heard about this, I knew I had to read more about it. The idea of the Candy Bombers occurred after WWII when Berlin was divided amongst different countries and an American pilot decided to take matters into his own hands. This one individual started a movement, a movement to bring some happiness to the children in the area. His one small act touched the lives of many.
 
In this novel, you get the full story. The author explains the division of Germany after WWII, the strategies that the Russians were creating to push other countries out of Germany and how these countries fought back. Gail Halvorsen was one of the pilots who fought against these plans and he flew supplies into West Berlin. One day while taking a side trip, Gail noticed some German children watching him from behind a wire fence. He had visited some sites in Germany and had returned to the runaway. He thought the children would be curious about the plane but these children had other concerns and stories to talk about. The children spoke freely and Gail listened. The war had been hard on these children but now, the life that they were living was just as hard. Gail was moved by these children and he knew he had to do something. Returning back to base, Gail sought out help from his crew and soon donations of candy and parachutes which were made from handkerchiefs were being dropped from his plane to children throughout different parts of Germany.
 
This was a fabulous story! I enjoyed reading how Operation Little Vittles started out with donations from his crew and then grew to a much bigger operation. What a sight that had to be, to see those parachutes coming out of the sky with little bits of treats attached to them. This story warmed my heart and to think that one individual started it because he cared. The book contains many black-and-white photos taken from this time period which was a fantastic bonus. This really is a wonderful novel to read and one that I highly recommend.

 

The Infamous Ratsos

The Infamous Ratsos - Kara LaReau, Matt Myers
 What a cute little series for early readers. The first book in the series is The Infamous Ratsos and it consists of two brothers who live with their father in the city. Their father Big Lou is tough and they want to be like him so they try to be tough also. They think of ways that they can look tough to others and perform these tasks but unfortunately these tasks backfire on them. Individuals begin to like the brothers and this prompts the brothers to try even harder on their task but nothing is going their way. I thought it was comical reading the brothers antics to achieve this status. Each time they would try harder to be tougher but nothing was working. The ending was great and I loved how this family came together.
 
In The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid, we have the same brothers Louie and Ralphie from the first novel but now we are introduced to some of their friends. In this novel, the brothers don’t want the carnival to end so they decide to create their own carnival with help from their friends. They can get their supplies in a lot in their neighborhood that is piled high with junk but there is a problem. Next to that lot is a Haunted House! The brothers see movement in one of the windows in that house which scares them but before their carnival can open, someone will have to see what is inside that old, mysterious house. I enjoyed seeing their friends helping out getting the carnival ready and taking an active part in the games. I enjoyed the brothers in this novel as they had fun, they had to handle some challenging situations and they worked together.  This was a fun, entertaining book that had me laughing as these friends discovered the world outside their doors.
 
Inside these novels you will find a lot of words with an illustration on about every other page (1/2 page or a full page black-and-white illustration). The text is larger in size for early readers and I think children will enjoy these books for their subject matter, the illustrations and their ability to read the text.

 

A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars

A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars - Seth Fishman, Isabel Greenberg
Amazon marked this novel as one of their best children’s books of 2017 so I had to check it out. I liked many of the other books that they had listed in this category and this cover was screaming at me with its bright colors and its fun illustration that I thought I would fall for it too.
 
The illustrations inside this novel are fantastic. They pop off the page and scream for your attention. They begin with contrasting colors that illustrate the energetic scenes. The bright, bold text then grabs your attention and this text is easy to read and follow.
 
This book is about numbers, it’s about the world around you and its related numbers. Some of the items that the author talks about are items that I have thought about and some were new ideas that made me think. For example, I have thought about the immensity of the world’s oceans and trees but I have never thought how many gallons of water that might be or how many total trees that would entail. I have thought about the total population of our planet but I never considered how many ants might be living on our planet or how much total weight this might be. This is an interesting book, a book about huge numbers, sometimes numbers so large they are in the million billion range. Before you start to concern yourself with reading all the zero’s in this novel, the author was gracious to his readers and has provided the reader with written text to some of these large numbers so you can say them with dignity. This is a fun, educational, children’s book that I would recommend to children starting around second grade. I think younger children will get bored with all the great information that is included in this novel unless numbers are their thing. The illustrations are definitely a plus for this novel.

 

Dory Fantasmagory

Dory Fantasmagory - Abby Hanlon
This was a funny and creative story that had me laughing and smiling as I read. The story is about a little girl whose siblings are tired of having her around. Dory is a little girl with quite an imagination who likes to talk. Whether she is making a comment or asking a question, Dory’s siblings feel that Dory is a baby and that she is always bothering them. Dory feels that her siblings never want to play with her so Dory invents her own imaginary stories and people who are quite happy to have her around.
 
There was so much to like about this novel from the great illustrations, the mixture of normal text and graphic text, the sibling rivalry, Dora’s behavior and Mrs. Gobble Gracker. The novel is set up into six separate chapters so this would be a great read-aloud novel. This is the first novel in a series. I’m anxious now to read more novels about Dory to see what else she is up to.

 

Professional ReaderReviews Published80%2015 Challenge Participant2016 NetGalley Challenge