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.    

 

 

Yes! It's a Bingo!

Happy Dance!  It finally happened and it's not the 31st.  I have my first bingo.  I feel like this has taken FOREVER but I am thrilled that this has occurred. I have read some terrific novels that I would never have read had it not been for Halloween Bingo.   I have been reading my holds plus the ones I grab while volunteering from the library and seeing which square they fill.  I have fallen so far from my intended list for Halloween Bingo.   I have 15 more holds still sitting on my shelf and I hope to get through more than half this week as I have the whole week off (hubby is having his surgery).  We're stocked up on Halloween movies and I have my books, it's going to be smooth sailing.

 

House- Thornhill

Classic Noir - The Haunting on Hill House

Free Space - Unholy Night

Modern Masters of Horror - Bird Box

In the Dark, Dark Woods - Off Season

 

Key:

Skeleton Man - called but not read

Witch on broom - read not called

Devil - called and read

 

 

Long Lankin

Long Lankin - Lindsey Barraclough
I listened to this on audio and I listened carefully – I really did. I thought the accent of the narrator and the speed in which she read really affected this novel. I did enjoy her accent but I would have enjoyed the novel much more had she slowed down so I could fully understand everything she said. Nevertheless, I felt that the story was slow in parts and other times, I enjoyed the novel and the mysteries it brought with it. The ending was the best part of the whole novel.
 
The story centers on two small girls being sent to their Aunt Ida’s house which the girls realize is actually a mansion that is haunted. I thought the aunt was mean and very strict with the girls. I had to wonder at times, if things were actually happening in the novel or if the girl’s imaginations were getting the best of them. The girls were new to the house and weren’t familiar with their surroundings plus the girls were young and their imaginations were wild. I felt sorry for the girls as they eavesdropped on other’s conversations, for they heard what other’s thought of them. I am glad that they at least had each other.
 
I would like to actually read this novel in the future as I feel that I missed part of the novel while listening to the audio of it. I felt that I was concentrating too hard on what was being said by the narrator to fully appreciate this novel.

 

House of Furies

House of Furies - Madeleine Roux
This was an interesting novel. This was a novel that I went blind into, as it looked interesting and spooky so I went for it. I didn’t realize that it was the beginning of a series as it ended without a huge cliffhanger but it concluded with a powerful punch. I will continue with the next novel as I need to see what happens with the characters and what will happen at Coldthistle House. I am hoping there will be more birds, that Louisa will take hold of her heritage and that Lee will make an appearance.
 
When Louisa is offered a job at Coldthistle House she figures that she is gaining shelter and employment. Secrecy, death, excitement and horror was not on her list Louisa lived day-by-day until she met up with Granny. Granny is known to the guests of Coldthistle House as Mrs. Haylam and Louisa feels that Granny undergoes a transformation when she bears the official title on the premises. Louisa may know the way of the streets but when she gets to Coldthistle House the rules have changed. She becomes relatively bright as the days pass but she has not grasp who she really is. Following the orders given to her my Granny, Louisa does her job but there are other things that Louisa is interested in while living in the house.
 
Who exactly are the individuals who stay and reside there? The longer Louisa stays, the more she realizes this is not the place she believed it to be. Is this really a place that Louisa wants to stay at to save up her money or should she leave now while she can? It’s a hard choice and it gets to be more difficult the longer she stays. Helping out Lee, she finds that this simple task is far from simple. The ending was nonstop action and I was torn for who I wanted to succeed. I can’t wait to see what transpires in the next novel.
 
I am using this novel for Halloween Bingo for my Terrifying Women square.  Novel written by Madeleine Roux. 

 

Thornhill - part novel and part graphic novel

Thornhill - Pam Smy, Pam Smy
There were two stories told simultaneously throughout this novel, one told in prose and one was a graphic novel. I enjoyed having the two stories side-by-side, I liked visually analyzing one while reading the other, trying to decipher when the two stories would cross paths. The written story gave meaning and depth to the graphic novel side of this novel and I was surprised at how much more I enjoyed the graphic novel than the written text. The graphic novel panels fill the whole page and the black and white prints include lots of detail. The graphic novel story is the more current story line which occur in the present year (2017) and the written text begins in 1982 and is written in diary format. This novel caught my attention at the library for its simplicity, its subject matter and its size. This book is huge, it’s over 540 pages.
 
It is February of 1982 and Mary is living in the Thornhill Institute. Mary is a quiet girl, who prefers to be isolated and she makes puppets. Ever since “she” moved back, Mary has been living on edge. “She” has tried to be nice to Mary but Mary is keeping her distance. There has to be a reason why “she” keeps being sent back to this female orphanage and Mary is not the only one who thinks this way. Jane, one of the caretakers, encourages Mary to join the others and reluctantly, Mary joins in. Mary realizes that she can relax and have fun with these girls. She begins to enjoy hanging out with them and Mary begins to feel that she belongs somewhere. It all comes to an end when the girls play a trick on her and Mary realizes she was being played. It’s back to the secluded Mary and the noises start up again. Mary finds the garden of the institute a safe haven after reading a novel. Consumed with her puppets, Mary spends days there creating until the girls discover her. There is talk of closing the institute as the number of girls dwindles. Her days of isolation are coming to an end and what lies ahead is alarming.
 
The year is 2017 and Ella is just getting settled into her upper floor bedroom. Looking out the window, she sees a girl her age in the building behind her and Ella runs out to see her. Ella is hoping for a new friend. Ella finds the grounds overgrown, the yard covered in barbwire and Keep Out Signs littering the yard. Thornhill is printed on the address and there is no access in. Finding a hole, she slips inside the gated yard and looks around, only to return to her home to wait for her father whom she rarely sees. Ella sees the girl later, tries to run over to see her again and ends up following her. Ella loses the girl but discovers a head under a statue, a doll’s head. She takes the head home and fixes it and later returns it under the statue. Ella finds other things each time she tries to catch up with this mysterious girl. I was beginning to put the two stories together as Ella continues to make her trips to Thornhill.
 
I found myself anticipating what the graphic novel will expose for certain parts of the novel that I have read. I kept hoping that someone would show or tell me who “she” was, this part was just killing me. I didn’t like not having a name or a visual to attach to this person. I thought Mary was a gullible and trusting person who opened herself up every time “she” wanted to be a part of her life. Come on Mary, wise up! I liked the concept of the dolls and the institute. It was heartbreaking for me to read about how Mary was treated by the other girls in the institute and it was allowed. The ending was great and I was proud of Mary. This was a fun read.
 
I am using this novel for Halloween Bingo my Haunted House square.  

 

One For Sorrow

One for Sorrow: A Ghost Story - Mary Downing Hahn
I will admit that this is my first Mary Downing Hahn novel that I have ever read. I had been thinking that her novels were too light for my taste but after reading this one, I believe that I might have been wrong. I started this novel right before going to sleep but I ended up staying up way past my bedtime and then I got up way too early so I could finish it. The real obsession I had with this novel is that I dreamt about it. I didn’t dream about the ghostly presence that is inside the novel, I dreamt about the altercations between the individuals in the novel. I was filled with fervor, passion and desire at what was transpiring in the novel.
 
This novel was fast-paced and I loved it. It began with Elise taking claim to Annie, the new girl, when she arrived at school. Elise becomes obsessed with Annie, not even allowing her to have any other friends besides her. Annie breaks away from the domineering and manipulative Elise after Elise doesn’t come to school for a few days. Annie becomes friends with Elise’s arch enemy Rosie (and her posse) and boy, things get intense quickly. It’s funny how fast Annie turns on Elise, telling her to leave her alone and casting her aside now that she has new friends to hang out with.
 
Influenza is hitting their town hard, closing down the schools and shops and killing a handful of individuals daily. With their days free, the girls get the notion to attend wakes of individuals in town. I found this idea, twisted and hilarious, at the same time. They have motive for their actions and they begin to enjoy their outings, sometimes attending a couple wakes a day.
 
Rosie and Elsie have a horrible relationship and as the girls’ spot Elsie one day after a viewing, the In Flew Enza chant which was created by Rosie, shows just how rotten and awful things have progressed to, between these two girls. I found the chant creative when Rosie first came up with it. They’d jump rope to it, singing it as the rope looped over their heads but now as Annie, Rosie and her small group of friends gathered around Elise, holding their hands together chanting the words, the chant sounded horrid. Over and over, the tune going faster and faster, all the while, Elsie is yelling at them to stop as they circled her. The taunting and the traumatizing that was occurring was a memorable visual for me. Bullying, so much bullying between these girls. I’d love to tell you more about the novel but I don’t want to spoil it. I will say, the energy and the intensity does not let up until the very end. I was so happy that I woke up in the middle of the night to finish it. This will not be my last Mary Downing Hahn novel. I highly recommend this novel.
 
I am using this novel for my Chilling Children square for Halloween Bingo.

 

Marlena

Marlena - Julie Buntin
I was surprised with the adoration that Cat had towards Marlena. As their friendship grew, she saw Marlena for who she was and what her life was composed of and still, she idolized her. Their lives had a lot of similarities yet Marlena’s life was out of control and I didn’t see how Cat could envy what Marlena had. Marlena lived for drugs, I could see her cycling downward as her addiction was taking control of her life. Marlena’s father was a ghost, appearing sporadically, leaving Marlena to tend to her younger brother. Cat tried to change, she wanted to be more like Marlena but sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side.
 
Cat knew that her friend’s life was not ideal yet Cat didn’t try to save Marlena from her own life, Cat didn’t preach to Marlena and try to set her straight, she let Marlena, be Marlena. I liked that about this novel. There were times that Marlena was extreme and Cat stayed by her side and encouraged her along, there wasn’t any lecturing or winners in their friendship. Cat let things fall where they landed and in the process and she became a central part of Marlena’s life. I liked that the novel demonstrates how one person can affect your life and shape you. Importantly, this person doesn’t need to be perfect or great to have an impact.

 

The Cabinet of Curiosities

The Cabinet of Curiosities: 40 Tales Brief & Sinister - Stefan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, Claire Legrand, Emma Trevayne, Alexander Jansson
I have to say no to this novel. To say that this collection of stories was scary or creepy, I would have to again say no. I read a total of 13 stories in this novel (or 137 pages) and I had to quit. I found a few of the stories that I read interesting, not exciting just interesting and one of the stories by Claire Legrand was exceptional. Claire’s story was what I was hoping this whole novel contained: creepy, weird stories geared towards middle-schoolers. This novel was a disappointment.
 
In Claire’s story titled, The Cake Made Out of Teeth we are introduced to a boy named Henry who is a horrible spoiled child but his parents don’t see him that way. When his mother makes him his 11th birthday cake, Henry rejects the cake and belittles his mother. Aimed to please, the parents take Henry to town to get him the perfect cake. Finding a poor baker, Henry decides to harass him yet this baker has a special cake just for Henry inside his kitchen. Oh, it’s special alright and when temptation, as sweet tooth and lack of self-control get the best of him, Henry will be remembering this birthday for years to come.
 
I really enjoyed this story and would have given Claire high reviews for this short story alone. I didn’t finish the novel because I just didn’t see the point from what I read but that is just my opinion.

 

The Dark Room

The Dark Room - Jonathan Moore
He’s in the middle of an investigation resuming the body of young child. A dirty spade has been cast aside, the caretaker is positioning the straps, and the excavator is silently waiting. Upon answering his phone, Inspector Cain learns that he has now been reassigned to a more important case and a helicopter will be landing soon to whisk him away to his new location. It was frustrating to leave this case but Cain left this investigation in capable hands and was quickly briefed in on what had just recently transpired. The mayor had just received a packet and it seems that he is being blackmailed. Time is of the essence and as Cain tries to get a clearer picture of the events, everyone seems innocent. There is something not being said or revealed and Cain can’t figure it out.
 
There was great anticipation and assumption as I read. The mayor’s daughter was a bit off, a highly seductive person who thought highly of herself. She didn’t seem like the individual to attempt such a feat but either did any of the other characters as I analyzed them. The mayor’s wife and his mistress were each going through the motions of their ideal life so who else was there to consider? Would either of them have motive or were they working together? The police had a list compiled by the mayor but what was inside the envelope had to be from someone that was close. I wasn’t expecting the novel to take such a turn as the second envelope is received. The stakes were getting higher. Why, oh why was this happening? Great novel and I will be definitely be reading The Poison Artist by this same artist.

 

 

 

A Killing in the Hills

A Killing in the Hills - Julia Keller
Carla had been waiting for her mother; her mom was late. Her cruel disposition analyzed the customers as she waited for her ride inside the Salty Dawg that Saturday morning. A table of three old-timers were really getting on her nerves, for their laughter and chatter was filling up the room and Carla saw no need for it. Then Carla saw them slump over, one-by-one. What just happened? Carla looked at the door, a dull gray color caught her eye. Tiny eyes were looking out at the victims, taking in the chaos that had just been created and then the screaming began.
 
As I began reading this novel, I knew that I had found a keeper. The main story had me hooked but there were other stories that complimented it, as I read. Carla’s mother Bell, is the town’s prosecuting attorney and Carla was trying to show her peers that she was nothing like her mother, she was rebelling as hard as she could. Bell has been working to rid the town of illegal prescription drug, a never-ending war which was affecting everyone. When the shooting took place at the Salty Dawg, there seemed to be no reasoning behind it yet as the story unfolds, it is a tangled tale for which Carla is hiding a key fact. It’s a small Appalachian town for which the community all knows one another but it is the secrets that keep the individuals divided.
 
I was surprised at the low rankings of this novel for I really enjoyed it. I liked the variety of characters and their personalities and I really enjoyed all the different stories which were running throughout the novel. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series as I highly recommend this novel.

 

I am using this novel for Halloween Bingo square Murder Most Foul and .....still no bingo :(  

The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller
I thought this novel was different. It left me wanting for more. I wanted their time inside the mansion to be longer, I wanted more information and details and I wanted to know what happened to the characters as they left. I liked how the story developed and the characters, there wasn’t much deviation from the main story line. The description of the mansion was creative and intriguing. I thought Mrs. Montague was the star of the novel yet she drove me crazy with her bossiness and her authoritative nature. I felt sorry for Mr. Montague for having to be married to her yet I could see how he needs her. Mrs. Dudley was hilarious and I thought there was something sinister about her. She seemed too much in control and too rigid to be a normal individual. Mr. Montague’s assistants were not what I had expected. I think I was trying to compare them to individuals I see on TV series and here were these two woman who went about paranormal activity differently. It was an interesting read and I can see why it is a classic.

 

I am using this novel for Halloween Bingo for my Classic Noir square. 

 

Flying away here.....DNFing this novel

The Butterfly Garden - Dot Hutchison
I just couldn’t do it. This novel made no sense to me so after 98 pages, I gave up. What frustrated me the most as I read was why no one revolted or tried to leave, it was as if they enjoyed being held captive. This would be all fine and dandy but why make it sound all horrible once they are finally found. It just irritated me. The way Maya described the Gardener and his son, Avery putting their hands on them and so forth and how it disgusted them, I just didn’t understand why they didn’t do something about it. Then, what was up with Maya’s attitude when she was being questioned by the police. I just didn’t understand this. I guess also, I was upset that I was hearing about what happened with the Gardener and the butterflies through the eyes of Maya. I just didn’t think she told an accurate picture of what the other girls might have thought or felt. This just wasn’t a good-fit novel for me.

 

The Last Veterans of World War II: Portraits and Memories

The Last Veterans of World War II: Portraits and Memories - Richard Bell
This is an amazing book honoring a few of our heroes from World War ll. The diversity inside these pages speaks volumes as we hear from men and women who fought for America in a variety of positions such as officers, nurses, pilots, engineers, technicians, shipfitters and serviceman (just to name a few). I enjoyed how the novel was laid out. Beginning each veteran’s story is a head-shot photograph which is then followed by a short story about that individual and his experience in the war. On the second page is another photograph, a simple and important photo of the veteran’s hand holding his service photograph from the war. I loved looking at these photographs, what a beautiful way to display the element of time and history. As I examined these photographs, their eyes glaring back at me, I thought about the stories those eyes held inside them. For what these individuals experienced and lived, their eyes knew it all.
 
I could tell you about many of the stories that I read but I will just highlight a few that caught my attention. I read about Harlan whose secret mission was to deliver atomic bomb components. After their successful delivery, his unit was hit by torpedo’s and their ship was going down. For four days, Harlan and over three hundred of his men floated in the water, waiting for assistance. Fighting off sharks and staying together to stay alive, they waited. Not everyone made it back safely. Then, there was the story of George who faced his fears in 2000 when he revisited Germany. Battling PTSD, George revisited the places where he had once stood, fighting in the war. George was looking for closure. The story of Ben hit home with me. Ben had been captured and had been forced to march with other prisoners, abuse and death occurring on their way. The Japanese fighters told their prisoners that they were not Prisoners of War but that they were captives. Treated worse than an animal, Ben was a sole survivor when he returned home. Ben also told the story of “The Hell Ships” which was something I hadn’t read about before. There are a few individuals in the novel who didn’t have much to say about their experience. I appreciate their privacy as this war was an emotional and troubling experience to live through.
 
My father-in-law was a POW during WWll and I have listened to many of his stories about this time in his life. He was there in the Battle of the Bulge, he walked many miles to some undetermined destination only to have to turn around and walk back, he ate out of many frozen gardens and the many incidents of what he saw, smelled and heard, I cannot fathom. He was a survivor just like the individuals in this fantastic novel and I thank each one of them for their service. This novel tells the stories of individuals that should be heard and their stories appreciated. I highly recommend this novel and I can’t wait to obtain my own copy.
 
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. in exchange for an honest review. Thank you both for sharing this novel with me and thank you to Richard Bell for bringing these veterans stories to others.
 
https://www.facebook.com/richardbellphoto/?hc_ref=ARTDbk6_WzbMIfNFxq5tV38Vqc0In9-f4iTI2EGMnYvNpSXs4xQ7uWiM0KoU0EcqzX4 https://www.facebook.com/schifferpublishing/

 

Gone to Dust

Gone to Dust: A Novel - Matt Goldman
How do you solve a murder when all the DNA evidence has been compromised? With determination, resourcefulness and some wit according to private detective, Nils Shapiro. When Nils is called in on an investigation which occurred out of his usual district, Nils finds that whoever executed the killing had planned it well in advance. The house in which the murder had taken place is covered in dust, dust that looks as if it was removed from vacuum cleaner bags.
 
I enjoyed all the different avenues that Nils navigates to track down the killer and establish what that individual’s motivation was, to commit such a crime. It’s not a cut-and-dry case but one where there are ample individuals who have the motive to complete the task. Nils was a great character as he didn’t play a hotshot detective but he was a guy who was dealing with his own issues but his mannerism was calm and collective. He was a nosey individual, one that looked at all sides before committing himself to his own opinion. I enjoyed the ending of the novel. As Nils solves the case, his thinking is explained and rationalized, taking all other suspects out of the picture.
 
Using this novel for my Amateur Sleuth square in Halloween Bingo

 

Wow!

Long Lankin - Lindsey Barraclough

i just started listening to this audio and I'm not sure what to think.  The accents of the  characters are strong and the narrator reads FAST!  

 

There will be no slacking off listening to this novel.  I am concentrating hard on following the narration with this deep accent and if I miss a minute, I know I will miss a lot! And I thought I talked fast.

Bird Box

Bird Box - Josh Malerman
Don’t look outside or let any light in, you never know who is out there and what they are capable of doing. Live in darkness and shield your eyes, don’t look outside your tomb which was once the house that you enjoyed. It’s paranoia at its finest and it should be because all it takes is one glance and your future is gone. What a way to live your life.
 
Malorie and her two children haven’t step much farther than the confinements of their home for the past four years. She has seen what is out there and its dangerous effects and Malorie has taken it upon herself to prepare herself and her children for their future. They painfully take step to ensure that their trips outside for water and survival skills training are secure and reliable. Everyone has their theory about the occurrences that have plagued the nation but there is no solution to stop them. Some individuals gather in groups, one house for large quantities of people, hoping that resources and knowledge will keep them secure. Others hold out on their own, afraid of what is out there and not willing to take any chances. What happens though when you run out of resources or when the possibility of freedom is within your power?
 
I loved the mystery of this novel, the novel continued to spiral towards disaster while I tried to reason and rationalize the drama unfolding. I was hungry for a solution as the characters tried to survive, they were feeling optimistic one minute and doubtful the next. I highly recommend this novel.

 

Using this for my Modern Masters of Horror square on Halloween Bingo 2017

Family Night

Family Night - Tim Miller
What a fantastic story! This is what horror is all about. I devoured this novel, letting the creepiness and the terror move in and reside within me until the final pages.
 
So, what’s for dinner has a different take in this novel as some of the characters wonder who is for dinner? When a waitress goes missing, Detective Julie Castillo goes to work piecing together what occurred just before the disappearance. Meanwhile, Eddie is teaching his children the way of the Mask while Eddie’s wife nags in the background. Eddie is so proud of his two small children and it isn’t too long before their demeanor and carving skills are chef-quality.
 
Oh, this novel is gruesome and bloody but that is what happens when you experience horror at its finest. I loved the novel’s fast-pace and the events that occurred kept me on edge, I wanted more but I squirmed as the events unfolded. An excellent piece of work, one that I highly recommend.
 
Using this novel for my Serial/Spree Killer square for Halloween Bingo.

Professional ReaderReviews Published80%2015 Challenge Participant2016 NetGalley Challenge