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Sandy

My Never Ending List

I read almost every genre & I enjoy venturing into unfamiliar territory. As a library volunteer, I'm constantly bringing home novels. Being a substitute teacher, I read lots of YA & children's books.  

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die- audio

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die - April Henry
I’m not so sure about the nail-biting aspect of this thriller as I didn’t feel this way about it as I listened to it on audio but perhaps, I would feel differently had I actually read the novel instead. I thought the novel moved quickly and I was intrigued as to what was actually transpiring but it wasn’t a suspenseful read for me.
 
The novel begins with the main character waking up on the floor of a cabin. She doesn’t remember anything about her situation as she slowly awakens to the voices of two men discussing her fate. With death in her immediate future, she eventually makes her way outside and yet again, she has no idea where she should go. She has this, “damned if I do and damned if I don’t” thought process running through her head as she contemplates putting the pieces of her life back together. It’s like a huge mystery and all the pieces of her puzzle are blank.
 
I liked how she figured things out one step-at-a-time and how she didn’t go all crazy and stupid in the process. I liked how things moved along quickly and she didn’t get all wrapped up in the moment. The novel doesn’t go deep and it’s a novel where you can just listen and enjoy it. It was an enjoyable novel to just take in, to sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

Mysteries in the mail

I received some great new mysteries in the mail this week. Charlie Donlea is a new author for me and I love mysteries. Thank you Kensington Publishing Corp.for bringing Charlie to my house. (I think, my Charlie wanted in on the action) #SomeChooseDarkness

 

Book mail

I love it when my mail includes a package! Thank you St. Martin Press and Katherine for this gorgeous novel. As I read the title, I realized my “things” have changed over the years. I can’t wait to see what Katherine has written.  # thingsyousavebook

 

Good Dad Diego

Good Dad Diego - Brenna Maloney
Yes, dad’s wear many hats. Diego, the pug, is here to show you some of the many hats that he wears, as Diego wants to be a good daddy to his puppies. You will love this children’s book as Diego, gives you some fatherly advice that will have you smiling and laughing at his animal antics.
 
Yes, Diego thinks he is the king of his castle but he also has to police his puppies, cook for his puppies, be a nurse for his puppies, and a wear a whole bunch of other hats for his puppies. With each hat that Diego places on his head or talks about in this book, Diego talks about what he does and there is also a quoted remark from Diego, that is usually pretty funny.
 
There is a lot to love about this book. I loved the simple text, the photographs of Diego and the arrangements that he was in and I loved the quotes that accompanied each photograph. What a fun book. Would make an excellent Father’s Day gift or a gift to a new Father.
 
“What do you mean you don’t like it?
It’s meat. It’s casserole.”
 
“No pooping on the floor!”

 

Celebrate You!

Celebrate You! - Sherri Duskey Rinker, A.N. Kang
I like this cute, rhyming book as it’s filled with positive, high energy that would make any person feel good. It’s a book to share with someone that you’re proud of, that you love, or you’re happy to be with because it speaks to anyone who is admired and appreciated.
 
The story’s illustrations are centered around a sweet, little penguin yet they never mention the word penguin in the script. The script uses the word “you” when mentioning the penguin throughout the text, so that the book can be related to any individual who is reading this beautiful book. 
 
It mentions the struggles and the challenges that were faced. The dreams that desired. It talks about how strong and committed you were along the way and how we feel about you as you “aim for the sky!”
 
The illustrations were lively and full of love and I liked all the positive vibes I got off the book. There were lots of great adjectives in the book. A wonderful book.

 

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat #1

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat #1 - Robb Mommaerts, Johnny Marciano
With a flash of light, he was gone, teleported to the horrible, ravaged planet Earth! I had a wonderful, hilarious time reading this children’s book. It wasn’t just my love of cats that made this book entertaining, it was Klawde and his witty descriptions that stole the show. As Klawde described living amongst us carnivorous ogres, he couldn’t believe that Raj didn’t realize Klawde was the greatest feline warlord to walk the universe.
 
Raj had problems of his own. They had just moved to Oregon and Raj didn’t know a soul. When the wet cat showed up on his doorstep, his parents told Raj that he could keep him, if he went to Nature Camp. Little did Raj know that Klawde was a talking warlord that had big plans which would involve him and that this “Nature Camp” was actually a survival camp.
 
It was Klawde, the warlord and his supreme view that cracked me up throughout the novel. When gifted with a scratching post, Klawde wondered if it was a sculpture. What was up with the fake, fluffy animals that they tried to get Klawde to attack and kill, was this their idea of military training or just cat toys? What about the human who tried to spear Klawde in the neck? Klawde wants to return home to his planet and seek revenge on those who teleported him to Earth but first, he must find a way to get there.
 
Raj has always wanted a cat yet I don’t think he was ready for Klawde. Raj becomes part of Klawde’s mission and tries to help him accomplish his task which of course, is funny. He thought he had a cool cat once he learns Klawde can talk but will he talk for anyone else? Raj has some issues at camp and talks to Klawde about them but unfortunately, Klawde behaves like a cat most of the time, when Raj wants any kind of a response.
 
I really enjoyed this book. I liked Klawde’s imagination, his wit, and I liked his determination. I liked the friendship the two of them had. I liked how the author alternated the views from Klawde to Raj, on each chapter, as I believe that it allowed the reader to see both sides of the story and made the book wittier and amusing. I liked this book so much I picked up book 2 from the library last night. It was a fun and entertaining.

 

Behold The Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers - Imbolo Mbue
Jende has heard and seen (from television) that America is the best place to be. So, he finds his way to America, as Jende feels America has everything his family will need to be successful. As Jende works, he saves his money and eventually, his wife and son have the means to join him, in this land of golden opportunity.
 
As they settle into Harlem, Neni begins her career in home health care and studies to be a pharmacist. Jende applies for a chauffeur’s position with a Mr. Edwards which would be a major step-up from driving a taxi. America is living up to Jende expectations as he lands the position with Clark Edwards and the money starts rolling in.
 
Jende doesn’t understand how complicated American life really is until he’s thrown into it and now, he’s getting a taste of it. It’s not like television, Jende. There’s also the issue of immigration that he has to deal with which casts a gray cloud over his head and becomes even worse since Jende is an honest man. Neni is now expecting their second child which will now be born on American soil, so they need to get their green cards to stay in the U.S.
 
They are living the American dream but things get better when an opportunity arises for Neni. Asked to help out Clark’s family, Neni accepts the position and enjoys many of the benefits plus many extras. She soon discovers though that the American dream is complicated as issues come to light. As Neni gets involved, the story gets entertaining as Neni becomes a part of Cindy’s life and the children from both households meet.
 
I thought this was a very engaging novel. I enjoyed both families and the excitement that they brought to the novel. I enjoyed Neni and how she changed throughout the novel. When she first arrived from West Africa, she was a quiet individual but as she started to have more influence and statue, she became a powerful figure in the novel. I think each family could have learned more from each other had they been more accepting of each other. I was surprised of the ending; it wasn’t how I expected things to play out.
 
I did wonder: since some of the notions they got about America came from watching old television shows, do you think they would have the same feeling about America if they watched our television shows today? This was just something that I thought about ……

 

Free ebook

There is a free Kindle title for the next two days in the U.S. ( not sure if available elsewhere for free - but worth checking out).

 

I tried entering the title here in BookLikes but it says it is already entered but I could not find it.  

 

The title is Undead by Merrie  Destefano

    Says it’s “ For fans of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King.“

 

Link:

 UNDEAD IS FREE TODAY AND TOMORROW! 

 

 

Info:

Katrina is so beautiful, she's almost perfect. She only has two flaws.

She's possessive...

And she's dead.

William adores Katrina, but he almost forgets about her when he meets Adelle, with her gentle smile and winsome ways.

So what's a poor boy to do? He certainly can't be faithful to a dead girl.

Even though he loves her so much that he visits her grave every day.

Even though she haunts him and constantly reminds him of the terrible thing he did.

Even though she might just drive him to do something terrible again. Very soon.

Set in medieval Germany, this series of horror short stories tell a tale of romance and revenge, of a girl who goes from life to death, from victim to victor. These are short reads, 30 minutes each. If you like spooky thrillers with unreliable narrators, Undead is for you!

Formally titled The Dark Heart Chronicles, Undead contains all 4 books in the series and is 120 pages long.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek - Kim Michele Richardson
Nestled in the backwoods of Kentucky, in the year 1936, there was a glow coming from a courting candle which had been burning quite a while. Pa had made a promise to his wife and thus far, no one came forward to make the commitment and douse the flame, claiming their daughter for his wife.
 
Nineteen-year-old Cussy (Bluet) had been harassed and tormented for being “blue” and she knew that her chances for someone courting her were slim-to-none. Being the last of her kin in Kentucky, her skin had the blue color of her ancestors and Bluet now held the position of being the last ‘Blue” female in the state of Kentucky.
 
Pa’s job at the mine held its own uncertainties so to help out, Bluet found herself a job working with the Pack Horse Library Project. With her mule Junia, she traveled the back hills of Kentucky delivering books to folks who looked forward to her visits. These individuals became like a family to her as she stopped each week dropping off a book and checking in on them. The other librarians also became great friends to Bluet as they grew closer each week.
 
I loved the excitement and the love she felt as she traveled to each of her different drop-off sites each week. The days were long but she felt needed, loved and important as she made these trips. To think that she spent all day doing this and then when she returned home, she had to tend to her mule and fix her father supper so he could go to work, made me tired. To travel by mule and not by horse, took even longer but Junia was a special mule and seemed to be able to read Bluet. She had a special friendship with a girl named Queenie and I enjoyed the time they spent together.
 
The novel started out a bit slow for me but then when things picked-up, I couldn’t put it down till I was finished. I enjoyed how Bluet grew as a person and I cringed when her family got involved with the doctor. I was scared and concerned for Bluet as she just wanted to be accepted by everyone but the price to do seemed so costly. It was hard reading the novel as Bluet tried to be brave because as she puts forth her best, it worried me what the outcome might be.
 
I enjoy reading about the Appalachian Mountains and I felt that this novel was a perfect fit for me. It opened my eyes to the library project as I had never heard of it before. I highly recommend this novel.
 
Thank you to Bookish First for providing a copy to me in exchange for my honest review.
 
 

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Noah Galvin, Stephen Chbosky
I don’t even know where to start with this review. I absolutely loved this book! I cried and I laughed while listening to it. I had multiple episodes of goosebumps over my arms and times where I found myself thinking about Charlie throughout my day. I would pull into a parking lot or my garage and I would just sit, listening as Charlie finished telling me his story. I couldn’t shut my car off until Charlie was done writing to me in his letter/diary as I always verbally helped him close out each entry with his signature closing, “Love Always, Charlie”
 
Charlie tells it like-it-is from a teens point of view as talks about life and shares his stories from hanging out with his friends. Charlie talks about a wide variety of topic including his family. When he talks about his Aunt Helen, I could feel their emotional connection and the bond that he felt with her. I really enjoyed his friendship with Patrick and Sam, they had some great times together. I laughed as he spoke about his age of innocence. His stories were so pure as his honesty shined through when he shared some of his adventures. His account of the brownies at the party and the individual who was “baked like a *^#*^’& cake” were hilarious.
 
I can’t say enough about this novel except that I loved it dearly and I am now looking for my own audio copy so I can listen to it whenever I want. I don’t know why it took me so long to finally pick this novel up but perhaps this novel was exactly what I needed now. So yes, I highly recommend this novel and the unabridged audio version is excellent.

 

Girl Made of Stars

Girl Made of Stars - Ashley Herring Blake
Who’s the liar? Owen is her twin and they’ve been close growing up but she’s been best friends with Hannah for years, yet now Mara has to decide whose story she believes. She can’t imagine that either of them would lie about the incident but as Mara watches and listens, she’s able to uncover the truth.
 
Ashley Blake does a fantastic job covering some difficult issues including gender identity and rape. As these topics touch the lives of family, friends and peers, the author shows the reaction and magnitude that they have on the individuals involved.
 
The night of the party, Mara saw her brother drunk with Hannah. Later that night, someone told Mara that they saw Owen and Hannah together and they seemed fine. Owen claims now that what happened that night, was a misunderstanding and things between Hannah and him weren’t fine that night. Mara’s thoughts were like a swing, as she goes back-and-forth between believing in what her brother says and accepting what Hannah says was the real story.
 
Her parents believe Owen’s version of the story and they tried to use family pressure to persuade Mara. I liked how serious Mara felt about the situation as things around her began to close in. I liked the character of Alex for he felt as confused as Mara but for different reasons. This was a great novel that I highly recommend if you like to read these types of novels. 4.5 stars

 

Freak the Mighty - audio

Freak the Mighty - Rodman Philbrick
I listened to this novel on audio and I wished that I hadn’t. I didn’t care for the narration of this novel, as it felt as if the author was just reading a story to me. It felt rushed and for the most part, there was the lack of emotions except for the times when the story became so intense, that the narrator yelled.
 
Kevin was a complex individual. I loved his imagination and his ability to enjoy life. He made me laugh numerous times as he has no problem being himself, with his sarcastic tone and his use of words. I loved his dictionary and when he arms Max with one, I couldn’t stop grinning. Although he has a physical disability, he keeps going and he never stops to complain. As I stuck in the last CD, I started to dreed what the future might hold. Kevin is talking again about his robots and he’s behaving like a man, yet here I am, a grown woman fearful that might turn into a crying baby behind the steering wheel of my own car. The tables are turning.
 
I think I lost some of the emotional aspects of Kevin’s friendship with Max when I listened to this novel on audio. I wanted some feeling in the narrator’s voice, a change in tone, or a pause while he read. I stopped the audio a few times as I needed time just to think about what was transpiring. What Kevin and Max had was unique; they both found something in each other that they were missing.
 
The ending was not what I needed or wanted. I see that there is another book that follows this, Max the Mighty that I will definitely have to read and not do the audio. Great book about friendship, family and being different.

 

It arrived

Picked this up from the library today and I am so excited to read it! I was showing everyone before I left what a great book it was . I was so excited, I drove halfway home before I realized I didn’t do any of my errands soI, had to turn around and head back out. This is why I don’t read many series, the anticipation kills me :)
 
 
 

Stone Mothers

stone mothers - Erin Kelly
I was confused when I first started this novel but because I loved He Said/She Said so much, I continued reading and I am so glad that I did. Although, you can promise never to speak about your past, that doesn’t mean that it ever goes away or that the repercussions of it are gone. Your past will always be there, somewhere.
 
As the story began to unwind, I finally understood Marianne’s reaction when she was presented with her own apartment at Royal Park Manor. These luxury units are now sitting on the site of a former mental hospital which she had ties to, when she was younger. Seeing this Manor, brings back a memory of something that had occurred when Marianne was younger. Becoming nervous, Marianne’s afraid that a secret that was shared with a few other individuals, will be exposed. I liked that the author included here, a flashback of Marianne with the events surrounding that secret, so that I could witness the event and understand Marianne’s fear.
 
We also get to hear from Marianne’s daughter and a character named Helen, who have an important part in Marianne’s mysterious secret.
 
There were a few surprises for me as I read, things that I didn’t expect to occur but which I totally enjoyed and then, there were the twists that the author added. I ended up having a great time with this novel. This was not a fast read for me as the author describes some of the scenes in detail and I didn’t want to miss anything. I also found that in the beginning it was confusing and I ended up rereading that section again but this book is really great overall. I look forward to Erin Kelly’s next novel.
Thanks so much to MacMillan Publishers for a copy of this novel in exchange for my own honest opinion.

 

Left in the dark

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

The room went black.  The lights had gone out and I still couldn't pull myself out of the car.  It was those pauses that occurred when he spoke, his voice which sounded so young and innocent and his honesty which touched everything that he looked at.   

 

I am loving this novel and I'm so glad that I am listening to it on audio.

I am the person laughing behind the wheel and miles later, there are tears sliding down my cheeks, and I find myself finishing each post with him......"Love, Charlie "

The Mother-in-Law

The Mother-in-Law - Sally Hepworth
She’s dead. Diana was found dead and the authorities are treating it as a homicide but who would want to kill her? The folks in town speak highly of her yet when this question was asked amongst her family, they all turned their eyes to one family member. But, did they really kill Diana?
 
It was entertaining looking inside this family and seeing their “dirt.” All families have some type of “dirt” that they try to hide from the outside world and I enjoyed reading and seeing how this family dealt with it. To see, what others do not see and hear is powerful. The emotions and the drama that conflicts families can be seen in this family.
 
As I read, I wanted to hate a specific character but then, I wondered if I knew everything about that character yet. I wondered if whether my feelings were actually justified. Did I actually know this character or were they hiding something from me? It’s funny how I questioned this in this novel.
 
Some secrets are okay and some secrets can get you into trouble. This was an interesting novel that I really enjoyed. Looking into the private lives of others, you start to examine your own life and your own secrets. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for this e-copy.