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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.  

They Say Blue

They Say Blue - Jillian Tamaki
I have to say, I liked the art in this children’s book. The lines and the colors, flowed off the page. I liked how the bright colors contrasted with one another and how the wispy lines looked as if they were waving.
 
The poetic nature of the author’s words didn’t do much for me. Some of the pages, I enjoyed the ideas that the words inspired but for others, it did nothing. The text is bold and simple to read, so it’s a book young children can read.

 

Thank You, Omu!

Thank You, Omu! - Oge Mora
Wow, that is a happy, good feeling book! It definitely put a smile on my face! As Omu reads a book, she lets the thick, red stew that she just made for her dinner simmer on the stove.
 
Soon, she gets a knock on the door and it’s a visitor who has smelled her delicious stew from down the hallway. Omu offers the small boy some of her stew which he eats (picture shows him licking the bowl).
 
All day long, the stew simmers on the stove, the delicious smell soaring through the air, drifting over the city. Omu has quite a few grateful visitors during the day. It’s dinnertime and when she takes the lid off the pot, Omu is in for a surprise.
 
I liked the facial expressions and the vocabulary that was used in this children’s book. The illustrations themselves, were very colorful and festive but the expressions did an excellent job conveying their feelings. Using everyday words with complex words, I liked the book’s language. The characters showed great etiquette to each other. A great book to share.

 

What If....

What If.... - Samantha Berger
What if? I really liked this book because it deals with the idea of, what if and creativity. The young girl in this story begins with some paper and a pencil and is drawing out her story. She then questions, what if she didn’t have a pencil, how could she tell her story? This premise of what if, continues throughout the book as she deals with her paper disappearing, the floor beneath falling away, her walls disappearing, and the ground that she walks upon vanishing, just to name a few. Layer-upon-layer the items that she uses begin to fall away until she is relying upon the one thing that no one can take away from her.
 
It’s a cute, simple book that is rich in color with bold text throughout its pages. It shows children exactly where ideas and stories originate from and I feel it can help them become better story tellers/writers.

 

The Other Woman

The Other Woman - Sandie Jones
I have to agree that this novel was addictive. For once I started it, there was no turning back and I couldn’t get this novel out of my head. My emotions swayed as the events played out and I started to think they were all crazy. Who would stay in such a crazy, mixed-up situation and put up with all this drama? Was the prize actually worth it in the end?
 
Emily had a successful career but her love life was nonexistent. After work one night, she meets an easy-going guy at the bar and this is the beginning of their relationship. Throughout the novel, I wondered why she continued her relationship with Adam as the drama intensified and her frustration mounted.
 
I felt Emily had a lot going for her before she met Adam: friends, family, career, and money. Was it so important for her to have a guy, especially Adam? I began to make a mental list as I read, shaking my head and yelling at her, “Why this guy Emily?” “Get out! Run, Emily, run, open your eyes.” I thought perhaps she stayed with Adam because of what happened with her last boyfriend, perhaps it was his easygoing mannerism, perhaps she felt attracted to him or it could even have been her desire to win as events started to heat up around them. Me, I would have walked away. Emily found a reason that she wanted Adam, and she was willing to stand by his side.
 
Prammie, Adam’s mother got under my skin. I wondered why she treated Emily the way she did. Did Prammie know something no one else knew? Or was it just Prammie? Was Emily paranoid?
 
My head was spinning with questions as I read. There needed to be a third party examining this situation but everyone seemed to be bias. As other characters were introduced into the mix, I read how they fit into the picture and things started to fan out but I just couldn’t put my finger on what was really happening.
 
I love a novel that can get me riled up and I end up hollering at the characters. Prammie got me riled up good in this novel, I wanted to lock her up! I was glad the Emily had some great friends to lean on because she needed someone. I enjoyed putting the pieces of this novel together.

 

Sugar Run

Sugar Run - Mesha Maren
When Jodi gets released from prison, her goal is to make it West Virginia so she can live on some property that belongs to her grandmother. Jodi has fond memories of this piece of land from her childhood and after 18 years in prison, Jodi is ready to start living.
 
In route to her destination, Jodi makes a planned stop and saves Ricky but when she stops off at a bar, she runs into Miranda where they hit it off. Miranda is close to losing custody of her children and Miranda claims, that she also wants to get her life straightened out. When Jodi later sets off to begin her new life, she is no longer traveling alone.
 
Life gets complicated for Jodi when she finally arrives in West Virginia. Her grandmother’s land is no longer in the family yet Jodi is not letting go of the land without a fight. United with her siblings, Jodi is having a hard time trying to reestablish herself as her past is slowly creeping back into her life. Miranda claims that she wants a new life, but illegal activities are becoming her norm.
 
I enjoyed the feel of the novel, it had this easy calm feel to it. I felt as if Jodi was the only one who was putting forth any effort in this novel and since she was living back in an unhealthy environment, I wondered how she could be successful. Fresh out of prison, surrounded by illegal activities, and not surrounded but good role models, I feared for her and her future. Then, there were Miranda’s children. They were now a part of this mix.

 

The Alice Network

The Alice Network - Kate Quinn
I won’t go into the story-line as I feel that everyone has read this book but me. I felt that it took me a bit to get invested in this book but once I was, I couldn’t put it down. This book tells the story of a few great individuals whose lives were changed by the war. Driven by desire and determination, they sought to make a difference even when the odds were against them.
 
There are two stories inside this novel linked with a common thread. One of these stories begins in the year 1947 and the other story begins some 30 years earlier. I enjoyed both stories. The author did a remarkable job creating outstanding characters with an enticing story-line. It was one of those novels where I found myself talking out-loud to the characters. A book where I thought they needed my assistance.
 
Great job Kate, I can’t wait to read your next novel.

 

Blockade Billy

Blockade Billy - Stephen King
I like a good baseball game in person, watching it on TV, not so much. Listening to Granny retell the story of Blockade Billy, I felt as if I was sitting right there beside him. Granny retold in great detail, everything about that remarkable season, his enthusiasm and energy could definitely be felt.
 
Blockade Billy helped this fictional baseball team when they got in a jam and together the team had a memorable season. I like King’s touch on this sport and this story was my favorite out of the two short stories that accompanied this set.
 
I was hooked listening to “Morality” but I didn’t care for the ending. I really thought there should have been more at the end or something more dramatic, for I thought, the ending fell flat for me. As I listened, I waited, the anticipation was building and building throughout this novel. I felt that anything could happen and I wanted it to happen in a big way. As the ramifications of the big event started to surface, it wasn’t what I had expect nor at the intensity, I had presumed it would. Where was my master of horror?
 
These were unique stories, different than what I normally expect from King. I liked that they were short, and he kept the story moving. He lets us get inside these twisted individuals for just a little bit to see what makes them tick.

 

Drunken Fireworks

Drunken Fireworks - Stephen King, Tim Sample
I thought this one was pretty comical because I knew pretty much that it would end badly. Drinking + fireworks = disaster but then when you add in some competition between some folks who are from different sides of the fence and you have a bigger DISASTER.
 
This was a fast story and the accents were good. I think at first, the competition was not ill-intended but Alden and his mother were bound and determined not be outdone by them richer folks, so they upped the ante each year. I actually could visualize this happening and what surprised me the most was that King actually wrote this.

 

Watching You

Watching You - Lisa Jewell
Facedown she laid on the kitchen floor, her blood pooling around her. The weapon which had pierced this woman’s body had been left behind, cleaned and ready for whatever use someone needed it for.
 
The book begins with this murder and as a reader, we’re introduced to a variety of characters with diverse points of view. I liked how we went back in time to set the story up and how things progressed, there wasn’t a lot of jumping around.
 
I found some of the characters creepy and as I read about them, I thought “man, someone should really be keeping an eye on that one, something is definitely going on there!” Lisa does a great job keeping things rolling and not giving too much away as you’re reading.
 
There was one thing about this novel that slowed me down. After I finished reading this novel, I read some reviews and I saw that some individuals liked how the author inserted this information but I, myself didn’t. I would have liked this information included inside the author’s story instead of making it a separate issue. These were the recorded interviews. I found myself absorbed into the drama of the novel until the author slips the recorded interviews from the police station into the storyline. I thought the flow of the story was thrown off. These recorded interviews are a different typeset, they have a he said/she said format and I felt thrown off in my reading. It’s just my own opinion and we all are entitled to have one. These are important to the novel so you need to read them but they threw me off.
 
It was another great read by Lisa Jewell and it made me think, yes…..someone could be watching me.

 

The Great and the Bad

Bad: I feel that all I have been doing is shoveling and more shoveling lately!  I am actually looking forward to the below zero forecast that we have this week (for highs) as that means, no snow for at least a couple days in a row.  We have been shoveling at least every other day or at least daily for the past 3 week and I am so over winter right now.  I have been shoveling my parents out too, as my dad hurt his knee (out-patient surgery this week) but I would rather shovel them out than have him do it anyways.  I'd hate to have them slip and fall.

 

So the great news is....my youngest son and his wife are expecting! It will be there their first child and our first grandson.  An early summer baby is coming!  Our 6 year-old granddaughter (oldest son) hasn't shown too much emotion yet, as she'll be sharing the spotlight but I'm hoping she'll be a great help when they're together.

 

Here's my forecast for the next week- hopefully I can read and catch up as I feel that I haven't been around lately.

 

 

 

Big Science For Little People

Big Science For Little People: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Child Discover the Wonders of Science - Lynn Brunelle
What a fantastic, hands-on, science book for children. There are 52 activities to have fun with in this small nonfiction book. I wasn’t expected such a small book but it’s perfect for small hands.
 
There are many activities inside this book that I am excited to attempt. From the Exploding Lunch Bag, Magic Milk, to the Garden Hose Tuba. I found some activities that I have successfully attempted in the past and I found some activities that just didn’t interest me. I was glad that it had such a variety of activities for children.
 
Most of the activities covered two pages but a few of them were a couple pages more. Most of the items that you need for the experiments are not complicated items but things that you might have around the house.
 
The author informs the reader the science behind the experiment and they also provide information should they want to expand on the experiment. The book is broken down into things to do inside the house and things to do outside.
 
I think this book is great. I think you could tailor this book for younger children and also expand it for older elementary children. Thank you Murder by Death for bringing this book to my attention.

 

A Tender Moment

I found this on Facebook and I thought I would share.  Neil Gaiman, a Holocaust survivor, a famous poet, and a few more components make this clip special. 

 

 

https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/01/08/neil-gaiman-reads-ursula-k-le-guin/?fbclid=IwAR3QDpNXpB_5zC-V72rVbF3a5R9IC4sg0uJtIFU58dlXSWYKYU-hu7mJfrw

 

 

 

 

Renaissance Faire

Yesterday was our 5th annual Renaissance Faire at our library.  A day filled with talks, sword fighting, juggling, a tea with the Queen, a Knighting, acrobats, crafts, games, displays and lots of individuals walking around in their Renaissance attire.   The cafe served a roasted turkey leg lunch to help put you in mood.  

 

I talked to a few individuals and learned about fabric, leather, pockets, purses, and weapons.  It was very educational and I think every year,  I learn something different.

  

This year it was also the day that we also got our first snow but I don't think it put a damper on the individuals who showed up, they just seemed to come later in the day.  Everyone, children and adults alike had a great time.  

 

(pictures of the learning sword fighting, sword fighting, tea with the Queen, displays) 

 

Say What?

I just got a message from NetGalley pertaining to their End of the Year Survey that I filled out .........I won!  I actually wonder sometimes when I fill these surveys out why I do them as sometimes they take a lot of time but this one paid off.  I won a $50 gift certificate to the book store of my choice!  

 

 

 

I Owe You One

I Owe You One - Sophie Kinsella
I have read a few of Sophie’s novels before so I thought I knew what I was getting into, but this novel was different. When I read the main character’s nickname and figured out that we would be referring to that throughout the entire novel, that threw me for a loop, Fixie? Really? Sophie, I know you can do better. This novel had its highs and lows and all-in-all, I have to say that it was an OK read.
 
Let’s start with what I liked, I enjoyed the parts of the novel where Fixie started to realized her self-worth and she exerted herself. I believe this began when she visited a nearby coffee shop and begins a long exchange with Sebastian. Sebastian made Fixie feel alive again and she wasn’t just going through life. Sebastian helps her realize her potential which she needs, as she gets sucked into her daily life and the individuals who walk all over her. The more that she sees Sebastian, the more she is able to find her true voice. The problem lies with Sebastian. Briony waltzes into the picture, who is Sebastian’s girlfriend. I thought of Briony as a show pony and Fixie feels that she’s no competition against her.
 
Fixie must be exertive when it comes to the family business as it seems she takes the business more seriously than any of her siblings. When her mother takes a leave of absence, mother stated that Fixie was the glue that kept everyone together, so mother knew how important Fixie was. I liked the reference to the cup sleeve and I thought the storyline in general was really good. I thought some issues in the story were just really extreme and those are the things I didn’t care for.
 
Fixie, herself, was too extreme for me at times. She let too many people take advantage of her. She had great role models yet she let everyone take a piece of her. When mother was gone, I thought that what occurred while she was gone, was totally out of control. Those individuals had no business sense.
 
Sebastian saved the novel for me. Sebastian brought Fixie around which changed the whole story for me. Overall, it was an entertaining and engaging read and I look forward to more novels by Sophie in the future.
 
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

 

Little gifts

I hadn't started reading An Anonymous Girl when I received a small gift in the mail from the publisher.  This small gift peaked my curiosity as to how this trinket would relate to the novel as I wasn't going to reread the synopsis before diving headfirst into the novel.  As I read,  I had that aha moment, when it clicked and I have to say, these gifts are clever.  Oh, so clever!