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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.  

People Kill People

People Kill People - Ellen Hopkins
The first words in this book captured the essence of this novel, “Guns don’t kill people, People kill people.” Following this conception, which I agree with, Ellen draws us into the lives of six individuals whose lives were affected by violence.
Although this novel is not written in Ellen’s typical style, it’s not written in long narrative form either but a form that’s somewhere down the middle. As Ellen introduced the characters, I saw how each of their lives were different yet somehow guns and/or violence entered into their life. I had a feeling as the story progressed that things were going to get much worse before they got better as their situations were becoming tense and for some of them, it felt as if the characters were looking for this type of excitement.
It’s the reality of Ellen’s characters and the accuracy of their lives that make this novel hit home. It’s a tough subject, a topic that we all know too well yet it’s one we can’t shut our eyes to. We want to be informed but where will that lead us?
As I turn on the TV at night, this loss of life seems to be a nightly occurrence. I don’t want to watch it but I know it’s all around me and I can’t shut it out. Why some individuals take aim at others and at themselves, sometimes over trivial things, I just don’t understand. It doesn’t have to be a gun that causes the fatality. It could be a variety of other means that causes this life to end, guns are just sometimes easier to obtain. For a killing is a killing, a death is a death.
Ellen shows us life, without blinders. She shows us why.


Animal Zombies!

Animal Zombies!: And Other Bloodsucking Beasts, Creepy Creatures, and Real-Life Monsters (National Geographic Kids) - Chana Stiefel
I took this nonfiction children’s book into a third-grade classroom I was subbing in yesterday and the students pounced on me, like they were hungry wolves. I loved it! You should have seen their eyes and electricity filled the air as I started to share the pages with them. It was pure joy.
It was actually funny as I shared this book with them because the students kept creeping closer and closer to me as they “supposedly” sat on the floor. They were bouncing around as I flipped through some pages, all the while, they were screaming, “Read that page!” “What was that?” “Was that a garden spider?” “Hey, I saw one of those things in real life!” “Flip that page back!” I was smiling and trying to calm these little bug people down.
They seriously loved this book and wanted me to leave it with them but it was a library book that I had checkout. I knew after seeing the cover that I needed to read it. After seeing their reaction and reading it, I might need to purchase a copy for other rooms I sub in.
The pictures inside this book are fantastic. As with all National Geographic books I have found, these pictures are bright, colorful and realistic. I could actually see some of the fine pieces of individual hair on some of the insects and the detail on the ceratioid anglerfish was cool and creepy! Seeing all the fine detail inside this fish’s body as she lit up at night was amazing! Then, the mass of tentacles on the giant jellyfish- remarkable!
There are tons of facts inside this book. I cannot tell you how many times I said, ‘wow!” as I read this book. I learned a lot and the students learned just a little because I didn’t have time to share with them everything I found fascinating for we spent a great deal of time, just looking at the pictures. I did tell them about the frilled shark. This shark’s picture was incredible and the facts about this creepy, green-eyed serpent got the students real excited. The student’s learned about the ghost octopus, the glass frog, and the peacock mantis shrimp. There is a ton of information in this book, from exotic creatures to ticks to foot fungus.
It’s a fun and entertaining book and one that I highly recommend.



Sadie - Courtney Summers
I think there has been a lot said about this novel so I won’t rehash what this novel is all about. This novel is about a topic that I am drawn to. As I read this topic: I want to see justice served, I want the pain to go away, and I want the fear to vanish.
I liked how Courtney Summers set up this novel. Alternating chapters between serial podcasts and Sadie’s perspective, it was different than other novels I have read pertaining to this topic. As I read Sadie’s portion of the novel, I felt more emotional and more in tune with the events that affected her. The material felt heavy and I understood exactly what Sadie was going through. As I read through the podcasts, these sections helped piece the story together but they didn’t seem to carry the emotional elements that I felt as I read Sadie’s own words. These podcasts were important to the story as they helped me catch my breath but they were, “like giving me the facts or weeding through the information,” for they were reporting and I just couldn’t find any emotion in them.
Although some individuals didn’t care for the ending, I enjoyed it. I thought it went well with how the novel was set up. I thought the author addressed the topics inside this novel very well and I was hooked from the beginning pages.
This novel is not for everyone because of its tough issues. I feel that the author tackled these tough issues in a unique style, producing a wonderful novel.
I received a copy of this novel from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


The Rough Patch

The Rough Patch - Brian Lies
Wow, I didn’t expect such emotions from this book. This is one of the those books I wished I would have read the synopsis again before reading, and to think that this came from a children’s book. Great work, Brian Lies, great job!
Evan, the fox and his dog did everything together. They had such a great relationship. They especially loved spending time together in the garden. Then, one day the dog passes away and fox is devastated. If you could only see the book’s illustration of fox down on his knees, peering down into dog’s bed, you would know exactly how this event affected him. I had to pause as I read this page, for it was an emotional moment, the first of many that this book held.
Evan tried to get on with his life but he missed his best friend and he took out that frustration, on the garden. His beautiful garden, he tore to shreds. I could feel his defeat and anger on the pages and I wondered where this novel was headed. It was a powerful moment as he tore what the two of them worked so hard to obtain, to shreds. Yet, I knew why he did it and I understood.
As the novel continued, fox didn’t look for hope in his world. He was content to live in misery. One day though, a small piece of hope came into his life. Slowly, overtime Evan accepted this small piece of hope and in the end, it was a great ending for him and I think dog, would be happy for his friend.


What's the Difference

What's the Difference?: 40+ Pairs of the Seemingly Similar -  Emma Strack
Once I saw this book at the library, I knew I had to read it. Just thumbing through the book, I knew there were things I was going to learn and I was excited to start reading. I liked how this book was set up, the feel of the pages, and the illustrations.
Let me start by explaining this book. It is set up into categories: animals, food & drink, geography, fashion, human body and city. This book also has a fantastic table of contents and an index. Inside each category, you will find pairs of items that seem similar but yet they are different. Some examples are: rabbit-hare, grasshopper-cricket, noodle-pasta, tornado-hurricane, tights-stockings, veins-artery, and terrace-balcony. These are just a few of the over 40 different pairs that are included in this book.
On each two pages pairing, the author explains some similarities and some differences of the pair. I liked the illustrations, although they are not actual photographs, they are great, realistic drawings. There are other illustrations on these thick, glossy pages with each of them having a short description beneath them. There is also a helpful chart on the page that compares the pair that is on the page.
There were some things I already knew as I read through this book and I also learned quite a bit. I kept interrupting my husband as he watched tv, with my new facts as I thought he would find it interesting too. I found most of the pairing appropriate but a few of them, well I just didn’t understand them but I did read them anyway.
As I read I discovered the difference between pasta and noodles. I like them both but never really thought about them being different things. I learned about the difference between a camel and a dromedary. I see that it is visual but I also read about some other differences but do you know what happens if they mate? Now, that was interesting. Comparing seas and oceans in their sizes, I never really thought about until I got to these pages. In the world, there are more than 150 seas covering 1.8 million sq. miles whereas there are 5 oceans covering 140 million sq. miles. That to me, is a huge difference.
I wouldn’t suggest that you read through this book all in one sitting as it loses its lust if you try to digest all its information in one sitting. I enjoyed this book and I’m glad I picked it up. It was fun and I not overwhelming.


The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses)

The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses): A Novel -  Terri-Lynne DeFino
The refurbished mansion is now home to individuals who once had their hands in publishing. From writers to editors, the rooms are now filled with individuals who have gathered together to finish out their remaining years. Working as an orderly, Cecibel enjoys hiding amongst the famous wards, for they don’t ask many personal questions and she’s able to go about her work, unnoticed.
Alfonse will be arriving soon to fill a vacancy and his arrival is causing quite a stir, especially with Cecibel. Alfonse is Cecibel’s idol and she took great care in getting his room ready.
This novel was such a joy to read. I laughed as Olivia took her medicine out in the yard. As she lit her joints and she smoked her marijuana (medicine), her pains went away and she moved more graciously. Sometimes, she even commented on how stoned she was. The residents sometimes talked about literature when they got together. They all knew that each one of them had their own special talent and had a success. At this point in their life, they all valued one another and they had a special bond with each other.
When Alfonse arrives, Cecibel is thrilled and Alfonse basks in the attention and the admiration that she places on him. Cecibel changes too and by the end of the novel, she’s a different person. With Alfonse on the premises, this once retired group suddenly becomes passionate again about their gifts and a few of them feel that they need to pick up their pens and work. An entertaining and incredible journey develops and it was heartwarming to be a fly on the wall and watch it evolve.
We’re taken back in history to see how things developed and we see some romances cropped up along the way, but there was nothing that took over the whole novel.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful if a place like Bar Harbor Retirement Home actually existed? To think that these talented individuals could come together and reminisce about their glory days. Then, to think what would happen if they decided to take up the pen together and write? What would transpire? What about a mixing of genre writers? This makes me smile.
I won a copy of this book from Harper Collins in their August Grab Bag Sweepstakes. Thank you, Harper Collins. This review is my own personal opinion.


Free Kindle book by Jack Jordan

Before Her Eyes: The irresistible new psychological crime thriller.
Kindle Edition by Jack Jordan
It was released on August 16,2018.
I can only find the book free on Amazon.uk and not Amazon.com
it's supposed to be on sale through Sept 11th.


Red Sky at Night

Red Sky at Night - Elly MacKay
This is a beautiful children's book to look through and read the weather predictions that are quoted on the pages. The illustrations portray the folklore that is expressed on each page. What I found fascinating with the illustrations are, the use of layers that accompany some of the illustrations.
For the prediction: "When the wind is from the West, then the fishes bite the best." There is a red sailboat with an adult and two smaller individuals on the water. A heron is floating nearby. There are layers in the water with varying colors and shadows from the rocks and hills nearby. Plants and fish are in the water, and there is also a huge whale with more detail as he is closer. A fog covers the top of the water. Houses and trees and rocks are on land with varying details depending upon how close they are. There are clouds and birds in the sky, again with varying details. There is a lot of see in these illustrations, the layers to me are fascinating.
There are 23 predictions with accompany illustrations in this children's book. There are some that I have heard before and many, that I was not aware of. I loved that the author wrote in the back, explanations of what these predictions really mean so individuals reading this book can understand and comprehend what they actually have read.
"Trout jump high when rain is nigh." means "True, When there is low air pressure, it usually spells rain. Before the rain comes, insects fly low, looking for cover. Minnows, on the other hand, come to the surface of the water, following the raising gas bubbles that have been released by the low air pressure. If you are out before the rain, you might see fish jumping to catch the low-flying insects or in pursuit of the minnows."
Great book with wonderful illustrations. Science related and I liked how it's educational too.


Mixed: a Colorful Story

Mixed: A Colorful Story - Arree Chung
What a fantastic simple book with a powerful message. It made me think,” why hasn’t someone written this book before?” I absolutely love this book and with the message it brings, I wish more people would read it but with it being a children’s picture book, I know its audience will be limited.
The individuals in this story are small-colored faces with legs and arms. The story begins with the three primary colors living peacefully together in one town: the reds, the blues and the yellows. Suddenly, one of the primary colors decides that their color is superior than any other colors and they proclaim this to the town. This message suddenly causes a commotion among the colors, and the town is suddenly divided by their color.
Days pass and then a yellow notices a blue sitting on a bench and the dividing line between the colors begins to get fuzzy. The two of them fall in love and they have their special day as they make their commitment to each other. Their lives are changed forever when these two create a new color in town. As the families grow, the colors mixed, and the possibilities were endless as the dividing lines now seems to have vanished away.
What a fun, entertaining book. I loved the illustrations as the colored faces lit up the black and white backgrounds. You really need to check out this book! I highly recommend it, it’s a keeper. I really need to get a copy of this book, when I finally return this book to the library.


Free today on Amazon

These two are free today on Amazon.com and Amazon.uk
Dark Treasures
 Room 9 and Other Ghost Stories




I scored!

I scored at the library today! I was down to one book from the library and hoping to start reading my NetGalkey books. I guess, I’ll go back back and forth since I got these holds today. 

Poor Kitty

I’m sitting outside with Charlie while he gets some fresh air. Just got back from the emergency vet office with him as he’s been getting sick the past 4 days. Dang hair balls!  Our regular vet couldn’t see him yesterday and this morning, he wasn’t much better so off we went to the expensive clinic.  This is a temporary fix I’m thinking but at least he ate a tsp. of kibble when we got back and things look good so far, I think pets are worse than kids.  

On a side note, when I pulled in the driveway, our next door neighbor called me over. Her husband was out walking their dog in the park  ( our backyard) and a little black kitten started following him. There was no other kittens around or a mother.  It looks about 6-8 weeks old, was very hungry and his eyes were almost matted shut. He went to a no- kill cat shelter and they are full. She heard 3 other shelters are full too

Then She Was Gone

Then She Was Gone: A Novel - Lisa Jewell
There were parts of this book that I found creepy as I read. I kept thinking isn’t this odd that this is happening and then finally, things started to add up. I couldn’t put everything together until the very end though. I liked that about this novel, how it was a show reveal and then you get the full details at the very end. I felt that I have some intelligence as I am reading and I wasn’t totally blown away by my lack of skill.
In the story, Laurel’s oldest daughter Elle, left the house one day and never returned. The story flashes back to the time before Elle vanishes so the reader gets to know the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. Back in the present day, Laurel meets a man and she starts dating him. He seems over zealous with Laurel and Laurel is a bit apprehensive as this is her first experience dating again. I’m not going to go into much more detail but to say that sometimes individuals go through life and they’re not really present. They’re not really in the moment, they’re there but not fully comprehending what’s going on. I enjoyed this novel, not a lot of characters and an enjoyable plot.
I thought the ending was excellent, all the way down to the Red Cross book.


The Astronaut Wives

The Astronaut Wives Club - Lily Koppel
I listened to this novel and I am glad that I did, as there were lots of dates in it and I thought Orlagh Cassidy did an excellent job as the narrator. I never got tired of listening as Ms. Cassidy went through what these women did as astronaut wives but I had a feeling that if I had tried to read this novel, I wouldn’t have finished the novel.
I guess I don’t know what I expected from this novel, afterall these were the wives of the astronauts and not the astronauts themselves. That being so, I found that parts of this novel contained normal everyday events. Sometimes boring, these sections reminded me that although their husbands were now among a selected group of individuals in the limelight, their little ladies were back home waiting for them holding everything together. What happened to these men while they were away, was a different story.
I liked how these women were able to rely on one another in their time of need yet they each were rooting for their husband in the space race. There was competition, everywhere but when they came together, they threw on another mask and life was good.
I met many women in this novel, their lives all seemed to be the same, they watched and they waited for their significant other to return home never knowing when that would be. Their spouses’ job was to be an astronaut and the rest was left up to them. It was an interesting novel and one I highly recommend you listen to.


Biggest, Baddest Book of Monsters

Biggest, Baddest Book of Monsters - Anders Hanson, Elissa Mann
I came across this book while doing inventory at the library. I loved the pictures inside this book. The colors chosen were excellent and the book screamed creepy. What I didn’t like was that there wasn’t that much information inside this book. The book gave basic information on a variety of monsters and I really didn’t feel it was the Biggest, Baddest Book of Monsters.
Inside the book, I found a two-page spread on a variety of different monsters from Bigfoot to zombies to ghosts. I liked that they covered a variety of monsters but a lot of details, they did not provide. On the werewolf’s pages, I learned how to defeat a werewolf, how to spot a werewolf, when they change and what they look like when they change. I found the illustrations wonderful and entertaining as they were both cartoonish and humanist in nature.
It’s a fun book to look through and you might learn a thing or two. I think kids will enjoy thumbing through it and it would be good for a resource.


Creepy Urban Legends

Creepy Urban Legends - Tim O'Shei, Kelly Garvin
I came across this book while doing inventory at the library. I thought it looked interesting. An urban legend, “is a surprising, often scary story that is told as if it were true.” These are usually spread by word of mouth or by e-mail and happened recently or not that long ago. They prey upon an individual’s common fears (babysitting at night, sleeping at night) and they usually teach people a lesson.
I guess I didn’t realize that an urban legend had all these traits associated with them. Inside this non-fiction children’s book, you will find examples of a few urban legends which are arranged into three sections, Scary, Very Scary and Freaky Scary. There is also a section titled Fact or Fiction? There is a Glossary that lists a few words and their definitions, another page which lists internet sites and books if you want more information on urban legends and finally, on the back page an index.
I found it interesting that each section wasn’t labeled. There is nothing to tell you what type of story you are read: Scary, Very Scary or Freaky Scary when you are on that page besides by going to the table of contents.
Did I think they were scary? A couple of them were pretty good. A couple of them I have heard before (a slightly different version) and two of them I didn’t find scary at all. All the stories have illustrations with them and sometimes a fear fact. The wording is not hard to read (perhaps 4th or 5th grade). The pictures are not gory but a few are mysterious. For children, I think this depends on the reader and whether the child can handle this material.