My Never Ending List

I am an outside person who loves to read and cook. Venturing into most genres my favorites are YA and fiction.

Halloween Hustle

Halloween Hustle - Charlotte Gunnufson, Kevan J. Atteberry

What a lively upbeat book, I loved it! I got on a roll with the rhythm of the rhyming text and this was a fun book to read. I could feel the beat in my head even after the book was read. The words did not feel forced and the book made sense. What a delightful Halloween book for children.

 

Skeleton starts up the street doing the Halloween Hustle with the different parts of his body moving and jiving to the beat. Then it happens, he falls and his body comes apart and he's laying in pieces. Using rubber bands to reinforce the construction of his body, Skeleton starts doing the Halloween Hustle again as he makes his way to his friends who are at the bus stop (Frankenstein, mummy and witch). On the bus, Skeleton continues to dance and soon he is leading his friends off the bus, everyone now is doing the Halloween Hustle. Again, Skeleton trips and he falls to pieces again. He uses twine and tape to put himself back together and he sets off dancing again. Now, there are lots of monsters following Skeleton, who is dancing down the street, smiling. Where are they going? To a Halloween Party where a dance contest is occurring. Will Skeleton be able to dance during the contest?

 

This novel is so cute, it is now one of my favorites. The illustrations are bright and upbeat and I liked how Skeleton continued on dancing throughout the novel even after he had fallen down. Everyone is having such a great time in this book, it just puts a smile on your face. You definitely need to check this novel out.

The Night Sister

The Night Sister: A Novel - Jennifer McMahon
I have read The Winter People by this author and I wanted to read more of her work, so I picked up this novel. I liked the mysterious elements of this novel and I liked the voices of the characters. One mystery dealt with where Sylvie was and the other mystery materialized the night that Amy and her family died. This novel centered on a hotel that had a tower constructed beside it, a replica of The Tower of London. I kept picturing The Bates Hotel with a tower, as I read this novel as there was this creepy and shadowy element to the happening surrounding the hotel and the family that ran the hotel, they felt unusual and dark. I liked the characters as they were a diverse bunch. It seemed that some individuals wanted to hide the past, they never wanted to look back while others were trying to uncover the details as the puzzles transpired. I wanted to feel empathy as events arose, but I hesitated for I felt that I didn’t know who was truly involved, how involved they were and the true story that would accompany that event. The story pops between a few different time periods but the stories all comes together in the end, the characters aging in the process and new individuals being introduced. It wasn’t so much a sitting-at-the- end-of-my-seat read for me but there was that anticipation of what would transpire as I read, who was involved in the events and what the outcome was. I enjoy reading Jennifer McMahon’s novels and I am looking forward to the next one.

 

American Gods - audio

American Gods: A Novel - Neil Gaiman
I won’t say anything about the novel as everyone has covered that or they are watching the series on TV. I will tell you what I enjoyed about the novel. I enjoyed all the different stories and adventures that Shadow undertook since being released from prison. When he learned of his wife’s death, I was heartbroken as he has been looking forward to seeing her and now, I feared that he would slip away, go to the dark side or find himself back in prison. Meeting Mr. Wednesday, I liked how Shadow turned him down and decided that he was going to do what he had originally planned. The determined Mr. Wednesday kept after Shadow and when Shadow finally accepted his offer, I had mixed feelings. It sounded like a good plan since Mr. Wednesday obviously needed Shadow but what exactly was Mr. Wednesday up to. The union of these two provided entertaining and captivating escapades and the stories that the two of them shared where fascinating and enjoyable. I never knew what would happen as they journeyed together but I knew in the long run, Shadow would be a changed man. The audio was long, nineteen discs in total, but it didn’t feel that long as I listened to it. I enjoyed the character’s voices, I felt they portrayed exactly what I thought they might sound like. I’m glad that I listened to this novel instead of reading it as I thought it helped bring the novel to life and it helped with the flow of the story. Definitely a great novel in my opinion and now onto another Neil Gaiman audio.

 

Halloween Bingo novels - I am ready with my list

I spent some time yesterday getting my books ready for this year's Halloween Bingo. I tried to pull books from my bookshelves in the basement but I realized that a lot of my scary books were suspense and not horror.  This was something that just dawned on me and I thought was interesting.  Anyways, I pulled books and then I went to our library's website to see what they had, books that I could borrow when the time comes.  I made a list of books under these categories (at least 4-6 books), just in case one of the books I wanted is checked out.  I don't want to be scrambling to find something to fit that square at the last moment. 

 

I realized in all this organizing that I have a lot of good books in my basement.  Now if I can only stop checking out books from the library or NetGalley and concentrate on my own library.  I also realized that there are some terrific horror books that I haven't read and I need to get reading them.  I'm going to keep this library list after the Bingo and keep reading what I have written down and haven't crossed off.  I hope the following books fit the Halloween Bingo squares as this is my first year doing this:

                             My books for the squares:

Murder Most Foul: Touching Evil (Hooper) 

Amateur Sleuth: Sole Survivor (Koontz)

Romantic Suspense: Light in Shadow (Krentz)

Serial/Spree Killer: Say Goodbye (Gardner)

American Horror Story: Broken Monsters (Beukes)

Supernatural: Hideaway (Koontz)

Ghost: Naomi's Room (Aycliffe)

Haunted Houses: Loveliest Dead (Garton)

Chilling Children: Cirque DuFreak: A Living Nightmare (Shan) -  I might have to read the second one too.

In a Dark, Dark Woods: Off Season (Ketchum)

Terror in a Small Town: Shadows (Hooper)

Terrifying Women: The Keeper (Langan)

 

            Library books or books I want to buy for the squares (top finds):

Werewolves: The Werewolf of Bamberg (Potzsch) or Frostbite or Overwinter (Wellington)

Witches: Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Diaster in Salem (Schanzar) or Hearts and Other Body Parts (Bloom)

Demons: The Hike (Magarty) or The Dark Net (Percy)

Monsters: The Monstrumologist or The Isle of Blood (Yancey) or Horns (Hill)

Classic Horror: In Cold Blood (Capote) or The Collection (Little)

Modern Masters of Horror: Bird Box or Joe Hill novel

Magical Realism: The Cure for Dreaming (Winters) or Bone Gap

Country House Mystery: The Cabin (Preston) or Ten (McNeil) although I haven't read And Then There Was None (Christie)

Classic Noir: Winter's Bone (Woodrell) or Dope (Gran)

Genre -Horror: Heart-Shaped Box, a Ania Ahlorn novel, or Pig Island (Hayder)

80's Horror: Off Season (Ketchum) or The Funhouse (Koontz)

Diverse Voices: When I Am Through with You (Kuehn) or another one of Kuehn's novel or Nation (Prachett)

Free Space: this one will not be a problem.  I have lots of books on my sheet for the different squares that I haven't listed here. 

I think............. I am ready to go!

 

#HalloweenBingo2017

Bingo

I got my bingo card - thanks!  I am venturing into unfamiliar territory but I am super excited for this.  Can't wait to see what everyone will be reading.  

Now to figure out what I am going to read :)

 

The Song From Somewhere Else

The Song From Somewhere Else - A.F. Harrold, Levi Pinfold

I didn’t know what to think about this novel, the more that I read it. The story seemed typical until I started to know Nick and his situation. Nick was like an outcast for he was different but he didn’t seem to let that bother him much as he kept to himself. Nick didn’t have to go in and save Frank from the bullies that were bothering her but he did and that confrontation was just the beginning of what was going to occur. Frank was a victim of bullying, an act her father knew nothing about it but I felt it changed her personality. Frank seems scared of these boys, she tries to dodge them whenever she saw them because she knew they would harass her, they always did. It just so happens that Nick is around when Frank is being bullied and he steps in and provides some relief from the bullying. Frank doesn’t know what to think of Nick’s actions because now she feels a connection to him, a connection that will draw attention. It was nice to see these two individuals coming together but I had to wonder which one would walk away from their connection first. Frank didn’t want the added attention and Nick is keeping a secret, something so wild and extreme, I didn’t know what to think of it. Frank and Nick are alike yet they feel they have so much to lose by forming an honest relationship with each other. What is the future of this relationship and does Frank’s bullying go away because of her relationship with Nick or does it escalate? I found that I liked this novel more after I was finished reading it, when I could put everything together than when I was reading it. A novel about bullying, friendship and family, this novel is entertaining and full of surprises.

The Art of HIding

The Art of Hiding - Amanda Prowse

This novel hit the nail on the head with a powerful message that everyone should listen to. As individuals marry each other, what happens to each of the individuals as they combine their lives? Do they give up a part of themselves, do they relinquish total control as trust should be part of their marriage or do they maintain their own identity and honesty takes center stage. There are a lot of things that come into play when two individuals marry and they start their lives together. Trust, honesty, communication, their personality and their past are a few of the major ones. As I read this novel, I found myself thinking about individuals in my own life and how this novel relates to them. What kind of reality would they be living if they found themselves alone without their spouse? Would they be able to carry on without much interruption in the life that they had before? Would ghosts start coming out of the attic, making the individuals wonder about their past lives? Do they begin to realize that they were perhaps too comfy in their relationship and don’t know how to handle all the new responsibility? It’s something we all should be thinking about and this novel brings that to light.

 

When Nina discovers that her husband Finn has died, it comes as a shock. With two children to care for, Nina doesn’t worry about the future as she feels that their lives will continue to run just as they have before. There will be money from insurance and they have accumulated assets throughout their marriage, these will keep the family up and running. It sounds good but then reality comes creeping in and Nina realizes the truth. When the children’s school calls, telling her that they are behind on payments and that they need their money immediately, Nina is confused. Finn was always been on top of the financials for the family and she feels that these payments must have slipped his mind. He has been extremely busy; his new business is taking up most of his time and energy. When the money transfer doesn’t go through that Nina initiated to the school, Nina finally talks to their accountant and realizes that there is no money. She is also told of a huge debt that her husband owes, one that he hid from her and now she is in charge of paying it off also. What happened? Where did all their money go? It’s monumental when the family begins to lose everything they have acquired over the years and they find themselves facing a new situation. It’s an eye-opener what this family goes through as they try to make sense of their current situation and deal with the death of their husband and father. I felt for them as they questioned their future and they try to make a go-at-it. I really enjoyed this novel and I think what their family went through is a reality check for its readers.
I want to thank NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for sending me a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Refugee

Refugee - Alan Gratz

I had a hard time putting this novel down.  Each of the three stories that made up this novel was fascinating, adventitious and energizing.  Whether I was with Aaron escaping Europe, or with Isabel as she tries to make it to the United States or with Mahoud as they try to sneak into Turkey, I was emotionally attached to these refugees as they fought for a better life.  They each started their journey with their families, their sights were on freedom, and I found myself getting upset as each chapter came to a close.  I didn't want to leave each of the individual worlds as the author changed the scenes and the characters, I wanted these children to step on free soil, I wanted to know that they had finally made it.  There were scenes in the novel that made me gasp, scenes that almost made me cry and scenes that flooded me with emotions. Traveling to unfamiliar territory, there is fear of the unknown, the fear that they will be welcomed after their journey and the fear that they will survive the ordeal.  I highly recommend this novel.  

The Bookseller

The Bookseller: A Novel - Cynthia Swanson

What an interesting novel.  As I listened to this novel, I was thrown off a few times at the beginning, for I was not sure what was Kitty’s real world and what was the dream world that she had created.   I liked both of the worlds that Kitty lived in, as they each had their own positive and negatives aspects to them.  As Kitty lives in the two different realities in the 1960’s, I got to know Kitty and the people in her life.  Switching realities when she falls asleep, she is confused at first but as the novel progresses, Kitty’s voice changes.  No longer fearful of these two different worlds, Kitty begins to look forward to popping in and out of them to see exactly what is happening and how she fits in it.  In one world Kitty was a single woman, trying to make a living running a bookstore with her best friend, Frieda.  As a single woman, I felt that Kitty was a mellow individual, one who would go with the flow until something upsets it.  I thought she was rather boring as she had no life.  Managing the bookstore with Frieda, she let that consume her.  In her other world, Kitty is married to a loving husband and they had three children.  As a married woman, Kitty was questioning life and herself, believing that this world was a dream that she had made up, one of her what-if-this-would-have-happened scenarios.  As she questions life, she brings out events occurring in this era and she also did some soul searching, making these times ones that I really enjoyed.  It’s not an earth-shattering novel but it was a nice thought-provoking novel that I enjoyed.  

Reading and Riding

Riding my exercise bike lately is getting difficult. I am usually listening to a book or reading one while doing so but someone in my house has decided to sabatoge this activity. I'm really finding it difficult to concentrate on my books when I have Charlie underfoot. 

My haul

I've been hitting some the donation centers in town and our Friends of the Library bookshelves the past couple weeks and I've got quite a haul.  From adult to children's books, I check them all out.  I picked up some titles up for my 4.5

year-old granddaughter who loves to be read too.  I donated most of my own kids children's book to an area school when the flood hit a while back, so it's like starting over getting a collection for her.  Reading some of these titles brought a smile to my face as I'm excited to add them to my collection. Now.....I need the time to read them. 

Tornado Weather

Tornado Weather - Deborah Elaine Kennedy

There is a mystery surrounding this town, the disappearance of Daisy, who wheeled herself off the school bus and was never seen again.  It seems that everyone who was supposed to pick her from the bus stop forgot about her except for the individual(s) who took her.  There are individuals who know a bit about the day that Daisy disappeared but no one has put the whole story together, these individuals are living their own lives and what a life, some of them lead.   I liked the individuals in the story, I liked reading about the drama that consumed their lives and created this town.  The mystery to me was secondary, it was threaded into the reading but it didn’t seem to stand out amongst what was happening to the people living in Colliersville.  

 

Mr. Yoder brought diversity and change into Colliersville when he brought in illegals to work in his plant.  Housing them in his ragged complex, he thought he had control of the situation but the reaction from the townsfolk showed that Yoder’s control was limited.  Inside the Hair Barn, you could get yourself a haircut or catch-up on the latest gossip or the truth, depending on who you are.  I enjoyed this laid-back establishment with its swinging door of individuals, as you never knew who you might see or what you might hear and this was usually where the chattering of the town began.   I enjoyed reading about Irv, a man whose job it was to keep the street of Colliersville clean.  It seemed that each individual in the novel was important to Colliersville, how important they were depended on your motive and who you were.  The ladies of the knitting circle, they helped keep the chatter in the town moving and their concern over Helen in the story warmed my heart and caused me to laugh a few times.  I enjoyed these characters, the characters who made up Colliersville, this small bustling town. Totally absorbed into the last few chapters of the novel, I liked the way the author closed it out.  The interesting bustle of the town continued until the very end.

How To Change a Life

How to Change a Life - Stacey Ballis

I thought this was a fun, light read and I enjoyed the friendship aspect of this novel. They were close friends in high school and soon they grew apart. Now they are back in their hometown for the funeral of the high school teacher who brought them together. Each of the three young ladies feels content with their life but after conversing with one another, they each decide that there are a few things they would like to change. The friends also have suggestions for each other, on how they can improve their lives. With forty just around the corner, the three friends make a pact to try to change or improve their lives using their own ideas and their friend's suggestions. I liked how these ladies pushed each other and encouraged each other as they tried to make these changes in their lives. They tried to be supportive to each other yet there were some ill feelings that were being harbored inside about each other which eventually had to come out. They had always been honest with one another and they wanted to keep it that way. Not one of them is perfect, they all had issues they wanted to change to improve their life yet for them to change who they had been for almost forty years, it takes initiative and hard work. I liked listening to them and reading how they went about this pact although the novel soon grew to be centered around Eli. Some friendships are priceless and I like how these three tried to regain the friendship they had back in high school as they wanted that closeness again. It was an enjoyable read and I recommend it.

 

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

If the Creek Don't Rise: a Novel

If the Creek Don't Rise: A Novel - Leah Chase Weiss Award from the National Council of Christians and Jews

Nestled inside the Appalachia Mountain are a group of individuals whose life might seem a bit backwards, a bit behind the times but it is a life that they have chosen and a life which they can call their own. Preacher Eli is optimist about the people that surround his small church as he puts out a call for a teacher for the children in his community. She arrives but her past is blemished. This stain that occurred on her resume, she addresses immediately and moves forward. She seems brave and bold as she speaks about her past but she needs to be, as this position is not for everyone. As this outsider makes her way into the community, she begins to get a feel for the history and the individuals who will now be her community. To hear their stories, you understand their notions and the way their lives have taken.

 

I really enjoyed this novel, I enjoyed the drama as it sliced through the lives of these individuals, not shattering them but causing a disturbance that echoed throughout the community. They were a tight-knit group, they knew what was acceptable and what wasn’t and they each felt connected to each other in some way. It’s funny how they sized-up each other, they each harbored their own feelings about what went on in the community but to act on them, was a different story. As the teacher makes her appearance, you can feel a ripple amongst the group as she has now become a spectacle. These ripples occur throughout the novel, some creating more emotions than others and there were times I wanted someone to act, to stand up immediately and make a difference but it’s not like that in this community. I had to let things work themselves out. I would love to read one of Birdie’s Books of Truth, for I am sure that her use of words and her stories would captive me. I will miss the lives of Sadie, Pastor Eli, Prudence, Birdie and the others, for this novel allowed me to escape and find my way up into the mountains.
I received this novel from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sharing this terrific novel with me.

The Art of Starving

The Art of Starving - Sam J. Miller

Matt was planning to leave but his sister Maya beat him to it. The details of her absence are unknown to Matt but it’s something that he’s working on. He feels it has something to do with Tariq and his groupies and Matt feels he needs to get to Tariq to honestly find out the details. Matt’s mother is no help and doesn’t seem that concerned over Maya’s disappearance. His father, he knows only the details his mother tells him about the man who walked out of his life, the details now are slim. Tariq and Matt run in two different circles, two totally opposite circles and Matt knows that he needs to make a plan, if he’s going to approach Tariq. I felt sorry for Matt as he traffics his way through school, his peers jeering remarks stabbing him as they poke fun at his uniqueness.

 

Their lies an issue with Matt that consumes him. It’s an eating disorder. Matt claims control over this aspect of his life only it’s destroying him. As Matt looks at himself, he sees a boy with many flaws, flaws that he feels he can correct by his diet. It becomes a battle as Matt tries to gain control over this aspect of his life. An internal battle, one that will never go away unless Matt decides to tackle it head on. As Matt counts his calories, his self-image doesn’t change but he feels he is gaining superpowers with his other senses. These superpowers confused me in the novel as I could understand his feeling of heighten awareness but the extreme that these powers became, seemed absurd. I started to question Matt and the powers that he said he had. Committed to finding the answer about his sister whereabouts and reading about Matt’s struggle with food, I enjoyed this novel. My only concern was about the superpowers and their reasonableness.

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War - Matt Faulkner

It’s not fair, why is this happening? The year is 1941 and America has just declared war on Japan. Koji’s father has returned to Japan for family matters a while back and now Koji and his mother are alone in San Francisco, when this news hits. Being of mixed race, Koji immediately begins to feel discrimination towards him, in every part of his world. Concerned over his father’s whereabouts, Koji world is becoming smaller and more limited as the war progresses. Word is sent that he must leave for a relocation center for Japanese-Americans and I could feel the tension and the anger in the novel mounting. Why is this happening to me? Where is my father? These were the sentiments racing through Koji’s mind. Relocating with his mother, Koji soon realizes that things are not much different at the center than they were in San Francisco as Koji is still an outcast, only for different reasons. I began to wonder if they would receive communication from Koji’s father and when things would settle down for this family. I am at odds with his mother for she seemed personable and caring yet I felt that she was too lenient with Koji, there seemed to be something off with her relationship with her son. Koji is on edge; his world is no longer accepting of who he is and he begins to isolate himself. Someone needed to get on top of this situation before it escalated. This novel is based on true events.

I liked the way this graphic novel was put together. The illustrator varied the sizes of the text boxes throughout the novel isolating each one with a white boarder. The story is told through white text balloons that told the story of a dark world that Koji possessed. I loved the characters faces, the detail and emotions that were expressed in the lines. I wasn’t too fond of the ending, it seemed rushed and not altogether. I am glad that I picked this novel up, it’s a good novel to shed light on some major issues.

Professional ReaderReviews Published80%2015 Challenge Participant2016 NetGalley Challenge