Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Substitute by Nicole Lundrigan 399 pgs.

The Substitute switches back and forth between two narrators, an unknown psychopath in the making, and Warren, a socially awkward, issue laden, substitute teacher who loses his job when they find a body in his back yard. I wanted to wipe my hands of both, I really did, but I couldn’t. Maybe because the author does such a great job fleshing out the characters that it doesn’t take much to understand why they are the way they are. Or maybe because the darker side of me might have done the same had I been in the same predicament. Or maybe even, it was all the twists and turns that kept me constantly guessing who the narrator was and who done it. Hard to say. Either way, I didn’t want to put it down.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Christmas Beginning by Anne Perry. 190 Pages

If you are looking for a quick, cozy mystery then this is a good choice.  The main character, Runcorn is spending his Christmas on the coast of Wales.  Lots of characters, settings, and full, vivid descriptions, gives this who-done-it mystery a rich flavor of suspense.  The ending will surprise you, in more ways than one.  Can Runcorn find the killer? And will he  A perfect beginning to this Christmas season.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay 286 Pages

This one really messed with my head. It was disturbing and so creepy. I couldn't get myself to put this book down, and stayed up until 3 AM to finish it, then found myself unable to sleep because I was so creeped out. Very rarely do I find a book that genuinely scares me, and this one had a couple of moments that left the hair standing up on the back of my neck. I'm still completely undecided on what actually happened at the end of this book, which just adds to the mind-games that Tremblay plays. My one complaint about it was the blog-like entries. I felt like they dragged on and were a little unnecessary. (She says, via a blog entry.) Another great read for anyone who likes horror/thriller novels. 

Final Girls by Riley Sager 350 Pages

Final Girls had a slow start, but I'm glad that I stuck with it because it paid off in the end. This novel is very reminiscent of a slasher movie, and really gives you that "things definitely aren't as they seem" feeling, which sticks with you until the end. I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I loved or hated the main character, Quincy. (Final opinion is still unknown.) I felt the ending was a little overstimulating, but one that I did not see coming. There are plenty of unexpected twists in there to keep you entertained. It was a fast-paced, addicting read that I would definitely recommend to horror/thriller fans.  

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling 759 pages

Many people say that they just didn't like the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series at all.  I strongly disagree.  I do miss being at Hogwarts for the majority of the story, but in the same way that I loved learning about Tom Riddle's history, I really enjoyed learning about Dumbledore's past.  I also really liked seeing characters develop in unexpected and amazing in point - Neville Longbottom.  The epilogue wasn't entirely satisfying, I think because it was trying to be too satisfying, but the whole book is definitely worth the read.  It was also cool to get to travel through the wizarding world beyond the walls of Hogwarts, and many characters got to be heroes.  I confess that I did spend a good bit of this one crying, but it was still worth it.  I listened to this one read by Jim Dale.  Now I have to find a new book to listen to...always so hard after living in this world for all seven books.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 239 pages

This was such a great story.  The beauty of a graphic novel is that it is a really fast read, but you still get an emotional impact when it's done right.  Cat and Maya are sisters who have had to move because Maya has Cystic Fibrosis and a different environment was recommended.  Their new home town is rumored to be a favorite hangout for ghosts and the girls soon discover for themselves how true this is.  Maya is such a spirited kid and Cat is so fearful of the world, but anyone would be able to relate to them both.  It makes it hard to watch Cat shy away from a world that Maya would happily jump into with both feet if she were able.  As a slice of life story with a kind of fantastic twist, this is extremely satisfying.  I highly recommend to all ages, especially if you like graphic novels. 

How To Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry, Pages 352

A book about a bookshop where you can find many things, who would have thought that I myself would have fallen in love with the novel about the bookshop. The plot line by Veronica Henry is brilliant and flawlessly written. Also yet again the setting took place in Scotland, which I am beginning to think that books set in this country will tie me over until I get to visit it again. As far as the characters, there are many here and there. (pay close attention - you have been warned) Anyone looking for a cosy read and a fast one, pick this up and give it a try.

Monday, November 20, 2017

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll 287 Pages

I Am Watching You is the first novel I’ve read by Teresa Driscoll, and it did not disappoint. I was hooked from page one, and found myself reading a chapter here and there, every chance I could. The way that Driscoll switched between characters for every chapter had me on the edge of my seat the entire book, and the way she would end each chapter had me reading as fast as I could so I could get to that particular character's next chapter. And to top it all off... you will never see this ending coming. 

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick, 331 pages

This sweet little tale tells the story of 69 year-old Arthur Pepper and the physical and emotional journey he embarks on a year after he is widowed.

He begins the story feeling helpless, abandoned and alone.  By the end, Arthur has come into his own.  He finds he is not helpless, not abandoned and not alone.

This would be a great book to read during the frenzy of the holidays.  Need to relax?  Sit down, pour a cup of tea, and embark on a journey with our friend Arthur.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, 286 pages

The Owens women are witches and unlucky in love.  So it has been for over 200 years.  Two young sisters lose their parents and move across the country to be raised by two elderly aunts they've never met.  Thus begins Alice Hoffman's "Practical Magic."

I missed the book the first time around and read it after reading the excellent prequel, "The Rules of Magic."  Both are entertaining chick lit reads.  I'm glad I went back and read this one, though my heart remains with the Rules.  It was great fun to see how Alice Hoffman has matured as a writer between the 1995 publication of "Practical Magic" and the 2017 publication of "The Rules of Magic."

The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein 329 pages

Chris Grabenstein is well-known for his Mr. Lemoncello series and for working with James Patterson on books like I, Funny.  You can imagine my surprise, then, that he could be such an effective and chilling horror writer.  This story is still very accessible to children, probably 5th grade and up would be the recommendation, but there were some very spooky bits.  This is the first in a series where the protagonist, Zach Jennings, not only sees ghosts, but interacts with them and solves mysteries with his super cool stepmom.  Grabenstein has proven that he can write exceptional stories for all ages.  I think teens and adults who enjoy a ghost story with personality and lots of atmosphere would enjoy this one, too. 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling 652 pages

This installment in the Harry Potter series was one of the most fascinating to me.  I loved that they were learning so much about Tom Riddle (the man who became Lord Voldemort) and there was so much scary stuff going on.  It was thoroughly enjoyable...even with the ending it had.  Death is but another adventure to the curious mind.  When you get to the end of this (if you haven't before,) just remember that.  There are worse things to fear than death.  I think Harry understands this better than many and certainly better than Voldemort. Oh, and romance is in the air in this installment, too.  I would put this toward the top of my favorites.  Harry definitely grew as a character at 16.  Such a welcome development after book 5!  I listened to this one read by Jim Dale...still not crazy about the hard t on the end of Voldemort, but enjoyable nonetheless!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor, 322 pages

I happen to love WWII related fiction. I picked this book up thanks to a recommendation from an online book club that I participate in. I was hooked from page one. Alternating chapters with different time periods normally bugs me but it really worked with this story. It's an interesting and intriguing tale about something I hadn't heard of before...stamp engraving. I know it doesn't sound that interesting but I was so fascinated by it.There's an AHA moment in this book. When I got it I texted a co-worker that I wasn't coming to work until I finished the book (I finished in time for work). I also instantly recommended this book to a ton of people. Plus I instantly put it on hold for patrons at my library that I knew would love it. I will definitely read everything this author writes from now.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan 416 pages

This is yet again another novel that made me fall back into love with Scotland. A time where I spent most of my Christmas Break my Sophomore year. With the twist of summer hinting in and out of the book, this made me feel like I was home. An interesting read with a plot line that was so unpredictable and characters that felt like they were my own best friends, left The Cafe by the Sea a novel that I could not put down.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Coraline by Neil Gaimen 208 pages

Initially I saw this movie and was astounded by the amount of production that went into it. I soon learned that the movie was based off of a book (like any movie anymore). I read this only because it was needed for one of my college courses. I ended up loving it. If you are one that is expecting the book to be like the movie, well I won't be the one to make that judgement for ya. But if you love Coraline and the adventures that she goes on in the world - then this book is for you. A feel of suspense of what comes next and yet, excitement for what is yet to come. That's what Coraline really brings you.
Coraline Book Cover

Coraline Movie Poster

The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton 304 pages

The Cracked Spine is just what happened to this book once I was done reading it. It was the best mystery book I have read in a long time (and I don't ever really read mysteries). The setting was one that I loved only because my inner wanderlust was wanting to be in Scotland right next to this shop, in front of a bakery. A mystery that is hard to solve is well worth the read. I cant wait to read the second book in A Scottish Bookshop Series.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill 388 pages

Oh, my goodness!  This was a gorgeous book in every way.  It totally deserved to win the Newbery Award.  I loved that the world, though different from ours, was still accessible and believable... it was just born of magic.  Every year, a baby is left in a clearing for the witch.  The parents have no idea what happens to that baby, but one year, the witch accidentally enmagics the child by feeding her moonlight.  There's too much to tell, but I guarantee you will fall in love with Glerk, Xan, Fyrian and Luna.  This book had an extraordinary story to tell with a simply enormous amount of heart.  If you love fantasy, you will adore this one, no matter how old you are.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling 870 pages

Where Goblet of Fire was my favorite, this is easily my least favorite of the HP series.  Harry is riddled with so much teen angst, I just want to slap him most of the time.  Also, knowing what's coming makes it hard to get through.  On top of that, Delores Umbridge is such an overwhelmingly terrible person that the whole book feels like an attack on my psyche.  When I started listening to the series again, I was dreading getting to this book, and now that I'm on the other side of it, I can still say the overall effect is unpleasant enough to still call it my least favorite.  AND my biggest issue with the audiobook is that for some unfathomable reason, Jim Dale started pronouncing Voldemort with the t at the end.  The first four books, he pronounced it with the intended French pronunciation and this was an awkward and unwelcome change.  Sadly, it carries on through the last two books in the same way.  All that being said, my least favorite HP is still way up on my favorite books of all.  Totally worth the teen angst, torture and doom and gloom to experience the whole series. 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling 734 pages

People argue with me on this a lot, but this is my favorite of the HP series.  I really loved the overall mystery of who had gotten Harry into the Tri-Wizard Tournament, the hints at the return of Voldemort and I thought that Harry was possibly at his most vulnerable in this one.  There was enough realistic friction between characters to be believable that this was a bunch of teenagers we were dealing with.  The end makes me cry like a baby every time, but I still think the ride is worth it. 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling 435 pages

This is the first book in the series that really starts hinting at just how dark things can get.  Harry is the focus of everyone's concern, because a dangerous criminal has broken out of the wizard prison of Azkaban.  It is assumed that he is coming to finish off Harry, since Voldemort was unable to before.  Of course, things are never quite what they seem.  It's a rough year for Harry, but surprises are in store.  This is one of my favorites of the series, partly because you get to meet Sirius, who is seriously cool and because I love Remus Lupin, also introduced in this book. 

I listened to this read by Jim Dale. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, 369 pages

I listened to "The Rules of Magic" by checking it out through one of our download services, Axis360. It is the prequel to "Practical Magic" and tells the story of Franny, Bridget and Vincent Owens.  They are raised in New York City by a mother who has rejected her magical background and their logical psychiatrist father.

Franny is called to the family home in Massachusetts the summer she turns 17 and her siblings come along.  During the summer with their Aunt Isabelle, they begin to understand how and why they are different.

The story follows them into adulthood and is an engaging and fun read.  I never read "Practical Magic, " or saw the movie, for that matter.  I will be remedying that tout suite.