First line: On the second day of December in a year
when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one
of Colorado’s great resort hotels burned to the ground.
Danny Torrance was five years old when his life changed. He has spent
years trying to hold back the psychic power called “the shining”. Many
of those years were spent as a drunk barely surviving as he drifted from
place to place until he stops in a small New Hampshire town. He
receives a chance by several local men, giving him a new lease on life.
As he cleans up his life he finds his purpose in live, working at a
hospice, helping the patients pass on earning the nickname Doctor Sleep
by the staff.
But when he starts to receive messages from a
little girl who also has “the shining” he finds his world once again
turned upside down. As he and Abra learn more about this mysterious
group of nomads looking for people like them, they have to figure out
how to stop them once and for all.
My Thoughts: I love this book! It is completely gripping from the very beginning. We all know the story of the The Shining. It is one of Stephen King’s most famous novels. This is the continuation of that and it does not disappoint. I read this while tightly gripping the pages. With every page things went from bad to worse.
King does an amazing job providing imagery for his
readers. I could easily picture the ghostie in the bathroom, Rose the
Hat and Teenytown. He can build a story slowly but make it so engrossing
that you cannot stop reading.
I enjoyed finding out what
happened to Danny after the events in Colorado. I felt for him as he
tried to quiet his demons. I loved his interactions with the patients at
the hospice. There were several twists that I never saw coming and I
literally gasped as I read them. This book will leave you on the edge of
your seat and keep you wanting more.
FYI: Now a movie starring Ewan McGregor! I cannot wait to see it.
First line: Louis Creed, who had lost his father at three and who
had never known a grandfather, never expected to find a father as he
entered his middle age, but that is exactly what happened…although he
called this man a friend, as a grown man must do when he finds the man
who should have been his father relatively late in life.
Dr. Louis Creed takes a job as the resident physician at a college in
Maine. He moves his family from their home in Chicago to a farm house in
the country. Upon their first day there they are warned about the
trucks that drive too fast down the road. As strange things start to
happen that may be connected to the Pet Sematary located behind their
house, Louis begins to wonder if he made a mistake bringing his family
to Ludlow, Maine.
My Thoughts: I have been on a big Stephen King kick lately. It is all I want to read. Before October I had only read two of his novels. Both were good, Joylandand The Shining, but neither gave me the urge to read more. However, for the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon at the library I picked Carriefor my horror novel. I am so glad I did. It was fantastic! I watched the movie after and really enjoyed it as well.
Pet Sematary was even more chilling. The way King describes everything makes them seem so real. I can see why the movies have not been able to do this novel justice. There is no way to convey the eeriness of the Church or the spooky trek through the woods to the burial ground. I did find the beginning slow as he was laying the groundwork for the second half. But as you come to the end you understand why he had to spend so much time on the backstory. I had nightmares while reading this but it did not stop me from buying a copy of Doctor Sleep and Miserythe next time I was at a used bookstore. If you want something that will give you chills then King is definitely your guy!
FYI: I tried the new movie but I did not make it very far before I decided I did not want to mess with the version in my head.
First line: By the time Alex managed to get the blood out of her good wool coat, it was too warm to wear it.
Galaxy “Alex” stern is a freshman at Yale. She grew up in California
but got in with a rough crowd as a teenager. She dropped out of school,
took drugs and lived with her drug dealing boyfriend. Until one night
everyone in her apartment is found dead except for her. She is
approached during her hospital stay with the offer of a lifetime, a full
ride scholarship to Yale.
However, when she arrives at the
prestigious college she learns that her role here is not just academic.
Alex is now a part of a society that is tasked with monitoring the
activities of the universities secret societies. With her ability to see
ghosts she is charged with helping keep the spirits and the rituals in
When a local girl is found murdered around the campus
Alex believes that the societies may have something to do with it. As
she continues to search for more clues to the mysterious death her she
finds herself being attacked by the ghosts the walk the town of New
My Thoughts: I have been looking forward to reading
this book ever since I heard about it. I really enjoyed her young adult
series. Bardugo is a master at world building and wit. But as the
release day got closer I saw several reviewers I follow giving it low
ratings or not finishing the book at all. This started to scare me. Even
though there were these negative reviews with lots of trigger warnings I
decided to ignore them and judge it for myself. And I am so glad I did!
started the book as an audio. I liked it and continued listening to it
but alternating between it and the physical book. However, I wish that I
had read the first few chapters where much of the world building
information was. There are eight secret societies with different
rituals. There are lots of characters and also time jumps between
characters. This got a little confusing. Once I started to read more it
smoothed out and got to be quite enjoyable. I found it hard to put down.
Alex gives us a glimpse back into her life before Yale and what led her
to this point. Darlington shows us what the first few months are like
with Alex as the new Virgil.
I believe that my favorite part was
when Alex interacted with the ghosts. Some are very listless but others
can be very malevolent. I hope that Bardugo gives us more of this in the
upcoming books. Even though the main mystery was who killed Tara there
is an underlying and more interesting mystery. What happened to
Darlington?! Is he alive? Where did he go? Is he coming back? We get
left with quite a cliffhanger so I really hope that the next book is not
several years in the future!
First line: It is hot and airless on the 7.42 from Greenwich to Cannon Street.
Mudlarker Lara Maiklem spends hours walking miles along the riverbank
of the Thames in London. In her wanderings she finds little trinkets
that give us a look into the English past. She has found items ranging
from the Romans to modern day trash.
My Thoughts: I absolutely devoured this book. I first heard about it on a podcast, Talking Tudors, hosted by Natalie Grueninger. In one of her recent releases she talked with Lara about her upcoming book and the Tudor related finds she has discovered in the mud of the river. Immediately after listening to it I had to find a copy to read. Thank goodness Netgalley had it available.
I really enjoyed how the author laid
out the book. She started at one end of the Thames and worked her way
to the sea. As she described her finds she also delved into her past,
experiences on the foreshore and other mudlarks and their finds. I loved
learning about the items she found. I was constantly on the internet
looking for pictures of these items and reading more history behind
them. I am really jealous of the items she has in her curio cabinet. I
am seriously thinking about getting a day pass to mudlark the next time I
am in London. Or can I mudlark in Kansas?
FYI: Lara Maiklem is on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to see her finds and hear more about mudlarking then check them out.
First line: It would be inaccurate to say that my childhood was normal before they came.
When Libby Jones turned twenty-five she receives and envelope telling
her that she has inherited a house from the estate of her dead parents.
She never knew who she was or where she came from but the answers are
finally being revealed.
Twenty-four years before the police were
summoned to a mansion along the Thames. Inside were the three dead
bodies and a baby girl in a crib. It appears to be a suicide pact as
part of a cult ritual. But neighbors reported seeing older children in
the house but none are found on the night in question. What happened at
16 Cheyne Walk that fateful night?
My Thoughts: I love
Lisa Jewell! Every book I have read by her has been a lot of fun. This
one is no exception. I really considered giving it a 5 star rating. It
flipped between three characters. Libby, the baby, who recently
inherited the house. Henry, who is telling the story of what happened in
the house. And Lucy, who is struggling to keep her family afloat while
living abroad in France.
Henry was by far my favorite chapters
because we got to see how life at 16 Cheyne Walk changed over time. His
story is told chronologically from the beginning to the end. It fills in
the gaps that Libby is trying to uncover. But his narrative is much
darker and more sinister than the others.
I struggled to
understand that point behind Lucy’s chapters. It seemed like they were
filler or a separate story. She lives in France with her children and is
trying to find a way to get back to England. It just did not seem to
fit with everything else.
But the ending. It literally gave me
goosebumps and sent a chill down my spine. What a way to close a book.
Great job again Ms. Jewell!
FYI: Perfect for fans of Shari Lapena and Gillian Flynn.
Well the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon is over! And I did it. I finished the challenge with 2 days to spare. I was getting a little nervous at the end but I finished in time. I really enjoyed having a set list of books to read. I was not sure how I would feel but it was almost freeing knowing exactly what was next on the list. How did your challenge come along?
In the last week I completed four books. First was I Know Why the Caged Birds Sings by Maya Angelou. I had previously read Mom & Me & Mom. I liked both and found them very interesting. Next I finished Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray. She is a wonderful writer for the Star Wars books. The writing is great and the story is always fun. Then I finally read Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory. I had read the first in the duology years ago but never finished it. I am glad I did. It spanned years of English history and two continents. I was constantly looking up plants mentioned in the book. And it was a perfect companion to our Big Read theme. But my favorite of the week was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Summary: In the eighth book in the Harry Potter series we find out what happens years after the Battle of Hogwarts. The wizarding world is at peace. Voldemort is defeated. And Harry Potter is a father. His son Albus is heading to Hogwarts for his first year when he meets Scorpius Malfoy on the train. They become close friends to the chagrin of their fathers. When rumors begin to appear about a Time Turner that escaped the destruction at the Ministry, Albus tries to step out of the shadow of his legendary father by changing the past in hopes of saving someone his father could not.
My Thoughts: I had been putting this
off for years. I have owned the book and loved the rest in the series.
But knowing that it was not written by J.K. made it not a priority. It
is written as a play for the stage in London. The format seemed a little
intimidating and strange. Kind of like the first time I picked up a
graphic novel. It does not feel comfortable at the beginning but as it
progresses it becomes much easier. When Alyssa announced the Forbidden
Forest Read-a-thon I knew that I had to include this book on my list.
can see how many other Potter fans are not happy with it but I really
enjoyed it! A Potter and a Malfoy best friends?! Seriously. I loved
their friendship. I felt that the playwright was able to capture the
spirit of Harry Potter and bring the story further. The little twists
and turns were fun. I loved going back into the past and seeing how
someone’s actions can affect the present. And it was great to see how
Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco changed after their years at Hogwarts.
They each matured and learned some important lessons along the way.
really hope that one day I can see this performed on stage! If you have
been a little skeptical about picking this up then listen to me and
give it a try. The story is good. It revisits everything that made the
original so good while adding to it as well.
FYI: J.K. Rowling has accepted this as part of her canon. It is considered Harry Potter #8.
Week three of the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon is behind us and I still have 4 books to finish! Up until this week I was able to finish three books a week but this week had a really long book. It is taking me longer than anticipated. How is everyone else coming along?
Of the two books I finished I really enjoyed both of them. Below I attached my review for the new Elton John autobiography, Me. But I also read Carrie by Stephen King. I have never seen the movie but I had a basic understanding of the story line. I was shocked by how much I liked it. If you want to read my review sign up for our monthly newsletter. It will be in the November 2019 issue.
First line: I was onstage at the Latino club in South Shields when I realized I couldn’t take it anymore.
Summary: In his autobiography, Elton John takes us through his life from his childhood as Reginald Dwight to his life with his husband David. He gives us a look into the world of a rock star. He is very honest about his drug usage and other addictions. He discusses his friendships with other musical legends like John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and even Lady Gaga. After years of pain and loneliness he decides that he has had enough of the rock ‘n roll lifestyle and enters rehab and starts his own charities for AIDS relief.
My Thoughts: I loved this book! And look at that cover! Gorgeous. First of all I listened to the audio book version which is read by Taron Egerton, who played Elton in the biopic, Rocketman, released earlier this year .
found Elton’s life to be unbelievable. He knows everyone. He has done
so much. I loved how honest he was about his struggles. He took every
drug known to man. He tried to commit suicide several times. I cannot
imagine living his life and coming out of it okay. He does though. He
survived stuff that would have ruined many others and did. But he is
still standing. He has met the love of his life, has two beautiful boys
and tries to help others around the world.
I learned a lot about
him. And I found him even more interesting than I did before. He is
currently doing his final tour and I wish that I could see him in
concert. My parents did in 1984 in Tacoma, Washington. I am super
jealous. Oh well I will just watch concerts on Youtube and rewatch Rocketman again.
FYI: I highly recommend the audio version but also grab a copy of the book so you can see the pictures!
Alrighty. Week two is completed along with three more books. I was not sure that I was going to be half way done at the end of the second week but I accomplished it. Plus I finished two of the longer books this last week!
I greatly appreciate audio books. I know some people do not consider these “reading” but I certainly do. I get the story and I am engaged in the plot and its characters. Two of the books from last week were ones that I partially listened to thanks to our book on CD collection and Rb Digital.
This last week’s reads include The Loving Cup by Winston Graham, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. Each one was a four star read. All of them had fantastic characters and stories. I am hoping to soon read the rest of the books in each series. However, my favorite book this week is by far Hatchet.
First line: Brian Robeson stared out the window of the small plane at the endless green northern wilderness below.
Summary: Brian’s parents split up recently and on his way to Canada to spend a few months with his father. He is flying in a small plane with only himself and a pilot. As they are flying over the forests of Canada the pilot suddenly has a heart attack. Brian is left alone in an airplane, thousands of feet in the air and no idea where he is or how he is going to land the plane.
For several hours he keeps the plane in the air until he decides to try and take it down on a lake. When he crashes he finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with only the clothes on his back, his wits and the hatchet his mother had given him. How long will it take for someone to rescue him? Will he be able to survive alone in the forest?
My Thoughts: I picked this book
because it has been years since I heard the story. I remember having it
read to my class while I was in school. It was a good story then but now
that I am older I realize that it is a great story. I usually recommend
this to young boys who ask for something to read. I am happy to see
that it is still popular and has a hold list.
A thirteen year old boy is lost in the wilderness with nothing. He survives using what he knows from nature shows and his school science classes. Not many people would be able to do this. Paulsen does a splendid job of mixing the adventure with facts. Not many kids books can stand the test of time but I believe that this one can. It is still engaging and fun and perfect for all ages.
It has been just over one week since the start of the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon here at the library. And boy has it been one heck of a week. You do not realize the pressure you are under when you are given a set number of books to read in just a month! It is a little intimidating.
Going into the challenge I figured that this would be a piece of cake. I have already read over 100 books this year. Twelve books should be easy right?! I have finished three at this point which is a fairly good place to be but they were the shorter ones. Several on my list are hovering around five hundred pages. Yikes! Maybe I was overly ambitious but I am determined to finish this challenge.
So far I have finished reading A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (we own the movie but not the book) and The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way. Each has had their ups and downs but I would say my favorite so far has been The Umbrella Academy graphic novel. I have even read book two and have three on my desk for later.
The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way
First line: It was the same year “Tusslin’ Tom” Gurney knocked out the space-squid from Rigel X-9…
At the exact same moment forty-three babies were born to women who had
previously not been pregnant. Of the forty-three newborns born, seven of
them were adopted by the eccentrically wealthy Reginald Hargreeves. He
knew that there was something special about these children. For years
they lived quietly hidden away in his mansion until one day when they
reappeared in order to save the world. They called themselves The
My Thoughts: I am not one that is much interested in graphic novels but they are slowly growing on me. I have now read a handful and started to enjoy them. The Netflix show based on the graphic novels is why I chose this book for the reading challenge. There are many similarities between the two but lots of differences as well. Each stand well on their own. The art is very interesting to look at. It is not realistic but it is not too cartoonish.
I liked the story because it is dark and imaginative. The authors create such an interesting world that it is not hard to get sucked into it. One of the characters, Number One or Luther, is part man and part ape. He is gigantic and spends quite a bit of his youth on the moon. Who thinks this stuff up? It is different which makes it fun. I am looking forward to book three and on.
There is a lot of violence which did not affect me at all but it may be
too much for younger readers. This is book one in the series.
First line: Cilka stares at the soldier standing in front of her, part of the army that has entered the camp.
Sixteen year old Cilka Klein was sent to Auschwitz along with her
family. One of the head SS officers of the camp notices her and moves
her away from the other women. Over the three years she is kept in
barracks 25 until the day the camp is liberated by the Russian forces.
Upon their arrival she is arrested and charged with collaborating with
the enemy. She is sentenced to fifteen years in a Siberian gulag.
she arrives at the prison she finds a world that she has unfortunately
become very familiar with. The forced labor and brutal conditions of the
camp are not new to her. She makes friends with several of her fellow
inmates but when she catches the attention of the female doctor her luck
begins to change. With her work in the hospital she finds a way to make
amends for the guilt about her past and maybe even start to feel love
My Thoughts:The Tattooist of Auschwitz was such a heartbreaking story. But I was beyond shocked by the story of Cilka. She was forced into a Russian prison after suffering for years in a concentration camp because she was raped for three years. It makes no sense. The poor girl is stronger than I can imagine I could ever be. I really cared about what happened to Cilka while reading her story. She did so much good in a terrible place. If only there were more people like her.
I never even considered that things like this happened
to some of the survivors. It is sad that the “liberators” were nearly as
cruel as the Nazis. Her time in the gulag is unbelievable. I know that
the author did lots of research and she does a great job of bringing it
to life. People need to know these things in order to try and stop them
from happening again.
I felt like this was much better put together than the first book. It was not nearly as choppy.
FYI: This is a sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz.