End of Year TBR…2018

Here are the books I’m hoping to read before we ring in the new year. I’ve read 65 books so far this year, leaving me with just ten more to reach my Goodreads Challenge goal of 75 books.

Finish the Unfinished

38232434Title: The Rain Watcher

Author: Tatiana de Rosnay

Published: October 30, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Historical Fiction (France)

272 pages (e-book ARC)



41557218Title: City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1)

Author: Victoria Schwab Narrated By: Reba Buhr

Published: August 28, 2018

Publisher: Scholastic Audio

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy (paranormal)

5 hrs 2 mins


Title: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1)

Author: Philip Pullman

Published: May 2001

Publisher: Yearling

Genre: YA Fantasy

399 pages (paperback)



79420Title: Man Gone Down

Author: Michael Thomas

Published: December 2006

Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat

Genre: Adult Fiction, Cultural (African American)

431 Pages (paperback)




9808741Title: Stargirl (Stargirl #1)

Author: Jerry Spinelli

Narrated By: John Ritter

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio

4 hrs 25 mins

Genre: YA Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Romance


Other Books I Want To Read in 2018


Title: The Girl They Left Behind

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Published: October 9, 2018

Publisher: Atria Books

Genre: Historical Fiction (World War II)

368 pages (e-book ARC)




38087630Title: The Glovemaker’s Daughter

Author: Leah Fleming

Published November 13, 2018 (first published August 2017)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Genre: Historical Fiction, 17th Century, Mystery

432 pages ARC e-book



38355282Title: Watching You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Expected Publication: December 26, 2018

Publisher: Atria Books

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Women’s Fiction

320 pages

e-book ARC



3467Title: The People of Sparks (Book of Ember #2)

Author: Jeanne Duprau

Published: 2004

Publisher: Yearling

Genre: Ya, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Fantasy

338 pages (paperback)



28187230Title: The Woman in Cabin 10

Author: Ruth Ware

Published: July 2016 (first published June 2016)

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

340 pages





Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White #Bookreview #Audiobook #Classic #Childrens

Charlotte’s Web has a very special place in my heart. It was the first chapter book I read on my own. I remember feeling so proud to be able to read a whole book by myself. In October I signed up for Scribd (awesome deal for audiobooks and ebooks), and so my kids and I went searching for a book we can listen to during our 10-15 minute drive to school. Listening to E.B. White read his book to us was a magical experience.


Title: Charlotte’s Web

Author: E.B. White (narrated by E.B. White)

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio

Date of Publication: May 2002

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Length: 3 hrs 34 mins

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Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.

E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. This edition contains newly color illustrations by Garth Williams, the acclaimed illustrator of E. B. White’s Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, among many other books.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24178.Charlotte_s_Web

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“Fern was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result, she now has a pig. A small one to be sure, but nevertheless a pig. It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly.”

Fern convinces her parents to let her save the runt of the pig litter, names him Wilbur, and introduces him to the animals at the Zuckerman’s barn. The description of the Zuckerman’s barn and the fair create a clear picture for this wonderful story.

“THE BARN was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell—as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world.”

A wonderfully unique tale, Charlotte’s Web is a children’s story with poignant messages about friendship, love, morals, and the circle of life.

“And then, just as Wilbur was settling down for his morning nap, he heard again the thin voice that had addressed him the night before.
“Salutations!” said the voice.
Wilbur jumped to his feet. “Salu-what?” he cried.
“Salutations!” repeated the voice.
“What are they, and where are you?” screamed Wilbur. “Please, please, tell me where you are. And what are salutations?”
“Salutations are greetings,” said the voice. “When I say ‘salutations,’ it’s just my fancy way of saying hello or good morning.”

I love Charlotte’s personality. She always told the truth, put others before herself. She acted like a mother to the other barn animals. She’s the friend I hope I am.

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

My 9 year old, 11 year old, and I give Charlotte’s Web 5 stars. 

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Elwyn Brooks White was a leading American essayist, author, humorist, poet and literary stylist and author of such beloved children’s classics as Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine. He authored over seventeen books of prose and poetry and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1973.

White always said that he found writing difficult and bad for one’s disposition.

Mr. White has won countless awards, including the 1971 National Medal for Literature and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, which commended him for making ‘a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.'” https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/988142.E_B_White

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The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater #Bookreview #YA #Fantasy #Paranormal #LGBT

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.”


Title: The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Date of Publication: April 2016

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, LGBT

Page Count: 439 (Hardcover)

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All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17378527-the-raven-king

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“It was not that the women in 300 Fox Way weren’t her family – they were where her roots were buried, and nothing could diminish that. It was just that there was something newly powerful about this assembled family in this car. They were all growing up and into each other like trees striving together for the sun.”

I love a book with a fantastic setting. The Raven King takes place in a town called Henrietta. It’s a magnet for the mystical, attracting people who love supernatural objects. Aglionby, the Barns, Cabeswater, 300 Fox Way, they all make me feel like we’re coming home.

He Began To Dream – Youtube Video (music + art by Maggie Stiefvater)

“Outside of Henrietta, nestled on the ley line, something dark watched all of this, everything in the Henrietta night, and said, I’m awake I’m awake I’m awake.”

Slow-paced, incredibly intense, The Raven King is about friendship, destiny, love, secrets, grief, trust, and truth. Stiefvater wrote this book just to break my heart.

“No homework. I got suspended,” Blue replied.
“Get the fuck out,” Ronan said, but with admiration. “Sargent, you asshole.”
Blue reluctantly allowed him to bump fists with her as Gansey eyed her meaningfully in the rearview mirror.
Adam swivelled the other way in his seat – to the right, instead of to the left, so that he was peering around the far side of the headrest. It made him look as if he were hiding, but Blue knew it was just because it turned his hearing ear instead of his deaf ear towards them. “For what?”
“Emptying another student’s backpack over his car. I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“I do,” Ronan said.
“Well, I don’t. I’m not proud of it.”
Ronan patted her leg. “I’ll be proud for you.”

The characters are remarkable. We have our core group of Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah, as well as the Orphan Girl, Declan, Matthew, Persephone, Neeve, Jimi, Orla, Maura, Mr. Gray, Gwenllian, Artemus, Greenmantle, Piper, Laumonier, and Henry. With such a big cast you’d think the “B” characters would be flat, but they are all thoroughly written, each with their own ambitions, imperfections, emotions, and personal growth.

Ronan and Adam are definitely my favourites. I want only good things to happen for them.

“His feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he’d let them overflow and now there wasn’t a damn place in the ocean that wouldn’t catch fire if he dropped a match.”

The multi-perspective format is great. It’s not confusing at all, and puts the reader in a special spot where we get to know many characters personally. I liked the use of time on the clock, and the echos of earlier books in the series.

“The problem with pursuing bad feelings was that it was always difficult to tell if one was running toward a problem to fix it, or running to a problem to create it.”

The Raven King is a great ending for The Raven Cycle, I recommend this to readers 14+ who like a little paranormal with their fantasy. The Raven Cycle is being adapted to a TV Show. Get updates from https://twitter.com/TRC_Show

Setting: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Ending: 4/5
Overall: 4.6/5 Rounded up to 5 on Goodreads


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New York Times bestselling author of The Shiver Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, and The Scorpio Races. Artist. Driver of things with wheels. Avid reader.

All of Maggie Stiefvater’s life decisions have been formed by a desire to leave a mark, resulting in spray-painted cars, sharpie-covered computer printers, ink-splattered walls, and stories told in books, in magazines, and on stages. Maggie Stiefvater lives in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.”



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Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski #Bookreview #spoilerfree #YA #SciFi

Dare Mighty Things is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read. The second book, One Giant Leap, was released last month and I can’t wait to read it.


Title: Dare Mighty Things

Author: Heather Kaczynski

Publisher: Harperteen

Date of Publication: October 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Page Count: 377 (Hardcover)

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THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.

Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.

Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.

As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.”


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Dare Mighty Things is a fast-paced story that takes place at the Johnson Space Center twenty-five years from now. Cassie, a seventeen-year-old genetically engineered Indian-American is competing with sixty-two young, smart, and fit young people for a chance to go on a top-secret space mission.

“I wanted to be a pioneer. To dare mighty things. What was out there would forever call to me, and the things I could do for history were more important than my one little life.”

The diverse cast is refreshing. Emilio is latino, Hanna’s German, Mitsuko is a married Japanese-American bisexual. Cassie’s biggest competition is Luka, the son of a UN Ambassador. These characters are well fleshed out, with distinct personalities, desires, fears, strengths and flaws. The female rep is fantastic – strong, smart, confident.

“I’m so curious about the universe-we know so little and I want to learn it all, see it all-there are so many wonders out there that humans have never dreamed possible. I want to help us get there. I want to discover. I want to know. Don’t you?”

This space story is all about self-discovery, being grateful for our planet, forgiveness, facing your fears and following your dreams.

The romance is not insta-love, which is nice, however, I feel like it was completely unnecessary, especially when Cassie identified as asexual. I don’t know a lot about gender identity, but I feel like if she’s identified herself as asexual there should have been more internal conflict of her feelings towards a certain someone.

Kaczynski is a talented writer, and I’m excited to read more from her. If you liked Cinder, Illuminae, Hunger Games, or Divergent then I think you’d like Dare Mighty Things. A great young adult novel for Sci-Fi fans, but also to those who enjoy a character-driven story with a big twist ending.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Overall: 4.3/5 Rounded down to 4 on Goodreads

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“Heather writes books for teenagers and other people who like books about teenagers. They’re usually about teenagers saving the world, because she really believes they can.

Heather never got to go to Space Camp, so she had to settle for writing about it. After graduating cum laude with a degree in biology from University of Alabama in Huntsville, she returned to her first love of books, and now works in a library near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. She lives with her husband, their daughter, and cats named after mythological figures. She’s not nearly brave enough to go into space, but she did twirl a fire baton in high school.”


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The Grownup by Gillian Flynn #BookReview #Lalathon #Horror #Mystery #Thriller

I listened to The Grownup audiobook as part of a readathon called #Lalathon (check out the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram). Because it’s so short I feel like it’s best to go into this one without knowing too much, but I have included the synopsis for those curious minds who need to know a bit about a book before diving in.


Title: The Grownup

Author: Gillian Flynn

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group

Date of Publication: November 2015

Genre: Adult Short Story, Horror, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

1 Hour 18 minutes (audiobook)

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A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28074530-the-grownup

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I’m not going to give any extra info about setting, plot, characters other than what is stated in the synopsis (above). This is an incredible roller coaster ride of a short story. I’ve never read anything like it before. It’s told in the first person from the perspective of the unnamed narrator. The audiobook narrator, Julia Whelan, is great, I would love to listen to more of the books she’s been a part of. Flynn has a talent for giving accurate, blunt observations about human behaviour, and making me love unlikable characters. Highly recommend this one to fans of intense short stories. The Grownup will leave you mind-boggled, in a good way.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Overall: 4.33/5 (rounded down to 4 on Goodreads, When will Goodreads let us use decimals?!)

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“Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.

Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families,violence and self-harm.

In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers’ Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.”



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Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore #BookReview #mystery #thriller

I finished three books so far this month, and haven’t written any book reviews…let’s kick things off with a spoiler-free review for Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore.


Title: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Author: Matthew Sullivan

Publisher: Scribner

Date of Publication: June 2017

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Page Count: Hardcover 328

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When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left.”

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“When she stepped into the Western History alcove, she could feel her eyes trying to shut out what she was seeing: Joey, hovering in the air, swinging like a pendulum. A long ratcheted strap was threaded over a ceiling beam and looped around his neck. Lydia’s body sprung with terror, but instead of running away she was suddenly running toward him, toward Joey, and hugging his lanky legs and trying to hoist him up. She heard someone’s scream curdle through the store and realized it was her own.”

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is about Lydia who works at Bright Ideas Bookstore in San Francisco. One of their usual customers, Joey, hangs himself in the bookstore. He leaves all of his belongings to Lydia, among which include a box of books that have little holes cut out of their pages. Lydia is left wondering if he was trying to leave her a message. With the help of Lydia’s boyfriend David, colleagues, and Raj (a childhood friend from when she lived in Pikes Peak, Colorado), she tries to figure out what the books mean, and why Joey had a picture of her from when she was a kid in his pocket when he died. As they unravel this mystery, Lydia is also facing demons from her past. When ten-year-old Lydia was at her friend’s house for a sleepover a man broke in and murdered her friend Carol and Carol’s parents with a hammer. Lydia managed to survived by hiding in the cupboard under the kitchen sink. The Hammerman was never caught.

“She looked up from the sink and stared at David for a sign that her father had told, that David now knew who she really was: Little Lydia. The bloody-faced girl beneath the sink, the survivor from the evening news. Because no one from her present life knew. No one could know.”

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore talks about family, friendship, identity, suicide, murder, and truth. Some of the characters felt unique, with authentic motivations and emotions. Almost every character had a little mystery to them, and it was really fun finding out more about them. Lydia’s co-worker, Plath, is hilarious! I wish she had a bigger part in the story. Lyle also offered some comedic relief:

“So I put his ashes in a duffel bag and snipped a tiny hole in the bottom and walked the length of the zoo. But I didn’t make the hole big enough so there were these tiny pieces left over in the bag. I shook them into the grass. But then all the geese thought he was bread crumbs and started charging me. Horrifying, Lydia, the way they gobbled him up. A frenzy. Joey would’ve abhorred all the attention.”

Using flashbacks to Lydia’s childhood, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is never confusing, and easy to follow – BUT sometimes not easy to read. With suicide and murder, you can guess that there are some gut-wrenching, vivid scenes that will stay with you.

The murder of Carol and her parents happens early in the book. That chapter is incredibly intense. The image of Lydia squished up in the counter under the kitchen sink, hoping the Hammerman doesn’t find her, is heart-pounding and heart-breaking all at the same time. Why did Joey kill himself? Why did he leave his cut-up books to Lydia? Who was the Hammerman?

I feel that some character actions were unbelievable, in the bad way. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say I don’t understand why the person who knew who the Hammerman was kept it a secret. It was incredibly annoying when Lydia would get hit on by almost every man she spoke with. Also, why was David (boyfriend) even in this story? The ending was a little weak, but not the worst I’ve read.

Dislikes aside, I still highly recommend Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore to readers 16 years-old+ who love a thrilling mystery novel.

Plot 4/5
Characters 3/5
Writing 5/5
Overall: 4/5

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Matthew Sullivan grew up in a family of eight children in suburban Denver, Colorado. He received his B.A. from the University of San Francisco, his M.F.A. from the University of Idaho, and his short stories have been awarded the Florida Review Editor’s Prize and the Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize. In addition to working for years at Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver and at Brookline Booksmith in Boston, he has taught writing at colleges in Boston, Idaho, and Poland. Since 2003, he has been teaching writing, literature, and film at Big Bend Community College in rural Washington State. He is married to a librarian, Libby, and has two children and a scruffy dog named Ernie.”


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TBR & Readathons #LalaThon #CosyReadingNight #FallIntoFantasy

There’s only two months left for 2018. Eight weeks. I’m not going to be able to read everything I hoped to read this year. But that’s okay, because it’s still my most-read year since Grade six. Fourteen books left to reach my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 75 books. Seven books per month – totally doable 🙂

There’s a few readathons happening this month, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to take part in all of them. I’ll include them here in case you’re interested 😉

Check out the hashtags on Twitter 🐦


Friday, November 2, 2018 7pm GMT (3pm EST)

My kids love to get cozy with snacks, turn off the tv, and read for three hours. They’ll be excited to have cozy reading time after school. I’m hoping one of the books I have on hold for #Lalathon will come in today at the library so I can read it today.


November 1st-November 9th
My favourite Booktuber is hosting a readathon featuring her favourite books as a way to celebrate reaching 50,000 subscribers on Youtube. 26025580I’m currently listening to The Grownup by Gillian Flynn as my first read for #Lalathon. I have a few of Lala’s favourite books on hold at the library, so my next read will be the next one that comes in.


Narrated By: Julia Whelan

Length: 1 hr 17 mins

Published November 3, 2015 by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.


November 18 – 25

Check out Problems of a Booknerd’s YT video #FallIntoFantasy Readathon Announcement


I doubt I’ll be able to complete all the challenges, but I will start a new series and read a book that’s been on my TBR for a long time.

41557218Title: City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1)

Author: Victoria Schwab

Publisher: Scholastic Audio

Date Released: August 28, 2018

Narrated by: Reba Buhr

Length: 5hrs 2mins

Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal (ghosts)

Synopsis: “From number-one New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab comes a sweeping, spooky, evocative adventure, perfect for fans of Stranger Things and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn’t like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead…and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost.

So things are already pretty strange. But they’re about to get much stranger…”

16157305Title: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1)

Author: Philip Pullman

Publisher: Yearling

Date Published: May 2001

Genre: YA Fantasy

Page Count: Paperback 399

Librarian’s Note: Alternate cover for ISBN 9780440418320

Synopsis: “Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.”

The rest of my November TBR!

9813417Title: Charlotte’s Web

Author: E. B. White

Audiobook: narrated by E. B. White

Genre: Classic, Children’s, Fantasy

Length: 3 hrs 34 mins

Synopsis: “Since its publication in 1952, Charlotte’s Web has become one of America’s best-loved children’s books. For fifty years, this timeless story of the pig named Wilbur and the wise spider named Charlotte who saved him has continued to warm the hearts of readers everywhere. Now this classic, a 1953 Newbery Honor book, comes to life in a delightful unabridged recording, read lovingly by the author himself.”

32620349Title: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Author: Matthew Sullivan

Publisher: Scribner

Date Published: June 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Page Count: 328 (Hardcover) Also listening to the audiobook: narrated by Madeleine Maby

Synopsis: “When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left.”

37638024Title: The Rain Watcher

Author: Tatiana De Rosnay

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date Published: October 30, 2018

Genre: Cultural Historical Fiction (France)

Page Count: ebook ARC 272

Synopsis: “The first new novel in four years from the beloved superstar author of Sarah’s Key, a heartbreaking and uplifting story of family secrets and devastating disaster, in the tradition of THE NEST.

The Rain Watcher is a powerful family drama set in Paris as the Malegarde family gathers to celebrate the father’s 70th birthday. Their hidden fears and secrets are slowly unraveled as the City of Light undergoes a stunning natural disaster. Seen through the eyes of charismatic photographer Linden Malegarde, the youngest son, all members of the family will have to fight to keep their unity against tragic circumstances.

In this profound and intense novel of love and redemption, De Rosnay demonstrates all of her writer’s skills both as an incredible storyteller but also as a soul seeker.”

38532199Title: The Girl They Left Behind

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Publisher: Atria Books

Date Published: October 9, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, World War II

Page Count: ebook ARC 368

Synopsis: “On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.”

33830630Title: The Glovemaker’s Daughter

Author: Leah Fleming

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Date Published: November 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, 17th Century

Page Count: 432 Ebook ARC

Synopsis: “1666. A child is born in the farmhouse at Windebank, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Named Rejoice (Joy) by her dying father, Joy grows up a witness to the persecution of the farming community for following a banned faith. Defying the authority of the local priest, she joins a group of Yorkshire pioneers traveling to the New World to form a colony close to Philadelphia – a passionate, rebellious and courageous woman fighting against the constraints of the time. Will she find peace and love?

2014. A leather-bound book is found buried in the walls of the Meeting House in Good Hope, Pennsylvania. Its details trace the owner back to a Yorkshire farm in the Dales.  And so a correspondence begins between Rachel Moorside and the man who found the journal, Sam Storer, as Rachel uncovers the tumultuous secrets of her family’s history.”

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Wrap Up…October 2018

Thanks to Spookathon and my new-found love for audiobooks, October was a great reading month for me! I read eight books over a variety of genres: YA Fantasy Steampunk, Middle Grade Historical Fiction, Adult Historical Fiction, YA Contemporary Crime (audiobook), Middle Grade Fantasy Graphic Novel, Adult Crime/Mystery/Thriller, Classic Gothic Horror, and Middle Grade Fantasy/Sci-Fi Graphic Novel.


Title: The Falconer

Author: Elizabeth May

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Date Published: May 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk, Historical Fiction

Page Count: ebook 288

🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review


Title: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Author: Brian Selznick

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Date Published: March 2007

Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Page Count: Hardcover 525

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review



Title: A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl

Author: Jean Thompson

Publisher: Simon Schuster

Date Published: October 23, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Literary, Historical Fiction

Page Count: ebook 336

🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review



Title: Sadie

Author: Courtney Summers

Publisher: MacMillan Audio

Date Published: September 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review


Title: The Mystery Boxes (Explorer #1)

Editor: Kazu Kibuishi

Publisher: Amulet Books

Date Published: March 1, 2012

Genre: Middle Grade, Anthology, Graphic Novel, Fantasy

Page Count: Hardcover 128




Title: Dead End (DI Kelly Porter #3)

Author: Rachel Lynch

Publisher: Canelo

Date Published: October 8, 2018

Genre: Adult Thriller, Crime, Mystery

Page Count: ebook 299

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review


Title: Frankenstein

Author: Mary Shelley

Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks

Date Published: October 4, 2011

Genre: Classic, Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Gothic, 19th Century

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review


Title: The City of Ember

Author: Jeanne DuPrau

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Date Published: September 25, 2012

Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi Dystopian, Graphic Novel

Page Count: 144 (Paperback)

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The City of Ember #BookReview #GraphicNovel #MiddleGrade #Dystopian

In the spring 2003, kids, parents, teachers, librarians—whole communities—discovered and fell in love with Jeanne DuPrau’s story about a doomed city, and the two children who found a way out. Nearly 10 years later, that story, The City of Ember, is a bona fide classic, with over 1.7 million copies sold. Now experience Jeanne DuPrau’s vision anew as artist Niklas Asker faithfully brings to life the glare of the lamps, the dinginess of the streets, and the brilliance of the first sunrise.”


Title: The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1)

Author: Jeanne Duprau

Adapted By: Dallas Middaugh

Illustrator: Niklas Asker

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: September 2012

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Graphic Novel, Mystery

ISBN: 9780375867934



Fall Blog Synopsis

“It is said that the city of Ember is the only light in the dark world. Without Ember’s great lamps, the darkness would last forever. Now the lights are flickering, and supplies are running low. When Lina and Doon find a mysterious document that might hold the answer, they must decipher its meaning before it’s too late.” (back blurb)

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My son and I borrowed The City of Ember, a middle grade dystopian graphic novel, from our local library to read together at bedtime. We both LOVED this book! The setting is dark, atmospheric, and mysterious. While the plot may be simple, this novel does talk about serious topics such as death, secrets, lies, and duty, lightening things up with family, friendship, and adventure.

“Ember has existed for 241 years. There is no place but Ember. It is the only light in the dark world.”

The two main characters are twelve-year-old classmates Lina and Doon. Lina is a very responsible young teen who helps take care of her younger sister and sick Grandmother. She’s smart, and courageous. Doon is more careful than Lina. He’s an intelligent, compassionate, bookworm.

The dark colours used throughout adds to the gloomy atmosphere. We both love the style of the graphics.

The dialogue was simple and at times abrupt, which created a lack of character emotion. My son said the one thing he didn’t like was how simple the plot was (“there wasn’t much going on”). I haven’t read the original novel, but have heard it’s much better than the graphic novel, so I’m interested to give that a try.

We recommend The City of Ember to fans of middle grade graphic novels. There are four books in this series, the next book is called The People of Sparks

Plot 3/5
characters 3/5
graphics 5/5
dialogue 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Fall Blog About the Author

Learn more about Jeanne DuPrau here


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Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus #Bookreview #SpoilerFree

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus - copertina

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus is an atmospheric, Gothic story that begins on a Captains ship stuck in ice, then takes us all over Europe as Dr. Victor Frankenstein tells his story to the Captain, Walton. According to Wikipedia, Frankenstein was first published anonymously in January 1818. Five years later Mary Shelley’s name appeared on the second edition cover. She apparently based the novel on a dream. I’ve watched many movies and TV shows based on the Frankenstein story, not realizing how much they differ from the original story.

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”

Title: Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus

Author: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Audiobook: Published Oct 4, 2011 by Naxos Audiobooks

Genre: Classic, Horror, Sci-Fi, Gothic, Fantasy

I also read an ebook version, that did not have publisher, year, or ISBN. I did manage to find a picture of the cover online. http://alessandria.bookrepublic.it/api/books/9781623958138/cover

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Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18490.Frankenstein

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“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”

Prometheus is an intelligent Titan from Greek mythology punished by Zeus after attempting to aid humans. He represents the dangers of human technological progress. Dr. Frankenstein, motivated by a desire to become famous, becomes obsessed with creating life. After he succeeds he flees from the monster that he’s created. The monster, at first is innocent and kind, becomes hateful and resentful after being mistreated by humans.

“I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”

The character development and writing quality is extraordinary. I’m fascinated that Shelley could write a book that’s incredibly pertinent even two hundred years later. My only dislike is that the beginning is a little sluggish, however, once Dr. Frankenstein begins to relate his tale to Walton the intensity and pace pick up.

“Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be his world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”

Written during a time when Romanticism and Enlightenment movements were at their peak, Frankenstein is a page-turning mystery which takes us on a journey of dark and light, hope and despair, blending science fiction, romance, along with horror into a heart-breaking story about responsibility, and humility, showing us that in the end all we really want is love and acceptance.

“I am alone and miserable. Only someone as ugly as I am could love me.”

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Mary Shelley (née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, often known as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley) was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, travel writer, and editor of the works of her husband, Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. She was the daughter of the political philosopher William Godwin and the writer, philosopher, and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mary Shelley was taken seriously as a writer in her own lifetime, though reviewers often missed the political edge to her novels. After her death, however, she was chiefly remembered only as the wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley and as the author of Frankenstein. It was not until 1989, when Emily Sunstein published her prizewinning biography Mary Shelley: Romance and Reality, that a full-length scholarly biography analyzing all of Shelley’s letters, journals, and works within their historical context was published.

The well-meaning attempts of Mary Shelley’s son and daughter-in-law to “Victorianise” her memory through the censoring of letters and biographical material contributed to a perception of Mary Shelley as a more conventional, less reformist figure than her works suggest. Her own timid omissions from Percy Shelley’s works and her quiet avoidance of public controversy in the later years of her life added to this impression.

The eclipse of Mary Shelley’s reputation as a novelist and biographer meant that, until the last thirty years, most of her works remained out of print, obstructing a larger view of her achievement. She was seen as a one-novel author, if that. In recent decades, however, the republication of almost all her writings has stimulated a new recognition of its value. Her voracious reading habits and intensive study, revealed in her journals and letters and reflected in her works, is now better appreciated. Shelley’s recognition of herself as an author has also been recognized; after Percy’s death, she wrote about her authorial ambitions: “I think that I can maintain myself, and there is something inspiriting in the idea”. Scholars now consider Mary Shelley to be a major Romantic figure, significant for her literary achievement and her political voice as a woman and a liberal.”

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