Thursday, June 28, 2018

Haiku Reviews...

(Just don't count the syllables too closely!)

Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen

Charlotte Silver knows
"Life doesn't stop just because you're
being stalked by ghosts."

(YA .... Supernatural/Mystery .... 216 pages ..... 3.5/5 stars)

Megalodon in Paradise by Hunter Shea:

Win lottery. Buy 
island. Bring friends. But beware!
A monster lies in wait.

(Action/Horror .... 232 pages .... 3.5/5 stars)

A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie

Seeking rest in the
Caribbean, Miss Marple
finds murder instead.

(Mystery .... 220 pages ....  4/5 stars )

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 25, 2018

A great non-fiction read....

In The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens, Brooke Hauser enters the International High School in Brooklyn, New York, where the students are immigrants and refugees who speak more than 28 languages and come from more than 45 countries. Some are documented, some are not. All struggle with varying obstacles from loneliness, stress from past traumas, cultural pressures, separation from family, poverty, language barriers, where to go to college, and who to ask to the prom. But they all have their own American Dream.

The stories in this book are humorous, hopeful, and heartbreaking. One 11-year-old Tibetan boy escaped China curled up in a small suitcase; his older brother crossed the Himalayas on foot. Then there's Yasmeen, a gorgeous 17-year-old Yemeni girl who wants to go to college but who is a seriously considering accepting an arranged marriage so she can continue to take care of her younger brother and sister (because both her parents are dead). Other students come from Sierra Leone and Burma with equally moving stories. I found myself rooting for them all.

This is such a great read; it's interesting and well-written, and it feels very timely with the immigration debate that's going on right now. The New Kids is one of those books that I think everyone should read:  it's informative, and compelling, and completely unforgettable.

Happy Reading!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Foxglove Summer

"The news cycle reset at the top of the hour and I learned that the tiny village of Rushpool in sleepy rural Herefordshire was the center of a massive police search operation for two eleven-year-old girls, best friends, Nicole Lacey and Hannah Marstowe, who had been missing for over forty-eight hours. Neighbors were said to be shocked and time was running out."

SUMMARY:  Peter Grant, police constable and apprentice wizard, is sent to Rushpool from London to see if there's a magical connection to these disappearances. What he finds is traces of vestigia and a few other clues that point him toward the fae. It's not what he was hoping for, because the land of the fae is tricky to navigate. Luckily, his river goddess girlfriend comes to help him try to find the girls and bring them back.

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch is a fun investigative mystery, although I was expecting there to be a lot more magic than there was. Still, it does have an invisible unicorn in it. And Peter is a great character. I liked his girlfriend, Beverley Brook, too. I just wish I'd read the previous four books in this series before this one so I understood the many references to past characters better. But the mystery itself needed no extra clarification. (Although it could have moved at a slightly faster pace and had a touch more suspense in it.) Still, I'll definitely be reading the other books in this series. In order this time!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Beach Reads...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme is supposed to be a list of pool or beach reads, but I tweaked it just a bit and decided to go with five beaches that I wish I were reading on...and the books I'd read if I were there. Here they are:

The beach:

Napili Bay, favorite beach in the whole world!
and the book:

Beach #2:

Cancun, Mexico
And the book:

Beach #3:

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

And the book for this beach:

Or maybe: 

Beach #4:

St. Ives, Cornwall...where I hope to go someday!

The book:

Beach #5:

South Carolina
And the book?

Happy Beach Reading!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Have you seen these tees?

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 

They're from Litographs. And they're awesome. They take the words from a favorite book, create a cool design, then print it on a tee. So you can actually read and wear your favorite book at the same time. Isn't that cool?

I want one. Or more. And maybe a bag, too.

But choosing which one to get is the hardest part. They offer so many great books from Shakespeare's plays to Frog and Toad.

Jane Eyre

See what I mean?

How would you even pick?

And as great as the tees are, I think I like the totes even more. They're so apropos. I mean, what's better for carrying books in than a bookish tote?
Henry David Thoreau

Anyway, these Litograph products are my new obsession.
I can't wait to get my own tee, and a tote, and maybe a poster of one of my favorite books for my room....

Happy Reading...and shopping!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Bookish quotes...

I didn't love this book. Some parts were good. But I ended up skimming the rest.
Which is too bad, because I usually like Susan Hill. But even though I didn't end
up loving this particular book, I did love these four quotes from it:

"Cold room, warm bed, good book."

"I thought I had cleared out all the books I would ever need to lose five years ago, but books breed....As fast as I get one out of the back door, two new ones come in through the front."

"A book that cannot be returned to again and again, and still yield 
fresh entertainment and insights, is only half a book."

"Reading is magic. Books are magic. It starts when we are shown picture books and realise there is another world beyond the everyday one we know.  Once we can read ourselves, we live inside the magic. The only problem is that we have to emerge at the end of a book, and we don't want to leave and return to that dull domestic world we know.  The only solution to that problem, of course, is that there is always the next book, and the next and there is bonus magic if it is another in a series we already love, so we are plunging back into a magic other world but one we already know.  We feel a lift of the heart, a lurch of the stomach, when we find ourselves in it again."

If this book appeals to you, I'd suggest you read Susan Hill's Howard's End is on the Landing instead. It's also a memoir about books and reading, but of the two, I think it's the better read.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ghostly fun...

"Two weeks in the state's most haunted house. This is either
going to be a great decision or the worst experience of my life."

The Characters:

  • REMY:  a tour guide for Carrow House who knows its history better than anyone else.
  • MARK SULLIGENT:  the man with a secret who's spearheading this two-week experiment.
  • APRIL MAHON:  the seventeen-year-old owner of Carrow House with a passion for ghosts and hauntings.
  • LUCILLE PRICE:  April's chaperone
  • MARJORIE MCALLISTER:  a well-known and respected spirit medium
  • BERNARD:  Marjorie's taciturn assistant
  • TAJ SADANA:  ghost-hunter and tech guy
  • PIERS:  tour participant
  • EDGAR PORTER:  the serial killer whose ghost still stalks the halls of Carrow House
Carrow House:

Once an asylum for the sick, then a hotel for the rich, Carrow House has seen a lot of deaths over the years. And many of those spirits are still trapped within its walls. And it doesn't take much to waken them ... or the evil that haunts Carrow House.  An evil that is determined not to let Remy or anyone else in her group leave Carrow House alive. 

My thoughts:

I love a good ghost story, especially one that takes place in a haunted house, and The Carrow Haunt by Darcy Coates has all the elements I love:  good characters that are flawed but not frustratingly stupid, an eerie atmosphere, good scares, seances, bleeding walls, slamming doors, cold spots, a raging storm outside and some very creepy ghosts inside.  This novel is more supernatural mystery and suspense than horror, but I actually liked that.  It reminded me of all those classic ghost stories I've read and loved over the years. So here's to Darcy Coates and her awesome ghostly novel.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

June's Bookish Art...

Clarence Gagnon - The Beach at Dinard

"There is indeed a heaven on earth, a heaven which 
we inhabit when we read a good book."
--Christopher Morley, The Haunted Bookshop

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Queen's Gambit

 "The Parrs are on the rise thanks to you."
The thought of it is like a nail hammered into her. But it is not Will's fault the King has set his eye on her. Neither is it his fault that he wants the Parrs to go up in the world; he was bred for that, they all were. Every last noble swaggering about this court is gazing at the stars.
...The King will take her for a wife and she will not have any choice in the matter. All these men--the King, her brother, Hertford--have sealed her fate. She is no more free than she was as a girl ... There is no escaping .... It is a whore's job, this business of being a woman.

I've always been intrigued by the Tudors and the many wives of Henry VIII. This historical fiction novel tells the story of his sixth wife, Katherine Parr, the one who survived him. It begins with the death of her second husband and goes through her marriage to Henry VIII, his death and her own last chance at a happily ever after with her secret marriage to Thomas Seymour. It details the intrigues of the Tudor court and what life was like in the 1500s, and paints a picture of just how strong and resilient the real Katherine must have been. I'm no historian, so I don't know how accurate Elizabeth Fremantle's version of Katherine Parr's life is, but I felt like she took a few liberties with the facts. Still, I found this novel to be both interesting and readable. I only wish that Katherine Parr had had a happier ending. The next book about the Tudor queens I want to read is Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir. Check out Helen's review of this book and you'll see why.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Urban Fantasy Fun...

Title & Author:  Lost Soul by Adam Wright
Setting:  Dearmont, Maine

How it starts:  "There are some days when everything goes okay, or at least as well as you could hope. Then there are other days when it would be better to stay in bed and let the hours drift by while you remain hidden under the blankets. Today had hardly even started but I already longed to crawl back into bed and pretend the sun had never risen.

The story:  Alec Harbinger is a preternatural investigator whose employer, the Society of Shadows, has just shipped him off to a small town in Maine. He's not excited. To make matters worse, the Society has someone spying on him, and two ogre assassins just attacked him on his first day on the job. Looks like Dearmont isn't such a sleepy town after all.

My thoughts:  This is one of the books I recently purchased online and now I wish I'd bought the next two books in the series at the same time because I loved this one! Alec is funny. I liked his assistant, Felicity, and his friend, Mallory. His supernatural cases are interesting. There's magic and mystery, witches (who run a bookstore) and werewolves, a run in with two changlings, spells and a magical sword, and suspense, too. Which makes this urban fantasy a very fun read.

Happy Reading!