Reading is my ESCAPE from Reality!

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” 


-- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Bob by Wendy Mass & Rebecca Stead

Bob - Rob Dircks, Rebecca Stead, Wendy Mass, Nora Hunter


Audience: Grades 3-5

Formate: Audiobook/Library Copy



I feel bad that I can't remember anything about Gran Nicholas's house.

- first sentence


Livy is practically 11, well... 10 & 1/2 (almost). She hasn't been to visit her Gran in Australia for five years. She has forgotten a lot of things: 1) A green stuffed elephant in overalls; 2) A net bag full of black chess pieces; 3) A clunky old tape recorder. But she also forgot something really, really important - Bob. 


Bob is a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit. He's been hiding in a closet, waiting five years for Livy to return. She promised him she would help him figure out who he is and find his way home.


Together Bob & Livy will try to solve the clues, figure out where Bob comes from, and discover unforgettable magic. The story is told through Bob & Livy's points of view in alternating chapters. It's the story of an unusual friendship that can overcome almost anything.


This is a great story and I loved both Livy and Bob. He remembers their early friendship and at first, is upset with her for forgetting. Eventually, we understand why she forgot and it makes perfect sense. Bob's sense of humor is hysterical and a bit sarcastic - it's great. And I wasn't sure what Bob really was or where he belonged until the very end. Though there were clues, they were just beyond my frame of reference.


This is another great Sunshine State Award-nominated book, especially good for fans of magical realism, or talking "animals," or even fans of friendship stories. I've seen this book in the library, but I wasn't interested. I'm not sure why. I guess I thought it looked odd. I don't know what I was thinking. That's why they say, "never judge a book by its cover." I'm very glad this book was nominated or I might never have read it.


I highly recommend this book!

Homeroom Diaries

Homeroom Diaries - Lisa Papademetriou, James Patterson

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Hardcover/Owned



I'm starting over.

- First sentence


Margaret "Cuckoo" Clarke has just been released from a brief stay at a mental institution after she had an emotional breakdown. Now she's starting over with "Operation Happiness." Cuckoo and her friends (who call themselves the "Freakshow") are determined to bring the different factions of high school together and find a way for everyone to get along.


The illustrated diary style works well for this book. Cuckoo writes down her thoughts and feelings about high school life, along with illustrations. She also talks to literary characters in an attempt to figure out life. I think this book will appeal to teens and pre-teens, especially those who like the diary format. It's easy-to-read and tackles real-life situations. 


I read this for #3 School's Out for Summer

At 272 pages, it's worth  $3.00

The Jumbies

The Jumbies - Tracey Baptiste



This book takes place in the Caribbean and is written by Tracey Baptiste who was born in Trinidad.

Booklikes-opoly 7/3 roll

This is a bit delayed because of July 4th and schoolwork, and everything else in RL. I rolled on Wednesday the 3rd and it was a bit confusing, but I think I'm ready to post now.


Current Bank: $36.00


Including finished since my last BL-opoly post:

10 Beach Week - Dark Matter by Blake Crouch = $3.00

3 School's Out for Summer - Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson = $3.00


Regular Roll:

Moving 4 spaces takes me to Railroad 14: The Patagonia Star


First 4th of July bonus roll:


Moving 11 spaces takes me to 24 Booklikes Square (spin the Wheel Decide)

Spinning the Wheel gave me: Read a book that has been reviewed by one of the other players.


Second 4th of July bonus roll:

Moving 4 spaces takes me to:



In Jail, I rolled the dice to determine my bail

I deducted $5 from the bail fund and am now out of jail (hooray)!





So here is my board with my confusing movements:



I'm still holding the Robot & the Scottie dog cards:



Now I need to pick books for:

RR 14 - Read a book set in Central or South America or by an author from any of those countries.

BL 24 - Read a book that has been reviewed by another player

Small Spaces

Small Spaces - Katherine Arden, Renee Dorian

Audience: Middle Grade

Format: Audiobook/Library



October in East Evansburg, and the last warm sun of the year slanted red through the sugar maples.

- first sentence


I’ve seen Small Spaces on shelves, but I was never interested in reading it (I’m not even sure why). Turns out it is a scary story that involves ghosts, and that is right up my alley.


Ollie is a sixth-grader who loves books and uses reading to escape from a tragedy that she doesn’t want to think about. One day Ollie sees a strange woman about to throw a book into the river and she grabs the book and runs home. Ollie reads the book and is intrigued by the creepy story about making deals with a “smiling man” for a price. During a class field trip to Smoke Hollow farm, Ollie discovers the graves of the people from the story. On the drive home, the bus breaks down and the driver tells Ollie to “get moving before they come for the rest of you.” Ollie is confused but decides to trust her gut. She only manages to convince two kids to go with her. It seems like the scarecrows are closing in on them, but what do they want?


This book is great about questioning stereotypes. Ollie’s mom is a bold adventurer, her dad bakes and knits, and Coco is a pretty, feminine girl who also rock climbs. Ollie realizes that Coco doesn’t cry because she is weak, but because she feels things so strongly. Maybe crying isn't a weakness. Ollie is trying to hide from her feelings in books, but she realizes that she can’t hide forever. The scarecrows who chase the kids during the second half of the book must eventually be faced, just as Ollie must face her feelings about a tragic loss.


This is another Sunshine State nominated book (grades 6-8). I think kids who like scary books will really enjoy this one and it has a strong female lead, so even better.

The Adventurer's Guild

The Adventurers Guild - Zack Loran Clark, Nick Eliopulos, Johnny Heller

Audience: Middle Grade

Format: Audiobook/Library Copy




Though the world had ended long before Zed was born, this was still the scariest day of his life.

- first sentence



Zed and Brock are best friends and they live in Freestone, one of the last cities standing after the world fell to monsters. Zed is half-elf and he hopes to be picked for the Mages Guild. Brock, whose father is a merchant, expects to be picked for the Merchants Guild. But life doesn't always go as planned and the boys end up part of the Adventurer's Guild. The Adventurers are the last line of defense against the Dangers (otherworldly monsters) and the only ones who dare venture outside the walls of Freestone. Jett and Liza make up the remaining members of the apprentices who must spend the night outside the walls for their initiation.


This is a great first book in the series and I can't wait to read book two. Zed is a clumsy, funny hero with surprising powers. Brock is strong and thinks he has it all figured out, but ends up in a situation he hates but can't escape from. Liza is a noble who decides she wants to be whatever she decides and volunteers for the Adventurers. Jett is a dwarf and is strong inside and outside. 


I loved getting to know the characters and holding my breath when they were in danger. There is intrigue, danger, excitement, and loss in this book along with themes of friendship and what it means to be loyal. I can't wait to read book 2.


I think this is going to be a popular book in school this year.

Reading progress update: I've listened 64 out of 182 minutes.

Bob - Rob Dircks, Rebecca Stead, Wendy Mass, Nora Hunter

I'm enjoying the alternating chapters with different perspectives and voices. I was never interested in this one, but I have to admit I was wrong. This is very cute.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

Audience: Adult

Format: Physical/Owned



I love Thursday nights.

- first sentence


Such an ordinary opening line for an extraordinary story. Jason (a college professor), his wife (Daniela), and their teenage son Charlie spend Thursday nights together, making dinner, eating, and talking. Until the Thursday when Jason goes to meet his friend at a bar and is abducted on the way home. He wakes up in a world he doesn't know. He is confused and wondering which world is real and which is the dream/crazy place he made up in his brain. The truth is even crazier and trying to wrap my mind about it almost broke my brain.


I was fascinated by the story and trying to figure out how Crouch was going to resolve the main problem of getting Jason back to his wife. Every time Jason stepped out of the box, I was thinking, "no - go back in, it isn't safe!" But he kept going out into worlds that obviously weren't his. I especially loved that Crouch didn't shy away from the last problem that kept Jason from being happy - I didn't even think about it until it happened, but then it made perfect sense.


Another highly recommended Crouch novel!


I read this for Booklikes-opoly Beach Week 10 (author's last name begins with one of the letters in BEACH). At 342 pages, it is worth $3.00.


The Bicycle Spy - audiobook

Bicycle Spy - Yona Zeldis McDonough

Audience: Middle Grade

Format: Audiobook/Library Copy



A gust of wind cut across Marcel's face as he cycled furiously down the street.

- first sentence


Marcel lives in German-occupied France in 1942. He is obsessed with cycling and with the Tour de France (which has been canceled for the past two years). But he soon discovers two secrets that make the race seem unimportant. First, his parents are part of the revolution and second, his friend Delphine is actually Jewish. Riding his bike, Marcel carries messages for the resistance hidden in the bread his parents bake. When he discovers Delphine and her family are in danger, he will risk his life to save them.


This is an imaginative historical adventure. Marcel uses his cycling to help him get through his fear and both Marcel and Delphine are authentic and likable characters. The story is enriched by the historical background and details of the story. 


Overall, this is a well-written, sensitive read that children in grades 4-8 will enjoy. It encourages children to stand up for others and for what they believe in. It would make an excellent addition to a World War II curriculum.

Reading progress update: I've read 254 out of 352 pages.

Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

OMG! Every time I think I finally wrapped my mind around this story, Crouch adds something else to mess with my mind.

Greetings from Witness Protection - Audiobook

Greetings from Witness Protection! - Jake Burt

Audience: Middle Grade

Format: Audiobook/Library


I'm working on making a world.

- first sentence


Nicki has been living in a foster center since her grandmother died. One day, the FBI suddenly shows up to ask for her help. They want her for a new program in witness protection called Project Family. The idea is to add a child to the family in WITSEC to make them harder to find. Nicki is to become Charlotte Trevor, part of a family that includes a father, mother, and younger brother. The mother testified against the members of her family who just so happen to be part of the Italian mob. Charlotte (Nicki) and the rest of the Trevor family need to play their roles perfectly so that the Cercatore family doesn't find them.


I listened to the audio version which I borrowed from my public library and the narrator did a fantastic job. She sounded exactly like a snarky teenage girl. Nicki (Charlotte) struggles with kleptomania and when she gets scared, she tends to steal things (her hands are very fast). Nicki is a clever, strong girl who knows how to take care of herself, but during the course of the book, she realizes how much she needs people to confide in. I knew the bad guys would eventually find them, and I had an idea of how Charlotte would stop them, but some of the details were a bit unexpected.


I think kids will enjoy this story and relate to the way the characters feel like they don't fit in. The Trevor family faces homework issues, bullying, sibling squabbles, and other typical situations that kids will understand. The story is engaging and Nicki (Charlotte) makes a great kid hero.


This book is nominated for a Sunshine State award for grades 6-8. I am trying to read as many as I can again this year.

Booklikes-opoly 6/9 roll


Current Bank: $25.00 + $5.00 for passing GO


I finished my second book, so on to the next roll:



Moving 6 spaces takes me past GO to space #3 - School's Out for Summer




Then, since I rolled doubles,  I roll again:



Moving 8 spaces takes me to space #10 - Beach Week




So, I passed GO which means I collect $5.00.


I'm still holding the Robot & the Scottie dog cards:



I'm reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch for space #10 - Beach Week and Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson for space #3 - School's Out for Summer.





Seven Days in May

Seven Days in May: A Novel - Kim Izzo

Audience: Adult

Format: Paperback/Owned


It was half past nine in the morning when Sydney stepped out of the taxi wearing her most drab topcoat.

- first sentence


This is a romantic historical fiction novel that follows two sets of people during the first World War. The plot involving Sydney & Brooke (New York heiresses) and Brooke's fiancee Edward (a future lord who happens to be in significant debt) is all unlikely romantic triangle.  They are traveling across the Atlantic on the Lusitania for Brooke & Edward's wedding. The other plot takes place in London where Isabel has found a job working with the codebreakers. Isabel & Sydney are both trying to fight for women's rights and against stereotypes in their own ways. The climactic event is the sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine.


The historical details and the fact that the author's great-grandfather was Walter Dawson, a passenger who was on the Lusitania, made this novel interesting. But I wasn't terribly invested in the characters or what happened to them. The part of the story where the Lusitania was sinking and passengers were struggling to survive was the most heartbreaking part of the book and also the most engaging. 


I read this for Booklikes-opoly space #34 - When? - a book that is time travel or historical fiction. It has 349 pages and is worth $3.00

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

The Forgetting - Sharon  Cameron

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Hardcover/Owned



I am going to be flogged, and I don't know why I'm so surprised about it.

- first sentence


Nadia lives in Canaan, a city that is enclosed by white stone walls; a city whose residents periodically forget everything and everyone. No one knows why the Forgetting occurs every twelve years, but the people all keep journals to remind them of the important things after they forget. Nadia didn't forget and she is the only one. She doesn't know why, but she is determined to find out and help prevent the Forgetting. This is why she frequently breaks curfew and crosses over the walls (even though it is forbidden). As Nadia discovers the truth about Canaan, its people, and the Forgetting, she also faces danger and manages to fall in love.


I was surprised by some of the twists, but I kind of figured other ones out. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.


This is an excellent story, highly recommended to fantasy fans and anyone who enjoys young adult books.

Two Bobbies

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival - Kirby Larson, Jean Cassels, Mary Nethery

Audience: Grades 4-8

Format: Kindle/Owned



A heartbreaking and yet hopeful book. It's hard to imagine being forced to leave your pets behind in a disaster or having to choose between saving your furry family and saving yourself. Hurricane Katrina was a disaster on so many levels. At least these two had each other.

A Dark Inheritance by Chris d'Lacey

A Dark Inheritance (Unicorne Files #1) - Chris d'Lacey, Raphael Corkhill

Audience: Middle Grade

Format: Audiobook/Library Copy



It was the day Mom took the coast road to school.

- first sentence


Michael discovered his unusual ability quite by accident when he saved a dog wandering near the edge of a cliff. He isn't sure exactly what happened, but somehow he moved across the field in the blink of an eye. Soon afterward, he met Amadeus Klimt, head of the UNICORNE Society (UNexplained Incidents, Cryptic Occurrences, Relative Nontemporal Events) and Chantelle who also works for UNICORNE and keeps an eye on him. Amadeus gave Michael a mission - to find out about the dog and if he succeeds, he may eventually be able to find his father...


I enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to the sequel.

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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
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