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

Reading progress update: I've read 215 out of 496 pages.

End of Watch: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy) - Stephen King

 

Knowing what that Zappit could do, why would any of them take a chance by looking at it?

How could I forget...

— feeling love
A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J. Maas

 

My favorite part of this book was when Rhysand explained to Feyra everything he went through, felt, and did from the time he met her until she came to his court to escape Tamlin's control. Heartbreaking, emotional, powerful, and worth every page it took to get there and more...

Court of Mist & Fury - Audiobook

A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J. Maas, Jennifer Ikeda

Audience - Young Adult

 

Maybe I'd always been broken and dark inside.

- first sentence

 

Feyre is now High Fae, but she still has her human heart and she cannot forget all she did to save Tamlin and his court. She is depressed, but Tamlin is too busy trying to protect and save her to notice. She still has the deal with Rhysand, new powers that she doesn't understand, and Prythian is still in danger.

 

I loved this book for so many reasons. Mass takes us on an emotional journey as Feyre learns to control and develop her powers and to respect herself and understand what she needs to be happy. She leaves a controlling relationship for herself, not for another guy.  She is an amazing character and so strong.

 

Again Mass makes us love the characters, despite or maybe because of their flaws. So many characters turned out to be different than I expected. The story is emotional, sexy, serious, sad sometimes and funny at others. I loved Rhys's team and the way he respects and loves them. I loved Feyre's strength and her gradual acceptance that she is worthwhile and deserving of happiness.

 

And then, the end. WOW - what a twist. I was so angry along with Feyre and so sad at what happened. And then after that crazy, unfortunate twist, Feyre made a decision that broke my heart...

 

And I'm immediately on to the next book. 

 

P.S. This book was 23 hours, the next is 25 hours.

Court of Thorns & Roses - audio

A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas, Jennifer Ikeda

 

The forest had become a labrynith of snow and ice.

- first sentence

 

Feyre is a nineteen-year-old girl who supports her family by hunting. When she kills a wolf, she violates a centuries-old treaty. As punishment, she must live with Tamlin, a powerful, immortal faerie in the land of Prythian. Feyre goes from hating Tamlin to falling in love with him, but there is a darkness over the land and Feyre may be their only hope.

 

This is a robust story with unexpected twists and turns. Feyre taught herself how to hunt in order to keep her family alive. She is a powerful girl and definitely not a typical fairy tale heroine - who needs a strong male to save her. I loved Feyre, Tamlin, Lucien, and even Rhys and I hated Amarantha and her evil court. I loved the derisive tone the narrator gave to Feyre's thoughts about certain characters and the emotion she infused into the story.

 

The end of this book was fabulous and I immediately started listening to book 2 (thank goodness for audible credits). The narrator did an excellent job, and I hope she continues with the next two books.

Intensity by Dean Koontz

Intensity - Dean Koontz

 

The red sun balances on the highest ramparts of the mountains, and in its waning light, the foothills appear to be ablaze.

- first sentence

 

Chyna is a psychology student sleeping at her friend's house when she hears a noise in the middle of the night. A serial killer is in the house and Chyna manages to evade him by hiding under the bed. Through a series of unusual choices and coincidences, Chyna ends up hiding in the back of the motorhome driven by the killer.

 

The story is tense and frightening. Chyna makes some stupid choices, but all in the name of saving another girl who is also the killer's prisoner. It is a bit predictable, but still entertaining.

Abandon - Blake Crouch

Abandon - Blake Crouch

 

Wind rips through the crags a thousand feet above, nothing moving in this godforsaken town, and the mule skinner knows that something is wrong.

- first sentence

 

Okay, so the first thing I need to say is that I loved the Wayward Pines series. I thought I would love anything by Crouch.

 

When I started reading this book, I thought there was going to be a supernatural element. I kept waiting for something that was never going to come.... because of this, I didn't like the book. Maybe if I had known what to expect, I would have appreciated the book more. To be fair, the summary on Amazon does kind hint towards a ghost/haunting.

 

Overall, it wasn't a bad book and I did learn a lot of new words - though I probably won't have an opportunity to use them in conversation any time soon.

Examples:

mochila - a Spanish word for knapsack

shabrack - a cavalry saddlecloth used in European armies

younker - youngster

scree - a mass of small loose stones that form or cover a slope

speleothem - structure formed in a cave by the deposition of minerals from water

slumgullion - cheap or insubstantial stew

 

The story goes back and forth between present time and a century ago (when the entire town disappeared). There is a lot of death and killing, but the reason is NOT supernatural, it's just old-fashioned greed. There is a man who thinks God talks to him and makes a terrible choice because of it, but there are no ghosts, no haunting. Oh well.

Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 496 pages.

End of Watch: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy) - Stephen King

 

It has been a while since I read Finders Keepers, so I reread the end to refresh my memory...

 

I'm looking forward to this!

The Gift

The Gift: The gripping psychological thriller everyone is talking about - Louise Jensen

 

Every Tuesday, between four and five, I tell lies.

- first sentence

 

Jenna was dying until she received Callie's transplanted heart. Now Jenna is having feelings and visions of things Callie experienced. Everyone thinks she is crazy and Jenna even doubts her own sanity. But the feelings are getting stronger and Jenna can no longer ignore the things she remembers.

 

The cover claims this is, "The Gripping Psychological Thriller Everyone is Talking About." That implies an amazing story that you can't put down with unexpected twists - right? Well, it doesn't quite live up to that claim. The story is good, and the plot leads the reader to believe certain characters are guilty, but there were no jaw-dropping twists. By the end, I just wanted it to be over and didn't really care what the devious plot was that got Callie killed.

 

I will say that the concept of Cellular Memory is interesting. I think I just expected more from this book. The reviews on Goodreads indicate that I am in the minority - most reviewers rave about it.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Graphic Novel

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel - Cassandra Jean, Ransom Riggs

 

Love this graphic novel version of Peculiar Children - the story, the illustrations, the way it's black & white in the "normal" world and turns to color in the "loop". If you liked the original, you will surely enjoy this one. It even includes black & white photos found in the original book.

Lemons - audiobook

Lemons - Melissa Savage

 

Bigfoot.

It's the very first thing I see when we pull into town.

-opening lines

 

This is a charming story about a feisty 9-year-old girl (Lemonade Liberty Witt) who is forced to uproot her life to live with her grandfather (who she never even met) when her mom passes away. Willow Creek is the Bigfoot Capital of the world and Lem's neighbor, 11-year old Tobin Sky, is the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. Together, Lem and Tobin follow Bigfoot leads and try to capture him on film.

 

This is a realistic story set in the 1970's that deals with some pretty serious issues surrounding grief and loss. Lem is grieving the loss of her mother and Tobin is dealing with his father's disappearance after coming back from Vietnam. Tobin and Lem are cute together and their interactions bring humor to what is a pretty serious theme. The additional plot line with Tobin's father is a little overwhelming and his issues with PTSD may be hard for children to understand. The end of the book is a bit surprising considering how realistic the rest of the book is, but overall this is a touching story of friendship, loss, and dealing with grief.

 

Recommended to: Grades 4-6, fans of realistic fiction who can deal with a bit of sadness

Walking Dead Vol. 1 - Days Gone Bye

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye - Tony Moore, Robert Kirkman

 

The Walking Dead will be the zombie movie that never ends.

- from the introduction by Robert Kirkman

 

I'm a huge fan of The Walking Dead tv show. It's hard to put into words what this show means to me and how it has played with my emotions over the years. I can't believe I waited this long to read the graphic novel. 

 

I loved everything about this graphic novel and I can't wait to read Volume 2.

Code Name Flood - audiobook

Code Name Flood - Laura Martin

This was a bad idea.

- First sentence

 

I loved the first book so much and the cliffhanger ending got me, so I jumped directly into this when I finished The Ark Plan. The change in narrator was a bit jarring because I was accustomed to the way the characters "spoke" in the first book, but the story is just as good, if not better. 

 

Sky, Shawn, and Todd continue their journey to solve the mysteries of the topside world and the Noah. Why is the military so set on catching them and will Sky be able to complete her dad's mission? Oh and don't forget all the deadly dinosaurs.

 

I thought one character was going to be traitorous, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. (In an adult book, I might have been right.) Any kid who liked The Ark Plan will be thrilled with this sequel. The audio is a delightful way to experience the thrills and adventure of this fantastic story.

 

Recommended to: Grades 4 and up - fans of sci-fi, adventure, dinosaurs, and kids saving the day.

 

 

The Ark Plan - audiobook

The Ark Plan: Edge of Extinction #1 - HarperAudio, Emma Galvin, Laura Martin

 

I needed two minutes.

- first sentence

 

Imagine a world where dinosaurs freely roam the surface and people are forced to live underground. This is Jurassic Park gone wild - dinosaurs were cloned 150 years ago and kept in zoos and on farms. Needless to say, things got out of hand. Sky Mundy lived underground her entire life and now that she found a clue to her father's disappearance, she must venture to the topside world to find answers.

 

The story follows Sky's journey and is filled with thrilling action, life threatening situations, and heroic characters. The plot moves quickly with twists and a cliff-hanger ending. Make sure you have the second book ready for your young reader.

 

The narrator did an excellent job - I highly recommend the audio version. I borrowed it using the Hoopla app through my public library.

 

Recommended to: Grades 4 and up - fans of sci-fi, adventure, strong female characters, and of course, dinosaurs.

The Wild Robot Escapes

The Wild Robot Escapes - Peter Brown

 

Our story begins in a city, with buildings and streets and bridges and parks.

 

- First sentence

 

 

At the end of the first book, Roz is taken away from her island home and brought back to the factory. She is reactivated at Hilltop farm to work for the Shreef family. As much as she enjoys her new home (kids, cows, etc.), Roz misses Brightbill and all her friends on the island. Will she be able to keep her secret? And will she ever make it back to her island home?

 

This is a great follow up and just as quirky and fun as the first one. I read this to my book club at school. The kids liked the first book better, but they did enjoy this one. It took a while to get going, but the end is worth it.

 

Recommended to: 3rd-5th graders who like quirky stories with talking animals

 

Spirit Week Showdown - audiobook

Spirit Week Showdown (Magnificent Mya Tibbs) - Eda Kaban, Crystal Allen, Sisi Aisha Johnson

 

I'm only wearing five braids to school today.

 

- First Sentence

 

Mya is excited for Spirit Week and she is counting down the days with her braids. When she gets to one, it will be time for Spirit Week. But the partner picking doesn't go her way and she ends up with Mean Connie Tate (the school bully) for a partner instead of her best friend Naomi.

 

As Mya would say, "good gravy." And she says that often as she tries to navigate friendships, bullies, and Spirit Week challenges. Mya learns a lot about people and about judging others by what you hear about them. She is a perky little girl and easy to like, even though she doesn't always think things through before she acts. Mya is a strong personality, but she desperately wants to repair her friendship with Naomi - even though Mya didn't really do anything wrong. The flavor of Texas really comes through in the writing. In the audiobook, the narrator does a fantastic job of sounding like a Texas girl with attitude. 

 

I think grownups reading this book will easily recognize the characters for who they are, but kids might be a bit surprised by the ending. The story is engaging and certainly humorous at times. You can't help but laugh about some of the phrases that Mya comes out with. Girls will enjoy this one.

 

Recommended to: 3rd-5th graders who like stories about friendship and triumphing over adversity.

A Terrifying Twist on the zombie genre

Dead of Night: A Zombie Novel - Jonathan Maberry Fall of Night - Jonathan Maberry Dark of Night - Flesh and Fire (Journalstone's Doubledown) - Lucas Mangum, Rachael Lavin, Jonathan Maberry

 

This is how the world ends.

 

- First sentence

 

 

Wow. Reading Dead of Night blew my mind. Imagine being trapped inside your brain, having no control over your actions, but feeling and experiencing everything. Oh, and your body is a zombie, eating people. The people trapped inside zombie bodies just wanted to die and escape the horror. Maberry captured their thoughts and feelings perfectly.

 

A scientist creates a formula that mimics death, with the purpose of punishing serial killers in the worst possible way. He plans to inject the formula during the execution process and bury the body in an unmarked grave. When the killer's consciousness revives, they are unable to move, forced to experience the pain of decomposition, and the torture of being buried partially alive. Of course, things don't go as planned and the world gradually goes to hell.

 

I've been a fan of Jonathan Maberry's work since I read Rot & Ruin several years ago. The events in the Dead of Night series take place years before that, in the same world. He is an amazing writer. I'm looking forward to reading more by him.

 

Overall the series was fantastic. Dead of Night (book 1) was my favorite, followed by Fall of Night (#2), and then Dark of Night (#3). Dark of Night was very short, but I enjoyed seeing characters from other series in that one. 

 

It was funny seeing the characters watching dead people reanimate and not believing their eyes. Or, seeing the zombies taking bites out of people and then watching others trying to reason with them. Zombies are so prevalent in our entertainment that I felt much more knowledgable on the subject than the characters in the books. How did they not realize what was happening and how did it get so out of control? The characters also wrestle with moral issues - is it ethical to destroy a town full of innocent people in order to prevent an apocalypse?

 

Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...?

Currently reading

A Court of Wings and Ruin
Sarah J. Maas, Amanda Leigh Cobb
Progress: 480/1515 minutes
End of Watch: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy)
Stephen King
Progress: 215/496 pages

Reading is my Escape's Read 2018 book montage

Unwind
The Man in the Iron Mask
Truly Madly Guilty
The Reptile Room
The Wide Window
UnWholly
The Miserable Mill
The Austere Academy
UnSouled
The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend
The Ersatz Elevator
The Vile Village
The Hostile Hospital
UnDivided
The Nerdy Dozen
The Carnivorous Carnival
The Iron Giant
Awkward
Brave
The Slippery Slope


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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
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