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

Snakes and Ladders Update #5


Next roll:





1. Author is a woman - Grump by Liesl Shurtliff

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K - What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz

16. Genre: fantasy - The Last Gargoyle by Paul Durham

21. Set in Europe - The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne

28. Written between 1900 and 1999 - The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver


Landed on:


35. Has been adapted as a movie. I haven't decided yet between Mystic River and The Darkest Minds


I think I would enjoy Darkest Minds more but I don't know if I want to start another series right now...

Funny thing is two books I read recently were both made into movies.


BTW, I am so lucky to just miss that snake on #34....


The Bone Collector

The Bone Collector  - Jeffery Deaver

Audience: Adult

Format: Kindle/Owned



She wanted only to sleep.

- first sentence


So, this is the original Lincoln Rhyme novel - the first in a long series. I have read others, but I don't remember reading this one. I chose this book because I needed a book written between 1900-1999 for Snakes & Ladders. Finding one on my tbr was a bit harder than I thought but I managed.


Lincoln Rhyme is not particularly likable, even when you take into consideration that he is a paraplegic (and is entitled to be a bit angry). Meeting Amelia Sachs was interesting and I liked seeing how her relationship with Lincoln developed. The story is good, though not particularly original - serial killer taunts the police as he kidnaps and sets up elaborate murders scenes; sometimes the would-be victims are rescued, sometimes not. The killer's identity is a bit of a surprise so that part is good.


Overall, good story and I'm glad I read it. I will have to watch the movie again now.


I read this for Snakes & Ladders space #28. Written between 1900 and 1999 (it was published in 1998).

Reading progress update: I've listened 660 out of 901 minutes.

Fathomless - Greig Beck, Sean Mangan


I'm really enjoying this book, but there is one thing that is driving me crazy:


Every time I hear the narrator say the word "leant" instead of "leaned." I get that this is the word the author used, but I just don't understand why. I'm not sure if the word is used more often than usual in this book or if I'm just attuned to it. But every time I hear it, I just cringe (and think "leaned" in my head). It was driving me so nuts that I looked online to see if there is a reason to use "leant" instead of "leaned." There isn't. "Leant" is an older form of the word "leaned" and isn't used much in modern language. Modern grammar rules say either word works, but "leaned" is the more appropriate choice unless the book is a period piece and the author is trying to match the language with the time period.


So, I ask you Mr. Beck, "WHY???" 


The book takes place in modern times - there is no reason to use the word "leant." At least if I was reading instead of listening, I could change the word in my head.


Oh, and just now, he used the word leaned - why the change?? I was hoping it would continue for the rest of the book, but it seems like it was a one-time thing. :(


Btw, even spell check hates that word, it keeps asking me to correct it to leaned. *rolls eyes*


Anyway, thanks for listening to my rant. 

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain - John Boyne

Audience: Grades 6 & up

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy




Although Pierrot Fischer's father didn't die in the Great War, his mother, Emilie, always maintained it was the war that killed him.

- first sentence


So, I picked up this book because the cover reminded me of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas which was very emotional and tragic and which I loved. I was so excited when I realized it was the same author.


Again, this book takes place (mostly) during World War II, and again it follows a young boy. The boy is actually half German and half French. It starts off with him living in Paris with his parents and next door to his best friend (who just happens to be Jewish). When his parents die, he is shipped to an orphanage and later sent to live with his aunt who just happens to be a housekeeper in the home of a powerful German.


It is important to remember that he is a young, impressionable seven-year-old boy who is desperate for a father figure. He goes through some serious changes over the 9 years the book covers and some of them are quite disturbing.


Overall, I liked the book. I think it's important that readers be aware of the truth behind the story and to know that the boy does some awful things. He is indoctrinated at a young age into the Nazi movement, lavished with the attention he craved and led to believe that he was in the right. But, part of him knew what he was doing was wrong and that is important too. Younger readers might have a harder time understanding the meaning of the story. That's why I recommend it to grades 6 and up (and maybe a parent should read it and discuss it with them).


To me, this wasn't nearly as powerful as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but it was still good - not great, but good.


I read it for Snakes & Ladders space #21, set in Europe.

The Running Man - audiobook

The Running Man - Stephen King, Richard Bachman, Kevin Kenerly

Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned



She was squinting at the thermometer in the white light coming through the window.

- first sentence


I am a huge Stephen King fan since I was a teenager but it has been a while since I read some of his books. Lately, I started listening to the audio versions of his older books and it is quite fun to revisit them in a different format.


First, I have to say that if you are listening to the audio, and haven't read the book before, skip the author's note. It's not part of the story, and you can listen to it at the end. Otherwise, you will hear a spoiler that reveals the end of the story. :(


I enjoyed listening to this and am going to watch the movie this weekend just for fun and to see the differences. I do know that Ben Richards (in the book) is not built like Schwarzenegger. Most times, it's listening to his gut, his brains, or just plain luck that keeps him alive.



Snakes and Ladders Update #4


My next roll is:






1. Author is a woman - Grump by Liesl Shurtliff

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K - What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz

16. Genre: fantasy - The Last Gargoyle by Paul Durham

21. Set in Europe - The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne (I finished and will write the review tomorrow.)


Landed on:


28. Written between 1900 and 1999 - Not sure what I'm reading yet but there are plenty of options.

The Last Gargoyle

The Last Gargoyle (Goyle, Guardian #1) - Paul Durham

Audience: Middle Grade

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy



My earliest memory is of a crib, a darkened room, and three shadows slipping through the doorway with bad intentions.

- first sentence


This is such a charming book with fun characters and an exciting story. The story includes Grotesques, Bone Masons, Netherkin, Shadow Men, and the Boneless King. It has danger, mystery, good & evil, and suspense. I really liked it.


Penhallow is a gargoyle but he wants you to call him a grotesque. He protects his building and his wards from evil. When he loses his two best friends and faces a new enemy, he feels completely alone, until Viola turns up on his roof.


I loved Penhallow and Viola's relationship. They are cute together and she is stronger than she seems. I also enjoyed Penhallow's way of looking at the world and talking. He calls college students, "practice adults". Here is the definition from Penhallow's glossary:


Practice Adults:

Nocturnal creatures who seem to serve no useful purpose other than to keep taverns and pizza delivery people in business.


I highly recommend this book to middle-grade readers who enjoy dark fantasy with a touch of humor.


I read this for Snakes and Ladders space #16. Genre: fantasy.

I'm also using it for the Goodreads HA a to z challenge. :)




Snakes and Ladders - space #21

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain - John Boyne



I'm reading this for 21. Set in Europe.


It's set in France & Germany

Snakes and Ladders Update #3


My next roll is:




1. Author is a woman - Grump by Liesl Shurtliff

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K - What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz

16. Genre: fantasy - The Last Gargoyle by Paul Durham (I finished this but haven't written the review yet.)



Landed on:


21. Set in Europe - I'm not sure what I'm reading for this yet

Reblogging because.... well, it did say to tell the others. :)


Reblogged from Hol:

Killer by Nature - Audible Original

Killer by Nature - Jan Smith, Katherine  Kelly, Angela Griffin, Robert James-Collier, Will Mellor, Thomas Turgoose

Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned



This was just okay. I didn't really like any of the characters and I didn't even hate the villain enough. The main character is a psychologist who doesn't seem to notice that her daughter has symptoms of psychopathy. I'm not giving anything away. If you've read any books or seen any movies about psychopaths, then you know how it goes: no emotions, no sympathy or empathy, hurting animals, etc. How does her mother not notice?? She's supposed to be so busy, but even when the principal calls her in to talk about her daughter's behavior, she still doesn't see it. I found this part hard to believe. 


Then there's the killer (who is already in jail btw). When the doctor goes to see him, she gives him a test to see if he's a psychopath. Remember, this is the woman who can't even see it in her own daughter. The killer occasionally breaks into song - children's songs to be exact. It's a little creepy but more annoying than anything.


I listened to the Alien Audible Originals and they are also performances. I liked the format in that case. But for this one, it didn't really seem to fit. Also, it was broken into episodes which was kind of jarring and involved a lot of music. The first time this happened, I thought the whole thing had started over because it also restates the title and author.


At least it was fairly short.


If I had to sum it up in one sentence:

A watered down version of a Hannibal Lecter story.

Snakes and Ladders Update #2


My next roll is:



1. Author is a woman - Grump by Liesl Shurtliff

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K - What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz



Landed on:


16. Genre: fantasy - For this one I'm reading The Last Gargoyle by Paul Durham

What the Night Knows - audiobook

What the Night Knows - Dean Koontz

Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned



What year these events transpired is of no consequence.

- first sentence


Overall, this book was just ok. The children were supposed to be brilliant, but never really talked to each other (or their parents) about the supernatural experiences they were having. The father, John Calvino was my favorite character in the book; he was deeply troubled and haunted by the murder of his parents and sisters (and his killing the murderer) that occurred many years ago. However, despite his supposedly close relationship with his wife, he never confided in her about his fears nor she in him about the weird things happening. If any of them had spoken to each other, the power of the "evil" would have been somewhat thwarted. Calvino is a police detective and somehow manages to reveal some of his suspicions to his boss and his partner, but not his wife (not until much later anyway). The time Koontz spent on the partner and his actions seems wasted as he didn't end up playing as big a role as I thought he would.


The story had some holes and some of the descriptions were a bit overdone. But the end was interesting and the idea that one utterance could cause someone to be so haunted that they basically invited evil to follow them was interesting. The audio was well done and I enjoyed listening but I don't really recommend this one.


I read this one for Snakes and Ladders:

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K

Snakes and Ladders Update #1




1. Author is a woman - Grump by Liesl Shurtliff



Landed on:

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K - ooh this fits perfectly with the audiobook I just started: What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz. At 12 hours, 24 minutes, it fits the length requirement. :)

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White & the Seven Dwarves

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves - Liesl Shurtliff

Audience: Middle Grade

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy



I was born just feet from the surface of the earth, completely unheard of for a dwarf, but it couldn't be helped.

- first sentence



The dwarf's name is Borlen and his nickname is Grump. This story is set in the same world as Rump, Jack, and Red and written by the same author, Liesl Shurtliff. I really enjoy this series and I am always happy to see a new book come out. The series takes fairy tale retellings to a new level. The characters are all part of the same larger world and I love the way Shurtliff weaves them all together.


Borlen is obsessed with the surface even though most dwarves are terrified of it. He always feels like a bit of an outsider. When he finally finds himself above ground, his first friend is Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L.). Readers know she is the Evil Queen, but Borlen is fairly naive and thinks she is his friend (his only friend). And so, Borlen gets caught up in the Queen's plot against Snow White.


I loved the characters in this story and the story itself. Grump is so complicated and conflicted but also very clever. At first Snow White seems like a self-centered, spoiled brat, but later we find out she is more complex than that. The crew that Borlen is a part of consists of seven dwarves - of course, one of whom sneezes a lot - go figure.


I highly recommend this book to readers in grades 4 and up, especially fans of fairy tale retellings. I read this as part of the Goodreads HA A-to-Z Challenge and for space #1 in the Snakes and Ladders game (book with a female author).





Part of Your World: A Twisted Tale

Part of Your World  - Liz Braswell

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Hardcover/Owned



What if Ariel hadn't defeated Ursula? Hmmm.... Well, Ursula would be married to Prince Eric and in control of the kingdom. Triton would be gone and Ariel would be the queen of Atlantica. Ariel also wouldn't have a voice. The book opens 5 years after Ursula wins and she has Eric and the kingdom under a sort of hypnosis.


I have a confession: I love fractured fairy tales. I love the way authors take these stories that everyone knows and turn them into something different and in some cases, wildly entertaining. And this was definitely one of those cases. It was fascinating to see how the responsibilities of being queen changed Ariel; she is no longer the flighty young girl who fell in insta-love with a human.


I enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the rest of the Twisted series (A Whole New WorldOnce Upon a Dream, and As Old as Time all by Braswell; and Reflection by Elizabeth Lim).

Currently reading

Mystic River
Dennis Lehane
Greig Beck, Sean Mangan
Progress: 660/901 minutes

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