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

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.

Booklikes-opoly 5/28 roll

Current Bank: $22.00

So, I finished my first book for this game yesterday, but I'm just finally getting around to rolling and it turned out to be more complicated than I thought, but also loads of fun. :)


Moving 8 spaces takes me to the Robot space where I pocket the card and roll again.



Moving 7 spaces takes me to Free Parking. 


Roll 2 dice.
A 2 or a 3, sends you to the robot;
4, 5, or 6, go to the race car;
7,8 or 9, go to the Scottie dog;
10, 11, or 12 takes you to the cat




The 9 takes me to the Scottie Dog where I pocket the card and roll again.




Moving 5 spaces takes me to Space #34






Wow. That was a bit crazy. Anyway, I used my kitty marker to show the spaces I landed on. I now have the Robot card and the Scottie dog card in my pocket in case I need them later. :) And now I'm looking for a time travel or historical fiction book.


The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

The Bridge Home - Padma Venkatraman


Audience: Middle Grade

Format: e-Book/Library copy



Talking to you was always easy, Rukku. But writing's hard.

- opening sentences


This book is written in the form of a letter from Viji to her sister Rukku. In the first couple of chapters, we find out that Viji & Rukku's father is abusive to their mother and mean to Rukku (who is developmentally disabled). But when their father turns his violence on the girls, eleven-year-old Viji decides they have no choice but to run away. She believes it's the only way to protect Rukku from their father. Homeless, Viji & Rukku are alone in a dangerous and uncaring world. Luckily, they find shelter on an abandoned bridge with two young boys and they become a family.


Venkatraman tackles issues of religion, social justice, and the meaning of family as she gives us a glimpse into the heart-wrenching life of India's homeless children. Her writing transported me to the streets of India - it wasn't hard to imagine the smells and the slime of the trash heaps the kids had to wade through. The kids face danger and hardships every day, but amidst their struggle to survive, the four children become a family and find love, support, courage, and hope together.


This is a must-read book that touched my heart, broke it, and put it back together again. 


I read this for the Booklikes-opoly Silk Road railroad space. It has 160 pages making it worth $2.00.

Bring Me Back

Bring Me Back: A Novel - B.A. Paris

Audience: Adult

Format: Hardcover/Owned



We were on our way back from skiing in Megève.

- first sentence


Layla is missing, maybe dead... or is she? That's the central mystery here. It has been more than 10 years since Layla disappeared and now Finn is receiving clues that she is back. But these "clues" might be a trick. Finn is engaged to Layla's sister, Ellen and we aren't sure exactly what part he played in Layla's disappearance. 


Finn's attitude towards women sucks and he isn't very likable. He treats Ellen like crap most of the time and seems ready to drop her for Layla. But I enjoyed the book overall and it kept me guessing.


Different Seasons by Stephen King

Different Seasons - Stephen King


Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned


Overall I gave this book 3.5 stars. I loved The Shawshank Redemption & The Body, but Apt Pupil & The Breathing Method brought the overall score down.



Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption 4.5/5 stars


This is an inspiring story with strongly developed characters and a distinct sense of time. This one of my favorites of King’s novellas. But, and this is quite unusual I know, the movie is just as good, if not better.



I’ve always loved this movie – no matter how many times I watch it. Tim Robbins is the perfect Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman is just amazing. The image of Andy after he crawls out of the sewer pipe, pulling his shirt off in the rain is striking. And of course, the unforgettable phrase, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”


Apt Pupil 2/5 stars


I don’t remember the first time I read this one or how it affected me. But this time, it made my skin crawl. I don’t know if it was because I was listening to the audio or it was just the story. I found this one extremely difficult to get through. I didn’t like any of the characters – though I don’t think we are supposed to like them. But it wasn’t just that I didn’t like them, they disgusted me. I couldn’t bear to listen to it for any length of time and it took me a while to get through it. After I finished, I took a break for 2 days before I could listen to Muller’s voice again.



They made major changes from the book to the movie. Todd was more passive and Dussander was more in control. In the book, Todd is more of a psycho and takes more lethal action against people. I’m guessing they wanted the audience to have someone in the movie that they thought might be redeemable.


The Body 4.5/5 stars


I love this story and the audio version only made it better. It reminded me a bit of the kids in It (but this story has very little action). These kids come from different backgrounds with various degrees of difficulties in their home lives. Gordy barely exists to his parents now that his brother is dead, and the others deal with abusive fathers or violent older brothers. This is a prime example of a coming of age story and King did an excellent job putting the reader inside the mind of a 12-year-old boy. I enjoy the way King wraps this one up and allows Gordy to tell us what happened to each of the four boys.



This is a great movie and follows the book pretty closely. This is one of my favorite movies adapted from King’s books. The young actors all gave amazing performances and the story is very touching.


The Breathing Method 2/5 stars

This one was just okay for me. I didn’t look forward to listening to it, but I didn’t dread it like Apt Pupil either. It was fairly creepy but not in a way that interested me. This story made the least impression on me and I thought it was far outmatched by the others in this book.


I finished this book in March, but I wanted to watch the movies for comparison, so the reviews ended up taking a while. 

Booklikes-opoly 5/20 roll

It has been a busy week. But I managed to find time on Monday to roll the dice. Now I'm finally able to create a post.




Landed on:


I found a book set in India:

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman


This book came out in February and I've been meaning to read it, so that works out. And I was able to borrow a copy from the library - so win-win!



Trench by Steve Alten

The Trench - Steve Alten, Bruce Reizen


Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned




This is book 2 in the Meg series. It was very similar to the first book. Not a bad killer shark story but I still had issues with the way the author characterized the women in the book.


I won't be continuing the series. 

Booklikes-opoly 2019 - the real estate spaces

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader:

Here we go, people!



School's Out for Summer - spaces 1, 3, & 4



The Stay-Cation - spaces 6, 7 & 9



Beach Week - spaces 10, 11 & 13



Mountain Cabin - spaces 15, 16 & 18



At the Lake House - spaces 19, 20 & 22



Summer Blockbuster - spaces 25 & 27



Summer Romance - spaces 28 & 30



European Vacation - spaces 33, 35 & 36







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