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Thursday, May 24, 2018

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor @cjtudor @PRHAudio

TITLE: The Chalk Man
AUTHOR: C.J. Tudor
NARRATOR: Euan Morton
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: January 9, 2018
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 8 hrs and 39 mins
GENRE: Mystery
ISBN: 9780525526384
In 1986, Eddie and his friend are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he's put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank... until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.
MY REVIEW:

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook for voluntary review consideration.

This book has been on my radar ever since I saw Stephen King's tweet recommending this book. I really enjoyed this debut, and I would definitely read more from this author.

The prologue starts off very creepy, with an unnamed person finding a girl's head on a pile of leaves and putting it in a bag that already contained pieces of chalk. The police find the dismembered body of the girl, but not the head.

The story is told from the point of view of Eddie, with the timeline moving from the present day (2016) to the past (1986). One of Eddie's childhood friends comes back into his life after 30 years, and he tells Eddie that he wants to write a book about the tragedy that happened back in 1986 when the kids were 12 years old. They get together one evening at Eddie's house, but his friend never makes it back to the hotel. His body is found in the river.

Tudor unravels the past while simultaneously doling out pieces in the present to connect the two time periods. There is much more going on than first meets the eye, and it seems like every person has a dark side!

Euan Morton is a great narrator, and he made me feel the intensity of Eddie's emotions. He had me caught up in all the drama, and it was a pleasure to listen to him. Here is a sample of the narration:



MY RATING:

4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR if you enjoy mysteries. Thanks again to Penguin Random House Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

#Book #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for The Capture by Kathryn Lasky @KathrynLasky1 @Scholastic @scholasticCDA

TITLE: The Capture
SERIES: Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book #1
AUTHOR: Kathryn Lasky
PUBLISHER: Scholastic, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: August 1, 2010 (first published 2003)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 222 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780545253062
Soren is born in the forest of Tyto, a tranquil kingdom where the Barn Owls dwell. But lurking evil threatens to shatter peace and change the course of his life. Captured for a forbidding canyon orphanage, Soren and his friend Gylfie know that the only way out is up. To escape, they will need to do something they have never done before - fly. With owls Twighlight and Digger, they seek the truth and protect the owl world from unimaginable danger.
,

MY REVIEW:

I'm reading Erin Hunter's Warriors series aloud to my younger daughter, and this is another animal fantasy series that is often recommended as a "readalike."

The main character in this story is a Barn Owl named Soren. While his parents are out hunting one night, Soren "falls" from the nest and is snatched up by another owl and carried off along with other "abandoned" or "orphaned" owlets to a place called St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls or "St. Aggie's" for short. Here, he meets an Elf Owl named Gylfie and the two become friends. The first order of business at St. Aggie's is to "moon blink" the new recruits, which is a process by which they forget who they are and where they came from. Soren and Gylfie find a way to remain unmoonblinked (if that's such a word), and they witness things going on. They know that they must travel to the legendary Great Ga'Hoole Tree to ask for help and to warn them what is happening at St. Aggie's, and the two friends escape. They make friends along the way with two other solitary owls, Digger and Twilight.

I liked the book, though I don't think it can compare to Hunter's Warriors series! However, if you enjoy animal fantasy stories, you will probably enjoy this one. Soren is a very likeable character, and he will make a great hero as the series goes on.

After we read this book, we have watched the 2010 film adaptation, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. It appears that this film is an overview of the entire series so, unfortunately, we know how the rest of the series will play out but we really enjoyed it. My daughter initially said that she wasn't sure whether she wanted to continue the series but, after watching the movie, she decided that she wanted to read more and we are currently reading the second book in the series, The Journey.

MY RATING:

3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it!

This book qualifies as:

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White @kierstenwhite @DelacortePress

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tessa @ Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. Find out more here.


Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

AUTHOR: Kiersten White
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: September 25 , 2018
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Historical, Retellings
ISBN: 9780525577942
Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

I was pretty underwhelmed when I read Shelley's Frankenstein last year, but I really enjoyed Suzanne Weyn's Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters! I'm hoping that I enjoy this one just as much.


What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bout of Books 22 Read-a-Thon: Wrap-up Post #boutofbooks

This is my Wrap-up Post for the Bout of Books 22 Read-a-Thon!

I finished two audiobooks this time around:



by Shari Lapena
[on my iPod]

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
[on my iPod]


I'm Still Reading:

The Deep
by Nick Cutter


Wherever I Find Myself: Stories by Canadian Immigrant Women
editd by Miriam Matejova


Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life
by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend


Blessed in the Darkness: How All Things Are Working For Your Good
by Joel Osteen


A Dangerous Path
by Erin Hunter
(Warriors, Book #5)
[read-aloud to my daughter]


The Journey
by Kathryn Lasky
(Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book #2)
[read-aloud to my daughter]


I loved participating in the daily challenges on Twitter. I only missed the last two because they were on the weekend and I was trying to stay off the computer:




































Here was the one update that I posted on Twitter:



Thanks again to Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal for hosting! I'm looking forward to Bout of Books 23 in August!

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Comparisons - Yeah or Nay?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings. Each week, they post a new question. Everyone is welcome to join!

Are you more/less inclined to read books that are compared to other popular books or authors?

Yes and no.

On the one hand, when a book is described as being "the next Harry Potter" or some other ridiculous comparison, I think it's a set-up for failure! I mean, really?! What can even compare to Harry Potter?? Anything compared to something so legendary is never going to be as good as the real deal so. I don't want something that's a weak imitation of Harry Potter. So, comparisons to other popular books makes me cringe slightly.

However, I actually do like when author comparisons are made, for example: "For fans of Gillian Flynn." I see this most often on debut novels or lesser known works. Seeing this does catch my eye and makes me pick up a book that I would ordinarily pass by because I'm not familiar with the author. When I see an author comparison like that and I do like the author, I'm definitely more inclined to pick it up. I do this a lot with library books.


What are your thoughts? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.


I'm reading: 

Something from my dusty bookshelf. Bonus that he's a Canadian author. I enjoyed Cutter's The Troop, and I hope I enjoy this one just as much!

TITLE: The Deep
AUTHOR: Nick Cutter
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Canada
PUBLICATION DATE: January 13, 2015
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 400 pages
GENRE: Horror, Science Fiction
ISBN: 9781501101519
From the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down.…old-school horror at its best”—comes this utterly terrifying novel where The Abyss meets The Shining.

A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.

Part horror, part psychological nightmare, The Deep is a novel that fans of Stephen King and Clive Barker won’t want to miss—especially if you’re afraid of the dark.

Not only am I a first generation Canadian, but immigration is my profession. 

PUBLISHER: Caitlin Press
PUBLICATION DATE: February 7, 2017
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 216 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781987915341
Edited by Miriam Matejova, Wherever I Find Myself is a diverse collection of stories about the joys and struggles of immigrant women living in Canada. Often bringing with them the shadow of war and the guilt of leaving, the women in this new anthology expose their emotional pain but also their gratitude for being able to call Canada home. Their stories paint touching and charming portraits of cultural and linguistic misunderstandings, bureaucratic hurdles, attempts to navigate unfamiliar landscapes, and a desire to be accepted despite differences in accent, skin colour, or taste in food. Together they form a mosaic of emotions and world-views that underline the immigrant condition for women.

A yellow dress with ruffles, a kind Grade 1 teacher with a surname that’s difficult to spell, cockroaches in the bathroom, the contempt of strangers, and Whitney Houston on the radio–a Filipino woman recalls her experience as a six-year-old immigrant in a ghetto in Mississauga in the 80s. Browsing through a Polish fashion magazine at a European deli, a woman sees herself in an alternative universe of what her life might have been had she never immigrated to Canada. A same-sex couple moves from Minnesota to Ontario to find refuge for their love, but first they must drive a seventeen-foot truck through a blizzard and make it through the frustrating net of Canadian bureaucracy. In search of her origins, a Jewish woman travels to her birthplace in Passau, Germany. There, among rows of European picturesque houses and foreign tombstones of a Jewish cemetery, she finds no memories, only the shadow of Hitler and the ghosts of her parents.

Through these stories of courage, aloneness, and hope, new and established writers reach out to both immigrants and those whose families long ago ceased to identify with the immigrant label. Through their struggles and, at times, endearingly critical looks at Canada, they remind us that many of our perceived divisions are nothing but artificial creations of mind and that all of us are past, current, or potential immigrants.

I completed a nine-week course with a group of people, which featured DVD Study sessions and a Participant Guide with study questions (homework!) for discussion each week. The book is a lot to digest, and I'm still reading it in chunks.

TITLE: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
PUBLISHER: Zondervan
PUBLICATION DATE: November 2, 1992
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 314 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction, Psychology, Self-Help
ISBN: 9780310585909
Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances -- Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions -- Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others -- Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator -- Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: - Can I set limits and still be a loving person? - What are legitimate boundaries? - What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? - How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? - Aren't boundaries selfish? - Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries? Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Something from the library. I really enjoy this author, and I find him to be very inspirational!

AUTHOR: Joel Osteen
PUBLISHER: FaithWords
PUBLICATION DATE: October 24, 2017
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781455534326
The same God that leads you through green pastures guides you through the valleys. #1 New York Times bestselling author Joel Osteen shares how God uses the darkness in life for good.

All of us at some time encounter dark places that we don't understand: a loss, a sickness, a divorce, a child who breaks our heart. It's easy to get discouraged, give up on our dreams, and just settle there. We may not realize it, but when we feel buried in dark places, we are being blessed. God is using those experiences to help us grow, because we cannot reach our highest potential if we're standing in the light all the time. With Blessed in the Darkness, you will learn how to draw closer to God and trust Him when life doesn't make sense.

If we will go through the valley trusting, believing, and knowing that God is still in control, then we will come to the table that is already prepared for us, where our cup runs over.

Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter. We are loving this series! It just gets better and better!

TITLE: A Dangerous Path
SERIES: Warriors, Book #5
AUTHOR: Erin Hunter
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
PUBLICATION DATE: March 17, 2015 (first published 2004)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 368 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780062367006
Join the legion of fans who have made Erin Hunter's Warriors series a #1 national bestseller--with new editions featuring a striking new look! More thrilling fantasy, fierce warrior cats, and epic adventures await in Warriors #5: A Dangerous Path.

ShadowClan has chosen Tigerclaw as their new leader, and Fireheart fears that this old enemy still harbors dark plans for vengeance on his former Clan. A mysterious threat has invaded the forest, placing every cat's life in peril. And Fireheart's beloved leader has turned her back on their warrior ancestors. Fireheart can't help but wonder if she's right--has StarClan abandoned them forever?

Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter.


TITLE: The Journey
SERIES: Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book #2
AUTHOR: Kathryn Lasky
PUBLISHER: Scholastic, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: September 1, 2003 
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 242 pages
GENRE: Young Adult
ISBN: 9780439405584
It began as a dream. A quest for the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, a mythical place where each night an order of owls rises to perform noble deeds. There Soren, Gylfie, Twilight, and Digger hope to find inspiration to fight the evil that dwells in the owl kingdom.

The journey is long and harrowing. When Soren and his friends finally arrive at the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, they will be tested in ways they never dreamed and face challenges they never imagined. If they can learn from their leaders and from one another, they will soon become true Ga'hoolian owls-honest and brave, wise and true.

I'm listening to:

Something from my Audible library. And bonus that she's a Canadian author!

AUTHOR: Chevy Stevens
NARRATORS: Rachel Fulginiti and Caitlin Davies
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: March 14, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 11 hrs and 56 mins
GENRE: Mystery
ISBN: 9781504720120
A stunning and thrilling novel from New York Times bestselling author Chevy Stevens. The author of Still Missing targets her readers with a novel that hits all the notes they have come to expect from her--and ratchets up the stakes even more. Lindsey Nash is starting over with her new life after leaving her abusive ex-husband who was sent to jail. She has her own business and is raising her teenage daughter who needs her now more than ever.When her husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties. There is no way he can ever find her and her daughter again. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded. Even her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it's her ex-husband, even though he claims he is a different person and doesn't want to do her any harm. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead even closer to home than she thought?

I just finished:


AUTHOR: Shari Lapena
NARRATOR: Tavia Gilbert
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: August 15, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 8 hrs and 52 mins
GENRE: Mystery
ISBN: 9780525498544
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops--from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door.

He looks at her, concerned. "How do you feel?" She wants to say, Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, "Glad to be home."

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy--they've got a lovely home in upstate New York, they're practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished--her car's gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse--complete with phone and ID--behind.

There's a knock on the door--the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she's mostly okay--except that she can't remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something's been moved. Something's not quite right. Someone's been in her house. And the police won't stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone's a stranger. Everyone has something they'd rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.
AUTHOR: Stephen Chbosky
PUBLISHER: Recorded Books
PUBLICATION DATE: August 28, 2012 (first published 1999)
FORMAT: Unabridged Audiobook
LENGTH: 6 hrs 18 mins
GENRE: Young Adult. Contemporary
ISBN: 9781470330590
Most people think 15-year-old Charlie is a freak. But then seniors Patrick and his beautiful stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to their eclectic, open-minded, hard-partying friends. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives or to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and music—when all one requires to feel infinite is that perfect song on that perfect drive.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments and, if you are also participating in this meme, leave me a link to your blog post so that I can stop by!
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