Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Horror

The Running Man – audiobook

Review:

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.

Original post:
readingismyescape.booklikes.com/post/1856102/the-running-man-audiobook

Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Middle Grade

The Last Gargoyle

Review:

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. 🙂

Original post:
readingismyescape.booklikes.com/post/1855140/the-last-gargoyle

Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Crime

Killer by Nature – Audible Original

Review:

Killer by Nature - Jan Smith

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.

Original post:
readingismyescape.booklikes.com/post/1853605/killer-by-nature-audible-original

Posted in Adult, book games, Book Review, Booklikes, Fantasy

What the Night Knows – audiobook

Review:

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

Original post:
readingismyescape.booklikes.com/post/1853446/what-the-night-knows-audiobook

Posted in Book Review, Fairy tale retelling, Grades 4-6, Grades 6-8

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

Review:

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).

Original post:
readingismyescape.booklikes.com/post/1849616/grump-the-fairly-true-tale-of-snow-white-the-seven-dwarves

Posted in Book Review, Fairy tale retelling, Young Adult

Part of Your World: A Twisted Tale

Review:

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 World, Once Upon a Dream, and As Old as Time all by Braswell; and Reflection by Elizabeth Lim).

Original post:
readingismyescape.booklikes.com/post/1849612/part-of-your-world-a-twisted-tale

Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Sci-Fi

The Boy on the Bridge

Review:

The Boy on the Bridge - M.R. Carey

Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook/Owned

The bucks have all been passed and the arguments thrashed out until they don’t even bleed anymore.
– first sentence

This book is a prequel set in the same world as The Girl With all the Gifts. A group of soldiers and scientists are traveling in the Rosalind Franklin (an armored motor home set up as a mobile research station); their mission is to find data that might lead to a cure for the Hungry plague. In addition to the soldiers and scientists, there’s a teenage boy genius, Stephen who seems to be on the autistic spectrum. He developed the e-blocker that keeps the hungries from smelling humans in both this book and GWATG.

If you haven’t read Girl With all the Gifts, you should definitely read it first. This book isn’t quite as good but I still enjoyed it. The scope of this book is much smaller than GWATG, and we already know some of the information that this team is gradually discovering. But it was interesting to see what happened to leave the Rosalind FrankIin where the team in GWATG will eventually find it. I loved listening to the audio because of the narrator’s British (?) accent which fits in perfectly with the story.

The epilogue was a bit jarring. I don’t want to give anything away, I just didn’t get why Carey would go there with the ending.

Original post:
readingismyescape.booklikes.com/post/1848572/the-boy-on-the-bridge-audiobook

Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Horror, Sci-Fi

Alien: Cold Forge

Review:

Alien: The Cold Forge - Alex White, Michael Braun

Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook/Owned

Dorian Sudler knows he shouldn’t smoke.
– first sentence

This is a dark story, but that isn’t different from the other alien stories. It focuses on corporate and human greed and the evil greed creates. Weyland-Yutani had a backup plan if Hadley’s Hope (Aliens) didn’t give them the specimen they craved. They created an isolated scientific research station called The Cold Forge and transported eggs there to be stored for future research. Blue is a scientist who suffers from a debilitating genetic disease but she is also a genetic researcher. Her condition has declined to the point where she is bedridden, but she is able to function by transferring her consciousness into an android body (Marcus). Blue and the other researchers are using chimps to gestate the aliens from the eggs and produce xenomorphs. Dorian is a Weyland-Yutani hatchet man whose job is to find ways to save the company money. He is at the Cold Forge to figure out why the scientists haven’t produced results yet.

Dorian is a despicable character that you will enjoy hating. I spent most of the book hoping he would die, and die painfully. Marcus is an interesting character who manages to generate sympathy despite being an android. I understand Blue’s need to find a cure, but she doesn’t care who or what she hurts to do it. She isn’t exactly likable, and I often questioned her decisions.

The book is well-written and the characters are fully developed though not all are likable. The threat of the aliens is constantly there, but the characters (as usual) don’t see it. The reader, on the other hand, is waiting for them to escape and kill everyone. The book brings up the question of animal suffering for the sake of research, and even questions whether it’s ok to cage the aliens and cause their suffering.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it to fans of the Alien universe.

Original post:
readingismyescape.booklikes.com/post/1848554/alien-cold-forge-audiobook

Posted in Book Review, Grades 4-6, Grades 6-8

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Review:

Audience: Grades 4-8
Format: Graphic Novel – Library Copy

Priyanka! Watch out for that tree!
– first sentence

Priyanka (Pri) has a lot of questions. Why did her mother leave India for the U.S.? What was it like there? Who is her father and what happened to him? But her mother doesn’t want to answer any of these questions. Pri is dealing with typical teen issues, learning to drive, dealing with bullies, and trying to figure out who she is. She finds a pashmina in a suitcase in the closet and it transports her to India in her imagination. This only fuels her desire to travel to India, but will her mom let her go?

I enjoyed this book. Pri is a multi-dimensional character – she has flaws but is still relatable. She is trying to figure out her identity while trying to fit into two different worlds. Her journey of self-discovery is heartwarming and her determination is inspiring.

The magical element to the story adds another dimension. The panels are black and white until Pri puts on the pashmina when they become full of color. Indian culture is woven through the story beautifully.

I highly recommend this book and it would be a great addition to any library serving elementary or middle school children.

Original post:
readingismyescape.booklikes.com/post/1846103/pashmina-by-nidhi-chanani

Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Grades 3-5, Sunshine State 2018-19

Zoey & Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows

Review:

Audience: Grades 1-5
Format: Hardcover – Library Copy

“What is it, Sassafras?” I crouched down and ruffled my cat’s fluffy fur.
– first sentence

This book is a fabulous early chapter book. Zoey and her cat Sassafras both love bugs and science and when Zoey discovers that her mom secretly takes care of magical creatures, she is eager to help. Zoey, a budding scientist, wears her thinking goggles on her head when she needs to concentrate. And when she finds a baby dragon, she uses the scientific method to determine how to help him.

So, not only is this book fun, but it also explains the scientific method (including a glossary at the end). It is much more meaningful than I thought it would be. With a strong female lead who happens to be African American, and all the science thrown in, it goes above and beyond what you expect from an early chapter book. The entire series is a must-have for any elementary library collection.

Highly recommended.

Original post:
readingismyescape.booklikes.com/post/1845790/zoey-sassafras-dragons-and-marshmallows