Mini review: The Chamber of Secrets

Whoops. I thought I had set this to publish on the 8th, but apparently I only hit save. UGH. Sorry. Here are my thoughts on my reread of Chamber of Secrets!

Oh how I love Chamber of Secrets.
Chamber of Secrets is one of my favorite rereads. I didn't love it as much early on and in my early rereads, but now that I'm on my double digit reread of it, I have grown to appreciate it more. The introduction of Tom Riddle is one of my favorite parts in the series. I love the glimpse we get into the history of Voldemort.... and knowing the deeper history thanks to reading the series makes the introduction of Riddle that much better.
The concept of the Chamber is unique and intriguing. I love the fact that Harry can talk to snakes finally comes into play. It clicks in year 2. The diary is terrifying and brings the darker magic into Hogwarts. However, the charm and wit that Dobby brings to the table is the BEST. I absolutely fell in love with him and think he brought so much to the story. Dobby also gives us a little insight into the life of house elves, which sets the stage for future books. Lockhart is also a really fun character, especially his time in the Chamber.
The last bit that I truly love is the important role that Fawkes plays in this book. I have always really liked the mythology behind the phoenix, and LOVE that those pieces were brought into Harry Potter.

Overall, The Chamber of Secrets is one of the books that really appealed to me and one that I truly enjoyed. It seemed to help me get into the series when I was younger and first reading them - because once I made it through Sorcerer's Stone, I was interested in what could possibly come next... it was the ability of Rowling to add twists, turns, and surprises that kept me glued to the series.

To check out more thoughts on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, head over to the Harry Potter (re)Readathon

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Mini Review: The Weight of Blood

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
Spiegel & Grau // March 11, 2014
hardcover, 320 pgs
ISBN: 978-0812995206
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy’s family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family’s influence, Lucy—darkly beautiful as her mother was—is always thought of by those around her as her mother’s daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls—the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save—and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.
What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills, and beyond that horrific revelation is a more personal one concerning what happened to her mother more than a decade earlier.

My (shortened) thoughts:
The Weight of Blood is an interesting novel told through multiple voices, which enhanced the deep storytelling. This novel was one I got on a whim from Netgalley and wound up loving. The characters were easy to listen to and the plot was quickly engaging. The mysterious disappearance of two women from the same town, but years apart, drew me in as something I needed to solve. As family ties became evident, the story grew even more page turning. It was interesting and sickening at the same time. While reading I felt twinges of hate, disgust, fear, and guilt. The fact that this book was able to pull those emotions to the surface but not be repulsive is commendable. This book is well written and well worth reading!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Image from Netgalley, book synopsis from Amazon.com


Mini Review : We Are the Goldens

We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Wendy Lamb Books // May 27, 2014
hardcover, 208 pgs
ISBN: 978-0385742573
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
Nell worships her older sister, Layla. They're one unit, intertwined: Nellayla. As Nell and her best friend, Felix, start their freshman year in high school, on Layla's turf, there's so much Nell looks forward to: Joining Layla on the varsity soccer team. Parties. Boys. Adventures.
   But the year takes a very different turn.
   Layla is changing, withdrawing. She's hiding something, and when Nell discovers what it is, and the consequences it might have, she struggles. She wants to support Layla, to be her confidante, to be the good sister she's always been. But with so much at stake, what secrets should she keep? What lies should she tell?

My (shortened) thoughts
I have mixed feelings about this one. It is a fast paced read, but it is also sloppy. The writing is messy, and I get that it needs to be, since it's narration is a letter written by a high school freshman... but, I think it still could have been better. I quickly was annoyed with Nell's ramblings, but I HAD to know what was going on, so I pressed on. I honestly don't think another point of view our different narration would be better, I think it just needs some cleaning around the edges.  This was a really quick read and a serious page turner. I had a few hunches, one was right, one I'll never know the answer to. Even though I guessed at some of the plot, I still enjoyed the read- knowing what was coming didn't make it any less shocking or meaningful.  My other issue was that ending. I mean,  OMG. I literally sat up on bed and yelled "what?!" at that. Talk about a cliffhanger, and (maybe?) a set up.  Overall, a good book. Quick read, interesting concept, and full of drama.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Image from Netgalley, book synopsis from Amazon.com


Giving Tuesday!

Black Friday... Cyber Monday... Giving Tuesday...

This year, Quirk Books and Powells  are teaming up with Andrew Knapp to give to Farm Sanctuary (in the US) and Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force (in Canada)!!

For every purchase of Find Momo (a great book - you can find my review here) at Powells.com, Quirk Books will donate $1 and Andrew Knapp will donate his royalties to Farm Sanctuary. In Canada, donations will go to Alberta Spay and Neuter Task Force when you buy through McNallyRobinson.com

Farm Sanctuary's mission is "to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living." They have 3 farm sanctuaries - one here in upstate NY (Watkin's Glenn, just a hop skip and a jump from me) and two in California (Northern and Southern). Visitors are always welcome too!

Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force is "a volunteer driven registered charity that provides care to companion animals living in First Nation communities as well as other municipalities in order to assist with community safety and improve the health and well-being of the dogs and cats living in these communities. Our team of licensed veterinarians, Animal Heath Technicians and general volunteers provides compassionate care and guidance. The Task Force also offers outreach programs to children and community policy makers." 

You can learn more about Find Momo and Giving Tuesday by visiting the Giving Tuesday site dedicated to Find Momo.

Find Momo is a GREAT book and will make a great gift this holiday season! For the dog lover and Where's Waldo fans in your life, this would be a wonderful book to unwrap. Think about buying it today so you purchase helps to make a difference in the lives of animals!

So SHARE this page and blast it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr... just get this information out there!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Mini review : Above

Gallery Books // March 4, 2014
hardcover, 384 pgs
ISBN: 978-1476731520
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Deter­mined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give mean­ing to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promis­ing and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.

My (short) thoughts
The idea was neat, but it was much too similar to ROOM to really stand alone. I think that it could have been really great if the first half of the book "below" was more unique. The second half "above" was a much more unique story and interesting. I was excited about the second half and finding out what happened to the world above. Overall, not my favorite read and not one I would go back to again. I would recommend this to someone looking for a book that is similar to ROOM or looking for a doomsday read.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Image from Netgalley, book synopsis from Amazon


Thankfully Reading Wrap Up

It's Monday, that meas break is over, back to the grind, and time to wrap up my Thankfully Reading Weekend.
This year, I didn't set any goals because I knew I would have a very busy weekend, so my plan was just to read when I could.

I was able to finish 2 books over the weekend in between all the family fun and snow activities!

I read Above by Isla Morley and reread The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Bear and I went and saw Mockingjay on the 22nd... it was so good that I felt like I needed to reread the series again. I figured the Thankfully Reading Weekend would be the best time to start rereading the books.
I finished up Above first, which I hard started prior to the readathon weekend, then dove in to  rereading The Hunger Games. It was as good this time as it was the first time around!

I wish I had been able to devote more time to reading this weekend, but I am still happy with finishing up a book and rereading The Hunger Games. I also wish I had more time to interact - I still suck at that.

Overall, even with a lack of reading, this was a great weekend to be thankful - for family, friends, good food, good books, and lots of snow.

Hope everyone had fun and enjoyed their holidays!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow



This is so true. Giving and spreading kindness is one of the best parts of living, and until you do it, you will never fully grasp the meaning of that statement. It is true, you wake up and really live when you give without expectation.

Barrett and I have always been big on giving back when we can and helping others. We give locally a lot, but do support a few national & international charities as well... and not only for charities, but just for people in general. We're those people who buy the extra sandwich to give to the guy on the street. And we do it because we can and because we should. I think about gratitude - I have things right now, but maybe one day I won't and I would be looking to the help and charity of others. That is why we give. Everyone needs a helping hand. And, just because it is the right thing to do. We do it whenever we can - even if it is something small.

We do this often and we do it without expectations. We also do it without looking for praise or pats on the back for giving. We do a lot, and we don't talk about it. I don't often share what we do for that reason - I'm not looking for the praise or for someone to say "wow, how thoughtful of you!". Sometimes I share these things on Instagram with a picture or two, mainly because I am a picture junkie and IG is my digital scrapbook. Sometimes I hope it inspires others to do the same. Like when we made care packages for the Wounded Warrior Project... I posted pictures and hoped that it would inspire someone else to do the same.

What inspired me to write this post is that everywhere on my news feed I am seeing gratitude posts and posts about kindness and giving... so in keeping with that theme, I wanted to put this out there. I  am writing this because I hope someone, somewhere, will read this and think about not just saying how grateful they are, but will think about lending a hand where they can.

Gratitude is powerful when you let it really sink in. Let me share with you a incredibly moving moment for me...
About a year ago I was in line behind a woman who couldn't afford the $70 worth of prescriptions for her husband. She walked away and I paid for them along with my own, then had them page her back to the pharmacy. As I was leaving, the pharmacist told her what I did and she came to me in tears. She went on to tell me that a few nights ago they had lost their home to a fire - everything except the clothes on their backs (I remember reading about it in the news) and how she couldn't afford the medications because she had bought food first, and the insurance money had yet to come in and they had to pay for their hotel and clothing and basic necessities. I remember hugging her and wishing her the best. I don't know where she is now, or what happened to her and her family, but I still think about that moment often. As I type this, I have tears just thinking about it - I went home that day and thanked my lucky stars for all I had. It reminded me how fragile life is. Be thankful for all you have - life can change in a minute.
I like the feeling of giving. I like how it makes me feel inside. I do it often because it makes me feel good and it helps someone out. Sometimes it just makes another person smile - but maybe, that is exactly what they need at that moment. Your kindness could be the defining moment that changes someone path for the better.

I also do it and talk about it around Madeline as often as I can. I want her to grow up with a thankful and giving heart (which she does have!) and I want her to experience the joy in giving. She loves it. I'm also big about teaching kindness and giving to my middle school students. Working with at-risk youth, they have experienced a lot of hurt in their lives - I want them to see the good in their lives and to share with others to let them experience that feeling of giving. Every single kid has expressed how it made them feel good.

One giving tradition we have as a family is to buy an entire Thanksgiving meal and donate it to the local food drive specifically set up for Thanksgiving dinners. This is one of our favorite things to do every year. We make a big deal out of it and do a full shopping trip just for the food drive, which has fostered a love of giving for Madeline - she really truly enjoys it. We get a turkey and all the fixings, and add little extras. This is one of those things I always take pictures of, because it is a yearly tradition.
Turkey and the fixings! Brownies, scalloped potatoes, mac & cheese (cause sometimes, kids hate turkey), cranberry sauce, veggies, fruits, gravy, spices, pickles & olives (relish tray!), yams, stuffing, coffee, and hot cocoa.
Maddie handing over the turkey to Lori (from our local radio station)
Maddie on the radio station FB page donating the turkey.

So, my hope in sharing all this with you is that I inspired you to help. Someway, somehow. Donate food, buy a coat for a coat drive, make a care package for our soldiers, write a letter to a nurse, bring Thanksgiving dinner to those who work to keep our communities safe and don't get to have a day off, donate blood, round off that bill to donate to St Jude's.... whatever you can do to help others. Trust me - you are going to love the way you feel.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Thankfully Reading Weekend!

Can you believe that it is almost Thanksgiving!? Where on earth did the month of November go? I feel like we were just celebrating Halloween. This time of year always flies by and I always get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that before I know it, the new year is upon us.

Thanksgiving is a busy time for us, more so than Christmas, actually. Our schedule with Madeline's mom allows us to spend Thanksgiving with her, but this year it will only be for part of the day. Unfortunately, Barrett works Thanksgiving and goes in at 12:30, so Madeline will be going back to her mother's house and will not be coming to Thanksgiving with my family, which is where the 3 of us normally spend it. We had planned to visit both Bear's family and my family, but that didn't work out. It's unfortunate the way it did work out this year, but I am grateful we get to spend the morning with her and she will be at our home for the rest of the weekend. Much of my family will still be in town, so on Friday we will be able to get together (thank goodness Bear has Friday's off!!) and have a second Thanksgiving - and avoid anything relating to that awful Black Friday nonsense!

With this being a pretty busy time of the year for me, I am signing up for Jenn's annual Thankfully Reading Weekend with the intention of just reading what I can. I'm not going to create a book stack or set goals for myself, because I know I won't be able to meet them. This is going to be a relaxed reading weekend for me, mostly at night because our days will be busy. I'm also thinking of incorporating Wednesday into my reading weekend (unofficially) because I have the day off and will have a quiet house.

For those of you who don't know... here are the rules:
Rules? There are none! Our goal is just to devote a good amount of time to reading during this holiday weekend. Thankfully Reading runs from Thursday, November 27th to Sunday, November 30th and you can sign up by adding your linky to Jenn's opening post. We're also using the hashtag #thankfullyreading for all your twitter and instagram sharing pleasures. Join in the fun and sign up today!

So, what are your Thanksgiving plans this year? Will you be avoiding the crowds on Black Friday and reading instead?

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Sorcerer's Stone collection

I'm obsessed.
There, I said it.
Everyone who knows me, knows I an a HUGE Potterhead.
So, naturally, I had to join the rereadathon.

I finished The Sorcerer's Stone reread last night - marking the 13th time I have read it! (yes- really!) On the inside cover of my paperback copy, I write the dates I have read the book. The first 5 dates are only years because that was before I wrote specifics. I started to add months when I started reading it more than once in a year.

Now, here is a sad revelation as a Potterhead... I must admit, I was one of those people who didn't get hooked right away.
I read The Sorcerer's Stone back in '99 and didn't really care for it. It didn't hook me and make me salivate for more, like it did most first time readers. At that time in my life, I was 14 and completely obsessed with RL Stein and Stephen King. I devoured both authors regularly, so I think the switch to the magical world just didn't go over well for me. I didn't pick up the series again until the end of high school in 2003. That was when I found a love for the series, and the rest is history.

Sorcerer's Stone is where the magic begins, and every time I sit down to read it, I feel like I fall in love with it all over again. Even though I have read it 13 times, this time was just as magical as the 2nd (because, like I said earlier, that 1st time wasn't highly magical for me). My love and obsession for all things Harry Potter has grown over the years, and what started as just a love for the books has grown into a love for the entire empire.
It started with rereading the series. As I read them again and again, I was constantly finding new things.... things I had not noticed before, things that were surprising, tiny details that hinted at the future, details that tied it all together... the thought that was put into the series is what kept me coming back for more. And more... and more.
As the years wore on, my collection grew too. I started grabbing books, memorabilia, tshirts, and really anything Harry Potter related. I have tons to show, but today I will just share my copies of the Sorcerer's Stone.
My 2nd copy of the book - I donated my very first set to my classroom when I first started teaching.
The beautiful updated version that came out this year
The mass market "for schools only" edition
My crowning jewel - the leather bound collectors edition
I also have the ebook editions, which is actually what I read from this time. I plan to read this entire rereadathon on the Kindle so I can highlight and make notes while reading, which I have never done before.

I love to collect, so of course I would love to get more versions of all of the books, but especially the 10th anniversary edition of The Sorcerer's Stone with the Mirror of Erised cover.

So everyone - what versions do you have and which one did you read from this time? Have any of you listened to the audio books? (they're awesome, btw!)

Can't wait to browse all your posts and hear what you all thought of The Sorcerer's Stone this time around!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Harry Potter re-read!

What's that you say? A Harry Potter re-readalong?! Count me in - obviously

Sheila over at Book Journey is calling all the Potterheads looking for a reason (like we need one!) to re-read the Harry Potter series. She's hosting a winter re-readalong of the Harry Potter series.
Join in the fun: comment for house points, win prizes, chat with fellow Potterheads, introduce HP to some newbies, and enjoy the series all over again!
Even though I just re-read the series early this year, I have to join in the fun. I can never resist a re-read of Harry Potter and it is a lot more fun with others to discuss it.

Get sorted and post your house and your year and join in the festivities!

I've been sorted into Ravenclaw (both by Pottermore and this quiz, as well as pretty much every other sorting quiz I've ever taken)

You can join as a first year (never read or only read Sorcerer's Stone) all the way up to the seventh year (read them all)
I'm a seventh year, since I've read all the books before- literally a dozen times

The readalong will last 5 months and the tentative schedule is as follows:

* Nov 1 – Nov. 16 – The Sorcerer’s Stone
* Nov 17 – Dec. 6th – Chamber Of Secrets
* Dec. 7 – Dec. 29th –  The Prisoner Of Azkaban
* Dec 30th – Jan 20th – The Goblet Of Fire
* Jan. 21st – Feb 13th – Order Of The Phoenix
* Feb. 14th – March 7th – The Half Blood Prince
* March 8th – March 31st – The Deathly Hallows

Hope you'll be joining us on this magical journey!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


NEW Harry Potter!

Be still my little geeky heart.

Last month, I preordered The Creature Vault and it arrived yesterday (on it's release date!) at my doorstep. Thank you Amazon!

It is heavy and beautiful and masterfully crafted.

Similar to Film Wizardry - but with a focus on the creatures and plants in the Harry Potter movies. I've read about 1/2 of it so far, and I love it. I've learned so much and the images contained within are stunning.

Expect a full review with pictures of this beauty over the weekend!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


The Fever is an engaging and mysterious read...

The Fever is a timely thriller about a mysterious contagion that spreads to the girls of Dryden high.

The Fever by Megan Abbott
Little, Brown and Company // June 17, 2014
hardcover, 320 pgs
ISBN: 9780316231053
source: egalley from publisher through Netgalley

About the book:
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.
The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

My thoughts:
A mysterious tale of a sudden contagious epidemic keeps this book moving fast. The Fever was a quick read and one I could have read in an evening (ya know, if life didn't get in the way of my reading time). Fast paced and mysterious, this novel is perfectly timed with the current mass hysteria over Ebola in the US.  What exactly is causing the girls of Dryden to get sick with seizures, convulsions, vomiting, and hallucinations?  Is it the HPV vaccine all the girls got? Maybe it's the polluted lake that's making them sick. Or is something more sinister at play?
The quest for answers kept me turning the pages of this novel. I wanted answers as badly as the parents of these afflicted girls. And why, exactly, is Deenie caught in the middle? I just wanted to know!!!
In addition to the fast moving plot, I liked the characters. The girls were all different, but shared commonalities enough to make us question what was happening- and why. They were different enough to be unique but similar enough to seem like any girl you'd meet in a local high school cafeteria. I think that helped make this novel relevant.  The entire idea behind this book was impressive- the outbreak and what comes after. The hysteria was accurately depicted and twists and turns kept me guessing.  Overall, I really liked this one and would definitely recommend it.... especially with all the current hysteria in the media right now.

About the author:
Megan Abbott is the Edgar award-winning author of six novels, including Dare Me, The End of Everything and Bury Me Deep. Her writing has appeared in Detroit Noir, Queens Noir, Phoenix Noir, New York Times and Los Angeles Times Magazine. She is the author of The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Fiction and Film Noir and editor of A Hell of a Woman, a female crime fiction anthology. She has been nominated for awards including the Steel Dagger, the LA Times Book Prize and the Pushcart Prize. Currently, she is working on the screenplay for her novel, Dare Me, soon to be a major motion picture.
Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English Literature and went on to receive her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University. She lives in Queens, New York City.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Cover image from Netgalley.com
Book and author information from Amazon.com


Press Play is an incredible and intense read!

WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind after reading Eric Devine's latest YA novel- Press Play.

Press Play by Eric Devine
Running Press // October 28, 2014
paperback, 368 pgs
ISBN: 978-0762455126
source: ARC from the publisher

About the book:
Pound by sweaty pound, Greg Dunsmore’s plan is working. Greg is steadily losing weight while gaining the material he needs to make the documentary that will get him into film school and away from the constant jeers of “Dun the Tun.”
But when Greg captures footage of brutal and bloody hazing by his town’s championship-winning lacrosse team, he knows he has evidence that could damage as much as it could save. And if the harm is to himself and his future, is revealing the truth worth the cost?

My thoughts:
It's been awhile since I read a book in a mere 24 hours. Press Play is one of those incredible page-turning stories that you just have to finish as quickly as possible. I had the luxury of camping over the long weekend and was able to spend a fair amount of time reading - I brought Press Play with me, knowing that I like Eric Devine and because this just sounded like a really good read.
I am SO glad I did.
I finished this book within 24 hours and it was one of those novels where when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it.
The 4 main characters were superbly developed - even though I can't say that I connected directly with their struggles, I can say that I understood them. They were so real. I could absolutely feel the anger and pain that flowed from Greg, the humiliation Ollie felt, the anger and deeply hidden secrets of Ella, and the fear within Quinn. Each member of this quartet was exposed to the reader, allowing us to really understand them and their experiences.
The story isn't your typical high school YA novel. It isn't filled with romance or vampires or your typical drama. Press Play is filled with emotion. It is a tale about the hazards of sports, cliques, unhealthy lifestyles, lying, and hazing. It is also about the truth... how it can set you free, save your ass, and keep you sane.
The overall idea of Greg catching video of how cruel the lax bros are (and many of the cliques in general) is heartbreaking. It is terrible because it is true. I cannot imagine being in high school now - I was lucky that in school I was a social butterfly and got along with pretty much every clique. My only bad experience was that I was damn good at sports and had a gaggle of older girls (that I beat in a gym class game) try to heckle me. I kept my head down, ignored them, still kicked ass in gym, and carried on - they eventually got bored. However, I do know a lot of people who had terrible high school experiences. Now, with the addition of social media, I cannot even imagine how quickly bullying can escalate. Press Play gives us a glimpse into how dangerous High School really can be.

Press Play has a great message and I am really impressed with it, I would recommend it, especially for older high school students. They could certainly learn a lot from this book.

Before you run off to grab this - check out the awesome book trailer!

About the author:
Eric Devine is a writer, high-school English teacher, and educational consultant. He is the author of the young adult novels Dare Me, Tap Out, which is a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and This Side of Normal. He lives in Waterford, NY, with his family. He can be found online at ericdevine.org and via Twitter @eric_devine.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Book image, author information, and synopsis from Amazon.com
Book trailer from Eric's webpage


Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

It's Thursday night and about time I share my Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon stack!
It is small this time around because Saturday will be a very busy day for us. Madeline (my son to be step daughter) is with us this weekend and we have lots going on. Saturday she has a birthday party to attend and we plan to go day trick or treating (if time allows) at our local Animal Adventure. We're also planning to go to a haunted Rail Trail walk either Friday or Saturday night, and of course carve pumpkins, bake Halloween cupcakes, and have some quality family time. I'm so glad she'll be with us again this weekend... but since she won't be here again until after Halloween so we want to get in all the Halloweenie fun that we can this weekend! Therefore, the readathon is taking a backseat this round. That's okay though, because I'm beyond grateful to have her home!
My stack includes the book In currently reading (on my Kindle Fire) - "The Quick" by Lauren Owen. It also contains "Mother Mother" by Koren Zailckas and (finally) "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. I've had TFIOS since it first came out and just haven't gotten to it. Then the hype and buzz came, so I tucked it away to read after the buzz died down.... that, and after the movie was pity of theaters. I'll watch it soon after reading, I'm sure.
As always, I'm happy to be part of this community of readers and join in the readathon in memory of Dewey. Can't wait to see you around this Saturday!


The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is... different. Part of it is the fact that it is old. Originally published in 1959, it is a different breed of book. Classic horror is the only way to describe it.

Set in the summer hills of a small New England town, Hill House is a classic haunted house tale. The members of Hill House were invited by Dr. Montague, a scholar trying to research paranormal activity. Theodora, Eleanor, Luke, and Dr Montague stay in Hill House in an attempt to uncover it's secrets. Joined by the housekeeper (but only for parts of the day!) and later on Dr. Montague's wife and her friend Arthur, the members of this little group are beginning to feel that something is indeed off. Eleanor attracts the most attention, and her reaction to that is bizarre. As the group experiences more troubling activity, Eleanor becomes more enmeshed in the happenings of Hill House. Will they make it out alive and uncover the secrets of Hill House, or will they, like many others, flee from the home and never return?

I must admit that I never would have picked this book up if it wasn't for The Peril of the Group Read for RIPIX hosted by The Estella Society. Andi and Heather always read great books, so of course I knew that I had to join in their readalong and read The Haunting of Hill House. I wasn't disappointed.
This was a bit different for me, seeing as it was a classic thriller and I'm more of a big show fright fest. The Haunting of Hill House is much more subtle. It was an eerie tale, that I think back in 1959 would be terrifying. By today's standards, it doesn't pack that punch. It is beautifully crafted though, and the descriptions are detailed enough to help you really build a picture of the old mansion that is Hill House. As far as the characters go, we don't delve too deep into any of them except Eleanor. On the surface, I liked her, but she was a bit drab and boring. By the end, I liked her though, especially after she realy became enmeshed in the house. Theo annoyed me the entire time, to be honest - she was a brat. Luke and Dr. Montague were both just kind of there... I'm a bit indifferent on my opinion of the two. Dr. Montague's wife, however, was an absolute horror. I couldn't stand her and repeatedly thought about how much I would have enjoyed punching her in the face if I was with them. For the most part, the House itself was it's own character. Jackson really poured effort into describing the house and giving it personality.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I wouldn't have ever picked it up, but I liked the change of pace and the difference that was old school horror novel. It was a slow build to a steady end, and gave me pause about old haunted houses.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow