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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
by Claire Legrand

At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. An atmospheric, heartfelt, and delightfully spooky novel for fans of CoralineSplendors and Glooms, andThe Mysterious Benedict Society.

Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster ;lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does, too.)

But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out different. Or they don’t come out at all.

If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria; even if it means getting a little messy. (goodreads.com)

To be honest, I wasn’t really going to write about this one because I don’t think I liked it much. With the way things are for me right now, I don’t feel like blogging about each and every book I read anymore. Also, I just don’t have the time to do that. And I’m not reading nearly as much as I normally do. But I was looking for something “creative” to do today that wasn’t just sitting here and surfing the internet. I’m trying to slowly back away from social media and it’s been working somewhat. Mostly due to the fact that my husband and I just watched about 2.5 seasons of Buffy in about 4 days. And I might have to go back to work next week. So, you know, time will be less.

Anyhow, things I did like about this particular middle grade mystery were: the writing, the story telling and the extreme creepiness of the plot. Bugs. Yuck. Puppets. Yuck.bThings I didn’t like about this book: Victoria. I disliked her almost instantly and she didn’t grow on me at all. I find it very difficult to read a story when I have zero connection with the protagonist. But I was determined to read this story all the way through because I had been wanting to read it for ages. And I bought it. So I was going to read the blasted thing.

I also didn’t really like how creepy it was. But that’s more of a me thing. Then again, I don’t think I’d give this book to my niece to read because it’s dark and gloomy and there’s creepy death. It’s an odd sort of middle grade book. It’s one of those “smart” type books as I call them. It’s not simple in its writing or plot and it is very well written. There’s just something about it that rubs me the wrong way. I believe that’s mostly due to my dislike of Victoria. I don’t actually feel that she was trying to find Lawrence because she was his friend, I feel like she was trying to find him because it was wrong for her to not have him around anymore to boss around and pick on. I didn’t feel as though this friendship was real – or healthy.

But you know something, the entire story felt exactly the shade of brown as on the cover. It’s a dark story, but it’s a cardboard, dirt sort of dark. Like everything was beige, brown and black in the story. The clothes. The people. The houses. The atmosphere. I didn’t sense any colours other than those. All dull, dirty colours and that makes me anxious.

I think this is a pretty good “spooky story” to read in October and around Halloween if you have kids who can handle these sorts of things. But there’s no whimsy in the spooky. It’s not quite the same as Harry Potter creepy/spooky. It’s not quite the same as other middle grade books that also have death. This one was different and I can’t put my finger on why I am feeling this way. The only thing I can think of is that I didn’t like the characters so I wasn’t as “in” the story as I normally am so I was more focused on what was happening around them than TO them and how they should be reacting?

I do like stories about houses that are alive though. Creepy or not. I like houses that change in books. I don’t want one of my own, but I like when other, fictional people have them. 🙂


by Cat Clarke

Four girls. One dead body. A whole lot of guilt.

Alice King isn’t expecting the holiday of a lifetime when she sets off with her classmates on a trip to the Scottish wilderness, but she’s not exactly prepared for an experience beyond her darkest nightmares…

Alice and her best friend Cass are stuck in a cabin with Polly, the social outcast, and Rae, the moody emo-girl. Then there’s Tara – queen of mean. Powerful, beautiful and cruel, she likes nothing better than putting people down.

Cass decides it’s time to teach Tara a lesson she’ll never forget. And so begins a series of events that will change the lives of these girls forever… (goodreads.com)

(Yet another book from February that I’m just getting around to writing about…sigh)

I bought this book forever ago and it took a while for me to pick it up. When I did pick it up it was a quick read and although it wasn’t as suspenseful as I’d hoped for, it wasn’t bad.

Oh, isn’t horrible that I read this so long ago, I don’t have much to say about it? Bah. What I can recall, Cass didn’t seem to be all that likable and Polly has some crackers loose and she terrified me by the end of the book.

I also found Alice to be a little crazy, but I can understand how she had so many emotions going on that she was a little bit manic in her decisions. I didn’t feel sorry for her, because I think she shouldn’t have kept so many secrets in the first place, but I could see reason for her actions more than others.

Mostly, I found this story to be a depressing example of how people can behave when it comes to bullying. Bullying went many ways in this story and although that’s probably not what I was supposed to take away from it, it’s what I felt in the end.

What a messed up bunch of people. Geez.

Since I have been taking forever to read books and get into books (I have so many started, with bookmarks in them, but nothing’s sticking…) this was an escape for a few hours, even if it didn’t really wow me, I was able to read it cover to cover. Good job, book!

Mini-Reviews: Dark Places, This Dark Endeavour & Every Day

Not only have I not been reading much, I have been blogging even less. (You know, in case you haven’t noticed…) I highly doubt that I will read another 6 books between now and the end of the month, which makes me sad because I won’t have met my 100 book goal on Goodreads. As it is, I’d already cut that goal from 125 to 100 earlier in the Fall, thinking I’d at least get to 100! No such luck. Because I’d like to make sure I chronicle the books I have read, I’m doing another quickie mini-review post. Enjoy!

Dark Places
by Gillian Flynn

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer. (goodreads.com)

Read: October 2012

After being blown away by Gone Girl, I had made it my personal goal to read all of Gillian Flynn’s novels. I did this in October when the nights were cold and blustery and the atmosphere was just right for scary stories. I will admit that I was highly disturbed by this novel and although it didn’t match the awesome that I felt reading Gone Girl, it certainly messed with my head and kept me turning the pages. I thought Dark Places started off rather slow, though, but just when I was telling myself I might be bored with the book, I realized I could NOT stop turning those pages and I NEEDED to know what the heck was going on. Libby’s family and her history are messed up, boy. Messed. The heck. Up. I did enjoy how the chapters alternated between Libby in the present and her family members in the past. I was glued to those flashback chapters like watching a train wreck. The mystery was unfolding very mysteriously (shush, I can’t think of a better description) and it was gnawing at my brain. Of course, hands down, Gone Girl is my favourite of Ms. Flynn’s novels.

This Dark Endeavour (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, #1)
by Kenneth Oppel

Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures…until the day their adventures turn all too real. They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered. Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only peaks Victor’s curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not be satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor immediately set out to find assistance in a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula.

Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrads life. After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing one’s own body part, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save another. (goodreads.com)

Read: December 2012

I am going to admit here, on the internet, for all to see, that I read an eBook. In fact, This Dark Endeavour is the first ebook I have ever read cover to cover. Er, well, metaphorically I suppose. What with there not being covers on an ebook and all. This book had a few firsts wrapped up in it, this is also the first book by Kenneth Oppel I have ever read – even though his book, Silverwing was always on school reading lists when I worked in a bookstore, AND that I loved to read kids books, I just never picked it up. One day in the summer (fall?) Harper Collins posted about a book deal on Kobo for this book and I bought it. I don’t know why, I think because I had just seen the sequel in the stores and the title caught my fancy. So even though this was a book I’d never normally buy AND it was a ebook, I bought it and read it months later. I started out thinking that I wouldn’t like it at all and, like the book I wrote about above, it soon became apparent that I was fully invested in the story. This was a strange read for me, outside of my comfort zone – a male protagonist, a male author and a historical paranormal tale about Frankenstein. I knew once I’d finished this book that I was going to have to read the sequel. I will be buying that sequel – on my ereader! – with a gift card I got at Christmas. I look forward to spending more time with young Frankenstein and watching him slip into darkness. I recommend this book immensely!

Every Day
by David Levithan

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day. (goodreads.com)

Read: December 2012

I have no lack of books that I need to read in my house. Books are piled everywhere, collecting dust in some cases and tripping us as we walk from room to room. So why would I go and buy an ebook last week from an author I have never read and about a subject I probably wouldn’t have read about? Well, I saw Melissa (YABookshelf – um, her blog still seems to be under the weather) and Lenore (Presenting Lenore) discussing this book on twitter one day and I was very curious about this book they were both raving about. I trust Melissa’s opinion on books wholeheartedly and Lenore  has never lead me astray either, so… I bought it. I then started reading this book to and from work – miracle of miracles, the girl who can’t even read a text message on her phone while on the bus is able to read her KOBO on the bus without barfing. (You win this round, ereader! But I’ll get you back one day!) This book made me think. It made me ponder. It made me talk about the plot with my husband numerous times and always ended in a discussion of what it would be like to be a different person every day. The potential, the loss, the excitement, the tragedy… all of it. So much thinking. The concept for this story was so unique and intriguing to me that it almost helped me forget that A pins for Rhiannon every. single. day. Pine, pine, pine. I couldn’t shake my regular reaction to books where there’s so much pining going on. I do not like that one bit. I do not like that, Sam I Am! However, in the case of Every Day I could totally see HOW and WHY and it made sense. You know your soulmate when you find them and A was just that – a soul. A soul in a different body every single day.  I loved how Rhiannon could spot A as days passed and she’d know it was him regardless of the body. I hated how their relationship was doomed no matter what. I hated that I was enjoying a freaking relationship story! But, oh, this book is so much more than that. So very much more. There are so many layers to this story and they all work perfectly together, even with the annoying PINING going on. I get it. I got it. I loved that this wasn’t just a boy meets girl story, because A isn’t boy or girl. At least, not really, he saw people as souls not genders. It was all the same to him and I loved how this was described and at the same time not. It just wasn’t a big deal. It just was. So, I am happy that I read out of my comfort zone for this book, I am super happy that I latched on to that twitter conversation and discovered something new. I don’t adore this book as much as others seem to, but I did enjoy it immensely and feel sort of like a better, more rounded person, having read it.

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects
by Gillian Flynn

WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming. (goodreads.com)

I had high hopes for this book after having read and loved Gone Girl. Unfortunately I didn’t think this was anywhere near the breathtaking amazingness of Flynn’s third novel. Yes, Sharp Objects is twisted and pretty freaky, but in my opinion it only reaches any twistyness in the last quarter of the book.

Whereas with Gone Girl I was gripped right from the first pages, it took me forever to warm up to Camille and the supposed mystery she was uncovering while trying to report on the murders of two young girls from her home town. I didn’t care for Camille and her obvious drinking problem. I found no heat between her and the FBI guy. I didn’t even find the mystery of how the second girl was murdered to be all that interesting for the longest time.

To be honest, even with how wonderfully this story was written, I was bored. I was bored up until that last quarter of the book when things began to happen and clues began to pop up. I feel like there was too much time spent on building up the story and the story of Camille’s life and a lot less creep factor over what was supposed to be creepy and twisted.

Once the ball started rolling though, I was hooked. I needed to know what was going on. I’d had suspicions for a while which did come true and although I suspected one person and then thought it would be another and then was suspecting the first person again, I was committed to the end.

The summary on the back of the trade paperback mislead me, it starts off with “Fresh out of rehab…” and something about bringing up a past that was forgotten made me think this was going to start with a bang. In fact you don’t learn about a lot of that for a while and I was so confused and worried I was reading the wrong book, =P I wish the summary above (from goodreads, off the hard cover) was the one I’d read first because I think I would have gone into the book with a different attitude and expectation.

What I do love is Gillian Flynn’s style of writing. Even if I didn’t ever warm up to Camille and felt impatient while waiting for the CREEPY to happen, I couldn’t help but notice how well she builds her stories. And I loved – LOVED – the way she incorporated cutting into the story. All those other books I have read in the past that were solely about self-mutilation/cutting that just didn’t mesh with me? Well, this one did. The whole idea of words… it was just… so loud in my head. So..emotional and raw.

I’m sort of wondering what kinds of people this author grew up around though. So many crazies in her books! Of course I am going to pick up Dark Places this weekend. It’s the right time of year for crazy, killing people in books, right?

Gone Girl

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? (goodreads.com)

Holy beejeezus! So I picked up this book because so many people in the online course I am taking mentioned this as one of their current and/or last reads. It was so raved about that I had to see what it was all about. I even joked that we should make this an unofficial textbook for the class. 🙂 One of my classmates mentioned that I should get the school work I wanted to do done first because once I started Gone Girl I wouldn’t be able to put it down.

You know what? She was right. I took a day off of work to focus on some research and instead, I had to finish this book because the few moments I’d be able to grab during the week, before I fell asleep, were not enough. I NEEDED TO READ MORE!

If you’re looking for a Fall/Halloween read then pick this book up. What you think is happening changes from chapter to chapter, from part to part. Once I’d gotten to the end of Part 1 I had to start Part 2 to see what was next. Then I couldn’t stop reading because I NEEDED to know what Part 3 was all about.

Then there was the ending.


This book will freak you the heck out. It’s very psychological and it is fascinating to see how the story plays out. How things end up. I was completely enthralled by these characters. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. My brain was a continuous loop of “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe this person!” and “Oh my gosh, that person’s mind is brilliant! Are there people like this in real life?” The more freaked out I was getting the more impressed I was becoming by the thought process.

You forget that there’s an author behind all of this who is actually creating the characters and the mystery itself. Should I be worried about the AUTHOR? 😉 Should I be worried that there are people out there in the world that could be just like the characters in the book?

Worried or fascinated? Impressed? Scared?

So, yeah. Gone Girl knocked my socks off. It also pains me that I have neither the time nor money to spend on more books but I feel as though I need to read Gillian Flynn’s other two novels, Sharp Objects and Dark Places while the leaves are changing and the days are getting shorter. She writes the perfect books for this time of year! I just don’t know how I am going to be able to time manage everything right now. I do have to visit a bookstore as part of a class project (no, really! Even my husband is suspicious about this. heh) so maybe I’ll casually wander from the MG section over to the adult fiction one and see what they might have in stock. *ahem*

Many people seem to rant/rave about the ending of this novel. I, personally, feel that the ending was perfect for the story. Have you read this? What did you think of the ending? If you don’t want to spoil it for others, feel free to email me. 😉

(Yes, yet another post-dated blog post. This was the last book I read in September, so it has to appear in that month or my little OCD Angel gets all bitchy and needs medication.)