The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens




Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I am a fan of Charles Dicken’s amazing writing.  We read this for our Christmas theme for book club and it didn’t disappoint!  I read this as as e-book and highlighted many lines through out.  Dicken’s just has a way with words that is so poetic!

We discussed the essence of the actual cricket and the many meanings we thought it had through out the story for each character.  It was a great discussion!


The Watcher by Ross Armstrong


Rating: ♥ ♥

It started so well. Several pages in and the legend on the cover that said “The Girl On The Train meets Rear Window” had a ring of authenticity. Our prime protagonist Lily is supposed to be a keen birdwatcher although she does little of that with her binoculars, preferring to spy on the residents of adjoining apartment blocks. She regales her husband Aiden with her take on their daily lives. Or does she? Careful here. Spoilers to be avoided. But then she sees something suspicious in a neighboring tower block and keeps it to herself. I just could not connect with Lily as the story progressed. Is she being watched without realizing. By whom? Why? Nobody, it appears, wants to listen to Lily’s developing paranoia. She keeps a journal, it seems to be addressed to someone. But who? Will we ever find out?

There are some heart-stopping moments, particularly toward the end, which is just as well, as I was struggling to complete the book. Overall, it’s good although I found much of the plot irritating.

Summer of the Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a middle grade story for fans of  Julie of the Wolves or Hatchet.

The story is about a 12 year old orphaned girl Nika and her 7 year old brother Randall as they leave a California foster home to visit a long-lost uncle in the wilderness of Northern Minnesota.  This takes them on a journey in a small floatplane over the thick green forest canopy, to spend the summer on a wilderness island. Nika, of all people, knows not to get her heart set on anything, but as she follows her uncle in his job studying wolves, Nika stumbles upon a relationship with an orphaned wolf pup that makes her feel — for the first time since her mother died — whole again. Here in these woods, with this wolf, none of the hard things in her past can reach her.

I really like to read books about wolves and this one touches great details about wolf behavior and a deep sense of interconnection with nature.  I really enjoyed it.


Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

This book was completely opposite of what I was expecting.  The story line was good, the writing style to me was pretty good as well, although the subject matter was the reason I didn’t give this book full stars.

June Elbus is mostly the main character.  At 14, she has a very close relationship with her uncle Finn Weiss who is a renowned painter.  June feels as though when she is with him, she can truly be herself.  I was getting mixed feelings about how this relationship was a little ‘awkward’ to me, you may see what I mean if you read this.

June discovers one day that Finn is dying.  When he dies at his young age, of an illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life bringing questions to what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even herself.

At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering in at the back of the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend.  This relationship I found to be a bit ‘awkward’ too.


Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

This was one of those books where you ask yourself at the end….”WHAT IN THE WORLD DID I JUST READ?”

That’s all I’m going to say about this book.  I will warn you that it is a true story of bizarre circumstances that will also make you ask your self….”this really happened?”.

The following is from –>

The true story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment.

Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock- therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

WOW…this book is a must read and I will warn you, not for the faint of heart.  This is the incredible true story of the women who fought America’s Undark danger.

At this time, there was a newly discovered element called Radium, making headlines across the nation as the face of new beauty products and wonder drug of the medical community.  The made anything from body lotion to a water you could drink that would make you look and feel younger.  The radium was a bright light in the dark times for the First World War.  The radium was being used for watches sent to the military, because they glowed in the dark,

Hundreds of girls flocked to these factories to work among the glowing dust.  The glittering chemical would cover their entire bodies making themselves glow in the dark.  These factory girls were called “shining girls” and considered the ‘luckiest alive’ to have this opportunity…until they began to fall mysteriously ill.

Now, the factories who once offered amazing opportunities, are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come.

A harrowing story that shows the strength some of these women had, even on their death beds they were fighting for each other under the most impossible circumstances.  Although what these women accomplished, led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives.



The Sleepwalker (Sleepwalker #1) by Chris Bohjalian


Rating: ♥ ♥

This one was a little odd…although I will say that I was shocked at the ending!

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating.  One point while sleep walking, she cut down her flowers in front of their house and another time her daughters saved her from merely jumping into a river!

The morning of Annalee’s disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee’s husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip.  The daughters are questioned and one, a swimmer goes to the Gale to look for clues. Then the police discover a piece of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs’ Victorian home.

As Lianna, the oldest daughter peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee’s disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?

The is really a bizzare series of events that lead up to finding out what happened to their mother, you will be surprised!  The reason I didn’t give this book a lot of stars, was I felt that the writing wasn’t great, but the story line was good.