The Only Child by Andrew Pyper

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The #1 internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist radically reimagines the origins of gothic literature’s founding masterpieces—Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula—in a contemporary novel driven by relentless suspense and surprising emotion. This is the story of a man who may be the world’s one real-life monster, and the only woman who has a chance of finding him. ~Goodreads

Dr. Lily Dominick is a forensic psychiatrist in New York.  Nothing surprises her with her clients until one day she interviews a client who claims he is more than two hundred years old, says he inspired the stories wrote by Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson and Bram Stoker….then….says that he is also her father.  Lily’s mother died in a tragic way when she was little and her father was never in the picture, but Lily doesn’t believe this client one bit until he unveils a few details that sends a creep up her spine.

Lily’s client also tells her she is the reason he committed the crime that put him in a chair under her observation.   He seems to put her under a spell, to the point where she starts to believe that what he is claiming may be the truth.  Dr. Dominick is sent on a wild goose chase to uncover the secrets this man is holding no matter if it threatens her job, life or her own sanity….she follows the client’s orders after he escapes the institution, even following him to different countries.

As the story goes on, Lily discovers her true nature, her true father and SO much more in this intense psychological thriller!  This book will get into your head and will surprise you to it’s end.  There’s an intriguing concept here, I think you all will enjoy!

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Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts.

Julia is still mourning the loss of her beloved dog Ramon when her mother signs Julia and her younger brother Randy up for a local university production of The Wizard of Oz.  Julia is quite short for her age, so her mother is certain she will be cast as a Munchkin.  Reluctant at first, Julia becomes more and more enamored with the various people involved in the semi-professional production.  The director, some of the actors, and a few of the tech crew have been hired from out of town; some are college students; the rest, like Julia, are from the local community.  Julia acknowledges not only her own “shortcomings” both at school and at home, but is realistic in her assessment of other people as well. The reader will grow along with Julia as she learns about life and the world around her through this classic production. A must read for students who love to act, as well as for those who feel they are average in a world of “stars.” I loved the main character Julia SO much and I think I took a liking towards her right from the beginning due to her love of her dog! Highly recommended for grades 4 & up!

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

What happens to the leaves on a tree when autumn and winter comes around the corner? Well, that is what we are about to find out! “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves” is a children’s book  and it is about a young fox named Fletcher who tries to save a tree’s leaves from falling off during autumn and winter. “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves” is a cute story about the beauty of changes in weather that I am sure that many children who are interested in knowing what happens to the trees during winter and autumn will easily enjoy for many years!

Each morning, Fletcher would come out of the den and explore the world, but then he realizes that the tree’s leaves were turning gold and beginning to fall off the tree. Fletcher than goes to the tree every day to keep the leaves on the tree; however, when winter came, Fletcher noticed that all the leaves were starting to fall off more rapidly than before.

Fletcher is very worried. He tells the tree he’ll help. But when the very last leaf falls to the ground, Fletcher feels as though he’s let down his friend . . .until the first day of winter, when Fletcher sees that his tree has turned into a shining, glittering surprise.

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Samantha Whipple is the last remaining family member of the Bronte’s – her father, author Tristan Whipple, being descended from one of the siblings of the Bronte patriarch, Patrick. Home schooled by her father, Samantha has grown up with the shadows of the Bronte sisters looming large over her life. Now, with her beloved father is dead and her mother is living in France; American Samantha has arrived at Oxford University to study English Literature.

While Samantha longs for anonymity, with her family background, this is hard to obtain. Before long, she is the focus of University magazines, while Sir John Booker, who runs the Bronte museum, is insistent that Samantha has inherited the ‘missing Bronte estate.’ However, Samantha has been taught that Sir John is, as far as her father was concerned, the ‘enemy’ and that there is no estate to inherit. In the meantime, she is at Oxford to learn something and has to contend with her tutor, the icily intelligent, Dr James Timothy Percival Orville III. Struggling with the attention from fellow students, her inability to utter anything intelligent under Orville’s sarcastic glare and the loss of her father, she suddenly finds a new problem. Books begin appearing – books which once belonged to her father and should no longer exist…

If you need a well written book that–in spite of serious themes–will lift your spirits, I cannot recommend THE MADWOMAN UPSTAIRS enough. I purposefully drew out the reading of this novel because I didn’t want it to end!  Reading this book lead me to pick up some of the Bronte sisters works…..a can of worms!  Enjoy!

Annabel Lee (Coffey & Hill #1) by Mike Nappa

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On a farm fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden–a secret named Annabel Lee. Her uncle’s last words before he hid her away: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

I will completely admit that the title first drew me to this book. I’ve always appreciated Edgar Allen Poe and with a reference like the title, I knew I was in for a good read.  While there are many elements that relate this book to the stories of Poe, this novel is not a fan fiction or anything like that. This story is full of mystery, suspense and many -many- twists in the story that will leave you wanting more.

The story is told from three points of view, with only Annabel’s being in first person. Annabel lives on a farm in Peachtree, Alabama. She is months away from her twelfth birthday, and has been home schooled by her uncle. When she is left in the bunker with the guard dog, she does not understand why. We experience this through her eyes.

Trudi Coffey has a degree in English lit but now works as a private investigator. Her part of the narrative is told in third person, and it is in her sections that we get to know Samuel Lee, her ex-husband (a descriptor that she generally follows up mentally with “the pig.”) and former business partner.

The third perspective is that of an Iraq veteran known as The Mute. Also told in third person, it is primarily in his sections that we learn more about Leonard Truckson’s past.

Each of the characters that are developed in the story are ones I wanted to know more about. Whether a good guy or bad guy, they are written so well I found myself wondering about them more and more. Even the dog that Truck leaves with Annabel Lee makes me wonder about his training and where he came from in the first place.

This was a GREAT book!  Highly recommend!

Room by Emma Donoghue

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A story that is similar in ways to the true story of Jaycee Dugard as my mom pointed out while I was telling her about this book!

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

This seriously disturbing story is narrated by Jack and starts on his fifth birthday. Jack and his Ma share Room. He thinks of every object in Room like Rug or Plant or Meltdy Spoon as a friend to be treasured, and he and Ma spend every day doing their chores and playing games like Scream where they yell as loudly as they can. Jack loves his Ma and Room, but he’s scared of Old Nick who comes some nights and stays with Ma in Bed while Jack sleeps in Wardrobe.

Jack’s Ma blows his mind by telling him that she used to live Outside, and that Old Nick stole her and brought her to Room seven years ago. She has a plan for them to get out of Room, but Jack can’t believe that the things he’s seen on the fuzzy TV screen for years are real. How can there be anything but him and Ma and Room?

The premise for this book sounds like something that a Stephen King or Dean Koontz would have come up with, and it certainly works as a kind of horror novel as Jack’s innocent depiction of life inside Room shows Ma to be the victim of a horrible crime that she is trying to shield her son from. What makes this so chilling and heartbreaking is Jack’s view of the Room as the entire world, and he has so adapted to it that the very idea of real people existing outside of it is something akin to blasphemy to him.

The writing here is exceptional, and Emma Donoghue makes what could be an over-the-top plot into a character based and all too plausible story. It’s creepy and chilling and terrible and intriguing and kind of sweet.