The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Starless Sea, Author: Erin Morgenstern The Starless Sea.  Finished 5-20-20, magical fiction, 4.5/5 stars, 498 pages, pub. 2019

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.    from Goodreads

It’s hard  to know where to start with this book because it was…dreamlike? timeless? mindbending?  a rabbit hole I’d love to fall into even if only for a moment?  It’s all of those, of course, but it’s also a story about stories and if you’re willing to lose yourself in those beautiful fairy tales for a bit you are in for an enchanted ride.  Where does one story end and another begin?

Ezra is a gamer and a graduate student who finds a forgotten book on the library shelves.  He picks it up, curious, but becomes disturbed when he discovers one of the stories is about him.  One clue leads to another until he finds himself at a swanky NYC literary party where he meets Max (Where the Wild Things Are) and later Dorian, a master storyteller.  Then the fun begins.  There are doors, old and new, edible stories, seas made of honey, an underground warren of tunnels and rooms that can confuse time and space, and the place seems to have been forgotten.  But there are still stories to discover and be written, quests to pursue, dangers to be averted, and mysteries to solve.

We read this for my book club and my first words were, “I loved it even if I didn’t completely understand it.”  This was mostly true.  I felt like I understood the book, even if my brain didn’t always keep up.  I’d read the reviews of some who didn’t care for it and I get it.  It took me a little while to sink into it, but once I did I was hooked and really didn’t want it to end.  And it was 500 pages!  If you’re going to give it a try, give it some time and just enjoy the ride.

 

 

 

 

Megabat by Anna Humphrey

Title: Megabat, Author: Anna Humphrey Megabat.  Finished 5-22-20, kid’s chapter book, 180 pages, pub. 2018

Illustrated by Kass Reich

A sweet and hilarious chapter book about a boy and a bat, two unlikely friends who bond over loneliness, jellyrolls and Darth Vader.

Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It’s big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it’s haunted… or is it?

Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he’s living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there.

Daniel realizes it’s not a ghost in his new house. It’s a bat. And he can talk. And he’s actually kind of cute.

Megabat realizes that not every human wants to whack him with a broom. This one shares his smooshfruit.

Add some buttermelon, juice boxes, a light saber and a common enemy and you’ve got a new friendship in the making!   from Goodreads

Oh, Megabat, you had me at your first dripping and your unique way of speaking our language.  We’ve had this book out of the library since way before it shut down, but it wasn’t until last week that Gage read it and then wanted me to read it too.  I loved everything about this book and the next two of the series are already here, waiting to be read.

Daniel is lonely at his new house and doesn’t like his attic bedroom, especially since he keeps slipping in puddles.  Then he he meets the maker of those puddles, a very sad bat who is a long way from home.  The the two become secret pals until the neighbor kids find out.  There’s a pigeon, bribery, and injury.  Gage warned me about a sad part later in the book and he was right.  I won’t say more so I don’t spoil it.

A story of friendship and it’s Gage and mom approved.

This Week – School’s Out

Fave pic IMG_4295 The librarian at Gage’s school is retiring (and moving to Hawaii, lucky duck) so Gage had quite a few assignments that were aimed at her retirement.  For his art assignment he made these to book covers.  She always rewarded the kids with parties – but they had to earn them.  She went all out and the kids will definitely miss her in the fall.

Highlights Gage finished all of his 3rd grade schoolwork today so I’m officially calling him a 4th grader.  I can’t believe it.  I have loved being his pseudo teacher these last few months.

We had a drive by birthday party for a classmate of Gage and we even got a little family time at Lake Erie.  Even ordered takeout from Gage’s favorite restaurant, Aladdin’s Eatery.  It almost felt like a normal Sunday.

Some have struggled with the pandemic lock down and I almost feel guilty for enjoying this extra time with my son and husband so much.  Gage is nine and it’s such a wonderful age.  He still loves his parents, listens most of the time, and still loves to cuddle.  I am soaking in every moment.  And Jason and I are still speaking, laughing and cuddling too.  I’m a lucky woman.

On the downside Gage always had lots of time at summer camps.  This year before everything shut down I had only signed him up for two weeks, one of them cancelled but will be doing online stuff with the kids.  The other is still happening but Gage will not be going.  It was chaos every year and there is no way that the Science Center will be able to keep the kids as separated from each other and the public as I would need to feel comfortable.  So, I found some online places that do interactive camps and have signed him up for a few and hope to find more.  We’ll be venturing out into nature this summer and having some outdoor play dates, but we’re keeping this summer low key.  Hopefully, the fall will look better, but given the COVID numbers that have started to climb back up since everything started opening this month, I don’t have a lot of confidence.

Finished reading The Starless Sea read this for book club (we had a fun Zoom meeting on Wednesday) and I’ll have my review posted Monday.  I really liked it. Megabat (Megabat #1) Gage read this and wanted me to read it too.  I loved Megabat! Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse I posted my review of this cool chapbook here.

Currently reading The Birth of Jesus According to the Gos…

Currently listening A Conspiracy in Belgravia

In the mail Carolina Breeze (Bluebell Inn Romance, #2)

Movies Enemy poster.jpg This will mess with your mind.

Watching We’ve watched some of Bosch season 2 and a few episodes of Travelers season 2.

New recipe a day challenge I made my first coffee cake and my first pot roast!

Plans for the weekend Nothing special planned.  Jason is playing tennis for the first time in many months so we’ll see how that goes.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods?

 

 

 

Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse by Joshua Gage

Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse Finished 5-17-20, poetry, 36 pages, pub. 2013

“Zombies don’t do five-seven-five (so many fingers missing)! This fun book of masterfully written one-gasp poetry proves that the force and beauty of haiku–even those about a walking dead apocalypse–have nothing to do with syllable counting. Your flesh will crawl–but, hopefully, won’t crawl away!” — David G. Lanoue, President of the Haiku Society of America   from Goodreads

Joshua, who has strong thoughts on the availability of quality coffee at the workplace, proves that you can excite non-poetry reading zombie avoider about the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.  Josh, who I may start calling haiku extraordinaire when I see him at the library, sent me my first chapbook and it was so much fun.  It is a perfect fit for sitting on the deck with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and enjoying the story that unfolds in a series of 91 haiku poems.  It was creative and visceral from beginning to tragic end.  I loved it.

 

 

This Week – What Week Is It?

Fave pic IMG_E4182 from Mother’s Day last week.  My mother and the boy who made me a mother.  We have had limited visits with my parents, usually for a few hours once a week.  They are retired and at home and we are at home except for a few necessities like Gage’s school work pick up and drop off, grocery store every 2-3 weeks, and occasionally the post office.  Jason will go back to his office downtown twice a week starting June 1 and we might have to re-evaluate, but by then outside visiting will be easier to do so I think we can still make it work.

Highlights of the week  Mother’s Day was lovely.  I got to sleep in and then coffee, cards, and a few gifts in bed. My mom came over and Jason went and picked up Dewey’s pizza for us.  I love that I can get gluten free crust with the pizza I love, Ryan’s Inferno.

We got the rest of our deck furniture AND had a few nice days this week to enjoy it 🙂

We’ve started using the composter we’ve had for years and Gage likes to be the one to take out our daily scraps.  One household task he doesn’t complain about, yay!

Books finished Not a one 😦  Keeping Gage off the screens has taken more effort lately.  Not to mention my new recipe a day challenge also takes extra time.

In the mail IMG_E4222 I found out that a friend from the library has written books!  He generously sent me these two and I’m excited to take a look at them this week.  And he has the best last name, right?

Currently reading  The Birth of Jesus According to the Gos… (Not what I was expecting, but more of a history of the Bible and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and I’ve learned so much)  The Starless Sea Still in the early chapters but it’s interesting.

Currently listening A Conspiracy in Belgravia I’m finding ways to listen to a little bit of this every day.

My review of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Movies The Rocket Poster The soundtrack was great, story good, but the acting outside of two main characters was cringeworthy.

Currently watching We let Gage stay up until 11 this week to watch the finale of Survivor and that was fun for him.  I think the right person won.  We’re still working on season 2 of Bosch.

New Recipe a Day Challenge.  You can follow my other blog that’s full of monthly challenges, but I’m linking to this one post here because I loved these waffles so much 🙂

Plans for the Weekend  Ohio has opened retail and outside seating at restaurants with more to open next week.  As much as I have appreciated our governor’s response so far I feel like he is rushing to reopen everything by June.  We don’t plan on changing anything here for at least a few more weeks and then we can evaluate again.  What about you?

 

 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Graveyard Book, Author: Neil Gaiman The Graveyard Book.  Finished 4-25-20, 4.25/5 stars, older kids tale, 312 pages, pub. 2008

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more.

But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.      from Goodreads

I’ve talked before about my fascination with cemeteries and their appeal to me in the way they can make you honor history and evaluate life at the same time.  So, why did it take me so long to read this Newbery Medal, Hugo Award, Locus Award and Carnegie Medal winner?  I don’t know, but I’m glad I picked it up for the read-a-thon a few weeks ago.

When a toddler escapes his home as a killer murders his parents and sister, he makes his way to the graveyard.  Once there he is found by Mrs. Owens who is touched by the dead spirit of the child’s mother and she is determined to raise and protect the boy.  There is discussion among the ghosts and she and her husband are allowed to raise the boy as their own.  They must rely on the protection and guardianship of Silas, the caretaker of the graveyard.  Mrs. Owens gives the boy the name of Nobody and he finds a home.

The graveyard and  the spirits that live there are perfection.  Silas?  My favorite vampire ever.  Nobody has the run of the graveyard and does go out into the real world, even attending a real school for a short time.  But the graveyard holds all of the excitement,  vampires, werewolves, witches, ghouls, ghosts, and, best of all, a girl.  There is also, of course, the problem that the murderer is still looking for him.

I loved the spirit of and spirits in this book.  It was a perfect late night read.  It is a children’s book, but I don’t know what age would be appropriate since I think it’s a little dark for the younger set.  Gaiman found The Jungle Book as an early inspiration.  The chapters are set two years apart and there are eight of them.  I was mostly sad at the end, but hopeful that Nobody Owens is out there somewhere living his best life.

This Week – Snow in May

Fave pic  PRUH1906 Our backyard last Sunday.

Highlights of the week   Gage had a very busy calendar for Friday.  Google chats with his reading group, math group, and homeroom class with a Zoom Lego camp class squeezed in there somewhere.  And then we had Grandma over for dinner.  His bedtime was an hour ago but I still hear him running around upstairs so he’s still flying high.

We got some new, much needed, deck furniture a few days ago.  Now if only it would warm up so we could use it.

A neighbor misses our library and reached out to see if I had any books she could read.   Who among us could resist spending happy time scouring our shelves for just the right thing?  Honestly, I have loaned out and mailed out so many books in the last month or so that I’m actually running low!  The horror!

Why?  So, we had snow in May.  In. May.  I just can’t.  Honestly, the sunny days outside in the yard are the only thing making this lockdown somewhat normal and today the snow.  Maybe tomorrow and Sunday too.  It’s too depressing to even talk about anymore.

Finished reading A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock… review

Currently reading The Birth of Jesus According to the Gos… The Starless Sea

Currently listening A Conspiracy in Belgravia I’m loving this series!

Movies Seen  Atomic Blonde poster.jpg

Currently watching  We finally let Gage watch Survivor with us and he loves it.  Next week is the finale and it should be a good one.  We started the second season of Bosch too.

My Favorite Movies #29 – Psycho

New Recipe a Day posts 

Plans for the weekend  A trip to Whole Foods today and spending some time with my mom tomorrow.

I’m linking up with the Sunday Salon.

 

Fave Film #29 – Psycho

The poster features a large image of a young woman in white underwear. The names of the main actors are featured down the right side of the poster. Smaller images of Anthony Perkins and John Gavin are above the words, written in large print, "Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho".(1960)

Director – Alfred Hitchcock

Cast – Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, John Gavin, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam, John McIntyre

Marion is in love and her lover can’t marry her because he doesn’t have the money.  Taking matters (and her boss’s money) into her own hands she flees Arizona and heads to California.  Along the way she becomes panicky after a policeman starts following her.  On a dark and rainy night she ends up at the Bates Motel, where an awkward proprietor takes an interest in her and she has second thoughts about the money.

Why I Love It – This movie didn’t waste a scene, there was no extra fluff.  We are introduced to Marion as a woman itching to get married and Sam, a man reluctant because of money issues from the very beginning.  Marion surprises us and the tension is ramped up to the point that when she finally arrives at the Bates Motel we take a deep breath.  Until we don’t.  It was perfect storytelling in my opinion.  I know that it differed from the book a bit so I want to give that a read someday.

Not only did I think the thriller was expertly put together, surprise after surprise, the cast was great.  Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh had some sweet scenes and some not so sweet ones.  Leigh made Marion sympathetic, yet not soft, and Perkins?  So good.  I also loved the jaded private eye with a heart Martin Balsam as Detective Arborgast.

For an old movie this holds up remarkably well and deserves it’s classic label.  And who can forget that shower scene?

See if the Alfred Hitchcock can convince you to watch it…

 

Here’s the list of my 100 favorite films.

 

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Title: A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock Series #1), Author: Sherry Thomas A Study in Scarlet Women. Finished 5-3-19, 4/5 stars, mystery, pub.

Unabridged audio

Lady Sherlock #1

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society.  But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.   from Goodreads

What a fun twist on a story everyone already knows.  The iconic Sherlock Holmes, whether from the classic books, movies, or TV shows is one of those rare characters that has thrived in the minds of the public for over 100 years.  After reading this I went back and did a little case study on Sherlock and am interested in reading his first book, A Study in Scarlet.  I’ve only read one of his books and am curious now for more.

Charlotte is a woman who knows her own mind and she’s not going to let her parents ruin the future she wants for herself.  When her father backs out of a deal they had made Charlotte takes matters into her own hands and disgraces herself in the process.  Now, as society shuns her she must find a way to support herself.  Enter Mrs. Watson, a widow in need of a companion, who offers her not only a home, but a business plan. “Sherlock Holmes” sets up shop.  As an old friend acts as her liaison to Scotland Yard, Charlotte wades her way into a series of murders that she tried to connect for the sake of her family.

There were a lot of characters and a lot of storylines happening and it was  a little confusing at times, especially because I was listening and not reading, but it all managed to come together in the end.  I liked the personal stories of Charlotte, her unattainable man, Mr. Ingram, and the various secondary characters that will no doubt show up in the rest of the series.  The mystery ended up being several mysteries and it came together brilliantly, even if disturbing.  I loved the narration so I’ve already downloaded the second book of the series.

This Week – May be May but still feels like April

Fave pic IMG_4097 Obviously I didn’t take many picture this week if this is my favorite, lol.  Spaghetti poked through hot dogs slices and then boiled.  They look more fun than that they taste.

Highlights I’ve been to the post office twice this week, for the first time in 5 weeks. and am happy with the precautions put in place.  I had to return something through UPS and was not happy with their business-as-usual attitude.  In our town we have 25-34 active covid cases and at the very least some appearance of caution would be nice.

We dropped off some books to a classmate and his mom this week and we chatted in the driveway for a minute.  It was nice for Gage to see a friend from school.  The uncertainty is starting to wear on him and he’s a little more anxious about things returning to normal than he was a month ago.  I don’t know what the new normal will look like, but our stay-at-home orders have been extended until the end of May.

I let my monthly challenges fall by the wayside in March, but I’ve started again.  New recipes for the rest of the year 🙂 http://my30daychallenges.com/

Books finished I am starting to read the Who Was series with Gage and we did finish Who Was Helen Keller?  No adult books though.

Reading The Birth of Jesus According to the Gos… The Starless Sea

Listening A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock…

Reviewed Mount Vernon Love Story and My One and Only

Watching Finished the first season of Bosch and we liked it.  Still watching Survivor.  Looking for a good scary or horror-lite series on Netflix or Prime if you have a recommendation.

Monthly movies and a chance to contribute to charity.

Plans for the weekend  I cannot even begin to tell you how it exciting it was to write down a drive by graduation party on Sunday.  Something that will take up a total of 20 minutes tops round trip is something to be super excited about.

What about you?  Are things returning to normal where you are?

 

I’m linking up with the Sunday Salon.