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Review: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cover of The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
4.5 Stars

I seriously did not think I could love an audiobook performance more than I love Katherine Kellgren's narration of the Bloody Jack series by L. A. Meyer. And then she narrated The Mysterious Howling. Holy cow. I am in awe of Ms. Kellgren's talent! Old men, teen girls, simpering married women, wolfish children howling at the moon, she went at all of them with gusto and I loved every minute of it!

Miss Penelope Lumley has just graduated from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. She has no family but her headmistress encourages her to apply for a position as governess to three children at Ashton Place. She seems perfect for the job since she is (obviously) a bright student and (not so obviously) an animal lover, a trait specifically requested of job-seekers in the advertisement. Miss Lumley sets off for her interview, finds herself hired on the spot, and soon learns that the three children given to her care were found in the woods within the past week. They have apparently been raised by wolves and don't speak a word of English between them. But a Swanburne girl is more than a match for any task and Penelope sets about teaching them a love for poetry, phrases of polite conversation, and the fine art of ignoring irrepressible squirrels.

I loved these characters. Miss Lumley simply doesn't see that she might have an impossible job before her. She has been hired to teach these children and teach them she will. When Lady Ashton gives her ever more Herculean tasks to accomplish, she simply tackles them the best way that she knows how. She genuinely cares for the children and has their best interests always at heart. The children, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia, are little scene-stealers. They are remarkably intelligent, good sports, and always up for a bit of fun and new experiences. They make huge strides and will try anything for Miss Lumley.

But there are sinister doings afoot. Someone is attempting to undermine Miss Lumley and set the children up for failure. Penelope is vaguely aware of it but she has no idea who this mysterious someone might be. The immediate storyline is resolved but the end of the story left me with more questions than answers and hungry to download the next book.

I can't recommend this audiobook highly enough. Young (or young at heart) readers should enjoy this immensely.

Listen to an excerpt.

Find author Maryrose Wood on her website, her blog, and Twitter.

Buy The Mysterious Howling at


I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted at Book Journey

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Posted:
I slacked again. Nothing.

Read:

Cover of The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey

The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey


Cover of Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees


Cover of The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, read by Katherine Kellgren


Cover of Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez

Currently Reading:
Well, I had started The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris but I'm not really in the mood for it so I'm going to set it aside for now.

I'm still slowly plugging away at Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. I just can't read more than a couple of pages at night before I fall asleep!

I'm also slowly reading To Kill a Warlock by H. P. Mallory when I'm stuck inside on the treadmill.

Up Next:

I just grabbed He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson off my shelf. That seems like a good option for the time being.

What are you reading this week?

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted at Book Journey

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Posted:
Review: The Innocent by David Baldacci, read by David McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy--3 Stars

Review: Good Harbor by Anita Diamant--3 Stars

Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin--4 Stars

Read:

Cover of Dreadnought by Cherie Priest

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest, read by Kate Reading

Currently Reading:
The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey

Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning, read by Joyce Bean I just realized this audio download isn't compatible with my phone, so I've moved onto....

The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, read by Katherine Kellgren

Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

Up Next:
I feel like I'm creeping through my current reads! They're good, I just never seem to have enough hours in the day. Hopefully I'll finish up The Isle of Blood in the next day or two so I can move on to one of my other library books. I'm leaning toward Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez, because what's an October without a writer from the King family? I may go with The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris because I've never read the book and only seen about five minutes of the movie. That seems like a huge gap in my cultural knowledge.

What are you reading this week?

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

Friday Flashback Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Friday, October 3, 2014

Cover of The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
4 Stars

Sixteen strangers move into a brand-new apartment building next door to the estate of missing, eccentric millionaire, Sam Westing. When Westing turns up dead, the sixteen people are given clues and charged with finding out who killed him.

I swear I read this when I was in fifth grade, but I didn't remember a thing about it when I just re-read it. But it was a lot of fun. I had a pretty good idea where the mystery was going, but I really think that as a kid, I would have been stumped. There were all kinds of crazy twists and turns throughout.

At first glance, I was a little puzzled as to why this won a Newbery Medal. It's a mystery with some great puzzles involved, but is it really a lasting contribution to children's literature? I was surprised by how much was going on under the surface of this book. The sixteen investigators are partnered up in some unusual ways. They learn to move past some of their prejudices by working with someone they normally would never interact with. Even the young, pretty thing shows us why it's bad to dismissively label someone like that. The only thing that jarred with this message was the serious use of the term Mongoloid. But I guess even that goes to shows that there's always room for us to improve our views of others.

I think this quote shows something of what I'm trying to say here: "She meant, you know, that people are so afraid of revealing their true selves, they have to hide behind some sort of prop." Throughout the game, these props are systematically stripped away, and the characters are left to openly be themselves. And the other characters learn to accept them as they are.

Don't get me wrong--all this serious stuff is going on in the background. The book mostly was just a fun little romp. I think kids will love the mysterious antics, while parents should appreciate the quiet messages being taught. This is just a winner all the way around.

Reviewed May 25, 2009

Buy The Westing Game at

Friday Flashback Reviews, a feature at The Introverted Reader

Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. These are old reviews I wrote on GoodReads. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement!

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

Review: Good Harbor by Anita Diamant

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cover of Good Harbor by Anita Diamant
3 Stars

Kathleen and Joyce are both living on Cape Ann. When they meet, they're both a little lonely and going through some tough times in their lives. Kathleen is facing a breast cancer diagnosis and Joyce has a terrible teenager at home and a mostly-absent husband. They immediately click and become confidantes.

I think it says just about everything you need to know when I write that I really never did get the two names straight in my head. They're not even that similar but I had to have context before I could think, "Right. Kathleen=cancer, Joyce=family trouble." The book just felt a little too generic to me. They could be any two women anywhere at just about anytime.

And that may be exactly what the author was going for. Anyone who's had this kind of deep, soul-baring friendship may immediately recognize it and love the book. I'm too private for that kind of thing. I'm quiet so I don't have many friends but the ones I do have are truly close friends. I would do anything for them and they would do anything for me. Nobody hears everything though. So this kind of tell-all friendship just leaves me in the dark.

Some women will enjoy this book more than others. I didn't really connect with it but if you think you will, give it a try.

Read an excerpt.

Find author Anita Diamant on her website, her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy Good Harbor at

Off the Shelf 2014

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

Review: The Innocent by David Baldacci

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cover of The Innocent by David Baldacci
3 Stars

Will Robie is a sanctioned assassin for the US government. Needless to say, if he screws up he's officially on his own. He gets an odd assignment amidst the cartel bosses and terrorists that are his usual hits. He's assigned to take out a woman who works for the Department of Defense. The official story is, she's got terrorist ties. He walks into her apartment and realizes something isn't right. He freezes and re-evaluates as her child wakes up and starts to panic, just in time for a second sniper to kill both him and his mom. Robie goes underground to find out what's going on. He climbs on a bus and watches a teen girl board as well. Shortly behind her is a man who looks like a professional. Robie watches as the man prepares to kill the girl, ready to act if he needs to. It turns out, she's capable of taking care of herself but now she's on the run with Robie.

I wanted something pretty exciting and fun to listen to and I have to say this did fit the bill. It took me by surprise when the sound effects started though. I can't recall having sound effects in many other audio books and I'm not sure if I like them. Mostly they just yank me out of the story as I look around, wondering where the gunshots are coming from. (I live kind of in the country in the South. It's not unusual for neighbors to indulge in some target practice.) I liked David McLarty's narration quite a bit. He has a gruff kind of voice that I thought suited the story perfectly. I also liked that Orlagh Cassidy read the female dialog but I occasionally felt too much like she was actually reading to me. I know, it's an audiobook and she is reading to me but I don't want it to sound that way. Mostly I enjoyed her narration too though.

While the book itself was exciting and I never did figure out exactly what was going on until the end, I saw too much of it coming from way too far away. There were a couple of times where I caught myself thinking, "Heaven help us if this is the best and brightest our country has to offer" and rolling my eyes. I might not have put all the pieces together but I did at least know what the pieces were. I'm pretty sure the whole thing was supposed to be a big surprise.

I don't know that I'll be running out to read or listen to more books by this author but if the mood strikes for another thriller-ish read, I'd give him another try, either in print or audio.

Read an excerpt.

Find author David Baldacci on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy The Innocent at


I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted at Book Journey

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

I went to Malaprop's for the book launch of The League of Seven by Alan Gratz on Friday. It's a middle-grade steampunk adventure. I had a great time and the book sounds like it's "full of awesome," which is what the author said he was going for. I can't wait to read it! I hope to write more about the event this week.

Posted:
Banned Books Week Review: In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak--4 Stars

Banned Books Week Review: The Witches by Roald Dahl--4 Stars

Banned Books Week Review: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz--4 Stars

Banned Books Week Review: Blubber by Judy Blume--3.5 Stars

Banned Books Week Review: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel--4 Stars

Read:

Cover of The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Awakening by Kate Chopin


Cover of The Innocent by David Baldacci

The Innocent by David Baldacci, read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy

Currently Reading:
Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest, read by Kate Reading

Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

Up Next:
It's almost October and time for my annual horror-fest! I'm heading to the library on my lunch break tomorrow. I typically read a lot of Stephen King and Joe Hill in October but I'd like to branch out a little. I may pick up The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey. Any other recommendations?

What are you reading this week?

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

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