Halloween Reads!

Halloween is just a few days away so I thought it’d be nice to list books that could/would/does get us all in the mood for this creepy holiday (and to be honest, my least favourite holiday from the bunch– I am the resident scaredy cat here…). * Note, I won’t be reviewing these books. Just naming some that I think are fun for the season.

First on my list is:

The Child Thief by BROM (I do have a review of this one from a while back).

This book makes the list because it’s a dark twist on a very mischievous character Peter Pan. I think that fits well enough with the season. Think of it as a nice blend of trick-or-treat and horror movies rolled into your favourite candy surprise.

Second:

One for the kids that’s pretty popular at work is:
Scaredy Squirrel prepares for Halloween by Mélanie Watt

It’s cute, fun, and prepares kids for Halloween! What’s not to like? I like this scaredy squirrel series because, as a scaredy… well I could have related very well to these books as a child.

Third:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This one also pretty much speaks for itself. I mean what’s not Halloween mood-ish about it? A boy lives in a graveyard and it raised by ghosts and stuff! If that doesn’t sound like a perfect spooky season read, I don’t know how to help you.

Fourth:

Another Neil Gaiman book, Coraline.

I’ll admit, I haven’t actually read the book… but the movie was pretty good and definitely something I think fits the Halloween criteria! Am I right or am I right?? Plus, how can Neil Gaiman NOT get on a list twice (look at Michelle’s list the other week!)?

Last one:

Let’s go with a classic —
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I think the title is enough of an explanation, no?
:)

What are your favourite Halloween Reads or Recommendations?
You probably noticed I didn’t suggest any horror stuff… well I stay true to my claim, I’m a scaredy cat… I don’t read horror. I barely watch horror movies haha.

Until Next Time!
Sam

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The Seldom Diaries: Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck

 

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Hemingway’s Girl
Erika Robuck
Published by New American Library
September 2012
Paperback
Historical fiction/Romance/Contemporary/Literary fiction
352 pages

 

In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match…and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer Ernest Hemingway and Gavin Murray, one of the WWI veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway.

When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarefield world of lavish celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation…even as reliable Gavin draws her back  to what matters most. Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway or find a wayto claim her own dreams? As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths- and possibility of losing everything she loves.

… … …

((I loved this book, but the summary was a total pain to rewrite. Was it just me, or does it seem crazy long? Anyway…))

I like a good love triangle, don’t you? They might get a little dicey, but it doesn’t make it any less juicier. I’ve noticed that they always seem to be between the centre piece or in other words, the suspecting undecisive little chick-a-dee, that really nice loveable guy, and the problematic bad boy with a secret heart of gold. In this case, Erika Robuck tossed them all in a blender. The results were very interesting.

Robuck begins the novel with an older Mariella and her son, Jake. Son, you say? Naturally, I had to use the detective skills that I don’t have to read on and figure out which other point of the triangle this Jake belonged to. Especially if our main character’s intense reaction at the news of Hemingway’s demise was anything to go by. Color me intrigued.

The book reverts back to years earlier. Mariella’s relationship with her mother is strained at the death of her father. Her mother, Eva, still grieving at the loss and her two younger sisters who depend on her in more ways than one. Mariella doesn’t seem to get her own time to grieve, really. She’s got to be the strong one, trying to figure out how the family is going to pay of debts and put food on the table. Which is saddening, yet extremely admirable. Luckily, putting an almost stop on her bets at boxing matches, she swings a job working as the Hemingways’ maid.

Now I usually have favourites in these things. Whether it be Gavin’s sweet caring nature. Or Hemingway’s unnecessary complicatedness. I found myself cheering for both contenders, though I suppose Hemingway having already been married was just too sleazy. And throughout the book, it seems to be the same thought ringing in Mariella’s mind when she considers the writer’s actions towards herself and others.

Devastation erupts when she believes Gavin to be dead when the hurricane hits. I think even I might’ve cried. ((I cry over everything…) Thoooough when we discover that things aren’t exactly as they seem, it’s clear who Mariella’s choice was. Gavin and Hemingway are good sports throughout.

I believe I mentioned the badboy with the heart of gold?

This is me trying not to give the ending away. I think I failed.

Erika Robuck did a terrific job. Hemingway’s Girl already has a nice & cozy spot on my shelf. Amazeballs.

Xox,
Sasha

 

Recommending a Book

Instead of writing a book review, or writing about books I really want to get my hands on, or even about what I’m currently reading, I want to talk about book recommendations.

Recommending a book is hard. I work at a book store and when customers come up to me asking for a recommendation for books similar to so-and-so or whatever-else, sometimes I freeze and I don’t know what to say. Other times, I have the perfect (or so I personally think) book to recommend.

A lot of the times, it’s really hit or miss. One of my favourite (successful) recommending moments was during the holiday season. A woman had come up to me looking for a book series her son could get into. He didn’t like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, or the Inheritance series, and he was in the 8 to 12 age group. She wanted to find a book that would make her son at least like reading, because at that stage, he just wanted to watch tv and play video games all day.

It took me a moment (and a couple of questions to figure out what the boy was interested in) but then I remembered a book series that was really popular among the boys in my elementary (grade 5-6) class. It had actually caused an argument between one of my classmates and myself because I had borrowed the only copy of the first book before he did and when his bargaining for it didn’t pull through, he got mad (I shake my head remembering this. Boys).

The book series I’m talking about is Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer.

Artemis Fowl: book 1

I remember loving this series (even though I still have yet to finish it; actually, I’m pretty sure I saw the last book arrive this morning at work), and a lot of boys loved it too. I mean, Boy genius criminal mastermind? That’s one great hook right there. Add a whole new world of of (not too girly) fairies and it’s like finding gold.

In the end, the woman had come back a few days later to buy the rest of the series and thank me for recommending it. Her son was enjoying the first book a lot, which was enough for her to be motivated and get the rest. If I still had sales shifts in the kids’ department, I would hope to see her in the next few days to pick up the last one.

Anyway, it felt nice that a recommendation went well :)
If you had to recommend a book series to a boy who didn’t care much for books or reading, what would you suggest? I tried to think of others in case this wasn’t really what a boy would like and fell short.

I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this so, until next time~!
Sam