The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman*

I didn’t actually read The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Ridddell.  But I must say, this is an illustrated text I would really enjoy reading.  Check out the gorgeous cover:



Except, I did not read this book.  Not one word.  Not even the blurb.  Not. One. Word.  And really, you shouldn’t either.  I listened to it and it was amazing.  (OK, to be honest, I listened to it twice, but more on that later).

For the second year in a row I am attempting to complete Book Riot‘s Read Harder 2016 Challenge.  Check out this task list:


The task in question is :  Listen to an Audiobook that has won an Audie Award.  A quick check of Audiophile’s website led me to this title.  What grabbed me was the description: full cast and sound effects.  I cruised over to the Ocean State Libraries eZone and downloaded it directly to my phone.  (seriously, how great is that?!)

It was so good, I listened to it twice, once on my own and once with my 19 year old daughter – a captive audience on a long car ride.  Ten minutes in she paused the recoding and told me that while she was initially just being polite, she now was hooked.  We listened to the very end!  Check out this 5 minute excerpt and you will be hooked as well.


Audiobook Excerpt



Jackaby by William Ritter


Cool cover, huh?

Superwholockians (fans of Supernatural, Dr. Who, Sherlock)  are going to love this series.  This is a smart, complicated series with a solid set of characters.  It’s so well-written that you the reader can truly believe the magic amid the historical setting.

If you have enjoyed the Flavia deLuce series, this would be a great follow up.


Source:  ebook from the public library

Audience:  middle school, high school, even adults

Through the Woods, stories by Emily Carroll

(I used guidelines from East Carolina University to help me critically evaluate this text.)

This graphic novel is a collection of 5 stories of similar style and tone.  Think creepy ghost story meets very grim fairy tale.  In each story the main character is faced with a choice, what she chooses will lead to her…adventure.

First off, the text.  I found this appropriate for middle and high school in terms of content and vocabulary.  Struggling readers will not find too many difficult words or sentence structures.  Skilled readers will find the plots intriguing and interesting.  The cover art certainly reflects the content of the book and will have excellent shelf appeal.  The interior art and text work well together.  I found myself flipping back pages to check detail in the art as I made predictions about the plot.  Each palette of color seemed to be chosen deliberately.  A variety of page layouts add to the interest of the book.

Artists may enjoy a scroll through the author’s website.

Thanks to my local library for buying this book!

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Excellent historical context and some nice creepy Gothic elements were strengths for this book. I’ve read other books about the Spanish Influenza outbreak and this one does a fine job detailing the hysteria and tragedy of the time.  The plot was a bit too slow, and I found some characters to be lacking in detail. Despite these concerns, I think this is a writer I will seek out in the future.

Source:  Public Library