A (Chilly) Blast From the Past

Creepy books are a rite of passage for most readers.  I remember finding Carrie in 9th grade and being completely consumed by the story.  This led me to read piles of Stephen King novels and lots of sleepless nights.  (Cujo still haunts my dreams)












Recently, I read a great article on the Mental Floss website – a great source of interesting tidbits without the obnoxious ads many sites are cluttered with.  Go check it out, but don’t forget to come back here!

Have you read any of these gems?1325218












Did you know that they have been on the ALA list of most challenged books for years?  That just makes kids want to read them more.  Says Schwartz:   “…this is traditional material and that, in addition, it has developed a lot of interest in reading.”


Cruise on over to Mental Floss to read the whole article, and then check out the Scary Stories website.  Many of the stories can be read online.  Post your favorite (or scariest) in the comments.


A nice bit of news!

Thanks to the Book Review Directory for adding me to the list of fiction book reviewers.  I am looking forward to hearing from authors.  I’m especially interested in debuts, including self-published works.

Click the link above to get lots of great reviews!

Authors, feel free to contact me directly via web form.



Suggest A Book For Rhode Reader

Regular readers know I have been going on about the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge since January.  I’m making good progress with 16 of the 24 tasks done.  I have enjoyed every book I chose, and I really like that it is getting me out of my comfortable reading habits.

I’m looking for suggestions for two tasks:

  • A book set in the decade I was born – 1960’s please.  I’m reading Harriet the Spy right now and it is doing nothing for me at all.
  • A historical fiction set before 1900.  This is not my genre at all, so give me something really engaging.

Please use the comments below or fill out this handy form.

Thanks in advance,

Rhode Reader



Request A Review

Many of the books I read come from my public library. I am happy to read and review books provided to me by publishers and authors.  I will not post a review of a book I don’t like.

Publishers and authors are welcome to contact me about books they would like me to read.  I am also willing to host excerpts on this blog.

While my primary focus is young adult literature, I read across many genres.

Click on the icon below to complete a form if you would like me to consider your book


Take the Challenge 2016

Our friends at Book Riot have done it again.  They’ve created a new challenge for us in 2016. 24 tasks, 12 months. Are you up for it? I may not have achieved all the tasks on the challenge last year, but I certainly did read harder which was the whole point of the challenge. They’ve given us another 24 tasks and handy dandy PDF to keep track of them all.

Click the link below and join me in the challenge.

Book Riot Read Harder 2016

Need some ideas?  The New York Public Library has suggestions for the each task in the challenge

Here is the list:


My Year In Books 2015

Some nice stats, courtesy of Goodreads

110 books

32,006 pages

Shortest book:  The Julian Chapter by RJ Palacio (84 pages)

Longest book:  Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz (560 pages)

The most popular book I read was Girl on the Train by  Paula Hawkins (733K people on Goodreads read it too.)

My least popular book seems unfair – it was just published on 12/27 and I flew through it.  And it was so good!  Get out there and download it so the stats go up!    Unhappy Families by Oliver Tidy.

My own conclusions:

Favorite YA:  I’ll Give You the Sun  by Jandy Nelson

Favorite Audio: Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Favorite Graphic Novel:  Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Favorite Non Fiction:  The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

Favorite Memoir:   Raising Ryland by Hillary Whittington

Favorite Mystery:  Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Favorite Literary Fiction:  The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Favorite Supernatural Thriller-ish:  Saint Odd by Dean Koontz

And special mentions to:

Elly GriffithsThe Zig Zag Girl  looks like a great new series.

Jennifer Latham:  Scarlett Undercover was so fun and dark all at once.

Gary D. Schmidt:  Orbiting Jupiter had some of the loveliest language I read all year.

Oliver Tidy:   You had three great books on my list and kept me well-entertained with your blog.  (He Made Me, Particular Stupidities and Unhappy Families)

Sophie Kinsella:  Finding Audrey was funny and informative. Anxious people everywhere thank you.  And maybe you should be friends with Jenny Lawson.  Just saying.


commentWhat were your best books in 2015?  Any plans to read one that I’ve listed?  Please leave a comment.


Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2016!

Go Set A Watchman

I am glad I read this, and I am glad that I avoided reading reviews while I was reading.

I’m not sure I have much to say that hasn’t already been said.

I particularly liked this article from Entertainment Weekly:  I wish my wit was “hatpin sharp”


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The first rule of The Girl on the Train is… Don’t talk about The Girl on the Train unless everyone in the room has finished reading it. If you haven’t read it stop here.  Go get the book and come back when you are done.  And leave a comment below!

If you rode the same train every day and saw the same houses and people every day, you’d start to wonder about the,.  Maybe you’d even give them names and invent a narrative about them.  This is exactly what Rachel does and it is totally believable.  When her fantasy people appear on the evening news the line between real and imagines gets very blurry.

And what of Rachel?  Can the reader trust her narrative?  As more and more of Rachel’s reality is revealed she becomes less and less reliable.  My notes in the book go back and forth between belief and questioning and disbelief.  At one point I noted:  “Everyone in this book is a liar.”

Riveting, edge of your seat psychological drama.

Oh, and can I tell you that it was positively surreal to ride trains through the English countryside while reading this book?

Date finished:  April 22, 2015

Source:  Kindle book, purchased from Amazon

How many of these dangerous books have you read?

On April 14, 2015 The American Libraries Association released its State of American Libraries Report 2015.  There’s a lot to look at here, and I will comment on a few topics in future posts.  One thing that always catches my eye is any mention of banning books. I immediately check to see which ones I’ve read.   I’m interested in your comments.  Which books have you read?  This great infographic represents the work of Malinda Lo. You can read more of her work here.

A poem for Mother’s Day

Billy Collins’ latest book, Aimless Love, is the first collection of poetry that I ever read willingly.  As in, no one assigned it.  No paper was written, no analysis was dragged from the text.  Try it sometime, you might just be a poetry lover.  He posted this on Facebook today and encouraged sharing.  Enjoy!


by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I , in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.
Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.