This weekend I finished two books I started what seems like ages ago. Because of library books due and other reasons, I put each of them aside more than one time, and I promised myself I’d continue to stay off my feet and finish at least one of them this weekend.

The first was a YA paranormal romance (a genre I didn’t even know existed) reviewed by a blogging friend in the UK, Amanda Hocking’s Freeks.  This 2016 publication kept my interest throughout, and although I had little in common with the young characters, the ending was so exciting I was mentally yelling for the good guys to “Get it! Kill it!” I was not sure of the outcome until the last few “seconds” of the climax, an extraordinary feat for any author hoping to sustain my interest through the last chapters.

Maura, a carnival kid, was my favorite character.  She is just growing into her “gift”, necromancy, speaking with dead spirits, which she has inherited from her mother and her grandmother. Gabe, the love interest, is so handsome, cool, with just the touch of “danger” reflected in his golden eyes, who wouldn’t like him?  The relationships in the story are well drawn: Maura and Gabe, Maura and her mother, her mother and the “boss” of the carnival,  “freaks” with other “normals” in the carnival,  and the “carnies” and the “townies”. The setting is intriguing:  the carnival background against the eerie, something-is-just-not-right feeling of the small town in the South. The cover invited the reader to “Step inside a wondrous, strange, new world…,” and if the reader can suspend reality and believe for a brief moment, he/she will enjoy doing just that.


The Art of Racing In the Rain has been circling the track for me since before Christmas, and it brought relief as well as satisfaction to finish it today. Garth Stein’s philosophical, sad, sad novel is told from Enslow’s (the dog’s!) point of view, and he is the best narrator I’ve followed in a long, long time. It was published back in 2009, but since it was on the subject of death and my mother died that year, I didn’t even attempt to read it then. It is heart wrenching, at times funny, and endears the reader to the three main characters: Denny, a race car driver who specializes in racing in the rain or on a wet track; and his wife, Eve, who first displaces Enzo, then finally  entrusts her husband and their daughter, Zoe, to him. The circle of life and all of its philosophical tenets, as well as its absurdities, comes into play and develops during this 321 page novel.  Be sure you buy kleenex in preparation for reading this one.



Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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