Book Review: Midnight for Charlie Bone

Midnight for Charlie Bone (The Red King Series) by Jenny Nimmo

I don’t remember who suggested this series to me; but they mentioned it in a kind of “If you liked Harry Potter, you ought to read Charlie Bone.”  Our family loved Harry Potter so I thought I would try this series and give Kristie something else to read.  But here is MY warning!  Other than magical abilities and a school for “gifted children,” I found this book to be NOTHING like Harry Potter.  I almost quit after 100 pages, but Kristie finished in record time.  She spoke excitedly about the fast paced plot.  So I soldiered on and finished.


Charlie Bone is a young boy who discovers he can hear voices from photographs.  At the same time, he acquires a mysterious case that is the key to finding a girl who was lost as a child and would be Charlie’s age now.  Charlie’s grandma and 3 great aunts immediately send him off to Bloor’s Academy, a school for gifted and talented children.  But Bloor’s is not Hogwarts.  It is not a home away from home, but more like a boarding school straight out of a Dickens’ novel.

Charlie enlists the help of new found friends to solve the mystery of the missing girl rumored to be at Bloor’s.  But in so doing, he finds himself at odds with the headmaster and his daunting Grandmother and aunts.  But with the help of an oddly powerful uncle, Charlie may have a chance to find the girl and uncover a greater mystery about himself.


I give this book a 5 out of 12 buttered rolls.  I’m just not a fan.  The backstory is so flawed, I can’t figure out what Charlie doesn’t know or understand and what is common knowledge.  The character development was non-existent.  Characters who were passed over as merely names, later accomplish important tasks and then treated like an integral part of the storyline.  In the last few chapters,  the characters discuss maintaining the balance between good and evil, but the entire book focused on the evil characters, good guys were merely footnotes.

There was nothing in the story that I would caution readers to avoid (or discuss with their children), but I found the whole thing kinda lame.  Kristie’s excitement has me reading book 2 though.  I guess with this kind of beginning, things can only get better from here.   However, I thought it only fair to give the recommendation of my 11 year old daughter, Kristie.

I love Midnight for Charlie Bone because there is a lot of adventure and fun in it. It is fun to read about stuff like this when I can figure out what to do and what is going to happen in it. For example, I’m pretty sure I have figured out who Charlie’s Dad is, even though they have no idea. I really like adventure books and it reminds me of books like Harry Potter and Fablehaven.  I like adventure and I really like books that have nothing to do with love. It is annoying to read a book when all they focus on is love. The only love in Charlie Bone is the love between family members. It is mysterious and cool how they are able to use there powers and able to solve the problems.

There you go.  I need a proper backstory or proper updates of history, non of this mere, “Oh yeah…by the way” stuff.  One-dimensional characters make one-dimensional books.  However, young readers are more forgiving of those fatal flaws.

More Roofing Fun

Turning this:

Into this:

Creates this:


We did 2 of those in the last 2 days.   The tractor bucket made a great “ladder” to stand in and hold us at the perfect height.   It also made clean up easy since all old shingles and cut scraps went straight into the bucket to be dumped in the garbage trailer for hauling away.

We’re slow, but we do good work!

All About Roofing

Today’s Project

This is the west side of the roof over the front (north) door of the house.  This roof leaked last winter/spring, and I bet that you can understand why.  And since winter is coming, I thought I better go ahead and get this fixed, NOW!  I’d have done it long ago, but the projects that gave us living space have all seemed more important up until now.

Damage from leaking last winter/spring – before we lived here

The Demo

Thankfully all of the needed supplies and tools were here already.  Dad reroofed almost the entire house a few years ago and had plenty of extra packages of shingles just waiting for me to use.

The hardest part was taking those old shingles off.  As worn out and rotten as they look, they were still solidly attached to the roof.  The shingles in the open were fine, but that small section under the overhang… those were rough.  As that space disappeared it became almost impossible to get the nails out.   And the space to grab onto them was almost too small as well.

It took about an hour to get that portion cleaned out on both sides of the door.  Truth be told, I did end up leaving a portion of the old shingles on the East side.  No amount of pulling or mangling could get it released since that upper portion of house was built on top of the already shingled entry way.  But since it is well hidden it won’t be an eye sore, and being covered the way it is there is no way it will cause a water problem.


When the demolition was complete we found that the tar paper was actually in really good shape.  On one side we left it in place, and on the other I did lay some new tar paper to cover a spot we ripped it while tearing shingles off.

As mentioned above, the shingles under the eaves had been put on prior to the eaves being built when the house was under construction 35+ years ago.  That made nailing down the shingles then easy to do.  Not so much today though.  There is no way to get a nail gun nor hammer into that space to secure the shingles with nails.

Instead, we glued them down.  After nailing each shingle down as much as we could, we used roofing tar to glue them in place.   No shingle is ONLY held by tar though.  We were sure to not to put any partial pieces in under that area that couldn’t be nailed.  Every shingle has at least 4 nails in it out in the open, and then some tar under the eave to glue that portion down.  I hope it will be just fine.

It only took about an hour of work to get the new shingles on.  It took more than a couple of actual hours due to the breaks I kept taking for my back and feet (ached terribly from standing on the ladder).   I knew this was going to cause a fair amount of pain, so I asked for help.  I guess my Elder’s Quorum (church group) dropped the ball on me.   C’est la Vie.


If you look closely at the photo you’ll notice that the fascia was never installed around this door.  Dad, who worked in construction his entire life (He was a project manager for building hospitals, shopping malls, and an LDS temple) never got around to finishing that small project.

So, after roofing, Julie and I decided that it was high time that it got done.   Again, all the supplies were here already.

Julie actually took over this portion of the project.  My back was killing me by the time we got to this point, so she found the items and started measuring and cutting.   She can do it all (must be part of her Cyborg programming).

(I wrote the previous paragraph while she was indeed out working and I recuperated.  After about 45 min I went out again and found she hadn’t put up any of the soffit or fascia, so I proceeded to do it myself while she went and got kids from school and ran them to/from various locations.  I left that paragraph in the post just to rub it in a little bit to her – a good natured laugh we were having).

Completed Project


More to Come

I wish that we were done with this, but it turns out there are 2 bay windows that Dad failed to re-roof as well a few years back.  So those are also on our to-do list this week.



PTSD and Church Attendence

My journey for mental wellness continues.  Ever since I was a young boy, church attendance has been a consistent part of my life.  Except when illness, pain, or military duty kept me away, I’ve attended every week.   I don’t remember a time when I didn’t go simply because I didn’t want to go.

PTSD and Church Attendance

I didn’t go today though.  Not because I didn’t want to, but because I don’t feel up to it.  Though not what you would normally think of when I say “illness,” my mental state (mental illness) kept me home today.   This has happened before, but today is easier for me to explain why.  Hopefully it is easier for some to understand.

With my PTSD I will often find myself having a moment of panic about the “what if’s” of a certain location.  It’s happened at football games, restaurants,  choir concerts, Thanksgiving Point, anywhere and everywhere, even at church.

What if a gunman comes running through that door? What if a car starts running people over? What if that bus explodes?  What if someone grabs one of the kids?  What if some kids come through with knives? What if… ? What if… ?  What if…?


My own thought processes tell me those thing won’t happen.  Or at least that the odds of them happening are so small that I shouldn’t be bothered by them at all.   The same thoughts that YOU have about these things are usually what I have too.  But sometimes the PTSD is stronger than that, and reason goes out the window.

Last Sunday

But sometimes those things DO happen.  The attacks with knives, cars, guns, bombs… those do happen at times, and so it makes me even more prone to the moments of panic.

And last week it did again.   I assume if you are reading this that you know about the shooting at the Texas church house.   26 dead, countless affected.  Families torn asunder.   Unimaginable pain and grief.

Because of the regularity with which I’m at church services (where as I’m almost never in restaurants or football games), church is one of the more common panic inducing thoughts/locations that I have.   So when it does happen in real life, even if its a thousand miles away, I’m not really in a good mental position to head back to my own church house.


After a night filled with more nightmares, I made the conscious decision not to go to church today.   I don’t ever “know” when a moment of panic will occur, but for some reason I just felt more vulnerable than normal today.  Is that excusable?   Does that make me less faithful of a Christian?  Will my friends think less of me for admitting it?  Is it as acceptable to stay home because of mental illness as it is for a physical illness?   Would you judge me more harshly (in your opinion of me) for this slip in my church attendance?


Happy Veteran’s Day!

Happy Veteran’s Day to all veterans out there!  I wish you the best and thank you for your service and sacrifices.

I’ve been typing out a now fairly lengthy post on Veteran’s Day and what it means to me to be a veteran.   Much like my previous PTSD post from last weekend, I’m not going to post it either.

Most of it was all pride and glory and sacrifice and nobility: like most of the stuff you read getting passed around on Facebook.  And all of that is true and fair.

But then I also typed up a long list of how being a veteran also meant a lifetime of pain, wrangling your conscience about taking another human life, dealing with the betrayal of a “battle buddy” who hurt you, spending the rest of your life trying not to become a “22 a day” statistic, and on and on.  There was just as large a host of negative aspects of military service as there was positive one.

There are a LOT of veterans out there for whom the negatives far outweigh the positives, and so I decided not to post my flag-waving, chest thumping, USA chanting post.   I don’t want them reading that post and saying, “that isn’t what it was like for me” and feeling like their service wasn’t sufficient, or their sacrifice wasn’t meaningful, or that they somehow “did it wrong”.

Instead I’ll be happy to just wish all my veteran friends who see this a happy Veteran’s Day, and my hope that you are happy on all days after this as well.

Take care of each other out there…