Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme was hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to highlight some great pre-publication books we all can't wait to get our grubby little mitts on. I'm choosing to continue the tradition even though she has stopped.

Betty by Tiffany McDaniel.

The book is being released by Knopf on August 18, 2020.

The book's jacket copy says: A stunning, lyrical novel set in the rolling foothills of the Appalachians about a young girl and the family truths that will haunt her for the rest of her life

"A girl comes of age against the knife."

So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a white mother and a Cherokee father, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit in the rural town of Breathed, Ohio, is one of poverty and violence--both from outside the family and, devastatingly, from within. The lush landscape, rich with birdsong, wild fruit, and blazing stars, becomes a kind of refuge for Betty, but when her family's darkest secrets are brought to light, she has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the heart-wrenching cruelties and incredible characters she encounters.

Despite the hardships she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters, and her father's brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all to which she bears witness, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write. She recounts the horrors of her family's past and present with pen and paper and buries them deep in the dirt--moments that have stung her so deeply she could not tell them, until now.

Inspired by generations of her family, Tiffany McDaniel sets out to free the past by delivering this heartbreaking yet magical story--a remarkable novel that establishes her as one of the most important voices in American fiction.

Monday, August 10, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past couple of weeks are:

The Road to Urbino by Roma Tearne
The Wanting Life by Mark Rader
Invented Lives by Andrea Goldsmith
Friends of the Library by Susan Cushman
In Praise of Paths by Torbjorn Ekelund
Tea by the Sea by Donna Hemans

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

Yellow Earth by John Sayles
Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles
The Second Home by Christina Clancy
All My Mother's Lovers by Ilana Masad
The Big Quiet by Lisa D. Stewart
Wild Dog by Serge Joncour
The Moonshiner’s Daughter by Donna Everhart
Unconditional Love by Jocelyn Moorhouse
The Last Blue by Isla Morley
Queen of the Owls by Barbara Linn Probst

Reviews posted this week:

nothing yet

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

Beginning with Cannonballs by Jill McCroskey Coupe
The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Faces: Profiles of Dogs by Vita Sackville-West
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
Holding on to Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne
Difficult Light by Tomas Gonzalez
Adults and Other Children by Miriam Cohen
Grief's Country by Gail Griffin
Moments of Glad Grace by Alison Wearing
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
Misconduct of the Heart by Cordelia Strube
Search Heartache by Carla Malden
What the Lady Wants by Renee Rosen
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
The Book Keeper by Julia McKenzie Munemo
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Temporary by Hilary Leichter
Blue Marlin by Lee Smith
Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
A Short Move by Katherine Hill
A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum
The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North
The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger
Watershed by Mark Barr
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
The Goshen Road by Bonnie Proudfoot
We Have Everything Before Us by Esther Yin-ling Spodek
Anna Eva Mimi Adam by Marina Antropow Cramer
This Is My Body by Cameron Dezen Hammon
Impurity by Larry Tremblay
The Last Goldfish by Anita Lahey
Invisible Ink by Guy Stern
A Room Called Earth by Madeleine Ryan
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
Raphael Painter in Rome by Stephanie Storey
Blue Summer by Jim Nichols
The Miracle of Saint Lazarus by Uva de Aragon
Red Mother with Child by Christian Lax
The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos
Tamba Child Soldier by Marion Achard
The Girl with Braided Hair by Rasha Adly
The Book of Second Chances by Katherine Slee
Disfigured by Amanda Leduc
Floating in the Neversink by Andrea Simon
Seven Sisters and a Brother by Marilyn Allman May
A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen
Sansei and Sensibility by Karen Tei Yamashita
The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester
Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat
I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
Godshot by Chelsea Bieker
The Hierarchies by Ros Anderson
The Change by Lori Soderlind
The Man in the White Linen Suit by David Handler
I Saw Three Ships by Bill Richardson
A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy
Wild Ride Home by Christine Hemp
If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim
The Book of Rosy by Rosayra Pablo Cruz and Julie Schweitert Collazo
The Devil to Pay by Liz Carlyle
How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences by Sue William Silverman
The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels
The Bitch by Pilar Quintana
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Continental Divide by Alex Myers
The Road to Urbino by Roma Tearne
The Wanting Life by Mark Rader
Invented Lives by Andrea Goldsmith
Friends of the Library by Susan Cushman
In Praise of Paths by Torbjorn Ekelund
Tea by the Sea by Donna Hemans

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme was hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to highlight some great pre-publication books we all can't wait to get our grubby little mitts on. I'm choosing to continue the tradition even though she has stopped.

Good Dogs Don't Make It to the South Pole by Hans-Olav Thyvold.

The book is being released by Harper Via on August 18, 2020.

The book's jacket copy says: Told through the eyes of a very grumpy yet lovable mutt, a funny and touching tale of aging, death, friendship, and life that proves sometimes a dog's story is the most human of all.

Tassen has always been a one-man dog. When his human companion, Major Thorkildsen, dies, Tassen and Mrs. Thorkildsen are left alone. Tassen mourns Major by eating too many treats, and Mrs. T by drinking too much. But the two unexpectedly find common ground in researching Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole led by a pack of intrepid dogs.

But the quiet days Tassen and Mrs. T spend together at the library researching the explorer’s arctic adventure are disrupted by the arrival of her son and daughter in-law. Eager to move in to the Major’s spacious house, they plan to send Mrs. T to a nursing home. As he contemplates his own fate, Tassen shudders to think what might happen to him! Yet Tassen and Mrs. T aren’t about to give up. Inspired by Roald Amundsen and his dogs, this unlikely pair are ready to take on anything life throws at them.

Good Dogs Don’t Make It to the South Pole is a darkly comedic and whimsical portrayal of aging and death told through a dog’s friendship with an elderly woman.

Monday, August 3, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past couple of weeks are:

The Change by Lori Soderlind
The Man in the White Linen Suit by David Handler
I Saw Three Ships by Bill Richardson
A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy
Wild Ride Home by Christine Hemp
If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim
The Book of Rosy by Rosayra Pablo Cruz and Julie Schweitert Collazo
The Devil to Pay by Liz Carlyle
How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences by Sue William Silverman
The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels
The Bitch by Pilar Quintana
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Continental Divide by Alex Myers

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

Yellow Earth by John Sayles
Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles
The Second Home by Christina Clancy
All My Mother's Lovers by Ilana Masad
The Big Quiet by Lisa D. Stewart
Wild Dog by Serge Joncour
The Moonshiner’s Daughter by Donna Everhart
Unconditional Love by Jocelyn Moorhouse
The Last Blue by Isla Morley
Queen of the Owls by Barbara Linn Probst

Reviews posted this week:

Days Gone Bye by K.A. Spencer
At the Pond compiled by Daunt Books
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

Beginning with Cannonballs by Jill McCroskey Coupe
The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Faces: Profiles of Dogs by Vita Sackville-West
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
Holding on to Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne
Difficult Light by Tomas Gonzalez
Adults and Other Children by Miriam Cohen
Grief's Country by Gail Griffin
Moments of Glad Grace by Alison Wearing
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
Misconduct of the Heart by Cordelia Strube
Search Heartache by Carla Malden
What the Lady Wants by Renee Rosen
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
The Book Keeper by Julia McKenzie Munemo
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Temporary by Hilary Leichter
Blue Marlin by Lee Smith
Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
A Short Move by Katherine Hill
A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum
The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North
The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger
Watershed by Mark Barr
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
The Goshen Road by Bonnie Proudfoot
We Have Everything Before Us by Esther Yin-ling Spodek
Anna Eva Mimi Adam by Marina Antropow Cramer
This Is My Body by Cameron Dezen Hammon
Impurity by Larry Tremblay
The Last Goldfish by Anita Lahey
Invisible Ink by Guy Stern
A Room Called Earth by Madeleine Ryan
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
Raphael Painter in Rome by Stephanie Storey
Blue Summer by Jim Nichols
The Miracle of Saint Lazarus by Uva de Aragon
Red Mother with Child by Christian Lax
The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos
Tamba Child Soldier by Marion Achard
The Girl with Braided Hair by Rasha Adly
The Book of Second Chances by Katherine Slee
Disfigured by Amanda Leduc
Floating in the Neversink by Andrea Simon
Seven Sisters and a Brother by Marilyn Allman May
A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen
Sansei and Sensibility by Karen Tei Yamashita
The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester
Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat
I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
Godshot by Chelsea Bieker
The Hierarchies by Ros Anderson
The Change by Lori Soderlind
The Man in the White Linen Suit by David Handler
I Saw Three Ships by Bill Richardson
A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy
Wild Ride Home by Christine Hemp
If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim
The Book of Rosy by Rosayra Pablo Cruz and Julie Schweitert Collazo
The Devil to Pay by Liz Carlyle
How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences by Sue William Silverman
The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels
The Bitch by Pilar Quintana
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Continental Divide by Alex Myers

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme was hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to highlight some great pre-publication books we all can't wait to get our grubby little mitts on. I'm choosing to continue the tradition even though she has stopped.

The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals by Becky Mandelbaum.

The book is being released by Simon and Schuster on August 4, 2020.

The book's jacket copy says: From the winner of the 2016 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction comes a tender and funny debut novel, set over one emotionally charged weekend at an animal sanctuary in western Kansas, where maternal, romantic, and community bonds are tested in the wake of an estranged daughter’s homecoming.

The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals is in trouble.

It’s late 2016 when Ariel discovers that her mother Mona’s animal sanctuary in Western Kansas has not only been the target of anti-Semitic hate crimes—but that it’s also for sale, due to hidden financial ruin. Ariel, living a new life in progressive Lawrence, and estranged from her mother for six long years, knows she has to return to her childhood home—especially since her own past may have played a role in the attack on the sanctuary. Ariel expects tension, maybe even fury, but she doesn’t anticipate that her first love, a ranch hand named Gideon, will still be working at the Bright Side.

Back in Lawrence, Ariel’s charming but hapless fiancĂ©, Dex, grows paranoid about her sudden departure. After uncovering Mona’s address, he sets out to confront Ariel, but instead finds her grappling with the life she’s abandoned. Amid the reparations with her mother, it’s clear that Ariel is questioning the meaning of her life in Lawrence, and whether she belongs with Dex or with someone else, somewhere else.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme was hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to highlight some great pre-publication books we all can't wait to get our grubby little mitts on. I'm choosing to continue the tradition even though she has stopped.

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms.

The book is being released by Sourcebooks Landmark on August 4, 2020.

The book's jacket copy says: Misty's holler looks like any of the thousands of hollers that fork through the Appalachian Mountains. But Misty knows her home is different. She may be only ten, but she hears things. Even the crawdads in the creek have something to say, if you listen.

All that Misty's sister Penny wants to talk about are the strange objects that start appearing outside their trailer. The grown-ups mutter about sins and punishment, but that doesn't scare Misty. Not like the hurtful thing that's been happening to her, the hurtful thing that is becoming part of her. Ever since her neighbor William cornered her in the barn, she must figure out how to get back to the Misty she was before -- the Misty who wasn't afraid to listen.

This is the story of one tough-as-nails girl whose choices are few but whose fight is boundless, as her coping becomes a battle cry for everyone around her. Written by a survivor of sexual abuse, Every Bone a Prayer is a beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

It seems like everyone in the world has already read this one so I am incredibly late to the party. However, every party needs a pooper; that's why they invited me. Yes, unlike the rest of the world, I did not love this. I can almost see why people reacted the way they did but I was generally unmoved.

In 1952 on the coast of North Carolina, Kya is just six when her mother walks away from their family's rough cabin in the marsh, leaving behind Kya, her older brother Jodie, and their alcoholic, abusive father. Several older siblings are already long gone. That same year, Jodie leaves. And finally, when Kya is ten, her father disappears too, leaving this child to survive in the marsh alone. Kya becomes known as The Marsh Girl in town, laughed at, neglected, and avoided by almost everyone. She manages to figure out how to survive with a little help from Jumpin' and Mabel where she goes to buy her meager supplies and gas. They collect clothing and food for her from the colored church while the white part of town ignores her and scorns her. Kya watches the nature surrounding her, observant and quiet, learning the marsh and its ecosystem like the back of her hand. As she grows, she also watches the people around her, becoming friends with a golden haired boy named Tate, a friend of her older brother's, who will teach her to read and encourage her in her collecting.  She also observes the small group of privileged young people around her age, led by the town's best quarterback ever, Chase Andrews. It is Chase who, in the second timeline of the story will be found dead at the base of an abandoned fire tower, setting off a murder investigation aimed straight at the beautiful, odd Marsh Girl, Kya.

The story ranges from the 50s to the 70s and is a murder mystery, a romance, and a naturalist's diary all rolled into one. The latter is the most successful part of the novel, with Owens' lovely descriptions of the natural world shining through. Unfortunately the murder mystery and the romance were significantly less well written, filled with cliches and stilted writing. There were quite a few completely unrealistic plot points, including Kya's unlikely education and phenomenal success later in life, the uncharacteristic and out of the blue event that contributes to a motive for charging Kya with Chase's murder, and in fact the complicated case for how this simple, reclusive woman who had only left her home once in her life would have plotted and committed it (scroll over the following spoiler to read it) (that this hypothesis basically turns out to be true is even less believable). The characterizations in the novel were thin and underdeveloped and some, like those of the sheriff and his deputy were complete caricatures. Kya started off as a believable character but when Owens tried to add more depth and nuance to her backstory, sharing Kya's parents' more genteel backgrounds and history, she and her situation became less believable. Dialogue between characters was eye-rolling and the fact that dialect was used sometimes and not others, and not character dependent, was incredibly distracting. The beginning of the novel, as Kya is abandoned again and again, facing prejudice and disdain, and has to find a way to scratch out a meager living, is quite slow making the second part of the novel feel like it is in a huge rush to get to the end. I know I am in the minority, but I just couldn't overcome the problems with the novel to really appreciate this the way so many others clearly do.

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