Monday, November 28, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A houseful of people and a holiday does not make a conducive atmosphere for reading, at least for me. I got a little read though. This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week:

Hockey Karma by Howard Shapiro
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
Kiss and Tango by Marina Palmer

Reviews posted this week:

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tiddas by Anita Heiss
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
McMullen Circle by Heather Newton
Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Home Repairs by Trey Ellis
Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin
Looking for a Weegie to Love by Simon Smith
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
Love and Saffron by Kim Fay
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron
Shady Hollow by Juneau Black
Four Gardens by Margery Sharp
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Uncommon Measure by Natalie Hodges
Jane of Hearts by Katharine Weber
Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton
Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan
Chivalry by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
A Woman's Place by Marita Golden
Murder Above the Silver Waves by Blythe Baker
Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou
Easy Beauty by Chloe Cooper Jones
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
The Desert Smells Like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan
Stay Gone Days by Steve Yarbrough
The Mason House by T. Marie Bertineau
A Map for the Missing by Belinda Huijuan Tang
Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards
The Good Byline by Jill Orr
Truth and Other Lies by Maggie Smith
Dance of the Returned by Devon A. Mihesuah
Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour by Yelena and Galina Lembersky
The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore
These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
Tomorrow in Shanghai by May-Lee Chai
What's Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie
Setting Fire to Water by Phoebe Tsang
My Days of Dark Green Euphoria by A. E. Copenhaver
Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Provenance by Sue Mell
I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
The Hawk's Way by Sy Montgomery
The Foundling by Ann Leary
The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs by Leslie Kirk Campbell
Here Lies by Olivia Clare Friedman
The Barrens by Kurt Johnson and Ellie Johnson
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty
Blue-Skinned Gods by S.J. Sindu
Everything Harder Than Everyone Else by Jenny Valentish
Drowned Town by Jayne Moore Waldrop
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
Fighting Time by Amy Banks and Isaac Knapper
Oklahoma Odyssey by John Mort
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubenstein
Let the Wild Grasses Grow by Kase Johnstun
A House in the Country by Ruth Adam
Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum
Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue by M.C. Beaton
Color Me Murder by Krista Davis
In the Wake of the Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka
The Finder by Will Ferguson
Sandman by Bob Drews
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
What We Talk About When We Talk About Dumplings edited by John Lorinc
Book of Extraordinary Tragedies by Joe Meno
The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt
50 Things to Do When You Turn 50 edited by Ronnie Sellers
Near the Exit by Lori Erickson
She Left Me the Gun by Emma Brockes
The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
Beheld by Tarashea Nesbit
The Secret History of Food by Matt Siegel
My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh
Mothercare by Lynne Tillman
Hockey Karma by Howard Shapiro
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

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 Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton

The book is being released by Grand Central Publishing on December 6, 2022.

The book's jacket copy says: Florida is slipping away. As devastating weather patterns and rising sea levels wreak gradual havoc on the state’s infrastructure, a powerful hurricane approaches a small town on the southeastern coast. Kirby Lowe, an electrical line worker, his pregnant wife, Frida, and their two sons, Flip and Lucas, prepare for the worst. When the boys go missing just before the hurricane hits, Kirby heads out into the high winds in search of his children. Left alone, Frida goes into premature labor and gives birth to an unusual child, Wanda, whom she names after the catastrophic storm that ushers her into a society closer to collapse than ever before.

As Florida continues to unravel, Wanda grows. Moving from childhood to adulthood, adapting not only to the changing landscape, but also to the people who stayed behind in a place abandoned by civilization, Wanda loses family, gains community, and ultimately, seeks adventure, love, and purpose in a place remade by nature.

Told in four parts—power, water, light, and time—The Light Pirate mirrors the rhythms of the elements and the sometimes quick, sometimes slow dissolution of the world as we know it. It is a meditation on the changes we would rather not see, the future we would rather not greet, and a call back to the beauty and violence of an untamable wilderness.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Review: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Every year my book club chooses to read a book that fits the spooky season. Although this one takes place in the summer, the premise made it ripe for our October read. Now, I am a huge coward and I wince every year when we try to settle on an appropriate read. Luckily for me, The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw turned out to be far more unintentionally absurd than scary.

The small town of Sparrow, Oregon has a rather macabre claim to fame. In the early 1820s, the townspeople convicted the three Swan sisters, Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel, of witchcraft and drowned them in the town's harbor for the crime of being young and beautiful and seducing the men, especially the married men, of the town. Now the sisters come back every June 1 through the summer solstice. They take possession of three local girls' bodies to lure boys into the water and drown them in turn as revenge on the town for the sisters' own deaths. The town has made a festival of this grisly occurrence and tourists flock to the town during the festival despite the danger.

This year there's a new boy in town named Bo Carter. He says he knows nothing about the history or the town festival, despite showing up on the eve of the sisters' return. He meets Penny, who was born in Sparrow and lives on an island at the decommissioned lighthouse. Penny's father disappeared without a trace several years ago and her mother has been in a deep depression ever since. Something inspires Penny to hire Bo to help out at the lighthouse and to try and keep him safe from the murderous sisters but everything is not as it seems.

The broad plot here is definitely an interesting and unique one but there are so many plot inconsistencies and inaccuracies that it makes for a frustrating read. Just to start, Penny hops in a small outboard to get from the island into the town to go to school, having to make her way through a shipwreck strewn harbor to the shore in a fog so dense that she cannot see the shore in front of her. No sailor worth their salt would even consider going out in a boat in such conditions, especially given the treacherous waters. Later in the story, Penny doesn't know one of the drowned boys, despite both of them having lived and gone to school in this tiny town for their entire lives, something that is patently implausible given the setting. Then there's the question of why the townspeople continue to stay in the town, potentially sacrificing their sons to these angry spirits. As the mother of boys, I'd move away in a heartbeat. And why on earth would tourists come with their teenaged sons to risk their deaths too? It just makes zero sense. As for the story of the sisters, which is interspersed periodically with the more present day story, it also doesn't make a lot of sense. Firstly, the sisters were apparently not actually witches, which begs the question of how they could come back as these bloodthirsty, avenging body snatchers intent on murder. Secondly, the 1820s is quite late for the persecution of (non)witches, especially resulting in the execution of said convicted witches. Was the West Coast just that far behind the East Coast (and Europe) in moving beyond such barbaric practices? Finally, without giving too much away, the ending made less than no sense at all. (I'm happy to rant about it with/at anyone who has read the book and who wants me to though.) There were also plot points that were mentioned that might have been intended to go somewhere but were ultimately dropped like Penny's best friend's mother running a bakery that made muffins specifically designed to help people from out of the Swan sisters' former store. A muffin gets sent out to Penny's mother with the specific injunction that she eat the whole thing but nothing is ever mentioned about it again. Basically the whole book made me want to throw my hands in the air and shout at it. It comes across as being an adequate first draft but one that needs work. There are a whole lot of people who seem to really like this book online but I was definitely in the majority at book club so it's not just me. On the positive side, scary books often cause me nightmares and this one absolutely did not, so there's that.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I got a lot read but nothing reviewed since I dumped water on my keybooard and the computer had to be turned off and disconnected from power for days to dry out. Luckily, things seem to be okay now but I couldn't do some of the things I had intended to do sans computer. This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week:

Near the Exit by Lori Erickson
She Left Me the Gun by Emma Brockes
The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
Beheld by Tarashea Nesbit
The Secret History of Food by Matt Siegel
My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh
Mothercare by Lynne Tillman

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Reviews posted this week:

nothing yet

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

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tiddas by Anita Heiss
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
McMullen Circle by Heather Newton
Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Home Repairs by Trey Ellis
Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin
Looking for a Weegie to Love by Simon Smith
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
Love and Saffron by Kim Fay
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron
Shady Hollow by Juneau Black
Four Gardens by Margery Sharp
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Uncommon Measure by Natalie Hodges
Jane of Hearts by Katharine Weber
Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton
Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan
Chivalry by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
A Woman's Place by Marita Golden
Murder Above the Silver Waves by Blythe Baker
Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou
Easy Beauty by Chloe Cooper Jones
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
The Desert Smells Like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan
Stay Gone Days by Steve Yarbrough
The Mason House by T. Marie Bertineau
A Map for the Missing by Belinda Huijuan Tang
Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards
The Good Byline by Jill Orr
Truth and Other Lies by Maggie Smith
Dance of the Returned by Devon A. Mihesuah
Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour by Yelena and Galina Lembersky
The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore
These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
Tomorrow in Shanghai by May-Lee Chai
What's Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie
Setting Fire to Water by Phoebe Tsang
My Days of Dark Green Euphoria by A. E. Copenhaver
Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Provenance by Sue Mell
I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
The Hawk's Way by Sy Montgomery
The Foundling by Ann Leary
The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs by Leslie Kirk Campbell
Here Lies by Olivia Clare Friedman
The Barrens by Kurt Johnson and Ellie Johnson
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty
Blue-Skinned Gods by S.J. Sindu
Everything Harder Than Everyone Else by Jenny Valentish
Drowned Town by Jayne Moore Waldrop
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
Fighting Time by Amy Banks and Isaac Knapper
Oklahoma Odyssey by John Mort
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubenstein
Let the Wild Grasses Grow by Kase Johnstun
A House in the Country by Ruth Adam
Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum
Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue by M.C. Beaton
Color Me Murder by Krista Davis
In the Wake of the Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka
The Finder by Will Ferguson
Sandman by Bob Drews
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
What We Talk About When We Talk About Dumplings edited by John Lorinc
Book of Extraordinary Tragedies by Joe Meno
The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt
50 Things to Do When You Turn 50 edited by Ronnie Sellers
Near the Exit by Lori Erickson
She Left Me the Gun by Emma Brockes
The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
Beheld by Tarashea Nesbit
The Secret History of Food by Matt Siegel
My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh
Mothercare by Lynne Tillman

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

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 Sunshine Girls by Molly Fader

The book is being released by Graydon House on December 6, 2022.

The book's jacket copy says: Two friends. A lifetime of secrets. One sparkling story.

1967 Iowa. Nursing school roommates BettyKay and Kitty don't have much in common. BettyKay has risked her family's disapproval to pursue her dreams away from her small town. Cosmopolitan Kitty has always relied on her beauty and smarts to get by and to hide a painful secret. Yet the two share a determination to prove themselves in a changing world, forging an unlikely bond on a campus unkind to women.

Before their first year is up, tragedy strikes, and the women's paths are forced apart. But against all odds, a decades-long friendship forms, persevering through love, marriage, failure, and death, from the jungles of Vietnam to the glamorous circles of Hollywood. Until one snowy night leads their relationship to the ultimate crossroads.

Fifty years later, two estranged sisters are shocked when a famous movie star shows up at their mother's funeral. Over one tumultuous weekend, the women must reckon with a dazzling truth about their family that will alter their lives forever...

Monday, November 14, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Not my best week in terms of moving things off the tbr mountain! This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week:

The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt
50 Things to Do When You Turn 50 edited by Ronnie Sellers

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
She Left Me the Gun by Emma Brockes
Near the Exit by Lori Erickson
Beheld by Tarashea Nesbit

Reviews posted this week:

nothing yet

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

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tiddas by Anita Heiss
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
McMullen Circle by Heather Newton
Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Home Repairs by Trey Ellis
Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin
Looking for a Weegie to Love by Simon Smith
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
Love and Saffron by Kim Fay
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron
Shady Hollow by Juneau Black
Four Gardens by Margery Sharp
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Uncommon Measure by Natalie Hodges
Jane of Hearts by Katharine Weber
Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton
Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan
Chivalry by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
A Woman's Place by Marita Golden
Murder Above the Silver Waves by Blythe Baker
Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou
Easy Beauty by Chloe Cooper Jones
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
The Desert Smells Like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan
Stay Gone Days by Steve Yarbrough
The Mason House by T. Marie Bertineau
A Map for the Missing by Belinda Huijuan Tang
Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards
The Good Byline by Jill Orr
Truth and Other Lies by Maggie Smith
Dance of the Returned by Devon A. Mihesuah
Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour by Yelena and Galina Lembersky
The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore
These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
Tomorrow in Shanghai by May-Lee Chai
What's Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie
Setting Fire to Water by Phoebe Tsang
My Days of Dark Green Euphoria by A. E. Copenhaver
Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Provenance by Sue Mell
I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
The Hawk's Way by Sy Montgomery
The Foundling by Ann Leary
The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs by Leslie Kirk Campbell
Here Lies by Olivia Clare Friedman
The Barrens by Kurt Johnson and Ellie Johnson
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty
Blue-Skinned Gods by S.J. Sindu
Everything Harder Than Everyone Else by Jenny Valentish
Drowned Town by Jayne Moore Waldrop
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
Fighting Time by Amy Banks and Isaac Knapper
Oklahoma Odyssey by John Mort
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubenstein
Let the Wild Grasses Grow by Kase Johnstun
A House in the Country by Ruth Adam
Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum
Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue by M.C. Beaton
Color Me Murder by Krista Davis
In the Wake of the Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka
The Finder by Will Ferguson
Sandman by Bob Drews
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
What We Talk About When We Talk About Dumplings edited by John Lorinc
Book of Extraordinary Tragedies by Joe Meno
The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt
50 Things to Do When You Turn 50 edited by Ronnie Sellers

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

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 Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev

The book is being released by Mindy's Book Studio on December 1, 2022.

The book's jacket copy says: Living on their own terms means being there for one another.

When sixty-five-year-old Bindu Desai inherits a million dollars, she’s astounded—and horrified. The windfall threatens to expose a shameful mistake from her youth. Desperate to keep the secret, Bindu quickly spends it on something unexpected: a condo in a posh retirement community in Florida.

The impulsive decision blindsides Bindu’s daughter-in-law, Aly. At forty-seven, Aly still shares a home with Bindu even after her divorce from Bindu’s son. But maybe this change is just the push Aly needs to fight for the segment she’s been promised for years at the news station where she works.

As Bindu and Aly navigate their new dynamic, Aly’s daughter, Cullie, is faced with losing the business that made her a tech-world star. The only way to save it is to deliver a new idea to her investors—and of course they want the half-baked dating app she pitched them in a panic. Problem is, Cullie has never been on a real date. Naturally, enlisting her single mother and grandmother to help her with the research is the answer.

From USA Today bestselling author Sonali Dev comes a heartfelt novel about three generations of hilarious, unconventional, ambitious women navigating bad dates, a spiteful HOA board, reemerging exes, and secrets that refuse to remain hidden. Join the Desai women on a shared journey of self-discovery as they dare to live their most vibrant lives.

Monday, November 7, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Not my best week in terms of moving things off the tbr mountain! This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week:

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
What We Talk About When We Talk About Dumplings edited by John Lorinc
Book of Extraordinary Tragedies by Joe Meno

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
She Left Me the Gun by Emma Brockes

Reviews posted this week:

Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby

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

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tiddas by Anita Heiss
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
McMullen Circle by Heather Newton
Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Home Repairs by Trey Ellis
Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin
Looking for a Weegie to Love by Simon Smith
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
Love and Saffron by Kim Fay
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron
Shady Hollow by Juneau Black
Four Gardens by Margery Sharp
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Uncommon Measure by Natalie Hodges
Jane of Hearts by Katharine Weber
Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton
Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan
Chivalry by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
A Woman's Place by Marita Golden
Murder Above the Silver Waves by Blythe Baker
Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou
Easy Beauty by Chloe Cooper Jones
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
The Desert Smells Like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan
Stay Gone Days by Steve Yarbrough
The Mason House by T. Marie Bertineau
A Map for the Missing by Belinda Huijuan Tang
Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards
The Good Byline by Jill Orr
Truth and Other Lies by Maggie Smith
Dance of the Returned by Devon A. Mihesuah
Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour by Yelena and Galina Lembersky
The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore
These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
Tomorrow in Shanghai by May-Lee Chai
What's Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie
Setting Fire to Water by Phoebe Tsang
My Days of Dark Green Euphoria by A. E. Copenhaver
Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Provenance by Sue Mell
I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
The Hawk's Way by Sy Montgomery
The Foundling by Ann Leary
The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs by Leslie Kirk Campbell
Here Lies by Olivia Clare Friedman
The Barrens by Kurt Johnson and Ellie Johnson
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty
Blue-Skinned Gods by S.J. Sindu
Everything Harder Than Everyone Else by Jenny Valentish
Drowned Town by Jayne Moore Waldrop
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
Fighting Time by Amy Banks and Isaac Knapper
Oklahoma Odyssey by John Mort
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubenstein
Let the Wild Grasses Grow by Kase Johnstun
A House in the Country by Ruth Adam
Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum
Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue by M.C. Beaton
Color Me Murder by Krista Davis
In the Wake of the Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka
The Finder by Will Ferguson
Sandman by Bob Drews
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
What We Talk About When We Talk About Dumplings edited by John Lorinc
Book of Extraordinary Tragedies by Joe Meno

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

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 Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks

The book is being released by Minotaur on November 15, 2022.

The book's jacket copy says: When the most famous toddler in America, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., is kidnapped from his family home in New Jersey in 1932, the case makes international headlines. Already celebrated for his flight across the Atlantic, his father, Charles, Sr., is the country’s golden boy, with his wealthy, lovely wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, by his side. But there’s someone else in their household—Betty Gow, a formerly obscure young woman, now known around the world by another name: the Lindbergh Nanny.

A Scottish immigrant deciphering the rules of her new homeland and its East Coast elite, Betty finds Colonel Lindbergh eccentric and often odd, Mrs. Lindbergh kind yet nervous, and Charlie simply a darling. Far from home and bruised from a love affair gone horribly wrong, Betty finds comfort in caring for the child, and warms to the attentions of handsome sailor Henrik, sometimes known as Red. Then, Charlie disappears.

Suddenly a suspect in the eyes of both the media and the public, Betty must find the truth about what really happened that night, in order to clear her own name—and to find justice for the child she loves.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Review: Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby

Anne Sharp was a real person. She was young Fanny Austen's governess. And she did develop a lifetime friendship with Fanny's aunt, Jane Austen. Those are the facts we know. We do not know what brought her to working as a governess and what her early life was like but luckily we have Gill Hornby, who has imagined a rich and interesting backstory for Anne and fleshed out her life at Godmersham Park, the inherited home of Edward Austen (eventually known as Edward Austen Knight). Godmersham Park is not a story of Jane Austen. It is a story of Anne Sharp, who became her friend but who lived the kind of life that so many women without male protectors or kind relatives might face in that time.

Anne Sharp is 31 years old. Her mother has died and her adoring father has inexplicably abandoned her. Gently raised and alone in the world save her old nurse, she has few options for her future life. She can accept the marriage proposal from the leering and odious lawyer who tells her of her straightened circumstances or she can take one of the only other avenues available to an educated woman in the early 1800s in England: she can become a governess. Although being a governess is a rather tenuous position, neither upstairs nor downstairs and employed completely at the discretion of the master or mistress of the house, it is still a respectable position. Anne takes up her first post at Godmersham Park, the Kent estate of Edward Austen, as the governess to 12 year old Fanny Austen, the oldest child and daughter of the house.

As Anne settles into her role as governess she must learn her place adjacent to the family. She suffers the animus of many of the other servants but she genuinely likes her charge and finds life at Godmersham Park mostly comfortable and untaxing. She is lonely though. She doesn't entirely approve of Henry Austen, Mr. Edward's good humored and playful brother who visits often. He is much beloved by the family and while Anne sometimes enjoys sparring with him, she is also always cognizant of her place and incredibly frustrated when he teasingly crosses lines that could cost her. When the newly widowed Mrs. Austen, Cassandra Austen, and Jane Austen come to Kent, Anne's intellect can shine and she revels in their comfortable and welcoming company. But that shining may be one more piece in her eventual downfall.

Hornby has created an intriguing and certainly possible backstory for Anne Sharp. The narrative goes back and forth between the present of Anne's life in the Austen household and her past as she tries to understand why she has been forsaken by her father. The reason is quite obvious to the reader though, even if not to Anne. There are glimpses of Anne's skill as a teacher and her great understanding of the pitfalls of being a woman in her time, especially one who has no wish to marry. She is both an advocate for women's right to self-determination and freedom and very cognizant of reality. The book is historically accurate and Hornby has woven fact and fiction together seamlessly, using Fanny's childhood diaries as a major source for her characterizations. This is not a Jane story but it is smart and compelling (and sometimes horrific) and gives an intriguing glimpse into the well to do life of Edward Austen, his family, and into the life of an intelligent and perceptive governess during her two years with such a family.

For more information about Gill Hornby and the book, follow her on Twitter orInstagram, look at the book's Goodreads page, or look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Laurel Ann from Austenprose and publisher Pegasus Books for sending me a copy of the book to review.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Not my best week in terms of moving things off the tbr mountain! This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week:

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka
Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby
The Finder by Will Ferguson
Sandman by Bob Drews

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
Book of Extraordinary Tragedies by Joe Meno
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
What We Talk About When We Talk About Dumplings edited by John Lorinc

Reviews posted this week:

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Other People's Children by R.J. Hoffmann

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

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tiddas by Anita Heiss
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
McMullen Circle by Heather Newton
Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Home Repairs by Trey Ellis
Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin
Looking for a Weegie to Love by Simon Smith
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
Love and Saffron by Kim Fay
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron
Shady Hollow by Juneau Black
Four Gardens by Margery Sharp
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Uncommon Measure by Natalie Hodges
Jane of Hearts by Katharine Weber
Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton
Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan
Chivalry by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
A Woman's Place by Marita Golden
Murder Above the Silver Waves by Blythe Baker
Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou
Easy Beauty by Chloe Cooper Jones
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
The Desert Smells Like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan
Stay Gone Days by Steve Yarbrough
The Mason House by T. Marie Bertineau
A Map for the Missing by Belinda Huijuan Tang
Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards
The Good Byline by Jill Orr
Truth and Other Lies by Maggie Smith
Dance of the Returned by Devon A. Mihesuah
Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour by Yelena and Galina Lembersky
The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore
These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
Tomorrow in Shanghai by May-Lee Chai
What's Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie
Setting Fire to Water by Phoebe Tsang
My Days of Dark Green Euphoria by A. E. Copenhaver
Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Provenance by Sue Mell
I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
The Hawk's Way by Sy Montgomery
The Foundling by Ann Leary
The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs by Leslie Kirk Campbell
Here Lies by Olivia Clare Friedman
The Barrens by Kurt Johnson and Ellie Johnson
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty
Blue-Skinned Gods by S.J. Sindu
Everything Harder Than Everyone Else by Jenny Valentish
Drowned Town by Jayne Moore Waldrop
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
Fighting Time by Amy Banks and Isaac Knapper
Oklahoma Odyssey by John Mort
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubenstein
Let the Wild Grasses Grow by Kase Johnstun
A House in the Country by Ruth Adam
Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum
Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue by M.C. Beaton
Color Me Murder by Krista Davis
In the Wake of the Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka
Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby
The Finder by Will Ferguson
Sandman by Bob Drews

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Review: Other People's Children by R. J. Hoffmann

Parenthood. Some people become parents biologically while others become parents through adoption. Some people are amazing parents while others really struggle. What makes a parent? And perhaps more importantly, what makes a good parent as versus a bad parent? Is it love? Is it some other intangible?

Gail and Jon Durbin are beaten down by Gail's repeated miscarriages. They have arranged their whole lives to welcome a child, buying a house in the suburbs and setting up a nursery but the one thing they can't arrange is a pregnancy that doesn't end in loss and heartbreak. Gail is obsessive about becoming a mother while Jon, remembering his own childhood, is far more ambivalent about fatherhood. After much soul searching though, they decide to adopt. But this is one more process in creating a family that they don't have much control over.

Carli is a pregnant teenager living a couple of towns away. She doesn't have a relationship with the father of her baby any more and she's pretty sure she's not ready to be anyone's mother, especially given the poor role model she has in her own mother, Marla. She wants to go to college and escape her mother and the unhappy life they live. So she decides to give the baby up for adoption and she chooses Gail and Jon to be the baby's parents. Their dreams are coming true even while Marla pressures Carli to keep her baby, thinking perhaps that she can atone for her own failings as a mother by helping raise her grandbaby. What happens to Gail and Jon's dreams if Carli listens to Marla and changes her mind? Who actually is little Maya's family? What lengths will any of them go to to keep this baby?

This novel is both a domestic story about infertility and adoption as well as an on the run thriller. The narration shifts through each of the main characters so that the reader can sympathize with each of them, their hopes, dreams, fears, and motivations. There are right actions and wrong actions here but there's such a moral ambiguity that there's no clear and easy answer. Everyone is right and everyone is wrong. The story is an emotionally packed page turner, heartbreaking and tragic all the way round. If want and love makes a mother, both Gail and Carli are clearly mothers but only one of them can be Maya's mother. Carli's mother Marla is really the only clear villain here. The ending is a bit too perfect and hopeful after the wild ride that comes before it but overall Hoffmann has written an engrossing and moving story about love, adoption, parenthood, and ethics.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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.

None of This Would Have Happened If Prince Were Alive by Carolyn Prusa

The book is being released by Atria on November 22, 2022.

The book's jacket copy says: Perfect for fans of Maria Semple and Jennifer Weiner, this smart and witty debut novel follows Ramona through the forty-eight hours after her life has been upended by the discovery of her husband’s affair and an approaching Category Four hurricane.

Ramona’s got a bratty boss, a toddler teetering through toilet training, a critical mom who doesn’t mind sharing, and oops—a cheating husband. That’s how a Category Four hurricane bearing down on her life in Savannah becomes just another item on her to-do list. In the next forty-eight hours she’ll add a neighborhood child and the class guinea pig named Clarence Thomas to her entourage as she struggles to evacuate town.

Ignoring the persistent glow of her minivan’s check engine light, Ramona navigates police check points, bathroom emergencies, demands from her boss, and torrential downpours while fielding calls and apology texts from her cheating husband and longing for the days when her life was like a Prince song, full of sexy creativity and joy.

Thoroughly entertaining and completely relatable, None of This Would Have Happened if Prince Were Alive is the hilarious, heartwarming story of a woman up to her elbows in calamities and about to drive off the brink of the rest of her life.

Review: Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Parents have dreams for their children. But we need to be careful to nurture our children's dreams even if, or perhaps more importantly when, they do not match the dreams we have for them. We can guide and suggest, but in the end, it is not our life to lead. It is our children's. This is hard to face under normal conditions but when there are many other extenuating circumstances, it must be that much harder. Kaitlyn Greenidge's second novel, Libertie, shows how hard it is for a child to go against her mother's dreams and expectations and reach for her own.

Set in Brooklyn and Haiti, this historical novel tells the story of Libertie, the dark skinned daughter of a light skinned, female, Black doctor who rejects her mother’s profession and instead marries and moves to Haiti. The story opens with Libertie watching as her mother saves an escaped enslaved man; at least physically she saves him. And young Libertie is awed by her mother's power but also horrified at the emotional cost, both to her mother and to the patient. As she eventually leaves home for medical school, she finds that she is drawn more to music than medicine, knowing that she is unwilling and unable to pay the emotional cost of healing, especially of failing to heal the whole person. She cannot and will not follow in her mother's footsteps, choosing instead a different path, one that will provide her with her own brand of heartache.

This is a novel of strong women. In fact, it is inspired by the first black, female doctor in the US and her daughter. Greenidge writes movingly of mother daughter dynamics at the tail end of the Civil War. She has drawn the realities of the time into the text seamlessly, richly detailing the community and the challenges facing women, and especially a dark skinned woman like Libertie in the time of Reconstruction. Place is beautifully evoked here although the vast differences in the Brooklyn setting and the Haiti setting make this feel a little like two different novels mashed together and the travel to Haiti turns the novel toward the gothic and atmospheric with hints of Jane Eyre. Libertie's search for independence is moving and the reader sees it from her own perspective through the first person narration. The novel is a bit slow moving and contemplative with a lot of story lines, not all of which get a full enough treatment. Over all though, this is a powerful look at the high cost of slavery, colorism, and liberation in a story about family relationships, both mother daughter and husband wife, and about freedom and becoming.

This is one of the books chosen for the Women's National Book Association Great Group Reads list for 2022. (And yes, I stole a line or two from the description on that page for my review but since I wrote those descriptions, I consider that fair game.)

Monday, October 24, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Not my best week in terms of moving things off the tbr mountain! This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week:

The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

The Finder by Will Ferguson
The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Reviews posted this week:

Dark Country by Monique Snyman
The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews
Three by Valérie Perrin
The World's Greatest Sort Stories edited by James Daley (Dover Thrift Edition)

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

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tiddas by Anita Heiss
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
McMullen Circle by Heather Newton
Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Home Repairs by Trey Ellis
Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin
Looking for a Weegie to Love by Simon Smith
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
Love and Saffron by Kim Fay
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron
Shady Hollow by Juneau Black
Four Gardens by Margery Sharp
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Uncommon Measure by Natalie Hodges
Jane of Hearts by Katharine Weber
Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton
Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan
Chivalry by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
A Woman's Place by Marita Golden
Murder Above the Silver Waves by Blythe Baker
Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou
Easy Beauty by Chloe Cooper Jones
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
The Desert Smells Like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan
Stay Gone Days by Steve Yarbrough
The Mason House by T. Marie Bertineau
A Map for the Missing by Belinda Huijuan Tang
Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards
The Good Byline by Jill Orr
Truth and Other Lies by Maggie Smith
Dance of the Returned by Devon A. Mihesuah
Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour by Yelena and Galina Lembersky
The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore
These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
Tomorrow in Shanghai by May-Lee Chai
What's Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie
Setting Fire to Water by Phoebe Tsang
My Days of Dark Green Euphoria by A. E. Copenhaver
Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Provenance by Sue Mell
I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
The Hawk's Way by Sy Montgomery
The Foundling by Ann Leary
The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs by Leslie Kirk Campbell
Here Lies by Olivia Clare Friedman
The Barrens by Kurt Johnson and Ellie Johnson
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty
Blue-Skinned Gods by S.J. Sindu
Everything Harder Than Everyone Else by Jenny Valentish
Drowned Town by Jayne Moore Waldrop
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Fighting Time by Amy Banks and Isaac Knapper
Oklahoma Odyssey by John Mort
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubenstein
Let the Wild Grasses Grow by Kase Johnstun
A House in the Country by Ruth Adam
Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum
Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue by M.C. Beaton
Color Me Murder by Krista Davis
In the Wake of the Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Monday Mailbox

It's been a long time since I did this but I thought I'd try again, especially since I got some fabulous looking books this past week. This past week's mailbox arrivals:

Go As a River by Shelley Read came from Spiegel and Grau.

A coming of age novel paired with the natural world is completely up my alley (plus I've heard amazing things about this).

Skull Water by Heinz Insu Fenkl came from Spiegel and Grau.

About a mixed race boy living in South Korea who is determined to find a cure for his sick Big Uncle, this novel sounds so good.

Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby came from Pegasus Books and Austenprose PR for a blog tour.

A novel of the Austen family? Just try to keep me from reading it! I can't wait.

The Unplanned Life of Josie Hale by Stephanie Eding came from a friend.

When a woman turns up unexpectedly pregnant with her ex-husband's baby, her two male best friends step in to make sure she has all the food she craves as they create a family together. Fun, right?

The Wedding War by Liz Talley came from a friend.

What a premise! Two former best friends who fell out and haven't spoken in twenty years have to come together and plan the wedding for their children. This has all kinds of promise.

The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz came from a friend.

An AI repair person and an old autonomous robot who still runs her late master's tea shop cross each other's paths. This is very different than what I usually read but it is intriguing sounding.

If you want to see the marvelous goodies in other people's mailboxes, make sure to visit Mailbox Monday and have fun seeing how we are all doing our part to keep the USPS and delivery services viable.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Review: The World's Greatest Short Stories edited by James Daley (Dover Thrift Edition)

Although short stories are not my usual choice of reading now, I read quite a number of them in school. I even taught a few once upon a time. So when I remembered that this collection was sitting on my shelves, I decided to see if it was indeed a collection of the world's greatest. My conclusion is that while many of these (or at least their authors) might have been influential, the stories themselves are not necessarily the greatest despite the title's assertion.

I had in fact encountered many of the included stories before in my schooling. They are, by and large, fairly accessible and they do make it easy for students to discuss theme, character, setting, plot, and other elements of fiction. The stories are from a hundred year or so span of time (1853-1962) and are heavily US and Eurocentric. There is only one story from a Japanese author and one story from a Nigerian author. Hard to make the case then, that this is a collection of the "world's" greatest, isn't it? Additionally, out of the 20 stories, a mere 3 are written by women. The stories are almost exclusively canon and not particularly representative of the varied world we live in. In short, there are no surprising stories here.

Personally I loathe Herman Melville and the only thing he contributes to for me is an insomnia cure so starting the collection off with Bartleby the Scrivener made me wary from the outset. (And in the spirit of full disclosure, I skipped reading it again because it almost killed me with boredom the last time I read it). I did enjoy revisiting some of the other stories: The Death of Ivan Ilyich, The Yellow Wallpaper, The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket. I did come across stories I hadn't read but only two stories from authors I was unfamiliar with. This isn't terribly surprising though since the majority of the stories are staples of English classes and available for free in the public domain with only the shortest of stories toward the end of the time period covered here still in copyright. I think that this is an okay introduction to short stories (although I'd still supplement it with a broader range and more diverse authors) but for those who did anything much with English in school, you probably have all of these stories in anthologies already on your shelves. And know that the big claim made in the title (world's greatest) is just that: a big claim for a collection with such a narrow focus.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Review: Three by Valérie Perrin

Friendships are special things and children are the best at them. They can be so open and welcoming to other children. My own children would come off of playgrounds to inform me that their new friend so and so had told them something or to ask if the new friend could come over the play. Every time they used this language: "my new friend." And while many of these were momentary friendships, not lasting any longer than the time we spent on the playground, they also developed deep and abiding friendships that persist to this day. These dear childhood friendships can be battered and they will survive but they can also be broken given enough stress on them. Valerie Perrin's latest novel, Three, centers on three friends who were inseparable as children but who have gone their own ways as adults because of tragedies and life choices.

Adrien, Étienne, and Nina are only 10 years old when they meet in 1986 in their provincial French town. Nina is graceful, sensitive, and artistic and being raised by her postman grandfather since her mother left when she was small. She is the glue between the two boys. Étienne is good looking and popular, from a wealthy family, but he can never satisfy his judgmental father. Adrien is quiet and wickedly smart; he and his single mother are new to the area. Somehow these very different fifth graders come together to become "the three." The three who are always there for each other. The three who will protect each other. The three who are as much a part of each other as a limb is. Until they are not. Until they are each just one.

In 2017, in their adult lives, Adrien, Étienne, and Nina are estranged. They do not speak to each other. Their once firm plans to escape their town and move to Paris to start a band are long since abandoned. They are very different people than the children and young adults they once were, changed by tragedy and circumstance. Local journalist Virginie, who once knew "the three," watches the fallout as a car pulled from a local lake with a body inside brings back the summer that everything started going so very wrong for each of the friends. Whose body is it? Could it be Étienne's missing girlfriend? And if it is, what will each of "the three" make of it?

Perrin has written an intricately plotted novel that is epic in scope. Her characters are complex and well rounded. Both timelines are told in the present tense but only the portions that the mysterious Virginie narrates are from the first person perspective. This gives a slightly larger distance from the story of "the three" than from Virginie's watchful tale, keeping the fabled friendship just that much more out of arm's reach, that much more enigmatic. The two storylines twine around each other, leading the reader to the things that ultimately ruptured the friendship, to the revelation of the body's identity, to just who Virginie is and who she is specifically to "the three," and to the future that each of them face and embrace in the end. There are well crafted, slow measured reveals of the secrets hidden for years that build the story to its end as Perrin poses the question of whether you can ever really fully know another person, or perhaps even yourself. This is a literary mystery within a well written story of friendship, loyalty, betrayal, the past and the present. It is a quiet, long, slow novel, thoroughly engrossing and occasionally surprising. Fans of literary fiction will enjoy it for sure.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

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.

We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

The book is being released by Harper on November 8, 2022.

The book's jacket copy says: For lovers of Meg Wolitzer, Maria Semple, and Jenny Offill comes this raucous, poignant celebration of life, love, and friendship at its imperfect and radiant best.

Edith and Ashley have been best friends for over forty-two years. They’ve shared the mundane and the momentous together: trick or treating and binge drinking; Gilligan’s Island reruns and REM concerts; hickeys and heartbreak; surprise Scottish wakes; marriages, infertility, and children. As Ash says, “Edi’s memory is like the back-up hard drive for mine.”

But now the unthinkable has happened. Edi is dying of ovarian cancer and spending her last days at a hospice near Ash, who stumbles into heartbreak surrounded by her daughters, ex(ish) husband, dear friends, a poorly chosen lover (or two), and a rotating cast of beautifully, fleetingly human hospice characters.

As The Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack blasts all day long from the room next door, Edi and Ash reminisce, hold on, and try to let go. Meanwhile, Ash struggles with being an imperfect friend, wife, and parent—with life, in other words, distilled to its heartbreaking, joyful, and comedic essence.

For anyone who’s ever lost a friend or had one. Get ready to laugh through your tears.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Review: The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews

Of all the Disney Princesses, most book lovers probably identify most with Belle from Beauty and the Beast. A romance with a reader as a main character? Yes, please! Mimi Matthews must feel the same way since her newest Victorian romance, The Belle of Belgrave Square, very definitely owes quite a bit to Beauty and the Beast (as well as The Story of Bluebeard and several other stories she mentions in her author's note at the end of the novel).

Julia Wychwood is a beautiful young woman who suffers from crippling social anxiety. She is the wealthy heiress to invalid parents who are clearly hypochondriacs, continually summoning the doctor for their many imagined debilitating conditions. Her anxiety means that she doesn't want to be out in society (she takes books with her when she must attend balls and gatherings in case she needs to escape to somewhere quiet) but as an eligible young woman she can only feign illness to avoid these obligations so often. And doing so has earned her a reputation as fragile and sickly. Captain Jasper Blunt is known as the Hero of the Crimea. He is a big, imposing man and has a large scar on his face. His brutality during the war is whispered about in the drawing rooms of London. He owns a crumbling home in Yorkshire which needs a large influx of money to repair and maintain. Goldfinch Hall is also where his three illegitimate children live, a fact that scandalizes society. He is pursuing Julia for her fortune. She knows it, and he is very honest about it. Initially though, he terrifies her. It is only through his continued chivalry towards her and his genuine care for her well being that she comes to see him as a way to escape the odious suitor her parents have chosen for her and the London social scene that makes her so unhappy.

Julia is a romantic and dreamy young woman. She loves novels and the exciting stories they tell (if you haven't read Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon that Julia is reading, you're missing out on some fantastic gothic sensationalism). It is through their shared love of novels that she and Captain Blunt first start to know each other. They are very honest about their feelings for each other and take the time to try to get to know each other before intimacy, which is refreshing. The major stumbling blocks to their growing relationship are the secrets the Captain is keeping from Julia, including a locked tower room, and Julia's father's selfish opposition to their marriage. Julia sees to the kind heart of her emotionally wounded husband and he sees the strength in his shy and anxious wife, proving that people can change and grow despite gossip and reputation, especially if they are surrounded by love.

This is the second book in the Belles of London series but it easily stands alone. It is a closed door romance, focused far more on the characters, who they are and how they relate to each other, than on the physical side of their love. There is a major plot twist that is evident from the beginning of the novel but Matthews intentionally gives the reader easy clues to this, which is only one of the surprises Julia uncovers. These characters who are not valued by many others for who they truly are come alive in this swoony romance. I suspect that while Julia might say there weren't enough adventures in it, she'd wholeheartedly approve of the romance aspect if she were reading her own story.

For more information about Mimi Matthews and the book, check our her author site, like her page on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, look at the book's Goodreads page, or look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Laurel Ann from Austenprose and publisher Berkley Romance for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Review: Dark Country by Monique Snyman

Horror generally makes me run screaming in the other direction. I am a coward with my own active imagination. And I value my nightmare-free sleep a lot. So I rarely ever read anything that could interrupt that sleep with panic. Not that this means I always succeed in avoiding scary books but I sure do try. So why did I willingly pick this up, knowing that it is classed as horror with paranormal elements? It's hard to explain but I had it on good authority that there was more here than just a story about a serial killer. And there was but perhaps not enough for a reader like me, who is generally put off by the gory and the gruesome.

Esmé Snyder is an occult investigator in her family's business who is sometimes called to consult on cases with the South African Police Service. The story opens with her being called to the scene of a particularly ghastly crime. The body of a mutilated twenty-something black woman has been discovered in a field and the murder is being considered as a possible ritual murder. Quite quickly, several more ghastly ritualistic murders are discovered but nothing seems to tie them together besides the horrific mutilations, the attention seeking aspects of the crime scenes, and the way that there is something paranormal at work, draining the life force from and deadening the entire crime scene. Esmé will have to track and try to stop this soulless killer even as he might be tracking her.

The novel is narrated by Esmé but also offers third person chapters that give the reader the serial killer's point of view. This allows the reader to see his motivations in a way that Esmé cannot. There are also news articles and internet comments about the cases showing the public's response to both the horrors of these murders and the police handling of them. Mixed in with the murders and Esmé's investigation is some information about her family and past and even more about her on-again, off-again involvement with a co-worker, which evolves into a love triangle. Both of these plot threads are very secondary to the ritualistic, ancestor magic driven sacrifices that litter the story. Esmé is a strong character but she makes questionable decision after questionable decision, often resulting in her needing rescue herself. She is smart enough not to do these things, and yet... She holds herself at an emotional remove and doesn't accept help easily despite being surrounded by people who can, should, and want to help. The inclusion of South African myths and religion makes the story more intriguing, especially for readers not familiar with either. It is clearly a story about power and evil and what drives people to such lengths. The final pages of the novel definitely imply that the end is not the end and that there will be more books to come. While this may not have been the book for me, it would be a good book for people who enjoy horror and serial killers, those who are fascinated by religious zealotry growing on a scaffolding of insanity, and those who appreciate a little of the paranormal and the unexplainable in their reading.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book for review.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week:

The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen
The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews
Dark Country by Monique Snyman
The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

The Finder by Will Ferguson
The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher

Reviews posted this week:

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen
Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie

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

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tiddas by Anita Heiss
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
McMullen Circle by Heather Newton
Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Home Repairs by Trey Ellis
Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin
Looking for a Weegie to Love by Simon Smith
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
Love and Saffron by Kim Fay
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron
Shady Hollow by Juneau Black
Four Gardens by Margery Sharp
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Uncommon Measure by Natalie Hodges
Jane of Hearts by Katharine Weber
Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton
Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan
Chivalry by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
She Is Haunted by Paige Clark
A Woman's Place by Marita Golden
Murder Above the Silver Waves by Blythe Baker
Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou
Easy Beauty by Chloe Cooper Jones
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
Three by Valerie Perrin
The Desert Smells Like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan
Stay Gone Days by Steve Yarbrough
The Mason House by T. Marie Bertineau
A Map for the Missing by Belinda Huijuan Tang
Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards
The Good Byline by Jill Orr
Truth and Other Lies by Maggie Smith
Dance of the Returned by Devon A. Mihesuah
Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour by Yelena and Galina Lembersky
The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore
These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
Tomorrow in Shanghai by May-Lee Chai
What's Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie
Setting Fire to Water by Phoebe Tsang
My Days of Dark Green Euphoria by A. E. Copenhaver
Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Provenance by Sue Mell
I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
The Hawk's Way by Sy Montgomery
The Foundling by Ann Leary
The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs by Leslie Kirk Campbell
Here Lies by Olivia Clare Friedman
The Barrens by Kurt Johnson and Ellie Johnson
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty
Blue-Skinned Gods by S.J. Sindu
Everything Harder Than Everyone Else by Jenny Valentish
Drowned Town by Jayne Moore Waldrop
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Fighting Time by Amy Banks and Isaac Knapper
Oklahoma Odyssey by John Mort
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubenstein
Let the Wild Grasses Grow by Kase Johnstun
A House in the Country by Ruth Adam
Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire
The World's Greatest Sort Stories by Dover editions
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum
Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue by M.C. Beaton
Color Me Murder by Krista Davis
In the Wake of the Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews
Dark Country by Monique Snyman
The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle

Friday, October 14, 2022

Review: Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie

I've never been much of a tv watcher but even I have seen an episode or two of soap operas over the years. They aren't really my thing but I think what keeps people tuning in every day is the pace of the story, the complications, the constant drama, secrets and their shocking reveals, love, and of course, their outlandishness, all of which serve to take the viewer away from their quotidian life. Asha Lemmie's debut novel, Fifty Words for Rain, is the book version of a soap opera and it has garnered its share of supporters and detractors, just as the tv shows do. I have to admit though, that if I have no interest in tv soap operas, I am only marginally more interested in book soap operas.

Opening in 1948, eight year old Noriko, the illegitimate, mixed race daughter of a Japanese aristocratic mother and a black American GI, is left at the gate of her aristocratic grandparents' home by her mother. Jumping then to two years later, Nori is living in her grandparents' attic, her mother's shame made visible kept hidden and out of sight of everyone outside the family. She is given harsh chemical baths to try and lighten her skin and she has come to understand that her curly hair and complexion are terrible, something no Japanese person would ever value. She is treated badly by her grandmother when she deigns to see Nori and neglected when she doesn't. When her older half brother, Akira, who is her mother's legitimate son and the heir to her wealthy grandparents, comes to live in the house after the death of his father, Nori, for the first time, finds an ally. She is obsessed with her brother and he convinces their grandmother to grant Nori privileges that she has never before been allowed. But this sibling bond can't be allowed to stand and Nori is sold off to a brothel the family owns while her brother is away at school. This is not the last terrible thing that happens to Nori as she goes from trauma to trauma, often at the hands of her bigoted, evil family.

From the opening pages, Nori is an obedient child who faces every bad thing possible: abandonment, abuse--physical, emotional and sexual, isolation, racism, loss and more. Eventually the reader has to wonder just how many terrible things and tragedies must be thrown at Nori to show her resilience as a character. And given all of the soul destroying events in her life at the hands of her grandmother, it makes the end of the novel completely out of character and ridiculously unbelievable. But even from the beginning the novel is unbelievable. It starts with something that calls into question the accuracy of its entire portrayal of post-war Japan. Nori is supposed to be 8 in 1948. That would put her American GI father in Japan in either 1939 or 1940 in order for her to exist. Even a quick internet search suggests that this would have been well night impossible. But Nori needs to be half black and half Japanese in order for the story to work. Pure invented melodrama, especially when added to the litany of traumas she faces throughout her life. The novel does crack on at a decent clip making a close to 500 page book a quick read, so for those interested in a soap-like survival story or trauma porn, this might be the right book. Certainly a lot of other authors and readers have loved it in ways that I didn't.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Review: The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen

I enjoy historical fiction (although WWII storylines need to have something extra to interest me at this point) and I am fascinated by Venice and Venetian society. I've read and enjoyed a couple of books from Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness series. So I thought that her novel, The Venice Sketchbook, this dual timeline story of uncovering secrets from a beloved deceased relative through a bequest would be enjoyable. It would be predictable, sure. How could it not with a premise like it had? And it was fine. Yep. Just fine. And that was a disappointment.

Juliet "Lettie" Browning first goes to Venice in 1928 with her formidable Aunt Hortensia. She meets a handsome Venetian man named Leonardo Da Rossi and sneaks out of her room to share a late night picnic with him, and a kiss too. She is whisked away from Venice after this but she cannot forget Leo, who, it turns out, is from a wealthy, prominent, and respected family. A decade later, after her family's financial hardship has forced her to give up her place at art college and take on the position of art mistress at an all girls school, she leads a school trip to Venice where she meets Leo again, dines with him, and discovers that he is to be married to the woman who was chosen for him at her birth. Once again she leaves and cannot forget him or the forbidden kiss they again shared. A year later she returns to Venice again, despite Europe being on the cusp of war. This time she has been granted a year's bursary, during which she will be able to take classes at the art accadamia. And again she runs into the now unhappily married Leo. The shadow of the looming war and their decade long feelings for each other create unforeseeable complications.

In 2001, Lettie's great niece Caroline is processing her divorce. Her ex is now dating a famous American pop star and he has asked for their six year old son Teddy to spend the summer with them. When Teddy is supposed to fly home to England and his mother, 9/11 happens and he has to stay in the US. Even when it's safe for him to come home, ex Josh contends that Teddy's too traumatized to fly and so won't send him home, leaving Caroline no recourse to get her son back. In the meantime, her beloved Great Aunt Lettie, who lives with the grandmother who raised Caroline, has a stroke and is clearly dying. Caroline rushes to her in time to hear her dying wish that Caroline go to Venice and that she be given the box in Lettie's closet. The box contains sketchbooks from Venice, glass beads, a ring, and an unlabeled set of keys. A bit lost without Teddy, unhappy with her job, and having unused vacation time, Caroline decides to go to Venice to scatter some of Lettie's ashes and see if she can uncover what her great aunt clearly wanted her to discover. While there, she will meet her own handsome Da Rossi.

The novel moves back and forth between the historical and the more modern day timelines. Juliet's story, told in first person through her diaries, is at least 2/3 of the novel, while Caroline's sections are third person narration and at most 1/3 of the story. Juliet's story was definitely more interesting than Caroline's so this imbalance was fine. There is a prologue that is repeated quite far into the novel which implies a very different book than the one we get. It is not a spy story. It is a love story (maybe times two). There is the ever frustrating insta-love (twice!) on which the whole story hinges. Early on, Caroline repeats, on almost every page, that she wishes Aunt Lettie had just told her what she wanted her to know rather than it being such a mystery. Granted, without this ambiguity from Aunt Lettie, there would be no story, but even so, Caroline's frustration got incredibly repetitious. The mystery of Aunt Lettie's time in Venice was never really mysterious to the reader though and the novel is littered with too many unlikely coincidences in order to make what we know has to happen actually come about. The novel is slow to start (perhaps because of all the repetition) and all of the action piles up in the end. There are many descriptive passages about Venice, really drawing a picture of the tourist areas of the city for the reader, and Bowen has focused on the feasts and celebrations that set Venetians apart, including from their fellow Italians, even to the point of continuing to hold their traditional festivals as the world sinks into WWII. Perhaps it is this sense of partying while the rest of the world burns that leads to a far less than expected amount of tension when the war does finally come to Venice. There are likewise certain plot elements that arise that should be blockbusters and yet they just peter out and get dropped. There is a kernel of a stronger story here, even with the predictable elements, and I'm sorry that it didn't come to fruition. This is okay for the romance, weak on the mystery, but a decent enough read if you're just killing time. How's that for damning it with faint praise?

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Review: Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

If you've ever gone under the sea (in my case scuba rather than a submarine), you know there's something different about breathing and being under the water. There's a slowing down, a muffling, that occurs. It is a place of metamorphosis. The deeper you go the more otherworldly it becomes. And because we know so little about the ocean and its inhabitants, it is the perfect place to set a nightmare. In Julia Armfield's brooding and melancholy novel Our Wives Under the Sea, she uses this unknowing and vague sense of menace as two wives confront the aftermath of one of the women's submarine voyage gone wrong, how they are both changed by this trauma, and a mourning for what was, and what continues to be, lost.

Miri and Leah are treading water, drifting around each other in an increasingly silent apartment. Leah is a deep sea researcher who was on a submarine that was meant to be gone for 3 weeks but was unexpectedly gone for 6 months. Leah's wife, Miri, doesn't know how to help Leah process the trauma she experienced when the sub lost power and sank to the bottom of the ocean. Leah doesn't know how to, or can't, tell Miri what happened down there. And so the two women repeat their actions over and over and over again in a hopeless loop. Miri calls the Centre (Leah's employer) to try and get ahold of a person who can help Leah, and perhaps her as well. Leah floats in the bath, water running all the time, her body changing, vomiting water, bleeding from her mouth, and her skin silvering, almost translucent. Both of them are aimless with grief and loss and Leah is increasingly disassociated from this terrestrial life.

The novel is narrated in the first person, alternating between Miri, who tells of their history together and her futile efforts to find "her Leah" instead of this stranger who has returned from 6 months away, and Leah, who tells the reader, but not Miri, the story of what happened to her and to her fellow scientists down in the depths of the ocean. The story is also broken into the oceanic zones: sunlight, twilight, midnight, abyssal, and hadal so the reader knows that things will get darker and more unknowable as the story goes on. This is an essentially plotless, character driven meditation. It is unsettling and surreal in tone. There are many unanswered questions: why is the sub supplied with enough food to last 6 months when the voyage was supposed to be 3 weeks? Why do the upstairs neighbors leave their tv on at all hours and what do the banal shows they watch signify for this marriage that is slowly disintegrating? What is that sound under the water? And how do you grieve someone still present? There is a sort of dreamy horror to this novel which kept me awkwardly distanced from the story. Very little actually happens over the short course of the book and the two women's voices were nigh indistinguishable. The slow moving plot and the endless repetition, like waves rolling out at sea, never getting nearer to shore, turned this into something of a struggle to pick back up after I put it down. In fact, I found I had to reread sentences even right in the middle of the story because I had zoned out completely and not absorbed anything. Everything, characters and plot both, felt vague and strangely insubstantial. I so very much wanted to like this more than I did. Others have raved about it though so perhaps I missed something vital. If you read it, expect no answers to any questions, not in the beginning, the middle, and certainly not in the end.

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 Rewind by Allison Winn Scotch

The book is being released by Berkley on November 1, 2022.

The book's jacket copy says: Two exes wake up together with wedding bands on their fingers—and no idea how they got there. They have just one New Year’s Eve at the end of 1999 to figure it out in this big-hearted and nostalgic rom-com from New York Times bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch.

When college sweethearts Frankie and Ezra broke up before graduation, they vowed to never speak to each other again. Ten years later, on the eve of the new millennium, they find themselves back on their snowy, picturesque New England campus together for the first time for the wedding of mutual friends. Frankie’s on the rise as a music manager for the hottest bands of the late ’90s, and Ezra’s ready to propose to his girlfriend after the wedding. Everything is going to plan—they just have to avoid the chasm of emotions brought up when they inevitably come face to face.

But when they wake up in bed next to each other the following morning with Ezra’s grandmother’s diamond on Frankie’s finger, they have zero memory of how they got there—or about any of the events that transpired the night before. Now Frankie and Ezra have to put aside old grievances in order to figure out what happened, what didn’t happen...and to ask themselves the most troubling question of all: what if they both got it wrong the first time around?

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