In a North Carolina mountain town filled with moonshine and rotten husbands, Sadie Blue is only the latest girl to face a dead-end future at the mercy of a dangerous drunk. She’s been married to Roy Tupkin for fifteen days, and she knows now that she should have listened to the folks who said he was trouble. But when a stranger sweeps in and knocks the world off-kilter for everyone in town, Sadie begins to think there might be more to life than being Roy’s wife.~ Goodreads Blurb
Another title for this book might have been “If I Was A Fly On The Wall.” There are small towns all over North Carolina and this book might as well have set up shop right in the middle of one. There were a number of times that I found myself re-reading and doubling back on chapters because not only was there just so much packed into the story but the writing style is so perfect for this sort of story. Author Leah Weiss has her work cut out to top her debut novel. If she can write another even on par with this book, I would call her a success. Not only does she tie your emotions to this town, she makes it difficult not to feel every pain and sorrow her characters relate. You feel for these people even while their lives continue on. Each chapter gives you a new point of view and what they reveal, it is almost like sitting in their homes listening to their dark secrets. Some of the story lines we all know, we’ve seen it coming but like a train wreck there is nothing we can do but just watch it happen. And yet, sometimes Weiss surprised me and even though it wasn’t what I expected it, it wasn’t out of character. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy reading about small towns and getting just a slice of that style of life. *This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark in exchange for honest feedback*
In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.
On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself. ~Goodreads Blurb
Dystopian novels are all the rage and it is not often that you can get a story like “The List” that is both familiar and at the same time fresh. While the story line evokes familiar feelings and a nod to utopian societies with a dark side like “The Giver” and to a degree “Red Queen,” Patricia Forde has knocked it out of the park with her debut novel. The idea of limiting not the ideas that people have through separation but also by limiting the words that they can use is an interesting premise that Forde follows through with great strength. This is a middle school leveled book but I still was able to enjoy the familiar path. The characters were well written and though there were hints of romance there was no overtly obvious romantic overtones with the main character, while the familial bonds were highlighted. I appreciate this when the character are written very young. As someone who jumped into dystopian fiction with “Handmaid’s Tale” and “Brave New World,” I think young me would have appreciated a story like this to start me off in the dystopian style. It’s a little dark but not so much so that I would worry about giving this book to my niece or nephew.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in exchange for honest feedback*
On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.
As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.
There is definitely a strong familiar feeling to this story. It jumps through different characters point-of-view, and Lizzie’s way of thinking reminds me of The Yellow Wallpaper. This unreliable narration and the flitting between thoughts gives you a rushed feeling, as if you were racing to keep up with her. The story goes on, introducing us to more characters and their ways of thinking. Author Sarah Schmidt has done an excellent job giving each of these characters their own unique voice and yet tied them together in such a way that it flowed almost seamlessly. I was very surprised to find that this was a debut novel as her writing style seems well tested. I can understand how some might not enjoy this book and I feel like it will be very polarizing. I personally enjoy a book that lures me in and then spends the next few hours leading me down a twisting road. I do also enjoy simple A to B stories but this was a welcome break and I will be looking forward to Sarah Schmidt’s next book.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press in exchange for honest feedback*
July, 1579. Called upon to help a family friend who is horrified at the return of her errant husband after an absence of thirty years, little does Ursula realize that her involvement in the Harrison family's domestic dramas will lead to a case of cold-blooded murder.
Matters become even more complicated when Ursula is summoned to court to assist in negotiations for Queen Elizabeth's possible engagement to the Duke of Alencon. The proposed marriage between the queen and a French Catholic twenty years her junior is causing unrest throughout the kingdom. There are many who oppose the match - but would someone kill in order to prevent it?
Tensions increase when a prominent nobleman is accused of murder. Ursula is convinced the man is innocent - but can she prove it?~Goodreads Blurb
Over all, A Deadly Betrothal is another well written installment of author Fiona Buckley’s Ursula Blanchard Mysteries. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of the series, then no worries. You can easily start here and work your way back or forward. There is enough mystery and twists in order to keep you engaged with the story and the characters are filled out from their historical places into their well formed shapes. I enjoy a good historical fiction story and a murder mystery even more so. Unfortunately, Buckley decided to introduce a rape scene into this story that I feel was not even needed, nor did add anything to the story that could not have been written in another format. Sure it gave two characters a needed face-to-face but that could have been rectified with a simple attempt not a hastily written attack. I would recommend this book with the caveat that readers should skip Chapter 25 and pretend it never existed. There are some character flaws but I passed them over, as there is a chance that these traits make sense in past books. All together it is a fine piece of work, though it could have used the one edit I mentioned.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Severn House in exchange for honest feedback*
At last a book about the so-called “Mad Monk” of Imperial Russia that lays to rest the myths and reveals the truth about one of the most controversial characters in human history while exploring the impact his murder had on a dynasty, a people, and a country.
Written in three parts, KILLING RASPUTIN begins with a biography that describes how a simple unkempt “holy man” from the wilds of Siberia became a friend of Emperor Nicholas II and his empress, Alexandra, at the most crucial moment in Russian history. Part Two examines the infamous murder of Rasputin through the lens of a “cold case” homicide investigation. And lastly, the book considers the connection between a cold-blooded assassination and the revolution that followed; a revolution that led to civil war and the rise of the Soviet Union. ~Goodreads Blurb
This is not a light read. It's no War & Peace but you will need time to finish this book. To understand and appreciate the sheer amount of work that author Margarita Nelipa had to sift through to form this book. With over 500 pages and over 3 times as many footnotes, this is an informative read. Though at times, it was difficult to find the story line through all additional facts. This is not her first book and yet she seems to fall into a rather common trait shared by first time nonfiction writers. She took all that time to find and fact check all of her information and has crammed all of it into one book.
That is not to say that it wasn't an enjoyable read. I was able to walk away with more of an understanding of the man and the times. The mythos of Rasputin is one that the world has taken great joy in painting as a villain and I feel as though Nelipa has taken a different stance from the usual to explain him and at times to defend what we know of him. Well written and well worth the time it will take you to read through it. I would recommend this to those who enjoy reading about Russian history and I think True Crime readers will also get a kick out of this book.
*This eBook is provided by NetGalley and WildBlue Press in exchange for honest feedback*
Laura's worst fears have been realized: Kindle has been taken into custody and she is once again on the run. The noose awaits her in New York, but Laura is realizing that there are some things worse than death. Finally running out of places to hide, it may be time for Dr. Catherine Bennett to face her past. ~Goodreads Blurb
One of the first reviews that Badlands posts above its blurb says "Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in the conclusion to Melissa Lenhardt's fast-paced historical series." Not to shatter anyone's bubble or harm their ego but I don't think this a very good way to describe this series. Yes, both have strong women who are more than a damsel in distress, both have medical training and both have to make the best of a new world they've been thrust into. Outlander is strong fantasy with a nice time-travel aspect to it, where as I would classify the Sawbones Series as simply Western Romance. So if you picked up the series looking for time-travel, realize now that it's the strong women and vivid danger that the stories share.
Now that I have all that out of the way, the entire Sawbones Series has been a joy to read and this latest one has been no different. Not only does it continue the story from the first two books, it gives me one of the things I cherish these days, a complete story arc with a great ending. Great story and well placed plot points had me racing through the series and left me well satisfied at the end. Author Melissa Lenhardt doesn't need the Outlander name to carry her series as it is quite strong all on its own.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Redhook in exchange for honest feedback*
A man and a woman revisit memories of their love affair on a utopian Earth while they are trapped in the vast void of space with only ninety minutes of oxygen left.
After the catastrophic destruction of the Middle East and the United States, Europe has become a utopia and, every three years, the European population must rotate into different multicultural communities, living as individuals responsible for their own actions. While living in this paradise, Max meets Carys and immediately feels a spark of attraction. He quickly realizes, however, that Carys is someone he might want to stay with long-term, which is impossible in this new world.
As their relationship plays out, the connections between their time on Earth and their present dilemma in space become clear. When their air ticks dangerously low, one is offered the chance of salvation—but who will take it? An original and daring exploration of the impact of first love and how the choices we make can change the fate of everyone around us, this is an unforgettable read.~Goodreads Blurb
Straight into this book, and I have to say that I was expecting more sci-fi than romance from this book. I'm not sorry at all that I kept reading though as I need to be open to more books. If you enjoy your sci-fi with minimum romance, than this book might not be the best bet for you. I would encourage you to give it at least a try though as I was pleasantly surprised at the sheer world building work put into this romance. If you are willing to read outside your comfort genres though, I would send this your way. Author Katie Khan has definitely done her homework on this world building. She has created an Utopian world that has a not so great restriction on love amongst its younger members. This is the real problem for our young protagonists. Well, that and the fact that they are running out of air.
I really enjoyed the way that even with this Utopian society, not everything was perfect. Let’s be honest human beings are a mess and even in literature things don’t always go the way we want them to. I was with Khan right up until the last part of the story. I understand why she went the path she chose but as a reader I feel like I’ve been cheated of something though it’s difficult to say just what. The sci-fi parts were well thought out and her world building deserves at least a prequel to let her fully describe her world and how it all came to be. The romance works in ways I didn’t think it would and I’m happy that I took the time to finish it before posting a review.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Doubleday in exchange for honest feedback*
Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, a diplomat's son, Osei Kokote, knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day so he's lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can't stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players - teachers and pupils alike - will never be the same again.
The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970's suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier's powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.~Goodreads Blurb
This is my third of the Hogarth Retellings and so far this has to be the one that I’m not so keen on. I enjoy author Tracy Chevalier’s other work but I felt that this one fell a bit short. Now that could easily be my own personal bias. I’ve read and seen this play many times and written at least 10 different papers on Othello and its characters. So I know the story front ways and back. After just reading the blurb, I was unsure of how they would manage to fit all the adult or at least young adult themes into a 6th grader’s day. I’m still not convinced that it all fits quite so nicely.
There always is the a struggle when you write about children for a more adult audience that you don’t want to make them too dumb and naive and yet you don’t wish to age them beyond their years. I feel like that was the real issue that I struggled with throughout this story. Every time I started getting into the story, I would pull myself back and remember that they are only 11 years old. There is a lot going on in this story that I feel would have been better suited to a slightly older group even if they were freshman in high school. It just seemed odd and off-putting to have these strong emotions and passions in 11-year-olds. The story was well written, though it could have used a bit more length. It’s no Hag-Seed and while I will pass it off to other Shakespeare readers, I won’t be asking for my copy back.
First patented in 1856, baking powder sparked a classic American struggle for business supremacy. For nearly a century, brands battled to win loyal consumers for the new leavening miracle, transforming American commerce and advertising even as they touched off a chemical revolution in the world's kitchens.
Linda Civitello chronicles the titanic struggle that reshaped America's diet and rewrote its recipes. Presidents and robber barons, bare-knuckle litigation and bold-faced bribery, competing formulas and ruthless pricing--Civitello shows how hundreds of companies sought market control, focusing on the big four of Rumford, Calumet, Clabber Girl, and the once-popular brand Royal. She also tells the war's untold stories, from Royal's claims that its competitors sold poison, to the Ku Klux Klan's campaign against Clabber Girl and its German Catholic owners. Exhaustively researched and rich with detail, Baking Powder Wars is the forgotten story of how a dawning industry raised Cain--and cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes, donuts, and biscuits.~NetGalley Blurb
Baking powder has been such a staple in our modern lives that we might easily forget that there was a time without such a small luxury. Author Linda Civitello has obviously done the time and research when it came to writing this book. That being said I found it a bit difficult to dig through. I’ve noticed that when it comes to nonfiction books I still enjoy the narrative approach to the type that reads like a text or essay one might do at school. The sheer amount of research and information that Civitello was able to discover and bring to the forefront in this book is astounding. Yet it feels like in order to justify the amount of time and effort, she included everything she found, even some things that really didn’t make much sense to me.
I was drawn to this book because I enjoy baking and it would recommend it for the same audience. I would simply make sure they were aware of the writing style and then let them dive in on their own. It is a good book all around, but in the end I found that it was simply not written in a way that I found incredibly enjoyable.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and University of Illinois Press in exchange for honest feedback*
Through Migizi’s life, we experience a glimpse of every Indigenous life lived in Canada. Set from 1918 to the 1960s, Migizi survives the abuses of residential schools and tries to live life as a Canadian. He joins the army and becomes a war hero only to return to a country that barely tolerates his existence. His bravery and perseverance is unwavering until he is forced to face his greatest fears. Will he survive his own demons and memories? Would any of us?~Goodreads Blurb
Often times here in the States, we view Canada as this sort of Ice Utopia, very cold with violent hockey players but universal healthcare and better equality. When talking with some of my Canadian friends however they mentioned that just like America likes to hide some of its sordid past, Canada has its own history that it isn't proud of. One large example has to be Canada’s relationship with its First Nation or Native Americans (First Peoples.)
By focusing on one man out of the many who struggled through the system Canada put them through, author Baron Alexander Deschauer gives his audience an unique view into this world that people may not have noticed happening around them. We get to see Migizi grow up and try to live his life while life seems to be doing its darndest to hold him back from any real progress. While I can’t say it was a pleasant read, I do think it was definitely a necessary one. I would have liked more, I’m not sure what more, but at only 180 pages I can’t help but feel that there was more to share. I would recommend this book for people who are interested in Canadian History and First Nations HIstory. It was an easy read but like I said it isn't a happy feel good story, nor should it be.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and FriesenPress in exchange for honest feedback*
Freelance Editor & Reviewer