Stash by David Klein - The story of a young mother, Gwen, who smokes a little marijuana in the park to relax. A friend is supposed to pick up her children, but when their arrangement falls through and Gwen is in a fatal automobile accident she must decide whether to turn her former lover and supplier over to the police or face potential jail time. Paired with a story about legal drugs used unethically, this is an interesting and thought-provoking story. There were some little things about this book that really, really bothered me. I found myself wishing I had a group to chat with about the book, actually. I highly recommend this one for book groups because I think it could easily generate some intense discussion. And, just think how fun it would be to paint marijuana leaves on your cookies. No, you may not lace the brownies with pot. That's not legal.
Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti - Two grieving people meet in the cemetery. They are polar opposites in many ways but they fall passionately in love. Can they work out their differences or will they end up having to make do with decent matchmates lacking the passion (and conflict) of their wacky relationship? A really quirky little romance. My utterly delightful friend Care sent me her copy of Benny & Shrimp because she thought I would like it. As always, Care was correct. It's a strange little story, almost an anti-romance, and I liked the fact that Benny and Shrimp turned out to be not quite the characters I expected and much less willing to adapt to each other than the typical romantic hero and heroine.
Moose Dropping & Other Crimes Against Nature by Tom Brennan - A collection of tales and folklore, mostly gleaned from other works, all of which provide tickling insight into the Alaskan sense of humor. Published by Epicenter Press, one of my favorite small presses. At least, I think they're still small. They've had a number of runaway hits, but they're still all about Alaska. I snickered my way through this book and learned a few things in the process. Like "eco-greenies" is one of the nicer terms Alaskans use to describe environmentalists who try to get in the way of their ability to earn a healthy income from land and sea.
Emma and the Vampires by Jane Austen and Wayne Josephson - Some people call this kind of book a "mash-up" (a very overused and lazy term, in my humble opinion), some call it the destruction of a classic. My friend Melissa calls this type of book "classic/paranormal combos" and I'm leaning toward "classic with a paranormal twist." Whatever floats your boat. In this case, Emma Woodhouse is surrounded by vampires. Many of the gentlemen, including Mr. Knightley, are vegan vampires. Wives meet an unfortunate fate - bitten and turned. There are also wild vampires who prey on the local populace. It's a bit of a mess, that combination of wild and gentlemanly vampires, but I loved reading Emma and the Vampires because Mr. Josephson used the paranormal twist in a humorous way. A fun read and a great excuse to revisit Emma, my new favorite Austen character. This book was #2 completed for the Everything Austen II Challenge.
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway - Another paranormal book, this time a young adult novel about three sisters who develop unusual powers. April sees scenes from the future, May can become invisible and June reads minds. Apart from the fact that I thought the author did a poor job of explaining how or why the three girls came to suddenly redevelop their powers after a single childhood incident and it took time for the story to develop, I enjoyed this book. Once the story picks up speed and suspense, it's interesting and fun and I loved the ending. It's as much about sisters as it is about unusual abilities and learning to cope with them . . . and about coping with life, in general. Very light reading.
Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende - Heather Lende's second memoir about her life in small-town Alaska, its joys and hardships, with particular focus on Lende's horrific bike accident and her recovery, her faith and friendships and the lives and deaths of those around her. Heather Lende has a charming writing style, much like that of Anne Lamott. She's an emotional writer who will tug your heartstrings. I loved this book almost as much as her first, If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name, and hope she'll write many more books about life in Alaska. Of particular interest was her story about a recovered alcoholic's totem pole. I literally sobbed through that one, but most of the time I found that when I set the book down I was smiling.
That's all the recently-finished books in my sidebar, so I'm going to clear the sidebar before I dash off to do my thing. Kiddo is home for the weekend -- wahoo! He's been asleep all day -- boo! Well, it's better than nothing. I like having him nearby.
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