Friday, January 31, 2020

Fiona Friday - Up? Maybe?

Fiona's only 10 years old but she's been struggling to jump up onto the bed, lately, so I cleared off a set of wooden steps I've been using for nothing more than piling books and set them by the bed. Sometimes, she can't make up her mind whether to get up on the bed or not, but she's definitely enjoying her steps. If she decides not to go ahead and get on the bed, she'll climb on the top step and ponder . . . or stare at her sister.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Mini reviews - Under the Jaguar Sun by Italo Calvino, Virus on Orbis 1: The Softwire by P. J. Haarsma, and If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

I'm going to keep writing mini reviews where appropriate, although I'm closing in on catching up on reviews, finally! It's only taken me nearly a month. That's what you get for taking time off, I guess.

Under the Jaguar Sun by Italo Calvino was my first finished book in 2020. A slim read, it contains three short stories, each based on one of the senses. It was meant to contain stories about all of the senses, plus a frame, but not completed before the author died. Under the Jaguar Sun is my first completed Calvino. Oddly, I was loving If on a Winter's Night a Traveler when I was in the midst of it, a couple years back (and I get what he means by a "frame" from that). I'm guessing I had some ARC commitments that got in the way, at the time.

The first of the stories is about the sense of taste and it's a story in which a couple travels around Mexico, trying new dishes, seeing new sights. At some point, the wife begins to wonder aloud what happened to the hearts of those who were sacrificed. The implication is that she knows and is both appalled and intrigued.

Calvino strikes me as a real writer's writer. Such deft use of language! Because there are only three stories about the senses, the book is far from complete. It's still well worth the read, though.

Recommended - Sometimes lovely, occasionally revolting, often humorous, always skillful. Under the Jaguar Sun made me want to read more Calvino.

I downloaded Virus on Orbis 1: The Softwire for free and then heard Nathan Fillion recommended the series and downloaded a couple more. That was ages ago and what finally got me to read an actual e-book (an e-book!!! — if you read my blog regularly, you know I have a problem with them) was a middle-of-the-night wake-up and not wanting to disturb the spouse or get out of bed to go to the reading chair. It was a cold morning.

JT has a special talent. He can talk to the computer on the ship that's taking children to Orbis 1, a settlement on rings near a black hole. The adults are gone, killed by a problem with the pods that were intended to keep them from aging while the ship traveled to its destination, and the computer has raised and trained the children. Only JT can speak to Mother (the computer) without using a keypad.

When the children arrive at Orbis 1, they're distributed amongst the creatures (much like in the Star Wars café, there's quite a variety of aliens) to be used as labor. JT and his sister end up together, but JT is quickly identified as a "softwire" who can talk to and even enter a computer using only his mind. With problems frequently plaguing the Orbis 1 computer system, JT is blamed. But, JT knows there's something inside the computer. And, he must solve the problem quickly because his life is in danger as long as he's being blamed.

Neither recommended or not recommended - I might have abandoned this book (a middle reader, I presume) if not for Fillion's recommendation and the fact that I really wanted to know how JT would solve the problem with the computer. There's just a bit too much world building, if that makes sense. It's so far out there that I felt a little exhausted by it. But, the final third to half of the book is full of pulse-pounding action and that was enough to make me think, "Hmm, I will definitely read on." I probably won't get around to the second in the series until another dark, cold night in which I don't want to turn the light on, but I will definitely read on.

If Cats Disappeared from the World was my choice for #JanuaryinJapan (or is it #JapaninJanuary?) and, of course, the word "cat" in the title gave it first priority. The Japanese do love their cats, as do I.

The plot of If Cats Disappeared from the World felt a little familiar to me. A Japanese man with a cat finds out he's dying. What will happen? But, in this case, when the protagonist finds out that he's dying, he makes a deal with the devil. Each day, he can choose to have something removed from the world. Once the item is taken away, he gets a single day more of life. But, is there a line in the sand? If so, what is the hero unwilling to let the world do without?

Recommended but not a favorite - I thought the storyline was a little simplistic and predictable, a little schmaltzy, but I enjoyed it anyway. I think I might have liked it a little bit better if the hero had been rounded out a little better and if he'd had to consider a variety of items to possibly remove and choose from them. Instead, as I recall, he chooses the first thing that disappears from the world but then the devil makes the choice, after that. And, each of those choices becomes more difficult as they have some meaning to the hero.

Of these three books, none were favorites but I'd have to choose Under the Jaguar Sun as the best written and the one book whose author I most want to read again.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Books Read in 2019

2019 Reads (click on links to read reviews; some may be just a few sentences within a post)


1. Ten Kisses to Scandal - Vivienne Lorret
2. Friday Black (short stories) - Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
3. Tomorrow is Waiting - Kiley Frank and Aaron Meshon
4. Vivian Maier: The Color Work - Colin Westerbeck, Vivian Maier (contributor)
5. Splinterlands - John Feffer
6. Fighting Fascism: How to Struggle and How to Win by Clara Zetkin, ed. by M. Taber and J. Riddell
7. Soon: What Science, Philosophy, Religion, and History Teach Us about the Surprising Power of Procrastination - Andrew Santella
8. 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do - Amy Morin
9. The Gown - Jennifer Robson
10. Time is the Longest Distance - Janet Clare
11. Freefall - Jessica Barry
12. Howard's End - E. M. Forster
13. Kivalina: A Climate Change Story - Christine Shearer
14. Thunder Pug - Kim Norman and Keika Yamaguchi
15. A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks - Alice Faye Duncan and Xia Gordon
16. Mirabel's Missing Valentines - Janet Lawler and Olivia Chin Mueller
17. Fire and Forget - Ed. by Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher
18. Old Baggage - Lissa Evans
19. Alpine Ballad - Vasil Bykau, translated by Mikalai Khilo


20. Franny and Zooey - J. D. Salinger
21. The Book of Strange New Things - Michel Faber
22. Hedy Lamarr's Double Life - Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu
23. Late in the Day - Tessa Hadley
24. The Girls at 17 Swann Street - Yara Zgheib
25. The Feed - Nick Clark Windo
26. As Summers Die - Winston Groom
27. Devil's Daughter - Lisa Kleypas
28. The Threat - Andrew McCabe
29. Learning to See - Elise Hooper


30. Lady Derring Takes a Lover - Julie Anne Long
31. Beast Rider - Tony Johnston and Maria Elena Fontenot de Rhoads
32. Operation Frog Effect by Sarah Scheerger and Gina Perry
33. A Dangerous Collaboration - Deanna Raybourn
34. The Last Year of the War - Susan Meissner
35. The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project - Lenore Applehans
36. When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree - Jamie L. B. Deenihan
37. A Little Chicken - Tammi Sauer
38. Just Read - Lori Degman and Victoria Tentler-Krylov
39. Some Days - Karen Kaufman-Orloff and Ziyue Chen
40. Holy Squawkamole! - Susan Wood and Laura Gonzalez
41. The Binding - Bridget Collins
42. Growing Season - Maryann Cocca-Leffler
43. What Happened - Hillary Rodham Clinton
44. The Awakening - Kate Chopin


45. My Coney Island Baby - Billy O'Callaghan
46. The Girl He Used to Know - Tracey Garvis Graves
47. Flubby is Not a Good Pet - J. E. Morris
48. Flubby Will Not Play with That - J. E. Morris
49. Anything But a Duke - Christy Carlyle
50. Molly Mischief: My Perfect Pet - Adam Hargreaves
51. Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat #1 - J. Marciano, E. Chenoweth, and R. Mommaerts
52. Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat #2: Enemies - J. Marciano, E. Chenoweth, and R. Mommaerts
53. Forbidden Area - Pat Frank
54. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters - Balli Kaur Jaswal
55. No Flying in the House - Betty Brock
56. Far Flung - Cassandra Kircher
57. On Democracy - E. B. White


58. Summer of a Thousand Pies - Margaret Dilloway
59. The Free Speech Century - Bollinger and Stone
60. There's Only One You - Kathryn Heling, Deborah Hembrook, and Rosie Butcher
61. Koala is Not a Bear - Kristin L. Gray and Rachel McAlister
62. Slinky Malinki's Cat Tales - Lynley Dodd
63. Pinky Got Out! - Michael Portis and Lori Richmond
64. The Size of the Truth - Andrew Smith
65. Butterflies on the First Day of School - Annie Silvestro and Dream Chen
66. If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon - Joyce Lapin and Simona Ceccarelli
67. Wunderland - Jennifer Cody Epstein
68. Shred Girls #1: Lindsay's Joyride - Molly Hurford
69. Rules for Visiting - Jessica Francis Kane
70. Oi Frog! - Kes Gray and Jim Field
71. If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home - Tim O'Brien


72. Finding Orion - John David Anderson
73. Cat Poems - various authors
74. Things You Save in a Fire - Katherine Center
75. Good Omens - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
76. Map of the Heart - Susan Wiggs
77. Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune - Roselle Lim
78. Say No to the Duke - Eloisa James
79. Bad Order - B. B. Ullman
80. How Not to Die Alone - Richard Roper
81. Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink and Leif Babin


82. The Unspeakable Mind - Shaili Jain, M.D.
83. The Haunting of Henry Davis - Kathryn Siebel
84. Strange Weather in Tokyo - Hiromi Kawakami
85. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill - Abbi Waxman
86. The Confusion of Languages - Siobhan Fallon
87. The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris
88. Searching for Sylvie Lee - Jean Kwok
89. Never Have I Ever - Joshilyn Jackson
90. Layover - David Bell
91. Meet Me in Monaco - Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb


92. Storm Blown - Nick Courage
93. Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour, an Introduction - J. D. Salinger
94. Rosie Colored Glasses - Brianna Wolfson
95. The Mueller Report: The Washington Post edition
      Quotes: Part 1
      Part 2: Quotes and Commentary 
      Part 3: Mostly Quotes
      Part 4: Final Quotes, Commentary, and Wrap-Up 
96. Normal People - Sally Rooney
97. Harry's Trees - Jon Cohen
98. The Passengers - John Marrs
99. The Rogue to Ruin - Vivienne Lorret
100. In Pain - Travis Rieder
101. The Beekeeper of Aleppo - Christy Lefteri


102. Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus - Dusti Bowling
103. Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill
104. Invisible as Air - Zoe Fishman
105. The Rent Collector - Camron Wright
106. Collage and Construction - Harvey Weiss
107. After the Flood - Kassandra Montag
108. No Judgments - Meg Cabot
109. The Nanny - Gilly Macmillan
110. When the Marquess Was Mine - Caroline Linden
111. The House on Tradd Street - Karen White


112. Cilka's Journey - Heather Morris
113. The End of Something Wonderful - Stephanie Lucianovic and George Ermos
114. Moldilocks and the Three Scares - Lynne Marie and David Rodriguez Lorenzo
115. The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh - Supriya Kelkar and Alea Marley with Simran Jeet Singh
116. Summary of the Mueller Report - Thomas E. Patterson
****I Guess I'll Write It Down (journal) by Beth Evans
117. The Cats of Tanglewood Forest - Charles de Lint and Charles Vess
118. Earth to Charlie - Justin Olson
119. Where the Angels Lived - Margaret McMullan
120. 25 Days 'Til Christmas - Poppy Alexander
121. The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street - Karen White


122. Dead Voices - Katherine Arden
123. Vox - Christina Dalcher
124. Small Spaces - Katherine Arden
125. Creatures - Crissy Van Meter
126. The Lost Man - Jane Harper
127. The Same Sky - Amanda Eyre Ward
128. The Last Light Breaking - Nick Jans
129. Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers - Sara Ackerman
130. Here and Now and Then - Mike Chen
131. Angel in a Devil's Arms - Julie Anne Long
132. In Another Time - Jillian Cantor


133. Listen to the Wind - Susanne Dunlap
134. The Round House - Louise Erdrich
135. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford
136. Her Other Secret - Helenkay Dimon
137. Christmas Camp - Karen Schaler
138. The Spirit of Fire - Susanne Dunlap
139. They Were Sisters - Dorothy Whipple
140. Heartstone - Elle Katharine White

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Listen to the Wind and The Spirit of Fire by Susanne Dunlap

I've opted to combine these two books into a single review because they're the first and second in a series and this will be my last review of books read in 2019. Woot-woot!

Listen to the Wind is Book I in The Orphans of Tolosa, a historical fiction series that takes place in the 13th century in an area that's in flux, part of it being taken over by the French, part Spanish, part I don't know what. Where one's allegiance falls can mean life or death at any time.

Azelaïs and Azemar are orphans who look out for each other during the dangerous Inquisition that's taking place during this time period. There's a small but powerful group that considers themselves the only real Christians and everyone else is a heretic. Anyone can pretty much be branded a heretic at any time. When the two children and the other orphans with them must split up to avoid capture, Azelaïs and Azemar vow to meet in a nearby town. Years pass and they don't make it to the town because they're too busy surviving and learning, but neither forgets.

I don't want to give too much away, but Azelaïs (the female of the two) ends up with a nearly-blind monk, working as his eyes and pretending to be a boy. The monk teaches her about herbs, among other things, until something happens and she must run. Then, an entirely new life begins and eventually she is forced to do something to protect the woman who has taken her in from a life she doesn't want to lead.

Azemar is male and he goes on a very different path, at first learning about the workings of a winery from the field and then from a different angle. And, soooo much happens. No matter where they go or what they do, there is danger at every turn. Listen to the Wind was a 5-star read for me and I loved it so much that I got online to look for the follow-up book, immediately. At the time, it hadn't been released and I posted a mournful comment on Facebook. Susanne Dunlap replied that the second book, The Spirit of Fire, was due to be released in a week, so I pre-ordered it and got to it as soon as I could.

The Spirit of Fire, the second in The Orphans of Tolosa series, is every bit as fabulous as the first book about Azelaïs and Azemar.

Because the ending of the first book folds right into the beginning of the second, I feel like saying almost anything at all would spoil the story but it's adventurous, educational, heartbreaking, and hopeful. I felt utterly transported, so the horror of what happened at Montsegur (this being the focal point of the book, based on actual events in the 13th century) is painfully vivid. But the lovely ending is doubly satisfying after what the two main characters survive and witness.

Both highly recommended - Listen to the Wind is an action-packed, plot-driven tale of how two children survive and grow, find help, learn important skills, and fight danger while trying to figure out how to reunite in the dangerous Middle Ages. The Spirit of Fire takes the hero and heroine on a journey together . . . but then they're separated and . . . well, anyway, I did say I don't want to say too much. Suffice it to say that these two books are so incredible that I can hardly stand the thought that anyone might miss out on them. If you're a fan of well-researched, informative, adventurous historical fiction, these two books are absolutely not to be missed.

The third in The Orphans of Tolosa series is going to be a prequel. When I first heard that, I thought, "Oh, bummer, I'd like to see what happens to Azelaïs and Azemar. And, then I sat back, pondered, and came to the conclusion that The Spirit of Fire was actually a perfect ending for them and a prequel will nicely fill in the blanks about how the two orphans came to be abandoned and became friends.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Monday Malarkey

Apologies for the terrible picture. I don't feel like taking another, so it is what it is. I tried to brighten it up a bit.

Recent arrivals (top to bottom):

  • The Puzzler's War by Eyal Kless - from HarperVoyager for review (unsolicited)
  • The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey - from Putnam for review
  • American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins - purchased; pre-ordered in 2019
  • The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin - from Berkley for review
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid - purchased

I mentioned the fact that I pre-ordered American Dirt because of the controversy. It's an uncomfortable irony that the book arrived literally on the day that numerous posts were made about the book's problems and a recommended-instead reading pile image passed around. Will I still read it? I plan to, yes. I already paid for it, after all, but when I get to it I'll watch for the harmful stereotypes described in various articles about the book. And, if I have the time, I'll read the two books that I have from that recommended list, first. I'm not in any hurry to read American Dirt, now. When I bought the book, it sounded like exactly what I was looking for but I would have avoided it if I'd seen what the author had to say.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

And, I had one DNF, this week: A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler. I got to page 137 (a little more than halfway, I think). I've heard a ton of positive buzz about this book and I know people who have already enjoyed it, so I recommend getting other opinions if you're thinking about reading it. It has a 4.05 rating at Goodreads, so you can see that my opinion differs from the average.  

Had I finished A Good Neighborhood, I was leaning toward about a 3. It's not a bad book, in my opinion, and there's a strength to the author's writing. But, I thought the characters felt a bit one-dimensional and unreal. And, I didn't like the point of view. The story is narrated by a generic set of neighbors. "We thought she was kind but a little eccentric," is an example of the writing style. The author will start a chapter that way and then smoothly alter the way the sentences are written, so that it doesn't feel like you're listening to the neighbors, anymore. Then, the next chapter or a section within a chapter will revert to the generic "we", again. At any rate, I didn't like the type of narration at all. But, it was mostly feeling like the characters were too carefully crafted, to the point of almost being caricatures, and the fact that I just wasn't enjoying the read that made me finally decide to abandon it. 

Currently reading:

  • The World of Sanditon by Sara Sheridan 
  • Dragonshadow (Heartstone #2) by Elle Katharine White

I read a little of The World of Sanditon, this week, but not a great deal. I figure it doesn't hurt to stretch this one out and enjoy it while I'm watching the series. It's loaded with beautiful photographs and info about the time period. There are fewer photos from the actual series than from Regency England but they're gorgeous. My only problem with the book, so far, is that the photos are not labeled. I really dislike unlabeled photographs. Tell me what I'm looking at! Even if it's obvious that I'm seeing a cricket scene, I want to know the names of the actors and their roles (left to right, if you please). Otherwise, I am absolutely loving it. 

Is anyone else watching Sanditon? I'm curious what others think. I've only seen one comment (and it was by someone I didn't know, on Facebook, so I chose not to respond). The other viewer thought it was a bit "too modern". I've noticed the modern music, of course, but I actually like the shift to males who are enterprising, rather than just gentlemen with huge estates. 

I just began reading Dragonshadow yesterday. I abandoned A Good Neighborhood on Saturday night and didn't start anything else that evening, but I knew Dragonshadow would be next. And, I am loving it. I've only read about 40 pages but it's everything I hoped for in a sequel, so far. 

Posts since last Malarkey:

Not a big reading week, again. I think I may have to face the fact that this is not going to be a great reading year, at least for a few months. We shall see. I'll keep trying my best. I haven't heard from any of the publicists who contacted me about children's books, in the past, and I desperately miss reading and reviewing children's books, but I'm not planning to reach out to them, at this point. Maybe I'll pull some of the old favorites I kept for when grandchildren visit out and reread them, just for fun. 

In other news:

I did a lot of restless channel-flipping, this week, and the only thing I managed to actually watch was The Royal. Unfortunately, I was in a terribly blue mood on the day I watched two episodes of the program. Two of the characters were cruelly killed off together and they were characters I really liked. Actually, they did great casting on that show so I pretty much like all of the main cast members, although they often brought in one who was awful and then softened. That's when they killed them off or shipped them away, after they'd been suitably tortured. Anyway, wrong day to watch two people get trapped and blown up. So, I haven't talked myself into returning to that.

I decided to move on to comfort programming — movies I've already seen and know I love, or mini series. I started watching Brideshead Revisited (the 80s version with Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews, who I heard left acting after marrying an heiress). I'm not sure if I'll continue. I was enjoying it, and it's fun reminiscing because I've been to Oxford, England and seen some of the sites where they filmed. But, the episodes are looooong and I'm fidgety. I also started watching but didn't finish The Great Escape, one of my all-time favorite movies. I will definitely finish that but older movies were longer so I stopped watching that for the exact same reason. I was getting fidgety and wanted to get up. I haven't seen The Great Escape in so many years that I've read the book in between viewings and know that it's quite different. The movie definitely took an interesting story that is fairly dull and technical and made it entertaining.

Hit me up with any and all recommendations for funny TV or movies. I need to keep it upbeat, right now.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Fiona Friday - Hello, Izzy

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

In Heartstone by Elle Katharine White, the first in a fantasy series, Aliza Bentaine and her family live in Merybourne Manor on the island of Arle. The area has been plagued by invading gryphons and Aliza herself has lost a sister to them. When the people of the manor hire a band of Riders to hunt down the gryphon horde, Aliza is both relieved and intrigued.

But, when the Riders arrive, Aliza's first encounter is not a positive one. She meets Alastair Daired, a dragonrider with a bad attitude. He's arrogant, handsome, and haunted. And, none too fond of her hobgoblin friends. Yet, they're thrown together in unexpected ways and gradually their opinions of each other change. What will happen when Aliza finds out Alastair may be the reason her beloved sister is heartbroken?

I don't want to go into too much detail because it's far too fun reading the unfolding story, but Heartstone is basically Pride and Prejudice with dragons. And, yet . . . there are times it's all about the social interaction but because it's also a fantasy with fierce battles between monsters and humans (there are some creatures that are friendly with humans, but most seem to prefer eating them or fighting with them), Heartstone is far than just P & P with dragons thrown in. It's a lively blend of action, adventure, and quieter scenes.

While I was reading Heartstone, I discovered that the author has posted lots of material about the creatures of her world online. That was incredibly helpful. I'm not a gamer or a big fantasy reader, so while reading about things like wyverns and beoryns, at first I had no idea whether they were something the author created or creatures that exist in other fantasy worlds. In the process of looking up things I was unfamiliar with, I discovered that some of the creatures are borrowed from the gaming world, some more common. So, gamers and fantasy lovers will likely already be familiar with most of the non-humans in the book. And, if you're neither, you can easily look them up online.

Recommended - I particularly loved two things about Heartstone: the fun of recognizing elements of Pride and Prejudice then seeing how the author put her own fantasy spin on them, making the story very much her own, and the adventurous side of the book. The farther you get into it, the more thrilling it becomes. For a person who generally has trouble reading fantasy, Heartstone was a pleasant surprise. I hope to read the 2nd book very soon.

Side note: Kiddo (younger son) has been intrigued by the sound of this series from Day 1, when the 3rd book arrived in the mail, and is anxious for me to finish the series so that he and his wife can read them. I always love it when he reads something I read because we enjoy talking books, so I'm also anxious to finish the series and pass it on to him. I can't wait to discuss the books with my son.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (top to bottom - click on image to enlarge):

  • The Book of Sleep by Nicole Moshfegh, PsyD
  • To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
  • A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

All of these were purchases. The Book of Sleep is the third and last book I bought during a bout of insomnia. Fingers crossed it will offer some sage advice. To All the Boys I've Loved Before was bought on a whim at Sam's. I've seen a lot of people gushing about Jenny Han's books, so the idea of buying or checking out one of her books has been lingering in the back of my head and I was happy to find one at a reasonable price. Swann's Way is a book I've wanted to buy for eons but it was author Alex George's endorsement of this particular translation that convinced me to go for it. And, A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen is a book I pre-ordered within 24 hours of closing his previous book, Here and Now and Then

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • Virus on Orbis 1: The Softwire by P. J. Haarsma
  • A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen
  • Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis

Virus on Orbis 1: The Softwire is an e-book! I read an e-book! Regular readers of my blog will know that I'm not a fan of reading electronically. I opened it up during a night that I couldn't sleep. It was 2:30 in the morning and I didn't want to turn the light on, so I looked for something easy to read in my Kindle app (I still do not own a Kindle and never have — the app is on my iPad). I think it's middle grade but I'm not certain. Reading the e-book didn't disturb my husband but I eventually got sick of reading in bed and went to the living room. I don't think I ever did manage to get to sleep, that night. I started reading A Beginning at the End practically the moment it showed up. And, Almost Just Friends is a book I'm scheduled to tour in February. Trying to get a jump on things, here.

Currently reading:

  • The World of Sanditon by Sara Sheridan 

I'm not going to continue putting my workbook on insomnia in the current reads because I don't always think to pick it up and it will likely take me more than a month to read (in spite of the fact that it's a 1-month program). But, it will show up in my finished books when I'm done. I just finished Almost Just Friends, this morning, so I haven't chosen my next read, yet, but I'll start a fiction title, tonight. 

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

Last week was a super busy week. I'm a homebody but I had errands and appointments and lunch with a friend, so I was out of the house more than normal. Hopefully, this week will be a tiny bit calmer.

In TV news, the regular series shows have returned, so I watched NCIS and about half of Chicago Fire. During Chicago Fire, I got a call from one of my sons. He's more important than TV so I missed the second half. I also missed Doctor Who, yesterday, but it will be available for streaming so that's no big deal. I did manage to tune in for Sanditon. Having read the book is both good and bad. I know exactly what's going to happen but it is definitely fascinating seeing it acted out, getting a glimpse of how well a terrific actor can show what she's thinking via expression and movement. It's very well cast, in my humble opinion. We didn't watch any movies. I really wasn't in the mood for TV, most of the week, although I was excited to get back to watching NCIS and I thought it was an especially intriguing episode.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Fiona Friday - Squeeesh

Comfy there, Fi?

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Mini reviews - They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple, Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler, and Her Other Secret by Helenkay Dimon

They Were Sisters is my first read by Dorothy Whipple, although I have several of her books because they come so highly recommended.

Just as it sounds, They Were Sisters is the story of three sisters, how their lives are shaped by the choices they make (particularly the choice of a spouse), and how the eldest is always the stabilizing force.

I don't know what I expected from a book by Dorothy Whipple but I confess I was a little surprised to find that the book was a bit of a soap opera and yet, in spite of the ups and downs of the characters, there was also something immensely soothing about the fact that Lucy's steadiness, her husband's sense of humor and the fact that they're so perfect for each other, and their idyllic cottage on a larger estate serves as a wonderful anchor for not only the characters but the story itself.

I also found it quite interesting that the males in the family are barely even mentioned. It's a story about women and the men in their immediate circle but Whipple isn't diverted by the larger family unit so much as they are satellites that orbit the women; the women are always at the forefront. In fact, you get the impression that travel was such a hardship at the time it was written that you could say goodbye to a brother who went off to seek his fortune and never see him again, at all, so why mention them once they're out of the picture?

Highly recommended - A fascinating story of the lives of three sisters, how their choices in marriage and childbearing affect their lives in both the short and long term, and the sister who is always there for the other two women and their offspring, whenever they need her. Loved it!

Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler is the story of a woman who has zipped up the proverbial ladder at an advertising agency and now, still young, has got a shot at becoming a partner in the Boston firm. But, she has competition and the one thing her boss has noted that she lacks is Christmas spirit. In order to secure the important account that will clinch her partnership, Haley needs that Christmas spirit. Otherwise, her boss says, it's very unlikely that whatever ad campaign she comes up with will succeed with the company she's targeting.

The fellow she's competing with has buckets of Christmas spirit and Haley tries, but she's just too bent on business. Christmas doesn't even interest her. The boss is firm. She needs to develop some Christmas spirit and he's going to make sure of it by sending her to Christmas Camp, where she'll do normal, Christmasy things and learn about the real joy of the season. Haley is horrified but she wants that partnership, so off she goes. What she finds is a lovely house run by a widower and his handsome son Jeff, who also happens to live in Boston and who is trying to convince his father to sell the house and move near him.

Haley and Jeff get off to a rocky start but there's clearly a spark between Haley and Jeff and they have a good bit in common. Will Haley be able to stick out the entire week of camp or will she get ants in her pants and hustle back to Boston? Will she discover the joy of Christmas? And, if she does, will she come up with the perfect advertising campaign and win the job she desires?

Recommended when you're looking for a fun, romantic, seasonal read - Christmas Camp reads like a Hallmark movie and-- what do you know? --it actually is one. In fact, the movie apparently came first and then Schaler, a screenwriter, was hired to write the book. I was disappointed that I couldn't find the movie for streaming. I liked the book and I'm pretty sure I remember getting a little teary at one point. I'll keep my eye out for the movie and hope I get lucky, next Christmas season.

Her Other Secret by Helenkay Dimon was an unsolicited gift from Avon Books and it sounded intriguing, so I gave it a shot when nothing else was appealing to me. Tessa and Hansen live on Whitaker Island, an island off the coast of Washington (the state) where people go to get a fresh start or just hide out for a time. Tessa has fled a scandal; Hansen won't talk about why he's there.

Tessa and Hansen are on the beach when a mysterious stranger emerges from the water and walks into the woods . . . fully clothed. Tessa suspects something fishy is going on. And, when the man turns up dead and Hansen admits he knows him, Hansen becomes a suspect. What happened to drive Hansen to the island? Why was someone Hansen knows nearby? Who murdered the stranger? And, why can't Hansen and Tessa stay away from each other?

Well, huh, not sure what to say about his one. It didn't work for me but I don't even remember why, so I'm hesitant to give it even a verbal rating. I do remember that I found it overly wordy and confusing. In fact, I was very surprised to find that the author has so many books under her belt. Beyond that, I'm not sure what I disliked about it. I've got the follow-up book (again, sent unsolicited) and I'll give it a shot but I'm not going to stick it out if it doesn't work. However, I think the author deserves a second chance.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Mini Reviews - In Another Time by Jillian Cantor, The Roundhouse by Louise Erdrich, and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

More minis! And, all of these were excellent, all from my own shelves. Although Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an ARC, I didn't receive it from the publisher.

I just wandered around my house, looking for In Another Time in all the usual places for books I've read but not yet reviewed, and then it came to me . . . oh, I put it on the favorites pile. I loved In Another Time that much.

Hanna is Jewish; Max is not. When they fall in love in 1930s Germany, Max is worried about the growing anti-Jewish sentiment and Hitler's rising power. He wants to marry and leave the country. But, Hanna's musical education is too important to her and she's not concerned about Hitler. She thinks the Nazi party's rise is a passing phase.

In 1946, Hanna finds herself alone with no memory of the past 10 years of her life. Though she doesn't seem to know about it, the reader knows that there was a time portal in Max's bookshop. Did Max send Hanna into the portal and save her from the Nazis? If so, how did she lose her memory and what happened to Max? Why isn't he there with her?

Highly recommended - An utterly captivating and unique WWII story with a sci-fi twist. I went into the reading of In Another Time blind and was pleasantly surprised by the time travel aspect. I love a good time travel book. You don't know the truth of what happened till the end. Cantor kept me guessing all the way through the book.

The Roundhouse by Louise Erdrich is a book that I bought and read at the request of a friend who wanted to hear my thoughts. I love it when that happens (a valid excuse to acquire a book I wanted to read, anyway). It's a book that was once offered to me for review but I presume I wasn't aware of how fabulous Louise Erdrich is, at the time.

When a woman is brutally raped and beaten, she is so traumatized and depressed that she can't talk about the rape and retreats to her bed. The police investigate but don't seem to be getting anywhere and her teenage son, Joe, is unwilling to accept the lack of progress.

Determined to solve the crime himself, Joe begins to investigate between biking around with his friends and working at his uncle's store.

Highly recommended - The crime is truly shocking but even more appalling is the fact that the raped woman is the wife of a judge and even he can't make sure that when a suspect is found he remains behind bars. Joe, meanwhile, is a fascinating character because he is so beautifully drawn. The story is told from his point of view and besides being very angry and confused about the crime and lack of progress by police, he's a typical teenage boy who is not a little obsessed with women and food, which took me back to the days when I had teenage boys of my own sticking their heads in the fridge all day long. I was very impressed by the authenticity of Joe's point of view.

My copy of The Roundhouse was published by Corsair, a British publisher. In the US, the publisher is HarperCollins and the cover is quite different.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford is one of those WWII books that I have wanted to read for years. Why didn't I get to it, before now? I have no idea.

The story of Henry Lee, a Chinese American, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet goes back and forth between 1986 and the 1940s. In 1986, Henry finds out the Panama Hotel at the corner of Seattle's former Japantown has a basement full of luggage left there by Japanese-American citizens who were rounded up and sent to internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

In the 1940s, Henry and Keiko Okabe, a Japanese American, are outsiders at an elementary school and lovers of jazz who become fast friends. When people begin to panic after Pearl Harbor, worried that Japanese Americans will side with the Japanese, Henry's father forces him to wear a button saying he's Chinese to prevent trouble with authorities. His father dislikes Japanese people and insists that Henry stay away from Japantown. But, Henry values his friendship with Keiko and wants to help her in any way he can.

Back in 1986, Henry gets permission to search through the luggage to see if he can find a prized possession that he gave to Keiko. Henry is widowed and was happily married but he has never forgotten Keiko. Will the discovery of the luggage lead Henry to finally seek out Keiko? What drove them apart, years ago?

Highly recommended - A lovely and, yes, bittersweet story about friendship, music, racism, and the power of memories. So lovely. I didn't realize Jamie Ford is such a romantic. I expected something a little different, less sweetly touching. I'm glad I finally got around to reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and I will definitely read more by Jamie Ford.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals:

  • Ultimate Veg by Jamie Oliver
  • 4-Week Insomnia Workbook by Sara Dittoe Barrett
  • Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD

All are purchases. I've been anxiously awaiting the release of Jamie Oliver's Ultimate Veg because we've found his recipes pretty consistently have been hits in this house. And, clearly, I'm sick of insomnia, hence the two books purchased in the middle of the night when I was losing my mind (a third is on its way). I hope I get something helpful out of at least one of them.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • What Red Was by Rosie Price
  • Sanditon by Jane Austen and Kate Riordan

My review of Sanditon is scheduled for mid-February but I rushed to read it ahead of the series that started on PBS, yesterday. I'm enjoying the chance to view the book acted out so soon after finishing. 

Currently reading:

  • 4-Week Insomnia Workbook by Sara Dittoe Barrett
  • The World of Sanditon by Sara Sheridan
  • Virus on Orbis 1: The Softwire by P. J. Haarsma

I'm reading an e-book (Virus on Orbis 1)!!! That's mostly because I was scrambling to find something to read in the middle of the night without blinding the husband, but I'm glad to finally actually find myself reading one of the 500+ books I stored on a Kindle app before realizing I hate reading electronically. I should try to at least read one a month. Maybe that'll be one of my unspoken possibly-goals. Or, maybe I should stick with the plan and just read whatever grabs me.

Posts since last Malarkey:

The first week of trying to write reviews and post them over the weekend was a bust and a reminder of why I don't usually do anything over the weekend but sometimes pre-post my Monday Malarkey (which is a pretty easy thing to whip out). Husband just doesn't like looking at my back. Understandable. I hate looking at the top of his head when he's playing with his cellphone. So, if I have an unusual stretch of time and can pre-post reviews for weekend days, I will. That won't happen, this week but maybe soon. Fingers crossed. 

In other news:

This was not a TV or movie week. It was not a reading week. It was just one of those weeks. But, I did enjoy my reading, when I read. And, I managed to finish watching the 4th season of The Heart Guy. It had a similarly final feel to that of the 3rd season. So, there's really no telling if that series will ever return. Probably not. The whole time I was watching it, this past couple of weeks, I found myself wondering if the homestead (the place they filmed in New South Wales) is still even there because I'd watch an episode of The Heart Guy and then later in the day watch the news about the fires. It's such a beautiful place. I do hope it survives this horrible fire season.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Fiona Friday - Hidey floofen

This may not make sense to people outside of cat-obsession groups (I'm in a Facebook group with nearly half a million cat lovers) but the way Isabel's holding her foot is called a "floofen". And, she's hiding her face, so I'm calling this a "hidey floofen". I've never seen her do this particular position, before, although she frequently sits with a floofened paw. It made me laugh.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Mini Reviews - Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen, Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman, and Angel in a Devil's Arms by Julie Anne Long

More minis! I've put my favorite of the three at the top, just in case anyone decides my reviews are boring and can only get through the first. It is soooo good.

Here and Now and Then is about Kin Stewart, a man who was a time-traveling agent till he got stuck in the past for 18 years. Although it was against the rules to get involved in the time period he visited, after getting stuck in the 90s Kin got a job in IT, married, and had a daughter, Miranda. But, now he's back in 2142 and traveling through time again could kill him. When Kin figures out a way to email Miranda and then finds out her life is in danger in the timeline he's left behind, can he come up with a way to save her? Or, will he have to sacrifice himself trying?

Highly recommended - I loved the world building in Here and Now and Then but the main thrust of the story is about the importance of family, which I also loved. In fact, I loved the book so much that I immediately pre-ordered Mike Chen's next book, which is due to be released on the 14th of January (one week!!!) so I'm probably going to drop everything and read till my eyes pop when that arrives. The new book is called A Beginning at the End. I love Chen's titles.

There are some references to Dr. Who (although nothing overly exciting), hence the painting of the TARDIS in the background. And, that little car in the front is called a "car of the future" — it was a gift from my eldest and since they have flying cars in 2142, I thought it was appropriate.

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman is about a woman whose husband has disappeared and whose daughter is traumatized. It's the 1940s and America is at war. Violet and her daughter Ella are just trying to survive after the disappearance of Violet's husband, a year ago. Ella knows what happened to him but she's terrified and unable or unwilling to speak about what she saw. Violet doesn't know what's wrong with Ella, although it's not for want of trying to get her to open up.

When finances become tight, Violet and her friends come up with the idea to open a pie stand and sell pie at the local encampment of soldiers nearby on Hawaii's Big Island.

There's a lot going on in Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers. Some soldiers Violet and her buddies befriend start hanging out at the house she shares and Violet becomes attracted to one of them but doesn't know quite how to behave. Is her husband alive or dead? She's devoted to her husband but it's nice to have the comfort of a kind man. Other things happening: a neighbor of Violet's with Japanese ancestry is arrested and then Violet is accused of spying. And, the soldiers have a pet lion cub whom little Ella becomes attached to.

What happened to Violet's husband and why does Ella refuse to talk about it?

Recommended but not a favorite - I had mixed feelings about Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers. I liked it but I didn't love it. And, yet, I would definitely read more by Sara Ackerman so maybe the timing was wrong. I did love how it ended.

I read and loved the first book in The Palace of Rogues series by Julie Anne Long, Lady Derring Takes a Lover, but I don't know if anyone offered me the second book (I may have deleted an email offer when I was shutting down intake of review books). When I heard it had been released, I ordered Angel in a Devil's Arms because I so enjoyed Lady Derring's story.

Lucien Durand, The Duke of Brexford, was thought drowned in the Thames a decade ago but now he has returned to London in search of revenge. And, he's staying at The Grand Palace on the Thames.

Angelique has a painful history. It's only since her unusual partnership with Lady Derring, now happily married and still running The Grand Palace on the Thames with Angelique, that her life has become secure and comfortable. The last thing she needs in her life is another man to use and discard her. But, after a single kiss with Lord Bolt, she is conflicted and Lord Bolt's heart is lost to her. Can Julien convince Angelique that she's safe with him?

Recommended - Angel in a Devil's Arms didn't stick with me in the way that Lady Derring Takes a Lover did but I enjoyed it. My very brief Goodreads review says I thought it had great characters and a fantastic ensemble cast, most of whom are likable, but I thought the author occasionally lost the plot in this particular installment. I also said I loved it. So, I'll keep reading this series.

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

I planned to finish my 2019 reviews before barreling into 2020 but You Were There Too says it was released on the 7th (that's today as I write but will be yesterday when you read this) so I'm going to go ahead and review it and I'll continue to interject reviews of more recent reads if there's a genuine reason like "Fresh release!" or "I have to say something right now!"

You Were There Too is the story of Mia. Since high school she's occasionally had dreams that feature the same man. Sometimes they're good; often they're nightmares. In her everyday life, Mia is happily married to a surgeon named Harrison. Mia and Harrison have recently moved to a small town called Hope Springs from Philadelphia after Harrison lost a child in surgery and he felt like he needed a change. Mia is struggling with the move and her desire to have a baby, which keeps ending in miscarriage.

Then, one day something bizarre happens. Mia sees the man she's been dreaming about for so long. And then she's introduced to him. Oliver is the brother of a patient whose life Harrison saved, and she feels like she's known him forever. Eventually, Oliver admits that he's been dreaming of Mia, as well. But, what can it possibly mean? In their search for answers, Mia and Oliver become friends. Mia's very open about their friendship with Harrison, but at the same time she's developing a surprisingly deep and meaningful friendship with another man, fault lines have emerged in her loving marriage. Mia works hard at making it clear that she can't be with Oliver, and yet she can't deny to herself that she feels attracted to him.

What will become of the friendship? Will Oliver and Mia step over the friendship line and into romance? What about Harrison? Something is a little off about him but Mia can't put a finger on it and with the rift in their marriage growing, will she be able to help him? Will Mia and Oliver figure out what their dreams and nightmares mean? Or is something about to happen that can't be prevented?

Highly recommended - Ohmygosh, I loved this book. The author kept me guessing all the way through and I loved the way she handled the relationships, the confusion, the questions about marriage and what love can or cannot overcome. There's a shocking prologue at the beginning of the book so you know that Oliver's and Mia's dreams clearly are psychic in some way, but not who Mia is with when tragedy strikes.

This is actually the only book I've ever read that has attempted to address the concept of psychic dreaming and I loved it in part because I am an occasional psychic dreamer, myself. I could relate to Mia's obsession about what it all meant, although I've never heard of two people dreaming about each other and that's far from my experience. I have dreamed about things that happen before the news breaks. Not long ago, I started sharing stories of my psychic dreams (and a couple of what I call "waking visions" because I wasn't asleep when they occurred) with a friend and I realized there were so many of them that it would take a while to share them all with her.

As to meaning . . . I don't know that there is any meaning to those dreams that have come true for me, although a couple of them have felt like warnings. That's one of the questions in You Were There Too. Are Oliver and Mia being warned about something to come? If so, is there anything they can do to prevent something bad from happening? What about the dreams that are not nightmares but the opposite? Do they mean Mia should give up on her marriage and that she really belongs with Oliver? Why do Oliver and Mia both have this strange mix of dreams? It's a really intriguing set of questions and I loved this book so much that I will absolutely seek out more by Colleen Oakley.

I received a copy of You Were There Too from Berkley Books in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks! I'm excited to have found a new author who kept me riveted until the wee hours of the morning (although I didn't appreciate the way I felt the next day).

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Creatures by Crissy Van Meter

Creatures was the first book I finished after going on my blogging break. I presume it called to me loudly because of that gorgeous cover. Who wouldn't be drawn to it?

The story is about Evie, a woman who is on the verge of getting married as Creatures opens on fictional Winter Island, off the coast of California. Evie's mother left when she was young but has popped in on occasion. Her father was Winter Island's marijuana dealer. They moved from one apartment or house to another on the island, some better than others, dependent either upon whoever her father had befriended or his current financial situation, at the time. During one of their stays near a fancy vacation home, Evie met a wealthy, rebellious, and erratic girl who became her lifelong best friend.

Now, Evie's mother has just arrived in time for her wedding (which is to take place the next day). There's a dead whale caught on the reef and it's letting off a powerful stench. Evie is trying to think of a way to get rid of the carcass without breaking any laws, wondering why her mother has shown up when she's missed out on most of Evie's life, and pondering the possibility that her fiancé may be dead because he hasn't returned from the sea, yet.

From this opening scene, the book jumps back and forth in time, slowly revealing Evie's early life and influences. From the cover:

With wit, love, and bracing flashes of anger, Creatures probes the complexities of love and abandonment, guilt and forgiveness, betrayal and grief—and the ways in which our ability to love can be threatened if we are not brave enough to conquer the past. 

Lyrical, darkly funny, and ultimately cathartic, Creatures exerts a pull as strong as the tides. 

Recommended - I agree with that cover blurb. Immediately before opening a book to read, I avoid cover descriptions because I've read a few that completely ruined the reading by revealing important plot points that are better off left unknown till you get there, but after I closed it I read the description and thought it was close to perfect.

Although it's been 6 weeks or so since I read the book, I remember thinking Creatures was quirky but I liked Van Meter's craftsmanship, with one exception: her use of time. There is no strict timeline. In what appears to be the present day — the arrival of Evie's mother during the time a whale has become trapped and died close to shore — you are unsure whether or not the man Evie is supposed to marry will return or is even alive. From there, the author jumps back and forth in time so frequently (and with a tragic misuse of tense) that it can be very confusing.

And, yet, the narrative has great flow and if you're patient with the author's bouncing around in time, you'll find that she gradually fills you in on the events that shaped Evie: her father's drug dealing and her part in it, the people who offered her a sense of stability (if only for a short time), and the strange way her mother popped in and out of her life. Eventually the story moves beyond the day before Evie's wedding. If you can tolerate the confusing time leaps, Creatures is a strangely beautiful and satisfying read. I finished it on the morning of my surgery and I often have difficulty reading on stressful days, but I was completely absorbed. I gave it a 3.5/5 at Goodreads and will be watching for more by Crissy Van Meter.

I received an ARC of Creatures from Algonquin Books via Shelf Awareness in return for my unbiased review. Many thanks!

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.