Monday, August 30, 2021

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals:

  • The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen - from Shadow Mountain for book tour
  • Island: The Complete Stories by Alistair MacLeod - purchased
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver - purchased

Yes, I'm still on a book-buying ban. No, I didn't mean to buy those two (although they were in my "save for later" pile). It's embarrassing. I don't want to talk about it. But, if you're going to accidentally purchase books, it's great to get titles you'd hoped to eventually buy anyway. 

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • The Merchant and the Rogue by Sarah M. Eden
  • Wish by Barbara O'Connor
  • Pastoralia by George Saunders 

OK, I've only actually finished one book, as I type on Friday (I know, pitiful, but at least I was really, really busy). But, I'm presuming I'll finish the other two because  a) they're both pretty short and b) unplugged-for-storms-or-power-outage time is great for reading. 

UPDATE: Hurricane Ida is coming ashore, at the moment, and up here we just have a few dark clouds rotating through, as they do. We've had little spits of rain from the outer bands since yesterday and it's now Sunday, 11:16 AM. I finished Wish, last night, and I'm sure I'll finish Pastoralia tonight or in the morning because we're cleaning madly before the storm and there won't be much left to do but read, once we're all prepared for the tropical storm that we anticipate eventually arriving. 

Currently reading:

No idea!  But, I'll update this if the storm fizzles. If not, you'll find out what I read in the next Malarkey post! 

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

I'm afraid very little has been happening otherwise because my focus has been reading, writing, editing, pondering, and attending the writing workshop I've been taking but I'm still watching Season 1 of Chuck, again (while I eat lunch . . . it's a lunch thing, always). It's been interesting going back to the beginning and comparing it to how the series finished. It changed pretty dramatically toward the end. My husband said, "You mean the last two seasons sucked." Actually, I enjoyed them. I was expecting the series to go downhill so it didn't bother me when the characters' job and romantic statuses changed, although I did find the ending sad (yet hopeful). 

The only other thing we've watched is  Blake's 7 a British series that we viewed way back in a decade I don't even want to mention. I was so surprised when I saw that it's on one of the British TV channels (not sure if it's Acorn or BritBox; we have both). I know how it ends. But, it's been such a long time since we've seen it that I remember little beyond the ending. I'm really enjoying it. 

Apart from TV and writing workshop, we've been pretty sluggish due to the heat and not going anywhere we don't absolutely have to because of the resurgence of the pandemic (blah). Yes, we've been fully vaccinated. Yes, we wear our masks. But, you may have heard we are actually experiencing the worst numbers since the pandemic began and our governor is refusing to mandate mask-wearing. So, while the number of positive cases has stabilized a bit (maybe plateaued; it's hard to say, yet), it likely won't go down significantly for a while. We're still under 40% fully vaccinated in Mississippi. We are totally over feeling like we have to stay home and, man, the freedom during those months after we were fully vaccinated was the best! But, we're also kind of . . . getting old? So, it just feels like sticking close to home is the right thing to do, even if it stinks. 

One last update before bed. It looks like Hurricane Ida will likely fizzle and she's tracking a bit farther east than expected, which should place us on the west or "dry" side. If so, that means Ida will have a lot less impact on us than we originally expected. And, we have a very clean house because we were preparing for a power outage (which could still happen but is looking much less likely). Wahoo for cleanliness! 

My thoughts are with the people in Louisiana who won't be able to see this post because of flooding, damage, and power outages. 

©2021 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, August 27, 2021

Fiona Friday - Hey, this is cool!

Izzy's decided her new carrier is a great place to hang out. But, she's due for shots in about 3 weeks so her affection for it may be short-lived. 

©2021 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, August 26, 2021

Cover Reveal: Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

This is a new experience for me, a cover reveal! It's not something I've ever had any desire to participate in, before (and I can't say whether or not I'll do it again). But, I read and loved The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner, last year, so I was actually quite eager to see what her next book cover would look like — and, of course, I'm eager to read the book. Here's a link to my review:

Bloomsbury Girls is Natalie Jenner's second book and will be released by St. Martin's Press on May 17, 2022. 


"One bookshop. Fifty-one rules. Three women who break them all."

The Internationally Bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world. Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare bookstore that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager's unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:

Vivien Lowry: Single since her aristocratic fiancé was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances — most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction. 

Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she's been working to support the family following her husband's breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own. 

Evie Stone: In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she's working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future. 

As they interact with various literary figures of the time – Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others — these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow. 


"I never intended for Evie Stone to be a major character in my debut novel, let alone inspire my second one, Bloomsbury Girls. But as time went on, I found I could not leave her behind in Chawton with the other society members. And then one day I rewatched a favorite movie, 84 Charing Cross Road, and I remember thinking, there's a whole other story in her still to be told, of an upstairs-downstairs motley crew of booksellers, and right away the figures came to life."

"As with The Jane Austen Society, Bloomsbury Girls features multiple characters and storylines revolving around one very charming location: this time the quintessential Dickensian-type bookshop."

"If The Jane Austen Society was the book I wrote when I was coming out of sadness, Bloomsbury Girls was written when I was very happy, and I hope it provides a little cheer to readers during this difficult time."

The hard part is definitely going to be the wait.  Preorder links  and a link to more information are below the image. I can't wait to read Bloomsbury Girls. It sounds like this WWII-gobbling bookstore-loving bookfool's dream. And . . . ta da!




©2021 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, August 25, 2021

The Merchant and the Rogue by Sarah M. Eden (The Dread Penny Society #3)

London, 1865. Brogan Donnelly has been summoned by the leader of The Dread Penny Society, a group of writers who support their good deeds by writing penny dreadfuls. The Dread Master has a secretive job for Brogan. He must pretend to leave The Dread Penny Society so that he can go undercover to figure out what's going on between a local printer, who is a Russian immigrant, and the Russian Ambassador. To serve this purpose, he gets a job helping out in the print shop of the Russian immigrant, which is mostly run by daughter Vera Sorokina while her father solicits printing orders and fulfills them. 

Unexpectedly finding himself drawn to Vera, Brogan (now going by the name "Ganor O'Donnell") is dismayed to find that Vera and her father are not fans of people who write, in spite of stocking penny dreadfuls in their shop. And, he's even more horrified to realize that he is falling for her under false pretenses. 

When the problem with the ambassador becomes more complicated and he realizes it may be tied to another issue (spoiler, sorry), Brogan must come up with a plan to save the neighborhood, find the culprits, and redeem himself in the eyes of the woman he loves. 

This is the second book I've read from The Dread Penny Society series; I missed the first. As in the previous title, The Gentleman and the Thief, there are chapters from two separate penny dreadfuls interspersed within the pages of the main storyline. One is about a natural history museum from which display animals are being stolen. The other is about a candy shop proprietor who finds herself in an unexpected battle with a very dangerous man who hints of another world with the yucky smell and strange sounds that appear when he's near. 

Recommended - When I read The Gentleman and the Thief, I mentioned that it stood alone just fine and I enjoyed the penny dreadful stories interspersed throughout the book. The same is true of The Merchant and the Rogue; I like the concept a lot. I had to work at transitioning from one story to another a little harder than normal because I'm going through a particularly bad bout of insomnia but shifting gears between main storyline and penny dreadful chapters was definitely worth the effort. If the "story within a story" trope bugs you, this series is not for you. But, if you're fine with it and even enjoy the concept, as I do, Sarah Eden's writing is marvelous and captivating, romantic and complex enough to satisfy those who prefer a slightly meatier story. 

I did have one minor issue with this particular installment. I never did understand why it was necessary for Brogan to pretend to leave The Dread Penny Society and keep his work secret from them. But, it was not something that ruined the experience for me. 

My thanks to Shadow Mountain for the review copy!

©2021 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, August 20, 2021

Fiona Friday - Was it something I said?

©2021 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, August 19, 2021

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck is a fictionalized account of Virginia Hall's work in occupied France during about the final 6 months before the invasion of Normandy during WWII. Virginia Hall was an American socialite who helped build and support the French Resistance. 

During the time this portion of Virginia's story takes place, she's dealing with her own personal trauma and also post-traumatic stress after her Resistance network was betrayed and most of the people she worked with fighting the Nazis were arrested, possibly killed, although she's uncertain of what's become of her friends. After spending some time in the UK, she is back in France, rebuilding a Resistance network, calling for supply drops to support her recruits and the local Maquis living in a nearby forest, and helping to hold them back from sabotage efforts until she gets the signal that D-Day is coming, so that they can do the most damage to bridges and rail possible without time for reprisals. 

I recently read about half of A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell, which is a biography of Virginia Hall, and I confess I was a little thrown at the beginning of The Invisible Woman because I hadn't come anywhere close to the dates in which this particular part of Hall's time in France took place. So, at first I thought the author had fictionalized a great deal. Then, I realized it was me that was off. It's been a couple of months since I set A Woman of No Importance aside so I was discombobulated, date-wise. But, once I realized the dates were off in my head, I found the story gripping and captivating. Virginia Hall was an incredibly heroic woman and I believe Erika Robuck did an amazing job of bringing her to life. 

Highly recommended - An engrossing story of heroism, danger, and the horrors of war. The only problem I had with The Invisible Woman was that I had difficulty keeping the characters straight because there were so many of them. It didn't occur to me to pull out my copy of A Woman of No Importance, which has photographs of many of the key characters, who were real. There is a lot of information to digest because of the complexity of working as a spy in an occupied nation during war but the author presents it well and I found the story fascinating and ultimately satisfying. 

Side note: I got to hear a little about Erika's writing process, yesterday, when she was a guest author in the online writing workshop I'm taking, this month, and I think it's of interest that she chose to write the novel in 3rd person because Virginia kept her story close and was such a private woman that Erika felt like she needed to keep a bit of distance. She believed Virginia Hall's personal preference probably would have been not to have her story told at all so it was necessary not to crawl into her head and tell her story in 1st person. I think that was a wise choice. 

Also, wow, I loved hearing about Erika's writing process. She is incredibly disciplined and I loved how she described the way the characters who need their story told come to her in an almost mystical way. It sounds like she has two more WWII stories under contract, one to be released in the spring of 2022. You can bet I will be putting them on my wish list as soon as I'm able. 

©2021 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, August 17, 2021

Aven Green Baking Machine (Aven Green #2) by Dusti Bowling and Gina Perry

Aven Green has fast become a favorite children's book character. In Aven Green Baking Machine by Dusti Bowling, Aven and her three friends have decided to enter a baking contest. Each of them has come up with a favorite recipe or altered one to make it their own. But, Aven is rude about the name of her friend Sujata's chosen dessert and refuses to even taste another friend's because it contains raisins, which she despises. By the end of their baking session, Aven has alienated everyone and her friends even decide to enter the contest without her. 

When a boy named Ren sits down to talk with her while she's sitting alone and sad on the playground, the next day, she finds out that his mother makes a delicious dessert containing bean paste. Once again, she is insensitive about a dessert that comes from another culture and makes a face, hurting Ren's feelings. But, then her grandmother teaches her a lesson in trying new things and being kind to friends. 

Aven apologizes to her friends and asks Ren if he'd like to join the baking contest with her. With the help of Ren and his mother, she discovers yet again that things that sound kind of awful can actually taste delicious. Who will win the baking contest? Will Aven be able to reconcile with her friends?

Highly recommended - A wonderful story about being kind and culturally sensitive and trying new things, which includes recipes, yay. I love books with recipes in the back. Because Aven is a child with no arms, there are always unique situations in the Aven Green books and while she was a little rude in this book for a time, Aven is a good person, very upbeat and quick to make friends. I always find myself smiling as I read the Aven Green books. A delightful middle grade read. 

My thanks to Sterling Children's Books for the review copy! Aven Green Baking Machine is the second in a series but it stands alone fine. Here's my review of the first:

Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusti Bowling

©2021 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, August 16, 2021

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (top to bottom, all purchased):

  • Klawde #3: The Spacedog Cometh by Marciano and Chenoweth
  • Klawde #4: Target: Earth by Marciano and Chenoweth
  • Wish by Barbara O'Connor
  • No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman
  • The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
  • Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
  • Ungifted by Gordon Kornam
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
  • Jake, Reinvented by Gordon Korman
  • Where is Our Library? by Funk and Lewis
  • Once Upon a Goat by Richards and Barclay

This is the pile of children's books I mentioned buying (my guilty second Book Outlet purchase that put me back in book jail). If you're wondering why there are so many Gordon Korman books, it's because I often look for specific authors when I make a Book Outlet purchase and so far I've loved the books I've read by Korman, so I just bought everything I haven't read. I know, nuts. But, I can pass them on to a grandchild or school library when I'm done. 

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • Where is Our Library by Josh Funk and Stevie Lewis
  • Once Upon a Goat by Dan Richards
  • Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat (Klawde #1) by Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth (reread)
  • Klawde: The Spacedog Cometh (Klawde #3) by Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth
  • The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck 

So, clearly I tore right into that pile. Unfortunately, I can't find Klawde #2. It's around here, somewhere, but I've had no luck locating it so I read my review of it (I already owned #1 and #2) and then moved on to #3. The Erika Robuck book was purchased in my first Book Outlet order (the guilt-free stack . . . well, apart from its size) and in a bit of jolly synchronicity, Erika is going to be the guest speaker in the writing workshop I'm taking, this week! So cool. I didn't realize she was going to be a visiting author when I bought the books. So, I hurried up and slotted in her book and it was excellent. I'll try to review it ASAP. 

Currently reading:

  • The Merchant and The Rogue (Dread Penny Society #3) by Sarah M. Eden

I also occasionally read a page or two of The True Believer by Eric Hoffer but I won't be finishing that, anytime soon. I don't have the head space for much, right now. 

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

I finished watching the fifth and final season of Chuck and immediately started all over from the beginning. Weird? Maybe. I just enjoyed it so much (mostly watching it in bits and pieces while eating my lunch) and the final season was so different from the early seasons that I wanted to go back and remind myself how it began. And, it's just so darn fun that I'm continuing. Although, I say that but I'm only on the second episode. When you watch a series in 20-minute chunks, it takes a long time to get through. 

In the evenings, Huzzybuns and I are watching The Heart Guy, aka Doctor, Doctor (the latter being the Australian title). We only have a few episodes left and then . . . who knows, I might watch that from the beginning, too. It's a great series. 

The only other thing going on, besides sporadic painting, is the month-long workshop taught by Simon Van Booy that I'm taking and it is absolutely the best writing anything that I've ever taken — class, workshop, conference. But, it's also dominating my every waking hour because the objective is to try to do the best writing of your life. That means constantly thinking about how to improve the short story I've written, edit, edit, and edit again, reread notes, and edit some more. We had a check-in with Simon, this week, and a guest speaker: Billy O'Callaghan (there are some wonderful accents in this workshop: Welsh, Irish). I'm excited about Erika's guest visit, this week. 

Also, I am trying not to become glued to my new sofa, which is actually the first comfortable sofa we've ever owned. The first two were "pretty but stiff and easy to stain" and then "disaster/miserable/lemon" (a supportive metal piece that held up the fold-out bed broke within five years). So nice to finally have a sofa that we like and that's so comfy it's easy to fall asleep on. 

©2021 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, August 13, 2021

Fiona Friday - Smooch!

©2021 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, August 11, 2021

Where is Our Library? by Josh Funk and Stevie Lewis

You get an early peek at one of the books I bought in my second Book Outlet order (the one I think of as "the naughty one") before my Monday Malarkey photo of next week. Yay. I knew you'd be thrilled. 

I have loved author Josh Funk's Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series (also children's picture books) and I added Where Is Our Library? to my wish list when Josh posted about it on Twitter. Oh, how I wanted that book! It took a couple of years, though, because I often feel like I can't excuse the purchase of children's books, my grandchildren being so far away and no other children in my orbit. But, at about half the retail price, I was so excited you would have seen nothing but a blur if you were watching me put that book in my cart. 

Good decision. Where Is Our Library? is a delightful rhyming tale in which the New York Public Library's lion statues, Patience and Fortitude, come alive at night. They walk to the children's book section of their library branch, as is their habit, but find it empty! Where have the books gone?

Patience and Fortitude go in search of the children's books and in so doing, take the reader on a lovely tour around New York City, including Central Park and some of New York City's branch libraries. 

Highly recommended - Particularly of interest to those who have visited or live(d) in New York City and library lovers of all stripes. I felt swept into their adventure and found myself reminiscing about walks around New York City. I haven't been to Central Park but now I want to see it, next time I'm up that way! 

©2021 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, August 10, 2021

Fox 8 by George Saunders

So came bak nite upon nite, seeted upon that window, trying to lern. And in time, so many werds came threw my ears and into my brane, that, if I thought upon them, cud understand Yuman prety gud if I heer it!

~from p. 4 of Fox 8 

I'm not certain but I think Fox 8 would be classified as a novelette or a long short story at 49 pages; it's small of size and a super quick read (even with the horrible fox spelling). And, in spite of the lovely illustrations by Chelsea Cardinal, it is most definitely not a children's story. 

Fox 8 (that's the fox's name) has spent time outside the houses of "Yumans" and learned how to speak and read their language.  But, he doesn't necessarily understand context, so when he sees a sign saying "Coming Soon, FoxViewCommons" he has no idea what's coming. Then, the bulldozers arrive. The forest home of Fox 8 and his friends is razed, they lose their homes and their food sources disappear, so they begin to starve. They look for their neighboring fox pack but are unable to locate them. And, then they begin to die off. 

Eventually, a mall is completed and Fox 8 goes exploring with one of his friends. There, they discover the joy of the food court and the danger of humans. If you're an animal lover who is distressed by man's cruelty to animals, you'll definitely find your stomach in knots for a time. This is a rough little read because it's an honest viewpoint of losing your home, your food, your family and friends through the eyes of a fox who does everything he can to survive. 

It's also funny at times because it's by George Saunders. He has a wicked sense of humor that he always uses to good effect to poke his finger in man's chest and remind him of the stupid, senseless things he does. 

Highly recommended - Fox 8 will wreck you but I love how George Saunders can horrify and entertain you at the same time. Also, it's written in the vernacular of a fox, as you can see from the quote above. Or, at least George Saunders' imagining of a literate Fox's thoughts and dialogue. And, yeah, there's that vernacular again. At times I had to stop to untangle a word but, A.) The book is short, and B.) It's George Saunders, one of my favorite authors, so . . .  Frankly, I'll put up with any wringer he puts me through. I'm a fangirl. 

©2021 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, August 09, 2021

When We Were Young by Richard Roper

When We Were Young by Richard Roper is the story of two old friends who were driven apart by tragedy and a verbal falling out — one a successful comedy writer, one living in his parents' shed after a bad case of self-sabotage and self-pity have paralyzed him and kept him from getting a decent job. The one living in the shed, Theo, is being evicted by his parents as the book opens (it has a great opening sentence). 

When the successful friend, Joel, gets bad news, he remembers a promise he and Theo once made to walk the Thames Path together when they turned 30. Now he wants to fulfill that promise. The Thames Path is a walking path that stretches 200 miles, from the origin of the Thames to London. 

When We Were Young is told in alternating chapters from Joel and Theo's points of view. I found the opening chapters of When We Were Young a bit slow and in general didn't love it as much as How Not to Die Alone, the other book I've read by Roper. But, once I became invested in the story, I enjoyed it and I ended up giving it 4 stars. 

Recommended - I love Richard Roper's sense of humor and had to reach for tissues, in the end. I'm pretty sure How Not to Die Alone made me cry, too, so if you're looking for a good sob, Roper is the man for you. I think one of them was happy tears and the other ripped my heart out and then bandaged it with a smile-cry but I'm not going to tell you which was which because I don't want to spoil anything! 

I always close British books that have someone walking one of the paths with envy and a deep desire to go take a long walk through fields of sheep. Public walking paths sound like such a joy. Also, I really like this author and can't wait to see what he writes, next. 

My review of How Not to Die Alone:

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper

My thanks to G. P. Putnam's Sons for the review copy!

©2021 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, August 06, 2021

Fiona Friday - Kitty tested and approved

The cats approve of the new sofa. In fact, we're having a bit of a problem with Fiona climbing the back of the couch like a tree to get to her favorite spot in the corner. 

©2021 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, August 04, 2021

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

I'm late to the party reading The Girl with the Louding Voice but I'm so grateful my friend Sandie sent me her copy. Thanks, Sandie!



Warning: Some plot points are mentioned in this review. If you're concerned about spoilers, please skip down to the recommendation line. 



The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré is about a young teenager named Adunni who lives in a village in Nigeria. Adunni has been the mother to her younger brother and running the household since their mother died. Her elder brother is now the income earner but doesn't contribute quite enough to keep them well-fed or pay for her schooling. And, her father is pretty much a worthless no-account who drinks and sits on the couch pretending his TV works (it does not). 

When Adunni's father can't meet the rent, he sells her to a man who already is married for the bride price, which he plans to use to pay the rent. Because child marriage is not unusual, some of her friends are even a little envious while Adunni is crushed. She was hoping to eventually return to school. Adunni is only about 13, at this point, and her father had promised her mother on her mom's death bed that he would make sure Adunni got an education and didn't marry young. 

With no way out, Adunni reluctantly gets married and is taken to the home of her new husband, a taxi driver with two wives, 3 children, and another baby on the way. Adunni is expected to produce a baby boy or two. When tragedy strikes and Adunni is worried that she'll be blamed, she makes a run for it and ends up in the home of a friend of her mother, who gets Adunni in touch with her brother. He will take her to Lagos and get her a job. 

Will Adunni ever see her family, again? Is she doomed to work exhausting hours and accept either beatings or constant pregnancy? Is there any way she can escape the dangers of her life and return to school? 



End spoiler warning



Highly recommended - Such a terrific read and you can't help but love Adunni. Although she is ignorant and ends up being trafficked (highlight this word if you want to see what happens to her), she's not stupid. She's just not knowledgeable about the world outside her little village. The book is written as she speaks (in very ungrammatical English) and although anyone who is a regular at Bookfoolery will know I have a passionate hatred for vernacular, it's surprisingly readable. So, for once it didn't bother me at all. In spite of the horrors she experiences, which can be difficult to read, Adunni is upbeat and even kind of funny. I can't imagine ever forgetting this character; she is amazing. And, for those who are a little terrified of the book, it does end on a high note. 

©2021 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, August 03, 2021

Splat the Cat: I Scream for Ice Cream by Laura Driscoll and Robert Eberz

I could have skipped reviewing Splat the Cat: I Scream for Ice Cream entirely. It's just a cute little book that I got in the hopes that someday my grandkids will come for a visit and need some reading material between the middle grade and picture book levels. But, nah. I like reviewing everything.

In Splat the Cat: I Scream for Ice Cream, Splat and his class go on a field trip to an ice cream factory. When disaster happens, they have to work hard to save the day. 

I keep coming back to the word "cute". Well, I Scream for Ice Cream is a beginning reader, after all, and meant to be enticing to little ones learning to read. I bought it primarily because it's a Level 1 reader with a cat on the cover. And, I did love the illustrations. 

As to the story, it's nothing brilliant and there's no big lesson to be learned unless it's about teamwork making things go more quickly. But, it does teach words with "eam" in them (scream, beam, dream, cream, etc.) and I think rhyming words/learning to sound them out is the easiest way to teach reading. I had one child whose teacher chose to go with teaching totally random words rather than focusing on sound and those first couple of years of reading were rough for him, so we worked on phonics at home and things improved. 

Recommended - Adorable, expressive illustrations and a fun story meant to teach children about words that rhyme with cream. Especially fun for cat-loving youngsters and their parents. 

Note: The cover says this is "Based on the bestselling books by Rob Scotton." I'm unfamiliar with Rob Scotton but I opted to use the author and illustrator (interior illustrations only; the cover art is by Rick Farley) that are written inside the book in the subject line, rather than writing whose books it was based upon. 

©2021 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, August 02, 2021

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (I did warn you a large pile was coming, right?):

Top photo (clockwise):

  • Splat the Cat: I Scream for Ice Cream by Laura Driscoll, Robert Eberz, and Rick Farley - purchased 
  • People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry - Sent by friend
  • Aven Green Baking Machine by Dusti Bowling and Gina Perry - from Sterling Children's Books for review
  • Fox 8 by George Saunders - purchased
The two purchased books are books I already read and forgot to add to the big stack, which . . . are you ready? 

Bottom photo (top to bottom)

  • Klawde, Evil Alien Warlord Cat #3: The Spacedog Cometh by Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth
  • The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal
  • Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman
  • The Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner
  • In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
  • When We Were Young and Brave by Hazel Gaynor
  • The Night Portrait by Laura Morelli
  • Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson
  • The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis 
  • The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
  • The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
  • Frankly in Love by David Yoon
  • Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center
  • The Time in Between by Maria Dueñas
  • A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
  • The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck
  • Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
  • Poking a Dead Frog by Mike Sacks
  • It's the End of the World as I Know It by Matthew Landis
  • Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
  • Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Holy Toledo, right? Well, I told myself that it was OK to not bother narrowing down the number of books I tossed in my cart because it was a one-time thing and I wouldn't be buying books (apart from those exceptions to my buying restrictions) for the rest of the year but then . . . I was wrong about that, actually. I have a second order coming, mostly the middle grade books I've been craving. But, I'm done! Really, I am. I'm back in book-buying jail. 

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
  • The Wartime Sisters by Linda Cohen Loigman
  • Splat the Cat: I Scream for Ice Cream by Laura Driscoll, Robert Eberz, and Rick Farley
  • The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
  • Aven Green Baking Machine by Dusti Bowling
  • Fox 8 by George Saunders
  • When We Were Young by Richard Roper

This last two weeks were good reading weeks. Splat the Cat is just a little "I Can Read" book for children that I threw in the cart with the thought that it would be nice to have a couple of easy-to-read books for when my grandchildren visit (if they ever do) but I had to read it, obviously, and I enjoyed it. Fox 8 is another one that should have been in the big stack but which I'd already read and then forgot to put in the stack when I photographed it. Aven Green Baking Machine was another fun Aven Green book — she is such a great character. I've already pre-posted my review of Aven Green Baking Machine for release week. The Girl with the Louding Voice was my favorite of this batch but honestly, I really loved them all. 

Currently reading:

  • No idea. I'm between reads. 

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

I dragged my feet on this but with less than a week to go, I messaged Simon Van Booy about his month-long writing workshop to ask if he had any openings left and he still had an open slot! It starts today and I'm both excited and terrified (because there's a requirement to read your work aloud). To prepare, I cleaned and tidied my office-slash-library and, in the process, I came across some of my old writings. I sat down and read an unfinished novel that I don't even remember writing and, huh, it's not bad. I need help plotting and developing characters but it had some good little pieces of intrigue in it, I thought, and I found myself thinking, "I have no idea where this is headed." Unfortunately, that was probably also true when I was writing it but I'm hoping that this class will help me figure out how to finish some of those story starts that stalled. This one's a wee bit old. I mentioned a character who got rid of her Jennifer Aniston hairdo and my MC still had a landline in addition to her cell, which made me chuckle. 

I've also been busy taking more online painting courses (just watched a free one and need to go out and give the project a whirl) and I'm unsure if I'll be able to fit in the reading and painting I like to do regularly, plus blogging. I guess we'll see how intense the workshop turns out to be and I'll work from there. I like being just a little overwhelmed, but if the blog is a little quieter it's just going to be a temporary thing. 

We are having some interesting kitty challenges. Isabel had to go to the vet for a claw that grew into her paw pad. There was hissing, spitting, howling, and . . . after the vet put a towel over her head to get the last claws trimmed without anyone dying a horrible slashing death . . . poor Izzy's bladder went. She was really terrified. On the plus side, she forgave me immediately and even held her paw up a couple of times in search of sympathy after she had stopped limping. She is so funny. 

Fiona has lost weight and will have to return for tests. She's lost enough that the vet said, "It's not nothing" and it will have to be investigated. She's just as perky and happy as ever so I'm hoping it's something minor and, if not, something that can be medicated into submission for a few years. Please cross your fingers and toes for her. 

©2021 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.