Well, it’s deer hunting season in Wisconsin starting this weekend, which means my house out in the middle of nowhere will be surrounded by hunters in blaze orange…….meaning I’ll be locked inside with nothing to do but bake, sew and read! AND next week is only 2 days of school/work! AND we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in any traditional sense. So, that’s 7 days with only 2 days of work and almost no plans except ringing bells for Salvation Army (if you have never done this, please go register to do so immediately)……………that means LOTS of reading time!
This past week included a partial derailment from the planned TBR due to my mood being absolutely NOT fit for darker books – I immediately read the Irish cozy I received in the mail after the last TBR post published and I replaced 2 of the titles from last week’s TBR with a sweet April 2018 middle grade story for Kid Lit Exchange and a light romance releasing November 21 from Gallery Books. Honestly, no one wants me to write a review for a book I’m not in the mood for, and this time of year is so dark and gloomy that I’m finding I need things that will perk me up. Just the way it is!
Now onto this week’s plan ~ we’ll see what ends up happening! As usual, all descriptions are from Goodreads.
The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan
(Broadway Books ~ February 23, 2017)
I received this review copy in my October blogger book send from Crown Publishing and it looks amazing ~ I’m all about England + historical fiction + women’s fiction!
For readers of Lilac Girls and The Nightingale, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir unfolds the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of a village choir during World War II.
As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to close the choir and instead “carry on singing,” resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. We come to know the home-front struggles of five unforgettable choir members: a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; the older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; her younger sister pining over an impossible crush; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia hiding a family secret; and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past.
An enchanting ensemble story that shuttles from village intrigue to romance to the heartbreaking matters of life and death, Jennifer Ryan’s debut novel thrillingly illuminates the true strength of the women on the home front in a village of indomitable spirit.
Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (Young Adult)
(Soho Teen ~ January 16, 2018)
I typically try to read my ARCs closer to release date, but I’m dying to read this one and there are a lot of other eager reviewers for Kid Lit Exchange wanting to get their hands on it! Thanks to Soho Teen for the review copy!
A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.
Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?
Rethinking Possible: A Memoir of Resilience by Rebecca Faye Smith Galli
(She Writes Press ~ June 13, 2017)
Thanks to BookSparks for the review copy of this memoir – the author’s story looks heartbreaking!
Becky Galli was born into a family that valued the power of having a plan. With a pastor father and a stay-at-home mother, her 1960s southern upbringing was bucolic–even enviable. But when her brother, only seventeen, died in a waterskiing accident, the slow unraveling of her perfect family began.
Though grief overwhelmed the family, twenty-year-old Galli forged onward with her life plans–marriage, career, and raising a family of her own–one she hoped would be as idyllic as the family she once knew.
But life had less than ideal plans in store. There was her son’s degenerative, undiagnosed disease and subsequent death; followed by her daughter’s autism diagnosis; her separation; and then, nine days after the divorce was final, the onset of the transverse myelitis that would leave Galli paralyzed from the waist down.
Despite such unspeakable tragedy, Galli maintained her belief in family, in faith, in loving unconditionally, and in learning to not only accept, but also embrace a life that had veered down a path far different from the one she had envisioned. At once heartbreaking and inspiring, Rethinking Possible is a story about the power of love over loss and the choices we all make that shape our lives –especially when forced to confront the unimaginable.
Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners by Natalie Rompella (Middle Grade)
(Sky Pony Press ~ November 14, 2017)
I requested a review copy of this title from Sky Pony because HELLO! Dogs + baking = 2 of my favorite things on earth! The cover is adorable and looks like it will fly off of my library shelves.
Most kids would dread the start of middle school and the year-long Explorations project that comes with it, but Ana knows that her + her best friend Lily + their plan to write and sell their own cookbook is a recipe for success. Lily’s not just the perfect partner in culinary crime–she’s also the only person in the world who understands Ana’s need to wash her hands five times before picking up a spatula, and would never make fun of her for it.
But Ana and Lily’s plan for edible entrepreneurship turns into one big baking disaster when they’re assigned to different partners for their projects. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Lily seems more excited to get to know her new partner than bummed about being separated, Lily and her new friend plan to use the cookbook idea for themselves–and they didn’t even ask! Worse, Ana’s partner is Dasher, the strange new girl from Alaska, and she wants to do their project on the weirdest thing imaginable: sled dog racing.
Dasher’s dogs are scary, slobbery, and decidedly not germ-free, but Ana thinks she’s found a loophole when she agrees to bake pancakes for spectators while Dasher mushes in a local race. That is, until Dasher sprains her ankle and has to drop out of the running. Can Ana learn to mush–and overcome her anxiety–in time to save her friendships, finish her project, and compete in the big race?
Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig
(Park Row Books ~ May 2, 2017)
This is the November adult pick for the Diverse Books Club on Goodreads ~ I have had an ARC of it since this past winter and am glad to finally have this push to read it! The reviews are AMAZING.
Told in an extraordinary and wholly unique voice that will candidly take you into the mind of a curious and deeply human character.
For the first time in her life, Ginny Moon has found her “forever home”—a place where she’ll be safe and protected, with a family that will love and nurture her. It’s exactly the kind of home that all foster kids are hoping for. So why is this 14-year-old so desperate to get kidnapped by her abusive, drug-addict birth mother, Gloria, and return to a grim existence of hiding under the kitchen sink to avoid the authorities and her mother’s violent boyfriends?
While Ginny is pretty much your average teenager—she plays the flute in the school band, has weekly basketball practice and studies Robert Frost poems for English class—she is autistic. And so what’s important to Ginny includes starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, Michael Jackson, bacon-pineapple pizza and, most of all, getting back to Gloria so she can take care of her baby doll.
Ginny Moon is a compulsively readable and touching novel about being an outsider trying to find a place to belong and making sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up.
I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina (Young Adult Graphic Novel)
(Tu Books ~ October 10, 2017)
I received this review copy in a blogger book send from Lee and Low. I hadn’t heard of it before getting my copy, but the blurbs on the back from everyone amazing in YA make me think that it just hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves yet.
Alfonso Jones can’t wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school’s hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.
When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.
In the first graphic novel for young readers to focus on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, as in Hamlet, the dead shall speak—and the living yield even more surprises.
Foreword by Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy
Amanda Wakes Up by Alisyn Camerota
(Viking Books ~ July 25, 2017)
I chose this book to review from Blogging for Books ~ it looks like a perfect read for a cold, gloomy November day!
The Devil Wears Prada meets Primary Colors in this wickedly funny debut novel about a bootstrapping young reporter who lands a plum job at a big-time cable news station and finds her ambitions and her love life turned upside down.
When Amanda Gallo, fresh from the backwater of local TV, lands the job of her dreams at FAIR News—the coveted morning anchor slot—she’s finally made it: a six-figure salary, wardrobe allowance, plenty of on-air face time, and a chance to realize her dreams, not to mention buy herself lunch. Amanda Wakes Uptakes off as Amanda feels for the first time that she can make her mom and her best friend proud and think about an actual future with her boyfriend, Charlie. But she finds her journalistic ideals shredded as she struggles to keep up with the issues in a ratings-crazed madhouse—battling for hair and makeup time, coping with her sexist (but scathingly handsome) coanchor, Rob, mixing up the headlines with pajama modeling on the street, and showing Benji Diggs, her media maestro boss, that she’s got what it takes.
As the news heats up in a hotly contested election season and a wild-card candidate, former Hollywood actor Victor Fluke, appears on the scene, Amanda’s pressure-cooker job gets hotter as her personal life unravels. Walking a knife’s edge between ambition and survival, and about to break the biggest story of her career, Amanda must decide what she’s willing to give up to get ahead—and what she needs to hold on to save herself.