Monday, February 20, 2017

Spotlight: Pipeliner by Shawn Hartje

by Shawn Hartje
-Coming of Age, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

For seventeen-year-old Jason Krabb, high school life in 1990s Idaho is a world of cargo shorts, cassette tapes, and junk food. Plagued equally by algebra and puberty, Jason sets out to find a girlfriend and become a rock guitarist. His quest is irreversibly jolted when he attends a bonfire and meets an alluring girl from the other side of town and a rag tag crew who are bringing gas lines through the desert in order to keep the lights on in Portland and Seattle, places where Jason hopes to find his nirvana as a guitarist.

Meanwhile, things deteriorate at home. Jason's pediatrician mom, Leah, sadly faces the twilight of her parenting years while his father, Curtis, contends with the enormity of running a big ticket research laboratory and coming to terms with his son's wayward path.

Pipeliner is at once a coming of age love story and a comical timestamp of early 90s family life. Set in the fictional Idaho town of Helen Springs, pop. 58,000, its characters are as vibrant as the lofty peaks and purple sunsets of the high desert. Here we find rich farmers, poor ranchers, dutiful Mormons, government honchos, disgruntled vets, drug-dealing bruisers, irksome teachers, and spirited students, all doing their best to keep the lights on.


In the Trail King parking lot, Jason Krabb saw his friend Isabel Perkins’s brown Dodge Aries sedan parked between giant pickups, a good sign since she’d lately been hanging with Shelly Stewart, whom Jason had been flirting with in algebra II. He found Isabel by herself in a diner booth, smoking Camel Lights and acting older than she was.

“Hey Jason.” Isabel looked happy to see him. “Did you cut your hair?”

Jason shook the long blond hair from his face and sat close beside her, making sure his hips pushed into hers.

“Watch it!” Isabel smiled, pushed him back, and combed a lock of hair behind his ears.

Jason had known Isabel since back when her mom ran a home daycare on their small ranch directly across the interstate from the Trail King Truck Stop. Isabel had long straight hair that she was always dying in various patterns. Today it was blond up top, black at the ears, and maroon-tipped. She was quite pretty, with a tanning-bed complexion, a seductive smile, and sporting a huge chip on her shoulder.

“Where’s the party tonight Izzy?” Jason asked.

“You think I’m sharing that with high schoolers?” Isabel sounded disgusted.

Like Jason, Isabel was fiercely independent of anything to do with high school. As a freshman she’d been mocked for being too country, favoring embroidered getups with horses and lariats and her name stitched golden upon sharp blue denim. Jason remembered how Becca Black, queen of the top tier girls, used to bully Isabel, pushing her into the lockers and pulling on her fringes and tassels.

Isabel was now more ambiguously outfitted, playing to whatever scene she was currently interested in. Today she wore a men’s V-neck shirt in winter camouflage with black Capri pants above white slip-on Vans. Her skin looked too lustrous, as if coated in caramel.

“Your new boyfriend in town?” Jason asked.

Isabel turned serious. “Ben’s partying with his crew up in the Black Elks. He just bought a camper trailer. It’s badass, has a TV with a VCR above the bed.”

Jason laughed at this. “Sounds like a nice fuck pad.”

Isabel winked at him. “We call it the stabbin’ cabin.”

Jason loved this about Isabel. He could relax and be his horny teenaged self around her, could talk about anything sexual and she’d gamely jump in the conversation. “How’d he buy that?” Jason was curious about her latest boyfriend, Ben Stone, who’d graduated high school last year. All Jason remembered about him was that he’d never talked and wore Metallica T-shirts.

“Pipeliners make serious money,” Isabel said. “His parents don’t like me at all. So he bought the camper and moved out. Now we don’t have to put up with them anymore.” “What a stud,” Jason said. “Dude’s hanging around poaching high school girls.” Isabel was into older guys. When Jason started hanging around the Trail King as a depressed freshman, she’d been dating one of the clerks, a mustachioed guy in his twenties who bought her cigarettes and let her wear his worker’s smock.

Isabel blew smoke at Jason. “You high school boys aren’t up to snuff.”

“Whatever,” Jason said. “Hooking up with older guys doesn’t change the fact that you’re stuck in Idaho. Just like me.”

About the author:
Shawn Hartje was raised in Sioux City, Iowa and has lived in Idaho, Colorado and West Virginia. He has lived in Northern California since 2002. He enjoys high desert scenery and skateboarding with his kids.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet

Sweet Lamb of Heaven
by Lydia Millet
narrated by author

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2016
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Genre: Literary, Horror, Thriller
Hardback: 256 pages
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
When I insisted on keeping the baby, Ned threw his hands into the air palms-forward.

Lydia Millet’s chilling new novel is the first-person account of a young mother, Anna, escaping her cold and unfaithful husband, a businessman who’s just launched his first campaign for political office. When Ned chases Anna and their six-year-old daughter from Alaska to Maine, the two go into hiding in a run-down motel on the coast. But the longer they stay, the less the guests in the dingy motel look like typical tourists―and the less Ned resembles a typical candidate. As his pursuit of Anna and their child moves from threatening to criminal, Ned begins to alter his wife’s world in ways she never could have imagined.

A double-edged and satisfying story with a strong female protagonist, a thrilling plot, and a creeping sense of the apocalyptic, Sweet Lamb of Heaven builds to a shattering ending with profound implications for its characters―and for all of us.

My two-bits:

Scary thoughts on the future.

The story starts out in a certain typical direction that slowly turns and hangs heavy and heavier towards the end.

Loved how this story turns again at the end.

Got me thinking of what it is to be and feel safe.


* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Cloak & Dagger Challenge (here)

* part of Tournament of Books 2017 (here)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Stacking the Shelves & Sunday Post - 2.18.17

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews (details)
Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer (details)


Actually did some in-store book shopping this week. I saw so many wonderful new releases that were tempting...



The Longshot
by Katie Kitamura
Amazon | Goodreads

HAD to pick this up after Katie's author event I attended. Her brother was there whose hands are pictured on this book cover.

The Vegetarian
by Han Kang
Powells | Amazon | Goodreads

The Sound of Things Falling
by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
-Literary, Historical
Amazon | Goodreads

GOT these two for a face-to-face book group I recently joined.

For Review:

Ladies Man
by Katy Evans
-New Adult, Romance
courtesy of Romance Read-of-the-Month Club -Thanks!
BarnesNoble | Goodreads

Love Letters to the World
by Meia Geddes
courtesy of author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

JUST in time for April's National Poetry Month.

Northanger Abbey
by Jane Austen
narrated by Alison Larkin
-Audiobook, Classic, Romance
courtesy of narrator -Thanks!

LOOKING forward to this latest Jane Austen audiobook by Alison. This will be the 4th out of Jane's six novels that Alison has presented in audio.

FYI: For every Jane Austen audiobook download bought via the link below, $5.00 will be donated to the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation, a non profit dedicated to helping communities in literacy crisis in honor of Jane Austen. (details)

Author event:

Booksmith in San Francisco hosted an event with Min Jin Lee to celebrate the release of her latest, Pachinko. Found out that the beginnings of this novel started in 1989 when Min was 19 years old. Part of the inspiration for the story was from a missionary's lecture that included a sad story of a 13 year old Korean boy who committed suicide due to racism in Japan.

by Min Jin Lee
-Historical, Japan, Korea
Amazon | Goodreads

Green Apple Books on the Park in San Francisco hosted an event with Katie Kitamura in conversation with City Lights Buyer Paul Yamazaki about her novel, A Separation. She mentions how the story gets into how we are mysterious to each other as we are mysterious to ourselves.

A Separation
by Katie Kitamura
-Mystery, Thriller
Amazon | Goodreads

OTHER things on my shelf: kinda book-related

JOINED a face-to-face book group at Book Passage, Corte Madera (details). The theme includes books that received literary prizes.

AND watched: in theatre

Oscar shorts: Live Action (here)
Ennemis Entreniers
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights

ALL of these were special in their own way and different ways. I enjoyed them all. Kinda leaning towards Silent Nights. It will be interesting to see which wins.

Oscar shorts: Animation (here)
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes

ANOTHER varied bunch of goodness. Pear Cider and Cigarettes tops my list.

Currently flipping through: from the library

Tiny Built Things
by Rebecca Roke
Amazon | Goodreads

The most wide-ranging, comprehensive and inclusive book on small-scale architecture ever published

An inspiring, surprising and fun collection of 300 works of small-scale architecture including demountable, portable, transportable and inflatable structures as well as pavilions, installations, sheds, cabins, pods, capsules and tree houses.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Friday, February 17, 2017

Cover reveal: The Splash of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson

The Splash of Lady Harriett
(Tanglewood #3)
by Rachael Anderson
-Historical Romance
Amazon | Goodreads

Coming August 2017 from USA Today bestselling author Rachael Anderson...

When wills clash and hearts collide, who will come away victorious?

About the author:
A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating. Visit Rachael (here).

--~ Giveaway ~--

WIN $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 3/15/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Passage Literary Prize Book Group

Potpourri of Literary Prizes 2017
with Carol Benet
Book Passage in Corte Madera (details)

This group reads authors that have won literary prizes including the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle.


I decided to join another face-to-face book group. The theme for this one has a focus on literary prize winning books. I am looking forward to experiencing and analyzing these books. And, most of all, discovering why they made it to the prestigious top.


by Ottessa Moshfegh
-Historical, Mystery, Thriller
Pen/Hemingway Award 2016
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

The Vegetarian
by Han Kang
-Literary, Korea
Man Booker International Prize 2016
Powells | Amazon | Goodreads

how to be both
by Ali Smith
-Art, Historical, Literary
Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015
Costa Novel Award 2014
Goldsmiths Award 2014
Amazon | Goodreads

by Don DeLillo
-Historical, Literary
Irish Times International Fiction Prize 1989
Amazon | Goodreads

The Sound of Things Falling
by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
-Literary, Historical
International Dublin Literary Award 2014
Amazon | Goodreads

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu